rearing its ugly head

Something happened last night that hasn’t happened in quite a while. A couple of years, really.

Infertility reared its ugly head.

I’ve always believed that infertility would play some sort of ongoing role in my life. While I do believe that adopting a child will fulfill my desire to be a mother, I also know that I will never be able to fully forget the years – and associated pain – of trying to have a biological child. How could I?

I honestly wasn’t prepared for this last night, though. It seemingly came out of nowhere. It surprised me, how emotional I got, after feeling so solid for so long. I suppose it is due to the uncertainty we’re feeling with our adoption process right now. (There’s nothing new to report, by the way.) We moved away from trying to have a biological child because we were sick and tired of the uncertainty. Adoption was supposed to be the sure thing, the path that would lead us to parenthood. Of course, we know that there’s no such thing as a sure thing. But this was supposed to be the safe, there-will-be-a-baby-in-the-end route.

[Quick recap of our story, for those who don’t know or remember: Two years of unexplained infertility, including failed fertility treatments. Then three (naturally-conceived) pregnancies over the next year and a half, all of which ended in miscarriage. I was diagnosed with having aĀ balanced translocation of two chromosomes, which, in short, effectively means that I have twice the typical risk of miscarriage.]

So, here’s what triggered my meltdown. Just before I went to bed, I glanced at my email on my phone. There was a message from Craig’s aunt, letting us know that her two newest grandchildren had been born. This should be cause for joy and celebration, right? It’s good news! But I was transported back in time a few years, back to when the news of any new baby entering the world would cause me to crumple into a little ball.

The bigger picture of the story is that Craig’s cousin and his wife have had not one, not two, not three… but FIVE babies in the time we have tried to add one child to our family. They had three girls in quick succession, and then the surprise of conceiving twin boys. They now have five children under the age of four and a half. (And yes, they have a nanny.)

[I honestly don’t think these family members read this blog. But if you are reading this, M & V, please know that this post is not about you. It’s about me. Seriously.]

Upon reading this message, I quickly broke down into tears. Sobs, really. Wails. I curled up into the fetal position and cried like I haven’t cried in so long.

I cried because they have FIVE babies and we don’t have one.

I cried because I don’t know what’s happening with our adoption process.

I cried because Craig’s aunt has five grandchildren but his mom (her sister) died without having even one.

I cried because it’s my fault that we were not able to conceive and deliver a baby like normal people.

I cried because I worry that we’ve been wasting time, and that maybe we should have been still trying to conceive a biological child while the adoption process was ongoing, even though that goes against what we thoughtfully decided.

I cried because I hadn’t cried in so long. I guess it was all building up to the point of an epic release.

I cried because I thought I was past this type of reaction to what should be good news.

I am surprised at how fragile I felt last night, and I was blindsided by the ugliness of infertility forcing its way back into my life. I hadn’t missed it one bit, and while I knew it wasn’t gone, I thought it was tucked far enough back in my mind and in my heart that I could contain it. I guess I was wrong about that.

This too shall pass.

This entry was posted in adoption, baby, balanced translocation, family, waiting. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to rearing its ugly head

  1. Jenny says:

    it still rears it’s ugly head for me sometimes too… even though i no longer have the desire for a biological child, it still gets to me when things come so easily for others… i hate it šŸ˜¦ i hate for you šŸ˜¦

  2. sue says:

    i still get the chest tightening every once in awhile when i hear of a pregnancy – and i don’t even have the desire to give birth anymore. it just seems to sneak in when i least expect it. and i feel the same way as jenny – it’s really hard for me when things come so easily for some people.

    i think your feelings are completely normal and natural. the pain of infertility/pregnancy loss is so deep and has so many layers and when you add the ups and downs of your adoption to it, it’s a pretty crappy combination. i know you’ll find your way out again and we’re all here if you need to vent or talk. i wish i could give you a big [[[[hug]]]].

  3. Janet says:

    Oh…how I have reacted like this too…although not in a while. However, once in a while…usually after hearing news like you did…I feel this itty bitty twinge of sadness/frustration/anger come up again. It surprises me too. But…I know it is normal. You hit it on the head: the worst part is how insanely easy this process of becoming parents is for some people…and painfully difficult it is for others. It certainly isn’t fair. Don’t be too hard on yourself about your feelings & reactions. They are normal…and it does suck…for sure. Hugs to you!

  4. Julie says:

    I’m so sorry. I am sending you a hug. And I want to tell you something really important- all that pain goes away. You will be a mother. It will go away. I promise you.

