Thursday, December 24, 2009

What it brings-

My heart is heavy tonight, another down from the up. I have desired, have struggled, have waited, have loved, have lost. The past thirty-three months have been a trial I still can not fathom. I have conceived three times, three times had the rug ripped out from under my feet before we even had a chance to feel some joy in it. And now, now there is nothing.

Some days, the bad days, I feel like ghosts are closing in. They are filling my house, every breath I take is filled with dead air and broken dreams. My lost babies, my lost future, so much loss.

Some days, the good days, I feel fine. I can do more than survive, I can be truly happy with where I am. I can laugh without restraint. I can take the joy in and savor it.

I don't always write about those days, because I let myself enjoy them to their fullest. Or rather, I try to lose myself in those moments of happiness.

On the bad days, I write. I write it out, let loose these ghosts within me. And it helps me, because who else do I have to acknowledge this pain to? I write occasional lines on to remind people that life is still not normal for me, because they tend to forget. But usually, acknowledging the pain makes them act strangely. Either they ignore it, or they ask what's wrong or make a comment that is inappropriate. Asking what's wrong upsets me, because I can't put it into words for them to understand if they don't already. The inappropriate comments do the same, because I know that while some people can understand on some small level, no one other than those of us unfortunate to go through this actually get it. I can't acknowledge it in real life, because people get uncomfortable. I still do though, and I keep hoping they'll realize that saying "I'm here for you," is better than silence, but they never realize.

The holidays are especially hard. My last living grandmother passed away a few weeks after my first miscarriage. That was two years ago. I've lost two more babies since then. I miss my grandmas, I miss my babies, and the holidays only extenuate those loses. Because this is a time for family, and so many pieces of my family are not here.

I can look back and remember the holidays with my grandmas, and I can hold on to those so clearly for now. My close grandma, I remember best in her kitchen as we shared our odd food tendencies we shared that no one else in the family did. I can remember her being so happy to buy me that stupid doll, and how I made sure she didn't realize I thought it was stupid- because it was a tradition to get each granddaughter that doll. She was so excited, and seeing her happy was all I needed that year. That is what made me smile as I took it out of the wrapping, that it made her happy. I remember afternoons sitting on the porch with her, as she smoked her unfiltered cigarettes. How she told me she loved my drawings, something my mother never bothered with at that point- by then, she was just telling me 'that's nice' without turning her head to look. I miss grandma most at Christmas-time, miss her gray hair and crooked arm, her love she had for all her children, and all her grandchildren, and all the great-grandchildren, and the great-great-grandchildren. She bought for us all, even though there had to be over a hundred of us in total. She knew us all. She bought me extra because she knew my father wouldn't. Because she loved me. I wish I had more time with her- I didn't even meet her until I was about ten.

My babies... I have nothing. A memory of home pregnancy tests and blood draws. Painful cramps, cervical pain, contractions, six hours of hell with the second one. The sac, that beautiful, wretched, gestational sac. The furthest I ever made, the only ultrasound where I actually got to see something. The only miscarriage where I saw what was meant to be my baby, as I passed it. There is no joy for me to hold onto here, no fond memories. I mourn the loss they represent, and that there is nothing more. I miss them in ways I can't explain. I mourn that there were no more memories, that there were no happy ones, that the only things I have to hold onto are so fragile. That no one else can remember with me, except my husband and a handful of people, and those who read this blog.

So many people remember my grandparents.
So few remember, or acknowledge, my babies.

I wanted something so much, with every fiber of my being. I wanted it so badly my heart sang with desire. And then... and then... there was loss after loss. My heart sings no more, it whimpers.

This post is disjointed and on the verge of rambling, I'm sure. I kinda feel like that though. Disjointed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

what day is it-

I finished my course work for the quarter- whew. Not sure how I did though, and waiting on one more grade to know if I graduate this quarter or not. Which is kind of nerve wracking since my final essay, a large research paper, comprises almost half of my grade. And I am really not sure how I did, no clue at all. *ETA* I passed, yay!

