end of the rope

I am underwater, senses dulled and utterly alone. I am aware of nothing but the bitter bite of cold that sinks into the bone and fills my lungs as I try to draw breath and suddenly all is light and beauty. And then I am awake, glad to feel Geoff’s presence by my side and feel the heat emanating from his sleeping form. I feel the weight of my little cat, posed perfectly between us, and for a second my heart is full of love for my husband and our sweet pet but finally the bad feelings rush through my blood and there is nothing but the sting of grief and pain.

I am committed to at least one more cycle with Femara, understanding that it’s a foolhardy choice. I cannot go on indefinitely, stumbling through the inevitable darkness it brings and keeping my head held high in defiance of Fate. As much as I long to hold my own child, I will not kill myself trying when I have Geoff’s love to honor and cherish. I feel his hope slipping as well — I think he’s lost as much faith in my body as I have. He’s still here, at least, although he could easily leave for a woman, perhaps much younger, with ovaries of gold and platinum and a womb that is perhaps not twisted with theorized destructive scar tissue. I am stymied as to why he stays with a sick woman when he has so much to offer a woman more deserving, someone who, perhaps, is not a professional mental patient and has far more to contribute to the grand love affair of which he is capable.

I walk around feeling like there is a knife piercing my heart.

I just returned from my therapy, where I did not utter a word about my disdain for the House Intelligence Committee, the firing of Rex Tillerson, the appointing a torturer to run the CIA. I spoke only of my anger at the things that have happened to me, how deep it cuts, how much I am struggling with it and how cold my loved ones have become. Of how the mornings are okay, but as the day slips by I sink deeper into hopelessness and despair. And finally, about how bitterness is eroding the good parts of me, leaving me as cold as those I condemn.

There is smoke in the air and I think, something is burning but of course it is not, it is just what therapists used to refer to as an overly active imagination but is now diagnosed as psychosis. I turn my attentions elsewhere and the panic recedes.




Waking early to a chilly morning, rolling over to see if Geoff is there with me and I pause to contemplate his solid form before nudging him. I remember being roused during the night with my little cat standing on my head, a single soft front paw covering each of my closed eyes, yelling his name, and then Geoff gently pulling him off of me. As I rolled around to get comfortable again, I heard my husband’s soft voice telling me to go back to sleep.

“I’ll watch over you,” he said, stroking my hair as I drifted off again.

I wonder if there is, like, a quota of how much love you can receive from fellow humans and if Geoff alone fills mine because certainly no one else responds to me with anything more than callousness. I find myself starving for empathy and at the same time feeling guilty that maybe I am not offering enough myself. I think of the friends I’ve lost to suicide and drug overdoses (not much difference in my eyes) and I think of the people I’ve met in recovery that I did not know well but succumbed to that fate as well. Without disregarding individual responsibility at all, I see losing somebody who had a chance (and everyone does) to suicide as a failure of community of sorts. I know that is controversial — I once informed a close friend of a suicide in our recovery community and he responded by shaking his head.

“Some must die so others can live,” he stated flatly before changing the subject. I was flabbergasted by the coldness, and never forgave him, really — I still interacted with him and went to his house for visits but that singular dismissive comment was filed away and never forgotten. How can you not feel a sense of personal failure when someone you know takes their own life? Because nobody has to die at all.

But am I any better? Who have I reached out to lately?

I’ve been reading informally about the concepts of empathy and cruelty, because I once was a self-obsessed addict who treated people horribly and now I am here perhaps being punished for it, writing all day because I have a tremendous compulsion to have somebody, anybody, express some desire to understand what it is like to be a mentally ill infertile woman who has said goodbye to four much loved babies. It reeks of self-indulgence and I am acutely aware of that; at the same time, my efforts have been met (IRL) with nothing but disaffected indifference and although not suicidal I have experienced such an uncaring response from so-called loved ones that I can clearly see why some poor souls choose to check out permanently. And my trials and tribulations are, basically, first world problems (although the friend that accused me of having “rich girl problems” can straight up go to hell), nothing like the extreme hell some have lived through and died of.

I think I mentioned that I was reading a book called The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen, which I’ve read before. I’m not too far into it this time, because reading about the outrageously cruel acts of say, the Nazi regime during the Holocaust, causes me more misery than I can cope with right now. In describing cruelty, or evil (the author uses the term “empathy erosion”) Baron-Cohen discusses the theory that humans are capable of moral depravity to others because they cease seeing them as human — “dehumanization” is the favored term there. However, I recently read an article The New Yorker posted on Facebook that I can’t cite properly but that proposed that this commonly held tenet was fallacious.*

Baron-Cohen, in the very beginning of the book, tells a story told by a concentration camp survivor of a prisoner that was to be hanged. The Nazi guard made his own best friend tie the noose, and ordered him to put it over the doomed man’s head. The man in question’s hands were shaking so violently that he could not get the noose over his beloved friend’s head, so in a gesture of amazing selflessness and bravery, the friend took his hands, kissed them, and pulled the noose around his own neck. Angry, the guard kicked the chair away and the friend perished having not allowed his friend to be forced to kill him.

