Last week I entered a fertility clinic.
REALLY? Am I really going to a fertility clinic now? It doesn't seem real. But it was.
As I entered, the male receptionist was super nice and friendly. The chairs were upholstered just so, and coordinated perfectly with the posh carpet and wall hangings. The complimentary hot tea, lush plants and modern furnishings spoke more of a hotel where I would vacation -- not the place where people try to piece together broken dreams.
As I moved from the lobby -- to the nurses' station -- to the opulent office of my endocrinologist, I felt as though I were playing out a perfectly rehearsed script. For someone else's life.
Other people were there. Many men -- some by themselves, and others with their wives/girlfriends/whatevers.
We all played our parts well. We patients (clients?) dressed nicely to match the set. We kept pleasant expressions which never belied the ghastly stories I'm sure we all keep hidden in our hearts. We hid our nervousness for all the procedures, blood draws and news we didn't want to hear, but had to. We act as though it's nothing more than a doctor's appointment. But it's so much more.
We each bear the invisible nametag -- Infertile.
Maybe that's why we don't make eye contact there. Maybe there are no pleasantries exchanged -- because there are no pleasantries to be had.
The staff acted happy and very concerned. They assure me that it's ok if I email or call my nurse every day. (Every day?!?) They ask me which genetic tests I want done as casually as if they asked what take-out I wanted ... Chinese or Mexican?
As for the doctors, well, I guess I've never met such nice doctors before. Yesterday, while the doctor let me know he would not perform the procedure we had scheduled for that day -- that I was all prepped to undergo -- he just was so nice about it, I couldn't help but trust him. Many times he reassured me that my well being was of utmost importance, and he wouldn't do anything that he thought wasn't the best for me.
And apparently, it is a place that I now belong.
Tonight, I'm wearing my new shirt declaring that I'm a leader for M.E.N.D, our pregnancy loss group, which I'll wear as we march in the Whaling Days parade this weekend. Tonight, I folded little misses' laundry along with Maddy's. Tonight, I mentally beat myself up for being behind on our homestudy. Tonight, I think about the genetic tests that I'm so nervous about. Tonight, I wish I had answers. Tonight, the tears I always hold at bay fall freely.
Tonight, I wonder how I got here. When did I blink and everything change? When did I lose 3 babies? When did I become infertile? When did we add little miss to our lives? When did my plans for our family get so horribly, and yet so beautifully, twisted?
I don't know. But I do know, this is not my life.
Except... It is.