Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last post of 2010

Today has been an oddly positive day.  While I didn't get much work done--there is a festive, "do it later" atmosphere in our office on the day before a holiday which I'm sure is common--I feel caught up and ready to hit the ground running next week.  (Which is especially awesome, as January 1 starts my "billing year," meaning all the work I do starting next week is counting toward a possible bonus in 2011.)

The weather here today has been decidedly un-Phoenix-like, and I think that has contributed to the holiday mood in the office.  From my office a few floors from the top of our 20-story office building, I have been able to watch the skies changing minute by minute as clouds move briskly through the metro area.  I can actually see snow (almost magically) appearing on the peaks of mountains only 10-20 miles away!  Very cool and unusual for here.

The new carry-on luggage I ordered a few weeks even arrived today, just in time for my trip to my dad's tonight.  Serendipity!

Whatever you have planned to celebrate the coming of the new year, I hope it's fun.  I imagine we will be spending a quiet evening in with my father and stepmother, and that suits me just fine.

I confess, I am not sorry to see 2010 end.  I thought 2009 was one of the toughest years of my adulthood, and truth be told, aside from finding a new job--which, really, in this economy, cannot truly be an aside--this year was not much better for me.  Damn infertility.

I read a news article recently about a man who decided to send 365 handwritten thank you notes in a year.  (I think he wrote a book about the experience.)  I confess, a resolution like that really appeals to me.  It's not at all self-centered; it would likely bring joy (or at least positive feelings) to other people; and it really wouldn't be that hard to do, as you'd only have to average one note a day.

Simply counting my blessings myself or keeping a gratitude journal does not seem to be enough to lift my mood most days and take me out of myself.  Maybe I will try that and/or some new volunteer work in the new year.

Cheers!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another year, same old me

Before infertility, I used to enjoy the end-of-year "look back" and the setting of resolutions or goals for the next year.  Invariably there would be some unpleasant things that had happened during the past year, but more often I would look back with pride on my accomplishments and look forward with hope for doing more and better in the coming year.

Now, after nearly three years of trying unsuccessfully to have a baby of our own, it is very hard to focus on the positives.  I'm sure they are there.  It's just hard to feel good about professional successes and the like when I feel like there is a huge void in my life that may never be filled, that it is beyond my ability to fill.

So here I sit, a few days before the end of 2010, still childless (and still fat, but let's stay on topic).

I hate how infertility has tainted my view of my life.  Let's see if I can come up with something anyway.

Top ten things that happened in my life this year (in no particular order)

1. Visited Disneyland with MM (his first visit)
2. Visited California Adventure for the first time
3. Got a new, better-paying job
4. Hosted my nephew's first visit to Arizona
5. Paid off my car
6. Celebrated my second wedding anniversary with MM
7. Sought counseling about my infertility
8. Saw the child for whom I am a CASA placed in an adoptive home (her third, but it looks like this one is going to work out)
9. Spent my birthday in Las Vegas (for the third time, LOL) and saw the Cirque du Soleil show "O" (awesome!)
10. Spent a summer weekend in San Diego

Top ten things that I would like to do (or see happen) in 2011 (not listed in order of importance or likelihood)

1. Become a mother (this should actually be #1-5. My goal used to be to "get pregnant," but at this point, I am more focused on the end than the means.)
2. Lose weight (on the list again for the nth time)
3. Visit my nephew Rowan at least twice(seeing him three times in a year was on my list for 2009 and 2010.  I fell short of my goal and only saw the little guy twice each year, so maybe twice is more realistic.)
4. Earn a favorable first review (and bonus) at my new job
5. Make it to my third wedding anniversary with MM with our relationship (and respective sanities) intact
6. Take a vacation to somewhere exotic
7. See my father recover fully from his recent extensive shoulder surgery
8. Finally convince my mother to get her own place in Arizona so she isn't at our house for 6-8 weeks every winter.  (If she had her own place, she could stay longer and we'd all enjoy it more.)
9. Celebrate my 40th birthday with my sister.  (This one is going to happen, barring anything radical going wrong; reservations are already made.)
10. Resist the urge to buy a new car

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Um, yeah, so. . .

I've been planning for my next post to be an upbeat one about the joys of the season and all that jazz. . . . until MM called me from work yesterday afternoon to say that he's been giving it a lot of thought, and he no longer wants us to do a DE IVF cycle next summer as we'd planned.

I was more than a little surprised, as he had never given me an inkling prior to this that he was on the fence about it.  Sure, I knew he had some reservations about the amount of money we were going to have to borrow to make this happen, but I figured he'd just decided that the risk was worthwhile.  He confessed that he has been going back and forth about whether it's a good idea for a while now but just didn't confide in me because he "wanted to be sure" about how he felt.

Maybe I should've seen this coming when he agreed to look into adoption.  Nothing else could have sent a clearer signal that he had reached a point where having a child who is genetically related to him is no longer as important to him as it once was.

He has not said "no" to a DE cycle, but he has told me that he really, really does not want to spend the money it will cost.  And he won't do it until/unless we have the full amount in the bank (which would take me about a year-and-a-half to two years to save alone, even putting away every spare cent).

He has agreed to my looking into embryo donation/adoption, primarily because it's so much cheaper.  Yet another area I know nothing about and will have to research.  (I'm going to be a friggin' expert on paths to parenthood before I ever have a child of my own!)

I have been really sad about MM's decision, which makes me realize how invested I had become in the idea of doing a DE cycle (and it working).  The idea of doing a procedure with an 80% success rate was (is) so appealing.  Though realistically, I cannot disagree with MM's thoughts that it is just too much money to spend.  Even with help from his parents, doing DE IVF will completely drain our savings and leave us with a significant chunk of debt besides.  I can't say he's wrong to not want to put himself (us) in that financial situation.

So now I don't know what exactly will happen next, when or if we will do a cycle with donated embryos, or whether we will ever be parents.

Welcome back to the world of "who knows what will happen."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giving up hope

I haven't been posting much, not only because of the fact that I can no longer do so during the day at work, but also because really, I haven't had much to say.  Life has been surprisingly (and blessedly) infertility-angst-free for me of late.  Not sure if that's because we have a plan (albeit one which will not be realized for several months), because I really worked through my feelings of grief and loss in my (four) counseling sessions, or if it's just a temporary glitch.  Whichever the reason is, I'll take it.

I'm doing so well that I was even able to interact closely with an 11-month-old baby at my office today. . . . a baby whose mother is a complete stranger to me, I might add.  (He was the visiting nephew of a coworker I don't really know at my new job.)  And I received the news that the 21-year-old unmarried pregnant file clerk at my office delivered her second child today without much emotion at all.

Years ago, I remember seeing a button (remember when buttons were all the rage?  I may be dating myself here) that said "Since I gave up hope, I feel much better."  Actually, that kind-of sums up my current emotional state.  Since I've given up hope of conceiving a child naturally, with my own eggs and without intervention, I feel much better.

That said, I have not given up hope of parenthood.  No, I confess that I still have hope that DE will make us parents.  We have our initial consultation at our chosen clinic the first Friday in February (I am going to keep the city and clinic names confidential here for privacy reasons, but email me if you are looking for a DE program and are interested), which will be our first step on the path.  (Well, aside from our ongoing plan to save as much of the hefty cost of a cycle as we can.)

I have developed a routine of checking the donor database at our clinic once a day on average, just to see whether any new donors have been added who might fit what we are looking for or whether any of our "favorites" have cycled or been taken out of the database.  "Checking up on my girls," I call it.  It's odd and comforting at the same time.

So that's where I'm at.  Life in general is busy and full, but life on the TTC front is quiet.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where are you, Juno?

A few of you who commented on my last point were interested to know why we have decided against adoption.  Given the wonderful support I've gotten through this blog and the fact that some of you may be facing similar decisions, I thought it only fair to share.

