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

05 November 2010

Birthday Musings

Today's my birthday. 36.

I'm not sure how I feel about that number.

Yesterday I woke up and thought to myself, "Crap. Tomorrow I'll be 36. Crap. I'll be 36, my house is half unfinished, I have no savings account and I have no children." Not exactly where I wanted to be.

Birthdays are hard in the infertility world, as well as holidays, which are also just around the corner. They mark the passage of time and remind us that once again, one year later, we're still climbing this mountain, and the top doesn't seem to be getting any closer. They remind of us the lost time that we could have had to be raising our children and seeing the world through their eyes. They remind us of the due dates and what if's of failed cycles past.

But as I am reminded by many friends and family who know of our struggle, birthdays are also a time to reflect on the good and beauty we do have in our lives.  In that vein, here are a few special things that have happened to me this week.

First, I received a beautiful prayer shawl in the mail from my friend J.

J said that she felt helpless in wanting to be able to make things better for us but has learned a lot through this blog about being a good friend and listener. (I'm so glad that this has helped my friends and family learn about this struggle! That's an amazing benefit to opening up to everyone about this).  Anyways, basically the blanket represents all the hope that she has for us that our baby will come soon. When I'm feeing up or down or just need a hug, I can snuggle up in my beautiful blanket and feel all of my friends and family holding us, hoping and praying for us.

When I got the package and read the card, I fell apart... in a good way. I realized that I have a hard time accepting gifts and love from other people. I don't think I feel worthy of their effort, like, "Oh, no big deal, I'm fine! Don't worry about me." But I need to let others express their care, concern and love for me and B.  And I need to learn to let it warm me and build me up and give me hope. Because this struggle is bigger than any one person can handle alone.

Secondly, another friend sent B and I a letter after he found out about our most recent failed cycle and it was seriously the nicest thing anyone has said about us. It was a heartfelt, encouraging and honest letter letting us know that no matter what shape our family takes, no matter how we get there, we are loved and we are already adding to this world in a beautiful and inspiring way. I can't do the letter justice with out reprinting it here, which I think I'll just keep between B, myself and the author, but I was simply humbled by it. No other way to put it.  And yes, I feel apart, in a good way, when I read this too.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you both, and to all who have come out to comfort us recently and along the way! You brightened my days and helped me realized how much I need all of you in this.

So what do you ask does one infertile do to celebrate her 36th birthday? She takes the day off work, sleeps in late (9am!), makes a cup of (decaf) coffee in the french press with cream of course, sits in the sun on her couch with her dog and blogs. Then, she goes for an hour massage and after that, get's on a plane (and plans on buying a 7$ glass of crappy wine on the plane) with B to Washington, DC for a long weekend and a work seminar early next week.

I will find time today to revel in the good that is in my life. Thank you all for helping me see this.

P.S...If anyone has any suggestions of places to eat/visit in DC this weekend while we are there, say so! I'm kind of a food snob and B's a beer snob... just sayin'.


  1. wishing you a very happy birthday, I think your plans sound perfect. I know exactly what you mean about the bitter sweet quality of birthdays and holidays, it is so hard to get away from that. I am so glad that you have such amazing friends taking care of you. Hoping that this weekend is a fun celebration for you guys.

  2. Happy birthday. Treat yourself. To something. Being from DC (shhhh! I've outed myself!), I have LOTS of recommendations.

    We really like Founding Farmers (around GWU). It features locally grown organic food and is YUMMY. And, has great cocktails.

    I also love Cafe Atlantico (Penn Quarter). Tabard Inn is also pretty romantic (Dupont/Logan Circle).

    Not sure where you are staying....

    And...for a good time...maybe go to Perry's in Adams Morgan on Sunday for brunch...for a little drag queen show with a very lovely brunch. It will make you laugh out loud. Make sure you get there early. And, if you're a very good girl...maybe they'll sing happy birthday to you!

