The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dot Day (Children Mentioned)

Fertility treatments come with a few silver linings. You get a chic sharps box which is an excellent receptacle for those "I Voted" stickers you get on election day. You can create a small constellation of prick marks across your belly and teach yourself astronomy. And you are so in tune with your cycle that you know all the special days to celebrate down the road. One of these days is Dot Day.

Dot Day is what we call CD1 of the cycle that we brought (pretty much) to term. I know, I know, they weren't actually little dots at that point. They were merely prefollicles. They were wishes. They were ideas that simply needed the right mix of hormone injections and time. But I like to think of them as tiny pulses of light on CD1, that energy that became the ChickieNob and Wolvog. We'll celebrate Dot Day this weekend with a cake and quiet fanfare. It really is more a family holiday for Josh and myself than one to share entirely with them lest they choose to share it with unsuspecting elderly ladies in the yogurt aisle. Aaah, the joy of being a beta baby.

The whole idea of celebrating Dot Day reminds me of a line from The Handmaid's Tale where Aunt Lydia reminds the women that there are different types of freedom: "There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it." Obviously, living in a repressive regime is far from ideal, but she points out the benefits. There is no rape, no murder, no objectification through pornography (I guess they choose their objectification through other means). These are strange side benefits to having all "freedom tos" removed.

Having all of the information at my fingertips--watching the entire story of their conception and birth unfold down to the smallest details, from my basal body temperature to my level of E2 to the number of ampules of Follistim I used on a given day--it's a thin silver lining, a freedom from conceptual ignorance. My children will never be able to truthfully shout at me: "why did you have me? You don't even care about me!" I can show them that this was no happy accident, no squinting at a calendar trying to recall my last period. This was orchestrated. This was planned. This was the Pulse of the Dot.

I think adoption also has this silver lining, the proof of the work, the proof of the desire and thoughtfulness behind the action. There is Gotcha Day and other markers that spin through the calendar yearly. These days are impossible to forget. They are the markers that brought you closer and closer to your life changing.

Would I give all of this information away to have that conceptual ignorance and have those adolescent words spat at my face--in a heartbeat. It is the same way we accept that we have no freedom froms in our society, though we have many freedom tos. We'd love to have both, but I think if we all had to choose, we'd take our messy, terrible world over the harsh and fearful environment of The Handmaid's Tale. I think we'd all choose ignorant conception over IVF.

Thinking about Dot Day approaching left me sitting in the kitchen at 12:45 a.m., crying as Josh tried to eat an extremely late dinner. What if there is never another Dot Day? What if there is a Knowing Day, but the Dot Day belongs to another woman? What if? What if? What if this is it?

Having this day to celebrate is lovely, but knowing so much makes the inability to attain it that much more bitter. Dot Days, Knowing Days--these are things other parents out there have never considered. But they're the days that make not having a Dot Day or more Dot Days difficult to swallow. Every CD1 is such a moment of hope. It is its own pulse. Its own life. I am forever looking up dates--if this moved from a dot day to a Dot Day, what would be Knowing Day? What would be the Birth Day? Birthday?

I think that is what I wish non-infertile people could understand, the emotions of CD1. And what it means. The largeness of it. That eternal mixing of sadness and hope. It is always an end day. It's always a beginning day. And until it becomes the Dot Day, the one you celebrate for years to come, it is simply a dot day, a strange mix of wishes and knowledge and anxiety and fear. It is frustration and denial and rage. It is turning over large sums of money for a chance. It is sometimes simply a strange reminder--a monthly reminder--of what is not going to happen. I imagine that long after I move away from marking CD1s, I will still take note of CD1s. I will remember what that day means for the rest of my life even when I'm not trying, if that makes any sense at all.


Tracy said...

"a strange mix of wishes and knowledge and anxiety and fear. It is frustration and denial and rage. It is turning over large sums of money for a chance."

That's where I'm at now. And it won't be my dot day. I don't even know if they'll tell me what HER dot day is...Will I know anything beyond a fertilization report? It feels very weird to me that my husband will be going in the day of egg retrieval - the very day our egg donor will be there - but I will be at home.

Very thought provoking post. I wish I was ignorant and could go back to thinking of simple things, though.

Michell said...

Great post. I've thought about and mourned in the past that I will never get to experience the "surprise pregnancy". That moment when you realize that something has changed and your surprised by it. I spend the 2 weeks leading up to the test going back and forth between thinking positively and negatively and making myself nuts. And then there is the money. Thanks so much for always saying exactly what I'm thinking. And happy dot day to you and your family.

nancy said...

Dot Day. I just love the terms you come up with. So happy Dot Day to you all!

"Having this day to celebrate is lovely, but knowing so much makes the inability to attain it that much more bitter." This is the sentance I read and knew too much what exactly you meant. It's that sentance which I am having SO much trouble with right now.

Vee said...

Great post. So much is happening physically and mentally how can CD1 just go past without so much thought ?

Samantha said...

That's a beautiful post, and so true.

Ms. Infertile said...

"a strange mix of wishes and knowledge and anxiety and fear. It is frustration and denial and rage. It is turning over large sums of money for a chance." - so true.
CD1's always bring a mix of emotions, and always when I have my most hope.

Geohde said...

Yes, CD1 is emotionally complex. Hopeful because of the fresh opportunity and yet dispar provoking because of the reminder of what was not.


Jen said...

I really liked how you described CD1 as both an end day and a beginning day. So well put and so true.

SarahSews said...

I'm sorry it's so scary. I wish there were some other way. Hugs for you.

On a lighter note, how are the carols and candy?

REBECCA said...

