Monday, December 28, 2009
Christmas Eve met me with an interesting guest at my cousin's house. She is good friends with a very prominent fertility specialist/surrogate impreganator extraordinaire, and he and his wife just happened to join our family for dinner.
It was all I could do to bite my tongue and not tell him about my many and varied types of fertility treatments to get his opinion. And, then I thought, maybe I should do an interview with him for the blog, but since we were all eating appetizers, drinking wine and talking about the latest movies, I thought it would be in bad and inappropriate form.
So, there I sat, thinking of ways that his super-fertile hands could help me out. After all, there are probably thousands of infertile women that he helped get pregnant. I was thinking that my best shot is probably osmosis. It works for all kinds of things, why not infertility?
However, there is a major challenge with this oddly-conceived idea. Jack is 7,000 miles away for the next couple of weeks. I don't go back to China until mid-January. So, hopefully any good juju, mojo, whatever from Dr. Super-Fertile that just happened to rub off on me when I hugged him good-bye will last that long.
Monday, December 21, 2009
My true love gave to me: wishes for a pregnancy
On the second day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me: two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy
On the third day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me: three Follistem pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy..
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Nine blood draws a lancing, eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Ten (thousand) dollars a leaving, nine blood draws a lancing, eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eleven follicles riping, ten (thousand dollars) a leaving, nine blood draws a lancing, eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Twelve days ovulating, eleven follicles riping, ten (thousand dollars) a leaving, nine blood draws a lancing, eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Six (million) sperm a swimming, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four, four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy.
Will finish this up this weekend.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Jack Bauer has a habit of singing funny, made up words to songs (usually about one of our pets), and it always makes me laugh.
From now until Christmas, I will be rewriting the classic carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Feel free to sing along with me.
On the first day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me: wishes for a pregnancy
On the second day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me: two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy
On the third day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me: three Follistem pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...
Stay tuned for more lyrics...maybe the next one I attempt will be "All I want for Christmas is my fertility."
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I mean really, people. I don’t go around throwing my infertility in your face (I save that for my blog postings!) So, why do you have to throw your parenthood in mine?
And, I’m not talking about my friends who occasionally write something nice or funny about their pregnancy or kiddos. I’m all for reading about hilarious things their kids say, humorous pregnancy stories, anything involving hamsters getting stuck in between walls or a pickle up a kid’s nose. I’m talking about the people who have no other status updates except about their pregnancy or kids.
A few considerations:
Not everyone wants to hear about your belly button popping out because your cute little preggers tummy is getting “soooo” big.
I really don’t need to hear your woes about your lack of sleep because your baby wakes up four times during the night. Would you like to hear about my lack of sleep because I constantly am dreaming up new ways to try to get pregnant?
I don’t want to hear about how you have to find a pony for Suzie’s best birthday party ever!
I don’t want to know how many days and hours until your due date. Would you like me to give you the tally on the number of days I’ve been trying to get pregnant? I bet it quadruples the number of days of a gestational period.
Now, let’s all play by my rules.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Plus, not having children means that we don't have to wait in ridiculous lines to sit on Santa's lap, stay up til 5am on Christmas Eve putting together Santa's toys or try to keep a toddler in line during Christmas Mass. Of course, I would do all of these in a heartbeat, if we were so blessed.
Everything is so kid-centric this time of year that it's easy for the baby-making challenged to feel completely left out. Even seeing Santa Claus makes me want to chuck a snowball at him for not bringing me what I really want for Xmas. Seeing snowmen makes me crave a little one to bundle up and jealous of the ones who have one in their yards. Don't even get me started on Xmas cards and end-of-year family letters...
Ooooo - bitter girl came out swinging today folks. I'm really not even in a bad mood, but it felt good to get that off my non-sagging chest. : )
Sunday, November 29, 2009
While sightseeing around the city, we visited a very famous Buddist monastery/temple. Upon entering most temples, the entrances are flanked by two lion statues - one male and one female. The lion has one paw on top of a globe, symbolizing his power. The lioness has her paw on a cub, and it's said that if a woman rubs the cub, it can help bring her children.
So guess what I did?
It seems weird to me that they have all of these fertility rituals, teas and herbs, etc. to help you get pregnant, yet they have a one-child per family policy still in effect.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
- I am thankful for a uber-supportive husband, who has never looked back or regretted all of his sperm collections, whiny wife from the fertility drugs, dozens of thousands of dollars spent, or anything else along this fertility journey. He is also the reason that I strive to see the lighter side of infertility - his jokes and funny ways to look at things changed my perspective on this bumpy ride completely, and I will be forever grateful for that.
- I am thankful for a family who has stayed at my side constantly throughout my ups and downs of trying to get pregnant, especially for my niece and nephew who thought (at 10- and 7- years of age) it was ridiculous that just because I'm not a mom I shouldn't have my own day, like Mother's Day, so they invented "Best Aunt Ever Day" in my honor. For my mom, for connecting us with an amazing woman that we hoped would carry our last embryos to delivery (and many other things related to our GC)
- For my friends who have listened to me vent, cry or scream, or just asked how I was doing. For new friends who understand exactly what I'm going through and have offered friendship that I didn't know I needed, and, for those friends who haven't said a word, it made me find out who my true friends really are.
- For the best fertility clinic anywhere, their care and concern has gone above and beyond any health professional I've ever met.
- For late periods, for making me feel a twinge of hope
- For follicle stimulating drugs, for giving me big boobs for a few weeks, even if they don't get me pregnant
- For Dollar Store home pregnancy tests and ovulation detection sticks, they may look weird, or have instructions only in Spanish, but they're tons cheaper than even pharmacy-branded tests
- For people like Linds@y L0han and Britt@ny Spea@rs, for making me realize that hough I occasionally have a hormonally-induced rampage, I am still quite sane and normal
Well, there is something that can help with those tough times. It's a new infertility eclass, "Surviving the Hellidays" that starts on Monday. You can check it out now: Poke around and see what’s there.
Private class blog link: http://infertilityeclass.typepad.com/
Happy Turkey Day!
Monday, November 23, 2009
I went to a session on the use of tea as a medicine and was entralled. Ironically, the TCM expert that gave the presentation was an American, but he has been practicing TCM for 20 years and has lived in China for seven years. He is 52-years old, but looks about 40, so that was sale enough for me to start believing what he was saying.
TCM can definitely help with infertility. According to Chinese medicine, it is very important to keep the yin and yang in balance. Women have a stronger yin than yang, but if their yin is too out of whack, it can cause health issues, one of which can be hormone imbalance and infertility. Having a cold reproductive system because you have too much yin, can be a reason for infertility.
Women in China do not drink cold beverages, at all. They believe that it inhibits their reproductive organs (again, the not too much cold theory). So no more ice infertilies.
This TCM practicioner said that he has recently helped two couple get pregnant - he treats both the men and women. Sometimes it's a combination of teas, herbal pills, acupuncture and massage, it just depends on the diagnosis (which he does by checking six different pulse points on the body, looking at your tongue and two other things that I can't remember). So, no blood draws or wand ultrasounds here gals!
