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Race Results…and Drama

June 6, 2010

Cowbells, marshmallows, and bacon. That’s what I remember from my first 10k run last week.

First, the race drama. I rested two days before the race. That turned out to be a mistake. I was so wired the night before the race, I didn’t sleep well. I had to get up at 3am and do a workout just to get to sleep! I think I slept 4 hours total, which did not bode well for my heart rate. We also did not allow ourselves enough time to get to our wave start. We hurriedly worked ourselves through the crowds to get to our wave about 30 seconds before it started!! We were in wave MR, which I think stands for “Move to the Rear”. There were a total of 88 waves, so our alphabetical order will give you an idea of how far back we were. When the gun went off, Bear asked if we were starting, and I said, “this is it!” Forget the warm up, we were off. I was too distracted to notice that Dr._Oz did not start our wave. He was one of the race starters, and runners, but he was up in wave MA for his race.

The Blues Brothers greeted us half a mile down the road. Elvis was somewhere around mile 1.5. Most of the other 28 bands on the course sucked. Let’s just say I was glad to have my i.Pod with me! I really liked the male belly dancer though! The marshmallow toss was somewhere around mile 2.2. I dodged them, and tried not to get a marshmallow stuck to my running shoe. Somehow, I missed the slip-n-slide around mile 3, and the tater-tot toss. I did see people plunging into a sizable baby pool, but skipped that. I just wanted to meet my goal! The giant bacon sign at mile 5, with “Pork is the new Powerbar” written over it cracked me up. I think the best thing about the race was seeing everyday people cheering you at different parts of the course. I remember the grandma somewhere past mile 3 cheering me on, the squad of pom-pom girls, and the drunken dancers next to the mobile homes. Some citizens were offering beer shots. I gagged at the Gatorade I accidentally grabbed at the first aid station, let alone beer! (though I think the beer would have tasted better) It was also cool to see how many people I was running with when looking down on the top of a hill! Just over 50,000 people finished the race. That’s about half the population of the town I live in!

Bear totally killed the race. He finished under an hour, with 9 minute miles! Pretty amazing for someone who maybe ran once a week to train. Oh, to be 16 again!!

My time: 1:14:54

That’s right, 6 seconds under my goal of finishing in 1 hour 15 minutes! It was a rush running into the university stadium at the end, sprinting the victory lap! I would have had my complimentary beer offered at the end of the race if it would have been gluten free. I ran 12 minute miles, which is the best I’ve ever done, considering this was the first time I had ever run 6.2 miles!

I was pretty happy about how I did, until I got to work the next day and discovered that one of my co-workers who was in the second wave finished in under 40 minutes AND did beer shots along the way. This is what happens when you live in a town of athletic overachievers. Dr._Oz also killed it in under an hour, even though he’s a flat lander. He also went on to do a peppy TV interview later, while I was watching it from bed after waking up from my nap!

Part of the other drama about the whole race was whether or not Bear was going to run it with me. I hadn’t been paying attention to who’s holiday weekend it was, and the ex got really pissed when she thought I was planning this race without asking her if Bear could come with me. It was an honest mistake, and I dropped it. Bear really wanted to do the race, though. He said that if he went away that weekend with his mom, he wanted to be back for the race on Memorial Day!! I also learned that the ex was thinking about walking the race, which I would have been totally fine with. Bear told me how she would have walked it if she gave him a ride to the race, but wouldn’t if he got a ride with us. His reaction to that was that he didn’t understand why what his mom did around the race depended on him. I think he had respect for me in that I was going to do the race whether he ran it with me or not. Him running it with me was just the icing on the cake. He basically appreciated that what I do in life does not depend on what he is doing. That was an eye-opener for me. In one way, it reminds me that if I have a child, I should do it not to base my life happiness on it, or that child could end up resenting me later in life. Having a child should be my icing on the cake on the life happiness scale.

I haven’t been running since last week, but not because I haven’t wanted to. I’m too busy trying to get my garden in! All that training and race preparation time took away from gardening time, and I’m paying for it. I may not have children to fuss over, but I have my tomatoes and basil.

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T-Minus 10k: Help!

