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Limitations

June 23, 2008

Rock: 1, Me: 0

I was reminded by Busted Babymaker’s Show and Tell that I had a memorial tree to plant, to honor our lost ones. I set out to plant our tree in our yard, the spot that Magic and I had picked out. The story of my planting the tree had many metaphors to my life.

I thought, how hard can it be to plant a tree? I thought the same thing when I first knew I would have to do IVF. When I started digging, I realized how tired I was and that it was going to be more challenging than I thought. Certainly, IVF was a lot more challenging than I thought. I really wanted to plant this tree for what it meant to me, so I was inspired to forge onward! As I dug down, I encountered rocks. I thought, “I’m not going to let a few rocks get in my way!” I envisioned them as the fibroids that had grown in my uterus and I was removing. That was the first obstacle I had to deal with before I could even consider IVF. I felt vindicated as I pulled more and more rocks out the hole.

I was getting a pretty good hole, but I was still finding more rocks, until it all became one huge rock. I couldn’t get a handle on how big the rock was or if it was a series of rocks. I brought out the big guns. I always thought of IVF as “bringing out the big guns”. I was on pretty high stims my first cycle, but had a lackluster response and we converted to IUI. The second cycle, they threw everything at me, putting me on maximum stims with a few other goodies thrown in. I got out the rock bar, a six foot long bar of solid steel with a pointy end, and proded around the rock. I even managed to break up some of the rock, but in the end, the rock won. I wasn’t going to muscle my way through the expanse of this rock that was covering the entire bottom of my hole. I also wasn’t going to plant a tree in a hole where it couldn’t put down roots. I sat at the edge of the hole, realizing I had to admit my limitations. I was going to have to walk away from this hole, and that is how it was for my pregnancy.

Eventually, I gathered enough strength to put the soil back in the hole the same way I had removed it. I cleaned up, moved the tree to a new spot and left it for another day. A part of me felt defeated, but what can you do when you have limitations? I really wanted to plant that tree yesterday, but I am not Super Woman. I could have beat myself up about it, but that wouldn’t have done me any good. I’ll get that tree planted some day, but yesterday wasn’t the day to do it. Instead of pushing myself to get the tree planted, I took a nap, which is what I really needed. It’s a hard thing to admit the reality of your limitations in the midst of your dreams. Sometimes, I think I should be Super Woman and I do beat myself up. Sometimes, I wish everything had turned out different.

I reflected on the metaphor of this experience. In the path of life, you sometimes come up against a rock wall and you can’t do anything about it. All you can do is turn away and find a different path, even if it isn’t the one you imagined. In the meanwhile, I’ll keep watering that tree until I can get it planted.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Lori permalink
    June 24, 2008 8:18 am

    What a poignant metaphor, Phoebe.

    Dealing with IF seems to be a constant dance between making things happen and allowing things to happen.

    Wise is the woman who knows when to make the shift.

  2. June 24, 2008 9:51 am

    This is a beautiful post. I wish I knew what my limitations are. How do you know when enough is enough?

  3. luna permalink
    June 24, 2008 11:46 am

    the rocks got in my way too — both in the figurative sense with the wall I kept banging my head against, but also the literal sense with fibroids. in my case, there was no getting blood from a stone. in others, though, the most amazing things can bloom between the cracks… so hard to know which way it will go.

  4. Eurydice permalink
    June 24, 2008 3:26 pm

    What a lovely post. How hard it is to know when you’re being a sissy and just giving up (which will haunt you with regrets later on) or when you are being a hardheaded ass and need to open your eyes to reality and see that fate has something even better (though harder?) in store for you…

    Italy has soooo taught me follow the path of least resistance rule. I’ve learned to get craftier, more creative, be more patient, change plans, outlooks, expectations because no one is meant to beat herself up for something. I used to think it was laziness on their part or that they were sad, entrenched pessimists, but I now think they have a deeper sense of what really is important in life and an intuition that fate or God or the gods have something else in mind and will always have the upper hand anyway!

  5. Spicy Sister permalink
    June 24, 2008 7:15 pm

    This is a beautiful story and a full and rich metaphor.

    Just before we started our IVF cycle I experienced a loss and it made me aware of so may other losses I had experienced along the road to get where I was. I also planted a tree (with some help with the digging) and it was a deeply symbolic burial and place of grieving for me.

    I am so glad you are listening to your heart, to your inner wisdom, and making space for yourself in this.

  6. Lost in Space permalink
    June 29, 2008 5:17 am

    Wow. What a beautiful post. I am so sorry for your IF struggles as well as your difficulty in planting your memorial tree. This journey is most definitely not an easy one.

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