I know that I write this post at the risk of offending someone.  Please know, that is not my intent.  I in no way want to indicate that the decision we have made is the right one for everyone.  (It might not have even been the right decision for us, given different circumstances.)  As with all choices about family-building, this decision is personal to us and reflects our deciding what will work for us. . . . not what is the "right" thing for anyone else to do.  So I ask that you bear that in mind as you read my/our thoughts.

Even before attending the information seminar on adoption last Saturday, I had done quite a bit of research on the topic.  I had also posed a question to women on a forum I visit for parents via DE about how they decided to go that route instead of adoption, and I got some very logical, well-thought-out answers.  Some of the reasons women chose DE included the following:
  • At least one parent is genetically related to the child
  • Complete control over the intrauterine environment 
  • Timing of when you get a baby is (somewhat) more within your control, assuming DE IVF works, of course
  • Cheaper than adoption if you have insurance which covers IVF (we don't)
  • Really wanted to experience a pregnancy (I don't need this experience)
  • Didn't qualify to adopt due to age or other issues (does not apply to us)
As you can see by my comments in parentheses, only the first three of these reasons resonated with me/us.  I'll discuss them more later.

At the information seminar we attended, we learned a few things.  The private adoption attorney who spoke focused a lot on "marketing" and how this leads to shorter wait times.  Other than that, he spent a lot of time talking about the adoption of Indian (Native American) children and its complications and difficulties finding birth fathers and the problems which can arise from that.

The next presenter was from a local agency.  The agency representative told us quite a few interesting things:

  • 9 out of 10 of the birth mothers she deals with are "functionally illiterate," so don't bother writing a bunch of stuff in your profile, just make sure you include a lot of pretty pictures
  • many of her birth mothers are homeless, in jail, mentally ill, use drugs, or some combination
  • very few of her birth mothers are young women/girls who are "just" having an accidental pregnancy, and the teenaged birth moms she has are usually from very dysfunctional backgrounds
  • most of her birth moms are looking for a home where the wife is a SAHM and the couple shares her interests (she used NASCAR as an example)
  • in the past year, she has placed about 20 babies and had 2 birth moms change their minds after a match
  • at her agency, if the birth mom changes her mind after a match has been made, you don't get that money (half the agency fee, about $11K) back
  • when asked about wait times, she volunteered the information that she had one family who had been waiting over a year for a "healthy Caucasian girl" and said that she "couldn't remember" the last time she placed a full Caucasian child with a family
I confess that I was already turned off by the idea of "marketing" myself to birth mothers but kept an open mind into the second segment.  (I understand that marketing is a necessary part of the process, but it just doesn't sit well with me, for a variety of reasons.)  As I listened to this social worker's remarks, I started thinking to myself "If I am going to adopt a child born of a mentally ill, drug-addicted mother and unknown father, why not just adopt through foster care?"
There was a break after the agency representative, and MM and I then left because the next segment was about international adoption, something we aren't considering at all.  (We only want a newborn, and MM will not consider interracial adoption.)

[MM's discomfort with interracial adoption stems from his desire for privacy.  He does not want to adopt a child where, by his/her appearance alone, it will be obvious to any casual observer for the rest of our lives that the child is adopted.  I certainly think there is more than one way to look at this issue, and while I do not share his view and would willingly adopt a child of another race. . . . I understand his point and must respect his opinion.]

I think the take-home lesson for us was that there aren't many Junos out there looking to place a baby.  

On the drive home, we agreed that we were both totally off the idea of adoption for a few reasons.  MM first observed that when the agency representative talked about the family waiting over a year for a "healthy Caucasian girl" in a way which implied they were being unreasonable, that raised a red flag for him since "that's the kind of baby we want."  (We are flexible about gender, but it's true that we want to adopt a healthy Caucasian newborn.)  One of MM's stated reasons for agreeing to consider adoption was that we could "give a home to a child who needs one."  Hearing these two presentations made him realize that there are couples lined up twenty deep to adopt healthy Caucasian newborns, so we aren't really performing a charitable act if we adopt one.

We began to realize that, though we might get lucky and be picked early by a birth mother, more likely than not, we would be in for a long wait for the type of baby we hope to adopt.  Given that I intend to continue working outside the home if/when we have a child and other variables involved, it is possible that we would not get picked at all.  It is possible that we could have a failed match.

We then discussed the possibility of foster-to-adopt, since that popped into my mind during the second presentation.  MM feels he could not do this due to the risk of the baby being removed from our care and returned to the parents or another family member after living with us for months or years.  He feels it would be "too heartbreaking."  (Again, we disagree but I respect his position.)

So how we arrived at a decision. . . . . One thing you need to know is that my most dominant feeling about TTC at this point is that I want to be done.  Done "trying," that is.  I have reached a point where I honestly feel I can be content with ending our efforts, whether the end result is parenthood or not.  (My preferred outcome would still be to have a child of our own, but I do truly believe that I could learn to be OK with childlessness also.)

In this alone, I may well be in a different place than many of you reading.  I no longer feel that I will do "anything" just to be a parent.  Over two-and-a-half years of trying, with nothing to show for our efforts, has sucked a lot of joy out of my otherwise-very-happy life, and I am tired of it.

Given where I'm at emotionally, and the fact that I am already much older than I'd ever planned to be as a first-time mom, adoption doesn't seem like the better choice to us.  Unless we got extremely lucky with adoption, we would likely have a long wait ahead of us with basically no control over how long that wait would be.  Though I certainly don't judge others' choice to do so, I don't wait to be starting out as a parent at 43 or 44.

I realize that there are no guarantees that a DE cycle will work, but the success rate of 80% is encouraging.  Assuming it worked on the first try, we would be parents in the spring of 2012, around my 41st birthday.  Even if we had to do subsequent FETs, we wouldn't have to wait long to start them.  So unless the "worst case scenario" occurred and I didn't get pregnant from either our fresh DE cycle or FETs from embryos from that cycle, DE IVF would likely mean a baby for us much sooner.

Also, I confess that the ability to have complete control over the intrauterine environment of our child appeals to the nurse and control freak in me.  I think the intrauterine environment is so important, and I know that if we adopted, I would worry not only that the birth mother used drugs, alcohol or tobacco but also about lesser things like whether she ate nothing but processed foods and soda.  (These concerns wouldn't stop me from going that route if it seemed to be the right choice, but I would still have those thoughts, I know.)

If I were even five years younger, I think we would go ahead with adoption.  Even if we had to wait 3-5 years for the right situation to come along, that would be doable.  But given my age, the length of time we've already been trying, and the length of time we'd probably have to wait. . . . it doesn't feel like the right choice to us.

So we are going to go ahead with our single DE IVF cycle next summer.  We are going to take advantage of a type of "shared risk" program offered by our chosen clinic, where we pay a single flat fee for the fresh cycle and all FETs from embryos generated during that cycle.  At then end, if we don't have a live birth, we would get a refund of a significant portion of what we spent (though we would still be out of pocket for meds, the donor's fee and some other miscellaneous expenses).

I hope by putting this into writing I've done a decent job of explaining our reasoning.  If you are facing a similar choice, you might arrive at the opposite decision for perfectly reasonable and rational reasons. . . . . if only a few variables were different for us, we might have arrived at a different decision.

One of many things to hate about infertility: there are seldom many "right" answers.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quickie

Wow, it's been ten days since I posted!  It's not that I don't have anything to write about; it's just that I don't have much opportunity to write.  After spending the majority of my days working at the computer, I'm not in much of a mood to log on again once I get home.  The fact that it is now getting dark before I even leave the office doesn't help.

For a quick update, I'm going to use bullet points.  Each of the topics here deserves its own full post. . . . maybe some day soon.

