It’s been one week since I first took the Femara. The sense of futility about this step I willingly chose to take overwhelms me and I sit here on my dusty couch wondering if I’ll do it again next month. I don’t want to facilitate the fertilization and implantation of yet another bad egg…is that what I’m doing? And the uncertainty feels like a joke so I yell at my neighbors as they pass by my window as I sit here in my underwear at 2.30 on a Friday afternoon. I sort of feel drunk, and I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in 13 years and 4 months and 4 days…
Scruffy belches in my ear. You’ve never been in THIS place before. Maybe that’s a little strand of hope…but really, fuck hope. I was hopeful when my perinatologist told me Molly’s 10mm cystic hygroma “could resolve itself” (for those of you just tuning in, it didn’t and she died–with 10mm, she didn’t have a prayer). I was hopeful when they told me her diagnosis was a fluke (it wasn’t, my eggs were shit when I conceived her and now they’re close to three years older than they were then). So, here I am in all my hostile glory and Scruffy just passed out from pills and a couple 40 ouncers and I’m here alone crying. When he comes to, he won’t remember a thing.
Oh, Geoff, I am so so sorry and I love you so so much.
Weight has been dropping off of me. My face looks gaunt, my mother tells me in her usual hypercritical fashion. Maybe this Femara shit should be contraindicated for schizoaffective patients? Still, mentally ill woman can make their own choices…can I be trusted? All signs point right to zero but as the title suggests, idgaf.
Fuck aneuploidy. Really, truly, my eggs are a mess and apparently my uterus is all too happy to implant chromosomally abnormal embryos, or not. I don’t expect the Femara to get around this one very dire problem and perhaps I’ll suffer another devastating loss. My RE shrugged off IVF with PGS testing and went straight to donor eggs. Which I’d do in a second if my finances allowed. Eh, strike that. If I had they money and emotional stamina, I’d choose adoption because pregnancy after loss is a fucking nightmare. I think that since I am myself adopted, I don’t have as much attachment to my own genetics as other couples might.
My unicorn is named Scruffy and he’s currently taking a smoke break and has been for months. Occasionally I hear him wheezing in my ear: your golden egg is in there. Here, Scruffy, I brought you some malt liquor and we can lay in bed watching Raising Arizona and laughing our cynical asses off at the absurdity of my life. Cheers, mate.
I see my psychiatrist next week. My experience on Femara has been uncharted territory and I’m unable to ascertain the status of my mental illness when I’ve yet to have experienced the hormonal upheaval it wrought upon me. I’ve been sobbing all day but I don’t feel particularly sad other than the sudden bursts of despair that wash over me from time to time. My eyes are just crying. Eh, whatever. I have zero fucks left to give.
The past couple days on Femara have been tortuous. One minute I feel blinding rage; the next I’m near suicidal (I am very safe, don’t fret your pretty heads). I’ve had wonderful happy dreams about my deceased sister, that she is alive and all grown up and beautiful…I wake up and for an instant feel this sense of peace until reality crashes into me like the plane engine falling on Donnie Darko. I can barely move, my heart hurts so much.
Yes, this is why I hesitated for 1.5 years to try oral fertility medications, but worse. I know my bipolar brain. Mad mad props to women that go through more intensive fertility treatments. You ladies are fucking survivors.
I’m waiting for the universe to decide when I’ve endured enough heartbreak. Or maybe I’m waiting for my own personal breaking point, for the bottom to finally fall out of my mind. One way or the other, I feel it’s just around the corner. We are on the cusp of something, my unicorn of a husband told me last night. I think he may genuinely believe that our suffering will be rewarded in this lifetime, in this fucked up cruel world that has not given me a single break in decades. I would be forced to say that I vehemently disagree.
Where have I been to? Where am I going? My apartment walls once held so much promise but today they fold in upon me and I cannot draw a breath. My fingers trace the scars of my past, gnarly and authentic lines I once carved in my own skin. Since then I’ve achieved a dull stasis, wrapped my pain like a chrysalis that sheds layers as it incubates my slow decline. I want to roll the dice again, start anew with a heftier character. And it will strike like lightening, burst forth with new life. I’m hungry for the cure.
Femara is not giving me an easy ride right now. I sat with my psychotherapist this morning and cryptically made reference to the precise instant I was derailed, oh, the drama of it, a psychotic depression and the long years of recovery. Now I lay on my back boiling and taste salt from the split in my lip–and my babies are maybe angels and I can’t process the laughter from their ghosts. CD 7, last dose tonight. Dear sweet God, if you’re out there, please let my soul find rest.
I have three days on Femara under my belt. I never expected it to allow me, for the first time in years, to get a decent night’s sleep. I feel positively euphoric, although not hopeful. I have very slim odds, and I am a realist.
I am sobbing; my grief has become such a big part of who I am that I’m not even sure what’s left of me. This morning I dreamed about my little sister, who we lost in 1996 from complications from a bone marrow transplant (she had myelodysplastic syndrome). She was a month shy of her fifteenth birthday. It’s been so long that the memories I have of her could belong to a completely different person.
The last time Meg visited me in my dreams was the night between the two days of my D&E pregnancy termination. They had stopped Molly’s heart the first day. In that dream, Meg appeared as a young child, clad in red footsie pajamas. This morning she was all grown up as if she’d never left me. We were hanging out at the beach, having fun. The way things were supposed to be; the way things never were.
