Infertility, how do I hate thee – let me count the ways…ONE (one thousand), TWO (one thousand), THREE (one thousand)…
This isn’t going to be pleasant.
Christmas this year was all set to suck, and I’d freaked out about it to the point where Christmas songs had me in tears, looking at Christmas cards, or decorations, or sparkly-decorated trees, had my insides twisting. We didn’t decorate the house. We didn’t get a tree. We didn’t even send cards until four days before Christmas. None of the presents we’ve remembered to give have been wrapped. People have been missed.
Because this year was meant to be our year.
Mine, Husby’s and the beginnings of our family.
The configuration of our parents’ locations and our personal, ‘perfect plan’ for how our marriage would go, had resulted in an expectation from the very beginning that we’d spend our first three married Christmasses at one of each of our parents’ homes, and then the fourth – our special one – would be US. Our Family. Us + Baby. Because that’s how it was going to work. It was neat. It was cute.
It made absolutely no allowance for Real Life (or, arguably Common Sense).
Nonetheless, the expectation was there, lurking in the background of our marriage, alongside my strong ties to Christmas being a light-filled annual high-spot in an otherwise traumatic childhood. And that it was always and every time about Family.
Factoring in our two losses and our two-months-left until a (necessary, unavoidable) change in Husby’s meds renders him infertile, Christmas began to feel pretty toxic. The closer it got, the less I coped. The less I coped, the more I turned to wine, friends and denial. And increasingly the comments came about seeking professional help – concerned murmurings into my ear alongside hugs which lasted too long.
I ran away from Christmas this year, and in fact, on the day, a combination of factors worked together to make the day not only manageable, but GOOD. And I was so grateful.
And one secret factor, which I shared with only a select few, beginning with Husby, first thing in the morning the next day (when the symptoms persisted), learned as I sat still half-out of pyjamas, curled on the edge of the bed, trying not to be excited.
Because on Christmas morning when I went to the bathroom, there was something unusual which made an appearance. And a too-early one for it to be my monthly. And which was potentially implantation bleeding. The timeline was perfect. What had appeared seemed to be ‘textbook’. And Husby did a quick research on Google and we talked in hushed tones, reminding ourselves out loud that it might not be anything. And that there was no way to tell yet.
But I was excited and couldn’t hold it in. I was suddenly thrown off-balance, stumbling back into the very centre of that rug of hope, with my dreams and wishes and prayers all floating up beyond my grasp, like helium balloons disappearing into the blue, sparkling with promise as they did so.
Balloons with bombs on the ends of their strings.
Because if this wasn’t implantation bleeding – if it was just a cruel twist of fate (and probably the effects of ongoing, intense stress) impacting to make my body react peculiarly, on Christmas morning, of all mornings…
So we waited. And still the symptoms seemed to fit. And with no way to confirm it until I officially missed a period, we just had to keep waiting. For four days our hopes lifted higher and higher and inexorably further from our reach, even as I knew that the dropping of those bombs (if they fell) would be ever-harder and more devastating.
I was powerless in the beam of those hopes – so beautiful and containing everything we’d ever planned for ourselves before we crashed into the brick wall of Reality which was his illness. I was mesmerised by them and utterly unable to wrench my eyes away – back to the darkness where I still struggle to come to terms with the two tiny graves I see hovering in my mind, and the desolation of Husby and I clinging to one another, alone-together and simultaneously wishing we were more whilst hating myself for not finding this TwoFamily enough – back where my eyes should have been: Not Hoping.
If I could flip a switch and NotHope, I would.
If I could make it so that each time we’re together, the thought doesn’t cross my mind “will it be this time?”, and don’t lie in crazy upsidown positions and stop lifting heavy things…if I could just enjoy the times we’re together without thinking about ovulation dates or cycle days or the possibilities which might follow…if I could stop stressing so that my body has a chance at conception…if I could figure out how to stop stressing…
Tonight. After oh-so-nearly five days of being under the spell of these hopes. These wicked, precious, awful, wonderful hopes…I went to the bathroom again, and I think the bombs fell.
I’m 90% sure.
I am 90% obliterated.
And I’m so, so sorry.
To those I told…so sorry to have given you this beautiful, fragile ‘maybe’.
Mum, Dad, WonderAunty, Sis…so sorry to have raised your hopes.
Husby…”sorry” cannot begin to convey this Feel.
Two more months and one shot at ICSI…There’s still time. There’s still time. There’s still time.
And there’s that final balloon.
That 10% of mistrusted uncertainty hovering sadly by itself, looking tarnished and lonely now, with the bomb tugging eagerly at the string, ready to fall…
And I’m so sorry.