Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yes, I'm Bitter!


I'm very bitter.  There.  I said it.  I'm so very thankful for my precious girls and realize how blessed I am to finally have them, but I'm still bitter and wonder if I might always be.  Infertility (IF) has a way of making people that way.  Once we finally succeed in having a family we think we are "over it", and for the most part we are.  I can finally go to baby showers and birthday parties again.  But then certain things, like NIAW or a pregnancy announcment (they still bug me!  Way less than before but still) can trigger a whole flood of memories and feelings.

I'm bitter because I never got to do this the "normal" way.  Before IF I used to look forward to the time when my husband (whoever and wherever he was) and I would start trying to have a baby.  I wondered what it would be like to ditch the pills and watch the calendar and have purposely unprotected sex on a certain day or two and then wonder, "did we just make a baby?"  And then spend the next 2 weeks or so wondering and hoping and anticipating finding out.  Then I was diagnosed with endometriosis and lost an ovary.  I knew that I would probaly never get to "try", but rather when I finally got married we'd have to seek treatment right away.  I still got to experience that awful 2 week wait (2WW), but it wasn't the same and it was way more agonizing.  I'm jealous of people who can just have sex and get pregnant and every pregnancy announcment is a reminder of how not normal I am and how my body has failed me.

I'm bitter because we had to buy our kids.  At least we got two for one!  They are worth every penny and then some, but still.

I'm bitter because, since I had to do IVF, I had twins, and because I had twins my chances of having a vaginal birth dropped significantly, and my chances of having a natural, med-free birth went completely out the window.  With twins, even if you're able to deliver vaginally, you still have to have an epidural in case they end up needing to take the second baby by c-section at the last minute.  My dream was always to go without an epi.  I wanted to be able to walk around, labor in any position I felt like (as opposed to being forced to be flat on your back) and be able to feel what was going on and when to push and all that.  I might have changed my mind at some point and got one afterall, but I at least wanted to try going without.  I didn't even have the option.

I'm bitter because I never got to experience labor.  My twins were both breech, so I had a scheduled c-section.  And I went to 38 weeks 1 day without a single contraction.  So I have no idea what it feels like to go into labor, have your water break, lose your mucus plug, any of that.

I'm bitter because so many other people I know over 35 had no problem whatsoever conceiving.  I'm jealous.  All this talk about how fertility decreases significantly after 30, let alone 35, but all the late 30-somethings I know or hear about, a few months of trying and bam!  Pregnant.  Except me.  And my best friend but that was several years ago.  Once I was in the game, everyone but me conceived instantly.

Having said all that, I'm just extremely happy to have my girls, regardless what we had to go through to get them, and thankful for the technology that made it possible.  It's not like I walk around with a cloud over my head all the time cursing my body and IF and IVF.

Wow.  It feels great to let that all out.  I've wanted to before but always feel like I should just focus on the blessing that is my girls and not whine.  But I can't get over the feeling that some people just don't get it--just don't understand how deep and to what extent the pain of IF can go.  I just want people to get it!  Even though, like anything else, you can't really get it unless you've been through it.  I get that.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What Not to Say to an Infertile Person/Couple


Anyone dealing with infertility has received their fair share of ignorant, insensitive, or just plain pointless comments or suggestions.  My boss once told me to "just do it in the back of a Chevy.  Seems to work for all the teenagers..."  Gee, thanks, but first of all my eggs are a LOT older than those of said teenagers, and I really don't think having sex in a car is going to override my endometriosis and egg quantity/quality issues.  Sigh.  I mean, he really was a great guy and I get that he was just trying to be funny but it really was just annoying and hurtful.

The following is a list of what not to say (and what's ok to say) to an infertile couple and is taken from www.dreambaby.com/do-not-say.htm

Don't ask a childless person when they are going to have a child. They may be going through the process of trying to conceive but have not yet achieved success. Asking them only reminds them of their problem. They need no extra reminders.

