July 15, 2011

One of Those Weeks

I swear, I am not always whiney but this week work has been much like how Misery Bear experiences it:

July 11, 2011

IF Colored Glasses

I can't help it.  Everything I read, watch or experience (at least in the last two years or so) is done so through IF colored glasses.  For better or worse it seems IF has just become part of me, part of my perception of the world. 

I've recently been watching the English show "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding", a pseudo documentary on the Traveller/Gypsy culture in Great Britain.  There are arguments on either side about the focus and clarity of the show and even some in the Traveller and Gypsy community are not supportive of the program.  As a lover of sociology and anything remotely different from my own culture, I am eating this show up! 

For the most part the episodes I've watched are about Irish Travellers.  Although historically they have had a nomadic lifestyle, the 21st Century has begun to impact their culture and change their way of life.  Several aspects however have not changed; the duties and status of men and women, the celebrations of life's milestones (birth, marriage, death) and the exclusion of the outside world from their lives.

In the episode "Desperate Housewives" the women (teenagers really) explain that their role in life, their purpose for being, is to get married and have babies.  Period. In between those events they are expected to take care of their husbands, clean the family caravan (trailer) and look back on their wedding day as The Most Important Day of their life. 

As an American (ok, older and single) woman I cannot relate to marriage aspect of this culture but I sure can relate to the producing babies part.  For some reason I felt intense anxiety at the producing babies part of this episode.  Not the usual "OMG, pregnancy and babies are being mentioned" stuff but anxiety over what a Traveller or Gypsy woman would do if she encountered fertility issues.  To whom would she turn?  Would she be shunned?  How would the community and culture handle this diagnosis?  What would their support (or lack of) look like? On and on and on went the questions in my head.

I doubt very much the show would ever wade into these very personal waters but as someone already five nautical miles out in the IF sea, I could not help but factor this into my viewing experience.  Funny, hearing that the teens drop out of school at 11 or 12 did not bother me at all.

What have I turned into?


July 8, 2011


After the sting of the post-miscarriage bfn in May I decided to take June off.  I felt it wasn't even worth going in for a baseline as I was sure there would be a cyst. 

Fast forward to CD3 on July 5th. I felt so confident as I strolled into the exam room, head on straight and positive attitude affixed to my being....however July wasn't meant to be.  I have two cysts, one on each side with the largest measuring 15.  I didn't cry, pout or otherwise feel defeated.  I figured my body must need some more time.  Maybe my body is manifesting the needs of my mind and heart?

It's all I can do/feel/think at this point.  To allow any negativity would put me back on a pretty dark path, one I am really not wanting to experience again. 

So, I've committed to being healthier this month, cleaning up my eating behaviors and picking up my regular workout routine.  If I am being handed this "off" month I figure I had better use it for something good.

PS. Thank you for the warm welcome back!

July 7, 2011

Stepping Back and Stepping Back In

I've been wanting to return to blogging after taking time to step back and mend.  Beautifully Mundane's post yesterday gave me the push I needed:

June 7, 2011

Brand Fan

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is Are you the fan of a certain brand? 

I use several brands from which I will never ever stray:
For making my own (decaf) skinny vanilla lattes at home.

I attribute my lack of crow's feet to this eye makeup remover. 
To hermetically seal my ears so I can sleep at night.

The only brand with a wide enough toe box for my Flintstone feet.

The only sunscreen that doesn't break me out.  It also recently made the list of the top sunscreens by EWG

Cheap and in bulk.  'Nuff said.

See's scotchmallow, the only scotchmallow that will ever cross my lips.

A note about all of the warm and positive comments left on yesterday's post:   I read and reread them throughout the day today.  They are the only reason I made it through this particularly difficult CD1.    A simple thank you is insufficient but I am writing it just the same.  

June 6, 2011

Can Anyone Else Tell?

Today during a first-thing-in-the-morning-on-a-Monday-meeting at work I was sitting in the back of a row looking around at everyone, wondering if they could tell my heart was hurting so bad I could barely keep it together.

As people chatted about their weekends, their kids and in one case, their new engagement ring, I felt like I must have missed jumping on the Train of Life at some point.  Like I've been left at some out of the way depot, watching the train speed by, seeing all the people living typical lives in their little compartments and feeling like I forgot to get my ticket punched or something. 

This post is more of a brain-pain dump than a real substantive post I suppose. 

I tested bfn on Sunday and stopped the Prometrium and will most likely get AF tomorrow.

It hurts.

If I stop for a moment and look outside myself and see what I've lost this year already, my mother, my miscarriage, the family who had always been such a large part of my life, it's no wonder this bfn has been so hard to take. 

I know I will be ok in a couple of days and by the next cycle will be ready to jump back into things, but for now?  I look around at all the people I see and interact with and wonder if they know that inside, right now, I feel more dead than alive.

June 3, 2011

Just Not Feeling It

At 10dpiui I am feeling like this cycle is a bust.  As a frenetic POASer I have tested out the trigger and am now looking at stark whiteness.  My successful cycle gave me a bfp on 9dpiui and although part of me is whispering, "it's just too soon" the realistic side of me knows it's a done deal.

Moving on...

