Monday, October 27, 2014

Nothing to Offer

Yes, it's been a while.

And don't get me started on the irony (or perhaps, appropriateness) of a title that has been written and sitting here awaiting a body for about 4 weeks, now.

But that is the gist.  I just feel that lately, I have nothing to offer to this particular blogging community.

Oh, I get the whole hope thing, and how important it is, and that perhaps, for some, my story offers that intangible gold nugget - but at least for me, while I was in the trenches, what I needed most was to know that things would be ok no matter if children were a part of the equation or not.  And while I hope that my archives can still offer that to those women currently struggling with childlessness and infertility, I just don't feel like my pregnancy ramblings, ultrasound photos, and discussion of nurseries and cribs and names are serving much purpose, here.

I do want to continue writing.  But mostly, I want to be true to myself.  And my self feels that right now, in this moment, today, I have nothing to offer.  That may sound like a bad thing, but actually, for me right now, it's good.  And perhaps for the childless/infertility blogging community, it's likewise good.  Because I am embracing a new role in life.  I quite literally feel like from the moment I became a mother, my body and mind morphed from Infertile to Mother.  My body just immediately perked up and said, "Pregnancy?  Oh, yeah, we got this.  We know what to do, now."  And my mind went, "Infertility?  Childless?  Whaaaa?  What's that?  We closed that chapter, already, onto the next one."

And, I'll let you in on a little secret.  A secret I've never personally heard anyone who has crossed over admit, but a secret I ALWAYS wondered if I'd discover one day, and if so, if I'd have the gall to share it with you.

I am TCIE, after all.  So, duh, of course I'm going to share it with you.

Once you cross over?  Both an instantaneous AND a slower long-term "childless amnesia" set in.

Now, I can't assume this is the case for everybody, but I highly, highly suspect it is the case, and that it's just difficult to admit, for a variety of guilt-inducing reasons.

But I am here to tell you, while my heart still aches for, my mind still becomes occupied with, and perhaps more than ever my soul still prays for all of my friends, blog readers, and strangers who are struggling with childlessness... becoming a physical mother has changed me, and my memory of just how bad it was, and still is for so many.  It was so easy for me to "dismiss" the miracles I saw around me, secretly disproving that anything miraculous actually took place, and that other people, what seemed like ALL other people, at the time, were simply lucky whereas I was not.  And then, it was just as easy for me to jump on the Miracle Bandwagon when this amazing (tangible) blessing took place in my own life.  How quickly I forgot.  How quickly I still forget, while simultaneously being super aware.  It's a very weird place to be.

For example, I planned to no longer work at my office, and concentrate more on working from home, after December - because I assumed that would be when I'd be "noticeably" pregnant.

(Pregnant belly picture warning... and giant pitbull butt warning):





And then came 12 weeks gestation.  POP she goes.  No more hiding it, and only bringing up the subject with my patients and clients when they were in a good place emotionally.  Basically they are all now greeted by my baby, who is apparently growing perpendicularly to my body.

And suddenly, ever aware of my own blessing, and ever aware of the pain it was causing others, I felt stuck, again.  I was torn between hiding it, being as sensitive as possible, announcing it verbally to patients, and NOT wanting to hide it, wanting to rejoice in my big-headed little munchkin, rolling all around in my uterus, giving me a reason to buy a new maternity wardrobe I never thought I'd be buying, and new maternity boots (yes, those are maternity boots, they are a necessary purchase for pregnant feet, that is my story, and I'm sticking to it).

I err on the side of sensitivity, always, but when a woman walks in for her first ultrasound, having never met me before, and her eyes make an almost undetectable glance downwards to my belly and her face suddenly looks like my heart used to feel only a few short months ago... I'm immediately taken back, but, again, secret-divulging:  it's not the same.  While I recognize, and sympathize, I can no longer empathize, and a large part of my pain for her is my own guilt and sorrow that I cannot offer her anything.  I cannot offer her a promise that she, too, will experience this one day.  I cannot offer her solace in that moment, when she's probably face-palm texting every one of her IF friends' on her cell phone, as for years to come, they will talk about "that time you went in for your ultrasound series for infertility and THE TECH WAS PREGNANT."  I cannot offer her anything but my sympathy.  And that stinks.

But, it's also beautiful.  It's beautiful because where I once stood as a source of comfort for those whose struggles I understood intimately WHILE going through it, myself, now is the time for my role to be filled as I move on to assume and embrace the new one.

I doubt, (especially now that I've spilled the secret), that my posts from here on out will be of any value to those currently dealing with infertility or childlessness, but I do hope that it can help those who may be where I am, now.  Mother, after infertility (and inadoption).  Trying to balance a joy I can hardly contain with a guilt and sorrow that is only a fraction of the sorrow I was once consumed by daily.  Moving forward without regret, without fear, without reservation.

