Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Pail Sea

Tap tap tap...

Testing.... Testing 1 2....

This thing still work?

CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?!?

It is I, Stork.

It has been... Jesus.... two months since my last confession. Let's just get into it, shall we?

I haven't been too active in infertile world because I've been frozen in terror, and I need to thaw. I need to unfreeze because I miss you people, but mostly for my own sanity.

I've often compared being a member of our community to being a passenger on the Titanic. We're all unlucky - every last one of us somehow ended up on the wrong fucking boat, and most of us wound up in the freezing water. There are unmistakable divides in our community - who's been in the water longer, who was in it for too short a period or too long ago to count, who's currently sitting fat and happy in a lifeboat.

The ideal code of conduct between these divides, as I understood them pre-pregnancy: If you're in the water, try your best not to focus on the order people should get saved based on suffering because that's never the order it will happen in. If you're in a lifeboat, for fucks sakes don't complain about the gd conditions of the lifeboat particularly to people who are still in the water.

I was in the water for 4 years.  It was a tit bit nipply. I thought, if ever I get yanked onto a boat, because of the aforementioned ideals, it would be a non-obnoxious transition. I'll admit - a million times I've heard a finally-pregnant infertile express how terrified they were, and I've thought 'OMG just be fucking happy'.  So I had a pretty good idea of how I was going to respond if I was ever lucky enough to be 'saved'. Pregnant = problem solved. Smooth transition to happiness.

I was - and this still annoys me - totally, fucking, spectacularly, wrong.

The moment my butt hit a dry seat - happiness. Happy disbelief.  No denying that. There's a physical reaction to obtaining what you've been going after for years before you even have a chance to mentally process it.

Then, I think because of losing one of the embryos 5 weeks in and having enough time to remember - I dunno, who I was? -  and that person was not someone I associated with good luck or a lack of cruel irony, it just morphed into panicked disbelief.

I thought... this can't be your boat. The last one you were on sank spectacularly, you were in the water forever - one of the gajillions of people floating helplessly in frozen, never moving, on-the-cusp-of-ice water. Do you really think you're going to be one of the lucky people successfully saved on this tiny ass boat after all that? Please, by all means, spend a few minutes thinking your safe - because that will give Gawd/the universe/Mother Nature all the more booming a laugh as they hurl you back into the water and you will pray fondly for the days where your skin was used to the cruelty of that temperature... it's going to be soooo much funnier now that you've warmed up a bit.

Another unforeseen reaction on my part was how I would view my place in our community. A million times before, when one of us has gotten knocked up and then disappeared completely, I thought 'well that's kind of a dick move... I guess we'll see you later? Thanks for playing?'. When my butt hit that dry seat, after I realized what happened I looked back in the water. Freezing cold fucking awful water, full of people who had kept me warm for years - and I couldn't do shit to save them. Still can't.

The water had become my HOME. My community. My place. The unbelievably cold and the unfuckingbelievably strong. To stop paddling seemed preposterous... presumptuous. Better women than me were still paddling. Out of habit, I was/am way more used to the idea of surviving than I was the idea of being a survivor.

For a combination of circumstances I don't really fully understand myself - previous experience, hormones, genetic disposition, who knows - I also went a wee bit coocoo for the first half of my pregnancy. I am, if left to my own devices, a very calm, cool, collected and above all mellow person. I find the goof in everything. About 6 weeks into pregnant I became so afraid of how far I was going to fall when it all went to shit, that my brain started entertaining itself by spending most days picturing every possible disaster. An example? I went hunting for blood so thoroughly I would accidentally make myself bleed. If so much as a fucking ant boarded my lifeboat, I would be completely convinced it would sink the whole damn thing.

I'd have a few days where I'd feel normal, and then a few days where it was just... panic. Maybe I would have been better prepared for that if I had hints of that in my personality to begin with but.. nope. It was like being taken over by someone else.  I technically no longer had to paddle to stay alive, and that threw me into such a panic that I exhausted myself paddling. Exhausted.

