Life is Stinking Hilarious

Back in January, in one of my very first posts, I wrote about being a Rebel in a Bathtub,  describing all the taboo ways I exercise my freedom after a failed cycle. Shortly after writing that post I began to feel old and desperate, overwhelmed by the sound of a ticking clock in my brain, and I decided it would be wise to start following the rules again, which I have pretty much stuck to the last few months. I haven’t exactly been a t-totaller, but I have limited my alcohol, eaten healthy, moderated exercise, and popped hundreds of supplements. I had only three glasses of wine when I learned of Blob’s demise and only 9 total over the course of two months preparing for our last failed cycle.

All that effort at purity and perfection came to a halt last night when I accidentally had way to much to drink which also led to other choices that are not too great for my upcoming cycle like eating gluten. Actually, I didn’t just eat gluten, that would be understating it. Rather, I had gluten with a side of gluten and a little gluten sprinkled on top for good measure. There is more that I did and shouldn’t have, but not that I can put in writing for the fear of losing my low insurance rates.

Today I awoke in a haze and when the memories came rushing back I instantly began hating myself and my youngest sister for the influence that inspired my bad choices. I belly ached to my husband, sharing my self loathing, and also posted to my favorite fertility board about my transgressions. My IVF pals and husband all said the same thing, one night of bad choices is not going to lead to a failed cycle and it might even be good for me. I am human after all and loads of women get pregnant every day in much worse condition.

They are probably right. At least that is what I am choosing to believe. Besides, I can’t change it and its not as if stressing about whether I have destroyed good eggs is going to help me get pregnant. Better to move on and use my guilt for something good, like a run.

While I was punishing myself and trying to eliminate toxins on that run this morning, it occurred to me how ironic life is. There was a time many years ago that bad choices while under the influence might have led to, gasp, a pregnancy that we didn’t plan and didn’t want yet. Fast forward a decade and here I am hoping that the bad choices, which really weren’t all that bad, will keep me from getting pregnant.

Very funny life. Very funny.

And here is another really funny thing about life. It has a way of moving at the speed of light when you want to savor it, but gets stuck in molasses when you are looking forward to something. Tomorrow we meet with our new fertility doctor over Skype and it seems like time has come to a stand-still as I anxiously await his counsel. This is the first time I have ever experienced anxiety about a meeting because we have reached the point with my age and history that being turned down by a clinic is a real possibility. Bill thinks I am crazy, and that just like Celebrity Miracle clinic they will gladly take our money especially given the fact that we still produce so many eggs and conjured up three genetically normal embryos in our cycle late last year. Still after five fresh IVFs and 9 transfers they may advise us to move on to donor eggs. We will find out tomorrow, if tomorrow ever comes.

Image by rubyblossom via Flickr

Image by rubyblossom via Flickr

Meanwhile, my daughter is far too rapidly making the transition from toddler to little girl. Today when I put her down for a nap she did not want to say “good night” to the owls painted on her bedroom door, our routine since she was born. She also did not want to give me “one more kiss and one more hug” like she always asks after I rub her back and sing her one song. She has become a master procrastinator and manipulator at nap time which only further demonstrates how un-baby-like she is. We couldn’t possibly be having any more fun but the arms on the clock measuring our time with her are whizzing around and around leaving memories of my baby in a beautiful but painful blur.

Very funny life. Very funny.

 

*I finally picked back up on reading the book “Writing Tools” and posting samples of my work on the Writing Tools page. Hence the extraordinarily long second sentence in this post. It has proven very difficult to keep up my work on writing skills while in the midst of IVF but now that we have entered a waiting period I hope to be able to work on it and add posts on most weekends.

 

Hello, Goodbye- Part 2

Image: John Via Flickr

Image: John Via Flickr

Phew. Glad I got Part One out of my system. Now that its done, that goodbye has been said, let’s talk about the FUTURE.

Well really, let’s talk about NOW because our next step is already well under way.

Hello Future.

We don’t stay down for long in this family. Before the sun set on us Sunday night I had already emailed the new/old clinic to explain our situation and set up a consultation. It often takes time to switch clinics. Time for diagnostic testing, Time to get on the calendar. I was expecting it to take time this time too. Nope… we are in full swing.