Because at the end of the day, I am no longer the same TCIE, and I never, ever will be again.  I will not presume to take on an identity that no longer defines me, and I will not pretend that I currently fully empathize with those whose identities are defined in spite of themselves.  Even if someday I find myself trying, for 16 years, to adopt or conceive a second child, it will not be the same.  And I love you all too much to pretend for your sake that it will.  In fact, I think in admitting this, I'm really proclaiming just how awesome and brave you all are.  The toughest part of the cross, for me, was the unknown - and a close second was the being left behind.  Often, those same women who left me behind the first time went on to leave me behind a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time.  Obviously, that was my cross and not theirs.  Obviously, it was a way for me to try to learn humility, to not make comparisons, to trust in God's divine will for ME, and not make it about others'... which was HARD.  But TCIE with a womb full of life?  She is a new woman, a new identity - no longer suffering at all the way so many of you amazing women are.

I do hope that newcomers, and even old timer readers of my blog will go back and visit the archives of TCIE(the search tool should pick up major keywords) when you are most in need of "someone who gets it."  Because, I did.  It was ugly at times (ok, a lot of times), it was beautiful at times, it was angry, depressed, pleading, insane, jealous, happy, silly, hopeful, inspiring, and all of those at once, at times.  Past tense emphasized.

Of course life isn't perfectly void of problems now that I'm with child.  In fact, there may be more problems all happening at once this year than any year before it.  But, things have been put in a perspective that I thank my infertility for every. single. day, now.  We are blessed.  We always were blessed.  But now, we also have been blessed as physical parents to an entirely separate new human being and soul.  And, unlike in our infertility/childlessness, we will always feel that blessing in our lives.

I pray for motherhood for each and every one of you who yearns for it.  And if you can think of anything, anything at all, that I can offer you beyond prayers, please do ask.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ADOPT-A-BLOGGER!!!

This month, OCTOBER 2014 we pray for
C @ Connie Ann's blog!!


How it works:


ALL bloggers, readers, commenters, lurkers, lurchers, creepers, crazies, borings, snorings, dazed, confused, and willing - i.e., ALL OF US - will be uniting our prayers for the entire month for the blogger mentioned above. At the same time, across the country, across the Americas, heck, even across the world, our prayers will all be directed in the same place, at the same time. FOR A WHOLE MONTH! Get ready for some SERIOUS fruits, people!

Click on the blog link above to visit the Blogger of the Month's post in which they will give you a brief history of their journey with infertility/adoption/childlessness. Then, continue to follow up and check in on that blogger throughout the month, to become more familiar with them and better align your prayers with their intentions.


Why?:


The idea is to pray a Childless Blogger, one of our own, to a Childless-No-More status. To bridge that final gap, to knock down that final wall, to make them MOMMIES against all odds!! Above all else, our prayers will be for peace and joy in their hearts as only God holds the answer to these prayers.


When?:


All month long! A new Blogger will be announced at the beginning of each new month. This post will be updated on the 1st of every month, so be sure to check back!


So,... How, again??


Pray whatever prayers you'd like. Do a Novena. Say a rosary. Meditate. Say a litany. The Memorare. Whatever your heart desires, whenever it desires it. You may also choose (and this is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED!) to offer up your suffering, any suffering at all, for the Adopted Blogger. Your offering can be as small as your patience with an overtired, sugar-high toddler, or it can be as large as offering your cycle (if you are going through infertility) in the hopes that your cycle will be instead the cycle in which their child is conceived. Singles? You, too have an excellent opportunity to offer your daily wait for a spouse. Not trying to conceive? That's okay- hey, trust me, I'm sure we ALLLLLLL can find some form of suffering in our daily lives to offer up!


So, join in, one and all, and please feel free to STEAL this lovely Bloggy Button below created by our own Rebecca @ The Road Home.



The button should link back to this post on your page (steal the URL from above), so that all blog readers can learn how to join in, and WHO to pray for!
(Remember, the post will be updated on the 1st of each month, but the link will remain the same.)


Thank you for participating in the Adopt-A-Blogger Prayer Campaign!!! Your prayers are powerful, and so very much appreciated!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How It Has Been

I am just over 11 weeks, today, and I actually made my bed this morning.

That is huge.

Because today, I finally felt less queasy.  So, I did something productive.

Up until today, I have pretty much loafed around, not made any meals expect for the occasional Sunday brunch or quickie weekday dinner, and basically felt like butt any time I exert any, and I mean any, energy whatsoever.

Yes.  First Trimester has been... yuck.

It has been a humbling experience, for sure.  Because truth be told (and this won't come as any surprise to those of you who have read this blog for a while), I desired having children, but I never *really* desired pregnancy.  It was the only area I felt like I had some control when the proverbial crap was hitting the TCIE household fan and all bets were off on the adoption/foster front, and so I became hell-bent on trying to control my fertility and have children the "conventional" way, when in the end, it honestly didn't matter to me HOW they came to me.  I was a hot mess, and infertility and inadoption saw to it that I was humbled in ways I never, ever would have been, otherwise.

And now?  As a Choleric who likes to get things done, get them done my way, and pretty much always know that if left to me, yes, the job will get done, and get done right... I'm discovering that pregnancy throws yet another humble pie right into that old stubborn face.  I can't do anything.  Walking more than 15 feet makes me pant like I ran a marathon.

