Thursday, February 2, 2012

Am I an IF freak?--EDITED

I think I am a mutant IF victim/survivor.

I want to put this delicately because in no way is this meant to harm anyone because all feelings in IF are valid.

I keep reading about people who have had success--either a spontaneous pregnancy or success with treatment--saying how badly they still hurt over IF. How the pain will never go away.

Either I am just too busy/overwhelmed or I have scarred up really really well because I don't feel acute pain anymore. I don't even feel dull pain anymore.

The other night, the babies were sleeping, and I was getting dinner ready and the song "Sea of Love" came on. I motioned quietly to the hubs to come into the kitchen.

"Listen." I said.

Ahhhh, Sea of Love. He used to sing it to me so sweetly all those years ago.

We started dancing in the kitchen and the tears started falling. We had just rocked those beautiful babies before laying them down in their cribs.

"Did you ever think we'd be here?" he asked.

I could barely reply.

We are parents. We are the parents of two beautiful African children. In my wildest dreams from childhood I would never have predicted my life would have turned out this way.

I don't hurt over IF anymore because let's be honest, I crossed over. It may not have been the way I intended to initially, but I did. I am a mother. It's not all I ever wanted to be but it was something I always wanted and was denied for many long, grueling, agonizing months. I fought hard to get here. It did not come easily, but alas, I arrived.

Yes, I sometimes feel a strange pang when I see my friends' kids and they are spitting images of their parents. But not in a vanity way, just in a "isn't that cool" kind of way. I really don't feel any need to see someone who looks like me, but I think it's natural to want to know how you and your spouses genes might combine.

But my babies are beautiful and the way they came into my life has made it much easier for me to see them as unique little souls, not any sort of extension of me, just their own little beings with their own path in life. Of course I will want things for them, of course I will try to guide them and influence them and hopefully help make their paths easier.  I always feared I would see my children as this quasi-extension of myself and even feared ways they might deviate from the things I wished and dreamed for them. I am relieved--and I think somewhat better able--to view them as their own beings because they have no genetic ties to me. I am relieved for them for a lot of reasons related to that. Yes, deeply saddened for them, too, but that goes without saying (I hope). When I cried for DH getting a vasectomy it was temporary, and as much about my inability to hold his hand through the procedure as it was for the loss of genes. And that was sadness for the loss of his genes, not mine.

So I don't hurt much anymore. Does that make me the anomaly here? I think that IF pain is unique, and awful, and excruciating, and unless you've been through it (like most pain out there) you may think you know, but you really do not. But I also like to think that it ends with parenthood. And I'm so sad to know that for many it does not, it just goes on and on and on.

Am I too tired to feel it?

I don't know, but that's entirely possibly given those 4:15 am wake times :)

And hello--I do not wake up and run simply to be able to indulge in desserts. I run because it clears my head. I run because it's time where I am one with myself, and no one is tugging on me or drooling on me or asking me to read Brown Bear for the tenth time in a row. I run because I like the sound of my breathing. I run because I like to sweat. I run because I like to feel a connection to my father, who taught me to run. (note: all of these feelings are on a good running day--on a bad running I plod along just so I can eat the dessert).

Edited to add:
Heather and Silver--Well, it's an interesting question and one I obviously can't answer with 100% honesty because we adopted two babies at once. But, I do remember saying, when I was in the most painful throes of infertility, that if I could just cross over and have one child I would forget the pain because I was sick.of.the.pain. Of course, easy to say then and easy to recall now, ha. I think the other thing I am realizing is that everyone has pain. Mine was IF. Others deal with chronic illnesses or conditions, or the loss of a spouse, or the disintegration of a marriage. And my pain was IF, and I'm done with IF. So I'm done with pain.
Oh yeah, also--my children aren't genetically related at all, yet they're full siblings to them and to us. So Silver, maybe you can give your son a non-genetic but still sibling all the way! Heather, I'm sorry the program you were using in the past is no longer available, I hope there are others you can consider.
Fellow freaks--thanks for the shout-outs :)

28 comments:

  1. If you are a freak, then I am too. It is not something I write about specifically, but I too feel like I've crossed over and don't have pain anymore. I sometimes rub up against a scar now and then, and it makes me pause, and maybe be happy for where I am now. And the thought of trying for #2 and injections makes me nervous as all hell - but pain? No. That is healed every time I look at my daughter.

    And for whatever reason you run, you are still my idol. You go girl.

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  2. I love all of this. so glad you have crossed over and have sound peace after such a long road...

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  3. I don't think you are a freak, but would you feel this way of you only had one of your children, knowing that you wanted more? That is where my pain comes from. I never wanted only one child, so I feel incomplete and am struggling with how to accept that and with other ways to build my family. (The adoption program we were a part of has changed drastically in the last year, so may now not be the right fit for our family.) I think if I only ever wanted one child I would feel like I had crossed over. But in order to complete my family I have to cross back over at least once, KWIM?

