Empty and Frantic

September 3, 2008

To quote from the Radiohead song “Fitter Happier” after which this blog is named:

no longer empty and frantic
like a cat
tied to a stick,
that’s driven into
frozen winter shit

I feel like my baseline mood is neutral-to-cheery, but lately “empty and frantic” is a pretty apt description a good proportion of the time. Mostly as a result of infertility, with some work, financial, family, and other stress thrown in to round it out. Without infertility, those other stresses would be manageable. Of course, without IF I would either have a kindergarten-age child, or I would be purposely child-free, depending on which alternate reality you are imagining.

I think back to the time before I started TTC. Without idealizing, I can honestly say that I was happier in a lot of ways. Not that I was always happier than I am now, but for several years before we started thinking about children, our marriage was great, and other aspects of my life were on the upswing. Oh, mid-20s, how rosy you were.

The first change occurred when I started charting, even before we actually started TTC. I used to sleep like a log, all the way through the night no matter what. All my life I slept like a log — too soundly, even; I have slept through major earthquakes, fire alarms, and too many alarm clocks. As soon as I started charting, I kept waking up many times throughout the night, wondering if it was time to temp yet. Never mind the fact that DH would wake me at the proper time. I was so eager — it’s funny to imagine now. I have barely slept through the night in the seven years since then, even though I gave up on charting over 4 years ago.

The next change came with the dawning realization of infertility. I have gone through every imaginable emotion. Most people reading this have experienced all of those same emotions, and many of you have described them eloquently on your own blogs, so I don’t need to catalog them here.

Perhaps the biggest change came with my first miscarriage. I was so naïve and hopeful, it never occurred to me that I might lose that baby. Since then, I have found it hard to imagine that a pregnancy will last.

Increasingly, I have gotten increasingly bothered by “innocent” comments, pregnancy announcements, and in a paranoid turn of events, even the potential for being around someone who might have children.

Sleep got even worse after I stopped charting. There have been so many nights that I couldn’t fall asleep until 4, 5, 6 a.m. Countless hours spent Googling infertility or IMing with my friend the vampire (okay, so he’s not really a vampire, he just works at night and sleeps during the day). And then, during my first injectables cycle, I also had the worst flu of my life, and for a month I barely slept yet couldn’t get out of bed. It wasn’t just the flu, though. I didn’t sleep at all the night before the egg retrieval for IVF #1; I hadn’t slept 0 hours since my first and only all-nighter in college.

One thing that hasn’t change is my need to plan, both during the early days and more recently. What has changed is that I relished it before, because planning is in my nature. Now I beat myself up over the foolishness of planning.

Some of the changes have been good. Regarding other people, I have gotten more sensitive, more careful with my words, more open-minded. In regards to myself, I also think that I have gotten more introspective, more deliberate, more in touch with my emotions. A lot of that has occurred quite recently, in conjunction with blogging. For that, ALI blogging community and Baby Smiling In Back Seat readers, I thank you. I have also stopped consulting Dr. Google for hours on end — somehow, getting a little fix of infertility every day through regular reading of others’ blogs has quenched my formerly insatiable thirst for knowledge and shared experience. So, community, thanks for that too.

I’m not at the point where I can declare that I am “no longer empty and frantic.” Some days I feel more empty than others, some days frantic but most days not. It’s nice to have a goal aside from making a baby. I hate to admit it, but looking into the immediate future, “no longer empty and frantic” feels more likely than “baby smiling in back seat.” But I will keep working on achieving both.