Monday, 8 July 2013

Cocktails, carnival and finding the point again

Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration; it's not really like I ceased to see the point altogether, more that it was momentarily dislodged by a particularly emotional week, culminating in an otherwise innocuous email exchange which tipped me over the edge and set me to raging reflecting on the general obliviousness of people who seem to walk around in their entitled little always-shiny-happy-forward-moving! bubbles of good fortune. I have to keep reminding myself, in my own moments of self-absorption, that while some lives may look pristine, and those living them may seem to be a tad too comfortable in a take-things-for-granted way that is anything but comfortable for some of us, well...we really never know what anyone is facing behind closed doors, or why they feel the need to reject any minute possibility that Bad Things can and do happen. It may not be my coping strategy of choice, (I may not even think it's particularly helpful), but you do what you gotta do to keep going, and far be it from me to offer up judgement on any of it. All the more reason I am particularly grateful for this space, where I can let the ugly out and not feel like a social pariah as a consequence. Once again, thank you.


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But maybe a little background is in order. In recent months, I've stopped the weekly blow-by-blow updates on my cycles (I know, you really miss those) because it has seemed to become so laughably, peremptorily obvious that Nothing Was Ever Happening other than my monthly bloodletting, that, well, it was kinda boring even me. It just seemed safer as well: as soon as I articulate the very desire that we all know full well is the core reason for my rantings here, it seems all the more fragile, tenuous.

Which is why I was particularly angry with myself for the feelings and thoughts I allowed myself to have during this last failed cycle.

I took a pregnancy test last Monday. Yes, my fourth anniversary. A full two days before my period was due to arrive (and did). No sooner had the pee dried and I regretted the moments of insane optimism that had brought me to that point, because now I would associate the day with yet another failure rather than the amazing triumph of love that it should actually represent. 

I lost my composure and peed on the stick last Monday because I thought it would make an amazing, prefect anniversary gift. Because there were just too many good omens for this cycle, and because it just felt different.

I ovulated on the day we left Saint Petersburg, which would have meant that we conceived a child, a little water baby, on the gentle waves of the Baltic Sea, where we had enjoyed so many happy days, as we slowly and gently sailed our way from Russia to Helsinki to catch our departure flight. It would have been the cherry on top of an incredible three weeks. It would have defied all that ttc advice we often chain ourselves to.

We would have found out on our anniversary, and spent the day in the warm, romantic glow of the knowledge that our love has survived some terrible hardship in its fledgling years, but that our luck just might be turning.

My dream-child-water-baby would have been due just weeks before my birthday, an early, unimaginably perfect birthday present. (In fact, my last chance to have a baby before turning 39 has now come and gone.)

It was all too good to be true. Of course it was. Unimaginable, but imagine I did, as though I was your average, garden variety fertile with nothing but excitement and gleeful anticipation of what is to come.

And with all those lovely little omens I managed to convince myself that yes, I felt different. Then the pee stick; it's empty white expanse laughed at me mockingly. It screeched at my foolishness, as if to say Ha! Got you! Sucker!! Did you really think you were in for such a perfect, wonderful surprise? Your life doesn't work like that anymore, and you know it! For my part, I have wavered between being angry with myself for my brazen hopefulness and proud that somewhere in the recesses of my bruised psyche I still can conjure that much hope. That my spirit can still write itself fairy tales.

But by the time Thursday rolled around and I had put myself through the emotional wringer, and this whole cycle had felt like a deeper level of failure and I knew I had nobody but myself to blame for it, it all kind of feel apart.

I wrote that ranting post, and I resolved to drown my sorrows with stiff drinks and fiery chilis.




And then, something happened. Somewhere between me angrily pounding the limes and mint for my Dark and Stormy  - no, I wasn't kidding about the stiff drinks and yes, that particular concoction seemed perfect for my mood, though it was actually prompted by the discovery of an old bottle of gingerbeer in the back of the cupboard - and my dinner preparations, the drinks ceased to be bitter-infertile-raging-at-the-fucking-unfair-fertile-world-around-her-through-inappropriate-consumption-of-booze drinks and instead became bona fide celebration cocktails. It was sunny outside, and all the windows were open. H came home and we danced salsa in the kitchen while preparing fresh mango salsa for our pulled pork nachos (and let me tell ya, those nachos are reason for celebration in themselves).

