Got Cliché?

My infertility reading – other than blogs – has been rather haphazard.  When we were first diagnosed, I read just about anything I could get my hands on, partly to learn, partly to not feel as if I was the only person who was dealing with this.  Some books helped. Others, not so much.  As we got deeper down the rabbit trail of treatment with more and more experiences behind us, I found my own voice and also found that most books just kept saying the same thing.   

41lcshl2b3jl__ss500_By the time Waiting for Daisycame out, it was late 2007, I was two and a half years into the journey, with one lap, two HSGs, 6 IUIs and one spectacularly awful miscarriage behind me.  I was no longer interested in reading the prepackaged success stories (I did it and so can you!) that most books seemed to be or the books about miscarriage that never seemed to give me much comfort (this onestill grates me).  I also had never heard of Peggy Orenstein and wasn’t particularly interested in what she had to say on the topic of infertility. 

After my second miscarriage, a thoughtful commenter directed me to her article about how the Japanese mourn miscarriage.  It helped me a great deal, but still I wasn’t ready to take the plunge and read about how she eventually went on to have a child. As we got back onto the rollercoaster again for IVF #2, though, I began to feel that familiar tug to read more of these completed stories about infertility.  I decided that my wait for Daisy was over and it was time to pick up the book.

It didn’t take me long to finish. Peggy Orenstein is a beautiful writer, and her experience is so raw. She lets it all hang out – every ugly emotion, every flaw. More than a few times, I caught myself nodding knowingly at the sentiment that she put so much more eloquent words than I ever did. I also found myself shaking my head at her and her husband – neither should win the award for Best Communicator in the Marriage.  But, I digress.

I stayed with Peggy – all through the multiple miscarriages, the donor egg fiasco, the failed adoption.  I was nearing the end, anticipating the denoument , assuming that Daisy was the product of adoption.  Do you know what happened, instead? If you haven’t read the book, you might not want to read any further. I’m just warning you now.

She got pregnant on her own. Over 40. With one ovary.

1418417514_dae7a872c2My first reaction at her final triumph in reproduction was not joy.  It was not hope that if she could do it with one ovary over 40 and after multiple miscarriages, so could I.  It was anger.  I was angry that she ended up fulfilling the Cliche To End All Infertility Cliches. She had become Charlotte who got pregnant when she decided to adopt.  She was Tina Fey’s character in Baby Mamawho ended up getting pregnant with a freaking t-shaped uterus after her surrogate faked a pregnancy.  She was Nicole Kidman who’s dip in magical waters made her fertile.  It’s the “When All Else Has Failed and You Have Reached the End, You Will Get the Pregnancy and Baby that You Always Wanted” Cliche.

I bet you are thinking right about now, gee, Mrs. X, bitter much?  A lot of this anger comes from the fact that I still haven’t managed to have my Cliche moment and I don’t know if I ever will.  But another portion of it comes from the fact that a great majority of the books, movies, etc., out there that touch on infertility give an unrealistic portrayal of how many people end their battle with infertility.  Most end it either by adoption, getting pregnant through ART or deciding to live child free.   It’s a rare couple that after many, many years of heartache and pain have a child naturally. 

But, we are suckers for a happy ending.  And, I am genuinely happy for Peggy.  I’m also sorry that she had to go through as much as she did to get there, but I’m thankful that she wrote this book about it because for a while there, I saw a lot of myself in her.  Just expressed a lot better.

Requiem for A Cycle

It was a beautiful spring day today. The sun shone brightly, the trees showed off their new green bling, the geraniums were in full bloom. I started off the day on a professional high after having given a kick-ass presentation yesterday out of town.

By 12:30, I felt the defeat that only infertility can sock you with.

At 11:30, I had my IVF post-mortem with Dr. Salsa.  I had no problem with the clinical details – my E2 levels, number of follicles on any given visit, lining check – all of which were projected onto the wall in a weird sort of Excel spreadsheet.  I could handle the discussion of a new protocol.  I could even handle the discussion of what could have possibly gone wrong such that my two beautiful embryos decided not to hang around. 

What I couldn’t handle was when Dr. Salsa decided to share with me just how unbelievable it was to him that this cycle didn’t work by sharing stats from the clinic:

Of the 13 women, including myself, who cycled in that particular period, 11 – yes, 11 – got pregnant.  I was one of 2 who didn’t.  And, just to drive home his point, he said, “I would have put money that you would not have been one of the two.”

