life, love, and maybe babies

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Knowing vs. Hoping: A Little Story That Puts Infertility Into Perspective

Below is a little story that I think sums up how infertility is different than other problems people might encounter in life. It's a little bit deep, but I think you all can catch on. ;-)

Here goes:

When I was about 22 years old, my boyfriend called me last minute on a Friday and asked me to join he and his family at the Lake of the Ozarks for a weekend filled with sun, fun, booze and boating. (For those of you not familiar with Missouri, the Lake of the Ozarks is just a humongous lake spread out over 55,000 acres in Missouri. It's a breeding ground for good times and bad decisions.)

Of course when this invite was extended to me, I wanted to go. A whole weekend with my boyfriend while working on my tan? Sign me up! Problem was, I didn't get off of work until 5:00 and boyfriend planned to leave at noon. In order for me to go, I would have to drive down on my own and meet up with them later. No biggie, this is what maps and directions were for, right?

I agreed and he hastily gave me the name of the condo in which they were staying and mentioned something about getting on a highway and driving for 3 or so hours. He would give me further details when I got off work. Done and done!

5:00 hit and I ran out the door and into my car, loaded up with gas and speed dialed boyfriend for more concrete directions. Straight to voicemail. Not a big deal, I had a 3 hour drive in front of me and could connect with him at some point down the road.

Fast forward 2.5 hours. I'd called boyfriend 392 times. All straight to voicemail.

I started to get a little worried.

There comes a point on the way down to the Ozarks when your phone will no longer work. We're talking "Deliverance" type territory. All that's around you are cows and people in overalls. Other than my phone having sketchy service, I also realized my battery was rapidly dying. I didn't have a car charger.

I knew I was getting close to the spot where I would need to turn off to find boyfriend's condo, so I couldn't just keep on driving willy nilly. The sun was setting and I was running out of gas. I pulled into a Walmart and charged my phone in a bathroom enough to hear my phone if boyfriend's call did manage to come through. I called boyfriend again and again. Voicemail voicemail voicemail.

What was I going to do? I was in the middle of nowhere with no directions where to go. I was literally stranded. I pulled my car to the farthest section of the Walmart and tried to rest until my phone rang.  It didn't go well. I saw one homeless man pee on a dumpster and I'm pretty sure I also watched a drug deal or two go down. For a 22 year old girl, this was just too much.

And so I cried. I cried because I was scared and alone in a strange place. My parents were on vacation and had no idea I had decided to come here. Literally no one knew where I was. I cried because I was pissed at boyfriend for clearly abandoning me in my time of need. I cried until the tears wouldn't come anymore. Was I going to die out here in a friggin' Walmart parking lot? Was this what was to be my life?

It was the lowest I remember feeling prior to my experiences with infertility. I just felt like I was stuck with nowhere to go and no one to help me. And then I had a thought that cheered me up. This wasn't going to be the end for me. I had no need to be so dramatic. Eventually my boyfriend would call. And eventually I would find where I needed to be. At the very worst, I could turn my car around go the hell home. This was not going to change my life for the better or the worst.

And right then, a light bulb went off.

I remembered that the name of the town where boyfriend was staying was named after a woman. Leila? Leslie? Laurie? Leanne? I couldn't remember. With new life breathed into me, as a last ditch effort, I drove to a sketchy gas station and asked the woman with two teeth behind the counter if I was near any towns that had a girl's name. Jackpot. I was 15 minutes outside of Laurie, MO. That had to be it!


I got directions from two-teeth girl and headed toward Laurie. I remembered something about turning off on the second street once I got to Laurie and the condo having a steep driveway. And so, I drove through Laurie with only vague memories to guide me. I must have passed 15 different condo complexes with steep driveways. But I kept going. What else was I going to do?

And then suddenly, it was there. Boyfriend's dad's Tahoe. It was even right underneath a lamp post so light shone on it like it was delivered from heaven itself. I had made it.

Ironically, as I pulled up to the Tahoe, I also noticed two figures approaching the vehicle. Two young guys, freshly wet from swimming in the lake all evening and slightly buzzed from one too many Natural Lights. Boyfriend and his friend. Boyfriend's mouth hit the ground when he saw me. He launched into a huge story about how he thought his phone was lost but he had just realized it was in the Tahoe and was on his way to call me right then. (I constantly thank my lucky stars this is not the man I ended up with.)

But it didn't matter his excuses. I had done it. I had gotten to this god forsaken place by myself, and I hadn't given up. And no one could take that from me.


Okay, so you can probably see some parallels here and maybe you can even see where I'm going with all of this. It may have taken 4 hours longer than it should have, and I may have had six mental breakdowns in the process, but I made it to my destination in the Ozarks and I made it there with nothing but pure determination (and maybe some rage).

My point is this...infertility was a lot like that ridiculous car ride down to Hickville for me. There were so, so many times where I just felt alone and scared and stuck, afraid to turn down the wrong road, end up in the wrong place. The difference, however, is that in my journey to the Ozarks, I had that moment of clarity where I knew that things would eventually be okay. This was all just a longer than expected chapter of my life, and someday I would be able to laugh about it. And that feeling was comfort enough to keep on trying.

With infertility, there is no comforting feeling or knowing that it's all going to work out. Ever. The best you can do is hope it all turns out okay. You never know if there's an end to the road. It could just go on for infinity with no no two-tooth Sally to help you choose the right path, because there is no right path. And that feeling of hopelessness? It never leaves. Even when you get good news that lifts you up, there's still that little devil with a pitchfork telling you "this might not work". There are no safety nets with infertility. You really might end up in that Walmart parking lot for years and years...and your only option might ultimately be to give up and just head home.

I was lucky in that my path did end with a pregnancy, and I am one of the fortunate ones. So many women and men dealing with infertility don't get the good news I got. They don't get that positive on the pregnancy test. Yet they still have to hear from friends and family and co-workers, "oh, it will all be okay eventually."

I wish everyone could understand that, and I think we'd all be better off.

Here's to an infertility journey that ends you safe at the condo, my friends.


1 comment:

Aislinn said...

I'd like to think that all of the people I have met through this journey through blogging and on Twitter are my own tribe to two-tooth Sallies. They may not have that magical answer that will result in pregnancy, but so many of them got me started down the right path.

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