Saturday, November 30, 2013

So Much to be Thankful For (except that one incredibly important thing...)

Thanksgiving is over, and now I can officially begin the Christmas Music Onslaught that Bryce enjoys so much. I even gave him a present--I did not begin until today, a full day later than I am technically "legally" allowed to fa-la-la-la-la. Probably because yesterday was Family Thanksgiving, and it was very confusing to my Christmas circadian clock to eat turkey and ham and yams and pumpkin pie and listen to Christmas music at the same time.

We were supposed to go to Maine this year for Thanksgiving with Bryce's mom and stepfather, but that stupid storm-naming thing scared us off. Between the snow here (mostly Tuesday night) and the torrential rain there (two storms collide!), we all decided it would be better to visit in February, when we can stay longer than 2 full days and not have to wrassle with evil holiday traffic on a very, very long drive. I felt badly, but we used FaceTime to connect face to face and while it wasn't quite the same, it was nice.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving with my mom and stepfather and my sister, her husband, and her stepsons. It was lovely. We had crackers (normally a Christmas thing but my Mom found Thanksgiving ones and it was actually quite fun:
Here we are being all dramatic in our paper crowns...
Please excuse the upward camera angle and how unflattering it is! 
On Thanksgiving proper, Bryce and I had an incredibly low-key day. Just the two of us for most of the day, in sweatpants for the duration. We made the Thanksgiving Cow--a delicious red-wine-based French country beef stew that takes most of the day to cook. So yummy over mashed potatoes. We had wine. We had relaxation. We had the neighbors over for champagne and pie later in the evening. And then we ended the night sitting in our TV room, listening to music through Bryce's speakers that he built himself (and are incredibly impressive if I do say so myself--both in design with their beautiful walnut tops and sides and the acoustic science that went into the sound). We sat on the couch and listened to cd after cd, picking out individual instruments now audible thanks to Bryce's audio wizardry. And all of a sudden I started to cry.

All I could think was, "I have so, so much to be thankful for. We have this wonderful life--we have each other, we have good food and good wine pretty much all the time, we have good friends and good family, we have a cozy home with comforts galore, we can have a great time just sitting here and enjoying music on speakers that Bryce made himself and be content. IF NOT FOR THIS GINORMOUS BABY-SHAPED HOLE IN OUR LIVES, we could be truly content."

The tears rolled down my face and I couldn't put this sentiment into words, so all of a sudden Bryce was worried that he had said something or NOT said something that had put me in a bit of a funk. He told me I looked sad all day. In actuality, I was pretty happy all day, but it is really, really hard to try to shove that one missing thing to the background and enjoy a holiday that is supposed to be all about family (and food and wine). I did not realize that Thanksgiving is such a baby-centered holiday--that going on Facebook would result in an onslaught of babies in turkey outfits and "Baby's First Thanksgiving" captions and onesies and homemade memes. It also reminds me of the Christmas card situation, which I am working on but still puts little needles in my soul for not having a baby or even a babyling anywhere near it. AGAIN.

I am thankful for so much, but this gaping nothingness where OUR family ought to be is like a black hole that sucks light and joy right into it. I can hang on with my fingernails and try not to get sucked in, but man the holidays are hard. I am grateful for my extended family, I am grateful for my wonderful husband, I am grateful for our home, I am grateful for our jobs, I am grateful for our health...the list goes on and on. I am grateful that my father had a physical last Friday and he was able to catch the severe anemia that put him in the hospital for days with multiple blood transfusions and no answers for why this is happening to him. Anemia is what got his Celiac diagnosed, but now he's been gluten free for years and years, so why? Why was it so severe that he was told had it not been caught when it was he would have likely dropped of a cardiac arrest or a stroke? So scary. So frustrating that despite all of the wonders of medical technology there seems to be an awful lot that doctor's can't figure out. I am grateful that my dad is ok. I am scared that that may not always be the case. And, like a horrible, selfish person, anytime someone in my family falls ill I mourn the fact that there is a real possibility that they may not see me become a mom. Somewhat melodramatic when it comes to my dad, but then again, not really. There are no guarantees in life. It's so frustrating.