I didn't take diligent enough notes to get to detailed, but so much of what he said made perfect sense to me. In fact, I can't believe there isn't a larger TCM market in the U.S., especially for the population of 6 million infertiles. It seems like it'd be an easy enough second option after the traditional romps in the hay don't work, and before we start injesting Clomid and jabbing ourselves full of horse urine. And, it'd be tons cheaper than an IUI.
I think this guy is missing a gigantic opportunity not coming back to the states to treat infertiles.
Will Jack Bauer and I go seek his TCM insight? I'm not sure, and not because I don't believe in this. I just turned 37, and am now wondering if conceiving at my advanced maternal age is such a good idea to try to get pregnant. The verdict is still out.
Yesterday, I bought a herbal tea concoction that was for "beauty" but it does much more than that - it is a detox tea that apparently clarifies your skin, balances female hormones and is good for digestion. We'll see if it works.
Regardless, if you haven't explored TCM yet, you might consider it. It's much more than just the acupuncture side, which is something I know many of us have tried (and mine worked for some ailments, just not getting pregnant).
There are some legitimate TCM practioners in the U.S., you just might have to do some research. I'm just wishing I would've thought of this earlier in my TTC journey.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
My husband, the dashing Jack Bauer, and I have been trying to get pregnant for more than five years, including:
- he use of acupuncture for fertility
- taking a tonic sludge of ingredients from the health food store
- trying Feng Sui to improve conceptionability
- three follicle stimulating cycles with timed intercourse, nothing like a nurse calling you to tell you when to get busy!
- three IVFs (nine total embryos), no go, even though my RE called all of them "beautiful"
- one IVF cycle with a gestational carrier which didn't work, love my GC, but apparently the last two embies didn't
- and many, many other ideas
After the first IVF didn't work, we decided to go ahead and start the adoption process (almost four years ago). It's been fraught with bad news after bad news, and we still don't know what's happening with it, but meeting our son was the best thing that's ever happened to me,. That was followed by the worst thing that's ever happened to me, which was having to leave him at the orphanage. I am hopeful for the best thing to be trumped by the true best thing ever, which would be us going to go pick him up and bring him home.
And, in the process of having our gestational carrier not get pregnant and contined adoption challenges, Jack and I moved to China! We decided a few months ago that it was time to shake things up a bit, and sure enough, Jack got a great opportunity with his job. So, here we are, living in Shanghai.
So far, I love it, and am grateful for the grand adventure it has been and for what it is sure to be for the next nine months (such an appropriate time frame, don't you think?).
Throughout all of this nonsense, the one thing that has kept me somewhat sane (though others may disagree that I have even an ounce of sanity left), is finding the lighter side of infertility, trying to find humor in unusual places. Besides, I would much rather laugh than cry, and there is plenty of opportunity for tears when you're going through these struggles.
So, in sum, I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, writer, PR pro, volunteer, runner, equestrian, and many, many more things. I am not a mommy yet, but I am a lover of my life.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I have to get a special kind of visa for my one-year stint here in China, and with that, I had to get a medical exam at a Chinese immigration medical facility. As one who has gone through the gammit of medical tests and procedures for fertility testing, it was quite a hilarious and unique process. You go from room to room getting blood drawn, having your eyes checked, an ECG, lung x-ray and a myriad of other tests, along with the other "foreigners" who are there trying to get the same visa as you - men and women, changing into robes in the same room, and only a curtain between your bare chest and the next guy waiting in the chair in the room when they did some of the exams. Actually, it was quite an efficient process - I had seven tests done in less than 50 minutes.
One of the exams was just a general "thumping on your abdomen" kinda thing, but when the doctor saw my scar from my surgery to remove some uterine cysts (which apparently have nothing to do with my infertility), she wanted to know more about it. So, I tried to slowly explain that it was for the removal of some cysts.
My official exam report came today, and Jack Bauer and I cracked up at the only "anomaly" listed on the four pages of paperwork. It said "hysterectomy."
I haven't had a hysterectomy, but I may as well not have a uterus, since it doesn't do me any good. In fact, it only brings me grief once a month, if that often. And when my "grief" doesn't arrive every 28 days, every day I wonder if maybe, just maybe this is the time I'm actually pregnant.
So, perhaps my Chinese diagnosis isn't too far from the truth.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Pre-register before noon EST n Sunday, and you'll get a discounted rate! My theory is that you've spent more than $100 on ovulation test sticks and home pregnancy tests, you should probably consider this class.
Sign up it, and we'll all use our Taking Charge of Your Fertility books as firewood this winter!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I have only had a few aha! moments going through the journey of infertility that has made me consider that maybe all of this is truly meant to be. And, one of them was my first meeting with my friend Lily. I met her because she was the co-leader of our city's local Resolve chapter, and she contacted me to speak about the lighter side of infertility. From our first phone conversation, I knew that I had more than infertilty in common with her. She is a kindred spirit and a wonderful soul. And one of the most clever and creative people I've ever met.
Enter her brilliant idea. Through her Web site, The Infertile Mind, she and another blogger, Infertile Naomi, have put together an eclass on infertility to help us get through what they call the "hellidays", such an appropriate moniker.
Surviving the Hellidays - The Infertile's E-Class to Making the Holidays a little Brighter or at least more Bearable will be a private space where infertiles can use their creativity through weekly assignments to help deal their emotional ups and downs through struggle of trying to get pregnant.
Trust me. This is something that you won't want to miss. I'm going to partcipate, and can't wait. Click on the above link to get some more information. Sign ups start on Monday, Nov. 16.
Next post is about my conversation about infertility with a traditional Chinese medicine expert. Watch out Western world, I'm bringing this knowledge to the infertile masses! Fascinating stuff!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Leaving him was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and I still cry every time I think about that moment. There is no question that we bonded while I was there, but I was grateful that he was fine going back to his nannies when we left (thank God for small blessings).
Feel free to catch up on my Vietnam adventure at http://www.lumeinnoodles.blogspot.com/
As hard as it was to leave, I went almost three weeks without seeing Jack Bauer, and needed his arms around me to soothe the pain of being with our boy. Luckily, I have had an instant love affair with Shanghai and it's helping me take my mind off of Nate and the orphanage.
So, it's now back to writing about my second favorite topic - the lighter side of infertility. Stay tuned. More on the way soon.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'm in Hong Kong right now, just a 2 and half hour, then 1 hour flight to the orphanage where our darling 22-month old is. I can't wait to meet him, and every time I even think about it tears well up in my eyes. I have to focus on him, though, and if I cry it might scare him, and I want him to love me, love me, love me!
More later - flight is boarding soon, but I didn't want my infertile friends to think I was ignoring them. Tomorrow is a day I've been dreaming of for five years.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thank you to the irresistible Jack Bauer for keeping me laughing, even through our fertility foibles; keeping me sane, through my hormone induced craziness; and loving me unconditionally, baby or not.
