Monday, January 14, 2013

Smack dab in the middle

A reader wrote me a private message:
"You going to write about the fourth part- I noticed you wrote part 1 to 3- but where is the 4th?"

When I read that query, my heart started to pound hard.  I found myself starting to have an anxiety attack-

I had written the Bump (Part 1)Without Answers (Part 2) and Not sure (Part 3) last spring.   Originally I had written this post in October.  I kept coming back to the post to stare at my writing, re-opening my wounds over and over like a monk flagellating himself.  Interesting,I find myself switching forth and back between two moods while reading; some days I cry reading this post and other times I find myself distant. It's in January now since October, and it still hurts reading the post, remembering. Nevertheless, there are sensitive triggers here, for folks who are still recovering/struggling with accepting childlessness, I'd not recommend you to read furthermore.

Between late December 2011 to February 2012, that timeline was the most painful time for me, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, and even now it being January 2013 (as reviewing this post, I still consider that time as worst of all I had ever experienced.)

I found it easier to bury my head in the sand- in other words, denying that I was going to be childless; refusing to accept that I'd not hold a baby of my own in my arms; hoping against all hope that the doctor was mistaken. I was praying day and night that it was all a nightmare; that I'd not have the surgery upcoming to remove my uterus, and the execution day will not happen.

When I was told that I'll be an aunt, only two days after finding out I cannot have children, I was able to 'put it aside', thinking "it was all a nightmare, I'm going to wake up soon."

I patted some baby clothes at the store thinking, "I'll get some of them later, when the doctor tells me I was the wrong patient."

I laughed and made jokes, living in the illusion that the doctor would say "oops, my bad, that's the wrong ultrasound pictures- let me get your right chart. My apologies again."

"I'll be fine-   They'll be able to fix my uterus after they find out that there is nothing wrong with it", I told myself.


Ironic, it wasn't the doctor.  It wasn't the surgery.  It wasn't the size of the fibroid.  It wasn't the waking up at the hospital room afterward.

It was someone who was closest to me, who shoved me into the river of agonizing fire, to see the reality.

 Among all that, I had the close friend, who was my confidant in everything. I'll call her M.  We had a lot in common.   We could laugh at the same things; we loved science fiction and horror movies.  We could be jumping in and out of topics through the conversation all day without blinking.   I was very supportive to her, especially with her private issues.  I was flippy happy when M got married.   I understood her when she said she didn't feel ready to have children; she wanted to work on her issues first.    

During my medical journey trying to find out what was wrong with me, including testing the water of whether I would be able to have children or not, M was supportive of me all the way.  I tried to be strong but she reminded me that I didn't have to be strong sometimes.  When I needed to talk with someone, she was there.   Don't get me wrong, there were other friends.  It just was harder to get in touch with them, and she was there always for me. Admittedly, I considered her- Safest friend

Unsafe friends- who already have children, or are pregnant.  

Safe friend- who has no children, never had raised children, or having no plans to get pregnant any time soon.   

I started to identify friends into two groups -unsafe and safe.  Even in levels of unsafe and safe friends, there were sub-types....  mommies with adult children are safer compared to mommies with toddlers-unsafe.  Crazy, I know, but that's how I tried to hang on. 

This was what I was clinging to, during the insanity going through examinations, tests and doctor appointments.  In and out.  Lab works.  Sonogram images of dark marks.    I didn't want to accept the stark truth. 

All this changed with an email from M.   


I got a short message from M in January.   She told me she wanted to tell me something-   I read the brief message, thinking, "oh great! She is getting a job!" I knew she was looking for employment, and so I was thinking she was excited to tell me that she got a job.  

Later on the same day, I got a long email from her.  Among the thick long paragraphs, I saw a sentence which was smack dab in the middle of it all. I zeroed in on that, and among all that, it was the only sentence I saw...  one dab white among the blackness of the dark.  

"I'm pregnant."  

I cannot tell you what I felt at that moment.    I just can't.   All I know was that the world crashed upon me.  

I had a minute of sanity to email her that I was not ready to talk about this.  That was the only thing I could recall before I lost it.  Truly LOST it.   

I screamed. 
 Tore things up.
  Ripped paintings apart.
Chaotic thoughts-
      "I am not going to be pregnant ever, of my own baby." 
   "I'd never come home from hospital with a baby in my arms."
"I'll never get to kiss my baby's belly while seeing her smile at me."
 Considered ending it all.   

Ending it all.  
    No more agony.  
       No more betrayals. 
          No more pain.  

