Satsuma is a reformed ovary, these days. She popped on CD16. I’m serious. 16. That’s… that’s not even ‘late but in the normal range’. That’s normal. Wikipedia normal. Biology textbook normal. I shall buy her a whole string of ponies. And a dogcart.
H and I had sex for fun, yesterday.
Infertility veterans that we are, sex tends to be concentrated in the ‘possible-fertile’ days of every month (Second marriages be damned, this is the real triumph of Hope over Experience), and once Satsuma has cooperated, we tend to go a bit ‘and on the seventh day, they rested. (Also on the eighth, ninth, and tenth-through-fourteenth)’. But yesterday, well, H was doing the washing-up half-naked. So.
And as matters reached their satisfactory conclusion, I burst into tears.
I tried not to. I kept my face away from H and wrestled desperately to not sob, but I wrestled to no avail, and H, concerned, then increasingly freaked out, stroked my hair and asked over and over, what was the matter?
I was crying because we’d had sex, and it hadn’t hurt.
For most of my adult life, sex has been, eh, Important To Me. I’ve always enjoyed it. Whenever H and I have had issues (oh, come on, we’ve been together for 18 years. There will have been issues), they’ve usually been about the fact I want more sex than H does (which is not to say H doesn’t want sex. He just doesn’t want it exactly as much as I do. Anyway, we seem better matched on that these days).
For the past year or so, sex began to be a tad uncomfortable just about the time I ovulate. Nothing too distracting, nothing a shift in position couldn’t solve. Just, Satsuma would get very tender and didn’t care to be prodded (oh dear. I don’t know how else to put that). And then, it slowly became more uncomfortable. Painful. But just for that day or two. It was fine.
Then, the pain became more diffuse, more ‘uterine’, more like being jabbed in a bruise. It would segue from the lingering tenderness the week after my period finishes into the painful several-days-worth of mittelschmerz. It became harder to ignore, harder to deal with by shifting position. It’s still not so bad as to Stop Play. In fact, and I say this with trepidation, because I’m aware it makes me sound perverse, when I’m pretty turned on, it takes more than that level of pain to ruin things. But it was tiresome. It’s also one of the reasons I am so concerned that I have full-blown endometriosis.
The last couple of cycles, the pain has been bad enough to, eh, distract me at the crucial moment. Again, not bad enough that I need to stop, but sex was definitely developing an atmosphere of dutiful endurance, and this was Not OK. And then, cramps, after sex, that go on and on until I take painkillers.
I was – I am – bitterly upset by this.
For the last couple of cycles, what with H’s job-application stress-levels being elevated (remember, his place of work was closing down, putting him and all his colleagues out of a job), and what with me being apathetic and grouchy, we were really only having the Triumph of Hope sex.
Of course, I wasn’t telling H any of this. Why ‘of course’, you frootloop? I hear you cry. Well. So that we go on having sex. H is, among his many other admirable qualities, a gentle soul. He was truly distressed on those few occasions when he has trod on my toe, or that time he rolled over to face me in bed and pinned my nipple to the mattress with his elbow (big tits are a world of hazard). Hell, he’s distressed when I am in pain and it’s nothing to do with him at all. He’s distressed by acted suffering on TV or in movies. He can’t watch surgery or injections, he closes his eyes for great chunks of ER. I didn’t think he’d be particularly happy to discover that sex was hurting me.
He’d intellectually understand that it was all For The Greater Good, and that I wanted him to carry on, and it wasn’t hurting too much. He’d even agree that this was how things had to be for the moment. But I couldn’t see his heart being in it at all. Knowing H, the very idea I might not be enjoying matters would have a deleterious effect on his own enjoyment. This is actually a good, sweet thing. H’s cor gentil is one of the main reasons I married him. If he became indifferent to, or callous about, the sufferings of others, he’d, well, he’d not be my darling H, would he? It’s just… biologically inconvenient when trying (desperately) to conceive.
So there was all this, worrying away at me. How long before sex became too painful for me? How long before H became aware of the fact it was painful and went on strike out of sheer empathy? And why, literally for fuck’s sake, did I have to lose this too? As I said above, I’m keen on sex. It’s important to me. This is not fair.
So I wept, when we did it for fun and it didn’t hurt at all, not even a little bit. I felt I’d been given a reprieve. A little raft of grace in a sea of suckitude.
We talked – well, we had to, what with me sobbing alarmingly – and now H knows all about it. This is no doubt the healthier, saner way to run a marriage, and he’d've found out sooner or later anyway. We shall have to see how much trouble this will cause, if any. H’s ability to compartmentalise, normally infuriating, may come in remarkably handy. Trepidation hovers, nonetheless. It’s trying to get pregnant as a giant game of Wipeout. Who or what will knock us out of the game first? Me? H? The laparoscopy results? Satsuma?
If the laparoscopy in November doesn’t find any endometriosis or anything else it can deal with, I don’t know what I’ll do.
How strange to be outed by tears of relief.