Sunday, November 07, 2004


I spent the weekend with E. at our flat in the Other City for a change of scene, and we talked of many things. Of ships and shoes and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.

But not, for the first time in many months, of babies. It was a blessed relief, to be honest, to turn our minds to something else for a change. The chaos in our life extends to other areas, such as our wonky living situation, and E.'s feelings of career stagnation, so there is never any shortage of material to work with. Periodically, as we did this weekend, we take some time off from the Infertility Express train to Hell, and think about other stuff.

Like, where do we want to live? Should we sell one or both of the flats and move to somewhere in the middle? If so, where? Should E. quit his job and start his own business? If so, what would that business be? If he could get a better job, would it be worth thinking again about making a big geographical move? You know, that kind of thing. The sort of discussion which at the best of times leaves you staring wide-eyed at the crack in the ceiling in the middle of the night. And that's before we add a hypothetical baby into the mix.

We talk about the "other stuff", and then we get back on the hamster wheel, spinning mindlessly towards nothingness.

One thing I continue to find hard about where we are at in the infertility process is that it renders us almost absolutely incapable of planning anything, decisively, for the long-term. There is still so much we don't know. We don't know if we'll be buying maternity clothes in the spring, undergoing treatment, talking to adoption agencies, or getting a puppy with the aim of learning to live childfree. If you put all of that on a spectrum of what could be, it's really insanely mind-blowing. I mean, any one of those outcomes is, in its own right, so chockfull of possibility, it makes my head hurt.

People say 'you have to get on with things and live your life'. Try not to let infertility get in the way of planning things that you would otherwise want to do. But the thing is, I am not talking about whether or not to book a holiday to Aruba here, I am talking about decisions, big decisions, which, if circumstances change significantly in one direction or another, could have enormous impact.

People say 'well, just be patient, everything will work itself out in time'. Yeah. That's what I said a year and a half ago. How much time should I factor in here? For everything to "work itself out"? To wait and see what will be. Two years? Three years? Say another two years to try fertility treatment, and if that fails, then a year to get into the adoption process and another year to actually get a baby from somewhere? Are we really saying that we put everything else in life on hold for at least four years while we figure this shit out? And what about the very real possibility that we'll opt to live without children, if it comes to that, in which case, knowing how much of a blow that will be, I'd really like to get on with making some arrangements to make that as pleasurable and comfortable as possible.

People say, ' well, sometimes things don't go to plan'. Yes, I get that. I'm not even talking about things not going to plan, I am talking about not being able to make a plan in the first place. I am talking about the feeling of sailing into uncharted waters, of going right off the edge of the map-where we may find land, or where there may be dragons.

I think the reason we aren't talking about baby things on top of, or in the contexts of, those other discussions is because we both feel like we need to make a conscious effort to work with what we have got. Even if what we have got remains a gigantic question mark. I know I can't wait around forever for things to fall into place. I also know some of the answers are coming, very slowly, in painstaking drips.

But it seems so desperately slow. E will do another SA this week, and I have the HSG scheduled for December. We then need to see the RE again to discuss options. It's the usual hurry up and wait, without any definitive plan of action anywhere in sight. So right now it feels like there is absolutely hee haw happening on the baby front, apart from the forced march of baby-making sex on cue.

We are both so tired of waiting. All these months going by, and our lives don't change- we are stuck, in suspended animation, waiting for something, anything, to happen. I don't want to wake up one day in a few years from now, and find that opportunities have passed us by. Nor do I want to wake up, and find we have gotten ahead of ourselves, and burned our boats, only to find that I now need passage off the Island.

I feel like whichever way I move, I am trapped by the spectre of infertility. One way or another, something will have to shift. Because I can't live my life in checkmate forever.


At 5:06 AM, Blogger lobster girl said...

It's so frustrating, isn't it? I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. I don't have anything very helpful to say. You have some important decisions to make, and that can't be easy under the best of circumstances. And here you are dealing with one of the worst. I'm glad at least that you had a weekend off from discussing infertility hell.

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear you, sister! Boy, do I hear you.


