Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Cycle of Grief

Today, I just feel...



Perhaps even a little bitter.

I don't know. I've done a lot of walking the last 2 weeks. I'll do a lot more over the next two more. But no matter how far I walk, or how much I think about it all... It just doesn't make sense inside.


I'm really honestly trying to not let infertility define me. Or dictate my future. Or level of happiness. Or attitude.

But it's hard.

Here I am in the city that I love, working my buns off, doing everything that makes me happy. Yet there always seems to be this empty little void that I can not find a way to fill. No way. No how.

And that makes me mad.

Because I don't want it to be in that little corner of my heart. I want it to be completely fulfilled and happy with what simply is. I want to walk down 7th Avenue to/from work, with my head held high knowing that I'm a professional woman who is 100% focused on my career and not a child/children back home because of choice.

Instead of default.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New York State of Mind

Tonight, after a very tiring 14-hour day, I took a long walk down 7th Ave.

It was therapeutic.

And as I walked a few tears slipped out.

I'm finally in the city I so dearly love on the 3-week work assignment that got put off for IVF.


I still can't make sense of it all. No rhyme. No reason. I just can't make sense of it.

I'm glad I'm here...

Yet wish I wasn't.

I'll probably walk the whole island of Manhattan trying to figure that out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Pain, No Gain

I have no shame.

Last night when I came home from work Mr Thompson took one look at me and recommended that I go get a massage. He didn't have to say it twice. Five minutes later I walked back out the door.

Brittany was booked but Gary was open.

Hello Gary. So nice to meet you.

After going to task on my lower back (which has been hurting sooooo bad) he kindly asked if I wanted my gluts done.


Why yes Gary, yes I would.

And for an extra half hour this stranger massaged my butt. Right where those three inch needles were jabbed into my "gluts" every friggin' night. You have no idea how bad it (still) hurts.

But 30 minutes later when I got up off the table the pain in my butt, which has been lingering for the last three weeks, was finally gone.


I told him that I loved him.

And with that, the little pain in my heart is healing as well. I am finally off to New York City for my 3-week HUR Sandy management rotation (the same one I put off for IVF). Just the kind of therapy I need and something I am really looking forward to. Getting lost in the city I love as I throw myself into service...sounds like mana from heaven right now.

Things are looking up.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Twelvth Night

In keeping with my father's Scottish heritage, Mr. Thompson and I have a wonderful tradition in keeping with the Twelvth Night.

As you may (or may not) know, the Twelvth Night is a festival which marks the conclusion of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is celebrated on the evening of the fifth of January, proceding the Twelfth Day (for those of you counting...tradition dictates that the Twelvth Night actually starts at sunset on the Eleventh Day - confusing, I know). This is the last day of the Christmas festivities in Scotland and it is observed as a time of grand merrymaking. Important to note, it is also considered unlucky for the Scottish to leave Chistmas decorations hanging after the Twelfth Night so this is the day that the Yuletide Log gets wrapped in a piece of tartan and put away with everything else.

It's a tradition that Mr. Thompson and I love. (and why he reads the Edinburgh newspaper every morning while I attempt to play the bagpipes. We really do think we are Scottish.)

This year however, the Twelvth Night took a little turn as we enjoyed the last peaceful moments in front of our tree as sunset approached. With the tree ablaze and soft music playing we were waiting for our much-anticipated IVF results and all ready for the merrymaking. Picking up my journal I sat down in quiet reflection to read back on what a glorious season of hope, happiness, and miracles it had been. I even started a new entry with "I hope - I hope - I hope"...

That's all I had time for before the phone rang.

At the conclusion of a short conversation, I got up and with tears pouring down my face...I turned off the Christmas tree lights for the very last time. That is how Mr. Thompson, who was standing behind me, knew our results.

There would be no merrymaking on the Twelvth Night this year.

(or the 13th...14th...15th...16th...or 17th... for that matter)

For the last five days I've been trying really hard to process yet another huge infertility disappointment. I've been trying to do it with as much grace and positivity that I can muster....

For which I'm failing miserably.

The only thing that my mind will really settle on (beyond overwhelming sadness at every level, especially infant loss which always rears its ugly head in these moments) a poem that a man in our church congregation used to recite religiously when I was a little girl. Twice a year he would get up to the podium and with captivating passion would speak the following from memory:

"Quit, give up, you're beaten"
They shout at you and plead
"There's just too much against you
This time you can't succeed".

