The Luxury of Cluelessness

Today’s Google Reader delivered to me the New York Times magazine article on women who have cancer and are pregnant while getting treatment.  It was fascinating, and of course, included the requisite discussion of whether fertility drugs cause cancer (the way I look at it, I’m going to die one way or another, but whether I have children is a much more open question, so why not bet on the one that is not a foregone conclusion?). 

They also interviewed a woman who just went through the wringer: two terrible miscarriages, a third pregnancy and a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer all in one year.  Not surprisingly, she was incredibly angry – I only had two miscarriages and I was fit to be tied.  And, in the middle of all of this, she encountered a situation that I bet is played out all over the country everyday:

Shopping in a children’s store, Silver overheard a pregnant woman tell a sales clerk, “I really want a girl, but I’d be O.K. with a boy,” and she said she felt herself boil over with rage. How could someone take so much for granted and complain about something so trivial?

How indeed. I call this the Luxury of Cluelessness.  It allows you to think about your preference of a boy or a girl, never mind that the birth of any child is nothing short of miraculous considering all of the possible outcomes.  It allows you to buy baby clothes when you first learn you’re pregnant, never mind that you might (in my case, would) miscarry.  For the record, should I ever get pregnant again and carry to term, I am not having a baby shower, decorating the nursery or buying any paraphernalia until after the birth.  Until that child is safely in my arms and breathing, I will probably not even look at cribs. Seriously.

I think in general, Americans have this sense of entitlement when it comes to things that are supposed to bring happiness.  We think we deserve to have uncomplicated pregnancies that let us complain that we’re having a boy and not a girl.  We think we deserve to be clueless that things can (and do) go wrong and things can (and will) go wrong for us. 

It is particularly frustrating when you have been on the short end of the entitlement stick and you see others taking for granted that which you so desperately desire.  I want to take these ladies by the shoulders and (gently) shake some sense into them.  But, for everyone of us who understands the gift, there are hundreds who are still Clueless.

I’m just glad that I am no longer one of the Clueless masses.

16 in 18

So, I’ve been watching my Blogoversary ticker count down over the past few months. I think it started somewhere in the 70s and it’s now down to 18 days.  I’m also at 184 posts.  Being one for a great show, I would love to get to 200 posts on my 1st blogoversary.

Can I do




We shall see. We shall see.

(And, yes, this post totally counts!)

images: Leo Reynolds

A Glass Half Full

I was reading an article the other day about a woman who actually seemed to be thankful that she was a (recovering) alcoholic.  By her reasoning, if she hadn’t been an alcoholic, she said, she would never have met so many other people who needed her help. 

To me, this is like taking the glass, breaking it, gluing it back together with a few pieces missing, and putting in the water while it’s upside down.  In other words, it’s freaking hard to understand how someone could see a silver lining out of being an alcoholic. But, see it – and celebrate it – she did.

image: Pranav Singh

I never thought that I would be able to find my Silver Lining with infertility and loss.  What good could come from it?  All I could see was disappointment, dashed hopes and a fertile world laughing at me like Carrie at the prom.  These feelings fueled me through the next attempts after our first miscarriage and up to our IVF.  But, then, I got tired of it all. I didn’t want to be angry anymore, I didn’t want to avoid people who had children. 

But, it wasn’t until this last go-round that I fully embraced the idea that I finally decided to just let go and to see the beauty of what I have already.  Infertility is often a testament of what you don’t have or what you’ve lost.  You don’t have children, or as many as you wanted, and you’ve lost the opportunity for them, or you’ve lost babies.  It’s hard to switch the mindset to see what you do have.

What I’m trying to say, probably rather inarticulately, is that my silver lining is that I have learned to value what I have.  That’s it.  I can still want to have children, I can take steps to have children, but my happiness cannot be defined by whether I have children.  It has to be in the here and now.

