Monday, January 29, 2007

And now for something completely different...

So, I spent the first part of the day yesterday with my friends and their two little girls, and the afternoon at my in-laws with my two pregnant sisters-in-law. Then, I spent about two hours trying to make heads-or-tails of why I get irrationally angry at things for which there is no justification to be angry. I know this has been the theme of more than one post—and I’ve no doubt that it’ll be the theme of many others—but all I can say is that this whole trying-and-failing-to-get-and-stay-pregnant bit has really turned me into a much more bitter person than I once was. Last night I just felt like stomping my feet and crying and screaming about how unfair it all is.

And it really is. It’s unfair that my friends have had two kids in the time is taken us to try for one…and we’re still not even pregnant. It’s unfair that IF has taken the wonder and excitement out of this whole process for hubby and me. It’s unfair that it’s gotten to the point where I can’t even see us decorating a nursery or holding a child of our own. It’s unfair that we were supposed to be going through the pregnancy and childbirth and midnight feedings at the same time as our friends, but instead their kids will be well past that by the time we ever have a family. It’s unfair that everything about hubby and me appears to be “textbook,” and yet we can’t seem to get pregnant. It’s unfair that my neighbor had a baby on what would have been our “due date” and I had to walk past a giant inflatable stork on their front yard every day for the month after our due date. It’s unfair that, had things worked out, we would have had our first baby before Christmas, but instead I was able to drink champagne at midnight on New Year’s. It’s unfair that we wanted to have 3 kids, and were really hoping to have them before we’re 35, and that now, absent multiple births, that is a mathematical impossibility. It’s unfair that my parents are getting older, and I worry that it’s going to take us so long that our kids won’t have the benefit of a long relationship with them. It’s unfair that I don’t know a single other person who is going through the same thing right now, and who I can grab a drink with and commiserate with after work. And, it’s unfair that after months and months of keeping our spirits up post-miscarriage, IF has hung around just long enough to make me this bitter and cynical about the whole process.

But, most of all, it’s unfair that it doesn’t seem like I can do anything about this. We’re supposed to start Clo*mid next cycle, but we can’t decide whether to delay it another month or two. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with us, so odds are supposed to be that we’ll get pregnant on our own. And, I hate taking medication of any kind—I don’t even like to take Ty*lenol unless I really have to. So, it sort of seems like a cruel twist of fate that I have to take pills to get pregnant. (And an even crueler twist that it might not work.) But, it’s getting to the point where I can’t watch cycle after cycle go by without doing anything. It’s just way too painful for both hubby and me. So, I think we’ll have to suck it up and start the drugs. And just *hope*.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Help (not) wanted

So last week a friend of mine was in town from DC. She’s a friend from grad school, and our lives have always sort of run on oddly parallel tracks, and we’ve always been able to commiserate about it. We were in grad school together, and got similar jobs afterwards that we weren’t quite passionate about. We switched jobs at the same time more than once. We got married within a month of each other, so were able to complain about mothers-in-law together, and laugh about why on earth when you give people a list of what you actually want as a gift do they insist on buying you something awful from QVC. When we were both getting close to start trying to get preggers, we talked about that, too. And, while we started a few months before she and her husband did, it was close enough that we were still able to commiserate about that, too. But, of course, as luck would have it, she got pregnant after only four months. I have to be honest that it was hard to hear. She was the only one of my friends who had had what seemed like any “trouble” getting pregnant, and she was just about the only person I talked to about it. But, because we always had similar outlooks on things, while it was hard, I was really happy for her and thought it wouldn’t be hard to talk to her about our issues.

Turns out, I was wrong. We got together for lunch on Friday and she asked how things were going with us. I couldn’t get three words out before she started trying to give me advice. “Well, you know what really worked for us, taking your temperature. Have you been doing that?” Yes, yes. I did that for the four months in between my first and most recent RE appointment. “Oh, and the other things, having s*ex every other day really worked. You should really try that.” Yes, thanks. We’ve done that. And everyday. And mornings rather than evenings. Trust me, I’ve been at this for over a year. “Oh, and you know, I know this sounds strange, but I really think that just being around kids is helpful. For me, I started to spend more time around kids the month I got pregnant. I really think it brought out my maternal side.” Um, yeah. First, my office is in a school, and I am in and out of our other schools all the time. Oh, and my cousin and close friends here in our new hometown all have kids. Multiple kids. So, I’m with them all the time as well. So, I’m fairly certain the problem doesn’t have anything to do with not spending enough time around kids.

Then, I think she could tell that I was getting a little exasperated and she said to me, “I just really want to help you.”

First, I don’t remember asking for help, with all due respect. Second, apart from growing a pair and screwing me yourself, I’m not sure you’ll be able to help. Plus, given that we have a competent RE at one of the top fertility centers on the case, I’m not certain there’s much value you can add in the way of new information.

