Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Media Generated Ignorance: Designer Babies

Oh. My. God. Cue the fire alarms because my head is about to explode. If you hear any stupid comments from fertiles this week, feel free to thank the jackasses over at MSN, thanks to this article on 'designer' babies, which was the leading banner today. In a clear effort to perpetuate the ignorant misconceptions about what reproductive medicine is truly designed to do, the author, Racheal Le.hmann-H.aupt (who will definitely be hearing from me) just made it that much harder to be infertile. As if we needed that.

Talk about taking a flying leap onto my shit list. From what I've gathered, in one fell swoop, this woman likened infertility treatments to picking out drapes that match the sofa, with no mention of the real stories behind infertility or the need for PGD. She quotes a psychologist (who is not medically trained, mind you) as saying, "One day you'll be able to select for sex, hair color, confidence index, whether they are an optimist or pessimist, whether they are an athlete or a bookworm." But rather than explaining how PGD is actually used today, she leaves it at that and segues immediately into sensationalizing the point that with current reproductive treatment, the 'future' may be closer than we think. Because, as you know, we're trying to create a 'master' race over here.

In failing to paint a full portrait of infertility and by not including any of its real cast members (besides the ones with limitless money and the vain quest for the perfect offspring, which represents .000001% of us), she has made the ignorant more ignorant. If this were your only introduction into PGD, wouldn't it seem to be a slippery ethical slope? This is likely the case for most people. I mean, let's consider the general population. They're closer to reading MSN than the RESOLVE website. And who besides your infertile buddies knew PGD even existed before you explained it to them? That number would be a big honking 0 for me. This is why I find this article so incredibly irresponsible. A true piece of anti-journalism. I believe that in writing this, the author did such a huge disservice to the IF community.

On top of making reproductive medicine out to solely be one's quest for their very own perfect Princeton-bound Aryan offspring, she also added insult to injury by making light of donor eggs, actually at one point comparing the selection process in the accompanying video to 'online dating'. There's no mention that by the time a couple reaches that point, they have been through the ringer with multiple failed IVFs and that a woman's door to a biological child has just been slammed shut in her face. And yet somehow she figured it was appropriate to liken it to online dating? Disgusting.

Further, she described the DC conference for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine as looking like 'a luxury shopping mall of futuristic baby making', as if we all walk into the RE's office and 'choose' which model baby we want. Yeah, I'll take the one who actually survives a pregnancy, thanks. Ugh! I am so disheartened by the message this article sends and that it somehow made it's way onto millions of computer screens. To know the stories of these brave men and women in the fight against IF, to be one of them, to be living in this hell, and to have someone spread more ignorance for the sake of her mediocre tabloid career sickens me. It just makes our fight that much harder.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Genetic Testing-Advice Centainly Welcome!

My returning HMO coverage begins in a few days. Yeah, boyz! Who knew an HMO could stir so much excitement? Sure, they once gave me 100 pages of someone else's records and sure they once listed me as taking birth control pills the very same month I was having an IUI (4 years after my very last bcp), and, oh yeah, I almost forgot, I once spent an entire 20 minute phone conversation trying to convince a nurse that the ectopic pregnancy listed in my records had never actually happened (think I would have noticed), but hey, they're cheap. Gotta love 'em. And I'm a cheap ass. And that makes for a generally symbiotic relationship.

Yeah, I was totally the kid who picked a fallen cookie off the floor, no matter how hairy, dusted it off, and chewed happily, all courtesy of the 10 second rule. It just doesn't take much to please me. I'm hoping to change that tune, especially when I break out the big guns, otherwise known as IVF. In the meantime, the other acronym in my life, 'HMO', still offers me the basics and before moving on, I'll get my fill of that hairy cookie and I'll like it! This means that blood work is part of my co-pay, so all of those nastily expensive genetic tests that we coughed up some pretty shiny pennies for this summer will be hereby delegated to their budget instead. I know where their strong points lie (cost) and their weak points (records organization and general competence) and I will be sure to take advantage of the former.

Luckily they haven't done anything too medically heinous (like leaving a catheter in or giving me someone else's husband's sperm-although that might actually help, lol), so they're a keeper, for now. Thus, enter more tests. So far, Mr. S and I have both had CF testing. In addition, the mister has also had karyotype and Fragile X testing. As far as those tests are concerned, we're in the clear. The question now is, what else should we be tested for? Any ideas?

Look, I'm no masochist. I don't get off on getting needles shoved in my arms by grumpy phlebotomists first thing in the morning, or even taking advantage of HMOs, but I do enjoy avoiding further expense and heartache. For instance, if we need PGD, I'd like to know beforehand and not withstand more devastation and loss (emotional and financial) to get to that point. I think the hairy cookie HMO is just the place to do this. I just have a feeling they're going to scoff at my request.