We are in this strange limbo, where we know we are going to do ONE LAST TRY. We know that we are giving medical treatment a last go of it, and I am going to try to not be nauseous about giving myself injections again, as we are likely going back to my eggs. Which I hope is not a mistake. I am going to try not to dread turning my kitchen counter into a nurse's station, with sharps containers and many different size needles and medications. I am going to be grateful that I am pretty much never doing PIO again. My hips and thighs are STILL numb, and at times downright painful with stabby-ness that comes and goes. Maybe that's a good sign? Maybe that means feeling is returning? All I can say is it makes exercising mighty challenging. Any jolt to my legs ranges from very uncomfortable to painful. My husband can playfully smack my ass in the kitchen and have it result in tears from the pain jolting down my leg. Fun times. We have one more second opinion to go, and are waiting on a report from our second second opinion. We have hope, which seems more and more to be less of a friend and more of a friendly neighborhood crack dealer, but whatever.

We are not trying anything until after January. Which means that this is a fertility-free holiday--as much as I can keep that swirling black hole of babylessness at bay. We are free to eat and drink whatever, because we will not be doing a cycle any earlier than March. Because I need three months to get my ovaries in shape, since they've been out of the equation for so long. After the holidays, that means a whole lot of deprivation for me. A whole lot of acupuncture appointments. Three months of this monklike existence to hopefully end in the joy we seek. I am grateful that we have this opportunity. I am grateful that we can give this one last try. I will try not to read too much into it. I will just do everything possible to stack our deck, and try so hard not to lose my marbles in the process. I will try next year to be the recipient of a group post on FaceBook for ladies from yoga past, one mentioning "Don't Stop Believing," and NOT be the only one on that list who is not finally a mommy. It was meant well, but realizing that everyone on that list had been successful EXCEPT me was incredibly painful. Again, I feel like the Little Match Girl, with my frozen nose pressed against the frosted glass, peering in on a warm family life while slowly freezing to death. Conversely, I felt very lucky twice in the past week and a half to have my friends who, unfortunately, are pressing up on that cold glass with me. One who sent me a beautiful flower arrangement for "being in her brain" through my blog posts (something that made me feel good that I could accurately depict this hideous space of being, and also sad that my heartbreak and hope and souring relationship with fertility treatments echoed so closely for her). One who I had a 3+ hour coffee date with to talk and sufficiently horrify any other patrons at the coffee shop who weren't prepared to eavesdrop on a conversation regarding uteruses and sex after infertility and fear of failure and how identity is so mixed up in this process and blood clotting disorders and sperm. Sorry, patrons of Starry Nights Cafe. It was worth it to share that space with my friend, despite what a sad and hopeful and furious space it is. In a weird way it is very comforting to have people who still share this space with me. (God I feel guilty putting that out there!) We are a tattered band of Match Girls. Instead of dying with a spent match in hand, we will ninja kick our way through that glass one day. Much better end to the fairy tale.

There it is, all my Thanksgiving thoughts for this year. I am thankful for so much, and yet still yearning for so much that shouldn't be so hard to grasp onto. I am grateful for my marriage and my home and my family. I yearn for the family that we create, in whatever way that ends up being.  I honestly have no idea but am exceedingly grateful for the options and opportunities out there. I am thankful for the capacity to still find space in my heart for thankfulness and gratitude, when at times it feels like, at this point in loss and pain and disappointment, my heart should be withered and atrophied. But nope, still have space for love and gratitude in there. Still have space for hope. Still have space for that special, tardy little soul who is meant to be placed in our keeping. We're ready, we're waiting, we've left a whole lot of love set aside just for you, FutureBaby.

Our Thanksgiving picture, hazed out from searing beef cubes and
Bryce looking puffy-eyed from the sliced shallots.
Come on, FutureBaby. You know you want in on this wonderful life! 


  1. Sometimes, I think it's that you are all up in my head. Thinking the same things I've been thinking, but articulating them so much more eloquently than I do.

  2. Errr...^^that was me. I thought I was signed in. Turns out, I wasn't. :)

    1. Hello, you! Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it! (Both anonymously and named, hee hee).