After a year of inconvenient RE visits, painful medical procedures, crushing disappointments, and nearly incapacitating depression, Infertility has changed me. It is a part of who I am, part of my identity... whether I like it or not.
I think this became glaringly apparent to me when we received the worst of all the horrible news (that the IVF had failed) right before the holidays. If you knew me Before Infertility, you know that I love the holidays. Otherwise a pretty cynical person, I become a gleeful, wide-eyed child around Christmas, revelling in all things holiday from the first airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas to the seasonal Starbucks peppermint mocha latte. I admit, Linus would not be proud, as I certainly help to perpetuate the commercialization of Christmas. But, I think I also have a good idea of what the "true meaning" of Christmas is, at least for me. It sounds like the moral of a Lifetime TV Christmas special, but I love spending holidays with my family. Always have. I find comfort in the routine, the tradition of it all. All of those "things"... the decorations, the gifts, the tv specials, the lattes... are physical representations of that feeling for me.
But, oh, this year. This was the year Infertility came to live with us, and It changed everything. I didn't get to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. I didn't get out of bed for Thanksgiving. As Christmas approached, I slowly crawled out of my hole, but there was surely no celebrating. The holiday sights and sounds that used to make me so happy now seemed to make the pain in my heart even stronger, and the hole in my soul even bigger. It was as though Infertility was following me around, whispering, "See that happy family? See that one? You'll never get to have that. I'll make sure Christmas is never happy for you again." I did make it to my parents' for Christmas, but, to put it tritely, "things just weren't the same". Infertility would leave me alone for moments at a time, and I would forget that It was there, but before long, It was whispering in my ear and nudging me out of my bliss.
A few days after I was back home, during a phone conversation, my dad said, "We wish you would tell us what's wrong"*, referring to my occasional bouts of silence and general moroseness. This statement seemed so absurd to me that I didn't know how to respond. It seemed more appropriate that someone should say to me, "There were moments when you DIDN'T seem upset. How did you manage that?"
Last night, we went to a party for a friend's 50th birthday. As we approached the door, I noticed a couple standing inside the foyer. They had a baby. My first inclination was to turn around and go home. I honestly wanted to go home. But I swallowed the lump in my throat, averted my eyes, and went through the door.
I spent the entire evening avoiding that baby. And thinking about that baby. I tried to join in on conversations, but I couldn't think of anything to say. I could only think about that baby.
That's my life right now... I'm trying to join in, but all I can think about is that baby. My baby.
*see clarification in new post...