Friday, July 11, 2008

Maybe it's best

Part of me does realize that some people would envy me the fact that I have no kids. Because I haven't been focused on raising a family, I've been able to do a lot of things that others haven't. I've been all over the world. I've gotten graduate degrees. I have freedom of movement, freedom of time and space, freedom to think my own thoughts. I can take a bubble bath, read a book, volunteer for a politician or charity, go to the beach, work long hours, meditate, take a drive, go places with friends, play scrabble, write my blog. I don't have to be other-focused unless I choose to be.

Maybe I am too selfish to be a good mother. I'm too used to my own thing now. I like to think of myself as a giving, loving person, and perhaps I am. But I don't have love forced from me. I can give it as I choose. If you have children, you can't choose to love them some days and not other days. You can't bail on them when the going gets tough. You are not as important as your kids, and the choices you make have to reflect that priority every single solitary day. You have to be present and focused and giving to them constantly, without falter. And maybe I'm not capable of that. Who knows. I'll never find out. So really it's a catch-22. I'm too self-focused, therefore fate determined that I shouldn't have kids. Fate made its call, therefore I stay self-focused.

I have started to wonder just why it is that being infertile bothers me so. Is it because I really wanted to be a mom? Do I have the requisite motherly instincts and desires? Or do I want to be a mom because it's a marker of femininity in our culture and in the absence of motherhood I feel unfeminine? What kind of feminine definition have I been using to measure myself against? Am I really wanting in femininity, or have I just made myself feel this way because I haven't kept up with the Janes, so to speak? I don't have an easy answer to this question, but the fact that I can actually pose it cogently points to some burgeoning self-awareness, I think.

Who I would have been had I not lived in this particular time in history? What happened in the past to infertile women? Did we become nuns, maids, spinsters? Were we allowed to exist normally, or were we outcast? I wonder if someone has written a history of infertile women. That would be a verrrrry interesting read. I feel grateful that I live in the 21st century. It's not the best time of human history, but probably the optimal time for someone like me. I don' t believe in past lives, and so I guess I was meant to be who I am in this one. It is what it is. I am what I am.

That sounds like acceptance, but I guarantee you I'm far from that. This blogging is helping me, though. I think if I do this often enough and with enough intent, I can get the shame I feel about being infertile up and out of me. Then maybe the rest of my life won't be as colored by it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Better day today

Felt better today. Husband stayed home from work and we palled around. He wasn't feeling all that great, so didn't go to the gym with me as we'd planned, but then we came back home and just hung around, watching stupid TV and playing on computers. It's about as much togetherness as we get anymore. That's ok. At least we weren't fighting. We fight so much anymore. Pick, pick, pick, about little things. I guess if we're fighting about the little stuff, we ignore the big stuff, like the fact that our mortgage payment is 40 days late and we're in danger of losing our house. Fuck. I think if we were to lose our house that would be it for me. I'd pack in the marriage too. I just don't think I'd have the strength to go on.

Anyway, I don't want to think about that right now. As Scarlett would say...I'll think about that tomorrow.

So I just saw this story on the news about a father who left his two year old in the car all day while he worked, and the kid died from heat prostration. They had just adopted the kid from Russia, apparently. Goddamn, goddamn, goddamn a thousand times.

I know if you met me the first question you'd ask is WHY AREN'T YOU ADOPTING? Ya right. Our financial situation is so fucking bad that I'm sure no adoption agency in its right mind would give us a child. We make a ton of money between the two of us, but our bills are so high and mortgage payment so huge that it's hard to make ends meet. That seems utterly ridiculous. But it's true. I'm sure that no one would have sympathy for us. Well, fuck you. You don't know how shameful it feels to be broke when people know you make a good coin. I am constantly ashamed of us and our situation. I really can't see bringing a child into our thing right now. I mean he or she would be absolutely loved and cherished. But what could we give the child? I would hate to have to feed him pancakes for dinner when we make so much money. So freaking embarrassing. Shame, shame, shame.

