07 May 2009

IVF Shoes

Shoes.
Necklace.
Memory.
Child.

Do you know about IVF shoes? They're not the shoes that you wear into the retrieval room, but the shoes you buy yourself as a prize for bearing all those damned needles. I'm not even a shoe whore, and I had IVF shoes.

The first clinic I went to was right around the corner from a Taryn Rose shoe store. Daily trips past the window, and one day I just had to go in and buy an expensive pair of sweet black heels with a teensy strap across the instep. In point of fact, they weren't even IVF shoes, they were IUI shoes - that was the sticking-the-toes-in-the-water cycle. No baby. Just shoes.

The next cycle, the first IVF cycle, resulted in a necklace. It was something I'd been eyeballing, coveting even, for quite a while. I can't now remember when we bought the necklace - whether it was during the cycle, or the wait, or after we found out that I was pregnant. It seemed to me a perfect necklace for a mother-to-be, two similar stones, one a little bigger than the other.

And then we lost the baby.

Probably out of some vague superstition - another necklace, another miscarriage? - we told almost no one about the second IVF cycle, and it garnered no trinkets. It lives on, but just in memory, mine mostly, and on some scraps of paper with cryptic notes as to E2 and lining and units.

The third IVF has a very tangible aide memoire in that raucous, tiger-loving, clothes-horse who climbs into my bed for a snuggle every morning.

Back to the necklace. After the miscarriage, the necklace became my memory. It's all that remains of that pregnancy and the two rocks now represent my two children, the big one getting bigger, the small one never to be.

I was thinking about this the other day - Niobe is doing a babylost memorial walk this weekend and offered to remember the "baby or babies that you hold only in your heart" if you send her the names and dates. There is no name, there is no date, there's only what's in my heart - and the necklace.





(PS - That's not my necklace, but mine's the same style. It's made by one Terri Logan, who makes sterling settings for found river stones.)

37 comments:

Anjali said...

I'm touched by this post beyond words, with tears in my eyes.

Mad said...

This post and that necklace are beautiful.

After my 1st miscarriage last year, I bought an elephant for M. It is my reminder. After the second miscarriage, I had planned to buy a bracelet for myself but I never managed to do so. I often think about how there is that absence of a physical object to commemorate.

What I will say is: in a drawer in the upstairs bathroom there is still a stick that has 2 pink lines. I simply cannot bring myself to throw it out.

Maybe it's high time I exchanged it for a bracelet.

Mental P Mama said...

Oh the memories this brings back to me. The coping skills and talismans make us stronger. I'm sure of it. Happy Mother's Day week to you, with much warmth and light.

Life As I Know It said...

Nice. For many of us, there are no names and no dates.
That is a beautiful necklace.

ConverseMomma said...

I've been bad about getting around the blogosphere, but something drew me here, to you, today. I have been thinking about getting a tatoo for my children, and I want to find a way to do something for the three I lost to miscarriage. This post made me sad and happy at the same time. Sweetie, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. What a beautiful necklace. What a beautiful woman you are.

Kelly said...

I bought myself all sorts of superstitious trinkets when we were going through IUI. I carried around pink quartz and bought an African Fertility Goddess necklace. I also took up knitting to relieve stress.

No one understands how demeaning and soul crushing and nerve racking the whole experience is until they've lived it. I still have a hard time finding words to describe it.

Thanks for writing this.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What a beautiful thing she is doing and what a moving post.

The LIbrary Lady said...

Whenever I read posts like this I think of my two easily achieved relatively easy (aside from the bedrest thing late in the second) pregnancies and my two beautiful healthy daughters and know how lucky I am.

And how I cheer on all the mom want to bes and admire what they have to go through to get there too!

nonlineargirl said...

I completely relate - I have a "I am not pregnant" necklace from pre-intervention days, and one failed cycle led me to buy a spendy anthropologie sweater I'd been coveting.

I am a collector anyway, so even when I didn't buy gifts I picked up little items - three acorns for the three frozen embryos that thawed well but didn't survive implantation. They sit on my family shrine, along with the beads from friends in celebration of the babies that are coming soon.

I appreciate that the meaning of your necklace has changed over time, to include the happiness of your daughter as well as the loss. We are shaped by the good and bad, right?

phd in yogurtry said...

Such a simplistically written, yet touching post, and a meaningful necklace. I'm glad you have the necklace and I'm really glad you have your clothes horse : )

phd in yogurtry said...

p.s. I love the necklace. I'm going to check out the link. I just love natural stones like that.

Janet said...

that's a cool necklace, going to check out her site.

Oh, and I only have the memories.

the mama bird diaries said...

Really beautiful post.

Furrow said...

Your mind works in wonderful ways.

I don't remember if I had any post-IUI sprees, but I had lots of post-BFN debauchery. Because, like, what the hell?

Thank you for this beautiful post.

Mayberry said...

I bought a necklace after our loss in January. I love that I know what it means, but no one else has to unless I feel up for talking about it.

Mayberry said...

PS the one you have is just beautiful.

Don Mills Diva said...

This brought me to tears.

Beautiful post, beautiful necklace.

Tabba said...

what a stunningly beautiful post, magpie.

and a gorgeous necklace too. i like how you look at it today..."the big one getting bigger, the smaller one never to be..." wow.
the perspective is just....wow.

Woman in a Window said...

I'm glad you have something real, smooth and substantial to hold onto. I would want something to touch, to know, to remember. Thinking good thoughts for you~

Janet said...

Such a beautifully written post.

I have a remembering angel, perched on the shelf in my family room.

slouching mom said...

What a really lovely post.

susan said...

(o)

meno said...

You seem to have really touched a common nerve among many of your readers. Well done, and that necklace is exquisite.

alejna said...

Oh, Magpie. This was so poignant.

The necklace is such a beautiful memento.

painted maypole said...

oh.

i feel like i have so many friends going through this right now, and this post just really spoke to me about what they're gong through. thank you.

ozma said...

That's so strange. I just posted about my miscarriages.

Claudia said...

This made me cry.

Kyla said...

This was very beautiful, Magpie.

Maggie May said...

I'm sorry, I never knew you lost a baby. The necklace you own sounds like a really beautiful remembrance.

flutter said...

and my love for you grows...

heidi said...

sweet post M-pie.
I have "follicle stimulating" earrings that I've since passed on to those who needed them. xoh

Laski said...

That's something to hold . . . to see . . . something that represents the tangible that you will always hold deep within.

I have no poetry. Only a simple "so sorry" because loss just . . . hurts.

Hip Mom's Guide said...

You've got all of our hearts welling up for you. Absolutely touching, to the core.

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

Thank you for writing this.

During my first pregnancy, someone gave me a figure from the Willow Tree collection - one with a beautiful baby belly. I lost that baby, but kept the figure.

Then, during my second pregnancy, a very good friend gave me another figure. A child holding a star. She included a note letting me know that she remembered that first baby too.

Finally, after Bird was born, I received a mother and child figure. They all three sit together in my bedroom.

There is nothing for the pregnancies I've lost since then, and I'm thinking now, that there should be. Two more star babies should join them.

niobe said...

Sigh. What a lovely, heartbreaking image.

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

I love how the meaning of the necklace has evolved for you. Beautiful post.

Emily from TheMotherhood said...

What an amazing post. I went through IVF too and have memories that are only mine to hold. I am a puddle and am so moved by your words. Thank you.

(I'm commenting a second time because my first didn't seem to take. Hoping I'm not messing up!)