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Archive for December, 2008

Yep, Mo, I’m right there with you.

I’m hating all sorts of things about myself and my body these days, and I hate that, too.

In fact, I hate hating infertility.  I’ve always rather liked being a girl.  Except for a minor departure from form in High School, I’ve always rather liked my body – stocky and sturdy & therefore completely unfashionable though it is.

But now?  I’m tired of feeling betrayed by my body.  Of being thwarted in something so basic by my own innards.  I’m tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Again.  And again.  Just lob the whole damned closetful at me, will ya?  Let’s get it over with! 

I know it’s not the end of the world.  It’s just a setback.  Just like infertility is just a setback.  Just like IVF; and missed miscarriages that eat up six months of my rapidly-dwindling, so-called fertile lifespan; and fucking ectopic doomed pregnancies; and poor responder-ness; and every other goddamned thing is just a setback.  I know that.  But right now, my cysty-ovaries and I are wallowing.

*deep breath*

I’m tired of wallowing, too.  So here goes – my non-wallowy post for the afternoon: 

It’s been snowing all day, big fluffy flakes that aren’t sticking, but are driving the temperature down enough that it’s pleasant to be inside with an overactive furnace.   I love snow.  I wish it snowed more in Brooklyn.   My folks – in Arizona, no less – have been snowed in for a couple of weeks at this point.  Granted, they live at close to 8000 feet, so they deserve it, but I am very jealous.  Very, very jealous.  I miss my woodstove.

Ok, other good things – I went to a new place in the neighborhood for lunch – Burek Pizza, and I’m still not sure if Burek is the name of the owner, or a description of the ‘pizza’.  There were no signs, no menus, and a little old tottery woman brought out a piece of whatever-it-was, wrapped it to go, and took my money.  “Yugoslavian pizza” she said, though I thought it tasted more like a meat tart than a pizza.  Delicious, whatever it was.  I’ll be going back.  This is one of the things I LOVE about NYC – weird little food places.  I love eating interesting food, even if I don’t know what to call it. 

My favorite crazy guy at the library, who claims to have a direct line to God, came up to me today to let me know that he has renewed his prayerful efforts on my behalf.  I’m torn between tolerating him only because he is a gentle and pleasant crazy guy, and being spooked by his perception.  When I was pregnant the first time, but before I even knew it, he told me he would pray that the angel he could see hovering over me would stay with me forever.  He apologized a month later – while I was waiting to miscarry – because he said he obviously had not been able to pray hard enough.  Equally obviously, the crazy-man was not privy to my IVF situation, he’s just perceptive.  Either that or, you know, he might have a direct line to God.  So anyway, today when he offered me prayers for health and happiness, which, I admit (though not to him) that I could use a bit more of both these days, I simply said ‘thank you’, and told him he’d be in my prayers too.  He and I might not mean the same thing when we talk about praying, but I do wish him well. 

My husband, when he heard the news about the new setback, wondered aloud if we should just jump directly to a donor egg cycle to try to spare my body any more hormonal manipulation.  This is a sweet thing for him to offer, since he’s been sort of freaked out by this idea in the past.  Unless my doctor orders it, we won’t do this – we’ll exhaust every option in its own time and not skip ahead, but it was a supportive thing for him to say.   He got it right today.

I am also going to tell you about the conversation I just overheard between my annoying Russian co-worker and his family in Russia.  Full of tears and recriminations (I am assuming, by the tone of his voice, since it was – obviously – in Russian.)  This guy is really aggravating, and he knows it, and he knows that we are not friends, but he and I were alone in the office and on his way into the kitchen to eat his borsht after this conversation, he said quietly without even turning around, “I’m all alone on New Year’s Eve and it’s all my fault.”  And my heart broke for him just a little bit, even though he still irritates the hell out of me. 

But now I’ve written enough for today.  I’m going to finish up my shift, then go home and get gently and weepily drunk on good wine.  Hope y’all have a good new year – we deserve it, each & every one of us.

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“That would be a follicular cyst.  Oh look there’s another.  And another on your left ovary.  Have you been in any pain?” asked my doctor.

(Um, as previously mentioned, I’ve been calling it ‘pelvic discomfort’, my definitions of pain having been sharply redefined over the last year.)

The upshot is that there will be no new IVF cycle for me any time soon.  New appointment in two weeks to see what’s up with my cyst-studded ovaries. 

I’m tired of this game.  Can we play something else for a while?

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Ok, not so much, but within minutes of posting last night, I started to bleed.  Apparently the vague pelvic discomfort of the last few days is my body’s new & improved version of menstrual cramps.  

