This picture is of an actual stop sign that I saw, last April (2012), in Camden, Maine. I just had to get a picture of it. At the time I was in my two week wait from what would be our last ever fresh IVF cycle, with my eggs at least, and I saw this as not just a stop sign but A SIGN. I had this Journey song in heavy rotation in my "Feel Good" Playlist, and to see it spraypainted tongue-in-cheek like that, while on a trip to visit my mother-in-law, while hopefully a baby was brewing right then and there inside me, was pretty cool. It wasn't a sign for that particular cycle, but I kept this picture because I love it.
I also loved my playlist. It helped me get through the uncertainty of the ectopic pregnancy, it put me in a positive mood full of hope and belief through many cycles. It's got some really good songs on it and I added all the ones in the comment section, so go check it out if you want. But, be warned. The problem with having a playlist full of songs that bolster you with hope at sensitive times in your babymaking mission is that when it doesn't work out the way you hoped it would, when you hear those songs later it can be...bad. It can downright go horribly wrong. This happened most notably with the song "I Believe in Miracles" by Hot Chocolate in the post I've linked to. But, in some cases, the song is miraculously not ruined.
Enter "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. I used to listen to this song not only as a part of the "Feel Good" playlist, but, if I had forgotten my iPod, I would listen to it on YouTube on my phone in the parking lot of the blood draw labs before tests. Whether they were initial blood tests or repeat betas for my wonderful but short-lived uterine pregnancy, this song pumped me up and allowed me to believe that maybe, just maybe, this was all about to be "over." So you would think that this song would make me incredibly sad, now, since it is YEARS of believing and not a whole lot of reality into this dream of pregnancy and parenthood that we hold tight to and fight hard for. But I just can't bring myself to stop. I get really, really close to being shaken in my belief that this is a pathway that will actually end in a baby in my belly and then in my arms. Having a donor cycle that was not successful put a big chink in this believing thing. Really less a chink and more a gaping hole. But, despite that incredible, devastating setback, I am still a believer. We will be parents. I will have a baby. And I still believe that I can get pregnant, and stay that way, given all the right conditions. (I will never, ever, understand why this has to be so incredibly hard for us, but I guess there are some things that just never make sense and will never be fair.)
It seems the Universe is also trying to drill it in my head that I need to keep on believing, keep holding on to that feeling. I have had two weeks where I swear I have heard this song at least two to three times a day. On the radio. On Pandora. In stores. It is everywhere, and I can't always turn it off. Because, sometimes, especially at the beginning of this auditory onslaught, I just felt like ENOUGH ALREADY! Quit telling me NOT to stop believing, because I've been holding on to this for so long and for WHAT? For a whole lot of NOTHING, that's what. So shove it, stupid Journey. It made me angry. But then I would hear it again. And again. And AGAIN. To the point where, when Bryce and I were in a running shoe outfitter yesterday (for him, not me, my running days appear to be over) and he was out running around their parking lot to test the shoes (it's a very thorough place), THAT SONG came on again. And I laughed. Not a full on guffaw but a little snort, a private joke between me and the Sirius radio station. I was like, OK, I get it. UNCLE. I won't stop believing, don't worry. I have a magnet on my fridge, a magnet that has the Winston Churchill quote, "Never, never, never give up." I use it to hold up my protocol sheets. I keep it up even when that protocol sheet has been duly filed into the correct color folder in my Fertility Drawer, to remind me that even when things are dark, there is still hope (right now it's holding up a lovely drawing my cousin's daughter made me as a thank you for a little care package, which also gives me hope that these kinds of drawings will pepper my fridge one day, sooner than I think). And as long as you have hope, and no one is telling you something is impossible, you can keep moving forward. It's like another quote from Winston Churchill, one I don't have a magnet for (but should look for, really, because it would make a nice set). "When you're going through hell, keep going." Don't stop, don't get stuck, just put your head down and plow through the horribleness to whatever is on the other side, because it's worth it.
So thank you, onslaught of a song that has the potential to make me very sad and then very angry but then ultimately just makes me very hopeful. I am not going to call this A SIGN, because in case you haven't noticed I am a little psychotic when it comes to reading into things big and small (timings, supermoons, finally-blooming-lupines, turtles laying eggs in my presence, yada yada yada), so I'm just going to chalk this one up to a cosmic pep talk. I believe that our next chance is the best chance we've ever had. I believe that I can laugh and not cry at the fact that I HAVE SAID THAT PARTICULAR PHRASE SO, SO MANY TIMES but I really and truly believe it. Each time. This time we have a new protocol, beautiful frozen blasts (a B5, people! That's pretty damn near perfect...), a surgical procedure preceding the cycle to make sure my uterus is clean and clear and has been redecorated to be as baby-friendly as possible... I really can't ask for much more. Someone wrote me and said that most couples, 90%, will conceive within 3 DE cycles (including frozen). I am going to hang on to that 90% and ignore the 10%. I will be pregnant, hopefully within my second cycle and not the third. We will make it through this incredible gauntlet of pain and loss and devastation and loneliness. We will have our precious baby, and dare to hope for two in our lifetimes, because we don't give up. We keep on truckin' through it all for what we want, because this journey is incredibly personal and what we want is pregnancy AND baby. We won't stop believin' until that is reality.