Wednesday, July 27, 2011

the matrix

I know I've written before about my pregnant friend. She's the one who got married in 2010; I predicted she and her husband would be expecting within six months of the wedding and I was accurate almost to the day; she and her husband, and I and mine, and another couple (infertile) spent a lot of time together, and I knew those days were numbered as soon as they got married. Of course they wouldn't be infertile. Because I have the Gift, like many of you. And she's also the gal who wrote the very kind and sensitive email after her mother invited me to her baby shower.

Anyway, her due date is July 24. Er, was July 24. She was having contractions already a week earlier than that, and her doctor had predicted she'd go within a few days and she had made it a week when I saw her last. She was obviously uncomfortable but behaving with her typical grace; after a few days at home she had cleaned every inch of the place twice and felt useless, so she went back to work. We haven't heard from them in a few days, so it's possible they've delivered already. Or, it's possible they'll be really late; this is her first child, after all.

But of course when I think, "Oh, has DH gotten a text message from her husband that he hasn't mentioned to me?" I always think, has the baby not yet been born and I have a few more days of limbo, in which I don't have to worry about how I'll react - or has the baby already been born, and I am behind, other people already know, their time in the hospital and settling in at home is already wearing down, and soon I will be required to behave in some socially normal way, and I'm not even preparing mentally? And the other day I realized that I never think - never - "Oh, dear, has she had the baby yet? What if something goes wrong? She's huge, the child is obviously full term, but what if he doesn't make it?"

This is because of the Matrix. You and I are a tiny minority, living within a world of people totally unlike us. They're all plugged into their reality, and assume that we are too; they have no idea that we're visitors from another plane of understanding, who realize that life is truly sinister, that death is lurking around every corner. Our attention is finely tuned to things they would consider tiny, things they would ignore; but we see these small things and know that danger lurks around the next corner. We walk between them as they go about their business and fight an evil they don't even know exists. They may even meet it face-to-face on rare occasions, but they probably won't recognize it if they do; and if they do get a nasty, shocking glimpse of it, it's rapidly erased from their memories. For them to remain viscerally aware of our reality would be much too dangerous. It would threaten their existence in their world, and that can't happen.

And though there's an apparent interaction between our world and theirs, in many ways, there's really no connection at all. For those in our world, pregnancies do happen; some of those even end in live births. They never get there easily or peacefully; there is always fear, and the fear is usually well-founded, because there is almost always real danger. And no live birth is a promise of another pregnancy, let alone a promise that no future pregnancy will end in death. Life can happen here; but death is never really banished. It's always hovering just around the corner. Their world is not like that. If I hear no word late in the pregnancy of a fellow infertile and I haven't myself been absent from blogdom, I worry. But I'm not worried about my friend, and I have absolutely no reason to be. The possibility of a miscarriage in her corner of the matrix is as remote as her being infertile in the first place. It just won't be that way.

That's partly because of the Gift, of course. I guess it's sort of a corollary to the Matrix. It works like this: to my knowledge (and I don't know everything but I do pay careful attention, so I would probably notice), I have never met anyone who later turned out to be infertile. Every infertile woman I know either was eligible for an infertility diagnosis before I met her, or knew perfectly well she was headed for one (got married and already had Stage IV endometriosis, for example). As a result of the gift, no one to whom I ever say something like, "Well, you may not have to worry about getting pregnant right after you get married," or, "Yes, I know you know the facts of life, but that's actually not all there is to it" will ever have occasion to see any meaning in what I say. I don't need to say any of those things, ever. I can just say, "Of course you'll have a honeymoon baby, silly!" I'm not going to jinx anyone. Because I have the Gift, they have babies.

I have really mixed feelings on the Gift.

Anyway, I'm not dead, still here, better on some scores, same on others. How are you all? By the way, I am reading, but have commented somewhat less because I find myself uncharacteristically at a loss for words lately. Gotta work on that.


  1. I know exactly what you mean about the matrix. My SIL has known she's pg for almost 3 weeks now. And she JUST made her 1st appt with the clinic yesterday (which wasn't even an appt, really, just a confirmation of pg by urine testing, so she could be "accepted" as a patient.) And then I forced her to get progesterone testing, why, because I couldn't live with myself if by my lack of mentioning the importance of progesterone monitoring, she had a miscarriage... and yet, it seems unlikely she'd even need progesterone if she got this far without spotting, cramping, or any indication that there is ANYTHING wrong with her 41-yr old body which is accidentally with child.

    Go figure.

    Kudos to her, and to all those who have no cares in the world when it comes to their fertility and their pregnancies and their births.

