With a huge sigh of relief, I can say that Geoff and I made it through ovulation with our sanity intact and great timing. I don’t get my hopes up during the two week wait. Scruffy washed some pills down with his malt liquor and is feeling no pain.
I think a lot about stopping. I’m getting older everyday, as I am wont to do. I’m bone-tired, weary from hope, false hope, and endless disappointment. From grief, from the heartbreak of loss. But I’m not sure if I know how to stop. I’ve been living timed intercourse since November of 2014, I’ve lost a daughter and have more angel babies than my simple mind can wrap itself around. Still, there is a steely place in my heart behind padlocked doors and moats full of alligators…the heart wants what the heart wants, even when my mental health is so precarious. Long before I decided I wanted a family, I struggled with unfathomable addictions and an isolating sickness and came out on top–thirteen years sober, a strict medication regimen to keep terrible visions at bay. Yes, I resent the universe for not rewarding me and all I want right now is a cigarette, a stiff drink and the deadening of the ripped up hole where my innocence once resided. Maybe I’m too damaged to be a good mom. My infertility has pushed me back to the fringes; again, as in my twenties, I struggle with the loneliness and despair that accompanies true agoraphobia and social anxiety. My moods are not controlled, my psychotic symptoms reign unchecked although I am not again struggling with thought disorder. I want to go back on all my meds, step out of this squalid apartment and rejoin a world that quite possibly may break me. I feel like I’ve embraced courage–would I be able to be around people who have not suffered like I have? Will the world take me back even if I cannot have a family?
These thoughts haunt me. I think of going back on birth control so that I can finally put Scruffy to rest. I think of myself setting him free, and I kind of wish I could go with him.
When I heard my baby was dying, I stopped talking to her, and her, and her. Just cut them all out of my life. Those girls with their blistering innocence who painted nurseries before they went off their birth control. I can’t be happy for them; does that make me a sociopath? My therapist was shocked, Kathleen, these are your friends, trailing off when she saw I wasn’t joking and her expression became one of pity. I held my head high, met her eyes with my steely eyes and. just. held. steady.
I still choose solitude and call it loneliness. I make new fake friends online with troubles like mine. Like maybe they also struggle but I don’t get attached. I sometimes can’t bring myself to congratulate them when they move on without me, thinking only of myself, of my pain. Sometimes I resent their money and the options it affords them while I rip out my hair trying to save money in case I ever need to pay for another D&C. I didn’t have a neat and tidy hospital abortion; instead Geoff borrowed a car to bring me to a grungy clinic in Tacoma and I walked with my hands gripping my second trimester bump past hateful protesters who fell silent upon seeing my state. Something broke inside me then, leaving me hardened and cold.
Sometimes I can’t deal with women with secondary infertility. With women who say they would have chosen differently. With women who’s doctors didn’t immediately say “donor eggs”. With women that can choose to stop their antidepressants to have a baby. With all of them. Sometimes I can’t deal with anything. I wander dark corridors at night, looking for my heart.
Does it matter if I donate money to hurricane relief, write about injustice naively trying to tell people’s stories, ask the world to be a kinder place? Does it matter, if I still harbor so much hatred inside of me? If I’m always going to be like this, does any of that matter?
My feet need to touch pavement. I lay on my hard mattress with blankets piled round, I pray for the fleeting comfort of sleep. I resist the temptation to give bad advice.
I know. But I can’t seem to help it.
I bite my tongue until I taste the sharp metallic flavor of blood. I stay quiet, keep my legs crossed neatly at the ankles, fussing over high necklines that obscure the collarbone and ribs jutting through the thin skin at my chest. A sickly girl that once inhabited a body of soft flesh, robust with health–today I grapple with hair made thick with prenatal vitamins that nonetheless manages to hang limp in stringy tangles, making me look feral, strung out, disheveled and wild. I am breathless while walking to the mailbox, knees buckling when I stand to brush my teeth.
My body is wracked with the fever of moods. I was expecting to feel better after a couple days post-Femara but I imagine the hormones wake faulty neural pathways setting off the neurotransmitters and leaving me prisoner to horrible rages and the heavy burden of profound depression. My energy waxes and wanes like the moon on acid; I sequester myself, cower in my chrysalis until I can trust myself to go out in the world without inflicting intolerance and the bitterness of my many human failings on my friends and strangers. Me and my opinions, I usually struggle to keep them under wraps but they come boiling out from under my delicate facade. Right now, I feel as if you are an asshole–all of you, every last one…14 years in therapy and that’s the communication level I operate on.