So I’ll go in to the clinic tomorrow – hope they’re open, shall call today – and see what the good doc says.  

And in the meantime, I’ll sip my coffee and enjoy the ending of the year and try to be optimistic.

Be sort of cool to start a new cycle on New Year’s Day.

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Getting introspective, as is my wont at the end of an old year.  Well that, and drinking heavily, because, hey, why the hell not?  It’s downright fucking amazing how introspective a gal can get after a few pints of Guinness.  

Seriously, though.  I don’t think it has much to do with the time of the year, and I’m not drinking anywhere near as much as my brain would prefer, because there is the possibility that my doctor will let me start my next (final?) IVF cycle on this cycle.  Which, if I can still trust my body’s signals, is going to begin any day now.  I mean, he wants to see me on Day 2, which is right on track for baseline measurements.  And he knows – and approves – of my eagerness to get this babymakin’ show on the road, so if he can give me the go-ahead, he will.  

But of course, I’m also nervous that it won’t happen.  That my hCG levels will hover indefinitely at a useless level like 8 and will refuse to budge any further.  I’m nervous that maybe even if I can start up again this month, that I shouldn’t.  Jeezus, what if this happens again?  I guess I know the answer to that: if it happens again, I go in for surgery and they remove the embryo-magnet formerly known as my right fallopian tube.  But still – what if?  

Yeah, if I’m honest, my introspection is really taking the what-if form of self-torture to new depths.  What if I do?  What if I don’t?  What if we just skip the next little while and go straight to a donor egg cycle?  What if even that doesn’t work, maybe we should just skip straight to adoption preliminaries, I mean, really, given my track record, why do I think any of this will work?  Hell, I’m not even thinking that adoption is going to be simple for us.  

Maybe it’s not “introspection” so much as it is “wallowing in fear and agonized nervousness.”  And with no concrete target to focus on, it’s more of a “greasy fingerprints-of-anguish contaminating every clean dish in the kitchen” sort of deal.  

Yeah, that’s feeling a little more honest.

And then part of me – still dealing with the honest part, mind you – is wondering why the hell I’m not even grieving over this miscarriage anymore.  I mean, shit, it’s not even complete yet.  This time last miscarriage I could barely get out of bed, and here I’m blithely planning my next IVF cycle and wondering if I’ll look funnier as a pregnant lady than I do as a non-pregnant lady.   Is it true that you can get used to anything, and that I’m well on my way to being someone who’s used to losing pregnancies?  Ah, fuck.  

Yesterday we enjoyed another episode of wondering if the dog was going to die.  She has developed the bad habit of, er, eating the crotch out of any underwear left in her general vicinity.  Which I try really hard not to do in order to keep the dog’s innards healthy, (but also so as not to disgust the tidy boy who wonders, sometimes, if I was raised by wolves.  Messy wolves.  Messy wolves who can’t remember where the laundry room is.)

And I’d like to refute him with something sparkling like, “I do so know where the laundry room is” but the fact is that the day after I found a crotch-free (and not in a fun, sexy way, more in a gnawed and raggedy way) scrap of cloth in the middle of the floor, another pair must have gotten shoved under the bed when I undressed because it sure got overlooked on my daily trek to the aforementioned laundry room.  Which means she ate two pair of panties in less than 24 hours.  Which meant that I spent yesterday with an anxious ear pressed to her distressed and gurgly abdomen wondering if her intestines were blocking up and twisting and necrotizing even as I documented the sound effects.

Which made me question my fitness to be a mother.  I mean, if I can forget to remove underwear from the dog’s immediate environs, what am I going to forget to keep out of Sprog’s way?  Live electrical cables?  Bite-sized turtles straight from Chinatown?  E-coli contaminated petri dishes?  

One more thing to bargain over with the invisible cloud being.  “If you let me have a real live baby, I promise to not ever even bring one of those turtles home, let alone leave it somewhere a small person could inhale it.”  Ditto the electrical cables.  I don’t even know where a person would pick up a petri dish of E-coli, but I promise to be really really careful about that one, too.  

*sigh*

I think I’m going to go check under my bed one more time.   Maybe leave myself a trail to the laundry room made out of socks or something.  Mama-wolf would be so proud.

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Merry merry

From the not-as-bitter-as-I-come-across-sometimes side of things, I had a lovely Christmas.  The girls were gracious and pleasant and even kind.  The boy’s extended family always makes me feel welcome.  My parents, though I missed them, sounded like they were having a blast with the grandkids in Vegas.  Presents were well-received by all, unlike last year!  Much laughter.  Blessedly few sessions with the photograph albums.  More food than I can really believe I shoveled into my mouth.  It was, all in all, a lovely couple of days.

