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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Interviewing my Husband

It’s been a grumpy day because I didn’t feel pregnant.

Also, blogging is TIRING – lovely and enriching and satisfying - but tiring nonetheless. So I am grumpy that I can’t just blog and read blogs all day instead of having to do it at night when the last thing I want is to sit in front of a computer after a full 8 hours of doing so. But I HAVE to do it because it is such a life-saver for me right now.

I’m sure I’ve made the process much more cumbersome than it needs to be. I am an extremely organized person and operate much better when things are in their place – then I know where to find them when I need them and life proceeds efficiently. So my approach to blogging has been predictably systematized. I should have been a robot.

Point in fact, as I get deeper into the blogosphere, I realize that consistent interaction (both posting and commenting) is necessary in order to reap the benefits of blogging. So I am trying very hard to leave thoughtful comments and remember at which point each of you is in your journey (even those who don’t even know I’m reading yet). But I have started getting confused with the CD’s and MTHFR’s and IUI’s etc. etc. on top of the piecemeal way I have to sneak in a read here and there at work, maniacally minimizing and maximizing my internet browser all day. So no wonder I can’t keep straight which one of you works for a Jewish school, which one IS Jewish, and which one is exploring Judaism. This can only end badly. I just know one day I will post a great chicken and sausage recipe on a vegetarian’s comment area and feel like a total ass.

To avoid feeling like an ass, I have, in my overboard (aka thorough) way, started to keep notes on each of you so that I can scan them during those times I get lost or have to remind myself of some detail of your situation. It’s kind of ridiculous and insanely time-consuming, but kind of cool. Maybe I’ll share my synopses one day. It’ll be like playing your blogs in fast forward.
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In other news:

I got the digital voice recorder from UPS (they sent it from Los Angeles to Louisiana via ….. you will never guess …. Ottawa. WTF. Needless to say, it did not arrive while my mother-in-law was still here). It is the cooooooolest and I feel like Ira Glass who I have a total crush on - although I think he may be a tad arrogant which would be a turn-off. I love love love radio programming and listen to it religiously. If I had a religion, it would be National Public Radio.

I decided to interview my husband, and since it was just 2 days after we had gotten the BFP, I thought it would be good to document our thoughts and feelings. The interview went well, aside from the interference that my cellphone created because it was lying next to the microphone. You’d think I’d have learned basic lessons about double checking recording equipment in the 6 years I studied cultural anthro. Total newbie mistake, man.

Because we have been talking the fertility issue to death, there were no new revelations on that front. Same old same old, you know, talking big talk about not letting ourselves hope too much while knowing full well we are hoping our hearts out. But Jason did reveal something that I have been thinking about a lot since the interview.

You see, on the exterior Jason looks like a bouncer. He’s tall and thick with a shaved head (sometimes he sports a Mohawk which I think is ridiculous because he hardly has any hair and it’s all thin on top and thicker in the back and he just ends up looking like he’s growing a stripe of hair down the back of his head. Plus it makes him look so mean and he’s so not. But whatever, he thinks it looks awesome). He also doesn’t say much most of the time; strong, silent – you know the type. But he is the deepest pool of love and loyalty I have ever known. He loves his family and friends fiercely. It is easy to forget that his emotions, because they are not evident, are very strongly felt. Part of our breakdown over the summer had to do with me underestimating the toll that the miscarriages have taken on him.

He shoulders everything so silently and pushes it to a place I can’t see – and he apparently does it to protect me. In fact, he spends a lot of time worrying about me and protecting me emotionally and his distress over my unhappiness is sometimes so intense that I used to think he was transferring of all of his own grief into worry about me so that he wouldn’t have to deal with his feelings. For someone with a less attentive husband, this may sound heavenly, but it was very often irritating because I didn’t feel like I had permission to express my very appropriate grief after each miscarriage. He didn’t want me to be sad, he was desperately worried about my sadness; and I just wanted him to let me be sad and by the way, Jason, you could be a little sadder yourself since it was your baby too, thank you very much.

