Anyone who knows me knows what an amazing relationship I had with my mother. To say that we were best friends would be putting it very, very lightly. We really understood each other, and we really took care of each other. The hurt in my heart writing this entry is so profound. The way I miss her is all-encompassing. But again, this is a huge part of our story, and really the turning point of us deciding to get professional help.
We met at Jimmy’s Pub, a local hot spot, and one of my mom’s favorite restaurants. Up until this point, our infertility struggle was just between Jimmy and I, but I had already decided that tonight would be the night I let my mom in. It was so unusual to keep something from her, as we both shared WAY too much information about everything else, but this was different. I had always pictured the way I would tell her I was pregnant. They way I would tell her “you’re going to be a grammy!” It was something she always wanted, and always talked about. When I got engaged at 21, she said “you’re too young to get married, is it about having babies? Just have the babies, I don’t care if you’re married!” (To qualify her feelings: she loved Jimmy, she was just going through a horrible divorce.) And, in my perfect mental picture of sharing the news with my mom, believe me, the conversation did not start with tears and talk of infertility. Not for me. Not for the girl who always dreamed of being a mommy. Not for the teenage girl whose mom told her to be careful “although [she] would just love some grandbabies!”. Not for the girl who listened to her mom, and saw the light in her eyes, when she talked about how she couldn’t wait to teach her grandbabies how to bake her famous chocolate chip cookies, and they could make as much of a mess as they wanted, and it would just be their time to enjoy each other. Nope, not for me. I had wanted it to be such a happy surprise, a moment that neither of us would ever forget, a moment so full of love and excitement, a perfect moment of time that I had waited so long for…but instead, there was this:
Mom: “Honey, what’s wrong? I’m worried about you, you haven’t been yourself lately.”
Me: Big gulp of my Angry Orchard as I fight, hard, to hold back tears. Already angry at myself for not being able to hold it together. Another gulp: “Mom, I need to tell you something. Jimmy and I are having a really hard time getting pregnant.”
Mom: Shocked look on her face, eyes searching for the right words, all nervous habits that I know of beginning to surface, including my least favorite, inappropriate laughter: “What do you mean, dear? I didn’t even know you were trying to get pregnant.” She tried, but she couldn’t hide the hurt from her voice. I tell her everything, why not this big news?
Me: Tears. “I know, Mom, I wanted it to be a really happy surprise, but I can’t hold it in anymore. I need you.” More tears, and an uncomfortable waitress interaction. I should have thought about that before choosing this as the setting.
Mom: “Honey, you’re going to be fine. You’re young, healthy, and have a history of women who get pregnant just by standing within five feet of a penis. It’s going to be FINE.” She seemed less nervous, and really believed what she was telling me.
Me: “Mom, there is also a history of women in our family struggling tremendously to get pregnant, and not being able to carry to term. Even you had a miscarriage.” Had she forgotten? Not thought of it? Thinks it couldn’t happen to me?
Mom: almost defensive “Like who? After my miscarriage I had three beautiful babies!”
Me: blank stare. “Mom, you kidding? Think about it.” It came out all as one word, and my shocked raised eyebrows snapped her back into reality. Sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, I could almost see them in her eyes. It finally clicked, and she really began thinking. Then she went into straight mom-mode.
Mom: “Ok, how long have you been trying? When did you come off the pill? Have you seen a doctor yet? I just saw an ad for an infertility screening, I will get you the information when I get home…”
The myriad of questions continued, most of the time not even waiting for me to answer. It was as though she needed to talk it through out loud, so she could figure out how best to help me. As I write this now, I chuckle at the memory of how quickly she switched gears from “you’re young and you’ll be fine” to “my baby needs me and I am going to do everything I can to help her”. We sat there for hours talking, and for the first time in a long time, I breathed. I knew my mom was going to figure out a way to help me get through this, and I knew I had her support to start looking into our options. And, just the fact that she knew about what was going on just made me feel so much better.
And, as we were leaving:
Mom: “Ok, so I am going to research the different infertility offices in the area, don’t argue with me you don’t have time to weigh the options, and get back to you about that screening. You need to call your OBGYN and get in there for an appointment, maybe they can give you a referral? It’s going to be ok, honey, you’re going to be a mom.”
And that’s what I needed. I needed to hear from my mom that it was going to be ok, that everything was going to work out. Even if both of us and Jimmy had no idea what we were doing, no idea where to start, and no idea where the journey would lead, at least I knew we had her support, and she told us it was all going to be ok.
She held true to her word, and texted me all day at work the next day with her findings. By the end of the week, I had an appointment, which brings us to the next chapter: The Initial Infertility Consultations.