A fresh array of thoughts at the intersection of my to do list and society

Posts tagged ‘Life’

Embracing the Chaos of IVF Part 3: Learning to have a little faith

(Originally posted on Mile High Mamas on July 11, 2012 – http://www.milehighmamas.com/2012/07/11/embracing-the-chaos-of-ivf-part-3-learning-to-have-a-little-faith/) 

When I got home from the PRSA Western District Conference that Monday night, my husband Barry was awake in the den and the door to my mother-in-law’s apartment downstairs was still open. Usually, her door is shut by this time of night, but since Barry was still awake I didn’t think anything of it. I went upstairs and got ready for bed. Within seconds, my smile vanished as I heard Barry yell my name. I ran downstairs to find out what was wrong, but couldn’t find Barry. I heard my name again and quickly realized it was coming from Nancy’s place. As I turned the corner of her stairs, I saw Barry standing over Nancy who was immobile on the floor.

She explained that she tripped over her magazine rack and fell on her hip. Watching her lay there in pain while we waited for the ambulance was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced. It was like staring at my own mortality. Even though my dad died when he was fairly young, his rapid deterioration from cancer seemed so rare to me that it didn’t put mortality in the forefront. But, this was different. This was an accident that could happen to anyone, at anytime.

In typical fashion, I remained positive while Nancy was in the hospital. “You’ll be out of here before you know it,” I kept saying. “You bounced right back after knee surgery last year, you’ll bounce back from this hip surgery too.”

Meanwhile, I didn’t think twice about my IVF process. Everything was moving along like clockwork, even though my stomach looked like squirrels were using it for archery practice. Plus, everything evens out in the end, right? We had the bad with Nancy’s fall so clearly the IVF was going to work.

I really hate it when I’m wrong, and I was wrong about the IVF. You see, in order for Conceptions to proceed with the process, I needed to grow at least four follicles at 18 milliliters. When I went for my first ultrasound check I learned that my ovaries looked like a bar at 4 a.m., completely empty with only a few drunks passed out on the bar. The second ultrasound showed promise with more follicles, but they needed to grow a lot more within the next few days in order to move forward. I tried to stay positive even when the nurses to prepared me for the worst. At the third ultrasound I got the reality check I needed. I never got four follicles at 18 milliliters, just that one. I walked out of the office with my head down and sunglasses over my eyes so no one could see my tears.

For the first time since the first ectopic back in September 2010, I started to realize that this is a game I may never win. I remember watching an episode of Oprah’s Master Class featuring professional NBA player Grant Hill around this time. He talked about how he blamed himself for his ankle injuries that led to his MRSA infection and how he felt like he had let everyone down. I sobbed out loud listening to him because I knew exactly how he felt. I blamed myself too. I blamed myself for the pregnancy losses. I blamed myself for not growing enough follicles. I blamed myself for Nancy falling. I blamed myself for everything.

We knew adoption was an option, but were so mentally exhausted by this time that we didn’t think we had it in us to go down that path. So, I started to prepare myself for the reality that we might not have another child. While I was heartbroken, I knew I had to find some way to come to terms with this. I had to learn to have faith that this may be the best path for my family and me. This was a hard lesson, but I was lucky enough to have friends and loved ones who helped me understand this.

After our follow-up appointment with Dr. Swanson, we decided to try IVF one more time. We agreed to forego the birth control pills in hopes it would eliminate the empty bar effect in my ovaries. Even though it felt as if our IVF journey was ending faster than I hoped, I had learned to have a little faith in what was to come. I started to find comfort in knowing that no matter what, Barry, Maya and I are a family and will always be a family. Letting go of a dream is hard, but appreciating what you have now can warm your heart in ways you never imagined.

Did you have to let go of a dream? How did you do it and what life lesson did you learn from letting go?


My new TV addiction…

Dear Oprah,

Thanks to you, I have found a new TV addiction. It’s not ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, A&E’s Hoarders or even TLC’s Extreme Couponing. Instead, it’s OWN’s Oprah’s Lifeclass. Maybe this show touches me because I’m in a place in my life where I’m looking to fill my time with inspiration instead of watching things that turn my brain off. Maybe it’s because I’ve missed you since “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended. After all, I’m a Gen Xer whose daily afternoon routine growing up included the long-running talk show. Whatever the reason, I’m hooked.

While other shows on OWN feature our favorite media maven like “Master Class,” they don’t capture the essence of you, our teacher, leader and friend the way “Lifeclass” does. For instance, in “Newton’s Third Law,” you gave us an opportunity to understand how the energy we give out to the world comes back to us, both positively and negatively. In another episode, “You’ve Always Had the Power,” we learned that Glenda the Good Witch from “The Wizard of Oz” had it right all along – we’ve always had the power, we just have to figure it out for ourselves. And, I could go on and on…

Each lesson from the show reminds me of life’s most important lesson – I can live my best life. This has never resonated with me more than it has over the past year as I went through several jobs, suffered two miscarriages and missed out on many family moments. It wasn’t until after the second miscarriage – that “roadblock” I mentioned in an earlier post – that this life lesson really hit like a ton of bricks. With the love and support from friends and family, I’ve been able to see life differently. I’m on a good path, but still have more work to do. “Lifeclass” is my regular dose of ways to stay on this path. Judging by the show’s ratings, webcasts views and Facebook likes, it’s clear I’m not the only one who looks forward to our dose.

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” was your child, the place where you grew up, learned a gazillion lessons and shared your mistakes with us, “Lifeclass” is the place where you take what you’ve learned and wrap it up into one hour of wisdom and love, like a grandparent sharing advice with a grandchild over ice cream on a hot summer’s day. No one can remind us that love is available to us if we let it more than you.

We all know you wanted to slow down when you decided to end your daily talk show, and, who could blame you? You were ready for change and more personal time. But, as you know, we are living in unprecedented times. If there’s one thing we need right now it’s a calm, loving voice to remind us that everything will be OK.

So once again, you’ve given us more than we’ve given you. Thank you for seeing the need to share more. Thank you for helping us love in a whole new way. Thank you for giving us the chance to learn how to live our best lives.