Monday, February 25, 2008

You Don't Know...


I just need to vent tonight. I need to get this off my chest so that I can sleep the remainder of the week and so I may also use this as a building block to a conversation I really need to have just once...but only once.

A statement was made a few nights ago that we have avoided the family due to our circumstance and that we shouldn't becuase we miss out on so much. I wanted to discuss this the night of but it wasn't the time nor the place. It has, however, been on my mind ever since. We are guilty as charged for aversion. No argument needed there, but a need for explanation and understanding is in order. I don't quite agree that we're missing out and you'll understand why by the end of this blurb.

I have questions, many of them...most are rhetorical:

What would you have us do? Would you like me to force my husband and myself through EVERY birthday party for toddlers and have me struggle during EVERY baby shower that comes up...and do it alone? Why should we torture ourselelves that way? Why should we have to endure that only to see the other break down in tears when we're finally alone. Why should we have to suffer through all the, "You're next!" lies...because truth be told, we are never "next!" Grant you, we avoided as many events as possible the first year due to the newness of this situation in our life. Everything seemed magnafied. It's not like this is a pain that we'll "just get over." This is a pain that will remain with us long after we're parents. We'll never know what it feels like to have a "normal" conception and a "normal" pregnancy. That elation that most couples get when they see that positive result on their pregnancy test is something that we'll never know. Not because I don't believe it won't ever be positive for us again but because we'll worry the entire ten months that that positive will die at any moment. Chris is already terrified of me being pregnant again. That innocense has been stripped from us and it's not fair.

You don't have to hurt the way we do. You don't have to watch your husband play with another woman's children knowing that he wants them to be his own and there's nothing you can do about it. You don't have to look into his eyes every month and tell him it's negative. You don't watch him stare at kids in restaurants and know what he's thinking. You don't blame yourself everyday for not being able to make him "World's Best Dad." You don't feel the guilt I feel for losing the only miracle we've had a chance at in two years. You don't have to walk by an empty nursery, that was created in faith, and feel as empty as it is and wonder if you should have been so bold to put forth so much effort into it in the first place. You don't have to wonder why God doesn't make you a Mother but instead makes it so everyone around you is pregnant at the same time and that it never fails that they tell you the "good" news the day you start your period. You don't know what it's like for someone to tell you, "Just relax and it'll happen..." as if you did't already blame yourselves enough. You haven't had to spend your entire savings of $8,000.00 on treatments for it to only end in a miscarriage. You haven't had to struggle through injecting yourself with hormones, humiliating Dr's appointments, and ten pills twice a day to make it so that your body is functioning properly. You don't know what it's like to have no one who understands to talk to except for the blessed group of "online friends" who seem to be closer to you now than your own family but you've never even met in person. You don't have a Father's Day Card hidden away in your desk becuase you just knew that you were going to get to give it to your husband this year only for the universe to smack you straight in the face the day of. You don't know what it's like to have nothing to say when conversations enevitably turn to talk of babies and grandkids. You'll never understand that this paragraph is only a minute explanation of what we feel on a day to day basis. You don't know what it's like to be scared to say any of this to anyone's face for fear of pity staring back at you.

We don't want pity, we want understanding and support. I realize that's a lot to ask when you are not and never will be in our shoes. All we need is a listening ear from time to time and support not in the form of "You're next" and "I know it will happen." We have never been "next" and you don't know that it will happen because you aren't God. Only He knows if it will happen and He's not divulging that information to anyone. We have faith, be it as small as a mustard seed, but it's still there. We do have days when there doesn't seem to be any strength left and we feel like giving up. It's those days when all we need is a listening ear and maybe a shoulder to cry on. We're usually better in a few days. We don't want to be left out of the loop nor for people to walk around on eggshells when we're in the room. If someone in our circle is pregnant, they should tell us. We realize that it's going to sting us like Hell but we'd rather know straight off than to find out through the grapevine. If there is a gathering, we want an invitation but the decision to come or not is ours and we reserve that right. We expect to not be made to feel guilty for not coming. You are welcome to ask us questions as long as they come with the understanding that this position we're in is a personal one and we may not give the enitre story and we usually try to leave the most painful parts out. We also need understanding that we are doing the best we can with the knowledge and finances we have. We are doing everything in our power and that should be good enough. Don't offer sage advice unless we ask for it because that usually just makes us resent ourselves for talking about this in the first place. We realize that the advice comes from a good place but nevertheless, it does hurt us in ways that you can't begin to comprehend. Don't pretend to know how we feel...just be there and make time for us without interruption if we express the need. Just a hug would do most days.