Firstly, I suspect that they're just as cheap as I am, which, as a card carrying cheap ass, I can fully appreciate. That fact alone will keep the genetic testing gates closed for us. Second, I have a feeling they'll counter with the fact that so far, there is no evidence that further testing is needed. Sure, I haven't had multiple losses...yet, but you might recall that we're infertile. Does that ring a bell, big hairy HMO? I think that's plenty of evidence. Still, I think the argument needs a little fine tuning.

Preventative medicine doesn't seem to be a trend quite yet, but I'm clearing the way, folks. I refuse to wait for another loss or another disappointment that could have possibly been prevented. And in the world of medicine, the only advocate you have is yourself, so my request will be persistent and if need be, loud. This angle is so opposite of my personality, but when you want something bad enough, you'll do anything to get it. We all know that too well...

Starting tomorrow, I'll be asking for my own karyoptype testing and MTHFR. I'll also be wondering, quite out loud, whether I might have LPD. I do realize, as IF has so masterfully taught us, that not everything can be controlled, but I'll be damned if I don't take every advantage the advances of modern medicine has to offer me. I do realize, also, that I may never be gifted with the answers that I so desperately seek. We may never have the 'why' of our IF, but in my pursuits, I'd like to at least erase the 'what if'.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No Goods, but Paying the Price

Besides the lovely hospital socks I got from my D&C, I have a few other leftover 'charms' from my pregnancy. Or at least I think that's where they came from. Two of the earliest symptoms I had when I was so briefly pregnant were bloating and lower back pain. Historically, I had never really ridden the bloat boat, even during my periods, but most of my days with child were spent wondering how I'd fit the double chocolate chip milkshake into my gut. Trust me, somehow I managed. And while I've had lower back pain in the past, it was never like this-nothing so diabolically twisted as to come at a point in my life when I didn't even believe in taking tylenol.

So, since then, my body has played a sick, sick joke on me. No baby, but lots o' symptoms. Fun. I now consistently get bloated after eating every meal and have similar lower back pain for weeks at a time, none of which coincide with AF (which would make sense if it did as these symptoms are not partial to just being PG). Could it be that my 'chemistry' has changed since the pregnancy? Better yet, could it be that my body is stupid enough to still think its pregnant? Wouldn't surprise me. I mean, it's not exactly getting the lifetime achievement award for reproduction. Has this ever happened to any of you or (for those of you who might have an inkling) what in the Sam hell is happening here? (is that how the expression goes...Sam hell? I probably have it wrong and if not, where in the world did that come from?)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I've been tagged by Nikki, so let the randomness (and the baring of geekiness) begin:

1. I love, love, love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and think the creator, Joss Whedon, is a true modern day genius. I love most of his work, definitely including Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Look it up on iTunes. It's so worth it.
2. About 7 years ago I used to be what you would term a 'gamer' and was once so addicted to gaming (on mass-multi-player online games) with Mr. S. that we used to fight over who would have to stop at night just long enough to get fast food for dinner. Thankfully I recognized how slothy this behavior was and put all social gaming aside.
3. I love cows and livestock in general. I have a multitude of road-side pictures of them to prove it. In another life, I would have loved to have been a farmer. And then I realize that likely involves cleaning up cow poop, and I change my mind.
4. Mr. S and I are heading to get some seafood in a few minutes for his b-day. YUM.
5. I have the ugliest feet. EVER.
6. I have been stalked by two of my male cats, both of which sit on the end of my bed or on the other side of the room and just stare at me (even in my sleep). They have both been known to follow me around the house like a dog. I'm considering a restraining order.
7. One of my favorite activities is exploring random city streets in my car or on my bike. If a street looks interesting, I head down it. Given all of the places I've lived in the past 12 years, this curiosity has made for my learning a town much quicker.

Now it's your turn! Lorraine, G, Trace, Nity, Tara, Courtney, and Murgdan.

Happy Birthday Mr. S.

Happy Birthday....

