Category Archives: Infertility

November 2 – Conception

I’m dialing this in via my smart phone, so I beg of you tolerance for any wonky editing or grammatical errors sure to come.

November has never been my favorite month. I guess when it comes to not so great things that could happen, I have a one in twelve shot of it happening in November. Take for example my first miscarriage at 16 weeks. And possible my second and fourth…honestly I lost track and I try not to archive-dive unless absolutely necessary.

But today also marks the day Aitch was conceived six years ago. Before anyone prudish gets too squicked out what would be normally considered TMI, I wasn’t even present during conception and was actually 100 miles away. No Shades of Gray action going on here.

If you don’t have time to read the post itself, don’t bother; however read the comments to see if you recognize yourself.

Ambivalence is My Middle Name

It’s funny how I don’t feel like updating here anymore. Every day several times a day I think, “Hey! That would make for a great blog post!” and then? Seriously. I haven’t written a great blog post since never. Speaking of which, I started blogging August 2005.

I have no idea why I brought that up since it’s October somethingorother. Which also reminds me, I won’t be participating in NaBloMo or whatever it’s called.

Did I just hear a collective sigh of relief?

My daughter still hasn’t pooped in the potty but she’s not holding it for five days at a stretch, either. She keeps telling me “next time”. In an uncharactheristic move, she also pissed her pants while sitting on my glider-rocker. As I was stripping her down for a quick belly-button-on-down bath, I asked why she did it.

“It was an accident, Mommy! I’m sorry.” …. dramatic pause … I love you.”

I bought a couple tuttu skirts from Target thinking they’d be a novelty. However, Aitch has become so enamoured with them, I went and bought a couple more. She has worn one at least every day now. When it’s cooler, she’ll succumb to the addition of leggings, but it’s like trying to wrestle a cat into a pillowcase.

I went back for a three-month follow-up appointment with my PA. I need a refill of the paxil and ambien. The thing is is that I didn’t really want a refill of the ambien because I was anticipating my evenings just so I could TAKE the ambien. He said as long as I’m able to get up in the morning and feel rested that I’m taking it as I should. And then we talked more about my depression. Actually he asked why I thought I was depressed. I told him I wasn’t really sure, but that maybe it was the miscarriages and infertility or the pregnancy with Aitch that I was sure was going to end with a dead baby and then the loss of my job after ten years and then the cancer. Oh, and let’s not forget my son’s ADHD which makes him do things that make me so angry at everyone and everything that I’m sure my fury will result in one of those rare cases of spontaneous combustion and the only thing that will be left will be a pair of hopefully fabulous shoes and a singe mark on the ceiling.

I’m sorry. What was the question again?

He suggested, as many of you did, I seek counseling. I told him I would think about it, because you see I am still in denial. Enough so I didn’t pick up my refill of paxil and ambien. At least not yet.

Profound:

1 a. having intellectual depth and insight; b. difficult to fathom or understand

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I am not referring to this post. Instead it was several events today that I consider profound in their individual ways.

First off, my boss gave me the task to do some research on an issue of compliance. He told me yesterday that whatever my final determination would be just that, final. The office would have to respect my decision and my “word would be law.” He was actually saying, “I’m avoiding conflict.” I slept on the issue and this morning I requested input from the corporate level via an email.

I’m not very good with emails. I tend to be brusque. Even – what was the word one of my blogging friends described me as? Oh, yes: CAUSTIC in my correspondences. I don’t bullshit. This morning I typed out my email knowing that I had to be succinct but detailed enough for him to understand the concern without a lot of back and forth. I started to include more details of the issue including names of employees and I realized the email would be recognized as getting personal, so I eliminated much of it. Coco Chanel supposedly said that before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory. I applied that concept to my email. Before I hit Send, I removed one (or two) sentences.

A couple of hours later I had my response. Happily the one I was hoping for. I wasn’t expecting for the email to be copied to the office, but it had been and I was figuratively wiping my brow in relief that I had remained professional and unbiased in my original email so the office wouldn’t say I was deliberately swaying the response my way. It was a profound moment.

