Mrs. X, You’re Turning 33. What Now?

I’m going to Disneyworld!

rdo_jeep

Yep, the Mister and I are departing this world for the magical land of politcally incorrect rides, cotton-candy princesses and anthropomorphic animals.  I mean, really, what better way is there to inaugurate the year of 3’s than spending it in an orgy of rollercoaster-riding, Mickey-stalking-sighting, and general juvenalia? 

All of the pieces just fit into place: Mr. X had two free roundtrip tickets on Southwest thanks to all of his travel for work so we are flying for all of $10 (damn you, security fee!).  He also has a free car rental weekend, so free car for two days!  And, can I tell you what a deal we got on the hotel?  It pays to have your birthday land in the off-off season at the Most Magical Place on Earth.  It was as if Mickey was saying, “I dare you not to do this!”

I could not say no to the mouse.  I could not say no to my overwhelming glee at the idea of Mr. X and I frolicking through Epcot.  And, hell, it’s my birthday. I can do whatever I want. 

So, as you read this, I am either on the plane already or we have landed in Orlando and are making a beeline for “It’s a Small World”.  Either way, we have big plans and typing on a computer for four days is not one of them!  Au revoir !

ps: No need to thank me for putting that damn ear bug “When you wish upon a star” in your head. Your look of agony is thanks enough.

image: rdo_jeep

Adieu, Old Friend

Dear 2008:

happy-new-year-old-man-time-and-chiI have to admit, I had high hopes for you. 

You were supposed to be the Year of the Baby.  You were supposed to be the Year that was Better than the Year Before.  You were supposed to be the Year I Became a Mother.  If you refer to the memo that I sent you on December 31, 2007, you will see this most clearly. 

What? You didn’t get that memo? You only got the memo I sent on January 1, 2008?

Oh. I see. Yes, I did pronounce you the Year of No Expectations.  Maybe that wasn’t the best plan after all since you apparently read it as the Year of Not Expecting. 

Don’t take my frustration out on you? Well, why ever not? You’re a big fat target, 365 days of potential now in the rear view mirror. 

Re-read my memo? I don’t see what good that would do.  Yes, I agree that I am a fabulous writer and this memo was particularly insightful, but I’m not in the mood for self-reflection. I’m in the mood for some 2008-bashing.

Anger is not a productive emotion? Since when did you become insightful? It seemed like you were paddling me from one end of the calendar to the other and now you try to get philosophical on me? I don’t think so! I’m out for revenge. You cheated me and toyed with me. You gave me hope and you snatched it away.  Someone has to pay for that!

Why blame you? Well, why wouldn’t I blame you? All of this happened on your watch. And, don’t try to remind me that I had some wonderful times this year. I know that bait and switch trick! So what if I got to go to Paris and we were so fortunate to become parents to G? Who cares if we found a new doctor and celebrated our fifth anniversary? Who cares if I made my first quilt and it turned out beautifully? The bad outweighs the good!

What do you mean life is about the good and the bad? Honestly, I’m getting a little tired of you being the sage in this relationship. Time may heal all wounds and produce untold wisdom, but you don’t have to rub my face in it.  Thank goodness there are a little more than 24 hours left in you.

You don’t want to part on that sour note? Hmpf. I suppose I can appreciate that. How about we leave it at this:

While I was not able to get my biggest wish this year, 2008, I grew, learned, loved, laughed, lived, did the best with what I was given and in spite of it all could say that for the most part, I was content.

Happy?

Kisses,

Mrs. X

ps – please tell 2009 to stop peeking in the windows. It’s not time yet and it’s kind of creepy.

reflections

The holidays bring on all kinds of emotions.  Joy at seeing family.  Giddiness at the sight of a beautifully decorated tree with colorfully wrapped presents underneath.  Warmth from too much egg nog.  Pain on the next morning from a hangover from the egg nog.  More pain due to paper cuts from wrapping paper.  Frustration at keeping cats out of boxes (mine are so in need of boxhab) and wrapping paper.  Wonderment at whether family is really trying to drive me crazy. 

I actually really do enjoy the holidays. I swear.

kevindooleyOne holiday emotion I find very hard to handle, though is reflection.  There is something so perfect about the holidays for reflecting, too.  It’s the end of the year with the preceding 12 months in the rear view mirror, ripe for next-year quarterbacking and analysis.  There are long stretches of sitting around and drinking that are particularly conducive to reflection, even more so if you are trying to avoid family.  And, there is the general need to look back to see if you’ve made measurable and documentable progress on whatever goals you had at the start of the year.  Put it all together and you’ve got a recipe for unnecessary angst because, inevitably, what is different is not what you want to be different and what is the same is not what you want to be the same. 

