Saturday, February 28, 2009

2 Years? And She's Still Talking??

I turned on my computer this morning and noticed I had this blank reminder on my computer. Just a little tag reminding me to remember. It took me a minute and then I did.

Today is my 2-year blogoversary.

HFS. Holy. F*cking. Shit. Two years? Two years.

I'm still feeling quiet (but hopeful) so instead of getting too wordy, I think I'll just point you to a pretty decent summary of where we've been recently. And let you know how things went yesterday:

successful surgery.
all "retained tissue" removed.

Now how fucking cool is that? It is great news. Really great news! It's like after weeks and weeks of stress. After several really hard conversations with M. After more marital and mental stress than I can ever, EVER recall, we can breathe a little sigh of relief. Of course, there's the little issue of getting pregnant that remains, but now we know it is still a possibility.

And that is a fucking big deal.

I'm still trying to get my head around it. It's like I spent so long resigning myself to this particular future, and now I don't have to. At least not yet. It's like bracing yourself for the punch that didn't connect, but you're still there, face scrunched, teeth gritting, waiting for it. I need to unclench my teeth.

And get ready for the next round.

Which will probably happen in a couple of months - after I get this balloon out of my cooch, do about a month of estrogen to heal my endometrium, get some sort of scan to make sure everything is clean and clear (maybe an HSG, maybe a sono, so many choices....) and then have a "normal" period. Then we try again.

It's funny. When I first started blogging, I couldn't really understand the women who were on their 6th, 7th, 8th IVF attempt. I didn't get that the closer you get to having a baby in your arms, the more desperately you want to try to get there again. No, I never thought we would get lucky in one go. But I also didn't see this journey stringing out this long either. Not without something to show for it. Now I am just thankful for the opportunity to be able to try again.

And speaking of being addicted to hope, Tertia's book So Close: Infertile and Addicted to Hope
is finally available in the States. Mel is holding a virtual Book Shower for her. Me, I am waiting patiently for my copy to arrive in the mail.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Don't Want to Talk About It

One of the problems with having such a wonderful circle of support in real life that are used to being pretty well informed is just that. There is an expectation to keep everybody in the loop.

And I have been feeling very quiet these days. Protective. Not all that willing to share. Because there's not a whole helluva lot of good news, ok? And we are still in that place where if you wake up and can sense that today might be an ok, maybe even good day, you just don't want to do a damn thing to jinx it. Or shift it. Or alter that very, very precarious wind of emotion that you know could easily shift on its own, without prompting.

I've already mentioned that the one thing that I used to have going for me, a clean and clear uterus, is no longer that thing. So there is surgery scheduled this month. And it could be no big deal. Or it could be a very big (you may not be able to get pregnant again. Ever) big fucking deal.

And there is no way of knowing until we get there.

And yes, I have already ruined my own day just talking about it.

Retained tissue and/or scarring from a D&C. Typical after-effects of a missed miscarriage, pre-term delivery, or abortion. None of which I ever, ever wanted.

Surgery could remove the placental tissue. A dose of estrogen could heal the lining. We could be off to the races as early as another month. Or it could find my uterine walls have fused together with scarring, which can also be cut apart, might heal. And may also grow back together again. Meaning the words get uttered, you may want to discuss a gestational carrier in the future.....

And listen, I am so excited for so many of my blogger friends who are on that route now. But I don't have the luxury of thinking about a piece of me growing in someone else. I don't have the comfort of knowing that I would still be a very big part of the equation. I don't have that. Being able to carry my baby, to nurture it with my body, soothed me and made donor eggs so much more palatable. No, it wouldn't be my eggs, but I would still be there.

I am not ready to no longer be a piece of the equation. Someone else's eggs, growing in someone else's body. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing for me to hold on to. This is not a conversation I can have with myself. Not one that my husband can bear. Not yet.

We are trying to stay positive, and on most days, are pretty successful (or at least fake it pretty well). But talking about these things out loud brings back more emotions than we can navigate sanely. Anger, grief, love, frustration, hurt. Hurt. Mostly, it hurts.

And does it help to wrap it tight. Shove it in a little space in the back of my mind and not let it out? Yes. As a matter of fact, it does. So, please, just for now, please let me.

It is not my intention to shut people out, or be ungrateful for love. Or to try and hide what it happening. I am just trying to get through to the next point. And if I start to talk about the what ifs, I can't breathe. I simply can't breathe.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday: (Assisted) Gratitude

Have you ever started reading a blog post and within the first sentence, the first words, you find yourself going, Yes! Yes! That is it! That is how I am feeling right now in this moment. And you wonder how this person that you have never meant is somehow existing in that same state that you thought (selfishly perhaps) only existed in your brain?

