Monday, August 11, 2008

Lost But Found

I was lost for awhile.

I am now ready to continue sharing my fertility journey with you - that is, however, if you are up for it.

I hope you are well.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Three Months

Three months.

I wish I were blogging about the first trimester, but no, we do not even know if we will ever get to a first trimester again.

We have decided to push our second IVF back by three months. Specifically, I will start stims three months from today, approximately. We were originally going to try for April, but that came up on me a little too fast (welcome to March already) and I need some more time: time to get the courage up to do IVF again (I'm scared shitless by the way); time to get healthier (more on that later); and time to make a little more money.

I feel so distanced from feeling hope for a baby and from motherhood and from the pursuit of fertility treatments. It all seems, well foreign, to me now. Like some alien universe that I only see on TV. I can only surmise that my unconscious decision to remain stand-offish about motherhood is a protective measure, since I have lived with the ups and downs of trying to conceive for two years (ups and downs include: one pregnancy; termination of pregnancy because it was ectopic; no baby; and a failed IVF).

So it will be interesting, to say the least, to find out what the next three months brings. Will I become less detached in trying for a baby? Will I embrace the process again, only to get my heart broken? I do not know.

I am going for my second IVF but it seems as though I am reaching for some impossible dream.

Friday, February 22, 2008

No Barack or Hillary Love

Quick update - I started running a fever last night and had to give away my precious tickets to the debate watch party! I was so bummed, but I had to face the fact that I would have probably passed out if I went. Well, M and I ended up watching the debate on CNN, and we both thought it was very good. I gave my debate watch tickets away to a co-worker for free, and incidentally, tickets to the event were going for $500 on Craigslist (since Obama and Hillary were going to speak there).

That should get me some good karma, right? Now if I can just direct that karma to where I need it, i.e., my uterus, that would be fantastic.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sicko Politco

I am sick as a dog today. (I don't understand that expression, since my dog is just fine and does not tend to be sick, but you get the idea). Very, very sick I am. I do not know if I have the flu but I hope not. I think it is just a really bad cold. I slept for 10 hours last night and woke up feeling like I had not slept at all (don't you hate that?) and I can't breathe and my head feels like it is in a vice. Ugh.

The only good news is that since I am in Austin, the national campaign for President is coming my way today! Obama and Clinton will debate tonight in Austin, to be aired live on CNN. Although there are no tickets for the public (well, they had a lottery of 100 tickets for which 40,000 people signed up, so effectively, there are no tickets for the public), I will go the a debate watching party sponsored by the Texas Democratic Party and Obama and Clinton will stop by after the debate! To say I am excited is an understatement; I just hope that my unexpected illness does not keep me from attending.

Please forgive my brazen political excitement - I respect and honor everyone's political affiliation. Republicans, Independents, Democrats, the Non-Labeled - all are welcome here! I just love the process of politics. Have to say, however, that this year, since everyone is jumping on the election bandwagon, I feel like singing "I was political, when political wasn't cool..." Seriously, the fact that so many people are engaged in the election makes me so proud of my country. Regardless of what happens.

Aaagh, a day without hardly thinking about fertility issues. How nice. These days are not many, but when they come, I am very grateful.

I do have to wonder, though, should I ask Hillary and Obama whether their universal health care plans will cover IVF?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Song I Want to Sing to My Child No. 2

I am sad today.

I have no baby. I have no child to love.

Sometimes the emptiness in my arms is too heavy for me to bear.

Will it ever happen for me? I am too afraid to even ask that question out loud, but believe me, the question is always there -- like an uninvited guest or a rude usurper of my heart.

As I told you before, I often think of songs I want to sing to my child when he or she comes along. Here is another one, dear and close to me, by Sinéad O'Connor (if I play it I end up in a puddle of tears; but you can hear it here):


video

My darling child

My darling baby
My darling child
You gave life to me

My darling child
My darling baby
My darling child
You came and saved me

My darling child
My darling baby
My darling child
God gave you to me

Me little ninja
My little dancer
Me little streetfighter
Me little chancer

Me lovely boy
Me lovely babby
My pride and joy
Me little puppy

Me little wolf
Me little lamby
My favourite boy
My angel babby

Me little ninja
Me little dancer
Me little streetfighter
Me little chancer

Me love me boy
Me love me babby
My pride and joy
Me little puppy

- Sinéad O'Connor

I want to believe I will sing this song someday.

