Monday, June 2, 2008

Kodak Moments?

I have six shoe boxes, numerous albums, plus a gigathingamajigy of space on snap-fish, of photos that have captured a moment in my life.

This is a huge perk for me, since I'm a visual learner. No, it's not like I forgot who the freckle faced kid was at my 5th birthday party--I just needed a refresher! And I haven't forgotten that goofy toothless grin I gave the camera when I was missing my top four teeth all at the same time. Or the time I was enjoying playing in a germ infested plastic ball-pit at Busch Gardens...I just wanted to look at my cute pig tails and remember how much my legs hurt when I got out--its hard walking in plastic balls!

Of course we must have a moment of silence for the days when you couldn't proof a picture before adding it to your forever memory pile. Gasp! The horror of not being able to check and see if I'm smiling so that my eyes don't squint (this is a constant issue for me) I'm sure my mom might have asked us to do this picture over again--my brother looks utterly horrified. It looks like he's praying:
"Please God, have mercy on me--I have two sisters!"

Let's not discuss my Farah Fawcett hair-doo-doo.

Then there is the...dun...dun...DUUUUN: Black-Mail picture. You had no idea that this photo would come back to haunt you. It was taken without the notion that you would dread the thought of it being shown at one family gathering after another. "Isn't this soo cute!" A lot of these "cute" pictures follow you all the way to your wedding day. Of course your husband-to-be needs to see you in one of your most embarrassing moments.

There are also those photos that you would run into a burning house to save. The one that packs so many emotions into that one captured moment. I have no mental memory of this photo, but I bet the other person in this picture does. The look of love on my mother's face, as I hug her, is worth a thousand words.

Recently I have been going through these shoe boxes, albums and digital photos-wondering what my memories would be like if I didn't have a photograph to remind me; the mind has a funny way of distorting a memory. Would my mother's hug mean any less to me if I didn't have a physical reminder of it? Would I be slightly less mortified if I wasn't snapped wearing just winter accessories, and we just talked about it at family gatherings?

So with those thoughts in mind, I've been debating on whether or not to take more pictures during this infertility journey. I recently switched cell phones, and as I was cleaning out my old one, I came across a picture I had totally forgotten about: Mook snapped a picture of me on the exam table before our first IUI. The hope that I can see in my face is palpable.

I have seen other bloggers document their journey with an array of pictures as they go through treatment. Some are simply pictures of meds, others are are more extensive--bruises on the belly, walking in for retrieval, abstract views of legs/feet as someone is on bed rest.

Of course I'd like to say I'd love to have pictures to show our children one day, after all of this is behind us. I want to be able to share many things: this blog, cards, letters, e-mails. But the thought of looking at pictures of a painful time may be too painful. I keep trying to think ahead to my future self: "Future self, do you want to have physical reminders of this phase of your life, whether the outcome is good or bad?"

I just don't know. Besides, what category in my shoe box would I put a picture labeled: "Mook injects hormones into JJ's butt" ?

As my ovaries start to ache with the presence of (hopefully) growing follicles, I realize I need to make a decision...the longer I wait, the more moments will go uncaptured. Should I be snapping?

She never made a video for this song, but if you have 2 minutes, I highly recommend watching Mya perform Take a Picture.

Sittin here thinkin of my yesterdays
Things weren't this crazy
I wasn't so emotional
I didn't cry at commercials
Sometimes I feel like a mess
And people laugh at how I dress
And sometimes I act like an ass
And watch sand through an hour glass

I wanna take a picture so I remember this moment forever
I wanna take a picture so I remember this moment together
So I can show my children one day...


