Wow. I am circling right back around to where I was when I started this blog. In June of last year I was getting an HSG to prep for a superov IUI (my apologies to anyone who doesn’t speak infertility). At that point, I’d been officially trying for a little over a year (but had been off the pill for three), had had surgery for endo and had done three unsuccessful rounds of Clomid. Amazingly, the IUI worked. Shortly thereafter, I miscarried. And here I am 8 1/2 months later wrapping up another round of superov IUI.
It’s amazing to me how quickly time goes in this process – partly because everything happens in months. Two months to get in for HSG, one month to get in for IUI, one month to complete process to know if it works, 2 months of being pregnant, 1 month of physically recovering from miscarriage, 3 months waiting for toxicology reports (and letting your ovaries rest from being hyper stimulated for the last several months), 1 month of new tests, etc., etc…and you find another year has gone by.
I guess I should back up a little. One of the things that happened during my recent blog hiatus was that I got my toxicology reports back from my miscarriage: a male, genetically normal. Such sterile language; so completely loaded. I didn’t realize I was going to learn the baby’s gender, so when the doctor said those words on the phone, it took a moment for me to find air and words again.
I had a little boy. So you know how you have silly things that you know don’t really matter but you kind of fixate on anyway? One of mine was wanting to have a boy first. I always loved having an older brother and have always thought that one should, generally speaking, have one. Plus, in my family, people always have boys first. (In my husband’s family, they always have girls first, and that just seems all wrong to me.) I wanted my future daughter to have a big brother with a lot of protective friends to escort her through adolescence. That’s the way it worked for me, and it just felt to me that that’s the way it should be. Somewhere during my short pregnancy, I had decided that I was having a girl, and I had a girl name picked out and was preparing to fall head over heels for my girl. Now, suddenly, it was a boy. It was plan A.
Genetically normal. Over and over I’d been told that this was my body’s way of preventing an unhealthy baby from being born, that there was most likely a genetic problem with my baby. Now I was hearing that this was a baby who should have made it. There was nothing wrong with him. In a flash, I went from mourning the baby that wasn’t meant to be to mourning the child that I desperately wanted. The healthy baby boy. (I would hate for my future daughter to come across this and feel in any way that she was less wanted or less important than a boy…that is not the case. It was just that in my mind, this was the order of things. In my mind, I would have many children, and in the birth order of this hypothetical construct, there would be a brother as wonderful as my own looking out for his precious little sister(s). That’s all. It was a small thing, but somehow it hit hard when I heard “male, genetically normal.”)
So I mourned again. A different baby this time. And I took a bunch of tests, because they wanted to know why my body had killed the baby. They found nothing. The only small hiccup in all of my tests was that my thyroid was underperforming. TSH levels of 4.1 when they should be under 2.5 for a woman trying to get pregnant. So they put me on Synthroid, but the doctor told me that she didn’t believe that was the reason I lost the baby. She said as frustrating as it is to not have answers, all that we can do is try again and hope and pray.
So I am. All of the above. I was inseminated yesterday. My two week wait ends on my due date. Such an odd coincidence. I’m hoping there’s some bittersweet redemption on that day instead of confounded sorrow, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
When I was in South America, I took a good long walk down a lonely Chilean beach and said goodbye to my boy. I named him, I released him. I allowed myself to believe that he was meant to be and that he was alright. I allowed myself to imagine that my grandmother was looking out for him. I allowed myself to think that I’d meet him someday and he would just have bypassed all the pain that growing up in this world entails and would have infinitely deep eyes, completely devoid of sorrow.
I willed myself to let go of any parallel reality and own the one that is. To not cling to what might have been. So much of life is not clinging to what might have been. To the future you had imagined for yourself. Sometimes it’s hard to pry your cold fingers off a dead dream, but in order to grab ahold of a new one, you must. And, I’m learning, from the kindness of my surrogate mother in Argentina, from the wisdom of a counsellor here at home, that it’s important to grieve the loss of what might have been. To own that sorrow, to pour out all of your grief before God and spare him nothing. But, like King David when he lost his son, when the fight is done, to get up, dry your eyes, soften your heart again and open it to the possibility of a new dream. Oh it’s hard. It’s so hard. But I do believe it is the only way to continue living.
So I’m here. The two week wait. Taking it moment by moment. So desperately hoping that I will be opening my heart to my second child soon. Hope is such a violent thing. Even when you fight it, sometimes it sweeps you up to crazy heights. You know that any moment, it may drop you. And the higher you’ve flown, the farther you’ll fall, so you try to curb the ascent, but it’s stronger than you are and it sweeps you up until you’re inches from the sun and miles from the earth and the hope and the terror are almost one and the same at that point, so you just try to keep breathing. Breathe, Eli.