And he reminded me that regardless of timing or circumstances, when we do finally see that second line, it will be perfect, the stuff that fairy tales are made of.


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And the weekend came and it was uncharacteristically bright and sunny and hot. There was an arts festival at our local park, with live music and spoken word acts and painting and sculpture and everyone lazed on the lawn all afternoon.




But my favourite tent was from an arts group that run workshops in local schools on making carnival costumes. They had all these amazing masks and dress up stuff and it was very hands on.







And who says that stuff's just for kids?

Me as a garden gnome

H as a friendly troll



And so we lay there on the grass and basked in the sun and watched the kids gleefully whirling their homemade suncatchers and listening to the music and just generally thought, Yeah...life's not so bad after all.

Each time I have one of my meltdowns, I know it'll be fleeting, that something else will grab me by the wrist and pull me forward, reminding me what's good regardless. Last week it was cocktails, a kitchen dance party and carnival masks that helped me see the point again.


20 comments:

  1. I think we're all guilty of this - ascribing so much meaning to particular dates and times because of so many reasons. I did this a lot when we were first diagnosed as infertile and it was exhausting and made things even more disappointing when they didn't work out. I think we just have to go on believing that the actual dates and times that things happen will have a meaning all their own, in ways we cannot fathom just yet. At least, that's what I'm hoping for.

    So glad you turned your sadness into a celebration. It's hard to stay sad/mad with impromptu dance parties and fun masks like those!

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    1. How cool are those masks, right?!

      It's amazing, because I remember after my first loss, I was constantly obsessed with getting to a successful pregnancy by 'deadlines' I had set myself (my due date being the most significant), and I had to work through letting that go and allowing myself to relaxa about the process...Now I feel like I'm having to relearn all that, but I love what you say about future dates having a meaning all their own. You're so right. Thanks for the insight and support, especially in the midst of what you're experiencing.

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  2. I'm glad you are feeling a little brighter lovely.

    I just wanted to say also, re your last post - I also completely understand where you are coming from.
    As someone who grew up with a father who works in the area of babyloss, I always knew and believed that babies die. For that reason, I was so afraid during my pregnancy. And, just to really mess with my head, as you know, my baby died in the womb at 19 weeks. So now I also KNOW with experience what that is like.
    I am always staggered and rather jealous of people who seem to think this sort of thing is really rare, and only happens to 'other people'. More infuriating are those who seem to think that they are special/blessed etc in some way, that they are safe and immune to loss. I'm sorry to say it makes me angry - as it did to many of those who commented on your last blog.
    I envy them.

    xxx

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    1. Thanks for being here Nomi. I think we have every reason to be angry about attitudes like those, because not only do they imply that some people are 'above' the kinds of experiences we have had, but they also contain a kind suggestion that...what? We ended up with the horrible tragedies we've faced because of something we did or didn't do? Total crap. Our experiences of motherhood, however unpalatable for others, are as real and valid and as worthy of expression as anyone's.

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  3. I'm glad you're feeling better. I completely missed your last post. It's sometimes so hard to rise (or crawl) up out of the sadness and remember how beautiful life can be even in the midst of something so painful. I admire your ability to go out and have fun, be free, and look ahead. It sounds like you have an amazingly supportive and positive partner too, which makes it all more bearable.

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    1. Thanks friend. This is really one of my greatest blessings, and a reason it's hard for me to feel sorry for myself for too long - I have a wonderful, solid marriage and a spouse who always reminds me how full our lives are, right here in the moment. I'm truly lucky.

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  4. Like you, I've decided to no longer write play by plays about my TTC efforts. I feel like it is time to focus on other things. Also, a part of me hopes that by saving my ttc energy on actually ttc instead of writing about it, that may help me conceive. Crazy, eh?

    I had SO MANY signs that my last IVF would work, and I blogged about all of them. I felt kind of silly when I got the BFN and I had to blog about that too. I deleted all my old posts after IVF was over for us. I didn't want the evidence of my false hope left behind.