  3. Happy birthday! Your friends are really awesome!
    Take care of yourself- it takes awhile to heal.

    I have heard of some women with a similar treatment history as yours having success with the University of Chicago. They specialize in recurrent loss and failed IVFs. Just an idea for you, whenever you are ready. They test for things some clinics don't.

    But for now... I wish you peace and a good weekend in DC.

  4. Happy Birthday! Your plans sound fabulous, LOVE my French Press, always a great way to start the day!

    It also sounds like you have some amazing support outside of the bloggy world. You're right it is important to let others express care for you. Whenever I "come out" to people the first thing they say is that they wish they had known so they could have been there more for us...

    Hope you have a great trip!

  5. Hope you have a wonderful time with B. And look forward to a belated birthday celebration next month! Love you!

  6. Happy Birthday, mine is today and I know what you mean by it not being celebrated when you are infertile. I am 35 and all I can see are the fertility bar graphs where at 35 my chances of getting preggo drop off.
    I have had a couple of people go out of their way this birthday and I am not good at receiving gifts myself. I never feel like I can show my appreciation well enough.
    I had a quick question for you. I know you are always a wealth of information. If you aren't up to thinking about IVF right now I completely understand. If you don't mind answering I just wondered about 3 versus 5 day embryo transfers.
    Anyways, Have a great trip and I am sending you peace and tranquility for your birthday.

  7. What a wonderful way to be celebrated by your friends. You are more deserving than you know and I love that you take this birthday to reflect on the good in your life and how your friends and family has uplifted you. It's ONLY a number as you know....I have to remind myself of this too...xoxo

  8. Oh wow....I totally got teary reading this. They could be my words (in terms of letting other people comfort you).....Have I told you lately how friggin' awesome you are?

    K, you are friggin' awesome! ;-) Happy, happy birthday, you young wipper-schnapper you!

  9. Happy Belated Birthday! I am so glad to hear you are receiving such awesome support. I totally understand what you are saying about letting people comfort you. I think we build such a hard shell to protect ourselves and are so used to the ignorant comments and isolation that when we feel someone truly cares, it just means so so much. And I am so glad you are receiving that love! You deserve it! Hang in there!

  10. I know the last thing you may be feeling right now is "happy," so I will wish you a Healing Birthday instead. I was so sad to learn in your previous blog that you lost the 2 embryos. 3 days, 30 days, 30 weeks. Those losses, no matter how far along, take something of you with them.

    But you seem to be surrounded by amazing people who know exactly how to support you. That is so fortunate and probably a reflection of the type of support you yourself provide others.

    I am just profoundly sad to have to write condolences instead of congrats. Heal up and stay healthy for the next steps. I will be pulling for you and your husband.

  11. Happy belated birthday!!!

    Sorry I missed this post!

    I hope you had a great trip!!

  12. So, how was your bday?? Where did you go to eat???

  13. Ooh! So glad you liked Founding Farmers! They have good stuff!

  14. Happy belated birthday! Glad you got to do some fun things to celebrate, even though the words "birthday" and "celebrate" don't seem to go together for girls like us. Hoping this next year will be your best ever!!

  15. Happy Birthday! (Visiting from Mel's Comments blogpost).

    I hope you have a wonderful time in DC, and celebrate everything that's good about the world and you and your relationship. Whatever happens (from someone who has been there) it turns out okay.

  16. Happy belated birthday.

    I am so sorry to hear the cycle didn't work out. I was hoping to return to your blog to some much different news. I had been thinking about you and praying for you.

    I have also found that opening up about your struggles to friends and family is so beneficial. People want to love and support us, just as we want to love and support them. Everyone likes to feel useful. While it is hard to share each failure, it makes the bitter pill easier to swallow knowing that you don't have hurt and grieve alone.

    I hope you had a wonderful time in D.C. It is a great place to lose yourself and get your mind on other things.

  17. Kathleen,
    Happy birthday! I am glad you are taking the time to indulge yourself and treat yourself well. You deserve every happiness and you are in my thoughts.