Unfortunately, all was undone later when I heard that a staff member had been talking smack behind my back. The details are boring, but I did confront the coworker and we had words. Lots of words. Looking back on it the exchange on both our parts was sophomoric. We eventually came to blows an agreement and since we both are straight-shooting personalities, we’ll go directly to each other in the future. And in a strange turn, we realized not only are we both strong-willed but our family-building paths were tragically familiar. She went through four years of infertility treatments, two twin pregnancies (losing both sets as well as a tube when one of the twins was a hidden tubal), a term pregnancy (healthy baby girl who is studying to be a doctor), cancer, and a hysterectomy.

Yes, that all came out in a single conversation. It was, say it with me, PROFOUND.

And finally on a much lighter note that involves the adventures of potty training, Aitch announced as we turned down our lane that she had gone potty in the carseat. *groan!* When we got home, she had a couple more accidents including a piddle on the living room carpet, which I have emblazoned into my memory for total recall when I start thinking how great it’d be to have a PUPPY! (nevernevernevernevernever….) She had been doing so well these past couple weeks except for the whole BM thing. She’d request a diaper for that, which I didn’t have a problem with. I’d rather that than her get constipated.

After supper, and the two prior accidents, she announced she has to go potty and ran to the bathroom. Sparring Partner was on duty, but within moments I heard, “Uh, mommy? Mommy?!” In his way, SP was beckoning me to join him in the bathroom (now there’s a sentence I thought I’d never have to write). I found Aitch sitting on the potty with tears in her eyes. “I’m scared of the poop! I don’t want to poop in a diaper! I’m scared! Noooo!!” and big, fat tears plopped off her red cheeks and onto her lap.

I rubbed her back and stroked her arms letting her know it was OK, and she eventually stood up and turned to look at what was her first BM at home. Gross, I know, but we made a big deal of her accomplishment and she quickly calmed down. She expelled a big breath and said, “I feel better now!”

I am so proud of her. She was proud of herself. Oddly enough, her fear/excitement and our need to assure her of her bodily functions were...profound.

Stand Up By Sitting Down

If I had stayed pregnant the second time with the girl I named Vivienne, and she had made it to her due date, she’d be six this Mother’s Day.

I just set aside the box I keep hidden in plain sight that contains the ultrasound pictures, the congratulatory cards, the surgical report, the sympathy cards, the card with her foot- and hand-prints. I looked through it while my son played a video game next to me, oblivious to the tears that pooled in my eyes but never fell.

Some friends on Facebook shared a link today: Empty Arms on Mother’s Day. It talks about the rose ceremony at church as part of the recognition of the Mothers attending. This tradition as well as the one our church partakes in – the request for Mothers to stand and receive a blessing en masse – make my heart ache.

I am lucky to be a Mother, but my solidarity lies with those women who are not invited to stand; who are not handed a flower.

I will stand up for those who can’t by remaining seated. Will you?

NIAW – Repressed

A high-school friend of Sparring Partner’s and her husband came to visit us over the weekend. We don’t hear from them often as she’s often jet-setting around the globe, but a few weeks ago during a long phone conversation she admitted to SP that they had gone to our very own reproductive endocrinologist for a donor egg cycle as well as an attempt at a subsequent frozen embryo transfer. She did not get pregnant. Dee (let’s call her Dee, shall we?) asked if at a later date she could pick my brain about it, and of course I’m always up for a good brain-picking.

While they were visiting the topic did turn to infertility and going through treatments. We compared notes and swapped horror stories about progesterone in oil (PIO) shots. I shared the time I had hit a vein (or something) with the needle and blood shot out of the hole on my ass; she shared how she had to have an infected subcutaneous mass, which was most likely due to her PIO shots, surgically removed from her ass. She won that “Which Sucks More” contest. We went on to compare costs, the number of eggs retrieved and transferred, protocol, etc., etc. Dee and her husband are now considering adoption and overseas surrogacy.

After they left, Sparring Partner told me that our conversation had brought up a lot of unpleasant memories for him. Things he admits he had forgotten about. Was glad to have forgotten. I can’t say I blame him.

These are not things I think about every day. Not any more, and for that you have no idea how relieved we both are. My life revolved around infertility and miscarriages from November 2004 until July 2008, just a little over four years. For some, a very short time; for others? An unimaginable waste of time and energy. Reading posts from my old blog always brings back very painful memories. Some so painful, I wonder how in the world could I have forgotten them until the moment I read those words again. Forgotten is probably not the best word for it: Repressed is more accurate, don’t you think?

