Thursday, September 30, 2004

lessons from school

Part of my duties at The School entail running the library for the 3rd through 6th graders. Today I had a fifth grade class and read to them from "Blubber" before letting them look for books on their own to check out.

While everyone else was looking at books, two girls came up to me and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I told them, no, I don't have a boyfriend, but I do have a husband. I'm married.

They looked at each other and one of them asked if I wanted to have a baby.

Desperately, I thought to myself, but only said, "Someday" out loud.

"Do you want a boy or girl?"

"I don't know. I said. It doesn't really matter. How about you? If you were going to have a baby, would you want a boy or a girl."

"A healthy baby," one of them answered. And the second one chimed in, "One with 5 fingers on each hand, not six"

And the first one went on,"and with only one head, not three. And two eyes."

"And one stomach."

"And two ears."

They went on and on listing all of the possible body parts that a potential baby could be born with.

The conversation struck me. I thought that the girls might be trying to figure out if I was pregnant. My stomach can definitely give off that impression if you don't know better. But I also remembered that in the chapter I had read to them referred to the Guiness Book of World records and a 58 year old woman who had given birth, so maybe they were just trying to figure out my age. Then again, maybe they were just curious about me, wanted to know if I had a boyfriend and then when I told them I was married, jumped to the next logical question. . .But they didn't ask me if I had any kids, just if I wanted to have a baby. Hmmm. . .I don't think I'll ever know.

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Later in the day, I was subbing for the other librarian, the one who reads to the younger kids. Not knowing what to read to the kindergarten class that was filing through the door, I quickly grabbed for the longest Dr. Seuss book I could find: Horton Hatches an Egg.

I don't know if you've had the chance to read Horton lately, but the message is a nice one. Basically Horton is an elephant who sits on an egg for a lazy bird who runs off to Florida to avoid her parental respsonsibilities and comes back just as the egg is hatching. To everyone's surprise, what comes out of the egg is a little elephant bird that looks njust like Horton! The lazy bird wants her baby back, but it is clear that the baby really belongs to Horton. After all, he did all the work, sitting on the egg for 51 weeks. And he gets to keep the baby and go home with it.

The analogy doesn't work if you're talking about gestanional surrogates, but when I was reading the story to the kids, I was thinking more along the lines of donor sperm. As in, the lazy bird was the donor and Horton was the parent who got the sperm, who grew the baby and in the end who was going to take care of it. In real life, the likelihood that the baby would look like Horton is an impossibility of course, but then the idea of an elephant sitting on a bird's egg for 51 weeks is a bit far-fetched too. I was thinking more along the lines of the other traits we pass on to our children, the things that aren't genetically based.

As an adopted child, I often marvel at how similar I am to my adoptive mother. How we even have the same smile.

She was a teacher and when I was little, I would often go to school with her when I had days off and she didn't and inevitably one of her students would tell me, "you look just like your mother." It isn't really true. She's white for one thing. And I'm biracial. But we do share mannerisms and a way of speaking that could easily translate into looking alike.

Anyway, I was glad to have found Horton this afternoon. It definitely reminded me that, if we do have to go with donor sperm, if we do have to adopt, we will still be the parents. We will still be parents period. Just like Horton was.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

paris and nike

Last night my husband offered to take me to Paris for my birthday. He had the whole thing worked out- when we'd leave, when we'd return. He called from work and said he'd rather surprise me, but since the plans were big and expensive, he wanted to check with me first.

I turned him down.

There's nothing I would love more than a romantic birthday weekend spent in Paris. But I can't go. I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but not counting official school vacations, I only have 5 sick/personal days that I can take in a year.

I'm already using up 2 of those days to go home for Thanksgiving. Something we do every year. Plans we made before I got hired.

And I'm anticipating needing to use the other 3 for a trip to NYC to meet Guru. I don't know how I'll swing it when it comes time to actually start IVF. I suppose I'll beg and plead and ask for a leave of absence, tell them not to pay me, but to please hold my job when I get back. We'll see. That likely won't come up for a while yet.

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I had a nightmare last night/this morning. I dreamt that I was one-half of a lesbian couple. I was hanging out with some friends in a trailer home when my partner came to the door and announced that she was pregnant. I hugged her and cried. And whispered into her ear that I was a bit jealous that she was the one who got to be pregnant. She was understanding and didn't take it the wrong way.

