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Thanks for All the Vodka

Someone once gave me advice that they had gotten from their professor: do not make any decisions when you have to shit. I’m mentally attributing this story to my high school psychology teacher, but considering it contains the word “shit,” that’s probably wrong. It could also belong to my graduate Classics professor, which sounds a bit more appropriate, but regardless, the point is that you should make decisions with a clear head and not distracted by other impulses–namely, the desire to get something taken care of quickly so you can go and shit. It’s really the same thing as “sleep on it” or “let’s table this.”

I table a lot of things. Sometimes, I write a post and publish it immediately. Other times, I leave it in the draft folder for a day and reread it before hitting publish. There are also the posts that languish in the draft folder until they are posted long after the fact or deleted (such as the Chinese New Year post from last year lovingly titled “Come on Pig, Light My Fire”). This is one of those posts that I found Friday night. It was written a few weeks ago in between bouts of drunk emailing Lindsay. I was half asleep by the time I finished this post and only semi-coherent.

Why am I posting it now? I don’t know. It was tottering between delete and post, similar to the Manifesto several months ago. We are currently trying to make a decision and I guess posting this is a form of shitting so I can approach things with a clear mind. Who really knows why we get these impulses to hit publish or delete. Children are mentioned at the very end for those who like a heads up about these sorts of things.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an infertile woman living in a townhouse, must turn to alcohol when frustrated. If I lived in the farmhouse-of-my-dreams, I would have a good scream. I would maybe even break a few things–throw the telephone, shatter some pottery, smash the $4 glasses from Crate and Barrel.

But I live in a townhouse so I have to raid my lady-when-waiting’s vanilla vodka from the freezer. I’m sorry, sweetie. I’ll replace it before your next visit.

It is really frustrating to have to go to the clinic to have someone else knock you up when everyone else gets pregnant at home. I know–I’m preaching to the choir and this isn’t really earth-shattering. I doubt you’ll walk away from this post shaking your head and saying, “by fuck, I never thought of that before.” But it bears repeating anyway. And I also know that there are plenty of other situations that are “worse” than infertility. But, this is what I have on my plate and this is why I’m having J’s vodka tonight so… And really, don’t we live in a world where we can all recognize that we each have our own unique suckage and my suckage doesn’t detract from the gravity of your suckage? Can we not engage in comparative suckage? I will recognize yours if you will recognize mine. Fair?

It really sucks to have to go to the clinic. It really sucks not to be able to conceive at home. It really sucks to want to have a child and not know whether or not that will happen. It really sucks that each cycle is as long as it is so that you only get so many chances a year. It really sucks that fertility takes a nose-dive at 35. It really sucks that there isn’t a simple solution even though people act as if there is a simple solution. It really sucks that other people know more about my hoohaahooterus than I do at this moment in time and my hoohaahooterus is part of my body. And it really sucks that Our Bodies, Our Selves made me believe that I could really take charge of my reproductive health and know my vagina inside and out. I know my vagina better than I know spelling (and I think I’m a decent speller. Maybe not spelling bee material, but a decent speller nonetheless) but knowing every bit of information about my vagina and hormone levels and cervical mucous has done jack-shit to actually get me pregnant nor has it helped me hold on to a pregnancy.

It really sucks to be getting drunk while writing a blog post about not getting pregnant when all you want to do is have an excuse why you can’t drink for 9 months. It really sucks to have People magazine ironically left open to the story on 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spear’s pregnancy. It really sucks to have to retell your reproductive history again and again and again to every person who works in the clinic. It really sucks to have people apologize who shouldn’t be apologizing–they should just be doing what they said they would do. It really sucks that offices close down at night, right when I’m having my nervous breakdown and need to speak to someone.

It really sucks to not know if I’ll get what I want. It really sucks to work really hard and have nothing to show for it. It really sucks to not be able to keep my thoughts straight because I’m getting progressively sloppier (sloppier–is that a word?) as I write this post because I’m about to go on to another drink. It really sucks to be taught that if I try really hard, I can succeed at anything. It really sucks that I once believed that. It really sucks that I don’t believe it anymore. It really sucks that if I’m not careful, I won’t teach hope to my kids. It really sucks if I do that to them.

It really sucks to have blood drawn so often and a camera stuck inside my vagina and an injections class and saline sonogram on the calendar. It really sucks that other people are thinking about when they want to have a child and I have to think about if I will get to have a child. It really sucks that I’m spending this much of my evening upset about this; letting it eat me up when I have three thousand other things I need to be doing. It really sucks that it seems to be a common refrain.

