I’m sorry. I’ve not been commenting much. I’ve not been writing much. I have been sulking instead. It’s as if I have only a very limited supply of cute and perky, and it all, every drop, gets used up at work (often as not on people who wouldn’t notice if I was cute and perky or made out of wood). So when I get home, only the dregs of me are left.
I have a phobia about posting dreggy. I worry no one will like me. As I started this blog as a place to privately vent all the more painful/personal/ooky issues in my life, this is imbecillic behaviour on my part. But there we go. I blame my parents. Be cute, be useful, be cheerful, never be ill, never be tired or whiney, never, God help us, actually be depressed or anything. You know what happens to depressed girls? They get shouted at for sulking and made to tidy their rooms.
Anyway, I haven’t been talking much (yes, I know, I’ll fold laundry later, I promise), but I have been reading the latest Barren Bitches Book Brigade Tour (don’t forget Tour Group B and Tour Group C as well), a rather fabulous idea courtesy of the rather fabulous Mel at Stirrup Queens . This month everyone has been reading ‘Waiting for Daisy’ by Peggy Orenstein – an autobiographical account of trying and failing repeatedly to get pregnant (and finally succeeding, hence title). I haven’t read the book – it seems rather hard to get hold of in my available set of public libraries – but some of the comments and questions are fascinating. And quite a few people picked a particularly fascinating question to answer.
Peggy Orenstein says, ‘The descent into the world of infertility is incremental. Those early steps seem innocuous, even quaint; IUI was hardly more complex than a turkey baster. You’re not aware of how subtly alienated you become from your body, how inured to its medicalization. You don’t notice your motivation distorting, how conception rather than parenthood becomes the goal, how invested you become in its ‘achievement’.” Does this accurately describe your experience? Would you say you have become alienated from your body while struggling with infertility?
Erin from The Vicious Cycle of Cycles has an interesting answer to this. I’ll just quote a little of it: ‘Rather than an incremental descent, I’ve found that the world of infertility has been a very steep and slippery slope…. Reading other blogs I see all the experiences that other IF’ers have gone through. I would never ever say that I’m jealous of them, but I feel like my journey is more of a freefall where I move so quickly from stage to stage and never have a chance to feel comfortable at any level. Of course, where is the comfort in any of this.’
I have already mentioned how I simply wasn’t expecting to have to deal with all this. I just didn’t realise how significant what I was saying actually was. Reading Erin’s response above gave me a jolt of recognition (thanks, Erin!). You see, I normally cope with things by playing ‘The Lords of Doom (and Godzilla) Are Trashing My Universe’ before-hand. I know all the worse-case scenarios, I mentally rehearse telling people, dealing with people, how I’ll feel about it. So when it (whatever ‘it’ is) does happen, I can shout ‘Aha! This is scenario 15B! I will now enact coping stratagem codenamed “Chocolate Truffle Duvet”!’ and we’re fine. I might be tetchy and/or gain five pounds, but It is Coped With.
I had quite a few strategies for dealing with PCOS-caused infertility. Admittedly, the ones for dealing with family tended to centre around avoidance and bad language, but hey, I said I was coping, not coping well. I was, well, braced, I suppose, for the Lose Weight Nagathon, for not ovulating, for lots and lots of waiting and yet very few two week waits. I was even braced for Metformin (not that I’ve been offered it. The British seem to prefer will-power and nagging), Clomid, hormonal rollercoastering, maybe even in the end IVF, though H is worried about that, and so am I, so maybe we shan’t, not that we’ll be offered it anyway the way the NHS funds it at the moment, so probably irrelevant; in any case, I was totally braced.
It is a sad inditement of the British Medical Profession that I had absolutely no idea whatsoever anything else could possibly be wrong with me at all, despite what in retrospect are very clear signals that there always was more to it than PCOS, because whenever I did ask a GP about the unusually heavy and painful periods while on the Pill, for example, I got a very dismissive reply – one GP even told me I was on the Pill, so I couldn’t have heavy periods. And I just sat there, nodding, and thinking I was a hypochondriac and other women must have it so much worse. And when I came off the Pill, and was told that the constant bleeding thing was caused by PCOS, I sat and nodded at that also. And I did not plan any coping strategies at all. I did not know there was anything else to cope with.
Suddenly I went from IF patient having a bunch of routine tests and examinations so the ACU could start trying to get her pregnant, to surgical case with incredibly hostile uterus whose pregnancies would all be at risk. Also, the surgery may make life safer for possible pregnancies, but I have been warned it won’t necessarily completely alleviate my symptoms. If it is the PCOS that causes the bleeding thing, I may be stuck with it for a while yet. And I certainly won’t be more fertile after the surgery. I am going through this not to get pregnant, but to be allowed to even try to get pregnant. Not so much a steep and slippery slope as a fairly shallow slope with a bear-trap hidden half-way down.
And my confidence in the NHS is shaken, my confidence in myself is shaken, and I have no coping strategy, because I cannot even picture what havoc the Lords of Doom may be wreaking.
Also, H has been coping by the traditional male method of not saying anything at all in case it’s the wrong thing, and thereby making me want to shriek. He should think himself very lucky I’m currently far too apathetic to do anything so energetic as shrieking. Thank heavens, we did actually have a ‘talk’ the other night, in which he actually did some actual talking, so his eardrums are theoretically safe for a few weeks longer.
Pre-op clinic visit on Monday. My list of questions is probably going ot be too large to fit into my handbag.