Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Responding to "The Question"

So, today I encountered a couple of old work friends I haven't seen in a year or so. We were happily chatting, talking about work, work politics, etc. After about 10 minutes, one of these friends shot the inadvertent dagger, the knife in the heart, the question all of us love to hate:
"So...when are we going to see you pregnant
with your first little one?
I just can't wait to see you with a belly!"
My mind began racing, my heart beating too fast, as I scrambled to formulate the perfect answer. I ultimately stammered out something about L.'s work schedule and the fact that he's just working so much, we haven't had a chance to get around to all of that "kid stuff" yet. However, at that moment (and all afternoon long) I fantasized about what I would have liked to have said:

Looking them both straight in the eye:

1. "Well, actually, I'm going to be shooting myself in the ass with massive needles starting next month. Wanna help?"

2. "Actually, we've been trying to have a child but have just learned that I have no female parts - I'm actually a man." (Okay, this one is actually compliments of a very good friend of mine who suggested that perhaps I should have just told them I'm a hermaphrodite. Thanks, Cheese - I'm still laughing!)

3. "As a matter of fact, we've decided it would be much more fun to watch our baby be conceived in a petrie dish than just plain old sex in the privacy of our own home, so we're starting IVF next month. I'm particularly looking forward to being inspected by my fertility specialist as she tries to figure out how the hell to get me knocked up!"

Of course, I didn't give any of these responses, but I was left wondering why it is that this question is always so difficult to answer. In some ways, I see it as my golden opportunity to educate someone on how painful it is to be asked such an invasive question, but for some reason, I am not remotely confrontive. Honestly, I actually feel a sense of embarrassment that I'm not pregnant yet. I mean, let's get real, I'm 34 years old and have been happily married for 2 years. People are probably thinking that we need to get on with it if we're going to do this.

I'm still working on formulating the perfect response for these sorts of questions from people we don't plan to tell about our IVF experience. However, I'm once again pondering the prospect of putting it out there, just saying - this is what we're doing. Deal with it.

I mean after all, why should I hide the fact that I'm being treated for a medical issue? And, frankly, the fertile people of the world need to take a look at the fact that asking a woman in her 30's when she's going to have a "big belly" is outrageously insensitive. Yes, I realize people think this is a natural subject of small talk, particularly when they have no experience with IF.

But that doesn't mean I have to accept it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Verdict Is In, Another Sleepless Night & The Joys of Pregnant Friends

The GREAT news is that most of my test results are in, and the verdict is good. I am a "clean girl" (in other words, I'm STD-free).

Also, my Clomid Challenge test results were, in the words of the IVF nurse, "beautiful - exactly what we hope to see."

While I am genuinely thrilled with this news, I remain perplexed because I am consumed with questions about why all of this is happening. I keep thinking that if everything looks this good, why have I not been able to get knocked up for 22 months (and counting..)? Also, I am more overcome with fear about everything that's ahead of us. Thoughts of enlarged ovaries and daily shots are looking a little more reality based, and that's catalyzing gut-wrenching, anxiety-in-the-middle-of-the-night-kind-of-fear. In fact, I'm currently having a Infertility/Clomid-sponsored sleepless night, which has given me the opportunity to write this post.

Tomorrow, I am hanging out with a couple of my friends who I've been avoiding like the plague. One is pregnant (per her second IVF cycle) and the other one is trying for her second child (in essence she'll be with child by next month). I'm dreading both of these encounters because I don't feel comfortable being honest about my feelings with either one of them. You will probably be hearing more about them in upcoming posts because we're starting baby shower preparations for the one who is pregnant.

You would think that my friend who's been through two rounds of IVF would be a great support to have right now, but frankly many of my childless friends have been more understanding than she has. I don't know how many times I've heard her say in response to my IVF quandries, "IVF scared me mainly because I knew it was the last resort...if it didn't work, I knew I would have to face the fact that I just couldn't have a baby."