A sane part of me fanatically reached out during my crying fit of rage. Thankfully, a friend S was in town.  She was immediately there with me.  I wept as she held me. She convinced a neighbor to go to the store to get more tissue boxes without asking why.  She threw out a bottle when I told her I wanted to drown in drunkenness.  Another friend, T talked with me in a firm yet loving tone, to remind me I have friends who love me, and that she'd be pissed if I gave up.  She was steadfast in her love as I screamed at her, "WHY me?" In her Old South attitude, she loved me with her nonsense attitude.  I cried, with tears coming down my cheeks as I looked upon L, a close friend, and to hear from her that "She knew you are hurting. Not to tell you she was planning to get pregnant.  That's the lowest blow." and reminding me that I'm not alone, that L had been there for me for so many years, and she is not going anywhere, from my side. 

Thankfully, the office didn't question when I decided not to go in for a few days.  I was looking down at the void and I knew there was a millimeter between me and the void, very tempting.  

I got the email six days before I was to see the doctor.     It was a weekend and a few days of sorrow, rage, weeping and staring at walls, writing letters to N, trying to explain my feelings, failing and tearing them up,  before I found myself at the doctor's office, -dead to the world.   Hope was dead. 

"When do you think you would be ready for your surgery?" 

"Can you do it on February 13th?" 

The doctor knew something was wrong.  She strongly encouraged me to see a therapist right away. That was the best decision ever I had made since the finding the bump.    

Nevertheless...   January 12th was the starting of the end of my world as I knew it.  The new world- all gray, shades of black and grey.  Thunderous clouds, empty rooms with abandoned dusty baby furniture.  Empty frames on the walls, old wallpaper peeling.  Trees empty of leaves, dying. Repeating cycle of riding on the empty subway, that doesn't stop at exits.  With the two new pregnancy announcements, both very close to me without no clues, no hints, no red flags-- during the most painful moment when I wasn't ready- that's the world where I found myself in. That is what I had experienced in the reality since January 12, 2012.

February 14, 2012-  Waking up at the hospital after surgery, I felt empty.  Not because of the uterus that had been taken away, but of empty dreams.  Pandora's box is even empty of hope for me. I was very distant, dissocated from any emotions for a long and long time but for fits of weeping and rage. 

And turned out that I didn't have cancer.  Sick joke, if you asked me. 

My therapist said "You know, you're going through this and your sister in law is pregnant. A surprise to you. Then your closest friend planned to get pregnant, but didn't give you an head-up to prepare yourself and now she is pregnant out of the blue, double hits.   You're going through all this and alone, no less- this is your baptism by fire. Worst time ever to find out that you cannot have children."  

She nailed it. 

I'm a proud aunt of a new nephew last August; hopefully one day I would get to see him in person when I'm ready emotionally.  

M had her baby in the same month.  

So, that's your answer for the 4th part.  It doesn't mean the end, but of surviving the worst that had been thrown at me.  It's a year now, and I'd like to think that I'm stronger after that, but I'm not there yet. 


  1. November of 2011, a few days before Thanksgiving I had my 2nd miscarriage...and I also found out my 15 year old niece was pregnant.

    Our due dates were 2 weeks apart...every time I see a picture of her beautiful little girl I baby should be here...hitting each milestone.

    I spent the next year...all of 2012 trying to get pregnant and I can't...

    I know that a pain...I wish no one had to go through it...

    Thank you for commenting on my blog...and for sharing your story.

    1. I too agree with you, no one should ever experience this- not even our worst enemies. I have a cousin with his son who are at same age as as the child I would have, if I hadn't miscarried. I see him and I know what I miss- like you, it hurts.

  2. (((HUGE HUGS)))

    Grieving is a winding process/road. What does "being strong" mean? Maybe it means admitting that you're weak. Maybe it means that despite your weakness, you still hang on and trudge through. I personally think you've really become stronger by being able to write and publish tough posts like this. Because sometimes it's easier to just "pretend" and "not dwell on things".

    P.S. I'm glad you found help along the way through your darkest moments. I myself couldn't have done it without the help of many people.

    1. I too,am thankful for friends who were there, Amel. It's frightening to think what'd happen if they weren't.

      I hadn't thought it this way, but you are right, it takes courage to write and publish posts, even knowing the risk that there'd be backlash (and that just did happen.) It's funny... after publishing this post, I sat back and explored the feeling..and realized it was liberating. Funny, isn't it?

    2. Oh yeah, I find it liberating or cathartic as well. It's as if by letting it out and loud, we're no longer carrying "the burden" around with us (even if we still feel it) he he...

  3. Well, what an interesting read this is. It is so easy to hide behind screen, and talk shit about someone in this case, instead of talking to my friend about it face to face. I find it funny that you are complaining about something you don't even know half of the story AT all. You are NOT entitled to know the details of how my friend came to get pregnant, and why she got pregnant. Everyone knows that becoming a parent is a big step, and that is a scary step. I know because I have been there, and almost every parent has "oh shit, what did we just do" minute. Oh wait, thats right.. you can't understand that because it is something you can't experience. That's right. I thank Jesus every day that you can't. Because by the way you're treating this situation is ridiculous, and pathetic. How can you raise a child if you can't be mature yourself? And before you ask how I know, because I have two. and you behave like my 4 year old child.

