Thursday, December 31, 2009


My week started off icky. I had a wake to go to Monday evening for an old friend of the family - not someone that I personally was particularly close to, but nevertheless someone important to my parents - and while driving to the wake I was feeling nauseous over something that had gone down at work before I left. I have a hard time leaving issues "at the office" - something I definitely need to work on - and I spent the entire night stressed out and agitated. Being at the wake, too, reminded me of how I always seem to be spending the holidays at wakes and funerals. Lost both of my grandparents around the holidays, and Anthony's grandmother as well.

The next day, I learned about two other deaths. One is particularly tragic, as it was completely unexpected and happened to a woman two years older than ME. I still don't have a lot of details but to say it was unnerving is an understatement. I also spent the majority of my morning at work putting out the fire from the day before (and taking a few bullets along the way) rather than doing my year's end stuff. Which led to me going back to the office on Wednesday, my day off, to finish up what needed to be done.

Meantime, I was supposed to be having a New Year's Eve party tonight at our house, which right about now I am relieved that we cancelled due to the amount of snow falling outside. Based on how my week went, I certainly didn't need the added stress of planning a party and cooking and cleaning and all that. But...I had been looking forward to it. If for no other reason, to keep me distracted from today.

12/31/2009. My "due date." Yup.

Earlier this year I found myself once again "accidentally" pregnant. And I remember when the doctor pulled out the stupid cardboard wheel and calculated my due date I chuckled that it was New Year's Eve. Not only that, but baby was due on the New Year's Eve that coincided with the ten-year anniversary of Anthony proposing to me. I thought, at the time, that although a baby had not been in the plans a New Year's Eve baby would be kind of cool. Anyways, we know how things went with THAT, as I am currently chilling a bottle of wine for tonight.

The biggest (and cruelest) practical joke of my life has taken place over the past decade. I have spent more time, in the past ten years, dealing with the issue of pregnancy, with the majority of that time focused on the heartbreak rather than the wonderful.

I got married in 2001, and stupidly assumed that like "everyone else" we were in charge of our destiny when it came to starting and planning our family. I could not have possibly been MORE WRONG about anything in my life. I am not going to rehash the entire journey in detail, but suffice it to say that when we decided we were ready to start a family we opened ourselves up to the next eight years of our marriage being filled with more heartbreak than we could have ever possibly anticipated.

Four years to have baby number one. Baby number one who was NEVER intended to be baby number "only." Multiple surgeries, years of medicines and injections, several procedures including IUI and IVF cycles (I want to say at LEAST eight procedures in total, with one success). And millions and millions of tears.

Amanda was (and still is, in my opinion) a miracle. The doctors at our IVF clinic still to this day tell us that they "don't know how she is here," that the IVF cycle that produced her never should have worked at all. When we returned to the clinic to try to have baby number two, after two additional failed IVF cycles the doctors told us to save ourselves years of further heartbreak and to just STOP - that it wasn't going to happen. And after months and months of more tears, we accepted this - that we had our one miracle baby and that we should count our blessings. (Which we did, and do).

So here is where the practical joke part happens: all of those years and drugs and tears and doctors to try to get me pregnant would lead one to believe that "birth control" should not need to be high on my list of priorities. And yet in 2007 and again this year, I found myself completely inexplicably pregnant - with no medical intervention. I got to ride the emotional roller coaster, twice, of being excited about the possibility of a surprise what-could-be, followed with the heartbreaking let down of having a miscarriage, and having yet another medical procedure to "take care of it."

While the decade past was not all gloom and doom, too much of it was overshadowed with all of THIS. The absolute bright side of all of it is that we have our beautiful amazing daughter. And, honestly, I would go through everything we went through all over again knowing it would bring her to us - that is without question. But the stupid nonsense I have dealt with since - two unexpected pregnancies ending in miscarriage - it feels like a gigantic slap in my face, to be quite honest.

All of this brings me to this year. If I were to draw a graph of this year it would start at around an "eight" and end at around a "three". My year started off pretty strong: January and February had me nursing a strain in my shoulder and seeing a physical therapist, but I did not let it deter me from my training. By the first week of March, I was off to Orlando to participate in my very first ever half-marathon - something I never would have DREAMED I was capable of. I went there by myself, which was okay - this was a personal goal and I was doing it for myself. At approximately mile six, to turn the corner into the Magic Kingdom and find myself running down Main Street in Disney World, to have total strangers cheering for me by name (our names were written on our bibs) might have been one of the most emotional highs of my life. It was incredible, an experience I won't soon forget (and one that I crave to recreate over and over again). Talk about feeling on top of the world! Crossing that finish line in Epcot Center was not only the highlight of my year, but without question one of the top highlights of my life.