I read very few infertility blogs now. When my friend Serenity wrote about an anonymous commenter suggesting she should be happy with what she’s already got (paraphrased in regards to secondary infertility (SIF)), I got my rage on. I remember tackling that topic so many times and reading her words once again brought out all those feelings I had repressed. I dug again in my archives and stumbled into one of my posts that actually was never published on my blog, but through a blog that no longer exists, created by Dawn Friedman. To create the link, I have now published it on my old blog (which if you still have in your reader, you’ve already seen). I would really love for you to go read it as I think it’s one of my better posts when it comes to SIF.

Dee’s visit coincided with this week being National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), April 24 – 30, 2011. I don’t advocate myself as much as I use to when it comes to infertility, and in many ways I regret that because the camaraderie and support from my fellow IF bloggers was (and still is!) second to none. However, at some point, I’ve both consciously and subconsciously made decisions that distance myself in order to protect what is left of my sanity. New worries and concerns (a son with ADHD and possibly ODD) (cancer) (eventually a child who needs to know her donor story) replace what has been archived. But I will always – ALWAYS – make myself available for questions, conversations, and debate when it comes to infertility and miscarriage issues.

I am grateful that I don’t have to deal with infertility issues every day like I did in the “good ole’ days”, but I am more grateful that when they do come up, I can offer a shoulder, words of encouragement, and most importantly when it comes to infertility – an ear to just listen.

28 of 30: It Shouldn’t Be a Secret

Today I was catching up with my reader, and since it’s Sunday, the weekly addition to PostSecrets was there waiting for me. It happens on occasion that a secret will appear that is infertility or miscarriage related that seems to always strike a chord of commiseration with me. Sadly, today, there was another one that was related to secondary infertility, something I know all TOO well.

This one infuriates me almost beyond words.

Thank goodness he’s at peace with his secret; with his life-altering decision. But obviously his wife will be forever altered negatively as it will be her that moves forward in life believing herself to be the failure in their quest to expand their family.

This husband is a nutless wonder, both literally and figuratively. “…getting it regularly…” is where his priority lies while every CD1 his wife probably quietly sobs in the bathroom out of earshot of their only child and wonders why god has punished her.

I hope she ends up in an affair and gets pregnant.

And for anyone who thinks as a couple’s infertility testing is expensive? Might I recommend a semen analysis (SA), which can cost anywhere between $100 – 200. Ironically, the least expensive diagnostic testing when it comes to infertility is the testing available to men. Maybe someday soon, the wife in this relationship will realize this.

6 of 30: Hot Glue and Glitter Make Me Cry

I was actually ahead by two posts for a couple of days there, having scheduled at least one post a day in advance, but today (now yesterday because I am/I have scheduled this post to publish approximately 6 hours ahead), I spent it driving four hours on the road so that I could take my mother to the craft show in The Metro.

Always a love/hate experience for me. I love crafts and arts. I hate that they hold it in November. Back in 2004, this annual craft show was my first public outing after my first miscarriage. I really, really tried to find comfort in being around two of my sisters and my mom – girl-time – as we strolled past booth after booth. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but think, “If I was still pregnant, I would have bought this picture frame; this Christmas decoration; this quilt…” At that time, even watching my mom try to decide what kind of ornaments to get the grandchildren was like a rusty dagger in my shattered heart.

I also couldn’t keep from tearing up every time I saw a pregnant woman or a newborn, snuggled into a woman’s arms while she used the stroller as a makeshift cart. Sights and sounds that were commonly ignored were jarring on my hypersensitive nerves. That day, I excused myself from my family around the half-way point. I just wasn’t strong enough, less than two weeks from the day I was told, “I’m sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.”

In the next couple of years, I declined the invitations to go. Then about two years ago, I agreed to take my mom to it again. It was still difficult, but tolerable. Like having a root canal with a completely numbed mouth. You can’t feel the acute pain, but you know something unpleasant is going on and your brain can’t suspend the reality.

It was like that this year as well. I can’t imagine it NOT hurting just a little bit. I don’t wonder what’s wrong with me for not being able to disassociate this event with my first miscarriage from six years ago, a girl, at almost 16 weeks. Instead, I would have to wonder what was wrong with me if I didn’t remember; if I didn’t feel some pain and sadness.

