So, as I wrote yesterday, we’re boarding the IVF train and leaving Waiting Station. My baseline is tomorrow. All aboard!
After calling the clinic to set the appointment, I followed a familiar routine. I opened my personal Google calendar and added the appointment, opened my work Google calendar, copied the event to it, and padded it with an extra 1.5 hours on both ends for travel. (Sure, sure, my boss doesn’t need to know that I’m “busy” starting at 6 fucking-AM, but I want her to feel guilty and lazy when she sees that appointment on there!) As I added the appointment, though, something hit me about the date. September 18. There’s something special about September 18…
A childhood friend’s birthday is today, so not the 18th. My aunt’s is in a few more days, so not her either. I went through my mental inventory of work obligations – my self-report isn’t due for another few weeks, that conference isn’t until next month, and, honestly, when does anything special happen on a Wednesday? I asked Mr. But IF, but, nope, no important milestones. I let it be.
After another exhausting Monday, I settled in last night to watch my Steeler’s get stomped. And to eat my body-weight in carbs. Some friends have guilted me into attending a twice weekly faculty bootcamp class on campus. Can I just say how much I am looking forward to the excuse of stims to start dialing back on these classes? I also booted up Facebook for a quick stalk and mock.
Many folks in the infertility community have a difficult relationship with Facebook. While I’ve had my moments, it’s never been that big of a source of pain for me. Maybe it’s because I’m somewhat used to Facebook showing me things I can’t have – friends celebrating birthdays, engagements, and showers with their mothers – or maybe it is because I started using Facebook as an infertility soapbox and support network early on in the struggle – I freely post IF articles, comments about our treatments, and speak to my IF “friends in the computer” via Facebook every day, but for whatever reason Facebook has never been much of a trigger. Last night wasn’t really any different, save the fact it reminded my why September 18 felt so important.
Yesterday when I pulled up Facebook I was greeted by another wrinkly and squish-able newborn face. The daughter-in-law of my mom’s best friend had her son. My mom’s best friend, my “aunt” by choice not blood, is now a grandmother. Another happy ending.
When I opened up to my “aunt” about our troubles conceiving, she told me her son and daughter-in-law were having issues as well. She’d been pregnant, she’d lost the baby, they thought it was her thyroid. I shook my head knowingly and supportively, offered my sincerest condolences, and told her to tell her daughter-in-law to call me no matter when or why and let her know she was not alone. “We may be next to strangers,” I said, “but please just let her know there’s someone out there that ‘gets it’ and will be there for her if she needs it. I would have given anything not to feel so alone in the beginning, and I don’t want to know that anyone else feels that way if I can help it!”
She never reached out, and that’s fine. She was pregnant a few months later, and so was I. Seems we were both getting our happy endings.
Her son was born yesterday, and mine was miscarried and flushed at just over 9 weeks this past February.
So, that’s why September 18 had a ring to it, caused a visceral reaction. September 18 was my due date.
After seeing a gestational sac, hearing a heartbeat, seeing the embryonic squirm, September 18 was supposed to be the end of our infertility struggle and the beginning of life as parents. Instead, September 18 will be the day we start IVF, the day we begin again from scratch, the day we get one step closer to being done once and for all. While a beautiful and happy new family celebrates in my old hometown, I’ll answer the alarm that will ring at 5AM, scrape the frost off of my windshield at 6AM, be to my clinic by 7AM, and begin the appointments, the injections, the hoping, and the despair all over again. As they celebrate each newness – eyes opening, hospital discharge, first night at home, first bath – I’ll endure the endless and familiar cycle. Remove vial from fridge, swab injection site, pull back plunger, stab, sterile gauze, repeat. While others move on, I continue going in circles.