  1. Those pictures are great!! One of the things I love to do most is go to my mom's house and go up in my old bedroom and pull down the huge (and deteriorating) cardboard box of pictures from my childhood and teen years. Like you, I am so thankful to have all those precious reminders.
    I did take pictures of our IUI journey, I think it was the novelty. By the time had three cycles of that and were starting IVF, I just didn't have it in me to document each moment anymore. But, I wish I had. When I look back at the picture Daniel took of me right before giving me my first abdomnial injection, you'd think we were about to step off the plane into paradise. Even though that cycle was a bust, I love to see the hope in my eyes.
    Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your past :)

  2. As you know - I'm a picture taker. Always have been. *I am going to find my farrah fawcett hairdo for you too!

    I suggest pictures - They really are worth more than words - to me

  3. Cute pics! I have a pic of me in stirrups right before an U/S. That will be shown to no one, mind you. =)

  4. I say take the pics, and now with digital, you can just not print them, upload them somewhere, and if they're too painful to look at, you can just not look at them - they can just stay in your "Don't Look At" folder on your computer until the time is right to look at them.

    We don't know what the outcome will be...but we hope for the best...and we have to act accordingly - so take the pics, because if what you wish for comes true, you know you'll want them. And if it doesn't, I think the pictures will still have meaning to you about an important phase in your life.

  5. I LOVE all of your pictures! thanks for sharing them. I love those old pics from my family too. I was thinking of breaking one out for show and tell some day.

    I love taking pics, though I've never loved being in them. so I've never felt the need to document my treatments with anything other than words. I never even took the obligatory pic of the crazy meds box. but writing about it was critical...

  6. I loved my Farrah Fawcett 'do.

    I hated getting immersed in germ-infested balls.

    I loved going down your memory lane.

    Can we see the IUI pic?


  7. Those are great pictures. I love old photos. Sometimes even if I don't know the people in them. I had a box a few years ago full and I lost it and when I realized this I cried, a lot. Especially over the ones of my parents when they were young. I don't know if I would take pics of IF related stuff though, at least for me. I did once keep the vials from donor whatever but finally decided that was really gross. I also don't usually have anyone to take pics of me so no pics of shots etc. I don't know that I want much of a reminder about that part of it.

  8. This is such a hard question. I am very similar to you with pictures meaning a whole lot to me. I adore the memories they recall instantly.

    That said? We have pictures of me on our first IUI day (a Haloween event, but I still remember how exciting that day was), a picture of my first sub-q shots, my first self-IM injection, and a BUNCH of pictures from IVF #1. I wanted it all documented because I hoped it worked. When we lost the baby, I was sorry to have the pictures. IVF #2? The whole 3 weeks in Texas? ONE picture - and that was J and me celebrating our 4th anniversary! I kinda regret it, but I knew I wouldn't be able to stand the pain/hope lost if I had pictures for nothing. Plus, I sort-of refer to pics from IVF #1 and some can be relevant.

    That said? It's a personal choice, JJ. I wish I had more, but I don't know that I could have forced myeslf to actually DO that. Maybe I wish we'd had this conversation a few months ago, where I could confront my concerns and actually make a decision up front, rather than in each moment.

  9. First of all, those pics are great. I love them. I too, love to take out that box of old photos.

    I have the same feelings about pictures. I think my picture taking has changed in the past few months. I used to be a fanatic about snapping shots. Now I hardly ever do. Who wants to look at a picture and think, "that day I really thought I was pregnant, but I was wrong and cried a lot".

    The day I had my miscarriage, Dh, my mom and I went to a fair at an old fashioned village, (I wasn't in pain yet and we had planned to go and I didn't want to sit home)Well, Dh kept trying to take my picture. Why would I want to look at my pictures of that day? Dh took pictures of sights and of himself. I hate to look at those pictures. They hurt so bad.

