Friday, January 26, 2007

A third look at humility (aka: A Tribute)

So, here's the story of how Serenity and I know each other. It's quite the interesting tale, and one that sometimes I can't believe myself.

Back when trying to conceive after the miscarriage, I frequented a message board that dealt with this and many other baby-related topics. I rarely posted anything myself unless in response to another post (generally just about miscarriages), but I absorbed everything I could from reading about other people's experiences. During one cycle almost exactly a year ago, I made a rare post on the message board (essentially a light post laughing at myself for taking a cheapie pregnancy test at 7 days past ovulation, knowing full well that was WAY too early to get a positive result), and Serenity was one of the two or three people who responded to the post. However, in her response, she said she thought she knew who I was because part of my screen name tipped her off, then she looked at my profile and saw pictures and definitely recognized--get this--The Husband! It turns out that she and The Husband hung out in the same circle of friends when they were in high school in New York (we currently live in Kentucky, and she currently lives in Massachusetts). To encounter a close friend from my husband's past like that just baffles my mind!

So, needless to say, I was pretty stunned. That night, I told The Husband about who I'd "run into" online, and he said, "Oh yeah? She's pretty cool." (What an understatement, I've learned!) We exchanged e-mail addresses and began to e-mail and instant message back and forth. We immediately clicked, discovering that we had a lot of things in common, yet there were enough differences to make conversations fun and engaging. She and her husband were also trying for their first child, having just passed the one-year anniversary of trying without any luck and having undergone several diagnostic procedures to determine that there were some obstacles that existed and needed to be overcome. Even though you can't possibly compare infertility like she's experienced and a miscarriage like I experienced, we both found solace in each other for having a tougher road to children than we'd expected to endure. We quickly became a support system for each other--and one that I can't imagine having gone without during the past year.

Even though Serenity and her husband still are trying for their first child after a fresh IVF cycle, three frozen IVF cycles, and a surgery for each of them just in the time I've known her, she has still been supportive once I saw that second pink line--and has been that way all throughout my pregnancy. I know she is happy for me and The Husband, but I also know that it must be very difficult for her to deal with sometimes, especially on those days when she feels like she's surrounded by pregnant people but hasn't been able to have a child of her own quite yet. This is a courageous, driven woman who pushes forward no matter what the obstacle, so this should not surprise me that she's so supportive. It's who she is.

I've not initiated talk of my pregnancy that much with Serenity in an effort to be sensitive to the struggle she still deals with daily. It's not that I keep her out of the loop and refuse to talk about it, but I've taken her cues and let her talk about it as much as she's comfortable with. Some days it's more than other days, and that's perfectly fine with me. Plus, she knows about this blog, so if she wants to read all about it, she knows she can come here to catch up, but if she needs a break from hearing about the details, then all she has to do is not point her browser this way. My pregnancy aside, we really have so many other great things to talk about, and that's not the only thing going on in my life, so it's not like we're ignoring the big elephant in the middle of the room by sometimes not mentioning my baby. It's a big part of my life, but it's not the only part of it.

The support I've received from Serenity has been amazing. And I've continued to support her during her journey to have a child. I might not understand firsthand what she's been through and what she faces in the future, but I can say that I have learned so much--both about reproductive technology and about what strength truly means--from her. The fact that she's been so supportive during my pregnancy while not yet being able to achieve her own has been humbling enough. But it gets even better.

This amazing woman is in the process of making plans to come to Kentucky to visit me, The Husband, and Baby B once she is born, probably sometime in March after her busy time of year at work has passed. I know she and The Husband go way back, so they're not strangers, and I know that she and I have gotten to know each other very well during the past year, but for her to be so eager to come down here and meet me and our baby--in the midst of her difficulties--I can't express what that means to me. To witness such selflessness is most humbling of all.


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