Monday, December 8, 2008

Same old, same old...

I got my period today.

That just about says it all, doesn't it. Happy period?? I THINK NOT!

I'm just tired of being in this boat. I'm tired of dealing with this. I'm tired of feeling rejected and denied - feeling incomplete. Like showing up late for a job interview and finding out they gave the job to someone else, someone less competent, because they showed up at the appointed time.

Kenton finally called the doctor's office today, so I'm waiting to find out if/when he's going to be seen. What happens from there on out, who knows? Just having my periods makes me feel so bleak and sad, again.

I keep wondering how this happened to me. How did I end up in this situation? How did I end up married and comfortable enough, smart enough, old enough, to be able to face any and all challenges of motherhood head-on - and be denied? I feel like I got kicked out of some fancy country club without even being considered in the first place. It's ridiculous - all of it. This whole failed "experiment" is making me angry and it's making me unhappy.

Some days I just feel like smashing things around me. I am overcome by this blind rage - really just a feeling of impotence (ironic how this word has such different meanings depending on the context) as I am faced with this...sentence. Yes, that's what it feels like: I feel like I've been sentenced. Sentenced to a life without children. Sentenced to a life without ever becoming pregnant - and yet, how ironic, since as with so many other things, I didn't know how much I wanted it until I found out that I most likely will never even have the damn friggin CHOICE in the first place!!! Cue: rage. this same time, there are other aspects of my life - which for personal reasons I won't go into here, as they involve other people's lives and only vaguely my own - that give me pause to reflect. It's easy to get caught up in your own little world - with its ups and downs, its joys and pains. It's easy to forget that, no matter how lousy you feel, there's always someone else who has a worse lot in life. Strangely, I feel horrible these days when I even CONTEMPLATE sinking into my own private, morose abyss of unhappiness. I feel like I am so ungrateful - ungrateful for what I DO have. There are so many maxims, sayings, quotes out there that resonate with me on so many levels - yet actually LIVING according to the principles they espouse seems to be beyond me.

I sit back and think, life could be so much worse. I could live in a war-torn country. I could be pregnant as a result of rape. I could have a horribly crippling disease. Someone I love could die suddenly. And in the absence of all these far more horrific considerations, shouldn't I be able to put my own misery into perspective and think to myself: you know what, I got it good!!

But musings and ponderings don't quell the heart that wants what it wants. The other day, Kenton and I went to a nearby Starbucks - and there was this couple, probably about our age, all decked out for a weekend outing with a tiny, bundled up baby boy. I smiled at the father who glanced my way, pride beaming all across his face. And then I looked at Kenton, studiously avoiding the general direction of the couple - and I thought, why not us? WHY???

People often try to comfort those in pain or sadness with platitudes like "it wasn't meant to be" or, more theologically, "it's all part of God's plan". I have to grit my teeth when I just THINK about things like that because my reaction would probably be something like WHO THE FUCK ASKED YOU FOR YOUR TEN CENTS??? Comfort? I think NOT! What ever possesses people to think that these things are supposed to make you feel better is something I'll probably never understand.


Meanwhile, life continues unabated. I'm reading, working, occasionally doing some menial tasks that allow my thoughts to roam freely. Sometimes, though, I find myself driving - and completely getting lost in these internal debates or monologues. I hate to admit it, but it's not uncommon for me to get to someplace and suddenly realize that I've been driving for half an hour but have little or no recollection of any part of the journey. Other times, I get so distracted that I either slow down or speed up without realizing it. Thankfully, it's never to the extent where I'd cause or be involved in an accident - but, still, even as far as it's been going on with me, it's not without its dangers.

I try to stay busy, as before. I try not to think about it. But then I look in the mirror and I think, I'm too old for all this. I shouldn't have to worry about this, it should already have been over and done with. I should have my statistically correct 2-point-something kids and be able to enjoy the things most parents probably take for granted.

So many people make judgments about things they don't understand - especially about things like parenthood. Without knowing my circumstances, several people I know have made comments to me about other people, intimating that if nature doesn't give you kids without trouble, then you're just not meant to have any. Easy to say when you're not affected by that proposition. And then I've heard, more than once now, that in-vitro children are considered "sub-standard" by many - being as they do not hail from the most "potent" combination of their parents' characteristics and genetic material. So where does that leave me? I really don't know. I don't know how to feel about any of this anymore. I feel like I'm just going in circles, going through the motions, trying to pretend everything is ok. Trying to pretend I don't think about it all the time, don't peruse baby websites in some sick, sadistic way of punishing myself, maybe.

I just don't know what to do with all these thoughts and feelings anymore.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bump This!

I feel like I'm in some strange D-list movie from the 60s - something along the lines of "Valley of Bumps". Everywhere I look, there they are: distended bellies pointing out, to no one in particular, that they belong to someone who is completely oblivious to my personal hell.

Of course that's probably not entirely true of ALL of them. I'm sure that, thrown in with the colorful mix of Fertile Myrtles proudly pushing their Peg Peregos - or, the more glamorous ones, Silver Cross prams that I am embarrassed to say are, in my humble opinion, the motherhood equivalent of the iconic quilted Chanel bag - there is one or the other who is still cautiously optimistic after the trials and tribulations of Trying To Conceive (which, btw, is now a common acronym among many - something that makes me, quite frankly, just want to THROW UP).

Lately, I've barely managed to keep the crescendo of cascading panic attacks at bay. I can count on one hand how many years I have left until I'm going to be my MOTHER's age when she had me - and she had me quite late for her generation. And then there's this nagging feeling in the back of my head - you know, that dusty attic room you keep under lock and key because it houses your most unpleasant superstitions and insecurities - that maybe I jinxed myself.

Confession: I have been "planning" for motherhood quite a while before I actually felt physically and mentally READY. With every single one of my friends toting around at least one child - and me, in tow, happily running along to children's boutiques and little shoppes - it was just a matter of time before I found something irresistably cute.

See, I thought I was being smart. Get a little blanket there, maybe a silver feeding spoon - and stash it all away like a chipmunk with a healthy harvest of nuts. Needless to mention, this is quite easily one of my most embarrassing little foibles. Because, really? It's kind of like the line in that movie The Wedding Planner: "Those who can't do, plan." (or something to that effect). I guess that, on some level, I thought that if I was prepared, then things would go smoothly. I wouldn't have an unplanned pregnancy and have to scramble to find cute things for my bundle of joy. But - and I hate to sound like a total snob - the biggest part of it, I guess, was seeing what a lot of other people did with their kids. Entire meals plastered across pill-tastic faded Walmart t-shirts. Infants glued to television sets. Little girls in Mini-Whore-Me outfits. It was enough to make me want to gouge out my eyes sometimes. So, I thought: well, we may not be hobnobbing with the rich and famous, but that doesn't mean my kids have to look like they came straight from the favelas either.
Enter a whole new world of shopping. Within less than a year, I was semi-fluent in the high-brow fashion world of baby boutiques. Smocked dresses, christening gowns, embroidered cardigans...Before I knew it, I was kitted out for the next two babies which, as it turned out, never did show up.

And there I was, with all these hopes pinned to my booty, so to speak - and suddenly I felt like a big fat loser. What had I been thinking? How ridiculous! Who shops for unborn, unplanned and not-at-all-in-the-making babies??? So I sold some, donated others, and went to a lot of baby showers. Pretended that the gift I brought wasn't something that I would've put on MY CHILD. The one that, as it now looked, I might never have anyway.

