Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Goodbye, 2011

Yes, I know 2011 isn't officially over for another 3 days but this will likely be my last blog post of this year as we are flying out in the wee hours of New Year's Day on a much needed vacation that has been postponed for one reason or another since the early summer.  The weather looks to actually be cooperating for our departure which is good since I have been convinced we'd get a blizzard this week which would screw up my plans because the universe appears to hate me like that. 

Instead, I've had what's either the flu or a very, very bad cold since Christmas Eve night.  I went to the doctor & got prescription strength cough medicine with codeine yesterday so I've actually been able to sleep (cat nap, really) for most of last night & today instead of hacking up every shade of green in the Sherwin-Williams paint catalogue.  I am really hoping to go back to work tomorrow as I had planned on using this week as a catch up week so I won't want to kill myself when I get back from a week off & jump into stims & monitoring for IVF.  I had banked a good amount of sick time in anticipation of using it for ER & ET, plus some insurance days if I had any IVF-related issues, but this illness means I now have 3 less days to work with.  Hopefully I won't need tons of time off & all will go smoothly, but given my track record, I find that hard to believe.

Christmas itself was rather painless.  I used my being sick as a "get out of jail free" card for my great aunt's annual holiday open house on Monday night.  I was not in the mood to deal with my cousin's pregnant special needs girlfriend (click here to refresh your memory) or his sister who is also pregnant (of course).  The only thing that really stung on Christmas Day itself was my aunt who gave my sister an ornament of a clay couple with the woman holding a pregnant belly with a "?" on it.  Baby's 1st Christmas: something else I may never get to experience.  Maybe I'll just slap a bow on an empty vial of Lupron to hang from the tree for next year.  If there is a Christmas next year @ all, what with the Mayans predicting the end of the world. ;P

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yee haw!

AF showed in the wee hours of Thursday morning, right on schedule.  I started my 3 weeks of BCPs last night.  So I guess IVF #1 (which better be the only one I ever have to experience) is officially underway!  Hopefully this will be my last ride on the cotton pony for @ least 9 months!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oh, to have this problem!

Meet Gemma Potter, 23, Pregnant Seven Times In Five Years, Despite Using Contraception :

Gemma Potter, a 23-year-old mom of three says she has tried every form of contraception: the Pill, condoms, the coil, progestogen injections, an implant... But, despite these precautions, she and husband Glenn, 27, can't stop getting pregnant. They are expecting another baby now, and this is her seventh pregnancy in five years (she's had two miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy).

May I be so bold as to suggest her husband get a vasectomy? And you gotta love the spin on her "problem": At this point, the silver lining on her extreme fertility is that she may be able to help other people become parents: "If I keep having children and it gets to the stage that I can't afford them any more I would consider surrogacy," she said.

Except that she has a history of miscarriage & ectopic pregnancy which would likely exclude her from being a surrogate. I wouldn't wish those experiences on anyone, but really? Have a clue before you open your mouth. Oh, and being a surrogate means you also have to have the ability to NOT GET PREGNANT @ the drop of a hat so you can, you know, carry a baby for someone else; this seems to have been a major issue for her.

Ah fertile problems. Very much like 1st world problems, don't you think? ;)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Permanently etched on my body

I got tattoo # 8 today. It's a pomegranate. Pomegranates, a longstanding symbol of fertility, serve as a strong analogy to those of us dealing with infertility. Though each pomegranate skin is unique in color and texture, the seeds inside are remarkably similar from fruit to fruit. Though our individual diagnosis/diagnoses is unique, those seeds on the inside, are the same from person to person. Infertility creates frustration, fear, anger, depression, guilt, loneliness & so many other emotions. Compounding these is the shame that drives people suffering from infertility to retreat into silence. But I will not be silent. Infertility has been permanently etched on my body for the whole world to see.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The 12 Infertile Days of Christmas

12 cycles (or more) of trying
11 pregnant people blocked on Facebook
10 days of Follistim
9 days of waiting til beta
8 sleepless nights
7 mood swings
6 vials of PIO
5 day transfer of embryos
4 transvaginal ultrasounds
3 semen samples
2 HSGs
1 elusive BFP

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Like birthing an elephant (or 2)

There was a framed picture of an elephant mom & calf in the room where I had my latest HSG (needed to update testing before starting IVF later this month) @ the RE's. I love elephants; the babies are so cute! They suck their trunks like human babies suck their thumbs:



Outside of rhinos, elephants have the longest gestation period of any animal on earth, even longer than whales! The pregnancy or gestation period of female Asian elephants is about 21 months (1 year, 9 month). Since this month marks 3.5 years of TTC for me, I can now say we've been trying to have a bay for as long as it takes to birth 2 elephants. What a wonderful realizaiton. If/when we get pregnant, 9 months will be like NOTHING!

Monday, December 5, 2011

More infertile nightmares



In the past I've posted about nightmares I've had of being kidnapped & forced to attend baby showers for my cousin who got pregnant on her honeymoon. Well, they're baaaack! This time, though, they're about my upcoming IVF.

This past week, I have had 2 of them. In the first, I go to my egg retrieval & when I wake up they tell me none of my eggs were mature. In the second, none of my eggs fertilize, even with ICSI.

Clearly it's time for a med adjustment. Or a vacation.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Trying to be thankful

AF showed right on schedule: Thanksgiving. So, I called to make my SHG appt: the procedure is scheduled for this coming Friday; what a fun way to spend my lunch hour! I went on Saturday to get my CD3 bloodwork & will go back on CD21 to check ovulation & hormone levels.

Was I thankful to get my period? Not really. But I am thankful for:

1. I am thankful (I guess) that I have a predictable cycle so I don't often ruin undies.
2. I'm thankful Vid's insurance pays for 80% of the crap I've had to go through trying to get pregnant.
3. I'm thankful my work offers a flexible medical account (a.k.a. "the baby fund") so paying for IVF isn't as daunting as it would otherwise be.
4. I'm thankful my job, although incredibly stressful & poorly paid, gives me some flexibility when it comes to coming in late or leaving early for RE appts.
5. I'm thankful that even with horrible traffic my RE's office is only a 20 minute drive from work.
6. I'm thankful my sister is not rubbing her pregnancy in my face & is so far still very much "herself" personality-wise.
7. I'm thankful to have a therapist who specializes in infertility because as a therapist myself, I can tell you unless you've been through IF (as she has) you have no business treating someone dealing with it, no matter how good your training supposedly is.
8. I am thankful for my dog & cat who are snuggling next to me on the couch as I write this.
9. I am thankful for my husband. Although I often threaten to kill him, the truth is I can't imagine going through all of this with anyone else.
10. I'm thankful for the interwebs: for the folks who've reached out on my blog, for the blogs I've read that have touched me & the support of other infertiles on the message boards I frequent.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year (or is it?)



In case you live under a rock, you're aware the holidays are now upon us. Ugh. We are skipping Thanksgiving completely this year. I already planned on laying low since Vid just had surgery this morning. So, we have a built in excuse, which is a good thing since my sister just told us she’s pregnant & I'm sure all the extended family will be congratulating her while I will likely be "riding the cotton pony". Chinese takeout & wine sounds like a possibility! Not sure about Christmas yet; we'll be local since we're going on vacation the 1st week of January. We'll see how it goes.