Next month:

Expected cyst(s) + mental fatigue x giant work project = break

June 2, 2011

Oh, This is Too Easy!

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt: 

Thursday, June 2, 2011
Tell us about your favourite band/musician.

Since I am traveling halfway across the world at the end of October to see him it's pretty clear my favorite musician is George Michael!  

I fell in love with his voice from the first moment I heard him.  His music kept me company, kept me sane and kept me moving forward during some very rough teenage and then adult times.  Of course he is also easy on the eyes as my grandma would say.

I have received much ribbing throughout the years for my love of George.  He may be self destructive, impulsive, addicted and/or power happy but his talent and appeal cannot be denied.  

This is one of my favorite fan videos of his surprise appearance at Beyonce's London concert in July of 2009.  Beyonce has been a George Michael fan for years as well. 

June 1, 2011


Not only has it been over a week since I last blogged but I also failed miserably at May's ICLW.  Even if Blogger didn't have a ghost in the machine screwing up the commenting feature, I am fairly certain I would have failed ICLW anyway.

Since my iui I have been held captive by and in my own mind.  I became immobile, fully consumed with my thoughts of failure, or worse yet, success and then failure.  True to form, instead of turning to blogging which I have found to be so helpful, I kept it all inside, the synapses of my mind firing roughly 24/7 with nothing but pure anxiety and let's face it, abject panic.

Rather than remaining trapped behind the curtain of my angst (why yes, I do love being melodramatic) *puts back of hand up to forehead*, I am jumping right back in and participating in NaBloPoMo, starting tomorrow.

Today though, I have to admit in this post that I have created a map in my mind akin to the footpath created by the comic strip character Billy in Family Circus.

Like Billy, my starting and ending points are quite linear but in my mind the twists and turns of the path have careened all over the map.  So far I have decided that if I don't succeed in getting pregnant by the end of the year I will do one or more of the following:

  • quit my much-loathed job
  • sell everything I own
  • teach abroad
  • enlist in the Peace Corps
  • move across the country
  • keep my much-loathed job and get a weekend job to make more money to then quit my much-loathed job and do any or all of the above.
I am exhausted.  I've researched my eyeballs out and am now sure that my life will be radically different if I do not reach my goal.  

I haven't even begun to map out the donor egg or embryo option.  I need to give my eyes time to heal.  Oh, the other option?  The two pink lines, big old Beta number and a take home baby option?  I haven't let myself think too much about that.  It's just a little too soon and a little too scary.  

May 24, 2011

The Eagle(s) Have Landed

All 65 million of them! 

This morning's iui went very smoothly with no hiccups.  As always, I worry that I O'd too soon but there's nothing I can do about that now.  Dr. C said she was very pleased with how my body reacted to Lupro.n so hopefully at least one of the five to six eggs will be both mature and healthy.  Is that too much to (effing) ask?

This time around I lounged about afterwards on the lovely yet uncomfortable table and watched a little of "The Wire" on my iPad and thought good thoughts.  I really appreciate all of the kind thoughts and words that have been coming my way.  I have attributed the calmness I feel this cycle to this support.  With all of my previous cycles I was on my own.  A couple of friends knew what I was doing but no one really knew what I was going through. It truly does make all the difference.

May 21, 2011

Er, or Not

I am much relieved the world didn't end at 6pm today.  As I lay there enjoying the gentle attentions of LaWanda (that came out weird but you know what I mean), I told Dr. Conceivable I would be really pissed off if the world ended just as things were looking so good for this cycle.

Today's scan showed:

Lining:  11.6
Right:  19.3, 15.8, 11.1, 12.4
Left:  12.4, 12.9, 11.8

So, Tuesday is iui day, which as any IF struggling gal would agree, the world ending 3 days before would really screw up the plans!

A short chat with Dr. C about the potential ending of life as we know it brought up the subject of disaster preparedness.  It sounds like the doctor has her disaster plans (and kits) fully organized and in place, ready to go in case of any emergency or natural disaster.   I wish I could say the same for me! 

I did at one time have a huge disaster preparedness supply in my shed in the backyard.  Slowly, through the years, I raided it and barely anything remains.  I have a rudimentary one in my car but it's nothing really that would keep me for more than two days (and that includes me digging under the seats for old french fries to keep me going).  

As I live smack dab in earthquake country (with The Big One predicted to hit within the next 30 years or so) I realize I am being imprudent and naive.  

What kind of person am I (mother will I be?).  I have no water jugs stashed, no cash tucked into a safe place, no case of Cliff bars or bags of freeze dried food, no extra shoes, antiseptic, toilet paper, dental floss, band aids, matches, radio, batteries or even a flashlight stored anywhere on my premises.  

I'm screwed.

What about you?  How prepared are you?

PS.  Here's a few sites which give comprehensive lists for building your own disaster kit.  It will either make you feel very assured or send you straight into a panic (me).

Ready America - Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed

FEMA - Are You Ready?


May 19, 2011


This is only the second time I've used Lupron and I had forgotten how it S L O W S things down.  I am used to stimming a max of 4 days before an IUI.  Not so with Lupron!  No ma'am, we're on a slow and steady path here.

