Friday, 30 September 2011

Wrestling With The Sad

It's a lovely day outside and I have absolutely nothing planned. This warm weather will only be here for a limited time before the country is snapped back into a cold grey winter. Yet I seem to have no motivation to get off the couch and do something. Instead I am wrestling with the sad.

This happens to me from time to time. The sad creeps in and tries to grab a hold of me. It extends it's warm arms and reaches out for me. "Stay here for a while. Let me hold you. There is no need to do anything but just lay here today," it tells me. It coaxes me with it's embrace. It wants to lay with me in silence and in tears. It wants to take me over.

So I fight it and wrestle with it and try not to allow it to win. I make plans with people and do my best to laugh and joke and have a good time. Keeping busy is a good strategy for wrestling with the sad. But it's a sly bugger and it lays in wait. It waits for days like this when I didn't make plans. It waits for a quiet moment to begin it's seduction once more.

"Lay with me, cry for a bit, hide under the covers and don't come out. Stay in your pj's for the day, eat a few snacks, and watch some TV. Before you know it, this day will be over and you can try again tomorrow to be a part of the outside world. But for today just stay with me."

I am trying very hard to fight the sad today. I know that I need to get up and out and spend some time in the sunshine. I just haven't figured out how,,,,,,, yet.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Pop Goes My Bubble

I think sometimes I float around in a bubble of denial. I convince myself that I'm happy and I'm doing better.
  • I'm functioning at a pretty high level. 
  • I'm getting out and doing things. 
  • I'm making new friends. 
  • I'm not crying every day. Well maybe that one is a lie but I'm not crying as much. 
  • I'm injecting myself with needles every third day with ease. 
  • I'm somehow managing to juggle regular life with my ongoing frozen embryo cycle. 
  • I'm somehow managing to control my grief and not let the fear of a potential new pregnancy paralyze me. 

It's all going swimmingly until something comes into contact with my bubble. It's very fragile to start with so it doesn't take much.

That's the sound of my bubble bursting. 
That's what happened to me last night.

I went out to an event with my women's club. It was a fun, social event. Everyone was busy chatting about being back in town and getting back into the swing of things. Soon the conversation turned to children. 

I sat listening to people talking about their new play dates and all the new friends they are making through their children. Someone was talking about the holidays and having a lunch and just letting all the kids run around and play. Talking about all the fun things there are to do in London with kids. 

As I sat listening I suddenly felt like they are living on a different planet than I am. Or maybe just a different dimension. Like in those science fiction shows where there are multiple time lines and everyone is existing in a different one. 

I live in the same town as they do. I attend many of the same social gatherings as they do. But somehow I am still left out of a massive part of life. There is a whole part of the world where I have no place. It's the place where parents and their living children are. It's a place where I am completely left out. 

I'm never invited to play dates or children's birthday parties where I can sit and drink wine and gossip while my son plays with the other children. I don't do the school run and chat with the other Moms at the school gates. I am unable to make new friends at my child's school. I don't have big parties where all the kids run around in the back garden. 

Why? Because I don't have a living child. Because I don't fit. Because I have yet to be granted membership into the Mommy and Daddy Club. Sure, I'm a member of the Baby Loss Mom's Club but who wants to join me there?? No one!

All this happy chatter made me realize just how much of life I am missing out on. How much of life I'm excluded from. So in addition to my grief and anxiety for this upcoming cycle, I am now feeling very alone. 

Alone in a crowd. Which is not a very nice place to be.

*Pouring my heart out with Shell over at Things I Can't Say.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Out, Damned Spot!

No, it's not stain removal I'm talking about it. It's spots. The kind that appear on your face. In the US we call them pimples but here in the UK they are called spots. I like the term because it makes them sound much more like the unwanted visitors they are. 

What is the deal with all these spots/pimples on my face??? It's bad enough that I have to deal with the emotional side effects of the IVF hormone injections but this too? Seriously, it's just not right. I am way too old to be dealing with this. I think it should be illegal for these nasty things to appear on the face of anyone over 30!

It's like I'm going through a second puberty. Except that I've already got my period, my boobs, and all the extra fabulous body hair. So I'm stuck with the moodiness and the pimples. Sounds sexy doesn't it? I'm sure the hubby would agree with you but he's way to scared of me to admit it. 

This sucks!

*I thought I'd go all literary with the title to raise the level of this post. Not sure it worked though.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Good Thing I've Got These

My frozen embryo cycle is underway and I'm back on the del Estrogen injections. I've only done a few but I'm already feeling the hormones.

It's amazing how much more emotional a few cc's of estrogen can make me.

It's the crying that bothers me the most. The smallest thing can set me off. And as usual it doesn't matter where I am, I can cry just as easily in public as I can in private.

It's so annoying!

Good thing I carry these around with me. 

Chanel makes everything better!
If you've gotta hide your red puffy eyes and tears at least you can do it in style, right??

