Thursday, December 31, 2009
The year began with an exploration of What Happened, only to find our anger and fury dismissed.
Months and months. Consult after consult. Procedures, biopsies, HSGs galore, only to learn my uterus will never function as it once had.
Mock cycle. Canceled cycle. Failed cycle.
Birth parent found - and rather than reveling in the discovery, I mourn the loss of my made up beginnings. My myths. I like them better. Can I have them back please?
Oh yes, and a broken leg.
What I am saying is 2009, you can go fuck yourself up your own ass and disappear. Fade away. Go away now and never come back. 2009, I am so done with you.
From all of this, there is one thing worth keeping. And that is the love and friendship, compassion and once again, simply unconditional love I have found among those that have also lost someone, and those that are still struggling to even conceive. It is not a misery loves company kind of thing, because around these women (and men) I am not miserable. I am revived.
Absent the pretense of normalcy, I see just a shade of who I used to be emerge.
So you see, I am still here. And that is a relief.
Last month I spent a weekend with Angie, Lani, Sarah, Tracy, Tash, Niobe, Julia, Molly and Laura. We hugged and cried and remembered and comforted and laughed and cooked and ate. My god did we eat. We spent a wintry weekend at the beach just like normal people would. As Angie, Lani and I sauntered down the boardwalk we decided on a self-portrait. Seeing us struggle with our aim, an older gentleman took the camera and took our photo for us.
"Look at your smiles," he said, "You must be such close friends." And we looked at each other and shared a knowing look and simply said yes. Yes, we are.
Because, my friends, it feels like I have known you forever. Longer than my sadness, longer than my grief.
And I want more than anything to know you once it has faded.
And to you, my friends in real life, thank you. Simply thank you for staying with us. Not once do I underestimate the challenge of that.
Yesterday, completely out of nowhere, M. said, "You know, ever since we went to that lady, things feel a little bit better. At least, they don't feel so bad."
Yes. I agree.
And so, welcome 2010. We've been waiting for you. Opportunity and hope, 2010, you seem to be ushering in all of this. It feels like some doors are opening, some possibilities are waiting to be explored.
Please let me be brave enough to walk through.
Welcome 2010. We've been waiting for you.
And welcome to you, Micah Amir. Brother to Ezra. Son to David and Sarah. Welcome.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
She said: "Still? My goodness, it's only been a year. I'm sorry, but you have a long way to go in your grieving process. Another year at least."
And went on to quote the "literature" which give 18-24 months of hardcore grieving for a loss. And that assumes a loss is a parent or a spouse, in other words, someone not unexpected. And that assumes the loss of one, not two, people.
We said: "This is strangely reassuring. Now, please share those time lines with the rest of the world."
She said: "Don't worry about the rest of the world. Worry about you. Worry about each other."
We said: "We are so angry." And went on to explain all that occurred leading up to the birth and death of our daughters.
She said: "Of course you are. You have a right to be angry. You should be angry. Now what are you going to do about it?"
We are going to consult with someone about a potential lawsuit. This is what we are going to do about it.
I said: "I punched a wall last week. Who does that? Who above the age of 13 does that? I feel so violent. All I want to do is punch and kick and smash and break."
She said: "Why do you think that is an inappropriate response? I think you should punch something. Both of you. You need the release. Now, let's think of a way for you to do that without harming yourself. "
I think Santa will be bringing us some pretty cool boxing gear. No shit.
He said: "I just don't see the point of anything."
She said: "Have you considered anti-depressants?"
He said: "That is not going to happen."
She said: "Then punching something becomes imperative."
I said: "I am so tired of failing. For so long. At things so important. I am tired of dealing with bad news that I cannot change and situations I cannot fix. I am sick of things getting worse every time we try to make them better. And I am sick of the assumption that we are ok and the anger when we are not."
She said: "I want you to change your language. You have not failed. There are situations that are beyond your control."
I said: "That is not acceptable."
She said: "Too bad."
I said half-jokingly: "When will we get better?"
I said: "When will we get better?" And meant it.
She said: "I'm sorry. That is simply an answer I do not have. Do you want to work on it together?"
We said: "Yes. Please."
Friday, December 4, 2009
Dude, stop looking at FB. Just stop it. You don't need that crack.
But look! Everybody's so happy! So joyful! So thankful! And I'm so....not.
So? Who the fuck cares? Are you really going to type another debbie downer status update? Ohhh I'm so saaaaad. Oh, woe is meeeeeee. Ugh. Are you gonna be that person?
What's the deal with you and this whole "that person" I can be "that person" if I fucking want to be. Maybe you didn't know; its the anniversary of my daughters' deaths....
OMFG no fucking shit. Why don't you write it across the sky? You're a broken record. Do you think anyone in the English speaking world is UN-aware of that?
Uh, yeah, probably, like, my whole family, my workplace and most of my friends IRL. Not everybody reads blogs, you know.
The cool people do.
Yes. The cool people do.
What am I going to do with you?
Nothing. Leave me alone. Let me sulk. In fact, why don't you pour me a drink.
Why don't you get off your ass and do something to earn it. Remember this thing - it's called EX-ER-CISE....maybe you should try it. You took the rest of the day off work so, um, do something.
Ok, A.) cold outside. Just checked. Yes, definitely pink-cheek worthy. B.) There are other people at the gym. Maybe, I'll think about some pilates poses in the spare room.
Great. Fan-fucking-tastic. Step one. Get dressed. Please. And brush your teeth while you're at it? Maybe that will make you feel more human.
Ok....maybe I should just go Xmas shopping.
Oh? You and what car?
Hmm. Ok. Scratch that. So, you're saying moving will feel better?
Can you feel worse?
Never say that. You can always feel worse. And actually, I don't feel all that terribly bad right now. In fact, I'm cracking myself up.
Great. That's great. We aim to please.
Oh, if only.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I don't know how the day shifted. Right from under me. And actually, as I type this, it has shifted back. Right back to fine.
Last night I drank mulled wine. Decorated the tree. Lingered a long time on the ornaments with some of the only images of the girls that we have.
Do I put them up? How does this make me feel? Do I want to be looking at these every day? I asked M. Do these things make you happy or sad? He said keep them up. He said both.
I did the tree. Because when else can you bring an 8 foot piece of the forest into your home and have it be ok? We agreed it is one of the things about the holidays we like a lot.
Tree is up. Lit. Pretty. Now the stockings. No sorry. Can't do it. The image of two stockings - even if they are ostensibly for M and me - hanging in expectation on the mantle is simply too much. No. This I can't do. Those went back in the box.
Lights yes. Stockings no. Tree yes. Cards maybe. Presents - fuck. Presents.
Maybe this is what started it. Anxiety around presents. What to get. Who gets its. Wait. We are close to broke. Now what? Thoughts return to perhaps just skipping Xmas altogether.
No. No. Can't do that. I mean, you can, but Angie said it so well:
"It is like falling off a bicycle, we cannot skip the holiday this year, or we will every year."
I do believe she's right.
But somewhere amidst the wine and the lights and the balls and the baubles I remembered, "this time last year I was full-on pregnant. Blissful. Happy. Beyond happy." By this time a week from now, all of that had changed.
And within that quick realization, that split second, the lights seemed accusatory, the baubles gaudy, the stockings already shoved back in the crate just plain cruel.
I have tried with all my might to avoid the "if only's" and the "if they were's..." and even the "this time last year's...." but they are flooding my brain today and won't go away. Not even some basic yoga postures soothe. They just bring tears.
And then Michael picks me up off the ground, demands a hug, we go back to the kitchen and get coffee and I am back to being fine. Just like that. The phone rings an email comes in, a workman knocks at the door and the haze reshuffles and moves away for a bit. Until the next time.
I think, as so many of you have already warned, I am just going to have to take these waves as they come. Let them happen. Despite all of my logic and rationalization, this week DOES feel different than the rest of the year. It IS different. It just is.
M has off today. I am working from home - not by choice - every once in a while our office tries to see if we can function away from the physical building and if anyone will notice. Its our "emergency testing" plan. Yesterday this was awesome. I needed the peace. Today I'm am in desperate need for distraction. So I am getting dressed and running some errands with my husband. I am walking away from the phone and the computer for a while and hoping no one notices. But if they do, well it just doesn't matter that much.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I'll probably do it before.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Yesterday was the day we met my bio dad, his mom, sister and her husband for the very first time. Like, ever.
