Saturday, February 5, 2011


I feel like I write a post with this title every month. Oh, wait...

So I have my ultrasound early Tuesday morning. My hope is that they will find something that is not a total disaster (if one of my ovaries has a demon face grinning horribly from it, I will be concerned. Of course, I am convinced this is already the case), but I really hope that they find something. Random, aberrant pain without any explanation but probably no serious medical implications would be less than reassuring, because then I could be in enough pain to be laid up again - how often? So I am sort of hopeful. Ish. About...who knows.

I was thinking last night as the spotting slowly increased to more spotting (and then increased to "L" and cramps today) that my verbally self-abusive framework of anticipating the arrival of AF is actually fairly narrow-minded. As I accumulate symptoms that I associate with the onset of my period (irritability, abdominal tightness, bloating, spotting, etc.), I know the next cycle is about to start. My irrationally-hopeful side feeds me contrary theories. The tiny voices I'm always trying to silence note that none of these symptoms is inconsistent with pregnancy; in fact, some of them are associated with both PMS and pregnancy (breast tenderness and abdominal tightness, for example. At least, so I've read...).

When I try to shut the voice up, I am not actually acknowledging my intellectual certainty that what's happening is a new cycle rather than the start of a pregnancy. Because, as a matter of fact, I'm not actually certain about that. If I later ended up with a BFP, every symptom could accurately be explained as either a pregnancy symptom or a symptom of low progesterone.

What I'm actually saying is that the symptoms all could be symptoms of the fact that I'm about to start a new cycle (what actually happened, of course), because my past experience tells me that this is possible. (And that's perfectly rational.) And the other thing I'm expressing when I repress the ideas about the fact that I could possibly be pregnant is that it's morally wrong - a breach of faith, really - to suppose that in my particular case, symptoms that are more or less ambiguous as between PMS and early pregnancy are anything but PMS.

That sentence was a little tortured, so I'll try to reframe: for women in general, symptoms that could go either way should rationally be read as "could go either way." You take a test or wait it out to see what the symptoms actually indicate. In my case, with symptoms that could go either way, I believe I am morally obliged to interpret them always as signs of a new cycle, because how dare I hope that things could turn out positively? Who do I think I am - a person who receives blessings like that blessing? To indulge fantasies of two pink lines is greed - inexcusably desiring things beyond my station.

Am I making any sense here? This struck me as a revelation, but perhaps I'm not explaining (or have imagined) what made the idea revolutionary. It came to me when I was scolding myself that of course all my symptoms made obvious that I was about to get my period. And then I thought, oh, wait, that's not true. It would be true in the case of someone who is not ttc, who is just trying to figure out whether it's the end of the cycle or not...but actually, with someone who's trying to get pregnant, the symptoms aren't conclusive at all. It's just that I think I'm obliged to take on faith that I could never get pregnant.

And now I'm angry. Angry because I realize that in my mind, acknowledging that ambiguous symptoms could mean pregnancy is like expecting that every present under the tree is for me, or being indignant when I don't win the lottery, or being offended that I have to work to support myself and pay for the things that I want. I think that actually, rationally, and objectively supposing that I could be pregnant is greed.

In fact, even more than the high likelihood of miscarriage based on my medical state, if I somehow did get a BFP, I would approach the entire pregnancy as likely to end in loss as a matter of some perverse practice of virtue - I don't deserve a baby, so it would be overwhelmingly presumptuous to be happy about a pregnancy. Likely as it is that the baby would die, it would be a certainty if I were happy, because of course a just God would need to teach me a lesson for expecting that such a blessing were real.

Of course, I am an undeserving creature. Everyone is, including everyone who becomes a parent. What kind of saint would one have to be to earn something like the miracle of life? But when another woman gets pregnant - under whatever circumstances, really - I don't think, "Well, she didn't deserve a baby." I take it as a matter of course. And every new bride (and every infertile) who gets pregnant for the first time confirms it more: it's not just bad luck, and all these other women (whom I know to be good and deserving) don't have babies either. They all have them now (or will soon). So it really is that I'm to make an act of faith to the transcendent truth of barrenness. "Hope in the Lord" means having hope for everyone but me.


  1. Well, you and I are about a day apart. I'm expecting cd1 tomorrow.
    I'm really sorry about AF showing up. No matter how many times we've see the witch, it still hurts when we realize yet again that she's here.
    Unlike you, I have thought in the past "she doesn't deserve a baby". But I'm definitely no saint :).

  2. I'm sorry about getting AF - again. Sending you a hug.

  3. It truly is a cruel thing that PMS and early pg symptoms are the same.

    Sending you hugs and prayers on CD1.

    And yes, I feel like I write the same post every month as well.

  4. I don't have the same relationship to CD1, but I am sorry for all that it means for you and the emotional baggage that the windup to cd1 brings with it.
    abiding with you, hedwig