I grow shaken and wobbly myself reading shit like that. The guard, in my eyes, was not “dehumanizing” either man. He was punishing them precisely because they were human. “Dehumanization” is like, a word that gives the guard far more credit than he deserves. I pull my little cat (now forgiven for his late night transgressions) closer as I mull this over. Of course, I know I am incapable of such egregious acts of evil but how can I ensure that my capacity for empathy is never again eroded the way it was when I was addicted? Because now with RPL, I still feel like I’m in that cycle of addiction. And I confess to having little patience for the petty problems of others as I grieve my lost babies and consider a life denied of children. I have even withdrawn from my recovery community, feeling that I have no cares for those who struggle to get to the point of abstinence while I’ve already accomplished that and received jack shit for my efforts.

I admit I am full of anger and hate. I don’t want to become cruel, but I do find myself on occasion making snide little comments to people and rolling my eyes at their problems when I feel they have not suffered as much as I have. Am I deranged with selfishness?

I am crying and confused. I think of my mother with her pat answer of, “well, I don’t want to talk about that, I’ve never been through it,” that she gives me every time I bring up my losses. The friend I texted after the unspecified triggery event I’ve referred to this past weekend who texted back, “I don’t have time to read that now *insert sad face emoji*” after I’d agreed to read her fucking book and make notes on it for no reason other than I wish her success at her writing. You can’t read a few lines of text? Here I am, getting bitter again. How do I save my soul?

I’m staring down (not at) another bfn at 11dpo, feeling period-crampy and sad and lost in the aftermath of Saturday’s forgotten bedtime meds (not just the Geodon, but the day’s Paxil and Trileptal as well). I feel the anger and I’m hating my body and the world and all the hate is scary and isolating AF. I remember my daydream about having a child and how wonderful it was to hold my Molly, and my mom was there acting gentle and tender like she did when I was a child, and I wonder why it is that love so seamlessly turns to hate…


And for all my talk of striving for empathy, I find myself cloaked in bitterness at anyone who is still hopeful with no caveats, angry at myself for indulging in my own hopes this past weekend even though my fantasies were wrought by pharmaceutical factors…

How dare I dream of holding a living baby in my arms when I know from hard experience I cannot influence my shitty chromosomes to align in any sort of cohesive manner, my embryos testing again and again for devastating trisomies while everyone I know, fertile or not so much, pulls it off so effortlessly?

I feel rage and the hurt that comes with it pulsing through me again. I feel utterly abandoned and alone. I am reminded of the scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula when Dracula renounces God in anger after discovering his beloved wife dead from suicide, and the chapel starts bleeding; I imagine I am bleeding as well, always bleeding, month after month as my hatred swells. My psychiatrist cannot help me with these mood swings while I insist on taking Femara. And I know someone is pregnant, right now, and her baby won’t die like mine do and nobody fucking understands, nobody fucking cares.

And I don’t want to feel this way. I hate it; I am desperately unhappy. I don’t know what to do.

*I found the article

bad night

I had a really bad night last night. At bedtime, I wasn’t sleepy at all, which was bizarre because my medication usually knocks me out for a couple of hours. I found myself tossing and turning next to Geoff’s sleeping form. All of the sudden, I was lost in thought. I enjoy being lost in thought, but usually avoid allowing myself that luxury nowadays because I have so many horrible things going through my brain at any given time, it’s just too dangerous emotionally. I usually distract myself by playing on my phone or computer instead.

But suddenly, I was daydreaming about having a baby. Such vivid thoughts, I could feel her in my arms and it was Molly and she was alive and healthy, my parents there cooing at her, the in-laws, too; I felt rhapsodic and so happy and at peace. It was the way things were supposed to be and it was perfect.

Except I had the nagging thought that something was wrong. Bitter Kathleen does not indulge in fantasies of success. I often reflect on how miserable our most-likely childfree life will be, feeling all the fear and pain and rage until I have to take my benzos and lay down on the couch. But I felt this delicious relief daydreaming of my happy ending, a euphoria I could feel deep down in my bones. All this, while knowing for certain that my first torturous cycle of letrozole after miscarriage has failed, and that I may not get anymore chances.

Suddenly I broke into a sweat and started shivering. I had to pee every five minutes. It was getting later and later, Geoff was blissfully asleep and snoring, and I closed my eyes. In my imagination, my tiny bedroom became a ballroom, with faceless and formally attired people waltzed and spun across the dance floor. And I opened my eyes and they were outside my head, my bedroom was transformed and the faceless people whirling across tbe floor, and I knew I must have missed a dose of my antipsychotic and I didn’t know how. I thought I’d lay there until my little cat came in to wake Geoff for his middle-of-the-night meal (don’t ask…Wendall is my cat, spends all day with me and ignores Geoff — except at 1am, he wants Geoff to feed him and not me). And then I was definitely hearing voices screaming and music blaring and I was scared so I woke up my grumpy husband.

