Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Here I was so scared to have people read my blog. Now I am thinking "What was I thinking! I know some of the most incredibly smart, funny, deep, kind women. I think it will be good for me to mull over other's perspectives. Thanks for the food for thought and support.

The slippery slope

When we first started infertility treatments our morale was good and our standards were high. We were naive and hopeful and actually spent time thinking through the ethical ramifications of things. Four years later we are pretty much hardened fertility crack whores.

When H had to collect his first semen sample we earnestly thought over how we could collect the swimmers as naturally as possible. I wanted the fruits of our labors to yield a child conceived through love, in a manner as close to the real deal as possible.

What actually went down was what H has said "was the worst experience of my life." He claims he "felt like a Heffer being milked by a man with chappy hands" and I may as well have been wearing farmer overalls for how little I cared about making this a natural sexy/loving event. Um, I don't really deny these charges. I admit that I was even a tiny bit happy he had finally experienced the poopshute that is fertility sex. Welcome to the dark side baby.

Fast forward to the latest semen sample. I didn't even go to the appointment. I slapped H on the butt, and said good luck. Then about five minutes later I called to say that I would appreciate him taking a picture of the collection room. I wanted to know if it was a cold sterile medical-ish place (hoping) or a burlesque style whore room (fearing). Then two minutes later I called to tell him that if things really weren't working out, I would be OK with him checking out the "reading" material. ("What have I come to?" I pondered and dismissed within nanosecond. I don't have time for conscience right now.)

Turns out it was a medical-ish room, but not sterile. There was a leather couch that H stayed away from and there was a very innocent looking cupboard with some well-used porn inside that he also stayed away from. A sample was retrieved and H exited the room as quickly as possible. Gotta love a germaphobe.

And as for the whole conceive a baby through our love hoopla: I don't think a baby conceived even during a moment of seething hatred (and I have many) would be a bad thing. At worst, my baby may be spunky. And spunk is good.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Go Easy on Me

Despite the fact that I have a very tiny following of readers, I am still scared to put this out in the the universe. I fear the repercussions of my latest "problem". I fear alienating people. I fear being punched in the face.
So brace yourself now and forgive me later. Please?
The problem is.... I have so much free time.
And yes, I know how nuts and spoiled and oh-poor-thing that sounds.
I don't know if I have the words to describe this one, but here goes...
The last 6 months have been the first time in my life that I haven't been actively pursuing something. I have always been busy - working, studying, fixing, studying, etc. I think that I don't judge a person's worth by their accomplishments, but maybe that's how I measure myself. Here is the drill. I come home from work and do some combination of cooking, watching tv, blog reading, real reading, working out, and laying on the couch. Laying on the couch watching TV is the dominant activity. I already feel crazy having just typed that sentence. Even right now as I sit on the couch blogging, feeling crappy, I find typing out my daily routine actually sounds relaxing and wonderful. Heck, I could even throw in a bubble bath in there if I wanted. Last week I made my own homemade pita bread!
I told H my horrible problem and he didn't get it at all. I told him how I feel like I am just inventing things to kill time. That I am not actually enjoying the things I do, but desperately trying to create some enjoyment during all the hours I face each night before bed. He tried to fix my problem by listing all the unfinished projects I have around the house. He told me I should be grateful for this time because I will never have it again. And I will miss it desperately when I am a mom and I will be sad I didn't appreciate and relish all my awesome selfish time. He told me I should learn Spanish. He was right about everything, but I began to cry out of frustration because I needed him to understand, not just solve.
I am having a difficult time enjoying anything because no matter how great it is, it is just something to bide my time until I am a mom. I want to be crazy busy. I want to know what exhaustion feels like. I want to fight over homework, I want pray out of desperation on someone elses behalf. I want my life to be for someone besides me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Little Eric

In October H and I were discussing older child adoption. It is a really tough subject for him, and he has really struggled with the idea of opening his heart to a child who possibly might not be able to give or receive love. That is truly, a scary idea, but I have confidence in my ability to blindside myself with a "mission" or a beautiful little face, as I have seen both on the adoption websites I peruse.

