I’m currently listening to The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It’s so excellent. A million and one times better than stupid The Girl on the Train, which was in no way redeemed even after ignoring the whole “pathetic, fat Rachel” (in a British accent, even! Ray-chul…) thing that set me off initially (I finished it this morning). I knew Sue Monk Kidd wouldn’t let me down though. Not after the beautiful Bees and Mermaids. In fact, early on, I fell completely in love with this line:
“There’s no pain on earth that doesn’t crave a benevolent witness.”
And it’s so appropriate right now that I can barely find the words.
Except words are my thing, so I’ll manage something…
Infertility is a super painful and super personal thing. There’s not a lot I can do about it and certainly nothing that you can do for me. So why talk about it? Why share my story? Why have the conversation at all?
Lots of people have said that it’s because I’m brave and strong (which makes me feel embarrassed and super impostery). That they’re thinking of me and praying for me, sending me positive brain waves and maybe even some pixie dust or something (which makes me feel so unworthy). So many really, really nice things. Really genuine, kind, heart-felt, loving things.
It was all so nice that for a second I let it get dark… because sometimes nice makes me go there. And nice laced with hormones? Yeah…
I’m not brave or strong. I’m just honest. And wordy. And maybe people think I’m only saying it so that they’ll think I am, in fact, brave or strong. But that’s not true. I’m really, really not.
And maybe I’m soaking up too much nice, too much love, too many prayers and positive thoughts, getting high on all the pixie dust. All those things that could be better spent on someone else who really is suffering.
Maybe no one really wants to hear any of it at all and the comments and likes and texts and emails and phone calls and little IG hearts are all just gratuitous — a way of saying FINE. Talk about it enough and we’ll acknowledge you, but only because we feel like we have to. I imagine myself up on my tippy toes, fists balled up at my chest, eyes squeezed shut, screaming “acknowledge meeeeeeeeeee!”
Maybe my mom and dad resent the time, the plane tickets, the boring week of nothing but travel to and from the top of the middle to the bottom of the middle of Wisconsin, over and over again. Nothing but work and tv and movies and whining and injections in between. All without any guarantee of actual, living, breathing, human grandchildren in the end. And they’ve got some of those already. Really cute ones… wouldn’t their time be better spent with them???
God, I’m so annoying. So self-indulgent. Self-pitying. Self, self, self-ish.
But then Sue Monk Kidd said it — said what it really was. Infertility is painful. So painful. Emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically. And when I talked about it, out loud (on the internet), I was really asking for a benevolent witness.
And I got one. I got ten. And so many more. I got so very many benevolent witnesses. I got you. My goodness, I got so lucky.
It’s really hard not to be super emotional right now. Every word, every comment, every like, every text, email, phone call, whatever, has been unreal. So appreciated. All I wanted was a benevolent witness and I got so much more. Benevolence in the extreme. So when my friend Erika offered to wear ugly shoes if only it would help me to be a mom… and my grandma told me that it’s at times like these that she still misses her mom and was so glad my mom was here with me… and my cousin Beth(y) offered up her house for overnight stays in Madison along with best wishes and other nice words… and my in-laws made a special trip to and from Marshfield just to shuttle my mom back to the airport… and so many other big and little things (that all feel like big things to me) in the past couple of weeks… oh the tears. So many tears. Big fat tears of thankfulness and gratitude and what-on-earth-did-I-do-to-deserve-to-be-surrounded-by-so-much-kindness-ness.
I really wish I had brought my mascara with me this morning… could definitely have used a touch up before heading straight into the office.
So, by way of a long and emotional outpouring of gratitude for the insanely generous support you’ve given me, seriously, even just by reading… another quick update.
Today’s appointment at Generations confirmed that my eggy little ovaries are ready for the trigger shot. Seth’s currently setting up a Dexter-style kill room (11% off at Menard’s, perfect time to stock up on plastic sheeting) and at precisely 8:30 pm, we’ll do a big injection of HCG, which will set us up for egg retrieval exactly 36 hours later on Wednesday morning. The best part of it being trigger day: one more injection tonight (as opposed to three) and a completely injection-free day tomorrow. My super sore abdomen is already trembling with relief. (Actually, that’s probably just more fluid on it’s way… but we’ll call it relief for the moment.)
I’m definitely at a peak level of insanity — a state of nervous excitement under hormonal extremes that is entirely novel. (FYI: normal pre-menopausal estradiol levels range from 30 – 400 pg/ml… mine are currently upwards of 2000 pg/ml and on the exponentially upward part of the drug-induced curve, so…) I feel so excited by the possibility, by the fact that my response so far has been “textbook” (oh how I Hermione-ly loved hearing those words come out of Dr. Stanic’s mouth this morning), and that we really are just about to be with our maybe baby. I also feel terrified that it’s only maybe and that I have to have surgery on Wednesday and that there’s nothing I can do to make anything better, but then again, also relieved that there’s nothing I can do to make it worse.
I keep saying “we’re almost there,” but honestly, every step of the way has been a choice. A conscious decision to do this thing, despite all the different varieties of tough, because it’s something that we think will be worth it in the end. That our end is as a family of more than two humans, one puppy girl, and several semi-sentient plants that hate me just a little bit for not being watered quite as often as they ought to be. As such, we’re never really “almost there”… we’re just there. In the thick of it. Choice or not, though, it has been painful.
For this pain, my soul has craved a benevolent witness. I so appreciated those words, that sentiment, and that I have absolutely not been disappointed. Thanks. Seriously. Thank you.
3 thoughts on “Thanks be to the benevolent witness.”
FYI I am NOT a morning person and I would never CHOOSE to get up before the butt-crack of dawn and then pin resentment on you. I CHOOSE to love you, your hubby, pup, and someday family. I CHOOSE to do whatever I guess that you might want me to do, since you never ask. I willingly CHOOSE to be not just a benevolent witness, but a blessed (yup, I just used that word) participant in your amazing life. Thank you, Rachel.
Oh, gosh, Moooom! You are so sweet! I am so glad that you were able to be there with Rachel. Rach, your’re words are beautiful, as are you! Love you!
I love you so much sweetie and unconditionally (mom, Abby and Tom too). Remember, mom and I are here for you…always…no matter what.