Sunday, October 31, 2010

How does it feel to be infertile?

I've never been asked by a fertile person how it feels to be infertile.  No infertile person has ever had to ask how it feels.  However, I have often found myself wondering if I could explain to a fertile person how infertility feels.

It's so abstract.  I won't die from this disease.  I've not lost any limbs.  I don't have any visible scars.  In my own case I've not lost anything tangible really.  I've lost clusters of cells, even my one miscarriage was a blighted ovum; a non baby.

The only way I can describe how being infertile feels is to equate it to what I imagine it would be like to love a child...

Infertility feels like loving a child...but the exact opposite.

I imagine that when a child is born the parents feel overwhelming feelings of joy, pride, happiness, and love.  I'm sure it is indescribable.  I'm sure it is emotionally debilitating, makes you reevaluate your life, makes you change your life for the better.

Infertility has made me feel that way too...but the exact opposite.

I imagine that when you are a parent the love you have for your child permeates your life in all sorts of little ways.  I'm sure that sometimes that love catches you off guard in little moments.  You remember your love when you see a picture, hear a comment, or smell a scent.  I imagine that love for a child is like a pleasant whisper throughout the day.

Infertility has made me feel that way too...but the exact opposite.

I'm sure that everyday as a parent is not good.  Just as everyday without children is not bad.

However, if a fertile person ever thinks to ask me how it feels to be infertile; if a fertile person ever wants to understand; I would tell them to think of all the intense love they have for their child, all the little ways that being a parent makes them happy.  I imagine the intensity of feeling is the same.

But where they have love I have bitterness.
But where they have hope I have despair.
But where they have peace I have heartbreak.

And just as a parent will always be a parent.  I will always be infertile.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Innocence of When

Saturday I was shopping at Pottery Barn.  As the cashier rang up my overpriced candles a young girl came to the counter, gift card in hand.  She asked the cashier, "Can you see if there is a balance on this?  I got it for my wedding and I can't remember if I spent it."  The cashier checked and told her that she had $100 balance.  "Can you use this card at Pottery Barn Kids too?  It doesn't expire, right?" she asked.  The cashier affirmed that she could and it wouldn't. 

At this point the young girl turned to her friend and said, "I think I'll just wait and use this when I get pregnant."

I bristled inside.  "When I get pregnant.... When I get pregnant...  When I get pregnant..."  The words rang in my ears all day.  Part of me wanted to tell her, "Yeah right.  It might not be that easy."  But another part of me realized that for her it probably would be that easy.  "When I get pregnant" is the world that most people live in.   Most people can save their Pottery Barn gift cards received as wedding gifts and use them at Pottery Barn Kids a few years later. 

I remember living in the world of "when".  In that world I saved money for nursery furniture.  In that world I prepared monthly budgets that included daycare, diapers, and formula.  In that world I picked out baby names and worried about how I would feel when Tony was home with the baby on summer break while I went to work.  I clung to "when" for a long time.  Even after starting IVF I still spoke in "when" terms as if the force of my will could get me pregnant.

Eventually "when" slipped away and became "if".  I couldn't plan a vacation that I might not enjoy if I got pregnant.  I couldn't buy adult furniture for the "nursery" because where would I put it if I got pregnant?  Changing from "when" to "if" was incredibly painful.  Hope was slipping away.

Thinking of this yesterday made me wonder where I am today.  I am a long way from "when" obviously.  If "when" were a location on Earth it would be midnight there when it is noon here.  But I also realized that I am moving away from "if" as well.  I don't plan for "if I get pregnant" anymore.  This is a good thing.  I'm living my life.  This is also a sad thing. 

And I'm not quite sure what it means.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Joneses

If you have curly hair, you want straight hair.  If you have straight hair (all together now) you want curly hair.  I happen to have naturally curly hair.  Sometimes I want straight hair, but mostly I am OK with my curls.

My mother is an incredibly jealous person.  She is focused on what others have that she does not have.  She is constantly questioning what people had to do to get what they have and always condemning people for getting more.  Don't they have enough?!?!?!  In ways this has jealousy ruined my mother's life.  It impacted my life as well.  Growing up, sometimes I wasn't allowed to invite friends to the house if their house was nicer than ours. 

I really try to control jealousy in my own life.  My philosophy is that everyone's life has happiness and sadness.  Some people might hide the sadness and all you see is the happiness, but it is still there. 

Infertility really tests this theory of mine, but even when a friend of mine's first IVF worked while my third IVF failed I could recognize that her life was not perfect.  She had a successful pregnancy.  She also had a husband with a lot of baggage (including troubled children) from a previous marriage.  She had a town house that was underwater and she could not sell.  She had a pink slip from her job and no prospects for a new job in this economy.  Yes, her IVF was successful, but I wasn't volunteering to trade places with her.

When I posted that I was becoming a workaholic I didn't tell the whole story.  At the time I was up for a promotion; an amazing promotion to a role for which I am unqualified, too young, too inexperienced, and for which there were many other more experienced candidates. 

I got it.

I received many heartfelt congratulations from colleagues, but I could see the jealousy in some people's eyes.  I could see the questioning.  "Why is she in that job?  Why does she get all the breaks?  Why? Why? Why?"  I understand their questioning.  I have had some amazing career opportunites.  I have been lucky to be at the right place at the right time. 

I wanted to answer the unasked questions I saw in their eyes.  I felt like saying, "Thanks for the congratulations.  I'm not as lucky as you think.  I can't have children.  If I could have children I probably wouldn't have even applied for this job.  I would give up this promotion in a second if I could go back and have a successful IVF.  Don't envy me."

I definately have my moments when I wonder why.  Why did I have to lose my father just when our relationship was starting to mature and bloom?  Why did I have to move in junior high; the worst time for a girl to move and change schools?  Why did I have to pay for my own first car, my own college education, my own wedding?  And why oh why have I been afflicted with this fucking disease called infertility???

My life has sadness.  I also have blessings.  We all do.  We just have to recognize them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Ovary Monologues

No one has ever really asked me where I came up with the name of this blog.  It's not my name.  I didn't make it up.  Early in my career as an infertile there was one particular nurse who would show me to the exam room and say, "You know the drill; bottoms off and on the table."  It stuck with me.  She was so nonchalant about the whole thing; the whole thing being showing your vagina to a stranger.  Of course eventually taking my pants off because the normal course of business.  I almost absentmindedly disrobed at the dentist office once.

