Long day, short-ish post.
I always have mixed feelings when we’re visiting family. On one hand, as I’m sure many of you have already experienced in your own lives, family gatherings can be remarkably fertile ground for infertility land-mines. When wandering around my husband’s grandmother’s house, you can’t take two steps without seeing evidence of the three great-grandchildren her other grandson has blessed her with. Hand-made pre-school knickknacks, happy family photographs (including a painful number of granddaughter-in-law in a what seems to me to be a perpetual state of pregnancy), and knitting projects in progress in the brightest baby blues and pinks. It’s hard not to look around and notice the lack of our contribution to this museum of the modern American family. I’m just thankful that, with the newest edition here, I no longer have to stare at any ultrasounds hung on the fridge. Ultrasounds have always meant pain to me, so I get terrified when I see them out in public. Why would anyone hang that, that blurry image that does nothing but spell doom and heartache, on their fridge? All of mine are hidden away in a folder alongside lab results, medical receipts, and the images taken of my screwed up insides during my laparoscopy. They most certainly aren’t on anyone’s fridge.
On the other hand, family is a great distraction from and reminder of that which we want so badly. A game of cards, a talkative dinner, the glee you witness when watching an 85 year-old opening her mail (“Oh, the March of Dimes sent me a nickel!”), it’s all a vivid reminder of the meaning brought to the mundane through the power of family. In those moments, I’m transported away from my world of worries. And, once back to reality, memories of those simple moments make all the injections, the tears, the 5AM drives to the RE, and even a thousand trans-vaginal ultrasounds worth it. I want these moments not to be relegated to my past and present; I want them in the future as well. I want to yell at my daughter for not visiting enough, I want to make my son his favorite pie, I want to give my grandchildren the same chocolate Easter eggs their great-great-grandmother gave me. This is why we are still fighting.
On this weekend away from home and (largely) away from the Internet, I’m reminded of another family I’m so very thankful to have in my life. On Wednesday night a dear old friend called me to congratulate me on this blog. During the conversation she remarked on how it must mean a lot to be able to go through this journey with the support of random strangers on the Internet. Without even thinking about it, I replied, “I wouldn’t have survived this all without my friends in the computer.” And, though that may have come out a little more dramatic than I intended, on reflection I still think that knee-jerk sentiment holds up. Infertility is lonely, infertility makes even the strongest buckle under the pressure, and infertility leaves you asking, “Why me?” The friends I’ve made through my online infertility support networks have made this infertile life worth living and that future family worth fighting for. They remind me I am not alone and I am not weak. I have the weight of the infertility community behind me and I carry the hopes and dreams of the infertility community with me.
So, thank you old friends who have been on this journey with me from the beginning, and thank you new ones who have embraced me through this blog in the past week. Here’s to all of us having the opportunity to make our grandchildren curse and smile in equal measure.