Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chip, Chip, Chippin' Away

I never love infertility. But today, I absolutely hate it. I hate its insidious grasp on every aspect of our lives. Someone recently asked, "Does everything you do have to do with fertility? You should find a way to escape from it." Excellent question. Yes, fertility touches absolutely everything. And escaping it? A beautiful idea, but incredibly difficult to execute. Infertility just chip, chip, chips away at everything in your life.

I mean, we're trying to ignore fertility, at least a little bit. We are on a bit of a break. By this I mean that since getting my second negative pregnancy test after IVF, I have backed off slightly. My schedule doesn't revolve around going to fertility yoga, fertility support groups, going to acupuncture and Maya Massage and checking message boards all the time. For two weeks I stopped taking my prenatal vitamins and my fertility-friendly supplements. I wanted a period of time where everything I did wasn't with the wellbeing of a nonexistent fetus in mind. We've been drinking wine and margaritas with abandon because we can. I even ate leftovers out of a microwaved plastic container (the horror!). Part of this is because I needed a break from the all day every day things I did to improve my chances of conceiving that obviously didn't do one lick of good either time. I am pissed off at my body. I am pissed off at the money and time that I've spent doing all of these good things and increasing my chances and creating a nice warm sustaining healthy home for a baby that's so far being incredibly obstinate and refusing to grace us with his/her presence. I will go back to these activities and rituals (sooner than later) but right now I need my schedule to not revolve around infertility. We don't even have doctor's appointments, other than the follow-up.

But, despite this break, we cannot escape the fine, sticky filaments of despair and uncertainty that have deeply entrenched themselves in our daily life. I get out of the shower and see the bruising from my progesterone shots on my hips and wonder just why it is that I'm not still taking those shots to sustain a healthy pregnancy. I am wondering what next school year is going to look like since I am not going out on maternity leave in mid-September and the earliest we could feasibly have a baby is now spring 2012--and with the frightening school budget situation and talks of layoffs  floating about in the ether, I can add employment uncertainty to my stresses. I am taking an early childhood education class to help bolster my marketability, but the timing of this class is horrible. I had to speak to my professor after the first class to let her know that I may have to leave abruptly (and of course come back) or I might be visibly upset but it's because I just failed my second IVF and I had no idea that this class would be so baby centric. Here I was thinking it would be mainly focused on 3-5 year olds, which I can totally handle. Every time I go, discussion inevitably turns to everyone's parenting of their own little ones, to how incredibly fulfilling it is to be a mommy. Which would be fine except I want to raise my hand when the class is asked, "how many of you are parents?" and say "I'm not a parent yet but I desperately want to be and just can't seem to accomplish that, so I can share what I want for my children but they don't exactly exist despite everything we've done to make that happen." But that would make me the freakshow of the class. I already feel like a freakshow for feeling that I had to share my struggle with my professor because her class makes me feel like crying half the time. Luckily, she was very understanding, and not in a "oh jeez, this lady's crazy" kind of way. But, I have to move on and push those feelings of inadequacy and desperation and emptiness to the side so that I can be certified to teach PreK and K and do early intervention, and keep my career moving forward in these uncertain times.

Infertility isn't just a process you go through. It's a state of mind. I cannot go through a day and NOT think about how I'm not pregnant. There is not a day that goes by that Bryce and I don't talk about our future plans or what we can do better next time, or get frustrated over how infertility makes it impossible to live any sort of carefree life at all. We have to be super careful of our finances, because who knows how many more cycles we have to pay for and what additional costs could eventually become a part of our process. We can't run off and go for a 4 day cruise to "get away from it all" because the whole time we'd be worrying if we're spending baby money to do it. And probably the ship would be full of pregnant people or young families. We'd have to pick either a singles ship or a geriatric ship to truly escape from it all. Future planning is part of our daily life, even though we're not in a cycle now and won't be for a while.  I've been talking with the clinic to get us on the schedule for the summer. I don't want to find out my results when I'm in school in September. So we work backwards, and it affects us even now. I don't want to work this summer because I want to be totally stress-free for this next cycle and not be working without a break in 95 degree classrooms with poor ventilation for 6 hours each day. Seems reasonable to ask. But, again, in these uncertain times it's not going to go over easily.  This timing also means that I may be taking some medication when we're on our annual Maine vacation. This means our Maine vacation will be within 3 months before retrieval and we should be cutting back if not eliminating wine and cocktails. This means our Maine vacation won't be what it usually is--as total an escape as we can manage, with really good bottles of wine every night on the deck of camp or out at fancy restaurants and the occasional French rose in the afternoon over a book, after a busy morning of kayaking on the lake. Yeah, yeah, it's all for the greater good but it is so infuriating.  And it causes arguments. My argument was, "Well, if we'd been successful I would have been in my second trimester and looking pretty damn cute if I do say so myself, and unable to drink anyway so it would be cut back or eliminated on the vacation." To which the counterargument was, "That's HAPPY elimination. That's CELEBRATORY elimination. This is just further punishing us for not being able to do what countless couples can do without thinking about it, while drunk! It's punishment for something totally out of our control." So, we're not even close to our relaxing awesome vacation that we look forward to every year and already it's tainted. We're not alcoholics or anything--we can go on vacation and not drink. But when you are wine people and the tasting and enjoying and pairing with food is such a big part of your experience on vacation, it just seems unfair. And it is.

So thanks a freaking lot, infertility, for putting your stink on everything. Thank you for rubbing it in our noses that we are totally incapable of planning anything without considering your impact on our daily lives. Thank you for giving us this state of mind that will never go away--infertility impacts you far after you build your family in whatever way you eventually succeed. And I guess, thank you for making us stronger people, blah blah blah, for going through this with bravery and spunk. Nope, I take it back. I'm tired of being a stronger person. I'm not grateful. I hope we kick your ass.

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