Don't relate stories of your fertility to them. Hearing "my husband just has to look at me and I get pregnant" is very annoying. While well-meaning, the statement is insensitive.

Don't give advice such as "just relax," "you are trying too hard" or "take a cruise." All of these very common comments imply that the couple have control of their fertility . Most of the time, these couples have absolutely no control over their fertility. Implying control leads to feelings of failure and guilt when this advice doesn't work.

Don't offer advice such as sexual timing, position, herbal medications or other totally unproven therapies. There are literally hundreds of old-wife's-tails that, when followed, can drive an infertile patient nearly crazy. Their physician will have covered those natural aspects of their care that may maximize their chances for conception. Once again, please to not imply that they have a sense of control.

Don't express your derogatory personal opinions regarding insemination procedures, test-tube babies or adoption. Sometimes, these are their only hope for having a child. These are your opinions and uninvited advice is rarely desired nor constructive. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, simply keep it your own. If they ask for your advice, then feel free to state your opinions, but do so in a kind and considerate manner.

Don't place blame by accusing the couple of exercising too much, eating the wrong foods or drinking alcohol. These couples may already be blaming themselves. Their physician will have already covered the medical and reproductive consequences of obesity, smoking, alcohol and recreation drugs. Support them in the cessation of these activities and minimize the guilt associated with their consumption. The guilt rarely leads to cessation but often moves the individual to increased consumption.

What You Can Say and Do...

Do provide couples with plenty of emotional support by saying "It must be difficult to go through this" and "I'm here to listen if you need to talk."

Do remember that men can be just as emotional about the problem, sometimes even more so. They may feel their masculinity is at risk.

Do understand the couple's need for privacy.

Do try to understand that if they are your employees, frequent doctor's appointments may be necessary during business hours. Please try to accommodate them as much as possible. Not doing so may also be construed as a form of discrimination and place you at legal risk.

Do understand why they may not make it to a baby shower or a holiday event. These frequent events can become overwhelming for an infertile couple.

Do tell the infertile couple that there is hope.

Conclusions:

Please remember that the vast majority of infertile couples have minimal control of the diseases that causes their infertility. Giving them emotional support during this trying time is a wonderful way to assist them. Giving them subtle hints that they have control plants the seeds of failure in the minds of the infertile patient.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

National Infertility Awareness Week


Today starts NIAW.  I will be dedicating my blog to this cause for the next 7 days in hopes of raising awareness.  Infertility is a heart- and gut-wrenching, emotionally draining, physical pain-causing (if undergoing certain treatments), horrible, life-sucking condition.  My personal battle was relatively short, but only because I wasn't in a position to "try" any sooner than I did.  If I had started trying years earlier, it would have been a much longer struggle.  In other words, I was infertile but just didn't know it yet (because I wasn't trying), although I did have suspicions because of other medical conditions and my age.

The following is an excerpt from the RESOLVE website (http://www.resolve.org/) :

Infertility is a major life crisis for 1 in 8 couples. For these women and men fighting the disease of infertility, the infertility experience involves many hidden losses for the individuals, their loved ones and society as a whole, including:


  • Loss of the pregnancy and the birth experience;
  • Loss of a genetic legacy and loss of future contributing citizens to the next generation;
  • Loss of the parenting experience;
  • Loss of a grandparent relationship;
  • Low feelings of self-worth;
  • Loss of stability in family and personal relationships;
  • Loss of work productivity; and
  • Loss of a sense of spirituality and sense of hope for the future.
Numbers 2 and 3 are pretty much a given, but the first one was HUGE for me, and the reason why it bugs the heck out of me when people say things like, "you can always adopt".  Adoption is a WONDERFUL option for some and a totally admirable and noble thing to do.  I am absolutely pro-adoption.  BUT, it does nothing to satisfy that insatiable desire (for some, anyway) to feel life growing inside you.  To see that little peanut on the ultrasound machine and to watch that peanut evolve into a jumping bean and then an alien and eventually a tiny actual baby.  And to feel that baby kick you.  Or hiccup.  And watch your belly grow.  While adoption is a great alternative, for some the pain of losing the experience of pregnancy and birth is heartbreaking.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Harvard, here we come!