If I had to rename my blog today I would call it "The Ovary Monologues."  Of course when this blog started I didn't know that my ovaries would cause so much trouble.  I didn't think of my ovaries much at all.  In sixth grade I learned about them in a sex education class.  Over the years I didn't think of them much after that.  I thought about my uterus when I had cramps or when I imagined a baby inside.  I thought about my vagina (no comments there).  My ovaries were ignored.  Totally neglected.  Abandoned.  Overlooked.  A non thought.

I remember the first time I saw them.  They were bountiful and luscious and full of follicles.  I was so proud.  Then I found out they were too bountiful, too luscious, and my cycle was cancelled.  I was disappointed, but still proud. 

Shortly there after everything changed.  My ovaries failed me.  They failed to produce the proper quantity of follicles.  They failed to produce the proper quality of eggs. 




It was a total blindside.  These little thought of organs suddenly took center stage.  They were ruining my life. 

I haven't seen my ovaries for months now.  I'm making peace with them.  They just couldn't do what I wanted them to do.  That's just the way it is. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Is This Blog Dead?

Why do infertility bloggers stop blogging?

Scenario A:  They have a baby and move on.
Scenario B:  They give up on having a baby and move on.

So where have I been?  Do either of these scenarios apply to me?  Well, "Scenario A" definitely does not apply.  No baby here, that hasn't changed.  Does "Scenario B" apply?  Not really.  I still hear the whisper.  I still think about my lack of babyhood daily.  I still think about this blog almost daily.  I still compose posts in my head while I drive, while I walk, while I work.  For some reason I just haven't been able to put fingers to keyboard and get my thoughts digitized.

Work has been incredibly busy.  Twelve hour days and working on the weekend has become the "new normal" for me.  Lately at work I have wondered how the hell I did my job and IVF at the same time.  Right now I can't imagine fitting appointments, mood swings, bloating, and general-icky-feeling-ness into my very full work day. 

I control how busy I am at work to some extent.  I control how much I delegate and how much I do myself.  I can influence what projects I chose to take on.  I can manage the expectations of my boss which determines how hard I push myself and my team.  So I wonder how much of my work busy-ness is a self imposed coping mechanism.

Between you, me, and anyone that reads this blog, when I was doing IVF I definitely did not work hard.  My IVF work days went something like this:

7:00 - 9:00  Google, Read blogs, or Write a blog post
9:00 - 11:00 Finish the things that ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO GET DONE to prevent losing my job
11:00 - 1:00 Doctor's Appointments, Run to Wholefoods for supplements, or Phone call to pharmacy and/or insurance company
1:00-3:00 Find someone to gossip with, maybe do more work, obsess over possibly losing job
3:00-4:00 Stare at clock until 4 (which is the earliest acceptable time to go home)
***Sprinkle in meetings as necessary

So what gives now?  Am I paying for my previously lax schedule?  Is it guilt for previously wasting company time?  Am I trying to fill my days with something more productive?  Coming from a Midwestern blue collar/agricultural background, hard work has been the answer to most questions.  I come from a long line of workaholics.  If work is the cure...then I'm on my way.

Monday, July 26, 2010


When my direct report told me that his wife had a miscarriage (her third).  My brain didn't scream, "AT LEAST YOU HAVE TWO KIDS!!!!".  Instead it whispered, "at least you have two kids."

I consider this progress.

When I casually mentioned donor eggs to my husband (as I do about once a month, just to test the waters.)  He didn't say, "Absolutely not, I don't want to discuss it."  Instead he said, "Let's discuss it in a year."

I consider this progress.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Last night I had a dream...

...that Tony and I were in a delivery room.  I was in a hospital gown.  I was pregnant and about to give birth.  We were holding each other and dancing.  We were both so happy.

Even in my dreamy state there was a voice in the back of my head telling 'dream Megan', "Stop dreaming this.  Stop thinking this way.  This isn't going to happen for you.  If you keep this up it will only be painful when you wake up to reality." 

But 'dream Megan' kept dreaming and the voice in the back of my head kept berating her until finally I woke up.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bo Turns One!

My "baby" is one!  We celebrated with a special cookie. 

See some of my favorite BoBo pics at the crafty cpa.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Six Posts for the Price of One

So, I've been away for awhile...I'm not really sure why.  But I'm going to try and make it up to you.  Here are six mini blog posts and/or observations I've made lately.

Post No. 1:  The Whisper
"Dateline Mysteries", "48 Hours Investigates", "Snapped", if its a television show about a person gettin' killed by their spouse, my husband is watching it. Disturbing? Yes, slightly. I think he watches because he likes the mystery story and not for ideas.  I hope.

Several months ago Tony was watching one of those types of shows and a murder victim's father described "the whisper".  I knew exactly what he was talking about. I hear the whisper too.

Let me paraphrase what he said, "I can go about my day. I can go to work. I can laugh. I can have fun. But the whisper of my child's murder is always there, and in the quiet moments of my life it is all I hear."

My whisper is infertility.

Post No 2:  Infertile, Interrupted
Part of why I haven't been posting is because I haven't had many positive things to say, not that I think this space should be reserved for wine and roses.  Part of me says, "This is real.  This is your life.  You should share no matter how depressive."  Part of me says, "You really should censor yourself a bit.  You gain nothing by spewing negativity into the Internet.  Keep it to yourself."

I have now accepted that I am unreasonably depressed, depressed beyond the situation.  It has consumed me.  I intend to do something pharmaceutical about it, but while I made time for endless infertility appointments, I can't seem to find the time for this appointment.

Post No 3: Damn, I Feel Like a Woman

In April I posted about my first visit back to my gyn and my absent period. Well, I hemmed and hawed about giving the blood sample she wanted before I started the Provera that would start my period. Finally at the end of May I gave the blood sample, started the Provera and paused; nothing happened, nada, uterine crickets.  After two weeks I called the gyn about my absent flow and was told that Provera could take up to ten weeks, call back after the forth of July. I'd never heard of that, but whatever...

