Posted by: katedaphne | April 12, 2009

Head. Won’t. Stop. Spinning.

So this past week had some strange extremes for me.

On Wednesday I was the guest speaker for the Tampa chapter of the Resolve infertility support group. It is moderated by a couple of women (one of whom is a local TV personality) who reached out to me after my newspaper story, The Longing was published. I’ve been in touch with them off and on since then, though I never did join the group (preferring the support of my family, bloggy friends, and what few IRL friends I had left). But somehow my name came up recently when they were brainstorming speakers (scraping the bottom of the barrell? Ha).

I was willing to do it, because I feel that one of the few things I have to offer people is to share my experience out loud in hopes that it will help fellow victims cope, or help them talk about it. Or help family and friends of victims cope, and talk about it. I hate the silent suffering so many of us go through. It is so unnecessary. (Yet so natural, because we feel the need to protect ourselves, and so many people don’t know what to do or say.)

I told Kathy (moderator) that I’d do it, but I had this little problem. Two actually 🙂 I well know that the last thing infertility sufferers want is to see a big old pg belly, especially in their safe place. It doesn’t bring them hope; it brings them sorrow, anger, jealousy, etc. So — we decided I’d do it, but soon, before the Things were canteloupe-sized (I think, according to my nephew, they were still at the avocado stage) and I’d dress as circumspectly as possible.

So, I went. The first hour was the group’s share-and-support session. I sat in but did not participate. And DAMN! Listening to all the sad, awful stories of these nice people was so freaking hard. I could relate to all of them in some way. Some were older, doing donor egg b/c they’d “waited too long” (their words) or because it was a second, later-in-life marriage. Another couple was in their young twenties and coping with another serious medical problem that also caused infertility. I felt so bad for them — I never would’ve had the resources, personal or financial, to face what they are at that age. And every story in between. We empathize a lot here in blogland, but I have to say — it was a very different experience for me to look in the eyes of the women and men suffering. (I suppose those of you who go to support groups already know this.)

The second hour, I told my story. It was tough, because although I am pretty okay talking about it, the tear ducts were already primed…. But everyone really wanted to hear (so flattering! and so weird, I’m no celebrity!) so I plunged in. It was pretty informal, and we digressed for questions and answers, etc. And I took questions at the end. (I stopped after saying my last cycle was in the winter, but Kathy asked me the outcome of it. So I revealed I was pg, but we didn’t talk anymore about it or dwell on it.)

I think hearing from me was interesting to the group. I don’t like to say it gave them hope (UGH!) but I do think it helped them know they weren’t alone in the struggle, and that even long, shitty-ass struggles like mine are survivable. I got to talk to several after the meeting. I really liked them all and wish them the very best. I came home emotionally drained but glad I’d done it.

Infertility is so hard.
Infertility sucks.

So, that was Wednesday.

Thursday, I attended my first PPODS event. PPODS is the local parents-of-multiples club. I joined several weeks ago, and have participated on their online bulletin boards. They’ve already been very helpful and kind; I posted when I first heard about Baby A’s heart problem, and they immediately offered support and got me in touch with a few other parents in a similar boat. So I really wanted to meet some of them in person.

Thursday was Moms’ “Game Night,” hosted at the home of a member. Though we never did play any games (they sat in a stack in the middle of the floor), we just sat around and talked and ate and drank (wine for them, lemonade for me, alas). It was really fun — but sort of like a hazing. Standing around the table munching on pizza, they all started talking about their birth horror stories. One said hers was great and she didn’t even need drugs (I told her she should’ve taken them anyway, for fun), but the rest — holy COW! They said later they weren’t trying to scare me, but I am not so sure 😉

They all had twins, of course. I was the first to arrive, and the hostess was still getting things ready, so I played with the kids a little. She has toddler b/g twins adopted after an IF struggle — and a “bonus baby” (their words) who came naturally just a few months later. When I arrived, the little boy grabbed my hand and said “walk!” So we went for a walk through the house and down the hall … to his bedroom … where he went directly to his bed! His dad cracked up. I laughed and told the little dude he needed to buy me dinner first. 🙂 heart-breaker int he making, that kid!

The rest of the night was just hanging out with moms of twins. Some had IVF twins, others had twins run in the family and weren’t surprised, I think one was a twin herself; others’ twins were a complete surprise. Mostly they talked about the kids, but not completely. They completely took me under their wing and told me they’d be there for anything I needed because they knew the ropes and remembered how hard it was at first to have twins. I told them I’d keep them all on my speed-dial. “Of course you will, honey, that’s why you joined the club!”

It was the kind of evening that normally would have given me the heebie-jeebies. Actually, a year ago I couldn’t’ve sat through it. And at times, it DID feel weird and even a little creepy. But ready or not, these are my new peers. And I am really glad to have them on my side.

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Responses

  1. My Moms of Multiples group has been a great support. Glad you found a group that has “taken you under its wing!”

  2. I’m glad that you said that it’s the kind of night that would have given you the heebie-jeebies – sorta freaked me out to hear it :).
    Glad that you shared at resolve, I tried IRL help once in montreal at a group there, and it went horrid, I was the youngest person there and instead of being accepting, the moderator ridiculed me, nice eh?

  3. I really wish that there was some sort of local multiples support group in my area. It sounds like a wonderful resource and built-in support system to have!

  4. You are a trooper Kate. I just went to my first kids b-day party and I sat in the car and cried before I was able to muster the courage to go in.

    Good for you!

  5. wow, it looks like you are really busy but busy in a good way! there is an awesome blog from the mother of multiples (IVF) b/g. and she is super efficient too, so your husband can start practicing cooking for his little girls using Rachel’s technique.

    rajencreation.wordpress.com

  6. A friend of mine who has twins and really likes her local multiples chapter (esp. the online board) has been telling me to join my local chapter, but I’ve been reluctant — not wanting to mingle with “normal” parents/pregnant ladies. Of course I should have realized that at least some of the multiples will have resulted from fertility treatments! You’ve made me feel better about joining now — thanks!


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