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Those voices in my head…

In the past few days I have written many posts which I went on to abandon. They now lie half-written, awaiting their fate in my wordpress folder. Why did I not complete them? I don’t have a clear answer, only that each time I began with an honest attempt to describe my increasingly muddy feelings, somewhere along the way words fell short of being able to accurately convey the churning cesspool that’s my overworked mind right now. I have to do it though, for myself, else I feel my head just might explode into smithereens and well, mashed brain pulp is not my ideal choice of wall decor!!

It’s strange… this crazy place I’m in ever since we got back from Colorado. I swing from emotion to emotion like a restless monkey in search of elusive bananas (umm yea I realize the ridiculousness of that analogy but that’s the best I can come up with right now!). Everything seems stuck, I feel stuck in a crazy numbed place from which there doesn’t seem to be any way out. The world is moving, moving on as I helplessly look out from my insulated glass bubble. Did I mention the insulation is one-way? I can hear them perfectly but my cries or my relentless banging on the glass gets no attention. There are women getting pregnant, they’re swelling up in joy, rubbing their bellies protectively and I’m just watching them. There are babies all around–heart-beakingly cute, crazily adorable little people but they’re not mine and I am burning up in envy watching those whom they call Mom and Dad.

My husband works harder than ever before and it breaks my heart to see him scavenge for hope as we ride the positive-negative see-saw every single day, multiple times a day. He reassures me, he rubs my feet, he hugs me like he’ll never let go. But when he speaks about ‘his baby’, the child he hopes we will have, perhaps a little girl just like me… I fervently wish then that the earth would swallow me up. I silently rage at God, I grovel and plead–for him, if not for me… please, please, please.

There’s sadness and dark things happening to really nice people. Some are losing their babies, after years of trying and treatments. Others are fading away from what they used to be. No one has an answer to the white-elephant-like, ginormous WHY’s that silently reverberate across collective minds. Empty arms are aching reminders of lack. When I hear of this colossal suffering, I feel ashamed of my own grief. Yet, can grief or loss ever be compared? Is it a relative construct or a personal version of hell?

Amidst all this misery, however, there is life, clamoring to be heard. Life is shoving its way through despair and frustration and showing itself in two pink lines on a plastic stick. Life is showing its blurry face in a grainy ultrasound and making itself heard through a tinny flickering heartbeat. What am I more today? Depressed over the heartlessness of injustice or unhealthily covetous of the blessing of abundance? I am both, I suppose… and more. I am infinitely happy for fellow bloggers finally getting pregnant after years of disappointments and I am heartbroken for those who have experienced mind-numbing loss.

Every day I wake up with a sinking feeling. One more day gone, one less day without my precious baby, one day less of being a mother. Then I remind myself of all that I have. My husband, my life, my biggest blessing. All the comforts a person can ask for. A healthy body (umm apart from its reproductive dysfunctionality, that is!!), a brain that mostly does its job, a great family… there’s a lot to be thankful for. Yet this craving to be a mother has robbed me of the ability to purely enjoy life and all it has to offer. I am learning though. Learning that enjoying the present does not mean I have necessarily given up on the future that I so earnestly desire. Learning that it’s not just about me; there is another breathing, living person enduring this hell with me and for his sake I must get out of bed each day and smile and go for movies and cook yummy food and well… sometimes there’s no greater joy than doing that.

I stay awake some nights wondering why why why can I not dream of my baby? Why do I get inane high school dreams and dreams of people who are no longer in my life and why can I not, instead, just dream of being a mother? If it occupies all my waking time then why does my most cherished desire stay away from my dreams? Is it a sign? I don’t want it to be a sign. Other nights, I stay up worrying about our finances. We have already spent so much and there is yet more coming and God alone knows where the finish line is. We have had to buy a new car because our old one was breaking down all the time and we were paying so much every month. New car, however, means higher car payments. Our rent is going up. Again. In the past two years our rent has gone up by $350 a month! Yet anything else we seek out is still more expensive. We need to stay in the area because my doctor’s here, my acupuncturist is and well, yes I know we could move somewhere and find new providers but the thing is anywhere else would only be marginally cheaper. And I love where we live right now. I feel that if this is also snatched away from me, I will seriously slip into depression. I wonder if we will ever get out of an apartment and into a house of our own. I feel sickened with the realization that if my body could just do its thing, we would not be going through this hell.

