Thursday, September 2, 2010

If I could save time in a bottle...

Well, I'd make birthdays go in reverse? Or not happen at all?

I've developed a special relationship with birthdays over the past few years. Not just because I've cruised through my early 30s and now am well established in my mid 30s (Tuesday was the charming and alarming numero 36) but because we've been trying to build a family for over five years now. So every birthday is met with complicated emotions, much more complicated than just "oh crap I'm getting older." You know the drill--that familiar ache of "oh crap another year older and still no family." I remember turning 31--my friend Bea called it my "Golden Birthday" because I was turning 31 on the 31st. A group of us went out to dinner to celebrate and I can look at the pictures and actually see the angst in my face--I was turning 31 dammit and I wasn't pregnant yet!

If I could go back and talk to that young lass I would tell her to buckle her seatbelt because it was going to be one helluva ride for the next five years. If I was feeling particularly cruel I would whisper in her ear that when she turned 36 she really wouldn't be a whole lot closer to having that family she had dreamed of for so long.

You could say I'm closer but I'm a realist. Until I have a child in my arms I'm simply not close--not close enough anyway. At all. Wait times are extending longer and longer for Ethiopian adoptions...I see it all around me. Families that have been waiting far longer than we have are still waiting...families who have received referrals are waiting much much longer for court dates. They've added a second trip requirement which extends everything and of course makes things much more expensive. (and did you see where airlines are probably going to start requiring tickets for kids under 2. Oh, thankyouvermuch, add another 3,000 to our cost).

It's a good thing there isn't such a thing as time travel because if I had met my 36 year old self when I was a fresh-faced naive 31 year old and I told her about the next five years surely I would have punched her (me?) square in the jaw. More than likely I would have laughed and simply not believed her (me). Because really--who can believe some of the shit we put ourselves through? And who could believe anyone would willingly keep going back for more?

I received a lovely email from a fellow IFer who said the following:

"I sincerely hope, wish, dream that this is the year of your life you create your family."

Oh me too. So, so much. I hope this is the year for the rest of of you still in this Godforsaken limbo too. All of us, it's time to cross over.


  1. If I could have seen what my 39-41 years looked like back when I was 30, I wouldn't have wanted to live. My only child died 12 days before her due date and for 2 years we continued IVF and I wanted to die. I would look at my wedding photos and be so angry that I looked so happy - naive and unaware of how bad things would get for us. But you persevere and you continue moving towards your goal, despite all obstacles, and you come out the other side a new person. You will see. Try not to put time limits on yourself. I'm 41 and finally had a live birth. And you know what? I know people who are 45 who had their first live birth. It's okay if it takes time. Don't beat yourself up with deadlines. Try to live your life. (as hard as it may seem.)

  2. First, wishing you a very happy (belated) birthday. I too wish that this is the year that you build your family.
    I totally agree with you, my younger self would have laughed in my now older self's face. Who would imagine this. Maybe this is an oddly good thing, as we would be totally miserable if we sat around imagining all of the bad stuff that might happen to us. At the same time, I wish I was a little smarter about things and not have taken motherhood and pregnancy for granted (like it was a matter of when and not if). I was almost 32 when we TTC, I wonder what would have been different if I was 25.
    I know these past 5 years have shown you pain, wisdom, and strength. I am hoping for so much joy and happiness for you during the next 5!!

  3. I could have written this post (and probably will in a few weeks *sigh*) only it would say 37 instead of 36. UGH! You are so right about buckling in for the LONG ride.

    More importantly, happy birthday! And I hope you had some good cake yesterday!

  4. Today I turn 35, and I too could have written this post. Hoping that this is the year but not ready to believe it.

  5. Hoping for a speedy adoption! Hang in there!

  6. Amen, Sister! Cheers to a good year ahead! :)

  7. Happy Birthday - and yes it sounds ironic as the happy part has yet to come. I could honestly say that birthdays sucked (I am 38), but first day of school for the neighborhood kids sucked more. I would see lot of kids going to school with their parents while I was walking to the pool. I would hear them bounce around with laughter as they were coming home. I am just staying really strong and thinking about all the other people at the pool that are really glad I am there and don't have a clue.

    Once again, well written and I totally can relate to most of it. The good thing is that you have a plan and you don't have to worry about whether all the medicine and treatments worked. You know you will have a baby no matter what.


