Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bitterly sarcastic and enjoying it

I feel like being bitter and sarcastic. Deal with it. Herein find my solution to June, when all my friends will be talking about their new babies.

Husband and I just filled out the most adorable retainer form for the lawyers.

We just got the cutest little message about how some new obstacle came up.

You wouldn't believe how darling our embryos were as they failed to survive the thaw.

Who needs to talk about babies when you can coo over infertility?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dear Someone: Our heroine wishes she had someone who would listen

Mama keeps saying I am depressed but I disagree.  I just need someone to listen.  But how could she understand, really?  She had four children, effortlessly, without even one month of disappointment.  She had me while trying NOT to have children!  So what could she possibly understand?  Yet I so wish she understood.  Other people realize this hurts.  Why doesn't she?  And Mama's failure to understand hurts almost as much as this whole process.

I just want someone to listen and to give me a hug.  My internist/mentor is so wonderful and caring, but by now must be exasperated with my whining; moreover, she's got her leadership roles at the medical school and her family for which to care.  I shouldn't keep burdening her.

I should learn to comfort myself without imposing on others.  Perhaps this writing will help -- if nothing else, at least I can complain without anybody else being forced to read this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chag Chanukah Sameach, update, and not going to lie -- sometimes I am just plain jealous.

Happy Chanukah everyone!  While actually a minor holiday, it is definitely top of the "fun" list.  No crazy rules/regulations other than playing with fire for eight nights :o) and eating fried food.  Specifically, potato latkes and sufganiyot (aka jelly doughnuts -- or if you're like me, dolce de leche filled :o)  As my baby cousin says, "delicious!"  I agree.

Still, first on my mind is Operation Baby.  We met with the new potential surrogate, "N."  She's lovely and we had a great time getting to know her.  Chicago would actually have been a lot of fun too, except Husband was tired and cross and stressed about everything so he started telling me he hated me and that I make his life miserable.  That part was not lovely.  I held my tongue and let him vent because I know he gets like this every time we travel to do something Operation Baby-related.  But I wish he didn't take out his frustration on me.  It hurts.  At least I don't *think* he means it.  But what if he does?  What if I really am a horrible wife and he would be better off without me?  At least without me he could find somebody who would give him children.

We should find out within a week whether or not N's bloodwork came back okay.  Even if it did, I still don't expect to end up with a baby.  I don't even want to hope.  Hope is a painful, stabbing hurt and I refuse to get snared in that mousetrap again.

And in other lovely news, my new pt admitted by night float is a G8P4 who doesn't even want the baby who took up residence in her uterus 5wks6days ago.  And who may be skin-popping.  And who has hydromorphone-dependence issues.  I know I should be counting my blessings, but sometimes I struggle.

At least I was able to wish my friend C congratulations on the birth of her (second!) baby boy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Through the Looking Glass: What it's Like to be Infertile

If you want to understand what it's like to be infertile, try this simple exercise tomorrow:

1. Count the strollers, toddlers, pregnant women, and babies.  A newborn or a nursing mother counts double.   Extra-adorable babies also count double.  (And all babies are extra-adorable.)

2. Count how often raising children comes up in conversation, especially raising small children.  Yes, even the little things like "I have to pick my daughter up from day care again!"  Notice particularly what turn the conversation takes when a pregnant woman is around.

3.  Count the TV commercials related to babies/parenthood.  Aren't there a lot of them?

4. Pretend you must answer the question of "Do you have any kids?" when you would cut off your right arm in order to answer yes.  But you have just miscarried.  Again.

Do this while imagining your family telling you this painful struggle is "no big deal," your pain is complete overreacting, and more friends are getting pregnant each week.

Why am I so sad? Is this too sad?

Why am I so sad lately?  I cry after a disagreement with Husband, on my way home from the hospital, at morning report yesterday -- and I wasn't even the one presenting or being questioned!  And morning report is usually the highlight of my day!  I cried at Thanksgiving.  I even cried on the way to meet a friend for shoe shopping.  This week alone I have cried at least four separate times.  But what really bothers me is that I can't focus.  I go to work but my heart is elsewhere.

Mama says I should "get over it" by now and that if not I need an antidepressant.  My grandmother says it's "just" a miscarriage and that it is nothing because she lost a toddler which is much worse.  They both make me feel so alone.  I just want someone to listen and understand.  At least I got a little bit of that today -- thank you from the bottom of my heart if by some strange chance you are reading this.

