Wednesday, October 5, 2016

This mountain....

I haven't written since the birth of our sweet D in April! It's now October.  We are almost 6 months in to this parenting thing... and our baby is growing so fast!  I've been wanting to get back to writing for some time.  Part of the problem is things happen faster than I can process them!  I've been keeping a journal for this reason.  But, I saw this note and it resonated.

I thought I was going to wrap this blog up, put a neat little bow on it and put it away; as if it was something I could just move on from with the birth of our child.  Even going so far as to title my last post "our happily ever after." I'm sure people roll their eyes and wonder if I will ever stop talking about this.  Who knew? I wont! This just doesn't work like that.

The mark of infertility is one that will always be with us - even after we managed to get the monkey off of our back with a successful pregnancy.  It is the base line that we will always return to.... because it was our baseline for so long.  In my situation it is ingrained so deep I am still not sure when I will actually believe that D is here and he is ours. I STILL feel like I am living in a dream.

After D's birth, I took a 12 week leave from work.  I soaked up every second with my newborn. And I mean EVERY second. I took WAY too many pictures. I was as obsessive as one can be. I filled two 300+ photo albums before he was even 3 months old! (the gig will be up when I pull those out ....he is going to know just how nutty his momma is!)  I could spend hours just rocking him in his nursery. We would read books and take the dogs for long walks.  It was heaven.

I was obnoxiously happy to be taking care of our little miracle.  But, I also felt an immense sense of loss with each passing day.  D will most likely be my only baby so I had a white knuckle death grip on time.  As if I could somehow manipulate the clock into stopping somehow. The irony does not escape me.  Life is not meant to stay stagnant.  I know this. That was one of the things I disliked about life before D. Every day was always the same in a lot of ways.  Life after D is now in a constant state of change.  No two days are the same. And this is exactly what I had wished for, yet I just wanted it to slow down so I could savor it just a little longer.

By taking all those photos I was trying to hold on as well as prove to myself this was all REALLY happening.  I took "soaking up every second" so seriously that it created that sense of loss. I got so caught up in focusing on the fact that I would never have those sweet baby moments back again that I completely lost sight of all the awesome things we have to look forward to.

It was the same when I got pregnant - I couldn't relax.  We had two embryos successfully implant, then, we lost one. D remained and they assured me he was healthy and thriving.  When we found his heartbeat I was relieved but still... constantly worried about miscarriage. For 10 months, I was just waiting for the disappointment.  This, my friends is the result of telling yourself you don't deserve something. I did that for many years.  I conditioned my mind in order to cope with a reality I felt I had to accept. It's the sort of thought process that will probably take many years to reverse.

I refused to even think about daycare until the night before his first day. I knew that this was the best decision for our family and my child would be well taken care of. Those considerations had been made during pregnancy.  Still, that morning, I felt my heart crack.  Our little bubble was popped and I caught myself feeling a deep sadness and overwhelming anxiety.

I love mommy-hood. This felt like giving up my baby.  I had to remind myself that he was still MINE and I would pick him up at the end of the day. That may sound preposterous to you. Of course, intellectually I know he is my child. But emotionally it's been hard to convince myself that this new happiness that I have found is here to stay.  This baby is FINALLY in my arms.  Asking me to drop him off somewhere else to be cared for is like asking me to cut off my right foot.  However, it was irrational to believe that we could remain in our bubble indefinitely. Reality being what it is and all.

This has always manifested as anxiety. I tend to get caught up in a whirlwind of irrational thoughts and worry about $hit that doesn't matter.  I obsess.  Occasionally, I drive the people around me nuts.

Because the anxiety is well documented in my medical chart, we were repetitively educated about PPD before we left the hospital.  One nurse, who had had a 20 year battle with infertility herself, assured me that yes, it was possible to suffer with PPD even though you had wanted this so badly and for so long. We listened, we took note of their advice and inside I thought, "you don't understand people, I am CURED now!"  And once again, I am here to say... I was wrong.

S would tell you I am happier than I have ever been.  AND he is absolutely, 100% correct... I AM. To be clear, I do NOT suffer from PPD, but with each milestone I find my anxieties reaching up from where I buried them...trying to rob me of my joy.

So, I fight them off.

I have learned that I have to be my own best friend.  I have to sit myself down for pep talks and reality checks. By recognizing and correcting those irrational thoughts I tame the beast.  I know my anxieties will never be "cured." This is just another part of parenthood.  There are so many more anxiety triggers with a child than without. This is really just the beginning. All parents cope with anxiety on some level. My lens is just colored by infertility.  All that we have been through has given me the tools I need to better manage that anxiety. I just need to stay mindful of it.

I honestly thought pregnancy was the end of our infertility story.  The truth is... it will always be there, forcing me to ask myself if I am truly worthy, and when will this all be taken away? That's OK, I welcome that voice.  It makes me a better mother than I would have been without the struggle.  The challenges of parenthood will always be a gift to me.   I will never forget the mountain that we moved and I will always appreciate this beautiful boy with the luminous smile who has made me a Mommy.

My past posts are the result of going to hell and back again and trying to rationalize all of it. Attempting to find logic where there is none. We gave up countless times only to try again.  Over, under, around and through, ... we heard "no" multiple times and in a variety of ways. Sometimes "no" just means "not now" for reasons that you (or I) will never understand.    

If you are out there wondering and waiting please keep this story close to your heart.  If you told me a few years ago that today I'd be holding this joyful baby boy, I'd have a hard time believing you.  You will find your way, those mountains WILL move.  You just have to keep the faith and remain determined.  The only way to lose the battle is to give up fighting.  Your happy ending may not be exactly what you had imagined .. it may actually be better!   

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In love and light..