"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. "

27 September 2010

Homework Sucks

I love when the world nudges you to rise above your emotional hangups and fears... (heavy sarcasm!)

Recall, if all goes well, I should be able to begin shots for IVF # 3 around Oct 10th or so. The week prior to this, I get to spend 3.5 days in a class on management called "Pathways". Has anyone heard of this?

I was actually looking forward to it. I thought it would be fun to get to know my fellow peers in management a bit better and also learn a different perspective on what I do so I can be a better leader. I'm sure its going to be one of those 'touchy feely' type ice breaker classes, with skits and such, that I haven't really done since girlscout camp, but I was still looking forward to it...

... until today, when I got our 'homework' assignment to be completed before class begins on Tuesday of next week. Here's the assignment: Read the first 6 chapters of the book "The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give to my Childern".

Really? Seriously?  You want me to read a book on parenting, and then discuss it with a whole bunch of parents, in a room, for 3.5 days, all while I'm trying to stay zen for my IVF cycle the following week?


Needless to say, I'm dreading being in that room now, fearing that I will just sit there and want to cry. Especially when former participants have told me that people really do open up in that class, to the extent that others have cried! But I really don't want to cry about this, not in front of the people I work with.

Please give me strength to make it through this class!

23 September 2010

Yad Shniyah

K is a close friend of mine. I found her on this fertility journey when I searched for someone in my area to help me put together a holistic health plan for myself, outside of the western medicine arena.  I googled a few things and her center came up on the top of the list. Turns out there was a woman, right under my nose who not only is an 'infertility survivor' herself, but also a counselor, a writer and an activist in the infertility, or as she likes to call it, subfertility world. In fact, the support group that I organize was conceived and born in her mind.

K has not only been a guide to me along this path but has become a dear friend. She's given me comfort when I needed to cry. She's helped me realize things deep in my soul that have, I'm sure, affected my fertility. She's never been judgemental in the path that I choose to follow through this, and mostly, she's a beautiful, emotional, loving and nuturing soul in my life that continues to encourage me and lift me up. She's one of my treasured bright spots in this whole frustrating journey.  I only hope that I have been able to give her back a friendship and support in a similar manner.

The other day, K and I met for coffee. She had emailed me a few days before saying there was a surprise she wanted to share with me. I was so moved by this surprise when she shared it with me, as was she when she first received it. I knew instantly that I needed to share it with all of you.  It's not perfectly happy, but it is amazingly real and I believe shows how deeply this disease can affect ones soul and how differently people choose to approach this and cope.

So here it is:  K received a package in the mail from a couple that she had met, only once, who themselves have journeyed down the infertility road. The package contained a letter and the item in the picture below. The letter reads as follows:

To family and friends – 

For the past 10 years we have been trying to have a baby.  Our lives have been full of hopes and prayers, doctors and appointments, tests and treatments, lots of talking and lots of silence, promises and disappointments.  We have paid with our time, our money, our sense of self, and our relationship.  Three years ago, our last doctor told us that our pursuit of a biological child had ended.    

As artists and collaborators, we have redirected our obsession from producing a child to making art.  This piece, Yad Shniyah, is our fourth piece directly related to our fertility frustrations.  For the past 3 years, we have been working on this piece as we process the verdict from the medical profession and figure out who we will be since we will not become parents.  

Yad Shniyah in Hebrew means ‘second-hand’.  Over the last 3 years we have been building this piece from second-hand clothes.  One of the cultural practices in Israel is for people to leave discarded clothing, usually in neat little stacks, washed, folded, and bagged, out on the street for anyone to take.

We would take the clothes, cut off the buttons, and remove the seams to get cloth.  We made a pattern, marked and cut, sewed, stuffed, and joined each doll.  We diapered and pinned each doll by hand.  

We made 1,111 dollies.  We are each keeping one.  We are sending one to each of our nine immediate family members; 100 go to other relatives, friends, and medical providers.  1,000 will be distributed randomly around the city of Jerusalem for strangers to find and keep.

