About a week ago, Justin and I went out to dinner. The topic of our infertility journey came up when I mentioned that I was somewhat dreading all of the 4th of July festivities. Typically we love this holiday. In fact, Justin often claims it’s his favorite. However, this year it is falling at the same time that we will find out if this cycle worked or not. The Monday of the 4th of July is the two-week mark from our 3rd IUI. For the life of him, this statement did not make sense. I think I confused him more when I said that I am utterly exhausted from putting on my pretend smile and faking it all the time.
He took this to mean that I am never happy, which is not the case. I sat there, silent tears falling in the middle of a restaurant because I was completely unable to express myself. And it was in that moment that I realized that this is something that is wholly unable to be understood unless it is happening inside your own body. Don’t get me wrong, we are in this together and he has been an amazing support for me. But I have realized that even those closest to you, and even those in the thick of it with you, cannot fully understand the all-consuming emotions.
Even after all that we have been through in the last year, I consider myself to be a happy person. I think I have a can-do attitude that pretty much makes me feel like I can take on the world. I know this isn’t going to make sense when I say it, but just because I cry a lot does not mean I am not happy. I know, I know. It didn’t make sense to Justin either.
He told me that I have to stop letting it control my life.
“I don’t know how. I really am doing the best I can.” This was all I could think to say.
I know he was just looking out for me. And I know it can’t be easy for him to see me get my hopes up only to be heartbroken month after month. But this didn’t come with an instruction manual. And even though I often feel like I am doing this all wrong, I don’t know that there’s a “right way” to do it either.
I have tried to take his advice and “be less obsessed with the process” during the last couple of weeks. This is admittedly difficult when you’re still taking hormones twice a day, charting temperatures, and everything else that goes along with infertility. I took a short break from the blog, and I haven’t been analyzing “symptoms”/every tiny fluctuation of my body.
I have, however, found a substitution for my obsession in the neighborhood stray cat.
Yes, you read that correctly. A cat. I should preface this story with the fact that I come from a family that is openly, and quite strongly, not a cat family. I never really formed my own opinion because it was just something that was. I’ve never disliked cats, I’ve just never been around them. By default (and maybe a little by design), I too became “not a cat person.”
On the other hand, I (like my husband) am a complete sucker for any kind of animal. So when this stray cat showed up in the neighborhood, we had no choice but to feed it. I think this all started during the winter months when I just assumed her hunting options would become limited. We would see her watching us fill her bowl from across the street. Once we went inside the house, she would scamper over and eat up the food.
A little over a week ago, as I was filling her bowl, she was sitting across the street, supervising and meowing….loudly. I assumed this was a critique of my speed, so I assured her that she would get her breakfast.
At the sound of my voice, and to my complete surprise, she darted across the street and came up to me, rubbing against my legs. I was even more surprised when she let me pet her and followed me to the porch.
Fast forward a week, she now has a name, is super affectionate, and lives on my front porch full time – which is fully furnished with a raised bed, toys, and of course food. And last night, Justin built her a wooden cat house for her to retreat to when she needs some shelter. I call her Gypsy because she still likes to wander. She always comes back though.
I’d like to say that I’ve been taking care of her, but I think she’s been taking care of me. She’s given me something to focus on – something new to be excited about. And I didn’t realize how badly I needed that.
I honestly don’t know how this month is going to go. This morning began with a negative pregnancy test. And although there’s still a little time before we can officially count this cycle out, I really have no inclination one way or the other. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that your mind can be very deceptive.
(seven. one. twenty-two)