Sunday, March 16, 2014

Things to count on: death, taxes, and solid plans that change

To make a long story short, my surgery date has moved up from April 1 to March 25. My pre-op appointment is happening first thing this Tuesday.

This stuff is getting real.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's sinking in

My surgery date has been confirmed for April Fools' Day, and that means March 2014 is the last month I will ever spend, ever, in the constant company of my own uterus.


Just yesterday I had a proper meltdown about all of it — and I do mean ALLLLLLLLLL of it.

Of course on the one hand, I want the organ gone. But its shenanigans have been integral to my very identity for such a long time. A lifetime, really. So it will be interesting to learn what all comes up (and out?) along with it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Checking in with uterine news

Where else can you write something like that post title and get away with it?

Lots of places, actually. But I wouldn't think of doing it anywhere but here.

The news: It looks like my body has decided to help move along my quest for attaining my purest possible state of IF Experience Closure. (Let's see, do I want to shorten that to IFEC, pronounced EYE-feck . . .  or maybe IEC, which sounds a lot like "eek"? No time to dither about that right now, so I'll leave that for another day.)

The news, clarified: I'm having a hysterectomy. Soon.

Funny thing is, as I left the doctor's office with that plan of attack literally in hand, I felt considerably lighter than when I'd arrived. I even smiled one of those wholly spontaneous and unmanufactured smiles that only deep-down truth can instigate.

No, on this step, I'm not devoid of emotion from the opposite end of the spectrum. In fact, I've already felt all the emotions about the whole thing, and no doubt I'll continue to as I try to digest whatever the coming weeks of pre-op prep and post-op recovery will force me to eat.

Naturally, I'm going to have to blog my way through it all.

P.S. I know I said I was going to "debrief" and such QUITE some time ago. I've been doing that, and doing fine. But it's mostly been going on in my head or in handwritten notebook pages that nobody really ever needs to see. I've been in a good place, and I think a healthy one. I cannot, though, pass up the opportunity to bookend the whole experience I blogged about so faithfully with new blogs about this chapter. Said chapter has already started cracking open some much-welcomed doors to the rest of my big-picture happy life, and there's no way I can't share this part of my process — wherever it might lead me — in this space.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tupac had a point

"You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation, trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened . . . or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on." 
—Tupac Shakur

For me, this applies to infertility and all of its effects on a person's life. Especially on a couple's life together. Those pieces on the floor run the gamut. Big shards you can safely pick up and discard; smaller slivers that slice open a vein before you feel the blood flowing; tiny particles that fly off in all directions and  show up later to abrade you — maybe you notice the grit when you roll over in your bed, place your bare foot in a shoe, or rub your eye with your fingers.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Let the debriefing begin

I am, quite frankly, surprised to be writing in this space. But it (this space) has been calling to me in recent months — occasionally even poking me with a dull "Feel like posting?" stick, reminding me that I left the blog hanging. Just waiting for me to come back, catch it, and call it Done.

Some things in life just take a little time to get to, you know?

And now: It's time.

This was never going to turn into a life-without-children blog. That just doesn't fit me. And I can't possibly still discuss myself in terms of being infertile. I mean, I was infertile. That happened. But I don't call myself infertile now, more than three years after my last TTC hurrah. Infertility is not a theme that rules my everyday todays. How could it? As my brother once said when asked, years after a painful end to one chapter in his life (the short story is he did not get what he wanted), whether he harbored negative feelings about the different life's path he was forced to take: "That would be weird."

Do I wish things had gone another way for me? Please. Yes. Of course. Can I still connect with the pain of losing my chance at parenthood? I don't have to connect, really, because it's right there, part of my soul. But, to my brother's point, I've reached the time at which I can't hold that pain against the Rest of My Life.

So here I am, blogosphere! Ready to start writing the posts that will help me articulate the journey from there to here. From my infertile end to my new days in which it makes sense to bring closure to this blog.

I have no idea how long my debriefing process will take. Not too terribly long, I trust. But the only thing I need to know right now is that I'm doing it.

And that, I am.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rest in peace, sweet Louise

The beautiful Louise, blogger at Evil Stepmonster, lost her fight with breast cancer in August of this year. She passed away just 9 days after celebrating her gorgeous daughter's first birthday.

My heart goes out to her devastated husband and whole family.

Louise was a wonderful blogging friend, and I was lucky to know her, even just a little. I never heard her speaking voice, but I'm sure I'd recognize it anywhere.

If you are so inclined, please offer a good thought to Louise's loved ones by leaving a comment on the most recent post at her blog, written by her grieving husband. (The post has an August date, but I'm sure it just went live in the last 24 hours or so. I check my feed for her updates every day.)

There you can also see a couple of photos of the divine little creature named Kayla she and her husband worked so long, and valiantly, to bring into this world. And — if you don't already know Louise's story — her husband's moving words about her last days, along with her stepdaughter's poetic tribute, show that its theme was the only one that matters, and that's L-O-V-E love.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I do not have time to blog right now

So I think I will.

I'm contending with a ridiculous set of project deadlines over the next few weeks, and at 4:45 pm today I realized that — not only will I need to work ALL weekend (came to terms with that a couple days ago) — I must work tonight.

I'd already canceled my golfing plans, thinking I'd use this evening to rest up for the long (but, again, way too short) haul. But the joke's on me: I made precious little progress today. Hahahahahahahaha! At least, though, I came by my poor showing honestly. No goofing off, just couldn't produce.

Naturally, once I succumbed to feeling all the pressure, I thought, "Hey, I should blog at Infertile Ground! After all, I'm feeling inadequate. Like I won't be able to finish what I started. Just like old IF times!" (I should mention that I do know I'll meet my project deadlines. Pulling out all the stops works for that.)

Don't mind me. This compulsion to blog here is just a delayed reaction to seeing an ad for my old clinic a few weeks ago. The baby in it looked just like me.

I noticed the ad, thought my flash-crazy thoughts, and slammed shut the magazine. Then I instantly suppressed forgot it.

Well, wouldn't you know? A fresh issue of that periodical showed up in the mail this week. Last night while sitting down with it for a minute, I wondered why I didn't remember any of the articles talked about in the "Letters to the Editor" section. I recognized the cover image. Hmmm.

And then it hit me. Didn't even need to see the ad again. I knew that I'd cast aside the last issue for one simple reason:

That baby should have been mine.

Funny how these chance circumstances throw a sucker punch just when you think you've made it to the other side.

To be fair, I must stress that I have made it. I am okay. It's just that some bruises take a hella long time to properly heal.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New template

Well. The whole new-Blogger-templates thing forced me to visit this space. I'm really happy that new options are available after all these years. Pretty ones, too. Not sure I'll keep this particular background . . . or layout . . . or anything. But it's kind of cheery, I think.

Cheery, yet it features something going to seed, or weed — all with a view of the blue, blue sky. Which sort of fits the blog's main theme. (Or is that mine?)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hey blog, you still here? Yeah, I am too.

I haven't completely settled into this new post-TTC life, you know. That's not to say that I'm not productive and busy, or that I'm without happiness or purpose or song. It's just that, gee whiz, moving on from the TTC life — which to me now also includes my pre-TTC life, which in turn includes the vision of life-with-family I somehow always had, even before I opened my eyes to it — is a more arduous task than I expected.

As for the grieving process, I did that up right, let me tell you. I felt it. Or more to the point, I let myself feel it. (Something I haven't always done when I should.)

True, there's no distinct end to grieving deep-down loss of any kind. It will always be there. It will always be not there. But despite having come a long, LONG way since last year at this time, I'm still wondering when. WHEN do I truly cross over into the light? No, not into the big white light. (Not ready!) Just into a rough approximation of the light I always lived in before, even during the darkest of times.

I know the light is there, waiting for me to reconnect to it. I feel it glancing my face sometimes, maybe even every day now. But I'm still living with a heaviness that keeps me in check. I walk around with that hint of a lump in my throat, that vague ache in my gut. Tiny afflictions that others can't really see. Well, that's not true. I'm sure others see those things in me. They just don't know it.