At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me while I take your lovely metaphor and choke it with my poor English. For us, once we knew our destination, it was easier to chart our course. Of course, we hit tsnumi's (sp?), heavy rain and Russel Crowe in tight pants-- any of those threw us off from time to time. But. We knew where we wanted to end up. It made it easier. Scratch that. It made it bearable to chart the vast infertility sea.

Middle Way
Sea turtle, not a captain

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just lurking but figured I would add my sympathy about the problem of the inability to makes plans for your life. Yes, of course I agree with all of the numb skulls out there that things don't always "go as planned" but being robbed of the ability to even make a plan that may be fouled up is patently unfair.
I am suffering my own procreative nightmare. It's been over two years of actively trying and nothing good has come of it (I am 33--not old in absolute terms, but old when you have a chromosomal problem that could drag everything out substantially and possibly longer than I have eggs left). Finally I just told myself to assume nothing good is ever going to happen in that department and just live like it won't. This may sound pathological, but it's helping me get through--most of the time! Then I figure, I'll be pleasantly surprised if it does happen. Maybe it's dumb to play these games with myself, but it seems to be helping. I still have my 2ww neuroses, but I am crashing less after my period arrives.
It is so unfair to have to go through what you're going through. I just wanted to let you know there's another person out there hoping against hope and hoping that hope is not destroyed completely.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger suz said...

Delurking to say I get it, and I'm sorry. It was the hardest part for me, after the initial letdown of all those negative pee sticks: that sense of being unable to make any progress anywhere in my life, that not getting pregnant was going to keep my entire life on hold. I wish you the best.

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant, well done post Mare (as always).

That is absolutely the most difficult thing about all of this, even more than the negative pee sticks (and we know how much that hurts). It's the inability to move forward, to plan, to move on -- whatever it is you need to do with regard to your own personal situation -- but can't because there's this unresolved issued of whether or not you can or can't have a family. I constantly feel like I'm just languishing or suspended in some kind of purgatory not sure what to do next. If I can't have children, then fine, then let's know that definitively so I can plan my life around that without any hope of something else; but if I can, then let's move it on so that I can actually do something constructive towards that goal. However, it's the time that just lingers on, month after month that makes it so hard. If someone could say -- oh yes, it will happen, but you need to spend exactly 5 years doing it, then fine, I'm all over it. It's the spending 5 years and still ending up in the same place, or worse off, than where I started.

P.S. I love that poem -- ah yes, of cabbages and kings.


At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all those great sayings already at your disposal, I couldn't possibly add anymore except to say that you are so not alone.

This is what we did and I'm not sure if its a good thing or a bad thing, but its something: we wrote out one scenario (without baby #2 for us) and looked at the jobs, where to live, what to buy/sell and then did another one (with baby #2 in the mix) and we've compromised down the middle mostly for more than a year and a half now. The stuff that we really had to do, we did (changed a job) and let the reality of that work into the fertility treatments.

Its helped as the months and tries haven't been successful not to have the added unhappy with career pressure stuff too. We didn't move and there are moment when I feel like I just can't stand...(the kitchen anymore, etc.) because we will have one set of choices with two kids and one set of choices with one. We're close to over (either with or without a baby) with this part of our journey and its just not easy.


At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plans? Those left with my size 8 jeans, my vanity and the last of our savings.

I've learned to only PLAN about 24 hours in advance. If I'm lucky.

The only longterm planning done in the Vintage house are "doomsday plans". These are the ones you plan on doing if the cycle fails. I'm already projecting Hawaii in January. Want to come?


At 10:52 PM, Blogger sherry said...

Mare, you've said it like only you can. Beautifully...

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mare,
Once again you put it all perfectly. The loss of years to this process and the loss of the ability to plan are two of the most painful losses of infertility. But if you don't mind my saying so, I think you should chuck the idea of living child-free. I know, who am I to say such a thing! But it just echoes in your words that living child-free would be an unhappy outcome for you. Sadly and unfairly, it might be a couple of years before you have that bambino, but I'd say live/work/move to your heart's content up to that point where the door stays open for a kid.

I'm so sorry Mare. This just stinks. On top of that double-whammy last week (same exact thing happened to me).

Good wishes to you!

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Orodemniades said...


Damned NHS.

At 3:10 AM, Blogger NSR said...

I agree. The worst part is not being able to move in any direction. So we are just stuck, waiting.


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