This I know: I am in love with two feisty, loving, awesome, sassy, smart, funny Jersey ladies. I mean, in full-on love. These are my girls.
That guy that contributed to my birth. Hmm. I'm really gonna have to get back to you on that.
To say I'm still processing it all isn't really true. It's about as processed as its going to get. But perhaps my opinion will get a bit kinder if I sit on it for a while. Mull it over. Talk it through with some folks. A conversation we had with a friend this morning and what he had to say about our recounting of the day actually did give me more food for thought. Maybe I just need some more food for thought.
I could recount all of the things he did/said that made we wince/cringe/roll my eyes/run to the bathroom and text M. (who was there with me, BTW), but then I look like the dick. "Oh m," you might say, "that's not that bad," you could say. Perhaps not, but the culmination of constant foot-in-mouthness (seriously, your jaw would drop) added to the non-stop not pronouncing my name correctly after repeated corrections multiplied by the doing everything that annoys me (please stop repeating yourself and the same stories, please stop adding emphatic footnotes of familial ties anytime you mention someone's name - "oh and so and so, you know, your mother" - yeah. dude I get it and by the way, please STOP TOUCHING ME) contrasted with the absolute wonderfulness of the rest of the family, JFC, I just couldn't take it.
And sure, I bet he was nervous as HELL. And yes, I have been told I can be a little, um, intimidating. And perhaps I was already ready for a rumble based on some previous phone conversations. But dammit, if this is the day you've waiting for your whole life, could you put on a fucking clean t-shirt and pull the cigarette out of your mouth for a goddamn minute? First impressions? Hello? And oh, someone should probably have given you the memo: don't be needy. I fucking can't stand needy.
But let's get back to the bright side: I learned a lot. Namely, I am my mother's daughter, with perhaps a bit of the women from his family added in for spice and sassy. I learned my mother's name. Saw where she lived. Saw a photo. Which is now mine. Learned that not only do my bio dad and I have nothing physical in common, we are about as far apart cerebrally as two people could get. I am tempted once again to add specific examples here but I won't. There's no need.
I think you get the picture.
So, am I sorry we did this? Fuck. No. See my first paragraphs. I now have some amazing new people in my life. And time to figure out that other one. This was all a lot to take in. A lot. Maybe we just need a little more time.
And shit. Time is one thing I have.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
They seriously took me by surprise. Sorry little remnants of this routine we had been dutifully doing for the last two weeks. Same with the alarm on my cell phone that was still set to remind me to take my afternoon pills. What the f....oh, I know what that is. By the time M and I made it to the store, its like we had already erased the possibilities and hopes we had been harboring. Nurturing. Allowing to grow.
Feeling the patches on my belly felt like a slap.
So how do I respond to any perceived insult or injury? Aggressively, of course. Liquor store first. Happy Hour next. One of our BFFs of all time joined us and helped us down huge plates of irish nachos and onion rings (you can't drink on an empty stomach, right? That would be irresponsible!) After another stop or two, we ended the night at the pizza shop - the one that has seen us drunk and speaking spanish, has seen me pregnant, me not pregnant, me post pregnant, me thinking I was pregnant but really not. Honestly, this little hole in the wall has witnessed all phases of our lives. So its good that the pizza is probably the last thing M remembers.
Oh poor M.
He's working all day today. Working through his hangover and with a colleague he absolutely cannot stand. I'm picturing him in his cubicle, earphones on, daring anyone to come near. Working through it. That's all he can do.
Me, I'm trying to figure out how exactly I feel and the best I can come up with is nothing. I feel nothing.
M said something so profound on the way to the RE yesterday. He said the last two weeks have been wonderful. With their shots and inconveniences and various appointments, still wonderful. Like we both remembered what it was like to be happy. To let just a bit of hope into our lives again. That's something we can't forget. That hoping feels good. Even when its not enough to make something happen.
If I let it, the anger, the sorrow, the general pissed off at the world seeps in. But god, that just feels awful and unsustainable. And I know furrowed brows have increased my wrinkle count this year. Shit! I will not be ushered so easily into botox! Must. Not. Furrow!
So, I'm gonna go shower now. Maybe clean up the apartment. Because I can. Heavy lifting and all. And then perhaps, just maybe, I will go for a run. After the headache wears off, of course.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sorry. Someone needs to feel my wraith. Ms. Banks will have to do.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Anya is a dead ringer for M's little cousin.
Lauren reminds me completely of Montana from Real World Boston, but skinny.
What's the deal with the silver haired kid? Isn't he a Queer Eye cast off?
Or the sparkly eyebrow dude? Runway Trainer? Trainer? Really? Is this the new code for bitchy wanna be ms. thang? Unbelievable. People get paid for this.
And Paulina? Really? Weren't you in a Cars video? When I was 7? Isn't your advice a little, um, dated?
And back to the "plus sized" girl. Ok, in my heart I want to root for her, but girl, stop. Being a size ten is not a "daily struggle" nor is it a "burden." I want to cheer for her I really, really do, but when I squint she looks just like my best friend from 5th and 6th grade that stole all my "boyfriends" with her big boobs and knowing ways.
So, I can't.
The girl with the least camera time happens to be my favorite. Oh Kasia, why oh why can't anyone say your gorgeous name right?
And still I watch.
There seems to be an America's Top Model marathon on today. Hours of it.
And I seem to be watching the whole. damn. thing.
This happened to me once before - but it was the Real World. And I was in college.
I am a damn growned up woman. And this is ANTM (I only know that's an acceptable acronym because it keeps flashing across the screen). And dudes, I HATE Ty.ra. I mean, with a passion. As in, spent numerous blog posts taking her name in vain. I even had a sticker.
And yet here I am.
Two weeks is a long, maddening time.
And PS - exactly when did size 10 = "plus size"?
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Join us for this day long retreat into the healing power of Yoga for Fertility...
Yoga for Fertility Retreat
Sunday, December 6th 8 AM-4 PM
Pulling Down the Moon -- Rockville, MD
Join Pulling Down the Moon Instructor Sara Shelley for a day long retreat exploring the healing power of yoga for fertility. At this unique event you will learn the program that literally thousands of women have used to help them get pregnant since 2002. At this retreat you will learn:
Asana - a specific yoga posture practice to increase blood flow, reduce tension and detoxify body tissues.
Pranayama - yoga breathing techniques to manage stress and improve the overall vitality of your body and mind.
Meditation - an in-depth exploration of the "yoga way" of coping with negative thoughts and emotions.
In addition, we will explore teachings from yoga philosophy that will help you frame the fertility journey in a manner that reveals your personal strengths, reinforces the joy of everyday life and empowers you to create the family you're meant to have. Through this experience you will also join the positive, healing community of Pulling Down the Moon and enjoy the community of the amazing women who use our programs.
**Retreat Participants can take an advantage of a 20% discount for our services (yoga, massage, nutrition, acupuncture), when they schedule their appointment for December 5th or 6th.**
When: Sunday, December 6, 2009. 8 AM - 4 PM
Where: Pulling Down the Moon, 15001 Shady Grove Road, Suite 210, Rockville, MD 20850
Details: $150 covers the cost of the one-day workshop, a light lunch, and PDtM's DVD Yoga Practices for Fertility.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
- Clean apartment
- water plants and all other household tasks that near that mystical "lift no more than 10 lbs." restriction
- clear out the fridge - some of those veggies are looking suspect - soup it is!
- Ensure that M's parents will come feed us tomorrow evening (thank you!)
- Ensure that M will be able to fend for himself with dinners for at least the first few days - soup it is!
- turn off any "I am online" notifications that connect to work
- sort out the new love of my life (for right now, anyways) so I can surf while on bedrest and not feel the wrath of hubby for having a large piece of electronics too near my loins (aka laptop)
- gather all New Yorkers and Economists together that I haven't read and pretend like I will actually read them (unlikely. See #6)
- gather piles of yarn and knitting books, set them by the bed and resurrect the idea that I will make fabulous Etsy-worthy handmade goodness for all my friends for the holidays this year.
