Sunday, September 30, 2007
I think I said yes to one too many orders of cheesy fried goodness this week.
Hubby and I eat well at home but we tend towards the tastiness and convenience of all things fried when we go out. This week, it seems we were out almost every night - a plate of nachos while commiserating with an out of town co-worker about how crazy our boss is, mozzarella sticks with hubby's mom playing trivia on Thursday, some Irish nachos while waiting for the games to come on....
My gosh, and I am wondering why my pace on the elliptical is not what it was a few months ago?
I have to keep reminding myself that just because nothing is happening right now, doesn't mean something won't be happening soon. [We are waiting for our donor to have her period, then we'll start working out a schedule, which I think could find itself prolonged due to holidays and work schedules.] I owe it to myself to be as ready as possible when the phone call comes, the medications begin and it is too late to start stressing about being 10 lbs. over the normal BMI range. This post at Wifethereof and this recent article served as gentle reminders.
And I am not the only one trying to shed those final pounds. Jade is starting Jenny Craig for the same reason.
I've been toying with the idea of doing the South Beach Diet again - it really helped hubby and I jump start our fitness frenzy back in the spring. But then I worry that I would be doing myself a disservice by eliminating so many whole grains and fruits that seem so necessary to get the right fix of folic acid for pre-natal health. Sure, I'll start taking the pre-natal horse pills (aka vitamins) again soon but I'm just not convinced they're as effective as simply eating right in the first place.
With that in mind, hubby and I spent our Saturday morning running the trifecta - a shopping trip which took us to Wegmans, Giant AND CostCo. My fridge is filled with fruits and veggies. My pantry stocked with beans and grains. I made this yesterday afternoon and it was fantastic. Today, I hope to spend an hour or so in the kitchen prepping some pots of ready-made snacks and lunches so that I have no reason to reach for a handful of dark chocolate chips when I need an energy fix.
By my watch, I still have a month or so to get myself in shape before daily doses of lupron and estrace begin and I start using that as my excuse for my elliptical laziness. Wish me luck.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Hubby loves stats so much so that he's actually secured a gig at my office as an independent consultant for all things spreadsheet-related.
I like to call him Stat Boy.
What does this have to do with me? Besides making me the sometimes unwilling contestant of the million quizzes he fabricates based on said stats, this week I found that I was the subject of his latest spreadsheet.
Hey, like what are the odds that our donor is actually your biological sister?
No, I mean, if you had to guess, what are the odds? 1 in what? A million? Gajillion?
See, this is how it starts. I can never tell if he is leading me into a quiz or if he actually knows the answer. But he gets so sad when I don't guess. So I do.
Um, I dunno. Let's assume donor is from our state. I was born in our state. Let's assume my birth mother stayed in this state.....Let's say one in a million.
Wrong! Try 1 in 350,000 - and that's assuming your birth mother only had one additional daughter. ...if she had two....
OK. Wait. Wait. Wait! There are a lot of assumptions going into this here equation. But let's assume (and make an "ass" out of "u" and "me") as I mentioned before, donor is strikingly like me from what I can gather, except for test scores, college, etc. But as hubby pointed out, his mom has hideous, I mean awful, SATs while 3 of her older brothers were Ivy bound. Still, she is our most favorite trivia partner ever. I digress.
Let's say that my birth mother did have another daughter and they did stay in our state. By calculating the number of women between the ages of 20 and 30 instate and removing all ethnic backgrounds not us, he somehow came up with the magic number of 1 in 350,000.
That's a lot better than my odds of winning the lottery on any given day.
Here’s a fun game to play with your partner – let’s try to pick out all of the things that thankfully won’t be acquired by your maybe baby since you won’t be using your eggs. For me, the obvious is my Hodgkin's Disease, which hasn't proven to be hereditary but then again there's no proof that its not.
But it seems that those traits also include:
- My crooked nose
- My bad temper
- My bizarre body shape which includes a lack of a waist that no amount of exercise seems to affect
- My snaggletooth
Hey! Isn’t this interesting and fun??
Fun for, like, a minute.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
This is the first time our little 2-month old niece has been left with a sitter - In this case sitters. We are armed with stroller, car seat, booby juice, diapers, blankets and about 10 sets of extra clothes.