I go out, meet friends and watch them with their kids. Some of them know how hard we are struggling, others (most) have no clue. They hug their babies, play with them and tell us that we should have kids too. I smile and nod as my heart goes up in flames. I play with their kids, especially the little girls. I hold them close, smell their baby smell and I wonder, in a strange and detached manner, can hearts actually shatter? Do they make a noise or do they just crack apart silently?

Some days I feel just fine. I am able to drive around, run errands and walk into Target and Costco and Whole Foods and not bat an eyelid at the swollen bellies, the adorable toddlers running amok; heck even the newborn aisle does not faze me. Yet there are other days when a partial glimpse, even, of a striped onesie can feel like a solid kick in the gut. I think that next year is certainly my year, I can feel my dream about to come true. I can feel that it is our time now. And almost as soon as that thought crystallizes in my mind, a gush of fear stands poised, threatening to drown it out. Determined, I start surfing baby strollers online. I will make this happen, I tell fear. I will NOT let you win. It is MY time. I look at the bangles I wear. One is for my baby. When I made a fervent plea to God to bless me with a child. That was in the summer of 2011. I truly felt that God has listened and in 2012 when I got pregnant I felt my faith was proven. Yet, it did not last… neither the pregnancy nor the certainty that it would happen.

So where does this leave me? Like every other day. Just as I embraced the intrusive testing, the needles and the procedures, the envy and the sadness, the yoga and the acupuncture, the need for patience and the necessity of faith.. I embrace the amusement park that is my mind. I embrace the insecurity and the fear, the positivity and the hope and through it all I remind myself–this, too, shall pass 🙂

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Love, life and %#$!&@ (Part 1)

Struggling with fertility, in many ways, feels akin to trying to find love (ask me, I’m an expert at both struggles!). You spend a big chunk of your life expecting it to happen naturally, you dream up gargantuan Hollywood-ian fantasies of what it will feel like and you tell yourself that once you meet that special someone, life’s pretty much going to take care of itself.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

What happens instead (esp. if you’re a dramatic, ambitious and entirely unrealistic sort like me) is that on your 30th birthday you find yourself alone at the local liquor store to grab a bottle of vino and the old man behind the counter takes one look at your ID and exclaims ‘oh you’re thirty… wow!’ and you can’t quite figure out whether he’s feeling happy for you or sorry that you’re obviously celebrating alone as you glug the Irish whisky shot he offers gratis even before he can say cheers! What also happens is that after several years of dating a string of douchebags while all your friends waltz off on their gilt-edged honeymoons, you start losing hope that you will ever find someone. You realize that you no longer have the energy or the inclination to don vertigo-inducing high heels and gyrate with strangers in cavernous rooms with psychedelic lighting and that, horror of horrors, internet dating might not be such a bad idea after all. You get frustrated, then hopeful, then plain depressed as nothing works out and you find solace in Gai Pad Krapow and Ben & Jerrys chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. You long for someone to watch Seinfield re-runs with, someone to travel the world with and someone who will love you in your pajamas as much as he loves you in your LBD.

And then, quite suddenly, out of nowhere you find this guy -this charming, sexy, handsome guy who teases you, flirts with you and drives 50 miles every weekend (racking up $$$ speeding tickets in the process) to take you out on the most wonderful dates. You watch, jaw hanging, as he opens his heart to you and tells you in the middle of a nightclub that he can’t wait to be a daddy. You swoon as he goes down on one knee and implores you to marry him and make him the happiest man on earth. And one day, just like that, you wake up, turn over and watch your husband sleeping like a baby and you marvel at how perfect he is and how you love being his wife.

That’s when fate decides to fuck with you. Again.

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Why I stopped blogging…

Here’s why I stopped blogging after the first few posts:

5 days after I started this blog, I discovered I was pregnant. Seeing those much lusted-after double lines on the FRER was such a shock, I almost swooned with the realization that it had actually happened. I can never forget that day, that moment. We were waiting for a handyman to come help us fix some stuff around the house and I thought I would take the test after he goes to avoid any emotional public display. As my second post on the blog mentions I had already taken an HPT a few days back and the result had been a resounding negative. But, inexplicably, my period did not show up. I am never late, and certainly not by 4 days, so I decided to take another test or ask the doc what was going on here. Well, the result was positive and we were elated, to put it mildly.

