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.