Since I took today as a personal day to play nurse maid to my dear hubby I had several hours to kill when he was knocked out. Since we live all of 20 mins from the hospital I went home & did some housework. While doing laundry, I ordered our holiday cards using a Living Social deal I bought last month. I had my mom come over & take photos of us with the pets last week; getting the dog & cat to look @ the camera @ the same time is probably as challenging as getting kids to do the same. Not that I'd know anything about that, right?

Don't get me wrong: I love, love, love my pets. I refer to my dog as "my 1st born"; they are most definitely family. But this is the 4th Christmas card we've sent out since starting TTC & there's still no human bundle(s) of joy smiling along with us. I actually debated sending out cards @ all this year, but then I thought: either with or without kids, we're family. Are we not worthy of sending out cards? And who doesn't smile when they see a cute little doggie or kitty?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Game plan



Even though neither of us slept well last night due to my sister's news, Vid & I managed to make it to our appt this morning with RE #3 today, henceforth known as Dr. W. She seems nice enough & I love the nurse we'll be working with who, when I told her about my sister, quipped, "Of course she'd tell you the day before an IVF consult, right?"; I chuckled a bit.

Anywho, the plan for me: when Aunt Flo comes to town (due on or about Thanksgiving) I go in for CD3 bloodwork & have another HSG somewhere between CD 5-12. She also wants me to chart (going back old school) so she can do some additional bloodwork later in my cycle to see if I'm a "weak" ovulator. She agrees with RE #2 that I likely have some sort of egg quality issue or perhaps empty follicle syndrome. Although my FSH has risen a bit from when we started TTC 3.5 years ago, I'm not in the scary zone. Still, when I had it tested almost a year ago it was 14, so it's worth looking into. Hey, at this point what's another vial of blood?

The plan for Vid: repeat SA which has been scheduled for 12/16 as he is having umbilical hernia surgery next week & needs a few weeks to recuperate. His last real SA was in 12/10 but they also looked @ the lab reports from our Hail Mary IUI this past spring. There appears to be a downward trend in motility over the past several years which I was unaware of. Dr. W is thinking although his count is ok it still could be affecting things so she's going to set up an appt with the reproductive uro in addition to just doing an SA in case it's continued to get worse.

What we're doing for the IVF cycle: since next cycle is all repeat testing, I will start my BCPs 2 cycles from now, meaning likely the week before Christmas. We will be ICSI'ing all of my eggs given our issues. Dr. W plans on doing your standard long Lupron protocol, which means beta will be somewhere in the early February range. Happy anniversary to us? We shall see.

Total cost to us: roughly $3000, or a month's pay for me. And we're lucky it's only that much because we have 80% coverage. I want to throw up just thinking about the fact I could be out $3k & have nothing to show for it since success rate for people in our category are on the 45% range. Not horrible but sometimes I think we'd be better off using it to wipe our asses. It's just so hard to be positive when all you've ever seen is negatives.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dear universe: FUCK YOU!

My sister is pregnant. My sister, who is 4.5 years younger than I am, is pregnant. My sister, who just got married in July (4 months ago) is 9 weeks pregnant. My sister, who wasn't even trying, is pregnant. My sister, who I should be happy for but am not, is pregnant.

There's not enough Zoloft in the world right now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm looking @ you, J-Lo!

A fellow infertile on a board I frequent posted a link to a story from The Today Show on the myth that getting pregnant is easy for women over 40 because of celebrities who aren't open about their struggles (I'm looking @ you, J-Lo!).

Even though I'm not in the over 40 club yet, this quote had me nodding my head in total agreement:

In a country where sex education focuses primarily on avoiding pregnancy and preventing sexually transmitted diseases, most women believe that having a baby is inevitably easy.

But that neglects the reality that infertility affects some 7.3 million women in the United States, or 12 percent of the child-bearing female population, and about 1 in 8 couples, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After about age 35, fertility plummets, Schoolcraft said.

So when women decide they want to get pregnant and can’t, they’re stunned. Some of the shock is because of advances in health and beauty that allow women to look — and feel — younger, even as their reproductive systems march on.


True dat. And this is something I said even before dealing with infertility: women don't know how their own bodies work. Clearly sex ed in the US is a miserable failure if you look @ our teen pregnancy rate versus most of the rest of the 1rst world. Ironically, the country with the lowest unplanned pregnancy rate & lowest STD rates happens to be The Netherlands, which also has legalized prostitution & marijuana.

I'm what most would call a Libertarian politically & it aggravates me to no end when people get all "ZOMG where r ur morals?!?!?11?!? about my thinking that we need more & better sex ed in schools. I'm sorry, but sex encompasses so many scientific disciplines: biology, chemistry, psychology. Knowledge is power. And J-Lo is a liar (sorry, but I REALLY don't like her).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Let's talk about (infertile) sex



Despite this blog being 99.99% about my long, winding journey towards successful conception, I don't think I've ever had a frank sex talk on here. Granted, if you're reading this chances are you too are dealing with infertility so don't worry: I won't try to teach you about the "birds & the bees" or insinuate that perhaps you"re "doing it wrong". Rather, I'm wanting to know how other infertile couples deal with issues surrounding sex in the relationship.

Back story: Much to the chagrin of our parents no doubt, Vid & I did not wait til we we married to do the deed. Vid was a stereotypical Indian male grad student when we met (meaning: had barely kissed a girl) & I was his first, or as he says "You took away my innocence". LOL. Anyways, it's not like I was a wild child by any means; my husband's actually the only man I've ever had sex with sans condom. And we didn't even go sans condom until after we were engaged. So we were doubling up (condoms & BCPs) because even though we both wanted children relatively quickly after marriage, we did not want to deal with the possibility of shaming his parents back in India with a bastard child (his words, not mine).

Vid & I started TTC not long after we were married. I went off BCPs, started charting & was pleasantly surprised that I had a very predictable menstrual cycle. Knowing it can take a healthy couple up to a year to conceive I told myself as long as I was pregnant by my 30th birthday (then about 10 months away) I would not make myself nuts. In the meantime, we had sex when I was fertile according to the OPKs & whenever the mood struck us.

Then, I turned 30. And I started freaking out. I began turning into what Vid termed an "intercourse Nazi", making him have sex multiple times in a day. You'd think a woman that demanding in bed would be any guy's dream but the reality was sex was becoming more of a chore than a fun thing we got to do as a couple. Poor Vid ended up with performance anxiety a few times & I ended up hating myself for turning into "that woman".

And just after we hit the year mark of TTC, a miracle occurred. Or so we thought. I got a positive pregnancy test. It was on a Saturday morning, the weekend before Father's Day. I remember Vid asking me "What is that?" & me wanting to smack him because wasn't it obvious? We were pregnant!

I planned on calling my PCP on Monday morning. Ah, those were the days: when I had only 1 doctor looking @ my lady garden, & then only once a year for a routine check up. Those were the days! But I never got to make that call on Monday. In the wee hours of Monday morning I woke up from a sound sleep to the most horrible cramps ever. I went to the bathroom & saw bright red blood. It was over before it had even began. And so along with the pair of ruined underwear I also threw out my cutesy plan of telling my parents with a "Happy Father's Day, Grandpa" card the following weekend.

