By fuck, I talk a lot. I mean, everyone in my real life already knew that. But the evidence is in black and white when you log into Blogger and it tells you that you have 299 posts...
I started this blog at the very end of June--June 25th. 300 posts in a little under seven months.
Here is the story portion of this post--I go to this bookstore/coffeehouse a lot. It's an independently-owned bookstore and the advantage to an independently-owned bookstore is that the sellers actually know their stock and they get to know recurring customers. So I go in and they say something like, "oh, I remember how much you liked that Ishiguro book. This new book is similar--take a look at it." And it makes me feel special that someone gives a crap about what I read and takes the time to point out another book I might like. When I lived closer to this bookstore, I was there so frequently that they named a drink after me in the coffeehouse (the "Mel" was similar to a chocolate egg cream with seltzer, syrup, and a shot of half-and-half). And it feels good to step up to the counter and have someone nod and start your drink before you've even ordered.
I know this will sound strange, but my RE's office felt a little bit like that bookstore. Not to idealize the experience of having someone stick a transvaginal ultrasound wand in your hoohaa at 7 a.m., but I really love my clinic. Even in the beginning, I'd walk in and they'd immediately greet me by name (how could they not know me? I was there morning after morning for blood draws). The sonographer would ask me about our house-hunting situation. My RE would give me a pep talk every few months ("it's okay to be disappointed, Melissa. It's not okay to be discouraged."). I knew the names of almost every staff member--from the billing person to the receptionist to every blood technican. They served bagels and coffee on the weekends.
And I think that made all the difference for me. It was hard that it only existed in the early morning hours and all emotional venting had to take place during an appointment or a brief call to my nurse. But I always felt like they had my back. Like we were all in this crappy boat together and they were willing to pass along any information they had that could get me to the other side. Even though I am well-aware how much I lucked out with my RE, I still wanted more. I wished I could find the empathy and support that I had in my RE's office outside the building from other stirrup queens and sperm palace jesters. The vast majority of people who worked at my RE's clinic were not stirrup queens themselves. They were simply people who had been in the world for so long and heard the stories of so many women that they had grown the empathy vicariously.
I tried going to support groups, but when I could barely get my shit together to make dinner, I was hardly up for getting back in the car and driving out to speak to strangers face-to-face. I tried the bulletin boards, and they were helpful, but people dropped in and out so quickly that I never got a sense of anyone else's story. They were great about answering questions or offering some sympathy during a vent, but I rarely knew anyone else's story beyond where they were in their cycle or their current protocol.
I've spoken before about why I started this blog and why I will continue writing mine long after I've finished the book or finished building my family. But the other side is what this blog has become for me--a cozy space where everyone is welcome (as long as they're not making anyone else feel like crap--it's okay to disagree; it's not okay to be cruel). Where you can sit down after a crappy day and just cry. Where you can come running in and shout out good news ("no OHSS!") and everyone will cheer along with you. Where you can ask your questions or give your opinion or admit to your fears or examine how you really feel about infertility.
In other words, the freakin' infertile Cheers of the Blogosphere.
Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
Those lyrics feel like they were made to describe my infertility experience. I just want to go where people get it. And maybe this speaks to your feelings too--to be in a place where you're not fighting upstream against sensational articles or have relatives telling you why you shouldn't adopt. Where people care if the anniversary of a loss is approaching. Where you can set your mind at ease by reading that thirty other people are thinking the same thing that you're thinking. At my bar, there is no pain olympics because "you wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same." We are all on this island and it doesn't matter if you've decided to forego fertility treatments and start immediately on the adoption path or if you're in the middle of your third IVF attempt. You are hurting. And I am hurting. And we are all on this island.
At least, that is how I hope people feel when they come here. It is, at the very least, how I feel as I write this and read comments. Because those comments connect me to your blogs and your experience. And a conversation is born. A conversation that is albeit sometimes meandering due to the logistics of the Internet. But a conversation nonetheless.
We can make life on this island easier for each other. Not necessarily "easy", but certainly easier. Being at a clinic where everyone knew my name and knew my personal story made things easier. Being with you guys and hearing that I'm not the only one beating myself up makes things easier. Hearing another person's point-of-view makes things easier. Knowing that I'll be there for you and you'll be there for me makes things easier.
I started this blog because it was what I wanted to find. A place that had information (Operation Heads Up or the Peer Infertility Counselors or the blogroll) but also brought people together (the book club or the creme de la creme) for discussion. A place that wasn't constantly changing and moving away from its original feel. Maybe it speaks more to my stick-in-the-muddiness, but I'm not a big fan of change. I like being able to go back to a place and have it "feel" the same. This is a place where no one has to feel alone or not welcome. Where you can feel like a regular from point one. At least for me, this spot has become my cozy place where there is a drink named for every stirrup queen or sperm palace jester in the Blogosphere.
So in the vein (no blood draw jokes intended) of Cheers, pull up a seat and I'll pour you a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated drink (unless what you need right now is a shitload of alcohol--we have that too). And just let everyone at the bar know what is happening with you. I'd like to do this every 300 posts or so--just start an open thread where everyone can sit down, catch each other up on what's happening, ask a question, celebrate, start a vent, have a good cry. Consider the comments section on this post a seat around the bar. Sit down and start talking.
I'm pouring drinks--talk to me.