But today, I am finding that belief and faith belong to someone else - certainly not to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

It's been a week full of wonderful things and not-so-wonderful things.

First, thank you so much to all who commented on my work situation. I have decided to "take control" and cut back on work. Work be damned. I will not go into my IVF in April stressed out. And I am looking around for more opportunities, particularly in-house, which would be quite nice. I am also looking into a position in the federal government. And who knows, maybe I will start my own practice! We will see what happens.

But I would rather work at a lower capacity right now and concentrate on the ultimate goal: getting (and staying) pregnant. Unfortunately, we rely on my income (my husband, M, works for a non-profit) so I cannot simply quit work, which is my all-time fantasy. Since I decided to take back control of my life and make work a far distant second in my life, however, I have been much happier. And much more stress free.

Another good thing that has happened this week: M and I had some really good communication. We have been fighting a lot lately - for lots of reasons - but mostly because of the stress of our failed IVF and what we will do in the future. He's been depressed and I've been depressed, and then I felt guilty that he was depressed because I blamed myself for his depression, and it was a never-ending cycle. Well, we had a really serious talk this week about what we want and what our goals are. And we found the intimacy and closeness that we have not had since we learned the IVF did not work. We are both scared for the future and not sure what will happen. But we know we have each other. It is simply astounding how stressful infertility is and how it can impact a relationship. We have to work at it right now because it is not easy for either one of us. But the good news is that we are working on it.

On a non-fertility related note, Obama and Hillary are virtually tied for the democratic nomination which means my primary in Texas (on March 4) will actually mean something this year. As a Democrat living in Texas, I have often felt that in national races my vote means nothing. Obviously I live in a red state, so when I vote for president I know that it's not going to really make a difference. As for past primaries, the democratic nominee is usually chosen by the time mine comes around, so it has never felt like I even had a say in choosing the democratic nominee. Not this year! It's all up for grabs, and even more exciting for me, my vote will really make a difference this year. To top off this wonderful turn of events, I will be attending several Obama and Hillary rallies, which for a political junkie like me, is like porn : )

Oh, and some wonderful news! Tracy is having twins! Congratulations Tracy!

Some not so good stuff happened this week also.

First, my new and dear real-life friend, who shall remain nameless, had an IVF cycle recently. I met her through my infertility support group and she has been a great support to me. To my dismay, I learned this past weekend that her IVF yielded 4 eggs, none of which fertilized. Needless to say, I was devastated for her. She is much stronger than me. She has picked herself up and has this amazing spirit which propels her to keep fighting onward. I am just so sad for her. It seems as if the doctor did not give her enough stimulation medication until it was too late and did not do ICSI, which in hindsight would have been the thing to do. She is going to do another IVF and is getting a second opinion. I am lucky to know her and have her support, but I feel helpless right now. I don't know what to say to make it better.

Denise at Freezer Buns had a negative FET cycle. Please go visit her and give her your support. Denise has been a great support to me and her blog is really great. I am just so sad for her. I know that things will work out for her, but I am sad for her.

(Why does IVF seem like a fucking lottery?)

Luna is having a tough time. Her writing inspires and is amazingly beautiful and poetic. She captures the feelings of infertility so, so well. Please visit her and give her your support.

Finally, I received a really difficult email this week. I am not sure how to take it. Essentially, it was from a friend who tried for three and a half years to have a baby. Her first IVF worked and she had a son, who is about a year old. She is a poor responder and only had one embryo transferred in that cycle. (Again, the mystery of IVF confounds me - I had 25 eggs). Well, I have noticed that this friend does not really want to talk about infertility issues and has even distanced herself somewhat from me over the past few months. I could not figure it out. When our IVF failed, I did not hear from her.

This past week, however, I received an email from her. It was nice and she wished me well, but then the kicker came. She said "As you know, we tried 3 1/2 years with no good news. But it all works out in the end. You will see. I've been trying to find the right time to tell you this, but, we actually had another IVF cycle, and we are expecting in May."