Today, quite unexpectedly, I got my period. I know a lot of infertile women are used to irregular periods, but that was never me. I could set a clock (or maybe a calendar) by my period. No period for five months has been a little disconcerting. But now, here it is. I wonder if I have been successfully "reset" physically or if I will be irregular ever more.

Maybe I'll get reset mentally as well.  Watch this space...

Post No 4:  LL
Linsay Lohan's dad gives me the creeps.

Post No 5:  The Two Faces of Megan
Despite the whisper, despite the depression, Tony and I have been having a very active summer.  And we've started dreaming and planning again.  We haven't been able to dream and plan for a long time and it feels good to stretch that part of our brains again.  Most of these dreams and plans center around new landscaping, purchasing land and building a cabin, and early retirement schemes.  Secretly I still want to try a donor egg cycle.  Since each of these dreams and plans require money, they are somewhat mutually exclusive.  I feel like I'm living two dream lives.

Post No 6:  Nothing Special
My husband secretly loves the movie, "Steel Magnolias".  Sometimes I walk into the family room and catch him watching it on TV.  It's funny.  He likes, "Mona Lisa Smile" too.  I wonder if its a Julia Roberts thing, but he really doesn't watch any other of her movies.  It must be a female ensemble cast thing. 

So if you've seen the movie more than once, you know the line.  Diabetic Shelby has just told her mother that she is happily pregnant despite the health complications involved.  She says, "I'd rather have a few moments of wonderful *pause for dramatic effect* than a lifetime of nothing special." 

For some reason I was thinking of this scene a few weeks ago and I thought to myself.  That's going to be my life...a lifetime of nothing special.  Special is a relative term, so perhaps I was being a bit melodramatic; certainly something special can happen to me in my childless lifetime.  Special is anything I want to believe is special.  And a lifetime of nothing special also doesn't mean a bad lifetime necessarily.  But I still want to be a mom.  Maybe more than I did before.  Sigh.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Two Cards in my Purse

Right now I have two cards in my purse. They are both for my husband. The first one is a card I gave my husband on the day we finally made it to embryo transfer after two cancelled IVFs and one IVF resulting in no embryos to transfer. Inside I wrote, “No matter what happens…today we are a mommy and a daddy with the same hopes and dreams for our children that any parent has. Love, your baby girl (but hopefully not your only baby for long).” The day he opened it, he put it in my purse to take home and it hasn’t left since.

I can’t bear to throw it out. We were so happy that day. So hope filled. It was one of the best days of my life. But what do you do with a card like that? Where do you keep it?

The second card is a Father’s Day card I bought several weeks ago. It has a picture of a golden retriever on the front and I wrote a cute message from Bo inside. I have to admit that this card is slightly passive aggressive. Tony isn’t ready to say that he will ever want to pursue parenthood again (whatever that would mean). I’m not ready to say that I want to accept child free living for the rest of my life. We are in limbo. This is OK right now.

I bought the card in a small way to remind him that fatherhood is out there. I bought the card because I want a card from him saying, “When we are healed from the disappointment of five failed attempts at IVF, when we are ready, we’ll do whatever it takes to become parents…if that’s what we decide we want to do.”

I’ve happily carried this Father’s Day card around for weeks, ready to launch my passive aggressive assault.

But then earlier this week I reminded Tony (in a totally innocent, non-passive aggressive way…for real. I have no problem admitting when I’m being passive aggressive.) that Bo needed to go to day camp on Friday for the dog Father’s Day party. (I know Liz…we do some crazy crap for our dogs here in the States, but I hate for Bo to miss a party.) Tony was less than enthusiastic and snarked back something to the effect that he didn’t need to participate in some dumb dog Father’s Day party.

I’m so stupid. Why would I think that he needs a card (even one disguised as a cute message from our pup) to be reminded that he’s not a father? I know how he feels. On Mother’s Day my aunt sent an email to all the women in the family wishing everyone a happy day. She addressed it to everyone whether a mother, an aunt, a cousin, or a puppy mom. I wasn’t the only non-mom recipient of the email. She’s a non-mom herself. I felt conflicted though. On one hand I was happy to be included, but on the other hand I felt like the girl invited to the party by default because someone’s parent said that the whole class had to be invited.

And so, I think we will ignore Father’s Day this year. Both of our fathers have passed away. Tony’s not a father. We’ll just continue to celebrate each other as a loving couple with a fabulous dog, and eventually our ideas about parenthood will come together with time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Facebook Status Today

my Facebook status today...

"The only good things in my life are my husband and my dog. Sometimes I feel incredibly lucky and sometimes I feel incredibly sad."

Do you think I'll get kicked off Facebook for admitting I'm sad?

...lots of posts rolling around in my head.  I've been enjoying the great weather we've been having!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Like a virgin...

...lapped for the very first time.

It's hard to believe that someone has conceived and birthed a child twice and I have nothing but plans to turn "the nursery" into my new office.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Where's my parade?

I have two close work friends that were diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. Between the two of them I have attended a wine and cheese party where we were encouraged to shower one friend with gifts, made a meal for another friend's family (the week before one of my IVF retrievals), contributed to a fund to pay for one friend to have her house cleaned regularly, made phone calls, sent emails, and participated in other supportive activities.

I know I shouldn't compare infertility to someone with cancer. First of all, we aren't likely to die from infertility (although it feels like it most days). And our treatments are arguably less arduous (we don't lose our hair, just our minds).

But I can't help but think that it is unfair that most of us can't even get our Facebook "friends" to acknowledge our "infertility outings" on Facebook during Infertility Awareness Week. I can't help but think that it is unfair that most of us hide our infertility and cringe when an article about our struggles appears online because we know the comments from readers will be so painful.

Why shouldn't friends and family shower us with gifts and cook us dinner when stimulation meds are making us feel sluggish?

So what do you think? Am I out of line? And if not, how do we change this? Where did we go wrong?

Shouldn't the community of womanhood band together and fight for everyone to become a mother?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

a different kind of love

When I was in my twenties a lady I worked with told me a story about the birth of her first child. She had endured something like twelve hours of difficult labor followed by an emergency c-section. When it was all over, baby in arms, her husband looked into her eyes and said, "I just fell in love with you all over again."

