Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bittersweet Graduation

I have had a lot of graduation days in my life...high school, undergrad, grad, etc. and of course the one all of us dealing with IF strive for: the graduation from my RE (well, I've had that twice but this time I didn't need to go back and re-do all of the coursework). Most of my graduation days have managed to be bittersweet, marking the end of an era and the beginning of another. Today was no different. I went to my OB for the last time as an 'OB' patient. Next time I'll call him my OB/GYN, with emphasis on the GYN part.

6 weeks postpartum I am moving on...from fertility treatments for now (YAY) and from pregnancy and all of the looking forward and anticipation that goes with that (YAY and BOO). You see, while it's easier said than done, I have a bit of assvice for all of you IFers currently pregnant or who will become pregnant. I know, you didn't ask for it, but I'm going to give it to you anyway, regardless of how difficult it is to follow:

Cherish this time.

Above all else, try not to let the terror of what might or might not be dominate you or your happiness. Try not to let guilt or fatigue rob you of the moment when you see that first heart beat or feel that perfect creature move inside you. Infertility might threaten to take away these moments, leaving you with more pause than celebration, but please don't let it. Pretend, as often as possible, that you are like any other pregnant woman and that you will undoubtedly come out of this unscathed and happy and most importantly, a mother.

I'm not suggesting that you'll return to a state of blissful naivete based on my assvice alone. You have been marked by the great big IF, never to return back. But if only I would have heeded my own words. While I never fully blogged about this (as I didn't want to give it anymore power than it already had), I was dominated by the what ifs while pregnant. When I bought that first piece of baby clothing, my immediate thought was not what he would look like in it but in wondering what crevice of my garage I would stuff it in should I lose him. Even at 31 weeks, I thought long and hard on how I would return all of my baby shower gifts in that same event. After I bought our minivan at 26 weeks, for weeks I questioned what it would be like to drive this same 8 passenger van empty while remembering my dead child. I can't begin to count the nightmares and the hours envisioning the worst on his 'quiet' days. I don't wish that on any expectant mother, least of all those who have been through what many of us have to even get there.

But he's here and he's safe and now, I regret these thoughts more than ever. I know they robbed me of moments that I could have been enjoying. And regardless of whether it turned out the way it did or not, I should have been honoring that time with him every second he was inside me. I'll never get it back. But as I said, that's easier said than done. Nevertheless, I can still say that despite this, my pregnancy with Baby G was the happiest time of my life. While I lived in a state of anxiety, the bliss was powerful enough to counteract that. This is where the bitter in bittersweet resides. On some days, I actually miss being pregnant and look at pictures of my pregnant belly and it feels surreal and a thousand miles away. But then I see where the sweet in this moving on comes from when I look at my quickly growing little baby, when I realize what this graduation day truly represents. I am standing in a place I never thought possible. I am so, so thankful for where I have been, but moreover, where I am going.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 in Retrospect

If you have read my blog longer than a year, you may recall my 'real' Christmas letter last year. In that letter my ultimate goal was to have the seething sarcasm shine through like a diamond as it mocked the Christmas letters I so loathe. However in writing it, what I didn't plan for was how much it did allow me to reflect. Given all that had gone wrong in 2008, I needed that reflection or rather debriefing, because in many ways I felt as if I were leaving a war zone. So, in that same spirit, I bring to you the same type of reflection of 2009, but less with the post war zone trauma. Ok, I'm a little late for the Christmas thing, but we'll settle for the New Years letter, m'kay?

2009: The Real Story

Hello friends and family!

After the crap fest that was 2008 (see last year's letter), I began 2009 looking for some serious redemption. I mean, the powers that be owed me and they owed me big, but of course as any infertile will tell you, it doesn't work that way. Deserve all you want, but don't be surprised if after donating all your earthly possessions to charity and serving a Peace Corps mission in Sub-Saharan Africa that your entire family dies in a car crash. Sorry, that easy morbidity is the bitter infertile in me talking. Anyhow, I rang in the New Year with the hubby and a few friends having just completed my 7th and final IUI. While sitting there not drinking and pretending that it might have actually worked I guess I knew better and alas, I was right. It was time to take that final leap.

So two weeks into January not only am I met with a BFN for that 7th and final IUI, but my beloved dog falls suddenly ill and we were forced to make the immediate decision to say goodbye.

Happy freakin' New Years to me. This whole 2009 redemption thing didn't look too promising at this point.

As a result of our failed attempt, just a handful of days later, I officially popped the cherry on my IVF virginity- $27,000 worth to be exact (or a loaded mid-sized sedan). You might recall mention of these plans in the last letter. If you have any familiarity at all with the cost of fertility treatment, you might be surprised by our price, but I assure you it is a steal considering we purchased a package of 3. Yes, a steal as in 'take out a loan you'll be paying off for the rest of your natural born life'.

To assist in paying for it, I interviewed for an additional part-time job two days after Kyra passed away and the day after I started birth control pills for the IVF (yes, IVFers sometimes take birth control pills for IVF-I'll explain later). Needless to say I am completely nauseous for the interview but somehow manage to snag the job and the impossible task of actually fitting it into my schedule just a few weeks before the IVF. Also on the agenda for that month:

Jury duty, food poisoning, unfulfilled due date, in-laws staying over, multiple daily meetings, headaches, out-of-town conventions, friends coming in from out-of-state, birthday parties, dinner parties, giving myself injections in dark alleyways, etc.

So, I somehow manage to survive the process of IVF, a new job and the death of my dog without streaking down the street naked like a madwoman with a garbage bag flung over my head, which is a miracle in and of itself, but to be honest, I am not hopeful. It is too much of a feat after 4 1/2 years of infertility to maintain any semblance of hope for me and I am proven correct when I get what appears to be my period (I know, TMI for a family letter, but remember, this is the 'real' story). But...

I was wrong.

I learn that in the beginning of March, I am...(wait for it)...pregnant.

But as you might recall from last year's letter, I have been pregnant before and yet when my due date arrived, there was no baby to be seen. In fact, the day after getting the most recent news I went for a massage and confessed tentatively that I was 'sort-of' pregnant. Most of you who have had vanilla pregnancies might not get this and might think me Crazy with a capital 'c', especially when I tell you that I somehow managed to score an ultrasound almost every week until my second trimester, all the while spending my time in between each in heart pounding terror. And maybe you're reading this and thinking that having babies is the way life goes for most people and is not that big of a deal, but I somehow managed to have a vanilla pregnancy as well and this is beyond my WILDEST dreams.

And the fact that I delivered a healthy, full-term baby boy in November and that nothing during any of the months and years before this even matters (so I won't even bother covering any of it) is beyond my WILDEST dreams, as in, 'you just won the freakin' lottery, what are you going to do with your gazillion dollars?' dreams. Yes, babies are born everyday and you yourself probably had babies, but believe me when I say that I KNEW I would NEVER have a biological child of my own and yet, I did. I am simply stunned. Bravo 2009.

So, friends and family, redemption? More than redemption. In fact, every shitty thing before and after doesn't seem to matter.

So, 2009, you've outdone yourself and for once, I cannot wait for your follow-up act in 2010.

Happy New Year to everyone. I really hope the best for all of you as we all start anew again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Breastfeeding Dropout

Shortly before Baby G was born, I stocked up on various breastfeeding supplies like nipple cream, breast milk storage bags and breast pads. Today, I packed all of it away into a bag to bring to my friend as I no longer have any need for them. No longer is a misnomer. I never had any need for them and as you might have read earlier, I desperately wanted to.

I have always considered myself fairly aware of the messages society sends to me and as such, I've tried hard not to be dominated by them or to let them rule the way I feel about myself. However, in this case 'breast is best' haunts me and somehow not being able to breastfeed has made me feel like less of a mother. I am painfully aware of it every time I put a bottle to his mouth and I think I subconsciously liken formula feeding to mashing up McDonald's french fries and shoving them down his gullet. TOTALLY irrational, I know, and despite all of the examples of bright, thriving formula fed children in this world (Mr. S being one of them), I can't help but shake off this incredible guilt.

It all began just hours after his birth. While G latched on right away and nursed for 30 solid minutes after birth, his latch became tentative after that. Then he was diagnosed with jaundice and prescribed formula supplementation every 2 hours to help rid his body of the toxins more quickly. I wasn't a fan of the plan, but I was of course more devoted to his health and well being than my need to breastfeed. After he began his foray with bottles, his latch deteriorated from there and every time I went to breast feed him, he not only didn't latch properly, but became angry after a minute or two when it was clear that the breast was not giving at the rate of the bottle. Add onto that the myriad of nurses who came in, all with different techniques. As their shifts rotated throughout the few days, G and I became increasingly frustrated. Every time a new nurse started a shift, they had me 'demonstrate' for them. I swear I had my top down the entire hospital stay, whether in pumping or demonstration for yet another stranger walking through the door.

