Ten years, my love

Ten years.
One says the words easily,
they spill from the mouth like laughter,
like a sigh,
a sob,
a moan.

But it's more,
much more,
a lifetime it seems
at times.

And yet,
like we went to sleep one night
and the next day
we grew tired and old.

Months before our wedding,
I remember,
walking home from the corner store,
I thought of our marriage,
months away,
and it seemed far
like the mountains in the horizon.
It made me wonder
and it made me laugh
to think that before I knew it
it would have all gone.

And it did,
but I didn’t fathom being here
ten years after.

Ten years,
Half the time spent
just finding our way.
To being your wife,
more to being your partner.
Me more than you.
You, who takes to everything like a fish to water.
But me,
complicated old me.
I have to turn things inside out,
twist life senseless
before putting it on like a shirt.

Our life’s biography
A laundry list of a decade:

Two countries,
and three coast-to-coast moves.
Two rented apartments,
and a lease of a house.
Three mortgages
and debt management,

Three double pink lines,
but only one
48-hour-long grueling labor,
well worth it for her.
Pelvic trauma and PPD.

Our endless disgust
to parenting books and Ferberizing,
our laissez faire.

Three years of infertility,
Four rounds of IVF.
An autoimmune disease.

Nothing to show for it

Two miscarriages,
Four D&C’s and Cytotec.
To be bonded forever in life and death

Six times I’ve gone under,
six times waking up to your eyes.
And that time you almost broke the sunroof
of your car
because I hurt too much.

Two companies for you,
graduate school and five universities for me.

More weight (for me)
Less hair and more beard (for you).

Lasik, glasses,
Less Hawaiian shirts,
More pantsuits.

Building a house,
buying a dog.

Daily drop offs to three day cares and two schools.
A bilingual child,
our swimming footballer ballerina
with her tooth gap smile.
Her ancient philosophy,
her clever puns.

Learning again all that we thought we knew
Learning to love pink and purple
and princesses,
and unicorns.

Too many half-way done projects to count,
weekly trips to Home Depot,
three luscious gardens.

To get dirty with mud and happiness,
spending weekends cold and wet
planting and weeding on our knees.

All the road trips,
Maui twice,
Climbing up the Eiffel tower,
Taking the Chunnel from Paris to London
Space Mountain,
(“Never again,” I vowed)
Countless airports in cities I've never truly visited.

Dancing at weddings
until our clothes got ripped,
until our feet blistered.

Getting too drunk
more times than we’d like to admit.

A 7th year it itch,
those years when we loved each other
but we weren't our favorite people in the world.

PF Chang’s every time we had a broken heart.

Your optimism,
my fatalism.

Your military grade bed-making obsession,
and my messy ways.

Your love for tags
and driving creatively.
My need for silence in cars
and my unending chatter everywhere else.

Our shared stubbornness.

Family therapy,
two gym memberships.

Dinner parties,
several sets of friends.
Superbowls an World Series.
A gold medal for Mexico at the Panamerican games.

Two US presidential elections.
Only a Mexican one.
A green card,
my citizenship ceremony.
All the red tape and bureaucracy
of the Mexican immigration service.
Your learning the words to the Mexican national anthem,
my learning of the checks and balances system
and Guy Fawkes day.

Lazy Sundays watching movies,
torrented British shows.
Doctor Who
and Harry Potter
with 3D glasses on.

Deciding that the first one
to throw in the towel
would have to leave with our debts.

A published book of poetry
written only for you.

But most of all,
ten years of the undeserved love you have for me,
all those years of me being lost and unhappy,
of mood regulators and watching TV until dawn.

All those years of love
and your shoulder to cry on.

All the times you’ve tickled me
and made me laugh like a child
with your made up songs.

ten years is barely a moment.
A miracle.
A big bang.


Musings of an infertile woman

There is one massive burden that infertility brings to you that nobody realizes until you have the misfortune of experiencing it: The way time passes is immensely different than how it feels to everyone else.

I live tied to a regular cycle that requires my absolute devotion of time and effort. A cycle where I know beforehand that my heart will be broken month after month, like a postmodern Sisyphus.

This month I’ve already been to the doctor eight times. I’ve had invasive check-ups, blood drawn and broken expectations and it's not even done yet.

It’s incredibly hard to keep my face straight and make jokes when I’m asked how things are going. Whenever you ask me if I’ll be attending this event or that one my mind is racing figuring out where I will be in my treatments, wondering if I can make it out of town, and most times I know I don’t want to sacrifice one of my last precious chances, even when I know it’s bound to end in heartache.

