Adventures in making and raising our test-tube babies

Thursday, June 5, 2008

View from Above

The elevator in the clinic's building has a mirrory-brass ceiling that I always look up at, and watch myself from above. Today I was alone in the elevator so I took a picture.

So that's what I look like from above, perennially with my camera, heading to work after a trip to the doctor. I'm wearing the 2XL maternity dress that Mom bought me at Target last time. There is not a waistband in sight, nor could my waist ever get to where it was straining to get out of that much fabric. It looks like a conservative nun's maternity dress. It's just what I want to wear, as I grow my bunch of grape-sized egg sac follicles on my ovaries.

The picture makes me wonder what infertility looks like from above. An omniscient God might be able to see all the details. But if the audience were, say, looking down from a blimp, I think infertility would be invisible.

We all go to the clinic, all of us professional 30-something women who postponed motherhood for one reason or another. We sit in the waiting room and don't talk to each other. Instead of acknowledging our common plight, we silently watch CNN on a flat screen mounted to the wall. There is not a shred of babyness mentioned or referenced in the office, except for the logo on the door. That's a line drawing of a three-person family. Without that, you might just think this was a dentist's office. For women. Of my age.

From the sky-high view you would not notice that the people coming to this clinic every morning are the same women, over and over. There are thousands of us, but when it's the right time in our treatment cycles, we go to the clinic every single day. You'd think we would develop a bit of camaraderie. But infertile women are shy about it, even with each other. I don't really get that. But I'm special that way.

From above, it might look like we were calm. Ha! Use your binoculars. Check out what's happening in our bodies. We're worried, worn out stress cases. Occasionally one of us will burst out in tears in the waiting room, but mostly we keep it in. We're so cool that if you're just three feet above us you won't see it. It's only when you look in our eyes that you see the sadness and the hope.

If you're not paying attention, you might start to ask us whether we have children, and when we say we don't, you might make jokes about baby-making. You would announce your pregnancies to us joyfully, not knowing what a serrated knife that is digging into our sore, bloated flesh. You'd tell us to sit back and relax, that it would "just happen." And when you weren't paying attention, we'd go to the doctor yet again, and give ourselves three more shots that day, and get up and do the same thing the next day.

So I call to you, my fertility-challenged sisters, make some noise. Make a commotion. Point your finger up to the sky and wag it up at the clouds. Say, "not without a fight," and go back to the doctor. And talk to your sisters in the waiting room.

That's what I'm going to do. And by golly, I'll make sure the heavens know about it. I'm going to make a stink and let everybody know what infertility is and why it sucks. I'll let us all know we're not in it alone. We'll get this message to rise all the way up to cyberspace. And we won't be invisible for long.


DAVs said...

I like the pic! Your hair looks much longer than when I saw you...are you using extensions? :)
I hope those follies are doing their thing without causing you too much discomfort. Hooray for Target clothes!

Laughing4Heir said...

Great picture!

What a fascinating meditation you posted, today.

Anonymous said...

You got it so right! I remember sitting awkwardly in the clinic waiting room- filled to the brim with women who were in so much pain and I knew it, because I was. I always wanted to stand up and say, "how are you doing today...let's all hug it out and form a support group". But I was too chicken.