Friday, September 30, 2005

A firm word - even when my voice shakes

Sometimes, all you need to do is to be strong and put your foot down.

Sometimes, all you need is just the strength to get through the day.



Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dear Luteal Phase -

I don't understand what exactly the point of stringing me along like this is. I mean, if you're just not that into me - be upfront - let me know. I think it would be easier on us if we were just honest with each other. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but you're not exactly known as an endurance performer. Most of the time, I'm almost ashamed to say that I'm left wondering "is that it?" But we were a partnership, so I forgave that - and looked more to the fact that hey - at least you were here for as long as you were. But, I'm tired of taking up for you when other people say you're just a two pump chump.

Usually you play around for awhile before you leave, teasing me with the "maybe I should stay... do you want me to stay? I think I should go, but if you want me to stay I'll stay..." before you finally just up and go in the middle of the night leaving me to wake up alone.

I know that sometimes it's hard to confront the truth, and maybe you're afraid that it will hurt my feelings. It's o.k. Really. I won't lie and say it won't sting a little, but I have big plans for the future. And to be quite honest, if we continue like this - well, it's just going to be harder on both of us. You're cramping my style. Actually, for a change it's not a physical cramp - but you know what I'm talking about. I just need some "alone" time. I just want to be friends. You're more like my older brother.

So, I'm giving you a free pass to leave. I can't cope with your mixed messages anymore. I've dealt with your 11 and 12 day duration for too long. But that doesn't excuse this month's mixed messages. 16-17 days? Are you kidding me? Trying to make up now for mistakes in the past is not going to work. Seriously. I know you've pulled this hurt me and send flowers crap in the past, but I'm tired of your shenanigans.

And no. I am not going to let you con me into buying another HPT. You've done that too me one too many times in the past, and this time I'm not falling for it. I'm standing my ground. I will be strong, no matter how you look at me with those puppy dog eyes.

This time, I'm just going to wait for you to leave on your own accord. I just hope it's soon.

Don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you on your way out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Assuming I can count to 23....

Yeah! I got tagged... huzzah.

"Again they went forth"

That's really deep isn't it? So profound... so moving.

The line is actually from a poem I wrote (don't go bother looking for it as it's uber lame) that personified clomid. Michael and I were talking when I first started taking clomid and he said - "see it'll work. I'll get you pregnant now in a heartbeat." And I laughed and thought to myself - "oh yeah? You and what army?"

So I pictured each clomid pill as a little soldier, with a perfectly creased white uniform (my pills had a medial line in them) marching off down my throat to fix the situation. After the first round didn't work, I thought of it like a failed battle. We regrouped the second month and started the attack on a different day, with a different dose.

Sadly, like the current situation in Iraq it was an impossible battle to win. We went in hopeful with the best intentions, but it reached the point where we realized that it just wasn't going to work and we needed to find another way to deal with the situation.

Since so many people have already been tagged - I'm just going to tag anyone who wants to participate.

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Good infertile points

Michael and I have a tongue in cheek system of "good husband points" that he can acquire (or that can be deducted) for random acts of kindness to me (deducted for things that are not quite so nice).

A sweet kiss on the forehead results in [insert number] of good husband points. A random compliment - footrubs, or a diss on someone that I'm jealous of always quickly racks up the points for him. Telling me Jessica Simpson looks like a horse - goooooood husband points. Telling me he likes women to have a little meat on their bones - excellent husband points.

And no, they don't really "work" for anything - they're not exactly a get out of jail free card, but it's sort of like karma. They add up and can generally sway things his way occasionally.

On Saturday, we went to the football game, and "she" was there. Remember her, the hugely pregnant woman who has season tickets next to us who was belittling her friend who was having trouble conceiving because "how hard is it?"

Well, I think I deserve some massive good infertile points.

I actually asked her how far along she was (38 weeks!) I actually asked her if it was her first (it was). I actually asked her if she was having a boy or a girl (a boy).

