Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday's Tears - 60 failed chances...

My son's birthday is coming up later this week.  I'm so excited for his 5th birthday.  I'm so excited for him to be turning 5 and for the chance to have him in our lives and watch him grow and help him learn.  He brings mie so much joy and I hope and pray that he always knows how valuable he is to us and to the One who made him. 

I hate that fact that as a kid you can never really know how much your parent loves you.  I believe you can't really know or understand that until you're a parent yourself.  Then, at least to mie, the full circle of understanding fills in - at least from a natural perspective.

Unfortunately, this week in it's timely way, is also a reminder of how infertile we really are.  You may be familiar with the stages of grief (if not look here... ), and as the article points out you may be aware that people tend to transition through the stages of grief not once but potentially many times over the years, often spurred by some sort of significant event or milestone.  If you lost a loved one - maybe it's a birthday.  If you're infertile, maybe it's a baby shower invitation.  Or the 5-year milestone without a(nother) pregnancy.

5 years.  60 months.  60 chances (in my world) for pregnancy.  60 failed chances.  60 dissapointments.  60 reminders of our inability to conceive.  60.  Sixty.  5 years.

no, my cycle did not come back the first month after my son was born...it came back 1 year to the day if you're curious.  That's not the point.

I probably should have waited to write this post until later, when I'm home by myself.  I'm tearing up.

I don't think about infertility that often.  I kind of balance between acceptance and denial.  Most of the time I'm happy with where our life has turned out and I can mentally process that God let us be infertile because otherwise we would never have pursued foster care and adoption.  I am almost 100% sure of that.  And even if I want to refuse to admit that we could have been "destined" to be foster parents, I can't at this point go back and reconcile that if we weren't foster parents we wouldn't be facing an adoption of a little girl who except for the Judge's signature is our daughter.  I'm happy as a foster mom and I love being one.  I know if I had more kiddos biologically it wouldn't have turned out this way and I'm almost, almost at the point where I'd be ok not trading our experience for fertility.

Then the curse of secondary infertility hits.  Well, we're not really infertile.  We have a son.  It happened once, it could happen again.  Who am I to limit God?  I mean, last month wasn't our month but maybe that's because He was waiting for His perfect timing and this month is it!  I've always go tstome story in my head of how it could turn out...if I were pregnant this month then I'd have found out around my son's birthday - after 5 years...what a story!  And then, if I were pregnant this month we could have waited to tell everyone until after #4's adoption....then we too would be one of the anomalies - you know, pregnant after adoption - I wouldn't care if everyone said "see I told you so...you just had to relax".  *Big eye roll*

There's been this balancing point in mie for the last, oh, however long since we did the testing.  If I'm honest, longer than that.  At least for the last 3.5 years - when my son was 18 months old and I knew that wasn't "right".  But I had a ton of excuses.  I was nursing.  I was stressed with school and work and home and baby.  it wasn't God's timing.  We just were missing our timing.  Yeah, all those ones.

I wasn't ready to give up the dream of having another biological child.  I had my son days from turning 25.  When we were officially diagnosed I was 27.  Though I could understand that I might never have another child from my womb again, I wasn't ready to give up the idea that it might happen.  I've had a glimmer of hope that one day I'll get to experience it again.  I couldn't imagine that in my 20s I was done with one live birth.  I know people often have an age when they would *stop* having kids, often 35, but I never imagined I'd be done with pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, etc. at 24.

But the glimmer of hope has faded to a sliver. Most of the time I don't even think about it. Most of the time it's faded in acceptance of the life we now have - the opportunities we have through foster care that we would never have had...I mean really, how many people have had the experience of boy/girl infant "twins", girl-girl infant "twins", going from 3 to 1, having 4 kids with 4 different fathers, and many, many other "parenting" experiences that we've had. When it all boils down, we've been able to experience so much that most parents never "get the chance" to experience.  Most of the time - that is why the hope has faded...it's drowned out by enjoying the life we have rather than wishing for a life we don't.

There are times though, like now, when the cost of our path is abundantly clear.  The payment (for us) to experience life like we know it now is that we don't get to have more biological kids.  We suffer with the knowledge that all the experiences we mentioned above would *ideally* end in the child returning whole and healthy to their biological parents who would keep them that way.  We will never have *control* over what our family looks like and experience "trying" like "normal" couples.  I may never get to nurse again.  I may never get to be pregnant and feel a baby kick inside my tummy.  I may never get to give birth again, in any fashion.

There's something about 5 years - 60 months.  You'll notice I said above "I may never..." - the hope is not altogether lost.  My God is bigger than my thoughts.  I have no idea what He has in-store.  I've been letting go of Mie and that means I've been learning how to be open and anticipating the craziness only He could imagine for us.  But that 60 month mark.  Wow...it gave the door a good wind to almost seal it shut.

And that sends mie right back through the grief cycle.  Will I ever give up the idea for good?  Probably not.  I'll probably be 80, having had a complete hysterectomy, and still hoping that next month will be it.  That's just the way I am.  But I hope I'm more and more ok with what God has in-store for mie as I continue to move forward.  That's better than the alternative.

My cycle started again on Saturday.  It was about 5 days late, presumably because I started with the exercise/training program.  Long-enough to get me dreaming and thinking and fuel the fire of hope in my heart.  Short-enough for mie not to have taken a test (please...at this point I'd have to be like 8 months late to take a test...).  Either way the result was the same - not pregnant.

And that's probably how I'll stay I suppose.  But maybe, maybe....


Their Mom said...

Isn't it odd how "MAYBE" can give us so much HOPE and HURT so much at the same time. I'm right there with you. Four kids (1 birth and 3 adopted) and still thinking maybe this is the month. I don't even keep track of timing anymore. If it ever does happen again I will be the last to figure it out.

Mama P said...

Wow...I could so have written that, minus the finalized adoptions and the secondary infertility. It took us 3 years to finally have our son, and he will be 5 in little over a week. We had one miscarriage during our "60 chances" though, so I still have that tiny sliver too. I will be honest and say that when we decided to adopt the two boys we're waiting to bring home from Florida foster care, one of the first things that went through my mind was "maybe I'll get pregnant now!" HAHA!!!

((((big hugs)))) It's just hard. That's all that can be said about it.

Joanna said...

I found your blog through Wendi ("the Polar North" one). This is exactly the kind of post I could write if I had the courage to. Almost word-for-word. I have a son (after 3 years of trying and IVF) who is 4, and I was already dreading his 5th birthday for all the reasons you stated.

We're about to do IVF again (this time with donor eggs--something back in the day I said I'd NEVER do). Excited, but at the same time dreading the results.

Anyway, I just wanted to say Thanks for writing. :)

Mie said...

Welcome Joanna! So happy you found mie and I hope I can be an encouragement to you. We never made it to the point of IVF, as you probably know by now, but I keep it in the back part of my mind just in case one day we decide we want to go there. I really hope your first cycle is successful!

ksvend said...

We are currently considering starting the foster to adopt process. My daughter is 4.5 and her turning 5 is a big number for me. I would love so much to have a successful pregnancy and feed a baby again. In the last couple days of each cycle I am hopeful, but overall as the 5 year mark approaches I am not very hopeful. Sadly, I think it's time for plan B. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts!