Infertile Me

Bad Blogger

IMG_1479Well hello there strangers. I know … it’s been a while and I sincerely hope everyone is doing well in the Land of IF, cities in Between and points Beyond.

There is no excuse for not writing on this blog very much. The truth is, I haven’t had much to say in regards to living child-free (NOT by choice). And anything I’ve had to say about things has really been small snippets on my Facebook page about articles I’ve shared.

You see, unlike 15 years ago when I first started this infertility journey (well, actually, it’s been closer to 20 years, now that I think about it … yikes!), there is a lot more media surrounding IF. Seriously … where was all this support when I needed it?!

Social media aside, I’m just truly grateful that it was through the blogosphere that I met many wonderful people going through this infertility journey with me. Most of us have now resolved our infertility journeys; some managed to have biological children of their own either naturally or by way of IVF (one of them had TWINS!), some of them became adoptive parents, and some even became step-parents. And some of them … well, some sort of combination of all of the above!

As for me, I have pretty much resolved the fact that I will never have biological children of my own for these facts:

  • I am over 40 years old
  • I’m pretty sure I’m going into early menopause
  • Adoption for us is way beyond our financial means
  • I am way too exhausted to think of parenting at my age
  • Being over 40, I cannot fathom having to raise a child now and be close to (or even over) 60 by the time they graduate from high school

 

Unfortunately, these facts don’t stop some well-meaning family members from thinking I’m going to have some sort of miraculous conception. (We won’t even go into our recent trip to the Philippines.)

Monasterio de Santa Clara

Monasterio de Santa Clara (click on picture)

 

So what brings me out of my semi-retirement? A damn movie.

But first let me clarify something. While we may have reached the end of our IF journey, this doesn’t mean that some things can slap us in the face and make us fully aware that we are not the norm … that we are quite different than the rest of everyday society.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned to accept that Hubby & I are on a unique path of our own (just like every other person / couple / family is). I’ve gotten used to answering “No” to when new friends, acquaintances, or other professionals ask us if we have any children. And I’m certainly used to and am very comfortable in explaining why we don’t either. I can stand on my own (without crying, to boot!) when discussing infertility and the emotions that a person goes through while traveling on that journey. I can be rational about debating why adoption isn’t for us. I can even easily ask and converse with others about their children without feeling inferior.

But every once in a while, there’s something that happens that can have me contemplating why we chose this Child-Free-Not-By-Choice life. Or has me feeling, once again, that I’m alone in the world of other adults that are parents … and that I can’t possibly know what it’s like to be one of them.

This time it’s a movie … particularly one that is specifically aimed towards motherhood and all the horrible things that occur during parenting a child.

Okay, I get it. Yes … motherhood isn’t always glamorous. In fact, I’d say the only time everyday parenting looks glamorous is on Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram … or any other social media outlet out there. And that’s only after 5 GAZILLION retakes to make it “just perfect.”

IMG_2318But it’s still something that I can’t fully understand.

Because, for being “over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that [these moms are] about to snap” (directly from the plot summary, BTW)? I will never know what it’s like to feel that way. As a Mom, anyway.

And yet … Well, here’s something for all those moms out there:

Those feelings – while not as “ongoing on a daily basis”-type of way – are what those who have experienced / are experiencing infertility go through on a month-to-month basis.

Nothing hits you straight in the gut with a pregnancy test that doesn’t have that second line … and knowing you’ll have to go through the same treatments (-ie- shots, pills, holistic treatments, all of the above) for yet another month.

I know that I will eventually see this movie in the future (because – C’MON! The same writers as “The Hangover”?!). But next weekend, I’ll likely just chill with my Hubby and our four-legged child.

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PS. If you want know where “I’ve” been in social media lately, check out this Instagram account.

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More Than a Woman?

Tired. That’s how I’ve felt this past weekend. I think the 10-hour days are catching up with me and I’m not looking forward to Monday when it will start all over again.

I think it’s time to take some time off. Maybe a scheduled mental health day to regroup myself. On a Monday. Or a Friday. So I can extend my weekend by an extra day.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m still going to spend the day before returning to work worrying about what I need to do the day I actually return to work. 

