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Sunday, November 3, 2013

How things change

When DH and I were dating, we spent many weekends at the county home of our dear friend, about 45 minutes from where we live. We got engaged there, too. There were frequent shindigs, stomping through the woods with out friends, watching meteor showers and enjoying all manner of delicious food and adult beverages. After our friend and his then girlfriend split and he got together with a single mom, the dynamic in this little Shangri-la changed dramatically. No longer was it just adult couples and singles whooping it up. Instead there were childrens' prying eyes that needed to be shielded from the debauchery. Then there were friends of that child, now it's families with their children, ranging from infants to teens. I miss the old days. Every year, near the country home there is a fair that takes place "in town," a few miles away. Every year our friend invites friends to come by, have some oysters, chili, cornbread, and other deliciousness... including drinks and a bonfire, and often culminating in a haunted hayride on dirt roads and over the old wooden "troll" bridge. This year was no different and people were invited to stop by. But this year, much like the last several,was a completely different affair. My, how things change. We arrived early to help, as we often do. The next people to arrive were a young couple with a one year old. Cue change in conversation... "uh oh, dirty paci... I found a mom group... yeah we are always busy with this guy... oh how cute..." Blah, blah, blah... baby, baby, baby.... Gag! After that came some other couples, one with two young girls... maybe three and five years old. That did it, I walked into the kitchen and couldn't take it.. "when mine was that age"... "it's been so long since I had a little one like that"... "who's the dirtiest boy!?!". I walked out to the porch to watch the game... there was only more child related conversation. And the tears came. Ms. Mommy came back outside and I went back in. DH took one look... "you ok?" What I was screaming on the inside was "OK!? Everybody here is going on and on about their kids and I'm facing a hysterectomy! How in the pluperfect hell could I be ok?!" But all I said was, "No." We piddled around a bit longer, then bowed out and headed home. I hate that I get so sad and angry at others' good fortune, but I do. It should have been me. I wish it had. But it wasn't and it never will be.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Reality sets in

I have been painfully aware, for several years, that I would never have children of my own. That is my reality... one I have no choice but accept. But now that the scheduling of a hysterectomy is looming in my not so distant future, that reality, and what it means, is hitting me pretty hard. In fact, I found myself warning hubby that I may fall apart before it was all over. I will NEVER HAVE CHILDREN....NEVER!!! The closest thing I will ever have is SS21, my surrogate kid, and my 4 legged kids. Never is a long time. It's not that anything has changed, really. It's not that there was a possibility, but it is a different feeling ...a different kind of mourning. I find myself longing to talk to my great aunt about her similar journey... wishing she would reach out to me from beyond the grave and tell me she understood, she'd been there and it would be ok. But she's not here. So I have to figure out a way to stay strong and brave and work through my pain, as this harsh reality sets in.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Time to accept the inevitable

Well, I finally had my appointment with the endo/fibroids specialist. Hubby came with. Surprisingly, it had been nearly a year since I first saw him. We discussed all the options... Mirena, Depo shots, Lupron, another laparoscopy... but ultimately, it came down to this: all of those things are just bandaids, temporary fixes, if the help at all... or postponement of the inevitable... a hysterectomy. We also had a lengthy discussion about whether or not to keep the ovaries, given my family history of breast cancer. But I monitor that issue pretty well. Most of the problem seems to be coming from the uterus anyway. I also told him about the heavy bleeding and the incredibly low ferritin levels. He asked if I had ever had an endometrial biopsy, and when I told him no, he was surprised and said I needed to have one. Since I had already taken the day off and was there, I figured why not get it over with. He warned me several times that it would be very painful. It was. But when I told him that it was actually no more painful than what I deal with 1-3 days a month, he seemed shocked. "That bad?" he asked? Yes, sadly, I told him. To which he replied, "that is sad." Yeah, it pretty much sucks. I kept that part to myself. It was a kind of validation that I'm not just a wimp with a low threshold for pain and that I AM dealing with severe pain. So now I wait for those results while I thing about when to have the surgery I need. I have steeled myself over the last year for this inevitability. So now, it's just a matter of scheduling. {{sigh}}

