Tag Archive | hope

The 6-Week Good-bye

Tomorrow, Cupcake turns three. And Skittle will be six weeks. Both of my girls are growing up. Gulp. My babies are still babies, mostly, but every day they are getting older. Getting bigger. I’m thankful that they’re both thriving, but it’s a hard pill to swallow. I wish there was a way to bottle their babyness, so that I could return to it whenever I feel nostalgic for these sweet, early days. I guess that’s what photos are for, though.

Today, I went in to see Dr. Smiles for the standard postpartum checkup. My blood pressure is back to normal and I have fifteen pounds to lose to reach my pre-pregnancy weight. We had a nice chat with Dr. S. About family and the holidays. I asked about the spotting that continues. He asked about my plans for birth control. (“Uh, none?” I said.). And then we went on our way.

As I walked out those doors into the rare November sun, I felt my breath catch as I tried not to cry. I hate good-byes. I’ve said it before (many, many times), but I’m not so good at letting go. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember this post, where I talk about returning to my OB/GYN after a few months at the infertility clinic. It felt like going home. And now we have to leave them again. Not only because this pregnancy is over, but because of my husband’s new job, we have to switch insurance carriers. Which means my OB is no longer in-network. Which means we are being forced to move on.

That’s hard for me. I feel so much affection and fondness for Dr. Smiles and his staff. They have walked a long road with me. One that included two complicated pregnancies, a miscarriage, and one of my experiences with infertility. They’ve fielded my hundreds of questions. Offered their condolences when necessary. Provided tissues when the tears began. Dr. S and I do not always have the same philosophies and I have not always agreed with or liked the answers he has given me. But I have always respected him and always trusted him. He’s well-read and current on the most recent research. He supported me in my endeavor to achieve a natural birth and, when I thought I needed one, a family-centered cesarean. My husband really likes him. He’s almost all I have ever wanted in a health care provider. And now I have to leave him behind.

It sucks.

It sucks so much that Honey and I are considering abandoning the health insurance offered through his employer and making use of Obamacare. There are some good options for our family of four. We hesitate only because our deductible will increase twenty- or thirtyfold (no joke). But our monthly premiums will be cut in half (which is no small sum) and, most likely, we will get to keep all of our doctors. So maybe it’s worth it. We’re undecided.

Which is okay. We have time. I’m not due for my annual pelvic and paps until March. And I won’t be needing prenatal care again until some time after that. Well…unless, as my doctor suggested, some incredible act of God occurs and we get an unexpected miracle. “Anything can happen,” Dr. Smiles reminded me during his birth control spiel.

Yes, Doc. I know.

But “anything” only happens to other women.

Other women get pregnant without trying.

Other women need the Pill.

Other women get those kind of pleasant surprises.

Not me.

Not ever.

That’s what I wanted to say to him. But I didn’t, of course. I didn’t because there was no point. He didn’t needed to be force-fed my infertility baggage.

And maybe, admittedly, I didn’t say it because a little part of me hopes that Dr. Smiles is right. That anything can happen. That it can happen to me. He has been right about other things. Maybe this, too, can be one of those things. To get pregnant without temping, without OPKs, without obsessing, without worrying, without praying… To get pregnant without even thinking about it… What a dream.

Sigh.

I have endured two separate periods of infertility treatments. I have suffered a miscarriage. And despite all of that, despite everything that speaks to the contrary, I still hope for the next time. That the next time will be different. I suppose it just goes to show… Hope withstands everything.

“Hope is the thing with feathers–

That perches in the soul–

And sings the tune without the words–

And never stops — at all –“

(Emily Dickinson)

Advertisements

Hopeful Mornings

The few times every year when I am so lucky to have my mom in town, she often offers to watch my daughter one or two mornings while I escape to Starbucks with a good book. Yesterday was one of those mornings. And it was so nice to have some time to myself. I ordered the largest coffee I could, not caring for once about the overload of caffeine in it, and escaped into another world as I read quietly while sitting in my favorite chair.