I worry too much. Not a surprise for people that know me very well. To others though, especially at work, I guess I put off this vibe that everything is going to be okay. But internally, I’m a nervous wreck.

Why is that?

Hubby seems to think I put too much pressure on myself, that I should learn to ease up on myself. That I should learn to break down projects into manageable tasks. And he’s right, the smart man that I married.

I do put a lot of pressure on myself to be as best that I can be. I guess it goes back to that thought that if I try hard enough, I’ll succeed in anything I do.

And we all know that Infertility taught me that that statement is not always relevant to everything. 

So why am I still living my life like that? I guess I do it in the hopes of being a better person than would be if I had kids. That somehow, I need to make up for being more of a woman because I don’t have kids. 

Does that sound ridiculous? 

I know it does. There are lots of women living child-free by choice that can attest to this. Heck, there are women that have gone through infertility and are now living child-free that can say that they still feel like a whole woman. 

Right now, I’m not one of those women. Which is why I worry too much. And expect more out of myself. And I wish there was a way that I could just be happy with who I am. 

 

Mixed Feelings

Hubby: “You make sure you wake me up before you take the test, okay?”
Me: “Okay, I’ll tell you when I have to go.”
Hubby: “No. Wake me up and tell me you’re going to take the test.”

So that’s what I did this morning at 6:30 am. Woke Hubby up to tell him I couldn’t hold it any longer. That I had to take the test now.

2 minutes later it was all over. We hugged each other and then crawled back into bed.

Hubby: “You okay?”
Me: (pauses) “Yes.”
Hubby: “You sure?”
Me: (pauses again) “Sure.”

But really I wasn’t. Eventually,  I told Hubby the truth. And the truth was that I had mixed feelings about the pregnancy test that I took this morning. 

It was negative. And I had mixed feelings about it being negative.

I was sad, that’s for sure. You see, I’m late with my period by over two weeks and there’s the part of me that was hopeful for a positive test after all these years. 

I won’t lie … I was already planning ahead; thinking about setting up a doctor’s appointment if the test came back positive. I had in my mind when the “maybe baby” would be due. And was deciding if Hubby and I would want to know the sex of the “maybe baby” or let it be a surprise. 

I was feeling hopeful.

Now that we know for sure that I’m not pregnant, I’m disappointed … but on the other hand, I’m also relieved. 

Relieved because I know that I’m 40 and I don’t know if I have the capacity to be a good “older” parent. Let’s face it, we’d be closer to 60 by the time our child would graduate from high school. If we were lucky, in our 70’s by the time our child married. And if we were really lucky, we’d have time to enjoy grandchildren. 

Oh, I know it’s no longer uncommon for women to get pregnant in their 40’s. However, 40 wasn’t the age I was planning to have children. I wanted them more than 15 years ago.

Besides, I’ve been coming to terms with living child-free after infertility. I’ve started to think of Hubby & me living our lives as a Family of Two. What would having a child now do to this new path in life?

I’m feeling other emotions (like good old Catholic guilt), but sadness and relief are the predominant ones. I’m sure that these feelings will fade with time, as everything eventually does. But for now, since it’s still fresh … I’m just going to let me feel what I feel. 

 

Failure = Success?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the post I wrote last week and how failure has shaped my life over the past decade or so. Then my Hubby sent this article to me that talks about how failure can actually turn into success.

I’m not sure how I feel about the article. I mean, I get what the message is; that in order to succeed you have to allow failure into your life. That we can learn from our failures. 

So what have I learned from my failures? Losing a job taught me that nothing in life is ever “stable.” Moving back to Detroit from Chicago after my Dad passed away taught me that guilt is a strong enough motivator. Infertility taught me that not everything that you give 100% into will result in success.

Not necessarily happy things, right? Truth is, failure has taught me to be more wary of people, of situations. The once confident woman that I was in my twenties, has morphed into a 40-year old woman with more self-esteem issues than a teenager. 

What I need to do, as Hubby keeps telling me, is realize that I should let go of these failures and move on. And I need to realize that everything I do won’t necessarily fail; that even little things in life (and work) can be a success. 

I need to believe in myself.

