Saturday, September 21, 2013

My 32nd Birthday

Today is my 32nd birthday.  This day means many things to me.  It is a day I like to celebrate with my family, especially my mother who gave me life and who will always be my best friend.  It is a day of excitement and reflection.  A day to think about where I've been and who I've become, and a day to look ahead and dream about what the next year and phase of my life will bring.

It also means I'm another year closer to my mid-thirties and my fertility is decreasing.  I only have a solid three years or so left before I'm considered "old" for fertility standards.

It also marks exactly five years of infertility for B & I.  We went off the pill on my birthday in 2008, and after more than 1.5 years of unprotected sex and then another more than 3 years of actively TTC, here we are, still with no baby.

Five years of infertility.

If we are lucky, and the IVF works early next year, I'll still be 33 when our first chid is born.  If we want two, which is the minimum I'd ever planned, we'd have to start again soon after.  Will we have secondary infertility too?  How will we afford IVF again so soon after the first round?  If we wait one year until our first child is one year old, I'd be 34.  That's okay.  That's still before the dreaded "over 35" age-group.  And that's all only if this even works first-time around.  No.  There is now way we could afford it again so soon.  We'll need a new car for the baby first.  And we'll have to furnish the nursery and baby-proof the house.  And pay off the first IVF.  No, we'd have to wait at least two-years to try to pay for that again.  And what if it doesn't work the first time around?  Will we be able to try again right away? No, we'd have to wait a year to pay off something that didn't even work.  Would we only ever be able to afford one child then?  Maybe we better just plan to go all in and apply for one of those more expensive "shared risk" plans where you pay for two or three cycles at once at a discounted rate, and if you don't get a live baby in the end you get some or all the money back.  If we spend $20-30K we wouldn't be able to afford IVF for baby #2 for 5-7 years.  Maybe we'll have no choice but to be a one-child family no matter what we do!

If you can't already tell, I'm prone to catastrophe thinking.  But with so many unknowns, and with so much pressure from Mother Nature and Father Time, how can I not worry and speculate and try to make sure I consider every possible outcome so I can make more informed decisions in the here and now?

We started this whole journey (at least the actively TTC part) when I was 28 years old.  Now I'm 32.  The doctors used to get so excited by how young I was because it would make their jobs so easy.  Now I'm creeping closer and closer toward their usual patients' age.  The odds are falling further and further out of my favor.

Okay, let's try to swing this back around into something positive to focus on.  I mean, today is my birthday after all.  I can't spend the day moping or wallowing in self-pity.  No, let's do something empowering here.  How about a list of 32 things that are positive in my life right now, in honor of my 32nd birthday?