  • MM and I attended the adoption seminar and, to greatly abbreviate, now that we've learned more, we have decided adoption is not for us, but for completely different reasons than he had before.
  • In light of our decision that adoption is not for us, and our desire not to remain childless, we have agreed to go ahead with DE IVF.  (I have been leaning this way for a while, but we have now agreed.)  Plans are being made for a cycle sometime between May and August 2011.
  • I had my fourth counseling session last Sunday, and NC and I mutually agreed that I am not in need of more sessions at present.  My stated goal in starting therapy was for me to accept that I would not have a genetic child of my own so that I could move forward with DE IVF.  Though I'm sure I will still have moments of sadness, I feel I have accomplished this goal.  I'm glad I did this; even though I only had a few sessions, I think it really helped me.
  • Three of my wonderful regular readers (whose blogs I read as well) are pregnant!  One after her first IVF cycle, one after a DE FET, and one after a donor embryo cycle.  I'm very excited for them! 
  • Two other bloggers I read are in the 2WW, one for her first DE cycle, one for a DE FET.  I'm rooting for you!
  • A close friend of mine (who is not infertile) told me last Saturday that she is pregnant with #2.  (Her 21-month-old son is my godson.)  I felt a twinge of "why not me?", but for the first time in a LONG time, my happiness for her completely outweighed my negative feelings.  And she's fertile!  I think that's progress.
  • I am getting adjusted to my new job and slowly learning where everything is and getting cases assigned to me.  No problems so far.
That's me in a nutshell!  I have a busy weekend planned, so I don't know when I'll post again.  Know that I am reading all my regular blogs on my BlackBerry at intervals during the day; I'm just not commenting much because it's too hard to type on the handheld.

EDITED TO ADD:  Though we have agreed to go ahead with DE, for some reason, MM still thinks we could somehow miraculously conceive on our own.  It's led to some disagreements, as I am THROUGH with OPKs, checking cervical mucus/position, or even keeping track of what CD I am on.  Yes, I know the RE said there is a 5% chance of our conceiving on our own and that 5% is not zero. . . . . but logic tells me that after 33 or 34 unsuccessful cycles, all of which had perfectly timed intercourse, it ain't gonna happen.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Less

MM and I had a wonderful weekend at Disneyland and California Adventure!  We rode all the rides we'd hoped to and, aside from one bad experience (outside the parks) when we first arrived in Anaheim, it was a very relaxing weekend.

I started my new job yesterday and so far, so good.  It's too soon to say whether I am going to like the work, but people have been friendly and nice, and my office has a great view!

It seems that I am going to be blogging less--and commenting less on blogs--though, because there is a company-wide policy prohibiting blogging on work time or on work computers.  (I don't know about the rest of you, but I used to write my blog entries at work more often than not.  Spending much of my days on the computer, rarely am I on the computer in the evenings.)  I'm sure if I have a burning desire to write about something I can sign on in the evening and do it, but I know that I am less likely to get on the computer then than during the day.

I've often talked about cutting back on my time on the computer, and this job is going to force me to do it.  (In addition to blocking blogger, their system also blocks Fac.ebo.ok and my personal email accounts.)  So if I haven't commented on your blog for a while, rest assured that I am still reading and haven't forgotten you.

In terms of TTC-related news, there is none.  AF arrived before we left for California, and I couldn't even say for sure what cycle day I am on currently.  We are still signed up to attend that adoption informational seminar on Saturday, and I have a counseling session on Sunday.  So that's where I'm at.

One surprising fact about our trip: I found that I wasn't at all bothered by all the small children, babies and pregnant women we saw.  I'm not sure why this is, as these are sights which historically have bothered me.  I did find myself thinking of my nephew a lot (as in "Oh, wow, Rowan would LOVE this!") and, at times--I'm not gonna lie--feeling glad that I only had myself (and my husband) to worry about.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hilarious

I have written here before about my love/hate relationship with Fac.ebo.ok.  On the one hand, I've loved reconnecting with so many long-lost friends, but on the other hand. . . . it's an infertile's nightmare some days.

Julie's post from yesterday addresses Fac.ebo.ok and is absolutely laugh-out-loud-funny, so I had to share it:  http://www.alittlepregnant.com/.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More not always better with fertility treatments

Although I am not considering IVF with my own eggs--never have, never will--I thought this article was interesting and might be informative for some of the people who read this blog:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101027/ap_on_he_me/us_med_fertility_success

The article talks about how the live birth rate in the study was 36 percent on the first IVF try, 48 percent with a second cycle and 53 percent with a third attempt, and that among those who tried seven or more times, the chance of success was 56 percent — hardly any better than the 53 percent after three tries.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Transitions

Thank you all for your comments on my last post.  (And especial thanks to Jay, who posted the link to the upcoming Resolve adoption seminar in our area.)

MM's epiphany was very oddly timed.  I was just beginning to feel totally at peace with the idea of doing donor egg IVF, thanks to all the research and reading and three counseling sessions.  (I had even emailed the coordinator at our chosen clinic to get more specifics about timing, what is needed prior to starting a cycle, etc.)  Well, it is what it is.  We all come to these things in our own time.

Even we don't end up adopting and still end up choosing DE IVF, I think it is good to explore all options before deciding.  And as a friend of mine pointed out, MM's willingness to consider adoption shows his commitment to becoming a parent.

I have been doing a little research online about domestic adoption and have been gathering information from women who have faced a similar choice themselves.  So far, I can see pros and cons to both options, but I don't want to come to any definite conclusions (or post about my preliminary thoughts) until we learn a little more about the nuts and bolts of domestic adoption.  We are signed up for an informational seminar on November 6th, and that is just around the corner.

I certainly feel, and have felt for some time, that I am in the midst of a transition vis a vis our "journey" to parenthood.  (I really hate that term, but as long as arduous our path has become, it seems apt.  I realized earlier this week that, had I conceived my first month off the pill, as many women do, I'd have a toddler by now.)  I mean, we are not doing any treatment or even really actively TTC at this point (having given up hope of success on our own).  We are not committed to any specific future course, and aside from a lot of reading, thinking and talking, the only step we are currently taking to "advance the ball" is saving money.  (Either DE or adoption is not cheap.)

Now, in addition to that LONG transition, I am in the midst of a professional transition as well.  I have felt edgy and mentally "off" all week as the reality of actually leaving my current job and starting a new one (next week) has set in.  I have a long but manageable "to do" list of things I intend to complete before I leave my current position but am having a hard time jumping in with both feet to get it all done.

Change is good.  It is an inevitable part of life.  And in this case, the change is one I want, one I actively sought out.  I think it is a good move for me professionally.  Nevertheless, I can't help feeling unsettled and having mixed feelings about leaving my current job.

I'm sure that, in a few months, when I feel settled in my new position and MM and I have come to some decision about which path to parenthood we will choose, I will feel less flustered.  At the moment, though, I am a little out of balance.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Out of left field*

Last night I fell asleep on the couch during the 10 o'clock news.  It happens, though not often.

As he usually does on these occasions, MM woke me up to go in to bed .  It was a little before midnight, and when he woke me, he oh-so-casually said "Oh, by the way. . . . I was thinking about it in the shower tonight, and I do think I could love a child we adopted.  I think nurture is stronger than nature.  So maybe we should look into that before going ahead with this donor egg thing."

SAY WHAT?!!!

I have spent the last year and a half exhaustively researching various treatment options--everything from acupuncture and TCM to supplements to Clomid to IUIs to donor egg IVF--but never once have I looked into adoption.  Yes, it might seem a logical choice for us in the minds of many, and I can't even count the number of times it has been suggested to me since we have been dealing with IF.  I have never been particularly opposed to it--in fact, I used to think I would adopt alone after age 40 in the event I never married--though I will admit, I'd have preferred to have a child of our own, the "natural" way. . . . a ship that sailed some time ago.

But I've never looked into adoption because, prior to last night, MM has been wholly opposed to it and refused to consider it as a viable alternative way to become parents.  (Well, recently he did say he might be willing to "learn more about it" if our DE IVF cycle next summer failed.)  I wrote about MM's reasons for not wanting to adopt at length here, and up until last night, I believed that these were still his feelings.  

