I’m going to try to write, though I know not what will come of it. Despite all of your well-wishing advice of good wine and frozen margaritas, after several hours of crying I went for a far more potent cocktail—percocet and xanax, in fairly large quantities. So you can imagine how my eyelids feel right now: swollen and heavy and yet the tears still leak out. And you can imagine how my brain feels, as numb as I’m willing to make it, but not numb enough to stop the underlying ache. God, I wish I could get high.
This isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to me––my three brands of miscarriage were all worse. But each loss, or setback, or failure brings with it an new kind of heartache. And today’s heartache mostly focuses on my poor sweet babydoll husband, who I think is truly broken.
In many ways, this was his cycle. Sure, we had my fibroid removed, so the chances of carrying a successful conception to term were greatly improved, but our main focus for the past five months has been on improving the quality of his sperm, and thus the quality of our embryos. When we learned that his numbers hadn’t improved he was pretty shaken up. But the fact that we had five good blasts led us to believe that his sacrifices this year meant we were making higher quality embryos, ones more likely to last. And even the crappy ones had managed to get me pregnant twice, so our odds were good, right?
As usual, J is working today. He’s in tech in a show downtown all week, which means he’s around for a few hours in the morning, but doesn’t get home until after midnight. I took two pee-tests this morning, but didn’t look at them until after I got back from giving blood. I just couldn’t bear the thought of going to the clinic sobbing uncontrollably. So I watched the tests for the first few seconds, but when no second line emerged, I quickly hid them away before they were fully developed. So when I got home I checked and saw the single red line, a clear negative. I told J, and he held me while I cried for a few minutes, and then I went off to get my allergy shots and he went to work.
I was still hoping for some fluke positive when the nurse called. I mean, I even had light brown spotting a few days ago that WENT AWAY. How could that NOT be implantation bleeding? How could this, our best cycle, be the FIRST where we’ve gotten a negative? How could this happen to us? So as soon as the nurse called me with the results I called J and left a very teary message. He called later, and I cried some more. He considered coming home, but I didn’t want him to get in trouble with this gig—it’s pretty important, so he decided to stay.
An hour later he had another break and called again. By then my burst of energy had run out. I’d come inside from doing yard work, had a pathetic excuse for lunch, and was just sitting in bed crying. J was calling from the street outside the theater, because he doesn’t get cell service inside, and he was trying to find a quiet place where the traffic wasn’t quite so loud, and I was ready to just get rid of him so I could go take my aforementioned drug cocktail. (Crying gives me unbearable headaches.)
But then J started talking. Finally, after years of me begging him to be a part of this and share his feelings with me, he started talking. “I just can’t take this anymore. I need our life to be about something other than this.”
At this, I lost it. Between sobs, I managed to get out, “Our lives are never going to be about anything else.”
And then he started crying. I’ve seen this man cry only three times in the 15 years we’ve been together. Once in college when his best friend was raped. Once last November when we had to put our 12-year-old kitty to sleep. And then today. And all I could do was picture him standing in some nook between the buildings on
“I just don’t know what to do anymore,” he gasped. “I can remember what this was like when we started. We were going to take one last vacation, our trip to
“I know,” I said. “I feel like I just wandered into this nightmare three years ago, and I’ve been stuck in it ever since, and I can’t get out, and just when I think I’m waking up from it I realize I’m still in it, and there’s no end in sight.”
Behind the traffic noise, I could hear him hiccupping and sobbing, and it broke my heart into tiny little pieces.
Then he brought up the idea of donor sperm, which he referred to as “taking [him] out of the picture.” Which stomped on my heart a little more. Having him say that was like hearing the best friend in an old wartime movie saying, “You go on without me.” I don’t want to go on without him. I don’t want to leave him behind. I don’t want to rip him apart like that. Not if there’s still a chance.
We talked a little bit about our options. Our savings are gone—we don’t make a lot of money and we’ve already sunk more than $15K into babymaking. (God forbid something happens to our house or one of our cars.) We have a home equity loan of $30K that we haven’t touched yet. It’s our last-chance-at-a-child money. It'll kill us to pay it back, but we're willing to spend it if we have to. Which means we can do some “smaller” procedures, like FET (which we have little confidence in, given that the superstars of that batch didn’t make it) or even a round of two of IUI with donor sperm, but we can only do the IVF-type procedures if we go into shared risk. And I’m pretty sure you can’t do shared risk with donor sperm. I told J that under no circumstances would I spend "big" money outside of a shared risk program. “We are going to raise a child, one way or another,” I told him. “I don’t ever want to be in a position where we’ve sunk all of our options into a biological child, and we come up empty handed.”
Talking about our options seemed to calm him down. Comforting him definitely calmed me down. But it was weird, comforting him. It was strange, telling him all the things I’ve been saying to myself (and some of you) for years now: This will end someday. This will not be our lives forever. In a year, maybe a year and a half, we will be DONE with this shit and we will never have to do it again. And maybe that comes even sooner, if we find we just can’t take it anymore. This failed cycle doesn’t mean that more cycles will fail, it’s all about the odds, and we didn’t make the odds this time around.
Of course, I’m tormenting myself about not doing acupuncture this cycle. It's the only thing really different between this and the last two cycles, and look what happens. And J’s still tormenting himself about his not-so-clean living for most of his adult life.
And underneath all this heartache is a deep, burning anger. I’m so angry with my body for betraying me like this. Angry that J's twin brother managed to get his wife pregnant while she was on the fucking pill, while J has to torment himself about holding us back. So angry with whatever type of Fate is out there that seems to have it in for me, that finds a different way to fuck me every time around. So fucking angry that I can’t be happy for my pregnant friends, that I’m mad at them and feel like they don’t deserve their children. So angry that I had to spend this beautiful Saturday inside because the sound of laughing children was coming from all sides of my house. So angry that we have to consider cutting J out of the conception equation, that we even have to think about denying him his genetic progeny. So bitter that I have to further withdraw from my social life, become even more isolated, just to keep from crying in front of the wrong people.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to try to roll right into an FET. But I really doubt it’s going to work—I don’t even trust that our two frosties will even survive the thaw. We make shitty embryos. After that, who knows? I figure it’s either shared risk or IUI with donor sperm. Both options suck.
You’d think with a whole percocet and 1½ xanax in my system I’d be unable to cry. You’d be wrong.