Category Archives: grieving

Everything is everything, after winter must come spring

With the power vested in me by the understanding of basic logic I would like to dispel some common myths for you my lovely readers. Firstly “when it rains it pours” is simply not true, sometimes it just sprinkles. Next “never look a gift horse in the mouth” is bad advice; just because something is free doesn’t mean you should just take it, an unhealthy horse is going to be a budget killer you might want to know about before you accept this gift horse. Lastly “3’s a charm” I’ll be the one to tell you that the 3rd time you try something you may not get the result you want. (side note what is a charm?)

I was five days late this last cycle, five days of hope that left me crushed and almost unable to peel myself off the floor. Our 3rd IUI was not charming, and having only been 1 day late in the last year I was exceptionally certain that our dream had come true. Instinctual reaction is “hope costs too much, stop buying into hope” but a few hours of crying later I defer to logic and realize that trying to conceive with no hope is foolish and sounds boring. So how to balance is the question I ask, where on the spectrum of hope should I situate myself.

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Here is a strangely lit selfie we took the day before our hopes were crushed. You can see the hope and fear in my dorky expression, and the patient waiting and supportive endurance my darling Joshua has in his expression.

Last week I was practicing tree pose in a yoga class, this is a one footed balance pose like a flamingo, and the teacher suggested we close our eyes. So yeah we all fell over and laughed at ourselves, and how surprisingly hard it is to balance one footed with no vision. Go try it….hard huh? Her nugget of wisdom was this : balance is not about being still, its dynamic. I mentally argued with her. When you are balancing two scales (viz: lady justice) you know they are balanced when they are level and still. Maybe she means the process of balance is not still, keep adding to one side until its too much then take some away and so on until you find just the right amount to keep it level.

The advice I most often receive is “stop trying and it will happen” which is pretty bad advice. You wouldn’t tell your friend who wants to be a musician to stop looking for gigs and their career will take off, or your friend who wants to move to Oregon to stop looking for affordable housing and a landlord will call with a great offer. Were supposed to go after what we want in life, and sometimes that means pursue your dream as a side job until it gets to a launching point. I’m not mad at anyone who has offered this advice to be clear, I know its hard to know what to say.  A sweet friend recently sent me a little video with 7 things not to say to someone struggling with infertility, with an apology if she’s ever said any of them.

I am floored with the compassion and tenderness my friends have shown me, so much kindness and I’m sure deeply thought out words. I have friends who invite me to their baby showers as if I wasn’t a fragile hopeful parent, or sent me an announcement with their precious child’s birth date and weight on it.  THANK YOU! I love being seen as someone who can operate in society even though my dreams make me borderline crazy.  I have had friends who have put off telling me their good news because they don’t want to hurt me and while this is incredibly generous, please know that I am so happy for you and I promise not to fly off the handle and freak out at you. It is my nature to celebrate good news with those I love, and Beyonce. I can politely decline to attend your event if I find that I am not up for it, but you can trust me to make that decision.

I’ve been trying to surrender control, knowing (because of my propensity towards logic) that I have never had any control anyways.  I wrongly perceive that I can solve this dilemma with more data, smart decisions, more dollars, and a really positive attitude. All of those things are good ideas and I will keep pursuing them, but I’m letting go. Hope is a muscle that gets stronger when you use it more, and when it fatigues and then you rest it, and get back at it. I’m not giving up on my dream, I’m going after it with a new kind of agility. I’m closing my eyes, and working through not being balanced yet, and not getting mad at myself when I topple. You know when Alice falls down the rabbit hole and is pretty scared at first but then her dress catches air and makes a parachute of sorts for her and she can look around and experience the free fall with a little less fear? I think my skirt just caught and I’m attempting to enjoy the ride not knowing where it leads.

