A Plea for Compassion

Beautiful wildflower

Beautiful wildflower in bloom

A few days before Christmas last year, I got a call from my brother in the middle of the night. I’m thankful every day that I woke up and answered.  He told me that he didn’t trust himself and that he was going to pack some things and check himself into the hospital. I talked to him until he made it to the psychiatric ward, and then called my parents to make a plan. What followed were some very rough months for our family, trying to understand how he got to that point, and how to help him. My brother has dealt with depression for quite some time, but this was a new low — what I hope was rock bottom.

I think about my brother and that phone call every day. When suicide is in the news like it has been recently with Robin Williams’ death, people come out of the woodwork with their opinions. I understand suicide is a charged topic, and everything from religion, to family values, to personal experience helps to shape your feelings. While I don’t kid myself that I’m offering anything new to the conversation, I just want to stand up and be counted on the side of compassion. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand my brother’s depression, but I know that he is a good person and deserves love and happiness. He is intelligent, loyal, hilarious, creative, spontaneous, full of life, and has so much to offer this world. From the outside, you would never guess he struggles with depression. He deserves to live in a world where mental illness is understood for what it is — an illness — not a personal weakness or shortcoming.

Finding out how alone and desperate my brother was feeling made me realize that you never know what someone else is going through. My family is very close, but he was able to hide these feelings from all of us until it was almost too late. He is feeling better now, thanks to therapy, medicine, support from family and friends, and lifestyle changes, but I know that there is always a risk of him falling back into that dark place.

Instead of seeing people call Robin Williams selfish and blame his suicide on addiction, my wish is for people to have compassion and realize that someone you love may also be in a dark place and feeling like they don’t have any options. Instead of broadcasting your hatred and judgement, offer up your love and support. Your compassion goes a lot further than your hate.

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

When I was growing up, 30 is the oldest age I ever pictured myself. And it seemed ancient! Today I turned 31 and entered into uncharted territory! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t very excited for this birthday, but it turned out to be a really nice day with family time, a nice dinner, lots of wine, and awesome presents! And just for the record, hangovers are worse at 31 than 30.

Birthday dinner at a french cafe in our neighborhood

Birthday dinner at a french cafe in our neighborhood

Birthday wine time

Birthday wine time

New Mac - ready for blogging!

New Mac – ready for blogging!

Don’t Worry, They’ll Bloom Soon

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Another failed cycle — our last try with IUI. My sweet hubby brought me home my favorite cookies and these beautiful sunflowers (my favorite since I was a child and grew them in my pappy’s garden). There wasn’t much to say or do or analyze about this cycle. It is over and now we need to move forward.  Instead of the usual post-mortem, he just hugged me and said, “Don’t worry, they’ll bloom soon.” Sometimes all you need are sunflowers, cookies, and a little faith.

Sunflowers, my favorites

Sunflowers, my favorites

To the Lonely Mamas

I saw this blog post shared on Facebook a while back and really enjoyed reading it: Are You Lonely, Mama? It is very easy when you’re infertile to envision this secret, exclusive club that all new moms belong to where they all instantly make friends with each other and spend their days watching their adorable babies grow up. It never really occurred to me that it could be lonely at times. Hard, yes. But lonely, no. I’ve had way too much time to build up parenting in my mind and I’ve really put it on a pedestal. So thank you to the author for bravely sharing that it isn’t always bliss.

But I would urge you to try to see things from my point of view, lonely mamas. When I scroll through Facebook, all I see are babies and happy parents. I see my friends with new lives and priorities, leaving me behind. Every morning, I walk past the middle bedroom in our house — a tiny little room between our bedroom and the guest bedroom. When we moved in two years ago, we started calling it the nursery. I decorated it in my mind. I pictured bringing our sweet baby home to this safe place. Now we call it the spare bedroom and we keep door closed because those thoughts and plans are too painful. Friends have stopped asking when we’re going to have kids. Some friends have stopped reaching out at all.

After more than two years of trying to get pregnant, my husband and I are in infertility limbo. I never imagined we’d be here. The mental and physical toll has been completely exhausting. We’re heartbroken, but we’re surviving. I’m lonely, too — for something I’ve never had.  As we head into our first IVF cycle, I hope that someday we look back on this as a season that made us stronger and prepared us to be amazing parents. Like the author, I’m trying not to let this loneliness steal this season from me.