Today's scan by Dr. C showed my lining is at 8.9 and I have five eggs on deck:

Left- 10.3, 11.9, 13.5
Right - 9.6, 10.2, 11.1

I came home happy with my internal workings and satisfied with the conversation I had with Dr. C about my situation.

I proceeded to run some errands, eat lunch, do some real work (thank goodness for telecommuting) and some housework.  If there was a cartoon bubble over my head it would have read, "tra lalalala lala".  Then I snapped to and realized DUH, I need some DNA to make this thing work!  Sperm decisions.  Ugh.  Back to the drawing board.

For the next three hours I analyzed the sperm bank's website like a bookie consulting the weekend racing forms.  I made Venn Diagrams with new donors and my ghosts of donors past.  I plotted eye color and height, constructed loose genetic equations based on given family health information, I called and got vial counts, baby counts, motility and volume counts.  I did it all.  Then collapsed in a puddle, picked up the three pieces of paper with my top three contenders and threw them up in the air.  The one that landed in my lap is the one I chose.  Once I saw it I was happy.  It was the one whose personality I was most drawn to and makes it official...I've never used the same donor twice!

Not scientific by any stretch of the word, but I can tell you I've put less work into picking some of the men I've dated in the past.  I am satisfied, exhausted but satisfied.

Now all I have to do is pick up Frank the Tank and I'm on way come Monday or Tuesday!

btw, the use of the above photo in combination with the title of this post severely ages me.  I realized this when looking up the photo.  Where has the time gone??

May 17, 2011

Stimming Right Along

Photo by Erin Fagart
I began my protocol last night with no problems.  The Lupron (5 units) doesn't impact me but as I've experienced before, moments after the injections my lower abdomen began to tingle and bloat.  As I lay in bed, wondering what I might fit into for work the next morning,  I imagined the medications herding my (good) eggs, poking them gently with with long sticks, urging them to get in line and shape up for their trip to market.

This time around I am making some subtle adjustments to improve the quality of the herd:


  • Thanks to new mama Shannon for suggesting Coenzyme Q10 which has has been suggested to improve egg quality.  I've been taking a total of 400mg each day.
  • I have started walking 3 miles a day.  I am very grateful to the re-emergence of an old friend who is training for the Nike Women's Marathon in October.  My fast walking lines up with her slow running so our partnership is working out well!


  • I am listening to the Circle+Bloom IVF/IUI series each night.  I've never been one for meditating but so far I like what I hear and it helps me fall asleep (not entirely sure that's the purpose!).
  • I rejoined Weight.Watchers online.  My eating habits have become deplorable and it shows.  I joined with a workmate and we've committed to 3 months.  I need to regain control and become more aware of what I am eating and why.  WW and I are longtime frenemies so I expect we'll be uncomfortable with each other for a few days but then things will settle down.
  • I opened my calendar again.  I am a paper-calendar type of person and haven't been able to open my pocket 2011 calendar since my first/last OB appointment in March.  I've vigorously clipped all the previous months' pages together and am only looking forward now.  Thank goodness for whiteout for all the milestones that were not to be.
  • With a shaking hand and a sweaty mouse I purchased a ticket for George Michael's Symphonic Tour.   On October 29th I'll be at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Dress Circle P, front row and I'll be happy estatic.  I have to have something to look forward to, something to pull me through all the days before me.  The ticket was expensive and the trip will be as well but all in all, it's a hell of a lot cheaper (and more enjoyable) than therapy and I figure I need some happiness this year.  Who knows, maybe by then I'll be two attending for the price of one?  

May 14, 2011

My Ticket is Punched

As I checked into my RE's office this morning I felt like I was buying a ticket on a carnival ride.  I was excited but a part of me felt a little queasy.

A day 2 ultrasound is never a pleasant experience but I was able to laugh about the awkwardness of it all.  I told told the NP, "dignity be damned, bring on LaWanda!".   Aside from my ever present 30mm paratubal cyst on the left side all looks good and I am cleared to begin again.  My protocol this cycle so far is 1 Lupron, 3 Bravelle and 2 Menopur beginning on day 4 (Monday) and another scan on Thursday with an IUI on Friday or Saturday.  I am starting day 4 as opposed to day 3 because I am prone to hyperplasia and I need to "bleed a bit more", which in any other situation would have sent me running down the hall like this.  Seriously, two years ago I would have just about tossed my cookies at most of this stuff.  But now?  Meh, it's all included in the price of admission.

This is the exact same protocol from the last cycle which produced five eggs and gave me a BFP.  I am ok with doing the same thing again for the first time back and I am certainly not a big fan of OHSS which the poor Infertile Gynecologist is beginning to experience.  Dr. Conceivable doesn't work on Saturday but I'll see her Thursday and perhaps she will change things up as she alluded to in our last chat.

I came home fully intending to be an energetic and productive person.

What did I do instead?  Um, well, fell asleep on my love seat.  I never do this because my love seat is only 5'.  I am 5'10" and can never fully recline on it, I more like drape myself over one of the arms.  Anyway, I fell fast asleep and awoke 3 hours later to find I had bled all over the place, through two protective covers and down to the cushion.  I was so out of it I never woke up!  Ugh.  I felt like back when I was a young teenager, not quite used to this monthly hygiene issue.  Oh, and I should mention that upon waking and cleaning up I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror.  Talk about a carnival show!!  I looked like a wild woman (thankfully minus the snakes and bare bosom) with my hair practically on end and my clothes all askew.

