Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Gift of the Magi
I was ready to calculate the amount of blood I have given this year in the name of baby making and report a staggering, jaw-dropping high number. But after further investigation with my clinic, they apparently take about 3ml of blood for each draw, which leaves me to say that I've given about a cup of coffee's worth of my blood to the cause. Okay, so it doesn't have the shock value I wanted, but it speaks to how much blood it FEELS like I've given, which would be truck loads. Not only have I given blood for the usual IVF checks but because I've suffered two pregnancy losses this year I've been subjected to the continued and dreaded weekly beta checks. Today's beta check was 279, which means I am still technically pregnant with the HCG hormone. If I pee-ed on a stick right now it would come out positive.
So I am reminded of the old christmas tale The Gift of the Magi. A loving couple wants to exchange gifts but are too poor to buy what they want to give each other. The husband sells his watch to buy his wife the beautiful comb and the wife sells her hair to buy her husband the watch chain. We all know the main message of the story is that the greatest gift is love. The couple has given up precious possessions to give something to the other. So when my husband had to masturbate into a cup and I had to get painful shots and surgery, of course the same message of love holds true. We came away with no baby, but yes, we know we gave each other tremendous love. We're often told, "Well, at least you got pregnant," which I don't deny is a positive sign.
But after a miscarriage you just want closure as fast as possible. So these beta checking days are still a struggle, just like in what my imagined postscript might be for The Gift of the Magi. What did the wife do with the comb afterwards? I am sure she would have admired its symbolic beauty, but at some point looking at her pixie haircut and how cluttered her bathroom is getting, and how long it's going to take to grow her hair out, she would have said, "What the hell am I going to do with this comb?" This is how I feel about my lingering HCG hormone that serves no purpose. How do I get my head around still having this pregnancy hormone when I am not even pregnant? So like the comb, it would have been nice to have a real reason for it, but its very existence feels completely pointless right now.