We're not missing out on family and we're not avoiding everyone when we intentionally don't show up for some occassions, we're simply maintaining our sanity. If that's what we have to do to keep a minor piece of normalcy intact in our lives and in our marriage, then that is what we are going to do regardless of what anyone else thinks we should be doing. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about what we should be feeling and what we should be doing when it's never occurred to them to just ask us what we think. I've never once had anyone ask me, "How do you feel about this and is there anything I can do to help you?" Not once. And that is sad. We've never asked for anything until now and all we're asking for is to be heard and understood. So what if we need days where there aren't babies surrounding us. So what if we need "us" time. No one has ever stopped to think why we don't want to come to certain gatherings. No one has ever taken into consideration that we've not missed one single Mother's Day and Father's Day lunch. Even when those days fell on days when I'd just started my period the day of...both times...for two years in a row. Yes, the universe is cruel. We've not missed a single milestone with regards to our neice and nephews. Not missed a single Halloween...when we don't even have kids to dress up and we are left to feel completely out of place even being there.

Again, and I can't say it enough, we are doing the BEST we know how to do and that should be enough even if it's not perfect. Don't expect more from us than we are able to offer. Don't walk on eggshells but everyone should think before they speak. We feel guilty enough left to our own devices without the added pressures from others. We have different feelings on different days and for now, that has to be okay and accepted. At times we are confused and disoriented and have been this way for longer than we'd like to admit. Other days we are very optimistic and hopeful. We can only wish this were a bad dream we could awake from but alas it is reality. Please understand where we are coming from and try not to resent us for feeling all these emotions that we never asked to have. It's not an attack on anyone, just things that have needed to be said for a long time. We've been through enough really without having to endure this on top of it all. But, as always, we're managing and we're praying that God will see us through this as soon as He can.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Outsider


As you can obviously gather, this week hasn't exactly gone that well. What with the fire and all...stressful, no? In any event...on to my point: Aunt Flo arrived tonight. Just a little while ago. I knew she was coming because my temperature dropped this morning. I knew she was knocking at my door. So, I come out of the bathroom and my cell phone is ringing. It was my sister in law, Jessy. "Nicole, I have some news to tell you." My heart immediately sank, because I'm not an idiot and figured out why she was calling even before she finished that sentence. I love Jessy and I love our (already) two nephews very much but, nevertheless, my heart still sank. How cruel can the universe be? Here I sit with an empty nursery we built in faith that "it" would happen soon. And she has two sons, a full house, and we were just discussing last month when she thought she was pregnant how much right now was not a good time for them to have more children and that they needed to start taking natural preventitive precautions. Now a month later, she is pregnant with her third and our empty nursery shall remain just that...empty. It's not her fault she's a fertile myrtle (though we all agree precautions would have been wise). I'm happy for them but very, very, tragically sad for us. I just don't understand why and what we are being punished for because that is what this is...punishment...for something? And I later opened an email from Chris's 26 week pregnant cousin (with her 3rd also) "updating" all that "It's a GIRL!" Typically a person should be happy in such an instant, but how typical are we? Yet again, it was just another slap in the face...two in a row. I'm just waiting for another one as 'they' say it comes in threes.

