I already knew that I was an extraordinary woman. Just look at the fact that I have managed to not have a child after trying for over three years.   So far I have managed to thwart every attempt to get me and keep me knocked up.  I think I am the poster child for fertility treatments as birth control. How can I begin to top this epic achievement? I’ll tell you.

I’ve managed to break my toe by tripping over a tennis shoe that has no sharp edges or hard surfaces. Yep. I even have an X-ray to prove it. Aren’t you jealous? What is even more amazing – as if this all wasn’t enough – I did it on my third toe on the left foot in the middle bone with a break that goes sideways.  I cannot do anything half-assed, people!

(Note helpful diagram below)
This is not my foot, but I have thoughtfully photoshopped
the location of the break with a giant arrow in case
you didn’t see it. Impressed?

Dr. Dorquemada, my podiatrist, marveled at how I managed to break such an inaccessible toe and in such a location.  He started fantasizing about how to place the pins to keep it anchored, but then decided that the more prudent (and boring) treatment was to tape it to the my other toe.  His disappointment was palpable.  This was the same man who was practically fetishizing the bone spurs he saw in my x-rays last year.  It’s a good thing he’s a podiatrist.

Needless to say, I am bursting with pride at my latest achievement. I think I’ve earned a cookie.

Can I put my x-ray on the fridge, pretty please?

A Lot of What IFs

Forgive me for being dense lo these many years, but it was just this morning – yes, this morning – that I realized that the abbreviation for infertility IF is also the word ‘if’.  Not much gets past me! 

I’ve had a bad case of the IFs this week.  What IF this works? What IF it doesn’t? What IF I have a third straight miscarriage? All of these questions have arisen out of my mental thrashing this past week about whether I am *ready* in that euphamistic way to really have a legitimate shot at getting knocked up again.  I mentioned it to Dr. Uterus when I saw him on Monday, and he immediately offered that we could postpone things.  But, my answer was ‘no’ and that I was more excited about the prospect of getting pregnant than I was fearful at the prospect.  I’m not excited about the 2ww, the beta agony or the any of that – but the idea that I have a real shot at the big P again? Yea, that’s still exciting. 

In retrospect, this is still an extraordinary thing – it’s like saying that the last two times I put the gun to my temple, pulled the trigger, and I was shot, but I’m still hopeful that this last chamber will be empty. 

Hope is a drug, I firmly believe.  And, I’m still addicted. 

But, it is what allows me to continue this journey, continue to traverse this rocky road with the dream of making it out on the other side, with my sanity intact carrying my child. 

I still hope more than I fear.  And, that is the only way to go forward. 

image: Poagao

As Easy As S-H-G

What a difference a weekend makes. 

When I learned that I had to have a repeat SHGfor this upcoming FET, I was understandably annoyed as my last go round with the saline catheter AND dildocam all shoved up in the hoo-ha at the same time did not go so well.  So, when given the choice by Nurse to a T as to when to have the SHG – Friday or today – I did some important calculus taking into account the following variables:

1) Friday morning is the time when ALL of the big bellies are in the office for monitoring with the high risk OB with whom Dr. Uterus shares office space and

2) The office closes at 12 on Friday, so there is usually a really large rush to get everybody in and out, and

3) I was crazy busy at work and Friday was not going to be any different, but

4) If I had it done on Friday, I could enjoy my weekend without the Spectre of the SHG hanging over my head, OR

5) I could do it on Monday morning, thus prolonging when I would have to show up for work, and

6) There was less chance of a big belly dance.

All of this dizzying calculation was done in a split second – even though it took a lot longer to type it out – and I chose Monday AM.

It turned out to be a good choice.  I was relaxed from my weekend, after having decided not to think about or worry about the SHG procedure, rather just enjoy my weekend, and I had a leisurely morning before my appointment.  By the time I got to Dr. Uterus’s office, I was pretty calm, and – bonus! – only one bulging belly was in the waiting room.  I had a good book and my iPod just in case, but in the end just enjoyed my book.

The procedure itself was still uncomfortable, with a few ‘ows’ on my part, but nothing like last time where I went home in tears (more out of frustration than anything).  The best news: my ute is cute! Well, there are no abnormalities and everything looks great.

