Sunday, February 28, 2010

Don't Worry About Me

As I watch the clock, I see that it is just 4 days shy since my journey as a Fatherless child began. Since my Father took his last breath.  While I had over a week to prepare for this farewell or perhaps even years in all honesty, I realize that it could have just as well been a century and I never would have been at a place where I was ready.

It began when my Mother found my Father, who was first diagnosed with emphysema and placed on oxygen in 1997, unresponsive a few weeks ago.  From there, we spent hours in the ICU watching him breathe with the help of a ventilator only to learn that on that day, the day before his 75th birthday, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and his lungs were collecting fluid. For the first few days in the hospital, he was mostly unresponsive, mumbling unintelligably. As you might imagine, oxygen deprivation to the brain can make for significant confusion, especially in the elderly, and during my Father's hospital stay, this comes as bit of an understatement. At times he was grabbing at the air, threatening people (which is COMPLETELY out of character for him) and making odd statements.  But after he came off the ventilator, there were a few statements he made that were crystal clear, one of which was,

"Don't worry about me. I've lived a good life."

He knew.  All along, during equal moments of pure confusion and muted lucidity, all along he knew that his body, having fought so long and hard, was ready to hang up the gloves. I initially was made to face some tough decisions regarding the end of his life, but my Dad, in the few moments of clarity he had, took the decision out of my hands and let me know he was ready. And after he reiterated this, he told me to go home, get some rest, and be with my baby.  So, I did. And he left this earth soon after. 
 And quite frankly, while I ache with sadness, I am at the same time relieved. He was tired towards the end, robbed of any quality of life and frequently spoke of a longing to move on.  He did so peacefully, knowing he was loved. I could only hope the same for all others.

But he is far from gone. So much of the world around me and so much of the memories speak of him, whisper that he is still here with me. How could he be gone when they are not?

I recall a moment a few years ago. I was looking at a picture I had just taken of my parents out in front of their house and was thinking that while it felt like it was the 'same old' at the time, that I would one day look back at it as the past, as a time that would seem so distant and that I would ache from the memory. I already do as it is never to be again.

My Daddy is...

Paint speckled on whites and paint brushes soaking in a jar of water in the kitchen. (he was a house painter)
"You deserve a beer!" after he came home from work.
Taking my girlfriends and I to theme parks and concerts.
Arms, deepened into copper after a day's work in the summer sun, and decorated with a tattoo of faded air force wings.
Roller coaster rides in open air.
Baby poop jokes told in a thousand different ways depending on what we were eating.
Classic country playing through static on an 8 track, a stack of old cassette tapes on his desk.
A gleaming solid wood box brimming with lovingly collected coins.
A 1984 Dodge Pickup truck sitting out front.
A belt buckle from the local country music station.
Colorful stories of the Air Force, from Fort Bayne, Georgia to England.
A soft heart for animals he tried to hide from most others.
And most of all, a love for me that I never once questioned.

Daddy, you will be missed more than words will ever begin to describe.  At last, peace is yours for the keeping now.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Well, for goodness sakes...Nervermind!!

Postponed again! 

It looks like GMA will not be airing our MFI piece this Sunday after all. I think that the next time they tell us an air date, I'm not letting people know until the evening before! 

Friday, February 26, 2010

GMA Appearance Back On

Sunday at 7 AM...tune in to Good Morning America to see Mr. S and I chatting it up about MFI.

I've had some big, awful things happen lately that have prevented me from updating, but eventually I'll be back on as usual. In the mean time, I'm just crossing my fingers that I didn't say anything too silly! (like accidentally call it in vitro insemination, haha! or talk about them 'implanting' our embryos!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

GMA Postponed

So, it turns out our Good Morning America showing will be postponed due to Clinton's surgery. Poo!  It's taken a lot to prepare myself to wince and groan at my post baby butt filling up the screen, but alas, I must do it all over again next week (as the piece will likely air next Saturday).  I know it's been a year of madness for those in public life, but can the celebrities and politicians please have an uneventful next week? I need to get this waiting over with!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


There are a number of revelations or rather, discoveries I've made since G was born.  Being that he is essentially my first foray into babies, I never predicted the way I would think of him and how it would change the way I look at the world.  It should go without saying that I adore G. I love him deeply and madly and well beyond what I thought possible.  I study his every expression with wonder, every detail, from the pattern of his eyebrows and the fine layer of blond fuzz along his jaw to his tiny fingernails.  His every sigh is heart melting. All he need to do to gain my adoration is breathe and yet he does so much more and when he does, my heart leaps.  I know that all of you feel or will feel this way about your child, but it never dawned on me how much my love for him would make me think of other children. All children. Simply, every child ever born on earth should be adored in this way, but sadly, not all are.