I think my girls are geniuses.  At 25 1/2 months, Kayley knows most of her colors, several letters and the numbers 0-9.  Olivia can count to 10 and sing most of the alphabet.  Maybe that's not extraordinary, but I'm going to let myself think it is!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tip-Toeing Through the Tulips

As a mom of twin toddlers I have learned that many things that sound fun at first turn out to be not fun at all.  Taking said toddlers to a tulip field on a rainy windy day and actually try to get decent pictures would be one of them.  They had fun, I guess, running around, looking at the flowers and trying to walk through every. single. mud puddle while we were just trying to get to the field and back in time to make lunch and stay half-way clean and hopefully get some cute pictures.  Ha.  I don't know how other people do it--I see cute pictures of kids the girls' age all the time on Facebook or what-not and they are looking at the camera AND smiling...what the @#$! is their (the parents) secret?  I can't get a decent picture of one, let alone both, of the girls where they are looking at the camera, let alone smiling, let alone both of them together!  Ugh.  Maybe we'll try again next year.  Meanwhile, here's what we ended up with:

Olivia

Kayley


At least the tulips know how to pose for pictures!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Best Job Ever!

I truly have the best job ever!  We have had some great spring weather the last few days (and having actual spring-like weather in the spring around here is pretty rare) and we have spent the last three mornings going for walks and playing at different parks.  Today we found a park that I'd heard of but never been to that is more for toddlers.  The girls had a great time playing while I sat back and enjoyed my vanilla latte.  Then during their nap I sat outside and read.  Ah, the life!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This Weekend

I'm really looking forward to this weekend.  On Saturday, we are going to my hometown's annual Tulip Festival. 

There's a streetfair which might prove interesting given the girls' adversion to the stroller, but then we'll venture out to the fields to let them walk among the pretty tulips and hopefully get some good pictures.  We'll spend the rest of the day visiting friends and family that I don't get to see very often so that will be fun.

Then on Sunday after church Paul is going to take the girls to his parents' and I get the whole day to MYSELF!  I so can't wait!  I need to do some shopping for cute shoes for spring and a gift for a wedding we're going to so it will be great to have a whole day, almost, instead of just a few hours that I normally would have.  I might check out the new Bravern shopping center in Bellevue http://www.bravern.com/ and the cupcake place (Trophy Cupcakes) in Wallingford that I've always wanted to try.  Yum!


Mostly I'm just really looking forward to having 8+ hours to do whatever in the heck I want!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter

One of the few things you can truly count on in this world (besides death and taxes) is crappy weather on Easter in Western Washington.  Yep.  Despite having an exceptionally dry and warm winter, Easter weekend, true to form, was cold, windy and rainy, and we even had a little snow Saturday morning right before our neighborhood egg hunt!  Luckily, it stopped and other than it being a little cold, the egg hunt was fun and dry.  The girls picked right up on what to do.  They were so cute gathering eggs and they got quite a few!

Unfortunately, the rest of our Easter weekend didn't quite go as planned.  Paul's mom fell and broke her leg Thursday evening, so she was in the hospital until today.  The Easter dinner/family gathering was canceled and we spent the weekend going back and forth from his parents' house to the hospital.  We made the best of it, though.  We dyed eggs and had an egg hunt for the girls and they wore their dresses even though we didn't go to church and it was just us and Paul's dad and sister.  And in the rush to get down there a day before we had planned, we forgot the camera so we didn't get any pictures of them in their dresses, although I think Paul's sister did.  Anyway, it was definitely and interesting Easter.

Kayley opening her Easter basket

Olivia opening her Easter basket

Getting ready for the egg hunt

Olivia getting lots of eggs

Kayley's done

Examining the loot!