Oh, I smile easily, and I mean it when I do it. I just need to keep looking forward to looking forward to the day when my smile gets back to the business of being "my smile."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thoughts on thoughts about TTC over 40

A while back, a totally well-intentioned soul directed me to a noninteractive blog touting the joys of TTC over 40. (I don't wish to link to it.) Said sweet soul thought perhaps I'd given up TTC too soon.

The blog-in-question's author sells a treatise on how she overcame infertility in her 40s. She maintains that "almost everyone" over 40 can succeed. Humph. A couple of quick clicks around the site reminded me that I'd come across this blog author's stuff YEARS ago (the info used to be inclusive of the 30s AND 40s), at which time I'd deemed it incompatible with my own personal criteria for resources I needed and/or trusted.

As you might infer, I have not read the blog-in-question's author's advertised book (self-published, in case that matters to you). Of course I'd be surprised if it didn't contain solid information about sensible diet, sex, fitness, and mind-body-connection practices. And I see not one thing wrong with individuals (like the blogger) sharing personal success stories in any form, blog/book/whatever.

What bothers me is when a blog's sole purpose is promotional — and when the information it presents just isn't up to snuff. Maybe it's just me, but I am put off by things like a lighthearted (and we're talking downright bubbly here) post in which the author finds herself unexpectedly pregnant at 49 (!), assumes the pregnancy won't make it, holds this up as evidence that you can't go buying into any type of infertility at this age, and wraps up by saying a version of "Nope, it didn't stick, but I'm not that sad. It proves my body works — and you should buy my book!"

For a moment after getting the recommendation to visit that blog, I thought maybe I should immediately explain, at length, why I'm not presently TTC. But cripes, that would take lots of time — no thanks, too lazy! Why, I've not even explicitly detailed the big Why in this, my own blog. I also thought about quickly replying to mention how any credible RE or medical resource will flat-out tell you that "44" really is a different ballgame than "over 40." (A real thing, that.) But again — didn't feel like it then.

Now, before I continue, I want to stress that I appreciated the helpful, hopeful spirit in which that blog link was gifted to me. Seriously. Yet, because the information was presented to me as a "counter" to my opinion on fertility at age 44 (MY fertility, to be precise), I simply felt that I needed to respond to that in post form. At some point down the road. And now seems like an okay point in time to do so.

Also: As my regular blog readers know, TTC is off the table for me. Did, dad, dud. That phase of my life is over, and the decision to end it wasn't blithely made. So receiving advice to check out other resources before I make a decision I've actually already made with great care could have felt . . . a bit . . . slappy. But what I knew then and now is that the person reaching out to me needed hope for herself.

Let me clearly state that I do not knock — or mock — the presence of hope for anyone TTC at or around (and preferably younger than) my age. I don't. I held on to hope the whole damn time I was trying, as should anyone. And I of course know a STUNNING collection of wonderful women who've conceived and birthed at 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, and maybe even at 44+. Success can/does happen, and I do not presume to know which plan of attack suits anyone else. But if I'm going to speak to "over 40" in the general fertility realm or just right here on my blog, I feel a responsibility to start by urging AMA women to pursue a credible and definitive medical diagnosis as EARLY as possible. My urging is to do this before you try, for example, a 6-month course of herbs that you've prescribed for yourself . . . or a 3-year wait-and-see-what sex-gets-you plan . . . or an approach that includes floating on the promise, by some blogger-for-profit, that you will succeed because "almost everyone" can.

To make safe, realistic choices, I believe you need to know what the medical experts think about your individual situation (remember: your partner's fertility profile is equally important). Only then can you make decisions about whether to go with medical assistance (if you can get/afford it; I know about the very real obstacles to this), your own self-directed plan, or a combination of both.

And if you're serious about this, you do need a plan that you will EXECUTE. What I'm saying is that you've got to murder that sucker. If you drive a stake through the vampire's heart — say, by following the SMEP or using C.lomid with timed intercourse to name 2 options — and that vampire gets back up again (translation: AF arrives), you need to drive that stake again, and again, until she ain't gettin' up no more.

I know it's tough to hear, but time is a-wastin' over 40. Hope is only enough for you if it turns out to be enough for you. And you will never get back ANY of the time you might spend coasting on hope alone.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Creme de la Creme of 2009

Today Mel, our mighty Stirrup Queen, unveiled the 2009 Creme de la Creme, aka the year's best blog posts from the Adoption/Loss/Infertility community. Each entry is self-selected by its author, by the way, so the list is a sort of all-inclusive celebration of each blogger's favorite post. I chose this entry because I felt that it told more of my current story than all my other fly-by-night after-thought-type writings from the past year put together.

Show Mel — and the whole lot of us — some love by clicking on over to peruse a bunch of beautiful bloggers' unique-yet-universal thoughts on the whole damn ALI experience. You won't regret it!

(I didn't submit till after Mel's deadline, so it might be several days before my entry pops up on her list.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Looks can be deceiving

I've spent a good amount of kitchen time today letting my mind wander . . . and search . . . as I try to remember, "What the heck was I feeling last year on Thanksgiving?"

I clearly remember both Halloween (transfer day for IVF #3) and Christmas (not long after my D&C). But Thanksgiving? Not so much.

I know I was thankful to be pregnant. So, so thankful. And, as evidenced here, pretty thankful to still be married. Skimming old blog entries helped me zero in on Thanksgiving Day 2008 and recall a few details:

We were alone for it, just like this year; an exhausted DH had flown back from a business trip the night before, just like this year; I started the turkey later than planned and forgot to thaw the dinner rolls, just like this year; and, despite worries about early pregnancy biz that was testing "normal" but didn't feel that way to me, I was filled with hope that we would, finally, add a child to our family before the next holiday season rolled around. Just like every prior Thanksgiving since 2003. But absolutely nothing like this year.

Funny that I spent most of today thinking I needed to put my finger on what I felt then, when what I really needed was to put my finger on what I feel now.

This probably doesn't look like a musing on thankfulness.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The head is the thing

I mentioned a while back that I've been battling migraines, yes?

Well. Those buggars are winning at present. Despite acupuncture, herbs, vitamins, increased exercise/sleep, and decreased sugar/alcohol. The acupuncture-and-herbs combo, on which I'd really hung my hopes, has succeeded in extending my cycles. But it has also given me several other PMS symptoms I don't normally have and increased the number of sick-headachey flare-ups I get. INCREASED. By a lot. And that's really ticking me off. These head games take time away from my life, number one annoyance. Number two annoyance, the accompanying hormonal dips or lows or whatever-the-hay really hit me and make me sad and tired and scattered. I do bounce back rather well, but I'm just not ready to accept defeat in the form of "Now I am a chronic migraine sufferer." Unwarranted, if you ask me, and unfair.

I'm not sure I've done the right thing in reaction — I've taken an abrupt break from the treatment (2 weeks so far, and I might extend that to 3–4) — but longer cycles don't hold much currency with me if they don't also come with NO FREAKIN' MIGRAINES.

Seeing my gynecologist later this week and hoping hard that some Western medicine mumbo-jumbo will be indicated.

Feeling good right now — and, if the pattern is still somewhat predictable, I should feel fine for another couple of weeks, knock-knock-knock on wood for luck, until my stupid head decides to mess with me some more.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I worry about people

I saw an ad for an upcoming Dr. Phil show mentioning a 48-year-old woman's desperate desire to rush into marriage because her "biological clock is ticking." I don't know the person's real details, and I don't expect to watch the show. Still, I felt compelled to touch on a couple of general topics the show teaser raised. Call it a public service announcement for I-don't-know-who-might-stumble-on-it.

What I'm about to say is coming from a place of understanding, compassion, and concern for my fellow woman.

About the marriage thing:

Marrying out of desperation of any kind will not give you what you are seeking. Applying severe pressure may actually work to get some men to the altar (lord knows it has before). But don't count on a happy ending with this prince. In fact, remind yourself, PLEASE, that he is not a prince. You can take care of yourself. And you can find the kind of love that requires no begging, brow-beating, or berating (of yourself OR the other party). It just might not show up on a schedule. That sucks, I know, but this is one thing you don't want to force.

