The Comeback Kid

After my last tirade diatribe blog post, I was so infuriated that I couldn’t think straight. I felt so churlish, and I hated both the issues that had prompted the post in the first place – and that I’d lost my temper that much. You’d think that, on the downslope to 40, I’d have harnessed my feelings into a calm and composed demeanor by now.

You’d be mistaken.

Then again, I could argue that the last few years haven’t exactly been a stroll in the park – and that, as an adult, I really don’t have any inclination to pretend that I have sunshine coming out of my you-know-what* all day. I’ve lost the majority of my family to death or estrangement, so that IF is just one more thing on my “let’s see how she responds to adverse conditions”  life stress test. And then, a few months ago, not one but two people I thought I was close to and could count on basically did such unforgivably horrible, evil, conniving, mean and backstabbing things that I had to end those relationships too.

So if I appear caustic at times, let’s just say that I’ve been making A LOT of mouth-puckering lemonade lately.

For the last couple of months, I kept thinking about whether I should just tuck my proverbial tail between my legs and slink back to virtual obscurity after deleting my blog. At times, as I lay awake in bed and listened to three parties snoring in concert (one human, two canine), I composed my comeback post. But somehow I just couldn’t seem to snap out of it – and as the holidays drew closer I realized that I was not only no closer to motherhood, I was now a year older than when we first went to see the RE we both hated. Or, in the most disparaging terms, a year closer to my body completely closing up shop in terms of any viability for reproduction (impaired as it has been).

Most of December was a bit of a mind fog. I tried hard not to think about the people who are no longer in our lives. I tried even harder to ignore comments from people about how they hadn’t expected or planned their very evident pregnancy (and tried, even harder, to resist the temptation to say how glad I’d be to take their unplanned/unexpected miracle home with me). I tried to muster every ounce of happiness I could feel for others as their lives lit up like our Christmas tree: new home in time for the baby; new addition to the family; travels across the country for a family Christmas. All things we would not have, yet again. 

And then more bad news came in. Home repairs came a callin’ – and of course not the kind that could easily be fixed with a DIY job. Strangers came into our home, traipsing through our bedroom with street shoes as I tried to bite my lip hard enough not to have a total hissy fit that would’ve made Teresa Giudice blanch. Our tv kept having problems; and then our internet seemed to be having a premature midlife crisis. More people came to the house. Equipment was repaired, swapped out, repaired again. I stopped counting the amount of “service people” that had dragged an entire quarry worth of invisible ick through my house. (Sidebar: as of this moment, I’ve decided that if someone comes to my house and doesn’t take off their shoes or put on those blue hospital footies, I will buy a guillotine. Or, failing that, a cattle prod. Because if I have to deal with one more person stepping all over my crisp white bath rugs – the same ones I stand on with bare feet – I. am. going. to. lose. it.)

As if that’s not bad enough, DH’s company is downsizing and he has no idea whether or not he’s going to make the cut. He might be ok. He might be ok for a little while. He might have to find a new job. Oh, and our insurance is going up! Peaches and cream, aren’t we just so lucky???

The cherry on top? I spent the entire week of Christmas sick as a dog.

It’s amazing how resilient you become through struggling with IF, though. You learn how to roll with the punches because you’ve already figured out that life isn’t fair. Good things don’t always happen to good people. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. You almost manage not to throw up or dissolve into a puddle of tears after the gazillionth person tells you about their “happy news” (and remind yourself that an ingrate who can’t understand how grateful she should be for her blessing isn’t worth committing a felony – even if you feel like throttling her). You try not to think about how they can marvel at the life that is growing inside them even though they only just learned of it a minute ago and are still holding the plastic test stick. You almost convince yourself that you have so much to be happy for that you have no right to be so upset that something isn’t going your way. You almost forget that you weren’t always this angry, resentful, bitter, desperate, sad, lonely, pathetic shadow of a person.

Almost. 