Maybe around 20 weeks (I'm 25 now) I started to show a little bit (although I'm pudgy to begin with so one could argue I just look like I'm awkwardly carrying fat). Around the same time, I started to feel her move. I started to feel a slight thaw. Maybe I'm really pregnant - but like, the kind that may result in a baby.

A few weeks ago I was driving to get myself some peanut butter froyo with chocolate chips and strawberries (which is now my jammmmm) and listening to "the Loft" on Sirius. (If anyone knows what the fuck the theme of that radio station is supposed to be - don't tell me because at this point it's become a great big infuriating riddle I need to solve.. but do tell me someone knows?).  Anyway, I was thinking about how I really needed to just... let go. Embrace the unknown.  I didn't get this far being a chicken shit. I am no longer trying to get pregnant or struggling to get pregnant... time to accept that I just may be one of the lucky ones. I'm thinking this to myself, this song comes on I've never heard before, Heisenbaby starts to dance around apeshit, and I start to cry - another totally-out-of-character thing for me, but they were happy/relief tears.



So, I still have rough/weird days where relaxing feels like it will bring on punishment.. However, as pre-pregnancy I was no chicken shit, I'm now trying to embrace the happy ending. I bought a crib. I got her a few outfits. I started a registry.

And I'm forcing myself out of the weird and unbearable inbetween... because again, I miss you and I miss my sanity - and at least previously it would seem one was very tied in with the other.

So... I declare this a PAIL blog.

I'm going to get back to writing in here - which has and will continue to be mostly weird shenanigans and certainly not where you go to get an instructional on how to knit a sweater out of tuna casserole using only heavily used stockings.. but I will be writing my shenanigans as a pregnant woman. Which I will be talking about (but I'll go easy on the fruit comparisons).

I'm going to preface this whole new blog - wherever it goes - with the following disclaimer: I am grateful. So grateful. If I had to put hot needles in my eyes every day for the duration of my pregnancy to result in a healthy baby, I would do it with gratitude.  Not just gratitude, but the same perfect understanding I had a year ago as to why any pregnant person should be grateful.... but in that scenario, on this blog, I will be saying 'dude I wish these needles in my eyes were more fun' in my own overly dramatic way... and when I do, please don't think I've forgotten where I come from or how to have gratitude (I think that ought to cover it for the disclaimer).

If you need to back away from me - don't spend a second feeling guilty about it. Just... before you go, know that if there was any way I could drag you by your hair into the boat I seem to have found myself in, I would.  Because I want us all to be happy, sure, but mostly for selfish reasons - I want the familiar on my damn lifeboat, I want you with me because I'm afraid, and you know I'm not going to be able to socialize with too many of those Carpathia bitches who never sank in the first place.

Tomorrow: back to shenanigans. Shit they don't tell you about pregnancy but STORK WILL.




29 comments:

  1. Welcome back. I'm glad to hear that you've thawed, but wanted to let you know that everything you've felt, and are feeling, is completely normal.

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  2. Great to hear your voice again. As usual you nailed it, at least for me - sitting in the boat and looking at the water and wishing you could do something to pull the women who helped and supported you onto the boat with you. And you can't, and that sucks. Glad you're starting to feel a little less scared. Can't wait to hear more from you.

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  3. Welcome back! And from someone who is still in the water, I'm super fucking glad you made it out and I look forward to joining you someday. And definitely can't wait to read about the pregnancy and all the shit that no one else will tell me so that I can use it wisely when I make it there :). And shenanigans, I really do love shenanigans, the more the better.

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  4. So good to hear from you! Glad baby is doing well. I'm excited to read more updates from you. It has been hard for me to throw caution to the wind and believe that nothing bad is going to happen but I also really want to enjoy this pregnancy...it might be the only one I get to experience!