The friends that we were with were shouting out congratulations and counting the months until the due date. My partner was clearly upset, believed that she would miscarry. I pulled a couple of the friend's aside and told them that because we had been infertile, we were really nervous about this pregnancy. Weren't sure if it was going to stick. I explained that the risk of miscarriage is much higher until the end of the first trimester and tried to get them to squelch their enthusiasm just a bit.

One guy looked at me and said "It's not the infertility that causes micarriage. It's the Nikes."

I've no idea what that means in waking life, but in my dream it was mean and insensitive. I growled at him and kicked.

I must have kicked and growled in real life too, since that's the point where my husband woke me up and told me I was having a bad dream.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

when this is all over

On Sunday, I schlepped over to my friend's new house for lunch. I went solo because my husband caught the cold that I was fighting last week and he didn't have a voice. I felt like I had to go anyway since I had blown off these friends last weekend using my own germiness as an excuse. . .These are the friends who got a diagnosis of a low sperm count and then got pregnant a month later.

For the first couple of hours that I was there, there was no talk of infertility and I was very relieved. I wasn't sure how I'd react if she brought up once again that we were going through the same thing. Instead, I got a tour of the new place, was asked about my job, played with her little girl, ate myself silly.

It wasn't until we were on to dessert that she asked about our new doctor. I clarified that Guru wasn't our new doctor yet, though we want him to be, that he seems to promise better treatment more specifically geared toward our problem than Hope. I didn't go into detail, didn't want to ruin my decent afternoon by bringing up all the unknowns.

My friend said (for the millionth time since she found out we were having troubles) that when she found out about her husband, she cried every day. And I thought to myself that crying every day for a month is a bit different than crying every day for 6 months (or longer.) But I didn't say that. I simply said that we're doing what we need to be doing and we can't let ourselves get depressed over something that we have so little control over. I told her how now that I'm working, I have a built-in distraction. And now that we're trying this new doctor, things look a little more positive. I think she got it.

Her husband chimed in, gesturing to his baby girl sitting in her little seat on the floor, with "When this is all over and you have your baby, you'll forget everything you went through."

I know what he meant. Really, I do. That the struggle is worth it, because when its all over you have on of "these". But at the time when he said it, it sounded all wrong.

I can't imagine ever forgetting any of this. And I think that when I finally do get pregnant, if I finally do get pregnant, I will be grateful and overwhelmed and thrilled. But when and if that little baby is snuggling in my arms, I won't forget what brought him or her into this world. What my husband and I went through to bring him or her here. I wouldn't really want to. I think it's important that our future baby know just how much s/he was wanted. How much we were willing to do to bring him or her into this world.

I also know that the couple I was visiting doesn't plan on having any more kids. They always wanted one. Just one. And now they have her.

But my husband and I have always wanted two or three. I realize there's a chance I could be blessed with twins, but should that not happen, we'll have to make the decision whether or not to go through all of this again for a second child. If we do decide to grow our family even more, we won't be able to ignore what it took to grow it in the first place.

No matter what we decide, this process will not be forgotten. How can it be? There's just too much at stake. It's too big.

And, I can't help but think, over a year later with a baby in her arms, my friend still gets a little teary when she talks about finding out about her husband's low sperm count. She hasn't forgotten. Why will I?

Monday, September 27, 2004

save the date

I got a brief e-mail from my husband today that said he set up a telephone consult with Dr. Guru. The consult will be in a little over two weeks which gives us time to send him our bloodwork results and for mu husband to get a scrotal ultrasound done.

The DC clinic wasn't willing to do a consult with us by phone, no matter how many times we begged, no matter how many times we explained that we were coming from another country. So besides being a quick e-mail responder, Dr. Guru is proving himself to be quite accomodating to out-of-towners.

Another point for him.

Since we've never been able to do a phone consult before, I'm not really sure what to expect, how it will go. But I figure if Guru has all of our medical records in hand, he should have a pretty decent picture of our situation and we'll be able to fill in any blanks for him on the phone.

If it all goes well, and Guru is as cool on the phone as he has been in e-mails, we'll make an appointment for an office visit and will likely cut our ties to DC. The only reason we haven't jumped ship yet is because we want to make absolutely sure that Guru is the guy for us.

I'm also not sure exactly how to break it off with Dr. Hope. I really liked him. It's just his pal Dr. Blecch that I can't deal with.