About the biological clock thing:

I know what that ticking sounds like. But I hope to god you understand (and that the show clearly mentions) that — at 48 — chances are SO slim that you will achieve pregnancy naturally. I'm going to go ahead and assume that you intend to pursue either DE-IVF or adoption and wish you all the luck and speed (you will need both) in the world. Cash and strength and more luck might help too.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled work time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Posting for the heck of it

I'm up late. Actually, I was out late (for a school night, that is), so although this is not really all that late for me to be up, I am feeling wired . . . not ready for bed.

So what's up with me? I'm keeping busy with work. Worrying about my DH. Planning an early 2010 vacation. Working on eradicating my migraines with acupuncture, exercise, whatever might do the trick. Processing certain aspects of the family visit that happened last week.

Also . . . dreading, just a little, my fast-approaching annual gyno exam. I haven't seen that doctor since just before starting our third IVF in September 2008. I saw her for an 8-week pregnancy check-up in June before that but not again during the next pregnancy.

I'm expecting the topic of birth control to come up.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not-so-deep thoughts

I still have my moments of dearly wishing I could bear a healthy baby that would turn into a child and then an adult that I'd live to see all grown up.* But. I don't believe that scenario is "in the cards," as they say. I know it's not, in fact.

Just so you know: This wistful wish is NOT on my mind at all times. I'm focused on other goals, on life at hand, and I definitely operate now according to our joint decision to cease and desist. I'm living for the present again and making all kinds of concrete, executable future plans based on our childless life.

I think — that as my newly imagined future continues to unfold — at some point I'll reach a stage of feeling fine that I never did have a child. That I might even think the whole situation is "okay."

What do you think? Don't we adjust our heartfelt perspectives to align with our rational, cold-hard-facts-based decisions?

*Please, no comments about how that could be accomplished.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Well, why not!

Why did I chuckle (and leave it at that) when my hairstylist playfully smacked me on the shoulder and said "You're so lucky you don't have kids. You really are!"?

Why did I decide to pursue a professional writing project on the topic of IVF?

Why has Celine Dion already announced a pregnancy not due to culminate until next May?*

*And, btw, is her p-stick even dry yet?

Monday, August 17, 2009

What do people do with extra rooms?

I recently mentioned that we have this empty room I'm wanting to fill.

I don't craft. Not even a little bit. Don't want to, not gonna. So any kind of craft room/project room/gift-wrapping room would make much less sense than even an empty room.

It's too small to be a TV room. And besides, we already watch TV/movies in the family room.

The room is also too small to house the exercise equipment we own but almost never use (recumbent bicycle, ski machine). Never mind that we'd have to carry the equipment up the stairs from the basement. Funny how we used it in our last, smaller house, but the family room setup there made it possible to work out in front of the TV. Can't really do that here, and for some reason working out at home without the option of watching some show you don't need to see hasn't caught on.

I'm thinking that the only real choice is to make it a reading room. Or a sitting room. Or a reading-sitting-music room. It's not big, but we could fit maybe 2 chairs and a table in there . . . or a small sleeper couch and a chair. Always room for a bookshelf or two. This seems most practical, but at the same time I feel like "WHY?" when it's just the two of us and we have multiple rooms already equipped to handle readers/sitters/music players.

If we REALLY wanted to stay in this house long-, long-term, we could knock out some walls and create a ginormous master suite. But. We don't need that. And. If we're going to start messing with walls, we'd probably do something with the kitchen instead.

Seems like the choice is clear, doesn't it? Still, I'm willing to entertain ideas if anyone else has any.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Saying it with a song

I almost hate to file the complaint prompting this post.

Truly, I've been the recipient of so very few pieces of unsolicited TTC advice since saddling up for the rodeo 6 years ago. And for that I feel . . . unique.

But I'll be hanged if I didn't just recently get some. TTC "at your age" advice, I mean. It made no sense to me AT ALL that I was getting it. My adviser, you see, knows that TTC is off the table at my house. That that life phase is over. (Did, dad, dud.)

As you know, my dear readers, the decision to end said phase was not made blithely. So I'm sure you can imagine that hearing out-of-the-blue advice about how I might just get knocked up "at home" after all (seriously?) — and with the clear implication that I should be thankful to hear it, not to mention impressed that the adviser held her tongue while I was actually trying to start a family — felt a bit slappy.

I'm not going to offer particulars about the specific words of wisdom or who threw them in my face as though I might easily expect to pass a fully gestated baby into the toilet the next time I relieved myself. I will, however, say that I think I handled it casually. Politely. Yet definitively.

What I didn't do was point out how my advice-giver has absolutely no flipping clue. Where I am and where I've been on this path — at full-on 44, with intimate knowledge of my own, actual fertility profile and reproductive history, years of both so-called natural methods and medical interventions under my belt, having ALREADY researched the hell out of relevant-to-me topics all along the way, past tense — IS where I've been and where I am. I don't need no stinking Monday-morning quarterbacking.

In a fun moment of happenstance, I watched Postcards from the Edge last night and thought this number perfectly captured my experience and sentiments on a number of butt-kicking levels.

My favorite lyrics snippet, in case you'd rather not sit through the video:

"I've run the gamut, A to Z. Three cheers, and dammit, c'est la vie. I got through all of last year, and I'm here. Lord knows, at least I was there . . . and I'm here."

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Like my webby screen shot?

I just changed the age in my sidebar to reflect the reality ushered in 2 weeks ago today.

In the biggest picture, I am fine with owning and acknowledging my real age. But in certain picture-in-picture moments, I am somewhat less than fine with what I know to be true.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hair of the dog

Having decided that perhaps I've actually climbed out of the deepest ditch of grief related to all . . . this, I've recently tasked myself with curing what I view as my lingering IF hangover.

Doing so involves actively adding things back into my life that I've avoided for the past 7 or 8 months. I'm talking things that I associate with IF, treatments, The Clinic, and/or loss — but that still have a place in my real life, post bender.


Consult with the acupuncturist that helped me through the IVFs. I don't think I've blogged about this . . . but as my body chemistry tries to reclaim its formerly glorious groove after treatments/pregnancy, I've been experiencing bouts of pronounced hormonal hijinks that result in, among other things, regular pains to the head. It all started with biweekly migraines (December through March) before settling into a much more palatable pattern of lesser — but still sometimes sick — headaches: I can expect them at O time, the middle of the LP (hello, Estrogen Dip), just before Auntie F shows, and then one more time as AF sputters to an uncomfortable end.

The clinic's primary acupuncturist has agreed to help me ease into a new hormonal "normal." Mostly using (inexpensive) herbs, and also with occasional needlings. I've clearly gotten better on my own with time, increased exercise, and learning how to recognize/respond to signals in time to help either preempt or soften any head games. But, these spells (or whatever the hell) are disruptive to my typical days of otherwise feeling healthy, sane, and not so sad. Time to take care of it.

Get back to using a few, but not all, of the supplements I used to enhance fertility. Some I do not need. But others really help keep my perimenopausal (one can only assume) system on an even keel, and adding them back in — after going cold turkey, mind you — has helped with the headaches and, by default, my general mood.

Put a new mammogram appointment on the books. I canceled 2 appointments in 2008 due to pregnancy. Continuing to put off scheduling one now helps no one.

Do the business of life near both local clinic branches (when it makes sense to). That means eating at at area restaurants, visiting the acupuncturist's near-one-clinic's office, patronizing a favorite market, and feeling zen about driving through the 2 rather large swaths of the greater metro area I'd been completely avoiding.

Schedule more visits with family, both here and there. This is no small thing. I did visit my parents in March (which was difficult not because of them, but because it took SO much energy for me to act okay), but we need to put ourselves back in circulation as a couple, as our special brand of family unit. As it stands right now, some of our people are coming here in September, and we are visiting others in December.

Bow out or in, as I like. I'm cutting out a few things I took on during my flinging phase (which was good for me, btw) that I just do not want to do. I'm also getting back into a couple of things I gave up but came to realize weren't an actual problem.

plan what to do with that extra bedroom. You know, for a couple of months (okay, 4 or 5), my desire to sell the house was strong. It's bigger than we need and not of the style/location we'd have chosen had we known. But now is not the time for us to sell. I'm over the intense resentment I felt toward the house and ready to peacefully exist in it until it truly is time to move on. That room must be good for something.