And I did it while genuinely smiling. I did so while truthfully telling her that I was surprised that she was so far along, because she had gained so little weight. And I sincerely wished her a safe and healthy delivery.

So how many good infertile points ("GIPs") does that get me?

And how many do I lose for smiling (on the inside) when she said she won't be here for the rest of the season?

Grains of sand

I don't remember who it was - Bugs? Aakeyu? who blogged awhile back about infertility being the equivalent of measuring out our lives in coffee spoons.* I just realized this morning that my period is late. Not terribly late mind you, and yes, it's been this late before, but still, it's late. And there's no spotting - no cramps, which I always have three to five days before. Of course, now that I've said that, you know that I'll be desperately looking for tampons by the end of the hour.

Two years ago, I would have been rushing to Walgreens for an HPT during lunch, desperately waiting for results while hidden in the last stall at work. Two years ago, I would have likely already tested at least five times by now. I would have been calculating due dates, dreaming about nursery decor, and wondering what preschool we would enroll in. Two years ago, the negatives would have been met with a heap of sobbing tears.

Two years ago, I believed that we were just having a little bit of bad luck, but that it would happen soon, so soon that I shouldn't invest in new clothes, that I shouldn't join the gym, or plan a vacation for the spring... so soon.

Since April 2003**, I have been measuring out my life in two week increments. When people ask me what day it is, I hesitate - reminding myself that they don't mean what cycle day I'm on. It's as if there is an alternate calendar that I'm on, one where each two week period is of critical life changing significance. Months and seasons have essentially lost their meanings.

I will not be rushing to find out the results. I know what the answer is, what it always is. I will simply wait for the inevitable. I just wish the grains of sand would fall a little faster.

*If it was someone else, please let me know, because I would like to give credit for it as it is a post that has stuck with me for a long long time. I know that it's a reference to a T. S. Eliot poem, but I don't remember who had the moving post I'm referring to...

** And technically, I guess it's been even longer than that, as we actually never used any form of contraception the entire time we've been together aside from the occasionaly use of the ole "pull and pray" which as it turns out was incredibly superfluous.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The R.E.'s new monniker

Since my new R.E. who yes, I am also absolutely in love with bears an uncanny resemblance to Morgan Freeman (so much so that I was concerned in our meeting yesterday that perhaps we were on some sort of mysterious celebrity hosted candid camera remake.

MF: April, I have some wonderful news. Your protocol worked, and you're pregnant. With twins!

A: Really? Wow! *sobbing hysterically* I am so thankful, we've waited so long....

MF: hahahahahaha - just kidding! Hold on while I go be president, and save the world from asteroids, and serial killers, and uh...

Anyway, the fantabalous R.E. will now be known as Dr. Cross.

Although the Shawshank Redemption is definitely my favorite of his movies, I can't use "Red" as the nickname, because well, that's my nickname. So Dr. Cross it is.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Plan? We don't need no stinking plan....

Oh wait. Apparently the new R.E. thinks we do. An aggressive one, that wastes absolutely no time.

I got to the R.E.'s office later than I should have this morning, and was greeted by a gigantic stack of new patient paperwork. I was immediately put at ease when the paperwork asked for "partner" instead of "spouse" information. That's important to me, even though my partner and I are legally married.

Of course, I forgot my previous medical records at home... I did have copies of my charts though, dating back to April 2003. Wow... it's been that long.

The doctor and I talked for awhile, he asked me questions about what we had done in the past for treatment, how long we'd been trying, etc.

I told him that I was concerned about the fact that my periods were becoming so short. Three years ago, they were routinely 5-7 days long. Now, they're typically 1 1/2 to 2 days of pure hell. He asked if there are ever clots, and I said yes. He asked if my previous doctors/REs had ever tested me for endo. I said no. He asked and I quote "why the hell not? You're showing all sorts of symptoms... that's ridiculous."

