Our infertiity and infant loss journey began here...
In early February 2014, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with uterine cancer during preparations for our last frozen embryo transfer (FET). For now, the "daily dose" has changed to chemo pills but the journey continues on.
I started today with my first-ever mammogram. In celebration, I served pancakes for dinner. (get it?). Nothing like a mammogram to close out 2011! I guess it's fitting because I'm really ready to kick this year to the curb.
As in... Adios. Au revior. Ciao. Auf Wiedersehen. Tata. Sayonara. Salaam. Or as my dad's paisanos say in Scotland - Cheerio. Mr. Thompson would say "y'all come back now" with all his Texan charm...but like every woman on pro.gesterone, I prefer something a little more gritty with "kiss my (ahem)".
It's going to be one heck of a going-out party on Saturday night. My sister always pays homage to a celebrity who has died and this year we will have a lot of fun at the expense of Elizabeth.Taylor (may she rest in peace). I can guarantee that Liz's seven husbands will be paying visits all night to my brother-in-law who will be dressed in drag, draped in white diamonds and a cloud of stinky perfume. Too funny.
I will of course be providing all of the confetti for the occasion.
It's a little tradition I have every New Years Eve as I park myself (and my passel of nieces and nephews) in front of the paper shredder with a stack of blank paper and colored crayons. My cohorts and I (who look forward to this every year) then proceed to draw pictures of all the things from the year prior to which we are bidding good riddance. When everyone is done with their pile we ceremoniously present to the jeering group and shred away.
When midnight strikes that is what we toss it high into the midnight air and kiss it all goodbye (in 50 different languages, of course).
Very messy....and very fun. Cheap therapy.
Poor Mrs. Cox from my niece's daycare has been on the list every year. So has her wart. We've shred bullies, spanking parents and 3rd grade boys who don't check "yes" on the "will you be my boyfriend?" box. As for me, pictures of Mr. Thompson jabbing needles into body parts and fat checks to the fertility clinic have made the mix year after year. So have empty cribs and words like failure. Thanks to 2011's final IVF drama, the confetti should be especially good this year.
Birth control into the new year... daily shots... learning new terms like "pearl necklace" and "kissing ovaries"... 3 years of eggs harvested in 30 days (31 retrieved, 26 fertilized and only two that survived)... hyer-stimulation... bed rest... the transfer that didn't happen (thanks to OHSS)... disappointment in having to put two perfect Day 5 blastocysts into the freezer... daily dates with my feet in the air... drained abdomen and drained savings... FET failure... a doctor's disappointment... losing hope over a last chance... and all the self-doubt and sadness that tried to creep in afterwards.
Despite all of my excitement going into last year, there were definitely some challenges once I got there. So after I throw my confetti high into the sky, I think that my New Year's resolution will be to close the door and not look back on Any. Of. It.
Christmas was good in the Thompson household. Low-key and filled with love - just how I like it!
Mr. Thompson took me ice skating to a really neat outdoor rink on Friday night which was romantic and just what I needed. After we had skated a while we sat down to rest and he asked me what was wrong, why I was so different this holiday season from previous years. I finally choked out how I was feeling about three-year-olds at Christmas, ongoing "barrenness", and blah-blah-blah. He wiped my tears as I explained how I just miss our son - that little boy we had...yet never had...and with Nat King Cole crooning over the loudspeaker and Christmas lights twinkling all around, he just held me while I sat on the sidelines of a public ice skating rink and let the tears spill out.
Sometimes, I guess we don't get to pick the location of our release.
If I was giving an honest confession - I'd tell you that it felt really good to finally let it go even though there were a gazillion people around and the tears were freezing on my face (note to self: Mr. Thompson is right - don't hold things in for so long. Life is better when you let it happen as it happens). I'm sure we were quite the sight...but it felt good to finally get it out so who cares, right?! Five minutes later I was back on the ice feeling happy and light again.
Until a kid cut me off and made me bite it. Hard. (I may need a hip replacement and have a ton of bruises as proof).
And that was that. Saturday morning we woke up to holiday cheer as Little Brother decided to surprise us from Camp Pendleton. The Lonely Marine didn't want to spend a lonely holiday on a lonely military base so he jumped in his car and made the long drive north. I couldn't have been more thrilled as it never feels quite right without him. I love that kid.
We congregated at my sister's house where Little Brother made yummy prime rib for Christmas Eve which put all ten of us into a 12-hour food coma. Seriously, if you want the trick for making kids sleep in...serve them prime rib the night before! We didn't wake up until 10am on Christmas morning which was pretty good considering that there were kids who would have slept until noon if we let them. Not bad since my siblings and I used to sit on the stairs at 4:00am on Christmas morning impatiently waiting to see Santa's loot! I'll consider myself lucky for the extra sleep.
And then it was games and more great food for another two days....which will all be repeated again this Friday starting at 5:00pm sharp.
Little Brother will come back to town... we'll have more prime rib (an adults request!)... more food comas... more games... more late nights...and even later mornings... more laughter... and a whole lot more love.
But definitely no tears. I'm done with that.
For now. (Anyone else feel bipolar this holiday season?! I can't keep up with even myself these days. Here's to less highs and lows in 2012!)
After I wrote the last post, I didn’t go to the cemetery.Instead….
I went to the VA Hospital.
My new position at work includes managing our Services.to.the.Armed.Forces.Every year at this time we administer a program called “Holiday For Heroes” in which people all across American send us holiday cards to be distributed to service members, including veterans.For weeks my staff and volunteers have been going up to the VA hospital to distribute holiday cards.Day-after-day they have returned with wonderful experiences.
Yesterday, my Casework Specialist came to me because she found a big bundle of cards which had been forgotten.Being a few days before Christmas there weren’t any volunteers scheduled so I told her we’d go up and get it done together.When we arrived at the hospital she started handing them out at the entrance to the vets but I quickly told her that wasn’t how I wanted to distribute the remaining cards.
Why not pass them out on the patient floors to the people who would be spending the holiday in the hospital?She got a panicked look on her face and said that they hadn’t been allowed access to those floors. I told her to follow me and set about my business.