And, to many, many dozens more!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
And, last night they gave me a surprise mini-baby shower/travel send off. It was totally unexpected, but very typical of how they are. I've ranted about how I've never gotten a shower before, but this erased all of that.
For the last 15+ years, we have been each others cheerleaders, crutches, and confidants. We've held each other's hair back when we've thrown up from drinking too much; we've slammed on ex-boyfriends who wrongly broke up with us; we've stood at the alter for each other during our weddings; and we've wept with joy at the births of children (or the lack thereof). These are my ya-ya sisters (and my sister fits this category too, for sure - but raving about her deserves a whole other posting).
And, I know that, if we're fornuate enough to bring our baby boy home from Vietnam, they'll be waiting at the airport to welcome him to his new home, and they're a huge part of that -- my home.
To my amazing girlfriends, I love you dearly and life is better because of you.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Apparently, an estimated 15,000 monkeys live as surrogate children within American families (at least according to a celebrity news Web site that I just checked out). And, My Monkey Baby is a new reality show on TLC that features a few families who live with the capuchins as if they are their own children. I have only seen the previews, but that's more than enough for me to pass some judgment.
I will fully admit that I love my pets as much (if not more) than most people love their children, and quite frankly, I don't see anything wrong with that, within reason. But, I do not dress up my cats in baby clothes, put my dog in a baby carriage and stroll her around as if she's a child (though at 65 lbs. I'm not sure she'd fit in one) or have a nursery just for my kitties. However, these people do those things and many, many others for their monkeys.
I may want a child pretty darn badly, but please, please, please, I beg you to force me to see a therapist, if I ever have thoughts of taking a monkey into a Gymboree.
For me, this is beyond bizarre. But, apparently the concept for the show started in Great Britain and did well enough that the US has its own version now. I'm telling you, if people want to see some good drama, they should videotape women stabbing their stomachs with fertility drugs or their husbands jabbing a huge needle into their wives' butts. Then show the crazy mood swings that ensue. Or, they could show how we hit rock bottom when we get the phone call from the lab that our beta is 0. Now that's TV I'd watch.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
1. You Can Only Use One Word!
2. Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers
3. Alert them that you have given them this award!
4. Have Fun!
The Fun Part
1. Where is your cell phone?
2. Your hair?
unwashed (hey, it's Sunday)
3. Your mother?
4. Your father?
5. Your favorite food?
6. Your dream last night?
7. Your favorite drink?
8. Your dream/goal?
9. What room are you in?
10. Your hobby?
horsebackriding (sometimes it's impossible to do just one word, so I'll just smash them together)
11. Your fear?
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?
13. Where were you last night?
14. Something that you aren’t?
16. Wish list item?
17. Where did you grow up?
18. Last thing you did?
19. What are you wearing?
20. Your TV?
21. Your pets?
23. Your life?
24. Your mood?
25. Missing someone?
27. Something you’re not wearing?
28. Your favorite store?
29. Your favorite color?
pink (and I'm not a princess-type girl, either)
30. When was the last time you laughed?
31. Last time you cried?
32. Your best friend?
33. One place that I go to over and over?
34. One person who emails me regularly?
35. Favorite place to eat?
And here are the six blogs I'd like to award:
Womb for Improvement
Eye Heart Internet
Journey to the Center of the Uterus
Friday, October 2, 2009
However, the one reason they drive me crazy is when they fake me out by giving me some slight glimmer of hope that I'm pregnant. They don't hurt every month just before AF, only occasionally, and it's those times where I question my infertility and think that maybe this time the sperm and egg were able to meet.
This happened recently to a good friend of mine, too, who is also a fellow infertile. She said her boobs were super sore, and thought that was the tell-tale sign that she might be pregnant, but it wasn't to be.
What gives, tatas?
Sorry for being such a delinquent blogger. I will probably not be updating too frequently between now and the beginning of Nov as we're getting ready for our move and my trip to Vietnam, but I will try, even if they're for short little bits of funniness or irony through this crazy life with infertility.
Friday, September 25, 2009
A couple of theories here, mind you, I am not a scientist or a psychologist, but indulge me a bit:
1. My cats are so happy being "only" children that they have some kind of curse on my uterus that renders me infertile.
2. There is something in cat dander, pee or poo that escapes into the air that deems some people infertile.
3. Infertiles who want children have a lot of love to give, so they have furbabies to parent, spoil and adore, until the human version arrives.
4. They're so upset by being spayed, that they curse your uterus so that you can't have babies, either.
5. The hours of cats sitting on my lap and making biscuits on my stomach over the years has smashed my uterus into an inhabitable place for a embryo to grow.
I'm pretty sure that the answer is #3, but I think it's still worth some research. I will happily sign up to be studied.
Any other theories?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
This amazing woman has decided to give birth to the baby boy and then give it to his biological parents.
I almost can't think of any worse scenario. Not being able to get pregnant sucks, but having the dream of being pregnant with your own child stripped away while you're pregnant is unthinkable.
If it were me, I probably would've caused bodily harm to the embryologist or whomever made the mistake. I'd be seeking some major vengence, but this woman was very calm when I saw her interviewed. She's trying to work with a gestational carrier to carry her rightful embies.
Sorry for the short and somewhat unimaginative postings of late. Lots and lots to do with our move to Shanghai quickly approaching (less than one month!). I hope to get at least one good posting in this week. I won't be able to ICWL in October because that's the week I'll be working in our son's orphanage in Vietnam.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I’m just about five weeks from my 37th birthday (and three weeks from my 12th wedding anniversary), and I’m technically still trying, albeit, not trying that hard. We’ve kind of given up on the hard core fertility treatments (ran out of embryos) and are now just keeping it to the ol’fashioned nookie-in-the sack. And, I’m waiting until I get to Shanghai to give some Chinese medicine a go.
It’s funny how your perception of what’s old changes the more you age. I can’t say for sure when or if I’ll be a mom, but I’m cool with trying for at least another year or so. After all, I’ve waited this long
Still, it makes me feel crappy when I think about people ten years younger than me with newborns and my girlfriends who have kids who are just a year or two from middle school.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I didn't realize that we were getting so fancy with our at-home testing technology that we could self-diagnose whether or not we could get pregnant.
It goes on to say, "FSH level assesses ovarian reserve, one of the leading single indicators of a woman’s fertility potential and now it is possible to gauge your fertility potential through a simple at-home test with over 95% accuracy."
You mean that I've spent thousands and thousands of dollars at my fertility doctor when I could have figured out my infertility at home for a mere $24.99?
Gimme a break.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Lily Hay, a friend of Fertility Foibles, wrote something that I though was hilarious, so I asked her to post this:
Not long ago I found the old book “Where Did I Come From?” my mom used to teach me about where babies come from in the 80’s. Then I was going through some of our books in the Resolve library and the one titled “How to Get Pregnant” stuck out to me because it is SO thick. After thinking about the two I had a good chuckle at how simple the original teaching was when I was probably 7 and how complex the teaching became in my 30s. I thought someone else might appreciate the irony so I’m posting a photo of the two books and their “stats”.
