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

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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!