I would like to report that half of our fertility expenses have been funded by generous donors, and this is a huge relief to us. Its so helpful to know that people are with us in this weird one footed thing we are doing. If you feel inclined here again is the link. Give

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Take each day as it comes

Isn’t it the worst when you tell your friend you have good news and they get really excited like its going to be THE good news? The news that everyone is hoping for you to have, the news you have been looking forward to for 20 something years, the news she is hoping you have has already lit up her face with joy for you and she holds her breath in anticipation. Now you get to reassure her that while it’s not THAT news its still good. Josh’s sperm count has grown by 4 million, and those lil buggers are swimming faster than the last two times he tested.  The category that is the most difficult to improve in is morphology, which evaluates if some of them are morphing in to werewolves in the moonlight or are they all regular hardworking un-morphed classic sperm. There was a 140% improvement in this number (curtsy & bow) so we popped some champagne because our guys are average looking and mostly fast swimming.

We had made this plan that if we didn’t get pregnant on our own this month we would make plans to try our first IUI (intra uterine insemination) but this news has made us think again about that plan. Now that we have more champions should we forego the intervention and stick to the DIY method? Ive got a lot of voices in my head trying to guide me. I can hear the voice of fear telling me that I’m getting older everyday and we don’t even know if IUI will work so we should start trying everything we can while we still can. The Christian voice asks “can I really prompt the beginning of life by hiring someone to sort our sperm and place them in an ideal place to meet an egg?”  The hippie side says go natural take more supplements see the acupuncturist regularly it will happen when it’s supposed to happen.  The mother in me says “where are my children”, and “do they know how much I want to meet them, how I hope they are kind and generous and smart and able to be honest and vulnerable with those they love; do they know I pray for their spouses and for the leaders of the world they will live in, for their health and inner peace as they face life’s struggles?”

I had hoped that by writing out all my inner voices I would see a clear answer rise to the top but they all have valid points.

And now its time for a reading break, here’s a song.

My friend recently told me that when she got engaged in her 30’s she was first happy then sad, real sad to be leaving behind her friends who were still single. She described it as survivors guilt, “why me, why not them too”. They were all in this little life boat together encouraging and affirming each other in their singleness and quest for contentment with this stage of life, now she’s in a married boat with her new favorite person and they are happy for her (probably). I was asking myself if I would feel that way when we finally do get pregnant. I don’t have a boat of people who wish they could have babies, I have people who love me and think they understand my struggle and I would be lost without these souls. Infertility is a boat only Josh and I are floating in. Its lonesome, the water is constantly rocking us to and fro and we have to go to work everyday and contribute to society and to our friends and families lives. As my fantastic Stepmom would say we have to act like something, and some days I feel like I can while others I want to step out of my own narrative for a while and watch as a substitute me acts like something.  Should I join a support group so I have a boat to leave when I become a survivor? I would like to say that the man in my boat is exceedingly generous and so available to me. There is no comparison for the selfless way he joins me in this struggle, how he cries when I cry, and passes a hanky sometimes, and lets me roll my eyes at our friends accidental babies even though that is detestable behavior.

I do not feel courageous or brave I feel like I am getting out of bed and showing up for myself and not very well sometimes. It is against my nature to be inauthentic I only know how to wear my heart on my sleeve (people put that thing inside their chests?) plus I think I’m looking for any other tiny dinghies that might be out to sea surviving this kind of storm. I hope that by saying something I create a little light for them, that gives them hope when hope feels foolish.  It’s a familiar absurdity to grow a person inside you, or to take on the task of turning a baby person in to a full size human that acts like something. Raising a teenager is a terrifying feat, and as we all know but constantly forget adorable babies turn into teenagers and hate us for a while. I have contributed to the parenting of many babies and toddlers and even teenagers, I know what nonsense lies before me. I know that it will challenge and stretch me in ways I did not know existed, that parenting will refine my marriage and my career like a fire that burns away impurities. What’s funny to me is that I know all that and the steadfast desire to have my own story remains unswervingly the course I choose.

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I had coffee with a dear friend recently, she became a parent this month. She reminded me who I am, and how I was made, is not something to apologize for. I kindled this fire as a small tiny woman long ago. I have been naming my kids since I heard that was the custom for parents to name their kids. Today as I try to choose between intervention and not intervention this fire feels like a wildfire that is threatening to make me evacuate my home. You know what it actually is, the fire that heats my home and I will not be afraid of it.  I will lean in closer and be warmed by the dream of my babies in my arms. This requires courage, but I think I have a really heroic partner in my boat and between us we can muster the strength necessary.

