This evening as I was cooking dinner, I chopped a red onion – a simple act that, for me, typically leads to aggressive tears and smeared mascara. Tonight? Nothing. So, obviously, I did the only rational thing, and googled: “Can a person run out of tears?” This search was, in part, born out of genuine curiosity, but more so out of hope. Hope that there’s an end in sight, and at some point, they will stop.
For the official record, and according to the wealth of knowledge that is Google, the answer is no. Which, honestly, feels a bit fitting, because the only adjective that is coming to mind to describe this heartbreak is infinite. However, if ever there were a day that I could officially run out of tears, it would have been today.
It’s been a while since I have blogged. Over two weeks, to be exact – the day of my last IUI. Life goes on for everyone and the world has continued to turn, so I am sure most people didn’t notice my short absence. But I’m assuming some of you did notice and have been hoping my silence was full of promise and meant good things to come – maybe I had exciting news I was trying to keep a secret.
I’m afraid it is quite the opposite. To put it bluntly, I just haven’t been able to find the strength to write. A part of me feels like I owe you, my readers, an apology that I failed again and there is no good news to share.
I was recently asked, by someone who genuinely cares about me, if each cycle gets easier to handle. My answer was an unabashed no. Sometimes I do feel like I am getting better at hiding it, but that is usually a fleeting feeling. This cycle has, by far, been the toughest. And in the last two weeks, I have hit my breaking point – a few times.
This is not a “woe is me” post. And I am not going to detail all the things that have happened this cycle, nor all the places my mind has gone. And, rest assured, this is not a cry for help. This is just a tiny peek in the window that is infertility.
To gloss over just a small fraction of the
high points low points: During this cycle, there were three nights in a row that I did not sleep due to intense ovarian pain (possibly and probably a fertility drug-fed cyst rupturing), but we can’t be sure because the left ovary could not be located on my ultrasound today. There were meetings that I had to excuse myself from because I felt tears in the back of my throat. There was poor communication from my doctor’s office, unreturned calls, and rude office staff that clearly could benefit from some sensitivity training.
PSA to office receptionists: Calling someone “hun” does not cancel out insensitivity. And newsflash, I am not doing this for fun. I know this may come as a shock, but monthly transvaginal ultrasounds are not my idea of a good time. I am not intentionally trying to make your life difficult when I start my period on a Saturday and have to be seen by the doctor to start my medicine on Monday. I am, quite literally, at the end of my rope trying to do everything I can to start a family. So, if you can’t have a 3-minute conversation with a fertility patient without bringing her to tears, it may be time to invest in the aforementioned sensitivity training.
Can you tell I’ve had a day?
Today I started the drugs for cycle #8. That’s seven failed cycles. Six times (the first one was a total bust with no ovulation) I have sat on the table with my feet in the stirrups, handed over all of my charting, and heard the same words: “This is textbook perfection. You did everything right.” But six times it didn’t matter that my body responded to the medication. Six times it didn’t matter how perfectly timed my intercourse and IUIs were. Because there I was today, sitting on the exact same table that I did 9 months ago when we began this journey – the exact amount of time it takes to create and bring a life into this world. But, here I am with nothing in my arms but a collection of perfect charts and a box of tests with only one pink line.
On Friday morning I am having a procedure in which they will do an internal x-ray, insert dye, and flush out my fallopian tubes. This may give us more answers, and it has the potential to increase fertility for a few months. I have heard that this is not at all a pleasant experience, but if it provides insight and increases my chances, I’ll suck it up with a smile. Which, to be honest, feels like the official game face of infertility.
Though it’s getting harder to visualize this ending the way I want it to, I’m trying to remain hopeful. I really am. I’m to the part of the cycle where I usually start psyching myself up. I have a fresh chart and a new cycle to conquer. This shameless hope usually results in my purchasing a baby item or two. That little box is now overflowing and the lid no longer fits, and it’s starting to feel like a silly ritual.
I want to end this long-winded post with words of appreciation. Thank you to all who continue to reach out and check on me. This is, by far, the hardest and loneliest road I have ever traveled. The small things, tight hugs, and encouraging words mean more than you will ever know.
(six. six. twenty-two)