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Finding Hope In The Strangest Of Places

Sometimes life sends you a sign. A signal of hope. Sometimes you notice it right away, and other times it takes a bit longer. I happen to be a bit slower than the average girl so for me these signs can take a while to reveal themselves. In this particular case, it took me about a month.

During my first donor egg IVF cycle I went to Barcelona as a way to distract myself during my 2 week wait. I was very hopeful and dreaming of my rainbow baby. 

For those of you not familiar with the term, a rainbow baby is the baby you have after a loss. There are many theories about why they're called rainbow babies. One idea is that they bring the color back into your life after a loss. Another is that they are called rainbow babies because grief is like a storm and this new baby is like the rainbow that happens afterwards. 

Either way, I love the term and that particular week my mind was very much on the possibility that I could indeed be pregnant with mine. 

I did quite a bit of sightseeing while I was there because the hubby had to work and I was on my own. I took lots of photos because that's what I do. I normally try to have either myself of the hubby in the photos but this time as I was on my own I just took photos of things. 

I particularly enjoyed the Palau G├╝ell which is a house in Barcelona that was designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. If you haven't visited I highly recommend it. The entire house was amazing but I was particularly taken by the chimneys on the roof. Here are a few photos of them so you can see what I mean. 

Curved rooftop.
They are all done in tile or rocks.
All different styles and shapes.
Perhaps you can see where I'm going with this story??
They are very intricate and all very different. I absolutely loved them. In fact, I loved them so much that I bought a small replica of one in the gift shop. They sell almost all of these in the shop but I didn't want to go crazy so I just got one.

This one. 

I'm sure you've figured it out by now, but at the time I got this I was still clueless.
This was my favorite chimney so this is the one I bought. I got it home and even though I unpacked, I kind of forgot about this and left it in the bag from the gift shop.

As you probably know, that IVF cycle was a bust. So we're trying again in October with our frozen embryo.

The other day I was doing a bit of tidying up and noticed the bag sitting on the counter. I happily opened the bag to see what was inside it. It's kind of like when you find money in the pocket of a coat you haven't worn in a while. I was so happy to see my purchase from my trip. I took the replica of the chimney out of the package and placed it on top of my fireplace.

As I sat on the couch admiring my purchase, it hit me. It was a rainbow!! Of all the chimneys to choose from I had bought the one with the rainbow on it. And I hadn't even realized I was doing it.

I told you I was kind of slow.

So in my fog of dreaming of rainbows I had bought one of my very own. Opening that bag and seeing it has given me a renewed sense of hope. Ever since then I have been dreaming of my rainbow baby again.

So life sent me a sign and it took me a while to see it, but I get it now.

Better late than never I suppose.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Public Face

We all know that face. The one we put on when we're not at home. The smiling happy face that portrays someone who is doing great.
  • She has it all together. 
  • She's coping well with her loss and grief and disappointment. 
  • She's handling things with such dignity. 
  • She's going to be ok. 
Some days that face fits comfortably. Other days it just feels like one big lie.
On those days I wish I could just rip it off and scream at the top of my lungs.
  • "I'm not ok today!" 
  • "I feel like crying and I know that when I start I won't be able to stop." 
  • "I wish you would ask me how I'm doing and not be shocked and horrified if I start to cry." 
  • "I wish I didn't have to keep pretending to you all that I'm doing ok." 
  • "I'm tired of hurting all the time, I just wish it would stop."
But I don't say any of these things out loud. Because for reasons I can't explain I need my public face.

I am compelled to show strength. It's the only way I feel comfortable when I'm out in public. As much as I'd love to go around town a crying mess all the time (and I have, examples here and here), it's not an experience I'm comfortable with.

I've never been comfortable being that person who cries and everyone in the room hugs her until she feels better. I've never been one of those people who needed lots of advice and help getting through her day. I'm just not that person.

I need my public face. I wear it like armor. Not just to convince others that I'm ok, but to convince me that I'm ok. If I can manage even a few hours of "normal" each day then maybe I can actually get there someday??

Fake it until you make it??

Who knows? Perhaps it's something I can explore if I ever decide to go back to therapy.

How about you? Do you have a public face? Does it work for you or leave you feeling exhausted?

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Elephant In The Room

It's so nice when all my friends come back from their summer holidays. Life as an expat reminds me very much of my college/university days in that respect. Some people go back home for the summer and others stay around but travel quite a bit. So it's hard to connect with people because you never know who's in town. But once September rolls around everyone comes back and it's time to reconnect.

It's a bit strange to see everyone again.
  • To see who got a great summer tan. 
  • To see who got a new haircut. 
  • To see all the cute new clothes someone bought back in the US. 
  • To see who is now pregnant. Ugh!

New pregnancies are super exciting, but for me this type of conversation is soooooo painful. I smile and nod and ask all the right questions, but inside I just wish we could change the subject.

