The Audacity of Hope

So yesterday marks 2 weeks since our second failed cycle. This one has been easier to process, thankfully, and I really want to thank everyone who left messages on my BFN post. I really appreciate all of your kinds words.
We had a very busy weekend after the news which was good and bad. Good because I needed to take my mind off things and bad because the full weight of it only hit me the following Monday on my way to work and I was just so incredibly angry with everything and everyone. The past two weeks have been murder at work also but we’re back to a lull in the office so I’m at least able to write a little bit.
The Friday after the call. I immediately called for my follow-up appointment, which is next Monday (that 2ww for a follow up was the beginning of my rage), and we took a shower and got ready for dinner. N was great as always. We hugged and tried to keep our chins up. I was actually very okay on Friday. We went to dinner with our dear friends B and B and had the best time. It was a French restaurant and I had foie gras for the first time and now I am obsessed. My father always told me that I have an expensive palette hahaha. I actually spent most of the following week trying to find out where I buy some foie gras. Man, that stuff is expensive. I am aware about the controversy around ethical treatment of ducks to make foie gras but I found other sites that made me feel a little better about myself. But I digress.
It turns out we had such a good time at the restaurant that I forgot my phone there and had to go back in the early hours of Saturday to retrieve it. If they were actually open for business at the time I would have gotten more foie gras because I misplaced my leftovers from the night before! I’m still upset about that. I lost my phone and my new favourite food.
We met our other friends J and H at their house and the 4 of us drove down to Connecticut for the night. J is N’s best friend from high school and the only person he’s opened up to about IVF. I’m so proud of him for that. He is very candid with him and I think it makes them a little uncomfortable because they don’t know how to react or what to say but they were very supportive and even paid for dinner that night :). Hey, I’ll take it. We were in Connecticut to see Bill Burr. The show was hilarious as expected and the rest of the evening was a lot of fun too. We lost about $60 at the penny slots and had a lot to drink and we ended the night with Domino’s pizza. A 24hr Domino’s at a gas station, like the universe intended.
We got home on Sunday and didn’t really do much else. But I wish we could go on little trips like that more often. Actually, I shouldn’t wish. I should just make it happen. Anyway, on Tuesday I found the strength (somewhat) to tell my boss that we’re doing IVF. I’ll write another post on that later.
As I said, this last failure didn’t break me down or make me sad. It made me extremely angry. I wonder if each failed cycle is a step in the grief cycle. I’ll certainly be bargaining if round 3 fails.
I was angry with my RE and my body and myself mostly. I don’t understand what’s going on. I was angry at my RE for just not getting me pregnant yet and making me wait to start again. The day I got my period I was so angry, I’m sure I pulled a muscle in my neck. I was Angry at my body for failing again and I was so very angry at myself for having the audacity to hope that this would work.
With the odds so heavily stacked against us, why would any of this work? How dare I believe that this would go any other way but south? What I learned from this cycle is that you can have the most perfect stim cycle, perfect lining, a perfect hatching embryo and all the hope in the world still end up with a big fat fuck all. Nothing means anything, so really, all my hoping didn’t mean shit. So why did I hope this round would work? Why am I doing another round? Why, as I’m writing this, I’m already hoping round 3 will work?
It’s simple really. Hope is what’s getting me out of bed and what’s keeping me going. Hope and faith are said to go hand in hand and my faith falters a lot because I’ve had so many doors closed in my face. So hope carries me in the absence of faith.
There’s a painting called Hope by George Frederic Watts that I think describes what I’ve been feeling about hope. It’s a lady, blindfolded, looking rather shabby, clutching a lyre and it looks like she’s trying to listen to the music made by the last string. I feel like that sometimes. When everything goes to shit around me, I still have the audacity to make a little music.
So while I’m still a little down-trodden, I haven’t given up. Why would I?  We’re only on round 2. The game is far from over. With every fail I gain a bit of wisdom and a bit of empathy and a bit of strength and a bit (a very teeny tiny bit) of patience and I’m taking that with me into round 3.
I’m so ready and I really really hope round 3 works.

source: wikipedia






What Does Failure Mean To You?

We’re conducting interviews at work and one of the questions we ask is “What does failure mean to you?”. I guess what we’re trying gain from this is to find out how a potential employee would deal with messing up on the job, which does happen from time to time.

Everyone’s answer to this is pretty textbook. They all say that failure is a learning experience, which is true. Failure is certainly something you’re supposed to learn from but sitting in a few of these interviews and staring into those bright eyes and smiling faces I know that they haven’t answered the actual question. What does failure mean to you?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what failure means to me. Not only with regards to my first failed cycle but every failure in my life thus far. Failing a class at university (Partying was more important back then). Failing at making a relationship work. Failing at getting a job I applied for. And those are just the big fails. I have yet to open a jar on my own.

I think we’re all just a sum of all our failures. Failures make us who we are and determines how we react to situations and how we communicate with people. So it would make sense that failure should mean more than just being a learning experience.

So what does failure mean to me? A few things. For me, processing failure to get to a point where you can say failure is a learning experience is similar to stages of grief. Here are the stages of failure in my experience and what they mean to me.

