Archive for August, 2007

Wow

August 31, 2007

So when I dashed into the pharmacy to pick up my Clmid, this is what ensued:

I lean forward to sign the electronic tablet that says I have declined to be counseled about this prescription. As I pick up the stylus, the smiling male pharmacist says, “think positive, sometimes that thing doesn’t work too well.”

“Think positive,” I mutter as I scribble my name. But wait – there’s more.

Smiling Male Pharmacist: So you know the protocol for these, right?

Me (starting to feel the tears rise): Yes, it’s my third time through this.

SMP: Well, I just think it’s a good thing when good people really want to be parents. So many people just aren’t ready, or they’re really young, or they don’t know what they’re doing and all of a sudden they have kids and they just don’t raise them well.

Me: Uh-huh. [I pick up the paper bag with the pill bottle inside and stare at it without seeing.]

SMP: I think it’s wonderful when people adopt, you know, those poor kids get to come to America, where there’s just so much abundance! You can sign them up for any kind of services, you know, that kid never has to play the Lotto cause he already won the jackpot!

Me: Uh-huh. [I’m folding the top of the bag over, creasing it carefully in a very straight line.]

SMP: You know I had these friends who were having trouble, and I told them “just relaaaax! If it’s meant to be it’ll just happen.” And you know once they stopped trying so hard, it happened! And then they couldn’t stop! They were like, “how do you stop? We’re going to end up with 8 or 12 kids!” It was like once the dam broke, the floodgates just opened up!

Me: Wow. [fold, unfold, refold. Repeat.]

SMP: You know what I’m going to do, I’m going to pray for you.

Me: Thank you. [I flee to the wine shop resolving to switch pharmacies at the earliest possible opportunity.]

In a really strange way, though, and after two big glasses of wine at dinner, I am delighted with this exchange. It was just too perfect. It was like someone handed him the list of “things NOT to say to an infertile person” and he just read right through it like a manifesto. It was so completely surreal and bizarre that in a way it was completely wonderful.

Hurray for hormones, you never know when you’re going to hit the upswing!

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Talisman

August 30, 2007

Alert: I’m going to post a picture of something I made that could break your heart if you are feeling fragile or have recently experienced a loss. But it’s at the bottom of the post.

Medical update: It took about three minutes to determine that I have no cysts in my ovaries at this time. It’s taken about 48 hours even to be able to think that there is a way of looking at this situation that makes it good news: I had thought this past summer that the earliest we would be able to do another cycle would be October, but this is a whole month earlier than that. Small, small comfort, but at least an attempt to break out of my current mind-set of misery. That’s a good sign.

Nurse Serious told me “if there’s anything you can do to help you relax – yoga, anything – that will only work in your favor.” Even though this could be a variant of the “just relax” assvice, the way she phrased it communicated to me a concern for my well-being (albeit in her extremely efficient manner). My blood pressure was elevated and I’m sure my face revealed every ounce of stress I was feeling.

Taking walks, and candlelight yoga in the evenings help me relax. So does wine. And knitting absolutely helps me relax – even baby clothes.

I knit baby clothes on a regular basis. At one time I was selling baby stuff at the local farmer’s market to help raise money for my newly widowed sister and her 6mo daughter, plus there were all those pg friends to knit for as well. I like knitting baby clothes b/c they’re really quick knits and don’t take as much yarn. I don’t even use patterns anymore, usually; I make up my own designs. I often lurk at this baby-knit blog just to get ideas. As you can readily imagine, knitting baby clothes when you’re infertile can also be akin to raking your own flesh with a garden fork and then pouring a mixture of salted lemon juice and vinegar into the wounds.

But this is my talisman against the gingerbread cottage. This is what I do to keep from becoming that bitter, bitter person who cackles in the forest. This is how I try to turn and face into the light. I finished this today:

Ugly

August 30, 2007

I wrote this post earlier today and didn’t post it. Until now I guess I thought that the self I present to the world through this blog is pretty true to who I am “in real life” (this assessment made in response to a question on Niobe’s blog some time ago), but I realized as I hesitated over the “publish post” button that … this really is a social space. It may be my metaphorical living room (and sometimes, sadly, bedroom and bathroom) but if it is, it’s in a glass house, and I don’t really wander around naked. The fact that I know others are reading and commenting shapes how I present myself here (and Thank you, Thank you all for your comments – you have NO IDEA how much less alone it makes me feel. I take that back – you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. So Thank you).

So, in the interest of transparency – because so many bloggers comment on how much they appreciate hearing honest accounts of other people’s struggles – here’s what I wrote earlier today. It ain’t very pretty, but it’s unedited.

