Friday, January 16, 2009

Good Days, Bad Days...Mad Hatter Days!

My emotional rollercoaster continues. I am still frustrated, and I'm only just starting to feel a bit better after falling into a bit of an abyss. For over a week now, I've been grouchy and basically avoided leaving the house unless it was absolutely necessary. Of course anyone will tell you that social isolation is only likely to make these types of things worse, rather than better - but I disagree. Sometimes, I need to crawl under a dark rock and BROOD. Because, really? Sometimes I just feel like I can't handle the stress of this whole baby thing.

And then there are other things that come along to aggravate me even further. It's been not quite 6 months since Kenton's first sperm test, and about a month since the second one. And only NOW are they thinking, hey - wait a minute! - maybe we should also do a blood test! Needless to mention, I was just a liiiiiiittle bit unhinged after hearing that. I thought, ok are you KIDDING ME??? Quit wasting my - our - time and GET! WITH! THE! FRIGGIN! PROGRAM!!!! To boot, Kenton is being all "private" about all these issues - I offered to come with him to his appointment, which he flat-out refused, making me get even more annoyed because I thought: hang on, this affects BOTH of us, so get over it!!

I am so frustrated. I mean, at this point, I'm starting to think that it's just never going to happen. Because I honestly don't want to be a mom at 40. I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong with that - but it's a choice that wouldn't work for me. I don't want to be pushing 60 by the time my kid gets out of high school, no thanks.

So of course I continue to torture myself with celebrity bump watch: Nicole Richie being rumored to carry Baby # 2, Jennifer Aniston supposedly trying to get pregnant. I don't know WHY I insist of tormenting myself; sometimes I honestly think I must just be a glutton for punishment or some sort of masochist when it comes to this particular issue. I think that, at this stage, I'm almost going into denial. I just feel like I can't "deal" with the reality of what's going on - with the reality of potentially never having a baby. It drives me completely stark raving MAD!

The solution? Grumpiness barely abated by copious amounts of chocolate - which I figure is passably better than, say, imbibing to drown out my sorrows or harassing the doc for some seriously mood-altering narcotics. What did help, the other day, was to actually physically write something of a diary entry. It was in the middle of the night, I couldn't sleep - so I was sitting at the table just brooding some more and, basically, feeling pretty sorry for myself. But there was something really cathartic about writing down a lot of the crap that was going through my head just then - and I also ended up doing some thinking about past issues that have bugged me for years. The bottom line, of course, remains that I'm still frustrated and still mad - but as I snuggle under the blankets and hide behind a never-ending supply of chick lit, fueled by steaming cups of something hot and soothing, I have to believe that things are going to get better. I'm trying to stop living in the past or the future - I read something not too long ago that made a lot of sense (though I can honestly say that IMPLEMENTING these words of wisdom will probably be a lifelong struggle of mine):


I keep hanging on to these ideals and promises of future happiness - when I have a nicer house, a better job, a baby, when my husband gets this promotion or that contract, when I can buy this designer handbag or that watch...But the truth is, while I keep moving the goal posts, life is going on - with or without me. So, as hard as it is, I'm TRYING to be more grateful and apply the latin motto: CARPE DIEM. Every day spent wallowing in self-pity is a day not spent doing something more fun, meeting new people, experiencing life.

There's that new movie with Jim Carrey, The Yes Man - and I started thinking: what if I did that? I mean, realistically speaking, there's no way on God's green earth I'd go bungee jumping or snort hot sauce, but the concept, in its basic tenets, seems one worthy of contemplation. What if I stopped limiting myself so much? What if I stopped obsessing about this baby thing? What if I just thought, ok - there really isn't much that I can do about this except, in a very far-reaching sense, plan for financial security - so that if and when we do end up either miraculously conceiving or looking into adoption, I haven't just been treading water all the time leading up to that moment.
More importantly, though - I think that, as women, we tend to sort of feel like big fat failures if we're unable to reproduce. And I don't know about anyone else, but somehow the fact that, in our case, it SEEMS that the only obstacle right now is a case of MALE factor infertility - it doesn't seem to change MY sense of failure. I guess that, in a way, I feel responsible for my husband - I feel that his "failures" (real or perceived) are also MY failures. And while it's not his fault, obviously, that he has some sort of problem that acts as a roadblock in our family planning, I still feel that it's some sort of failure.

Oh and I do not cope well with any sense of failure - again real, imagined, feared, anticipated or other. Just the word "failure" makes me at once adamant, scared and angry. I think maybe because I associate it with weakness - and that's something I find hard to deal with.