“I don’t know how, but I missed a dose of Geodon and I need to eat something and take another 60 mg,” I told him as calmly as I could. Yogurt and honey appeared, and I took a pill. I planned to take another 20 mg every half hour until I could sleep.

When we woke up this morning, it turned out my 120 mg bedtime dose of Geodon was still in the pillbox. It was a relief knowing that I was right in assuming I had missed a dose. That cold sweat I was experiencing is always the number one indicator that I’m behind on my meds — I’m such an addict, I get withdrawals from Tylenol.

It amazes me how crazy I went so fast after missing a dose. It’s scary as hell that I am so dependant on it, how it’s the one outpost between me and sanity. But it worked out. Just another day in a life with schizoaffective disorder. And all the terror was worth it, because I had such a beautiful daydream before things came off the rails…

Molly. I keep on living because of you. But it might kill me in the end.


I fucking hate people. Like, I really fucking hate them. My therapist constantly tells me I need more social support but it’s not like I haven’t tried. I don’t think normal people give a rat’s ass about infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss and the resultant PTSD. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to them, they don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to know what it’s like living with schizoaffective disorder. They just want me to act like normal Kathleen.

Am I too self-obsessed, self-indulgent? Is it selfish of me to want to have my friends be interested in what my life is like? Are there more caring people out there that just pass me by? Honestly. I am not suicidal, but in these three years of he’ll thoughts have definitely flirted through my mind. I honestly think some of the remarks I’ve heard from people that supposedly care about me could make a less secure person take the plunge, twist the knife in. And it’s bullshit.

When you’re as sick as I am, everything is a life or death situation.


I feel a tremendous compulsion to understand why people don’t seem to give a shit.


it’s only me.

I saw Molly in a dream last night. There she was, mussed up black hair but always at an angle where I could not see her face. I imagine she looked more like Geoff — his identical twin brother’s kids look astonishingly like Geoff and his brother, but I can’t help wishing for a baby that reflects my own East Asian heritage. Since I’m adopted, there is no one in my life that looks at all like me (ignoring those folk who claim I look “just like” any Asian person they happen to know).

I think if I knew what Molly looked like, my heart would be more at peace. Even if I just saw her face in a dream. Then again, maybe knowing would make me more fucked up than I am now.

I want to go to sleep and never wake up. I’m not talking about suicide; I just want to sleep because the waking hours are so hard and when I’m awake there is no chance of seeing the loved ones that have left this world for the next. If there is a next. After Molly died, I forced myself to believe in an afterlife because I could not bear the thought of never seeing her, never feeling her presence again. I want to see everyone I’ve lost: Molly, my three miscarriage babies, my little sister Meg, my grandparents, the friends I’ve lost to addiction, and all the wonderful animals who have passed through my life. But now, three years after my tfmr, I think I believe there is just oblivion. No God or heaven, no reincarnation. Loneliness. Forever. So I’d rather dream than die.

Of course if there is a hell, I’m probably screwed.

I don’t know how I can feel so lonely when my husband is such a perfect companion for me. I miss having friends, but the friends I always meet are usually batshit nuts that cause me no end of grief and oftentimes a whole lot of hurt. I wish I’d had one friend that stuck around after Molly died, but no one can deal with the sad person I’ve become. There’s me, there’s Geoff, and my loyal little cat that I just love so much it’s silly.* I live in terror that they’ll leave as well. I’ve never been like this before. I used to be so confident and brave.

It’s only 9.15 AM, and there’s a long day to get through. I have a sinking feeling in my heart, and my moods are wild. I would be thrilled if someone reached out to me today, but it never happens.

* I’m talking IRL friends. I have many wonderful friends online, but it’s not the same.


I obviously am too damaged to keep basal body temping. I am obsessing over my stupid chart, and a tiny little temp drop today has lead to depression and misery. I can barely move. From the kitchen, I hear the sounds of my little cat opening cupboards and rummaging around inside but I don’t get up.

These Femara mood swings are terrible. I’m 6dpo, and in the past the Femara-awfulness has dissipated precisely at 7dpo, but it’s affecting me differently this time around. I ovulated, so it worked but at the same time I wonder if it didn’t. I ovulate on my own anyway. All I know is the moods are debilitating to me, in that they decrease my ability to function and even think logically. I don’t know how normal people handle this shit, go to work, etc. I am out of control of my behavior. Fingers crossed thst tomorrow I’ll feel like myself.

My RE wrote back finally and said they didn’t get my messages. I sent them again, but no word. I feel disproportionately stressed at even interacting with any doctors, walking into any medical facility. I try to save up my temazepam for occasions when interaction is unavoidable.

How did everything go so wrong? If I get pregnant again, I’ll surely lose another baby. My fortieth birthday looms ahead — shit, my birthdays have traumatized me every year since I started ttc.

Here is the chart causing me angst:

I just know my temps will start trending down, and I haven’t the strength to watch it.


Hoo boy, are my IF forums triggery lately. I don’t abide unexpected BFP announcements well. I don’t abide veiled allusions to betas well either. Yes, I will hold a grudge. Yes, it will cause me all sorts of grief.