So I'm having my CA-125 levels tested, and depending on what comes out of that, we'll schedule a laser lap and a simultaneous hysteroscopy. In the meantime, he wanted me to go ahead and schedule my sharps class. He said, "if your CA-125 levels are acceptable, there's no reason not to go ahead and start cycling with meds on your next cycle."

I told him about my previously absymal progesterone results (9.3 and 9.7 on a clomid cycle). I expressed concern that I had at most an 11-12 day luteal phase, and that I typically spotted 3-5 days prior to the onset of menses. I told him that I tried to speak to my old R.E. about a luteal phase defect, and that I was basically ignored. He looked at me, and said, "well, it appears obvious to me that you do have an LPD. You also seem to have a great deal of knowledge about treatment options, and I'm sorry they didn't take your concerns into account. I will. Always. If you have questions, you can call me or any of the nurses at any time that you're feeling uncomfortable, scared or confused." We talked about my clear HSG back in April '04, about Michael's less than stellar S/A, about everything). He looked at me, and said - "this must have been so difficult for you. I'm so sorry you've had to wait so long." And then he said, "I'm not going to make you redo any of those tests, it seems like a waste of time on both of your parts."

He asked how many children we wanted. I said that I had always dreamed of three, but as much trouble as we were having, we would be content with one. He said if three is what I want, that he will help us to get there, though obviously not at once ...

He warned me about the fact that the clinic has experienced somewhat "prolific" results on my protocol, but that I would be adequately monitored throughout the cycle. He said that typically, in his practice for the people who successfully get pregnant on this protocol around 70% have a singleton, but cautioned that around 28-29% have a twin pregnancy. He laughed and said, "yeah, we've had 26 sets of twins in the last month." He also said that 1-2% have triplets or more. We talked about my views on selective reduction, if I would be opposed to carrying twins, etc.

He kept saying "when you get pregnant" and I kept correcting to "if." He just looked at me, and reached across the table and squeezed my hand.

He said I was a "little compulsive" about my charts, and that I just needed to relax. I bristled (it must have been noticeably) and he clarified that it wasn't because relaxing would help me get pregnant, but that the charting wasn't going to either, and there was really no sense in wasting time on it.

Since clomid did squat for us, he's putting us on a 3-time injectible/IUI cycle with Follitism. They've got me ready for an injection class next Wed. Next Wed. Are you kidding? That's less than a week away!

He said that if it doesn't happen in 3 times that it simply isn't going to happen statistically without significantly more time/money wasted. So, after that - we're going on to IVF. I asked him if ICSI would be appropriate for us given our male factor issues, and he just looked at me and smiled. He said "I love a patient who does their homework and knows the jargon."

We chatted some more about the practicalities of the treatment cycles and he reminded me to call in as soon as I was on CD 1 so they could schedule my baseline tests.

As we walked out he hugged me a little and whispered, "I'll do my best to get you to those three."

As I walked out the door, I had tears streaming down my face.

For once, I actually felt like a real person and not just a number. For once, I actually felt that someone listened, and that someone cared.

God, I hope this continues.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Keep it up girls....

Well, it's working. You girls raaaaaawwwwwwwkkkkkk! I wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person for the support you've given me. It's amazingly comforting to have this complete network of people who are so supporting, so giving. I am so incredibly thankful for each of you.

The first part of our trifecta of hell for the week is over.

I found out this morning that I passed the bar exam. I am so relieved... even if it is only a brief respite from the rest of the hell that is going on right now.

And, no... I wasn't asking for prayers for something so trivial, but for something else. Still no news on what's really important. I'll let you more as soon as I'm able.

Let's see: other news: my mother in law is spending the night at our house tonight because she's afraid to stay alone while her husband is out of town (so that means I need to rush home and clean) - and my appointment with the new R.E. is tomorrow a.m.

Of course, if bad news on another front comes to pass later this week, the R.E. visit may become irrelevant as we will be forced to forego any efforts to procreate for a while.