On our way to work we had this very conversation. I suggested H look at some of the kids available in Texas. He called me to his office 30 minutes later because he "needed me to see someone". That someone was a five year old child who could have easily been mistaken as our own biological child. I have never been able to imagine a composite of the two of us, and here he was staring me in the face. He was beautiful. His name was Eric. We reverently read about him. I quietly explained to H that he was a white five year old with zero emotional, physical, or mental problems, and he was, in the adoption world, THE GOLDEN TICKET, and we hadn't made one attempt to even license in our state yet. This would be insurmountable odds. My explanation had so much more to do with telling myself those things. We made the call. The caseworker told us that Eric had not been listed more than 24 hours and they had already had 40 inquiries. Disheartened, but still feeling like something profound had happened, and could still happen, we hurried through our adoption classes. It still took nearly five weeks. I wouldn't allow myself to call back until we actually had a chance. We had to have an approved homestudy to even be included in the stack of applications. After the classes were done and we were ready to do our homestudy, H called the caseworker to check. We held our breath. Eric had been placed.

Eric broke our hearts, but I am so happy to have felt something. Through the experience I knew that so many things were aligned so H would see his picture on the one day it was up, so H would believe in the possibility that another person's baby could be his son. So H would know that he had the capacity to risk love. I knew that whether Eric was meant to be ours or not, we were meant to fall in love with him. And we did. I have heard women describe what it is like to mourn a child that was never yours. And I do.

A different kind of girl

A friend (who obviously doesn't read this blog) just told me that I never talk about my problems so it is refreshing to hear them because it proves I am human. I guess this revelation wasn't surprising to me, but it still isn't what I am shooting for in my humanity. I want to be open and honest and real and approachable. But realistically, deep to my core, I am a very private person. I guard my information and feelings very carefully and when I do release something personal it is generally intentional and well thought out. I think in circles about why this is the way that I am. Is it a bad thing that I am private? Am I private because I fear of bad things?

I do not withold my problems because I am a positive person. I withhold them because I do not want to seem like a whiner. There is a fine art to airing your dirty laundry and I am not confident in airing in a way that will come off as honest and endearing. We all know the attention hounds who only talk about themselves and their gazillion whoas. I don't wanna be that girl. We also know the straight talking, inspiring, get down and dirty with their struggles, I am every woman kind of woman. I want to be that girl, but don't know how.

Also, deep in my chemical makeup, I am a listener and data collector. I feel that I am good at listening, and therefore would rather do that. I feel that I have found (in the past) a successful niche in listening to women. There are so many talkers out there I think they like having an audience member. Or so I hope. I love the things I learn from listening to women. If they are the straight talkers, I learn from their experiences. If they are the attention hounds I learn about human nature. I have friends who are both, and I have found many reasons to genuinely like both types. I hope they like the private, listening, data collecting type. At least until I figure out how to be a different kind of girl.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Return of the Hulk

After a two month post-lap hiatus, my endo pain is back with a vengeance. So much so I stayed home from work and made Hubby do the same “in case something ruptured inside me and I needed someone else to drive me to the hospital”. He was happy to oblige. I told Hubby I was afraid it was cancer. It is the old familiar hot commotion feeling in the Uti, very similar to the I am going to diarrhea my guts out feeling you get before you really do diarrhea your guts out, plus the pinching - like a tiny angry lobster is stuck inside the ovary, desperate to get out, and then the random, yet chronic side pain that has led me to check the internet over 100 times to verify that the appendix truly is on the right side. It truly is on the right side. And Hubby said if it were cancer, woudn’t they have seen it during the lap?

So I am back at work today and schedule an appointment with my regular OB – who did the operation. The guy I hate, yet right before I fire him, breaks out a can of man-compassion, and with my extremely low opinion of all OBGYNs I think “am I really going to fare better?” so he is The Man.
Last visit I had a monsoon melt-down and I don’t intend on going down like that again, so I re-visit the internet halls of academia known as chat rooms to gather some ammunition. Consensus is still: “Lupron is a drug of the Devil” Wisely, I don’t make a deals with the devil (unless I absolutely have to). So though I feel responsible and guilty not following doc’s advice to go on said devil medicine for the minimum three months he advises, I really don’t dare take his advice. My RE said I will not have greater fertility after the Lupron than I have right now, so he is not a fan of the drug. Despite that, I am still conflicted, and scared the endo is growing back and hurting my lady parts, and jeapordizing my future babies, and I am to blame.