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What's next

Fall is in the air! Lows have been in the low 70s and high 60s and I find myself longing to go outside to play. Unfortunately, I push paper for a living ang am stuck in my office eight hours a day, with the tease of a beautiful day outside my window. Sitting in my quiet office gives my mind lots of opportunities to wander, and when it's otherwise preoccupied by work nonsense, it wanders at night, while I try to go to sleep. Sometimes it does both. At the front of the list of thoughts I wander off to is the ongoing saga of periods, pain and treatment options. My endo and fibroids continue to give me hell, causing pain for at least 15/30 days per month. I was supposed to go back to the specialist to discuss options again, and maybe to schedule surgery, but I had to reschedule for early October. I know that a hysterectomy is probably the best option, but the truth is I'm scared. It's a big deal to me. I know, I know... everyone tells me that "it's the best thing that ever happened." But still, getting spayed is both physically and emotionally traumatic... or at least, I think it will be. Certainly, trying to get my head wrapped around the idea of it has been emotionally taxing. How will such a drastic step affect me? Will it change how I feel about me, my sexuality, my relationship with my husband? Will it change how he feels about those things? Of course, what I've already been going through has already done all those things. I mean, there's nothing sexy about chronic pain. But I'm familiar with my current situation, so it's not so scary. I don't know what 1nonmom post hyst looks like! But I have already tried so many different things... I think I may have just run out of options. I guess it's time for me to accept that and look forward to trying what's next.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First day of school... oh boy!

In the last several days, families across the country have been preparing to send their kids off to new school year. Commercials, newspaper and magazine articles and Facebook posts are all revolving around "back to school.". How excited am I!?!?! Ummm... not so much! While everyone is out buying uniforms and school supplies and new shoes, I'm still trodding along in my normal routine, trying to fill my gas tank, pick up prrscriptions and get to work. But thus is one of those times of year (and there are several) when we childless people become invisible. We have nothing to contribute to the conversations of our friends, neighbors and coworkers, as they go on and ON about how tough it is to get their little ones ready for kindergarden, their teens ready for their sports, and their older kids moved into dorms and apartments. I stand by and watch... offering help to my SS21 and my "surrogate kid,"and occasionally being taken up on my offer, so I feel at least marginally helpful. But, I must admit it is a little easier to deal with this year - perhaps because I'm just getting used to being an outsider, perhaps because of the reality of a hysterectomy in my not-too-distant future, maybe a combination of several things. But it still feels isolating, being on the outside of these nearly universal experiences. And it's lonely on the outside.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I feel like a giant failure

Once upon a time, I was in college studying art. I was pretty good. I can actually draw and paint fairly well. All I ever wanted to do was draw and paint... maybe teach art. But I never got support from my family to have that be any more than a "hobby." I should have been stronger. I should have asserted myself. I should have gone after what I wanted, no matter who said it was illogical, impractical or impossible. But I didn't. I folded. I did exactly what I knew would get me the support and praise I so desperately wanted: I went to law school. I graduated and it took me nearly 7 years to pass the bar exam, but I finally did. I took an attorney position with the State and eventually met my now husband... who is the very best part of my life today. Not many years after we married, the child issues surfaced and it became clear I would never have children of my own. Both losses - my art and my parenthood- have been a constant struggle for me. And they continue to be. All these years later, I am 44 years old, I can't remember the last time I drew or painted, I have no children of my own and, as a cherry on top, I have excruciating pain from endometriosis. And while I do crochet to fill some of the creative void, and have a stepson and a "surrogate kid" whom I love and who help me to fulfill some of my maternal instincts, those things are just NOT cutting it anymore. I feel like a big, fat, giant failure. I'm in a job that is not fulfilling, to say the very least. I have no place to paint. I have no children. I am nothing I thought I would be. Certainly, I could get off my dead ass and clear out the back room to give me a space to make art, but I truely feel trapped, stuck... to quote The Replacements... you can't move, you can't breathe...like quicksand. I can barely drag myself out of bed to go to the hell hole I call work, much less come home and clean and sort and throw away. I feel like a huge disappointment to the possibilities that I had, trapped by school loans, depression, pain and fear, and I have no idea to get out.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Wednesday whine

