I bought myself some sweet peas yesterday.  They’re my absolute favorite flower, and make me so happy.    I can’t stop taking pictures of them, and I move them to whatever room I’m in so I can smell them.  So, this post is going to be peppered with sweet pea photos.  I think I might paint them if I can silence the internal critical voice that’s telling me how very cliche, wanna-be Georgia O’Keefe that would be.  Shut-up voice!

So, on Friday, I got a job offer for the fall (I freelance).  Normally, it would be great to know I have work lined up.  The thing is, if  IVF #4 fails, that’s exactly when I’d be doing #5.  And I have to travel for work.  Damn.  So, what do I do, keep my schedule blank forever?  Luckily, this client is someone I trust, so I was able to explain the whole situation to her.  She can hire me if she feels comfortable knowing that I might have to back out mid-August if I find that I’m not pregnant – yet again.  If that seems stressful to her, she can pass and I’ll totally understand.  We’ll see what she says…

Not that long ago, I’d be hugely stressed by this situation (ok “stressed” is an understatement – maybe explosively incensed and intensely anxious is more accurate).  Now, don’t get me wrong, I did have a day of serious angst, when I was trying to figure out what the hell to do or say to her.  It did occur to me that I’m being held hostage by my IVF schedule.  I did yell at my husband that “I wanted my life back” and storm out of the house.  I haven’t reached that “flexible reed bending with the friggin’ wind” zen level by any means.  Ultimately, though, I think I’ve become resigned to the situation.  My energies have shifted, whereas before they were painfully divided.  What I’m doing right now is trying to get pregnant, and it’s gonna happen dammit, whether with my eggs or the eggs of someone nice enough to give them to me (or sell…I guess they’re selling their eggs, if we pay them money to go through retrieval, right?…weird to think of buying a woman’s eggs…but I digress).  Either way, I’m committing to this fully.  This is my primary job right now and I’ve finally stopped fighting it.  It’s a worthy thing to be doing, right?

One good thing that’s come out of all this infertility hell is that it’s made my priorities very clear to me.  All the travel I needed to do for work was stressing me out, and it was making it really hard for me to have the life I need and want – not only planning IVF cycles, but having opportunities to make and sustain friendships, a healthy routine (or any routine at all), or holidays with my family…I was giving up A LOT.  And for what?  The pay-off wasn’t there.  I realized that it just wasn’t worth it to me anymore.  In a way, that was really freeing.  Now I can focus on trying to build a life that really WILL nurture me.

Of course, this time is pretty scary.  I don’t have a new career to fill that gap yet, so I definitely have moments where I feel like my identity is defined mostly by my infertility.  I’m trying hard to fill my days, but it sure ain’t easy being almost forty and to not only not be a mom yet, but to not have a career that makes me feel fulfilled, validated, and useful.

One of the exercises in the “Positivity” book is to visualize and write down what you’d like your life to be in 10 years.  Fredrikson tells you to describe it in great detail, imagining as many aspects of your life as possible – to really flesh it out.  She suggests writing about it over a week.  I think I’m going to work on that now.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but to jump-start my thinking I thought I’d write down a few of my priorities:

I want to be doing work that I believe is making some small difference in the world, that’s mentally stimulating and challenging, and that I enjoy and feel passionate about.

I want to have the time and space to appreciate beauty and to create beautiful things.

I want to have good friends in my life who I can see regularly – a community of people to support me and who I can support.  People to have over for dinner, go camping with, girlfriends to share things with that my husband just won’t “get”.

I want to enjoy my home and my husband and my children.  Hopefully, I’ll have at least one kid who’s about 9 by then (wow, that’s crazy to imagine).

I hope and believe that I’ll be incredibly grateful, because it sure as hell won’t have been an easy road to get there.

– Patience