The fact that this is the first time I truly grasped this, despite the fact that my job is children and especially disadvantaged children, is surprising to me.  Sure, my heart has been tugged at so many times in the duration of my short career, but this is especially so now. The fact that a parent would even fathom not bothering to show up to a child's school meeting or worse yet, neglect their most basic needs (especially emotional) is beyond my comprehension. No matter how many times I face it, I will never understand.

Another discovery I've made since G was born is how miraculous it is that we all started out in the same way. Once upon a time, each and every one of us was that tadpole I saw on the ultrasound screen and later, we were all once that screaming, pooping and completely helpless little being who is no bigger than a football.  School age children are my forte, so anything before the walking/talking and mostly independent thought never REALLY crossed my mind, so as I watch G grow and I see him stumble through one milestone to the next, I am in awe.  It's amazing that most of us acquire language and mobility because frankly learning that looks like really hard work. I should know. After a short session of play and learning to roll on his side, my kid is fast asleep, snoring away the morning (let's hope he snores a little longer!--nevermind, his baby telepathy just set in and I caught a glimpse of eyeball!).

I guess overall what's amazing to me is that this one child has made me look at an entire world full of people differently.  Tragedies seem more tragic, triumphs seem more miraculous.  I experience others' pain more deeply.  I now wonder when will I be able to watch the news without tearing up? But honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More IF Spokespeople in the Media

Good for Celine Dion in coming forward and discussing IF, especially given how hard that is while being in the midst of treatment.  I can't imagine relinquishing that much privacy during that time.  Here's hoping that one more person stepping forward will pull the taboo on IF down another notch.

(however, I must add that I find it a little ironic that the article on the cover of People magazine is entitled 'my private heartbreak'. Sweetie, it's not so private anymore!)

Monday, February 8, 2010

GMA recapped

You know you're infertile when...

A nationally televised program shows up at your house to tape and in the course of the process you find out your RE will be showing up to be interviewed as well. You discover you're more excited to see your RE than be taped for Good Morning America. Anyhow, I digress...

(Mr. S, me, and G with our amazing RE, Dr. H!)

(pardon me for the way I'm allowing my poor sleeping child's head to flop back!)

The day started promptly at 10 AM and to be quite honest, I walked into it without any preconceptions and partly wondering if it was a practical joke. So imagine my surprise when my entire house was suddenly filled with camera equipment. It certainly made the experience more real for me.

We began filming almost immediately upon the camera crew's arrival and started out with shots of Mr. S and I walking G around the marina near our house in his stroller. While it had been pouring non-stop rain for days on end and was slated to continue, the day of the shooting was not only dry, but the sun was out, boasting an almost cloudless sunny sky. We couldn't believe our luck.

Because of course so many of the shots are staged in TV land (giving me a very different perspective on reality TV), there were certainly times when I felt silly in front of the camera, but all in all, it was a fun, albeit long experience (especially considering that the 8 hours of filming will produce a segment approximately 3 1/2 minutes in length). They got shots of us sitting on a bench near our house, changing G, feeding G, putting him down for a nap, getting ready, blogging, and a final shot of us solemnly walking hand-in-hand without G, and then finally being joined by G, meant to be symbolic of our journey. Although contrived, it still jarred something in me. In fact, I was surprised that after all this time, after this many years of facing IF and processing it ad nauseum with so many people, that I still get choked up when discussing everything that's come to pass, especially when it involves our little miracle.