Her mom is going to be gone for an hour. Tops. But best be prepared I suppose.
We are all doing fine. Baby E is quiet and content. Couldn't be happier.
Yeah, she's sleeping and has been since she arrived. So what?
I have read your comments over and over and over again this week and I think I am finally seeing things with a bit more clarity. Thank you, so much, for sharing so much of yourselves in your words to me.
After long conversations, which included much of what you wrote, hubby and I are moving forward with a new donor. Here's how it all went down:
Just as I was getting ready to call Nurse and ask her about the status of two maybe donors who are in the middle of cycles right now, she called me. "Have you looked at -------?" she asked.
It turns out that a very successful donor (2 previous donations resulting in 2 successful pregnancies) had just finished her retrieval and Nurse felt pretty strongly that this just might be the match for us. At first I was dubious, thinking that she just wanted to connect us with someone who wouldn't have the same "what ifs" that made us cancel the last two attempts. And I am sure that's part of it. But then we pulled out the notes that we had taken during our last visit to the clinic. There she was. Definitely on our short list. My hereditary background. Same coloring, same size (ok fine. about 20 lbs lighter) than me. Sounding as sweet as can be.
We called Nurse back to ask a few more questions, the first one being, would she even be willing to donate again? Nurse preempted us by saying she hoped we didn't mind, but she had already taken the liberty of asking. The response was a definite Yes.
There were still some doubts. We can't remember if she was athletic at all. She didn't finish college but she is rising in her professional career. But as you all so aptly put it, who wants a mini-me anyway?
Some of those doubts were washed away yesterday morning when I was, of all places, at a memorial service for the father of a friend and co-worker. The ceremony was one of the most beautiful I have attended, pre-planned by the deceased and meant to be a celebration more than a time of mourning. There was music and quiet meditation and more music, mostly jazz, some inspirational.
Now, you may or may not know, but me and God haven't really been on speaking terms for a while and I have gotten into the bad habit of rolling my eyes when anything too spiritual comes my way. But this service was so peaceful, so loving that I let my guard down and by the time that a song called "Try Again" by Dave Boyer was piped into the system, I was totally unprepared. The words - a simple repetition of "Try Again" with some variations, none of which were written for me but somehow fit our present state, kept striking my spine like a lightning bolt.
Don't get me wrong. I did not find Jesus. My faith is not restored. But who the hell am I to look a sign/omen/revelation in the mouth? I took the words at face value and we are, well, trying again.
So now, we are waiting. Giving the donor some time to rest and recuperate from this last transfer. Not sure when our new schedule will begin in earnest but it is definitely in sight. And that feels good.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
They do. Why else would we be spending money we don't have trying to ensure that at least a little bit of us (partner and me) is recreated? Why else would we spend hours upon hours with strangers' genetic components spread out in front of us (blue eyes, brown eyes, dark hair, red hair, fair complexion, freckles, 5 foot xx inches, maternal grandmother had diabetes, and on and on and on......) searching for the ones that could best replicate mine?
Genes matter. Because every time I talk to/look at/interact with my adoptive parents, I think (sometimes out loud) thank god I am adopted. I was left on the doorstop. Found in the reeds. No connection whatsoever to the people that never cease to frustrate and puzzle me with their (lack of) reason.
I have based my sanity and my identity on the concept that there are things inside of me that no matter how badly my adopted parents screwed up (in my mind), those traits would still be intact. I know for a fact that if my adoptive parents were my birth parents, hubby would have thought twice about a lifelong union with me.
Part of that is a crutch. Most of us dread turning into our mothers and this is how I convince myself that it will not, cannot happen to me. Because we are simply not the same. We don't look the same. We don't value the same things. And there is nothing innate that will morph me into my mother over time. It's just not there. Those pieces are missing.
Please tell me I am right.
As we sat in front of the donor profiles again the other week, hubby and I were both struggling trying to find answers to questions we didn't know how to ask - at least not without sounding like assholes. If people were computers, what components would be hardwired and which would be malleable? What's the software? What can be upgraded? To put it nicely: what pieces can be Nurtured and which are just straight up, ain't no getting around it, it is what it is Nature?