But I'll take each day as it comes, because really - what else can I do?

thank you all again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

begging for mercy

There's some really serious stuff going down in our house right now... stuff that I'm not comfortable talking about here. Stuff that has far reaching ramifications to our entire futures.

I know, I know, it's not fair to say that and then not give you the low down, but the truth is, I can't. I really can't. I mean, you know more about my hoo-ha than most people I've slept with, but this is different. (wow - "most people" that sounded v. whorish - but I assure you my life is not that exciting)

In the space of a few days, it will all likely be worked out, but right now I feel as if the world is ending and falling apart. In just a few days, we should have a better grasp of what we're facing.

I rationally recognize that it's not really the end of the world ... and that things could be a lot worse, but for us, right this very minute - that's relative.

I have never been comfortable asking for help, even when it gets to the point that I know that I cannot rationally cope with something on my own.

And right now, I'm reaching that point.

So, I'm humbling asking you for your thoughts and prayers right now. Light a candle for us, shake a rubber chicken, meditate, burn some incense anything.

I'm not a praying type person, but my knees are raw from begging for mercy.

I just want something to go right for us, just this one time. Is that so much to ask?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A reminder of why I keep going

Michael and I were talking the other day about how hard our infertility is on me. He asked me if I truly wanted an infant that badly, or if maybe it was that the feeling of being broken, of inadequacy was fueling the fire to conceive no matter what the cost - no matter what the emotional or physical toll. At first it stung that he said that. It's not about being broken. But the more I reflected on it... it is. It is about being broken. It is about feeling like less of a woman.

It's about being vulnerable. About being raw. About cringing when I see round pregnant bellies. About a part of my heart shriveling when I pass a toy store. About not going to baby showers at work and crying in the stall in the bathroom instead. About grieving that we may never have the chance to pass on our traditions, our whacked out sense of humor and wicked good looks (kidding on the last part!) to another being. It's about being hurt. About feeling damaged.

It's about letting go of dreams. Of the loss of being normal. About all of these things.

But it's also about the tiny sliver of hope that I keep hidden away when it feels like I am drowning in a sea of loneliness and despair.

It's about remembering why this is all going to be worth it in the end. No matter what journey we actually take to get to the final destination.

So today, I'm going to be lazy. I was looking back at some of my old posts and saw the one that basically summed up why I keep trying. I wrote it nearly a year ago, but it still resonates very strongly with me. It's about why I am still not ready to throw in the towel, why each time I think I've hit my wall - I stumble and get back up and walk some more. For those of you who have already read the remainder of this post before - forgive me. I just need a reminder of why I keep going. Why we all do really.

[While I do not yet have a child, or even one on the way, I wanted to start cataloging my hopes and promises. I want my child(ren) to always know that they were wanted and adored, but also to make sure that I do my very best to shape them, and support them.]

My pledge to you...

I will never forget what it took, and how long we waited, to have you in our lives, and I will always treasure each and every moment with you. Even when those moments are filled with 3 a.m. feedings and colic and dirty diapers. Even when we are staying up late when you break curfew. I will teach you to appreciate architechture, photography, art, and poetry. I will dream with you - about the possibilities that await you, and I will remember with you the lessons of our past. But I will never throw your past decisions back at you, to shame you. I cannot promise to always be there to catch you when you fall, but I will always be supportive and will pick you up and kiss away your tears, be it from learning to walk, falling off a bike, mending a broken heart, or dealing with death.

I will always be willing to color, and will never scold you for going outside of the lines.

Your creativity and happiness is more important than conforming to a set of norms that society, or I, have dictated to you. I will teach you to be tolerant, and to appreciate that our individuality and uniqueness is more important than gender, race, ethnic, or religious bounds. I will encourage you to be a steward, to protect the earth that sustains us. I will teach you to be strong, to stand up for what is right, and to help those that cannot help themselves, even if it means sacrificing something of your own. I will teach you to never give up fighting for what your heart desires. But sometimes, I will have to tell you no. I will teach you to listen to your own voice, and that your opinion counts, no matter the magnitude of the decision. I will help you confront your fears, and scare away the monsters in the closet. And when the boogie men are too frightening for you to take on alone, I will be there to help you. Your fears, no matter what they are, will always be real to me.

