16 Feb

It takes 9 months for a woman to carry a baby to term.

Coincidentally, it’s been about 9 months since I finally said to my doctor that I was ready to pursue more aggressive medical treatment to have a baby.  9 very long months.  I was completely against medicine when we decided to try to have a baby three and a half years ago–I don’t like it, I don’t trust it, and I was convinced that we could fix my issues without any heavy-duty medical treatments.  So 9 months ago, this was a big step to take.  And when you take a big step, you think, logically, that things should start falling into place quickly.  I had such high hopes that my body would be so easy to fix.  When I think about the fact that this is how long it would’ve taken to have a baby, I get sad.  I thought even if we didn’t have a baby, we’d be farther along in this process by now.  I wish I’d have kept track of how much money we’ve already blown on useless treatments, tests and exams.  We’ve started saving all the receipts now–mostly out of morbid curiousity (and also because there’s apparently a tax write-off).  And we haven’t even gotten to any of the costly treatment options yet…

The 9 months started innocently enough.  A month taking meds to force myself to have a period so we could wait for the right time to go get poked with needles to get my blood screened to make sure everything was ok.  Another month waiting for my HSG appointment (aka the day they injected liquid fire into my uterus and fallopian tubes while they watched on an xray machine and I squirmed and writhed in pain).  And then ultrasounds to check on the status of the cysts currently on my ovaries (these new ultrasound techs are also impressed by the quantity of cysts I have–ultrasound people LOVE my beautiful examples of polycystic ovaries) .  A doctor visit for a pelvic exam to check my ovaries, and I thought we were on our way.  That was the end of August, three months after I’d told my doctor it was time to get more aggressive.

I thought by Thanksgiving at the LATEST, we’d be sharing with our families that we were thankful for modern medicine.  Not so much.

I thought by Christmas, we’d be wrapping pictures of positive pregnancy tests to give to our parents.  Not so much.

I thought by Joe’s wedding, I’d be shopping for a new dress because I’d have a baby bump.  No need for a hotel room–I won’t be able to drink anyway, so I’ll DD us.  Not so much.

Instead it’s been 6 months of drugs with nasty side effects.  I wouldn’t care about the side effects as much if the medicine was actually doing what it should and forcing my ovaries to work.   I would take all the side effects–I’d double them or triple them even.

It’s been 6 months of not sleeping well, because all night I have hot flashes–too hot, take off the covers; too cold, try to find all the covers again and pull Picasso up to snuggle me;  dammit Picasso it’s too hot you gotta move to the bottom of the bed so I can take off these covers and some of my layers of clothes;  waking up shortly thereafter to try to find my clothes, which are now freezing cold from laying on the floor, and laying in bed shivering and cold and miserable until I get too hot again.  Wanting so badly to sleep, laying there feeling how swollen my eyes are from lack of it, but being unable to.  Upset because I know I’m disturbing Eric and Picasso, too.  I have hot flashes all day long, but they are only really bothersome at night, and they seem to be more frequent at night, too.

It’s been 6 months of a hormone-induced roller coaster ride of emotions.  Yay happy life is so beautiful.  Then suddenly, I’m sobbing.  The Olympics are on.  Cry.  There’s a cute kid somewhere.  Cry.  A sappy commercial happens.  Cry.  Just sitting around.  Cry.  And if I’m not super happy or sobbing??  I’m ready to pick a fight, to yell and scream.  This is not me.  I am a Libra.  I am balanced.  I am a peacemaker, I am the logical one, I am the level-headed one.  I don’t want to see anyone half the time–I don’t even want to be around myself–how can I make anyone else deal with me???

It’s been 6 months of being bloated.  After the first round of Clomid, my doctor actually told me at my don’t-explode-the-ovaries check-up that I was going to bloat even more with each successive round–and then laughed–all while looking at my poor swollen tummy.  6 months of breaking out.  Of my hair falling out.  Of cramps and exhaustion and super-unsexy-feelings.  You would think drugs designed to get you knocked up would make you feel beautiful and desirable.  Instead, I feel hideous.  It’s like I’m in middle school again–uncomfortable in my own skin and wanting to hide myself.  Every morning, I look at the quote on my fridge–“confident women are captivating women”–and remind myself to put on a smile and own it, to work the room.  Fake it til you make it, baby.  But some days, it’s really hard to get dressed and go to work…

It’s been 6 months of gradually cutting back my running, at first unintentionally and subconsciously, but then completely intentionally.  A month or two ago, I even thought I might be pregnant.  I dogged it on every run–can’t push too hard, don’t want to jiggle the baby loose (even though I know that’s not actually possible).

It’s been 6 months of hearing all kinds of unwanted, unsolicited, unthinking advice.  “Just relax, it’ll happen” (yes because relaxing is the cure for diseases).  “Maybe it’s just not the right time right now.”  “If you stop taking the medicine, you will get pregnant.  It always happens” (yeah thanks, doctor).  “Maybe you’re not meant to be a mom” (and maybe we’re not meant to be friends anymore–peace).  “You can have my kids” (you hating the fact that you have what I want so badly makes me feel SO much better).  “Well there’s always IVF and adoption” (because we have tens of thousands of dollars laying around–not to mention the physical and emotional consequences of either of those options).

