Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I know what you're thinking...
Oh, how sweet! Isn't that adorable?
Well, yes, it should be sweet and adorable except that he is saying things like, "Okay little sac, there will be no crying between the hours of midnight and 10am, and we'll be good friends. You can cry on the inside."
Meanwhile, I have no pregnancy symptoms except for sore breasts. And apparently, my breasts think it unjust that I should be spared the nausea, cramping, and urgent need to pee, and so are trying to make up for the lack of all other symptoms by hurting like hell and growing at an alarming rate. I swear I can watch them grow in real time. I read somewhere that they are likely to grow three cup sizes during pregnancy. Dear god, I don't even know what size that would be?!?!
It's as if every ounce of pregnancy hormone inside of me is focusing all of its attention in this one area. I really wouldn't mind if it spread itself out a bit. A teeny bit of nausea, a smidgen of cramping, and the occasional dash to the bathroom would be better than dealing with these two giant balls of pain hanging off the front of me. Right, Nicole?
And there is another reason I wouldn't mind having a few more symptoms show up. I'd like some evidence that I am really pregnant. The sore breasts just aren't cutting it, as I know that can be a side effect of the progesterone suppositories. I'm actually hoping to feel sick. I'm longing for the odd craving of pickle- topped ice cream. I covet the need to pee.
I'm just not comfortable. I'm just not convinced. I feel like it's all a big sick joke, and the joke is on me.
Ultrasound is in 6 days. 6 LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG days.
Monday, February 26, 2007
My niece, Elizabeth, is undeniably both a princess and a smartypants.
She is a PRINCESS because A.) she is gorgeous with her butter blond ringlets, teeny nose, pink cheeks and bright blue eyes. She could be an American Girl doll. And B.) she has us all running around like servants trying to cater to her every whim and desire ("No, I want Pappy to do it." "I want the piece with the flower on it.") because, well, she's so damn cute. C.) She has recently acquired a love for all things pink and girly. And finally, D.) we treat her like royalty.
Don't judge. If you knew her for just one second, you would spoil her to pieces, too.
She is a SMARTYPANTS because, to put it simply, the girl knows things. She knows things that a four year old isn't supposed to know. Like what the word "sarcastic" means. She can do math that gives many second graders a run for their money. She is intuitive about other people's intentions and emotions and body language. Her sense of humor is more developed than many adults I know. And she craves knowledge about things she has yet to understand. She asked, "Daddy, is heaven floating on a cloud in the sky?" (To which my brother lamely answered, "Uh, OK. Sounds good.")
We told her that I was pregnant. First she pouted and said angrily, "No you are not!" apparently feeling betrayed by our conspiracy to trick her. When we finally convinced her that it is true, she lifted my shirt, inspected my belly button and said, "Well, I can't see it." We explained that the baby is teeny tiny right now, and no one can see it. She held her thumb and pointer finger closely together, scrunched up her eyes to peer between the space and asked, "Is it this big?"
A while later she asked the question that I knew would be coming. "But, SuSu, how did the baby get in your belly?"
Weeeelllll, since you asked MEEEEEE..... First I inject myself with high dosages of medication until my ovaries produce a whole bunch of eggs. Then...
What I really said was, "Go ask your Daddy." But when she asked him the question, she re-phrased it as "How do babies exist?" (told ya she's smart!). So he took it to mean how do babies stay alive while in utero? He gave her another lame answer about how the food that the mommy eats also nourishes the baby. Elizabeth let him off the hook and said, "Oooohhhhh, OK." as though she thought that perhaps her Daddy didn't quite know where babies came from either, but didn't want to embarrass him by calling him out on his ignorance.
And when I say that she knows things, I mean she KNOWS (said in a whisper with eyebrows raised, eyes open wide, leaning in toward you) things. About a week before we found out that I was pregnant, Elizabeth said to my mom, "You know, SuSu is going to have a baby." As a matter of fact-ly as if she had said, "You know, dogs have four legs."
Here's where it gets scary. At least for me. After we told her that I was pregnant, her mom asked her, "Do you think it will be a boy or a girl?"
Without a moment's hesitation she replied, "Two girls."
Oh. My. God.
