Monday, November 29, 2010

The Time is Now

Please cross your fingers for me. My 5th IUI is scheduled for tomorrow. I am beside myself with anxiety, but trying to remain positive and calm. Please let this work, I'd give anything...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Please, please, please work...

I finally have a date! (That statement is oddly reminiscent of myself in high school.) Tuesday will be my big day - IUI #5. I know this one is going to work, though, so never you mind that it's the fifth one. I went in today for my check-up and got to see a picture of my lead follicle - it's big and happy and ready to be fertilized! If this all works out, I will get to brag that I got to see my baby before it was even a baby. Yeah, pregnant women, how many of you can say that?

My doctor was very pleased with my follicle and my lining, and said that it even had a buddy - a "backup" if you will. That's cool. I'll take one big and one medium egg over 15 gigantic eggs any time. Well, except in January, when we do the IVF if this doesn't work out… then I'll want enough eggs to fill an Easter basket.

In any case, this week I'm thankful for REs and nurses who come in on the weekend, little follicles that hang in there, and a husband who understands that "no means no" when you're abstaining for an IUI. He's such a good boy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My List

Infertility is like a supervillain. It has the unique power to make one feel useless. Normally confident, intelligent, energetic women are rendered frustrated, downtrodden, and mopey by Intfertility's pernicious influence. It can defeat you by making you feel unproductive. One weapon against Infertility is work: work, work, work. Unfortunately, it has an evil henchman called "The Weekend", when you have lots of time to think about what you're NOT doing...

I have found a way to combat Infertility: the 101 in 1,001 List. If you haven't made one - you totally SHOULD! As you check things off the list, it makes you feel like you've accomplished something worthy and important. Sure, it's not the "one" thing that you want to accomplish, but it's still worthwhile!

Today, I got to check off: Take a crochet lesson. My little town doesn't have much, but there happen to be a plethora of retired women who will do just about anything for $25. So, I spent 2 hours today learning how to do a fancy crochet stitch. My goal is to make my sister's new baby (due in May) a baby blanket. My grandmother used to make them for all of us, and she passed away about 8 years ago, so I'm picking up where she left off. Plus, it will give me something to do on our 18-hour drive out to Cali in December. You can only listen to so many books on tape…

Get on Day Zero Projectand make a list of your own! You can even look at my list for ideas if you want: my username is ashleeneva. What will you do today?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting is for Weenies

Ugh. My 25 IU of Follistim have resulted in three pretty good-looking follicles. The smaller ones (all six of them) have seemed to stop growing, which is good. (Farewell, eggs, we never knew you…) But my RE thinks that we won't be on until Wednesday of next week for an IUI. Doesn't that seem a little long? It'll be CD17…is that odd? How can I not know the answers to these questions? (I am a complete idiot while in the exam room -it's like a vortex of self-awareness. I can never think of my questions until I'm a good 20 miles from there. Maybe it's the fact that I’m usually not wearing any pants that renders me quite speechless. I may never know.) Why is this so hard? With all that nature and science can do (both in tandem and of their own accord), why can't they just make this happen? I guess the miracles of life aren't called that because they're easy.

So it's back to waiting, injecting, and feeling generally pretty useless. Maybe I'll cook something. If I can't provide my husband with a child, at least I can make a delicious batch of green chili, right? Right?!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Suspicions Confirmed: I Am an 18-Year-Old Stuck in a 30-Year-Old Body

So, I was rocking out to Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" (can't get enough of it), and I was thinking to myself, "Self, aren't you a little old to love this song? Should you really be thinking about putting on a cute little dress, a hot pair of peep-toe platforms and getting down in the club?" Most of the time, I tell myself to shut up and keep running (it's my favorite song on my running playlist), but sometimes, I think that I am, in fact, an 18 year-old stuck in a 30 year-old body.

Today, my RE offered scientific evidence of this fact: I produce eggs like a teenager. Seriously. Last time they started me on 125 IU, I produced so many follicles I thought my RE was going to call the Guinness Book. This time, she started me on the dubious amount of only 50 IU. When I went in for my appointment today, she looked wide-eyed at the screen and said, "How old are you again?" I replied, "Um, thirty." "Wow," she replied, "it looks like you're 18." (And she wasn't talking about my baby face. Although the medication does make me break out like a pre-pubescent version of myself.)

I'm not in danger of being Octomom again this time, though I'm still producing a few too many. So, she backed me off to 25 IU of Follistim, which is, she said, the lowest dose possible. It's practically non-existent. At least I'm saving a bit of money on the drugs. Bonus! Next appointment is Wednesday, and the IUI should be Saturday. What are my Thanksgiving plans, you ask? I'm getting knocked up artificial style.