I will proudly display crayon scrawled handprint turkeys with the same pride that I would a Renoir or a Picasso.

I will teach you that sometimes, in life, puddles are simply made to jump in… even if you're in your Sunday best. I will be always be a sounding board for you to bounce off your aspirations, your dreams, your plans, your fears. I will teach you how to make informed, intelligent decisions, and I will not judge the solutions or actions you take. I cannot always say that I will agree with you, but I will respect your ability to chart your own path. I will keep your secrets and confidence always safe in my heart. I will tell you every day that you are special and loved.

I will wear macaroni necklaces with the same pride that I would diamonds.

I will always believe in you, even when you are struggling to believe in yourself. I will teach you that love from a parent is unconditional. I will understand when you're 13 and don't want me to drop you off at school, and I will drop you off down the block. I will hopefully impart to you my love of books, and will teach you not to accept something or someone as right or correct just because you're told to. Even if that someone is me.

I will make funny faces and giggle.

I will encourage you to make your own spiritual decisions about what religion and faith mean to you. I will teach you that there are ramifications, both desirable and not, to your actions, and that sometimes the most noble thing to do is simply to admit that you were wrong. And I will do so by example, but that choice to do so for you will always be yours, and yours alone, to make. I will teach you to live life fully, and to be confident enough in your own abilities to take appropriate risks.

I will teach you that sometimes it will be necessary to eat dessert first.

I will teach you to love the everyday things about life, and to find joy where you least expect it. We may never be rich, but you will be provided with every opportunity to grow and learn that I can manage. Your desires are important, but I cannot promise that I can fulfill them. But, I will always find a way to make sure your needs are taken care of. I will whisper lullabies to you, and sing with you loudly and off-key as the situation warrants.

I will never tire of you asking "why?".

And I do not want you to accept "Because I said so" as a valid explanation. I want you to be inquisitive. I will not be angry when I find frogs in your pocket, although I cannot promise that I won't scream. I will teach you that money is not the true indicator of achieving success. I will understand your need for privacy, but understand that I will weigh it against my need to keep you safe. I will encourage you to find your niche in life by doing something that you are passionate about, even if it's not something that I would have picked for you.

You will always have a home in my heart, and there will never be a time that you are too big for me to rock to sleep.

I will take you to museums. I will teach you that it is just as critical to your career to be nice to the cleaning staff as it is to the CEO. I will treat crayon marks on the wall, muddy footprints, and grey hairs as a reminder of how lucky I am to have you in my life. I will teach you that a formal education is vitally important, but equally so is "street smarts" and life experience. I will teach you to love to travel, and to learn from those that are different than you. When you dye your hair green and pierce strange body parts, I will not get angry and I will not laugh. Well, at least I won't laugh in your face. I might have to chuckle a little.

I will love you for who you are, and will expect you to not try to be anyone else.I will not compare you to others.

If, and when, you fall in love, I will love them regardless of the color of their skin, or how much money they make, or what sex they are, as long as they are good to you. I will teach you the importance of friendship and loyalty, but of the greater need to be true to and love yourself. I will love you past the confines of life and death, with all that I am.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Wake me up when September ends

The street we live on is lined with large stately oak trees that provide a wide canopy to the houses below. This morning as I walked out on the front porch, around eight squirrels were busy hoarding acorns that were falling from the trees like rain. All down the street squirrels and chipmunks were busy scurrying from yard to yard, their mouths stuffed with nuts.

I've never lived anywhere that truly has fall or autumn. Texas had a *smidge* of it, but for the most part, there was no extravagant show of autumn color. The leaves turned brown and fell off, with an occasional tree that was slightly yellow before turning brown. And Florida - forget it. We were lucky if it ever got cool enough to actually wear long sleeves.

