Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Good Cry - Warning! A Long Read :)

I don't think I told you all, but my mama is visiting me this week from West Virginia. We've been having a great time together. I missed her so much.  Since we moved to Oklahoma, my mom hasn't been in the best of health. She found out the long, hard way (too many doctors, too many tests - we know what that's like) that she has lupus. :(  She's going to start seeing her rheumatologist at the beginning of February and is feeling super hopeful to get on the right track to feeling better. It's been very difficult to be so far away from her during all this. She feels the same way with me being here and dealing with infertility.

Yesterday, we went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum.  For those of you who do not know, it is the memorial and museum that was built to honor those that lost their lives in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing on April 19, 1995. Most of us gals were 12, 13, or 14 when this happened, give or take a few years.  It was one of the most profound and telling memorials I have ever been to.  The way the whole museum is set up, the message that it sends, just being there stirred so many emotions within me that were sometimes more than my senses could handle. The outside memorial with the east and west gates, the shallow reflection pool, the field of empty chairs to signify the 168 lives lost, and the "survivor tree" were all that sat outside where the building once stood.

Each section of the museum had a message and was deemed a chapter in the story starting with a history of terrorism, the city on the morning of the bombing, the rescue efforts, the impact, etc. The final chapter was based on hope. Hope that those who visited the memorial would walk away having been affected by what they saw and make it their resolve to never let violence be the answer to anything.

I know this is a blog about infertility, but it is also my blog, my voice and I actually felt that many of the things I saw that day were directly linked to my struggle with IF. Not just mine, but I thought of each and every one of you girls, too. I know we haven't known each other for that long, but infertility is such a binding tie and I feel close to each of you. I know you'll see the connections in the things that I saw that day....

The east gate represents Oklahoma City in the moment before the bomb went off. 9:01 is the minute before the explosion. The minute that there was an innocence and ignorance to the city that was blissful and soon to be gone forever.  I thought about our struggle before we knew it was a struggle. Sure, a fraction of us who face infertility have always had a problem within ourselves, but was it really a struggle until we met the men we love and wanted to make a baby with them?  No, before IF we were just regular gals, jumping into bed with our husbands, showing them how much we loved them and hoping that we'd get a baby out of the deal.  Don't you remember those early days of trying when anything was possible and nothing could hurt us?  It was all so exciting. There was such promise of happiness.

What about after infertility?  The west gate represents what 9:03 meant to Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It meant that a city, state and nation would be forever changed, its innocence torn away from it, the untouchable status it once enjoyed reduced to rubble. Are we not the same? Have we all not felt one way or another deeply changed having dealt with IF?  Our promise of happiness is not even a promise anymore.  We live in uncertainty from one day to the next.  The only guarantee with infertility is hurt.

The field of empty chairs represents the lives of those lost in the bombing. Most were in the building. Some were outside. Some were rescue workers.  For those that were in the building, their chair corresponds with where they were in the building when the bomb detonated. Nine rows represent the nine floors that housed several different federal offices. The whole second row of smaller chairs represent the nineteen children who were on the second floor in the facility's daycare. This brought to my mind the feelings of loss that accompany our struggle with infertility. We lose a bit of our hope, our optimism, ourselves each failed cycle. Some of us have endured early losses when the odds are just turning in our favor.  Others have had to deal with losses later on and have to bury babies who took years to gain and mere months to lose.  The chairs reminded me of the number of possibilities stripped away from anyone who has struggled for years with infertility.

The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, is named so because it survived the bombing and a dismal sentencing of being cut down.  On the day of the bombing, it was partially burned and loaded with shrapnel from its trunk to its branches. Once the Murrah building was imploded and all of its pieces hauled away and buried, the attention of the demolition team turned to the tree to cut it down. However, it was already beginning to show signs of life again and they brought in a team from the US Department of Forestry to tend to it and nurse it back to health. It still stands today!  In fact, it is even possible to purchase seedlings from this very tree to plant your own American Elm!  This was the last place we visited before we left the museum and memorial grounds.  I sat on the cement wall and thought of how much stronger I am having faced infertility and continuing my battle with it. I thought of you all, too, and what wonderful people you are and how your individual fight makes you all survivors. None of us can be cut down by IF.  We are all destined to live full, happy lives, regardless of the trials we face and the shrapnel that scars us along the way.

And it was then that I let out all that I had been holding in. I cried for the innocent people who perished on April 19, 1995. I cried for the babies who lost parents, the parents who lost babies, the husbands lost, the wives gone.  I cried for myself. I cried for each of you. I cried for the pain we all feel and the hope that we all cling to when we have nothing else to go on. I cried for the past failed cycles and the future happiness that none of us are even sure of anymore. I cried for the hope I still have for myself and for you all to complete our families and bring our babies home.  I cried the good cry.


  1. What an amazing post.This brought tears to my eyes. I have felt every emotion and thought that you mention. IF is such a struggle and I feel very close to all my online girls as well.<3

    I remember the bombing, what a beautiful memorial. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This post gave me chills. Love you, friend :)

  3. Thanks for sharing. Complete side note: the OKC Memorial full/half was two weeks after we moved here so I decided to run the half for fun. It was the most humbling race I've ever done. I blogged about it. But, I feel ya - OKC knows how to remember and knows how to let the world join in. Even if you've only lived here 9 months. Glad you got to go, even more glad you got to cry.

  4. I read this post earlier on today, I had to dash so didn't have time to comment. I was very moved by all your words, they are written with such emotion. Thinking of you =)

  5. This is beautifully written about such a sad event. I remember when that happened; I was 10 and it terrified me to my core. Thank you for posting this and sharing with us.