Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The perils of a larger office

I found out last week that one of the paralegals in our office is pregnant.  (Mind you, there were two very pregnant women working here when I started in November; one is now on maternity leave, the other left the firm to be a SAHM.)  She has a two-year-old son already.  Good for her, I guess.

I found out this morning that one of the other lawyers is pregnant (when she canceled a lunch date due to "morning" sickness).  She has a 13-year-old son already.

They are due in August and July, respectively.  So I have months of belly-growing to look forward to.  Makes me miss my old office where over half the women were menopausal or had teenaged or grown children and were finished with child-bearing.

P.S. I've been feeling crappy today, not physically, but mentally/emotionally.  Woke up with a feeling of anxiety that I couldn't attribute to anything going on; caught sight of my huge a$$ in the mirror and was filled with renewed self-loathing at my fatness (stepping on the scale just after didn't help); and have done about 10 minutes of actual work this morning due to poor focus and tearfulness, and it's 10:30 a.m.  So not exactly the best day for hearing someone else's pregnancy news.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I have suffered from migraines since I was 15.  (I'll never forget my first migraine, which started just after riding a tramway in Banff National Park in Canada.  I didn't know then that high altitude is a common migraine trigger.  Actually, I didn't know what was wrong with me and thought I was going to die.)

Although I have tried various things over the years to control/reduce them--eliminating triggers (SO many things, including hot dogs, alcohol and caffeine and, ironically, birth control pills), taking daily medications, drinking lots of water, always getting a full night's sleep, regular exercise--I still get them. . . . sometimes for no obvious reason.  Even regular acupuncture and massage have not really helped.

Fortunately, more often than not, when I take medication at the first sign of a headache, I can head off a full-blown migraine.  I might still feel "off," but I am able to function.

Unfortunately, yesterday was not one of those times.

I was in agony most of the day yesterday and could do little more than lie prostrate on my bed or the couch with my eyes covered and an ice pack on my head.  (In addition to almost-unbearable pain, my migraines include light sensitivity and nausea, too.)  The entire day, from about 10 a.m. on, was wasted; I was either lying still wishing for death, sleeping, or worshipping the porcelain god in my bathroom.  I was in bed by 8:30 p.m. and asleep before 9:00.

Today I woke up feeling tired (despite over 9 hours of sleep), weak and a little dizzy.  My stomach was a little iffy, but after two liters of water and some oatmeal for breakfast, it seems to be OK now.  I'm still not 100%, but I am improving.

I worry about what I will do to treat my migraines if I am ever able to get pregnant.  None of the medications which actually work for me (most of the time; yesterday being a notable exception) are permitted during pregnancy, and taking plain Tylenol is as useful to me as eating a couple of jelly beans, in other words, no help at all.  I suppose I would have to take some type of mild narcotic, but that would leave me non-functional, as I would be too drowsy to work or drive.

I have read that some migraine sufferers don't get them during pregnancy at all, but I think that is a little too much to hope for.  Despite long periods of keeping headache diaries, I have never seen a correlation between my cycle and my migraines, so I don't think they are due to hormone fluctuations.  Who knows?

So that's my "news," such as it is.  MM ran a fever from Friday night into Saturday evening (as high as nearly 103 at times), so we were a real pair this weekend.  He seems to be recovered now, thank goodness.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Sweet Georgia posed an excellent question in her comment to my post about how I would feel if I were never a mother: she asked whether I had told MM about the conversation with the counselor.

At the time of her comment, the answer to that question was no.  It wasn't because I was avoiding the topic.  I never have trouble talking with MM about anything, and our infertility has been no exception. . . . but at the same time, it's not a topic I like to bring up unless we both have time and the right frame of mind to discuss it.  With my mother at our house (and the drama at the end of her visit which I wrote about in my last post) and late nights at work all week, there wasn't really an appropriate moment to discuss this with MM until this past Friday night.

On Friday night, we were out for a mini-celebratory dinner (at Outback Steakhouse) because of my mother's departure.  We were both relaxed and unlikely to be interrupted.

I came right out and told him that, while I may have said things in the recent past that might have led him to believe I don't care whether or not we have a child, in actuality, I still really want to be a mother and know I will deeply regret it if I don't do everything I can to make that happen.  I told him I understand his reservations about spending the money that a DE IVF cycle would cost but made it clear that I don't share his concerns.  (I would rather go into *some* debt trying this route rather than just give up.)

I also told him another thing that I told NC: that if it were solely my choice, I would already be signed up as a foster parent for children under age 2, with the hope that perhaps the first (or second, or third) child placed with me would someday be available for adoption.  To me, although this is a risky option in that the child might be returned to the parents or another family member, it is a risk I'd be willing to take.  Becoming a foster parent is practically free, and if the child left our home, at least I'd know I did everything I could to give him/her a good start in life.