Dark Spaces and Other Things

I went to a dark space this past week. I went back to the land of longing for a child of my own.

That’s a place, while always in the back of my mind, that I haven’t been to in a long time.

It started when I found out that a newer co-worker of mine had triplets. So naturally I asked if this was a surprise to her when she found out she was having triplets. That’s when I found out that she and her husband had done IVF and had succeeded with pregnancy after their second try; a frozen cycle from the remaining embryos from her first try.

D*mn it. I was jealous.

So jealous that I thought of our one failed IVF cycle and the failed ability to even have tried a frozen cycle. Which then had me thinking that if we did succeed with our cycle, our child/children would be 9 years old.

Nine. Years. Old. What a different person I might have become if we were successful.

Maybe I wouldn’t be such a sad person inside. Maybe I wouldn’t feel so anxious all the time. Maybe I wouldn’t be so afraid of failure like I am about everything in my life.

I know. I’m realistic enough to know I could still be the same person I am today, with or without kids. However, I do know that my fear of failure stems from the belief that I grew up with: If you try hard at anything, you will succeed.

Except as hard as Hubby & I tried to conceive, we did not succeed.

Failing at trying to procreate was the first time I ever had to question that belief. The corresponding darkness that followed our failed IVF only allowed me more time to question whether anything I do would only result in failure.

So the dark place I was at this week? It all boiled down to my fear of failure in EVERYTHING I do. From feeling like I’m a failure at work, to feeling like I’m a failure in my personal life.

I’m still a little fragile from this past week … probably will be for a while, if I’m being honest with myself … but I’m trying to be better. Trying to realize that sometimes failures can be opportunities for improvement. And trying to remember that mistakes are really just mis-takes

Thirty Days of Thanks, Day Twenty

Spent part of my day outside today. That is, after spending most of it indoors at work. But at least I got to leave in the early afternoon.

My Mom and I went to place a grave blanket on my Dad’s grave this afternoon. We bought a bare blanket and spent some time decorating it with ribbons and bows. This is the first time we decided to decorate it ourselves and we actually had a fun time doing it. We did a fine job, if I do say so myself!

Afterwards, we went out for an early dinner and had some nice conversation. Overall, it was a great afternoon.

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So I’m thinking that Mom & I should make it an annual thing … something we can do together. Because there’s not much we do together.

It’s not that we don’t get along … it’s just that we don’t share a lot of the same interests or find a lot of things in common.

I wish we could … find things more in common. Which is strange to say, since she is my mother. We should have tons of things in common. But we don’t.

It’s one of those things that I shouldn’t do … but I blame part of it on the fact that I don’t have children.

(Yes, I’m bringing out the “Infertility Card.”)

We’ve never really had much in common, even growing up. But I always thought that once I had a baby, I’d be able to turn to my Mom for some “I don’t know what the h*ll I’m doing”-bonding.

And even if we didn’t always see eye to eye, I would put our differences aside if my kids wanted to spend time with their “Lola.”

But since the kids/grandkids thing isn’t going to happen, I want to find some way to bond with my Mom; to connect with her.

So maybe it won’t be bonding over what latest funny thing “Johnny” just did. Maybe it’ll have to be bonding over what we’ve lost together … her, a husband; me, a dad.

What am I grateful for today? The time spent with Mom, bonding over my Dad.

Purpose

 

Hugo: Did you ever notice that all machines are made for some reason? They are built to make you laugh, or tell the time, or to fill you with wonder. Maybe that’s why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn’t able to do what it was meant to do.

Maybe it’s the same with people. If you lose your purpose … it’s like you’re broken.

Isabelle: Like Papa Georges?

Hugo: Maybe … maybe we can fix him.

Isabelle: So is that your purpose? Fixing things?

Hugo: I don’t know. Maybe.

Isabelle: Then what’s my purpose?

Hugo: I don’t know.

Hugo: I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need.

So I figure if the entire world is big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.