“Where Did I Come From?” by Peter Mayle - approx. 22 pages with big text and lots of illustrations (still available, by the way)
“How to Get Pregnant” by Sherman J. Silber, MD - 457 pages, small text and very few photos
I thought that was one of the best juxtapositions I'd seen in a long time. Thanks, Lily!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
One thing I haven’t heard discussed is ensuring that fertility treatments are covered by private or public health care. I think that some states like Illinois and California allow for automatic coverage of fertility-related costs, and a very small number of private insurers do, but they are few and far between.
I have had pretty decent health insurance, in general, and since I started working 14 years ago, but not one of them would cover fertility treatments. Why is that? How come they’ll cover rehab for alcohol or drug problems, but not my fertility drugs?
Or, they’ll cover therapy sessions and medications if you’re depressed because you can’t get pregnant, but won’t cover the fertility treatments, that, if they worked, would cure that depression.
It makes no sense to me.
I had a horseback riding accident this summer and fractured my pelvis. My ER visit, MRI and X-rays, physical therapy sessions, and even my crutches were covered, but not my broken uterus.
Just this week, I got a hospital bill for my last IVF transfer, which was almost two years ago. It’s dated 11/07/07 – why am I just now getting this? And, it’s for $2,530! It says on the invoices “Our records indicate that this service is not covered by insurance.” How long does it take to determine this? Apparently, almost two years.
I really appreciate the hospital system adding insult to my injury, by sending me a gigantic bill almost two years after the fact. Since it didn’t work anyway, I feel like I should send them a note that says that I won’t be paying since they didn’t come through on their end of the deal.
Just wait ‘til I’m president, infertiles, you will be taken care of.
And, Happy Anniversary to my parents! 42 years on 09-09-09!
Monday, September 7, 2009
Anyway, I ran across a fertility tips and tricks Web site yesterday that actually promoted them as a fertility aid. I guess the idea is that instead of using them during your period, you can use them after having sex as a way to hold the sperm in around the cervix. The other way to use them is by having a man directly deposit his semen into the cup and the woman inserts it herself. I guess it’s like an at-home version of an artificial insemination.
Adding even more interest to this potential baby-enhancing method is that there were 41 testimonials of people who sang its praises for working. One woman even commented that she’d been TTC for four years and got pregnant using it.
Who knows if it’s real or fake, but for $5.95 plus shipping and handling, I might be willing to give it a shot.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
There is still no resolution with the paperwork or Vietnamese officials to get our babies home, or word that we ever will. So, we're going in hopes that we're helping out with the care and development of the babies, many of which are already two years old, and maybe spread a little goodwill, too.
When this opportunity came up, I was on the fence about whether I should go. I was being selfish thinking how hard it would be to leave that sweet pea's precious face and how upset I would be. And, I still do worry about that, but outweighing that is the thought that if I can make even just a little bit of a difference, even just for 8 days, in these 29 young lives, I should do it.
So, I'll be packing up my anti-malarial and anti-nausea pills, a list of key Vietnamese phrases and extra Wet Ones and leaving for a remote little village at the Southern tip of the Vietnam peninsula in 7 weeks.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Jack Bauer and I are moving to China! Yes, China, as in half-way around the world; China, the country that only allows for the birth of one child; and China, the country with 1.3 billion people (which maybe will help me past all of this wanting a child thing and I'll focus on zero population growth).
Jack was presented with this work opportunity (after all, even the Chinese need their counter-terrorism consultants) around the same time that our journey with our Nest didn't work out. Between that and the continued bad news on our adoption, we decided it was time to shake things up in our lives a little bit - and this was just the thing.
It's temporary - only for ten months. We leave in October and will be back next July. We're thrilled and excited. If we can't have a child, we'll just move to China! So, we're off on an Asian Adventure.
Of course, in the back of my mind, I keep thinking that there may be some mystical 100-year old medicine man lingering in some back street of Shanghai who can cure my infertility with an odd concoction of Asian herbs and some chanting. I'll let you know what I find out.
Oh, and I have some additional big news, but it will have to wait until later this week. Stay tuned.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The other thing that I had to laugh at was when my gyn asked me if I was using any type of birth control. Yeah, that stopped happening about five years ago, and apparently I never needed it.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
(This is not me on the cover!) I'm going to contradict myself within this post. Let me explain. Just call me Dr. Jekyll/Mrs. Hyde, (or Dr. Gonal/Mrs. Screwed-Up-Insides), though I don't know which side is my secret self and which one is my "putting my infertility out there self."
For some reason, I've kept my profile private on my blog, not disclosing my identity. Originally, that was because when I started my blog, it was following our journey of working with a gestational carrier and we only told a few people about the fact that we were doing that. As many of my fellow infertiles can attest, we didn't want to have to give daily updates to friends and family following her progress (or lack thereof).
Flash forward a bit. Our trial with our "Nest" didn't work, and yet I remained anonymous.
In the meantime, I agreed to do an interview with a local magazine reporter about my quest to find the lighter side of infertility and how writing about it has been cathartic. The article came out this month, and I'm officially the face of infertility for Indianapolis. No hiding it anymore!
All in all, I was pretty pleased with how the article turned out. The irony of the whole thing is that the article just below my "INFERTILITY" header, is about, of course, "HEALTHY PREGNANCY". I showed my grandmother the magazine, and she only saw my photo and the word pregnancy and, bless her sweet heart, she thought it was my way of telling her I was pregnant.
I just laughed and said, "No grandmother. My article is the one on infertility." She smiled and said, "Oh that's right dear, you can't have babies."
Saturday, August 22, 2009
As a result of my duo utero, I always thought this would give me double the chance of getting pregnant. I always thought that God had blessed me with more than enough of the proper equipment to get pregnant at the drop of a hat – or simply forgetting a condom or birth control pills. After all, in some countries having two uteruses makes you a fertility goddess. One would think that I have an ultra-reproductive capacity, but alas I don't, and it's some kind of bizarre joke that only now I can laugh about.
Not only do I have the two wombs, but I also only have one kidney. Seems that there wasn't room for both two because I had so many reproductive pieces. Luckily, my single congenital kidney hasn't made an impact on my life at all - it was only discovered about six years ago. My uni-kidney takes good care of me though, even though I wasn't very nice to it in college.
Just a little background on my funky anatomy.
Friday, August 21, 2009
36 years of age
12 years of marriage
5 years trying to conceive
61 cycles trying to conceive
611 pre-natal vitamins
55 ovulation detection tests
16 pregnancy tests
23 blood draws and ultrasounds
Tens of thousands of dollars (I’m too scared about the actual number that I won’t disclose it)
3 ovulation induction cycles
66 fertility drug injections
3 IVF transfers
1 embryo transfer to an amazing gestational carrier
16 times fingerprinted
1 21-month old boy waiting for his parents in Vietnam
124 pages of adoption dossier
410 days waiting for matched baby in Vietnam
Scores of family and friends who give constant love support and love
500 (at least) incidents of hilarity and humor from dealing with infertility
1 awesome husband, without whom I would have gone crazy
That just about sums it up.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Jack Bauer and I have had quite a challenging summer on the road to adding a baby to our family-- with our last two embryos not sticking in our gestational carrier and continued bad news from Vietnam where our darling boy is waiting.