This email threw me for a loop. I was shocked. She is almost 5 months pregnant and I am just finding out. I burst into tears. Not because I am not happy for her - I am. And I know that she had good intentions in keeping this news from me. But in keeping the news from me for so long, I feel even more isolated than I already am. Like a leper. Like "she's the one with infertility." Everyone knew about this but me. I know that she probably could not win either way, but I wish she had told me earlier and not in an email. Still, I know she was trying to protect me. I was gracious and responded that I am for her (which I am) and how she doesn't have to stay away or protect me. The thing is, I think she is staying away. Infertility is confounding - the relationships are weird even with people who have been through it.

I just hope that this next week brings more of the good and much, much less of the bad.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Legal Troubles

Besides being so incredibly excited about Super Tuesday today (Go Hillary and Obama! I don't care who wins I just want a Democrat to win the White House; well, OK I really secretly hope that Obama wins the nomination, but I'm actually very torn because I like Hillary too), things are so, so tough right now. I am buried, swamped, and overwhelmed at work. Did I mention that I am a lawyer? Probably not because most people hate lawyers. (I promise you that I am one of the nice ones). I make a concerted effort not to bring up my profession to most people because I don't think it defines who I am as a person.

Lately, however, my job has been causing major upheaval in my life. While I love the work that I do, it is incredibly hard handling work, enjoying a quality life, and going through infertility. If a client, another lawyer in my firm, or a court says "do this" (and at least one of the three is barking orders at me on any given day), I have to do it, whether I am sick, tired, in pain or going through a rough spot. I cannot call in sick. Supposedly I am allowed to take "vacation," but I never know if I will have to cancel the vacation. Plus I have to meet a crazy billable hour requirement. All of this is causing me an undue amount of stress and I'm questioning whether I should do something else.

Since my IVF failed, I have been working all kinds of crazy hours and have not been taking care of myself mentally or physically. My husband, M, and I are not doing things together because I have been so busy. This is not helping me get pregnant. I keep thinking that tomorrow I will lay off work and work on me and my marriage. But every day seems like a blur of stress, deadlines, and sleeplessness.

In my saner moments, I dream of going to yoga, getting a massage, making an acupuncture appointment, etc. But I have not made any time for me, or for that matter, M. I have taken on too much work. Today is a good example. It is almost 4 am and I will work another 10-12 hours today.

I spent a lot of time getting to this point in my career (well, not the stressful part of it), but you know what? I really believe that I could leave it tomorrow and never look back. I just want a family. I just want to be pregnant. I just want a baby. I really could care less about work right now.

I love working - I do - but not the way I have been. I need to recover the quality in my life. I need to get pregnant. I need to be close to my husband and enjoy my life. It is just not easy to have a quality of life in my profession, but then, it is not easy for any woman who works and deals with infertility and pregnancy and parenting.

I am sure many of you have the same issues. How do we balance work and life?

If you find the answer, let me know, because I would really, really like to know.

Friday, February 1, 2008

We Are Family (Or Not)

I am having a very difficult time with my family.

They do not understand what I am going through. Or they do not care. Since they do not communicate with me about our struggle, I have no idea which applies.

My dad tells me to relax. Still, after all these treatments. I explain again and again that I have a medial condition. He refuses to believe it.

My sister has three children and knows that we've been trying for 2 years. My brother has two children and knows that we've been trying for 2 years. But both my brother and sister have acted like I have leprosy. They will not talk to me about our treatments, or ask how I am, or simply say "I'm thinking of you."

When we had our IVF cycle, no one from my family called to wish me luck before the retrieval. No one called to see how things were going. We were alone.

Then, after it failed, no one called. Well, my sister called and never mentioned the IVF. My brother never called. When he finally did - after the new year - I told him that I was very angry with him and asked how he could not even call or mention our situation. He said "I just don't know what to say."

My mom, bless her heart, is the only one who tries to understand. But she has not always understood and I think possibly does not truly understand the depths of our pain.

If I had cancer or some other medical problem, I assume (maybe I'm wrong on this one too) that my family would be here for me. They would be so very sorry and say "what can we do" and "we're thinking of you and we love you." Damn, they might even travel to see me.

But not with infertility. I guess we are supposed to go this one alone.

