The Gentle Giant

Kristy, Chelsea, Heather, VeronicaI went to a funeral today. One of best friends of almost 20 years lost her father. Suddenly. And too young. Even though she and I have been friends for so long and grew up two streets away from each other, I didn’t know her father well. But, I didn’t attend the funeral because of my own grief; I went because of my friend’s grief. I went because my heart is broken for her and I could feel her hurt. I went because it was the right thing to do. I went to show respect to the man who raised my friend. 

Upon walking into the funeral home I caught a glimpse of my dear friend out of the corner of my eye. We shared a hug I’d been dying to share with her for the last five days. Then she said, “I need you to help with the girls.” She has two little girls, one is almost three years of age and the other is just one. What an honor! How many friends do you have who are comfortable enough with your friendship to not feel the need to “host” when you’re around, but will cry on your shoulder and then tell you what they need you to go do? She knew she could count on me, and our other good friend, to do whatever it was she needed.

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The ceremony began by singing, “We Shall Gather By the River” and I imagine most of the guests thought about Heaven or baptisms from the Bible as they were singing; however, when we finished singing we were told that was the song this man would sing in the morning to let his three daughters know it was time to meet at the car and leave for school, or church, or wherever else they were goin.  This was the “time to go” anthem during his life, and the “time to go” anthem today as well.

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He was described by a friend today as, “the professional daddy to little girls” and it was said that loving his wife, his daughter, and his seven grandkids was his “life’s mission”. It was his work. These words, and the many others, used to describe this man were humbling. It was said that he taught his daughters and those around them about life and love through his life. He didn’t only tell his girls how much he loved them; he showed them. He didn’t only tell his wife he’d always take care of her; he actually cared for her day in and day out. He didn’t only tell his grandkids how great toy trains were; he sat on the floor with them and played together. He lived his life as a good man and he showed by example how to love fully and whole heartedly.

 

That’s my friend, too. She is so special to me. She’s type-A to the point of exhaustion, but we all find it humorous. She never does anything half-heartedly. She commits 100% and only does what she knows she’ll be successful at. She is kind, forgiving and generous in her friendships and in her relationships. She married a man with a heart of gold that she trusts will love her until her last day. After what I learned about her father today, I realize that my sweet friend is not this amazing by accident. She was raised by a man who stood 6 feet, 7 inches tall and loved his little girl with all 6 feet, 7 inches of his being. She was raised by a gentle giant.

I know the pain of a loss like this can take years to overcome, but I hope she’ll realize how lucky she is to have had such a good man as her daddy. Friend, I love you & I’m here for you. Muah!

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Maybe I Don’t Want Kids…

After 1 year of actively trying to have kids, you’re welcome to say you have fertility struggles. If you say you’re struggling at any point before trying at least one year, be prepared for a punch in the gut from yours truly. After two years with no success, you can say you’re infertile. That length of time and the endless meds and doctor’s appointments are traumatic enough; however I’m at 28 months. I’m way past “infertile”.

Then, you get what I consider to be the “end all, be all” for infertiles. It’s the dreaded conversation of, “Have we discussed doing a cycle of IVF?” My response in my head sounded like, “What was that? Come again”, but I’m sure what came out of my mouth was more  like, “Abuh, haba, what uh, bebah, bleh blue, habaduh?”, followed by a good 20 minutes of the ugly cry. In fact, the ugly cry was so severe that my husband couldn’t keep a straight face when I finally made it home to talk to him because I looked like Gene Simmons. The black tears streaked my face and my cheeks, lips, and nose were all swollen and red. We’d only done 1 IUI and already my doctor’s were giving up on that method? That’s not a good feeling!

Why was this so traumatic? Well, I equate an infertile hearing “IVF” to a cancer patient hearing “BMT”. When I worked on the oncology unit (and fell madly in love with all of my patients), I would keep my fingers crossed that they never had to have a BMT, or bone marrow transplant. This can be a life saving treatment option for many lucky families; however, I also saw this as a last ditch effort which often ended with fatal results. My heart is still with those kids, so I’m in no way comparing my experience to what they suffered; however, the fact remains the IVF is the last possible option for an infertle, just like BMT is for leukemia. It also has a similar 50/50 success rate and costs thousands upon thousands of dollars. Not everybody can afford this. We can technically afford this, but do we want to?

This made me start thinking, “Hmmm, maybe I don’t even want kids”. Let’s see what life could be like without kids. Here’s the “No Rugrats Plan” or Plan A:

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  • Sleep until noon on Saturdays
  • Buy expensive furniture in luxe fabrics like suede and silk
  • Travel in off-peak times without worrying about missing school
  • Spend 40,000-60,000 of their college fund on a G-wagon or Range Rover instead
  • Meet your girlfriends after work for martinis 
  • Fill up your DVR with adults only shows & movies
  • Spend romantic weekends away with your husband
  • Keep your body in tip top shape & your breasts above your rib cage
  • Buy Loubitins and Manolos without worrying about your feet stretching after pregnancy

Not too shabby! Maybe I don’t want kids! Okay, so now for the “Join the Procreators Plan” or Plan B:

  • Wake up at 6am on Saturday to a sleep eyed little one who snuck in the bed overnightEvie and Peanut
  • Hear the words, “I love you, Mommy” that sounds more like “I wuv voo, Mummy”
  • Stare at a face in the middle of the night that is a Picasso-eque version of me and my husband and wonder who it looks more like, without really caring about the answer
  • See my child/ren score a goal in a soccer game or playing t-ball & scream as if I’m watching the Superbowl
  • Watch them sing/dance in a talent show at school and be uncomfortably nervous for them as I mouth the words
  • Lay on a chocolate stained old couch watching lame cartoons and giggling together
  • Pull them out of school in October or April because I’m just dying to show them what they’ve been studying in real life at the Louvre or the Mayan ruins
  • Cherish 2 minutes alone with my husband hiding in the closet during a game of hide-and-seek because it’s been our only time alone in months
  • Stay up late on Christmas Eve tracking the reindeer and decorating cookies for Santa
  • Watching them do the drunk Bambi walk when they take their first steps and laughing with my husband at their awkwardness, but crying from excitement and pride
  • Catch them asleep in my husband’s arms
  • See my parent’s faces light up like they’re battery powered every time they see their grand babies

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YEP, I guess I still want kids! It will, of course, be chaotic, messy, inconvenient, and often heartwrenching as they grow up, but I’m not done trying for them yet. If it doesn’t happen for me, I can find the positives in Plan A, but Plan B is still where my heart is. I’m committed to 3 more rounds of hyper-protocol with IUI and then, go for the gold with IVF. If I have to work 70 hours a week to afford it, I’ll do it. I want that chubby hand on my face so bad I can feel it. Here we go again!

I’m Tapping Out

IMG_0806I only watch UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) when my favorite fighter, George St. Pierre is fighting (because he’s incredibly hot), but I often use the catch phrase “tap out” that came from UFC. Or, at least in my 31 year old, naive, female brain it did. When a fighter “taps out” by tapping on the mat, it’s his signal that he’s had enough and is giving up to the other fighter. This in no way makes him a wuss, but it means he’s acknowledging that he has no moves left and he’s been beat. That’s me, I’m tapping out. I’m in a headlock, back on the mat, legs contorted, running out of air and I’m exhausted. TAP OUT.

I’ve been blogging about my infertility journey for the last year and it took major guts to put it out there in the first place. I’ve loved the support, but I also got really tired of answering the question, “When are you going to have kids?” and having to fake a smile when I answered, “We’re just enjoying being married,” when inside I was falling apart. That question now causes my internal volcano to heat up and one day, some sweet old church lady in a big hat is gonna catch the eruption when she asks me that. Just wait! It’ll be an epic response!

Anyway, like I said, I’m tapping out. I’m not giving up. I intend on continuing the meds, the hormones, the shots, the IUIs, and the tears until either my body gives out, my husband throws in the towel, or my doctor says there’s no use. So, don’t misunderstand, tapping out is not giving up on having a baby; however, I am tapping out on optimism and hope. Call it being a “negative Nancy”, but I call it self-preservation.

I can no longer hear these phrases from anyone:

  • “So, was this month a success?”
  • “How’s the baby making going?”
  • “Where are you at this month?”
  • “Your time will come”.
  • “We could be planning your shower soon!”
  • “What if you have twins?”

I LOVE answering these questions usually (with my close friends), but it also hurts really, really, really badly when I find out the answers are:

  • “No, this month wasn’t it”.
  • “Well, baby making still isn’t my forte, but thanks for asking”.
  • “I’m at the point of despair and self-loathing, you?”
  • “How do you know my time will come? Are you God? Cause if so, we need to talk!”
  • “You won’t be planning my shower for 6 months to 6 years to never, so…”
  • “What if I have twins? What if I never have a baby ever? How’s that?!”

I’m really tired of feeling like I have to be positive when, realistically, this very well may not be in the cards for me. I have to acknowledge that or I’ll drive myself crazy. I’m tapping out on positivity.

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My sister told me she’s having a baby boy this December and I can hardly wait to have a nephew. We have no boys in our family and he’ll be the first, just like she was the first born and her daughter was the first grandchild. Do I sound jealous? Let’s call it middle child syndrome instead. It’s a lifetime of feeling second at everything. 

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I’m happy for my sister (seriously, I am) and I adore my niece so much that when her chubby handIMG_2567 touches my face in her sleep I feel, my heart explodes into tiny little pieces of love that do the cha-cha all around us; however, it doesn’t hurt any less to watch my sister’s joy when I’m hurting so badly. She revealed the baby’s gender to us in a cupcake on Tuesday. I used to love cupcakes. Now, not so much. I bit into it and saw the blue icing and felt my stomach drop at the same time. I felt so torn; like I should be happy for her, but I was hurting, too. Ever choked back tears with a mouth full of blue icing? It’s awesome! It’s almost like choking back tequila induced vomit at a work party. You realize that if you let it go, you will regret it forever! I wanted to give my sister the joyous reaction she needed from me, but like I said, I’m out of moves. All I could do was choke down the tears (and the icing). 

It’s better for me, moving forward, that I just take every day as it comes and pretend as if I don’t care at all. Day 1 I’ll call the doctor, Day 3 I’ll have an ultrasound and get my prescriptions. I’ll take these day 3-7 and then on days 7-10 I’ll give myself the injections. I’ll go in to the doctor on day 11 for an ultrasound and lab work. I’ll do the trigger shot that day and wait 36 hours before the IUI. I’ll do the IUI and have mind-numbing cramps for about 24hours and remain in the fetal position begging for mercy. Then, I’ll wait two weeks to find out whether or not this month was “it”. I will do this continuously, over and over again until I have what I’ve wanted my whole life- what everyone tells me I was “meant” to have.

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