So, just out of curiosity.... when did it become ok to show 4 inches of cleavage at work. I mean, I understand that some people are more blessed than others in that department, but is it really appropriate to have the girls hanging out. One woman was so exposed I actually thought her entire right breast was going to pop out of he top! And one of my very pregnant coworkers had her tatas in the wind too! Good grief people! And while I'm whining, let me just say that I really don't want to hear pregnant women complaining about how uncomfortable they are!!!! You chose to have a child and you are fortunate enough to have the ability to do so. Suck it up! OK, I'm done. Anyone else?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Moving on

When I first started along this path of childlessness, I didn't know who would understand or who I could trust with my fragile feelings. Thankfully, I found an online support group that brought me some close "real-life" friends. As facebook became bigger and more popular, the decision was made to dismantle the original page and create a facebook page. Sadly, it has take some turns that I can't really stomach. Most of us who are childless not by choice have felt the exclusion from "the club" of breeders. We have been shunned by those who have what we only dream of and flaunt what we have tried so hard to get. Unfortunately, several of the members of the "new" group seem to believe it's ok to do the same thing to those of us who ultimately have fulfilled our dream... through adoption, a surrogate, donor bits, fertility treatments, etc. The original page had different "rooms" for all of us, despite our place along the path. It saddens me a great deal that this is no longer the case, and today, I made the decision to leave the group. I have long considered starting my own FB page based upon this blog and inviting those who were on the original webpage and those few followers of this blog, but never thought it would have too many interested. Now, I'm considering it again. As I face a new milestone... a hysterectomy likely later this year... I continue to need support for the loss of the dream of being a parent to a child of my own. But I fear the same type of corruption of a new site. I don't know... I'm open to suggestions!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another one bites the dust

Another Mother's Day has come and gone and I'm only slightly worse for the wear. I awoke to a text from a very dear friend telling me he was thinking of me on that very difficult occasion. That text was followed by a text from my surrogate kid who wished me a Happy M Day and thanked me for being her mother figure and for being there for her. And then came the tears. It took a little bit for me to pull it together, but I eventually did. And no sooner had I gotten it together, my SS20 sent a text wishing me a Happy M Day. When I shared the texts with DH, he told me he didn't ever know what to do, but thanked me for my efforts with SS20. It was bitter sweet, getting these acknowledgements. It was nice to be recognized as a mother figure by some of the people I love, but it's hard knowing that I'll never have my own child to celebrate the day with. Even after all these years, the finality of it all... that I'll never be a mother to a child that I helped to physically create, no biological grandchildren either... rips a hole in my heart that doesn't seem to heal. I vacillate between jealousy and longing, pain and self-pity, profound sorrow and anger, with intermittent periods of contentment and joy. But the melancholy lingers in the shadows, seemingly ready to strike when I least expect it. And the problem with my "girlie bits" only seems to amplify the hurt of it all... that I would have to doubly suffer in that not only do I have broken (for lack of a better term) parts, but that they cause me such excruciating pain despite my not being able to use them for their intended purpose. The disgust at that reality is sometimes palpable. But for now, I'm hanging in there. Waiting to see how my bits behave themselves over the next little while and what my army of doctors will suggest. I'm going to get through it all eventually... I really don't have a choice!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dread hangs heavy in the air.