So, today is cycle day one for me and this past cycle sucked! Apparently my body sucks, period. I don't do well without Femara or Clomid. I thought that I'd ovulated on CD 13 but I was wrong and didn't ovulate until CD 22!! Fortunately for me, I have such wonderful "online" friends that are able to send me their unwanted medications. So, I have two months worth of Femara and I'm still on the Metformin (2000mg now). I can tell the Met is working b/c I feel that my testosterone has dropped. Not so sure if I like that though b/c that's also made my sex drive decrease. Gotta do what I gotta do though. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of natural pregnancy...if pregnancy at all. Even when I do become preggers again, my pregnancy innocense is gone. When one becomes pregnant, normally that pregnancy carries through without any worries but for us we'll never have that peace of mind. I'll always worry that in any second the baby will be gone, will die...again. Most women are fortunate enough to be nieve of that realistic possibility.

My best friend (the one who has never wanted to have kids) recently found out she is having a boy. His name will be Gavin Lee. I like that name. Chris and I decided we liked another name for a girl more than Nasyah. We've chosen Nyahley Helynn. I love that name. I love it just as much as our Boy's name: Cayden Joseph. I can't wait to be able to say those names outloud and not have others look at me like an outsider. The only place I fit in anymore is with my husband and online with my "people," the ones who are in the same boat as me. I don't have a place in the "real" world anymore. Any where I turn in my actual life, there is nothing but proof that I don't belong. I'm just not in the "mommy club," and everyone I know in real life now belongs to that club. Everyone I know has left me and we now seem to have nothing in common. After all, what does one do when others start talking about not getting any sleep because their newborn keeps them up all night? What should I say when the conversation turns to being all about the grandkids and how their saying new words and learning to walk but aren't quite there yet? When should I chime in as my friends bring up how they can't stand morning sickness and Dr's appointments and being as big as a cow? How is it appropriate to tell them that I'd be more than happy to trade shoes. I'd die to have morning sickness and OB/GYN appointments and to be up all night being able to hear my newborn's cries. Their troubles just don't seem to equate to the measure of what we've been dealt...and they have absolutely no clue how to relate to us either. So, one side must fake it. That'd be me. I have to fake my way through those conversations just to hang on to what I left of my real life relationships. I have to pretend to understand their woes and be sympathetic to their exhaustion and thrilled that their toddler is finally walking. Afterall, that's how a normal person would react. I have to pretend to be normal.

May Hope Rise From the Ashes


Chris's Mom and Dad lost their home today. A home they all built from the ground up 10 years ago. The home I've always known them in and the place we've all managed to make so many memories in. It burned to the ground tonight and we are all heartbroken. Luckily, no one was home...which is a blessing in itself as seven people lived in the house and usually there are a handful of other people wandering around. We lovingly referred to the home as the "Richards' Inn."

Chris and I went to the movies tonight with my parents and were an hour away from his parents' house. The movie started at 9:30 PM and just before we went in, Chris got a phone call from his parents' neighbor telling him he thought their house was on fire. Chris called his Dad and thought we were kidding with him. We went on into the movies and about 40 min. later got a phone call from his Mom in hysterics, "The house is gone, it's all gone!"

We got my parents and we all headed to the fire and arrived around 11:30 PM. Hundreds of people had shown up and the firemen did an excellent job keeping the flames contained. They were there all night and we got back home around 4:30 AM. Marc, Donna, Mike, and Adam are staying with Steven and Jessy and their two kids. Nick, Mandi, and Kiley are staying with Mandi's parents. The community is really pulling together and we have them clothes, extra money, and with the Red Cross, Churches, and their insurance company's help things are working out and all will be okay.

We all know the saying, "Things can be replaced but people cannot." This is very true but there are some things that also just can't be replaced and that's the tragic part in this. Baby pictures of all five sons, Kiley's baby pictures, wedding photos, things that were handmade in grade school, and family jewelry passed down from previous generations. Those things are precious, so please protect them in your own home.

This year the family will have to do some adjusting so please pray that all else goes as smoothly as possible for the family and that God will work everything out for the better.