It's been 3 months 19 days.  Oddly, the blanket of sadness is heavier now than it was right after losing the babies.  Its weight suffocates and paralyzes.  I can't focus at work.  I don't call my friends and I don't feel like hanging out with people, although I have dragged myself out a few times.

Is this clinical?  I don't know.  I get dressed every day, go to work, even apply makeup.  I can joke and laugh with my fellow house-staff and with the medical students.  All of which argues against a diagnosis of MDD.  Except then the sadness returns and I want to cry into my childhood security blanket.

My mentor told me I had the strength to get through this but maybe she overestimated me.  I am a self-centered, narcissistic emotional wimp who can't appreciate the countless blessings she has right in front of her.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Not to Say to someone who can't have children

This is what I wish my family wouldn't say to me:

1. "You haven't been trying for that long."  So that makes it better?  And is that what you told the medical student who miscarried?  Probably not.  Oh, but it was different because she was carrying the baby, right?  I was less of a mother to be.

2. "I wish you would adopt."  We have our reasons for choosing to pursue surrogacy first.
 - Judaism is matrilineal and I don't want my children to have trouble proving their religion when they want to get married.  (Assuming we have children.  Which is, of course, unlikely if not impossible.)
 - Husband has this (foolish and mistaken, but I'm stuck) idea that it's important to pass on his genetics and he "doesn't feel ready" to adopt.  I can't do this alone, so I have to try surrogacy for now
 - It's our decision, so please stop nudging us.
 - If you get to have biological children, can't we at least try?
 - it takes less time, is easier to arrange, and you can actually get a newborn.  It's virtually impossible to get a newborn through adoption these days.

3. It's just a miscarriage.
 - No, it is NOT just a miscarriage -- and a double-miscarriage at that!  There is no such thing as "just" a miscarriage.  Miscarriage hurts deep inside and never stops hurting.  Ever.
 - Unlike most women who miscarry, I can't just try to get pregnant again.
 - I am looking at the very real possibility of NEVER having children.  Most of these other women aren't.

4. "Of course everyone you know is getting pregnant.  It's the age."  If it's the age, why don't I deserve to have a baby too?  Just because I can't have a baby, does that mean I should have to be perpetually on the outside peering in through the window into a family life I don't get to have?

5. "You have to tell yourself, 'I'm next.'"  That would be nice, but I know I won't be next.  There is too much time and too much fertility out there for me to be next.  And so far my track record, even with a successful implantation, is 0/2.

6. "Be glad you didn't have to deal with the physical miscarriage."  That's right, I am just thrilled that I'm not allowed to carry a baby and that we have to go through the complexities of surrogacy.  When I was a little girl I used to say, "I wish I could struggle for years trying to make a baby!"  And do you really think the pain is less?  Because that's what you imply.  Baby B and Baby A may not have grown inside me but I loved those little ones and I was NO LESS of a mother-to-be just because I wasn't physically pregnant...or was I?  Because that's what your subtext is.  And I was an English major.  I know subtext.

7. "Be happy for your friends who are getting pregnant."  I wish I could, but it's a struggle.  I am envious and guilty about my envy and it doesn't help when you tell me to be happy for my friends.

Here is what I wish you would say:

1. It must be frustrating dealing with this,  especially since you want it that badly.
2. We will support however you decide to (try -- probably unsuccessfully) to build your family because whatever you choose was what's right for you.  And if/when you decide it has been too painful to continue unsuccessfully, we will support that decision too.
3.Miscarriage is hell, especially since there is no tangible loss, and especially since you worked hard for those babies.
4. It must be hard watching all your friends do so easily what you struggle to achieve, and to realize that your relationships will change so drastically when the babies come.
5. It stinks counting the fertile friends and knowing that even if by some strange miracle things go okay, there will certainly be more pain before there is happiness.  And since your success is unlikely, we understand that you think bitter thoughts each time someone says she's pregnant.
6. I know how much you wanted those babies and I know how much you loved those babies.  You are entitled to grieve.  You were just as much a mother-to-be as every other women who loses a pregnancy.
7. Of course you cry and mope and can't get out of bed when your friends keep telling you they are pregnant.  It is a natural reaction.  We are here to hug you.

If you are reading this and you know someone struggling with infertility, please take this into account.  Your barren buddies will thank you.