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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NIAW

Well, tomorrow is the start of National Infertility Awareness Week.  It's also the one year anniversary of my coming out of the preverbal closet with regards to our infertility.  With one in eight couples experiencing infertility I'd think it would be talked about more but in reality I've found it to be a hush hush topic.  Since it's not really talked about a lot of couples are left to suffer in silence.  Well hopefully this week will give some couples the courage to break the silence.

You know the saying, "if you haven't been there you wouldn't understand?"  Well, that basically says it all.  It's like everyone that you know gets to be part of this super cool club called 'Parenting' where they have their own secret handshake and their own secret language and all the popular kids are there.  And the only thing you want is to be part of this exclusive club but it doesn't matter how hard you try you can't be part of the club.  And it SUCKs!!!  You watch your friends and family join this club.  Your friends younger siblings.  Everyone but you gets to join the club and you are left ALONE.  And then you don't have as much in common with your friends any more...all they want to talk about is what happened last night at the club meeting but you can't relate.  Some of them even complain about the rules and regulations about being in the club...and all you can think is that you would give anything for the chance to be in their club.

I've found that infertility is like a giant grieving circle.  You get your period and you are devastated because its another month that isn't your turn.  A few days later you start to feel better and the hope starts to come back.  A few days after that you start to have hope.  You take your BBT like clock work, check your CM, and use OPK's so that you can do the deed at the right moment.  You then have scheduled sex...every other day for a week.  And after the sex you lay with your legs in the air for at least an hour.  The hope continues to build as you go through the TWW.  You have a slight twinge and wonder if thats an implantation pain or a reminder that AF is about to show up.  You continue to monitor your BBT for any signs.  Then you wake up one morning with killer cramps to find that AF has showed up yet again...you are devastated...you were sure this was your month.  And the grieving starts all over again...

You'd think with the marvels of modern medicine that all you have to do is go to the doctor and they'd be able to tell you what the problem is and how to fix it and then you'll get pregnant.  Not so.  As it turns out 1/3rd of all infertility cases are diagnosed as unexplained infertility.  That means that even after all of the tests the doctors cannot find a cause of the infertility.  Let me tell you....I hate the term Unexplained!!!!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guilt

Today I have been plagued with a terrible thought.....I never kissed my baby.

From the moment we found out that Bristol was gone I was terrified to see her.  I didn't know what she was gonna look like.  I didn't know if I could handle it....if I would break her...if I could look at her and know that my body failed her.  Honestly, if it wasn't for my husband I probably wouldn't have seen her let alone held her.  But I was so afraid during the entire experience that I didn't think about all the things I should.....I wanted to keep her in the blanket cuz I didn't know if I could handle looking at her.  I regret that so much now.  I should have looked at her feet, I should have held her hand, I should have kissed my baby.....what kind of mom doesnt kiss her own baby???

I've read that its normal to feel guilty.  Especially for a mom...when there are problems getting pregnant, when the baby has birth defects, if you don't already have a healthy child....all those things can magnify the feelings of responsibility.  Sometimes I cannot help but feel like my body failed me and I failed my daughter.

I should have been able to protect her...

And I should have kissed her hello and goodbye.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Babies on TV

Well, Im officially on my second week back at work.  This week hasn't been as rough as last week, but then again Im only 2 days into the work week so I reserve the right to change my mind.  I haven't had to actually work with pregnant people yet though, so that might have something to do with it.  A lot of people have said that its nice to see me back or that they have missed me...the truth is, every time I hear that I can't help but think that the last time I saw that person my baby was alive inside of me.  I try to push that thought out of my head and some times Im more effective at that than others.  Today I got a sympathy card from a co-worker....I even managed to read it without breaking down in tears.  I mean thats gotta count for something, right???

While my work life slowly starts to go back to "normal" our home life does too.  We've been putting off the spring premiers on a few TV shows because they have to do with babies, episodes of Bones and The Secret Lift of the American Teenager have been piling up in the DVR que.  So yesterday we decided to watch Bones.  Now for those of you who don't watch the show the two main characters are expecting a baby (their first) and she was due any time.  Well, during the show they went back and forth between having the baby in a hospital and at home...they even visited a labor and delivery ward to check it out.  It struck me that we never even got to take our tour...something we'd been planning since we first got pregnant.  They talked about nursing classes...something we never got to do either.  And then there was the delivery...they were so happy.  I just kept thinking thats how its supposed to be.  After the show was over my husband said, "Wow, you did good there."  Then he looked at me and saw that I was sobbing....