  5. Jenn says:

    I’m so sorry. I won’t ever know the same pain you are feeling, but you described a pretty familiar event for me. I lost my mother when I was 5. I don’t even think about usually (after 25 years!) but every once in a while I will remember that I never had that relationship and then I end up feeling shattered for a little while. It’s always surprising when it happens… I hope that your days are looking up.

  6. Jaclyn says:

    Oh I completely understand your feelings. I still get that way too sometimes and I have no desire for a biological child at this point either; it just catches you by surprise. It brings up so many painful memories – a horrible form of nostalgia. It’s really not fair how simple and easy it is for others but when you get that referral (and it will happen!) you will be overcome with happy emotions.
    Your feelings are so normal, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just keep thinking of that special child and just how loved and wanted he/she will be.

  7. Robin says:

    I’m so sorry…. unfortunately IF does change us forever. I think you are a strong and amazing woman and sometimes even strong and amazing ones are allowed a moment of weakness. Stay strong… you will be a mother some time soon…

  8. Emily B. says:

    Kelly, I am so sorry. Sometimes I think it is good to just have a release like that. It can be freeing. I have some moments too when I feel like some of those old feelings come back. It really sucks. But you are right. This too shall pass. And I do believe you will get there.

  9. Jamey says:

    Infertility is not our issue, but I do have things that I’m grieving and I think that it’s a lifelong process. Sometimes “it” doesn’t bother me, and then sometimes I’m just completely caught by surprise by the intensity of the grief and I just sink back under it for awhile. I’ll be sending prayers your way.

  10. Dad says:

    Yes this too will pass, and the string of bad news regarding children/grandchildren will change as well. Hang in there. Dad

  11. Sarah says:

    I am still caught off guard with facing the loss of conceiving “naturally” even though I was able to have one biological child and even though we are done (very done!) with our family building. It makes sense that these feelings surface especially in light of more uncertainty in the adoption process. When we were in the process, I had a plan B and a plan C in case the adoption fell through (involving donor gametes, I think); I’m just the kind of girl that needs to hedge her bets and know she has options. I know you are very much committed to adopting from Ethiopia but if it lightens the load to pursue multiple options at once, why not? It just sucks that you don’t have more info on implementation of the new rules; I hope that comes soon. You have been so graceful about weathering the wait and the process so far, but as easy as you make it seem, I know it’s tough living under a question mark.

  12. I just want send out an e-hug to you after reading this post. I have so been there. It really is unfair how easy it is for some people to get pregnant, and they will truthfully never understand the infertility journey. You have every right to react as you did, and I only hope that the pain will lessen when your baby is finally in your arms. I will be thinking of and praying for you, Kelly.

  13. Amy says:

    Hugs to you, Kelly. Your reaction sounds totally normal and understandable. Dealing with uncertainty can bring out triggers that you might not otherwise expect.

  14. colleen says:

    oh kelly..totally understandable for you to have this reaction and sadness. getting thru the infertility struggle is a hard enough battle….both physically and emotionally. and then to go thru the adoption journey with all of it’s ups and downs…it just shouldn’t be so hard when all you want is to be a mother and to give a child your unconditional love. big big hugs to you!!!

  15. Joanna says:

    I’m so sorry Kelly that this caught you off guard. As everyone said, it’s totally normal to feel this way. I too get surprised when the infertility sadness creeps up on me. I think it’s good to have a cathartic release like this every once in awhile, even if it sucks.

  16. Erin says:

    Big hugs Kelly. You will be a mother. FIve to zero *is* hard to swallow. Hang in there.

  17. Ellen says:

    Oh, Kelly. What a hard, hard time this is. Huge hugs to you.

  18. Shedding tears right alongside you….

    Much love from my heart to yours.

  19. Christine says:

    Oh Kelly…

    {I am so behind on blogs right now, and catching up on yours makes me feel like a horrible friend… I should have been here sooner, so many things, so many things!}

    I don’t know this exact pain, but I’m in tears for you. It’s horrible to have something that can bring you to your knees in agony. I’ve been there with other things, and it’s soul crushing at times. You will come out the other side, and it was so good for your soul to have that release. It stinks while it’s going down, but really… it does your body wonders.

    Hugs, friend, hugs.

    {I want to jump on an acela now and give you a real one!} Time for another meet-up perhaps?!