Aaah, perhaps the fact that I can’t remember what I wanted to write next should be my cue that it’s time to tie this up. I will say this about secondary IF after primary IF, I have never felt needier and more pathetic than when I just slinked into their room after washing my face and scooped them out of their cribs to crawl into the rocking chair, throwing out excuses that I’m doing it because they’re not going to bed and they need to calm down with a cuddle. And I have never felt like a bigger ass still crying about infertility when I finally have children and I know that the primary IF me would have wanted to kick my ass for bitching. But the primary me could have never known that secondary IF hurts just as much and is just as precarious and sucks just as hard.

It really sucks to learn lessons.


1 Meghan { 01.20.08 at 6:46 pm }

It all does suck. And sometimes it feels just a little bit better to rant and scream (quietly of course into your vodka bottle) that it just sucks. And is unfair. Every little part of it.

I read this as a newly pregnant infertile, scared to post about how much IF has taken away from this and how it sucks that I can’t be happy. So I get ya, I’ll recognize your suckiness

Hoping the next morning found you without too much of a post vodka headache

2 Sara { 01.20.08 at 6:49 pm }

Aw Mel, I’m so sorry. Sorry for the suckage. Sorry that I can’t be there to drink with you. Just sorry.

It does suck. That’s all there is to it. Infertility just plain sucks in all of its shapes and forms.

I know I always feel better after I’ve chosen than when I’m in the process. Good luck with your decision. I hope that it leads you to a happier place.

3 Jen { 01.20.08 at 6:54 pm }

I recognize your suckage. I want to run around outside in the real world, screaming out “it’s not fair!” No one ever told me the world is fair, but I have long held onto the belief that it SHOULD be.

Love you, Mel. We are always here for you like you are always there for us.

4 Julia { 01.20.08 at 7:57 pm }

It doth suck, every bit of it. I am sorry, and I hope your decision feels right and brings peace.

5 Susan { 01.20.08 at 7:57 pm }

It is very hard to want something so bad and you really can’t do anything about it. It’s not like a test you can study for or a race you can train for. It’s all a bunch of what ifs and what have yous. It sucks big time. I’ve always thought of myself as a good person. Dealing with infertility makes me feel like I did something bad. I’m sorry about it sucking and life not being fair. I think you are a very nice person. You help so many people with your posts and connections. I wish I could make it all go away. For you and all of us. We’re in this together.

6 Ally { 01.20.08 at 8:09 pm }

IF does suck. Whatever shape or form it takes, it sucks long and loud. I, too, was (am???) a firm believer that, if you work hard enough, you can accomplish just about anything. And yet, here I am, doing all I can not to be IF and yet, it’s not working. So it sucks. I am grateful that we can hold on to each other during the suckitude because I don’t know what I would do without the support.

7 ms. c { 01.20.08 at 8:10 pm }

While the thouhts are certainly not news to any of us, there’s just something in the way that you write about it that makes it so… real.
This is one of those posts to bookmark and send to friends when they don’t seem to get your IF situation.
Thanks for the secondary IF perspective at the end. I’m so sorry you are experiencing the pain first hand again. It’s just shitty shitty shitty.
The post also scared me somewhat, as I can’t help but think about child #2 (though #1 is still cooking…) The reality that it’s going to be the same thing all over again is mindboggling.

8 Waiting Amy { 01.20.08 at 8:29 pm }

It all sucks. It doesn’t matter if its your first, second or third try. If you’re not getting what you want, it sucks.

I was struck by the paragraph about how its not about how hard we work or even knowing how things will end. This was (is) the hardest part for me.

I’m sorry about how much it sucks. I hope you can make your decision in peace.

9 Leah { 01.20.08 at 9:10 pm }

Amen, Amen, a thousand times Amen. It sucks. All of it. Every last bit of it. I’m sorry you are faced with taking this inventory of all the things that suck so much. That, in and of itself, sucks the worst.

I am forever making my fertile friends uncomfortable with my near-rantings about “how nice it would have been to be able to make a baby with my husband actually in the same room, in our own bed, with anything resembling romance and hope.”

This is another version of that post I wrote last week about how much IF has jacked with my head. It just sucks.

The only thing that doesn’t suck about this is you. You are …. wait for it … the cat’s pajamas. πŸ™‚ Especially if the title of your post was in any way a play on the sequel to The Hitchhiker’s Galaxy.