Then we have Glee.  While that show isn't one that would normally cause grief to a husband and wife in out situation last week's episode hit home.  One of the main characters had under gone IVF (she is single and had her eggs frozen when she was younger) and is pregnant.  She went in for an ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby.  After the ultrasound the doctor walked in to the room and the lady was so excited to find out if it was a boy or a girl I don't think the possibility ever occurred to her that something could be wrong with the baby.  Frankly, I don't think many people even think about this.  But the doctor on TV was perfect for the part as it was exactly the way I remember it...just the look on the actor doctors face said it all, "There is something wrong with your baby."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Back to the Grind...

I've come to the conclusion this week that people shouldnt ask a question unless they really want to know the answer. Think about it...how many times in a day do you say to someone in passing, "How are you?" And most people give a simple and polite, "Im Fine. Thanks." Today, after a particularly rough hour I was helping this nice older gentleman. When he walked up to my register I greeted him with, "Hi. How are you today?" To which he replied, "Im good, how about you." Well, I couldnt really givehim the honest answer (which was that I was having a terrible day and I really just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry) so I said, "I'm ok. Thank you." Then he asked, "Why only ok?" Again, I was sure he didnt want an honest answer so I repliled, "You know, I've decided over the past few days that people shouldnt really ask questions unless they are prepared for the honest answers." He laughed at that and told me a story about one time when his boss asked him a similar question to which he gave an honest answer and his boss was caught completly off guard. We laughed about it and he told me that he hoped my day would get better. It was nice...but then when he walked away reality hit again....

Well, I've officially been back to work for 3 days now and I can proudly say that I've made it through all 3 days. I dont really know what I was expecting work to be like (I've been there 7.5 years so you'd think I'd know what to expect) but its deffinitly not what I thought it would be. Walking into the building for the first time wasnt as hard as I thought it would be, though I was struck by the ordinariness of it all. The first manager that I saw was our one female manager, and all she had to do was say hi to me and I started crying. I knew then that it was going to be a long day. The next manager that I saw was the same manager that I spoke with when we first found out that Bristol no longer had a heartbeat. He said hi and that it was nice to have me back but that was about it. It took a few minutes to load up the computer, and when I did I was surprised to find out that I only had 214 new emails. For being gone almost 7 weeks that wasnt bad. My store manager came in a few minutes later (he came in early just to meet with me as he wasnt actually scheduled till later that day). He gave me a hug and pulled me into his office for a few minutes for a "debriefing".

I was hoping to be in my office before staff started to arrive for the day, that would give me a few minutes to get comfortable before I had to see more people. A little while later my work spouse arrived (I work with her about 10-15 hours a week and we joke that I see her more than my husband). She brought me flowers and gave me a hug. She is one of the most thoughtful people I've ever met and knowing she would be there for my first day back helped. Over the course of the next few hours I saw a few more people. No one else really even said anything that acknowledged my loss. Around noon I went up to the registers to back up the cashiers (we were getting busy with the lunch rush) and was completley blindsided by the one cashier who was pregnant. I didnt know she was pregnant before I left (she was only about 12 weeks then) and now not only did I know she was pregnant, but I could clearly see it. Now, up until that moment, I believed that infertility had prepared me for the jealousness and bitterness that I would feel when seeing pregnant people. Wow, was I wrong. The wierd thing is, it wasnt really jealousy or bitterness that I was feeling...it was more just overwhelming sadness. I miss my baby so much and I just dont have words for the heart wrenching sadness that over come me when I thought about the fact that her baby was alive inside of her and mine was gone, my belly empty, with my baby's ashes in a pendant around my neck. Yup, I lasted about 3 customers before I walked as fast as possible to the bathroom to cry.