We were eventually visited by two different lactation consultants before we left the hospital. While their approaches were more similar, in combination with all of the nurses, my head was spinning. I decided that in the very least I would pump and provide him with breast milk that way, so before we left the hospital, we rented a hospital pump for the next month. However, I wasn't quite ready to give up the idea of breastfeeding.

Desperate, I made a one hour appointment with another lactation consultant after we were discharged. When we came into her office, the look on her face as I showed her how upset G got when we attempted to breastfeed said one thing to me: we were a lost cause. She prescribed a nipple shield (it's a plastic cover for the nipple and I'm assuming it works on baby's like G with nipple confusion and poor latch) and while he took to that much more readily, I was told that it was not a replacement and that I needed to continue trying to breastfeed without it and pumping after each feeding, which I did. Every time he fed, I tried breastfeeding first and every time I did this, G got upset. Then I tried the nipple shield and eventually, he got upset with this as well. It was disheartening to see this over and over again. Pumping, for those not familiar, is often a 15-20 minute process during which little interaction can occur with the baby given the equipment attached to your front side. And if used after each feeding, we're talking up to 200 minutes a day not spent interacting with your baby (and not spent sleeping!). This level of devotion is nearly impossible, but nevertheless I tried.

And then my Mom was hospitalized. Up to that point, I had been able to provide at least half of G's meals by breast milk thanks to pumping and my supply was steadily increasing. After 2 weeks of getting one, maybe two pumps in at best as I was taking care of my parent's errands, visiting her in the hospital, and living out of someone else's house, my supply just one day essentially stopped. It was bizarre. If I were to pump today, I might get 5% of his meal at best. So, I've given up pumping and will hand the rental in this week.

It makes me sad as my body reminds me of what it should do. Often when he cries and especially when he roots, I still get a small let down. The simple fact is, like most parents, I want only the best for G and I somehow feel as if formula feeding has failed him. I think infertility (as always) plays a large role in this. First, I wonder, is it yet another failure of my body? I also wanted that closeness and of course all of the nutritional and immune benefits so often described. On top of all of this, G has had some reflux and gas issues and although he seemed to have these even when he was taking in breast milk, part of me wonders whether formula is the culprit given that it is more difficult to digest.

So this is the end of the line. I'm officially a breastfeeding dropout (sung to the tune of Beauty School Dropout from Grease).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Love Letter to my Belated Baby

Dear G,

I've been told that you'll never fully understand love until you have a child. Perhaps this is true for most, but I must have had a good idea before you arrived for the years spent seeking you were fueled by a motivation I can only describe as pure love, the type that leaves you without a second thought as you are plunging that syringe into your belly for someone whose face you've not yet even seen. I never once looked back as I knew that somewhere in that turmoil I would find you. As you now lay perfectly molded into my lap, I can easily say that I would turn back and take a million more syringes, spend a million more nights in heartache for you and somehow, I always knew it would be worth it. Your arrival has confirmed what I knew in my heart all along to be true.

What I didn't know and could have never planned for was how amazing you are. Today you're a month old and in that time, I've already learned so much about you. As you were entering this world, the nurse touched your head and noticed that your heart rate stabilized when she did this. You've loved to be touched since your birth, and when caressing your forehead, cheeks and head, your beautiful blue eyes begin to flutter to a close. You love music and especially to be sung to. As we dance around the living room together, your eyes lock on mine, unwavering as I sing along and for such a new creature, you already have so much depth behind those eyes and your gaze is already so intense and trusting.

You love nothing more than to be in just your diaper (or better yet, nothing, but we rarely brave that!) and despite your previous mood, as soon as your clothes are off, you are so instantly full of joy, earning you the nickname 'Dipey' (baby talk for diaper). Perhaps we have a budding nudist on our hands? At your happiest, you reward us with gentle coos and hints of social smiles. You make the sweetest squeaks in your sleep and have somehow in your short life managed to imitate every animal found at the zoo, including a baby elephant! I am so excited everyday to learn more, especially as you grow so quickly.

Almost as miraculous as you are is how you've managed to change your Dad and I overnight. We never could have imagined that we would be so comfortable incorporating baby talk into our regular vocabulary and find ourselves using it in public far too often. We somehow enjoy owning a minivan now and think an exciting night out on the town is a trip around the mall with your stroller. We have redefined our life in mere weeks and have done so happily. For you, I am certain, we would do anything and without a moment's pause.

This last month has seen me incredulous that such a perfect little man is now a part of my life. What did I do to deserve such a gift in life? Yes, we endured a lot to see you here, but the effort pales in comparison to the reward. So, my baby love, I want to thank you. Thank you for giving me this incredible experience of parenting you. It is already the most miraculous experience of my life, one that I would have easily waited the rest of my days for.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not What I Had Pictured...

There's a danger in idealizing the future. All of us who have fought IF know this well. Long ago we might have pictured what it would look like one day to surprise our significant other with a positive pee stick, yet for those of us lucky enough to get a BFP, there was a lot less surprise in something that took thousands of dollars and lab labor to concoct, especially when it was accompanied by a perfectly timed blood test instead. I've found the same to be true in childbirth and parenting. One may formulate a lovely version of what is to become, but the best laid plans are usually forsaken for a different path.

Take for instance arriving home from the hospital. I envisioned Baby G's first trip home like a Kodak moment. In fact, I already knew what the pictures would look like: me smiling wearily with G in my arms as I am wheeled out, Mr. S and I walking through the front door side-by-side with G in my arms. Perhaps there would be balloons or a sign awaiting us. But this wasn't meant to be. There were no pictures, no balloons. After Mr. S became very ill, he was forced to come home in another car, only to be separated from us for three days. Our trip home was a muted celebration. As Baby G, the child Mr. S had waited 5 years for, became acquainted with his new home, all Mr. S had to document this was by cell phone photos I sent him over the days. It was hard, but we understood it to be a temporary set back. I knew we had the remainder of his paternity and my maternity leave to make more Kodak moments and I was already forming those visions in my head. Once again, I was wrong to do so.

Several days later I got a call from my Mom. She had gotten sick at the hospital during G's birth, but her respiratory problems have been longstanding. While my Mother NEVER asks for anything, in this instance she was asking me to bring her to the hospital the next day. This is when I knew something was very wrong. Mr. S and I immediately packed little G up and drove the hour and 15 minutes to her house where I found her in no shape to be waiting overnight for medical intervention. Despite her resistance, I insisted on going to the hospital that night and as her breathing progressively worsened, it was clear that an ambulance was needed immediately. This resulted in almost a week of her being hospitalized and Mr. S, G and I camping out at my in-laws' house where our family alone time instead turned into everyone and their grandmother (literally) passing Baby G around. Once again, not ideal. The quiet alone I had idealized and planned for to get to know my child was not in the cards.

Ok, so after her discharge I figured that the previous few weeks were not exactly what I was hoping for, but we would make up for this. Kodak moments were still possible, right? Except that the day after her discharge, shortly after being up all night and an ER visit with G that resulted in a diagnosis of colic, I discovered that her condition had instead worsened, I'm sure due in large part to the fact that upon her discharge she went home and chain smoked like a chimney. A battle over her going to the hospital once again ensued, I once again called an ambulance, and once again, we camped out at Mr. S's parents' for the greater part of a week while it was discovered that in addition to emphysema and asthma, she was diagnosed with heart arrythmia and tachycardia. She was just discharged today and Mr. S is set to return to work tomorrow.

So that was the entirety of his paternity leave and 1/3 of my maternity leave.

I guess I shouldn't complain. I mean, I got my dream come true and even when parenting a newborn usurps every last shred of patience and sleep I possess, G himself never fails to be the greatest joy I have ever known, easily making up for any other hardships. But I can't help but feel deeply disappointed and resentful. This was our time, the time we had worked 5 years for and it feels like it was robbed. I know we have many years ahead of us, but I really wanted this. I guess I naively figured that after everything to get here the universe owed me the simple request of letting us be at least briefly.

I also never realized how much I idealized breastfeeding. This too did not happen in the way I had pictured. After G was diagnosed with jaundice and required formula feeding every 2 hours in the hospital to help get rid of it, he's not returned to latching on. Despite meeting with 2 lactation consultants in the hospital and one for an hour long appointment at our local womens' health center, he never did latch on again. He's quite fond of the bottle and through all of the upheaval of my Mom's hospitalization, I couldn't pump regularly and now my supply is pretty much gone. I never, ever fathomed how deeply upset this would make me or how much I wanted to breastfeed and while I know that he is healthy and getting what he needs, I am so incredibly disappointed that it brings tears to my eyes on a regular basis.

