26 October 2012

crazy light, the transition from wanting to having

Mo's new miracle baby, and Della's upcoming 2 year birthday have had me really thinking hard again about the bizarre and oddly difficult transition from full-time IF struggle to parenting.

First, let me be clear:  "Difficult" does NOT mean bad.

Let me explain.
I got used to being in the midst of the struggle. Every day, every night, every waking moment. I got used to the ebb and flow of the process of cd1, baseline scan, follicle counts, cysts or stimulation drugs, ultrasounds, injections, prayers while watching those little voids tucked into clusters in the midst of my innards, praying for them to grow, not too fast! please, all at once, same pace, same size.  I got used to seeing a big one and worrying. Seeing too few and worrying. Living from ultrasound to ultrasound, blood work to blood work.  When when luck would have it, I even got used to egg retrieval. When luck would have it, waiting for counts. When luck would have it, fertilization reports. When luck would have it, transfer. Interminable 2 week waits. Progesterone. Pee sticks. Negatives. Failures.

I also got used to a life that revolved around early morning appointments, injections of refrigerated equivalent of liquid gold. Liquid hope.
I got used to the struggle.
I got used to the regimented and intensely private lifestyle of IF and IVFfing.
And on some level, I got used to the failure.

When I read of someone else's cycle resulting in a negative, or heartbreaking miscarriage, I never EVER think of them as having FAILED.  And yet, with every one of mine, I felt like it was me who was failing. I remember apologizing, as if I had made it not work.  I was the old one, afterall. I was the one who waited too long. I was the one whose body did not respond like so many other people's. I was the one whose ovaries kicked out tiny follicle counts, often just over the limit to stay on the IVF path. And it was my body, mine, that somehow could not get pregnant. I felt, somehow, that I was responsible.

I confess, I'm slightly shamed by my own hypocrisy. My own double standard. 

My first pregnancy, I was stunned. It was from a conversion from an IVF cycle to IUI, a lead follicle messing things up.  I had no hope of it working. Cried my way through the insemination.
And then, suddenly and miraculously pregnant.
And then, numbers of weeks later, belly already rounding and hard, just as suddenly, not.

As soon as I could, I was back in-- cycling however they would let us.
Cycling and failing. Cycling and failing.
Failing, in fact, enough, that our old clinic would not cycle with us any more.
With Della, it was our hail mary.
It was a new clinic.
It was going to be Our Last Cycle (or so I say, who knows what I would have done to try again, or again, or again).
New places to drive to.
New phlebotomists to get to know.
New ultrasound protocols.
New new new.
But at the heart of it, it was the same old dance of injections, blood work, ultrasounds, numbers...
The first pee stick read was negative.
That was familiar too.
Then, it was not the same old dance.
Hours and hours after I peed on that stick, the faintest of faint lines had emerged:I was pregnant.
Bucking all odds, moon shot, crazy lucky, statistically LOTTO-winning, lightning striking.

And now, I have this perfect little person in my life who calls me Momma.

I have not yet learned to trust this, the way I trusted that.
That process, IVFfing, was something I could not believe I was doing (over and over and over and over), but it became so familiar to me.
Me as Momma? Not so much.  Each day I wake amazed. I know I have said this, but I really mean it.
I wake and worry some day I will wake up and I will discover to my horror (but perhaps not to my surprise) that I have dreamed this whole thing. This is too good to be true (knock wood, salt over shoulder, run around under a ladder backwards carrying a black cat).

So, some part of me wants to write to Mo and say: hey sweet and lovely lady, for some of us, not all of us, the transition from TRYING (and failing and trying and failing and trying...) to HAVING is as surreal as if we woke up next to a unicorn.
Be gentle with yourself as you try to learn this new way of being.
The new way of NOT struggling.
This new way of holding something miraculous and precious and singular and magnificent, in the crazy light of the wee hours with no sleep and no desire to close your eyes, because you don't dare close them, just in case you wake up and find it was all a dream.
And don't be surprised if, two years down the line, you find yourself in the crazy light of the wee hours, with no where near enough sleep, staring at this miraculous and precious and singular and magnificent being, stretched out long across the bed,  and feeling you don't dare close your eyes, because you don't want to wake up and find it was all a dream.


Anonymous said...

I think what you've hit upon is something universal to motherhood -- I've heard my mom (two kids within the first 5 years of marriage) and my sister (4 kids all two years apart) say too. I had my own similar experience last week at a conference, when during drinks before dinner one night suddenly all of the women (all of us early 30s or younger) ended up at one half of the table discussing babies and kids and I realized that of the four women, two were moms, and I was one of them. It was such a strange realization, made even stranger by knowing that I've been a mom for almost a year now, and it still feels strange. Somehow I don't wonder that it always will.

babyinterrupted said...

Amen, amen, amen.

sprogblogger said...

Right. there. with you. 2 years in and I still wake up astonished and terrified that surely I don't get to live THIS perfect life? Surely not.

Which is sad, but you know what? Those of us who do this probably never ever take the good for granted, and that's not such a bad thing, all in all.

bb said...

Agreed, very much agreed. I look at my Adalynn everyday and wonder how she got here. How am I so lucky? How can I memorize every second, every move, every THING. Because this is all I have ever wanted. And now. I have it. I am scared I will somehow waste it...

B. said...

Oh yes. I find myself wondering how I "paid" for this miraculous life, praying that the payment isn't in my future. It was all so very worth the struggle. I wish our wishing could get everyone to this other side.

Joannah said...

Yes. It's a wonderful, yet strange transition. I'm still amazed she's mine. Still amazed that Michael is not here with us. Life is weird and wonderful. I'm still aware of the things my body does, and I remember back to how those things used to impact our live - just like you described. I don't miss that frenzy and pressure, but I do miss the potential.