The late great monologist Spalding Gray wrote a single novel: Impossible Vacation. The main character, Brewster North, a thinly-veiled version of Spalding Gray himself is seeking that ultimate impossible vacation--the one where you leave all of your troubles in one space and continue unfettered into the next. He is constantly wandering, meandering, rather than facing the suicide of his mother head-on. And really, is there truly a way to meet something as horrific as a parent's suicide head-on?
The idea of the impossible vacation is both figurative (making a complete break with problems) and literal (the island of Bali). But it's the figurative that is always more interesting. Do we ever really take a vacation? Our jobs, our home--those are rarely the things we need a vacation from. Infertility, loss, arguments, disappointments--these are the things that demand a vacation in order to regroup, and yet, it is impossible to escape them. You bring them with you even if you end up on a beach in the South Pacific. You might escape them for a few minutes while you're engrossed in some chick lit or eating a particularly wonderful meal. But those troubles--the things you really need a break from in order to breathe--have a way of finding you at any hotel or friend's house. They creep in before you sleep or while you're floating in the ocean or even in the middle of laughing over something that someone said. It pops up unexpectedly like the horror movie ghost that you thought you had outrun. Grief and Frustration both hold sixth senses to find your whereabouts.
Five months ago, my OB ordered a progesterone test. He had filled my heart with hope about trying on our own, promising that the body sometimes came into hormonal realignment after a pregnancy. And it's true--it has certainly happened for many a stirrup queen--secondary fertility. It hasn't happened for us and I'm well past the point timewise where last time I had my feet in the stirrups. Some people take their time with the process. They avoid the RE because they don't want that diagnosis. I didn't care about the diagnosis as long as someone was doing something to get a baby to stay in my belly. I was in the RE's office the day after we passed through a year.
Primary Me wouldn't have waited more than a month for a progesterone test. Primary Me would have called after the first anovulatory month and said, "this isn't working. Shouldn't we treat the lack of ovulation and give progesterone as a protective measure?" Primary Me would have never understood Secondary Me. She probably wouldn't have wanted to hang out with her at all.
This test became Impossible Progesterone. Month after month, I wouldn't ovulate. Or I would ovulate but I'd be out of town. And then I wouldn't ovulate again. Five times I tried to take this test. And at the same time, focusing on this test was an escape. It was a meandering. I've been meandering, moseying towards the RE instead of sprinting in my best running shoes. And it's not like me. But this is how things have changed.
The last time there were two salaries. There was the fear that we would never be parents. There was the unknown. And there was just us--our debt was our own. But now, there is one salary. The fear and the unknown are gone and now there are two more people carrying the debt. Primary Me only listened to the whispers that still can be heard in the background: it will never work. You won't get to go through a babyhood. You will always feel like there are people missing in your home. Secondary Me has a second layer, a guttural voice that snarls at me over the whispered one: you're fucking greedy. And you're willing to mess with your health with fertility treatments. And that makes you an idiot because your existing children should come first. You're taking away from them to gamble on someone that you don't necessarily deserve to have. There are women who have no children. There are women who have one child. And you have fucking twins. You hit the jackpot the first time and now you're greedy enough to come back again. You don't deserve anything for that attitude.
The day before the test, I was having lunch with a friend who also has boy/girl twins and we were trying to figure out my meanderings. Why I can't run on a straight path directly towards the examination table. Why I'm willing to try to take a meaningless test for five cycles. There isn't an answer. Except that the road is both easier and harder this time around. And it looks like I should be able to run on it, and yet I'm finding that it's more like jogging in loose sand.
There are days that I believe beyond a doubt that I will have three children. There are days when I look into my deep future and see three children returning home for a holiday. Or my closer future where I see the twins getting to experience interacting with a younger sibling. If I didn't believe this, I would have turned the second bedroom into a playroom. I wouldn't look at the twins' toys with the thought in mind that a new baby may be crawling through the house soon, putting small pieces in his/her mouth.
And then there are other days when I listen to the guttural voice and think it's correct. I am greedy and I will realize that soon enough. And we will just stop. And if we don't come to a true stop, we'll come to a stall--that place where you stand in the crossroads for so long that you know that you can't make the decision anymore. It's too late. The path may still be out in front of you, but too much has happened, too much has passed, to take that first step on it. And then you either find a way to turn around and come home or you stand at the crossroads for the rest of your life.
I called for my appointment with the RE today. We'll go in November when things are changing for us financially--even if just minutely. It feels like the responsible choice, which is a bit of a joke when you're talking about treatments. Because, after all, what are treatments except a form of gambling with a really great payoff? You can end up spending thousands upon thousands with nothing to show for the hard work and money. Or you can end up spending thousands and thousands and walk away with the child you always dreamed you would have. But it's not exactly the safe option towards parenthood.
And I finally took my progesterone test. The one that is somewhat meaningless considering the other facts in place. But here is the joke. I called for my results today and my doctor is on vacation for the next week. He's taking the vacation that I can't take. Even if I've finally gotten the progesterone test out of the way. The other doctor said things look fine, and I listened to that as my uterus cramped and ached--the end of another ten day luteal phase. Everything is fine. Just relax. Go on a vacation. And wait a week for the doctor to call.