September 7, 2008
This week: a prize for guessing the prize for guessing. Or, Show and Tell: Bridge, part 3.
At last week’s Show and Tell, I presented a vase that wonder woman Lori from Weebles Wobblog, All Thumbs Reviews, and Drama 2B Mama won as a prize for correctly guessing that the Show and Tell from the preceding week took place in Budapest. It turns out that Lori also has a fertility-related Budapest story, and she presented her own Show and Tell with a photo of the Chain Bridge from a very different perspective.
Here, again, is the vase that Lori won due to her knowledge and experience.
I asked people to guess the height of the vase. Guesses ranged from 8 inches to 12 inches. Thanks to everyone who guessed – but none of you were even close. Here is the true scale of the vase:
The actual height of the vase is 3.25 inches. So, this means that Wishing 4 One was the closest at 8 inches. Congrats! Her prize is in the works and will be presented at next week’s Show and Tell.
Today’s lesson: Appearances can be deceiving.
September 5, 2008
In my last post I listed 16 things that were wrong. In the spirit of positive thinking and the pursuit of happiness, and to tip the scales in the other direction, I will now list more than 16 things that are right, in no particular order.
- I am married to the sweetest, gentlest, smartest, most whimsical man in the world.
- He will be an incredible father one of these days.
- I am about to leave for my 5th trip abroad in the past year, where I will visit two (or possibly three) fabulous countries that I have never seen before (the 12th, 13th, and maybe 14th new countries to be added to my list in the past 12 months, not counting exquisite repeats like Italy).
- Most of those trips have been work-related, and therefore subsidized or at least tax-deductible.
- I have countless freedoms, rights, privileges, and choices.
- Many people are working very hard to secure those freedoms, rights, privileges, and choices for all of us.
- I have numerous people whom I love and who genuinely care about my well-being, some of whom know about my infertility and support me through that on top of everything else.
- I have a blog which several people are kind enough to read (hello to you!).
- On that blog, I can post my deepest fears and most honest feelings about others because no one in my real life except my husband knows of its existence.
- Infertility and IVF side-effects and random minor ailments notwithstanding, I am healthy.
- We have enough disposable income that we’ve been able to pay for IF treatments out of pocket. Not that they don’t hurt, but we are getting by, and it has given us options that many people don’t have.
- When I am in the pottery studio, I am free of IF worries.
- My cat will probably be extra-comforting after the next egg retrieval.
- I have an education that enables me to make choices in my career, including the present choice to do something that I love less than what I usually do for a while so that I can obtain health insurance.
- My old job, and to some extent my new job, have flexible-enough hours that I can attend RE appointments with little disruption.
- Whenever that baby decides to finally show up, DH and I both have enough job flexibility that we can fit our daily schedules to our needs as parents.
- The new job that I accepted for the health insurance will ultimately benefit my career and will also help to replenish the void in my bank account from weekly acupuncture, IUIs, and IVF #1, a void which continues to expand with IVF #2 starting soon.
- IVF #2 is starting soon.
September 4, 2008
…in order of proximity.
- I feel empty and frantic inside.
- Continuous headache and neck pain for the past 4 days.
- Huge amount of work in front of me, brain not functional enough to get it done.
- Even if I can muster mental strength, repetitive stress injury to wrist makes work difficult.
- Boss just interrupted my brain-intensive work with an incredibly piddly detail that he finds very important, and I have to stop everything I am doing to work on that because no one else is competent enough to trust with this very basic clerical task.
- Construction down the hall, drilling, drilling into my brain.
- Out of town visiting family have drained my time and my energy, both already in short supply.
- Huge amount of work not directly in front of me but deadlines loom large.
- IVF cycle being postponed for a month to deal with health insurance.
- Scared about upcoming hysteroscopy.
- Generally freaked out about infertility, getting left behind while everyone else I know has lots of babies.
- Added TTC time pressure due to sister-in-law’s wedding and child-rearing plans.
- Miserable state of health insurance in this country.
- Civil liberties of journalists and protesters being trampled at RNC.
