Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Curse of Kate Morton

I read, a lot. I treasure summertime because I have the freedom to read adult books all the time, and I stockpile books to plow through throughout the summer. Now, I don't know if what you read has any impact on what's going on around you, say, during an IVF cycle, but I can tell you that I feel that books by Kate Morton are cursed.

For our first fresh IVF cycle with a new protocol, our third time at bat but first time trying a different, more egg-quality based protocol, I was reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. It has fairies on the inside cover, three girls dancing in a circle with flowers. At my transfer we slid the picture of our three 8-celled embryos into the book for safekeeping and joked that maybe this wasn't the best idea since maybe it was encouraging all three of them to stay and bless us with triplet girls. I don't know why we always have the thought that all of our embryos could suddenly implant, but we have this thought every single time even though I've never had more than one implant even with three in the hole. I read that book throughout the three days of rest (probably finished it on Day Two), and when the wait was over we did have a positive pregnancy test. But it was a low positive, a 12. But then the 12 turned into a 24, and then a 74, and then it kept going up at a more irregular rate. So far this sounds ok, right? What's wrong with Kate Morton? I got pregnant! But it was ectopic. It didn't last. And I think I was reading The House at Riverton when I was waiting in the emergency room to go in for my presto-chango surgery that would render me not pregnant anymore, even though it wasn't viable from the start. Yup, The House at Riverton is another Kate Morton book. I can't really blame her for this one, because I already knew the jig was up when I was reading it, but now there was a bit of an association.

I can't honestly remember what I read for our frozen cycle in the following December. It didn't really matter, because it was uneventful. Then, for our next try (and last ever fresh IVF where I was going through the retrieval process), I went with something totally different. I read American Psycho while waiting to be prepped for the surgical procedure and while they were figuring out how to get the IV into me (the last time took three tries including one on the table, so this time the anethesiologist just did it. I have the worst veins EVER.). An odd choice for bringing good juju into the room, and I didn't even really enjoy it all that much, but I think maybe I thought something different would be good. But that didn't result in anything but a BFN, so I guess reading about stock traders by day and psychotic misogynistic serial killers at night isn't exactly a good karma-bringer. (Or, more likely, what your read has ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT ON YOUR CYCLE. That probably makes more sense).

For our next frozen cycle with our last three embryos, one of which looked great and the other two were all schmutzy and fragmented, I read another Kate Morton book. This time, The Distant Hours (probably my favorite, with Forgotten Garden a close second if only because it has an infertility subplot). I gave Ms. Morton another chance. And we did get pregnant with a solid 61 beta! But then we lost that little babyling in a slow motion horror that lasted days and I registered as pregnant for a full two and a half weeks after the bleed where I likely lost the viable part of the pregnancy. Awesome. So it would seem that Kate Morton's twisty novels coincidentally went hand in hand with semi-success.

There is a fourth Kate Morton novel that came out this year, The Secret Keeper. I am not touching this book with a ten foot pole until I have given birth and am (as far as you ever can be) "in the clear." It's not that I truly believe that there is a curse on her delightfully juicy historical gothic romance/mysteries, it's just that I kind of do, just a little bit. I have my stack of books all set for all the waiting time, and although the one I'm enjoying most is probably a bizarre choice for this fun and exciting time of uterine hope (We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, a fabulous novel about a mother's reconstructing of her son from the moment she and her husband talked about conceiving to the moment he killed a slew of people at his high school, trying to figure out if her ambivalence towards motherhood and her instant distrust and suspicion in her disturbed son made it somehow her fault), but I think at this point it doesn't really matter. As long as it isn't a Kate Morton novel.

6 comments:

  1. I'm intrigued by all these books now! I read Gillian Flynn's other two books, Sharp Things and Dark Places while on bed rest. Both dark and twisty, but so good. Hope you have a lovely embryo bliss day lined up for yourself, dear!

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    1. The Kate Morton books really are good, I just have such a negative association with them that I can't do it! :) Mmmm, Sharp Things and Dark Places were so good. Honestly I don't think it really makes a difference, it's just how you relax. It's funny, my reading habits over the past few years have drifted into "books that feature lives worse than mine" which sounds horribly ungrateful but I needed to know that there were worse tragedies that could befall a character than hideous infertility and loss. :) Somehow reading about the mother of a mass murderer made me feel oddly comforted... plus I highly recommend that one, because it was so well written and cleverly crafted. It took 70 pages or so to really get into it, but then the other 330 just sped by! :)

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  2. I don't have a set of books I've read through my IVF cycles, but I have another tradition. Before my laparoscopy and each of my retrievals, I've bought a box of Wheat Thins. I don't know why- I guess they are bland and easy to eat, and remind me of my childhood and so they are comforting. Anyway, I was walking through the drugstore before my transfer in Atlanta last week, and Wheat Thins were on sale. But I walked right by them. This is a new cycle and I'm hoping to break the pattern of negatives this time!

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    1. I hear you on that! I used to love Wheat Thins before I found out they were destroying my intestinal lining (stupid Celiac). I also hear the breaking of patterns--I used to eat a sticky bun on transfer day to encourage other things to be sticky as well, and eat pineapple core every day because apparently bromate (or something like that) helped with implantation or something. Well, not so much for me, so I said buh-bye to those. Trying to just eat a lot of good fruits and veggies, but my friends and husband keep plying me with comfort foods that are adding to the PIO's mission to make me a beast. Sigh. Here's hoping these little changes have signified a change in outcome for both of us!

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  3. Wow! How interesting. I am not a superstitious person but I think it's a good idea to steer clear of Kate for now. (-: Maybe read some Annie Dillard or something. (-:

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    1. Well, I steered away from Ms. Morton but then went and read a bunch of dystopia and murder mystery. I'm a lady of habit, I guess! :) It is thoroughly distracting though, and that's what I need right now. Jeezum these waits are so hard.

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