Saturday, September 13, 2014

All The King's Horses and All The King's Men

Wednesday, actual beta day, was a better day than Thursday. Thursday was kind of a rock-bottom sort of day.

See, I take the afternoon off of school to receive my results, and occasionally I take the day after off, too, if it is bad news. But I felt ok on Wednesday, and the first full week of school is a colossally bad time to take time off. You are still getting to know your kids. And my kids need a lot of TLC this year. I love them already, but there are a lot of challenges throughout my day and this year is going to be a toughie. Introducing subs so early doesn't help, so in I went. Early, because I felt it would give me time to feel ready for the day.

I was not ready for the day.

I got going in my classroom, organizing my plans and materials and getting ready to go to my new first period study hall. (This is a new thing this year--I have always had first period free, which is great because I can be totally ready for the marathon that is 2nd and 3rd, plus it gives me flexibility with bloodwork or late arrivals due to shots and whatnot. Not having first free anymore is giving me agita.) To do this, I had to bring up my SmartBoard files I had meticulously created and edited the day before, since everything is taking a fair bit longer this year than in the past for some reason, slides needed to be shifted and I needed to reconsider what I could actually get done in my paltry 40 minutes. While I waited for the beta call, I got prepared so I wouldn't have to worry about the rest of the week.

Except as I was bringing them up, a wonderful para stuck her head in with an expectant look and said, "And?" And. I shook my head no and teared up a bit, but she actually started to cry and looked just...stricken. "NO," she said, "that can't be. That is so tremendously unfair." You're telling me. I filled her in on the hopefully magical new protocol, and put my "But here's the silver lining" face and attitude on. It sucked, but it would be ok.

And then I brought up my files and NONE OF IT SAVED. I had 15 minutes before I had to be in this new study hall, and I was woefully unprepared. And it just broke whatever tiny facade of normalcy I had managed to paste on into a zillion, billion pieces.

I sobbed. I sobbed until I couldn't breathe or talk. I kept trying to pull it together so I could go to the bathroom and wash my face, but it took ten whole minutes, and I'm fairly certain I looked insane walking through the halls before first period to get to the faculty bathroom. And then I lost it again. I lost it good. I was a dripping, sobbing, incoherent disaster. (Have I mentioned at some point on Tuesday I scratched my cornea? It's all good now, but I was so worried I was going to rupture it from all the crying.)

Another para came in and immediately took charge -- "What can I do? Where do you need to be? I can go for you while you get yourself in a better place." So she set me up in the air-conditioned faculty lounge next door (the bathroom was sort of more private but also completely airless and swampy), and went to take care of my study hall.

Then came the march of people walking into my personal tragedy that I could no longer contain. I made a science teacher cry. I looked completely and totally insane. And I couldn't go home, because I could salvage my plans falling through but the thought of writing it up for a sub or feeling exposed as a horribly disorganized mess who couldn't keep her files straight made me want to throw up. I didn't want to go home. If I was at school it would force me to at least be somewhat human for part of the day. If I went home I would have all day, by myself, to wallow and watch sappy movies and feel massively, horribly sorry for myself.

So I didn't.

I had variations of this same complete meltdown about three times throughout the day, once in between classes and twice after school. But I taught all my classes, and either my students were too kind to say anything about my frog eyes and crack-my-face smile attempt at masking the incomprehensible sorrow lurking dangerously close to the surface. One child nearly was my undoing, one incredibly sweet and sensitive young man who came up to me 2nd period and showed me that his sentence for the word of the day crucial was that it was crucial for him to remember his great-grandfather, and that he was very sad. (Did I mention Thursday was September 11th and so a very, very sad day to begin with, and also all week there has been mourning for a local police officer who was shot in the line of duty? Lots to be sad about.) Then he said, "I noticed that you are very sad today, too. Are you sad, Mrs. T? Are you sad about September 11th or something else? Because I'm sad too but you look sadder." OH GOD, I COULD NOT TAKE THIS INCREDIBLE ANGEL OF A BOY. "I am sad, and it is something else too, but you don't need to worry about that. I'm so sorry you're sad today too." And then he gave me a little questioning look and then threw his arms around me and gave me a hug. It took all of my powers of I am at school goddammit and I cannot lose my shit in front of my students to just have a tear or two roll down my face in that moment. What a complete and total sweetheart.