- Many more civil liberties to be trampled in the future if the GOP has its way, including but not limited to reproductive freedoms, which have become ever more salient since I started engaging in medical interventions that some people find objectionable.
- Despite all of the truly good things in my life, I feel like I am being fucked over by the fates.
September 3, 2008
To quote from the Radiohead song “Fitter Happier” after which this blog is named:
no longer empty and frantic
like a cat
tied to a stick,
that’s driven into
frozen winter shit
I feel like my baseline mood is neutral-to-cheery, but lately “empty and frantic” is a pretty apt description a good proportion of the time. Mostly as a result of infertility, with some work, financial, family, and other stress thrown in to round it out. Without infertility, those other stresses would be manageable. Of course, without IF I would either have a kindergarten-age child, or I would be purposely child-free, depending on which alternate reality you are imagining.
I think back to the time before I started TTC. Without idealizing, I can honestly say that I was happier in a lot of ways. Not that I was always happier than I am now, but for several years before we started thinking about children, our marriage was great, and other aspects of my life were on the upswing. Oh, mid-20s, how rosy you were.
The first change occurred when I started charting, even before we actually started TTC. I used to sleep like a log, all the way through the night no matter what. All my life I slept like a log — too soundly, even; I have slept through major earthquakes, fire alarms, and too many alarm clocks. As soon as I started charting, I kept waking up many times throughout the night, wondering if it was time to temp yet. Never mind the fact that DH would wake me at the proper time. I was so eager — it’s funny to imagine now. I have barely slept through the night in the seven years since then, even though I gave up on charting over 4 years ago.
The next change came with the dawning realization of infertility. I have gone through every imaginable emotion. Most people reading this have experienced all of those same emotions, and many of you have described them eloquently on your own blogs, so I don’t need to catalog them here.
Perhaps the biggest change came with my first miscarriage. I was so naïve and hopeful, it never occurred to me that I might lose that baby. Since then, I have found it hard to imagine that a pregnancy will last.
Increasingly, I have gotten increasingly bothered by “innocent” comments, pregnancy announcements, and in a paranoid turn of events, even the potential for being around someone who might have children.
Sleep got even worse after I stopped charting. There have been so many nights that I couldn’t fall asleep until 4, 5, 6 a.m. Countless hours spent Googling infertility or IMing with my friend the vampire (okay, so he’s not really a vampire, he just works at night and sleeps during the day). And then, during my first injectables cycle, I also had the worst flu of my life, and for a month I barely slept yet couldn’t get out of bed. It wasn’t just the flu, though. I didn’t sleep at all the night before the egg retrieval for IVF #1; I hadn’t slept 0 hours since my first and only all-nighter in college.
One thing that hasn’t change is my need to plan, both during the early days and more recently. What has changed is that I relished it before, because planning is in my nature. Now I beat myself up over the foolishness of planning.
Some of the changes have been good. Regarding other people, I have gotten more sensitive, more careful with my words, more open-minded. In regards to myself, I also think that I have gotten more introspective, more deliberate, more in touch with my emotions. A lot of that has occurred quite recently, in conjunction with blogging. For that, ALI blogging community and Baby Smiling In Back Seat readers, I thank you. I have also stopped consulting Dr. Google for hours on end — somehow, getting a little fix of infertility every day through regular reading of others’ blogs has quenched my formerly insatiable thirst for knowledge and shared experience. So, community, thanks for that too.
I’m not at the point where I can declare that I am “no longer empty and frantic.” Some days I feel more empty than others, some days frantic but most days not. It’s nice to have a goal aside from making a baby. I hate to admit it, but looking into the immediate future, “no longer empty and frantic” feels more likely than “baby smiling in back seat.” But I will keep working on achieving both.
September 2, 2008
A few days ago, I mentioned the impending visit of most of DH’s immediate family and the many steps I had to take to clear the house of all TTC and infertility evidence.
They are here, and so far (knock on wood) no one has come across anything incriminating.
I have also mentioned in many posts how we have kept IF a secret from all of our relatives.
