Conception Day

Today is the 7th anniversary of my one successful IUI. It was a Tuesday.  We were in New York for the weekend (including Monday) and we got home around 2 in the morning.  The calendar entry for that date reads very simply:

9:30 AM [Husband’s name] collection

10:30 AM IUI

How could I know then it would be the day everything changed.

Now is it both a blessing to be reminded of and a reminder that this is all I will ever have.  That the memories must be savored, because they are all that is left.  Creating the experience of a new pregnancy is beyond me, so I cling pathetically to what was.  It seems to me that most people look at their conception day (or the other pregnancy milestones they capture) with unmitigated joy, knowing what is coming.  I’m not devoid of gratitude or joy or relief in reliving these moments, but I continually feel the pain of having wanted more of them.

For people who have multiple children, they have so many special moments to relieve in each of the lives of their children.  I have this one moment in time, not a romantic fade-to-black moment with my husband and me giggling over our wonderful sex life, but a sterile moment in a clinic, while I try not to flinch and afterwards cover myself with a blanket because after IUI, my body goes into a light state of shock and I get super cold.  A blanket that I brought special after the first IUI (which resulted in a miscarriage, probably not because I didn’t bring the blanket.) that my grandmother made for me as a present when I graduated high school.  A moment when Paula, our nurse, injects me with the sperm, one of whom graduated to become my beautiful child, to the bright lights and relaxing background music that I brought in because it helped me endure the IUIs.

It was unquestionably worth it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, if I could.  But I still wish for a better memory.  For many better memories.  That I’ll never have.

Particularly stressful week on the baby front

Lots of pictures of my first time pregnant glowing cousin this week.  One of my girlfriends, also a first time pregnant mtb, gushed that she would be asking me “lots of questions during her pregnancy.”  Yea.  How lucky for me. Yesterday’s question was, “When did we know the sex of our baby.”

My answer, “When my husband placed her in my arms for the first time and said, ‘It’s a girl.” A healthy, amazing baby girl.

Saw another pregnancy announcement yesterday, “Who has two thumbs and is pregnant again with her second?” Wait!  I have two thumbs, but…oh, yeah, that’s not me.  And since it’s not me, why don’t you STFU. I don’t think I would have minded her announcement so much it hadn’t felt like a rubbing it in.

We’ve got spirit, yes we do,

I’m having a second baby!

How about you?

Oh, still not?  Well, sucks to be you then.

Can you hear my heart beat for the very last time?

I came across the concept of a soundwave tattoo today.  You can read more about it here, if you’re curious: https://skinmotion.com/, but to summarize, you can ink up to 1 minute of sound wave onto your skin and it can then be played back by you or others with an app on a mobile device.

I’ve never been a huge fan of tattoos in general, but I know a lot parents who endure miscarriage or stillbirth (or infant/child loss) want a memorial tattoo.  I totally understand the concept.  Your life is forever changed and marking your skin symbolically is an absolute expression of that idea that nothing is the same anymore.  That you are not the same any more.  You’re forever changed by that experience, and there’s no going back, and to express that inward shift in a public, outward way is cathartic in a way that’s hard for mere words to express.

So when I saw this soundwave tattoo, that was my second thought.  For my second miscarriage, my baby had a heartbeat and I thought we were safe.  Because miscarriage rates drop precipitously after the baby is big enough for a heartbeat.  Not precipitously enough, as it turned out for me, but it occurred to me for those people for whom memorial tattooing is a calling of their heart after their loss, how much more so, to be able to hear again their baby’s heart.  To be reminded that your baby’s heartbeat was real.  Your baby was real.  Your pain was, is real.  And your loss is real.  Every day. To carry your baby’s heartbeat around with you on your skin just as you carry it around with you every day in your heart.

LYMY

 

Doesn’t it burn?

The first thing that happened was that I found out my friend was pregnant.  I felt angry and betrayed.  She wasn’t even trying.  She had told me that her family was complete (complete for now, I guess).  So I found out my friend was pregnant, and I felt angry and betrayed, and then before I could even process those feelings and find my way back to being happy for her, I found out she was miscarrying.

And this is not the first time I’ve found myself in this situation.  Now I feel guilty and sad and angry and betrayed.

You Don’t Deserve To Have Children


It hurt even to type that title.  I thought about titling it the AHCA, but it’s not really about that.

I saw on the Facebook someone posted about a conversation she had with a friend about the Congressional House of Representatives version of the AHCA bill, which passed yesterday with 1 day of discussion, no CBO score, etc. etc.  The friend’s attitude was extremely dismissive, along the lines of, “oh well, if you get kicked off insurance. Your son’s illness is not the problem of taxpayers.”

