Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Outsiders

There was a recent post that seems to have caused a lot of stir in the community.

When I read that post, I did not get offended at all.

It could be because I have lived in that place she was coming from.

It could be because I have felt the same kind of hurt and defeat that fueled that post. Not a defeat of giving up a dream but the defeat that only failed IVF cycles can bring.

And I am a little shocked at the backlash over this.

I am not going to link the post or mention the blogger.

I am just going to write about some of the issues that resonated with me.

Warriors come out and play...

When I first started out on this journey I felt so utterly alone.

I felt like I was the only one going through this.

I felt like there was no one out there who could possibly understand.

I felt like an Outsider.

I felt as if only I have ever had to face such a cold, harsh reality...

I may never have children.

It's a crippling fear and with the fight or flight instinct most of us choose to fight.

And I did choose to fight.

I fought like hell.

And I found a community of women fighting the same battle.

I had found my warriors.

I was no longer the Outsider.

The "fertiles" became the Outsiders because they would never know what it's like to fight and all they would ever be able to do is take it for granted.

And you could laugh it off when a "fertile" announced a pregnancy, complained about morning sickness or a talked about an "oops" pregnancy.

We could point to the Outsiders and actually feel sorry for them because they would never be able to appreciate what they have the way we, the warriors, could.

Because they didn't know. They have no clue of the magnitude of the situation and they could never understand. And we told ourselves we would care more, appreciate more and love stronger.

And your girls, your sisters, your warriors...they know. They fully understand. They are there in the trenches with you.

And there is this huge feeling of solidarity.

The feeling that we were all in this together.

We're all warriors fighting the same battle.

But what happens when you become battle weary?

We no longer get support?

Or when one of our sisters succeeds!

Sensitivity and compassion are lost?

You made it!

If it were me I would be screaming from the roof tops.

And you do!

And you should!

You should be over the moon happy and not feel the need to defend the means by which you got there.

Maybe it's something like "survivors guilt" which causes everyone's defenses to go up.

You fought so hard and you made it.

And I don't blame you. I don't fault you.

But for those of us left behind being within hearing range of that celebration magnifies our own battles. Our own losses.

It plunges us into a place where doubt of our ability to achieve the same success clouds our ability to truly embrace the victory.

"You can't win. You know that, don't you? It doesn't matter if you whip us, you'll still be where you were before, at the bottom. And we'll still be the lucky ones at the top with all the breaks. It doesn't matter. Greasers will still be Greasers and Socs will still be Socs. It doesn't matter." - The Outsiders

So now who becomes the Outsiders?

Those of us left behind?

Those of us still fighting?

Or those of us who have won the battle?

There is definitely dissention in the ranks.

A division among our own.

Aren't we the ones who are supposed to understand and show the most compassion?

Wasn't the Outsiders, the "fertiles" who were insensitive and didn't understand?

Weren't they the ones that callously threw around pregnancy and baby talk that ripped our hearts in two?

And now we are attacking our own because a limit has been reached?

This dissention, this division I didn't understand when I was a new soldier, ready fight and full of the promise of victory.

I remember early on in my journey one of girls left the community. I checked in on her to see if she was okay and she told me that all the new pregnancies and ultrasound pictures and baby talk was just too much for her to take.

I didn't understand. At the time all the talk and seeing your fellow sisters win gave me hope. It fueled my determination to keep going.

But Now...

After 10 cycles, 2 pregnancies and 2 miscarriages I also know the complete devastation that only IVF can bring.


Every BFP, every ultrasound, every complaint about morning sickness, every mention of bellies and nurseries fills the empty void within my being with the loss of a million dreams.

A pain so intense that it can bring me to my knees.

As happy as I am that our fellow "soldiers" were able to win the fight, it still hurts that I am still fighting. And it brings a whole new level of devastation that one could only imagine because unfortunately for us, those of us left behind, we must face the very real possibility that it may never happen for us.

It is beyond battle weary.

I myself have shouted from the roof tops that I would never give up.

But now...

I have felt many times that I was done with IVF. I have been angered and enraged that mine didn't work and I was putting myself through such physical and emotional torture. I was infuriated that I have spent nearly $50,000 (Oh yes you read that correctly) on treatments and my arms are still empty.

IVF has become a bone of contention for me.

I am contemplating my ability to charged into battle again.

And it makes me contemplate the risk of going forward with no guarantees.

I dread starting a cycle and all the shots and all the medications. I can see the effect it has had on my body and my appearance.

But I can also see IVF for the true miracle that it really is.

Really without it, what options would a single gal of "advanced maternal age" have?

On my last FET I remember watching these 3 shining dots on the ultrasound screen as they burst into my uterus like shooting stars and even though that FET failed I was overcome by the miracle of it all.

It blew me away.

But I am in full retreat right now.

And really it isn't whether or not I could face another failed cycle. I am actually more afraid of my cycle working and miscarrying again.

That I could not face.

And as I try to decide my next moves, I try to find my support base and realized that I have truly been left on the battle field alone.

My friends who have won, who have rightfully moved on to a place where this pain is a distant memory. I cannot join their ranks. I do not belong. And their celebration becomes my heartache.

I can't march with the new soldiers joining the fight. Their optimism becomes my dissention.

It really does becomes divided.

I wish it wasn't so.

So who are the Outsiders now?

"You can't win.'ll still be where you were before... It doesn't matter. Greasers will still be Greasers and Socs will still be Socs. It doesn't matter." - The Outsiders

In truth The Outsiders are the battle weary. The ones that are left behind.