But that wasn’t the revelation. The revelation was that the reason he gets so twisted up when I start to spiral downward is because when I was admitted to the psychiatric unit after my first miscarriage, it scared him like he has never been scared before. Given his exceptional loyalty and love, I realize now that he was prepared to stick by me till my dying day and was scared to death that I might mentally disintegrate to the point of psychosis or something. Not to mention it’s just fucking scary to see someone you love in so much pain that they have to be admitted to a hospital.

I can’t believe that before he pointed it out in this interview, I never ever realized how very much that episode in our lives scarred him. It’s like he has PTSD and every time I start to show signs of the person that he knew before I went into the hospital (depressed, raging anger, hopelessness and epic anxiety) he is revisited with fear that I may end up in that place again. Obviously, post-miscarriage me is very very hard on him and probably has a lot to do with why he really needs this attempt to be our last.

As we grow together, I think he might become more comfortable with the rhythm of my depression and realize that as long as I am appropriately medicated, the depression is totally manageable. I have never felt like I was on the edge of my sanity –desperate, sad, hopeless and angry, trapped by a brain that can only provide painful thoughts and feelings over which I have almost no control, yes - but I have never felt in danger of losing screws. My time in the hospital was very perfunctory (3 days) – we just needed to get me stabilized on medication again – and the healing was slow but steady.

I never considered, however, that he wasn’t in my head and so couldn’t know that the danger of me crossing the line of sanity was slim, nor did I consider that he had no historical context for my breakdown like my parents had (this wasn’t their first rodeo though it might have been the worst). Those were extreme circumstances and as long as I have access to SSRI’s , it never has to be repeated. But he didn’t know any of that.

You can imagine, then, after putting myself in his shoes, how amazed I am that he is still here. And I definitely have more empathy for the amount of time he spends worrying about me and my moods.

7 comments:

Roccie said...

You inspired my whole post tonight. I get it. The whole "gotta give to take".

You are concise and elegant.

Support and comments are the salve to the IFer's ripped raw soul.

Cracking me up on the fear of foot in mouth too. The risk is worth the reward.

What a beautiful post. What a good partnership.

sienna said...

this wait until the first ultrasound is torture, huh??? it sounds like you've been through a really rough ride in the last few years. hoping ever so hard that all your pain is behind you now and that you only get good news going forward. *sticky bean* *sticky bean*. i'll be repeating this mantra for you :o)

Lesley (and Eric) said...

The interview sounds really cool. Your husband MUST be really sensitive, as mine would never put up with being interviewed by me and having it recorded... Not that Eric isn't sensitive, but he is so not into talking about feelings on an in-depth level. He just doesn't see the point. OK then.

I am looking forward to when this pregnancy passes all the major milestones-- it is so awful waiting, when you've gone through losses before. Now that I am safely ensconced in the 2nd tri, I feel a lot better (feeling movement helps so much, too). So I am looking forward to your anxiety decreasing at some point here, too.

Misfits said...

I am holding my breath for you, Melanie. I want to say so much, but will leave you with good thoughts. I believe your pops did the math for you, so you know that odds are on your side here.

I see you as an amazing woman with an equally amazing man beside you. That all deserves amazing offspring, too.

Augusta said...

Oh! lovely Melanie. You keep notes not to make mistakes. You sweetheart. Hey, let's you and me make a deal. If you make a mistake by saying something like I'm waiting for an IUI, I'll let it slide. And if you make a second mistake, I'll let it slide again. And if I get mixed up, maybe you'll let it slide too ;-)

Lovely way to get to know your husband better, this interview idea. I like it. Having had mental health problems too, I also find it difficult to fully appreciate how others saw me during times of crises and how scary it was for them. You would never know how scary it was for your husband, but then you asked him. You two sound like an amazing pair.

blue.bell.beat said...

Your hubby sounds amazing! For me, one of the greatest things that can grow out of fertility issues (apart from the obvious... ) is building a stronger and closer relationship with your partner. I found my husband also deals with things very differently from me - he tends to internalize - but recently he's opened up more and, not that I want him to be upset, but it's comforting to know he shares the depth of my messy emotions; that we connect on that level; that it means as much to him.

P.S. Wow, I thought I was control freak, but I bow to thee, oh organized one!

B said...

love the blog synopsis idea! you should post them without names and make everyone guess which belongs to who :)

it sounds like your husband loves you very much. it's good to hear.

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