Then our interview came and although the actual correspondent is not present (their questions are read but then they fill in the other part in NY), I was surprised to find myself nervous and even tongue tied at times. As I sit here recalling some of my answers, I'm praying for the miracle of good editing.

During the interview, I was asked to describe the emotions that accompany riding the road of infertility and as I began, I realized the task at hand was completely out of my reach. In fact, it is so far out of the realm of language, that, as I've said before, it felt as if I was both over-dramatizing and under-dramatizing it. But I did give a one word description: HELL. Ok, not the most eloquent response, I'll admit, but I personally think it's pretty accurate. I think it took those in the room who were unfamiliar with infertility aback as it was so dramatic, especially since I sort of blurted it out without much thought, but I meant it. I went on trying to describe the last 5 or so years and felt as if I was doing a huge disservice to the depth and pain of the experience, so forgive me if they show that part and I haven't really been the best IF spokesperson. I tried!

Overall, the show focused primarily on male factor infertility and a few days before, the producer had asked me what my diagnosis was. To be quite honest, I didn't know and while my medical records had always described only male factor, I kind of assumed that I contributed to the equation. I'm embarrassed to say that after this many years I finally asked my doctor my diagnosis for the first time and was surprised to learn that I didn't have one. We are only male factor. Does this make me fertile? Hell to the no. As I've said before, WE are infertile. Once you have a life partner, you are only as fertile as they are.

Another question that was asked that left me dumbfounded was somewhere along the lines of whether we would do it all over again in the same manner (especially given that we took the least invasive routes to the very end). The final answer was, 'yes' and then my RE, who was standing off on the sidelines, added a beautiful point. Had we gotten pregnant 5 years ago, it would not have been G. So, yes, I don't believe I would have done anything differently. This was the road I took to the little boy I was meant to have all along and this is what I think of for all IFers struggling through their journey and what got me through ours.

Instead of documenting everything that was discussed during the course of the 2 hour long interview taping, I think I'll instead respond to the comments that actually make it into the final cut, especially if they come across the wrong way and I have some explaining to do! (you never know until the final edit!) I do want to add that my RE was amazing and eloquent and somehow was able to encapsulate IVF and ICSI in layman's terms, so that no one will be left confused, fertile and infertile alike.

And to leave you, here's a picture that comes full circle. In it, I was at the Good Morning America studios in NYC as an audience member (2006) pumped full of Clomid and just one week shy from our first IUI:

**Our segment actually airs on the weekend edition this Saturday, February 13th. Check your local listings for times (it's usually REALLY early, as in butt crack of dawn early)**

Friday, February 5, 2010


I am typing this as GMA is filming...omg indeed. They're getting a shot of us blogging since part of the show is about infertility blogging. It's one of many shots they've gotten. What an interesting (and all day!) experience so far that I can't wait to share. We gave a shout out to the ALI blogging community...hopefully they'll not edit that out!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Could My Dreams of Becoming an Infertility Rockstar be Coming True?

You'll notice that some of my posts have either been heavily edited or deleted altogether. What once was my haven to spill about anyone or anything I wanted will likely disappear next week, making way for a more public and less anonymous forum...and I'm completely OK with it. Why?

Because we're going to be on Good Morning America next week talking about infertility, people!

Talk about REALLY coming out of the closet! I guess we figure go big, or go home.

We're not completely sure when it will be aired (and I'm fairly certain it will be on the weekend edition), but it should be sometime next week and when we find out, we'll let everyone and their Grandmother know. The focus is more specifically on male infertility and was prompted by a brief interview Mr. S provided to Conceive magazine awhile back. We just found out about this yesterday and after finding out that they'll be shooting at our house, you better believe I've morphed into a crazy cleaning lady and, 'oh my God I'm still wearing maternity clothes, I better get real people clothes' lady. Also, 'damn why couldn't this have happened AFTER I lost the baby weight?' lady.

Oh, and my real name is not Shelby, and although I considered just blogging under my real name after this, I think I'll maintain it. I'd like to think of Shelby as my infertility warrior name, kind of like Beyonce and her Sasha Fierce alter ego, except in real life and while using my real name, we're still infertile!

So stay tuned and we'll let you know the who, what, where and when. We already know the why!