  • to the man who knows about this blog but doesn't read it because he wants me to have a 'safe' place to unload, where I don't edit my words.
  • to the man who melts over baby kittens the way a 6-year-old girl would, but doesn't show it to anyone but me.
  • to the man who devotes his 'resting' hours after work to steadily building his own company on the side.
  • to the man who put me through graduate school, supporting both of us at 22 and doing so without an ounce of complaint.
  • to the funniest man I know, whose razor sharp wit leaves me in stitches on a daily basis.
  • to the nicest guy I know, who always says 'hi' to strangers and never walks through the door first before opening it for the crowd behind him.
  • to the only man who can turn out the stomach churning dirty jokes with me and still somehow have friends at the end of it. :)
  • to the man who is a virtual kid magnet and who will, one day, be an incredible Father.
  • to the 'man' who first stole my heart over Starbucks and air hockey at 17, and who now prefers wine tasting or a bottle of aged scotch (babe, you're 30, not 60, lol)
  • to the man who is willing to turn over our last red cent for a dream I have that may or may not be, all just to make me happy.
  • to the man who is the best friend I could have never even fathomed having, Happy 30th Birthday!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Charmed, I'm Sure

Now seriously, what is it about the shower that inspires blog posts in me? Could it be that this is the one and only time in my day when I slow down just long enough to hear my own thoughts? This is entirely possible. Tonight, I experienced what can only be termed 'thought ADHD'. I can officially diagnose this as I am, stand back, a credentialed professional. Haha. Or at least I play one on TV.

So, while standing there admiring my amazing conditioner in all it's de-tangling glory, it dawned on me that so many of my friends have said the absolute wrong things to me and most of these comments came in the wake of my miscarriage. As you read, you may begin to question the quality of my friend picking instrument, but I assure you that in general, it is a solid device and the good seeds generally outweigh the bad. The bad just often cast a more noticeable glare in my eyes as of late.

For instance, upon hearing of the sudden cancellation of my party, a friend e-mailed to see if I was OK. I decided to not be 'in the closet' with the miscarriage and explained what had happened to which she replied, "Oh, well I thought maybe something really horrible had happened like a relative or a pet died."

Um, if you weren't reading closely enough, you might have noticed that yes, someone did die. My child, point in fact. But something tells me that like most, this not-quite-a-person hadn't yet qualified in her eyes.

Just a few days ago, this same person left a comment on my 'real' blog in response to my new job, remarking that I had a 'charmed' life. Really? Charmed? Anyone who thinks losing a baby is a charming experience is pretty twisted. Yes, while possibly innocent and most importantly, ignorant, this chick is completely on my shit list now.

Let's see, what else? Oh, yeah. Another friend likened my miscarriage to her abortion at 18. Yeah. She told me that she knew what I was going through. I can sympathize that it must have been so difficult for her, but to make the choice to lose a child after a 'whoops' and to lose the child you have been fighting to get after 4 years of trying is hardly synonymous. I know she was only trying to reach out, but it was a tasteless move.

Then, of course, I got the requisite, "it's so common!". My friend of 22 years decided to tell people at the office and found out that not one, but three co-workers had had miscarriages. "It happens all the time!"

Wow. Thanks, friend. Somehow, my loss is completely meaningless now. What would have I done without you showing me the light? Probably felt sorry for myself, that's what I would have done, but now I can move on! Hallelujah!
(Tonight's role as the bitter infertile will be played by Shelby!)

There were a litany of other comments, and most of them, I will admit, were said out of good intentions. But this was just a little slice of reminder telling me, "yes, you should stay in the IF closet, because if you don't, this will happen, only on a much larger scale!" I agree with Nikki. It is hard to be the friend of an infertile if you are not infertile yourself. We are a sensitive bunch, with our feelings bubbling just below the surface. But all we need is love. Just ask the Beatles. It's true. A hug, an 'I'm sorry'. Save the completely irrelevant and tasteless tales for another day. Some of my best friends sent cards and one sent flowers, which meant the world to me. That's all they needed to do. I learned a lot about the people around me in this process and thankfully, in most cases, I liked what I saw.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Show and Tell, Potato State Style.

In early 2004, Mr. S. mentioned a job opportunity in Idaho to me in passing, to which I replied, "Idaho? Yeah, I don't think so." Being the liberal, Bay-Area living San Francisco girl at the time, I was completely uninterested in being thrust into a red state right at the height of the 2004 elections. Better yet, Idaho? Did they even have stop lights? Did their fare completely consist of potatoes? Was it a law that every vehicle come equipped with a gun rack? The most I knew of Idaho came from the days of Ted Kazinski, when the militia men hiding up in the hills gained national spotlight. But then I decided to 'just visit' that spring, and immediately, I fell in love.
(At our friend's house in the mountains, hanging with their critters)

A few of our close friends were already there and brought us to their newly purchased home, which sat on almost an acre of plush, bright green grass. We spent that evening on their back porch beneath a clear black sky of stars, some of which I had never seen in the light pollution of the Bay Area skies. Idaho was warm summer evenings strolling past corn fields and horses, unfenced backyards, winters being shadowed by the blanket of snow covering the foothills of the Rockies. And most of all, for me, Idaho was home ownership. Every wall I had ever hung a picture on was never my own, but in Idaho, with the thought that we would likely never leave, we bought a home and painted it in a rainbow of colors, made holes without remorse, and cultivated our land with new plant life thinking that my efforts would not eventually be wasted as with all of my rentals.

