WordsWednesday

 

“I want to say somewhere: I’ve tried to be forgiving. And yet. There were times in my life, whole years, when anger got the better of me. Ugliness turned me inside out. There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness. I courted it. It was standing outside, and I invited it in. I scowled at the world. And the whole world scowled back. We were locked in a state of mutual disgust….And then one day I realized I was on my way to being the sort of schmuck who poisons pigeons. People crossed the street to avoid me. I was a human cancer. And to be honest: I wasn’t really angry. Not anymore. I had left my anger somewhere long ago. Put it down on a park bench and walked away. And yet. It had been so long, I didn’t know any other way of being. One day I woke up and said to myself: it’s not too late.” –N. Krauss

Note: currently reading ‘The History of Love’ that this quote is from and it’s amazing. I’m only about 50 pages in, but last night after I finished reading page 13 I looked up at my husband and announced “This book is going to devastate me.” I ordered a few books from Amazon for our cycle-I find the time waiting for blood work, ultrasounds and phone calls goes a lot faster if I’m reading. I started with this book and I also have ‘An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination’ by E. McCracken and ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night-time’ by M. Haddon (both books that have been on my ‘want to read’ list for months now). If anyone has any suggestions I’d gladly take them!

IVF Round 2

Well…it’s official: I’ve stepped into the ring for IVF round 2…(prepare yourself for a post littered with boxing references…I’m not proud)

I got my monthly monster Saturday evening, so per our fertility centers protocol I knew I would be going in for baseline testing on Monday morning. When I told Dan this we both danced around the kitchen (first time I’ve ever celebrated my period)-there was just this sense of excitement between the two of us. The fact is, it’s been a long time coming…and we’re ready.

Sunday, we hosted brunch for 8 of our closest friends. We sat outside on an unseasonably warm February day in New England and toasted to our second cycle of IVF. Talk about growth…here I was clinking my champagne flute filled with seltzer with people who last cycle did not even know we were doing IVF. I hoarded and hid our IVF last time, it was my ugly little secret, my disappointing, lazy uterus. And it made me bitter, sad, angry and resentful. This time, I’m owning it. I’m sharing it. And let me tell you, sitting outside on Sunday surrounded by people who will support and love us over the next few months, I felt a powerful sense of hope and peace. It’s really amazing to be in the ring, knowing you have this remarkable, supportive cheering section in your corner…ready and willing to pick me up when I inevitability get knocked down and celebrate any (and every) victory.

But, of course, I’m human and Sunday night as I lay in bed reading my new Book  of the Month book I couldn’t completely silence the negative/scared voices in my head. The voices reminding me we’ve been here before…reminding me of the failures of science, hormones and my own body…the absence of a heartbeat and our Warrior. So I decided to own the sadness…I stopped the positivity train…I cried…I gave in to the temptation of remembering the promises of the past and the losses…and then I climbed back on the train and forced myself to move on. I cannot carry what wasn’t into the ring with me. I don’t have the space…in my arms, in my mind or in my heart.

Monday morning I smiled walking into our fertility center. I laughed with my favorite receptionist at the front desk who let out a little “wahoo!” when she realized we had a credit on our account from first cycle after previously telling me “everyone owes money at baseline.” I chatted casually with the phlebotomist about how much easier the new way of doing blood draws is (they separate those having ultrasounds and those just having blood work…its way more time effective). I joked with one of the nurses who I met a few times last cycle about IVF being my 30th birthday gift and she responded “I’m taking my fiancé to visit a friend in Syracuse for his 30th birthday, baby making seems like a way better birthday gift” and we laughed in the way I think you can only laugh when this isn’t your first fight. When you’ve been knocked out and woken up to realize the pain subsides and you’re strong enough to try again.

So yesterday evening when I got the phone call that my blood work was fine and I could start hormones, I felt ready. I’m more prepared for this fight than I was 15 months ago. At 8pm I turned on Hamilton ‘My Shot’, I mixed my Menopur, I dialed up my Follistim pen to 450…and I officially started cycle 2 with a smile and a few curse words (because holy smokes Menopur stings!!) …this time, I’m not just a fighter…I’m a Warrior…and I am not throwing away my shot. (yeah, I did that…feel free to judge me accordingly)

WordsWednesday

“Whatever you are physically: male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy- all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. Whatever the color, the shape, the design of the shade that conceals it, the flame inside the lamp remains the same. You are the flame.” –C. Clare

Just a little FYI…you are the flame…might be a few of my favorite words ever written.

Thirty.

So last week was my 30th birthday…now if you remember from last year I’m not one for birthdays, never have been, never will be. They’re just another day. However, this being my 30th (which everyone kept telling me was a BIG one) I opted to do something special for myself…I tried acupuncture. See, I’ve been considering acupuncture for a long time, I get a monthly e-mail from our fertility center inviting me to the acupuncture information session, a lot of the bloggers I follow praise acupuncture-I just could never quite justify spending money on something I wasn’t that sure about (when we have so many other IVF related expenses). BUT I went ahead and booked a session and HOLY SMOKES what an amazing experience! I have never felt more relaxed while also energized in my life. It was like an energy detox…goodbye all that sad/dark/ugly energy…hello happy/bright/hopeful energy. I enjoyed it so much I went back this week…and I have an appointment to go back next week. I may very well become an acupuncture junkie!