After a while, I started remembering something my mother had once told me a long time ago - some superstition or old wives' tale, if you will: you should never make up the crib before you bring your baby home safe and sound. And then, the other day, I either heard or read something that extended this "belief" to cover any and all child-related accoutrements. Suddenly I had a moment of uncertainty - in a way, you could say that padlocked door to The Unmentionables in my head flew wide open - and I thought: did I put the cart before the horse and somehow jinx us???

From a rational point of view, that's all a bunch of nonsense, of course. But maybe that's the point all of this has made abundantly clear: none of this makes any sense, and there's neither logic nor reason involved in what we go through when dealing with infertility. I have moments of lucidity when I think, hey it can still happen or we can adopt; or maybe we can just have a lot of pets or something. There are days when I meet up with someone and their kid turns out to be a little, grouchy, miserable mini-tyrant - and I think to myself, PHEW, thank God I don't have that problem (incidentally, this frame of mind is particularly evident when I hear tales of Exorcist-like vomiting etc).

Lately, I've been feeling a lot more panicked - not just about the whole baby issue, but about life in general. I always believed that there was a natural progression to life: you're born, your parents give you a set of values and a code of ethics to guide you in life, you live and learn - and eventually find someone you love and get married. Everything else, I thought - foolishly, I now realize at the 11th hour - would just "happen". It never occurred to me that having children would be something I would have to "work" at. For the better part of my life, I didn't give either marriage OR babies ANY thought whatsoever - watching my parents, I just thought, this is the way the story goes. It never entired my mind, for a split second, that I might not meet someone and get married or that, even if I managed to find that, I would still be denied what one could argue is a basic right of being a woman. I mean - sometimes it really gets to me: the sheer indignity of getting periods - the ONLY reason for which is procreation - and still not be able to bear children. I mean, it's like as if you won a competition and then they told you, hey by the way, you know that $10,000 prize you were competing for? We just made that up! HAHAHA!

Well, I'm not laughing. I'm not crying either. I feel like I'm hovering in this state of constant anxiety. This infertility issue is suddenly making me feel OLD and it keeps reminding me of my own mortality. Maybe that's partly because, all of a sudden, that dream life filled with laughter and joy, with little babies and family holidays - that all went up in smoke before I could say WHAT?

Sometimes I think, so what. I can do without it. I can learn to live without having kids. I can get a tropical bird or something. I can play with someone else's kid - and hand it back when it starts revisting with lunch. But I know that, deep down, all that's just big talk from someone in pain and in denial. Because, really? It's all out of my hands. It's not like, say, if I were single. I could tell myself - do I want to raise a child by myself if I don't find someone I want to marry? I don't know. I just feel like someone tied a noose around my neck and hung a great big boulder around it - every which way I move, the noose just gets tighter and tighter.


So here we are, coming up on the holidays again. I love this time of the year. I love the changing of the leaves and I love when it starts to get cold. I love bundling up with big sweaters, scarves and hats. I love dashing into a warm, cozy coffee shop to meet a friend over steaming hot coffees. I love decorating the house for Christmas.

But this year, it all seems a little harder; my heart a little heavier. Everywhere I go, it's Bump City. The other day, at the post office, I saw this petite, thin woman with a bump so big, it made me wonder how she managed not to fall forward all the time. And it's in all the magazines - ads for strollers, for kids stores, advice for safe-guarding kids against flu season etc etc etc. I'm starting to get sick of it. I feel like saying, guess what, WE DON'T ALL HAVE KIDS!!!

It's also a trying season for me as I'm seeing more and more people with newborns or infants - and many women who barely gave birth a couple of months ago and are back at work, eager to resume their careers. It makes me wonder: why would you want to have a baby only to leave it in the care of strangers for the better part of its formative years? Sometimes, I indulge myself in the heart-wrenching fantasies of what I would do if I had a little baby: how I would bundle it up with ear muffs and warm snuggly blankets, talk and sing, delight in every little smile, in the grasp of those tiny little fingers that magically form through this most amazing of all miracles. And every time that I come back home, these days, I feel like a big sigh is just sort of making me slump a little more.

The truth is that I'm tired. I'm tired of this membership I didn't ask for to a club no one wants to belong to - and that still seems so fraught with lack of consideration. People ask and say the craziest things to you, sometimes - and I wonder, how would they feel if they were in your situation? These days, everytime someone asks me whether I have children, I feel like I have to put on this brave front - almost indignant, like I don't LIKE children. Like, somehow, in saying that I don't, all my most private misgivings, fears and heartache actually are written on my face like on a billboard.

So what do we do? Where do we go from here? Sometimes I think it would be so much easier to have people to talk to about all this. But then I feel that so many women approach this situation in an entirely different way than I do. I don't feel like I could EVER proclaim to the world at large, face to face, the exact amount of time that we haven't been using birth control, or how often we have sex, or my personal feelings on this issue. I somehow feel that so many women I've met immediately throw their entire marital relationship at you like some sort of Cliff notes - even if you didn't ask. I am privy to a ridiculous amoung of superfluous information - some of it extremely personal - about people I hardly know. One woman went so far as to describe in some detail the extent of the sexual dysfunction in her marriage - making me want to start flailing my arms wildly and scream T-M-FUCKING-I!!!!

So here I am. I don't have any answers - just a lot of questions, a lot of worries, a lot of sadness in my heart. I don't have any comfort to share or give, because I don't know what you can say to someone in these shoes. Nobody wants to wear them because they hurt, but you don't get to choose whether or not you do - so what do you say? Tough break? It'll be ok? Because, really? I don't know that. I don't KNOW that it's going to be ok - for me, for you, for any one of us who deal with infertility. Is it ever going to be ok if you can never, ever get pregnant? Can you ever REALLY come to terms with being denied like that?

I know that other people may find comfort in their faith. They may say to themselves, it's all in God's plan (or, as the case may be, not so much). I take a less religious approach and tell myself that things happen for a reason. But then that just begs the question: what's the reason? WHY NOT ME??? What did I do that was so terribly that I shouldn't be able to have a child? And how come there are all these other people who couldn't possibly be WORSE examples: crack addicts, teenagers, people in abusive relationships or people who just have kids because they either don't know about birth control or don't care. All these people who have kids that they don't care about, don't take care of, don't give the love and affection to that so many who can't have kids would. Where's the fairness in all that? Where's the grand master plan in all that?

I am just...not happy with any of this, and I don't know how to make it better...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Letters From The Edge

Do you ever find yourself feeling like you're standing outside of some 5 star restaurant, in the pouring rain, looking in and watching all these lovely people in gorgeous clothes, feasting on the most amazing foods? Kind of like being an adult version of Curly Sue?

That's how I feel a lot of the time. I feel like I'm observing this whole motherhood thing from a distance. Almost like when you're not totally asleep, but not quite awake either. You sort of have a vague sense of what's going on around you but aren't actively participating.

To be honest, I never thought that blogging would help me. I didn't think that sharing my thoughts and feelings - in all their gritty, raw honesty - would make me feel better. It never occurred to me that, somehow, somewhere, there would be other women - struggling just like me - and that their words of encouragement and sympathy would somehow be like a band-aid. Yet...that's exactly what's happening.

At a time when I feel I can't confront the reality of infertility with those who are, arguably, closest to my heart, it seems almost strange to find comfort in the words of people I don't know - and who, for all intents and purposes, don't know me either. Yet, somehow, in that sense of anonymity, maybe the real issues become more clear and less clouded by other considerations.

Today, I had one of those moments that felt like a snapshot in a movie. I saw this woman with a little child in a stroller. At first glance, nothing new - I'm almost becoming numb to the sense of injustice, longing and despair that floods me like some venomous chemical. But as I watched, the little child - I couldn't quite tell if it was a boy or a girl - became ANIMATED. It stretched, laughed, smiled, giggled, reaching for its mother as the whole world in its little eyes.

