Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Think I'm Pregnant

This thought has crossed my mind hundreds of times in the past two years.

If I'm tired...

I think I'm pregnant.

If I'm not hungry...

I think I'm pregnant.

If I'm peeing a lot...

I think I'm pregnant.

I have no idea why my brain (or is it my heart?) works this way, but once again I find myself keeping company with those familiar thoughts. When should I test? How and when should I tell people? I imagine emailing my RE and telling him to cancel my cycle because I'm pregnant. I imagine posting on this blog, "It's a miracle! It can happen! I'm pregnant." I pull my planner out of my purse and obsess over the handwritten cycle days. If this were a normal cycle I would be terribly late, but if this cycle is like the last one after IVF it is terribly early.

I think about nurseries.

I think about maternity leave.

I think about sitting in a rocking chair holding a baby in my arms.

Uh I have that excess-saliva-in-mouth-pre-throw-up feeling.

I think I'm pregnant.

But I'm not pregnant. Yes, it is technically possible, but highly improbable. It's just a little game I play every month. A game that never ends.

How can a thought make you so happy and so sad at the same time?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To Do or Not To Do

Reasons to Do Another IVF (with my eggs)

1. It would be relatively cheap (just cost of meds @ ~$4k) compared to other options.
2. I’ve attempted four times, but really only made it all the way through once. Is it too soon to quit?
3. Still have just enough insurance coverage for one more try (see number one). Is this a sign?
4. Last time my cycle was so great (except for lack of pregnancy or baby), maybe we just had bad luck at the end?
5. I have always felt in my heart that it would take two tries. See number two.
6. One more chance to see if our child would end up with my red hair or Tony’s blonde hair.
7. It could work.

Reasons Not To Do Another IVF (with my eggs)

1. Save the four grand and apply it to a donor egg cycle.
2. Might not make it to retrieval (past experience indicates a 50% chance of not making it).
3. Might not make it to transfer (past experience indicates a 75% chance of not making it).
4. Every cycle is different and I might not stimulate as well in a future cycle.
5. All evidence points to the fact that Tony and I make crap embryos that can’t develop into fetuses; blighted ovum, cancelled transfer, no embryos to freeze, no chemical pregnancies or miscarriages for years.
6. Cycling has become very difficult emotionally. Can’t imagine how difficult it would be to cycle knowing that this would be the last time.
7. It could fail.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

He's Not a Baby, But He's Our Baby

...playing with photo editing this weekend...

Yes, he's on the sofa in these pictures. His will was stronger than mine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It All Makes Sense When You're Drunk

It’s been dark and rainy here for weeks. Phone calls to various family members scattered across the midwest have confirmed that the whole area is in a funk. However, when I left work after my WTP appointment the sun was shining (a sign?) and it was warm (a sign?) So I decided that Tony and I should take advantage of the change in weather and have dinner at our favorite outdoor restaurant.

I called home to tell Tony the good news, but he was already cooking dinner. Luckily I can always lure him away from being responsible with a restaurant dinner and alcohol. So he finished cooking dinner and put it into the refrigerator for another day.

I haven’t had a drop to drink since June. Before my last cycle I was abstaining in favor of “clean living”. After my cycle I have been treating my depression with food rather than alcohol, so the three glasses of wine I had with dinner made me rather drunk. The conditions were right for major life decision making.

Decision #1: We should do the immune tests (me) and hormone tests (him). If we did find out anything useful it would be just as useful for a donor egg cycle as an IVF cycle with my own eggs. Done.

Decision # 2: We may as well do another IVF cycle with my eggs since we are right on the IRS tax deduction bubble (a sign?) and we have just enough insurance money left to cover most of the cost (a sign?).

Decision #3: If decision #2 doesn't work out, we are done. We will live child free, move to a new house, travel, and retire early.

We ended the evening by driving around our favorite neighborhoods and picking out our future “child free living” houses making comments like, “That house is way too big,” and “Who cares if the street is busy, there won’t be any kids playing in the front yard.”

