Friday, December 9, 2011

Unexpected tears

Why am I crying dropping DH off for his vasectomy?

That was the text I sent to my sister this morning before I backed out of the doctor's parking lot.

Yes, it's true, DH had a vasectomy this morning. It's done.

It's also true that we do not want any more children. That--if we're being truthful here--we are fairly overwhelmed with the two we do have. At their one year pediatrician visit yesterday I left feeling more like a failure than ever. Our daughter is eating too well, it seems, our son is too old to be not sleeping through the night, we are not disciplining properly, and the list goes on and on. Here I had been thinking I was doing the right thing with feeding them as much as they wanted, but it seems when babies are starved in their early days they do not learn self regulation. I knew this--intellectually--but honestly I don't want to think about my babies laying in their cribs with empty bellies when they were 0-3 months old but I know they did. So I just hoped/assumed/falsely reassured myself that my babies knew how to self-regulate and they wouldn't overfeed. Couple that with the idea that if I could just keep him full enough my son would sleep all night and I guess I really mucked things up. Sigh again. Put all that together with the continued sleep deprivation and yes, there were lots of tears this morning.

I have very strong feelings about our family being complete, about how I would never, ever want my babies to think they were not enough. This is why we knew when we completed their adoption we were done.

But watching my DH walk up to the urologist's office, alone, knowing I couldn't even be there with him to hold his hand it made me so sad. True, he's a grown man but damn, he looked so vulnerable going by himself.  I thought about all the times he held my hand, through my surgeries, and biopsies, and retrievals, and invasive tests and procedures. It is times like these I wish I had someone close by who could just watch the babies for an hour here or there.

But mostly, I just felt sad watching his genetics come to an end in such a final way. And I know you'll say, waaah? But you guys couldn't get pregnant anyway! And you always say genetics don't matter!

True, true, I have said that, and I do know that. Our odds were exceedingly low for any type of pregnancy and the whole reason he got the vasectomy was so I could confidently take some medications that I really need. Cholesterol meds. Yes, I'm vegetarian, I'm a runner, but my genetics are horrible.

But my DH? His genetics are gold. Not just from a disease standpoint (but they are) but he's a creative, talented, amazing soul. And I would have loved to have seen some of those gifts passed along but frankly, my body wasn't able to accomodate that, plain and simple.

So those tears came from a couple of places. I am overwhelmed. I am trying to encompass the fifty recommendations I received yesterday at the pediatrician's office into our routines.  I am sad for my sweet DH. I am guilty. I will always be sad for us in a place in my heart that knows that creating another human soul from two souls that love each other is an amazing and beautiful thing that we did not do. The rest of my heart is so overflowing with love for the two souls I have been entrusted to nurture and grow that I honestly do not think about the losses or sadness of infertility anymore. Until a day like today, when I came face to face with the finality of everything.

My family is complete. It was the day we received our referral photos. But tears, they come from unexpected places, and sometimes all you can do is let them fall.


  1. Holy crow, I don't blame you one bit for feeling overwhelmed by the finality of it all.

    I'm not sure what else to say, but I just want you to know I'm thinking of you. And sending hugs.

  2. You are absolutely right to take that measure, if you are done making your family! I was a ridiculous IVF failure but that "one good egg" made it through, at age 40. It happens!! And in my case it wasn't a magical ending; miscarried weeks later, having put off a donor cycle in the interim. Sigh. I totally get it all.


  3. Oh, beautiful post. So many emotions, so much of it hard, and wonderful too. thank you for sharing it. I hope that the tears falling helped somehow, allowed you to find some peace and rest, to grieve some of these tremendous losses even as you celebrate every minute with your beautiful children.


  4. Don't let your pediatrician make you feel like a failure. Take their recommendations and couple it with your mommy wisdom and go from there. You are not a failure as a mother!
    And I completely understand the unexpected tears. Sometimes you do have to let them fall.

  5. Very emotional post. Irony at its best...

    It's always something at the ped's office, isn't it? I'm constantly wondering what I'm doing "wrong." Those comments from the docs have proven to be a bit undermining.

  6. Obviously, I don't speak from experience, but I figure if I survived all the so called ignorance of growing up in the 70's, then I'll do alright with babies some day. I think it's great to be as educated as you can about what the pediatrician thinks you should do, but I think Ashley hit the nail on the head. You are far from being a failure! My mom still tells me she feels guilty about always have Twinkies in the house for an after school snack - No mom, my sugar habit is not solely your fault!