MM had previously gone so far as to say that he didn't think he could love an adopted child in the way he would love his "own flesh and blood."  I never believed that he was right about that--everything I have heard and read from parents who have adopted tells me that the feelings you have for your child are just as strong, no matter what your path to parenthood--but I also never thought it was fair to a child to take the chance that perhaps he was right and I was wrong.

We talked a little bit about the various ways to adopt, though I will admit, in addition to my lack of knowledge (all I know about adoption I've either picked up in the course of living life, in my work as a CASA, or have learned from reading blogs of women in the ALI community who have adopted), I was not at my most coherent after being awakened from sleep.  MM shocked me by saying he might even consider foster care adoption, an option which he had previously dismissed out of hand as "buying into someone else's problems."  (Though to clarify, he is still only interested in adopting an infant, only a child under a year old.)

Ironically, at my last counseling session, the counselor (who I will call NC) asked me what my reservations were about pursuing DE IVF.  (We were talking about this because we had agreed that it seems to be a very logical choice to strongly consider, and one of my stated goals of therapy is to get to a place where I could wholeheartedly embrace this option.)  Aside from the most obvious reservation--the HUGE price tag--another reservation I talked about is that, to me, there seems to be something inherently selfish about our choosing to go this route.  I mean, what is so great about MM's genes that he/we feel they must be passed on to a new generation?  (I know my in-laws don't care about this because it has been discussed.)  I love my husband, but there is nothing particularly exceptional about him or his family that is genetically inherited, and I know they would agree with this statement.

Also, I personally don't feel any burning desire to experience pregnancy or childbirth; I know some women feel this urge, and it is a natural one, but I do not.  The only real appeal of them for me of carrying my own child is that it would afford me the ability to have complete control over the child's pre-birth environment and to have my child with me from day one (and before).  And I have no doubt whatsoever that I could love a child who does not share my genetics. . . . else I wouldn't even consider DE.

[To those who are taking the DE route, please don't misunderstand: I'm not saying I think it is a selfish choice per se to do DE.  I'm saying that it seems like a selfish choice for ME, for US.  Everyone must choose her own path and no doubt has valid reasons for her choice.]

MM hasn't opened his mind to every possible type of adoption.  For example, he still will only consider adopting a white infant, vs. a child of another race or an older child.  So that rules out international adoption and many children in the foster care system.  He was perplexed and confused by the idea of embryo adoption.  Also, he has a lot of reservations about the idea of open adoption, particularly an open adoption in which there would be regular face-to-face contact between the birth mother/parents and us.  An only child raised by two only children, MM is more private and insular than most about his family life, and to him, open adoption seems at odds with that.

There is a lot to consider, and ultimately I told him that I just didn't feel that we have the facts necessary to make an informed decision about this.  So we agreed to seek out a seminar or informational meeting in our area which we can attend to learn more.  (And knowing me, I will now be researching adoption online in the same way I once researched treatment options.)

I am sure that many of you reading this post know far more than I about adoption, so educate me.  Where do I begin to inform myself about this?  And if anyone lives in the Phoenix area and wants to recommend an agency, I'd appreciate it.

 **************************************
*I always enjoy sports analogies, and given that my husband and I are both baseball fans and the World Series is fast approaching, today's post title seemed appropriate.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Which is worse?

After an innocent question from an old friend earlier this week, I have been pondering (not-for-the-first-time) the following question:

Which is worse: people knowing we want to have a child and cannot, or people thinking that we have chosen to be childless?

I find that the more time passes in which we are unable to have a child, I grow more and more likely to tell people that we "can't" have children.  Almost inevitably, though, that either makes the other person uncomfortable or spurs him/her to spout platitudes or share some anecdote of someone they know who had an "against all odds" pregnancy.  I get a little tired of hearing the assvice and words about "G-d's will," so I sometimes think I should've just stuck with being vague and evasive when confronted with these questions.

If people know about our infertility, we are likely to be pitied.  If people do not know about our infertility and assume we've chosen not to have children, that is an inaccurate assumption, and we are likely to be viewed as selfish, too.  Neither is a great alternative.

What say you?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letting go

Thank you for all your comments about my husband.  I am happy to report that he was released from the hospital over the weekend and has continued to make steady improvement since then.  He is more tired and weak than usual but otherwise mostly back to normal.

I had my third counseling session yesterday.  I was proud that I didn't cry at all!  (I did tear up a time or two, but no tears actually fell.)  We talked about what practical steps I could take to become OK with the idea of doing DE IVF, and I think she was surprised to learn that I have already taken many of them. . . . . reading up on what is involved and how the procedure works; joining a forum of other parents who have used or are using DE; choosing a clinic; "shopping" for a donor.

We talked a bit about my anger at having to use this path to achieve pregnancy.  (Yes, I know I am lucky to have this as a viable alternative, but I am still angry about having to use it also.)  My "homework" for the week is to write down daily something that I am willing to "let go" of in order to pursue DE, i.e., "I am letting go of my anger at having to spend $35K on DE IVF instead of a new car" or "I am letting go of my anger at not being able to conceive 'naturally'."

She also gave me a book to read, and I will write more about that once I've read the chapters she suggested.

Overall, I do feel that I am coming to terms with this situation.  Although I sometimes chafe at the (necessary) delay, I do think that the fact that I have to wait until next summer to pursue DE IVF for financial reasons is affording me some much-needed time to be completely on board with this option.

One thing I brought up at the end of the session that I wanted to discuss in future is the whole "to tell or not to tell" question.  So far, only my BFF, sister, mother and in-laws know we are seriously considering this option.  (Well, and all of you, of course.  And those of you who know me in real life I trust to keep this to yourselves.)

My biggest quandary is whether and when/how to tell my father.  As I've written about before, he and his wife are on limited information status and don't even know about our IF.

We will discuss that in more detail at a future session, and I think MM will need to be a part of this discussion, if for no other reason than because we are not on the same page about this.

So, dear readers. . . . if you feel comfortable, share something in the comments that you have had to "let go" of on your IF journey.  I know I am not the only one who is not able to take her preferred path to parenthood. . . . .

EDITED TO ADD:  Oh, I almost forgot!  Yet another law school classmate announced her pregnancy on FB this morning, and for the first time in ages, it didn't feel like a punch in the gut.  (And she isn't even a close friend or anything.)  Hmm.  Maybe I am making some progress in dealing with my feelings.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday update

Although you wouldn't know it from my continued daily posts for the "30 Days of Truth Challenge," I have been a bit absent from the blogosphere this week.  (I wrote those posts ahead of time and scheduled one to post each day.)  I have been reading posts on my BlackBerry but not commenting.

Early Wednesday morning, MM woke me up because he had spent the whole night awake with vomiting and diarrhea.  To make a long story short, and without getting into too many of the gorier details, he has been hospitalized since Wednesday afternoon with colitis.  He has had a number of tests, including a colonoscopy yesterday morning, and is making slow improvement.  We still don't have a definitive diagnosis, but we anticipate he may go home tomorrow and know he will be in the hospital at least one more night.

Needless to say, spending the majority of my time at the hospital with MM has not left time for thinking about much else.  I certainly haven't been thinking about TTC/IF.

Today is CD 15 for me, so this cycle will be the first in over two-and-a-half years of TTC when we have not had intercourse during my fertile window.  (No nookie since the weekend due to MM's illness.)  In a way, I'm glad because at least now there will be no (falsely) raised hopes during the 2WW!  :-)

I hope MM is back to normal soon.  I am doing fine.  Luckily, I am at the end of my time at my current firm, and I did not have a lot of work this week (and only one deadline).  My firm has been very understanding about my absence from the office in light of MM's hospital stay.

So that's what's new here.  I have my third counseling appointment Sunday, so I imagine I will have more TTC/IF-related stuff to write about soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Truth Day 30

Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

This post has been sitting in "draft" for days, and I just don't have the inclination or energy to do this exercise.  Sorry.

