Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random Conversations

Sorry I haven't been around (and, I'm so behind on reading blogs - I swear, I will catch up!). Last week was insane and, this week, Glenn and I are at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland and I've been offline for a couple of days. We have a business (in addition to our full time jobs) dealing in sports and Americana antiques and collectibles, primarily 18th century stuff. Yes, I married into it, but, honestly, it's pretty cool, especially if you like history.

And, this year, watching Glenn tell people he's known in the sports collectibles world for a long time that we're expecting has been such a joy!

Anyway, this is a week-long show that we do every year and while I'm taking it very easy, I'm finding that it's much harder on my body now that I'm 20 weeks pregnant. My back hurts from the hard chairs and my feet and legs hurt from the hard convention hall floor.

Oh, and yes, I just kind of slipped that in. I am 20 weeks pregnant this week. Halfway there!!!! Our big ultrasound is next week. I can't wait! I just want to know that everything is OK, you know?

Anyway, as you all know, I am very open about my infertility and the struggle we've gone through to get to this point. And, as a result, it's amazing how many people I meet who have or are currently struggling with the same. A chance meeting in the women's aisle at the supermarket led to a conversation about ovulation predictor strips and day 21 testing. Talking with my hairdresser while he was coloring my hair led to a discussion with another patron who has 6 year old twins from donor eggs. I've had infertility conversations at the bank, on a plane, in the dentist's office, and in Best Buy. And, it happened again today.

As you would imagine, men outnumber women at the Sports Collectors Convention by, well, by a lot. But, as chance would have it, our booth ended up next to the booth of another couple, married just 2 years. They deal the same kind of stuff we do (there aren't that many 18th century dealers out there) and the husband and Glenn knew of one another but had never met.

Anyway, today, the wife and I were talking about our work and she asked if I like mine. This led me to make a comment about how I do enjoy what I do, but, we've been trying to have a baby for a long time and that would result in changes in our life that would impact work. And, just like that, it happened again. She opened up that they were experiencing IF, too and, in fact, this is her first month on clomid. We then talked for a long time about the different procedures we've been through and those I hope she never has to go through. I loved being able to give her hope, as I shared all of the success stories I know.

Random conversations. How powerful they can be.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Before I blogged

I've said it before. The support from the IF blogging community is incredible!

But, I am extremely blessed in that I had a support network before I started to blog. It started innocently enough. Some women from NJ who frequent a particular message board began experiencing the joy (dripping with sarcasm) of infertility testing and treatment. While we were supported by others on the board, we sometimes felt our questions were personal and wanted to take them to a place where only women going through the same pain would see them. From that, a Yahoo support board was formed.

Sadly, over time, the number of women on the board grew. Sadly, I say, because it meant that more and more women were experiencing the same grief. But, that's when the magic started to grow. Older members welcomed newer members with open arms. We asked and answered questions, gave advice and prayers, offered shoulders for crying and for support, and shared tears of grief and tears of joy. We had get-togethers and got to know one another personally. And, slowly, over time, we watched everyone achieve what they so greatly desired.

I am the last of the originals to be pregnant. While some could look at this as sad, I'm finally able to put a different spin on it. Being last means that I have had the blessing of receiving unending support from these wonderful women for such a long time.

A group of us were able to get together this past Saturday. Other than one lovely woman who has put her TTCing on hold for a while, and me, everyone else was there with their beautiful babies. I wanted to share this picture with you:

How can you not look at all of these beautiful mommies and beautiful babies and not be overwhelmed? Awed? The sheer number of procedures and volume of heartbreak that these women have endured would blow you away, and, yet, they are all here today, smiling, enjoying their children, standing in testament to the strength of women!

Yep, that's me at the top holding one of their sons - he's the oldest in the group at 26 months, with the youngest being 9 weeks.

What I didn't know is that I was the impetus for this wonderful day!! As the day went on, different people handed me gift bags with different things in them and, each time, I was truly blown away, to the point of being speechless, that they had all thought of me and were celebrating the fact that I was finally close to having the joy they all have. But, then, I realized something even more special. For those who don't know, because I am Jewish, I will not only not have a baby shower, we won't bring anything baby-related into the house before the baby is born. These women knew that and each gift was focused on the mommy-t0-be, and not on the baby. Honoring me was overwhelming enough, but, the fact that they each honored my traditions and beliefs, well, there truly are no words for that.