Although this post is negative and makes it look like I've had no happiness in the past several weeks, this couldn't be farther from the truth. After coming back from visiting my Mother in the hospital, watching her functioning deteriorate before my eyes (to the point where I question her ability to live independently with my Father who is equally disabled), all I had to do was return to Baby G, hold him against me, watch his big blue eyes track mine and everything was right in the world for that moment. I could easily find a smile for him, even when it seemed impossible just moments earlier. I miss him, even when he's in the next room and despite my exhaustion, I sometimes wake him up just to interact with him (which is a death wish with a newborn!). Although the past few weeks were not what I had imagined, Baby G is more than I could have imagined and that makes everything ok.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Birth Story

I started this post a few weeks ago, but so much has happened beyond taking care of a new baby since then that it has been nearly impossible for me to return and finish it. Rather, I should say, so much is happening, as the drama continues. In the last few weeks, I have called the ambulance twice for my Mother (who is still in the hospital with chronic and severe heart and lung issues), Mr. S was, as you might have read, very ill leaving me alone for several days, and Baby G was so colicky one day that we were instructed to visit the ER at 5 AM (the same day as one of my Mom's 911 calls). Luckily all is well with the little guy. I will detail all of this later, but in the mean time, I'm instead compelled to write about the best experience of my life thus far. So, here it is:

Final birth stats:

Vaginal birth
27 hours active labor
3.5 hours pushing
One fabulous, 7 lb. 10 oz healthy 20 1/4 inch long baby

The Induction

We were set to induce Monday evening on the 16th of November. The plan was to have a foley catheter placed in my cervix and inflated in order to dilate it mechanically to approximately 3-4 centimeters before the need for drugs to help it along (not that I'm not a fan of drugs--clearly that's what got me here!). The family was all set to join us that afternoon, but when I woke up with contractions and some bleeding early Monday morning, we thought for sure the show was about to unfold on its own, and quickly. Everyone rushed up (they live over an hour away) leaving me to feel silly by afternoon. Except for some residual cramping and spotting, there were no other signs that any progress was being made so off I went to my final OB appointment that afternoon to get set up with my very own foley catheter.

As always, I researched the catheter and found that most people said, yes, it's placement is uncomfortable, but not excruciating. What I didn't manage to find was tales of having an immediate and believe me, very STRONG contraction right after getting it in, which is what I experienced. It took my breath away. As my abdomen hardened like a basketball, I grew instantly nauseous and left the office with severe cramps. While the nurse practitioner indicated that going into labor after the catheter placement is somewhat uncommon, my body managed to do just that and within a few hours, my consistent contractions were leaving me breathless at 5-6 minutes apart. While I was scheduled to check into the hospital at 9, I decided to go earlier and was already doped up with an epidural by the original appointment time. My goal has never been to be brave!

The Hospital Arrival

Speaking of which, epidurals are my friend. Seriously. Perhaps even my best friend. So, with a room full of Mr. S, in-laws and my Mom, we set out for a long evening. Despite the fact that the nurse was certain that birth would not take place before 8 AM, everyone insisted on staying overnight at the hospital, despite the fact that our house is only 20 minutes away and there were not enough chairs for everyone in the room (and a regulation preventing bringing more in).

The Scare

All in all, the 27 hours spent in labor were interspersed with epidural-fueled naps, internal checks and a few scary instances of Baby G's heart rate dropping as a result of the Pitocin. I can tell you, there is nothing more terrifying than waking up from a deep sleep to a few nurses rushing in and a baby heart rate monitor that says 60. Luckily, immediately after backing off the Pitocin and flipping me on my side every 15 minutes, his heart rate climbed back up. As labor progressed, his heart rate seemed to also decelerate following each contraction, but would climb right back up, which worried the nurses. While my OB didn't seem nearly as concerned, I spent so much of the time with my eyes glued to the heart rate monitor that I was getting cramps in my neck. They eventually gave me oxygen to help baby G and while everything seemed to stabilize, I still slept with one eye open.

I was also told that baby G was posterior (head down, but facing the wrong way) and that plus my previously diagnosed narrow pelvis, we still had no idea whether we were in for a C section or a vaginal birth until the very end. And if a vaginal birth was to happen, it would likely require a vaccum to get him out of my cramped quarters.

Time to Push

Someone commented to Mr. S. after Baby G was born, "Oh, you're the one whose wife was 10 centimeters for a day." Yup. That was me. My OB didn't mosey in until late Tuesday, but before that time, the nurse was measuring me at 9.75 for hours due to a 'lip' that was still in the way on my cervix. My OB decided later in the day that the 'lip' could be pushed out of the way. He's also a fan of a 'passive' active labor, allowing contractions to push the baby down to decrease push time (haha, I pushed for over 3 hours-how much longer could that be??). When the pushing began, it was without any fanfare. Just one nurse was in the room and my OB had yet to join us. When he did, he sat for about 30 minutes manually rotating Baby G's head to get him to face the right direction and managed to do so quite successfully. Mr. S's Mom held one of my legs, Mr. S held the other and while my Mother tried to hold my neck, she was too weak and shaky (and was wheezing in my ear, which didn't make for a quiet calm), so Mr. S. took over leg and neck duty. I was in a good mood and much of the time was spent talking

I will say this, pushing, especially nearing the end, was some of the hardest work I've endured (making me question whether I might end up blowing some blood vessels in my eyes), but I did so with a smile on my face and lighthearted discussion, despite the fact that I had dialed down my epidural and was feeling every contraction. Oh, that and I tore and also was gifted an episiotomy, but frankly, that didn't phase me. Let's face it, after all this time and effort just to get here, what's 3 1/2 more hours of pain and hard work? I had the ultimate motivation and before I had even realized all of that time had passed, Baby G made his way into the world (without the help of the vacuum!).

At first, it was surreal. His cry sounded like a baby bird's and as a team quickly descended into the room, they lifted his gorgeous little body up and declared him a healthy little man. This time went by in a flash-there were tears, hugs, and at some point, my OB had delivered the placenta and stitched me up, though I hardly noticed. When they placed little G on my chest, I was amazed. I mean, I knew there was SUPPOSED to be a baby in that belly of mine, but to actually see a baby, a real, live, healthy baby that came from ME and who was MINE, was the most miraculous moment of my life. In fact, as I type this, I feel like my words are so ridiculously understated.

So, in short (yes, that was actually the short version!), I had a pretty amazing and actually a somewhat 'normal' experience. Normality for an infertile chick with a crazy family is in short supply, so when it does come, it is not taken for granted. But truthfully, I would have been glad to endure more abnormality to finally see Baby G home.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Baby G!

Born November 17th at 7:02 PM
7 lbs. 10 oz.
20.25 inches

After 27 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing, Baby G came into this world happy and healthy with a beautiful, sweet cry. I will update more and would have updated sooner, but Mr. S is horribly sick and quarantined away from us in our house, and given that our family is over an hour away, I am essentially single parenting and it's HARD. Living on 15 minutes of sleep at a time here, but at least I'm learning tp type with one hand! Hey, while our fairytale coming home was not given to us, our fairytale child was. My dreams have finally arrived. I am already completely and totally in love....

Baby G on day 3, staring up at me with his big, beautiful eyes:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eviction Notice from the Baby Condo

Dear tenant,

We are pleased that you have enjoyed your 9 month stay with us and have found the accommodations to your liking. This was our hope when you first took residence, however, I must inform you that your lease will expire Saturday, November 14th. A lease renewal is not available at this time. Because we understand this transition to be difficult, we have agreed to provide a brief grace period at which time you must immediately vacate the premises no later than Tuesday, November 16th. Although not as comfortable as your current residence, we will attempt to provide you with quite reasonable accommodations with a mandatory 18 year lease. A lease renewal at that time will be up for discussion. We wish you a safe moving day and look forward to seeing you into your next residence.


Your very tired and large Landlady

Monday, November 9, 2009

We May Have a Date and Once an Infertile, Always an Infertile....

So, according to the NP, the analogy of my cervix being like a steel trap is not far off. I had my 39 week check-up today and still no progress. The door is sealed shut, Fort Knox style. Early on in my pregnancy, I learned that I have a pretty narrow pelvis and that that could cause some complications (and increase chances of a c-section). Well, it appears this may be contributing to the steel trap. Baby G's head is resting squarely atop that little pelvis of mine, so while he is ready to engage, my body is not.