I’m getting in touch with my emotions here… I’m just really angry that we have to deal with this, all of us, all of this. I’m pissed. I just got of the phone with the clinic, it’s fine, we’re going to go for it, but I have to go in for a pelvic exam tomorrow morning and it’s pissing me off. As interventions go I know it’s still a long shot from the full-on IVF treatment but I’m just angry that (my) reproduction has to be medicalized AT ALL in this way. I think of that book that all my friends were reading when pg., I think it was called “giving birth the natural way” or something like that – anyway – it makes me feel a little violent. Being able even to think in those terms seems like such a luxury. Right now I resent everybody who got knocked up at home in bed and those who did the begetting with every fiber of my being.

This is just vitriol. It makes me feel ill. This doesn’t feel like me. But this is how I feel.

My nurse is very efficient, and I appreciate that, but somehow after talking with her I feel tremendously tense and wound-up. I feel like I’ve done something wrong and I have to go in for punishment. I feel like I’m inconveniencing her. I feel like a bad patient because my situation is unconventional (what with the commuting constraints and all) and that I’m an annoyance, that I ask for too much.

Evidently the nearest RE is in Syracuse and that’s where I’ll be sent after 4 more Clmid cycles. I’m going to try to do 2 this fall and then in the Spring, when T is here, might just go ahead and switch over.

Meanwhile, I called the naturopath for an appt. but they’re already closed for Labor Day.

I just want someone to take care of me. I don’t feel like I’m doing too hot a job of it myself right now.

—–
Ok, the Inner Editor is speaking again. I just got off the phone with T., letting out all the tears I’d been bottling up throughout my evening class. I suspect that’s why I was so tired that by 9:30 I could hardly think. While it was helpful to analyze why I respond to the nurse in this way (it all comes back to, of course, my relationship with my mother) it was even more helpful just to hear his voice and know he’s going to be here tomorrow night.

Oh, and notice how I’m assuming this isn’t going to work.

Unequivocal *updated*

August 28, 2007

Thanks, AF, for jerking me around, you stupid cow.

This morning: bbt drops from a steady 97.7 to an unmistakable 97.3. I go to the bathroom and see red. I sit down and start feeling cramps. Six days overdue. Unmistakably here.

I don’t know why I even had hope… I must have read too many fairy tales as a kid. I kept thinking how poetic, how romantic it would be to get knocked up in Bolivia, where T and I met. Going back to a place that holds magic for me in my memory. We walked again through the park where we once kissed until dawn. We walked past the room where he first said “I love you.” And yet, going back there also made me feel so old… in some ways the poignancy of the memories made the intervening years feel all the longer and heavier… the contrast between then and now – then, when I felt inflamed with passion, and now, when when the anxiety for perfect timing turns lovemaking into a high-pressure chore. So that’s the specific loss I am grieving right now: loss of a lovely story. It might seem like it’s not a “real” loss; what could be more ephemeral and unreal than a story? But stories are what life is made of. Or into. Both, I guess.

Anyway, I decided not to call my clinic. This semester I teach on Monday mornings, and I feel like the pressure of trying to do an IUI between 10:30 and 12:00 on a Monday morning would just about kill me. Hopefully I’ll O on or near cd18, which will be a Friday. But really, why should I think that either strategy will work anyway?

—————
*Just had long phone confab with T, who said “if you don’t shoot, you can’t score”: he wants to go for the IUI. So calling the clinic tomorrow. He said he liked Matthew’s post (though I know it stirred some controversy).

Calculations

August 28, 2007

BBT still holding steady… brown spotting… cd36?!?!??! I haven’t seen cd36 since, oh, 2000.

Here is my conundrum: my sprm donor can only be here on the weekends (Thurs p.m. through Mon p.m.). My clinic is closed on Sundays. On Clmid, I ovulate around cd14. Without it, it’s usually cd 18.

So. If I want another IUI attempt, I have to start my cycle on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.

Want

August 26, 2007

Wow, quite a brou-haha over here. I like where some of the discussions go into false consciousness because it gets at something I have felt and resisted in the past – the social pressure to be “normal” and have children within a few years of getting married.
*Also, having read through most of the comments – it was kinda fun to see some familiar names there weighing in!

I remember shortly after meeting T., asking him if he wanted to have kids someday. He said, “I think I would be sad if I never had any.”

Inexplicable

August 25, 2007

Last spring I attended a lecture on the Kayapo people of Brazil (who apparently do not experience infertility – read on!); the lecturer explored the notion of commodity exchange in a culture that does not use currency or have markets, in the ways that we understand those terms. Basically, he argued that for the Kayapo wealth is family, and bearing children allows people to participate in symbolic exchanges that involve status and power, often through the ritual of naming. There was something about how important having grandchildren is but I can’t remember exactly how it all plays out. (Of course this little recap here fails to do justice to the full argument in all its social theory nuance.)*

After the lecture, a young friend approached the lecturer to ask, “What about people who are infertile?” and of course I hovered nearby to hear the answer. According to this dude, in all his many years (decades, in fact) of fieldwork among the Kayapo, he only ever knew of two (TWO!!!!!) people who experienced infertility, one man and one woman (not related to each other by blood or marriage). Each situation had its own idiosyncratic resolution, in terms of the person’s place in the family and their ability to participate in exchanges.

