Over the last couple of days, I've been reading post after post reflecting on 2011. Some have been filled with anger, others have been hopeful for the future and some have been somewhere in between, talking about happy times as well as frustrations with this journey. But there is a common theme of wondering what 2012 will hold.
The last three years have been miserable for Grey and me. 2009 was when we both were diagnosed with mono, I had a close call with death while rock climbing, all my experiments failed and I wondered if I would actually make it out of graduate school. It was also the year that the baby bug hit and though I got to meet my niece and nephew and spend some wonderful days with BIL and his wife, I was filled with jealousy as I knew Grey wasn't ready. All that changed at the end of our trip to Washington DC to help the new family, so though 2009 was rough, it ended with a note of hope.
2010 started off terribly. As we were toasting in the new year, I watch a golden retriever, who's owner's were stupid enough to leave him outside during the firework display, escape from his yard and ran down a major arterial. He was almost hit multiple times by on-coming traffic and though we tried to help, he was off into the night before we could get to street level. It was an omen for things to come. Months passed with more and more friends, coworkers and my 19 yrs old, unemployed cousin becoming pregnant while we were trying. We ended the year with me having a mental breakdown and beginning to look for support. 2010 was the year that I joined a forum of women who were trying to go through TTC calmly and since some of those women have become some my biggest sources of support and strength. It was also the year a prominent committee member announced that I had completed all the requirements for my PhD, but need to focus now on my paper and the next step. After 5 1/2 years, the end of graduate school was in sight.
2011 has been bittersweet. Grey and I were diagnosed formally with "unexplained infertility" at the beginning of February and treatment was immediately put on hold so that I could focus on finishing my degree. That's still a decision I regret. In addition, my grandfather, who I was very close to, passed away. A day before I was to fly back to the midwest for the funeral, my sister called to announce that she was pregnant. I did find a support group that focused on teaching meditation and relaxation techniques in order to improve fertility and cope with the process (if you haven't read Ali Domar's "Conquering Infertility," I highly recommend it), but I found that the group wasn't a source of support when we were released for our group leader's guidance. 2011 is also the year we began treatment, with three back-to-back IUIs that failed. That was a turning point for Grey, as he really did believe that simple intervention was all it would take. Despite this pain, 2011 was the year I began to find my voice regarding infertility. We began telling people our story and seeking support from family and friends. Some failed miserable (my family in particular) and had to be excised from our life so that would could survive. Others surprised us and have become our rocks. Probably most surprising was finding support from unexpected places: from people in the blogger sphere (Jay, I'm thinking of you), from those in online forums (Keisha, Shelley, Gina, Libby, Jacqueline, Nicole, Leslie and Marisa) to those in real life who I never expected. With this new reality has come death, but there's also been birth. Through all of this and quite a bit of encouragement, I finally bit the bullet and started this blog. Just in time for IVF. It's by far the best decision I've ever made as I've been blessed to find all of you.
I have no idea what 2012 holds for me. I'm scared to think that far ahead. My second beta was yesterday = 124. Not exactly double the first beta = 66; but Dr. Practical is happy with the number. Tomorrow is beta #3. The thing is, I'm no longer naive; I know all too well that all of this could be over tomorrow. And outside of being a bit more tried and hungry, I have no symptoms. But I also know that stressing about it isn't going to change things for the better. And I've learned that I really do need to give up this thought that I can, otherwise I will drive myself to madness.
So, 2012, bring it. I know there will be moments of sorrow (there always are), but I also know that I'm stronger because of this path I've been on. There is nothing you can throw at me that I can't handle because I won't be alone. And I'm determined that there will be moments of joy; moments that I can look back on and treasure for the years to come.
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