Sunday, 22 June 2008

Getting by with a little help from my friends

Last night I had a perfect evening which has given me a big boost in the "surviving the break from babymaking" stakes.

It followed a not-so-perfect day, during which it had rained relentlessly, I had spent 90 minutes on the phone renegotiating our mortgage - which, in these credit-crunching times, is going to cost us around £100 more each month from August - and hubby and I had fought. (The argument was primarily about the fact that months ago, around the time I was stressing over the HSG, I assigned him the task of sorting out the mortgage situation, and he proceeded to do precisely nothing.)

But sometimes I think that good nights following bad days are all the better for the contrast. This one involved all the following aspects, which came together to make a perfect whole:

Good food. As possibly the world's fussiest eater, with a long list of dietary idiosyncrasies that renders me unable to stomach several whole food groups, including meat and dairy, I very rarely have a restaurant or dinner-party experience in which I love and gobble up everything put before me. Last night I did: a starter of fried soft-shell crab with chilli and cashews, followed by tempura barramundi served with homemade chips and mushy peas. Yum.

Good drinks. The evening included just enough alcohol to make me merry and relaxed, but not so much that I have a headache this morning - in short, the ideal amount. I also discovered the nicest cocktail I've ever had - a summery concoction involving raspberries, hazelnut liqueur, gomme syrup, vodka and Chambord. I had three.

Fun. We were with friends whose company I really enjoy, and there were several laughs big enough to hurt. Even hubby lightened up, although one of the best moments was sort of at his expense - after the restaurant we came back to our house and ended up playing somewhat drunkenly on the Wii. Hubby got so worked up flailing around during a boxing match that he actually broke wind - dramatically. It's juvenile, and you probably had to be there, but our collective wails of comic disbelief and revulsion afterwards brought tears to my eyes.

Ambience. The place where we ate had a live band and a very chilled atmosphere. Despite it being wet, it was warm, and there was a covered veranda out back where we drank our post-feast cocktails.

After our friends left, hubby retired immediately to bed and I sat up, finishing my wine and listening to the song that the evening had put me in mind of - an indie anthem from my university days entitled 'The Day We Caught The Train', which I always associate with good times as it includes the line:

"And when you find that things are getting wild, don't you need days like these?"

In short, evenings like that make living without what I really want bearable.

But then. I'm going to end by quoting another song I love - I seem to do this a lot, and hope readers don't find it cheesy; it's just that professional lyricists often put it so much better than I ever could. Anyway, this one's by Shawn Colvin, and is called 'New Thing Now':

"And it feels so good to doubt you, I could almost live without you, but not quite. Not quite."

Monday, 9 June 2008

A restorative break from babymaking

First of all, thanks for all the comments and messages, and I'm sorry I've been away for so long. I just reached the point where if I didn't take a break from it all, I think I'd have lost my mind.

As it is, my period came this morning after 37 days - so not a crazily long cycle, but not brilliant either, and certainly not indicative of ovulation, which casts a certain amount of doubt on the asinine confidence of my dear friend the professor at the clinic.

But I'm having a rest. This is the first month in two years that I haven't given the remotest fuck whether I'm pregnant or not. Although perhaps that isn't entirely true, as I did do two pregnancy tests when my period hadn't arrived after three, and then seven days. But I wasn't upset when they were negative.

I've decided that my body, and more than that my mind, need a rest from this. If we are going to have to wait a year - and we are, unless I can muster up the strength and/or finances to go private or seek a second opinion - then I need to get to an emotional place where that doesn't make my chest feel like it's going to explode. And the only way I can do that is to withdraw.

So my decision is as follows. To hell with weekly blood tests. To hell with sex. I want the summer off, to get my head together and remember who I am, and I want a holiday. To that end, I'm off to Florida to see my beloved cousin for a fortnight in July. Come August, we'll see where we are and I'll resume the blood tests with a view to either demanding ovulation drugs from the clinic in the autumn should they reveal that the dear professor is, as I suspect, an idiot, or seeking help elsewhere.

It feels weirdly liberating to have made such a decision. It's a decision that friends and family have been telling me I need to make for months. But it's all very well people SAYING you need to take a break - until you've reached that point yourself, you just want to stab people who say such things in the forehead with a large fork.

Aside from safeguarding my own sanity, another big reason why I'm putting fertility stuff on hold is that things are very bad between hubby and me. They have been shaky for months, but recently they've taken a sharp downward spiral and we need to sort it out. I can't conceive (no pun intended, but that wasn't bad!) of bringing a child into a failing relationship, having grown up in a broken home myself.

So there is work to be done. It sounds soooo corny but I think I need to spend some quality time with myself. I've sort of forgotten who I am, through all of this. I've come to view myself as either a clinical patient, mother-without-a-baby, or complete failure. "Doubting if there's a woman in there somewhere," as Tori Amos says. But recently, for one reason or another, I've caught a glimpse of the girl I used to be, and I want to coax her back. I miss her.

I'm going to keep up the blog, though, even though I'm physically taking a break. I've got so much out of doing this blog - from the pure therapy of writing and venting and getting it all out, and also from the support and genuine relief of discovering that there's a whole network out there of fellow bloggers experiencing exactly the same thing. It's so important that we write for, and to, and about each other. I can't put into words how much comfort I've gained from it.

So there you have it. I'll be around, and I'll write whenever I feel like it. And who knows - inevitably there's a small but insistent voice in my head murmuring about all those couples who stop trying and then...

But secret hope is not what this is about - I'm not trying to fool the fates into smiling on me. This is about trying to get my marriage back on track and my life back. Wish me luck...