I'm good at feeling shame. I hate my situation. At least I feel a little prouder of myself as a person lately because I've lost so much weight. I don't feel like a boulder on the earth's surface anymore. I feel okay about how I look. Now I'm nowhere near thin...I still need to lose another forty pounds. But I'm not in clothing sizes that begin with 2 anymore. I'm losing slowly now...maybe a pound or two a week. But that's okay. It's more likely to stay off if I lose it slowly. In four months I've lost about 50 pounds, and I had already lost 40 before that. Maybe it will take me till Christmas, but by Christmas I want to be a size 12. So there you go. Almost there. I wonder what keeps me going. There's really no reason to try anymore, except the inner desire to not be a fucking heifer. Maybe it's that food and exercise are things I can control...and when so much else is spiralling out of control, this gives me a sense of balance. Something to be victorious about. Something to mitigate the shame. I want to love me. And I'm trying to. I just wish something or someone would come along to help me have hope. I know what happiness is, and I want to feel some, at least for more than fleeting moments.

Summer storms come every night this year. Tonight's was a doosey. We got about two inches of rain inside an hour. You know that feeling in the air when the storm's coming, but it hasn't arrived yet? That's my inner barometric pressure too. That's exactly how I feel. So does that mean a storm is on its way? I think so. I think so. The pressure's gotta fall soon.

I can't sleep

I had a feeling this was going to happen. I started writing about the things that hurt and anger me, about how pissed off and depressed I feel when I think about being INFERTILE. And now I'm all riled up. I've been this way all day...bouncing between anger and depression. One positive note: I didn't go raiding the fridge like I used to do when I was fatter. FOOD IS NOT MY FRIEND. FOOD WILL NOT COMFORT ME.

So what's bouncing around my feeble brain (this won't be all infertility related):

1. I googled an old flame (one with whom I'm in semi-weekly touch via e-mail, still, although we haven't seen each other in many years) and found a bunch of pictures from his latest vacation. Seeing those pictures was a sucker-punch. There they are, easily together: husband, wife, daughter. He poses with his arm protectively around his wife. He's still so handsome, so much the guy I fell for way back when. Hasn't aged an iota. Wife is smiling, although to me her smile looks tight. She looks like she works out; she has muscular arms and is still slim. The daughter is sixteen: beautiful, well-adjusted, loved. Everyone has gorgeous, straight teeth. They're dressed in pressed Ralph Lauren and they're wearing expensive shoes. So perfect looking. Perfect people, perfect life. At least that's how it looks. I guess it's right and good that he ended up with this woman rather than with me. The same set of pictures with me as his wife would have been very different, I'm sure. I'd have probably dragged him to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, followed by a massive yard sale tour of the South, and ending with a visit to Graceland. Feh, whatever. I'm kind of sick of thinking about this guy, which I do far too often, for I think he still owns a piece of my heart. But maybe it's not him. Maybe it's what he represents. That fucking perfect ideal. My life is so far away from that. I really don't need or want a perfect life, but goddamn, I'd like to have something I want. SOMETHING. It seems like whenever I want something too much, that's exactly what I don't get. Whine, bitch, moan, complain.

2. Over these four plus decades of my life, I have LONGED for a clear spiritual connection to God. I really want to be near to God, to have God love me and help me and be there for me, listening, pointing, whispering, helping. I've tried so hard to be close to God. But I'm coming to the conclusion that God doesn't want to be close to me. If God wanted me, He/She would give me ears to hear, so to speak. But my spiritual ears don't work. I'm deaf that way. If God whispers in my ear, it's so faint I can't hear it. I really am amazed when I see and hear people evangelizing, etc. I know of people who've gone overseas to try to win souls for Jesus. And I think to myself...well, if I can't even convince my own soul that God listens to me, how on earth could I evangelize to others? During my last church-going spate, I found it so hard to answer the questions, again and again, about why I don't have kids, why didn' t my husband come with me to church, why? I had and have no answers. WHY??????????

