My Busted Stork

The travails of an infertile…and no, I won’t just relax!


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A salute to my TTC journey

It’s been almost 2 years since I posted last. I had to approve a recent comment so came back for a little visit and reading my posts have done so much for me.

When I was TTCing I read a lot of blogs and one of my pet peeves (gees, did I have a few!) was following a blog that I really identified with, and then the person went and finally got pregnant and became a mom (continued to blog) and I no longer identified with them at all. They just became another person of which my life is filled – mommies. I was very clear that this blog was about the travails of infertility so what would I have to write about when I came to the end of my journey? I loved the small amount of blogging that I did do but I didn’t think it was fair on anyone reading that I just write about being a mommy. Eeugh!

But in reading my story again yesterday I felt that I hadn’t quite ‘closed the loop’. And I also hadn’t acknowledged how my battle with infertility has been part of my story and a part of who I am today.

So this post is about doing just that. However, I will allow myself one sentence of gushing (here goes). Isaac (AKA Zac) is one year old and is the chubbiest, happiest, cutest baby boy ever known to man and I am one ecstatic, fulfilled and completely smitten girl. There.

While reading this post yesterday it struck me that although I do my fair share of bitching and moaning about sleepless nights and snot in my hair it never leaves me that this is what I so badly yearned for and it is everything I hoped and more. I stare into Zac’s cot and watch him sleep – I actually risk waking him up by going in to see him because I miss him. I don’t think I would quite appreciate him in this way if I hadn’t have gone through the journey I did. I am not for a moment saying that other Moms don’t appreciate their offspring in the same way. But in my personal journey it gives me a perspective that I don’t think I would have without having gone through that kind of pain.

I lost my Mom a month ago. In a cruel twist of fate she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Cancer a few months after moving down to Cape Town to finally be the Granny she always wanted to be. She died 4 months later as a thin, frail shell of her former self. Yes, I know I must be grateful that she at least got to meet Zac. But to be honest I am still pissed off that after all her prayer and sacrifice (like this) she wasn’t able to be Granny at all. Zac will never know the awesome lady that could have been his Granny all through his childhood. She was the one and only person who gave a damn about every small tiny detail. We argued about what to feed him, when to change him, when to stop breastfeeding, what time he should sleep. She wanted to be part of all of it and now she can’t be. But in all that anger there is gratitude. As she lay dying I whispered to her that I am so thankful that God blessed me with Zac before she died because it meant that I could understand her as a Mom. I could understand her love for me in a way I never could before. I could understand that her love for me caused her physical pain and that she wished and prayed for my happiness above her own. To have missed out on this understanding would have been so much harder to bear.

On a lighter note I have become all that I detested! Yes, that is sad to all those reading that are still TTCing. I know I would have said – “can’t one of you smug mommies just hold on to one iota of strength and bitterness and not buckle under the pressure to be gooey about your offspring?” Well, I wish I could but we are not built for it and I am not going to profess to be stronger than my emotions. I talk about poo, I don’t sleep well, I boast about Zac’s genius, I band together with other moms for support. I am my own worst nightmare and I love it.

But I am also aware of the thorn in my side. That ugly little devil is not dead yet.  Now all my mommy friends are going on for number 2 or 3 and I sit quietly calculating how I am going to have to cash in a policy or sell my house to go for number 2. After the horror of that FET cycle I was the happiest, most excited pregnant woman on earth and I have to, need to, have that one more time.

So until round 2 strikes, good luck to all of you out there and please keep in touch.

(I leave you with a picture, I’m sorry, I physically couldn’t resist!)

20140829_070258


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This made me cry

As I am semi-anonymous online (blog and forums) I tend to bitch about friends who have at times been ignorant and insensitive to my situation. All of my friends have babies now so besides W I don’t have too many people to bitch to in real life so I pour all my hurt and frustration out online whenever I need to. Although I know my friends love me I know that they don’t understand me and I completely forgive them for that because how could they? But once in a while, besides all the platitudes and the “it will happen one day” a friend can really cut through with a REAL message of support.

An old friend of mine sent me a letter with a poem attached. She had actively searched online for something meaningful to say to me and what she found really touched my heart. This poem might be widely known in Infertile circles but this was the first time I had read it.

I suppose some people will be offended by the sentiment but right now I don’t care.

Thoughts on Becoming a Mother
(author unknown)

There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.I will be better not because of genetics, or money, or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over and over again. Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.