But here, there is a sense of anticipation for the beginning of fall. There is an unspoken, but tangible sense of the need for future preparation. I feel a little lost and out of my element.

This may sound strange, but in Florida the lack of seasons actually dissipated my depression about infertility. Sure, the names of the month changed, but there wasn't a constant reminder of the changing time present around you. Driving to work in January looked exactly like it did in August.

As the summer ends, and time slips into autumn, the changes are starting already. Apples are heavy on the trees, some oaks and maples have already started turning - their leaves tongues of flame that reach out into the blue sky.

And as everything changes so dramatically around me, I am reminded (rather unwelcomely) that I am still in many ways the same. Aside from now being two years older, I still don't have a definite direction or answers.

It's still hard. It doesn't send me into dissolving tears like it did at first, but it's still emotionally draining.

How did this time slip away from me? How is it that we are not any closer than what we were before to having a child?

I'm not sure if this makes any sense at all.

Any of it.

Friday, September 09, 2005

You can't always get what you want....

Michael's mom just gave us a little white convertible MG. It's going to need some restoration, but I am PSYCHED. My Dad's a genius when it comes to fixing cars up, and he's going to come up and have it taken down on a trailer and have it worked on.

There's no way that a child seat would fit in this thing. Eh. One of the few benefits of being childfree I guess.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


When my mother was pregnant with me, she crocheted a big blue, green and yellow afghan. She didn't know if I was a boy or a girl, so she wanted it to be something that was fairly gender neutral.

When I was two, my father remarried. His wife crocheted me a pink, blue and white afghan.

Both of them are horribly stretched out, their corners tugged and there are areas that are starting to unravel.

When we were first trying for a baby, I tried to learn to crochet. I wanted to be able to make baby blankets, to have something tangible to look forward to this baby that I was so sure would be coming soon.

Then months turned into years, and I was no closer to learning how to crochet or to being a parent.

I've decided I would like to learn to knit, but haven't the faintest clue about how to go about learning. Does anyone have any tips?

Leaving an extra tip

On Wed. nights we usually go to a local microbrew pub for dinner. It's sort of a replacement for our old Wed. night haunt which was a hole in the wall clam shack.

We had the same waitress last night that we've had two or three times before, and she was making small talk with us about the clientele. She had three young kids, ages 2, 4 and 5 and was going to school to be a nurse, but just wasn't making ends meet without this job. She was tired... and it was late, but she was still cheerful. My order ended up getting botched beyond all belief by the bartender and the kitchen, but I didn't say anything because I know a lot of restaurants run the "screw ups" through the waitstaff's tips. And I know that for those people, every cent counts.

Michael mentioned it to her in passing after we got our check, and she got upset that we hadn't said anything. I told her that I'm just not the kind of person who sends food back. I was too poor growing up, and I didn't want it to be just thrown out. What I got was fine, it wasn't what I wanted, but it was still good.

She sighed, and said - "but you see - the customer is always right. Always right, except for one that is. " She told us about one guy who came in and told her she was hot. She said thank you for the compliment and went about her business. He asked her about what she did, why she worked there, and she said with three hungry kids it was kind of hard to make ends meet. He stopped her, and said, "Don't you want to make money?" She replied, "Of course I do." He retorted, "Then don't ever talk about your kids - because knowing that you've got rugrats just completely ruins your attractiveness." He skipped her tip because she had kids. Not because the service was bad, not because he was unhappy with the food, but because he found out she had kids.

I don't know if it was the giant beer or what, but I got all teary eyed at the table and told her... "from someone who has been trying for two years for a baby, don't ever let someone sell your kids short."

She looked at me and said, "No one will ever tell me not to talk about my kids. No one. They are the reason I get up every morning."