But for now I'm just trying to focus on the positive, the budding relationship with Guru. I really hope he doesn't disappoint.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

all signs point to yes

Mu husband and I wrote to Dr. Guru again last night and requested a telephone consult. My husband will be in New York in November and we asked if he could set up an appointment fo a face-to-face meeting (and to have his karyotype and Y chromosome microdeletion testing done) while he's there. Sure enough, we had a response this morning- Dr. Guru's receptionist is supposed to get in touch with us to set up both the consult and the office visit.

I continue to be amazed at how quickly Dr. Guru responds to us. And how he actually addresses our questions and concerns in his responses.

We still have formally cut our ties with the DC fertility clinic. We want to wait to actually talk to Guru before we say goodbye to Dr. Hope, want to make sure that we're making the absolutely best decision for our situation.

But so far, it feels good. I am a million times less frustrated with our first contacts with Dr. Guru than I was when we first tried getting in touch with the DC clinic. So, there's a 99.6% chance we'll officially make the switch. It just feels right.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

feeling the same way all over again

Hopeful, that is.

Last night my husband and I carefully crafted an e-mail to send to Dr. Guru up at Cornell. We explained our situation in detail and tried to imply that we were less than ecstatic about our latest advice from our urologist. We asked him what he made of our situation and told him we'd be interested in meeting him.

When my husband got to work this morning there was an e-mail waiting for him from Dr. Guru. It wouldn't have mattered what it said, the fact that he replied to us sometime in the middle of the night and didn't have a nurse or receptionist get back to us in a few days would have been enough to convince me to make the switch. But he was thorough, answered all of our questions, and agreed with our understanding that in my husband's case, a diagnostic biopsy may not be predictive of whether or not they'll be able to find sperm later, at egg retrieval.

Now, Dr. Guru is more expensive than Dr. Hope. And there's no money-back guarantee if we don't bring home a live baby after a set number of cycles. But I don't really care right now. I'm impressed that he responded to us so quickly. I like knowing that he's had more than a bit of success with non-obstructive azoospermia, that he is the pioneer of the microdissection technique.

The latest plan is to e-mail him back to request a phone consultation and then to hopefully set up a fac-to-face meeting sometime in November. We realize that he may still advise a biopsy before proceeding to IVF, but I'd feel better about getting that recommendation from him than I did from Dr. Blecch.

There's still quite a bit up in the air, obviously. And will be for a while. But I'm feeling hopeful again. Feeling like the possibility that I will get pregnant with my husband's biological child is not completely out of reach.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

family matters

My aunt called this morning. I haven't spoken to her since last Thanksgiving. She's the mother of my cousin who just had a baby. The cousin who wasn't even trying to get pregnant. Or at least, didn't think it would happen so quickly.

My mother finally decided to tell the family about my fertility problems. I guess the birth of my cousin's child, the upcoming reunion at Thanksgiving, and a little talk I had with her when I hung out with her in Boston for a few hours a couple of weeks ago spurred her into action. So she told my grandmother last week and then called my uncle and told him. Hence my aunt's phone call this morning.

It was a shcok to hear from her, but I knew immediately why she was calling. And to her credit, she didn't beat around the bush. "Your uncle told me about what you guys are going through and I just wanted you to know that even though we don't see you that often or talk as often as we should, we love you. We're thinking about you and praying for you. And we're here if you ever want to talk."

It was actually quite perfect what she said. And before she could evem finish offering her support and love for us, I was a mess of tears. She didn't ask about the treatments and I was glad, didn't wonder about a timeline for pregnancy, didn't want details. She just wanted to tell me that she hoped we were okay.

My aunt is adopted like me. And years ago, she was the one person in the family who was willing to talk to me about the possibility of finding my biological parents. In the end, I decided not to, but she had looked up her biological mother as a teenager and was able to tell me about her experience. Was able to understand why it might be important for me to know where I came from.

And today, on the phone, she acknowledged how important it seems to an adopted child to have a biological child of her own. She got it. In a way that even my husband and closest friends can't truly understand. "It doesn't matter how wonderful your parents were, you still want that connection, someone who looks like you."

It was a short conversation, the talk between my aunt and I. She told me a million times how much she loved me. Loves my husband. Told me that she hopes things will work out, and not just work out, but work out the way that we want them to. She didn't say that she knew that they would (a huge pet peeve of mine), but that she just hoped. And she reminded me that if it came down to it, adoption isn't a bad thing. "Look at us," she said, "Look at you. Wonderful things can come from adoption."