Could really use a friend. My heart is broken all over again.


Please God, let me feel better tomorrow. Is it futile? I’m really struggling this tww, convinced of failure. I’m having knife thoughts, which I haven’t had in the decades. I need a rest, I need a kind word or two. Toxic, desperate…I can’t stop panicking when I remember seeing Molly in my dream. I want to turn back the clock, spend just five more minutes with her. Still four hours to go before Geoff is home. I can’t call my mother, as she tends to be insensitive at best, and my dad always goes on about “fake news” and I cannot deal with that today. I am starting to wonder if the Paxil is making things worse.

I wish I had good news on occasion to share with you all. I wish I weren’t always so lonely and mopey. I wish I wasn’t like this at all.


just some crazed ramblings

I am angry and oversensitive; rage and hurt swirl in my gut. I feel like shattering glass and I think I might have ovulated. My hormones are a mess. It’s only CD 13.

I lay here lonely as usual, last night’s dreams still haunting me. I wish I could move past dreams of the girls that bullied me in high school, but at thirty-nine, I’m still a little resentful. They torment me in my sleep and I wake up bitter. These were close friends (albeit close friends that made sure I knew how ugly I was at every opportunity) that disappeared entirely when I got my mental health diagnosis — I guess I went from quirky and impulsive to bat fucking shit nuts at the exact instant I first pronounced the term, “schizoaffective”. It still hurts despite the passing of decades. When I dream of them, they are always angry at me. I’m not in a good space right now.

I’m curled up with my little cat hoping my temazepam will soften the blow. These are most likely the vivid dreams I get when progesterone floods my system. Happens every month on letrozole. I wish it didn’t make me so cranky.

If I did smash a dish, Geoff would get mad at me, so I refrain, remembering the stern lecture I received when once out of frustration I threw my phone. I really think it’d make me feel a tiny bit better but not if it drives my husband away from me. Before Geoff, it wasn’t unusual for me to throw things around when I was feeling irritable but I suppose it’s time to get over that.

I’m scattered, I apologize. I don’t know how it’s possible for me to still miss the babies I had for such brief periods of time. My therapist’s words still sting, her accusation that perhaps I’m romanticizing pregnancy…I’m sure she’s pushing me to look into fostering because she doesn’t want to see me have another loss. She really wants me to try and reintegrate myself into society (meh). I know she does care about me from behind her spectacles and professionalism, but today I’m so far gone in the aftermath and know in my gut she’ll never understand. I’ve given up expecting her to, because when I try to explain she does tend to get on board with trying.

Endeavoring to avoid infertility forums. So many insensitive idiots and one particular thoughtless post a couple a days ago filled me with rage — I have not succeeded in letting it go, even though this particular poster has gone AWOL. If I’m obsessing this much on this one little thing, it’s time to step back from everything and focus on self-care.

And out there in the cold cruel world, women are blissfully pregnant, giving birth, holding their sweet babies and here I sit alone hating my life…


I am at this point triggered by everything. I keep contact with friends who are pregnant or have babies that would never trigger me, and I’m appreciative of that. However, if someone sets me off after learning what I’ve been through, there is not room in my heart for forgiveness. I harden to them. If anyone has ever experienced the whole flashback/panic attack combo like I do, they’d think twice before saying shit to me. I hope I’m not like this forever; I do not enjoy being a bitter betty. But that’s where I stand right now.


and she wakes… + memoir of a tfmr

It’s amazing how much a good night’s sleep can chase away the anxiety and reignite hope. Last night was my first dose of letrozole, and I slept for ten hours straight which is definitely some sort of miracle as I usually can’t even get the three hour block of sleep required to effectively track my basal body temperature to confirm ovulation.

This is so refreshingly familiar to me, the temping and tracking my menstrual cycle, planning intercourse when I’m fertile. I can’t even imagine stopping right now, fortieth birthday notwithstanding. I have been trying to conceive a healthy baby for three years now. It’s become a lifestyle and I’ve become comfortable with grieving and despairing and all the terrible shit that comes along with it. In a way, the sorrow and yes, rage, that accompany my little rituals feels safer than giving up and my addiction to hope brings comfort as well as the pain.

When I am pregnant, even through the terror of loss, I know the suffering is worth it. Only thing is, and this may sound contradictory to the previous paragraph — the pain lasts so much longer than the joy.

I’ve had a lot of readers say that they’re glad I haven’t given up the fight. I have ambivalent feelings about that. Eventually, if I want to save my soul, I will have to give up or I will go mad and that’s not a figure of speech. Oh, “madness” sounds so dramatic and glamorous as compared to the clinical terms my psychologist would use while assessing my illness. Through this entire cycle of hope and desperation, through all my bereavement and the exhilaration of success that precedes grief and torment, I have always been a girl with a severe mental illness. That’s irrefutable; the one constant throughout these miserable years has been my ominous diagnosis of schizoaffective, bipolar type. It certainly gums up the works, the frantic attempts to link up my medication prescriber and my psychiatric obstetrician and make informed decisions about medications, and to assess the risks of medications that make me barely functional.