10 Cathy { 01.20.08 at 9:19 pm }

For some reason, this rang so true to me tonight.

I’ve been trying to get ahold of my RE for a week now. Why? I’m not about to start cycling. My post-partum hormones are still in full gear, and my children are not even fully into newborn-sized clothes yet. But my body, it sucks, and when your gyn tells you you’re beyond their abilities, the RE is the only hope left. And it sucks so hard to know that I’ll be heading back to the clinic so soon – and that I already have that panicked “now or never” feeling about having another baby, when clearly I cannot have another for a long while yet.

So I hear you. It sucks. Being IF in the first place. Not getting pregnant. The worry if you do. The aftermath. Suck, suck, suck.

11 orodemniades { 01.20.08 at 10:01 pm }

Cathy, I’ve been feeling that way since I was 8w along…and it hasn’t gone away now that I’m even closer to actually seeing the kid, live, in the flesh (rather than under my flesh). I’ve been planning a FET for Dec ’09/Jan ’10 since late August…how sad is that?

12 Paz { 01.20.08 at 10:29 pm }

Hugs Mel. Wish I could say I don’t understand the pain, but shit I do. Throw in a little ‘way over the hill-itis’ to boot for me and it my own special twist on the suckage.

It sucks bad.

But, I have hope and believe for you Mel, even when you temporarily lose sight of it yourself.

I do. I really, really do.

13 Sunny { 01.20.08 at 10:56 pm }

You are a girl after my own heart. Drinking in a townhouse while infertile is the only way. HUGS to being where you are. IT SUCKS! But toss another one back!

14 Chebbles' Mama { 01.21.08 at 1:03 am }

I think that secondary IF sucks so hard partially because you know exactly what you want, and you know exactly what you’re missing.

It used to be an amorphous “baby” you were seeking, then you get to be a mom, and you want to do it again, dammit, because you know precisely what happens when you finally get things to work out. Thank you for this post, it was great and cathartic for everyone, I venture.

15 Kath { 01.21.08 at 3:11 am }

Oh, Mel, I’m so sorry. You said it so well.

16 Helen { 01.21.08 at 3:17 am }

IF treatment does suck, and it does it hard. I want to reach into your post, though, and hug you and tell you that absolutely secondary IF hurts as much – perhaps worse, as you know what you could have – than primary IF. So don’t feel like an ass. Your entire post had most of the women reading you nodding our heads in understanding.

17 Kathy V { 01.21.08 at 7:51 am }

Mel, It does suck. All of it sucks. THe waiting, not knowing, the medications, the feelings. All of it sucks and you have a right to be upset. I hope the fact that you posted this now doesn’t mean things have gotten worse for you this cycle or you received bad news about your tests. Thinking about you and sending you hugs.

18 soul-quest { 01.21.08 at 7:53 am }

It SO sucks just as hard. This is an everyday battle, a conflict of having the joy of being able to kiss two beautiful children good night and the terror of never being able to kiss more than those two.

I understand bucketloads.


19 Ellen K. { 01.21.08 at 8:02 am }

Yes yes yes. It does suck.

I posted last year about boozy infertility:


20 Sherry { 01.21.08 at 8:05 am }

Oh Mel – I’m so sorry you had a rough night sitting with your grief.

It really does suck, and I wish so hard that I had something better to say than that. But as you know, there just are no words to ‘heal’ it. Know I’m thinking of you, and your suckieness….

21 the Babychaser: { 01.21.08 at 8:07 am }

Funny how a post full of non-original and obvious truths can feel so good to read. As my sister told me kindly when listening to me rant more than a year ago, “There is nothing about this that doesn’t suck.”

My addition: It really sucks when your perspective gets so skewed that when a friend tells you she’s pregnant your first thought is, “You can get pregnant by just having sex?”

22 chicklet { 01.21.08 at 9:26 am }

I can’t imagine going through secondary, knowing even better now what it really all is like, and having to do it anyway – cuz you want it just that bad. This whole IF thing sucks the crapper.

23 JJ { 01.21.08 at 9:34 am }

Wish I could be there to sit with you Mel…it all gets to be such a big black hole you cant imagine getting out of…and Im holding on that we WILL get out….sooner rather than later.
Hugs to you…

24 calliope { 01.21.08 at 9:50 am }

oh man- this is just resonating hard core with me today.
Yes. To everything you said. Yes. (well except for the vanilla vodka- A vat of wine is more my style)

I mean seriously- not only do we have to go to an effing clinic but we have to PAY for all of this shit. PAY. Money most of us will never see back.