    Glad you have such a passion for running. The desserts would have to be my main motivator. LOL!

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  4. I'm with Heather - I think that if I had two kids, or a realistic possibility of having a sibling for my wee boy, I would feel that I had crossed over. As it is, I see friends from my antenatal class starting to become pregnant (easily) with baby number 2 and I feel those pangs of jealousy. They don't have the same intensity that they did when I had no child, but they have an added dimension in that I feel sadness and guilt for my wee boy, that he is very unlikely to ever have a full sibling (the donor has a son so he has a half-brother, but at best he won't meet him till he's 18). Those feelings are sometimes harder to deal with than my own sadnesses - because his happiness and wellbeing are the most important things in the world to me and, right now, I am responsible for them. So - that's my tuppence-worth.

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  5. Freak here too. We always planned/wanted two, but after so many years I know we have hit the jackpot with one-- we are SO lucky--so if we never have another it is okay. Having crossed over I just don't see how the pain over wanting number 2 could compare. Maybe that's because it took us 6 years, etc. Maybe if it had taken only 1-2 years/tries I would feel different.

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  6. Hang on.. are your babies fraternal twins? I must have missed that bit while I read..

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  7. It makes me happy to hear you don't have much pain anymore. So much of what you wrote resonates with me...even though I haven't crossed over yet, I am just waiting for the sweet, sweet relief when I look into my future babies' faces! Most days I'm in a really good place (surprises me how much I've healed already being so secure in our decision to adopt) and the things that used to easily bring me down aren't as pressing anymore. (Okay, it was a little hard looking too long at my prego friend's belly over dinner, but I know that's to be expected). I can't wait to (hopefully!) be an IF Freak..!

    Not the loss of my genes, but the loss of my DH's genes...well, that's the kicker for me, too. I don't know how I'll fully resolve that one.

    I am hope, hope, hoping I FINALLY LAND A JOB with one of the agencies I'm taking with...so we can begin REAL adoption next steps.

    Okay, Austin neighbor, you name the time/place and we'll make it a date! Can't wait to meet your little ones.

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  8. Sometimes I am surprised that I ever went through If. It's nuts bc it was agonizing for so long. But I've always been like that, when I am over it, it fades. And I am blessed and I know it. At this stage, I wouldn't change anything about my journey...even all that painful stuff.

    There is a girl at my church who has twins after an if journey. It was rough for her, no doubt. But talking to another friend about how overprotective and bossy she can be, she said, "yeah, but after all she went through to have them, what do you expect?" I pointed out that I went through that and then some. Her response was that she always forgets that about me. That kind of made me happy, iIF doesn't define me anymore.

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  9. This post (and the blog for that matter) gives me hope. I pray that one day I will be in your shoes and have crossed over too.

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  10. CJ smith (hopingthisisit@gmail.com)February 2, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Thank you for your honesty....it is truly appreciated especially by someone who is still enduring the IF hell. After 5 failed fresh ivf cycles (including at ccrm) as well as numerous iuis, it can be frustrating to talk with friends who have babies from their first iui or twins from their first ivf tell me that they know exactly what we are going through. I know they mean well and i know that they did experience pain (as i was once at my first iui or ivf), but i really can't imagine that they really know as they have never known what it was like to fail either...or to fail many times and never know if children will be in their future.

    I am not looking to undermine anyone's journey.....PLEASE know that. I guess what i am trying to say is thank you for at least acknowledging that you feel you have made it out on the other side.... I know it is not how you thought it would be....but i am SO happy that you have two beautiful children in your arms. I have followed your journey and know that you have been through SO much...so i am hopeful that we too will complete our family somehow and some way! And, i don't think you are a mutant IF survivor.... :) ..... You are honest and give me hope that one day, the pain may fade a bit!

    So, thank you.

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  11. Thanks for the edit MTL. I wish that adoption were more of a possibility for us. As it is, because of our age and the way adoption works in the UK, we would only be considered for an older child and that child would probably be very damaged by the life they'd experienced so far. My husband's feelings on the subject are another block - he wasn't keen before we had our wee one, and now he sees it as something that could potential damage our existing child by bringing another, already damaged, child into our lives. I know that, although we could hit lucky, he could be right and knowing that, I feel in no position to argue. Plus, our money, energy and emotional resources are zapped. All that said, I see adoption as a wonderful way of building a family when it works - and I see it working for friends (and I know adoptees, adopters and have a very close friend who relinquished a baby when she was 16). Anonymous - we took 8 years and 6 losses to get our wee boy so time is not a factor for us - I expected to feel nothing but joy when I had him and 90% of the time, I do. For myself, I feel I have satisfied all my "needs" in terms of pregnancy and birth (neither being so wonderful that I have any desire to repeat them!!) and having a child, but I do worry about my child's needs. I am very close to my own sibling and I'm certain that that is the biggest influence in this. Anyhow - will shut up now before I look like I've hijacked this blog! Sorry!

