Friday, April 5, 2013

My Phone, My Frenemy

As an infertility patient, my phone has become my worst enemy. And my best friend. And then back to my worst enemy. It's definitely my frenemy.

The phone tells you good news--when you can start treatment, what your estrogen levels are, when you need to make ultrasound appointments, what medication to change to get the best possible results.

And it gives bad news. Disappointing changes in scheduling, hormone levels that aren't up to snuff, negative pregnancy results, bad HCG reports.

But the worst thing that the phone does is stare at you, taunt you, torture you with waiting for it to ring.

These phone calls rarely come in the morning, but you know when to expect them. And so for me, the world kind of stops spinning until that stupid marimba ringtone goes off. I can't concentrate on anything else. I try to go about my business, but I can't, not really. The phone goes on a shelf in the bathroom when I shower or take care of other business. The phone is in the kitchen. The ringer is on high so I can't possibly miss it. I don't make other phone calls in case they call right when I am calling someone else and it goes straight to voicemail. Because I hate when it goes to voicemail. The nurse line at my clinic is very responsive, but if you miss that call there is nothing to do but call back and leave another message, then wait some more. I hate receiving news from voicemail. I need to speak to a person who can answer questions, no matter how simple those questions may be. I hate waiting and uncertainty. And so I stalk my phone.

As the day goes on when I am expecting a call and it hasn't arrived yet, all kinds of crazypants scenarios go through my head. They are waiting to call me until later because it's bad news and they're putting it off. They are pulling straws to see who has to be the one to share this bad news. They are strategizing just how to tell me another piece of bad news. Something has fallen through. Something is falling out. Something is horribly wrong. It's like an exponential form of when I talk to my husband and he says he's wrapping up at work and will be home in 10 minutes, and 45 minutes go by and he's not here. Instead of thinking something logical like he got a phone call or absorbed himself in solving a problem and lost track of time or was stopped in the hall by a chatty coworker, I immediately think he's dead on the side of the road in a flattened car. He's been mugged on his way to his car and is bleeding to death out of sight of anyone who can help, in between cars in the parking lot. Something along those horribly morbid lines, pretty much always dramatic and related to a horrible death or injury. Same thing when family members call at odd times. My mind goes "Who's dead?" instead of "how nice someone is calling me at an unexpected time." What the hell is wrong with me? It just spills over into the fertility phone calls.

Really, you can't blame me too much for catastrophizing those fertility calls. While Bryce has never actually called me to inform me that he is dead on the side of the road or being rushed to the hospital with a stab wound, I have gotten my share of shitty calls from the nurses. I know they don't love these calls. I know they feel badly for delivering horrible news (or just disappointing news). I know that they strive to find ways to deliver bad news in as sensitive a way as possible, and they don't enjoy listening to people like me either keening or sounding like they are dead inside on the other end of the phone. I keep hoping that soon the calls will be positive. All the calls. I will get beautiful HCG results and then each call after that will be to tell me how robustly they are doubling and tripling and then we'll have a call to schedule an ultrasound where something will actually be there and thriving. All the calls will be good and there won't be a single "I'm so sorry" in the mix. No one will tell me to stop my baby-sustaining medications ever again.

I can't wait for this glorious time to come and take away my fear of my phone, my inability to let it out of my sight, my pit-in-my-stomach feeling every time it rings when I am expecting a fertility call. You would think I'd be immune by now, that my phone anxiety would be less for just being so numbed to it. Nope. If anything, the nerves are made more raw by the history of bad news calls, I'm-sorry calls, prepare-to-have-your-heart-shredded calls.

Bring on the good news. Retrain me to expect something good. Make my phone into a friendly communication device again, instead of the harbinger of doom it seems to have become. I'm ready. Bring on the joy. Come on, phone, keep the smiles coming!


  1. I can related to this post so much. Sending so many thoughts that your phone only brings you happy messages form here on out!!!! Hugs!

    1. Thanks, lady, me too! I checked out your other blog and man, you are looking mighty adorable! Nice job on the nursery stuff, too. So cute.

  2. With the growing frequency of our phone usage, it's easy to tell that this product of modern technology has really weaved its way into our lives. Different apps make our daily lives easier, and though your phone has showed you good and bad things, I hope that things will get better for you too. More merry calls to come your way!