But after all, we did leave it behind. Ironically, our stay in that house was shorter than any time we had ever spent in a rental. Exactly two years to the day we arrived, I loaded all 5 of my animals in my SUV and began the trek back to California with a U-Haul trailer in tow. I never thought I would. Idaho was my own, a quiet place I had made and here I was, watching it in my rear view mirror. After the original company that brought Mr. S. to Idaho was sold (this was announced a week after we closed on our house), he was offered yet another job opportunity, but this time, it was back home in California. We made the decision to turn back, though in many ways I feel as if I betrayed my heart in doing so. I did what everyone else wanted me to do and made the decision in less than 3 weeks. If it were just me, I suspect I would still be at home in Idaho:

I've been back in California for two years now and I do miss Idaho often, or at least what it represented-a simpler, quieter life. But as with most things that have been left behind, the feeling begins to fade. The friends who had originally 'brought' us there are now moved away and we have lost touch with most others. However, I won't forget the two years I spent in that place and what it once gave to me.

*If you'd like to join in on the show and tell fun, see Mel's blog for the good times!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Muddy IF Pond

Today is an especially hard IF day for some reason. Not that every other day has been a walk in the park as far as this goes, but somehow today it registers more clearly. The signals are strong. Up until this afternoon, I was in a fairly good mood. The weather is bordering on perfect, my dog who was lost overnight on Wednesday is now home safe and sound, and I have a good weekend in front of me filled with an arts and crafts fair and planning Ms. S's 30th birthday party for next Saturday. So it should seem counter-intuitive that in the middle of all that, my heart is beginning to ache. More than ever I see small children and feel a knife in my chest. I was walking into a store earlier today and spotted a three year old and automatically thought, "If I had gotten pregnant within the first year of my trying, my child would be that old." *sigh* I wonder if after January I'll start to think obsessively about the new babies surrounding me, that my baby would have been that old had he/she survived. I guess the fact that I'm already thinking that answers my question.

Part of me guesses that this more pronounced melancholy has to do with Mr. S's upcoming party. I love parties, don't get me wrong, and I especially love throwing them. I'm excited about his and have grand plans to not quite recollect parts of it, but it calls to mind memories of the 30th birthday party that was supposed to be held for me in June. It was months in the making, a right of passage, and the first birthday party I would've had since I turned 18. Almost everyone I invited RSVPed 'yes' and I was so excited to be surrounded by my friends, all in the same space. I would have been almost 11 weeks along, so we figured that my not having one of our heaven-inducing margaritas in hand would have been highly suspect, so we planned to tell people we were pregnant at the party. Of course, silly me, I scheduled my 10 week ultrasound on the day before. Friday the 13th. Quite fitting. All of the ominous things that one would expect of this day came to fruition...no heartbeat, straight to D&C. So, as I stand near the day of Mr. S's celebration, the same celebration I so looked forward to, it brings it all back for me. As if I needed reminders anyway.

We cancelled my party and I didn't even think to reschedule. But now I look back and feel as if in the wake of being denied the one thing I wanted in the world, I sort of stopped living. I still feel that now. I wouldn't change the fact that I was pregnant and carried our baby for the short time I did, but I can't deny that the loss has changed every fiber in me and lately, not for the better. In a society that is so puritanically hushed or dismissive of miscarriage, I had no idea what to expect. Now I know, and I'm pissed. Why didn't someone tell me? Why is it such a secret or a 'non-issue' because somehow the baby I carried was a 'non-person'? Now as I sit, the agony I felt from IF is only strengthened. The absense of what could have been and what might not be is so palpable, it literally sits in the bottom of my throat on a daily basis. How can I walk into a party, something I have always loved, filter in and out of everyone, smile cordial smiles, and hide this thing that is right below my skin? Every breath I take is a reminder that I am not yet whole, as a result of IF and loss. I'm working so hard to repair this, but in the mean time, I am not an active participant in my life. I'm not sure I know how to be yet.

Mr. S and I had a discussion the other night that ended in tears. My tears, of course. I'm not sure how we ended up on this topic, but the question was raised to me: "Could you ever be happy if you never have a child?" Before sharing my answer, I should clarify that 'having' a child includes adoption. My answer: "no."