For the first time – probably since we started down this road – I’m not focused on the goal of getting knocked up (or staying knocked up). The thought of doing an IVF right now is about as appealing as what I imagine going to a proctologist would be like.  Both would be a pain in the ass. 

image: tieutrong

If I hadn’t dealt with infertility, if I had gotten knocked up easily and had an uneventful pregnancy, I don’t know that I would ever realize how lucky I was to have an uneventful conception and birth or appreciate it all for what it was.  I would probably complain mightly about a lot of trivial things and possibly never fully appreciate what I had.  I would be blissfully ignorant, as I had been before we started, that anything could go wrong and I would probably take for granted all of the amazing things that have to happen to have a child and for them to even come into being. 

I’ve seen so many women like this and I know that they wouldn’t trade places with me for all the tea in China. Maybe they would pity me for all that I have been through and I still have no living children.  Still, I also know that I wouldn’t trade places with them.  This experience has taught me how to find joy even in the dark and it has been a hard earned, hard learned lesson.  It’s mine and I won’t trade it for anything.   


Epic conversations are usually triggered by some small event, a question, a glance, a mutterance.  And, sometimes, they are triggered by a seemingly terrible events. I’ve had several epic conversations over the past few days since those terrible two days last week. 

image: b_d_solis

Conversation No. 1: the most important of them all, took place with Mr. X over a period of several hours and several locations and focused on that question: what next? I have been supremely blessed to have married a man who gets me and who is usually squarely on the same page as I am.  With respect to infertility, we have been on the same page pretty much the entire time and I know how fortunate I am.  Thankfully, we are still on the same page.

That page happens to be: 1) take a break, 2) flirt with the idea of maybe this isn’t all worth what may or may not come out of my hoohah in nine months and maybe people who choose (emphasis here being on CHOOSE) to live childfree have something with that idea, and 3) maybe do another IVF.  I was so relieved to know that he felt the same way that I did.  I was incredibly relieved that he had also been thinking that maybe not having children wouldn’t be the end of the world and that we could have a wonderful life that would be full and rich.  I felt so guilty that I was having those thoughts, as if I was giving up on him and our desire to have children.  So, it was very nice to know that he was having them too. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t ever have children, it just means that right now, we need a break to evaluate what we really want. Then, maybe, we’ll do another IVF. 

Continue reading

Have You Seen Me? *updated*

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you this important notice:



Last seen: July 21 in the bathroom

If spotted, please contact Mrs. X

(p.s. given what happened last week, it is very unlikely that I’m knocked up, so please no calls about taking a pregnancy test.)

********* Update **********

In an extremely eerie coincidence, Shinejil‘s order to the Red Army to get a move on happened right around the time that it started to move out.  Maybe she should add Period Conjurer to her resume?

image: urbanmkr

A Most Peculiar Feeling

If I were you and you just knew me through what I write on this here blog, I would venture a guess that if you could sum up how I’m feeling right now in one word, it would be maybe be angry, frustrated, sad, catatonic, disillusioned, hermetic, etc.  Well, since I do know me – whether I like it or not sometimes – I have to say that the overwhelming feeling I have right now is none of these.  It is, very simply:


Yep. You read that right.  I feel like someone who has been freed from prison, like a kid getting out of school for the summer, like I did after I turned in my last test, like I did after I turned in my honors thesis in college.  Relief is pouring through me like a river and it feels really good.

image: paolo màrgari

Why relief? I think a lot of it has to do with knowing that I don’t have to go back to that dreadful office today and I don’t have to wait by the phone waiting for bad news.  I’ve been untethered from the ball and chain of expectations and the future is once again mine to make.  I’ve taken the reigns back from Dr. Uterus and have the time and freedom to decide our next destination.  My schedule is dictated only by what I want to do, not by shots or procedures.  I can do heavy lifting, light gardening and easy listening. I’m foot loose and fancy free.