1. Failure means Denial:

When I fail at something the first thing I think is “Damn, I can’t believe that didn’t work.” … This feeling of denial is as strong as the amount of effort I put into the task. I replay the entire event over and over questioning everything. Why did I do it that way? Why did I get my hopes up? Why did I work so hard? I should’ve known this wasn’t going to work. The self doubt will consume me if I don’t either remind myself that I’m still worth while or have someone to remind me. But when I’m in denial I’m not feeling very worthy.

2. Failure means Anger/Shame:

Who can I blame for my failure? I’m still ask the questions from above but my answers is usually myself and it’s not good. Self doubt makes way for self deprecation. Why did I get my hopes up? Because I’m an idiot that’s why. I’m not good enough, not smart enough. How am I going to show my face in public again? I find myself saying things like “I’m never doing that again” and this is when I’m throwing away or burning things that remind me of failure and I’m simply just no fun to be around.

3. Failure means Anxiety:

Here’s where everything about the failure freaks me out and I can literally feel the bile rise in my throat at the thought of trying again. I don’t like to think about this. Even now… let’s move on.

4. Failure means … Fuck It:

Giving up is my “favourite” part of failure. I always spend my most time here. I think I’m still here now with regards to my cycle failure. I’m the person who would probably never go back in the water if I was bitten by a shark. I do not like facing my fears. That’s why I’m still afraid of the dark at 33 years old. Since failure, at this stage, has made me anxious and afraid I will now happily stick my head in the sand and never have to face it again. I’m still saying “I’m never doing that again” but with less anger and more matter-of-fact shoulder shrugging. It’s safe here. But of course it’s no way to live. If you keep giving up on everything, you’ll quickly run out of things to do.

5. Failure means Acceptance:

Here’s where I finally come to terms with the fact that I can’t live my life under my covers. I’ve had time to think about it. I’m able to finally open up and talk and sometimes even laugh about my failure. This is a good place to be. I can begin to formulate a plan for trying again. Am I ready to try again? No! I’m only ready to talk about trying again.

6. Failure means Learning:

When I try again after a failure is when I learn. I can’t in the wake of failure find the lessons. Doing the task again is when I learn a new way to go about it. I’m more cautious but more determined. And I learn a little bit more about myself which is one of the most important parts of failure. But it’s not the part that makes me the happiest, even if I’m successful this time around.

7. Failure mean Empathy:

This is what means the most to me about failure. Empathy has become so important to me at this stage in my life. Being able to relate to someone on their level is so invaluable, because you’ll know what to say and what not to say. And being able to distinguish that you aren’t on their level, that you aren’t able to actually walk a mile in their shoes, is just as invaluable.

Failure has made me mindful and has allowed me to grow where I never thought I needed to grow. Failure is inevitable and important. None of us would be who or where we are without a little bit of failure. Failure is also scary. We try to shield ourselves from it daily with hope and faith but finding the balance between hope and failure is tricky and all we can really do is be prepared for either outcome.

I’m proud of all my failures. That’s what failure means to me.

So what does failure mean to you?

After the Dust has Settled

So the phone call on Friday evening came as no surprise but I still allowed myself to weep silently for a while. We have our follow up appointed (more affectionately named, the WTF happened appointment) on Tuesday and he wants us to meet with the PGD team too for some reason. Is it okay that I’m angry because I’m dreading this appointment? I don’t like crying in front of strangers and I will most certainly cry if someone mentions what happened. I really don’t want to do it.

It is now Sunday morning and I think I’m all cried out. Yesterday was spent telling my family, friends  and some ttc sisters that we kept the FET a secret and that it hadn’t worked. The outpouring of love and support was too much for me  and I was a weepy mess all day. I went to get my hair coloured and cut with a good friend and she bought me lunch after and we talked about it as much as I could. I definitely needed that.

I spent the rest of the day wallowing in despair. I felt a physical pit in my stomach. Probably the same spot where a baby is supposed to be growing right now. The injustice of it all.

I’m so angry. Angry at myself for getting my hopes up. Angry for not telling anyone because it was so lonely going through this even though I knew it was best for me at the time. I’m angry that I’m letting it get to me so much. I’m angry that we can’t try again immediately. I’m angry that we probably won’t be able to try for a long time while we save up.

I’m so sad. I’m sad that I couldn’t keep my baby alive for more than a few days.

I’m so scared. I’m scared that a childless life is a real possibility. I’m scared that everyone else will become pregnant before I do.

So here we are today. I’ve made a realisation. Before, I feel like I was an outsider looking in. Infertility was just a thing I couldn’t put my finger on and it didn’t feel real. But when I look at that positive pregnancy test I realise what I had and what was taken away and how much I actually want and need to be a mother. It’s awakened something else in me. I’ve never in my life been pregnant before and now that I’ve tasted it, I’m addicted and it’s fucking scary. Determination in the face of extreme adversity is new to me.

I’ve never before had a real purpose I don’t think. Nothing this real anyway. I’m faced with 2 options. Quit… Or fight to the death. Right now I’m really on the fence because I’m at rock bottom it could go either way. The only reason I feel like quitting is because I have no fight in me today. Thinking of this fight is tiring me out. I’m sure I have it in me but not today.

Maybe tomorrow.

Oh look… I guess I’m not all cried out…