- unwrap untouched embroidery thread - repeat #8
- make lists of all of the ambitious projects I will accomplish while the rest of my office is distracted with the conference
- think about what I want to pack for the amazing babyloss retreat in OCNJ (Ocean City, New Jersey) that I will be leaving for on Friday (less than a week!)
Friday, November 13, 2009
Yes, I'm sure Siggy would have something to say about my latter remark. Of course.
But all I know is this:
Posting in the a.m., stepping out for a bit to purchase a gorgeous moto.rola piece of an.droid phone magnificence and then returning to find a fistfull of comments from familiar voices and names is just about the greatest way to end a week. Is there anything better?
Thank you so much. Feeling your good vibes already. And really, that's what broke my silence (well, that and my utter lack of willpower). I think I was fooling myself thinking I'd want to go into this without my girls.
And doods, you need to go get this phone. I can't remember the last time a consumer good made my heart flutter. This has turned out to be a pretty great day after all.
The joke in the family is that the vow of silence is what broke her. She just couldn't keep her mouth shut.
Well damn if I'm not my mother's child.
I wasn't planning to be near a computer today but now I am and it seems that there is nothing I can think about other than these things I'm not talking about so I might as well uncork the bottle, get it out and get on with my day.
We are in the midst of a fresh donor egg cycle.
And when I say "in the midst" I mean we are going for a 5-day single blast transfer on Sunday.
And when I say "fresh" I mean 16 fertilized. 8 tossed in the freezer right away. 8 still cleaving. One lucky one gets to try their luck up in my (still not great, but not terrible) ute come Sunday.
So, there. There you have it.
Lots of drama between then and now, including preparing for the biggest event my work puts on all year (and my absence from it), and a full-on 103+ temp., hallucination-inducing bout of the flu for M. that manifested itself the night before his, ahem, specimen retrieval.
Not that flu that dare not speak its name, but a good old-fashioned seasonal one that required some medical intervention nonetheless. His sweats and chills and feeble coughs brought about a sleepless night with terrible dreams of being turned away at the clinic door (get your virus-filled selves outta here!), watching our long awaited cycle disintegrate into ash along with his overheated swimmers. Google searches and reputable health sites reminded me yes there is a 72-day delay between the sperm made and sperm emerged. But still. This was one additional layer of panic we truly didn't need. Particularly since earlier stripe checks for me were showing not only the substandard level of my endometrium, but some mystery liquid up in there to boot.
Luckily, we had planned for some of this - my thin layers, not the liquid. And built in more time in this cycle for it to grow, keeping me on estrogen longer, starting our donor on her way later. The fluid (not atypical in IVF cycles) sorted itself out and reabsorbed. And the last we checked, my lining was up to 4.5 mm and counting, and attempting to get itself trilaminar (appearing on the screen as 3 distinct layers), usually a prerequisite for a successful cycle. This was about a week ago, so I am hoping everything continues to plump up. Dare I dream for 5 mm. before transfer?
Now I know, most clinics don't even think about a cycle with uteri thinner than 6 or 7. Some set the bar at 8 mm. Yes, yes, we know. That's my clinic'c preference as well. But you see, they know us and we know them on a first name basis these days. I've already earned enough frequent rider points to get two round trip tickets from my train excursions to the clinic. Some of the nurses and residents could probably pick pictures of my uterus out of a lineup. That's how often we've been hanging out there. We've already had a mock cycle earlier this year which showed that despite the thinness, everything else (luteal phases, progesterone absorption, all that) is lining up as it should.
So we are going for it.
With one embryo.
Over and out. (or should I say, up and in)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
In fact, I think most everything that I've written lately has this underlying growl to it. Like you can almost see me, face scrunched up, shoulders hunched, arms crossed, harumphing at the world.
That visual makes me laugh. And it should. Because its funny. And silly. And downright ridiculous.
I honestly don't walk around all day every day face scrunched up, shoulders hunched, arms crossed, harumphing at the world. In fact, most days I even smile and laugh. I promise.
Lot on my mind these days. And I am so sorry that you are only catching a glimpse of the piece that has me looking like a troll. Why is that the one that finds itself to print the easiest? Back. Back you ugly thing!
Here's an update on the guests or no guests debate: wrote to band and said our home was their home. They wrote back and said, thanks so much but we think we're good - staying with a member of another band we're playing with, but still can't wait to see you.
So, good news all around. Glad we invited. Gladder they said no thanks. Happy there are options; happier there are no obligations.
Many, many thanks for your input. And many, many hugs and thoughts as so many of you approach your own days ahead. Would love to hear more about how you choose to spend them.
That my mom seems to be infiltrating.
Sure, I knew she had a FB account. I didn't know that someone would actually take an active interest in showing her how to use it.
Dear young cousin, payback is a bitch.
It's not a huge problem. I've already made my account fairly squeaky clean since I decided to use it for a professional networking tool as well. But still. I mean, shit. Got a message via FB this morning that said,
"m, please give me more information about the money you are raising for cancer. What is this about?"
"Mom, love that you're interested, but what the hell are you talking about???"
And then I realized I probably have a year-old "causes" application lingering someplace on my pages that she has found. Which means she's been routing through my pages.
Like I said, it's not a big deal. At this point, we have probably had all of the outbursts and confrontations possible and are actually pretty cool with our respective selves and each other. And the things I used to worry about her knowing really don't matter any more. And yes, as M pointed out, I am sure she is having a blast, surreptitiously IM'ing her new friends while my dad sulks in front of the TV, sharing pics and bad forwarded email jokes, (Hey wait, maybe this will shrink the bad forwarded email jokes from my inbox....)
But I'm still left feeling like someone wandered into the bathroom while I was in the middle of doing my business. I hate that.
Don't you hate that?
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Hey! How are you? We're booking a show near [your city] and wanted to let you know. It's Dec. 5 at the [pretty cool pub]. Had a blast the last time we were with you. Would love to see you both again.This is from a band that we love. One whose sound is that wall of noise and distortion that somehow creates melody that I embrace. One that we cannot believe hasn't broken into the big time yet. And its true. The last time they were in our city, we had a great time. We kicked ourselves when we realized they were staying in a crap motel when we have space to spare. We promised ourselves the next time they came around, we would open our home to them. They have no idea how much their last show meant to us. Or that the last time we saw them was one of the first times we had actually emerged from the apartment in over a month.
They had no idea that our babies had just died.
They had no idea I was even pregnant. So how would they know that December 5 is such a loaded day. That is the day Isa and Jovi were born. And died. The most horrific 24 hours I have ever experienced. The day that changed our lives forever. One that we alternately try to hold forever in our memory and one we try to forget.
So, this email is simply marked as unread. And I'm feeling awful about it. It's weighing on my mind. There's no veiled "can we crash at your place?" request. There's not even an obligation to respond. But I have to. I need to.
So what's our plan? Do we set aside December 5 as a day of mourning? Write back and say, gosh guys, we won't be around. Sorry to miss you? Do we spend yet another 24 hours wallowing in our grief and self-pity?
But dudes, we do that every day. Do we really need to set aside another date on the calendar dedicated to remembering?
It's not like we are ever going to forget.
I've had this discussion with M. a few times now. And I think as the day gets closer we are on the same page on this one. What would our response be if the girls were alive? I think it would be Bring on the Fucking Band. There might have been a few moments showing off our beloved kids before shuttling them off to grandparents. If the girls were here, we would not be afraid to just live. Like we always have.
So where is it written that we need to spend their birthday bathed in tears? I'm not saying a few won't emerge. Christ, we are only human. And I do seem to be waxing nostalgic as the leaves start to fall and I'm reminded of the quiet evenings I spent pregnant last year indulging myself in take out and bad TV while M was covering local football games. Good times, man, truly good times....
But I cannot wait for some mystical sign to tell me its ok to start living again. I can't hold on to this grief-haze for the rest of my life. If I behave like a normal human being it doesn't mean I'm not hurting. And perhaps it's selfish of me to assume that others around me aren't?
On December 5th we will open our home. Open our hearts. Maybe we'll tell our friends about the year we've had. Maybe we won't. Maybe we'll confess that the time before the last time we saw them, we were in the midst of the two-week wait for the positive test that gave us the girls. So hopeful, so happy...Maybe they'll bring us that same luck this time around.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Maybe its because there is a sea of pink all around me. Pink ribbons. Pink sneakers on football players. Pink baseballs bats (phallic, no?). It seems that everything and anything that can be mutated into something pink, is. All in honor of what? Breast cancer "awareness"? And this is where the sour taste comes up in my mouth and makes me make that face. You know, the one with the eye rolling and the "oh really" and the "give me a fucking break."