I'm not religious, I don't pray. I don't ascribe my life's unfolding events to any one deity (or several deities, as the case may be) - although I do occasionally cast my eye upward and think, you're really just trying to mess with me, aren't you? So I can't draw on my non-existent faith for some measure of comfort - because there's nothing there. I still haven't managed to talk to my family about this - and I can't foresee this happening anytime soon. I think I'm more inclined to keep these things under wraps and then deal with it if/when something final has occurred - either that I do get pregnant, or that whatever Kenton's problem is turns out to be irreversible.

I hope that, somehow, we all will wake up one day with a big bump - I know it's sounds so cheezy, but I know how many of us really struggle with this sense of being deprived of what, let's face it, most if not all of us totally took for granted. It never occured to me for ONE split second that I wouldn't have kids - if and when I was ready. I guess I just figured that, when that time came, everything else would just come together. HAH! Not so much, eh?

So I'm still here...A bit hurt, a lot frustrated, occasionally angry. But I have to believe that it's in my power to deal with this situation and make a decision, eventually, when all the cards are on the table. For now, it's all just a maddening waiting game - and that is what REALLY drives me crazy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Don't Mind Me: mini-vent

Ok so after having resolved to an "altered state of mind" in relation to the infertility issue, now I have to get mad about this website of all things!! I come here looking for resolve, peace of mind - and find myself suddenly without my carefully chosen profile image. So I try to upload it again - and get an error message that there's an internal error. I think, ok - maybe there's something in the image. I try 3 other images, same deal. So I think, ok - maybe I can get some help. BUT OH NO, that would make too much sense. Clearly, the fact that I've decided to publish a blog must mean that I have HOURS to kill scrolling through blogs, FAQs and other related bruhaha in an effort to find a solution to my problem. Thanks for nothing, Blogger!

Change Is Never Easy

I have a confession to make: I'm tired of my endlessly self-indulging pity party. I'm tired of moaning, groaning, complaining and whining. You know why? Because, for one, it does NOT change the facts of our situation. Second - and that's really the crucial point here - what it DOES do is make me feel even more irritable, miserable and just plain grumpy. ALL! THE! DAMN! TIME!!! So I've decided that it's time that I TRY to contemplate all these issues - and my feelings in relation to them - in a different light.

Am I suddenly converting to a new-found belief in some higher authority which may or may not have decided that I'm quite simply not "meant" to have children? Nope. Have I perhaps decided to attempt to reduce my exposure to Belly Town by become a complete hermit? No, siree! Rather, I've had this sudden "aha" moment: the only thing all this belly-aching is accomplishing is making me feel LESS empowered, LESS in control, and MORE upset. Errrr, no thanks!

The other reason for this attempt at redirecting my thoughts and feelings is the cumulative of a number of different things. For one, the wonderful, warm and thoughtful comments that often pop up on my blog, which I value and which make me feel not only like I'm not alone, but that there are people out there who can empathize. The other thing is that, in the past couple of months, there have been so many tragedies (admittedly most of them in remote corners of my life) - and I'm starting to feel like my constant griping is insolent, childish and ungrateful. Don't get me wrong - the hurt, the frustration, the anger and everything else hasn't gone away. I haven't suddenly embraced some new zen-like outlook (glazed eyes optional) that would do away with the emotional side of this journey. Oh no, I'm still strapped into my seat with the same bewildered look and fright wig. know what it's like. If you're constantly miserable and keep focusing on the negatives, eventually, that's ALL there is: your life becomes this abyss, this black hole, and before you know it, you've become your own worst enemy. And, seriously? Who needs that kind of pressure?

So...I guess what I'm trying to say - to myself, to the wonderful, lovely, sweet & caring ladies following this blog, and to everyone else - is that maybe, just maybe, it's time to take a step back and stop focusing on the thing that ISN'T going right in my life - in all of our lives - and get back to the business of being happy about the things we do have: good friends, plentiful lives, partners and families who love and support us (and who, in some cases like mine, learn to love us despite our obsessive-compulsive need to over-analyze everything! :) Maybe it's time to take a better look at ourselves, our lives, and ask some critical questions: WHY is it such an imperative for me to have a child? WHY do I keep berating myself for things that are OUT OF MY CONTROL? At the end of the day, sure, there are some things that CAN promote fertility and other things that MAY jeopardize fertility - but beyond that, it's really just Russian roulette: you, yes; you, not so much.

