The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Looking Backwards, Part Two

Thank you for the good thoughts about the not-so-negative betas as well as our neighbour's divorce. I'm not sure why their divorce is making me so uneasy. We're not particularly close with these neighbours beyond the chatting-outside-because-we're-both-shoveling-snow kind of relationship. I was so thrown off when the man called me and started crying into the phone, telling me these intimate details about her betrayal. It just wasn't what I was expecting at all when I picked up the phone.

And then, while everything already felt so off that day, I'm not sure why I called my nurse to ask about those old betas. I was just gathering together stuff for the appointment with the new OB and emailing with Jackie. It was strange to take out my journal and look back on those cycles.

For one of those five cycles, I had written in my journal:
I am debating whether or not to test tomorrow at 13dpo. On one hand, I will have a beta at 15 dpo so why not let myself dream a little longer? But for some reason, I think in my heart that I am pregnant.
The morning of the beta, we went to get blood drawn and since we were already awake at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, we decided to go to Quaker meeting. At this point in the story, you're probably reading that last line several times know...I'm a Jew. But I had always wanted to go to Quaker meeting and see what it was like, though not enough to wake up that early on a Sunday on purpose. But since we were already awake and since I was lost inside my own thoughts anyway...

Our friend (a Jewish rabbi, no less) told us about this old meetinghouse in the middle of farmland that he went to on the anniversary of his Quaker mother's death each year. I felt very shy going inside because I really didn't know what one was supposed to do at meeting. But if you've never been and if there is a rural meetinghouse near you, it is a wonderful way to spend the last few minutes dreaming before the nurse calls with a negative beta.

We sat in silence for a little more than an hour. Whenever someone was moved to speak, they stood up and said something and then sat down. I wanted to stand up and say, "I really need for this cycle to have worked. I will not be able to handle a negative beta." But that probably wasn't what they meant by being "moved to speak." Judging from everyone else's less-selfish words, thoughts on community, Christ, and peace were probably more inline with what the congregation expected to hear.

We were home for a little bit when the phone rang. And I remember standing next to the window between the kitchen and the hallway to the living room, dragging my thumbnail inside the grooves of the phone while the nurse sympathetically told me that the beta was negative and here were the new changes for the next cycle. After I sat down at the kitchen table and cried. I had been so certain when I was sitting in meeting that morning that I was pregnant. And now it turns out that something had happened--maybe not a pregnancy, but something.

We went downtown after the phone call. We bought three hats--a red one, a brown one, and a black and grey number with delicate flowers painted onto the rim. When we were paying, Josh threw in two small metal hearts from a dish next to the cash register. We hold those hearts whenever we go for treatments or when we're waiting beta results.

With the divorcing couple next door, I think we're thrown off by the proximity to all of this anger. On Saturday morning, they were having a fight and I could hear the wife screaming. She had gotten to that point where she was so enraged that her words were unintelligible--it was just a throat-tearing shriek. We've seen them a few times outside and we never know what to say--if she knows how much we know and if he wants to forget how much he told me. The man isn't living in the house anymore and we're not sure where he is staying. He was gone for a few days, but I've now seen him a few times--he comes back to the house at odd hours. It's the strangeness of being home during the day and watching things unfold whereas if I worked outside the house, I probably would miss these small pieces.

If they lived a few streets away, it would have been something I had thought about for a few hours that morning and forgotten as I went about my day. But since they live next door, it's this constant reminder that you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Unless they're having their fight in the backyard and screaming as if the words are barreling out of her throat like a gun going off.


Beagle said...

I'm sorry you had to get the crappy call. I'm glad you had a bit of peace beforehand.

I've always been curious about the Quakers.

megan said...

the Quaker meeting house seems like a wonderful place.
i'm sorry that you're living in such close proximity to such anger. i think it is natural for this to be impacting you, because it simply *is*. not only can you feel the negative energy, you can hear it, and see it. while i feel for your neighbours and what they must be going through, i hope for you and your family's sake that things settle down soon.

Michell said...

Thanks for sharing about the past cycle and the feeling of being pregnant and then having a "negative" beta. I don't really know what else to say other than I can only begin to imagine what a phone call like that is like. Your strength and wisdom amaze me.

katd said...

