Thursday, July 30, 2009

No Swine Flu Vaccine for You

So, I heard yesterday that pregnant women are going to be among the first eligible for the precious swine flu vaccine. (Side bar: Because the death rates for pregnant women is much higher than other sections of the population, I totally get the reason why, but let me have a little fun for a second while I rant about my infertility) But what about those of us who want to be pregnant, but can’t create our own little suckling. -- can’t we get inoculated?

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

A Seemingly Simple and Harmless Question

What may seem like a simple and harmless question with a simple answer to some becomes much more complicated to the infertile: “Do you have any kids?”

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

Best Aunt Ever

I may not be a mom, but I am the best aunt ever. Well, that is, if you ask my niece and nephew. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my sister and brother-in-law for having such amazing and sweet kids. I honestly love these two as much as any kids I could give birth to.

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

A Delayed Reaction

I think the stress and frustration of the last few weeks is finally starting to catch up with me. I still haven’t had a major meltdown after finding out the embryos didn’t stick in our gestational carrier.

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

Are two uteri(uses) better than one?

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned before that I have a bicornuate uterus – or two uteruses/uteri. I’ve known about my freaky anatomy for quite a while and thought my double uterus would also double my chances of getting pregnant – weren’t my odds twice as good as anyone else? Turns out that blessing of two uteruses can actually make it more difficult – - what if the egg from the left ovary goes into the left uterus, but the sperm go to the right? After all men are known to be lousy with directions, and Jack Bauer is no exception.

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

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

My Barren Bauble

Many of my friends’ husbands buy jewelry to reward/compensate/thank their wives for the nine months of carrying their child and the sometimes grueling birthing process. They proudly don their baby baubles – typically diamonds, charm bracelets with their child’s name or birthstones, or other jewels. I totally get that – it’s a nice gesture to commemorate the birth and give some props to the new mama.

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

There are millions of us

Every day thousands of women take an at-home pregnancy test and fail to see those two positive blue lines. It turns out that there are over six million women each year that will face some kind of fertility issue. Whether a couple only needs two tries to get pregnant or two hundred, most everyone can relate to calculating cycles and trying to decipher ovulation test sticks. And, unfortunately the statistics uncover the fact that there are literally millions of us.
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

The next chapter

I’ve avoided writing this posting for the last several days, but I can’t wait any longer. Unfortunately, the last two embryos didn’t stick into their Nest. I think that deep down I thought that “if I don’t write about it; it isn’t true.”

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 – 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

Radio Silence

I really don’t think I exaggerated by calling Utah the land of the overly fertile. This was evidenced by the fact that the minute I arrived in the Salt Lake City airport, I was surrounded by blond-headed children. Swarms of kiddos were at the baggage claim, in line at the movies, at the rec center where I swam laps (I’ve never seen a locker room so full of kids). Yep, call me, hypersensitive – I know these are all typical hangouts for people under 18. It just seems like there are more small fries out there than any other city I’ve been to (haven’t been to Oz yet, so I’ll wait and pass judgment for that place later).

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.