I've kind of lost track of the days in the meantime. I don't know what cycle day I am, for the first time in I don't know how long- years. I think I may be around cycle day 15 perhaps? I don't know. Not even temping, though I did take my temperature this morning to confirm I have not ovulated- but it wasn't very conclusive. I took it an hour later than my old time, and it was a little high. Which, I doubt it was ovulation because I never ovulate. But I guess you never know. I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. I'm debating about taking another temp tomorrow morning to double check what's going on, that way I can get my bearings before starting the prometrium. No idea when exactly I want to start that. Still waiting, no big hurry.

I'm really not in a hurry for anything. Just kinda piddling around now that I have time. I've been out of school since yesterday and I already devoured one book, and am on my way to consuming another. It's nice to be able to leisure read. So nice. I wonder how much more time I'll have for this before things change again.

One of the tires on my car has a slow leak, I just bought that thing not too many months ago- at least it feels that way. The weather has turned cold and uninviting. Winds, rains, scattered snow that doesn't stick. I hate the cold. The beauty of the weather, at times I love. The cold... the ice and dangerous roads... I could do without. The constant gray sky, the lack of color, can become quite disheartening.

Last year we couldn't bear to put the tree up. We were so down. That year we had been battling infertility for a year already, and had our first loss. We couldn't bear decorating and pretending to be happy. This year, we're been fighting so long and so hard. We've had two losses in one year.

But this year I had to put the tree up. I had to try and find what joy I could. It's been such a long hard year, and I just needed to find some happiness, to at least try to find it. I am glad I did. The tree is so beautiful, we put it together with the help of my little brother. He was so excited about it. We had so much fun putting it up and decorating it. And of course, we are going all out this year buying presents for the kids in the family. Why not? No treatments, no kids, we're splurging. We spent double what we normally spend on my little brother, and he is going to be so surprised. I can not wait to see the look on his face. We told him we wouldn't buy him the thing he wanted because it was too expensive. But we caved and bought it for him anyway. He has no clue.

My moods been lifting, and I don't mind the break now. I am enjoying it. I think my decision to skip the birth control was right on as well. I don't think taking a pill everyday would have helped my mood at all, having to count down to a new cycle. No thanks. I am thankful I skipped it. I don't have a clue what's going on with my body, and I don't care. For the first time, in so long, I don't care.

I'd forgotten what that felt like.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

face to face-

When I was living in extreme poverty I saw people with cable, with new winter coats, with swimming pools and vacations- but it didn't hurt so bad, because I knew I could live without that. They weren't necessary for me to be happy. And I knew that if I really wanted those things, that one day there was always the possibility that I could have them too.

When I saw family members working for minimum wage, struggling through the pain of poverty and depression, choosing to turn to the bottle or to drugs- I chose not to life that life. I chose to go to college, to keep trying for a life where we didn't live in debt from pay check to pay check. I'm still in debt, but we aren't living on the edge. I am the first person in my family to earn a college degree. I chose not to give in and start drinking, I chose not to turn to drugs. I am the first to live my life by my own choosing, and not by circumstance. I worked my way through my final year of high school when my mother committed herself to a psychiatric ward, I worked my way through college while my father belittled me and told me to drop out to I could get a full time job- I chose to not give up. So many in my family gave up in high school, they settled for working in gas stations or as footers, becoming mothers and fathers at 18 or younger- I chose not to. I saw the life my parents lived, and I did not want that life. And I was damned if I believed that was the only way.

When I lived in a broken home, when I was abused and depressed, I saw every day that there were people who didn't live like I did. I had friends who did live like me, and friends that didn't. I was envious of the ones who didn't go through what I did- but it didn't hurt as badly as it could, because I acknowledged that this is my life. I knew I survived without a loving and stable home, and I would continue, even if things never got better. It wouldn't have been the life I chose, but it would have been my life as I knew it. I knew that one day I would have my own family, my own life, and the type of life I lived was up to me. I chose to live in a home where there was love, I chose a husband who wouldn't belittle me or beat me, who didn't drink or do drugs, I chose a life I had always dreamed of. My extended family is still not what I had dreamed it would be, and I still envy the people who have a father in their life, and a mother who is all there. But, I have half of my dream come true, I have a husband who loves me and would never hurt our children the way my parents hurt me.