I don't mean to say that the lunch was a total bust. It was really good to see her…but it served as another reminder of how IF takes away not just your ability to have kids, but also your ability to keep a sense of humor. And, it slips its way uninvited into lots of other areas of your life. My friendships mean the world to me, and even the subtle impact it’s been having on them is just really upsetting. Again, humpf.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Nothing new

It’s been a really busy few weeks. Got back from Paris and had to turn around almost immediately to go to DC. I hadn’t been back there since we closed on our house last January and it was so good to be back. Got to get together with a bunch of my old friends—none of whom have babies—and it was great. Not that I mind being around babies, of course, but it was a welcome respite from any thoughts of fertility.

I’m now back home, and faced again non-stop with babies, fertility, and my lack of both. A coworker told me that another and her husband are trying to conceive. (PS—I saw through the blatant attempt to get me to talk about what is taking hubby and I so long to jump on the baby wagon. I know it drives people crazy that I’m tight lipped on the subject.) So, now I realize that it’s only a matter of time before there is yet another pregnancy announcement at my office. Argh. Good times.

Oh, and I had to spend the afternoon on the phone with an attorney yesterday talking about the best way to deal with this total PIA on my team who is basically accusing me of being age biased. His evidence? That when he couldn’t hear me once, he thought I deliberately exaggerated how loud I was talking to mock him. I kid you not. I can’t make this s&*% up. Even if that were true, which it isn’t, how do you get age bias out of that? Maybe I’m just generally obnoxious, having nothing to do with age? When the president asked, “well, are you saying that you think she treats you differently than the other members of the team,” he said no. ?? But, because he hit the right buzzword, they have to investigate, which I respect and get. But, argh.

On the bright side, I think I may be up for a promotion. So, at least there’s that.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Upside down

So, I got the HSG, and it wasn't as bad as I expected, which is good. But, it was definitely an odd experience. I had mine done at a teaching hospital, so there were about 7 people in and out at various times during the 15 minute procedure, which was a tad intimidating. And, getting it done in a hospital did very little to assuage my fears beforehand...

But, apparently everything looks fine. Although, I guess my uterus is upside down. ??? They tell me this is normal and nothing to worry about. It certainly doesn't seem normal to me. I emailed my friend to tell her and she emailed back, "Does that mean the baby will come out of your mouth?" Let's hope not.

HSG and other random thoughts

So, today is my HSG. To say the least, I’m not looking forward to it. I know, I know, from what I hear, it’s not terrible—“no worse than menstrual cramps.” Well, I don’t enjoy those either, so deliberately subjecting myself to them seems less than ideal. Plus, I’m sort of irrationally irritated that my hubby doesn’t have to do any of this. All he had to do was one sad little blood test and one sperm analysis. Tough life. (And, he was such a baby about both! I don’t mean to sound heartless here, but injecting dye into my uterus—after I can’t count how many blood tests—it just seems spectacularly unfair.) Anyhow…hopefully all will come back normal, and we’ll miraculously get pregnant this month and dodge the clomid bullet completely.

Here’s hoping.

In other news, I got back from Paris on Monday. The trip was fine. I think my cousin had a good time. She certainly shopped up a storm. (She literally had more money to spend there than I. Yeah, that’s fair.) I am a little worried about her, though. She doesn’t seem to be making very good choices for herself. She’s 16 and I fear that if she can’t make decent, smart choices now, we’re going to be on a downward spiral between now and college. It’s funny, her mom (my aunt) is one of these super-paranoid moms. When I used to babysit my cousin when she was younger, my aunt wouldn’t even let her walk 3 doors down the street without watching her. And, now she doesn’t even like her getting off the bus by herself after school and walking the block and a half home. (Nevermind that they live in the safest neighborhood in America, and that my cousin is 16!) Yet, despite all of this paranoia about what ills lie lurking around every corner, she doesn’t seem to do the bare minimum to ensure that she grows up to be a good person. For example, just before hubby and I got married in 2004 (when my cous was 14) she stole $700 from my aunt. $700!!! She took it right out of her bank account with her ATM card. And, the worse thing that happened to her was that she had to pay it back. !!!! And, her birthday was the day after my wedding, and they still took her to the city and bought her everything she wanted the next day. WTF?! We aren’t some ridiculously wealthy family, so why the extravagance? Especially after such a blatantly horrible offense? And, there are a million other smaller examples of her being able to get away with whatever she wants. And my aunt gets really upset and cries to my mom wondering what she can do. She can’t, she explains, believe anything that her daughter says because lying comes so easily to her. And yet, there seems to be very little consequence when she’s caught in a lie. Seems like a clear “if…then” situation to me.

In any case, my take away from all of that is that, you could really do worse than to just teach your children to be good people—to be thoughtful, considerate, and have a moral compass—and to give them clear boundaries and consequences for their actions. The other stuff has a way of working itself out.

And, those are my random thoughts for the day…

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Groundhog month

I don’t have anything particularly new and exciting to report. And, my thoughts this month all center around the same theme—the continuity of IF. I was actually watching “Groundhog Day” the other day and got to thinking—IF is really just like “groundhog month.” You wake up on CD1 and have that sinking feeling that you haven’t gotten beyond yet. And, you go through the motions. Sometimes you’re upbeat and think this’ll be your month. Other times you’re down and can commiserate with Bill Murray’s character: “It’s going to be cold. It’s going to be dark. And it’s going to last the rest of your life.”

This month, I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. I alternate between being bitter and being optimistic that, if not this month, it’s going to happen for us very soon. I’m finally getting my HSG this month. I should have gotten it months ago—in August when I first went to our RE. But, after I got all the normal hormones tested and things seemed fine, we thought we’d wait a few months and see if it just happened. (Also, I’m a total fraidy cat about the whole thing. I just didn’t want to do it and was hoping to avoid it entirely.) Now I hope that I can get it over with this month, that everything will be normal, and that I’ll benefit from the slight uptick in fertility that happens the month of the HSG. (See, there she is again: hope.)

For me, CD1 is slated for either tomorrow or Friday. I didn’t chart or use the monitor or anything this month, so don’t know exactly. I can’t decide if I’m glad to be monitor- and thermometer-free. On the one hand, I’m certainly not obsessing about temps, etc. On the other hand, my temp would undoubtedly started to drop by now, which would be my cue. Instead, hope is hanging on just a bit longer this month—like it used to pre-charting. Though, even if (when) AF arrives as scheduled, there is some comfort in knowing that I’ll be doing something different this month. I know the HSG isn’t terribly novel, but at least it’s something.

Also, I’m actually leaving for Paris tomorrow night, which will provide a welcomed distraction from everything during what would otherwise be a fairly depressing part of the month. The only downside is that hubby isn’t going with me. I’m taking my 16-year-old cousin for a girl’s bonding weekend. It should be fun—she’s never been out of the country and is super excited.

So, there you have it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The comfort of IF

Like many women who’ve been having trouble conceiving for far too long, I’ve been poking around on the internet reading other infertility blogs and, in doing so, I’ve realized a few things.

  1. None of us was sorry to see 2006 go.
  2. IF has turned normal, healthy, stable women into obsessed, bitter infertiles.
  3. After a while, IF begins to feel like your new reality.
It’s the last one that is most disturbing to me. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point over the past year or so, I stopped ever expecting to see a positive pregnancy test. To be honest, I don’t even know why I take them anymore. It’s a like a once-a-month ritual that for some reason I can’t escape. I buy a few tests and tampons. I wait as long as I can to take the test. I get a negative. AF begins. I’m depressed and wonder, “why me.” I take note of my upcoming “fertile” days. Hubby and I schedule sex. Rinse. Repeat.

What’s so strange about it all is that I’ve seen how this has all really become habit. It’s become part of our lives—like walking the dog or taking the trash out on Mondays. It’s routine. And, in some ways, no matter how depressing or upsetting it is, routine becomes comfortable. I think that’s what scares me/pisses me off the most. IF has taken away the wonder and joy of the whole process and made it habit. Mundane. Comfortable.

I know many will probably disagree with me on this “comfort” point, but in all sincerity, I’m beginning to forget what our sex life was like pre-IF. And I’m afraid of what it’ll be like if we’re ever able to get beyond IF. I’m beginning to wonder what I spent all my time thinking about before. Like any good addict, I know that this is a vice, and I wish I could have escaped it altogether, but now that it’s here, I can’t imagine life without it. And I can’t picture life beyond it anymore. When we first started TTC, I used to imagine decorating a nursery, or pondering how I would balance parenthood and my career. Now, all I think about is trying not to schedule business trips around our “fertile” window.

What’s more, we’ve almost completely stopped having sex outside of the baby-making schedule. I know that sounds horrible and depressing, but I have a very short cycle (24-26 days). So, really, after AF ends, we’re almost immediately in the next “fertile” window, and we try to get it on as much as possible. By the time the window is over—given one or two post-ovulation romps for good measure—it’s only a matter of days before AF comes, and we’re back to square one. So, really, our sex life has become entirely about making babies. And I really wonder what that is going to do to us once the “comfort” of infertility is gone (god willing it ever is)? Will we be so happy to have a break that we’ll just stop completely? Or, will we somehow find a way to turn the bedroom back into a place that’s about us, our relationship, and our love, rather than about procreation?