She didn't mention my cousin. She didn't talk about her new grandchild. She just wanted to talk about me. About how I'm doing and how she and my uncle are there for me. How I should let them know if I need anything, even if I just need them to back off. And I have to say, it was the exact thing I needed to hear. It was possibly the best conversation I've had about infertility since this whole thing began in June.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

great expectations

I don't know why I was so disappointed when I got the phone call from my husband yesterday afternoon to report on his visit to the urologist. I suppose that in my mind, I had built up the importance of this consult. Believed that the new uro would provide us with answers, clarity, direction.

He did none of that. If anything, we're more confused than ever and are ready to pack it in at our clinic in DC and head up to Cornell to meet with the microdissection guru there.

I wasn't there, of course, but based on what my husband told me- the new uro was anything but helpful. My husband had to wait an hour to see him. And when he finally got into to Dr. Blecch's office, Blecch asked him "So, what can I do for you?" Apparently, our RE hadn't sent over any of our information. Luckily, my husband was armed with all of our medical records and test results.

My husband explained the problem, got a brief exam. Was told that he has his vas deferens (phew!) and that his testicles are normal sized (not often the case with non-obstructive azoospermic men), and that his varicocele is pretty large. Blecch recommended the biopsy, said it was a simple procedure, and that we he couldn't predict how to proceed until we got the results. That's fair, but when my husband asked about hypothetical situations: what if it's sertoli cell only? what if its maturation arrest? will you do microdissection? Dr. Blecch was only willing to say that we'd have to wait and see. Oh, and that if it's sertoli cell only, there'd only be a 15% chance of finding sperm through microdissection and he'd recommend going with donor sperm.


Now I know that a 15% chance of finding sperm is low. But I'll be damned if I give up on having my husband's biological child that easily. I can see trying the surgery and hoping that they find something, but in case they don't having donor sperm on-hand as back-up. But I can't see throwing in the towel if there's any chance at all that they might find something. Maybe I'm being irrational and naive, but its how I feel at the moment. At this point, I'm willing to try anything to have my husband's biological child. Anything.

There's a recommended three month wait between surgeries which means that if my husband has his biopsy in November (the earliest possible time for him because of work stuff), we'd be looking at an IVF start date of February or March. And that's if the biopsy results give us any hope at all. Otherwise, it'd be IUI with donor sperm. A possibility I've thought about in the past, but the more it becomes a potential reality, the more I hate to imagine it.

The thing is, Dr. Blecch really didn't tell my husband anything that we didn't already know, hadn't already read. My husband's biggest problem with him (and mine by proxy) was that he was so hurried, didn't want to answer the long list of questions that my husband had brought with him, snapped at my husband when he asked for clarification on one point.

My in-laws called from China last night to find out how the consult had gone and I told them what happened. My father-in-law told me that that's how uros are. "They're surgeons, not doctors," he said. When I reported that back to my husband this morning on the phone, he told me that a doctor friend he'd had dinner with last night had told him the same thing. I'm not sure exactly what it means, but I think we shouldn't expect any hand-holding from Dr. Blecch. That is, if we decide to stay with him at all.

So, we have some decisions to make. Do we leave Dr. Hope and Dr. Blecch behind for the Cornell doc of my fantasies? Do we stick with Blecch's treatment plan? Do we have the biopsy here in Mexico or up in the States? Do we ask Dr. Hope to recommend another uro that works with his practice and hope that the newest uro has a slightly less prickly bedside manner?

I pondered these questions last night over a bottle of wine and a half-pack of cigarettes. (obviously, I'm feeling over my cold). And I didn't come up with anything useful. As is often the case in life- every scenario has its pros and its cons. Every option has its limits.

I know we're not exactly back to square one, but it feels like it in a way. I should never have let myself believe that Dr. Blecch would have the answers to my prayers. I should never have pinned so much hope on one meeting with a doctor. I've learned my lesson. My expectations have fallen. Hard.

Friday, September 17, 2004

the same but different

Late last night a friend of mine here in Mexico called. She said she just wanted to check on me. We were supposed to get together earlier in the day, but I had canceled. I'm at the tail-end of my cold and want to totally beat this thing before I have to go back to work on Monday. That, and I didn't think it would be all that considerate to expose her baby to my germs. So when we spoke yesterday morning, I told her that I'd give her a call on Saturday if I was feeling better and wanted to do something.

