Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This is Going to Get Me in Trouble

I have to vent. I know my wife is going to read this and be super pissed at me, but this is really the best outlet I have.

I just don't get my wife's thought process. She is always BLAMING people for things. Follicles too small? The doctor screwed up and prescribed too low a dosage on the Follistim. Follicles too big? Or too many? The doctor screwed up by prescribing too much follistim. And she's always on the verge of quitting this doctor and going to another. "If my follicle is below 17mm today, I'm calling that other doctor..."

I know what she's doing. She's scrambling for some kind of control. And she's trying to find REASON where there seems to be a total absence of reason.

What the hell should I do? If I thought it would calm her down, I'd just agree with her. I've tried that. I still try that. Doesn't work. My agreeing with her is met with one of a few different responses: 1) "How can you agree, you can't begin to understand", or 2) "If you agree so much then DO something about it", or 3) continued ranting about the problem as before, just with added anger at me for no discernible reason.

So I say things that I think would be useful to ME, if I were in her shoes. Things like "Honey, let's just wait until the nurse calls this afternoon with more information before we go making big decisions. Let's try to relax". That ticks her off, apparently. And "Honey, we have to assume, not being doctors, that there are reasons why the doctors are making these decisions that we don't have the training to fully understand". Oh boy. That one really pisses her off.

So then she's pissed, and she's got this constant electrical charge of "pissed-ness" coursing though her body well after this particular conversation has reached its conclusion.

So we start talking about something else. Actually, she's talking about something else, like scheduling a dentist appointment for herself, and whether that might conflict with other appointments.

* Let me add something here. It's important to note that I would love nothing more than to never be included in conversations about things like scheduling her dentist appointment. My wife is one of those people who needs to talk things out, even the most mundane things, in order to clarify them in her own head. Whether the other person is listening, or helpful, or even alive is sometimes of little consequence. She just needs to talk it out. See, this is where I get into trouble. I can't just listen and let her talk. I don't have nearly enough patience for that. Never have. I want her to state her point, succinctly, and then shut the hell up. Same thing I want from every other person who speaks to me. I have a thing about efficient language skills. I can't handle conversations where people say the same thing over and over again. I almost always explode. Not only does this get me in trouble at home, by the way. It will probably be my undoing at work.

Anyway, here's how the conversation went.
Wife: Maybe I could get an appointment in the late afternoon, and you could leave work early to watch the baby.
Me: Yes, that's certainly an option.
Wife: Or maybe I could get an early morning appointment, say at 7 or 7:30, and you could go to work a bit later and watch the baby.
Me (*not sure why she bothered to say this; I just assumed in the first exchange we had agreed that I would arrange work schedule to watch baby). Anyway, I reply, "Yes, that's a solution too."
Wife: I'm just saying, for me to do this, I'm going to need some help from you.
Me: (*I lose it. Her response would be appropriate if I had been saying "NO" to the previous points, instead of "YES". AND, she is implying that I am not being helpful CURRENTLY). I reply "Didn't you just hear me say yes a couple of times? Why are you still going on and on???"


Now she's REALLY pissed.

**Clarifying edit: Please don't get the impression that I think that my wife is wrong and I am right. I certainly do not believe that, and the brief exchange above I think illustrates nicely what a total jerk I can, in fact, be.

Someone out there please help me. I know I am making mistakes. How can I calm this women down, and help her see this process for what it is: an imperfect, imprecise, ambiguous, chaotic, hellatious ride not for the faint of heart? And that that fact needs to be accepted?

How do I try to make her feel less alone without subjecting myself to a severe browbeating every day (deserved or otherwise)? I know she has crazy hormone drugs coursing through her body, and that may serve to explain some things (but don't you dare suggest THAT to her without protective eyewear), but beyond explaining, what do I DO about it?

** Another Edit **

The cycle has been cancelled. Follicles were not stimulated enough and she is beginning to ovulate. And I thought she was pissed BEFORE.....

More on this in the next post.


Heather said...

I read you say, "Yes, that's a solution". Not, "Yes, I can and will do that". Very different in my opinion.

At any rate...just listen. Just be there to hear her vent, no response really needed I would think. Sure, it may be tough for you because of your lack of patience (I have the same affliction) but she needs your ear. She needs to talk it out, if not with you then who?

Sometimes, not having an answer is ok. Sometimes, just listening is all that is needed.

One Mother's Journey said...

Oh boy how I wished that my husband blogged. I'm sure he could of wrote this post...

Many of our IF related fights were based around the fact that what I really wanted and needed was my husband to get just as frustrated and upset as I was. Of course, not having a crystal ball - he didn't know that. And truthfully, nothing he could have said would have really made a difference. I was frustrated, disappointed and mad at myself and my body. How could he get that?

It's very difficult for women to remember that men have a stake in all this - you're more than just your contribution in a cup. It's in our faces ALL the time, there is no break because it's happening in our body. That's not an excuse, just an explanation.

That probably didn't help much but maybe it would help to remember that she probably wouldn't act this way normally - blame it on the drugs and the stupid doctors with their hands up her crotch - truly we feel like puppets with no control.