Old ladies ask me how many kids I have and I can’t mention my loss, they ask when I’m having my next, or if I’m pregnant or why I have waited this long. It hurts each time but I have to accommodate everybody else because they don’t know.

The people that know often say things like: “You just need to relax”, “Stop trying” or “The same thing happened to me and now I have three kids”. It hurts when you brush it off, it’s not going to happen if I relax (and I don’t know how I possibly can with all the stuff I need to do each month), and your experience is definitely not the same if it hasn’t been years, you haven’t required invasive medical assistance and spent large amounts of money. I cannot get pregnant naturally and I don’t even know if I can carry to term after my loss.

I’m a big gambler, you see?, I need to be, knowing that I have much to lose and very little to win, but I won’t get a shot at winning if I give up.

Please don’t say: “You’re young”. I am, only 32 but going into early menopause. So this goes way beyond my ability to reproduce. I have to accept a reality regarding my body that is coming too much early. This affects my day-to-day life, the things I can and cannot do and even my relationship with my husband.

I’m blessed with one child, one that I didn’t have to struggle to conceive. I know how lucky I am, I know many of my infertile sisters don’t have this fortune. It doesn’t mean that I’m not infertile, it means that my infertility is secondary and that it set, thankfully, after a wonderful non-planned, but very desired pregnancy.

I’ve had the misfortune to belong to two very sad clubs: infertility and pregnancy loss. Both are devastating, but combined are far more terrible than anything I've ever experienced. Losing the promise of a child is hard, but losing one that came after so much hardship (and one I haven’t been able to repeat) is earthshattering. So please don’t say that “It was for the best” I know my baby didn’t have a chance, I know it wasn’t my fault and I know there was nothing in this world or the next that could have changed it. But it still hurts like a m... f...

So far I’ve said all the things you shouldn’t say, but I’ll tell you what you can: ask me about it, let me talk, acknowledge that this is real and not a frivolous fancy. I assure you that I am happy, I have a beautiful family, I feel experienced and successful in my career but this is still important to me.

I can laugh and joke about going through IVF and being on the stirrups way too often for my comfort (but the life of an infertile is not known for its comfort) . I have plenty of funny stories about infertility that will make you laugh, I promise. So laugh, it’s not wrong to do it. When I laugh about it I feel better, I know this is not something for which to be embarrassed and I don’t need to hide the fact that I suffer infertility. I have secondary infertility, early onset diminished ovarian reserves and a really crappy lining. But I also have a very witty mind, a strong voice, plenty of dreams and a somewhat strong and tested faith.

Please don’t treat me as if I were a time bomb. There are times I’ll need to cry and curse. I’m entitled to my dark days as you are. If I share what something felt and how I was hurt don’t shy away from the topic, and don’t tell me I need to move on or that I think or feel too much. I promise to give the same importance to whatever hell burdens you as well. Because you know, we all have our own despair to carry.

I’m writing this because I’m not ashamed to say I’m an infertile. I may not succeed in having another child, I’m realistic enough to accept it, but I won’t give up without a fight. You may be my family or my friend and I care deeply about you, or you may be a stranger who undoubtedly has someone like me very close to your heart.

So my friend, hold my hand and laugh with me at the cards I've been dealt. 


In Google I trust

I tell Google the things I don't tell anyone else.

In the middle of the night
when the house is quiet
at my most vulnerable
I type.

But is not my kinks
nor my hypochondria
nor my morbid voyeurism I hide.

I don't erase my search history for that.

It is my most primal desire
that eternal gasp caught in my throat
the bleeding need.

Every night
I type
for a trace of hope.


The wild ones

The wild ones are not
the ones out on the streets at night
clad in black and stainless steel.

Not the ones bed hopping
anointed in anonymous sweat.

The wild ones
are far more sinister than that
they pay taxes and set their alarms
every night.

They obey traffic laws and vote.

They’ve breastfed and baby worn.

The feral ones wear their scarred skin
of past cuts and scraped knees
and surgeries
(that is not polite to mention
at the dinner table.)

Those wild ones are far more dangerous.

Their savagery
always crouching inside
and ready to leap
while their carpool
or do the weekly shop.

They sometimes hold graduate degrees
and they may teach at universities,
or practice law,
or something else
equally respectable.

They sing to their babies
and they teach them to read
and they stay stoic while their bleeding.

They don’t make a fuss.

And sometimes,
 they break down
on the produce aisle.
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