When she called last night and asked me how I was doing, I assumed she meant physically. So I told her that my cold had moved out of my head and down into my chest, but overall I was feeling a million times better than I had been earlier in the week. She asked if my husband had called from DC and I told her that he had, but that he hadn't had his appointment yet and so I didn't have any news on that front.

"You sound like you're keeping in good spirits," she said and again I assumed she meant because I had spent the entire day inside the house, save for a quick trip to the video store to stock up on brat pack films.

"Well," I answered. I've rested a lot today and am feeling better." Not to mention I had just watched "Pretty in Pink" one of my all-time favorite movies from the 80's.

But that's not what she meant.

"You know, when we had this problem last year, whenever my husband was away, I cried and cried. But you sound like you're doing okay. But please call me if you need to talk tomorrow after you find out how the appointment went."

And I realized that she wasn't calling to check up on my physical health, but my mental health. And while it was a well-intentioned gesture, it rubbed me the wrong way. Not the gesture itself, but the idea that she put our fertility problems into the same category.

I realize that I'm probably not being completely fair. She and her husband tried for a year to get pregnant with no results. And then they went in for tests. She was fine, but her husband had a low sperm count. Not zero, mind you, but low. And the doctor told him to drink lots of water and take some hormone shots once a week. And he did. And a month later, she was pregnant. Their baby was born in April.

The part that kills me about their story (not that I'm not happy for them- their little girl is absolutely precious) is the part where they conceived a month after their diagnosis. Maybe I'm mistaken (though with all of my recent reading on the male reproductive system, I don't think so), but my understanding is that the sperm that a man ejaculates today was made 72 days ago. So, yes, her husband had a couple of shots and yes, he drank all that water, but the truth of the matter is the sperm that got her pregnant was not likely affected by the new hormones raging through his system.

They had one or two doctors visits, got treatment and got pregnant. But as we all know, its usually not that easy. Not even close.

And so when she suggested that as soon as my husband returns from the States, we should all get together because they know exactly what we're going through and can give us some support and advice, I wanted to say "Hold on a minute there, girlfriend. You went through something, but not what we're going through."

I'm not trying to say that it wasn't hard for them. Or frustrating. Or meaningful. Or eye-opening. I'm not trying to suggest that they didn't struggle. This friend and I used to work together and I remember how each month that they were trying to conceive, she would think (like so many of us) that THIS was it. This was the month. And she'd list her symptoms hopefully. And when her period arrived, she was always shocked, dejected, sad.

So, I know how much she wanted a baby. And I know how hard it was for her to see our co-workers and colleagues pregnant. I know that she was scared. That she and her husband discussed adoption and donor sperm and had come to terms with the fact that adding to their family might not happen in the way that they had imagined.

And yet. And yet, I still can't help but feel that it was easier for them. Because, well, it was. Maybe harder for them than for other people. But easier for them than for me. And since I'm in a self-centered place right now, that's all I care about. The fact that she sees my situation as the same as hers. Or at least similar.

There are similarities of course. I'm struggling with a male factor just as she was. But they didn't have a million consultations with various specialists before pinpointing the problem and figuring out a way to solve it. Her husband didn't have to have surgery on the most sensitive part of his body. They weren't told that there was only a 5-20% of finding any sperm at all. They didn't have to worry about whether their doctor was proceeding in the most potentially successful way possible. They didn't have to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to conceive. They got to do it the old-fsahioned way. To me, right now, that seems lucky. And do I dare say it: easy.

I don't begrudge my friend her success at achieving motherhood so quickly. Just as I wouldn't want anyone to begrudge me if I became pregnant without the help of a team of specialists. But I do want her to acknowledge that its different, what we're going through. And that even the way we deal with it is different.

She cried to me on the phone when she first learned of her husband's sperm count last summer. I told her casually about mine one day on the phone when she asked if I was pregnant yet. I cry about our infertility sometimes (though not recently) but usually when I'm alone. It's just not my style to cry in front of people. It never has been. And I think that throws her for a loop. That maybe if I'm not crying all the time, if I can talk about it without my voice cracking, its not as bad as it sounds. I don't know.

I'm glad she's offering to be there for me. I just wish I knew how to make her see that I can use her support even if we didn't experience the same things. That just being a friend is enough. We don't have to have the same story in order to comfort each other.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

hear me roar

I've been really angry in my dreams lately. Screaming and yelling at all sorts of people. My mother, my students, friends, strangers. And yet the things that are getting me so riled up while I'm asleep seem almost silly to me when I wake up.

