Late to the Party…

Last week was infertility awareness week. Mel at Stirrup Queens hosted Project IF. I’ll admit that I have not taken the time to look through these posts, but Julie at A Little Pregnant shared this video from Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed. It’s pretty powerful.

What IF? A Portrait of Infertility from Keiko Zoll on Vimeo.

It’s no secret that we went through primary infertility and multiple losses before I got pregnant with Phoebe. Thanks to the blogging community I received a ton of support during that time. It’s important to know that 1 in 8 couples experience infertility. That means that you likely know other people who’ve also had trouble conceiving. Keiko’s video touches on many of the things that I felt and thought when I was in those trenches. Thanks to my two beautiful children, I no longer feel like infertility defines me, but I never want to forget what we went through to build our family. I hope that I can support those who are still in the trenches with the wisdom of knowing how it feels to be there.

A big cup of guilt

From Phoebe December 2007

Parenting is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. If I get frustrated at work, I can walk away to clear my head a bit. If I get frustrated at Phoebe, I can’t walk away. As frustrated as I may get at times, I have to be sure that she’s fully cared for – that she is getting everything she needs. So where does the guilt come in? I start to think how dare I get so frustrated. I wanted this for so long, shouldn’t I be enjoying every minute? Or if it is not that point of view, the other guilty point of view is that soon I will be back at work and will wish that I were at home soothing her, even on her difficult days. Apparently you can’t win for losing.

I know that these thoughts are irrational. And fortunately they do not last for long. I’m sure I’m not the first parent after infertility, or working parent to think these things. And I certainly won’t be the last. As long as I keep in mind that it is irrational, all will be well. 🙂

Right now though, things are pretty good. She wasn’t overly fussy this morning, and at the moment she is napping. That is the major cause of fussiness around here – a refusal to nap leads to fussy baby! Maybe today will lead to more sleep and less cries than yesterday (hope I didn’t just jinx it).

The hugeness of it all

We’ve done a lot of baby related things in the past few weeks. We’ve painted a room, gotten furniture (still minus a crib), picked a daycare, and the other day I picked up paperwork for the pediatrician. For some strange reason as I was leaving the pediatrician’s office, I was overcome with emotion. Why that moment and not the day before when I dropped off money at the future daycare, I don’t know. But the enormity of it all hit me all at once. Why, so suddenly, I really don’t know. Maybe it is because I’m now in week 24, and that is considered the point of viability (with medical intervention of course). Maybe it is because the pediatrician was one of the last loose ends I needed to tie up before she gets here. Yeah, the nursery still needs the furniture moved in and all, but it’s basically done. All that’s left is to finish painting the twin bed that we’re going to put in there.

And while I’m talking about emotions, I thought that I would spend much of my pregnancy worried. I actually have not. I’ve continued to live my life, and until recently I didn’t have to talk about the pregnancy unless I brought it up. Now that it is becoming more obvious that I am pregnant, I do get asked about it unprompted, but that’s ok too. So far I’ve missed the monthly bad dream. Maybe that is due to the viability thing too. At 12 weeks, a few days before my appt., I dreamed I went to the bathroom and was bleeding. At 16 weeks (before another appt.), I dreamed I was spotting. At 20 weeks (after my ultrasound), I dreamed I was going into labor, which is definitely not good. So even if my day-to-day, conscious thoughts have not been devoted to being worried about the pregnancy, my unconscious has apparently been working overtime. But, as I said, so far I have not had the 24 week dream. Consciously though, I’ve been taking this thing one day at a time. So far, that seems to be working out very well. 🙂

Barren Bitches Brigade Book Tour #3: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I participated in the Barren Bitches Brigade Book Tour #3, which was on The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The way the book tour works, is those of us who participate had to send in a question. These questions were then put in groups, and each person got a single group of questions to choose from. We were to choose at least three questions to answer. So without further ado, here are my answers!

The present and future intersect frequently in the book. Often the result of these minglings is that information about the future is hinted at or revealed early but the actual experiences cannot be altered or prevented. If you could have known about the struggles you’d face on your path to parenthood, would you have wanted to know? Would you go back and warn or prepare yourself, even though you’d be powerless to change the outcome? Why or why not?
I think I would have wanted to know. I went through three chemical pregnancies. In my mind, that was equivalent to three losses. That was very difficult. If I could have known that in the end, after all of the waiting and devastating losses, that I would still have a successful pregnancy in the end, maybe all the pain and loss would have been a little less sharp. Maybe.

I love the references to music in this book. They are a convenient way for the author to clearly define the era the narrative is taking place in, but for those of us who can’t time-travel, music and the times in which we listened to it play a powerful role in constructing memory. Which is to say, that it is almost impossible for me to think about our experience of infertility without thinking of “The Waters of March” as performed by Susanne McCorkle. Mel’s written about this in the past. I also think about going with Mel to see Bruce Springsteen concert right when we started TTC and just being so certain that there was a child in-utero at the concert with us. There wasn’t. Or not one that became a viable embryo. For that reason, I hardly ever listen to The Rising, which is the album Bruce was touring behind (The Seeger Sessions however is awesome and on regular rotation). That said, what are the songs you associate with your experience — even if they have nothing to do with IF?
I can’t think of a song to sum up all of my experience, but after my last loss in October I was driving in the car when “Who You’d be Today” by Kenny Chesney came on. The lyrics are:

“Sunny days seem to hurt the most
Wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go
I see your smile, I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
Still can’t believe you’re gone

Chorus:

It ain’t fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
The death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the pain that I’ve been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you’d be today

Would you see the world?
Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family?
I wonder, what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky’s so blue
I feel like I can talk to you
And I know it might sound crazy

Chorus

Today, Today, Today
Today, Today, Today

Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
The only thing that gives me hope
Is I know I’ll see you again someday

Someday, Someday”

What particularly struck me was the chorus, then the second verse. I think it was the first time I’d really noticed the actual words to the song, and when I heard that chorus I nearly lost it. Which was bad since I was driving to work. Sometimes, this song still hits me when I hear it, all because of how I felt that one time I heard it. I know the context of the song isn’t quite the same. But I do hope that someday I will meet my lost babies.

Due to his ability to time travel and jumps into the future, Henry knows that he is going to die. Yet in the beginning, he works hard to try to create a baby with his wife. This situation obviously benefits Henry in that he gets to parent Alba for a bit before he dies. This situation also benefits Clare since she wants to be a mother. Yet Alba grows up without her father yet with his extraordinary abilities—abilities that were a difficult adjustment for Henry growing up. Do you think he acted in the best interests of his child when he helped create her knowing that he would not be around to help her understand her ability to time travel? Do you think it is truly possible to take the feelings of a child in mind prior to creation as well as fulfill your own need to parent? If you had been in Henry’s shoes, would you have created this child knowing she would be able to time travel and you would not be there to help her understand this anomaly?

Ok, I think this is a difficult one. I think Henry had no idea how to predict if his child would definitely have the same disorder as he. He also couldn’t predict how his child would be able to handle the ability. We have no idea how our children may emotionally handle the same things we’ve been through. Of course we want to protect them from the things that we felt were bad, but sometimes we can’t always do that. Infertility may be a good representation of that. Some causes of infertility could be genetic. Yet we still want to have our dream baby, even if that means our baby may some day go through the same pain and heartache we did. Of course, they may not. We just don’t know. Obviously, we hope they do not have to go through these things. But if they do, we hope that we will have instilled in them the strength necessary to fight it, and hopefully their ability to cope with it will far outweigh our own.

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein.