Monday, 3 March 2008

The (Infertility) Time Warp

Last week, I stepped off the treatment treadmill. I drank coffee! And wine! Had I been able to find anywhere in Granada that served sushi, I'd have probably eaten that as well... but instead, I gorged myself on tapas - salt cod croquetas, albondigas, calamares and pulpo alla gallega. We visited the Alhambra, and had a memorable meal in a Lebanese restaurant in El Albaicin, the old Moorish quarter of Granada (as you may be able to tell, Mr H and I lay down our holiday memories in terms of what we ate - a week in Nice, for example, is now largely defined by an exceptional tarte au chocolat, which still sparks fond reminiscences two and a half years later).

But the best thing about going away? Spending time with my husband. Infertility, I have come to realise, can make it extraordinarily difficult for one to live fully in the present. Instead, I seem to spend much of my time trying to second-guess what the future may hold. The reality is that at the moment we simply don't know whether we will have a child or not, and so we have endless conversations about whether we should move house, or whether we should wait until things have resolved themselves one way or another. I worry about whether I should go all out to get a permanent job, or whether I should put my career plans on hold while I focus on IVF.

As soon as I realised that our first cycle of IVF was going to have to be cancelled due to my poor response, I was looking to the next cycle. What will we do differently next time? How soon can I start treatment again? Even when we are not undergoing treatment, I find it difficult not to think in two-week increments; either I am awaiting the moment when I am ovulating, or I am looking out for the signs of early pregnancy - and then my period starts, and the whole cycle of hope and disappointment begins all over again.

I'm so busy thinking about what is currently missing from my life that I don't spend nearly time appreciating what I do have. But last week, I realised how lucky I am. I am married to a wonderful man, who makes me laugh. Even after seven and a half years, I can still get butterflies in my stomach when I look at Mr H across a room. We can stay up late into the night talking, but equally we can sit in companionable silence, each lost in our respective books. Things will undoubtedly be different if we don't have children, but our lives will not be over. And so I have resolved to stop endlessly trying to project myself into the future, and to focus more on enjoying what is going on in the here-and-now.

7 comments:

Jendeis said...

Mmm, croquetas and albondigas. I miss Spain.

shinejil said...

What a lovely and mouthwatering post. It's so great just to turn that part of your brain off for a while. Sounds like a wonderful holiday.

the Babychaser: said...

It's nice to rediscover why you picked that man in the first place, isn't it? I know J and I appreciate each other a lot more now than we did before this nightmare.

I laughed at your two-week-window concept. It's the one constant in IF, whether you're just charting at home or doing full-on ART. Everything in life goes in two-week increments.

I keep thinking that someday, someday, my period will take me by surprise again. 'Cause I just lost track....

Kim said...

I lived in Spain a bit in high school and your meals made my mouth water. My husband and I are the same way. The last time we were in Spain we had paella on a beach where the seafood came up from the sea about 50 yards away. Best paella ever anywhere. Yum-o. And that's saying a lot because they serve it everywhere these days.

luna said...

sounds absolutely wonderful~ so glad you enjoyed your holiday. I hear you on the food memories too, we do the same thing! in fact, one of my best moments this past weekend away was enjoying THE best mojito I have every had, with top shelf fancy rum from (get this) GRENADA (westerhill?) with fresh lime and muddled mint, chilled, shaken and served straight up -- mmmm... vacations.

welcome home and may you keep some of that holiday spirit with you. ~luna

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Glad the vacation let you live a little more in the 'here and now'. So often we end up tied back to memories (living in the past, the 'what-if's) or projecting to unknowable futures (the next cycle, the might-be's). It's good to take stock and allow yourselves chance to remember that you are a lovely couple with much love and intellectual affection for each other. That too is priceless. My thoughts are with you.

Sully said...

I just want to say that I love this post. Best wishes to you and thanks for stopping by - I'll continue to check in here!