Huh. Sounds familiar. My body is not doing what it's supposed to? Story of my life, no?

A fellow IVFer friend of mine who recently delivered her little one became frustrated at the end of her pregnancy as she became overdue. Naturally she had lost so much faith in her body during the course of treatment, but pregnancy helped her reclaim some of this as it was finally beginning to do things 'right'. I mean, there is something so immensely powerful in being able to grow and nourish another human when for years your body and medical science seemed to be proving time and time again that this was not possible. To actually have things go the way they should is a miracle in and of itself. So for my friend, the fact that her body was not engaging in labor was threatening to rob that new-found faith. I feel that way in many respects. I swear that no matter how far you think you walk away from the evils of dirty IF thinking, you're never quite far enough.

In fact, I called this long before today. Call it 'waiting for the bottom to drop out', because after 5 years of infertility, I have been conditioned to think this way. All along I had a strong suspicion that either my body would deliver too early, way too late, or not at all without medical intervention. So the latter is the likely candidate now and we're scheduled to begin an induction Monday the 16th (with birth planned late Tuesday), if he doesn't arrive before then. But hey, if I somehow avoided more medical intervention as far as childbearing is concerned, it would be out of character. I have to say though, I am incredibly relieved to have a final date. As of now, I feel like I might be pregnant for the next 5 years. It's nice to know that won't happen.

In other news, Mr. S's brother and his wife had announced that they would start trying immediately after marrying. Well, they married a little over a month ago and guess who's already 4 1/2 weeks along? Yeah. While I'm excited to have a cousin so close in age to Baby G, I must ask: Why must I be surrounded by the mind-blowingly fertile? I mean, really?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Come out, come out wherever you are!

I am still in full baking mode with 9 days left until the little guy's due date. It's funny. I spent the majority of my second trimester and the first part of my third trimester terrified of pre-term labor and now I am convinced that this kid knows a good thing when he sees it and will not make an appearance without some aggressive coaxing. So far, I've dilated, oh maybe a 1/2 centimeter (not even notable in the charts) and although my cervix is starting to soften, it's done very little. I'm convinced it's made of steel and it'll take the jaws of life to get this little dude out. And trust me, we've tried EVERYTHING but the jaws of life this week to get things moving, including but not limited to:

-Sexy times (although Mr. S is convinced that if it were daily, that would be the answer...haha, I'm 9 months pregnant. Easier said than done)
-Eggplant parmesan
-Plain old walking/activity
-Prego pizza at Skipolini's

(As you can see, my methods largely revolve around food, as most of my life does nowadays)

I can't complain an incredible amount about these last days, but I will anyway. :) Yeah, I'm large and in charge and climbing one set of stairs makes me see stars (which sucks given that I live in a tri-level). I'm sore all the time and have terrible insomnia, heartburn and pee every 15 minutes, but hey, if this is what it takes to finally bring our guy home, I'm all for it. I have more musings on this journey so far, but as my sporadic blogging can attest to, I've been feeling uninspired lately and will return when I have something more earth shattering to say!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


In June of 2008, I said goodbye to more than just a dream unrealized. That's what people who have never experienced this sort of loss forget. I didn't lose a pregnancy. I lost a baby, a unique being who had a combination of my and Mr. S's DNA-our first child. I was at what I thought was 10 1/2 weeks pregnant, but unbeknownst to me until the ultrasound that fateful day, he/she had stopped growing at just past 6 1/2 weeks. It was, by far, the most devastating day of my life.

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

While I will not be at home at 7 PM tonight as I have been blessed enough to welcome my rainbow baby into the world and will be at a baby class because of him, I still will not forget my baby or the countless other children my friends have said goodbye to.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shower Celebration

Mentioned and shown: Baby shower, bump pics...

It was a day I thought would never come, and I'll be honest, as trivial as it may be to some, this day was almost important to me as my wedding day. My baby shower marked the welcome of a little person I have waited five long years for, a little person I wasn't certain would ever come into existance (at least not in this respect). It also marked a day that I 'came out of the IF closet' and a day I felt completely supported and loved. It was everything I could have hoped for and more.

Firstly, one of my closest friends, P, offered to host it. This may not seem like a huge deal, but she lives three or so states away in Idaho and carried a suitcase full of games, decorations, and favors weighing more than she does the distance (she's all of 5'1", 100 pounds). She put so much thought, care and effort into it, that Mr. S and I were floored (and felt a little like getting on our hands and knees Wayne's World style to declare 'we're not worthy') once she pulled it all out. She had personalized mint boxes with my name and shower date on the lid and adorable cloth bags filled with blue and white J.elly B.ellies (fitting as I live about 15 minutes away from the factory) for the favors. My new sister-in-law (Mr. S's bro just got married this past Saturday) has a fantastic high end bakery and so for the shower, she found onesie cookie cut-outs and made the most delicious and adorable onseie cookies covered in fondant to add to the favors.

The shower itself was held at my Mother-in-law's house who made the most amazing lasagna, bruschetta, appetizers, and strawberry lemonade. My Mom contributed one of those gorgeous edible fruit baskets, shrimp, salad, and cookies. And of course, no party would be complete in that household if we didn't have an assortment of adult beverages, so Mimosas (or just OJ) and wine were also served.

Meanwhile, Ms. S. was down the street at a family friend's house exacting his shower day plans, man style. He simultaneously held a 'Man Shower' (or beer shower) for the significant others, complete with a keg, hamburgers and junk food (they later joined us for post shower shots, and no, I was not a part of that 'us').

As they watched their sobriety slip past them, ladies began to arrive at our shower and I have to admit, I was really surprised that almost everyone who was invited was able to come (at least those who lived within driving distance). But most touching was the fact that one of my IF sisters, Sarang, came. She is still in treatment and I, as well as anyone who has been through the infertility ringer knows that getting a root canal sans anesthesia is generally a more inviting prospect than attending a baby shower, especially while in active treatment. While I gave her multiple opportunities to back out gracefully, she never once faultered.

As Mr. S. and I always say about her, "she is a better woman than I". I honestly don't know that I would have had the strength to show up or even consider it as an option. Two other IF sisters also attended, one of whom is due this Saturday and the other who is due a week or so after I am (and is one of those IF legends...yes, she got pregnant naturally after 3 or so years of IF!). All four of us are buddies, so you can now imagine how much more strength it took for Sarang to attend as not only was she at a baby shower, but all of her acquaintances at said baby shower were quite knocked up. So, in short, if you ever want to look up the definition of a true friend, be sure to look for her picture under the description. :)

And when it came time to share the book that would essentially de-closet me, I was shocked at how nervous I was! I certainly didn't think anyone would say anything too heinous, but I suppose the fact that I had lived for so long quietly covering up one of the biggest parts of my life from almost everyone in that room, changing the subject whenever kids came up, made it that much harder. I was an expert at keeping it under wraps (although after 9 years of marriage I would imagine that putting 2+2 together wasn't that hard, either). But I do know now that unlike times past when I would have admitted to feeling shame and that this would have essentially been the driving force that prevented me from sharing my IF, this is no longer on my radar. In fact, I'm proud. I am so proud of the strength that it took Mr. S. and I, of the strength of our union, and of the amazing people I've met along the way. I'm not saying I would have preferred to be infertile, but I am certainly saying that I was given an obstacle course I could have never foreseen and that I was proud to announce to everyone that I was still standing, whether I was successful or not. The fact that I will be lucky enough to see the fruits of our endurance is icing on the cake.

In the end, I do feel as if this was a celebration of weathering that journey as much as it was a celebration of welcoming Baby G into this world. The two are inevitably linked. I think every person who has stood through the storm of IF should be celebrated, whether they adopt, conceive or choose to live child free. We have all been through so much that if you consider yourself among the survivors, then that speaks to your strength of character and of all the reasons for a celebration, I think that's a pretty damn good one. I'll never forget my celebration.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

MSN is all kinds of wonky today...

Ok, first, how is that this woman has this happen when I had a free and clear uterus for 5 years and still only managed to fill it with one only after enormous medical imtervention?

And I'm praying that this will not resemble my story in the slightest. I mean, how it that even physically possible? Luckily last time baby G was measured, he was in the 54th percentile rather than the 1,000th percentile.

Last but not least, Happy Birthday Mr. S! Last birthday before the little one is here...might as well get sloppy drunk while you still have your designated driver!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Triple Dose

I am utterly exhausted. I would write about my baby shower that was held on Saturday (which turned out to be phenomenal), and eventually I will, but instead I think I'll choose to embark on a tale that began Monday and ended in a paramedics visit, the emergency vet and finally, the death of a not-so-close in relation, but close in blood family member...all in one night. Needless to say, it was quite the day and I for one am so worn, I'm not sure how I'm going to walk from my car to my office this morning.