Until, one day, you think about the day you hope and pray for with every fiber of your being – the day that you hope will happen sooner rather than later. And you realize that, unlike your fertile counterparts who can think of a million and one ways to tell their husbands the happy news, your “happy news” will be a qualified revelation. It will involve days and weeks of tension. It will be preceded by hours of jumping out of your skin every time the phone rings, every time your stomach growls, every time you feel anything at all.

In that moment, you realize that you will never have the quiet happiness; the elation that “normal” women feel. You will never be able to just be excited about getting pregnant – because, for you, it will have involved countless tests, a battery of invasive exams and medical procedures. While other women can think about how they’re going to outfit their baby’s nursery, you’ll be wondering what more you can sell of your personal possessions to buy the necessities for the baby you’ve dreamed of for so long – because all the resources and assets you had have long since disappeared in the ether.

I don’t dream about the day that I will find out I’m pregnant (and I’m still, infuriatingly still, trying desperately to replace “if” with “when” – yet another sign of all the things you do, irrationally, for fear of jinxing yourself). I don’t dream of being pregnant. Because I know all that stuff will be painful, scary and expensive. I know that, from the moment I get pregnant, I’ll be terrified of doing something wrong to jeopardize the pregnancy. I’ll be anxious to fight my increasing anxiety; worried that the wrong move, the wrong drink or food, the wrong activity (or even thought) will make my baby leave me.

So what I’m dreaming of isn’t the process of getting there; it’s putting all that behind me – not of conceiving but of having a baby. Because if I’ve learned anything from my fellow sisters-in-arms, it’s that the coveted BFP is only the first of many hurdles for us IFers. So you won’t see or hear me screaming from the roof tops when it happens; but you might see an agnostic clamor to any semblance of spirituality in a desperate attempt to barter for something, anything, to allow her to carry her baby to term.

And while, given our predicament, the only thing I truly care about is having a healthy child with all limbs and organs intact and fully functional, there’s a part deep inside me that continues to dream of having a girl. Ever since DH and I got married, I always pictured a little girl with his eyes and hair. I don’t know why I didn’t picture a mini-me – maybe because, somehow, I wanted so badly to create another life with my husband that was almost like a gift, a homage, to the man I love. Silly me.

What I dream of isn’t the moment I find out I’m pregnant; or the moment where enough time has passed to believe that the pregnancy is viable enough to consider sharing the news with what little is left of our families. What I dream of is the moment that a nurse places our baby in my arms; the moment I’ll dissolve into tears of happiness instead of sadness and frustration; the moment I’ll feel whole again.

I hope that this day will come for me. And even though I want three children, I’ll be the happiest woman alive even if this blessed event graces our lives only once. Just once – that’s all I ask if it’s meant to be that way. Because without even that one time, I don’t know what I’m doing on this earth…

 

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* My New Year’s Resolutions may or may not have included swearing less. However, it’s early days yet – and the bottom line is that if you’re acting like an a$$hat, I’m probably going to tell you that ya kinda are in my best David Spade/Russel Dunbar impression. Just calling a spade a spade.

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20 thoughts on “The Comeback Kid

    • I do think about that all the time. It’s weird – I really don’t think about pregnancy etc at all. Maybe it’s because I’m so worried it won’t happen, or that a BFP will end up in tears for me. I wish so much that we could all not just get the BFP but actually rejoice in it when it comes, rather than being worried and anxious about all the heartbreaking stories we’ve read from our fellow IFers. But I’m working on trying to get past all the anxiety and focus on the happy part 🙂

  1. Welcome back, I’ve missed you. I so identify with everything about your post: the bad things happen to good people, the ability to relate to IRL people less and less, being terrified of causing a loss, dreaming of the moment our child is born, all of it. I wish so much that things turn around this year, I’ll be watching and thinking of you xx

    • Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for your comment – it really means a lot to me. For the past year, the reality of our situation has continued to make us feel alienated – and for me, this has been even harder. I’m having such a hard time connecting with people at all, mostly because I dread the inevitable question about children – and worried that I’ll either get defensive or burst into tears. I’ve become so isolated and lonely – a situation I never thought possible before we started trying to conceive. A lot of times I wonder whether all the things I write on my blog are just “brain drain” – whether it’s even relateable, relevant, or the least bit interesting to anyone. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone in this, no matter how much it often feels like I am…