I guess this beginning again took more out of me than I realized.  The waiting time after my loss has been extremely stressful and I think I am now feeling the results of that as well as the usual anxiety that comes along with any ART cycle.

I plan to begin blogging more regularly.  I've been in one of Dante's lesser known circles of hell, one that many fertility-challenged 41 year old (single) women can relate to.  When stressed, my natural inclination is to self isolate.  This behavior just adds more stress and anxiety.  And so on and so on.

I've been missing the support of my blogging friends. I realize I need it.  Besides, have you ever had fun at the carnival all by your lonesome?

May 13, 2011


Right on time at 28 days two months after D&E. At least that part of me works. Scan tomorrow and the roller coaster begins again...

May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Secret

and many other thought provoking postcards on today's Post Secret.

May 5, 2011

Interesting Thoughts About the Journey

...and those you meet along the way...

Check out The Infertility Therapist's latest post "Unexpected help, unlikely alliances, and other surprises along the journey of infertility".

Have you received unexpected help or made unlikely alliances along the way?

May 3, 2011

Genetics Counselor Weighs In

I love how important phone calls never come when you expect.  I was on a busy street this morning waiting for someone and of course the call I have been waiting for popped up on my cell.  To maintain my privacy I ducked into an alcove and hoped my colleagues would just assume I was late.

I jotted down some of the words the genetics counselor used:

  • Random
  • Sporadic
  • Fluke
  • Not a carrier

She interviewed me for background/ethnic/health information and then told me she saw no reason why I should not try again.  I just happened to fall into the 0.06% pit of women who have that aneuploidy as well as the overall 0.7% of women my age who have chromosomal issues with my eggs.  Damn probability. Funny how this never works for me when I play the lotto.

The counselor gave me her number and told me to call her when I get another positive.  She said she'd walk me through any testing I wanted to do and provide me with information so I could make educated decisions.

So understanding was she that she talked a bit about the recent loss of my mother, the stress of being single and doing fertility treatments and the anxiety I am having about trying again. She ended with giving me a great deal of encouragement and said that I was "in good company" because many women my age have healthy babies.  She told me to have confidence and to have hope.

I have enough hope to sink a ship, it's the confidence I am worried about although after talking to her I feel like I now have my second wind.

May 1, 2011


  United in grief, we find love and strength.

International Babylost Mother's Day recognizes babylost women all over the world as mothers. Just because a woman loses her baby does not mean that she is not a mother anymore. She will be a mother for the rest of her life.

On the first Sunday in May we come together to celebrate our connection, our children and our hope for the future. IBMD is a day for love, peace, remembrance and recognition.

If you know a babylost woman why not tell her today that she is a beautiful mother by sending her one of our flowers from The Rainbow Flower Gallery.

Awareness Flowers

April 30, 2011

April 29, 2011

47 XY +13

At least now I have an answer as to why my twins did not continue to develop.  Forty seven chromosomes with an extra number 13 chromosome.  Both male.

The surgeon called me yesterday and left a long message.  Strange how I'd been waiting for that call for weeks but once I began to move on and hover less and less over my phone, he calls.  In a way I am glad I didn't have to speak directly to him.  As wonderful and caring as he was, I don't think I could have handled that, especially while waiting in line at Whole Foods.

I did find much solace in his statement, "It was nothing you did, not your fault in any way".  Those thoughts had been floating around in my head as I relived each "bad" thing I did during those happy weeks (drank caffeine, ate a hot dog, traveled by plane, used bleach).  He provided me with a number for the genetics department which I called this morning.  I should be getting a call back from a counselor by the middle of next week. 

Well, luckily the universe (or Al Gore) invented the Internet and I spent several hours last night consulting Dr. Google and any other website I could find that made reference to "Trisomy 13" and "with miscarriage" and "before healthy pregnancy". 

Unless the extra chromosome is a result of a translocation (meaning either parent is a carrier) then it is a result of a random occurrence when the egg met the sperm.  A small percentage result from the father but the majority are from the mother and are due to maternal age (the average age of women whose fetus has this is 31 - hardly AMA) and overall it's likened to stepping on a genetic land mind and just plain bad luck. 

"Unless one of the parents is a carrier of a translocation the chances of a couple having another trisomy 13 affected child is less than 1% (less than that of Down Syndrome)" is a statement I found at several scientific sites.  I am fairly sure I am not a carrier (just based upon the number of  my sibling's children and by the prolific number of offspring produced by both sides of my family) so I am assuming the issue is AMA.  I will of course follow up with the genetic counselor and get tested but for now the sentence above, which I found on several scientific sites, is providing me with some hope.

I understand that there are 22 other chromosomes which could technically be my own little genetic minefield (which seems to become more treacherous with AMA) but I am not throwing in the towel just yet.

I am wondering if IVF would be a better way to go and if genetic testing could be done after retrieval. I am woefully ignorant of the options IVF provides.  The learning curve regarding all I've experienced thus far has just about scrambled my brain but I am not done learning or questioning. 

Knowledge is power.  Painful, painful power.