4 of 30: Smug as a Bug

I’ve been complaining on Facebook about one of the people I’ve been stuck next to at my current temp job. I’ve mentioned her here a couple of weeks ago. She happens to be the first and only woman to have ever become pregnant! Can you believe it?!

Within the first two days working in the same room as her, she has imparted the following bit of trivia:

  • How long it took to get pregnant
  • When she found out she got pregnant (I already mentioned, it was on her son’s 1st birthday)
  • Where the placenta is
  • How much the baby moves
  • How her future FIL believes alcohol will not harm the baby
  • How her pregnancies had ruined her once teen-modeling body
  • How utterly OLD she is now (she’s not yet 30)
  • How to spell her fiance’s name (it’s tattooed on the back of her neck)
  • How often she has braxton-hicks contractions (since she pants, oohs and ahhs, and rubs her abdomen with each one)
  • How many weeks and days she’s pregnant and she updates us each day (“Yep, I’m not 32wks and 4 days!” and then the next day, “Wow! I’m already 32wks and 5 days!” because anyone who might have paid attention the day before was too stupid to do the math)
  • How naughty the baby is (because it keeps her up all night shoving its knees into her ribcage)
  • What a “chunk” it is as it’s now 4lbs and 12oz (and the next day, the baby is 4lbs and 14oz – again, we are all apparently stupid)
  • And finally, how she forgot to bring in the 4D ultrasound pictures, but she’ll remember them next week! (and she did and then proceeded to pass them around)

You know, it’s one thing for a fellow employee to do this if I had been working with her for a couple of months and we had developed some kind of repoire, but this woman is the Queen of Overshare. I don’t know if she’s hoping that we’ll throw her a baby shower or what, but christ! I don’t care to know that much about a stranger. I’ve never liked chit-chat so this bedroom exchange is really annoying the living crap out of me. Let me clarify that she’s not just coming over to my desk and telling me all this, she is announcing it to the room of 12 people.

And it’s not like I can escape the endless wah wah wahwahwah wah, because I can’t physically leave the area and still do my work. Instead, Sparring Partner took pity on me and filled up an MP3 player with a bunch of my favorite music. It helped.

It was pointed out to me on FB that my bitter complaining should be channeled more constructively into happy, congratulatory thoughts. I suppose that’s a valid point IF SHE WAS A FRIEND, but she’s not. I don’t owe her happy, congratulatory thoughts. She didn’t offer me any sympathy on the day I showed up in crutches and it the unavoidable  questions were answered, but they were answered simply.

Let’s end this post, probably one of the longest I’ll have during NaBloPoMo, on a happy note – literally:

 * Pregnant Women Are Smug (click to hear it sung: Awe – some!)

Pregnant women are smug

Everyone knows it, nobody says it

Because they’re pregnant

Effing son of a gun

You think you’re so deep now, you give me the creeps

Now that you’re pregnant

I can’t count all the ways how

You speak in clichés now

Riki: So, do you want a boy or girl?

Kate: Oh, doesn’t matter as long as it’s healthy

Riki: Really? ‘Cause I don’t feel that those two things are related. It’s not like one or the other.

Kate: Oh, really, as long as it’s healthy.

I can’t wait to hear someone say

“Don’t care if it’s brain dead

Don’t care if it’s limbless

If it has a penis”

Pregnant women are smug

Everyone knows it, nobody says it

Because they’re pregnant

This zen world you’re enjoying

Makes you really annoying

Riki: So, is it a boy or girl?

Kate: Oh, we know, but we’re not telling.

Riki: What you’re gonna name it?

Kate: Oh, we know, but we’re not telling.

Riki: Who’s the father?

Kate: Oh, we know, but we’re not telling.

Bitch, I don’t really care

I was being polite

Since you have no life now

That you’re pregnant

You say you’re walking on air

You think that you’re glowing

But you’ve been ho’ing

And now you’re pregnant

You’re just giving birth now

You’re not Mother Earth now

Riki: Oh my gosh, I’ve got so much going on. I got my novel published, I moved, I got married.

Kate: Gosh, you know, everything seems so trivial now that I’m pregnant.

Riki: Well, I also helped end gang violence in Mexico when…

Kate: You know, I can’t even remember what I did before I was pregnant. Everything else seems so meaningless.

