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Words

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I have always found comfort in words. Reading them, writing them, hearing them, and dissecting them. I’m pretty certain I was the only one in my high school class who was regularly reprimanded for submitting papers that were too long. When I needed a self confidence boost a few years back, my solution was to start this blog – a place to write words. And today it was words spoken and written by friends and family that carried me through. Thank you to everyone in my life who has reminded me that I am a mother on this day that has been looming over me like a storm cloud for weeks now. I am humbled by the understanding and empathy poured out to me by so many people. As much as I love words, I don’t think I could possibly convey how healing it is for my soul. The thoughtful Facebook messages, texts, blog comments, and e-mails really helped keep my head above water this weekend. And the following just blew me away:

Flowers from Randy’s parents with one of the kindest and most impactful messages I’ve ever received.

A gift from my parents filled with healing words – some that I’ll share here and some that I’ll keep for myself. The card that accompanied the gift made me cry immediately – but its a cry I wanted to have and a card I’m SO glad I got.

The card came with a couple of very thoughtful gifts, one of which featured more healing words. This necklace, accompanied by  this message:

My oldest friend, Mandi, sent me this card (and a little hope pocket charm), which is so refreshingly straightforward with no trite promises or cliched platitudes.

Perhaps though, my favorite words from this card were the ones she wrote inside which I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing here: Mother’s Day must feel like getting kicked in the emotional nuts. Yes – it does – and I’m so lucky to have friends and family who get it.

Care Package

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My parents have lifted me out of countless pits in the past. They cannot rescue me from infertility and miscarriage and I know this eats them up. They don’t like to see their children suffer and they also mourn for their grandchildren who will never be. Though they can’t fix this problem for us, they are great at showing their love and concern in practical ways. Last night they dropped off a care package – something to brighten our day and help us escape for a little while.

All the fixings for a movie night, including jammies for both of us.

Things like this get us through a yucky evening  – less because of the content and more because of the comforting knowledge that they took the time to do something nice in our time of need. It helps more than they could ever know.

I’d Blog…..

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I’d blog and tell you about the eventful week we’ve had, but the estrogen is making me feel like a shell of a person who doesn’t care about blogging. I have zero motivation for just about anything, including writing. So instead I think I’ll just sit here and stare at the lovely lanterns Randy’s parents (and brother and sister) brought over to help bring a bit of brightness to our lives during this dim period. They are helping. 🙂

Part 2: March Forth

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Time marches on, unconcerned with grieving and readiness. Time will march on without you. Time has marched on without me for a while now. Today I’m catching up.

I became an aunt at 7:14 today. An occurrence the approach of which has terrified and exhausted me and entrapped my emotions for the past 7 months.  I’ve built it up in my imagination to mythical proportions and placed undue amounts of significance on the anticipated moment. My heart ached every time I thought of seeing my parents as first-time grandparents to a baby other than my own. I imagined the moment my mother saw her first grandchild as life-changing and able to be matched by nothing ever – not the birth of any future baby of mine and certainly not my adoption of a child. The latter fear gripped my mind for the better part of the afternoon, even as I was sending jovial texts back and forth to my sister as she was in her hospital bed waiting to push her child into the world.

And then it happened. And I lived. And reality was much less magical than my imagination. People were happy – it was a wonderful event – but it was not the mythical fantasy I had feared. I have a nephew. He’s a real person who is a part of our family now. I’m one of only two aunts he’ll ever have. He’s not just someone else’s baby – he’s my nephew. He will never fill the gap left by my own lost children – he is not my child – but he will fit into my life exactly the way he is meant to. And I will be his Auntie Kimmie.

Me and Daniel

Originally I felt like the only way I could make a hospital visit was if Randy and I could be there alone with my sister, brother-in-law, and baby. I didn’t think I could handle seeing my parents or grandparents there and possibly not even friends of my sister that i don’t even know. I needed some privacy. Luckily, my parents are angels and understood this implicitly. They had me text them when we got to the hospital and they retreated to the family waiting room to give us the space we needed. After a while I felt like I could handle it, so I invited them in. We ended up staying for 3 hours. I finally felt a part of the family again, and it was such a relief. Infertility is hard enough, but having it rob you of family is a crushing blow. Things will never be the same as they used to, but today was a glimpse of how we might cobble together a new family reality.

