A few weeks ago I went to a card reader. I’m not a skeptical person but I’m also not the type of person to let my fate be determined on “energies”. I was in the city visiting friends and Lauren had told me about this card reader she had gone to that very impressively told her stuff about her life that she could not have just guessed. I was intrigued but had no plans to go see her myself. On Sunday Lauren and I were headed uptown on the local train. We were about to get off and transfer to the express so I could stop by the firehouse to say hello to Tom. Just as we stood up, we watched the express train pull away. Oh well, we’d get off on the local stop and I’d kiss my husband later. As we walked towards Laurens apartment, we passed the shop where she got her cards read and inside stood her girl, surprisingly available for a reading. I followed her into what was basically a closet with a table in it. Besides my request for 15 minutes of her time, I didn’t say one word to her, not even my name.
She fanned the cards across the table and began talking to me, not asking questions but simply stating what she saw in the cards as if they were facts. “I see you moved recently”. I said nothing, just listened though in my mind I thought, it’s NYC in the Fall. Kind of a broad guess thats likely accurate for most people. She continued.
“I see this move was a necessary change for you. It has forced you to slow down even though at times you feel frustrated by this. You want to be doing more than you are but feeling limited right now.” I went from waking up at 4:45am 5 days a week and working three jobs to sleeping in until I’m ready to wake up and working barely 8 hours a week so…yeah, I’ve slowed down. Did I need it? Yes. Do I love it. No. Again, I didn’t say a word but listened, now very interested.
Her brow furrowed as she touched two cards at once. “Though this move was good for you, I see it paired very closely with some sort of trauma.” My heart paused, tears instantly formed in my eyes, my fingers tingled and I was suddenly finding it very hard to breathe. How does she know that? She continued, “I can’t tell if the trauma caused the move or if they happened close to each other but they are very closely paired. I also see that this trauma still weighs on you and you’re struggling with moving past it. You are not yet healed.” Correct again. Those words lingered in my mind. “You are not yet healed.”
You’re probably wondering what “trauma” could possibly have me crying in the closet of an upper east side fortune teller. *deep breath* Here it goes…
I have not been secretive about my fertility issues. I’ve written a previous blog about it. I’ve told complete strangers at the coffee shop I need decaf because I’m trying to get knocked up; my exact words. I didn’t sign up for the marathon this year because I’m trying to get knocked up. I’ve told clients at Kore and Fly I’m taking it easy because… say it with me, I’m trying to get knocked up.
It’s been over three years since we started trying. We’ve done three rounds of IUI’s which is the medical term for pumping me with hormones to make strong eager eggs and then the doctors do what you could call the “turkey baster method.” It’s a little more complicated than that but you get the gist. Getting your period after one of those is painful, both physically and emotionally. Definitely traumatic. But none of those “paired” with our move.
After the IUI’s fail, the doctors all recommend IVF next. We never thought it would actually come to that and moreover never thought we’d follow through with it if it did. For many reasons. The main reason being money. One round is anywhere from $20-$30k. As we sat in the doctors office to hear our fate, I cried while Tom kept his composure. Not only do we not have that kind of money, do I really want to do that to my body? Well fast forward to this very moment and I will tell you we did two rounds of IVF and as I sip my wine you will know I am not pregnant.
Stabbing myself with 2-4 needles of medications per day for several weeks, going under anesthesia to retrieve eggs, blood work literally every other day for 6 weeks and not getting pregnant was traumatic. It is probably one of the most difficult things I have every emotionally been through and yet, still not the trauma my fortune teller spoke of.
You see, when you go through IVF, they take out any eggs your body produced from the shots. Then they put them in a petri dish with Tom’s goodies and make embryos. The embryos that grow and become strong enough to be implanted get frozen until the next month when my uterus is pumped(of hormones) and ready to go. The first time we got 13 eggs. Lucky 13! Or so we thought. Of the 13, we got 1 embryo and not even a strong one based on their scale. They give you a picture of your embryo and you are instantly attached. The day we were to get the results of the pregnancy blood test I walked into the apartment to find Tom waiting for me, also impatiently. I turned on my phone that had been shut off so that we could do this together and there was the voicemail. The nurse’s tone was clear as day. “Hi Jessica. This is Jordan from doctor Copperman’s office. Please call me back when you get a moment.” The somberness was evident and we knew before we even heard what the results were. Man that was hard. We sat together and just hugged through tears. I’ve seen Tom cry 4 times in our 11 year relationship. Once on our wedding day. Once when his niece was diagnosed with cancer, and twice on the day we learned we were still not going to be parents.