    I'm glad you are back to you usual positive self, and I am also glad you let us see that you have bad days too. Hugs my friend :)

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    1. It's so easy to see other aspects of our lives, ourselves, recede into the background when we (quite naturally) focus so much on the ttc stuff, isn't it? This blogging world is a bit of a double edged sword at times, because as much as we need and benefit from the community and the support, it also makes it all too easy to focus on IF/ttc as front and centre, when we are so much more than that! I love reading your posts about life in general, and your reflections on all sorts of things :)

      Can I just say though, that I think the evidence of your false hope, as much as it makes us feel foolish and disappointed at the time, is also a testament to your resilience? We're all so much stronger than we usually give ourselves credit for.

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  5. Sadie, not only have I been there, but I still find myself here. Other the weekend I heard yet another blissfully early pregnancy announcement. And even though I'm on the road to resolution, I still felt those pangs of jealousy and disbelief over the situation. On the outside, it all seems like a perfect situation with a perfectly expected ending. All of it compounded by being infertile.

    I too have chastised myself for getting my hopes up about cycles, claiming I should have known better. After all, it all seems so redundant after a while. Needless to say, it gets to be a struggle after a while to remain positive and to continue moving forward.

    Everything you're feeling is normal. You are not somehow broken or crazy for wanting your water-baby. Nor are you crazy for being annoyed by that pregnancy announcement. If all comes with the territory. After all, imagine if you had gotten that BFP. Would you have considered yourself nuts or crazy for being so happy in the moment? I think all of us would have been celebrating right along with you.

    So, process all of this. Give yourself a chance to heal. Continue to find moments of joy and embrace life (which you are doing and doing well), but also allow yourself those crazy moments to be sad and also to hope. Because one way or another it will be okay one day. And until then, we're here to support you and listen.

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    1. Thanks Cristy. Sadly, after 3+ years of loss and ttc without a healthy pregnancy, I am all too aware how 'normal' all of this stuff is...Staying in the moment, and appreciating what's there, but also finding the balance to allow myself to grieve remains a constant challenge. I' so grateful that you ladies are here to just listen.

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  6. so glad you found hope, there in the recesses of what has not been an easy few years - I know hope can be reckless and scary, but it's also the only thing that keeps us going sometimes. I'm so glad that dark week gave way to lightness and cocktails and nachos and dance parties. hoping for more of those good things!

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    1. Thanks Sarah. I'll add 'a living baby' to that wishlist of more good things to come. Just sayin' :)

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  7. I've also fallen into the trap of magical thinking--that things have to work out a certain way because it would be so *perfect*. And I always end up beating myself up for it when things don't work out that way. I think your capacity for hope and your ability to bounce back from disappointment are amazing.

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    1. Magical thinking...yeah, that is the perfect description. I guess we have to have those moments too, right? Otherwise it would be just *too* depleting. Thanks for reminding me I'm not totally crazy, or if I am, I have great company ;)

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  8. Sadie, I am so sorry that your hopes for this cycle were dashed, but I'm thankful that you did find all that hope brewing inside of you. And H sounds wonderful, that when you do get that second line, it will be perfect. As you already know, I'm right there with you in trying to match up dates and times and events to lead me to think positively, when it's all just my mind trying to will my body to conceive. While the letdown is harsh, I think it's one of the only ways we can make it through cycles.

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    1. You're so right Brianna. It's a lot of pressure we put on ourselves (and our bodies) to have everything work out *just so* when in fact we'd take it however it comes. But that crazy hope needs to be a part of my monthly process, otherwise I think I'd just throw in the towel. I have everything crossed for you this time around!

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  9. I'm so glad you were able to turn your frown upside down. With so much sorrow to deal with, we have to take our moments of happiness as we encounter them. BTW - I read the other post thinking it would be really bad but no... even your "mean" posts are nice. Hugs. Hang in there.

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    1. Ha! Thanks for saying that. I think I've developed two sets of boundaries for 'socially appropriate': one in real life, and one for all my posse here in ALI-land. Thank god for all of you, who'll take me as I come and even lie to me that I'm nice to be around! ;)

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  10. I have been there. So many times. Thinking that all the starts are aligning and this time is different. Sigh. I wish every month of disappointment got easier, but it never does.

    My favourite part about this post is your husband's sweet words about when you get your second line ... beautiful.

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    1. Thank you for being there Alicia. It never does get easier, does it? I'm holding on to my husband's words too. When we reach that point, holding our baby, I'm not sure I'll care a lot how we got there...

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