Friday, September 29, 2006

I spent the day in infertility land and all I got was..... gratitude?!

I spent most of the day reading the blogs of women who are infertile. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I read about Amy who recently conceived through IVF only to have her fourth miscarriage. Then Mary Ellen and Steve who, after their second IVF, watched their precious baby stop growing. And an Australian woman who after 11 IVF cycles has lost two sets of twins, at 16 weeks and 23 weeks and recently had a 7 week missed abortion. They all seemed to have survived these ordeals with their senses of humor intact even. They must be incredibly strong people... even, and especially, when they are not.

My plan here is not to compare anybody else's losses to theirs. I WOULD NEVER, EVER, EVER DO THAT! EVERRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

But I am going to compare my losses to theirs. I have found that I am allowed to do that.

I am the only one allowed to do that.

When somebody tells me that I am lucky that I have two kids or that at least I can get pregnant easily, I want to tell them to go f*ck themselves and rightfully so.
But I know that they are right. I KNOW that I am lucky.

NOBODY that I’ve come across yet in the sphere has TWO kids. Two kids that we conceived, both on the first try, without donor profiles, IUI’s, medieval torture devices, second mortgages, or a space-age giant tank that contained a teeny tiny drop of sperm or the hellish process of years of disappointment then injections, home equity loans, hormones, harvests or implantations. I can’t begin to fathom these kinds of AGONIZING.

After coming home from the hospital without Little Charlotte, somebody sent me a copy of Empty Cradle, Broken Heart. Thank the good lord (or whoever) my cradle wasn’t empty then and it isn’t empty now. It’s quite full in fact. Full of the most self-possessed creature I have ever laid eyes upon, in footie pajamas, my 2 year-old daughter. Who sometimes holds my face in her chubby hands and says, Mommmeeeeee. Tonight my 5-year-old son said, “Mom isn’t this a really fancy dinner?” It was a peanut butter and banana sandwich. It was rolled and cut like sushi but still. If I were a god-fearing woman, I’d be on my knees.

The point for me is that I often don’t feel lucky. In fact, lately, I often feel pretty goddamn unlucky and like I’ve been through unimaginable hell since December 28, 2005. One of the things that sucks the most about that hell I’ve been through is that hardly anybody knows.

Two people in my life have a pretty good idea of the hell I’ve been through. Two. And I am not one to suffer silently. Not even close. But I’ve had to because either people don’t ask or they ask but I don’t tell. How could I possibly explain it?

How could I explain what it’s like to hear that I would have to deliver my perfectly healthy baby girl, too early for her to live, so I didn’t die from an infection in my amniotic fluid, while a brand-new baby was crying its very first cries right across the hall. That’s not an appropriate answer for, “So how are you?”

Not one but TWO friends (who were there for me when we lost charlotte in December at 22 1/2 weeks) recently asked me about my most recent disaster and then after I said whatever I said, they both asked, “So how was your summer?” Helloooo, my D&C was on July 5th. I had the stares through most of July and half of August. How was my summer? IT SUCKED!!!!!!

I hate the veil of secrecy and silence and shame that shrouds the truth about the nightmares that we’ve been through or are going through. HATE IT. The blogosphere and all you incredible people and your honesty has renewed my faith in woman and mankind and their respective abilities to DEAL.

My day in infertility land, the point of this post, has reminded me about gratitude. Not the oh-yeah-I-should-remember-how-lucky-I-am type of faux-gratitude but a real I can feel the good things.

I really can feel them. Right now. There are a lot of them. Ooh that feels good.

Okay, enough of that. Back to be-atchin’. Seriously though WHAT THE FUCK AM I TRYING TO SAY??

Oh I know. After July’s disaster, I decided the only really reasonable thing to do in my situation would be... obviously…to get a new tattoo. But what it would it say? I thought about something representative of hope because that’s what I thought I needed most. But then I thought, “Screw hope. Hope is too scary. I’m not going to tattoo myself with a constant reminder that I am hoping for something that I don’t have and might never have.” Hope means something is missing, which, sadly, is pretty much the way I generally view my world.

