4

Cloudy with a chance of tear-falls!

I woke up today feeling craptastic. The weather outside echoed my sentiments. It was cloudy, dull and uninspiring. I willed myself out of bed and got busy reinstating the house to some semblance of order from its nightly state of slipshod-ery (my darling husband has quite the knack for creating chaos!). I set oatmeal to boil for him, ignoring the rumbling protest in my tummy. I should eat, my mind reasoned, it’s important for me to eat on time everyday. Screw that, said my heart. I felt awful, a naked piece of yearning in a slowly careening-out-of-control world. What if this doesn’t work? What if, after another round of injections and monitoring and medication and travel and sleepless nights and hormone-induced emotional hell, I am still sans baby? Still flat-tummied and still bereft? How will I go on? You have a backup plan, persisted the annoyingly sensible voice in my head. Something’s gotta give, sometime. I stuck a mental tongue out at this piss-pot. How do I blame others for always expecting me to be strong when my own frickin’ mind doesn’t allow me the luxury of self-pity?!!

Depositing the steaming hot oatmeal in front of K (buried about ten thousand feet deep in his cyber world of emails, presentations) I walked over to the bedroom and started folding the laundry with energetic enthusiasm, hoping to drown the voices in my head. As I tidied up the room, my eyes fell on the journal I had started earlier this year. Wanting desperately to believe that my baby could listen to me even if he/she hadn’t taken form yet, I had taken to writing letters to my unborn child. Painfully honest, searing letters from a guilt-ridden parent-to-be who feels personally responsible for taking so long to get her baby in this crazy world. I wrote about my hopes and my disappointments. I wrote about baby’s family and how they were all awaiting her arrival. I wrote about my misgivings and my fears. I started by writing everyday but could not keep that up for long. On days I felt particularly down, I could not write. Perhaps because it made me feel like a cheat. How could I tell my baby that I believed in her existence and yet acknowledge being submerged in despair. I continued writing though, sometimes more frequently than others.

And then the IVF started. I wrote with a purpose now. I felt the time was soon that she would come to me. I told her to hang in there. When we were told that we had made only 3 blastocysts which would be biopsied, I begged her to be one of them. I told her I would make her the happiest human being on earth if only she would trust me and let me be her mother.

It did not happen. One email destroyed our carefully constructed world of hope as all three blasts turned out to be abnormal, a heart-rending revelation made all the more painful with the realization that all three were baby girls. My baby girls. Whom I could not give birth to. Because nature likes to screw with me. I cried so much in those days that I thought my body would stop making tears. I wailed and screamed in sheer pain; I ranted against a heartless God who was seeing all this happen and yet not doing a thing about it. I was told that donor eggs were my only option going forward. I lost a part of my heart that day. And, from that day onwards, I could not write to my baby. I could not face her after what happened. Even though I know I could not have done anything to prevent it from happening.

Seeing that journal today brought back lingering painful memories. Perhaps brought back into focus because we are about to start another IVF cycle. About to place our trust in medicine and in science and in God all over again. As I commence, anew, this effort to make my baby, the one person I long for most is my mother. I want to hug her tight and feel her love for me, calming my festering wounds and soothing my fears. And then, I want to let the tears fall.

0

Moody tears with a mind of their own

Another month, another breakdown.

July was exhausting with DH and I barely stepping out from the haunting shadows of our first failed IVF. We tried naturally but our heart was just not in it. Every day we put our energies in healing, in moving on, in planning for the future. Slowly, agonizingly painfully, we started recovering what had so brutally been snatched from us–hope.

On July 30th I turned 36. Every year my birthday reminds me cruelly of my lack. This year was particularly tough. I had hoped so much to have my baby in my tummy on this day but, sadly, it was not to be. Once the day was over, though, I felt so much better. Strangely reinvigorated. And August was thumping proof! A happy, busy month with lots of social engagements, a ton of pre-IVF testing, DH’s birthday and in general a lot of stuff that kept me as sane & content as is possible to be in the circumstances. Some days I even laughed out loud and the sound was so harshly unfamiliar I almost winced!

Which brings us to September. September, that month when the leaves change color and the air whispers secret promises. This is an important month. We get to know the way forward with CCRM. An exciting month. Then why did I, now almost blase to the omnipresent spectacle of heavily pregnant women beaming beatifically in public places, break down last night at yet another Facebook sighting? Hadn’t DH already told me that our neighbor is knocked up?! What was so shocking at seeing her swollen tummy against a lush Hawaiian background that reduced me to a pathetic, slobbery mess? This is why I no longer have a FB account, my mind screamed. Why do I have to torture myself with visiting DH’s FB? It’s not like his friends are immune to pregnancy?!!