Initial HCG numbers were great and doubling right on target. The next two weeks went by in a happy daze. Since God had granted us this preciousness after much yearning, we were rather cautious in our celebration. We told only our parents and no one else. Even amongst ourselves, we would refrain from overt planning or constantly mentioning the baby; we were that superstitious!

Exactly two weeks from the day we found out, we had our first ultrasound appointment. Hand in hand, like two excited adolescents we traipsed off to the doctor’s office. Since my symptoms so far had not been too severe, I was also rather thrilled about having my first ‘gag’ moment earlier that day. The nurse greeted us cheerfully and started us off on the TVS. She told us she might not see much in which case we should not panic; it was possible, apparently. After a little prodding she said she would call in a doctor for she wasn’t sure what was happening. The doc who came was not the one we see normally. She was efficient enough but not the warmest person around. After a few more uncomfortable prods with the probe she told us there were basically three options: 1. there was no baby; it had stopped growing, 2. the baby was growing in the wrong place and 3. it might be too early to see the baby and we should get a second u/s in a few days. The third option was delivered with a distinctive lack of conviction.

I felt the world drain of color. My heart sank to the recesses of despair. My eyes filled up and even before I could register it, I was sobbing uncontrollably. The doctor looked at me as if I was slowly growing horns. On my nose. Or all over my face. Thankfully, in a short while I got a chance to speak with my own doctor who is the nicest, gentlest soul ever. Sadly, he had the same thing to say. It did not look good. He called me back in a few days for a repeat u/s.

If I tell you that the next few days were the longest days of my life, I would not be resorting to a cliche rather it would be the only words that can do justice to what those 4 days felt life: a never-ending, hazy, grief-stricken rollercoaster whose operator seemed to have relegated his post. Forever. I wrote letters to my unborn child. I pleaded with him/ her to be brave, to trust me, to not leave my side. I begged God not to separate me from this life growing within me. I did not, could not believe that my baby was not growing. If not for my husband, I would have simply starved those few days. He ran around getting food for me, fed me lovingly, held me when the tears took over, assured me everything would be okay… all this while the man’s heart was breaking too.

In 4 days, I was asked by my doc to go get my my HCG checked at the ER (it was a Sunday). Heart in mouth, we went. They took my blood and asked me to get yet another u/s done. Interminable minutes, hours went by. The ER staff sporadically checked in on us, oblivious to the torture clutches our hearts were in. After what seemed like ages, I saw precisely the last person whose face I wanted to see–the same doctor who had coldly delivered the verdict to us at our RE’s office. In her clipped, curt voice she told me she had met with the doctor on duty and basically my HCG had pleateaud and there was nothing to be seen in the u/s. Nothing. Nada. She was now pretty sure this was an ectopic and I should get it operated upon through a D&C soon else I was in serious danger of a tubal rupture.

Up till that point both my husband and I were pretty sure we did not want to move forward with anything till we took a second opinion. The highly aggressive manner in which this doctor was pressuring us had really put us off. But with this new information about a potential threat to my life and a documented surety that the pregnancy was not viable, we felt cornered into deciding on getting the D&C done.

And so it was that my two week old dream came to a staggering, brutal halt. Just over 4 months after I was in surgery for my myomectomy, I was once again being wheeled into an operating room, this time to take away that which I had prayed nonstop for, that which I had been overjoyed to welcome in to my body and that which was now being snatched away from me. I felt like the worst mother on the face of this world. I was unable to save my baby. They were taking my little angel away from me and I could do nothing except mutely stare. The tears that were copiously flowing from my eyes seemed to sear into my skin; never in my life had I felt more wretched.

It was over before I could even register what was happening. I was soon under anesthesia and in about half an hour the procedure was over. They gave my a shot of methotrexate following the procedure to treat the ectopic. Another hour of monitoring and then I was sent back home. To emptiness. To a bleeding, shattered heart. To countless hours of mourning. To a long, cold war with God.