    As for the vasectomy, I am very sorry for your grief. I can't imagine having to make that decision even in spite of super low pregnancy odds. IF really sucks. Take care...

  7. I've seen your children, seen you with your children and you are far from failing. You're flourishing! They are loved, happy, healthy and learning about this big ol' world. Miss H looks fantastic, Mr. H will (eventually) sleep through the night, and no one disciplines perfectly- there's always a new challenge in that realm. First rule of medicine- look at the patient- and I have- they are doing beautifully! Great job, especially handling two the 1st year (it's a lot!).

    As far as the finality of things- I grapple with that. You've read it, been told it, lived it, you're brain can regurgitate gobs of information about it yet...your heart takes a little longer to fully and completely embrace it. Deep breaths, letting the tears fall and chocolate. That's all I got for ya.


  8. Is your doctor adoption competent? There are many "your child shoulds" that do not apply when talking about who were adopted, especially with early depravation and changes. Most children who were adopted have sleeping issues and eating issues, which take time to work though.

    Don't be hard on yourself and remember you know your children better than anyone!

  9. God. I got all choked up reading this. I totally get feeling that
    way. It is over. You are making yourself move forward in a way that
    you can't go back. Life wasn't fair to you or your husband. And, you
    have to be OK with it. It's not a choice. You can't change this. It's
    all sad how little control we have over our life sometimes.

    Oh, and the feeling like a bad mother bit...well, we all feel that.
    We all screw up. And, sometimes if you tried your d@mndest to get the
    baby to sleep through the night and self-soothe...IT JUST DOESN'T
    HAPPEN. What are we talking about with waking up? One time a night?
    Two? Three? I will tell you that my breastfed, fully nutured son was
    still getting up 1-2 times a night at 14 months to feed. He
    eventually stopped. Does that make you feel better? How about this?
    My breastfed, full nutured son that received our full attention and
    focus on learning and development had a speech delay. He didn't
    REALLY start talking until he turned 3 (last month). He still doesn't
    speak as well as his peers. I don't know why. He just doesn't. That
    we fail our children is something as mothers we all do. Just like you
    can't help your high cholesterol (me, too, baby! 270!!! and I run!
    and I eat relatively healthfully!), there are some things about your
    beautiful babies that are going to break.

    Much love to you...:>

  10. I hope "fully nutured" wasn't offensive...I know there is a difference between CARE and feeding...and certainly that isn't the case for your babies now.

  11. I wish a lived near each other, I would have volunteered to entertain the little ones for you. I also feel for you in navigating the crazy emotions of giving up dh's fertility. I think we are done, fine with our daughter, and yet I still have dreams about being pregnant and seeing a child that looks like my dh. Dreams so vivid, I had to ask m my dh if we actually had a conversation or I dreamed it. I feel like after so many years of chasing a baby, my brain can't figure out how to turn it off.

    I am also right there with you about motherhood being hard and overwhelming. But don't beat yourself up, it seems especially in adoption, for every medical opinion about something, there is an equal and opposite opinion from some other expert. Do trust your instincts, and listen to opinions, but know that you know those babies better than any doctor, so trust your gut in weighing the outside opinions. Hang in there.

  12. Wow. Even though your family is now complete with 2 amazing beautiful children rhe vasectomy is the final reminder of what never was or will be. Your journey to parenthood was long filled with many lows and this may be a reminder. Im sorry.

    Do not let yourself think you are not the BEST mother for your children. You are!

  13. oh sweetie, I wish you'd called. And I hope you don't really think you are failing your babies. You are mothering them - I can't tell you how many appointments I've left thinking the pedi was making a judgment, but looking back knowing I was doing the best I could - and sometimes I know better for our lives than a doctor that sees ten minutes worth.

    Thinking of you.

  14. I think you're doing better than you think you are! I can tell you are a loving and devoted mother and that's all that matters.
    Amy x

  15. I'm sorry you were having a bad day too. It's totally understandable - I know you believe genetics aren't the most important thing when it comes to raising a child (and I agree), but it's still a loss, and it's natural to grieve that loss.

    Your DH will still pass along his gifts to your kids, just like you'll pass yours along. Genetics may play a role in some of that, but I think a lot of times we give genes too much credit - both in the positive factors they can contribute and in things like disease risk. The way you raise your kids, and the interests you expose them to, will have just as much of an influence (if not more) on what is passed along to them...

