Thursday, January 28, 2010


When I found out that my body might be attacking and killing baby embryos I was SO HAPPY.

It was just before Christmas and I felt like running down the street ala Ebenezer Scrooge, grabbing strangers, and shouting as I shook their bodies, "I have elevated Natural Killer cells! I have elevated Natural Killer cells!"

Why was I so happy? Because I thought I had found an answer. An answer to the blighted ovum. An answer to the positive pregnancy test followed by a negative pregnancy test the same day. An answer to the two perfect-on-paper embryos transferred that never stuck around in my uterus.

AND the best part...

the BEST part...


Unlike my crappy eggs, there was a cure!


BUT WAIT...there's more.


I've since calmed down, researched, and realized that elevated natural killer cells may or may not have an impact of my infertility and intralips may or may not help correct the elevated natural killer cells that may or may not impact my fertility. I didn't know that the whole thing isn't so cut and dried as my doctor described to me.

But did I mention that intralips are cheap?

So tomorrow, on my lunch hour I will traveling to my RE's office for an IV full of hope. I'm a bit nervous for some strange reason, but I bought a new sewing book today to pass the time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

No Olympics For Me

As of this morning I am officially no longer eligible for Olympic competition.

This morning I injected myself with human growth hormone (HGH).

I have to admit (somewhat ashamedly) that I really don't know much about it. All I know is that it is supposed to help. I'm too tired to be my own advocate anymore; studying and researching. My RE suggested it. He says that studies show that it helps one in eight times; a twelve and a half percent chance of helping. Ten shots all at a bargain price of $1600.

I am trying to GROW A HUMAN. So maybe it makes sense to inject HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE?

Anyway...the speed skating team will have to go on without me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Going Out of Business

Several months ago I went to lunch with a wise older friend and unloaded all my infertility shit on her. This was just prior to IVF #4 and I was wondering aloud how or if I would ever know when it was time to stop trying.

She told me, "When it's time to stop, you will just know. After I had my second daughter I just knew I was done having kids and had my tubes tied."

At the time I couldn't really hear her for two reasons.

Reason #1: I was bitter that she was comparing her decision to stop HAVING children to my decision to stop TRYING to have children.

Reason #2: "You will just know" advice is always hard to hear. "When you find the right will just know." "When you find the right will just know." When you are in the middle of searching and filled with indecision it is difficult to trust that you will ever "just know" anything with such certainty.

But now I know.

I know this is it for us.

This is our last try.

In this moment we have no plans to pursue further IVFs, donor eggs, or adoption. In fact, we have seriously considered abandoning this cycle more than once.

We just feel we are done. We just know it.

We are not only hoping for a pregnancy. We are hoping for closure.

This cycle I have not calculated a potential due date. I have not visited baby websites to check out the latest nursery themes. Instead we have been preparing our four bedroom home for sale and scouring real estate listings for old homes in neighborhoods with bad school districts.

We are planning for a different future and this cycle feels like a speed bump. That doesn't mean that we won't be thrilled if we get pregnant, even though we really expect not to be. That doesn't mean that we won't be devastated if this cycle fails, even though we are expecting failure.

I know this post will make some feel sad. This is not a sad post. I'm still excited about this cycle, but it's a different sort of excitement. I see this cycle as a win-win situation. I may get what I always wanted, but if not I will get to move on with my life.

I feel relief at that thought.

I feel peace.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Giving Blood and Other Thoughts

In six minutes I will leave for the lab to go give blood for my baseline E2 levels.

Thursday morning I will go for my baseline ultrasound.

For the past two weeks I have been trying to craft a somewhat coherent post in my head describing how I feel about embarking on this "last chance" IVF.

I'm not there yet.

But I need to get there soon, because this IVF is coming whether I am ready for it or not...

Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Julia Child Couldn't Cook Babies

I've always wanted to compile a list of successful and happy infertile women from history, but I've never gotten around to it.

Lately I've been reading "My Life in France" by Julia Child. I'm too lazy to provide a link to Amazon, so just Goggle it if you are interested...or go to Target and buy it (Oh, got me again with your wily merchandising). Apparently the book was used for the movie Julie and Julia, which I haven't seen. There is a picture of Meryl Streep on the cover.

The book's not that great. I've put it down and picked it up several times. But the other day, on page 101 I came across this passage:

"I, too, had had tummy troubles. Ever since our trip to Italy with Pilapop, my stomach was no longer a brass-bound, iron-lined, eat-and-drink-any-amount-of-anything-anywhere-anytime machine that it had been. I had suffered bouts of feeling quite queer the entire time we'd been in France. 'It must be something in the water,' I'd say to myself. But when I continued to feel suddenly sick and gaseous, I declared: 'Aha, pregnant at last!'"