I am an excellent example: in the ‘different’ column, I have added another miscarriage to my resume.  In the ‘same’ column, still no baby (or even pregnancy).  Ouch.

My inner optimist (who frankly, is like a 90 pound weakling compared to my inner pessimist), is piping up to tell me to look at what has changed for the better since last Christmas, again ignorning for a moment, all of the breathtakingly awful things that happened since last Christmas.  I’m game for a try.

One very quantifiable and wonderful difference from last year is that we have G this year.  Bless that dog, he is such a wonderful balm for whatever ails me.  Never one to let me wallow, should he find me down, he just looks me in the face with those big, limpid brown eyes, and without a trace of malice or mischief, belches right in my face.  And I laugh. How can I not, when a big Golden Retriever belches in my face?

And, I truly believe that I am more accepting of our infertility.  By ‘accepting’, I mean that I am no longer as angry as I was about it and the little green monster makes less frequent visits.  I feel like I have finally worked through most of my ‘why me’ phase and moved on to the ‘appreciate what you have’ phase, even if what we have is not all that we want. 

kevindooley2I would be lying though, if I said that I was not thinking about what next Christmas will be like.  Will it be like the last four Christmases of our reproductive journey? Or will there be a new ornament on the tree for a new member of the family? I’d like to think that I would be ok if the answer was that there was not a new family member joining us next Christmas.  Although, the familiar tug in my stomach tells me that right now, that is not the case as it would mean that the next 12 months will be spent in futility.  Perhaps I should just focus on this Christmas for now, huh? 

To all of my friends inside of the computer, readers, commenters, lurkers alike, may the season bring all of its joy to you and yours and may we all get what we want, if not this Christmas, then soon. 

image: kevindooleykevindooley

Orange is the New Green

I get ‘itches’ from time to time.  ‘Itches’ can range anywhere from the desire to try again as quickly as possible with the medical establishment to get knocked up to the desire to renovate the kitchen. Another popular itch is for retail therapy.  The retail therapy itch started to build the other morning when I despondently viewed my closet and realized that I had just two pairs of pants that a) fit me and b) looked good with boots.  I’m sure you are shaking your head at this terrible dilemma and wondering how I could possibly continue to function. I tell you it was hard, but some nice wool skirts did help.  And, then some decent weather that allowed for non-sock shoes. 

tillweAs the week drew to a close, I realized that my situation was indeed dire and that I had not visited my favorite consignment store in quite some time.   By Saturday around 1:30pm, Mr. X and I had finished our general choring and running around, and I realized that the store was open until 4pm.  It was the perfect opportunity to scratch this itch, particularly since Mr. X had  headed to his cave to play that infernal game.  I snatched up my car keys and bade him farwell.  (Actually, I told him I was leaving him for the wonders of the consignment store.  He took it pretty well, all in all). 

Fifteen minutes later I was parked in front and could see the wonderful rows of clothes just begging for me to try them on, all organized like the rainbow – just like I do at home.  Almost as soon as I arrived, I was informed that items with orange tags were 50% off and that there were a lot of them. I tend not to instinctively pick the orange tag – or whatever color it is that month – item.  But, it was a nice piece of information to tuck away once I started making decisions.

I dived in with the jackets, detoured briefly to the dresses (Diane Von Furstenburg!) before making my way to the tops (meh) and a quick perusal of the handbags.  Then, it was back against the wall for a quick peek at the jewelry and then on to the jeans and pants.  I silently cursed the European numbering system for jeans and made a guestimate at what would fit.  I hit the black pants with a vengeance and then went through the button down shirts.  Took a gander at the belts (I didn’t know it was possible to make things so hideous) and then headed to the section that I save for last: the shoes.

The shoe section had been carpet-bombed in orange tags.  I inspected all of the size 8 shoes and found four candidates to audition for a place in my coveted shoe collection.  They would join the likes of Ferragamo, Calvin Klein, Ann Taylor, Nine West, and Bandolino, to name-drop a few.

