Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Spending a quiet day at home - just J and I. We're going out for dinner tonight to a place that serves Northern Italian food. Yum! As I always do whenever possible, I've checked out the online menu to try to decide what to have before I get there. I am terrible at making food decisions - as I love nearly everything. So my choices are an ahi tuna with risotto, or a pasta with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and asiago cheese.
After dinner we plan to just come back home play some games, maybe watch TV a little, and then we'll walk down to where they drop the ball. I live in a small town but we do have our own faux Times Square celebration. It's kind of funny. Nearly everyone in the village gathers, the ball drops, and everyone leaves immediately.
I did submit my wish for 2008 to the real Times Square visitor center. Not sure if you know but if you submit your wish they will write it on a piece of confetti that will be dropped over the street at Midnight. We all know what I wished for but I won't tell so as to not jinx it or anything. I will say though that this time I was much more specific.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year. Hope that 2008 brings you peace and some happiness.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Everything I Ever Needed to Know...

I was cleaning out a closet today (have to do something to occupy my time during the 2ww) and came across some old books. One book in particular got me thinking. Mr. may have learned a lot in kindergarten but I learned a lot more from being infertile.

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from being infertile.
Share everything. It doesn’t matter how modest you are when you begin the infertility journey, I promise you by the end you will not be. You will have shared everything about yourself; with your spouse, possibly family and friends, your RE, and also most likely the entire staff of your RE’s office. People will know how long your cycles are, whether they are regular or not, your ovulation days, what color underwear you usually wear, how you choose to groom your area, and how a tiny pill called Clomid can make you morph into a different person.

Play Fair. Yeah right, all may be fair in love and war, but NOT in infertility. Sometimes it will seem like everyone you know in the world who tries to get pregnant does so on their first attempt. That is not fair.

Don’t hit people. As tempting as it may be to slug the person who tells you to relax and it’ll happen, or who says that they get pregnant just looking at their husband, it really would be better if you can practice some self-control. Otherwise you may end up arrested for assault.

Put things back where you found them. You can return used sharps containers to your RE’s office. Try to remember to do that at follow-up appointments. Otherwise you will end up like me, with mounds of soda bottles filled with used needles in the back of my closet. People would think I had a terrible drug habit if someone ever found them. I can never remember to bring them with me to return them.

Clean up your own mess. Invest in panty liners if your RE tells you that you will be using progesterone suppositories. Messy can not begin to describe them. Wish someone had told me that the first time I used them.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours. This includes magazines and pens from your RE’s waiting room and the condoms your RE uses over the dildo-cam. Doesn’t matter how many of your friends who are not ttc may need those condoms, they will just have to go to the local drugstore for their supply.

Say you’re sorry if you hurt someone. This one is for the people giving you those IM injections. If you happen to hit the nerve it will cause unimaginable pain. Be careful. Oh, and jab quickly, don’t put the needle in slowly. Those bruises will eventually go away too.

Be aware of wonder. I find it pretty amazing how the human race continues to go on - knowing how hard it is to actually get pregnant. All of the complex steps that have to occur. Fascinating.

Take a nap every day. You will need to with all of the early monitoring appointments you’ll have.

Live a balanced life. You can try this if you are in the beginning of your journey but it gets more difficult the longer you have been ttc. Infertility does not really allow for a balanced life - it has a way of taking over your life.

Wash you hands before you eat. I think this one is more intended for your RE and the clinic staff.

Flush. What you do with your money when cycle after cycle after cycle (after cycle) doesn’t work.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. So are martini’s and red wine when you get a BFN.

When you go out into the world, hold hands and stick together. It helps to know that you are not alone. There are a lot of couples facing infertility. Share your struggle with others if you can, even if it’s only with your lineal friends. If you are one of the people who has reached the other side, and achieved bringing home a baby, try to remember what it was like when you were going through your own struggle. Try to be a friend to those who are still struggling. If you are still struggling, know that you are normal if you feel some resentment and jealousy toward people who are pregnant or who have children, even if they themselves have struggled with infertility in the past.

Goldfish and hamsters and mice and the seed in the plastic cup - they all die. So do we. Hmmm…I wish I had remembered this one more. Miscarriage rates are staggering (in my opinion) yet no one talks about them. My advice: be informed about them, do what you can to prevent them, but also know that most times you can’t prevent them. If you are faced with one, I am sorry. Try to find support somewhere, you don’t have to go through that alone.

