I’d like to title this blog many things. Some that immediately come to mind:
“Good riddance 2018”
“I’m sorry for leaving you hanging”
“New year, same goals”
“New year, new goals”
Let’s just say that 2018 has been a wild ride. More than that, it’s has been equal parts unbearable, difficult beyond measure, a learning experience, and I’m glad to see it go. It’s also had some high points and, certainly, many of my lowest lows.
2018 began with our preparations for deployment, including months long absences for training and the knowledge that we would need, unequivocally, to pursue IVF if we wanted to have our own children. We knew we had little time to make that happen with deployment right around the corner. January and February we realized that, financially and with Tim’s training schedule, we would not be able to realize that goal. March brought Tim’s official going away party, which was one for the books. I know it warmed and broke my heart to see all our friends and family come to support Tim that day. We sent him off in the best way and I’m so grateful to everyone that joined in, filled his deployment box with letters and pictures to help get him through the following months and loved on him while they could. In April, I issued in some new friends that helped me find a program to help us overcome time, distance and cost in our IVF adventure. After many dead ends, I finally was admitted into the Walter Reed IVF program. In the next two months, April and May, i spent every extra second racing the clock to figure out how to make each piece of this puzzle fit together. I would end up learning more about things that have never been in my wheelhouse than i possibly could imagine. With Tim on board for this crazy plan, together, we figured out how to get him to two different clinics in El Paso to have blood tests and his sample frozen for our eventual cycle, still months away. I flew to El Paso for one day to become a patient at an IVF clinic that almost didn’t accept us. And i flew there again at the end of May to see Tim off for the final time. June, July and August saw nearly every appliance at our rental home’s failure. Literally. Water heater, washer and dryer, AC, garbage disposal and (the straw that broke this camels back) the dishwasher. With the help of our amazing friends, i was able to move the bulk of our home to a storage unit in preparation of our buying a home upon Tim’s return. This span of three months also inundated my business with weddings and engagements and babies. I was so busy this summer and it helped take a bit of the edge off the debilitating waiting game. Waiting for Tim to get home, waiting for orientation at Walter Reed and waiting for the next piece of news that would make things a little more complicated. Enter, August. Finally. Something happening. I travelled to DC with Allie to complete IVF orientation. It was a short, whirlwind trip. It was certainly a highlight. As with most of my experiences this year, it was followed by more waiting. More anxiety. More things to do and calls to make. More organizing. More dog sitters. More appliances meeting their end at our home. In September, i learned that we didn’t need for Tim to be home to buy a house of our own. So, in true me fashion, even though it would be more difficult and stressful, we agreed to embark on another journey to find and purchase a home. Many videochats ensued of me walking around a potential purchase. More phone calls. More assembly of documents and new powers of attorney. At the same time, our semen storage facility decided to hold Tim’s sample hostage. I got to make a phone call to a jag officer overseas and explain that fun situation. You know it’ll be a good phone call when you start with “This is a crazy story, but just follow with me til the end”. Time ran out on our home search as October came and i prepared to embark on our IVF cycle in DC. Of course, our cycle was scheduled to start smack dab in the middle of my (full time, real job) company’s biggest and only annual conference. With some creative flight arrangements to and from DC and Memphis and willing participants, i managed to make my baseline, sightsee in dc and only miss one day of the conference as well as photograph one of my favorite weddings of all time. By the end of October i was back to DC and there for the long haul of our IVF cycle. If i thought the previous nine months had been hard, i was really in for a rude awakening. I learned first hand what an IVF warrior was and came to truly understand people that choose to not move forward down this path. I also learned there are many two story targets in the world complete with cart escalators, that i have some of the most supportive friends and family in the universe and that if you sit on an ice pack long enough, 10,000 units of hCg right to the upper butt muscle isn’t that bad. In November i made some of the hardest decisions of my life. I overcame an enormous fear and woke up from surgery in a fit of happy tears. Tim and i made 8 healthy babies. In that same month, we lost one of them and it is one of the greatest losses i have ever experienced. By December, i was finally back home. The joy of seeing my fur kids almost helped mask the disappointment and depression that was to follow. I have spent most of the beginning of this month overwhelmed by my own thoughts and despair, knowing that by the end of the day i would retreat to sleepless nights alone and sad. At the same time, i had literally two months of work to catch up on, which has been the second hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Wake up, get ready and actually accomplish something each day. In December i also had a follow up appointment with my fertility doctor here in Memphis and he helped me work through what went wrong and what went right with my cycle. In December we bought a house. In December, we scheduled our next transfer.
It has been an absolute whirlwind of a year.
Never in my life have i felt like i have worked so hard to accomplish so little. I have worked so very hard this year, and while it is difficult for me to come to terms with, I am learning to accept that every goal I set is not always achievable in the time span I allow. While I know I have a lot to look forward to in 2019, I am just not to the place where I feel I can allow myself to look forward just yet. In a very un-me turn, I have found myself being much more retrospective than I really know how to be. I have been covered with the anxiety of what’s-gonna-fall-apart-next. We have scheduled our next transfer for around late February back home in Memphis. While I have recovered physically, mentally and emotionally I am not quite ready to move forward. If only it were that simple… I have made an unbreakable promise to seven other tiny lives. They are completely dependent on me and every second they are frozen, my heart is chipped away. Time is also not on my side as fertility issues compound with each passing day. I am terrified to do another transfer without Tim, but I also want to fulfill this dream of ours for him before he returns. I am immobilized daily between the rock and hard place I now call home.
So, as I continue forward, my promise to you remains the same. I will accurately, transparently, and honestly report our next steps. Later, i will debrief you guys about my meeting with Dr. Brezina and our plans for the future with our seven remaining embryos and his thoughts on my last transfer.
For now, I will hold my fur babies tight as we ring in the New Year wishing Tim was home. I will do my best to briefly look upon the good times this year has shown us but to not linger for too long in the past.
I will leave you with some of my best photos memories for 2018 and there is a story behind each one. I love each and every one of you!