    1. Anonymous lurker, you're not entitled to an explanation and you don't deserve one, but I owe the readers who might be surprised to see your hostile comment, and I will LEAVE it there for people to read. The comment is now out of your hands and it is now up for me how to handle this.
      Now that comes to the response:
      Ever heard of the 7 blind men and the elephant story? No? I'd suggest to read it and figure what it this example- We both blindly touched the elephant- I touched the trunk and your friend touched a leg, and we saw the truth in different ways. I am very glad to hear that you're righteously angry for your friend, and you should be! After all, N (if that's your friend) has good friends like you, to protect her, to be on her side. I miss her a lot, and I miss my memories. And I wish her the best with her family.

      I do not owe you, the lurker, of what happened afterwards, but to tell you- I would be lying if I would be saying, after being told of her pregnancy, I "lightened up and went, "Swell!, Let me make you a baby blanket, I can't wait to see your darling baby!" Unfortunately, that did not happen. Never had. It just happened to be at the worst time; how could she know- after all, not all blogs could explain how to approach a woman dealing with the fact that she is childless not by choice? Not everyone is like the "Single Infertile Female", who had months/years to deal with her infertility before she started to love her friends' children. I had less than a month to deal with the doctor's uncertain news. How could -I- know how I'd respond? At least, I was honest with my own emotions.

      Look at your own 4 years old daughter- can you imagine not having her at all? Can you imagine an empty crib? Or perhaps this is over your head, after all you cannot imagine what it's like for the infertile /CNBC (childless not by choice) community- so how could you imagine?

      Perhaps you just can't imagine, and that's where we have the gap here. You and she are in the clubhouse that I'd never be able to join. Perhaps one day, I will. You cannot stop me. No one else can. Only I can tell me to give up or to go on and I chose to go on. I write my own story, how the path goes, and no one, not even you, could tell me how to write my own story (life)- and that doesn't mean the blog, but of how I choose to walk my own life.

      I have the RIGHT to my own emotions and HOW dare you to tell me differently. 'Anonymous lurker', tell me to say it all behind the screen, yet you do it yourself. I'm open with most of my readers, most knowing me in person. I'm honest about how I felt and experienced. Last, but not least, I take responsibility and accountability for my own actions, and that includes recognizing my own feelings and sharing my version, and yet having the knowledge knowing my actions can affect others folks-but I cannot control how they feel. Vice verse, as well.

      I will leave this here but to say, thanks for letting me know that I have a critic that doesn't like my writing and how I approach life in my way. That puts me in the clubhouse with Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

    2. Anonymous, you're beyond CRUEL. Thank Jesus that someone can't have children?!?!?!?! But you're very right about one thing: "It is so easy to hide behind screen, and talk shit about someone." That's exactly what you did.

      And about this part: "I find it funny that you are complaining about something you don't even know half of the story AT all." It's really obvious that you have no clue what infertiles have to go through. You don't even try to read the post by TRYING to understand. So I rest my case.

  4. Oh hun, I can't even imagine. Honestly, I think having all that happen at once would send me into a tailspin I might not crawl out of. I am so very sorry.

    1. Your metaphor 'tailspin' is exactly what I was trying to think how to describe it all in one word... Thank you, Lala...

  5. I'm so sorry this happened this way, and that it affected your friendship with N so badly.

    Unless you've been through something like this - being told you'll never have your own biological children - you really can't comment on how we react to getting news from others. It is an enormous loss. I found it was very confusing - even months or years after the exact day when I found out. The news of a pregnancy from someone I knew might not bother me, but then hearing about someone else would throw me into a tailspin (good word Lala) just when I least expected it. I remember a friend responding to my news that I had had a second ectopic pregnancy with the delighted news "guess what, we're pregnant!" Do they not think for one minute how we are going to react? Or are they so self-centred that they don't care? There are ways to break the news to us. Ways that will allow us to feel safe with them, and ways to maintain a loving relationship. I was lucky that I had a very thoughtful friend beside me - someone who had her sons around the time I was going through ectopics, failed IVFs, and learning I'd never have children of my own. Not all friends were so thoughtful. And so we protect ourselves, in this world that idolises mothers, because if we don't protect ourselves, who will?

    And Wolfers, I want to commend you on your very dignified and decent response to Anonymous, who unfortunately didn't have the maturity, compassion or insight to be either decent even if they disagreed with you, and were too cowardly to be honest about who they were. (Talk about someone behaving like a kid in a schoolyard!) Anyway, bravo to you!

