Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Scrapbook of Infertility Memories

Most people when they think of scrapbooking think of creative ladies armed with a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and collection of colorful papers, photos and mementos ready to be collaged together. They will gleefully cut and paste the "best of-s" and favorite moments of a lovely vacation trip, a family history, or a precious baby's first year. I, on the other hand, am required by my agency to create a scrapbook to give to a potential surrogate telling her who we are and why we need her help to make a baby. 

So I spent last week collecting photos of me and my husband in our various life activities along with a letter telling our story. Now it's surreal enough to step outside yourself to tell a stranger why we are worthy of her help, but it's also really odd to read "my story." All us bloggers are writing regularly about our stories, but to read a summary story about myself was like being a third person looking at me and my husband and how insane it has been. It wasn't emotional, it was almost like I was reading someone else's story and thinking, "Wow that's damn sad." 

To make things worse, they require FIVE copies of the scrapbook. So once I finished one I became a scrapbook sweatshop and cranked out four more copies. By then, you really feel like you are reading a pre-packaged storybook about a seemingly happy-go-lucky couple whose been really shit on. 

But if I were going to be true to the craft of scrapbooking and didn't have to worry about freaking out someone, my keepsake memories would go well beyond a letter and some photos of me and my husband. Mine would have a title on the cover saying "The Barren Years." I would maybe have a smattering of photos of all the embryos transferred in me with captions, "This one lodged in my right tube," "This was lodged in my left tube," "This one implanted in my uterus but decided not to develop anymore after week 6." And then I do some cut outs from my fertility clinic bills in the shape of flowers and paste them against some pretty pink paper, then maybe a couple syringes to glue on with some ribbons, and for sure a rip out from my progesterone and menopur boxes, and if I could manage it, I would get a hand print from my doctor to show what's been in my uterus through the years. 

What insanely dark things could you put in your scrapbook?


Melanie said...

I would definitely include a shot of my bruised behind from all the daily estrogen and progesterone, with a nice flower or smilely face etched around it. I would also include the recipt from AAA when they had to jump my car in the airport parking lot while I shot myself with menupur.

That said, I have no doubt that your scrapbook will impress the socks off your surrogate. I can just see her dropping her pants, lifting up her legs and screaming "transfer NOW!"

alicia said...

oh wow!! so funny, the hand print of your doc! ha ha

the ones you made are gorgeous though! good job!

my dark infertility scrapbook would have pee sticks dressed as devils, and red pages thick with red chunky paint and words cut out all ransom letter style, of all the tww symptoms!! ha ha, this is fun, I kinda want to make one now!

Mrs.X said...

I would have thought that it would have been the other way around - the surro should be making You a scrapbook saying why she wants to carry your child. I don't quite get the idea of you selling yourself to someone so that they will carry your child. And in five identical scrapbooks? Ouch.

I would gloss over the Barren Years as they are what you got you to this point - but there is a delicate dance between being honest and being depressing. I'd have a hard time walking that line. You, on the other hand, are more than up for the challenge.

Isn't it amazing what we find ourselves doing in the name of having a child?

Mrs.X said...

Spell check is a good thing - especially when you use it! I meant to write that you shouldn't gloss over the Barren Years. Sorry!

luna said...

I can't even imagine wanting to glorify those moments in a scrapbook. seems so bizarre. not sure why I letter won't do?

TABI said...

Thanks for the responses. Just to clarify, the agency just requires a letter and photos of us in the scrapbook, not anything else. I was just imagining if I had to create a thorough scrapbook of memories about this experience that it would be much more crazy. We do get a profile about the surrogate once they express interest in our scrapbook so it is suppose to be more of an exchange but in the end it's really the surrogates making the first choice.

Duck said...

wow scrapbooks, thank the lord we didn't have to do that, although I wrote 1700 words on us, what happened, how did we get here and why we need help. I worry that it's not sad enough (I know that sounds weird).
See misscarriages are sad and a surro can relate to that because they have had babies and they can imagine loosing their baby, and it really is sad.

Cancer, cancer is really sad and also good a tugging on those heart strings.

Gay men, not sad, but the surro can feel that they are contributing to righting a social injustice.

A woman with a uterus that just doesn't ever work for no reason at all, not sad, not I want to give her my time and uterus sad. So I worked at it hard, and hopefully it was sad enough (although maybe if we had a scrap book.....).

Glad you're done your book, I submitted all our papers too, she starts looking this september, I hope we find them soon!
Take care.

Shinejil said...

I think I'd have a very disturbing collage of various beaming happy parents from glossy mag ads offering me glib advice about relaxing, adoption, etc. in cute little speech balloons (comic sans font, natch) whilst I approach them wielding a large, glittering scimitar.

Or me fleeing from angry, taunting little devil babies popping out from every possible crevice and corner.

Yikes. I even scare myself.

Ms Heathen said...

Surely the dildo cam needs to figure in some shape or form in any dark infertility scrapbook?!?

I hope that potential surrogates are impressed by the rather less contraversial one that you made for the agency!

the Babychaser: said...

Oh my God, I am totally inspired to do a dark, creepy, "barren years" scrapbook! What a fun (disturbing that I feel this way) idea!

Mine would include the usual suspects you listed, especially the pictures of the embryos (I only got those the first cycle, though?), pasted-on syringes and needles, cut-outs of bills.

I think my scrapbook would have to start with some flowery cutouts from "Taking Charge of Your Fertility," the book I was so sure would make me pregnant at the beginning. The scrapbook would then take the reader on a journey through my evolving descent into hell. It would of course include a picture of my 6-inch scar, and before-and-after shots of my uterus pre- and post-fibroid. I could make a mobile out of used syringes and positive pee-sticks. And maybe some macrame-type design out of pills, pills, pills.

And wouldn't you also want to add pictures of the projects you completed along the way. Like "here is a picture of the porch I painted while I was having my first miscarriage." "Here is the flower garden I planted during my second miscarriage. Here are the curtains I made during my ectopic miscarraige." And so on.

I'm inspired. Truly.

I'm sure your sad little story book is a good read. And I'm really pushing for it to have a happy ending.

Rachie Pachie said...

Pictures of my uterus during the 1st & 2nd surgery to remove endo. In fact, I plan to do this one day anyhow for myself. Ya know, I hope that it will be when I have my child & it can be part of the miracle... yadi-yadi-yadi. We'll see how that ends up.

I love the comment about your doctors hand! LOL