Wednesday, October 17, 2007

infertility anonymous

i'd be lying if i said i didn't love going to the infertility clinic.
it's probably a little bit sick of me, given it represents everything i NEVER thought my life would include.
but, it's the only place in this big massive abyss of a city -- where i feel wholly understood.
where i'm surrounded my strangers, yet, strangers who can sympathize like no other woman quite can.

i can't even bear to tally the amount of money we've spent on this aspect of our lives -- yet -- the sanity i feel when i'm on the inside of fertility clinic's four walls, makes every penny feel so easy to spend.

typically, i swallow the lump in my throat during each baby announcement and shower...
typically, i grid each day of the month and analyze it in ways you can't even imagine.
typically, i watch other people laugh...and wonder when the last time was that i laughed that hard...
typically, though we're friends...i feel separated from humanity by an endless canyon.
....each day is simply a number, a pill, a shot, a doctor's visit...a fragile dream handled with kid gloves.

but at the clinic, i even love the not-so-nice lady at the front desk....
i love that they always have the morning news on the widescreen in the waiting room.
i love that the nurses smile when they see me.
i love that another girl that bears my name happens to always be there on the days that i am. and when our name is called, we say, "...which allison?"
i love how the really early morning appointments are held before business hours each day, and i love how it's hard to find a seat in the waiting room, during this time. it's the only time during this entire struggle when there's hardly room for me, when i'm reminded that i'm not the only one on earth enduring this.
i love being reminded, that although a businesswoman looks otherwise perfect, sophisticated, strong, polished, put-together, bearing no outward signs of her excruciating pain -- she cries the same tears i do.
i love the feeling of being surrounded by people who have made the same financial sacrifice i have. who probably sit at the dinner table at night and wonder if they should buy a house or continue to funnel money into making a family. who probably wring their hands wondering if the shots are going to hurt more because they're $400 a vial.
i love how these women probably have to put their makeup on 10 times on the mornings their inseminations are cancelled.
i love how i can meet eyes with a girl across the room and instantly hear her thoughts...or know she can hear mine.
i love how these women endure the same terrifying three minutes i do, of waiting for that second pink line to show up and minute #4 feeling as though the world has come crashing down on us.
like we all accidentally met at bootcamp or something, except, we never signed on any dotted lines voluntarily.
there is comfort in numbers, people....and i don't care how sick that's a lifeline for me.

you can't put a pricetag on finding 20 minutes every week that offers you the opportunity to not feel guilty for crying.

we're all assigned to a nurse coordinator who calls all of her patients on the afternoon of blood tests with the results and she's probably got the hardest job in the world. but she never needs to ask why you haven't responded, because she fully understands the weight of the news she bears and how it has kicked the wind out of you. she sweetly waits for you to find a composed (or not) response even though she anticipates she won't understand your sobs. it takes her two hours each afternoon to return all of her test results to the patients. is it weird that when i hang the phone up and dissolve into a puddle of tears....there is solace in knowing another girl in this city is about to get the same call....and another girl....and another girl.....

it's the summer when everybody is in short-sleeves....amidst the bustle of K Street downtown, even chad can recognize all the women in my shoes scurrying along the busy street by the white cotton swab taped to the inside of her elbow where they drew the blood...holding her breath for the next six hours awaiting the nurses call. least i get to take my phone call from the privacy of my of the biggest blessings to date.

...along with the weekly reminder that i'm not alone...

how can you put a pricetag on that?


chrissy said...

i love this. you're very right my friend.

meet joelle said...

very well spoken...with wisdom and from the heart.
your words can and will give others, even with different burdens than infertility, the WORDS, and the identifying factor that they can relate to.
...have i told you that i think you should wrote a book? :)

motheratheart said...

wow thanks for making me cry today. you are so right on and have such a beautiful way of putting this into words!

Nikki said...

I have no words - only prayers and love to offer you both.

Contemplative Chaplain said...

So, so beautifully written, and so true. When we were on the fertility rat-race, I was always comforted by the staff and my comrades there. When it finally happened for us, I wanted so much to show our son to the staff when he finally arrived, but didn't want to be insensitive by showing up in the waiting room.

Somehow I'm sure they know.

You're in my thoughts.

Phyllis said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. Women who have not struggled with this just don't understand. I hate the look in their eyes like they are so sad for me but can't relate to it. I stopped trying to get pregnant 5 years ago. I was exhausted after 4 back-to-back IVF treatments. I have recently been told that removing my uterus is inevitable due to fibroids. I just can't do it yet. I am not even 40 yet. I know in my head that I won't ever get pregnant but my heart just aches over the permanency of removing my uterus.

Anonymous said...

You are right. We may have never met but we share a bond. Thank you for sharing your story.

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