You are getting this letter and dolly because you are a part of this process.  Some of you have been involved quite intimately, some of you were medical service providers.  Some of you we sought out and asked for your involvement and others of you showed up.  Some of you kept us in your thoughts and prayers, others of you may not have known what to do or say.  Some of you were supportive and encouraging, some of you offered unsolicited advice.  Some of you we think of as part of our extended surrogate family, some of you were not aware of what we were going through.  

All of you are people we would have shared our child or children with.  You would have been grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends.  You would have come to birthdays, holidays, weddings.  We would have told you about our children and would have told our children about you.  You would have been there for our successes.  You would have had a picture of our child on your desk, refrigerator, or ‘brag wall’.  Maybe it was a passing remark, a heart-to-heart, a professional appointment somewhere in the journey.  Maybe you gave us marital advice, medical advice, mental health advice.  

You may be reading this letter on the internet as one of the 1,000 who came upon one of our dollies.  You may have met our child at some point – at the playground, a school friend, a teacher, a shopkeeper, a scout leader, a college roommate, employer.  You would have had an influence on our child.  Maybe giving parenting advice to us, sharing in the anticipation of the pregnancy and birth, all of the ‘firsts’, maybe babysat, been a confidante, a friend.  Maybe they would have just heard about you as we regaled them with our stories.

We are sending these dollies out into the world just as we would have sent our child.

Rachel & Joseph

Gordon & Gordon Art 

Here's the picture of the doll in the package

So, what do you think??

You can read more about their art project here.

21 September 2010

Re-Post for ICLW

Once again, I've joined ICLW in hopes of making  more connections out there in the blogosphere. Here's a re-post from last month for those of you who are visitng my blog for the first time. Welcome, leave me a comment so I get to know you better and thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll continue with me along this journey.

Also, as a teaser to come back, I have an amazing post in the works that I hope to get up by the end of the week. I'll leave you with this.... its about a couple who struggled to conceive and created an amazing art project to help them heal. Its cathartic and beautiful... more to come...

18 September 2010

All Clear!

Just a quick update...

I had my SHG yesterday (a fluid ultrasounds that looks at the lining of your uterus to check for fibroids or any other things that shouldn't be there) and everything looked good, "picture perfect" as they say. I also had my final bloodwork done to check a few other hormone levels and those came back in the right range too.

So monday I will let the IVF study coordinator know the results and I'll likely be given the go-ahead to start my meds when I get my next period, in about 3 weeks.

The reality of a cycle is looming upon me. I'm not sure yet how I feel about it, but I do know that if things didn't come back clear yesterday, I would likely have been dissapointed. So that must mean at some level I'm excited. I guess I really should be, right? How often does one have the chance to do a free IVF cycle (for those of us in the self-pay world), huh?

I think I'm still in protective mode. I know the emotional challenges an IVF cycle can hold and maybe I'm just saving up my intensity for then.

.. or MAYBE, I've learned enough about living in the present moment that I'll be able to be 'zen' through this all... hmmmm... likely not, but hey, a girl can dream :-)

14 September 2010

The Crash after the Party


I just watched the episode of Glee where the blond chick, Quinn, gives birth while the rival school is performing a version of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.

I thought I could do it, but it made me cry, like I haven't cried in a while.

And I didn't turn it off. I watched it like a train wreck. 

Maybe I'm crying because of the anticipation of a potential upcoming IVF cycle that I've been pushing out of my view. Maybe I'm crying because I don't want to walk that emotional road, the road of what if's, potential due dates, of how am I going to deal with this if it doesn't work... the road of feeling guilty for what I've put into my body these last few days... the road of questioning if I've done enough to help my chances, of pulling the wool over my eyes in thinking that maybe I have some amount of control in this process.