This story has haunted me lately. It's so difficult to know that I will never give my husband the gift of growing a child in my womb made of part of him and part of me. I will never give him the gift of laboring to bring that child into the world, and he will never look into my eyes and tell me that his love for me has been reborn.

*pause for sadness*

When my husband and I finally got off the treatment roller coaster I didn't recognize our marriage anymore. For a while infertility treatments made us stronger and drew us closer, but eventually the constant disappointment destroyed us. My depression grew stronger than our relationship. My husband became more and more frustrated because he could not solve this problem. He could not succeed as a husband and make me happy. I could not succeed as a wife and give him the child that I so desperately wanted to give. Infertility led to financial problems and destroyed our physical intimacy. We were broken.

I'm happy to say that we are rebuilding. I'm thrilled to report that our marriage is getting stronger. We are smiling, laughing, planning, touching, hugging, kissing, joking, and talking. We are starting to become "us" again.

But still that woman's story haunted me. Can we ever have the kind of love that two people have when they build a family together?

The answer is no. We can't have that love. We have something different. Tony and I walked through hell together. We may not have always been looking into each other's eyes while we walked, but we always held each other's hands. We did it together. Our hopes were raised together. Our souls were rocked together. Our dreams were destroyed together.

We are falling in love with each other all over again. And that love feels so special and so true. It didn't come from a place of joy where love is easy. It came from a place of despair. We had a choice and we chose us.


read about the alphabears at the crafty cpa

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Money Makes the World Go Round

We're broke.

OK, we're not totally broke. We still have jobs. We still pay the bills. After spending tens of thousands of dollars on infertility tests, treatments, and prescriptions over the past two years we have very little savings left.

Yes, we are on an extended (maybe forever) break from treatments. Yes, even if we had the money we would not be in treatment right now, but quite frankly even if we wanted to cycle we couldn't afford it. The well is dry. The money tree has been shoke (shooken? shaked?) to within an inch of its life.

BUT...despite our dire financial situation, we want to live. We want to do some of the things that we have been putting off. We want to travel. We want to buy stuff. We want to have fun.

BUT...I still have a nagging thought, a little voice telling me that if this desire to have a child is still with me in a year then I may want to have the option to try donor eggs. That option requires some major savings and I just don't feel like it right now.

So right now I'm spending. I'm buying new toys. And I'll worry about saving for tomorrow later.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back in the Stirrups

No, don't spit out your Sunday afternoon margarita. No IUI, no IVF, just a regular well woman exam with an extra discussion regarding my missing period (cycle day 60+ since my post failed IVF bleed). Am I the only one who has Sunday afternoon margaritas?

I've been away from my regular OBGYN long enough that she has had time to drop my insurance and pick it up again. I was really excited to "graduate" from my RE (even without the eight week old heart beating fetus in my belly that most graduates have). Another step back toward normal world.

But things didn't go as planned...

It all started down hill when the nurse insisted on a pregnancy test since I haven't had my period for sixty-plus days. She asked me if I had tested at home. I answered, "Nope." She asked if there was a chance I was pregnant. I answered, "Nope." She asked if I was using birth control. I answered, "Nope."

I could tell that she was getting excited at the opportunity to be the one to tell me that I was pregnant. So I broke the bad news to her, "I've done five IVFs and I've only had sex with my husband once in the last sixty days, so I'm sure I'm not pregnant."

I could tell she was disappointed. She hung her head and said, "Well, the doctor would have wanted me to test anyway." The test was never mentioned again. I assume it was negative.

I had to relay and relive my whole history of infertility with the doctor like two college girls catching up. I started to cry. This is not how I wanted this visit to go.

After all the boob checking and pap smearing we got around to talking about my absent period. I told her about my high FSH. She asked if I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure and I answered, "Yes." I'm not sure why I answered this way. I've never actually been told that I have POF. I'm not ready to open my medical records that I requested be mailed to me by my RE. Actually, no one has really said what is wrong with me besides the fact that I have high FSH and crap eggs. But based on my affirmative answer my doctor dropped a bomb.

"If you have POF you probably won't get your period anymore. I'll give you some Provera, but I want you to do some blood work before you take it."

Really? I always had normal periods. Yes, I had to take Provera to start my period before this last cycle, but I just figured I was messed up due to all the meds. Her prediction really bothered me. No period = no hope what so ever. Does no period mean that donor eggs is not even an option for me in the future? Does no period mean that I'm old and dried up at thirty two?

And so I wait. I wait for blood work (which I haven't given yet.) I wait for Provera to induce a period. I wait for another period that may never come. I wait for answers to questions that I had no idea would even apply to me.


On a happier note I have been busy crafting the last few weeks and have decided to revive my other blog. Check it out if you have an interest in crafty things...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I'm going to admit that I have been scammed by the Internet. I've given money to infertility treatment funds only to find later that those treatments never took place. So I don't take this post lightly, but I believe in this story.

I have been reading Bonnie's blog since I started blogging, back when she was "the angry one". We have IVF cycled together. We have been cancelled together. We have failed together. I read her new blog with envy as she inched closer and closer to taking home a baby through domestic adoption. I was devastated when that adoption fell through. Bonnie's raw and honest emotions that she shared with all of us during that time really touched me. I felt her pain.

Bonnie is a survivor...she is tenacious...and she is determined to be a mother.

Bonnie is currently trying to raise money in order to bring her daughter home from Africa.

Please visit her blog and enter her adoption raffle. For just $5 you can enter to win an iPod touch (which is a pretty awesome thing in my book since my current iPod is the first iPod ever made that was given to me by my sister). But don't feel like you have to stop there, every $5 earns you another iPod touch raffle entry. Entries stop May 2nd at noon.

***Bonnie, I wish you all the luck in the world with your fundraising and your new daughter. Please do not enter me in the raffle for this blog post. This blog post comes from my heart. However, I will be making my donation/entry today because I WANT THAT iPOD!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Two Infertiles Dancing

Walking toward each other in the office hallway I see you and you see me.

You know that I am infertile and I know that you are too.

You know that I don't have a baby and I know that you do.

You don't know if I am still trying...
You don't know if I might be pregnant right now...
You don't know if I'm waiting to find out if I'm pregnant right now...
You don't know the lengths I've gone to in order to catch up with you...