It all sucks. The waiting, the not knowing, the resenting, the waiting some more…

Thanks for capturing this specific aura of suck so well. Whenever I can’t articulate it again I will just simply link to this post.


25 passingwindows { 01.21.08 at 10:49 am }

It does really suck. And what sucks, if I can add something to your list please, is that it sucks more and more the longer we have to deal with it. Shouldn’t it be getting easier????

So sorry you feel like this. I hope the vodka helped at least a little.

26 Barb { 01.21.08 at 10:57 am }

Yes it does.

You’ve been sounding so sad and beat lately. Take care of yourself!

Oh, and can I put in a request for you to add Orlando to your book tour? πŸ˜‰ Seriously, who doesn’t want to come to Florida? Huh huh? hehe.

27 Nessa { 01.21.08 at 11:18 am }

Mel, I’m so sorry you’re having such a sucky time. Whatever it’s worth, just know that you have all of us who will listen, just listen. And hold you if necessary. That’s why we are here.

28 Solitaire { 01.21.08 at 11:22 am }

What a beautiful and heart-wrenching post on suckage. It sucks so much that I can barely stand the rest of the world sometimes. And then it sucks that I am so angry and jealous that all this suckage is happening to me and you and all the infertiles out there, and the rest of the world just. doesn’t. get. it.

I’m so sorry that you’re going through such suckage right now. Thank goodness for alcohol is my motto.

29 Pamela Jeanne { 01.21.08 at 11:24 am }

Infertility sucks in ALL forms and permutations. (Hope the hangover wasn’t too bad)

30 Michell { 01.21.08 at 12:09 pm }

It does suck. Big time. And however you get through that by yelling, breaking things, or by getting drunk and ranting works. So sorry and I hope that the hangover the next day wasn’t too bad.

31 Somewhat Ordinary { 01.21.08 at 12:29 pm }

It does suck and the only people that will ever really understand how truly deeply it sucks are those of us who have been through it. I’m a pregnant infertile and the announcements of others joy still stings. I know it won’t be any easier when I try for more. I hope you weren’t too hung over the next morning, but sometimes we need nights like that!

32 serenity { 01.21.08 at 12:55 pm }

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I’m a pregnant infertile, who, when listening to my SIL tell me when she plans on having her second, and third, and fourth kid… wants to scream silently into a vodka bottle too. Because, well… this may be it for us. Finito. The end of the road. And I should feel GRATEFUL that I get one at all, right? Which I do. But I also know it sucks that I don’t get a choice in the matter on how many. Or when. Or even where.

So yeah, it sucks. I hear ya.

(I hope the post-vanilla vodka binge wasn’t too horrible.)

33 sltbee69 { 01.21.08 at 1:52 pm }

Like the others, I agree wholeheartedly. I could say more but I’d write a book and that’s not what the comment field is for. Just know, I truly understand. (((HUGS)))

34 Dianne/Flutter { 01.21.08 at 2:00 pm }

I’m sorry Mel. It is all right to recognize the suckage. And to secondary sucks too.

So hold on to your babies, gain solace and know that “hopefully” this suckage will pass.

P.S. If you didn’t have hope, you wouldn’t be trying.

35 Karen { 01.21.08 at 2:04 pm }

Mel, I won’t say that I know how you feel, because I don’t. But I do know that IF sucks. All of it. Even when you think it’s all over and done with…and then it isn’t…it just sucks.

*hugs* Thinking about you.

36 Kami { 01.21.08 at 2:25 pm }

Trying so hard and coming up empty . . . that is the worst. I know it is better to count our blessings, but I think you have to mourn the losses too.

It may be too early for this – to count your blessings – but you have something I will never, ever have – children that are the product of you and your husbands genes. How lucky is that?

37 Dreamer4agift { 01.21.08 at 2:32 pm }

Yep, it all just sucks. Period.

38 Jess { 01.21.08 at 3:19 pm }

Ah, it does suck. Suck, suck, suck.

While primary IF hurts like a bitch because you don’t know if you can even be a Mom at all, I can well imagine that secondary hurts easily just as much…you jut have the comfort of at least BEING a mom. Of not failing altogether. Pain is pain, and want is want. And it SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS that anyone at all has to feel either of them.