Before we left our new/old clinic we already had a consultation with our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) to hear his recommendations for what we should try next after our miscarriage. Those of us in the fertility world call this the “WTH” (What The Heck?) appointment. Some more colorful ladies use another letter besides “H.”

I am more comfortable just calling it a consultation myself. If you think about it, with the odds of IVF being less than 50% the WTH appointment should be reserved for when a patient actually gets pregnant. At least that is how it feels for this unlucky girl.

In preparation for this discussion my new/old RE created a plan. All our lab work and other testing is recent enough that there is no need to repeat. So when I opened my email Monday morning and one of my favorite nurses had already responded, I was pleasantly surprised to find we could pass go and go straight to cycling. All we had to do was call the business office and pay a deposit.

By close of business on Monday, the deposit was paid and we were on the calendar for a May retrieval. We set up consultation appointment on April 10th to review the plan and also make necessary adjustments based on what we learned from Celebrity Miracle Clinic. I was told to call with my “pre-month” menses which I took to mean April.  However when my monthly friend arrived Wednesday I called to be sure and they told me it was close enough that we could get going. Yes!

Drugs have been ordered and are scheduled to arrive. I am back on birth control again and we are taking supplements to improve egg and sperm quality. At the consultation we will pick a date in May and count backwards to select a date when I will go off the pill to begin another antagonist cycle (I will explain what that means in a later post). We will retrieve my eggs in May and create our embryos which will all be frozen.

In June we will thaw several of them for transfer. We are doing this because I have never been pregnant on a fresh cycle. Some women just do better with frozen cycles and I appear to be one of those Ice Queens. More importantly, we know that my embryos are slow starters and a frozen cycle will allow us to better match the time when the lining is receptive to the development of the embryo.

Over the last few days I have already talked to three of my favorite nurses. I am excited. I am nervous. But mostly I am just glad to be ready to go and to be working with my old friends.

Now I just need to give new/old clinic, new/old nurses, and new/old RE a more creative and acceptable name. Something as fitting for them as “Celebrity Miracle Clinic” was for the other one.

I’m thinking about it…

Any ideas?

A Destiny Determined before Dawn (Perhaps)

I suppose mornings were crazy before we had a kid, especially Tuesdays. We both have important meetings on Tuesdays. But now? Mornings are complete chaos.

So its strange that we may have made a major life decision this morning over coffee (hot water with lemon for caffeine free me).

Spork awoke a full hour earlier than usual today which means the whole house was up and going at the crack of dawn. As a result, Bill and I found ourselves in the kitchen with time to spare long before either of us had to leave for work.

Funny how life works. A few unplanned minutes with my husband may have changed our destiny. We decided to use the gift of time to settle on a Plan C (or D, E, or T depending on when you start counting).

This cycle is going to work, but if by some chance my attempt to shape reality through positive imaging fails we have our next step planned. This is not our morning epiphany, we have known this for some time and have already shared Plan B in the blog. Our quest will continue with one more full IVF cycle at our miracle clinic. But what would happen if that is a bust? If my eggs fail us in another full cycle?

Our plan didn’t stretch that far into the future, or at least that was true until today.

A few weeks ago a “friend” (read- therapist I saw the week after my last negative result) shared that it would be helpful for me to consider the possibility that this just won’t ever work and suggested I think through what that would mean for me. She asked me to answer the question:

What is the worst that can happen?

It was good advice, so good in fact that I haven’t been back since that first visit.

Truthfully, the question pissed me right off. That’s the real reason why I didn’t make a second appointment for the following week as she suggested.

I buy baby clothes, maternity clothes, and have a crib set up in my bedroom because I believe it is important to focus on what you want. I have always visioned my goals and achieved them. I don’t know why baby making should be any different.  This therapist was asking me to send counterproductive thoughts into the universe that may destroy the good vibes I’ve sent. Bah.

Her question also made me cry.  Making me cry in front of strangers, even if they are therapists, also pisses me right off.

So I didn’t go back (it helped that the hormones started wearing off soon after the visit). But I did start thinking about acceptance like she recommended. The therapist struck a chord because she felt that if I opened myself to the possibility of it not working and embraced what we have, it may just prepare me mentally and emotionally to welcome another baby into my being. That caught my attention.

So you mean accepting that I might not get pregnant may help me get pregnant?

