Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

To toss or to save.

I'm a tosser... {Stirrup Queens post today is all about the pee-sticks}
I toss the negatives because I don't need any more reminders of my failures... It has actually never once occurred to me to save a negative. It seems like some seriously bad mojo to keep them lying around - but that is just me. Besides, I am also forced to go through elaborate and unsuccessful shinanigans to distract my husband from knowing of this peeing obsession. He is totally on to me and my tinkle habit, but I keep acting like all my early morning sneaking around goes unnoticed.

I came out of the closet this weekend and told him that I had already taken a test on 8dpo. He said, "I knew you were up to something this morning." Even though I had self-exposed my pee-crazy ways, I still refused to buy them in front of him at the target during our weekend errands. Fact is, I was desperate for more. I was trying to show him how tough an am. That's right, I don't care if I am pregnant, no biggie!!

By last night I caved and stopped at the drug store to stock up while he waited in the car. As we were leaving the parking lot he says, "Can't you just buy in bulk on pee-on-a-stick dot com and save us some money?" For a second I imagined him sitting in front of his computer shopping for bargain pee sticks for me. A half-a-sec later I realized he was being a smart-a**. I said, "If I buy in bulk, that means I will be peeing on a stick for months to come, which means I won't be pregnant. I am not ready to commit to that yet." So I buy the expensive ones, in small boxes, in the hopes that by not buying in bulk I won't need them anymore. Bulk = commitment to long term conception failure. Ugh. Not there yet.

Today is 11dpo. Every other pregnancy has revealed itself to me on 11dpo - even if as the lightest of double lines. This morning I was so scared to take it that my right leg was shaking uncontrollably. I deposited it on the back of the toilet and took a deep breath, got up and washed my hands. The stick was as pure as driven snow. I dragged it downstairs to look at it in better light in the office. Still white. I'll probably dig it out of the trash when I get home. It will still be white.

SO WHY, YOU ASK, ARE MY BOOBS STUPID-SORE IF I AM NOT KNOCKED UP? Damn progesterone, I suspect. My RE insisted on doing a 20 second consult (and charging me for it) about the progesterone. In her 20 second description of the process she failed to mention that the suppositories would likely make my ladies ache as bad as they did in pregnancy. Oh, and that I might get headaches and should talk to my doctor if you suffer from migraine... which I do. The pharmacist warned me of the drip, but my god. This is just wrong. All this for what? Pure as driven snow, baby. That pee-stick couldn't get any whiter.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

On being...

Pamela Jeanne at Coming to Terms wrote another great post this week. She writes of grasping for a child-free role model and an uptick in the child-centric nature of women's lives. I think about these issues quite often. Although I think I always envisioned myself having children, I rarely met a mother who I felt exemplified the kind of balance I perceive my own mother as having attained: a balance between herself as a mother and herself as an individual with goals and aspirations. So I am looking for a role model too. One where a women can be more than an infertile and more than a mother. (Depending on where I am or will be.)

My mother is accomplished in her own way. She hasn't wracked up degrees or awards, but she is always pursuing something that is entirely for herself. She was a school teacher for nearly 25 years. She has an absolutely incredible garden. She spins and dyes her own wool, which she then knits. She is a skilled seamstress, having produced probably 10 wedding dresses in the past decade - including mine. She has done all of this while raising my sisters three kids. She is so generous, with her time, her energy and her resources.

When I was a child, she never let us (me and my siblings) slow her down. We knew that we were the most important thing in her life, but we were never the only thing in her life. Because of that, I think we could step back and see her as a person, not just a mother. And when you can see your mother as an individual, she becomes something more a matriarch. She becomes a person to emulate, someone you want to be like.

When my life gets wrapped up in trips to the RE and counting the days, it is the beginning of the process of forgetting myself. I have been so focused on my body and its failures, that I have allowed it to begin to erode my identity. I am the woman, of all the women I know, who has failed to have children. And lately, I see myself as little else. Yes, I think it has a lot to do with infertility's blow to the self esteem, and in some ways I may not have been able to control it. But I can step outside of that now and stop the disintegration of myself. I do this in part because it is the right thing to do. But also because, if I can not have a child, I will need myself when that dream is unrealized. I need to continue to be me, in the best way I can.

These are questions I will have to negotiate as the issues actually arise. But I do fear that I am stepping into motherhood with an identity disadvantage (although I have yet to change my avatar into a trans-vag U/S wand). I don't want my (in)fertility to be all that I am. I don't want my children to be all that I am. I want to find balance, because I believe that the best kind of mother is the mother who is someone other than a mother.