Not because I discount the hundreds of thousands of women (and men!) who have had to contend with this particular brand of cancer. Or the pain they have suffered. Or the disruption of their lives that continues well into remission that can be blamed squarely on the disease.
As a cancer survivor and someone rendered infertile because of it, I get it. I so get it. Cancer sucks. Of this I am aware.
But what's WRONG with that first sentence of the previous paragraph? WHY are there hundreds of thousands of people who have to deal with this? WHY is it enough that we are aware of the situation? Because if breast cancer is predicted to take down, what is the stat now, one out of every eight of our sisters, is there anyone out there un-aware of the dangers? Yes, I know, don't smoke, don't drink too much, be good little girls, but guess what, breast cancer strikes goody two shoeses, too. Is anyone, anyone questioning other root cause(s) here? Or is it enough to blow pink balloons out of our asses?
I used to think I was the only one that made that RUFKM face with the pink. But then I ran across this amazing article by Barbara Ehrenreich in an old Harper's magazine. And yes I know its long and I'm usually not one for multiple pages, but I remember reading this for the first time years ago and shouting, YES! Fucking right on! Shaking my fists in balls of rage and wanting to go set something on fire.
Warning: she doesn't mince words. And if the following statement pisses you off, you should probably skip the link:
In the harshest judgment, the breast-cancer cult serves as an accomplice in global poisoning-normalizing cancer, prettying it up, even presenting it, perversely, as a positive and enviable experience.But seriously, I am getting worked the fuck up reading it again right now. No, listen, I changed my mind, you NEED to go read this. And then tell me if you find any similarities to other situations you are dealing with right now at this moment in your lives.
To the extent that current methods of detection and treatment fail or fall short, America's breast-cancer cult can be judged as an outbreak of mass delusion, celebrating survivorhood by downplaying mortality and promoting obedience to medical protocols known to have limited efficacy. And although we may imagine ourselves to be well past the era of patriarchal medicine, obedience is the message behind the infantilizing theme in breast-cancer culture, as represented by the teddy bears, the crayons, and the prevailing pinkness. You are encouraged to regress to a little-girl state, to suspend critical judgment, and to accept whatever measures the doctors, as parent surrogates, choose to impose.And yes I know I should be thankful to be alive. And yes, I have been told to believe that chemotherapy and radiation were my saviors. And sure, I saw the tumor shrink on the fancy X-ray machine.
But here's the thing, kids: I never felt bad before my cancer was diagnosed. I never suffered until my treatments began. And when I look down at the 10-inch scar running in a crooked line down my belly (thank you, med student who was allowed into surgery) more than just a little part of me wonders if anyone really knew what the fuck they were doing. And that wonder is intensified every time an ultrasound picks up those little surgical clips where my ovaries should be and the current med student goes, oh hmmm, that's interesting...
Ok. Now I realize this post has drifted to a place that probably makes some folks uncomfortable. I'm sorry. That really wasn't my point. Well, actually, it is. What I had started to write about was the question that I always have in my mind, "where is the line between "Awareness" and simply "being an asshole?"
This is something I've been thinking about and trying to vocalize ever since I googled my own name the other day and found (yet another) blog post by Cheryl Miller quoting me. (funny how a few phone conversations with a couple of us has given here quite a bit of material, no? Infertility! It's a gift that keeps giving!) Here's a passage:
Like most of the time when you read about yourself in print, its like, yes, sort of, but not really. Here's what really went down: break room yes. Three younger co-workers, yes. Teasing, not really. More like gentle ribbing of me and my no-nonsense at work persona and how I would be with kids. This was pre-pregnancy, pre any knowledge whatsoever that we were trying.
This conflict between privacy and exposure was something that fascinated me while interviewing the bloggers. When I first went in, I was a little skeptical about all the talk of raising awareness from these (mostly) anonymous bloggers. Many hadn't even told their families or friends. If you can’t even talk openly with the people closest to you, I thought, how are you going to educate the public at large?After talking with bloggers, I changed my mind. For one thing, my interviews made clear how difficult it is to be "out" 24/7 about your infertility. Who — and what — to tell is a question the infertile have to struggle with on a daily basis. Do you use every awkward exchange as a “teachable moment,” an opportunity to educate others about the 6.1 million people struggling with infertility? And who is appropriate to "educate": relatives you see once a year, co-workers, neighbors, total strangers who just happened to ask an innocent, but painful, question? During an interview, [m.] told me about how she was teased by co-workers who were unaware of her infertility. “Do you go into the whole story right there in the break room?” she asked me. “Or do you just let it slide?”
And you tell me, would you feel a need to stop the copy machine, turn around, dramatic pause, and proceed to make every single one of those young women, some of whom you supervise, feel like utter and absolute shit because the fact of the matter is you want more than anything the situation they think would be hilarious to see you in? Do you ruin their lunches? Do you become that person that can't take a joke and what's more, is the break room really the place you want to talk about missing ovaries and the anguish they cause you?
At that point, I chose no. But that doesn't me I always do.
Back to cancer. Back in my cancer days, me and my cancer buddies would go to this free summer camp up in the mountains. It was a blast. One day out of the week was "media day." It was the one day that local press, papers, TV stations were allowed to come bug us and get their feel good human interest, you know, "Awareness" stories.
And dudes, we ran with it. We'd place bets to see which one of us could make the pretty anchor lady cry first. We'd see how graphic we'd need to be before the camera man squirmed and looked away. And no, we were not above removing prosthetics, tricks with stumps, making broviac-hickman ports squirt, showing scars, some fresh, and pulling out hair and taking off wigs right there on camera.
Now you tell me. Was that awareness, or were we just being assholes?
These days, I see that I am not the only kukd chick that struggles with this sometimes fine line. Monica over at Knocked Up Knocked Down talks about it a little in her most recent post:
a buddy at work whose wife is 12 weeks pregnant e-mailed to see if Kev and I had talked about baby names yet. I could've just said "no" like a normal, sober, clear-minded human being. But I just had to gussy up my reply with more dramatic than that, something like this:
"No, we haven't started thinking about names, since this is our fourth pregnancy. There's a 50% chance this won't work out anyway since it's a boy, so we're just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping a living baby will come out of it. Then we'll name him."
Immediately after hitting "send," I felt bad. I wished I could have taken it back. It was like this old-me coming through all of a sudden, the gloom-n-doom me who was high on pain for a year-and-a-half, dredging it up and wearing it boldly, daring anyone to challenge it.
Why couldn't I give this guy just a simple, friendly response without bringing up that whole bitter truth? Why not just let him have his innocent and happy little e-mail exchange with a fellow expecting parent? What was I hoping for - some kind of sympathetic response? I felt like one of those people I've always been afraid to become: putting it out there all the time - I'M A DEAD-BABY MOMMA AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT! - to the point where the world grows tired of the subject, and, even worse, to the point where I'm really just clinging to this pain-crutch as an excuse to not engage in normal discourse with another human.
And like most times when I read Monica, I sit there an think, yes. Damn. I do this too. Not always. At least I try. But then I remembered an exchange on FB that just happened. Recently I took a leap and invited several of my work colleages on to my FB page. And I got this response from one of my friend requests:
i'll confirm you, but please know that i am an almost 45 year old gay jewish man. my posts are not always g-rated. i wanted you to know that from the start. i always give folks that info so that they know.Not one to be outdone, what do I do? Do I say, hey, no problem! Thanks for the heads up. I'm sorry that some of our colleagues aren't as open minded as they claim? Oh ho no! Here's me:
don't sweat it. I am a 35 yr old married atheist with two dead babies. I don't think I would qualify for a G-rating either.So, hmm. Awareness? Asshole? I honestly still haven't decided.
and here's more full disclosure: after this long and exhausting rant on awareness (what you get when I don't post for a while), some of you may recall that that really cool thing that M and I did several years back was supposedly all for Childhood Cancer Awareness. Ironic? Hypocritical? No dudes, simply a fall back. The original intent was to get a boatload of actual cash for cancer research and one local charity, but that fell through when our primary sponsor became a publicly traded company right before we set off (thus complicating and eventually nullifying the really cool plan that we had for fundraising).
