Monday, June 30, 2008

Preparation, Schmeparation

It's Sunday morning, three days before your two week wait is officially up. You decide, against the recommendation of your infertility clinic nurse, your husband and a nagging, vaguely Pollyanna-ish voice in your head that yearns for three more days of sweet hope, to break out the First Response and have a go at peeing on a stick. You tell yourself you're trying to prepare yourself, to take out some of the sting of shock that would otherwise rush through you when the nurse told you the bad news on Wednesday. And yet, there it is: the same sting as you stare at the dark pink single line.

The hope that each cycle carries is like a funnel. It starts a mile wide. You just finished an IUI. Millions of sperm were right in the ballpark of that ripe egg. There's no way it could not work! The week progresses. You're not as bloated as you were a few days ago. That breast tenderness is gone. Hope narrows. But maybe I'm in the x percentage of women who don't have any symptoms at all! You take the test -- it's negative. Hope narrows again. But it's only 93 percent accurate the day before your missed period. I could definitely be in the seven percent! Someone has to be, don't they? Don't they?

Soon, your rational mind, violently opposed to all things Pollyanna, sweeps in. You're not pregnant, it says. And thank goodness I'm here. All that optimism isn't good for you. It leaves you so unprepared for the bad news that seems to come, time after time after time.

Still, I will go through the motions, will go on Wednesday for the blood test. I suppose that, in the end, the home test eased me into the bad news, but it's done nothing to show me how to survive yet another disappointment.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Some Lemon for Your Wound?

Just when I think the two week wait couldn't get any harder, my husband announces there is a business trip to Asia. He leaves the Sunday after my Wednesday pregnancy test and will be gone for my birthday and the two consult appointments I have with new REs (if my test is negative). So let me get this straight, I say. While I'm still melting down from a negative test (no one has ever accused me of being an optimist), wallowing in self-pity over having another childless birthday, and consulting with two new doctors on when the hell (if ever) I'm going to get pregnant, you'll be on the other side of the earth? Yep, that's about it.

After I recovered from the blinding, irrational-yet-inevitable rage, I felt instantly guilty for said rage. What if there was a fertilized egg trying to attach and had decided, you know what, this woman is too high strung for me? After all, I was 9 days past my IUI -- smack in the middle of the 6-12 days required for implantation. Or what if it had already attached and was now shaken loose by my fury?

As my obsession about this point continued this morning, a very wise friend of mine made a good point: If getting upset were a good way to prevent or end pregnancy, why would birth control exist or unwanted pregnancies ever progress at all? These women's doctors could simply say, "Yes, you're pregnant, but if you just get pissed off at someone and scream and yell a little, problem solved!" And if getting upset were so harmful, why would God make pregnancy hormones turn women into emotional time bombs?

The thing is, life doesn't stop handing you lemons just because you're in the two week wait, or pregnant. And we don't stop feeling upset, angry, sad, anxious, irritable or sensitive just because we're trying to become mothers. While we may not always feel capable of making lemonade, the least we can do for ourselves is keep the juice out of our wounds. I'm trying my best not to add worrying about worrying to the angst of the two-week wait.

As a completely random (in every way) aside, there was just a commercial on ABC for a special with "seemingly traditional" families who are adopting monkeys -- yes, monkeys -- as their children. Walk them around in strollers and everything. Maybe they're onto something. Maybe if this human baby thing doesn't work out....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Day, New Blog

It feels like a new day, so the time seemed right for a new blog. I'm not pregnant (as if!) least not that I know of. But my friend and previous blog partner Lisa is pregnant with twins, and I just "graduated" from a mind/body infertility group where I learned how to be some semblance of my normal self again. So I'm looking for a fresh start as I continue my hunt for a few good eggs.

I did not think it was possible to do this, by the way -- get a fresh start without a positive pregnancy test. To my mind, it was so all-or-nothing before: infertility=stuck permanently in a rut of total depression; get pregnant=find instant happiness. I'm learning the truth is somewhere in the middle. Yes, infertility sucks. It's brutal. It taps a deep sadness that gets right to your bones. But this depression feeds on itself and it's possible to cut the cycle and avoid falling so deeply into it each time. It's possible to catch yourself as you tell yourself lies -- "I'll never be a mother." "I am being punished." "I wasn't meant to get pregnant." -- and create a new internal monologue: "I am going to be a mother, one way or another, and I'm doing everything I can to achieve it."

Sound impossible? Unattainably enlightened? At times, it certainly is. At times you need to curl up on your bed and scream and cry and curse everyone you know who had a baby without scientific intervention. But that doesn't have to be all the time. There are pockets of joy to be had. And I'm searching for them even as I continue my egg hunt.