February 11, 2008

How did we get here?? - Part I: 11/05-11/06

I am realizing that we have been through so much at this point that this blog is coming into the game a little late - I should have started this a year ago...

So....for those of you not familiar with the long sordid journey we've taken to get to this point I will sketch a little time line:

Nov 2005 - Husband tells me he is ready to start "trying" (after much pestering from me for several months prior. I get very excited, sure that we will become pregnant that very month, and tell EVERYONE that we are "officially trying to conceive". (in hindsight, not the smartest move on my part) I sign up on all the baby websites for updates and info and I buy pregnancy books.

December 2005 - Using my handy-dandy and already very worn copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, I begin to chart my cycles. I become very familiar with every little nuance of my body and what it means from day to day. In other words....I obsess.

January 2006 - Husband and I go to a New Year's Retreat at The Mandala Center in New Mexico. The retreat is lead by Jim Reale and Susan Rush. We do lots of Centering Prayer and Yoga/Prayerful Movement and occasional chanting. We mostly spend a great deal of time in silence and connect deeply with some truly amazing people. I am sure that I will be pregnant this month - I am not. I gather volunteers and paint our dining room instead.
Oh, I also start my last semester at school. I take a painting class in which I really discover my "voice" through art and make several paintings symbolizing my yearning for a baby throughout the next 4 months.
I occasionally do yoga and tai chi to support fertility.

February 2006 - I co-star in The Vagina Monologues on campus. I am in several pieces but I get my own monologue about childbirth, "I was there in the room" - I pour every ounce of desire for my own experience of childbirth into that monologue. It is a powerful experience.

March 2006 - We aren't pregnant yet, I am really dismayed - but still very hopeful. I go for my first Mayan Abdominal Massage appointment with an amazing woman named Desirae. She tells me that my uterus is slightly tipped forward and that often MAM is able to help women conceive after about 3 months of treatment. 3 months sound great to me. She teaches me how to do it at home, gets me on some herbal supplements and tells me how to do castor oil packs on my abdomen around menstruation, and how to do vaginal steams. I continue to see her for many more than 3 months. My periods become very short and painless, my uterus gets into the healthy position, but I am still not pregnant. Two friends have had babies and one close friend has become pregnant since we began trying in November. I am finding it harder and harder to celebrate others. I hate this.

April 2006 - I write letters to our unborn child in my journal. I also journal about how much shame I feel for this desire to be pregnant and for not being pregnant yet. I begin to really wonder if I am being punished or am in some way too flawed and broken to be a mother. I begin to feel unworthy. I begin to really face a lot of my fears about God being vengeful or spiteful or hurtful to me in some way. I begin to really struggle with depression.

May 2006 - Still no pregnancy, but I graduate from college with a Bachelor's Degree in "Sociological/Psychological Transformations through the Arts", and most of my family and friends (even from out of town) make it out to celebrate with me, which was very cool! I begin looking for full time employment while internally wondering if I will be pregnant before that happens. I continue to work my 2 part time jobs through the summer.

June 2006 - We go to San Francisco for a week. Husband has a training and I get to explore the city and museums. We then go explore wine country with a dear friend and his partner. It is really amazing.
Two more friends have babies.

July 2006 - I meet with my husband's counselor and then we begin marriage counseling. It is really really good for us both.
My 6yr old goddaughter/niece comes to stay with us for a week. I have so much fun with her and am reminded how much I can't wait to have kiddos of my own.

August 2006 - I turn 32. I always thought I would have my first child when I was thirty two. I realize time is running out for that to happen.
We go to Key West with my dad and step-mom. It is a really great time of connecting and relaxing. We are very lucky.
But we are not pregnant yet.

September 2006 - I start acupuncture with an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility. She puts me on Chinese herbs. I have now read almost every book in the library on infertility.

I begin volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters through an arts program out of a local school. I am excited to meet and get to know my "little" and love all the fun things we get to do together in the program. I also end up meeting and befriending a girl who lives across the street from us and is participating in the art program as well.

A dear friend gives birth. I go to visit her and am wracked with guilt and shame that it is so hard for me to fully celebrate her and her new baby. This is not who I want to be. But I just can't seem to do any better. I am really hurting. I feel so stuck and so ashamed.

October 2006 - I make an appointment for my "annual exam/pap" at the only free-standing birth center in town. I am going here because I am really hopeful that this might be where I give birth eventually. I meet with the nurse-midwife named Tracey who is the founder and she does my exam. We talk about my difficulties conceiving. She recommends a Dr. who works with women's hormonal levels and is a good next step and not quite as invasive as seeing a reproductive endocrinologist. I decide I will give it a few more months before going to see him. Right now I am doing herbs, Chinese herbs, lots of vitamins, acupuncture, Mayan abdominal massage, and chiropractic care. I want to give this every opportunity to happen naturally.

November 2006 - I get a full time job working with children who have experienced abuse. I get to use art in a therapeutic way. In many ways, the position is ideal. It turns out to be very stressful, heart-wrenching, chaotic, and sometimes traumatic. But I love working with the kids. Children really just continually amaze me. I feel so fortunate to get to see their hearts, their strength, and their spirits in full force every day. I am honest with my employer, telling them that I am trying to get pregnant and hope that I will be soon.

It has now been a year that we have been "trying".

We are officially qualified for the diagnosis of infertility.

(Ok....this is getting long and I need a breather.... I will start part II tomorrow. Stay tuned.)


Cassie said...

It does seem like such a long journey, but I'm sure it will be worth it in the end. :hugs:

Spicy Sister said...

Thanks for this. Yes, it will definitely be worth it in the end. I know when all of this is over I will never regret a moment of it. I believe that for whatever strange reason, this is just what we need to go through to get pregnant.

Thanks for the support, it means a lot!

Lori said...

What a gorgeous blog -- you sure don't LOOK like a beginner.

I love mandalas, too. Had a post awhile back...I have a whole tag for Spirituality -- I think we have a lot in common.

Welcome to ColoBloggers.

Spicy Sister said...

Thanks for the encouragement Lori! I have been checking out your blog too - I think we DO have a lot in common....I am excited to get to know you better!

Kidlicious said...

Welcome to the journey. I started my blog 3 years after I started the IVF journey. Thus the name of my blog "Never Too Late". :-) I am also starting a retrospective of my IVF journey.

It does seem like a long road when it is in front of you, but take care of yourself and know that you are not alone. There are many wonderful people here to give you support and a virtual hug when you need it.

Also sounds like a great support group in ColoBloggers of which I am a new member as well.

Hope to meet you in person some day.