April 28, 2011

This Guy Used to Be on My Good Side

I love The Oatmea.l. The author cracks me up with everything he does.  The words he uses, the pictures, the pop culture references...it all makes me chortle with mirth. 

Until I saw the one titled "How Different Age Groups Celebrate Christmas".  At first I scrolled down, grinning like a fool, naive in the feeling that surely, here amongst the most inane of hilarity, I was safe from the Cato-like assault of anything mentioning infertility or babies or age.   Then I saw the frames showing how the two age groups without kids celebrate the holiday.  I flinched like I'd been snapped with a rolled up wet towel.  Ouch! 

Matthew Inma.n, I used to love the hell out of your comics.  Not so much anymore.  Perhaps I am being a bit too sensitive.  Perhaps not.

April 27, 2011


Have you ever wanted to put your biggest secret, desire or regret down on a postcard and send it in to be seen by thousands of people in the blogosphere and at college campuses around the country?  Really?  Me neither!

However that does not stop me from reading other people's postcards and realizing that my deep and dark secrets are sometimes shared by others.

You can read more about Post.Secret here or check out the homepage or the roundup posted every Sunday.

I saw one postcard that was posted today that really hit home for me.  Perhaps I'm not so alone in feeling like the world's worst friend.

April 26, 2011


[dih-pree-shee-ey-shuh n]  A decrease or loss in value, as because of age, wear, or market conditions.

I listen to talk radio a lot.  I find it interesting and at times entertaining.  This past weekend as I was driving around doing errands I listened to a talk show host discuss the issue of Medicare paying for the elderly who are incapable of having any significant quality of life.  The debate was about how if these people can no longer contribute to Medicare then they should not be sustained by money funded by it.  

Most callers found the idea of killing off these people simply because they were no longer "contributing" members of society abhorrent.  Many people referred to the service these people had provided to the nation, many being of The Greatest Generation and how it was now that the nation must protect and care for them.  

Then a woman (an RN no less) calls in and says that these elderly people are being unpatriotic by staying alive and that the money being spent to keep them alive would be better spent on people who need it more, like women with children who need transplants, chemo, etc.  

After this comment the radio host had a field day (much to my delight).  He asked the caller if she felt that women who had children were of more value to society than those without.  She answered "yes" and said that  it was universally known fact.

I don't think she's too far off in that statement...about this fact being universally known.  I've been made to feel this way many times in my life.  

As a woman without a child I am often made to feel I have a depreciated value to humankind.  I won't even veer off into the older woman without a child issue because that would entail a rant on ageism and I just don't have it in me at the moment.  

For example, today at work I met with my supervisor to discuss a program happening late on Thursday afternoon.  I asked how the preparations were going since the director has been out ill and we only have Wednesday now to prepare.  She asked how late I could stay on Wednesday.  I said, "Why?  Isn't ML coordinating this?".  She replied, "She is but she has to leave at 4pm sharp.  She has kids to pick up."

Oh, so what, my time is not as valuable because I don't have kids to pick up?

How many times have you heard a news story about missing women or injured women (yeah, nowadays not so infrequently) but then if she's PREGNANT or (second best) has kids, well then ALERT ALL SECTORS.  Suddenly she has more value as a news story, more value as a person.

There have been many other instances when my time, my opinion, my health, my finances, my contribution and my feelings have been deemed to be of depreciated value simply because I do not have children.

And it pisses me off. 

April 25, 2011


Circle + Bloom is offering a 35% discount* in honor of NIAW.  I haven't tried this before but am tempted to now.  What could it hurt, right?

*Good April 24-30th.  Use code NIAW35 when checking out.

April 24, 2011

Wall Space

I was feeling kind of down yesterday.  I think the combination of dropping a lot of cash at the auto repair shop and then going out and doing some errands, only to see "Happy Mother's Day!" plastered just about everywhere, really made me sad.  The fact that people were rushing around buying things for their Easter Sunday meal or gathering really didn't bother me.  It was never a significant holiday in my life.  The other one, the "Mother" (haha) of all acknowledgement days, well that's another story.

This year's holiday is especially charged for me after the combined double whammy of my recent miscarriage and loss of my own mother.  I'd like to think that I can handle it in a logical manner, but I am finding that Mother's Day isn't bringing up logical issues, only emotional ones.

I called my stepmom last night to check in.  She and my father have been married for almost twenty years.  She's a very supportive person although I have chosen not to tell her or my father of my ttc plans.  As we were chatting I told her how my mother's death has ripped open a lot of old wounds.  Despite having grieved the loss of her (or what a mother was supposed to be like) years ago, her death brought it all up again.  Our conversation led to me asking in a rhetorical fashion why my father had ever been with my mother in the first place.  In all these years I never really asked him that question.  Their relationship before I came along was something I hadn't really considered before (oh the joys of egocentric childhood!).

Once, when I was 12 and shortly after my parents' divorce I remember glancing through the newspaper (back in those days divorce announcements were printed in the paper).  I was shocked out of my shoes to see their marriage date in print along with the official divorce date.  The marriage date was three years after I was born and shortly before the birth of my brother.  It had never occurred to me that I was born out of wedlock or that my appearance in their marriage was nothing less than planned and wanted.

