March 31, 2011

Standing Up Straight(er)

I had a conversation tonight with a close relative, someone with whom I have become estranged after a series of hurtful actions on her behalf.  All of the situations that resulted in these hurtful actions were connected to my fertility issues and struggle and her lack of empathy and understanding.

Tonight I had to clearly and logically lay out my reasons for not coming over to her house this weekend.  I explained that I was not strong enough to be around a 4 month old baby (who lives there), all of the baby items, the pictures, the toys and of course the mother (who is my cousin).  I explained I have no ill will towards the baby or mom but that I am in a vulnerable spot and need her understanding while I work through this loss.

After all of that her response was, "What would be so hard about coming over?".

Does she get it?  No.  However, I did what I had to do to convey my feels and stand up for myself.

It was very freeing to let go of some of the burden I've been feeling about all of this.  It doesn't matter that someone else doesn't really understand, doesn't really get it.  What matters is that I was true to myself, my experience and my feelings.  

On another note, I am looking forward to participating in my very first NaBloPoMo!

March 30, 2011

I Just Want to Pull the Pin

...and toss a grenade into my closet.  I officially hate every single article of clothing I own.  For so long I have had the mindset of, "you don't need pants/tops/dresses/skirts right now, you'll be pregnant in a few months".  Dios mio! A look at my timeline would tell anyone I have been jerking myself around for almost TWO ENTIRE YEARS.

Oh sure, I've bought a few things here and there, mostly to allow for the expansion of my girth due to fertility meds.  Even so, my wardrobe at the moment is tired, limp, somewhat dark (grays and blacks), showing signs of wear, misshapen and barely presentable.  Kinda like me.

Today a coworker poked fun at what I was wearing.  I so wanted to say, "Listen bitch, sorry I can't mirror your latest $300 J Crew spring outfit.  I'm 18lbs heavier than I was when you met me and part of that weight is 8lbs I gained while pregnant, the pregnancy that ended with two dead babies."  I then wanted to catapult over my desk, do a half twist leap off the top of my cube wall, pounce upon her slight, yet immaculately dressed frame, and dismember her with my bare hands.

I came home from work today and yanked everything that I could get my hands on out of my closet and into garbage bags.  By sheer necessity I may need to reach in and grab something for the next two days of work but I cannot continue to schlep around in the same old clothes.  The very same clothes whose threads have shrouded me in a strange and confusing mix of despair, hope, anxiety and desperation -  the lucky blouse I wore to follie checks, the forgiving pants I wore in the days leading up to trigger, the sweater that I cried into when IUI#2 didn't work, the blazer I used to cover what I thought was a viable pregnancy bump...each piece a tangible part of my journey.  I've been so attached but now I just want them gone.

Is this part of starting over and starting again with fresh hope?  I really don't know.

Spending the money on new clothes is not something I really want to do at this point either but I can't deny that my outer appearance is impacting how I feel inside.  My heart isn't in it but I know I have to go clothes shopping.

I wonder if I'll be the only woman at the mall this weekend who fears that the new clothes she's trying on and buying will become reminders of one of the hardest struggles of her life.

Seeing the Sights

I made a point to take a break at work today and get out and walk!  

sunny blue sky

Canadian geese


happy pup

All images courtesy of Google Images.  

I have a very old camera and think I'll start shopping around for a new one. 

 I hope to find a German Shepherd/Corgi mix as cute as this one to photograph!

March 29, 2011


I've taken to heart many of the topics discussed in the 2011 Fertility Summit.  I learned so much and I'm already making changes to my life by adding holistic approaches to improving my fertility with EFT, the laws of attraction and nutrition.  Despite it being only a few days since implementing these changes I am already finding success (mostly emotional so far).

Except for the pesky work/life balance part.

It's not that I have an incredibly complex high powered type of job.  I currently work for a large organization in an administrative position which I fell into after many years in non profit/children's services.  I loved my previous career but had to jump ship when the economy tanked.  While I'm very grateful to have landed in a job that provides me with income and good health insurance,  it's not something I'd consider a career.  However, old habits die hard and I find myself completely wrapped up in every little detail, unable to let go when I come home and slow to leave my work at any point during the day.  Just who am I trying to impress anyway?  It's not like I'm moving up in the position (there is no growth) and it's not like I haven't proven my work ethic to my bosses.  