  10. What wonderful photos! I come from a long line of picture takers -- my grandmother gave me a Kodak Instamatic for Christmas when I was 15 & I can still hear her saying, "Get the camera!" But it never occurred to me to document my IF journey in photos. I only have two photos of myself pregnant, & only one where you can see my belly. Our six-year-old nephew took it at his birthday party, three days before I found out our daughter was stillborn, & it is precious to me. I don't know why I didn't take more photos. Probably partly because I'm usually the one behind the camera, partly because it was such an up & down pregnancy (I had other things on my mind), & partly because I was waiting for my mom to come visit -- I had it in my head that I would model all my maternity clothes & have her take photos for my grandmother. And then I lost the baby. And I didn't take the camera to the hospital, & I will forever regret it. I have six Polaroids that the nurses gave me, but they are lousy.

    So I would encourage you (& anyone else) to take lots of photos. As someone else said, you can always put them away for awhile if they're too hard to look at.

  11. Thanks for sharing the pictures of you as a child!

    I had fully planned on documenting my journey with pictures-you know me on the table, the sign in front of the clinic etc. but when the time came I just was so in the moment I couldn't. Last week I had to go to the children's hospital that is next door to my clinic and I thought about going and snapping the shot of the sign. I just couldn't for some reason. I think it was because I didn't want the reminders if it didn't work. Maybe next go round I'll be in that place because I'll have more faith in the process.

  12. I've thought a lot about this, too. But I only get as far as the obligatory drug photo.

    If I knew, 100%, that there would be a good outcome? Yes, I would want the photos as reminders of everything we had to overcome. But since there are no guarantees, I just think it might end up being too hard.

    CUTE CUTE CUTE pictures!

  13. I know what you mean about maybe not having the pictures. I had D take a picture of me after OHSS when I looked like I swallowed a keg - barrel and all. I've had him delete it since. Why do I need photographic reminders of horrible things? My memory's good enough, and hopefully it will fade. I have saved the pictures of the embies, and that's enough for me.

    Thanks for sharing the early childhood pics! I think we all have a few embarrassing ones lurking in our past!

  14. I am not a picture taker, so I probably wouldn't do it. That said, it's just what I would do (obviously).

    I love all of your old pictures! They're adorable!

  15. Some things I have pics of, and others I don't. Though there were pics from my birthday last year, which was one day before my transfer. And pics from my friends wedding and our vacation in the Finger Lakes, just after transfer, and before I found out I was pregnant. And then the pics of the day I got my BFP. It's funny how I'll never be able to look at pics from my best friend's wedding and not think about how I had just had my transfer 3 days before.

    Then there are the tangible things I can't get rid of. My red biohazard boxes filled with used needles. The bracelets from my egg retrieval. The unused needles. I know I should be able to get rid of them, but for some reason I can't (ok, so the bracelet will end up in Seth's scrapbook...but everything else can go).

    Pictures are worth so much to me. I guess that's why I keep buying newer and better cameras. I want everything documented, so some day, when I'm older, I can look back and remember everything. The good and the bad. The hard and the easy.

  16. Those pictures are fantastic.

    Bea at Infertile Fantasies had a wonderful post about whether or not to take this family photo a few years ago (I feel like it was in fall of 2006). And why she didn't want to remember that time vs. why it would be good to look back at that time.

    I think you can never go wrong with more pictures. Because you can always toss them. But you can't take them once the moment is gone.

  17. LOVE the photos! Thanks so much for sharing them. :-)

    As for taking some of the IF journey, I definitely fell into the do not document camp. I do have pictures of the embryos from the day of the transfer, and of the pregnancy tests I took the morning of my beta, and the ultrasounds, etc. that followed. Those I treasure more than I could possibly say. But, I can't say I regret not having photos of the pre-transfer stuff. It's not a phase I want commemorated like that; not for me. Call me in denial, but part of me is happy to have those memories fade into the background, even though the cycle did work out. I don't know if that makes any sense...