Um, NOT HELPING.

So, let’s recap. Even though I had a pretty perfect cycle with an embyro that made it to the freezer and no apparent risk factors, I managed to be one of 2 out of 13 women who still couldn’t get pregnant.  I already felt awful about the negative. I already felt – rightly or not, that is not the question – like a giant failure with a capital F. I already felt like shit just being there, seeing the financial coordinator who did get knocked up with Dr. Salsa’s brand of IVF.  THIS WAS NOT INFORMATION THAT I NEEDED TO KNOW, AND CERTAINLY NOT NOW. 

Later, when I was home and had spent some time decompressing with the dog, I sent Dr. Salsa an email. I explained that I did not want to know about how everyone else did. I explained that I am an inherently competitive person and in this particular arena, hearing about others did in the exact same IVF cycle when mine did not work was just not helpful. I asked him not to share that kind of information with me again because it just sends me into competition mode, and usually, I end up with the short end of a very long stick, which just makes me feel worse.  Sending the email helped and his response was very nice. He apparently knew by my expression the minute he finished the sentence that this was not information that was helpful to me.  It doesn’t un-ring the bell, though. It doesn’t make me forget that I was in the 15% who didn’t make it this time. 

And, so what if I was able to have a lovely glass of w(h)ine with dinner? I’m still no closert to being in that magic 11.  I can feel the bitterness choking me.

Every Little Decision You Make

I am debating whether to paint my toenails.  They are quite fetching with the fire engine red OPI polish that I use.  They look fabulous in peep toe black heels or when my leg is hanging over the white porcelain side of the tub.

What stops me is a mutli-syllabic word – phthalates -which is used to spark fear in the hearts of women of reproductive age everywhere with stories of terrible toxicity and tales of awful reproductive problems in lab animals.  How can I knowingly put something on my body that might have terrible reproductive consequences, especially since I’m doing everything I can to reproduce? 

So my toes remain untouched, unpolished and rather boring until I can find a new bottle from OPI of their newly-phthalate free elixir of love. 

teresia

Mr. X and I are discussing what to do for vacation this year.  We’ve had a Big Vacation every year, starting with our 2002 visit to Australia and Tasmania. Last year we did Paris.  This year we can’t decide, mostly because we have no idea what the summer will bring, reproductively speaking. Will we do another IVF? I don’t want to spend my 2ww on vacation. No thank you. I also don’t want to be newly pregnant and on vacation. I did that in 2007 and got a D&C for my trouble. 

So, our vacation remains unplanned, with just some vague mumblings about maybe going to New England in the late summer. Woo.

cgommel

I had a constant headache yesterday. It was just relentless.  I took some acetometaphin in the morning, but it didn’t get better.  I have lots of drugs in the house that would have knocked it out pretty quickly – ranging from Ibuprofen to aspirin to the hardcore stuff left over from the various procedures of the last few years (expiration date? pah!).  I didn’t take any of them, though.  Regardless of how many times I have been advised that I can take just about anything I want when I’m not pregnant, I never feel comfortable doing it. I can only take acetometaphin because I know that it is safe no matter what.

So, despite the four acetometaphin I threw at it over a 12 hour period, my headache didn’t go away all day.

rw-photobug

I got an email from a sort-of-friend in the neighborhood this week about the new couple who are moving in to the house on the corner one street over.  She was soliciting information on contractors, etc, that she could put together in a kind of welcome to the neighborhood kit.  I didn’t respond and have no intention of going to meet these new people because the couple is really a family mom, dad, a toddler and another baking in the oven.  She’s pregnant, which I guessed by the beach-ball stuffed under her sweatshirt, but was confirmed by the sort-of-friend (and seriously nosy neighbor).

So, I won’t be making their acquaintance. I’ve already met my deliriously happy preggo-lady quota this month.

ibm4381

Deep down, I know I can turn this boat around anytime. I can head back to land and claim my life back.  But, right now, that seems like giving up the fight. 

images: toes – teresia, Old State House Boston – cgommel, headache – RW Photobug, moving day – ibm4381

Don’t Make Me Use My Angry Infertile Voice

haxed

I’d like to think that even in the midst of this struggle, I maintain a certain level of self-control and politesse when coordinating with Dr. Salsa’s office.  They are just trying to help us realize that elusive goal and I try to let them know that I appreciate that by being polite and courteous.  There is hardly ever a need to raise one’s voice or be just plain rude. image: haxed

But, this credo was sorely put to the test this week.  On Thursday, to be exact.

