Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Am So Going to Kick A** At Being a Mom

I could never be tricked into saying that I'm a patient person - generally. If anything, I am the one who pulls the brownies out of the oven 10 minutes early and still enjoys eating them even though they're not even remotely done except on the very outside. But there is one area in which I virtually EXUDE patience: in my classroom. I can't count (no, seriously, that's why I'm an English teacher) the amount of times I explain a menial task every day. While I don't tolerate laziness, I do appreciate an honest question, and am so happy to help the student who helps himself. I revel in explaining a concept to a student and watch as they use their newfound knowledge.

I am going to be such a patient mom. I will explain the world to them with the calm, even voice of a teacher, and the heart of a mother. I'm not totally delusional - I know there will be days when I am tired, frustrated, and short with my kids. But, I will be acclimated to the rigors of dealing with dozens (if not hundreds) of questions a day. I'm waiting with bated breath to hear that one beautiful question that every two-year-old utters: "Why?"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Things I CAN Do...

Okay, it turns out that a nap and a few cups of green tea can do wonders for your mood. It's amazing how your mind and body work in tandem: when the body becomes too tired, the brain get all out of whack, too. I'm all better today, ready to tackle a new week and help to inspire a new generation of young authors.

I know that this blog is not supposed to be about my work, but sometimes my work is what makes me feel productive and useful, despite being infertile. I've been excited about this new project at school and thought I would share with you, especially since a few of my followers (you're awesome!) are teachers, too.

There's nothing that I value more than the written word. It educates us, placates our sense of loneliness, and allows us to escape the oft-tedious milieu of our own lives. Through the written word we find solace, comfort, excitement, and inspiration. Thus, there's nothing that gives me more joy than inspiring my kids (my 128 darling students) to write. We are participating in the Young Writer's Program through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. Beginning on November 1st, my students are going to write (you guessed it) a novel. It's been a tough two weeks trying to get them interested and confident in the project. They worry that they won't be able to write enough (you only have to get about a half-page of writing done every day to reach 2,000 words by the end of the month) or write a brilliant story (which isn't the point, the point is to write a novel - be it good or terrible). But as of last Friday, my kids were excited, energetic, and raring to begin their opus. Nothing makes me more proud than to hear, "Mrs.S, can we go over our word count goal? Can we work on this at home? Can my parents buy a copy of my book when it's done?" Sigh. I love the sound of eager learning in the morning.

For those of you thinking that this would be fun, please check out and look at all the great resources that they have to offer teachers. And if you're interested in writing a novel yourself (hello? Bucket list material?), sign up for NaNoWriMo and write a 50,000-word novel by Novemeber 30th. We may not be able to procreate, but our experiences, imaginative journeys, and literary prowess are gifts worth giving.

Have fun!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Seeing Red

I'm having an angry weekend. I'm angry that my last IUI was canceled. I'm angry that I have to skip a month because my body is all messed up now. I’m angry that I don't have a kid to parade around for Halloween. I’m angry that the dumbass at the store has two kids and I have none. I'm angry that I can't give my husband the pleasure of bragging that he's going to be a daddy soon. I'm angry at stupid movies that downplay the feeling of frustration and anxiety that comes with infertility. I'm angry at everyone. I'm the kind of angry is only alleviated by throwing a coffee mug at the television set and watching it shatter. (Good thing years of self-control keeps me from acting on those annoying impulses.)
Sometimes I think that I use up all my good cheer and optimism throughout the week, and when I get a moment to relax, I have none left. I know that life isn't fair and all that, but today it just seems…obstinate. At some point, can't I just get what I want, already? My mother would call this pouting. I call it "time for a run."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Evil, Thy Name is Public Park on a Saturday

There are a few things that an infertile woman should simply NOT do, including trolling garage sales (Yes, they are selling a crib and baby clothes, no you may not ask if it comes with the baby), attend a baby shower sober (Did I just call you a "miserable self-centered trophy wife" after you asked me when I was going to have some little ones of my own like my sister? It was totally the cosmopolitan talking!), and shop for pregnancy tests in a public pharmacy (Yes, you little underage weasel, we're both looking for the "pee sticks", and no, I'm not going to be relieved when it comes out negative - I actually know and love my baby daddy). Ahem.

But the number one thing you should NOT do on a Saturday is hang out at a public park. Maybe it's the economy, maybe it's the weather, but I can tell you that just about everyone and their progeny hang out there. They're on the swings, in the trees, feeding the ducks…you are surrounded by kids. Sticky, dirty, giggly little humans with anonymous parents. You can almost see yourself calling out to one of them, watching them turn to you with a scraped knee, or pushing those funny little swings for babies. But alas, you sit on the outside of it all.
And then you get on your bike, ride away, and feel the wind on your forehead. You watch the sunlight cascade through the changing leaves, hear the rush of the water beside you, and feel your strong body propel you along the path. While it hurts at the moment, the ache in your heart recedes with every pedal. And you know…your time will come.

