Tuesday, December 20, 2005

All Is Well for Now

Hi all. Well, my nuchal results came back fine. I am relieved. I don't actually know how good my chances are now, since I'll probably never know why I've been subject to serial miscarriage. But this feels like some kind of stopping place. So, I think this may be my last entry for a long while. I want to leave you, and my lost babes, with the essay below.

Memorializing the Immaterial

One of the most difficult aspects of miscarriage is the intangible nature of the loss.  There are no dead to keen over, no bodies to ritually wash and wrap, no graves to visit.  For those of us without other children, there’s no societal name for our new half-substantiated status: would-be mothers of unformed spirits.  Wives who lose husbands become widows.  Why is there no such word for mothers without children, much less for the almost-mothers of the unborn?

Last summer, after three losses, I found myself struggling for ways to make the miscarriages real.  I felt so marked, so forever altered.  And yet, apart from a few extra pounds here or there (more the result of post-pregnancy comfort eating than anything else), there was no evidence whatsoever of the passage of events that had passed through my body.  I found myself wishing for some public sign of my frustrated motherhood.

I’ve never been one to consider a tattoo, not even the paint-on kind most kids apply sometime between elementary school and junior high.  I never wanted to deface my skin; I never wanted to endure self-inflicted pain.  And yet, after each miscarriage, it seemed my pain was so easily effaced, as invisible as each lost baby’s face. I began to fantasize about the possibility of acquiring tiny tattoos, perhaps three little hearts in a line on my forearm, one for each embryo gone.  Or maybe a black line of numbers, each corresponding to a different cancelled due date.  Eventually, I realized that my hands did bear scars, tiny stigmata, from insertion of IV lines for the D&C’s.  Even though these small brown bumps look like age spots, I treasure them.  They are marks of my age, of the losses I’ve lived through.

My husband and I decided, after some discussion, that we simply were not the type to hold a religious service, to read poetry in public, to make donations in memory of children we had never met. Still, I sought some way to remember babies I never knew, to honor those I never held.  And so, one particular summer morning, on the second anniversary of my first due date, I asked my husband to go with me on a ritual walk, a two-person funeral procession for three invisible babies.

We were spending a week’s vacation in the woods and had noticed a sign a couple of miles from the cabin where we were staying that pointed out a local historic graveyard.  There was no church in the vicinity, just the sheltering shadow of the mountain hovering over a sloping field.  It seemed a place that was naturally sanctified without being formally holy, just the spot for the kind of half-formed ceremony we so deeply needed.

We set out early in the morning and I began collecting wildflowers as we went.  It was high summer and flowers fringed the roadside: Daisies and Black-Eyed Susans, Queen Anne’s Lace and wild Day Lillies, pink Sweet-Pea, purple Clover, Golden Rod and many more varieties I could not label.  The orange lillies with their tender freckled petals cut me to the quick, destined for lives that would last only one day, whether I picked them or left them in peace.

Though my husband resisted the idea at first, it soon gave focus and purpose to our walk. We agreed to pick three of each kind of flower we found. Then he, as eager as I, spotted one new variety after another to add to our ever-growing armful.  When we arrived at the graveyard at last, we were laden with wild brambling bouquets full of unfamiliar blooms, perfect to mark the loss of much-loved, unknown, unnamed children.

Wind ruffled the trees, insects buzzed, and the grass around the graves gave off a brown baked smell.  We began to look around at the worn stones of the time-softened old tombs and found none that dated after 1900 or so.  I was not sure where I wanted to leave our bouquets, or even whether it might not be best to scatter them again on the homeward walk.  My husband wandered out of sight behind a tree and I felt eerily, achingly alone.  I wished suddenly for a prayer or a poem or an incantation and felt voiceless in the morning breeze.

Suddenly, my husband called out to me.  He had found a trio of graves, memorials to three children from a single family who had each died within a week of the other back in the 1870’s.  Three small stones, huddled together, leaned uncertainly towards the earth, each thinner and shorter by far than those that heralded the passing of the town’s patriarchs.  I looked around for escort stones, larger markers for adult family members bearing the same last name.  But there seemed to be none.  Instead, the children lay alone there, most likely forgotten for a century or more. 

I wondered what despair had attended their burials and whether their parents had left the hard life of the mountainside soon thereafter, in search of more fertile fields.  How could their mother, whoever she was, ever have found the strength to go on?  What other choice did she have?  My husband and I looked at each other, our eyes filled with tears, and then we gently, silently, lowered our armloads onto the ground.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I made it through in two pieces

Well, today I am 12 weeks pregnant. As I understand it, this means I have officially entered the second trimester. This seems to me almost miraculous. I have to say, I never, never imagined being one of those infertility bloggers who irritatingly turned into a pregnancy blogger. (No offense intended. Expectant mothers--of the adopting and the gestating kind--and actual moms are some of my favorite bloggers. But come on, you know what it's like to be a hardcore infertile & watch all these softcore ladies get to leave hell behind.)

I am still having a hard time working up much enthusiasm for pregnancy itself. Zofran, alas, worked only for a few days. Then its powers seemed to wear off. Then it seemed to actually BE a nausea trigger. So, no more of that. I'm back on the vomit 3 or 4 times a day plan. Does kind of sap the will to live.

Still, I am so grateful just to still be pregnant. I thought this morning, " Wow-- I made it through to the second trimester in one piece." And then the snarky half of my brain, getting ready to puke again, said "you call THIS one piece?!" And then I realized, "hey there's a baby in here, so heck, two pieces is about the best you could hope for." So here I am.

Nuchal results are next week. If those are OK, I may really start to believe.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Olympic Hurling Team

It turns out that if you practice hard and get really, really at good vomiting, you win a prize. It's called Zofran. Sweet, sweet little strawberry marshmallow tab of relief. I will spare you poetic descriptions of my puke. (Though I will just say, that if in desperation you were turn to Gatorade in your futile attempts to rehydrate, you would not want to pick the Berry-Tropical Punch flavor. Because, were you to throw it back up, it would look like something was slaughtered in your toilet.) Right now, I am lying low, loving the Zofran.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Curiouser and Curiouser

Well, folks, I am still pregnant. I must say I can hardly believe it and I feel almost giddy with relief. I took myself out for a big egg-on-a-bagel sandwich afterwards (because I am queasy unless I am eating or unless I have just thrown up, a spectacular event that occurs 2 to 3 times a day) and as I sat there in the window of the Dunkin Donuts listening to canned Christmas carols, I thought my heart would just well over. The fetus (it's now a fetus!) measured 10 weeks 2 days, just perfect and was 3.6 cm crown to rump. I am floored to realize that that's about an inch and a half. I know you will laugh, but I can hardly believe that there's a miniature person that big lodged inside my body. Somehow, I've continued to think of this baby as a few hundred cells-- cute on the ultrasound, sure, but still way too small to see with the naked eye. I go for a nuchal translucency screening next week. That too will be an emotional event. With my second pregnancy, I was only getting standard once-a-month monitoring. We had a heartbeat at 8 weeks, then I went till 12 1/2 weeks, when the ultrasound at the nuchal screen revealed that fetal demise had occurred at around 9 weeks... Even my RE seemed in disbelief today, "But, but, we haven't done anything differently," she said. She's transferring me to my regular OB, but made me promise to call her the minute my appointment is over next week. I think she too mistrusts this strange change of luck and wonders how long it can last. So hang onto your hats, folks.

Thank you so much for your fabulous comments. They made me laugh and cry by turns. Maya likes how "clean" my blog is. Is she referring to the utter absence of links or illustrations of any kind (the result of my technical incompetence)? Or does she mean that there's nary a mention of sex (that would be due to the tragic imposition of "pelvic rest," a medical order that has my husband and me feeling like frustrated fifteen-year olds!)? To Jeanne and Lisa, and all the other hopefuls waiting on tenterhooks, you know I know exactly how you feel. V's Herbie: you're female! I was never sure. Glad to know more about you & to have a reader from the cool coast. Also glad to know I'm being read by a few true-blue folks from the true North--Anne and JMW. To Lisa P. and Sonya, I feel such solidarity with my fellow recurrent miscarriers. To think that my attempt to heal myself is making things a little better for anyone else really means the world to me. Thalia, I know just what you mean about "finding a real home." Thanks to all of you for the safe haven.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Hi, everyone. Just checking in. I’m not feeling very articulate. Mostly I am vomiting and sleeping. And holding my breath for next Tuesday. I have to say, I have no script at all for what it would mean to be an actual pregnant person, someone for whom the puking and napping ends with entrance into the second trimester, rather than thanks to all the nice anti-nausea meds they give you with the D&C. At the same time, ever since I went NPO to my appointment last week, I’ve stopped being on every-single-second high alert for the miscarriage. If I do have one now, it’s really going to take my breath away. I don’t know how to go forward without believing it could work. I feel like if I don’t think positive, I’ll blame myself later for somehow contributing to disaster. But, at the same time, optimism itself seems frightening and foolhardy. Mostly I wish I could just just stay asleep till this is over, one way or the other.

Help me pass the time here people. Tell me something about you. Tell me anything you’d like. Below are a few suggestions of things I’d like to know:

1. How did you find the world of IF blogs? What was the first blog you read? What was your situation at the time that you found it?

2. How did you find my blog specifically? What do you like about it? What would you change?

3. Are you currently trying to have a child? Why or why not? Has the decision been a difficult one? What factors have you considered? If you’re trying, how long have you been at it? If it’s been a while, do you think of yourself as infertile?

4. Where are you located? How old are you? Be as vague or specific as you like on those…

5. Feel free to ask me questions in return. I would love to hear from you, even if you usually “just lurk.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Third Thanksgiving

Well, I have to tell you, I could not have been more nervous than I was this morning. In fact, I was so overwrought I called my husband at work and asked him if he thought I could still count as NPO today even though I had a few sips of water upon waking. For anyone reading this who has not had the pleasure of multiple D&C's, "NPO" means "nil per os," or "nothing by mouth," the condition you have to be in if you're going to undergo anesthesia. He wasn't sure, but didn't think that the water would count against me. So even though I was ravenous with hunger/ tipsy with nausea, I went to my ultrasound appointment this morning on an empty stomach. Just, you know, to be prepared.

