Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sorting it out

Shortly after I started working for AB the ladies on my floor threw a baby shower from one of my fellow associates. I had literally just started and didn’t even know the guest of honor, but the girls in my group invited me along saying, it’s free food and cake. So, as you can imagine, I was there. After lunch was eaten and the gifts were opened talked turned to guessing the gender of Mary’s baby, which subsequently led to the inevitable string test. I can’t find a good link to this anywhere and I’ve seen it done a few different ways, but this particular time we used a pencil, paperclip, and thread. Legend has it if you dangle the pencil (using the paperclip in the eraser and holding it by a string) over your wrist the pencil will move either in a circular or straight line motion, indicating the gender of your children. A circle is for a boy and back and forth in a line is for a girl. In Mary’s case the pencil started moving back and forth, indicating her first girl, stopped, and then started moving back and forth again, for girl number 2 (which, incidentally, was correct). The pencil got passed around the table and there were lots of laughs, especially when the pencil told a couple of girls they’d have 4 or more children, when they were only hoping for 2. The pencil finally made its way to me and Amy held it above my wrist very steady so not to influence the spirits or whatever it was that we were channeling. I was no where near ready to have children, but I knew someday I wanted to and I couldn’t wait to see what I was going to have. The room grew very still and I held my breath and waited….and waited….and waited. But the pencil didn’t move. It just hung there, perfectly still, like the mimes I remember seeing outside of the Louvre in Paris.

Everyone was baffled, don’t I want children, they all asked? I went home that night and called my mom. Whimpering I said “Mom, the string test said I’m not going to have any kids.”

As an aside, I’ll never forget my Mom’s response to this, which was not the normal motherly response of, honey, don’t worry this is just a wives' tale. No, instead my Mom said “What?? Try it again!”

I know in my heart this is a wives' tale. I know it is not sensible to put my faith or trust in our future in the hands of an urban legend. Yet, for some reason I have never been able to forget that test. I have never been able to shake the thought that maybe I won’t be able to have children.

Last year Collin and I decided that in July (2007) we would go off birth control. I talked to my doctor about this in May and she put me on pre-natal vitamins and said “We’ll see you in a couple of months.” She sucked me into her optimism and for a moment I really believed that we would get pregnant easily. I actually thought we’d be back in her office in August or September, squealing over the delight of a baby growing miraculously in my belly. I realize now that I was so, so na├»ve. After the first few months passed and it was evident that it was going to take a little more work, I turned my hopes to year-end. Surely, we’ll be pregnant by the end of the year that is 6 months worth of trying!

What I didn’t see coming is that in September my body would shut down completely. At first I thought it was just an extraordinary long cycle, something that would work itself out. But when September turned into October, which turned into November, which turned into December, and so on…. it was apparent that my body was simply not working.

I finally got into the doctor last week and they ran a slew of blood tests and performed a couple of ultrasounds. Per the nurse, the results of my ultrasounds were normal; I haven’t gotten the results of the blood work. So, the doctor prescribed progesterone in order to kick start my body. I started taking that last Friday and if all goes as planned within the next couple of weeks I should have my first cycle in almost 5 months. The hope is that my body will respond and start cycling normally. The reality is we have no idea what is going to happen and it could potentially be another long waiting game.

I’ve refrained from writing about this here up until now for a few different reasons. But the fact is I can’t find anything meaningful to talk about because the one thing that is on my mind, all the time, is that I want to start a family. I want to have children. I want to be a mother and I want to make Collin a father. And it hurts so much that my body isn’t even giving me a chance to be able to try to do that.

Over the last few months I’ve taken the pain and sadness of this out on other aspects of my life, in particular, my job. After deciding that what I needed was a change I started applying and interviewing with other companies (I think it is okay to post this here as AB is completely aware of it). However, since the beginning of the New Year, after I had some time off over the holidays to sit and reflect I realized it’s not my job at all that is making me unhappy. It’s this. It’s the fact that we aren’t pregnant. And so I’m writing about this now because I think I need to get this out, I need to be honest with myself, and I need to work through these internal struggles and heartache.

I don’t want you to think I’m one big ball of sadness though. In fact, I have a lot in my life to be happy about, and I am grateful for those things. I know we are very blessed, and I’m in no way discounting that. However, I’ve learned that sometimes your life can be filled with happiness, while simultaneously there are things that make you sad. All I really want is to be able to distinguish the two.


Aubrey said...

Don't you wonder sometimes what God has planned for us? Why he does what he does. Why some of us seem to find it impossible to not get pregnant, while others try so hard to have a much deserved baby and can't. And wouldn't you think with all that medicine can do now, that there would be a way to just take care of this? I really wish I knew just what to say to you, but I suppose that knowing I don't and can't is probably okay for you. As long as you understand how much I love you! I'm glad you and Em can morn this with each other. I wish I could offer more than empathy right now. Let me know what I can do if there is anything. I'm up every day by 7:15 and up usually until 11p or 12.

I'll say a few more prayers for you each day.

Em said...

Oh Kate, I cried the whole time while reading this. You were able to write about what you're struggling with so eloquently. I think you are very brave to put yourself out there like isn't an easy thing to do. I am crossing my fingers and toes and praying fervently for you, so that the pain and sadness you feel on this subject is lessened soon. I hope that you and Collin get your special gift very soon!

Also, I had to mention that I can totally relate to feeling very baffled and unsettled re: the old wives' tales. A few years ago, I did an online 'palm reading', and it also indicated that I would not have children. It has really haunted me ever since, especially with the troubles we've had (and the fact that it predicted I would be married twice loooong before the divorce). It is a scary thought, and I know we shouldn't put any stake in it, but it is still a difficult thing to get out of your mind.

I love you sooo much, and am sending all of my positive thoughts and prayers your way!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Kate - we're all praying for you! I know this is a typical response, but everything happens for a reason. I truly believe this. I really hope that your Doctors appointment proves to be a true success with your difficulties. I am praying that is all you needed in order to be granted one of lifes most precious gifts.
I wish I could give you a hug right now and tell you everything will be fine. Or, maybe pick you up to take you out to eat or shopping so that we could talk about the many, many things you must be wondering and thinking about. Since I can't be there to talk with you, please know that I am thinking about you and praying for you. I am here for you whenever you need anything, to talk, to cry, to listen, to vent, to laugh... whatever you need. Anytime day or night. I can't just drop by for a visit, but I'm only a simple phone call away. I will continue to pray for your wish to become reality. I cannot imagine how tough this could be on you, but I hope you know how much I care.

Tessie said...

I'm so sorry about this. Really pulling for you guys.

Rachel said...

I'm so sorry for your struggles. You are in my thoughts.