It is very easy from my perspective to feel frustration, jealously, and even anger toward new mamas. I have friends who dealt with infertility before we started trying to have a baby, and I remember thinking they were insane. Every Facebook birth announcement or happy family out to dinner made them rage. But now I know. Infertility is a dark place, and you can only understand once you’re living there. I try to keep those feelings at bay, but I would be lying if I said they never consume me.

So I say to you lonely mamas — I get it. Being a mom is the hardest job. It can be isolating. At times, you miss your old life. Continue to share your feelings about motherhood — the loneliness and the joy. But I hope at the end of the day, you find comfort knowing that you’ve been given the best gift in the world. And you’re so very blessed to be given the opportunity to be a mama.

10 DPO Update

I haven’t been updating during my TWW because I’ve been trying to keep busy and not think too much about it. Easier said than done! I did test out my trigger shot with Wondfo strips, and it *seemed* to be out of my system on 7dpo. On 8dpo I had a very faint positive, but I tempered my excitement because I knew it could still be traces of my trigger. Since then, I’ve had negatives on 9dpo and this morning at 10dpo. My temperature has been all over the place as well.

I’m trying not to get upset, but this round was high stakes because it is our last IUI before we move on to IVF. It was also our first time using only injectables. Some days it feels like I’m just going through the motions and I’m not surprised by another negative cycle, but other days it cuts very deep and makes me extremely anxious and sad.

Thank You

Thank you

I didn’t know what to expect when I started blogging about infertility. I assumed there was a community of women like me, and I was hoping to find an outlet express my sadness, frustration, and hope to people who understood what I was going through. Many people in my “real life” are supportive, but there is still a breakdown because they can’t completely understand my pain. I just wanted to give a shout out to everyone who takes the time to read about my journey and post such supportive, kind comments. While I don’t know you in “real life,” your support means so much to me and has saved me in some really dark moments. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

On the Verge of a Breakdown

I’m not sure if it is hormones or just stress, but I feel like I’m on my way to a breakdown.

I’m having a week where stress is creeping in from all sides and making we want to hide under the covers. And of course in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about this cycle and knowing that if it doesn’t work, we’ll need to prepare for IVF.

Our neighbors recently got a puppy. I love our dog dearly, but he isn’t the best with other dogs, especially the puppy variety. I’ve been dreading the day when they meet on a walk and our dog completely flips out. My worst fears came to light last evening when he finally got his chance to meet the puppy, and he basically tried to attack it. I swear he has a sixth sense for the worst possible times to act like a little monster. Now we need to devise a strategy to avoid them every time we see them on a walk. Awesome.

This morning, a homeless woman outside my office yelled “look me in the eye you goddamn bitch” when I walked by her. Thanks, lady! I know your life is probably horrible, but did you have to do that today? I walked into work and right into a conversation about babies. Of course, someone pulls the “you’re next” card. Really? Am I? I know people have good intentions, but that is a really inappropriate thing to say to a coworker. What if I didn’t want kids? What if I recently had a miscarriage? And of course — reality — what if I’m infertile and trying desperately to have a child? I’d love to be next, but please don’t tell me that you know I am.

There is something about infertility that makes me want to control all other aspects of my life. When other things go wrong, I have a lot of trouble dealing with it. Isn’t infertility enough of a burden to bear? (I realize this sounds ridiculous.) I’m just feeling so small and vulnerable — like silly little problems have the possibility of cracking me. I sound like a person who needs a vacation, and luckily I’ll be doing just that in two weeks. Let’s hope I can avoid a meltdown before then!

Happy Birthday To My First Best Friend

Today my little brother turns 27. We are just close enough in age that I don’t remember life without him; one of my earliest memories is the day he was born. I remember wanting a baby sister and being disappointed when my parents called from the hospital to tell us he was a boy — sorry bro! But what can you expect from an almost 4-year-old who was seriously into unicorns and playing dress up? I was standing in my grandparents’ hallway and I clearly remember thinking that nothing would be the same. And I sure was right!