Sheesh. I told you this fertility stuff is crazy.

So I pondered “what is the worst that can happen”. Turns out its not so bad. The worst that can happen is I have a great job, a loving husband, and of course Spork. I can live with that. Its enough for me. It took over a month of thinking and blogging to arrive at the conclusion that what I have now is all I need.  I don’t need to move to donor eggs and I don’t need to adopt. I have been very clear on this for the last couple of weeks and it has lifted a huge emotional weight.

Which brings me back to my quiet morning with Bill. It was the first time I have been able to share this acceptance with him. And a funny thing happened.

Bill looked panicked. I have been driving this bus with him along for the ride for a long time. Today it was as if I pulled the bus over to a screeching stop and screamed “Get out!” without any warning and for no observable reason.

For the first time ever we seriously discussed donor eggs. When I told him that I was afraid that I might not love a baby that wasn’t created from my eggs as much as Spork he said “but you will carry it for 9 months, you will make the connection, it will be your baby.” He was fighting for what he wanted. He looked fearful but was kind and understanding. He was quietly, lovingly and sweetly pleading.

It was a short conversation but I knew instantly what we would do.  Plan C.

If necessary, someday I will carry a life that a lab will create with the reproductive ingredients of Bill and another woman, but it will be ours.  This is not something I was even considering a possibility until now. I confess my fear of donor eggs is totally egotistic.  I love that when I show pictures of myself as a child that my daughter swears “Its Spork! It’s Spork.”  I wasn’t ready to give that up until today.

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However if I can accept not having another baby at all, I can embrace having another baby for and with the love of my life. With my newfound acceptance I already have a deeply seeded knowledge that I can and will love the child as fully as I love my own genetic child. It is as if a switch was flipped in my brain during our daybreak discussion that flooded a whole new realm of possibilities with light. There is still much more to discuss, but we will tackle that when the time comes and probably not on a Tuesday morning.

Of course all of this is likely to be irrelevant. If this cycle doesn’t work I am sure the next one will. Or at least that is what I am focusing on for now.

The Meaning of Fried Okra

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Every year at this time I ponder the meaning of life and face my own mortality. 19 years ago today this Daddy’s girl lost her real life super hero to an 8 month battle with cancer. I was four days before my 19th birthday and he was only 41. Tragically, I am the oldest of four and my youngest sister was 11 at the time.

This year marks a sad turning point, I am officially crossing the threshold of time where I will now have spent more time without my Dad than with my Dad.

Everyone expects to someday lose their parents, at least parents pray that is how things go. Its how things should go. But when you lose a parent too soon, when that parent dies young, it forever affects your view on the world and your own mortality. Since I hit my thirties, I have been counting down to 41. The number looms around my subconscious daring me to surpass it and taunting me with dark possibility.

Last year, I decided to start making a video for Spork every year on this day. I sing her favorite songs, talk to her about how much I love her, and detail her milestones. I do this so if something happens to me, if I leave her too soon, she has 10 minutes of Mommy tailor made for her age and needs right now.

Between all of this and the imminent birthday, I cannot help but to contemplate the meaning of life and my own mortality. Of course, fertility is a factor. I keep thinking that if we get pregnant this cycle and I only make it to 41, I will leave Bill with a 5 year old and a 3 year old. I wonder if its irresponsible of me to even try. I worry what will happen to my little girl if she goes through her formative years without her Mommy.

Two nights ago, it all came crashing down on me. Lying in bed with Bill asleep beside me I began to question my faith and whether there really was an afterlife. My thoughts on the topic are for a different blog, but in the midst of what was threatening to turn into a panic attack I woke Bill up to discuss it.

Me: “Bill.”

Bill: No response.

Me: “Bill. Are you awake?”

Bill: Some rustling and grumbling.

Me: A little louder and acting surprised “Bill, you are still awake too?”

Bill: “Uh…Yeah.”

Me:  “Oh good. I am freaking out a little bit. Do you ever start thinking about the meaning of life and freak out?”

Bill: “No”

Me: “Do you ever start thinking about what happens to us after we die and panic or get really scared?”

Bill: “No”

Me: “Oh. Okay. Because I am really freaking out.”

Bill: “Don’t freak out.”

