December 3, 2012 by Katia
About a Happy Scar
Meet my new scar. I’ve had it for over a year, the result of a fall that occurred in January. Pulling my hand closer is my son. He was conceived a month prior to that. It feels like the scar and the baby were some sort of a strange package deal. This post discusses a struggle with fertility, a miscarriage and a scar but it’s about a baby. I pray that it instills hope in those seeking it.
My life in numbers in the months leading up to one scar: ten months and four failed rounds of fertility treatments multiplied by constantly changing combinations of hormone injections and pills, ten visits to the fertility clinic per round, three lines per appointment, one full time demanding job and ninety minutes of tardiness getting there each time, 5 a.m. wake ups to make it to the clinic and be amongst the first ones in and out, being numbers: 3, 2, 7, 11, 1, numerous books consumed while waiting, lots of faces seen in previous rounds, some that I haven’t, two eggs developing, five eggs developing, one egg developing, two weeks of limbo after each treatment waiting to find out if it worked trying to act pregnant to protect your fetus but think not pregnant to protect your heart , three “I’m sorry’s” over the phone and one in person, we’re not even going to talk about the money, one brilliant idea to try acupuncture and another to start talking to a coach to reduce stress. Countless tears swallowed and shed.
And my life in totally irrational feelings: I felt hurt that nothing was working and confused as to why, I felt a lot of ridiculously dramatic and valid adjectives like ‘bitter’ and ‘cheated’, and some shameful ones like ‘hormonal’ and ‘jealous’. And I felt very sad and kind of absurd – this bizarro world I was trapped in made the act of conceiving the conventional way seem too simple to make any sense. And I was feeling scared that this pregnancy was never going to happen. While it was somehow possible to stretch our budget for IUI, having more than one IVF treatment was not realistic, so there we were on the verge of round five knowing that it’s now or never. No pressure.
Succeeding became an obsession. Why? 3 Year Old. The unmatched happiness he brought. Wanting more of that for him, for us. Not wanting him to be an only child like us two. And then on round five our home pregnancy test came back positive. Imagine solving your biggest problem. Do you feel lighter yet? It felt like my efforts paid off, cause and effect were restored and life was making sense again. And the usually superstitious and always anxious me allowed herself to be done with fear and to celebrate by neglecting to safe proof the ‘when he comes’ statements with an ‘if everything is okay’, and yes I knew it was him. And perhaps because the previous four failed rounds felt like the big bad lurking ‘IT’ I always expect to happen, my fear quota was maxed out and I never once considered that something else could go wrong.
I was completely blindsided when on my 7th week appointment the Ultrasound Technician gave me a sonogram of the baby and said ‘talk to the doctor’, something that was a given, therefore never mentioned before, and I started anxiously calling my husband and mom and we all comforted ourselves and one another by concluding that I would never have been given a sonogram if something was wrong, nor would I’ve been told upon receiving it ‘here’s your baby’. Clinging on to these morsels, overcoming my fear of breaking rules I walked up to the Technician and asked for more information, still thinking that it was a typical case of my twisted mind envisioning the worst case scenario and I was so ready to make fun of myself later, instead I had to walk away with an ‘I’m sorry, I see so many people’. And I waited for two more hours until I met with the doctor and she told me the baby was not developing properly and I found out just how unreal it feels to be confronted with your worst case scenario and what it feels like when your heart is crushed. And there was one more week of the worst kind of limbo with recurring Google searches on ‘slow fetal development week 7′ and a couple of talks about miracles and four days of missing work to grieve and on my 8th week visit a different Ultrasound Technician called me honey and apologized to me, and I could tell she really meant it, and there were zero sonograms given. Add one miscarriage to the inventory and fast forward to December.
In December I was one lucky girl, pregnant again, feeling so incredibly thankful, anxious, protective, uncertain. I was taking blood thinning injections to prevent blood clotting and on week 8, January Friday the 13th there was a terrible snow storm and I slipped and fell on my way to the fertility clinic and immediately knew that I broke my hand. The following hours were the ultimate BADNESS with the following ingredients: one violent snow storm, one swollen hand, lots tears and cold sweat, driving with my husband to three different hospitals to find one that treats hands (yes, I know) and above everything hovered one huge paralyzing fear of the consequences. And we learned that the baby was doing well. And that I would need a surgery.
Endless concerns for the baby rose again: x-rays, skipping the blood thinner on surgery day, pain killers and the one thing I had control over was not adding anaesthesia to the mix. So I decided on regional anaesthesia. I am tolerant to pain and never forget my thank you’s while in labour, but as they operated on me it hurt, so much so that I was doing strange things like trying to tear off my nylon hospital hat and all I could think of was “I’m going to give myself a miscarriage if it continues to hurt that bad”. And then the surgery was over and I experienced a high from the sudden lack of pain and the recovery room felt like heaven with its large windows full of sky and me being the only one awake amongst peacefully sleeping patients. And a mature lady approached me with inaudible steps and whispered to me ‘he is waiting’. He was my husband, 36 Year Old, and I knew it, but I was sober enough to note that this too works with the heaven analogy. And so my scar was born. In the weeks ahead I was observing two processes: the regaining of movement in my fingers along with the changes in the shape and colour of the scar and through ultrasounds and kicks I was tracking the fetal development. And in August I gave birth to Daniel and it hurt so much that I tried to tear off my nylon hospital hat.
And here’s the reason I am writing this post: today my son is sitting on my lap and his very sharp tiny nails are digging into my scar and it hurts. And I marvel at this sensation and at how happy this pain is making me. And it feels so unreal to look at the scar and the baby together, this visual representation of a fear of loss and a time of uncertainty next to the incredible gain and they are intricately tied together in my mind. And it feels like such an incredible victory.