Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mourning the Loss of Our Precious Dog

His name was Profit. Though we had a million names for him. One of my favorites is Precious P.

He was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He lived 14 years and 4 months. He had a really, really good and active life - was totally a fetching and swimming dog. Old age just got the better of him.

It was so hard when he leg finally gave out on him last Friday night and we knew we'd have to take him into the vet to put him down.

Saturday morning was bittersweet. We got to spend some great quality time with him, petting him lots and giving him tons of love. I'd never been through something like this before so being with him as he passed was such a privilege but also just so, so hard.

And yet, the grief I felt was just too familiar. Grieving 3 miscarriages in a year on top of infertility for 3 years... and then to lose our dog. It feels like too much.

He really was our baby - we always called him that.

And it just feels so empty and quiet now without him.

We love you Preciousness!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reflecting on Turning 36 & Children's Educations

Happy birthay to me! :)

When does middle age start? I kinda feel like now-ish. 35 seems to feel like an end to something. And I keep asking myself - how is it that I'm 36?

I guess I'll be of the mindset that age is only a number. It's how you feel. And what you do with your life that can make you feel any age.

And yet I'm reminded by someone's recent post who watched her neighbor grow up into a young woman who is now married and pregnant - and this someone posting said she was old enough to be this person's mother. And I thought I'm old enough to be an 18 year old's mother! Yikes.

Yikes for me, but not for a lot. Some of us looking into adoption are potentially looking at babies of mothers around that age.

I was with my brother and sister-in-law this weekend, away from my parents, so I got to see another side of them, perhaps the truer side of them. Her 7 year old is in a read-a-thon at school which involves him reading at least 15 minutes a day. I was very interested in this as I love books and for almost every occasion I get my nephews books, knowing full well that I may be one of the main people exposing them to books in their lives (my dad may be the other).

She explained the program to me and said sometimes I just let him think that it's been 15 minutes because I can't take spending that much time reading with him.

Yes, that's right - she can't spend 15 minutes reading with him. How is that possible??? I said bring him over anytime, I'll spend 2 hours reading with him!

It made me so upset that I talked about it for the rest of the weekend, with my husband, with my friends. It was so incredulous to me. Maybe I'm not being fair. Maybe I don't know what it's really like to read books over and over and over again...

And then she talked about how her mother used to get on her about how much she drank and whether she was able to take care of her kid (at the time). And she boasted that she feels she can drink and take care of her children. Like that was a big feat.

Yet, I'm reminded that my brother's wife had her first child at 19 and then the next one by accident as well 4 years later. These were both unplanned children. And that's not to say that they aren't good parents or can't put in the effort now.

But I couldn't help but feel like these kids are somehow potentially doomed. Or will most likely have a pre-determined route based on what they're exposed to, or rather not exposed to. And I mentioned to B that maybe we shouldn't put as much in their 529 colleage savings plans... I can't help but feel like how can they say school's important but then get annoyed at reading with their kids? Or maybe education isn't the only thing that predicts making it...

My husband just said that this is all the more reason we need to keep up their 529s, to give them incentive and encourage their educations.

I will do whatever I can to expose them to books, reading, education. In fact, I walked into a bookstore that's closing yesterday and bought several books for them... for Christmas already!

And, I plan to spend part of my birthay reading. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Preparing for SIL Baby Shower in May

How do I muster up the... the what? courage? emotional stamina? for my sister-in-law's baby shower in May? This is for B's side of the family...

I've got some time to prepare but I'm sure that if I don't do the work now, that date will soon be upon me and I will be unprepared.

I could always not go, but I'd rather try to prepare and think I can deal with it.

It's going to be a big ordeal and I'm actually surprised that it will be a big ordeal. And I don't know if I can handle a big ordeal.

It's mostly my mother-in-law, though. I think she's the one I have to prepare for the most. She will likely say 20 things that will bother me and I need to figure out if I can let it just roll off or what.

In thinking this through, wespent Saturday with my side of the family and micraculously without any references to pregnancy. In fact, after awhile, I was the one who asked my (other) sister-in-law about her best friend who just had a baby and her sister-in-law who is expecting in April. It actually felt good to be able to talk about it all and feel normal about it.