I have no idea what made me open up like that to such a complete stranger. At first she kidded around with the "well, my kids can visit anytime" schtick, and then just looked at us, and said - "I'm so sorry. That must be so hard."

She took my food off the check, so we ended up leaving a tip that was far more than the bill. It wasn't much, but I know that the money meant more to her than it did to me.

I also know that if I'm lucky enough to have kids someday, they will be that important to me.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Oh, and did I mention?

When we moved here, Michael bought football season tickets for his undergrad school. The woman next me spent the entire time talking to her husband about how swollen her feet are... how tired she is... rubbing her noticably round belly - mutter that she just doesn't understand how her friend is having such a hard time getting pregnant - I mean all you have to do is have sex - how hard is that?

I sat there, at first, and tried to tune it out. I sang along with the fight song, I jumped up and screamed during the touchdown... I did anything to drown her out.

I mean, how hard is it?

On the 2 hour drive home, he looked over at me sulking in the seat, put his hand over mine and said "I'm so sorry." I didn't know what he was talking about - and he said quietly "I know how long you've wanted this, how much it means to you, and I'm so sorry it's not happening. I'm so sorry that I'm not able to give you what you want. I love you and I'm just so sorry." He kissed my hand and then turned up the radio.

My husband is an affectionate person, but not quite the type to talk about these kind of things on a regular basis.

It does hurt. I do want it a lot, but if we have to wait - we have to wait. The way I look at it, at least I get to spend this time with him in the interim. And that, in itself is a gift.

Infiltrating even my dreams

I often have incredibly vivid bizarre dreams that are of epic proportions. This last one was a doozy though...

I received an invitation to an infertility conference that was to be held in a different city. The conference was quite expensive, but was going to cover a number of technical aspects of ART as well as the emotional facets of the diagnosis.

Couples were welcome, but Michael had to work so he couldn't make it with me. For those of us that were alone, they tried to pair us up with someone to room with. I kept hoping to run into some of you there... but instead I got to room with "her".

My roommate was a very perky upbeat woman in color coordinated lyrcra gym clothes who was worried about infertility. She had been trying to conceive for TWO WHOLE WEEKS and just was sure that she wouldn't be able to conceive, no matter how much baby dust had been sprinkled on her. Of course, she found out she was pregnant the first night of the conference, and her husband came up to the hotel to visit - so they could celebrate. Since she had already paid for the room, she didn't see the point in not staying (even though she was apparently knocked up). Her husband creepily offered to "help me out, since apparently he was good at this kind of thing" or to "teach my husband what to do."

I woke up right as I was mulling over the conference schedule - which included "Just Relax", "Special Vacation Miracles" and I don't remember what else.

I woke up in a cold sweat and tried to explain to Michael how horrible it was. He just looked at me like I had lost my mind.

I didn't realize that this was affecting even my dreams.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A face with the name

Blogging for me has been incredibly cathartic. My blog became a confessional of sorts, where I could lament the failings of my body, the stress it was causing on my marriage ... and just talk about the every day mundane things that irritated me.

When I first started, I wrote under a nickname, then I branched out into my first initial. But as I got to "know" more and more of you, I brazenly decided to use our real names (still no last names, I'm not that crazy). Admittedly, it wouldn't be that hard to figure out who I really am. I've taken a risk that people who know me in real life, who I have coffee with and work with and shop with could find me. There was a time I thought it was an extreme risk, but now I realize that this - this is a part of me that I'm not ashamed of anymore. I'm not exactly willing to broadcast it to those I see on a daily basis, but it's part of who I am.

Over time, I started thinking of some of you as not just another webpage, but as a real person. Someone who I could imagine sharing our issues with over a nice glass of merlot - or just straight swigs from the tequila bottle depending on our current situation. Blogging became the grown up version of the ultimate slumber party. Over the last thirteen months or so that I've been actively blogging here, I've grown to rely on your support, on your snark, on your collective wisdom. It's an odd feeling - to find this "friendship" with people I don't really know. You may know more about the intimate details of my nether regions than some of my past lovers, but you don't know the sound of my voice, my mannerisms, my laugh. And I think about this from time to time and find it incredibly odd that I am so willing to openly spill out the most secret details of my life to you...

