Posts Tagged ‘MrsTiye’
My mom always says, “You have to have yourself in order, even if nothing is moving forward, because when God finally says “Go”, it’s gonna move SO fast, you have to be ready.” She’s right, you know.
So following my initial appointment, where we found the dreaded polyp, I was scheduled for yet another polypectomy and hysteroscopy. Big whoop.
Cue panic #1
When the nurse called to pre-register me for surgery, he let me know that the hospital where the surgery was scheduled, does not typically accept my insurance, and that I should check in with them again in two days to make sure that I didn’t have a bill. I freaked out EXTENSIVELY (and internally) as I waited the couple days before I could call the office and ask. When I finally got in touch, they assured me that all was covered.
Having had this surgery previously, I was expecting more of the same. But my doctor came to my room to greet us. She hung out with us for a few minutes, explained the procedure and talked with my mom for a good while. She even apologized that I’d had to get up so early to make it to the hospital. She stopped in to see me two more times that day, and walked alongside my bed to the OR, just chatting away.
Have I mentioned how much I love her? I think I have, but I’ll say it again: I LOVE HER.
So, last week, I went into the office for my follow-up. I was prepared for a repeat of the stalled out meeting I had following the last procedure with my previous clinic. You know, the one where they lay out all the things that don’t work, and how much delay we can expect? As hopeful as I’ve been trying to be, I’m also cautious, having been at the starting line more times than I can count, and STILL never taking off.
So imagine my surprise, when my nurse proceeded to move along to baseline testing and ultrasounds. While drawing my blood she said, “So did you get your meds yet?” I didn’t even try to hide my confusion. “I sent in the order for your meds and you should have them by Friday because your protocol will start Saturday.” Here’s some perspective,…this was Thursday morning.
I went into my ultrasound, still reeling from that little bit of info. They were a little wary of my notoriously ridiculous uterine lining, but said it wasn’t a huge issue and that most importantly, I was polyp free! From there, we sat in an injection walk-through and a layout of our drug protocol.
Let me remind you, when I came into the office, I was expecting to just hear about my polypectomy, and find out what was the next thing for us to wait on. At this stage in the game previously, we were again at “hurry up and wait”. We were extremely unprepared for the amount of information that was being hurled at us.
We left the office, called the insurance regarding the meds, and were told to await a call from the pharmacy.
Cue panic #2
When the pharmacy called to confirm the meds order, they ended the phone call by saying, “We’ll call you back with your final bill.” I freaked out. Everything had been going so fast and so well, that here was where the hammer was going to come down. They were going to call me back with an astronomical cost that my t-shirt sales and fundraising events weren’t going to be able to cover.
The pharmacist called back. She said, “We just need a credit card to cover your final balance on your meds. The total is $5.85.”
I asked her to repeat herself. I thought I’d heard $585″.
She laughed and said, “$5.85. Your insurance covered everything except for an antibiotic.” Remember how I was freaking out because my insurance had changed? Turns out, it was for my good.
In 24 hours,…this was in our front hallway:
In 20 minutes, this was in our apartment, along with the giant cooler of follistim cartridges that was also packed in the huge box:
When I talked to my aunt, to fill her in on the meds being PAID FOR and DELIVERED,…she said, and I quote:
“They not playing around. You are.”
She’s right too, you know?
When you get used to being slowed around and pushed back, it can be easy to fall into routine. We have had so many stops and starts. Job changes, insurance changes, new diagnoses, extra issues, dosage changes, and a few mind-calming breaks in between. Every, single, time that I have gotten really excited about this, or even when I put this aside completely, and stepped out on faith for adoption, things have consistently found a way to grind their way down to a standstill.
There have been times where I couldn’t even bear to visit my own site, because it seemed like a glaring reminder of failure and the most excruciatingly slow timeline. People have asked me if I was afraid of getting pregnant, or if I was choosing not to move forward, because they couldn’t comprehend just what was taking so long. Most of these stalls and setbacks were so unbelievable that even explaining them sometimes, made people look at me like,
But as discouraging as it’s been, and as long as it’s taken, and whatever other dramatic culmination I could use right now…
TODAY, is stim day 3.
And we are officially in an IVF cycle.
And regardless of the 1 1/2 inch needle that delivers these meds intramuscularly.
