Sunday, November 2, 2014

Five Years

Five years. Five beautiful years of marriage, a marriage I am grateful for every day for the amount of love, respect, support, laughter, passion, and true friendship that graces our lives each day. Five years of loving each other through a process that has proved harder in every possible way than we could have ever imagined. See, on my wedding day, the Hallowedding wedding day, I answered the door in my wedding dress and signed for a FedEx package that contained my first trigger shot. We would do our first Clomid IUI in November, having completed all our prerequisite fertility testing in September and October. 

That seems so, so, so far away. We had hope then, and we were scared. Believe it or not, I was a little nervous that it would work super quickly and we would find ourselves pregnant immediately (ha HA ha ha), which would be great but we'd kind of prepared ourselves for a bit of a long haul since our consult ended with the prognosis that only IVF would lead us to a baby. I was mentally prepared (I thought) for about a year of making it through some IUIs in case they worked, and mostly to learn about what my body did under stimulation. There were "what ifs" in the air that now seem so naive -- "What if it works the first time? What if we get pregnant and I'm not tenured yet? What if?"  So I was both excited and nervous when that trigger shot came, because here we were, getting married in the backyard on Halloween, and simultaneously embarking on a journey to have a baby that we both knew in advance wouldn't be easy. But we could hope. 

Our love story and our infertility story are so entwined that it's hard to think of one without the other. Like many couples that marry in their thirties, it wasn't surprising that we would try to have a baby immediately. What's surprising is that now, five years later, so many fruitless IUIs and then fruitless IVFs and then fruitless donor IVFs of varying materials later, it's still just us and the kitties in this house. 

And it hasn't broken us. We are a bit bruised and battered (okay, fine, maybe more than a bit), but we are intact. We are strong. We have fun, despite the sadness and continual loss. We cry, but we also laugh. We try to have as good a time as we can while we are a childless couple, because this WILL NOT LAST. We are going to make sure of that. But, in the meantime, we can have fun and go out to dinner on a whim and sleep in and do all the things we are told people with kids can't do, because there has to be SOME benefit to being in this hideous limbo. We have limits -- I was invited to a big event yesterday that sounded really fun, but it also sounded like a whole crew of families, and I can handle about two sets of families with young children whose parents are younger than we are, but make it a big family-friendly event where almost EVERYONE has little kiddos running around and the air is ripe with MOMMY MOMMY DADDY DADDY, and I lose it a little a lot. It's too much when we have that gaping, oozing hole in the middle of our awesome love story. So we lose out on some fun, for the time being. But fun just the two of us? We have that down. 

I wrote about our early anniversary night out in September, because we thought we'd be on meds and possibly getting ready for transfer on our actual anniversaries, so we did the nice dinner out with wine and champagne before. But then the Hysteroscopy of Doooooooom happened, and our plans got waylaid. Again. The upside to the apparent cycle of disappointment and delay was that our anniversaries could be celebrated in earnest. On their actual days. 

Instead of simply telling you all about what we did, here are some pictures that do the telling pretty well: 