When I mentioned this to my stepmom last night she told me that my dad's mother (a strong matriarch) all but forced my father to marry my mother.  Well, she and the mores of the Catholic Church made the decision a foregone conclusion.  What surprised me is the fact that my stepmom said my grandmother recently apologized to my father for making him marry my mother.

I didn't ask more about this apology because my mind was running in so many directions.  What exactly was my grandmother apologizing for, especially this late in the game?

My grandmother had six children who produced over 25 grandkids, who have since produced dozens of great and great-great grandkids.  In my grandmother's house, on the longest unobstructed wall of the living room, appears a photo of each of her children, with that person's spouse, then kids, then their kids, etc.  It's all chronologically placed, this line of genealogical proof of love, marriage and fertility.  My picture is the only bastion of white space on the entire wall.  There is no spouse nor children nor grandchildren (egads!) under my section under my father's frame.  I exist alone on an island of Sherwin Williams' eggshell white.

This has always been a point of embarrassment and pain for me.  This wall that proves I have been skipped over in love and barren of offspring.  So when my stepmom made this comment about my grandmother's apology I immediately thought she was actually sorry I was the reason for the marriage, that his bastion of white space on her living room wall bothers her as much as it does me.  Perhaps she feels I am so damaged that the normalcy of a spouse and family were clearly impossible for me.  Maybe long before my older cousins up on the first row of the photo parade had produced the first grandchildren my grandmother knew I was doomed to a dead end on this photographic representation of the family tree.

I know this is probably not true, but that's the first place my mind went after my stepmom made that revelation.

Mother's Day has always been a rough one for me but this year...well I'll be glad to see it go.  I only wish I could hide away in my apartment until it's over.  I don't know what I'll actually do on this day.  Right now my main concern is getting through all the days until that day.

April 23, 2011

A Close Second

The 2ww is nothing short of torture.  A close second for me is the 20-30 minute wait for the mechanic to check out my car and write up an estimate.  Ugh.  At least after this wait I got what I paid for...new brakes, two new tires and two sets of shocks and struts (whatever those are).  
Le sigh.

April 22, 2011

So Says Sarah Ban Breathnach

“Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.” 

I like Ms. Ban Breathnach's quote because it resonates with me and how I feel about the experience of blogging.  At a time when some things have most definitely not been working in my life, I have to acknowledge that this blogging thing is working most wonderfully.  Not only am I able to express my feelings and get out of my head all the sorrow, fear and despair about my path to parenthood, but I am also able to hear from others and, as an added bonus, communicate on other blogs to women who are struggling (and sometimes celebrating) too. 

Thank you Sprout who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  I started out the month of April committed to post every day as part of NaBloPoMo but realized I was needing to post every day for my own mental health. 

I was also nominated by Jen from Struggling to Become a Family of Two.  This is all very exciting to a new blogger!  Thank you both!

These are the rules:

1.  Winners grab the image above and put it in your blog.
2.  Link back to the person who gave you it.
3.  Tell 10 things about yourself
4.  Award 15 recently discovered bloggers.
5.  Contact the bloggers you have awarded to let them know they have won.

Ten things about me:
  1. I am known for not using profanity, however in reality, in my head, I swear *constantly* like a longshoreman.
  2. I have never gotten over George Michael's revelation that he's gay.  I love him and think he's an amazing artist.
  3. I have a teaching license and would love to teach again someday.
  4. My BFF workmate and I have made up nicknames for everyone in the office and most are not very nice.
  5. Lasagna is my signature dish.
  6. Beaker is my favorite Muppet.
  7. As a child I was obsessed with all things Laura Ingalls Wilder and wore a prairie dress with bonnet all of second grade.
  8. Russell Crowe makes me weak in the knees.
  9. Sometimes I want to sell everything I own, move here and work as a maid in any hotel that will have me.
  10. I love walking through and exploring cemeteries, the older the better.
My nominees are:

Never Mind the Distance

Small Obsessions

Invisible Mother

Misconceptions about Conception

Team Baby

Wistful Girl

Single Canadian Mom

The Chronicles of Violetta Margarita

A Single Journey

The Infertile Gynecologist

My $10,000 Baby

Single Mom Survives

True Confessions of a Single Mama to Be

One Cycle at a Time

It's My Life

April 21, 2011

Totally Awesome and Spectacular New Fangled Way to Deliver Sperm

Of those of you who use donor sperm...do you ever feel awkward walking into the RE's office with your tank?  Now there's a niftier way to have it delivered!

April 20, 2011

Dollars and $ense of Family Building

I am participating in Lori's Write Mind Open Heart project. I have found the answers to other blogger's situations to be very interesting and enlightening.  Building a family is full of emotional and physical complexities but nothing can snap things into line faster than finances. 

My journey thus far is out for all to see so I'll just move on to answering the questions that apply to me and my situation:

1.  Consider your now or future children as adults, and consider the fact that you had to spend money to either conceive them or make them part of your family. What effect do you think the latter will have on the former one day? What do you think your grown children might feel about the funds it took to create your family?