When I was at the office for my whirlwind of a visit last Friday, Nurse Chipper (as in she’s always chipper and happy and actually chirps) promised that she would have my IVF schedule ready by the following Wednesday.  I called her on Thursday because I hadn’t heard anything. 

I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, that she had forgotten to send it to me the day before, that she was just finishing it up and would have it over to me in no time.  What I didn’t want to hear is what she told me:

Nurse Chipper: “So, I was looking at the calendar [WHICH WE BOTH WENT OVER AD NAUSEUM ON FRIDAY] and it looks like the lab will actually have to close the week that we had looked at for your retrieval, so we are going to have reschedule your cycle.”

Me: Silence. Inside, I’m beginning to feel that heady mixture of anger and disappointment.

Nurse Chipper: “See, the lab has to close for one week every three to four months for an inspection and this just happens to be that week.”

Me: “And they can’t move it?”

Nurse Chipper: “No, it depends upon the inspector. And, I knew that they were going to close it, but I just didn’t know when. But, now I do know.”

[What I wanted to say: THEN WHY THE F*CK DID YOU POINT OUT THAT WEEK AS BEING A GENUINE POSSIBILITY AND NOT EVEN MENTION THAT THIS WAS A POTENTIAL ISSUE!?!?!]

What I did say: Really big sigh.  “I have the worst luck in the world.”

And, then it just got worse.

Nurse Chipper: “We can move it up so that we have a retrieval the last week of February.” [WHICH IS THE EXACT WEEK I TOLD YOU MR. X IS OUT OF TOWN, IN ANOTHER TIME ZONE FOR THE WHOLE WEEK.] Or, you have to wait until the end of March to begin stims and have a retrieval in April.”

[What I wanted to say: I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS BULLSHIT!!! HE IS GOING TO BE SO PISSED BECAUSE HE SCHEDULED THAT TRAVEL ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT WE WOULD DO EVERYTHING THAT REQUIRED HIS PRESENCE IN MARCH!!! AND NOW THAT I’VE DECIDED THAT I’M READY, AND OH YEA, I STARTED THOSE G*DDAMN BIRTH CONTROL PILLS ALREADY, I DO NOT WANT TO WAIT UNTIL THE END OF MARCH!]

Me: “Like we discussed last week, Mr. X will be out of town that whole week.  But, let me talk to him and see if he can move his travel schedule. I also really don’t want to wait until the end of March to get going.”

“Nurse Chipper: “Ok! Talk to him and then give me a call back so that I know where to put you on the calendar.”  No sorry, no I should have told you that this was a distinct possibility when we went over the calendar on Friday, no oops. 

And, when I tried to call her back that afternoon with questions that Mr. X and I had about scheduling, I’m informed she’s gone for the day. At 1:30pm.  I appreciate that you work on Saturdays, lady, and I don’t begrudge you the right to have your time off. BUT FREAKING TELL ME SO THAT I DON’T GET EVEN MORE FRUSTRATED AT EVEN MORE INFORMATION THAT YOU AREN’T GIVING ME THAT IS KIND OF IMPORTANT.

How did it end?

Continue reading

Of Course.

My next door neighbor suffers from a bad case of verbal diarrhea.  She has that special knack for asking and saying the absolute wrong things at the wrong times.  Way back in February, when I was fresh from my first full IVF and in the two week wait, she decided to share with me that the neighbors down the street, were going to start ‘trying’ in March.  Why she felt the need to tell me this, I don’t know.  Even then, when I was fresh from a transfer with three beautiful blasts, it took the wind out of my sails. I remembered all over again when we decided to start trying and it was so exciting and it was only going to be a matter of time before we were planning for a new arrival.  Um, no. Didn’t happen that way.  And, I just knew somehow that they were not going to have any problems.

Fate has proven me right.  Darned if she’s not about 5 months pregnant which would put them at the success on just the second month of trying.  I had heard from her husband that she was pregnant, but I didn’t ask for any details.  It wasn’t until this evening that I saw the extent of their success. 

I can’t help but wonder since my neighbor felt no qualms about telling me – who does not know this woman from Eve – the impending plans for her uterus, if she has also shared our story with this woman.  I have a feeling that she did in low conspiratorial whispery tones, after hearing that they were successful right out of the gate.