Once the classes were done though, I didn't have anything left to hold it together with. And in the morning, my sobby, gaspy mantra had been, "I (hic) just (hic) can't seem (hic) to put the (hic) PIECES TOGETHER (hic) AGAIN any(hic)more!" It didn't get better as the day went on. I felt worse. I felt irreparably broken. I felt lost. I felt completely devoid of hope.

At the end of the day I really let go when two of my friends separately came to talk to me and let me know how sorry they were because, obviously, things hadn't worked out. AGAIN. I just couldn't stop crying. I didn't think it was possible to cry this much. I said things that I have thought but not necessarily said out loud. I said that I feel that I just shouldn't receive any more embryos because my uterus would just dispose of them. I said that my body is so dysfunctional and sabotaging that I can't believe that this will actually happen. I said so what there is a brand new protocol that is promising? Don't we always have something brand new and promising? Isn't there always a magic fix, and isn't that magic fix always a dud for us? I said that I felt responsible for my own personal genocide. I said that I feel broken and like I'll never be fixed. That I feel empty and like I'll never be whole. That I have serious doubts that this is ever, ever going to happen for us.

And then I cried my way home, fearful that I was not ok to drive the 12 minutes from school to home but knowing I couldn't just stay at school, and I had managed to stay at school past anyone else in my hallway (or possibly anywhere). Because I knew going home I could totally fall apart, and as messy as I was, I knew I could go lower.

Obviously, I made it home.  And I collapsed on the couch. I tried to sleep but I couldn't. I just cried, gut-wrenching sobs as I wandered the house like a living ghost. I saw my beautiful baby buddha with my poor, gorgeous embryos laying on the book in his lap, and cried and cried and cried. "I'm sorry," I whispered as I looked on our amazing quality embryos that yet again did nothing once they entered the death trap of my uterus. "I'm sorry I killed you."

Logically, do I know that's completely ridiculous and not at all constructive? Of course. But I am really having a hard time emotionally with this absence of a pregnancy. We are marching closer and closer to that point where we just can't do it anymore. Where I just can't physically or mentally handle another one of these devastating voids and the self-blame and horrendous sorrow that comes with them.

I cried and stared and was completely useless all evening. I toyed with calling in sick for Friday, and decided not to. I wouldn't kill myself trying to get in early, but I would go and I would resemble a human-like-substance and I would try not to feed what I felt were sure to be rumors that I was losing it and had had a massive nervous breakdown at school. I did not want to be a sad sap forever. It was almost the weekend and I could sad sap it all the way until Monday, when I would have to turn on the actress in me and be a functioning person again, at least on the outside.

I am better now. Each day after Thursday has gotten a little bit less dark and twisty. I do not feel like I am broken at the bottom of a well without any means to get back up, not that I really wanted to anyway. Which is how I felt on Thursday. The world is not an insurmountable place today. But I am still not ok. As I told Bryce yesterday morning as I left for work and he asked me how I was, "If OK had a scale from 1-10, I'm a 2." Which was a massive improvement because on Thursday, if ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE had a scale from 1-10 I'd have been -10. By the end of the day I was a 5 or a 6. Until we sat near some incredibly adorable small children at our Mexican restaurant we go to (and all I have to do to ruin the day there is order a margarita when they know we've been cycling, no conversation necessary), and I felt that gaping raw hole opening up in my chest again and dropped back down to a 2. But that's probably how things will go for a while here. Up and down, down and up.