The thing is, all I really, really want from them is for them to tell me they are thinking of me. Or read up on our procedures. Give us a kind word, or a small gesture. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently it is.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Clinically Depressed and Happy About It

Yes, it's true. I'm clinically depressed. I received the diagnosis this week. I should not be surprised; the failed IVF in December began a cycle of depression and sadness that kept spiraling. I'm so damned angry, sad, frustrated, lost.

At the same time, I am happy.

I am happy because somehow I found the will to go the doctor and get on medication. Not my first choice for a solution, but living life the way I have the past month is no way to live and certainly no way to be during future fertility treatments.

It's only been a few days, and I'm already feeling hopeful again. I feel like me again. And instead of the distorted thoughts I was having (i.e., "who do I think I am trying to have a baby; I'll be a horrible mom; I can't even take care of myself" and "I'm defective"), I'm thinking of all the things that my husband and I have to look forward to, not just with respect to the family that we will have but because of the life we have chosen together.

I know I'll be a parent. I just can't wait to hold him or her. Time isn't on my side, but love and hope are.

So no more depression for this chic; this is a marathon to the finish and I WILL NOT be defeated.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And...Um...God? Tell Me Again, Why Can't I Have Kids?

Because you let this guy have kids, and well, that just does not make sense to me.

At all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fun Things to Do After Your IVF Cycle Bites the Dust

I promised you in my initial blog post that I would post a list of fun things to do after a failed IVF cycle. The wait has come to an end. If you should find yourself on the shitty end of the IVF statistical curve, here are some things to do after your IVF cycle bites the dust:

1. We've already covered it. Read about it here.

2. Stop working. Alternatively, pretend like you are working when you are not. Eke out as little productivity as possible - enough to keep you employed but little enough to make you the worst employee of the year.

3. Stop bathing. Even though this will likely offend your husband, thus foreclosing the possibility of sex, which supposedly gets one pregnant, it's strangely comforting. Howard Hughes may have had something there.

4. Start a blog. I'm likin' it.

5. Read this book. It has nothing to do with IVF, ART, or babies.

6. Listen to PJ Harvey. Preferably listen to the songs in which she's REALLY pissed.

7. Watch trashy television A LOT. Like this. Note: This particular piece of advice will only help if you have followed instruction No. 3, above.

8. Eat fast food every night for two weeks, gaining an untold amount of weight, further lowering your odds of a future successful IVF.

9. Take up smoking again, further lowering your odds of a future successful IVF. (Yes I know. It's bad and causes cancer. But I just failed my IVF cycle. So I really don't care at the present moment. I'm currently in a very self-destructive mode and I will not allow anyone to take that away from me damn it. And I do not seriously recommend this particular piece of advice to anyone.)

10. Frantically attempt to locate underwear among the myriad of clothing strewn randomly throughout house for a quick load of laundry after your first bath in a week.

11. Take an unusual interest in politics. Now, the amount of interest required is relative. So, for example, if you are like me, and are a political junkie, this necessitates watching Meet the Press on a constant loop on the television, and then switching to C-Span for a little variety.

12. Wear pajamas exclusively. Change only when husband threatens to throw you out.

13. Drink margaritas with reckless abandon (Hey, I heard somewhere that this can get you pregnant, why didn't I try this before?).

14. Take a short vacation (again, I have heard that this may result in an unplanned pregnancy). This is where I went - Christmas present from hubby. I highly recommend it. Nothing like a little Clinton love to make you forget you just failed your IVF and spent $12,000 for kicks.

15. Watch ESPN. They have a nightly summary of the day's sporting activities, with this really exciting Rocky-type music and some old guy shouts "HE....MIGHT...JUST...GO ...ALL...THE...WAY" a lot. I don't understand a word of it, but like not bathing, I found it strangely comforting.

16. Read this comic strip. Every day. It will make you laugh. And laugh.

17. Watch this. It will make you laugh too.

18. Momentarily consider taking up knitting and then dismiss the idea.

19. Purposely leave your plastic bag filled with used pregnancy tests from your IVF cycle on the floor in your bathroom so you have to step over it every time you have to go pee. For no reason.