  20. Leah says:

    I’m sorry Kelly. I wish I had some overly comforting words to say. All I can say is that you have every right to feel the way you do. You have every right to mourn this. Please know that I’m thinking of you, and I cannot wait for you to be a Mom. I just have a feeling you are going to be great at it. šŸ™‚

  21. alex says:

    I too think this is a completely normal reaction during the wait, and the wait is more stressful lately, so it just builds up. something that would be a mere irritation on another day can cause you to just break down. I’ve so been there. And then you cry it out and feel a bit better the next day, at least that’s how it was for me.

    I am thinking of two other things:

    I don’t think IF stays with you forever, at least not in a bad way (and I was sure it would). We went all out in our quest to have a bio child, and I didn’t believe i could ever overcome the grief of not having a bio child. ever. fast forward to when we met our son in ET and we have never looked back. i don’t think about IF anymore except in perhaps that it makes me more compassionate towards other’s struggles, and more aware of the limitations of our own bodies. I have no idea what my cycle is now, don’t care.

    The second thing is that i think i really thought IF was the worst thing that could happen to me for a while. Then, my older brother (42, two small sons) was diagnosed with ALS last year, and now i see how ridiculous my thinking once was. IF was not terminal, but i think i really thought it was for a while. ALS is, and my family is reeling. Ah, hindsight.

    You will get there, you will be a mom, and a very good one with all of this perspective under your belt. I just speak from my own experiences, having BTDT just a bit, but i can so relate to your out-of-nowhere sadness. It will happen again, along the road, but for me/us, since our son came home, i have never felt anything but joy at how our situation turned out. {in fact, several months ago, my DH said “I’m so glad that IVF didn’t work out!” }

    You will get there. Seven years later, i see it all worked out. Your perspective on the situation is great–sit tight, you are in good hands.

  22. Kelly says:

    Oh, Kelly – let it out! Totally makes sense that you would have IF rear its ugly head now amidst the sudden confusion about your path forward. Your feelings are completely normal. My goodness, anyone would be floored by the zero to five children that were born to your relatives while you guys waited to be parents and had your hearts broken again and again. I’d be crushed. As everyone has said, you will be parents. No doubt in my mind. I’m just so sorry that your path getting there has been so painful and has tested your limits. You both are unbelievably strong people. And, btw, crying like crazy does not mean you aren’t strong – only means that you have emotions. We are all just so ready for your child to show his or her face! And I know YOU GUYS are BEYOND ready. Imagine what a special gift this child will be.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    I wish I had the perfect thing to say, but I have no idea what someone in your position truly needs and wants during a time like this.
    Please just know that you are so loved, and so deserving of the wonderful child who is on his or her way to you.
    Big hugs from me!!!

  24. Krista says:

    Oh I’m so sorry Kelly. First of all – it’s NOT YOUR fault! Your body might not want to work right, but it’s NOT YOU. I’ve had a hard time accepting that as well- but it’s the only way to move on. HUGS!!!

  25. Sandra says:

    I know I am way late on this one, but like Krista said, none of this is your fault. Unless you want to claim credit for bringing a wonderful child into your family that will be the most amazing thing that has ever happened to you and wouldn’t have been yours if it weren’t for all of this.

  26. Kelly, I just caught this—sorry for the untimely response. I have been in your shoes, responding to how the passage of time fills other homes—the homes of family and friends and perfect strangers that I meet in places like our grocery store—with beautiful children, knowing that the same time has left little luck in our same home. I wish I could say that it goes away once you get a baby—once that little one comes into your home—but from my experience, every once and awhile, the ugly truth of infertility rears its head. Just the other day I had one of these moments, when I saw that Tina Fey was having another baby. Crazy, huh? She has a five-year old a few months younger than our daughter, and when she and her husband decided that, yes, they should have another, she got pregnant. What would that feel like, to want a baby, and then just have one? And what if they hadn’t even planned this baby—what if this baby was a suprise, as so many other have experienced? What would a surprise, healthy pregnancy feel like? I went through that painful thought exercise a few weeks back, when I found out that a friend’s sister was shocked to find out she was pregnant with her fourth.

    These moments tore me up and knocked me out, I’m not ashamed to say. You are not having these feelings alone, if this provides any comfort.

    I’m so sorry. It is miserable. I’m sending you hugs and the warmest of thoughts, friend.

  27. Karen says:

    Grief is not linear. It’s a figure eight the circles around and hits you again when you least expect it (and of course on trauma-versary days). I can tell you it’s been almost thirty years and I still have mornings when I wake up screaming for my baby. And now that I’ve officially hit menopause, it’s rekindled a lot of feelings — no more hoping for a miracle. It’s been a rough go. I hope Baby K brings you much, much joy. She is a treasure. But you will never forget the others. You just never ever forget.

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