She also suggested that I name one of them Elizabeth.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Stage 1: The Pre-Infertility Infertile, also known as the Blissfully Ignorant Infertile (BII)
The BII is not yet aware that she will struggle with infertility. Her belief system includes the following:
- I must take birth control pills to prevent pregnancy.
- If I stop taking birth control pills, I will immediately become pregnant.
- I can plan my pregnancy ahead of time so that the baby will be born at the most convenient time, i.e., during summer vacation, just before the holidays, on my birthday because that would be so cute.
- Infertility happens to other people, or in movies, like on Lifetime Television for Women.
- Sex is for enjoyment.
The BII is able to enjoy her friends' and relatives' pregnancies and birth announcements, as she is certain it will be her turn soon.
Stage 2: The Trying BII
The Trying BII has now gone off the pill and is actively trying to get pregnant. She has counted nine months ahead and decided that yes, getting pregnant right now would ensure that the birth does not disrupt any planned vacations or big work projects.
Infertility is still something that happens to other people, and now sex is for enjoyment and procreation.
Stage 3: The Curious Infertile (CI)
It has been perhaps, 4 or 5 months, and no pregnancy. She has heard, of course, that "it could take 3 months!", and so she is beginning to wonder what is going on. She isn't worried yet, so much as curious. She buys her copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility(TCOYF) and reads it cover to cover, believing with all her heart, that she is in charge of her reproductive efforts, and all she needs is a little knowledge and empowerment. The CI has become an expert in discerning the subtle color and texture changes in her cervical mucous and makes the stretch-it-between-two-fingers-technique as natural a part of her bathroom protocol as wiping. The alarm clock on her bedside table has been pushed to one side to accommodate the body temperature charts and thermometer.
Sex is now less about enjoyment and more about timing.
Stage 4: The Getting-Worried-and-Seriously-Annoyed Infertile (GWASAI)
A few more months have passed, and the GWASAI has realized that TCOYF is a crock of shit. She has given up on the charting and mucous-inspecting and has bought a bulk supply of ovulation predictor kits.
She no longer cares about a conveniently timed birth, she just wants to be pregnant.
She is starting to worry that maybe, just maybe, those Lifetime movies were based on true stories.
She is finding it hard to remember a time when sex was for fun.
When the OPKs have proven useless, the GWASAI either goes to her regular obgyn who refers her to a specialist, or she visits the nearest RE directly. A number of invasive tests are performed including one particularly pleasant procedure that involves the clamping of, and inserting dye into, the uterus. The GWASAI's husband may also be forced to endure the humiliating task of wanking off into a cup to have his sperm put to the test.
Based on the outcome of these tests, a diagnosis is made.
Stage 5: The Newly Diagnosed Infertile (NDI)
The NDI is dealing with a range of emotions including intense rage, debilitating sadness, and overwhelming frustration. She is mad at herself, her husband, the world.
Eventually, though, the NDI musters up a little hope. There is a diagnosis now, which means there is understanding. And with understanding (and science and medicine and a gang of white-coated professionals), there may be resolution. After hours on the Internet researching the diagnosis (even if the diagnosis is "unexplained infertility"), the NDI and her husband begin to discuss their options. It is time to become proactive. It is time to do something.
She thinks sadly to herself, "My life could BE a Lifetime movie."
She now wants a baby more than anything, and finds it difficult to think about anything else.
Sex? What is sex?
Stage 6: The Newbie-in-Treatment Infertile (NTI)
The NTI is experiencing a renewed sense of hope and excitement. She believes that there are ways around this infertility. The NTI believes that surely, medical intervention will work for her! In fact, maybe they'll be one of those couples who, as soon as they start treatment, poof! gets pregnant all on their own! So many of her friends are telling her these stories, it must be pretty common, right?
She joins various on-line support groups where the women have usernames like justgottabelieve or wanttriplets or baby4me. The women there shower each other with baby dust and words of encouragement. They are all also NTIs and so they all believe that ART (along with lots of positive thoughts and perhaps a little prayer- for the Christian Infertiles) will bring them the baby (or 3!) they long for. They eagerly compare treatment plans and protocols.
The NTI just can't wait to get started. If she is doing IUIs, she swallows her clomid happily, thinking maybe this is the pill that will get me my baby. If she is doing IVF, she anxiously awaits her stimulation, inserting each needle slowly and carefully, while her husband stands by rooting her on.
