By: Heather Somaini
So I left you two days ago wondering about the fate of Tere and our unborn twins after the doctors performed a surgical procedure called a McDonald Cerclage. After a few more days of bed rest at the hospital, they measured her cervical length again using an ultrasound. She went from 1.7cm before the procedure to 2.4cm after – a good enough improvement for them to let her continue her bed rest from home. It still wasn’t the magical 3cm that they wanted but it was good enough to get my babies back home.
I was elated and couldn’t wait for that Saturday to come. Our company Christmas party was on that Friday night and I was determined to make an appearance even if I was solo. I swear I floated on air chatting with everyone about how successful the doctors were and that Tere was coming home the next morning. I knew I couldn’t stay too late though, as I still needed to visit with Tere at the hospital and go grocery shopping since there probably wasn’t much in the refrigerator to eat after my nine days of bachelorette-hood.
Before I left the party however, I ended up discussing our ordeal with my colleague, Mark. As I told our story, it dawned on me that Mark and his wife had been married for awhile but didn’t have children. I asked how long they had been married. I think he told me about five years and I asked when they were going to start a family. He told me they had been trying for quite some time to no avail and were currently starting infertility treatments. Mark seemed timid at first but then started explaining all the things they had been through and how hard it had been for him, his wife and their marriage.
I felt horrible that I had been working alongside Mark for years and didn’t know any of this. I hadn’t asked him. We’re sort of taught not to ask personal questions of people especially when it’s in an area that is considered “private”. Mark actually seemed relieved to have someone listen and understand exactly what he was going through.
Towards the end of our discussion, I said “Wow Mark, that really just sucks and I feel for you.” Mark looked at me and said “you’re the first person to say that. Most people tell us it will get better or not to worry.” I completely understood what he meant. No one really knows what to say when you explain that things aren’t going well and they just want to reassure you that it will all work out especially if you put it out of your mind.
But infertility is next to impossible to put out of your mind. It’s a painful up and down rollercoaster that has an exact 28-day cycle. It’s a constant reminder that something is wrong with you, that you’re not like everyone else because everyone else is getting pregnant and having babies all around you without even trying, without complications. Moms-to-be are taking yoga and spin and complaining about how they can’t drink wine but they aren’t rushing to the hospital on a Friday night because something went wrong.
Of course none of this is really true. Although the vast majority of women have uneventful pregnancies, many others are challenged every day. That Friday night was one more step toward me realizing how much support we all need in this new day and age of parenting. We all need to know that others are going through the same thing we are, or worse. Life is not clean or easy. It’s messy and hard.
In the four years since I had that first conversation with Mark, he and his wife had a beautiful baby girl and just three weeks ago, their family increased to four with a bouncing baby boy. It all works out in the end, one way or another, my Mom always says.
On that Saturday, I drove Tere home and put her back to bed. She was getting pretty sick of bed rest. If she only knew how long it would last…