20. Start over at No. 1.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My "Perfect" IVF Cycle

Thank you for the supportive comments regarding my niece. I really appreciate it and I am doing much better now. Life just throws curve balls at you and you have to hop along, however slowly, to catch them. I really love my niece and am going to try and help her as much as I can with her disability.

***

Today I am wondering where my husband and I go from here. We just had our first failed IVF. Let me tell you a little about that cycle. It was "picture perfect" according to my RE. In fact, my RE actually told me that I responded "like a 22 year-old egg donor." At retrieval, I had 25 eggs retrieved, 19 of which fertilized, and had two 5-day blasts transferred. They were early blasts, however, so there was not yet an inner cell mass. That was fine by the embryologist and RE.

After retrieval though, I became worried after learning that I had nothing to freeze despite being a reputed hyper stimulator and the number of good embryos still dividing three days after transfer. The embryologist assured me that each embryo/blast is its own unique genetic entity - and that you can't say "oh I had a bad batch of eggs" or "this is indicative of bad egg quality." He said most people at our clinic (60 percent) have nothing to freeze. Not that it made me feel any better. Because there was and is (especially since the IVF did not work) this little voice inside my head telling me that my eggs are incapable of going past the early blast stage.

Everything was perfect during our IVF cycle. Both my RE and therapist (who specializes in infertility counseling) said they were "shocked" it did not work. Great. But it did not. So where does that leave us?

I do not have any reason to think that I have "bad" eggs, whatever that means. My FSH is low, I had beautiful embryos three days after retrieval and, again, 19 fertilized. But I am 36, so my eggs are older than the 22 year-old egg donor I was being ridiculously compared to. But still, WTF? 25 eggs and nothing? This is a reminder that the doctors and embryologists, however fancy their facilities and whatever their success rates, do not have it completely under control. The unknown factor will always be the unknown factor. And, as an uber-controlling person who loves the formula "Do X and Y To Get Z," this is what most distresses me about IVF and ART in general. No, that formula is Do X and Y To Possibly Get Z or ZZ, or zero.

My RE went out on a limb and said that it will happen with IVF. He says that we just have to catch the right embryo. Sounds like going fishing to me. And fishing is pretty hard based on my own limited experiences. I remember sitting there for hours with my dad doing nothing and not figuring out how to even throw the damn line.

My RE also advised that he won't change anything for the next cycle because I did "so well," which simply astounds me. And just so you know, I'm going to one of the top clinics in the country. The doctors there have fabulous success rates. It is just so hard to wrap my head around; we have 19 eggs fertilize and it does not work, while my friend has a crappy IVF cycle (she is a poor responder) and has four eggs retrieved, one of which fertilizes and is now a beautiful baby boy. (I'm very, very, very happy for her of course, I'm just saying - nothing adds up to make any sense at all).

The painful lesson is this: it is definitely quality over quantity. And even with quality, it might not work.

Our next IVF is tentatively scheduled for April 2008.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

For My Niece, Who Shall Not Live in Darkness

I must interrupt my self-centered postings to write about something that has shaken my world.

My niece, my beautiful, 3-month old niece, may never see.

We knew something was wrong. Her eyes were wandering, she wasn't focusing, and her worried parents (my brother and sister-in-law) took her to the local doctor. Local doctor diagnosed two possible problems, but was not certain. We still had hope that it was nothing serious.

Then, yesterday, my niece was seen by one of the top pediatric opthamologists in the country (in another city). He diagnosed my precious niece with this congenital disease. Optic Nerve Hypoplasia. The doctor's tests determined that she cannot see right now, but it is too early too tell what will happen. But he did say she will probably never drive a car and will most certainly have impaired vision or be legally blind.

She will need a lot of treatment, not just to learn how to live without vision or seriously impaired vision, but also because this disease is often associated with other problems such as (1) abnormal brain function; (2) impaired motor skills; (3) impaired speech; (4) seizures; and (5) hypopituitarism, which affects growth and metabolism, and could create problems with development of sex hormones, and low blood sugar.

This is just some of what I have learned about optic nerve hypoplasia in the short time since I learned of my niece's diagnosis, which has been mere hours.

