Monday, June 15, 2009

The Sound Of Babydom

The last couple of days have been...interesting. On the one hand, I've been smiled and grinned at by an alarmingly large amount of little people (can you say heart-breaking?). On the other hand, I went shopping today and, while trying on clothes, was subjected to what I can only refer to as hyena-like screeching. Then there was the highly pregnant woman holding the hand of a little girl wobbling along, barely just having learned how to walk (and there she is already pregnant again).

I don't know what to say. I'm just sad and empty.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

tiny salmon swimming in the stream...

I don't know where it came from anymore, but I have this infantile voice singing this sentence in my head sometimes. It makes me think of the whole procress of procreation, the sperm swimming (or, in our case, making like Homer and sitting around doing NOTHING) in the race to get to the egg (or, in our case possibly, what with PCOS, no egg, just a lot of empty space and dashed hopes). I wonder, do they get lost because, like men, they refuse to ask for directions? Or did they maybe realize there was no main attraction and simply give up?

I've been cold a lot lately. I guess it speaks to my state of mind. I reach for my fuzzy warm oversized periwinkle blue bathrobe more often than usual. I watch sappy movies. I sit in silence, not really paying attention to anything, letting my thoughts wander...and often find myself thinking nothing at all.

And then you find out that someone you know, who already has several kids, is expected another one. A totally unplanned one that no one is excited about. It's not exactly being approached as a nuisance by the women in question - more like a "yeah and what else is new". I have to suppress the urge to scream or slap her. Or maybe make an inappropriate comment to the effect of, you have a bunch, I have none, why don't you just give me that one?

I haven't cried lately. I go through these ups and downs; only they're not really ups and downs - more like downs and way downs. Or gradients of downs - like shades of gray.

I wonder what it is that I'm supposed to do with all this crap - the thoughts, the fears, the anger, the sadness, the jealous. What am I supposed to do with this useless mental debris?

Thursday, June 4, 2009


To borrow the infamous words of Rachel on Friends in an episode that in no way relates to this blog:

I really thought I just hit rock bottom. But today, it's like there's rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me.

In this whole struggle, this whole ordeal, this seemingly unending, unnerving journey that's been forced upon me against my wishes, today was, without a doubt, THE WORST DAY - ever. Today was the day of my appointment at the clinic.

The day started out seemingly innocuous. I didn't sleep too well but not too badly either; I wasn't (yet) feeling any undue apprehension about this appointment which, after all, I had to wait almost a whole month for. Pulling into the parking lot of the clinic, I started to get a hint of nervousness but I brushed it aside.

The bottom starting falling out when I saw the first sign reading "Maternity Ward". Out of nowhere, my hands started trembling almost imperceptibly, my mouth got dryer and dryer as I pushed through a seemingly endless amount of double doors leading to the OB/GYN clinic. It was earily quiet at first - until I got to the waiting room. There, in perfectly harmonious homogeny, not entirely unlike walking into an alternate Stepford Wives type scenario, I was suddenly surrounded by pregnant women: women of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, in different stages of pregnancy, in different styles of clothing. And, one by one, all eyes turned to me as if to say: "What is SHE doing here? She's not pregnant! She's not one of us."

I checked in with the receptionist and sat down, trying hard not to look at all these protruding midsections. I tried to read a magazine and felt a huge wave of relief when, only mere minutes after I had sat down, a nurse called me in. Phew, I thought (stupidly!), so glad I won't have to be sitting there any longer. But this was only the beginning of my ordeal. The nurse - cold, uncaring, clinical and not the least bit warm or friendly - went through a series of questions with me that felt like I was being interrogated as a murder suspect. To say that I felt stripped bare, vulnerable and defenseless would not be an overstatement at all. I felt, to be perfectly honest, VIOLATED.

Finally Nurse Frostbite left, saying the doctor would be with me shortly. And there, without warning, without ANY real notice, I burst into tears - uncontrollably, barely managing not to turn into a squeals of anguish and anxiety. It was all just too much at that point - it was as though, once again, the magnitude of what women came there for NORMALLY, what kept eluding me, was brutally and bluntly forced down my throat. I tried to calm down in vain - I bit my lips to where they hurt, thinking GET A GRIP! To my compelte and utter shame, Nurse Frostbite then returned, just as I was struggling to regain any form of composure and wiping the smudged mascara from below my eyes, my reflection in the mirror pale while my eyes looked strained and bloodshot. I was taken to a different room - and, as if someone had gleened what could possibly send me straight over the edge, the whole room, wall to wall, was covered in baby paraphernalia: pregnancy charts, Anne Geddes pictures, checklists, diagrams...It was like my personal purgatory. Everywhere my eyes darted, like that of a caged animal, there was yet another poster, picture or other pamphlet to further break my heart.

I don't know why I was so emotional today, but for once I didn't mind waiting for a doctor to see me. As I struggled to find an arbitrary spot on the floor that I could focus on - anything to not have to be surrounded by all these buoyant reminders of just how marvelous this time of my life and this place is supposed to be since, well, shouldn't I be pregnant and coming for my check-up here? Shouldn't I be listening to helpful advice on breastfeeding my newborn?