So, we took a brief vacation last week, and it was exactly what we needed. I feel recharged and refreshed. It’s amazing what a few days in a bed and breakfast in a quaint town with the one you love most in the world can do for the soul. That, pounds of French fries and ice cream, and naps in a hammock help, too.
All the mushy stuff aside, I discovered another thing that melted away some of the stress of trying to add a baby (and I would add that it’s also something that could take away most any type of tension): Doing something completely out of character.
I experienced it first hand over the weekend. There was a concert at a waterfront park, so we decided to sit and enjoy the music, beautiful weather and scenery. The band was actually playing karaoke songs and people from the audience would pick there song and sing with the band.
Now, I have been known to belt out Irene Cara’s “What a Feeling” or “Fame” and at our own wedding two of my closest friends and I got the band to let us sing “Love Shack,” but these incidents were under the influence of a few cocktails, and would never under sober circumstances.
I have no idea what got over me. Perhaps it was the state of extreme relaxation I was in or that the breeze off the lake actually had some kind of chemical in it that altered my mind. No matter, I told Jack Bauer, that I, too, was going to sing. He encouraged me, but I think he was shocked and stunned when I approached the stage after a gentleman who sang a mean Johnny Cash.
So, in front of a crowd of about 250 Michigans, I sang the Kate Pierson part of “Love Shack,” shimmied my hips and smiled as I looked out into the crowd. It was exhilarating.
Applause followed my act and several people told me “good job” as I made my way back to my seat. It was thrilling.
I highly recommend doing something out of the ordinary to break away from the routine of infertility woes or any other stressor. You may not have to do something as dramatic as jumping out of a plane or singing in front of a crowd, but stepping into a different skin can banish your worries. And, it’s worth it, even if it’s just for a minute.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
But, I also honestly believe in the concept of adoring the mom-to-be with gifts for her and the little one still in utero, and I’m typically happy to attend these blessed events. But what about those of us who have tried harder than most to get pregnant, and still can’t conceive? Why not us? Shouldn’t we be allowed one day in the sun and showered with gifts, too? .
There was a great Sex in the City episode where Carrie Bradshaw, frustrated by all the wedding and baby showers that she has to attend while single and child-free, decides to register for a pair of Manolo Blahniks – and ends up getting them from a friend who was so consumed by her own “childful” world of three kids and a husband that she forgets what it’s like to be in Carrie’s shoes (literally).
I think Carrie was on to something. In my humble opinion, I think we fertility-challenged deserve a brunch in our honor filled with gifts of spa treatments and too-expensive shoes for our extraordinary efforts. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but think about a little of this injustice for a moment.
Whomever said, “To the victor go the spoils” had it right, I guess. But, I think valiant efforts to procreate should be celebrated, too.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
It seems like if I were going to be bitter, it would have happened years ago, and not now, but I'm not going to argue with my emotions tonight.
The good news is that Jack and I are going to take a few days off next week and have a little rest and relaxation. I can't wait. In fact, I'm so excited, that I'm having a hard time concentrating at work - and we don't leave until Wednesday.
I think that a nice little break will recharge my soul and mind.
If anyone has ideas other than a vacation on how to get rid of the bitters, let me know. Perhaps I just need to indulge in some sweets.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Many of these children, including our Nate, are approaching their 2nd birthdays and we have learned that the orphanage is not giving them solid foods. If solid food isn't introduced soon, they may not learn how to chew. Now, a group of the parents and volunteers are planning trips to aid in the care of these 21 babies at their orphanage.
I hate to use my blog as a place to ask for money, but in the case of our little boy and the other children who have loving families waiting for them in the States, I'll make an exception.
All of the parents are paying their way, but we need donations in order to take care of the flights and room and board for the volunteers.
Even if you can just spare $5, we and the 21 other families waiting for their babies (now toddlers) would be so grateful. Hopefully, we'll have enough people to stay in Vietnam until we can bring them home. I'm planning on going in early November.
Check out the poster boy of the day - Nate the Great, our little sweet pea.
Even $5 would be a huge help for our cause.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
So I had to replay the 2-minute shpeal that I now have down to a science about how we can’t get the local police chief to sign off on the documentation for these now toddlers who have parents waiting for them in the States.
I understand that people are curious about what’s going on with our adoption. I mean, I’ve only been talking about it for the last 3 and a half years. But, it gets exhausting explaining what’s going on and responding to questions that I don’t necessarily have the answers to.
And, on the off moment when it’s not on my mind, and someone asks, it just brings up feelings of frustration and heartbreak.
I thought I’d be used to it by now, but it doesn’t get an easier telling the story.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly freaked out about getting the swine flu. I just think it’s discriminatory to give a vaccine to someone just because she is lucky (and let’s face it, so much of it is sheer luck) enough to conceive.
I mean am I not worthy of getting a swine flu shot just because my womb is barren? It’s not like I chose to have fertility issues or did something to inhibit my fertility. I pay more than my fair share of taxes and have contributed way more out-of-pocket expenses to the healthcare system than the average 36-year old woman.
I think trying as hard as I have, as well as the millions of others of infertiles, should count for something. Heck, after the six cycles on fertility drug injections, I could probably even give myself the shot. I wouldn’t have to wait in line. The nurses could just throw me the vial and syringe and I could do my own. I could probably even help them inoculate the masses.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
And it seems like an innocuous one that many people ask when they are attempting to get to know you on a personal basis. But to those of us who have struggled with pregnancy – it can be a question considerably double edged.
My typical response is “Not yet.” But, most of the time I’m holding back something like, “Well, the fact that I’ve been married for twelve years and don’t have any kids should tell you something.” I usually refrain from giving the full exhaustive summary of our baby-making trials.
But, I can always see behind peoples' eyes the questions and the mental calculations of why a 36-year old woman married since her mid-twenties doesn’t have kids. Here in the good ol’ Midwest, where a family with at least two kids is the norm, being the only person who doesn’t talk about T-ball or soccer games on Monday morning makes you an outlier.
But, I can always tell you about the cat vomit I cleaned up on the carpet or how my dog learned a new trick.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Besides, the fun aunts get the best of both worlds. We get to love, play and spoil them rotten, and then return them to their parents. When their mom and dad are the most uncool people ever, I will still be the "bestest aunt in the universe."
My niece once told someone that I was better than Santa Claus, and my nephew says I'm beautiful and skinny - what's not to love?
These lights of my life make me realize that an aunt is an extension of their mom - and sometimes I'm even better than her. I can enrich their lives in many ways, but they bring me more joy than I could ever imagine.
How many parents do you know who get in the pipe-hanging-from-the-ceiling-thingy at Chuck E. Cheese? Who else can take them on a special aunt/niece 10-year old birthday trip to New York City?