And not getting focused on the money we still have to spend on embryo storage, etc.,
Whatever else happens on this journey, for just getting HERE, to this exact moment of this exact thing,
THANK YOU LORD.
For the record, I never really talk to people about my hall closet. For all of my advocacy, and as much as I’m open about infertility and what it has meant in my life, I very rarely have told people about the things behind that door.
There’s a baby bathtub resting along the inner right wall, with washcloths and a temperature duckie that sit lonely inside of its hollow belly. Blankets with nothing to wrap themselves around lie still and unbothered on the lower bottom shelf. A picture book gift from a friend is kept in it’s original mailer rather than being added it to my bookshelf and sits in a closet organizer where there are also infant clothes with tags hanging from their sleeves and a first Easter dress that was worn once and still smells of baby lotion. Sitting silent on the top shelf, collecting dust and grime as the days go by, are toys that have never been opened.
Sitting at my dining room table, just underneath a chair is a bumbo chair from a friend that I never touch. It’s blended in so well at this point that I often forget it’s there. Kind of like the carseat that sat in the corner for months until we finally got the courage to toss it out. Or the bag of newborn caps that is in the trunk of the car.
Ever so often, I will come across a barrette or headband that slipped through the cracks and just so happened to turn up on an especially hard day. There are also times where I run into that old box of baby bottles that I can’t bring myself to throw away, or a plastic case that used to hold baby wipes that I’ve had to re-appropriate.
The thing about my closet, and my hall, and my bottom drawer, is that they aren’t unique. There are thousands of other closets and drawers and trunks with hidden pockets of delayed hope. So many other people have walked past one onesie too many in a store and decided, “No, I’m gonna buy this in good faith.” Others still have walked down the road towards adoption, and prepared their homes and closets only to be left with the remnants of a dream that fell through their fingertips.
For over 200 days, my husband and I were foster parents to a child who was originally supposed to be our adopted daughter. We cared for her and loved her and encased our life around her in the hopes that fate would see our dedication and reward us.
They were mine, but not mine.
It was like holding our breath every.single.day.
I remember one night at my husband’s job, where I watched a couple pull up in their Mercedes truck. They came to the desk and gave him their keys making small talk about how “The Bulls Game is over, so we’re gonna go pick up the baby”. And my husband and I laughed at the fact that they were giving him that much information.
30 minutes later, they come back down, he carrying the baby carrier, and she carrying the bag while chatting on the phone. And they took their baby, and got into their Mercedes, and drove away to their life. Which may not be perfect. But had so much that I wanted in just that scene.
I wanted so badly to leave work, and pick up my husband, and pick up MY child, and go on with MY life. That’s what I WANT.
Instead, I’d drive to my husband, and we’d worry, and we’d plan, and we’d ponder…then we’d go and pick up someone else’s baby, and drive to our apartment, and we’d eat junk, and we’d worry more.
And I’d get so TIRED of it. Of those moments that didn’t really belong to me.
Of that little girl. Of singing to her, and taking my time with her, and loving her.
For it to not be mine. For me to have to turn her over to someone who didn’t care enough about her to not give her drugs before her first breath.
Seemed like some bullshit to me. And I tried consistently to have grace under pressure.
But it’s still some fucking bullshit.
People so often ask those with infertility why they won’t “just adopt”. They assume that all we want is a baby. And that since there are “sooo many” babies just waiting around for someone to save them, it’s a win-win for us both. And they don’t mean any harm for the most part. They see what could be a means to an end, I guess.
And in that means to an end, they don’t see what happens when it doesn’t work. When you’re holding your breath in the hospital and trying not to get too excited. They don’t see you standing in the hallway of the birthmother’s room, hoping that her visitors aren’t telling her to change her mind. They have no idea how tumultuous it is in your heart when you’re trying to show love to a newborn, and show their birthparents that they haven’t made a bad decision, while not overstepping any invisible boundaries. Or how confusing it is to answer the hospital staff about just who it is you are.
When people tell you to adopt, they don’t know about the feelings of inadequacy when that child is crying, and you aren’t sure if it’s because they know you aren’t their “real” mom. Or how many times you’re left speechless when trying to figure out how to answer medical questions, or fill out paperwork.