  2. This is why you shouldn't be silent so long...because your posts hit the nail on the head time and time again.

  3. Do we get to wear really cool clothes like they did in the movie? I just got a pair of really cool sunglasses that would totally rock with all black outfits!

    I'm feeling the same way. I am never at a loss for words, and yet here I am, basically lurking and mute. Sometimes we just need a break, honour that.

  4. the matrix is such a good analogy for everything fertility related. it is literally like living in another dimension/reality that people have no idea about or, worse, hear about and then choose to ignore, i.e. take the blue pill, when they have a friend in it.

    and then after i had my lap and they went in through my belly button with the camera? my facebook status was "i've left the matrix with the hole in my belly to prove it". i doubt anyone understood. but i guess that was the point.

  5. Tell me more about the Gift. OH, and how you guys maintain being kind...being friendly to friends with children.

    I just could not do it. Nope. Not one friendship remains. NADA. ZIP. I was a wacko angry infertile who took my hostility out on others, and avoided people with babies and showers and children like the plague. You guys are all Saints. Not me! I ran away................and only played with childless friends.

    The recovery from my episode of madness and decade long era of slowly healing...but the rage got into me in a deep way.

    It became me. I became my default mode.

    I am still in rage recovery from my IF and will be for years to come.

  6. I like your posts and miss them when you are silent. They are a window into a world which is mostly private and completely hidden from view. I'm sorry you feel like an outsider. I wish I could fix that for you some way.

    If you're at a loss for words you could always decorate. If you need inspiration, my dining room is a sea of beige......

  7. You know, I'd never thought about the Matrix this way, but when you spell it out, it makes perfect sense.
    I'm in a funk too. My SIL is pregnant and of course, neither she or my MIL will have no idea of what I struggle with either.

  8. I love this analogy. Just the other day my sister was reminding me what a small world the internet is, and how I (and you, and all of us bloggers) are much more acutely aware of all the dangers of pregnancy, and of how much really can go wrong. How the fertile universe really has no idea. and how I can't blame them for their blissful ignorance. What set me off was a friend of mine from HS posting on FB that she and her husband were going to be parents....but she is only 12 weeks. And I said so to my sister, who had to remind me that MOST women who make it that far really do end up with a baby. I just can't wrap my head around it, though - how can one just assume that a positive pregnancy test = a baby?!?

    I hate that we're in the matrix, but I'm glad I have comrades such as you. I've also said that none of my fertile friends have to worry, that I take all the statistical bullets for them. And while that may seem like I am brushing their (valid) fears aside, it proves itself true time and time again.

    Thinking of you, and sending lots of hugs your way.


  9. It is crazy to look around a room of people (say, at a friend's house for a get-together) and realize that everyone else in that room could get pregnant at-will, stay pregnant and bring a beautiful baby home at the end of the day (over and over again if they want to) and never have a thought in their pretty little head about infertility or miscarriage or baby loss.
    Makes you wonder how you drew the short straw again and again...

  10. I recently realized, with all the ridiculousness my newly-pregnant and oft referred to friend and her warnings about basil and sleeping on our backs, I am still the "crazy" one. This is because she went for her 12 week ultrasound, I texted her afterwards and didn't hear from her. I called her, no one picked up and I left a message. I later left another message telling her I was worried. When she finally got that one she called me, seemingly bewildered as to why I'd be concerned. Well, I thought she got bad news at the ultrasound, of course! I thought she'd lost the baby and was avoiding everyone because of the pain.

    But no, all is well. She might freak out about basil, but in the end, she has no *real* fears about her pregnancy going awry. I eat basil freely, but until I hold my child in my arms and see that he is alive and there is no disability or medical complication, I will be nervous. Even having made it this far in a pregnancy, I am still keenly aware that he could die at any moment, and I fear it every day. And for the cherry on top, her warnings about sleeping on my back did actually end up with me having no sleep for two nights because I was paranoid.

    Your description of the matrix is so appropriate. Life is never the same once you've experienced it.

  11. I like the way you talk about the Gift--and remember, in German, Gift means poison. I've found I just know when someone's expecting. It's like a smell about them. Sometimes it fills me with great joy. Sometimes bitter annoyance.

    Thanks, by the way, for all your kind words. It's funny; I have no idea who you are irl, but I often pray for your happiness. Not that this sinner likely does much good, but hey.

  12. I have told a number of people that I am their designated infertile. If 1 in 6 (or 1 in 8?) couples is infertile, it's pretty wise to have me in any group of that size as it means the infertile slot is already filled and they can all proceed with being happily fertile. This post reminded me of that mindset--great analogy!