And we have plans for New Years Day – going to see a friend’s performance in The Golden Dreidl and then for drinks afterwards with her, which should be fun.  And we don’t have plans for New Year’s Eve, which is just how I like it.  

A memory to share:

When I lived in Utah, in the house I built with my husband, in a tiny valley very far away from anything else, one of our few neighbors was a man who ran fireworks displays for a living.  Big shows, New York, LA – he was the real deal.  And every New year’s eve, he pulled out all the stops and put on a private showing for himself, and his few neighbors.  Sometimes it would be snowing, but he’d fire them up anyway, and the clouds would glow red and green and an odd, eerie violet.  Whether it was clear or cloudy, the echoes of the explosions shuttled back and forth across the valley, tossed between the mesa on one end and the mountain range on the other.  A slow volley of thunder progressing back and forth, back and forth for almost an hour, as the show went on.  Some years though, the fireworks had a perfect stage: clear nights, no moon, just a million stars as a backdrop.  For my friends back in Castle Valley, Utah, I hope they have a perfect fireworks night on New Year’s.  I’ll be thinking of them and of the sound of fireworks echoing in the darkness while I celebrate in this very busy city where the moments of silence and darkness are few and far between, but where I have found love, companionship, and an IVF clinic that accepts health insurance.  

Hope you all had a merry Christmas, or a happy Hannukah, or a joyous solstice, or a pleasant whatever-you-happen-to-celebrate-at-the-turning-of-the-year.  The days are getting longer already, and 2009 is bound to be a better one than what we all just lived thr0ugh.  Merry merry.

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MERRY HOLIDAY GREETINGS TO ALL!

2008 has been a banner year at the Sprogblogger household, and we felt the need to brag a little bit!  I hope you’ll indulge us!  

January: The first month of the year was fairly uneventful other than the astonishing amount of sex both adult members of the household engaged in!  But, before you start thinking nasty thoughts, let me assure you that all sex was intended for reproductive – not recreational – purposes!  Not that our intentions mattered at all…

February: “Hmmm, something might be wrong,” was our first thought when Auntie Flo showed up yet again.  We began looking into all the possibilities, and scared ourselves silly with an over-the-counter, wicked-expensive “fertility kit”. Apparently, we had a problem, Houston!

March:  Thank heaven for other people’s holidays!  After being told it would be JUNE before being able to consult with a doctor at a smaller clinic that practices non-medicated IVFs (ah, we were so innocent back then!) We got impatient, and due to a Good Friday cancellation, were able to meet the man who would become more familiar with Sprogblogger’s insides than anyone else in the whole world.  He suggested we get cracking since we were both teetering on the edge of elder-status in the world of reproduction.  A plan!  We just knew we’d be parents by year’s end!

April: But of course, first we needed tests.  Oi vey, did we need tests.  Tests to rule out, well, pretty much everything as the cause of our, er, difficulties.  We are happy to report that Sprogblogger does not have Lupus.  Nor is she a carrier for Fragile X syndrome.  Nor for Cystic Fibrosis.   Nor are her tubes blocked.  Nor is Sprogblogger’s partner syphilitic or azoospermatic.  Whew!  That’s a relief!  We are officially diagnosed with “Unexplained Infertility”

May: Oh what an exciting month May was!  Estrogen patches; many, many injections; hot flashes; cramps; embryo retrieval; embryo transfer; positive pregnancy test!  Yahoo!  Our long, painful ordeal is over!

June:  A glorious month, filled with sun-filled vacations in the Galapagos, surrounded by family and friends, all basking in our good fortune with us!  Truly, we are blessed!

July:  Um, yeah.  Well, not so many blessings in July.  First week of July brought the news that proto-sprog had died in utero, but due to its fabulous accommodations, had no intention of leaving the building!  A full four weeks after the diagnoses, Sprogblogger finally miscarried her first child in a rush of pain, blood, and terror!  Not such a great month in Brooklyn, let me tell you!

August:  This month, Sprogblogger got to deal with the first really crippling depression in her life!  The physical effects of the miscarriage, coupled with the emotional aspects really threw her for a loop!  And on top of that, she wouldn’t stop bleeding!  Fortunately, Dr. Bigshot stepped in to offer her a completely fucked up mis-diagnosis and to miss the embryo that was still lurking in her womb!  Oh, how everyone laughed at that little mistake!  Well, at least we laughed after a tearful consultation with our real doctor, and an MRI to determine whether or not we would ever be able to try to conceive again!  