I could tell from the grumbling and heavy breathing that followed that he was not awake enough to get me through my mini crisis and I was on my own. I did some deep breathing, a little meditation and eventually fell asleep.

And then I had the most amazing dream.

I won’t go into the somewhat weird and unimportant details, but I dreamed of my Dad. We talked. I don’t remember all the fine points of what we discussed or for how long but it seemed like it was all night. I do remember the sound of his voice. It has been so long since I heard it but it was unmistakably him. At one point I reached up and touched his face and I could actually feel the texture and temperature of his skin. It was so vivid and real. He had unique skin that was tough but soft at the same time, especially after shaving. I rarely dream of my Dad and have never had a dream like this. I didn’t want to wake up, and when I did I was exhausted even though I slept through the night.

Despite all my fertility superstitions, I am generally grounded in reality. I realize there is a limit to how much we understand about the universe but my open-mindedness stops short of believing that dead parents visit their kids in dreams. While I don’t remember the various things we talked about, I do remember the general feeling of the conversation was comforting. It felt like he was trying to put me at ease. He was letting me know he was okay and that I was going to be okay. Maybe this was a sign? Maybe he was visiting me from the great beyond to bring me peace?

And then he said something I do remember very well which totally shattered my illusions about it really being my Dad:

“I really miss fried okra. I wish I could have some fried okra. With bacon.”

Dad did like fried okra. And he liked bacon too. You can’t tell it from the photo in his twenties, but he rarely met a food he didn’t like which is at least part of the reason he is not here today. He could have used more exercise, a healthier diet, and a job that didn’t surround him with second hand smoke. But however much he loved fried food, I have to believe he would not travel through time and space and pierce the vail between two worlds to tell me he had a craving.

I know that what I experienced was probably just my slumbering brain working through its issues. I was unconsciously reconciling the pressure of getting closer to 41 and lamenting the loss of my father and my youthful eggs.

Still, I woke up at peace. Touching his face and hearing his voice gave me the feeling he was still with me, even if he wasn’t visiting me in my dreams. I knew with unshakeable certainty that just like I am okay, my little girl and her (God willing) sibling will be okay. I knew right away that as a parent I needed to accept that I can’t control what happens to them or to me in this life. I can give them life, give them my best, and pray.

I don’t know the meaning of life, but I am pretty sure we should soak it all in and savor every sweet moment. Kind of like the way Dad would have savored fried okra and bacon.

And just as it is with my Dad, I would rather have my family and this life for a short time than not at all. However I have a feeling that someday my kids will be watching decades worth of annual videos of their happy, old, crazy Mom.

Our Division of Labor

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I told a great big public lie and its time to come clean. My transgression ocurred  yesterday when I posted the above photo to Facebook with the following caption:

“Thank You winter storm. After eight years of shoveling we finally broke down and bought a snowblower for Valentines’ Day. I would hate to see it go to waste after shoveling our way through the Worst. Winter. Ever.”

I hit submit and immediately felt like a great big fraud. I don’t shovel. I never have and never will. I limit my shoveling to a an 8 foot path to our hot tub and the top of the hot tub on rare occasions. The only reason I even do this minuscule amount of cold, hard, labor is that I am the only one who likes to use the hot tub which means I am sometimes responsible for its upkeep.

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All of the other shoveling? The driveway, the mailbox, the long path to our house and our neighbor’s house? Bill has toiled away for thousands of hours over the last 8 years shoveling us out from under Northern Michigan’s worst wintery white blankets. Saying “shoveling our way though” in that Facebook post was a gigantic fib from a total phony. A poser.

But as much as I have never earned a callous or blister from the handle of a shovel, we are in this together as we are in all things in life.

That is the way it is in our marriage. He shovels. I balance the check book and pay the bills. He cooks and does the dishes. I do all the laundry and straightening. He hangs pictures and puts things away in the attic. I frame the photos and organize the junk that goes into the attic. He takes care of scheduled maintenance on our vehicles. I take care of the license plates and our taxes. We have a division of labor in our house that works like a well oiled machine. We never discussed or planned it this way, we just fell into it based on our natural talents and needs of our family. The invisible hand of marriage created a near perfect process that satisfies both of us most of the time.

