It surprises you, the animal need. Leaves you panting. You want to hunt it down, ensnare it, why can't you? It's there, so close to smell, but why can't you? The need rises in you, trapped panic, the frantic whycan'tyou. What words can you use to describe it. Underneath cold black sky organs heart lungs soul you feel a howl rise in your throat.
~*~This entire infertility mess has been a huge exercise in identity. I've never been one to shun labels. I've always embraced them. So, I haven't had a lot of trouble identifying and falling into the idea that this is a group that, whether I like it or not, I belong in. I'm okay being super open about it, don't mind talking about it. In fact, I kind of like talking about it because it's a whole lot better than passing as fertile during conversations with friends about who's going to have babies soon.
That said, while I embrace this new identity with, well, not open arms, but maybe cold cringing arms, it's still not easy (duh, right?). Right now I feel like every single thing in my life is being burned away, leaving me very disconnected and fumbling as I try to rebuild my life. Everything is bare bones right now -- I'm not even decorating for Christmas -- Christmas is just kind of happening Out There as far as my shitty apartment is concerned, and I'm not shopping with anyone, not hosting anything. I'm not framing that as a complaint so much as a statement, a "this is my life right now, and it's confusing," statement. Even if I weren't going through this medical stuff, it'd be confusing, but to throw myself down this rabbit hole has been a tumbling sort of fall. I feel like I'm stuck in reverse, living in a shitty apartment alone with my dog watching Glee and going to the laundromat and when I drive to visit Patrick every other week or so I feel like a college kid coming home with her laundry. I'm simultaneously an adult woman dealing with infertility, and a young professional starting a new career in a new city which is exciting, and somehow a vulnerable little college student trucking her laundry back home every two weeks, except I already finished graduate school.
I know I have a problem, but I can't afford to work on a diagnosis right now, so I'm left simply a) knowing I have a problem and b) hoping that if I *do* magically get pregnant without assistance that I don't miscarry again because there's some problem I can't afford to find out about. Thank you, America. So my identity is now Paused Infertile, which is different from the Finding Out Working On It Infertile I was a month ago that I was okay embracing, if coldly. It's a change, and it's been surprisingly more difficult for me to transition to Paused than I thought it would be. It's like my whole life has been put on pause, and the medical stuff exacerbates it all. And yet the animal need to start a family is ridiculously still there, because it's, you know, what we're biologically driven to want to a certain extent. We've been together for almost seven years now, after all.
I identify myself as part of the infertile community, but I am still reeling over that fact, still reeling every time I research how much IVF costs ( it seems better to save money for the big one than burn hundreds of dollars for IUIs with a low success rate since we already had one failed one that was partially covered by insurance and still cost us about $400), still reeling that this is my life, that these are decisions we have to make that are huge. I want to hit Play on my life, want to unpause everything, want to find that magic key that will solve this puzzle, but I just have to work instead on embracing the Pause. But it is so strange, even after all this time, to Google IVF, to think about it all the time, because nobody expects this. It seems like the one identity I so, so want to shed, the Paused one.
It is so strange to be anything. How strange it is. I look at my Amazon wishlist from 2010-2011 and I'm like, who was that person, adding adorable kid's books to her list, naively hopeful? Sometimes Patrick and I talk about baby names, but we talk differently now. Gone is the "This name would work well with these possible sibling names" aspect because more than one is not in our sight anymore (barring an IVF-twins-incident, yikes). How strange it is to morph slowly into another person. Moving and living alone during all of this has just highlighted every aspect of my life and while I'm becoming a different person, it's tough to see those lists, tough to feel myself becoming a different person. Tough to let go, let go, and let go. And yet with the new awesome job, I sometimes feel like a pendulum, swinging between immense loss, and actual feeling-good-ness about my work life, a feeling I haven't had in ages. It's kind of a bipolar existence.
I have never seen photos from the cousin wedding we attended the last two days we thought we were going to be parents. I hope I never do. I don't know if I'd recognize that secretly joyful couple awkwardly dancing like awkward nerds do. And on one hand, that's okay. These things change people. We have grown as a couple, and we feel a little older, which, on the downside, alienated us from a lot of our still-partying friends -- which, yes, was a factor in our willingness to cut loose and move and start over (not the close friends, obviously, just the casual people we've been dining with for years because we all stayed in our college city). It's unsurprisingly difficult to feel the same in your group of crazy nerd goth punk band people when suddenly you're not all just kind of dancing through life and clinking drinks together at monthly bbq's but are suddenly going through serious stuff nobody understands because everyone there is still in the ew-kids-let's-go-get-drunk stage. We aged ourselves out. So in a way, this new job in a new city is a strange gift. I realize that. I am trying to embrace that.
We are being burned and turned to ashes. I'm not going to turn to the "rising from the ashes" cliche here because the thing is, in this world, you have to pay to make that flight. But I really am trying to embrace the good that is moving away, the chance to rise and connect with new groups we aren't aging ourselves out of. We, Patrick and I, are shedding the identities we held for so long.
I think what I'm trying to say here in all of this is that I simultaneously embrace this identity even while being surprised at every turn that I am, in fact, still definitely having to identify with it. It doesn't just disappear with the Pause (duh, right?). How strange it is to be a person you never thought you'd be. And maybe that's just life. I could look back on journals from my teens and wonder who that person was, too (though granted, that's a little different). But everybody gets a bad hand somehow, and this is the one I got. Someday I'll be able to unpause, but for the foreseeable future, this is the identity I'm stuck with. Paused. Paused and trying to kindle some fire from the coals.
Who will I be in 2013?