I really do just want to be normal. But I also know that what we're faced with isn't normal, so trying to create normalcy is challenging.

And in the meantime, I have to contend with our church's focus right now on our toddlers and babies, and it can sometimes get to me. Not as much as it used to but still... The good news is, I spent time with my nephews and my best friend's kid this weekend and loved every second of it!

Seven weeks till this big baby shower. I can do it! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy For Them, But...

I feel like nobody in my real life really understands how I'm feeling right now. And I don't know what I would do without this community and without my monthly support group. Thank you for your supportive comments this past week.

And I feel like I'm being whiny about this and really want that to stop.

But: my brother- and sister-in-law posted their ultrasound pictures to fb yesterday. And while I'm happy for them, this really caused a stir in me. And I don't like that it did.

Why can't I just be plain and simple happy for them? Why does seeing their ultrasound pictures have to create mixed emotions for me?

And now I'm wondering if this really does mean that I want to start trying again. So much in me is saying no way. I'm not ready and don't know if I ever will be again.

This time last year, I was still grieving our first miscarriage (I keep calling them miscarriages but I know they were only biochemical pregnancies since I never make it to week 6, so not sure what it is but it still feels like a loss). It took me a long while to get over that. And it wasn't until April when my best friend told me she was newly pregnant with #2 and after I cried and cried over our sadness still, that same weekend I decided I was ready again.

So, I'm wondering if that's happening now. I don't think so but I don't understand why this is making me so upset when I'm generally happy with our lives and with our decision right now, and I am happy for them...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Needing a Mom

So, my mother-in-law calls me, leaves me a message saying - your birthday is coming up, we're thinking of you... I'm thinking oh, this must be her way of reaching out to me over the awkwardness of them announcing they are going to be grandparents to my brother-in-law's pregnancy.

Our conversation starts out slow - what are you doing this weekend, it's snowing where we are, etc. And then I realize our conversation is potentially going to end and there's the big proverbial elephant... on the phone.

So, I bring it up and say "I know it's been awkward with R & K announcing their news of their pregnancy and I want you to know we are thrilled and excited about it... and at the same time, it can't help but raise sadness with us for what we've gone through."

And she says something like "oh, we understand and appreciate you saying that. We are excited. You know, I've been carrying around the ultrasound pictures with me everywhere I go... and B was sharing with me that you were considering IVF; wouldn't it be great if you and K could be pregnant at the same time?"

Wait - what????

I am NOT considering IVF. We might have been but definitely not anytime soon.

So, no. K and I will not be pregnant at the same time.

In fact, I went on to tell her that I'm really protective of my peaceful state because I'd been depressed for so long having to go through infertility and 3 miscarriages and I just want to focus on the joys that are present in my life right now, rather than continuing to focus on what is not there, and that it doesn't seem worth it to me to risk more depression to get there.

And she continues by telling me that yes, it is worth it. That having a baby is incredibly worth it and for me not to lose hope.

Blood is boiling at this point in the conversation and I just reiterated that I'm really happy right now and maybe we'll re-evaluate after some time, but I just can't be depressed like that again.

Our phone call was terrible. I'm sure she felt awkward and I was just infuriated.

And I fully recognize that grandparents have their own dreams wrapped up in our family-building plans and that I may have been bursting this (crazy) dream she's had of 2 grandkids at the same time. But this has to be about us, not them. They don't get to make this about them after all we've been through.

The most disappointing thing I've had to realize is that both my mother and my mother-in-law just can't be there for me in the ways I wish moms were able to be. And I've had to learn the hard way by trying, and trying, and re-trying. But it just doesn't work with them. This was my last attempt with her.

And it's just disappointing. More than anything right now, I need a mom. I need a mom to be there for me, to listen to me, to love me and support me. But neither of them can do that for me, so I feel like I just don't have a mom right now. And that's made me sad. And makes this heartache of infertility all the more difficult.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dear Anonymous Poster:

You are awesome. You made my day. I wish I could find you to learn more about you and thank you for your comments to me.

When I posted Sadness Triggered, you wrote me a long comment about your struggles and how you can completely relate. You talked about how, despite all you've seen in your military life, infertility has affected you like nothing else has.

Gosh, my heart went out to you and your wife. You gave me that virtual hug I really needed.