Last night I was angry at my mother-in-law for forcing me to have a wedding at x-mas time so that her prize x-mas tree could be the focal point. Only it wasn't my real mother-in-law in the dream. And I was already married, had already had the wedding of my dreams which my mother pointed out to me during one of my many tantrums, when I had calmed down enough to listen. "That's not the point!" I yelled. "It's just not fair!"

In real life, I've been remarkably calm. Sick, yes. And tired, yes. But (and my husband may dispute this fact), I haven't been yelling at anyone. I don't feel angry. Okay- after an awful day at school on Monday, I was pretty pissed off at the principal, but I vented in waking life and felt much better. So where is all of this night-time rage coming from?
I have to admit, it scares me a little. Because (and again, my husband may dispute this fact), I'm not a yeller or a screamer. I'm the kind of person who holds it in and acts polite and tactful until I have a chance to vent in a less volatile setting. At home, to my husband for instance. Or in my journal. Or in my blog. But rarely, very very rarely do I let loose on the person who is making me crazy at the moment that they're making me crazy. In my dreams however, I'm out of control. Letting everyone within shouting distance know exactly why I'm so pissed off and then some.

I know that my sub-conscious isn't making all of this up on its own. I have been frustrated with more than a few things at my new job. And the infertility stuff is always in the back of my mind, even when I'm awake. But the form that all of that stress is taking in my dreams seems illogical. Though I realize that the very nature of dreams is surreal, it would make more sense to me to be yelling and screaming at our new urologist (the one my husband left this morning to go see.) Or to be crying over all of the new babies in my life (It seems everyone I know is giving birth right now). But instead, I'm getting into battles over x-mas trees and weddings.

I can only hope that I resolve these night time rages somehow, some way. It was much nicer when I was dreaming of pregnancy (my own) and holding sweet-smelling babies in my arms. But I suppose too, that if I need to act like a bitch, better to do it in my sleep than in my waking life. (another fact my husband may dispute.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

sick and tired

I'm sick. My immunity to little kids germs is zero and unfortunately there are little kids germs running rampant at The School. And so I'm sniffling and achey and tired and feeling quite miserable and yet I have to go to work because we only get 5 sick days a year and I'm trying to save mine up for when I really need them- hopefully for a trip back to the States someday in the not so far future to get on with IVF.

Luckily, I have Thursday and Friday off this week and will spend those days trying to recover from this bug while I sit by the phone anxiously awaiting news from my husband who will be in DC meeting with the new urologist and our financial coordinator.

I've been so busy at work the last couple of days that I haven't had time to obsess about the upcoming visit to the uro. This is a good thing. Two weeks ago I would have spent every waking minute online reading and rereading articles about NOA, testicular biopsy, success rates, etc. But I come home from work so exhausted each day that its all I can do to reply to my e-mail, check-up on my favorite blogs and try to craft an entry of my own that makes some sort of sense. I think I'm failing miserably at the last item on that list, but hey, at least I'm trying.

Tonight though my husband and I will put together a list of all the questions we have for the urologist. I want to make sure we cover all of the bases, that we're absolutely sure of our next steps and are comfortable with them. I know that we're bound to have more questions after the consult, but hopefully my husband can go in with enough information of his own that we're not completely clueless as to what's supposed to happen.

At the spa this weekend, I had a shiatsu massage. My first. I've had massages before, but not like this. I was amazed at how many knots she found in my shoulders and how thoroughly she was able to make them disappear. I'm even more amazed that they're already back, that I can't be un-stressed for more than 3 days at a time. Make that 3 hours. The masseuse told me that those knots were due to high emotions about something. No kidding I wanted to say. I've got high emotions about a lot of things. But I didn't know how to say it in Spanish and so I just sighed and let her keep doing her thing.

I think I may go for another massage this weekend at a place closer to home. Regardless of how the consult goes on Friday, I think I'll need it.

Friday, September 10, 2004

spa la la

In honor of my completion of a full week of work (no, not really. some friends gave us a gift certificate which expires pretty soon and this is the first weekend in a long time that we've been in town or haven't had guests) the hubby and I are headed to Cuernavaca tomorrow morning to spend the day and night at a spa. I'm hoping its going to be sunny and warm as I have big plans for laying by the pool, doing some outdoor yoga or pilates, and getting some serious sun. Oh, and I have a massage scheduled- will see if I can guilt trip my husband into buying me another treatment. I've been so stressed out lately and really deserve one, don't you think? He's signed up for a facial. His first. And I can't wait to see what he thinks of it.