This stunned and shocked Mr. S. I suspect he took it personally, as if my life with him was not enough, somehow not up to par. I know that he makes maintaining my happiness his personal job description, so in essense, he felt I was telling him that he had failed. That could not be farther from the truth. Minus the kid factor, I have a great life and I count my blessings often. He is the main component of what is right. But how does one reconcile loving the life they have and yet feeling as if one of the biggest parts of life is missing? I can imagine the message this sends and the contradiction is too much for me to explain at this point in time. The truth is, if I were to live the rest of my life never having parented a child, I would never feel as if I truly lived. That is why I will fight to bring whoever is meant to come home, home. I will happily shove needles in my gut or have social workers comb through my sometimes-spotty credit report and messy cabinets. While we left any resolution for another day, I suspect we have more to discuss. I'm just not sure how to make a muddy pond clear.

The culmination of the upcoming party and the showdown the other night are making their way into my psyche. Add in the fact that the country seems to be going to hell in a handbasket around us (Fannie May and Freddie Mack, for example) and I'm sure I'll be huddled under my comforter come Sunday. But probably not. Because even in the face of all that lives inside this skull of mine, I still manage to get up, smile a real smile, and move forward. I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Look, New Name, Same Old Complaining!

I kid, I kid. Sure, I do a fair amount of complaining, but it's worth it's weight in therapy gold, so I won't be self-deprecating about it. That would be biting the hand that feeds this hungry little blogger!

I've had plans to change the name and look of this blog since I began it back in July. The original name, 'What I Did for Love', was OK, but fit somewhat like OJ made the glove out to be-having the appearance of being way too snug, but if I wiggled my fingers around a bit, it might've slipped on comfortably. But it just so happens I'm too lazy to wiggle every time I visit the blogosphere. I wanted something that felt...just right. I mean, if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit, right? Ok, not sure how I just summoned 1995 into the room. Let's move on...

Dandelions have a personal significance. On the eve of my wedding to Mr. S, I wrote my vows alone in my hotel room from a sudden memory that struck me. In it, I was standing in my Great Aunt's backyard before my 18th birthday party, just a month after meeting Mr. S. I knew that what I had just found in meeting him was once in a lifetime and wanting desperately to lock it into permanency, I picked a dandelion in the middle of a patch of grass, wished that I would one day marry him, and almost 4 years to the day we were married. This was the story I told in our vows, that wishes, no matter how far fetched, come true. I still believe that, but the power of 'if' or 'IF', however you'd like to read it, still challenges this on a daily basis.

I obviously engage in a fair amount of magical thinking, so since that request became a wonderful reality, I have since blown every dandelion I happen upon completely bare. This is a pretty tall feat for a girl with asthma. :) I'm sure I don't need to tell you what my wishes have been for the past several years. Although I've lost some of that mysticism, that innocence that a simple wish will bring me to my dreams, I still pick fields clean in hopes that perhaps one might just take.

Addendum: I should add that Mr. S is responsible for the technical stuff here, not that there's that much of it, but at least enough to confuse the average computer user (at best I can add an attachment to email). I do enjoy having my own personal techno geek around.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Perfect Moment Monday

My job is so emotionally draining, yet the opportunity for reward is tenfold, especially this year. Normally a School Psychologist's primary function is to assess students for special education services (diagnosing learning disabilities, autism, emotional disturbance, etc.). But my particular position (started 2 weeks ago) calls for a huge caseload of counseling and providing general guidance for students diagnosed with Emotional Disturbance at the high school.

My perfect moment was today, when I had that golden slice of pure reward. I have an open door policy with my kids and one of the students I see came by and asked to speak to me. Many of these kids come from fragmented and dysfunctional backgrounds and this boy was no exception. After knowing him for just two weeks, I realized that he was already comfortable enough to slide into the seat across from me and unload everything without hesitation. He confessed what was troubling him and after some discussion, we formulated a plan together. He was so relieved to have someone understand that the wound up boy who walked through the door was then smiling, nodding, and thanking me.

While my situation as a child was a much more stable one in comparison, this boy and I share commonalities in some of the problems we've faced nevertheless. He doesn't know exactly why I understand him so well as I don't share personal information with my students, but I do. I remember that at his age, I longed to speak with someone who would understand my situation, perhaps someone who had been in it, but not knowing where to find that, I turned to a journal instead. Luckily, I was able to weather it without too much intervention, but helping this boy many years later is almost therapeutic for me as well. I can't think of a more perfect moment in my career when it becomes starkly clear that all of the exhaustion, heartache, and hard work I put into the job is beyond worth it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Show and Tell!

When I tell people who have known me for only a short period of time that I lost approximately 90 pounds over the span of a year and a half, they tend not to believe me. It's not that they think I'm lying, but 90 pounds is a lot to wrap your mind around. I mean, 90 pounds is the size of a small person. Ok, a really small, Nicole Richie-sized person, but still, it's A LOT. You get my drift here.