May 30, 2010

In less than 24 hours, I’ll be running my first 10k. But don’t worry, I won’t be alone. I’ll be running with 54,000 of my best friends. It’s a big deal here in Woo-woo-ville. It’s the second largest race of it’s kind in the country and voted the best race of it’s kind by a well known running mag that shall remain nameless. I figure it’s a right-of-passage for living here. Of the four offices that surround me at work, three of them will be in the race, either running or walking. Hey, race talk is better than baby buzz talk at the office any day!! I ran 5 of the 6.2 miles on Friday, and dang, was I sore afterward!! Running on pavement sucks. Plus, it’s a lot of uphill. Ok, the total elevation gain is only about 100 feet, but when you are already at over a mile high, it’s no trivial feat. Plus, you have to run a steep uphill right at the end of the race, but at least you are running into a large football stadium with crowds cheering you on. Bear will be running it with me. He has the ability to smoke me, but not the endurance. I think I can run the whole thing. I know he will be walking part of it, but he could still smoke me. We’ll see if his pride will let me beat him.

I started running after my failed IVF in December, mostly because I wanted to get in shape for skate skiing (also called nordic skiing in the Olympics). Then, running became a way for me to work out my IF anger and frustrations. At some point, I decided to have a goal to work for, and this 10k was it. My goal is to finish under 1 hour, 15 minutes. That would be a 12 minute mile for me. Yeah, I know it’s slow, but you have to start somewhere!!

I also started watching “The_Biggest_Loser” shortly after my BFN, because I felt like the biggest loser at that time. I’m trying to change my frame of mind over this, and be kinder to myself. I hope to post more on that later. I watched the whole season of BL. Let me back up a little. It first started with my lack of appetite after my BFN. I was grieving deeply, and that manifested as not eating. I love food, so when I don’t eat, I know something is wrong. I also knew enough about yo-yo dieting from my mom that I could really screw my body up if I just fasted, then binged. My mom is obese, so I have a few issues about never wanting to be as big as her, which unfortunately, seems to be the trend where my sisters are going. I was at the bookstore last December and I picked up Jillian_Michael’s “Master_Your_Metabolism” book. I vaguely knew her from The_Biggest_Loser, which I think I had watched once previously just flipping through channels. I cynically read part of her book in the bookstore (“what does a Hollywood celebrity know about eating right?!”), and ended up buying it because I agreed with everything she was saying about eating organic and getting toxins out of your diet. It’s an excellent book and great reference. This particular book is not so much about calorie counting than eating whole, healthy food.

I also joined up on Jillian_Michael’s website for about 6 weeks. After obsessing about numbers with IVF and IF, it was a natural transition to obsess about other number related to my body. I began tracking my calorie intake and weight. It was hard, but I lost 6 pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but if you know me, you know that 6 pounds shows on my petite frame pretty significantly. It was also comforting to get a daily e-mail from JM so that I could be distracted from my grief. I know it sounds weird, but it was good for me to obsess about something other than IF and reading IF blogs everyday. It was very inspirational to watch The_Biggest_Loser finale last Tuesday. The actual finale was kinda boring compared to the weekly shows, but it was inspiring to see how the fattest man (526 lbs!) and woman lost half their body weight and found their confidence in their lives. In similar ways, I think that IF and IF treatments, especially when they fail, can feel like being so overweight that you don’t know where to start with your failure, so you just give up on yourself. I had lost my confidence in myself and my body after really feeling like I had a few good eggs left in me. I dieted and worked out (a lot) post-BFN as a way to control my body, since during IVF, all that control is taken away from you. You put your trust in a bunch of people you barely know, and also hand over a huge chunk of money that may or may not be managed correctly, depending on whether you get a BFP or a BFN, or maybe something else goes wrong, like an etopic pregnancy or multiples that your body can not handle.

So back to where you can help me now. I’ve been listening to the same tunes for a couple of months now, and I need some new ones to help me on my race. We are allowed to wear i.Pods during the race. Here’s what’s on my current, wornout playlist. It’s heavy on the Para.more and Linkin_Park tunes. I love their grindy, angst filled lyrics, cuz I have a lot of IF angst to work out, yaa know. But it’s time to celebrate now, because I’m a different person than where I was 6 months ago. I want to celebrate this little victory of mine, instead of grieving, for once! (Note: I inserted . and _ in my lame attempt to keep people from searching for these names and coming up with my blog).

