Looks Like I Picked a Bad Day to Quit Drinking…

Caffeine, that is.

I’ve had the mother of all headaches from about 1pm onwards and I haven’t helped it by brooding over an incident at this morning’s monitoring appointment.

The monitoring itself was fine.  Nice number of contenders, same dosage and a follow up visit with the dildo cam on Friday.

No, what bothered me was what I saw when I got in the room. 

7am to 9am is cycle monitoring time and they see a slew of patients.  I understand that the clean up between patients can be hasty. What I don’t understand, though, is how you don’t clear the image from the ultrasound screen from the prior patient. 

Especially when it is me who is going in for the next appointment.

The person they saw in there before me was pregnant, 7w3d to be exact.  How did I know this without having met her?  The ultrasound screen hadn’t been cleared after she had left and there on the screen was the telltale baby blob. And, just in case you had someone who couldn’t quite make it all out, the tech had helpfully written above it the words “Hi Mom and Dad!” Un-freaking-believable.  And, this is not the first time this has happened at his office, either. The last time this happened, there was no picture.  No ridiculous anthropomorphic utterings from the baby written on the screen. 

What’s amazing is that I wasn’t bothered that she was pregnant or that I had to see the picture of her blob. What bothered me was that they were able to write that message from their baby assuming that seven or so months from now, they will meet that baby, and they were able to do that without a hint of worry or foreboding.  I lost the ability to do that with my first miscarriage (after hearing the heartbeat. Twice.).  So now, I grieve not only the loss of my two babies, but I also grieve the loss of that innocence, that surety that now that there is a bun in the oven, it’s smooth sailing from here on out.  I wanted to bang my head on the wall (or the screen). 

When Dr. Salsa came in, I nicely asked that they make sure that the ultrasound screen is clear before I go in to the room. 

Unfortunately, that’s not going to erase the rest of it.

A Sunday, Not Unlike Any Other Sunday

Being infertile with no living children on Mother’s Day in the United States can be a real bummer. 

For me, as an infertile with no living children, it was actually an okay day.  I sent my mom a thoroughly free and hilarious Wrong Card which she very much enjoyed. And, I even got an adorable email signature from her: “Love (you’re the reason I’m a) Mom.”  How sweet is that?

I reflected on how lucky I am to have her as my mom and how I love the friendship that we have developed as I have become an adult.  I’m looking forward to taking a trip with her later this year, just the two of us.

I recognized that my own feelings of being excluded from the general party were my own reaction rather than any one reminding me outright that I am not a mom, in the traditional sense of the word.  I spent not an insignificant time telling myself to get the f*ck over myself and just enjoy the lazy Sunday. 

I asked my furry children if they had gotten me anything for Mother’s Day and received blank stares indicating that they were not in fact aware of the auspicious nature of the day.  They all then proceeded to act the same way they do everyday, a cross between adorable and maddening.

Most of all, though, I decided that for me, Mother’s Day would not be about exclusion, but a celebration of the fact that all of us are mothers in some way or another, even if we haven’t give birth, and/or raised a child. And, under that definition, I am most definitely a mother. And, so are you.  Happy Mother’s Day to us all.

The Hurt in My Heart

My heart has been hurting today. A lot.

It started in the morning as the twinge in the nose and progressed to a dull thud behind the breastbone by this afternoon.  As usual, the hurt was internal.  No one came at me with a dagger or intentionally tried to bruise me.  My heart was just overwhelmed with seemingly innocuous things that really turned out to be little poisonous darts, each a minor annoyance, but collectively fatal:  Mother’s Day ads.  More Mother’s Day ads.  Participating in the dangerous game of comparing oneself to other infertiles, and pretty much everytime coming up short (meaning, still not pregnant).  Reading email from best friend with a near one-year old and trying to decipher whether we have entered into the game of one upsmanship.   Receiving drugs for the next cycle and being reminded – again – at what I must do to get pregnant that many others do not.  Remembering the joy of those moments when I was pregnant and genuinely believed that it was going to work, that we had finally defeated the monster.  

In other words, it was a bad day.

So, I took my hurting heart and went to the most peaceful place that I know of, my backporch, and stretched out on a chair.  I listened to the birds and the wind. I tried pleading with my heart to stop hurting, telling it that we are so lucky to have what we do. But, my heart was being churlish and refused to stop hurting.  “I don’t hurt less because everything else in life is rosy,” it said.