Over the course of the next 5 hours there wasn’t any part of the hospital that was off limits to us.We went to all the inpatient rooms.We went to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.We were escorted through the Medical Intensive Care Unit.The spirit was infectious and we eventually received permission and encouragement from VA staff to go anywhere we wanted to go.We sang Christmas Carols to patients who had breathing tubes, hugged patients who were immobile, and the stroked hands of men who were so incapacitated that they couldn’t do anything but speak with their eyes.We read cards to those who couldn’t on their own and had relaxing conversation with old men from WWII to young men from Iraq and Afghanistan. In one room we spent time with a young man who had an amputation last week after barely making it home from Afghanistan alive. In another room we caused a fight between a Marine, Sailor (Navy) and pilot (Air Force) that had us all laughing so hard that I thought someone was going to die.
In short, it was the best experience of my life.
These men (and women) are the best that American has to offer and many of them are sitting all alone in a Veterans Hospital this holiday season.I can’t tell you how many told us that the card we gave them was the only Christmas card they would receive.There was no tinsel, trees, or stockings anywhere but there were two girls who were determined to spread a little holiday cheer on behalf of the generous American people.As I was reading cards I realized that many of them in our forgotten bundle were from a 92 year old woman in Miami, Florida named Eleanor.
I don’t know who Eleanor is but I wish I could tell her what she accomplished with all of her heartfelt holiday cards.Each was different and had a personal thought.She spoke about Santa, believing, and being away from those you love the most.She was an angel and from her heart…to mine…we touched the most brave and noble. I don't think it was a coincidence that those are the forgotten cards that eventually made it to the patient floors.
One gruff veteran choked back tears as he told us it was his birthday.A birthday that everyone had forgotten until we started singing an impromptu “Happy Birthday” that staff and other veterans quickly joined in on.
The moral of the story is this: Last night I had planned on crying over a little grave.Instead, I got a much better release as I shed tears at the bedsides of American soldiers.It was great reminders that when you are struggling or sad…you should always forget yourself, and go to work.
Do you know how magical three-year-olds are at Christmas?
Which is why I want nothing other than to go to the cemetery and stand over a tiny grave so I can bawl my eyes out. For everything that was...and everything that is not...and everything that may never be.
To be honest, this is why I'm having a hard time getting into the spirit this year. For the pure joy of three year olds at Christmas, I seem to be mourning more than I ever have before at this time of year.Usually when I feel this way, I know that I need to make a trip to the cemetery.
I kneel down, have a good cry, pick myself up, and then dust myself off.
I was feeling a little sad yesterday over all the hope I had last year for this Christmas so I went back and read some old Christmas posts. This one on Christmas Miracles (click to view) is worth sharing over... And over... And over again.
I love it because my mother loves it...just like her mother loves it...and on and on the tradition goes through a heritage rich in holiday spirit. When I close my eyes I can still feel all of the magical sights and smells of my own memories.
...Treks through the mountainous Christmas Tree Farm in eastern Oregon in our search for the perfect blue spruce (because they have the best needles). The children's tree in our downstairs Family Room complete with a circling train, homemade ornaments and old-fashioned bubble lights. Standing in awe of mother's beautiful tree upstairs as it stood in front of our large picture window. Coming down Wilson Lane and seeing the lights on that tree as a faint beacon at the end. Taffy pulls, homemade wassail and gingerbread houses. Peeking out my frost-covered bedroom window watching my dad's tractor leave to go dig out neighbors from the fresh fallen snow. Excitiment in knowing that he'd pile that snow really high so we could have slides, snow caves and ice forts. Licking the spoon after a deliriously good batch of mom's fudge. Dressing dad as "Elfonso the Elf" and going with him to deliver huge loaves of dutch oven bread to all our friends. Butter toffee and peanut brittle. Sleds and horse-drawn sleighs. Hookibobs up the lane with nothing but a good pair of worn-out shoes and cold hands holding onto the rear car bumper for dear life. Mistletoe. Clam chowder and children's nativity plays. The Christmas Book. Caroling with Elfonso who always sang really loud and out of tune. The softness of new flannel pajamas. Sleeping in the same bed with all of my siblings and hearing the faint jingle of outside bells as we finally drifted off to sleep. Waking up a few hours later and running to the stairs where we would line up in our birth order - youngest to oldest. Waiting... waiting... waiting... and never appreciating that it was still before 6am which meant that my dad had to leave to milk our gazillion dairy cows before 4am. Jealousy over my older brothers who got to help him because they were able to see the sooty evidence by the fireplace first. Watching the sun come up and squeeling in delight when the boot stomps finally came at the back door, signaling that it was time. Raindeer tracks and scattered hay as evidence in the snow outside.
Which is the reason I have always loved this time of year. We were old fashioned. We were homemade. We were seeped in tradition. And spirit. And laughter. And love.
So I'll confess: I haven't really been feeling any of that this year. With a very busy job transition and disgust over people pepper-spraying each other over a few bucks savings (which we now clammer for on Thanksgiving Day!)... I honestly considered forgetting Christmas this year. Until I laid under my $44 Cost.co Christmas Tree at 5:30am this morning and remembered all of the magic of my growing years. Those memories reminded me what it was all about and thankfully, something that was dormant in 2011 finally woke up. My tree isn't from a mountainous trek made by me, nor is it a blue spruce or perfect in shape (because I couldn't even see it until I brought it home and unfurled it)...but the smells are the same.
And the feeling returned.
My heart that was three sizes too small...grew...and it grew...and it grew. So I made a cup of wassail from a can (reminder to self: get the recipe from mom). I turned on music. I added ornaments. I nibbled on fudge from mom's 10th batch last Wednesday. I watched the sunrise and thought of my dad who is 500 miles away and still working in the pre-dawn December cold. Although he isn't milking cows or shoveling snow (by hand this year)...he's up and at it - 100% guaranteed. I'm pretty sure that my mom will keep baking goodies all weekend and Elfonso will start making his trips across town.
Which means I better start baking too.
Think I can convince Mr. Thompson to dress up in an Alfie costume?
I'm not a Wiccan but I think that they may have something with the "Rule of Three". Here's the proof:
The Three Stooges
The Three Pigs
Three Blind Mice
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Three Wise Men
To my knowledge none of them were Wiccan either but they all give good (and sometimes not-so-good) evidence to the Rule of Three. This is why I should have been very suspicious when my two sisters announced their pregnancies. I should have known that one more announcement would be around the corner.
And it came.
Even though it wasn't my good news, it did come from someone else that I dearly love. Dearly, I say. Maybe even the dearest (aside from Mr. Thompson) which is why I am blissfully happy for this person, while secretly oh-so sad for me.
