Also? Never in the history of stirrups have I been so glad for . . . sonography. With the assistance of . . . sonography . . . we were able to see that Ye Old Ov’ries, they looked normal. As did The Ute. How ’bout that. Normal lady parts. I don’t know what I expected, exactly. They’d looked ‘normal’ in previous exams, too. But after a long stretch of Me-versus-Them, I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear the doctor say something like “this is odd, but it appears your parts have morphed into a hysterical mass of jolly-roger-waving, abdomen-hijacking pirates.” And I’d be all “arrrrgh, I been a-dreadin’ this.”
I am always surprised by my own normalcy.
There’s something therapy-worthy in that statement. Only, I don’t believe in therapy. Or my own normalcy. But especially not in therapy.
In early November, I met with our nurse to review the protocol we next would be attempting, an “estrogen priming protocol.” When I sat down at the table with her to review the chart and calendar, she sighed.
“Yours is a complicated protocol,” she said.
I perked up. Complicated? Sounded completely appropriate.
“I came in on Saturday to prepare all the calendars for the couples doing the next cycle and when I got to yours I had to quit. I waited to finish yours until today.”
Yes! I am complex! Normal schnormal.
I am not intimated by long, drawn-out treatment plans that involve many more needles and medications than any of the previous protocols we tried. No way. I’d be in my color-coding, cross-checking, chart-making, medication-sorting, everything-alcohol-swabbing, needles-by-gauge-arranging element. If babies were awarded based on maternal hyper-organizing, I’d have seven and all would have been born with its own pocket protector and 5-pack set of pastel hi-liters.
But enough of that for now.
November, although starting from a point well below sea level (what is it with me and pirates and sea references?), at least appeared (thanks to the locating of the missing kinda-period) not to be a month of further descent. I could be content in slowly unraveling the pieces of that old cloak-of-false-okayness, if I could just have a small span of solid ground beneath me. Unraveling while in a free fall? Not ideal. Unraveling from the floor of wherever it is I’ve landed? Much better.
So I started writing. About “October.” About “Considering It.”
And I hoped (and prayed) that the content would resonate, somewhere, for someone. Or at least not fall flat. Because unlike the more typical nonsense I’ve published here, October was more vulnerable for me. The considering it was very personal.
I cried through most of the posts as I wrote them. It was a cathartic process. The days would begin with boot camp or running to loosen the tension, then I would set it free, piece by piece, by writing it.
I was a complete mess, but this time? In a good way. Or at least an improving way. I could not talk about pregnancy or infertility or James or considering it without crying. But they weren’t sorrowful tears. I mean, to someone else I’m sure they looked the same as sorrowful ones. However, they were tears of relief–in slowly recognizing, and beginning to believe, that there was more to be gained from our losses than we had lost by them.
Can you follow me in this? Because it’s not light, for me.
Our losses? The pregnancies that did not survive? Those were our children. I recognize that the (loaded) question of when life begins has a variety of answers, an issue to which Miles’ Law applies: where you stand depends on where you sit. Religion, politics, medical histories, family background, in/fertility and child-having experiences–where are you seated in those things? Because it is upon those that one draws in forming a conclusion about when life begins.
Every time we’ve become pregnant it has followed much trying and praying and a variety of research and self-help and then medical help. Each conception has been actively sought, longed for. Each time a pregnancy test has said “yes!” it has dropped me to my knees in gratefulness and joy . . . and relief. The plans I’ve had to love on each child started well before a test result confirmed that I would have the opportunity, and continued well after another test result confirmed that I would not. That is where I sit. That life begins at conception is where I stand.
Medical and legal definitions of “viability” are meaningless to my conclusion. I have endured embarrassment and awkwardness and pain for the chance to hide quietly in my home, waiting anxiously for a phone call telling me whether any of my eggs were fertilized by any of his sperm in a petri dish 79 miles away from our bedroom. I have dropped to my knees in gratefulness and joy and relief when told fertilization had occurred. I have counted the hours between embryology reports, prayed and begged for continued development, and beamed over a picture of 5-day-old-embryos as though they were our newborns. That is where I sit. That life begins when an egg meets a sperm and they engage in a miraculously intricate series of dividing and multiplying is where I stand.
So, when I write the statement that “there was more to be gained from our losses than we had lost by them” it is weighty because there was real, painful loss in there. There was aching and grieving and scarring. That is where I sit. For there to be something more to be gained would require a monumental tipping of the scales opposite those losses.
What is weightier than brokenness?
Hint: it’s not un-brokenness–un-brokenness is easy, light, airy.
That’s not much in the way of hints, is it?
I spent October in increasing degrees of brokenness.
November 1st through 10th, if you look back at the archives, were spent admitting that brokenness, describing it, owning it, laying it all out in a series of posts here and saying “See this? This is true. It is ugly and embarrassing and broken and I don’t know what to do with it, but it is true and genuine and mine. It is me.”
And then? November 13th came.