So maybe that's another piece of my anti-awareness-ness. Maybe I just see it as a fallback plan, and not a plan in itself.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
"What? What's up?"
"Oh nothing. I just forgot how, how large you actually are."
Way to bust my bubble, dude. Sure, we resume our lip lock. But it's not the same. Just not the same...
Not sure where to go with this. Sure, I've been beating myself up for not getting out and moving more, finding myself literally talking myself out of going to the gym as I have bag in hand, especially since my little motivational burst a week or so ago. But when that motivational burst is immediately followed by at least a 3-lb weight gain, it's kinda hard to stay focused, 'know'I'mean?
No new cycle has started yet, but should soon. But when? When? Obviously, it makes a ton of sense for me to exercise NOW, while I can. Start stuffing M. with nuts and seeds before a drop date is scheduled....
Am I really going into this with so little hope? Am I just convinced that whatever I/we do won't make a difference? Will my attitude shift once there are real dates? Real benchmarks to reach? Is the abstract all too much for me right now?
I have this little journal - more like a random compilation of To Do lists, notes and reminders. And in it, every few pages or so, it seems I have a new list. Yoga! Run! Prenatals! Eat right! Exercise! Get your Mind Right! It's like, if I keep writing it on a new page, one day it will stick. Sometimes it does - at least enough to get one or two items checked off in a day. But not enough.
But enough for what?
Oh Da.mon. Way to be a dick.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
This morning I woke up and my back and shoulders were sore. Oh gosh, am I that stressed? No. NO. I remembered that that is what if feels like when you work muscles that have been stagnant too long. And I relished the soreness.
This morning, I glanced at Face.book. Because love it or hate it, I can't resist checking in now and then, and I saw this update from my friend H.
The morning is crisp and promising, and I'm excited for a day of breadbaking, teriyaki and grilled pineapple, loud music and a vintage apron, cocktails and company.
And smiled because it is so vintage H. And as I was envisioning H. in her apron up to her elbows in flour, sipping a cocktail, trying to decide which music to play for her company, I realized that, you know what, like all of us, H. has had a handful of really shitty things happen to her in her life. Things that have absolutely shaped the beautiful person she is now.
But those aren't the things she talks about. Those aren't the pieces of her that she shares with anyone who will listen. She'd rather tell you about the recipe she just tried, or the perfect campsite her and her husband just found, or the moment of quiet reflection she enjoyed the other morning on her little porch. Those are the things she wants you to know about her. Because they give her joy.
I need to be more like H.
I need to remember to share the good days along with the messy ones with you here. Because there definitely are some. Even when there aren't full days, there are moments. And what more do we have, really, than a collection of moments?
This afternoon, I dropped M. off at his parents and see that I have most of the day to myself. A beautiful, sunny almost-autumn day. And I will not spend it wallowing in a "this time last year...." funk. I will put a load in the laundry, take out the trash, grab my bag and head to the gym. Do I brave the crowded riverfront for a run or do I want the comfort of the treadmill? Either way, I will slide into the water when I'm done. And swim myself sore. And with each stroke, I'll reflect on some of the many, many questions I threw down here the other week like a gauntlet to myself:
How many times do I have to say "My heart is open for what comes next" until I believe it?As many times as it takes.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
So please take your invitation and shove it up your ass. I really did not need to remember the moments leading up to the death of my children. But now they are playing in a continuous loop in my brain. Nonstop. I would rather not have been reminded that you ignored our pleas, stuck us in an observation cubicle for HOURS after the midwife said don't WORRY, failed to contact ANY doctor until my husband screamed that he refused to have his babies born in a hallway.
I didn't need to recall that the care we received didn't begin until death was a foregone conclusion.
Did you really want me to Remember that we blame you? But not as much as I blame myself.
The coup de grace was the handwritten note from the hospital's grief counselor. Did you know she's been "thinking of" us and our family? Really? That's so interesting. I never would have known since this is your first contact with us in almost a year. Tell you what, don't even worry about it.
I am so filled with hate and anger this morning, I am not sure how I am going to function. But I have to. I made M promise to call me when he gets into the office because I don't trust he can either. But he has to.
And this is how we live these days.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Will try to blog properly (is that an oxymoron) later tonight. After work. After the happy hour I promised M I would take him too. After I watch the SEASON PREMIERE of Gossip Girl that I didn't even have time to watch last night.
Those of you that know me should be going, "whoa. ok. she must be serious..." and rightfully so. Who misses GG without a reason. I mean, really?
All is well. If not well right now at this moment, it WILL be well. I am willing it to be well. And I am strong willed.
Ok, see, this is why I'm not blogging right now. Because I'm not making sense.
Will talk more later. Promise.
Monday, September 7, 2009
- How are we ever going to find a house if nothing I see is bigger/nicer/better than the apartment we rent now?
- Does searching for a house now make sense, or is it completely ridiculous? Does waiting to see whether or not a child is in the future seem more prudent, or does it relegate yet one more aspect of our lives into that "wait and see" category thereby stunting any development? Keeping it static and unknown?
- Do I even want a house? If so, why? (note: so I can have a place to store a real kayak is not an adequate response)
- What is so wrong with renting? Particularly if the rental property is quite tony if I do say so myself?
- How will I reinvent my creation myth if/when I find that I have nothing in common with my birth father? When I confirm that he is far more similar to my adopted parents than I ever would have expected?
- Where did I come from?
- When will M. shake this constant state of anxiety he has placed himself in? Will it fade once his boss returns from her ill-timed honeymoon, or has he made the conscious choice to engulf himself in work indefinitely since "it's all I got."
- Does planning your wedding/honeymoon to coincide with the busiest time of the year at your office make you: a.) selfish b.) clueless c.) brilliant? Discuss.
- Will our next IVF cycle ever happen? When?
- Am I truly this unhappy in my current workplace, or have I created a scapegoat for other issues?
- Is my "one year plan" to pull myself out of my boss' (very, very large and imposing) shadow sensible and long-awaited, or terribly ill-timed and irrational?
- Can I live with being in the exact same place/position/role 10 years from now? If so, then staying will be fine.
- Why have I waited so long to question her authority? (answer: because I am lazy)
- Why have I not reached out to a.) a potential surrogate b.) the grief counselor I said I would find c.) the life/career coach my colleague highly recommended?
- am I "getting the most out of" this cycle-free time or am I simply not taking care of myself? Does this make me feel better/worse? Discuss.
- Does a bottle of wine a night between two healthy, able-bodied adults seem excessive to non-Americans? Why do I feel slightly guilty for this habit?
- If I care so little about my current job, why am I working on Labor Day? (answer: because there are some people there that I DO care about very much and to not would leave them in the lurch when I go to Delaware later this week to see my parents.)
- How, exactly, do I plan to tell my parents that I have found my birth father, spoken to him twice, and plan to see him, his sister and his mother in November?
- How weird is it that I think my birth father and my brother could be best friends?
- How should I tell my brother about finding my birth father? Should I? (yes. I think yes.) Should I do this before or after I tell my parents?
- Why is it that I think finding my birth father will bring me closer to my adopted parents rather than what they fear? How will I allay those fears?
- Why am I suddenly feeling so defensive about my birth father? My adopted parents?
- When did I phase into this latest phase of grief - the one where images and emotions from the past seem to jump out and into my mind seemingly out of nowhere and then disappear just as fast? They are nightmare visions, clear as day, and feel as if I have been punched, or like I wasn't watching where I was going and walked into a wall. They are unsettling and disturbing and I don't quit know what to make of it all. Sometimes it is an image, another time a realization.
- I cannot reminisce about my pregnancy. Right now, I have been trying to block out harder than ever the "this time last year" thoughts since last September was truly bliss. And this is so not. Is this avoidance healthy, or simply prolonging a full-on melt-down?
- Why haven't I called a grief counselor? What am I waiting for? Is it because I feel fine right now? Do I realize I do not have to be in the midst of a crisis before I reach out to find help I need?
- Why is it so hard for me to reach out?
- Why do I have to be so fucking independent? Is independent simply a euphemism for an uglier word? What would that word be?