It all seemed so clear, so easy. Liquid courage.

In the sober light of morning everything was confusing again. My head was again swimming with options and scenarios and costs and success rates.

Maybe I should just stay drunk.

Monday, October 19, 2009

WTP Appointment

I’m just back from my WTP appointment. No that’s not a typo, WTP = What’s the Point.

I’ve officially been admitted into the We-Don’t-Know-What-Went-Wrong-Everything-Looked-Great-On-Paper club. Initiation rites include your doctor telling you that he’s surprised to be having this conversation and then proceeding to tell you how everything went right before it all went wrong. And just in case you don’t get the picture…he even draws pictures.

Once I was fully initiated, we went on to the “next steps” portion of the program. My doctor doesn’t think there is a uterine issue. He thinks that even though the embryos looked great on paper, they must have been chromosomally abnormal. However, just to be thorough, tests for both hubby and me have been ordered in order to rule out immune issues (for me) and hormone tests to determine if sperm could be improved with meds (for him). Then the doctor who last time told me that diet and supplements would not help our chances suggested we both start taking antioxidants. (This is when I really started feeling like a hopeless case.)

Doctor seems to think we should try again. We are not so sure.

I inquired about donor eggs. We had a pretty lengthy discussion, but didn’t really learn anything new. Using donor eggs increases our chances. Duh.

I really don’t know what to say about our situation anymore. I can’t focus on it. I can’t post about it. I certainly can’t make any decisions. I’m mad. I feel like this:

I too have options, but I don’t want them. I want any one of the things I’ve tried in the past year to have worked. I don’t want to try again, but I can’t quit. I’m frozen.

Being frozen is a comfortable and dangerous place to be. When you are frozen you can’t get hurt anymore, but you will also never get what you want.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bo's Busy Weekend

Bo has become quite the little treat whore. He is quite good at doing tricks in order to get treats from his mom (yes, we are *those* people and refer to each other as "mom" and "dad" when talking to Bo. I know lots of people do this, but it seems especially desperate and sad when you are infertile.)

Bo can sit.

and lay down.
But we are still perfecting commands like come, drop it, and don't eat my face.

On Saturday we took Bo downtown for his first trip to the dog bakery. He was quite the hit and everyone wanted to pet him. Bo picked out some peanut butter kitty cookies and lamb sausages. We were also planning on taking some funny Christmas card pictures, posing Bo on the various statues downtown, but there were too many people around and he couldn't focus.

There was a children's festival going on in the park. Normally I would have avoided such a festival, but I can't pass up an opportunity to socialize my we went.

The "Life is Good" festival. (All evidence to the contrary.)

Bo rocking out to the music.

On Sunday Bo "helped" Tony with some yard work. We thought it was totally funny when Bo helped dig out some bulbs, until he kept digging and digging and digging.

Bo pulling out plants for the winter.

And taking off with mom's gardening glove.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Did I Just Learn Something in a Leadership Class?

Change Management...

Who Moved My Cheese...

Circle of Influence...

If you work for a large corporation and you don't work in HR, odds are that I just made you cringe.

I'm writing this post after two days of corporate leadership training (indoctrination) meant to kick off a ten month development project. And to tell you how I almost cried.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to participate in this project. However, like everything I do these days, I'm happy with a touch of sadness.

When I was asked to participate in this project I was in the middle of IVF #4. Of course I calculated how a pregnancy would impact a ten month project. Of course I calculated that it would not be good to be on maternity leave just as the project was wrapping up. Of course I know better than to reject opportunities because I *might* get pregnant. Been there, done that, not doing it again.

So you might think the fact that I started this project still barren with no chance of maternity leave in the future almost made me cry.


The training started the way these things usually start; icebreakers. I listened as people talked about their kids; names, ages, how they struggle to prioritize their little ones ahead of their work. I lost count of how many times I answered, "no," when asked during breaks if I had children. So you might think that all this "kid" talk made me glassy eyed.


