2d. All told, the weekend wasn't bad. Sunday was pretty good. One of my only goals for Mother's Day was not to have anybody give me a flower(s), as I will happily be a frigid hag before a wanna-be, and refuse to be celebrated as a sort of consolation prize. Of course, as we walked into the church, a woman was selling pink and white carnations to raise funds for Birthright, a cause dear to my heart, and underserved in the diocese of Rochester. My FIL leaned over to select one for his wife, asking her whether she would prefer pink or white. She decisively explained that only white would be appropriate: "My mother is dead." I tried to slip away from the immediate vicinity of the flowers, but a moment later, I found myself being handed a pink carnation by my MIL, she intoning firmly, "Your mother is still alive." No mention was made of whether I had children or not, as this is apparently irrelevant to a tradition of which I was theretofore unaware. Under such circumstances, I could not but accept the flower with grace. Before I left, however, I left it in front of the statue of St. Therese. Her mother is no longer with us, but then neither is she, and as many flowers as she has sent me, I thought she would appreciate receiving one of her own. She didn't have any children, either.
3d. The way home is a state route through the southern part of Western New York and then central Pennsylvania - the perfect drive. Not as fast (in some parts) as a high-speed interstate, but much faster than DC traffic, and the sort of road that goes for 300 miles and also has a Pete's Used Tractors with a driveway that feeds right onto the road. I had two goals for the lovely drive: one, visit a rural antique store (preferably in a barn). This was not to be; though we saw many compellingly tempting antique shops, none were open, as it was past five on Sunday. (In case this is not immediately obvious, the attraction is born of the fact that it is only possible to obtain antique pieces with character at affordable prices in semi-rural areas. In northern Virginia, one may instead have the unique privilege of paying $300 for a faded used sofa at a Salvation Army.) Two, secure my sustenance from a roadside stop that features a large painted ice cream cone outside to hail passers-by. We found the Platonic ideal of such a place in Kristy's Whistle Stop, which I commend in the highest terms to anyone driving up (or down) Route 15. As always, ice cream eaten out of a cone in the open air tastes incomparably better than any other kind. Their fries, chili cheese fries, and pulled pork sandwiches also met with approval, and they served their line with an efficiency and hospitality that well explained the unending stream of traffic on a quiet Sunday evening. Sharing such heart-filling little adventures with my DH is, I think, one of the precious perks of marriage - that our lives should consist of such small but lovely moments, experienced together.
4th. Today, as anyone would know who had nothing better than to mark down in his agenda the trivial milestones of my life, if such a person even existed, was the date of my sono-hysterogram. I am pleased to report that I was brave, faced with the twin onslaught of a male doctor and the passage of instruments through my beleaguered cervix. My fond, but faint, hope was that the previously-discovered uterine shadow would prove but a mirage in the very real desert that is my uterus. Predictably, the shadow was made of sterner stuff (sterner, anyway, than my sometime reproductive health, which has lifted and dissipated as the dew in the sun). The doctor first asked whether I had had any "procedures," as it might be scar tissue. The answer is obviously yes, and I proceeded to list them. He was unsatisfied; apparently he was looking for a procedure that involved sharp things in my uterus, a day that I may be thankful has not yet dawned. I assured him that I have never had a D&C, and he decided that the small and unremarkable item discovered was probably a polyp. (I have decided not to be concerned about the fact that his first thought was uterine scarring.) He printed up the pictures (and, because he is both brilliant and magnanimous, paused unasked to examine my endometrial cysts, take measurements, and send images of those along as well; there is now a third, but the larger two have not grown) and sent them to my RE. It falls to her to interpret them and recommend a course of treatment, he says.
5th. After I got to work, I got a call from the OB/GYN clinic - the results of my cervical biopsy are in. The nurse explained that I would ordinarily schedule an appointment to have them explained by my regular OB/GYN, but since I am seeing my RE on Friday, she has offered to explain them instead. I could hardly have asked for a better arrangement. Not only can she opine on how this might affect my fertility treatment, but she is a native speaker of English. Though my regular OB/GYN is bright and competent, and speaks good English, it's clear she doesn't understand a word I say no matter how carefully I speak, and our conversations about my medical state invariably take the form of a humorless, and gynecological, rendition of "Who's on First?"
6th. On that subject, at my RE consult on Friday, I will have all the things she wanted done save one - plus I had two procedures done she didn't request. But which one won't be done? Of course, it's the SA. Thus, she can draw plenty of conclusions about my health, but only mine. I recognize this is a signal omission (I'm hoping to be able to schedule the SA for Friday, but then, of course, the results won't be in). On the other hand, the remedies addressed to female infertility are so much more time-consuming and complicated, so I don't know that it will upset the apple cart if my next round of tests is scheduled and any supplementation prescribed before we get to focus, laser-like, on the sperm end of things.
7th. I wanted to share this fascinatingly hostile dialogue on the subject of badly-raised children. And I want to be able to muse on it only briefly, but this is difficult for me. On the one hand, I sympathize entirely with the sentiments of those who defend children (and large families). This is consonant with the truths of my faith and the treasured blessings of Catholic culture, blessings I desire for myself. On the other hand, I find it easier and easier simply to sympathize with those who have slim patience for children, period. I have less than I would like in common with their parents, and I prefer to spend relatively less time around them. I can cut this Gordian knot with the observation that I had strong negative opinions about badly raised children even in the halcyon days when I expected to get pregnant on my honeymoon (and again every year thereafter), which is absolutely true, but it's not as simple as that. Those - such as my in-laws - who revere the mother with a young child (i.e., my SIL) as leading a selfless and blessed life are not wrong; in fact, I agree with them. But they leave no room at all for those who have been just as ready to sacrifice for a family, and whose burdens have been heavier, perhaps, than hers (taking care of all the children), but who have no blessings to show for their travails. I don't suppose I would prefer my suffering to be wholly obvious to the world; there is a strength in not having to engage those who would want to, but could not, understand. A small voice in my head says, Doesn't my father-in-law say - maybe less than once a year - in serious tones that he's praying for me, implying clear as the day that he knows it must be hard to want a child and not have one? And doesn't he make a ridiculous fuss over his daughter's baby while I sit right there and watch? But I am supposing a degree of transparency that doesn't exist. He can't see anything but his beautiful grandson, and that anyone should fail to take the same delight in the child is beyond him. That is, probably, as it should be. He is a good man, and one I care for, but not my confidant. Let him coo at the baby; it doesn't, after all, take so very much from me. If I needed more from him, and his family, it might. But I try not to need anybody who isn't essential. People are so hard, if not impossible, to rely on.
8th. Though some of the green peppers - indeed, an increasing number - had lived despite my husband's well-intended ministrations, and a single basil shoot, bereft of its former companions, is growing ever taller, the rosemary and eggplant died off completely. I was loath to pitch out the barren soil, though, hoping pointlessly that they would rally despite their evident total extinction. When we got back from the weekend, I examined them, prepared to revel once again in the exquisite agony of their demise. My plans were stymied by the fact that three separate pots of eggplant now have tiny shoots, and one itty green sprout of rosemary is now growing as well. Where they came from I have no idea, but my husband proudly explained he had watered them before he left, hoping against hope that they would come back. Perhaps there is a lesson in this for me...
9th. I still need to go panty-shopping. I don't suppose anyone in the DC area has that same errand planned for Saturday morning?