To add salt to the wound, I had to take a pregnancy test for what has to be the gazillionth time. It is in moments like these that I'm 100% positive that God has a sense of humor. It's Day 44 of an every lengthening norm. I didn't want to take the test but Dr. H's nurse wouldn't give me a prescription to reboot my system without it (just in case). So I did (just in case). Negative results on the same day as an unexpected third announcement.
Which brings me back to the "Rule of Three". With this latest rash of announcements I propose that it become the "Rule of Five" since all three of the lucky announcers are going from four kids...to five. Let's chalk that up as a new trend and take heart that there will be two more happy announcements this holiday season. I sincerely hope that it's from two of my very deserving IF peeps who get a Christmas miracle.
Today, I spent five hours hanging out at a fire scene with a bunch of firemen. Cute fireman. Oh... I can't even begin to tell you how good it feels to be back "home" in my dream job. The things that I love and the job that I'm good at.
After we were all wrapped up the Fire Department Investigator came up to me and told me how grateful he was for me - that he was sure I hadn't heard that for a while. He had no idea how right he was! I almost planted a big wet kiss on his lips out of sheer joy.
I feel soooooo good right now.
It made me realize that the only thing worse than being in the wrong job for 7 1/2 years...is being in the wrong job for 7 1/2 years and one day!
And for the life of me I can not figure out why I have turned this position down three times in the past. Note to self: You can't put a price on job satisfaction!
Blossom where you are meant to be planted. As for me, Emergency.Services Management is definately where I was meant to be planted.
It's as simple as that. Yesterday was a big day for me as I ended one chapter to begin another. In the quiet moments of the day there were simple reminders from cherished friends and fellow bloggers that...
Life gets hard. Really hard. For all of us... and in all those hardships it is sometimes easy to lose sight of all of the beauty around us. The blessings, for which I personally have many.
Like many of you, there have been high hopes. During a season of "Believe" we turn our hearts and our minds to the possibilities of a grown up Christmas list. Last year at this time, I was going into my "last" IVF cycle with the hope that there would finally be a baby for this year's Christmas Nativity play. That didn't work out but you know what?....
Because, I can do hard things.
Christmas is magical. Simply magical. And I don't want to miss out on another moment of magic with the distraction of have-nots. Have-nots hurt us all, until we realize that we all have them.
I don't have a children... but my neighbor doesn't have a job. A dear family friend lost her family, a husband and three sons, in a horrible car accident. A best friend is preparing her three month-old daughter for a second open-heart surgery on a wing and a prayer (wings of angels/prayers of many).
My issues pale in comparison.
Especially considering that what I do have... is Max - my adorable two year old nephew who is going to make the best baby Jesus for the second year in a row in this year's Nativity (unless I can convince him to be a dog with a broken antler.) He will be next to his cousin Dalyn - the funniest little six year old who instead of a Shepard will probably turn into "Bo-Bo" the sheepdog.
Infertility stinks, along with all of life's difficulties... but I'm ready to rewrite the next chapter of my life starting with a little holiday magic.
She didn't get my Thanksgiving "Grinch" post and needed to remind me how awesome my pregnant sisters are. I smiled and told her that I didn't need to be reminded because my sisters are three of the very best things in my life. We stick together.
So she inquired about my "lapped" comment...
And I had to remind her about this (click to read) post. You know....the "Finishing The Race" post that I wrote which reflected on the brief (very brief) time that I was a Junior High track star. The time that I sprinted out of the gate and led the race...
Until I remembered about 1/2 a lap into it that I was a Sprinter running a distance race.
As a result, I got "lapped". Over. And over. And over. And over...again. This was the moment that I redefined the term "dead last" and I haven't forgotten it.
Now what does that have to do with fat thighs?... (put your seat belt on)
I have seven (yes, seven) siblings and I am incredibly close to each one of them (gasp, shock, awe!) We stick together! Four boys - four girls and I'm the middle child... so I'm like Switzerland on neutral ground. My oldest brother is 10 years older...my youngest brother is 10 years younger. My parents are amazing because in addition to eight children, they also took in a boy from the foster program and a girl with the Native American Indian Replacement Program. So technically...I guess that makes nine siblings. (Sounds crazy I know, but really it wasn't. I promise.)
As you can guess, my mom was/is a rock star. My dad too because as a Farmer he worked really hard to make sure I could wear my designer jeans in High School (did I mention that Switzerland can sometimes have expensive tastes?)? We were not poor and were never neglected - we just have a big fat family that has done my Scottish ancestors proud. My parents will be married 50 years next year which is a feat in-and-of itself. They raised us all to be productive members of society, which was another feat.
With those seven blood siblings...I have 23 (soon to be 25) neices and nephews. My oldest sister is four years older and has eight kids. My second oldest sister is two years older and has 4 (soon to be five) kids. My youngest sister is seven years younger and has four (soon to be five) kids.
Did I mention my mom had eight kids?
Which occasionally always makes me wonder what the crap is wrong with me! Obviously my gene pool is good so it has to be something else. I don't know.
Except this I do know...being lapped has nothing to do with them...and everything to do with me. My family has never given me anything but love and support and I've never interpreted their gain as my loss. They love me - I love them and Thankgiving wasn't awkward in the least because it could never be that way between us. We love each other too much. Our family is all about family, which sometimes makes it hard for me in a way than no one in my family can really understand or relate to.
You can only understand it when you've lost a baby. Or struggled a long time to be a mom.
Or have finished a race as people were laughing or leaving the bleachers.
Four more days. Four. And then I move on professionally.
To say that it's a mixed bag of emotions is an understatement. I've worked for the same non-profit for going on fourteen years. During that time, I've always given it 150% of everything I have including my blood, sweat and tears. This won't change as I return to disaster relief and Emergency Services management. Mr. Thompson is going on fifteen years with the same organization so it became a family affair as we met and married. It's more than just a job to us - helping people is who we are and what we do.
Despite the ulcers. (He had one when we met).
Which is what led me to see my general practitioner last Wednesday for the first time in almost five years. Holy Cow, I didn't realize that little detail until this trusty old (dare I say "grandfatherly") family doctor was reviewing my medical chart out loud. He gave me the original diagnoses of infertility and referred me to my OB/GYN in early 2007...so there was a lot to catch up on. The infant loss that eventually resulted...the 3 1/2 years of continued infertility that followed still...and everything in between.