Unlike some people, however, I'm definitely not a fan of the "meant to be" school of thought. I don't think there's any rhyme or reason why some people abound with babies, while others are left with a not-unlike-dessert feeling of DROUGHT. What do I mean, you might wonder? Well, it takes a mighty strong woman NOT to feel slighted when surrounded by women who, seemingly without difficulty (and I would like to stress the word "seemingly" at this point since, of course, we can never really know with how much easy OR difficulty someone has achieved that which we all covet so much), managed to pop out one or more of those tiny little gurgling thingies that make your heart thump wildly in your chest, threatening to make you go deaf with excitement. And then...those feelings of being left out and let down: by nature, by God if you're a woman of faith, by something, somewhere...until all you're really left with is a single, painfully one-sided question to which you may never get an answer: WHY NOT ME?

I, for one, am choosing to end hostilities - at least for the time being. I'm tired of being at war with myself and the world. I'm exhausted from endless "what if"s without answer, of guilt and shame. For now, I'm just going to take each day as it comes to me - in the hopes, as always, that things will eventually fall into place - somehow.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year, New Pain

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur - with holidays, little bouts of the flu and other things to make me chicken out from dealing with The Issue. But here I am, still in the same boat. No need for New Year's Resolutions on this subject, since it's out of my control to begin with...

Kenton did gave another sperm sample last week, so we're waiting to hear back on the results. I don't even know why they had us wait so long after the first one. Meanwhile, he still acts like nothing's wrong - and apparently doesn't realize that in NOT dealing with this issue, he's actually hurting me even more. He keeps saying things like "when we have kids", as though it's just a matter of us decided on the time and place of conception. Each time, it cuts me like a knife because I keep thinking: what do you mean, WHEN? How about IF? And what IF we CAN'T???

Of course, life around me goes on unchanged. Oh, no, wait - that's not true: in my immediate environment, as well as in the world of celebrities, people are having second and third babies, twins, more babies...And I'm still sitting here thinking, wait a minute - what about ME??

In light of some personal things that I've become privy to in the last month or so, I know I shouldn't moan and gripe - I should just be happy to be alive and be happy to have a good, caring husband. And I can deal with not having a baby right this second - but I'm starting to have this horrible feeling of growing old and never being able to have a child. The other day, I got one of those glossy gossip magazines, and there was this picture of Jessica Alba with her baby girl. She's crouched and has a hand protectively around her daughter to make sure the baby doesn't fall down, and the baby is sort of glancing backwards so that it seems as though it's looking almost straight at the camera. I looked at that picture for what seemed like hours - the little ears and a hint of a smile playing on her lips. The maternal gesture of keeping the baby safe. It all seems so normal, so NOT extraordinary, almost banal - and yet I feel like a goldfish, forever going round and round in the same old way, looking out at the world but unable to participate in any of the wonderful things going on out there.

Even my hairdresser got pregnant, and up and quit her job in the advent of her first baby being born - and she pretty much got knocked up on her honeymoon. It's like Bump City out there. Meanwhile, I'm stuck in Misery Central, population growing.

Over the holidays, I fell into one tub of ice cream after the next, not unlike an alcoholic looking for salvation - or maybe just a dulling of the senses - in the bottom of every bottle. I feel like crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head, but ironically, sleep continues to elude me. Instead, I lie awake at night, tossing and turning, hundreds of images in my mind, all competing for a chance to drive me insane. I haven't had a decent night's sleep in so long, I think I've forgotten what it felt like to wake up and NOT have my whole neck and back in knots.

So here I am: New Year, but no new me. No dreams of motherhood fulfilled. No pain of childlessness abated.

You know what really gets me? If I were a recovering alcoholic, no one would expect me to go bar hopping with my gal pals. If I was doing Weight Watchers, people would understand if I said no to chocolate cake. But no one understands that, when you're in this kind of predicament, the last thing you want is to keep having your face rubbed in other people's fecundity. I don't want to constantly be confronted with this notion that, without kids, I should still participate - gleefully! - in activities that revolve around family life. As much as I love Kenton, I'm starting to sense that I don't think I'll feel fulfilled if we can never have kids. And I know that I've written here and talked to friends about adoption - which I still think is an important choice, alternative, option; what have you. But I am suddenly - and painfully - aware of the fact that, as it turns out, adoption was a wonderful option - so long as I had a choice. As in, I would CHOOSE to adopt a child instead of having my own, or as well as having my own. As it is, of course, my choices are growing smaller by the week - outlook: not good.

For the first time in my life, I feel as though my resources are failing me. My family still has no idea about what's going on - I really just couldn't cope with the mixture of pity, dismissal and judgment that I fear would sound loudly from that corner if prompted for a response. So I still live with this deep, dark, hideously paralyzing "secret" of sorts.

But I guess I have to find an outlet somewhere, and that will be my challenge in the weeks to come. I have to DO something - with myself, with my thoughts, with my pain. So, I'm still here...