And, sometimes it's the 7-year old who has the best perspective. After talking to my sister about why Jack Bauer and I don't have children, he was sad because he said we'd be a great mommy and daddy. But, then he lit up and told her "At least they have me and E (his sister)."
I couldn't agree more.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I’ve been so proud of myself for keeping it together. I didn’t miss a step after being told The Nest wasn’t pregnant. After I picked my jaw off of my desk from the shock of the negative news, I cried for about three minutes, then realized I had a meeting in less than 10 minutes, so I sucked it up and got it together. I’ve continued to plug along at work, throw myself into my writing and other activities to stay busy and keep my mind off the crappy reality of the embryo transfer not working.
In fact, I have many friends, colleagues and others who have no idea what we’ve been through this summer. I went to get my haircut tonight and my hair dresser asked me what I’ve been up to. It’s not even worth going into it, but yet it was such an important and central part of our lives for so long. And, if they knew what was going on, my occasional acerbic tongue and bad moods could be easily forgiven.
However, I have been in a terrible mood most of the day and can’t quite snap out of it. After I got behind a car driving too slowly down the highway, I exploded with expletives. When someone asked what I thought was a stupid question via email, I belted out a tirade under my breath. And, God help Jack Bauer or anyone else if they cross me tonight. Fire will be expelled from my mouth.
I need a break. I need a vacation. Soon.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Only 0.1-0.5% of women in the U.S. (which equates to about 1 in 50,000) have a bicornuate uterus – with odds like that, I’d have a better chance of winning the lottery. But again, when you’ve got a nice set of birthing hips, a husband with an off-the-chart sperm count, and more than ten years of practice to get there, it seems like it should have been a slam dunk.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I am the no prego pro. Infertility warrior. Bunless oven. Can’t-make-a -baby veteran.
Five years, tens of thousands of dollars, 1611 pre-natal vitamins, 55 ovulation detection tests, 78 fertility drug injections, 16 pregnancy tests, 30 blood draws and ultrasounds and nine embryos, and I am still not pregnant. And that doesn’t even count the numbers from our gestational carrier who tried to carry our embryos last month.
I am a woman with a set of birthing hips proportionately larger than the rest of my body, and not one, but TWO uteruses (uteri? Seriously, I’m not kidding. I have a bicornuate uterus, which is basically one uterus split into two), I always thought that God had blessed me with more than enough of the proper equipment to get pregnant at the drop of a hat – or simply forgetting a condom or birth control pills, but so far, no such luck.
The fertility gods have had other plans.
Through all of the crazy ups and downs of the journey to have offspring, the one thing that my husband, Jack Bauer, and I have tried to do is keep our sense of humor and try to find the lighter side of infertility. Laughing is better than crying.
Friday, July 17, 2009
And, now I have my own – a barren bauble.
After our heartbreak from our latest attempt at a bio baby, Jack Bauer bought me a gorgeous diamond pendant. It blew me off my feet – both because of his incredibly sweet and thoughtful act of kindness, but also because it was an amazing piece of jewelry.
I may not have the same war stories as my girlfriends who have been pregnant - swollen feet, back pain, stretch marks, 22 hours of labor or delivering a 9 pound + baby, but pumping yourself full of hormones, being told when to have sex, and having a vaginal ultrasound wand jabbed up your nether region every other day is no fun and games, either. Damn it. I deserve my barren bauble as much as they deserve their baby baubles.
Of course, I’d give up my bauble in a heartbeat, if I could have the baby.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control,
• Number of women ages 15-44 with impaired fecundity (what a horrible way to say “impaired ability to have children”): 7.3 million or 11.8%
• Number of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile (which the CDC defines as “one unable to get pregnant for at least 12 consecutive months”): 2.1 million
• Number of women ages 15-44 who have ever used infertility services: 7.3 million
While there can certainly be tears and frustration along the way, not all stories are sad. One thing that I’ve discovered throughout this crazy ride is all of the ridiculous and hilarious situations that seem to just go with the territory. There can be plenty of funny incidents and awkward and absurd moments on the way to babydom, whether your trial in conception involves candlelight and Barry White or Petri dishes and blastocytes.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I’ve run through a gamut of emotions since finding out the news – mad, sad, frustrated, angry, [insert your favorite synonym for pissed off here]. But, strangely, I haven’t had a complete meltdown yet. Sure, I’ve been upset, but I haven’t had the deep sobbing session that I keep waiting for – maybe it hasn’t fully hit me yet.
I also thought I’d go into hyperdrive with my usual coping mechanisms, but so far, no wine or Oreos have been consumed. I’ve put things in shopping carts on line, but haven’t clicked the purchase button. Perhaps I’m in a little bit of denial.
God bless our dear Nest. It hasn’t been easy on her, either. It was quite a shock – we both thought she was pregnant. And, damn the pregnancy-like symptoms that progesterone gives.
Not sure what is next for us, but Jack Bauer and I are ready to shake things up a bit.
Thank you for your support, prayers and fertility juju that everyone has sent our way. The community of infertile and fertile bloggers is awesome!
Over the course of the next week or so, I’ll be transitioning over to my new blog – Fertility Foibles – www.fertilityfoibles.blogspot.com. Join me there for more of the lighter side of infertility.
Our journey with our Nest is complete, but our story isn’t over; it’s just a new chapter.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Anyway, it was a good trip to visit with family and concentrate on things other than the Nest’s pending beta test tomorrow.
So, two reasons for the title of today’s posting.
1. I didn’t have internet access while in Utah; thus the lack of postings last week.
2. I won’t do another post for at least another week, regardless of the Nest’s beta test results. I will either need time to celebrate beyond belief with the limited few who are aware of our current baby project with the Nest, or I will need time to be sad, eat cupcakes, buy expensive shoes and purses (or maybe a horse) and spend time with Jack Bauer.
Back when Jack and I decided to work with the Nest, we decided that this would be our last shot at biological children. I only had two embryos left, and I will not go through the process of another egg retrieval. No matter what happens, we truly believe that we’ve done everything we’re comfortable with and in our power to bring a baby into our lives. If it happens, we will be elated, but if it doesn’t, we still have one of the best relationships of any couple I know, and I'm more than OK with that. I am more than happy being a wife and the “best aunt in the universe” (as my niece and nephew call me). There are many more titles that I am proud of, and I will be fine if "mom to a human" isn't one of them.
That being said, I think the Nest is going to be keeping those eggs for another 8 and a half months. Woman’s intuition is rarely wrong, but I can accept it if I am.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Perhaps I should flag down one of the many-kid-producing Mormon mothers to ask her if there are any tricks to the trade that we non-Latter Day Saints believers should be trying to produce offspring. Maybe those special garments that they wear actually increase sperm and egg production or have some kind of super-fertile power. Or, could it be the large Jello consumption?
Perhaps this should be the trip where I find out what their secrets are. I’ll let you know if I uncover anything worthwhile
Monday, June 29, 2009
I have a favor. I am looking for some funny stories on the following topics:
1. Making Love and Making Babies are not the Same Thing - funny moments while trying to procreate. I've found that most of these moments are dictated by doctors, not by our own urges and that it stops being fun and starts being more like a chore.