The minute I got that second call yesterday letting me know that my beta was back to 0, I felt an immense weight being lifted off my shoulders.  I was free of the threat of a long, drawn out ordeal that would not end well no matter how I might have wished it to be another way.  That to me was far more depressing than the thought that I had had a very brief pregnancy and it was gone. 

To a lesser degree, I’m also relieved that I don’t have to go through the anxiety of the first trimester – a time that I would not be able to have any joy whatsoever about what was taking place in my body because I’ve been conditioned to expect the worst.  Am I sad that this didn’t work? Yes, but I suspect that maybe I wasn’t as ready to move on as I thought I was. 

So, this experience is likely a blessing of time.  I intend to make the most of it.


Thanks also to everyone who has left comments these past few days.  It is so comforting to know that there is a community out there that ‘gets it’.  I read each and every comment and felt a tiny bit better every time.  All of you have helped me and I so appreciate it.

How to Kick a Girl When She’s Down in 4 Easy Steps

Step 1: Make the girl with a pregnancy that is probably over before it began (in addition to two previous miscarriages and 3 + years of trying to have a live infant) come back again to the office that you share with a high risk OB for a repeat blood draw at 8am in the morning and charge her $18 for the pleasure. Flirt with the idea of waiting again until 4pm to tell her the results.  

Step 2: Don’t tell the staff what happened to said girl so that instead they are chipper and ask her how she’s doing in front of the whole office staff.

Step 3: Block girl’s exit from the office with a woman and her baby – a woman who obviously can’t read the signs that ask “Please do not bring children into the office” – and then throw in a few OB nurses who exclaim, “We’re just here to see the baby!” while they ooh and aah over the adorable infant. 

Step 4: Choose the exact moment that Girl is heading to bathroom to cry in private to have maintenance man go in to clean the bathroom meaning that Girl has to walk all the way to her car with tears everywhere (because the cry just couldn’t wait apparently) to really let go.

Repeat as needed to turn Girl into blubbering mess for the rest of the day and cement your reputation as an insensitive clod of the highest order.

*Update* – one small kind favor from the universe: I did not have to wait very long for my results. I am officially back to 0. Was I ever even pregnant?


That is my beta. A lousy, freaking 3. And, apparently, because there’s even a little whiff of a pregnancy, I cannot be released from Beta Watch Hell. 

Between you, me and the internets, it looks like I just might just get to add a chemical pregnancy to infertility resume of failures.  Let’s not begin to think about the fact that this would be loss number 3 and I would have earned the that coveted title of Repeat Miscarrier.  I don’t know how many more times I can do this.

I used to think that the worst phone call was the negative one.  This one just might be worse. I’ve already cried enough to make my face puffy and my eyes swell.  Thank God I work from home because I can wail all I want, look like I’ve been cutting an onion for the past hour and no one is the wiser.

I have to go in again tomorrow morning for another blood test.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take another FREAKING 7.5 HOURS to get my results.

And, Mr. X is away on business travel and won’t return until Friday. 

And, my dad called to tell me that my grandmother, my last living grandparent, has died. 

It’s amazing how a day that started off with such promise and hope could crash and burn so spectacularly in the space of one hour.

This sucks.

Pencils Down!

My current test paranoia got me to reminiscing.  How many tests has Mrs. X taken in her 32.5 years? Let’s see, by my rough approximation here is the breakdown:

Academic tests: at least hundreds, if not thousands (counting pop quizzes)

Standardized tests: Oof. Three shots at the SATs, two shots at the ACTs, the PSATs, a wretched round with the GMAT, those stupid tests named after different states (Iowas, Californias, etc) used to determine placement in elementary and middle school = um, I don’t know, maybe 25?

Vision tests: too numerous to count starting in the third grade, although since I had Lasik in 2004, just one.

Driving tests: 1. Although, wouldn’t you know I woke up that morning with a terrible stiff neck and could barely look over my left shoulder. I still managed to make it through the obstacle course and turned a three point turn into a seven point turn, but hey, I didn’t hit anything!