- Why do I wince when my birth father calls me "baby"?
- Why do I see allowing someone to love me as losing or giving up something as opposed to gaining? Is this the issue?
- How many times do I have to say "My heart is open for what comes next" until I believe it?
Monday, August 24, 2009
But I wasn't doing it to be coy. Seriously, I honestly just HAD to blurt it out and I wasn't sure how to segue into that news and where to go with it all once I did. And that's still kind of where I am this morning. How much can I say here? What is "safe" info to share and what might influence future events by saying it out loud?
Bear with me people; This whole "reunification" thing, it's a bit of a mind fuck.
But wait. Stop. I'm getting ahead of myself. Because at the heart of the matter, there are some truly Perfect Moments here that I don't think will fade. Let's see if I can't round them up:
This all went down Thursday evening, just as M and I were setting down the kick ass platter of bean burritos, home made tortillas and fixins and trying to figure out which old movie to watch. I see that there's a message on my phone and who its from. Do I deal with this now, or wait until I eat? M. says, what the hell, just check it out.
Sure enough, the message is brief. "Call me back. I have news."
And so I did. And so she did.
My birth mother was located. Contacted. Said thanks, but no thanks. And for some reason, I was unfazed by that. Did I expect it? Am I simply so well prepared for disappointing news these days? Did I anticipate that better news was awaiting at the end of the sentence? No idea, really. I just kind of shrugged my shoulders, shook my head no to M. and kept on prepping my burrito.
And then the person on the phone started to chuckle as she explained to me the second reaction she received that evening. The one from my birth father. The one that resulted in tears and shouts and a YES! Please. I would love to talk to her! When??
I got a name.
I got a number.
I have two brothers.
I had an hour-long conversation with someone that I don't know very well who told me that this was something straight out of the movies. He told me he is proud of me and he loves me.
And that, my friends, is my Perfect Moment.
Yes, yes! Still many, many questions and unknowns and I am trying very hard to keep a level head about it all. Stay Calm. Carry On. But I think it is A-ok to just bask in this (not very) little piece of it all right now. Don't you?
Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than about creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. Want to see more perfect moments? Go check out Lori at Weebles Wobblog and others' perfect moments this Monday.
Friday, August 21, 2009
A fight with a credit card company resulted in me transferring that balance into far cooler and better cards - ones that give me things for the debt in incur. Take THAT Bank of America. Hmph!
Obviously, I'm feeling a little empowered by that.
A second look at a house that I really liked (that we learned was under contract pending a home inspection) revealed all kinds of reasons why that house is not the house for us. Two words: Asbestos. Termites. So, absolutely no need to pine over a house that we could have had but were too slow to make an offer. We didn't want it anyway.
Oh what? I didn't mention we were house hunting? Well sure. Why the hell not. It's something to do, right? No hurry. No rush. One of those, if the perfect place pops up maybe we'll think about it kind of searches. But one that has me taking far too many peeks at www.realtor.com nonetheless.
Some body images and self-loathing placed on hold last night after I made some phenomenal plays at our kickball game. I was this close to having a double play all by myself. Note to self: aim for the legs.
Did I say that last paragraph out loud? Shit. Ok, fine. Don't laugh. Our friend volunteered to be captain on a team for this kickball league in our city because there was this cute dude she liked that also wanted to play and she was desperate and we said sure why the hell not and after M. learned the hard way that he is absolutely in no way shape or form to say a WORD about my speed or lack thereof when running we have actually had a pretty fun time. Phew. There. Confession out.
And yes, someone I love very, very much told me (in the best way possible) that she is expecting. And yes, that brought up some things that I thought I was handling but apparently I am not. But (and L. I know you are reading) I LOVE YOU and I love that you told me and we will celebrate your new one together. Don't even sweat it. What I hate the most is that you had to think about me when you need to be thinking about your self and keeping your lunch down.
But, but wait. There's more.
I don't even need to talk about my frustration with the adoption agency that is helping me find my birth parents, or how I felt they were totally brushing me off or any of that. Because it doesn't matter.
Because I talked to my birth father last night.
Friday, August 14, 2009
And that statement, even in its completeness and all-encompassing-ness, is still an understatement.
Some days, what I resent the most (besides the absence of my daughters and the sadness behind my husband's eyes) is this new anxiety I feel when it comes to any social situation even remotely out of my control or comfort zone. And that zone seems to be getting smaller and smaller.
And this makes me crazy. I still shudder when I think of the paralysis, the Fear that came over me the first few times M. pulled me out of the apartment after those dark days. "Pulled" is not just a creative literary turn here, it was a physical act. And I cried. And I shook. And a little bit of that still happens every time I walk out of my fucking door into something where there are unknown variables, people I might not know, conversations I might not be able to control.
What the Fuck.
New things! New people! New situations! Unknowns! Dudes, this shit used to be my wheelhouse. My comfort zone. As a social butterfly, my wings were huge. Overpowering at times. And now...
Back in the early days of our relationship, I had to get used to M.'s social anxieties. If I ever committed us to a social event with folks or at a place or to do things we kinda knew but not that well, he would get so upset. Like, physically upset. Like, sometimes would have the runs so bad we would actually end up canceling because he could not leave the house. On the days we were able to make it, as soon as we arrived at the dreaded event, M. would transform. He was (and is) a Professional Conversationalist. He has this amazing gift of making you feel good when he talks to you. You realize that you are talking to someone that has managed to pull from you things you want to talk about, opinions that really matter to you. You would never know that you were conversing with someone who was literally shitting their pants they were so un-eager to be there.
Sometimes this quirk was funny to me. Other times it absolutely enraged me. I would shout "sabotage!" He would plead, "please believe me, this is out of my control." His way of dealing with it was to be absolutely noncommital to every invite. Maybe. We'll see. I'll have to check..... This would make me even madder. He couldn't see why. His rationale: There are no expectations. If you show up, it is a pleasant surprise, as opposed to anger or disappointment if you say you are going to be someplace and then bail.
Under promise. Over deliver.
Now I get it. And I wish I didn't.
Friday, August 7, 2009
It's ok. I'm ok. I think we are going to be ok. What other choice do we have?
Today feels so anticlimatic. Yesterday feels so far away. I feel so removed from the shaking, sobbing, full of snot, can't even talk mess I fell into in the little cubicle. Fuck. Where did that come from?
Today, I am back in front of the computer, working. Ok, kind of half-assed working. Picking off all low-hanging fruit in order to end the day with some sense of accomplishment. Thinking of new ways to spend the now no holds barred weekend: cook, drink, fuck, drink, kayak, run, drink.
Yes, that sounds ok to me. At least for now.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
As so many of you unfortunately know, making the thaw does not necessarily mean turning into embryos that are ready to grow and flourish. Three thawed. None grew. Nurse tried to reach us all morning to: a.) tell us before we started the drive and b.) to be sure she was the one to tell us. And these are just 2 reasons why she is awesome.
But, well fuck, we were already dressed and on our way out the door, both of us had called off sick, and the prospect of sitting at home today sounded beyond awful, so we got in the car and drove to the clinic anyway. Not for a transfer, but for a review of any donor profiles they might have.
Lots of tears. From us, from Nurse (who frankly, looked worse than we did), from the financial advisor who told Nurse she looked like shit and wanted to know why, from the grief counselor who sat with us for most of the day. None from our RE. She gave us what we needed, which was hope and encouragement to keep moving forward. If there was any consolation to be had, at least we didn't spend the day feeling alone.
Its funny, this is pretty much the same cast of characters we spend our very first day with, back at square one. And in a sense, we are back there again. But this time with a lot more baggage.
We are home now. Drying our eyes. Thinking about what next. No donors in sight. Lots cycling now though at our clinic, so there may be some options opening up later. Later. It's all about waiting, isn't it?
If I sound calm and rational right now, it is simply because I am all cried out. M. too. I think we dumped off most of our despair and feelings of hopelessness with the counselor. Now we are just looking forward to dinner - like the very first day, we spent the morning on the road, the day in a cubicle and the early evening in traffic. All on an empty stomach. So, I am clearing off the little coccoon I had made on the bed filled with knitting, magazines and such, tidying up the house since there is no bedrest in sight and getting ready to roll some tortillas. It is all I can do not to pull every last radish from the garden.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
And yet this chubby, glasses-wearing little girl loved her all the same.
