Through the upstairs bathroom window, the late afternoon light streams.
The kind of light that catches all of the tiny particles in the air, as they gently float around.
Specks of dust drifting; eventually falling.
The room feels like a warm cocoon, despite the cold tiled floors and the flat slabs of Caesar stone, glass and porcelain. My naked skin, in a rare moment feels comfortable, at ease..in no rush to bundle itself up to chase warmth and hide again.
In front of me, rows of bottles and boxes of medication are lined up across the vanity. A collection, I had no say in acquiring. I have visitors coming so scooped into the top drawer they will all be pushed. Hidden.
Take two with meals, take one before eating, take one of a night, take one of a morning and two of a night. Take before bedtime; lay down for an hour after insertion. Side effects may include mood swings, hot flushes, vomiting and diarrhea; side effects may include migraines, cold sweats at night, heart palpitations and dizziness. Do not operate heavy machinery. Do not take on an empty stomach. Do not mix with alcohol. Do try to hold down a full time job and progress your career, run a house hold, keep a happy marriage, keep friendships in tact; socialise. Take care of family. Keep that smile always on your face. Keep standing up every time BAM! you get pushed over and left behind.
I can’t help but let out a sigh. So imprisoned and disappointed by this, my new normal. So disappointed by my answer now when asked how many medications I am on. It used to be zero, now it is about 7. So very disappointed with my own skin. The failure of everything inside of it. This lump of clay I have tried hard to mold and do the things I want, a lifetime of worry and doubt hidden under layers of clothes, and smiles and conversation.
I study myself closely. It is difficult, with hot breath fogging against the cool glass, like the hazy way that I have always tried to see myself really.
My face, my hair and every inch of my body under a critical microscope.
The bruises and the redness from hundreds of needles jabbing my soft middle. It used to be flat and strong, now pudgy and sad. My face full of lines and bumps and sun spots and beginnings of wrinkles. It used to be so dewy and youthful, pretty; stealing kisses, with crushes on warm summer nights. My legs used to be smooth, creamy, strong. Leaping and bounding and swinging and gripping on to life, all with a mischievous look in my eye, drunk on the prospects of ‘forever’. They are bumpy and lumpy now. They fail to move as fast as I want them to.
I used to be a fun, sunny girl. Why did she leave so casually, without even a goodbye?
So used to bundling it all up so quickly, with robotic consistency, that I have failed to ever let myself breath, let myself be open and free.
When I was a kid we would visit my Nan and Pop’s house every Sunday after church. In the romance of memory, I loved every minute of my time with them. Picking mandarins from their trees in winter time and strawberries from their patch in summer. Nan telling stories of when she was a little girl and pop making me giggle with delight with all his jokes and elaborate magic tricks. They were strict grandparents though and very much believed children should be seen and not heard; not that it was a rule to conform to, just one I was often reminded of, whenever I would gripe or annoy my mother in their presence. I didn’t really mind this though, it was possibly my earliest lesson in respecting others and biting my tongue, no matter how much I wanted to speak my hot tempered mind, when life wasn’t fair.
I guess they were my earliest teachers in a diplomacy of sorts, but unfortunately, also in becoming invisible, disappearing into myself, hiding my feelings deep down and smiling, always smiling.
IVF is hard and it is scary but it is even harder to talk about openly and share because of how closely it is all tied to failure, disappointment, not getting hopes up and pressure; immense pressure for your body to perform, to do its magic tricks and pull the rabbit out of the hat everyone around you is waiting for.
I just want to move past the shame of it all and the insecurity. I want to move past it all completely and live the life that everyone around me has.
To be a mum, something I have wanted to be since I was cradling my doll Lucy, I got for Christmas when I was around 7. She could talk and I would feed her and change her nappy and I was blissfully happy, even though in the months begging for her, (after watching an afternoon ad on TV) I had actually conjured up in my over-imaginative mind, a real baby showing up under the tree that day.
To say out loud that I want it, and I want it so desperately is scary. But I do.
I don’t know what life is without such a want. I don’t think I am ready to face the prospect. So, invisible I remain, hoping that works.
I start to get dressed as the nausea has returned, maybe from the tablets I have just taken, maybe from the reflection in the mirror.
The day of my Frozen Egg Transfer is the most incredible few hours of my life, picturing my little embryo nestling in, warm and cocooned, looking for somewhere to nuzzle and remain. How could this not work? By morning though, I have convinced myself I have failed again and how could this possibly ever happen?
Even worse, as I push the rest of the packets into the drawer, side effects of the drugs also cruelly mimic early signs of pregnancy, cramping, spotting, sore breasts.
I tell no one though, I keep all my fears and my doubts to myself. Hidden.
Feeling like one of the tiny particles of dust catching in the sunlight, as it spins and tumbles through the air trying to find somewhere soft to land.