Heartless by The_Fray (the warmup for the warmup, just cuz I like to feel bitter about how I was treated by some heartless people during my IF treatments)

Ramana by Chintan_&_Prem_Joshua (the warmup)

1901 by_Phoenix (love the name of the band. Cadillac anyone?)

Let’s Get it Started by Black_Eyed_Peas (one of my favorites right now for running – I love when they say “Get stoopid!”)

Dirt off Your Shoulder/Lying from You by Jay-Z/Linkin_Park (one of these hybrid songs – I like this particular one, though not a Jay-Z fan. Best part is the “BEATCH” at the end!)

Brick by Boring Brick by_Paramore

In the End by Linkin_Park (I pretty much love anything by Linkin_Park and have worn out other of their angst filled tunes. I used to hate LP, until I started listening to their lyrics and realized how brilliant their angst was. Pretty much all the lyrics of this song remind me of the waste and failure of IVF.

“I kept everything inside and even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me will eventually be a memory of a time when

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter”

And these lyrics are for my doctor:

“I’ve put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
And for all this
There’s only one thing you should know

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter”

Decode by_Paramore (I always think of Twi.light when I hear this song, the first book I read post BFN. Nothing like a vampire love story to distract you from your IF grief. I love the lyrics, “how did we get here? I used to know you so well.” I think of myself with those lyrics and how I lost myself through IVF.)

Jai Ho from the Slumdog_Millionare soundtrack (Another of my favorite running songs, but I’ve pretty much worn it out.)

Ignorance by_Paramore (are you seeing a pattern here? I love a girl that can rock!)

Lying From You by Linkin_Park

Misery Business by_Paramore (another IF twist to the lyric: whenever I hear, and this is the way I hear it, not the actual lyrics “Whoa, whatever makes you brag, but I got it what I wanted now! Whoa, it was never my intension to brag…but, god, it just feels so good, cause I got it what I wanted. And if you could you knew you would, cause god, it just feels so good.” I think of all the women who have succeeded in getting pregnant, mocking me, where I have failed. Just listen to it, and I think you’ll get what I mean.)

What I’ve Done by Linkin_Park (I won’t even go into what this means for me, but you can go ahead and guess)

Crushcrushcrush by_Paramore

Durga_Ye by Chintan_&_Prem_Joshua

I hope you can send me some rockin’ tunes ASAP to run to tomorrow, cuz I know you don’t have anything better to do on Memorial Day weekend! I’ve got to load it up tonight because race time is 8:46am tomorrow morning!! It will be all over but the tears by 10:00am! Please leave me your favorite rockin’ workout tunes in a comment, and THANKS for staying with me on this crazy ride!!

P.S. My friend Mrs. Last Chance IVF has a great analogy about IF and races on her blog here: “The Longest Race”

P.P.S. A cord match may have been found for Devan!!

How to Save a Life

May 14, 2010

I got an e-mail from an IF friend of mine Tuesday. She is organizing a bone marrow donor drive for 4-year old Devan, pictured here.

Devan has a rare form of high-risk leukemia. The best chances for his survival is with a blood and/or bone marrow transplant, but they can’t find a match for him. Doctors have 11 weeks left to find a match. You can read about his story here: Be Devan’s Match, Save His Life

I signed up to be a bone marrow donor on Tuesday. I got my package for my cheek swabs in the mail today. I read about what you have to do to be a donor, and I figure it’s no sweat compared to going through IVF multiple times. The most common form of donation these days is by blood stem cell. You get injections daily for five days, then on the 5th day, they take your blood. Sound familiar? I figure I’m a pro at this by now. I might as well put my IVF skills to use. Marrow donation involves an outpatient procedure where they put you under and remove bone marrow from your hip bone with a needle. Doesn’t sound any worse than an egg retrieval to me. If it means saving someone’s life, I’ll do it.

For me, I feel like I want my life to be useful in some way. Giving someone part of my healthy cells to save their life would mean so much to me. I know that I too may use a donor, an egg donor, someday (if I win the lottery) and I know how grateful I will be that someone was willing to give me the gift of life.