“Oh, I’m so glad that you guys got pregnant! My poor next door neighbor is just having an awful time and I would hate to see you have to go through all of what she’s gone through.  I think they’ve been trying for years.  And, she had a miscarriage, too.  They even did IVF.”  Quel horreur. 

I’m not the Cautionary Whale. I’m the Cautionary Snail. 

And, I bet she thanked her lucky stars that things worked the way they were supposed to, in the time allotted and she doesn’t have to deal with the ignomity of bitterness and jealousy that is infertility.  I bet they’ve already found out the sex, picked out the name and had the nursery finished.  All that is required now is to prepare the birth plan and pick just the right hospital for the blessed event that will bring the bundle who will be perfect in every way and fulfill all of her dreams. Or something like that.

They were out walking their dogs this evening and there she was in full pregnant glory with a white shirt straining over her belly, all the better to show the size.  Part of me wanted to see a smug little smile on her face as she saw me, the Infertile Girl, so that I could be angry at her for being cruel. 

I can choose not to be bitter. I can choose to accept that the universe is not punishing me nor is it rewarding her.  I can choose not to be angry and sad.  But, frankly, right now I don’t want to.  I want to be bitter because it feels right.  I want to be angry because I still think this sucks.  And, most of all, I want her to know just how amazingly lucky she is because she is the exception, not the rule. 

image: elycefeliz

So Much to Say

Ah, bear with me, oh faithful readers.  There are quite a few thoughts swirling around this old noggin of mine, but whenever I sit down to put them into coherent thought, they look extremely dull.  So, you’re going ot get a stream of consciousness because I’m in a sharing mood and I’m trying to work on my sharing skills.  And, frankly, this here blog is the closest thing I will ever have to a pensieve, so get comfy, this might take a while.

  • I’m still trying to dig myself out of the rut.  I may need a tow.
  • I’ve been feeling very passive-aggressive lately.  I may blame Shinejil’s cat in an anonymous note.  
  • I’ve made an executive decision to stop listening/watching the news except for the Colbert Report. It’s just too damn depressing, otherwise.  I’ll still read it since I can have a say in what I read, I have no say in what NPR decides to put on while I’m in the shower.
  • iTunes radio is AWESOME.  I’m in love with WOXY Vintage.
  • I love that I had to break out the polar fleece this morning when walking G.  He didn’t need any fleece as he already came equipped with a fur coat.
  • I’m making a concerted effort to see all the goods things in my glass, not the empty space at the top.  I don’t know how much success I’m having right now.
  • Wednesday was a lot harder for me than I thought it would be. But, I told my friends and family what the day was and what it meant and they all sent me wonderful thoughts. It was like getting little heart hugs all day.
  • I loved seeing the bright lights of the candles trying so hard to stay lit.  I also hated blowing out the candles at 8pm.  It was like I was snuffing them out of existence.  I think next year I will let them blow out on their own, just like they did in real life.
  • I think the new song by the Killers is really lame.  “Are we human / or are we dancers/ my sign is vital”. WTF?
  • On the other hand, I really like the songs “Kids” by MGMT and “The Underdog” by Spoon.
  • I really need to embark on some adventures of my own.
  • I’m disappointed that I didn’t hear back from Dr. Uterus regarding my very thought out and thoughtful letter.
  • I’m doubly disappointed that when I did get a letter from his office, I assumed that it would be a letter from him when instead it was a request for $25 to copy my records to send to the new doctor.  That was a forehead smacker.
  • I miss my parents. A lot.
  • The thought of 48 hours of unstructured free time on weekends sometimes freaks me out. What in the hell am I going to do with myself for all of that time?
  • I have to figure out what to make for our friends who are coming over for dinner on Saturday.  I’m very tempted to do a wonderful roasted chicken with rosemary from the garden.  Leftover roast chicken is one of my very favorite things.
  • Why UB40 thought doing a cover of “I’ve Got You Babe” was a good idea is beyond me.
  • I still haven’t made any progress in deciding which sewing project to tackle next. I haven’t really even opened a book.
  • I hope that the kitties get the hang of using the new covered litterbox soon.
  • I hope that G stops trying to eat the kitty’s poo which prompted us to get the new covered litterbox.
  • I secretly love having G on the bed with us when we cuddle in the afternoons.
  • I’ve already started composing my letter to Santa.
  • I have to figure who to vote for in the state races this year. 
  • I’ve been stealing Mr. X’s Sprite Zeros.  I wonder when he’ll notice.
  • I’ve also been using his hairbrush since I think I left mine at the gym last week. 
  • The laundry is piling up. 
  • A lot of little things are annoying me. I’m annoyed that they annoy me.
  • I would like to hibernate until November 5.

