Saturday, September 3, 2011

The F-Word

Oh, "what a long, strange trip it's been" since I last blogged! I spent August mostly on my back, with men sticking things in me and sucking things out of me--and no, I was not having hot sex. Instead, we experienced our first IVF cycle: a frenzy of syringes, every-other-day vaginal ultrasounds, piles of scary release forms and bills, and a bathroom scale with ever-climbing numbers. As the hormonal cocktail worked its magic, I produced 26 eggs and bloated out like Humpty Dumpty. When I finally "fell off the wall" and into the surgery to collect my eggs, they cracked open my shell (entering my ovaries with a vacuum-syringe) and sucked out 21 viable eggs. Of these, 14 fertilized and 8 grew to the desired blastocyst stage (at 5-6 days old, when they are ready for implantation into the uterus' lining). Sadly, I was in no shape for the planned embryo transfer due to being overstimulated by the meds, so we were told we'd have to come back for "the fun part" (i.e. the procedure that actually means you could get pregnant) in September. All that work growing eggs, and no chance to even get pregnant that time around. :-(

So, we returned home to L.A. and I lolled about praying that the tidal surge that was my giant, bloated belly would recede and those nine pounds of non-baby weight would drain away, leaving me something like myelf again. Two weeks after the IVF storm, I do feel somewhat normal, although I am still strewn with the inevitable post-storm debris in the form of bruises all over my stomach from the hormone shots I took and the blood-thinning shots I'm still taking, as well as a few extra, non-water-weight pounds from the lack of exercise and the doctor's explicit advice to "eat lots of salt: chips, Gatorade, popcorn, etc." At least that was a perk!

But here I am with 8 great-looking, frozen embryos chilling (pardon the pun) in a lab in Colorado--anyone in the IVF would would call that number of healthy embryos a success--and I still feel like a failure. I can't seem to get my hopes up anymore, because every time I do that someone I know gets pregnant on accident/easily and reminds me what a loser I am for going through all this BS and spending $30,000+ and still not being pregnant. Okay, I know they're not getting pregnant just to spite me, but I'm the kind of bad person who takes it personally and feels like every announcement is a slap in the face, no matter how gently it's conveyed. And, yes, I know it's true that we haven't actually finished the IVF process since they wouldn't transfer the embryos when I was hyper-stimulated last month, so I should at least get through the whole process before I give up, but I honestly can't get myself to believe it will work. I'm so used to failure now that it seems inevitable.

What a bad way to go into the process of nurturing the life that's going to be put inside me! I need to reclaim the f-word: to get "failure" out of my head and heart and to get "fuck" back in there:
Fuck whining about how unfair this all is!
Fuck feeling jealous!
Fuck imagining yet another lonely blue line on a failed pregnancy test!
Fuck not being allowed to fuck my husband during treatment cycles!
Fuck failure.

If I'm ever going to be a mom, I need to stop whining and start fucking--well, you know what I mean. I need to find my inner bulldog-in-lipstick or mama bear or whatever that archetype is that allows women to lift cars off their squashed children. But how?

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