But there is a funny thing that often happens on these mornings: I feel the slow and steady rise of hope in my chest.  Is it because an hour alone makes me feel so relaxed that my guard is down? Is because I am energized by the caffeine I avoid on every other day? I can’t surely say, but when I am blinded by this hope, there is this crazy thing I do: after I’m done reading and sipping, I will wander down to the Target that is attached to the mall with the Starbucks I have been sitting in, and I will browse the baby section. I will finger the soft fabric of the little fleece shirts and matching pants that can be found so often at this time of year. I will hold the tiny outfit with the little rhino and the words “Tough Guy” close to my heart. I will imagine my baby wearing something so precious, one day. And I will consider, seriously consider, if I should buy the onesie with “I Love Mom” on it in Newborn size. I don’t. I do not yet have the balls or heart to make such a purchase, but there is a moment when I think I might. And even when I just can’t bring myself to do it, I will hope, and briefly believe, that some day I will. I will have a reason to make that purchase.

It is on these mornings that I hold onto the thought that I have been here before, and I can do it again. I. Can. Do. It. I only wish that this sort of courageous hope didn’t leave the moment I walked out the doors of the mall, into the sunlight and the reality of my life.

Seasons of Hope

Do all of you know the song, “Seasons of Love” from Rent? The one that goes, “How do you measure, measure a year?” It’s one of my favorites. It’s always playing on the radio at this time of year and it is constantly stuck in my head, which I am quite happy about. I love it that much.

Hearing it for the first time this year, it struck me that an infertile version of this song could easily be written. While others may measure their year by laughter, cups of coffee, or whatnot, we measure ours with BFNs and disappointments and failures. So I decided to write my own take on the song. It’s not perfect. It’s not funny, like my husband had hoped. In fact, after letting it sit for a while, I now think it’s kind of silly and lame. But I’ll publish it for you anyways because it was fun to write. And maybe one of you will get something out of it.

As a note, I did take some author liberties, removing or adding a few syllables here and there, changing the meter for a few lines, as well as adding a few extra stanzas in the middle (extra stanzas are in bold). I guess you can call this the Extended Version. For those of you unfamiliar with the song, I will add a link at the bottom so that you can listen to it. If you want to read my words along to the music, there is a karaoke version of “Seasons of Love” on youtube, but you’ll need to skip over the bold verses since those aren’t part of the original song.

And so, here is our song, ladies… I hope you enjoy it.

SEASONS OF HOPE

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments to fear.
Three hundred sixty-five worries
‘n’ dozens of pee sticks.
How do you measure an infertile year?

In tampons, in tests, in needles,
in chocolate eaten
when bleeding begins, in hopes dashed, in tears.

In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes.
How do you measure
a difficult year?

How about hope?
Broken hearts ‘n’ hope?
How about hope? Measure in hope.

Seasons of hope. Seasons of hope.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes!
How do you measure
the worst year of your life?

In people who’ve been there,
people who’ve not,
in the nights in bed for a man and his wife?

In hugs from a friend,
in two-week waits,
in pleas to your god,
in times you are late.

Hope! Don’t give up hope!
Measure in hope, seasons of hope.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes!
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
plans gone awry.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes.
How do you measure the life
Of an infertile who cries?

In big fat positives,
Or in BFNs.
In lives that ended,
before they could begin.

It’s time to believe there’s
an end to this tough ride.
Let’s celebrate
with friends who make it to the other side.
Remember the hope!
Remember the hope!
Seasons of hope!

Oh you got to, need to,
Remember the hope!
You know that hope can be a saving rope.
Find hope, grip hope, give hope.
Measure a barren life with hope.

Hope Schmope

I’m having trouble figuring out how I should feel about this cycle. Am I allowed to be hopeful? Do I have reason to? And I know we always have some hope, because otherwise why would we keep doing this? But I’m talking about real hope. In my last two or three cycles, that kind of hope has been nearly dead. Like, so close to death, it’s on life support. There just hasn’t been much to make me feel like any of my recent cycles were going to be any different than the cycles before them, you know?