Call the clinic to settle a couple of things. Namely, (1) to find out whether we have any sort of credit on account and how quickly a refund might be issued if we do (although I'm pretty sure we don't), and (2) to donate DH's banked swimmers to research or something so we can stop paying the storage fee.

File last year's freaking taxes. That's right, I got an extension. The 2008 filing will include big fat mention of our big fat out-of-pocket medical expenses. I couldn't deal with it in January and didn't feel that much better about it come April. I'm ready to clear the air of it now, though. Hoping Uncle Sammy won't get all curious. We certainly have all receipts and such, but still. That part makes me nervous.

Things to do, things to do!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Trouble sticking a fork in it

Every once in a while I look at my little "About the Blog" blurb and think I should update it to clarify in that space that I am no longer TTC. True, I say so at the end of the insufferably long "About the Blogger" list. Longtime readers know it. But, well, targeted communication is my real-life business, and it bothers that side of me to see a blog description of mine that doesn't quite capture what's going on in the blog's present.

I do know what's really eating me: The thought of adding promises of child-free-living talk to my blog's theme makes me ill.

For one thing, I am childless, no thank you very much. "Child free" — to me — still carries the connotation of choice, a happy circumstance. I mean, come on, free is "because I decided so, on purpose, to suit my own needs and desires." Or. It's just plain GOOD. Without restrictions. At no cost.

Carefree, debt free, error free, cancer free, drug free, allergen free, worry free, wrinkle free, cling free; free admission, free food, free beer, free samples, free estimate, free concert, free puppies; free country, free speech, free time, free will, free spirit, free love; free on bail, buy one get one free, don't tread on free, free-for-all, free and clear, home free, set me free, free to be you and me, free at last, free at last . . . free, free, free, free, free, YIPPEE!

For another thing, I don't think I'll spend a lot of time blogging specifically about life without children. I am still processing/blogging about IF, loss, and stepping off the family-building path. "No kids" is part of that. But I feel like adding any sort of "life without" thingy to the blog description invites the assumption that someone might come here to read about day-to-day observations on life as a childless person. Granted, that's the situation. But it's not the accurate bent, if you will, of the blog.

Also, although I'm moving along and trying to evolve, I'm not all the way ready to COMPLETELY evolve the blog so that it no longer does what I created it to do for me: provide a safe haven for semiprivately discussing private hopes and fears on the way to whatever conclusion our TTC journey reached. One can and should argue that said conclusion made its appearance a while back. It's just that I'm still working on accepting it. Oh, I've committed to it. But the associated feelings are still raw sometimes, and my head can still spin when I realize not just how things turned out but that they did, in fact, turn out. Past tense.

As labels go, I think "infertile" still fits until I hit menopause. "Childless" is how I feel at present, but I don't like that as a descriptor for myself or anyone else (although, re me, "Area Childless Woman Wins the Lottery" wouldn't bother me too much). And "child free" just doesn't apply to me.

None of this is to say, you understand, that I go around throwing any of the terms into my everyday conversations.

Me: Hi, I'm Lisa.

Other Person: And what do you do, Lisa?

Me: I'm an Infertile. Have been for years. I love it!!

Me (alternate answer): I'm a childless writer. You?

Sorry for that digression. Anyone still with me?

I wasn't at all sure that I ended up making the point I had in mind when I logged on. Then I caught sight of the post's title, which pretty much says it all.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

19 Things

It's June 14, an anniversary for DH and me: 19 years ago today, we had our first official date. (Saw Eraserhead at the art-house theater. Debated its meaning over drinks, tortilla chips, and fiery-hot salsa that really was too hot to take. And so on. For those familiar with the flick, I ask you: Should I make anything out of the fact that the movie we credit with starting our relationship begins with a creepy sperm-like creature and features a mutant baby?)

That date was on a Thursday. By Saturday — after we'd both spent Friday scrambling to tie up any loose ends that might interfere with us spending every spare second together for the rest of "who knew?" — we were ON with no looking back.

To honor our shared journey, I thought I'd do one of those sweet tribute posts listing good stuff about my DH. I'll keep the items topical to the blog's theme.

19 Things I Love About My Husband That Led to My Wanting to Start a Family with Him, Helped Me Cope with IF, and/or Served as the "Positives" I Focused On This Past Year to Keep Me from Killing Him (or Worse)
  1. He has never said an unkind thing to me or tried to humiliate or "stick it to me." Not in public and not in private. Not ever.
  2. I can still see the total devotion on his face as he held a newborn niece for the first time and cured her hiccups by draping her over his arm (tummy first, her head supported with his hand and chest) and tapping out a simulated heartbeat on her back to help slow her breathing. He just made that up on the fly. The baby's mother, grandmother, and aunt-to-be (me) all swooned, and we still talk about it behind his back 15 years later.
  3. His smarts and dry wit make me happy.
  4. At family gatherings, he'll patiently play/talk with the nieces and nephews for hours on end.
  5. He was my "nurse" through two lengthy recovery periods after major surgery, and each time — despite knowing him as well as I do — I was blown away by the amazing level of care he provided.
  6. He makes great waffles, pancakes, French toast, biscuits, and pizza dough.
  7. I never have to wonder whether he's telling me the truth.
  8. When it was time to do his fertility testing, he acted like a grownup — not a baby.
  9. He was often pretty quiet at the clinic but came alive during strategy/statistic/scientific discussions with the REs.
  10. He's able to laugh about such things as bad sperm and bad clinic porn.
  11. Once while he unpacked from a business trip, my heart soared upon seeing a baggie full of Mu.cinex and a few pairs of brand-new, moisture-wicking, "crucial area"–cooling underwear. He'd done all that on his own.
  12. Although thoroughly skeptical about potential benefits, he completely backed and encouraged my use of acupuncture, supplementation, diet changes, and meditation during treatment cycles.
  13. For 2 years prior to starting IVF, he traveled a lot — but he always made it his business to make it home for the ol' fertile window. (Such that it was.)
  14. He would have been content to not pursue fertility treatments at all. But he supported every last minute of my need to push on. He made my need, his need.
  15. Each time I was pregnant, he immediately jumped into "What can I do for you?" mode.
  16. The dog has a giant, obvious crush on him (and vice versa). It's very cute.
  17. He gamely takes on the list of items to fix and problems to solve that my parents/his parents present to him each time we visit.
  18. He lives to try to make me do a spit take.
  19. A longer anecdote from the day I knew that I would always choose being with DH over the alternative: One Saturday about a year and a half into our relationship, I felt crazy-desperate for some alone time. I decided to go bra shopping. Solo. Then-boyfriend DH thought he'd tag along, but I said no for the first time in our history. This was fine with him, of course, and he set out walking to his downtown office to occupy himself till I was done. About 19 minutes later, I passed him in the car and gave him a beep. He waved, looking cheerful; I felt good that he felt good instead of left out. Soon I was parked, in the store, and standing blissfully alone in Lingerie, thinking beyond bras to perhaps socks, makeup, and even calling a friend for coffee. As I zeroed in to touch — and I do not exaggerate — my very FIRST bra of interest, I felt a familiar hand on my back. My heart actually sank for a split second. Guess who???!!!??? Why, it was my beloved. The one I'd tried to ditch. The man I would joyfully marry down the road. He grinned, hit me with his full-of-adoration brown eyes and said, "Surprise! I saw you drive by and figured I'd pop in for a quick hi. Are you enjoying your time alone?" With that I realized just how glad I was to see him . . . even when I didn't want to see him. Being with him felt right, as it always had and always would.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to wherever I'm going

The pooch and I strolled past a neighborhood playground today, and a woman with a distinctive look caught my eye. Once I focused and processed, I quickly picked out her husband and son from the sunny-afternoon crowd.

I don't personally know this family — not once in 5 years have I seen them around the 'hood — but they'd made a lasting impression when I encountered them last March in the clinic's lobby. For 40 minutes one day (I was there to discuss starting IVF #2) I listened to the cute rocker-chick woman dissect her stims progress for her hat-and-shades-indoors-wearing, Black.berry-fixated hubby, who sat next to their adorable hat-indoors-wearing, Game.boy-fixated son. She had just 3 follicles developing, 1 way ahead of the others, and they were there to discuss canceling the cycle.