Learn, think, draw, paint, sing, dance, play, and work a little every day. Try not to let infertility take over your life. Not good advice from someone who has let it take over. But don’t become like me. I am not good at this but I do know that someday the infertility journey will be over, whether that be by bringing home a baby, adopting, or eventually getting to the point of living childfree. Try to keep other things in your life that are important so that you don’t get to the future and realize a good portion of your life was spent focused on infertility and nothing else.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Finally J and I have returned from our Christmas trip to visit the family. Good to be home.
It’s strange how traditions change as family dynamics do. I used to love going to my Aunt and Uncle’s house for Christmas eve when I was a kid. My Mom would buy my sister and I these new dresses every year for Christmas. During the day she’d put our hair in curlers so it would be curly and we usually had new hair ribbons to match the new dresses, and I can almost still smell the scent of her perfume and my dad’s after-shave as we all got dressed to go to dinner. Dinner was always the same - and actually this is one part of Christmas that hasn’t changed for my family. We always have fish. Always. Terrible as a kid, but I do like it now. After dinner everyone would gather around the tree and sing Christmas carols and then Santa would show up and pass out gifts. We stayed there until around midnight when we would then head over to Midnight Mass at Church. That was always so magical for me, the statues at the alter and the singing, and the candles, and I think most times I’d fall asleep right there in the pew. After my Aunt and Uncle were no longer able to have the big dinner at their house, our family tradition was altered a little and it was at my Mom’s house. Still the same food, still lots of gift giving around the tree, still church going. Different in some ways, and after a few years we acclimated ourselves to our new tradition. Within the past two years our Christmas has changed again - a lot of the people in our family are no longer here, including my Mom. We now have dinner at a cousin’s house, and while the menu is the same, it definitely feels different. We still sat around the tree and exchanged gifts but the older folks talking, playing cards, laughing, and the kids playing and awaiting Santa, well those things don’t happen anymore. I suppose it will take some time to acclimate ourselves again to this new tradition. I guess new traditions aren’t necessarily bad things, it just takes some getting used to, and some time for them to become traditions.

I thought I would lose my mind without my near-daily dose of blog reading. Now I have a lot of catching up to do. Hope that you all had nice holidays - whatever holidays you and your families celebrate.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What the World needs now is Love, Sweet Love

In our world today everyone seems to be in such a rush. As I sit at the store cafe looking around I notice everyone hurrying through the store buying their last minute holiday gifts, eating lunch fast to get back to work, talking on their cell phones, and working on their wireless laptops. (Just a FYI: I haven’t even started by shopping yet. I’ve got 4 days to buy, wrap, and pack everything I need for our Christmas visit with the family). And the holidays just exasperate the pace at which we live. Add one more thing to our already too long list of things to do, and it’s enough to push many of us over the edge. Our world seems to move at such a fast pace that I think we sometimes forget to stop and think about other people. Slowing down and stopping to actually think about other people may be just what we all need. It couldn’t hurt.
One lesson that my infertility and pregnancy loss have taught me is how important compassion, empathy, and kindness are to other people. How one small kind word or gesture could be something that changes someone’s day. And how the opposite is also true. How not thinking carefully about what you’re saying, and to whom, could hurt as much as an actual wound.
I’ve said it before and probably will again – even though I now try my best to think carefully about what I’m saying and also about other people’s feelings I know that I probably won’t get that back in return. At least not from the fertile population. I apologize if you are part of that fertile community and you think differently of yourself. Just speaking from my own experience. From all of you though, in blog world, I do – your kind comments here help me more than I can say. Thank you for that.

Where was I headed with this? Oh yeah, I don’t think that people take other people’s feelings, situations, etc into consideration enough. With the holidays upon us I have pondered about my Grandmother and maybe the reason she doesn’t seem into the holiday spirit this year is because she’s lost two of her children in the past year (the rest of family says she’s just getting ornery with age), about my co-worker who passed away this year, and how her family is doing this first holiday season without her, and about our friends who have a new baby this year and how excited they must be to celebrate this year. I wonder though how many people will stop to remember that J and I were supposed to be buying a baby’s first Christmas ornament and playing Santa for the first time this year.
Even though the rest of the world won’t remember my baby – he didn’t live outside of me so no one else has any memories of him, and as far as the rest of society is concerned I am surely “over it’ by now – I decided that I wanted to do something to remember him by for Christmas.