  6. dear Wolfers,
    thank you for your kind comment on my blog.

    Here is my beloved Wolf:

    I finished earlier at work today, so I took him for a long walk. It was magical.
    Lots and lots of snow and a beautiful forrest.

  7. Hugs Wolfers. Hugs.

    OH man. This story - I can relate so much - so many people were having kids after my hysterectomy and it hurt, and it hurt. But your confidante - I can only imagine how abandon you felt and alone. This grieving process is SO hard because hearing those words "you'll never give birth. you'll never have your own child" - is so difficult. I am so glad you did pursue therapy right away, because I did not and it was a huge mistake and set back my grieving process a long way.

    Also, the long drawn out medical process of figuring out exactly what is wrong with you is painful in itself. Sending you so much love.

    (and I am sorry you had a anonymous commenter who was a huge jerk)

  8. Hi Wolfers,

    I know I am really late to this blog post. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your honest feelings. I can relate to so much you said here and it took a lot of courage to share it. ((HUGS))

  9. Jules,

    "The trouble is, you think you have time." Buddha

    I know you will recognize me when I write this message. Will you respond? I do not know, and I really do not expect you to respond because this is an old post, and I have no idea if you will ever get a notification for this comment. This is the first time I have read your blog from the very start to the very end. I have read this post over, and over, and over again including the comments. I want to apologize for a few things.

    I really do want to tell you that I am very sorry about how I had handled this whole matter. Would I have made different choices? Yes, in a heartbeat.

    Before I go into the heart of matters, I am sorry for that vile message. I had no idea that the person, who was my friend at that time, whom I thought I could trust, would have reacted in such way. If I had known then I would have asked that person to remove the message immediately, or at least word things differently. Nonetheless, the damage had been done, and I am sorry that it had to happen in such manner.

    Now into the heart of matters, I flatly disagree with what your friend, L, had said. It was not the lowest blow of what I did to you, Jules. I really did try to protect you. I reached out to my friends, who struggled with infertility, and asked them what I should do in this case. I thought about you, your situation, and my situation long and hard...and prayed as what I should do in your situation. I don't know if you even realize how much I thought of you, and how to bring it up with you. I felt that your matter was far more pressing, more important, and you needed a shoulder to lean on. How on the earth could I just tell you straight out that Stu, and I were considering to become parents when you were possibly battling cancer? It was probably not the most ideal choice I could have made, and Jules, I did make that choice out of what I thought was right for you, for our friendship, and I wanted to protect you during that fucking unfair time in your life. I was so angry for you, Jules. Also, I was angry, as selfish as it is, for me because I felt that this whole damn experience robbed us of that opportunity.

    I made a choice based on others' experiences. What I did not realize at that time that I was also not seeing you for your own experiences. I should have told you from the very start that I was considering to get pregnant. I see that now. That is what I do regret the most. Not telling you, and having that choice I did hurt you. At the same time, I really do wish that you would have seen that I was trying to protect you in THE WAY I KNEW, THE WAY I UNDERSTOOD, and THE WAY I THOUGHT WAS THE BEST at that time based on what I knew.

    Infertility did not only affect you, Jules, but so many of us who loved you as well. So many have left not because they wanted to, but because your grief had pushed them away and they had no idea what to do anymore. I have reached out to you so many times, only to be rebutted so many times, and left wondering what the next step to take. To be honest, I got to the point where I was pretty sure I ended up like Kurt. Discarded. Dismissed without any answers. Just like that at a snap of fingers. That hurt. That hurt badly to think that our friendship meant nothing to you. Then again, in a hindsight, it was probably how you felt by my email announcing about my pregnancy.

    In the end, I forgave you. I hope you will eventually forgive me for the choices I made, and perhaps, to a degree, understand why I did what I did.

    We all know you are hurting. Hell, grief is a bitch. I WANT to be there for you, Jules, but I don’t know how because I am pushed away, and I am left with no communication at all. I do care for you, and always will. I am always here for you. Even at the distance--always have been.

    "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." -Winnie Pooh

    1. After years, it still hurts, tho in a less degree. I forgive you.

      "Your grief had pushed them away, and they had no idea what to do anymore." Guess what? They did not talk or ASK. They did not even TRY to contact me. They disappeared off the grid. But then again, that is what I did to you. So I'd say to those so-called friends, "tit for tat."

      And for Kurt- don't bother deny it, you did your part encouraging me to end the toxic friendship between me and Kurt. "Discarded. "Dismissed without any answers." Own it, as I have.

      I cherish the memories as they are, in the distant horizon. And we are on different paths, and I doubt we will ever interact again.