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Those voices in my head…

In the past few days I have written many posts which I went on to abandon. They now lie half-written, awaiting their fate in my wordpress folder. Why did I not complete them? I don’t have a clear answer, only that each time I began with an honest attempt to describe my increasingly muddy feelings, somewhere along the way words fell short of being able to accurately convey the churning cesspool that’s my overworked mind right now. I have to do it though, for myself, else I feel my head just might explode into smithereens and well, mashed brain pulp is not my ideal choice of wall decor!!

It’s strange… this crazy place I’m in ever since we got back from Colorado. I swing from emotion to emotion like a restless monkey in search of elusive bananas (umm yea I realize the ridiculousness of that analogy but that’s the best I can come up with right now!). Everything seems stuck, I feel stuck in a crazy numbed place from which there doesn’t seem to be any way out. The world is moving, moving on as I helplessly look out from my insulated glass bubble. Did I mention the insulation is one-way? I can hear them perfectly but my cries or my relentless banging on the glass gets no attention. There are women getting pregnant, they’re swelling up in joy, rubbing their bellies protectively and I’m just watching them. There are babies all around–heart-beakingly cute, crazily adorable little people but they’re not mine and I am burning up in envy watching those whom they call Mom and Dad.

My husband works harder than ever before and it breaks my heart to see him scavenge for hope as we ride the positive-negative see-saw every single day, multiple times a day. He reassures me, he rubs my feet, he hugs me like he’ll never let go. But when he speaks about ‘his baby’, the child he hopes we will have, perhaps a little girl just like me… I fervently wish then that the earth would swallow me up. I silently rage at God, I grovel and plead–for him, if not for me… please, please, please.

There’s sadness and dark things happening to really nice people. Some are losing their babies, after years of trying and treatments. Others are fading away from what they used to be. No one has an answer to the white-elephant-like, ginormous WHY’s that silently reverberate across collective minds. Empty arms are aching reminders of lack. When I hear of this colossal suffering, I feel ashamed of my own grief. Yet, can grief or loss ever be compared? Is it a relative construct or a personal version of hell?

Amidst all this misery, however, there is life, clamoring to be heard. Life is shoving its way through despair and frustration and showing itself in two pink lines on a plastic stick. Life is showing its blurry face in a grainy ultrasound and making itself heard through a tinny flickering heartbeat. What am I more today? Depressed over the heartlessness of injustice or unhealthily covetous of the blessing of abundance? I am both, I suppose… and more. I am infinitely happy for fellow bloggers finally getting pregnant after years of disappointments and I am heartbroken for those who have experienced mind-numbing loss.

Every day I wake up with a sinking feeling. One more day gone, one less day without my precious baby, one day less of being a mother. Then I remind myself of all that I have. My husband, my life, my biggest blessing. All the comforts a person can ask for. A healthy body (umm apart from its reproductive dysfunctionality, that is!!), a brain that mostly does its job, a great family… there’s a lot to be thankful for. Yet this craving to be a mother has robbed me of the ability to purely enjoy life and all it has to offer. I am learning though. Learning that enjoying the present does not mean I have necessarily given up on the future that I so earnestly desire. Learning that it’s not just about me; there is another breathing, living person enduring this hell with me and for his sake I must get out of bed each day and smile and go for movies and cook yummy food and well… sometimes there’s no greater joy than doing that.

I stay awake some nights wondering why why why can I not dream of my baby? Why do I get inane high school dreams and dreams of people who are no longer in my life and why can I not, instead, just dream of being a mother? If it occupies all my waking time then why does my most cherished desire stay away from my dreams? Is it a sign? I don’t want it to be a sign. Other nights, I stay up worrying about our finances. We have already spent so much and there is yet more coming and God alone knows where the finish line is. We have had to buy a new car because our old one was breaking down all the time and we were paying so much every month. New car, however, means higher car payments. Our rent is going up. Again. In the past two years our rent has gone up by $350 a month! Yet anything else we seek out is still more expensive. We need to stay in the area because my doctor’s here, my acupuncturist is and well, yes I know we could move somewhere and find new providers but the thing is anywhere else would only be marginally cheaper. And I love where we live right now. I feel that if this is also snatched away from me, I will seriously slip into depression. I wonder if we will ever get out of an apartment and into a house of our own. I feel sickened with the realization that if my body could just do its thing, we would not be going through this hell.

I go out, meet friends and watch them with their kids. Some of them know how hard we are struggling, others (most) have no clue. They hug their babies, play with them and tell us that we should have kids too. I smile and nod as my heart goes up in flames. I play with their kids, especially the little girls. I hold them close, smell their baby smell and I wonder, in a strange and detached manner, can hearts actually shatter? Do they make a noise or do they just crack apart silently?

Some days I feel just fine. I am able to drive around, run errands and walk into Target and Costco and Whole Foods and not bat an eyelid at the swollen bellies, the adorable toddlers running amok; heck even the newborn aisle does not faze me. Yet there are other days when a partial glimpse, even, of a striped onesie can feel like a solid kick in the gut. I think that next year is certainly my year, I can feel my dream about to come true. I can feel that it is our time now. And almost as soon as that thought crystallizes in my mind, a gush of fear stands poised, threatening to drown it out. Determined, I start surfing baby strollers online. I will make this happen, I tell fear. I will NOT let you win. It is MY time. I look at the bangles I wear. One is for my baby. When I made a fervent plea to God to bless me with a child. That was in the summer of 2011. I truly felt that God has listened and in 2012 when I got pregnant I felt my faith was proven. Yet, it did not last… neither the pregnancy nor the certainty that it would happen.

So where does this leave me? Like every other day. Just as I embraced the intrusive testing, the needles and the procedures, the envy and the sadness, the yoga and the acupuncture, the need for patience and the necessity of faith.. I embrace the amusement park that is my mind. I embrace the insecurity and the fear, the positivity and the hope and through it all I remind myself–this, too, shall pass 🙂

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Don’t peek!

I was doing pretty well till last evening. The weekend had been a good one and (despite the apprehensions) I was looking forward to our call tomorrow with Dr S. Around 10.30 at night, the spouse suggested stepping out for a walk and I readily agreed. These late night walks of ours soothe me like nothing else; often we just walk hand in hand and don’t really say much, each lost in a planet of their own making; but just the reassuring feel of my hand firmly ensconced in his makes me feel connected to him. Plus, our neighborhood is so pretty at night what with the moon beaming from its reflection on the lagoon waters and the quiet, leafy streets. It’s the perfect way to unwind from a long day.

So yesterday when we stepped out, I was not expecting to see what I did. As I mentioned in a previous post, I just found out that one of my neighbors is pregnant, heavily so. The couple had been out vacationing and as I passed by their apartment I was just not expecting them to be in there (or to have their blinds open for the world to peek in). I saw her sitting on the couch watching TV, gently rubbing her pregnant belly and I stood transfixed unable to move until K gently nudged me. It was like a well of sadness sprung up inside me. I felt a cold, wet sludge of envy mixed with fear settle in on my tummy. I wanted so bad to be her. To rub my pregnant belly while watching TV as my husband hovers around, preparing a cup of hot tea for me.

There were no tears, though, this time. We went on with our walk quietly as if nothing had happened. More sickening to me than the jealousy itself was the realization that slowly I am getting acclimatized to feeling like this.

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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.

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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!