I decided a few weeks ago that I would pick a name off of the Angel Tree at the mall. I chose a child who would be about the same age as my baby would have been. In the past few weeks I have thought a lot about the tag I picked off of that tree. Many times I thought about bringing it back and placing it back on the tree. This was going to be too hard for me to do – I haven’t stepped foot in a baby section of a store since before our loss. But I didn’t – I started thinking about that baby who may not have any presents for his first Christmas and I knew I had to go shopping.
I did go shopping for those gifts for that little boy today. I won’t tell you that it was easy. It took me a long time to pick things out because there was lots of time I had to stand there and collect myself, to keep the tears from coming. But I did it, and after I was done shopping and dropping off those gifts to the charity collecting them, I felt good. I felt like I had done something to help honor the memory I have of my baby.
Am I still sad that I’ll be celebrating Christmas without my baby? Yes. Will I always feel sadness for the baby I never got to know? Absolutely. But if I can do things to honor the memory I have of him, maybe I can feel a bit closer to him. Maybe my own little angel will be proud that I would have been his Mommy.

To all of you, I hope that you can all find some happiness and peace that comes with holidays, in whatever way is best for you. I know it is often so hard to do. Also, remember that even if no one in your real life remembers that you may be dealing with a life-altering crisis right now, or feeling the hurt of losses (whether they be the loss of dreams or the loss of lives) I will remember and I’ll be thinking of you.

Monday, December 17, 2007

You'll shoot your eye out

Oh wait, this isn't a Red Rider BB gun. I'm not using that kind of trigger shot.
Had my fourth date with Dr. RE this morning and I've got three beautifully sized follies - one at 17.9, one at 18.2, and one at 18.7. I was hoping for a better response than just the two I got last month. Three is good. Plus I've got them on both sides this month so I'm happy about that.
I am already starting to surge on my own so I am triggering tonight and IUI will be tomorrow.

Oh, I hope this is it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My Ramblings

Wow, I can’t believe that it has been so long since I last posted updates on things. I have so much to talk about today.
Gettin’ Healthy – First, I think I did pretty damn good on the challenge that
dmarie started. My goals for the month were to increase how much seafood I eat a week, to floss every day, and to exercise 3 times per week. For the entire 30 day challenge I ate fish twice a week, plus began taking fish oil supplements every day. My acupuncturist had recommended them to me, and although I can’t find any information on whether they are a good substitute for the actual fish, I think they are close. Score 1 for me! On the flossing I did really great – flossing every day of the month. I still have to consciously think about doing this every day, it hasn’t really become a habit for me yet, but I’m getting there. And, hopefully according to that RealAge thing this is making my real age younger. The exercise part, I did ok. I never really did the three days a week, it was always one or two. I could have done a lot better. But as Meatloaf used to say, “two outta three ain't bad.” Right?
So I’m planning on continuing on for phase two of this getting healthy thing. Month #2 will begin tomorrow for me and my goals for this month are to continue what I have been doing but also to add:
· Really, truly exercising the three times a week
· Eating at least 3 different colored fruits or vegetables a day
We’ll see how this month goes.

The worry I felt about the meeting where everyone was going to introduce themselves to a new staff person was for naught. I ended up having an appointment with Dr. RE that morning so I was able to bypass the introductions. I have never been so happy to have a date with the dildo-cam as I was that morning. One more obstacle today at a staff meeting where there are going to be 3-4 announcements of new babies, plus the possible gift-giving for extremely pregnant co-worker. I hope I don't lose it. J told me to start daydreaming about other things and try to ignore everything. Just look on the outside like I am actually listening. I'm going to try it. Then I can breathe easy for a few weeks without the threat of anymore additional announcements for a while, I think.
On the IF front, today is CD10. Been on the Gonal for a week of so now and have another date with Dr. RE tomorrow morning. We increased my dose from last month and made one other small tweek to the protocol so I am keeping fingers crossed that I’ll have some decent looking follies this month. Last month I had two so I’m hoping for 3-4 this time. Obviously, I need all the extra chances I can get. Do I think it may work? Am I hopeful? I don’t know. The swinging pendulum of hope changes pretty frequently for me. We are only doing a few more of these so it either has to work or we may be out of options. That scares me so I’ve been trying not to think ahead too much. I’m trying my best to focus only on today. Today I am growing some good follies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale was quite an interesting book to read. At times it was a difficult read for me, as it jumped around a lot and I found it hard to keep my concentration on the story. In the end I enjoyed the story overall and found it pretty fascinating how a society could change so drastically without the people revolting against it. Scary.