I kept on walking at first, thinking just "Huh. Small world." But then something compelled me to stop and turn around for another peek. (This was an excellent time to have a happy-to-sniff-every-inch-of-the-ground dog along.)

Can you guess what I wanted to know?

In that first moment of reconnaissance, the woman's hands were stuffed into her hoodie's kangaroo pockets, making it difficult to immediately tell whether she was pregnant. The next moment she was applauding her son's jungle-gym prowess, and the answer appeared to be "Not visibly so." I felt disappointed for her and sent a couple of stranger vibes — "Good luck with any future cycles! Or whatever you've got going on!" — across the park.

Well, then I saw the woman's ears perk up. She swiftly marched to the sidelines of the playground . . . toward what the slo-mo scene maker in my head eventually identified as a double stroller. For some reason the real-live babies option hadn't even occurred to me! I spied just long enough to see the mommy scoop up one fussy baby and stroke the second as her men rushed over to help with the cooing.

I was startled, and yes, it gave me quite the where's-mine pang. (This was an excellent time to be wearing sunglasses.) But as I turned away and steered us toward the wide-open beach — my furry kid's playground — I took a deep, cleansing breath and broke a slightly teary, but deep-down genuine, smile.

It felt good to see that "The Big It" had worked for somebody who's using my neighborhood park, walking my neighborhood streets, driving my routes to wherever she needs to go, standing in my check-out lines, living her life where I live mine. And in my world, that . . . has got to be that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Remembering and rejoicing

Today is one of the May milestone dates I've been wanting to get through. One year ago today was transfer time for IVF #2, and let me tell you: That day was magical for me. Everything felt right. I was, truly, in the moment — in sync with DH, my body, the process, my medical team, and the world. I felt love for (and loved by) everybody I encountered. I remember what I wore, what I ate, who I talked to, and what I did all day long. And that magical feeling (aka profound gratitude) carried me through another several days. (You know, until it was time to get scared again!) During that time, I frequently eyed the picture of "the kids" and talked to all 4 of them in utero, sending my love and coaching any that felt strong enough to stick with mama.

Even knowing how it all turned out down the road . . . and knowing what came next, and then next, and then next . . . I wouldn't trade that day for anything. The experience opened me up in ways I can't quite describe but know will stay with me forever. And for that I rejoice.


P.S. Today — this year's May 5 — brings a fresh reason to rejoice. Sweet Polly over at In2MeSee got to see her perfect-looking little bean's strong heartbeat for the first time. You GO, Polly!!

Monday, May 4, 2009


There's no better way to sail through a stretch of time, I've decided, than to take up a new sport. I've been interested in playing golf for a while — in fact, DH and I took lessons together about 10–11 years ago. We both really enjoyed it. But life somehow pushed our grand golfing plans way out of the picture.

Golf became one of those things we meant to do more of, then meant to do some of, then meant to try again soon . . . next spring . . . and then couldn't remember exactly when we'd ever done it in the first place. Of course once we started leading a life of ART, golf (along with just about everything else) left the activity radar entirely.

Well, it's back on now, (no) baby! During my trip in March, I played several times with my dad (it was just an 18-hole putting course, but still), and I came home determined to not let another summer go by without just doing it. As much as I would LOVE to get back in the swing with DH, his summer travel schedule is both atrociously unpredictable and predictably atrocious. So he's out. (I mean, it's not like this is IVF and I only need him for a single 30-minute window.)

Enter my single girlfriend. We're a perfect pair for this: me with the oft-absent husband, she with the nonexistent boyfriend, and both of us tired of putting things on hold and ready to do something new, fun, social, and active. And if we can cap off our weekly Ladies' Night golf rounds with an ice-cold adult beverage at the 19th Hole, so much the better.

Golf on its own is not the key to bringing a life without children into focus, or into practice. But it feels good to be thinking about something else. Researching, plotting, experiencing, accomplishing. All that helps bring this version of life (— sorry —) to the FORE!

Friday, May 1, 2009

And so May begins!

It's going to be a beautiful May Day in my neck of the woods (swine flu outbreak notwithstanding). The forecast says sunny and 71. Everyone say, "Ahhhhhhh."

I already stood on my deck for a bit during the 6:15 dog put-out, enjoying the fresh air and surveying my kingdom. That reverie abruptly ended, though, when I locked eyes with the next-door neighbor standing outside in his track pants. He bolted at the sight of me. Weirdo.

I'm fixing to stay "up" for this month I dread. To prep for a proper kickoff day, last night I completed the big winter-to-spring/summer wardrobe switchover: Out with the muted olives and rusty reds! In with the pistachio greens and bright corals! It's the little things, so often.

All this month, I will concentrate on infusing my heart, mind, body, soul, home, family, work, and world with positivity. I've been hustling that plan already, but I think this May calls for a little extra oomph. Daily. On purpose.

Will track my doings here.

Image note: May Day by Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, April 30, 2009

May might be a little rough

Or maybe my niggling fear that I won't gracefully handle it means things will go just fine.

Mother's Day isn't the issue.

Rather, it's that last year's May, which began so full of promise (holy moly, IVF "worked" after almost 5 years of constant failure!), ended so very badly. Without that May in the picture, I can imagine a life in which the devastation and isolation that marked the whole damned rest of the year — a late-June miscarriage; a suddenly in-crisis relationship; a November pregnancy that was shaky from the get-go; a Christmastime miscarriage; and the clear end to our family-building efforts — DID NOT HAPPEN.

I know, I know, May is not a person or a force, but that doesn't stop me from resenting it. In my mind it betrayed me, and I'm holding it responsible. All I'm asking of it, though, is to beat a path out of my sight this year. I want May 2009 over and done with so I can mutter into the 12:01-a.m., starry-night sky of June 1 . . .

"Screw you, Universe, I'm still here!"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"We interrupt this silence to bring you a new post!"

It's been a while!

I took a break on purpose. Partially to give myself a break, and partially to mull over whether to keep writing in this space. I didn't do anything special to help myself come to a decision. Just decided to decide sometime.

Before I started this blog, I thought I might like to do a completely different sort of semi-anonymous personal blog. Something fun. Books, music, cooking, movies, dogs, and/or wine&beer&cocktails all seemed like topics I could enjoy blathering on about. Not infertility. And certainly not the version of it I'd lived up to that point, where IF meant you do not . . . you cannot . . . you will not conceive a take-home baby. I had nothing to say about that except that it sucked and I hated it. I just didn't know where I could go with that theme. Plus, I felt then that DH and I were just about done with TTC and it didn't make sense to blog in retrospect.

But then we committed to surgery and pursuing IVF with a new RE. Something shifted. I had hope again and something to look toward. A brand-new set of experiences to see through to whatever end was in store. A story. And onto Blogger I jumped.

Funny thing is, despite the TTC thing having fallen off my to-do list — and maybe, in a strange way, precisely because I have no intention of spending the rest of my days living in infertility (and, for you close readers out there, the "in" was a conscious language choice in lieu of, say, "with" or "after") — I know that this story is still unfolding. The rest of my life will not be an epilogue. And I need a way to facilitate putting the IF ride in its proper perspective within the much larger framework of that life.

So. More blogging for me. Unless or until I decide to decide otherwise.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Randomness from the new life (because Spring is here):

I have not one clue what Cycle Day I am on.

I had a difficult time locating my thermometer a few days ago (the BBT type). Oh, and I needed it to check the doggie's temp, not mine.

Instead of trotting out my stock "Nope, just a dog" in response to an old friend asking me on Facebook whether I have kids, I gave the more authentic reply that went, essentially, "No — wanted them, didn't happen." Telling the whole brief truth didn't even hurt.

I invited PEOPLE over to dinner . . . at MY HOUSE . . . much like I used to do before spending too much time rolled up in a figurative ball of helpless angst, trying to predict what might happen/not happen next in my own Lifetime-friendly slasher movie Nightmare on I(V)F Street. (Note: I call total Dibs! on capitalizing on that idea.)