I do think I post positive things about myself on here occasionally. . . ..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Truth Day 29

Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

I would love to become the type of person for whom daily exercise and healthy food choices came naturally.  I'd like to be that type of person because it would benefit me health-wise to weigh less.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Truth Day 28

Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

If I were pregnant, I would literally jump for joy.  Seriously.  MM and I could put the money we have saved thus far for DE IVF toward other things.

Of course, I would also worry about most of my pregnancy about all the things which could go wrong.  But I hope I would still be able to experience the joy, too.

(I am guessing this question was framed by someone who would see getting pregnant as a tragedy or an inconvenience.  Clearly not framed with the IF community in mind, LOL.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Truth Day 27

Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?

Hmm, tough one.  I would be inclined to say my marriage, but though it is overall very good, it is currently a bit strained due to IF.

Right now, I can wholeheartedly say my career.  I am starting a new job on November 1 which will pay me more money than I have ever made and will afford me opportunities for professional advancement also.  And since I have yet to start that job, there is not yet any harsh reality to dim my bright expectations for it.  ;-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Truth Day 26

Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

There were times when I was a teenager when life seemed so bad that it didn't seem worthwhile to go on.  But between my faith that things would get better when I (someday) left my hometown and my strict Catholic upbringing, which taught me that suicide is a sin for which one can never seek forgiveness, I never even came close to acting on that impulse.

I can honestly say that, since graduating from high school, though there have been difficult and dark times, I've never again thought of giving up on life.  I've always had faith that things would eventually get better, and so far, they always have.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Truth Day 25

Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re alive today.

I do believe that each of us has a purpose (or purposes) in life.  For a long time, I have felt that my purpose is to be of service to others. 

That belief is one of several reasons why I chose nursing as my first career, and it is the reason I volunteer as a CASA.  (Which, by the way, is THE most fulfilling volunteer work I have ever done and something I highly recommend to anyone looking for meaningful, valued volunteer work that really makes a difference in someone's life.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Truth Day 24

Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists)

Sorry, I don't even have the mental energy to work on this one.

I haven't made a playlist (or a "mix tape," as we called them in my day) for anyone in YEARS.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Truth Day 23

Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.

I really, really, really wish I had gotten my weight under control before I was 25.  People told me then how much harder it gets to lose weight as you get older, and while I can't say I didn't believe them, my belief did not translate into affirmative action.

I have been overweight to some degree all but about six months of my adult life, but I have DEFINITELY found it harder and harder to lose weight as the years have passed.  The amount of effort which used to result in an average 1-2 lb a week loss for me now leads to just maintaining my weight most weeks, and it's so frustrating.

I am very fortunate that, so far, my weight has not had a real negative impact on my health.  (Though it may be having one on my fertility; who knows?)  Type 2 diabetes runs in my family on both sides, as does heart disease, so being overweight--no, obese--is serious business for me.

So yeah, I wish I had gotten serious about this a long time ago and gotten it under control.

P.S.  I would be remiss if I did mention that today is MM's 37th birthday!  He never reads this blog, but I thought I'd give him a shout-out anyway.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Truth Day 22

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

Honestly, I don't have an answer to this question.  I love my current life, and I believe that all the choices I have made along the way, good and bad, have brought me to where I am today.

So because I cannot wish away anything I have done without changing where I am in my life, I wouldn't change a thing.  Really.

(Though I will admit: if string theory is correct and there really ARE alternate realities for every choice you didn't make. . . . I'd love to see where some different choices might have taken me!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Getting to know you

I've seen this on a few other people's blogs and thought I'd play along.  It's fun to post about something than my anger and angst occasionally.  Play along if you'd like, but I'm not going to tag anyone.

(1) What is your dream occupation?
It really depends on my mood.  I would love to be a Supreme Court Justice, or a pop star, or an acclaimed writer.

(2) What is the best dish that you can cook?
Hmm, tough one, since I don't cook much.  I make pretty good green chile chicken enchiladas but rarely make them because my husband doesn't eat them.  I also make good chile con carne and tacos.

For anything else, I can only cook it and have it turn out OK if I have a written recipe which I can follow precisely.  Sad to admit at age 39 but true.

(3) Have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper? What for?
Oh yes, I've been in the newspaper a number of times.  In my small hometown, we had a weekly paper, and the schools' events and accomplishments were regularly featured.  I have been in there for making the honor roll, playing on sports teams in junior high, band competitions, getting scholarships, etc.  I was also in the major newspaper in "the big city" when I was Grand Worthy Advisor (kinda like "State President" for those who don't know Rainbow) of Rainbow in my home state years and years back.

(4) What’s the worst and/or most memorable job you’ve ever had?
I had so many crappy, low-wage jobs in college, and oddly enough, some of the ones you might think of as awful, like working at the McDonald's drive-thru or delivering pizzas, were actually pretty fun.

I think my worst job was one of my nursing contracts in New England.  To protect the innocent (and the guilty), I won't say what state the job was in, but I worked night shift in an old, run-down hospital with a mostly undesirable patient population in an economically depressed, blue-collar town.  (Lots of addicts, alcoholics, and people with chronic illnesses who didn't take care of themselves.)

I worked on a medical floor which was chronically understaffed.  The people I worked with were mostly nice, but I had little-to-no help because we are all so busy.  I made no friends during the nearly five months I was there (rare for me), and I knew no one in the town.  I felt so out of place there, too, because everything was so different from what I was used to in the West: the accents, the topography, the architecture, you name it.  (Those of you who live in the Northeast will laugh, but I'd been there nearly a month before I figured out that "Super Stop & Shop" was a grocery store.  LOL)

Although I have had quite a few bad jobs, I think the combination of working in a really horrible job, feeling out of place and being far from home with no friends are what make this one memorable to me.

(5) When you were a teenager, at what age did you envision yourself getting married? How old were you in reality when you got married?
I thought I’d be married by 27 (to a tall, dark and handsome man with a great job) and have at least one (wonderful & perfect) child by 30.  (I also thought I'd be driving a BMW and working on a cure for cancer.  Are you getting the flavor that perhaps my teenage dreams were not very realistic?)

I actually got married at age 37.

(6) What’s your most hated household chore? What’s your favorite?
I hate, hate, hate cleaning the shower in our master bathroom.  It has glass doors which my husband refuses to squeegee after his (twice daily) showers, and even the floor never looks totally spotless, no matter what products I use or how much I scrub.  I'd rather do ANY chore but this one and have often contemplated hiring a twice-monthly housekeeper just due to this one task.

I like doing laundry.  I get a certain sense of satisfaction and peace from sorting, folding and putting away.  It's odd.

(7) What’s your earliest memory?
I can actually remember having a potty training accident once.  I was playing a game and didn't want to stop and waited to long to get to the bathroom.  I remember my mom getting mad and punishing me with a "timeout."  I know it was summertime, and my mom has told me she started potty training me when I turned 2, so I must've been about 27-30 months old then.

Truth Day 21

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

It's hard for me to answer this because I truly cannot recall my best friend and I ever having a fight in over 12 years of friendship.

Assuming we did, I would rush to her side when she needed me, no matter what.  She is always there for me, and I will always be there for her.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Truth Day 20

Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should first say that I haven't had any alcohol at all in nearly two years, between TTC and migraine headaches, and I have never tried any illegal drugs.

Nonetheless, I have no problem with the use of either drugs or alcohol in moderation.  The problem lies in the fact that many people find it very difficult to practice moderation with them.

Personally, I don't think marijuana is any more a "gateway" drug than alcohol or cigarettes and can't think of any reason why it should be illegal when alcohol and cigarettes are legal.  The only thing I can figure is that the alcohol and tobacco companies have better lobbyists.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Truth Day 19

Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

I think religion and politics are two topics which I do not wish to discuss on this blog.  Infertility affects people of all belief systems, without regard to religion or politics.