I can imagine what I write might offend some. And that it might be said that it is easy for me to say this because I am not yet a mother. You are right, I am not. But I was a child once. And I know the advantages to being raised by a woman who knew just who she was. She was the mom who wouldn't pack my lunch because there was too much to do in the morning: getting 4 children off to school and herself in by the morning bell. And I was jealous of the sweet little notes written on the other kids napkins inside their lunch-boxes. But what she gave me instead was the ability to do for myself, to be assertive, to be strong, and to be an individual.

So I am finishing up and wondering how I can share these ideas with my nieces without scaring them. How can I soften the blow for other young women? How can you prepare a woman, so that she might come to understand that her expectations are just that: expectations. I wish to god that someone would have told me something might not happen in my life. How do you show someone in the landscape of the American work ethic that "hard work" does not always get the job done, that sometimes our bodies do not cooperate? Because I wish I had known. I wish I could have been just a little prepared. Just a little might have helped.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

About face...

DH had an about face about trying this month. I was still concerned he was not ready and that he conceding to appease me. As a result of all of the emotional shinanigans, I have no idea when I ovulated. I figured we were not trying, and nearly every OPK stick I wizzed on was a dud (what the hell is that about). In the end, I give us a D- for effort this month - but it is still possible. It's just more of a toss up. I am contemplating calling my RE tomorrow to request the progesterone that she had suggested as a precautionary measure following ovulation. Not sure if she will give it to me without documentation of the date of ovulation. Grrrrrr.

Thanks for the few comments on my last post. It is really the first time I felt that kind of stress on our relationship before. I know it is normal. This is just a stressful thing. I think we are back on track though. I am dragging him to the head-shrinker with me next week and see if we can't make a few improvements on our communication. Now that makes me feel grown up = how weird.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I want to melt into air

One year of trying, two miscarriages, two surgeries, three months of waiting and one month of deep anticipation makes me so tired. It is also the night after my husband tells me on cycle day 14 that he wants to wait till next month. We talked about this. We planned on this. Why did he have to wait to tell me till now? Why can't he talk to me about everything? The lengths to which he will go to protect me is hurting me instead. I feel like I got my heart broken all over again.

I want to throw in the towel. On ttc, on work, on home. I wanna run. I am tired of feeling ashamed for who this has made me. I just want to be someone else. I did not sign up for this shit. I did not volunteer to have a million little holes punched into the most important relationship in my life.

I guess I could use some advise. There is not a bone in my body that doesn't know the strength of my relationship with J. But I feel like something happened. I think I am starting to, unknowingly, push him away like I have everyone else. I would give up the chance to ever have children if it would prevent me from loosing him.

Let me just say that this is far from a fatal flaw. But how do I get him to talk to me? He rarely "shares"? How do I get him to understand how profoundly this effects me every day with out him thinking I am totally nuts? I have never felt this way about us. I have never felt a millimeter of distance between us. But today there is the slightest of gaps - separating him from me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Will I always think I am who I was?

I was riding the train on Friday when a woman took the seat beside me. She plunked herself down, shopping bags and iPod in hand. I could hear some old school heavy metal streaming into her ears. I later realized it was Poison when I recognized the chorus to "Every rose has its thorn."

She had long blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail. Her bangs were curled down into a perfect tunnel that just grazed her forehead. She was dressed in classic 80's headbanger gear from head to toe: tight, tappered light jeans, black leather patchwork jacket. She had a small bag on her lap that she opened. Out of it came a red, heart-covered chinese food container. She opened it and peeled away several layers of fancy tissue paper to reveal a yellow rubber ducky with devil horns on it. She left the duck in public view long enough to show it off, smiled and rewrapped it. I imagine it was a valentine for someone special. She was so pleased with her modest purchase, so happy to be chugging along on the train listening to her favorite band. She just seemed so happy in her "here and now" that she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that it is no longer 1987. I loved this about her. She still is who she was - and she doesn't give a damn.

She was 45 going on 19. She was one of those people who stopped at 18. She still listened to the same music. She still wears the same style clothes, the same haircut. I started to wonder if we aren't all victims to this phenomenon to a certain degree. Don't we all still perceive of ourselves as the person we were somewhere between 19 and 23? Don't we all still wonder when we are going to "grow up" even though we already are?