For a moment there, to be perfectly honest, I thought I might have a nervous breakdown.

So I sat in the chair like a mental patient, rubbing my hands up and down my thighs in opposing directions, attempting to direct all my attention and focus to the synchronized movements. I started tapping my feet to an imaginary tune. I started humming. I silently reasoned with myself. Anything, ANYTHING, to try not to think about where I was and why; not to look at all these reminders about what women everywhere take for granted - what, even I, took for granted as my birth right, the right of being a woman, the right to reproduce without poking and prodding and questions by sterile nurses who couldn't care less whether you're about to curl into a fetal position and wish the ground would open and swallow you whole. I had just read, somewhere, that in order to challenge your brain you should try to do minor actions/activities with the hand/leg opposite of the one you normally use for that purpose; for example, if you're left-handed, the exercise would be to try writing with your right hand, etc. And that's what I did. I tapped out entire charts of songs with complicated rhythms, switching which foot was doing what and trying to keep going as long as possible without losing the beat. It sounds INSANE, I know - and I can only tell you that, at that moment, I really felt like I was going to lose it if I didn't get my shit together (pardon my French, it's just the best way I can put it right now).

And there, in the middle of Meltdown Madness, I heard a baby cry: the clear, distinctive sound of a newborn baby. It's a miracle I didn't start ripping out my hair.

Thankfully, the doctor was nowhere near as much of a bitch as the nurse was and gave me some helpful information. The said that based on my bloodwork it was possible, if not likely, that I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which, from what I understand, is basically a fancy way of saying that a woman menstruates without ovulating. Figures that some cosmic force would come up with a way to make me suffer through the pain, the cramps, the mood swings and outright inconvenience of periods without the reward of being able to conceive.

So here we are. On my way home, I bought a pint of Haagen Dazs and basically pigged out while watching a made-for-tv movie. I didn't even really cry - I think I used up everything I had at the clinic today. Now I just feel numb, like someone hit me in the head and caused me to black out - and now I don't remember what actually happened. Except that, of course, I do. Remember. Vividly, in technicolor details.

Monday, June 1, 2009

So what else is new?

I went shopping today. And, of course, there was this little kid in a stroller. Who suddenly sat up, alert, and looked at me intently with this startlingly blue eyes and broke into a big smile. I smile back and waved, trying not to assume the mom "appraised" me with pity because I was forced to make do with smiling and cooing at someone else's baby. What else is new, right?

This week I finally have an appointment to try to figure out if there may be additional hurdles preventing us from conceiving: namely on my end. While, on the one hand, this would just be yet another setback (and this after just being told, by my father-in-law of all people, how sad it is that Kenton and I don't have any kids - why don't you just shoot me??), at least I'll be able to be pro-active and ask questions that, I'm sure, Kenton failed to do during his appointment a millenia ago.

The truth is, of course, that I really only have two questions: can we ever conceive, and if so, how? To be honest, I don't really care about the biology behind it. I don't care what isn't working and why it isn't working and how or why what is preventing me from getting pregnant. I just want someone to tell me HOW TO FIX IT!!

Yesterday I was cleaning up, and I found these handmade burp cloths I bought on Ebay a long time ago. My first instinct was to pitch them, donate them - anything to get them out of my field of vision, now blurry with tears and a deep sense of injustice. But then I thought, I'll keep them for now. Maybe all is now lost yet. Or maybe I'll just have to upcycle them into something else eventually.

I see so many cases where I wish I could take a child away from someone who cannot possibly, from their actions or inaction, comprehend the miracle, the grace, the completely random gift that they are holding. There are times when hearing a baby cry makes me whince internally, where I keep thinking to myself: why is this person not picking that poor little baby up and cuddling it, reassuring it, comforting it? Why are they ignoring the cries and pleading of this little being that can't yet speak for itself? The truth is that, to them, it's just part of the furniture, part of everyday life - nothing extraordinary. So if it cries? So what, it'll cry again tomorrow, and it'll still be crying after they finish their copy of Sports Illustrated, caught up on juicy gossip with a neighbor or have had their mani-pedi completed. For these people, extraordinary becomes ordinary - becomes boring.

A few months ago, I once did something really stupid. I put a pillow under my shirt and looked in the mirror sideways. I pretended to pat the non-existing belly. And then I looked at my reflection through my own eyes, and I felt like a great big fool. I felt...childish and embarrassed that my need, my desire, for a baby had grown so strong as to make me, a grown woman, play "make believe". Sad, but probably not all that uncommon among those who want but cannot have...

Some days I feel like sleeping all day. I feel like it's easier not to leave the house, easier to just pull the covers up to my chin, hug a pillow, daydream until it's time to go to be for real. They probably have medication for things like that, but why dull something that may not go away, rather than confronting it? After all, eventually all suppressed feelings catch up with you, whether you like it or not - God knows I learned that lesson loud and hard.