Ovulation approacheth. I have all the signs and I’m nervous as fuck on top of my simmering moods. Please God, let me get pregnant so I can lose another one. The absurdity of my situation is almost hysterical at 1am when I’m delirious and free…
ovulation week anthem — Liz Phair “HWC”, NSFW
Fertility Friend predicts ovulation on CD 16 this month (Thursday), and the length of my follicular phase has been relatively consistent as of late. BBT charting is not working out for my insomniac ass lately (do other people actually sleep for at least 3-4 hours at a time?), and I’m down to seven Wondfo ovulation prediction kits on CD 11 due to poor planning and burgeoning apathy. I don’t have Amazon Prime, and I ain’t paying for expedited shipping just to get the only OPKs that are accurate for me. Fuck medication; fuck timed intercourse–if you don’t have a clue what this paragraph means, I both envy and salute you. Too long; didn’t read: this is the week in my menstrual cycle when I really get back in touch with my neurotic East coast roots…
Really and truly, sex is supposed to make babies? Because man, we’ve been testing this theory since November of 2014 and so far just multiple losses and a whole lot of hair-ripping anxiety of the caliber that in other circumstances would earn me a large supply of Xanax from my psychiatrist.
Having had survived Femara hell in the early part of this cycle, I’m more than obsessively determined to nail our timing this month (what month is it again?). My focus is laser precise and I narrow in on a single purpose…I need that HWC and as much as I love Liz Phair (mostly her older stuff because I am an aging hipster), someone really needs to make a death metal version of that song because she is not operating on my level of crazy.
Hijinks will most certainly ensue…stay tuned, sports fans!
Somehow this consummate insomniac managed to sleep away an entire day…having just awakened at 1am, I lay in my bed furiously trying to keep up my writing and correspondence while squinting at my banged up smartphone. My head is pounding, my lips cracked and bleeding, and I gulp down water; I believe that I am dehydrated, perhaps indicating that I am not capable of taking care of my body while struggling with the Femara crazies (and the constant diarrhea).
I look around at the trash piling up on my side of the bed–I certainly can’t take care of my home. Sigh. I don’t go by “Batty” for nothing.
I visit the bathroom, my pee is dark dark gold, CM watery, and I have yet to have intercourse this cycle.
I don’t think I can do another Femara cycle. I can’t seem to tolerate the physical and mental side effects and subsequent mood swings. They tell me on the support boards, if you really want a baby you deal with the side effects. They can all go fuck themselves, as far as I’m concerned. I have a serious mental illness and I apparently cannot.even.function. on 2.5 mg of fucking letrozole. I haven’t been outside since my first pill this month. Plan with RE was to switch to Clomid if it didn’t work, but I really hesitate to put myself through that when the side effects are supposedly worse. This would be the end of the road for my thirty-nine year old infertile schizo ass, as far as any sort of assisted reproduction. IVF is not an option (no need to fuck with IUI if I can’t deal with meds). It’s OFW (old fashioned way) from here on out.
I feel like a fucking failure and I hate the Universe. My little cat hops up on the bed. The day before yesterday was the second anniversary of Molly’s EDD. Christ, I should have a two year old. I drag the cat away from Geoff’s sleeping form. I pull the quilt up over me, feeling tears slide down my face…
My dear friend and soul twin,
I usually don’t offer advice, but if you can actually see me and hear what I’m saying in our correspondence you can see that my life is really fucked up and lonely right now. Some of this is due to circumstances beyond my control — I (like you) cannot change the fact that I have a severe mental illness and I am prone to addictive behavior, but additionally I cannot change the fact that my egg reserve is seriously compromised. But also some of this lunacy is due to a lifetime of poor decision making. I have been sober for fourteen years and left my work in the sex industry for disability when I was twenty-three, but at thirty-nine I still exist on the fringes of society despite my best efforts. Yes, I am happily married and relatively stable for a woman with schizoaffective disorder but I am and will perhaps always be an outlier in this world and I am profoundly isolated and miserable. I cannot change my past and will always have to live with the consequences, but you, friend, can change your present.
These flashes of normalcy you speak of and that sustain you, like picking your miracle child up from school and being among other parents as if you are just like them, going to the library to work on your novel, seeing friends during the day, volunteering at the marionette theater–these things sound heavenly to me, but I don’t have access to moments like these. I implore you, don’t let anything come between you and these moments; take every opportunity you can to experience even a shred of feeling decent and good. Put down the bottle and the pills, stop sharing your beautiful body with assholes via webcam for shit pay, get your own place so you can move on from your sham existence with your soon-to-be-ex. Don’t introduce these guys you’re having flings with to meet your child and find medication that eases these horrible mood swings and helps you control your own behavior. If you are physically able to work a straight job and avoid disability, do it–disability is a hard and lonely life, and is yet another wedge between you and the rest of the world. If these things seem impossible, get help because it is out there.
I don’t want to sound judgmental because honestly, I am not. I offer this advice based on my own experience, and if you listen to what I’m saying you will probably move on from a friendship with someone like me and I will miss you terribly. You have chances that aren’t available to me, and it is very painful for me to watch you throw them away for what? a life that mirrors my own. You are talented and beautiful–don’t tarnish your worth.
I have been pretty much comatose since my first day of Femara, trapped in acutely painful nightmares, awakening breathless and sobbing only to have sleep seize me again. The dreams these tiny pills give me are vivid and unpleasant and I find I cannot shake them in the occasional hours in which I achieve wakefulness. I had sworn off coffee a good long while ago but now I suck it down like a fish gasping out of water gulps air. I just want a break from delving into the darkest recesses of my subconscious but I can’t seem to stay awake long enough….
