500th Post!

Wow. I’ve certainly had a lot to say since starting this blog in April 2008. 500 posts? Seriously?

In honor of this momentous post (which may very well be my longest post ever), I decided I wanted to do something big. I think I’m finally ready to start tip-toeing out of the IF closet. I’ve been pretty anonymous online, just like I’ve been in real life, but I feel like I’ve been hiding from something that I can’t hide from anymore. Or I just don’t want to hide from anymore. This IF journey has shaped who I am today and I’m ready to open up. I’ve been holding this crap in for over two and a half years. That’s a long time, people. Too long.

To help you get to know me a bit better, I’d like to share a little more about who I am:

  • You wouldn’t guess it by my sense of humor and Sienna can totally confirm this for you, but I’m a complete and total girly girl. When I was little I refused to wear pants. Dresses all the time. To top it off, I had to match. My undies matched my under shirt, which matched my dress, which matched my socks, which matched my barrette, ribbons or bow. I still wear dresses most of the time. Come winter I like warmth over fashion so these days when it’s chilly, you’ll still see me in dresses and tights but I bust out the occasional pair of jeans too.
  • I work in marketing and my name is unique so I’m pretty searchable which is why I don’t think I’ll ever share my real name on this blog. Not because I don’t want you to know who I am, but because I don’t want my clients to know the nitty gritty details about my reproductive system. I am willing to come out of the IF closet, but I still want to keep my work life and personal life separate. I will say that my name begins with R. You can call me R. Or baby baker. Or venting vagina.
  • Before we got married, the church made us take the Myers-Briggs personality test. My husband and I are exact opposites. I’m an ESFJ and he’s an INTP. Couldn’t be more opposite, but for whatever reason it really works for us. This line sums up me and TTC perfectly: “All ESFJs have a natural tendency to want to control their environment.” Sound familiar? I’m a total extrovert and my husband is a total introvert, but I think his I is totally rubbing off on my E. But I must say, we’ve been balancing each other out quite nicely after all these years.
  • In 2003/2004 I worked with a girl who was my age who had to go through IVF to get pregnant. Once I found out, I started freaking out about getting pregnant and I tried to get my hubby to start letting us try. Of course he maintained he senses and made a good case for why we should wait. I find it kind of ironic that I pre-worried about something that ended up being true. Usually I pre-worry and it’s all for naught!
  • My husband and I have had four pretty big losses since April of this year. We had a miscarriage which happened right as my husband lost one of his grandfathers. Then a month and a half later, he lost his other grandfather. Then a month and a half later, I lost one of my grandfathers. Uh yeah, we definitely deserve a break. It’s been a tough year, which is such a bummer because we were so looking forward to 2010. Here’s to hoping 2011 will bring enough joy to help us forget our sadness from 2010.

And now this. This is me. On my wedding day, nearly seven years ago. Hi! I’m R. It’s nice to meet you! I look pretty much the same except my hair is darker and much longer (it was pulled back on my wedding day), and I’m maybe seven pounds heavier. I was too skinny then anyway! And hey: a pound for every year! Let’s just hope the pounds stop here. 🙂 I can honestly say that I’m still as happily married as I look in that photo.

Up until now hardly anyone knows about our IF struggles. If I’m going to start from somewhere, I should start by recapping who knows what. Let’s see…who knows the whole story besides you gals?

  • My acupuncturist
  • My pregnant BFF (If you’re reading this: I miss you! Call me. Xo.)

These people know tiny bits of the story:

  • A girlfriend of mine who got pregnant accidentally (out of wedlock) the month after I started TTC (she only knows about our IUIs)
  • DH’s mom (she only knows that we’ve had some tests done and that we’re actively trying)
  • My pregnant SIL (she only knows about our IUIs and our miscarriage)

Wow, I’m realizing that we’ve really managed to keep all of this pretty tight-lipped all this time. That’s a lot of weight to bear on a couple who just really want to be parents, especially when you consider how much stress we’ve been bottling up with our losses on top of our failures. When we first decided to go down the IUI and then IVF paths, we decided to keep it to ourselves. We didn’t want to be judged by those people who are opposed to ART. You know what I’m talking about. We didn’t want to hear these kinds of ignorant things: “Oh, just relax and it will happen.” or “It must be God’s plan for you to adopt.” or “Test tube babies aren’t natural.” (I hate that term!) or “Procreation should only happen when two people have intercourse.”. You get the picture.

What we’re dealing with is nobody’s business but our own. But now that so much time has gone on, and we’ve been through so many ART cycles, I’m ready for people to know. I’m ready to share what we’ve been through — what we’re still going through. I’m ready to get it off my chest. I’m ready to accept that anyone who loves me will understand and won’t judge (at least outwardly). Although my MIL is very religious and her religion is against IVF, I believe in my heart that as a mother and woman herself that she would support her son and his wife in getting pregnant by which ever means work for us.