If you’re still reading, I’m totally impressed.  Go have a chocoloate. You deserve it.

Getting Over the Bump

I would say that I didn’t really start noticing pregnant women until we were about six months into our honeymoon phase of trying to conceive.  And then, they didn’t really bother me – I smugly thought that it would only a matter of time before I too was sporting the Bump.  But, a full year into our journey – after another six months in which I popped Clomid with no results and was told that my referral to the RE was imminent – I began to see them a little more differently. I began to see them as infertile women see them: unwelcome reminders of what I don’t have, can’t do and can’t seem to get.

I met with the RE, who I didn’t like and knew immediately that I was going to find someone else.  I was then referred to Dr. Uterus by a friend who had already been down this ugly path and she raved about him (as I would too).  I don’t remember if she told me that he shared his office with a high risk OB or not.  I’m pretty certain I googled him and found the place’s website which very clearly shows the other doctor and what she does.  But, even then, I didn’t get it. I figured they probably had separate entrances, etc.

Little did I know.

My first visit, I’m sitting in the waiting room and I am surrounded by Bumps. Bumps of all shapes and sizes, some big, some not so big, some threatening to take over an entire corner.  And I was more confused than anything.  It wasn’t until we started treatment that I came to know just how bad it was.  There were always Bumps. Morning, afternoon, it didn’t matter.  And, it bothered me everytime I went there. 

I began to complain about it to Mr. X.  I would moan and wail on the phone when I would call him after my appointments because it was just so painful, and I couldn’t keep it bottled up. Who better to share it with than my partner in crime?  He didn’t see it that way.  He told me, much later, how much he hated getting those phone calls.  I completely understand now. I would hate to get those phone calls, too. 

What I have come to realize, however, is that he feels that I should get over it, move on, greet the waiting room with its Sea of Undulating Bumps with equanimity.  I’m afraid I’m not that strong of a person.  I have tried, dear Lord, have I tried.  But, I would say 90% of the time, I am at least mildly bothered, and sometimes outright upset.  I think part of my being bothered is that I resent the fact that I have to deal with the Bumps in the one place where I had thought I could be free of them, my safe haven from happy couples lovingly gazing at her navel, cheery pregnancy posters and baby magazines.  If not your RE’s office, then where? 

If it was a normal waiting room, I think I would be able to deal.  I would understand that it is expected that on any given day, in the general population, you are going to run into someone who is visibly pregnant at the doctor’s office.  That I can handle.  But, the fact that it is in the place where I thought that my infertility and all of the emotions that go with it would be respected and understood, turns my normal “meh” reaction to the Bump into a full-blown “Get Me Out Of  Here” plea.  

You would think that time, with its healing properties, would have worked some magic on this.  Unfortunately, it’s been the reverse.  Time, with all of its happenings – including five failed IUIs and two breathtakingly awful miscarriages – has made it that much harder to sit in the room with Bumps.  They mock me with their smooth curves and the knowledge that within that bump resides an honest to God infant – you know, the kind that I can’t seem to grow. 

As much as I dislike these feelings and wish that I could look past the Bumps, I know that for now, it’s just not going to happen.  They will still bother me, without any other effort on their part other than just sitting there when I walk in.  And, I will still resent that they are there, in the one place I should not have to see them.  The vicious cycle will continue as long as I continue to walk into that room.    

top left image: SeraphimC; middle right image: Pet_r; bottom left: ToniVC

WWYD: What Would YOU Do?

I swear I find conundrums even when I’m not looking for them.  Here’s my latest and greatest.

I recently gave blood – as in donated it to the blood bank, not gave up numerous vials so that it can be tested for any number of tests with exotic abbreviations.  I used to be a pretty regular blood donor when I was in college and even after college, but the last time I donated, I got really, really woozy and so I didn’t want to donate unless someone was available to drive me.  The problem was, it just wasn’t cool to say to your friend, “hey would you drive me to the donation place, wait for an hour so I can give blood and then drive me home?”  Then, once I had found my driver, Mr. X, there were so many things to do and see so giving blood just wasn’t that … exciting.  By the time 2006 rolled around, we were thick in the wicket of IF treatment and I was giving plenty of blood as a result of that (plus there were all of the drugs, etc).  The last thing I wanted to do was give even more blood.