Pregnant women are smug

Everyone knows it, nobody says it

Because they’re pregnant

Effing son of a gun

You think you’re so deep now, you give me the creeps now

Now that you’re pregnant

* And if you are currently pregnant, please realize that this is not directed at you personally. Unless you’re acting smug.

Uprooted

I hate this plant. I don’t even know what kind it is. It sits in the corner of the room by the sliding deck doors. It always seems to have yellow and dying leaves. I haven’t repotted it since I got it so the soil is poor. Whenever I water it just a little, it sieves right through and leaks out onto the floor.

It doesn’t flower. I hardly can tell it grows except I did take a cutting and plant it, with success. The cutting rooted and was potted and sits on a side table away from its parent plant. It seems a bit healthier, but it hardly catches my attention when I walk by it a half dozen times a day, every day.

Every once in a while, I’ll turn it so it can readjust its lean towards the sun. But other than that and watering it once every couple of weeks (if it’s lucky), I ignore it. I – as I said initially – hate it.

So why do I keep it? Why not just pitch it out into the field in my backyard and see if the deer will enjoy it?

Why not, indeed.

It’s the plant that welcomed me home from my first D&C five years and eleven months ago.

It represents death, sorrow, loss. It lives with little care or attention from me. Which may be why I despise it all the more.

I am the face of Miscarriage, of Stillbirth, of Infant Loss.

#1094

I’ve Got My Hip Waders, Hand-Tied Flies, and a Pacifier

If you are a fan of the site, People of Walmart (sorry no linky-dink right now), then it should come as no surprise that the following picture was taken at WalMart. In fact, it was taken at the very WalMart in my town. By me.

I get what it’s supposed to be, but do you honestly think that THIS is the way a mongo corporation should raise awareness for premature babies?? Yes, this was their prop with a March of Dimes sign (professionally done by a 17 year old drop-out with a Sharpie marker, mind you). Oh, the mental struggle for one seeking a sugar rush with only two dollars in their pocket: Dubble Bubble or March of Dimes? Dubble Bubble or March of Dimes…?? Oh, the humanity!

That’s a cute sleeper, though.

‘IF’ I was Aware

By definition, an anecdote is relatively brief. I’m not adept at brevity, but I’ll give it a go.

Many, many moons ago, before I became Mrs. Sparring Partner (and maybe for the first couple of years after I became Mrs. S.P.), I had this recurring “female issue” that made me avoid having sex. First I was dealing with periods that lasted a good week/week and a half – and I’m using the term “good” loosely here – and just when I thought things were finally normalizing, I would get this…OK, I have to whisper here…discharge for a couple of days. It was usually clear, but alarmingly copious.

I never sought a physician’s advice. And while occasionally I would get a little crampy, it was towards the sides and not uterine-centered. It didn’t accompany any other symptoms that I would have chalked up to a potential yeast infection, but it made me avoid intimacy for fear of spreading some kind of funk to SP. I would wear panty-liners for a couple of days and then finally, it’d go away on its own just as quickly as it’d shown up.

Now, if you’re infertile and you’ve tried, or are currently trying to have a baby, go back and read through that and diagnose my “problem”.

I’ll wait.

>.<

^-^

O_o

Did you figure it out? It wasn’t until I stumbled across blogs after our first miscarriage and into our first IUI with an RE that I realized that what I was experiencing was none other than EWCM. That’s Egg White Cervical Mucus for those who have stuck around this long after I mentioned “discharge” and “funk”, which is indicative to ovulation. EWCM is indicative to ovulation, not discharge and funk. Just to clarify. Those side pangs? Ovaries getting ready to fire one off. It’s out of embarrassment of what my body was actually designed to do that we didn’t end up “accidentally” pregnant before we were ready.

The reason I shared that with you is because I honestly think that trying to make people aware of infertility via National Infertility Awareness Week, April 26-30th, is akin to bolting the stable door after the horses have been stolen.

I would rather have been made more aware of my body’s fertility BEFORE it had been lost. While one in six couples will experience infertility, it means that five in six will remain fertile, BUT do those five couples have a clue at what that even means? We’ve all been in the middle of discussions with our friends who have no idea how long their cycle is; or who have never known when CD1 was. The mistake of mentioning luteal phases to these friends results in sideways looks as if you’ve COME from the moon. Five in six couples have no idea how morphology, motility and concentration are parameters used in determining sperm’s health.