The NTI has told very few, if any, people about her infertility. She believes there is no reason to as it will all be over very soon.
Sex is back. (is that what JT is singing about?!)
Stage 7: The Veteran Infertile (VI)
The VI has now been through numerous failed infertility treatments. She has long abandoned her perky on-line friends for other vets who are bitter and angry like herself. There is no baby dust there. In fact, if someone so much as mentions baby dust, they should be prepared to have it shoved so far up their ass it comes out their nose when they sneeze. The VI and her friends post on message boards and blog about the horrendous-ness that is infertility. For many VIs, this on-line misery-loves-company support is the only thing that keeps their heads above water. It connects them with someone who actually knows how they feel.
The VI has to sit on her hands to keep from smacking anyone who tells her to think positively because "I had a cousin who..." or because "I know just how you feel, it took us 3 months!" (though it has been noted that some don't bother sitting on their hands...)
The Vet inserts her needles while simultaneously talking on the phone, eating dinner, and knitting a sweater.
Many people know about the infertility. You can't miss that much work and not expect people to ask questions. The VI has by now given up many of the hobbies and activities she used to participate in because treatment takes up too much time, too much money, or just too much energy.
She avoids events and activities that she knows a pregnant woman or new mom will be attending. So, she avoids A LOT.
She begins to believe that she may never become pregnant.
Stage 8: The Newly Pregnant Infertile (NPI)
The NPI can be recognized by the appearance of 4 distinct qualities:
1. Absolute Elation. The NPI is ecstatic to have achieved pregnancy after such struggle.
2. Utter Disbelief. She can often be caught pinching herself.
3. Persistant Fear. She is constantly worried that this pregnancy won't make it.
4. Confusion about where she belongs. She is aware that she is no longer in the trenches with so many of her on-line infertile friends. (But her heart is still there with them.) And yet, she also doesn't feel comfortable among the fertiles, either, as she most certainly is not one of them.
Editor's note: I'm still working on figuring out this stage. Hopefully I'll be able to add one more: The Parenting After Infertility Infertile (PAII)...
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
And every now and then a child will say something that rips my heart right out of my chest. Today, a child-- currently living with her step-father but is legally in the custody of Social Services-- looked me straight in the eyes and said this:
You know, it just isn't fair that my mom doesn't come to see me. I see other kids hug their mommies and it makes me so mad. You know what I think? I think that if you are going to lay down with someone and have 1, 2, 3 (she counted off on her fingers) kids, you ought to at least take care of them.
This statement is a perfect example of why I both LOVE and HATE my job.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
I am pregnant.
I am overjoyed.
I can watch tv without changing the channel every time a commercial with a baby comes on. I can plan my best friend's bridal shower without wondering if I'll be able to enjoy it. I can google "baby names" until my fingers fall off. My husband is insisting on referring to me as his 'baby mama', and I like it. Hell, I'm even inserting the progesterone suppository without an ounce of resentment.
The fear is not gone. Something that lived inside of me every day for so long can not be evicted so easily.
It is very unsettling to be feeling such different emotions so strongly at the same time. Joy and fear. It seems that if I let myself revel in the joy for too long, the fear creeps up behind me and whispers, "Uh, hey now, not so fast. You know it is early. You know bad things can still happen. You know you are not out of the woods yet."
And just when the fear has nestled back in, the joy comes to me and shouts, "What the hell is wrong with you?! Can't you just be happy? Finally, finally, this has happened for you, and you are going to let fear get in the way?"
So, they are battling it out inside of me, this joy and this fear. I'm rooting for the joy, I really am. It's the underdog around here, and it's about time it wins.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Well, thanks girls, now I feel like a lazy slob. When faced with a difficult wait, you pass the time by reading classic novels and building decks while I fondle my own breasts and eat everything but my cat.
But seriously, thank you for the worthy suggestions. I haven't actually tried any of them yet, but you may be pleased to know that I have at least resumed brushing my teeth and showering. And my husband has returned from his mother's house.
It has since occurred to me that perhaps my husband's prolonged absence was not, in fact, due to my mood swings but was, rather, the result of my disregard for personal hygiene combined with the inevitable consequences of consuming large quantities of bean-filled spicy chili. But I bet you guys had already figured that out and were just too nice to say anything, huh?