And I felt like someone had literally reached into my chest and pulled out my still-beating heart. Ok, I know - that sounds overly dramatic and graphic. But I felt that I needed to use words that would lend this sort of strong, almost violent, quality to the force of the pain I felt. In my mind, like some sort of torture device, the scene keeps replaying - but, in this bizarre masochistic way that the mind was of rendering the pain even more unbearable, the scene keeps replaying...only I'M the mother...and it's my little baby casting its eyes adoringly on me, giggling as I tickle it and talk to it. Loving the sheer adulation, the eternal bond formed between mother and child.

Lately, I've been having nightmares a lot more. I keep dreaming of getting old and everyone I love dying around me. I think it's this sense of not having new life around me; of not having off-spring to raise and to keep me grounded in my later days. And so, barely grazing my early 30s, I have moments when I feel like I'm entering the last decade of my life. This whole ordeal is literally sapping the life out of me. I try...I try so hard not to let it get to me ALL THE TIME. But then I find myself sitting across from a couple with a little girl, for example - like I did today - and this family unit, so cohesive, so loving, so in tune with nature...And I feel left out. I feel like some shaggy old dog sitting in the rain, begging for scraps.

There are times when it gets worse than others. Sometimes I hear kids screaming or misbehaving and I think, THANK GOD I don' t have to deal with THAT. But then, I always think - that wouldn't be me. That wouldn't be me, trying to "reason" with a 2-year old, as opposed to being firm and setting boundaries for the child whose life I am solely responsible for. Because, at the end of the day, as women, I think that our responsibility towards the life we bring into this world is greater than that of anyone else - after all, we carry the unborn child with us, nurture it even before its birth, bond with this amazing "being" that we are able to produce.

I wish there was an easy way to deal with this - but then, I guess, anything worth having is worth fighting for. Sometimes I think it would just be as well if we adopted - but then, that's hardly even a consideration at this point, since we'd probably have to take out a loan just to cover the ridiculous fees involved in adoptions. And the weird thing is this. Before I ever felt ready to have children - long before we had any evidence that there might be issues with conceiving - I always considered adoption as a viable option. Not just instead of giving birth, but AS WELL AS giving birth. In some sense I felt that, if I was going to be a mother, I should be selfless enough, also, to give a home to a child who had no parents.

Ironically, it seems, that fate has decided both of these issues for me: we probably won't be able to conceive naturally, and other avenues may not be open to us for financial reasons. Isn't that just the biggest joke? All these people who have a ton of kids, can't support them, even beat and neglect them...all these orphans, foster kids etc...And here we are - you, me, every other women going through this ordeal - with so much love to give...and no one to give it to. You really have to wonder about the ways of the world, sometimes.

I try to take comfort in these wise words that "this too shall pass" - but I can't help but wonder: will it? Will there be a happy ending, one day? Will there ever be hope? Or will this just be a dark chapter in our lives that will forever cast a shadow over our marriage?

When you get married, and you say your vows, and you consider the traditional "for better or worse, in sickness and in health" - how many of us assume that we really will be put to the test? How many of us, occasionally, think: would this have happened if I had married someone else? Would this have happened if I hadn't waited to have children? Would this have happened if...?

And, really, it's all those "IFs" that finally make you want to tear out your hair. Because you can never get a straight answer to an "if" question - it's always cast in doubt.

After reading some blog comments over the last month, I've been feeling guilty for not taking into account that Kenton may be harboring the same kind of pain, just not showing it the way I do. And, really? I'm not showing it either. I still haven't told my mom, my best friend, or anyone else that you'd think this kind of information would be shared with. I JUST CAN'T. I can't face the conversation. I can't face the inevitable questions, comments, suggestions, advice...Just the thought of it all makes me feel VIOLATED. So I have to put on a poker face, bravely smile at cute babies and cooing parents, comment on a cute baby here, and adorable toddler there, and just grin and bear it. Pretend that it's not tearing me up inside; that I don't have to fight it every which way - that it doesn't take every ounce of self-control not to burst into tears every day, every minute, every hour...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


For the last week or so, I've been consumed by anger. I can't seem to get a grip and I can't seem to do anything to make it go away. I am just so, so angry.

I saw someone today that I don't like. This woman is a real bitch - excuse me for saying so - and a liar, hypocrite and backstabber. And of course she - like the rest of the female population of the world, it seems - has a baby. I can't think of a person whose motherhood annoys me more. Not just because of her overt smugness but because, as much as I know it's horrible to say this, I just think she doesn't DESERVE to be a mother.

There. I've said (or, rather, written) it.

Maybe that makes me a bad person. Maybe it just makes me human. Maybe it's just one of those things that's like rubbing salt into an open wound.

A lot of times people tell you all sorts of assorted BS when you're going through a rough spot - whether it's a divorce, unemployment, loss of a loved one or any number of things that elicit (or at least SHOULD elicit) sympathy. One of the things that gets under my skin the most is when people act all fatalistic about it, like oh, well, I guess it's just not meant to be. NOT MEANT TO BE??? WTF??? Some white trash retard has 6 kids and that's ok, but then someone like me apparently can't have any (through no fault of my own, it would seem), and suddenly it's some sort of cosmic conspiracy.

If there is a God, he's sure as hell not on my Christmas card list.


Today should actually have been a good day. It should've been fine. I talked to a lot of friendly people (except for one idiot who was trying to be all high and mighty - but then, some people are just like that and occasionally I can almost relate know where I'm going with this). There were no real tragic mishaps today. No one cut me off on the road, no one was rude to me - quite the opposite in fact - and I had a semi-productive day.

But lately, every time I pause to think - about my life in general, my marriage, my future - I feel this black cloud of doom and gloom descend upon me. Suddenly, no matter what else is going on, I am nearing a panic attac and just wish I could literally split the ground and disappear in a chasm. I don't know what's gotten into me. I've had ups and downs before - but this is just completely ridiculous. Worst of all: I can't seem to get a handle on it.





I don't do yoga - not for want of trying, mind you. The whole chanting and listening to some weird instructions to bend my body as though I'm some sort of human Gumby...yeah, not my bag, baby. Pilates? Let's not even go there. So, I guess, the truth is that I really just don't have an outlet for all this pent-up frustration, despair, this anger I feel. I have no way to...let it out and get on with it. So it just sort of hovers like smog all around me.

I considered spending the next three days in bed. Pulling the covers over my head and pretending that everything around me just stopped. Or that, at any rate, my participation in this life was suspended.

I feel ashamed of my feelings, my downtrodden attitude. So many awful things happen in the world, I really shouldn't even have an ounce of unhappiness to contend with. But, alas, that's just one of those things that, if you ask me, aren't nearly as easy to control in reality as one would think.

I talked to my parents earlier today. My mom sensed - of course, as she would - immediately that I wasn't myself. My dad tried to cheer me up - but, try as I might, all I could think was, I am SO not in the mood to talk to ANYONE.

If I had a lot of money, I think I'd hop on a plane to some exotic island and spend a week or so just regrouping. But then - look at all these celebrities and how f***ed up they are. Really??? I mean, sometimes I wonder how you can possibly have issues if you're rich. But then, I guess, while money certainly does make the world go around (latest evidence the astronomic campaign expenditures during this last election), it doesn't buy you happiness.

If you've ever read this book called The Perfume - about a man whose quest to bottle the perfect scent eventually leads to murder - it makes you wonder what it would take to bottle happiness, so to say. I have this little cutout somewhere that says:

"If you have the capacity to be happy someday, you can be happy NOW."