All these matters were haunting me when the parent pride parade begins right beside my cube. If you think “The Return of the Hulk” was in reference to my endo, you’d be wrong. Just wait: A coworker brings in his gorgeous two year old and so stinking cute baby to show off to his parent friends near me. Everyone (appropriately) ogles over the cute kiddos, (I gave a brief, yet genuine curtesy ogle) then they inevitably start comparing their own fruitfulness, then a coworker announces she is prego, (I knew already) then (yippee) another coworker finds out that his baby (It’s a boy! He found out today!) is due on the near the same day, then another coworker says his baby is due near the same day, then another coworker declares that we are going to be overrun by babies and starts going around cube by cube to tally the count. Before he could get to cube numero uno, my blood pressure had skyrocketed, my eyes were bulging, and I was fleeing the room in order to save the adorable kiddos from being eaten.
She’s BaaAAAACK!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The slow death

IF has completely anhilated my sex life. I need to do a little research to see if there are any people out there who have advice, or if there are books to deal with the stress of procreation. Hubby and I sort of shot ourselves in the foot by waiting too long to start trying in the first place. My friends who are trying to get pregnant who are still newlyweds can relate to my stress, but from what I gather, there isn't a young husband on earth besides mine who doesn't love ANY reason to get busy.

I'll do a little searching and hopefully have something more enlightening to say on the matter.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stirrup Queens

There is a great blog that is dedicated to organizing all the infertility related blogs a human could possibly read in a lifetime. It is called Stirrup Queens, and has led me to posts that have been the remedy to many lonely days.

One phenomenon that I have run into several times on the site are blog posts from previously infertile women who now have many children, who still identify with infertiles the most, but are finding they are no longer welcome in the IF circles.

Interesting...There is a true debate going on in the IF world for and against the "once an infertile, always an infertile" idea. I know where I stand right now on the subject. Right in the middle of ambivalence.

For: I want previously infertiles (PI) to be in the club because they offer a picture of hope. And if the woman is very careful, she may be able to offer up good advice and hope in a tactful way because she has experienced all the dog ways from Never Infertiles firsthand. I also feel for those with secondary infertility, and I can understand the frustration of having a baby (yeah!), but having to go back to square one if and when you want #2.

Against: I am secretly prejudiced against all PI's. I find that if an infertile gets pregnant too quickly (which I think amounts to any amount of time less than it has taken me), and they get pregnant too easily (Clomid! Are you kidding me? or Oh, you have complete insurance coverage for IVF, so you immediately moved to IVF?) then I immediately dismiss that they were ever infertile in the first place - probably just impatient. Those ho-bags. I have so much empathy for IFers in their first couple of years, because those were my toughest, yet I want to rip the IF badge they have earned right off their fruitful self the second I hear they are in the pregnancy club. They get all the glory of pregnant club and mommy club, so do they deserve to keep their membership in IF club?

Maps

A work friend announced she is expecting at our book club last night. I was genuinely happy for her, haven't had any delayed depression yet, and discovered something sort of disturbing about my self.

We are all accountants so timing of all things pregnancy are especially important to us. We have seasonal work, so with careful timing, you can avoid working long hours while bursting at the seams with baby. Of course, insurance coverage, maternity leave, etc, are important issues as well.

Here is the disturbing part: In a room of peers, I was the only one who didn't have a clue what 14 weeks along means, when to start "trying" in order to have a baby during the perfect window, what our insurance covers for pregnancies, and if we even have maternity leave! I also was being 100% truthful when I said I didn't know if I would work after I had a baby. I HAVE COMPLETELY CHECKED OUT! I don't know any of this, I don't care about any of this. And though this was initially disturbing to me, I have already concluded that I am perfectly normal. Would a man know about all this stuff? Probably not, so why would I?

