The Year Between

(Originally posted May 5, 2010 on blogspot.)

This is the part of the story you probably don’t know.

“Hope Springs” tells the story of our first year of trying to conceive, or TTC. May 2006- May 2007. (Yesterday’s excerpt was, by the way, all you get. For more “Hope Springs,” come hear me read at Momentum Lit on Saturday, May 22 at Space on White. end shameless plug) Lily was born in May of 2009, so clearly there’s some story left to tell. While the first year of TTC is the focus of the book, there was a second year. May 2007- May 2008.

This year was, to be perfectly honest, far far worse. No one would want to read a book about this year. The previous year I had been so consumed with TTC that I needed to put my efforts elsewhere, and I started with some positive thoughts and actions- hosting an exchange student, starting work on my book, and getting a new job teaching music theatre at a local college. And since I had felt so defined by TTC for so long, I decided I would not tell anyone at my new job about this part of my life.

And it was working. For a few months.
But in October of 2007, things started to unravel. In one month, my niece was born to my sister-in-law, my little sister announced her pregnancy, and one of my best friends continued to get bigger, as she was due in March. Women who have been through the TTC journey know the pain and guilt that comes with the pregnancies of friends and family- being excited on one level and crushed on another, knowing the appropriate response but being unable to manage it. The day after I found out my sister was pregnant I went to school- barely held together- where a young woman (please please please don’t try to guess who it was. You’ll probably be wrong and it just doesn’t help anything) chose me as her confidante. She had miscarried that week, didn’t have any women close to her in her family, and didn’t know what to do. I delivered her to the school counselor, went outside, and fell on the ground. Those familiar with this local college know that there are few places on campus with any privacy. I spent the rest of the day trying to find places to hide between lessons, classes, and rehearsals, doing my best to present myself as the silly, outgoing teacher the students were getting to know.

Between October of 2007 and May of 2008 I put myself through every test and went to every doctor I could find. I went through procedures so uncomfortable I nearly passed-out. (highly unusual for me because, while tiny, I am freakishly tough) I started seeing a therapist who dealt specifically with inferility. (this therapist was on The Today Show a few weeks ago discussing the emotional effects of inferility. My thoughts- 1. Um, my therapist is on The Today Show. 2. At least I know I went to the best…) I was on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications and crazy hormones which only lasted a month because call me crazy but I felt like 32 was a little young for hot flashes. I was vague about where I was going to students and co-workers- I had “doctor’s appointments” and was on “new medication.” (a real thyroid condition made this easier- I intentionally mentioned this condition every once in a while with the hope that people would assume that’s what these appointments and medications were all about.) And the longer I kept it a secret, the less it became about seperating my identity from my infertility, and the more it became about shame.

I don’t talk a lot about what was going on that year. I didn’t talk about it much then, and aside from shining a teeny tiny little light on the pain and shame of a situation that affects so many women, I don’t know that there’s a reason to disuss it again. (Why shame, by the way? Ugh. I don’t know if I’m the right person to try to address that. But considering the number of women who talk about it in the Bible, let’s just say it’s real, and it goes back to as long as there have been women.)

I made took a road trip in May of 2008 to visit my Mom in Ohio. Fourteen hours alone in the car gives a girl some time to think. When I got home, shortly after I said hello to Ryan, I said, simply, “I’m done.”

“I know,” he answered. And that was that.

I promise this was the worst part of the story. But I’m not gonna skip it just because it’s rough.

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