I knew I needed something or someone more compelling. I decided to summon Mr. X.  Never mind that he’s working and doesn’t know that I am summoning him in my mind. I closed my eyes and called across the miles to him. The door to the porch closed, I stretched out my hand and there he was sitting next to me, holding my hand.

“What’s the matter, my love?”, he said.

“My heart hurts, ” I said.

“Why does it hurt?”, he asked.

“Because it is afraid that it will never have that special joy of knowing that your dreams are finally coming true.  It sees others finding this joy and it wants to know when it will be its turn.”

“Ah, I understand why that would hurt. Can I have your heart for a moment?”

I reached inside and gave him my poor, shriveled damaged little heart. I watched as he cupped it in his hands like water and began to speak to it: “There is no reason to hurt, little one. This joy that you seek is not the only joy in the world. You can still seek this joy, but this can’t be the only joy that you seek or you will continue to hurt. You know this. I love you, little heart. No matter what happens or doesn’t happen, I love you and will love you.”

My hurt began to ease as I felt his love and as I realized that I can be happy without this joy, even if I still seek it.  I took my heart back and tucked it safely away.  I promised to take better care of it, to be kind to it and to try to shield it from those things that hurts it the most.  

And for now, my heart has stopped hurting.

Vignettes

I cried yesterday.  It’s been a while since I did that.  But, it was a full-on bawl fest complete with heaving and gulping, but no fist pounding.  It had been a stressful week, what with the dog-eating-poo incident, work, not being to sit comfortably on my toosh due to the butt shots each night, and an unusual number of reminders recently of how hopeful we had been when we got pregnant the first time. 

All of a sudden, it hit me that I missed my babies.  And I cried for them, again.  I cried for me, for Mr. X, for our parents, but mostly for those babies who we will never meet.  I cried because we had so much hope, we thought we had finally escaped the bonds of infertility and rejoined the normal world, and we were so wrong. I cried because so many babies do survive, where ours did not.  I still hurt.

I think I needed the catharsis, but it came on very suddenly.  One minute I was petting the dog and the next I was bawling.  But, better out than in and luckily I had forgotten to put on mascara that morning, so I had no tell-tale raccoon eyes when Mr. X came home about 30 minutes later.

                                                                                                                                                                           

I was driving today behind a Nissan Pathfinder with a Baby on Board sign thingy hanging in the back window.  I remember when these first became popular when I was still a kid and even then I thought they were rather ridiculous.  My opinion hasn’t changed, although now I amuse myself by trying to figure out what the practical purpose is to having one of those on there.  Is it like the handicap placard that you pull out when you want to use the handicap space (which I saw yesterday)? Is it to tell people to be extra careful not to rear-end you? Is it to brag about your fertility? I purposely chose not to give much stock to that last one because it would just make my blood boil if it was true. 

I just read the Wikipedia entry and it turns out my second guess was correct.  It also quotes George Carlin, who departed this world way too soon, as opining that the phrase was made up of “the three most puke-inducing words that man has yet come up with”.  Jumbo shrimp, George!

                                                                                                                                                                           

My maternal grandmother was one of four sisters.  Three of the sisters married (including my grandmother), one did not.  The one who did not lead a very interesting life before she died in the 1990s.  Of all of her nieces and nephews, the spawn of her sisters, I’m pretty certain that she liked my mother and my uncle the best.  Many of her amazing possessions that she amassed from her travels and living abroad made into our family after her death.  I never saw the full inventory as I was in high school and So Important that I could not bother to look at everything.  But, every now and then my mother shows me something, usually jewelry, with the statement, “Oh, that belonged to Aunt D”. 

One item that I don’t think I had seen before was a lovely gold pendant in the Chinese symbol “Double Happiness” – my mother was about to auction it off to the highest bidder on eBay, but asked if I was interested.  This was pretty soon after my second miscarriage and I knew immediately, that it was the perfect reminder of the now two babies we have lost – double happiness.  It was double happiness to hear their little hearts beating away and to think that maybe they would join our world.  

I haven’t worn it yet, though, because I don’t have a chain for it and I keep forgetting to measure what length I want.  The sooner I do, though, the sooner I can have them close to my heart.