Thanks-IF-ing

Going through Infertility has brought me many things in my life; both good and bad. But seeing that today is Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share with you what I’m actually thankful that Infertility has given me. So here’s my list:

  1. The Weight: With all those pills and shots taken over the years, I can thank IF for all that added weight gain. Of course, it’s also my un-doing that I refuse to eat any healthier or exercise any more than needed to get rid of my “not-so-pregnant” belly! On an upswing? Bigger boobs. 😛
  2. Speaking of shots … oh, those wonderful shots! I can thank IF for all the bruised areas on my thighs and abdomen I had when going through those medicated cycles. It’s not so much that I don’t know how to give a shot — I *am* a Registered Nut — I mean Nurse. It’s more the fact that I can proudly poke myself like a human pin cushion and not be scared about it anymore. In fact, if I had to do it again … Nah, nevermind.
  3. Speaking of needles … I’d like to thank my body for producing enough blood so that those vampires — I mean Phlebotomists — can take all the vials of blood they need to run their tests. But I also want to thank those blood-suckers — I mean Phlebotomists — for being so kind and patients; especially when I was having a particularly rough day.
  4. In fact, I’m thankful for all those health care workers (from the nurses, to the receptionist … even the Ultrasound tech) for being so wonderful. In the throes of IF, I may have shot imaginary daggers at your back or given you dirty looks when you weren’t looking … but reflecting back on those moments, you have all been so kind to me.
  5. In fact, there have been lots of kind folks out there that I should be thankful for. Many of them are you, as readers of my humble blog. I’ve “met” the most compassionate women out in the blogosphere that “get me” sometimes more than the people I know IRL (in real life). So to you … my readers and commenters, both past, present and future … I’m grateful that you’ve graced my life.
  6. For those folks that I know IRL that have been willing to listen to my stories of Infertility … I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me. For so long, I did not have anybody (but Hubby, of course) to listen to our “War Stories” … so for anyone IRL that has lent me their ears or provided me with the empathy I so desperately needed, I am forever in you debt.
  7. I’m also indebted to Infertility for giving me back the gift of writing. It’s something I’ve always loved to do as a young kid, but something that I could never take on as a “career.” So I’m thankful for my tiny space in the Cyberworld where I can continue to write (as often or as seldom as I’d like) about my world; about my feelings. And about my thoughts, as crazy as they can be.
  8. And to be honest, if it wasn’t for writing about my Infertility, I wouldn’t have been able to come to some sort of closure with my Infertility journey … even if it wasn’t the outcome I expected. So there. I’m thankful that writing about IF has opened up a new path to my “new” future.
  9. Not only am I thankful for my blog and the ability to write … I will always be thankful for those IRL family and friends that read and acknowledge my blog. For the longest time, this blog was the only way that I could tell people about my Infertility so that I could “save face” in my culture. Knowing that I could still tell my story and yet not feel ostracized in the presence of my family and those Filipino family friends has been an absolute Godsend. It has given me strength in the midst of adversity.
  10. But the most important thing I’m grateful that Infertility gave me is my relationship with my husband. Nothing more has tested our wedding vows more than Infertility has. It brings new meaning to the words “In sickness and in health” and “For better or worse.” I know many couples that can say the same thing and have gone through adversities (even those who had gone through other crises other than Infertility) that know exactly what I mean. My marriage is stronger because of Infertility and my love for Hubby has grown deeper than I ever thought it would. It’s thanks to Infertility that I know the meaning of unconditional love; one that will last through the test of time … with or without children in our lives.

So those are the things that I’m grateful that Infertility has given me. I’m sure I can come up with more things to be thankful about … and not necessarily good things, but I’m trying to stay  on the positive side these days. So I think I’ll leave those parts out.

How about you, oh IF internet peeps? What are you thankful that Infertility has given you?

And for those non-IF folks … it is Thanksgiving, after all. Tell me what you’re thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

 

Go Fourth … And Be Happy

First of all, Happy Birthday, USA !!!

And second … Really? It’s July 4th already? When did half the year slip away? It’s been a crazy couple of months here in ApronStringsLand. Busy with work, busy with traveling. And — I’m not gonna deny it — busy in the emotional end of things.

Yesterday marked 7 months since my Dad unexpectedly passed away; a feeling I’m still trying to come to grips with. Everybody has said that it will get better as time passes, but it seems to me that I feel more emotionally drained as the days go by.