Bluebird's post was one of the first I read this weekend. And I was so overwhelmed with empathy that I had to stop and read it a few more times to stop projecting and to appreciate her words. And I did. And I do. Listen. She says:
I love our babies. I love them more every day. I didn’t realize that was possible, and it surprises and overwhelms me.

I used to just think of what we’d lost, but now I think of them. My heart feels like its going to burst, and my eyes automatically well up. I’ve been back at work for a month now, and I’ve cried more this week than the three previous weeks combined.

But sometimes now there’s also a slight smile that accompanies the tears.
And I remembered these words as I decided to go out with a friend Friday night. Decided to shed my hairshirt and slip on a sassy top and boots and head into a smoky bar to hear our friends play loud, loud music.

And I remembered Bluebird's words, and I also thought of Dana at Probable Improbabilities and this wonderful knowledge she shared a few weeks ago. When I read this the first time, I thought the timing couldn't have been more perfect for me. But I find, as days go on and I find myself sometimes slipping into sad for too long, or angry at myself for not giving the girls their proper alloted amount of time in my brain on any given day, I keep going back to this concept, this idea:
A lecturer ...raised a glass of water and asked 'How heavy is this glass of water?' Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, 'The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.' He continued, 'And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on.''

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.
I thought of Bluebird, and I thought of Dana and I thought of Isa and Jovi as I enjoyed the sun of an unusually warm February day Saturday running errands with my radio turned loud. I thought of all of these people as I picked M up early for work and we decided to go out again Saturday night - enjoying being with other people and people-watching and just reveling in the human experience that happens when the clouds clear and the cold fades and there is warm in the air, if only for a moment. And I smiled.

And I stayed smiling as I took a long walk along the river to the cherry grove where we are going to plant 2 flowering cherry trees for the girls once the spring really arrives. And it was impossible not to smile back at people who are smiling at you. Once again, it was so wonderful to be out among people, so many people walking and running and appreciating the pause in the cold and rain and snow.

And I got home just in time to read Mo's Sundays of Grace post and found myself once again going, Yes! Yes! That is it! That is how I am feeling right now in this moment. So thankful for the moments outside, feeling the sun and the air on a beautiful day, so grateful for friends and laughter, so appreciative that, at the end of the day, I am still cancer-free and I cannot ever stop being grateful for that. Not even when I place the infertility blame square on those shoulders. The fact remains: these shoulders are cancer-free.

So here I sit. My weekend is waning. Just a few more moments to go. But Monday morning, I will have a moment to reflect on what a wonderful, blessed and gratitude filled weekend it really was. Thank you, bluebird, Dana, and Mo for shaping this moment.


Go visit Lori from Weebles Wobblog, founder of Perfect Moment Mondays to read where she and others found their moments this week.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Taxed by Taxes and Other Things

Dear IRS:

I appreciate that you are so kind as to let me "claim" my daughters on my income tax this (although, frankly, I think it blows that you don't extend the same courtesy to mothers who children were born still). But I am wondering why you need the social security numbers of Iso.bel and Jo.vita? I am wondering what about that big, all caps "DEAD" where their SS# should be on my eFile (thanks for the auto-fill HR makes additional information necessary? You must be sticklers for it, because after hours of chronicling my medical receipts and donations, it seems that I can no longer continue any further with my return. At least not with the program I am currently using.


So, off I go to the Social Security office on Monday to inquire nicely where the cards we requested 8 weeks ago today are. Did someone make a decision not to send them, so as not to offend the grieving parents? Goddess forbid someone acknowledge their existence without prompting. Did they somehow get lost therefore explaining why they haven't appeared after the usual 3 week processing period in my state? Or is this more like the situation with the birth certificates where things usually processed automatically require my actually asking for them, you know, to make sure we really, REALLY want them? I guess we'll see.

But the trip to the SS office on Monday will have to wait until after a more pressing issue: first, I need to schedule some surgery to get this chunk of something out of my uterus.

Yesterday's HSG, while far less painful than the first one way back when (something about childbirth loosens things up down there), didn't exactly give me the pictures I wanted. There is a pretty large (think a good 25% size of my uterus) mass in there that could be:
  1. scarring from the D&C needed to remove the placentas after the pre-term delivery,
  2. "retained tissue" - as in, pieces of placenta that never got removed (my doc's guess), or
  3. a combination of the above.
Whatever it is, it can't stick around.

The procedure is minor, the same process (more or less) for any of the options. Outpatient surgery. I get to walk around with an inflated balloon up my cooch for about a week (to maximize healing and give everything space to get better) and then follow everything up with 4 weeks of estrogen. After a flush of that new post-op lining (read: a period to rival all others) and a quick scan to see what's what, if everything is clear, we'll go for IVF#4 (FET#3).

I don't mind prolonging our next attempt if it means taking the time to make sure everything is as good as it can possibly be before we unfreeze any embryos. But this complication does feel a bit like a kick in the gut.