MM's response was that he was glad to hear that I still want to be a mother, as he had begun to wonder, based on some of my recent comments.  He "would much rather we have a kid than not," so he feels we are pretty much on the same page.  He stopped short of saying he would "do anything" to make my desire to be a mother a reality (for example, he once again rejected my suggestion that we sign up as foster parents for children under 2, feeling he could not take the heartbreak if the child were removed from our care), but said he would really like to pursue the embryo donation route.

He also said he would be willing to do DE IVF if it were half the cost.  The only way I can think of to make it (roughly) half the cost would be to share a cycle with someone else going through DE IVF. . . . so I am looking into making that possibility a reality along with potentially having embryos donated to us.  (Upside of sharing a DE cycle: the timing is a bit more within our control than with embryo donation.  Who knows when, or if, a couple will pick us to donate their embryos to?)

MM also agreed to go to a counseling session with me.  I framed this as "it will be a big help to me," and that's true.  I also think it could be a help to him.

So while there is still a lot of uncertainty about where we will go from here, it is good to have the lines of communication open and feel that we are working toward a common goal.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Non-infertility-related advice sought

Should there be a different standard for acceptable behavior for family members than there is for friends?

My parents divorced when I was 9, and my father raised my sister and me. My mother visited us regularly but was never like a "real" mother to us. Among other things, my mother is not a truthful person, and she often broke promises to us when we were kids.

After having had a strained relationship with my mother for several years, we had grown into what I considered a good adult friendship.  In many ways, I don't look at her as a "mother," in the sense that I think of that word as meaning someone loving and nurturing who puts her child's interests before her own.  (My paternal grandmother filled that role for me when I was a child.)  But up until a couple of days ago, I thought of her as a friend, or the way you might your quirky-but-lovable, never-married aunt. . . . someone who shares your genetics and has been in your life a long time.

However, now something has happened which makes me wonder if I should continue any relationship with her at all.  She has been staying at our house for the past seven weeks, and two nights ago I caught her in a lie about something relatively trivial that happened in the house while I was at work. (So dumb: she left juice and chocolate milk where the dogs could get to it, after being warned repeatedly--and experiencing firsthand--that they can and will get into things left on the counter.  She tried to tell me the stains on the carpet were from dirt they had tracked in, when their true source was obvious, as the carpet was disclored purple and brown and wet down to the padding.  Plus, I found one of the dog-chewed plastic bottles in the trash.)

When I confronted her with her lie, she clung to it, to the point of being ridiculous because the truth was clear. She simply would not admit that she had lied to me.  She also later tacitly admitted to my husband that I what I knew to be the truth about the situation WAS the truth.

I got angry and told her that her lying to me was inexcusable and that I would not tolerate it (among other things), and I haven't spoken to her since. She was already planning to leave this morning (thank goodness) prior to our run-in.  At this point, I don't know when (or if) I will talk to, or see, her again.

If a friend who was a guest in my home had done something like this, the friendship would now be over. I simply would not tolerate having someone lie to my face, particularly in my own home.  Without honesty, how can there be any trust?  And without trust, there can be no true friendship.
Is there any reason why the outcome should be different because the "friend" happens to be the woman who gave birth to me?
Your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Peeling back the layers

I had my session with NC last night.  I brought her up to speed on what happened to spur me to return to counseling: MM's "epiphany" about not wanting to move forward with DE IVF this summer as we had planned, the conversations we have had since about the possibility of pursuing embryo donation, and the thoughts and feelings I've had about all of it.  (My explanation of my thoughts and feelings was pretty to close to what I posted here.)  It was helpful to talk this out with someone who is not only a trained professional but also already knows something about our TTC history and is an objective outsider.

Following the preliminaries, the first question NC asked me was "How do you feel now about never being a mother?"  After I blathered on for a few minutes about the pros and cons of parenthood and how I have gotten to a point where I think I would be OK either way, she stopped me.  She pointed out that I was giving her my THOUGHTS about this, not my feelings.  She reminded me of my tendency to allow logic to rule over my emotions which she had commented on in earlier sessions.  (Very true; I am very much an Overthinker.)

So I paused for a moment and then blurted out the first thing that came into my head: "When I'm on my deathbed--which I hope won't be until I'm at least 75--I know I will regret it if I was never a mother."  And I promptly burst into tears.

That was an "Aha! moment" for me.  I guess I am just weird, but I have a hard time getting through my thoughts about something to my feelings about it.  For a long time, I believed that my thoughts and feelings were basically the same thing, but one thing this struggle with infertility has taught me is that they are not.  I have loads of perfectly logical, rational thoughts about the possibility of never being a mother, which treatment path to choose and the like, but I have found that apart from those well-reasoned thoughts, I also have emotions.  Emotions that are not at all logic or rational, and often are not very comfortable for me.

