Some Things Still Make Me Sad About Infertility

I’ve realised that I’ve truly come to a space of acceptance about never producing a child from my body, it’s been a long road, but I am at peace.  I know this because given the choice right now, I would choose adoption over pregnancy.  Yes, you read that correctly, if someone gave me the choice, I would rather adopt than bear a child who is biologically related to me.  It just feels like a choice that is meant to be and I actually don’t have any other words for it than that.

But there is something that I am still struggling with terribly, and that is other people’s determination for me to be the miracle infertility poster child, the one who fell pregnant, the one that urban legends are made of.  Not anyone near me, my family and friends are thrilled and excited, I’m talking about people in the distant periphery.  But there are many of them, and often you come into a group of people you don’t know or barely know, and before you know it, there it is again, that complete and utter refusal to accept someone else’s infertility diagnosis as the truth.  The determination for you to simply accept that it’s your fear, and not your adhesions/missing fallopian tube/premature ovarian failure/azoospermia/endometriosis that are the reason for your consistently empty uterus.  The doctors, very simply, have made a mistake.

Now I’m actually extremely open to other people’s point of view, and I’m just clear that that is what it is, their point of view.  They are entitled to it.  Actually, I could probably have a very enjoyable conversation with a senile person who was telling me the grass is purple, I wouldn’t try to change their opinion on it.  I love that everyone sees the world differently and I don’t believe that anyone is ever wrong.

But conversations on fertility, well, they border on political.  It’s close to people’s hearts, their opinions on the subject are more than just opinions, they are crucial points that the listener absolutely must be convinced of.  The listener’s opinion must change for the conversation to be successful.  It cannot end before then.

And those conversations, they border on bizarre.  If I was for instance, a breast cancer survivor, would they be telling me that it wasn’t really breast cancer?  That my mastectomy had come about as a mistake on the doctor’s behalf?  That it was my fear that caused me to imagine a diagnosis by a doctor to be correct?

For the most part, I am able to navigate the conversational landmines of life quite well, but this one still floors me, and I will not capitulate.  I will not require someone to accept into their belief system that some people will just never, ever “fall” pregnant, despite the stats to back up the fact that more than 9 out of 10 infertile women will remain infertile without medical assistance.  But I will not smile gracefully as they force feed me my inevitable future “accidental” pregnancy.  I just. can’t. do. it.  I respect your understanding of the world, respect mine.

Respect the years of research, the thousands of Rands in medical fees, the rivers of tears, the millions of moments of wondering how it could be different.  Respect the long and painful journey down an endless road, that no woman thinks they themselves will ever have to take.  Respect the hard earned peace that you eventually come to, one way or another.  And pray young woman, pray.  Get on your knees every night until they are raw, and pray that you will be spared this.

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Perfect Moment Monday

I need to write a PMM because given half a chance I will probably spew a whole lot more anger, at the moment everything is making me angry.

So here goes.  Deep breath in.  Deep breath out.

A strange thing has started happening to me since we started our adoption process.  It started a few weeks ago, we went to meet some friends on the beach and I went to greet my friend’s sister.  She was holding her little boy, he’s about one.  The moment he laid eyes on me, he stretched out his arms for me to pick him up.  I doubt very much he knew who I was, and everyone including myself laughed in surprise.  He then sat on my lap where he fell asleep for about an hour!  It was the most bizarre, heart warming experience.

On Saturday, it happened to me again, we were walking on the promenade in Seapoint, my mom, DH and I.  A little guy was crawling around people’s legs with his mom in tow.  He looked up and spotted me from about four meters away and made a beeline for me.  I picked him up and he snuggled right into my arms, placing his head on my shoulder.  I chatted to his mom for a bit, and she tried to take him back, but he started screaming.  So I carried on holding him for a bit longer, he really was very reluctant to leave.

I don’t believe so much that I’m terribly appealing to babies, I actually believe that they can sense something and it’s their way of comforting me.  They are giving, not receiving love in that moment, and it’s a reminder to me that these little ones are far more clever than we know.