  1. My husband, the love of my life, and partner in everything.
  2. My big, supportive, caring and at times intrusive-in-a-good-way family, especially my Mom & siblings.
  3. My quirky, loyal, entertaining, and comforting dogs.
  4. My friends.  And I am blessed to have so many of them!  I still try to keep in touch with friends from my childhood and high school, and I'm best at seeing my girlfriends from college the most often, and some of my closest friends to this day are actually some I studied abroad with for a few short months over a decade ago.  Then there are new friends too.  Those I work with, or interact with professionally and even virtually.  They all support me and keep me active, engaged, and busy.
  5. My beautiful home.  Sometimes I still can't believe it's really ours and wonder how we got to where we are here.
  6. An amazing job that always stimulates my creative and intellectual sides.  Supports my needs and provides me with privileged opportunities.
  7. My very own still fairly new-ish car, which I am very proud of to this day.
  8. The travel opportunities I've been fortunate enough to have in the past couple of years, especially New Orleans, India, and Italy with my husband, and a "sisters" getaway cruise celebrating my middle sister's upcoming nuptials.
  9. Speaking of sisters, I have the two best ones in the world.  I hope we never grow apart and that years only bring us closer.
  10. And my brother.  He's always been there, ready to have a good time, offer thoughtful input, and receptive to advice from his three, bossy, older sisters.  I love him.
  11. I know family in general was mentioned toward the top, but since I'm getting specific here anyway, I got to give a shout out to my mom.  I don't know where I'd be in my life without her, and I should reach out to her more than I do right now.  I let life and my head get in the way too much and time slips by so quickly.
  12. Time to get small, petty, specific, and silly.  I mean this is going to be a list of 32 positive things in my life, right? So, no matter how ridiculous it feels to write about them, I really should mention all the little things that make me smile, feel happy, or satisfied, or loved.  So the first one on this portion of the list?  My wedding ring.  It's a symbol of the bond between my husband and I, and the love that we share, and everything we have been through and accomplished together.  I'm reminded of all this every time I look down at it on my finger.
  13. My make-up station in the half-bath upstairs.  I've spent years perfecting my make-up routine, and now in my very own house I am slowly creating the perfect make-up application station.  Silly yes, but organization and space of my own makes me happy and peaceful.  So it makes the list.
  14. The collection of costume and semi-precious jewelry I've acquired over years, and the organizational systems I've created to store them and make them more readily accessible to me.  Again, organization makes me happy.  And many of these pieces of jewelry hold memories of special moments with my husband, or family members, or fun adventures and travels.
  15. My bathroom.  It's what sold this cute little old house to us.  It has heated floors, and a whirlpool tub, and a tiled shower with 4 shower heads spraying at you from every direction.  Oh, and it's huge, it used to be a fourth bedroom in this house before they renovated the main floor.
  16. My backyard.  It's just lovely.  It's a place where my dogs get to explore and have a piece of nature and the outdoor world to consider their very own.  I love grilling with B back there and eating at our patio dining set.  It's so pleasant to discover new flowers and plants blooming back there, or just goof around with the dogs.
  17. My wardrobe.  I'm not always happy with the way I look in it, but I am grateful that I have a good job that afforded me the opportunity to take advantage of some great sales after Christmas last year.  I am personally very happy to be able to start dressing more professionally, and I love the way all my new jewelry coordinates with the clothes I selected.
  18. The long days of summer.  Now that I've travelled more, I'm beginning to learn that sunshine really lifts my spirits.  The longer days of sunlight really give me more energy  motivation, and hope.
  19. Autumn.  Even though the days are becoming shorter, Fall has always been my favorite time of year.  I love the crispness in the air, the color of the leaves changing, the aromatic flavor of the foods associated with the season, and the coziness of snuggling under warm blankets and sweaters.
  20. The holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are the best.  They are all about family and love.  I've looked forward to them since I was little girl.
  21. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and the devices that bring them to us on the TV's in our home! B & I gave up cable 5-6 years ago, and these instant streaming applications allow us to stay connected to the world and catch up on popular culture.... all on our own time!  Our busy schedules don't allow us to watch live TV most of the time, so this has really brought a great deal of pleasure and entertainment to our lives.  This one seems so shallow, but it so true.  So so true.  And TV & movies offer me a chance to escape when everything else gets to be too much.  For 30 minutes to an hour or slightly longer I can leave this world and all my troubles and fears behind and think about another time or place and focus on people's troubles that aren't my own.  I value that right now, and I'm not ashamed of it.
  22. Since I'm being shallow and going on about all my material goods, I must mention my iPhone.  That little device has changed my life, and I don't know how I ever functioned, found my way anywhere, or planned a schedule without it.
  23. Photography.  I'm not a photographer.  Not even an amateur one.  But I've always enjoyed taking pictures, and scrapbooking first with special paper and scissors and then later with digital tools to create beautifully printed and bound books.  Now with my iPhone, I'm able take sharp pictures anywhere anytime, and then share them online via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or store them with Picasa, or create products with them with Snapfish.  All the while, preserving the memories of life.
  24. Genealogy, family pictures, heritage recipes,, and oral family histories and stories.  I am the historian in the family after all.
  25. Science.  Specifically medical advancements and ART that provide opportunities for hope for families like mine and for the lucky ones, help make dreams come true.
  26. Information.  And mediums that provide access to information about things like the science mentioned in number 25 above.  Mediums such as books, scholarly journals, blogs, the internet.  I have learned so much about infertility and my options for coping with and treating it, none of which would have been possible 100, 50, even 25 years ago.
  27. Baby Names.  Just because I'm infertile and other people's pregnancy and birth announcements make me sad and frustrated, doesn't take away my life-long obsession with etymology.  I still read blogs and websites daily for new gems and the latest outrageous celebrity choices.
  28. The color purple.  It's made me feel excited and peaceful all at once since I was three years old.  I love it in all its cool and warm shades and hues.  It makes me happy and I suspect it always will.
  29. New perfumes.  My most recent bottles were Coach's "Love" which B gave to me this year on our 10-year-together anniversary, which happened to be on Valentine's Day.  How appropriate and perfect :)  For our 4-year anniversary, the traditional gift for which is "flowers or fruits," B gave me Coach's "Poppy" and it's light and playful.  Perfect for summer!  Isn't it amazing the way scent can change your mood, bring you confidence, or instantly remind you another time or place?
  30. Rocking babies to sleep. I'm lucky that my mother does daycare in her home, so I often have the opportunity to hold or play with some babies if I can manage to get home early enough on a weekday to visit.  Otherwise, plenty of my friends have babies & even newborns.  I don't do it often, but when I do, it's still the sweetest thing in the world.  Always has been to me.  Now my arms ache because I don't have my own to hold yet. But in those brief moments when I'm holding someone else's child, all that washes away and I bask in the moment of innocence and new life.
  31. Friends and strangers who offer words of advice, support, and just show that they are listening either by responding to blog posts, writing to check-in, or asking how I'm doing when we speak in person or on the phone.  It's not always easy for me to talk about, and sometimes they catch me off-guard, but in the end, it's always nice to be reminded that they care and they have been thinking about me.  Now, the Resolve support group has introduced me to a whole new medium for this kind of encouragement and validation.
  32. This blog.  Sometimes it's an outlet, sometimes I feel shackled to it, sometimes it motivates me, other times I feel dragged down and overwhelmed by it and the feelings it forces me to face and express, but if it is nothing else, I think that it is valuable as a time capsule to help me sort out what is happening to me, how I am coping with it, and allows me to explore ways to take action and control of my life.  It can be empowering, inspiring, humbling, and a release, all at the same time.  I'm grateful for it, and am glad I started it and have stuck with it.  I don't know that I'll have it forever, but at this time in my life, it is an important tool for me.  And I need to take everything I can get right now.

And with that, I'm going to go out now and celebrate my birthday!

1 comment:

  1. Coordinating with online Gynae & Obs doctors websites and getting the ebook listed there. Participating in online articles that are related to fertility and discussing about the benefits of ebook.

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