I just took a week off. I declared a vacation from work and worry and went on the road with Mr Wren. He had business in Chicago and I had never been there, so I asked for the time off work and packed my bags.
We were heading to the Windy City, so of course I packed a jacket. But in another (metaphorical) suitcase I also packed away all thoughts of babies, lack of babies, lost babies, potential babies, and the terrifying possibility of life without babies. This latter suitcase, and as much excess emotional baggage as I could shed, I happily left on the curb as we set off on our road trip.
For the next seven days I lived in the moment. An East Coast bird who hasn't seen much of this country, I gazed in fascination at the lush mountains of Tennessee and the vast corn-rowed landscapes of Indiana as they rolled past, soaking in the newness of it all. In Chicago, world-class art museums, shops, restaurants and giant reflecting beans beckoned, and in my frenzy to see and do it all there was no room left in my little bird brain for all the other thoughts that usually consume me. At the end of each day I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and happy. It. Was. Awesome.
But all good things must come to an end, and so have my days off. Tomorrow morning I have to flip the switch and turn it all back on: all the stresses of work and infertility and real fucking life will start coursing through me like electricity, powering my thoughts and over-powering my emotions. I have to unpack all that luggage, both real and metaphorical.
I haven't even allowed myself the luxury of easing into things. My day starts with a visit to my friendly neighborhood fertility clinic, where I will offer my veins for draining and my lady parts for scraping. As if Monday mornings weren't bad enough, I'll be spread-eagled in stirrups before I even have a cup of coffee. What's that old saying, something about eating a live toad for breakfast so that nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day? Hopefully that's true for fertility appointments, too.
These are the tests Dr K requested, and they kick off the start of my "mock cycle." In other words, I'm officially getting in line for another ride on the IVF roller coaster. After all this time in limbo, things could start moving along steadily. It's time to choose an egg donor. The gravity of that decision makes my head spin. But I'll worry about that tomorrow.
For now, I still have a few hours of vacation left. I'm going to download all the photos from my camera and relive our trip. I want to wrap myself in the sense of wonder and exhilaration I felt as Mr Wren and I explored new horizons together, and remember how we howled with laughter at our goofy rhythmless dancing and ridiculous puns even after spending two long days in the car together.
Because the best thing about our vacation was that it reminded me of just how much fun I have with my husband. It provided a glimpse into that terrifying future of a childless life, and you know what? It wasn't the dismal existential hell I've feared. In a worst-case scenario, one where the next and final IVF cycle fails and we are just too broken too consider running the gauntlet of adoption and spend the rest of our lives getting tables for two, we will be OK. Our lives will still be full of love and joy and adventure.
And I need to know that, I need to know that even if we fail we'll be OK, before I can steel myself to try again.