Alas, the continuous birth control was a bust! Oh and what a bust it was!!! When the first kind stopped working (I will spare you the details!), I was switched to a different one. Within days, I developed a superficial thrombophlebitis... which in English is basically a superficial clot in my leg. Oh YAY! That won me three days off work, with my leg elevated and warm compresses. So now, my options are dwindling. Basically,I'm down to a trial of Lupron or surgery. Lupron, I'm told is a diagnostic tool as well as a treatment, because if it doesn't resolve my pain a hysterectomy probably won't either. Of course, since I have now had a clot that may have occurred because of hormones, I have to be really careful going forward. {{Heavy sigh}}. For now, I'm easing in to a moderate version of the Endometriosis Diet, to see if it helps. There are lots of "don'ts" in this diet, though, and it's no picnic trying to navigate my way through all of them. But I'm trying. All this, and just in time for the "day that shall remain nameless." I'm struggling with a lot of dread over having to make a decision when none of the options are what I'd like them to be and how to deal with that. I'm having a very hard time digesting the finality of my childlessness, and with the very real possibility of a hysterectomy in my not too distant future that finality lingers like a bitter pill stuck in my throat. As an added bonus, THAT day is just around the corner and all the glorified mommydome is in the air waves. All of it hangs a storm cloud of sadness, loneliness, jealousy, blame, anger and dread squarely over my life... and me with no umbrella!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's always something...

Just like Roseanne Rosanadana said, it's always something! I had been feeling a bit off and found out that my gallbladder was not functioning properly. I had it removed on the 28th of last month. I'm doing well, healing and feeling fine! While I was still home recovering, a couple other things happened. I got a reminder for my annual mammogram, which I scheduled. I also started to notice that the occasional spotting and breakthrough bleeding I was experiencing with continueous BCP was becoming more frequent. I called my doctor, who told me to get an abdominal and a transvag. ultrasound. By the time I went for my appointments... I got the whole kit and kaboodle scheduled for Monday morning... I had been bleeding, not heavily but still, for more than a week and was starting to have the familiar pain I have been experiencing with the endo. The tests were not painful, but not really painless... let's call them uncomfortable. Yesterday, I got a call back from my ob/gyn. I was expecting to have them tell me something about the ultrasounds. But no. Instead, they told me that the mammogram showed increased density in the right breast and that I would need to go back for focal compression views and possibly an ultrasound. Lovely. No word yet on the two ultrasounds from Monday. I go back tomorrow morning. Sigh. Good grief!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why do I go there?

So last night, DH and I are on the couch, his feet in my lap. I said told him he had such nice feet... and of course mine are adorable... then, I went to a place I have no business going: "Our kids would have beautiful feet!" WTF!?!? Why in the world would I go there?! I know very well that we will never have a child! I know that he would not acquiesce, even if we were able. So why does my mind go there? Truth be told, it goes there more often than I care to admit. Hearing people talk about their children and grandchildren or watching TV, I often find myself thinking... Mary Grace ******... that would be a great name if we had a girl. Or Cooper... if we had a boy! It's almost as though my mind wants to torture my heart. Is it just my mommy instinct? Is it just my sick mind holding onto a dream it knows will never come true? I don't know. I don't guess the reason really matters all that much. I just wish I could stop myself.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Karen Carpenter

Yesterday afternoon, I was listening to NPR, when they were running a story called Remembering Karen Carpenter. Yesterday was the 30 year anniversary of her death. Karen Carpenter is usually thought of as the female half of the Popular 70's group "The Carpenters," in which she performed with her brother Richard. I knew that Karen suffered for a long time from anorexia nervosa and that complications of the disorder ultimate caused her death. What I didn't know is that she was also childless not by choice. Apparently, she married a man who, after their wedding, told her that he had had a vascectomy. She apparently suffered from emotional problems and this seems to have worsened them. She could control what she ate and what she weighed, even if she could not control her other problems. It made me wonder how things would have turned out now. This all happened in the late seventies and early eighties and, while women were beginning to make their voices heard, there were not the kind of support groups and blogs and talking about women's issues then, like there is now. Would she have found solice in knowing that she had options, that she was not alone in being CNBC, that she was adored by so many. We will never know. But today, thirty years and a day after her death, I can say that I hear her voice much differently than I used to and mourn along with her.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What not to say to a person who is childless not by choice