The paramedic visit began when I lost a huge filling 3 weeks ago. It was so huge that it felt like I had lost an entire molar. While I really wanted to postpone dental work until after delivery, I was told in no uncertain terms that my tooth would likely crack in half and be lost completely if I didn't act immediately, prompting an inevitable dental emergency (someone is clearly of English descent here :). So, they put a temporary crown on and I returned Monday afternoon for the permanent crown. The doc asked if I wanted anesthetic and indicated that some people go without but that the procedure can expose nerves and be 'uncomfortable' and 'sensitive' at best. Due to the fact that 'excruciating pain' didn't work it's way into his description and that I believe in the approach of 'the less meds the better' for the little one, I decided against anesthetic.

The procedure was...not comfortable. He scraped along some exposed nerves with his instruments, leaving me to audibly moan a bit, but it was over with pretty quickly. I was relieved when he went to fit the crown and said, "the worst is over. you'll not need any anesthetic after all." It was right then, just as he began meddling with the crown in my mouth that it all started. First, I began to sweat a cold, clammy sweat. The room temperature felt as if it had increased exponentially and then the nausea set in. I contemplated not saying anything for fear of being a drama queen but when I looked in front of me and noticed that instantaneously I fell dizzy and was beginning to see spots in front of me, I knew something was wrong and asked that the chair be raised (probably not the best move). From what I could tell, my dentist looked startled and was studying me nervously. Later I learned all the color had drained from my face. Although he was asking me questions, for the first time in my life I was actually unable to respond. When the framed dental poster in front of me began to fade and tunnell into black, I touched my stomach and said without faultering,

"Call someone. Call an ambulence."

My fear of being a drama queen had clearly left the building. All I could think about was the baby.

Just when I knew I was a second away from passing out, the dental poster began to flicker back into view slowly, as if someone was dialing up the lights in the room. The blood gradually returned to my face and the rush of heat in my limbs was emptying out. It took a few minutes, but I was able to come to enough to explain what had happened and also to realize that the ambulence was on its way. By the time they arrived, I was alert and although I felt slightly embarrassed, I had no apologies because of the baby. The little guy began to wiggle around and I exhaled a gust of relief. After they took my vitals, blood sugar, etc. (which all came back normal) I was feeling well enough to get up on my own.

I was still sitting there with an exposed tooth, so the team looked on as my dentist quickly cemented the permanent in. It's not everyday that you get dental work done with 5 of the fire department's finest standing in attendance, is it? I decided against the trip to the hospital and instead insisted on Mr. S picking me up to which they agreed given that all of the color had returned to my face and I was able to walk around. Mr. S arrived and I got into contact with my OB on the way to the hospital who sounded as unconcerned as a doctor could be. Apparantly, I had a vasovagal response.

Yeah, I'm not a medical professional, so don't go asking me what it is, but if you click on the link and scroll half-way down (or look it up on We.b MD or Wi.kipedia) you'll get a better idea. Apparantly it happens more frequently in pregnant women and is pretty innocuous, so we headed back for home. Now as far as the trigger, it could have been any number of things or a combination: stress (work has been eating me alive, the weekend had been non-stop, and the dentist is not exactly my place to party), pain (trust me, there was pain), and lying flat on my back. I've also had bad insomnia, anxiety and nightmares lately, which has had me keyed up. Perhaps it was a recipe waiting to be concocted. The straw that broke the camel's back.

So, Mr. S and I went home and figuring it would be a relaxing enough activity, I propped myself up in the nursery on a pillow with my laptop in hand as he put the crib together when our girl cat came in, wiggled her butt over the directions on the floor and peed. This is a cat who has never had any behavioral issues and within the last day, I had seen her spend all of her time in the cat box. So, we made a plan to go to the emergency vet later that evening (she looked really uncomfortable and everything was closed) when I checked the evil F.acebook. Two of my relatives messaged me to tell me that my half-sister (who I have not seen since I was 7 or 8) was found dead that afternoon. Oy.

When they say bad things come in threes, they're not kidding.

So, after I broke the news to my Mom who told my Dad, Mr. S and I took miss kitty to the vet and so far, she's not doing much better. She spends her entire day in the cat box or licking. I spend my days exhausted to the core and overwhelmed with work. I was planning on working until a week before I'm due, but after that incident, I think I'll be looking at closer to 3 weeks off beforehand. Life and work are starting to get to me. My capacity to handle everyday occurances has been whittled and I'm even wondering how I'll get through the next month. When people told me that I'd be tired during the third trimester, I truly had no concept of what they were describing. Until now.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Great Article

I often get frustrated in having the lack of words to describe what infertility is like. While words will probably never truly do it justice, this article does a great job of going there.

Monday, August 31, 2009

IF Sister in need of meds

A fellow IF sister, Jennifer, recently emailed me sharing that she's going into her first IVF cycle. As usual, she is another who is not insured and is paying completely out of pocket (because American health care coverage for IF SUCKS) and has had to really scrape it together just to get this one opportunity. Like me, she has also been trying to conceive for five years and has so far done two IUIs. If anyone has any spare medication that might help her out, please email me at redrivershel AT gmail dot com. Thanks!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Closet Door Sliding Open...

This post mentions: PG, bumps, rather extensively...

Yesterday I entered my long awaited third trimester. Crazy. And in just a few weeks' time (September 12th, to be exact) my friends and family will be joining me at an event I NEVER thought would take place: my baby shower. It is there that I have decided to do what I've for so long spoken about: come out! Whenever I think of this, I get this jaunty little ditty in my head:

"I'm coming out
I want the world to know
Got to let it show
I'm coming out
I want the world to know
I got to let it show"

That's right. I will come out as the flaming infertile I am and I will do so proudly. But because this event is a celebration of baby G and not an educational seminar on general infertility, treatments, or even our particular infertility, we wanted to share our story in a way that simply highlighted how hard-won and long-awaited he was, giving us even more reason to dance in the streets upon his arrival. Without this acknowledged, it would have never felt right. To share this, we created a photo book through i.Photo, but I've decided in order to not let this be the theme of the shower, we will do the following:

A. Not pass the book around until I'm opening presents (so any potential asinine comments, with particular emphasis on the ASS, will not come until the end at which point I may be subdued from any bodily harm towards them by cake).
B. Any particular questions about treatment, IVF, infertility, etc. will be met with an appreciation for their curiosity and then an invitation to share over lunch or coffee in a less public forum. While I'm coming out, my medical information is still not something for which I will be sending out a public service announcement.

I'm not actually foreseeing anything too stupid being said, but you never know what will fly out of people's mouths about this sorely seldom spoken about topic, especially since there are a few people that are particularly um, old (and you know they never censor anything) and a few who are, well, a bit narrow minded. Luckily, most of my friends and family are awesome enough to not go there and in fact, this will not come as news to about half of them anyway, despite my being a generally private person. So needless to say, I'm nervous, but excited.

So, here it is: The Story of Baby G. You MUST watch it full screen to read the text (it's much more of a story book than photo book) and definitely watch it in HD. It doesn't exactly flow like a slideshow as it is a book, but I think it tells our story in a very authentic, but brief way. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This post mentions: PG

The nursery is painted, the window treatments are up and the rug has been laid. Even the baby clothes we have purchased so far have been hung. This is the first signs in that room that someone new will join us in three months' time and although this reminder is visible and tangible--I can walk in and see it all, feel him kicking against my ribs, after 5 years of waiting, I still can't quite fathom that perhaps my dreams are finally about to come true.

My guess is, a man starved for years on end will have a harder time believing in that steak dinner promised him than a man with an already full belly. In that sense, I have been starving for years and so I still feel out of place preparing for something that feels surreal. I am that starving man, sitting around a table with those well fed and mimicing their movements, placing a napkin in my lap carefully, as if receiving a meal is common place to me. In some ways, it feels absurd. All of the niceties we encounter each day, such as repeating how 'excited' we are, feel so trivial in the shadow of what's really going on for us and especially of what has already gone on for us. Little do most people know the level at which my longing for that ultimate meal resides, especially when it has been handed to them at their request.

I recall when Mr. S. and I were dieting (something we will need to return to shortly and mostly, desperately). We would reward ourselves at the end of the calorie-deprived, gym crawling week with one 'cheat' meal and I will tell you this: food had never tasted so divine. This is the nature of my pregnancy and the eventual arrival of our guy thus far.

