“So what is your birth story?”
Have you ever shared with someone the story of how your children came into the world? I remember a friend of mine and I doing just that on one of the rare occasions we could sit and catch up. It was an enlightening personal experience, one I would never think to initiate and was glad she took the first step. The actual birthing experience may be a small fraction of life experience but it ends in the first time we lay eyes on our children, so it’s a story we as parents hold especially dear. Some of us record the event on tape. Some of us write it down. Some of us share it over coffee.
But rarely do any of us share conception stories. Most of us agree that sharing those tales crosses a line! And recently, even though the story of our twins’ conception involves a cryochamber and a petri dish, I think that between the cold, scientific facts there is “too much information.”
Because years ago, in a cathartic funk, I wrote an angry, self-indulgent diatribe about my inability to become pregnant. Composing an essay was my way of dealing with a stressful, all-consuming situation. I edited and tweaked over many hours (and countless lattes and amazing blueberry scones…the only thing I miss about infertility.) until I decided I “had something:” something brilliant and poignant enough to be fit for print. But years later I reviewed my “masterpiece” and realized something: it so is NOT. I cringed, for example, at details of my “uterine visualization” following an embryo transfer, willing the little guys to grab ahold. Yup, too much info. I felt embarrassed and I was the one who wrote about it. Of course, at that time I was painfully running myself through the paces of in vitro fertilization and now I am in a much, much different place (running myself, luckily, through the paces of homework and after-school activities). Time, three kids and a busy schedule have taken the edge off and found me musing about those difficult four years from a different perspective. Yes, it was a horribly difficult time. But after rereading that essay, I found that experience to be injected (pun intended) with irony and humor. I’m a firm believer that if we can’t laugh, we can’t heal and we certainly can’t cope. So instead of a detailed conception story, I’ve decided to marry the pain of infertility with the rare bits humor and give what I hope is a readable, more inspired, spin to an otherwise downtrodden journey. And with any luck I hope I help others dealing with infertility to cope and heal.
And I know you don’t want every detail. It would bore you to death. So for the next two weeks I’ll be posting new and improved installments of “Infertility Unplugged” (not the six-page-long travesty collecting dust in my desk). I promise you the detailed status of my gluteal muscles has been omitted.
Don’t get me wrong. That first “final” draft is a keeper. For me, and likely me alone. It’s important personal history that can’t, shouldn’t be edited away forever.