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.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Smallest Chestnut

You know those dreams where you're running furiously, but you're not moving? The ones where you're trying to get away and scream, but the sound comes out as a low moan or whisper. You can't get air in your chest and it feels so real even after you wake up. It just sticks with you all day as if your subconscious has coated you in a grey, sticky film.

That's how I felt when the cramps began signaling this cycle's end and I realized I was down to my final cycle before returning to treatments.

It's really silly. I mean, I can verbalize it to Josh. I sit cross-legged on top of the covers and say matter-of-factly, "we're not going to have a child without assistance. It's just not what happens for us." It's not that I feel fine about it in the grand sense of feeling fine about infertility, but there is a quiet acceptance this time around. I know what to expect. I know what I have to do and which questions I should ask. Coming in prepared makes it a very different experience from the first time.

The first time, I raced to the RE the moment we found out something was wrong because I wanted him to fix it. I couldn't get an appointment soon enough. This time, I want to return to him because I want him to fix it. But there is a sadness as I stare at my appointment date. I want to go because I want the baby, but I don't want to go because once we start this, we open up a new can of worms. And those worms bring sharps containers and hormone surges. Talented worms.

Which is all just a way of saying that on some days--and not all days--I feel like I am folded up inside of myself, peering out of my eyes with the knowledge that everyone else believes that I am occupying 100% of my body, while internally I know that I closely resemble a rotting chestnut that has pulled away from the hardened walls to shrivel invisibly inside. Please, could I get any more dramatic? But that's the only way I can really explain the feeling. Back when I used to love chestnuts (why did I stop eating them?), I was so disappointed to cut one open and discover that the inner nut was a tiny mass, leaving a large pocket of air between itself and the outer shell. And now I'm that disappointment from time to time; that rotted chestnut.

I'm sorry that I'm a downer today. I warned you yesterday that I was having a low self-esteem day.

Sometimes I explain myself to Josh in percentages. I'm 50% in my body today. I'm 70% in my body today. I'm 30% in my body today. And I imagine my body like a house and I have climbed up into the attic, squeezing my entire neshema* into a space meant only to house a small portion of my being. I'm like Alice when she goes into the White Rabbit's house and grows too big after drinking from the unmarked bottle.

And I would say that there's something I could do about it, but mostly it's just a feeling that comes and goes on its own without any work on my end. Therefore, I always see these moments as something I just need to ride out. It comes. It goes. It's dependent on circumstances partly and yet it can't be erased with counterbalanced circumstances. Sometimes, the act of trying to relieve these moments of anxiety and low self-esteem only increase the anxiety and low self-esteem. What did those nuns say? Getting out of a mood can be like chasing down Maria--it's like trying to keep a wave upon the sand.

I'm in this mood right now. I won't be in this mood later or tomorrow or another day. But I really hate seeing that date on the calendar. And knowing what's coming. And not really wanting to run away regardless because I want the prize at the end.

And now, a word from our sponsors...

You don't have to really really love Stirrup Queens or read me every day. You could just mildly like my blog. Or feel like this space is worth a click over (truly--three clicks of the mouse and you're done) and vote every day for the next 6 days or so. Or not even really like my blog, per se, but want an infertility blog to win. If you've ever gotten something out of something I wrote--either support on your own blog or read something that spoke to you--please support me. So... If any of these descriptions ring true, click here and give me a vote. Once a day. Until November 8. And once this post gets buried, you can use the link I left in the top post. Truly shameless, but low self-esteem will do that to you.

*In Judaism, the soul has 5 levels and neshama (breath) is one of those levels. When I just turned to Josh and asked him to translate it since it is the perfect word to describe how I feel and soul is not, he said "it's your essence."


Waiting Amy said...

I've had many of these same feelings the last couple months. I even had to do an extra month of BCPs to sort out scheduling. So I feel an even bigger loss of our chance to do it on our own.