I think it would take so little to make me happy and fulfill me. But I really think that God messes with me on a regular basis. So much struggle for so little reward. I want many things that aren't going to happen for me. I'm broke. We're worried about how to make the next mortgage payment (yes I'm one of THOSE people). You know now about the whole kid thing. Our marriage is suffering and might fail. I feel like I live in hell's outer screened in porch, unable to escape, only able to breathe when I get outside for a minute.

So I should try to go to bed now.

I want to be good and right and follow the rules so that my life aligns with God's will, but he seems to be taking a hands-off approach. So I've been doing the best I can with what I've got.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The husband

My husband's an okay guy. Actually, he's very nice. He's just doing the best he can. Infertility is his cross to bear too, at least while he's married to me. I know I try to push him away. I cast shadows on things he does, I doubt his sincerity, I make it look like he's to blame. But he's not. He's really more sensitive than most. It's me who's the problem. I've told him this. I've even said that maybe he should go find some fertile, younger, happier woman with the ability to balance a checkbook and bear babies. But he sticks around. For now.

I see clouds pass over his face when we're around children. He's really good with children, and they love him right back. He's charming, and entertaining, and knows how to communicate with kids. Together, they romp and yell and throw things, and I see his cares fall away from him as he enters their moments...time-stand-still moments when anything is possible. Then the clouds pass over when he realizes that it was just pretend, that he's not a dad. Or maybe he was, for one soft moment, but the moment is no more.

My husband is not perfect. He's cheated on me, at least virtually...I found pictures downloaded and uploaded, text of furtive sex acts, strange numbers on the cell phone bill. I don't think he's ever actually been with another woman. But he's not with me all that often. Not because I'm cold, or frigid...I still want. But maybe, in his inner self, he realizes that sex with me is just sex for pleasure...nothing more. Perhaps there is truth to the idea that there exists a primordial part of every man that wants to fuck simply for procreation. I keep waiting for the day when I get a phone call from some strange woman, telling me that my husband has gotten her pregnant, and that I ought to give him up because she can give him something I can't.

I don't know how long our marriage will last, because I don't know if I'm willing to keep him childless. I love him enough to want more for him than I can give. And our marriage is in a state of stasis. More to the point, it's in a state of waiting. For Godot.

Nota bene

If I should ever get any readers for this blog, I DO NOT want to hear from you about the following:

*the language I choose to's my fucking blog.
*advice about getting pregnant...if I get one more piece of well intentioned but CLUELESS counsel about this, I shall smack that person and anyone else in the immediate vicinity about hte head and shoulders with a baseball bat.
*Bible verses or anything else that tells me that I need Jesus, or Mohammad, or whatever god/goddess you think might do the trick. I've been down the Jesus road, and actually carry a skewed set of Christian beliefs. But Jesus, Mary, and all the crew never heard me when I cried out about my childless state, and I've quit sending up the kind requests, screaming pleas, and other agonized prostrations I used to send. They're not listening. Request denied...or at the very least, ignored.

However, I would LOVE to receive:
*Equally pissed off rants from amigas in the same leaky infertility boat
*Atta girls from people who can't directly relate, but who are interested anyway
*Babies in baskets left on my doorstep. If anyone has the stork's cell phone number, send it along.

Blog the first

Hello world. My name is Rose, and I'm infertile.

And I'm pissed off about it.

I've been fighting the infertility demon for quite some time now. My husband and I got married in 2000, and have been trying to have kids ever since. I've been through every fertility treatment on the medical roster, and none has worked. Here I sit, age 46, with no kids. And I wanted them. Oh, how I wanted them. Babies to cuddle and care for, little ones to read to and play with, grade schoolers to help with homework and take to museums, tweens to teach about life, teenagers to counsel and guide, young adults to send off to college, weddings to plan, grandchildren to spoil. Mama. Mother. Matriarch. Me.

But it's time for me to face facts. I'm not a mama, and will never be one.

For a long time, people told me to keep hope alive, as Jesse Jackson used to say. Keep hoping. Just're stressing out about it too much. Eat asparagus (bananas, pineapple, various vitamins). Pray to the Virgin (the goddess, Saint Anthony, whoever). Here...take these clomid'll ovulate. Try really can work. Your eggs are too old, so try IVF with donor eggs. Try to soon as you adopt a child, you'll get pregnant for sure!