The following month we had our first visit with an RE & Vid was referred to a uro for a work up as well. My husband is not the greatest with medical procedures: I have to hold his hand when he gets bloodwork done as he starts sweating & you can see his color drain; he's Dravidian & therefore pretty dark skinned so it's quite amazing to watch. Anyways, much to his chagrin he also had to "do it in a cup", but his "guys" (I love his way of looking @ things) were ok. On my end, I was found to have borderline IR & some borderline PCOS bloodwork but then again my cycles were super normal & besides obesity I didn't fit the PCOS profile.

An answer! Yeah, no. But @ least now we were doing fertility treatments so surely we'd get pregnant soon. When we started doing IUIs we kind of laid off (ha! very punny!) the sex for a bit. It's not like we weren't having it, but it certainly wasn't as often as before. About once a week, plus the day after an IUI for extra insurance.

After a half dozen IUIs leading to no pregnancy I begged, pleaded & practically cried for an exploratory lap. Besides a wee bit hanging out behind my left fallopian tube, no endo was to be found. At this point, I was *this close* to checking myself into a padded room. And I was pretty much an ice queen when it came to sex. Vid didn't say anything but I'm sure it bothered him. I felt bad about it because I obviously love my husband, but I just felt like such a failure as a wife that I could not give my husband a child even with medical intervention, so why bother trying anymore?

Fast forward a year & another 2 failed IUIs & here we are: once Vid has his surgery later this month & heals up, we're heading into IVF-ville. We had a period of time earlier this year that we didn't have sex for about 3 months between having to deal with my mom-in-law in India & Vid's hernia issue. We survived so I guess I know we can make it should we ever have the pleasure actually having a baby & needing to abstain post-partum for a long period of time.

Right now we're getting busy a couple times a month. Not great but not horrible I guess. I could use the excuse of our schedules being incredibly out of synch & I would not be lying since we both work full time & are in grad school as well. Some nights Vid doesn't get home til after 10 & some nights I don't. On those nights, I just want to shower & go to bed.

The funny thing is even though we aren't having sex as often as we probably should according to most, I don't feel deprived of love. We do have "snuggle time" several times a week where we set the alarm 15 minutes or so early & just lie together in bed, snuggled tight.

Still, I can't help but wonder "what if". What if we could get pregnant by just having sex? Would we look @ sex in the same way? Sex is now a disappointment, not in that I don't enjoy it with my husband (I do) but in that I know it will never make me a mom. I no longer associate it with procreation. I don't worry about avoiding my fertile times if we didn't want to be pregnant because I could hump day & night & never again see 2 pink lines. I will never have to worry about having Irish twins; at this point I'd welcome them!

But the reality is we're likely 1 & done @ this point. If IVF works & we end up with twins (BOGO free) that'd be awesome. And yes, I am aware of the risks that come with multiples, but having a guaranteed sibling would be great. I know many only children end up perfectly fine socially but I feel like I'm denying my kid (if I ever have one) this experience. If I had any frozen embies I'd try to use them but I'm not counting on anything anymore. I'd like to count on us having a more "normal" (regular?) sex life but maybe the damage has already been done. Something else to bring up in therapy perhaps? What say you?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thought You'd Be Here By Now

Found this randomly while looking for another song (not about infertility) with a similar title; beautiful:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On All Souls' Day

Today is All Souls' Day. For the non-Catholics reading this, it's basically a day where we remember those who have died in the past year. As I sing in choir, I went to Mass this evening. Granted I'm not the most observant Catholic (though I go to Mass most every week I was not married in the church & am soon to be undergoing IVF among other things) I absolutely believe in an afterlife. During All Souls' Day Mass, it is common practice to read the names of all parishioners who have died in the past year. Additionally, we ask for the intercession of God during the Prayers of the Faithful. These are usually written by the priest or requested by a parishioner. Tonight, one of the prayers was this:

"For all the children who have been miscarried, stillborn or aborted, their parents, & for those experiencing the pain of childlessness."

I almost lost it. In all the years I've gone to Mass or services @ another Christian denomination I've never heard anyone utter a public prayer for those experiencing loss & infertility. Granted, there are numerous examples of childless or infertile women in the Bible but I've never heard a priest offer any opinion on this issue at all. I'd love to know if Father came up with this prayer himself, or if someone requested it. Regardless, it was nice to be remember when so often I feel forgotten.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Resolve of the Bay State's "Infertility Is" Blog Contest Entry

This post is part of the Infertility Is Blog Contest sponsored by RESOLVE of New England. You can find links to all of the submissions online at their website. For more information about RESOLVE of New England, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Infertility is...

Hoping cycle after cycle to see this:



But only getting this:



Infertility is...

Spending all your money on this:



Which means you can't afford to buy one of these:



Infertility is...

Finding another one of these in your mailbox (from someone who got married 2 years after you):



And wishing you could send out one of these (because infertility is expensive):



Infertility is...

Having to make another trip to "infertile hell" (a.k.a. Babies R Us) & being greeted by a sign like this:



And thinking with all the bloating you're experiencing from the meds you're on they really should have one of these instead:



Infertility is...

Wanting to hide @ the holidays because of cards like this:



And having to stop yourself from sending out a card like this in reply:



But infertility is also...



That we may eventually see:



And get to experience this:



And finally take home one of these (who looks JUST like my husband!):



But above all, infertility IS NOT going to win!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Group therapy wrap up

My infertility therapy group has ended. Can you believe it? 10 sessions over 4 months gone just like that. I have mixed feelings about it, which I actually told my 1-on-1 therapist about in session this week.

While it was nice to be among infertiles IRL, it was also challenging. We all shared many of the same hopes & fears so there was a good sense of comradery. It was also nice to have some guest speakers who have gone through both the process of adoption & egg donation; I feel I learned a lot from them & neither sound quite as overwhelming as before, though I'm still not really interested in pursing donor egg on a personal level.

But, as I told my therapist, I think it would've been more appropriate to have the group as a whole of women who were not actively cycling. Or maybe I should've waited on doing a group until I was doing IVF, which at this point looks to be after the 1st of year as Vid's surgery has been scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving & he's been told there's about a 4 week window to heal, which brings us to the 1st week of January when we'll be on a much needed vacation.

Of the 12 women in the group, half were pregnant by the end. As one of my fellow barren group members remarked, "We're a very fertile group of infertiles." I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a bit of jealousy on my end. At this point I'm getting lapped by some of my infertile friends who are doing subsequent IUIs, IVFs, of FETs to add more children to their families. And I feel bad about feeling sorry for myself because I don't think infertility is a "pissing contest". By that I mean I think we should all be supportive of others' individual journeys without focusing on the # of years we've been battling IF or how many IUI, IVF, or FET cycles we've failed as individuals. You could even argue I should shut my mouth since I haven't even done IVF yet. Hindsight's 20/20: I probably should've just done IVF back in the spring instead of a "Hail Mary" IUI.

Of the 6 pregnant women, 3 were from IVF, 1 from an IUI & 2 were from good old fashioned sex. 1 of the 2 sex women wasn't infertile in that she couldn't get pregnant, but she'd had a hell of a time staying pregnant, having experienced 4 losses. I can't imagine going through so many losses; I'm glad it finally looks like she might get her take home baby. The 2nd pregnant by sex woman was, IMHO, an absolute miracle: she got pregnant on her own the cycle after her 3rd failed IVF. I told her she's now an "infertile urban legend"; you know, the woman in the story we all hear about who gets pregnant when she "just relaxes". This lady got pregnant the night of a friend's wedding after several adult beverages, LOL!

