Mentioned and shown: Baby shower, bump pics...
It was a day I thought would never come, and I'll be honest, as trivial as it may be to some, this day was almost important to me as my wedding day. My baby shower marked the welcome of a little person I have waited five long years for, a little person I wasn't certain would ever come into existance (at least not in this respect). It also marked a day that I 'came out of the IF closet' and a day I felt completely supported and loved. It was everything I could have hoped for and more.
Firstly, one of my closest friends, P, offered to host it. This may not seem like a huge deal, but she lives three or so states away in Idaho and carried a suitcase full of games, decorations, and favors weighing more than she does the distance (she's all of 5'1", 100 pounds). She put so much thought, care and effort into it, that Mr. S and I were floored (and felt a little like getting on our hands and knees Wayne's World style to declare 'we're not worthy') once she pulled it all out. She had personalized mint boxes with my name and shower date on the lid and adorable cloth bags filled with blue and white J.elly B.ellies (fitting as I live about 15 minutes away from the factory) for the favors. My new sister-in-law (Mr. S's bro just got married this past Saturday) has a fantastic high end bakery and so for the shower, she found onesie cookie cut-outs and made the most delicious and adorable onseie cookies covered in fondant to add to the favors.
The shower itself was held at my Mother-in-law's house who made the most amazing lasagna, bruschetta, appetizers, and strawberry lemonade. My Mom contributed one of those gorgeous edible fruit baskets, shrimp, salad, and cookies. And of course, no party would be complete in that household if we didn't have an assortment of adult beverages, so Mimosas (or just OJ) and wine were also served.
Meanwhile, Ms. S. was down the street at a family friend's house exacting his shower day plans, man style. He simultaneously held a 'Man Shower' (or beer shower) for the significant others, complete with a keg, hamburgers and junk food (they later joined us for post shower shots, and no, I was not a part of that 'us').
As they watched their sobriety slip past them, ladies began to arrive at our shower and I have to admit, I was really surprised that almost everyone who was invited was able to come (at least those who lived within driving distance). But most touching was the fact that one of my IF sisters, Sarang, came. She is still in treatment and I, as well as anyone who has been through the infertility ringer knows that getting a root canal sans anesthesia is generally a more inviting prospect than attending a baby shower, especially while in active treatment. While I gave her multiple opportunities to back out gracefully, she never once faultered.
As Mr. S. and I always say about her, "she is a better woman than I". I honestly don't know that I would have had the strength to show up or even consider it as an option. Two other IF sisters also attended, one of whom is due this Saturday and the other who is due a week or so after I am (and is one of those IF legends...yes, she got pregnant naturally after 3 or so years of IF!). All four of us are buddies, so you can now imagine how much more strength it took for Sarang to attend as not only was she at a baby shower, but all of her acquaintances at said baby shower were quite knocked up. So, in short, if you ever want to look up the definition of a true friend, be sure to look for her picture under the description. :)
And when it came time to share the book that would essentially de-closet me, I was shocked at how nervous I was! I certainly didn't think anyone would say anything too heinous, but I suppose the fact that I had lived for so long quietly covering up one of the biggest parts of my life from almost everyone in that room, changing the subject whenever kids came up, made it that much harder. I was an expert at keeping it under wraps (although after 9 years of marriage I would imagine that putting 2+2 together wasn't that hard, either). But I do know now that unlike times past when I would have admitted to feeling shame and that this would have essentially been the driving force that prevented me from sharing my IF, this is no longer on my radar. In fact, I'm proud. I am so proud of the strength that it took Mr. S. and I, of the strength of our union, and of the amazing people I've met along the way. I'm not saying I would have preferred to be infertile, but I am certainly saying that I was given an obstacle course I could have never foreseen and that I was proud to announce to everyone that I was still standing, whether I was successful or not. The fact that I will be lucky enough to see the fruits of our endurance is icing on the cake.
In the end, I do feel as if this was a celebration of weathering that journey as much as it was a celebration of welcoming Baby G into this world. The two are inevitably linked. I think every person who has stood through the storm of IF should be celebrated, whether they adopt, conceive or choose to live child free. We have all been through so much that if you consider yourself among the survivors, then that speaks to your strength of character and of all the reasons for a celebration, I think that's a pretty damn good one. I'll never forget my celebration.