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.