So, 3 days to go. And to pee or not to pee, that is the question that is plaguing me today. Tomorrow will be 11dp3dt, which means there is a good chance the result will be reliable.
Reasons to go ahead and test tomorrow: 11 is my lucky number. And it is Valentine's Day. It is also quite likely to be a snow day. All good omens, right?
Reasons not to test tomorrow: if it is negative, why would I want to know that two days sooner? Not knowing is allowing me to feel that little spark of hope that has kept me afloat since we started this cycle. A negative would poke a hole right in that hope sending me sinking into the deep and murky waters of pain and loss. I've spent way too much time there this past year, and I am in no hurry to go back.
Whenever I decide to get the results, I have a favor to ask. At the risk of sounding a bit selfish and bossy (me? never!), I'd like to make some requests about how you handle the result. I am doing this because I know that you genuinely want to support me in ways that are helpful and comforting to me. And it can be so difficult to know what to do or say. So, I'll make it a bit easier for you (see, I'm not really selfish, this is all for YOU!)
If it is positive: Well, this one is easy. For my bloggy friends, comment your asses off! For my IRL friends and family... anything goes really. Please celebrate with me, call me, send cards, hug me, take me out for non-alcoholic drinks, or just offer a simple congratulations. Whatever works for you is cool with me. We will do this cautiously and quietly, however, as we all know there are many more hurdles to jump.
If it is negative (and dear god dear god dear god please don't be negative): Here's where it gets complicated. For my friends from the blogosphere, again, comments that express your sympathy would be welcomed and appreciated. I can read them in my own time, when I am ready, without having to give anything back right away. For my IRL friends, commenting on my blog and/ or sending emails is the perfect way to help me stay connected to you even when I am not feeling like talking or seeing anyone. After my last cycle failed, two of my good friends sent me flowers, which also was perfect. It didn't ask anything of me, but it gave me a gentle reminder that people loved me and were thinking of me. I have learned this about myself: when I am sad or angry, I need space and time alone. I need to sit with the sadness, let it wash over me completely, and feel it deeply. Sometimes this makes other people uncomfortable. Or worried. And then I feel burdened by their worry. Please know that I just need to feel my feelings in order to make it through the darkness of the grief and come out the other side into the light again. Please be waiting there for me. And know that any absence or lapse in communication is not because I don't need you or trust you or value your friendship... I'm holding you in my heart the whole time, and I ask that you hold me in yours.
And now, let's all send lots of positive thoughts out into the universe in hopes that we will never have to think again about anything in that last paragraph.
***It's Wednesday morning and I didn't pee. Well I peed, of course, but not on a HPT. I'm holding out until Friday. It's not strength, as Tinker so kindly suggested, it is plain old fear. Sorry, that news isn't as exciting as the asterisks and red print might lead you to expect, but I felt I should let you know! Thank you, thank you, everyone, for your positive thoughts... I can feel them coming my way.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Things I've been trying NOT to do during the painfully long wait:
- Pee on a stick waaaay before the trigger HCG could possibly be out of my system, just so I can see what one of those damn things looks like with TWO lines.
- Google "early pregnancy signs" for the 800th time.
- Grab my breasts every ten minutes to check for soreness. Especially in public. (They ARE sore, but it's that effing progesterone I'm sure).
- Force my husband to seek refuge from my mood swings by moving in with his mother.
- Google "baby names" and cry.
- Eat everything in the house in one sitting.
So far I have been moderately successful.
But I can only hold out for so long. Just today I have consumed an entire box of crackers, eight Dove dark chocolates, half a pot of chili, and a left over spinach quesadilla (not in that order). And my husband has been incredibly busy (and conspicuously absent) for a Saturday. In fact, at this very moment he is AT HIS MOTHER'S. My breasts are well- fondled. (But not by my husband, much to his dismay... they are so sore I go running if he so much as leans in for a hug.) And, truthfully, the only reason I haven't run out to buy a HPT is because I haven't showered or brushed my teeth today.
I'm cracking under the pressure. Help. Tell me how you make it through times when you have to play "the waiting game" (infertility related or otherwise).
I thank you for your time and attention to this urgent matter.