If that one doesn't do it for you, consider this one: "You just have to remember that IVF doesn't always happen on the first time...but maybe it'll work by the second go-around." an IVF inductee, I have to tell you, these were comforting words to curl up with at night.

I don't know why I feel compelled to continue with these relationships. I'm really questioning that right now. Perhaps it's because they've historically been good friends (when babies were not part of the equation). Or maybe it's because it seems like the "right thing to do", like I should push myself to help with this baby shower as a demonstration of faith in God that it's going to happen for me someday.

Still deliberating about this one.

Another trip to the Clinic scheduled for Tuesday for IVF teaching.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tomorrow's Poking & Prodding

Well, I've managed to successfully get through Days 5-9 of Clomid with few major altercations. L. would probably disagree and has taken to calling me "Clomie" in an effort to add humor to my ongoing hormonal turmoil.

Tomorrow is a lot of testing at the Clinic, and I'm so pleased that my friend Jill is going with me. She is such a great friend to come and support me, and I really appreciate her! Sometimes this situation really helps you see all the great people in your life. :) L. has to work unfortunately, and we're trying to conserve sick days/vacation time in preparation of what's to come.

I'm a little less anxious tonight after a couple of glasses of wine, thanks to L.

Here's to poking, prodding and healthy reproductive organs!

Friday, August 15, 2008

IVF Warranty? What Will They Think of Next?

Today my beloved husband called me at work to relay details of a telephone conversation with the Clinic's finance department. During this discussion, I experienced a moment of utter disbelief that this whole thing is really happening. I shook my head as L. rattled off IVF finance options, specifically several "package deals" that sounded like all-inclusive vacation resorts.

He exclaimed, "We can either get one fresh and one frozen, two chances at a fresh and one frozen, or even three chances and two frozen!"

What??!! Are we talking about fish sticks or roulette?

He went on to say that we can purchase a 70% money-back guarantee from this company in the instance that we are unsuccessful. Of course, they won't disclose how much this "guarantee" will cost until they have my ovarian reserve results in their greedy little paws. So, in essence, I suppose the insurance company is playing the odds themselves - I guess the better my eggs look, the cheaper this little policy will be.

In other words, there is actually someone out there who's willing to roll the dice on this (as long as I have eggs that look they might actually convert into a kid).

So...I'm still shaking my head in disbelief and wondering how we got here. It's the end of Day 1 on the evil pill and I'm already having hot flashes.

(Postscript: For any of you who don't know Fresh/Frozen terminology, see the IF Terms/Acronyms You Never Wanted to Know to the right for a quick explanation. If you stick with me, you'll soon know more than you ever bargained for!).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Clomid Challenge: Me Versus Clomid

The "Clomid Challenge" test must be named for the challenge I have with functioning while on that crazy pill, along with the consternation of everyone I come in contact with as it takes over my body. Warning: I begin taking it at it at my personal "lethal dose" (100 mg.) on Friday for the purposes of measuring my ovarian reserve. If you haven't been around me while on this drug, you will soon learn that taking two of these evil tablets transforms me into a sweating, bipolar-esque, angry, tearful wench. It pushes me over the edge for days - and I feel like it's never going to leave my body once it enters.

I'm ready. I'm up for the Challenge.

So, here's to evil pills, nasty side effects and hoping I'll commit no evil acts over the next few days. My advice to the Stepford Wives: Steer clear of me and my raging hormones!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Message for the Stepford Wives of My Life

Many of the wives of my husband's work colleagues are part of a "group" which is supposedly for support purposes. To be an active, viable member on the "A-List" of this so-called "support group" (and I use this term loosely), you must have the following Stepford Wife-esque characteristics:

  • You must have children ("My husband and I had sex one time and suddenly we were pregnant with little Jenny!!")

  • You must be a stay-at-home mom.

  • You must have minimal or no career aspirations. As a woman in your late 20's/early 30's, you tell everyone that "career days" are over - now your focus is your children. Perhaps you'll do the world a favor and "volunteer" someday.