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  5. Yey !!!!! Smoooooooooooch x x x

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  6. Amen sister. I wasn't in the water for very long, but even at 32 weeks I don't quite trust I'll be bringing a baby home. The anxiety sucks. We'll get through this.

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  7. You...you are a brilliant writer. I love every damn word of this post. What a perfect, fitting analogy, and a graceful way to return to this blog after a marked absence. We've missed you. I'm happy to hear things are good (if not surreal) in the boat. Just wait... soon you'll be approaching shore and wondering if fate will step in at the last minute, right as you're stepping off onto the sandy banks of safety. That feeling won't go away. But maybe we can both make it - so many before us have!

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  8. I love your analogy. I feel EXACTLY that way - even though I've been in the lifeboat for 36 weeks now, part of me is still waiting to be turfed out back into the cold. And its completely irrational but I haven't opened or pre-washed any of the baby stuff we've bought just in case its not needed...

    I'm really pleased that both you and Heisenberg are doing well. Its great that you are back to writing and I'm looking forward to hearing STORK's take on the shizzle they don't tell us about pregnancy. And shenanigans - I love hearing about shenanigans.

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  9. So funny, I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering how you were doing. Thanks for the awesome update and I can't wait to here about shenanigans.

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  10. It is so nice to hear from you again! I'm so so happy that you and Heisenbaby are doing well, and I'm looking forward to your new posts!

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  11. Good to hear from you again! I know how you feel - I thought I would feel and react differently when I finally got pregnant, but I found myself (and still do) a bit lost as to where I fit in the IF community that was my home. It's more difficult than I thought to navigate this new territory of being pregnant after (with?) infertility, while still maintaining a presence and sensitivity in the IF community.

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  12. Soooooooooooooo happy to see you write again! Your Titanic analogy is beyond perfect for what it feels like to be pregnant after infertility. I think the reason I've felt so damn guilty about being pregnant is that order really doesn't matter; just because you've been in the water the longest doesn't mean you'll be saved first, and that fucking sucks. If I could save everyone out there, I totally would, and it hurts my heart that I can't. I'm excited to see what new things you're going to write about.

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  13. Yup....to everything...yup yup. Wait til you have her...it's so sureal. I go through days when I look at Oliver and can not believe the shit worked and he's mine all mine!!!!! I still struggle so much with mom groups, and playgroup just because I hear the other stories of their birth or pregnancy and it's nothing like mine. I still have somewhat of a jealous bone for other women who had it so easy. I don't know if it gets easier with that kind of struggle but I will say that I do feel like I won, no matter what I endured I won and have a beautiful child. But I feel the pain of my friends who have not won, or have just given up. It breaks my heart so much for those I know that just can't do the fight anymore. I want it so much for all men and women who have to struggle for a child, wether it be biological or adoption. I just wish in the end...we all won!!

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  14. Yeah...I thought I'd be happy all the time once I got pregnant, too, but it was basically 95% fear, 5% happy. And even though I seem to have been showered with magical unicorn poop and get another turn in the boat...still scared most of the time. (Doesn't help when you're told that your blood cells are trying to destroy your baby's blood cells AND you have a sch...but I'm pretty sure the fear would have been there without any of that.) But the good thing is that the fear doesn't lessen the gratitude. If anything, it probably magnifies it.

    I'm glad you're writing again and I'm glad that you and baby are doing well. :)

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  15. The way I figure, while I'm splish-splashing around out here, it's nice to know that my friends in the lifeboats are cheering me on and trying to keep my spirits up rather than paddling the hell out of dodge. Welcome back.

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  16. So great to see you back. You've been missed. I'm glad you are doing well.

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  17. So happy to see you are back and that baby is doing well! Look forward to reading Storks perspective on pregnancy, too :)

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  18. I get it! I am almost 28 weeks with twins and still struggling to believe it is real. And I am so grateful for the hot needles in my eyes! Congratulations again on your pregnancy and your healthy growing baby.