I will notice everything about my child. I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold, and feed him, and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot, or cry tears of a broken dream.  My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense:  that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.  Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured.

I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend, and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment, as I have been betrayed by my own body.

I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.

I have succeeded.

I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely.

I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and that life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes, I will be a wonderful mother.


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Houses, Moms and weird, scary baby dreams

We are in the process of buying a house which is very exciting. We weren’t planning on doing this until the end of the year but when we got notice from our landlord we decided to look and see. We didn’t want to move into another rented house. The first house we looked at we really liked. Then after looking at several more we saw the first house again and then loved it because compared to the rest of the crap it was a real gem. So we put in an offer and was accepted.

But the downside is that the house is small. Only 2 bedrooms and the second one is small. I have to try and visualise a baby living in that room at some point otherwise I why would be putting myself through all this hell. And it will be fine for a baby – who needs guests if you have a baby!

I would say that the last few months have been much darker than times before. I have had times of feeling utterly hopeless. In my dreams I sometimes have a baby in my arms but it isn’t my baby and I never know how to look after it. Then in each dream I always have this weird realisation that babies need to eat and I haven’t fed it at all. The baby is always fairly chipper and chilled out so I stuff it down the front of my shirt and carry on with my day – isn’t that weird? I wake up feeling like some sick freak who doesn’t deserve to ever have a child.

But I have to pour myself another glass of Chardonnay and put a smile on my dial and get on with life because…what other option do I have? When people say “you are so strong” it always leaves me asking what choice I have other to grin and bear this. That’s just the point – I don’t have a choice.

I flew up to see my Mom for the weekend. We went on a long walk and had a good chat. What I realised is the reality of her own hurt and pain about my infertility. Yes, she has 3 kids and she knows she is lucky and although she can’t really put herself in my shoes she feels pain because she sees the pain I go through. She is a really strong Christian and believes in the power of prayer. She wanted to take me to a famous pastor who has prayed for quite a few infertile couples and seen all sorts of miracles. I am also a Christian although my faith is fairly low-lying at the moment – but I will try anything! Being prayed for is a lot nicer than being poked and prodded and pumped full of hormones. We didn’t get to see the pastor but I know Mom prays for me daily.

She mentioned that she had a run-in with a good friend of hers. The friend came to stay and showed my mom hundreds of pictures of her new Granddaughter. My mom was feeling a bit strained after it all but was polite. Then her friend said some kind of sanctimonious crap about how God gives life and he takes life away – and that’s when my Mom hit the roof. She turned on her friend spitting fire and demanded that she take it back and how dare she imply that God ‘favoured’ her daughter more than me. Even my quiet step-Dad jumped in and told the friend to be more sensitive – hilarious! The next day there were all sorts of apologies from the friend and then my Mom actually sent her the Vita Alligood piece on Infertility Etiquette! It felt so good to know how much my Mom cares and how she feels what I am going through as much as she can.

All I can hope for is that one day I will have a bouncing baby who will squeeze into the tiny room in our new house and be surrounded by joy, laughter and a fiercely loving Granny!


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I hate Facebook pregnancy announcements!

We have all experienced the hell, the hate, the dark black misery that comes from Facebook pregnancy announcements. All kinds of people from people with PCOS (that has never had her period!) to underage (try18?) to overage (oh, look! I’m 45 and we just had an oops!) to people we hate (read “I stole your boyfriend at varsity but bad karma won’t touch me because guess what…)

This is a great post from Yolk about the awful ways in which people infiltrate our day with this special form of hurt.

http://runnyyolk.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/the-facebook-pregnancy-announcement/

One of the comments asks why can’t we be happy for people who announce their pregnancy on Facebook. I agree that we need to realise that our hell is not a reality for most others. But to be able to bitch about it to people who understand is our reality and our right.

We all know that it’s very hard when friends say they are pregnant. I think from living “in the infertile closet” so long I have learnt to put on a brave face and smile through it. And even now when I am being more honest about my feelings I still have a sense that a friend has every right to want me to share her joy, otherwise am I really a friend? But then the other half of me says that she has the happiness which doesn’t depend on hurting me – she will be happily pregnant without my joy. This is still something I am grappling with.

I am quite a Facebook sharer but have never openly admitted to being infertile on FB. I hate the pity and all the crap that comes with it. Besides the many negative outcomes from announcing it I also have horrible visions of my ex boyfriend breathing a sigh of relief that we didn’t end up together (he has 3 little boys now but luckily all of them are very bad sleepers. He he!).