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  12. Just wanted to add a final:
    "Your pain is your own!"
    to this. Everyone is different and there is no "right" way to feel - however you feel, you got there in a unique way and noone else can judge it.

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  13. well, just as we are all coming from different places and circumstances, even though we may share the commonality of IF, when we "cross over", we will all adjust differently.

    i think that your experience of parenting your children has fulfilled that hole that you felt so acutely while you were in the thick of the IF. others, even though they are getting to parent, may have other residual or intertwined issues that make them not quite there in terms of feeling healed or beyond the IF. it may take months, years, or maybe even never, to get beyond the IF pain.

    i know that in terms of grief, from the women i have known over the years, some feel that they are done grieving, that they have fully incorporated their loss into their lives- even these women report that there are times, years later, that the grief comes on hard, but it is only for brief moments. perhaps this is the way IF will be for you- every once in a while you will need to revisit that particular IF pain- something will trigger it that will come out of nowhere, and you will feel it and then be done with it again.

    i think it is a good place to be, where you are now. no shame in feeling good! how about some new pictures of those sweeties?

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  14. I guess I'm an IF freak as well. I too don't understand when those that have crossed over say they are still feeling the pain of IF and will never get over it. I often wonder if they say that out of guilt for their readers that are still fighting the fight? Maybe they are trying to relate with their readers? I think the opposite happens though, I think it annoys those still in the battle. I believe that it must be so disheartening because they're being told that even after you succeed, you'll never escape this pain. Even though I would love to have 2, having 1 is considered crossed over when you compare that to the pain of having none. Now I do still feel that little bit of jealousy when a friend conceives their 2nd or 3rd on their 1st try, but that is only because I would so love a 2nd and it's just not fair what would have to take place for that to happen. But do I still feel the true pain of IF, not at all. I'm so glad that your pain is over and I hope that all others that are still in pain, will soon cross over.

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  15. I'm so glad you don't feel the pain of IF anymore and that you've completely crossed over. After everything you've been through, you certainly deserve to feel that way!

    I agree with Heather and Silver - I think if your family is complete, at that point it would be easier to move beyond the pain. In our case, assuming our current pregnacy ends well, IF still wouldn't be "over" for us. I'd like to have at least 2 kids, which means even if everything goes perfectly well, we're still stuck in IF-land for at least 2 more years, which would be a total of 12 years in the end. But I'd like to think that eventually, at some point, I'll feel the same way you do... :-)

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  16. i'm glad you're a freak in this way! this is a happy post to read after following along for so long.
    i must say though, i do think the vasectomy gave you some 'control' back into your life to choose IF completely, if you will. you choose to be done with it and not have any hope every month and i do think that makes a difference.
    either way, i'm sure it feels good to have it behind you.

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  17. I am one of those women who has not completely healed from infertility. But, it has less to do with infertility per se and more to do with the residual issues that infertility created. Most notably, my relationship with my sister was permanently damaged by the callousness and insensitivity she displayed during my struggles with infertility, and the loss of that relationship has left a huge hole in my life that my precious children have not filled. I also grew apart from a lot of my friends because it was too painful to spend time with the ones who were having babies and I was often too depressed to get out and be social with the ones who weren't. Raising twins has given me little opportunity to reconnect with those people, as much as I would like to. So, in the aftermath of infertility I find myself feeling pretty isolated and alone. That has put a damper on the tremendous joy I have felt since the birth of my children.

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  18. Thank you for your post. I wonder if I'll fully cross over, but the pain of IF has definitely lessened just since knowing who are son is going be. When he gets here, I hope it will lessen even more. As for additional children and feeling like our family is complete, well, I've never let myself really go there because just having any child would be a gift at this point. I think we'll want our son to have a sibling, but I have no idea how we'll go about making that happen. I suspect my husband will want to consider donor eggs, which hurts me if only because it means he's still feeling a bigger sense of loss from IF than I am.

    I'm with you on all your reasons to run, and in addition to earning desserts, I've gotta add margaritas. They're a weakness and mucho caloric...