What brought me to tears was this...

This picture (recreated by me) on a PowerPoint slide almost brought me to tears. The lesson?

"You never know when there's an exit ramp in your future."

I almost lost it.

I pulled it together only to be hit with another PowerPoint slide. This time a quote.

"Failure is not an option, but quitting is."

I successfully fought back the tears.

But I started to wonder, am I learning about strategic thinking or is the universe trying to tell me something?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mothers, Babies, and Feminism

I know it’s cliché to blame your mother for your problems, but lately I’ve been doing just that.

My mother grew up in a small town in Iowa, graduated high school in 1969, and went off to junior college to study nothing in particular. In her words, “I went to college because I wasn’t engaged.” I imagine in 1969 women had more options than a decade earlier, but in a world before cable TV and the internet; culture changed much more slowly in an isolated town in Iowa than the rest of the world. She may as well have graduated high school in 1950.

So my mother continued attending her junior college and continued to not be engaged. She met and married my father at the age of nineteen. According to her, this was just in time. She was starting to become concerned that she would be an old maid.

Marriage transformed my mother from college student to housewife. Two years later she was transformed into mother. (What did she do as a housewife for two years with no children?) Five years after that she was transformed again into mother of a daughter. And finally, three years later, after a surprise baby that strained the family finances, she was transformed into a working mother of three.

This is who raised me; a working mother of three with a husband who still expected her to complete all duties of a housewife, a working mother of three who never finished college and was forced to work dead end jobs which were not intellectually challenging, a working mother of three who was quite bitter about her situation and determined that her daughters would not repeat her mistakes.

Instead of achieving her own hopes and dreams, my mother laid them at my feet and encouraged me to take them up. Marriage and motherhood were not goals to be achieved, but stumbling blocks to be avoided. I was never encouraged to have boyfriends. My mother used to say things like, “I could have [fill in blank] if I hadn’t had children so young,” or “If you decide to have children you’d better really be ready because there is no turning back.”

I was scared to get married. I was definitely scared to have children (and still am). My mother made it seem like an ending, not a beginning.

Despite her warnings I married my husband a couple weeks before my twenty eighth birthday and started trying to have children a month before I turned thirty; not terribly late in life by today’s standards.

But maybe it was already too late. Maybe if I had started earlier… Maybe…

My mother’s bitterness toward her choices influenced my choices, which have also left me bitter.

A work colleague once told me that she wished she had never gone to college. If she wasn’t successful in a career it would not make fiscal sense to send her children to daycare. She was bitter too.

My sister is approaching the age I was when I started this baby making (or no baby making) journey. She is in the thick of finishing her second master’s degree. I know she plans to have children in the future. I know she assumes as I did, that making a baby will be no problem. Sometimes I want to grab her and shake her and say, “I KNOW THE TIMING SUCKS, BUT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED!” But I don’t.

Why does it seem like fertility is at odds with feminism? I feel like there is all this pressure to achieve and succeed and gather up accomplishments, all the while assuming or hoping your fertility will be around when it is time to have a baby.

And if it isn’t?

If it isn’t society turns its nose up as if you should have known better. I’m sick of reading mainstream articles about infertility which subtly hint that it could all be avoided if women would just start having kids earlier (like in the good old days). OK. I get it. You are right. Fertility declines with age.

There is very little sympathy for the successful woman in her thirties or forties who cannot have children. We made a choice after all, a choice to wait. We shouldn’t expect to have our cake and eat it too.

So what if I had chosen to have children in my early twenties? Well, the father of my children would not be my husband. I didn’t meet my husband until I was twenty seven, an age at which my fertility was already declining. The father of my children would be a man who ended up cheating on me, getting someone else pregnant, and then wondering why I couldn’t empathize with his predicament. In my early twenties I had no idea how to be a mother. In my early twenties I had no idea how to take care of someone else. In my early twenties I could barely take care of myself; financially, emotionally, or physically.

