Thank God, the end of the worst year of my entire life is finally here. It could not be more appropriate that this disaster of a year we've had is topped off, on New Year's Eve, by the realization that my period is starting and this last IUI cycle was a bust. Mimicking what I've seen done on two other blogs, I thought I'd end the year with a list. Hopefully future years in review will be less dark.
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Took over 100 painful shots of very expensive medications in both butt cheeks (permanently ruining my rump roasts, says the beef farmer in me). Finally experienced the shock and awe of my first pregnancy. Had a second trimester miscarriage. Saw what my babies look like, and felt the most primal unconditional love a mother could ever feel. Cried in public - everywhere, all the time.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For the first time in my adult life, I didn't make any real resolutions for 2011. I had some vague ones about blogging more and eating more vegetables, but nothing really written down. Given the way I feel right now, 7 hours away from the New Year, no, I don't think I'll be making any for 2012.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My children, Aliya Amy and Bennett Paul.
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A living child or children. The hope and optimism I've lost in the second part of this year. A work life that's not so full of business-wide strife.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 11th, the date of our first IUI of the cycle. May 25th, the day of my first positive pregnancy test. May 26th, the date Dr. M. called to congratulate me on my pregnancy. June 15th, the first time we saw our babies and heard their heart beats (at 7 weeks 0 days). July 26th, the day of our NT scan at University of Washington, where we learned our babies were very unlikely to have genetic disorders (at 12 weeks 6 days). August 3rd, the sixth and last time I saw my babies thriving and healthy on ultrasound (14 weeks 0 days). August 4th, the day my water broke and the worst day of our lives. August 5th, our babies' birth (and death) day (14 weeks 2 days). September 16th, our (miserable) 5th wedding anniversary. And today, the day we found our our 6th IUI (and 5th injectible cycle) failed.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Having any ability to function when at times I would have rather been dead.
9. What was your biggest failure?
The deaths of my children, that my body couldn't do it's job properly. Not standing up for myself and my babies the many times people have said hurtful things (or nothing at all) to me about their loss. The complete loss of all trust in my body.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Heartbreak. Also, I've read that grief is a actually a disease and I'm clearly still suffering with it.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I suppose our 2011 Honda Pilot in October (which can fit 5 rear-facing carseats, should that ever be necessary)...it was not a thrilling purchase all things considered, but better than breaking down in my formerly trusty Subaru with its leaking head gasket and radiator problem (and back seat that could only fit one rear-facing carseat at a time). Oh, and our pair of new Scottish Highland females, 7-year old Roxanne and 20-month old Xoe, were a good purchase, too.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All the amazing people in my life who have made a point to check on Paul and me and done amazing things to show they remember Aliya and Bennett. And our three favorite nurses at Providence St. Peter Hospital.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Many. Oh, and our (as of tomorrow, former) HMO's OB department, with the sole exception of Dr. A., who was a light in the darkest point in our lives.
14. Where did most of your money go?
To infertility treatments in February, May and December (plus a multitude of extra tests and procedures in between).
15. What did you get really excited about?
Finally getting pregnant for the first time...and staying pregnant into the second trimester despite nearly 7 solid weeks of bleeding and spotting. It really sucks that sharing our excitement with the world feels like the cause for our "punishment" of loss.
16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
The Band Perry, "If I Die Young." The second line about the rainbow makes me cry every time.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Does that even warrant an answer? Duh.
– thinner or fatter? Fatter. I was my thinnest in years the week after my loss. Since then I've hovered around my pre-pregnancy weight, but with a slightly thicker shape (thanks, twin pregnancy) and much more bloat (thanks, drugs).
– richer or poorer? Poorer, both emotionally and financially...I mean, financially we're still making it fine, but it has really sucked to bleed out cash all year long for fertility treatments.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Enjoying my pregnancy and letting myself be really excited to be a mother. I'll never take that for granted again, no matter how sick and sore and miserable I am.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Simultaneously puking and peeing my pants. Grieving, but the only way that would be possible is if my babies hadn't died, and that's NOT possible.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Survived by the skin of my teeth...faking calm and hating nearly every moment of it. It could not be over quickly enough.
21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Yes, with my children, and also even moreso with my husband than ever before. He's going to (hopefully) be a wonderful daddy some day.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Myself. Oh, is that not a good answer? My body, then.
24. What was the best book you read?
None...with the exception of "What to Expect When You're Expecting and "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads."
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
26. What did you want and get?
Pregnant. I should have been more specific, obviously.
27. What did you want and not get?
The happy ending we thought we deserved.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
We don't go to the movies much. I borrowed "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" and adored it, though.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I can't remember. (We are a clean and sober household, so no, I don't have a "good" reason why.) I've never liked the odd-numbered years, anyway, and this was my 37th birthday.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Ending the year 35w3d pregnant with healthy, thriving 5-6 lb twins like I should be today.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Same old, same old until May 2011, when ART drug bloat took over, followed by mass-belly-expansion via twin pregnancy. With the exception of a few weeks here and there, it's been Bella Band every.single.day. My pants no longer fit, be it from pre-pregnancy bloat, pregnancy, post-pregnancy-stomach-shrinking or ART drugs. My body is no longer shaped the same as it used to be.
32. What kept you sane?
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Every bit of Congress not doing its job for America's suffering citizens...and the Republican race, THE single most entertaining cluster I've ever seen!
35. Who did you miss?
Aliya and Bennett. And my Grandpa Wes, who died in 2006 and is hopefully fighting with Paul's beloved Grandpa Kenny over who gets to hold the babies next.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
My friend, Heather B. And after Heather, our fellow peeps in our support groups.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
The great capacity for love Paul and I have for eachother and our children. I could also say "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger," but I so HATE being told I'm strong or to stay strong or the like when I'm at my very, very weakest. I've heard that a lot these past (almost five) months.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
A fellow BLM blogger chose this one. I've never heard it, but it reads perfect to me. This Groove Armada song, "Hands of Time."
"Keep looking through the window pane
Just trying to see through the pouring rain
It's hearing your name, hearing your name.
I never really felt quite the same
Since I've lost what I had to gain
No one to blame, no one to blame.
Seems to me, can't turn back the hands of time."
Here's hoping 2012 brings all of us the peace and joy we deserve.