Archive for October, 2006

Information Overload

October 30, 2006

Yesterday C. and I went to RESOLVE’s Annual Family Building Symposium. There were three information sessions and each session had three topics to choose from. Since we’ve been through pretty much every treatment option, we chose all the topics related to adoption. They were: 1) Domestic adoption is it right for you? 2) International adoption: how to choose a country and 3) Effects of orphanage living on child development.

They were all very interesting, the last one most so. My heart just breaks to think of all those abandoned kids out there. In some of the poorest orphanages the kids spend 23 hours a day in a crib or playpen, get picked up only for diaper changes, are fed by propped bottles and have no toys. None. They learn to pick lint on their bedding or scratch at chipped paint (often lead paint) on cribs and walls to entertain themselves. They often don’t develop normal language skills because no one talks to or answers them. It is so very sad. Utterly heartbreaking.
That said, most of these kids catch up and surpass milestones in a HUGE hurry once they are placed with a loving family. That was the biggest thing I got out of that session. Be prepared for the worst, but in all likelihood your adopted child will progress in leaps and bounds. Children are amazingly resilient to even the worst conditions and they respond to love. The younger the better. Beyond the age of two these kids often have long term problems. That is the most heartbreaking group of all.

Many of my fears about domestic adoption were also allayed. I guess my preference is still for international, but I am now open enough to domestic that if C. can’t make peace with international then I can make peace with domestic.

It also hit home, more than ever, how ignorant people are about the adoption process (myself included, but thankfully less so now). My blood just boils when people say why don’t you “just” adopt. They have no idea how much effort and love goes into it. How much heartache. And it’s not just all about us, that want a child, it’s about the child, the birth mother giving up the child for whatever range of complex reasons, the social issues that are creating these scenarios, etc., not to mention the long term issues of it all.

It was a day well spent.

I also won a one hour massage in the lunchtime raffle! Bonus!

I met a woman at lunch who is my doppelganger. Same age, similar IF treatment story, same utterly exhausted, empty eyed look about her. We clicked instantly. I only wish I had suggested exchanging phone numbers.

This is not a paid advertising or anything, but I am three years into my infertility saga and I just now joined RESOLVE. I wish I had done it sooner. They really offer some great resources. A lot of it you can access on their website without joining.

This is National Infertility Awareness Week and November is Adoption Awareness Month so there are a lot of special events and sessions being offered right now. Just a thought if anyone is feeling lost out there. The symposium also had info on egg donation, surrogacy, coping with holidays, family, stress . . . and some of the more general “beginner” stuff for people just starting their struggle.

In other news, we had scary winds this weekend, and living in the woods, we now have an incredible amount of twigs and branches to pick up. The leaves are daunting enough this time of year, but the yard clean up this year won’t be accomplished my the leaf blower alone!
C. and I fired my kiln again this weekend and got some more nice pots. (The naked ones are all dressed up now.)

Poor C. had some hideous flu. He aches all over. He stayed home today (very rare for him to miss work). I am afraid it’s the Lymes back to haunt him.

Our oldest cat goes to the vet tomorrow for bloodwork and an ultrasound. (And she’s not even trying to get pregnant.) Poor Mags is in renal failure. The ultrasound is to see how bad and the bloodwork is to see if she has a thyroid issue on top of it by now. Poor thing. I’m afraid we’ll lose her soon. She weighs 6 lbs, down from her normal 11 lbs. Medical treatment at this stage involves daily subcutaneous fluids. Maggie is not a sweet docile cat. She is our wild child. She has loving moments, but in general she is a big grump and even a mean at times. She’s a humane society rescue that never did get very tame. Still we will miss her, she’s family.

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The Hormone Hostage

October 27, 2006

A friend just sent me this e-mail. It’s PMS humor, but it rings so true for IF drugs as well. It was worth passing along for the laugh. I can’t format it into a chart like it’s meant to be becasue I am a computer dummy, but you’ll catch on. Each set of statements for men is divided into dangerous, safer, safest, and ultra safe.

Enjoy!

*****
The Hormone Hostage knows that there are days in the month when all a man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life in his own hands! This is a handy guide that should be as common as a driver’s license in the wallet of every husband, boyfriend, co-worker or significant other!

DANGEROUS:
SAFER:
SAFEST:
ULTRA SAFE:

What’s for dinner?
Can I help you with dinner?
Where would you like to go for dinner?
Here, have some wine.

