Come for the coffee, stay for the flies
I wish it would all just come out at once. Instead the sadness is trickling out. I haven't had a single good cry; I've just had many short ones. Many short ones.
It's triggered by all the obvious things, of course. I cry once I've hit "send" on the e-mail to the IVF coordinator asking that our money be refunded — the fee we paid back in April — for the cycles that never quite happened.
I cry when Charlie's slipper-socked foot slams into my abdomen as we wrestle together on the carpet, not from the physical pain of it, but at the fact that after crapping out so definitively, my ovaries would dare to hurt at all. It feels like an ugly insult.
I cry when I go into the basement to get a bottle of wine and see my unused meds racked right next to the cabernet. (I can say with some authority that 2006 was a crap-ass year for Follistim, with its overpowering nose of flop sweat and cat spray.)
And I've cried when I've seen each new comment on my last post; every expression of kindness reminds me of how very much I need it just now. Thank you.
I slept only briefly last night. By 3:45 I was awake again. I'd been crying in my sleep.
By 4:45 I was Googling "poor response ivf early menopause," an activity that in hindsight seems stupendously ill advised but at the time seemed like a jim dandy way to soothe myself down for another few hours of blissful repose.
By 6:00 it was clear I was up for the day. I went down to the kitchen for coffee.
Allow me a digression, if you will. It is important to the story if you are to understand the full magnitude of how pathetic I am just now.
Living in New England as we do, we enjoy mild summers with only a relative few days of stifling heat. Our house, therefore, is not air conditioned; for all but the hottest days, open windows and ceiling fans are adequate.
Our windows have screens, but they are imperfectly patched here and there, allowing the occasional insect to enter. This past summer saw an infestation of tiny fruit fly-like insects. They came, surged in population, and then staged a massive die-off all over the kitchen, their tiny winged corpses blanketing the counters, about five to the square inch. And then again. And then again. Over and over in four-day cycles for about a month.
It was impossible. I eradicated every bit of food from every possible source but the refrigerator. I bleached every possible repository of filth, from the garbage cans to the mop bucket to the revolting inner gasket on our lemon of a front-loading washer. And still they came, and lived for a few supremely irritating days, and died, presumably finding some time in their busy schedule of driving me to tears of rage to, you know, do whatever it is flies do — do not tell me — to make more flies.
It was horrible. And then they were gone, and I forgot all about it because I have the attention span of a fruit fly-like insect myself.
I forgot, that is, until this morning when I reached into the back of the cabinet for the largest mug I own, a giant bucket of a cup emblazoned with the ultimate patriotic emblem: the logo for the Mall of America. There was a dead fly in it.
I flicked the corpse out with my fingers and stood at the sink, carefully weighing the question of whether to wash the mug with soap, reasoning that I'd probably already ingested dozens of fly legs without even noticing, so why not do it now? When I realized I was doing this — that I am currently feeling low enough, sluggish and sad and slow enough, to consider drinking months-old bug parts — well, that made me cry some, too.
It's bad. In the moment, at my most self indulgent, I'm dangerously tempted to say that it's the worst it's ever been, because before we had Charlie, at least we knew we'd keep trying.
But of course that's not true. There is Charlie, after all. Charlie, who likes to stand by the bookcase and take out the paperbacks, inspecting them carefully, saying what he sees.
He brings one of Paul's books, excitedly jabbering. "Tahnie sees Mama! Mama inna orange speedsuit. Touchin a cat. Cat says [wide eyes, open mouth, attempt to make a hissing noise], means dop touchina cat! Leafa cat anone, go ewway."
It is hard to look at Charlie and know he's it — not the only child we'll have, not necessarily, but the only one to inherit the innate flair that allows me to carry off baggy orange nylon with such inimitable panache. But it's not as hard as it was before him. Never was worse than never again.
So what happened? I don't even know. Or rather I know what, but not why. It guts me that the why doesn't really matter, but it doesn't, not without any new plan for the future.
Last Thursday I went in for another scan. A couple of my follicles had grown a very little bit; the other two had stalled. When a follicle is expected to grow 1 to 2 mm a day, an increase of only 1 mm over two days is unimpressive. That pattern over the course of 13 days is abysmal. I went home to wait for the bloodwork already knowing the score.
The nurse called that afternoon. My E2 had plateaued — a bad sign, just like all the others. They recommended cancellation. "Are you all right with that?" she asked, kind as always.
I guess somehow I'll have to be. But I'm not. I am not okay, not yet. I will be, but now I am terribly sad.