2007: The Year that Wasn’t

I am sick of lists about 2007, just like I was sick of lists about 2006. There are so many 2007 lists out there that they are actually generating more news than probably happened in 2007. There are also the anti-list lists which are still lists. I choose to do something different to memorialize 2007. I’m going to do it by the numbers.

Number of times I laughed: thousands
Number of times I cried: hundreds
Number of plants I killed: less than 5
Number of new hobbies started: 2 (sewing and gardening)
Number of old hobbies rediscovered: at least 1 (reading poetry)
Number of pregnancies: 1 (yes, Virginia, you can get pregnant!)
Number of miscarriages: 1 (yes Virginia, life does suck)
Number of weeks our baby lived: 9
Number of weeks it took me to get over the miscarriage: 34 (and counting)
Number of condolences after miscarriage: at least 10
Number of people we told about the miscarriage who never said anything: at least 3
Number of vials of Menopur shot up: at least 30
Number of IUI cycles completed: 4
Number of episodes of Grey’s Anatomy I watched: 71
Number of miles put on the car: maybe 3,000
Number of couples we are friends with who had babies: 3
Number of baby presents I made and sent: 2
Number of thank you notes received for those presents: 1
Number of new friends made: 3
Number of old friends lost: 1
Number of movies watched from Netflix: 29
Number of new countries visited: 3
Number of new cities in US visited: 2
Number of new Christmas ornaments bought: 2
Number of sewing projects completed: at least 8
Number of sewing projects still going: 2
Number of cross-stitch projects finished: 3
Number of cross-stitch projects still going: 2
Number of cross-stitch projects bought but not started: at least 4
Number of home improvements made: 2
Number of times I cursed: thousands
Number of cruises: 1
Number of plane flights: at least 10
Number of times I said that I hate my job: at least 20
Number of resumes sent out for new job: 0
Number of therapists seen: 1
Number of visits with Dr. Uterus: at least 30
Number of times I gave up alcohol and caffeine: at least 10
Number of prenatal vitamins taken: 365
Number of Prozac taken: 365
Number of times I shook my fist at the sky: 0
Number of times that I would have liked to: 5
Number of kitty bites: at least 15
Number of books read: at least 30
Number of pictures taken of the kitties: at least 250
Number of times I rearranged my office: at least once
Number of times I thought I was being a bitch: quite a few
Number of times other people told me I was being a bitch: 0
Number of times I wished the grass would be greener: too many to count

16 and Pregnant or 31 and Infertile?

I absolutely loved Ricky Gervais‘ series on HBO called Extras. Ricky plays Andy Millman, an extra who is trying to break into show busines with his own show. He has an almost Seinfeld-ian prediliction for saying the absolute wrong thing at the absolute wrong time and watching the messes he manages to get himself in his truly sqirm-worthy. Another main character is his best friend and fellow extra Maggie (played by Ashley Jensen of Ugly Betty). Maggie is not particularly bright and seriously quirky which she demonstrates with her random questions for Andy such as would he rather have no legs or no arms, etc.

I’ve got one for Maggie- would you rather be 16 and knocked up like Jamie Lynn Spears or 31 and infertile like me? Personally, I’d pick 31 and infertile any day. I can only imagine the world of hurt that I would have encountered had I gotten knocked up at 16. Not to mention that I would have had to make a difficult decision about what to do with the pregnancy as I am certain my parents would have been against me keeping the baby (and I really wasn’t very fond of them at that age). And, there is a lot more public humiliation and shame associated with being very young and pregnant than there is with infertility (my how things have changed).

Despite all of my grousing about our current situation, I wouldn’t trade places with her in a million years.

My Kitty Baby

We have two kitties, who are brothers although they look nothing alike. Their momma apparently got around with several different toms and thus they have at least two daddies. The Bad One earned this name many times over but is still much adored in the house because he loves snuggling with us. He also tolerates being held (and has since he was a kitten). I usually pick up him and hold him up against my shoulder and then shift him into my arms like a baby. I start cooing at him that he’s my kitty baby (kit-ty bay-be) and that’s his cue to begin squirming to be put down.

My parents were in town for Christmas and I was holding the Bad One like my kitty baby. My mom held out her arms in the universal sign for “can I hold him?” and I felt this instant sadness that all I could give her was a cat, not a real baby. I hope someday I can give her a real baby to hold in her arms.

A Promise

When I get pregnant, I promise I will not put a creepy spinning baby on the side of my blog showing the development or put a ticker at the top to show how far along I am. Part of this is because the spinning baby is just plain weird (it kind of looks like its on an inverted spit) and the ticker is a reminder that there is still so much time for something to go catastrophically wrong. The main reason, though, is because it is so difficult for other infertile women to see happy pregnant ladies, even if those ladies were fellow infertiles. To me, tickers and spinning babies on infertility blogs are inadvertently cruel because the girls who are still struggling with infertility who read these blogs are then reminded with every spin that they don’t have a pregnancy to memorialize with a spinning baby or ticker. When I am pregnant (and come hell or high water, I will get knocked up) no tickers or spinning babies. Period.