I'm unbalanced and I know it.  I know what I am supposed to be doing.  I just don't know how to do it.  

What do you do to maintain a healthy work/life balance? 

March 28, 2011

Putting on My Bear Face

Courtesy of Google Images

Have you seen this guy????  Bear Gryll.s is a 36 year old British survivalist and adventurer.  He has his own tv show, Man vs. Wild,  is a former UK British Forces member, Mt. Everest climber and all around general bad ass.

The premise of his show is that he's dumped off a helicopter into inhospitable environments like the Moab Desert, Panama and Siberia and expected to survive until this appointed pick up time.  Between the jump off and pick up points this man experiences some of the most horrific and difficult situations imaginable.  He'll do just about anything to survive, even if that means climbing inside a dead bloated camel to avoid a desert wind storm, eating an al dente poisonous snake, drinking his own urine and wrestling a crocodile.   (Note: there's been some controversy  that his show is not all that it's cracked up to be, that Bear has "help" making the situations seems more dangerous than they really are, but I tend to think that even if half of this stuff is true, this guy is a contender for the Chuck Norris Award for Testicular Fortitude.)

While listening to the last day of the 2011 Fertility Summit I watched a marathon of old  Man vs. Wild episodes.  It seemed fitting to me, to listen to struggles of guest bloggers Katie, From IF to When, Elphaba from Yolk...a Blog About Eggs and Sperm and Heather from Survive and Thrive, who have all struggled so much in their journeys, while watching Bear chop through the jungle with a machete, all muddied up, gnawing on a freshly killed anaconda-ish snake and picking leeches off of his legs.  While of course I am not comparing the two struggles on equal planes, one is entertainment, the other much more personal, I am noting the similarities of the motivation to struggle and ultimately survive, to work so hard towards a goal and do whatever if takes to succeed.  

As I reflect on my survivalist actions thus far in this journey I marvel at my ability to have done it at all.  After my own "jump off point" I've done the following:
  • endured countless blood tests
  • exposed the business end of my reproductive system to scads of healthcare professionals
  • undergone surgery
  • had dye shot into my sensitive lady bits
  • had my ute flooded with saline
  • looked forward to seeing La Wanda (on day 3 no less!)
  • injected myself with vials of reconstituted drugs
  • popped Cooter Shooters (my pet name for Prometrium) in public restrooms
  • used the handicap stall without shame to do a trigger shot (I needed the baby changing table!)
  • walked around an urban city with a tank of frozen sperm
  • walked into a busy waiting room with above mentioned tank of sperm to sign in for appointments
  • experienced the joy and subsequent deep soul shaking sorrow of a loss
Not exactly weathering the environs of North Borneo, but hell's bells, I've been living my own little survivalist show here!

And I'm not giving up yet.

Two weeks ago I never imagined I'd make it through all the days until now.  It's been awful.  Really awful. 

However, I have regrouped.  I have recommitted myself to achieving my dream of becoming a mother and squared my shoulders to do whatever I need to do next.  

Game on Bear!

March 26, 2011

Hamster Head

In an article in Psychology Today, Ellen McGrath defines rumination as:

"...a style of thinking in which, like a hamster in a cage, you run in tight circles on a treadmill in your brain. It means obsessing about problems, about a loss, about any kind of a setback or ambiguity without moving past thought into the realm of action."

Check, check and check. 

Ruminating about my loss, my next steps, my chances of success and my future is all I've been doing the past week and a half.  Quite frankly, I am exhausted. 