In December, my sister gave me her manual breastpump.  Just for the hell of it, I started pumping to see what would happen, and was amazed that right from day one, I started producing a tiny bit of clear fluid (we’re talking like a drop).  I wasn’t so great at doing it on a daily basis, but the fluid slowly started to change colour and become slightly opaque.  On the night after the little boy fell asleep in my arms, I actually produced a stream of whitish droplets.  It was the most incredible feeling that one tiny part of my built in baby sustaining equipment works.

The novelty has since worn off, after all it could still be years before our adoption goes through and the anticipation is already driving me batshit crazy as it is.  Maybe when this funk lifts a little, I’ll go and see a lactation consultant.  Then again, maybe I won’t!

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It Has to be Said

Everyone is so tired of hearing about the Athlete with Violent Tendencies.  But I’m so angry about his bail being granted that I feel I should point out a few things about it (and hopefully once I’ve got it out I’ll get some sleep again).

I grew up in a home with firearms.  My father died in a gun battle with intruders.  And still, not for one tiny little iota of a moment, do I buy this man’s version of the story.

My father would never in a million years have fired a single shot without knowing one hundred percent for sure where each of his family members (including the dog) were.  Even once he was one hundred percent certain of everyone’s whereabouts, he would never have fired through a closed bathroom door.  A closed kitchen door, maybe.  But a closed bathroom door, in the middle of the night?  Never.

The girl was fully dressed, at 3 am, not in her night clothes.  He removed the gun from the holster, and then left the holster on the bed.  You try, in the dark tonight, to sit next to your bed, place an item on the bed and not notice whether your partner is/isn’t in that bed.

He shot her in cold blood during a temper tantrum, sobbed his eyes out in court with remorse and that silly judge fell for it.

On the one hand, I dearly wish I could be one of those zennish, non-judgemental, politically correct people.  Leave it to the justice system to resolve, after all, what do I know.  But this one is a little close to home for me and it’s left my blood boiling with anger.

We live in a country that is overwhelmed with violence, and instead of allowing an Athlete with Violent Tendencies to use this as an excuse, we should see it for what it is.  It’s the reason he did it.  Because he could.  Because there is only a 7% conviction rate for murder in South Africa and his chances of getting away with it were and still are good.

Isn’t it so ironic, the icon that he is, once united us as a nation in joy for possibility, and now divides us so sharply?

OK.  Off my soap box.  Back to the usual subject matter and may even attempt a Perfect Moment Monday tomorrow!

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Another BFP in the Family

But not the kind we like.  Not the Big Fat Positive that you have a 30% chance of with every IVF.  A BFP that she only had a 1% chance of … yep another MS diagnosis.

I’ve been sitting here deciding whether or not to write this post because, well you know, every time I say it, it’s like it might actually be true.  And you’re asking if I’m going to get it (because everyone does)… Well the answer to that is it would be completely statistically absurd and ridiculous.  But you know, we have a bit of a habit in this family of falling into the absolutely absurd and ridiculous side of the stats, dammit.

I’ve decided to let the social workers know, because it was one of the questions on the forms and I feel it’s only right.  I’m going to see an MS specialist (although they can never diagnose anyone who hasn’t had an episode).  I’m not worried I’ll get it actually… in fact somehow I know I won’t.

I’d like to say I’m all light and positivity and totally ready to face this head on.  But that would be a blatant lie.  I’m not really looking at the worst case scenarios and worrying about that, there’s no point.  But I’ve started to experience overwhelming anxiety about what bad news is coming next.  Literally last week I was parking the car to go to the shops and suddenly I stopped breathing and a wave of nausea swept over me.  It’s like I’m not actually scared I will never be a mother or that my sisters will be in wheelchairs at some point, I’m scared there’s more, that this is just the start of it.  In the past four and a half years I’ve dealt with murder, infertility, marital separation, and now these diagnoses, and every time I think “I just need to get through it” I get dealt another blow.

I’m scared.

I’m tempted to write comforting words, like don’t worry, I’ll be OK, this too shall pass.  And those words would be true.  But they would also be denying my heart the space it’s really in.  And that would be denying me my own humanity right now.