But this time, we’re switching things up. The changes for this cycle are:

  • Increasing Clomid from 100 to 150mg
  • Adding a trigger shot
  • Using progesterone suppositories after ovulation

I’ve also decided that I need to feel like I’m doing something more than just going to doctor appointments, so I’ll be doing a few extra things to pretend that I actually have a little bit of control over all this:

  • I’ll be using Softcups after intercourse to keep my husband’s precious liquid close to where it needs to be. (These are generally a period solution, but I’ve heard they can help in TTC too. And for $10 with shipping, I decided, why not?)
  • After sex, I usually stay in bed for 10 minutes before getting up and moving around. I will be changing this to 30 minutes now. We even bought a nice wedge pillow to keep my booty elevated for that half-hour.
  • I plan to dine on some pineapple core after ovulation…if I can stomach it.

All in all, that is a total of six things that I will be doing differently this cycle. I mean, that must increase our chances, right? Even if it’s only just a little?

But how do I keep from being all, “Oh, man, this cycle is going to be the ONE!”??? Because I don’t want to have that much hope. It will only lead to heartbreak if I’m wrong. And logically, I know it very well might not be The Cycle. If Honey’s sperm morphology is really as bad as they say, making all of these changes may not do a damn thing. But it’s hard to convince my heart of that. It’s hard not to get my hopes up. I’m finding this balance between hope, expectations, and logic a tricky, tricky business.

Countdown to the End of a Dream

My daughter’s (very small, but very lovely) birthday party was this afternoon  and, on Wednesday, she will turn two. As the first birthday presents arrived, I realized there is no denying it anymore: Cupcake is growing up. She’s not a baby anymore. It’s been two years since what was, until recently, the hardest period in my life came to an end. Two years since the baby I longed for and dreamed of filled my empty arms.

This momentous occasion should be one of joy, of celebration. And it is. Nothing, no amount of sadness, can stop me from appreciating and rejoicing in the life of the child I was not certain would ever exist. Of the child I wanted more than anything else in this world and the next. But with this day also comes a rock of dread sitting in my stomach. I imagine part of this is normal stuff that mothers feel as they watch their tiny, helpless babies morph into real people with their own opinions and desires. But for me, it is more than that. It is tangible proof that time is passing. The clock is ticking. And nothing in my life is changing, evolving, or improving.

There was a time when I expected to have a ginormous belly for my daughter’s second birthday party. I do not. I do not have a baby bump of any size, in fact. And then I prayed that I might become the mother of a second living child by my 30th birthday. As the calendar pages flip one-by-one for this month, though, that dream is fading. My next hope, my forever hope, is to have another baby in my arms by the time my daughter celebrates her third birthday. I have always wanted my children to be two to three years apart. To make that happen, I must conceive in the next three months. Cupcake’s second birthday is the start of the countdown. And while I know that the world will not end if this doesn’t happen, and that I will welcome any baby whenever s/he comes, it is hard to see your dreams diminish. It is hard to accept that the way you envisioned your future may be nothing more than fantasy.

Please do not mistake this whiny, listless post as a lack of gratitude. I know I am lucky. I am reminded every day as I read all of your blogs that I have been given a great gift. So many of you would give anything for one child. I am forever thankful to be in this position of worrying over having another baby. If it comes to it, my daughter, sweet beautiful precious perfect Cupcake, will have to be enough. She is enough. I love her more than air, water, and chocolate and I couldn’t ask for anything better. But having just one child is not the dream. Having a big family, a house full of noise and laughter, screaming and too many toys, is what I want. Having now what I never had as a child is what I want. I want that more than almost anything. (And yes, I did say almost, because good God, I do not want it at the sacrifice of the life of the child I already have or that of anyone else I deeply love…but that it is it. That is the only thing more important to me than this.)