I had an unexpected little crying jag last night and made it to the bathroom before DH noticed. The significance? This was the first outburst in 6 days. I've now doubled the earlier hard-won record!

And, I've made a pile of things I need to purge from the house. Strangely, they all came in 3s (3 being the number of major surgeries I underwent for the cause; years of TTC effectively wasted before getting the "right" RE; pregnancies I experienced; IVFs we did; and pretty embryos put back during the final hurrah): pregnancy books; pregnancy exercise DVDs; deeply discounted body-transitions-friendly shirts I bought after seeing IVF #2 Baby's heartbeat; collectible teddy bears I've saved since my youth for the vague notion of a future child; my old dance recital costumes that were sent to me "to pass on"; and bottles of fertility-enhancing supplements (which, btw, proved harmful in my case . . . those will be trashed). These things must go.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I'm visiting my parents this week. Yesterday my mom said how proud she and my dad are of me "after all this."

I found it trippy to think that anyone's pride might be attached to me for such a reason. I know they are just glad to see for themselves that I'm living and breathing and working on kicking myself down the road. But. It felt weird to hear it expressed in that way.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time and space

I just finished a patient survey that covered every major step of my treatment at the fertility clinic. We're talking initial consult . . . to testing . . . to major surgery . . . to IVF . . . to IVF . . . to D&C . . . to IVF . . . to D&C to . . . life after. The fact that all of it went down in less than 15 months seems almost as unreal to me as the equally factual fact that time ran out for our much-longer-than-that TTC mission.

Filling out the survey — using ALL the extra commenting space and then some — was both freeing and tears-inducing. It helped further the feeling that those days are over. I know it, deeply, but I do benefit from any nudges toward the future that come my way. I'm still having these intense moments in which "the pull" bubbles up and it's all I can do to stop myself from thinking about how I might handle one more chance.

The feeling shows up less frequently as the weeks pass. But boy, when it yanks, it yanks hard. That potentially actionable pull is worse than the mad desire that still simmers below the surface: namely, that I might go back in time — to any number of turning points — and make a slightly different decision and, thus, well, you know where that train of thought ends. But because I know time travel is impossible, thoughts like that are easy to snap out of.

The in-treatment routine, however, is one tough habit to break. As thoroughly draining and difficult as it was, I always liked it. You can't do it absent hope, and who doesn't like a little taste of that?

Some days I'm caught off guard by the urge to call my acupuncturist, RE, or even the coordinating nurse I often second-guessed (always correctly, but hey, I still liked her and she was part of the package). One phone call, I think, and something more could happen. And THAT thought ("something more") brings me right back to the reason we stopped. Because I don't think something else would happen. I believe that an additional something of the variety we've already experienced would happen. More. Of. The. Same. That is my belief. And none of those well-traveled roads to the same unhappy destination interest me when I reeeaaaaalllly consider them.

One thing I've done in the New Year to create more space for my healing process is drop out of the online community I frequented for years (the FFriendly one, to be specific). Following others' TTC journeys, ART cycles, and pregnancies in that community's format just wasn't conducive to my breaking away and giving our decision to stop everything a chance to sink in. I knew I couldn't participate, even just to give support or offer information, without getting caught up in wanting it — "it" being whatever I might read or discuss — for myself. So I let my membership lapse, and I've successfully ignored subsequent entreaties to re-up.

That one move has worked out. It opened up some much-needed head space. And that helped kick-start my campaign to keep putting day-by-day time space between making the decision and living with it.

Well, Lost just ended, and I'm pretty sure "watching" while blogging has made me miss an important plot nuance or 20. Oh well. It's time for me to turn in. With any luck, tomorrow will be here soon.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hi there, blog


Haven't been posting much, I know. I notice 3 fairly recent posts hanging out in draft form. After clicking to see what the heck I wrote, I think "unpublished draft" shall remain their fate. The first had no identifiable point, the second made the same point 6 annoying times, and the third had a great big peach of a point lurking just beyond its horizon . . . but I'm not up to chasing it.

I'm making progress, DH is making progress, and the two of us are making progress. All of it's slow but by now discernible.

Would you believe that the dog has had a setback? It was totally caused by her people's worn and weary state. Poor sweetie received some confusing signals: Despite absolutely knowing better, we succeeded in reinforcing/cementing an irrational fear she developed by indulging it and throwing extra affection in its general direction. So now it's time to train away the crazy. It is so silly. Thankfully, the pup is a quick study.

And, I don't mind having an attainable goal to conquer. Nope, don't mind that at all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Even Wikipedia knows a doctor can't "implant" an embryo

I am still frustrated by the nature of the news coverage surrounding the octuplet mom. For example, DH and I turned away from CNN last night to get away from Anderson Cooper's incessant teasers about the "Angelina Jolie connection." Please. What a ridiculous tabloid-y ploy, trying to get people to stay tuned for nothing more than a "story" about how some people (on the street) are wondering (because a CNN producer asked them to) whether this person has set out to be like the beautiful celebrity with all the kids (who sells copy and gets viewers).

I have an idea for you, Media, and I really think you're going to like it:

Start calling her OctoMama, which rhymes with Obama (no disrespect to the president implied) . . . and let your imaginations take you to new heights of loosely-linked-to-nothing voyeuristic reportage. People will eat it up.

Meanwhile, I'm still hoping for the story about someone advocating for the mom to get the real help she needs so those children can have the best lives possible. Why is everyone so angry with her? Yes, I got judge-y myself. But you can't stay in that place for long when you see that she clearly lacks the judgment necessary for real-world decision making. It makes me sick that nobody seems to be stepping in to help in a meaningful way.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Nutshell goings-on

Hanging on, and in. Still flinging, but not as much. Feeling sad, mad, and nowhere near the glad.

Trying to make sense of everything that came before and everything still to come. Knowing what has come but not fully "getting" how we got here. Questioning. Answering. Surrendering. Accepting.

Reminding myself what's good. Seeking more of the same. Trusting we'll come out the other side. Getting up every day to give it another whirl.

It's hard.

Saturday morning chuckle: I noticed that nutshell also reads Nuts Hell. How unintentionally apropos. :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Okay, now I'm feeling judge-y

Today's octuplet-story update has prompted me to start judging the mother. I am only human, after all!

Quite the go-getter, that one.

Here's hoping she gets ABSOLUTELY NOTHING MORE than her 15 minutes. And some quiet help for her problems.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Maybe the octuplets' story will shock the right people?

Ever since the new Eight Is Enough cast was born earlier this week, I've been trying to keep my distance from the story. Mostly because I find the reports that try to ramp up the freak-show aspects of it distasteful.

"Here's an exclusive look at the biggest baby bump EVER caught on tape!
(Naturally, the woman sporting it was half-naked, writhing around, and screaming from the pain of labor. Who would give permission for that to air?)

"How many babies can a human uterus hold, anyway?! We'll get to the bottom of it!!!"
(That report was informative if you listened to the doctor's explanation, but the breathless reportage surrounding it just made it sound like human litters are awesome and "YOU could have one too.")

"Strung together, the diapers those kids will go through could circle the earth 5 times!!!"
(Nobody ever says whether they're calculating with fresh nappies . . .)

Today at least we're getting more details. We need them to help put the situation in context for proper public consumption. I'm glad to see the ASRM president (who consults at our clinic) firmly stating that higher-order multiples are never the goal with an ethical doctor and that ASRM is already investigating what exactly happened with the mother's fertility treatment.

I'm not going to judge the mother here. My opinion only, but I think the unfolding story points to some issues that go beyond simple irresponsibility or greediness, the two most popular suppositions about her motives for having not just octuplets, but octuplets in addition to 6 other kids. I have to believe that this person just doesn't have the capacity to understand reality in all its glory. I don't know why she might not. But some of the details make that seem likely to me and so I have to wish the best for her and those innocent babies.

I hope the family does disappear from the spotlight, just as they say they will. If they do, maybe there's an opportunity here to bring more discussions of IF and insurance coverage for ART to the forefront. I'd prefer dialogues NOT about how many children someone should have or who gets to have kids and when . . . but talks about making ART accessible, affordable, and always ethical. And if people gain a little more understanding about how IF affects others' very lives, well, great.

