I’m still here

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written.  If I’m being honest, it’s kinda been nice.  It’s nice to step back for a while and just be me.  To not worry about exactly when I’m ovulating or if this is going to be “our month” or if “that symptom” means something.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s always in the back of my mind… but it’s been nice to not have it be the ONLY thing on my mind.  I guess there has been a part of me that has thought “Maybe, even as much as I HATE hearing ‘just relax’, is exactly what I need to do.”  And then one cycles passes.  Then two.  And I remember – it’s a medical condition, not a mental condition.

November 4th was my husband’s and my 2 year wedding anniversary.  We made it 2 whole years without killing each other!!  We had talked about taking a small vacation – Lord knows we needed it, especially after the last few super emotional months – and after talking with his parents about it, his mom actually decided to purchase plane tickets and even go with us!  I know, most people would think that In-Laws on an anniversary vacation would be a major buzz-kill, but that wasn’t the case at all!  I’ve been very blessed with the in-laws that I have!!  We went to Ormond Beach, Florida and it was AMAZING!  I knew that we needed a vacation, but I didn’t realize just how much until we actually got there.  Surprisingly, I didn’t think about work at all!! Tough to imagine, I know.

waterfront

While we were there, we spent 2 nights at the Royal Floridian Resort RIGHT on the water.  The weather wasn’t perfect while we were there but it by NO means ruined our time.  There was quite a bit of rain, but we got to enjoy the sunshine as well and one day, as we sat on our balcony, I noticed that a break in the clouds had the sun casting a ray in a direct line onto the water.  My mind started to wonder about what was going on beneath the surface of the water in that spot.  Were the animals that lived there basking in the gift of warmth that the sun was offering, or were they content in the icy waters?  I often find myself wondering what is happening beyond what my eyes can see when I stand in front of the majestic sea.  Life scurrying about.  Animals seeking shelter and food.  One of the days that we were in St Augustine, I was able to sit and watch about 10-12 dolphins jump and play and toss fish back and forth – and I can’t remember a time I felt more at peace, even with all the emotions I was feeling at that moment.  I’ve always possessed a great passion for the ocean.  There is just something about it that is so peaceful and calming.  Strong, unrelenting, ever-changing – yet remaining the same.  I could sit and listen to and watch the waves roll in for hours and never get bored.

ray of light

The last couple months – like the many before – have been filled with pregnancy announcements, news of loss and all the other happenings that comprise our daily lives.  I can’t quite use the word “normal”, as our normal is so different from most.  I’ve had some time to search my heart some in the last couple months.  My heart still hurts when I hear of a woman who is pregnant or see a woman with that telling bump, but accompanying that ugly green monster lately has been a new perspective – Did she struggle with infertility? Did she get pregnant naturally or have to deal with medical procedures also?  For most women I see, I may never know the answer, but it’s made me feel as though I’m actually making progress in the war against bitterness.

think positive

The emotions that I felt after learning that my best friend was pregnant still shock me beyond belief when I think about them.  A friend of mine called it an “a$$-kicking surprise” and I can’t think of a better way to categorize all the emotions!  But lately, a new feeling about it has been creeping in…  a feeling I expected to feel right away.  I’m excited!  I’m going to be an aunt again!  I’m going to have a precious baby to spoil, and then send home!  I’m going to be able to kiss and hug and love and overall smother this child!  But as strong as those feelings of excitement are, they still wage war with the emotions I’m trying my best to tamper.  I haven’t told her about the excitement yet, and I hope that she will forgive me for having to read it here instead of hearing it from my mouth – although I did warn her (again) that I was blogging in part about her.  I guess it’s easier for me to keep my emotions in check when they’re shared in a broader range – plus I’m sure she’s TIRED of hearing me trip over my words in an explanation of what I’m feeling and how it isn’t her fault!!

We started a YouCaring account a bit ago in hopes of lightening the burden of IVF, and have had some wonderful people donate.  We are saving and adding to it as we can.  My husband has an amazing talent for woodworking and will be selling the projects he’s done, and is going to do, in order to donate to our fund.  I also have discovered a passion for photography that I am going to be using to donate to our fund also.  God is so awesome that He already had something lined up for me before I even knew it!  We also started a Facebook page that tells a little about us and references to this blog and our donation account.  If you are interested in checking any of them out, the links will be at the bottom of this blog!

piggy bank

Speaking of this blog – what an amazing outlet this has been for me.  I love that I can write what’s on my heart for all to see.  People always say that think I’m “amazing” and “so strong” for dealing with this… and I know I am.  I may not feel amazing and strong as much as I do broken and discouraged, but what I want people to take from this more than anything is HOPE.  We know that God has a plan for us.  He reminds us every day.  His plans are better than our dreams, and that is what keeps us going.  Thank you for being a part of this journey.  And this blog.  And my life.

hope

www.facebook.com/munchkinmcnabb

www.youcaring.com/munchkin-mcnabb

Dear Best Friend

Usually when I sit down to write I’ve been contemplating what I’m going to write for quite a few days,  so by the time I sit in front of my laptop,  I have a pretty specific idea of what I’m going to write.  This time – while I’ve definitely got an idea of what I want to write about – I’ve sat here staring at my screen for awhile hoping the words would come.  So if the following is just one big, garbled mess – well, then it won’t be much different than most of my other blogs!

