Little Acorn

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

walking an infertility path of no regret

There's something to be said about infertility and how it transforms you. I still think about that every now and then, especially now that people are starting to ask about a second baby. Reflection helps me to look back and see how far we've come. Our journey through infertility forever changed me, but it a good way. In a triumphant way. I don't regret for one moment my cobble-lined path, just the lack of courage to share my journey with others. It might have done someone else good, you know? Given hope. Or a giggle. Or Empathy. Or comfort. So I'm posting some excerpts from my darkest and brightest times during our bumpy journey down this cobbled road. Perhaps someone else can relate and feel solace...

-- CAUTION: SERIOUSLY LONG-WINDED POST --
Post from October 15, 2010 (in the middle of IVF #1):
No embryos made it to the freezing stage. They said two embryos made it to the blastocyst stage, but that they were abnormal. I can't help but think what kind of embryos are inside me now? The embryologist said they were great embryos--exactly what they want to see for transfer, just the others were behind in development or were abnormal. She also said there's about a 50% freeze rate, so it happens more than you think. Again, I keep reminding myself that it's all out of my hands. What is meant to be will be. But with this track record, it's not looking good...
 
Post from October 25, 2010 (loss after IVF #1 failure):
My husband happened to call me out of the blue late that morning and told me he just knew he had to call me. I told him about the spotting and that I hadn't wanted to bother him at work if it was just something expected. We talked a little while about our plan the following day and my bird survey. And then, out of the blue, Aunt Flo arrived...in the damned parking lot. Oh, Aunt Flo, that precious bitch that I used to adore through relieved tears and have now come to loathe through heated sobs. Yet I was never alone. He was on the phone with me, walking me through my numbness, asking me if he could come get me. He was there with me. Not only my husband, but God. And for that I am grateful and know in my heart that God does have a plan for us, however vicious it may appear at the time...it's just never the plan you expected. Even finding out this way was probably easier...to slowly come to terms with the inevitable instead of the shock of doomed words from a stranger amidst hopeful anticipation. Again, I believe God was there, letting me down easy.

It's funny to love something so fleeting. It's not like I felt her kick. It's not like I kissed his precious head. Or taught her a word. Or laughed with him through his own tears. I did none of that and yet I still loved them. And still do. Very much. I still mourned for their deaths, no matter how meant-to-be or not it was. Because to me there was life inside me once. Even if for the briefest of moments. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Post from November 4, 2010 (mourning after IVF #1 failure)
During the last few moments before her [a stray cat I had found] rightful reunion with her owners, she and I were wrapped together in a cocoon of love. I could not face the owner and asked my husband do it instead. When he came into the bedroom to take her away, my soul left with her. The cocoon was ripped and the pain from the previous weekend had horribly returned, replacing what was left of me. When I think about it, that pain probably never left. It was just held at bay by a little soul named Cleo and I'll have to find another way to heal on my own. They say a cat can steal a person's breath and perhaps even the soul. I had always chided the myth, but can't help but acknowledge that very truth within me. She was a projection of what was lost before, fleeting and beautiful, ever locked now in my soulless heart.

Post from September 20, 2011 (uncertain hope in the middle of IVF #2)
We're not having the retrieval until Friday. It's so funny. I thought for sure it would be Thursday, that I'd be that much more awesome this time round and be ahead of my 2010 self. But no, same amount of time exactly. Yet there is one little twist. There are more follicles that are bigger this time. My lining is thicker this time. I really am theoretically beating 2010 Kensley in my book. I don't know if this is better or worse as I can't stop myself from falling down the rabbit hole on this one. "Oooh! My lining is good! Oooh! My eggs are bigger!" You know what that means? It's just a big whopping, steaming pile of horse shit is what that means! CRAB APPLES! IT MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! And yet I am, once again, putting all my eggs in one basket. Getting that false sense of hope, only to have it crash down on me on October 6th...D-day.