I think I've been pulling away from the intensity of this journey lately, and its felt good. Its been freeing and I've been happy. But now all of the things that have been distracting me, like waiting for another cycle to come and go, and anticipating my sister's wedding and vacation planning and work.... all of those things are slowing fading from view and a looming cycle is staring me in the face. Even with it being a free cycle, its still intense. Regardless of the money, we still have a chance to create some embryos and be so close to being pregnant, finally, and its scary, especially after being here 3 times before.... 3 times!!!

What makes me think that this time will be any different? What makes me think that I can handle a 4th failure?

Or maybe I'm crying because my sister's wedding this past weekend was absolutely amazing and we had 3 full days of wonderful family fun, celebration, togetherness and I've been anticipating it for a while... And weddings make me cry, especially when I see all the hope and love and excitement about L & B's upcoming live together as Mr. & Mrs. And I think of the hope and excitement and future dreams and plans that B and I had 6 years ago. I feel the depression and anxiety of infertility setting back in as mourn the passage of time and the loss of something we've never had.

And maybe that's why I'm crying... I'm coming down from a high and I'm scared of the potential low ahead.

10 September 2010

A Wedding Wish

My sister L is getting married this weekend to her boyfriend of 11 years. Its going to be an amazing weekend. We're staying downtown Chicago and are starting the celebrations today with manicures and a bridal party luncheon. Tonight is the dinner rehearsal and then tomorrow's the big day!

I am absolutely thrilled for them and know that I'm going to be an emotional mess. It reminds me of my wedding and all the joy and hope that lifts you up that day.

Today I'm making a pledge to myself to make Infertility take a back seat and in fact, go lock itself in the trunk. I'm here to celebrate and fully be present with all of the celebration.

I of course have that little birdie sitting on my shoulder that is saying... "You should have been pregnant at this wedding. Hell, you should really be carrying around your baby, showing off your bundle of joy to your relatives and trying to figure out how to breast feed and get your picture taken with the wedding party"

But I'm going to tell that birdie to shove it.

And instead focus on the hope and love that this wedding brings. I love you L! I can't wait to see you walk down that isle and smile your beautiful bridal smile and dance into the night with your loved ones. I wish you guys a long life filled with love, laughter, adventure .... and babies... that come to you easily :-)

03 September 2010

Getting Ahead of Myself

I know I am getting ahead of myself with this post, but I had a realization tonight....and it made me feel like I had something in my hand that I treasured and it was just rudely ripped away.

If we are lucky enough to have a biological child from the plans we have decided on over the next few months, I don't think we'll go through all of this for a second child. I know, never say never, but it simply seems so daunting to start this journey all over again for a second child. So because of that, we'll be faced with adoption or having only one child. (Yes, I fully admit, this is only one scenario of how my life can go, but it is a possibility and It just kind of hit me tonight that it IS a possibility)

I'm sad. I may have to work so incredibly hard to have our first child that we simply don't have the emotionally and financial resources to figure out how to have a second.

I always dreamed that if we did have children, we would have more than one B and I both come from larger families. I want to hear that laughter of my CHILDREN playing with each other, and fighting about silly things and giving advice to each other and.... But there's a distinct reality that we may only have one.... If that!

So needless to say, I was freaking out last night at this new realization..

I think the point of this post is to show how it takes time to see how infertility affects your whole life. Even beyond potential success. Its not just that you are trying and trying and trying so hard to achieve your first goal, but it can affect your second, third and so on goals... It affects the timing of events in your life, it affects plans you had for retirement, it affects your dreams of moving to different places, of trying new things. It affects it because your life feels on hold and static yet ever moving/focused towards the one very large goal. And you feel robbed of other dreams. And yes, dreams aren't everything, and learning to live in the present moment is very important...

But you still have dreams.

And I know that some of you will say, go for your dreams! And as easy as that sounds, its just not the same. Yes, we can still find things to keep us here and happy in the moment and trying to find peace in our current situation, but this is a draining process, emotionally, physically, financially. And that constant drain still affects your dreams, even if you continue to try to achieve them.

P.s..... the reality of no children is still here too, lurking... but I didn't want to honor that reality today in anyway, shape or form