When I used to do a lot of yoga, there was this exercise involving yogic breathing at the start of the meditation section of the class. I remember there was always this effort to explore the space in between breathing in and breathing out, that pause, that silence, where there was quiet and stillness and a lack of movement, perhaps it was here that enlightenment lurked, like a nice ninja, ready to thump you over the forehead with a vision of the truth of existence.
I’ve been looking for my nice ninja this week, but feeling like I am constantly getting thumped over the forehead. I’ve been alternating between looking for the happy ninja of enlightenment, which in my fairly unambitious case consists of trying to not feel like complete crap and not be counting the days / minutes / hours til our pregnancy test, and just getting on with getting on with it by trying to distract myself with day to day tasks.
About a third of my job is writing really complex ideas into powerpoint format, so I’m going to resort to dot points here
Barriers to finding my nice ninja of happiness and the space in between
- I feel like shit. No really. I have a combination of pmt and a feeling like a herd of elephants has passed through the night and trampelled through the bedroom and over my abdomen. Occasionally, this transmogrifies into feeling like every muscle in my body has just given up, or I have a major flu coming on, or crawling sensations under my skin (they’re my favourite). And my boobs hurt. The elephants may have been there too. And no, this is not pregnancy, this is the stupid-clinic-pumping-you-full-of-artificial-progesterone-itis.
- The bits of paper and phone calls. Just when you thought it was safe to forget all about IVF, another bill or letter or appointment reminder appears in the mail or someone rings up from the clinic to confirm something. Like even in the moment when you are locked out of your apartment because the lock has seized, and a gardener is climbing up their ladder to jump in the window, even then, the clinic will call.
- Merck. Dear Merck, this is all your fault. You need to employ more female researchers. Because no FEMALE researcher would think that a good patient outcome involved two weeks of walking around with an oozing feeling from your nether regions. No FEMALE researcher would come up with a hormone supplement and say “ok, so we’ve got this cream, right. And you stick it up your you know what, right. Twice a day. And look, you will feel like you have PMT 24/7, and there will be headaches, diarrhea, sore boobs and feeling sad and teary, you may feel like you’re getting the flu ok, and then there’s the nervous ‘worlds going to end’ feeling it sometimes sends your way, and after a week it starts to turn into these amazing cottage cheese like clumps, and you’re still expected to go about your day like nothing is happening but seriously this product is a winner.” I hate you Merck. And your crinone. And all your ignorant male researchers.
- It is hard to be mindful as your to do list expands in inverse proportion to your bank account emptying.
- I am sure I am not pregnant. I don’t feel pregnant, I just feel shite. So it’s annoying to have to keep going through the motions of supplementing hormones and not drinking and being careful about what I do and so on when I know it’s probably for nothing. And I don’t know how the hell we’re going to have the recommended break between cycles and manage around xmas, because everything would hit right on xmas day if we did a December cycle. I want someone to talk to me about this, but I’m terrified to ask because I’m superstitious this conversation will somehow “make” me not pregnant. Or some other such nonsense. But I want to know.
moments this week in the space between, with the nice ninja of mindfulness just around the corner
Leo’s mother was a rather scary Germanic butch dyke with several dogs, piercings, and a bad attitude, particularly when she found we’d been feeding Leo. Leo is pretty tall, and pretty enthusiastic in a “give me that or I’ll jump up and eat your arm” kind of way, so he was hard to refuse. Whilst floobling Leo’s ears, I forgot all about IVF. It was nice. (Flooble: verb, made up by us, meaning to ruffle up and scratch the ears of a dog with floppy ears).
3. Marking. Marking student assignment takes a lot of concentration. And I’m always so furious if they haven’t listened to my suggestions before submitting it, that it is completely distracting. I would not say it’s entirely little ninja of happiness, because most of the time I hate marking, but I do get to a 110% concentration when I mark and forget about all this other shit.
4. Interviewing people for a research project. 150% concentration, which I approached in the “feel the fear and do it anyway” methodology. ie I feel like i’m about to die, and I’m pretty sure I have forgotten my next question, but if I go through the motions for long enough I may either a) start to feel better or b) fool you into reflecting on your experience and making some worthwhile contributions . But even though it’s a gender project if you could refrain from talking about women’s challenges and starting a family I’d appreciate it.
5. sitting in the same church, with the same two people in the same two seats as the week before, and realising all that passed in that small 7 day period (3 embryos, 2 embryos, 1 maybe two embryos, one embryo transfer, maybe baby, no more embryos…), and staring up at the stained glass windows and trying really hard to find the space between my breaths as I sat there. It’s probably sacrilegious doing yoga breathing in a church, but at least I didn’t downward dog in the aisle. And it almost worked.
6. days of waiting then the day of the test. Including today. I already know the result, so I’m not sure why I’m so worried…I might hold my breath for a while and observe the stillness, and maybe the little ninja of enlightenment will thump me on my already aching head….