This division of labor started me thinking about how shoveling is for Bill like going through IVF is for me. Even though we are both impacted by this process, the heavy lifting is all on me. I take all the shots, undergo surgeries, experience side effects, schedule and attend appointments, cut all fun and taste out of my diet, organize travel plans, and resolve issues that develop. Bill is involved and concerned, but for the most part he just shows up when and where I tell him and does as I say.

Good husband.

Its not as if Bill doesn’t do anything. He does one BIG thing in that tiny little cup to contribute to the cause. He also cut way back on drinking from August until November to get his swimmers in tip top shape. During that time he remembered to take his supplements most days. Yes, I often laid them out for him and had to remind him but that’s okay. That’s what I do. Our beautiful Christmas cards would never  go out if I left it up to Bill, just like he wouldn’t remember to take supplements on his own. It is what our family unit needs to work.

Bill’s real work begins after the transfer when he morphs into the most caring man on the planet. He takes care of me while I am on bed rest for two whole days. He waits on me hand and foot and scolds me if I break the rules. While we are in our 9 day wait he becomes Spork’s primary caregiver since I am not supposed to lift more than 10 pounds. This means he changes all the dirty diapers, plays with her, feeds her, washes her, dresses her, puts her to bed, and takes her to and from daycare. He becomes a single parent of two for those nine days.

But for the most part, during the long months of preparation, its all on me.

Little problems arise every now and again from this arrangement. I haven’t ingested a smidgeon of alcohol, gluten, or caffeine since the beginning of this cycle. So when Friday night comes after a long week at work and I hear him crack open a beer jealousy envelopes me and begins to fester. When I sit for nearly two hours in the parking lot at work because the FedEx truck didn’t make it there with my Lupron before we closed, I become aggravated that I am there alone. When Bill accidentally wakes me up at 5 AM while he is getting ready for CrossFit, I am ready to wallop him because not only do I want to sleep off the effects of the meds I am taking, I also would love to be able to go to CrossFit.

I know I am not alone. This is a common issue among the fertility challenged that threatens marital bliss. And why wouldn’t it be?

Take any woman. Give her nearly all the responsibility for something of great magnitude that will equally benefit her husband. Make sure her husband needs to do almost nothing to support the process. Just for fun, throw in some hormone induced mood swings. What you have are all the ingredients needed to fuel a marital Battle Royale.

Largely, the responsibility of fixing this imbalance rests with me. I am in this alone because as a classic control freak I don’t ask enough of Bill in the process. I worked to begin to change that with our last cycle. It is not that he doesn’t want the responsibility, its that he needs to know how to help and even when he tries I often don’t let him.

I inject my medications myself and always have , even the difficult and painful intramuscular injections in my hips. We started out with good intentions of Bill doing this part, but I travel often enough for work that I had no choice but to learn to do it myself. Once I was comfortable going it alone I stopped asking him to help. Why should I wake him or distract him from what he is doing?

In our last cycle, he gave me all the shots he could. It was a way for both of us to feel like we were actively doing something. It allowed us to feel more connected to each other in our quest to make a baby. I changed other behaviors as well. When we had the little snafu with the Lupron delivery, Bill called the pharmacy for the tracking number and information to help us work through the issue and find the errant driver. In the past I would have taken care of it myself only to become annoyed with Bill later when he didn’t display enough sympathy during my post-problem rant.

This cycle, I am recognizing that while his efforts in the process are less life altering and painful, they are still there and a necessary part of our success. I am consciously asking for more from him when I have a bad day or don’t feel well. He will continue to be my own personal phlebotomist and problem resolution department.

My goal is to change my perspective and bring a little balance into the process. Perhaps by doing this we will avoid our historical estrogen fueled battle and bring about some good luck that will break our current IVF losing streak. In the end, we are in this together and I couldn’t do it without him, even if I almost could. Almost.

The truth is we needed what was in that little cup back in November to make this happen. But even more essential, I need him to grab his shovel and dig me out when infertility dumps its worst on us. He is always there with his calloused hands and his quiet strength to save us from the heavy, cold, worst of it.

Please watch for the debut of “His Perspective” tomorrow. Bill’s will publish his first blog post, yet another way he supports us in our battle with Infertility.

