My aunt and uncle raised four children in a rambling New England farmhouse. My clearest memory from visiting them when I was younger involved watching my youngest cousin climb out of a second-story window onto the roof. My aunt’s response? A laconic “now, E_____, get off the roof. The same way you always go back in.” I was stunned by how unflappable she was.
This aunt sometimes describes the ways her parenting changed over time. She reports that when the first kid’s pacifier fell on the ground, she would run to the sink and carefully sterilize it before giving it to the child. By kid #4 she would pick the dropped pacifier off the ground and stick it right back in the kid’s mouth. The things that initially felt very important to her were far less vital by the time kid #4 came along. I feel like our various IUI experiences have been a little like this.
TTC #1, cycle 1, 2008:
Roo and I spent a lot of time collecting a host of “meaningful objects” and brought them with us to set up as a little altar in the doctor’s office. Roo had brought some children’s books and read them to me while I lay on the exam table. (We were one of those couples that has an extensive children’s book collection years before we even started trying to conceive.)
cycle 2, 2008:
I think we remembered one or two of the meaningful objects, and Roo still brought the books.
TTC #2, cycle 1, 2011:
We made arrangements for childcare for Tadpole so that I could be fully present to Roo during the appointments. We read kids’ book all day long these days, so didn’t bring those along. Instead, I brought Mary Oliver poems to read to Roo while she was on the exam table. And we brought a few smooth stones for her to hold onto.
cycles 2 &3, 2011-2012:
We didn’t have time to coordinate childcare, so Tadpole just came with us. Mostly I chased him as he ran up and down the hallway, and we checked on Roo occasionally. I brought the books and stones, but I don’t think we got around to using them.
cycle 4, this week:
It doesn’t work logistically for me to be there at all. Instead, Roo will go to the appointments on her own, while I take Tadpole to school. I feel sad about this. There’s not much like being unnecessary to the process to make it clear just how…well… unnecessary to the process you are. But I’m far less sad than I would have been at one time. While there is a lot riding on the outcome of these attempts, I feel much less of a need to be there for the appointments themselves.
On a completely unrelated note, Tadpole is obsessed with disco lately. The “lullabies” that he requested tonight were “YMCA” and “Dancing Queen.”