Tonight we've been invited to a co-workers house for wine and cheese. Our first social outing in what feels like ages. Did I mention we don't have too many friends here in Mexico? We don't. So this little gathering is somewhat akin to an invitation to the Vanity Fair Oscars party for us. Though a bit more casual, I'm assuming.

Will do my best not to drink too much and make a fool of myself so that I get invited back. And so that I'm not all hungover and grumpy at the spa tomorrow.

Yay for weekends.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

dr. blog

I haven't cried about my frustrations with infertility in ages, but last night let it all loose in a dream. I cried and swore and shouted and ruined a wedding. And felt much better when I woke up. I'm pms-ing hard, so the waking tears are bound to appear soon and I hope that they bring as much relief as the dream tears did.

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I wonder if they know we're all out here in bloglandia. Our doctors, I mean. Our gynecologists and REs, our embryologists and lab technicians, our radiologists and nurses. I wonder if would make a difference if they did know, if they actually took the time to read our blogs. Would they realize (possibly with horror) that they aren't dealing with isolated patients, but with a community of infertiles who communicate with each other fairly regularly about our diagnoses, our treatments, our every interaction with them ?

Would they recognize themselves in our blogs, see how we dissected our last phone call with them, the last e-mail we got, the last office visit? Would they bother to comment , to explain why they spoke to us the way they did, why they took so long to return our calls, why they recommend the course of treatment that they do?

My guess is that if they knew that we were out here in such great numbers, they might be a little bit intimidated. Dr. Hope might suddenly realize that my million questions are not coming out of nowhere, but are informed. Not by research or science necessarily, but by the experiences of other women who are struggling with similar situations.

If they knew that we were comparing notes on them do you think that they'd do things any differently? Would they explain things better? Try to make things a little less confused for us, a little less frustrating? Maybe. But maybe not. Would we censor ourselves if we knew they were reading?

What if they had blogs of their own and complained about us? Praised those of us who are the "good" patients? Quoted our questions and then made a snide comment? I shudder to think what Nurse Helpful's stand-in would write about me.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

three things

Wouldn't you know it. A week after I started a new job, the organization that I was hoping to work for, but who turned me down in June, wrote to me and asked if I was interested in doing a long-term consultancy for them. And I can't of course. But passed the info along to a friend here who is looking for work and am hoping that she gets it.

I'm liking the new job more and more. And I am slowly acclimating to the hours away from home, away from my computer, away from the internet. I'm still exhausted when I get home every day, but it's a good exhaustion that comes from being productive as opposed to the exhaustion I had before which came from sitting on my ass all day.

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Nurse Helpful is back from vacation and has already e-mailed me twice (twice!) since she returned. I'm feeling better about going with the DC clinic, though I do have some questions about their expertise in dealing with male factor infertility. Hopefully, we'll get some good answers at my husband's consult next week and will be able to decide whether or not to stick with the RE and uro we have or move on to someone with more experience with azoospermia. The guy we've picked for plan B, unfortunately, is very expensive. And there are no guarantees which we have at our current clinic. I also worry that we'll be back to square one if we do decide to bail on Dr. Hope and his entourage. It might not come to that, but then again, it might. Just trying to keep all of the options open.

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I saw a t-shirt the other day that said: Hay no peligroso. Soy sterilidad. (There's no danger. I'm sterile.) Would you believe it was being sold just steps away from the Centro Fertilidad? It was. And no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't see the humor in it.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

the wonder of weekends

I'd forgotten how much I like weekends. Easy enough to do when one day melts into another, the only thing distinguishing a Thursday say, from a Saturday, being the fact that my husband is home with me. But now that I am working again (and granted only three days into it), I remember the wonder of the weekend. Two full days of total relaxation, sleeping late, the luxury of spending the day in your pajamas, reading the paper, going to a matinee, running errands, . Definitely something that's better appreciated when viewed in contrast to waking up early, spending the day in an office, trying to get a decent dinner on the table when you get home, feeling too exhausted at the end of the day to do much more than watch a video.

