Sunday, February 10, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me...

(Note: I started writing this post on Sunday, Feb. 10th)

Sorry I've been a little quiet lately. The truth is, I've been a bit depressed after IUI #2. I have been seriously trying to stay upbeat. I have been praying a lot and counting my blessings. I've been breathing deeply and doing yoga when I can find the time. But, despite all of that, I can look at myself from the outside in, and see that I am, still, depressed. Not sleeping. No appetite. Tired all the time. Foggy brain. Can't concentrate. Snappy with the Mister. Yep, Depressed.

Now, this is nothing new, of course. I have been dealing with the blues my whole life in varying degrees. When I was 14, I lost my dad, and my whole world came crashing down on me. I stuffed up my sadness and despair for an entire year, resulting in a nervous breakdown that actually required hospitalization at age 15. That woke me up to the fact that I have to deal with my feelings. I have been managing my tendency toward depression ever since.

However, nothing prepared me for infertility and the loss of a pregnancy.

And what had helped me manage my depression in the past: counseling, antidepressants and such, had little or no effect on the grip of depression that came from this experience.

Not since seeing my father die have I felt so lost and alone and so forgotten by God.

And one thing I've learned from my early education in loss and grief, is that, despite what people tell you--time heals nothing. 22 years have passed since I lost my father, and I still live with the scars of that loss. Sure, I may not think about it every day, but I still get depressed and anxious every year around March 7th (the day he died). Even if I'm not thinking about it at all, and have no idea what the date is, I'll start getting really moody and sad and withdrawn, for what seems like no good reason. Then, eventually, I'll look at the calendar and realize what day it is. It's as if grief has its own internal clock that keeps on ticking, whether I like it or not. And despite the passage of so much time, I still miss my daddy like that 14 year old girl did all those years ago. I still miss him on special occasions like birthdays, and Christmas. I can still be brought to tears over the sound of Nat King Cole singing, Adeste Fideles. Because, Adeste Fideles was his favorite Christmas song, and because Nat King Cole's voice reminds me so much of my father's beautiful singing voice. It packs a real emotional double-whammy.

And so, that is why I am not so surprised by the way grief and sadness pop up around this infertility experience. Each February I become especially down, not only because another year passes, and I am worried about my decreasing fertility, but also because it reminds me of actually being pregnant, once, and the subsequent loss.

But then, there's the blessings February has brought. One year after we found out we were pregnant, a pregnancy that wasn't meant to be, we found out we were pregnant again, in another sort of way. We found out about Eryn, and the baby she was carrying. The baby she wanted us to parent.

Bittersweet. That's what February is for me now. Just as March 7th will always be bittersweet. My dad died, but it is also my dear niece's birthday.

But as depression goes, things have taken a turn for the better, lately. I've been doing much better, generally speaking. We've been so blessed with Baby Boy. I've been able to recognize all the good things that are in my life. I've been coming out of the fog. I've even felt genuinely happy, even if only for moments at a time. I am able to feel happiness, recognize it, and be thankful for it. I've been focusing on being a good mom, and a better wife. It is though I've been returning to life after a 3 year coma.


I was just hoping beyond hope that IUI's would be our lucky break, and that I wouldn't have to "celebrate" another "barren" birthday. I hoped, greedily, that this birthday, I'd be celebrating again--that I'd have it all.

So, in the past couple of weeks since my negative, I have been dreading this upcoming birthday. Another year older, another year that I have managed to NOT get pregnant. Another year marking yet more decreased potential fertility.

When I woke up this morning, I felt a tug of sadness when I realized it was my birthday. But, I didn't want today to be a sad day. I told myself there was nothing I can do about it. Get up, and enjoy the day.

And, I was greeted by the best birthday present I could ask for. My son smiling and reaching out for me as soon as he saw me. All he wants these days is his Mommy. I can't tell you how much it makes my heart leap around in my chest when he reaches out for me like that.

My husband had already gotten up with the Baby, and was preparing breakfast for me. Pancakes. Yum. And there were gifts. The complete second season of Big Love, and the new Crowded House CD, which I've been wanting for ages. (Yes, I'm a dork).

And, then there was the card from Mister, in which he wrote:

I'll do anything and everything in my power to make your dreams come true. Happy Birthday! Love, Mister

This of course, made me start to cry, because I know what he meant. He meant that even though we can't afford treatment right now, especially IVF, he is going to work hard to make it a reality. It means that even though he'd be happy enough to adopt again and let all this madness go, he loves me so much that MY dream of being pregnant and having a baby is HIS dream, too. It means he is holding my dream in his heart along with his own.

Happy Birthday to me. I love you, Mister.


JJ said...

Happy Birthday Frenchie! Im sorry there was some doom-and-gloom attached to your birthday, it is another way infertility robs us of our happiness-we relate it to how fertile we are!
Thinking of you today!

Duck said...

Happy Birthday. I hear you on getting down, it's a hard battle to fight. Hope things get better soon.

elizabeth said...

I'm sorry that you are feeling sad, and so sorry about the loss of your father. And I'm glad that you have Mister and Baby Boy to cheer you.

Rebecca said...

Happy sounds like February has been a turbulent month for you for some time. Hopefully one day you can get some peace and have your birthday wishes come true.

Char said...

Hello Frenchie. This is the first time I've stopped by your blog (I read your comment on Jamie's Babywait blog) and popped over for a looksee. I'm glad I did. I can so relate to your struggles. There are no words than anyone could say that would "make it all better". Hopefully, finding online friends who understand can help somewhat though. I know it helps me to know that what I'm feeling and thinking isn't an isolated experience, and that I'm one of a number of women who are walking around under a shroud of darkness.
I'll definitely come back to your blog. And hopefully you and I both get to post good news on our blogs some time!

Tracy said...

Happy Birthday, Frenchie...

Your post broke my heart a little, but I am SO GLAD that you have Baby Boy and the Mister to help you through this time.

Continuing to root for you...

Kami said...

Happy late birthday!

Thanks for sharing this sad and happy post.

Maria said...

Happy Belated Birthday!!

I'm already dreading my birthday and it's not till May.

I'm so glad you're feeling better. You have an incredibly wonderful husband and it's sounds like an absolutely adorable baby boy.

Tiff said...

A dork? For wanting the Crowded House cd? NOOO, I think that makes you my bestest friend! Neil = Best singer/songwriter EVER!!!
Anyway, I am so sorry that all this crap gets stirred up this time of year, but it sounds like HOPEFULLY you are over the hump. Infertility is such a tough thing to deal with...not to mention everything else you have been through. ((((HUGS)))
I hope you had a good birthday through everything else.(March is an EXTRA sucky sucky month here too!)