And in fact, to break out a better-loved acronym, NBHHY. The baby measured 9 weeks 1 day with a continued strong heartbeat. There was some concern about the rate of uterine expansion as well as an on-the-shorter-side cervix. I may need to go back for another scan in a few days, because the cervix at any rate could be supported with cerclage if necessary. (Not sure if “cerclage” is spelled right; spell-check suggests “corkage” as an alternative, which I suppose does get the point across!) Still, all things considered, it was the best scan I could have hoped for, certainly the best scan I personally have ever seen at 9 weeks.

The best part was seeing the "baby" (all 2 millimeters or so) moving in there. It seemed to be head butting the uterine wall, or maybe even kissing it-- to me it looked like a gentle motion. It was a wild, wild sight, something I've never been able to see before. I'm feeling teary just writing about it. The fact remains that I may not have much longer with this baby. And I really am near the end of my rope pregnancy and miscarriage wise. So I'm doing the best I can to appreciate what I have.

Amazing, but this is the third Thanksgiving in a row that I will spend pregnant. In spite of everything, I do feel grateful right now. And I plan to be TPO (that would be Turkey Per Os) come Thursday.

As I give thanks this year, I will be thinking of all of you lovely loyal friends in the computer, strangers who have given so much of yourselves and helped me so much in the last months and years. I tend to find both Christmas and Easter, with their child-centered traditions and their origins in fertility festivals, incredibly depressing. But Thanksgiving is one holiday that infertility hasn't ruined for me (yet). I hope it will be a good one for all of you, no matter where you are on the road to parenthood.


I woke up this morning with new spotting (haven't had any since Friday 11/11). My appointment is in a few hours. God only knows what this portends.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Takes a Lickin' and Keeps on Tickin'

First of all, you guys are great. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to know you're out there pulling for me, especially now as I open the window of time in which my prior losses have occurred. I swear this blog and all your comments are some of the main things keeping me semi-sane.

So, today's checkup was basically good. The embryo has grown an amazing 11 days worth in seven days and is therefore now measuring one day ahead: 8 weeks, 2 days today. The heartbeat is a little on the high side, but still within range: 178 beats/min. Meanwhile, there was evidence of a new (but now inactive) uterine bleed, which could be the source of the panic-inducing spotting I had late last week.

In most cases, a heartbeat at 8 weeks is a very good sign. But what you really need to know, to understand the extent of my hope, anxiety, and dread, is that with my last 2 losses I had a heartbeat at 8 weeks. And in fact, by eerie coincidence, in my most most recent loss, the last time I saw the heartbeat was at--you guessed it-- exactly 8 weeks and 2 days (at which point the embryo was also one day ahead). By 9 weeks 1 day, it was gone. Soo, I really don't know just how I'm going to get through the next week.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Queasy, Grumpy, and Sleepy

Kath very kindly asks how I'm doing. Well, aside from the visit by the three pregnancy stooges, aside from the minor little matter of the abnormal pap smear result (remember that Halloween pap?) and aside from the sudden onset of cramping and spotting on Friday (which resolved as quickly as it arrived), I've been just dandy. I have my weekly ultrasound appointment (the sole perk of being a habitual you-know-what) tomorrow and I promise to report back.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Chants, Charms, and Talismans

I'm carrying around a cobalt blue plastic Turkish God's Eye keychain in my purse right now. I'm not Turkish. Or Muslim. I'm a bit alarmed by the kitschy commodification of religion. Still, I keep the God's Eye in my change purse compartment. And I reach in and run my fingers over it every time I feel spooked by the looming specter of another miscarriage.

Modern medicine pretends to be rationally based, empirically sound, and scientifically certain. But the experience of undergoing unexplained recurrent miscarriage can easily lead to a crisis of doubt. When you’ve been through a fathomless series of blood-draws and surgical procedures, medical histories and physical examinations, to check out the possibility of hormonal imbalances, clotting disorders, autoimmune issues, infection factors, genetic abnormalities, and anatomical anomalies, come back negative for everything, and come up with nothing, you can reach a point where making wishes every time a clock shows quadruple digits seems like a sound treatment strategy.

People started offering me “lucky objects” as soon as they heard about my first miscarriage. One girlhood friend of mine packaged up a beaded amber bracelet said to promote fertility through the power of crystal healing. Someone had given it to her after she had a miscarriage; to send it to me she’d had to steal it out of her three-year old’s jewelry box. Clearly the bracelet conferred powerful properties.

I wore it for a single afternoon. Then I decided I couldn’t stand the way it marked me as an infertility convict, sentenced to walk the streets with my prisoner ID bracelet on prominent display. So I took it off and left it on my nightstand, where I could gaze at it respectfully, every now and then.

At the amber bracelet stage I still thought that a couple of quick medical tests would soon set me straight. In the early days of miscarriage your main focus is on solving the problem, moving forward, and forgetting the unfortunate incident as quickly as possible. And I had more than just M.D.s on my side. I had the amazing positive prophesies of everyone I met. Everyone who looked at me just “knew,” just “had a feeling,” that the next pregnancy was going to be a good one.

With the second miscarriage, the magic materials started pouring in. There was the amaryllis bulb my grandmother gave me to force into bloom on a sunny winter windowsill, sure symbol of renewal and the promise of spring. Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France victory loomed large in the popular mind at that time and everyone from my doctor to the guy at the deli counter was sporting those “Live Strong” bracelets. I received three from various well-wishers.

I have to say, though, that I couldn’t quite see the point. The babies were the ones that needed help living strong and frankly those yellow rubber rings were much too big for the average embryo. In fact, they were much too big for me to wear round my petite wrists. So the ‘Live Strong” bracelets (which really look like they could be put to better use binding together a bunch of broccoli) were left to languish beside the amber beads.

After the third miscarriage, most people just began to shake their heads. They seemed to be saying, “the dark death force of your womb is too much for our minor white magic. Go and seek your future elsewhere.”

It’s just at this point that I myself, having pretty well run through the available arsenal of academically approved medical options, began to understand just how hard it is to force a flower to bloom. It gradually began to seem to me that magic might be the best thing to add to my apothecary. Still, it wasn’t until I was out shopping and spied a tiny wooden pair of antique children’s shoe forms (suitable for a cobbler to use in draping leather to shape a miniature boot) that I just couldn’t put down, that it hit me. I realized I had made the leap into the realm of magical thinking. At the time I claimed I was purchasing the shoe forms as a gift for a friend who is a new mother—what a unique and special memento! But, in fact, I couldn’t stop caressing those wooden forms in my hand. I walked through the store rubbing the slightly rough surface of the raised old wood grain against the ticklish part of my palm. And I clutched them all the way home in the car. By then I knew that they were for me. I decided to display them high on a door frame over my head, the symbol of both a goal out reach and of a doorway I’m determined to pass through.

So, when a Turkish friend of my mother’s--master of the mysterious meanings to be found in the swirled dregs of coffee grounds, a woman who claims to have foretold the plane crash that would have killed her sister had she not missed the flight--pressed the keychain into my hand and said with a confident, conspiratorial nod, “take this,” I did. Now more than ever, I’m counting on its wonderous spiritual powers.

Let me hear your stories. What magic materials have people forced on you? What have you found for yourself? Do you discard these things as fast as you get them? Is there one that you'd swear, in spite of good sense, really does work?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Well, I went for another sonogram today and the news is still not bad. The embryo is still behind by dates, but it has grown a week in a week. Meanwhile, the spotting has stopped. So, as Getup Grrl used to say, NBHHY: Nothing Bad Has Happened Yet.

This is actually where I expected to be six months ago, the reason I started this blog. I never expected the months of frustration trying to conceive much less the insane roller-coaster start of this pregnancy. All of my prior pregnancies have started smoothly with textbook numbers; all of my losses have been between 8 and 12 weeks. So I wanted this blog to get me through the waiting period, from the first sight of the heartbeat through (hopefully through) the end of the first trimester.

I'm just 7 weeks 1 day today. So, you see, we're really just getting started here.

And another thing: I wrote my "in love" piece tongue firmly in cheek, though most of you seem to have taken it straight. In fact, I AM trying to bond with this baby, something I have never tried to do before. It seems so hokey. The thing is that much as I deeply want a child I have mostly hated being pregnant. But I am trying to "appreciate" it this time. Because, one way or another, I'm not going to be playing this game too much longer. As I may have mentioned, my "wall" grows ever higher; cradling a living child is becoming much more important to me than carrying one.

That said, I am trying to enter whole-heartedly into this unlikely pregnancy, even though getting my hopes up only gives me further to fall. I hope you'll all stick with me now. Because this is the really hard part. Thanks.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Baby Bigelow: Uterine Gigolo

I am in the midst of an intense love affair with a babe who everyone tells me is no good. It began, of course, nearly three weeks ago on the Sunday night when I first saw that flash of pink--such a romantic color. Everyone said, "Watch out, this love is not for real." But I have been caught in a whirlwind romance ever since.

You know you're smitten when you can't get the love songs out of your head. Here I am still humming the Zodiacs to myself, begging this baby to stay.

The doctors all said, "This one's no good. Better hide your heart girl." They said I'd be left flat, that they could already hear the sound of the door slamming. I believed them completely, but I still could not stop myself from dreaming. Morning after morning alone, I kept listening for that knock on the door.

This week, it came. On Monday, the babe showed up in style. We were together again, and I had a beautiful heart-shaped bouquet to make up for all the lonely nights.

But the sweet love of reunion turns sour the fastest. By Wednesday the babe was again threatening to take off. As I bled with sorrow, the doctors said, "What did we tell you? We said this wasn't the one." Out of sympathy they sent me off to Bigelow Chemists, the oldest "apothecary" in New York City, where (for $75 cash and a winning smile) you can still get your progesterone suppositories custom-mixed to order within the hour. [www.bigelowchemists.com]

And that, my friends, is how Baby Bigelow got his name. No one thinks he'll stick around. But for now he's still here and I'm still crazy in love.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Never in My WILDEST Dreams...