2. Fun side effects from fertility drugs - everything from being tired to constipated to gaining weight and having bad skin and hair failing out (all of which happened to me)
3. Funny stories while going through an IVF or IUI cycle. For example, I did a strip tease in the hospital room before my egg retrieval for my husband before he went back to produce his half of our embryos.
4. Interesting coping mechanisms for not getting pregnant - drinking, eating sweets, buying something indulgent or other things that make us feel better when our procedures don't work.
5. Financial tales - I know someone who had a yard sale to pay for a fertility treatment; I buy HPTs at the Dollar Store, and we put most of our bills on our AmEx in order to get frequent flier points.
If you have a story or stories that fit in these categories, please let me know. Thanks! Email me at email@example.com
Sunday, June 28, 2009
So, for years you avoid getting pregnant at the “wrong” time, dutifully taking birth control pills at the same time every day. Checking off all the things you want to do as a couple before having children.
Jack Bauer and I really wanted to enjoy being married for a while before starting a family. We loved to travel all around the world and worked long and hard at our jobs. He got his MBA; I trained for marathons. We even lived abroad for a year (not that these things can’t be done with children, they’re just a little easier without). We had planned everything out pretty specifically. New Zealand trip – check; promotion - check; buy a house – check; save a little bit of a nest egg so that we could have a nest for our eggs – check.
And like so many other couples, when we decided the time was right, it really didn’t occur to us that we would have challenges. After all, all of the women on both sides of my family, including my sister, pretty much got pregnant by looking at their husbands sideways, so I didn’t think anything of it. In fact, my mom was so hyperfertile that she got pregnant with my sister with an IUD in place and my mother-in-law got pregnant with my husband in a similar manner. I just thought JB and I could decide that one day we’d snap our fingers, so to speak, and the next day I’d be pregnant. But, so far, no stork has visited our house.
It just seems so ironic that something you have tried to avoid for so long could actually be completely avoided. We haven’t used birth control in five years and it’s made no difference whatsoever.
One night JB and I were watching TV after one of our many failed artificial attempts to conceive. He seemed to have an epiphany, looking up from his BusinessWeek saying, “You mean we never had to use a condom.” No idea what prompted that thought in his head, but I thought that one moment summed up a lot of this crazy journey.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Honestly, I’ve been better than I thought about obsessing with the fact that this could actually be the time that works and that Jack Bauer and I could be parents in nine short months (after almost five years, nine months is nothing).
The most Jack and I have talked about the prospect of parenting this week is about potential boy names. If we have twin girls, we already have the names picked out, but the boy names have been harder. Our favorite name in the world has been given to our little boy in Vietnam (see end of posting for more details on that), so we need some new ones if these are XY embryos. But, I digress.
Monday was tough, but for some reason, every day has gotten a little bit easier not to completely obsess. I will admit though, it is a very surreal situation.
And, unlike my many blogging IF friends, the Nest will not be doing a home pregnancy test before her Beta which is still nine days away, though she did jokingly threaten that she was going to go to the Dollar Store and pick up ten tests and take one a day until she saw those magical two blue lines.
Perhaps a little known fact: those Dollar Store tests work. I only discovered them a year or so after a friend told me that the Dollar Store carries ovulation test kits. The ones I’ve used are much clunkier than the sleek and slender expensive brands (and they sometimes have instructions only in Spanish), but for me, if I was going to only see one line, I’d rather pay a dollar rather than $13. I figure I’ve taken no less than 20 HPTs in the last five years – think of the money I could’ve saved.
And, an update on our nonbio boy in Vietnam: Our hopefulness was short-lived. We received more troubling news this week that makes it less and less likely that we (or the 22 other families waiting for their babies) will get to ever bring him home. I’m about at my wit’s end on this situation, but that’s a whole other story.
After re-reading this posting, I realize that I should have titled it Random Thoughts. Sorry, I can blame lack of clarity due to lack of caffeine this morning – and a mind going in hundreds of directions.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I never thought I’d have anything in common with SJP. I’m too cheap to don Manolos (I can’t walk very well in heels anyway and all my money has gone to the creation of offspring – bio and nonbio); I’ve never been considered fashion forward; and I’ve never been the lead in a stage production of Annie.
But, aside from our impeccable choice in men, I now have a huge thing in common with her. I, too, have a gestational carrier (though the press keeps calling hers a surrogate). Ms. Parker’s and Matthew Broderick’s (whom I have loved since War Games) carrier had twin girls on Monday afternoon. It’d be great if Jack Bauer and I could also have the “healthy twin birth” in common with the couple.
I’m sure that all the cool celebrities and trendy and stylish people will be following my and SJP’s lead. Mark my words, nine or ten months from now, there will be a rash of celebs announcing pending births when they have no baby bumps themselves.
Surrogates will be all the rage. And, I will be able to say that I was a trendsetter for once in my life. Yeah, the whole colored or patterned tights with cut-off jeans shorts and Birkenstocks movement I went through in college started and stopped with me alone. Don’t worry, I went to a liberal arts school, so I didn’t stick out that much.
Unlike SJP’s surrogate, I promised the Nest that the paparazzi wouldn’t go after her and that the police wouldn’t break into her house.
Speaking of the Nest, you have to check out her awesome blog at www.mynestyouregg.blogspot.com Her post from yesterday is hilarious.
Monday, June 22, 2009
As we sat with our lovely and beautiful Nest, trying to calm her nerves and ease her mind, I thought about how we’d gotten to this point.
Way back in 2005, Jack Bauer and I started trying for a baby the old-fashioned way – no luck. A couple months with ovulation detector sticks – no bun in the oven. Because of my bicornuate uteri (yes, I have two uteruses. Have I failed to mention that?), my fertility doctor decides that we can move straight into the hard core stuff. So, in November of 2005, we try our first Ovulation Induction /Timed Intercourse cycle, which is basically the same as Artificial Insemination, except that the inseminating part isn’t artificial, it’s the real thing. You do fertility injections to boost your eggs and then the nurse calls you to tell you exactly when to have sex – it’s oh-so-romantic.
That one didn’t work, so we tried again in Feb. 2006. Once again, I wasn’t knocked up. After failing two times within four months, we decided to take a break for a few months. So, we tried one last OI in August of 2006.
After that one didn’t work, our doctor advised us to try IVF. We were excited – surely this was a sure thing. Our egg retrieval and first transfer was that November. In fact, JB wasn’t even in the country when the transfer took place. I thought that was the time it had to work – what a great story. “I got pregnant without my husband being there.” But, I didn’t.
At that point, we decided that there was a real possibility that it would never happen, so we started our paperwork to adopt a baby from Vietnam the last week of December 2006.
We jumped right back in the IVF pool pretty quickly. I had my second transfer of thawed totsicles in March of 2007. No kiddo.
Another break, while we were busy filling out paperwork, getting fingerprinted, sending checks to pull together our adoption dossier.