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  19. Yay! You are back! I'm delighted to hear that you're proclaiming it a PAIL blog. Go girl! I am sorry that you're terrified, but those of us who are on these tenuous lifeboats will try to snuggle in close and offer you our damp blankets of hope and sisterhood.

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  20. Welcome back! I'm not sure anyone could leave your blog, because we all need a good laugh each day, even if it is about your pregnancy stufff on certain days. A laugh is a laugh, no matter what it's about. But you sure do have a way with words and explaining things I love reading! Can't wait to keep reading!

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  21. Hey so glad to see that you are doing well and that the baby girl is moving. I'm almost at 28 weeks, will be on Sunday. I tell you it has been one hell of a ride. I don't think I've stopped worrying about her yet. Even though the hubs and I have been busy purchasing things off our registry I'm still afraid to open the boxes up in the "what if something horrible goes wrong". Hang in there. Missing our tweets.

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  22. I'm glad you're back. I can so identify with everything you say. Please do keep posting and we can be insane together. I'm really happy for any IFfers who can be serenely happy and optimistic during pregnancy (although I can't think of many) but I'm not one of them. Maybe I'd have a better chance of that if I had the kind of pregnancy where nothing would come out of my vagina except the baby after 9 months, but it ain't so. Congratulations on all your milestones.

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  23. I've missed your posts! And I am way excited for your "shit no one else will tell you about pregnancy, but Stork will" posts. My biggest issue with people who get pregnant is when they turn their blog into "And this is how much he/she weighs, and how much they poop, and these are my symptoms." It's boring. YOU though. I can't wait. And much love and happiness to you!

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  24. Great to have you back! I found it too painful to carry on reading of others still in the water on forums etc when as you say I could do nothing to help. It's hard when you've suffered loss pain and illness to stay so immersed in the world of it once you are in the lifeboat. I'm going through it all over again as we just fell pregnant for a second child (surrogacy).
    So excited to see your little girl, and to read the buildup to it here. X

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  25. Congrats on 25 weeks! I have been thinking about you lately and wondering how you were doing.

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  26. You're here, we're here, we're still reading and loving you! Many of us have been incredibly lucky, like yourself, to get knocked up via petri dish and then had our minds fucked. We know. We get it. The women who say they LOVED BEING PREGNANT were probably not infertile. I loved aspects of being pregnant - the kicks, the moments of hopeful anticipation, people's willingness to listen to you yammer about post-modern nursery themes - but the majority of pregnancy for the IF veteran is emotionally and physically uncomfortable. I didn't pack my bag for the hospital until I was IN LABOR. (Why do I love caps so much? Ah yes, no italics in comments.) Because my mind was a bowl of soggy fruit loops and I didn't believe I was having a baby until he was falling out of my vagina. Good news is, you're gradually going to become less insane as your daughter gets bigger and starts destroying your ribs and bladder simultaneously. It becomes very difficult to deny the obvious (and yet still so easy to dwell on the horrible and absurd!). And it will still be crazy magic, awesome and terrifying when she arrives no matter how nuts you got in the previous 40 weeks.
    Keep writing, when you can, and we'll read and cheer you on.

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  27. Me reading this post was one long, drawn out, "Uhmmm hmmm."

    My blog's gone through some serious dry-spells since October, so I totally get it. At 34 weeks I still feel like every step I take toward parenting (registering for daycare, setting up the crib, meeting the pediatrician) is a step I'll have to untake when my lifeboat springs a leak.

    Welcome back!

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  28. I am a bazillion years late to this post. Pregnancy after infertility is...weird. I expected to be happy once I finally got on the boat and it isn't quite that black and white. There was happiness mixed in with so many other things. My babies are 8 months old now and I still find myself not quite believing it's real. PTSD? Survivor's guilt? I don't know. I really don't know where I belong anymore.

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