Bee stings, old & new friends, and getting back into life again
I find myself getting teary a lot this week, but not in a bad way. This is perhaps the first week that’s happened in many months, where I’ve been close to tears, but instead of feeling overwhelmed, heartbroken and sad, I’m now feeling those things mixed with hope, gratitude for the kindness of friends, and a sense that it is slowly getting better. That hope is very hard-won, and I’m mindful of how important a victory that has been for me.
I still feel deep grief for the loss of our child. (These days, though, I’m calling him “our first child” so that is at least something.) I don’t know that I ever will stop feeling that way and I don’t know that I can ever explain it adequately, but I’ve seen that same grief on the faces of a few other women who’ve shared their stories with me (women who now have several living children), so I know I’m not alone. I also still feel a deep sense of emotional exhaustion – I have no idea how long we’re going to be in this place, slogging along and trying to figure out what infertility treatments to try next, what tests we need to do, what appointments we need to make, what financial sacrifices will be necessary and how much haggling with insurance it is worth it to do. We keep talking about how we’ll be so grateful when it is all over – when we reach whatever outcome we’re going to reach, and we either adopt or have a biological child somehow. But what will it take to get us there? Neither of us knows, and we sometimes feel so tired and resigned at the idea of what might be next.
But we’re also picking up our feet and putting one in front of the other. I’ve started tracking my ovulation again (in the faint hope that it is happening, and that decent eggs are being made), and eventually I might even have the patience to start the whole morning routine again — BBT, cervical mucus testing, making notes in the chart, etc. I’m not quite ready for the extreme fertility diet I was on before, but I’m thinking about whether or not I want to do that again, and I expect next month I might be ready for it. I flipped through an adoption guide, to start emotionally preparing myself for that again. I can see how in a month or two, I’ll be doing the things I was doing before, with less of a sense of sadness than I feel right now. I have tracked down a “Pregnancy after a loss” group to help me cope if I do manage to get pregnant, and I have support groups and therapy on my calendar from now until…whenever.
But the good thing is that I’ve got new and old friends coming to town. Friends who are new to the area need my help getting situated, and I’m finding that throwing off my old woes and going out to help someone is marvelous therapy. Just focusing on someone else and not my own damn sadness is such a relief! And I feel like I’m useful again, a feeling I didn’t know I needed. I get out several times a week and I do something that’s not about me and not about infertility – I take someone to a shopping center, I help them figure out how to get a driver’s license here, I buckle children into car seats and I drive whole carloads of people out to a county fair for a little fun. And mercifully, for once, I forget about crying my eyes out and I forget about my broken heart for a few hours. I look at someone else’s toddler and I feel some hope – hey maybe being around kids will help me have them, I think. Maybe learning how to manage babies and toddlers will make it easier to let go of the one I lost — and this is true, sometimes. It works for days at a time. There is no cure-all here, but I will take a little relief from time to time, because I really need it.
And this morning my beekeeping partner and I opened up the hive to find that my benign neglect of the bees has resulted in a population explosion and a strong, healthy colony. That hive is positively busting with bees and honeycomb! The bees’ fecundity and survival are a never-ending source of inspiration to me – I like having a healthy, thriving queen like that in my backyard. Maybe some of her skills will rub off on me. Unfortunately, they’re also really protective of their hard work, so a few of them decided to find any exposed skin and I got a couple of stings this morning. I had to pull off a few angry bees that also managed to find the dog in his hiding spot and my poor little basset has a tiny sore spot on his paw from bee venom. He handled it like a champ, though, and just thrust out his paw so I could pull them out for him, without one whimper.
I also have a lot coming up soon – school will start in a few weeks, and I’m already working to get the house ready for the busyness of fall. I have work I want to do, and I have projects going on that keep me from brooding. And the peace and quiet has maintained itself for at least a week or so, with only a few short term moments where someone tried to start some drama or something bad happened. I’m hopeful that I’ll get a bit of a break now – I realize saying that is like putting a big target on myself, but surely I’ve paid my dues now, no?