This too shall pass. Promise.

Dianne/Flutter said...

Smarshy, I'm realling enjoying your blog. Thank you for sharing your prespective. I will suggest my husband read it, I KNOW that he will sympathize.

A few months back I posted on this subject, well it was more on advice how to deal with me for my friends. My husband actually reads my blog and he took somethings from it. Maybe it will help a little for you.

Good luck and I'm positive that it will blow over. My temper is much worse on drugs, but my memory is also much worse. So, I may get mad, but I also forget that I was mad sooner ;).

N said...

So you want us to help you calm "this woman" down? I guess that phrase didn't help the whole situation...

Whatever you'll do, it will be wrong. Aknowledge this, don't fight it. Try your best to do your best, but understand that whatever you do it'll probably be wrong or misunderstood. But I guess you know your wife, and then you also know that it is like that when you are dealing with ART. Just swallow your pride and let her be pissed at you, at whatever time she wants to be, for whatever reason she wants to be, "it" being something that you might find is reasonable or totally unreasonable.

My husband could have written this post, about me his unreasonable and raging wife - he would have never used the words "that woman" though as he would have known better. But you write it yourself, the hormones are making her evil. She knows that already, she probably doesn't need you pointing it out on your blog (it's your blog and I think everybody should write whatever they want to. I vent about my husband too). This hurts her probably even more. Just take her being pissed.

I really like you blog, your honesty and all of that, but I don't think you will calm your wife down by blogging about how raging and manic she is. Rather I guess she wished you would just shut up - at least on your blog.

Since ART hasn't worked for you so far, she is scared shit that it won't ever work, and starts to blame everybody and everything. How could she not. She has no control of anything really. Not her follicles nor your sperm, and not anything really. If she wants to see another Dr. maybe you could do some research and find some potential Dr.s that you could consult and fix appointments? She's probably doing all of that right now, isn't she? You are following along, or watching the baby. I also think that there is a big difference between phrasing it "That's a solution" or maybe "Yes, that's how we do it. I watch the baby, you take a long shower in the morning and then go to the Dr. first thing".

Please excuse my long comment (the longest comment I ever wrote anywhere I think). I read your post three times. The first time I thought it was a good post. The second time I got a bit annoyed by your ignorance and the third time I just felt you were a bit pathetic. But then again, it is your blog, and I enjoy reading it. Keep it up and good luck with the cycle you and your wife are just in. I hope your wife soon will be pregnant and you can leave ART behind you. It takes the best of all of us at times. Us women have the raging hormones on top of all of that. Give your wife a kiss and tell her you love her. That usually doesn't help, but at least it doesn't make things worse.

Take care!


Anonymous said...

I am a woman and just started reading this. How long have you been trying for number 2? Because it sounds like you are at the end of your rope. Your wife is upset with the world so it does not really matter what you say or how you say it. And, I have dealt with infertility for 2.5 years and have NO kids to show for it so I know from what I speak. Here is the million dollar question - is life passing your wife by while she is consumed in pain over not having another child? Because she is missing out on the life she does have and from what I am reading, it looks like it is pretty good. Believe me, if you can tell she is not enjoying the life she has, then your daughter can too. Sometimes we only get one miracle in our life - tell her to enjoy the one she has - her daughter. good luck!

One Mother's Journey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SmarshyBoy said...

These responses are so helpful - I really appreciate them. I won't pretend that Nina's "pathetic" comment didn;t hurt, but when you ask for honesty you get honesty...and Nina, you are right, my wife sure wishes I would shut the hell up about this stuff on my blog.

susan said...

lots of assvice and judgementalness flying around here! wow.

i think we all cope the best we can, with limited skill. i love that you are blogging about this.

here's my assvice: when i'm all stressed out i really just want my husband to hug me and be empathetic--which doesn't really require him to say anything. just be there and be a solid partner.

good luck dude. and keep blogging.

candy said...

i don't think you are pathetic at all. (guess i might get the assvice attack by just saying all this, but here it goes anyway.)

now that i am off the drugs for good, i see what they did to me, and the saint my husband actually was - not for helping me through it or holding me or all that other stuff that everyone would just love to have - but quite honestly the saint he was for not just up and leaving me. because i would have up and left me. i told him to leave me, lots of times. it really was that bad. i genuinely wanted him to be happy, and i knew how miserable i was making everything i came in contact with. it just became not worth it. and your post about just wanting your wife back... same conversation here. i was just gone. and that is no life. and it's hard. because you want something so much that it seems you would give anything, do anything, to have it, and that it's so close if you just keep reaching you will get it before you fall off the ladder. but you miss out on so much more. you miss your own life, whether it's weeks, months, years.

we're all jerks. don't sweat it. i don't know how this is supposed to help you be ok with your wife's pissy-ness. but i'm a big fan of the live and let live. he shouldn't change his life/ways just to make mine better, especially when i'm not me to start with. it's up to me to change me, if i want to. you just have to suffer through it.

the main thing to understand (for me coming from where i am coming from) is that there is no control in this. the doctors make you think there is, but there is not. and i don't know how you help someone come about understanding that. my husband eventually said something like this: "having a biological child is on my wish list. like winning a million dollars or buying a boat. it would be amazing for it to happen, but it's just most likely not in the cards for us." in no way was he comparing something that large and beautiful to something as trivial and lucky, but it made perfect sense to me. there's no use wishing away a perfectly great canoe on a yacht you will never afford. analogy for the day.

what to do? deal with it and hope it ends soon. there is nothing to do.

sorry. useless rant. i love this blog.