It is insanely easy to sign up to be a marrow donor. However, it takes about 7 weeks to get your typing results up on the bone marrow database from the time you sign up to when they process your results, so you need to sign up TODAY if this kid has a chance of finding a donor. How do you sign up?

USA Sign up: Be the Match

UK Sign Up: The Anthony Noland Trust

Rest of the World: Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide

If you are pregnant, you can also donate your baby’s cord blood: Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation

Please leave a comment when you have signed up! Thanks!!

Updated 5/17/10: I forgot to emphasize that registering to become a marrow donor is FREE. When you register on the “Be the Match” website (US), you will be asked to donate to cover the cost of the testing. However, you are not obligated to pay anything. I paid nothing. Registering to be a marrow donor is FREE and easy!

Maybe

May 10, 2010

I felt a collective sigh of relief from the IF blogosphere today now that Mother’s Day has passed, including my own. Mother’s Day holds an extra special hell for me, as it comes with the usual drama from the ex-wife that I have so come to dread every year. Things unfolded a little differently this year.

I was surprised to learn that Mother’s Day is not a Hallmark holiday. It was actually signed into US national observance in 1914. The irony is that the woman who championed for Mother’s Day for many years, Anna_Jarvis, wanted to undo Mother’s Day afterward because of the on-slaught of commercialization that happened after it did become a national holiday. It is also ironic that she died childless.

You may wonder why I know this bit of trivia about Mother’s Day. That’s because I recently learned about Stepmother’s_Day, which was signed into national observance about 10 years ago. The greeting card industry hasn’t seemed to catch on to the cash cow potential of this little known holiday, as I saw not one stepmother’s day card in my local grocery store this year. Stepmother’s_Day is celebrated a week after Mother’s Day. I consider it one of those consolation holidays, otherwise known as “why bother” holidays, since it’s not printed on any calendars bought in this country. Apparently, one sweet little stepdaughter proposed this holiday because she loved her stepmother so much, and never got to spend Mother’s Day with her. I was also surprised to learn that some divorce agreements actually include that Mother’s Day as custody day for the mother. Hence the reason why this little stepdaughter never got to spend Mother’s Day with her stepmother.

Sometime back in the beginning of April, Magic got a request from his ex that her current husband wanted to take her away for a getaway with the kids on the weekend of May 8th. Magic is a gullible and clueless kinda guy, so he has learned to ask me before responding to his manipulative ex. When he asked me if we had anything going on the weekend of May 8th, which was our weekend with the boys, I replied, “it’s Mother’s Day weekend.” I’d been dreading this weekend for weeks, so the date was seared into my memory. If I had the financial means to be in another country that did not celebrate Mother’s Day on Mother’s Day, I would have done it. I I would have rather been on another planet on Mother’s Day if I would have had the choice. Since I could do neither, I knew I would have to go through yet another drama ridden build up to Mother’s Day.

I just didn’t feel right about keeling over and giving the ex the whole weekend this year. Magic also checked their divorce/custody agreement, and it does not explicitly say that the ex gets Mother’s Day. It just says that they will split the holidays. Before Magic and I were married, the ex always made a point of requesting that my stepsons spend some time with their stepfather on Father’s Day. So, when we got married, Magic started requesting some time for me on Mother’s Day. The ex then had selective amnesia, and claimed she never asked for the boys on Father’s Day and that her husband didn’t need to get any time on Father’s Day. By the way, this woman is a therapist.