But one thing I do know is that I will be announcing my pregnancy (if it ever happens) on FB. I will disclaim it with the big reveal of the X number of years we have been trying. And I will wait until I am in the 2nd trimester. And I know that all my friends will be happy for me, even my TTC ones.

Until then I will have to try and breezily ignore all those silly ultrasound pics and pics of growing bumps.


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Detox day 8 – an ode to wine!

Mmm, my good friend! Until we meet again...

Well we made it through the weekend which is huge! We never make it through a weekend without beer and wine. Whenever I am on a diet (yes, I am doing that to myself at the moment as well) chances are always that I am never 100% good on weekend, it’s just too hard. So I am pretty proud of my self control.

And we didn’t kill each other either. It did feel very strange though. We went to rugby on Saturday and who knew a rugby game went on for soooooo long! We then went out for dinner which we were really looking forward to. But as we sat down and ordered a rock shandy the world kind of dulled down. We couldn’t even think of anything interesting to talk about which is not like us at all. We were just missing something. But reading this makes me a little sad. We should have rich lives with or without alcohol. Does this mean we have a problem?

It’s not the feeling from booze (I don’t like feeling drunk) but its the actual booze. I love wine so much, I think I love wine more than food (if thats even possible). I love the taste and the ritual and the colour and the pretty glass…(sniff) I am usually happy with 1 glass, I don’t need to drink a lot (but obviously sometime I do!). W feels the same about beer. He loves it. He loves trying new beers and dark beers and beers made from different stuff. And as he is an avid sports lover beer goes hand in hand with the event.

Obviously as soon as I (oneday, maybe) get pregnant then I will say goodbye to wine. But I will have a very strong reason not to drink. To not drink now, even for this short month, seems like fishing for a shark with a tadpole net. I know everyone talks about diet and being healthy affecting your fertility but surely thats for someone who has only been trying for a short while? After 4 years of trying I don’t think something like eating lots of spinach (or whatever it is) will help that damn sperm boink that damn egg!

But so I press on with the madness. Once again, desperation is my name!


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Detox challenge 1: Girls night blues

So last night was fun! Or not so much.

Every month a group of my girl friends get together for dinner. One of us chooses a restaurant and we try new places every month.

I am usually the one who is loudly talking about my sex life while quaffing down a bottle of wine or 2.  I do this for 2 reasons. Firstly, that’s who I am (expressive, loud) and secondly because I try and keep things light, breezy and fun because believe me, if I don’t then things become desperate. I love my friends BUT (I seem to be saying that a lot) they can get so stuck on the details of mundane life. We are all in our early 30s so obviously there is going to be talk about husbands, and children and buying houses and mother-in-laws etc but is there really the need to talk about maids, and the price of vegetables, and cleaning products and…toothbrushes! Yes, last night we had a 30 minute conversation on toothbrushes and flossing. Do you know how excruciating that was without wine?

But that wasn’t all. Later on I felt that I wanted to bitch and moan a little bit just to try and be me. So I was going on about how being on detox makes me feel like I have nothing left to look forward to, like boozy lunches by the sea, or watching rugby or games of 30 seconds. I was only sort of getting into my bitching session when a friend of mine says “Well, I don’t know what you are whining about, I did it for 9 months while I was pregnant and it was fine.” (!) The knee jerk reaction was to head butt her in the face. But I managed to keep my cool long enough to say that she had a reason for not drinking, like the health and wellbeing of her unborn baby, something which I have not had the pleasure of experiencing yet. But I didn’t want to get into the infertility thing again. I always come out of those conversations feeling even more depressed than going into them as invariably people will end up saying hurtful things and I will just have to take it to keep the peace.

We ended off the evening with chatting about our friend who was absent because she is hugely pregnant and can hardly move. There was lots of deep statements like “Wow, she is on the brink of such a life changing experience” and all of that. By this time I was seriously blue and sober and so over it all. Thinking of this friend just brought up so much envy and desperation that the evening ended on a really bad note for me.

I am finding myself slowly but surely alienating myself from the friends who I know just don’t understand. These are not only the obvious moms or moms-to-be but also those friends who are not yet trying and that its all ahead of them. That doesn’t leave too many people. For someone that has always been surrounded by loads of friends the world is becoming a little lonely for this infertile.