So, now in 2008, we are now old, boring married people, I have a designated driver and I am not pregnant, haven’t been pregnant in the last six weeks and I’m not in treatment.  I decided it was time to once again become a donor of blood. And, the donation itself was pretty anti-climactic, although I think the phlebotomist was a relative of Vampira. I still have a bruise over a week later. 

Here’s where the conundrum comes in: the donor ‘gifts’.  One was a really nice totebag, perfect for carrying the groceries to avoid those icky plastic bags. 

The other one?

A gift certificate to a SportsClips whose tag line is “Guys Win”.  And, in case there was any confusion about whether or not a lady could get a hair cut there, here is a quote from their website:

At Sport Clips, we’ve created the perfect place for a guy to get great service and a great haircut. Our mission is to create a championship haircut experience for men and boys in an exciting sports themed environment. Stop in today for the ultimate just-for-guys haircut experience!

Not only does this sound as enticing as having nails driven into my skull, I am not a guy.  I can’t use the darn thing and while I am fortunate to have  Mr. X in my life and I can give it to him, what about those ladies who don’t?  Why give a gift that only half the population can use?  

Do I complain to the blood bank about this obviously gender-specific gift since I’m sure that there are quite a few ladies who donate blood, too, or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill and I should just take my tote bag, clutch it to my obviously female bosom and continue on my merry way?

What would YOU do, dear reader?

image: tellumo

Say Hello to My Little Friend

When I was about 10 or 11, I decided that I wanted a cat. I have no memory of what possessed me, but chances are it was that I decided this was just what I thought I needed. Up until then, we’d had no pets since my parents both worked and I was at school most the day. My father couldn’t bear having a dog knowing that it would be alone all day and he was not partial to cats (oh, how times have changed on that one! He now has this t-shirt. Seriously).

I needled, wheedled, begged, whined, pleaded – everything to get a cat. When they finally gave in, I said no thanks. Why? Well, in addition to being a Grade A manipulator, I realized, even then, that what I really wanted was to know that I could do it. I could get them to agree. Once I realized that that was the goal, I had won. It wasn’t about the cat at all – it might as well have been a bike. Needless to say, I didn’t have a cat (or any pet) until I was married. That time, I truly wanted a cat.

I have to wonder, though, if my sometimes physically painful desire to have a child is just a more grown up manifestation of the same thing. Do I want it this badly because so far I haven’t been able to do it? Has the whole process become another challenge to overcome with the final victory not having a child to parent for the rest of my years, but just producing a living baby? Is this my Petulant Inner Five-Year-Old (who is kissing cousins with My Inner Drama Queen) throwing a hissy fit because I was told “no?

I will be the first to admit that I have gotten most everything that I wanted and those times that I didn’t usually were directly related to something I did or didn’t do. In other words, not since I was a kid have I been denied something I wanted without my usually having something to do with that denial. (Perfect example: I *would* have graduated from grad school cum laude if I had paid more attention in one stupid class that I took my very last semester and gotten a better grade.)

Yet, I also can’t remember feeling this much physical gut-punching pain as I do when I hear that someone I know is pregnant or has a baby. It is literally like a punch in the stomach. And, surprisingly, what is so painful to me is not the idea of having this child, it is the loss of the more pedestrian things that go along with being pregnant – getting to wear maternity clothes, picking out cribs, painting nurseries, picking names. And most of all, it’s having Pregnancy Innocence. I lost that one the first round out of the gate, never to be seen again.

After the initial gut reaction, my inner 5-year-old immediately stamps her little foot, crosses her little arms, and through a pouty little mouth yells, “That’s not fair! That’s what I want! I want to count the little toes! I want to look at cribs! I want to pick out nursery colors! I want, want, want!” I want everything that goes with being pregnant, including having the healthy child at the end. Most of all, I want to feel as if I have a legitimate chance to make it to the finish line.

Although, again, is this just my desire to complete that which I have not been able to? The best way to get me motivated is to tell me I can’t do something. Works like a charm every time. But, what was accomplished? This is not the same as getting into a better class at school. This is a child, more of a lifetime commitment than anything I have undertaken. Am I seriously treating it as a challenge like a marathon or a goal to accomplish in and of itself? I have this terrible fear that we are successful and that baby is placed in my arms and all I can say is, “What now?”