WHY??

The understanding…no, the AWARENESS…of infertility can only come with educating one’s self on FERtility. Because I eventually learned what EWCM was, I now understand that its virtual nonexistence means that I’m most certainly peri-menopausal. If more women were made aware of how long their cycles were; or were aware of the signs of ovulation; or men were aware of their concentrations by taking a simple test that usually costs less than $100, don’t you think that’s more meaningful to all six of those couples? Becoming aware of fertility also can go a long ways in recognizing those first hints of when something might be amiss. Hell, it might even help the five couples understand more of what that one unfortunate couple is experiencing physically and even emotionally.

NIAW lasts for one week. That gives all of us the chance to make Fertility Awareness count for the other 51 weeks of the year; consequently making that one week more significant and relevant. Maybe some day, only one of 10 couples will be affected; or one of 15 couples. I dare to dream it for my children’s sake.

True Blue

There are only two reproductive endocrinology (RE) clinics in the state we live in. Even with that kind of severe limitation in number, I never thought for one moment that we had limited choices in seeking quality care and treatments. We could have traveled outside the state if we had felt it was necessary, though it wouldn’t have been easy or convenient. Before we decided to go with donor egg, we did consider going to that Mile High Clinic that seems to be so popular, but their success rates didn’t justify the risk in starting over.

Through blogging and research, I didn’t find much difference in our clinic’s protocols when it came to IUIs and IVFs, but their donor program was very different, especially in regards to the egg donor. Based on the numerous donor blogs I’ve read in the past few years, almost all share how they poured over donor profiles and stared at pictures – if available – all in an earnest and well-thought out desire seek a donor of similar temperament, physical characteristics, or both. I can only imagine how exhausting that kind of decision must be. I say imagine because with our RE, the idea of choosing an egg donor was nonexistent.

In short, the patient indicated their desire to try donor eggs. The staff put their name on a waiting list and when that name reached the top of the list, a potential donor was contacted for availability and if they were, cycles were coordinated and that was that. The only “matching” done was by the staff themselves by race and if requested, blood by the patient.

With everything else being completely left to fate (eye color, hair color, build, heritage, intelligence, etc.), any resulting offspring truly was like a box of chocolates. It’s all by sheer luck that Aitch was my favorite kind of chocolate in the whole of the group. Her blond, fine, straight hair leaves my mother, who doesn’t know about the donor egg, bemoaning the fact that she was “cursed” with hair just like mine. Her personality, which facilitates between painfully shy around strangers to bossy chatterbox among her peers and family, also seems to reflect mine (except it’s cute on a toddler; not so much on a rapidly approaching middle-aged woman). The only trait she seems to have that’s unexpected is the blue of her eyes.

I’ve wondered over the past couple of years what would have happened if our clinic was one of those that have their patients review dozens of profiles and make educated choices for their donors. I have to admit that if that had been our situation, I might have felt Aitch was less of me and more of our donor’s. I also admit I worry about how easily it actually would be to completely disregard the donor’s existence the older Aitch gets. What I think will keep me honest is the very trait that makes her exceptional to our family: those blue eyes. I have to believe that she will always look at me with trust, love…unconditionally.

My Charmed Life

For a couple of years I’ve been trying to find some way to honor and give a tangible presence to the babies  conceived but never experienced their first breath. I entertained the idea of a tattoo but there were too many obstacles, one being Sparring Partner who has threatened divorce if I ever got inked.

A couple of months ago I saw Joyfully Crafted’s items highlighted on Try Handmade. After looking at my options, I realized that her charms would suit my taste very nicely. They were simple, solid, and pretty.

I placed my order and although her store indicated it might take 4-6 weeks, I received my order within two. Here they are:

The two little charms have Aitch’s and Doodicus’s names and birthdates on them. They flank the large charm. 

of my heart

11.04     05.05

12.05     09.06

10.06     06.07

05.07     02.08

The first date of each line is the month and year I found out the baby had died; the second date is my due date. I was a bit shell-shocked to see all those dates lined up like that – 5, 6, 7, 8. I honestly never realized it before.

A marching of time to a single drum, one only I can hear. While the dates are forever in the past, I hope the charms will be a part of me long into my old age after my memory fails.