|Look Who's Back!
Huh? It was quarter to five on a Saturday morning and Husband was dropping me off at the airport for my trip to Nashville to meet up with my father and to watch the women's Final Four Championship. I was still half asleep and could barely hold a coherent thought in my head. "Oh, I don't think he'll say anything."
Perhaps it was just wishful thinking on my part, but I've been on a good run. Five years ago, I was invited to travel to Washington DC to participate on a panel discussion and Husband and my parents joined for a mini-holiday. We were approaching our third anniversary in a few months, so my mother figured it was an appropriate time to ask the "when are you going to give us some grandchildren?" question over dinner. I dropped the bomb that I had no intentions to procreate and a very tense discussion ensued. So tense that the waiter kept topping up our wine glasses and didn't charge for the second bottle. When we parted at the end of the trip, my dad hugged me and whispered "I'm okay having cats for grandchildren." That was the last time the issue was addressed. My mother even surpassed my expectations when she didn't intrude with questions after little Myrtle was born.
I'm pretty adapt at thinking on my feet and answering questions on the spot, but this time I was truly caught off guard. We were eating lunch at a BBQ restaurant, and I dipped my napkin in a glass of water to clean some sauce off my fingers. My dad joked that he and my mother thought about inventing a cleaning product that they would name "Mom Spit". I brought up the fact that as a novice swimmer, I bought a bottle of anti-fog spray for my goggles, only to learn that veteran swimmers use spit, as it is more effective, free and convenient. Not only did I kill his idea, but I forgot that most people who don't work in healthcare don't talk about bodily fluids while they're eating. Then I took it one step further. As I have an insatiable desire to share my accumulation of useless facts, I described that my grandmother taught me that the enzymes in your saliva are specific to digest your own blood and no one else's. You can use spit to clean blood stains if it's your blood and your spit (try it some time, it really works!). This was a discovery among women in quilting circles and apparently a perfect opening for my father.
"So, when are you going to make any plans to share all the knowledge you've learned from your grandparents and hopefully from your mother and me?"
Oh fuck! he's asking the question...
"I'll write everything down." I deflected with the evasiveness of a skilled politician.
"I'm not worried about your memory." Damn, he's persistent!
Silence. [insert cricket sounds]
"Well, that shut you up."
Do you really want to hear my answer to your question?
Well actually, we're planning to transfer our remaining embryo from our first IVF cycle the day after I return. I've been shooting myself up with progesterone every other morning in preparation. You see, we're reproductively challenged. Yeah I know, the irony...ha-ha. No, I'm not going to tell you the specifics of our problem as they are irrelevant. This is where we are. We're infertile and we need the highest level of help and so far it hasn't worked. No we don't need money, but we appreciate the offer. Money alone can't bring us a baby. I am so sorry. You may never be a grandparent...
May I ask some questions in return?
Do you have any idea how painful this burden of disappointment is? Do you have any idea how it breaks my heart when I see the longing look in your eyes when we see little kids? Do you know what a punch to the gut it is when I hear you talk about your time with 'little Myrtlepants'? Do you notice how quickly I change the subject when little Myrtle is introduced into the conversation? Were you suspicious of anything when you and mum asked if everything is alright multiple times when we spoke on Christmas Day? Will you and mum ever understand the rationale for my secrecy? Remember when I was little and there were times when you needed to conceal the truth to protect me? It's my turn to do that for you. I just can't bring you through the devastation of miscarriages and failed treatment cycles. I can't make it even harder for you to play with little Myrtle and look at your friends and their grandkids. I wouldn't wish the pain of infertility and pregnancy loss on anyone, and I especially can't inflict it upon the people I love the most.
"We'll know when we're ready." I answered him. "I still have plenty of time. Nana was 45 when she had you." That was the end of the discussion. Okay, I really feel really guilty about referencing my grandmother's age, as I know that a woman spontaneously conceiving and delivering a healthy baby boy in 1946 was the exception to all the exceptions of the norm. Hey, I'll use anything I have at my disposal. There were some practical reasons for my cowardliness. My mother was probably jealous enough of this father daughter trip, if I confessed to my father first, I'd never hear the end of it. I'd also never hear the end of it from Husband if I became the one who caved.
A few weeks earlier I was competing at our end of season swim meet. Over all I was pleased with my results, but I was disappointed with my time in one of our relays. My coach caught up to me in the pool during my warm down and tried to console me. "Well, you had a lot of tough events today." I had competed in the 100 and 50 yd butterfly, swam the butterfly leg of our 200 yd medley relay and did another 25 yards of fly during my 100 IM. "Plus, your absences have been more noticeable lately." she added. I was so tempted to offer an explanation at that moment. Well, I was going through my second miscarriage during the month of December -I figured no one would want to share a lane with me! More recently, I missed the better part of a week as I had an embryo transferred into my uterus and your work-outs are considered the 'strenuous exercise' I had been instructed to avoid. No, it didn't work. I'm not pregnant, so I can't use that as an excuse for my poor time. These words came to me in my mind but couldn't make their way to my mouth. I froze in my own silence as it occurred to me that if I couldn't even tell my swim coach about our plight, how would I ever manage to tell my parents?
I'm becoming aware that I'm approaching my own 'put up or shut up' deadline for telling my parents if this cycle doesn't work and we're facing another fresh cycle. Although I don't know why I made such a suggestion as it's not an imperative detail and is probably a bad idea to impose more stress on ourselves during the final cycle. As I've reference before, concealing our infertility is the only aspect of the process that I can control, but it's time to admit that part of the desire for keeping this secret is that I would get to disclose when we have a happy ending to our story. I need to acknowledge that I only have domain over the secret, as my fantasy scenario is still out of my control and it's time to prepare for an alternate conclusion. When we left, my dad reminded me how much he and my mother love me and will always be there for me. "What ever you need." he added. I need your understanding when we tell you, Mum, Dad... we're infertile...
|Hello Kitty joined us in Nashville for the Women's Final Four!
|Jubilations! 2014 Champions
UCONN Men and Women!