Saturday, December 24, 2016

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Pink Lines

Well since I already have my two front teeth, I was thinking maybe I should ask Santa for two pink lines for Christmas this year instead. It has a nice ring to it don't you think?  Sing it with me now,

"All I want for Christmas is my two pink lines. My two pink lines. My two pink lines.  All I want for Christmas is my two pink lines. Then I could have a Merry Christmas!"

Ok a little dramatic maybe, but hey, it doesn't hurt to ask Santa right?!? You never know, unless you ask!

Seriously though, seeing two pink lines on a stick that I pee on has been my Christmas wish for years now (12 years to be exact, but who's counting....oh yeah, that would be me!)  Actually, it's only been 11 years that I've had that wish.  One year, the only thing I wanted was for Dave to make it home safely from Iraq. Out of all of his deployments, he's only had to miss one Christmas.  In 13 years of marriage, I've been very lucky and fortunate! That Christmas, I wished and prayed for his safe return! That prayer was answered!

Now, does that mean for the other 11 Christmases I've been the Christmas Grinch or an awful bitch to be around? Depending on who you ask, I would say the answer is no! (Well...except for that one Christmas two years ago. That Christmas was the worst one for me. I suffered two failed back to back IVFs that year, so I allowed myself to mourn quietly in our house that Christmas. No family. No friends.  Just the two of us, alone. That year was the exception.)

Christmas in general though is amazing.  I love Christmas!  I love everything about it.  The lights, the music, the present buying, the decorations, the food, the mistletoe, the singing, the movies, the cheer...and let's not forget about the Christmas vacation (remember, I'm a teacher!)! I love Christmas! If it were up to me, I would start decorating the house the day after Halloween.  I'm THAT person!

I love everything about Christmas. Some people have asked me how I can still love Christmas and the holiday season with everything that I've gone through with my infertility. I may not have a human baby to spoil on Christmas morning, but I still think I'm blessed.  I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing husband, two full-of-life dogs, a wonderful home, a rewarding career, and amazing family and friends both near and far.  I'm blessed. I'm happy. I'm still full of life and smiles. I'm full of Christmas cheer! Lots of Christmas cheer...the kind of cheer that sickens other people around me, but hey, fuck 'em!  It's Christmastime! Time to be happy, damn it! :)

But even with all the cheer and happiness beaming out of me,  it doesn't mean I don't mourn what I don't have. My lost dreams. My empty house. My broken heart.

I still dream about wrapping a positive pee stick under the tree and seeing Dave's face as he opens it and comprehends what it is. I still look at the Christmas tree in our living room and imagine it full of presents for our imaginary kids. I picture their faces as they open their presents and only play with the boxes and the wrapping paper. I picture what it could be, what it should be, what could have been.

Today, as I reflect on this past year and this upcoming Christmas, I realize that no matter how happy I am with my life I still long for a baby of my own. I'm sure I always will. I don't know if or when that Christmas wish will come true, but I will continue to ask Santa for two pink lines and a healthy baby in my arms. This year, I will soak up all the Christmas spirit and celebrate all that I have. I will continue to sing at the top my lungs (very much out of tune like a screeching cat dying slowly in a blender) while decorating and wrapping presents. I will do all of these things, but in the back of my mind I will still mourn. I am grateful though that it will be in the back of my mind and not in the forefront like past Christmases.

For those of you still grieving, still trying, still quietly hoping and wishing, please know that I understand.  This may be a hard time of year for you.  I get it.

For those of you at family gatherings with the newly married couple, please don't ask them when they are going to start a family. Please don't ask the couple who's been married for 5 years when they will have babies. Please don't be upset at the married couple who is opting out of family functions (even on Christmas) because they can't be around little children right now because they are struggling themselves.  They are not being selfish, they are self preserving. Please try to understand.