It’s been 6 months of working with kids who are starving for affection and attention.  Getting hugs from children I don’t even know, having them ask me for help tying their shoes or washing their hands.  Hearing about how they are tired because they were out with mom at a party last night until she got into a fight with so-and-so and they had to go because the cops came.  Seeing kids who are dirty, hungry, don’t want to go home because school is better and safer and happier than what SHOULD be the happiest, safest place for them.

Yesterday I went to another ultrasound appointment.  Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like having an internal ultrasound done–not to get graphic, but basically they have this long, skinny vaguely-dildo-looking thing that they put in you and use to look around your shit.  It’s completely painless, but I find it super uncomfortable emotionally (and yesterday somehow physically–apparently my ovaries had shifted from 2 weeks ago and she was having a really hard time finding and getting good pictures of them, which was completely unnecessary because there was apparently still nothing worth seeing besides all those beautiful cysts).  You would think with how often I’ve been in the stirrups these days and how many of these ultrasounds I’ve had, it would be no big deal to me.  Every time it gets worse.  It’s humiliating laying there, half naked, having people poke and prod you and look pityingly at you.  Again, I might feel differently if the medicines were having the intended effects.  But they’re not, and every time I hear “sorry” it’s another reason to find the appointment humiliating and depressing.

So I left my appointment and for the first time in 6 months, I didn’t cry when I got in my car.  Normally, I get in and sit there for a couple of minutes and cry it out before I leave, but this time, there weren’t any tears.  I just went straight to the liquor store and wandered for a while before buying a big bottle of cherry rum.  I ran into Wegmans next, and almost had to leave.  Right there in the front was one of those stupid carts with the race cars on them so your kids can have fun while you shop for Kool-Aid and cookies and Go-Gurt because hey you have kids!  I almost lost my shit, but I pulled it together.  I went in quickly, grabbed my diet coke and a package of peeps (hooray–they put out holiday stuff MONTHS before the holiday–which means Easter candy’s out!) and got the hell out of there.  I walked in the door to a hug from Eric, which instantaneously made me burst into tears, and then made dinner and a drink.  We watched some new episodes of House of Cards, I fell asleep on the couch (becoming typical for me).  We went to bed and I cried again.  Nothing says Happy V-day for my husband than going to bed with a half-asleep, sobbing woman.  Sorry, babe.

So yeah.  I’m trying to stay positive, and I’m sure in a couple of days, I’ll be able to see the humor in all of this (for example, I got onto the table for my ultrasound after changing and realizing that I had on the most ridiculous striped knee socks).  I’ll be able to think positively and to find something to hope for or some reason to believe that things will work out.  But right now, I just don’t.  Right now, I just want to be depressed and pissed off at how unfair life is and cry my eyes out and then get drunk on cherry rum and diet cokes until I forget that life sometimes sucks.  Sometimes for months…


6 Responses to “months”

  1. Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb February 17, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    Hello. I’m a fellow #omniten with Eric, so you really don’t know me. Honestly, I suck and words and in the scheme of things have nothing really worth typing. At the same time I can’t just not say anything after reading your post. But, I wanted to let you know that I’m sending lots of love and positive energy your way. xo

    • shmeruns February 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      Thanks, Heidi. I feel like I know some of you even though I’ve never met any of you. Every time I walk by the bananas at Wegmans I think of you, actually. Haha.

  2. Jen February 17, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    You know I feel for you. Not sympathy, but empathy. For me, its, “you’ll be expecting your period any day now” that get me when I have to get the blood work. I find it more sad now that I am almost numb to the doctors office now.

    FYI: tax write off occurs when you reach 10% gross income.

    • shmeruns February 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

      I can’t imagine. They never know when my period’s going to finally show up (except last cycle I knew). So it’s either a surprise or I end up on different hormones to make myself get it.

      Good to know about the tax write-off. We’re saving receipts just in case, but I switched our insurance and it took effect in January. I was paying 40 bucks every time I went to the office, plus the HSG was pretty pricey (I wanna say we paid a couple hundred out of pocket when all was said and done). When you’re going every 2 weeks or so, 40 bucks a pop adds up. At least now the copay’s only $15.

      Much love to you guys on your journey, too, Jen!

  3. Katie February 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    hi Sheila-
    I just saw this link through Julie Fooks and I just wanted to say I am going through the exact same thing. Started at Strong Fertility in October. Feel free to email me or get in touch if you want. I totally get it and it totally sucks.

    Katie (from book club)

  4. Lisa @ RunWiki February 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    I have so much empathy for you. I am so so sorry–there really are no words, I can feel that this process sucks, and sucks the life out of you. At a time in your life when things should feel happy and joyful you have to endure this. I’m just so sorry. hugs.

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