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failures face
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene
Or just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being

Childrens race, young boys
Young men, how I remember well
Excitement sure, but also fear
It wasn't hard to tell

They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win that race
Or tie for first, or if not that
At least take second place

The fathers watched from off the side
Each cheering for his son
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he could be the one

The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
To win and be the hero there
Was each young boys desire

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd
Was running near the lead and thought
"My dad will be so proud"

But as they speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped

Trying hard to catch himself
With hands flew out to brace
And amid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face

But as he fell his dad stood up
And showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said
"Get up and win the race"

He quickly rose, no damage done
Behind a bit that's all
And ran with all his might and mind
To make up for the fall

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win
His mind went faster than his legs
He slipped and fell again

He wised then that he had quit before
With only one disgrace
"I'm hopeless as a runner now
I shouldn't try to race"

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his fathers face
That steady look which said again
"Get up and win the race"

So up he jumped to try again
Ten yards behind the last
If I'm going to gain those yards he though
I've got to move real fast

Exerting everything he had
He regained eight or ten
But trying hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again

Defeat, he lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye
There's no sense running anymore
Three strikes, I'm out, why try?

The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away
So far behind so error prone
A loser all the way

"I've lost, so what", he thought
I'll live with my disgrace
But then he thought about his dad
Whom soon he'd have to face

"Get up" the echo sounded low
"Get up" and take your place
You were not meant for failure here
"Get up", and win the race

With borrowed will "Get up" it said
"You haven't lost at all"
For winning is no more than this
To rise each time you fall

So up he rose to run once more
And with a new commit
He resolved, that win or lose
At least he shouldn't quit

So far behind the others now
The most he'd ever been
Still he'd give it all he had
And run as though to win

Three times he'd fallen, stumbling
Three times he'd rose again
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line first place
Head high and proud and happy
No falling, no disgrace

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line, last place
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race

And even though he came in last
With head bent low, unproud
You would have thought he'd won the race
To listen to the crowd

And to his dad he sadly said
"I didn't do too well"
"To me you won", his father said
"You rose each time you fell"

by D. H. Groberg

I've fallen. Too many times to count. And right now I'm still laying here bruised with "quit, give up, you're beaten...three (or four) strikes your out, why try?"...

Infertility stinks. No two-ways about it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Simple Path

I love new beginnings - all new beginnings - but especially this one. There is something beautiful and refreshing about being able to wipe a slate clean and start anew. Fresh. Clear. Unblemished, with no mistakes in it.

That is how I feel about 2013.

Not that 2012 was bad because it wasn't. In reality, I think it is the year that I had more personal growth than in recent years and it certainly wound down with one of the best months of my life. December was....magical. Simply magical. It was the kind of ending one dreams of as it transitions into a more perfect new beginning. Lessons learned.

I don't know what 2013 will bring but I am determined to keep my life uncluttered and less distracted so peace and happiness can continue to more easily have it's place.

I'm on the simple path and I quite like it.

I said goodbye to things in December that were distracting me and wearing me down. That will continue. I purged and I pondered. That will continue. I broke from the rushes of my life to truly see, to smell, to taste, to touch...and what I found was exactly what my soul needed. Wonders that will continue.

"Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19). My journal is full and I love what I have found.

So where does that leave this blog? Truthfully, I don't know. It started almost 5 years ago out of grief for a tiny little soul who changed my life forever. It has documented a continued journey that has been my deepest struggle.

While that grief and the struggle may never completely end, in this lifetime at least, ... I can honestly say that I now view it through a different lens than before. Positive or negative IVF outcomes won't change that - time and experience does.

Thank you 2012.

Amid all this holiday pondering, I've been thinking about this blog and I've decided that I won't be posting our IVF results here. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind, so I'll leave that window open... but for now, it just feels right to keep it all in my heart a little while longer.

Those feelings were confirmed as I was having a conversation with an acquaintance the other day who kept referring to Mr. Thompson as "Mr. Thompson" all throughout our conversation (not something I do in everyday life). That's when it hit me that I have no idea who even reads this silly thing. So for now, I'm choosing to keep our results close.

I'm a bit conflicted about that because we didn't tell people about Colton until 18 weeks because the pregnancy was so tough and I was trying to maintain a career. In the end, I felt great shame about that because he was a life to be celebrated and loved by all. I swore that if I was ever blessed with a next time, I'd shout it from the rooftops.

Right now I just don't feel like shouting anything - good or bad. I feel more like a reverent whisper.

The simple kind.

So if you want to know, tell me and I'll whisper it to you as something trusted among friends. For that is what you are - a friend - and I love you all dearly for the continued support, love, and understanding that you've shown me throughout this entire process. I'll be forever in debt to the ALI (Adoption, Loss, Infertility) community just like I am to my closest of friends. Leave a comment and I'll call, text or write. Hopefully we have something to celebrate, but even if we don't...we still have great reason to celebrate.

Happy New Year!