I've struggled long and hard with my decision to chronicle this journey I'm about to embark on. Part of me shies away from openly committing to these issues; part of me hopes to find solace in trying to find others who, like me, are confused, angry and sad.
Last Friday it became official: Kenton is unlikely to be able to father a child. Staring at this sentence, I feel a wave of surreal pain wash over me. How could this happen to US? We did everything "right", the way I thought you were supposed to do things. We got educated, traveled the world, didn't rush into marriage and didn't try to conceive the minute he'd carried me over the threshold. We thought we had time. We thought we were being smart - planned parenthood and all that.
As we sat in the doctor's office, listening to him explain the lab results, I found myself nodding to indicate that I understood what he was saying. It was like having an out-of-body experience: I was there, sitting in the hard plastic chair, looking at this man who was calmly explaining to us that we may not be able to have children by conventional means. As if it was the most normal thing to say. As if he'd just told one of us to take an asprin for a mild headache.
We left, neither one of us really saying anything; the piece of paper burning a hole into the pocket of Kenton's cargo pants. I felt numb, almost as if I had been given sad news about someone else - vaguely concerned, a little sad.
I went home by myself - Kenton had to go back to work. It was, after all, the middle of the day. I sat in the driveway for what seemed like forever: tears slowly running down as my vision became increasingly blurred. Once inside the house, a sound escaped from my mouth that was like the howling of a wounded animal - because, in all truthfulness, that's how I felt: wounded. As if, somehow, someone had deliberately injured me, delivering a potentially fatal blow to our plans and hopes for the future.
The worst part was the aftermath of that day. Kenton acted as if nothing had happened - jolly-go-lucky, goofing around like there wasn't that proverbial elephant in the room, constantly begging for attention. Alone, I cried like I haven't cried in years: anguished, broken. I listlessly stumbled around search engines in hopes of finding a support network, but nothing seemed to fit the bill. I couldn't join a group of women trying to conceive - knowing that, any day, someone might post that they'd finally gotten pregnant. I started reading about infertility, options for treatment - all the while thinking: why did this happen to us?
For a while I'd had an inkling that something might be wrong with one of us - like some sort of premonition or 6th sense, I've had this nagging feeling for years that we wouldn't be able to conceive, wouldn't be able to have what most people take for granted. In a sea of people, it seemed I was surrounded by women proudly displaying variously advanced pregnant bellies: beautiful women, plain women, skinny women, large women, young women, older women. I felt like I had been snubbed; like being turned down by a maternal sorority of sorts.
I am completely unprepared and unarmed to deal with this situation - to handle the cascade of unexpected emotions. I was angry at Kenton - I still am. Not because of his condition but because he doesn't seem to care. I know that he's just in denial - when I finally cornered him the other day, amid tears, and asked him whether he wasn't even the least bit upset, he grudgingly admitted that he was, that he just couldn't dwell on it like I did. But what else is there to do? How can I possibly just brush this under the carpet, pretend everything is alright - when it so clearly ISN'T?
I try not to think about it. I try to ignore all the pregnant women around me, the little girls with long hair and April Cornell dresses...so much that I had hoped for myself. But more than anything, I feel so completely ALONE. That, more than anything else, is probably what I was least prepared for. I feel like there's no one I can talk to: not mom, who didn't even know we had talked about wanting to try; not either one of our sisters (one of whom would put-put some platitudes of no help, while the other would launch a diatribe of finger-pointing).
I can't even bring myself to call Kathleen, my best friend, the one person who's as close to me as any blood relative - who, when we talked about this subject a couple of years ago, said that if we couldn't conceive she would be a surrogate for us. I tried to write her a letter, to tell her all I was feeling and the overwhelming pain that I couldn't even begin to lend credence to in words...and I failed, miserably, because I couldn't see out of my eyes once I started to unleash the pain and anger, the sense of injustice...
So here I am. I feel empty, cold, like something is missing. I look at a magazine and an ad for The Children's Place makes me cry. I watch a woman cradle an infant in a cheap blanket and think, my baby would have something much warmer and softer. I cuddle and talk to the children of my friends and acquaintances, trying to ignore the lump in my throat. And then, sometimes, I just sit there: staring into space, shivering, not knowing where to turn.