Is that possible? Am I hoping for too big of a logic leap?

Or will this circus do nothing but further stigmatize use of ART and bring even more discussions about responsible care, family-building options in general, and the overwhelming expense of the pursuit of ART to a staggeringly silent halt?

Guess we'll see. I think I'll shoot off some emails to ASRM, RESOLVE, and INCIID encouraging them to step up to the mic while it's still live.

I've got no real conclusion in mind, so please accept instead a relevant Friday funny from the Onion.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I've been flinging myself

No, I haven't been flinging myself off anything. Mostly I've just been flinging myself at everything. As many things as I can think of and as soon as I can think of them. I've joined new groups and resurfaced in old ones. I've drummed up lots of work. I've made travel plans. I've volunteered for volunteer duty. You name the activity unrelated to TTC and ART, and I've probably done it, planned to do it, planned to plan to do it, or looked into it and said "Pass."

What else can I do, really?

You see, DH and I have officially decided — and confirmed aloud while in the same room — that we're done trying to add to our family. (I'll save the whats and whys for another time.) That ship has sailed and sunk with no survivors . . . unless you count the two of us. We're alive, functioning fairly well even, but I can't necessarily say that "we" survived or that "I" did or "he" did. We're different as individuals and we're different as a couple. And we are still in flux.

Of course change happens to everyone, everywhere, every day, every way. But this is one of those wacky periods in which our identities are changing at warp speed. They have to for us to keep going. Flinging helps me deal.

I don't mind saying that I hate the ride right about now. Or that I refuse to call it a roller-coaster. (I quite enjoy that ride. It's innocent and FUN.) But I am still strapped in and holding on to my dearest DH for dear life or whatever payoff surely must exist.


"Smile, Please" is an appropriate theme song around our house at the moment, with me dedicating it to DH on even days and him returning the favor on odd ones. There are brighter days ahead.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


My New Year has officially started. Today, I mean. Yes, I'm behind the times. But I had some lingering business to wrap up before I could allow my head to think "2009." None of it was related to 2008's 3 IVFs or 2 doomed IVF-induced pregnancies; yet, somehow, because the work originated during the year in which said experiences dominated the main stage in my own personal IVFapalooza, I couldn't quite begin to close down the festival until I'd finished.

Did you follow that? How's this: I, just now, am starting to feel like my life beyond IVF and its various outcomes can proceed. It's good as bad things go. It's not what I wanted, but both my head and heart know it's time to move on.

All week long as I checked things off the list and got closer to this beginning, I noticed a realignment of my attention. The need to keep a single-minded focus faded, and the proverbial fog lifted. I saw many glimpses of the "me" I used to know:

Hey, that's right, you like to follow the news! Wait . . . how on earth did you forget the new business-related website you started building last year? That was a pretty good idea. Oh yeah, leaving the house can be fun! What's that? Are you singing in the car, just a little bit? Welcome back! Where have you been, anyway?

While waiting for my turn in the shower this morning, I toured my laughably messy home with newly open eyes (and ears). Along the way I closed a random closet door that must have been open since last June. I actually heard the annoying furnace noise DH has been grumbling about for ages (geez, it IS annoying). And I quickly envisioned a prioritized game plan for dealing with the physical chaos I saw.

Now, I know that the emotional wreckage in the house can't be cleared on a tidy little timeline, but I take comfort in knowing that swinging back into so-called normal activities will help DH and me keep going as we figure out what our future holds. What does our family look like? If this is "it," does the life we're living fit with that picture?

I'm awake now. I'm up. Wish me luck with that.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Creme de la Creme day

Today's the day that Mel from Stirrup Queens presents a massive list of the best posts from the 2008 IF/Adoption/Loss blogosphere, a cyber-land that she supports and nurtures with such incredible ferocity.

Each post has been self-selected by its author, so it is not a contest (if you submit, you're "it"). Rather, the idea is for each participating blogger to select a single post that best speaks to her or his point of view.

I chose a fairly recent post to represent my experience. If someone were to read just one entry from my blog, that's the one that I think sums up my story as it stands right now. It does seem like an ending, but I personally feel that the year's worth of posts have been "about" my bringing this journey to its inevitable conclusion. In some ways what came before hardly matters. Right now I'm still blogging. I have more to convey. But I am operating in a sort of wrap-up mode.

Please check out the Creme de la Creme list to view a startling array of experiences. You'll see yourself in them. You'll see everyone else. You'll learn new things. You'll laugh, cry, and maybe even throw a fit or two. Even if time permits you to view just a handful of selections, I guarantee that you won't be sorry you clicked.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On the eve of the New Year

A message for you, dear readers and fellow bloggers:

"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."
—T.S. Eliot

Tonight, with Bing playing in the background and champagne chilling in the foreground, DH and I will gratefully "watch the old year die with a fond good-bye" and step into our future.

How will you celebrate? Whatever your plans, I wish you all the best for a safe, warm, and smooth transition into 2009.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A circuitous tale of waking up thinner, the scourge called IF, and feeling ticked about all of it

As 2009 approaches, I am thinner than when 2008 came knocking. Not by much, but I notice it and so does my scale.

Quick tip for the wise:
Scroll down to the large bold phrase near the end to get to the point sooooo much faster. You're welcome!

I've been fine with Not Being Thinner ever since early 2007 when I gained 25–30 pounds in 2 staggeringly fast month-long periods: March, I think, and then again in July. At the time we were between REs (thinking we were done with REs, mind you) and I was effectively grieving the loss of my fertility, such that it never was. In March of that year I contracted a strange, made-up-sounding viral infection whose treatment was to fast for a few days and then slowly reintroduce food from the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) before gradually returning to regular food. It took about 10 days for me to tolerate anything but BRAT food and at least another week after that to eat normally.

I consumed very little food, FAR less than my typical diet provided, yet I managed to gain 7 pounds during the BRAT-only phase. I thought it odd but assumed my system would normalize on its own now that I felt healthy again. A few weeks later—after setting aside yet another pair of shrunk-in-the-wash underwear—I caught a clue and gingerly stepped on the scale. Another 8 pounds up for a total of 15 (or, as I said, "fiffffteeeeeeeen?"). JUST LIKE THAT!

Now this did catch my attention. But I still believed it was a temporary thing and that my awareness alone would be enough to reverse the gain. I'd simply move more and eat less, and soon all would be fine. Thing is, I made good on my plan but nothing changed. This failure threw me for a loop because several years earlier I'd gained and lost what I can now grudgingly call my "first" package of stress weight—I had no trouble losing it once I cared enough to try, and for 4 years I'd kept it off with what I perceived as no effort. I'd actually come to the smug belief that I was in control of something.

This is just a chemical glitch,
I thought. I'll bet the Clomid from the RE Who Shall Not Be Mentioned triggered something. Maybe that screwy infection screwed me up. Or was it the Fertility Bl.end? Whatever the reason, I can make it go away anytime I want to.

In the face of concluding we weren't done seeking help on our quest to conceive, the weight quickly became a nonissue to me. My concentration shifted to finding a new RE. I interviewed prospects during June and July (can you say "Discouraging"?) and—BAM!—next time I looked up 10 or 15 additional pounds had debuted in time for bathing-suit season. That gain happened, too, with such dizzying speed that I almost couldn't process it. But damn, there I was needing new pants again.

DH and I planned an IVF for October 2007. In September the RE did a pre-cycle hysteroscopy. She literally gasped upon seeing a large fibroid onscreen, brand-spanking new since the fairly recent ultrasound we had *just* reviewed. The tumor had originated outside my uterus and poked right on through the uterine wall into the cavity. That sucker had to come out.

Both my RE and OB say there is no way to prove my theory, but nobody will EVER persuade me away from the firm belief that the rapid-fire weight gains and fibroid growth went hand-in-hand and were directly tied to the stress of trying to "get over" my desire to conceive and move on before I was ready. No way could I ignore that an immediate need for a myomectomy had cropped up, with extra poundage, during all 3 of the hands-down worst times of my life. (Not that I don't understand that I must also have been eating and moving differently. Chronic stress changes the way you function, inside and out.) But my experience with all of it doesn't inform anyone but me.