Friday, February 9, 2007
Well, gee. How does a girl choose? Both sound utterly delightful.
But just for fun, let's examine our options, shall we?
Option A: Intramuscular Injection. Translation: Big Ol' Shot in the Ass. With a BIG needle, not one of those pansy-ass sub-cutaneous things. Every day.
As flexible as I may be, and as big as my ass is getting*, that would be a seriously tricky maneuver to pull off by myself.
Which means my husband would have to do it.
And I shudder to think what he would do with that kind of power.
So, it was a "NO" on Option A. Because really, IVF is a figurative pain in the ass already, why go and make it literal, too?
So I was left with Option B: Vaginal Suppositories. I thought, So I have to shove a small(ish) capsule up my vajay-jay twice a day? Big deal. This sounded like a cake walk after all the other torturous aspects of IVF.
The nurse handed them over and said, "Keep them refrigerated."
I didn't think to question this. I've had to keep other medications refrigerated before and I always just figured it was for the same reason you refrigerate food--- so it doesn't spoil.
Well, there is another, very specific reason the suppositories must be kept cold.
(and just in case you haven't gotten there on your own already, I'll continue...)
So, guess what happens when they are nestled into a warm cozy vagina? Yes, very good, class. They MELT. Or perhaps LEAK would be a better term at this point. SLOWLY. THROUGHOUT THE DAY. ALL DAY.
And if the leaky vagina isn't enough for you, here is a list of other side effects**.
breast tenderness or pain
muscle, joint, or bone pain
Diarrhea AND constipation? How exactly does that work? And the vaginal discharge? Well, how would you even know...
But, the VERY BEST part of all this?
The side effects of progesterone are almost exactly the same as the symptoms one might experience in early pregnancy. So allow me to add one more side effect to the list:
FUCKING WITH YOUR MIND!
*Admit it, you thought that would be a link to a picture of my ass didn't you? You know you did.
**Mom: I've tried to tell the doctors that both you and I are very sensitive to medication and could I please just insert HALF of the suppository? They said no.
Edited comment: My husband just finished reading this, and all he has to say is, "Can't they give you some kind of plug?"
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
And have you ever wondered what to do with all that leftover dryer lint? Of course you have... haven't we all? Well, some guy with
And how many times have you asked yourself, Now what am I going to do with all these used needles? Tonight, as I look at my sharps container filled to the brim with used syringes and needles, I have to wonder, what would Martha do (WWMD)?
And so, I have compiled a list:
1. Scare the neighbor children by creating a snowman ala Hellraiser in your front yard.
2. Paste a picture of Ann Coulter/ Rush Limbaugh/ Bill O'Reilly onto some corkboard, mount it on the wall, and enjoy a friendly game of needle darts with your friends.
3. Why waste money on an expensive new meat injector?
4. Dump them all in to your purse and watch the fun and excitement as you try to get through airport security.
5. Fill them with cool-aid and market them to candy companies with the tagline of "a little like a push pop and a little like a juice box."
6. Take them back to the pharmacy and ask if you can get 5 cents a piece for recycling.
7. While on family vacation at the beach, scatter them all along the crowded shoreline. Watch the tourists go running while you enjoy miles of empty beach all to yourself.
8. Pull out the plungers, stick the open ends of the syringes onto your fingers, and be Edward Needlehands for Halloween (many thanks to Mr. Smartypants this idea).
Anyone want to add on?
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
My husband and I would Bang A Gong each month, right on time. I mean, we were really Knockin' Da Boots, Time After Time. And nothing. So, we went to the doctor and he said it would be Against All Odds that we would conceive a child on our own. I couldn't stand the thought of not having a baby. I said, I Can't Go For That, No Can Do. So, I went to a doctor and he gave me some Bad Medicine. I said I Want A New Drug! These meds turned me into a Maniac and forced me to keep asking, "Is it Hot In Herre or is it just me?" And My Hips Don't Lie, I was gaining weight. I mean, I am Bootylicious now.
When our first IVF try failed, I thought Another One Bites the Dust. But we were Too Legit To Quit. There was Always Something There To Remind Me how much I wanted a baby. Fertile people kept offering me ass-vice like, "Don't Worry Be Happy" and "just drink some Red Red Wine, it worked for us!" and "You gotta have Faith." But we knew those things weren't going to work for us.