We decided to give the IVF one last try in November 2007. But, again, a negative test result. We took almost a year to re-group and think about what we should do next.
We found out about our nonbio baby in July 2008, so we thought we were getting close, but after things were put on hold indefinitely two months later, we started thinking of other options. And, we weren’t getting any younger.
Then the Nest came into our lives and the rest is history.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This morning, our wonderful fertility doctor transferred two beautiful thawed embryos (an 8-cell and a 12-cell) into the Nest’s “playpen,” as he called it. What a fun place – she had it decked out with comfy blankets, toys and snacks. So, now the waiting begins again. Play nice, kiddos.
Earlier this week, I mentioned that it had to be fate that our transfer day is Father’s Day (I barely remember the dates or the months for the three transfers that I went through), doesn’t that give those embies a little extra boost knowing they have a daddy waiting for them? Sure, Jack Bauer has an important role breaking up terrorist cells, advising the President on global security issues and decoding nuclear devices, but he’s also a pretty amazing guy (please don’t get a big head, Jack) with awesome daddy potential.
I think you can tell a lot about how a guy would act as a dad by watching him interact with your pets. Jack makes up funny songs about the dog and cats (usually it’s a Journey or Bon Jovi song with new lyrics), cleans up cat vomit (usually after he found it with his bare foot), beams with pride when the dog learns a new trick or doesn’t eat her own poo, breaks up fights, and pets, plays and loves on them several times a day. If that’s not a daddy waiting to happen, I don’t know who is.
Happy Father’s Day to all dads (especially my own), bio dads and nonbio dads, and hopeful dads.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
She started on her progesterone today, and I had to break the news to her that it can cause some major constipation. Typically, my bowel schedule could synchronize the U.S. Naval Observatory Master Clock, but when I was on progesterone, I was completely stopped up. So, I decided to bite the bullet and buy some prune juice, the ultimate cure. It actually worked and it wasn’t that bad. Just another one of the joys of fertility treatments.
It’s another sign! I was just watching a rerun of “Friends” and it was the episode where Phoebe, who was a gestational carrier for her brother and sister-in-law, gives birth to their triplets. Coincidence? I think not. There must be at least 150 episodes of that show – and that was the one that was on tonight. Hmmmm… Yes, I might be grasping here, but indulge me.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Now admittedly, we are the weaker sex. I see what the Factory has gone through and I don’t know if I would be able to keep my spirits that high with the constant disappointments. And I can only imagine what those hormone shots do to you. Factory has never gone completely crazy. I admit that there have been times when I thought her kooky actions were because of hormones only to find out she hadn’t been on them for a week. I guess one of the benefits of having a wacky wife is that she you never know if the crazy response is the hormones or just her personality.
Anyway, when I was told what my role was in this whole experience, I realized that I got off pretty easy. Make a sample. Deposit said sample in cup – no worries.
I don’t know really what I expected when I was shown the room to do my business. Maybe some mood lighting? Maybe some Barry White or Luther Vandross in the background? I don’t know. But what I got was the sterile exam room that had a fake leather couch (pleather?) in there with a stack of magazines sitting next to the sink.
Not the most conducive environment for a man to get worked up. Like most guys – when I was 14, it seemed like erections would come every 1 – 2 hours, and of course, right before the teacher called you up to the blackboard to do a math equation. I wonder if my hatred of math stems from this? But there are many things that are harder at 35 than were when I was younger.
But anyway, calling an erection on command – not the easiest thing to do. Plus, as I started to think about this, I wondered how many other men had touched (one handed) those magazines or sat their bare behind on that nasty leather couch. Trust me, getting the erection is one thing – sometimes keeping it is another.
The other thing that went through my mind as I sat there pondering my role – how long should this take? Is this a 15 minute job, 30 minutes, an hour? I didn’t really know. All men have this basic desire to be seen as virile – but with this, I had no frame of reference to what good looks like. If I come out too early will the nurse raise one eyebrow at my fast performance? Or if I take too long will I get the (God forbid) knock on the door to ask if everything is OK?
In retrospect, it is a funny experience that I can laugh about now, but when it happened it was one of the most awkward things I have had to go through.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I must be hormonal (self-created, not from any biologic or synthetic additives to my system. Remember, I’m sitting this cycle out. Instead, our Nest is dealing with that stuff.). While I’m on the topic, and now feel like ranting a bit, there are other injustices throughout the infertility journey. Probably the biggest one is the injustice of responsible people wanting a child and not being able to conceive one when there are plenty of drug addicts (and I don’t mean those of use who start going into a withdrawal without our fertility medications), deadbeats and other not-fit-for-owning-a-fish-let-alone-a-child mamas and papas out there who seem to get pregnant without even trying.
There’s also the injustice of the financial burden put on most of fertility-challenged females. Very few insurance companies will cover even one iota of fertility testing or treatments, but most will cover drug addicts, smokers and others with health issues that are self-inflicted versus those of us who can’t do anything to control our lack of procreation. Many insurance agencies will even cover abortion surgeries – so they’ll cover the expiration of a child, but not the conception, but that’s as much as I’ll say on that volatile subject.
I know there are others, but my brain is fried. I’m really not that bitter about this stuff because I’ve lived with it for the last five years and it’s just part of our daily life, but sometimes it’s good to get that off my not-engorged-from-being-pregnant chest.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
These pseudo-illogical ways disappeared for the most part during college and my twenties. My only momentary lapse was buying a plastic statue of St. Joseph, the patron saint of home and family, and plant him in the ground upside down next to your “for sale” sign. You then say a prayer to him every day for nine days and your house should sell more quickly. So, maybe it’s more religious than superstitious, but you get the idea. Anyway, Jack Bauer and I tried this method to sell our house in Atlanta and it worked.
And then I started trying to get pregnant.
Since I originally thought it would only take a few months, six max, to get pregnant, I started buying cute unisex onesies, décor for the nursery and other baby belongings. We’d buy baby souvenirs while we were on vacation, too.
When I started the hard core fertility treatments, I went into overdrive (maybe it was the fertility drugs), buying even more infant equipment because I was convinced that it would work and I’d soon need Diaper Genies and teething toys.
After three ovulation induction treatments didn’t work and the first IVF didn’t take, I started reverting back to those old superstitious ways, and wondered if buying all the baby stuff was actually inhibiting my ability to get pregnant. So, I went cold turkey and stopped the shopping spree. You would’ve thought I was a heroin addict, I’d get the shakes when I’d pass a Gymboree.
Then we got the call last July about Nate, and those baby buying tendencies picked right back up. My girlfriends almost had an intervention with me after one trip to an Outlet Mall – I tore threw Oshkosh B’gosh and Hartstrings like there was no tomorrow, estimating how big Nate would be when would get to bring him home. Then, as you know from the NonBio Baby post, all progress to get him home stopped.
So I had to go into withdrawal once again. But, I have stuck to my guns and haven’t bought any baby-related stuff for more than a year and a half, except for shower gifts for friends, which is incredibly hard to do.
Here’s hoping that I’ll have trips to Pottery Barn Kids in my near future.