  16. Oh, dear, that is a lot to process and no wonder the tears come to your eyes...
    I am sorry for the sadness in your heart. It is forever a part of you. It doesn't mean that changes anything, and it does not affect how you feel for your family. It is just there and you have to live with it, which is not always easy.

    As for the ped's "shoulda, woulda, coulda" - maybe you should start looking for someone else who is more aligned with your parenting style. Doctors should never make you feel foolish, they should gently guide you and care for you. My son, 16 mo, still does not sleep through the night, and surprise, surprise, he is perfectly normal otherwise, he's just part of that 20% of children who learn the sleep thing later. It's not your fault, not his fault, it just is. But, granted, things are improving in this department, and they do sooner then I expected them to (he wakes up now only 2-3 times a night, which, you know, is pure bliss; after all, it is a mtter of perspective...). As for the baby fat, it goes away after they start being fully mobile, until then, they are rolly polly. And it just fine! It is the only time in their life when it is perfectly alright to have fat rolls! Is she off the weight charts? I doubt it. So there.
    If they are happy and thriving, you are NOT a failure. And the doctor should know better before throwing guilt at a new mummy!
    Listen to your heart. Watch your kids. If they are happy and you are happy, then all is well. Life is a perpetual adjusting to everything, baby fat will off, sleep will eventually come, try to worry less and enjoy this period more. Your children are growing up so fast and they change so quickly, you should enjoy every moment to the fullest. You are a wonderful mother, don't let anyone make you doubt that!

  17. It's a beautiful thing to know your family is complete. But I understand the pain of the loss of genetics - esp when your DHs are gold. You are NOT a failure - in fact you're a role model to so many of us!

  18. First, you are an AMAZING mom and don't let yourself think any less. Raising twins is not easy, heck, raising one is not easy. You know what is best for your children. Tyler did not sleep through the night, not even once, until he turned 16 months, and it's not every night. I've never done anything to force him, that's just when he decided he was ready. Your son will sleep through the night when he's ready and there's nothing wrong with him if he's not. Society wants to make you believe there's something wrong if they're not sleeping through the night by 3 months. Hang in there mama, I know first hang how difficult it is to not get sleep.

    Second, I'm not surprised by the tears on the vasectomy. Even if it was your desire, it made things final. You closed a door in a very long chapter of your life and that's a lot to process. You made the right decision for your family and you are strong and courageous for going through with it. I think after you have time to process it, you will feel a sense of freedom from IF. A .001% chance of conceiving can really do a doozie on someone that has gone through IF. As far as genetics, they really do only go so far. You and dh will pass on an amazing amount of qualities just by raising them. Hugs!

  19. I can see how the finality of it all would be really hard. Human emotion is so, so complicated--sometimes I wish it were black and white. You've had such an emotional year--good and bad--so let those tears fall where they may. Thinking of you. Hope the hubs is recovering well.

  20. Those tears make perfect sense to me - saying a final, final farewell to seeing your DH's genes in a baby's face is a huge deal. We gain a whole lot with adoption - we get to be parents! But that doesn't mean that our other losses aren't real, and (personally) I think it's much healthier to acknowledge it and deal with it than pretend our kids have somehow 'replaced' the genetic family we would have had. I think it's good to deal with those feelings rather than deny them - anybody who pretends that there's no loss involved in never having bio kids has NOT been paying attention!

    And as for the sleeping / eating / discipline stuff - if your ped has all of that figured out, he / she is WELCOME to do a shift at my house. Anytime. Seriously.

  21. I am sorry MTL...I know what you are going through right now. I am overwhelmed with just one! So kuddos to you. My tubal ligation is scheduled for Jan. 5th. I am awaiting for the ball to drop too...take care.

  22. I am not in the same boat as you as far as IF & adoption took 7 years of actively trying to have our first baby, probably due to PCOS since I got pg while in the midst of a 50 lb weight loss, but we never dealt with dealing with the dr bc of insurance...anyway, then we had a surprise second baby 6 months after the birth of our first and bc of our financial situation decided to get an iud. And I had to sign a consent form. And in the reason for procedure field the dr had written: "undesired fertility" and I burst into tears. And I still tear up a year later. So in a little sense I can understand what you were feeling.