I’m  ready to stop pushing friendships away. Next time a friend suggests a glass of wine, I’m going to accept and if she asks why I’m not drinking, I’m going to spill the beans. I’m ready to be there for people around me who may be going through something similar. I’m ready to stop hiding this. I’m not even sure why I was hiding it to begin with. Was I ashamed? No, I just wanted to be private I suppose. But I’m not hiding anything any more. I’m coming out of the IF closet. Slowly, but surely.

It’s kinda like I have this deep, dark secret that I’ve been holding in all these years. After a while it starts to eat at you and then you realize that the only way to get rid of the nagging feeling is to get it off your chest. Case in point: last year, after not speaking to my biological father in over 15 years, I called him out of the blue on his birthday. I wanted to forgive and forget that he left my brother and I behind. I was done being angry. We had a nice chat — as nice as two strangers can have — and I opened the door for him to step back into my life. Unfortunately he decided against stepping through that door, but I felt so much better after I got rid of that nagging feeling. It felt good. After I got it off my chest. After I played the adult. I know IF isn’t exactly like this, but it kinda is. Something’s eating at me and I can’t hold it in any more. I think it’s causing me more harm than good at this point. I hate covering up a big part of who I am today.

I guess what I struggle with most is what do people do with this information once I get it off my chest? Sure, I’ll feel better as soon as I share my story, but how will it make them feel? I felt so great after I brought my BFF up to speed over several teary glasses of vino, but I don’t think she knew what to do with that kind of information, especially when she already has what I want. I feel a little guilty for unloading on her like that even though it felt like such a relief to me. But I am ever so thankful that she listened and she cared. (So sorry BFF if I put too much on your shoulders. I love you and P. and S. and the lil one on the way.)

Our parents are visiting next month and we’d like to open up to them while they’re here. Not to mention, opening up to lots of other people in our lives – when the time is right. But how do you share what you need to share without overwhelming them?

Have you come out to your families and friends? If you have, I’m curious how you handled it. Please share your advice!

Xo,

R.

15 responses to “500th Post!

  1. lis

    what a beautifully written 500th post!

    how lovely that you are deciding to step into the light, so to speak. i can say that it is hard having people know your business, sometimes as hard as (especially for me) keeping your mouth shut and internalizing everything. but i am proud that you are ready to share not only here, but in your real life as well. i wish you all the support and love that you deserve to have. i can only imagine that your friends are as lovely as you are, and that letting them in closer will take your friendships and family relationships to that next, deeper level.

    im just way too outgoing to keep anything in. i will tell pretty much anyone who asks what we have been/have to go through to get preg. that is sometimes not well received, but i am also realistic enough to realize that if someone else can’t handle just only hearing about what i have to go through, then it’s their loss, and they are all close minded and what not.

    you are so beautiful! im so glad to finally meet you, R 🙂

  2. R, I have been following your blog for awhile now and love your posts. Today was especially good and very honest.

    I have never kept my IF a secret probably because I am a very open person to begin with. I say to mark all the time “people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing”(I borrowed that from Dr Phil) I have never felt I did anything wrong, or I should be ashamed of what my body can’t do right. Mark on the other hand is private and prefers to keep his feelings to himself. But…over the last few months he is changing. Because I am open we now have a couple other couples in our lives that have gone through IVF. Mark is now asking the other men questions and it’s helping him open up. His whole family knows, some of his friends know.

    For me it’s liberating and for the most part keeps the dumb questions to a minimum. I don’t get asked anymore “When are you going to have kids?” Now they ask how are you? how can I pray for you? I posted last week about coming out to a perfect stranger at a baby shower who asked me the kid questions. I responded honestly and she immedietly told me about her other girlfriends going through it. Don’t worry about your family and friends feeling overwelmed they will respond with love and as much understanding as they can. Just think if a friend told you they had a cancer(I know IF isn’t cancer but it’s another thing we can’t control). How would you respond? You would love them, listen, hug them, pray for them. I hope this helps in your journey of coming out of the closet.

    ps. You are beautiful

  3. Happy 500th post! You are gorgeous in that pic. I haven’t told many people but recently I just told another one of my friends through facebook (we don’t live close) and found out she had to go through something similar. Though not to the same degree. I think that’s why I picked to tell her.

  4. Awesome post and wow, you are beautiful in that photo. And I’m sure you’re still just as beautiful now.

    From the very beginning, I’ve been open with friends and family about our struggles with infertility. After what my sister went through (IUIs, IVFs, and then finally having twins with donor eggs and a surrogate), it seemed easy to do. I don’t often go into the reasons why we need IVF because I think it would embarrass my husband and he’s much more private than I am, but I have no trouble discussing the treatments.