September:  September was the month the household welcomed Nellie the Wonder Whippet into their hearts and home.  Actually, Sprogblogger’s partner agreed to get a dog out of desperation that the woman he fell in love with was gone forever, buried deep in the pit of unrelieved depression she managed to dig herself into over the summer.  Sprogblogger’s partner officially became Mr. Sprogblogger because they love each other – of course – but also because we realized it was going to be really difficult to adopt a child without being married, and at this point, we need all the not-difficult we can find!  Congratulations and Best Wishes abounded!  Too bad even this happy occasion was tinged with the agony of our failure to have a child together!

October:  Still bleeding, Sprogblogger finally agrees to undergo a D&C – something she should have done in the first damned place.  The irony of having an abortion at this point was nearly unbearable, but the drugs were good!  Eager to begin again, she began a new IVF cycle again on Halloween, having missed an important conference in Calgary to do so!

November: An unremarkable cycle, save for the fact that Sprogblogger didn’t respond as well as anyone would like to the hepped-up drugs!  😦  Guess she really is teetering on the last days of her so-called fertility after all!  Despite her poor showing, Sprogblogger & Mr. Sprogblogger produces some perfect embryos and everyone isquite excited to see when they’ll get their first positive HPT!

December:  Unfortunately, the HPTs are all negative.  Even more unfortunately, the beta-titers at the clinic are all faintly positive.  After a roller-coaster of prognoses and diagnoses, Sprogblogger is finally deemed to have produced a directionally challenged embryo that is firmly lodged in one tube.  Hurrah!  Oh, well, not so much.  Currently undergoing her second miscarriage of the year, Sprogblogger thinks that 2008 sucked shit and she would gladly take a few volts of electricity to her frontal lobe in order to erase all memories of pretty much everything from July onward!

Hope your holidays were joyous and wonderful, and that Santa brings you everything you want in your stockings!  No holiday pictures because, well, the photographer’s place was filled to the brim with cute, smug little families and Sprogblogger simply couldn’t cope with it.  Oh yeah, and if she has to hear anyone else sigh and say, “Christmas – it’s all about the baby” one more time, she’s going to stab the speaker with a fork.  Just so you’re warned!

Merry Christmas!

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Woohoo!  Thanks Lisa! Ok, rules for this meme/award are to list five addictions (easy!) and pass it on to five fabulous bloggers (way easy!)

1.  Caffeine.  Duh.  I broke my arm rather badly while working as a barrista about 14 years ago.  Broke both bones in my forearm, had to have it surgically repaired with plates – ugly scene.  After about three months, when the bones were still wobbly and not healing, my doctor finally thought to ask me about what I did for a living. 
“So do you drink an awful lot of coffee?” 
“Um, 8 or 9 shots of espresso each morning.  Is that bad?” 
He banned me from drinking coffee for a month and my arm knit back together in no time.  Yes, caffeine is bad for me and I love it anyway.  No, the only thing I’ll give it up for is egg-production (or another broken bone).

2.  Internet surfing/blog following/email tracking.  I met my husband at an online writing workshop.  Most of my best friends are online-friends.  I’m hooked on up-to-the-minute news websites.  I would curl up into a little ball and die without my internet connection.  Seriously.

3.  I do really teeny tiny cross-stitch (well, teeny tiny stitches, great big projects) rather compulsively.  For hours at a time.   For years.   Seriously, the project I’m working on now – and have been working on for almost 2 years now – has well over 300,000 stitches in the pattern.  It’s a bit OCD of me to prefer patterns that take forever (and steal my eyesight in the process)  I’ll post a pic sometime, since this current project is baby-related (like everything else in my life!)

4.  Star Trek.  All the Star Trek series on DVD are my comfort shows – which I watch in the evening while doing cross stitch!  I’ve seen them all many times.  I watch them over and over again anyway and force my husband to watch them with me, which he does because he’s a saint.  They’re corny and not the most productive use of my time.  But I love them unreservedly.

5.  Reading.  I’m a librarian and a writer, so this should come as no surprise, but I read, well, rather a lot.  And I read really fast.  And since I ride the subway to work, I tend to have a lot of reading time on my hands.   This year I decided to track the books I read as part of a challenge by a friend.   As of today, I’ve read 154 books this year.  My bedroom, kitchen, living room and tv room are completely filled with bookshelves – though I want it known that my husband’s pretty much a book addict as well. 

And I’d like to award the fabulous blog award to Mo & Will, “What to Expect” Emily, “IF this Works” Emily, “Hopeless” Emily, and Shawna.  Thanks again, Lisa – this post was much more fun to write than they usually are!

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