I wish I could just somehow LIVE those words, instead of bemoaning my life for what it isn't. So sad, when you think about it: that I can let this one thing - this fact of being childless - stand in my way of an otherwise happy life. Life is, of course, always what we make it - and right now, dear void, there isn't much in it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grateful in spite of it all...

First of all, I want to start this post by saying thank you to the lovely comments that have been left on my blog lately - you will never know just HOW MUCH they mean to me, how much they give me strength and make me feel like, somehow, somewhere...Someone understands. My heart goes out to all of you who, like me, face this difficult situation armed with nothing but hope, everything riding on a wing and a prayer so to say...I am with you all in my thoughts.


Lately it seems that, everywhere I turn, it's not the married women my age that I "fear" because of their happy pregnancies. Rather, it seems that, increasingly, more and more teenagers between 15 and 17 are getting pregnant. This is, of course, where I sometimes think I have to tread lightly, carefully - because I know that my own very strong opinion on these issues is probably not shared by all. I think we all are products of our upbringing - of the time and place we grew up in, the relationship our fathers & mothers had; not only with each other but with the world around them.
For me, the idea of a teenager (who isn't even yet legally entitled to vote or drink) being flies in the face not just of my current dilemma, but of EVERYTHING I believe in and hold dear. It seems ridiculous to me - like some sort of cruel joke Mother Nature is playing on me and on others like me. How can you sit there, contemplating the emptiness, the void in your life that can only be filled by something which, undeservedly, happens to someone so much less well-equipped and prepared for the challenge than you are? It makes me ANGRY.

Yet, at the same time, I wonder if, despite my personal feelings about teenage pregnancies, this is the way of the future. Increasingly, there is talk of an infertility epidemic - as even arguably healthy women in their mid- to late twenties face problems conceiving. It makes me wonder what's in store for us all, for the world at large...

And then, of course, there's the issue of celebrities - and their babies. Until about a year ago, I went through this period of reading all the gossip magazines almost religiously. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I got some sort of voyeuristic pleasure out of catching a glimpse into the often much less-than-perfect lives of these people who, arguably, have everything they could ask for. After a while, though, I realized that reading these magazines made me distinctly unhappy - that being constantly confronted with these people who live in the lap of luxury and STILL somehow find ways or reasons to be unhappy, do drugs or otherwise do some of the most stupid, ridiculous and inconsiderate things, made me look at my life and find myself coming up short. Where was the money for ME to buy a dozen quilted Chanel bags or drive a 6-figure car? And how come Britney - possibly one of the WORST celebrity mothers - could have not just one but TWO babies, when she didn't even care enough to strap them into their car seats?

So it happened that, yesterday, for the first time in a while, I picked up some of these glossies as I was waiting for a friend I was meeting for lunch. And, lo and behold, they've all been so busy - having MORE babies! I found a familiar heaving in the pit of my stomach - sick with envy at this people who just seemed to have it so damn easy. Every page I turned, there was someone else who'd gone and had another baby since I last perused these magazines of dubious content and low quality - in the case of Brangelina, even TWO!

But then the strangest thing happened. Amidst all these feelings of loathing - myself, all these rich people, pregnant teenagers...YOU NAME IT! - of inadequacy, of fear and failure...I found comfort in the kind words of strangers on my blog; hope in the email from my husband; joy in the simple fact of a sunny day.

Life isn't perfect - and that fact doesn't change, no matter how much money or how many kids you have. So often, we keep looking to a distant future and set high expectations instead of realistic goals. I am weak in that way - I keep looking forward in anticipation of something intangible, something that I think will or must necessarily make me happy. And all the while, life is passing me by. Instead of living in the now, enjoying what I DO have - I keep pining over what I've lost and waiting for things that may never come to be. I am reminded of a maxim I read somewhere a long time ago:

"Blessed are the flexible - for they shall never be bent out of shape."

So simple, yet so true. Life is like a river, ever changing as it goes - I think those words are even incorporated in a song somewhere. The true test of character, of your own worth, is not metered by an easy life but borne out of adversity. I often think that, so many times, as women we have this unrealistic expectation of ourselves: that, somehow, we have to be able to fulfill a multitude of roles - and excel at them ALL.

The other day I found out that someone I had known a long time ago died. I didn't know this person well or seen them in years. But the death was unexpected - came without warning. And it made me realize, once again, how FRAGILE life really is - and that there are no do-overs. I am so often caught up in daily trivialities - getting upset about this or that, bemoaning our infertility issues, feeling so down. Yet, most important of all, I have my life - and the lives of the people I love and care about. I have the ability to do almost anything with my life - yet it has been YEARS since I've truly felt that I could "dream in possibility".

So maybe, what I really want to say today, in this post, is THANK YOU. Thank you to my family who loves and cares about me; to my parents and my husband, who would give me the shirt off their backs. Thank you for my best friend, who has stood the test of time and is still my greatest champion.

And thank you - to those of you who read this blog and find yourselves walking along this journey with me; offering your comforting thoughts and advice. Thank you for being you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The title of this post just about sums it all up. I am unhappy. Not happy. Happy no more.

Today, I watched a bunch of soldier tributes on YouTube. Don't ask me why - I have no idea. Sometimes I just feel the need to connect with something outside of this little bubble of sorrow that I live in. To look outside and say, you know what - there are much, much bigger issues and problems out there.
So I watched these heart-wrenching tributes, reunions and so on...Crying as you saw soldiers walking through and airport and people standing up clapping. And then, suddenly, I realized something else: all of these people had one thing in common - aside from the uniforms, the tear-stained faces of joy as a loved one returned to safety: kids. Lots and lots and lots of kids. Proudly waving flags, sleeping in strollers, hugging a returning parent.

And so I cried some more.

I'm almost getting to the point where I feel like I should just give up. I feel like I'm dealing with this by myself - like Kenton doesn't even GET IT. I mean - I know this is going to sound so incredibly horrible: but how come he doesn't feel guilty? How come he doesn't feel BAD?

I know - I sound like the world's most selfish, petty and horrible wife every to (dis)grace the face of the earth. But I just keep thinking - if I were the one with the problem, I would feel so horrible, like I'd somehow let us down. I'd try to find some answers, talk to doctors, do whatever it takes to sort this out.
Not Kenton. He's so absorbed with the day in, day out of work, it's like this whole thing isn't even real.

I go between being angry as hell at him and being angry as hell at myself. Because, the embarrassing and sad truth is that, sometimes, in the dark hours when I feel most insecure and cheated - I wonder if I made a mistake in marrying him.

There, I've said it. Or, rather, typed it. Now, of course, I feel like the biggest bitch EVER. Kenton is, in so many ways, my soul mate - if there is such a thing. He is so much like me in many important ways, and complements me in others. Yet...there's this nagging thing in the back of my head that keeps saying, maybe this wouldn't have happened with someone else.

Of course this is all piggy-backing on some other issues in our marriage, but that's not within the ambit of my blog. So, all in all, I'm basically living in this inner sanctum of absolutely unadulterated HELL - going between thinking that I could never love anyone else the way I love Kenton; and wondering if I need to seriously, clinically, analyze my situation and my options.

So I feel like my heart is breaking all the time. I mean, I just about have gotten to the point where I don't feel like I might be violently sick at the mere sight of yet another big, proud pregnant belly or a peacefully sleeping infant. But I feel so, so lonely. I feel OLD. I feel useless.

I feel so, so, so UNHAPPY.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Forever Love

Today was one of those days that could've gone either way. Again, I saw one proudly stuck-out pregnant belly after another, some women practically bending backwards to show off their glorious protrusions. I could be cynical - in fact, I am, most of the time, when I see these things. I think of women who are unsuitable mothers of many - and then I grieve for those of us with so much to give, and nothing but a cloud of rain to pin our hopes on to.