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A Subtle Change of Theme

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Image: Opus Moreschi via Flickr

The self-discovery I experience as a result of IVF never ceases. When I began this blog, I had every intention of posting something humorous about infertility every day. I vowed to readers I wouldn’t complain. I promised to not provide gory details of ultrasounds and other tests. And above all I promised no pity parties or rants. My goal was to bring a little levity to an otherwise heavy topic while also reminding myself to stay positive and laugh.

What was I thinking?

Positivity and humor are still great goals and I am not planning to dive head first off the deep end, but I am only on day two of estrogen and I am already throwing in the towel on trying to be funny every day. I don’t know how I forgot about the effects of that nasty lupron and estrogen cocktail. It’s like having a never-ending hang over. The headaches are constant and pounding. Fatigue has wracked my body. The moodiness is already wickedly bad.

The scary thing is that it is only just beginning. I am wearing only one estrogen patch at this stage in my cycle. By the time I fly out west to reunite with my long lost embryo I will be wearing four patches. Tears will be flowing and fights will be picked. I know myself and my body and its inevitable. Comedy writing on a daily basis is not in the cards.

You can already see the effects of the drugs in my writing. My posts have grown longer and just a wee bit darker as the injections have worn on and the patch was added. What I am learning is that there are just times when I am not a funny person. There are times when I barely feel like a person at all.

Freaking out and worrying are also tell tale signs of successful progression in an IVF cycle that are sure to make humor elusive. Yesterday I was convinced I hadn’t shed my old lining and that I shouldn’t start my patches until I did. I pleaded for an ultrasound to confirm that it was gone and I was getting a fresh start on developing fertile ground for implantation. As expected the ultrasound was fine. Despite the good news, I still dialed up my clinic twice today for no good reason to ask a couple of questions that don’t really need answers until March, if ever.

The questions were about the odds of success of our lone embryo. The doctor already told us the embryo had about a 35% chance of making it to a real life baby. But yesterday I spent some time with Dr. Google, never a good idea, and began wondering what factors went into the creation of that number. Did the doctor take into consideration that the embryo had to be thawed and retested because the first genetic test was inconclusive? What are the impacts of an extra thaw and biopsy on our delicate embryo? What are the odds that we will get all the way to our clinic and the embryo won’t survive the warming process?

I pestered my clinic with these questions even though I laid in bed late into the night last night reminding myself that the answers are irrelevant. The clinic has a 95% survival rate for thawed embryos. And even if the odds were lower, its not as if we aren’t going to go through with the transfer.  What would this information change? Nothing good can come from this knowledge. I have already been meditating on the only statistics that matter, my very own 100% success rate. I visualize a SART data report with my name on it and in every column my results are 100%. Why would I want to mess with that image and its mojo by finding out what some doctor thinks?

One word, hormones. Hormones make the sane insane. They make the intelligent foolish. They make the happy sad. And above all else they make the confident worried. I don’t like worried.

Worry is a meditation on shit.

Worry and hormones aside, there is another reason that I am having troubling channeling my inner comedian.

The real self-discovery has been that its not only that I am not always capable of humor, I have also discovered that I want to try a variety of types of writing. I don’t just want to tell cute stories about IVF, I want to pour my heart and soul out on a page and see what it looks like in black and white. I want to hear my emotions and deepest thoughts roll of the tongue of the voice in my mind. I want the therapeutic jolt of liberation I feel when I hit publish on something I have created. The writing process won’t allow me to limit my life to one genre.

With all this in mind, I made a little change to the Laughter Through Tears subtitle today. Yesterday it read “for those in search of the lighter side of infertility.” Today its simply “In search of the lighter side of infertility.” It’s a subtle change, but its recognition that I can’t promise anyone levity every day, especially not myself. I can’t always be funny and witty. However I will commit to always being in search of the lighter side. For you and for me.

Waiting- Part 2

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Image: Victoria Pickering via Flickr

Ahhhh…. waiting. If you battle infertility you know a thing or two about waiting. Waiting- Part One detailed the many milestones a couple must pass in the quest to become parents through IVF. The type of waiting discussed in Part One is a tactical type of waiting. One procedure, medication, or result leads to another, then time passes and its time for another, then yet another. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. You wish you could sleep through all the steps and just wake up blissfully pregnant. This type of waiting is torturous, but worse exists.