This past week, Dr. Bro came into town. Amidst the hectic schedule I’ve had for work, plus the added pressure of being at a local onsite hospital this past week … I had been just a leeetle stressed.

Okay. A lot stressed. Especially given that I knew this was looming over my head this past Tuesday.

But the real reason Dr. Bro came into town was to surprise the “little” cousins (who aren’t so little any more … they made me a margarita, for Pete’s sake!) who had organized a pre-4th celebration to coincide with the local city’s fireworks. He wanted to be here to be with Dad’s side of the family; to spend time with us, because — if he’s feeling anything like I am — he wanted to feel closer to Dad. Unfortunately, he could only stay for two nights; and the second night had been for the party.

It was a glorious night; spent barbecueing at my Aunts’ backyard … which just happens to be next to a lake.  Oh, and did I mention that they just happen to be located behind the park where the fireworks are held every year? Needless to say, we had the best seat in the city! The family had a blast, especially the cousins who were able to eat (and — ahem — drink) to our hearts’ content.

Afterwards, on the drive home I suddenly felt this wave of sadness take over. The best way I can describe it is the melancholy I would feel in my youth (and even to this day) whenever I had to say good-bye to out-of-town family after spending a wonderful amount of time (a weekend or even an entire vacation) with them. I’d suddenly feel lonely and wish we could stay together forever.

I chalked most it up to the fact that I got to spend such little time with Dr. Bro this time around. He spent his one full day helping Mom search for a new car, while I had to work at an onsite location the entire day. And since I had to work again the next day, we would have no chance to spend any quiet time alone.

The other part I chalked up to missing my Dad. After all, I think he would have totally gotten a kick out of the “cousins” doing the cooking and the serving; would have loved to see us kick back and have such relaxing fun together. Which, of course, had me spilling some tears for a bit.

Flash forward to yesterday … Mom, Hubby & I went to church and then to the cemetery to bring some flowers and visit Dad. I knew that Dr. Bro had visited him the day after our party; which I can only imagine was a toughy. (At least I live closer and can visit Dad more often.)

What I hadn’t expected was to see pictures of my niece, Emilia Grace, taped to my Dad’s gravestone. And the minute I saw the picture of my Dad holding his granddaughter, I fell to tears. I knew how much my Dad loved kids, so seeing that picture broke my heart; especially since we all knew that he’d never be able to physically hold his grandchild and play with her.

And, although these days I try very hard to let my Infertility get the best of me … seeing that picture also reminded me that I was never was able to give him the grandkids that both my parents deserved. And if I did have any kids, he would have had at least a good 13 years to spend with them before he died. But instead, he only got to see and hold his one grandchild a few days after her birth … and then three weeks later, he was gone.

I know that a lot of these emotions are stemming from the fact that my birthday is coming up. And that it follows an unfulfilled wedding anniversary date and yet another major holiday. But really … when does this get better? When can I finally see more bits of happiness than shades of blue?

My Favorite Song This Time Last Year

Day Thirty – My Favorite Song This Time Last Year:

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been 30 days of posting songs and videos on my blog. Okay … so I’ve interspersed a few posts in between the 30-Day Song Challenge, but they were for good reasons. At least I think they were.

Regardless, this now means I get to post another NaBloPoMo badge on my “Badges of Honor” page. Woo-frickin’-hoo!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed following along with my music posts. As you can probably gather by now, music has always played a big part in my life. Somehow, I can’t see my life being complete without having a song in my head and in my heart.

But today, really is about the last song I need to name. I have a hard time remembering what I ate last night, let alone trying to remember what song I liked this time last year. I mean, give me a break … I’m getting senile in my older years. Especially since I have a birthday coming up this week.

So instead, I’m posting my favorite song once again. Except this time, I actually had time to put a video together for myself. So enjoy the slideshow below … as the description I added on YouTube says, this video is:

A photographic tale of my personal relationship with Hubby & with kids … and the fact that we can’t have any of our own. Resolving that part has been hard on us, but now we know … “Apron Strings can be used for other things than what they’re meant for.” But I would like to think that other persons (whether they’re kids or not … ) can still be happily “wrapped in my Apron Strings.”

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What is with this 30-day song challenge?

What was yesterday‘s song?

 

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