But there was a turning point - that point where having a girly chat with my best friend and dancing in the kitchen with my husband made me feel...a little less wounded. Kenton isn't a dancing kind of guy - in fact, I think in his 30-something years on this planet, his tap-tapping feet may have stepped into a club not even half a dozen times. Me? I'm the reigning Dancing Queen supreme - just a beat on my car stereo and I'm bopping along like Wayne to a favorite Queen song (which, incidentally, is a group I really DON'T like...but I digress).

So there we were, bellies full of piping-hot apple crumble, smothered in Haagen Dazs Vanilla ice cream, getting our groove on like there was no tomorrow. It's those days that make me think - be still my beating heart. I ache, still - with so much confusion, so much frustration and envy, mixed in with a deep sense of injustice...but I'll be ok, one way or another.

Because this journey, I'm not taking it alone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Trouble Bubble

It's been over a week since my last post. The problem I have is that I feel like I'm going in circles - that I have nothing new to say, and nothing I write is original either because I'm hardly the first, only or last person to go through this.

Kenton has an appointment in a few days to talk to the doctor about running some blood labs and other tests. I hope that he can make it clear to them that we've already waited FOREVER, that every single month we're put off is like rubbing salt in an open wound. I just want to move on, one way or another. I just want some answers, black on white - and I want to be able to make a decision of what to do next. As long as none of the basics have been completed and checked off the list, we're in limbo - and that, more than anything, is just killing me.

You'd think that I should be immune to it by now - or, conversely, in tears practically every day. There's not a single day that I venture out without knowing that I'm going to be confronted with the same, painful images of children - young and old, tall and short, thin and fat, cute and ugly, quiet and loud - assaulting my sensitivities. I feel somewhat taunted by these constant reminders - and yet so alone, so guarded, in keeping this sad, unfortunate issue to myself.

I've further contemplated whether or not I should broach the subject with my best friend, but it seems like such a burden to ask someone else to share. And, at the end of the day, what is she supposed to do? Miles away with a husband, children and pets - the complete white-picket-fence-life that we BOTH thought we'd have by now - how can I ask her to deal with this? But, perhaps, in some way, the truth behind my hesitation to tell her is what I'm afraid would be missing: a real understanding of the depth of pain we're going through. As much as I love her and trust her, there's a part of me that keeps imagining the conversation she'd undoubtedly have with her own husband - and what he might think of Kenton. I know - it's silly. But I feel so protective of him. I fear that, if I tell those closest to us, they will - albeit silently - judge him. I worry about the "talk" behind our backs - questioning his virility, his masculinity, calling our marriage into question. I know that, in most cases, it wouldn't be meant as mean or degrading - but just the idea of it makes me reconsider any ideas I've had about disclosing our misfortune.

They say that shared pain is halved pain - but I wonder if that's true in this case. Because, really? There's nothing anyone could do to help us. I guess I just feel kind of hopeless - and cheated. We were so careful, so "smart" about always using protection when we were still dating; never being "stupid" or taking unnecessary risks. Even when I'd known Kenton long enough to be able to say that he would never have let me deal with an unplanned pregnancy by myself, we were both on the same page: we wouldn't start a family until after we'd been married for a while and had a nice nest egg to fall back on.

What a joke.

So now I watch him sleep at night, restless, while I try to pretend everything is ok. I read for hours, sometimes until the sun is practically coming up - trying to somehow dull the emtpy, sad feeling. It's sort of like coming to someone's house when you have every reason to believe you were invited - and then having the door literally slammed shut in your face. You stand there, unbelieving - shocked, hurt. For a moment you think, no - there must've been a mistake. You almost convince yourself that this didn't really just happen. Surely you just had a day dream or something. But it's all too real.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Baby Blues

Yeah I'm definitely singing the baby blues. What else is new?

It's almost as if everything around me has conspired to remind me of The Issue.'s fall and I'm loving it! It makes everything less...painful, somehow. It doesn't change the problem at hand, or the long uphill battle we're facing - but it changes my perspective of things, at least occasionally.

Of course part of that is due to the fact that I've started spending more time at home. To be honest, I just can't foresee when something is going to strike a chord with me and bring on the waterworks - and, to me, it's still such a private thing, at least in terms of not bawling in front of people and so on. So, I'd rather stay away from situations where it's going to become a really big deal. It's not like I'm turning into a total hermit - this time of the year makes me want to spend more time at home anyway.

It's strange how, when you get that "yearning" or whatever you want to call it, you suddenly see it everyone. Just like when you're single and, on that occasion where you feel sorry for yourself or bemoan your singleton status, people invariably feel the need to "console" you with advice like "it'll happen for you" etc. You can't get mad at those people who actually mean well - because, let's face it, what else are they supposed to say? How about: "Sorry, but all the good ones are taken." Hmpf. Or, maybe: "I know you want a baby, but it's not going to happen so just suck it up!" Well, no one in their right mind would say that, obviously.

And then there are times, like today, when I catch something that makes my blood boil. On tv, today, there was this sob-fest about some 24-year old, unmarried girl who already had a kid and was 5 months pregnant with the second. No dad, no bf or anything - clearly that ran in the family since it was just her and her mom with the kids. Oh and, lest I forget the cherry on top: she was a heroine addict. And there she was, on tv, blathering on in her pity-me manner, how she wanted to try so hard to quit because of her unborn baby...and how she was going to give it up for adoption because it was the right thing to do. UHm, OKAAAAYYYY. So then someone else has to try to deal with a heroin baby. THANKS! Not to mention - what I really wanted to know is: how exactly do you get pregnant when you can't even take care of your BORN child, nevermind raise another one without a guy in the picture and no job.


No way, Jose - my give-a-damn's definitely busted when it comes to that kind of stuff. When I think about the fact that I'd give anything for Kenton and I to be able to just have a baby, the normal way - and here's this dumb blonde who can't keep her legs crossed anymore than she can keep a needle out of her veins, it just makes me STARK RAVING MAD!!!

Well, there you go - I guess my blog entries just swing back and forth between sad and angry. But then, is that really surprising?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Soundtrack Of My Aching Heart

Today was not good. It's not even that the day has been particularly bad or otherwise unpleasant - far from it, on the whole. But it's just been one of those days only a woman longing for a child can understand.

Everywhere I went, there was a cacophony of baby sounds: laughing, giggling, parents oohing and aaahing their offspring. Most of it was terribly endearing - especially this one guy I saw. At first sight, he looked like someone who might belong to a gang: baggy pants, big sweater, goatee and just generally a bit aloof. But he had a little daughter who was just the cutest thing - not even so much that she was particularly pretty from an objective point of view, but she was just adorable. And you could TELL from the way he was talking to her just how much he loved her - that he would be the kind of dad who would always be there for her, dry her tears, always try to make her world whole. It was with a heavy heart that I thought about Kenton, what kind of a father he would make - maybe never will be able to make. He said a few days ago that it tore him apart, too - and, for the first time, I put myself in his shoes and tried to imagine what it must be like for him: seeing all these other guys with their kids, loving, caring, doing what every man should be able to do with the woman he loves.

It was ironic, really - there I was sitting in a coffee shop, listening to this song that sounded vaguely familiar but that I couldn't have told you the name or singer of, and I had this strange feeling that I could've been the central character of a dramatic movie of sorts - the quest for a baby. It was unreal - I was listening to this song and saw everything else in slow motion: the woman bending over the carseat in which her baby was slumbering safely and quietly; the woman who was having a little snack with her toddler; and one particular woman with an infant so angelic that it broke your heart to look into such an innocent face. In other words, it was like stepping into Hades without your summer clothes.