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The Waiting Room

I spend a lot of time these days in the Waiting Room – the physical waiting room and the metaphorical waiting room. The physical waiting room belongs to Dr. Uterus. It’s tolerable as waiting rooms go (except when they had Christmas music going 24/7). I know which chair I like and that he has sucky literature (no People!) and that it is an ok place to catch up on increasing my score on BrickBreaker on my Crackberry. It is also the place for me to begin to worry about whatever is coming up because except when I was pregnant, going back is usually somewhat to highly nerve-wracking.

For as much time as I spend in Dr. Uterus’ waiting room, I am always in the metaphorical Waiting Room. Waiting for a new cycle, waiting for a procedure, waiting for a pregnancy test. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I suppose everyone is waiting for something – the next weekend, the next holiday, lunch, dinner, a movie sequel. It just seems that waiting in infertility is much more agonizing and time consuming. While waiting for normal things, you can usually keep yourself nicely occupied while waiting – be it by doing work, sleeping, reading, etc.

But, waiting while you have infertility is difficult because you are reminded of your infertility just enough to make it seem like it is always there. It could be because you have to take a pill every night, you see a pregnant lady (or ladies), you get an email from a friend asking how the babymaking is going, you get Christmas cards with friends’ toddlers smiling back at you. As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, “It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

How do you distract yourself from infertility when there is always something around to remind you either of what you are going through or what you don’t have? Sometimes it seems like a herculean task to simply not think about it 0nce for 5, 10, or 20 minutes. Work hasn’t been providing the level of distraction that it normally does simply because we are between holidays and it is pretty slow. And blogging about infertility (which is so helpful) also means that there is the urge to think of new topics and blog about them lest things get stale.

Maybe I’ll start doing a little trick I heard about for OCD. When you find yourself having a thought, you smack your wrist with a rubberband. It never really worked with my OCD because the concern behind the thought didn’t change. But, maybe it will work with this – much like I remind myself to stop grimacing when I’m thinking (it’s my vain attempt to not make the furrows between my brows even more noticeable). I hope to be able to go at least an hour without thinking about infertility. This sounds like a modest goal, but considering how time and life consuming it all is, I think it’s a fair goal.

Why Am I Doing this Again?

When Sweetie and I sat down with Dr. Uterus in November to chart out The Future, we were very excited at the prospect (and success rates) of IVF. It seemed like the one-stop shop that we were looking for, the new hope. The failure of our last IUI, though, really took a lot out of me – mainly hope. So, when I got the IVF protocol in the mail and saw how much was actually involved, I was really freaked out. I suppose its natural to be a little freaked out on your first IVF just given the sheer newness of it. I just really thought that I was an experienced IFer and there wouldn’t be that much that was different this time. I feel like I’m back in newbie land, but with none of the illusions and hope.

I also realized that part of me is still deathly afraid of having another miscarriage. My heart never hurt so much as it did then. I don’t know if I could go through that again. To this day, I still feel cheated and the scar from that let down is still fresh and raw. Now with our best prospect for pregnancy looming, I find myself pulling away and not getting invested to preserve that little bit of hope and courage that I do have left.

I shared with Dr. Uterus a few weeks ago how I was scared to get pregnant again. He said something very profound: “Are you scared of something that will probably not happen or something that probably will?” I answered that I was scared of something that probably will not happen. But, still. Do I have the courage to try to get pregnant again knowing that I could suffer another loss? Do I have the courage to hope that I will get pregnant and have a baby? I think about what it would feel like to hold our baby in my arms, to see both of us reflected back and I think I might.

Disapproving Cervix

I think my cervix has decided that it has had enough prodding for the year. It was very disapproving and disgruntled during my sonohysterogram today and is still making its displeasure known with spotting and some cramping. This year it saw lots of action – four IUIs, one HSG, one pap smear (which I swear didn’t happen because I didn’t feel a damn thing), and today’s scream fest of an SHG. I’m sure if it could talk, it would say, really, enough, can I just have a break for a while to remember what it was like when I was a happy, unmolested cervix? It seems like a very long time since my cervix was seen once a year and then went on its merry way.

It’s amazing how much agony one little body part can produce. I can’t wait for childbirth.