At the end of our last session we talked about how we wanted to stay in touch (or not) now that the group was over. It's was an interesting mix, with all of the pregnant ladies wanting to be in touch as a group & 2 of the 6 not pregnant ladies saying the same (myself included). And I can understand the other 4 not being in a place where they want to talk to yet another group of women who are pregnant when no doubt in their own lives outside of group they are undoubtedly constantly reminded of what they don't have. It would've been easy for me to say the same, but again, I feel a duty to both pregnant & non-pregnant group members to be as supportive of them in their journey as I possibly can be, because I know I will need it as we inch ever closer to IVF.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My personal truth about "trying"

An infertile interwebs friend posted today on a message board I frequent about Redbook magazine's "No Shame Campaign" for infertility called "The Truth About Trying". They have videos of celebrities sharing their experiences with infertility:



And they invite us non-famous infertiles to contribute as well:



If you're a fellow infertile reading this, I'd encourage you to submit your story as well!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cancer sucks yet again

Though I'm not what you'd term a "Giuliana fan", I was saddened to learn that Giuliana Rancic has breast cancer. Numerous women I am interwebs friends with posted about it on Facebook which is how I found out. Although I've never even seen an episode of The Bachelor & only a handful of episodes of Giuliana & Bill I do appreciate their openness about their infertility as well as the challenges & disappointments involved in going through treatment.

I don't even know the woman but I feel serious sympathy for her. Chalk it up to the common experience of infertility sucking no matter if you're famous or not, I guess. It's not enough she's gone through 2 IVFs & a miscarriage, now she has to deal with breast cancer in her 30s. Thank God her doctor recommended she get a mammogram before her next tx; it may have very well saved her life. But at the same time, this recommendation makes me wonder why he thought it was a good idea, given she has no family hx of breast cancer (according to what I've read) & she's under 40. I know a lot of women who have gone through IVF, ranging in age from early 20s to early 40s & NONE of them have been told to get a mammo before a cycle.

I hope she & her husband have a talk about how to preserve any fertility she may have before she undergoes cancer tx. I have no idea what she's going to have to do (chemo, radiation, etc.) but that would be one of my first thoughts if I were in her shoes right now. Or maybe they will move onto adoption? I know she & her husband were discussing that as well.

But what's also on my mind now more than ever is what affects do pumping super doses of hormones cycle after cycle have on our bodies? I mean, I know the vast majority of REs say there's no evidence that infertility tx increase your cancer risk. But can they really say that when IVF has only been around for 30-odd years? Are certain protocols or med combos riskier & maybe we don't know it yet? If I were being honest I'd say I've been uneasy about this thought from the 1st time I took Clomid over 2 years ago.

Do I want a child? Yes. Would I willingly increase my risk of a disease to carry one? Honestly? No. Maybe some women would, but not me. I know nothing is ever guaranteed, but I'd like to think I'll be around to see my children have children. And I can do that via adoption just as easily as I can via IVF. But someone thinks his sperm is super special, therefore we aren't @ that bridge yet. So I guess I'll have to give IVF a shot (or 2) & hope it doesn't kill me later.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Infertility as art

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Did you hear about the Brooklyn woman whose latest installation is her giving birth in an art gallery? Having been present at numerous births, both in the US and in Africa, & in hospital & non-medical settings, I can truly say birth is a beautiful thing. And as an infertile, it's something I know I may never personally experience. The thought of going through that much pain only to have the anguish turn into instant love the moment you see your child must be remarkable.

So why not have infertility performance art? I've got a great idea for an installation I call "2 week wait". It'd start with an embryo transfer, or perhaps an IUI. Then the subject of the installation waits in a glass enclosure for 2 weeks to see if she's pregnant. In the meantime she Googles anything that resembles a possible pregnancy symptom, does window shopping online for baby items & generally loses her mind while visitors give her stupid advice such as "just relax". It ends with her peeing on a stick.

If anyone out there reading this has an "in" with an art gallery, drop me an e-mail ; I'd seriously consider doing something like this. Not sure how my husband would feel though. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Peapod (versus A Pea in the Pod)

This morning my mom & I went to our weekly Weight Watchers meeting. One the way home, we both had to grab a few things @ the grocery store so we went to Stop & Shop. BIG. FREAKING. MISTAKE.

Coming out of the store we ran into my cousin & his special needs girlfriend. Now, I am not making fun of her in any way, but the fact is she is special needs. I don't know her exact diagnosis but it's very clear she is at least mildly MR. This cousin (actually my dad's cousin's son; we're 6 weeks apart & basically grew up together) is not special needs, btw. The girlfriend seems perfectly nice, but I've always found it odd that they were together.

I have no idea how they met but they have been together for a while now. Thinking back, my intro to his girlfriend was @ his sister's baby shower about 3 years ago. Of course, his sister was unemployed & unmarried @ the time & said shower was held @ the gun club where her father is a member. Nothing says "welcome to the world, sweet little infant" quite like dead animals mounted on walls with pink streamers hanging from their antlers. But I digress.

Being nice, we make small talk with them. Stupid me asks what's new & I am informed by my cousin that they are getting married next month. Oh how nice! And then his girlfriend pipes up & tells me she is 12 weeks pregnant while patting her slightly distended belly. Oh, and it was a surprise. Of course.

I froze.

My mom, seeing the complete terror in my eyes, thankfully took over the conversation @ this point & asked my cousin about his dad's job search since when we last saw him @ my sister's wedding a few months ago he had been recently laid off. I began loading our bags into the trunk & started the car. I could not drive out of there fast enough.

I may have to start using PeaPod after this. But with my luck the delivery person will be 8 months pregnant with twins & want to show me ultrasound pictures while suggesting I should go on vacation & relax in order to get pregnant.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Apples, pumpkins & other produce

Fall was (is?) my favorite season. I love to see the leaves changing colors here in New England. I love that it brings the start of both American football & ice hockey seasons. I love the cooler temperatures. And I love all the flowers & grasses dying (I have really bad allergies).

I also love going apple & pumpkin picking. It's something we've done every year since I can remember. Since Vid has come into the family he's gotten into the tradition too, although I try to tell him "sampling" is not allowed:



This year, we did not go.

I couldn't do it. Too many friends posting on Facebook about which orchard they were bringing their kids to, or sharing photos of little Mary (or whoever) dressed as a pumpkin sitting next to one looking all cute & such with her vegetable twin. I knew the orchards & fields would be filled with happy little families, yet another reminder of what I may never have. Not to mention all the pregnant bellies the size of pumpkins I'd have to witness. So, I saved myself yet another a cathartic cry in a port-a-potty @ the farm & stayed home.

Think there's a "pick-your-own broccoli" place out there for us infertiles? Surely no child in their right mind would want to pick that!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Notice anything different?