Needless to say, our family is devastated. I want to hold my niece and kiss her and tell her it is OK. I feel like (and am) a complete asshole. When my sister-in-law told me she was pregnant, I was so angry and yes, jealous. She was due when I would have been due if I had not had the ectopic pregnancy, and it was hard to even be around her when she was pregnant. I was angry and judged my brother and sister-in-law because they do not have a lot of money, already have a child, and have a tumultuous and rocky relationship. I was judgmental of them and bitter about the loss of my pregnancy and thought it was so unfair that they were having a baby when they could barely afford it. I was angry that it was so easy for them to conceive, while my husband and I are having such a hard time getting pregnant.

After my niece was born, I fell in love with her at once. At the same time, I physically ached because I knew I should be holding my own newborn infant. But somehow my bitterness over my pregnancy loss evaporated just a little while holding her. She is beautiful and perfect.

After learning of her diagnosis, I am devastated for my niece and my brother and sister-in-law. I also feel horribly guilty about the feelings I had when my sister-in-law was pregnant. They are suffering so much right now and I was actually bitter because they were pregnant. They have no idea at all how I was feeling (I hid it well), but after what has happened, I just feel empty and heartless. And I feel guilty for feeling guilty about my bitterness only after I learned of my niece's diagnosis.

Most of all, I just can't stop crying for my niece. I know she will never read this, but I want to write her a note.

***
Darling Niece,
I am your Aunt Angie. I love you so very much. You are so special to me. We haven't been able to spend too much time together, but we will. Some will say that your disability makes you less of a person. Oh, that is not true. It will make you a stronger person. And I am here to help you. I am going to read everything I can about this disease and make sure you have the best specialists and teachers and training possible. You have so many people around you who love you, and that love will take you further than you can imagine. And dear niece, although you may never be able to see, you will not live in darkness. Because your parents and I and your uncle and your grandmother and everyone who loves you will ensure that you get the best care and learn everything there is to know about the world. We will be your eyes and we will help you see. You will not live in the darkness.
Love,
Aunt Angie
***
***
Why did this have to happen?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Song I Want to Sing to My Child No. 1

I am a music fiend.

I have filled up my entire 10,000-song capacity IPod and have not even begun to make a dent in our voluminous CD collection (this could be why my husband, M, and I are perpetually in debt and broke). I sing all the time (terribly) and hope my future child will love music as much as I do (but sing better).

I adore every type of music - from Mozart to Metallica (well, I only like a few Metallica songs, but yeah, I get them). If forced into a drunken game of "what 10 musicians' cd's will you take with you to a desert island," one that I've played a few times, I guess I would have to name as my 10 favorite artists* of all time not in order of preference as follows: 1) Otis Redding; 2) The Velvet Underground; 3) The Rolling Stones; 4) The Beatles (a choice which necessarily encompasses all of John Lennon's solo work); 5) The Pixies; 6) Simon and Garfunkel (oh my god, I love them); 7) Iggy Pop and the Stooges or any solo Iggy Pop; 8) David Bowie; 9) Sinead O'Connor; 10) Hank Williams; 11) Ray Charles; and 12) The Kinks. U2 and REM may be smuggled in.

Music is such an important part of my life (only in my capacity as a would-be connoisseur) that I often think of songs I want to sing to my child when he/she comes along. To that end, I have made a partial list of songs in my head already despite not being anywhere near having a child. (Plans for child when child is not imminent - that is another topic). One song that is definitely on this list is below. It poignantly captures a mother's unselfish love. It is so touching to hear - no one sings quite like Chrissie Hynde. Anyway, here is the song:

Kid

Kid what changed your mood
You've gone all sad so I feel sad too
I think I know some things we never outgrow
You think it's wrong
I can tell you do
How can I explain
When you don't want me to
Kid my only kid
You look so small you've gone so quiet
I know you know what I'm about
I won't deny it
But you forgive though you don't understand
You've turned your head
You've dropped my hand
All my sorrow, all my blues
All my sorrow
Shut the light, go away
Full of grace you cover your face
Kid gracious kid
Your eyes are blue but you won't cry
I know angry tears are too dear
You won't let them go
-- The Pretenders
***
Beautiful, isn't it? I can't wait to sing it to him or her.
.
.
.
.
* Since the act of choosing my 10 favorite artists to the exclusion of all others would an inherently unfair and cruel game, I unilaterally changed the rules of this game so that I get an extra one or two in there. First, I certainly cannot leave out Ray. And the Kinks - well they are just brilliant and underrated. Second, the Beatles and Rolling Stones should not count as actual choices, since they arguably transcend a comparison with other artists (oh my gosh, just realized I forgot Bob Dylan - I may have to revise this list in the future!).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