I can't imagine the hurt and anger going on in that house. What a horrible thing to have to hear, but mostly because it gives you a front row to someone's incredible grief. I'm so sorry!

A.M.S. said...

Ah, Friends' meetings. I miss those. I hadn't thought of them in years. Thanks for the reminder! Now I may have to see if there is one nearby as I could certainly do with some peace these days.

I am sorry you find yourself the witness to such anger and grief.

And thanks for the virtual comfy chair these past few days. It's been a huge help.

Binky said...

When all the callouses have been torn off your psyche, it's really hard not to feel other people's anger and misery yourself.

I'm so sorry you're going through this.

Karianne said...

I think that you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned your family's proximity to the anger of your neighbors.

Their actions have affected you through the volume of their voices, if they are inside or outside, and whether the cops will come again. Your radar is up. And anger is scary at times. Your household has been changed because of this.

Take care, and thanks for writing so honestly.

Reproductive Jeans said...

Im so sorry to hear about your neighbors--and for the craptastic beta. Sigh....
Anger in any proximity causes stress, and I am sorry that you have to "feel" it...

serenity said...

I always feel uncomfortable around other people's anger - torn between wanting to make it better but realizing it's actually none of my business.

I can only imagine what it must be like to live next door to it. Hopefully there'll be some resolution soon.

As for the not-so-negative beta... sometimes I wonder if it was better for me to think that it was conclusively negative than to know that it was 1.5. I suppose I'm just conditioned to the negatives, I guess.

carole said...

When hostility is so feels like it encroaches itself into your space. Always wanted to go to a Quaker meeting...maybe now I'll have the courage.

Matthew M. F. Miller said...

Anger is toxic, and I'm sorry you're dealing with that.

As a child, my neighbors ran a meth lab, and I once saw them beat each other with golf clubs outside my bedroom window. It's so hard to see that kind of hate that supposedly evolved from love.

Mandy said...

I get the same, sick feeling to my stomach each time I hear about a marriage ending. For me, even though I know their situation is not my own, there's a part that can't help but wonder how it happens, what goes wrong, and whether that will happen to me - because nobody ever really thinks it will. Being so close to it, you are witnessing that grief, anger and turmoil first hand AND you mentioned that you never saw it coming. I'm sorry for them and sorry you're witnessing it.

As for the betas, all I can do really is offer my sympathies. I've certainly had a few thoughts about my own "less than 5's" since reading your post, I remember feeling "I know I'm pregnant" being told otherwise and now I think "but maybe something DID happen" and I struggle with knowing what to feel.

Mary Ellen and Steve said...

I hate being around angry people. I am sorry that you have to deal with that.

I can't imagine how difficult that call must have been for you.

Thinking of you.

Sunny said...

Crazy about feeling pregnant. I so know what you are talking about. I felt it for myself this month but didn't dare test. It really made me start wondering what is going on with me.

Sorry about the neighbors. I am the nosy neighbor and listen to what is going on around me all the time. I live for it sometimes. I know that is so bad. BUT I have found myself in the middle of it or having it way to close to me and it is haunting. I hope peace feels you tonight and you can enjoy the night air in the silence of your sweet family!

Changing Expectations said...

ugh, super uncomfortable - first the call then the fighting. I agree with Matthew, anger is toxic. It's hard to function normally around it. I hope that things settle down soon.

Hang in there. Thinking about you.

Karen said...

Sorry about the rotten beta. *hugs*

Rachel Inbar said...

I feel compelled to say something in favor of divorce.

Divorce can also be like the beginning of a new cycle... My divorce was loud (lots of yelling, especially my ex, at 6am) and public (lots of police coming around my house, my ex getting thrown out of the city for a few weeks) but when it was finally over (and I'm told mine was really quick - just under 4 months) then I experienced a calm that I hadn't had in so long. Many things suddenly fell into place... and for me, it was a new beginning... So... next time you look at them, think where they'll each be a year from now. Maybe they'll both be happier. I know I suffered with my ex for many years too many, but if that's what had to happen so I'd be where I am today, it was worth it.

Bea said...

I think I'd be a little unsettled (for want of a better word) as well. I hope it doesn't get any nastier or drag out any longer than it has to, for anyone's sake.

Interesting story about the quaker meeting.