I raged at the unfairness of it all. Not why she is pregnant and why not me but more like everyone gets pregnant when will it be my time? Haven’t I suffered enough? What is ‘enough’? How many more tests, painful procedures, disappointments and heartbreaks do I have to endure before it is deemed that I am ready to don the maternal mantle? I silently yelled out at the universe. I let myself feel the primitive want that was crowding my senses. I sobbed hot, angry tears into my patiently accepting pillowcase. DH came to me so many times, hugging me, consoling me, loving me, soothing me in the way only he can. His concern, his love it broke me further. Why can I not make him a daddy? And then, even more sadness, as I see his face fall when he is unable to stop my crying.

I want to be happy, so happy. I want to shop for onesies and choose the best stroller out there. I want to get a pristine white crib from Pottery Barn. I want to smell baby powder and snuggle against oh-so-soft baby blankets. I want to select cute little shoes and take endless pictures. But most of all I want my arms to feel the blissful weight of my child. And for that, I will persevere.

0

Doctor-ly woes…

I had an appointment with my OB-GYN who (in case I haven’t mentioned this before) is quite simply one of the nicest, sweetest, gentlest souls I have ever. He also doubles up as an RE; we have been consulting him for over 1.5 years now and he shares the constant frustrations & disappointments that have assailed us on this journey that we began two years ago.

Today was just a routine appointment; I wanted to get my lining checked and I also had a few questions regarding our future plans. I knew though that the real reason I went to see him was that he gives me incredible solace and, that most coveted of emotions that I seem to have an especially hard time dredging up nowadays -hope! I wanted to share with him the heartbreaking failure of our first IVF cycle and I knew he would understand how particularly shattered I was that all three of our chromosomally abnormal embryos had been girls. I have always wanted a little girl to love and cherish and this particular discovery resulted in many tear-soaked pillow cases.

The thing about his office is that it is crazy busy, with a cramped reception area and, of course, women in all stages of pregnant glory. Added to that is the fact that one of the doctors in that office is a pediatrician so there is no dearth of swelly bellies and little moppets sleeping soundly in their baskets, fists tightly curled up in to little balls, or mischievous toddlers chortling with delight. As a result, I find it tough to go there. Scratch that, it’s a frickin’ torture session to say the least and seldom do I emerge unscathed!

Today promised to be especially challenging since K could not accompany me. He had work and I did not want him to cancel his appointments just because his wife is a sad sap who cannot handle emphatic visual reminders of her own lack. Sigh! I drove down there, reasoning with myself all along the way that since my appointment was close after the lunch hour, perhaps it would be empty…-ish?! No such luck. There were three pregnant women, and a few others who had little babies or toddlers. There was also a thin, young woman who had a wee little baby bundled up in his fathers arms even as she looked ready to pop out another one! Perfect recipe for unadulterated heartburn!

And then there was me. No attachments, nothing. I tried not to feel wistful about the customary ‘here’s your sticker. go pee in a cup’ missive that was being doled out to pretty much every other woman there, or the ‘omygodshe’sgrownupsomuch’ shouts of delight that sporadically emerged from some nurse or the other. I was going to be zen, I had decided. I came armed with enough books to last me a few days and finding a seat closest to the door (that much easier to bolt in case things rapidly went south!) I settled down for the wait. About an hour and a half later, I was finally called in.

Here’s the thing -I always end up feeling phony when I go there somehow, like I should not be there in the first place. I feel apologetic about taking up precious time that would otherwise be allotted to women who were ‘truly in need’ aka the ones who were pregnant. Even though my logical mind shouts out in protest: no, no you deserve to be here as much as them, perhaps even more. So when the nurse apologized for keeping me waiting, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and I instantly hated myself for feeling like that. Instead of mumbling my usual ‘no worries’, however I just smiled which I hoped communicated ‘yea I can see how busy you are, but thanks for apologizing cause I’ve been waiting a long time’ instead of ‘goodness, are you crazy? I should be the one saying sorry considering how I have just inserted myself in the middle of an already crazy day unnecessarily taking up your time and that of the doctors’.

I have no clue what she was thinking for she issued her standard instructions–please undress from waist down and wait for the doctor –even before I had a chance to gauge her reaction. From there on it was another half hour or so before the doc came. All in all, it was a good visit. A quick ultrasound revealed that my lining was still strong at 9.5mm and that there were several follicles showing in both ovaries. He reassured me on several counts and encouraged me not give up on hope, that there was enough that was in my favor. I left feeling uplifted and a teeny bit less sad than when I had stepped in the clinic.

Time to start prepping for the SIRM phone consult next week!