For those craving an update, I have been on a forced break from chasing any kind of resolution to our prolonged childlessness, our failure to launch. Shortly after receiving the dueling PGS reports from Opposite Land, I had a hysteroscopy (what I believed to be a formality, an updated test required by my clinic preceding an April FET) which revealed that the scarring from my D&E has regrown with a vengeance, from the single filmy adhesion cleared in July to multiple bands that have co-opted the left fundal bowl around the opening to my only remaining fallopian tube, officially adding Asherman’s Syndrome to my rap sheet of diagnoses. This was incredibly jarring news that yanked from beneath us the security blanket of a clinically uninteresting uterus. The three reports together – success of a cycle I initiated in hopes of getting some very expensive closure on my own genetics, the scarring, and the shocking failure of the young Czech egg donor to produce any normal embryos after months (some might argue years) of mustering the courage to rip off the proverbial band-aid (face all the fear and grief that then oozed out) and try something drastically different that might actually bring home a child – this trifecta of surprises turned the whole trajectory of plan A, plan B, and plan C on its head. I have to have surgery if I want to proceed with my blasts, and I’m still waiting to talk to Superstar Doctor after a few maddening and insensitive conversations with the child-doctor (fellow) who follows him around and tries to handle his business for him and a nurse who seems to have turned going on vacation into an Olympic sport. Honestly, the worry-meter shot so far into the frenzied red zone that the the whole machine started smoking and sputtering and ultimately just shut down completely, so I have spent the month of March focused on my job that I love and getting my health and wellness (and BMI) back in working order. These things are manageable, where effort yields reward with dazzling regularity, and manageable is what we desperately need to bring life back into homeostasis.
But my silence has been rife with lurking, and this theme of ‘relics‘ and ‘symbols‘ resonates powerfully with the bloom of spring. The ubiquitous splashes of vibrant forsythia from the increasingly verdant highway of my daily commute to the vista from my dining room window herald the season of anniversaries that range from joyous to tragic, with all that interim ambiguity that fills me with unease.
For example, Friday is my brother’s birthday, an opportunity to get together with my family, whom I have really come to appreciate in the past year, The Loss having changed the dynamic so fundamentally that we have shifted into a balance of give and take and mutual consideration that I always longed for. I am grateful for my brother, for this chance to celebrate another year in this fragile life that promises nothing, a brother who survived cancer and, most recently, a deadly spider bite with no health insurance.
Friday also marks a year to the day of our visit to CHOP, when I first learned that my baby’s liver and other abdominal organs were in his chest cavity, that his distended stomach and dilated kidneys put me risk for excessive amniotic fluid and pre-term labor, that he had very little lung tissue and was likely to die if he lived to be born. And there the shades of light and dark muddle together in a murky mess.
This is just one installment of the dialectic of the warmer and sunnier half of the year. May brings my birthday, another moment that warrants gratitude but serves as an achy reminder of the passing of time in this still unresolved conflict. My wedding anniversary is in July, and I am thankful every day for my husband, his love and support and devotion, my most trusted confidant and partner in this adventure of our lives together. But the honeymoon marks seven years of ‘trying.’ He will also celebrate his birthday in July, which is joyous for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned, but it pains me to watch his gray hairs mount while he is still denied this privilege of fatherhood. (He would be an incredible dad.) August marks Dakota’s due date, the second round, which looms faintly over the season I love the most, the season of beach meditation and bicycle rides, of backyard grilling and outdoor concerts, of beers by the firepit, of work-free leisure and time to tackle clutter piles in the house and books devoured on rainy days. And, probably, some kind of resumed effort to bring this to a close. There are embryos to contend with, and I will have to face them eventually, even though the idea of managing the anxiety of my seventh big two-weeks wait makes me want to disappear painlessly into the ether.
Last year we planted a magnolia tree in the yard in remembrance of our boy. It blooms this time of year, and its now-blushing buds will likely become a radiant spectacle of white flowers by the time April 17th rolls around. It’s not that I want to forget him or blot out his memory; it’s that I had imagined myself being in a different place by now, with the luxury of revisiting a blunted sadness amid a brighter future, maybe full of new baby, without the distraction of still fighting for a chance at motherhood.