Even though the rampant infertility is acknowledged to be largely due to environmental pollution, Gilead refuses to acknowledge the possibility of male infertility; if a Handmaid is unable to conceive with three Commanders, it is assumed that she is at fault and she is reassigned to the Colonies. How did this double standard resonate with you, if at all?
This really bothered me both in the book and the fact that in our society the majority of people assume that if a couple is having trouble conceiving that it is a problem with the female. It's always, "oh she can't get pregnant". My RE's office is in the Women's Health wing of a medical university, perpetuating this belief. What bothers me the most about infertility being seen as primarily a women's health issue is that it is because of this fact that I believe it is largely ignored by society, and insurance companies. If, in our mostly male dominated society, infertility was seen as also being a men's health issue it would probably receive more research dollars, and I personally think it would be more widely covered by insurance companies.

In one scene (it's after midnight and we all have different editions, but you know the one I mean without a page number, right?) Offred observes a funeral procession for a miscarried pregnancy. Comment on the inclusion of this type of ritual in the daily life of the community.
I think that this ritual was included in the community because of the importance they placed on pregnancies, and also to use as another way to remind the Handmaid's what happens to them if they aren't able to conceive a child for the Commanders and the Wives. Having been through miscarriage, I wished when reading the book, that our society placed a bit more importance on pregnancies, just not in the exact same way as the book. Pregnancies in our society are viewed as replaceable, expendable, etc. How many people say that you can just try again after you lose a baby? Like our pregnancies and children can be replaced by new ones. Maybe if our society viewed them with more significance then women suffering miscarriage would find more emotional support.

For all that the Handmaids are supposed to be serving the society's greater good and should be honored for that, they are looked down upon by just about everyone. Wives resent that the Handmaids do what they cannot, Marthas resent the time spent caring for them, Econowives resent them for the ease of existence they feel the Handmaids must enjoy. And the reverse is true as well, Handmaids resent the other women for having little freedoms they do not enjoy, whether it's control over a household, the ability to hold a knife and make radish roses, or to simply not be a possession without a name. Does this mutual resentment exist in the world of infertility? Do "fertiles" resent "infertiles" and vice versa? If so, in what way?
At first when I read this question I thought No Way! Why in the world would a fertile person resent me. What part of my life are they envious of? The frequent doctor visits, the invasive procedures, the emotional pain of losing my baby? But then I really started to think more about it and I do think that mutual resentment exists. I definitely resent fertile people, some much more than others, for the ease at which they achieved their dreams, for their naive joyful views of pregnancy, for the granted they sometimes take their families for. I think there are also some people who are fertile who resent me for not being able to have had children yet. Some people have commented on how they would love a day to just relax with their husbands, or a date night out with them, or being able to read a book. And, I think that some of these people are actually quite sincere in that they do wish that we could trade places even if only for a day.

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Fowler (with author participation!)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Letters to Santa

The excitement and joy a child feels when writing a letter to Santa is one of the most fun parts of Christmas. I remember how magical it all seemed. Writing what I most wished for, having my Mom help address that envelope, and then she took it to mail it off. Waiting for Christmas morning wondering if what I asked for in my letter would really be there. I wish I could do that with my own children. Looking through the holiday catalogs from Sear's, JCPenney, Macy's and picking out our choices as a bedtime ritual. Writing the letter while we drink hot chocolate together. Seeing the amazed, sparkling eyes on Christmas morning when the things asked for are really actually under the tree.
People have started asking me what J and I want for Christmas this year. I'm at a loss for what to tell them. Sure the normal everyday gift cards to restaurants, movies, and all the other things people who don't have children can do at a moment's notice would be fine. They would definitely get used. Gift cards to home improvement stores would work too - we have lots of work to do on our house. Clothes, CD's, DVD's, wine, whatever. The problem is none of these things is anything I really care about. It'd be nice to have all those things, but what I really want... well, this explains it perfectly right
I've asked for it so many times before. Still haven't received it. I don't think my family or friends will be giving it to me. I'm sure it won't be under the tree on Christmas morning.

But please, please, please let Santa hear me this time.