It's been awful.

And... it's been absolutely, 100%, incredibly and gloriously A-MA-ZING.

I am LOVING that God is now using this perfect and tangible blessing to show me that, hey, guess what, Choleric TCIE?  It's not about you!  It's about the baby!!  Unproductive?  I don't think so!  Your body is housing ANOTHER body that is rapidly and safely growing every minute of every day!!  That is tough work!

So, who cares if I'm not making gourmet meals or running marathons?  I am creating a home for my child to grow in, and that is really all that matters.

Plus, the silver lining may now be appearing as I near the end of the First Trimester.  (How did that happen, exactly??  Crazy.)  Maybe I'll be back in business in the kitchen soon, and maybe I won't.  One day at a time, and I'm loving every disgusting, achy, blessed and beautiful minute of it :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ultrasound and Pregnancy Books

I kinda feel like I was hired to write this post by someone else who is experiencing these things, because I still have that "this can't be my life, can it?" aura floating all around me.

Of course, it used to bug the ever-loving poop out of my to read a former IFer write something like, "Wow, I still can't believe I'm a Mom!" as they're sending their kid off to college, but here I am walking the walk and talking the talk that many others have forged ahead of me.  I can't change my feelings.  They just are what they are.  But, surprisingly, when I do receive emails or correspondence from other mothers-post-IF, I find that I don't relate to what they're saying as much as I may have expected I would.

For example, I don't feel like I have one foot stuck in IF and one foot in Mommyhood.  Maybe it's silly, but it's me - I feel fully alleviated of the cross of infertility.  My loving/warring debate with Alison at Matching Moonheads over the difference between subfertility and infertility, and why I would never use the word "sub" to describe someone who has an inability to conceive, is still alive and well in my mind.  I haven't graduated to "sub"fertility.  I've graduated to Mommy.  Sure, I may never conceive again, but I am not worried about that.  At all.  I swear.  (May sound weird to many of you, but it's true.)  I'm a Mommy.  And I feel more convinced now than ever before that we will be able to foster in the future.  One pregnancy, one adoption, one foster - is enough for me to say the worst part of my infertility, the CHILDLESSNESS, is over and done with.  Forever.  I don't feel stuck in infertility.  My heart and soul still aches for my sisters carrying the heavy cross on their shoulders, but my heart and soul feels completely and utterly free of that cross.  I think that distinction, for me, has been in part formed throughout the years in watching others cross over, and then come back, cross over again, and come back again... and again, for me, the worst part of the cross has always been the childlessness, and I always felt a disconnect with the mothers.  I know that is not the case for everyone, and I know for many women, the ability to plan a family, to carry life in their womb, to carry to term, to give their child/ren siblings... these are important and real crosses.  For me, it just wasn't.  Which is probably why now I feel so... free.  Free of that weight, free of that branding, free of that identity.  I still experience guilt, of course, which I suppose is silly since I know I wasn't "chosen" by God to be "rewarded" with this baby because I "deserve" it.  But I do feel like, why me?  Why not them?  I can't explain it.  I wish I could, of course, explain to those who still suffer childlessness that their time will soon come... but I cannot.  Because I know not.

And so, on to my current life and current excitement.

Here is Baby TCIE at 9 weeks:

We've decided, unlike the pregnancy book's comparing the baby's size to a grape, that ours is actually more like a fig.  Fitting, since I've been eating figs like they don't cost $15 apiece.


Heartbeat 171bpm (it always speeds up, in both genders, between 8-11 weeks, then settles back to 120-160 for remainder of pregnancy.  So, sorry, no gender guessing just from that ;) )



3-D images with the transvaginal probe - we went back to the place where I did my externship in ultrasound and learned basically everything about pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound, for this special peek at the baby with Grandma and Grandpa.  It did not disappoint.


Cute little bugger.  As many of these wiggly 9-weekers as I've had the pleasure of viewing over the years, I was pleased to see my own already has his/her own personality.  Breaking the mold, even after a doughnut and juice, this baby slept.  The whole time.  Momentarily wiggled its little hiney, just to appease us all, then promptly back to sleep.  Clearly it's Mr TCIE's kid.





I may be good at sonography, but taking pictures of still sonogram images, not so much.  The above were the 4th or 5th try at it.  Here's one from the 1st attempt:

Baby Omen.  Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

And here's some fun things I've stumbled upon while reading some pregnancy books...
(and this does nothing but further my silly Choleric notion that reading pregnancy books is stupid, because *I* know everything there is to know about birthing babies.  Flash forward 7 months:)
Anyhoo, here are the little gems I particularly liked:


Ahh, yes.  It always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, knowing someone out there is suffering.  Thank you for preparing me for what it means to be a mother, oh wise pregnancy book.

For the people who see me in clothes, which fortunately is everyone.  
The same could not be said for my infertility treatment years...


OK, time to go to the bathroom for the 3rd time this afternoon... Until we meet again!