Sunday, 5 May 2013

Cleaning out the closet

We need to do up our flat to sell, and my first task is to go through all the crap I have amassed in the last five years and get rid of some of it.

When I moved house in my early 20s, which I did fairly often, I was almost a bit sad at how little stuff I had. Everything fitted into a couple of bin bags. But now, I am weighed down with ballast; camping equipment, baby stuff, books, DVDs, furniture.

But anyway, I've been finding all sorts of things relating to the IF years. And sometimes, it's difficult to know what to keep and what to go.

I had two books which I found useful - one called Coping With Infertility, which was relentlessly depressing at first but I came to rely on as treatment progressed, and a book on IVF. I read both of them endlessly. However, when it came down to it, I don't need them now; I don't think I'll ever be as depressed about infertility as I was then, and the whole IVF process is so deeply etched into my brain that I don't think I'll ever forget the downregging, stimming, retrieval, transfer, 2ww sequence.

It felt rather like being disloyal to old friends, but I put them in the charity shop; hopefully they will find a home with someone else in need. Although we picked the religious charity shop near our house rather than the one I usually donate to, and my husband worried afterwards that the volunteers might disapprove of IVF. Too late, though.

I also found my ovulation monitor. I hate the fucking thing with a passion. I spent a fortune on it and on the pee sticks it uses. I must have used it for the best part of a year. Every month, I'd get excited when the three bars appeared. Every month, I'd be heartbroken when all the careful urinating, measuring, dutiful shagging and - if I was being particularly diligent - lying in bed afterwards, to give my husband's sperm a better chance to negotiate my innards.

Anyway, I'd have been as well spending the money on a really nice meal out, for all the good it did - all the monitoring and lying down in the world wouldn't fit my dodgy tube.

I'd have been really happy to throw the thing out. But it was expensive, and it feels a bit yucky to sell it ("only one careful owner"). So I'm keeping it in case we ever do another cycle and I want to check my ovaries are still functioning beforehand. Although I may revisit this - the thing usually turns up at the bottom of the wardrobe, or in my underwear drawer, when I don't expect it, and I always feel a little stab of rage in memory of its false promises.

I also found an embarrassing number of positive pregnancy tests.

 I remember holding the one from the miscarriage as it was the only solid proof I had that I had ever been pregnant, and feeling completely and utterly devastated. Feeling overjoyed at the ones that turned out to indicate another ectopic - but then feeling better when my last tube was taken out. And, conversely, being shit scared of the ones that indicated the pregnancy that ended in joy.

They used to be a big part of my world. But I'd actually forgotten they were there, now. It felt funny seeing them again. Just like the card I found that the people at work sent after the first miscarriage. I kept all of these things, although they make me sad I can't bear to part with them. They're all I have of those pregnancies.

Then there are the other things. Endless packets of aspirin and folic acid (I haven't had folic acid in nearly a year, now - I don't miss it). They've been unceremoniously binned. The sharps disposal container, that we must get round to handing in to the hospital.

So, some objects are gone, some stay. Little bits and pieces that remind me of the marks that the struggle to get and stay pregnant has left on me; I think I was a different person before I acquired these things.


  1. Yes, we all have things that bring the reminders, don't we? And we all react differently to those things too.

    I remember throwing out the folic acid almost immediately once I knew it was all over. Because otherwise, every reminder was a stab in the heart. Though I got rid of the positive pregnancy tests too. I figured I didn't need them to remember. And seeing them would bring back the feelings of hope and then the sadness. I don't need to be pulled back. I don't need that.

  2. I too still have some of the things I need to deal with, I just haven't yet. Not out of sentimentality, just laziness. :)