I have never felt like an adult, despite the fact that I actually am one. I am the youngest in my family, and I am sure this plays a part in the way I perceive of myself. I own a house. That is pretty grown up. I teach college. That is pretty grown up. But there is that one last milestone I have left to hurdle, which to me, might be the one that actually makes me realize my adulthood: becoming a parent.

I was reminded of this unattained goal so clearly this evening. Last night our friends in DC welcomed their son into the world. They got pregnant at the near exact time as us. They are really my husbands friends and I have always felt strange around them. J. called them this evening and congratulate them. I was feeling very happy for them, and glad that I wasn't instead dwelling on the fact that I might have been holding my own son/daughter this week. It felt good to feel good for them - despite everything.

About an hour later an email announcement arrived with pictures and this statement, "There is nothing more beautiful in the world than your own child." And that is when it hit me. What if I never get to leave this person who I am: the non-adult me. What if I never get to hold my own child? Does that mean I am somehow incapable of experiencing beauty? Or do I just get to experience some half-assed, second-rate beauty? And if this statement is really true, well then I feel really sad for the world. Yes, having a child is a profound and beautiful experience, ummm, I think. Because I don't know that yet. I just get really scared of statements that are so exclusionary. What about those who can not have children? What happens to those who choose not to have children? The implication is an assumed superiority based on an experience, an experience that some may never have. Those with children are in the know. Those without children are inherently incapable of a particular breadth in their capacity for love which manifests in beauty? I think something like, "We are overjoyed at the arrival of our son and can not wait for you to meet him" would have served the same purpose, no? Why do I have to be constantly and unknowingly whacked over the head with my outsider status?

I am not a joiner. I never have been. But joining the club of "parenthood" casts over me like a skyscraper on a winter day. It is like no matter what direction I turn, it is there, throwing me back into the darkness. I wish I could implode it. I wish I could name a million other "beautiful" experiences that I have had that totally top the moment this friend had when he first held his kid. But I can't. I can't, not because I can not think of a truly beautiful experience, but because I am not in the club. I have nothing to compare it to.

I am left to wonder if I will always be who I was. Or will I get to join this club, that never appeared very hard to join, but apparently for some, it is. Yes, I am a joiner. I want a family. But not so I can tell everyone what they are missing. But so I can share and feel the love that right now I can only imagine.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What we thought we knew based on what we have been told

What we were told:
Your a woman, a breeder. Your big b00bs and wide hips will serve you well. Go forth, have fun. You'll know. You'll glow.

What it is:
Bleeding is normal. Women just like you have successful pregnancies everyday. Well at least you know you can get pregnant. You can have another. It will happen when you least expect it.

I heard from a dear friend last night. She is 27 weeks pregnant after having an early loss the same time as my first loss. She and her partner did it DIY - at home insemination with a known donor. They are dear friends and will make wonderfully delicious parents. They ooze love, in the best way possible. Their journey has been difficult and unconventional. I am, I have been, pulling for them all along.

S.'s first trimester was tough. Lots of bleeding. Then, on two separate occasions they got bad news from a genetics councilor. Once, they were advised they had a 1 in 3 chance of downs. Everything turned out ok. Next, they were informed of a rare chromosomal issue, which S. now knows she carries. She has passed it to her son. He a few weeks behind in growth because her placenta has not developed properly. She was on her way to the doctor with a packed bag this morning, expecting to be admitted to the hospital and kept on strict bedrest.

Pregnancy is not at all what either S. or I thought it would be. I am so alarmed by this fairytale we have all been taught to believe. No one ever tells you you might get your heart broken. No one ever tells you that it is possible to fail. Even when you ultimately have a real, live baby, you may have just experienced one of the most physically and emotionally taxing 9 months of your life. And if you had trouble getting pregnant in the first place - you can double or triple that 9 months - in both physical and emotion pain.

I have learned to stop expecting. I don't envision I am walking into a hopeless cloud of doom, but I am cautious. I know now that I should be critical of my own expectations. That your body, your mind, your life, does not always cooperate. It is not that I expect to fail at getting pregnanct, or at bringing a pregnancy to term. Rather, I enter the process again with hope, but also with a distinct set of experiences that I have prepare me for whatever my jacked up body decides to do next. In the end, I hope that by knowing my Ute might misbehave, perhaps it will do as it should - grow, support and nourish. Now THAT would be unexpected.