You know that you shouldn't talk about your baby, but you wish I would ask.

I know that I should ask, but I wish you wouldn't talk about your baby.

I've avoided your department because of you.
I've avoided the cafeteria because of you.

And so we dance down the hall, each step bringing us closer to an uncomfortable conversation.

Until I shout out a, "Hi!" and duck around the corner, never so happy to rush into a training class.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Outside of Myself

Most articles I read about Child Free Living After Infertility (CFLAI?) propose that you can still have children in your life and feel fulfilled. Usually the idea is that becoming involved with nieces or nephews or children of friends will be a salve for all your barren wounds. I have to admit that idea is a little too Pollyanna for me right now. I can't imagine a niece or a nephew or a friend's child making me feel any better about my situation. Of course I have no nieces or nephews and I have pretty much cut off contact with fertile friends by this point, so who knows.

Tony has a favorite student at school, a special needs girl named K. K is severely disabled. She can't speak, uses a wheelchair, and no one knows how much she understands. Tony takes time out of his day to rock her or takes her outside for a walk to watch the kids playing in gym class. She smiles when she hears the sound of his voice.

Tony has been asking me to sew something for her, so this weekend I made her a bag. I've made a few of these for friends and family. They are the size and shape of those reusable shopping bags that I seem to grab for time and again whenever I have to tote anything from here to there.

I don't know if it was the sewing or if all those articles are on to something, but making this bag felt good*.

*or I just wanted to show off a new bag I made.

Friday, April 2, 2010

If it weren't for bad luck...

On Monday our sump pump stopped working...$400.

On Thursday we received an unexpected bill from the last cycle...$900.

All week our accounting systems have been royally screwed up during period end close and people have been yelling at me for things that are totally beyond my control.

And then was the best. Tony has been parking in the driveway because half the garage is filled with overflow from the house decluttering. TODAY I HIT TONY'S CAR WITH MY CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

I'm starting to think that the universe owes me something.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. My office decides to adopt flex time and my boss acutally lets me take advantage of it by working four days a week.

2. We get a reasonable offer on the house.

3. I win a free vacation to somewhere tropical.

(Notice I did not list "surprise pregnancy". That just seems too far out of the realm of possibility.)

Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Is it the weekend yet?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Act Naturally?

After our last failed cycle I told Tony that I intended to go on the BCP where you only get your period four times a year. He looked at me with a combination of puppy dog and little boy eyes and asked why I wanted to do that. I could tell that he was surprised and hurt, but I snapped back that having my period was now very tramatic for me and why should I have to deal with it more than four times a year?!?!?!? I may have even thrown in a comment about him being a man and not understanding. (What can I say? I was not feeling very "in-control" emotionally.)

My husband has mentioned to me more than once that he thinks we will be one of those couples who tries and tries to have a baby and then gets pregnant naturally. When he says this I look at him like he has three heads and explain to him all the reason why that would be ridiculous. But he keeps bringing it up. Which makes me think that he really must believe it.

I was diagnosed with PCOS and then undiagnosed.

I had a high FSH reading of 14.

I tested positive for elevated natural killer cells.

He was diagnosed with a varicocele and then undiagnosed.

He has low sperm count and low motility.

He tested with lowish testoterone.

We retrieved forty six eggs that turned into twenty two embryos and transferred five blasts. None of those made it to freeze or fetus.

We no longer have sex regularly.

Oh yeah, and an ultrasound technician once told me that I have a tilted uterus...great.

These are not the ingredients for a "natural miracle".

Still, in my quest to not be done with hope I have considered taking up baby making sex again. Then I start to think, "Well, with everything working against us it would be best to know when I am least give us a fighting chance." But I worry that if I know when I ovulated, I will know when to test for pregnancy. I will know when to start hoping and praying and watching for symptoms. Next thing you know I am leaving work on my lunch hour to buy pregnancy tests that I pee on in the bathroom at the grocery store.

Sort of like those evolution posters, but in reverse...

Suddenly harmless baby making sex starts to sound less "relaxing" and more like a gateway activity leading me back to major heartache. I'm worried about becoming an addict again.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Good Wife

Last night I was a good wife. I went to the hockey game with my husband even though it was the last thing I wanted to do. I even got him the tickets from work; and these were good tickets with free food and beer included.

Here’s how little I know about hockey:

Me: What’s it called when they put the players in time out?
Tony: You mean intermission?
Me: No, when they take the players off the ice because they are naughty.
Tony: Oh, you mean the penalty box.
Me: Oh yeah.

I get more good wife points because I didn’t mention that while I do things I don’t want to do to make him happy, he won’t do little things for me like spend all of our savings on donor egg cycles that probably won’t work. Le sigh.

But just in case you aren’t sure if I am a good wife, this next story will dispel all doubt.

At the hockey game during intermission (is that what it’s called?) little pee wee hockey “all stars” are invited onto the ice to play for a few minutes. It is an awwwwwww inspiring site. Who can resist impossibly little boys dressed in impossibly little sports outfits with impossibly little sticks playing with big boy pucks, on big boy ice, with big boy goals? Before I could even steel my emotions against this parade of fertility, this display of everything denied to me; my husband turns and says, “I can’t believe you won’t let our boy play hockey.”

I felt like I had inadvertently dipped my toe into a hot tub time machine. Is this 2006 when we still had hypothetical conversations about imaginary children? I didn’t think that was still allowed when your husband has sworn off all further attempts at baby making?

And this is where the good wife part comes in. Because when my husband turned to me in order to argue about children who do not exist and will never exist, I did not punch him in the face. I did not run shrieking out of the stadium. I did not even point out the insensitivity of such a comment. Instead I just turned to him and evenly said, “That seems like an unlikely scenario doesn’t it?”

And then I realized that my husband hadn’t meant to say what he did. It was just a reflex, like muscle memory. He was sad that he had said it and even more sad that he had said it to me.

Maybe hope is a muscle that remembers too.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why Didn't I Ever Find This During a TWW?

Did you read Sweet Valley High books when you were younger?

You have to check this out.

I have been reading for hours and have laughed to the point of tears twice.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Baby Steps

Where are my, "What About Bob?" fans? When we were little, if my sister and I liked a movie it went into hardcore frequent rotation at our house. We loved, "What About Bob?"