But I never imagined there would be no children. I have survived these past few years on sheer determination- because I knew I would become a mother, somehow. I never once thought, "I've survived without children this long, so I know I can survive living child-free if it comes down to it." Never once. Because on this subject, I know, I would not be content. Survive, maybe, but be content with my life... never.

With infertility and losses, every day, you have to come face to face with what you don't have- the one thing in life that you don't even know if you will ever have. I go to the store, I see women with their children fussing. I see women clinging to their babies in the shelter, trying to do the right thing. I hear them laughing outside my living room window. Yelling down the street at the park. I see facebo.ok updates, cards in the mail, on the television, magazines... I remember at the winter holidays that it's time once again to go to the toy section. I pass all the children, screaming in a tantrum and laughing with happiness. Our cart is one of the few that is childless. Our hearts heavy with sadness and confusion and longing.

Every day I am reminded of what I do not have. I am reminded that I may never have it. I've fought this battle for a long time, I've been through a lot. I can not find solace in my age, in my possibilities, in science, in faith. There is no solace here. There is no resolution. There isn't even any strength left on most days. Almost three years of waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

This year, for the first time, there is no waiting. There is no hoping.
There are just memories of what almost was, but wasn't.

While part of me relishes in the idea of being free for a short while, part of me withers. It grows more bitter, and angry, and sad. My heart both sighs with relief, and with longing.

I keep reminding myself that one day, somehow, I will be a mother. But the longer this path continues, the quieter that reminder gets. The winter of my life grows colder, and colder, just like the weather outside my house. Except, the weather outside, I know it will change. I know that come spring, the sun will shine again. I'm not sure that I can say the same for this winter of my soul anymore.

The thing about this grieving, is that you can not turn it off. It comes at you from all sides, sometimes ebbing and sometimes flowing freely, even when you least expect it. It carries with it the weight of a thousand winters. The ice that encases your heart, you know it may one day melt. But it does so slowly, as brief stints of sunshine break through, but then obscure almost as quickly. It melts so slowly, that at times, you doubt it's thinning at all. Eventually you begin to doubt the very sunshine. How can it exist when everything around you is still frozen, your heart still layered in this frigid ice? What is happiness amidst such grief? You know it's there, but some days, you just can't feel it.

Every day you are reminded of the life you've never had.
The life you haven't had yet.

And it is that little clarifyer that many of us unfortunately end up struggling with.
When we turn our "when we have children" into "if we have children".

Some days, when we've had too many reminders, it's easy to let go of faith.
And sometimes, we have no choice. We have to, for our own salvation. Sometimes we have to acknowledge that we might never become parents, even if we end up screaming at the top of our lungs at the thought. It doesn't make anyone weak for acknowledging that they might not survive this the way they hoped they would. For some of us, it's being realistic. For some of us, it's the first step to finally healing, to finally resolving our infertility. For others of us, it's a necessary consideration. It's hard to move on to another option when you're still caught in the snares of, "well, if we just try this", "one more cycle"... It's hard to consider that even adoption is not a guarantee, that it can take years to adopt... more waiting, more money, more turmoil and uncertainty. It's hard to face these things, and even harder when people come at you left and right, and tell you that you shouldn't "give up", they tell you to buck up because they or someone they know went through this longer than you, went through more pain and spent more money, and it worked for them- that is not always what we need to hear. Sometimes we just need to hear, "It's okay. Whatever you decide we will support you."

Sometimes in life, we have limited choices. Sometimes our choices are made for us. Sometimes external factors play into what we do, and sometimes internal factors kick in. We each have our own limits, our own clarifiers for our decision making processes. We each know how much more our hearts can take before breaking. It doesn't make us weak, it certainly doesn't make us quitters.

Most people don't understand the full extent of what I've been through in my life. Even I am just now beginning to realize just how much damage, and just how much resistance, my life has given me. But in this struggle, facing it every day, it has taken a toll that I never imagined possible. My body, my mind, my heart, have been heavily taxed. My options are starting to dwindle. No matter what, the only thing I'm guaranteed here, is more time waiting for the sun to shine. More time wondering if I'll ever feel the sun again. Wondering when exactly enough, is enough. And if I've already passed the limit, or if I only think I have. When, or even if, this ice will finally melt.