He asked a lot of questions, made a lot of notes, eventually got up to feel my angry belly...and said, "it's no wonder you have an ulcer" and then proceeded to lecture me on stress management. He poked holes into my "just put your big girl panties on and deal with it" self management theory.
Seems that theory isn't working too well for me now days.
And I must say, this return to basic medical concepts brought some much needed perspective (not to mention cholesterol and blood sugar tests no thanks to my trusty comfort foods). I've seen some of the best OB/GYN, High Risk Pregnancy Specialist and Reproductive Endocrinologists in the last five years. I've had A LOT of very expensive procedures and treatments. But this old-school doctor (who still uses a wooden tongue depressor and flashlight thingy to look down your throat) reminded me that sometimes you just need to take a break to pause and reevaluate the size of your "big girl panties".
Seems mine got all stretched out and became bigger than I ever wanted...with the extra baggage that quietly crept on over the years (like all extra weight does).
I bought into his advice even more today as I was explaining to my boss during our transition meeting what the last three weeks have been like. At first, I had a hard time letting go and the pressure stayed. But gradually, I learned to relax little-by-little as I'd force myself to pause and release. I very literally had to keep reminding myself at every point that these headaches aren't mine to carry any more....which has "Wallah!" made the headaches magically go away (novel concept - eh?!)! My shoulders have learned to relax again, my mind has learned to not take it on and let it all go, and my spirit is very literally breaking free.
Amazing as it sounds, I've physically felt a serious change happening to me (which feels oh so good!). This has been such a good exercise for me in how to re-balance your life. Not five minutes after I left that meeting, a staff member from another department saw me walking across our warehouse with a smile on my face and put his arms in the air for a touchdown and shouted really loud "Yay - [Mrs. Thompson] is back!". Funny, I honestly hadn't realized that I'd been gone.
No wonder I've been infertile.
My "big girl panties" got stretched out without me even realizing it. Time for a new (dare I say, more sexy) pair.
When I met Mr. Thompson...he had an ulcer. A bad ulcer. We lovingly called it "Trevor"...and he (Trevor) frequently got in the way of our courtship with "his" aggravating behavior. Trevor was definitely a third-wheel in our budding relationship.
Fast forward to today. I have an ulcer. A bad ulcer. An ulcer that Mr. Thompson and I, not-so lovingly, call the name of someone who is causing me a lot of grief right now. A lot of grief. Without conscience or integrity. Without ethics, maturity or a moral compass to navigate them into doing what's right. My ulcer (we'll call "it" for now) back-bites, smiles at my face while stabbing me in the back, doesn't assume the best and continually tries to undermine and turn people against me. "It" is hard to manage, because frankly, who can manage someone without ethics?
Which is why I was laying in bed at 4:00am this morning with tears running down my face. "It" hurts my stomach so darn much... and is really getting in my way with it's aggravating behavior.
Hopefully the doctor will fix me up really nice today. Along with the shoulder that I jacked up two months ago when I fell down the stairs. (note to self: when you tear something...it doesn't just go away).
If I feel brave...I'll ask the Doctor if he can also fix the fact that I'm spending Thanksgiving with two newly pregnant women who just announced that they have "lapped" me again. I love these women dearly...
I wish that you could have seen me last night. Working in the dark like a mad woman. For three months I have been putting off the whole "winterization" idea. What can I say? Weather has been abnormally nice.
When it wants to be.
For over a month it has been blue skies and nice temps Monday - Friday...but come Saturday the weather conspires against me with rain. Since I knew it was going to be nice again on Monday morning I kept putting off my backyard projects.
Dig up gladiolus
Uproot dead veggies
Clean up garden
Dump flower pots
Take down $350 hammock before it gets ruined
Take down umbrella
Put away patio furniture
Move BBQ into garage
Put away all the terra-cotta
Clean out garage.
You catch my drift. A lot to do. And every Saturday since the beginning of October has come and gone. Making me really mad about my unplanted tulips because I'm on a quest to be a Master Gardner. (If you would have seen my beautiful Zenias which sat in a vase on my table from September 19 - November 10 you would understand. I proved worthy because what cut flowers last two months without drooping or dying?!)
Anyway. I digress.
During blue skies (and there have been a lot of them), I have neglected my chores because it is too dark by the time I get home. Weekend projects don't get done because of stormy skies.
So last night as the little GPS lady in my car said, "Warning - winter alert in your area!" I knew it was time. There would be no more Saturdays. I rushed to arrive home by 5:30pm, put on my U.S. Marine sweat suit and went to work.
In the dark. Off of 2 hours of sleep from the night morning before thanks to Breaking Dawn.
Dig up gladiolus. Check.
Uproot dead veggies. Check.
Clean up garden area. Check.
Dump flower pots. Check.
Take down $350 hammock before it gets ruined. Check (barely).
Spill Mr. Thompson's ratchets toolset on the lawn, in the dark. Check.
Spend 1/2 hour trying to find all the little pieces with a $3 flashlight. Double check. Move Drag 5,000 pound packaged hammock box to garage. Check.
Break back while doing it. Check.
Take down umbrella. Check.
Put away patio furniture. Check. Move Drag BBQ to garage. Check. Move Drag 5,000 pound big terra-cotta pots to the garden area. Check.
Struggle to empty them. Check.
Break back while doing it. Check.
Struggle to move drag lightened 1,000 pound huge terra-cotta pots to garage. Check.
Crack one because it was too heavy and dropped. Check.
Try to figure out how everything is going to fit in garage. Check.
Be sure not to breath on scratch the blessed motorcycle while doing it. Double check.
The one job I needed to do...wanted to do...HAD to do.....I couldn't do. It was 9:00pm and my $3 flashlight was dying. So there I stood, frozen, in the dark, with a broken back and all of my winterization projects complete (minus the tulips) when Mr. Thompson finally arrived home for the day. By this time snow was falling and as he got out of the car he looked at me in my Marine sweat suit and said...
"I see you're all relaxed. What have you been doing all night?"
Confession: I'm going to see Breaking Dawn at midnight.
I know - I know...but hear me out on this....
I've never experienced a movie premier before. Ever. After 37 years, it's time. Doncha' think?
I'm also going with new friends which is exciting. Neighbors actually and since they are younger and definitely more hip, I'm just grateful to be invited.