Despite the ongoing anxieties and the inner turmoil over being infertile, yet pregnant, and the guilt over leaving others behind, I have been able to cherish most moments of this pregnancy. I might have complained about morning sickness, but I secretly delighted in running to the bathroom, knowing it likely meant he was getting stronger. I have had almost every symptom under the sun: heartburn, constant nose bleeds, increased acne (my personal 'glow'), headaches, sinus problems, gingivitis, fatigue, bloating, (TMI coming, much to Mr. S's chagrin) terrible gas, leg cramps, vericose veins, back pain, sciatica, among many others, and I have honestly LOVED every one of them (but still never gave up the opportunity to feign complaining, of course).

I adore learning his patterns of movements, the way he almost without fail goes nuts kicking a minute or two after I awaken. It's the best 'good morning' I've ever received. I wouldn't trade his little hiccups or his wiggles or his immediate reaction to loud conversation (especially when there's a high pitched female in the room) for anything and Mr. S. and I quite frequently find ourselves standing in Baby G's mostly empty room, just staring. To think, there will be a little person in that room in a few months, a little person we already love so deeply, beyond what I can grasp. I am still in awe. I will always be in awe.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

99 Days

If I am lucky enough to cook this baby until he's well done, I have an estimated 99 days until he is born. This makes me remember fondly the night I turned ten. As I fell asleep, something occurred to me and I excitedly called my mom in to tell her.

"I'm double digits now!"

She seemed amused by this observation, as she probably would be today if I told her this again. Much like that time, I don't think she'd really realize the weight of it for me. Simply put, I never thought I'd get this far. If luck continues to treat me with the same regard as it has in the past several months, I suspect I'll be saying this for the rest of my life.

If the next 100 days are anything like the last, they will be filled with pure anxiety, pure joy, pure disbelief and ultimately, a generally medically textbook pregnancy experience. I can only hope.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Hello ICLWers!

It's been awhile since I've participated, but I'm glad to have enough time this week to join in. Here's the skinny (or not-so-skinny nowadays) on my journey thus far:

I'm a 31-year-old chica from the Bay Area who had been trying to conceive baby #1 with my hubby of 9 years for almost 5 years. After 1 round of clomid/timed intercourse, 7 IUIs, 1 miscarriage, and I IVF/ICSI, we are now 23 weeks pregnant with our little guy, Baby G. Not surprisingly, I want nothing more in the world than to bring him home safe and sound in November and much of my current blog surrounds this.

My hubby, Mr. S, (also known as my 'hot piece of ass') also blogs. You can find his male perspective musings here. In the mean time, sit back, relax and read up, if you so wish!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dodging Bullets at 3 AM

This post mentions: PG

At 23 weeks, I shouldn't know what the inside of a labor and delivery room looks like at 3 AM, but after this morning, I do. After awakening with overwhelming chills and lower back/abdominal cramping and discomfort, the best way to describe what was happening was that something was very wrong. I have long heard this same description when talking about labor. Being the type of person who generally has to be doubled over before calling any advice line, I knew that I was in trouble when I immediately contacted the on-call OB without a second thought. It was a frustrating call at best as I could barely hear him over the muffled connection, but when he finally said 'labor and delivery', his words could not have been more crystal clear.

The 20 minute drive over to the hospital was punctuated by intense 'what if' scenarios running through my brain and for much of those early moments, I wondered how I could possibly go on if the worst were to occur. It's thoughts like these that I still have often, but being in a car speeding towards this place made it starkly real. We got there and were immediately led into a room and as soon as I spotted the baby warmer, I prayed that our much too young little guy would get a chance to wait many, many weeks before meeting it. They strapped a belt across my belly and immediately found his strong heartbeat, but on top of that, they discovered that I had an 'irritable uterus' and at one point in time, used the big 'c' word to describe it (contractions).

Although the nurses did not give the appearance of being alarmed at all, I broke out into a cold sweat at the mere mention of contractions at just 23 weeks. So why was this happening? As is the most frustrating of medical circumstances, they had few possible theories.

To calm my 'irritable uterus' they injected me with a smooth muscle relaxant, which helped calm it, and explained that while I was cramping, it was not officially contractions. On top of that, Baby G (as he will now be called), being the ultimate night owl I've learned him to be, was kicking and moving so much they couldn't keep track of him, easing my mind that all was well with him. But these weren't the best peaces of mind handed to me that night. That arrived when we finally got an explanation, something that often does not come this easily in medicine. The nurse walked in with a big smile on her face, declaring triumphantly,

"You have a raging bladder infection."

I have heard these words many times before in my life but I would have never guessed the delight I would feel in one day hearing them. A bladder infection! That, my friends, can be solved. Other things, like preterm labor, not so much. The funny thing is, other than ongoing frequent urination, which is common not just in pregnancy but in the girl with the world's tiniest bladder (that would be me), I had no other preceding symptoms before that night. But I was more than happy to take the diagnosis and run with it.

After the nurse checked my cervix, which was thankfully long and closed, we were out the door with a prescription in hand. While I'm having some minor cramps, it's nothing like what I felt last night (and may be GI related). Never before have I felt as if I truly dodged a bullet. In fact, I come to feel that way every day of my pregnancy. I recently read Murgdan's blog post at Fertility Authority about being grateful for the miracle of life and more than ever, I am. Every second that passes, eventful and uneventful alike, is a gift I will never take for granted. I'm just hoping that we have many more seconds to come.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Project Purge

It's time to help a sister out.

No, I have not reverted back to morning sickness, as the title might suggest, but I have taken to getting rid of my crap. My mounds and mounds of lovingly collected crap. I am a certified pat rack, which doesn't bode well for someone who moves often. I come about it naturally. My Dad (who is 74, good natured, but has always been a notch beyond quirky) collects random stuff, wraps it in plastic, and stores it in the garage, never to be seen again. Stuff like figurines and styrofoam containers. Ok, did I say a notch beyond? Let's add a few notches to that belt, shall we? While I don't go quite as far as he does, in many respects, you can still say that I am truly my Father's daughter.

So here I sit, FINALLY with a good reason to convert that guest room/junk collection room into something else and yet I'm faced with these questions:

Where will I put every single card I've received over the last 25 years?
Where will my electric bills from 1999 go now?
Where will the multiple instruments (including a banjo and a fiddle) go that we were so compelled to have but never learned to play?
And most notably, where will the last 4 sizes of clothes I've steadily passed by in these last few years go?

So much for parking in the garage.

I have never been naturally organized and I admire, no, I look adoringly up at those who manage to pull it off. How do you do it? Perhaps you possess the ability to let go of things tangible, something I sorely lack? My first echoing thought is always, 'what if I need it one day?' How do you possibly get that out of your head? Don't get me wrong. My walls are not lined with stacks of paper or knick knacks. A quick walk through my house would not reveal my compulsion, but for the love of God, do not, I repeat, DO NOT open the closet doors.

So I stand here today, asking for guidance. I am a girl who keeps movie tickets from 1998 and a paper shredder that just isn't up for that type of challenge. Where do I begin and will you help me get there? Tell me about your clutter free life so I can drool in envy and perhaps learn a lesson or two.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Transition Post

Ooops, I went on and on about how fantastic stirrup queen's post on blogging through life transitions was and never provided a link to the specific post, so here it is!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Baby Showers: A Possibly Skewed Pregnant Infertile's Perspective

This post mentions: baby showers, infertility, and of course, pregnancy

Thanks so much to all of you who voted in the poll. Although I realize my posts may not always be everyone's cup of tea, such is life. But at least now I'll make a concerted effort to let you know beforehand when the tea might taste a little bitter. M from Hello, my name is M...and I'm an Infertile provided a valuable link to an article written in June by Lollipop from Stirrup Queens about this very topic. It was so helpful in clarifying for me where I wanted to go. In simply describing myself as a keeper of an online diary (or a diarist, which I avoid using as I'm not sure I'm pronouncing it correctly) rather than solely an IF blogger, this helps give me free range in not placing a restriction on what I say. Putting boundaries on thoughts has always led to the demise of my past blogs and given my absolute fondness for this one, I wanted to avoid such an ending.

In other news, last weekend I survived my first baby shower since beginning my IF treatment over three years ago and I have to say, if I weren't pregnant, ripping my eyeballs out of their sockets might've been a more enjoyable experience. It's not that anyone did anything too heinous, it's that perhaps in growing my tough outer IF shell, I may have inadvertently grown a little extra cynicism along with that. The cooing over and measuring of pregnant bellies, the lining up of said bellies in every other picture (yes, begrudgingly, mine was part of the 4 person line up), and the casual way in which people talked about the whole thing felt so...trivial and almost tasteless. I sat there knowing that my lens was likely different from most others at that party and trying hard to feel light hearted about the whole thing. But after 5 years of desperation, clawing my way up to that belly of mine, I wasn't about to stand sandwiched between 3 other 'preggos' and act as if I was one of them.