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  19. No, you are not an IF freak; I feel the same way. The pain of infertility seems like a long time ago and in a different place. I try to just be consumed in the present and so very thankful for the beautiful little boy that we have. Once in awhile, I do have a little pang when I hear about friends getting pg on their first try, but then I let it go. Originally, our plan was to have several kids, but after IF, we both just feel blessed to have one (I know you aren't crazy about the 'blessed' term, but I think you know what I mean). Anyway, thanks for the great post. Heather

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  20. I know we've emailed about this a bit, and I must say I hope, hope, hope that some day I feel the same way.
    So, so glad to know you have truly "crossed over"--it gives me hope.
    :-)

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  21. I can't talk to the IF pain, but I do LOVE that you see them as who they are. Not how they're genetically linked to you, not as an extension of yourself, but as the souls that they are. That's how we see our kids. Because it's too much to put that on a person- that just because of genetics they should be like you in some way. Sometimes there's no denying it, but they are who they are and it's up to us to get to know them and help them blossom into that person. I am glad the pain of IF has lessened for you- it was one of the most painful things to witness especially when there wasn't a damn thing that could be done (that hadn't already been done). It's lovely to see you as a mother. And you do have the most beautiful family- on numerous levels.
    B

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  22. If you're a freak, then you are a freak that gives me hope! I think we just all deal in our own way, and yes, having 2 babes in arms probably does ease the pain, don't you think? I've always wanted 4 kids, but now, not only do I think I would be happy with 1, I think 1 might be all I could handle - I am, after all, closing in on 39!

    Oh, and I like to walk to clear my head. Running, I believe, would not be good for my double ds - at least that's what I like to tell myself ;-) I know, tmi, tmi..

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  23. I think that a sense of resolution is what conquers the lingering pain. Always wanting another child was really hard on me, mostly because I hated the idea that my beautiful sweet fascinating daughter wasn't enough for me. I mean, of course she was enough! But I still ached for another one. So it was guilt on top of regret on top of anger on top of etc. etc.

    Now that I truly feel in my heart that we are complete, it's different. I'm honestly not secretly hoping for another baby, so I don't have to hold anything in or pretend that anything is fine when it's really not.

    But also, I'm tired, so maybe that's it after all!

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  24. I'm another freak. Though I do also sometimes feel that twinge when I hear of someone for whom multiple pregnancies come so easily. But mostly that pain has faded, and if anything causes my joy and appreciation for my son to be even more intense. What does cause me pain is knowing that while I have made it out unscathed, there are still so many people who are living in that world. So while I may no longer be in pain myself, I have not forgotten what it feels like.

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  25. I think its amazing to be able to feel the way that you do. Its been over one year since the loss of my two babies late in the first trimester- I've come to terms with it, made my peace with it, and am not bitter or unhappy, and I'm looking forward to the future. There will always be sadness and there will be moments I'll break down and cry over what I lost, but I AM ok today. If I feel this way now, with no baby at home yet, if I DID become a parent I think I'd just be over the moon.

    Does that make me a freak? No. Do your feelings make you a freak? Hell no.

    There is no right or wrong way to this, and none of us can point fingers at somebody else because of how they deal with this, but if you can walk through this valley with minimal damage to your psyche, then that is something to be celebrated.

    Btw- I'm a believer in the 'child you get was the child you were meant to have' school of thought, and I think adoption is a very special process, because it links parents and children in the most mystical of ways. Congrats on your 2 beautiful babies!

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  26. Oh my gosh! Crying like a baby here at work! I'm so glad to hear this. Most people I talk to say they are still feeling a lot of pain. It's a relief to know that the pain DOES go away, at least for some people. I'm so happy that you're happy, after following along for so long!

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  27. I was trying to think of what to say - and I think that Lorraine's first sentence sums it up - it's a sense of resolution that's probably key. I think it's incredibly hard to be 'crossed over' to parenthood, but still longing for more children- ESPECIALLY for people who have been through IF and were sure that one was going to be enough! My sister in law is experiencing this right now - huge pain from secondary IF, although when she was going through primary IF she always, always said that if she only ever had one baby she would be eternally grateful and that would be that. But now she's actually IN that situation, desperately wanting a sibling for her boy, she's finding that secondary IF is hurting even more than the first time because she didn't think it would hurt at all. And that sucks hugely. So.... I think that you're not a freak, but you are in a very unusual situation of having gone from zero to complete family in one step. Definitely a cause for dancing! We still aren't sure whether we are done or not. I don't really feel any 'pain' over our situation at the moment - just the occasional scar, like someone else said - but I have a feeling that if we find ourselves deep in another adoption, a lot of old wounds will probably open up. One of the biggest reasons I sort of want to stick at two is that I'm not really sure I can handle being back in that emotional space!!!

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  28. For me, I don't feel the feel the pain anymore either. It's a distant memory. My son (from Korea) made me a mom and that was all I ever wanted. I never get any upset feelings about the gene issue either. I feel very blessed. People can't seem to believe me when I say that it won't bother me if we don't have another child but it really does not. My son was the necessity and another child would just be a bonus!

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