I do not think this will be an issue when my future child is an adult.  Personally I do not feel the expense is any different from the “extracurricular” expenses parents spend on children already.  Expenses for orthodontics, tutoring, tennis lessons, field trips, etc. are expenses above and beyond the typical “care and custody” expenses parents pay.  How are fees I pay to my RE or sperm bank any different?  I pay them and I pay them gladly because even now, with my future child an unknown, I still have love for the child and will spend the money.  To make this happen I have made "sacrifices" in my life such as stopping cable and newspaper service, driving an old car and curtailing all unnecessary spending.

I would hope my future child would feel fairly neutral about the finances incurred to make them a reality.  It’s a fact about them just like any other fact.

2.  How did/would you handle it if your child asks you, “Mom, how much did I cost?” How would you answer at age 7? At age 18?

I would answer age appropriately of course but honestly.  This fact is simply a part of my future child’s story.

3.  When calculating the costs of your family building, what do you include? The direct costs are easy (such as RE fees for a cycle or homestudy fees), but what about fees that didn’t directly lead to your child’s existence in your life, such as cycles that didn’t work, adoption outreach avenues that didn’t work, failed adoptions, avenues that were explored (and that cost something) but not pursued, etc.?

I add it all in:  the failed cycles, the opk sticks I used in the beginning, the surgery fees, the books, the mileage, everything.  This is more a result of my overly organized way of dealing with my life but also I keep track to submit to my pre taxed spending account.

4.  To what extent have finances determined the family-building decisions you have made? How have you able to balance financial considerations against other factors such as medical, ethical, emotional…?

Finances were a concern of mine in my early thirties.  That is one of the reasons I chose not to do this earlier.  Of course now I could kick myself because while my finances are ok, the clock is ticking. 

I do not have unlimited resources or a contributing partner.  Therefore I am financially limited in what I can do.  I have full insurance for all IUIs and medications but only partial coverage for IVF.  I am willing to spend the money because I think it’s worth it however there is a finite limit to what I can do. 

I have been researching embryo donation and egg donation outside of the US.  While I am not trying to do this “on the cheap” I do have to be aware of my financial limits.

All in all, these limitations do make me frustrated and angry at times. 

5.  Has institutional and governmental support for certain family-building paths impacted your choices? For example, ART being covered by insurance, tax deductions for adoption expenses, etc.

Before I began my current job I had a career in the field of domestic open adoption, which ironically did not cover any type of ART services (this fact will be a dead giveaway to anyone who knows me IRL so if this happens to be true, please respect my personal confidentiality) so I knew I could never swing ttc-ing while working there.  I looked for a job with better IF coverage and landed in a company which has great coverage.  

I still feel that the government has a long way to go in bridging the gap for people/families who are financially caught in the middle between upper class and middle class.  Fertility issues are no less damaging and painful than any other illness or disease traditionally covered fully by insurance.  I hope by the time my future child is an adult this will no longer be an issue.

6.  Have you considered having ART treatments abroad, either due to lower cost or due to certain methods being unavailable or illegal in your own country? In your decision-making, how did you balance the financial savings against issues like the unknowns of the country, perhaps not speaking the language, and medical practices that may differ from those of your home country?

I have looked into this and have a close friend who went abroad and had great success.  I have absolutely no qualms about doing this.  I have traveled abroad extensively and would not have a problem combing ART treatments with a vacation. 

April 19, 2011

My RE's Nickname

I've noticed that many bloggers have a nickname for their RE.  At my consultation I met with a male doctor.  He was thorough in running blood tests, discussing my chances and recording my health history.

He even opened up and shared some boyhood stories with me.  He is from Germany and I got a kick out of him going to Goo.gle Maps and pulling up a satellite picture of his parents' home...with this mother standing in the garden!  I liked him immediately but as the blood tests rolled in I began to get frustrated with him.  His main form of communication was email and in a few he left me hanging on the edge of my seat.  The last straw was something like, "You may have Thelassemia and I would not recommend getting pregnant with this disease".  Nothing else.  I burned up the web looking for info on Thelassemia and the days until that blood test came in were excruciating (ha...if I only knew how bad waiting for blood tests would eventually get!).  I eventually nicknamed him Dr. Doom.

After that test came back negative I had my first unmedicated IUI (now about 2 months after the initial meeting with Dr. Doom) and I was astounded when the nurse said I had "something" in my uterus.  The subsequent months were spent waiting for surgery, surgery and recovery and then treatment for complex hyperplasia.  All in all, by the time all of this was said and done, a full year had passed since I first saw this doctor.

It may have been irrational but I was angry that Dr. Doom did not even wand me in the initial appointment.  Beyond that I was mad that my OB/Gyn NP didn't find any issues at my last appointment which was two months before my RE consultation.  (It's amazing what perspective knowledge and experience gives you in hindsight!)

Not only had I lost time but I felt like I had been let down.  Why weren't more tests done before I started to ttc?   I eventually realized it was pointless to become caught up in the "what ifs".  If I started down that road I would have to ask myself "What if I..." (insert all the twists and turns that got me to 39 and single. Answering that question would take days).