Are you wearing that?
Wow, you sure look good in brown!
WOW! Look at you!
Here, have some wine

What are you so worked up about?
Could we be overreacting?
Here’s my paycheck.
Here, have some wine.

Should you be eating that?
You know, there are a lot of apples left.
Can I get you a piece of chocolate with that?
Here, have some wine.

What did you DO all day?
I hope you didn’t over-do it today.
I’ve always loved you in that robe!
Here, have some more wine.

13 Things PMS Stands For:

1 Pass My Shotgun

2 Psychotic Mood Shift

3 Perpetual Munching Spree

4 Puffy Mid-Section

5 People Make me Sick

6 Provide Me with Sweets

7 Pardon My Sobbing

8 Pimples May Surface

9 Pass My Sweatpants

10. Pissy Mood Syndrome

11. Plainly; Men Suck

12. Pack My Stuff

and my favorite one.

13. Potential Murder Suspect

Pass this on to all of your hormonal friends and those who might need a good laugh!

…Or men who need a warning.

All I wanted was a sandwich

October 24, 2006

There I was yesterday, standing in line at my favorite deli, waiting for my pastrami on rye, hold the spicy mustard, when Zen left me yet again. A conversation, none too discreet, drifted in through my ears. The cashier and another employee where having an earnest discussion about how babies are the only good left in the world. So, why do people throw them in dumpsters? WTF? Is this casual lunch conversation for some people?? She went on and on about recent and ancient news stories and about how awful it all is (I agree) and how there is this law now, you know, the one that allows mothers to drop their babies off at firehalls, no questions asked, etc., . . . and on . . . and on.

All I wanted was a sandwich and some Zen on my lunch break.

I did not want to think about how people throw babies in dumpsters while women like us would give anything to have one. I did not say a thing. I plastered my fakest smile on, paid for my sandwich and left. But it haunted me. The world is so unfair at times.

I wonder, should we, the infertile, have T-shirts printed up. “I survived IVF but failed to get pregnant, please don’t torment me with dead or abused baby stories” or “I would give my right arm to be pregnant so please don’t tell me that you weren’t even trying while you rub your big round belly” or “Yes, we’ve had him “checked” too thanks for asking!” . . . there could be one hundred variations on this T-shirt. An endless variation on a theme for all the stories we have lived.

I have to say that life is crazy. It is just really crazy. It makes me wonder how many times I’ve said something that was overheard by some poor soul who was having a hard time with my topic du jour. How about all those teenage years spent crash dieting. Did I offend someone suffering from hunger?

In happier news. I saw two lines yesterday. No, not the kind I ultimately crave, but two lines all the same. I had an LH surge! How exciting. This means very little except that the metformin does appear to be shortening my cycle. My “normal” is 38 days. My RE’s ideal is 28 days. So if those two lines mean anything at all (on cd 19), then I am halfway to making my RE happy. At any rate I should have a period in 14 days give or take.

Then what?

I’ll get back to you on that one. (Please loving and supportive posse of infertiles, DO NOT encourage me to be hopeful about this cycle that isn’t really a cycle . . . I am crazy enough on my own. I would love to be the blogosphere’s next urban legend but lets only consider that if and when it happens).

In the mean time, lets play:

What would you have printed on your Infertility Awareness T-shirt?

Next week is National Infertility Awareness Week

I guess that’s why they call it a rollercoaster

October 23, 2006

All these ups and downs.

My weekend was more up than down and for that I am grateful. C. and I were total homebodies. We puttered around with house (indoor and outdoor) projects. I made a bunch of pots. He helped me fire them. Most of them came out well, which is always a mood booster for me! I am not as ready as I’d like to be for my upcoming show, but I’m ready enough.

My ankle still plagues me, but I guess that’s to be expected. An ace wrap and my trusty bottle of advil are my current friends.

Speaking of friends, I still haven’t decided what to do about that nasty e-mail from three weeks ago. I am leaning towards nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is the best course of action. Sending a reply is tempting. It’s also sad, I mean it can’t be much of a loss to lose a friend like that but after 20+ years it seems sad just the same.

On the baby quest front: No O in sight. I am cd 19 and no O. No LH surge. Does this mean the metformin is not working or is it just too soon? I did have lots of that lovely EWCM the past two days, so maybe I am close. Who knows. We don’t exactly have a real chance of pregnancy without the help of science, so no huge loss there, but I’d like to at least have the option of trying another cycle of some kind and for that I need a damn period!