  18. JJ, the picture with your mom is priceless. You are so very blessed to have a moment in time frozen for you in a picture. It does show the love she has for you,words couldn't express. Also, big shout out to your Mom. She seems like such a special part of your life, you are blessed, my friend. I am torn on whether you shoul take pics or not through this IVF. I recently had an issue where I went into panic mode because I couldnt find my embie pics from the 1st IVF. It was a horrible feeling, but somehow, it was comforting when I finally found it. I think your history is your history, good or bad. In hind sight, I look at old boyfriends pictures and even though they treated me like POO,and it was painful, it just helps me to remember how I got to where I am now. And I wouldn't change that. Just food for thought. Hugs, Hollie

  19. Never been a big picture-taker, perhaps why I've always wanted to be one. To have all these memories and make scrapbooks and go through them and share the experiences. I was always peeved my parents didn't have pictures of themselves as young marrieds. Maybe that's what it comes from.

  20. I've been sorting through my photos too. I'm getting very overwhelmed by it though. Too many memories. I don't know if we'll take pictures of our IF journey, I guess we'll cross that bridge... Lots of luck with whatever you decide!

  21. I have so many photographs stashed away in boxes, and I love to look through them every once in a while and remember parts of my life that don't come to mind too often. I have always been a picture taker (I got my first real camera as a birthday gift from my parents in 5th grade), and I probably always will be.

    However, I just couldn't document my IF journey in pictures. If I'd known that everything was going to work out just fine the first time then I wouldn't mind having those pictures. However, I don't think I'd really want to have pictures of me forcing a smile or showing off a bruise from injections that were all for nothing from our two FETs. Truly, it's hard for me to even look at the positive pregnancy test pictures I took when I found out about my low beta last summer. Just looking at those pictures reminds me that I had so much hope for my doubling and that it just wasn't to be. Anyway, I have my journals, and truly, I think in this case they are so much more expressive than any picture. It's a really personal choice.

  22. Thank goodness for digital cameras!
    That's such a hard thing to consider, whether you'd want the reminder or not. But I think it's usually easier to get rid of something if it's too painful, rather than wish you had done it differently.
    I hope that this season will turn out well and NOT be painful to look back on, but that the hope in your heart will be truly reflected in the outcome.

  23. I think it's a great idea to click away during these times. While looking back at the pictures may create some tender moments, when you have a baby, they will remind you of your journey and everything you went through for your little one.

    Thank you for the picture idea. I like the thought of snapping pictures on the exam table and such!

  24. Love the pictures:)

    While I don't have pictures of me injecting myself or of my RE's office...I do have a box of "stuff" from along my last bottle of Clomid, my last bottle of Prometrium, (granted, I've had to switch those out a few times), pictures from my lap, my hospital arm band, and cards from the braces bunch. I think that as hard of a journey this has been, I'm a sentimental person and I try to think that in the future I will appreciate these small reminders. If my journey ends well, then I want my child(ren) to see what hard work it was to bring them into this world. I also want he/she/them to see that sometimes the things that are easy for some, are hard waters for others and to not take life for granted. If it ends not so well, I will be stronger, I will be a better person (granted, I'm talking myself into thinking this). Maybe I will eventually throw it out, but not right now. This journey is my life.

  25. Great pictures. I love looking at old pictures. Somehow those times growing up seem much more important than things we do today. I don't even own a digital camera! I have to say that I will only start taking pictures when I am very pregnant! I threw away the embryo pictures from my last failed cycle. It was just too painful to have around

  26. I love the decidedly 1970s kitchen. We had one that was almost idetical. I have fond memories of dying Easter eggs and baking Christmas cookies in that kitchen.

    Thank you for the great idea about taking more pictures during the ART process. Remembering this time will always be difficult, but I would love to some day show my kids how badly they were wanted and what I went through to have them.

  27. I, too, love looking at people's childhood pictures. Yours are absolutely terrific! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Somebody may have said this already, but if you have a digital camera, why not take some pictures? You (or Mook) can always go back and delete it from the camera if you decide later it's something you would rather not have.

  28. This is a tough one for me. We took a lot of pictures during IVF# 1 - including one of Steve and I in our "scrubs", shortly after transfer, holding a picture of our embryos. Even now that I've been through a successful IVF#2 - that picture still tears my heart out.