I also think that people's personal beliefs on these two topics are just that: personal.  I almost never discuss either topic with anyone who is not a close friend or family member, especially if I am aware that the other person and I do not share the same beliefs.

My dad always taught me that religion and politics are two things one shouldn't discuss.  I have followed his advice for most of my life, and I think it is sound.  You will almost never sway someone to your viewpoint on these topics, and trying may alienate them.  So I just don't go there.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Truth Day 18

Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.

I'm for it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

CD 1

Isn't it funny how, even when you're infertile and have close-to-zero hope of conceiving naturally, there is still a tiny glimmer of hope that you might actually, miraculously, be pregnant each cycle?  Until AF arrives, that is.  

I started having my usual mild cramps and spotting yesterday afternoon, and today AF has undoubtedly made her monthly appearance.  Her arrival is a few days earlier than expected, making this past cycle only 25 days long.  I am beginning to seriously think that I am approaching menopause, given these shorter cycles I've been having the past few months.

Given that I'm about 99.5% sure that we are going to go ahead with DE IVF next summer, I guess the approach of menopause doesn't really matter as much.  And apparently my eggs were already crap anyway, so who cares.

MM had his usual moment of anger last night when I told him AF was on her way.  I said "Really?  You actually still hope it'll happen?"  And he responded "Yeah.  And it's clear you don't."

Yeah.  I cannot pinpoint precisely when it happened, but sometime in the past several months, I have (mostly) accepted that I am never going to get pregnant with my own eggs.  A biological child is simply not in the cards for me.

While I can't say I'm happy about that, it is what it is.

Truth Day 17

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

I have read a lot of books which have informed me and changed my views on various issues, so it's hard to single out just one.

I will say In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  It changed the way I think about what I eat, though I must admit, it hasn't had a lasting impact on my behavior.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What would you do?

I almost forgot to mention that my counselor asked if I would let her read my blog, as she felt it might help her gain additional insight into where I have been emotionally through this process.  I told her she could, but then I forgot to give her the url. . . . and now I'm wondering whether that would be a bad idea.

Your thoughts?  For those of you who have sought counseling related to your IF, would you want your counselor reading your blog?

Truth Day 16

Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Wow, I can think of SO many people and things which could fit this category!

In the interest of brevity, I will say that I have learned that I can definitely live without caffeine.  I gave up caffeine entirely in April of this year, and while I occasionally miss the temporary and quick jolt of energy it provided, I find I am much more energetic overall without it and don't miss it much.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brief update

Writing these daily posts for my 30 Days of Truth Challenge has meant not writing as much about the things that are happening in my life and the thoughts in my mind. So I thought I'd quickly post about those things.
  • I did resign from my current job on September 16, and my last day with the firm will be October 29.  (I told them I intended to give a minimum of 30 days notice but was willing to stay through the end of October if needed; I guess they took me at my word.)
  • I will start my new job on November 1.  I didn't see any need for a break in between, as MM cannot take any time off work at present, and I wouldn't want to spend the money a trip would cost.  Plus, by not having a break between jobs, I can bank the income from the two weeks' vacation I have from my current job and put it toward our fertility treatment.
  • I went to the office of my new firm yesterday, where I was permitted to pick my office from several which were available.  I'm happy with the office I picked: it has north-facing windows, which means the sun won't heat my office in either the morning or the afternoon, and it has a great view of two well-known area mountain peaks since it is on the 17th floor.  Also, it is right next door to the managing partner's office, which I think is good.
  • Counseling is going pretty well.  My second appointment was Sunday, and I cried quite a bit, though not nearly as much as the first appointment.  My assignment from this session has been to do kind, indulgent things for myself (I told the counselor that, having lived a mostly-selfish lifestyle for my entire adulthood, this wouldn't be too hard) and to post positive affirmations where I can see them regularly.  She feels I am holding on to a lot of guilt and self-blame which are unnecessary, unwarranted and unhealthy.
  • I realized today that, if we do a DE IVF cycle next June or July, as currently planned, and if it is successful, I will be entering my second trimester a year from now!  It's really weird to--once again--entertain the notion of actually someday being pregnant.

Truth Day 15

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

This one is easy: cheese.  I've found over the years, in my many, many attempts to lose weight, that I can give up sugar, white bread, chocolate, and a host of other foods indefinitely. . . . but I cannot give up cheese.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Truth Day 14

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down.

Hmm, another tough one!  At my age, I don't really have heroes and haven't for a long time.

I will say that I was disproportionately devastated and surprised last year when it hit the news that Tiger Woods had cheated on his beautiful wife with a bunch of skanks.  I thought he was one of the "good guys," and it was disappointing to find out that he is just a dirty dog, like many professional athletes.

I do think that the press and public have been a little hard on the guy--after all, he is only human--but do not in any way condone his behavior.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"How do you feel?"

My counselor posed this question to me yesterday at our session, just after I read the letter I had written to my hypothetical future biological child.  I am puzzling over why this is a hard question for me to answer.

I responded that I felt sad and drained. . . . and more, that I just want to stop focusing time, effort and energy on my inability to conceive.   I have felt the last part of this answer for quite a while.

I recognize that my life, as is, is far from empty.  Quite the contrary.  Aside from weighing more than I would like, I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that, apart from our continued childlessness (which may continue indefinitely), my life is not only good but excellent.

I am working in a field I enjoy and have just accepted a new position about which I am very excited.  When I contrast how I felt about my previous career in nursing at six years into practice with how I know feel about being a lawyer, there is simply no comparison.  In my old career, by the time I reached six years in that field, I knew that I had to do something else, for my own sanity.  (I had, in fact, already started the process of applying to law school.)  I dreaded going to work many days.  At some jobs, I literally had near-panic attacks on my days off at the mere thought of going back to work.

So not only do I finally have a career I like that suits me, I am also in a position to truly grasp and appreciate what that means for my daily life.  I can think of things I might "love" to do more, but law suits me, and the pay is more than sufficient to my needs.

I am happily married.  No, marriage has not been a bed of roses for MM and me, particularly since we have been dealing with IF from day one--we started TTC months before we married and had already had an initial visit with the RE prior to our wedding--but I do truly believe that our relationship has been strengthened by what we have been going through (and continue to go through).  We have had to talk more about our feelings, and our hopes and dreams for the future, because of IF.  Due to our personalities, there is a constant need for compromise, but we make it work.  Being with MM feels more natural to me than I have felt in any of my (many) prior relationships, and I know he feels the same.

In addition to having the big two pieces of my life--work and home life--going extremely well, I am fortunate to have living parents with whom I have good relationships; a sister who is a close friend; an adorable nephew; in-laws with whom there is mutual respect and affection; many wonderful friends; meaningful volunteer work; two wonderful golden retrievers; a paid-off car that still runs well; and relative financial comfort.  

In truth, it almost seems wrong to me that I spend so much of my time and mental energy focusing on the one area of my life in which things are not going my way.  (Heck, I am even losing weight at the moment, though I know that is something I have always struggled with and probably will my whole life.)  I am not without gratitude for the many good things my life, and I shudder to think how much harder IF would be for me were not the rest of my life just as I want it to be, but the constant struggle makes me feel decidedly unappreciative.

At this point, even more than the longing for a child of our own, I long to put all this behind me.  I am tired of our infertility sucking the joy out of my wonderful life.  I want to move on from all this, whatever the outcome.

Don't get me wrong. . . . . I would certainly prefer to move on with the outcome being parenthood for us at the end of the road.  But I do honestly feel that I am at a point where I just want to be done with "trying" to conceive. . . . because I know that if I am no longer "trying," I will no longer be failing.  Failing gives me a negative focus and brings me down.

So. . . . I don't know how to put a label on that feeling.  "Fed up"?  "Done"?  "Ready to move on"?

It's time for a new focus, and for me, it can hardly come soon enough.

Truth Day 13

Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days.

