Wednesday, April 10, 2013

moving right along, cycle 5, day 2

This was going to be a post where I thanked all of you for your wisdom and insight and words of encouragement, admonitions to listen to myself and take a break and eat my vegetables. This was going to be a post about how after hitting an emotional wall on Friday, I crawled out of my infertility-cocoon[1]™ and spent the weekend with friends, unexpectedly and happily social, and that by Sunday night, I was rejuvenated. I was ready to face whatever was ahead. I was feeling replenished and relaxed and deep breath now, even optimistic. I was even mentally noting some non-specific symptoms – getting up to pee at least twice in the night, intermittent light headedness and, ohdeargod, holy adult-onset-acne batman! – that might be the earliest signs of Lord Voldemort, the Holocaust, the deficit that-which-shall-not-be-named.

That is all completely true; I am grateful to all of you for your spirit-boosting, I did have a great weekend and I did feel happy and refreshed. That’s what this post was going to be about. But the universe – knowing that such a post would be boring, trivial and full of absent minded reverie – intervened. 

Because, say it with me now friends and strangers: Oh no, my period!

Every cycle we[2] – you know, us, collectively, the infertility set <waves to the crowd> – prepare ourselves for this moment. We are glass half empty people, we construct barriers of self-protection on multiple fronts, we are pragmatic. We have read enough to know too much[3]. And so with each cycle we endeavor to keep our expectations low and we tell ourselves that this time, this time, we will take it in stride, we will move on to the next round, it will be okay. And then with each defeat, we are completely, almost irrevocably, destroyed. We become, at least momentarily, inconsolable. There is probably some crying, some grief eating, some not-wanting-to-get-out-of-bed-the-next-morning-ing. But then, at some point, for me it usually comes the next day, we pick ourselves up, somehow oblivious (almost) to the protracted defeat.

Which leads me to this: I do not want to take a break. I have been sitting with the idea; mulling it over and talking with C and trying to check in with myself to see what I need. It’s all been very meta, lots of Enya, etc. And after approximately 36 hours of deep reflection playing outside and getting a haircut, what I’ve realized is that the thought of taking a break fills me with much greater terror than another disappointment.

So here I am. Negotiating with the fertility clinic nurse over the next cycle. And by negotiating, I mean being fiercely adversarial because if there’s one thing that law school taught me, it’s that rabidly arguing your point to a disinterested opponent will get you nothing at all exactly what you want. Which made it all rather awkward when I asked if we could just do a pee stick test while on vacation since given the timing we would miss the all important beta and she was all, yes, sure, no problem whatsoever. Totally blasĂ© while clearly I was jonesing for a fight. Well then. Thankyouverymuch, here is all my money, let’s get this party started.

So despite an early morning aversion to strong odors that surely means I’m having quintuplets[4], an oddly disturbing dream in which C and I had adopted 9 year old Israeli twins named “Linda and Sarah[5]”, and my frenzied internet searches of “period/pregnant/bleeding early in pregnancy/Lena Dunham’s twitter feed[6]” I am probably not pregnant.  But I am also totally, and unexpectedly, ready to continue on with this reckless adventure toward baby-dom.

[1] A giant down comforter with a Mad Men tv feed, US Weekly (minus the edition trumpeting Halle Berry’s “surprise” and “totally natural” pregnancy at 46) and an endless supply of bon bons.
[2] Or just me. Whichever.
[3] A truth I only realized mid-way through a purely hypothetical Sarah-led conversation with rant at my doctor-husband about D&Cs, ectopics and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. After he picked his jaw up off the floor, he politely asked me to please stop being so-ever-loving-crazy.
[4] The pregnancy-mimicking effects of Chinese Hamster Ovaries are cruel indeed.
[5] Cue internal dream dialogue that goes something like well, I’ll have to change her name. We cannot have the same name. But she’s already 9. If we change her name now it will mean years of therapy. Wait, is this for real? <wide awake, in a sweaty frenzy.>


  1. You're right, we have read too much for our own good... or sanity. Sometimes it feels like I am the only one who keeps my expectations low during cycles, while other IF bloggers seem to be much more optimistic than me. I am glad I am not the only one who sees my treatment in a glass half empty kind of way

    1. I am right there with you in glass-half-empty land! It's safer there and we can leave the (seemingly irrational but sweet) optimism to our partners. Wishing you good luck this cycle.

  2. The period is always a bummer. If there's even the tiniest possibility of pregnancy, I can't reach the end of a cycle without imagining a baby. In a way it was a relief to get the IF diagnosis, because at least I don't have to wonder "what could we have possibly done wrong!" every time The Period arrives. But I still hope and wonder in a place that is beyond logic.

    Wishing you better luck next cycle!

    1. Thanks and yes, there is certainly relief in knowing, I couldn't agree more. I love how you capitalize "The Period." It's so dignified.

  3. I don't have any experiences that give me any idea of what you're going through, but wanted to let you know that random faceless internet strangers are thinking of you, checking in to see how you're going (even if we don't comment), and hoping all good things are coming your way. (Is that creepy?) Anyway I'm sending all my good vibes your way. Break or no break here's hoping for the next cycle.

  4. That paragraph about the infertility set should be the basis for some kind of manifesto. So. Right. On. My problem is that I *need* to be schizophrenic sometimes; I'm not by nature a pragmatist, and I need the glass to appear half full sometimes in order to keep going. It's a special kind of mindfuck. Sorry this wasn't it for you my friend. See you in the further installments (for you and me both) or reckless adventuring...

    Also, WTF Halle Berry? I'm so lucky at times that I live under a kind of pop culture rock and am six months behind on everything.

  5. Well, this whole thing sucks (not your post - your post is great). What can we do but get back on the horse? Well, we could do lots of other things, but the fact is that some of the bravest things we do are those that seem the most routine and are the least recognized.