2 09 2009

I am in my 8th month of pregnancy… swelled in belly and in gratitude for the little girl we’ll meet so soon.  In some ways, the interesting bits and fascinating j0ys of pregnancy have taken up space in my psyche, pushing aside (but not away) memories of our experience with infertility.

But then, just yesterday, something occured that made those memories push back and fight for their dominating space. 

I had my doctor’s appointment yesterday — they are weekly now, heralding the last few miles of the pregnancy and escorting me across the finish line.  My OB/GYN shares an office with my RE.  There are two waiting rooms divided by a screen — one for those under the care of the reproductive endocrinologist, and one for those seeing the OB/GYN practice.

I was grateful for this division when I was on the “other side” of the screen.  On my worst days sitting in that waiting room, I would have burst out in tears at the sight of a pregnant woman reading a back issue of American Baby as she yapped on her cell phone about her due date and morning sickness.  Because of the screen, I could be protected from my own bitterness.

Now, I walk quickly past that first waiting room, check in and quietly take my seat on the other side of the screen.  The first visit, I actually felt like a traitor — a grateful traitor, but a traitor nonetheless. 

But the one flawed design in the office is the shared bathroom… hey, you can’t have everything.  And in that shared bathroom, I was reminded: I am an Infertile Myrtle in a pregnant body.

After checking in at reception, I proceeded with the routine as I’ve come to know it… starting with a quick trip to the bathroom for a urine sample.  As I was in a stall, the door to the bathroom burst open and the sound of choking tears echoed off the tiles. 

“It’s not fair!  Another cycle… I know!  But now I have a cyst, and so there’s goes another cycle.  I can’t take it anymore… it’s not working…  this is our 6th fucking cycle…” 

She sobbed and cried into her cell phone… clearly, whoever was on the other end was trying to calm her down.  It wasn’t working. 

I froze… did she see my feet?  Did she know I was there?  How could I possibly walk out of this stall and face this woman.  Avoiding eye contact wouldn’t be enough… my belly would do the talking for me and it would say to this woman what I felt pregnant bellies always said to me when I was the one in her place: “Me.  Others.  But not you.  Not you.”

I cleared my throat… hoping she’d realize someone else was there, perhaps go into a stall so I could make a graceful and sensitive escape.  But either she didn’t hear me or didn’t care; though by now her tears weren’t coming with as much force and bitterness, just the slow weep of familiar sorrow.

I had no choice.  I flushed the toilet, clearing my throat again and shuffling my feet a bit to announce my exit, and opened the door.  I averted my eyes and approached the sink just as she flipped her cell phone closed.  I could feel her red eyes on me, and glanced up.

“Oh, sorry about that,” she said awkwardly. “Rough morning.”

I was shocked she acknowledged me at all.  I smiled slightly and said, “Don’t apologize, I understand.”

It just came out.  As soon as I said that last phrase, I regretted it… I watched the cast of “Fuck you, you understand” spread across her puffy face.  Under her breath came a response, “Yeah, right.”

It is exactly how I would have responded.  I looked away as I dried my hands and reached for the door.  And then I stopped and, with my back still to her, words escaped my mouth all by themselves.  Quietly they said, “I’ve sat on the other side of the waiting room and cried in this very same bathroom.  I know it doesn’t make you feel any better, but…” and the words just trailed off, not knowing how to finish what they started.

I heard a footstep toward me and she said, “You’re one of us?”

I looked at her and my own eyes filled with hot tears.  “Yes.”

She smiled at me and nodded. 

I smiled back and walked out… back to my side of the screen.




9 responses

2 09 2009

Oh, why must they always co-locate the RE and the OB offices? As hard as it was for that woman to see you, I know you gave her hope and perhaps made her feel a bit better. I know I always drew hope from the successes of other people who struggled until it was my turn. I would like to bring Lukas to our RE’s office to thank the wonderful nurses and doctors who made him possible, but I haven’t because I remember what it was like to sit in that waiting room.

2 09 2009


Good for you for saying something – I am SURE that you made her feel just a little better – a little more hopeful.

2 09 2009

Oh Aimee! I’m glad you said something to her. And bless you and Dina for your consideration and kindness in remembering what it is like on the other side of the screen.

2 09 2009

Beautifully written Aimee. I’m sure that the woman appreciated your empathy.

2 09 2009

Brought tears to my eyes Aimee.

I am so glad you said something to the lady. Giving hope to someone in need of it is an amazing thing to do. Although we have different situations, it helped me heal when pregnant women who had been through what I had been through, told me their story.

Hope is very powerful.

2 09 2009

this was an amazing post Aimee. Good for you for having the courage to follow up your comment, to not just turn and walk away. Your kind words, your acknowledgement of how hard it is, well, I am sure they helped soften her tremendous blow related to the terrible events of her morning. You are going to be such an amazing mom.

2 09 2009

As always Aimee, your post brought tears to my eyes. Oh how I’ve missed you.

10 09 2009

This was a fantastic post. I enjoy your blog immensely. I’m pregnant now also – 4 months behind you, it seems.

29 09 2009

This is why I am so glad to have you as a friend. You are a wonderful person in everything you do. As was noted in another comment, you are going to be an incredible mother and we can’t wait to meet your little one.

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