This year, I suggested that we all have a family meeting and discuss how we should split up Mother’s Day. I’ll refer to my older stepson as Elf. Think of the tall elves of the Lord_of_the_Rings when you think of Elf. He is almost 19. The younger stepson I will refer to as Bear.  He is 16. Last year, Elf got really mad at his mother on Mother’s Day, and told me he thought we should split Mother’s Day. That’s why I wanted to have a family meeting, so that the ex could hear directly from her kids how she was upsetting her sons. She refused to a family meeting, which was no big surprise. Did I mention that she is a therapist? She did suggest that we celebrate Stepmother’s_Day, which is how I found out about this holiday that nobody has heard of. Since that would mean negotiating on her weekend, I nixed that idea. Instead, I talked to the boys myself, telling them how I felt and why I wanted to spend some time on Mother’s Day with them. I told them how I loved them, as if they were my biological sons, and it didn’t matter to me if we were not genetically related. I told them how it felt like an expression of respect for my love for them to spend some time with them on Mother’s Day. In the end, I would do whatever they wanted around the holiday, but I wanted them to know how I felt. It was an opportunity for me to really connect with both my stepsons on a heart level, regardless of what actually happened around Mother’s Day. We each got to tell each other how we felt, and I felt good about that.

Elf was initially kinda waffling about what to do. He didn’t want to hurt his mother by telling her how he truly felt. He said he would come over on Mother’s Day and just not tell his mom. I told him that I thought he should be honest with her, but I would be fine with whatever he decided. I was surprised that he actually did decide to be honest with his mom. He just told her that he was going to spend some time with me on Mother’s Day, and he did make a point of coming over. We meditated together on Mother’s Day. How cool is that, meditating with your 18 year old stepson on Mother’s Day? It was perfect. So was the card he gave me. He wrote this in it:

“Thanks for everything you have done for me over the years and all the love you have shared with this family. It wouldn’t be the same without you. I want you to know that blood or not, I consider you my mother and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Yeah, this got the old tear factory going. Bear got me a card that started out with the words, “MOM,” and was a gush fest after that. These guys rock. Bear had to work on Mother’s Day, so I didn’t actually get to see him Mother’s Day since I knew he would spend the rest of the day he wasn’t working with his mom. I was ok with that. We celebrated the night before. They made me dinner, and we watched a movie together. It was just like old times when they actually wanted to spend more time with us than their friends on weekend nights.

In the end, I think I had a more meaningful Mother’s Day with my stepsons than I think they had with their mom, because of the honesty and openness in which we talked about the whole thing. It may not have been Hallmark commercial perfect, but it was real and heartfelt. That’s all that matters (though my ego still wants the Hallmark perfect commercial).

I also had another unexpected thing happen on Mother’s Day. I got a visit from my spirit baby. I haven’t really connected with her in a long time. I half thought she was gone. I’ve been working on not being attached to having my own children, and all the issues that brings up for me. I hadn’t felt her around in a long time, and I wasn’t working on trying to contact her. But she showed up on Mother’s Day. I didn’t really make anything of it. I was just with it. Magic said he felt a presence too. This is the mantra I have been singing to myself since I heard this song on the radio. I think of my spirit baby when I hear the lyrics:

Maybe, in the future, you’re gonna come back, you’re gonna come back.
The only way to really know is to really let it go.
Maybe, you’re gonna come back, you’re gonna come back to me…

(I know the song is about a guy, but I think about my spirit baby when I hear this song. I have a way of turning any song lyrics into however I’m feeling about having/not having a baby.)

It’s Not About the Running

April 29, 2010

Thank you to everyone who cheered me on for my running achievements! I do feel a sense of accomplishment, but an experience this weekend reminded me that it’s not about the running. Magic asked if he could come with me on my weekend run. He’s been trying to get more aerobic exercise since he seems to have pre-hypertension. He’s not supposed to run, since he is missing a big chunk of a disk between two of his lumbar vertebrae. He told me that he would walk fast.

So what does he do as soon as I start my jog? He tries to walk fast enough to keep up with me. I got really pissed off. I felt like he was trying to compete with me. I felt like a loser when he could walk as fast as I could jog. My rhythm was totally thrown off. I told him I didn’t want him to keep up with me. Magic let me ditch him, so I happily went off on my run. I caught him half way back and passed him after he turned around.  I looked back to see where he was, and the turkey was jogging! I yelled at him to stop jogging. I didn’t want to worry about him hurting himself. I have asked him for months to get his MRI reviewed by a specialist and get cleared for jogging before he starts doing it again. He hasn’t had anyone look at his back in the 5 years since his surgery, though he regularly sees his pain doctor for medication.