It's what the holidays are all about.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Um...I Think I Just 'Outed' Myself

For the most part, I've kept my infertility issues between me, my husband, and a few close friends / family members. I have not talked about it publicly, and I certainly haven't ever posted anything on something as communal as Facebook. Until today. A "friend of a friend" posted this message on her status: can i get an 'amen' for all those who think pregnancy blows?!. (I'll even overlook the sad grammar and juvenile use of profanity.) Then, my sister, of all people, replies with the first wholehearted: Amen!!!. My sister! This is the sister that I get to see over the holidays, the one that I'm supposed to fawn over, congratulate, and smile with. And she thinks that pregnancy "blows"? You know what blows? INFERTILITY!

I have never begrudged those who are pregnant their joy and happiness. Posts that celebrate motherhood don't bother me - heck, if it weren't for motherhood, I wouldn't be here. I have been envious, sure, but have never said that they don't have the right to be excited. When they take that joy for granted, though, I take umbrage. I know that her comment was not meant for me, but I had to wonder how many of this woman's friends are struggling with infertility, and how much that comment may have hurt them. And the fact that my own sister, who should know at least a little bit about the pain of infertility and how lucky she truly is, was the first person to respond…it made me so sad and angry. I thought for a long time about how I wanted to respond. I came up with this:

There is nothing worse than wanting something with your whole heart and then having to listen to those who have it, complain about it. If they only knew…

I thought it was pretty decent. It conveyed some of my emotions: disappointment, sadness, vulnerability, longing…and yet did not accuse anyone or point fingers directly.

I got a wealth of responses, not only from my friends, but from other women I'm not particularly close to who have been effected by infertility. They offered the one thing that they knew could help - virtual hugs. They know that there are no words that can ease this brand of hurt.

It feels good to be out - people should be reminded every once in a while of how damn lucky they are. And they also need to know that there are appropriate channels for their whining - and a public forum like Facebook is not necessarily the place. (It would be like me whining that "having a loving husband is soooo time consuming" to all of my single friends. Cry me a river, they'd say.

It is good to know, though, that I have the support that I do. This week, I'm going to need it. Every finger should be crossed...and toes, too.

(The photo is of sweet pea blossoms, which are some of the sweetest-smelling flowers in all the world. You should plant some.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Strenght in Numbers - Yeah!

If there's strength in numbers, November is going to be a banner month. Just when I'm feeling very alone in this battle, I get some comments and emails from some fantastic women who are going through the same things. I have to say: I am very encouraged by the rash of IUI-induced pregnancies that I've been reading about lately. (Congratulations, Oak, I'm so excited for you - you give me hope!) And while I'm beginning my fourth IUI (second on gonadatropins), I am in good company. Tishi and H.C. Bishop are going to be / have gotten some syringe lovin' lately, too. I have my fingers crossed for all of us! Send good luck to Micruber with her IVF, too! I hope you don't mind me posing some links to your blogs, gals, but your words and your dedication to blogging has given me strength, and I want to keep it going!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Un-Birthday to ME!

I should preface this post by repeating: It's not my birthday. It did, however, really feel like it today! No joke - the universe was trying to tell me something today, and that something was: "You are loved and respected, and everything is going to be okay." After yesterday, I needed that.

Seriously. I was about to have a meltdown about how to teach MLA works cited to 11-year olds (damn you, CSAP), when suddenly, one of my students walked in. She had saved a bunch of her Halloween candy for me because we always joke about her being my "adopted daughter" during the holidays because I don't have any kids of my own. Yes, a child actually GAVE me her candy. Adorable! Then, only two hours later, my paraprofessional (whose daughter works at a posh thrift store up north) came in with a bag of ultra-awesome sunglasses and told me I could pick a pair. So, I selected a sweet little pair of Dior (I've never owned anything that I could see in Style Magazine in my life) sunglasses. Amazing! Then, my running buddy and good friend came in and dropped a bag of homemade zucchini bread on my desk. So fresh it was practically warm. Unbelievable! Later in the day, when I emailed everyone at school to ask for nominations for a "cool co-worker" award (I'm president of the Social Committee at work), TWO people wrote back that they wanted to nominate ME! Fantastic! Lastly, my nurse at the RE only had to stick me once instead of twice or three times for my bloodwork (I have a "rolling" vein). Marvelous!

I feel loved. This IUI is going to work. There are too many people rooting for me for it to fail. Come on ovaries, let's get going…

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Happy Place - Admission: $2.50

Sometimes, on days when I feel like my reproductive system is mocking me, I have to go to my happy place. It's sad to think that a steaming cup of peppermint hot chocolate can take the place of a positive pregnancy test, but on a Tuesday, that's about all I can ask for. At about 11:00 today, I had had just about enough of everyone's whining and moaning about the minutae of everyday life. I'm sorry that you didn't get to leave 15 minutes early yesterday because you had to talk to the boss. Yes, it's terrible that someone who has a year less experience than you is making $2,000 more. How awful of that co-worker to ask you to do that menial task. Shame on them.

You know what? I've had 25 straight months of heartbreak…and I don't see an end in sight. Take your problems and shove 'em.

