Remember a couple of months ago when I wrote about not neglecting this space? That I didn't want to become one of those bloggers who fell off the face of the earth following giving birth.
Yeah, color me guilty.
In all honesty my intentions of maintaining this space were genuine. And there was a time there for a bit that I *thought* I'd be able to find the time to write. But then it didn't happen. And it didn't happen for a variety of reasons, all of which need to be addressed.
Starting today, I intend to rectify that. With the new year, the Beats now mostly sleeping through the night (big win on this end) and me transitioning back to work, it's time.
So I'm getting back in the saddle, so to speak. And I've made the decision, as this space is mine, to shameless write about all the crazy thoughts and emotions I've lived through over the past 6 months. Do I anticipate that some of what is said here being hard for others to read about: most certainly. But I'm also realizing that honesty ultimately leads to better outcomes; that suppressing dominating thoughts and feelings ultimately does no one any good (and can actually be a destructive force). So for those who are still following this space, I ask that you bear with me during these next few posts. And I also ask that you recognize that my decisions are my own and not recommendations on how others should be living their lives.
About two weeks ago, Grey and I were discussing so logistics regarding preparing the Beats for daycare (which we refer to as school). As we were finishing our discussion about bottles, nap schedules and making sure that Grey would have the opportunity to have lunch with them once a week, Grey paused and got a far off look on his face. After a moment, he turned, looked at me with a very solemn expression and asked me the following question:
"A year ago, where did you think we would be today?"
Without missing a beat, I answered him "not here; not with them."
He nodded quietly. "I had the same thought, too."
You see, unlike past fertility treatments, where we both entered into the process with the hope of a take home baby, both of us entered into this final FET with the thought that it would be closure. As crazy as it sounds, it turns out neither of us expected the outcome that we got as instead we were preparing to close this chapter and move straight into the adoption process.
What happened instead has literally turned our world upside-down, be it in the happiest and most wonderful way possible. Suddenly we became "that couple;" the ones where all hope was lost and *BANG* a miracle happened. Don't get me wrong, we are both beyond grateful that everything worked out the way it did as we are now raising two very healthy and happy babies, effectively ending our journey towards biological children. But what we both feel we haven't been allowed to process is all the emotions that have come from this unexpected outcome. That because things worked out the way they did, all we are allowed is to feel joy and gratitude.
This past weekend, Lisa @ Hapa Hopes wrote this fantastic post about coming to terms with transitioning into motherhood after infertility. If you haven't read it, I recommend taking a moment to click over and doing so, as she does a very nice job of addressing some of these feelings. Most importantly, though, Lisa is brave enough to talk about the sadness she feels with the knowledge that her daughter may be an only child. That as much as she wants to experience pregnancy again and expand her family, she's also preparing herself for the reality that it may not happen.
Here's the thing: Grey and I always intended to stop the TTC process once we had two children. Like many in our circle, our child-bearing plan was composed simply to experience this process twice. Logically, I know we hit the jackpot with our twins. Two very healthy and happy babies following a mostly uneventful pregnancy. Granted there have been moments that haven't been easy (sleep deprivation that was extended because the Beats were premature, being in NICU, etc), but overall we've been very lucky. And every time I interact with our two rainbow babies, I can't help but marvel at what I see in front of me. Because, truly, after saying goodbye to our biological children a couple of summers ago, I really believed that I would never get to experience this.
But the ugly truth is, as much joy/elation/unbound happiness I feel when I'm with the Beats, there's also a bit of sadness that comes with knowing I will never be pregnant again. Trust me, I get how painful this statement is for someone who has never been pregnant after struggling so long or for someone who has experienced loss. But knowing very well that this option is forever gone without a chance to experience it again brings a sense of loss, even though we never intended more than two.
And that's when the guilt comes rushing in. After all, we have what we fought so hard for. And pregnancy is simply suppose to be a means to an end. We should simply be grateful.
After a lot of reflection, though, it dawned on me that there was more going on than I accounted for. You see, something changed the day Grey and I started down the road towards adoption/living solely as a family of two. To travel that path requires that you enter a grieving process that so few will actually encounter. It's not to say that somehow people who don't explore this are somehow experience less pain due to infertility and/or loss, but the grieving process is different and there is a shift that occurs. And that shift requires to acknowledgement of saying goodbye.
I know what you're thinking at this point: if pregnancy is so important, why not simply undergo another round of IVF? After all, I know that I am able to become pregnant and successfully carry. The thing is, it's not that simple. Anyone who's undergone IVF can tell you how taxing the process is, financially, emotionally and psychologically. There's no "just" to this process. Add in the fact that I now have a diagnosis that automatically sticks me into the "high risk" category and suddenly things become a lot more murky. It's not to say that we couldn't go down this road if we wanted, but the reality for Grey and I is that we believe for us the costs far outweigh the benefits.
There's also the additional factor that the birth of the Beats has actually intensified the pain of our miscarriages. In raising the Beats and observing them reach milestone after milestone makes me think more about the embryos that didn't make it. Would they have their sister's eyes? Their brother's smile? Would they have giggle uncontrollably during baths or snuggled so sweetly on Grey's chest? These thoughts bring with them a new sense of loss for those we never got to hold.
So today I'm confessing my guilt, all while knowing that in doing so I will be angering others. That my confession is in a way betraying those that supported us during a time when we needed it most; those that gave us strength to continue forward when all seemed futile. I can't begin to tell you how fearful I am of that. Yet I also know that in the process of protecting all of you, I've also pulled away. So it's time I bare these thoughts to all of you, hoping that somewhere in all of this there will be understanding. And that will fuel this transition both Grey and I are now undertaking.
Part II coming soon. Topic: a diagnosis.