A month and a half later I was sitting at home, watching the Boston Marathon, shaking with envy. I felt a surge of jealousy and excitement. I had just successfully completed a half-marathon. I had always dreamed of the possibility of someday running in the Boston Marathon, and I resolved right then and there that this would be the time to do it. If there was ever a time to give it a shot, it was now. I decided then and there, watching the first runners cross the finish line, that I would be running Boston in 2010.

Two days later, I found out that I was pregnant.

I spent the next month and a half slowly gaining weight - weight that I had fought so hard to take off the year before. I was still running, but had drastically reduced my mileage. My brain was readjusting and refocusing on what the upcoming year would bring, with a pregnancy and a baby. Once again, this "subject" was ruling my life and postponing my plans.

When it was over, I was an emotional mess. I never cried, never, over this loss. Not that I wasn't upset, but I was so much more pissed than anything else that it was almost as if that part of me wouldn't allow the tears to flow. I was angry as all hell, and was busy shouting profanities at everything and everyone and throwing around terms like "hysterectomy" as if this was a reasonable option for me.

My life had been going really well, and once again I was sidetracked by my infertility, or in this case my odd lack-thereof. I consulted my OB-GYN and told her that I couldn't possibly do this again. Her opinion was that it was likely that I would continue to have repeated miscarriages unless I did "something" about it. So, irony of ironies, I opted for a method of semi-permanent birth control with the goal of getting my year (my life?) back on the right track.

So far, that hasn't worked out well, at all. The side effects of this birth control are SO awful I cannot even describe it. I need to find another option, but haven't yet because I am just so sick and tired of the poking and prodding and the constant "experimentation" that I seem to put my body through. Seriously, why CAN'T I just have a hysterectomy? I don't need my uterus anymore, ever. (These are the crazy-person thoughts that go through my head, this is the breaking point that this decade has brought me to, where major surgery to remove a major organ seems like a perfectly natural method of birth control).

When does the madness stop? I feel like my year, and my sanity, has slowly been unravelling since the miscarriage. I have made myself busier than ever, probably to avoid "dealing" with the emotional fallout. I haven't managed to successfully lose the extra weight that the pregnancy put on me, which is a REAL bummer. I started trying to regroup and to refocus on the possibility of still running Boston, and I even completed a second half-marathon in October. And then, I got injured, and since then running has been taken away from me too.

What started off as such a promising year, personally, has slowly deteriorated. I haven't run in two months, and running was my main form of solace and therapy. I miss it with every fiber of my being, but until I can get in to see a doctor to have my foot looked at (which has been a chore) I cannot do it. My dreams of running Boston in the coming year are all but over. Someone is going to need to talk me down off a ledge on Marathon Monday, as I am going to be a mess when I am not there and not participating.

This week sucked. The year could have been better. And the decade was certainly a roller-coaster of emotions, many of them negative ones. Yes, I'm having a little pity-party tonight and I can do that - it is my blog and I'll cry if I want to. And cry I will. The tears of the year that I have suppressed are all coming out today, I fear. My husband doesn't understand why I am being such a "bitch" today, but I don't expect him to understand. I don't really expect anyone to understand.

People ask why I keep myself so busy, so constantly over-scheduled. And I think that this is precisely why...when I have nothing to do (which is NEVER), I have time to think and reflect about all of this. Those tears I never shed for my lost pregnancy are falling now. Which actually is appropriate, to cry about the loss on this, the due date. It is cathartic, in fact.

Here's the thing: the timing is good for all of this.

Tonight, I can cry. Tonight, I can feel bad for myself. Tonight, I can be a bitch. Oh yes I can.

Because tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow is a new week, a new month, a new year...AND, a new decade.

Clean slate. Tabula rasa. New beginning. Fresh start. (Add your own cliché HERE).

Some people hate the idea of New Year's Resolutions. And while I don't totally agree with them (why wait until New Year's?) it seems that, right now, it is just what Doctor Dawn has prescribed.


Resolution #1: I will no longer allow myself to be defined by my infertility. That chapter of my life is over, done and closed. When the ball drops at midnight, I drop this subject for good, too.

I am ready to move forward and not look back. I am ready to take the blessings of the past year and decade with me into the future. And I am ready to leave the ickiness behind. The 00's (or whatever we are calling this past decade) were defined, for me, by my struggles with infertility. I am determined that the "teens" (or whatever we are calling the next decade) will be defined by something else - something positive, something utterly wonderful. I don't know yet what it will be, but I can't wait to find out.

I think I'm in for a fun ride, and I can't wait to see what comes next.