Ok, so I am new to the blogging world, and my posting has been pretty sporadic. So here is my new goal–by Friday of each week, a new post will be up here that will hopefully give some useful insight or some emotional support from the mind of an infertility veteran who can’t seem to stop coming across things that trigger memories of the “pre-positive beta test” days. Any advice or suggestions for topics are always welcome–just post a response or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now on to “Where Is Our “?” Mark?
My 98 year-old grandmother recently passed on, and I volunteered to go through the thousands of cards she had received from us throughout the years. I can still picture the smile in her crystal blue eyes every time she would get a card from any of us. The simplest message about how proud we were to have a Grandma like her would bring a tear to her eye. She would clasp her hands together and say “What did I do to deserve this?”
I came across a slew of cards that I noticed had “?” marks after my brother and his wife’s names, signed “from all of us”. At first I didn’t get it…had my mom forgotten to include someone on the card instead adding a “?” mark because she couldn’t remember our names? Or were we unsure that it was truly from all of us?
Then it hit me…the “?” mark was because my brother and his wife were expecting. The old “odd couple without kid” emotional body memories hit me for second. The date on the card transported me back to our 4th year of trying…our 3rd failed IVF.
Had my mom just given up on us when she didn’t add the “?” mark? Of course not. If she added a question mark for Lisa and I we would have felt superstitious pressure that the next cycle needed to work lest the “?” mark give Grandma false hope.
The truth be told, I’m pretty sure that we didn’t event attend the event those flowers were sent to, and my mom just added our name to the card to keep us from being excluded. It was Easter, which for naturally conceiving couples is a season of flower bonnets for little girls, little boys fighting each other for who got the most money filled eggs. An emotional minefield for any couple that had endured the loss of a dozen or so assisted reproductive cycles.
I remember Lisa had disappeared at one Easter gathering at the country club my parents belonged to right around the time the Easter Egg hunt had started. She was gone nearly an hour, and I was frantic, thinking she had wandered off into the nearby desert in a haze of tears to escape the cacophony of squealing children that weren’t ours.
When I found her later, she was clinging to the payphone receiver talking to one of our fertility support group friends, a pile of wet tissues scattered around her.
Wanting to clear that memory from my brain, I set the question mark card down, frantically scrolling through another dozen or so cards from various family members. The question marks on subsequent card evolved into names…the names of babies they had, growing and wishing Happy Thanksgivings, Merry Christmases, love on Valentine’s day.
Our cards continued to be signed ‘Love, Denny, Lisa and Sandy’ (our furry baby and child pinch hitter during those days).
The pace of my card segregation quickened until I found a card that brought me back to the present, with a deep sigh of relief.
I opened it up and paused a minute to look at it.
Inside, it shows Lisa’s left tilting cursive “We are expecting a girl in October”. At the end of those miraculous words are exclamation points. Resolute, straight lines punctuated by a dot that without question provide proof of our departure from the world of exclusion from the pregnancy “?” mark club on future family greeting cards.