First and foremost, I need to say a huge HELLO! to all of you. I realize I’ve been MIA here at The Infertility Voice website as of late and when I got a comment on an old post today wondering where I’d went, I knew it was time to come back to this space. So firstly, me, Larry and the Knish are just fine. Promise
I’ve been largely silent lately as I’ve been struggling with depression yet again. What I thought was due to my thyroid levels being as wonky as they have been throughout my pregnancy is in fact not the case, which leaves me facing a darker reality that perhaps its root lies elsewhere. The good news is that my TSH last month was up in the rafters (for me, anyway) around 7.5. This month they’re back to where they should be, coming in just under 1. I’m hoping they continue to remain stable throughout my pregnancy.
So I’m left to wonder: is it pregnancy hormones? My body adjusting to finally coming off the extra hormones I was on for the first 14 weeks? Or is it something more?
And like any good depressive, I’ve been avoidant of actually confronting it.
Another factor that’s played a role into my recent radio silence has been my relevancy here in this space. I’ve felt strangely confined by labels and definitions lately, that I’m somehow irrelevant because I’ve “crossed over.” Because I’ve “made it.” Truth be told, I don’t think I’ll have ever “crossed over” until the Knish is safely in our arms, home from the hospital.
I created Team Zoll as an outlet to talk about all the nitty gritty things about non-infertility and pregnancy-related things but the truth of the matter is, it’s nearly impossible to seperate the two right now. I’ve worked to create this relatively infertility-free approximation of mommyblogging that rings false. Most of my pregnancy posts over there seem to be complaining and full of gripes. And then I second guess myself that I’m not “enjoying” this pregnancy the way I *should* be, because we’ve worked so hard to get here. So I clam up. And of course, I hesitate to write about any of my pregnancy experience here.
It is a vicious, vicious cycle of self-doubt, only compounded by at times an overwhelming depression about what I’m doing with my life right now. And then there’s the whole “pregnant ladies shouldn’t be depressed” line I tell myself, buzzing in my ear like a mosquito, closely followed by “you should be more grateful right now.”
I spend a lot of time building other people up, of reassuring them that they matter, that your infertility experiences and stories and journeys matter – and they do.
I just sometimes wonder how my own story matters right now given this new and changing dynamic of my own life.
I wish I could tell you that the moment you see a BFP – especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever seen one in your life, like I did – I wish I could tell you that it’s like the slate gets wiped clean and you’re like, “What infertility?”
G-d, I wish I could tell you that.
But from the moment our clinic called us with the good news, my immediate thought was: “Awesome. Let’s hope this pregnancy lasts.” And so while it might outwardly appear cute that I’ve got my weekly change date in my calendar, it’s not in any attempt to be cute or to savor this experience. For the first 12 weeks, it was an important countdown to the beginning of the second trimester, of knowing that I was in the “safe” zone. And yet, at 18 weeks along already (I know – this has flown by), I have my sights set on week 28: viability.
We bought a fetal Doppler monitor from CraigsList a few weeks ago. I was stuck in this weird limbo of official release from my clinic and the stark reality that no, you don’t really go to the OB or midwife every week like you do at the RE clinic. And since this is my first pregnancy and I have absolutely ZERO context to what I should be feeling physically at any given moment, I was constantly worried about every twinge and symptom and headache and hip pain.
And there’s this void between that last ultrasound at about 14 weeks where you know you have something the size of I dunno, a plum? inside of you – the fact that you’ve seen it twitch and move on the ultrasound screen – and yet, you can’t feel it move. There’s a dissonance between what you know because you’ve seen it with your eyes and what you can feel with your body.
Up until very recently, I was terrified that my baby could be dead inside me at any moment and I wouldn’t know because I couldn’t see or feel anything in between appointments. So we bought a used Doppler. And I used it nightly for over a week. And every time I heard that fast running choo choo choo choo sound on the Doppler speaker, this Little Engine That Will, I let out a sigh of relief.
And yet, even now, as I feel the Knish moving a little, I still panic in those still moments when it’s very likely the Knish is just taking a nap, always wondering: “Is he/she okay?”
This is what infertility does to you, even once you make your way to “the other side.”
I am not resolved – in a lot of contexts, but for now, I’ll leave it at infertility – I am not resolved. But I’m in transition. And transition and change are never comfortable places to be in. The last six years of my life have been marked by a substantial amount of change and transition: moving from Maryland to Massachusetts; getting married; working for two different schools then forging ahead to work for myself; buying a house; and in just a little over six months – a baby.
In a lot of ways, I wish life could just chill the fuck out for a few minutes, but then I suppose it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting.
I’m hoping a trip to Disney World in two weeks (our last vacation and in celebration of our five-year anniversary at the end of the month; revisiting our honeymoon haunts) and the NLC Institute will give me the break and kick in the ass I need right now. My post infrequency has not been for lack of believing in and caring about each of you; rather, it’s more of a lack of believing in and caring about myself right now.
I know, I know – classic “it’s not you, it’s me” syndrome.
I so desperately wanted to make it to the “other side” – but I don’t know that I could ever really be prepared for it, even as I march closer and closer to resolution, week by week. I’m haunted by the doubt that infertility paints like a mask on your heart; every day is colored by this doubt. Even when you’re pregnant, there’s just no shaking the ghost of infertility that lurks in the back of every thought.
I hope you’ll bear with me as I work my way through this transition.
One last random thing: my first #IFchat Twitter chat was a bit of a flop due to Tweet Chat issues, but I’m firing up my infertility social media chat again this Friday at 12:30pm EST on Facebook. Join me over at The Infertility Voice Facebook page this Friday at 12:30pm to talk about what the hell is up, infertility, the Kardashians, and gasp! Anne Hathaway.