I just hope to God that my 2012 self will not be looking down her nose at 2011 Kensley. I hope that I will look at this cycle in review and say that I did absolutely everything I could and mean it. That I didn't get nervous, that I had a tiny bit of chocolate and didn't freak out (because honestly the freak out is 10 times worse than the caffeine from any chocolate), that I handled myself with poise and reserve. And dignity. And that I didn't let myself die a small death on D-day...


Post from October 7, 2011 (loss & hope after IVF #2 failed):
It's surprising how a snow-baby [frozen embryo] and a goal can make you forget about the pain and sadness felt when we were told that our two little embryos were lost just two days ago. We're going to have the frozen embryo transfer this month in October-November. And so I actually have very little sadness about our failed IVF. Perhaps because I had a feeling that they just weren't strong enough, just like the last two, even though I was very hopeful this time and still have no pain (and still no Aunt Flo). Maybe since they were so similar, if not worse than the last two, I knew in the recesses in my mind that it could very well end up with the same result. I knew we'd need a miracle embryo, someone who is strong and surprising. And when we were told my the embryologist that we had a winner, that a snow-baby would be kept waiting, I was floored that there was a comeback kid in the bunch.

Post from November 8, 2011 (waiting for FET#1):
If this doesn't work I hope I could manage to pick myself up again in time. I always do eventually. I come back, a little more dead inside, but mostly living. An old tree carrying with it its struck limbs and scorched leaves, while the other trees vibrantly shade their growing little acorns. I think about that Bastrop fire and how it must be to have lived in those woods during the blaze. The confusion and fear the smoke brings, the disorientation of the wildlife, the decimation of the beautiful dry pines, grown close together, hugging like old friends and family always do. The remnant stands farther apart now, with only skeleton limbs reaching for an unattainable embrace. Burnt forest life left in last moments, their beautiful pelts now in scorched remembrance, ready to give back to the earth their bodies in scared, sacred sacrifice. Their turn taken till time needs the next.

Post from January 30, 2012 (healing while still waiting for FET #1):
I wonder if it was reading Eat Pray Love or just healing, but I'm starting to not blame my body for not understanding what was happening, for being confused when it was finally off the heavy hormonal drugs. I am starting to come to terms with my body the way it is. That it isn't capable of such extremes, that it's barely getting by. It's just how God designed me, how my parent's genes came together, how I turned out. A scarred colon hovering over ovaries that just don't have it in them to regulate properly, to make quality eggs or instruct a thick lining. And I'm okay with that. That's me. I'm that person. I'm the one who's ovaries are old and tired and worn out and wrinkly and saggy and sun-spotted and gray. 

So I want to try something out. I want to tell you a secret, body. I want to tell you that I love you, no matter what. I want to be good to you, feed you healthy things, help you lose your thigh weight, help you to grow and explore in your creativity, help you to be good inside, to be good on the outside, and be loved. I love you for what you do for me, for what you're capable of, for the burdens you bear, for the path you've walked. I even love you for the things you can't give me, those that teach me strength, perseverance, and patience. You are the only body I have. And so I want to thank you for fighting the good fight. You did a good job! And I hope some day we will achieve our goals. But for now, I want you to take it step by step, live in the moment, then live in the second, then live in the day. Live in the now. Just live. Do this and I will get you there. I will help you learn happiness again, relearn how to be healthy, how to be rested, and at peace. Do this and I promise you, body, great things will happen.

Post from March 12, 2012 (reflection before FET #3):
I got to thinking. I realized that a dear friend had just given birth and I tripped back in that rabbit hole. I started remembering how many people were nowhere near ready in their lives to have a child when we  started down this path in 2008. I started remembering how many people were nowhere near ready to have a child when we started on this venture. And now they've fallen in love, gotten married, since gotten pregnant, and even given birth, sometimes twice! All in the time it has taken us move in perfect stillness, run in place, stand rigid on our tiny plateaued island of sadness and grief. We are surrounded by a sea of fertile couples on this island. We are isolated with no movement forward, no progression, no growth, no real connection. Just standing there, frozen and high above the rest, looking out over the sea of families, an ocean teeming with life and growth, surrounded by something we can't drink or touch or even reach for, their happiness lapping at our shores and eroding our hearts.  

