Science Baby 11


J will be home in twenty minutes and I’ve finally gotten my work tasks into a decent state and I can write for a bit before I head off to caretake her and begin again the endless nights of support, of don’t worry sweetie you are perfectly normal, of I love you so much, of I will be happy with you with or without a baby, of we will make it through this, of cooking dinner and cleaning and maybe going for a walk if I can convince her, of giving myself to someone else and pushing down everything else.

Science baby is a failure. It’s all but official. Women produce hCG when their baby is developing. J stalled out. 25 a week ago on Wednesday, 40 on Friday, 55 on Monday this week, 80 today. It should be in the 400s and even that might be considered low — should be doubling every two to three days until it hits 1000 or so. I am, at this point, more concerned about J’s overall health than trying to have a baby. It could be ectopic — the embryo could be trying to develop in a place where it won’t develop properly, a fallopian tube, the cervix. If this is happening, some kind of intervention could be necessary. It could be very bad for J. I’m hoping it’s just a blighted ovum – that’s when it just stops developing. But if it was a blighted ovum, why are the levels still increasing? They shouldn’t be. So we are in the lurch. We’ve accepted this is not a viable growth, this will not turn into a human, but we have no idea what is happening, and our clinic, CCRM, doesn’t really know either. It’s not exactly reassuring when your doctor says we don’t know, we’ll do another blood test on Friday and also perform an ultrasound and try to get more data, try to figure out what is happening and how to clear the body out.

J is terrified of the unknowns here. So am I but I am better at pushing emotions down because I am a man and I have been taught basically my entire life how to push things down so I compress everything into a neat little ball of rage and despair and hopelessness and worry and stick it toward the back of my head next to other things that aren’t any use to me. She cries and tells me she doesn’t want to miscarry, doesn’t want the pain, doesn’t want the blood, doesn’t want to think about our dead baby moving through her. I tell her it’s not really a baby yet, there’s no heartbeat. This makes her cry harder. I tell her I love her. This produces no result whatsoever. Last night I held her for a while, which seemed to help. Her shaking stops.

I spoke to my brother yesterday and he told me I had to call my sick mother so I called her and she said that she is doing poorly and I said yes I know I am sorry you are still nauseas and not sleeping and the world is closing in around you but you need to eat and do your physical therapy and walk around occasionally or we are going to have to figure out what to do — you can’t live alone in this state. She said well I can’t go to the hospital, I hate it there and I said if you keep threatening suicide one of these days you are going to end up in the psych ward and she said I won’t sign voluntary committal papers and I said if you are threatening suicide you may not have to and she said if you try to commit me I will kill myself and I said OK we are done with this conversation, I can’t listen to this and you can call and talk to me if you are able to discuss other things, I love you but I cannot listen to this and I hung up and haven’t called her back and don’t plan on it. She can be my brother’s problem exclusively now. My brother lives with her and doesn’t have a job, he has all the bandwidth in the world to indulge her bullshit, I do not.

A sampling of depressing things J has said to me about IVF over the past week as we have been trying to come to terms with the failure:

I can’t go to work anymore, I can’t look at the kids when I don’t have one of my own (My wife is a children’s librarian)
Why do I have to take care of other peoples’ babies but I can’t have one myself? It’s so unfair!
I’m not a normal woman, there’s something wrong with me. Why can’t I just be normal?
Other women have babies so easily, I feel defective and broken. Did I do something wrong?
Two years of our life down the drain trying to do this, hundreds of shots, tens of thousands of dollars. Wasted, all wasted. (I have this thought too.)
I’ll never be a mother, this dream is over.

Yesterday I announced that once this is over we will go to Paris. Fuck it. I’ve never been there. I said let’s take a week off work at the beginning of November and go enjoy ourselves. Give us a break from this shit, see the sights, do other things. When we get back maybe we can consider donor egg, or maybe instead we’ll get two Corgis. Two corgis almost equals a baby yeah?

I caught her in just the right mood, when she was relaxing, ten minutes before going to bed, and she laughed. One point seven, she said.In the middle of all of this I am selling my car, a 2014 Toyota Corolla, and getting an electric vehicle, the Chevy Bolt EUV at a good trim level. This might seem like a stupid thing to do right smack in the middle of all of this life and death but actually it is a relief to look at numbers and features instead of constantly staring the failure of our IVF journey in the face, or worrying about J’s health when there’s not a single fucking thing I can do about it. 100 hCG versus 200 hp. Twenty thousand dollars in IVF drugs versus thirty two thousand dollars for a vehicle. Never knowing what is going on inside the mystery that is woman versus being in a car with an engine that always responds the same way to my input.

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August 31, 2023

I’ve known several women who had fertility issues – I know from them how difficult it is/was for them.  You have expressed so well this pain from the partner’s perspective – I knew intellectually that my friends’ partners were going through their own pain- but hearing it first person from you has helped my understanding.

I’m also gobsmacked that you are going through another wringer with your mother’s situation.

I think Paris is a fabulous idea!