Mrs. Clark who broke into sobs at her teacher's desk when she found out her best friend, our art teacher, died of a blood clot while she was exercising when she was pregnant. And she was given the task of breaking the news to us. Sobs. Total body shaking sobs. When I think of raw grief, this is often the image that comes to my mind. My first real exposure to it. And to the understanding that it will come up and wallop you when you think you have your shit together and there really isn't shit you can do about it. Your roomful of 4th graders will just have to wait until this thing that you have no control over courses through your body and deposits itself in tear all over your daily planner. I digress.
Mrs. Clark is on my mind this morning because her favorite expression is mine today.
Embryologist called. All 3 survived the thaw. Wait. Let me say that again. All 3 survived the thaw. We are on schedule for noon tomorrow.
Say it with me now: oh! my-a-starrrrrrrrrs!!!!
And yes, as so many of you wise, wise ladies discussed, gently suggested in your comments, we have changed our plans and are considering transferring as many that look viable. Now, that could mean there could be some tough decisions to make in the future. But that is the road we are going to take. As I mentioned to nutmeg96 in an email this morning, I never thought I could manage even facing a decision like that, but then again, I never thought I could manage a lot of other things either.
The action plan as it stands - wait and see what tomorrow brings, review the embies, see how they are progressing, have a nice long conversation with our RE (all with a full bladder, not that easy to do) and take it from there. Be thankful. Take nothing for granted.
Oh. My. Stars.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I understand that I am supposed to "be fastidious" about thinning the shoots, about pulling many out to give the remaining few a chance to thrive and grow. I know that too many shoots means not enough dirt and nutrients and good stuff for everyone. I get that.
But I wince every time I pull one out of the container. When I feel the tug of the root before it yields to my hand without much of a fight. I look at it and think, "but what if that was the one that would have been the best radish of them all? Now it doesn't have any chance at all. What have I done?"
I spend far too much time perseverating over which shoots stay and which have to be ok with the short time they've had in the sun. The amount of time I spend bending over the flower boxes on my tiny balcony is ridiculous.
Does anyone who does not live with infertility get this? Anyone?
It's Sunday afternoon and I am restless. I wore myself out yesterday but now I'm facing a bit of a lull. And lulls are dangerous. We had planned to kayak today but the clouds are unpredictable enough to give us some pause. I had wanted one last day on the river, one more push of the paddles before...
But instead I'll try to fill the day with more cooking, perhaps one more glass of wine, more last minute errands, more things that require heavy lifting because...
We are aiming for a transfer on Thursday.
There. I've said it. Progesterone and shots begin on Tuesday with my MIL getting the honor of the inaugural thrust since we'll be away together at a conference out of town. We are aiming for a transfer on Thursday, of one of the three last and final embryos we have on ice. Provided that one makes the thaw.
You would not believe the sleep I have lost this week. The initial report was that we had 2 frozen in one straw, one frozen solo. That had been the info we had been assuming for months. So, which to thaw? How many to thaw? If we only thaw Han Solo and he doesn't grow, we are out of luck, we'd have to stop the cycle, wait for a bleed, try again next month. If we thaw the duo, and only one thaws, choice is made. We use that and still have one remaining for a future attempt. If we thaw the duo and neither thaw, back to square one. If we thaw the duo and both make the thaw and seem to be growing equally well, we will need to choose, because a bare minimum of three separate doctors have recommended that we transfer only one embryo. Only one. Never mind that my lining is not the lush carpet of endometrium it once was. The "risk" of twins is something no one wants to face again. And that brings about a whole layer of sad I don't want to talk about right now, so I'll point you to what Bluebird says about that.
So which will it be? which if/then pairing do we opt for? Which roll of the dice makes the most sense?
Turns out my insomnia has been for naught. Nurse called on Friday to inform us that prior reports were wrong. We have three frozen in a bundle. Choice is made. We thaw three. We choose one. Hoping that one makes the thaw. If there are more, a choice must be made. I just hope we choose the right one.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Unimaginably, embarrassingly, pathetically sorry for myself. It is beyond pathetic.
And I hate it. Cue in the self-loathing.
I hate writing about that. I hate feeling it. I hate anyone knowing or even sensing that it's happening.
Cuz I ain't looking for pity. From others. Most of all from myself.
Confession: I have a hard time accepting random acts of kindness. Because sometimes I cannot tell the difference between that, and pity. I am still angry about the free ice cream from the cashier at the Ponderosa who knowingly looked at my balding head, my 12-year old face and conspiratorily whispered, "go ahead. You can have it. Don't worry about it..." Angry at her for thinking her fucking soft serve would make things better. Angry at myself for taking it.
See? See how ugly this is? You don't want to read this. I don't want to write it.
I don't even want to mention the shock and joy that M and I felt this morning when someone said, "measuring....7.2"
Because before it even registered, it was followed with a, "oh wait. hang on. I think that was just the angle. No, no, more like 4.8."
But it did. It registered enough. The hope sparked long enough for it for it to really hurt when it was quashed.
Suckers. That's what we are.
And then it all starts again. M and I laughing it off. Playing it cool. In truth, this isn't a bad read. It isn't anything other than what we expected it to be. In fact, it might even be better than what I expected for such a brief time on estrogen compared to the month-long session I had to get to 4.9 for the mock cycle.
Because, you see, our expectations are rock bottom these days. But still.
And then I remember the days when I trudged back to the train station crying to M. about a 6.2 or a 7 mm lining. Crying because we would have to wait a few more days, take another u/s...
Fuck me. Those were the golden days.
And then I remember how god damned hopeful we were back then. How we felt we had a chance. A real chance. And then I acknowledge that we will never. Ever. Feel that way again.
Cue the self-pitying, follow up with self-loathing, And running after it comes the "stop blubbering you stupid fucking baby. are you the only person in the world with problems??" inner voice.
So this is why I haven't been writing. I've been trying to handle all of this. Keep it under wraps. Work it out with yoga, breathing, acupuncture, other things. Anything other than thinking about how good we once had it. If only for a few moments. For the most part, honest to goodness, it has been working. I felt calm getting in the car this morning. I felt ok this week. I have been repeating to my body over and over again, "it's ok. It's cool. I'm not mad at you. We're ok. I love you. Don't worry." Every moment I think about it I whisper to myself, "My heart is open for what comes next. My heart is open...." hoping that I will convince myself.
Something has to be said for persistence, right?
Monday, July 6, 2009
From a vacation that was everything a vacation should be. We are relaxed. Renewed. Reminded that yes, life can be ok. Reminded that hell yes, sometimes you just laugh because you want to. And it is ok. Not a snarky, self-depreciating gallows humor type hah, but a Laugh. A full-bellied, eyes-tearing, did I just snort? kind of laugh.
We remembered that life can be fun. And that we are fun. And that we are most fun when we are together. I was sad to see M go to work this morning. Not because I know we're both in for a doozy of a day, but because I wouldn't be spending the day with him.
Besides a quick check at the doppler radar to plan our days and a 5 minute morning scan of work email to make sure nothing too too crazy was happening, this morning will be the first action our computers have seen in over a week. I am beyond pleased with myself that I didn't twitter, blog or email my break away. Which has been known to happen.
Today is a new day. Lots of work to do - both professionally and personally. But I feel ready.
Howdy y'all. I'm back.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Two days later, M moved in (much to the chagrin of my Polish landlady. That is putting it kindly). 11 years later, multiple countries, many many adventures later, here we are.
I can still remember what I was wearing, what he was wearing, the flower he held (bird of paradise. what?) which made me assume he wasn't the American I was supposed to show around town. What American thinks to bring flowers? I can remember that by mid evening, I was interested enough to get slightly ruffled when he called my friend Jowi (yes, the first one) "baby" even though we were all more than tipsy and he was promptly and sweetly rebuffed.
I remember the strangest feeling of inevitability I have ever felt. I wasn't quite sure whether I even liked this dude, but I KNEW that this was the person I would be spending the rest of my life with.
Never mind it took us 4 more years to get married and that was done, really, on a whim because we both assumed I was going to get a foreign service gig that I didn't. We joke that I totally scammed him into it.