It was good to just have a friend. I don’t remember the last time I have had fun.
My body feels too narrow, like my skin could burst open any minute spilling sorrow on the crisp white sheets. My sadness makes my friends uncomfortable and I get the unmistakable feeling that they’d rather run from me than spend another awkward moment in my presence. If I have a healthy baby will the world take me back?
No, I imagine it wouldn’t.
Once I was young and brave. I remember myself as a young girl, fearlessly hopping the commuter rail to North Station in Boston, catching the subway and travelling to whatever hospital my sister had been admitted to last, sitting in her room and playing Uno as she grew weaker and weaker. This is unfathomable to the trembling woman I have become, the woman that flinches when the telephone rings because she’s convinced it’s more devastating news. Now, I walk only on very familiar streets and the only thing that terrifies me more than driving is the city bus. What happened to make you like this?
…and some days, I’m too scared to even step outside my back door and onto the patio, choosing to stay safe in my chrysalis of a bedroom with shades drawn, cat on my lap and old songs flitting through my head. There are clothes I don’t remember buying on the floor and cobwebs drift across the ceiling and all I want to do is wrap the bed sheet tight around me as I shake and shake. But today, I promise myself I’ll be courageous. Today, I will open my eyes.
It’s Friday and I’ll start Femara this evening. I’m as stable as could possibly be expected, and armed with my usual arsenal of heavy duty psychiatric medications, all carefully reviewed for safety and efficacy during any potential pregnancy by a specialist. It’s the weekend and Geoff will be home to keep close watch on me. The rest is up to the universe.
It’s CD 1, I lay on my bed wracked with cramps and nerves. After over two years diligently timing intercourse, we’re dipping big toes into fertility treatments. I’ll take Femara for five days starting Friday (CD 3).
Colors swirl in the spaces in my head. Random thoughts flit through my mind, racing, speedy, faster and faster. Perhaps it’s foolish to introduce another chemical into this soul-sick body whilst coming off a bad reaction to gabapentin. My psychiatrist had me cold turkey last night; it made me angry-cry and feel very weak and agitated when I was on it. I swore that as a severely mentally ill woman I wouldn’t risk my health for fertility treatments, and now I proceed against the advice of my psychiatrist (although not against her orders).
It’s my decision and it’s as far as I’ll go. Let’s see what happens.
I shake with the rage of sleeplessness, wracked with the sting of paranoia. I know there are hidden things. In this world, objects become symbols and these symbols are as true as anything a doctor could tell me in the waking world. Awake already at 11pm, ready to fight another day. I put the nightmare behind me; I cannot stay sane if I do not.
If I pinpointed my ovulation correctly, my period should be here tomorrow. Three days of bleeding, then I start the Femara. I try to find hope and positivity. I try to revive my unicorn. I wish I had another year to lick my wounds, but I just don’t.
And I want to take to the streets and feel the pavement beneath my feet and watch the silent buildings and hear laughter coming from bars and maybe I’ll feel a sense of connection to the girl I was before, before RPL and before my life became a journey of grieving and the tears stopped stopping and I could still move and breathe.
I kick the blankets off and grab for my Levis and sneakers, the door clicks softly behind me and I think I am free...
Time slowly drips down the yellowed walls. Another day stretches out in front of me, ten days past my ovulation and waiting for my period to show. I’m not knocked up this cycle, believe me when I say I just know. I’ll start the Femara 3 days into my bleed, and I am terrified.
I got an email from one of my oldest friends on my birthday, and just today sent my awkward reply. Mind you, this is the friend that just won $15 million on a fucking SCRATCH TICKET, so wtf do I write in response? I complimented her on her beautiful children (knife to the heart), and demurred when it came time to answer her question. So what’s going on with you? Well, girl, I wake up in the morning convinced that I’m waking up from a nightmarish gynecological surgery and silently screaming my baby! and I reach for my bbt thermometer so I can monitor my ovulation and then I think so should I even bother with peeing on a stick? and the weight of my existence crashes down and I know I’ll spend another day broken and probably won’t leave my house. My husband comes for a quick lunch and worry furrows his brow and even though he’s 47 years old I see an injured little boy trapped inside of him and all I can say is, I am so so sorry, my ovaries are fucked up and the house looks like a trashpit and all of it, it is all my fault.
I think there will be better days ahead. The amount of time I may spend waiting to see Molly again scares me silly. What if I live another FORTY years? I remember before my termination there was this one night and I was laying on the bathroom floor of our shitty old apartment and Geoff came in to check on me and I was screaming, I want to go with her, I want to be with Molly! I think I broke his heart a little and that was the absolute worst I have ever felt in my life.
So, dear friend, you will not understand any of this so I will say I do a lot of writing and I pray for the better days but to be perfectly honest those good days won’t be quite as good as your good days (I’m so glad you had fun in Aruba!) and I kind of am not sure who I am praying to anyhow. Don’t worry, I am fine and no, I’m not planning to go back East anytime soon but if I do ever make it back to Boston I’ll totally call you right away. RPL has taken everything from me. Write back soon!
And I lie back on the couch and I cry and I cry.