This worse type of waiting is on a higher level, its more big picture. Let’s call it a strategic sort of waiting, even though that word feels too business like to describe it. For the couple that does not have a child of their own and desperately wants one it can feel like they are waiting for the life they were meant to live to begin. At least that is how we felt.

During the years we were trying to conceive Spork, I distinctly remember feeling like life was on hold. I could see what our life could be like, what kind of parents we would be, how much fun we would have. But we didn’t have our child and weren’t sure that we ever would. We were reasonably happy, but something crucial was missing in our lives. There was a giant void sitting between us as we drank wine and watched movies together, threatening to suck us in forever.

I know we did more than drink wine and watch movies back then, in fact for a large chunk of time I didn’t drink at all. We were extremely active and on the surface must have seemed to be completely content. We trained for and ran a marathon together. We travelled. We sailed and motor boated all over Northern Michigan. We entertained. We developed successful careers.

However when I think about that time, I remember it as a few years of sitting around, barely talking, drinking wine and waiting. I felt as though our lives, our marriage, lacked purpose and that if we could just have a baby our life could be vibrant and full in a way I felt it may never be without a child.

We are lucky, we came out of the holding pattern and our life is exactly what I had envisioned. I am confident that many couples who don’t succeed in having a baby also find purpose and happiness. Perhaps not all couples, but many. Likewise, not all couples that do have children find what they are seeking. Ultimately it is all about moving beyond infertility and its hold on you either through having a baby through some means or through accepting a life that is childless and discovering fulfillment and purpose within that life. For healing to begin, with or without a child, it is important for this waiting to end.

Interestingly, my experience in the quest for baby number two has taught me about a new kind of waiting. Please understand, I want so much to once again be pregnant. Other than the health and wellness of Bill and Spork, there is nothing in this world I want more than another baby. However there is a growing part of me that also just wants to get beyond all this. More and more I find myself eagerly waiting to start my life again. Not just our life. My life.

I thought about this while running my three measly little miles on Sunday morning. I am itching to go long, to train for distance again. But logging double digit miles is not particularly good for building life sustaining fat stores. Oh how I miss my running and exercise. As much as I tease Bill about being a member of the cult of CrossFit, I long to join in the fun and get tone again. Not female body builder ripped, I just want to see my abs and have a little definition in my arms and legs.

My desires go beyond exercise and vanity. I fantasize about having a cup of coffee, some chocolate, or a glass of wine when I want without having to worry about how it will affect my uterus or ovaries. I dream about waking up in the morning on a weekend whenever I feel like it, not to an alarm set for a shot that has to be taken at just the right time.

My most profound and clear vision of the future involves me being free from infertility and able to be fully available to my family. I want to feel good again, not always affected by some hormone or another. I need to have energy again so I can completely enjoy the daughter and husband I have. Hopefully I will need even more of that energy to take care of a fourth member of the family when all this is behind us.

Sometimes I worry that allowing this longing for the future me is sending a message to the universe that I don’t really want to be pregnant and that maybe the universe is listening and giving me what I want. I have to believe, however, that is the universe is indeed paying attention, it understands and it hears my cries to experience motherhood just one more time.  It is possible to want a baby and a life after babies at the same time. I do.

All of this waiting has taught me the importance of enjoying the moment and being fully present in the now. I have been doing a lot of work with being mindful and it has been rewarding. When I eat lunch, I eat lunch and pay attention to the flavors and colors of my food. I put my phone away and take a moment to breathe. When I am driving I take in the scenery around me and experience the trip, rather than multitasking. When I am with someone I focus on them, not what I have to say or do next. I only check email twice a day so I can interact with people at work on the phone or in person and have real experiences. When I am home, I engage in activities with my daughter and husband. Or at least I try to do all these things and its helping me get more out of all areas of my life.

If life had a fast forward button before we were blessed with Spork, I probably would have used it, even if it meant losing precious time and life experiences. While its tempting now to wish my life away so I can make it to that next step, I can’t do that. My little girl is already growing up too fast and I don’t want to miss a moment of her precious childhood.

So I will be patient and I will suck every bit of goodness out of this time that I am in right now. Its something I wish I would have understood back when I was waiting for Spork. I can only hope that this story may help one person try to find the joy in life, marriage, friendships, and work that exists even before you have a baby. It was always there for me, I just couldn’t see it through the blinding light of my burning desire.