 

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Last Man Standing

“Rest your head on your mat, open your eyes, see the mat.” I see it. I has tiny circles separated by capital letter I’s and inside the circles are little squares. My eyes get blurry like I’m looking at a magic eye picture from the 90’s, but i don’t see a hidden picture of a dolphin appearing. This is of no consequence to anything. At the end of class he says “open your eyes, meet the eyes of the people sharing your practice today, see each of them” I prefer seeing people to seeing my mat. They have eyes and expressions and they sweat with me here today. Baptiste Power Yoga is hard, and I feel like I am building something when I’ve finished. Daily yoga is my Lenten commitment. I cry every day because they say “happy baby” which is a pose you do towards the end while lying down, and the hot tears drip into my ears. I’m not totally sure why I chose this for Lent. I know that I didn’t want to give up anything since my diet is already paleo and very restricted, and I feel like I have a lot of loss in the balance of my life. So adding something felt like a safe choice, turns out an hour a day commitment is still a sacrifice. Shrugs.

Fun update: we went to the naturopath on Friday morning for our most recent fertility results. These results have to do with my dear sweet grooms body not mine, and so I asked him yesterday if its okay for me to write about. “This is our journey, Kate, not mine. Be as transparent as you need to”. Our culture has taught us that one’s manhood is tied to his performance and sperm count, I challenge that to say this guy’s manhood is tied to his response when asked to be vulnerable with his numbers. Together we have done so much work to improve our fertility, and now we embark on a new leg of the journey towards being parents. ( I doubt anyone really watches my song links, but I literally listen to this song everyday. it is the title of this post. Last Man Standing )

In November I wrote about the odds being stacked against us for natural conception, here are the details of that, and the fantastical new plan to beat the odds. The swimmers need to be at least 60% quick and zooming, we’re at about 30%; We need at least 20 million of them and we only have 16 million, lastly only half of our guys are normal the other half have two heads and coiled tails and stuff like that. Upon receiving this news (on his 37th birthday) he had his game face on and was ready for the next step, our ND calmly asked “how hardcore do you want to be.”  “Very” was my champions answer. She explained oxidative stress like this (3 minute animation)  and told us that  carrying some extra weight is the main cause of his oxidative stress. Well he has been hitting the gym an hour or more a day, 5-6 days a week since November and while he has lost some weight he needs something more dramatic to jump-start his metabolism.

 

Drum roll please….

Enter the HCG diet. Daily injections of this cool hormone will cause him to burn fat cells as energy, and somehow survive on 500 calories a day. Don’t worry guys its only for 3 weeks and then he can resume normal (is paleo diet normal now) eating. Did I almost pass out at the office when I heard about this, and saw the price tag, and comprehended the commitment level? You bet your buttons I almost did. So I’m in the waiting room looking at the patterns in the carpet and sipping water and being told to breathe, and my bad-ass groom is getting the instructions to take injections at home and how to count calories and scheduling weekly followups with our ND.  My head is spinning. Sally you will be proud of how Dr.Science this post is, the rest of you might be rating this post high on the EW! scale.

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Here’s us on our wedding day

I honestly don’t even know what to expect in the next 3 weeks, but did I know what to expect the last 3 weeks? NO one could have known that we would be sad and mourning the loss of a perfect little baby in our family, and it felt like I couldn’t breathe at some moments. Today I showed up though, and I might show up again tomorrow. Its a daily thing. We wake up grateful and put one foot in front of the other, we look each other in the face and try to see one another. So far that’s what I’ve learned from yoga-show up and see. We do not know what will happen in the hours and minutes we spend on this earth, sometimes its awful and unbearable and we feel crushed. The man I have married is so clearly the best partner for me in this journey. He is grounded and focused and kind and compassionate and also really tough. We are sharing our story so that you can see into us, and can lament and rejoice with us at the appropriate times. If you have experiences with this diet or infertility or grieving lets talk about those things and learn from one another.