Notice anything funky with the blog banner, anyone? Yes. I am here with a Halloween report of the most insane example of trick-or-treat ever.

I went to a new RE today, for my 8 millionth second-opinion appointment. When I scheduled it back in JUNE, I was irritated that there were no available appointments till Ocotber, but figured, "oh what the hell, I'll probably still be infertile by then." I was a teensy bit spooked that the day they offered was Halloween, and I even joked about it with the receptionist; she had no sense of humor and said something like, "well if you don't take that slot, she can't see you till 2008." So, I took the appointment and I went today.

The new RE was very nice. We had a long chat about what my problem might be, yada, yada. She was concerned about the size of my uterus and wanted to measure it. I said, you know this chemical pregnancy I'm having right now is really dragging out. I'd love it if you could give me some sense of where I am with that, while you're checking out everything else.

SO she gave me a physical, including a breast exam and a pap, poked around at my cervix, took a few uterine measurements through the speculum and then fired up the old ultrasound to confirm the manual measurements...whereupon there was not just a clear gestational sac but a HEARTBEAT!!!! And, a super-stat beta reveals that my HCG levels have done something like quadruple daily since last week. They're not perfect, but thery're literally 10 times higher than they were, rather than only 3.5 (which is what you;d expect from betas taken 7 days apart.)

We are in certified miracle territory here people. No one knows quite what to think. But my pulse is racing and I am, for the moment, beside myself with anxious delight. Happy Halloween Everyone.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Please Continue to Hold...

A Brief Dialog Between Anne and the Representatives of Uncooperative Uterus Incorporated

"Ring Ring, Ring Ring...

A: Hello?

UU Inc: Hello! And welcome to Uncooperative Uterus Incorporated. Thank you for your call.

A: Um, hello? Is this a recording?

UU Inc: Your call is very important to us. We here at Uncooperative Uterus Incorporated know how to squeeze out a woman's dreams. We remain dedicated to providing you with the same high level of quality and service you've come to expect.

A: Some quality! Hello? Could I please get someone live on the line?

UU Inc: Please continue to wait. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received. To access our automated menu, please choose one of the following options. To request the onset of menses, please press 1. To register a complaint about unproductive cramping, please press 2. To report an absence of spotting, please press 3. To speak to a service provider, please stay on the line. Or press * for more options.

A:!#@%!!! Sigh. *

UU Inc: Due to unusual call volume, we are unable to process your request for a miscarriage at this time. Please try your call again later."

Yeah, ain't nothin happinin here, unless you count the onset of depression as an indication that my HCG levels are finally getting the idea and starting to drop. Anyway, thanks so much to all of you for holding me in your thoughts. *Please* continue to hold!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Get Out Your Haz Mat Gear

Well, the beta is back. Although it is higher than last week, it is so very low that this is without question a bio-chemical pregnancy, nothing more. The doc is not even worried about an ectopic with numbers this low. Soo, now I just have to wait for my body to catch on and start cramping again. I am thinking about having a bio-chemical hazard symbol tattooed across my abdomen. There's something kind of snazzy about those trefoil circles, doncha' think? It could be a good look with a croptop and the right pair of low-rise jeans (as soon as I loose the pudgy bloat from my "well vascularized" uterus, of course). I also might order a few hazmat placards to post on the apartment door in lieu of Halloween decorations. They sell a nice selection at: http://www.unzco.com/storefront/placards/hazmat.html#6

P.S. You will note that I have already updated my banner to say 4 miscarriages instead of 3. A bit premature, I know, since I have not yet actualy undergone the miscarriage. And, of course, there are those who would disagree about whether or not this quick one even "counts." But hell, I'm counting it. The bed post has been notched this last week. And there ain't no way to glue those wood shavings back on.

Monday, October 24, 2005

New Topic: Ectopic?

Hi. Well, first of all, I don't really have any news. My RE put me on ectopic watch based on last Wednesday's numbers (i.e. go home, rest lots, drink plenty of fluids, take your baby aspirin just in case we get a miracle, and call me the very second you have any pain). We agreed not to do another beta till today cause at 4 weeks 2 days, 4 weeks 3 days, etc. it was only driving me nuts without really telling us anything. And basically, I didn't feel symptoms of much of anything at all, positive or negative, all weekend.

Soo... I just had another ultrasound and apparently my ovaries look normal, my uterus looks well vascularized and "very pregnant," and we have no visible sac or anything else in there. I won't have new (hopefully more informative beta results until late tonight). Basically, we don't know what the hell is going on and I am very glad I spent the weekend sleeping. Dr. Cookie Pie (see 4/2/05) actually told me this afternoon, "I want you to go home and chant, 'I am not having an ectopic. I am not having an ectopic.' Chant it over and over." So those are my new lyrics...Anyone suggest an appropriate tune?

Thank you so much for your comments. I've stayed off the net completely since my last posting, so I got to come and find all your comments at once this afternoon. If there is any silver lining whatsoever in all of this, it's having stumbled into this amazing community of women. I wish you all many fluffy pillows and long naps. In the meantime, having called in sick to work today, I'm off to take another one myself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sharpening the Knife: Updated

Looks like it will soon be time to carve another notch in my bedpost. Today's beta was just 90, whereas it should have been something more like 110. The slow-rising beta, as we all know, is an ominous sign. At this point the number is too high to call this a plain old chemical pregnancy. So it looks like I'll soon be able to boast about my fourth miscarriage. Another upside: I may lose this one before I have the chance to get good and ill... The real twist of the knife, though, is that this ultra-early miscarriage is NOT following my usual pattern of strong early betas then loss after heartbeat at 8 weeks. What that means is that this coming loss will probably be the result of the same suspected uterine scarring to blame for my recent conception problems (for which I would have undergone dx this month if I hadn't conceived) rather than relating to whatever the hell is my basic problem. It is all just so discouraging.

Henry! Fetch me a baby! (There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza...)

Another lousy beta today (Wed.). Going to take some "cave time." See you next week...

Now Playing on the Inner Ipod

My subconscious has a sound track. And it's tuned to all baby all the time. Have you ever noticed HOW many love songs refer to the beloved as "baby"? Talk about wishing baby was here? About losing sleep over wanting baby? It's staggering, really. There's the Four Top's, "Baby I Need Your Lovin'," sample lyrics:

"Baby I need your lovin'
Baby I need your lovin'
Although you're never near
Your voice I often hear
Another day, another night
I long to hold you tight
'Cause I'm so lonely
Baby, I need your lovin'
I got to have all your lovin'
Baby, I need your lovin'
Got to have all your lovin'
Some say it's a sign of weakness
For a MOM to beg
Then weak I'd rather be
If it means havin' you to keep
'Cause lately I've been losin' sleep
Baby, I need your lovin'..."

Just change that one little word "man" to "mom" and you're all set. Then there's the great and incredibly apt "Be My Baby," by the Ronettes:

"So won't you, please, BE MY BE MY BABY
be my little. baby MY ONE AND ONLY BABY
Say you'll be my darlin', BE MY BE MY BABY
be my baby now. MY ONE AND ONLY BABY

I'll make you happy, baby, just wait and see.
For every kiss you give me I'll give you three..."

That last one was featured on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, a veritable treasure trove of baby-themed love songs (cause, remember, the main character's name was "Baby"). Bruce Channel's "Hey Baby" isn't half-bad:

"C'mon baby, give me a whirl
I want to know if you'll be my girl
Hey, hey hey baby!
I want to know if you'll be my girl
Hey, hey hey hey hey, baby
C'mon, baby now....."

Sing it as "I want to know if I can be your girl" and it really does say it all. I especially like the wail on the "come on baby no-ow-ow."

Also from that score, the Zodiac's "Stay" is working really well for me this morning. They don't actually SAY the word "baby" on this one, but I think the mention of how mommy and daddy are feeling clearly implies that the "you" being addressed in the song is none other than a modest embryo considering the question of whether to stay and implant:

A-a-a-a-ah, just a little bit longer
Please, please, please, please
Tell me you're going to
Now, how your daddy don't mind
And your mommy don't mind
If we have another dance
Yeah, just one more
One more time
Oh, won't you stay
Just a little bit longer
Please let me hear
You say that you will
Say you will "

So, the beta was 75 at 15 days post-o (17 days post HCG shot). Not horrible but not terribly reassuring. The progesterone was a comfortable 25. But since I'm cramping and ever so faintly spotting this number doesn't mean as much as it should. (My husband, who at first didn't think I was pregnant because the first First Response I took had *such* a light pink line now declares that the spotting is an even lighter pink and says he doesn't understand when I got so good at squinting. But I know what I know, ya know?)

So I went for another beta today. It's too soon, of course, to know whether it's doubling properly. But if it falls, we can pretty sure that this little embie hates the Zodiacs and really wishes I had better taste in music...

I will report the new numbers when I have them. In the meantime, I would be very grateful for any additional musical selections you may wish to suggest for the Recurrent Miscarriers Mental Playlist.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Cue that Cheesy 70's Song

Here I am
At 6 o'clock in the morning
Still thinking about you
It's still hard
At 6 o'clock in the morning
To sleep without you
And I know that it might
Seem to late for love
All I know

I need you now
More than words can say
I need you now
I've got to find a way,
I need you now
Before I lose my mind I need you now

Here I am
Im looking out my window
Im dreaming about you
Can't let go
At 6 o'clock in the morning
I feel you inside me
And I know that it might
Seem to late for love
For love

But I need you now...

You will not be surprised to learn that I have in fact been awake since 3 AM, tossing and turning and waiting for it to be late enough to pee on another stick with "first morning urine" instead of that weak late-afternoon stuff. Right now, right this moment, before anything has had time to go wrong, before I start feeling horribly ill, is the very best moment of pregnancy. I want the chance to tell these few cells, "I'm dreaming about you."

But this song is also for you my readers or what's left of you anyway... Because I really really am going to need you now. Thank you so much to Susie and Pixie and Kath who already found and commented on the post I made less than 12 hours ago.

I know that for many many people struggling with infertility, the quest for two pink lines is an end in itself. They think (and often rightly so) that if they could just get that second line they'd be home free. I hate to think that this news of mine could be paining anyone because I know all to well how even the internet can seem part of the great conspiracy to make you feel like everyone is pregnant but you.

