August: Dog Days of Summer

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Suddenly Sweating

I offer for your enjoyment, tonight, the preface to the book I'm trying to write, called Suddenly Sweating.

August 30, 2012
Sitting here on our back patio, listening to the playlist on my iPod entitled, “samba lounge,” I’ve had an epiphany.
Why write a somber, maybe even morose essay about my trials and tribulations with infertility? I had originally planned on pouring over boxes of notes, medical files, research, journal entries, online “tips” and other people’s similar experiences in order to regurgitate it all into a serious expose of “one woman’s journey through infertility to motherhood and beyond.” When suddenly, the new book idea presented itself to me through a post on Facebook I made this afternoon mid-hot flash at my desk at work. I posted my status as “Suddenly Sweating” with the byline of, “sounds like a good name for an all-girl band, doesn’t it?” This prompted a slew of responses and hysterical song titles by friends:
“45 Layers” by Suddenly Sweating.
“Why am I Awake at 3AM?” by Suddenly Sweating.
“Why am I Awake at 3AM Soaking Wet and Stuck to my Pillow?” by Suddenly Sweating.
“Why Did I Walk to the Kitchen?”
“Where is the KY?”
“Why is everything sagging?”
“Oops! I sneezed and wet my pants a little”
“Please Excuse me While I Stick my Head in the Freezer.” 
By Suddenly Sweating. You get the idea.
A light bulb burst in my brain then, when I looked out into our vineyard and saw a hawk sitting quietly on one of the end posts, taking in the evening air. Was he sent here by providence? Was he symbolic of some great endeavor I’m supposed to embark upon? Maybe.
Why not write a light, pithy expose- filled with humor, realism, and soul-bearing about my journey?
Why not share experiences and stories from so many of the women I know who have become mothers through varying methods?
Why not write something that takes a hard look at the infertility crisis in this country, through personal experiences of me and almost every mother I know? Certainly women will be much more inclined to read and identify with women who have been through the proverbial ringer of infertility, who can help other women going through similar experiences with some uplifting stories, not taking oneself too seriously while maintaining the necessary HOPE that fills the head and heart of every woman trying to become a mommy? Perhaps I can find a way to tell my story and inspire women who have lost some of that hope, or are in any part of their own journey to motherhood with a bit of humor, and raw reality?
As I head into menopause, it seems fitting that “Suddenly Sweating” should be not just the book title, but the title for the next phase of my life altogether. While I am struck by the irony of this next phase, after so many years on the infertility roller coaster, I am also struck by what I can only be described as an inner smile, a secret chuckle I hold inside. How many years have I spent in the hope that “maybe this time” I’ll miraculously get pregnant, this round of IVF will work, or this embryo will stick, only to now find myself at what is truly the end of my fertile years. Oh the irony. A few years ago, I would have crumbled at the very thought of it. Even thinking ahead to the time when I could realistically no longer somehow miraculously become pregnant and actually hang on to it, would have sent me into a depressive and anxious tizzy. I would wallow in my hopelessness in those instances. For some inexplicable reason, now that the next phase of my (fertile) life is actually upon me, I find that I’m somewhat relieved. How can this be!? RELIEVED- seriously!? Yes. I think I can finally begin to let go. Halle-fucking-luliah. It’s like a thousand pound elephant is suddenly being extricated from my back. (Actually, I wouldn’t mind if a metaphorical thousand pound- well, OK maybe a 50 pound elephant could be extricated from my ass.) But that’s another story.
I have asked myself often why I seem to have this driving force to write my story and to share other women’s stories of their battles with infertility- and why now? I think there are probably fifty thousand answers to these questions. Perhaps because I want to inspire other women struggling with infertility- to reassure them that there is hope; That there are many ways to become a Mom; That the very definition of Mom is wider than they could ever imagine; That their hearts are stronger than they know; That the process itself is what will make them the strongest women alive; That the end result of a baby isn’t necessarily their defining moment as a woman and that it shouldn’t be; That even if a baby or child never actually does come into their lives, they are still strong, important, loved, worthy, WOMEN. And maybe, hopefully, to share some laughs and smiles of recognition along the way. Also because when my husband and I were embarking upon our journey of Gestational Surrogacy after 5 failed rounds of IVF, I found that there was virtually nothing out there for me. I found no books that spoke directly to my situation, no collection of shared similar experiences, no website that was targeted for anyone going through exactly what we were and no laws in our state regarding Gestational Surrogacy at all. I vowed then, that I would try to rectify this. Surely there were other women out there, going through what I was going through!?
Maybe now, because of all the loss I’ve experienced this year. The one person with whom I had the closest relationship of my life, and who understood me more than anyone ever has or probably ever will, my Grandmother, died within this past year, along with numerous other friends and family friends. Devastating. But strength building, too. I’m suddenly finding myself re-defined in the world. Without the approval from Gammie for almost every aspect of my life, I am now forced to change how I think, feel, react, see the world, and discover my own place in it. My role in my family has changed virtually overnight, from dependent, from victim, from Granddaughter, from maiden; to independent, victorious, Mother. Holy shit!? Now I’M the freaking MOM- in every sense. I am the one my daughter will come to with questions about the world, and about becoming a woman. I’M the one to provide the answers. I can’t call my Grandmother or my mother. I’M the one now. I’ve moved up a notch. Shit.
Now it’s time for me to write it all down, and to share the stories.
Suddenly I’m sweating. 

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