As I looked around in between reading a few pages in a book, I caught the eye of the woman with the baby in the carseat. Our eyes seemed to lock for a couple of seconds - and I was absolutely horrified at the thought that I had been caught red-handed, that it was OBVIOUS that I didn't have any kids and that it was breaking my heart. I felt completely exposed - sort of like in that all-too-common nightmare of being in school and realizing that you're completely naked, with everyone pointing and laughing.

It's hard not to be resentful, but when I see adorable kids with happy parents, I always compliment them - I always find something nice to say, because I know that, for those people who really love their children, they are their pride and joy. So when I was driving home I struggled not to cry; unwilling to give in to feeling sad again. And as if to drive home the point a little harder, this song came on the radio: Want To Grow Young by Andy Griggs. It talks about these two people, so in love, who want to "grow young" together so that they can spend more time with each other.
It really hurt, those lyrics - not just because I know that this whole baby thing has every chance to drive a wedge between Kenton and I, but also because it made me think about how this whole situation is making me feel OLD. It's not something I feel very often - most of the time I don't think about age at all. But I couldn't help but wonder, as I have before: would we have had these problems if we hadn't been so careful NOT to get pregnant when we first got married?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's driven mad by what-ifs - and in this situation they seem to be all the more toxic. So I did what any respectable young woman in my situation would do: I went shopping. LOL Yeah, I know I'm really being sarcastic about that - but retail therapy seems to be the only thing that's mildly helping. I bought a pair of gorgeous shoes and some other things. And it made me think about all the stuff people buy when they have kids - and I started wondering what kind of mother I would be. I will admit that I drooled over Gwen Stefani's Gucci baby carrier - and while $800 are definitely NOT just lying around at our house (or, as the maxim goes, growing on trees), I remember thinking, mmm that might just be worth it. And then, of course, I started looking up Bugaboo strollers a while back - although even I have to say that, for all my love of shopping, I can't imagine throwing away $2000 on a stroller.

I know what you must be thinking: what on earth is this woman going on about? What's the point of thinking of all that when she doesn't even HAVE a baby to begin with - and, what's more, how are material possessions even RELEVANT to this subject matter?
No amount of money can compensate for or take the place of having the ability, so often taken for granted (and I'll admit that I was definitely one of those people) to bear a child. It's what Kenton told me he worries about with me so much: that it hurts me MORE because he may never be able to father a child and that, consequently, I may never be able to give birth. There, I've said it. Sometimes, when I think about all the issues surrounding this topic, it feels almost dirty, almost vulgar to talk about it - to describe in detail the almost feral feelings that come with being on the receiving end of the infertility-doody-bag.

So I thought I'd share a few choice "words of wisdom" that I've appropriated in the time since we got The News. One of the things I've found that helps me a lot is to read books that make you feel less intimidated (read: jealous) of motherhood. This is obviously not for everyone, but the book I started reading right now is called Momzillas - and it's absolutely snort-inducing! From the beginning of the book, which has a short glossary that'll make your eyeballs pop out, to some of the phraseology the author uses, so far I'm thinking that this is going to go into my Emergency Kit (which I'm now thinking I need to start building: you know, one of those kits that you go to in times of emotional distress like, say, when someone you totally HATE gets pregnant).

What else? I've slowly come up from my low earlier, and now I feel a little less...sad. The other day, when I posted several times, I was really wound up - not just about the baby thing but about a million and one other things - and I needed to VENT. Sometimes I just need that...thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Exsqueeze me? Baking powder????

(In case you're not a movie buff, I believe this line came straight from Wayne's World. Party time, EXCELLLLLENT!)

Ok so, last post for today I SWEAR. I just couldn't help myself after I went back to the WTE website (which I'm finding to be a distinctly hair-raising experience). I decided not to keep a separate blog there but, for s & gs, thought I'd browse the blogs in search of light or, failing that, at least someone who might be interesting to talk to about all this stuff. Here are the highlights of the first page:

" I'm 20 yrs. old and I'm pregnant!"

Hello everyone! I am a follower of Jesus, a health nut, and a housewife!"

Im a very nice person and I love babies and kids I want 12 but i will have to go with what I can get so heres my life and things that happen to me an how my life is in general on a day to day basis."
(No, really, there WAS no punctuation.)

Ok so, let's just say that I went from shaking my head, to laughing, to wanting to gouge out my eyes. Yes, that's terribly judgmental of me - and yes, I do realize that. But as this is my blog I am totally going to claim all rights to turn into Judgy Van Holier Than Thou when confronted with people who, erhm, how should I put this delicately...should really just not put themselves out there. In the words of one of my many heroes, Happy Bunny:


'Nuff said.

PS: Lest you should think about cursing my evil ways of pointing out the obvious (e.g. inability to spell, stupidity, etc), this is a totally censored and moderated blog so, uhm, BITE ME.

Ode To The World Of Blogging

In line with one of my favorite maxims, "Appearances can be deceiving.", I know I shouldn't really even care about what my blog looks like. BUT I DO. I am my blog. I want this blog to be an ambassador of good faith, so to speak, in my quest to find others who are in the same boat as I am - or can, at least to some extent, relate.

But try as I might, I can't get this damn this to look anything but like what it is: the feeble (aka unsuccessful) attempts of a html-challenged person. I wish I could make my blog "sing", to be like a phone conversation with your best friend: instantly recognizable. I wish I could just make it look the part instead of some haphazard hack-job, which is pretty much what it is at the moment. I tried to toy around with layout and colors for a bit, only to change barely anything - with the result that I now like the look of it even less than I did before. Hmpf!

I guess I should do something about this. I should arm myself with information and tackle this insubordinate blog until I've beaten it into submission (that is, transformed it into the virtual glamazon of blogs that I really envisage myself penning in the months to come). A tad over the top? Perhaps. I don't know what it is - maybe just the idea of being able to connect with others and share this unforunate journey, in hopes of giving and receiving support in a situation that, quite frankly, no woman should have to suffer through.

But maybe there's an interesting lesson to be learned here. I've always been one of those people who are all about instant gratification. Why go for a small cup of coffee - only to have to buy another one half an hour later - when you can buy the ginormous one to begin with? In that vein, I've yet to organize my ever-increasing list of internet favorites - and, quite frankly, if they ever invented a machine that, without any or only the tiniest minor side-effects, could effectively remove all UNWANTED hair at the drop of a hat, I'd be first in line. Maybe I'm just lazy. Or maybe I just don't like to waste time of things that, in my own personal opinion, should be signed, sealed and delivered to me in exactly the way I want them - rather than me having to do the 21st century's equivalent of coal mining to get to it. Such as with this businesss of blogging. I mean, come on: why can't I choose from a bazatrillion layouts, templates etc (that I'm sure are floating around SOMEWHERE on the internet) right here, right now? Why must I be satisfied with this lame, boring setup - when I should have 3D Marilyn Monroe-esque lips floating around in tailing the cursor movements of a new visitor? Why, oh WHY???

Alright. That's it for my ranting today. I feel the distinct need for caffeine sneak up on me. (And on that, last, note: how come there's not some sort of Jetson's-type machine that can simply be TOLD what I want my coffee to be like - is that REALLY so much to ask??)


I've been trying to distract myself by reading about anything EXCEPT infertility.

On some level, I know that the best thing to do right now would probably be to arm myself with information. But, then again, how is that information going to compete against FACT? And, to be perfectly honest, I've found the entire experience, so far, entirely unsavory.

