Happy Thanksgiving, from our turkeys to yours. xo
Happy Thanksgiving, from our turkeys to yours. xo
So this week got a little crazy in a slightly unexpected way, with our son arriving a few weeks early via a planned-but-just-not-on-the-day-we-did-it c-section, and I’ve been in the hospital all week re-educating myself on how to care for a newborn and how to recover from surgery. More on that on Monday, but for now, I wanted to duck in and say Hello! and also to post something that I never got around to posting due to chaotic arrival of our son.
* * *
Kerri: We’re doing this again, the whole “you have a movie coming out so I ask you questions that are tangentially related to the movie.” This time, the film is THE SEA OF TREES. I put that in all caps because that’s what I’m supposed to do with movie titles, right?
Chris: Right. And TV shows are in quotes.
Kerri: I’ve learned so much already. But I’m also familiar with the storyline of the movie, so can you fill my pancreatically-challenged readers in on what they can expect?
Chris: A drama.
Kerri: As a writer, you write a lot of stuff. As an interviewee, you don’t say much.
Chris: I just told you about using all caps for movies and quotes for TV shows; that’s interesting!
Kerri: ARGHH in all caps, my love. Moving back to the movie, can you give me a brief synopsis of THE SEA OF TREES?
Chris: A man suffers tremendous loss and ends up on a journey of reflection.
Kerri: It sounds a little heavy. And also I have read the script so I know that you’re leaving some kind of important stuff out. Like the suicide forest.
Chris: That’s a real place in Japan; it’s called Aokigahara, which is also known as “The Sea of Trees.”
Kerri: Okay so now we’re getting somewhere. So what’s the deal with this forest?
Chris: It’s also referred to as the perfect place to die.
Kerri: We’re not going there, right?
Chris: We have a second kid now; we’re never going anywhere again. Anyway, for whatever reason, about 100 people or so commit suicide in that forest every year.
Kerri: Again, you’ve written a family film.
Chris: Well it’s not exactly HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, but it’s definitely not a scary movie, either. It’s a drama. It’s a story about a guy whose wife dies, and when he can’t go on anymore, he decides to take his own life. Only he goes to The Sea of Trees to do it. But when he gets there, he finds another man who is desperately trying to find his way out of the forest. In agreeing to help the other man find his way out and survive, the main character undergoes a process of restoration and regains his own will to live.
Kerri: I’ve been a fan of the script since you first showed it to me several years ago. [Editor’s note, which is also Wife’s note: I really loved this script.] Is this one of your favorite scripts that you’ve written?
Chris: It is, because it’s a step outside of my usual fare, where most of my stuff is in the thriller genre. It was nice to do something that was more of a straightforward drama, and I was really grateful to see the script so well-received.
Kerri: THE SEA OF TREES is a departure from that expectation of “Hey, is Chris creepy in real life?” sort of thing. Are you becoming less creepy with time, thematically?
Chris: If I can’t pay the bills with this drama stuff, I’ll go back to being creepy.
Kerri: No, seriously. Is this the kind of stuff you prefer to write?
Chris: Yes and no. It doesn’t matter to me, too much, what the genre is. I just want to tell good stories.
Kerri: So the movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe, and Naomi Watts. And your daughter had a chance to meet them, only she was less interested in their celebrity and instead immediately asked where the bathroom was.
Chris: I remember that day on set.
Kerri: That wasn’t awkward at all. And obviously Birdy and I didn’t fly to Japan to bother you on set. This thing was local-ish.
Chris: It shot for a week in Japan, but I wasn’t there for any of that. The rest was shot in various parts of Massachusetts, and I was on set for a lot of those days because I was a producer on the film as well.
Kerri: Normally, you bust my chops during the course of these interviews. Why are you being so well-behaved tonight?
Chris: Because I want to think that I’ve matured a little bit.
Kerri: I can wholeheartedly attest to the fact that you have not.
Chris: That’s true. Did you see my Tweet about the fart festival?
Kerri: You really put that up on Twitter?
Kerri: You’re an adult. With a fancy movie with fancy people in it and …
Chris: And I had a fancy tuxedo at the premiere at Cannes.
Kerri: Yeah, but right now you’re not wearing pants, so …
Chris: I’m wearing shorts. That’s important to clarify.
Kerri: It sounds more interesting if I say you’re not wearing pants. But anyway, the film comes out very soon. Like today, soon.
Chris: Right … the movie opens today. August 26th.
Kerri: So where can people go to the theater and see it?
Chris: Opening first in New York and Los Angeles, and then it may expand to other cities. But people can catch it on Video on Demand and iTunes today as well.
Kerri: So in the theater and on iTunes on the same day?
Chris: Yup. It’s a release strategy called Day-and-Date. No idea why it’s called that, but it is. So yeah, it’s essentially available everywhere today.