  8. Happy Birthday!!! I too sincerely hope that this is YOUR year! It's about time something good come your way, you have waited long enough and have been through way too much heart ache in multiple areas. Hugs

  9. Oh man, I really could go into great detail as to how much I feel the exact same way about birthday's and being able to time travel, but instead of reguritating your point and my wrath I will simply say this: I wish, for your wish to come true.


    P.S. You should wrap this thing up with your mad baking skills and show us what a riduclously awesome cake you made to commemorate the day of your birth.

  10. oh boy
    yes, i hope for you so much, everyday. and i hate to read the pain in your words that i know you have to work so hard to squash down everyday. i have it too. but we will cross over. we will.
    i promise.
    happy birthday, my dear friend. thank you for the support you lavish me with all the while dealing with your own issues.
    i wanted to let you know that you share a birthday with nana...she turned 93 on the 31st.
    hugs and more hugs

  11. I so agree with you about the idea of time travel being a double-edged sword. I haven't been through nearly as much as you have, and yet I never thought a few years ago that I would be here. When you do bring that child home, all of your IF sisters will be rejoicing right along with you. I can't wait for that day--Hugs.

  12. This year, this year...I wish for so much for you and for so much to change before your next birthday. You are an amazing woman for whom amazing things are long overdue to happen to.

  13. I always say if I knew ahead of time what the last several years were going to be like, I would have run for the hills. But here we are. I have to believe we will all make it to a happy place - eventually.

    As for age, I think my RE was happy when I turned 37 this year. He didn't have to look for a sound diagnosis anymore. Now it MUST be my age (even though we've been TTC since my late twenties).

    In any case, I hope 36 is the best year for you yet! Happy belated birthday!

  14. Ah, the "charming and alarming numero 36"...I hit that one in May and am feelin' ya.

    Wishing you a happy belated bday. And I echo Melissa's wish..."I wish for your wish to come true." Positively love that sentiment.

  15. Oh A... babyless birthdays really do SUCK, don't they? I think the harest part of the Wait is just not knowing how dang long it's going to be. It's so hard to pace yourself when you don't kno how long the race is going to be. BUT.... you ARE onto the second leg of your race. so you and your baby are infinitely closer thi year, even if it doesn't feel like it. Sending you a huge hug. xxx

  16. Oh yes...if only adoption could be like the McDonald's drive thru.
    Want fries with that?

    Show some respect.

  17. I shudder to think what my 25 year old self would think of everything my 35 year old self knows! What an interesting thought though. What would I do differently if I knew then what I know now...

    I really *do* hope that this is YOUR year and that your little one finds his/her way to your family this year.

    Thank you for being a light in this often dark IF world. :)

  18. Hmmm, could have written this myself a couple of weeks ago. Turned 44 I think 2 weeks before your b-day. Let me tell you, birthday's after 40 aren't any fun anymore. I spent my b-day reflecting on how my life was a failure, mostly in the baby making department. So enjoy your 30s while you can!!

    I feel like I have been saying "maybe this will be my year" for too many years now. I know how hard it is to have hope after you've been doing this for 5 years.

    All I can say is that misery loves company, and I'm so glad to know I'm not alone (but maybe the oldest post-er here?). Please pass whatever is left of the evil delectables you baked for your b-day!

    Oh, and don't get me started on Celine Dion. Speaking of wanting to punch someone. Yeah, wish I could have done IVF until it worked too. Grrrrr.

  19. Happy-Belated Birthday! I believe you deserved to feel however you wanted to and I can understand how hard it must be to go through another year on this long and very unfair journey. However, I really hope you were able to celebrate a little bit on that day for who you amazing person who has inspired and will continue to inspire many. Do you ever get sick of hearing that? I wonder...cause I notice that a lot of people think the same thing ;-).

  20. Happy belated birthday! I hope that despite another year passing by you were able to enjoy your special day. You are such a wonderful friend and supporter of so many ~ we all want mommy-hood for you so terribly. My birthday wish for you is that birthday 37 will be a magical day where you will be snuggling your precious baby in your arms and all the years of heartbreak that came before will just be a faint memory.
    Sending you hugs and love.

  21. This post reminded me of the Friends episode where Jennifer Aniston's character turns 30. She gets this birthday card that says "Happy Birthday Grandma" and she starts crying. Not because of the joke, but she says that before she gets to be a grandma, she has to be a mom and in order to be a mom she has to find her soulmate and the card was a reminder of everything she didn't have.

    I have thought often of that episode for most of my 30ish birthday celebrations.

    Thank you for your beautiful, kind wish at the end. I take that same whispered wish and turn it back to you.