Infertility after kids – it still sucks.

Let me start by telling you how VERY thankful I am for my boys every single day.  I would not forgo our experience with infertility because it blessed us with Charlie and Harrison.  I know that I am lucky, blessed, happy and loved.  But I am only human and I am selfish.

I am that person who would respond with an enthusiastic “10!!!” when someone would ask how many children I wanted.  I pictured myself driving a large van with my many mini-me’s piling out for school, perfectly dressed and never having consumed fast food or farted in public… and then reality struck and after marrying my best friend I quickly realized that I might have to tame my expectations.

Lenny and I, we are the lucky ones.  Despite infertility our battle was relatively short (3 years) before we were blessed with Charlie via an FET (frozen embryo transfer) from an IVF cycle and less than two years later we were blessed with Harrison via an FET from the same cycle.  And our experience with fostering has expanded our family in ways I never dreamed.

But you should know that I still cry.  That I ache.  That I long.  That I do not feel that my family is complete despite knowing that this is a possible reality.  Our many totes of baby clothes and items that hang out in the attic are an act of desperation, hoping and praying that it could happen that we’re blessed with “just one more”.   When I see my babies laughing, when they hug me or kiss me, and even when they’re crying and especially when they need me – it’s there: the knowledge that it might not happen again.

I regret not taking more time with them.  Not documenting every. single. feeling. when I was pregnant with them.  I know, I know!  They’re young, we have their entire lives ahead of us.  But each day they get older and each day I’m reminded that each thing they do, each milestone they pass, each experience we have – it could be the last.

I want you to know that I am that mom: the mom that loved being pregnant.  Who will never ever ever complain about my boys to others and really does think they are as close to perfect as is humanly possible.  I have consciously tried to never complain to another about the lack of sleep or the time or activities I’ve sacrificed because to me those things don’t matter.  I have loved every second of every day that I have been a mom.  You might think I’m exaggerating but I would not trade even the hardest, stinkiest, most gut-wrenching experiences with my boys for anything in the world!  And I would give anything I’ve ever had or will have to experience this again.

Each month when my lady friend does not arrive on time (or let’s face it, a day or two ahead of that) I am thinking “it could happen, it really could…”, feeling each cramp, longing for a headache or a strange ache in anticipation.  Each month I try to talk myself down although around cycle day 26 I can’t help but start to wonder… and each month when that signal that we are not pregnant arrives, I feel defeated.  I was an irrational mess for so long that Lenny shouldn’t have to deal with it and it’s also not socially acceptable to complain about such a thing when I already have children, so I keep it inside, sometimes crying only when I’m in the shower or not at all if I can’t find the time…

It’s hard when strangers make comments about my parenting.  It’s hard when people ask if we want another, or even more annoyingly if “next time we’re trying for a girl.”  It’s even more difficult when I hear/read/experience parents that abuse, neglect or just don’t appreciate their children (or their pregnancy).  It’s hard when Lenny and I plan for our future and beat around the subject of Baby #3.  It’s hard when friends and family forget the struggles involved with having our first two and make insensitive comments.  It’s hard when Charlie asks if he can have a sister or brother.  And it’s hard when we’re not even really “trying” but it’s always on your mind.  Baby announcements, baby showers, ultrasound pictures, vasectomy discussions, abortion/anti-abortion discussions: still hard.  Doable/manageable, yes.  Difficult, double yes.  I’m only human and I am selfish.  We are blessed and I don’t regret a single thing we’ve had to experience to get to where we are but INFERTILITY STILL SUCKS.

A quick message to my infertility warrior friends: I know that I am the lucky one.  I advocate and pray for you all on a daily basis!  You have been through so much and I know your daily struggle to try to have JUST ONE.  I will continue to hope and pray that no one has to struggle with infertility and that all can find their happy ending!  

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A picture a Day

Today I read about a fellow facebook-er who posted a picture a day for a year to describe her year.  I LOVE This idea and am considering incorporating it into my blog.  I want to be blogging more; I love the release I feel when I press “publish”.  So I thought, why not start now?  It’s January 5th, I’m only 5 days into the new year!

But posting a picture a day may get a little obnoxious and I honestly think it’s something that I would drop the ball on, you know, not remember to post one every single day.  SO… instead, I’ll post a picture for each post, which I’m aiming to have a new one every 2-3 days.  But to start out the new year, I’ve got five for you… one for each day of the new year so far.  🙂

January 1st

I chose this photo to start the new year; it is the single best thing that has ever happened to us, and he/she is what our entire 2011 is going to be about!

January 2nd

Yay for yummy food!  On January 2nd we had some friends over for the Colts game.

January 3rd

Today we received a call from The Villages about three foster children who were in need of a home and we decided to try to be that home; still waiting to see how this one will turn out (we’re licensed Therapeutic foster parents).  Everyone should consider fostering, there are so many children in need of a loving home!

January 4th

On January 4th we put an offer in on this house!  We’re just waiting to hear back now from the bank.  It’s a short-sale that we’ve been eying for the past four months and finally have made a move on.  If we are able to get it, we’ll be renting our current home!  Big changes in 2011!

January 5th

The book I’m reading (in replacement of a new year’s resolution).

Catching Up

It has been far too long since I last posted.  Let me start where I last left off…

We were pregnant!  It was early October and all of our dreams were coming true.  The next few weeks were a blur of doctor’s appointments, blood work and ultrasounds.  Because of the procedure we were very closely monitored; our Betas continued to multiply and the first ultrasound showed a developing baby and a strong heartbeat.  It also showed a second sac, but it was empty.