The rest of my 30th was pretty uneventful, spoke to some friends and family on the phone, went out to dinner with the husband and visited my brother and his wife in Boston this weekend to celebrate. A relaxed, but happy birthday…exactly how I’d like my 30’s to be.

Of course, thirty did strike a nerve for me…because up until I actually was 30, it seemed like a very crucial year for me. Three (jeez THREE) years ago when the husband and I started trying to have a baby I clearly remember saying to him “Honestly, if we don’t have at least one child by 30 I’ll die.” That’s how naïve, selfish, dramatic and ignorant I was…I genuinely believed not having a child would be, literally, the end of the world for me. But…here I am…3 years later…thirty years old…childless…and my life is not over, my world hasn’t collapsed around me (though at times it seemed as if it would)…I did not die. In a way, it almost makes me sad…to think of the person I was and the way I behaved. I did not just want certain things from life, I expected them. I approached life with a very entitled attitude. I kept a running list of things I thought I did right…and expected the universe to reward me for them. But, let’s be real here: the universe does not give a damn that I’ve never been pulled over or that I always remember my parents wedding anniversary (my insurance company does and my parents do), but the universe…not so much. I cannot spend my time or my energy being mad at the universe when things do not go the way I expect (or want) them to. The fact is this…you can be the greatest person in the world and bad things will still happen to you OR you can be the most horrible monster and good things will still come your way…and that’s life. It’s ridiculous and hard to justify and sometimes unbearable, but it’s all we get.

So my goal for my 30’s is to stop. To stop being angry. To stop feeling resentment for the life I did not get. To stop keeping score. To stop looking for meaning in things that are meaningless or for answers when there aren’t any. And to start. To start embracing the life I have (right now). To start celebrating the victories (and mourning the failures when they come my way). To start living my life by my standards (and not because I think the universe will reward me for being a good person by giving me good things). And to never, ever, ever think that not having something I want is going to kill me…if I learned anything from my 20’s it is that I am so much stronger than anything the universe throws my way.

…and to quote my older sisters Instagram collage for me on my birthday “He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” (Also I’ll give a little credit to Confucius…for you know, for saying it first). Now that I’ve conquered myself I am all for conquering IVF round 2 and any (and every)thing the universe wants to try.

WordsWednesday

“When you recognize that you will thrive, not in spite of your losses and sorrows, but because of them. That you would not have chosen the things that happened in your life, but you are grateful for them.  That you will hold the empty bowls eternally in your hands, but you also have the capacity to full them… the word for that is healing.” –C. Strayed

Note: Last year, after the miscarriage I spent in inordinate amount of time reading…I read everything I could get my hands on: fiction, non-fiction, self-help, young-adult novels, medical journals…reading gave my mind a rest, it gave me temporary relief from my grief. I came across this particular quote in a Cheryl Strayed book (I cannot remember if it was her book of quotes ‘Brave Enough’ or the book of her advice column ‘Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar’ where most of those quotes were from) days after the miscarriage and I loved it. I scribbled the quote in my ‘words’ notebook, I had a screen shot saved on my phone, I repeated in my head constantly.

The day of my father’s retirement party was a tough day for me…it was only days after the physical miscarriage started (I was still bleeding, my boobs were still too big to fit in any of my dresses which made me insanely upset- I spent years dreaming of buying clothes to accommodate a baby bump, now I was spending money on clothes to accommodate the symptoms of a pregnancy that would never result in a baby. I remember covering my hand over my mouth trying to muffle my sobs in the Nordstrom Rack dressing room while my mother and sister waited outside)…needless to say, I was struggling. It was also going to be the first time I saw most of my family/friends since the miscarriage. When we found out we were pregnant Dan and I had decided to wait until the retirement party to tell most family members our transfer had been successful, I wanted to tell everyone in person. (Quietly, in a corner somewhere, not stealing any of my father’s well-deserved spotlight!)  But, of course there was no good news to share… so my mother had graciously called my family members over the past week to inform them that we had our embryo transfer, we had become pregnant and we had sadly miscarried. I was preparing for an evening of sympathetic glances and hugs that went on for just a few seconds too long. Sitting in my mother’s bathroom on a stool while she did her make-up (the same way I used to watch her as a child, I always thought my mother looked like a princess on the few nights she actually left us when we were little to go on a date with my dad) she asked me how I handling everything. I remember fighting back tears as I told her I was trying really hard to keep it together…and then I opened my phone and recited this exact quote…I remember my mother looking at my questionably, as if she didn’t quite understand what this quote about healing really meant when right now I was so deep in my grief and I said to her “I just want to get to this point…this quote is my goal.”

It’s taken a long time (clearly).  Almost every week (or other week depending on how crazy life is) when I think about what ‘words’ to pick on Wednesday I consider this quote…and every week up until today I’ve stopped myself…I have not wanted to post these particular words until I really felt I had reached that goal I set for myself last April. But, today it just felt right. Today those empty bowls…empty of all the things we didn’t get…empty of all the things I thought I deserved…well they feel pretty full. And I don’t mean with regrets, disappointment, anger, grief and tears…they’re filled with compassion, kindness, gratitude, thankfulness, perspective, love, wisdom, strength, peace…and hope. And, with today being the last days in my twenties…I enter my thirties tomorrow with love and peace in my heart…I think the word for that is healed.