I bought a half bottle of champagne to start us off, that was ready the second
Bryce walked in the door on October 23rd, our Legal Anniversary (anniversary
of the JOP who accompanied us to our favorite Mexican restaurant a week
before our backyard wedding). Champagne is usually how we christen the first
night of any vacation, and so why not christen our celebration of five years of
legal wedded bliss?
Bryce doing his usual wine tasting logging duty. We are on our
FOURTH  Little Black Journal of Wine, which is either
something to be proud of or a shameful concern (I vote pride).
This one was an Italian given to us by a friend for our wedding,
so we'd saved it for 5 years. Perfect with the Tuscan pork
with cannelini beans, tomatoes, and spinach. Yum yum. 
Enjoying the wine and food, trying not to put my boobs on the table.
Note the art behind my head that's up all year long... crow and moon,
New England cemetery. There's a reason we had our wedding on
Halloween! Our favorite holiday for sure. 
Our wedding skeletons we put out each year, a gift from a friend
that would make an excellent cake topper if a) it wasn't so heavy
and b) didn't have cupcakes instead. I love these guys so much!
On our legal anniversary, 10/23, we give each other actual anniversary cards.
On Hallowedding anniversary day, we give each other romantic Halloween
cards (yes, they exist). This year we DID NOT PLAN this, but we gave each
other mummy cards that seemed to be by a similar artist... spoooooky!
And inside my card was my annual Anniversary Ghoul!
Last year it was a werewolf, and this year I got my very
own zombie. That Bryce, a man of many talents. Scary
talents, but talents nonetheless. A Ghoul of Love.
And there we are, five years ago, super happy (if a little
chilly, the temperature dropped as we were wed). Both
hard and easy to believe that it's been so long! 
On Halloween proper we forgot to take pictures, other than of our creepily similar cards and the Ghoul. I was less than impressed with my Halloween costume for school this year and then was a Halloween-pajama'd witch for trick or treaters, but we plumb forgot to photograph. Before the kids came and before the firepit was set out for fun with neighbors, we had a lovely steak dinner (dry-aged ribeye seared on a cast iron skillet, oh yum yum yum) and a beautiful wine -- a pinot noir from Sineann that tasted like herbal strawberries. So delicious. And so appropriate, since I proposed to Bryce over a bottle of Sineann pinot noir six years ago in January. Then, pumpkin pie by the firepit (gluten free of course) with some neighbors. A perfect way to celebrate! 

It is my hope that five years marks the last year that we are married without children. It is my hope that by next year, we are either a) trick or treating with our baby, b) pregnant, or c) paper pregnant. I think it might be too much to hope for that we could be matched with a birthmother by next October, given that we still have two more frozen cycles to get through before we will start that process, and that process is definitely A PROCESS. But, I can hope that we're closer than ever to our goal, to having an anniversary that isn't just about us, but about our little family that we created together. And our infertility that has twisted and wrapped itself all around our marriage will be absorbed and quit cutting into us and making us bleed. It will still be there; it will ALWAYS be there as a part of our love story, but hopefully it will hurt less and be replaced by our new story of parenthood. 


  1. I love stories of you and Bryce! I'm not glad that you weren't cycling due to unforeseen circumstances, but I am glad that you were able to celebrate. B and I have a similar infertility/love entanglement. Even knowing it was going to be hard, I just never imagined it would be this hard. But it's also remarkable seeing your partner find strength in themselves that is almost impossible to find in yourself. You know how hard it is some mornings to smile, and seeing B do just that most days makes me love him more. I'm sure you feel the same about Bryce.

    I hope that this year is filled with joy and wonderment and that your family will include one more, or will be close to it.

    1. Thanks, lady! I loved what you said about loving B more for smiling through the tough times. It's both nice and sad to have such entanglement... No "us" without the shadow of infertility. But, hopefully that's all coming to a close, for both of us. Enough sadness! Bring on the good news and joy.

  2. You were a STUNNING bride, oh my gosh!

    I just love your guys' love. xoxoxo

    1. Thank you so much! It was easy to look good when it felt so wonderful. Plus that's before all the stress and poundage infertility slapped on... Ahhhh, to live in that space again. It's a good love! Thanks for your thoughts and support!

  3. ^^^Agreed...beautiful bride indeed. I love your dress! Continue to enjoy each other... your difficult journey has doubtless made you a stronger couple & your future baby will benefit from your great love! Wishing you your best year yet!

    1. Thanks, Kelsey! Believe it or not, that dress was a bridesmaid's dress--made both the dress itself and the alterations WAYYY cheaper. I loved it, too! The tiara thingie was more expensive than the dress!!! ;-) thanks for your thoughts--I hope our love and all that's strengthened it just makes our home super awesome for our baby(ies), however they come to us in the end. Thanks for taking time out of the chaos of new motherhood to comment!