It's actually a big step for me as I'm trying to be more social. And since I'm usually in bed and asleep by 9:30 each night, I just hope that I'll be awake long enough to see Edward break the marriage bed.
That's the part of the movie preview that stood out to me and I'll be honest - it looked cheesy. But these younger..definately more hip... friendly neighbors of mine have promised that it will be anything but cheesy.
They promised clapping at the end.
Clapping I say. Perhaps my own? We'll see.
I might be clapping at 2am but I can guarantee I won't be clapping at 8am...I find that a resignation makes me want to occasionally say what every good manager can't.
Someone asked me how my career change is going to impact our family planning. An interesting question...
And the exact reason why I have turned down this same position three times over the last six years. I don't have the answers and I don't know how it is going to work out (hense the leap).
But it's time to find out.
With all the unknowns this is what I do know... I do know that my shoulders felt a lot lighter this last week. I do know that I smiled a lot more. I do know that Mr. Thompson was a lot less worried and concerned about me. I do know that when someone cried in my office I fondly remembered that emergency responders don't cry. Except out of empathy for others and then they go to work. I do know that there's no use going through IVF like we have, only to become a big stress ball (or bawl) because of exterior factors. I am a big believer in the theory that stress plays a role in infertility. It may not be the main reason, but it's a contributing factor. (Otherwise we wouldn't all be getting advice to "just relax" or "take a vacation".) I do know that it's time to "cut the fat" with stress and frustration in my life.
Don't get me wrong - there will be plenty of challenges in my new role. But it will be manageable. It's focused on a situation and not people. Put me in a disaster and I can manage it. Put me in a room full of people creating their own disaster and that is where I want to lose my mind.
And crazy as it sounds (I hope Mr. Thompson isn't reading this...), I am also a little relieved about the pay cut. We've been D.I.N.K (double income no kids) and have enjoyed my higher salary for our entire marriage. But in the back of my mind I've always wondered how we would adjust when a baby comes along. Now we get to test the waters a little bit with Mr. Thompson as the breadwinner. I get to prove to him that we can survive on a tighter budget...like we would if I was a mom. Because that's ultimately what I still want - to become a mom.
A mom who helps people and chases fire trucks. Like my mom did. I just get to do it officially... not of out of curiosity.
I have some framed art in my office that I look at each day. It looks like this...
..and although smaller in size, this same picture is on my refrigerator as a magnet. Between home and office I must look at this quote at least 10 times a day. It's one of my mantras..
Because I've done a lot of leaping in my life.
It started when I was a kid. As a hobby I would leap off of haystacks. When I grew a little bit older, I started leaping off of the house onto the trampoline with my brother. With a little more time, I discovered railroad bridges over rivers and 50 foot cliffs at Lake Powell.
I guess I learned to really love the leap!
When I was 18 I took a "leap" out of Idaho. When I was 21 I took a "leap" into New York City. When I was 31 I took another "leap" back to the west coast with the caution that I just might be committing career suicide. But I had three years of 9/11 disaster fatigue and made the leap anyway with the decision that if I was going to keep jumping, I might as well strap skis to my feet and do it in Utah where I'd be within 400 miles of my family.
Turns out "career suicide" wasn't too far off the mark. What does a Red.Cross/F.EMA Disaster Specialist do in Utah?! Not much....so I made the most out my jump and adjusted into another management direction with Blood.Services. Something lower key that pays more. Something comfortable that, for the most part, has served me well these last six years.
Which is why I took a long look at my framed quote this week and I turned in my resignation.
Turns out "for the most part" isn't enough for me. I'm ready for change and it's time to go back to doing what I love and loving what I do. For less pay, more hours, double the commute time, a different kind of job stress, no more carpool lanes with Mr. Thompson each day, three weeks of disaster deployment at a time....
Another leap. With the reminder that....
"When you have come to the edge of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be a net to catch you or you will be taught to fly." ~ Patrick Overton
Out of 59 page views since Tuesday....I can't believe that ONE person did not comment about how ugly Mr. Thompson's monkey shoes are.
You people are waaaay too nice. I tell him they are ugly at least twice a day.
Speaking of page views, I think it's time for a good ol' fashion Viva la Vida Roll Call. This is where you leave a comment with your location . You don't have to get specific if you don't want to...just leave us your state or Country.
(I have peeps in Quatar, St. Lucia and Croatia. Top that!)
As you are leaving Roll Call comment, you should know that I have a magnet on my fridge with all 50 US states on it. All but 11 of them are blacked out because it's on my Bucket List to one day have visited all 50. I'm close to reaching that goal and until I do...perhaps I can live vicariously through you - my peeps.
Canada, Austrailia, New Zealand and Iran (to meet my name source) are next.
I woke up at midnight to Mr. Thompson singing. Happy Birthday was his song of choice and it was sweet.
I woke up again at 9:00am to breakfast in bed. Even better.
A little while later he asked me to help him put on his monkey shoes. I obliged because he has problems with his pinkie toes...
These are his beloved birthday shoes and he wanted to wear them while he returned the favor...
(Personally, I think that I came out with the better deal.)
The day got even better when his surprises kept coming...with a new iPad 2. That Mr. Thompson - he certainly knows how to sing Happy Birthday!
For a little birthday humor he also went and bought me a pregnancy test. We figured that the Chinese might know something we don't when my birthday dinner fortune cookie read:
"Someone new is coming into your life to benefit the both of you."
Don't worry - the Chinese got it wrong. I'm just super late (again). But it certainly was a breath of fresh air when we both started laughing really hard at the negative results. We couldn't help but laugh ...
...the pregnancy test was made in China!
Viva la vida.
(but at least now I have a great pair of boots to wear as I kick inferility and my biological clock in the butt!)
My friend Tonya posted this recently and I think that it sums it up perfecting. It was written from the perspective of raising a child with disabilities...but I think that it fits so much more, including infertility, infant loss, and changed dreams of every kind. I hope that you can relate to it as well as we stop to feel the sunshine and smell the flowers...in Holland.
"I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."
Today I realized something important. Perhaps, the only thing that gets in my way is...
Self doubt. Stress. Negative body image. Have nots. Chocolate. Discouragement. Fear. Failure. Controllables. Uncontrollables.
Sometimes, I think that I am my own worst enemy. Sometimes, I'm sure that I even act like it. That realization struck me as I was laying in bed cuddling with Mr. Thompson. It came in the simple act of him reaching over and kissing me on the forehead with the faintest whisper of, "I think that you'd be a really good mom."