Speaking of metformin, every time I get ready to post that my body has adjusted to it, I have another “bad” day. I am on the full dose now (since Wednesday) and most days are pretty good. I have a “bad” day every three days or so. But, to clarify, I’ve never had another “bad” day like those first two or three days. Now a bad day means one or two unpleasant trips to the bathroom per day, not one or two per hour! So, overall, I feel “OK” on the full dose. Now to see if it actually helps anything . . .

Sigh.

On other baby quest fronts: I’ve been nudging C. to think about adoption. Gently at first, now more persistently. I need him to know that I don’t have many more medicated rounds left in me. I just can’t do this much longer. There are other ways to build a family. He’s agreed to attend a RESOLVE adoption info session next weekend. It’s time for us to start exploring other options.

Donor sperm or donor embryo have not been ruled out. In an ideal world we’d prefer either of these over adoption so that we can experience pregnancy, ensure good prenatal care and know our child from day one. But if we lived in a perfect world there would be no such thing as infertility in the first place. While our “known” problem is severe male factor, there is the unknown of an irregular ovulation thing thrown in on my side. Somehow because I am undergoing all the “treatment” I feel like I am the one that is broken. (Not that I am suggesting that C. is broken instead.) I’m not even sure I want to tackle donor conception at this point because it means more medical treatments in addition to the emotional issues involved.

Our other choice, to keep doing IUI with C.’s sperm and some chemical that “should” “help” “maybe” get rid of the antibodies after already failing IVF/ICSI x2 plus one FET . . . it seems, well . . . a bit silly. After all, if we by some miracle did get rid of all the antibodies, we still have sperm with very poor morphology in the “fixed” sample. So if you crunch the numbers, chances are really very slim here. But when they tell you there’s a chance, even a very slim one, you get sucked in by the HOPE.

Adoption has it’s own challenges, but at least it does not involve any more assaults on my poor body.

My point is that I feel somewhat broken physically (not to mention the emotional wounds) and I have lost faith in my body’s ability to do this pregnancy thing. Good sperm from a healthy donor aside, good embryo from a healthy couple aside, miracle with our own gametes aside, I feel too broken to make a baby. That is the sadness and the pain of infertility talking, not logic or reason. I know that. But still . . . adoption leads to a family. And I do NOT feel too broken to mother a child. If we persist with adoption, we WILL get a child. Not necessarily true for any ART path. Still, the possibilities are tempting . . . and ART does work . . . just look at all of you for whom it has. And then again, look at all of you for whom adoption has brought unimaginable joy.

So, there is a way . . . it’s just a matter of finding one’s way. I’m still looking, but I feel pretty sure I’ll find mine too.

I don’t wanna . . .

October 19, 2006

Get up in the morning when the bed is so warm
Go to work
Look in the mirror
Think about anything to do with infertility
Take any more drugs, of any kind
Do my studio tour in less than three weeks
Make pottery for any one but me
Do Christmas
Shop for Christmas
Visit family for Christmas
Oooh and Aaah over everyone else’s amazing kids at Christmas

I want to stay in my cave and not come out ’til spring or ’til I am pregnant with a viable passenger or two.

I just don’t wanna anymore.

Miscellaneous

October 16, 2006

Well, my week of leisure is officially over and now I have to switch gears, full tilt. The rest of my office is away for the next three weeks so I am alone at the helm (I rather like this). It mostly has it’s up sides. The down sides as I see them are that this busy time always corresponds to my pre-show frenzy, and as of yesterday I am also hampered by a bum ankle. I sprained it yesterday and I am now sitting here at my desk with my leg propped on a spare chair and an ice pace over my ace wrap. This is the third sprain for this poor ankle. Luckily this time I can walk without crutches albeit walk like a little old lady!

So, as I sit here catching up on a few blog posts before my day gets into full swing, I decide I might want to write my own post, but about what?? Then my faithful nurse D. calls from the RE’s with my latest cd3 results.

E2 46 (anything under 100 is good)
FSH 4.1 (anything under 10 is good)
Prolactin 8.6 (will have to look this one up, but was “normal”)
TSH 1.8 (Also normal)
Inhibin B 25 (15-200 is normal . . . this is another test for ovarian aging.)

So, basically for an old bat of 38 with a bum leg, we have every reason to believe that I have youthful ovaries.

This would be great if it weren’t that October 2006 marks exactly 3 years of failed trying, 2.5 of those years with medical “help.”

On the Metformin front, I am up to 3 pills (that is 1500) and while I don’t feel great or exactly myself, it is manageable. Wednesday I will try for 4 pills and see what that brings. That will be a full dose. Then we wait and see how long this cycle turns out to be and decide whether to do another IUI with or without drugs.

