Monday, April 24, 2006

Winter

Pt. VI

We had had guests for a month straight. And then…nothing.

* * * * * *

I am sure that the months then were bleak, like the gray of a winter that's stayed too long. Yeah, gray. The winter and my memory, all mottled gray.

What did I do?

Sometimes I think of that expression, about putting two scorpions in a jar. Do you know it? Maybe if we weren't in the jar, we would have just attacked each other slowly. Over years. Over time. Or not at all – maybe we'd have been too busy. Maybe that's what happens to other couples. They think they’re fine, or fine enough, because they’re too busy to dwell on all that isn’t working.

But not us. We were in a jar, and the jar got shaken.

* * * * * *

David was spending his days at home, looking for work. He tried not to let it get to him, but of course it was. Dotcoms were folding like houses of cards. All of a sudden, solid tech work was hard to find.

And, well, have you ever lived with an unemployed man? Shake, shake.

And I? I was spending my days at home, too. I was working reduced hours and – in theory – spending the rest of my time doing "productive" things. But I didn't know what those things could be. I had to stop spending money because we had to save in case Dave didn't find work for a while. I wanted to write but had no discipline or creative energy. I spent time training our puppy. I was online a lot.

But God, what else was there to do? Tick tock. More snow. Another day. Friends is on tonight. Try not to think about Mom.

* * * * * *

It was just this low-level hum. Somewhere in the background of my every day was this nagging knowing. My mom still wasn't feeling well. She wasn't digesting food right, her body was all screwed up, and no one knew exactly what was wrong. Was it a weird virus? Was it her stomach? She got tired a lot. She had a lot of doctor and specialist appointments, but mostly there were inconclusive tests and a whole lot of hoping that whatever it was would pass.

Let's just go on like it's fine. Let me just live my life. My life as a scorpion.

* * * * * *

Was it February? I finally went to the doctor because I was still spotting and had been for six, maybe eight weeks.

There were tests. There was the in-utero ultrasound. There was the spot.

I didn't say much about the spot, the potential cyst, the probably-nothing lump to my family because they – we – were already plenty occupied with doctors and tests.

More wine, please.

And it turned out the spot was nothing anyway. Except the tests showed I wasn't ovulating.

What? Not ovulating? How is this possible? Me? This has to be some sort of joke. God did not give me this body so that I could be infertile. There's got to be some cosmic misunderstanding here.

Ah, but anovulation doesn’t have to mean anything scary, it can be common, the doctor said. Women can stop ovulating for lots of reasons and it’s not necessarily permanent. Sometimes stress can do it.

Have you been under a lot of stress lately? Ha. Yes, Doctor, there has been some recent stress.

So what do we do?

My doctor told me there were two options to help me regulate myself. One, I could go on birth control. I'd never been before and, well, it can often help regulate a woman's cycle.

Um. But maybe starting birth control isn't the best option if you are perhaps trying to conceive.

Are you trying to conceive? my male – my Catholic, male* – doctor asked me.

And I said yes, because we kind of were. At least, we were more than we weren't.

And then the next thing I knew, I was given pamphlets and guidebooks and websites and was monitoring my basal body temperature and watching the calendar and making charts. Without a lot of thought, our casual, "we're sort of trying" became a full-on battle.

And so to help with my cycle and fertility, the doctor put me on hormones.

Me. On hormones.

More like scorpion venom. Shake, shake.


*I don't know if this mattered. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but in hindsight, something doesn't sit well with me. Like somehow, somewhere my doctor really wanted me to get knocked up.

* * * * * *

Bottled up. Still cold outside. No job for David. A second dog. Still no ovulation, not this month. More hormones. Mom’s going to see another specialist. Another day. No thaw. Cabin fever.

* * * * * *

What is going on? What am I doing with my life? Is this IT? I am not happy. No, I am miserable. We never have fun. We never do anything fun. My friends are out living in different places and trying new things. Everyone’s somewhere. Healy’s auditioning and Em and Nick are living in Denver and Nate’s still out in California and Deb’s applying to grad school. And what am I doing? I am married and have a house and am actively looking forward to the good primetime TV shows. I am 25, not 85. I feel chained to this life. What did I give up to get here so early?

It's called "settling down" because you went out and did something first that you needed to settle down from. Did I do that? I thought I had, but now I'm not so sure. It's just...Certainly there are more fun things to be doing?

I wonder what they are.

10 comments:

  1. Maybe your (Catholic) doctor wanted you to get pregnant because you wanted to get pregnant?

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  2. Certainly there are more fun things to be doing?

    Nope, prime time tv is it!

    That's why I've got cable and a dish. I will not miss out on the good things in life.

    ReplyDelete
  3. anon, it's absolutely possible -- even probable -- that he thought that's what i wanted. maybe i did! i don't know; a lot of this is revisionist. from five years away, i am mostly guided by emotional memory. and that stands out in my gut-check.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Damned emotions! they skew everything!!! (want kids now?)

    ReplyDelete
  5. anon 11:09,

    when i first moved to SF i was ambivalent about kids. but then, i was ambivalent about a lot of things.

    yes, i want kids now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing all of this with us. It can't be easy, and I want you to know that we appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I cannot IMAGINE being that stressed and then getting hormones on top of it.

    I lead a non-stressful life, and I'm pretty sure Partner would throw herself in front of any such hormone rather than listen to me cry because there's nothing on TV.

    And TV rocks, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're amazing to be able to live this, and turn it into something eloquent, touching, real, and gripping. As a 31 yo woman who left SF for NYC and missed it every day, and who stayed serially dating while my friends built marriages perfect on the outside, as someone who never figured out extactly what I want, it's incredibly comforting to know that other real, intelligent women go through the same things and that marriage doesn't necessarily solve those missing things. While the story is heartbreaking- so happy to know the ending is happier so far:)- its a huge and needed reality check into how life goes. And shows how people can be honest with themselves despite- or because of- the painful parts, and come out better. Wish I could be there in SF, hang out a bit... in the meantime will keep reading and enjoying both the fun and the hard stuff. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Some of us are never happy with ourselves and keep looking for happiness in other people. I feel your pain, been there and I was about the same age as you were.

    If you haven't had your OBGYN problems solved by a male Dr., find a female Dr. Men haven't got a clue; I don't care if he has two PhD and a choir of female support.
    I had a fibroid forever and the three male OBGYN I had seen wrote it off to weight issues. The first female OBGYN I went to see immediately found the fibroid removed it and I was finally pregnant 51 weeks later at the ripe old age of 36.

    ReplyDelete
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