Saturday, June 26, 2010


My brother has a condition that my family refers to as the "Luck of the Polish." Those of you who have lived in the northeastern portion of the US will be familiar with Polish jokes and will know why this is funny. T tells me that Kentuckians make these same jokes about people from Indiana who are apparently just as stupid as Polish people. Before anyone gets their feathers ruffled about this, let me assure everyone that I am 75% Polish-American. The other 25% is Italian but, aside from my utter loathing of golumpki, you'd never know it. If you plunked me down in the middle of Warsaw, tourists would ask me for directions. Thus, as a child, I had to grow a thick skin...and learn how not to fall out of a tree while raking leaves.

Anyway, back to the "Luck of the Polish." Simply put, when something crappy happens to my brother, it usually results in some sort of financial windfall. Usually the crappy thing involves a blow to his rather ample head, some stitches or staples, and a quick settlement with the restaurant owner/driver who blew the red light/employer. Bad luck morphs into cash and everyone goes home satisfied.

I'm not similarly afflicted. My mom has always said that I have more ambition than my brother and, therefore, don't need any luck. She's said that she knows I will always land on my feet.

I thought about this a lot while floundering helplessly on my back during fall of 2007 and most of 2008. Is it true? Am I without luck? Is ambition really an adequate substitute for luck? It sure feels like I could use a little luck...I wonder where I could find it.

What is luck, anyway? Some days I think I'm lucky to have C. Some days it seems like luck really has nothing to do with it. After all, surviving birth and infancy is apparently quite normal. We all managed to do it, right? Even those of us with bad luck. And it goes on from there.

Have sex--get pregnant--have a baby--raise baby into a) a functioning member of society b) a menace to society c) somewhere halfway in between. Repeat. Completely normal. Easy as pie.

Unless it isn't.

I found out a couple of weeks ago that I have a unicornate uterus and one functioning fallopian tube. In the reports, the radiologist described my uterus as "banana-shaped" (isn't there some sort of latin word for that that sounds less pathetic?). For those of you who aren't up on uterine anomalies, this means that I have roughly half of a womb and a very poor chance at another successful pregnancy.

This was not good news.

I don't think of it as strictly bad news either. T and I had already accepted that our baby-makin' days were likely over anyway and our apparent secondary infertility finally has a name. My only regret is that I won't be able to serve as a gestational carrier for a very deserving couple.

The causality isn't quite right to call this an instance of Polish luck but this news has cast the past three years in a completely different light. Most of the way to "advanced maternal age" with only half of the requisite parts, I somehow got to conceive 2 babies the old-fashioned way, carry them for 32 weeks, and witness both of their completely unlikely live births.

I feel like my entire identity has shifted. Like a smart girl who's just been called pretty. I'm considering a trip to the casinos. I'm thinking about joining a carnival and charging people a dollar to rub my belly of banana-shaped good fortune.

For the past three years I've been wishing for normalcy. Now I know that I was never normal and that I'll never be normal. But I think I have something better. I am lucky.


  1. Normal is such a loaded word. Sometimes I think the only normal is just abnormality. Or maybe I am trying to justify my existence. Either way, I am sorry for the very deserving couple and for you to find out about all of this.

    Luck of the Polish made me laugh out loud. Having grown up also in Northeastern Pennsylvania I am familiar with the Polish jokes. Funnily, half of me, the Pennsylvania half, comes from Irish stock, and the Polish make Irish jokes. So my grandfather and his best friend Wal.ter would have the constant back and forth with the Irish/Polish banter. Nothing would me guffaw more than those corny jokes over greasy eggs.

  2. Exactly - what is normal? I guess none of us will ever really know now.
    Just want to echo Angie in saying I am very sorry you got this shitty news.
    Sending love.

  3. I love this post.

    I'm sorry for you and for your deserving friends. But I'm glad for the luck, I'm glad for C and R.

    And if I wasn't so darn far away I'd pay a dollar to rub the belly of banana-shaped good fortune. Although I have a feeling that I've had all the good fortune I'll ever be entitled too already.

  4. this is such an incredible response to such crappy news. you should definitely hit those casinos.

    i also like names and labels for things. i can how your unicornucopia would change your perspective. xo