I have no idea how you found me... and how I can find you but I want you to know that your comment made a difference and I thank you.

Mixed Emotions

I'm still trying to process the news of my brother- and sister-in law's pregnancy that we learned about on Sunday and the way in which they told us.

I think I'm partially mad at myself for getting upset. I'm disappointed that I can't handle it better and just be plain happy for them without getting my emotions tied into it.

Mostly I felt sad and alone because the only 2 people I talked to about it (my husband and best friend) basically told me to "look on the positive side" about it... which I already know and just have a hard time with. I felt like I wasn't being fully heard which can feel isolating and can make me feel like I'm wrong to feel the way I feel and therefore I think to myself I must be crazy for not being able to be normal about this.

My sister-in-law and I had a nice email exchange about it on Monday. I appreciated her saying that she knew their announcement would come with mixed emotions for us and they weren't sure, and still aren't sure, of how to best handle talking about it with us and want to respect our space on it. That made me feel a hundred times better. Awwwww.

My mother-in-law I still don't understand. And I think she hurt me enough to where I don't know if we'll ever get to a point of feeling close, and this certainly put more distance between us. I know she means well, and I should give her credit for that, but the outcome is just hardly ever what is helpful.

I'm glad she could talk gush to B about her excitement. And I'm glad he's unphased. But, I'm not and I can't take it. And I think that's ok. I know their pregnancy is not about me. But I also know the pain I've been in because of infertility and I don't think it's too much to ask to not gush infront of me.

And I also don't understand why she can't reach out to ME about this. She calls him to talk about it. She did it after our miscarriages. She does it now. I'M the one affected, so call me!!!

But this is a difficult thing to navigate and I have to remember that I'm 3 years DEEP into this and no one else is. So everyone else's level of understanding is much lower.

I've been watching Parent.hood lately. And I've appreciated how they've brought aut.ism and As.perger's to light. And it's made me wonder all the more about how I may not be/may not have been as sensitive to certain people on things I don't know much about. And I can't help but think of how I need to give that same perspective on how others deal with me on infertility.

There's always something to work on, I guess!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sadness Triggered

I knew it was just a matter of time. I've been feeling peaceful and happy with our lives, knowing that this state is extremely precious and temporary.

Last night, my brother- and sister-in-law announced to us that they are expecting.

I was fine... at first. And not just fine but - happy. I told them that I've been enjoying being an aunt and that I can't wait to be again.

But they had us on speaker phone with B's parents too. And after awhile, I knew I was moving into danger zone. I was no longer peaceful. I was sad. And the tears started and then I couldn't control myself. B got us off the phone relatively soon. And I lost it to the point of hyperventilating. It was really, really bad. That pain is just so deep and so dark...

I'm not sure what triggered it. It could have been anything, right? That news alone can be difficult enough for us no matter how peaceful we're feeling.

My mother-in-law at one point said something about how excited she was that they brought ultrasound pictures over with 'nana' and 'poppa' written on them. She also said that she was excited to have gone to our family friend's baby shower Saturday and wondered when she'd be able to get excited about being a grandmother.

Yes - that was it. I thought 'what?????'. Did she really just say that? What does she think we've been trying to do??? And can she not think for a second how hurtful that might be for us.

The only way I could equate it (which is still far off I realize) is: I've just reached my goal weight and am very happy and proud of this... but I would never tell my friend who struggles so hard with her weight. It can be like telling someone you're promoted when they are unemployed. You just don't do it. Or you do it gently.

Yeah, I should be a bigger person and be able to be truly happy for them without bringing my own issues into this. But, isn't that nearly impossible for us? And isn't it not too much to ask for a little compassion?

There was no acknowledgement of 'we know this news might be difficult for you to take...'. And for all they know, I'm still depressed like I was at Thanksgiving.

The grace in all of this: Our brother and sister in law each wrote us last night and mentioned that it probably wasn't the best idea to call with his parents... and that they wished his mother hadn't said insensitive things.

Ok, good. At least I wasn't going completely crazy in thinking these things. And at least they really do care and thought out how to best tell us the news, and then realized that they probably should have done it differently.

And I hope that I can be truly happy for them as this news processes through me. I want to be the happy aunt. I really do.