I don’t attribute tonight’s success to any supernatural or magical forces. I think it is born of months of therapy, the support of an amazing family, and the transition from having a pregnant sister to having a sister and a nephew. I have long anticipated that things would get much better once the baby was born, as it has in similar situations with my pregnant friends. Every woman experiencing infertility has her triggers – the certain things that are particularly soul-crushing to her. For me, its pregnancy more than babies. This is not because I want to be pregnant more than I want a baby. I think its because a pregnancy is the first step down that road, my next step – my elusive goal. I can’t even fathom the baby part because its so far away and seems so unattainable to me right now. Just getting to the pregnancy has defined my life for five long years. And also, now that the baby is born he’s not just a reminder of my failures and struggles and illness – he’s my nephew. He’s here. And I’m going to get to know him.

Cycle Day 16: Cheaper By the Dozen

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6:15 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Randy groans and covers his eyes. I hop out of bed – I haven’t slept well because this whole not drinking anything after 11pm business has wreaked havoc with my sore throat. I am ready to get this DONE and drink some apple juice out of a juice box in the recovery room.

6:44 a.m.: Our car pulls out of the garage – me with my Valium in hand, ready to make the world look a LOT more fuzzy.

6:45 a.m.: I take the Valium – and a photo of myself, which is too blurry to make out. Have I mentioned that I dropped my camera last week and it now vibrates something fierce the entire time the power is on?

7:10 a.m.: We park in the clinic’s parking garage and make our way to the elevators. The world is moving slowly for me and my legs feel much heavier than usual. I start with the giggling.

7:15 a.m.: We are met by a nurse who takes us back to the pre-op/recovery room and has me change into everyone’s favorite spring fashion – the hospital gown, accessorized with the finest disposable booties and surgical cap. This marks the first (out of five) egg retrievals that I didn’t have to come out of the changing room to groggily ask the nurse if the gown opens in front or back. Victory!

7:20 a.m.: Victory #2 – the IV goes in without a fight! Eww – my arm looks kinda gross so close up.

Note: From here on out the time estimates get VERY fuzzy, so just go with it.

7:?? a.m.: After much asking of my name, birthday, and reason for “being here today” the nurses were satisfied with my answers and left Randy and me alone-ish to chat and play with our camera phones. (I don’t think they knew that bit about the camera phones.) In a drug-induced and ill fated plan, I have Randy take a picture of me in my hospital bed. It looks hideous and I promptly delete it. He spend the next five minutes convincing me that I don’t actually look hideous and he is not repulsed by me. 🙂

 

Randy is hungry and tries to eat my paper-clad foot:

 

I look HOT in my new hat:

 

Randy is sleepy and wishes he had my job today (okay not really):

 

7:?? a.m.: The nurses instruct randy to kiss me goodbye and they wheel me back to the door of the retrieval room, but they make me get up and walk into the room and get on the table myself. Once I’m situated, they put my blanket back on me, attach a blood pressure cuff to my right arm, put one of those finger-pinchy pulse monitor things on my index finger, and the oxygen hose thing into my nose. Are you impressed by my mastery of the technical medical terms?

7:?? a.m.: The nurses prep the room and the equipment and tell me to relax. I am convinced they have forgotten to give me the oh-so-vital sedative, as I feel completely alert (as alert as you can feel on Valium). I almost say something twice, but I don’t want to be a pain so I wait a little while longer and sure enough, the nurse comes over and says “now I’m putting the good stuff into your IV – if you feel like going to sleep, let yourself”. I am alert for a few more moments/minutes? and then I must drift off  because I don’t remember the RE coming into the room. Aaaand cue waking up in recovery, right? Not so fast…

7:?? a.m.: I’m still in the retrieval room and I feel lots of pain. Toe-curling, sheet-gripping pain (I know because I actually curled my toes and gripped my sheets). I’m very fuzzy and drowsy, but I tell the nurse it hurts, and she says she’ll give me more medicine. Things are blurry after this, but I’m convinced at the time that I’m awake until I get to recovery. Its anyone’s guess.

