Just some things I've been up to, and some stuff swirling around my head...
My birthday was the day before Thanksgiving, so we stayed in our cozy little home and Mr. M made me a delicious meal. =) Thanksgiving morning, we drove to one of my cousin's houses, where we were going to have both lunch and dinner with my parents, aunt and uncle, and several of my cousins, their spouses, and children. I'm pretty close to my cousin who was hosting the meals. She and I are only a few months apart in age and have always "clicked." She actually got married on my birthday 3 years ago, got pregnant right away, had a son, and now is pregnant with baby #2. I knew that going into Thanksgiving because my mom told me that my cousin had been quite sick with this pregnancy.
I didn't know two other cousins were pregnant...and actually no one ever told me. I just guessed from their tell-tale bump (although you can never quite bank on that) and the conversation around the house. Both of these cousins just had babies...at least that's what it seems. Their youngest ex-utero children are still crawling and in diapers (1st for one cousin, 6th for the other). All told, there were easily a dozen children there, plus the three in utero. Yeah. Just the crowd I love to be around.
I'm pretty good at keeping it together and staying cheerful when I need to, so I doubt anyone sensed anything out of the ordinary. And of course I did enjoy being with my parents, the cousin I'm close with, eating delicious food, etc. But man, those situations are hard on the heart! I'm glad Mr. M and I had about an hour drive back to my parents' house (where we were spending the rest of the break) because I needed that time to debrief, vent, just let my heart feel for a while.
(How did so many of my cousins end up so fertile, anyway? Where is my fertile gene?)
Of course any IF or single gals reading this know that Advent can be tough...any holiday can be tough when you want a husband or child(ren) to share it with. I am doing my best to get into Advent nonetheless! I have to think going through the motions counts for something - getting out the Advent wreath, setting up the Advent fig tree (we bring our fig tree inside for the winter), singing Advent songs at evening prayer time, etc. The nice thing is, sometimes I forget I'm just going through the motions and actually start to enjoy Advent and forget my troubles for a while. A little Advent treat, maybe =)
My Advent words this year (what keeps coming to me in prayer) are WAIT and HOPE. Surprise, surprise, right? =)
WAIT: I feel like someone (God? Is that You?) has pushed a big "pause" button on our TTC endeavors. We prayed a novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots (put in bold because I LOVE this devotion!!!) to untangle and untie and remove some of these roadblocks that keep getting in our way! (Difficulty scheduling SA...adoption plans are going nowhere until we find out if our basement apartment would even be approved...first need to find out if we'd get kicked out for not being fire safe...timing is all off for the ovulation ultrasound series, etc.)
I keep coming back to: Wait. Just Be. Just relax, says God. (Not You too!!! Don't You know that's the worst advice to give to an infertile lady??) But really, I think it's such an important lesson for me to learn: sometimes, you just wait. Sometimes, you stop pushing and running and trying so awfully hard, and just sit and wait. In the silence before the dawn. In the silence of Bethlehem. The silence of creation, waiting for the Christ Child.
HOPE: Of course this cycle I irrationally hoped that I would conceive. (Had cramping and spotting today and expect AF any hour now.) Forget the fact that my fertile window (approximately anyway) was while we were at my parents' house, in a small uncomfortable bed in a room right next to theirs...not a lot of "I"s that weekend! I still hoped though. Confound it all, I still hope...maybe the cramps and spotting will stop...Our Lady of Guadalupe, please?
Hope is pretty irrational after all, I guess. I mean, if everything was rational - perfect cause and effect, this then that - there would be no room for hope. If I knew I would get pregnant after being intimate with my husband (as some people seem to "know"?) there would be no room for hope. It feels pretty irrational to me to hope that we'll conceive after 30+ cycles of trying. But I know people who have conceived after twice that many cycles, etc. Hope just never quits...and to be honest, I couldn't bear it if it did. As annoyingly chipper as it is sometimes.
My confession is: I'm very jealous of my pregnant friends. And my friends with their adorable little infants. And how can I ever tell them that?? I have a friend who is due any day now, who got married a year after us. She shared with me some reproductive anomalies that were discovered right after their wedding, and we bonded over our fears of not conceiving. Annnnnd, she got pregnant a few months later. I'm having a hard time accepting that. And I feel terrible about it.
I'm also dreading (maybe that's too strong - "not anticipating") a Christmas party this weekend. It's a party for the grad school my husband and I attended, both current students, alumni, and professors. There are so many wonderful people that will be there, but oh so many babies. And I'd bet you $10 - no, $100 - that I get at least one pregnancy announcement. Or "did so and so have their baby?" conversation. I want to go to that party with a baby!! It's an annual thing, and the weight of a whole year really sits on me when annual things come around. Another whole year, nothing. No "news." No cutesy baby to show off.
One more downer of a thought (this is really cathartic...sorry it's so blah): these moments just kind of stick with you, and I have a hard time letting them go. This happened when we were visiting our goddaughter's family back in October. I was shopping with the mom, her 2.5 year old son, and my goddaughter (still in utero - very visibly). We walk into a store, and the lady clerk looks at my pregnant friend and says "Oh, you look beautiful!" and then she looks at me, right there behind her...and says nothing. Well gee thanks. I get it - I don't have the pregnant glow - or maybe it's just because I don't have extra people to buy stuff for...anyway, I thought of that moment again tonight and it brought tears to my eyes, not the happy kind. Why don't people realize when they're rude? Do I need to wear a sign that says, "Really, I'd like to be pregnant, so please don't make a big deal about how not-pregnant I am"? I need to give these hurts to God - it just is so hard to feel "invisible" sometimes.
And to end on a happy note...I had a lovely night out with a good friend of mine, a mom with two little boys. I just needed someone to talk to, and I emailed her and she was free that night, so we got drinks in a wine cellar and she just let me talk and talk and talk and was so sympathetic (even though she's never experienced this long a stretch of IF) and it was just glorious and I was wondering, why don't I do this more often? Reach out to friends? Tell them I need help? I think I just might...I hope all you in bloggy land will agree that blog friends are amazing but there's something about having a friend with you in person! That's why it's so awesome to get together in person with blog friends!! Anyone visiting DC soon, let me know =)