The second round of IVF we did a different medication that was meant to make me grow stronger eggs. Five were retrieved and again ONE embryo grew but this time it was the highest rating you can get. Yess! That’s great news! A strong embryo!
The other thing that happens in this process is that when they implant the embryo into your uterus, is the total lack of control as to when it will happen. Your uterine wall decides that. My uterine wall decided that August 30th was the right day…the same day we had decided to pack up our cats and officially move to the burbs. It felt like a sign. Our totally new life was about to begin in more ways than one.
I finished everything I could in our fifth floor walk-up we had called home for over 9 years and stood in the doorway looking at the emptiness, nostalgia washing over me and I felt content. I shed a happy tear and headed out the door to the train to get to the doctor so I could finally get knocked up. I sat on the Q train waiting for it to pull out of the station when my phone began to ring. It was my doctor. Shit, was I late? Did I confuse the appointment time!? “Hi Jessica, this Jordan from Dr. Copperman’s office.” Ugh This bitch again. She always calls with bad news. “I’m afraid I have some bad news.” Told you. “I’m afraid your embryo didn’t survive the thawing process.” My throat closed and in an instant, I was having a panic attack. How was this possible? You said it was the strongest rating an embryo can get. It felt like the real deal and I had been filled with so much hope.
I had to get off the train before the doors closed. The man that cleans the cars at the first and last stop blocked the door. “Excuse me.” He didn’t hear me. “Excuse me.” Again nothing. “EXCUSE ME!” Tears and boogers exploding off my face. I ran up the stairs. Up the escalator and down the street. Every person I passed stopped to stare at the hysterical girl running down the street. I couldn’t control it. When I got back to my building those five flights seem like they never happened now as I threw myself into Toms arms and lost all control of my body. I can’t explain the pain. It felt like someone I loved just died. Only it was someone I never got the chance to love. I didn’t even get the chance to TRY to grow that healthy embryo in my uterus. We spent thousands to NOT EVEN GET TO TRY. Trauma.
That night, I sat on th deck of my new home. HOME. I drank wine and watched the sun set, creating purples and pinks in the sky. I ate cheese and felt happy. I felt happy and calm and right. This was my new home and my new chapter I had been thinking about for quite some time. But I also felt sad. I felt defeated. Worthless and numb. Like I had one body surrounded by two souls.
We sat in silence for a long time. I broke the silence, “How is it possible to feel so incredibly happy and so excruciatingly sad at the same time?” He felt the same. Here we began our whole new chapter and simultaneously our reality that parenthood would never happen for us came aggressively evident. Tramatic.
My card reader was right. I am not healed. I want to be but I am not. Will I ever be? Who knows. Does it get better? Yes. Little by little. But I am not healed. The cards are not wrong.
You might be asking why am I sharing this so publicly? After the three failed IUI’s I wrote my “Getting Knocked Up Is Not As Easy As You’d Think” blog and it helped. Not only is it cathartic to put your emotions in writing, there’s something therapeutic in putting it out there for people to read and even more therapeutic to hear that other woman can relate to your story. I don’t want other women to relate to this story. I don’t ever want anyone to ever feel like this but I know unfortunately I am one of millions of woman who know exactly what it feels like to have to face the reality that I may never be the mother… at the very least to a child of my own DNA. If you suddenly want to reach out to me with some sort of positive mantra “You will be a mother someday” please don’t. Don’t. Please don’t tell me a story of how you know someone who knows someone who did IVF and failed and then they got pregnant naturally. It does not fill me with hope. It fills me with envy. Maybe I’ll be one of those stories someday of somebody who knows somebody but right now I’m not and I just don’t want to hear it. Like my last blog on this topic, I’m not looking for pity. I’m not looking to be consoled. I just needed to put it out there. To try to heal.
Had we not missed that express train, maybe I would never have had my 15 minutes with the fortune teller and I know now I needed it. It was meant to be. She told me a lot of other things that were eerily too true. In fact, she didn’t say one thing that wasn’t accurate in talking about things of the past so I hope what she said about my future to be true. But what I really gained from her is the push I needed to try to move forward. Step out of this standstill I’ve been in since August 30th and try to heal. For now, as she recommended, I will embrace the slower pace of my new life in my beautiful home and I will try… TRY to fully heal.