I am enjoying my morning today, though, and as I know from hard living, today is all I have. This feverish longing for just one baby could destroy me but as of yet, it has not gone away.


For some reason I am rather suddenly remembering every minute detail of my termination for medical reasons, those two horrible days that left me forever changed. These memories, for quite some time, crystallized in my memory until they were a sharp and painful mass that I learned to be able to tuck away safely in some of the squishier parts of my conscious mind, occasional feeling the hard edges and feeling pain, but otherwise moving on. This was after months of sobbing all day and being able to think of nothing else, all the while holding my head high because at the time, I had inserted Molly’s sad story into actual legislative discourse on Planned Parenthood and the controversy of fetal tissue donation and felt my small town was judging me accordingly.

We went to Tacoma for the dilation and evacuation procedure, to a dumpy and squat little building that served as an abortion clinic as our local hospital is Catholic and the abortion clinic in Olympia did not perform second trimester terminations. I felt apprehensive upon our arrival — the neighborhood we drove to was full of shiny new medical facilities and our clinic was a shack tucked into a street full of palaces. There were anti-abortion protesters who were agape upon viewing my small but unmistakable baby bump, and the clinic required you to use an intercom system to gain entry. I was a wreck, and Geoff spoke unintelligible words into the little speaker.

Suddenly, the door sprung open. A black woman hustled me inside, introducing herself as Tanya, the clinic’s grief counselor. I remember being surprised at her title, as my previous experience with abortion was notable for the staff’s indifference for patients and as she guided me through a lobby full of desolate looking women with no grief counselor to reassure them, Geoff remained at the front and I assumed he was taking care of payment details (I think it was $1k but I can’t remember, nor do I know where the money came from — he told me he’d handle it, and he did). Tanya said there were no other second trimester procedures scheduled, and I’d have a waiting room to myself. Upon entering the private waiting room, where there was a worn but comfy couch and a couple chairs, as well as a television, I was given a Valium. Geoff joined us, and he was offered coffee. I, as the patient, hadn’t had food or drink since the night before, since I was having twilight anaesthesia for the procedure.

Tanya held my hand and told me it was best that I start grieving now, while I was there. No problem. She and Geoff both held me as I sobbed and sobbed.

Tanya explained what I would be undergoing that day, and upon my return the next. Forms were signed — I didn’t read them. That day, they would insert laminaria sticks in my cervix to dilate it, but I would be “asleep”, and they would give me an injection to stop Molly’s heart. I was assured that both the Valium I had been given and the anaesthesia I would receive would both cross the placenta, and that Molly would feel no pain. She rubbed my back while explaining, and it was so comforting. I wanted my mom with me, but I was not speaking to my mom, and Tanya was a fair substitute.

I knew from prior internet research that Geoff wouldn’t be able to be with me. When I had learned that at home, I had been very frightened but Tanya said she’d be with me the whole time, and I felt okay about that. I was led down a short hallway to a room with an exam table and a chair for Tanya. Everything looked old, but clean. I asked Tanya if it were possible that I’d die, and she said no, they were there to take care of me. The doctor entered.

“I read your story,” he said to me, holding up a photocopied document. It was something I’d written at Geoff’s behest, an application for financial assistance that I’m not sure we were ever granted. “I am so sorry.”

They started an IV, which I didn’t even really register. I have tiny veins, and they always have to dig around to find them, but it has never bothered me.

“I promise I’ll take care of you,” the doctor said, and took my other hand. I felt very safe, even though a nurse had wheeled in a tray of shiny and intimidating array of implements.

“When are you going to start?” I asked him. He told me they were finished, startling me back to wakefulness. “Where’s Geoff?” I asked them.

I was back in the waiting room, in Geoff’s arms sobbing. I couldn’t believe Molly was gone.

Tanya had said it would be best if we stayed at a hotel that night in case I went into labor, and said the clinic would cover the cost. I wanted to go home. We weren’t too far away, as the clinic was in the southern part of Tacoma and I wanted my cat (not the little cat I talk about now, a different cat named Bandit). After some discussion, it was decided that that would be okay. Tanya gave me her cell phone number to call in case I did start having contractions, and I was instructed to eat lightly, but no food or drink past 8pm. I was given a script for painkillers.

That night was horrendous. Brutally painful cramps wracked my body. Geoff called Tanya to see if a heating pad (!) would help — stupidly, since I had been told no food or drink, we assumed I couldn’t take the painkillers, even though I’d been told to take my psychotropics as normal. Tanya said a heating pad would probably be useless, that she was so sorry but I just had to get through it.