  • You absolutely do not believe in day care of any kind as it is a destructive influence to children and research says as much!
So, this week I received a group e-mail from one of them (I guess someone forgot to remove my career-driven, infertile ass from the mailing list). Here's a summation:

"We have many babies on the way, and we want to start planning meal delivery to each of our new moms! Would you believe we have 3 babies due in October and 5 in November?! It's a baby boom! Please let me know when you'll be available to deliver meals to each of our new families!"

Today, this e-mail entered my mind, and I became enraged when I thought about how all these women care about is a traditional, perfect world in which fertility treatment is not necessary and if it were, it would be spoken about in hushed whispers. If a woman actually trusted these people enough to divulge that kind of information (which would be amazing in and of itself), she would be pitied and discussed behind her back.

So, I started fantasizing about a "Reply To All" response. It would go something like this:

"Dear Mary (and the rest of you fertile people),

Thank you so much for your e-mail, but I think you left me off your meal delivery list. I, too, will be in need of prepared meals as I undergo IVF over October/November. My doctor has told me to prepare for discomfort and bloating as my ovaries work over-time to produce massive numbers of follicles, and something tells me that the last thing I'm going to feel like doing is cooking for my man. Also, so you'll know my "timeline" (or "due date" in language you ladies comprehend), I expect the egg retrieval will be sometime in early November, and this will also be an uncomfortable time. I will also need meals post embryo transfer as I'm supposed to remain on my back for 48-72 hours or so. However, after all we're going through to get to that point, it's going to take a forklift to pull me out of bed as I'll be so worried about our embryo(s) detaching from my uterus as a result of me returning to work (I'm sure you would advise me I should quit working if I'm that serious about getting knocked up!).

Hopefully this timeline will give you all plenty of opportunities to bring meals to L. & I since this is after all, supposedly a "support" group. Many thanks in advance. Yours, L.L.

Perhaps this all sounds a little bitter, and maybe it is. It's not that I see anything wrong with staying at home with your child - hell, after everything we're doing to get to that point, I can actually see that happening in our family. It's just the fact that these women never stop to consider that there are other times in a woman's life when support is needed outside of childbirth, playdates and first birthday parties. This lack of comprehension is simply because infertility (and other issues that affect a lot of women) is so outside their realm of experience.

Needless to say, I have little to do with these women anymore. And after re-reading my post today, I think it's time for me to request that my name be removed from their mailing list!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hooray!! No More Infertility Robots!!!

I absolutely hate going to my OB these days. I dread it for days beforehand. I hate seeing all those big bellies on women who are sitting there smugly reading the waiting room's "Parenting" magazines and hearing expectant couples leaving the office saying, "Oh, honey, you did great in there today.." UGH!!

But, my visit last week was good.

My doctor was genuinely pleased that we're pursuing IVF. She said she thinks it's time, and that we need to just go for it without overthinking it. She said that we happen to be "one of the 10%" of couples whose infertility issues are just unexplained. I figure if we can be one of the 10%, we could also be one of the 60% this IVF thing is supposed to knock up.

The absolute ICING ON THE CAKE of this appointment was that she offered to do all my monitoring since the clinic we've chosen is two hours out of town. I thought I was going to have use our local infertility clinic for that, and I was really dreading it because the staff there are infertility robots - you're responsible for pushing all the right buttons (or asking the right questions) to get the information you need. I am so thrilled that I'm not going to have to back there!!

Meanwhile, I have started spotting today, and it's the first time I've ever been glad about it. Bring on the Clomid Challenge!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


We had a really great break from things over the last few days. It was so nice to spend quality time with L., and it was a good feeling to detach from the drama in our lives and reconnect with each other.

We saw Coldplay on Sunday evening, which was the main reason for our trip. I was able to handle the numerous pregnant women who seemed to flock to Chris Martin - sometimes I think they're following me! I was able to focus on L. and where we are with each other. It was one of the best nights we've had together in a long time.

So, I'm uplifted, and I hope I can hold onto this feeling as I finish out my last week at work (before starting my new job) and the going away parties in front of me. At least I'll be able to enjoy a few spirits in the process!