It Was One Year Ago Today...

that I got a call from my RE's office. I remember the nurse's exact words. "Angela, you're pregnant." Words I had longed to hear, but couldn't actually believe. I cried while on the phone with her. My beta was 46 at 13 DPIUI, which the doctor was happy with, but of course, I was told the doubling time was the important thing (the beta doubled quite nicely a few days later).

On the phone with the nurse, I was given a long list of things I could not do and drugs I could not take. I had never actually enjoyed being restricted so much before. I felt joyous and happy. My husband, M, cried too, and kept looking at me like I was this new woman. He kept rubbing my tummy. I was carrying our child and we were going to have a baby. Due September 16, 2007.

Well, I guess you know where this story goes. September 16 came, but there is no baby. There was only a fetus (was it even a fetus?) for a few weeks, and that fetus grew in the wrong place. So I had to take a cancer drug and terminate the pregnancy. I've never been so devastated in my entire life. I have no funny, or ironic or witty thing to say about it - as I often to do blunt the pain. It was fucking awful, truly awful, and I feel fucking cheated. And I have never felt more alone, or more saddened than I did on the day I found out that I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.

I have had a long time to get over the pregnancy, the diagnosis of it being ectopic, and the loss. But I'll never forget that one year ago today, that happy, anything-can-happen day, I was going to be a mom. One year later, after four more IUIs and one failed IVF, I'm no closer to that then I was when I took the methotrexate shot.

I know 2007 is over, but I'm still reeling from my ectopic pregnancy and the fact that I don't have a three month old infant in my arms. I'm reeling from my failed IVF in December (a very appropriate end for THE YEAR THAT SUCKED ASS).

I am trying so hard to move forward. It's just that the physics of progression are not working in my favor at the moment. So instead, I'll go backwards...just for a moment..to that one day a year ago today, when it was all amazing.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Fertility '08!

Warning: Extreme Political Content to Follow. Can you handle it?

After watching the Iowa Caucus results last night and being told by the ever-so-wise pundits that the next president of the United State will be the president who best represents "CHANGE,"* I began thinking about this very nebulous concept. Change. Hmmm. Can't remember when things weren't the status quo. Can't remember when things didn't totally suck since George W. became president. The idea of a real, meaningful change in government (like Obama becoming president) is too much for me to hope for. In fact, it's almost too painful to even attempt to visualize. Kind of like hoping for Fertility, you know?

Come to think of it, my battle with Infertility began during the presidency of George W. (I have no doubt that this has something to do with the Patriot Act and the government clandestinely trying to prevent two die-hard liberals from conceiving).

But secretly, just as I hope that Obama, this amazing, inspiring, and phenomenal man, might...just might...win, I also harbor the secret hope that maybe...just maybe Fertility can also be the victor in 2008. Because if CHANGE is indeed what it's all about, Fertility's got a chance people!!!

There should be an election in which voters vote for Fertility in '08. Now, such a campaign would not be easily won. It would need money of course - for future IVFs - not to mention media coverage to educate the vast majority of idiots who are totally clueless about what it's like to be infertile. Still, the Fertility '08 campaign would be honorable. It would under no circumstances pay for any negative ads against Infertility. That could prevent the election from going its way. Help us infertiles out folks. Vote for Fertility in 2008! (Can't you hear the crowds chanting Fer-til-ity! Fer-til-ity!)

If Fertility should win, I would expect a victory speech something along these lines:

Fellow Americans, today is truly a momentous event. Infertility is gone, thanks to you. Fertility is Here. People like Angela are now pregnant with their first child after wandering the barren infertile land for so long. No more RE visits. No more IVFs. No more pain. No more suffering. No more baby showers that make you feel like shit. No more hearing about how little Suzy is just sooooo cute and does everything sooooo perfectly. No more periods with tears. No more shots. No more planned sex. No more peeing on sticks. No more avoiding Target because of all the babies there. No more feeling defective. No, you are all now governed by Fertility! Fellow Americans, only because of your hard work, dedication, and voices for change has the reign of Infertility been abolished forever. The future is here. Fertility abounds. And from here on out, remember, it's not what you can do for Fertility, it's what Fertility can do for you...er...I mean, it's not what Fertility can do for you, it's what YOU can do for Fertility...well, you get the idea. [Insert big Howard Dean yell here - aaaagh!!!]