I slept the whole drive up to Tacoma the next day. Again, Geoff dealt with the intercom as I stared bewilderingly at the protesters, wondering if they knew I’d do anything not to be there right then, and that my baby was already dead, and Tanya again came bustling out and whisked us inside. I couldn’t stop crying. There was a bruised and tender spot on my abdomen. They had said they’d stop her heart with an injection either in my abdomen or vagina, and I guessed they had done it in my abdomen, but I didn’t ask. Valium materialized. We were led to the private waiting room, Geoff again had some coffee — I wanted a cup so badly! We went into an office, where I was given Cytotec to dissolve in my cheeks to further soften my cervix. The pain was unbelievable. We signed more forms that I didn’t read, and I think that’s when we actually paid for the procedure. I decided Tanya was an angel of some sorts. I remember having to wait a while so the pills in my cheeks could start working, and being left for awhile watching COPS on the television in the now familiar waiting room. Geoff and I live a TV free life, so it seemed so novel and ultimately meaningless. Finally, Tanya came to bring me back to the same room. This time, I was terrified of being separated from Geoff.

I laid down on the table again. Tanya said she had a question, and anything I answered would be okay, but they were specifically looking for fetal tissue donations from women taking Category C medications during pregnancy (this meant there was not a lot of information to prove or disprove the medication’s safety during pregnancy), and my fistfuls of psych meds qualified me. It suddenly occurred to me why I had spent months researching the safety of my meds, and come up with no satisfying answers — it’s fucking unethical to test medications on pregnant women, duh. I signed my consent in hopes that Molly’s remains could be used to help other women like me. We had the option of cremation, but I was not okay enough to set that up and assumed it would be too expensive anyway.

“Good for you!” Tanya exclaimed as I signed the form, “This will really help someone.” She kind of shook my arm in her excitement. I hadn’t discussed this decision with Geoff, but was a little glad that the decision had been left to me. It was our baby to be sure, but my body. I know my husband well, though, and knew he’d accede to my wishes on the matter.

They started messing around with the IV and my recalcitrant veins and Tanya asked if I had any pets. I felt a rush of energy, and started enthusiastically telling her about Bandit and how she loved me but growled ferociously when Geoff tried to pet her, and then I was waking up again and they said I could start healing now. I felt physically worn out, in a lot of pain and they put something in the IV to help me feel better and started taking that out. I felt suddenly warm and fuzzy, and I practically ran back to the waiting room into Geoff’s arms to cry some more.

I’m sorry, but every so often I have to write out what happened those two days. I’ve described my eighteen week abortion over and over, and this time I really wanted to focus on the kindness and compassion of the staff at the abortion clinic because these really are our frontline warriors in the fight for women’s right to maintain autonomy over their own bodies and make decisions that are right for herself and her family in regards to reproduction. I was right; Tanya is an angel and I’ll never forget her or her tenderness or her soothing embraces (and I’m not one who is normally okay with physically affectionate gestures from strangers) and the doctor who performed the procedure was someone I feel fortunate to have on our team. Tanya called several times over the next few weeks to make sure I was physically and emotionally okay…my physical wellbeing was perfect with no complications but three years later, I am still struggling with grief. These people stood by my side in my darkest hour, and I will never stop being grateful.



My period has been starting and stopping for three days now, but it seems to have stopped for good now. Whatever, close enough. Although I’m confused as to when exactly CD 1 would be, I’m starting letrozole tonight. I’m sure my lining is fucked up post-D&C, so I’m feeling pretty discouraged about the whole cycle but fuck everything anyways.

I’m in a foul mood already. I randomly threw up my anxiety medication this morning, and the world seems like pure bullshit with our illegitimately elected President and all of that. I’m not quite sure why I have a burning need to bring a child into this fucked up society, but I do. Against all odds, I believe in love and although I shittalk the brutal universe at every opportunity, I still believe that life is a beautiful and precious thing.

It occurred to me this morning that I have spent 47 weeks of my life pregnant (that’s minus the two freebie weeks you get with each pregnancy) and I do not have a living child. A full term pregnancy is about forty weeks. This strikes me as tragic, and self-pity sneaks in to ruin this already shitty morning. Geoff ran off to be social for awhile, and I’m here wondering if I can pull myself together enough to visit Don. I swallow another Restoril to replace the one I puked up. Maybe I’m getting sick? Ha. I haven’t been sick for a single day since I started dating Geoff. True love must bolster your immune system or something. I don’t know, sounds good in theory.

My little cat curls up with me. If he weren’t such an aggressively needy little thing, I’d become a cat lady and get more cats. But he’s enough to handle on his own, and he keeps me going through the toughest of times. I wish I could be satisfied with only his companionship, but I have a desperate need for human interaction — only when I try to interact with people, everything goes so so wrong. I cry, I get triggered, I have to run away in defeat and the loneliness just festers. Above all, I want a family. When my parents die, there will be no one around to remember my happy childhood, or my deceased sister. I miss her terribly these days; I long for one last conversation or at least some reassurance that in the next plane of existence, I will see her again. My parents are okay with just seeing me four days a year. What the fuck happened to us? We really were so happy.

And no matter how hard I work at it, I can’t seem to have a baby….