And "Dirty Dancing".

And "Haunted Honeymoon"

And "Money Pit"

And "Back to the Future"

I can still quote these movies. So if you are a fan of "What About Bob?" then you know all about Baby Steps the book. (For those who are not familiar with the movie, the concept is focus on one step at a time. Don't get overwhelmed.)

Before this last IVF attempt I had "big plans" for my child free life. I had fleshed out these "big plans" so much that I fully expected that if the cycle failed I was poised like a cat, ready to pounce. I fully expected to go into "big plan" activation mode.

But I have not been pouncing. I haven't been activating. Instead I've been baby stepping. (I'll spare you the obvious comments about the irony of baby stepping without any chance of an actual baby in the future.)

That brings me to today's baby step. Generally my level of depression is directly proportional to the length of my leg hair. Judging by the looks of my legs, I have been in quite a funk. I had not shaved my legs since my last cycle. And my attempts at shaving during my last cycle were half hearted at best; just enough grooming so as not to be a topic of conversation with the nurses.

But today I am leg hair free! And as I sat in the bathtub shaving my legs I felt good. I felt better. I started thinking about all the other things I could do today. I could pack up my second set of china and send it to storage. I could clean out the closets for the open house tomorrow. I could get back into my sewing room. I could go to the mall and buy some new cardigans to replace the worn ones I've been wearing lately. I could go to Target and buy some sea monkeys*.

But I didn't do any of that stuff. I just shaved my legs. Well, that and pulled out some empty boxes in an attempt to start packing.

Oh well, baby steps. I wonder what I'll do tomorrow?

*My new best friend at work has this sea monkey kit and I want to get one!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time Time Time

Look over there ------------------------------------------------------->

I've been trying to get pregnant since 2007. Now I know many people have tried for so much longer, but this still sounds like a long time to me. I guess I ought to have an associate's degree in infertility. Imagine me, the overachiever not going for my bachelors or masters or even PhD.

It feels like all of my life experiences since 2007 revolve around infertility. I have been so focused on treatments that I can barely remember anything else from these years. If I think about it so many other things have happened.

I had three birthdays, three wedding anniversaries, and three Christmases. Notice I didn't say "celebrated". Because I didn't celebrate any of these holidays.

I went on a two week road trip vacation starting and ending in Toronto. We went to Niagara Falls, Maine, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Montreal in between. I got my period on that trip on a ferry ride to Nova Scotia. I also skipped vacation one year and went on a cheapo vacation to Hilton Head since we were spending so much money on prescription medications.

I turned down a transfer to Minneapolis for work because it was in the middle of the school year and Tony wouldn't be able to join me for six months. I turned it down because it's hard to make a baby when your husband is two states away. I also got promoted and fired someone for the first time.

I installed wood floors in my house, redid a bathroom, bought furniture, and painted several rooms. However, I never touched a thing in the "baby's room."

We both really thought Tony was going to lose his job for awhile. We were both really worried.

I bought a car and on Monday that car will be paid off.

I had my first surgery, first ultrasound, first acupuncture, first anesthesia, and first self administered shot. I understand how insurance works now.

I held Tony's kitty while the vet put him to sleep. I got a new puppy.

Things did not turn out the way I wanted, but there were a lot of changes. I didn't reach my goal, but I did have accomplishments.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Can't Be Your Friend Because I'm Infertile

In December I went to the wedding reception of a friend from high school and college. I don't have a lot of close friends. I'm not good at making them and once I make a friend I am not good at staying in touch with them.

At the wedding I ran into other friends from high school. We had a great time. We caught up. We drank. We caught up some more. We drank some more. By the end of the night my friend was overenthusiastically telling us how much it meant to her that we all came to her wedding reception. We were swearing drunken oaths to do more things together. We made big plans for the first ever annual girls weekend get away. Plans somewhat fueled by alcohol induced sentimentality.

Since I am the natural planner in this community-theater-performing-creative-writing-teaching-weird-martial-arts-performing group of women I came home and sent out the emails to get this whole weekend thing started.

Then I stopped. I backed away. I pulled back.


Because I realized that there was probably a good chance that my newly married friend would be pregnant by the time this girl's weekend came to fruition.

The thought stopped me in my tracks.

Perhaps she would think that this weekend is the perfect opportunity to tell us all of her pregnancy. Or perhaps she would try to be sensitive to my feelings and we would have to guess her special secret when we all notice that she's skipping the wine. Both of these scenarios leave me feeling dread.

I am so angry. I was so looking forward to this weekend. Now I see no option, but to ditch the whole idea just because a friend MIGHT be pregnant. Crazy.

Infertility is so isolating and it continues to take and take and take.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekend Cheers and Jeers

Cheers that we had three people come and look at our house this weekend. I go back and forth between wanting to start packing things up to ready for a move and holding off in case we can't get our house sold. We are aggressively priced, but you just never know what will (or won't) happen in this market.

Cheers that Tony took the baby bassinet purchased three years ago when we were pregnant for eight weeks to Goodwill this weekend. It really didn't bother me much. There are other baby things I have purchased that are much more sentimental to me and would be harder to let go. I'm glad it is going to a place where someone can use it. Had it been up to me I would have chopped it up with an axe and burnt it in the backyard.

Jeers that I didn't get off the sofa much this weekend despite my best laid plans. I did however get a burst of energy Sunday evening. I scrubbed the corners of the wood floors on my hands and knees, shined up the kitchen cabinets, and made lunch salads for the week. I hope this is a sign of more energetic pursuits to come.

Cheers on all the wonderful comments I have been getting on my blog and in emails. This has been a hard time for me as I feel a bit as though I have let people down. I know it is hard for those still in the fight to read about my story. I am the nightmare. I am the one with infertility that could not be treated. Thanks for sticking with me. I also feel like I have tapped into a whole other world of folks who are in the exact same spot as me.

Jeers that the Olympics are over. There is nothing better to do when you are depressed than watch a long curling match. I don't understand it at all, but I find it mesmerizing and the northern accents of the commentators are quite soothing.

That's it. More cheers than jeers. I guess that's a good sign.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ground Zero

I haven't really started child-free living yet. I'm child-free, but I'm not living.