I started trying on and trying on and trying on.  I won’t bore you with the details of the clothes because frankly, it became clear pretty quickly that my destiny that day was to buy shoes.  First, three of the four fit very well.  Of the three, two had the orange tags.  And do you know what shoes those were?  Oh, my.  I still cannot believe it myself:  PRADA and COACH shoes, people.  I got both for $90 or each for 45-freaking-dollars. 

I can’t decide what I’m more excited about – how gorgeous the shoes are or what an awesome deal I got.  Truly, that is a dilemma.

image: tillwe

Miss November

This evening, G and I hosted eight of the neighborhood ladies for Bunco.  There was much shrieking, drinking and noshing of the healthy and not so-healthy dining options I provided.  The kitties were banished to the laundry room because they would be underfoot and underhand stealing food at any given opportunity.  Well, actually, only one, The Bad One, would be guilty of this.  Fluffy would likely curl up on the couch and snooze.  But, I wanted them to keep each other company, so Fluffy was banished too.

sewpixieThis go round was much better than when I last hosted Bunco.  I hosted in February, right after I found out I was pregnant.  I was already nervouse about that.  I also decided that I was going to cook everything, so I spent a ridiculous amount of time whipping together items only some of which were even touched.  And, about half way through the evening, I thought I had begun to spot.  So, I had a minor freak out in the bathroom.  At the end, I also wasn’t very tired, which made me even more nervous.  I wasn’t able to enjoy it at all.

So, when the usual Miss November sent an email earlier this month flatly stating that there was no way she could host this month, I jumped on the chance to switch months with her so that I could wash away the bad karma of February bunco. 

And, I’m so pleased to report that it worked.  A good time was had by all. G was an angel and everyone just loved petting him and remarking how well-behaved he was.  He is now enjoying a well-deserved conk-out on his new doggie bed.  I got to have some fabulous cheese, wine and the cupcakes that I bought that have been tempting me in the fridge since Friday.  As if that wasn’t enough: I won $5. Not bad for a Monday.

image: SewPixie

No IVF’ing Way

This title isn’t really indicative of this post, it’s just so damn witty that I really liked it and it will now be the new title. Deal.

But, to sort of justify it, I will actually write something about IVF, namely, I still really don’t feel like doing it yet.  I just don’t feel the hurry that I did before.  I think three years of go-go-go infertility treatment has finally caught up with me.  

This has become more apparent when Mr. X and I have had several discussions over the past few days about scheduling an IVF, which have mostly focused on December/January. 

There are a couple of problems with this plan.

1)  Say I start the BCPs for an IVF cycle in December and then stim in late December through early January leading up to an egg retrieval and embryo transfer in late January.  But – and there is always a but – I am scheduled to go to a conference in early February. I can’t miss this.  However, if I get a BFP, I will probably feel as if it is repeat of last year’s episode while on travel.  Only, this time I will be on business in addition to being away from home.  I do not want to be traveling at that stage.  I will already be stressed and remembering when I was pregnant and going to the airport bathroom every 15 minutes to see if the blood was gone will not be the best way to spend the day. 

2) What about doing the pills in Jaunary and stimming in February? Same problem, except this time I would be travelling during stimming. And, it’s a five day conference.  I seriously doubt that Dr. Salsa will agree to let me shoot up for five days without monitoring. 

3) Even if I do manage to get all of this done, I would get pregnant in February. For the Third Time.  And, then I will miscarry in March. For the Third Time.  I will have a D&C in April. For the Third Time. See a pattern? So do I, which is why I’d like to get pregnant in a month other than February, if I can help it.  It’s purely psychological,  but we all have our little mental quirks.

Of course, there are problems waiting too – Mr. X’s travel schedule gets heavier and we do not want to use frozen specimens on a fresh IVF cycle if we can help it.  Putting it off will also mean waiting for a late 2009 or even 2010 (Space Odyssey) baby. 

I do know that being back in an RE’s office with the dildocam was jarring.  And, I know right now, the last thing I want to be doing is sticking a 1.5 inch needle in my ass. Every night. I like being able to drink wine, have a Diet Coke and take a bath (I can even do all three at the same time!). I like not having to worry about weird bleeding and morbid outcomes.  And, I particularly like being in control of what happens to my body.

All of this could be academic – if my Clomid Challenge comes back showing that my eggs are closer to 50 than I am, then, all bets may be off.  Or, if I find out that my FSH is normal, then I may be inclined to try again.  I just know that right now, I’m content to drink my wine and take my bath.