But I do. And it helps. I have a wonderful family - oh sure I bitch about them from time to time, but they do love me - and I know that, and I'm thankful for it. They just don't know how to deal with infertility. To be quite honest, I didn't either before I found myself here. I'm sure I was an asshat to a lot of people without intending to be - before I knew what it was like.

But you understand in ways that they can't, because you've been there. You know without having to be told.

I'm an amateur photographer, and have been mulling over posting pictures about my life... of me... of Michael ... our cats, our house... on here. I was so afraid that this would be the final thing that would "out" us to people who know us in "real life". I have another blog linked through my profile that is amazingly not infertility related that a few select people who know me in real life read occasionally.

I know that some of you have no qualms posting pictures of yourself, and I respect that. I find it interesting to put a face with the name, with your story. Some of you I know would never dream of putting pictures up. It's too scary, too risky. Grrl's post made me think about it - what if I've been right next to you at the bank, or if we grew up in the same neighborhood, or went to the same schools? Would it change the way we related to each other?

I'm in the middle camp right now - and mulling it over. So tell me, do you put pictures of yourself up on your page? Why or why not?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Making the jump

When I opened my paycheck yesterday I had an "oh SHIT" moment. I have those often, if you've noticed.

In addition to the new imposition of city and state income tax, which I've never had to pay in my life (I know, I know - I'm a bad democrat to be bitching about this) - which takes a huge chunk of my salary out... there was a rather high amount coming out for the medical flexible spending account. It was the same amount as last month, but I thought that perhaps they were playing "catch up" with it, since it didn't come out of my first three week's pay. Uh. No.

As it turns out, I'm just a collosal jackass. I elected an amount for the year thinking it was for the Jan - December year, and that any amount that I elected would be prorated for the portion of the year that I was here. Note to self, don't assume things. Mind you, I am a benefits attorney so I should have known better than to assume anything even remotely related to an employee benefits plan.

Nonetheless, the fact is I know have a couple hundred dollars a check coming out of my account. As you may know, any money you do not spend in a flexible spending account before the end of the year is forfeited completely. And you can only spend it on qualifying expenses, like prescription drugs - copayments for medical services, etc.

So I have this giant sum of money now that I have to spend before the end of the year, or it's gone. I was putting off going to the new R.E. because I have a pretty high deductible on my health insurance and didn't want to be paying for everything out of pocket.

There are five R.E.s in the new area that are covered under my health insurance. Two of them are in the same practice - and were the first group that I called. Their receptionist refused to give an appointment until you went to their slick website and dowloaded a bunch of patient information forms, filled them out, and mailed them in to their coordinator - who would then call you to schedule an appointment. I was a little put off by this, but thought I'd give it a shot nonetheless.

I'm mulling it over their website right now. I saw their "success rates" and they are as follows for my age (I'm 26):

<34 years

Liveborn rate/egg retrieval
92/182 (51%)

Liveborn Rate/embryo transfer
92/169 (54%)

What does this mean? Is this good/bad/average? Anyone have any insight? Hmm. Now I'm pissed at them because they require individuals seeking treatment who desire to use donated eggs to be "married." I don't think I'd be comfortable with a doctor who seems to care more about their political/religious beliefs than with simple patient advocacy.

The second place I called was an RE/Midwife/OBGYN practice. All three rolled into one. This has it's definite perks - like the fact that I wouldn't have to switch practices if, and when, the apocalypse is upon us... I mean when I get pregnant. (WHEN. not if. must keep reminding myself to "think happy thoughts"). However - there would also be definite suckage for this as well - such as being in an R.E.'s office after another failed cycle and being forced to look at plump round pregnant bellies.

Hmmm. What are your thoughts? Any advice?