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Post Carefully People, Post Very Carefully

Happy New Year, I hope all your dreams are racing towards you at breakneck speed!  Last year was an amazing year, and a seriously crap year all rolled into one.  Let’s see.  Not in any particular order.  A great trip to Kruger, my sister’s MS diagnosis, a cancellation leading to our adoption screening, the death of my sister’s children’s beloved nanny from HIV (which she was secretly suffering from hence no ARV drugs), a phenomenal Christmas holiday with my sister, her husband and children and my mom (words can’t describe the awesomeness), an armed robbery at my sister’s house, my other sweet darling sister getting engaged and then right towards the end of the year the same darling sister having an episode which may lead to her also being diagnosed with MS (only a 1% chance of a sibling getting it).

I am squabbling with God a bit.  I have an amazing (lucky) life.  And also I seem to have been sent quite a substantial set of trials and tribulations, so I’m negotiating with God a little, if maybe we could just even it out for a year or two, and life could be just a tad less eventful in either direction while I catch my breath (apart from maybe an adoption placement).  Negotiations are ongoing at this point.

My word for last year was Connect and I loved that word, it really pulled me forward.  Nothing spectacular or unusual came from that, just a tendency to make a phone call instead of send an sms, or make a plan to spend some time with someone rather than just withdraw from the world out of exhaustion.  It was powerful and created many special moments, which could have otherwise turned out to be just a blur of everydayness.

My word for this year is Joy.  Partly as an instruction to the universe, partly as a reminder to myself.  Will keep you informed as to how that pans out.

I want to just mention something that I’ve been reminded of a couple of times in the past few days, and it’s about how we are all (myself included), living our lives online and putting ourselves at risk.  This video speaks volumes to me.

And then there is the other aspect, the amount of trust that we place in information we find online, which Tertia recently highlighted.  Gobsmacked by this.  A medical student who created around 71 FB profiles to make a fictional couple she created seem real, and then started posting sob stories about their lives including children with cancer and accidental deaths.

http://warriorelihoax.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/emily-dirr-and-warrior-eli/

So what is that exactly, a need for human interaction?

Then finally, I’ve posted this before, but I’m posting it again.  Once your photos are on the internet… they are no longer yours.  End of story.  This woman posted a photo of her family on her blog and her friend spotted it advertising a supermarket in Prague.

http://www.extraordinarymommy.com/are-you-kidding-me/stolen-picture/

I have small moments when I see this kind of stuff, where I’m tempted to close my blog and FB account.  But then I get over it!  Still the warning is ever present in my mind.

Post carefully, post safely.

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January 16, 2013 · 12:16 pm

Off the Subject a Little

I don’t want to make the title of my post the title of the movie I saw last night, because I’ll get a whole lot of traffic to my blog from people who aren’t really all that interested in adoption 😉

But I’m so blown away by this movie that I really want to mention it.  It’s called S.earching Fo.r Sug.arman.  It’s a documentary about an artist (Ro.drigues) whose music completely and utterly took off in South Africa, our tiny little country with only (at the time) around 40 million people in it, where he sold over half a million albums.  We jolled (partied) our heads off to it for years, his music was like an anthem to us.

Little did we know that apart from Australia, nobody else had ever heard of him. And even less did we know, that he had no idea he had sold any albums anywhere, and had never seen a cent of royalties.  He was working as a construction worker in Detroit.

The movie is on a shortlist for an Academy Award.  If you have some time during this crazy season, get yourself off to an Indie Cinema (Nouveau for South Africans) and watch it.

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Pregnant On Paper

That’s what we are as of today.  All the papers are in.  Not so much two lines on a stick as a few lines in an adoption register somewhere, but to me it’s kind of the same.  Not quite as effortless as your traditional “falling” pregnant, no, not that.  The pizza boxes are stacked high, the lines are visible under the eyes.  There are photos scattered everywhere.

What an incredible journey it’s been.  Reframing our lives, revisiting the past, defining and inventing how our future will be…

I’m tired and relieved.  It’s been an incredibly special day!

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