• Ashley

Curls You Can't Touch

If we're wearing our positive pants, infertility can be seen as a series of tiny wins.

*You've saved enough money for IVF

*You get your meds in the mail

*Your scan shows some eggs are growing

*You get 4 eggs at retrieval

*You have 1 HEALTHY embryo

*You're cleared for a transfer

When all of these events happened in our IVF adventure, I chose to see the positive. We had a healthy embryo. Sure, I hoped for more but we could have had zero. I was going to positive think this child into existence.

Here's the thing about positive thinking: it's healthy and helpful except when it's not. Sometimes it feels like white-knuckling your way through life. It can get in the way of real, actual grief. There's a fine line between a healthy thought process and "I'm totally fine, really" (eyes darting anxiously, afraid of your lie being discovered).

If I stop white-knuckling my thoughts, just for a while, I just feel sad. The due date of our 1 healthy embryo is just around the corner. Instead of seeing the series of tiny wins, I feel losses. Lots of them. Summer infertility losses. Things I'm missing:

*Watching my kid "help" her dad do yardwork

*Admiring the way her hair curls at the bottom in the humidity

*Seeing beads of sweat spread on her summer button nose

*Looking back as she crashes in her car seat after a play date in the sun

*Being included in play dates with my fertile friends

*Carrying her inside as she blankets over me in exhaustion

*Sticky ice cream kisses

These losses build into a pile of energy. Love that doesn't have a home. Questions left unanswered. Yearning but nothing to show for it. Searching but not finding. This energy floats and hangs above you. Along with the what ifs. The things that -if you had them - you may take them for granted. But if they were taken away from you, you could never forget them.

Infertility is grieving the little things you'll never know. What color would her hair be? Would sweat bead on her nose while she plays? Would she like chocolate or vanilla? What would be her favorite toy? Would she suck her thumb and hook her finger over her nose?

Not knowing is just another form of grief. Love you can't express. Kisses you can't give. Curls you can't touch.