    For IVF#2 I didn't take hardly any pictures. I couldn't bare to think that I may have to look back at them with a heavy heart.

    Sadly though, I can't even find the picture of our embryos after transfer for IVF#2 - and THAT is a picture that I would have liked to have kept.

    The fact of the matter though, is that if I didn't take the pictures during IVF#1, there are certainly a lot things that I would have forgotten because my mind just doesn't retain all that stuff.

    Sorry, I'm pretty sure I've been of no help.

  29. What GREAT pictures!!!

    I wish I had documented our whole journey. The only thing I documented was our last pregnancy/loss (as my therapy to heal). Other than that, it's all just a memory, that with time will fade. Years from now I will want to remember all the important facts because those moments have helped shape me into the person that I am today. I could kick myself for not documenting the journey. What kind of scrapbooker doesn't document the good and the bad??? **hangs head in shame**

    I say take pics and document your feelings and emotions. Because years from now you will pull out that box of pictures and without the journaling things could get fuzzy.

  30. Honestly for me, I think I'll start the pictures with the pregnancy. I love the picture of you & your mum, you're right those are the really special ones.

  31. Great pics!

    You know me, I'll photograph anything (but I don't know if I'd photo the injections).

  32. Hello there, lovely to meet you!
    Am loving the photo of your new puppy. And also the one of you & Sis with new baby Bro. You're right, he looks pretty fearful!
    Very very best of luck with this IVF cycle, I'll keep checking back.

  33. what great pictures!
    i am a picture fanatic, and i love looking at them!!

    good luck on your picture decision, i know what i would do.

  34. I love the old pics, JJ.

    If you think you might want pictures of this process, take them now. You can always delete them or throw them out, but you can't go back and recapture them.

  35. Wonderful pics!! I say take them if you feel inspired to do so. Don't feel pressured to. Who needs more pressure?

  36. We keep our old pictures in a cardboard box. I love looking at them. I have embarrassing pictures of my tan line on my bum--like the Co.ppertone girl.

  37. I say snap them. Take the pictures. You never have to look at them again if you don't want to, but there's no way to know what the future JJ will want, and that's who you'll be taking these pictures for - not the present JJ, but the future one. Give the future JJ at least the chance to have these snapshots. If you don't, you might find yourself one day wishing that you had. If you do, they'll always be there for you.

  38. I've just posted the answers to "Truths and Lies." Please stop by and see if you guessed correctly! :)

  39. Oh man, that picture of you and your Mom made me cry. I want a moment like that. More than one if I can get it, but damn that was wonderful-just that one moment captures it all.

    Thank you for sharing. Really.

  40. Girl... You look just like yourself. hahahahaha minus the wings for the hair. No we have FLIPS!!!!

    I love pictures. They are the reminder for me that I will never ever put my body through what I went through ever again for infertility. But I have to say they are also a reminder of what I went through to get a baby that I never got. How awesome I was for everything that I did for that
    non-existent child. How cool for me to look back at those pictures of me smiling, knowing how sad I was inside. Pictures are awesome. You will want to remember. Take that photo girl!!

  41. Your childhood pictures are adorable. Thanks for sharing a bit of your past. I love looking at all of my own old pics and not just seeing the people, but the decor and everything else in there. It brings back so many more memories.

    We took a few pics during IVF#1, but didn't do anything with them. We will probably take some again with this round. I'm not sure if I'll share them yet, but for now I want to have them. If there comes a time that they are too painful, I will just delete.


