Category Archives: France

l’instinct de vivre

so why did i come back after all this time? why did i return to this strange little cyberworld that i’d completely abandoned nearly two years ago? i suppose you could say that a book brought me back. to be more precise, L’instinct de vivre a book by Laetitia Lycke, another woman who belongs to the club that no one wants to join. if you can read French, i can’t recommend this book highly enough.

but the story of my return to the babyloss blogosphere (and of how i even came to read the book in the first place) is a bit more complicated than that. it actually started with Skype. Continue reading

april fool

what was it i said before about a little hope being a dangerous thing?

today i began spotting.  if i were nearing the end of a two-week wait, it might be a promising sign; however, i haven’t even gotten to the embryo transfer yet, so it’s anything but promising.  i called the clinic and actually got my doctor on the line.  he said to add extra estrogen orally and wait to see what the ultrasound on monday shows.  he didn’t sound very hopeful, though.  no more signs of “just be calm”.  i wish i’d listened to my instincts and added some extra estrogen myself when i saw the abysmal 4mms.  now i think it’s too late, and i’m fairly certain this cycle will be cancelled.  i feel so stupid for thinking that this could work…

Friday i went to work feeling incredibly sad and discouraged and was greeted by my one friend there, M. the admin assistant.  she excitedly told me that she’s pregnant again and shared her excellent beta numbers. it felt like a punch in the stomach.  don’t get me wrong, i’m really happy for her…she’s one of the only people i’ve been able to talk to about about ttc (even before little sun existed), and she’s been very understanding and kind to me since little sun died.  she’s got PCOS and has struggled with infertility both before and since having her first child, so i know this is a big deal for her.  it’s especially hard, though, because this was the first month she took my advice on what to do and what to ask her RE for.  in the past she just did whatever her doctor told her to without asking questions or doing her own research.  and of course all of her RE visits and reproductive care are done locally and covered by the French social security system (and paid for by our taxes).  i smiled and my congratulations were sincere, but after i left her office i had to force myself not to cry….i had students to teach, after all. during my short breaks between classes and during lunch, i hid in my classroom and wept pitifully instead of going to talk to her as i normally would have.  when i ran into her in the kitchen at the end of my lunch break, she seemed disappointed that i had to go off and teach again right away, and she wanted to know when i’d be back at school.  i’m sure she wants to tell me all about the ultrasound she was scheduled to have Friday afternoon.  i don’t want to make her feel bad or take away from the joy i know she’s feeling, but i have no idea how to handle being around her now.  she was the only person besides Froggy that i had to talk to.

i’m so fucking tired of losing and so tired of feeling all alone…..  can’t we catch a break, too?

and little sun would have been 16 months old now.  (i still miss you every single day, baby boy.)

 

uns ous de bona

just nine days after our trip to Barcelona, an email came:

“we have good news! we have found a good donor for you…”

despite their laid-back appearance, our friends in the Catalan clinic work fast. the email also contained instructions on when to stop taking the birth control pills i’ve been on for nearly a month and when to begin putting on the estradiol patches that should make my endometrium into a nice fluffy nest.

since then i’ve exchanged several more emails with them in an effort to work out whether or not we can use little sun’s donor instead of a new one from a sperm bank in Barcelona.  it’s not the most straightforward process, as little sun’s donor is from Denmark, and we know nothing at all about him….not even the name of the sperm bank or his donor number.  our doctors in Belgium are the only ones who have that information, and because of the very strict anonymity laws of that country, they can’t pass it on to us.  so this American in France wrote to Belgium to ask if they could check Denmark for the donor’s availability.  the Belgians wrote back and said that, yes, he’s still available, but that they needed Spain to contact them. it’s a bit of an international fertility clusterfuck (maybe that should be the title of this blog), but it looks like our new clinic is going out of their way to try to make it happen.  now we just have to see if we can afford the extra costs of shipping the sperm from Denmark to the clinic in Catalunya.

when i told my mother that we were trying to use the same donor, her response was, “but what if he was the reason that little sun got sick?” and of course that reawakened the little nagging doubt that’s been in the back of my brain since he died.  what if he got sick because his genetic make up made him vulnerable?  there are so many questions surrounding why he got sick and how he got sick, and i don’t think we’ll ever have any real answers.  what i know now is that nothing in this life is guaranteed…nothing except death.  even with perfect genes, even with all the pretty ducks in a perfect pretty row, it can all fall apart in an instant.  so instead of worrying and stressing about the donor, i’ve decided to see what works out.  if we can afford to use little sun’s donor and our clinic can arrange the shipment, we’ll do it that way. if not then maybe we’ll have a pure Barcelona baby.  as much as i’d love for our future children to have that connection to our first born, our sweet, dearly missed little sun, DNA is not what matters most.

although, we won’t know for sure until we get a bit further into the process….until our donor’s ovaries are plumped up with lots of fat follicles and my lining is looking welcoming, it appears that we’ll be going back to Barcelona in less than a month for our fresh embryo transfer.

somewhere in Catalunya right now there is a young woman preparing to put herself through hormonal hell so that Froggy and i have another chance at having our family.  i find myself thinking about this anonymous woman whose ovaries might hold our future in them, and my thoughts about her glow golden and warm. i send her love and sunshine, and i whisper over and over again, “thank you. merci. gracias. gràcies,” hoping that whatever her language, she’ll somehow feel the gratitude of an anonymous woman a country away.

…a country away and hoping for a lot of luck and a few good eggs.

and feel the fell of dark, not day.

there’s nothing left. just sadness and rage and grinding isolation.  it’s been one year, one month and five days since i said goodbye to the little boy i’d only just said hello to.  his loss and his absence are killing me. that eternally optimistic, hopelessly naive girl i once was is gone forever. she died in that same sci-fi hospital room where my son took his last breaths.  i know the score.  life owes me nothing…not a child who lives, not friends who stick around and weather the storm, not the even a tiny sliver of happiness.  hope feels like a word i once heard but no longer understand the meaning of. once a week, i have to pay someone to talk to me in my own language.  otherwise it’s just me, alone in my head fighting the despair, the anger, the desire to just give up.  friends, family…nearly everyone has disappeared from my life or simply forgotten.

but this happened: Continue reading

back to Belgium

and so we start over. again.

for the past five nights, i’ve gotten the tools out:  pen full of expensive hormones, check; bottle of alcohol, check; cotton pads, check; sharp little needle tip, check.  i assemble the parts, dial the pen to the correct dosage and stab myself in the belly.  i repeat this ritual nightly for seven nights, my motions mechanical and sure. Continue reading

finding Saint-Merri

my calf has been bugging me since i took a very long, dehydrated walk about a week ago, so with plans for the Camino in mind, i kept my Monday walking to a minimum.  i needed to buy a few small gifts, so i took a mini tour of the Marais.  i stopped first at Mariage Frères, aka tea heaven, and bought 100g. of a very seductive smelling Earl Grey.  i then found myself  very close to what people here tend to call Beaubourg and what everyone else seems to know as the Pompidou Center.

two weeks ago, i went for a walk around the Pompidou.  the building is a jumble of tubes and color and glass, there is always something interesting to see in its vicinity. Continue reading

away

i haven’t felt much like communicating lately.  i stay in my head most of the time, because that’s where i feel safest…least likely to be intruded upon by more bad news, new disappointments or the epidemic of strollers filled with six-month-old babies that’s recently broken out.  my well-padded list of friends has gotten rather gaunt these last few months, and there aren’t too many people left with whom i have the energy to share even a few of my words.

Continue reading