Monday, September 25, 2006

Soapbox removed and other stories

And now for some perspective.

I grew up two houses away from my mom's parents. They were like a second mom and dad to my brother, sister and me. They had boats and old cars and a huge garden filled with green beans, cabbage, and tomatoes and one year they even built a chicken coop for a dozen fuzzy chicks that eventually turned into hens that wouldn't lay any eggs. They wintered in Florida and each Christmastime we would tearfully say our goodbyes and eagerly await spring break on sandy beaches, playing shuffleboard or driving their golf cart with them. My grandmother was my mother's best friend. My grandfather practically raised my brother (despite the fact that, yes, my dad was around). They were best friends. I can't remember a weekend passing without spending at least one night at their house, waking up to french toast or Sara Lee coffee cake.

One February night in 1985, my dad was at a conference in the same town where my sister was at college. I was 13 at the time, and whenever my dad was away, I got to sleep in my mom's big king size bed with her.

At one o'clock in the morning, the phone rang. Someone had been hurt.

My mom kept saying, "I want to see her, dad. Can I see her?" She was blind with grief and because she kept saying "Dad" I thought it was my dad calling about my sister.

It wasn't.

My grandmother had been killed by a drunk driver. It was her dad she was talking to, whom she was begging to see her own mother. She wouldn't ever see her mother again.

This event changed my family forever. My mother was probably suicidal for months (years?) after, although my father made a good effort to watch her and keep things normal for us. My grandfather lived with us for months after returning from Florida for my grandmother's funeral. It was not easy. He was not easy. Grief was thick in our house.

So when I wrote what I wrote yesterday, that old devastation surfaced in me again, as it always does when I hear of senseless, stupid deaths involving drinking and driving.

I stand by what I wrote yesterday. My views on drinking and driving have probably informed how I keep (or don't) my friendships and romantic involvements. I simply don't drink that much, although I have when I lived in cities where public transportation or the ability to walk everywhere has taken the driving part out of the decision.

I guess I was expecting the silence on some levels, but I also thought that there might be a couple of you that would say, "I, too, have lost someone in this senseless way."

I hope none of you have to go through it.

Before I spoke with my sister, I was working on a post about infertility, so I'll go ahead and put that up now. Thanks for the chance to vent.


When I started reading blogs, I was recovering from my third miscarriage in seven months. And I started with just a handful of blogs. Less than that. I kept up with them from my parents' house where I went on a two week vacation. I started my own.

Now, I have so many blogs listed in my favorites that they can not all be displayed on my screen at the same time. (Really, I need to update my links on this site, but I'm illiterate when it comes to html and I just don't have the time.)

There are women I read about who are due any minute. There are women who are just digesting the news that is announced by two pink lines. There are women who are grieving their own losses, or impending losses. And there are those of us who are waiting, getting psyched up to try again.

I go back and forth between the hurt I feel for those who have been laid low and the thrill I feel when someone announces a doubling second beta. And I try to discern exactly where I fit in all of this.

Sometimes, I can channel the fear, anxiety and misgivings of the women who feel doomed to repeat their current or latest loss. I know that there is very little standing between me and miscarriage number 4. Just dumb luck. Yet, I haven't gotten to the point of utilizing ART. My pregnancies are destined to be old-fashioned in their beginnings, aside from the intense scrutiny the whole process will be subject to. For one, in all the testing, my doctors have not found anything untoward in my reproductive tendencies. For two, we simply cannot afford the massive expense of very much ART. (Or perhaps, we would not choose to afford it, and since our health care does not cover it, we'd be forced to really weigh how much we want another baby in light of the effect that decision would have on our bottom line.)

So, can I really relate to all that is going on out there in the world of infertility. Do I consider myself infertile? Or even secondarily so? No. I don't. But I do believe I'm in denial.

Where does that leave me? I love the stories of success that are about to happily wrap up, as I picture myself in that boat in about 10-12 months. Yet, the stories of loss resonate deeply with me. I have been surprised each time I miscarried, because when you lose one pregnancy it is called a fluke. I naively believed that if the first one was a fluke, the only way to fix that was with the next pregnancy. When the next two failed, I was at a loss to comprehend how to fix it anymore.