I am not a person who usually makes decisions driven by emotion.  Even in my love life, the one area where even rational, sane people often allow their hearts to rule over their heads, I have made more logical decisions, based on thought and reason, than emotional decisions.  (For example, I would tell you that I married MM not only because I love him but because marrying him was a smart decision.  I ended my last serious relationship before MM for logical, not emotional, reasons.)  The last emotion-driven decisions I made in my life were probably in my teens. . . . usually with less-than-ideal outcomes, I might add.

However. . . . a dear friend of mine told me once that there is nothing logical about the desire to be a parent.  I am learning all the time just how true her words are.

Unfortunately, because I am infertile and (apparently) unable to conceive a baby on my own, the "natural" way, coming to this realization about what I truly want is not THE answer to my dilemma.  I still have to figure out how I am going to realize my dream of motherhood, and I still have to honor and respect MM's wishes and thoughts about the process.  There are still many, many steps ahead of me along the road.

But it's a start.

Thursday, January 6, 2011



1. in Roman Catholic theology. . . .

2. a place or state of oblivion to which persons or things are regarded as being relegated when cast aside, forgotten, past, or out of date: My youthful hopes are in the limbo of lost dreams.

3. an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place.

4. a place or state of imprisonment or confinement.


I think the last three definitions of this word do a pretty good job of capturing where I am these days.  More than just being in transition, I feel, at different times, like I have cast aside my dreams of motherhood or that I am trapped/stuck/stymied.
My mood and the intensity of these feelings varies from day to day, and sometimes hour to hour.  Sometimes I think "F$%* it!" and want to forget about any more "trying" to become a mother, no matter what the route.  In that mood, I indulge in elaborate fantasies of how I will spend my money if I don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments or adoption (and, later, providing for a child): the (luxury) car I will buy, the vacations we will take, the student loans I will repay early.  I remind myself of various comments I've heard from friends over the years: "parenthood is overrated," "stick with dogs, they're easier," "enjoy your freedom," and the like.  I dwell on the negative side of parenting that I am currently avoiding: the sacrifices, the lost sleep, the time it would take away from work, the "I hate you, Mom!"s I would surely hear eventually.
Then, at other times, I find myself on the verge of tears, thinking about never having a child of my own.  Oddly enough, this mood doesn't usually hit at times I might expect, like when I hear of (yet another) friend's pregnancy or when I am around small children.  No, sadly (and inconveniently), this mood is more likely to strike on random afternoons when I am at my desk, hard at work on some project. . . . afternoons much like this one.
Officially, we are "looking into" embryo donation.  We may well go that route if the right situation presents itself.  I would find that preferable in many ways to trying to adopt a newborn, and as many of you have said, the jump from DE to DEm is a short one for the woman of the couple.  I have drafted a profile for Miracles Waiting (though I have not posted it, as it is way too long and needs extensive editing) and put out feelers through another online connection as well.
Unofficially, I am sad and confused about where I want to go from here.  I am tired of dealing with infertility and want to move on with my life.  In the nearly two years I have been writing this blog, so many people I know, both in real life and in this community, have achieved pregnancy, while I have been stuck in the same place.  (Don't get me wrong: I'm happy for those of you in this community who are "livin' the dream."  It just highlights where I'm not.)
We are no closer to our goal of becoming parents today than we were when I did my first IUI in April 2009.  In fact, in many ways, it feels like we are much, much farther away, given my ever-advancing age and the fact that we've only ever seen one short-lived BFP in nearly three years of TTC.  In April 2009, I thought we just needed "a little help" to get pregnant and was confident I would be having a baby of my own by the end of the year.  (Ah, the naivete.)  Now I know that the chances of our ever having a child who is genetically related to us both are slim to none.
Why is it that so many others seem to see the obstacles in the road as challenges, battles to be fought and won, while I continually wonder if this is the way The Universe has of telling me to take a different path?  Three years ago, I would likely have told you that I wanted to be a mother as much as--if not more than--anyone I know.  Now I question whether my unwillingness to do absolutely anything to achieve motherhood means that I just don't want it as much as others.

The last thing an Overthinker like me ever needed was an extra few years to deliberate on the rightness of a decision.  When I tossed my birth control pills in April 2008, I was excited about becoming a mother.  Realistic, but still excited.
Now?  If I could wake up tomorrow and find myself unexpectedly pregnant, I would still be ecstatic.  But I'm just not sure I have it in me to continue fighting this fight. . . . which makes me feel like even more of a failure because, compared to most of the women whose blogs I follow and who leave me comments here, I haven't "done" much.  Though we have been TTC for nearly three years, we only did six treatment cycles, four of them with IUIs in addition to meds.  We have never done (and never will do) IVF with my eggs.  We haven't done a DE cycle.
Clearly I am no longer in The Good Place I was before MM decided that he didn't want to spend the money on DE.  I thought I had resolved most of my feelings about my infertility, but now I think all I really accomplished was resigning myself (for lack of a better word) to DE IVF.
I am headed back to see NC, my counselor, next Tuesday and am hoping she can help me sort out my feelings.  We shall see.