One might think that a girl who is trying to have a baby would know all the answers to the items above, and believe me, 5 years ago I did. I knew every work related, money related baby stat, and I had my plan mapped out in scientific detail. But my brain only focuses on and stores things that are relevant. None of those things are relevant. I am have not been in "what happens when I get pregnant territory" for years. So I have thrown away that map. I will buy a new one when I need it. Right now I am too busy charting my course here in the Barren Lands.

Kumbaya

Man, I have been feeling so great lately. I don't know how I have reached this place of kum ba ya-ness, but I am grateful and going to live it up while I can. I had a really great 2008 and anticipate an even better 09.

The other day a friend at work wanted to know if I was interested in taking a vacation day to go snowboarding. I started immediately thinking of reasons to not go, and how to make the blow off sound legitimate, then I just thought. Why not?
Shouldn't I be celebrating and taking advantage of my carefree days?

So I went. It was the first time boarding in eight years, it came back just like riding a bike, and it was the most perfect sunny day a girl could have asked for. It was heaven. And even if it hadn't been, it was one less day sitting at my desk in front of my computer, churning numbers.

Maybe the feeling great comes from the epiphany I had over my little tiny operation and the little stall in recovery time I had: I now regularly think how lucky I am to have a functioning, amazing, human body that let's me run across my backyard like a little kid, and see breathtaking mountain views, and touch my husband's face, and smell and eat fresh bread.

I realized in this post I am essentially equating Kumbaya to Hakuna-Matata, without ACTUALLY knowing what the heck Kum ba ya even is, so I went to the effort of looking it up just now: It is believed to mean Come by Me. So the meaning really fits my use better than I thought it did. I feel so darn Kumbaya, because I am recognizing all the ways the Lord comes by to bless me and remind me how good I have it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I am no Golden Retriever

On several occasions I have been "warned" by women that I need to watch out doing IVF because I may end up like Kate Goslin and have 6 babies at once.
First, don't issue advice unless you know what you are talking about.
Items 2 through 202 I will sum up below:
Kate from John and Kate Plus Eight did not do IVF. She did an IUI with injected super-ovulatory drugs. That means is the ONLY way you could unintentionally have greater than 2 babies. *
IVF uses super ovulatory drugs to stimulate as many eggs as possible, then the eggs are removed from the body, and fertilized in a petri dish. The women and doctor then CHOSE how many embryos are placed back in the body. Any leftovers are frozen for future use. Medical ethical guidelines dictate no more than 2 embies go back in the body for women under 35. If you have special medical reasons, or previous failed attempts the doctor may put more embies in, but you would always know and control the number.
IUI with superovulatory injections stimulates eggs that are left in the body and fertilized the good old fashioned way, or through an insemination. The doctor tries to control (via monitoring) how many actually mature. If your doctor tells you this can be perfectly controlled he is lying and you should leave that clinic. All of the "unintended" super multiples in the US due to fertility treatments have been due to accidents using this method. I have seen two excellent reproductive endocrinoligists who have both said the same thing: 5% of pregnancies using this method result in triplets or more, and from a medical health standpoint, these pregnancies are very dangerous, furthermore, all the monitoring in the world cannot predict when that 5% will take place. It is completely unpredictable. With one exception: If during monitoring you show that you have a huge amount of maturing follicles the responsible doc will not go through with the insemination due to the danger. Though responsible, this is a sad event for the patient, because they likely just blew a couple thousand dollars on those drugs.
The very start of infertility treatments (IF) is usually Chlomid, which is an injested drug, with side effects similar to birth control pills that stimulate natural ovulation, with a risk of two eggs at once. Many twins have been born due to Chlomid. There is no documented risk of <2 babies using Chlomid.
*Under any of these methods, there is the natural risk that the embryo could split, creating identical twins, so in theory, even if you did IVF, and chose to implant just two embryos, those embryos could twin. (or more) It is the same risk of identical multiples as in the general population and I have known of people who have wound up with three babies, 1fraternal baby plus identical twins.
All of this information is freely available on the internet. To the obnoxious "warners" out there: read up before you spread litter fear.

I am feeling very unpatriotic

Cost of IVF in Japan $4,000

Cost of IVF in Czech Republic: <$4,000

Cost of IVF in Mexico: $El Cheapo

Cost of IVF in USA: $13,000