When I moved to Kentucky,  I did so at the begging request of one of my best friends.  We met in a funny way,  and she will tell you how much she disliked me because all I did when we first met was ask her questions about a guy she’d dated – that I was now dating.  Well, the relationship didn’t last,  but the friendship has gone strong, and only gotten stronger, for MANY years!  She’s been by my side through some pretty rough moments and NEVER passed anything that can even slightly be conceived as judgment on me.  I can tell her anything – and I mean ANYTHING.  She knows some of my deepest secrets.  I sang in her wedding 9 years ago and when she told me in December that her and her husband were going to start trying to have a baby,  I was very happy for her!!  I knew that she would be an amazing mother!  She has the patience of a saint (unless she’s driving, but that’s a California thing!) and she’s so dag-gone SMART!  But then those conflicting emotions started ranting about in my head & heart once again!  I still remember her saying to me  “What if I get pregnant before you?”  I told her I would be happy for her – and probably a little sad, too.

thinnest line

I remember a few conversations we had in the beginning of their trying to conceive.  At four months,  she was confused and frustrated because she wasn’t pregnant yet – “Why isn’t it easier?” – and believe me,  if I knew the answer to that I’d share THAT with her, too!!  We even had a couple heated conversations that consisted of me trying to remind her to give it more time.  It wasn’t that I didn’t believe she was frustrated.  Or that every negative test or started cycle did hurt her.  But after a certain amount of time and that “label” – if she got there – things would change and she would wish she could go back.  At eight months,  she was frustrated that she STILL wasn’t pregnant and I started getting scared for a new reason…  while I didn’t mind sharing EVERYTHING with her,  this was one thing I did NOT want to share!  The pain, heartache and devastation that are a part of this journey was NOT something that I wanted her to know!  I often prayed that she would get pregnant soon.  Not too long after she returned from a vacation to Hawaii with her husband,  I was sure that every phone call or visit was going to end in that announcement that I’d begun to anticipate/dread – “I’m pregnant!”  And I only say ‘dread’ because as I would sit and play out the announcement in my head,  there were always so many different reactions that I’d envisioned – and every one of them involved tears.  I never actually dreaded that she would become a mother!  I just want to make that VERY CLEAR!!

I’ve often wondered how I would react if I ever found out someone close to me was pregnant.  Someone that knew of our struggle.  I’ve talked to friends that are dealing with infertility and have dealt with such news, and they have told me that the reaction is directly proportionate to the way the news is told.  I was able to put that wondering to rest on Sunday.  I found out that my best friend in the entire world – the woman I share everything with, consider a sister and love with all my heart – is going to be a mother.  I can’t think of anyone else that deserves it more.  She came over and spent a good chunk of time looking up grants for adoption (sidenote: IT’S EXPENSIVE!!!) and as the time came for her to go home, I could tell she was stalling for some reason.  At first, I didn’t think much of it,  but then she said “I need to tell you guys something.”  I knew, and my heart kinda stopped.  The news was met with tears,  but not as many as I’d anticipated.  She was so thoughtful in her approach.  She used such care and caution.  I told her congratulations and apologized for my tears.  She said she understood – and I know that she truly did.  And then she hugged me.  I didn’t fall apart until after she left.

that feeling

I LITERALLY laid awake all night that night.  My emotions did what they do best – waged a full-on war inside of me.  I was SO happy for her!  Why did I feel so sad?  I was so excited for her!  Why did I feel so angry?  I wanted to ask so many questions!  Why was I so afraid of the answers?  As I think about it, those emotions haven’t really subsided much.  And I feel like that makes me a selfish friend.  But still, she understands and doesn’t judge me.  Fears that I hadn’t even thought of have popped into my head.  I cannot – nor do I want to – imagine any part of my life without her in it, yet I can’t help but be scared that things will change.  It was hard for me,  but I know it was hard for her also.  And the fact that she put so much thought and consideration into how she was going to tell me makes me love her even more.  I wasn’t sure what my next words to her would be, but this is what came out:

“I’ve spent a lot of time trying to process my feelings, as I didn’t sleep at all last night…  I want to start by saying, I am VERY happy for you and I know that you will make a wonderful mother.  I know that it took courage to tell me and I can imagine that it probably made you nervous to do so.  I am glad that you left when you did – not because I wanted to be rid of you but – because you didn’t have to see what happened next.  It’s so hard to describe all the emotions I’m feeling. I am grateful that you will never understand this feeling – this heartache.  I’ve prayed many times since you told us for health for you and the baby.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t give you the screaming, jumping up and down with excitement reaction that I’d always dreamed we’d share with an announcement like that.  I wanted to offer to go with you to your first appointment but the pain that accompanied that thought was unbearable.  I promise that I will do my best to stand beside you through all of this.  I will fight diligently to swallow my pride and selfishness and not only be at the baby shower but help plan it.  It’s what you deserve.  But when the moments come that I break – and there will likely be many – please understand that tears of joy will be mixed with the tears of pain.  I am sorry that you have to be so cautious with me.  I am sorry that I’m so fragile.  I am sorry that I can’t offer the unbridled excitement that you deserve from a best friend.  I hope that it doesn’t hinder our relationship, and I also promise to do my best not to let it.  I appreciate how patient you’ve been with me, and will need that patience now more than I ever did before.  I am excited for you.  I am excited to be a part of this child’s life.  I hope someday to have a child that will become as good of a friend to him or her as you’ve been to me.”

And it was met with a response that reminded me why she’s my best friend.  And why she will make the best mother.  She reminded me that she wants to be there in good AND bad times, and that while she wants me to be involved when I could, that it was ok if I couldn’t.  She told me that she wants me to be a part of her’s and her baby’s life forever…  and what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t honor that request after all she’s done for me?

best friend2

In One Word

infertility is

So many words.  I’ve felt every one of them at one moment or another.  Many at the same time.  I know that as a woman, we are known for feeling many things, but I was never fully aware that I could feel so many different things at once.  So many emotions that even conflict with each other.  Happy & sad.  Scared & excited.  Hopeful & devastated.  If I had to choose one word to describe all of my emotions, I would use the word “Insecure”.

When I first moved out here, I busted my tail and lost 80 lbs!  I know, right?!  That’s like a whole Vogue model!  I looked AMAZING, but even better, I FELT amazing!  I had more energy, self-esteem, confidence – all the things society would like us to believe that only being “skinny” will make you feel.  All the hormones I’ve had to take and the emotions I’ve felt have left me exhausted.  It’s a dialogue in my head just to get up and go to work every morning – “Come on, Dacina.  You guys need the money.”  “But I’m so sleeeeeeeepy.  I don’t want to.”  “It’s only 8 hours.”  “9 minus one for lunch.” – and then the voice of reason wins.

Of all the pain I’ve felt, and the things I’ve lost on this journey, I miss my confidence the most.  I look in the mirror and I do NOT like what I see.  I DESPISE the weight I’ve gained because of all the medications.  For some stupid reason, I’m the only one in my family with a tendency to carrying more weight than I should. And for some even more stupid reason, I think that weighing more than I want to, somehow determines the kind of person that I am.  But I know that’s not true!

My husband is the most amazing person.  I don’t know what I did to deserve him, but I’m glad I got him.  He tells me I’m beautiful – and I believe he ACTUALLY means it.  When he’s holding me and his hands drift towards my stomach, I always clench up and bat them away – embarrassed.  I’m so aware of the part of my body that is the most empty.  As little girls, we used basketballs or towels or pillows or whatever, just to see what it would look like when we got pregnant.  We never thought about THIS possibility.  And now – with my unfortunately expanding waistline – I’m reminded that my tummy is growing, but nothing is inside of it.

After this last IUI failed, I was devastated.  Big, huge, heaving, can’t-catch-my-breath sobs racked my body.  I had kind of known it was coming, but I didn’t realize how much hope I’d held until that red flag waved in my face.  I was going to wait a month to contact the Dr, but my husband reminded me – “That’s like people saying they are going to wait to have kids til they have money, we just have to spend money to try.”  Again – voice of reason.

This cycle is much more aggressive.  Hormone pills and hormone injections.  Even more trips to Cincinnati for unltrasounds, blood work and monitoring.  And now, there is more pressure.  After arguing with the specialty pharmacy about getting everything prior authorized and cleared, and spending more money than expected – I received a phone call from them.  For some reason, someone hadn’t noticed that it had already cleared, we’d already paid and I’d already received the medicine and was trying to run it through again.  But they were getting an error message that we’d reached our “maximum lifetime limit” on the medications.  Meaning that, if this fails, we pay for EVERYTHING.  Out of pocket.  We haven’t decided EXACTLY what that means just yet, but for now it means – if it fails, we wait.  We’ll take it day-by-day.  And on the days I feel like giving up, my husband will remind me what it is we are fighting for…

change the plan