I also had a lovely sit-down meeting with Dr. Uterus to discuss the details of the FET.  He has approved my request for Valium which apparently is not done routinely for transfers (I certainly didn’t have it for my ET with my IVF), so that was very nice.  We will start with a thaw of three embryos and depending upon the number that survive and the quality after thaw, we may then go thaw the other three.  We sent five As and one B+ into thaw, so hopefully, they will reemerge with still good quality.  Ideally, he wants to put back 4 which I am ok with.  All of this is still dependent upon the results of the biopsy, but assuming is ok, we’re on track. 

We have a tentative transfer date of 8/8/8.  An auspicious date if ever there was one as my favorite number is 8.  I have been popping my Estrace pills since last Wednesday and will start the butt injections on Aug. 5.  Never a dull moment.

And, just for a little infertility humor, I shared with Dr. Uterus that glorious news of the expansion of our family through adoption.  I merely told him that we had adopted – his eyes got very wide and surprised, but he recovered quickly to tell me congratulations.  I began to describe our newest addition: 6 years old, gold hair, brown eyes… four legs.  He had been had and he knew it. 

Final score: Dr. Uterus: 0, Me: 1.

I am so wicked, it hurts.

La Familia

Mr. X and I watched part of the Godfather III last night.  Myself, I was mostly annoyed that Sophia Coppola at the tender age of 19 got to suck face with Andy Garcia the entire movie – lucky girl! – despite the fact that her acting skills in no way compare with her writing and directing skills.  Second, I was amused by the fact that Francis Ford Coppola cast at least two members of his immediate family – Sophia, his daughter, and his sister Talia – in a movie that follows the saga of what happens when family ties rule all others.  I wonder if Coppola saw the irony in this or felt it was required to make the making of the movie an equally family affair as the movie was.

I was reminded again, though, of the theme of this blog post that I have been thinking about this week – family, and what it means.  My mother has been on a tear recently scanning old family photos and sending them around.  I am struck, again and again, by how much of our ancestors I see in her, my uncle (her brother), and me. 

And, suddenly, it has become very important to me for us to have a biological child of our own who we can look into their little faces and see ourselves.  I have this (probably irrational) feeling that if I can’t recognize myself in my child, then I won’t be able to love them or bond with them.  Of course, I have also recently thought that it would be fabulous if I could do housework naked and that I really want to get a house-dress so that if I am unable to do housework naked (nosy neighbors!) I can still have that luscious freedom of movement that comes without restrictive clothing.

I think some weird shit in the course of a day.

Still, I’m bothered by my apparent all-or-nothing attitude right now towards biological children.  I find the notion that I want My Child not someone else’s rather … snobbish. I think part of the problem is that my mother and I are extremely fortunate in that one of our ancestors had the time and ambition to write the definitive genealogy for the family back in the 19th century.  It is an imposing tome – going back all the way to the Mayflower.  Yep, my stock comes from the Mayflower, although true to form, I think they croaked when the boat was docked in the harbor.  It is unclear if they actually stepped foot on Plymouth Rock before expiring.  Other highlights: I’m related to Ben Franklin (although not directly – it’s through his sister), we have one relative who is memorialized in a sculpture somewhere South, there is talk of an Indian scalping, and a sprinkling of relatives served on either side of the Mason-Dixon during the War Between the States.

So, why is this a burden?  I don’t know how to share this history with a child who is not related to me or my mother (or my father) or my husband or any of our family.  This isn’t their history – they have a history all of their own.  But, at the same time, I would be that child’s mother no less than if I donated the egg.  My history should be their history, too.  But, would we constantly look in their faces to see ourselves and those who came before us? Why is that so important to me?

It’s not like my family has graced the covers of Vogue.  We’re not the most handsome or the most ugly family.  But, there are certain traits that are passed down from generation to generation.  A voice, the slenderness of a finger, eyes.  There is something very comforting in seeing yourself reflected back at you.  Can I live without that? 

Even if I had a biological child, I might have to: upon the joyous occasion of my birth, my father apparently was appalled that I looked exactly like his mother-in-law (I doubt my grandmother would have ever found out about this. She didn’t have the world’s best sense of humor).  Apparently, he couldn’t see anything of himself in me.

Open to Debate

I have given a lot of thought about posting this particular entry because it is bound to raise tempers, spirits, passions, and heckles within the IF blogging community.  I think in the name of support, there has always been an unspoken rule that we do not talk about questions of IF Etiquette.  And, for the most part, I think this is a good policy.  But, tonight, I want to talk about it – politely, intelligently, delicately and evenly – with my fellow IFers. 

