What Infertility Really Feels like.
If you are a mother, I want you to look at your child, that you love with all your heart and soul, and imagine that someone has just told you the horrible news that you can't have him/her anymore. You just CAN'T have him. She is just NOT possible for you any longer.
Think hard about that for a second - he/she is gone from your life. That baby that you know and love so well has been taken from you and chances are you won't get him back. He/she is gone and you are left hopeless. Without answers. Without a solution.
You have felt the touch of that little hand in your hand, for the very last time.
Whether you are a new mom or an experienced mom, I'd assume your feelings are similar.
Angry. Sad. Empty. Confused. Lonely. Mad as Hell.
Then you are told that you MIGHT have a CHANCE to have that beloved child again.
You have to go through hell and back to get him/her.
You are told that you would need to mortgage your house multiple times and possibly deplete your savings at the "chance" to be able to look at that child in the eyes again. That you would need to put severe stress and strain on your body for three-four years with still no guarantee of getting that sweet baby back. That you would likely lose close friendships along the way and people you care about probably won't understand what you are feeling and will leave you feeling lonely and sad. That your marriage would be put to the biggest test you've ever encountered for a chance to hold that little hand again.
Would you give it a try?
Of course you would.
Would you judge another mother if she did?
Hell no, you wouldn't.
People ask me all the time "Why do you keep trying for a baby after all you have been through, Victoria?" They say things like "I don't understand how you could put yourself through so much financial burden for something that's not guaranteed, I would NEVER do that.".
Never say never, my friend.
My scenario above was not to say that losing a child is the same as never having one, because, quite frankly, I don't know the answer to that, and I hope I never do.
How can one judge a pain they haven't endured?
I know that I am judged for my decisions. I'm not blind. I see the glares I get when I tell people what we have done and what we are doing. I know people look at me like I'm a fucking idiot. Or bat-shit crazy. Or whatever.
But, the next time you think about judging my decisions, I ask that you please remember that YOU aren't ME. It's really that simple. You are YOU. And I am ME.
My "why" is MY "why", and my decisions are MY decisions.
I crave to be a mother in a way that is indescribable.
Every baby, every pregnancy announcement, every holiday I am reminded of the fact that I am broken. My body is broken. My heart is broken. I hold in the tears and smile. Not because I can't be happy for others, because with every pregnancy announcement or holiday I am mourning another loss.
On the days that I can't hold it in and let my emotions show, I feel like the biggest piece of shit of a human.
I feel like a HUGE failure and a really, shitty friend.
I have the same conversation with myself over and over - You aren't dying Victoria. It could be so much worse, Victoria.
Except, this IS the worst sometimes. It just is. Sometimes, I AM dying.
But, how do I possibly explain that I am mourning something completely intangible? How could someone who has never experienced anything like this even begin to comprehend?
People have even said "Well, at least you didn't have a miscarriage. That's way harder".
But is it though?
How do you know which is harder?
Who made you the judge of broken hearts?
When it comes to the breaking of the human heart, there is no measurement of one person's pain over another. It's impossible to compare.
My disease may be invisible to you, but it's clear as fucking day to me.
My broken heart is warranted.
And so is yours, no matter what broke it.
In our recent trip to Thailand, we were leaving one of the many beautiful temples we got to visit, and I happened to notice a Monk praying with another foreign couple. I'm honestly not even sure if they were a couple, but the three of them were praying together. I literally stopped in my tracks and stared.
I had never seen something so beautiful.
It had been raining on and off all day and at that very moment it started to rain again. And, I just stood there. In the rain. Staring. I was in complete awe of the experience occurring between these three people as they sat in silence together.
I was curious. VERY curious. I am curious about a lot of things! That's just who I am. Typically my husband tells me to stop staring and mind my business.
This time was different though. He looked at me and saw my undying urge to meet the Monk myself.
He grabbed my arm and pulled my dumbass out of the rain and said "get your butt over there, what are you waiting for?" and gave me a swift hip check into the Monk's direction.
Oh my GAWD, I'm doing this.
I waited patiently until it was my turn.
He motioned for me to come over.
OMG, here I go.
I stood in front of him and immediately felt weak in the knees. (Is this why the other people were kneeling?) Oh fuck, I'm a fucking mess.
VICTORIA, stop cursing, he can probably hear your thoughts!
He pointed at the ground for me to kneel in front of him (Thank GOD) and I'm pretty sure I dropped like a ton of bricks.
It was like meeting Beyonce for the first time, but WAAAAY better.
I bowed my head and brought my hands to a prayer position, but quickly brought my head back up. I just couldn't help but stare again. Damn it Jonathan, where are you now???
Lucky for me, the Monk seemed completely okay with my staring.
Monks don't judge.
He began to communicate with me through low sounding grunts - changing in tone and volume as he progressed. His eyes would move from my eyes and then away, almost as if he was looking at something only he could see.
He never said a word but in some crazy way, I understood him. I've never experienced ANYTHING like this, but I'm pretty sure I was picking up what he was putting down.
I sat there in front of him for at least 5 minutes and I seriously don't think I blinked once. I didn't wan't to miss ANYTHING.
My interpretation of his message was this...
Victoria, you have been through enough, but you are strong and can handle it - do not give up. Do not judge your success by comparing it to the success of others. You are stronger now. Stronger than you have ever been. Your good fortune is coming soon, but you must always be grateful for the hard times and all that they are teaching you. Never stop learning about yourself. Continue sharing and teaching others, that is a very important part of your purpose and journey.
Never be ashamed of your story.
He, then, smiled at me, tied an orange bracelet tightly on my wrist, and sprinkled water over my head as the tears rolled down my cheeks.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Before sending me on my way, he looked up at my husband, Jonathan, and offered him a bracelet too.
You better believe we are going to be wearing these orange bracelets until they fall off.
Thank you Thailand, for the clarity. The power.
The support and the strength.
After returning from our trip, and a nice long break of fertility treatments, we had a lot of time to think about our next move.
And after much discussion, assessment and a second refinance on our house, we have whole-heartedly decided not to give up on trying to become pregnant. And thus, we have selected Egg Donor #2.
No judging, remember?
I want the chance to birth a child. I want to breast feed. I want my husband to kiss my pregnant belly like they do on TV.
I desperately want that deep, emotional connection to my child that birth mothers feel. I want my child to feel it too. I want him/her to know my voice and feel comfort in my heartbeat. I want to protect him/her prior to even entering this world.
Don't get me wrong, we've explored the road to adoption and would be incredibly happy and grateful if we were able to adopt. We'd love that baby with everything we have. We know that our friends and family would welcome him/her with open arms. He/she would be loved. There is no question.
But, I want to be pregnant too.
We're still on the "list" to be notified when new babies become available for adoption. We actually got a call when we were in Thailand, but he was already placed with a family by the time we came back. And don't think for a second I wasn't eyeing all the pretty Thai babies while we there, constantly thinking about how we could bring one home with us. Adoption is still very much something we would love to do.
Why can't we do both?
Regardless of how this story ends,
I look forward to the day I get to share my story with my child and all that I fought through to get to him/her.
That day will be soon. Soon enough.