Krista said...

More assvice. I understand your frustration. I know there are times my husband would sacrifice our dream of a baby (and he really really wants a baby) just to have his "old" life back. The truth is though, this is your new reality. It's hard to go back to who you were, the process changes you.

When I am most bitchy is when I feel like I don't have the support I need. Not that my husband isn't being supportive, just not in the way I really need him to be. Notice I said need and not want, I usually don't know what I want until much later, otherwise I could just tell him and he would do it.

There are times during this process that I feel like I really need to put the stress down for a while. I don't want to deal with cranky bitchy nurses, doctors who don't answer my questions and ever lasting failure. But I don't want to give up treatment or lose time either. What I really want is for my husband to take up the sword. For him to make the calls, deal with the bitchy nurses and try to make some progress.

Maybe you could ask her if it would reduce her stress if you took on some more of the responsibility of decision making and "planning" the treatment.

N said...

Ohhh I am so sorry (I just read Edit No. 2). I am the master of "cancelled IVF cycles", welcome to my shithole. Send your wife over and she and I can drink ourselves blind and talk bullshit about our husbands. Ok, a bit childish...

I hope I didn't offend you too much with calling you pathietic (in fact I called you "a bit" pathetic, which is not so bad...)

Be mad with her, pissed in fact. Do it together!!! Shared-Pissedness.

Take care!


NikkiNix said...

Isn't it just that she's feeling out of control? Give in... be her friend and listen... no talk - just listen. I like when my dh asks if I want his opinion when I'm venting and when I'm ready, he lets me have it - it';s great !

Sorry about the cancelled cycle :( Sucks!

fisher queen said...

Ugh I remember this stuff so well (we're still dealing with it- just on a new level). Tips from a woman's point of view:
1) Ever, ever, ever, tell her to relax. It is impossible and she will think you don't understand. It will make her want to punch you.
2) She doesn't necessarily want you to FIX the problem, she just wants you to listen and validate how she feels. With the appointment making converstaion- it sounds to me as if she just wanted to hear that you would help out, and that scheduling all of this is a major pain in the ass.
I know this is a tough one because men and women communicate differently. You see problem>solution. She sees problem>discussion>support, possibly solution. It sounds ridiculous, but once my husband and I recognized and accepted this difference, we were able to handle this crap much more easily.
3) Also, I hate to say it, but the drugs make you crazy. They just do.

Last- I don't understand why they cancelled this cycle. If she ovulated, you could do an IUI, no? And as for another doctor- sometimes it's a really good idea to get a second opinion. Given her response on the last cycle, I can see why they were conservative, but, I still don't get why you weren't able to go ahead.

Patricia said...

i'm glad to have found your blog via susan's. i'll visit again. best of luck to you and your family.

my assvice: look your wife straight in the eye and tell her how important this is to you. how much you value your family and what she's going through to do this and never fall into the trap of thinking that just because you said these things last week, that you are "done".

Katie said...

Thank you thank you thank you for this blog.

If it helps at all, I can be the same way and my husband has learned to say (gently), "Honey, I love you. How can I help you right now?"

Then usually I just break into tears and hug him and tell him he's the best husband in the whole wide world. He doesn't even mind that I get snot on his shirt.

Keep blogging. Thanks.

spark said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your cancelled cycle. It sucks a$$ in its own unique way -- when our FET cycle was cancelled I even wondered if it was worse than a BFN.

You have some great assvice above...especially around talking to your wife about what she expects from you and vice-versa.

My husband and I have a few key words on when I just need to be left alone or when I need some TLC.

spark said...

Another thought - are there any support groups in your area? Or a mind/body workshop to help with coping methods? She might find it beneficial to vent & empathize with other women going through the same thing.

Mony said...

Couples all deal differently, huh?
We don't have the answers Smarshy (although some of these comments are pretty great) what we do have are QUESTIONS! Just like you. Questions & more questions. The answers don't always come so easily.

I saw a poster of Peter Criss yesterday & thought of you stalking him. He was a cool cat. I think I might paint my face this weekend.

My Reality said...

I really hope this post doesn't get you in too much trouble. I am sorry to hear that the cycle got cancelled.

I hope your wife sees this as a way for you to deal with what is going on and not just airing your dirty laundry. Maybe she will get lucky and will learn what NOT to say to a woman on fertility drugs.

I think more husbands need to be as involved as you are.

My Reality said...

Umm, that line

"Maybe she will get lucky and will learn what NOT to say to a woman on fertility drugs."

was supposed to read:

Maybe she will get lucky and you will learn what NOT to say to a woman on fertility drugs.