Not that I should've expected anything else. But then - I didn't expect ANY of this... I got this book from some website/foundation called Resolve. It's an outdated copy but I thought I'd look through it to see if there was anything dealing with the actual EMOTIONS surrounding this kind of harrowing experience. I even went to the website - only to find out that you have to PAY for the "privilege" of actually accessing any of the information, support groups etc. I was so angry that I just wanted to scream! What kind of a sick, twisted organization tries to make money off of the misfortune of others? Not just misfortune, but being, in effect, denied a basic, fundamental HUMAN right: procreation.

But maybe that's the point: it's not a right, is it? Only now, after all this time, am I beginning to understand the monumental concept that giving birth is a gift. Sounds cheezy - to me, especially - but that's the best way I know to describe what I'm trying to say.

So...then I magnanimously decided that rancor was NOT the best way to approach this entire situation - that, perhaps, the reason why this website for Resolve charges a membership fee is to fund research or something (one can dream, can't one?).

I registered on, which has some forums for trying to conceive, infertility etc. Is it just me or is that a bit ridiculous? Seriously, how many of those of us poor souls who have to deal with the unthinkable - maybe NEVER being able to bear a child ourselves - want to be lopped together with a bunch of happy-go-lucky moms posting pictures of smiling babies, playing kids, or mothers-to-be with their countless trackers, blog bling etc announcing to the entire world, look at me, I'm a Fertile Myrtle! Cynic? Me? You're damn right I am!

Last night I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking about Kenton - how lucky I am to have him, and whether I shouldn't just be grateful to at least have a loving, loyal husband instead of bemoaning the fact that we may not be able to ever have children - or, at least, not the easy way. There's a part of me that is completely scared witless at the huge responsibility of motherhood - to say nothing of the fact that your life, as you know it, is effectively over at conception. The truth is that it's "frowned upon" for women to think about the fact that a baby is, among many many other things, a time constraint. Then again, I can't imagine being like a lot of these women I've come across: lugging their off-spring around like cattle from one brain-dead activity to the next, punctuated only by early-addiction pitstops at McDonald's et al.

In my mind, I keep thinking about how I would do it differently. No, scratch that - BETTER. Yes, I know - I sound totally snooty, especially given the fact that my experience in the department of child-rearing is, well, close to non-existent (bar humoring the children of close friends and relatives). But I can't help it! When I see kids wearing an entire panoply of food groups strewn across their Walmart clothes, screaming like little banchees, I can't help but think of how I would act so differently. Maybe I'm kidding myself; maybe in NOT being able to just get pregnant, I'm safely tucked into this Utopia where our kids would be completely gorgeous, well-behaved, and of course the envy of everyone.
Why? You know, it only just hit me in writing this why I keep thinking that. The truth - as embarrassing as it is to admit that - is that I want those people who go around having a million and one babies (without then even taking proper care of them) see HOW IT'S DONE.

I have this fantasy. It's probably kind of sad, but then I'm hoping maybe someone out there can relate - and maybe that person will read this and think, Thank God I'm not alone! So here goes. I have this idea that I find out that I'm pregnant - of course, in this little fantasy of mine, there's not even a discussion or any hint of infertility issues, ergo the term fantasy, right? And of course, from the moment I find out, we're both deliriously excited and happy - and I put nothing but good food into my body because I know that whatever I eat, the baby "eats". Not like half a grapefruit because I'm more concerned about my post-baby body than the health of my unborn child. Not rounds and rounds at fast food joints so that my baby can come out looking like Ronald McDonald or, as I've witnessed more times than I can remember, learning fast food related words before ANY others. (Sad, but true: I know several women whose children have no verbal skills - yet, somehow, even without being able to talk in any coherent way under any other circumstances, they still manage to say something like "chicken nuggets". Talk about SCARY!). And then we have this baby - which, in my mind, is always a girl, always with dark eyes and dark hair - and she's just the most amazing thing I've ever seen. The sad, painful irony of this fantasy is that I have an almost tangible picture in my head - and it's really, truly harrowing. Not in so far as it would be morbid or weird, but because the entire prospect of having a baby with Kenton is so...normal, so natural - so EXPECTED.

Isn't that just the most ironical twist of fate, this play on words? What to expect when you're expecting. Except that most of us EXPECT that we'll be able to get to the point of expecting, that is, getting pregnant, in the first place!

Ok so I know this post is really confused and confusing. I'm sure most of it doesn't make much sense because it's all a bit of rambling from all the different corners of my heart: the sadness, the anger, the denial, the sheer envy. How come no one ever tells you NOT to expect that you'll get pregnant at the drop of a hat?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Waiting Game

In a situation where, in my mind, time is of the essence, Kenton was just told that before he can even get the urologist to see him, he has to take another sperm test - in THREE MONTHS. Needless to mention, I was just beyond aggravated when I heard that - and then we ended up getting into an argument because, of course, Kenton being a MAN, hadn't thought to tell whatever "genius" on the phone that we hadn't used contraceptives for, oh, about 4 years now - and that, clearly, SOMETHING was wrong.

But we did finally have a talk about it. He said that, knowing how close this issue was to my heart and how sensitive I was about it, he just didn't want to be the one bringing it up or starting a discussion about it. I tried to explain to him that I felt bad to always bring it up and that it would actually help me if HE would occasionally bring it up - but I can kind of see, now, where he's coming from.

Yesterday was much worse than today though - in terms of my mood, that is. I seem to be swaying between feeling like the world has just crash-landed on my heart, and just feeling removed and numb. Either way, I passed a woman yesterday who had a really cute little girl - and when I stopped to say how adorable she was, the baby actually SMILED a big, fat happy smile at me. Here's me sighing at the sheer irony that babies - and kids in general - have always loved me.

Then, today, I saw a woman AT LEAST 15 years my senior, with a head full of gray hair - and a big pregnant belly. Incongruous! Without wanting to, I find myself feeling increasingly resentful that it seems all these women from all walks of life, all sizes and ages, are pregnant! It's just not fair. But I know that I'm only seeing one side of the coin - and that I have no way of knowing how many of these women conceived easily; how many of them had to have fertility treatments or other types of support and help. All I know is that I feel so...deprived.

Still, I feel a little less raw today. Which is ironic considering that I couldn't even get my caffeine fix today - but perhaps also due to the weather, this wonderful, sunny fall weather, and the fact that a truck-load of mail came in today. I always love to get mail.

I talked to mom and dad today, for almost an hour, which was nice. Sometimes it makes me sad that I can't really talk to them about this issue - but I know that telling them would bring me no comfort because they just wouldn't be able to understand where I'm coming from. Plus, to be honest, I just can't even begin to tell them that Kenton has - or, pending that second sperm test, may have - problems producing a child.

When we talked about it last night, lying on the bed together and finally, it seemed, actually opening all the doors, I tried to think about what our alternatives are from a REALISTIC point of view. It's all good and well for books or people to tell you which options are out there - but, let's face it, how many people can actually AFFORD all these treatments? How many people can afford to go through in vitro more than once, maybe twice? And as for adoption - that, alone, can cost as much as a new car. is just one of those days where things are sort of up in the air. I feel weird, somehow - but there are other things that are taking my attention away from feeling too sad, too upset, too hurt.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When Everything Hurts

There are moments in time when everything around me seems to disappear, and the only thing coming into sharp focus is The Issue. I watched a movie and cried; saw a preview for another movie and got choked up again. It seems almost ridiculous.

After reading through parts of one of the books I have on infertility, I felt more confused and scared rather than reassured. In aiming to provide a comprehensive analysis of available options, the book somehow managed to twist the knife just a little bit more. The options discussed in the chapters I read include things like Donor Sperm - which I found really disturbing - and a host of different surgical procedures, some extremely invasive, that Kenton would have to undergo depending on what the specific problem turns out to be. It's daunting, to say the least - and I find myself struggling with the ache of wanting a baby and the love and concern I feel for the man that I love. How can I ask him to undergo surgery in the quest for a family of our own?

