See, the trouble with having expectations is that life almost inevitably never lives up to them. And then, if you’re anything like me, you spiral into a pit of ennui followed by a decent amount of self-loathing. And then the capstone breakdown moment which just serves to remind you that you are far too fucked up to have had any business setting up expectations for your life in the first place. It’s a fun ride, and I can’t help but think it’s been made even more tummy tickling by the healthy dose of hormones I’ve got rolling through this ol’ body of mine.
I don’t even know how to articulate where I’m at right now. Linear thought and reason have left me, it seems. I think of one thing to type and I immediately flit to another issue. All that adds up to a silent blog and an overwhelmed me. So, where to begin… I guess with this blog. You know, this one I poured my heart and soul into. This one I was so proud of. This space that provided sanity that now only reminds me of the sanity I feel like I’ve lost. It’s one year anniversary was last Sunday and I totally missed that (whoops), as did I miss the Twitterversary that came a few days later. I had helpful emails from WordPress and Twitter reminding me of the occasions. The emails led to hyperventilation and a whimper of “No more. I can’t take one more thing right now!” That’s completely and totally healthy, right?
Just as healthy as laying a new floor at 28 weeks pregnant, I’d think. My knees are currently on strike, but, you know, priorities. The floor in the nursery does look damn fine. I think I’ve previously explained here what a wonderful sense of pride and worthiness one can reap from rehabilitating a badly run-down grand old home. Listen to me now: Ignore the batshit crazy lady who watches far too much HGTV. Preparing a room with the world’s creepiest white-washed teddy bear wall-paper, drop ceiling, and stained carpet hiding loose asbestos tile flooring to be the one-day home of the son we’ve spent, oh, every last ounce of our time, energy, money, and metal stability trying to create for the past 4.5 years? Yea, not nearly as rewarding as you’d think. Doing it on your own while contractors concurrently gut and remodel your downstairs bathroom at 28 weeks pregnant? Seriously, what the FUCK was I thinking? Clearly, finding a resolution to our infertility led me to believe that I’d somehow been imbued with superhuman powers. You know, cause getting 1 in 4 embryos that managed to find a home in my womb to actually stick around for 28 weeks makes me totally capable of, well, climbing ladders, painting (on the same day our hot water heater died), ripping up carpet, laying new flooring, and doing a rickety flight of stairs each of the 100 times a day I have to pee…
But, at least that job I took because it would provide a better work-life balance for me and my finicky uterus has totally gone to crap. Because I totally uprooted my husband and moved us both to the middle of snowy nowhere for long and un-rewarding work hours, never-ending physical demands, an unreliable leadership who philosophically opposes my understanding of my entire professional identity, and a maternity leave policy that is entirely unwritten and made up as you go along to suit the needs of whoever you happen to be talking to at the moment.
After 4 months of negotiations, though, it does appear I will get a decent leave thanks to having taken about 2 days of vacation time in the past 2 years. (Silver lining ftw.) I mean, I can never take vacation because of my husband’s two-job work schedule that makes it impossible (or at least damn challenging) for us to leave town on the weekends. Did I mention that includes both this weekend – my shower in my home town 6.5 hours from here – and next – our childbirth classes? Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE spending 14 hours in the car and 8 hours in an over-priced roadside motel, to spend 24 hours in my childhood home for a shower that will only be attended by my guilt-tripping aunt, two additional aunts who disowned my side of the family while I was growing up, a great-aunt I’ve met once, and my two bestest girlfriends (at least there’s a win). Do I sound ungrateful enough for you yet? No? Well, how ’bout I tell you about the temper tantrum I threw yesterday when I found out that my cousin (daughter of one of the two “we will shun you for 20 years then pretend nothing ever happened” aunts) gave birth to a happy and healthy baby boy. The baby boy she conceived on her honeymoon after the wedding we suddenly couldn’t attend because I was on all fours in my bathroom back home birthing my third miscarriage. The cousin who was on a fucking dating-based reality show the year Mr. But IF and I first started trying to conceive. The new baby that will be the center of attention throughout my entire shower, and whose name shares several syllables with the name our son will get when he arrives.
Bitter enough for you yet? I know writing it all out surely makes me want to strangle my irrational, self-centered self. So then we turn down the path of discontentment. The size of the “You’re getting everything you fucking wanted and dreamed for so long” slap I want to deliver across my tear-stained cheeks is frighteningly out of control. So I try to recenter myself, to focus on what’s important, to find a healthy way to let it out and move on. Last week I called my therapist for a much-needed appointment only to find her only availability conflicted with an endless array of stressful work meetings. We moved to this week to discover that her open slots were all on Thursday, the day of my day-long 28-week appointment (2 hour round-trip, growth scan, GD testing, consult, etc.).
At least I tried to get help, but, omg, I should totally just “snap out” of my mental crap and focus on the fact that shit is getting really real with the MFM after this week. Thursday’s appointment is the “beginning of the end” of my pregnancy treatment plan, and will be followed by my first non-stress test (NST) at 30 weeks, which will happen weekly until 32 weeks, and then continue on bi-weekly until 39 weeks, at which point, if I haven’t gone into labor, I will be induced. I’m beyond grateful to be getting this much attention, but telling an already stressed out and overwhelmed patient that she’ll be spending approximately 5 hours a week just in the car from 32 weeks onward doesn’t help with the stress level. Add to all those round trips NSTs that, I’ve been told, could take anywhere from 15 minutes to a full day, that could result in the decision to immediately delivery there and then, and I’m just feeling oh so relaxed. Good thing my ability to take any sort of maternity leave rests on me working a 40-hour week up until the moment of delivery…
And then, I step back and get immeasurably angry at the fact that IF caused this all. IF made the blog and, more importantly, made me judge my worth by the meaningful ways I contributed to the IF community. IF (and the subtle acceptance that we’d never have a family) made us feel prepared to tackle an endless array of house projects over the next decade, and “beating” IF fucked up that timeline. IF encouraged me to put time and effort into improving my education and finding a new and rewarding position in a state with an IF insurance mandate. IF made me incapable of planning a shower until the last moment, and IF-related pregnancy complications are making us throw that shower early in the third trimester. IF familiarized me with a life dictated by doctor’s appointments, and IF hinted at the autoimmune issues that got me booted to high-risk pregnancy territory.
And, I think, above all, IF was an easy scapegoat for issues I would’ve faced no matter what. I think I really cry because my mom is gone. She should be planning my shower, she should be trying to calm me and tell me it will all be alright, she should let me whine and complain and scream and cry and still love me just as much after it all is out. My shower, like my wedding, was never going to be without emotion, without a sense of loss. Blaming IF masks some of that, but when the tears came in the bathtub on Sunday it wasn’t because I was unfulfilled in my career, because my husband’s second job interfered with our travel plans, or because my shower will be poorly attended. Becoming a mother, without a mother, hurts.