And as days like today pass me by, it feels as if that dream I have been holding onto is slowly slipping away.

The Two-Week Wait

Things look promising.

As most of you know from my post on Monday, I got a positive ovulation test on CD14. The four days since then, my BBT has been over 98.0 (before that it was mostly 97.2-97.6). Also, the OPKs have gone back to being completely negative, my cervix has dropped, and now I have creamy-ish CM. So far, so good, I would say.

Which I think makes it official. I’m smack-dab in the middle of the 2WW. My first since starting this blog. And please God, let it be my last.

Is that being too optimistic? I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know:

  • My Honey and I had sexy time the two days before ovulation and the day of. I hope that’s enough.
  • Every time that I have ovulated while TTC (those two measly times in the last two-and-a-half years), I have conceived, even though it was on CD19 in 2010 and CD 22 earlier this year.

That’s not much to go on, but it’s enough to give me hope. And so that’s what I do…all day long, I hope, I pray, and I analyze every possible little symptom or clue my body alludes to. It’s too early, of course — anything I feel now is probably an unpredictable fluke — but I can’t help myself.

So in this moment, I’m feeling more positive and hopeful than I have in so long, since my miscarriage I think. It’s a (slightly terrifying) relief to finally be trying again. And to be at a point where we’ve actually got a shot at a miracle. (Even though ovulating on CD14 feels like a small miracle of its own.)

So for today, I will try not to worry, try to have faith, and try to just enjoy the possibilities. I’m feeling like I can handle anything right now. Even my sister. We have a phone date scheduled for this afternoon to talk our hearts out.

I’m so freaking scared!

Hope vs. Stupid Reality

Hope, I have learned, doesn’t always get us very far.

I once hoped to be a marine biologist. A psychologist. A teacher. A nurse. A very successful author who was more like a rockstar (think: J.K. Rowling).

I hoped to take a leap of faith, to move to London, and to fall in love with a sexy foreigner.

I hoped be a young wife and a young mom of a large handful of babies.

I hoped I’d get pregnant quickly with my first child, that I’d be so fertile I could conceive with just a kiss, or at least that wishing on a shooting star and praying with all my might would be enough to create a baby.

I hoped that I would never know the pain of a miscarriage.

And I hoped that, if nothing else, when I weighed myself this morning, at least one thing would go my way and I’d have lost a couple pounds. Just a couple. I didn’t think that was too much to ask.

Instead:

I’m a nursing school dropout and a stay-at-home mom who writes a somewhat pathetic and poorly written blog and can barely carve out two hours every Wednesday to work on The Novel That Maybe Will Be…One Day.

And while I have traveled to London several times, my all-American husband came into my life four months before the big move and I chose him over a hypothetical foreign romance. (Well, that’s one way that Stupid Reality didn’t totally screw with my life…I do love him so!)

And I married at age 24 (which did not feel so young to me at the time) and had my first baby at 27 (which felt really, really old after the struggle to get there) and will probably struggle for each baby thereafter, if there ever are any more babies.

And I am not fertile. I am infertile, though you will rarely hear me use that word. And no amount of prayers or wishes has changed that yet.

And I do know how much a miscarriage can hurt, how it can make your heart explode with the grief of it and all that is left is the shrapnel in an empty hole, and how you can’t know if another full heart can ever grow in its place.

And in the last two weeks, though I have worked out over an hour every day and spent the last few days living on a daily limit of 1000-1200 calories, when I weighed myself this morning in all my naked glory (because clothes might add a few ounces, you know!), I lost a measly half a pound. Yes, that’s right. All my hard work was for practically nothing. And so now, in just the next 8-12 days, I have three pounds to lose to reach my goal. It doesn’t sound like a lot and I’ve done it before, but can I do it again? Clearly, time and my body are not on my side.

So thank you, Stupid Reality, for really wrecking my life. Here’s hoping that some day Hope can be enough…