Apparently, Hope is immortal, because she won’t die. I am actually imagining in my wildly optimistic moments that maybe we ought to make sure to have plenty of hay rolling in case . . . . you know we just get pregnant on our own, shit sperm be damned!

In the meantime I will be busy at work by day and busy in my studio at night making pots. That should keep me out of trouble until mid-November or so.

Life’s a beach

October 13, 2006

Oh, if only this were true.

I have a confession to make: this was my second trip in three weeks. Both only two nights away from home but I’ll take what I can get right now. I missed posting about the first “escape” because I came home to that awful e-mail letter from my (no longer any kind of, best) friend. (I’ve decided not to reply at all and to just cut the ties.)

The beach was wonderful. That is why I went again. The ocean is very soothing to me. Also just being “away” is soothing right now. It’s an escape of sorts. Not a complete escape (Babies like the beach too, so do pregnant women). But it’s enough of an escape to feel very restful, very peaceful. I basically slept when I wanted, rode my bike at least 5 miles a day, walked another 3 miles or more. Ate what and when I wanted, not having to cook a thing, etc. I knitted in the late evenings, watching junk TV. I read on the beach, watched the waves, collected shells. It was all very indulgent. The monarchs were migrating, they were everywhere. I saw dolphins playing along the shore one day at lunch. Overall, they were two very lovely days. (Both times.)

Here’s the rub: I had to come home. And the restful bit fades very quickly. I wish I could carry that peace with me, at least for a while. But reality hits like a bit of a brick wall as soon as I return. (Yesterday I already had a crying spell.)

There are good things about coming home. I did miss C. and the kitties too. My own bed is more comfortable than any hotel bed I’ve ever come across and having someone next to me in it is definitely better than sleeping alone. But lately, home represents a routine that has come to represent pain and home has also come to represent an emptiness where little voices should be shouting and little feet running . . . home for all it’s comfort feels mostly like it’s missing something essential.

I am in a very shaky place right now. I feel hopeful one minute, doomed the next. I am trying to find a balance in it all, but it’s just so hard. I wonder if I am kidding myself and whether I should just get on with things. And what does getting one with things mean? Adopting? Finding some other dream to follow?

Right now I have a whole lot of questions and very few answers.

If only I could run away to the beach and stay there for a while . . . but that’s not real life.

And real life just feels so hard right now.

Much better

October 8, 2006

Well, I think my system is adjusting. I feel much better, not normal, but much better.

Most of my bulbs are in the ground. I have one small section left to do.

Tomorrow I am heading to the shore for a couple of days. Alone. This may seem odd to a lot of people, but I find it very nice. I love to go with a gaggle of girl friends and I love to go with C. but I also love to go all alone once in a while. I walk the beach, ride my bike, shop, read, nap. Very restful. This month is going to be all about revival. Not that religious hymn in a tent kind, but the internal kind. I think this will do me good. It has to be this month because November will bring the frenzy of my one big show each year then Thanksgiving and Christmas will bring all that family “stuff” that is fun in many ways but also sad, mixed up and stressful. So, focusing on the now, I have the whole week off. When I return on Wednesday evening I will switch to pottery mode and spend some time at that for the rest of the week. Me and the kitties in the studio.

So, I’ll be away from my “desk” until at least Wednesday!

Fill me in if I miss any big news!

I take it back!

October 6, 2006

My hope, excitement, and optimism about the possibilities that Metformin might make the difference are waning . . . . Ugh . . . this stuff hits pretty hard at first. No wonder people lose weight . . . everything goes right through you (sorry TMI). This would be a bulimic’s dream drug. Anyway, the RE did warn me that with every dose increase this would happen. It should only last a couple of days or so, but still . . . it’s not fun. Add the usual AF cramps, etc., and I feel pretty icky.

Instead of a hot steamy romantic weekend with C., I’ll be curled up with my heating pad and a bottle of Gatorade.

Anyone on metformin? How long did it take to feel normal after each dose increase?

This is just so unoriginal of me . . .

October 5, 2006

But what the hell . . . I know a lot of you watch GA.

(Warning: GA Spoiler for Season 2 folks!)

Who do you think Meredith should pick? Mc*Dreamy or Mc*Vet?

Based on:

A) Looks alone AKA which one do you think is “hotter”
B) Better partner material for the long haul

If any men want to play along but don’t want to judge the hotness of another guy then . . . which female character do you think would make the best weather pixie? (That’s for you SmarshyBoy.)