No matter, though. As DH and I pursued the end of our ttc story, I put weight out of my mind. I couldn't spare the effort to care about it while dealing with the rigors of ARTfulness and consistently tenuous pregnancies. Although 7–10 pharmaceutically-induced pounds came and went with each IVF, my weight held steady overall. No true gains in 2008. A plus that, thankfully, was not. (Assuming you ignore the given that I would give anything to be waddling around with a weight gain of a different stripe.)

I didn't mention this before because I still plan to do a separate post about my recent D&C, but . . . the day after the procedure I felt lighter. I looked it, too. That day my scale said that all the extra IVF #3 weight had disappeared in a surreal sort of POOF.

Well today I woke up looking slightly thinner yet again—3 more pounds gone.

Honestly, I don't know how that could even be possible. I mean, 'tis still the holiday season at my house, and a less-than-jolly one at that. I'm regularly comforting myself with toffee and tea, egg nog and cookies, wine and something cheesy, and so on. Even as I work today, DH is out hunting and gathering a long list of ingredients for the New Year–appropriate appetizers, goodies, and cocktails we'll make and I'll help consume. Not really a weight-shedding setup.

I know. Those 3 pounds probably found their way back to me while I wrote this post. But whether they or their 10+ IVF siblings have left me for good is not the point today.

The point is what ticked me off:

Here's a case where I have not been trying to do something I'd very much like to do. Namely, to start losing my "no baby" weight that so callously attached itself to me 2 years ago. I've done nothing whatsoever to advance the cause and practically everything one might think of to achieve the opposite effect. Yet quite a few pounds have gone missing anyway. I was "relaxing" about the whole deal, if you will, and suddenly I ended up with a desirable outcome. Thinking about it that way really burned me up for a minute.

You see, it's just one more item on life's infinite list that, ultimately, I will never control, even when I think I know for sure that I can and will.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A favorite Christmas song

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" has been a favorite of mine since I was but a girl. I loved it even before seeing Meet Me in St. Louis for the first time at age 12 or so. But once I saw the film, the beautiful melancholy theme of the song came into focus for me and I loved it even more. Purposely making my heart hurt a little was something I couldn't get enough of at that age. My mom noticed same and surprised me with the sheet music so I could play the song and think about the heart-rending situation till I could play and think no more.

For anyone feeling like you're "muddling through" right now, you are not alone. Happens to the best of us. Just keep on muddling, and I promise I will too. Better days are coming. That's how it works.

Happy holidays to one and all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Behold the negative HPT!

The poor little "Not Pregnant" ones never seem to get photographed, so I thought I'd make mine feel loved.

(To digress: Does anyone else chuckle a little at photos of "Pregnant" digitals? Am I the only one who doesn't see the point of that particular pic?!)

As I think I mentioned, I opted out of officially following my HCG levels down. I decided I didn't need the hassles related to continued fertility-clinic visits, such as . . .
  • Taking time out of every few workday mornings to crawl along ice-covered roads, to and from the clinic.
  • Feeling compelled to tell the (truly) sweet, sunny, young receptionist who is young enough to be my daughter that I'm "great" while checking in to track my failed-pregnancy hormones back down to zero.
  • Wincing at the harried phlebotomist's tale of how unbelievably hard it is to hide gifts and create a faux Santa sighting for the toddlers at home. Heard it already. I am genuinely happy to hear such accounts from friends and family and even total strangers in the insanely long holiday lines at Tarjay. It's normal chatter about real events in people's lives, and I like it. But in the clinic setting, this very particular type of small talk is sometimes hard to take.
  • Deciding to let the afternoon bloodwork-report call go to voicemail so I don't have to reply to another pitying "How are you doing?" or strangely chipper "Have a WONDERFUL holiday!"
Last week was a veritable bust for me. After my ER visit, I experienced some heavy clean-out bleeding, and I stayed on meds for a few days to deal with a crushing hormonal headache and its accompanying nausea. Somehow I powered through one of my year-end projects and finished that on Thursday. (Did I do a good job? Well, I couldn't judge it AT ALL, but nobody has said anything!)

Friday was my first day totally drug, headache, and blood free. A relief that then opened the door to my starting to "feel." Oh boy. I spent that day doing nothing but feeling everything to the core, barely able to move. DH and I had dinner reservations and tickets to the Nutcracker that night, and I managed to pull myself together to go. While dressing, I really worried I might lose it at any number of points in the evening. But it was good to get out and I did well. The swarms of adorable costumed children (both in the audience and onstage) made me smile, as did the requistite dozens of glowing, belly-rubbing preggos who'd bought tickets for the same damn night. It helped that attendance was greatly reduced due to the weather and DH and I had several rows of a nosebleed-box-seat section to ourselves. The lovely wine we had with dinner helped too.

I spent Saturday alone with thousands of other sardines buying groceries, hitting the discount stores, mailing packages, and returning library books (okay, nobody else was at the library). And since Sunday, I've been doing my best to catch up on my other year-end work project. It's moving along. Not as quickly as is typical. But I am doing the best I can with it.

Sunday night brought another spate of cramping and bleeding. Monday morning, I felt like the HCG was gone. Not sure a person can tell, so I used the digital test pictured up top — along with a pink-lined one that was taking up too much space in the cabinet — to see what I'd see. I learned in words and a stark-white testing area that I'm in the clear. The hormones left my system about 2 weeks faster than with the June miscarriage, and that makes sense since I was about 2 weeks farther along with that pregnancy.

So, here I sit. Ready to move on. Or, to be precise, ready to figure out how to.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I don't have the energy for a full-on post right now, but I wanted to check in. I'm around. Alive, as noted. Not really kicking yet, but looking forward to being okay.

I've been wanting to write about the D&C experience, but surprisingly (to me, anyway) that experience hasn't yet run its course. Odd after-effects are still showing up even 5 days later. I've had a rough hormonal transition, which basically wiped out Sunday, Monday, and today. I went to the ER last night (so glad I finally did), and I'm hoping that the drugs I'm on now will allow me to be productive the rest of the week and then find a little time to blog it out.

Write at you soon!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peace, baby

I wore a peace-sign pendant to my ultrasound today. The RE lit up when she noticed it — she's not much older than I am, 5–6 years if the graduation dates on her CV correlate to age in a typical way. That would make her my brother's age. So my guess is that in the 70s perhaps she, too, drew peace symbols all over her school notebooks, notes she passed in class, and maybe even her faded denim bell-bottoms. If she didn't, then she surely knew the girls who did — they were the groovy chicks my brother liked and that I wanted to be.

Dr. K said, "I love your necklace. It's the peace sign!"

I smiled, clutched it, and flashed on all thoughts above in the split second before saying, "I wanted a little peace on Earth today."

Next up, the assistant dimmed the lights. DH took my hand, and 5 seconds later the 4 of us silently viewed the baby's image. It was fuzzy . . . not sharp and distinct like before . . . yet clearly — and entirely — still.

The measurements indicated that the baby had grown by exactly a week since the scan 8 days ago. Of course there's no way to know, but the guess is that our bean's heart had just recently stopped.

Amazingly, my heart is still beating. Even broken it finds a way to keep me going. You wouldn't believe all that I've done since leaving the clinic: I've picked up groceries; sat with no thoughts at Starbucks; checked to see that DH made it back to work; called the family; ordered straggler holiday gifts; discussed in detail a current project with a client; unsubscribed from two pregnancy newsletters; thrown out the half-read issue of Fit Pregnancy I bought last weekend; stroked the sweet dog that kissed me when I got home and sits by my side as I write; taken both Tylenol and Advil for the painful cramps that have shown up; and set up a D&C for tomorrow. I've dropped a few hot tears, sure, but the floodgates haven't opened. Plenty of time for that later.

I'll allow that shock may be at play. It does have a way at times of helping you function. But I have to say, for whatever it's worth, that I don't feel shock-y. Instead I feel surrounded by a very strong sense of peace. On Earth.

I like to think that the baby gifted me with peace as it left this world behind. And that there was plenty left over to accompany the baby wherever it needed to go.