Post from April 1, 2012 (disbelief at a positive):
As I look back on this journey that has been so hard, I do see purpose in our pain. I see my own enlightenment growing from the dark soil of our misery. I see that I am a different person than when I began, a wiser, calmer person, one who has looked adversity in the eye every time, who has congratulated all of her friends and watched them live the life of her dreams. Our road has been lined with cobbles and boulders so big we could not see ahead. Downed trees and cracks made us dodge and climb over and sometimes trip into deep despair. Our road has been lined with beautiful, green fertile trees that we cannot touch. It has wound us around pastures of endless blossoms we cannot smell. But we're still here. We're still standing. And the road has finally opened up on smooth and seamless ground. The beautiful blooming trees are now reachable. And we can finally breath in the sweet, intoxicating scent of the wildflowers. We still have a long journey ahead of us, but I know it will be that much more bearable knowing what we've overcome and where our destination lies.

 Post from April 20, 2012 (uncertainty at 6 weeks pregnant):
We do, however, have to take stock that it's completely out of our hands at this point. If God wants this embryo to live, he will make it so. If He needs my baby earlier, he or she will go. There is a plan for us all, even for this little being inside me. Knowing God is on my side, knowing that it really does happen on His terms for a reason, that I have learned so much about myself and loss and healing, I'm okay with it all. I know I can survive anything now.

But that's another day. Today, I want to tell you that I love you so much little baby. I can't wait till next week to see you again dancing your sweet heartbeat dance on screen, to see your life performance. To see you bigger and better, looking more and more like the amazing human you are! I can't wait to float on your success again, to feel lightweight and fearless as I do right now. Because for this week, this day, this moment, I feel the heat of your life deep within me and I float skyward and raptor-like on your thermals.
 
Post from July 30, 2012 (gratitude at 21 weeks pregnant):
I touch my belly in shock every single day that this is finally happening, that she is in there, all warm and cozy, growing and living. And I thank the Lord for her. I think every day of this feeling of sheer happiness and give it freely to my former self, give my past this beautiful gift of understanding and appreciation. It is wrapped around the feelings I felt not so long ago, those of longing and despair, hugging them tight until they are one. This gift sends a bundled message of love, a message that it does work, that miracles sometimes do happen, that good sometimes does prevail over evil, joy conquers sadness, beaming smiles beat biting tears.  I send this gift every day to my Before to give me hope. I send it to my During to keep me grounded. I send it to my After to preserve my faith. I give this gift in remembrance, in awe, in gratitude and love. And my past heals. And my present understands. And my future believes.

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Why did I post these old memories? Because I accept what happened. I am grateful for it. I am now proud of it. And feel as though infertility is not as accepted as much as it should be. It makes people uncomfortable. People don't know what to say. But we all have our own cobbled roads to travel. Cancer here.  Affair there. No children. Too many children. The death of a loved one. Behavioral problems. Injury. Depression. Loss of job. Falling out of love. Falling into debt. Physical barriers. Emotional walls. Spiritual afflictions. It's all the same. That's the beauty of life. No one escapes loss. We journey through it together, just separately, in our own homes.

So I remind myself and anyone else (if you're still reading!) to believe, to focus on what's truly important, that life is undeniably beautiful. It does not come without loss, but it is nevertheless wondrous, swift and fleeting. A swallow swelling for the beams. Catching insects. Several broods a year. Nestlings peeking over, ready to fledge. Flutter and dive to eat their own morsels. Then gone. Back to feel warmth in a changed skyline. Next year a new hope. A new nest. Swallows swiftly return to their glorious duty: to live. And a tiny beak pecks through a shell. And an insect is snatched mid-air.

1 comment:

  1. October 7, 2011 - "I knew we'd need a miracle embryo, someone who is strong and surprising."

    Your miracle baby arrived! And she was strong and surprising and worth the wait (of course you know that)! And, maybe?, in time, you will have more. And they will also be worth the wait. And maybe you won't? And Nina will be all the strong and surprising you needed to begin with. :-)

    Love that you shared this! Love you guys!

    ReplyDelete