I can only stress that I am *not* home free: under house arrest is more like it. Like Julie, who found at the hard way that there IS such a thing as being "a little pregnant," or Jill, who has been knocked up only to get knocked down, I too have learned through bitter experience that "almost only counts in horseshoes and hand gr*nades." I started this blog as a way to face the stark probability of another loss with enough courage and determination to try again anyway. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.

So I hope you’ll be willing to be here with me through this time. Till this point, I have held off from posting a lot just as a way to try to control my own obsessive need to think about pregnancy every minute of every day (a hobby that was seriously eating away both my personal and professional life). Now though, I can promise you lots and lots of posts in the days to come (though I can’t promise little mini-essays anymore, cause I’m way too over the edge for that already now). Apparently, emotional support is a key predictor of pregnancy success after multiple miscarriages and that is the reason I’ll be here spilling every day.

What I can’t promise is to be cheery or dreamy. That song there was one of last servings of soft cheese I’ll be having for a very long time. This is not a bunnies-and-butterflies moment in my life. It’s more a close your eyes and jump off the cliff screaming and hope to hell the water below is deep enough to save you kind of moment. I hope you’ll all be there when the time comes to wade in and help pull me to shore.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

One Small Step for Anne...One Giant Step for Anne's Kind?

I'm almost trembling too much to type. I have a very very very faint second pink line. I will let you know more as I know more. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I've been too down to post much lately. Feeling cautiously happy just now, though.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

All in All It's Just Another Brick in the Wall

A while back in the IF blog world, there was a discussion about "hitting the wall" with infertility*, about reaching the point where you suddenly feel that the obstacles you're up against are too much, that you just can't push through life as an infertile person any longer. At the time, I could not yet really imagine ever hitting the wall. If there was a wall in my future, it seemed so far away as to blend into the horizon. All I could think about was the next pregnancy attempt, the new treatment plan, what would make things work next month.

Now, I think that while there may be one dramatic moment when you realize you're up against an insurmountable wall, the wall itself does not appear all at once. It's not an obstacle that you slam into unexpectedly, smacked breathless with loss. No, I think the wall is built brick by brick. Getting my period last month, maybe didn't deserve the degree of sympathy you lovely people sent my way. That wasn't a wall slamming down in front of me. It was just one more brick being set in the mortar. Still I felt really anxious and sad, the way listening to The Wall makes you feel. So I thank everyone who came to sing along with me.

I feel the wall rising slowly, defining the boudaries of my garden. At first, when I saw those bricks being laid down, they seemed more like the start of a walkway than a wall. I thought, early on, that the delays in our family plans were just that, pauses that would ultimately make my path more sure. Like many an "ambivalent infertile," I started this process scared out of my wits about what motherhood would mean for my life, and my sense of self. If a few delays served to give me time to find my way, then I was ready to follow the yellow brick road.

Now, after nearly two and a half years of this, with my 33rd birthday coming up soon, that yellow walkway has definitely been built up into a red brick wall. It's still not insurmountable. In places it's only just waist high. I can still hop up and sit down on it, dangle my legs over it, and imagine jumping down from that perch to a future where the biological children we hope to have are wandering dreamily through a field. But it gets harder day by day to hoist myself up.

The other night, I dreamt that a friend had written me a letter, enclosing some old photos of my husband and me. And the friend said, "Look how happy you two were a few years ago when these photos were taken. That's who you're supposed to be. Those are the people who want to be parents. Isn't it time to stop all this struggle to bear biological children and start living family life? I really think you should adopt." In the dream, I was not entirely sure this friend was right, but it felt good to have someone offer the option. In real life, my parents are vocally opposed to the idea of adoption. And I have one friend who has actually lectured me about not being "selfish" and "impatient" and giving up to soon. (I know, I know, I should send the Barren Bitch Brigade** to beat her up.) My husband is open to adoption in theory, but says he's far from feeling ready to take that step. He's a quite a bit taller than I am; I guess he's not yet finding it hard to hop on top of the wall.

Of course my dream family originally involved biological children. I'm an utterly ordinary person and I expected to become a mother in the ordinary way. My wish was not so much to reproduce myself, as to witness the strange alchemy by which my husband and I could blend together to form a new being. We've been a couple for nearly half our lives now: a long time to imagine that magical twining, love made flesh. Still, I think that what I want more than anything is the small things, to read books, run baths, run errands, play tag. I want to meet my husband’s eyes across the dinner table as we laugh at something our child said or did. And I don't think DNA enters much into that.

So have I "hit the wall?" I don't think so. Not yet. Still the education of this Infertile continues, brick by brick.

*Thanks to the wonders of Google and the fact that the ever-fabulous Julie has kept her entire archives intact, you can still read that discussion:

**The phrase "BBB" was created by Get Up Grrl, back in the day when the very best IF stuff was being written.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What Fresh Hell Is This?

With apologies to Dorothy Parker, I have to say I'm fresh out witty wry-humored ways to say that INFERTILITY SUCKS. As you might suppose, due to the remarkable prognostic powers of chocolate, I was not the least bit surprised to greet my period yesterday. However. I was not the least bit pleased, either.

So. The new plan, made in consultation with Dr. Smart-Cookie Sweetie-Pie (my RE) is to do a monitored cycle this month, starting with Day 3 bloodwork tomorrow, including an ultrasound to check out the old follicles, *maybe* a trigger shot of HCG, more blood draws and hormone checks around day 21, etc.

It feels scary to admit that I am now no longer even a glamorous bohemian recurrent miscarrier who finds it fun to sleep on the streets so long as the weather is warm. No. I've gone down another rung to the point where I'm such a sad bag lady, there's nothing left in my bag and little hope of putting anything in there any time soon. In short, I feel farther than ever from the day when I'll hold a live baby in my arms.

And I feel seriously annoyed that my total type-A super-good-girl determination to relax all summer long did *not* result in a pregnancy. I drank wine in a foreign country, people. Result? Zip, zilch, nada. That there is conclusive clincal proof that the people who tell you to just relax should go f*ck themselves. So. I am going on record as one tense unhappy not pregnant person.

Behold the autumn of my discontent. Happy equinox everyone.

P.S. Would YOU take a trigger shot of HCG in my circumstances? Multiples are very low on my to-do list...

Friday, September 16, 2005


It’s that time again. Cycle day 23 ( but only post-O day 7) and all 500 square feet of my little corner of Manhattan are dizzily wondering whether I may be pregnant. And I do mean dizzily. Cause damn if those supplemental progesterone pills aren’t good for a mighty impressive case of the bedspins. Should you happen to wake up in the middle of the night, worrying, say, about whether progesterone supplementation is really a good idea, you will soon find yourself lying awake with your head spinning—literally and figuratively.

As I mentioned over at Thalia’s, we have gotten to the point that even my husband has started to monitor my pee frequency. “Gee,” he’ll say slyly and casually, glancing over the morning paper for a bored 2.2 nanoseconds as I do my usual, damn-I-slept-in-again morning dash around, “Gee didn’t I hear you get up a few times last night?” Translated this means, “You are under professional surveillance. My beeper went off at precisely 0300 hours last night indicating that you tripped the new digital volumetric urine analyzer I surreptitiously installed under the toilet seat.” To which I reply, “Um, maybe, I can’t really remember right now. I’m going to be late for work.” Which, translated means, “Would you STOP it, you moron, the progesterone that is making me pee is synthetic. Or it comes from a horse. Or something. Anyway, it does not originate in my body. It is being secreted by my stomach, not my ovaries. This sign and symptom seeking is pointless.” Then I self-righteously huff off into the bathroom to check if my nipples feel sore one last time before I leave. Even the dog has gotten into the act. This morning I caught him sniffing my crotch. His thoughts need no translation: “Mmm! Horsey!”

So, after evading the husband and the dog, and surmounting my own addled ineptitude, it’s a serious relief to let the apartment door slam behind me and head for the elevator. If the elevator’s empty when I get on (and it often is cause I live on a high floor), I’ve found the cozy windowless cabin to be an excellent spot for a quick nip at the nipples just to, you know, see if the old buttons are more or less sore than they were two and a half minutes ago in the bathroom. It turns out that this diagnostic procedure can actually be performed in any empty elevator. So, say, if you find yourself rushing from meeting to meeting all day with no time even to pee (which you don’t need to do in any case, the effects of the previous night’s progesterone pill having fully worn off by mid-morning), you can give yourself quick checks without even stepping into the ladies room. I’m sure I am the delight of security-camera men all over Manhattan.

The one early pregnancy sign that I have actually found most accurate I am going to have to patent. The test is both uncannily accurate and sinfully fun to perform. It’s called the HDCT Test, the “How Does Chocolate Taste?” Test. As a certified chocoholic, I regard pre-menstrual chocolate consumption as a basic human right, medically indicated for all cases of PMS. As a pregnant person, however, I find I develop an almost immediate aversion to chocolate—and unfortunately to sweets generally—during the earliest weeks of the pregnancy. This aversion is then followed by many others until I find myself with my head in the toilet hourly, usually sometime in week six. So, long before I start peeing on sticks, I start opening foil wrappers, and, let me tell you, the chocolate test has yet to let me down. Survey says, I am not pregnant again this month. But I will report back with the “scientific” results when they’re in.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Joining the Miscarriage Masons

Two friends of mine IRL have had miscarriages in the last 2 weeks. Each called me within the hour of getting the bad news. One, a veteran at this, was already off getting her nails done at the time. The other, a newbie, called sobbing into her cell phone from the clinic parking lot. I was both touched and deeply saddened to be the one they both thought to call first. Apparently, after 3 miscarriages, I have passed the apprenticeship and fellowship stages and am now considered a Grand Master in the Masonic Order of Miscarriage.*

So, I propose a cyber sororal lodge for Miscarriage Masons. Instead of the “Square and Compass” logo we can adopt the “Wand and Speculum.” You can’t apply for membership to this secret society, you can only be selected. While I wish it didn’t fall to me to be the one to initiate friends into the mysteries of the miscarriage ritual--the secret signs, the code words, the lore handed down through the ages--as a Master Mason I offer herewith a primer for those unfortunate enough to be tapped to join:

Spotting never symbolizes anything good. Beware of medical codes. Don’t believe them when they claim that the only reason they can’t find a heartbeat is because the crappy old ultrasound machine is no good and they’re just sending you for a “confirmation” ultrasound at the better clinic. Those people are not “on the level.” There are no crappy old ultrasound machines. Mention of the COUM is code for “you’re fucked, your baby’s dead, but please wait and do your crying in someone else’s office.” As for Masonic regalia, buy some pretty yoga pants to wear to the D&C. Miscarriage masonry ritual dictates passing the first awful hours after the D&C viewing as many mindless videos as you can before falling asleep. Finally, be aware that Masonic miscarriage tradition calls for a hormonal plunge following a loss, so be prepared for the resultant despair and depression.

