Saturday, January 31, 2009

Much better than a crockpot

I've been thinking for a long time about how I would like to thank the staff at my RE's office. They really are amazing and I can't imagine what it would have been like to go through all of the stress of infertility without them there supporting me along the way.

So how do you thank people for a kid?

An Edible Arrangement? Healthy and delicious (provided you spring for the chocolate covered strawberries), but insufficient. Cookies? Yummy, but still insufficient. Sincere, handwritten note? Thoughtful and genuine, so let's give it a whirl.

I attempted this note several times to no avail. I sat in front of a blank piece of stationery wrestling with my words. I thought back to the many thank you notes I wrote throughout my life, especially around the time of my wedding.

There was the crockpot......Thank you so much for the baby! I can't wait to try it out once our new kitchen is set up!

The towels....Thank you so much for the wonderful baby! It's so soft and matches our bathroom perfectly!

The check...Thank you so much for your very generous baby. Joe and I will put it towards renovating our new bedroom.

The frame....Thank you so much for the beautiful baby. Every time we look at it, we will think of you.

Hmmm....this isn't quite working out the way I planned. How do you actually thank someone for your child? For starting your family? For the gift of life? For making a dream come true? The bottom line is there are no sufficient words in the English language, nor is there a tangible gift that can be purchased at Macy's that sums up my feelings about the impending arrival of our son.

So I continue to think on it and I've still got nothing, until I remember my post about my first RE visit titled, "A Day of Hope". The last bit of it goes like this:

"I was, and continue to be, overwhelmed that people take on the job of reproductive endocrinologist. This includes the nurses and office staff. I am in awe of them. I try to imagine being in their shoes, giving the news to a hopeful couple that a procedure has failed, taking the call from a pregnant woman who has begun bleeding, holding the hand of a woman trying again after yet another miscarriage. I bear the weight of only my own story while they shoulder the burden of so many women's heartbreaking journeys.

Without a doubt, they are doing God's work."

Deciding that this was the best I could come up with in terms of articulating my gratitude, I print out the entire post, write a note at the bottom explaining how there really are no words that can capture my thankfulness for the work they do every day, for my son that is on the way and for the support they provided me along the journey. I get in the car to drop it off along with my left over injectables to donate which are now resting on a bag of frozen edamame.

I head in the office to find three women, who bring an automatic smile to my face, chatting around the front counter. We catch up for a minute or so while I hand over my meds. One tells me how she saw our IUI pic on my blog! I had completely forgotten that I told her about the blog and was touched to see that she not only read it, but had continued to read it since that picture was posted fairly recently.

And then I hand over the letter. I quickly realize that this is going to be tougher than I anticipated. I stumble over a sentence or two, saying something to the effect of, "This is my attempt at saying thank you."

and then I say, ".....I have to go now because I'm going to cry." Maybe I kinda waved after that. I don't know. But I left because I was definitely starting to cry.

I made it about five steps out of the office before it hits me that I didn't hug them. These women who were so wonderful to me, so supportive of me and so happy for me when I finally got my positive. I turn on my heels, rush back in and say, "I didn't hug you" and, in full-on-tears, dole out proper hugs while thanking them for everything.

Eloquent? No. Dignified? Not quite. But sincere? Yeah, definitely sincere.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'd like to take a moment to welcome....

my second chin. Welcome to the world, little friend. I think you're completely overrated.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Public Service Announcement for sharing your pregnancy news with infertiles

Dear Infertile Abby,
I just found out that I'm seven weeks pregnant! My husband and I are thrilled and shocked! It was a complete surprise. We weren't even trying. My issue is that I have a very good friend who has been trying to get pregnant for a very long time and is going through infertility treatments. What's the best way to share my news with her? I think it's best that they hear the news from us in private. We're thinking of inviting them over for dinner and telling them then.
Fertile Fran

Dear Fertile Fran,
Are you high? It's called e-mail. If you don't have a computer, it's called a phone. Your friend's probably going to cry and doesn't feel like doing it in front of you and your husband. It'll just make her feel like a shmuck.
Take care,
Infertile Abby

This situation has reared its ugly head.....again. When my friend lured me to her house with the promise of sunny weather and a barbecue, I unfortunately responded to her pregnancy announcement by getting inebriated and crying on her front curb for about an hour before coming in to fail at faking enthusiasm throughout the rest of the evening (link here). This time, it happened to a good friend. Just two weeks after her 3rd IVF cycle had to be cancelled, her brother and sister-in-law felt the need to come over to visit and share their "big news". And it broke my heart.

Now here's the thing. I get what fertile people are thinking. I do. I really do. In their head, they have this vision of a sit-down where they gently and thoughtfully share the news of their pregnancy and then maybe place a hand on the infertile's knee, tell us how they know it will happen for us and that God has a plan for us or something to that effect. They think we'd be crushed to hear the news from someone else rather than directly from the source. And e-mail or phone? Instant message? No way! In most other situations, it's considered tacky or rude to share big news in these manners. I understand where you're coming from and that you have good intentions. I really truly do.

But here's the thing. You're wrong. I hate to break it to you, but for 99% of infertile people, you're wrong.

Let's change the scenario a little bit because infertility is something that is so difficult to connect with unless it's touched your own life. Let's talk about homes. Most everybody can understand that your home is your safe haven, a place where you find comfort. It's filled with memories. Most of us put a lot of effort into creating a home.

Now imagine my house just burned down. Or that I lost my home to foreclosure. You, on the other hand, have just sealed the deal on your custom-built McMansion. You're understandably thrilled. You want to shout your news from the rooftops. And that's cool. I'd want share it with the world, too. However, would you invite me over to share the news with me personally? Do I have to hear your news right before I sit down to enjoy a meal with you? A meal that maybe I was looking forward to as a nice distraction and a chance to get away from the stress of dealing with losing my home?

It doesn't seem so important, or even appropriate, that I hear the news directly from the horse's mouth, does it? In fact, maybe it would be better to hear it from someone I'm close with like my sister or my mom. Because I'm probably going to get upset. I'm not getting upset because I don't think you deserve your dream home or don't want you to have it. It's not personal (most of the time). But my first, second, maybe even third emotion is probably not going to be happiness for you. It's sadness for myself.

Your joy is a reminder that I'm in the process of losing a dream. Your news is a reminder that I am broken. Your granted wish is a reminder of my unanswered prayers.

Please stop telling us your news in person. It hurts us. Not because we don't love you. Because we do and we don't our pain to take away from any part of your joy. So give us a little time. Please. Send us the e-mail or give us a ring. And then give us some time. We really are happy for you. It's just that, for many of us, our dreams are now ashes scattered around our feet.