They have no idea how fast and intense your very being can plummet when a birthparent tells you that they have decided to parent. Or the fury and sadness that intermingle when they don’t even say it to you directly, but avoid you or simply block you from the hospital room, when just hours, days, months ago they were calling you their new best friend and thanking you for being there. There is no way to understand until you’ve been there that not only is it very easy to love a child whom you did not give birth to, but that when the prospect of being that child’s parent is snatched away, it feels as though your own has died.
And like others who have loved and lost, we mourn. And like so many others who mourn, we hoard those small reminders. Clothes and blankets, and toys, and dreams. Sitting on our shelves, stuffed into our closets, and unforgotten in our hearts.
You are not alone.
My closet is full too.
Target and I have a somewhat friendly competition we’re in.
So, I love Target. I don’t know what it is about that place, but when I see those red shopping carts, and that welcoming bullseye, I think the cares of the world fall off my shoulders and I start to envision a better apartment to place new housewares I don’t really need, and a smaller figure to fit their cute new apparel, and more photos to go in more frames, and whatever else is on the sales paper they have for that day. It’s calmer than Wally World, and less expensive that Kohls, and it’s big enough to distract me from real life for at least an hour and a half on a good day.
But there’s a darker side to Target. And it’s name is the baby aisle.
Now, I’m not often one who hates visiting baby departments. I don’t often willingly wander into them, but I’m also not one who avoids them like the plague. We’re basically on an “if you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you” basis. That said, Target’s baby aisles and I, we have what you might call “a history”.
When my husband and I first started talking about expanding our family, but my sister got pregnant instead, LOL, Target is where I took her to buy her first baby item.
When we were hoping to adopt, and had Little Girl with us, Target is where I finally found her first Easter dress. They were the only store with a dress small enough. It’s hanging in my hall closet.
It was also Target where I first went shopping alone with 4 month old Little Girl, and she promptly cursed me out in wails that made other shoppers give me “what is she doing to that infant” glares, and accusatory snarls.
Target is my go-to place for baby shower gift-cards, cute baby gifts, and even if I’m in the store for something completely different, Target is also the store that will have you accidentally wander into maternity clothes or diapers.
So for me, Target has the potential to also be a pretty sensitive shopping spot. But I love the place! So I work hard at challenging myself to not allow those sad bits to creep in. Every visit, I encourage myself to not look away from the cute onesies that are just hanging around the housewares for some reason, or to not ignore the Leapfrog Puppy that I know I purchased for Little Girl when I see it prominently displayed in the Toy department’s outward facing aisle.
But I think Target is on to me. Because now, when I’m fully clothed in my big girl panties, Target has taken to the habit of saying “I see you, and I raise you”.
Take yesterday for instance:
I’m in good spirits, and I don’t at all shy away from the uber-adorable Valentine’s Day onesie display. In fact, I walk right up to the display and take a look! The “Daddy’s Little Princess” one with the ruffled bottom leggings makes me smile, and I wander away unscathed. Then, Target goes, “I see you. And I raise you.” and blam, right there in the center aisle is a FULL NURSERY DISPLAY. Not a little crib headboard with a price, like they usually have, but a full nursery, on a platform, decked to the nines, with a “Wouldn’t you like to be here” feel like a Jamaica tourist ad.
I’m not fazed by Target’s crafty wit, however. I comment to the hubby on how cool I think the color layout of the nursery is. I’m awful fond of the slate and yellow combo these days. We chuckle and keep it moving.
I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself when I hit the registers. I mean, really Target, you’ve done worse on far more stressful days than this. I’m cool, calm and collected…
and then Target says,
“I see you. And I raise you.”
At the register beside us, I hear the cashier say, “Oh my! You’re going to need our guest assistance to help you to your car!” I look over. Two car seats. She’s not just buying baby items. She’s not just buying a car seat. She’s buying TWO. “So!” Says the cashier, “Two seats! Is it safe to assume, TWINS!? YAY! Oh my!”
Two car seats.
I gather up my little bags of socks and body wash, and whatever other bs I just spent a box of diapers worth on, and I get the heck out of there.
Well played, Target. Well played.
Thanks Target. I’ll order some more feels from Acme, and try this again another day, m’kay?
I did not sleep last night. I will admit that aside from taking an ill-timed nap, my anxiety got the better of me.