That out-of-the-blue validation was earth shattering for me.
Because I realized that maybe I've never felt that within myself. Not really. I've always felt quite inept and totally unworthy of motherhood. Which is probably why this whole process is necessary for me.
For almost five years I've thought that this journey was about getting my body to conform and bend to my will. Perhaps the real lesson is about how to find grace and effectively remove stumbling blocks from my path. Heaven knows, life has plenty of them. If you let it...
and perhaps I have.
With a diagnosis called "infertility" and an experience called "infant loss".
So as I write the next chapter of my life, I'm going to try to move that stumbling block out of my way. If I'm going to be "in" anything, let it be...
Most of you know that I'm a huge supporter of Share, a wonderful non-profit that helped us through a difficult time.
In honor of International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day on Saturday, October 15th, don't forget our National Walk of Remembrance and Hope. For those in the Greater Salt Lake City area it is scheduled at 1:00pm. Click here for more details. For those outside of SLC, go here for Share walks across the nation.
Also, don't forget the International Wave of Light at 7:00pm across all time zones. Light a candle (your time zone) and keep it burning for one hour for a continous Wave of Light across the world. Let us always remember these little ones and their spirit that lives within us all.
A pretty bold statement because I have had some amazing days throughout the course of my life. Yesterday topped them all.
I love my Mr. Thompson. Forever. Something indescribably happened when we knelt down and held hands across the alter, renewing our vows to each other as we extended them beyond "until death you do part".
It was a beautiful moment that surpassed my wildest imaginings.
There was a moment when a sweet friend of my grandmother took me to the Bride's Dressing Room and stood me in front of two mirrors which were placed facing each other on opposing walls. As she pointed me towards one mirror, the reflection from the other mirror was extended beyond what my eyes could see. As I looked into what looked like infinity she said, "This is for your yesterdays. A reflection of all the wonderful moments that are behind you."
Then she turned me around to the other mirror and as I gazed in the reflection which was also extended beyond what my eyes could see, she said, "This if for all of your tomorrows. A reflection of all the wonderful moments that will yet be."
Such a lovely thought.
As Mr. Thompson and I were sealed together for time and all eternity there were a lot of incredible thoughts that went through my mind. One of the best was from a poem that my little sister sent me earlier that morning. She was with us in the hospital not long after Baby Colton was born and she has been saving it until this special day.
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair,
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.
“Now, don’t you go till I come,” he said,
“And don’t you make any noise!”
So toddling off to his trundle-bed
He dreamt of the pretty toys.
And as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue,—
Oh, the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face.
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through,
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue
Since he kissed them and put them there.
As I now turn away from the yesterdays and look towards the tomorrows there is a newfound peace and happiness inside me. I no longer have to worry and wonder about my Little Boy Blue.
The child we had, but never had, and yet will have forever.
It snowed today which was a repeat of yesterday. Big fat flakes. All morning. Which is crazy because it was 90 degrees last week. I think that winter is back...
I love this Making Babies book and highly recommend it. The "East meets West" medical concept is really quite fascinating from an infertility perspective. I have a sister who is very holistic and quite honestly, I've always thought she was a little off her rocker...until now.
I think I'm turning into a witch. With potions and stuff.
And I'm actually liking it...
Except for that Basal Body Temperature mumbo-jumbo. I can't make sense of that chart for the life of me. And I had to read the chapter on mucus five times and I still don't get it. I swear, there has got to be an easier all nat'ural way of figuring out your body's cycle...
Technically, I think that "all nat'ural "means you forget about it and move on.
At least for today. Tomorrow I'll feel something entirely different. When the sunshine comes back.
What can I say, I'm taking my split personality cues from Mother Nature.
It's a holistic thing.
In more interesting (or not so interesting news) - I'm on my way to Idaho. Every time I drive this desolate 3 hour stretch with nothing but mountains, tumbleweeds and a few random grazing cows...
I think of all my friends in NYC. Who are crammed like sardines in a can.
Once, a dear friend was visiting me in Utah and we took the drive to Idaho to see some of my family and he almost had a stroke because there was so much unused land in the USA that he had no idea about.
For a minute he wasn't a sardine.
And he liked it.
As for me, I kind of prefer the sardine life. But Mr. Thompson is from Texas and you know how those Texas boys are...
He wouldn't make it a day in NYC. Just the thought makes me laugh...
(This is where I break out in Donny and Marie. "He's a little bit country...I'm a little bit rock n' roll".)
I lost a peep.
(I think it's because I'm not funny anymore and I don't have anything creative or interesting to say. Hence, this pointless and random post. Sorry.)
So I'll leave you with this -
Tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life. As a way of celebrating I've been singing Sugarland's "You and me baby we're stuck like glue..." song.
This morning I woke up with a long Saturday morning stretch....and then laid there in bed thinking about how blessed I am.
In one week something big is going to happen in my life. Something that I've waited five years for. Patiently waited because that's what you do when you love someone.
And I do love someone. A lot.
Like he loves me.
On a beautiful February 15th evening, we once stood on a sandy beach in Hawaii at sunset with some of our most cherished loved ones around us. At the time, not everyone could make the destination wedding trip which was hard for me, but understandable (I come from a big family!). I took comfort knowing that one day we would reach a far greater goal with all of our many loved ones around us.
Happily, that time has come.
On Saturday, October 8th, in Twin Falls, Idaho...Mr. Thompson will deliver on the promise that he made to me when he got down on his knee and asked for my hand in marriage. He proposed at the base of the majestic Salt Lake City LDS Temple where my grandparents got married on October 8, 1939, some 72 years ago. On bended knee, he told me that I could only say "yes" on the condition that I wouldn't ever give up on him- for however long it took. Because according to our own beliefs, one day we would do it right - with the right person, at the right time, in the right way.
I never gave up.
Neither did he.
So with a lot of preparation and excitement, my grandparent's anniversary will become our anniversary. Together, we will make our sacred covenants (promises) with God and each other through priesthood authority. Among these covenants is the opportunity for us, as husband and wife, to be sealed (married for eternity) with not only each other... but to our sweet little Colton. This means that if we keep our covenants with the Lord and each other, death cannot permanently separate us.
Water came out my mouth and nose at the same time today. And it hurt.
It happened while I was reading "Making Babies.." when I came to the section about acidity and baking soda douches. Yeah, you heard me right.