As a teenager and young adult, when friends would prod me about trying to find my birth mother, I would resolutely say, don't worry about it. In my mind, she is a princess. The most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. And that is all that matters. Who could I find that would live up to the glorious pedestal she stands on now? And that was enough for me. For at least 30 years.
But I am/we are so perplexed about the nurture vs. nature debate that I am seriously considering looking for her. Am I a carbon copy of her? Does she laugh like I laugh? Do I have her eyes? Does she like the same things I do? Or would we be complete strangers? Could it be these things I have credited to her really are the result of my parents' parenting? I need to know.
All of these questions are coming to bear because dammit we just cannot decide on a new donor.
Should we focus on physical characteristics? Test scores? Athletic ability? Just because we like how someone answered the questionnaire, does that, in the end, matter? Will that personality or intellect transfer down into those pretty little embryos I hope to carry? Will choosing a 5' 2" donor guarantee a maybe baby will never be a basketball star? If we settle for a 5' 10' beauty who had a C average through high school, will we blame her every time a maybe baby struggles with his/her homework? Are we being fair by setting aside all the donors with certain professions in their families because those are not ones we would want to have? It was so easy to think I wasn't biased until these choices were laid out in front of me in a binder.
So, which one will it be?
You can't tell me genes don't matter. But I would appreciate someone telling me which particular genes matter more.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Remind me to stop watching The Contender just because there is nothing else on.
It's quiet because I am feeling very quiet. Like something's bubbling to the surface but isn't quite there yet. I might be in the midst of an existential crisis. We spent hours at the clinic last week poring through donor profiles, trying to think through next steps and I just don't know what to say about it just yet. I'm still chewing on my cheeks, furrowing my brow and trying to think through, what matters? What really matters?
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
What is this, the third post today before noon? Ridiculous. But I have news.
We go tomorrow to look for a new donor at our clinic. If we find someone we like, we'll stick around. If not, I'll brush off my tango and start sharpening my incisors to handle all that Argentinian beef.
I am hopeful and excited. Where are those darn emoticons when you need them?
To lift my spirits even more, I saw that wifethereof nominated me for a Rocking Girl Blogger. Well, gosh. Thanks! This happened before the cancellation so I don't even consider it a pity vote.
I think that it is now my duty to nominate five more women as Rocking Girl Bloggers. Here are my votes:
1. Drowned Girl - currently carrying twins (and a little nervous about it) thanks to donor eggs. DG is constantly supportive and encouraging and shares a slightly different twist on the process since her donor is actually a friend.
2. Daisy at Behind Schedule - Because she is assertive and understanding at the same time, and still on track to start her DE cycle soon.
3. H at Mi Historia - Because I am a wanna be earth mother too!
4. Stacyb at Why Not Me? - This fellow survivor and DE recipient has finally broke down and bought some maternity clothes. That's not a jinx; it's the only legitimate reason I can think of for grown women to wear adorable jumpers! And lastly,
5. Julie at A Little Pregnant - Because dammit, when I grow up I want to write like her.
I'm ok, but you women are awesome. Thank you for your comments, emails (and phone calls!). I couldn't ask for a better support group. Although the one that Kami has created at her clinic sounds wonderful too.
Hubby walked into my home office this morning and asked me, "So, how does it feel to not be tied to the needle?"
It's ok. It's funny. You can laugh. I did.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
8 follicles for our donor but only 2 seem to be maturing. Estradiol level below normal. Doctors recommend we stop all meds, consider this cycle a no go, regroup and reassess. So we will.
On the bright side.....
Now we know. that nasty little what if that lingered after the first failed cycle is gone. It is now an ain't gonna happen.
My nurse can be counted on to be punctual, particularly if there is bad news involved, which I appreciate.
I now have a reason to look into airfare to Argentina. A place that I love and would gladly return, even if I couldn't drink the wine or espresso. Recall that Rae from Broken Eggs (site down for some maintenance) mentioned this as a much more affordable donor egg option.
I am still in sync with our my dearest friend who is also trying to have a baby (the traditional way - they're like, doing it and stuff). Now that this month is a no go for both of us, we can go back to dreaming about having babies at the same time that will grow up together and go on to conquer the world (insert maniacal laugh and hand wringing here. mwah ha ha ha har). Shhh. Don't tell anyone.