And that reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my cousins, who was of the same opinion about my infertility.  If I can’t afford treatment to help me get pregnant, “oh well.  My illness is not the problem of the taxpayers.”  Okay, first off.  I am a taxpayer, so yeah it is.  Second, she had an oops baby while away from home, got welfare assistance, moved back to get help from her parents to care for her unexpected child, then got married and had two more kids with her husband.   Her unexpected child was my problem as a taxpayer and I begrudge her absolutely nothing.  I know at least 3 extreme preemies and I’m grateful to live in a society that helps to take care of these children until they can breathe on their own, so they can have the chance at life that my cousin and this friend take for granted.

I deserve to have children.  We all deserve to be able to provide adequate medical care to support our children’s needs.  Minimally.  Ideally, we’d be able to provide a completely supportive environment that includes meeting their physical, mental, emotional, and educational needs.  But maybe that’s just crazy talk?

See my previous post about society.  If we were all meant to fend for ourselves and do it all alone, we could live all alone in caves and have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.  We exist as a society to help and support each other.  Otherwise, why expend the effort?

Mother’s Day

The previous post sort of spilled out when I started writing, but this is the post I actually opened the window intending to write:

On my Facebook I’ve seen a proliferation of:

In honor of upcoming Mother’s Day: ALL ABOUT YOUR….

first born, second-born…eleventh-born, etc.

And you are supposed to talk about birth and pregnancy experience.

In theory I love the idea.  The pregnancy and birth experience should be talked about and celebrated.  In actuality, I hate it.  I hate the reminders.  I hate knowing that other people have experienced this multiple times.  I hate it for my friends who adopted.  I hate it for my friends who employed surrogates.  I hate it for the ease and pride that the fertiles have. I hate it, and this is unusual for me, because I am jealous of the ease and pride that they have.  I wish I had it.  Normally when people say, “You hate because you’re jealous,” it’s not true.  This time it is.

I hate it because it’s a reminder that they’re “normal” and I’m not.  I hate it for all those Mother’s Days I hid and avoided people.  I hate it for all those mother’s days when I was alone and had to watch my in-laws celebrating while I mourned the loss of my children, wondering if I would ever be able to celebrate.  I hate it because I know there are countless, silent other people like me who hate it, and can’t say anything, because we don’t want to steal the joy from other people, because we’re sweet, and polite.  I hate it for us all of us.

So, no.  I won’t be doing that.  I can at least spare my friends from this one small thing that can be so painful.

Edited to Add: After I posted this, a conversation started about this very thing within one of my Facebook groups.  I explained why I thought it was hurtful and a woman replied with her reasons for why she should be allowed to post a meme like that without being made to feel guilty because she is a have and others are have nots.  She didn’t say it in those words, but that was her essential point.  Honestly, I read her post as, “Why should I have to be nice to those who are less fortunate?”  I don’t know.  You tell me.  “Why should I have to pay for his/her healthcare?”  “Why should I have to pay, because he or she is sick?”

You live in a community of people.  We all live in communities.  (except those of us who opt out)  Don’t we have obligations to each other?  If I know that you’ve been the victim of rape, does it kill me to not make my favorite rape joke in front of you?  If I know my friend is longing for a child, how does it harm me to not post a meme recapping my pregnancy, which in most cases she was actually there for, either literally or figuratively holding my hand and praying for me, despite her own pain? Can we spare a moment of compassion for other people?  Or we are too busy being selfish assholes who only think of our own momentary pleasure.

I didn’t reply.  I couldn’t think of a way to make that sound polite.

No Sympathy

when I hear people opine that not enough people talk about the infertility struggle, I think of myself and all the things people say to me when I try to open up about how painful it is.  It all comes down to variations of, “well, it’s your own fucking fault, don’t look for sympathy here!”

Everything is fair game, when people are looking to blame someone for reproductive problems.  My lifestyle, my career, my choice of spouse, my religion, my size, my dietary habits, my exercise habits, my potential parenting choices; all on the table for critique when it comes to explaining why its my fault I can’t get pregnant.

Who wants to open themselves up for that?  Who wants to listen to every asshole spouting shit from their open orifice? I get it.  I’m not worthy to have children for 3,000 reasons, 2,999 of which are my own fault, and one might be my husband’s fault, but mostly me, and no one cares, because if I did things differently, better, the way they suggest, all my problems would go away, I could have children, and hearts and flowers would drip from my honeyed tongue.  If only I just trusted and substituted someone else’s judgement for mine, except in those places where it’s already too late, my choices have already condemned me.