Baking soda. Down there.
I had to read it three times before I finally put the book down to wipe up all of the water.
What the same hill?!
I think that I've lost my ever-lovin' mind. Officially. I mean, I've tried a lot of crazy things in my day...but I think that I have to draw the line with that one.
But then again....if two doctors who have such a good track record of treating fertility issues (that people will fly in from all around the world to see them) say it works, it can't hurt to try. Right?!
Confession: Today, for a moment, I turned into Alice. Believing that it was ...impossible.
"It" being fertility.
I was having a normal day, doing normal things...catching up on one of my favorite blogs to find out how a fellow blogger's retrieval went. And that's when it hit me like a ton of bricks (again).
"It" being infertility.
I thought about the last five years. The highs and the lows. The peaks and the valleys. The faith and the fear. How you can go through even the most extreme procedures like IVF... multiple times...and still not have any guarantees?
Although we put it all to rest in June with those perfect blastocysts and our last IVF failure, I've been digging it up lately. You know, getting excited (and dare I say hopeful) about additional insurance coverage and what not. One. More.Time.
But today as I sat and remembered the journey, I wanted to run and hide.
To put it to rest and move on (again). Because this kind of disappointment isn't good for the soul. It makes you sad and crazy.
I wasn’t going to post this. I wrote it, and then intended to just let it sit in my draft folder. I wrote it for myself, something I do often.
So I’m not really sure why I’m hitting publish right now. But I am.
Sunday, September 11, 2012. I'm sitting in the back seat of a Red.Cross van headed to Idaho. It will be a three and a half hour drive with some of my department staff in the car with me. The Volunteer Services Supervisor that I helped hire as my replacement a few years ago as I promoted to the department Manager. The PR Manager. The Donor Recruitment Supervisor I added last October. Two of our Administrative staff.
Together, we are headed to Idaho for a regional conference.
Today is the ten year anniversary of an event that forever changed my life. For three very long years 9/11 consumed me. The response. The recovery. The casework supervision with the victim's compensation fund. My old life as a Disaster Specialist with Red.Cross and F.EMA. My work with Homeland.Security.
I came to Utah seven years ago to get away and take a year "off". To be closer to my west coast family and friends and apply the lessons of that terrible day and the three years that followed. To invest more into the personal relationships that matter most to me.
Seven years later I'm still here. Instead of that boy from Boston, I met and married Mr. Thompson. Instead of running around the country helping to manager disaster relief operations I settled into a different kind of job. It was never my intention to stay - but it just worked out that way. The snow was too great and I was just that tired.
And so as I sit in the backseat of this van headed on a road trip with a van full of people that I work with every day now...I realize that they have no idea who I am.
I don't mean that like I'm great. I mean who I am- at my core. As a person. What shaped me into who I am and motivates and inspires me every day of my life.
It started with one person asking the question, "Where were you when..."
And as it went from person to person...I tried to look busy on my computer and then just stared out the window a little sad. None of them have anything to do with Emergency Services. None of them even worked for Red.Cross at the time. They all lived in Utah. Not that that makes their experience any less...just different and it just tells me that they don't know who I am.
And this was the moment that I let myself be really sad - sad to my core - this anniversary. I haven't watched an ounce of TV so I haven't had to go there in my mind. I haven't thought about the Emergency Operation Center and how I felt when the mayor ordered 40,000 body bags. I haven't thought about the days that followed and of all those weary men and women who would wander into the Respite Center in the church across the street for water and a few minutes of peace from "The Pile". I haven't thought about all of those families and their stories that I would listen to as we'd work through the endless months (years even) of "casework". I haven't thought of the hands I held or the hugs I gave.
But today, I've strangely thought about the people who worked really hard next to me. A core group of people for whom I'll be bonded with forever. We rolled up our sleeves together and went to work.
Today, I miss my friends who wouldn't have had to ask where I was because they were there too...and who understand that deepest part of me.
When I called Dr. H last week to report that after taking the first month's dose, my "lady days" hadn't yet appeared....his instructions were to take a pregnancy test and then go into the second month's dose.
You all know the results of that.
So I started taking it again on Sept 1st....and here I am on Day 10 (of a 12 day dose) and I feel like crrrrap! It mimics all the symptoms of morning sickness and it sucks.
Because it's not. Y'all know that if you're going to have morning (afternoon and night) sickness - you better really have morning (afternoon and night) sickness!
I ventured to mow the lawn today and had to stop in the corner to "lose my lunch" on the fence. Funny stuff until my dog tried to lick it up.
Dumb Pro.vera. Dumb Dog.
And so I lay in my hammock trying to swat the fly that keeps buzzing around me. Dumb fly. I guess he knows that I didn't take a shower this morning.
Because I felt like crrrap.
Actually this hammock gig isn't so bad. I can smell my overgrown tomato bushes and freshly cut lawn and it feels peaceful.
I need peace. Tomorrow is 9/11 and for me that means a whole lot, plus some. I turned on the Evening News a few nights ago and listened to .05 seconds of some of the 911 calls that came in that day...and it took me back to that room.
Where the real calls came in.
What a day. What memories of the years and experiences that followed. What a glorious thing that today I'm laying here in my hammock smelling tomatoes and new grass...instead of sitting in an Emergency Operation Center trying to make tough decisions I'm not prepared to make, or a Respite Center across the street from a heaping "Pile" of trauma, or a Service Center with a loved one who just lost the most important person in their life. Dumb terrorists.
The lessons of 9/11 led me to where I am and althrough I sometimes miss my old town - my old job - my old friends - my old life ... I'll take my current situation any day. Even with the Pro.vera.
Cheers! (And don't forget to make who/what matters most - matter most. Right now. Today.)
A sorta, kinda, somewhat funny thing happened on Sunday. I was visiting my parents over the weekend and decided to go to church with them. After church my dad's sister (who we aren't very close to) rushed up to me and said, "it looks like great things are happening!". Having no idea what she was referring to I smiled and said, "well of course - good things are always happening!"
Then with a big grin on her face she asked me when I was due.
.. And that my dear peeps is the LAST time I will ever wear an empire waist dress.
I laughed if off but it was really awkward. To make up for it I told her I was going to start asking her instead of Mr. Thompson if my cloths make me look fat because obvioulsy they do. And to think I just spent $70 on that new dress....
I guess you win a few and lose a few, right?!
