Let me tell you about my middle sister.
She never wants anyone to feel excluded or “less than.” Attempts to do so really piss her off, and she advocates fiercely for marginalized people and groups.
She is one of the most creative people I have ever met. I’ve often said that the one thing that would have improved most people’s childhoods would be have had “an Erin” of their own. We are only 15 months apart and, while as opposite as two little girls could have been, I think we were good for each other–or at least she was good for me. As the adventurous one, she would get me to “play outside” (something I hated) and would somehow make it fun. Even playing indoors was more fun with Erin – for example, the way she saw it, our mother’s house plants were actually a jungle, and we were wild cats running around (and through) the “trees.” Or it wasn’t just an ordinary plastic grocery bag. No. It was a parachute, perfect for putting our arms through the handles and jumping from the top of our bunkbeds onto the pile of pillows and stuffed animals below. Almost every single one of my happiest childhood memories involve Erin. In fact, every memory that feels quintessentially like childhood absolutely involved Erin and one of her wild ideas.
Also, Erin’s hilarious. Like, really, really funny. So sometime in the past few years, it has become an inside joke between us, this … frustrating… saying that is printed on onsies or calligraphed on nursery walls in homes that I can only assume have not known the despair of 60 consecutive months of negative pregnancy tests. “All because two people fell in love.”
I wasn’t even aware that this saying existed until one day, when Erin was consoling me about yet another BFN (That’s “Big Fat Negative” in infertility parlance.), she went off about how insensitive and unrealistic this saying is. She said something about how in her view, it almost never goes that way. Almost never does it “just happen,” regardless of the love the partners share.
She said the saying should go something like, “All because two people did three rounds of IVF” or something like that. More accurate, but less catchy.
She continued her rant, (she was really on a roll) listing off the numerous crappy things that people who struggle with infertility have to do to attempt to create new life out of science and sheer freaking will. Hearing all of these things, listed out in rapid succession – all to get pregnant, which is apparently something that’s supposed to magically happen “just because two people love each other,” was actually… hilarious. We dissolved into laughter.
That’s how Erin is. She’ll take the worst day of your life, and after showing a very respectable amount of compassion, she’ll transition into vicarious anger, and then, somehow, she’ll make you laugh like only she can do.
Anyway, she said once I finally do get pregnant, it would be funny to get the whole litany of crap N and I had done memorialized in some uber traditional medium since the juxtaposition would highlight the ridiculousness of this unfair freaking situation all the more. She suggested cross stitching. On a pillow. Oh yes.
If we were to do that, this is what my pillow would say thus far:
- Tried for 5 years the “old fashioned way,” (4 of which with ovulation predictor kits and timed intercourse. Side note: I remember when we started doing this, I used to think that was as unromantic as things could get. Looking back, I’m like, “Oh sweet, innocent, naive Erika. Bless your little heart! You had no idea about how truly “unromantic” this process would become!)
45 failed IUIs (As of this week)
- 3 months of acupuncture
- Whole 30
- Fertility Yoga
- Dozens of cups of Fertili Tea
- Months of 2 different kinds of fertility herbs
- 3 rounds of Clomid
- Dozens of hormone injections (At first, in conjunction with the Clomid, then my doctor decided we should try “all injectable” rounds of IUI – so no pills, just nightly stomach injections. Did I mention my crippling needle-phobia?)
- Dozens of early morning blood draws
- Dozens of early morning ultrasounds
- And also… these two people fell in love
I told Erin that I would actually love to have a cross stitched pillow like that. I would display it proudly to get myself through, what I’m told, are hard times when you are sleep-deprived and exhausted with a young nugget at home. (#aspirationalproblems)
As I reflect upon nearly three and a half decades with Erin, and especially the past 5 years, I realize that one very special thing that would improve most people’s fertility journey, as with most people’s childhoods, would be to have “an Erin” of their very own.
I’m certainly grateful that I do.