So I am proceeding a little naively, with much hope crumpled between my sweaty hands. I want the next one to work, as does everyone in this situation. But I feel like my hopes and wants are very simplistic. Like, I want to get pregnant the first month I can try again. And I want my lining to be amply thick and my progesterone in abundant supply. I don't have to worry with this next try about needles and follistim or Clomid. And because I feel like my journey might be pretty straightforward, I feel like a fraud even worrying or writing about it.

Of course, the last three started exactly the same way. Naively, hopefully, simply.

I gues what I'm wondering is: do I have to continue to suffer just to belong?


At 12:33 PM, Blogger DD said...

In regards to your earlier post on drinking and driving: what else could be said that you didn't already say? Drinking, even just that one, and then getting behind a wheel is nothing short of moronic. For myself, I personally have not lost anyone to drunk driving. My husband has. A friend of his was drinking after graduation and ran into a guardrail of a bridge and died. The day he graduated high school. My husband remembers him on his birthday every year because they shared the same birthday. He thinks about how it could have been him instead.

It's senseless, yet 100% preventable and it makes no sense to me that innocent people die that way. No sense at all.

Never be afraid to take a stand on a soapbox. Radio silence is not to be mistaken for passive listeners. It's a sign of concurence.

As for how you see yourself w/i the IF world, even if you are a successful Fertile Mrytle, it doesn't mean it has to exclude you from relating to thos stories. There's lessons for everyone.

When I first start blogging, I felt uncomfortable mentioning I already had a son. Not only did I have a child, but I had him the old fashioned way and insanely easily. I knew of only one SIF blogger at the time. Now I read a dozen or better, but we still feel a little on the outside. "We are castaways on the island of Infertility, but outcasts from the Infertile Tribes." That's how I originally described it.

I know that there are many IF bloggers who won't even read someone's blog if they are already planning and IVF or had one. They just have their own level of acceptance, and I can't blame them. They want/need someone who can relate 100%.

I like "meeting" people who stories and lives are different than mine. I'm living mine already, I don't need to read about it from someone else as well.

I'm trying to make sense here, not just type the longest comment in the world of blogging.

And a tip: instead of keeping a list of favorites on your computer, I would look at for tracking your reads. There are thousands of little nuggets of great reads out there. There's no requirement that you fit into any one of them, OK?

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Erin said...

I feel the same way about drunk driving, though I've been fortunate enough to never lose anyone in such a senseless way. When J became a lawyer, I told him point-blank that he was not allowed to defend DUIs (and drug charges) because I could not justify that to our children. How do you tell a child that it's stupid, wrong, and extremely dangerous, and then say "Daddy's off to defend someone who did that."

During my EMT training, we heard horrible stories of the people who'd been hurt in drunk driving accidents. It was most often the other driver, NOT the drunk driver, who was hurt the worst.

If it were a risk only to the drunk person, it still would be amazingly stupid. But the fact that they risk other peoples' lives when they choose to drive drunk is unforgiveable.

As far as infertility goes, just because you're not pursuing treatment doesn't mean that you don't belong. Sometimes it can be harder to find people with whom you can best identify in that case, just as it is with secondary infertility in general. But there are definitely those people out there.

At 2:24 AM, Blogger kati said...

hi Casey,

I'm so sorry to read about your grandmother's senseless death. She must have been a very sweet lady and wonderful to have around when growing up.

And thank you so much for checking in on me on my blog. Our stories may be different, and we may not be able to always 100% relate to what the other is going through, but we all share the dream of another child and the pain when things go awfully wrong. It makes at least me feel less alone - and I too often feel alone with all this crap. Sometimes it's nice if somebody can relate to exactly what one is going through (e.g. specific IVF stuff, or knowing the mixed feelings one probably has when trying again after multiple miscarriages), but it's not at all a necessity. At least for me.

And I am so glad you don't have to worry about fertility drugs etc, so, please, don't feel like a "fraud". I have one straighforward conception (well, actually, my only one despite all the ART), and can I just tell you, that was nice. Really nice :)


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