I’m feeling rather defeated today. Maybe this is how I’ll feel for the next five months; maybe I won’t get a break. I had forgotten what a beast depression was — usually I have issues with mania, and I’ve been grieving for years now but this is flat out, unglamorous, clinical depression, no doubt about it. I wonder when my psychiatrist will be back from Hawaii, whether she’ll be resistant to increasing my Paxil once again out of fear of pushing too far and making me manic. Don’t get me wrong, a little hypomania would be A-okay with me but my full-blown manias lead to bizarre and possibly dangerous behaviors when my brain splits from reality. I don’t need that, but this horrible melancholy is almost as bad.

And I’ve yet to swallow my two tablets of letrozole. That’ll be tonight, before bedtime, so cross your fingers and pray that three days of on and off bleeding counts as a true period. I just have to keep going…I’ve promised myself that much. Scruffy hesitates for a second before firing up his glass pipe and I’m unsure I can rely on the weirdo spurts of hope he bestows upon me in between drug and alcohol benders. You can kill the pain, he whispers, but I’m beyond his kind of chemical assistance. There is not one drug out there that is powerful enough to kill this pain and I’m confident I can maintain my sobriety as I near the end of this chapter in my life. Of course, since I got clean there are new drugs that I never had the opportunity to indulge in…but I figure at not-quite-forty, my days of experimentation are behind me.

I don’t think Paxil is strong enough to counteract the letrozole blues, either, for that matter. So, more suffering. That’s just the way it is, and there’s no guarantee that it will be rewarded.


I wish my mom wasn’t mad at me all the time these days. She really did used to be such a gentle soul, but life has hardened her like it’s done me. I know she disapproves of everything I do now, but I also know she truly does not want me to get hurt and expresses this by constantly reminding me that everything I do is wrong. I am, as I mentioned previously, not-quite-forty and should have fortified myself enough by now to not long for a tender word from my mom, but lately I’ve been feeling very much like a lost and injured child who cannot even make the simplest of decisions. And the contempt I hear in my mother’s voice every time I speak with her smarts.


…and I just tossed back my first dose of Femara. I hope I don’t get my real period in two days. I think my uterus still needs time to recover from my d&c, so all this worrying is probably for naught. Scruffy is passed out cold.


white page

I think my depression has lifted a little. I still don’t feel very good, but it’s not as bad as last week. Amazing what an itty bitty dose increase of Paxil can do — I guess my doctors are right and I am very sensitive to medications. I feel a degree of hopefulness because I think my next cycle will start soon, and I can take my Femara. But hope can be poison. I can’t tell if I’m embarking on an amazingly foolish path that will leave me even more damaged than I already am. Getting pregnant with a chromosomally normal baby in the next five months is a pretty tall order, and I think maybe the Universe has given me all the chances it can afford.

It’s still hard to get off the couch. I took a brief walk earlier, too scared to venture too far out of the “comfort zone” I’ve established around my apartment. I’ve spent a great deal of time snuggling with my little cat, and argued with a woman I’d somehow offended on my infertility forums. I didn’t do anything wrong or mean, so it was especially infuriating, even more so that she continued harassing me after I said that I’m sick and I just lost my fourth baby so could she please stop private messaging me. Like, she was mad at me for the title of the forum, like I have any control over that. I seem to lose a little more faith in humanity everyday, and I figure it’s no wonder I’d rather hang with Wendall. We skipped out on visiting Don again this past weekend. I just get so depressed when I go over there, and making nice with his grandson is grueling (we have differing political worldviews and I’ve no patience for that shit).

I think I’ve become difficult to get along with, period. I’m oversensitive and raw and my emotions tend to bleed out every which way, leading me to feel constantly out of control, and it’s more than just my bipolar mood swing shit. I need to work on all this in therapy, but we get so easily sidetracked into general philosophy and politics. Ugh.

I’m the brief time I spent talking to the online therapist, she really got on me about being isolated. I don’t know what to do about this problem, where to meet new friends, how to reconnect with old ones when I’m a completely different person these days. At one point, I tried going to sit and drink coffee in a coffeshop, but just ended up crying the whole time until I finally became so flustered I left. My old friends avoid me as much as I avoid them, again because of the constant crying and the panic attacks. And I can’t sympathize with people who can’t deal with their own discomfort around someone that’s hurting as badly as I am. I just feel betrayed.

But at some point, life will have to go on. If I have a healthy baby, will the world take me back? The thing is, I think it would. But I also don’t think I’ll ever have that opportunity


musings and monsters

Okay, take two. I took down my last post because it felt inauspicious to project so much negativity into the aether. I want to start caring for my spirit, but am not sure how to go about it when I am a natural skeptic. I am, by turns, feeling better and then worse and I have been having either obsessive thoughts or delusions. I know it’s the Paxil — I will stick it out a couple more days to see if the unpleasantness passes, and if not I will decrease my dose again and the depression will return.

Antidepressants are not kind to me. The depression that germinated when I saw my last dead baby on ultrasound is heavy and bleak. I’ve begun to consider more seriously asking if ECT could work for me. I am pretty sure that would require a hospital stay, and I must continue on with trying to conceive with letrozole for at least a couple more months, so I couldn’t do it immediately unless an emergency arose and I went into crisis. However, it sounds more palatable than another bout with serotonin syndrome. I know this is a horrifying procedure if you believe how it is portrayed in popular culture, but in reality it causes little trauma (if I can believe my friends that have had it). The short term memory loss that goes along with it is scary, but not as scary as suicide. And, if I do get my miracle, it is a safe option for pregnant women to manage mania and/or depression.

