So I’m fine. Period is quietly going away, and while I have been having odd out-breaks of insubordinate back-ache, I feel very much better than I did this time last cycle. Also, despite the wildly heavy bleeding on days two and three of the cycle, the spotting-and-bleeding tail-off seems (seems touch wood cross fingers etc.) to be much lighter and of shorter duration. (Goes off to touch some more wood).
Is this due to the fact I was taking an effective NSAID for all three of the first three days of the cycle (rather than taking it for one day, then being unable to take it for the next two because of Impossible Stomach)? Or is it because I wasn’t actually having a teeny-tiny early-weeny miscarriage? I have been checking my charts (why yes, I am completely OCD, and I have detailed charts of every SINGLE cycle for the past five years), and the ‘period’ following a chemical pregnancy, even if said chemical didn’t even make my period late by so much as seventeen minutes, has always been markedly more vile than the period following, well, ovulating nearly two weeks earlier in a more sperm-free environment.
Eh. Not that it’s hugely important either way. Beyond the cheery face-slap of Mother Nature’s ‘oh, it’s a dead embryo. Why are you crying? I’ll give you something to really cry about!’ school of parenting.
Anyway. The weekend before said period of miraculous drug-use arrived, H and I had our sixth wedding anniversary. And we counted on our fingers (at least, I did. H is a proper grown-up and can count inside his head without even moving his lips), and worked out we’d been together for 18 years. Which is a lot of years (I feel very old and leathery). I was seventeen when we first kissed each other (in the rain, under a tree, because we’re British. Ahh, bless. Like hell I’d sit under a tree in the damn’ rain kissing nowadays. I’d be all ‘seriously, sweetheart, find me an open pub in the next three minutes, or else).
We bought each other jewellery by sensibly going to the shop together and considering all the options like two cardigan-wearing book-sellers comparing first editions of Harry Potter (why yes, complete with out-breaks of camp bickering. We do this to disconcert the natives), and then had a fancy dinner in a nice restaurant, where we held hands while talked about astrophysics (this had nothing to do with the fact I quite fancy Brian Cox, really it hadn’t), whether or not polenta really is disgusting (no it isn’t. I just can’t cook it), and whether we wanted to go to the Shetland Islands at some point (yes. Yes we do, H). This is what romance is like when you’ve known someone for over half your life and are still in love with them. It no longer comes neat. And in fact it’s better on the rocks, or mixed with tonic. Or, in my case, bitter lemon.
Meanwhile, one of my many cousins gave birth a few days ago, a fact none of my family are yet sick of telephoning, emailing and texting me about. One relation called to tell me, in tones of vast disapproval, that the baby’s name was Edna, and when I, utterly charmed, cried ‘Oh! Like Edna St Vincent Millay!’ my relation replied ‘who?’. I explained, and the relation said ‘oh. I thought it was short for Edwina’*. There was a very awkward pause. Keep in mind, my family likes to think of itself as part of the intelligensia, FFS.
Anyway, like all good little infertiles, I answered everyone in tones of delight, and then in private had a little weary misery moment. This cousin who has given birth was one who also had Female Troubles, but nevertheless got successfully up the duff the very day she pulled the goalie, why yes, I have been told this by the woman’s own mother, you know. I am very happy that she did, and that her Female Troubles haven’t blighted her life and destroyed her control over her reproductive future. I just wish people would stop comparing Exhibit One, female, with dysmenorrhea, possibly endometriosis, in her early 30’s, pregnant on first try, no miscarriages, to Exhibit Two, female, with fibroids, adenomyosis, PCOS, possible endometriosis, some kind of blood-clotting disorder, in her middle 30’s, five-and-a-half years of trying for a successful pregnancy, seven miscarriages. There is no comparison. Exhibit One dodged a bullet. Exhibit Two was hit by a hail of them. End of.
H is kindly remembering to ask me if I’m OK from time to time, and is laughing at all of my jokes no matter how bleak, sarcastic and depressing.
And then another relation, who has been married for five years, and who has a five-year-old (yes, up the aisle looking like a ship in full sale, extra page-boy very nearly an embarrassing extra wedding-guest), is getting divorced. I said I was so sorry. I meant it. It’s awful. And they’re both such nice people. They have been through Some Shit together. We all thought they’d weathered it. Apparantly not.
I hate it when my family breaks up. Nearly every single adult in my family has broken up with their spouse at some point, some more than once. More than twice. I can think of three couples in the whole vast extended mess who made it past their tenth anniversary intact with no priors (admittedly both my parents have now been married to their current spouses for more than ten years, but they’re also both on their third or fourth). And one of those couples is, actually, us. OK, so we’ve only been married for six years, but we’ve been sharing a roof and the bills for thirteen. And H and I have also been through Some Shit (you may have noticed, oh Regular Reader). And we regularly have rows, actually really quite nasty ones, because of Our Shit, and because it is a bloody hard thing to go through, hand in hand singing power ballads or not. And yet we’re still here. And yet, and yet, when another family divorce strikes, I panic, because, Dear Readers, I have no, none, no models at all for how to make a marriage work even when slogging through Shit, and so far I am winging it on a combination of bloody-mindedness, remembering to say please, thank you, I love you, and the fact that I adore H from the crown of his golden head right down to the tips of his misshapen toes. Is this right? Will this work?
*No. No it isn’t Edna. Or Edwina. But it is literary and unusual, and belongs to an author I thought just as well known as Edna St. Vincent Millay, if not more so. And I really was charmed.