Ah, yes...I so get what you mean. Again, you've captured so beautifully in words what so many of us hold in our hearts. It is my fear that I will never have a Dot Day...but many many dot days. It's such a vortex of emotions, and yet I still try to remind myself on the bleakest of dot days that my Dot Day may still be on the horizon...and try to hope that it will be soon. Best wishes to you, DH and your gorgeous babes on this very special Dot Day!
(And sending out very special thoughts that your NEXT Dot Day will come soon as well!)

Maria said...

"It is its own pulse. Its own life. I am forever looking up dates--"

It moves us forward whether we want to move forward or not. I'm dreading my dot day, this is the last treatment cycle I'll be doing for a while. Do I dare dream that this is the one?

Soupy said...

you make me cry
my heart is just aching right now for you, reading this, in tears, because I know all too well the familiar feelings you are different ways, because I will never experience the road map of dots across my own tummy again..........but I'm sending you wishes and hugs that this Dot Day brings you so much joy...........happy Dot Day to you!

Lori said...

"What if there is never another Dot Day? What if there is a Knowing Day, but the Dot Day belongs to another woman?"

Thanks for including this thought.

A great post, Mel.

Hope you get an earlier dinner tonight :).

Julia said...

Even when we snuck in without invasive treatments, I always knew the Dot Day. Because if you are infertile, you know.
We are getting closer to our first big guns medicated dot day. Kinda imposing.

chicklet said...

"what I wish non-infertile people could understand, the emotions of CD1. And what it means. The largeness of it. That eternal mixing of sadness and hope. It is always an end day. It's always a beginning day" - this is the line that grabbed me. It's so so true, the largeness, the beginning, and the end - all in one freakin day. A day that happens again and again.

Jess said...

CD1, yes. It's so cool that you celebrate it...the hope that you had, the meaningfullness behind it. :)

Although...I'm not sure that I WOULD trade surprise/accidental pregnancy for IVF. Sure, I wish that I hadn't had to pour tons of money into having what should come easily and free...but there's also something beautifully special in knowing you were tried for SO hard from a child's view...that you were NO surprise, no accident, that you were so achingly waited for and wanted that your parents would do next to anything to bring you into the world.

I know, because I'm that kid. Not an IVF baby, because we're talking a long time ago in the middle of nowhere Ohio, but I'm the kid who's parents waited 11 years and had surgery to get me here. The wanted one. And I was ALWAYS proud to say it, I remember claiming it in elementary school even. And I'm proud to be able to have children who can claim wanted-ness unquestionably, too. Adoption and IVF...both are pretty deliberate. :)

PCOSMama said...

I agree with Jess, that I'm not sure I would change it. Sure, I would have in the beginning, but now that we have been through it I would have it no other way. It truly is wonderful to have this to share with your children, how very much they were wanted. Personally, my Mom jokes to this day about how I was born with her birth control pills in my hand. Funny? Yes. A little bit sad? Also yes. It causes some self-esteem issues growing up knowing you were a mistake. Our children will never have that. They were the complete opposite of mistakes!

I, too, love all the great terms you come up with and the reasons you celebrate things like Dot Day. Your children, at such a young age, already know just how loved and wanted they are. It's wonderful!

Duchess said...

Outstanding post. You summed up CD1 better than I could ever have imagined. Thank you.

Tina said...

Such a wonderful post...

Although the one thing that strikes me still sometimes are those Dot Days of the babies conceived but lost along the way... Those Dot Days bring sadness and rage for other reasons: Knowing the end was that of a life ended way to quickly. Well before his/her time. Never given the chance to see the beauty of living outside the womb. The constant reminder of my body's incapability at the time to nurture the life to term.

It is very interesting now being on both sides of this coin: Needing medical intervention for my DS and m/c #2 and #3...yet, finally being able to experience the naive, natural conception I had long longed for. The Dot Day for this baby - August 23rd - will never be forgotten. It will always be a reminder for me, especially after this pregnancy comes to a close with a happy ending, that my body finally got it right on ALL counts. It will be the reminder of the day that my most heartfelt wish finally came true: To conceive on my own, and for this baby to finally make it. It will be forever a day I will always be thankful for. It is a gift day, parallel to the Dot Day of Chris, the day I met my DH, and the day I married him.

loribeth said...

Well, my only pregnancy was conceived without fertility treatment & was a total shock (after 2.5 years of ttc with no success)(the fertility treatments came later, as we tried to get pg again). I kept going back to that CD1 (Feb. 8th) & wishing I could remember more about it. It's still a date that's ingrained in my memory & I am actually kind of dreading it this year, as it will be 10 years, & will sort of be the kickoff to the anniversary "countdown" to Aug. 7, the day our daughter was stillborn.

I still keep track of my cycles -- not that I am expecting anything to happen at this stage, but because I like knowing roughly when AF is going to make an appearance.

syn70 said...

How important CD1 has become to me. Especially when I am waiting sooo long for it. On CD1 my dreams can begin again.

calliope said...

wonderful post. I saved it in my bloglines so that i could read it fresh this morning. You have so touched on something that I think SO many of us do- that CD1 emotional moment.

Trying cycles or not, I am ALWAYS emotional on a dot day. It is oddly comforting to see that I am not the only one.


In and Out of Luck said...

So true. This is a great post.

C said...

Long time reader, first time commenter... I always enjoy your blog, thanks for being a champion for us 12.5%. Well done, you have nailed the emotions of CD1. It's ugly and beautiful at the same time. Here's wishing you another Dot Day very soon.

Carole said...

So well said. You have such an incredible way of sharing of yourself through your words that I can feel it in my soul.