I decided to rename the blog because, well, the original name is based on a dx that appears now to not actually reflect my problem. Are my ovaries "pretty crappy"? Yes, but with bging just on the border of being labled PCOS based on my bloodwork (FSHN & LH levels being flipped) I've been feeling kind of weird lately with the label of PCOS. Especially the more I talk to my fellow infertiles who have all the classic sx that I do not have. And I don't want to misrepresent myself as a PCOS "sufferer" (I've gotten several e-mails asking for my advice/experiences) when I can't speak from experience about abnormally long cycles, being annovulatory, etc.

At the same time, even the new name assumes that there is an actual issue with my eggs. My RE is recommending ICSI when we do IVF because she is just stumped why an otherwise healthy 32 year old can't get pregnant with an apparently great response to stims each & every time. Are my eggs impenetrable by sperm (hard boiled)? Are they so fragmented nothing can be done? Do I have "empty follicle syndrome" (where I have plump, juicy follies on the ultrasound that are full of fluid but no eggs)? Only doing IVF will tell. As weird as it sounds, I kind of hope it's 1 of those 3 so we know WTF has been our problem.

I'm so ready to do IVF. Of course, we can't til Vid gets his umbilical hernia surgery. His consult is late next week; no idea how far in advance they need to schedule it. But I know the "down time" will likely be several weeks. Honestly, we've been on "down time" (no sex/strenuous activity) since we went to India due to no provacy & then since coming back because he's in pain & I'd rather not explain to the 911 operator what happened if we did get frisky & something went wrong.

I just want to get it (IVF)done & over with. In my negative little mind I have little to no hope of it working; nothing has so far so why would this be any different? You know you've been in this game too long when you get jealous of people who only have to do "a few IUIs" to get pregnant. And then there's the whole "if I get pregnant will I stay pregnant" question. I guess we'll cross that bridge when (if?) we come to it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Like, way wanted.

I stumbled upon this cartoon on the internet:



It got me thinking: I wonder what would happen if babies talked about how they were conceived?

"I was the product of a one night stand; I don't know who my dad is."
"My mom & dad just went on their honeymoon & came back with me as a souvenir."
"My parents made the decision to try for a baby & a few months later, I came to be."

Or in my case (hopefully):

"My parents went through 3 (or more?) years of infertility. My mom had lots of people taking pictures of her privates & took lots of medications. Mom & dad spent lots on money on things that didn't work. Mom cried A LOT. I'm a miracle. Like, way wanted."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

KILL ME NOW.



Meet one of our new referals:

SWF. Age: early 20s. On SSI. Severe substance as well as psych issues. Already has 2 kids she does not have cutstody of but has visitation rights. 6 MONTHS PREGNANT WITH TRIPLETS. Yes, I am yelling. Oh & since she was drinking heavily @ the time they conceived, she has no clue who the father is.

I know you're not supposed to question God, but seriously? DEAR GOD: WHAT THE EFF WERE YOU THINKING ON THIS ONE? The only good thing: my supervisor knows enough not to refer her to me for therapy.

I am done. So very, very done.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"My Infertility Is Ruining Our Marriage"



Well, not exactly "ruining", though I'd be lying if I didn't admit more than half of our arguments (knock down, drag out fights on occasion) are based around our struggles to conceive. Below is a long (but IMHO, useful) e-mail exchange between myself & one of the other women in my infertility therapy group. D. is a true vet who has been TTC for well over 5 years & has had multiple failed IVFs. I consider her sharing this info & her input on what Vid & I are going through to be quite helpful. Here ya go:

*********************************************************************************************

Hi A.,

I was at the hair dresser today and there was an article in a magazine about a couple experiencing infertility and what they did to resolve it. I was thinking of you....I wished I could have ripped out the article and given it to you, but I felt funny doing that. They were a bit older than you...wife was 37, husband was 35, but there were some similarities to your situation. They could not agree on a path forward. The wife was told she had DOR and that donor eggs were the only option. She didn't like that option (she was fearful of IVF and didn't like the idea of donor) but was open to adoption. She was Indian. She felt that if they were to dish out over 20K for donor, she'd rather go forward with adoption since there was almost a guarantee to get a baby in the end. Her husband, American, wanted to do IVF with donor so he could have a biological connection. He was stubborn. They both weren't budging. He thought he couldn't love an adopted child like "his own" and that there are a lot of stories of adoptive children having problems.

They ended up going to counseling for over 9 months. During this time, the counselor made them face their behavioral issues (her being too emotional, him being too angry and flippant), then moved onto asking them all the pros and cons of both options as well as how they would feel about various aspects of each choice, focusing on the bad and good of each aspect, ie: what were here concerns over ivf, over donor, how would she feel about carrying a child not of her biological makeup, how she felt about having a baby that did or didn't look like her (being she was Indian) how would she feel if it didn't work out, financial aspects, what they were willing to accept on the adoption front, why he felt he wouldn't love an adoptive child as much as biological, were his concerns over adoption real of just based on fear....you get the picture. But it was a bi-weekly or monthly meeting where they got together with this counselor and she would ask different questions to ponder and they'd discuss them in the next meeting, having had enough time to think about it (when they wanted, not a forced time based time).

They ultimately came up with what was the best decision for both...it was trying one cycle of ivf with a donor that was Indian and looked like the wife and if that didn't work out, they'd pursue the adoption path. Well, surprisingly, they found an Indian donor close by (they said it's difficult to find Indian donors), chose her, but then she backed out at the last minute. After this, the husband saw what his wife went through with this disappointment and would put herself through with the process in general. Something clicked within the husband and he was open to considering adoption. They ended up adopting an Indian foster child (I can't recall, but I think it was from India - pretty bad, since I read that only 4 hours ago) and were happy with the choice.

I guess I thought of you because I know you are at an impasse. I felt for you in our last meeting when you expressed your heartfelt feelings about the relationship you have with your mom and if you'd become a mom...and about the impasse you are at with your husband. I haven't read your blog yet, so I don't know how you are doing lately, but I think that with some work, you guys will figure out what is best for you in terms of treatment or adoption. I know it is and has been a long road, but hang in there. Don't forget, it took that couple in the article about a year and a half for them to come to their decision. I think I've expressed how long it took me to move forward with adoption. I have also read several blogs of people who went through infertility and didn't agree with their husbands on a path forward. Sometimes, when they thought their husband wouldn't budge, he did....it just may have taken a while....or they decided to give. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but figured I'd let you know I was thinking of you and hoping that you and your husband can somehow come to an agreement on a best path forward.

-D.

*********************************************************************************************

Here's the article she was refering to. Good God, it's like they're talking about us! My response to D. after reading the article:

*********************************************************************************************

Hi D.!

I asked on Facebook if anyone knew about this article. Lo & behold, a friend posted the link on my page:

Same link as above.

God, that could totally be us. I feel like we're wasting time & money by doing more tx while my hubby is "convinced" they will work. I think it's just because he so desperately wants a child with his genes & his mom's terminal illness has made him even more adament. Not that we can afford egg donation (we're lucky enough to have 80% infertility coverage but freezing & donor are not part of it) but it really doesn't appeal to me anyways.

We've pretty much compromised @ this point that I will be an IVF cycle but that's probably it. And if we're lucky enough to get embies for an FET I'd try with them (freezing is about $500 for the year whcih I will scrimp & save for) because to me, they're my kids & I want to give them a chance @ life. It's not that I'm against IVF or anything, it's just I think my time & finances would be better served by adopting. Egg donation just doens't appeal to me; don't know why. But that's just my opinion.

