Sunday, 13 September 2009

Crying at the movies (again)

I watched The Time Traveller's Wife on Friday night. It's one of my favourite novels and I was excited to see the film, though my not-as-good-as-the-book reaction was inevitable.

I expected to cry - it's a tearjerker and I've been known to weep at a TV advert in which a cartoon mobile phone is abandoned by its owner. For context, when I was reading the last few pages of the book, hubby banished me from the marital bed because my rasping sobs were keeping him awake. However, I underestimated how much the baby-related section of the story would get to me, now that we are where we are.

I first read the book four or five years ago, during a time of my life now reflected on as BGBFFN (before great big fucking fertility nightmare). Then, it was the romantic tragedy of the story that affected me - the concept of star-crossed lovers being parted by death.

I reread it about two years ago, by which time I was weepy at the end but now faintly irritated by the couple's persistent and excessive drooling happiness. At that time I remember crying more at the part where the main female character has repeated miscarriages because the baby shares its father's time-travelling gene and keeps travelling out of the womb before it is old enough to survive the journey.

In the cinema on Friday, this bit got to me so much that I could do nothing but sit and attempt to stifle what wanted to be great gulps of misery, while tears ran down my neck and saturated my T-shirt. There is a scene in which the newly pregnant heroine is told, by her husband who has travelled into the future and met their daughter for the first time, that it's OK, that this pregnancy will endure and that everything is basically going to be all right. Happy tears and hugs all round ensue, and I thought my chest was going to rupture.

My best friend, who was sitting next to me, wordlessly reached for my hand during this and the birth scene it segued into, which helped, but I couldn't recover. Most of the time I manage to get through the days and weeks and months and years of this intact but there are moments - and they're getting more frequent - when there's nothing for it but to howl.

So that's what I did when I got in my car after the movie. All the while thinking thoughts along the lines of "you stupid, stupid cow, it's just a story", but unable to do anything about how bad I felt. Because that's what I want more than anything else: for someone to look into the future and tell me I'm going to have a child.

I wouldn't mind if it's years away. I wouldn't care about whatever physical pain and trauma I have to endure to get there. If I could just be told, for certain, that it will all work out, that I will not die childless and alone, that all this misery will not ultimately end in more misery, that I will not be this unhappy forever, I'd be OK.

We are dealing with a challenging situation caring for my elderly grandfather at the moment. He is physically well but mentally not, and he requires constant and sometimes quite frustrating care. We're glad to do it, of course, but during the course of some of these ministrations both my parents have made jocular comments to me regarding how difficult they plan to be when they reach their dotage.

It perhaps reflects the morbid state of depression and despondency in which I now find myself that my reaction to these observations has been a sort of deep, cold dread. At the root of this is my horror - because horror is the only word for it - that by the time I reach my eighties, if we remain barren, I will have nobody to care for me or even spend time with me. It's a selfish and extremely negative viewpoint. But it's one of the things that scares me most.

It's been a tricky few days. I got my period on Sunday, a day early. That ticks off the penultimate "last chance saloon" month in which I might conceivably - fnarr - have got pregnant just before IVF.

(And on that subject, I am bone-achingly, stomach-clenchingly, mortally SICK of hearing tales about people who this happened to. I wish sometimes that I wore a badge which reads:

"Hello. I am infertile and about to start IVF. Please do not share with me 18 separate anecdotes about friends' cousins' colleagues' dolls who magically found out they were pregnant immediately before they started this process. I DO NOT CARE AND DO NOT WISH TO SHARE IN THEIR SMUG FUCKING JOY. Thanks."

I mean, please. Why do people imagine I would want to hear this? It does not give me hope. It does not give me cause to imagine I may be granted a similar heavenly reprieve. It just pisses me off and cements in my mind the notion that I must have been a really wicked bitch in a previous life to deserve this level of shit in my current one.)

Anyway. This means I may not actually have another cycle to call my own before we begin. We attend the clinic on September 30th to sign consent forms and collect drugs. I had assumed I'd then need to wait for day one of a new cycle before commencing the nasal spray to shut down my system, but a relative I saw over the weekend who is presently a fortnight into her spray said no, you can start the day you get the drugs, no matter where your cycle is.

In some ways, I suppose, it takes the pressure off. We know now, categorically, that any baby we might have will not be conceived in our home, in our bed, as a result of a natural act of love. Instead our child will be conceived in a petri dish in a clinic and replaced in my womb by a catheter. So it takes all focus off sex, and perhaps means we can attempt to rekindle a normal physical relationship.