The Miscarriage Masons is one secret society no one ever wants to be able to join. Membership in the Miscarriage Freemasons will not make you feel free. But it will make you highly sensitive to the pain of your fellow members. So, when you meet a sister, make the secret sign and hug her hard.

Many thanks to all of you who "flashed the sign" on reading my last post. It makes me feel a bit better to think I'm helping others to feel a bit better too.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry

Monday, August 22, 2005

Quieting the Inner Track Coach

A Real Long Letter for My 25th Post:

First off, many many thanks for all the kind and encouraging comments. I do so appreciate knowing there are people out there who “get it.”

Mostly, I have been OK. I had an appointment with a new endocrinologist this month—I’ll call her Dr. Down to Earth. She basically said to me, “Look this is going to happen for you. It’s just a matter of when.” I did my usual sort of sensitive-yet-tough act: sniffle quickly, square the shoulders, and then bravely--yet obviously--pretend to be fine. I said, “Oh I’m sure I’ll conceive again if I’m patient enough. It’s the making it to term part I can’t quite seem to master.”

She fixed me with a vintage no-nonsense, stop-feeling-sorry-for-yourself, cut-the-crap, and lose-the-attitude look and said, “Noo, I mean having a *child* is going to happen for you.” To which I just cocked an eyebrow. Like, what lady, you selling bridges here? We all know my body is crap and my luck is worse. And she said, “I won’t do anything awful like tell you to relax--though it obviously can’t hurt. But you just have to trust that this is going to happen. Your body is still trying to figure things out.” I must have perked up a bit then, because she repeated that line. “Your body’s figuring it out. Once your body does, it will happen. I promise.” Then she almost ruined it by telling me she had a “feeling” about me and she was good about knowing these things. I mean sheesh. If I had a baby for every damn person who “just had a good feeling”…

But I like the idea of my body earnestly, honestly, trying to figure things out. Poor dopey body, I know it means well. And truth to tell, I have been a slow starter when it comes to most things in my life. Why should my body be different from my psyche? I like the idea of telling my Inner Track Coach to take a chill pill, put DOWN the effing stop watch, stop yelling for me to “Use those arms!” (Use those ovaries!? Use that ute!?), and let the body do some untimed trail runs.

Mostly, that’s what I’ve been doing. No racing, no timing, no treadmills, no tracks, just enjoying the outdoors. Except I haven’t truly been running at all. In response to my claim that I just didn’t know whether to exercise or not, cause I keep gaining weight, yet I don’t want to interfere with implantation and I love to run, but how can I run and keep down my heartbeat and… Dr. Down to Earth said, “You know *walking* has been shown to be a totally gentle, highly effective form of exercise.” So, I’ve been walking gently with my body and with myself these days and mostly it has been good.

Gotta admit I had a slight relapse this past weekend, though, when I unexpectedly ran into an old "friend," her husband, and their *brand new* baby. I’m not in touch with the woman, had no idea they’d even been expecting, much less that they’d be at this party. She was one of those people who sort of overlapped with my social circle years ago, but to whom I was never close. She was always, always so self-satisfied and sure, the kind of person who tells stories about how she *always* gets what she wants. It's not that I actually care what she thinks. But, because, she always seems out to prove how great she is, it just really rubbed raw to see her have something that I really want.

I did my very best to smile pretty and coo at the right times. Still, why not me? Why? Why her and not me? And does she know about my problem? Was she rubbing in it? Were we conversing in code when she bragged about her new book--and how she just, you know, feels like the mother of all creation?

In dire need of something, I went to church on Sunday morning (a pretty rare thing for me). The minister’s sermon was about the character-building purpose of suffering. Going all folksy and contemporary on us, the minister brought up the example of the many failures of Abraham Lincoln. (I guess Lincoln seems accesible and contemporary when your other main example is about 2,000 years old and has the advantage of being the son of God.) Most people telling the story of Lincoln’s heartbreaks, setbacks, personal and professional losses (a string of failures that, according to Professor Google, may be largely urban legend anyway) take the moral of the story to be that you should never give up cause something great may be just around the corner. The minister’s point, by contrast, was that Lincoln’s failures were not something that he had to overcome, but rather something that he had to understand, to endure, and to integrate into his character. Only someone who had already lived through suffering could ever have had the strength to lead the country through the Civil War.

In fact, the minister pointed out, Americans are rather peculiar in their assumption that life is there to be enjoyed and that each person’s goal should be to get through her days as comfortably numb as practically possible. On the contrary, growth comes from struggle, from hard-won grace.

It was just the reinforcement of Dr. Down to Earth’s message that I needed. So, I am going to try to remember to be kind to my body, to myself, and to others and to remember that before the invention of comfort there was suffering and salvation. I am going to try to believe not only that I will eventually become a mother, but also that all these miscarriages, and these seemingly senseless hurts and delays, will prove to be the very things needed make me into the mother I am meant to be. If ever there was an endurance trial, infertility is it. There's no use trying to sprint. The only thing to do is to take it slow and try to remember to breath deeply.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Results of the BOSP Test: "Ooooohhhh, No!"

We’re on a bit of a dictionary kick over here at Let’s Generate. If we can’t procreate, damned if we can’t create some new vocabulary. Herewith, some new words for your edification:

Primary Infertility: When your primary waking thoughts, your main nocturnal dreams circle infinitely, futilely around the apparently impossible dream of having a child.

Secondary Infertility: When, following one successful conception and gestation, all you want is a second, or some other “higher order multiple,” child, and yet your desires are treated as insubstantial, inconsequential by friends, family, physicians, and fate alike.

Tertiary Anfertility: When your name is Anne and, following a series of fast conceptions and even quicker miscarriages, you suddenly find you are no longer even able to conceive.

Seriously folks. I conceived my first baby in 1 try, lost it at 8 weeks, the second in 2 tries, lost it at 12 weeks, the third in 1 try, lost it at 9 weeks. My problem heretofore has been staying, not getting pregnant. So four months of failure in a row now has me ready to lose my mind. I realize this is relatively little time in the annals of infertility. But you have to realize that what I’ve been steeling myself against is the heartbreak of my next miscarriage. The heartbreak of not even being able to conceive introduces a whole new brand of torment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Best Kind of Congress (the other kind is busy getting ready to eff up the Supreme Court)

Convacation Sex n. (2005): a convocation, or meeting, of two people for the purpose of attempting conception: conducted while the parties concerned are on vacation [we ate, drank, and had lots of ~]

It was good. I'll let you know if it leads to anything.

Monday, July 04, 2005

"Happy" Fouth of July

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all women are not created equal. That some are endowed by their creator with the ability to procreate while some are doomed to barren despair, and that amidst their griefs will be no new life and little happiness.

So, there I am at yet another infernal barbecue. This one really was enough to make an infertile relinquish all hope. The place was crawling with kids. My husband and I were literally the only couple there without spawn.

I felt like I was missing the season’s crucial accessory. Everyone else knew how to get a child. Several, clearly on very good terms with the Designer, had as many as three. Others had one or two, probably picked them up cheap at a sample sale somewhere. But still. I was the only one without the must-have look.

And these kids were all exceptionally adorable, beautifully behaved, beautiful looking, a sort of photo-shoot fantasy of having children. No one fought. No one spilled their juice (which in any case was the can’t-go-wrong parenting-professional choice: juice boxes of organic apple juice sipped through micro straws). They played on the swings. They pushed each other gently on slide. They sang. They got out the dress-up box and put on a very elaborate play the grow-ups were not allowed to watch. The infants smiled and cooed when they needed attention.

By the time I’d been there an hour, everyone knew my story. I felt compelled to explain myself. I felt that all those strangers needed to know that I read Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily. I *know* a single-minded focus on career is, like, so last season. I love children, really. And I deeply appreciate the value of family (an altogether different thing than so-called “family values”—don’t get me started). It’s just that my damn credit card keeps getting denied.

Must be an error with the fraud-prevention program. I swear I am an excellent credit risk. You let me have a baby and I promise I will never miss a payment. I will shower that child with love.

For now, I have only tears. Who knew a simple barbecue could make you so blue? Add the cold white shock of seeing the red of my period again this morning and there you have it: another holiday in hell.

I am officially going to be on vacation, in the real world and in the blog world, for the next two weeks. I’ll be thinking of all of you and especially folks like Susie, and PJ, and Danae, wishing you all the best. See ya’ll when I get back.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Breaking News, Part II

More news from the wild and wacky world of ovulation prediction and pregnancy test kits.

Women today have more options for pregnancy testing than ever before. Ever eager to determine what women want, kit makers introduce new varieties of test kits all the time. Now you can choose tests that give results five days before your expected period. But no rush. No pressure. They still sell the less sensitive tests too. So if you’re a masochist, you can still wait till after you’re a few days late to test.

Of course, there are lots of consumer reports articles out there you can find to go over the boring stuff, like how many milligrams of which kinds of hormone have to be present in how many milliliters of pee before a given brand of test will register results. I want to discuss more important things. Like the presentation of the results.

If you're an IF veteran, you're probably already used to looking for pink lines. After months, if not years, of straining your eyes to try to determine the relative shading of the pink lines on ovulation-prediction kits, it’ll come as a real relief to graduate to pregnancy-test kits, where the key question is HOW MANY pink lines there are. One? Sorry, please play again. Two? Snake eyes! You’re goin ta Vegas, baby.