On a positive note, good things are happening in the Thompson household. On January 1st our company will change to a new health care provider and I received news on Friday that we get another $10,000 in infertility benefits.
In my world that means one more round of IVF (plus change).
Hope people - we have more hope! This also means that I have exactly four months to lose the 30 pounds I want to lose. Think I can do it?!
Thanks to my well intending Aunt Rama, it's a guarnatee!
When I was a kid I would ask a lot of question. When I say a lot...I mean A. Lot.
"Why is the sky blue?"
"Why do we have boogers?"
"Why do zebra's have stripes?"
"Why is there a leap year?"
"Why do cows jump on the backs of other cows?"
Without fail my father would always reply...."for shits and giggles".
Which is was my exact reply when Mr. Thompson asked me yesterday morning why I was taking a home pregnancy test.
"For shits and giggles."
What can I say, like father like daughter.
Dr. H had me start Pro.vera on the first day of last month to try to regulate my "lady days". When I started taking on August 1st I had already started my cycle so it made sense. Knowing that I was supposed to start the second round on September 1st, I was a little surprised when my "lady days" hadn't shown up by cycle day 39. So much for regulation.
Which meant one of two things:
Miracle of all miracles!
The Pro.vera didn't work
So I thought I would be bold and brave and rule out #1. (Which I did). When Mr. Thompson questioned my sanity I told him it was all "for shits and giggles:" because frankly, I enjoy the torture.
Show me one infertile person who enjoys taking pregnancy tests and I'll show you a mental institution.
And yes, I cried when I got the negative results. I do it every time because although I know what the outcome will be...I'm still a creature of hope. Stupid, I know...but I never said it made sense.
That's why it's called infertility.
Nothing about it makes sense. Nothing. Even if it is "for shits and giggles".
Viva la Vida was last on multiple favorite lists because my posts are so old. Which would put me last.
It seems that if you fall asleep for a few days (six to be exact)...the blogsphere will pass you by. You know how I feel about getting "lapped" from my prior (old) post so I guess I better get my fingers moving again.
Where to start?....
What to say?...
Let me see....
Okay. Let me just be honest. I haven't been blogging much because for the last 72 days, 10 hours, 32 minutes and 17 seconds...I've been busy. Really. Really. Really. Busy. Trying to figure out how to manipulate my husband.
There. I said it.
You heard me right - I want to manipulate Mr. Thompson. Shameful, I know... but oh-so true.
Like every longstanding infertile, I've been plotting....planning...and scheming ways to keep my dearly beloved in the ring and fighting infertility a little longer. Although we predetermined, as a tag-teaming duo, at what point we were going to throw in the towel...I've decided that I'm not ready to admit defeat. I'm not ready to give up the fight.
In my defense - I've been trying...honestly trying...to be content with a family of two. But as hard as I try to forget a family of three (or four, or five...) my mind starts working in overdrive to remember it. After nearly five years, too many negative pregnancy tests to count, round after round of IUIs, round after round of IVF...and every treatment option and scenario in between...I'm not quite ready to admit defeat.
According to the rules of boxing there are four ways to win;
If the opponent is knocked out and unable to get up before the referee counts to ten seconds (a knockout or KO)
If the opponent is deemed too injured to continue (a technical knockout, or TKO)
If an opponent is disqualified for breaking a rule
If there is no stoppage of the fight before an agreed number of rounds, a winner is determined either by the referee's decision or by judges' scorecards
#4 is the one that gets me. It's that whole "agreed number of rounds" thing. Which is why I need to resort to manipulation. Or something.
Or maybe not.
After twisting my little mind with ways to get Mr. Thompson up off the floor before we get disqualified...I have learned two things.
Once upon a time there were 15 rounds in boxing instead of 12.
I just found out that our insurance carrier is changing at work (which was actually #28 on my list of how we can keep hope burning alive) ...so you know what this may mean, right?!
More infertility coverage!
(and I won't even have to manipulate after all - merely convince.)
This is what I want to remember today. It's from the recently published book by Laura Bush:
The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not...
But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives.
Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?
Yes, you heard me right. A Track Star. As in Track and Field.
The Time: 1990
The Place: "Nappy, I-Dee-Ho" (as my New York chums call my hometown)
The Scene: The infamous Bulldog Bowl - the stadium where "Nappy" high school dreams were made.
It was like a scene from Chariots of Fire. Except the fact that I hadn't ever run track before....and that I wasn't on a beach.
I was in Bulldog Bowl.
Looking good and feeling good in my new "Nappy" High School track shorts and tank top. One thing about citizens of my hometown - they always filled up the high school stadium. So there I was...on the starting line for the first time, in front of a crowd of people, feeling a whole lot of anticipation and anxiety
And off I went. Really fast. Really - Really - REALLY fast. Surprising even myself by how fast I could run. I distinctly remember the crowd going wild - for me - the pack leader who was clearly killing the competition. I flew past those girls. I flew past that stadium of screaming fans. I FLEW I say! Like I had wings on my back and rockets in my shoes.
And that was the day that I became a Track Star.
For exactly 18.2 seconds. Until I remembered about 1/2 a lap into it that I was a Sprinter running a distance race. 800 meters to be exact (two track laps). Which is when the wings on my back lost their aerodynamics and the rockets in my shoes lost their super boost.
My clear lead became less of a lead until one girl finally caught up to pass me. Then another. And another. And another....and another.
When I hit the one lap mid-mark I was sure that my lungs were going to burst and I was going to die. At 1 1/4 laps I couldn't even see the backs of those other girls.
At 1 1/2 laps the race was over and I was still running it. Alone.
And those once adoring screaming fans....were now laughing at me. Because I didn't just come in last. I came in dead last.
And that was the day that I learned the important lesson about pacing yourself.
Which is a lot like Infertility. You stand at the starting line looking good and feeling better. The crowd goes wild for you. You start running and you're WINNING...
Until your body starts to fail you and you slow down when everyone else speeds up.
Pretty soon you get lapped by friends, foes and anyone else running the baby race against time.
But years later you still live in the glory of those 18.2 seconds that you were a Track Star winning. Kind of like the 24 weeks that you actually got to beat infertility.
For a moment.
In the end, when you sit on the sidelines in shame for all that you lost...your mom and your best friend come down from the stadium to put their arms around you and remind you that it's just important that you ran. That you gave everything that you had towards finishing the race.