“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” –Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Where in the hell has this year gone? Is it just me or is everyone kind of freaking out that it’s almost the end of June already? I seriously feel like I was drunk dialing Ms. MEPS’ mother on New Years Eve just last week, and here I am turning on the air conditioning and remembering that school is out for kids only when the neighborhood kids aren’t walking to school when I walk the dog. I think I’m in need of an intervention. Instead of admitting there is a higher power, though, I need to admit that this year is almost half over.
On Friday, I am scheduled for my frozen embryo transfer (“FET”). I’ve been back on the hormones for a couple of weeks now in preparation. If you read my TTC blog you’d know that this has been a bit of a whiplash situation, considering I was under the impression I’d have to go through a month of birth control before starting the protocol. But I guess my body was in just the right spot, hormonally. And by that, I mean I have no predictable cycle to down-regulate so they could skip that part…it’s like a consolation prize for having a whacky reproductive system. But so far this cycle, my whacky reproductive system has been cooperating.
It’s almost impossible for me to comprehend that this Friday is going to be the start of another round of hoping and wishing and believing for some tiny clumps of cells to hang on. It was just two months ago that I had my miscarriage. It simultaneously feels like it’s been a million years and not even a day. When this whole FET process started, I had to take stock of my emotions. I had to determine whether I was ready for this or whether I needed more time. And the conclusion I came to was that no amount of time will ever put me in the place I was in pre-IVF. If I waited two more months or two more years, I’d still be as nervous as I am today.
It’s not a bad thing, necessarily. It’s a normal reaction to trauma. We shield ourselves from that which has let us down in the past in order to make it into the future. I’m probably guiltier of most than letting this shell shock get to me. There are many places in my life where I have prevented myself from feeling joy just because a similar situation once brought me pain. Animals do the same thing. Pavlov’s dogs were just doing this in reverse. I see my friends do it all the time. None of us are fearless. None of us are immune.
Over the past week my nervousness has slowly been turning into excitement. When we took The Mister’s Niece to the baseball game last weekend, I knew we’d make a good parental team. When I see how The Mister is with Brooklyn, I know he’ll make a great father. When I see that, despite the stumbles along the way, my parents raised me relatively well, I have hope that I’ll be able to do the same. This is a drastic change from last month’s fears over whether things were “meant to be.” (Word to the wise: things being “meant to be” or “not meant to be” is the bane of all infertiles’ experience.)
I may never be back in the position of sheer belief that I held pre-February. That kind of steadfast belief is best left to people who haven’t experienced a loss like this. Those of us who have know that once we stop guarding our entire experience from harm and only covering up those places weak from breaking, we can truly move forward in a stronger way. We know that devastation can’t completely break us because we’ve lived through it before. We know that despite the intense sting of the pain, the cracks that our hurt has formed in the past become those places that are strongest in the future. In fact, it is the cracks in the clouds that let us see the sun after a hard rain, not the sun’s insistence upon shining.
And it is our ability to keep putting our money down on the table despite the fact that we once lost it all that makes life worth all of the pain.