I did pray, however. And the most poignant message that came to me in that time of meditation was this: “I MATTER.”
I worry a lot. I worry about time. I worry about the world. I worry about my health. I worry about my words. I worry about people. I worry about my dog. I worry. I am a worrier.
My mother compared my niece to me this weekend as she recounted their day together.
“She’s very much like Regina,” she said. “there were a few clouds in the sky and she was convinced that it was going to storm, and wanted to stay inside.”
We all laughed. I actually didn’t think much of it. But it nagged me sometime later when I started to realize, that I am passing along this feeling of panic.
Out of all the things I worry about, do you want to know what I worry about most?
Most of all, I worry about whether to ask God for things. Along these years of battle with my own body, there have been many casualties. Slow, silent deaths. One of which, being my hope at many times. Or more honestly, my faith.
I am deeply ashamed to admit that, but hey, I talk about everything else in this space, so why not share that?
When I really started to break down why I wasn’t really praying over any of this very much anymore, I guess what I felt it came down to was, I don’t feel worth protecting, or saving, or listening to, sometimes. In the midst of great accomplishments, professionally I was just named Young Adult Librarian of the Year in my state, and socially, I was just reappointed to a very cool position in my organization, I still feel relatively incomplete in many aspects. And that nagging little feeling of “you don’t really deserve that”, combined with the fact that this STUPID STUPID STUPID infertility thing won’t just die, makes me forget how blessed I really am sometimes.
It’s hard to dictate why people want to have children. I guess that’s why most of us get pissed off when you ask. No matter the answer, as a person struggling with infertility, you’re always going to feel like your answer isn’t cutting it, and is in fact the most selfish one that can be imagined.
Whatever your personal reasons are, I would wager that on the basic human level, there is also an innate desire to leave your mark on the world. To have been here. To know that when you are no more, there is a living, breathing legacy that you have created.
In my silent, overnight meditation, I recognized that for me, it is important that I remember that I matter.
Not only to my family and friends, or even to the organizations and agencies with whom I belong.
But that I matter to God
That He cares for me.
And for my life.
And that no matter how utterly devastated I feel, or how many “no”‘s or “not yet”‘s, I receive, that I am HERE. I am important. I was here.
Whether or not I am ever a mother, in the traditional sense. Or if I am always going to be battling PCOS. Or if I forever keep all my hangups, and screw-ups, and whatevers.
I, in all my whatever,…matter.
I will be honest.
I planned to sit on this one.
I make it a point not to debate religion or spirit on this blog, because it is too important to too many, to be left in the hands of keyboards and hotheads when humans inevitably disagree. And infertility-lore is already permeated with misunderstandings, misspeaks, and downright wrongness spewed in the name of it. We’ve all had or heard the “you just need to pray”, or “your faith isn’t strong enough” commentary at some point I’m sure in regards to our medical conditions.
But I think a lot of people feel the way that I do. Once one too many of our prayers seem unheard, or when a new catastrophe seems to fall out of nowhere and all at once, on top of our already shaky faith; that it’s somehow because they don’t matter. That you, out of all your friends, is the LONE person battling childlessness, because it’s you. That it’s because of something you did or said, or didn’t appreciate, that you are now one of the 7.3 million facing this or some other ailment.
I stayed up all night,…just to tell you that if nobody else tells you for the rest of your life,..
I’M telling you;
Take of this post what you will, but it was on my heart to share it.
So, we’re stiiiiiiill waiting.
Since learning about our male factor issues, we’ve kind of been on hold. The preliminary moves in the urology department have basically just included a repeat of all the tests that were required from the original visits to the fertility center. The fertility center can’t move forward until we have clear answers from urology on the issues they determine, and the urologist can’t move forward until our insurance approves everything. There is a lot of back and forth, (and copays), between primary care doctors, specialists, and test centers.
And I’m annoyed. For a few reasons.
An Ass Out of U & ME
I’m irked that we fell for the okey doke and relied soo heavily on the issues we knew I had, rather than looking into the male factor issues sooner. The sheer intensity of my PCOS and thyroid complications led us all, (doctors included), to assume that it just had to be only me at the root of this crap. I’m annoyed at myself for not “going wit my first mind”, and being thorough.