It definitely feels like my self-esteem is damaged. I don't feel like a complete person. Some how I'm less of who I was. Or maybe its less of who I could be. Which ever, there are just moments of LESS.

Beagle said...

Even a Queen is allowed to have an off day (or year or four if you go by my rules).

I have described it as feeling like a passenger in my own life (as opposed to the driver). Not sure if that fits but I think I get where you're coming from.

I'm clicking for you, trying to get you ahead of baldguy.

Celeste (onelongyarn) said...

have you ever listened to the NPR show called "Speaking of Faith"? I listened to an archived episode last night, called "The Body's Grace". The interviewed author talks a lot about body memory and just the concept you discuss of occupying the body to lesser and greater extents.

Anyway, that's beside the point. I hope your neshama finds grace and comfort on this day of sadness. You're certainly surrounded by many loving souls who are willing to prop you up when needed.

midlife mommy said...

So very, very sorry. I'm kind of feeling like that right now, too. To say it sucks doesn't do it justice.

Of course I will vote for you. I have done it twice so far! But, pray tell, who the heck is that Baldy guy?


chicklet said...

I already voted for you before you even asked, cuz first, you've done things for this community nobody else has, and second, an infertility blog winning - woohoo!

As for the place you're in, it's hard isn't it? Knowing you just can't do it on your own and now it's all up to "assisted-fate"? Frick. Hang in there.

Bea said...

Low self-esteem. The end of a cycle. Kind of a good time for one of those moods. I can understand the quiet acceptance, but also the sadness. It would have been great not to have to go through it all again.


Bea said...

P.S. You're doing alright in the voting, though!


Jess said...

Oh Mel, I'm sorry.

I wish that you could just conceive. I wish we all could. But you know, as well as everyone else, that in the end, it'll be ok...worms or no, as long as you DO conceive.

Things will work out. Really. And till then, be a downer when you need to...I'm here for you, and I know there are TONS of others here for you, too.

Drowned Girl said...

Oh Mel. I just clicking on your blog to catch up with the world after being in hibernation for a few weeks, and because I haven't yet commented on the second batch of booktour questions...

and there was a new IFF, Jen's made me cry, yours made me smile.

not to mention a blog round up picking out some thought provoking and beautiful posts.

So here I am sitting in my bed here in London on a Sunday morning with my cup of tea and you have done so much for me already, today!

I know how daunting it is embarking on treatment and I'm not surprised you're feeling a bit overwhelmed.


Sunny said...

Unfortunately I understand how you feel. There should be excitement about starting treatments but just wanting your body to do what it is supposed to do would be really nice. It is sad when we can't.

HUGS! I am sure you are out of your funk by now but know you aren't alone!

Bean said...

Sorry you've been feeling blue. I wasn't on my computer yesterday, so I didn't vote, but I made up for it by voting twice today! Once from home and once from my work account. I'll try to keep that up!!! :)

PCOSMama said...

When I voted, it told me I last voted in that category less than 24 hours ago.... I hope it still counts it! I can't keep track of what time of day I voted...

Sorry you are feeling so down! I was that way too... I actually went in to my doctor to try to chance my ADs and ended up crying about how my whole problem with the depression was that we'd been trying on our own since DD was born and I just knew we would need treatments again. I ended up getting a referral instead of a new AD.

It's really daunting when you know what is in front of you. I guess in a way it is better to know what to expect, but yet... you know what to expect. You know it will be so hard, physically and emotionally.
But, you also know it worked before... so have faith in that when it gets too hard. Look at those beautiful children of yours and imagine how excited they will be to have a baby brother or sister! Or both. ;)

PCOSMama said...

oops, that should say change my ADs, not chance my ADs....

passingwindows said...

I think you put it very well when you say that you have to ride this feeling out, that these feelings come and go and that trying to get rid of them is not always the best course of action. I think that's the most useful thing I have read today.

I hope the feeling passes soon. I hope it doesn't return for a long time and that you get that feeling of hope that an RE can sometimes give.