My acupuncturist said to me this morning - don't see this as a delay; see it as giving your body more time to heal. Why do you forget that you only recently gave birth? Give things time to get back into their rightful places. Give you mind more time to be peaceful.

Ok. I will try to be peaceful.

After I give the social security office a piece of my mind.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Better. Today is better. For both of us. Yes I know it's only 9:23 a.m. But I can tell.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hair Trigger

Just FYI.

Everything today is making me cry. Ask me how I am = I will cry. Give me a hug because you haven't seen me since before Xmas = Tears. Inquire as to what I am listening to on my mp3 player = yep. sniff. snivel. Really doesn't matter. If I have to open my mouth, my tearducts respond. Sh*t. Keep it together, girl. I really didn't wake up this way. It just happened. It just happens.

And you know what is worse? What can possible be worse than feeling like you want to scream/cry/shout/lash out/throw something? Seeing your partner in the same predicament. This is what breaks my heart.

M is a mess. At least he was this morning. As usual, I couldn't determine if it was work/life/missing girls or a combination. Even before the days of attempted babymaking, M would get a little pocket of frustration/ennui and the like that we would have to deal with every few months or so - I am pretty sure I've talked about this before. So its not a new phenomenon. But it is harder now. Much harder. He often beats himself up because he feels like the job he is in does not coincide with where he should be, or where he thinks people think he should be given his education, opportunities, etc.

He often forgets that neither of us chose a straight career path. We spent the last decade doing pretty much what the f*ck we wanted. We avoided 9-5 jobs. Defiantly so. I happened to fall into my current job. M took a while longer, only currently figuring out a way to get paid for the things he does so well. So, no, neither of us are lighting the world on fire with our career trajectory. We're getting there, but we're a little late. M. is now trying to come to grips with the fact that he is one of the older members of his team (in an industry that skews pretty young, if you ask me). He plagues himself with this idea that he should be more ambitious, should care, should see work as more than something you have to do to get health insurance. He thinks he should be someplace else.

I asked, as I often do, tell me then about this mythical position that you think you should have. Tell me what you think you should be doing.

"I think I should be a father."

And after I caught my breathe I responded. Yes. Yes I do too.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Foot in Mouth Disease

Karma is a bitch.

I have been so over-sensitived, so hyper-aware of things said and not said in my presence lately that I have begun to completely doubt my own words.

I have never never had a problem with expressing myself. Saying or writing what I mean when I mean it. But yesterday I found my myself writing, erasing, writing again, deleting, scratching things out throwing them away and trying again just trying to convey the most basic of human emotions to people.

It just feels like so much of what I would usually say can be re-interpreted, misinterpreted, misread based on the fact that we have recently lost our girls.

For example:

My co-worker was in a pretty horrendous car/tractor trailer accident Friday morning. Her car was totaled, dragged across the highway. She is home with a fractured wrist. She's brand spanking new to our workplace, she started just a few days before I took my extended leave so we haven't had too much time to hang out yet. But I wanted to send her a quick get well card just to let her know I was thinking about her. I found myself writing something like, "so glad to hear that you aren't more hurt than you are..."

Scratch that. Delete. That implies that her current level of hurt is ok. No no no. Ok try again. "Just remember, things could always be worse..."

And then I thought, you know, if I was laying on my couch, icing my aching arm, stressing about how the hell I am going to get by without a car and no sick time accrued at my brand new job, I would probably punch whoever told me "things could be worse" with my good arm. AND there could be some interpretation that implies that I am using my own situation to trump hers - you think you have it bad.... No. No. No! That is not the intent. Scratch that. Delete. I tossed that card out too and just ended up writing some generic, "Get better soon! Thinking of you." And left it at that.

Example #2:

A friend IRL just gave birth to a healthy baby girl after a pretty grueling and scary nine-week strict hospital bedrest stay. I was commenting on her blog yesterday and what I wanted to say was congratulations! 9 weeks is a bitch. But you made it! You both made it.

But then I was struck once again, with, oh gosh, I don't want that last sentence to be seen as "you both made it out so 9 weeks really isn't a big deal at all because at least you have a baby..." Because that is NOT what I mean! I deleted the last sentence. What I mean is, I am really not sure how well I would have held up spending 2 months in the hospital and you are brave and strong and after all of that I am so truly happy that you and your new little girl are ok.

So, um, nutmeg, I hope you're reading....

Example #3:

Writing a sympathy card to M's 2nd cousin who just lost his 90+ year old father. My first line, We are so sorry for your loss. That! After all my bitching about death meaning different things to different people. So I blathered on about how we don't really lose love, we just hurt because the person we loved isn't here in the flesh anymore and on and on like that. This one actually turned out ok, I think, because I know the recipients well enough that they could tolerate my scratch outs and rephrasings and probably figure out what I meant to say in the first place.

Phew. This is exhausting.