I was spurred into action by BabyChaser’s request last week for reading material for her RE’s office staff because – and I’m still shaking my head over this one – there is at least one nurse Who Doesn’t Get It.  In the general population, this is understandable and accepted. But, at an RE’s office filled with women who are doing extraordinary things to do that which most people take for granted as happening in the back of a car after a few too many, it is unacceptable.  Is it too much to ask for the staff to be caring, compassionate and not tell an infertility patient that a negative is maybe God’s way of saying to take a break? Apparently, Virginia, the answer is yes.

Anyway, in my quest to help, I found this page on Resolve’s website, designed to be given to people who have not dealt with infertility and have not been hit with the Enlightenment Stick to help them see the error of their words.  There are a lot of good suggestions covering everything from What Not to Say to an infertile couple to What Not To Ask an infertile couple. 

Re-reading this list, though, I saw something that piqued my curiousity.  There is the very understandable and laudable Commandment “Thou Shall Not Complain About Your Pregnancy”. It’s a no-brainer that a fertile lady who is about to pop should not complain to her infertile friend about how Junior keeps numbing her left leg or how she can’t wait to get rid of her fat ankles.  That is just not cool.  I’m pretty certain the edict was written for the woman who is so fertile-my-husband-just-has-to-look-at-me-and-I-get-pregnant who has no idea how hurtful it is for someone who longs to experience even a twinge of pregnancy to hear about how much of a pain the miracle of pregnancy is.

But, what if the person complaining is an infertile who has spent years trying to get pregnant and is now pregnant?  Talk about a hornets nest. 

On the one hand, there is the argument that these ladies have fought through enough crap that they have earned this Rite of Passage, perhaps above all other Rites.  How many times have they had to endure other women complain? How many times have they had grit their teeth from not saying something incredibly hurtful (but really satisfying) to the lady in the next cube yaking about yakking? They went through all of this to get pregnant, and they are going to get the full experience that they paid for. 

On the other hand, are those other ladies who still are not pregnant or who have experienced loss.  Regardless of who is doing the complaining, I bet there is at least one amongst the infertile ladies who still thinks, “I would kill just to have one minute of morning sickness or I would give anything to have fat ankles if it meant I had a baby growing inside of me.”  But now the person doing the complaining is not a clueless fertile myrtle friend (who, I’m afraid can be easily dismissed on this basis) but someone who has been through countless procedures, experienced disappointment after disappointment to get to this moment.  

So, here’s the question: should the Commandment apply to any woman who is pregnant – regardless of the road that she took to get there – or should it be limited to those who have no clue how difficult even getting knocked up can be? 

Tough question. I have excused myself from having to answer so don’t expect any wisdom out of me on this one.  First, I’m tuckered from writing the post and second I want to start a debate, not preach from a pulpit (which as an Atheist would be exceedingly difficult for me to do anyway). 

So, dear Reader, speak up!

image:  Articulate Matter

Ready or Not?

I think Big Red is beginning to trickle in and so marks the beginning of our For Real FET cycle – as opposed to the mock cycle that we just finished with the Fabulous Parting Gift of an endometrial biopsy.  I was at lunch with Mr. X. this afternoon discussing the upcoming events (SHG, FET, oh my!) and I once again thought: can I handle this if it actually works? Am I ready to begin the rollercoaster of beta numbers and OB scans? Right now, I don’t know.  I really don’t know.

All of this may be academic since there is by no means a certainty that this will work at all, but I wanted to know for myself now if I was ready to handle everything that goes with a month where you have more than a slim chance of getting pregnant.  Am I prepared if this actually works?

When we first started down the IUI road, I was so fixated on getting that phone call that the test was positive.  That was the hardest part, right?  I was blissfully unaware that that was just the beginning of a very, very long windy road.  We took the Wrong Turn of Miscarriage on my 11-week appointment and our ride was over.  It was over even faster this last time.

As I posted before, I can no longer visualize myself getting past the 12-week mark.  It is literally inconceivable to me.  So, there is the temptation to see this as the beginning of yet another sad chapter.  The challenge is not so much getting pregnant now, as it is staying pregnant.  Of course, it was getting to the point where I thought I would never get pregnant and I did.  Now, it is where I don’t think I will have a live baby.

