Depression is a beastly motherfucker.
This morning I had my first appointment with my new doctor. The first doctor I’ve ever had who immediately wanted to treat my PCOS in spite of me not wanting to try to conceive.
I came in for a referral to an endocrinologist, a prescription for spironolactone, and maybe something to help my increasingly frequent migraines since I’m allergic to the number one migraine med.
I left for hours later, my pee in a cup, my blood in some tubes, and my chest on an X-ray. I carried one prescription for metformin, one for spironolactone, and one for Topamax. Within an hour I had an email with an appointment with an endocrinologist.
That part went well.
Bullshit #1: I’ll tell you, I was super pissed that I couldn’t get into the endocrinology clinic any time within the next year with a referral from the family practice clinic in the same hospital, but let them take one phone call from a different clinic and it’s see you in November, Mrs. April.
We dropped our prescriptions off and were told an hour. We went home. I got the text that mine was ready. Even though Ian hadn’t, it had been nearly two hours, so we went to pick them up.
After a bunch of back-and-forth about names and can’t-find-yours-sir and insurance, we left the drive thru missing one of mine and one of his, and one that he got only had half the number of pills it was supposed to. I said park it, and went inside with righteous fury.
Bullshit #2: The only prescription I really cared about, the spironolactone, wasn’t in the bag because they thought the dosage said 2/5mg and the pills come in 25mg. And nobody answered at the doctor’s office. And no one called them back from the doctor’s office. And they sent the it’s ready text anyway because the three prescriptions that were on the same single sheet of paper were entered at different times today.
I’m sure. I’ve been using this pharmacy for eleven years without problems. You had two hours to call them. And then you sent me a text that all of my prescriptions were ready. And you weren’t even going to tell me anything about this? Because we were just handed the bag in the drive thru with a thank you. No explanation. Nothing.
I wanted to scream at her. Look at my face, lady. Do you see this fucking beard? I didn’t shave it today because I wanted the doctor to see its fucking luxuriousness. Do you think I like walking around looking like this? I have an appointment next week for my first round of laser hair removal. I can’t do anything to this bastard but shave it right now and it’s making me fucking crazy. I have to look in the mirror every day at this black reminder of how I have shit ovaries that ruined the one thing I wanted to do with my life. Every fucking day. And I hate it, and it makes me hate myself. So go fill the 25mg pills. I’ll wait right here.
I wanted to make her cry so she could feel one tiny fraction of everything that I was feeling, because I knew she was lying with her tedious explanation. I do it to customers all the time. I bullshit them just like she was bullshitting me.
But I didn’t. I took the other half of his prescription and I took her explanation that they were out of his blood pressure meds until tomorrow and I left. Because I knew if I started in on her I wouldn’t be able to stop.
I’ve spent the past two hours in bed being alternately angry and sad. Crying and playing a stupid coin push game on my phone and shutting out the world with extra loud dubstep in my headphones. Because on top of all this I had to unpack a bottle of metformin to put on my counter and look at every day, just like the fucking beard, and it brought back all those years of miserably failing to conceive. All at once, on top of me.
And then I got up and I fucking shaved and I came to tell you about this.
I’m so sick of hating my body for letting me down, but I don’t know how to stop.
It’s Mother’s Day here in the US; for the first time in ten years, it hasn’t been a day of grieving my infertility.
It feels good and it feels bad. Bittersweet, and I hate that word. It’s my husband’s first Mother’s Day without his mother, and I hurt for him. I’m sorry, Ian.
But it hasn’t hurt me not being a mother today like it has in years past. I don’t know how to explain; I can’t put words to it. Can I?
I’ve let it go. Today is a day, just as yesterday and tomorrow. What happens, happens.
It isn’t throwing in the towel. It’s being present and being able to appreciate what I do have, rather than shed tears of longing for what I have not.
Facebook’s On This Day thing has its ups and downs, for sure, but one thing it has got me doing is checking back through my archives here once or twice a week.
Last year we went hiking and Ian rescued me.
It’s been three whole years since I did the A to Z Challenge, and I desperately need to get back to sewing, since I still have one of these fabrics.
Four years ago letrozole gave me bone pain. I do not miss that stuff or Clomid.
And of course, Facebook let me know that five years ago we went to Nana’s house.
I don’t talk about this much anymore, but we struggled with infertility for ten years.
I have PCOS. I menstruate maybe annually on my own. Usually I have to take progesterone to give the lady bits a kickstart.
But in December and February, it just happened. December was no big deal, because it had been a few months. Whatevs.
But last month I cried.
Because I didn’t know how to react.
What’s going on?
Has my body decided to be healthy?
What if I get pregnant?
I cried because I didn’t know how to feel about the possibility of fertility. I cried because I thought we were done with this. I cried because I thought the roller coaster was over. I cried because I had convinced myself that I did not want to parent.
We do fucked up things to our minds when faced with the harshest realities of life, when we realize that in spite of what we’ve always been told, we can’t do or be anything we want just because we want it.
But it was only during that first rush of confusion that I questioned, that I believed the lies that I had talked myself into believing.
I do want to parent, but at the same time, I do love the life we have now, for the most part. It was the sudden flip-flopping of everything that I thought I knew that hurt me so much. And in a way, I appreciate that flip-flopping; it’s just another thing that has helped me be present in my life and be conscious of my own innermost feelings.
And now I understand that I can welcome being childless as much as I once dreamed of parenting. Not just because it’s safe and familiar, but also because I know that I have the capacity to be mindful and simply enjoy today.
Except on the days that I can’t, but I’ve learned that it’s okay to have those days too.
Any day can be a good day on its own merits.
Six hundred forty-five posts later, here we are.
Only 645? I better step up my game. Just last year I was at 500. I did take a lot of time off, though.
But the evolution.