I've made it very clear to my hubby I am not going to live "child free". Heck, we started TTC just a few months after we got married! I know he wants kids too but I think he's in denial that they may not be ours biologically. And I have a hard time with him pulling the "adopting's not part of my culture" card when he married me, a non-Hindu & non-Tamil & when he eats steak & then proceeds to go to temple. :)

I guess it just comes down to I want closure: I want to stop worrying about "if" I will become a mom & move onto "when" I will become a mom. I know adoption is not easy or quick but by moving on to that I feel like I'd finally be leaving behind the hell of the last 3.5 years. There are so many kids in India who need adopting: perfect little girls abandoned simply because they are girls, kids of both sexes abandoned because of a simple medical condition like cleft palatte that can be fixed with a $500 operation, etc. I want to start the ball rolling before the rules get changed & we cannot adopt from there; I don't want his feet dragging to cost us the chance to parent.

In closing, if you don't mind, I'd like to turn this e-mail exchange into a blog entry. I will of course take away identifying info, but I feel this conversation has been very beneficial to me & may help others out there. Thank you so much for being part of our group; I often think of you as the wise swami up on the mountain top with all you've been through, lol. I know you've called yourself a "veteran" in the past & I really appreciate your knowledge, candor & thoughtfulness. See you next week!

-A.

*********************************************************************************************

Just thought I'd post this here in case any of you on the interwebs may benefit from it. I'd love to hear your thoughts too! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

LOL @ plans

This poster was mocking me @ my doctor's last week as I was waiting to be seen:



Do I plan to become pregnant? Why yes, yes I do! I've been planning to get pregnant for over 3 years now, but who's counting? I planned on TTC #2 about now so my kids would be close in age. Ha! Plans.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11: 10 years on



Can you believe it's been 10 years? In the 3 or so years since I started this blog I don't think I've ever wrote about my memories of 9/11. All Americans have unique experiences surrounding this event no doubt; I am no different.

I was actually in Ghana, West Africa when 9/11 happened. I was traveling back from a priest friend's home located about 1.5 hours outside of the capital city, Accra. I had taken a bus & was boarding a tro-tro when the driver informed me "America has been blown up". I just thought he was crazy, but then he tuned the radio to the BBC Africa service & indeed something odd was going on in NYC: a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. "Bummer", I thought, "But accidents happen." As we continued our journey towards Legon, the suburb where the university was located, a second plane hit. Something was up.

Once we reached the university I immediately went to the international students' coordinator's house since I knew she had satellite tv. I arrived just as the first tower fell; I think every American student at the university was crowded into that 10x10 room. People were taking turns on the land line (cell phones weren't common place then like they are now in Africa) trying to get through to family back home. But the phone lines were jammed; nobody could get through. Some of us went to one of the internet cafes on campus. Again, the internet was overwhelmed that day, though we did manage to get access & send e-mails the next day.

I'd been in Ghana about a month at that point. The WTC was pretty much the last glimpse of the US I had as I flew out of JFK (my program had us all meet there & fly together) through Europe & onto Africa. Coming back about 3.5 months after 9/11, it was a completely changed landscape both literally & figuratively.

I have an uncle who's a firefighter in northern NJ; I thought of him as I knew they had called in anyone & everyone in the tri-state area with equipment to help. He spent his spare time over the next several weeks digging through the rubble, finding body parts. There was another student whose dad was a policeman in the city; he died that day. Many students actually returned to the US early, shaken by the experience.

Back home, my dad was working in Boston at the time. They shut down the commuter trains & subways for a time so getting home that day was an absolute nightmare for him & many others. 2 of the 4 planes that day had left from Logan Airport, including a flight one of my dad's brothers frequently took for business trips to LA. Thankfully he wasn't on that flight that day, but the brother of a high school friend was, along with his girlfriend.

I've never talked with my husband about his memories from that day. At the time, we did not know each other; we wouldn't actually meet until almost 5 years later. He had only been in the US a few weeks when 9/11 happened. As a brown-skinned guy, I wonder if he was subjected to any of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that was running rampant then (& to a degree, now) even though he's Hindu. Again, I've never asked him. He's actually flying back from India on 9/11; hopefully he doesn't get a special frisking.

Since getting back from India a week ago the tv has pretty much been nonstop 9/11. We're all a decade older & hopefully wiser. I know back then marriage wasn't even on my radar, let alone children. I just assumed both things would happen in their own time but knew it would be a challenge to find someone who would be accepting of me doing things like, oh, going to Africa. And then we'd get married & make babies & I'd strap my kid to my back like they do in Ghana with a piece of cloth:



I've since been back to Africa a few times. Not with my husband & not recently; this little thing called work gets in the way. Some may say I've traded in Africa for India, but I do hope to get back sooner rather than later. I always planned on dragging my kids around the world with me; I just hope that's still going to happen: not the travel part, but me having kids to tag along.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My unwanted souvenir :(

Who's got 2 thumbs & food poisoning? This girl right here! Ugh.

I came back from India a little early as MIL is stable & undergoing experimental, last ditch tx; Vid comes back on Monday. After 2 weeks of eating supposedly unsafe street food I had a funny-tasting lunch on my Lufthansa flight from Germany back to the US. Within 2 hours, I was riding the porcelain bus; that was Saturday night. I knew it. The only time I've ever gotten sick in all the developing-world travel I've done was @ a conference in Ghana where something on the hotel buffet made me sick for a week; that was most likely salmonella. Since I'm a vegetarian, it was probably raw meat that dripped on veggies; BARF!

Sunday was awful. I mean, I couldn't even drink water without feeling like I was being tortured. And my 8 lb cat who wanted nothing more than to sit on mommy's tummy & snuggle because he missed me? I was in such pain from ANY pressure on my abdomen I kicked him off.

Monday morning things got even worse so I went to see the doctor. My practice has an on-call doc 7 days a week; it just happened to be her day. She proclaimed I indeed had food poisoning. ***TMI ALERT*** I submitted a stool sample this morning since the labs were closed yesterday due to Labor day (it was more the consistency & color of coffee) & am awaiting the results. Depending on what it is, I may need to go to the hospital, but in the meantime I am on Cipro & have a note to be out of work until at least Thursday.

Monday, August 29, 2011



So back home on the East Coast there's been much ado about Hurricane Irene. Although it was only a Category 1 @ landfall, there was widespread wind damage, flooding & power outages. My parents have been babysitting the dog & cat; they got power back this morning. My mom called my landlords (the live in the other half of our duplex) & our neighborhood is still without power. I just pray my deep freezer full of food in the basement doesn't go south; the landlord said the electric company was working on restoring power in our neighborhood later today. Where my aunt lives (one of the islands) they're not expecting power to be restored until the weekend. I can't wait for all the surprise BFPs in the coming months & the assault on my infertile senses via Facebook 9 months from now full of newborn pics. Yes, that last remark was meant to be sarcastic; Blogger really needs a font for that.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shit, shit & more shit (a.k.a. this is getting old!)