Who knows? Maybe it’s a matter of setting the bar a little farther.

image: windy_sydney

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

First, thanks to everyone for your good wishes on my biopsy today! Here’s the rundown:

The Good: the biopsy itself took maybe a minute.  For some reason, Dr. Uterus thought I had had one before, so I politely informed him that while I had partook of the panolpy of infertility abbreviated procedures (HSG, SHG, IVF, IUI), I had not had the pleasure of an endometrial biopsy (which I don’t think has an abbreviation). But, I’m always one for a new challenge!

The other good: NO MORE BUTT SHOTS!!! Can you tell how excited I am?  My tush may never forgive me – my glutes were still sore from the shots in March. Yes, March. But, truth be told, they were only sore when I poked.  Which I don’t do often in polite company.

 The Bad: As with most things in life, there are more bad than good things to report. First bad thing: we won’t know for almost TWO FREAKING WEEKS if the hoodwinking worked, during which time I will already be popping the Estrace pills.  Thankfully, the butt shots will not start up until some time after that.

Second bad thing: I need another SHG (insert collective ‘boo’ here).  My first SHG last December before our IVF this spring didn’t go so well.  In fact, of all of the procedures I have had where I was not sedated, this one by far sucked the most in terms of sheer agony.  In other words, I put the hysterical in sonohysterogram.  I reminded Dr. Uterus of what a nasty time I had of it last time and he offered to use a different catheter this time.  I’ll take it!

Third bad thing: it feels really, really weird to have the inside of your uterus scrapped.  I don’t think I need to elaborate.

Fourth bad thing: CRAMPS!  Luckily, they heeded the smack down of the Advil I took when I got home. 

And, finally.

The Ugly: I have mentioned before that Dr. Uterus – for some imperceptible reason likely only known to him – shares his office space with a high risk OB.  If I didn’t seriously think he was the second coming, I would find me an RE who did not appear to be so insensitive.  On any given day, there are very pregnant ladies in the waiting area with their husbands watching as the infertile girls come in and sign in.  We are so easy to pick out – looking straight ahead so our gaze doesn’t bounce from belly to belly to belly.  No tell-tale bump, and no escort.  Most of us go it alone except for those important visits (like the first baby ultrasound or the IUI).  It can be so demoralizing when the room is filled with unborn children and their mothers and you walk in, alone and barren as a field after a harvest.  The Infertile Freak. I imagine it’s what the perp walk feels like. 

What is so frustrating is that you are surrounded not only when you go in – I usually run into them when they are going on the elevator and I. Just. Know. that they are going to this office.  Today was particularly bad because I was waylaid behind a very pregnant woman and her husband (who frankly looked like he couldn’t even figure out how she came to be pregnant, let alone which direction down the hall to go).  I have to walk behind them down that Long Corridor to his office and then wait behind her while she signs in and then stands there, with her huge belly mocking me.  Finally, she realized that I needed to sign in too and moved out of the way.  I wanted to run as far away as possible from those bellies.  It was like a horror movie.

But, I didn’t.  I walked with as much grace as I could muster to a seat that was not connected to any others so one of those bellies could not park itself next to me.  I knew that they were all looking my flat stomach and thinking to themselves, “Oh, poor thing, she’s here for the infertility doctor.” And, simultaneoulsy thinking themselves to be so lucky to have a living infant growing inside of them.

I sat down and promptly opened my book, while willing Dr. Uterus’s nurse to come get me so I wouldn’t have to fight the urge to look at what I was missing. 

thumbs up: joeltelling, thumbs down: striatic

Clean Up on Aisle 9!

My lady parts and I have a date with Dr. Uterus tomorrow. 

Well, not a “date” date in the euphamistic term, but it will have some of the key elements: he will get me undressed, on my back and will get to go where no man shall go except thine husband.  And, for the Hollywood twist, I get to pay for the privilege, not the other way around.  He’s never even bought me dinner. Sigh. In any other context, I would be declared easy (and perhaps a little desperate, maybe even possibly a female john).  Such is the life on an infertile woman. 

My “date” is actually my endometrial biopsy to see if the hoodwinking of my reproductive system worked. It had better because I have been shooting myself in the ass for over a week now and I will be extremely pissed if it was for naught.

Before I grace Dr. Uterus with my alluring presence, however, I must … um … clean up.  I always like to feel my best when I go somewhere that my privates will be the stars of the show and that means essentially doing the lawn job – trimming, edging and mowing.  I have no idea if he notices and frankly, it’s not for him, but to remind myself that even in this most humiliating of positions, I can look damn good. 

I still have my standards, after all.