In high school, I used to listen to country music whenever I was depressed, and topping the list of my favorite artists was George Strait.  I spent many an angst-filled evening listening to his music.

Present day, I can't think of any band or artist which fits this description.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Truth Day 12

Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.

There are many things about me that no one ever compliments, but I think this question contemplates something I consider "compliment worthy" on which I never get compliments.

I honestly can't think of anything about myself that is completely unappreciated by anyone else in my life. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Truth Day 11

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me I am smart, I'd be a rich woman.  I have been complimented on my intelligence more than anything else my whole life.

In terms of physical traits, it is probably a toss-up between my hair (naturally curly) and my smile.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Truth Day 10

Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

Hmm.  I can honestly say, I can't think of anyone who falls into either category.  Sure, like anyone else, there are some people in my life who I have disliked or who annoy me. . . . but I don't dwell on them, and I don't feel strongly enough about any of them to say I need to "let go" of them.

I do think, however, that I need to let go of the image I have had in my mind for years of what my biological child would be. . . . and this is on my mind more than usual because at my first counseling session, the counselor suggested I write a letter to this child and tell her (yes, she's a "her") how I feel about the fact that we will likely never meet.

Logically, I know that even if I had a child of my own, she might not be anything like my imaginings.  (For starters, there's at least a 50% chance she wouldn't even be a "she.")  But I still carry this image in my mind, and I think I need to let it go.

P.S. If I get really brave, maybe I will post the letter I wrote to her.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This should be my month. . . .

Look what arrived in my email today:

S, this is really going to surprise you but last night, while I was concentrating on your case during a session of free-association that I was doing to find out more about your future, something amazing happened.
You should know that A VERY SPECIAL AND FORTUNATE EVENT IS SECRETLY BEING PREPARED FOR YOU on your astral plane.
It concerns the actualization of ONE OF YOUR MOST CHERISHED DREAMS, which should come true before your very eyes, possible within a month.
I’ll tell you all about it, but first it’s important for you to know that the free-association session I was involved in yesterday didn’t just happen by accident.
It was a sign from your destiny, to make you understand that what is about to happen to you is probably the greatest opportunity of your lifetime, and that you absolutely must take advantage of it. 

So there you have it!  There is no way this *can't* mean that I'm pregnant!  ;-)

Truth Day 9

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

Having moved more times than I can readily count during my adulthood, there are a number of people who fall into this category for me.  Distance and time can put an end to relationships which seemed very close at the time.

I will say my cousin Pam.  We reconnected during my first adult trip to Ireland between my first and second years of law school, and I spent a wonderful week visiting her and her family during my last law school spring break.  Unfortunately, it has now been over two years since I have talked to her. . . . in fact, MM and I were not yet married the last time we spoke.

I don't have many connections with my father's family, nearly all of whom live in Ireland, and I have felt a particular closeness with Pam.  So even though she is in Ireland and I am in the U.S., I think of her often and wish we were in closer touch.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Truth Day 8

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

I'll be candid and say that I do not easily tolerate being treated like shit and am pretty good about quickly ridding my life of people who make my life hell.  I realize that sometimes the people responsible are ones who are not easily cut out; I guess I am fortunate in that I haven't encountered any of those in my life.  So the people who have fallen into this category have, by and large, been ones who I was free to eliminate from my life.  Because of this, I will have to go back a while to find someone to write about here.

The most memorable person to fall into this category is someone I will call "Thayer."  He was the first guy I ever had strong romantic feelings for--beyond just a kid's crush--and we were involved in high school, though we were never boyfriend/girlfriend.  He was also the guy with whom I had my first sexual experience.  (Though I rarely think of him these days, he has been on my mind lately because he contacted me via Fac.ebo.ok.)

Thayer was, well, a player.  LOL.  He never dated me exclusively and, in fact, even "hooked up" with a couple of my friends over the two years or so that I was "in love" with him.  He dated (and had sex with) lots of other women besides and yet continued to string me along and tell me that he really loved me.

I finally got wise after a couple of years and stopped letting him take advantage of me. . . . but not until I had spent *way* too much of my time pining for, and chasing after, him.  What a waste.

In a way, though, I have to thank Thayer.  It was his ill treatment of me (along with that of a couple of subsequent boyfriends) which helped mold my "take no bullshit" approach to relationships.  Being involved with him, and other guys who were equally bad to me, opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes being alone is a preferable alternative to being in a (bad/unhealthy) relationship.  This knowledge allowed me to wait until I was older to marry someone with whom I am very compatible, so in a way, I am grateful for it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Truth Day 7

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

Hmm, this is a tough one for me because, truth be told, since I was a teenager and going through the usual teenage angst, there has rarely been a time in my life when I felt life *wasn't* worth living.  Even when things have not been going my way, I've usually had faith that they would turn around. . . . and they usually have.

I will say my BFF KC, because she has been there for me during many times that were dark and filled with indecision.  I am very fortunate to have had her in my life as a close friend for the past 13 or so years.  ;-)

Truth Day 6

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

I hope I never have to put either my father or mother (or either of my in-laws, for that matter) in a nursing home.  I understand that sometimes families cannot provide the care aging or infirm parents require, but I think nursing homes are so depressing, and I know my parents (my father in particular) would hate to live in one.

This decision is a very tough one to make, so I hope I never have to make it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Truth Day 5

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

Need I make this explicit?  I hope to be a mother.

Most of the other things I'd hoped to do--graduate college, marry, own a home, have a career I enjoy, have lots of friends--I've already done.

I do hope to someday travel.  I would like to visit nearly every country in Europe (so far, I've only been to Ireland and London for a day-and-a-half), Tahiti, and parts of South America, among other places.

At the rate things are going, I will probably have to wait for retirement to do most of this traveling.  So I will also hope that I live long enough and remain healthy enough to do that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Truth Day 4

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

Hmm. I must say, I am pretty good about not holding grudges, although I will admit, though I may forgive, I do not forget. (For example, I bear no ill will toward my stepmother for disclosing my personal and private information on two separate prior occasions in my life, and we don't talk about it. . . but as a result, I simply do not confide in her or my father anymore.)

Given the subject matter of this blog, I guess I will just say generally that I need to forgive the people in my life who have said thoughtless or insensitive things about my infertility. That includes my mother and quite a few friends and acquaintances, though, happily, no close friends.

You know the kind of things I mean:

"G-d has a plan for you." (Really? How do you know? Maybe His plan doesn't include our having children.)
"Maybe you just need to relax and it'll happen." (Um, yeah, tried it, it didn't work.)
"Maybe you weren't meant to be a mother." (Wow, thanks! That never occurred to me.)
"Well, what can you expect at your age?" (This one really stings, since there seems to be some truth in it.)
"Why don't you adopt?" (Aside from other reasons, it's not as easy as picking out a puppy at a shelter.)
"I wish I could give you some of my fertility." (Yeah, me, too.)
"There are too many children born already." (Hmm. Maybe. Is it our personal duty to refrain from childbearing to prevent overpopulation?)
"Stick with dogs; they're easier." (I'm sure they are.)
"At least you're having fun trying." (Hmm, not really. Having sex on a schedule and taking fertility drugs isn't my idea of fun.)
"Maybe you're doing it wrong. Do you need some advice?" (Wow.)
"Have you thought of ___________?" Fill in the blank with daily temperature taking, using a fertility monitor, making sure you're having sex at the right times, etc. (Note to "helpful" speaker: my husband and I are both intelligent, educated people. Don't you think some of these things might have occurred to us before we spent thousands of dollars on invasive medical procedures?)

As you've probably gathered from this extensive list, I have a lot of people to forgive.  ;-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Truth Day 3

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Wow, need I even answer this one on this blog? I need to forgive myself for being unable to have a baby. To forgive myself for waiting to TTC. For not being able to make my husband a father and my in-laws grandparents.

Yeah. I'm working on it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Truth Day 2

Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

Hmm, interestingly, this one is a little tougher than the last, though obviously there are *some* things I love about myself.