Good Times

I realized this morning that there are quite a few things happening that make me happy. Since this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want, I’m going to list them in no particular order.  And, hopefully,  some of my quirky happiness will rub off on you, too.  There is never enough happiness in the world, after all.

  • I got my car washed using the gift certificate I bought from the neighbor’s kid to support the high school band program.  Good karma and a clean car = happy Mrs. X.
  • It’s Tocktober on CuteOverload.com, which means lots of pictures of adorable animal behinds.
  • It’s cold enough now that I was able to wear my fabulous red trench coat. And, I. Looked. Fabulous.
  • I took in the dry cleaning and will no longer have to be asked when I’m going to take it in. I was also able to use the $10 gift certificate that I got just for joining their rewards program.
  • I have a girl date tonight with a friend for dinner and a show.  Yay for girl dates!
  • Last night, I decided on two goals for work today and I’ve complete one and made major progress to finishing the other.  Checking items off the list = happy Mrs. X.
  • I finally cracked open the Atlantic magazine from (ack) January so that I can finish it and work my way up to the brand new issue that showed up in my mail box. 
  • I’m wearing the necklace my mom gave me, and it warms my little heart.
  • I’m getting great feedback on the first chapter of my book and I’m thinking that maybe I really can do this.
  • Mr. X and I had a very good and drawn out heart-to-heart yesterday about whether we still want to have kids (yes and yes) and how to find meaning and purpose in our lives now, without children as opposed to waiting until we have kids.  Getting it all out on the table = happy Mrs. X.

What made you happy today?

One Year and 200 Posts Ago…

I started this here blog. 

Happy Blogoversary to Me! Woot!

As with most projects that we embark on, my goal at the beginning was pretty narrow and one-sided: I wanted to bitch and moan about my infertility and just let out all of the nasty emotions that go with it in a safe, anonymous way.  Of course, the longer I was at it, the more it evolved into something much more.  The goal is no longer one-sided but multi-dimensional: talk about the emotions that go along with this crazy assed ride (yeah, that hasn’t changed), give inspiration to others on the journey, stretch out myself as a writer and try to make sense of it all. 

And, I can honestly say that blogging has helped me grow as a person, as a writer and as someone trying to have children. 

I think it’s pretty darn cool that one year later, not only am I still at it, but my blog has people(!) who read it (!) a lot (!) – wonderful people who take the time out of their busy lives to catch up on mine, and then provide me with wonderful support and compassion.  My blog overfloweths and I thank each and everyone of you. 

I do feel as if I should also pontificate on the fact that one year later, I still have no children or a viable pregnancy.  If you had told me a year ago that this is where I would be, I would have been depressed.  I would have secretly thought, but never uttered, that by virtue of starting a blog, it would just take a few more tries before I would get pregnant, as if the act of letting out my hot air would bring the stars into alignment and a baby into my uterus.  Obviously, that didn’t work so well.

But, a year later, I’m ok with it.  I’ve got a wonderfully full plate and I can very honestly say, that I am much happier now than I was a year ago.  And, I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have been blogging. It has taught me how to evaluate what I’m feeling, figure out the nut behind it and either tackle it or just throw into the pile of thoughts that are just too ridiculous for words (how dare she look so good in maternity wear?!). 

So, it’s my One Year Anniversary and I’m still going bloggy strong.  Yay me and yay you!

image: CHRIS230 (cropped)

My Beautiful Failure

I have never failed at anything I have tried as spectacularly as I have failed to conceive and carry a child to full term.  It is my most epic and most deep failure – but it is also my most beautiful failure. 

How it is a beautiful failure?  Because I did everything humanly (and technologically) possible to achieve my goal.  I followed all of the directions, thought all the right thoughts, poked in all the right places and put up with all of it.  And, yet, I still failed.  My failure is beautiful because I am ok that I failed.  I’m still loved, accepted and respected – and perhaps, even more so than before because of what I have endured.  I don’t have to wear a scarlet letter F (or I for that matter) on my chest, or branded on my forehead.  I can hold my head up high comforted by the fact that I did everything that was required and could not change the outcome.  In short, my failure is not a measure of me.

For these reasons, failure is no longer a bad word to me.  It can truly be a thing of beauty:

(F) image: mag3737, (A) image: Jeremy Brooks, (I) image: Leo Reynolds, (L) image: mag3737, (U) image: mag3737, (RE) image: wryonedwards

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.