Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Give a little bit

Two weeks ago my colleague who is trying to have a baby had her first IUI treatment. For those of you fertile people who don't know, that's a procedure we strugglers sometimes use when we need a little help getting the boys to the right place. If you want more information, google it. M and I were extremely lucky...we didn't have to go that far, but we were on the verge of trying.

So two weeks ago my colleague had her first IUI. Then she started the grueling two-week wait. My wait was something entirely different, as my problem was ovulation. Or, rather, lack thereof. Regardless, a wait is still a wait, and any waiting when you're trying to have a baby is excruciating. Especially when the wait ends and you're no closer to being where you so desperately want to be.

Today, after our management meeting, I caught up with her in the hallway. I couldn't remember the exact timing of her procedure so I asked if she had any news. Her eyes filled with tears and she informed me that her visit to the restroom after the meeting had told her that her wait was over, at least for this month.

All I could do was cry with her, and hug her, and hold her, right there in the hallway. I think I hugged her for at least five minutes while she (and I) cried, and coworkers swirled around us on their way to and from the breakroom. I patted her back and told her what had always made me feel better, "You will be a mommy some day. You will."

I didn't get into whether it would be through conception of her own or adoption or any of the other myriad ways to become a mother as it's still too early in her process, and adoption is that last resort, almost an admittance of defeat, when you so desperately want to conceive your own.

Then I went and fetched her a flyer I got from my old infertility counselor advertising a support group just in time for the holidays. When I went to my support group, my therapist, in order to keep costs down for us, held our meetings in her colleague's office (her office was entirely too small). It wasn't ideal, but it was relatively inexpensive for her, which made her relatively inexpensive for us. At that point I'd have met those women in a cardboard box because they meant that much to me.

Maria, our therapist, had explained way back then that even those of us who finally conceived and had children would carry the emotional scars of what we had been through for the rest of our lives. I didn't know what she meant back then (how could I?), but I know now. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not reminded in some way of the pain I felt, and what I had struggled for. Every single day I thank God for Zoe. Not that women who conceive easily don't, but it's different for those of us who had problems. I can't explain it. It's like gratitude with an edge, an ache, that will never go away.

So, after many months of wishing I could help, somehow, make a difference, somewhere, I finally pulled my head out of my ass, ran an idea past my boss, and called Maria. "I have an Oasis Room here at the spa..."

Maria came by last week and I gave her a tour of the space, and then we went to lunch. She's a very special person to whom I owe so much that the mere donation of a room for infertilty support group meetings will never be enough. She's thrilled with the space, though, and November 5 starts our new partnership, and hopefully the light at the end of a very bleak tunnel for women who want to have babies and need support. Because of our donation, she can have a few more women in each group, and can offer scholarships for those who might not otherwise be able to attend (infertility treatments are expensive, and many times there simply isn't money left over for the emotional care that is so vital and necessary).

Tonight after bathtime, brushing teeth and lotion ("on the baybay, to keep her, keep her soft and smoooth") and a clean diaper and jammies, after we turned off the lights and turned on the humidifier and kissed all the animals goodnight, I held my daughter, thought of my friend and the countless other women out there hurting, and said my daily prayer of gratitude for the blessing that is Zoe and then another one for all my struggling sisters. And I cried again.


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