Blood tests: since embarking on the Hotel California experience that is infertility, I’ve had quite a few blood draws. I don’t keep count, that would depress me, but I would venture to guess several hundred, including lots of beta draws – 7 for procedures and then one per week after each miscarriage (what a parting gift!).

The thing is, with the exception of vision tests, the outcome of each test I took before starting down the road of infertility treatment was solely determined by me.  How I did depended upon how much I prepared, how much I concentrated, how much I cared – and each test reflected that investment and was a statement of who I was a student, an individual, a driver, etc. 

With pregnancy tests, it is hard not to equate the (negative) outcome with some failing, some flaw in yourself or your overall self-worth.  After all, you prepared, you concentrated, you expended untold amounts of energy to affect the outcome and yet, you weren’t able to influence what happened. 

What does that say about you? In reality, absolutely nothing except that you tried and it didn’t work. It’s like buying a lottery ticket. You tried and it didn’t work and it had nothing to do with what color shirt you were wearing when you bought the ticket or whether or not you are a good and deserving person.  We probably don’t think about these things when it comes to the lottery because, let’s face it, who thinks they are actually going to win? In contrast, people everyday get pregnant with little to no effort and it is a natural and expected part of life.  So, when you don’t get that jackpot that so many others claim with little to no effort, it’s hard not to direct the question of why inward to find the reason.

Suffice it to say, I’m working against 30 years of treating tests as a measure and evaluation of my self-worth, intelligence, etc, and it’s going to take a lot to not view this test any differently.  I know, deep down in those dark places that I keep locked away with a key, that this has nothing to do with whether I am a good person, a smart person, a worthy person, a beautiful person, a good friend, a good wife, etc.  All it has to do with is whether two little embryos decided to snuggle in for a nice rest.  But, as I’ve said 50 million different ways before, knowing and feeling are two very different things.

image: dullhunk

To Pee or Not to Pee…

That is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The shots and needles of outrageous fortune

Or to take HPTs against a sea of troubles?

As somone one who only pees on sticks to make sure she’s not pregnant, I have never peed on the stick after a run in with Dr. Uterus.  I have waited, with baited breath, until that phone call telling me of my fate.  One of the main reasons was my overwhelming concern of a false positive since each time I’ve had an IUI or with my last IVF, the trigger was HCG – the same one that says you’re pregnant – and let me tell you does that take a long ass time to leave your building. 

But, this time, no such dilemma. Instead, I can actually pee on a stick and reasonably trust the results.  And yet, I hesitate.  I’m enjoying this bubble of not knowing, this bubble that allows me to think that maybe, just maybe, this worked.  If I pee on that stick, that bubble might burst.  Although, the phone call will really pop that balloon like a pin.

I’m about 75% leaning in favor of doing the deed, but I think I need to sit with it a little while longer.  I’m going to the grocery store tomorrow, but I know if I have one in my house, I may not have the self-control to wait until I’m absolutely ready to know (and that wouldn’t be tomorrow).

On the other hand, I just have remember the sound of Nurse to a T telling me that the test was negative to know that maybe peeing ahead of time will be beneficial, no matter what the outcome.

image: hartlandmartin


As you can see, I have returned.  And, I know that the most pressing question on your mind is not how my trip was (fabulous but hectic) or whether I got to see some old friends (yes), but whether or not I actually did my PIO injection in an airplane lavatory. Well.


Sorry, I know that this would have earned me the ultimate in hardcore admiration, but the timing actually didn’t work out.  I did, however, do the deed in the airport bathroom, where they thoughtfully also provided a sharps disposal.  I have to say doing it in the bathroom wasn’t nervewracking at all.  I was amused at the thought of someone opening the door by accident and seeing me shooting myself in the ass – I did make sure the door was securely closed first.  And, they had some soothing music on.  It was actually quite boring.

And, now, I’m tuckered, so nighty-night.