Yup, Im getting really good at sobbing in silence. I mean, its not like I have much of a choice, I can sob normally in a public restroom at work. And the office has windows and I dont need people to see me like that. It's totally random the thins that make me cry too. The thought that last time I was standing at the register I couldnt reach well cuz my belly was in the way, the last time I sold a stroller I was thinking about buying my own, the fact that 3 days after our biggest sale of the year is over should be my due date....I could go on but Im sure you get the point. It just sucks!!! I thought I was doing pretty good today, I had made it the first 3.5 hours without a breakdown, but then the girl who is due 2 weeks before me came in. She had a nice large bump....oh what I wouldnt give to have my baby back with me. It just doesnt seem fair...how can so many ladies around me get pregnant without even trying and get to keep their babies while it took us 2.5 years to even get pregnant and then our baby died???

Yup...Im getting good at sobbing in silence. And wearing my sunglasses inside. I wonder how long I can use the excuse that I just have something in my eye. And if the cashiers were really paying attention they'd notice that I went to the ladies room 3 times in an hour and each time I came back my eyes were red. Yup...I should invest in klennex!!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's Off to Work I go

I cannot believe that I go back to work tomorrow. It doesnt seem possible that I've actually been off for 6 weeks. I cannot believe that it's been over 6 weeks since I held Bristol in my arms. That it's been over 6 weeks since we had to say goodbye. It still doesnt seem real. Sometimes I think I still feel her inside me. It seems like every morning when I wake up, Im happy for a moment thinking that I'm still pregnant and Bristol is still with us. When I realize that she is gone it hurts all over again.

I remember when we were in the hospital that I just wanted to be home, that the yellow walls of the hospital room just seemed so cold. I remember thinking that eveything will be all right once I get home. It's funny, cuz now I feel that there is a strange saftey that comes with that cold hospital room...a safety that allows me to hide from the real world just a little bit longer. A world that seems so unfriendly and uncaring to the infertile and pregnancy loss community. At least while Ive been at home Ive been able to avoid the pregnant women and screaming babies. It's harder to avoid them when you work at a retail store. To be honest, Im worried about what my co-workers will say and do. They are all very nice and caring, but the thought of them being uncomfortable around me, not knowing what to say....that uncomfortable scilence when they dont know what to say to me. I'm debating between wearing no make up or just bringing additional makeup so that I can reapply it after each crying session.

I'm trying to look at the positive....I love my job and it will keep me occupied. Not that my blog, facebook, pintrest, netflix, naping, and my dogs havent done a good job of that in the past 6 weeks...but still.

I feel funny saying this, but Im really gonna miss my dogs. Sandy, the wheaton terrier has been amazing. She has hardly left my side since we've been home from the hosptial. I feel like everything she does she just wants to make sure Im ok. And frequently she makes me smile with her actions or barking. Sometimes its like she barks just to make me smile.

Well, I must go...the dogs need to eat and I must get ready for tomorrow. I dont think Ive ever been so nervous about going to work.......

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Letter to My Baby

Dear Bristol,

My baby girl, I miss you so much.  I cannot believe its been almost 6 weeks since I held you in my arms.  I still cannot believe you are really gone.  Sometimes I think I still feel you moving inside of me, and then when I realize you are gone I am sad all over again.  I miss you so much.  There has not been a single minute that has passed since I found out I was pregnant with you that I haven't thought of you.  Would you look more like your daddy or me?  Would you be a mama's girl or a daddy's girl?  You know, you daddy said you couldn't date until you were 30.  After we found out about your diagnosis, I told him that you could date at 4 if you wanted as long as you were ok.  Your room is still waiting for you.  I'd always hoped you'd be able to see it...your daddy worked so hard at it.  I tried to give my suggestions but Im not good at that stuff.  After your daddy painted the room pink I was really worried that it was too pink.  I didn't want to tell him because I didn't want to hurt his feelings, he had just spent 10 hours painting and he wanted it to be perfect for you and me.  But after we got your furniture in there, the Winnie the Pooh boarder up, and he stenciled the words, "Always kiss me goodnight" above your bed it was perfect.  It breaks my heart every day knowing you won't ever be in it.  I hope its ok that I keep the door closed, right now it makes me too sad to go in there.