Rather than show these non-believers living proof, I tend to emphatically say, 'just trust me'. I always watch their eyes grow wide with inspection, trying to imagine what another 90 pounds might look on me (or rather, another 75, as I'm struggling with that last 15). On most days, I'd really rather not bust out the pictures. It's amazing they exist at all as I got so amazingly good at dodging cameras (in fact, that's how I took up amateur photography-I wanted to be BEHIND the camera instead of in front of it). Still, as hard as it is to share them, I figured that since in many ways I've already bared my soul here, I might as well go all the way. Besides, I don't think you'll truly take my word for it until I cough up the proof.

So, here they are. The Before:

And The After:

Oh, did I mention Mr. S had his own transformation as well?

And mind you, neither of the before pictures were at our heaviest weights. I made sure all cameras were banned within a mile radius of me at that point.

On the first leg of my big weight loss journey, I did it alone and lost the first 70 pounds. After that, we moved from Idaho to California and I took a 'hiatus', maintaining my weight in the process. 7 months later, Mr. S decided to join me and we set out on a die hard quest. In the course of losing my last 20, he lost 50. Damn men and their faster metabolism! I have to say, although the last 20 were the hardest, they were in some ways the easiest as there's just nothing like the buddy system.

The first question I always get is, "how did you lose all the weight?" and personally, I think that part is the least relevant. It's how I gained the weight that is most important as being cognizant of this helps steer the difficult course of maintenance, in which I have been less successful. Actually, I had maintained my weight for a year until my pregnancy this April and as a result I happily gorged. After I lost our baby, I unhappily gorged. So, that's how I gain weight-through emotions. With the happy and mostly with the sad, I reach for the cookie box. Now this wouldn't be a problem if my life maintained a happy neutral, but as life does not seem to work this way, especially in dealing with infertility, my best defense is in being aware.

14 pounds up from my goal weight (after losing 6 this month), I am still working everyday to keep myself healthy. I'm well aware that this is a struggle neither of us will ever be able to ignore. And after all that IF has taken, it's up to me to not allow it to take this as well. Finally something I can control on this roller coaster.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Few Leaves on the Family Tree

I realized recently that IF has been with me since the very beginning of my life. This dawned on me during a conversation I was having with my Mother the other day. She shared that she was completely off birth control for at least five years before she had me. I was her first and only child and although she was not vigilant with birth control afterward, no siblings ever made it into the picture. So, my Mom was infertile. This is further compounded by the fact that I was #8 for my Dad (no, that was not a typo). I guess nature figured he'd contributed quite enough to the gene pool.

The biggest difference between my situation and my Mother's is that while my earliest memories are easily traced to longing for Motherhood (baby dolls, playing 'house' and always being the mother, selecting my career for it's school schedule), instead my Mom figured that if it happened, it happened. She had no preset course, no aching desire that fueled restless nights. So, today she is endlessly supportive and empathetic, but even while infertile, she does not completely 'get' it.

Growing up as an only child, I craved a sibling, begged for a sibling. I know my Mom would have been delighted to have had another child, but it never became a central focus for her. I think that as my parents are aged and in very poor health today, that craving for a sibling has only grown stronger. When they become too poor in health to care for themselves, or when they pass, there will be no one else in my shoes. I'll be standing alone. I'm not under the delusion that a sibling would be a built in best friend (my husband and his brother are proof of that), but having someone who came from the same place, who shoulders a similar past and future with my family is something I am missing. I see it in Mr. S and his brother, who, although not close, share so many similarities in the way they approach the world because of the place they came from. And when their parents pass on, they will be sitting beside one another and feeling the same devastation, something no one else in the room will come close to sharing. Similar to missing a child I've never known, I miss having that. My half siblings are much older (most unstable) and have never been in the picture, so it was never anything they could have given me.

Not to sound like the reigning champion in a feeling sorry for myself contest (which I'm certain would be the only competition I'd be a guaranteed a gold), but IF has taken more than just my possibility for biological children. It once took away any hope of siblings as well, something I still feel as I sit at a quiet dinner table with my Mom and Dad. I always wanted to fill that dinner table up in the way my parents could not have, and I did by adding Mr. S, but I'd be lucky to reach year 5 of this journey and have even one more member to add. I can't describe how much IF has taken from me. All I can do is keep fighting it and hope that Christmas and Thanksgiving will one day finally be a noisy affair.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Off the Juice

That self-imposed strike from the likes of Facebook and MySpace is going swimmingly. I am free from birth announcements and ultrasound pictures...for the time being. I'm sure sooner or later they'll slink their way into my email inbox, littered with pictures and lots of '!!!!!!' and OMGs!! In the mean time, I'm 9 days off the juice and quite proud of myself. Do I get a chip yet?

