Green eyed monster

I’ve had a lot of fellow infertiles who have, after a long struggle, had their babies in the last year. When fellow infertiles have their babies it is such a mix of emotion and I find my reaction to each one is also a mix. I can be over the moon, so incredibly happy for them and others I can feel insanely jealous and pissed off. I also wane between the two…..jealous and extreme happiness. It is a very awkward place to be and those of you who have come full circle on this journey probably feel the same as well. To me there are potentially six stages:

1) Starter/Newbie – Just entering the wide world of infertility. Overwhelmed and trying to come to grips with the new reality. Reaching out to anyone who will listen.

2) Infertile/Veteran – Been around the block a few times. Many BFNs leaving you frustrated, hardened, anxious and at times dark and lost. Looking for those with hard technical facts.

3) BFP – A miracle! Overjoyed, excited, cautious but euphoria over reaching this milestone. Extreme relief that IVF has worked, thankful, gracious and shouting from the rooftops!

4) Preggers for real – Past the first trimester and the reality of actually being pregnant is starting to sink in. Anxiety between scans and relief or fear after each scan.

5) Birth – An unbelievable day when you finally meet your baby. Emotional, relief and happiness that you have reached your goal. Ready for the next steps.

6) Mother – Past the initial adjustments to being a parent and now falling into a routine. Babies now interact with Mom and Mom can’t imagine her life before baby.

What I have learned is that infertility is a journey and you can not always relate to other infertiles (or former infertiles). The stages of infertility have different emotions and challenges based on the situation you are in. I always feel so guilty when I feel jealousy towards another infertile. It is not a nice feeling. Mostly because these are people you have been at the same stage with at a previous point and have found solace and support from each other, while now the relationship has changed. I am sure this goes both ways, those who are pregnant or have given birth probably feel guilt over their happiness while others are still waiting for their BFP. It is a difficult situation as your support structure in an infertility group is constantly changing and we are all trying to be sensitive to each other.

I get so much joy out of following others journeys. To me it gives me hope, that one day I will get there too. But some days it is harder to be happy for others success…. jealousy rears its ugly head. I guess I am just human.

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Good friends can be hard to find

I have my best friend visiting me at the moment. She lives quite far from me so I rarely get to spend time with her. Most of our contact is by telephone and email, so it is so nice to have all this great time with her. She is one of the few people who know our IVF adventure, so it is great to speak so freely! She has been so supportive and in the best way….the way that BFF’s are supposed to be. Especially because she has chosen not to have children and has been so amazing about my choice to take drastic measures for children. Now that is a true friend….supportive of you regardless of their own choices and beliefs, because it is about you and not them. Amazing how few of these people there truly are in the world.

Yesterday we were chatting about who we have kept in contact with over the years. She has recently separated from her husband and has really had an opportunity to see who her real friends are. I have had a similar experience over the years when you are facing a challenge you really find out who your true friends are. We are both ‘older’, so have many different friends from different times in our lives. She was surprised at how few real friends she now feels she has after going through this separation. Although we quickly realized that she has stayed in the same city since birth and I am now living in my seventh city. So I have lost touch with a lot of people because I have moved so much, but the ones I have kept in touch with are dear. Okay….and I am also not on Facebook. While she has kept many friends over the years because they have all stayed in the same city so bump into each other quite regularly.

The point is…friends are many and fleeting, but good friends are few and dear. Hold the good ones tight ladies, this journey is a bitch and good friends will hold you up in the tough times.

Refocus

The last couple of weeks has been a bit of a downer. Mostly because I have been overwhelmed as I have way too much on my plate at the moment. The feeling of being overwhelmed really plays a number on your outlook on life. This last week I have been thinking a lot about my miscarriage in May. I have been so sad thinking that I would be around 34 weeks now and preparing for my Christmas baby. I just can’t help thinking about what could have been and feeling it is so unfair. I have tried to work on accepting the fact that life is not always fair. That is the reality. I have tried to focus on all the amazing wonderful things in my life. I have decided that these last few cycles have really done a number on my headspace….more than I care to admit. So what now? Well, I have a POA for the new year. We will do another cycle around Jan/Feb. So I need to prepare. I need to do all I can to give this cycle the best chance. That means mind and body must get ready. We will most likely do long protocol again as that is where we have had the most success.

As you know I believe in the power of meditation, it has really helped me through dark times. So my new word I will focus on will be ‘hope’. Hope is all I have really….and it can be very powerful. I need hope. I will find hope. I find hope in all of you. Hope will lead me to my happy ending.

Scourge of IF

Yesterday I really noticed one of my pregnant colleagues. She is around 7 months preggers, she is really showing now. I act all excited for her, but all I can think about is that I miscarried in May the same time she announced her pregnancy. I would have been almost 6 months by now.

So give me a moment, because I am feeling pretty down.

I hate that I am part of this club. I feel like I am a sad reminder of all the things that can go wrong. I know when I miscarried I resented all the pregnant ladies who sent me well-wishes – I know they really meant well, but it is hard when you are feeling so much sadness to be greeted by a ‘thinking of you’ from someone with a bean in their belly. I am sure the same applies to me. No one wants to hear from someone who is a walking miscarriage when they are waiting for their next beta, or to see the heartbeat.

I am a reminder that everything can and will go wrong. It’s like walking around with a giant flashing sign that tells people, ‘stay away from this gal…she will bring you down…she will make you think of miscarriage and nasty things that could happen to you.’

Where does someone like me fit? I feel like the scourge of IF. Everyone feels sad for me while thinking ‘I’m glad that is not me’.

Thanks

Thank you to all of you who have reached out to me in one way or another.  Whenever I have experienced these totally devastating moments, it is not the passing ‘sorry’ or ‘thinking of you’ coming from well-intentioned people that carries much meaning to me.  It is the ones from women who truly understand the burden of multiple IVFs, multiple loss and miscarriage.

To those ladies who have done cycle after cycle and had so many disappointments.  To those who keep getting up after being knocked down so many times.  Those who understand the neverending anxiety about all the things that can go wrong…and are proof that things go wrong.  Those who find it hard to celebrate any success as devastation is most likely lurking around the corner.  Those who have sacrificed vacations, new cars, paying off debt…all the things we work so hard for…to save for one more IVF cycle, always trying to find that next R25,000-R30,000.  Those whose DH cries along with them now…as there are no words left, they have all been said.  After many, many years, to still keep determined and hopeful of what your end goal is…..it is you who give me hope.  I think of you when I don’t want to get out of bed.  I think of you when the thought of having another cycle makes me despondent.  I think of you when I feel like a failure once more.

We are a very special group.  I wish we didn’t have to have a special group, I wish the term ‘IVF Veteran’ had no need, but I am so happy to know that I am not alone in my (what feels like at the moment) endless suffering. That there are others who understand my journey and can relate to everything I mentioned above.  It is you that keeps me going, makes me see that there are so many ways to have a family.  My time will come, my babies will find me, whatever way they were meant to.

Thank you.