Just relax, you'll get pregnant. You should try IVF... You could have twins! You could adopt... I know a person who..... (fill in irrelevant details about someone else's life)and they got an infant right away! Your dog, cat, bird, ferrett... is your kid. You'll have so much more time to do things that YOU want to do. Be glad you don't have a kid, instead of one like mine. Want one of mine? Want to trade lives? You must have so much extra money since you don't have to worry about.... Your work is your kid. It's not God's will. Everything happens for a reason. You knew it might not ever happen when you married him/her. At least you have your wife's/husband's kid. That's the same thing. Well, Oprah never had kids! (or Mother Theresa, or the Pope, or... someone who isn't me!) Any additions? I got one of these today from my sister... yes! my sister. And more than once in the span of a conversation. I have no words... at least none that I can say here. $%^@*!!! @%^@#*^$E*&^$*!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Making something meaningful of the pain

I had therapy yesterday. I have mentioned before how bitter sweet those sessions are... dealing with all those things I'd just as soon never think about or feel, preferring to tamp them down like so much heavy soil. But I hauled my hide in and sat in "the room." I talked about so much; sometimes overlapping the topics as the pain of each intersects. I was asked questions to which I have no answers; to which, perhaps, there are no answers. But one resonsated with me: How can I make something meaningful out of the pain? Let me explain... we all get into the "why me" spiral, the "it's not fair" slide. So how do I take that pain and transform the energy it drains from my life into something meaningful, something productive? Well, hell! I don't know!!! But, this is what I do know: I have so much love to give a child that will never exist that sometimes I feel as if I will explode. There are lots of people and animals who, due to their own circumstances, causes and conditions, will never have an opportunity to know that kind of love. So, in one way, I suppose, I'm fortunate that I am even capable of that level of it. On the other hand, loving deeply will ultimately cause excruciating pain... so there's that! But back to my point, I have made a decision to put that love into other things and places. Sometimes I try too hard and spread myself too thin, but hey, it's a LOT of love! So I make pet treats, because animals need love too! I cook for my husband, because I enjoy it and so does he. I make beanie hats, or blankets, or scarves or shawls for those in need... some of that love in every stitch. I help a family friend who has become my Surrogate Kid, financially and emotionally, however I can! And you know what? It does help... a lot But sitting in that room, sobbing over the things that torment me, it somehow isn't enough sometimes. I wish that it were. I hope that someday it actually is.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A new year...

I started this blog more than two years ago as a means of a sort of therapy. It gives me an opportunity to anonymously talk about the trials in my life and to sort out how I will or need to deal with them. Sometimes my writing stirs up such a jumble of feelings... fear and sadness and guilt and jealousy, that I wonder how helpful it is to me or anyone else. Sometimes, like today, I'm all over the place. But today I look back on what I've dealt with here and it's been quite a bit! Am I "healed" of my demons? Uh... NO! I still struggle. Everyday. Some of those days are much more difficult than others. But I somehow find a strange solace in knowing that I can come here and dump out all of my emotional baggage and miraculously feel a sense of comfort. Perhaps it is in part because of the reactions that I get from strangers who can empathize. Perhaps it's just that I get to vomit all the acid from my soul. I have been talking to an old friend from college quite a bit lately. He too struggles with mental demons and is childless and finds comfort in his pets. We have discussed how hard it is to feel like no one understands what we go through. Fortunately we do understand each other. We had a long, deep discussion the other day about our partners and how they do try to be supportive, but could never truly understand our struggles. It's odd to find myself giving advice to a person who is going through many of the same things I am. Why is it I can clearly see what make sense for someone else, but when it comes to myself I am lucky to just tread water and barely keep my nose out!? It's so strange. But if I'm honest, I suppose it's not that I don't know a lot of the answers for myself too, it's more that I can't figure out exactly how to get out of my own way, how to make space in my mind, to stop the spin of negative, anxious thoughts. We'd all like to think that with the start of a new year we can toss aside all those negative, difficult, scary things from days past; to jump off of the proverbial treadmill and make a new, better, more positive path for ourselves. But it's not so simple, is it? It's a new year, but the baggage we packed last year is still with us. Every item was meticulously put in its place and there it stays until it has been sufficiently and successfully vetted. So here's to the scrutiny and evaluation; to the resolution and restoration. Here's to a new year.... more solutions, fewer problems.