When we first found out I was pregnant with you I told your aunt Ashley.  I put her hand on my stomach and said, "Baby." I kept telling her that she was going to be an aunt and that there was a baby in my stomach.  Ill never forget the Sunday before we met you we were babysitting aunt Ashley and I told her that I couldn't wait to meet you and I put her hand on my stomach.  She smiled at me.  I wonder now if she knew that you were an angel just like her.

Baby, I wish so much I could hold you again.  I hope you are not mad at me that I was scared to hold you after you were born.  I didn't think Id be strong enough to say hello and have to say goodbye only a few hours later.  Baby, saying goodbye to you was the hardest thing I have ever done.  If I could have died so you could live I would have.  The night before you were born, I prayed that God would take me and let you live.  I knew it wasn't His will, but I still prayed.  I didn't know how I'd go on without you.  It hasn't been easy, but as you can see I have been trying.  From the moment we found out I was pregnant with you I prayed every night for May 31st to come fast and that you would be born healthy and happy.  Now I don't know what to pray for, but most nights I ask God for the strength to see me through another day.

Sweetheart, I promise when my work on Earth is through I will hold you in Heaven.  And once I hold you I will never ever let you go.  Until then, please listen to God and do what He says.  He is the boss you know.  Please make sure you hold His hand and look both ways before you cross the street.  Please say hi to your great grand parents up there.  Your grandma also has 2 angel babies up there too.  I will look for you every night in the stars...I always imagine you looking down at me.  Baby, I love you so much.  Please never ever forget that.  I love you.

Love,
Mommy

Monday, April 2, 2012

Songs

I've always believed that every thought or feeling I've ever had could be explained with either a a country music song or a quote from Dawson's Creek.  I remember watching Dawson's Creek and the moment it was over I would call one of my friends and discuss every detail and explain how it related to my life....yup, I know I was weird.  Sometimes (though I know it makes me sound crazy) when I'm in the car and thinking (about everything) a particular song comes on the radio and I think that its God's way of talking to me.  For example, last summer after our second IUI failed, I was driving to work and I was really sad.  I kept asking God why it happened and telling him that I would make a great mom if He would just bless us with one child.  I was in the middle of a silent prayer when 'In God's Time' by Randy Houser came on the radio.

In God's time
A million years might only be a single day
And everything He does gets done His own way
In God's time........

And in God's time
You'll finally get the chance to hold your baby girl
And all the sudden everything'll make sense in this crazy world
In God's time

Oh, but no one knows
Not you or me
It might be tomorrow or it might never be
Oh, but don't lose faith
Put it in His hands
'Cause it might be that He might have a bigger plan
Than you had in mind
Miracles happen
In God's time...


I cried the rest of the way to work that day but I held on to that song.  And it was that song that gave me the strength I needed that day and that moment that made me sure we would have a girl when we finally did get pregnant.  


I bring this up because yesterday I was listening to songs from Man of Lamancha and I heard "The Impossible Dream."  Though the story has nothing to do with infertility or pregnancy loss I feel like this song could be a motto for both....






To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...
To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ...
To run ... where the brave dare not go ...
To right ... the unrightable wrong ...
To love ... pure and chaste from afar ...
To try ... when your arms are too weary ...
To reach ... the unreachable star ...

This is my quest, to follow that star ...
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ...
To fight for the right, without question or pause ...
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ...

And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I'm laid to my rest ...
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach ... the unreachable star ...



Later in the day I was putting away our laundry.  I was feeling really sad and really missing Bristol so I figured Id play some music that I could sing to (that wasn't country cuz that a lot of time makes me sad) so I played the soundtrack from Wicked.  I must admit I haven't listened to the entire soundtrack much but I love the songs 'Popular' and 'What is this Feeling'.  Then I head a song called 'For Good."  This song stopped me in my tracks.  It made me think of our loss...of Bristol and our few moments with her, of our wonderful nurse the first night we were there, and of everything else that we experienced that weekend.  Again, I felt like this could be our motto for the weekend....






I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

Because I knew you

I have been changed for good


I think those words are perfect for our journey....I have been changed for good.