Unfortunately, the one downside to Hulu Plus is that you can’t skip the commercials. Well, I guess now you can, but I’m not interested in paying almost double for that feature. Besides, normally, the ads don’t bother me. Normally.
But right now almost every episode on Hulu starts includes a commercial for Fear the Walking Dead. The ads are short, so by the time I figure out/recognize the subject matter, the commercial is almost over. I’ve already registered that it’s a zombie show, and there’s no point in turning/walking away or “lalala”ing for 10 seconds.
And so it begins…
When I went to bed Sunday night, a moment from the ad stuck with me. It’s a young woman, eyes slightly clouded, holding her head at a weird angle, thereby emphasizing that she was, in fact, one of the walking dead. And my brain was happy to supply the fear.
In other words, we’re apparently back to this whole zombie terror again.
Anyway, the stupid image wouldn’t leave my stupid head. Every time I closed my eyes for more than a minute or so, I’d see her. So I did what any rational person overwhelmed with irrational fears would do in the situation: I started whimpering and then crying.
Tim came in and laid down with me for a bit. He held me and stroked my hair til I calmed down.* He even offered to skip playing pool and stay home with me, but honestly, it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Even with him in the living room — ostensibly guarding me from zombies, I suppose — I didn’t feel particularly safe. Mostly just worried that a bunch of zombies would get him first and then head back to me. And of course I’d be all complacent, sure that he hadn’t been attacked and eaten by zombies. It’s just what they want you to think!
This terror makes sense — inasmuch as a fear of a fictional monster can make sense.
The zombie paranoia started after my third miscarriage. A psychiatrist said that I was wounded (boy howdy, was I!) and that a wounded animal sees threats everywhere. Therefore, a stray joke about the zombie apocalypse suddenly felt like a real danger.
I suppose there’s a certain grim poetry to the parallels between the undead and miscarrying a potential life.
So the same uncertainties and anxiety are bound to crop up now that we’re going to try again. Especially since this will be the last attempt, one way or another. And for a while, I wasn’t even sure I was up for one last go-round. So there’s a certain dread and finality about all of it, as much as there is hope/stubbornness.
Fear the walking duality
It’s very mentally and emotionally taxing to plan both for pregnancy and miscarriage. To worry about stocking the house with crackers and which clothes would fit over a swelling belly, while simultaneously plotting out the seven-week mark (the longest an embryo has lasted thus far) and wondering how much work I’ll miss if history repeats itself.
Similarly, I’m desperate to get the book done asap. Alternately, I’m worried that I’ll be too ill with morning sickness to work on it and it might never get picked back up; or I’m worried that I won’t be able to handle it during the despair of miscarriage, and it might never get picked back up.
So there’s hope and fear, optimism and pessimism (or realism, depending on your point of view). It’s all quite exhausting.
Eating and sleeping — one more than the other
Also, I’m not sleeping well. I’ve had to wean off any sleep meds to get ready for pregnancy. I’ve been getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Great for a healthy person. For someone with chronic fatigue, that’s the equivalent of four to five hours’ sleep.
And when you’re tired, you’re less logical. That’s why my doctor put me on sleep meds the first time around this undead paranoia.
I did conk out on Saturday night for about 10 hours. It was gorgeous. But last night, despite getting into bed around 9:30, I’m pretty sure I didn’t nod off until at least 1 a.m. At least I was lying down and resting, I guess. Inasmuch as you get rest while tensed against “walker” invasion.
And since I’m not sleeping, I’m not exercising. But I am stress eating. I’m sucking down candy like crazy. To the point of giving myself stomachaches regularly. But between angst and the cravings you get from too little sleep — it’s all Red Vines and Cadbury chocolate and mint M&Ms. And pizza.
Which means I’m also up a couple of pounds. I’d hoped to get down to 165 before getting myself knocked up. Right now, I’m at 173, about two pounds of which is almost certainly water retention from the salty processed foods.
But right now, there’s nothing I can do — except focus on not beating myself up about the weight gain. So far, so good.
Panic during the day
Unfortunately, I’m also focused on everything we’re not doing.
I worry because we still haven’t filled the folate acid prescription. Between my bad sleep, Tim’s cold and his messed-up sleep schedule, we’ve routinely forgotten to get to Walgreens before the pharmacy closes.
This means that, when the ovulation window begins, I won’t have been taking the prescription-grade folate acid for even a week.
So now I’m desperately trying to remember all the advice. Which was more important to take ahead of time, the baby aspirin (which I’ve taken daily for almost a week) or the prescription-strength folate acid? How far ahead of time? Should I be putting this off til I’ve been on the stuff for at least two or three weeks? Is the 500 mcg of folic acid I’ve been taking for a month going to be enough?
I’m not sure if I’m being pragmatic or finding reasons to avoid this very scary thing. And of course, I might not even get pregnant this month. But the longest it’s ever taken was two months of really trying. We’re very fertile — at least, in the most basic sense.
Help isn’t helping
Tim sent me an interesting article on the history of the uterus the other day. (No, seriously, it actually is interesting.) But my brain latched onto a bit about how a placenta could be under-invasive, meaning it’s not properly attached to the mother’s blood supply. When this happens, the necessary nutrients don’t reach the embryo, and development stops.
So naturally my mind kicked into a whirlwind of thoughts. Is that the issue? Was that something that happens later in the pregnancy? (The wording was vague, but I think so.) If it does happen earlier in the pregnancy, how could you even tell? Would there even be anything to do about it? Probably not…
Tim also tried to help by playing a YouTube video that shows why the zombie apocalypse would fail quickly. It doesn’t seem to have made a dent. At least, not if Sunday night was any indication.
I’m afraid there’s not much that will help except trying to get on a good sleeping schedule. Maybe that plus exercising (minus weights once ovulation starts) will help clear my mind. Or at least make me feel stronger and less afraid.
Or maybe I should get out the screwdrivers again.
Have you dealt with anxiety — rational or otherwise? How do you deal with it?
*Can I say just how much I love that he’s never once tried to logic me out of this? Even during the first panic attack three years ago, when my crying woke him up in the middle of the night. He didn’t tell me zombies weren’t real. He didn’t try to poo poo the idea of any kind of break-in. He just said, “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.” Then he got up and turned on the TV to help direct my thoughts/dreams elsewhere. He came back to bed and held me while I fell back asleep.
That. That is why this man is perfect for me.