I've decided to postpone my IUI until next cycle. Work is so busy and CD1 is likely next week, just 3 weeks into an already crazy schedule. Add in the the extra $600 and I think I'd be so stressed it would guarantee a busted cycle. Therefore, October is our month-our month to go through the motions of yet another IUI, just to prove to ourselves that we tried every less invasive and less expensive route known to man before finally getting real with ourselves. I both dread and look forward to going into that next cycle. At least going au natural guarantees me no heartache over BFNs as I expect nothing less from Mother Nature who decided to royally screw us. Thanks, Mom!

So, this weekend we're heading to a get together. Wish me luck in avoiding any stupid prying, especially since I'm not sure I trust my mouth in avoiding trouble around this topic. I'd like to continue this closeted existance, for now...and continue to not have any assault and battery charges on my record. That would definitely hold the finger prints up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Complete Infertile Translation Guide

There have been a number of helpful lists floating around detailing what not to say to your average infertile (or anyone for that matter, as you have no idea what their situation might actually be). Once I 'come out of the closet', I plan on letting loose these lists to the wind, in hopes they might spread like wildfire across the globe (hey, a girl can dream, even if that dream is a tad, um, delusional). But something struck me as I was nursing a headache in a scalding hot shower tonight (this is where I concoct most blog topics). Fertiles, many of whom have been known to be quite dense around the skull area, might not understand why they are not to say some of these things. Therefore, I have created a sister list to accompany the original to help ease their comprehension. I present to you:

The Complete Infertile Translation Guide

Fertile says: "When are you going to have kids?"
Infertile hears: "Oh, I just wanted to remind you that even after all of those treatments, you're still childless. Congratulations on being a failure."

Fertile says: "Just Relax"
Infertile hears: "It's all your fault. If you weren't so high strung, you'd have a baby by now."

Fertile says: "Maybe you're not ready. It'll happen when it's right."
Infertile hears: "You clearly don't have things together. You probably can't even wipe your own bum without help, so it's a good thing you don't have a child."

Fertile says: "God will let it happen when He feels it's time."
Infertile hears: "And clearly God finds you to be undeserving at the moment."

Fertile says: "If you want kids, you better not wait much longer."
Infertile hears: "You cared about indulging yourself and your career more than you ever cared about children."

Fertile says: "Oh my God. My husband looks at me and I get pregnant."
Infertile hears: "You must be defective, then, cause it works for me! Neener neener neeener!"

Fertile says: "It'll happen. Don't worry."
Infertile hears: "There's no real medical reasoning behind infertility. You just must be suffering from delusions or hysteria. Perhaps both."

Fertile says: "Why don't you just adopt?"
Infertile hears: "Face it. You can't have kids, so why don't you stop complaining and take the consolation prize already?"

Fertile says: "My friend's sister's cousin couldn't get pregnant, so here's what she did..."
Infertile hears: "You are obviously too idiotic to figure out the act of intercourse, so let me tutor you..."

Fertile says: "You shouldn’t be so down about this. You should move on. You have a lot to be thankful for."
Infertile hears: "Your pain is inconsequential and you're completely overreacting. Silly, silly infertile."

I left out some of the more idiotic comments (God doesn't think you deserve kids) because there's no need for translation. Besides, I'm not sure anyone making those comments would have the cognitive functioning to understand (or in any case read) the above list anyway.

Perhaps this is not quite the complete translation guide, at least not until I get a few from you. Any additional entries I missed?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Post du Lazy

Update in 20 words or less:

Epileptic dog having seizures again...*sigh*
Work rocks, but drains me.
Still haven't decided on IUI this month.

Hope all of you fine folks inside my computer had a great weekend. Peace out.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I am always glad I make the trek to San Francisco for my monthly drop-in IF meetings, even if I don't get home until 10:20 PM (and even on the eve of my first day of work). 45 minutes drive time in rush hour traffic, $8 in bridge tolls, $8 in parking, and frazzled treks on city streets mazing through tourists and homeless people begging for booze change, and WALLAH! -in exchange, a ticket to a small world of people who totally GET IT-who don't tell you to 'just relax' or that maybe God is trying to tell you you're undeserving. So, yeah, it's completely worth it. Call me a fan.

The few people who are 'regulars' are absolutely fabulous. There's M, who is 41 and will be heading into her 4th IVF-I think (2nd with donor eggs) and L who was curiously absent after her last IUI (perhaps it did the trick? I hope!). And me, somewhere in between these two lovely ladies in terms of treatment. There is a scatter of new people every time we meet and it's wonderful to be riding the same boat across the same waters with them, something I had never tasted in my own life previously. My favorite part is the updates. I want to find out what has happened since we last met, what new conclusions, if any, have arisen and in the course of explaining my next plans the other night, I realized that I have a dilemma (albeit a slight one, but one nevertheless).