So, back to my current RE's nickname.  For my lap and hysteroscopy I happened to get the female partner in the practice.  She had the first available surgery slot and I jumped on it.  She agreed to keep me on her panel after my surgery and I am so glad she did.  She is calm, patient, understanding and has a sense of humor.  She also has an ego (I often hear about her training at Stanford) which I do not mind at all.  Her knowledge and expertise normalizes my fears when I come in fresh from a Googling jag.  The bottom line though is that she is positive.  No matter what the news (and she's given me some crappy news in our time together) she explains it fully but in a balanced way that allows me to leave holding on to some scrap of hope, feeling like I have possibilities, that I can achieve my goal. Thus, I have nicknamed her Dr. Conceivable.

I met with Dr. Conceivable today and she feels that I have a good chance of becoming pregnant again and there's no reason to expect I would not progress further in the pregnancy than I did the last time.

The pathology report is not in from the D&C and she said there's a chance that it won't come in at all.  So, even lacking that information there's no reason why I cannot move forward with a more aggressive protocol and try again in May.

I know the fears, the grief and the sorrow that I have pushed to the edges of my mind are itching to creep back into focus but right now, having just turned 41, I do not have time or energy to allow them into the forefront of my mind.  I must stay positive, hopeful and focused.

I want to hold my baby in my arms.  After today's appointment it's entirely conceivable that someday soon I will.

April 18, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt For Today

Gave me a good chuckle:

If you could have a tree in your yard that would sprout anything, what type of tree would you have?

umm...how about a tree that sprouts mature and genetically perfect eggs?  Of course my kindly RE would be doing the harvesting, not the mutton-chopped farmer in the picture!  I girl can dream, can't she?

April 17, 2011

Simple Sunday

Early morning three mile walk with two friends 
around a spring-tacular lake.

Shopping at Trader Joe's for a week's worth of healthy food.

Making progress on a sewing project I started in January.

Calling my dad and hearing the happiness in his voice.  
Bonus:  my stepmom getting on the phone and hearing the happiness in her voice too.

Visitation from my foster kitty who visits me once a day.

Folding and putting away my last load of laundry.

Fresh steamed artichoke for dinner. 

April 16, 2011

Welcome Back You Beautiful Bitch

CD 1

The Mae West Lips Sofa Designed by Dali 1937
image courtesy of Google images

Like most women I've had a love/hate relationship with my period.  At 13 I remember being so jealous that I was the last of my friends to begin menstruating.  In my teen years I was certain she existed only to bring me pain and embarrassment.  As I grew older there were times in my life I was overjoyed to see her and other times, more recently, when any sign of her has brought me to my knees.  

She has made me feel like a vibrant healthy woman and she has me feel like a monstrous failure.

Her arrival today on April 16th makes it exactly one calendar month since my D&C. Once again I find her to have a wickedly sharp sense of humor. 

In man, the shedding of blood is always associated with injury, disease, or death. Only the female half of humanity was seen to have the magical ability to bleed profusely and still rise phoenix-like each month from the gore.
~ Estelle R. Ramey

So today I welcome her back with sincerity and respect.   Now more than ever I understand the complex and integral coexistence she and I have and move I forward with hope and acceptance.

She may be a bitch, but today she's beautiful and I love her.

April 15, 2011

Sunburned and Sore

On the last day of my mini vacation I took a long hike with my bff. The scenery was gorgeous- pastureland, meadows, lakeshore and oak trees. It felt great to be outside and exercising. I don't even mind the sunburned spots on the top of my head or my sore leg muscles!

So far being 41 is ok but I am fundamentally a different person than was a few short months ago. This different me is going to take some time to get to know and to get used to. I have a feeling that by the time I turn 42 my life is going to be vastly different as well. I've reached and surpassed my tipping point.

April 14, 2011

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are

I've had a lovely couple of days in the mountains, enjoying fresh clean air, beautiful greenery and the occasional deer or two. I had a good birthday, received many warm birthday wishes and devoured a gigantic piece of chocolate cake.

A great trip, right? Then why the hell does the "Guaranteed to Jack Up Your Vacation Menstruation Principle" not apply this one time in my entire life?


Dearest AF,
I have one more day of vacation left. For old time's sake, let's say you pop in and mingle. I would be ever so grateful.
Hugs, SD

April 13, 2011


                          image courtesy of Google 

April 12, 2011

Read of the Week

The mailman just delivered my order from Amazon.  I love getting packages!

Along with random vacuum cleaner filters, a bag of cheapie hpt tests and a book for my friend's son I bought Laura Day's "Welcome to Your Crisis:  How to Use the Power of Crisis to Create the Life You Want".  

I figured the happenings of the last few weeks have all qualified as true crises.

Right from the beginning the author compares the medical word "crisis" with the other version of the word which is typically associated with a life-changing situation.  In the medical sense a crisis happens when the person's health is at its most precarious.  The person is either going to improve or not.  If this premise is applied to a life-changing situation then a crisis is a point where you're either going to croak or jump up off the hospital bed, flex your Popeye arm muscles and  drop kick your oxygen tank out of the way.

I like the author's theory that one can learn from a crisis and perhaps emerge as a stronger and better person.

April 11, 2011

Just Three Words

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is what three words do you hope other people use to describe you?

A couple of years ago I hope people would have used the words funny, strong and friendly to describe me.

Today if I queried people I hope they would use the words thoughtful, empathetic and determined to describe me.

If I were to use three words to describe myself today I would use fragile, anxious and afraid.