Deep in the Amazon, there are no REs, no dildocams, no pharmaceuticals, no health insurance, no stirrups… People also partner up in their teens and start having babies pretty much right away. The professor did say that miscarriage, abortion, and maternal mortality rates are higher than in our society, however.

I’m not sure what to do with this information. Walking around campus yesterday, I watched crowds of lusty young people still in their abbreviated summer clothes and thought about their fertility. Some have had abortions, some already have STDs, some will acquire them this year, some are indubitably still virgins. Some will have children sooner than they want to. Some will never be able to have kids. What determines which are which?

Which brings me to the title of this post. It all seems so random. I read blog after blog where the the voice of the author clearly reveals a caring, intelligent humanity, and am astounded, astounded at all the hardship encountered on the path to parenthood (which may never even be reached!!). I was raised to believe that everything happens for a purpose, that God is in control, that bad things happen to good people only because of sin in this world. But man, it just seems so random. And profoundly unfair.

Are we paying for the sin of environmental damage? If screwing with the environment is somehow having a negative impact on overall fertility rates in the industrialized world (which seems quite plausible), then of course some of us will inevitably be affected, and of course there will be no rhyme or reason in the ethical dimension as to who gets affected. It won’t be just, in the ways that we conceptualize justice.

I feel like this is a problem that is going to get worse over time, not better. I have this suspicion that future generations are going to experience higher and higher rates of infertility. More and more people are going to be affected. We who try so very hard to have children may only succeed just to see our kids go through the same thing twenty or thirty years from now. How bad does it have to get before society as a whole sits up and takes notice?

_______________
*The more I think about it, the more I see similar patterns play out in our own culture – the way that grandparents will lay a claim to grandchildren as “my baby,” for example, and seem to believe somehow that their children’s children are a gift to them in some way.

Nothing I Didn’t Really Already Know

August 25, 2007

I woke up this morning about two hours before my alarm was set to go off, with a full bladder and steady bbt. I lay in bed for about 20 minutes trying to fall asleep again, or think about something else, but finally decided to stop groping my stubbornly un-sore boobs and get up. I didn’t get out the HPT right away though – I peed into a cup and left it on the bathroom floor while I went to consult this web site, and then this one. I didn’t ask if I was pg, just if I should test. The first one was quite interesting – ambiguous (of course) but interesting. I felt peace about taking the risk. The 8 ball only said “maybe.” (I wish I had an aletheometer.)

So I dipped the HPT into the cup, following directions, and got a single, brilliantly pink line gracing the little window. “Ok,” I thought. “So that’s it.” I found it interesting how much I didn’t seem to mind.

About an hour later I was checking e-mail and not really thinking about it, when all of a sudden I just started to cry. It felt like my heart was being squeezed in a vice grip. Not sure how long it lasted, I just let it play itself out.

So it was a sad day. I’m not going to change my ticker until AF officially gets started, but after a single glance I was unable to look again at the slender, dark-haired woman in the laundromat with the toddler and the baby bump. I bought some yarn and wine but it didn’t really make me feel any better. I think this might be the only thing that would really help right now (but he’s still in Colombia).

One of my goals in life is not to be self-absorbed but right now, even though I’m reading all your blogs, my heart’s not in it. I’m sorry.

So You Think I Have Willpower?

August 24, 2007

It may be cd32, and my cycles may typically be 30 days long, and it’s true that bbt is still holding steady and there have been no signs of spotting…

BUT. Breast soreness has been decreasing gradually over the past 4-5 days, AND after 31 BFNs in a row with nary a hint of a positive, ever, I feel like what I’ve learned about pee sticks is that when you pee on them, you get one line. That’s how it works. And so I put it off, because right now at least I can fantasize that maybe, maybe one of the two haphazardly-timed attempts (one in Bolivia, one in Colombia, with one extremely dramatic and traumatic no-go in between) worked.

Meanwhile, I sternly made a new rule today that I will ONLY blog after 9 p.m., henceforth, in order to ensure that I get my work done in a timely fashion… and, oh look, it’s 5:00!

Willpower? Not so much.

Ants in my Pants

August 23, 2007

All attempts at distracting myself are not working – at least not for long. Thankfully classes start tomorrow; I should be too busy to obsess. But right now, even preparing for the class I’m teaching and reading this book are not quite enough to stop thinking about the fact that it’s CD31, BBT is holding steady over the coverline, and I could POAS if I wanted to. I’m giving myself til Sunday because I’ve had 35-day cycles before (well, before going on the Pill). This morning I lay in bed reading for about an hour before getting up, just because I was avoiding the decision to POAS or not to POAS, even though my bladder was bursting.