Today I am shocked and heartbroken.

And tired. So far this week I've been working, studying in the evenings, and getting up at three hourly intervals during the night because the dog keeps wanting to be fed. I have been instructed to feed her as much as she'll eat, so all day I tempt her with various doggy treats, which she refuses. Then all night she nudges me awake to demand food. This morning I didn't have to be out til nine, so I set my alarm for eight, hoping to catch up on some rest. At 6:45 my father woke me up to say, "Don't worry about getting up early - I don't need a lift anymore." Thanks, Dad.


On Monday morning I returned to my workplace of yore, and it hit me like a brick. I've come a long way since last November, but the familiar setting brought back overwhelming feelings of despair as if they'd been lying in wait, quietly watching for me to step through that door. Twenty-four hours - not enough of which were spent sleeping - later, I was rostered alongside this colleague (call her S) listening to Beloved Dog's latest blood test results, which are poor. "Fuck," I said, the first tearprick causing a blink. "It must be me. She was getting better before I came back to town. Every time I arrive she gets something else. I swear I'm cursed. Actually cursed." For a second, S looked at me. Then she burst out laughing.

"I was being serious," I said.

"I know - that's what makes it so funny." A few guffaws later and she pulled herself together. "Sorry, but that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard." Then she looked around furtively and indicated an oft-unused corner with her head and a waggle of her eyebrows. Soon we were sitting side by side on the floor, our backs against the wall, quietly secreted away*. "So tell me about IVF," she said. "How does it work?"

I can't for the life of me remember anything humorous about our conversation, but we spent much of it in hysterics. Such punchlines as, "...which is when I started to think about killing myself," had us doubled over with mirth.

At a certain point we started to talk about her pregnancy. "You think you've got problems - look at me!" she exclaimed, and for some reason we nearly died in the throes of our ensuing merriment. "After that talk," she disclosed, having collected herself, "I started thinking, gosh, you know, my sister got pregnant all the time, often by accident, even when on the pill. And here's me, I've been using contraception faithfully for ten years straight, and not one single pregnancy! So we got a bit sloppy and the next thing you know... then I thought, well that's good, I can do it. Now if I could just put it on hold for a while, because I'm really not ready. You know?"

"I have never experienced that sequence of emotions." (Cue roars of outrageous hilarity, amidst which she managed to choke out, "But I hate kids!") She's on maternity leave soon. We've arranged to catch up for lunch.

Going home, I felt better. When my fertile friends decided I was too difficult to talk to, I struggled with the thought it was all my fault. My conversation with S, apart from providing me with an hour of much-needed laughter mixed with genuine sympathy, allowed me to believe it wasn't.

"Goodness," she said, wiping her eyes after yet another improbable fit of amusement. "I guess you have to laugh, don't you?"

"No you don't," I replied. "It's stressful, and tragic, and painful, and uncertain, and isolating." And just when you think the road is smoothing out, you come home to find the blog world in crisis. "You don't have to laugh. There's not a damn fucking thing about it that's funny."

She nodded. And with that, we fell down laughing too hard to breathe.

*We weren't skiving. We'd actually both finished our shifts by this time.


Baby Blues said...

Just like a good cry, sometimes all we need is a good laugh! Sometimes I could laugh so hard I would end up in tears. All of this could just get a bit crazy and although it's not funny at all, we just have to be silly and laugh at ourselves to deal with it. :-)

Geohde said...

Yep. I either laugh, or I cry. Sometimes both.

Or indulge my inner sarcasm and cynicism.

It helps to be a pessimist, that way I'm never dissappointed when things dont work out. :)

Chili said...

I'm glad you had such a great conversation with your friend. She sounds wonderful!

Samantha said...

I certainly know where you and your friend are coming from! I'm glad you had a chance to let it hang out there. I'm trying not to laugh while reading your post, because my abdomen doesn't like it!

SaraS-P said...

Sometimes this stuff can be hilarious (I am not doing IVF, just IUI so far), often when you least expect it. My favorite moment came when I told a former co-worker at a conference, "Oh, and it turns out I have a hostile vagina!" We got a good laugh out of that. Without laughter, who would keep doing all this?

Piccinigirl said...

sometimes a good laugh can work better for me than a good cry. IF makes you crazy I swear and I still feel that way. Like everything about this whole journey is just wrought with crazy times that I remember and either laugh or cry.

megan said...

this post actually made me cry...but only because i haven't laughed hard like that in what feels like eons. i'm so tired of being sad.
i'm glad you had a good connection with your friend. sometimes there's nothing better.

Schatzi said...

sometimes a good belly laugh... the kind where you can't breathe and tears are coming down your face is the best therapy there is. Your friend sounds fab!

Sarah said...

oh that's so great. the world needs more S's. i've been struck by the amount of scary and sad news in the blogs lately too. it's all just so unfair.

GLouise said...

Yes, sometimes we just have to laugh, otherwise we'd only be crying...Thinking of you and Beloved Dog.

Lut C. said...

A little comic relief can do wonders. :-)

I'm sorry to hear about the fresh round of crisis in blogland. No laughs there. :-(

Anonymous said...

You have to be able to laugh during all of this. If not, I don't know how I would survive.

The Town Criers said...

It's definitely not you. I think people have a hard time hearing anything that reminds them that life is not within their control. That terrible things happen. That there is possibly even heartache waiting for them around a corner.

And I second Baby Blues--sometimes what you need in the moment is a good laugh--even one that comes out of the tears.

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