Greetings from India. All is as well as can be hoped for now. Mamayar (mother-in-law in Tamil) is doing decent. She's eating a very limited diet (fruit & rice) in small portions due to severe nausea. She's also got pretty bad vertigo & stays in bed a lot; Vid says she has not left the apartment in over a month. We are meeting the doctor from which they got a 2nd opinion tomorrow for results of her liver & lung biopsy. If they can pinpoint a gene (there are 3) they *might* be able to buy her some time, meaning at most a year. If they can't link her cancer to 1 of the 3 common ones then there's literally nothing more they can do. We are all obviously praying she's got 1 of the 3. However, my faith in general has been severely shaken in the past couple of days not because of cancer, but because of infertility.

This past week, I've had 3 friends experience pregnancy loss & 1 who is in a very delicate state. One friend lost her twins with little warning @ 18 weeks, another lost a singleton @ 9 weeks & yet another a singleton again @ 14 weeks. My friend in a delicate state has a funneling cervix @ 20 weeks of gestation with twins & can use all the good vibes you could spare her.

True, most long time infertiles such as myself are battle-hardened, as we go through cycle after cycle of BFNs. We are very aware of the fact our condition is delicate for the first couple of months & often don't tell people our wonderful news until we're out of the perceived danger zone, usually sometime after the 1st tri is over. And just when we're getting used to the fact this may finally have worked (*gasp*!), we wake up to severe bleeding or go to a routine appt where a heartbeat cannot be detected.

I ache for these women. They've done all they humanly could to give their baby or babies the best possible & yet it wasn't good enough. Why? Saying "goodbye" before you get to say "hello" is so cruel, especially after you've waited so long for that "hello" to finally come.

And it really makes me wonder if I'm cut out for IVF with ICSI? I mean, my RE says it will give me my best shot @ getting pregnant, but then what? Because I don't want to be pregnant if it won't end with a living, breathing being lying on my chest. I'm more than prepared for another BFN since that's all I've ever known, but after 3+ years of TTC I don't know if I can handle a loss. I've actually told Vid I would not be surprised if I ended up in a psych hospital, which would be awkward for many reasons: I may very well see my own patients there or I may have a colleague giving me Haldol injections so I can zone out!

In all seriousness, it's times like these when I wonder if taking a break from all things infertility would be a good thing: a break from message boards, a break from therapy, a break from blogging. Out of sight, out of mind? If only it were that simple. I live in a real world with real people & as much as I'd like to climb under a rock some days I know it doesn't work that way. Doing so won't give these women their babies back. And it won't give me the child I want so very much. Plus, if it were me in their situation, I'd want the support of my fellow infertiles in my most difficult times.

So as much as I'd love to go, I'm staying right here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

See you on the flip side (literally)



I'm be leaving for the airport in a few hours. I'll be dropping off the pets @ my parents house to babysit while we're gone. All you have to say is "grandma" & my dog gets VERY excited so they'll be fine but I will miss them; they are my "children", after all. I'll go have lunch with the parents & then they'll drop me off @ the airport. So, the next time you'll here from me, I'll literally be on the other side of the world.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My status? Eff you, ovaries!



Did you hear? Facebook has added an "expecting" status for women who are pregnant. Now not only can you bombard infetiles with baby pics, you can also mock us with the child you have in utero! Because apparently using your ultrasound as a profile photo isn't obnoxious enough. (Note to self: if I ever get pregnant, I pinky swear NOT to do this). Remind me why I have Facebook again? It seems like the only pregnant women I haven't "hidden" are my fellow infertiles who for the most part aren't obnoxious about their pregnancies. I wonder how long it will take them to add a "shitty eggs" option?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Early bird catches the sperm

Favorite line: "My cervical mucus is as thick as peanut butter"; LMAO!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

*unsubscribe*

I love Aziz Ansari & not just because my husband looks like a chubby version of him. They are even from the same city in India & from the same ethnic group even though Aziz is Muslim & Vid is Hindu. And even though babies don't scare me like they do him, I appreciate his comment about how he wants to click "unsubscribe" every time one of his friends sends him an e-mail announcing their new bundle of joy:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Well, that was a terrible idea



We usually go to temple every month or so & then out to eat @ a South Indian restaurant nearby that has a fabulous vegetarian buffet lunch. This temple is about an hour's drive & Vid prefers it as it's mostly southerners (his "people") versus the much closer, much smaller temple which is mostly attended by northerners. Vid asked me if we could go this weekend since our original plans to catch a baseball game (the Boston Red Sox minor league farm team) were quashed by pouring rain yesterday, so off we went.

He lasted not even 10 minutes before he told me "I need to go". As soon as he got in the car, he started crying. I had no idea what was up. He told me after he got his bearings, "Look @ all of the 70 year old women in there playing with their grandkids. My mom will never have that."

He had a point. And I felt sorry for him, but also reminded him that coming to temple has not been easy for me for a very long time either. It's no secret how much I've come to loathe any kind of religious gathering place because it seems any woman under the age of 40 is either pregnant or has a small child.

I feel like between his mom's impending death & our struggles with infertility we're living in exile from normal society. There are so few places that are "old women, pregnant women & small children free" & really, I don't WANT to not be around such people, but I also need to protect my psyche as well as my husband's.

Oh, & I've been eating far too much ice cream as a "coping mechanism", which is not good since IVF is just around the corner. I've always been an emotional eater & the past few weeks have NOT helped. Seriously, buy stock in Ben & Jerry's if you can; you'll make millions off my misery.

But seriously, I think I'm self sabotaging myself in a way because I really don't want to do IVF but my husband does. And with his mom's situation, he's even more gung-ho about having a genetic child as a way of his mom continuing on even after she's gone. I just want a kid. Period. I'm burnt out. I surrender to the utter suckage that are my girly bits. I pray every day he just says "Fuck it: let's adopt" but I know it's not going to happen.

At any rate, our tickets to India are booked at least. Vid's leaving this Friday & I'm leaving next since I need a visa to travel & wanted some extra time to have it processed just to be on the safe side. We'll be coming back together. I will have internet connection there but obviously given the situation I don't know how often or timely my postings will be. Any prayers for MIL's comfort that you could spare would be much appreciated.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Preparing for the inevitable

MIL was supposed to go in tomorrow (well, really today in India) for bloodwork, a scan & some other tests to see if the massive doses of chemo & radiation she got a couple of weeks ago did anything to slow the cancer spread. She was having trouble breathing the other night so FIL took her to the hospital. I had a feeling this would not be good; I was right. The cancer has spread to her liver & lungs. The doctor is telling us she has weeks, or at most 3 months.

So, I just completed my online visa application (thank God; dealing with the Indian embassy over the phone or in person should count towards time in Purgatory). We'll be booking tickets tomorrow when Vid gets paid since this is going to cost more than we currently have in the bank. SIL (who lives in DC) is doing the same. I expect to be on a plane by next weekend.

Of course Vid is beside himself. I'm trying my best to be supportive but also trying to get him to see MIL & FIL's affairs need to be put in order while we're there so FIL doesn't get screwed again like he did years ago when one of his brothers sues him for his land & somehow won. This may sound strange to the uninitiated into Indian bureaucracy, but it's actually not uncommon. Click here if you want more info.

