The following is a text message correspondence between Toby Joe and me. It took place over the course of several hours on May 18th, 2010. I reprinted it word-for-word, so please try and overlook any grammar and spelling errors.
There is a backstory at the end of this post.
May 18th, 2010 8:51 AM
(From the doctor’s office.)
Michele: Had to pay upfront. 8900 on AmEx. We will get paid back. Lots to talk about. Give me a call later. Or I could put it in an emal.
Michele: I’m a little bit freaking out.
Michele: You probably should have come to this. You have to inject most of the drugs this time as they have to go into my butt muscle.
Michele: But I’ll teach you.
Toby: OK. So is 8900 the total? Not 15,000?
Michele: No, there’s more later. It will be around 14 and change.
Michele: You have to take antibiotics starting tonight for 10 days.
Michele:I think this will work, but I do worry still about miscarriage. They said it’s probably not wise to do genetic testing to the embryo because we have no issues.
Michele:We have a perfect kid but I would love for him to have a sibling. But emotionally I think we need to say no more after this. If this doesn’t work I need to give up. Let’s make a deal an stick to it.
Michele: Head full of information about IVF now. Feel much better about it. It’s freaky but kind of awesome what they can do these days. I had no idea. I am waiting to talk to the nurse.
Michele: You will need to take care of injections. I hope this works. I may ask that you schedule some vacation days if poss. I’ll let you know.
Michele: Can’t do IVF this month. August soonest. I am so sad.
Toby: Why not?
Michele: Too much to explain and I’m not even sure. I have a call into doctor. Assistant called. Left me message.
Michele: Fucking heartbroken.
Michele:I ovulate twice between the time they close and open again in July. I’m just barely holding myself together. I need hope of some sort and now it’s just waiting some more, experiencing more failure. Just terrible. Em is going to be three.
Michele: I just hate this. I feel completely alone, which I hear is normal but still. Maybe it’s time for some serious antidepressants.
Toby: Or therapy. This is about being able to cope and you keep getting deeper and deeper (as people do) and seem unable to pull back at all. You could use this as a welcome break if you had the right perspective but you’re stuck in a loop of obsessing and clock watching and though that is understandable it’s causing you misery. that means you need help pulling back in obsession. Maybe a month or two is a good break. But you won’t take it you will read more and more online and continue to make yourself ill. Being able to switch gears would make it much easier for you. That isn’t meds — it’s a skill I think.
Michele: There’s nothing left for me to google. I have researched to exhaustion. So really the next two months will feel more like purgatory as I have felt almost every day since the miscarriage.
Michele: Only worse because I’m not doing anything and Em is getting older. And I hate that.
Michele: I can’t not try. Just can’t. We have to try even if it’s naturally.
Toby: I want a kid more than you know but don’t talk about it so it doesn’t get worse. But I am able to focus on other things. You aren’t. That’s the difference. This has become 100% of your self wroth. Not just something you want but can’t have. I stay hopeful but focus elsewhere and it usually works fine. But you seem to attribute all self worth to being pregnant. It’s not about you or your worth or anything. It’s just something – one of hundreds – that we want but haven’t yet been able to have. Those things won’t go away.
Michele: Doc said I have to go on the pill in June. So no natural try then.
Michele: Apparently I have one bitch of a follicle that began to form already and if I start medication for IVF, I’ll likely only get this one follicle since it already started growing. And that’s a waste of a cycle. meds for nothing. Naturally the hopeful idiot inside of me says wouldn’t it be poetic if this actually works naturally? After all this time, this little lone gangsta follicle directly responsible for keeping us from doing IVF ends up being our next child?
Michele: This is what hope is. And I have learned to loathe it.
Toby: Gangsta! Ha!
Gangsta Due: February 13th, 2011
(A mere eight days after the due date for the baby we lost.)
Toby Joe and I went through 6 months worth of Clomid and 5 failed IUIs (intra-uterine insemination). In April, we went through one round of injectables and then another failed IUI. In May (after vowing we would never go that far) we decided to try IVF.
Why the sudden rush? My doctor’s office always closes for a month and a half starting at the end of May, so we decided to try immediately. It was a whirlwind decision and we hit the ground running all within a 24-hour period. (Long story, but cycle days matter big time with IVF cycles. Oh, the things I have learned.)
We had a day to get everything going. That day was May 18th, 2010.
And I wish I could have written about the year we’ve had—how hard it’s been. I wish I could explain how lonely infertility is. I’ve read that it can ruin a marriage; I get that now. Granted, my marriage did not suffer. If anything, it brought us closer together as a family.
But my reclusive behavior has destroyed a few friendships over the year. And for that I’m sorry. But to quote a friend of mine who went through it, “Infertility is a huge mindfuck.”
It so is.
For whatever the reason may be, I wasn’t able to share this with people. For the first time in my life, I’d gone private—totally dark. That was difficult. I have always been a very open person, willing to discuss all things personal. But not this time. And I am not sure why that is.
It’s been hard—really hard. I can’t write that enough. If you’ve ever dealt with infertility, you know. I don’t need to tell you. If you haven’t, you’re lucky and I doubt all the words in the world could really explain.
I will never, ever move beyond what I went through over the past year. Even now, I worry that just by writing this out loud, I’ll miscarry. I’m getting heart palpitations just looking at that button: PUBLISH. Every time I go to the bathroom I look for blood. And at every ultrasound I am waiting for the doctor to tell me there is no longer a heartbeat. Five people knew I was pregnant up until Saturday. Five. I don’t trust this. I’m scared to death. But I’m trying.
For now, at 13 weeks, things look good. And I have to try and focus on that.
Miscarriage and infertility may remove one’s innocence, but all the heartache in the world won’t take down hope. And for that I am grateful.
To quote Chase from The Royal Tenenbaums: “I’ve had a rough year, Dad.”
But things are looking up.