I just had an interesting conversation in the car with my mother-in-law. She is DH’s stepmother, not his mother. Previously, in comparison to others and on her own merits, I have mentioned his mother in unflattering terms. In contrast, DH’s stepmother is actually great. A little bossy, but great.
Today she and I were in the car, and we had the following conversation.
Step-MIL, wistfully: I had a dream last night that you told me you were pregnant.
Me, in my head: Ack! Okay, let’s see. I am definitely not pregnant right now, so I can just tell the truth, or one particular aspect of the truth. Go for it.
Me, matter of factly: Well I promise you that I am not.
Step-MIL: Oh, I know, I know.
Step-MIL’s overtone, or at least what I wishfully heard as the overtone: I know that you’re not remotely considering children and I should not bother you at all about it and I should be respectful and refrain from bringing up the topic since my cute little comments about how much I would love to have a grandchild obviously will not divert you from your honorable devotion to your career and the fabulous adventures around the world that you and my stepson have all the time and which are not possible for me right now due to my children requiring all of my time and finances.
Me, in my head: Phew. But change the subject before the conversation turns around and starts going horribly wrong!
Me: Of course, if your dream had been about [her 16-year-old daughter who is a possible sociopath], it would have been a nightmare! Ha ha!
Step-MIL: Ugh. Don’t even say that. So anyway, I tried this new recipe for rice pilaf…
Conversation successfully diverted, crisis averted. Only a couple more days of incessant family togetherness to go.
September 1, 2008
The episode entitled “The New Girl,” which aired last week, has made up for lost time. Sorry for the delay in my post; there was a TiVo issue and I didn’t get to watch it until it was rerun along with the newest episode.
The Campbells go to a fertility specialist! We get to see the early-1960s version of an RE visit, including:
- The doctor asks the couple if they are “aware of the principles of conception, how the sperm meets the egg”; I am guessing that nowadays, most REs assume this level of knowledge
- Individual meetings for each partner in which the doctor asks sensitive questions; my current RE (Dr. Full Steam Ahead) didn’t do this, but my first RE (Dr. Fancy Pants) had a private questionnaire for each of us to complete
- An amusing scene in the Male Room (a.k.a. Sperm Palace) in which Pete looks through the pornography, featuring nostalgic early-1960s magazines
One part of the episode that hit home for me was when the doctor asked Pete, “Have you ever fathered a child?” He answers no, not knowing about the illegitimate child he fathered during the first season.
When we started our second round of IF testing, Dr. Full Steam Ahead asked us whether DH had ever fathered a pregnancy. DH said no, and I had to correct him. He confused fathering a child, which he has not done, with fathering a pregnancy, which he has done (at that point, just M/C #1; now we can add M/C #2). It was a sad and awkward moment.
The episode also features an argument between the Campbells when they learn that the semen analysis revealed no problems (Pete, raising a glass to toast: “To my ability!”), and therefore that female factor issues must be the source of their infertility (Trudy, disingenuously: “It’s a relief. Now we know it’s me.”).
Their argument features elements that many people still consider (and blog about) today, such as differing levels of commitment to TTC, self-blame, having children as the next logical step after marriage rather than a mindful choice, appreciation of the freedom that can come with childlessness, embarassment over providing a semen sample (“I just did a very private thing in a very public place for you“), and fate (“maybe this is the way it’s supposed to be”).
Pete delivers a line that would plunge a knife into any of our hearts: “Either you make it through this thing, or you just keep it to yourself.” This character constantly makes me grateful that my own husband is so different.
Trudy responds with a heartfelt statement that all of us have uttered, and a philosophical question that many of us have asked: “It’s just, I really do want a baby. (looking around the apartment) What is all this for?”
The next episode did not address the IF storyline, except to illustrate Pete’s ambivalence over parenthood. But finally! One of the most direct depictions of an RE’s workup, and one of the most honest husband-wife communications about infertility, ever on television! Hooray! Stay tuned; I have a feeling that Mad Men will have more Fun With Infertility to offer us in the coming weeks.