For those of you that know someone going through infertility and you're not sure what to say this Christmas, just say "I'm praying for you" or "I wish all your dreams come true" instead of telling them about your boyfriend's second cousin's teacher's friends neighbors who went to Jamaica to relax and got pregnant after they stopped trying so hard and after they got a puppy and started the adoption process.  Trust me...that's the last thing we want to hear.  The only thing that story will make us want us to do, is throat punch you at the dinner table.  Not pretty! Just listen. Don't offer advice, unless asked. Don't offer opinions or stories. Just offer a glass of wine!  Wine makes everything better!

So with my glass of wine in hand, I wish all of you reading this a VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope all of our dreams come true!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

12 Years and Counting...

Today, June 1st 2016, marks the official day twelve years ago that we started trying to have a baby.  Today marks the 12th year!  12!  TWELVE! Fuck!  I can't think of anything else that I have tried doing for twelve years over and over again (with only negative results) that I haven't given up on yet. Seriously....fuuuuuuuck!

So as I sit back and reflect on this, and this number, I have come to realize that I am either one of two things:

  1. A complete dumbass
  2. A complete badass

Anyone that knows me would have to agree I'm most definitely a little bit of both, but I like to lean towards the second...a complete and utter badass. So as a self-proclaimed badass I'm just going to raise a glass of wine tonight and toast to my badass-ery! Yes that's a real least in my world, and since it's my blog I'm using it! :) 

How many people do you know that would try over and over (and over...and over...and over...and over...) again with nothing to show for it? I just continue to pick myself up off the floor (literally) and try again.  The next round of shots and stirrups seem to be getting longer in between the round before, but I'm still at it. I'm still fighting. I'm still trying. I'm just not ready to give up yet. That in itself is what makes me a badass!  I may need to give up soon and move on, but for now, in this moment, I will continue to wear my invisible badass cape, raise a glass of wine and reflect on these past 12 years. I will reflect on the amazing friends I have made (and the friends I have lost). The pressure this has put on my marriage and the knowledge of knowing that my marriage is rock solid because we have come out swinging and fighting and have done it together. The fact that I have no regrets knowing that I have tried almost everything in my power. So many reflections, so many memories, so many struggles, and yes, so many triumphs. 

I also raise a glass to all of the couples out there still fighting, like us, to beat this disease and to overcome the hand that was dealt to us. To those couples that have tried & moved on to childless lives, and to those that have resolved your family building, you too, are all badasses!  So here's to us...all of us!  
The #1in8 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Don't Stop, #StartAsking

As soon as I saw this years Blogger's Unite theme, I immediately got excited. Not only because I love to overuse #hashtags on a daily basis on my Twitter and Instagram accounts, but because of the open-ended topic.  There were so many possibilities.  So many directions I could go.  So many ways I could use my blogging voice to speak out about infertility. I had so many ideas running through my mind, and just like that...I couldn't think of a single thing to type.  I had too many ideas running through my head, and I just couldn't narrow it down.  One week goes by and my blog canvas was still blank. Two weeks....nothing.  I started to panic, but decided to give myself just a little bit more time before I was going to force myself to narrow down my ideas....that's when it happened, out of no where my topic hit me like a ton of bricks! Ms. Marty!

Let me first start with a little bit of background....a little foreshadowing on this blog post if you must. Our local Resolve support group decided a while ago to have a donation garage sale to raise money for those of us traveling to Washington D.C. in May for Advocacy Day (eek!  This will be my 1st time at Advocacy Day! I. Can't. Wait!).  We collected items, set the date, advertised, and held our garage sale with an amazing turnout.

We met a ton of interesting people throughout the morning.  We explained to each person that stopped by, that this was a donation garage sale and we were raising money for our Resolve support group to attend Advocacy Day.  We expressed that if an item didn't have a price tag on it, just make us an offer and it's yours.  We even placed our post cards on the tables explaining our support group and what infertility was.  We talked about our journeys and how infertility affected the three of us there that day.

I couldn't believe the amount of people that then opened up to us about their struggles with infertility, someone in their family that struggled, a close friend that went through it.  The stories never stopped.  All morning we heard them. We weren't alone in our journey, and now neither were they. The donations kept coming. The prayers, the tears and then...Ms. Marty arrived.