(Yes, I made that picture all by myself. Too much time off can be fun.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Go Big or Go Home

When I do things - I DO them, man. So when my RE gives me drugs and tells me to produce some follicles, I produce some frickin' follicles! Actually, I produced a veritable gaggle of follicles. So many, in fact, that she highly recommended that I don't have intercourse over the next two weeks or I could give birth to enough kids to fill a kindergarten class. I had about 13 viable follicles. The hope, when you begin gonadatropins, is that you produce maybe two or three really good ones. At four and five, the RE makes the difficult decision of calling off the IUI or continuing with the possibility of multiples. But at 13, she puts the ultrasound wand down and has a talk with you that recalls your dad circa 1998. "You may not have intercourse over the next 7-10 days, young lady," she begins. "If you do, you could give birth to a litter of children, and I don't even want to go into how much trouble you'll be in with your mother." Okay, she didn't say that, but it was to that effect. So, my IUI is cancelled. Another month down the drain.

So sad. This month would have been perfect timing - just before Thanksgiving and Christmas. I might even have gotten to go home with the knowledge that I was pregnant, so that I could bear being around my sister and her gradually swelling belly. Another Christmas being barren. Joy to the world, indeed.

Nevertheless, at least now I know I can produce a good follicle or two. It is pretty hard to pick out decuplet names, anyhow. I was envisioning Katie, Kelly, Kameron, Kelsea, Kendra, Kevin, Kathy, Kora, Kara, and….Kermit. Sorry, Kermit.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Ash and Ben + 10" Has a Nice Ring to It

It's 8:00 in the morning. I've woken up (during my break, mind you) at 6:00 in the a.m. in order to get to my RE's office in time. It's okay. My ovaries have been working overtime for the past few days and are sore enough to let me know it. That's cool. Despite drinking massive amounts of water, the nurse has to dig around in my arm for my vein - twice. No worries. My nurse takes one look at the gaggle of maturing follicles on my left side and utters, "Oh, gosh." Damn. Here come the water works.

As it turns out, I respond very well to Follistim, and now have about twice as many healthy follicles as one would like to see at CD10. She said that we will most likely have to cancel my upcoming IUI. I knew that this was a possibility, but I really thought they could control this better. I guess I was wrong. My very kind nurse was as compassionate as they come, reassuring me and telling me that things would be okay. (She is amazing, and I'm considering naming my first-born after her, even if it's a boy.) But she misunderstood my tears. She told me that they'd help me with the financial aspect, seeing as how we'd likely have to start all over again next month. (Oh, how a month can be so long when you're waiting…) I, however, could only think about the wasted time and the feeling of hopelessness that was suddenly washing over me like a cold shower. Hope may be powerful, but it quickly abandons you in tough situations.

Ever one to cover my emotions with humor, I told her that, "if you go ahead with this and I have 10 babies, I'll get a reality show and cut you in on the profits!" She didn't go for the idea, though I think that "Ash and Ben + 10" sounds like a real winner.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Things Not to Say on Your Lunch Break

The problem with telling everyone that you're going through infertility is that they become, much like you, very aware of your quest. I want people to know about what I'm going through so that they will be sensitive and not ask me ridiculous questions like, "oh, has teaching put you off of having kids of your own?" Recently, however, I discovered the reason why you should not divulge too much information - people might actually pay attention.

I accidentally let it slip that my husband and I were not going to Moab over fall break because we were, instead, going to go through another IUI procedure. (Sorry, '101 in 1001 List'.) You know that moment in a crowded room where you're indulging in a private conversation and the whole group suddenly becomes quiet - leaving everything you've said to hang in the air like a Shakespearean soliloquy? Well, that's what happened. From explaining to one person, I had to shift to explaining to everyone that I'd be going in this week for a "procedure". Yes, part of me thinks that they should just deal with it, much like I've dealt with their angst about divorces, ailing parents, and unruly offspring. The other part of me, however, instantly realized that my failure (should this round prove to be one) will be even more substantial when I have to repeat it to everyone in that room who asks me in two weeks "how I'm feeling", wink, wink. I love the words of encouragement that I receive when I let people know how hard this has been on me, but I don't want to hear the expressions of pity and astonishment when it doesn't go as planned. I guess you have to take the good with the bad. At the very least, my last RE appointment got me out of a 1/2 day of conferences. I'll take an ultra-sound wand over conferences any day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm Not a Mom, But I'm Awesome