Eventually I came up with... gratitude. I would tattoo myself with a reminder to feel the good things. Even when everything sucks, there are still a few good things. Something shifts for me when this happens… on a cellular level… even if only for a moment.

Gratitude... to all of you.

By the way, if this sounds like a bunch of sanctimonious f*cking bullshit, go ahead and rip me a new one, I can take it. I hope.


Blogger charlotte said...

I dig you, WTF. I am so glad I know you in real life, because if I didn't I would want to.

And I dig calling you WTF.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Trista said...

I have a feeling that you are more likely to vomit your entrails out your ass in an effort to ensnare would-be muggers so you could make a quick getaway than you are likely to be sanctimonious.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Mary Ellen and Steve said...

I am so very sorry for your losses. No one can possibly understand what you are going through. While losing our 9 week old fetus was very hard, I am sure having to go through labor and delivery to have and then lose your baby girl must have been torture. I can feel the pain in your post, but because I have never been there, I can't fully understand. I hope that this next pregnancy is healthy, and that you can find some peace. I know that the scars from your lost little ones will never go away, but maybe another baby will alleviate some of the pain and heartache that you have been through. Sending you a hug.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Gratitude...thanks. I needed to be reminded of that today.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what does the tattoo of gratitude look like?

(& seriously- Trista- bravo!)

9:17 AM  
Anonymous tonya cinnamon said...

i feel ya... i love coming here if i can explain this right.. you write with your heart and that is what most people are afraid to do. i call it never forgetting but it helps a touch easier .. but a lot but a touch.
and that is why understanding is so hard for humans.
hugs to you.

10:15 AM  
Blogger whatthef*ck said...

you ladies are awesome. trista's response especially wildly exceeded my expectations!

does anybody check back to see if posters comment on their comments? blogland is a little strange to me in that there generally isn't a give-and-take conversation thing happening. i like to hear what posters think of my comments and i like to comment on your comments to me. like a conversation of sorts?

charlotte-right back atcha doll!

mary ellen and steve-thank you for your generosity of spirit. best of luck (and miracles) to you both.

caliope-i didn't get the tattoo yet. i never really looked for a symbol of gratitude. y'know how tattoos just kind of choose you? i threw the idea out there and maybe something will come to me. or maybe if i'm not pregnant then i'll start a search for a symbol.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous J-Le said...

gratitude - it's a great idea for a tattoo.
i met a girl once who had Joy tattooed on the back of her elbow where she wouldn't have been able to see it. i wondered if it worked as a reminder for her (but when? doing yoga in front of a mirror?) or if it was a tribute to a person called Joy. i never asked. i only met her once, and briefly.

8:59 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I love when you comment on the comments. And I could never put how not sanctimonious you are as well as Trista. Holy.

I have been thinking a great deal about my own experience with Charlotte, as I read your blog. Is it ok to do a post about my own experience of that 48 hours? Or does it need to be just yours? Ya know?

Oh, and I just want to give you a wink about generosity of spirit. We both have more than we used to I think.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous bri said...

I am glad to see someone writing about the comparison thing - I posted about it today in response.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous jenny said...

Thank you for this. I linked here from Bri's blog. It is impossible to not compare notes. I hate it but it is impossible.

Gratitude is a good thing, but sometimes, in very short supply.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Trista said...

Sometimes I come back and look to see what people have said and if they're talking about me...

I really love the blogs where there's a give and take in the comments section, but I don't seem all that great at maintaining them on my own blog. I need to try harder at that, though.

Anyway, glad you liked what I wrote. It's true (i'm pretty sure, not having met you in person and just going by your entries here, that is).

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have inspired me to do my own blog! Thank you for making me feel like I am not as crazy as I thought. You are saying things I wish I could!

7:40 AM  

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