She was an angel.  An angel sent to us, straight from heaven.  We started by welcoming her to the garage sale and explained what we were doing, who we were and a bit of our stories.  You could see her stop in her tracks (and to this day I can still see that beam of light radiating off of her...and her halo!) She then told us about her story. She talked about her amazing children that she never thought she'd be able to have in her late 30s and she talked about her sweet and precious angel baby that she lost when she was 41. She started asking us questions and listened to each of our journeys while she looked around. After we finished our stories she immediately stopped what she was doing, held up her hands and just prayed for us.  Literally stopped and prayed out loud for US!  I will never forget her or that prayer. Tears stream down my face now as I type this remembering that life changing moment.  It was at that moment that I knew what I was going to write about. I just had to write about her! Ms. Marty gave me hope, but she also reminded me to never stop and to never give up. She will never know just how much she affected me that day.

After 5 failed medicated IUIs, one failed un-medicated IUI and 2 failed IVFs, my journey may be over (or maybe not...) but my voice will never be silent. I will never stop asking questions about why infertility is not treated like any other disease.  I will never stop asking insurance companies to cover infertility treatments and making it more affordable.  I will never stop advocating for infertility rights.  I will never stop being a voice for those that aren't comfortable talking about it goodness, it took me over 9 years of trying before finally talking about it out loud.  I will never stop asking for help, for funds, for support.  How could I ever stop? Infertility is nothing to be ashamed of! #StartAsking for support from your friends, your family, your congressman, your insurance company.  Don't stop!!

I am an IF warrior.  
I am brave.  
I am 1 in 8.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Was it Really Only a Dream?

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real you couldn't tell if you dreamt it or if it really happened? I had a dream like that last night. I dreamt that I was pregnant.  This wasn't just the normal dream of being pregnant that I've had a million times before,  it was more. It was least it felt real.  Everything about it was real. I had a bit of the belly (the lovely baby bump that I've wished and prayed for) and I couldn't stop rubbing it.  I could feel the flutter of the baby move inside of me.  I could feel my body changing and I felt different. Everything was different.  I could feel the emotions (of what I can only imagine) of pregnancy. I wanted to scream and shout it from the rooftops that I was finally pregnant. That it finally happened to me!  I could literally feel all of these emotions in me.  I couldn't stop smiling and rubbing my now pregnant belly. I could really, truly feel the baby! It was the most AMAZING feeling in the world! It was the miracle that I prayed for all of these years.

Then I woke up.

I was awake and I couldn't stop smiling!  I was finally pregnant! My baby was finally inside of me. I actually woke up relieved and at piece, full of excitement, and smiles. The first thing I did was rub my stomach, but here was no baby bump. I immediately gasped.  I sat up straight, panic stricken! I couldn't breathe! I almost started hyperventilating.  It was just there!  I felt it! I rubbed around frantically all over my stomach trying to find the baby that I just felt! It was JUST there!  What the fuck!  What happened?  Where is my baby bump?  WHERE IS MY BABY?!?! I couldn't think straight. I couldn't get my bearings. I was so confused!

Could this experience really have only been a dream?  No!  Impossible! It felt SO real.  It wasn't like any other pregnancy dream I've ever had in that past.  I could feel the excitement and joy in my soul.  How could this only be a dream, when everything I had just experienced wasn't like any other feeling I had ever felt in my life.  Why was the universe playing yet another cruel and evil joke on me.  Where did my baby bump go? 'What the fuck' was all I could keep saying over and over. It probably took me ten minutes to really realize that everything was a dream....or in this case, a nightmare! There was no baby.  There was no pregnancy. It was only a dream...

I just hope I NEVER have a dream like that ever again.  It was too real. It was too hard to accept that it was only a dream.  It was cruel.

Just when I thought I  may be ready to move forward, childless, a dream like this makes me realize that maybe I'm not. Maybe one more try.  Maybe one more IVF.  Maybe one more attempt.  Maybe one more surgery.  Maybe...