FIL was a very smart man back in the 1970s when land was dirt cheap. There;s really no such thing as 401K's in India so people tend to buy land, jewelry, etc. as a means of savings. Of course, Indian record keeping also sucks, so he lost some of it to his brother's scheming. They still have a lot, much of it beach front(although the palms got taken out by the tsunami) which needs to be protected in case FIL ever needs to "cash in" for his care down the road. Of course, this is the furthest thing from his mind right now so I've volunteered to deal with this, God help me. I've asked the local Indian association here for elder care/estate lawyers in Tamil Nadu as even though MIL is a lawyer that is not her specialty. And on the off chance someone reading this blog knows of such a lawyer, by all means leave me the info in a comment.

So we are truly preparing for the end now. And although I was never "close" with MIL, she is still Vid's mom. And he's so, so upset, which makes me upset. And I'm upset @ the universe for making this happen so soon. She's only 56: never drank, never smoked, ate only seafood & was always very active, so pray tell why is this happening? The world is truly an effed up place.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How cute are these?



I came across this on the Facebook page of a friend of Vid's who recently had a baby; another friend had found them & thought they were too cute not to share & I have to agree. And yes, they got married & started trying after us. But anyways, how cute are these? And only $25 for the set of 6! Love, love, love the one of Kali!

I will not buy them, I will not buy them, I will not buy them...

Oops!

:)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The bottom of the barrel



I knew it would happen eventually, but it doesn't make it any easier. 2 of the 12 girls in my infertility group found out they are pregnant this week. One was a surprise, the other the result of IVF.

While the group is thrilled for them as I am for any infertile couple when they finally get that elusive BFP, I understand they are scared too. Surprise pregnancy lady has had several miscarriages so that's obviously in the back of her mind, while the IVF lady has never been pregnant before & is scared this may still not finally be *it* for her. And at the same time, they endorsed a bit of what you might call "survivor's guilt" for the 10 of us who are not pregnant: they are thrilled to be in the positions they are in, yet they feel like they have betrayed their identity as infertiles, have let their fellow infertiles down by joining "the other side", full of people who got pregnant by simply having sex at the right time. It seems that infertility truly robs you of the ability to enjoy your pregnancy; if I ever see the other side of this I know that I will likely experience some of the same feelings as they have.

These 2 women are proof that infertiles *can*, in fact, conceive; hopefully they now stay pregnant. So there's a sliver of hope for us all. But at the same time, their pregnancies are just another cruel, cruel reminder of the fact that if someone is successful with ART (them), others are not (me).

Really, I try not to be a Debbie Downer about things, but honestly? Not only am I a part of that reported 1 in 8 couples who have trouble conceiving, I'm now one of that uber-tiny percentage with multiple failed medicated cycles. I mean, over 3 mother#%&!ing years& still nothing? No protocol has worked. No break cycle surprise. And while I know we haven't done IVF yet, I have all but convinced myself that it too will not work. And in the meantime, it seems I'm watching all my once infertile compatriots, both on the interwebs & in real life, finally get their baby/babies while I'm still here, still an infertile.

And as a therapist, I know negative self talk isn't good for you, but it's so damn hard to fake a smile & convince myself this isn't the end some days. I feel like I'm on the bottom of the barrel. It's dark. And I'm scared I may never see the light of my child's smile.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Infertiles Anonymous



In group this week we got on the subject of how our 1st group felt very much like an AA meeting: "Hello. My name is Anasara & I'm an infertile". Working in mental health I have a lot of patients who are "dually diagnosed", meaning they have a substance abuse issue in addition to a major mental illness. I was thus inspired to create a 12 step program for us infertiles. I apparently have way too much time on my hands.

The 12 Steps of Infertiles Anonymous

1.We came to admit we were powerless over our own bodies (or the bodies of our partners) & their inability to reproduce.
2.We came to believe that a Power greater than us (an RE) could possibly (hopefully) restore us to sanity.
3.We made a decision to turn our bodies, minds & large amounts of money to this Power.
4.We made a searching & fearless inventory of ourselves & our commitment to becoming parents.
5.We admitted to the RE, ourselves & our partners that we were scared out of our minds about this entire process.
6.We were ready to do anything (ANYTHING) the RE told us *might* better our chances at success.
7.We humbly asked our RE for a therapy referral after the umpteenth failed cycle.
8.We made a list of all the fertiles we’d like to harm because of their stupid comment & blocked them temporarily on Facebook,.
9.We made a promise to talk to said fertiles again once we were finally pregnant.
10.We continued to make decisions in our life based on when we were scheduled to cycle, forgoing vacations & interviews for a better job.
11.We ate pineapple core, drank pomegranate juice, had accupuncture & did innumerable other strange things in the hopes they would yield a pregnancy.
12.We have had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps: we tried to carry the message of our struggles with infertility to the uneducated fertiles.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Winning the lottery



Did you hear about the IVF lotto in the UK? For about $32US, you buy a shot at around $40k in fertility treatments, which for those of you not in the know would cover several IVF cycles for most people.

Apparently, this has cause some controversy. To quote from the article, "... critics were already rounding on the scheme last night, with one claiming it "demeaned" the nature of human rephttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifroduction." Really? I hate to break it to you, but those of us dealing with infertility are quite used to feeling "demeaned" whenever we have an RE appt: ever hear of a transvaginal ultrasound wand? As I believe I've said before, at this point, you could put a billboard of my crotch over Interstate 95 & I wouldn't care; everyone's seen it anyways.

And to those who wonder about the ethics of doing something like this, may I point out that anytime you undertake a fertility treatment you are basically playing the lotto because most times, you don't get pregnant. Who in their right mind would gamble $20k doing IVF on odds that are less than 50/50 in most cases? Ask any woman dealing with infertility who has such funds saved up after months or years of saving & they'd likely raise their hand. Or ask an infertile woman who is lucky enough to have insurance coverage how grateful they are because without it they would never even have a chance at motherhood. Yes, even the mere thought that children of our own *might* exist some day makes us do what some may term "crazy things". But if such a gamble works, be it the 1st time or the 10th, it will be worth it: we will have finally won our lottery.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Moving on to another acronym



Happy (belated) 4th of July!

BFN yet again. So, we're officially done with IUIs. Given my MIL's health & the fact we'll be leaving for India in mere weeks there is obviously not enough time to jump straight into IVF. And even if there was, I wouldn't feel comfortable flying the 20+ hours to India if I did manage to get pregnant. I've never really had issues with being sick overseas (a very mild case of malaria in Ghana back in 2001 & amoebic dysentary in Niger in 2004; nothing in India) but I know I'd never forgive myself if something like a miscarriage happened while we were there.

I told my RE about what was going on with my MIL & she was very sympathetic & agreed it would be best to move on to IVF at this point. She's recommending IVF with ICSI in case there's an as of yet undiagnosed egg quality issue or fertilization issue. I'm actually looking forward to this because I'd really love to know WTF our issue is given I respond great to meds & Vid has normal swimmers. So not we get to add another acronym to our arsenal: RE, HSG, IUI & now: IVF with ICSI!

When we get back from India I'll be going on BCPs as being on them while flying such a long distance isn't a great idea due to the risk of blood clots. While it sucks the ER/ET will be in the midst of the fal semester with both of us being in PhD programs in addition to working full time we'll deal with it, just like we've dealt with all the other curveballs we've been thrown lately. After all, who actually plans on anything for certain when you are dealing with infertility?