I guess the real question is, where is this coming from? I'll be honest. I still very much resent people who get pregnant easily. Lest I get any fire bombs aimed at my house as of this very moment, let me clarify. I completely understand that this is not a logical or fair conclusion. While I've said before, I will never, ever begrudge anyone their happiness, fertile or infertile alike. I wouldn't wish the past 5 years of my experience with infertility on anyone and I believe that no matter how easily you came about that baby, you deserve a chance to get that belly of yours oohed and awed over. Everyone should get a chance to feel what that's like. But I resent that not everyone will. In fact, I am infuriated that not everyone will. And in turn, I find myself inadvertently resenting the people who mindlessly float through such an experience.

It's not their fault that life sucks, but as I watch them standing there, talking about nursery patterns when my IF friends and I talk about failed cycles and lost babies, this becomes my natural reaction. And it's not even that I myself don't talk about nursery patterns, but part of me is like, 'they get all of this and all they had to do was have sex a couple times? That's bullshit!' Ok, I'm just being honest, people. Part of my reaction is that my innocence has been taken and I long for all of us in ALI to have what they have. In plain language, I'm still jealous. And yet, I wouldn't take back what I've been through for the world. What a strange dichotomy, huh?

I wonder to myself, how is this going to play out at my own baby showers? I don't want IF to rob anymore of my happiness, so will I find a way to be completely and mindlessly joyful as I celebrate the upcoming birth of my long awaited baby? I hope. I'd love to capture their innocence, even for just a moment during my own events, but then my prize might not seem nearly as sweet.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Year

Mentioned: Loss, PG

So much can happen in a year. This is probably the most cliche statement that can ever be made in the ALI blogosphere. As we approach 4th of July this Saturday, I am reminded of what I was doing in 2008.

This time last year, it had been two weeks since we miscarried. I was off work for the summer and was finding that the people in my life were dealing with my loss in very, very different ways. Some comforted me with flowers and cards, which I adored, and others, well, they decided to comfort me by telling me that "it's so common!" and "I had an abortion at 18, so I know exactly what you're going through" and my all time favorite, "at least you didn't lose a pet or a family member". Then, there was the de-invite.

Perhaps I'm making a bigger deal out of this than what it really was, but you know how it is when you're at your absolute lowest and then the smallest of kicks feels like a guttural punch? Well that's how this felt. I made the decision to not let myself drown in isolation. After sitting alone in my pajamas since my D&C, I got a last minute invite from an acquaintance to attend a 4th of July BBQ. Knowing that the hostess' pregnant friend would be there, I didn't immediately respond (waited a day or so), but then eventually decided that I had to face life again. It wasn't an easy decision, but I made it with every last shred of courage I could gather. Only after I accepted her invitation, she never responded back. Emails, phone calls and a text went unanswered. I spent most of my 4th sitting alone as Mr. S. slept and just sitting here, remembering how it was to feel as if I had hit the bottom makes my heart sink. I was infertile, had failed my only chance at motherhood in 4 years and now, I was unwanted. I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone.

My guess is that she decided against my presence because it was too awkward. She knew about the miscarriage and had not spoken a word about it to me. No sorry, no lame platitudes to make me feel better. I don't think that she committed the gravest of sins, it was just the place I was in magnified it. She eventually called the next day and said that her phone was broken. I think I've seen her once since, but that's not the point. She has now come to represent a place I never want to return to, a place far from where I'll be on this 4th of July.

As I sit here a year later, marveling from the latest of this little one's increasingly strong karate moves to my stomach, I am not just counting a successful cycle amongst the changes this year has brought, but I'm also counting all of you. At this time last year, I had never read an ALI blog. I had never met someone who had openly battled infertility or loss and I had never stepped foot into an infertility support group. I was alone, in every sense of the word. As I celebrate the 4th this year with two of my new IF friends, I feel anything but alone. I have spent this last year surrounded by a warm circle of the type of support I never imagined existed and for that I thank you. What a difference a year makes.

Friday, June 26, 2009


PG mentioned**

Wow. Half-way. Ok one more day, but I'll be too busy to post tomorrow. I never, ever, ever thought I would be here. I mean obviously when you embark on a 5+ year journey of trying to conceive (which sounds so flippant, it should be moving mountains to conceive, or MMTC), that is the plan. But being faced with failure after failure, the possibility becomes even more remote in your mind. There is not a morning when I don't wake up, touch my belly to see if it's still there and thank God for this and pray that it will stay and that he will be born healthy. With every mostly uneventful second that passes in this pregnancy, I am grateful.

This weekend, we are purchasing nursery furniture. It's funny. I got two of my pregnant IF friends some onesies the other night and one of them, who is about 27 or so weeks along, said that it was the first piece of clothing she had gotten for her little guy. Understandably, she's superstitious and gun shy and has not purchased anything baby related. I always thought I would be that lady, and I had even stated before that I would wait until my 3rd trimester to even set foot into a baby store. Now, I have at least half a wardrobe for our guy. So, what changed?

Well, I don't think I am any less superstitious than I was before. I think for one, Mr. S and I are the biggest consumer whores you'll ever meet. Any excuse to spend money brings us out of the woodwork (not that we have it to spend, especially after IVF!). But then there's the faith. Am I growing in my belief that this baby will actually be born safe and sound? I must be. But I still don't make these purchases lightly. I still have a slightly sick feeling in my stomach when I set the item on the store counter and I still have a plan B. Where will the furniture and clothing go if something happens? I've already decided this. But then I imagine our little guy in the room, his little chest rising and falling in sleep, and I am at peace. The roller coaster rides on...

We had our 20 week scan earlier this week and it was amazing. But still, for the first few minutes I held my breath. The god forsaken tech announced that she would be taking measurements of my anatony before going to the baby and all I wanted was to see a heartbeat, to hear that yes, your baby is still alive. I can't say it was the longest two minutes of my life, but I'm fairly certain I didn't breathe the entire time. This despite the fact that within the week prior I had had a live baby confirmation provided to me many times, once by my OB/NP after running to them following an evening of dead baby dreams and what I perceived as decreased movement, and a few times after finally caving and purchasing a doppler (in hopes to save us from unnecessary medical expenses).

The relief of hearing his strong heartbeat, of seeing him stubbornly turn away from the ultrasound, of seeing his now rounder limbs and beautiful proportionate body is too overwhelming to capture in words. So forgive me. I made what is likely considered a social blunder, but I just simply couldn't help myself. I posted the ultrasound pics on F.acebook. I know, bad. Of all the times I cursed others and here I am, claiming my hardy hypocrit crown. I have to get some props for not taking it that obnoxious step further by making it my profile picture at least, right?

It's just that to date, this is the most miraculous, amazing life event that I have ever experienced and I am beginning to understand how others (as in, ahem, fertiles) can be so thoughtless and shove it in people's face. The joy is hard to hide. This doesn't mean I condone thoughtlessness, but that I am catching wind of another perspective. But alternatively, F.acebook provides the lovely option of hiding news stories and such and after this feature has saved me countless heartache, I am hoping that if my sharing brings anyone the same grief I've experienced, that they'll use it in full force, too.

So here I am. Half-way. Ecstatic, but still partly terrified. He was the carrot that was always dangling in front of me everytime I put my feet up in stirrups, everytime I put a needle into my body, everytime I got a negative and managed to keep on. He kept me hoping that my long-awaited dream, our long-awaited dream, would finally be realized. If it is, it makes these last five years well worth it, as I always knew it would.

**By the way, thanks to all of you who have responded to the poll so far. For the time being, I will take both ideas and write openly while posting a little warning at the top of each entry for those that might have a harder time reading about PG on that particular day (or year, as it was for me). And for those who might have been regular readers previously, but have not continued, I obviously, completely understand. But then, you're not reading this anyway. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

IF Blog

While I never begrudged anyone their happiness, especially after enduring the hell of infertility, it always irked me a little when infertility blogs turned into full-blown pregnancy blogs. In fact, oftentimes, it made my heart drop just to see posts comparing offspring to various produce, littered with pictures of baby bumps just sitting in my reader. And yet here I am finding that it is only natural that in writing about my current experience, pregnancy will be one of the main topics of discussion. I never intended this blog to go in that direction and that is likely one of the reasons preventing me from regular writing (that and I am one lazy mo fo). In a way, I feel I am doing a disservice in not speaking about what's actually going on. I'm back to censoring, something that led to the demise of so many of my previous blogs and it defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. So, I'm stuck and I need your help!