Mel included me in the Roundup today, and her blurb had me thinking: am I still an IF blogger?
Am I? I deleted my timeline. It seemed completely irrelevant to where I am now.
Is it enough to disqualify me that I feel the need to define IF as infertility? I don’t know the last time I blogged about infertility. Let’s see, two months ago. And that was really more of a side note, not the main point. Three last year, the whole year. It’s been almost exactly two years since I’ve written about the feeling of being in the trenches. And that was just an expansion on a post from three years ago.
It wasn’t precisely a decision to give up, more like the teenage realization of when did I stop believing that I would be a paleontologist when I grow up? No date to pin down, no solid feeling of well, that’s that.
Was I just an old infertility soldier, fading away?
Looking back, that’s what happened; the infertility posts faded until they could be fully eclipsed and replaced by the personal essays and fiction, by the responses and imagination that spent so much time waiting for their moment in the sun.
But it doesn’t take writing to make an infertility blogger any more than it takes trying to conceive to make an infertile. It’s a scar that’s never going away, and it does leave its mark on everything that I write.
I’ll never delete all the posts in my Infertility category, any more than I’d delete all the posts in any category. It’s funny, we just watched Misery a few days ago, the first time for Ian, and I hurt so badly watching Paul have to burn his book. I don’t think non-writers would ever be able to fully empathize with that scene. While much of it does stick in your head, it can’t all stick. Rewrite all you want; try, try, again, but it’ll never be the same.
I can’t just throw it away, because it was a huge part of me. Is. It is a huge part of my life, and an introduction to so much that I treasure now. Would I have become the writer that I am today without it? Would I have met the wonderful people and had the wonderful experiences that I have without it? I have to say no.
There may have been other writing, other people, other experiences, but they wouldn’t have been the ones that I know and love right now. How on earth would I be texting a fellow IF blogger as I write this if I weren’t an IF blogger myself?
I trace cause and effect like it’s going out of style; maybe I would have found the Listserve without other bloggers leading me to Mel and Mel leading me to Justine and Justine leading me to the Listserve. Maybe I wouldn’t have. Maybe I wouldn’t have won the Listserve this week. That, by the way, has not been the big shebang that I expected, but I’ve been having problems with my emails being held up somewhere before I get them, so fingers crossed that’s that.
Yes, I think I still kind of count as an infertility blogger, but do I really deserve that badge anymore? It’s not a badge of honor you’d catch anyone fighting over, but still. It feels greedy. But not claiming it certainly feels like a lie.
Okay, Mel. You win this round. I’m an IF blogger. Got my four year pin today. Bring on the cake.
Have you ever had a job that you went to, faithfully, every single day, until that one day when you said screw it, I’m done with this?
Have you ever had that letter, that phone number, that photograph that you carted around with you everywhere until that one day when you said screw it, I don’t need to ever hear from this person again?
Have you ever carted around emotional baggage from a traumatic event until that one day when you said this doesn’t define who I am anymore?
I have, as you may have guessed.
It sucks to find out your husband cheated on you. It sucks more to find out he knocked her up when no amount of trying is going to knock you up. Maybe some amount of trying–I still have that shred of hope, you see.
A few years ago, I wrote:
Oh, it takes two to five years to recover from an affair? I can work harder at it than anyone, I’ll blow that number out of the water. But I can’t. I can’t do that when I have to keep starting over. Sometimes I feel like I can’t make any progress, in spite of knowing that’s not true.
I had a hard time separating the two demons of his infidelity and her pregnancy. That’s perfectly reasonable; you can’t have the latter without the former. And from this side, that two-to-five sounds pretty fair for your average adultery survivor, as long as that special caveat is fulfilled: no contact. God, I could have gotten over this in months.
But no contact is impossible when there’s a child involved. The geometry goes from triangular to whatever crazy shapes inhabit four-dimensional space. Even so, those shapes would still be navigable if all the parties involved were reasoning adults.
We’re very obviously short one. Reasoning adults tend not to argue with judges in their courtrooms.
It inevitably becomes a self esteem issue. The what’s she got that I ain’t got mentality. This can only be worsened by shit-talking. It becomes she’s so bad, but I must be worse. Shit-talking is bad. Just leave it alone.
But anyone can deal with a bad hand for two to five years, right? Of course, right. Students do it all the time.
I was like, really depressed when that five-year deadline came and went, and I wasn’t recovered. And the longer it was, the worse I felt. As if I could somehow bullshit myself into believing that a month or two months over five years was close enough, that I could still count it as plain old five years, and feel like I’d made it under the wire.
Until one day, there wasn’t any wire anymore. The deadline didn’t matter; it was some arbitrary crap I’d found on the internet, for crying out loud. Sure, I’d found it in two dozen different places on the internet, but still. It’s just a statistic. It’s only true when it’s true.
Like being one in eight.
Then the one day came. And it wasn’t just the deadline that didn’t matter anymore. It didn’t matter anymore.
It doesn’t matter anymore.
I still know where that part of me is, the part that warned and worried and wondered and kept me awake at night. Sometimes I check in there, just to make sure, and it’s empty. It’s smaller, shrinking from disuse. Because that doesn’t define who I am anymore. The rest of me is filling in that space, because this is who I am. Not a victim, but a survivor. A winner.
But, always a but. But what’s the timeline on Ian’s guilt? When will he believe me when I say that it’s okay, that it doesn’t matter anymore? Because it doesn’t.
It doesn’t matter anymore.
I just want it to be okay. I know it can’t all be okay, not right now, but just this little part. When the next big ole turd hits the fan, Ian, I don’t want you to apologize because it’s all your fault. The guilt for what we’re dealing with now does not lie with you, and you know that. It’s not your fault. Your mistake was six years ago, and it mostly involved not doing a background check first.