My days consist of waking in the morning and going to work. Spending way too much time on the Internet while at work between doing what needs to be done in order to keep my job and appearing somewhat engaged. Coming home and changing clothes. Sitting on the sofa all night and alternating between watching TV, surfing the Internet, and playing Minesweeper. Then it's off to bed.

Sadness. Despair. Depression.

Sadness. Despair. Depression.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Today I looked around at my life.

My marriage has been changed by this journey and not for the better. We have always been a happy, laid back, and fun loving couple. That was "our thing". We didn't take much seriously. I'm wondering what it will take for us to get that back. I feel more insecure in my marriage than I have ever felt.

I have not put much effort into my job for over a year now. People don't seem to have noticed much (except possibly a couple coworkers), but it has made me very paranoid about being laid off or fired. Since there have been layoffs and firings a plenty in my office lately, my work life basically sucks. Every rumor or piece of gossip sends me into a paranoid tailspin of checking my dwindling savings account and calculating how long we could survive without my salary.

I am not speaking to my family. My mother is quite frankly a mother. She could never understand what I am going through. She also has an uncanny ability to say the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time. I can't risk that right now. My sister will most probably be a mother soon and most probably without much effort. Because, quite frankly...that just seems to be how my life works. I am preemptively not speaking to her because a pregnancy announcement would put me over the edge.

I am fatter than I have ever been. My clothes are not fitting. I gained an amazing amount of weight this last cycle, but I can't bear to step on the scale to tally it up. All I want to eat is McDonald's sausage egg and cheese biscuits and ice cream. I have been doing this frequently.

This is ground zero. This is my bottom. There is nowhere to go, but up.


I don't like to think of my life as tragic, but I have had enough tragedy in my life to know that only time will make things better. I will never be OK about this, but in time I will be better.

I think I will let myself continue to wallow until the weekend, then it will be time to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start moving on.

Here I come. I'm almost ready. Let's go. I just have to get off the couch...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If I Were To Interview Myself Today

Are you really done trying to have a child?

Before this cycle the answer was yes, we are done. Now the answer is maybe. We are definitely done trying to conceive a child with my eggs. I am OK with this and have been for a long time. I don’t think my genetic material is particularly special and I personally believe that nurture plays a bigger role than nature. We have only continued with my eggs for this long because it was the most cost effective option for us. I have had insurance to cover procedures up to this point (not that we haven’t spent tens of thousands of dollars of our own money.) If I could have applied that insurance to a donor eggs cycle I would have done so this last cycle.

However, even though we are very open to moving forward with donor eggs, we have decided to try child free living first. I feel very blessed that at age thirty two donor eggs are a viable option for me for several years. We are going to take advantage of that luxury and try child free living for a year or two. Then we will make a decision. If we are OK with it, we will continue on living sans bebe. If we are not OK with it then we will explore other treatment options like donor eggs.

What about adoption?

If someone would place a baby in my arms right now and ask me to raise it I would love and nurture that child like no one’s business. But I know it’s not that easy. We had a taste of the adoption experience when we started the process of becoming foster parents several months ago. At that time we realized that we could not continue cycling and become foster parents at the same time and dropped out. However, we went through enough of the home study experience to realize that adoption is freaking hard, just as hard as IVF cycling and I don’t think we have the strength right now.

Also, my husband’s heart is not open to open or international adoption which I know would make the process that much harder. I personally believe in open adoption. Since we are so far apart on this issue I think that adoption is not right for us right now.

Do you feel like a quitter?

Absolutely. I believe that if you really want a baby you will get there one way or another. I really want a baby, so why am I quitting? I struggle with this a lot. Part of the reason that I am quitting is that my husband no longer wants to continue, part of the reason is financial, part of the reason is that I feel in my gut that this is the right decision for me right now. However, for my own sanity I have to think of this as an extended year or two year long break. Right now I just can’t admit that I’m done.

We did not get our dream come true, but our nightmare has ended and that feels good.

So what is the plan?

We are very committed to giving child free living a try. Our four-bedroom-perfect-for-kids house is officially on the market and we are looking for smaller homes in a historic district in a bad school district. Once we move, Bo will get a brother, which is something that my extremely social dog needs desperately. I have also looked at this as an opportunity to really examine my life and choices. Am I in the right career? How will I leave a legacy if I don’t have children? What opportunities are open to me that might not be open if I had children? How soon can I retire?

I’m actually somewhat excited about answering these questions.

You sound so upbeat and together about this. What is your secret?

Don’t believe a word of it. I am a mess inside. I’m sad. I’m angry. I cry. I emailed my family telling them that I didn’t want to speak to anyone right now, possibly for a few months. Tony thinks I need to be on antidepressants and I don’t necessarily disagree. I just refuse to let this ruin my life so I am trying to find something-anything good and positive to hang on to. My attitude changes minute by minute. I’m totally in the grief cycle and hanging on for dear life.

Are you still going to blog?

Yep. I think that my story still has merit. It’s a different story now and it won’t be the right story for everyone, but I hope some folks will still be interested.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Insult, Meet Injury

So after the negative pregnancy test on Friday, I started bleeding. Not spotting…bleeding. Not just bleeding, but bleeding more than I have in months and months. In a perverse way I’m almost proud of how much my body does not want to be pregnant; expelling uterine lining and embryos a full three days before my beta.

I didn’t really know what to do when the bleeding started so quickly and violently, so I kept up with my Prometrium and Endometrium suppositories. I kept telling myself that if the bleeding doesn’t stop by *insert time* I’ll stop taking the medicine. But I just couldn’t stop myself.

I wasn’t going to go to my blood draw this morning, sort of a final middle finger to the whole medical establishment. However, last night I started having stabbing abdominal pains that made me wonder if I might have gone ectopic. So I went. They are calling Tony with the results and I know he won’t tell me while I’m at work. He’s currently not answering his office line.

I can’t believe that the closest we ever got to being parents was after four months of trying on our own. For four blissful weeks we thought we were going to be a family with a mommy, daddy, and baby not knowing that the mass of baby-like cells that caused the pregnancy test to turn positive had stopped developing weeks earlier.

We’ve spent almost three years chasing that high and never got any closer, never even got that close again.