Afterward, I wondered why I got so angry at Magic. As I thought about it, it felt like he was making a mockery of all the grief I had poured into my jogging. All the anger and despair I had been working out of my body since December for four long, tortuous months. Magic didn’t grieve like I did when our IVF failed. I was alone in my grieving. It reminded me of how everytime we go for a transfer, he gets all freaked out about me getting pregnant, and can’t be there for me. I remember how stressed he was at our last transfer, and how awful I felt, knowing it was going to fail. How lonely I felt. Only someone who has been through that feeling of impending doom at a transfer can understand. I had gotten possessive about my running, and I didn’t want to share it with him. Running was my escape and my accomplishment. And even though my running pace is a fast walk for some, I didn’t want Magic to overshadow my accomplishments. He easily out climbs me, can create music without practicing, and he could run circles around me without breaking a sweat if he put his mind to it. He also had two children, something I wasn’t able to do. I wanted to at least have my one accomplishment without him showing me up – showing me what a loser I am.

When I went on a mission to lose weight after our last IVF failed, it was a way to distract myself from my grief. It was a way to punish myself for being a failure by denying myself food. It was a way to have control. If I couldn’t control what happened during an IVF cycle, I could control my body. When I got to my target weight, I wasn’t happy. I was just kinda felt like, “so what”. It wasn’t about the weight.

When I first ran a 5k, I was really happy, for about 10 seconds. Then I thought, “I’m only half way there”. My glass was half empty.

This post could have been titled, “It’s not about the (fill in the blank)”.

It also could have been titled, “It’s not about the baby.” This is a huge, huge topic, that will probably be digested in several posts. Suffice it to say that I am not living in the present. I am not enjoying my life. I keep telling myself, “I’ll be happy when I have a baby,” but that illusion is wrapped up in all kinds of fantasies from my deficient past. While I’m lamenting my loss, I’m missing all this life in between. My self-esteem and happiness is wrapped up in my ability to have a child and be a mother.

I recently called Em, my acupuncturist, who I haven’t seen since my transfer. I had talked with her a few times post BFN. She told me she would be here for me, but I never really knew what that meant or how that would look, since she isn’t a therapist and not really someone I socialize with. In a moment of feeling lost about my future, I called her. Being the empathic person that she is, she seemed to know exactly where I was and what I needed to hear. She told that me that children do not make us happy. It is not their job to do so. I have always felt this way. I felt that my mother sacrificed her happiness for having six children. She wanted a career at some point, but finally gave up. I watched my sisters in their rush to get married and start their families. I watched my siblings create their own families to make up for the dysfunctional one we had growing up. I never wanted to have children to fill me up. My oldest brother once asked me when I was going to have children, so I could be happy. Stunned at his admonishment,  I replied to him, I have to get married first. I wanted to marry for love, not for a sperm bank. I wanted to feel like my life was fulfilled, and then have children. In a way, I did this. I had success in my career first. I got married late, not because I planned it that way, but because I had to work through a lot of issues from my childhood first. But here I was the newlywed at almost 39 and rushing to have children because I had this idea that children would make me happy. Em told me that I deserve to be happy. She reminded me that while my failed pregnancy was tragic, it was not my fault. She was with me through all of it and was probably the singular most compassionate person, besides Magic, through my ordeal.

I’m not against having children. Of course, a part of me still wants my own children, but I feel like I have had the crap beat out of me with the fertility treatments, and I’m not ready to go back for more punishment. My problem is that I don’t know if I am having children to make me happy? I don’t want to put that kind of responsibility on a child. Em told me that having children is about them and their karma. I don’t think it’s so much about me and fulfilling my life, though raising and loving children can be very satisfying. I don’t feel right about having children to prove that I’m not a failure or a loser; to prove that I am not broken. Somewhere along the way of getting immersed in fertility treatments (and I don’t think there is any other way to do that), I lost myself.  I need to find myself again. I need to find the part of me that is happy for me just breathing and being alive on this planet. I’m sure that giving birth and loving a baby is an incredible experience. But I have seen many parents of older children still trying to find themselves. At some point, when the novelty of the miracle of birth wears off, there is still the emptiness in the heart and the searching of the soul. Right now, the hole in my heart feels so big, it could swallow me up. I need to let it swallow me and see where it takes me. If only I could let go of the edge of the abyss I am so desperately clinging to.