And then, of course, there's adoption - something we'd already discussed a while back, before we ever really started trying. It's almost as if, instinctively, we both KNEW that we would have to seriously consider it at some point or another.

Just when life is throwing us these curveballs, it seems harder than ever for either one of us to talk about what we want. How far are we willing to go? I don't even know that I can answer this question for myself, even without considering how Kenton might feel about all of this. The other day I got so mad at him - I felt that he'd just taken this information we got on board, and then conveniently filed it away somewhere in a DO NOT DISTURB pile.

I'm ashamed to admit that, intitially, I felt a strange sense of relief when we got the lab results back. Because it meant that it wasn't my fault. Which is ridiculous - because no one can foresee or change these kinds of things, and it's not a question of fault. Yet, presumably, it's not entirely uncommon for people to inclined to point the finger at someone. Maybe that's because of the magnitude of this kind of information - the impact it has on a marriage, on a person's sense of self.

The worst thing for me, perhaps, is that I think Kenton doesn't even begin to realize the depth and extent of my pain. I don't think he understands just how much this is taking out of me. Or maybe he's just dealing with it in his own way - in the way that men tend to deal with these kinds of things: head down and keep moving. I, on the other hand, find myself completely paralysed. I feel, at times, that I turn into an automaton in public: smiling, commenting on someone's baby, feigning interest. Whatever envy I may feel towards another woman who has a newborn or a slew of kids is compounded by what I often perceive as lack of interest in their offspring. I turn into Judgy Van Holier Than Thou amid comments on strollers, toddler clothing and diaper bags - all things that, for a woman, should be as much a normal part of life as make up and sanitary products.

As a child, I had a bad habit of picking at scabs. I got some sort of perverse pleasure of ripping them off - knowing full well, after the first few times, that it would just end up bleeding again and therefore take longer to heal. Similarly, I feel an almost irresistible urge to keep looking at things that drive home this void ever more forcefully. Masochistic? Perhaps. Destructive? Quite possibly. Normal, given the circumstances...? Who knows.

For some reason, I've had a few country songs randomly play in my head - just snippets, really. Why not us, why not now...Is there a cure for the broken-hearted...All those songs that Frank would've called crying-in-my-beer music. Then again, I've always been a sucker for wallowing in these kinds of songs when I feel that I've really hit rock-bottom...

I tried, again, to find some sort of self-help group or a support network. I went on Oprah's website because I remembered that they used to have groups on there a few years ago - different ones for all sorts of different issues. Well, apparently they've done away with that in the years since I last checked it - figures, right? So I started to browse around and came across an article by Gena Rowlands, who is one of my favorite (and, in my opinion, one of the most underrated) actresses. And not 3 lines into the article I am hit, abruptly, with yet another affirmation to torment me:

"Mothers are the most powerful people in the world. "

Of course this has nothing to do with power in the sense of controling people or anything like that; nothing to do with power in a political or scientific sense. But I read over the sentence several times and thought about the simple things mothers take for granted: a baby clutching its tiny fingers around your finger; a broad smile that lights up an entire face and all that is around it. I walked past someone at a shop this afternoon and the woman was engaged in some sort of conversation with a very young girl, maybe 3 years of age. And there was something so...easy, so relaxed, in her manner. I smiled, sadly, almost unable to look away. It's kind of like that theory that you can't NOT watch a car crash or something like that - how, as things careen out of control, everything seems to proceed in slow motion and you can't tear yourself away.

Why not me, why not us?

I've struggled long and hard with my decision to chronicle this journey I'm about to embark on. Part of me shies away from openly committing to these issues; part of me hopes to find solace in trying to find others who, like me, are confused, angry and sad.

Last Friday it became official: Kenton is unlikely to be able to father a child. Staring at this sentence, I feel a wave of surreal pain wash over me. How could this happen to US? We did everything "right", the way I thought you were supposed to do things. We got educated, traveled the world, didn't rush into marriage and didn't try to conceive the minute he'd carried me over the threshold. We thought we had time. We thought we were being smart - planned parenthood and all that.

As we sat in the doctor's office, listening to him explain the lab results, I found myself nodding to indicate that I understood what he was saying. It was like having an out-of-body experience: I was there, sitting in the hard plastic chair, looking at this man who was calmly explaining to us that we may not be able to have children by conventional means. As if it was the most normal thing to say. As if he'd just told one of us to take an asprin for a mild headache.

We left, neither one of us really saying anything; the piece of paper burning a hole into the pocket of Kenton's cargo pants. I felt numb, almost as if I had been given sad news about someone else - vaguely concerned, a little sad.

I went home by myself - Kenton had to go back to work. It was, after all, the middle of the day. I sat in the driveway for what seemed like forever: tears slowly running down as my vision became increasingly blurred. Once inside the house, a sound escaped from my mouth that was like the howling of a wounded animal - because, in all truthfulness, that's how I felt: wounded. As if, somehow, someone had deliberately injured me, delivering a potentially fatal blow to our plans and hopes for the future.

The worst part was the aftermath of that day. Kenton acted as if nothing had happened - jolly-go-lucky, goofing around like there wasn't that proverbial elephant in the room, constantly begging for attention. Alone, I cried like I haven't cried in years: anguished, broken. I listlessly stumbled around search engines in hopes of finding a support network, but nothing seemed to fit the bill. I couldn't join a group of women trying to conceive - knowing that, any day, someone might post that they'd finally gotten pregnant. I started reading about infertility, options for treatment - all the while thinking: why did this happen to us?

For a while I'd had an inkling that something might be wrong with one of us - like some sort of premonition or 6th sense, I've had this nagging feeling for years that we wouldn't be able to conceive, wouldn't be able to have what most people take for granted. In a sea of people, it seemed I was surrounded by women proudly displaying variously advanced pregnant bellies: beautiful women, plain women, skinny women, large women, young women, older women. I felt like I had been snubbed; like being turned down by a maternal sorority of sorts.

I am completely unprepared and unarmed to deal with this situation - to handle the cascade of unexpected emotions. I was angry at Kenton - I still am. Not because of his condition but because he doesn't seem to care. I know that he's just in denial - when I finally cornered him the other day, amid tears, and asked him whether he wasn't even the least bit upset, he grudgingly admitted that he was, that he just couldn't dwell on it like I did. But what else is there to do? How can I possibly just brush this under the carpet, pretend everything is alright - when it so clearly ISN'T?

I try not to think about it. I try to ignore all the pregnant women around me, the little girls with long hair and April Cornell much that I had hoped for myself. But more than anything, I feel so completely ALONE. That, more than anything else, is probably what I was least prepared for. I feel like there's no one I can talk to: not mom, who didn't even know we had talked about wanting to try; not either one of our sisters (one of whom would put-put some platitudes of no help, while the other would launch a diatribe of finger-pointing).

I can't even bring myself to call Kathleen, my best friend, the one person who's as close to me as any blood relative - who, when we talked about this subject a couple of years ago, said that if we couldn't conceive she would be a surrogate for us. I tried to write her a letter, to tell her all I was feeling and the overwhelming pain that I couldn't even begin to lend credence to in words...and I failed, miserably, because I couldn't see out of my eyes once I started to unleash the pain and anger, the sense of injustice...

So here I am. I feel empty, cold, like something is missing. I look at a magazine and an ad for The Children's Place makes me cry. I watch a woman cradle an infant in a cheap blanket and think, my baby would have something much warmer and softer. I cuddle and talk to the children of my friends and acquaintances, trying to ignore the lump in my throat. And then, sometimes, I just sit there: staring into space, shivering, not knowing where to turn.