For those partial to pink lines, First Response makes a very nice product. Anecdotal evidence suggests that testing with a kit that presents results in pink increases your likelihood of having a baby girl by an unquantifiable percentage.

For those hoping for a boy, however, allow me to suggest the use of Clear Blue Easy. True, this test is a bit less sensitive than First Response. But it does have important advantages. The best part is that the results come in *blue*! AND, there’s no need to count lines with this test. Instead, you look for a plus sign or a minus sign. Plus? Your result is positive. Minus? It’s negative. See? It’s clear. It’s easy. And it’s blue! This test goes great with the yellow and blue nursery d├ęcor favored for little boys. In fact, you’ll want to be sure to buy multiples of this kit so you can generate lots of pretty blue plus signs. Then you can buy the Pottery Barn conversion kit and use them to make Junior his own very special personalized crib mobile (fishing line not included).

Of course, the kits mentioned above can be a little confusing. With First Response you have to *count* the number of lines in order to interpret your result. Kit makers realize the strain that such counting puts on the female brain. In fact, extensive survey results reveal that, on average, an infertile woman will wait just 2.5 days post-ovulation before beginning to test for pregnancy. Yet even the most sensitive tests won’t work until 9 to 10 days post-O. Recognizing that most women can’t count as high as ten, much less tell the difference between one line or two, scientists have worked to address the problem.

Clearly, Clear Blue Easy, with its confusing mathematical symbols, does not mark much of an improvement over the one-line-versus-two-line tests. Plus signs? Minus signs? Don’t they realize that women who can’t count are only going to be further frightened by symbols for computation? What does a positive mean anyway? Good news, right! Which could mean either pregnant or not pregnant, depending on what you’re hoping for… Sheesh.

Enter the good folks at E.P.T. They call their test the EARLY Pregnancy Test, even though it can’t be used until you expect your period. Apparently they mean not that you can use their test early-—you can’t—-but that it can be used to confirm an already detected early pregnancy with Certainty. Knowing how much better women are with English than math, product developers at E.P.T. now offer the “Certainty” test. E.P. T. Certainty promises you results written in plain English, saying either “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” Now how thoughtful is that? Too bad for you, if you’re not an English speaker.

Don’t even get me started on pregnancy testing for the blind. Until now, nothing has been available for those who can’t see. But hope is on the way. Because manufacturers realize how few women with the disposable income available to waste on their products can actually read in the first place. So they are now developing a new line of pregnancy tests designed to deliver results audibly instead of visibly.

Still in the prototype stage, these new tests will work like singing telegrams. Your pee stream will activate the miniature audio speakers, making the result loud and clear. Searching around for an appropriately catchy tune, drug companies are reaching back to the glory days. Remember those service announcements that aired in the 1970’s warning children not to mistake medicine for candy? Well, now that those former children are reaching the infertile years, manufacturers have decided to resurrect the “We’re Not Candy!” jingle.

Remember ladies? It went like this:
‘We’re NOT can-dy.
Even though we look so fine and dan-dy.
When you’re sick, we come in han-dy,
We’re NOT can-dy.”

Coming soon to a drugstore near you, the BOS (Blind or Stupid) Pregnancy Test:

"You're NOT preg-nant.
Even though the news makes you in-dig-nant.
IF you were, you'd feel tran-scend-ent,
You're NOT preg-nant."

Damn. Now I can’t get that tune out of my head.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I Am a Fertility Goddess

Well, I meant to not post for a few weeks. To try to focus on my actual life and work, not the inside of my computer. But it seems I’m addicted to the blog world. Or I miss ya’ll or something. Anyway, I managed to read about Get-up Grrl’s cat without posting, but Reprogirl’s posts tipped me over the edge. I just hadda share the latest:

See, I started feeling pregnancy symptoms on Saturday, the same day I had my first positive OPK. I had the fatigue *and* I kept having to pee a lot. I mean a LOT. And that always happens to me really early in the pregnancy. So I just went around all day peeing & peeing & thinking, wow, they really ought to improve the technology on those pregnancy tests. I mean, if my body can sense the hormonal changes this soon, there *must* be measurable amounts of chemicals in my pee. Not that I actually tested, mind you. I know those tests don't work the day of ovulation. I just walked around feeling smug and pleased with my secret, impressed with my earthy intimate knowledge of my own body.

We went to a friend's barbecue and there were infants and toddlers galore. But secure in my secret knowledge, I was fine. One idiot metrosexual with a five-month-old son in a sling actually went on and on about how it would be his first "Daddy's Day" the next day causing my highly sensitive yet wholly inarticulate husband to accidentally impale his own hand on a barbecue skewer. I almost gave my husband the good news, just to make him feel better. But I didn't want to jinx anything. Instead, I went home and had some totally unnecessary--wink, wink--conception sex, then fell into an exhausted sleep around midnight.

You can imagine my glee when I woke at 2:30 AM with the most ferocious need to pee. See, I told you! And then I peed. And the PAIN. The PAIN. It was excruciating. There was an effing barbecue skewer up my urethra. There was actual blood, people. I was up the rest of the night. And antibiotics and Pyridene notwithstanding I’ve been way too uncomfortable for sex ever since. See how well this cycle is shaping up for me?

Please, please, tell me I'm not the first person to diagnose a UTI as a pregnancy!

So, ball's in your court. What's your worst/funniest "hysterical pregnancy"* story?

*See Reprogirl June 16

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


The blog, she is feeling a mite bit peckish these days. Maybe it's the old age. Maybe it's the heat giving her the vapors. Maybe it's the utter lack of incident on the baby-making front. She don't rightly know. But she's going to draw the blinds and have a nice lie down with a cool compress. She'll be up and about again when she's able. Till then, she sends her regards. Do stop in and pay her a call if you're in the neighborhood, hear?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Breaking News

The world of ovulation prediction tests and pregnancy tests is changing rapidly. With new scientific improvements occurring every day, there are a few key things every woman should consider before selecting a test kit.

Start by assessing your own scientific skills. Did you flunk 9th-grade biology? Tenth-grade chemistry? Do you remember what a pipette is? If not, better steer clear of the kits that come with collection cups, droppers, test trays, etc. Too many steps! Too much equipment!

We know, we know, if they'd made the real-world implications of learning to pipette clear back in high school, your whole life would be different right now. You might have stopped passing notes to your best girlfriend, asked the guy in front of you for some pipetting tips, invited him over for a study session, done your studying on the basement couch, gotten knocked up as a youngin, and never reached the stage of thirty-something, fading-fertility desperation that has you squinting bleary eyed at little pearls of yellow pee first thing in the morning, watching them tremble tremulously from the end of dropper, as you think, "drop, damn it, drop, fulfill your destiny, live up to your name, drop you damn droplet...Damn!--how many drops just fell?" Education reform now. That's all I'm sayin.

Right. So where was I? Ah yes, selecting kits. You are much much better off choosing the wand-style kits. Confusingly, these also come with cups. But no droppers. And no trays. At first you may want to ease into the transition to a new testing technique by peeing into a collecting cup like you're used to doing, then dipping the stick, then waiting for the results. Problem is, you still have to dispose of those little shot-glasses full of urine. And they don't offer you a chaser. Ick. Eventually, you will realize what a simple matter it is to just stick the damn stick into you urine stream, count to five, wait for the results. Voila. So simple. And those unused little collection cups? They make great paperclip sorting trays at the office.

With the sample collected, the hard part becomes interpreting the results. Almost all ovulation-prediction tests show results in the form of two pink lines. Your job is to decide which line is darker, the test line or the control line. If the test is darker, I mean if the control is darker, I mean if... Never mind. It doesn't really matter if you can remember which line is supposed to be darker, because just trying to determine if one of them actually is a shade darker than the other is going to drive you bananas. And, frankly, if you can read one of these things, you're pretty much already shit out of luck.

According to "Great at Any Age," the handy "guide to enjoying the best years of your life" offered on page 280 of the June 2005 issue of InStyle magazine, color vision "steadily improves until it reaches its peak in your thirties." My point? If your color vision is good enough to interpret one of those OPK's, you can go ahead and skip the damn test altogether. No need for a Day-Three FSH test. Your eggs are old. Your body has redirected its waning resources away from your ovaries and into your retinas.

Good luck, though. Once you've mastered the trick of peeing on a stick, one ovulation-prediction test is much like another. There's not a lot more to think about in choosing generic over brand. And, if you're very very lucky, you'll have many more chances to perfect your technique month after month.

I know I'll be working to hone my skills again this month...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Of Germination and Generation*

It’s June and maple seedlings are sprouting all over the lawn,** piercing through the mulch in the flowerbeds, springing up through cracks in the patio. Each little sapling has only a couple of leaves, rippling flags of the tenderest, yellowest, youngest shade of green. The funny thing is that the leaves are nearly full-sized. They're nearly what you’d see on a mature tree——much like human embryos I suppose, all head and little limb. They look so foolish and yet so brave, flapping and waving from their slender four and five inch stalks.

Most of them won’t make it, I know. They’ll be nibbled bit by bit by insects or browsed whole by deer, drowned in floods or withered by drought. Many will be unceremoniously mown down with the grass. I may even rip a few from the sheltering earth myself. Oh, my heart will tear a bit along with the leaves, but the eternal quest for order in the garden must be met.

And soon the whole cycle will begin again. Every year, the old Norway maple standing sentinel in the center of the lawn sends hundreds of glittering green seedpods off on lazy, dizzy, circular flights. The silent droning of their papery propellers marks the slow passing of August afternoons.

It’s such a lovely feeling, that green forest vertigo feeling you get when lying under spreading branches and looking up, watching the helicopters sputter to the ground. And what fun, once they've fallen. When I was a child, all the neighborhood kids used to gather under the cool green, collecting pods and hanging them from our ears. Earrings for little wood nymphs.

Seeing these seedlings now, I think of the tree and its seasons. How deeply do I yearn for a child to share this sense of wonder with. Yet, so very few seeds ever sprout. And how few of those spouts grow into saplings...how few of those saplings stretch into trees. Nature is profligate with her offspring, extravagantly inefficient in her spending.

