I am tired. I’m talking mentally, physically, and emotionally drained. I don’t even know where or how to begin this blog post. In fact, I’m currently typing this long-winded and unnecessary introduction in hopes that something creative comes to me.
Well, shit. I thought eloquent Stephanie might make an appearance tonight, but it looks like you’re stuck with exhausted Stephanie. She’s a lot more real, but at least she’s funny.
I’m assuming that most of you probably already know that I work in public education as an Instructional Coach. In my district, this is the last week of school for students and teachers. I still work some next week, but for all intents and purposes, we have hit the home stretch. This is my eighteenth year in education, so I can say without hesitation that “End of the Year Teacher Tired” is a thing. The memes don’t lie:
I can also attest to the fact that I have never experienced complete and total fatigue like I am living through right now. When I say that I am holding on by a thread, I am not referring to a braided paracord friendship bracelet. It’s more like the strings that stretch across a ripped knee in jeans. The ones that you idly mess with until they come apart in your fingers. Honestly, even that may be giving the thread a bit too much credit.
Today alone I have had a mini panic attack over the following things: hypothetical spilled sperm, my doctor’s choice of adjectives, and grey hair.
Eleven months ago, this whole ordeal began with a big health scare. Eight months ago, we officially started fertility treatments. As of today, we are in the middle of the seventh medicated cycle. We also had our second IUI this morning. I know eight months may not seem like a substantial length of time, but as I sit here right now, it feels like an eternity. (Keep in mind that in reality, we are twelve years and eight months in, but I am just talking about our current trip down this road in this blog.) And thanks to these eight months, with a handful of workdays left in the 21-22 school year, I am feeling very Jack Nicholson-y.
I should probably preface (or clarify) that, though experienced, we are by no means experts. And while we may be frequent fliers at the fertility clinic, we’re still just figuring it out as we go. I’m pretty confident in my ability to chart, graph, color code, and plan, but this cycle has put me in a bit of a tailspin. Leading up to this month, ovulation has occurred almost identically in every previous cycle. The timing on this one has been completely different. The tests have been reading less consistent and everything is occurring much later. One could argue that since all the other cycles have failed, maybe this is a good thing. Nevertheless, I’m still (maybe irrationally) nervous that something is not right. In fact, I have spent the previous three or four days sick with nerves thinking that the medicine has run its course and stopped working for me, as the previous types did. I am still holding my breath in hopes that ovulation has occurred today and the IUI was perfectly timed. Temperature charting in the coming days will be the only way to confirm this.
Keep all of this in mind as you read the rest of my story. It might help you be a little less judgy over my crazy moments.
Since we had an IUI this morning, Justin and I had different appointment times. He had to be at the hospital an hour earlier than me to “take care of business.” Last time, he called when he was finished to let me know everything went well and that he was waiting on me in the lobby. We didn’t talk about it, but I just expected the same phone call this morning. As I got closer and closer to the hospital my phone never rang. *Cue the overthinking.* My string of thoughts began with “what if he’s having performance issues” and ended with me being convinced he spilled the sperm. I was, however, NOT going to call because on the off chance it was the former issue I didn’t want to “interrupt matters” with a phone call. Turns out, he was finished in less than 20 minutes and just sitting in the hospital lobby waiting on me. Clearly unnecessary panic.
The second overthinking-induced panic came from the word “fine.” In my defense, it was used twice. (Twice!) Justin’s sperm count was “fine”. (Last time it was “good”.) Also, my cervical mucus was downgraded from “great” to “fine”. Everyone knows that if you ask a woman what’s wrong and she answers with fine, she is not, by any stretch of the imagination, fine. Fine was not a word I wanted to hear being used to describe our reproductive conditions. So naturally, I did the expected “I’m-fine- woman-thing” and smiled and made small talk about Tom Cruise with my doctor. (Yes, my doctor was talking about Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers as he was pulling the catheter from my uterus. I do actually appreciate that he uses small talk to ease the tension. And for background purposes, it all started when Justin checked the vial and asked if they had any sperm from better-looking men because we want a cute baby. The doc assured him that I would still choose his sperm over Tom Cruise’s. True. But mostly because Tom is bat shit crazy and I refuse to be part of an HBO special about Scientology and custody arrangements from sperm donors. Also, I doubt Tom Cruise goes to the sperm bank for a few extra bucks.) The second the doc walked out of the room, and as I’m laying with my feet propped up, I sharply looked at Justin and said, “why did he say “fine”?”
The third mini panic attack came from looking in the mirror as I was getting dressed after the procedure and seeing far too many grey hairs glistening at my roots. I had the same thought as I always do when I look at myself in the mirror at the clinic: “I am too old for this shit.” Some days, time feels like my ultimate nemesis.
Time and my own body: Two things that make me feel like I just can’t win.
I told you exhausted Stephanie is real. But, I do hope my crazy gave you a few chuckles. Upon rereading my words, it’s quite possible the thread I’ve been holding onto for dear life, just broke.
I’m sure Tom Cruise would agree.
As would Jack Nicholson.
(five. seventeen. twenty-two)