All Friday, all I could think of was that line from Humpty Dumpty. "All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty together again." I have felt not only like I can't get all the pieces back together, but like some have crumbled to dust and will never be found again. Which is not to say I can't find some replacement pieces to fill in the gaps one day, but right now... even when I'm better than Thursday but nowhere near a truly okay OK, I still feel fractured and broken.

All is not lost. A few pieces are coming together, as we had our phone consult today and had many questions answered. More on that another time as this is probably too long already. I feel some hope. They haven't lost hope yet, so I suppose I should rally and start the process of getting back up. But it's hard, so hard. This is the worst yet. It shouldn't be surprising, 10 cycles of IVF tends to wear on a body and soul. All these NOs and short-lived YESes are cumulative. I am just so lucky to have amazing friends, family, supporters, and most of all, Bryce. Bryce has been amazing. I feel horrible because I can only imagine how it must feel to hear me say all these terrible things about me and my body and how awful everything is right now, because I just mean all of this. He is wonderful. We are wonderful. I mean, it could be better, we could be celebrating instead of mourning AGAIN, but he is keeping me from falling completely apart. He makes sure I have tea and hot scented bathwater and wine (although no wine Thursday, wine would have been a supremely bad idea on such a sad day) and my neck heater and lots of hugs and kisses.

So there's glue. I thank everyone who has listened, who has sent notes of encouragement, who has hugged, who has helped me have a reason to not lie in bed all day. It helps to feel love when you feel like such an epic failure. When you feel like your bad news is letting everyone down who has sent good thoughts, intentions, or prayers your way. When you feel like maybe the issue hasn't been the embryos but your uterus all along, and this is all your fault, your fault, your fault. (Yes, I know, completely not constructive, but this is my truth right now, and in order to move on to more constructive thoughts I have to let these run their course.)

May I find a new piece with each new day. May I willingly accept more glue with each new day. May I start to believe again that I can do this, that the new plan is solid, that all is not lost, that I can give ourselves at least one more chance, that this is not all my fault, that I am not embryo kryptonite.  I know I can put myself back together again, even though Thursday I did not at all think that was possible. It will just take a little time, and a lot of love.


  1. Oh Jess. This is so hard. You have such an awesome support system. I'm glad they're holding you up, helping you move forward. You're not letting anyone down, we just want you to get that happy ending you deserve. I'm glad the clinic still believes in you, I'm glad you believe in you. Ready with as much love and glue as it takes.

    1. Thank you, so much. This is so much harder than I remember, but it will get better. Thank you for your kind words. A happy ending would be nice for both of us! Here's hoping the changes lead us both to that dream.

  2. I'm so sorry...sometimes you just need to fall apart. Though I have NO idea what it feels like to have been through everything you've been through, you expressed it so well here (your despair and scary thoughts and brokenness) that I can only imagine the ache that was Thursday. And I get that in comparison to that, other days would feel better...but it's totally ok to be not ok. I wish I could give you a real-life hug and I wish I knew words that would make you move up to a 10 on the ok scale. However, if I've learned anything from my experience and blog-reading, it is that there is really nothing to say. It sucks. It's not fair. I'm just very sorry and hope and pray and wish that it will not suck much longer.

    1. Thanks so much... It is so easy for me to apologize and say I'm ok when I'm not, I need those reminders to not be ok and let things sit where they are for a moment. Thank you for your words (they're perfect) and the hopes... I sure am hanging a fair bit on not being stuck in this place much longer. :) Thanks for commenting on a difficult post.

  3. xoxoxo Honey, no smart words coming to me after reading this, just hugs and support. I'm so sad for you I cry. I'm also so hopeful for you, always. xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Thank you... I appreciate it. I'm sorry I made you was a really tough day (and I revisit that feeling briefly still, although not nearly as sustained). I'll take that hope... it's not over but I can't help but think of how close we are to being done and it just makes my heart hurt so much. Thanks for the love!