Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Dangers of Hope

The sky threatened to snow, but it was only half serious about it.  Tiny flakes sputtered sporadically and looked more like dandruff than magical snow.  Grey clouds added beautiful contrast to the glowing morning sky and the shadowed mountains took on a more dramatic look than their usual, plain, yellow shrubbery.  My surroundings were brilliant.  I couldn't help but think that there was a reason for the brilliance.

That had been happening a lot lately; me looking for meaning in everything.  In fact, just a few hours earlier, I had decided to indeed put on a full face of make up, straighten my hair, and put on real clothes.  So I disrobed of my yoga pants and Matisyahu t-shirt and put on skinny jeans, boots, and a nicer shirt.  I was full of anticipation that in a very short while I would find out officially that I was to finally be a real mom.  You can't look like a slob on the day you find that out.

The thirty minute drive to the clinic felt miserable.  For a few minutes I would be calm and hopeful and even sure that the news would be good.  The test would show as positive.  I had done all the right things, not just to get pregnant, but in life.  I looked back on my life and made a mental list, that I shared with the glorious sky, of why I deserved to receive this miracle; this miracle aided by science and desperation.  All at once, just as quickly as the sky changed too, I had darker thoughts.  During the last three years I had not received one thing that I wanted or needed or pleaded or waited for so why now?  I started to cry a little, anticipating bad news and what that would mean.  It would mean that today would not be the day that I looked in the mirror and knew I would be a mother.  It meant considering going through all of this again.  It would mean having to have hope again.

For the past two weeks I was instructed to go home, take it easy, and just 'know' that I was pregnant.  So I did.   I stopped taking ibuprofen and Zyrtec, ceased eating or drinking anything on the list the internet provided for pregnant ladies, didn't go through scanners at the airport and everyday I looked at the picture of our microscopic embryo and just 'knew' it would grow.  I shared with my friends and family and I had hope.

Hope is difficult for me.  Hope equals vulnerability.  You can't brush it off.  Once you are publicly hopeful, people know if things don't work out that you are sad.  They pity you.  If there's one thing more difficult for me than having hope, it's being pitied.  I prayed that this would turn out right, not just to avoid being pitied but because I truly wanted my shot at raising a family. Also, I wanted to give my husband his second chance at parenting with someone who would stand unified with him and create a healthy family dynamic.

At the clinic, I signed in.  My hand shook as I wrote.  I took a deep breath and decided it was okay to be excited and nervous.  It would be positive, I just knew it.  Well, maybe.  No, it would, it would.  breathe  Before I was called back for the blood draw I decided I should use the restroom.  Having frequented the clinic weekly and sometimes daily over the last few months, I made my self at home and entered the back of house to find the restroom.

Blood.  Blood everywhere.  How could I not have known this was happening during my drive?  I was too caught up in my own head.  Oh that sharp pain?  Probably a sign that there's life.  That hot burning feeling?  Probably normal.  Nausea?   Early pregnancy sickness.  It had to be.  Luckily the restroom in an IVF clinic is equipped with everything a woman needs in a situation like this and I was wearing a long wool coat so I could hide what had happened when faced with people.  I shook.  I grabbed the handle of the door and couldn't bring myself to open it.  If I left the room, I thought, then it's real.  I have to tell someone.

Of all the things I 'knew' that day, the only time I was confident was in the restroom.  I knew there was no pregnancy.  I burst through the door and into the hallway where I collided with a nurse, Natalie.  She was my favorite nurse, actually.  She could tell that I was on the verge of crying and asked if I was okay and I couldn't speak.  I leaned against the wall with my face in my hands and shook my head and then I was pulled into a nearby office.  Behind closed doors, I squeaked, "There's blood." Natalie rattled off statistics. Sometimes this doesn't mean anything.  11%.  Take the test anyway.  Then, she gave me a shot of progesterone, just in case.

I took the blood test and thought for a moment, Maybe it's fine, I hoped.  They said they would call me before noon with the results.  I called my husband.  I texted my friends and my mom.  My mom called me.  I drove, stunned, and then would burst into tears, and then I would stop- repeat.  Once at home, I focused on work.  I knocked out everything I could, crying all the while and then received the call.

"Hi, it's Natalie.  We ran your test first, as soon as you left.  Are you doing okay?"

"Mmmm hmmm."

"I don't have good....news.  I wish I did..."

She said other things I didn't even want to think about at the moment.  Things that included scheduling an appointment, going through the process again, and that sometimes this happens.

"Do you have any questions?"

"No."

I couldn't bear to do the formal ending of a phone call.  Okay, you too.  Have a good day.  Bye.  So, I just hung up.  Natalie would understand.

Hope is dangerous because it can shatter you.