And I ask myself why I am doing this. The 13th will mark the second anniversary of Molly’s EDD and I feel so disconnected from the tiny spark of soul that once inhabited my body. She should be two years old but instead I’m starting to forget.
I dream of my three best friends in high school who bullied me terribly, releasing me from their grip of meanness only when I was diagnosed with my illness. I haven’t heard from them since I uttered the words, “I’m bipolar.” In my dream, they are laughing at me and I keep begging them to stop. My babies are dead, leave me alone, I plead. I know that to them my lost little ones and I am nothing, maybe fodder for cruel gossip–they will never soften, no matter how many years elapse since my ignominious fall from grace.
My loyal little cat watches over me as I sleep, allowing me to wrap my hungry arms around him during these bitter moments of consciousness.
I’m not sure how much pharmaceutical torment a person can be expected to go through in a lifetime. My hopelessness is noted; Scruffy pops a Valium and washes it down with a Manhattan. When he gets like this, it’s like an automatic 48 hour blackout–and in 48 hours my second course of Femara will be finished. I’ll make him strong coffee in the French press and Scruffy and I will ride out the hormones together…
Okay, Universe, I feel like I’ve suffered enough.
I can’t seem to make any meaningful connections with people these days, I’m lonely as hell and starved for the simplest of conversations.
I should have two kids right now, but instead I’m sitting on my porch trying to breathe again because tonight I start the Femara again. I’ve heard women say the side effects can vary from cycle to cycle, so I shake and shake because I’m scared this cycle will be even harder than the last.
Most of my infertile friends have moved on, and I’m still stuck in the same place.
My little cat is hacking up a hairball in the living room, which I’ll have to clean up because he only does this when I’m the only one around.
The title of this post? Someone actually said this too me. Kind of a harsh thing to say, don’t you think?
Universe, I’m trying really really really hard to live a good and honest life while terrible things are continually happening to me. Will you please please please just, I don’t know, relent?
We are on CD 2 and I start round two of Femara tomorrow. Another month of being a slave to emotions that I cannot control in the slightest, another month of struggling to reign in my bad behavior, and I’m expected to perform sexually when I feel like absolute shit. Feeling underwhelmed with the whole experience. I had childhood onset bipolar disorder so have always struggled with moods, and without understanding the enigmatic chemical interactions occurring in my much-abused brain, all I can do is postulate subjectively that hormones trump neurotransmitters hands down. I have never felt THIS crazy.
So I’m enjoying my one day of freedom. Feeling like myself right now, although it’s the version of myself that’s loaded on tranquilizers (I take them occasionally for my panic disorder) and feeling like idgaf. I’m kind of the underdog in the infertility community as my eggs have been proving themselves shitty since my first pregnancy ended in tfmr at just shy of 19 weeks due to fatal chromosomal birth defects when I was 36–IVF is not an option for Geoff and I, so we decided we wouldn’t go beyond oral meds with timed intercourse in terms of treatment due to complications from my mental illness. We proceed with low expectations of success and I am gradually facing the reality that we may have to accept childlessness. Whatever, I’m not getting out of bed today and I’m indulging in half-caff coffee.
Maybe this month it won’t be so bad? What if I have a healthy baby, and still can’t shake the bitterness and rage? Am I permanently damaged no matter the outcome?
I have not been presenting my best writing here lately. Writing isn’t a hobby or an occupation for me, it’s just what I do and for the most part I’m good at it. But for right now I’m just writing in hopes that it will keep my soul alive.
The sun in the sky is brilliant red, its warmth and light refracted through the haze of smoke covering the sky from fires in Oregon and Central Washington. I tested negative at 14 days past ovulation this morning, and wait impatiently for full flow. It is the first day of school in my hometown and I feel a dull ache as I stare at my childhood friends’ beautiful children grinning as their proud parents capture moments I will maybe never experience to share on social media. A new bottle of letrozole sits on my nightstand and promises another month of emotional turmoil and perdition.
I know I am not alone. My faithful little cat curls up in my arms, my husband sends me amusing little messages from work. I get a letter from a good friend and I feel so comforted by her words that I tear up. Still, my loneliness weighs heavy this morning and I am all over the Interwebs searching for any connection I can latch on to for even a minute. I swallow my antipsychotic pills and ubiquinol capsules, cough and sputter my water. And another day looms ominously before me and I think, will there ever be more?
Molly’s EDD was September 13 of 2015 and I dread facing another anniversary without her. I should have a two year old to bake birthday cake for (okay, who am I kidding, I’d probably buy one from a store). I asked Geoff if there was something special he’d want to do in commemoration and he answered mysteriously, “I was hoping we could bake some fish.” He likes to make me nice meals and sometimes I reckon that he feels it’s the only thing he can do to try to make me feel better. Still, I feel panicked wondering if we had baked fish before and I have blocked out a meaningful memory. I’m so terrified I’ll forget even a second of the time I had with her.