I think we will probably proceed with IVF next cycle, all being well.
I got down 4 bag/boxes of saved baby stuff yesterday. I haven’t been through them, I’ve just put them into the cupboard in our bedroom, ready to clear out. I thought about bringing it all down, but we have a high chair, car seat, cot, and a whole load of other large items up there that will just be in the way down here. So for now, they wait.
I’ve also made a list of things to do “when we get to the end”, which includes things like going out for a commemorative meal, a trip to starbucks (no guilt, yay!), clearing out my pregnancy test stash, reading three novels I love, finding a piece of memorial jewellery, and some pampering time for this poor body that has tried so hard to do what I wanted. Also on the list is to order the baby name plates that I’ve been putting off for over three years because I wanted to make sure we got three that matched. Now, it won’t matter, so I will have my two and hang them proudly in the hall.
When I was little my parents had name plates for both of us in the kitchen. They were blue and white and contained our name, date of birth and weight. There was also a tiny picture of a clock in the background and the hands pointed to the time we were born. They were hand painted and they were so significant to me. In an emotionally empty house, they were a sign of the fact that our parents had taken note of the event of our births, despite their emotional distance from us, especially as we got older. I’ve wanted to get them for the boys for so long, but have held off, and held off, always waiting for the brother or sister to arrive so I could order them all together as a set. I can release that burden in a few weeks.
I won’t reproduce my list here, as there are some personal things on there I’m not even able to share on a blog, but it’s a meaningful set of things I need to do for me, a passage from one period of life into another.
I’m also giving myself full permission to drop out of life, and spend three days crying in bed if this doesn’t work out. It’s my right to grieve in that way and I will make sure I let that grief out at the time so that I don’t end up breaking down and crying in the middle of a random conversation in the playground, or while I’m out shopping or something, two months down the line.
I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I get out of this perspex secondary infertility prison, but I’m hoping I can carry a little bit of the feeling of relief and, in a strange way, excitement, that I feel right now, through the tears that might (very probably) be on their way. I hope I can remember, amid the awful feeling of loss for that person our family never got to meet, that moving on is the best thing to do for all of us. I’m writing this down now, so hopefully I can read it back and remember that we chose to move on. That life should be about more than just trying to conceive, and recovery from miscarriage. That each person has their limit and I don’t want the focus of our days to be on each cycle and whether or not it will work, or each pregnancy and whether or not it will hold.
Over the last few days I’ve read a little book called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, by Marie Kondo. Those of you that have been here from the beginning will know of my love of minimalism and decluttering. Well, this book is probably the best book I have ever read on the subject of letting needless possessions go. I love her quiet, considerate approach, her attention to detail, the way she talks about our possessions as being something we should care for and look after, and her tales of her own thoughts and feelings about keeping things tidy in her life. It’s just wonderful.
I have been inspired, all over again, to return to the work of paring back the things we no longer need. We’ve donated/sold/thrown away probably in the region of 1,000 items over the last few years and our house no longer has a ‘Room of Doom’, and our loft is tidy and organised. I love the feeling of space and neatness that comes from having less things.
This book has such significance and meaning in it for me, especially given our current position. Marie talks about handling each item in your house and asking yourself:
Does this item spark joy?
And letting go, with thanks, anything that doesn’t.
The thing is, aside from the stockpile of baby things that I know we need to let go of if I am to move on, there is also the mental attachment to the process of TTC. It is almost a part of my identity I have been so absorbed in it for so long. I can barely remember who I was before I started. I had a much greater sense of humour, and a much healthier outlook on life, I know that much. I also had bigger goals and bigger dreams.
So, in a way, in addition to handling our physical possessions, I have learnt something else from this book. Does this item spark joy? When it comes to trying for a baby, no it does not. It really doesn’t. There is no excitement, no anticipation, no hoping and dreaming, only plodding with heads down. And pregnancy – does that spark joy? No. It comes with endless, overwhelming fear. Fear of miscarriage. Fear of loss. Fear of bleeding after childbirth. Fear for my own safety.
So, I must remember this. I must remember, if I am devastated by the failure of this cycle AND the next, that there is an alternative. I must remember that I do not have to spend my life grieving. I must remember that I can move on and I can even say thank-you for what all these losses have taught me. Self-care, unconditional all-consuming love for my miracle children, awareness of diet and exercise, strength in my marriage, belief in myself to deal with adversity, compassion for others, and overall, an understanding of the frail, fragile line between life and death that none of us should ever take for granted.