Kerri: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Chris: Can we watch “Vice Principals” now? And that should be in quotes because it’s a TV show, not all caps.
(You get a special prize if the title of this blog post made you think of this song.)
For two years, we wanted a baby.
When I first started lurking on infertility websites and forums, the acronyms were confusing. I knew that TTC was “trying to conceive” but all of the other bits seemed as if someone poured out a box of Alphabits cereal on the floor and then let a strong breeze blow through. The terms did not make sense.
But then, sadly suddenly, they did.
After a few months, I started tracking ovulation using at-home tests, and “OPK” (ovulation predictor kit) and “DPO” (days past ovulation) became common in our home. Several more months gave way to an understanding of what “TWW” (two week wait) and “BFN on a HPT” (big fat negative on a home pregnancy test) meant. The term “AMA” (advanced maternal age) came into play after a year. I learned that Clomid tastes horrible and does crazy things to my blood sugars; Letrozole did not. After two years, I knew what an HSG was (hysterosalpingogram), had experienced IUIs (intrauterine insemination) and discussions about IVF (in vitro fertilization) were marked in my file, alongside “unexplained secondary infertility.” Our insurance did not cover any of these treatments. The stress on my family was tremendous. The depression that came about as a result of this process was hard to describe but effortless to immerse myself in.
Last summer, I was pregnant, the result of an IUI. It was awesome, but briefly so. The baby wasn’t able to stay, for whatever reason, so they left when I was in the middle of a conference. Despite having friends to lean on and my family a phone call away, it was violently isolating.
I felt like my body had failed me. Again, and this time in a way I had not expected. Not making insulin is standard fare after decades with type 1 diabetes, but not being able to make a baby broke my heart in a way that diabetes never could. Maybe it’s because I’m used to diabetes. Maybe it’s because the journey of having my daughter was almost effortless, by comparison. Maybe it’s because the miscarriage question couldn’t be answered, instead with doctors and friends alike only able to say they were sorry.
I feel guilty that I’m only sharing this now, with my growing belly as a comfort. Fifteen weeks pregnant with my second child and I’m still paranoid about every doctor’s appointment and ultrasound, still checking for blood every time I use the bathroom. I wasn’t brave enough to talk about infertility and pregnancy loss over the last two years, and that makes me feel like a crumb because I should have been open about it then. I wish I had been open about it then, because I would have benefitted from the support of friends and family. My mother and my best friends knew, but outside of that circle, this was an experience my family went through in silence.
People would ask, with kind intentions, if we were ever going to give Birdy a sibling and we should “Hurry up!” Or they’d look at our independent five year old and say, “Aren’t you glad the days of diapers are behind you?” And I became used to that feeling of my face settling into an expression of shielded pain, where I tried to make them feel more comfortable for asking.
It’s awkward to talk about, or at least it is for me. Diabetes is something I am very comfortable sharing and discussing, but infertility was a shrugged-off, silent weight we carried, one we pretended wasn’t happening except every morning and every evening I documented this strange sadness on a spreadsheet that I brought to the doctor’s office with me every few weeks.
I’m sharing this experience now, despite still feeling vulnerable and nervous about my current pregnancy, because I found a lot of comfort in reading other people’s stories and raising my hand in a, “Me, too,” even if I did it in silence. I never felt better that other people were experiencing a similar journey, but I did feel comforted, knowing I was not the only one.
I didn’t feel jealous when I saw pregnant women, because I had only recently learned what kind of struggle it can take to arrive at that moment. And I would have shared this story whether I ended up pregnant or not, because the loneliness of infertility was suffocating. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything sooner. I wish I had, in case you were reading. You, the one dealing with this, too. I’ve been where you are, or at least my version of that experience. I have no idea what any of our futures hold, but I know you’re not alone.
You are not the only one. You are not alone.
This morning, while I was on a conference call for work, I looked out the kitchen window and saw a squirrel go scuttling by with what looked like a giant leaf in its mouth.
“Huh. Early spring. Ambitious critter.”
A few seconds later, another squirrel darted by, sporting a floppy beard of some sort.
A minute later, a third squirrel came tearing by with what appeared to be a giant hat.
“What the hell?!”
Our neighbors have kept three biodegradable lawn bags filled with leaves in their backyard all winter. No big deal; they aren’t in our line of sight unless we go back in the woods, and we also care very little about what our neighbors do to their lawn.
All winter long, those three bags have sat quietly, weathering the weather and slowly turning to mush. Until the squirrel population decided to go to town on them, ripping them to shreds and making clothes and forcing me to put a conference call on mute while I laughed out loud at the bizarre fashion show taking place in the garden.
What about this has to do with diabetes? Nothing. Unless I decide to start a clothing line for PWD made entirely out of rotting gardening bags.
Copyright © 2017 Kerri Sparling & Six Until Me. 2005 - 2017. All rights reserved.
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