I love that I am a loyal and caring friend. I am very proud to say that I have many friends whom I talk with regularly, several of whom I have known for years and years.

They say that to have a friend, you must first be a friend. I have definitely found that to be true in my own life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

30 Days of Truth Challenge

I found this on another non-IF blog I read regularly (password-protected or I would link) and decided that this is a 30-day challenge I could do. Each day I will write a post on the topic for that day.

Feel free to join me if you'd like, or leave your own answer in the comments.

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days.
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down.
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

*****************

I will start today because the first day's question is an easy one for me: something I hate about myself.

For years and years, since my teens, I have hated being overweight. Except for about 6 months when I was 21, I have been anywhere from 15-85 pounds overweight since I was about 14 or 15. I have battled my weight constantly throughout my adulthood and continue to battle it.

So yeah, I hate that about myself even more than the fact that I am infertile.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I got the job

(If you know me in real life, please keep this news under wraps for the time being.  Thanks.)

I received a call this afternoon from the managing partner of the firm with which I interviewed last week and also back in July, and he made me an offer!  The salary is a little bit less than my demand, but with (potential) bonus has the possibility to be equal, or more than, my requested salary.

I had already considered the relative pros and cons, and MM and I had already discussed the possibility of my getting an offer there, so I went ahead and accepted.  My start date is uncertain, as it is in part dependent upon when I can wrap things up at my current job.  I haven't given notice yet--plan to do so today, or more likely tomorrow--so I will have to see what they want me to do.  I am thinking it will be at least 30 days notice.

I'm excited to take on a new challenge, relieved that I found another (good) job before getting laid off at my current firm, and happy that I will be making more money!  At the same time, I really like the people I work with at my current job and will miss many of them.  There is always that bittersweet feeling leaving any job, unless you really hated it.

So that's my news.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One of those days

Just when I think I am doing well coping with my emotions about being unable to have a child of my own, I have a day like today.  I woke up feeling exhausted and a little headache-y, despite a full night's sleep, only to see on Fac.ebo.ok the announcement of another birth (the third in less than a week!) and another pregnancy.  And the new father and mother-to-be have birthdays today, so they are getting even more than the usual amount of comments on their announcements.  Ugh.

(Oh, and lest anyone once again think/say "You don't know what they went through to get pregnant," um, yeah, I do.  None of the three people who have had children this week had any problems conceiving them, and the woman who announced her pregnancy basically came out and said it was an "oops". . . .her daughter is only 6 months old, and her children will be only a year apart.)

Couple all this with the fact that I am working on a couple of annoying projects at work and still waiting anxiously to find out about the other job I'm hoping to get, and it's shaping up to be a craptastic day.  Man, do I wish I still drank coffee!!

I realized belatedly that I forgot to write about the "homework" my counselor suggested for me.  We talked a little bit about whether I had thought about and pictured what my future child would look like and be like.  I don't know about you, but um, yes, I have thought about this, many times, both before meeting my husband and since.

She suggested I get a doll or photo or something else that symbolizes the image I have in my mind of that child and then write a letter to her (yes, for me, it's a her), explaining how I feel about the fact that we will probably never meet.  She said that the purpose of this exercise is to help me to let go of this (theoretical, future) child so that I will be open to the child who is "supposed to" come to me/us.

I can see the usefulness of this exercise.  So far, I have only gotten as far as searching the internet to see if I could find a photo which matches my mental image, and I haven't yet.  I may work more on this project this weekend.

I must get back to work, as I am momentarily quite busy.  I will get through today by reminding myself that things always seem to get better eventually.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First counseling session

I had my first session with the counselor today, as planned, and I liked her.  I will definitely be going back.

Interestingly, she has been a counselor for 20 years and has also had her own struggle with IF, which (luckily) ended happily with the birth of a child.  Since that time, counseling people dealing with infertility has been a special interest of hers, because when she was going through IF, she found a dearth of qualified professionals who could truly understand what she was going through.  (And by coincidence, she and her husband were treated by the same RE as us.)   She has also counseled at least five couples who have gone the DE IVF route.

Naturally, most of the session was taken up with my bringing her up to speed on me and on where we are with our infertility.  We talked a lot about my marriage, our "unexplained" diagnosis, our TTC history, and our contemplation of DE IVF, as well as a little bit about my personal and family background.

Embarrassingly, I started crying within the first ten minutes of the session and ended up crying off and on, about half the session total.  (My eyes are still puffy and scratchy, and I left with a mild headache from all the crying!)  At one point when I was crying, she asked what I was thinking, and I told her honestly that I felt embarrassed about falling apart in front of her.  I mean, even though she is a professional counselor, she is also a total stranger, and this meeting was our first.  Not surprisingly, she didn't think I had any need to feel embarrassed, but I did.  It is just so uncharacteristic for me to break down like that.

Afterward, on the way home, I hit one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants for my form of comfort food.  LOL.  I have been working diligently on eating better and losing weight, and making some progress, but much as I hate to admit it, fatty, carb-rich foods do make me feel better when I'm down, at least temporarily.

I suppose the fact that I cried so much, and so easily, in such an unaccustomed way, just goes to show how much I am holding back some strong emotions and how much I need to be getting help from an objective third-party to work through them.  I do genuinely feel that I am coping well most of the time, but today showed me how powerful my emotions really are and how strongly they can affect me when I let them rise above the surface.  It felt odd to open up about my feelings of hopelessness, sadness and loss, but good in a way, cathartic.

My primary goal is to work through my feelings of sadness and grief at the prospect of never having my own biological child so that I can work toward accepting other paths to parenthood.  (Currently, given my husband's feelings on the matter, that will mean DE for us.)  I feel that I cannot, in good conscience, go ahead with plans for anything until I have come to terms with this loss.  So I hope that I will be able to do this successfully.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Financial thoughts

Thinking about spending $30K+ on fertility treatment has made me think about the value of everything in my life on which I spend money.  Twice-a-month massages?  Sure, they help me manage my stress and cut down on my headaches, but they're not really necessary.  Things like pedicures and facials are nice and relaxing, but definitely something I can live without.  Does MM really need the HD expanded cable package with HBO and the Big Ten network?

I even find myself thinking about what our two golden retrievers cost us.  Two 80-lb dogs eat a lot!  Add in vet bills, medications, pet-sitting services when we are away, etc., and it adds up.  (We would never consider getting rid of our dogs to save money.)

I am slightly ashamed to admit that neither MM nor I is a saver by nature.  Prior to IF, we had a little bit of money put away--most of which we'd earmarked to replace my salary during a maternity leave--but we always thought there'd be plenty of time to save more someday.  Well, now someday is here, or at least fast-approaching, much sooner than we thought it would.

In brainstorming sessions with MM, we have discussed a lot of possible options to get more money.  Could we sell things we own and don't use on craigslist?  Neither of us owns a lot of unnecessary things, and certainly not any which would be worth a great deal of money.  Get a second job?  Given the demands of practicing law, that's probably not a viable option for me, if I could even find a second job in the current job market, and MM's employer places restrictions on his moonlighting. 

Home values in our area have continued to drop over the two years we've owned our home (we saw a house for sale in our neighborhood with our same floor plan for $100K less than we paid for ours two years ago), so refinancing and a home equity loan are both out of the question.  MM's parents have very generously offered to help us with the cost of fertility treatment, but they could only afford to give us $5K.  Neither of my parents have any money put away--truth be told, we'll be lucky if they are able to continue to be self-supporting for the rest of their lives--so there is no potential for financial help there.

The most obvious way for us to get more money is for one of us to get a better-paying job.  MM has been at his current job for over 12 years, loves it, and has no intention of doing anything else. . . . and even if he was willing to change jobs, his options would be very limited and would probably not pay much more than he currently makes.

So I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get an offer from the other firm with which I interviewed Thursday.  A change would do me good, and we could really use the extra money I will make if they match my salary demand.