I guess I can confess this now without feeling ashamed for having been filled with hope. I have this problem with hope. I don’t feel entitled to it. That shame that I have lived with so long has made me feel that I don’t deserve to have hope about something good happening, since only bad things will befall me.
But now that I am giving up the yoke of shame that I have worn for so long, I allowed myself to have hope during the past week. It was hard since all my negative voices (usually my mother’s voice) tried to make me feel guilty or ashamed for any hope that started to grow inside me. By Friday, though, in my session with my shrink, I managed to acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with my having a bit of hope. I’m entitled to it, in fact.
So what was I hoping about? Well, I thought that I had maybe gotten pregnant.
As some of you know, my husband’s sexual addiction has wreaked havoc on our sex lives. His onanism makes him unable to successfully partner with me. As such, the idea of our getting pregnant without artificial assistance like IVF was not even a possibility. But lately we’ve been attempting to work on this particular problem. We’ve got some way to go before we get anywhere near what a typical couple would consider “normal” sexual activity, but things are improving.
Last month I found myself with a temperature drop at midcycle and EWCM, so I suggested that we have a date for the evening. He came over that night for more of our ongoing sex therapy practicum. I made us some Cosmos using Bombay Sapphire gin, and soon we were giggling, tickling, and behaving like goofs. It was great, considering the usual rat-waiting-for-the-electroshock approach to sex that we usually took, as our anxieties overwhelmed us.
We had fun with each other that night. Mason would sing “Gonna put Dr. Check (our reproductive endocrinologist) out of business” at various points during our intimacy. Each time, I would burst into gales of laughter at my husband’s silliness (something I’ve missed during our times of recent stress). Though it still required a little extra assistance for him to give up the goodies, we still enjoyed ourselves immensely.
So motivated was I to have this effort be successful, that I actually took my mother’s advice of standing on my head afterwards. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures! Unfortunately I could only last in that position for about 5 minutes and subsequently ended up lying supine with my hips up on 4 pillows instead for 30 minutes. And that was that. Then it was time to wait.
After a week I started to have signs that my period was coming. I had some cramping that usually heralded a visit from Aunt Flo. I made sure to order all my meds from Freedom Drugs in order to be able to start my next cycle right when my period began. But last week, no Aunt Flo. Instead I had an increasing number of unusual symptoms: nipple tenderness, breast swelling, daily cramps and sharp uterine pains. I was bloated and full in my lower abdomen. By midweek I had nausea and weird episodes of feeling lightheaded, especially after eating. And none of this was normal for me.
My normally short luteal phase kept getting longer and longer, but still so sign of my period. Instead I just felt more and more odd.
So I began to think, could I actually be pregnant? Could all these symptoms be signs of pregnancy? Of course my shaming voice immediately chastised me for even entertaining the possibility. Fate was going to spite me for having the hubris to think something so positive could have happened to me. But as I recognized that this was shame speaking, I began to just let the hope flow.
Mason would call every day for the Aunt Flo update. “Still no sighting of my dear aunt,” I would tell him. By yesterday when we spent the day together, both of us were confident that we had had a miracle. He dragged me down to the kitchen so that he could have me barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. I started my “when are you going to start spoiling me?” entreaties. It was so great to have hope and not feel ashamed about it.
Then around 7 PM, it all came to an end. I went to the bathroom and found that Spot was visiting, heralding the arrival of Aunt Flo. I cried out to Mason who came into the bathroom and hugged me when I told him. I was so disappointed, though I knew that considering all we had been through, this was a major longshot. Part of me still hoped that perhaps only Spot would be visiting, but no Aunt Flo. I said every no period prayer I could overnight to the fertility gods. When I went to the bathroom this morning, there still was only Spot, but unfortunately my Clearblue monitor had now dropped to the Low reading, indicating that my estrogen had dropped. All I can do now is to wait for Aunt Flo.
I’m sad but not devastated. I beat myself up for about 2 minutes about having to move onto a donor if my next cycle is equally unsuccessful as the previous ones. I lamented never getting to laugh in the RE from Penn’s face who told me that I wouldn’t ever have a child without donor eggs. But overall, I’m OK. Hope is good. Hope is OK. I deserve hope.
Mason told me this morning that he too was sad. “About what?” I asked.
“The same thing you’re sad about,” he responded.
“Oh!” I said stupidly. Somehow I didn’t think this mattered to him as much as it mattered to me. I was wrong.
So today we are sadly getting ready for what will undoubtedly be our last IVF cycle. But we had a fun pregnancy fantasy for the past week. And there is nothing at all wrong with that.