Hope for the Future. Vote Fertility in 08'!



* If this is actually true across the country and not just in Iowa, I am going to so very drunk on election night, (unless of course, I'm pregnant - yeah right) and sing "Ding dong the witch is dead" over and over. If this is not true, I am just going to get so very drunk.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Uterus of the Damned

I have often considered blogging about my infertility experience (humbly attempting to follow in the footsteps of my blog idols, Cecily and Akeeyu) but each time I did, I thought, "once I start an infertility blog I'll get pregnant right away and that would just be ridiculous - to start a blog about something that wouldn't last very long." In other words, I knew I was having trouble getting pregnant, but I never really, in my heart, believed I'd get to THIS POINT. Never thought I'd really have enough to talk about in an infertility blog. Oh, but how the joke is on me! (I can hear the proverbial TV laugh track as I'm writing this). Well, what do you know? Here I am. In full glory, after two years of trying to make a baby, one ectopic pregnancy, five failed IUIs and one failed IVF. Denial is no longer an option. I get the prize! I can start an "infertility" blog! I've made the cut! Ribbons and balloons please! No? That's ok, I'll settle for the period I got on Christmas morning (after my first IVF).

Forgive the fertility humor. I'm just full of it these days.

Just so the record is clear - I know I will become a parent - the hows and whens of that most anticipated event are anyone's guess. But the journey to date has been unbelievable. Unbelievable, as in "Holy fuck, I can't believe this shit is happening to me." Unbelievable, as in "My brother and sister are as fertile as weeds; what the hell is wrong with me?" And Unbelievable, as in, "I'm bitter, I'm scared, and I'm so very sad."

I'll post more about me and my husband later, but in the interests of full disclosure, I thought it would be most appropriate to explain the title of this blog. It was essentially stolen from this 1960 sci-fi movie masterpiece. Although I'd seen the movie before (my husband, M, and I are movie buffs and met at a cult/art/indie video store), I rented it recently only days after my truly wonderful RE called to advise that the two lovely blastocysts implanted in me only a week prior had failed to stick around. C'est la vie.

Not only did I love the movie, but I found it strangely comforting in my failed-IVF-grief-funk. In fact, I am going to make watching it number one on my list in progress of "Fun things to do after your IVF cycle bites the dust!" So without giving too much away, the movie really is fantastic viewing for failed IVF'ers. It is as if all that hate and revenge you want to inflict on everyone else for having no infertility problems, who tell you to relax and have a margarita, who do not even try to understand your pain and grief, manifests itself in this movie, albeit in an offbeat manner. So what happens in the move is - all women of pregnant-bearing age strangely fall asleep for a few hours in a small village - then they wake up and soon find out they are pregnant. My favorite scene is when the beautiful young wife of the main character goes to the store to get pickles and the sales woman winks and says "I think there is going to be some news!" And then said beautiful wife goes home with her pickles in tow and gushes to her scientist husband that they are going to have a baby! He is of course overjoyed and asks if beautiful wife needs to sit down. Well ha! Beautiful wife and scientist husband soon learn that their baby is a demon-alien-biological freak who can control people with his mind and cause the destruction of the earth. He is one of several children in the village born on the same day who are the same - blond, scary, demonic, and sinister...their demon eyes even light up when they are causing mischief. It's really very fun to watch - and after a failed IVF- the prospect of demon children taking over the village instead of happy, pretty babies, was really very cool I must say. (So I'm bitter, do you have a problem with that?)

In sum, I highly recommend the movie. It's great. As is its sequel which is a bit more serious and political. But the title of the movie and the subject matter was just too good to pass up for my new blog.

While I'll of course settle for demon children at this point, I am as of now without child and current owner of the Uterus of the Damned.

Oh, and I meant to say, it is very nice to meet you; my name is Angela.