Marriage (or “mawage” as I love to say – thank you Peter Cook!) requires a certain amount of compromise for it to be successful.  When the mister and I became engaged to be married, we each had essentially complete households – I in my apartment and him in his house.  So, when it finally did come time for us to join households, we had a lot of decisions to make about what stuff would stay and go.

We managed to reach compromises on just about everything – my entertainment center was sold because he already had one and it fit better in his living room.  We had bought a bed together before I moved in and so his old mattress set was sent packing (and not a day too soon – it was deplorably uncomfortable).  Our cooking utensils were joined together and instructed to get along with each other (which they do to this day).  I had no problem, however, losing my silverware since I wasn’t particularly fond of it. 

The one item that we did not see eye to eye about was my television.  I will admit that I am a TV person and I have been since I was very young. I could so win any 80s pop culture quiz. I remember MTV back when they played videos and I know where sliming came from on Nickelodeon.  As I have gotten older, I have had less and less interest in the boob tube, but it is still comforting to have the box nearby, even if now a days it stays dark for at least 21 hours a day.

So, when it came time to decide who’s set would go, because we did not need two, I pulled out all the stops to make sure that mine was the winner: mine was newer and nicer (Sony Vega flat screen) although it was heavier than a ton of rocks and extremely awkward to carry.  The only benefit his had: it was bigger.  Yes, ladies, apparently there is another arena where size matters. Mine was sold to our friends from India – who have it to this day – and love it as if it were their own. We did end up getting rid of the mister’s about a year or two years later when we got our current TV.

That brings me to this most recent of compromises. 

Continue reading


I cried yesterday.  It’s been a while since I did that.  But, it was a full-on bawl fest complete with heaving and gulping, but no fist pounding.  It had been a stressful week, what with the dog-eating-poo incident, work, not being to sit comfortably on my toosh due to the butt shots each night, and an unusual number of reminders recently of how hopeful we had been when we got pregnant the first time. 

All of a sudden, it hit me that I missed my babies.  And I cried for them, again.  I cried for me, for Mr. X, for our parents, but mostly for those babies who we will never meet.  I cried because we had so much hope, we thought we had finally escaped the bonds of infertility and rejoined the normal world, and we were so wrong. I cried because so many babies do survive, where ours did not.  I still hurt.

I think I needed the catharsis, but it came on very suddenly.  One minute I was petting the dog and the next I was bawling.  But, better out than in and luckily I had forgotten to put on mascara that morning, so I had no tell-tale raccoon eyes when Mr. X came home about 30 minutes later.


I was driving today behind a Nissan Pathfinder with a Baby on Board sign thingy hanging in the back window.  I remember when these first became popular when I was still a kid and even then I thought they were rather ridiculous.  My opinion hasn’t changed, although now I amuse myself by trying to figure out what the practical purpose is to having one of those on there.  Is it like the handicap placard that you pull out when you want to use the handicap space (which I saw yesterday)? Is it to tell people to be extra careful not to rear-end you? Is it to brag about your fertility? I purposely chose not to give much stock to that last one because it would just make my blood boil if it was true. 

I just read the Wikipedia entry and it turns out my second guess was correct.  It also quotes George Carlin, who departed this world way too soon, as opining that the phrase was made up of “the three most puke-inducing words that man has yet come up with”.  Jumbo shrimp, George!


My maternal grandmother was one of four sisters.  Three of the sisters married (including my grandmother), one did not.  The one who did not lead a very interesting life before she died in the 1990s.  Of all of her nieces and nephews, the spawn of her sisters, I’m pretty certain that she liked my mother and my uncle the best.  Many of her amazing possessions that she amassed from her travels and living abroad made into our family after her death.  I never saw the full inventory as I was in high school and So Important that I could not bother to look at everything.  But, every now and then my mother shows me something, usually jewelry, with the statement, “Oh, that belonged to Aunt D”. 

One item that I don’t think I had seen before was a lovely gold pendant in the Chinese symbol “Double Happiness” – my mother was about to auction it off to the highest bidder on eBay, but asked if I was interested.  This was pretty soon after my second miscarriage and I knew immediately, that it was the perfect reminder of the now two babies we have lost – double happiness.  It was double happiness to hear their little hearts beating away and to think that maybe they would join our world.  

I haven’t worn it yet, though, because I don’t have a chain for it and I keep forgetting to measure what length I want.  The sooner I do, though, the sooner I can have them close to my heart.