But the flip side of course is Sunday evening. In forgetting the luxury of weekends, I'd also forgotten the Sunday evening panic, the wish that you had just one more day to play at home, to recuperate from last week. And since I'm in Mexico, no Labor Day off for me tomorrow. Though I do have Mexican Independence Day coming up in two weeks. Four luxurious days to spend as I wish. Too bad my husband will be in the States meeting with the urologist, while I'm here alone watching reruns of Friends on dvd.

I'm still too newly employed to really dread going to work tomorrow morning. My husband and I went to Office Max yesterday and stocked up on some new supplies for my office, supplies that I requested from the principal, but probably won't actually receive for another couple of weeks. So I'm a little bit excited to bring in my new loot and make my office feel a little bit more like a workplace, as opposed to the Lost and Found closet it was before I moved in.

It's still relatively early as I write. My husband and I are going to see a movie this afternoon, run to the grocery store to stock up on food for the week, take a walk around the park. I've got almost a full day ahead of me before the Sunday evening panic sets in.

Friday, September 03, 2004

dream a little dream

I dreamt I had a baby last night. A little infant girl. I was in a hotel room with my grandmother who was tidying up all around me as I tried to breastfeed. I couldn't get it right. The baby would latch on for a second and then lose her grip.

I haven't dreamt about babies since this spring. Before we knew what a struggle it would be to have one of our own. I hope the dream means something. The part where I had a baby, at least. I also dreamt that I had to breathe through a plastic contraption in my neck. That part, I hope, won't come true.

Talking to my husband last night, we realized that he should reschedule his consultation with the urologist back to September as originally planned. We have way too many questions for the urologist and don't want him to go for the biopsy just two days after the consult if we're still unsure about the protocol. We read a lot of stuff online last night that makes us question why our docs want to proceed in the way they want to proceed.

So we're hoping his appointment in September is still free. And that we can get all of the answers to our new set of questions during that consult. Everything feels like its getting more and more complicated as time goes on.

But I had that dream. So at least my subconscious is allowing me to think positively.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


My husband called the urologist's office today and rescheduled his consult. For October. but he also scheduled his biopsy for two days following the consult.

Waiting until October to find out if we have any viable sperm seems like waiting for forever, but because of my husband's work schedule, there was no way he'd be able to have his biopsy until October anyway. And it seems silly for him to fly all the way to DC for a short meeting with the doctor. This way, he can get it done in one fell swoop.

I'm surprising okay with having to wait. It helps that I'm working again (and today went much better than yesterday, thank you very much) so I don't have as much free time to obsess over our infertility. And in a way, I'm glad to be able to dive into work over the next couple of months without worrying that I'll have to take time off for my first IVF cycle.

I no realize just how naive I was to believe that we'd be starting IVF in September. Now, if we get the go-ahead for November, I'll feel grateful. But something tells me not to get my hopes up. Probably the horrible odds that Dr. Hope gave us for finding sperm. The more I think about those numbers 5-20%, the more I realize just how fucked we really are.

Still, 5-20% is better than 0-15% and we'll just have to wait until October to know for sure whether my husband can beat the odds.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

first day

As far as first days at work go, today was not awful. Neither was it incredibly stimulating or challenging. No, I take that back. It was a bit challenging. Staring with the minute I arrived at my new office door only to discover that it was locked. When I asked the secretary about how to gain access to my new digs, she shrugged and said to ask one of the maids or maintenance men for a key. She didn't tell me where to find the maids or the maintenance men, however, so I wandered the campus until I found a woman in an apron with a broom and tried to explain in my best Spanish that I needed the key to my office.

I was supposed to be introduced to the staff and the kids at the morning line-up. That didn't happen. And as a result, all day long I got curious looks from people. There was never really a time to introduce myself or explain what I was doing there (as if I even know myself) because the teachers were always teaching or taking their kids from one place to another. No time to chat.

No computer in my office yet, which for me is like being in an office without oxygen. It'd be bad enought not to have internet access, but no computer at all? I tried writing with a pen and paper and felt extremely stifled. Filled about 8 pages of my notebook making lists of the supplies I need, how bored I was, which referral and observation forms I need to rewrite.

I read files on kids whose problems ranged from attention deficit disorder to having problems with reading. None were all that enlightening.

I ate my lunch. Alone. In my office. Which was so cold I had to keep my jacket and scarf on all day long.

I tried to meet with the principal who was always meeting with someone else.

I made a to-do list for tomorrow.

It was a long day.