I never have felt much of a loss because of not being able to get pregnant in my own home. I always viewed assisted reproduction as the ultimate sign to your kids that you love and want them. So that wasn’t a biggie for me, but…there is so much else lost, too. Money, yes, but that’s small in comparison to the way IF changes your mindset and shapes your joy. Or beats it down, rather.

I felt often that perhaps I would get over myself if I was to get pregnant. Then if I was to get into this trimester or meet that goal, perhaps THEN I wouldn’t worry. But I spent my almost perfect pregnancy scared to death. I thoguht maybe if the ending was happy I could look to another pregnancy in the future (if we decide to try again) not being as sucky and scary. But you know what? That isn’t how it is, because I’ll still know what I know, and in the end, I’ll still be scared. Because I KNOW this gift is precious and easily lost. I KNOW that things are hard to come by and that shit happens. I know, and you can never UNknow it once you know.

I wish you’d never known. I wish nobody ever knew.

I hope you don’t have to go to the clinic long.

39 nancy { 01.21.08 at 4:32 pm }

I acknowledge your suckage. Your suckage does not detract from my own suckage. Both our suckages suck.

Ooooo. The secondary IF thing … I have a big post brewing. I think I’ll go work on it for a publish tomorrow. It’ll be on my “other” blog if you want to take a look when I have it done.

Sorry about your suckages.

40 Nearlydawn { 01.21.08 at 5:05 pm }


41 Road Blocks and Roller Coasters { 01.21.08 at 5:23 pm }

Primary or secondary IF doesn’t really matter when it comes to how you feel. Both suck ass and both come with a rampant range of emotions. I recognize your suckage and hope that it goes away quickly and with little incident. πŸ™‚

42 In and Out of Luck { 01.21.08 at 6:21 pm }

Nodding my head to everything in the post. Especially that sentence saying how most people talk about “when” to have kids, or the next kid, and we talk about “if.” It’s another universe to live in “if” and the “when” people can never understand it, just as I can never understand what it might be in the ‘when” crowd. Even pregnant, I can’t imagine it. What must it be like to stand in a crowd of mommies giggling about how we don’t want to have them TOO close together! Unimaginable.

43 Tara { 01.21.08 at 8:09 pm }

I like your style. Vodka and suckage and the whole lot of it. Maybe because I live in a townhouse and I also have a vodka stash for just such moments. And other moments.

44 Sully { 01.21.08 at 8:13 pm }

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for putting this into words. You have captured everything I am feeling right now, and I’m primary infertile. This is my first time posting here, but I’ve been a regular reader. It’s nice(?) to know that there are others out there to feel the same. OH, and I’d like to add that it sucks that this entire thing has completely shaken my faith. Because it totally has. Much luck to you!

45 xavier2001 { 01.21.08 at 8:42 pm }

I love your honesty. And do you know what sucks the most, that you don’t have a basement to go and scream and break those Crate and Barrel dishes, it’s a wonderful outlet (and usually without the hangover πŸ™‚ )

46 GLouise { 01.21.08 at 9:41 pm }

Sending you a hug. Thank you for recognizing that the pain of primary infertility is always there under the surface, even after parenting.

47 Aurelia { 01.21.08 at 10:20 pm }

I’m sorry it sucks so much.

And you know it gets worse when you are drunk and feeling maudlin, and you know that it will feel better in the morning, after the hangover wears off.

For me…I’ve been struggling with IF and loss for so long, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to get pregnant and be pregnant the other way. Somewhere along the way, I lost the expectation it would happen any other way. And the suckage became less. Not gone, but less.

After you finish being hungover, maybe you need to embrace it. Stop trying to not have it exist, and just embrace it for what it is.

48 Trish { 01.22.08 at 3:57 am }

Yes. It does. Infertility sucks.

I wonder if I googled “infertile sucks” how many hits I’d get. I know I’d hit here and my own blog.

I think I’ll try it.

Hold that thought.


That sounds about right.

49 Ms Heathen { 01.22.08 at 8:19 am }

You’re right. All of it sucks.

I wish that you didn’t have to go through this. I wish that I didn’t have to go through this. I wish that none of us had to go through this.

I’m thinking of you.

50 KatieM { 01.22.08 at 9:06 am }

All I have to say is A-freaking-MEN!!!! It’s all one great big, unfair, suckage palace when it comes to anyone’s IF. I’m sorry….

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