It's harder because I haven't told many people that we are trying for another baby. Only a handful of people know and I'd rather keep it that way for now. So this makes these conversations even harder for me because when people ask what I'm up to I have to partially lie and say not much. If only they knew. But I don't want them to know and so I feel like I'm hiding something. I hate feeling like that.

It's a bit easier for me to hide our efforts because NO ONE asks. Don't get me wrong, they want to know. I know this because my close friends tell me that they get asked all the time if I'm going to try again. I'm actually surprised sometimes to learn who is making these enquiries. It's not always the people I would expect.

But no one would dare ask me.
 Because I'm the woman whose baby died.
And you don't dare ask her things like that because you may make her cry. 
So at least I don't have to lie directly.

But it makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes.
  • Because I can see the question in their eyes. 
  • It's on the tip of their tongues. 
  • If only they had the nerve to ask it. 
  • If only they could figure out a way to make the question seem casual. 
  • If only they could bring up something that would make me start talking about it.
  • But they don't. 
  • They never do. 

    Instead I see them struggling to find something else to talk to me about. When all the while they are just hoping that I bring it up. It's the big elephant in the room. And since I'm not talking about it, they aren't either.

    I hate that feeling.

    Wednesday, 14 September 2011

    Frosty The Embryo- I'm Coming To Get You!

    The bad news was that my first donor egg IVF cycle did not result in me being pregnant. The good news was that we had one embryo to freeze. Obviously I had hoped that our little frosty could be used as a sibling for embryo #1, but as it turns out frosty was just waiting patiently for me to return to claim him/her.

    My frozen cycle is in full swing. I went off the pill last Friday and my auntie flo was a good little girl and arrived on Monday,,, right on schedule. If there's one thing I can always count on, it's AF, she's one of the most reliable things in my life.

    Today was my baseline ultrasound (on day 3 of my period,,,, yuck) and blood work. They told me my lining looks good and if the blood work comes back fine then I'm back on the injections tomorrow. Not that I'm looking forward to injecting myself again. But the injections mean progress, and progress is good.

    At the moment the transfer is scheduled for October 13th. I'm hoping my body responds like it should so I don't have any more delays. The only crappy part is that the hubby has a work trip scheduled for the week of the 13th so I'll be going to the US on my own this time.

    So get ready frosty, I'm coming to get you!

    Saturday, 10 September 2011

    I'm Still Here

    But I've got houseguests and haven't had time to post or read blogs for a few days now.

    Super quick update on my frozen cycle. Took my last birth control pill yesterday so now it's just a wait for auntie flo and then we're off!!

    Tuesday, 6 September 2011

    Buying His Balloon

    It's a simple task, buying a balloon. People do it every day. It's a simple task, except when it's a balloon that you plan to release in honor of your stillborn son.

    I knew it wasn't going to be an easy thing to do, so I had the hubby come with me. I was in full denial/distraction mode. I was just going to walk into the shop and buy a balloon.

    That's all.


    I take a deep breath and walk up to the counter. "I need to get a helium balloon for a little boy's birthday." The woman asks me his age and then pulls out a stack of them, all with different designs and characters on them. I am completely overwhelmed, it never occurred to me that there would be so much choice. I tell myself to focus and remind myself to breathe.

    "What does he like?" This is the question the woman asks me, noticing my hesitation.

    My heart breaks with a smash, and a crash, and a thud. I feel like someone is wringing my insides with their hands. My mouth goes dry and my eyes fill with tears.

    "I don't know," I tell her.

    I don't know.
    I don't know.
    I don't know.

    I don't know what kind of balloon he would like because he is dead and he can't tell me. So I have to guess. No one should ever have to guess what kind of balloon her son would like.

    "This one will be fine," I tell her.

    Hand in hand, the hubby and I walk out of the store holding our balloon and trying not to cry on the walk home.

    *Pouring my heart out with Shell at  Things I Can't Say

    Thursday, 1 September 2011

    If At First You Don't Succeed

    Try, try your frozen embryo. : )

    That's right, I've finally gotten dates for my frozen embryo transfer. I had really wanted a September transfer because it fits better with my schedule, but alas the clinic doesn't have any dates in September left. Talk about a busy place. So October the 13th it is.

    I'm back on the birth control pill again which I will take from now until September 9th. Then I go off it. My baseline ultrasound and blood work are on September 14th and I begin my del estrogen injections on the 15th.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, cycling in October is not ideal. We've got a trip home to the US planned for the end of the month which we cannot change. We've already pushed it back twice and if we don't go then, we won't be able to go based on the hubby's work travel schedule. So this means it will be time for my beta test when I'm back at home.

    Not ideal, but that's the way it goes and I am going to make the best of it. I am trying to go into this cycle with a renewed sense of cautious optimism. I don't think I'm capable of not being at least a little bit hopeful. I could pretend I wasn't hopeful, but I'd be lying to all of you and to myself. As many times as I've tried and failed, there's always this little bit of me who thinks, "this could be the time it works."

    So here I go. This could be the time it works!