A salute to my sister life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the quote I posted yesterday… about my ‘sister life’…of course the quote says it’s the life I didn’t choose, but truthfully my sister life is the life that didn’t choose me. I imagine my sister life is the one I had always planned on…the one with 4 toe-heads in matching outfits running on the beach in Cape Cod while Dan snaps pictures for the annual Christmas card and I sit back thinking ‘you’ve done good Meghan’…the sister life where Dan and I moved down south and raised our children in an old house (that we had the money to fix-up) with a big yard…complete with a fire pit for s’mores and ghost stories. A sister life where I worked evenings in the ICU, but just enough to keep myself sane and feel accomplished and yet never miss a school play, baseball game or birthday dinner. A sister life where I didn’t know about SMA, follicle counts or the different forms of a miscarriage…

But I will never get that life…and I need to let it go.

For the past two years I have been trying really hard to accept this new life. I have embraced infertility treatments (as much as one can), I have accepted the disappointments and losses as part of our journey and I have worked really hard on finding the positives in all of this. I have happily shared my story. But I always found myself falling back to the same thought on a bad day “this is not the way my life is supposed to be.”

Except…that it is.

My sister life was a dream life, but it was never going to happen. I would have probably loved that life, and found reasons to be annoyed with that life, I would have had struggles and disappointments, and I would have been happy and felt ‘blessed’ (I hate that word)…but I didn’t get that life, I got this life…this is the way my life is supposed to be.

I’m supposed to know about SMA and follicle counts and miscarriages. I’m supposed to be well-versed in Follistim, Lupron and Progesterone side-effects. I’m supposed to know which arm is better for blood draws, that my right-ovary is difficult to see on ultra-sounds and that I have an exceptionally high-tolerance for pain. I’m supposed to know what it feels like to lie in bed, imploring my Warrior embryo to stick…and I’m supposed to know what it feels like to lie in bed, thanking my Warrior embryo for sticking around and promising to be a good mom…and I’m supposed to know what it feels like to lie in bed, wrenching in pain, saying goodbye to a Warrior whose heartbeat I never even got to hear… It’s not what I planned, it’s not what I chose…but it is what I have.

I once mentioned infertility is like an island you don’t want to be on. I’ve always imagined Dan and I being shipwrecked here, ill-prepared, scared and shouting to every ship passing us by “SAVE US! WE DON’T BELONG HERE!” But I think, maybe, I got it wrong. Sure, we didn’t understand the island when we got here, but now we know the community (they’re wonderful, warm and inviting), we know their customs, and we built a nice life here. It’s different than we planned on, it’s harder than we imagined, but it’s also rewarding and has brought a lot of positives into our life. And I think now, when I see a ship passing by…I’m going to remember Cheryl Strayed words… there’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.

WordsWednesday

 

“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” –C. Strayed

Celebrating a new baby…that isn’t mine.

My sister had a baby on Wednesday… I repeat MY SISTER HAD A BABY ON WEDNESDAY!! Now first things first, the arrival of my nephew (Cameron) makes me feel all kinds of happy emotions. My sister, Cait, is one of my favorite people in the world…she is hilarious, kind, generous and my most loyal ally. I always say I never would have survived middle school or high school without her…if anyone gets to be a mother (aside from me,obviously hah) I want it to be Caitlin…she was truly born for the job. And her husband, Adrian, is just a really kind soul…they’re going to be amazing parents.

BUT (and there always seems to be a but)…the arrival of my nephew fills me with such a sense of longing. Because the fact of the matter is, regardless of how much you love someone (and I love Caitlin and Adrian more than I love almost anyone else in this world) watching someone else have the one thing you want… well it’s difficult… it is really, really difficult. It hurts. For every ounce of happiness I have for them, there is also sadness for me. Cam’s arrival reminds me of how far away Dan and I are from having a child…and how close we were. Because when I found out I was pregnant, Caitlin was  already four months into her pregnancy…I was so excited to talk pregnancy and babies with her. It gave me such joy to know our little Warrior was going to be only four months younger than Cam…but now Cam is here and our little Warrior never will be…and there is such loss in that it is hard to find the words.

I worry Cam is going to be my ‘marker baby’…this is something a family member and I have discussed…after a miscarriage you mark what your child should be by other children in your life. I worry that every time I watch Cam do something… go to school for the first time, graduate, go to college, get married…a part of me will always think “I should have a child doing this too…” I worry I will always focus on the parallel life I was supposed to lead with my sister and never will…and I worry about how that will affect my relationship with my sister. Because the truth is, it’s not fair to Caitlin. And navigating the shift our lives have taken from one another has been more difficult than I imagined. My greatest fear is the struggles Dan and I have gone through are turning me into some ugly, infertile monster (who is not a very good sister). I feel disappointed in myself that I can’t look past my own pain and only feel happiness for my sister and her growing family… I wish I was a better person, I wish I was bigger than my pain, but, right now, I am not.

So my goal is to try and focus on what I do have, more than what I don’t. (This is something I have been struggling with for some time now.) I am going to obnoxiously show off pictures of Cameron on my cellphone (because he is ridiculously adorable) and anxiously await my trip to Florida next month when I get to meet him. I am going to focus on how happy my sister is…and focus on being happy for her (and,more importantly, with her, because I want to share this amazing experience with her). I am going to forgive myself when I feel the need to cry and remind myself that I’m human…and life is hard…and grief is real. And then I’m going to remind myself that our journey isn’t over…and someday Cam is going to have a cousin to boss around at family parties and hopefully protect when someone picks on them, the same way Caitlin always did for me…and allow myself to be really, truly thankful for that.

WordsWednesday

 

“Be like the single blade of grass for she too has been trampled on, moved down, and hit with such bitterly cold stretches that she had to shut down to survive. Yet still she stands upright with dignity, know that she endures…and still she dances with the wind.” –S. King