2020 Vision

April 18, 2010

Looks like four months past BFN came and went.

When I knew that failure was a possible reality back when I didn’t know what direction to take in attempting to build a family, I wanted to know how women who were not successful in getting pregnant coped. As much as I would like to provide that perspective, it has honestly been hard for me to focus on my life post-failure. I would like to try to document this process, both for me and for the reader out there who is in a similar situation or who may in the future be in a similar situation. But part of me just wants to go on with my life, because life does go on, even if your dreams are not fulfilled.

I recently participated in a leadership group at work. We met once a month for 10 months, going to a different department in our local government each month. The hosting department would give a presentation about what role they played in our local government, and there would usually be some sort of exercise involving a leadership topic. One of the hardest exercises was the NASA exercise of what you would take with you if your lunar pod crashed on the moon 200 km away from the mothership, and you had to survive the trek back to the mothership. I did figure out that matches are worthless on the moon (no oxygen for combustion), but how the hell was I to know that a compass doesn’t work on the moon?!

One of my favorite talks was by the director of our department that provides aid to families in need. As you can image, there is a lot of need right now, but unfortunately, state budget cuts have forced this department to do a lot more with a lot less. This director talked about how you can do the best you can, make the best decisions, and you can still fail. He told us that what makes leaders great is that they fail, but they keep trying. Eventually, you will succeed. He used the metaphor of Michael_Jordan. Nobody focuses on how many baskets he didn’t make. They just focus on those he did. If you look at his statistics, he failed half of the baskets he did shoot. This message really hit home for me. You just have to keep making shots on goal.

About a month ago, we had a graduation ceremony for our leadership class. The first speaker talked about his friend who succeeded in life with a successful career, marriage, kids, the whole 9 yards. His friend wasn’t always like this. It was only when he had a vision and goal for what his life would be like in the next 10 years did he succeed. I sat there thinking, what if life doesn’t go how you planned? What if 10 years go by, and your vision didn’t work out? Then what? Both my husband and I are in this position. For me, I got married late, which wasn’t in the plans, and so I was waaaaay behind in getting started with trying to get pregnant. The whole IVF thing didn’t really go as planned, and I didn’t really count on how long it would take me to process all the losses, so I really was beyond the end of my useful egg life trying IVF at age 43. For my husband, he didn’t really plan on the whole world economy crashing (who did?) when he was at a crucial point in raising money for his new business. We still haven’t recovered financially from October of 2008.

The next graduation speaker was one of my former bosses, a retired head honcho of our local government. I really loved this woman, so it was great to hear her speak again. She talked about her career in politics, and how she was just a young housewife who worked her way up to a state senator. Then, she came back to work locally. She talked about her daughter and how her daughter had the career first, then the kids in her early forties. She described how she loved being a doting grandmother to her two grandchildren, and I almost lost it at that point. I thought about how my own mother could care less about being a grandmother, and how I would never have that kind of support in my life. When I recently told my mother that I needed her guidance if I ever get pregnant, she said, “What’s the big deal? You get pregnant and have a kid.” As if it’s that easy. In fact, my mother is such a horrible grandmother that my brother calls her “the anti-grandma”.

Then, several of my classmates got up and talked about their experience volunteering. Volunteering was a requirement of this leadership class. One woman got up and gave a tear-jerking account about her volunteer work with recruiting foster parents, and her experience as a foster parent herself. She told us about her foster son, who had just returned from service in Afghanistan. She said she was happy he had a home to come home to. Pass the kleenex please.