For my sanity I want (and sometimes think 'need') to start a cycle NOW. Like yesterday. Only, yesterday would have been inconvenient as it was something like cd15. So, that means that IF I am regular, (the big IF, which seems to run my life in multiple ways) it should be only another couple of weeks before I pop the clomid like tasty little ovary-stimulating candy and get a ticket for the dildo cam ride once again. But, like I said, I have a dilemma. A sanity versus money dilemma, perhaps.

I'm straddling the fence with two REs: one is through an HMO where I can get $300 IUIs, and the other is through a PPO (with a HUGE deductible and very limited coverage that we would like to save for the big guns) whose clomid IUIs are $950. Because of my late start at work, my HMO coverage doesn't start until October, which means I might have to wait until the cycle after next. If I do, I'll save over $600, something that, while chump change in the BIG BAD world of IVF, will be helpful nevertheless. But something in me questions whether a savings of $600 might compromise my sanity right now. If I have to wait any longer to move forward (my D&C was in mid-June), I might just cuss out the next pregnant chick I see on the street. (Ok, that was a bit extreme, and while I feel that way (especially about our pregnant waitress tonight whose meal-long conversation about her pregnancy with a co-worker was within earshot of us), I don't quite have the violent tendencies to act on it).

Wow. Kudos to me. I just found a way to use even more parentheses! And if you followed that thought, double kudos to you. Anyway, on with the show...

I realize that this is partly an issue of control. I need to feel like I am doing something to make this goal happen instead of just sitting here. The year that we 'took off' treatment after we moved back to California was not a good one. Not only was I overwhelmed with my job and missing my home and friends in Idaho (and regretting our decision to move back-that's a whole other can of worms) but I was mad at myself for not getting my shit together, missing some work days, and shelling the bucks out to the RE. At the time, it just seemed too much to bite off with our transition. But now, I wonder, what if? Would I be a year ahead of what I am now? Might I actually have a child?

But now, as we are where we are, would a month make a difference? It's hard to say. I doubt it, but then logic isn't driving this train anymore. She left a looong time ago, only to be replaced by a slightly deranged conductor with tunnel vision and an insatiable need to make babies. Don't let anyone or anything get in her way (or you may lose a limb-you've been warned)! Mr. S is perfectly ok with shelling out the extra 600 if it means I won't transform into a raging lunatic. While I don't think that'll happen (or in any case it has already happened, so there's not much one can do about it), I'm still antsy. It's just that every second in the reality of IF feels like a century and I'm ready for the next millennium already.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I am Hereby Employed

So the TSA and Oakland PD thing was never the issue. It turns out that when there are delays because of shady backgrounds, the school district gets a copy of the rap sheet. Seeing as how there never was any rap sheet to begin with, they didn't receive anything. As someone previously hypothesized (I forgot who!), I suspect it was due to the state finger print peeps being backlogged as after I left a panicked message begging them to free me from my pajama-wearing, lazy-ass self, they called back this morning saying that it would be expedited and cleared today (my message was really pathetic, earning me 100,000 sympathy points). Therefore, tomorrow, I will be officially employed and regretting that I ever made that call to begin with. There's just something satisfying about skipping meals to play 12 straight hours of the Sims. And something really, really sad.

Monday, September 1, 2008

On Strike!

That's it. I'm taking a hiatus from My Space and Facebook (I know, I'm lame enough to be on both, but most of my friends have chosen one or the other). I might just have to stay in touch with them the old fashion way. Damn. I'm too lazy for that. In the mean time, if I see another update like,

"Cindy...is so excited to be picking out her baby bedding!!!"


"Sandy... is having a girl!!!"

(these are real life examples, by the way, with an emphasis on the breathtakingly puke-worthy exclamation marks)

Or if I see another picture of a newborn, an ultrasound, baby bump, or a newly set-up nursery, I'm canceling my accounts. Seriously. Why does this baby making plague touch down on all corners of the land but mine? 1 out of 6 couples have IF? So far, I'm not seeing that. Except for me. I'm getting a whole heaping helping of seeing that one. 20/20 vision here.

Ok. The hiatus begins now.
I will be strong.
I will resist the urge to see who left a comment on my profile.
I mean it.
I think...

But you better believe that when I get to the point where I'm buying baby bedding, I'll be plastering that shit all over the boards. (I'm such a freakin' hypocrite, but hey, I have to get a chance at pretending to be 'normal' just once, right? =-) )