So much for the old fashioned way of making babies. What's Love Got to do With It? For us, it meant I had to Lean Back and let the doctors root around Down Under. And as for my husband, he had to get it Straight Up and Beat It while looking at pictures of Dirty Diana in the sperm sample room.
Next came the Bills, Bills, Bills. Now we just have to Hold On and wait. Hopefully this cycle will work for us or maybe we'll get lucky with our frozen embryos and have an Ice Ice Baby.
Oh, goodness. I hope you all can forgive this. It's the two week wait and I'm just trying to occupy myself.
(And, someone please, please read the lyrics for We Built This City, and tell me what the hell they are talking about.)
Saturday, February 3, 2007
We transferred three embryos. One was of average quality, and the other two were quite pitiful.
Okay, so, I'm not always the model patient. Sometimes, when I feel I am not being understood or treated with respect, or given complete and full information about my treatment I tend to react emotionally. I cry, I raise my voice, I respond sarcastically. I have, at times I am sure, at best annoyed and at worst angered, various members of the reproductive medicine staff. For example, there was the time I yelled at the RE (you know, the one who flaunts pictures of his children) and, well, all but accused him of betrayal. And the time I hinted to the lab director that he was knowingly and maliciously withholding information about our embryos. And various other snide remarks that despite my husbands protests (shhh, they can HEAR you!), I'm sure are just out of earshot.
As I sit in the waiting room, I picture them all huddled together playing rock paper scissors to see who gets stuck with me. You take her. No you take her, I had her last time. If you take her, I'll remove and wash all the stained bedsheets for a week...
My husband plays the "good patient" to my "bad patient". As much as they dislike me, they adore him. And he loves playing this part. I catch him looking over my shoulder at the nurses and doctors, smiling apologetically with a look on his face that says, "Oh, I'm so sorry. You know the hormones and all. You should see what I get at home."
Well, today for our transfer, I decided to try a little role- reversal. I was going to be the delightful sweetheart, and my husband would be the demanding hardass. I was hoping the Valium I had to take would help mold me into my role. To help my husband play his part, I gave him a script. Basically, it had a list of very specific questions to ask as well as a list of unacceptable answers. For example, any response that began with "We've seen pregnancies occur..." was unacceptable. So was the sentence "There is reason to be optimistic." I wanted cold hard facts, numbers, science. I am sick of being placated.
So, to recap. Me= endearing angel, Husband= obnoxious heel. This was the plan.
So tell me how I ended up threatening to hit the lab tech.
Well, obviously neither my husband nor the Valium were doing their jobs.
I couldn't help it. She crossed the line. She told me to think positively, that unfeeling bitch. (So much for not swearing.) I told her that if one more person told me to think positively I was going to hit them. She promised not to say it ever again, and advised my husband to do the same (believe me, he has already learned that lesson the hard way). She tried to tell me that emotion has a lot to do with whether or not a pregnancy is achieved. Bullshit! (Gosh, I'm really failing at the no swearing thing.) What I wish I had said... "So if we get a negative the incapacitating grief will come with a heaping side of self-loathing and guilt because maybe I killed my embryos because I didn't nourish them with happy thoughts. " What I really said-- "Yeah, whatEVER."
So, once again, before we left, I got a look of disapproval. My husband got a hug.
Friday, February 2, 2007
Thursday, February 1, 2007
They injected 17 of them with (hopefully perfectly shaped and genetically sound) sperm.
I'm thinking of finding a bunch of surrogates and settling into a life of homeschooling and TLC reality tv specials. Look out Arndt family, here we come. I don't think we could beat you in a softball game, but I'd bet an all-you-can-eat dinner for the whole family we'd kick your asses in a martial arts tournament.
I joke about this, but really, 15 embryos is no guarantee. Not even close. The truth is, I am overwhelmed with the fear that not even 2 of these will continue to grow normally. And even then, there is the huge hurdle of implantation... And then, the threat of miscarriage...
I'm taking a deep breath. I'm telling myself to take it one day at a time. I am thinking positively. I am going to go do something else. See how I good I am at employing coping skills?
So, who is going to say "yes" on Grey's Anatomy tonight?