I've posted a poll on the side bar looking for general opinions. Please share them openly! And if there's a choice that I've not included that you come up with, please share that as well!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two Posts...in One Day!!

This is a quick one for Mr. S. Today marks our anniversary...9 years! Through all the shit that has been thrown at us (not just IF, unfortunately), we're still here and still completely in love. Happy Anniversary!!!

And to the jackass of a bridesmaid who said we would never last to a friend of ours shortly after being in our wedding (by the way, she does not read this blog, nor has she been a friend for many years), I would like to loudly proclaim, SUCK IT! Ahh. That feels better.

Looking for the Rainbow

I never intended to go so long without a post, but work has been beating me senseless. Once I arrive home, I have already spent all of the energy that could be devoted to anything more than staring blankly at a TV screen and drooling a little bit. Sadly, I'm probably not exagerrating on the drooling part.

Many have said that once you pass your 12 week mark, especially after the torrent of ultrasounds I've had, the anxiety lessens considerably. Ultrasounds are
met with more anticipation than fear. The plans of what the nursery will look like dominate any thoughts of what would happen if anything were to go wrong. While this is the case with me, it is only to a point.

Do you know how with infertility, everyday is a roller coaster? One day, you're up and feeling strong, ready to fight, and the next day, you're defeated and can barely lift your head up. Well, somehow I learned how to transfer that reaction straight over to pregnancy.

I'm wondering when I'll ever be able to speak of anything baby related light-heartedly without an inkling in my heart that perhaps this chatter will disappear tomorrow after a fateful ultrsound. Sometimes I even feel as if I'm lying to others when I say I'm due to have a child in November. But then the next day, I'm ready to shout it from the roof tops, especially on the heels of an OB appointment. At what point does this constant fear cross over from a natural reaction to infertility and loss to an unnatural anxiety that might rob me of possibly one of the happiest times of my life?

Don't get me wrong. I am happy, happier than I've ever been, but I'm aware that I have so much to lose at this point and am not naive enough to think that it could never happen to me. There are moments when I 'let go', when I let myself 'just be' in this pregnancy and wrap myself around the idea that in just a handful of month's time, my little boy will be home safe and sound. I imagine this is how it must feel to be fertile and pregnant, never having experienced loss. It's all consuming and with the way it feels, I can almost forgive them for their insensitive blunders. Almost. :) The feeling of this is enough to sustain me for a day at most, but then the battle ensues again between security and fear. It's a day-by-day journey, vascillating between hope and well, less hope.

My calendar this summer is packed. Every weekend is filled with weddings, baby showers (blech), bridal showers, out-of-town trips. And yet even at 17 weeks I am tentative to RSVP or book tickets for any of it, wondering whether when that date comes, will all be well? Rather than looking forward, I set myself up for catastrophe. I get my rain jacket out and wait for the storm all the while trying hard to appreciate the rainbow in front of me.

I think this difficulty in letting go is also a function of my personality and learning, not just infertility. While I'm generally happy-go-lucky, I do come from a family that does more than embrace reality, they embrace negativity, inadvertently so. Although my parents always mouthed the words, "you can be anything you want to be", when it came time to grasp it for themselves, they never did. They accepted their 'lot in life' and in many ways, believed that they didn't deserve more.

I'm telling you, children learn more from examples than words. I think I've been fearful to actually believe this baby will be born because "why would that happen to me?" I'm afraid to believe that a dream could come true, that I could experience anything beyond the misery and loss I've for so long embraced as my lot. I think as the days pass, I'm getting closer, but it's not without effort.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Opening the Doors: Coming out of the Infertility Closet

I've long dreamed of what my 'coming out' would look like. Coming out of the infertility closet, that is. I have always known it would happen sooner or later as I feel a real responsibility to the IF community and future couples who will face IF to share at least part of my story. I mean, it's ridiculous that IF is still such a taboo or rather now a sensationalized subject when 1 in 8 couples have REAL stories to share (that do not involve 8 offspring at once). But I've run into some obstacles in conceiving of such a plan.

First, how could I possibly convey the depth and breadth of the IF experience, the pain and the ups and downs to someone who has never stepped near it? How could my descriptions not sound over-dramatic and yet under-dramatic at the same time? Then there's the issue with how much to tell. Now that we will hopefully be welcoming our IVF/ICSI baby into the world this November, how much of this story belongs to him? Should I respect his privacy and allow him the choice to share the story of his conception? I wonder whether those who remain ignorant despite my best attempts will think of him first as a product of IVF and second as a child. So many variables to consider, and yet still I feel a driving force to throw open the closet doors.

While some of my closest friends and family members know of our IF, most of them do not. I can easily count those in the know on less than two hands. While in the process of treatment, I didn't think it would be very helpful to have any more noses poking where they didn't need to be and quite frankly I never trusted that ignorant comments wouldn't change my relationship with them. I only told those who I knew would respond with tactful and supportive comments or rather, those who I was close enough to know that a silly comment here and there would not destroy our relationship. Now that I'm not actively involved in treatment, I feel the day is nearing when more will hear about our struggles and the fact that we are not alone.

I'm still in the planning stages, but I've considered several different formats for the 'outing'. First, I have another personal blog (where I rarely write, my last entry was in January), that I know some of my friends and acquaintances do read from time to time. There is no way to go.ogle me and find it so I know that the only ones on it have been through invitation only. I've thought about a post briefly describing our journey (no exact treatment details, just length of time and alluding to an 'involved' journey) with links to a few informative Resolve articles, an anonymously written excerpt, and the infertility awareness project video that illustrates the experience much better than I ever could. On the other hand, I've also thought of doing the same only through email in order to 'contain' and have more control over who my viewing audience would be, but then that would defeat the purpose of disseminating information to the general public.

I once approached 'coming out' in an even more public way. You see, L.ifetime was recruiting couples undergoing IVF at my clinic for a documentary and I readily signed up for it. The purpose was to illustrate the 'real' story of infertility. I thought, hey if I'm going to come out, it might as well be on national TV, right? (ha, I'll take my 15 minutes any way you slice them!) I was fully prepared to have a camera follow me into my retrieval and transfer and through the aftermath of a possible BFN because I thought that if I knew I would fail in describing the experience to others, I thought that showing would be far more effective. Despite being in a series of lengthy talks with the documentary makers, they informed me that the project was on hold indefinitely, although personally I find it suspicious that they said this after I sent them my picture, ha!

So, yes I'm torn, but one day, when I feel the time is right, I'll come out. I'll come out for my infertile sisters and brothers who are still walking the path to parenthood, for those who have walked in the past and most importantly, for those who will find themselves on it in the future. I'm realizing very clearly one of the reasons why I was made to walk it myself and soon it'll be time to fulfill that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Saving Sanity

I finally broke down and registered on B.aby c.enter. Having forgotten that I had registered this time last year, the system indicated that a login with my address already existed, so I took a guess at the password and immediately jumped to a screen that falsely, and more importantly, cruelly marked a time line that stopped last June. At the top of the screen, your child's age is marked. I never did go in and change it after we lost our bean. B.aby C.enter was a place in my mind I thought I would never return to. My child, had he or she survived, would have been 4 months old. That knocked the wind out of my temporarily confident sails. Instead of trying to figure their system out and removing this information, I promptly logged out and created another account. One for my rainbow baby.

To quell my weekly and regularly scheduled bout of insanity this time around, my new OB gave me ANOTHER ultrasound a few days ago during a routine check-up. And do you know what I learned from that ultrasound? I learned the following:

  • Word has likely spread via my chart and possible office chatter that I'm one of the insane ones.
  • My OB rocks. He is generous with the 'sanity' check ultrasounds, given my continuing status of slightly insane.
  • I have a really narrow pelvis and I better have a baby that is not much over 6 1/2 pounds. Seriously, if you knew me, this narrow pelvis thing would be a shock because I am a true pear-shaped girl who always considered herself to have 'child birthing' hips. Turns out, all that width was not my bone structure but my junk in the trunk.
  • Gender can be determined as early as 13 weeks, 3 days. Really.
  • And on that note, we're having a BOY!! I was shocked when I saw the boy parts as clear as day. Of course, nothing is 100%, but my doc said he'd bet money and although I'm sure the dude has money to spare, I'll go with him on this.
So, yes, many awesome things were learned in what did prove to be a sanity saving check-up. For today, I'm at the top of the roller coaster.