I do so hope my own three spent pods may be off flying somewhere, winging their way through the blue. So, it makes my breath catch to see the shallow-rooted seedlings now scattered about, tiny and determined, nodding and bobbing in the breeze.

*Alternate Title: On Mourning My Losses yet Being Pro-Choice

** I do in fact live in Manhattan, but I also have some country access.

P.S. For those of you still following along: it's cycle day 26 here. Progesterone suppositories notwithhstanding, I've never felt less pregnant in my life.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Honest, Officer, I Never Saw No Signs

When you have your first miscarriage, you think, “Who me? Sorry, officer, but you’ve got the wrong woman. No really. Look at your profiles—we know you like those profiles—I’m much too young and cute for this to be happening. I’m only 30. And my hair is shiny.” The officer appears unmoved by the shiny hair. He probably prefers blonds. With curls. “I’m sorry, Ma’am,” he says, “but we got you red handed, er, red padded, er anyway, you’re definitely having a miscarriage.” Then he writes you up a warning ticket for some Percocet and sends you on your way.

For a while you’re too stunned to get back in the car. This can’t be real you think. Eventually, the evidence around you is too great to be ignored. “Fine,” you think, “OK, fine. I had a miscarriage. But it was an accident, a slip up. Could have happened to anyone, honest, and I barely had anything to drink.” Friends and family reassure you that it happens all the time. People you hardly know come out of the woodwork to tell you about the time it happened to them. And look at them now: three kids, six step kids, from two different marriages, more grandkids and step grandkids than they can count. “Right,” you think, “I’m gonna get my life back on track. I’m gonna turn over a new leaf. No drinking. No late nights. No tuna fish.” This happened once, but it ain’t gonna happen again and that’s a promise.

When you get pulled over for your second miscarriage, the officer cocks an eyebrow. “What seems to be the problem, officer?” you ask, sure that if you just bat your lashes and visibly blink away tears, he’ll have to take pity. “Do you know what the speed is supposed to be?” he asks. You search your brain frantically, trying to remember what the normal beat per minute range is for fetal heartbeats…”Um no, officer, I don’t,” you say as innocently as possible. “Well, this one’s too slow,” he tells you. Days later, he says the words you’ve been dreading: “you’re having a miscarriage.”

You accept the news quickly this time, but what does it mean? “Are they going to put points on my license?” you ask. “Yes,” says the officer grimly, making notes on his pad, “we give you 40 points.” FORTY points? A forty percent chance of a third miscarriage? Shit. Oh, and this time there’s a fine. You’ll have to pay up front for a D&C. Oh, you can go to traffic court and protest. Maybe eve get the fine reduced. But even if health insurance covers 80%, that’s still a hefty chunk of change. Once in court, you realize your life has changed forever. The judge tells you you’re going to be on probation through your next pregnancy. Furthermore, this is going down on your permanent record.

Come the time of your third miscarriage, the officer rolls his eyes, gives his siren a quick burp, and pulls you over to the curb. “All right lady, let’s see it, open up the trunk,” he demands. You wonder if you should tell him to get a warrant, but you’re too scared to protest. He slaps you around with the nightstick, shoves his flashlight in your trunk then says, “this is going down about like I thought it would.” Shit, shit, shit, you think. I cannot get this monkey off my back. His radio crackles as he speaks into it, “this is unit 666 to base, unit 666 to base. We got ourselves an NFHB.” No Fetal Heartbeat.

This time, the judge is not amused. “Type a situation ya got here, we call it habitual spontaneous abortion,” he says. Now you’re really ashamed. Everyone knows about your nasty habit. Once you have your third miscarriage, they label you a hopeless recidivist. They lock you in the airless cell of infertility where you meet your fellow prisoners, Rage, Grief, and Disbelief. The cruelest joke of all hits when you realize your own body is site of your incarceration. “Fuck,” you think, “am I in here for life?”

Monday, May 23, 2005

Infertility (and Illumination) in Unexpected Places

From time to time there are discussions in the IF blogosphere about literature that treats themes of infertility. I just came across a book that deals with the subject beautifully: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead Books, 2003). The book, about a young man from Afghanistan, has little to do with infertility overall. But, midway through the book, infertility unexpectedly enters the life of a character-- as unexpectedly as it has entered many of our lives. Hosseini writes about it with such knowing detail (both medically and emotionally) that I think he must have some direct personal experience with it. I want to share one especially moving passage (but I'm blacking out the characters' names so as not to spoil the plot for anyone who wants to read the book):

"Sometimes, [with her] sleeping next to [him], [he] lay in bed and listened to the screen door swinging open and shut with the breeze, to the crickets chirping in the yard. And [he] could almost feel the emptines in [her] womb, like it was a living breathing thing. It had seeped into [their] marriage, that emptiness, into [their] laughs, and [their] lovemaking. And late at night, in the darkness of [their] room, [he'd] feel it rising from [her] and settling between [them]. Sleeping between [them]. Like a newborn child."

Tears filled my eyes as I read that passage and again as I transcribed it now. It captures a lot for me. Please, if you come by and read this, won't you leave me a comment and tell me about something, anything, a poem, a novel, an essay on infertility that has affected you too?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Smoke Gets in Your Eggs

Haven't you always loved that old jazz standard, you know, the one with the lyrics by Bryan Ferry? The words go something like this:

They ask me how I knew
What I want to do
I of course replied
Something here inside
Cannot be denied
They said someday you´ll find
Maternal instinct's blind
When your heart´s on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes
So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed
And kept up my maternal plans
Yet today my hope has flown away
I am without my babes
Now soothing friends decry
Tears I cannot hide
So I smile and say
When Granny smokes her cigs
Smoke gets in your eggs

Wait. What? You say that's not the way you remember the lyrics? Well, you clearly have not been reading the Wall Street Journal lately. (And more power to you; their editorial page gives me hives.) But if you had accidentaly come across a copy over the weekend and just happened to turn to the May 13, 2005 "Science Journal" section, you'd have stumbled on the article:

"Grandma's Behavior While Pregnant Affects Her Grandkids' Health"
— by Sharon Begley.

Read my excerpt and weep:

"Scientists are discovering that nature...can visit the sins of the grandparents on the children... Transgenerational effects are the latest focus of a growing field called fetal programming, or the fetal origins of adult diseases. It examines how conditions in the womb shape physiology in a way that makes people more vulnerable decades later to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, immune problems, and other illnesses...Last month scientists reported that a child whose grandmother smoked while pregnant with the child's mother may have twice the risk of developing asthma as a child whose grandmother didn't flood her fetus with carcinogens. Remarkably, the risk from grandma's smoking was as great or greater than from mom's...The harmful effects of tobacco, it seems, can reach down two generations even when the intervening generation—mom—has no reason to suspect her child may be at risk...What causes the grandma effect? One suspect is DNA in the fetus's eggs (all the eggs a girl will ever have are made before birth). Chemicals in smoke might change the on-off pattern of genes in eggs, including genes of the immune system, affecting children who develop from those eggs. Men whose mother's smoked don't seem to pass on such abnormalities, probably because sperm are made after birth...When immune compromised girls become pregnant, they have less chance of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Score another one for the grandma effect."

Are you angry yet? Are you crying? I am. Because my grandmother (until her premature smoking-related death) smoked a good two packs a day every day of her life and all through her pregnancy with my mother, even as my then-embryonic mother was busy in utero making the egg that would one day make me. And I, despite being in overall good health and testing negative for every damn disorder that a hematologist, four reproductive endocrinologists, and a rheumatologist can think of to test me for, don't seem to have much "chance of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby." Indeed, they tell me my best hope is probably to act as if I DO have an immune disorder, one they simply cannot find or diagnose, and go on anti-coagulation therapy in my next pregnancy.

One of the "luxuries" of suffering from UNEXPLAINED Recurrent Miscarriages is that you get to grasp at any and every possible explanation that comes your way, no matter how hazy the details. So I'm singing through angry tears this morning, "Smoke gets in your eggs."

Friday, May 13, 2005

Compass Points

Thank you all so much for your comments.

I logged on today with a post already half-written in my head, knowing that I had a bit a free time to type my thoughts down. But I'm so moved by your comments that what I meant to say has flown out of my head. I think I sort of thought in the back of my mind that this might be what it would be like to blog, but I really had no idea.

On Wednesday I wrote a post about feeling lost on the path to parenthood. I didn't even realize that I was asking for help in knowing where the heck I am. I just sent a smoke signal into the ether. "Helllooo. I'm heere. Can anyone hear me? Can anyone tell me where is here?" One by one, you arrived. No one could necessarily point the way north, but each came bearing something: a magnet, a needle, a cork, a cup, the last water in the canteen.

Bugs writes a blog that I love, how great to have her say that something I wrote sums up just how she feels.

Ann moved me to tears with her recognition of my story, with its unwritten ending, and even more with her offer of her story, in which infertility has become a closed chapter. I long for the day when the last paragraph in this chapter of my life will be written.

Journeywoman's name says it all. She knows how hard this trip is.

Sarah and Alisa understand the sense of accidental sisterhood that binds infertiles. Getup Grrl has said she once thought of calling Chez Miscarriage the Miscarriage Club to capture exactly that feeling.

V's Herbie just got out of the car for a second and hopes to get right back on the road. I wish you Godspeed, but in the meantime I'm glad to have you here in the clearing.

Sol traveled through a lot of cyberspace to get here. I'd love to know where you're writing from.

Angela's metaphor about trying to retrace her steps moved me deeply. Where is the damn trail of breadcrumbs when you need it?

Each of these comments is like the strike of a needle across a magnet. And while I may not yet know the way North, I feel so heartened by the needle's feeble wiggles. Someday, somehow we'll find a path out of here.

In the meantime, the extraordinary experience of writing what I'm feeling and having perfect strangers "materialize" (etherize?!) to say, yes, they know what it's like to face in just this direction is something I'm very grateful to have.

"Compass" has so many meanings. As verb it can mean to draw an enclosing line, to measure a curve. And I wonder if it might not also be related to the word compassion. Because what I feel in having written and then gotten your responses is that I've been circled, compassed with compassion. I hope that people reading this will feel that too.