Clear SHG But Still Seeing Red

I had my SHG today to confirm that my uterus is hospitable for growing human life – basically to confirm that I have no polyps, fibroids, etc. After all, what’s the point in going down the IVF road if your uterus is already full with other stuff? It took Dr. Uterus two (!) attempts to get things just ‘so’ which meant two pokes of the catheter – I swear I almost fell off the table I was in such agony. It was by far the most painful procedure I’ve had so far in the infertility journey. It was 10 times worse than my first HSG when my tubes were blocked and the pressure from the dye on the blockage was quite painful. Even post-op of my D & C when I had to take the Satan drug Methergine was easier compared to this.

Dr. Uterus was very apologetic and also stated that I apparently was the first patient of his to have more pain with the SHG than with the HSG. I have always strived to be different but this was not what I was hoping for. I did do some googling and found several other ladies who had unbelievably painful SHGs, so I know that I’m not alone. The good news was that the scan was quite clear and there do not appear to be any problems uterus-wise.

The whole experience, though, threw me into a bit of a depression partly because it was so damn painful and partly because the whole process just took so freaking long. I waited for almost an hour before we got started and then it took another 20 minutes after the procedure to check-out. I was fairly despondent by the time I got home and had a good cry. I felt so alone, as if I was the only person having this terrible time today. Then I made lunch and felt better. Funny how that works.

The Friend Dilemma

I’ve always had a hard time making really lasting friendships. Put me in a room and I can charm or get to know just about 95% of the inhabitants, but I may only be in interested in getting to know 1or 2%. And then it’s a lot like dating. Awkward moments, guardedness about yourself, etc. I’m quite picky about the people I am friends with. They have to be a special mixture of snark and kindness with an adventurous streak thrown in. And now, at least, they have to not be knocked up, focused on getting knocked up or have very young children already. That’s a pretty tall order for girls in my age group.

Given how hard it is for me to make friendships, you would think that I would work really hard to keep the ones that I have made. And I do, with one notable exception. I’ve written before about my dilemma with my best friend. I feel a small measure of guilt on a daily basis that I am not being more strong in dealing with the fact that she’s knocked up and I’m not (and in fact I’m actually going on BCPs to suppress my ovaries in preparation for the most invasive method to get pregnant known to man). I feel as if I should be able to hear whatever she has to say and be an active participant and cheerleader through her pregnancy. I know that is what she would do for me. When I called her with the wonderful news that I was finally pregnant last spring, she screamed into the phone. I was so touched. When she told me that she was pregnant in November, I sincerely wish that I could have done the same for her. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t scream in excitement (although to my credit, I was very good. No crying, no pouting, no hanging up).

Since the initial flurry of emails in which I tried to tactfully and gently lay out what I can and cannot handle (ultrasounds – no way, baby pics after the blessed event – fine), I ‘ve tried to keep a low profile. We have had patches of non-communication in the past just because of fate, so I can kind of get away with being the silent type. But, I know eventually, I’m going to get that email asking how I am and I will have to decide if I want to know how she is, which really means if I want to know how her pregnancy is progressing. If I can’t, I hope that I can forgive myself and that she can forgive me for being – hopefully a temporary – selfish person.

Next Stop: Hyperventilation Land

So I got my tentative IVF protocol in the mail today and I actually almost started hyperventilating. Here it is:
I thought I was pretty experienced at the infertility thing after 6 IUIs, but I apparently don’t know squat. I feel like I haven’t gotten much information from Dr. Uterus’ office about everything that is entailed, and as usual I will have to turn to Dr. Google to fill in the blanks. I do know that I have my BCPs and I’ll start popping those tomorrow as Big Red showed up yesterday.

Apparently, I need to have a sonohysterogram (SHG) to make sure my uterus is polyp, fibroid and scar free. It makes perfect sense, but that wasn’t exactly mentioned before. I have to schedule it for next week as Dr. Uterus is skipping town the first week in January (can you blame him? All of these rabid infertile women constantly hounding him to knock them up? The man must be exhausted). Since the SHG is best performed when the uterine lining is very low (all the better to see your uterus with my pretty), that will put it at the beginning of next week which as we all know is Christmas. And since the mail was delivered after Dr. Uterus’ office closed today (they close at 12pm on Fridays) I have to wait to make the appointment until the 26th for the 27th or 28th. Grr and double grr. Why didn’t the nurse mention this the freakin’ two other times we’ve talked about the BCPs? I can already feel my OCD flaring up.

An abnormal SHG can temporarily put the kabosh on IVF so that will be the next hurdle. The good news is that they are going to continue using the medicine I use already (Menopur) which means the five or so vials I have left over will still be put to good use. There’s nothing like shooting up with post-menopausal women’s urine to make you feel good about yourself.

At the same time, though, I have to admit that a tiny part of me is beginning to get excited. This is a new adventure now matter how you look at it and we are starting to climb for the summit.