Having a sibling is wonderful in so many ways. They are a connection to your past, a constant during uncertain times, and someone who will always know the real you. They are your first best friend, your confidant, and the person on this earth who is most like you. Doctors told my parents that they wouldn’t be able to have more children after they had me. I’m so glad they were wrong — a sibling is the best gift parents can give to their child. I couldn’t ask for a better first best friend. Happy birthday to my creative, smart, handsome, stubborn, sensitive, loyal baby brother. I love you!

It's a boy!

It’s a boy!

Me and my brother

Me and my brother

DINK Status

This past weekend I was in NYC for work and visiting my little brother. As we were gallivanting around the city, eating delicious meals at posh restaurants, having a drink atop the Met at sunset, and staying out way too late singing karaoke, I realized that I need to appreciate this time in my life, even though it is hard. I’ve spent so much time wishing and hoping to have a baby and very little time thinking about the things I’ll miss once we have a child. I’ve decided to make a real effort to appreciate the things I can do as part of a 30-something DINK couple (dual income, no kids). Let’s be honest – this is probably my way of trying not to cry every time I see a pregnant lady or cute baby.

Vacations, Vacations, Vacations
My hubby and I have done more than our fair share of traveling the world since college. I got the travel bug when I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia my junior year. I was able to sneak away from my studies for side trips to New Zealand and Fiji and fell in love with globe-trotting. Since then, we’ve been to England (twice), France, Monaco, the Vatican, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy (three times!), Netherlands, Egypt, the Caribbean, China, Taiwan, Belize, Ireland, Aruba, Greece, Turkey, Spain, and Japan, Alaska, and lots of other fun cities and towns in the U.S. Whew! We’ve had so much fun and learned a lot about other cultures and ourselves. I know a part of me will miss being able to plan a last minute trip to somewhere amazing, but it will be fun to plan some relaxing beach vacations and someday introduce our kids to the amazing places we’ve seen.

Appreciating My Bod
I hear it all the time from my friends: “Your body will NEVER be the same!” While I’m totally fine trading my current physique for saggy boobs and a loose tummy if it means having a family, I’ve been realizing that I should appreciate the time I have left with my figure. Is this means splurging on a new bathing suit and some trips to Anthropologie, so be it!

Having Nice Things/Doing Nice Things
No crying baby at fancy restaurants. No sticky toddler fingers all over the white couch or leather car. Extra income to buy new clothes/shoes/jewelry. Want to stay up late and drink a whole bottle of wine? No problem, I can sleep in. Lots of ME time and US time. All of these things were important to me for a while, but I’d certainly trade them all for a child. I’m sure I’ll look back someday and think how easy we had it during this time. That is, until I remember that I was also a crazy, sad DINK. For now, I’ll get all the amazing sleep I can get.

Getting My Hubby All to Myself
I’m not going to lie – it is a little scary when my friends tell me how much their relationships with their partners changed after having kids. My husband and I have been married for almost six years and have been together for nearly 12 years. We know each other in and out and our lives together have a nice, easy flow. We both work full-time at fairly demanding jobs and understand (most of the time) when the other person is stressed out. We enjoy a lot of the same things and really enjoy each other’s company. In addition to being adorable and life-changing, children are also demanding and have the potential to turn our tidy little lives upside down. I know it won’t be the easiest transition for us, but I have no doubts that it will be so worth it.

Dinner with my little brother in NYC

Dinner with my little brother

Bubbly on the roof of the Met

Bubbly on the roof of the Met

 

IUI Swan Song

Goodnight NYC

Goodnight NYC

I’m writing from my hotel in NYC. Check out my beautiful view! Today we had what will be our last IUI. If we aren’t successful, we’ll take a little break and then start IVF in the fall. We found out yesterday that because of hubby’s low morphology on two semen analyses, our insurance will allow us to move forward with IVF before completing our required six IUIs.

I’m feeling good about the cycle, and know we’re finishing up this phase of treatment on a high note.  I had two mature follicles and hubby’s count was the best yet at 17 million post-wash. My lining was 8.25, by far the thickest yet, meaning the switch to injectables did the trick.

If this doesn’t work, we’ll at least feel like we gave it our best effort and will be ready to move forward. But for now I’m feeling hopeful!