As words came back to me later that evening, I emailed them:

"When I look at that picture of all of you mommies and your babies, I really am overwhelmed by it. What we each went through individually to get where we are is almost shadowed by our shared experiences. Would each of us have our babies (or babies to be) without one another? Yeah, probably. But, would we be the people we've become - women who have learned to put ourselves out there, bare, full of raw emotion - women who, despite the utter grief that each of us has experienced, found it not only easy to support and help other women going through the same thing, but, in many ways, therapeutic? No, I'm not sure we would be those women. If there's a reason for this to have happened to all of us, maybe that's it."

I love these women. They are not just part of my support system. They are my friends and I cherish the opportunity to know them and watch their children grow up!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Forgot the biggest one

Thank you for all the comments on my last post. It is so helpful to know that I'm not the only one who experiences envy on a semi-regular basis.

But, I cannot believe I forgot the biggest one.....the one that causes me to have such pangs of envy that it brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

I am so very envious of every mother who has a child from her own egg. And, like others commented on my previous post, I don't think these feelings of envy will ever go away.

It's difficult to talk about this because I never, ever want anyone to think that I consider this pregnancy as anything less than the most wonderful thing that's ever happened in my life. But, I will admit, it doesn't remove the grief of not continuing my family's genetics. It lessens it, but, doesn't eliminate it. In fact, while most of my heart and mind and soul know that we made the decision to move on to donor eggs at the right time, after 7 IVF attempts, there's a part of me that still wonders and, I suspect, will always wonder if we should have continued trying....if maybe, just maybe, the next cycle would have been the one to produce a healthy pregnancy from my egg.

Now that I'm firmly ensconced in the joy of this pregnancy, I'm finding myself thinking about this more and more. And, again, while I still struggle with it and will, most likely, never know the reason why things happened this way, I try to take comfort in my belief that this is the way it's supposed to be. I have to believe there is a greater reason that G-d wanted a child brought to this world made from DNA supplied by Glenn and our donor, but, raised with the values and traditions that I hold so dear.

For those who don't believe that things happen for a reason, I respect your opinion, but, I don't hold the same. I HAVE to believe that there's a reason for this and that it's not just random. Maybe it helps assuage the guilt I feel at not continuing my family's genetic lines. Maybe it helps make sense of something that seems so senseless. Maybe it's simply what I was brought up to believe and I hold true to it, albeit blindly. I'm not sure, but, regardless, I will hold on to the elusive concept of a "reason", even if I'm never privy to what that reason is.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I still have green eyes

Wow, I haven't written in a long time. I'm sorry!! Work was insane last week (in the office until 2:30 in the morning one night) and I've been feeling really tired.

Anyway....I seemed to have this misconception about pregnancy. I really thought that my eye color would change. I was hoping that my eyes would go back to the brownish-greenish-hazel color they used to be, but, to my surprise, they have remained a singular, bright shade of green - the green of envy.

Before going any further, let me throw out a couple of definitions. These may not be technically correct, but, they are my definitions. In my mind:

Envy = You have something that I'm glad you have, but, I wish I could have it also
Jealousy = You have something, but, I wish I had it INSTEAD of you

So, when I talk about envy, it's not in a mean light. It just means that I wish that I could join you.

OK, that said, I really thought that being pregnant would make me feel less envious, but, sadly, I think the feeling has actually increased. I don't know why, but, I suspect it's because what I've so longed to have for so long is now within my grasp, so, it's more real, if that makes any sense. So, two years ago, when people around me were having babies, I really wanted the same thing, but, failed cycle after failed cycle made it seem so far away.

Now, I find myself having these feelings even more than I did then. And, the scope of my desire has broadened. I find myself envious of:

Women further along in pregnancy than I am
Women who will have their big ultrasound at 17, 18, or 19 weeks, when I have to wait until 21 weeks
Moms with babies
Moms with toddlers
Moms getting their kids ready for camp
Moms planning birthday parties
Moms with twins (that's a post for another day)
Moms trying for their second

The one that continually surprises me is my reaction to seeing other pregnant women. I see their beautiful bellies or hear them talking about delivering this summer and it almost hurts inside. I think that what's happening is that it is sparking fears I have that, although I'm pregnant now, that I may not make it to where they are, and I think that makes me wish more that I was at that stage already.

Remember, if you are one of these people, please don't take this the wrong way because I am so happy for you!!! I just wish that I was where you are and hope that my eye color will fade as I get further along in this pregnancy.....