We've started down a new and completely uncharted path in our quest to become parents again. Yesterday, despite raging terror and feelings of shame resulting from 12 months of humiliating failure, we stepped into a fertility clinic and asked for help.
I should clarify that I'm the one who felt the shame and humiliation. And I should also clarify that for some reason I don't see other people who find themselves resorting to medical intervention to conceive as failures. I see them as brave and determined. It's just that being on this side of the fence I now understand what those brave and determined people might be feeling on the inside, despite appearances of calm resoluteness on the outside.
I wasn't so calm. Basically it's scary as hell telling someone you think you're broken - that you can't do what millions of people do successfully each and every day - when you're terrified that they'll actually fix you.
As much as I want another child, I'm deathly afraid that they'll repair my plumbing and I'll get pregnant, because then I'll have something to lose again, and I just don't know if I'm strong enough to have my heart broken a fourth time. How many times can your heart heal itself? How many dead children is one too many? The miscarriages were devastating and I can still hardly bear that we lost Thomas. How can I possibly do it again if, God forbid?
But how can I not at least try?
And so in we went, into the waiting room that looked like a set from some bad made for TV movie about an evil corporation with its gold frosted glass, pot lights and swirly carpet, and started filling out form after form after form.
Yes I've been pregnant. Yes I've had a miscarriage. Yes I've had a live birth. No I don't have any living children. Yes I'm old. No I don't do drugs. No I don't smoke. Yes I've had surgery. Yes I have high blood pressure - and this isn't helping at all, just so you know.
There was a measure of comfort in knowing that every couple who came through the doors after us understood, but I still kept thinking that I never in a million years imagined this is where I'd one day find myself.
I didn't sign up for this, is all I could think.
And yet, I did. I signed up in spades - and we got down to business pretty darn fast. I think I'd known the doctor all of 9 minutes before I found myself having a conversation with him sans pants. There's nothing quite as humbling as shaking the hand of a man who, in mere minutes, uses that same hand to determine if all your parts appear to be in working order.
But he was kind and offered us what my family physician has been unable to offer for 12 long months - hope and a plan.
I'm all about plans, and so when we left the evil corporation, stacks of paper and lab requisitions in hand, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I'm still terrified that one day I'll see two pink lines and know that I suddenly have another child that's mine to lose, but the getting there is no longer all up to me. I can hand this beautiful mess over to someone else and just be My Beloved's wife, my parents' daughter, my sister's sibling - I can just be me. I don't have to carry the weight of being the girl who can't get pregnant. That's someone else's problem now, and good luck to them.
Of course, if all goes well I will become the terrified pregnant girl, but they have counselors at the clinic who are trained to help the terrified, so I can make that someone else's problem too.
I like this delegating thing I've got going on, and I'm running with it. I'm running like the wind.