You might have noticed that I barely posted in the past few years beyond a helpful hello or rather lame attempt at advice. You might also wonder why I’ve started posting with regularity after all this silence. The truth is that life kicked the hell out of me last year. Not only did I nearly lose my family but everything I hold dear….it was a very bad year for many reasons. As you know, I started a preschool in part to bury the pain of miscarriages but also because I love children. I didn’t want infertility to define me, I wanted life to define me so I set out with lofty goals and an insatiable desire to turn this sad, misery filled ship around (ie. my life). Up until infertility I was rather happy go lucky – it wasn’t always like that though. I’ve suffered from depression for most of my life (since I was 17). I’ve been diagnosed with dysphoria but I mostly managed the blues with exercise or keeping my mind so busy I couldn’t think about existentialist crises. After I met lupron, gonal F, menopur and spent what most people in the world make in a ten year period on IVF so that we could have our son, = life turned gray. Landmines were suddenly EVERYWHERE. I was continually wondering when the other shoe would drop, what other terrible thing would happen because, after all, hadn’t it all gone to hell? After I gave birth to my son I had a sort of disconnect, I was in physical pain, my anxiety shot up and I lost myself…and that was just the start. Here I was finally a mother and all I could do was worry and focus on what negative things might happen. I’m sure I appeared like a crazy person to my friends and family but they had no idea how to reach me or even where I’d gone. My husband watched as my life became exactly as I imagined – a nightmare. Miscarriage after miscarriage ensued and I was now in a race against time to preserve the few eggs I had. I’d turned 40 three months after my son was born and my clock was just about done ticking. My AMH was .04 (LOW). The final miscarriage (the little girl would be turning 6 in July of this year) was essentially my invitation to hell and I took it – that one way trip was all mine. Two weeks after I had my D&C and a filled out a death certificate for my 9 week old fetus (thanks State of Georgia!), I bent down to pick up my child and suddenly could not move. I was in bed for days and later found out that I had 2 bulging discs and one very degenerated disc in my back. They recommended surgery and I was in pain all of the time and….. I had a toddler. I had the surgery and then got back on the IVF horse. Somehow I managed to get two amazing CGH normal embryos but then my ovary was punctured. I was again put on low dose pain pills. The pills had made me feel ill so I didn’t take them often but I had to after this last episode or I would have likely passed out from the pain. Three months later I stopped taking all medication, I was done, but they were not done with me. I got very sick.. I was in bed for days, literally DAYS. My body had become dependent on these “low dose” pain pills (something that I was told would NEVER HAPPEN). I am still so angry about that bit of advice. Mind you, had I waited few days I would have been fine but I was about to start a school and I could not feel that sick nor could nor could I be on pain medication while working with kids. Instead a doctor gave me more medication which stopped me feeling sick and I resumed my life. Since then I have been a very strong advocate against pain pills but that is also a topic for another blog posting. Back to my embryos. After beginning the school my periods stopped. I have remained in a stress induced state for the past five years…and I’m not complaining. I absolutely LOVE what I do but I don’t know how to delegate. The past year has been hard especially hard because my pain has returned and with it some complications – eyesight loss in one eye, some strange autoimmune type symptoms that cause the cartilage in my body to become inflammed – polychondritis. I’ve mostly ignored the symptoms but now it begs to be looked at and treated but, I’m scared. Meanwhile my home life was anything but perfect. Working with my husband has been hard – but we do it. The truth is that last year we nearly fell apart. Between the stress of life and work it all started to come unglued and we both felt like we were not a team, quite frankly. Thankfully over the past few months we have found our way back to each other but it was not without considerable amount of work and we aren’t done..we never will be done. Our “undoing” was born out of a combination of things and had more to do with all the unresolved pain that both of us felt – from losing so much but mainly from not taking time to water our “flowers” – the beautiful life we have and the reasons we were drawn to each other in the first place. On Valentine’s Day I watched our wedding video. Memories and feelings of love just flooded through me and then I knew as clear as day that not only could I never leave but I just don’t want to, ever. Marriage is tough and but so is everything… We went through plenty but we can’t let it define us. We aren’t two infertile people who have embryos on ice – we are parents to a lovely little boy who wants a sibling but will be just fine if he doesn’t have one because…he has a family. An imperfect family but one that still has plenty of flowers to water. We also have laughter and so much love. There is more to this story but essentially as we enter springtime and “prune our proverbial garden” we are taking steps to rebuild the foundations of our marriage and of our friendship, I couldn’t be more excited nor more committed. So the next few months will bring news – it may not work but we are going to try. Like my son told me once “we are a family of never-give-uppers”. That much is so very true.