Just Me.

So yesterday was one of those perfect fall days in New England that I have to remind myself of when I’m digging my car out from 2 feet of snow and cursing my husband  for wanting to stay in Connecticut. The sun was bright, the air was chilly, the leaves are beautiful and I woke up motivated. So as my husband set to work painting one of our bathrooms (from a light yellow to a deep gray-blue) I threw on a baseball hat and visited some local antique/thrift stores. I walked around the cozy downtown I’ve known forever, I chatted with the shop owners, I sifted through racks of photographs and vintage home décor, I purchased a stunning antique silver tray for our dining room and I just felt this overwhelming sense of things being ‘okay’. I think sometimes I imagine life is just always going to be difficult…like those nagging feelings of loss and disappointment won’t ever allow me to forget our struggles…but it’s not like that lately. Sure, some days are terrible: I went shopping with my mother the other day and I kid you not I saw FIVE pregnant women in the 20 minutes we were in the store…days like that make me want to go home, crawl into bed and curse the world and everyone in it. But days like yesterday, when the sun is shining and I sit in my cozy home with the fire on, my husband next to me, cuddled in a warm blanket I just feel very content.

The husband and I also attended a surprise 30th birthday party for a friend we went to college with…my husband misplaced the invite so he asked a friend to send him a screen-shot of the invitation so we had the parties information (time, location, etc.) Well imagine my surprise when at 2pm he showed me the screenshot and I discovered the party was a COSTUME PARTY….the surprise was on me!! I had already planned on wearing a faux fur vest that’s been sitting in my closet for over a year (last fall I was hitting the Follistim and Lupron injections hard…I barely left my house for anything other than work, I certainly wasn’t going anywhere worthy of wearing faux fur) so I quickly googled Halloween costumes with fur vests (Pinterest is a lifesaver!) and opted to be a deer…

Well of course there wasn’t a pair of antlers at the party shop (of note: after 3 minutes inside the chaotic and crowded store Dan turned to me and basically said it was him or the antlers…) So I dragged him to the craft store next to the party shop (shockingly not crowded at all) and spent $20 on fake twigs and moss, two sheets of felt (one white, one tan) brown pipe cleaners and a $6 skeleton make-up kit…and set to work making myself into a presentable doe…

I think the doe costume turned out about as good as a doe costume can turn out when you make it in 2 hours, but it was fun to get back into a little ‘crafting’…a pastime I kind of pushed to the side when infertility took over our life.

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please note: we don’t support killing Bambi, we were simply very desperate. 

The party was interesting because the guests were mostly Dan’s friends, not mine…and no one there knows anything about our infertility. We’re also the only couple who is married, so I feel like none of them are even considering children (unless they’re considering how NOT to have children) so I had the opportunity to go an entire night without one single person asking me about children… NOT ONCE! I usually go around thinking every person who knows Dan and I are wondering why we’re not having children yet, forgetting that many people probably consider it very normal that at 29 and 3 years into our marriage Dan and I are not having children. It was kind of nice for an evening to just be Meghan…not sad, infertile, miscarriage Meghan…but just Meghan…dressed like a doe, drinking at a bar and singing happy birthday to a friend I met freshman year of college when life revolved around pizza, parties, the cute guy in the cafeteria and trying to get into the universities nursing program. It was nice to take a night off from all things infertile…I think it was the perfect introduction to the new way I’m trying to look at life (and this blog) making room for life outside the gold dress.

 

Waiting…

I’ve been thinking a lot about waiting lately…thinking about it…and doing it. It’s the trap of infertility, (I think)…your life revolves around waiting…waiting for our second cycle of IVF to start in January, waiting to see how I’ll respond to an ‘aggressive’ stim cycle, waiting to see if in a few months we’ll have a potential family of healthy embryos…or one Warrior again…or none. And always, always, always…waiting for a baby. (I no longer write waiting to be pregnant, as I have in the past, because I now recognize simply being pregnant doesn’t mean much…) We wait so much for the big things, waiting becomes second nature… Sometimes I don’t even realize how much I’m putting my life on hold. I find myself thinking ‘just get through the next 2 months, then you start IVF’ or putting off plans to visit family in Florida because of the cycle or keeping the bonus room empty because a year from now it may be a nursery…

It’s the endless, vicious cycle of infertility…you spend so much time waiting for your life to start…your life with a baby…you wait right through the life you currently have. I fell down that rabbit hole two years ago, I crawled my way out after the miscarriage, and lately I’ve been circling it again…to fall or not to fall?

But, this time I’m making a conscious effort to stay above the surface and enjoy my life right now… even without a baby.

See, remember a few weeks ago I posted about wanting to start a book club? Well I did. And let me tell you we had our first meeting last night and it was perfect. I sat in my new family room with 5 other women and had this really interesting discussion about The Girl on the Train and I felt inspired… Not inspired by the book (Rachel probably should have started a blog about her infertility, she fell real deep into that rabbit hole), but inspired by the fact that for three hours I sat around and felt happy, it felt nice to talk to women who are all in different stages of their adult lives (some married, some with children, some single)…there was this sense (for me) that this is my life right now…and it can still be lovely and happy and fulfilled. Yes, I’m waiting to have a baby, but that doesn’t mean I have to put my life on hold.