We found out last week that we had nothing to freeze.


Update: I'm officially negative.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Need A Miracle

7dp5dt and I tested negative.

I don't understand why this is not meant to work for us.

We are good people.

We would make good parents.

My husband and I are falling apart.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Ladybug Story

My father passed away when I was twenty-one. We were close, or as close as you can get to an extreme workaholic with a really screwed up upbringing.

Several years after he passed on I had a dream about him. He was sitting on a park bench and I sat beside him. He told me that everything was going to be OK. I forget now why I needed to be told that everything was going to be OK, but I remember waking up and knowing that he was right.

The next morning there was a steel penny on my front table. (Pennies are generally made of copper, but during one of the World Wars they needed the copper for wartime production and made pennies out of steel.) I have no idea where this steel penny came from. I knew it was a sign from my father. He was a coin collector.

This weekend I had a conversation with my dad. I don't do this often, but I asked him if he had any sort of influence over things like conception could he please make sure that this cycle worked. (I talked to Tony's dad too, who I never met and who also has passed away).

This morning I woke up and went downstairs. On my kitchen counter next to my prometrium bottle there was a ladybug, a sign of good luck.

I hope my dad sent it. I hope it's his way of telling me that it will be OK.

I guess in a way it will be OK, no matter what.

Friday, February 12, 2010


We transferred three early blasts today.

We thought about transferring four, but Tony was too chicken (or the voice of reason?)

It's out of our hands and into my womb.

Hoping for the best.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wanna See A Picture of My Kids?

. . . . . . . . . .

aren't they cute?

Plans for "wasted" vacation day #2:

  • I'm taking Bo to daycamp today so he can get a break from protecting me from his own reflection in the glass front of the fireplace. Bo HATES fireplace puppy.
  • I scheduled a massage to use the gift certificate Tony got me for Christmas.
  • Sewing, sewing, sewing

As the wife of an educator I just LOVE staying home while my husband goes to work, usually it is the other way around.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 3 Report

No transfer today.

Because..."there are too many good ones to chose from."

So here are the stats for all you math nerds out there (my clinic grades embryos 1 through 3 with 1 being the best):

12 cell, grade 2
9 cell, grade 1
9 cell, grade 2
9 cell, grade 2
8 cell, grade 2
8 cell, grade 2
7 cell, grade 1
7 cell, grade 1
7 cell, grade 2
6 cell, grade 3
2 arrested

Wow. Good stuff.

So transfer will be Friday if these little guys keep growing. I feel mixed about delaying the transfer to a day 5. I'd feel more confident if I had some more grade 1 embryos. (I apologize to my fellow poor responders for that statement.) However, I still feel like hell from my retrieval so I am happy to have a couple more days to recover.

The bad news: I already took today, Thursday, and Friday off work. I decided not to tell my boss about this cycle (I haven't told anyone IRL this time and now I am too superstitious to say anything). There is just too much going on at work for me to drop everything and run out the door without a little planning. Instead of stressing about how I was going to make my getaway I decided to just take the days off and worst case scenario I would burn a few vacation days.

So I'm off to the fabric store and the book store and the dog park. areyoukiddingme asked what I have been sewing. Well, I have sewn a couple pillow covers, some bags, and I am finishing up endlessly hand stitching the binding on a quilt. Since I'll have a lot of time on my hands maybe I'll post some pictures in the next couple days.

PS. I am overwhelmed by the support I have been receiving. Thank you so much.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fertilization Report

Of the 32 eggs...

26 were mature...

and 12 fertilized normally...

Go twelve go!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Prepare to Have Your Minds Blown

[I just woke up from my post anesthesia coma and my husband has confirmed all these facts].

I awoke to the nurse telling me that they retrieved twenty six eggs.

I didn't believe them. I asked them to double check.

Then they came back and told me that they retrieved thirty two eggs.

They asked Tony to go rub one out again to make sure they had enough good sperm.

I got to drink some Sprite while I waited.

If this were my first IVF I would be super excited right now, but this is my fifth attempt. I can only assume that something will go wrong.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Some Quick Updates

  • My US went well today. Still lots of follicles and they are growing. I may stim one more day depending on my E2 levels as there are some follicles that we still want to grow a bit. Retreival will most likely be on Sunday.
  • My RE and I had a "come to Jesus" meeting where I told him that I wanted to make sure I transferred something. I said, "I know that you think that if embryos don't make it to day five they are crap, but I don't care. I might want to put some back on day three anyway and I want to make sure I'll have that option." His solution...consecutive transfers. He wants to put back two on day three and another one or two on day five (if we have it). Then he gave me some articles which basically said that consecutive transfer might help and can't hurt. Has anyone ever done such a thing? What do you think?
  • This is one reason I've grown to love my RE. He is always so optimistic, always willing to try new things, and let's me call the shots within reason. He's a real gem.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I am feeling very uncomfortable.

I couldn't stay asleep last night.

Is this how I always feel at this point?

Have I forgotten?

Or is this how you feel when you have more than five or six follicles growing?

Maybe they are growing too big.

And my ovaries will explode like the Death Star.

Or maybe they are fizzling away.

I hate this time between ultrasounds.

I hate not knowing what is going on inside me.

Guessing at symptoms.

Or lack of symptoms.

Good news or bad news?

I guess I will find out tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Holy Follicles, Batman!

I could set this post up by saying that I started getting nervous last night. I started to prepare myself for the possibility that everything could all be over at today’s ultrasound. I could be cancelled. It could all be over. It’s happened before.

But I won’t do that. Instead I will cut to the chase and let you know the results of today’s CD9 ultrasound.

Holy Crap. I’ve never seen so many follicles before. My left ovary had three measurable follicles with three or four to hopefully catch up. My right ovary (always the overachiever) had seven or eight measurable follicles.

I can’t believe it.

I’ve learned the hard way that with IVF you have to take it one day at a time. Each milestone passed is just another hurdle crossed and no indication of future success. I’ve read that sometimes ladies get more follicles with HGH, but the quality is still not improved. Quantity means nothing without quality.

But all that being said, this is the best response I’ve had at this point in the game so I can’t help but feel somewhat optimistic.

If anything, it beats being cancelled.

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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