November 28, 2008

Be optimistic!
Don’t you be a grumpy
When the road gets bumpy
Just smile
–Shirley Temple, Be Optimistic

(I haven’t watched this since I was a child; the other kids are a little creepy, but Shirley is, as always, a doll)

After more than 7 years, I am back on The Pill.

Just for a few weeks — don’t worry, I haven’t given up TTC. It’s the pre-cycle before IVF #2, which will start in mid-December. Finally!

This week I saw Dr. Full Steam Ahead for the post-op appointment following the recent hysteroscopy. I’ve never seen him so optimistic. He all but guaranteed a baby from this next cycle. It was encouraging, but at the same time it’s a little hard to believe. He is aggressive, obviously, or he wouldn’t be named Dr. Full Steam Ahead, and I don’t think he’s the type to make promises that are flatly false. But, after so many big and small letdowns, including the first injectible+IUI cycle this year where I was sure something would finally work after all these years and then M/C #2 after IVF #1 this summer, it’s really difficult to put my whole heart in it. But I am somewhat hopeful that it may finally work, perhaps if not with IVF #2 then maybe with the FETs that follow, or IVF #3… optimistic, but not overly optimistic.

I had no reason to be over optimistic,
But somehow when you smiled
I could brave bad weather
–The Who, 1921

The plan:

  • Now: Birth control pills (instead of Lupron which I used for IVF #1)
  • Mid December: Gonal-F + Repronex, then Antagon
  • Late December: IVF with ICSI
  • Then: Progesterone in Oil (Designated Husband transforms into Designated Hurter + Doting Hugger)

This one’s optimistic
This one went to market
This one just came out of the swamp
This one dropped a payload
Fodder for the animals
Living on an animal farm
If you try the best you can
If you try the best you can
The best you can is good enough
–Radiohead, Optimistic


…comes from the Radiohead song Fitter Happier off of OK Computer, one of the best albums of all time. Musically, Fitter Happier is strange, since Thom Yorke’s vocals have been replaced with a computerized voice. Lyrically, it is genius.

The song lists all of the goals to which we aspire, simultaneously shining a light on our unquestioning pursuit of these goals.

The first few lyrics:

  • fitter
  • happier
  • more productive
  • comfortable
  • not drinking too much
  • regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week)
  • getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries
  • at ease
  • eating well (no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)
  • a patient better driver
  • a safer car (baby smiling in back seat)
  • Most of the items in the song are, in fact, worthy of pursuit. At the same time, a picture is painted of a very conventional life. Not everyone chooses this life consciously. Plenty of people I know have just sort of fallen into it, and then they are stuck (unless they decide to quit their jobs, get divorces, and follow their original dreams, which few of them will — except maybe the divorce part). I know people who have had children because that’s what they were supposed to do. Some of them have been surprised to fall in love with their children, and some just go through the motions.

    For me as well as for my husband, having children is something we have very consciously chosen to do. Years before we were married, as teenagers, we had picked out names for our children. We chose to postpone having children for the first several years of our marriage while we pursued our career goals, mastered the art of marriage, and learned to be grown-ups. When we finally made the decision to have children, Fate disagreed with our timing. Being infertile brings the purposeful pursuit of parenthood into clearer focus, although it also brings a lot of other crap with it too.

    Just as having children is automatic for many people, it is easy to get carried away with fertility treatments and other methods of pursuing parenthood once you’ve started down that road. I respect all of my infertile sisters and brothers, but I have extra respect for the ones I’ve encountered who, after years of non-success, have pulled in the reins and questioned whether having a biological child, or any child at all, was worth what they were going through. A few years ago, after our first miscarriage broke my heart, we got out the condoms and stopped TTC for over a year. Now, we are back in Come Hell or High Water mode.

    In non-baby aspects of life, we both frequently question the life that has been predestined for us. Despite being very driven in our careers, we have both made decisions that did not follow the standard path. Rather than staying close to any of the cities where our families or other loved ones live, we move around the country as jobs and whims dictate. We consume media, particularly news, with a critical and dubious eye. We don’t listen to our mothers.

    Whenever I realize that I’m becoming complacent and blindly buying into the norms of society, I think about the lyrics of Fitter Happier, or listen to the song.

    I’m still working on the “no longer empty and frantic” part. Some days are better than others.