      • You are sooo not alone. I completely get it. I’ve totally ostracised myself over the last 18 months or so because I just can’t relate to people at all unless they’ve lived through IF or loss. I’ve broken up with all but two friends! Everything you write is super relatable, relevant and interesting to us so please keep it coming xx

      • Thank you, that actually makes me feel better even though it also makes me sad for all those of us who are in this position. For me, it’s gotten so bad that I don’t even know where to start to change that aspect of my life – I mean, how do you tap into the “mommy and me” circle when you’re struggling with IF, not really comfortable putting it all out there, and are heartbroken every time someone gets pregnant, immediately look at a woman’s belly before anything else and try not to burst into tears when you see a baby…

  2. “It’s amazing how resilient you become through struggling with IF, though. You learn how to roll with the punches because you’ve already figured out that life isn’t fair. Good things don’t always happen to good people. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people…. ” This so true and really struck me- the whole paragraph. I love that I can truly relate to your posts and I appreciate your perspective. So glad you’re back! 🙂

  3. Please for the love of god dont change a thing! Just keep sharing and if you have to freaking curse to get it across please do so. I for one am a fan. I’d rather have it up front and honest than all fluffy and crap filled.

    • THANK YOU. Seriously, that really, truly means a lot – I sometimes worry that I might come across as exceedingly abrasive, but – like you – I’m just not one of those people who pretends everything is all sunshine and smiles all day, every day.

    • I always have kind of mixed emotions around New Years. I have moments of elation and moments of downright morose sadness.

  4. Your so right, bad things happen to good people, and sometimes over and over. What you’ve been through its too much for one person to handle, you have every right to be angry and hostile. I completely identify with the rest of the post too, that moment it’s all I dream about too. If there was any justice in the world you’d see that day very soon.

    • Thank you for your compassion, it really means a lot. Sometimes I have moments of “lucidity”, where I can appreciate all the blessings I DO have and think about others who are so much worse off than I am – but the flip side are dark days where I sometimes have a hard time just getting out of bed…

  5. I wrote this long heartfelt response to your post and then the computer crapped out and it disappeared. Firstly, please don’t stop swearing – I have convinced myself that swearing prevents me from physically hurting people as the resentment and bitterness build up. And secondly – thank you for this post, so much of it resonates with me and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    • I kind of had to laugh when I read your comment because it reminded me of this episode of American Dad where Roger tries to be super nice so that the family won’t “disown” him – and it turns out that being nice is practically a death sentence for his “species”. LOL I thought about this because I really, really HATE swearing, I HATE being angry and bitter, I HATE feeling resentful – but sometimes I feel like dealing with IF is like having a modern-day (and less lethal) version of leprosy, and to boot you’re penalized for something out of your control by having to mortgage yourself up to your eyeballs just for the “privilege” of getting what gets dropped in the laps of so, so, SO many unworthy, ungrateful people. SIGH

      • I hate being bitter, resentful and angry too – sometimes I can help it – sometimes it overwhelms me. I was never allowed to swear in front of my mother – even when I was in my 30’s. (but I kind of love swearing 😉 ) I try to talk about infertility a little bit with people – but I end up feeling like an outsider to this childbearing club where so many people that I know are members and they do kind of treat me like I have a disease that isn’t spoke of by polite company. Wishing you much hope and all my best! *Hugs*

      • Hah, I can totally relate – especially to the whole “outsider” part. And I do – much to my dismay – have to admit that a few choice F’s here and there do have a slightly placating effect on me at times. Sometimes it’s just like you said, it’s either that or just lose it completely. I think that the majority of IFers start out trying to be open in hopes of compassion and support – only to find lack of empathy, disinterest, stoicism and platitudes. Eventually, most of us end up clamming up – which only leads to more isolation. 😦

  6. Alex! It is so good to read your words again. I was honestly worried about you and missed your perspective. I created an account just to comment. Lol so glad you’re back and ok (as ok as those of us with IF/DOR can be). Holidays can really suck. Xo.

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