I have a full week of vacation scheduled for mid-September. I snuck it on the calendar in preparation for a transfer. But I could just keep it on there.....
Our next donor's response will be higher than this one - it can only get better, right? What are the odds?
And most importantly, I am SO FRIGGING GLAD we did NOT tell my parents that we were doing this back in June. Because they would be bugging the living sh*t out of me right about now. Phew. Good call on that one.
I do feel bad for our donor, who I know feels bad for us, who are feeling bad for her. We're all feeling bad for each other. But at the end of the day, I feel good knowing that someone like her exists and is willing to share herself with couples who cannot conceive on their own. I feel even better knowing there are more women like her out there.
So dear donor, whoever you are, thank you. Thank you for being willing to try not once, but twice, to try to help. I am so sorry we probably ruined your Labor Day weekend with pin sticks and appointments, none of which led to good news. Please don't think we are mad or angry or anything like that. Just a little sad that we couldn't carry a little bit of you in me.
Just returned from the clinic with no conclusive news. My lining is a little thin at 6.9, which I expected since I have only been on estrace a few days. So we'll probably up that dosage as soon as my blood work gets processed from the lab and we heard what my levels are. Meanwhile, donor's estradiol level was around 300 over the weekend. While they were hoping for closer to 500-600, its not the end of the world, or at least this cycle, at least not yet. She, too, is getting blood work and another ultrasound today. If there are follicles developing, will we continue the cycle towards retrieval and transfer?
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
Hubby and I have been prepared for less than stellar news. Now the questions become: if there are fewer than average follicles, are we willing to continue or do we cut our losses now, end the cycle and go in search of a new donor? how few is too few? How many would it take to make it worth the effort, expense and emotions of continuing? How much is enough?**
No one said it would be easy, did they?
But, I have to keep reminding myself, as hubby does, that we are still further than we were six months ago. Because now we know what is possible. Six months ago, we were still thinking we could never ever have a child of our own. All that has changed. What remains to be seen is how far we are willing to go to do it.
**Dear sisters, I am very much interested in your opinions here. In fact, I am asking for them. If this were your (or your donor's) cycle, how many follicles would it take for you to give it the green light?
Monday, September 3, 2007
I was totally fine with this post full of helpful tips on how to get pregnant (#1 stop birth control) until the last "helpful tip" which reads like this:
5.) Pray, Pray, Pray. Don’t listen to doctors when they tell you that you’re not able to conceive. God is the only person who can determine that. God will give you a baby when he thinks you’re ready for one. He is there to give you all the support you need. Have faith in him and when your time comes you will be blessed with a beautiful baby.
I know that we are all of different faiths and inclinations and I am truly not trying to offend....
But reading that brought my blood to a boil. Because only good and faithful people have babies, right? The world is filled with good and faithful babies who turn into good and faithful leaders and that's why the world is so great, right? And only bad people die from cancer or other diseases or, gasp, can't naturally conceive. It's all about deserving.
Pregnant = blessed. Infertile = cursed and unworthy of a christian god's love, unless of course its in a pitying, charitable way.
We get up bright and early tomorrow a.m. to find out whether or not we are deserving of continuing this cycle. And um, I am probably going to listen to what the doctor tells me.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
So, as I was perched precariously in the back seat of a rented van, pants down to my knees and peeking out the window to make sure my father-in-law didn't reappear, while all around me, tens of thousands of tailgaters were grilling sausage, drinking beer, playing games and waiting for the first football game of the season to begin, I was wondering.....
What is the weirdest place/situation you have had to give yourself an injection?
Mine was just a tiny Lupron shot and since we left the house at the crack of dawn, I had to bring it along with me to administer it at the right time. Like many of my fellow sisters seeking fertility, only a few friends and family know about it and the processes involved. The rest, like my FIL, are in the dark and will stay there until there is something to report. I know that I am not the only person to be leading a little bit of a double life, pretending that life is totally 100% normal while toting along needles, pills, patches and lucky rabbit's feet.
So let's have it. 'fess up. I did it in a van in the middle of a cow pasture in the shadow of a massive football stadium. You?