    I felt forced to come out of the IF closet at my old place of work because I was missing certain meetings and couldn’t travel to a conference because I was smack in the middle of my IVF cycle and had to be closely monitored. And having so many “doctor appointments” made people concerned that I was very sick and I didn’t want people to worry about me. I told 4 people at work and the stories I heard back were AMAZING. First person: did IVF with his wife way back when it was still experimental. She couldn’t maintain a pregnancy and they ended up adopting 2 boys. Second person: was able to get pregnant naturally, but had a miscarriage once. Third person: No issues with fertility or miscarriage but extremely sympathetic and understanding. Fourth person: 2 kids and both were from IVF! He didn’t want anyone else to know and swore me to secrecy but wanted to let me know he understood.

    I hope people are as understanding for you as they have been for me. All the best!

  5. R, i LOVE your wedding pic!!! you look absolutely gorgeous in that picture [as you do in real life :o)!]

    haha, i totally thought you’d be a tomboy before i met you!!!

    i know it’s been a tough year for you guys and you’ve been on this road for way too long. know that i’m your #1 fan and pulling ever-so-hard for you to get that sticky bean this time around. it’s your turn, we just need to get the universe to hop on board and recognize it this time. have faith that this is *the one*. i’m really hoping that in a year from now, we’ll be having a play date in central park and not going through this nonsense anymore. big *hugs*. xoxoxoxo.

  6. You’re absolutely gorgeous in your wedding photo!
    You’ll be so glad you came out! I never did make it a secret. I’ve been surprised how many women have opened up about their experiences with TTC – many of whom I work with and I never had any idea! Others have been curious but no one has been unkind. It’s amazing where our IF sisters lurk!

  7. KHBetterTogether

    Ditto everyones comments, gorgeous photo!

    I totally get hiding in the IF closet, we hardly told anyone of our 3 losses and it’s hard especially after getting pregnant everyone just assumes it was no big deal. I tried subtly on FB to say we “waited” a long time for him, just in case someone else was having trouble. My hardest thing to deal with is when people say “it took us a long time” meaning 6m or less or trying to relate too much about the MC. I have often wished I could just tell people…I hope it goes well for you.

  8. Jessica

    It’s nice to “meet” you. I can relate to this post SO much. My DH & I are very private people too, but we finally had to come out to a few people just to get it off of our chests. Most people in our lives do NOT know about our infertility struggles. The people that do know have been 100% supportive, but I know that is not always the case. We have purposely not told the people who we feel will be judgemental because that is the last thing we need when going through this.

    Good luck coming out!!

  9. Beautiful post, R! I commend you for coming out of the IF closet. We only shared our IF struggles with a small group of friends and family and even now we have not gone public about what it took to get KU. It’s a really personal decision. I’m sure you’ll feel a lot of relief about not being in the closet.

    S.

  10. onefifthfox

    Good on you! xxx

  11. I am new to the blog world ~ I entered it because my daughter died and I was seeking support.

    I admire your journey…it is your own and you are protecting your privacy. I can completely understand that. I will continue reading, and probably post once in a while too, but mostly I will hope for your life to be filled with baby things soon.

  12. Happy 500th!

    All of my family and friends know about us, because my first month of TTC ended in a very public ambulance ride + hospital stay + pregnancy loss. After that we kept it a mostly open book, although as we progress to IVF I am getting much more private about it. My immediate family still knows almost everything, and everyone else gets “we hope to do ivf next year.”

    Good luck in your IF coming out! I am looking forward to reading about it. It is good that you are thinking about how this news will make others feel — they will probably not know what to say, and will say the wrong thing or nothing. You can’t expect too much, I guess. 🙂

  13. I came out slowly to my parents. They knew we had been trying. I mentioned casually that I was thinking about seeing a doctor. My mom was calm and thought it couldn’t hurt. It was all very gradual and mature. And then we were visiting my brother and his wife and they made a surprise pregnancy announcement and I responded by having a complete meltdown. Like sobs and tears that lasted for hours, and since they live out of town I couldn’t go home and I was forced to eventually emerge sheepishly from the guest room and offer them my congratulations.

    Overall, I was upfront with most people in my life who were close friends, family or colleagues. No one ever judged us (at least to my face) and people were always supportive and sensitive. In fact, it was only people who didn’t know who acted like assholes!

    Hope “coming out” is a positive experience for you.

    P.S. – BEAUTIFUL wedding pic! I had no idea you were such a babe!

  14. I have been offline for a few weeks and I am just now catching up. Beautiful picture to go with a beautiful post! I am mostly out of the closet with our IF struggles. All of our close friends and family know about it. I believe in collective consious making things happen (it is my one and only Seattle hippy dippy thing, so please indulge me). I feel like the more postive energy we have coming our way the better. People have been pretty supportive. Every now an then the sympathy or disapproval come through. However, I feel very strong and firm in my believe that IF works and it is our choice not theirs, so that has helped. Best of luck coming out of the closet!!!

  15. ilana

    Havent checked on you in a couple of weeks. SO happy you will be PUPO in a week. Great blog- BTW you are totally gorgeous!!!

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Welcome!

After nearly 3 years of TTC and the help of ART, we got pregnant on our 5th IVF/FET transfer after IVF #2. Our beautiful fraternal twin boys were born on 7/15/11 at 37w0d.

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