8:?? a.m.: I am in recovery and I see the nurse who promised to give me more medicine. I say: “I feel REALLY coherent right now…”. She says: “Well we didn’t give you as much sedative as last time.” I say nothing but think: WHY??? I say: “I felt a lot of pain.” She says: “yeah, I told you I’d give you more medicine, but I didn’t. There wasn’t enough time left in the procedure.” Again, I say nothing but think: WHAT?!? As I write this now I realize it may sound kind of horrifying – and it was definitely NOT fun – but it wasn’t as traumatic as it probably sounds, primarily because of the sedatives. I was awake for more of the fun than I should have been, but I use the term “awake” loosely. Its all very fuzzy and blurry, so its not haunting me or anything. But I bet it would be if this were my first retrieval experience!

8:?? a.m. I temporarily forget about the pain because the nurse tells me they got 12 eggs. 12 EGGS. I think I probably say: “It was 12?!?” about three times before I actually believe it. This almost doubles our previous record and is more than they even saw on the ultrasounds. Remember, I am used to coming out with fewer eggs than were seen in ultrasound.

8:?? a.m.: Randy saunters into the recovery area sipping a coffee and looking relaxed. Have I mentioned the gender inequalities in this process? (Don’t worry, Randy is fully aware of them and tries to make up as best he can through cooking and housework – guilt is handy sometimes.) I almost shout at him: “WE GOT 12!!!” I then start chatting his ear off telling him I’m extra coherent because they didn’t give me enough drugs. I then recount my “awake” experience to him and he laughs because every time we have a retrieval I am convinced at first that I was awake the whole time and felt everything. Then later things become fuzzier and I realize that I was probably only awake for a minute or two right in the beginning, because there are so many gaps in my memory. But this time is different, I insist. I know I wasn’t awake the whole time but I know FOR SURE that I woke up and asked for more drugs – that was confirmed by the nurse. Vindicated.

8:?? a.m.: The nurse offers me juice and crackers and I drink the entire juice box in probably under a minute because my sinus-drainage-ravaged throat is screaming at me. I ask for Tylanol for the cramping and she brings me another juice box, which I promptly chug. We hang out for a little while longer and then they let me go to the bathroom. Once I’m successful (Victory #3) they remove my IV and let me get dressed. We sign some release papers and we’re off!

9:15 a.m.: We pull into the McDonald’s drive-thru line for our traditional post-retrieval breakfast of McGriddles, Hash Browns, and OJ and felt so supported knowing we had an army (of two) doing the same this morning in our honor! Click here for Tricia’s account and here for Kara’s!

9:30 a.m.: We sit on the couch and pig out and post about our 12 on Facebook and bask in the rare glow of things gone well in an IVF cycle.

9:45 a.m.: I retreat to our bedroom and disappear into our flannel sheets, emerging only intermittently for bathroom and snack breaks.

6:30 p.m.: My Momley arrives with dinner for us! Chicken casserole, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls, sweet potato casserole, and cinnamon rolls for dessert. Aren’t moms the best? Dads are good too, but mine stayed home today because he is battling an even worse cold/illness than me and didn’t want to get me all germy. I appreciate that – I need all the help I can get right now!

And this concludes our broadcast day. The evening was marked by lots of couch-sitting and TV watching and some Bejewled playing. And now, its off to bed again – I think I know what its like to be a cat now!

Preparations

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Our first show is tomorrow. TOMORROW! I don’t feel ready at all – there’s been so much to distract me lately. Luckily, my mom is a saint and has been over 3 times this week to help me save my sanity and keep me on track with my crafts when I felt like I couldn’t do it. Tonight she helped me mock up a display for tomorrow. Einstein approves. Or maybe he wants to be sold to a new family…

Goodbye Grandpa Monroe: #344

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