In less than one month I will be 41.  Night after night, like the hamster in a cage, all I do is wonder:
  • IUI? (again)
    • My RE says my ovarian reserve is good.  I have plenty of eggs but, as history as proven, the eggs might be of poor quality. 
    • Do I waste time with IUIs and hope that I get a good egg, knowing that Bravelle gives me cysts and I can only do every other cycle?
    • Are IUIs a waste of my precious time?
    • How many more BFNs can I handle?
    • Can I handle another miscarriage?
  • IVF
    • Does the process of IVF put my eggs at risk?  I've read several places that IVF does not help in cases where the problem is egg quality, that by being out of the body, the eggs decompensate even more.
    • Is it a waste of money considering all of the above?
    • Can I handle failure?
  • Donor Eggs
    • Cost.  Enough said.
    • Loss of my dream of having my own child. 
  • Stopping Altogether
    • What do I do with myself for the rest of my life?
    • How do I move forward?
    • Is giving up at my age not being strong enough?
Night after night, as my mind whirls around its little well trod hamster path, I've decided "stopping altogether" is not an option.  In my struggle to come to terms with what has happened thus far, my disbelief at all the time I've "wasted" since I started this journey and my complete and utter frustration with myself and my body, I am just not ready to throw in the towel. 

By process of elimination that leaves the other options.

I suppose I am jumping the gun a bit.  I haven't even heard back about the chromosomal analysis.  I haven't had a follow up appointment with my RE.  I haven't even gotten back on track with my cycle. 

Still, it's my personality to be utterly prepared and organized.  This ambiguity is maddening. 

To provide some relief I've done the following:
  1. Contacted my RE.  We will meet in two weeks to talk about the next steps.
  2. Reached out for counseling referrals.  I don't think I need medication for what is a situational crisis and possible depression, but I do need some support.
  3. Stopped reading studies on poor egg quality and the unlikelihood of pregnancy at 41.
  4. Delurked in a couple miscarriage forums and shared my story and provided support for others.
As the article states, "As you ruminate, you deepen the grooves in the brain, intensifying levels of anxiety and depression".  I do not want these hamsterish ways to mark a deep and permanent groove in my brain.  I do not want my thoughts to impact my body in a negative way.  Besides, I need my sleep!

March 25, 2011

A Little Levity

As a new blogger I often wonder if I am doing it "right".  I know I have lots to learn but so far I have found this to be an effective way to express myself, receive support and not feel so alone.

Looking back over my posts I am struck by how sad I was when I wrote them.  Each one reminds me of a particular chord of pain.  I know I am too close to that awful day now, but I can't help but wonder if there will be a time in my life when this awful pain won't be so, well painful.

I never thought I would smile again but recently, when I saw these pictures, I couldn't help it.  Who, I ask, cannot smile when seeing pictures of basset hounds running?

March 24, 2011

Winning or Failing

I was going to do a "Thankful Thursday" post but after reading SIF last night it made me think of "owning" the parts of my life for which I am thankful.  I found the word "winning" to be very empowering (thanks SIF!), like I was actually doing something rather than being passively thankful for things that happen to me.

Although the "failing" parts of my ttc journey are still agonizingly present, for now, for this moment, I consider myself WINNING (cue clapping and cheering) in the following ways:
  • To date I have made it back to work 4 days.  They may have been half days and I may have been in a fog but I did it.  This was such a hard step.  
  • I took a walk and it felt wonderful.
  • I emailed my gyn and asked for a counseling referral.  
  • I've begun to eat again.  For days after I found out my baby had died I could not eat.  I associated it with the joy I had previously felt for eating mindfully for the baby.  I just could not perform the function of putting the food in my mouth.  Last night I had a decent meal.  It too was wonderful.
All of these things I did for myself.  In this battle I call that winning.

March 23, 2011

2011 Fertility Focus Telesummit

I've signed up for a free online event where 12 fertility experts will be speaking about all kinds of fertility issues and solutions. If you miss the live speakers (podcasts are available for 24 hours after the original date and time) you can upgrade to pay for access. It started on the 21st but I thought I'd pass it along as a resource anyway.  The telesummit ends on the 26th.

2011 Fertility Focus Telesummit

March 22, 2011

Move It

Me.  I need to.

I have officially gained 18 pounds during this ttc journey.  I've never been exactly svelte but I did get down to a weight I was happy with.  I worked out in a boot camp class five days a week and walked the other two.  I was strong, fit and proud.  

Here, now almost two years into this hell, I am overweight and out of shape.

I never thought I'd be here.  Well, I thought I would be out of shape but mostly due to being postpartum.  Not like this.

Being that I plan to try again in a couple of months I had better get moving.


