Eli's Corner


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starting a new season

Ok, wrapping up here. The tone here is going to change a little.  We got home from drinks with our staff, and I realized I was a day late. I was annoyed, because we have a lot of travel planned in the fall, and the travel/IVF schedule only worked if I started on time.  I wanted another drink.  Since it seems poor form to continue drinking when you know you’re late, I dug around and found a lone pee stick in the bathroom.

Like any woman who’s been dealing with IF for any length of time, this was like my zillionth pee test. I saw the big minus sign pop up and I gave a bitter laugh. I’m not a girl who gets plusses. Once – only once had I gotten a plus – and it had sprung up instantly and vividly, changing my whole world forever, although not in the way I had wanted it to. Returning to the present, I set the testament to my failure on the ledge of the bathtub and went to wash my hands. When I picked it up to throw it away, I stopped, examined it closer. There was not a line, not even close. But there was a shadow – a hint of a shadow – not continuous, but in the general area where a line would be. I was perhaps crazy. I wasn’t even sure if I was seeing it. I ran downstairs to show it to B who told me he saw what I was seeing but said there was no way that was a line. He said try to forget about it.

I said, “Yeah, you’re right,” and went to bed and dreamed about positive pregnancy tests. The next morning I got up early, saving my first pee of the day, and tried to sneak out to buy more tests. B woke up.

“Where are you going?”

“Just to the grocery store to pick up some things.”

“You poor thing.”

“Why?”

“You’re so hopeful.”

I shrugged.

“Try to control your expectations.”

“I can’t.”

He looked at me not so much with sympathy as with pity. I ducked out the door.

I came back a while later with pantyliners (for my period) and two different kinds of pregnancy tests.

I took the digital one first – no blurry lines, no ambiguity. I peed on it and waited like 25 years.

Then it popped up, clear as day “Pregnant.”

It would have been appropriate in that moment to say something like “My soul praises the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,” but I actually said “Holy Shit” a bunch of times. And then I stopped because I realized those were like the first words I’d ever spoken about this kid. And then I started laughing. And then I started sobbing convulsively. And that went on for a while.

The previous morning, an old refrain from an old church I briefly attended as a kid had planted itself in my brain.  All I remembered of it was

Oh what a wonderful Saviour to me

All I have needed Thou hast provided

What a wonderful, wonderful Saviour to me

I sang it once, then felt strangely like I meant it. I hadn’t felt a sentiment like that for a long time. I did not feel like he had provided what I had needed, and while he seemed fine to others, I certainly did not feel like he had been wonderful to me.  Even in church, I’d edit songs while singing them, skipping the lines about how God never fails, because I felt like, yes, sometimes he really does fail. But somehow that old refrain was resonating with me that Friday morning, and it had stuck with me through the day.

And then here I was a day later with endometriosis, hypothyroidism and ovaries on the verge of extinction: pregnant. From sex. For free. No doctors involved. I never thought I’d be one of the ones who would have a baby from lovemaking. It felt so incredibly luxurious. Just the most ordinary, mundane, extravagant thing in the world.

Unlike many many stronger women I know, I had not clung to faith.  I’d given up hope.  I had not done all the right things medically either, but here was this gift. And it did seem like maybe “wonderful” was an appropriate word.

I called the fertility clinic. They put me on progesterone immediately.  I took a blood test.  Yes, pregnant, but thyroid levels had skyrocketed exponentially inside of a couple of weeks. They doubled down on my medication. Saturday I had spotting and cramping. I slipped into terror. Sunday I had more blood tests. HCG levels still strong.  We’ll just have to wait and see, they tell me.

So the entire spectrum between the poles of ecstasy and terror has been obliterated, and I slip directly from the one extreme to the other with every twinge and gurgle of my body. In this, I’m trying to remember to cling to that song. To cling to everything I knew one week ago looking at that pee stick. It’s going to be a very long wait, but I’m going to do my best to try out faith for a change this time. And I’m going to forgive myself if I fail, because the simple fact of this pregnancy tells me that sometimes even if I screw it all up, sometimes things still work together.

 


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a summer in brief

So last time I posted was after that miserable failure of an IVF in April.  Around that time I hit a point where it was no longer helpful to talk about my shrinking window, my crusty ovaries, or my dwindling hopes.  Voicing all this did nothing but give center stage to all the anxiety crowding around the edges of my mind.  I stopped blogging. We told our families that IVF didn’t work. (Those who asked. Mostly my family sucks and pretends I don’t exist, so we just let them figure it out.) But we didn’t tell any of them that it would probably never work, that my body just didn’t respond to the drugs anymore.  I just stopped talking about my reproductive system, except when I cried and grieved to my therapist about it, and in those periodic what the heck do we do now conversations with B. In general, it was too heavy to give words to.

Without any further plan, we took a break. We had family visits over the summer. We grew our little business. We got all obsessed with food allergies and got expensive tests done. We talked about adopting. We found out B is supposedly allergic to All Foods Known To Man. We started identifying friends and friends of friends who had adopted so we could get together and ask them about their experiences. We didn’t follow through.

We talked about doing that absurd aggressive IVF which had such slim chances of working. We saw naturopaths about the damn allergies.  Mine told me I needed to detox from all those years of fertility drugs.  I figured, what the hell, and I forced us both on a 3-week detox / elimination diet to kill the dual birds of allergies and toxins with the one Mediclear stone.  No coffee, sugar, alcohol, eggs, dairy, meat, gluten, tomatoes, almonds, soy, etc. etc. etc. made for a super boring summer, but I had minimal expectations for the summer anyway. We reintroduced the allergens one at a time. B decided that each of his reactions was attributable to something else – like how hot it was that day, making this whole exercise essentially pointless as far as he was concerned.

We visited our friends at their cabin on the Sunshine Coast. We drank. I learned to wakeboard. (This is major.) That weekend I finally dumped it all out on my friend that we were pretty much never going to have children. She didn’t say anything particularly horrible.  We jumped off the pier. (Also major.)

We came home, closed our eyes, and dialed up the fertility clinic. In the absence of being able to wrap our heads around anything else, we decided to do one more try with IVF.  We told no one. I think I kind of just wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening until it was over. I didn’t know how I was going to get through it this time, frankly, but I didn’t see any other way to move forward except to get this over with and out of my system. I had my orientation, started my inositol/coQ10/vitamin cocktail and waited for CD1 to call and schedule everything. Went to a double baby shower for two friends that are both on their 2nd since I started trying. Survived by subversively conspiring with H2 to wear matching black tees she got us as gifts when one of those friends announced. (We’ve started buying each other presents when other people get pregnant.)

The next week I suddenly became super chatty about my ovaries.  Had a picnic at the beach with a couple of girlfriends, threw back some gin and tonics and told them all about how I was doing to do one more shitty IVF before giving up completely. Next day another picnic at the beach with a friend who has endo (she comes from a family of endo sufferers, and her sister had just had her second failed IVF cycle that week).  We grieved together about never having babies that will look like us.

B and I took our staff out for drinks that Friday night and felt excited that our little crew was finally starting to feel like a team.  Got home and realized it was too late to call the clinic before the weekend to kick off IVF scheduling.  Also realized CD1 should have been yesterday.

And this brings us almost to the end of summer.  Hold up, I’ve got to pee.