"We had tried. But for some reason our efforts didn't take. It was sad, but we didn't spend too much time thinking about it and never considered adoption. It was just one of those things. We were living very full lives."

I was stunned by the matter of fact description of her infertility. Of course at this point in my life, my memoir could never contain a mere paragraph about my infertility. Infertility would take up a whole page.

Or a whole chapter.

Or maybe the whole book.

I read the passage again.

What the?!?!?! Didn't spend too much time thinking about it?!?!?!? Just one of those things?!?!?!

The concept is so foreign to me. I think about my infertility every day. It isn't "just one of those things" but the ONLY thing in my life some days.

It makes me wonder, should I be taking the Julia Child approach to infertility? Would I be able to accomplish more in my life if I did?

Or was Julia fibbing? Not letting on about her disappointment. We all do this in our everyday lives, in casual conversation when asked about our childless predicaments. "We're still waiting." "We haven't really decided yet if we are having kids." And so on and so forth.

When I live to be eighty plus years old will infertility be merely a paragraph in my life? A footnote?

In a way I am offended by the offhand remarks minimizing the role infertility played in her life, but in a way I find it hopeful.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Essay on Crying

“I have to stop crying on the way to work,” I think. This has become a weekly occurrence. This isn’t like me. I am not an angst filled late teenager/early twenty year old anymore. I’m no longer saddled with high interest credit card debt and wondering how I will make the rent. I don’t have to wonder anymore if he likes me or if he will call or if I slept with him too soon and I’ve lost his respect.

I’m in my early thirties. I’m successful professionally. I’m in a wonderful marriage. I drive a brand new car that will be paid off in less than a year. I’ve been to Europe. I’ve been to Asia. I have a very blessed life. I shouldn’t be crying. I haven’t cried with this sort of regularity for a decade.

This stretch of road through the flood plain that was saved from suburban sprawl due to its topographical undesirableness is too quiet, too straight. I don’t have to concentrate on the other cars. I don’t have to watch for pedestrians. I only have to keep the steering wheel straight and my speed under the limit; this road is a speed trap dream for cops. I only have to drive and think. It doesn’t matter if I tune the radio to morning DJ banter, NPR, or the seventies-eighties-nineties music station I am fond of, the thoughts come.

Of course crying on the way to work is much more preferable to crying at work. And as cries go, this is a pretty good one. There are tears, but no sobbing today, no cursing, no snotty nose blown into a fast food napkin. I won’t have to sit in the parking lot at work today and wait for my eyes to look less puffy, less red...which only works if you can stop crying. I won’t have to dash in the back door and into the nearest bathroom to splash cool water on my face to try and reduce the redness in my fair skin...which only works if you can stop crying. And there are days when I can’t stop crying.

I’m sorry to say that there have been days that I have cried at my desk. There have been days that multiple coworkers have asked me if I am OK. There have been days at work when I have done nothing but surf the Internet waiting for an appropriate time to leave. Days wasted Googling words like cyst, lupron, inhibin B. Days spent sending questions into the cyber universe like, “What are my chances of having another miscarriage? What are early pregnancy symptoms? Will I be able to adopt if my husband is in his forties?” I’m sorry to say that there are days I haven’t been able to make it to work at all.

No, today’s cry is a good one, only tears. Pretty tears like in a movie romance where the boy tries to drive the girl away by pretending he doesn’t care and she gets a hurt look on her face and a couple tears escape attractively from her professionally coal smudged eyes. He looks back and realizes she is crying and wipes away the tears, reaches out to her, and makes it all better with a Hollywood kiss. There is no one here to make it all better, but at least I can wipe away the tears, go into work and about my day with no one being the wiser.

I suppose this is how cancer patients feel. Powerless. Yes, there are treatments. Treatments with related odds, sixty percent success rate, forty five percent success rate, fifteen percent success rate. However, no one really knows why some treatments work and others don’t. No one knows why treatments that should work, fail. No one knows why sometimes those with the most dire cases recover and those with the most favorable prognosis, remain ill. Do cancer patients look at me, my health, with bitterness; the same way I look at pregnant bellies?

I’m sick of being infertile. In the car I think, “OK, I get it. I think I fully understand this life experience now. I’m ready to move on.” But it’s not that easy. This isn’t a designer handbag that I can save for and purchase. This is outside of my control. There is nothing I can do, but exist with this, and cry.
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