In other ways, as I have alluded to before, there is a certain measure of utter despair that it has come to this, mingled with terror that I will go through all that only for it to fail.

I also found out this morning that a friend who has been battling with her own fertility woes is ten weeks pregnant. I'm pleased her nightmare is over but it hit me like a sledgehammer to the face.

What a miserable, bleating entry this has been! I should say that all the wonderful comments left by people who have missed my absence mean a great deal to me. To know that there are people out there who have been wondering how things were going for me, and who care and empathise that they've been going shit, is of so much comfort. I don't know what I would do without the support and catharsis afforded to me by this blog.

But in typical style I am going to end on a sad note, because I feel so very sad today. I've been listening a lot to Kings of Leon after watching them live at a festival this summer. The lines that resonate most at the moment come from their lovely song Cold Desert:

"I never ever cried when I was feeling down,
I've always been scared of the sound.
Jesus don't love me, no-one ever carried my load,
I'm too young to feel this old."

That just about sums it up for now.


Rambler said...

Even a very well meaning friend of mine (the only one I even shared our IF troubles with) plastered me with a story about a couple "who were on their last try before doing IVF and conceived on their own". I mean, really, nobody wants to hear that. It's like when you are single and you hear "Oh this friend of mine had given up and just before she joined the nunnery, her prince walked through the door!"...

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog for a long time now and, like the rest of your readers, hoped you would return with good news.

I was so disappointed for you when I read the blog. I cried, which is unlike me.

But ...this is a step forward for you and, like you say, it'll give you both a break and enable you to concentrate on your marriage.

I hope that it all works out for you. I really do.


Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are back and so sorry to hear what a miserable time it has been. The timing of your 2 September blogs could not have been more perfect (I read them both this evening). I am due to start IVF soon - injections begin this weekend, so you will be a couple of weeks behind me. Another parallel is an adorable friend sent me a text this morning telling me she was pregnant. I know she must have found this very hard indeed, having been through 2 miscarriages and problems TTC and being fully in the know about my battle with unexplained infertility. I also had a moment of sheer devastation tonight on reading the consent forms before IVF - and thinking "has it really come to this" - To feel cheated is an understatement..... I really do wish you well with your IVF. You fall into the category of 'deserving' people who (instead of wanting to kill when they announce their pregnancy!) I just want to share their joy. Good luck and thanks for returning to the blog. I have been checking weekly and had started to give up! xx

Natasha said...

The Time Travelers Wife is one of my favorite books but I have not been brave enough to go see it. I am sure I will loose it in the theater, and because much of my fertility battle is done in silence, I am sure whatever girlfriend I drag to see this with me will not understand why I am having a big freakin meltdown!
I'm sorry your going though all of this, I'm sorry that we all are. I understand the need to have someone come back from the future and just say "yes, this will happen for you" I crave that so much that I have even gone to Psychics (for shame) in a last ditch attempt for hope. They did tell me I would be having 5 children (ha) doesn't quite seem possible. I await stories of the next part of your journey.

M said...

I am also one of those who waited for your return. I think I've heard every possible miracle stories. I didn't have my own miracle story in between the moments we least expected it for 7 years. I am now in my second IVF cycle. Good luck to you on your first (and hopefully last :) & all the courage to this journey.

peesticksandstones said...

I guess you could say I've "crossed over" to the other side of the IF fence finally, but I still could relate to so much of this. Could totally taste the heartache. Even the part about the grandparent, the movie (have you seen "UP"? holy crap I cried for days).

Anyway, wishing you all the best for your upcoming cycle. You will definitely be in the my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog and reliving what was my own horrific decade of infertility misery, wondering if there is any courage I can convey to you from beyond the far side of IVF (unsuccessful). So many low points... I eventually learned not to think 'it can't get any worse', because it always did. Even after stopping IVF, it still kept getting worse, for quite some considerable time, but eventually it did finally started getting ever so slightly better. And now I'm surprised to find that, several years on from drawing a line under it all, I'm not actually so bitter, twisted and miserable as I expected myself to be by this point. Perhaps we get better at bearing things as we go on. It helps somewhat to know that I did all I could. It has also helped to realise that while I'm terribly, terribly sad about the childlessness, I'm absolutely f***in' furious about the infertility, and separating those two things as different issues felt like a really important step.
Anyway... I do want to send you the courage to keep going. Whatever happens, you'll need to know that you have done everything you possibly can, and left no stones unturned.
Best of luck; I really hope you get to throw that magic 6.

J. x

monclersale said...


Claudius said...

Interesting blog I must say