The theme of the graduation was this 2020 Vision, or at least having some sort of goal, short or long term. I did not want to set any 10 year goals, as I didn’t trust that I could fulfill any vision that far out. I’d already been sorely disappointed. So, I recently set a smaller goal, which is part of the reason you haven’t heard from me in a long time, because I spend much of my free time training. I decided to run a 10 k race on Memorial Day that is quite famous in our city. It seems like everybody and his brother has run (or walked) this race, except me. I didn’t think I could run a 10 k, but I decided “what the heck” and that I’d go for it. Running is challenging for me. I have a heart condition in which my heart beats erratically if I get stressed. I have to be really in tune with my body on a daily basis to keep my heart from freaking out while running. Sometimes, I forget to take supplements that I know helps this weird electrical anomaly that I have. If I get a heart palpitation or sudden rapid heart rate while running, I know I’d done for the day. One screw up, and it can be over 5 minutes into my run. I’ve been working on this since December, ever since my last IVF failed. I spent Christmas Day sick because I over did it exercising the two days before, and my heart was palpitating just getting ready for a get away we were supposed to take that day. We canceled our plans. Christmas was spent being depressed on the couch watching shows of happy family endings that I know were written by grownups from dysfunctional families. I know that because I have a brother who tried to get into the entertainment business for 20 years, trying to get the attention he never got as a kid from our parents.

I have now surpassed the 5k mark, a goal I didn’t really think I was capable of! I have even thought of trying a sprint triathlon in the fall. I know I’m not at a 10k yet, but I’m not giving up. Just yesterday, I ran 3.6 miles for the second time, but unfortunately, my heart started freaking out about 30 yards from my goal. I was running a faster pace the second time around, so it probably was a little too hard, a little too soon. I kept going, even though I watched my heart rate peak at 190 on my heart_rate monitor. I know that would freak some people out, but I’m used to my heart doing this. Luckily, since I am in pretty good condition, my heart rate came down pretty fast once I stopped running.

For now, I’m focusing on small, attainable goals. The larger ones seem out of my reach.

Share with me your 2020 Vision, if you have one. Did you, too, have a 10 year plan that didn’t work out? If so, how did you cope?

When You Are Depressed

March 14, 2010

It’s been 3 months post BFN, not like you or I’ve been counting.

Have you seen this commercial? They played it several times during the Olympics.

When you are depressed, what do you want to do?

Nothing.

When you are depressed, who do you want to be with?

No one.

The last time I saw this commercial, I broke down and cried because I knew they were describing me. I feel this way often. I know I have this underlying depression. The only thing that seems to help when I’m feeling like this is working out. Because of our financial situation, I feel like I don’t even have the resources to see someone about it, not like I really trust anyone to be able to deal with what I’ve been through. Sometimes, getting bad help is worse than getting no help at all.

I feel sad about this last cycle not working. I feel angry about how the cycle was mismanaged. I have a lot of unresolved feelings over our previous loss, that I don’t know will ever be resolved. I feel sad that I blew a lot of money on this last cycle and now don’t have any money for any other treatments. We are so far into debt, that I feel hopeless about even being able to afford more treatment, even if I do decide to do DE.

I feel that if I’m to do DE, I need to confront BigShotClinic about their screw up. But I don’t feel up for that either. I’m not ready for them to not take responsibility for their actions, which is what I expect them to do. Any suggestions? Anyone have any experience confronting their fertility clinic?

I think I’m at peace with using donor eggs, but the whole process is so daunting for me. Emotionally, I know I’m not ready for it yet. Financially, I don’t even know how long it would be before we are ready financially. I think we will be too old by then to even want to try.

I’ve received the advice, and read this too, that getting in and out of IF treatment as soon as possible is best. Easier said than done. I am someone who takes a long time to grieve my losses. I know other women who move quickly from cycle to cycle, from their eggs to donor eggs. I wish it were so easy for me, but it’s not. And then there is that pesky money issue. If it wasn’t all so damned expensive and if I had insurance to cover the costs, I would be going through this a lot quicker, for sure.

I was looking up why Ophrah (intentional typo) did not have kids. She said that she had not been mothered well, and so did not feel like she could be a good mother herself. I feel the same way. I’ve been questioning if I really am fit to have children. I suppose it’s some sort of defense to not feel the grief I feel, or rationalization that I’d be better off without kids. The fact is that I’m still sad about not having a child. I don’t know if that’s reason enough to keep pursuing motherhood.

I feel split. I have made some strides in coming to terms with the two choices that are available to me, DE or child-free. Adoption is actually my first preference, but Magic is still adamently against it. But feeling like I’m coming to terms with two choices that are directly in opposition with one another really fucks with my head.

All I know is that I’m frustrated, hopeless, and depressed where I’m at.