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.