My Timeline is Askew
I’m irritated that there really is nothing I can do right now but wait. Again. I’m non-essential personnel at the urologist. If I want to know what step we’re on, I have to pry the information out of the spouse’s one-word answers. LOL Not that he’s being a jerk about anything, but I’ve been the captain of this ship for oh, about six, seven years now…so to not know our itinerary, is eating me alive. Like for real, can I at LEAST be in charge of the drinks on the lido deck or something?
No, Really. My Timeline is Jacked Up.
It’s March, people. MARCH. aka Third month of the year. aka, even if I do get pregnant this year, I still might don’t have a kid until 2015. So in my mind, it’s March, and I’ve lost yet another year. Go me. Cue the band.
It is extremely tiring to go to work every day, or do assignments, or just “be”, when you really want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, grab a trashy novel and a glass of wine, and just stop being an adult for like 45 minutes. I’m kind of over adulthood lately. It is NOT keeping up its end of the bargain. Or at least not from what I saw when I was watching television and reading books as a young girl. I mean, we should be living in a hip urban brownstone, working freelance jobs at swanky companies, hosting dinner parties, and on our second “accidental” pregnancy right now, right? I mean, at least that’s what Thursday night lineups of years gone by said. It’s literally exhausting trying to keep the thoughts of your real mind, from seeping out. I don’t want people to know how much of my day is in this mental place, but should the opportunity to speak my truth come about in everyday conversation, I can’t really lie and say I’d know how to stop myself.
So as usual, I’ve just decided to stay busy, busy, busy. All this noise and thought running rampant in my head, has to come out sometime, and hopefully it may benefit you. Stay tuned for more info, including some very special events/blog posts for National Infertility Awareness Week 2014!
In the meantime, check out this month’s Sister2Sister Magazine for an article on Egg Freezing, The Egg has a brief mention. Thank you Shahida Muhammad for thinking of me!
Featured image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I called a counseling center this week.
As many times as I’ve told myself to call, or to look into it, or to move forward with it, this time I wouldn’t let myself back out. I need someone to talk to. Someone who isn’t my friend, or my mom, or my spouse. They’ve heard all my gripes before, and they can apply a temporary salve, but they can’t help me “do my work”, as Iyanla would say. They can’t help me unfold and unwrap all the things I’ve bound inside of myself.
The last time I got the courage up to call a therapist, was about a year ago. I had browsed and studied GoodTherapy.org for about a month before finally deciding on someone with a pleasant enough face, and a close enough location. When I finally got her on the phone, she said that she’d recently moved to Atlanta, and that she had a therapist she trusted back here, who I could call.
I decided that was a sign that I didn’t need a therapist. I mean obviously, if I’d done all that research, and the lady wasn’t even here anymore…
So I went back to business as usual.
And just what is business as usual for me?
Well, I work a lot.
I don’t think you understand.
From the minute I open my eyes in the morning, I immediately find a project to complete. I start in on whatever I can get done before leaving for work, and then once I’m there, I boot up whatever I was working on the day before, plus a few extra things I’ve just thought up, and then I’m mentally booked until around 3pm, when we start getting kids in the library, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s when it’s time for programs and meetings.
By the time I make it home, I try to continue whatever items I didn’t finish at work. If there’s nothing left to really do, I throw myself into a video game, Netflix binge, or Pinterest session(yes, session. My pinning is the stuff of legend. LOL).
I usually do these things until I’m too tired to stay awake. Most nights, I get about four hours of actual sleep because I have a hard time closing my eyes and shutting my brain off at the end of the day. After practically wringing it out like a rag all day, my mind rattles with everything from world peace, to job and sorority tasks, to what kind of schools I want my future children to attend.
And it does not stop or pause.
And when I wake up from that four hours, I start it all over again.
Because if I stop, for one second, I will completely fall apart.
The million tasks I do every day, are my coping mechanism. They distract me from the things that frighten me, and frustrate me, and utterly devastate me. I use them to invent things for myself to hope for, because I’ve lost all ability to do so without them. If I don’t have an event planned for next Saturday at 2pm, I’m not confident that there will be a Saturday.
Half of my day, every day, is looking at other people and wondering how they are so calm. I wonder how they are able to get up and go to work, or meetings, and smile, and have ideas, and just not seem to worry as much as I know that I do. My fears and anxiety levels get so high, that I can barely complete simple tasks.
