I was just doing some Blog surfing - clicking through links off this site or that - and came across a post on Karen's blog about her feelings on her pending adoption.
Reading some of her concerns got me thinking again about my own path to parenthood. Im selfish like that, someone else's pain makes me think of myself. Yeah, I know, strap me to a poll and lash me with a wet pasta noodle. I know. Anyway, the thing that got me going was the idea that adopting won't heal the infertility wounds. That even having a child to be your own won't make you stop loathing the maternity departments. It won't make you comfortable hearing about easily concieved children. It won't take the pain away.
The more I thought of it, the more I realized that for a long time, that was true. Not that we adopted, but that having a child, that getting pregnant on our own and having a live baby to hold at the end of it, didn't erase the pain of the years we tried and didn't get anywhere. Having two kids doesn't make the in vitro part of my life evaporate. In fact, somewhere in the locked up pie safe still exists a box of very expired Gonal-F vials. I'm not sure why I keep them around. I tell myself that its because I'm not sure if one can actually just toss such a thing in the regular garbage can and so out of fear that the local dump guy will show up to beat me with a dirty wet pasta noodle, I keep the bottles out of the trash. I wonder though if I keep them as a reminder of where we've been -as if I needed such a thing.
But the pain - well its not really there anymore. Sure, I think of it. Yes I do think of those two transfered 'healthy' embryos that never implanated as children I lost. I wonder if they were boys or girls or one of each. I wonder if we'd have had twins. I wonder if they'd have had the red-hair and blue eyes it appears both my kids have. I wonder a lot of things, but I don't hurt.
Sometimes when I hear of an "oops" pregnancy, I get that old twinge. The one that makes me glad I can control that brain to mouth reflex decently enough not to spit out "Oh, bite me!" When I hear stories of easy conceptions I sometimes feel that knee jerk reaction of wanting to puke. When people say the struggled to get pregnant because it took them serveal months or, can it be, even a year, I want to smack them upside the head and say "Yeah well, listen to this. . ."
But it doesn't make me cry any more.
Instead my time as an infertile has become something that makes me reflective. I look back on that painful journey now and I realize that had we had children when we first wanted them I would not be the mother that I am today to the children that I have today. I was much younger than - both chronologically, emotionally and mentally. I had less patience and more panic. I'd also not have been in a place careerwise to quit my day job and go freelance. I'd have to be what I had longed not to be - a full-time working mom. (A term, by the way that I hate, because I've yet to meet a mom that wasn't "full-time working" regardless of whether she got a paycheck or not!)
More importantly, I'd not have "these" kids. Yeah, whatever, maybe these two would have shown up no matter when we got pregnant, but I'm not buying the theory. Each person is made of up genes held on specific egg and sperm cells. Children born to us 6 years ago would have had different cells to pull from. They would not be the people they are today. They would not be my Logan and Megan. They would be other people. Different people...and not having these two is an incredibly sad thought. I had to waste a lot of eggs and sperm cells to get to these two amazing individuals. I'm sure the other cells would have produced equally perfect people, but still, they weren't THESE people.
I don't think anyone deserves to walk down the infertilty road. I don't want to suggest that being where I am today made the pain worth it - because that'd just be a load of crap that someone that has never step foot on the trail tells other people out of some naive notoin that it makes it better. No, the pain part still sucks. Having to go through the emotions and the physical anguish blows. But in retrospect, I survived. Life went on and I have two wonderful children to show for it. I have a life and an appreciation that I would not have had if we had traveled a more cushy path here.
I think of friends that currently face these same issues. Friends that struggle with primary or secondary fertility problems. I think of their pain and feelings of isolation. I identify with their feelings of heartache because they need to make *that* call -- the one to the doctor that says "I need help." I know what that does to a person. I know how it hurts your ability to feel "whole" or to feel like you're in a body that plays nice. I know that it hurts to hear about babies and children when you're in that place. But I also know that someday, no matter where those friends end up - with or without a child resulting from assisted means, adoption or the 'good-old-fashioned-way' - someday they will look back and they will see that the pain is woven into who they have become. They will recognize that despite unfairness of it all, despite the brutal attack to the soul, good really does come out of it. The person they are - the stronger person they are - is a result of the road they were put on.