Both embryos we had transferred had initially taken, but for reasons we’ll never know the second embryo/sac stopped growing at around 5 weeks.  We were not sad; just as in a normal pregnancy, your body knows what is supposed to happen and something was not right with this embryo which is why it stopped growing.  I think we were less emotionally affected knowing the science behind the entire process.  And we had our baby!  He/she was growing strong!

Flash forward a few months.  I’m now 16 weeks along and everything has gone beautifully!  I have been pretty lucky with only a few weeks of nausea and only four pounds gained so far.  The IVF cycle was 100x worse than being pregnant.  🙂  To be completely honest I haven’t blogged because we wanted the first trimester to be between us; we wanted to make sure that everything was going well, the baby was healthy, and we had time to adapt to the amazing fact that we have gone from having an unclear family future to parents-to-be.

But there is one thing that I think it’s important to stress; infertility struggles do not end with a pregnancy, an adoption, or a choice to live life without children.  Every day is still filled with “what-ifs” and planning, tears for others struggling, prayers for others trying, and occasional guilt over your new-found joy.  For the first twelve weeks every time I felt a cramp, a strange feeling, or I felt really great, my mind immediately raced to the what-ifs.  We’ve had to make decisions about continuing to be foster parents; what do with our remaining embryos, when would we try again?

I refuse to be someone who forgets what we went through to get this, and my passion is still helping others who are going through the same thing.  On the flip side, I am SO thankful and happy that we are where we are and our little one is on the way!  And I’m excited to be back to blogging; I missed writing!  🙂

Have a happy new year, ya’ll!  See ya next year.

Weekend of crap – no more!

This weekend I pigged out, literally.  I don’t remember eating that much ever.  And it wasn’t good food – it was pasta, meats (which I just recently started eating again), wings, fried fish, french fries, candy (chocolate specifically) and tons of salt.  In my defense we were on the road and at a wedding, watched the Sunday game at a pub, and then had a cookout.  But that is no excuse!

I am now back on a “healthy kick”.  I think I’m going to do a detox diet, not the crazy all-juice ones or anything that’s actually not good for me.  I found one that you just eat all natural foods; you cut out refined sugars, most carbs, etc. and just eat natural foods like fish, rice, veggies, and fruit for 30 days.  I think that it could be great for my health and also for me to learn what other healthy foods I like.

We are going to be in Los Cabos in 3.5 weeks and Florida in 5 weeks… both times I’ll need to wear a bathing suit.  I figured there’s no better time than now to start eating much better and treating my body the way I want it to treat me!  🙂

Who’s Life Is Interesting Enough for a Blog?

I’ve struggled as of late to come up with blog entries – I don’t want to write about meaningless things such as what I ate for breakfast and what day of the week I do laundry; that’s what twitter is for.  I started the blog to share with others what Lenny and I were going through with all of our infertility struggles, and also to keep in touch with friends that I don’t get to speak to much.  But when I’m not actively seeking treatments, or am between cycles – what do I talk about?  Who’s life is interesting enough for a blog, anyways?

Hopefully if you’re still reading it’s because you want to hear about the things we’ve been up to lately.  I do realize that our lives are about so much more than what I’ve blogged about so far, so I want to share what our day-to-days are like.  We “deal” with life’s challenges by continuing to live our lives and enjoying the many blessings we already have.

On Saturday Lenny and I had a garage sale in the morning and got rid of quite a few things.  We also made about $70, hehe.  After the garage sale we got all dressed up and headed downtown to volunteer at the Guys and Dolls Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Black Tie Fundraiser.    It was for a great cause, and we now have two friends who work for the organization that we wanted to help out.  We volunteered with our friend Andrew.  It was a lot of fun to get dressed up and attend an event for such a great cause.

Why I Recommend Living with Your Inlaws Without Your Significant Other

You think I’m joking, right?

Nope!  I have to admit I was extremely skeptical about how living with Lenny’s parents in New York during our treatments would go – especially since Lenny wouldn’t be there most of the time.  While I love all of Lenny’s family dearly, I’ve never really had a lot of time to get to know them well.  Most couples that have been together almost eight years know each others families very well.  But with Lenny’s family living states away, we estimated that I only saw his immediate family on approximately 20 different occasions before we were married.  That’s not a lot of time to get to know each other well.

So I packed up my bags and we drove out to New York.  It helped out that for the first two weeks that I was there Lenny’s parents were in Ireland.  It gave me the time to get a feel for the area, the house, and the New York life.  It also made me extremely lonely living alone for two weeks with no friends or companionship, so I was grateful when they returned and I had someone to talk to.  And the crazy thing was that Lenny’s mom very quickly became my New York friend.  We went shopping together, ate dinner together, went for walks together, and just chatted.

When I first moved in there were so many questions: did I need to label my food?  Would we eat every meal together?  Never eat together?  How much should I stay in my room to give them their personal space without being anti-social?  Would I need to tell them where I was going every time I left?  Would I need to tell them what time I’d be home each night?

But somehow, easily and naturally, everything worked itself out.  It wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable at all (for the most part).  They were so flexible and loving and helpful, as well as patient considering someone had invaded their space indefinitely.  In addition, their love and admiration of Lenny made me love and miss him more.  It was also nice to finally form a real relationship with my mother-in-law.

There are other perks as well… like Peg’s cooking.  Oh my goodness I ate better dinners while there than I could ever make for us.  She is a great cook and always makes it look so easy!  Another perk, the red wine!  In New York, somehow, the red wine just tastes better.  There were not as many responsibilities – it was kind of like going back to high school or college time which was such a great break.

Living with my in-laws indirectly strengthened my marriage while helping me to form a positive relationship with my in-laws… a win-win situation.  I also ate well, drank well, and got enough sleep – rare but awesome  🙂

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