*By the way I am not giving up, I am just trying to find the best way for me to achieve motherhood.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time Machine

Somehow I woke up and it's now 1952*.

I am boggled.

I am perplexed.

I am disoriented.

I am suddenly thrust back in time where women's rights seem to be nothing but a distant dream.

Was I always in 1952?

Did the feminist movement not happen?

Did women not fight for their right to control their own bodies?

Did they not fight for the right to use birth control and get the screenings necessary for their health?

Did women not fight for the right to be treated equally?

Whether it is in the work place or on the battlefield, did women not only fight for but earn and deserve equality?

I thought we were well past the days of when a woman was violated and there was this notion of "she asked for it"

I thought those days were long gone!

Did we not fight for human rights too!

Where people weren't fired for their sexual orientation? Never mind having the company that hired them publicly petitioned to fire them based solely on their sexual preference.

Did we not already fight!

Or am I trapped in another time?

Did these things NOT happen?

Because all of the sudden I have a feeling the battle has just begun.

I'm not even quite sure in this parallel universe of 1952 in the midst of 2012 that I even have the right to vote.

Because lately I get the feeling that this Time Machine might bring us back to a place where those rights we fought so hard for will just vanish with one pull on the voting machine.

And much to my horror many of those thrusting us back into the dark ages are women themselves.

It seems like more and more not only women's right but human rights are taking pot shots left and right!

And this is probably the most deplorable of them all:

Fox Pundit Says Women In The Military Should ‘Expect’ To Be Raped

I am afraid that this Time Machine I am currently stuck in might bring us even further back.

Back to the middle ages or even worse...

Into a time where apparently there is an acceptable level of rape.

*Note - I randomly picked the year 1952. There is no historical basis for this year.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rage against the Machine

When I was 16 I became sexually active. Some of you might gasp at this and others might nod their head in silent knowing but one thing that is not really up for debate in this post is whether or not teens should be or shouldn't be sexually active. I am sure all of us would wish that they weren't but for the sake of argument let's just stop turning the blind eye and trying to live in the idyllic world and just agree that back then, back in the 80's and now, in the 2000's that teens are having sex.

And in the 80's I was one of them.

But I had a place to go.

A place that didn't judge.

A place I felt safe to go to.

A place that educated me on protection against sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy.

A place that in their education highlighted that abstinence was the best form of protection.

But if I chose not to use abstinence then I could at least make an educated decision on how to protect myself.

This place didn't judge or push. They just gave me the facts and the options.

This place is Planned Parenthood.

When I graduated High School and went off to college I remained at that place because it was a place that provided me with the basic screenings and tests that I needed.

A place that provided me with pap smears.

A place I went to for breast exams.

A place where I could get birth control.

And this place provided these services to me on a sliding scale so that I could afford the healthcare I needed when I didn't have insurance.

This place is Planned Parenthood.

And this place made me safe and secure and healthy!

I couldn't imagine being a teen looking for guidance and help and not having the services of Planned Parenthood.

I couldn't imagine being a young adult trying to make my way through school and beyond without the services provided by Planned Parenthood to ensure my overall health.

There are a million undesirable scenarios that could arise if I did not have this place to go to.

But thanks to Planned Parenthood I didn't have to face those scenarios.

My rage against this political agenda to attack and defund Planned Parenthood runs deep.

They have been taking swings at women's health and it is time for us to swing back.

We need to take action and we need to do this by NOT voting for those who want to deny women basic healthcare and by NOT donating to or running in or fundraising for ANY organization that puts the needs of the women they claim to be supporting last on their political list!

This isn't about the "A" word as so many of your politicians want to make this about. This is about ALL women and about "ensuring quality care for all".

"ensuring quality care for all" taken right off the Susan G. Komen website. It is written right into their mission statement: "ensuring quality care for all"

So if that is the goal then why is there a sudden attack on a foundation that strives to do what the Susan G. Komen foundation cannot?

Planned Parenthood actually provides the care for all!

Katie over at "From IF to when" has a very spirited post on this. woman vs. woman: my response to komen

Go Katie!

And Mel over at Stirrup Queen in her post: "Susan G Komen, You Can’t Delete the Tweet" suggests that we all print out the Planned Parenthood at a Glance page in order to educate and inform those responsible for the attack on Planned Parenthood as to exactly what services are provided by Planned Parenthood.

And mail them to:
Karen Handel
Susan G Komen
5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250
Dallas, TX 75244

I am mailing mine today!

But I am going to take this one further and ask you to take note of those in Congress who are trying to do the same to women's health and those who stood by us. The next time you are at the polls make a conscious effort to vote for: "ensuring quality care for all"

Democrats who voted to defund Planned Parenthood:

Dan Boren, Okla.
Jerry Costello, Ill.
Joe Donnelly
Dan Lipinski, Ill.
Mike McIntyre, N.C.
Collin Peterson, Minn.
Nick Rahall, W.Va.
Silvestre Reyes, Tex.
Mike Ross, Ark.
Heath Shuler, N.C.

Republicans who voted to preserve Planned Parenthood funding:

Charlie Bass, N.H.
Judy Biggert, Ill.
Mary Bono-Mack, Calif.
Charlie Dent, Pa.
Robert Dold, Ill.
Richard Hanna, N.Y.
Rodney Frelinghuysen, N.J.

This is for every woman who needs a place to go and get quality healthcare!



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