Each of you is a compass point.

I'm glad I decided to take a try at this blogging thing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

When Sartre Is Your Chauffer

Dearest Readers,

With the help of the fabulous Suzie of the aptly-named Not a Habit, I recently figured out how to make links, including an all-important link to the mother of all blogrolls Julie's big list. Thanks to Julie's recent update, I am now actually included on that big list, my very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And because of that link, I have received dozens on dozens of visits today. But no comments. What gives?

Are you all ferociously shy? Bored to tears at the thought that another hapless infertile has started a blog? Just really not interested in the thoughts of this particular hapless infertile? I would really love to know YOUR thoughts.

So, I'm going to ask you a direct question and hope for some responses. Where are you on the path to parenthood? Cruising the blacktop with the hood down? Stuck in the mud? Crashed into the guard rail? What do you do to keep yourself occupied on the journey? Are you the kind who packs the car with lots of healthy snacks and classic books on tape? The kind who stops after 15 miles cause they have Nathan's at the rest stop & Nathan's sells those awesome crispy crinkled french fries with the mini pitchfork (the forks are red cause those greasy tasty fries are the devil's own food), plus that way you can pick up copies of Cosmo and People? The kind that drives all night, pees into a bottle, and coasts into each gas stop on fumes?

I am finding it a little hard to keep myself occupied on this damn road trip. We've taken so many wrong turns, the whole thing is lasting way longer than I thought it would. I've eaten through my homemade GONC (that's good old nuts and chocolate, cause who would ever waste their time on raisins). I've eaten some good, greasy fast food. I've driven in silence for grim determined hours. But we're still not there. And the road is so foggy, I can't tell if I'm getting closer, or driving in circles, or possibly heading straight for a cliff.

Objectively, I have a very nice life. But after a lot of debate and discussion, my husband and I decided we were ready to change that life. Yet, life decided to stay the same. Instead, I changed. I can't seem to get comfortable again in the life that I had, but I don't know how to get to the life I think I want. I'm on a road that seems to go nowhere and has No Exit. Eh bien, continuous. . . .

Sunday, May 08, 2005

On Surviving May 8, 2005

Mother’s Day

what a
Miserable Date
what a
Maddening Display
for those with
Maternal Desires
Much Delay

Moronic Demands
Mental Depression
Medical Deviants
Major Dejection

Misanthropic Disgust
only prevents
Mindful Deliberation
so better turn to
Mournful Daydreams
Maintain Determination

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Hissy Fit as a Form of Contraception

A student at MIT named Gauri Nanda has recently created a novel new form of alarm clock. Known as "Clocky," it's designed to act as a robotic pet, a kind of techno Fido that barks for you to wake up and play. The clock, padded and covered in brown shag carpet, has wheels and a navigation system. Once the alarm goes off in the morning, Clocky rolls off the nightstand and then into some unknown corner. The idea is that you'll have to get out of bed and find it in order to turn it off. My husband really needs something like this.

Every single morning, my husband's alarm goes of before dawn. He's got the kind of job where you have to get up to make the donuts. But he's a heavy sleeper, ergo, he needs an alarm. And every single morning after it goes off, he hits snooze over and over. Eventually, *I* become fully awake and team up with the clock to rouse him. Sometimes I have to physically push him out of bed. By that point, I usually can't fall back to sleep. Ironically, I'm a light sleeper that needs a LOT of sleep. So, even though I have a better schedule and a much shorter commute and could potentially sleep for more than another hour after he gets up, his routine leaves me chronically sleep deprived. This causes us a fair amount of conflict. In fact, it's one of our biggest points of tension. He claims that there's no way he can get up without an alarm. I say, yes I know, but you have to get up when it goes off, not hit snooze and go back to sleep till I force you up. He says he never even consciously hears the alarm and there's nothing he can do. I say constantly disrupting my sleep is a human rights violation!!!! Weekends are the only thing that save us. Otherwise, I'm cranky and sour in the mornings, Mrs. Jack Sprat on the grapefruit diet.

So, a couple of weeks ago, a day or two after I ovulated, I had a big performance review at work and I was nervous. Really really nervous. I wanted the day to go well. I worried it wouldn't. I keep losing babies, why not lose my job while I'm at it? I was an emotional mess. So, the night before my big review, we have a little talk about how I need a good night's sleep before the big day. I, of course, toss and turn and sleep even more lightly than usual until I finally drop off for real around 3 in the morning--only to be rudely awakened again by his alarm at 5:15 AM and at 5: 24 AM and at 5:33 AM. At which point I started screaming like a banshee. I am not kidding, it was ugly. I screamed and shrieked and sobbed and screamed. I pounded the mattress with my fists. I said all sorts of angry things. For an hour. My husband could not have been more contrite, more apologetic, more placating. Eventually, he got out the door, very very late for work. I got up, went to work, sailed through my review, regained my sanity, and apologized abjectly for my behavior when we got home that night. He has gotten up BEFORE his alarm every week-day morning since, and I had almost managed to forget the incident had ever happened.

Until I peed on a stick this morning... Clearly an animal in full-on, adrenaline-pumping, fight-or-flight mode is not going to be optimally primed for reproduction. I think maybe I wasn't quite ready to try this month...

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Mark Your Calendar

Well, I am officially halfway through the 2-week wait. My mood is somewhere between defiantly pissed off and drearily resigned. On the one hand, why should I even care if I'm pregnant, seeing as how if I do get a BFP, it'll only mean I can count forward 5 more weeks and pencil in the date of my upcoming miscarriage in my daybook. And, on the other hand, with pre-partum depression this impressive, does it even matter if I ever get to experience the post-partum variety?

So, how soon should I start peeing on sticks? If Hallmark was the proud sponsor of my life, I’d wait until Sunday, *Mother’s Day,* to test, then present my husband with those two glorious pink lines as a token of my love. He’d blush and shyly pull out a gorgeously wrapped present, the one he bought cause he just knew in his bones we were having a baby. Cue the violins, you know how the rest of this fantasy goes…

Unfortunately, my life seems to be underwritten by a grant from the Waste Management Foundation. So I’m debating between Wednesday and Thursday. If I ovulated last Saturday, as I think I did, then using an early-prediction test, I could possibly test as early as Tuesday, four days before my expected period. Trouble is, the test is only about 60% accurate then and a false negative is only going to further mess with my head. So, it seems worth it to me to wait a few days. But how many??? And will the days pass faster if I spend most of the hours between 2 and 5 AM pondering this question?

So, Mother’s Day. Is there really any more depressing holiday on this earth? Did they make this up just to torture us infertiles? Yes, I have a mother of my own, and, yes, she’s lovely. But after just over two years of infertility and miscarriages, this is going to be my third dreadful Mother’s Day, and frankly I would just like to cut the day from the calendar. Add that to my custom order for the Infertile’s Page-a-Day. I want the one that notes the resumption of Standard Fertility Time but makes no mention whatsoever of Mother’s Day--or Father’s Day, for that matter.

Help me out here, People. We need to get creative here. The page-a-day people seem to have fallen under a glittery spell cast by baby dusters. Seriously, on offer at Amazon right now you can find:

∑ The Best of 14,000 Things to Be Happy About Page-A-Day Calendar 2005
* Cherish April 30th. You have no idea how long it will be until your next miscarriage.

∑ 365 Amazing Trivia Facts Page-A-Day Calendar 2005
* Percentage Likelihood of Miscarriage in Your Next Pregnancy after 3 Losses, No Live Births: 60%
* Percentage Likelihood of Miscarriage in Your Next Pregnancy after 4 Losses, No Live Births: 95%

∑ 365 Meditations, Reflections & Restoratives for Women Who Do Too Much Page-A-Day Calendar 2005
* Breath deeply. Visualize the baby dust. --Ack!--Cough-- Stop. Do NOT breath the baby dust!

∑ Believing In Ourselves : 2005 Day-to-Day Calendars
* The right attitude is everything. So you know it's your fault if you don't have a baby by now.

∑ Zen Page-A-Day Calendar 2005 (Page-A-Day Calendars)
* Sit straight, but comfortably, in the lotus position and chant "Waaanh!" over and over and over again.

∑ Make The Days Count : 2005 Day-to-Day Calendar
* Tick tock, tick tock. If you're over 14, you know, your fertility is declining every single day...

Thoughts about what we should include in the 365 Bitter Ironies About Infertility Page-A-Day Calendar, TM?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Venting Venti-Style

So, I wandered bleary-eyed into my local coffee place this morning, and the attractive looking European man in front of me leaned confidently over the counter said, “Uh’m gun to tek eh kep uf cuffee.” He didn’t ask, “Hi, could I have a cup of coffee?” He didn’t even say, “I’d like a cup of coffee.” No, he announced in clear and melodious tones that he was Going To Take a cup of coffee, apparently whether the counter girl liked it or not. The it was my turn and I said, “Hi, um, could I please, um, have a decaf coffee, um please?” It got me thinking.

Maybe I’m going about this wanting-a-baby thing all wrong. Maybe instead of asking the gods if I could please, pretty please have a baby, or wistfully nattering on about how much I’d like one, I need to stand up and say, “I’m going to have a baby. “ Do you hear that universe? I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I’m going to have a baby. Give me one good viable pregnancy, send me a surrogate, open an adoption application, whatever. I’m not picky about whether there’s cinnamon or coco or nutmeg sprinkled on my foam, but dammit, I’m going to take a latte.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Thinking-of-England Sex

Well, folks, it's cycle day 10 here, which means it is that time again already. To say that I am hopefulanxiousscaredapprehensiveexcitedoptimisticpessimistic does not begin to capture the psychological meltdown I'm heading towards as we get set to try. We had one last lovely carefree romp yesterday. Now the real work begins. Is there any drudgery more dispiriting, undignified, downright anxiety-producing, and all-out awful than conception sex after prolonged infertility and loss? From here on out, I’m going to be about as sensual as the brides told by Queen Victoria to "lie still and think of England." Except I'll be lying still and thinking of children. I will keep you posted…