Oh, fuck all of that. None of it worked. Not even IVF with donor eggs, which my doctor assured me had an 80% chance of getting us a baby. You should have seen me, flipping through the donor book, holding on to all the hope that a weary woman can possess, finally choosing a donor whose baby picture closely resembled me when I was little. That last IVF, the one with eggs from the donor with the chocolate chip cookie eyes and shy smile, was the worst. I'd allowed myself to believe, believe, believe, more than I'd ever believed before. 80% chance of success, right? When I got the call, that blithe call from the nurse assistant who couldn't have cared less, that I was not pregnant yet again, it just about killed me. I kept seeing those sweet brown eyes in my dreams.

One devastation after another. One blow to the spirit, then another, and another, and another. Each felt like a punch to the solar plexus. Each felt like a body bruise that wouldn't heal.

So these days I look okay on the outside, but inside I'm all black and blue.

Hence this blog. I've got to get over the anger. I've got to find a way to healing. I've got to get to stage five, you know, ACCEPTANCE.

And reality dictates that I have no choice but to accept a childless existence as my fate. The fact is that my gynecologic biology was faulty from the beginning, and now after countless surgeries, probes, tests, etc., there isn't much of it left. I've suffered from ovarian cysts my whole life, and have borne three major surgeries because of them. I've also had blocked tubes, fibroids, and a hormone imbalance. Each time one of these got treated, I'd lose a body part. These days, I have one ovary and my uterus left. No tube connects the ovary and the uterus, so there's no chance of anything spontaneous happening.

Now I'm going through fucking menopause. Yep. Menopause. And if you think you're going to read a bunch of happy horseshit here about how I'm having my "power surge" and how I'm so happy to be preparing to enter "the most creative time of my life", find another blog. I'm even more pissed off now. I laid in bed two nights ago, suffering from my first bout with "night sweats" and feeling like I was going to melt into that little puddle of green goo, just like the Wicked Witch of the West. I know it's menopause and not summer's heat that's getting me. The AC was on full blast, as was the ceiling fan in my bedroom. And I haven't had a real period for almost a year. Yeah, I had a little teeny drip in March, but that was the last of it. Each month, I feel like I'm going to get it, all the PMS and bloating and everything, but then it doesn't come. I used to curse the auntie (curse the curse, haha). But these days I feel like she's abandoned me.

The endocrinologist I went to see in the fall of '06 told me that I was infertile because I was fat. And ya, at that time I was, very fat. No mention then of the fact that THREE IVFs may have contributed even a little to me putting on 100 pounds in six years. No one tells you about the effects that megadoses of hormones have on your body. Modern medicine, feh.

But since fall of '06, I've lost 90 of those 100 pounds. And what have I gotten for all my dieting, exercising, and other fucking self-discipline? My periods have stopped and I've entered the power surge world. Damn it all.

You might be sitting there reading this and thinking, this bitch certainly knows how to whine. I ain't whining, amiga. I'm royally pissed off. I can't believe this has happened to me. While I know the world has a million more pressing problems than my internal malfunctions, I have to live with myself. And I'm so angry about this, so angry at myself, so angry at the fact that for all my brains and accolades and success, I am bereft of basic femininity. I feel my infertility as a void in my spirit. A gaping giant hole in my soul.

Can I tell you that at times I've felt this anger so acutely that I've thought of suicide? There's a great big bridge near here that stretches over a beautiful, scenic bay. More than once, I've thought of what that scenery must look like as you're falling, falling, falling from that bridge. I've heard stories of people driving their cars up to the bridge summit, parking and pissing off all the other drivers, and then taking a flying leap over the top. A moment or two of sheer freedom from all that oppresses, before smash! crash! into the water and silence. Bodies wash up later, found by fishermen or pleasure boaters or the natural resources police.

But don't panic, amiga. I ain't killing myself. I'm blogging instead. Maybe someday I'll look back on this and say BLOGGING SAVED MY SOUL.


Keep hope alive.