The weekend family trip was so outrageously sucky and so helpful.  It sucked because I had absolutely no distraction from the helpless little cycles of grief.  Which means I’d be sort of going along having a normal hour or so and then something, anything, reminded me of pregnancy; and then I’d cry all over again.  The family trip was such that there was nothing to do, so my husband invented errands and I invented a headache to get away, and then I’d cry, and feel better.  I feel like grief is this big hard apple and every time I cry I take a bite, and I can feel it going away but the bites are small.  Then we got to the part where I got to see the entire family together on Sunday afternoon.  This is the part where everyone in the room of reproductive age, and I generously include myself in that category, isn’t fertile. 

Ever since I had a painful relationship with an alcoholic, I’ve been a bit of a drink-counter.  It’s something alcoholics teach you; a certain amount of drinks means the alcoholic is about to get mean, or do whatever his or her heartbreaking gutwrenching alcoholic shtick is, and by counting drinks I can be prepared for what is surely coming.  The infertility version is being a drink-watcher.  If I’m afraid a woman I know is going to suddenly announce her pregnancy – hopefully in a group, so I can experience maximum hurt and have nowhere to hide – I check to see if she is drinking.  So I’m sitting there yesterday looking at the younger generation of this family – two couples, both in their thirties, both "having trouble" in some way with fertility – with glasses of wine all around. Except poor old technically-still-pregnant me: I may be spiteful but not enough to drink a glass of wine until I get a formal negative from the doctor’s office.  Anyway, right about then my gratitude kicked in.

These kids live in a small town which they probably love but I would hate.  They have one fertility clinic.  When one of them miscarried twins at 5 months, she had to come to our big city, 100 miles away, because their hospital couldn’t offer the care she needed.  None of them has been to college, some of them smoke, and they all probably have crappy insurance.  If any.  Infertility is challenging enough to those of us with money, insurance, and time: to sit at the computer all day, do research, run around to doctors, and get second opinions.  These kids probably don’t have a lot of options beyond trying to make a baby au naturale and they probably represent the majority of people.  The hopelessness was palpable. 

And there I sat, having just achieved at least a little bit of pregnancy at 44 through some pretty fancy endocrinological footwork, insured to the hilt, with my plans B-Z ready to go, thinking I’m old and fat and grieving but I have a lot to be hopeful for.  Shame on me for resenting-in-advance any success they might have. 

It also killed me to know that we all really need to talk about it and we couldn’t.  If I could have just taken out my People Remote and paused the clueless older generation for a few hours, I could have been free to do what I always do: "so, where are you guys on the whole kids thing?  Because we’ve been trying for four years and it’s, y’know, ripping my heart out."   I’m still a little bit amazed at how often I bring it up, thinking it’ll be all about me, and find that an ocean of agony is sitting right across from me with done nails and perky highlights, wearing a cute top and looking like she hasn’t got a care in the world.  Why can’t we talk about it?  I can’t NOT talk about it. 

As you can see.

As of today I am officially unpregnant and again I say I am lucky; it could have been ectopic or just dragged itself out for more misery.  You may get tired of me pointing out the good side of things, but what’s the alternative?  I’m sad and scared and a little bit hopeless at the moment and it’s the only way I know to hold on.

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