So…I’ll read next month’s book- A Man Called Ove.

I’ll try out a new sangria recipe for our next meeting…this month was Apple Cider Sangria, and it was amazing. (I also went big and used some of the Waterford Crystal glasses we got for our wedding, that I’ve used about 4 times over the past 3 years…I’m always afraid one will break. But I’ll be damned if I wait to use the Waterford anymore!)

I’m trying to think of an artistic way to display my love for words around our new home…any tips would be appreciated. (I’m thinking framed quotes, but I need to find a way to write out the quotes, and my handwriting is garbage).

I’ve also been considering adding more of ‘everyday Meghan’ not just ‘gold dress infertile Meghan’ into this blog. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to do that, but I think a way to avoid having my entire life revolve around infertility/waiting is to share more of my life on this blog.

And I’ll enjoy moments. I’ll remember that my life, right now, can be amazing and fulfilling… this is my new life motto:

 “Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” –G. Apollinaire

October 15th

Sorry for the lack of posts lately… the construction on our new home was delayed…we moved into a hotel…we closed a week late…and waited another week for internet access. But now, we’re here, in our new home and all is well.

I’ve been seeing a few posts lately about October 15th being Pregnancy and Infant loss Remembrance day…I guess I am supposed to light a candle to remember our Warrior, but I find myself confused about how to address our loss on this blog. I struggle with what to say about my miscarriage. A few weeks ago I read an article (by actress Ashley Williams) discussing her own miscarriage and how her goal is to make talking about a miscarriage less taboo. I think the only thing I can do to ‘recognize’ October 15th is to do the same…

A few months ago, on a sunny April morning my husband and I anxiously waited in our doctor’s office, in exam room 7, for our first ultrasound of our first pregnancy. After a year of not conceiving naturally, an incidental finding of a shared genetic carrier status (for the husband and I), a stressful round of IVF which resulted in 13 fertilized eggs, but only 1 healthy (SMA-carrier) embryo, we had been blessed with a successful first transfer…it was the day we would hear our Warriors heartbeat and discover if our first baby was going to be a boy or a girl (thanks PGD testing). Instead, as I lay back smiling at Dan and chatting about first-trimester exhaustion with our nurse I watched our physicians face go from happy…to concerned…to disappointed…and I listened as the room went from filled with laughter to complete silence…the absence of a heartbeat the loudest sound in the world. And I heard the words that would change my life “Your pregnancy is not progressing…” A quick trip to the lab drawing station in our fertility clinic (where I bit my lip to fight back tears as I listened to the woman next to me complain to the other phlebotomist about how she could only keep crackers down, who knew pregnancy was going to be sooo hard) and after a two hour wait for those results I received a phone call from our fertility nurse telling me what I already knew “you are going to miscarry, the pregnancy is no longer viable.”

A missed miscarriage.

I wouldn’t physically miscarry until 6 days later…an excruciatingly painful experience that started while doing morning assessments on my patients as a nurse in the ICU and ended (physically) 72 hours later with me as an exhausted mess on our bathroom floor. From a hormonal standpoint (trending those HCG levels) it would ‘officially’ end 20 days later.

It’s been over 6 months since I was told I was not going to give birth to our Warrior. I have gone through every Kubler-Ross stage of grief more than once. I have found myself angry with the world, crying randomly in Target and filled with happiness holding my newborn nephew. I have celebrated my friends and families pregnancies, I have cursed every (and any) Higher Power that exists for my suffering and I have been thankful for the community of fellow infertiles who have comforted with me their words and their stories. I have read books, met with a therapist, consulted friends and strangers on the internet and found myself slowly (sometimes at an agonizingly slow rate) healing.

And then last week I sat outside on a sunny fall day, wrapped in a blanket, on the back porch of our new home and I felt okay.

I will always mourn the life that did not grow, who our Warrior could have been and what our life would have been like if we had that baby. But I will never have that child. He or She will always be our Warrior embryo and nothing more.

A miscarriage after infertility (I imagine any miscarriage, but I can only speak to what I know) feels like the loss of hope. 2+ years of my life was devoted to becoming pregnant…and it lasted only a few (precious) weeks…it is easy to feel defeated by that. I have considered tossing in the towel, resigning myself to a life of being the ‘cool aunt’ and the couple who is childless but travels often with my husband.

But…I cannot. Hope is this amazing thing because even when you think it is lost, you find it in the most unlikely of places. You find yourself sitting in the backyard feeling okay…

So, tomorrow I will light my candle. I will mourn our Warrior. I will grieve with the millions of women who have suffered their own loss. And I will also persist. I will decorate our new home (but leave the bonus room empty to become a nursery) I will go on getaways with my husband (but leave enough money in the bank for our second round of IVF in January) I will spoil my nephew with adorable baby clothes (while keeping the Peyton Manning baby jersey for myself). I will grieve for the past and hope for the future.

I wish peace to those who have to light a candle tomorrow and understanding to those who do not.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”-Brene Brown

*bonus words for 2 WordsWednesdays missed*