March 21, 2011

Seeking & Finding


I love this blogger's style. I often find solace in his words and comfort in his writing.  Today's post seemed appropriate at this point in my grief.

I have experienced the loss of someone who was formerly my source of solace.  This came at a very difficult time of my life and since then I have discovered other people in my life who are able to function as a source of support.

Do you have a sanctuary?

March 20, 2011


Between the time of my BFP and the one where my world collapsed, I remember seeing several "signs" which I thought meant this baby was meant to be mine, was meant to BE.

As many do, I had a nickname for my baby which was the same as a small animal, an animal which is kind of a pop icon as well.  Once when coming out of a store in a city in which I had never been, I saw the most random person walking by with a box of these animals in the form of a food item.  The person was not the type I would ever imagine walking around in public with a giant box of these things, but who was I to question?  Surely this meant something.

Another time I found myself sitting next to someone for an extended period of time whose biggest joy in life were her two small children.  She talked endlessly about them and I sat there, sharing in her happiness.  I was more engaged than I've ever been in a discussion about babies, genuinely happy for her but also happy for myself.  I said nothing to her of my own baby, but was content enough to hear about hers and for once, felt like I belonged.

Other, small and random occurrences happened which led me to feel confident.  True, I had lost Baby B, whose appearance and subsequent disappearance was a shock, but I had always banked on the viability of the stronger baby.  I steeled my nerves with thoughts like, "Surely God would not sit me next to this person for 5 hours and subject me to her pregnancy and baby stories if I was not meant to have a baby too" or "There is not enough cruelty in the world that would allow me to feel such joy and then have it ripped away, I am allowed to feel happy."

Perhaps I should have paid attention to the "other" signs.

  • I carried with me everywhere a small stuffed animal, the same animal which I nicknamed my baby.  At night it rested on my nighstand.  During the week leading up to the bad news I found it listing to one side.  I tried to make it stand up straight but it never would.  It kept falling over like a Weeb.le Wobb.le.  
  • I found myself needing maternity pants so I did some shopping.  Nothing looked right on me.  It all looked "off" but I bought it anyway, knowing that cramming myself into my old pants made me feel nauseated.  I took the tags off in my state of over-confidence.  
  • My dreams:  two days before the final ultrasound I had two different dreams in one night.  In both I was watching brightly colored Koi swim around in a glass fishbowl.  Two Koi.  Both eventually stopped swimming and floated around listlessly.  
I should have known.  

Donor Dilemma

I put my $20 paper shredder to work today.  I nearly burned the motor up getting rid of all the paperwork from the last 18 months of my ttc life.  I needed to get it all out of my spare room and even more importantly, out of my mind.  So, as I sat there watching the pages and pages of (literally) blood, sweat, tears and money exit the shredder in tiny little confetti shaped bits, I felt both sadness and finality. 

Now what?  Despite it being only 4 short days since my D&E, I am thinking about the next steps.  I think I'm pretty well set on trying again. Even if the chromosomal analysis comes back with major findings, I would have to believe that not all my eggs are so impacted by my elderliness (is that even a word?). 

I don't know if this next revelation is weird or not, but throughout six IUI's I never used the same donor twice.  BFN?  Well, as Donald Trump would say, "You're fired!".  I never gave the guy a second chance.  I quickly dumped him for another. 

I was all starry-eyed at first:  tall, dark, smart, somewhat sarcastic, outgoing, athletic and "open ID"?  Sign me up!  As I went along I became more educated on what I wanted in a donor and as my BFN's stacked up my requirements changed:  successful pregnancies.  Period. 

I guess one could call it settling but in reality, I thought it was just being practical. 

I never wanted to buy a mass of vials, never wanted to see the baby pictures, get attached, ask the staff questions or otherwise develop a bond with my donor.  Wham bam, thank you sir is all I wanted.

So, now what?  Do I return to the donor that gave me my BFP?  Do I revisit ghost of IUI's past or venture out with a stranger? 

I feel somewhat like a SMC floozy, never sticking with one man, popping around the sperm donor site, looking only for men who will get the job done. 

What would Freud say about all of this? 

I think that's an entirely different post!