I suspect, as with all things, that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I had similar concerns when we got Fluffy and the Bad One five years ago. I was very honest with Sweetie that I was afraid that I would lose interest once they were no longer kittens. After all, they were adorable kittens doing what kittens do so how could I possibly find them interesting when they were older, more sedate kitties? What I didn’t count on was that they would wrap me around their little paws just as easily as if they were swatting a string. I, of course, have loved them from the day we brought them home and in fact, love them more now that they have gotten their “kitten years” behind them. Just goes to show what I know.

Maybe it is best to have compartmental goals – 1) get pregnant, 2) stay pregnant 3) worry about actually raising child when we get there. Small bites, small steps, small goals, all lead to a big mountain. For this process is in part a marathon, with each phase being another leg of the journey.

I will leave you with a quote from Lance Armstrong in that epic story of success in the face of absolute failure, Dodgeball:

“Quit? You know, once I was thinking of quitting when I was diagnosed with brain, lung and testicular cancer all at the same time. But with the love and support of my friends and family, I got back on the bike and won the Tour de France five times in a row. But I’m sure you have a good reason to quit. So what are you dying of that’s keeping you from the finals?”

Truer words have never been spoken.
image: readerwalker

From Never! to Absolutely! in A Few Short Years

The house where we lived when I was in middle school and high school was in a new development (well, new back then). We were one of the first families to move in. The house to our right was purchased by a confirmed bachelor – very nice guy, engineer, with a wonderful dog.

His confirmed bachelor days ended pretty soon after he moved in when he got married. Several years later, they welcomed their first child, a boy. A few years after that, they had twins. One day, after I had my own car and drivers license, his wife asked if I could drive her and the twins to the airport – she had to change out a ticket (this was before the Internets, people!). We loaded up the car with me, her, the kids and all of their paraphernalia and headed out.

While she was inside dealing with the ticket, I sat out in the car with the children (this was also pre-9/11 so you could still park your car at the curb of the airport). As an only child, I had limited exposure to little kids when I was older, so I was exceedingly uncomfortable having two screaming infants in my car even for a few minutes. What would I do if they really started crying? How would I explain it to some authority figure as to why I had two screaming children? I could do calculus, but I couldn’t do babies. Talk about poster children for birth control!

My neighbor must have seen how uncomfortable I was with two screaming infants, because when we got home again and the children were safely ensconced, she tried to reassure me by saying, rather condescendingly, that “you’ll feel differently when you have you’re own.”

All I could think was, “Fat chance, lady!” I couldn’t even see to my high school graduation, let alone having children. I was, to put it mildly, not entirely convinced back then that I would get married, let alone pop out some progeny. Ambivalent didn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling (I think “militantly anti-child” was closer to the truth).

See, I was not one of those kids who a) knew they would have kids or b) even wanted them. I hated playing with dolls, playing house or planning my dream wedding. At the same time, I wasn’t exactly a tomboy. I was just me: bookish, but quirky, with a love for Chuck Taylors and a wicked CD collection.

By the time I met Sweetie, I still wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of having children. I was in my first year of graduate school and trying to keep my head above water. Of course, our talk came around to this topic generally. I tried not to freak him out too much so I just simply said, that I didn’t really know if I wanted them. In later years, he claimed that I was adamant about not having children and I explained to him that I wasn’t adamant, I just didn’t want to scare him off by even bringing up the topic.

The thing is, I didn’t decide that I wanted children, until I met the man I wanted to have them with. He was the first man that I had dated who I even could picture myself having children with and who would be a good father. So for me, deciding to have children was less a function of my biological clock than it was a function of totally changing my mind. At the same time, I don’t know if all of me has caught up – I still catch myself at restaurants with screaming children being thankful that they aren’t mine, or that I can still sleep in if I want to, go out on a moment’s notice, etc.

Maybe I will feel differently when it is one of my own.
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Thank you to everyone who posted with their thoughts on how to break my funk. Each of them made my day a little brighter. Yesterday was better – I had a great day with my mom and we didn’t talk at all about my infertility. It was nice to have a normal conversation. We went to the fabric store to show off the quilt I made, then grabbed some lunch, and headed to my favorite consignment store, finally stopping at a cross-stitch store that I hadn’t been to. It was really nice.