One year ago.
I remember that first appointment with the RE so well. I remember how I set it for three months after Dr. B first told me we’d need to see a specialist, that Clomid and Femara weren’t working and I needed more high-level intervention than she could give me. March 5, 2013. By the time we actually had our appointment, we’d been trying for nearly a year already. I remember that Arthur took the day off of work so that we could focus on the appointment. I remember that as we were driving home that afternoon, it snowed.
We were very hopeful. Worried, of course, but very hopeful.
Dr. D seemed confident a few rounds of injectables with either IUI or timed intercourse, and we’d be pregnant. I mentioned to him that we had a wedding in June that I’d be out of state to attend, so that would need to be worked around in treatment cycles. He smiled and made some sort of comment to the effect that he felt pretty good about the chances that I’d be drinking water at that wedding instead of wine.
Even though a part of me deep down almost flinched when he said that – I doubted, even then, that it was going to be that simple, that easy – I wanted very, very badly to believe it. Besides, I was probably just being cynical. I needed to be more positive in my thinking, right? So I calmly coasted out of the office, ready to get pregnant.
Except then: BFN March turned into cancelled-due-to-cysts April turned into too-many-follicles May turned into lack-of-response June turned into BFN July. In July, getting frustrated, I expressed my dismay to Dr. D. I remember that response too: that I needed to be more positive and more patient. These things could take time.
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Clearly we were out the realm of drinking water instead of wine at that wedding, though.
After finally taking the plunge into IVF, I refused to get excited when my beta came back positive, practicing instead the suggested “cautious optimism”. I took a deep breath when it doubled appropriately. I went to that first ultrasound, saw the beautiful, strong heartbeat and a baby measuring on track for gestational age and told myself not to get overly optimistic. I refused to get attached. Then there was that second ultrasound. The fetus had grown perfectly. The heartbeat was stronger. And I finally got excited because I was given a greater than 90% chance of taking home a baby at that point.
Well. A 90+% chance is not 100%, after all.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve read a lot of books, treatises, philosophies, and theologies on grief and suffering. Some have made me feel small in my grief, insignificant in the face of greater suffering. Others make me feel the crushing, almost overwhelming place I cannot seem to escape from. Some are altogether smug, or chiding to move on or rejoice in faith, hope. Others offer no definition, an endless landscape of sadness. Some try to posit answers or theories, others shrug and deem it a part of life.
None of them, of course, fits the exact dimensions of my particular dark places. This is one of the things I am learning, that grief is at once universal to humans and so entirely individual that it is almost impossible to explain to others the nuances of the face it shows to me.
How can I explain that when I miscarried, I didn’t lose just that pregnancy? I lost the entire f*cking narrative I’d built to justify the intrusive treatments, the money, the disappointment, the pain, the anger, the meaning for my life.
It’s funny how once you finally acknowledge that your world has tilted on its axis that you can’t go back to pretending that what used to be ‘up’ is still, well, up. Because what used to be ‘up’ is now ‘sideways’ or even ‘down’.
So here I am, still figuring it out.
One year later.