  42. Take the pictures. We had a similar dillema when my daughter (sorry - not trying to rub it in!) was a year old and had to go in for some serious testing for suspected cancer/immune system disorder. I was so afraid and paralyzed by the whole thing that on auto pilot i took pictures of her, on the exam table getting an ultrasound and being doped up on sedatives... and I did it with a disposable camera. I labled it knowing that if the outcome was good I would want to remember this even if to just tell her about it when she had kids of her own. I know the scary stories about my husband and a heart murmer that my mother-in-law told me were of great comfort, letting me believe that it really could turn out ok. If the outcome was bad, I wouldn't develop the camera - I wouldn't have to be reminded. I look at those photos now and even though it was one of the worst weeks of my life, without the photos I hardly remember that it was part of her story. When going thru infertility treatments with my son, I documented everything. It's my story, regardless of how it ends. This journey is part of your story, the good the bad and the ugly. It shapes who you are, and how you pass your legacy on in the world (through your own children or through others or both)Take the pictures. :)

  43. I think that any journey shoudl be documented. Someday you want your children to know what you went through to have them and I think that knowing that will be really special to everyone.

  44. Look at you, you adorable little exhibitionist! I loved what you said about taking pictures of your first IUI. We didn't take pictures, but I remember so clearly approaching our first IVF with seriousness and awe, certain that it would result in a real, live baby. Sigh.

  45. Thanks for sharing the pictures! Now you have me upset that I didn't take any pictures during my IF treatments! Oh well, I did keep journals and write things down. And I do have copies of all of my cycle sheets from my re. I called a few months ago and asked for them. I am not sure why, I just really wanted to have them... NCLM

  46. That picture of you with your mom made me tear up. It reminded me of my mom and made me ache palpably; it encapsulates so much of why I want to be a mom myself. So beautiful, thanks for posting that.

    Also, I love the blackmail picture. Nice!

    My vote, for what it's worth, is that you should take pictures now as you wait. Today's technology means that if you later come to regret it, you can get rid of those pictures quickly and easily. You can't ever go back and recapture this time, though. But that's just me; I like to have every contingency covered.


  47. Hey thanks for sharing the pictures, they're great! My blackmail picture would be the one where I was little and decided to moon everyone off of the balcony of our Myrtle Beach third floor condo below. My sister took a picture. Yeah, priceless. I too have wondered if I should be taking pictures of some things along are journey that I haven't yet. Like I packed my camera for my surgery today I was going to take a picture of me and my husband when no one else was in our little room up in OB. I didn't have the heart to because I think I'm back to being in fear mode like I was the day we did our IVF. Fear that stuff either won't work, or that the rug will be pulled out from under us. I'm trying really hard to get over that. I don't want to miss the joyous moments in between my fearful ones.

  48. Take the pics! You can always make a different box for them and you KNOW not to go there if you don't want to be reminded. I love pics. I like you, have a lot in my stash, digital and not.

    I hope your follies are growing growing growing!! I've been wondering abt you and all this week when I'd check in, I only saw your last post. My phone must be trippin'.

    Take the pics.. You can always delete from the cam before you print. Even though I hope these sets of pics are IT for you. ;)

  49. I run a website,, that lists ttc, expecting, and parenting bloggers to help us all find one another. I've added your site to the blogroll. If you need me to correct any information or if you would like for me to remove the link, please let me know. Also, if you could help me get the word out about, I would really appreciate it!

    Best wishes,

    Tina Roggenkamp

  50. Great pics! Love the kitchen shot--looks like the one I grew up in. As for taking photos, it's all about what you want to remember. I have a few shots but they don't come close to capturing the experience that was burned into my memory.

  51. Thanks for commenting on my blog - especially since it has been awhile since I visited yours. I love the pictures and to discover you are cycling again. How exciting!

    I say take the pictures. You can throw them out later if you decide. Or maybe 15 years from now, you can use them to try to convince your kid(s) how much trouble they were to conceive and they ought to be more grateful.

  52. I love the one of you and your mom. It's so beautiful and I dare not try and ruin it with words. It's magical that that moment was captured.

  53. Wow, that pic of you and your mom is amazing!

    Isn't this why we all keep on going through what we do...


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