If I had had children in my early twenties I would be my mother; unhappy, bitter, wishing I would have waited.

If I ever have a daughter will I tell her to hurry up and have babies or wait? I don’t know.

I guess you are damned if you do, damned if you don't. Sigh. Yet another post with no point, no answers, no neat summary.

Friday, October 9, 2009

IVF Anonymous


  1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to IVF?
  2. Has IVF ever made your home life unhappy?
  3. Did IVF affect your reputation?
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after IVF?
  5. Did IVF cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  6. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible to cycle again?
  7. Did you often IVF cycle until your last dollar was gone?
  8. Did you ever borrow to finance your IVF?
  9. Have you ever sold anything to finance IVF?
  10. Were you reluctant to use "IVF money" for normal expenditures?
  11. Did IVF make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
  12. Did you ever cycled longer than you had planned?
  13. Have you ever cycled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?
  14. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance IVF?
  15. Did IVF cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
  16. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to cycle?
  17. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of IVF?
  18. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your IVF?

Most compulsive IVFers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.

*adapted from a gambling addiction site as a (sort of) joke.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So Much To Say

My head is constantly spinning lately. Focus is a luxury.

To my blogger friends: Sorry I haven’t been commenting much lately. I didn’t even touch the computer this weekend. Odd.

To my infertility forum friends: Same as above. I promise to get caught up.

Work: Has been extremely busy. A blessing in disguise. It is getting increasingly difficult to put on my (fake) “work attitude” each morning. I just want to come in, get it done and go home. No desire to have a positive attitude or show leadership. Several people have asked me what is wrong.

Home: I am unnaturally obsessed with my puppy. I tell him everyday how much I love him and when I am away from him, I miss him. Cleaned house this weekend. Haven’t really cleaned for two months.

Husband: We went to a concert on Sunday afternoon and I kissed him on the cheek. Realized I hadn’t done this in awhile, since apparently he has grown a beard. He’s still smoking and he’s on vacation from school this week (apparently educators need a week off after two months of work). ARRGGHH! I still wouldn’t do what he does though.

Family: I finally “came out” infertility wise with my family. It’s been interesting. My favorite aunt sent me a card. Just thinking about it makes me cry. BIG 80th birthday party for grandfather this weekend. (Twelve hours of driving) I am in charge of nametags which I haven’t started yet. It’s a small town shin dig with a band. Annoyed at wearing nametags as it will only encourage people to talk to me. (Unless you grew up in a small town you cannot fully appreciate the horror which will be my weekend.)

Infertility: Still have no idea what to do. Another IVF? Donor eggs? Childfree living? All are regularly seriously discussed around my household. Minds change daily. I spent $200 on supplements at WholeFoods this weekend and purchased a new thermometer. I have no idea why.

Something New: Couples counseling tonight. Husband is already being a poop about it. As a professional counselor he is hard to counsel. I guess I wouldn’t want someone else doing my books, so I can relate.

That’s it. Life goes on I guess…

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why Do We Hurt More For The Ones We Love?

I wasn't born to be a mother. I am not a naturally nurturing and empathetic soul. Motherhood was not my heart's desire when I was a little girl. I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be a politician. I wanted to be a professional cheerleader.

That doesn't mean that I wouldn't be a good mother. That doesn't mean that I don't have that desire for motherhood. However, I have to admit that after my transfer, when I saw the embryos flash into my uterus, my first thought was, "What have I done? Am I ready for this?" (Shortly followed by an elated Yes!)

Tony is different. Tony was born to be a father. Tony is a nurturer, a caregiver, a natural parent.

When I think about how unfair it is that Tony has been denied parenthood (once again) my heart literally hurts, tears well up in my eyes, and sometimes I can't breathe.

I don't know what our future holds, but I want to take this hurt away from my husband. I want to make it better for him. I want to make it better for me.

I just don't know how to do that...
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