If only my psychiatrist were in town to talk me through this…and if only I weren’t so cursed to begin with. I’m tired of being pitied for my inability to produce a chromosomally normal baby, my socioeconomic status, and my disability and illness. I don’t think anyone I’ve come in contact with on my quest for a child can understand how it feels when all these variables clash to form a perfect storm, like a tornado that destroys you and then comes back the next day.


If my writing style seems stilted today, blame Mary Shelley as I’ve been revisiting Frankenstein after reading of her pregnancies and her lost babies and children in an article in The New Yorker. I always preferred Dracula, because of my youthful experiences breaking free of sexual repression born of childhood bullying, but to view Frankenstein’s horror of the monster he created — how could I now, after what I’ve been through with my tfmr and miscarriages, not relate to the shame and horror of creating an abomination? Despite my unconditional love for Molly (and I will always love her), she was not the beautiful daughter of whom I’d always dreamed. In a stunning act of cruelty, months after the abortion, the perinatologist’s office sent in the mail a handwritten list of all her deformities and defects. Chromosomal abnormalities are brutal, unnatural, and the list almost broke me because in my mind she was perfect. (I did get past that, she remains perfect in my heart where it matters.) But I think Frankenstein would understand that revulsion I felt while reading that list in the moment his creation was animated and he labelled it a monster, or maybe Shelley herself would understand as she found her first baby dead shortly after it was born and dreamed of warming it up by the fire to restore life but couldn’t…I wanted a labor and delivery termination so I could have held Molly just once, but perhaps it was fortunate that our local hospital is Catholic and I had an anesthetized dilation & evacuation and was spared seeing a baby’s corpse.

Oh, the abhorrences of pregnancy loss…

I shouldn’t let my intellectual curiosity outweigh my grief. Maybe this is a novel I should revisit on a better day, but lately there are no better days and any sense of mirth I may eke out is quickly overtaken by more crushing grief. I’m struggling to find solutions, even just quick pick-me-ups, but I’m not quitting yet. I am all alone in my agony — Geoff is always by my side but I’m not sure he can understand a women’s perspective of RPL, although he tries diligently.


almost defeated

I am wrecked and weary, but I am waiting. The fill-in psychiatrist said it might take a week for the increase in Paxil to improve my mood. I’m not even sure how long it’s been, but not a week yet. I lay on the couch with my little cat, him staring at me with judgment in his eyes. Get up, see friends, go to a meeting, read a book…I can’t do any of it because everything hurts. Time is marked off by Wendall’s feeding schedule and my medication dosages; three times a day I put cat food down, and three times a day, I swallow some mix of Geodon (psychosis and mania), Trileptal (mood stabilizer), Paxil (depression and anxiety), Restoril (panic attacks) and Cogentin (combats my tardive dyskinesia from the Geodon). I take some supplements for my fertility — prenatal with folate rather than folic acid, extra folate (last thing I want is a tfmr for neural tube defects), expensive ubiquinol for egg quality (a losing battle, I swear), fish oil, vitamin D because I hate going outside in the rain or sun. Snake oil, perhaps, but the RE says it might help. I will not mess with anything herbal, despite the suggestions of my regular psychiatrist because if I’m being honest, I kind of think she’s full of shit (so does my therapist, so at least I have someone with whom to commiserate). Lately, she’s been all about herbal remedies and transcranial magnetic stimulation, a new and somewhat experimental treatment for treatment resistant depression that may even help the schizoaffective. It sounds like speculative bullshit to me and the studies are flawed, I’d rather do ECT. ECT actually sounds appealing to me right now, as does anything that requires sedation.

What do all these pills and treatments even do for me? I still feel like shit and I still lose my babies.

A friend actually texted me today. It was a bright spot in a dreary, clinically depressed day. Have I mentioned what a sucker I am for kindness? It amazes me that people can still be kind even though the world is so fucking fucked up, and the Universe is cold and gives a shit about nobody. Myself, I’m either bawling my eyes out or rigid with fury. I complain that I’m lonely, but I really don’t think I can behave appropriately around people. I’ve already alienated most of the people I know, or, am constantly on the verge of doing so. I fucking hate unicorns. It’s hard to play nice.

Dealing with mental illness and infertility/recurrent pregnancy loss is really too much for one girl to handle. I’ve stopped caring about everything except my husband. I don’t even wash my face anymore. I wonder if the Paxil will kick in before my period gets here. I’d like a couple even days before I start Femara. I slept like a baby during my last 5 milligram Femara cycle, and I wouldn’t mind spending another cycle unconscious.

I think I ovulated this cycle but I’m not sure when. If my positive OPK was accurate, that puts me at 4dpo. I’m really doing this, guys. I’m trying again.