February of 2013 was hard for me. I was severely depressed. Frustrated with not only my body, but this world in general. Then there was a short glimmer of hope as we planned to adopt, but then that went very sour, very quickly. And while having that little girl in my home for the following six months was special, and healing in many ways, it was also a horribly devastating experience. One that I suppressed into myself.
I am a person who suppresses my own grief. This is a symptom of depression.
I did not allow myself to grieve. I did not have time or interest in it. I just went back to work. With all my disappointment, and all my fear, and a double portion of my anxieties tucked into my tote bag.
I was, and still am, disappointed that for all my positive thinking, things still failed. I am constantly fearful that things may never work. I worry that I’ll continue to plan and hope and have the door closed on me year after year. I am always anxious that I will run out of time.
A year later, February is grueling in my heart. I’m uncomfortable, and sad, and just all around off of my game right now. Most days, I’m literally petrified. I’m tired of it. And more importantly, I’m tired of living in the dark about it.
Infertility is a quiet force within the African American community, and so is depression and mental wellness. Culturally, we are conditioned to internalize, suppress, and work through our feelings on our own. We are taught to keep “inside business, inside”, and to never let others know what we’re going through. Those things we know require outside help, are usually directed to our spiritual leaders, and not to medical healers.
I had a hard time writing this post.
Because I hate to be soooo depressing. Ugh. I HATE IT.
I really don’t like talking about the sadness, and the fear, and the emotional voids that have come into my life. I especially hate that I feel as though I’ve allowed them to. I am angry at myself for not being strong enough to not feel this way, and that too, is something those of us who suppress, do.
Instead of reaching out for help, I tell myself:
“You should pray more.”
“You’re being weak.”
“You just need to write it out or talk it out.”
“If you have time to sit here and mope, you aren’t working enough.”
And once I’ve done such a great job of thinking myself out of moving forward,…the feelings pass for a short while. Then, like I know they will, they always come right back.
Infertility, is bigger than babies. I tell people this all the time, and I doubt they really hear me. It is SO much bigger than bellies and bumps.
Infertility is trauma. Every part of this journey has its own scars and sounds, and memories that for many of us will never ever go away. They haunt us, and hurt us, and cause us to drastically change from whoever we were or at the very least thought we were.
Infertility hurts so far beyond the baby. It’s about my marriage, my friendships and my ability to picture a future. It’s about my body, and whether everything I’ve been told about personal power is true. Source
Because we want to be parents, and because we want to be the type of parents we always dreamed we’d be, we suppress the parts of us that are sad, or angry, or frightened. We wrap those feelings up, and we pack them away, so that we can plant a smile on our faces and keep going. But you cannot build a strong new house on a bad foundation.
I’m trying to walk into 2014 with more hope and faith than I had last year. I want nothing in my way. So I am going to do my best to rebuild my foundation.
Are you suffering from depression? Are you suppressing the emotional toll that infertility has taken on your life? You do not have to fight alone. You do not have to be alone. Here are a few resources that will help make sure you aren’t.
Coping With Infertility and Depression
GoodTherapy.Org Fertility Resource List
Resolve: Mental Health Resources
Infertility and Depression 101
#DayOfLight Info and Resources
- The #DayOfLight Campaign is the brainchild of blogger Brandi of MamaKnowsItAll
- Visit my good friend Natasha’s blog for the post that inspired me to participate here.
Would you like to participate?
- If you are a blogger, write a blog post sharing your personal experience of depression and/or share resources to help others. Add the #DayOfLight hashtag in your post title. (If you don’t have a blog, but want to speak about infertility and depression, please send your thoughts to The Egg and I will post them anonymously for you.)
- Watch the #DayOfLight Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 5th at 11 AM EST. Tweet and ask questions. (http://bit.ly/1ilifbP)
- Participate in the #DayOfLight twitter chat on Wednesday, February 5th at 9 PM EST (follow@PushingLovely, @NotoriousSpinks, and @BrandiJeter for more information)
- Turn your social media avatars black and white on Wednesday, February 5th so we can visually represent all of those affected by depression.
- Share inspiring tweets, posts, and photos on social media to encourage those who are suffering with depression to let them know that they are not alone. Use the hashtag #DayOfLight.