My happy place is in a $2.50 cup of peppermint deliciousness. It's warm, it tastes like heaven, and it lasts about 20 minutes. I close my door, crank the classical music, and let my mind soak up the all of the goodness there is in life. Here's to the little things - like hot chocolate and solitude.

Maybe I'll even pick up another one on the way to start my fourth IUI cycle tomorrow. Wish me luck...and a nice barrista who gives extra whipped cream.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Infertility makes for some awkward holiday plans. Yet again, my body has dictated where and when I can travel, and as a result I'm here while my husband is back in the cold climate of the Midwest. Thanksgiving will fall at the same time as my date with a plastic implement, so neither hubby nor I can go visit family during this time. I'm not too worried about it. It's no secret that I despise Nebraska in the winter months (no offence, Huskers), and we'll be back in California in just a few weeks to see my family, so I'm actually unconcerned with the whole situation. In fact, since the hubby is gone for a week, I’m allowed to do all of my favorite things.

Today, I was more productive on a weekend than I have been in a long time. I began knocking two things from my "101 in 1,001" list (learning to crochet a baby blanket for my sister and writing my first novel for NaNoWriMo), got some excellent books from the library, went grocery shopping, baked a coffee cake, and even did some dishes. (If you knew me better, that last task would seem much more impressive.) Ooh! I even bought a copy of 'Ice Castles' at the grocery store for only $5.99 and plan on watching it at least once, perhaps twice in the next seven days.

I'm also waiting for my good friend, CD1, to show up to the girl party. It's been showing up on Saturdays for the last 5 cycles, so I was kinda thinking there was something magical about this day, but I guess the fun is over and now it's back to guessing what day it will start. Sigh. Even though I "knew" that this wouldn't be the month (it's been au-natural thanks to a canceled IUI), my optimism never ceases.

Well, I guess it'll be back to shooting myself with Follistim next week. Hooray! At least now I'll have Robby Benson to keep me company. (Seriously? You don't know who that is? You must watch that movie. It's a classic.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Okay, Now I'm Frustrated...

I have seen a lot of blog posts about how frustrating it can be when mothers write posts about their love of pregnancy, their kids, or a ridiculous maternity-themed forward. I personally don't feel angry when people do that, because (I know, I'm playing devil's advocate here, but I still recognize them as devilish) I post plenty of information about my husband and my job - two things that not everyone is privileged to have. There are plenty of women, my Facebook friends included, who do not have a loving husband, an adorable house, and a job that brings them satisfaction. But I'm not going to stop posting about it. So that doesn't bother me (though I can certainly understand how it could). I have to admit, though, that this post really did: "I love it when God works in such a way that you have NO DOUBT that HE'S in charge..."

Really? REALLY? I wanted to write back:

Like the way he works when he gives babies to crack addicts and a broken uterus to me ? Like the way he makes me spend $2,000 on each dead-end attempt to be a mother while others have babies for the price of a cocktail? I get it - YOU'RE IN CHARGE! I've worked hard to get where I am, so when do I get to be in charge of MY OWN life?

Please note that I'm sorry if you are a religious individual and this offends you. I just have a hard time believing that God, any God, is deliberately DOING this to me, to assert "His" power or otherwise. I don't really believe in prayer - I believe in introspection and betterment of the self. (I am not an atheist, by the way, I am agnostic.) I simply do not think that God is watching over us, making decisions about our lives that we don't understand. Children with leukemia? Violence against women? Racism? Those are not good decisions that anyone would make.

I am a good person. I work hard, love my husband and my family, care deeply for my students, and strive to make my world a better place every day. If that doesn't warrant being allowed to start a family, I don't know what does. Maybe I should try promiscuity and terrific amounts of alcohol. It seems to work for plenty of other people...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Everybody's Wearing it This Season

One of my favorite blogs is hosting a giveaway to a super-adorable clothing company that I love and regularly buy from. On her website, the blogger has on a really cute coat…that barely fits over her prego belly. I stuck with her when she announced that she was pregnant, but it seems that pregnancy infiltrates every aspect of a woman's life and blog. (I can only read so many "how to turn your boring regular t-shirt into a nifty maternity t-shirt!" or "how to knit baby booties with organic yarn" posts. It seems that everyone is pregnant, though, and this blogette and her followers are no exception. Despite the fact that the jacket would always seem like maternity wear to me (thanks to the photo of her looking adorable in it), I decided to go for it. Then I started reading through all the other entries. "It would look so cute and cover my baby bump from the cold!" one chirped. "I'm pregnant to and love to see cute clothes for us!" quipped another. Oh, geez. Like you need anything else in the world to make you excited about pregnancy. Bite me.

So it seems like this season's fashion accessory is a big belly. Since I can't get a belly by being pregnant…would a beer belly suffice? Helllooo New Belgium 2°Below Winter Ale…yum. Maybe I'll even post pictures by the week of my growing midsection. How adorable is that!? (BTW - husband says, "not so adorable." Dang.)

(The picture is of my husband's hops, by the way, which he uses to make beer. Little trivia for you.)