Sorry dude. Dinner was nice though, wasn't it? The honeymoon too.
Our relationship is a wonderful one. But, as Angie said so well about a different (but related) topic: "It is not fucking easy. And it is not fucking luck." We work hard every day to love and be loved. And actually, it was the latter that I had a hard time with in the beginning of our bond. "That guy that hurt you? That's not me." Was nearly a daily mantra for M.
And now, we work hard every day to keep each other from falling into the abyss. Because it is right there. Right. There. Sometimes it feels as if our toes are slipping and the other person's shirt is sliding out of our sweaty hands and perhaps in trying to save one of us both of us are going to fall, but so far, we are ok.
And here is some mercy:
Yesterday, we finally received a call with the results from the endometrial biopsy.
Shockingly, I was in phase.
Which doesn't erase the fact that my lining is thinner than they would like and its not the trilaminar beauty you want to see before going into a transfer. It does not take away the fact that my odds of miscarriage or pre-term labor and delivery are high, IF we even reach a BFP. It does not give us more than the 3 embryos we have. It does not make things all better.
But it sure as hell helps.
We now have the green light to move forward with an FET.
Which we will do. Right after a spur of the moment vacation.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Today is M's birthday. Please let it be a good one. Some surprise presents this morning softened the start but I can sense he's apprehensive. Slightly unsettled. Putting on a brave face.
The first words out of his mouth this morning were, "I'm sorry I don't make so much money."
He is finally in a place where he enjoys what he does, is invested in the things he creates on a daily basis and somehow that's not enough? Now somehow funds are an issue, when they have never been? Ever? We are in a far better fiscal place (still not great but at least we have a plan) than ever before and cash is his concern?
I seriously doubt it.
But with fatherhood on hold, Father's Day looming and ESPN playing that fucking wiffleball-kids and dads in the backyard-these are priceless moments-reminding men to play with their kids promo Every Fucking Minute when the remote is nowhere to be found, well, I am guessing an existential crisis could be brewing.
Dear ESPN: Please stop acting like you care, you Disney shills.
Dear powers that be: Please cut my honey some slack.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Did you know that? I didn't. But now I do. I am a North Jersey girl through and through (ok, the north part is pure speculation at this point, but we are pretty good at geography and ethnic communities and by process of elimination we are pretty certain its north Jersey.)
Wait. Stop. Let me back up.
I received my first little packet of info from CSS today. The one that contains my non-identifying information. Most of which I already had, but some that I didn't. So, a lot of good news there: 1. nothing was inconsistent with the birth story I have always been told (parents = super young, family = super Catholic) 2. I now know more about my birth grandparents and aunts (2) and uncles (2) and WHERE I AM FROM.
Can you imagine what this means to me?
I have been on cloud 9 since I ripped open the envelope yesterday after work. I have been composing this blog post in my head since then (although its all coming out in a jumble now). I went to bed and woke up this morning HAPPY. Can you believe that? Happy. The happiest I have been in over six months. My soul feels lighter. I feel physically lighter. Because I know where I am from.
This could not have come at a better time. Our infertility and loss and continued bad news on the future fertility front has all been culminating into a pretty substantial identity crisis for me over here. Who am I again? What did I do before trying to trick my body into things it doesn't do on its own? What will I do with my life if it is one that doesn't include children? What was the focus of my life all those years before we even thought children were a possibility? Who am I again? Surely I am more than my lady parts, but what is that more?
Dudes, I am a Jersey girl. That is a start.
Now, I know there is still a loooong road ahead. One that may or may not lead to communication with my birth parents. And based on what I am reading, my prediction is that my birth mother and father will probably want to talk with me (I hope), my birth families, not so much. Now more than ever I am fairly certain that my birth parents had little say over my adoption. My birth mom was shipped off to her grandparents until I was born.
Which is how I ended up here.
So much more to say about all of this, but its going to have to wait. The work emails and skypes have started, two of my co-workers are out of state and freaking out about various things (M! L! Relax!) so I should probably begin my day.
Just know that I am starting it with a smile on my face and a peace that is entirely new.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Have you ever gotten yourself so worked up as a kid that all of a sudden you are sobbing/sniffling/gasping/hiccuping and trying to talk at the same time? Like when your best friend got six cabbage patch dolls from all of her grandparents on her 6th birthday and you didn't have even one and she was a spoiled snot and didn't even deserve them and you were just incensed at the injustice of it all and you ended up getting spanked by your mom because you were being such a brat and embarrassing her and then got yanked out of the house all the time screaming/sobbing:
"Bu-ut (wheeze) it's (gasp) just (SNORT) not (hiccup) FAAAA-IIIIIIII-YERRRRRRRRR......." as you were dragged down the driveway to the car.
Hypothetically, of course.
Well, um, ahem. Maybe I had one of those days yesterday. (insert embarrassed face here).
Yes, I am fairly certain I suffered an anxiety attack of my own making but thankfully the story by S. reminded me that perhaps going to the emergency room is not the best plan of action. So I didn't. But honestly, the panic attack was small peanuts compared to the snot-fest I was when M. finally got home.
He just walked into it.
And after a few moments in his arms and on the couch, he wisely led me OUT of the house. Because he knows I can't stand crying in public (far too vain) and I'm guessing he couldn't figure out another way to get me to stop.
And he listened and he tried to sympathize and then he finally said,
"Look. It is not your grief or your sadness that is consuming you. Because I have that too. It is some kind of raging anger and hate that is eating you up. m., you are hurting yourself with your hate! What is going on here???"
I mean, he said a lot more than that. Some of it nice. Some of it not so much. Some of it that started the tears up all over again. But that is the part I remember.
and then he said,
"You can't hold this kind of hate and be happy at the same time. You need to decide which one you want. You can't have both. So, which one is it going to be?"
And then, we both sat down to watch TV and took a high powered ibuprofin (left over from the last hysteroscopy. holla) because we managed to collide heads when giving the PIO shot last night. (don't ask. I am still shocked M. doesn't need stitches) and promptly fell asleep. Exhausted.
This shit wears me out.
And so, today is a new day. And today I am trying, trying, trying to choose happy.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Why are you choosing to search? I know what it is like to lose a daughter and to live with that loss every day. I would like to bring some peace and some closure to my birth parents, if I am able.
What do you expect your birth parents to be like? Thoughtful, intelligent, wise, funny, sarcastic.
Is there anything else you would like to share? I would like my birth parents to know I have never had anything but love and respect and admiration for them. That is still how I feel. There were times in my life when I was angry - not because I was adopted - but because I often see things so differently from my adopted family. Now that I am older, I think I understand this can be the case in any family.
When our daughters died, all I wanted in life was to see them again. If they (magically) appeared at my door 30 years from now I would simply be overjoyed at knowing they were ok.
I want my parents to know that I am ok.
Six full months after Isa and Jovi were born. Nearly six months after I requested the forms. Months after I had a painfully frank conversation with the woman from C*tholic Ch*rities who called to check to see if I had received them and if I had an questions ("maybe I just have a problem giving you more of me than you already have. Maybe I don't want you to know anything about me. Wasn't having the power over where to place me enough for the organization?") Poor woman. She got an earful. She shouldn't have asked.
After all of that, I realized that not starting with the place that actually does have names on file (even though they won't give them to me) made no sense. Principles be damned. Why am I making this harder than it already is?
I filled out the damn forms.
Adoption records in my state are sealed and despite the hard work of many advocacy associations, there is no ability for adoptees to pull up their records besides working directly with the agency that have them up in the first place, or a court order, and even then, judges are testy and will only allow non-identifying information out unless you've got a helluva good reason for more. (I have a right to know who I am and where I came from does not cut it.)
We won't talk about the forces that were behind closing the loophole that existing until the early 80s that many adoptees were able to use to get their birth info. We won't mention the conflict I feel writing a check to the place that produces nothing but bile and resentment from me. And we won't even mention the existential crisis and tear-fest the first question caused yesterday. (Describe myself? I am a mother who is mourning. I am someone who used to be happy every day and now I am sad and get even sadder thinking about how much I hate to be sad. I am a shell of the person I used to be.....) No, best not to talk about that.
Let's talk about the fact that after all my talk, I finally put the wheels in motion.
I filled out the damn forms.
(and yes, I mailed them too. Smarty pants)