March 19, 2011

D.on Dr.aper Joins Me For Breakfast

This morning I found myself standing in front of my open refrigerator, pondering its contents and wondering what would make a good breakfast for the baby.  As the metaphorical anvil fell on my head I realized the baby, both babies in fact, were dead and gone from my body.  

I am now beginning to think of my life in terms of Before the Miscarriage (BM) or After the Miscarriage (AM). Kind of like how the Histor.y Channel narrator talks about events in time as BCE (Before the Common Era).  My inner narrator now reminds me of my own little marker in the history of time.  The pain this realization brings is kind of like what I imagine a jolt from a Taser gun might feel like.  

So, as I stood there this morning, feeling the cold air surround my bare legs, I flashed back to an episode of M.en called "The Wheel".  In this episode Don has the Koda.k account and is tasked with developing a campaign for the new wheel-shaped slide deck for photographs.  In the darkened Sterlin.g Cooper conference room Don presses the button to start the deck and his life advances around the wheel and appears on the screen, one slide, one milestone, one memory at a time.  Per his usual brilliance, he delivers a sales pitch that leaves the Koda.k executives slack-jawed:  

"Nostalgia - it's delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means "the pain from an old wound." It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards... it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the wheel, it's called the carousel. It let's us travel the way a child travels - around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved."

The "nostalgia" I have for my life before my miscarriage is everything described in the first two sentences.  This pain, this twinge in my heart, will forever remain a part of my consciousness.  Potent and painful, it is indeed more powerful than the memory of all the days between my BM and AM

I, too, ache to return "back home again".  Back to that place where I felt a love more powerful than any I've felt before. 

I can't help but wonder if I'll be allowed another trip around.  How does one cope with that?

March 18, 2011

You Can Do It! We.stern Col.lege

Since I've been languishing on my couch for the last few days I've had plenty of time to watch daytime television, a genre I usually don't see as I have a full time day job.  The audience for which most of these commercials are directed seems to be young adults, typically women caring for children on their own and who have no college degree or career plans.  These frenetic spots assume that these overly fertile, under educated yet entirely hip and fashion conscious young people are stuck in dead end jobs.  A six week to 18 month course is the only thing that stands in the way of a respected profession, a beautiful new car and an attractive mate. 

While I realize I am not the intended audience for these types of campaigns, I cannot help but feel marginalized.  These commercials assume that life does indeed go on after becoming a single mother, that the world is full of opportunities for a great job, a great life, a great house and a great marriage after such a rocky start.  It just takes a few months of dedication and a comprehensive financial aid package. 

I hate these commercials because it leaves me out.  It's obvious that while there is still hope for these young people, I can't help but feel there is no hope for me.  There is no financial aid package or six week course in the world that will bring back my egg quality, my sense of hope or my two babies.  I did it all backwards and no amount of night courses will make my life "better" or improve my self esteem or my resume. 

Hey SD, sensitive much?  Um yeah, right now, very much. 

I'm turning the channel.  Again.


March 17, 2011

Grief is Like a Starfish

At some point during my childhood education I learned that starfish could regenerate their arms.  This concept was both sad and interesting.  I cringed to think of all the accidents and injuries that might befall the average starfish but was happy they had some mechanism that allowed them to grow whole again.  I couldn't help but wonder if it hurt when the starfish grew a new arm.  If so, did it forget the pain when it looked down and marveled at its new appendage? 

As an adult, now more than ever, I wonder if grief holds similar attributes as the starfish.  It seems that my grief continues to grow, no matter how many times I chop away at it or try to replace it with happiness and joy.  It grows and grows, stronger than ever.  There is no end to the amazing ability to regenerate itself.

Not the start I would have hoped if I had ever imagined myself a blogger.  How grim.  How depressing.  How real.  Perhaps that is why I have finally put fingers to keyboard.  This reality is too hard to process alone and although I have friends who are caring and love me, they cannot be a repository of my pain.

Hopefully, one day, this blog will be about more than that.  Perhaps one day it will be about another BFP, another identifiable heartbeat, another successful 8 week ultrasound and perhaps even ultimately, all the other milestones that go along with a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Do starfish realize they can regenerate?  Do they know they have the ability to begin again or do they crawl along the rocks, hurt and in pain, never knowing they will be as they once were or perhaps even better?