Since I devote a large amount of time to my students, I also try to devote some time to me, too. (If I had kids, I would spend the remainder of my free time on them, but…) So, I've been running lately because there's nothing to keep your mind off of your inabilities like highlighting your abilities. In the last two weeks, I've run two 5K races. I've never been much of a long-distance runner, and clearly remember trying desperately (hiding in the showers was not an option, as our PE teacher could sniff out any deserters) to get out of running the timed 1.5 mile back in middle school. (Ah, those were the days…when we gave a darn about our student's physical fitness level.) But, I've searched and searched for a cheap and easy hobby that I can do at a moment's notice with very little prep work - and running is it.

Not only does running give me a natural "high" that I can't really explain (even if it is talked about in the fitness magazines), but it also gives me something to work for. In this time of uncertainty, running gives me a definite finish line. Sometimes, it even earns me a tangible reward. Last weekend was one of those times. After training for weeks, my friends and I ran a little 5K along the riverwalk in town, and we all PR'd like crazy. I even came in third in my age group (never you mind how many people were in my age group) and received a shiny bronze medal. It was the best reward that I've gotten in the past few months. I worked for it, I earned it, and now it's hanging from my rearview mirror. This is how the world should be: you plan, you work hard, and you earn the things you want. I wish my reproductive system had gotten that memo. Anyway, I may not be a mom, but I think I'm pretty darn awesome. And you are, too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me

Where is the justice in the world? There's a couple trying to give a baby away (before they "throw it in the dumpster") and I can't get my hands on one to save my life? It just doesn't make any sense.

In times like these, I have to question the sanity (or sense of humor) of Nature. I also have to call up my brother, the fireman, and remind him of "Plan F." (If anyone ever drops a baby off at the fire station for safe haven, he is to pick up the child, nonchalantly declare that his sister obviously dropped his niece / nephew off for him to babysit, and call me immediately. I will be on the next flight to SoCal to pick up the wee bairn.) It's a foolproof plan.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Coolest Party Favor Ever

I waffled. I cried. I denied. And then I caved. We were going to go "holistic" for the next few months, but then I called my RE to ask her some questions. I ended up talking to one of the nurses, who patiently answered all of my queries and calmed all of my fears. She, as it turns out, had also gone through infertility and knew exactly what I was feeling. (Never got that feeling from my actual RE - who seems to think that getting an IUI takes about the same emotional toll as a dental filling.) Since I knew I was going to start my cycle on Saturday, I went ahead and scheduled an appointment for today, CD3. So, I went to my first appointment for a gonadatropin IUI. It's more expensive, it requires three times more visits….but it has a much higher rate of success. We're giving it a try. Full speed ahead!

I walked out of the office today with a baggie full of new drugs. I felt a little giddy - like the lucky recipient of a goodie bag from a birthday party. The bag was even Tiffany blue. Tucked inside were boxes upon boxes of nifty-sounding drugs and cool new syringes. I even got a bonus stash of alcohol swabs. What could be better? If this little goodie bag contains the magic ingredients to motherhood, I'm gonna carry it home and dive on in. Only an infertile could get this excited about a bag full of pills, needles, and vials. Well, an infertile or a hard-core addict. I'm glad I'm the former.

Update: Could never be addict. Just stuck myself with that needle (bigger than the Ovadril, thankyouvermuch) and decided to forswear any further activities that necessitate things that puncture my skin.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Please help...

"Hope is the thing with feathers / that perches in the soul / And sings the tune - without the words / And never stops at all..."
- Emily Dickinson

Hello Blog World,

I need your help. Over the last few months, my husband and I have been wondering what our next step should be in our infertility journey. I've never been diagnosed with anything, and we've been TTC for about two and a half years now. I've previously been on Prometrium for three months, and we've gone through three IUI's (with no drugs save for a trigger 48 hours before insemination). I have very regular periods (sometimes light, but otherwise normal) at regular intervals. I don't experience any crazy cramping or discomfort. Due to my utter lack of symptoms, my RE thinks that we should go ahead with a gonadotropin IUI this month. I'm sceptical. I'm nervous. I'm going to go broke after three of these things.

DO THEY WORK? Does anyone know of someone who has had a baby as a result of an IUI? We're trying to figure out how many of these to do before we move on to IVF or adoption or surrogacy. I trust my RE only as far as I trust any medical professional, but I VALUE your imput even more.

I would really appreicate it if you could share your story / a story from someone you know. I need a little bit of reassurance that this is all going to be worth it...and not just a shot in the dark. I need a night-light!

Thank you,