Monday, January 31, 2005

listen. . .do you want to know a secret?

I have a secret. I've been pregnant before. About 12 years ago when I was in a relationship that was going nowhere, when I was still in college, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I didn't keep it. Obviously. Headed for the closest clinic as soon as I was allowed to (which happened to be at 6 weeks). And that was that.

Sort of.

I haven't let that hiccup from my past haunt me when it comes to all of this fertility stuff. I'm not the kind of person who believes that I'm being punished for past transgressions. I'm completely pro-choice and I made the decision I did at a time when that was the absolute best decision for me to make.

I have no regrets.

And yet. That damn guy who knocked me up keeps showing up in my dreams. I saw him last night in some strange wooded area. We were sitting at a picnic table with some other people I knew in the dream, but not in real life. He tried to take my wedding ring off, but it was stuck, so he put my finger in his mouth. Which worked. The ring came off.

He doesn't know. About the dreams. About the pregnancy. About where I am or what I'm doing (unless of course, he's googled me. I have to admit, I googled him when I woke up this morning.) It's just weird to be haunted by this. By him. Over 2000 miles away and I haven't spoken to him in years.

Is my subconcious feeling guilty? Perhaps. Though my conscious self knows that that relationship was a ridiculous one. I can't remember anything about it except for the night before I went for the abortion he had a Godfather party and I went, but made some lame excuse as to why I couldn't sleep over. That, and he sent me the most beautiful letters years after we'd gone our separate ways. I remember that they were beautiful, but have no idea what they said. They're in a box somewhere now. In my grandmother's basement. Or my mother's attic. I'm not exactly sure.

I'm not sure what to do with these dreams. Nothing, I suppose. I can't control them and it doesn't help that my husband is out of town until Thursday. But it's weird that he's showing up now. When I'm in the middle of all of this.

The good news is, I've been pregnant before. And hopefully will be pregnant again. My body has the capacity to hold on tight to an embryo. At least it did. Once upon a time. Twelve long years ago.

And damnit. I'm holding on to that.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

i think i'm going to explode

I just got home from bridal shower where no one discussed the upcoming wedding. It was a bit strange. Instead, everyone talked about pregnancy and babies. One of the women there (not the bride-to-be) recently announced her pregnancy and since most of the guests aren't thrilled about the upcoming nuptials of the guest of honor, we stuck to a topic that most people felt more comfortable with- pregnancy and kids.

I kept pretty quiet. These were my co-workers and I'm not out to them about my infertility. I tried to look interested in the conversation and bit the inside of my cheek to keep from crying or shouting or jumping up from the table. And I think I did a pretty good job of imitating a fertile. Happily no one asked me if I wanted kids or was planning on having kids anytime soon. I think I might have broken down and admitted that I start birth control pills tomorrow in preparation for IVF this March. And I think I wouldn't have been able to say it matter-of-factly, I would have been bitchy and rude.

My boss was there. Sitting right next to me. She doesn't know about the IVF either, at least I don't think she does, but I gave her my memo yesterday requesting a leave of absence from work in March for "a medical procedure back in the United States." I don't know if she's read it yet. She certainly didn't ask me about it. But last night I had a dream that she had somehow gotten a hold of my medical records and passed them around at work. People were coming up to me asking if I had found a sperm donor yet and I was mortified. In the dream, I called my boss all sorts of nasty names and quit. It was awful. And realistic enough that when I woke up this morning, it took me a minute to remember that no one at work has seen my records. That no one knows. That I still have a job.

The thing is, my boss's boss knows about the infertility. He's friends with my husband. And yesterday my husband told the boss's boss that he too would be getting a memo from me requesting a few weeks off in March. It was the same memo I gave my boss, no explicit reference to IVF, but he's a smart enough guy to put two and two together. So, I'm wondering if he'll tell my boss what's going on. If she'll be in the know too. And if she's in the know, will it slowly leak out to the rest of my colleagues? I'm not exactly sure what to do here. Whether to go to her directly and explain the situation and tell her that I'd appreciate her discretion (and run the risk of her not respecting my privacy despite my request). Or whether I should just let it go. Hope that the boss's boss will keep it quiet. Any suggestions would be welcome here.

This secrecy business is killing me. I tend to be a private person, but an open and honest person (if that makes any sense). And all of this feels like a big lie. I want to blurt it out so badly, but the truth is I'm not sure that my co-workers would understand. I've heard them talk and gossip about other people and I don't want to be the subject of any of those discussions. I also realize though, that by not telling I may be that much more likely to be the subject of their gossip. Like when I miss three weeks of work in March and no one knows where I've gone, I can just imagine the theories they'll come up with. So is it better that they're making up fanciful stories about me or distorting the truth that I've copped to? I'm sort of torn on that one.

My guess is that I'll continue to keep this to myself. I feel blessed to have the online support of the women in the blogs and bulletin boards I frequent. And while sometimes that doesn't feel like enough, while sometimes I wish I had real world friends to talk with and vent to, other times it feels like I get more than enough support from people I've never even met.

Infertility is lonely. I never really understood that until a couple of weeks ago. The closer I get to actually starting my treatment, the more isolated I feel. I thought it would get easier, but its getting harder and harder to be myself. To feel like a real person. It scares me. What if I never go back to the person I once was? What if I remain this empty shell of a person who bites the inside of her cheek in polite company to avoid expressing how she really feels?

How does one go through this and come out okay? I know what doesn't kill you is supposed to make you stronger, but I have a hard time believing that right now. I'm starting to feel dead inside. And this is only the beginning. What happens after a cycle fails? What happens if I'm disappointed over and over again? I can't even imagine.

I'm terrified.

Friday, January 14, 2005

ouch!

Last night my husband dreamt that he had to give me a lupron shot. First he had to make a hole in my thigh and then he put the needle in. It broke off in my leg. He thought he should have probably practiced on oranges first.

I suppose I should focus less on the fact that the dream injection was botched and just be grateful that my husband is actually thinking about IVF at all, that it has even entered his subconscious.

Luckily we have quite a while before the injections begin. And an injection primer dvd on the way.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

just call me charlotte

We got the Sex and the City Season Four dvds for Christmas. My husband and I just happen to be big fans of SATC and since we don't have a television that gets any reception whatsoever, we often rent the dvds, order in Chinese food, and have ourselves a marathon, pretending that we still live in Carrie's city, our former city, the one we hope to return to in less than a year.

So imagine my surprise when I realized mid-way through disc two that season four just happens to be the season when Charlotte realizes she can't get pregnant and Miranda gets knocked up during her one-night-only "mercy fuck" with her ex Steve who has lost a testicle to cancer.

I've seen season four before, but it was a long time ago. Waaaaay before I found out that the plot line of my life would more closely resemble Charlotte's than Miranda's. And watching it this time was, well, different.

For one, I could completely empathize with Charlotte who usually annoys me and comes off as too high-strung, too prudish for my liking. In one episode she yells at her husband Trey because she feels like she's doing all the work, the research, talking in the chat rooms to other infertiles, giving herself shots. As she was giving her little speech, my husband turned to look at me. He'd heard it before. The first time from Charlotte herself when we saw that episode many moons ago and then every couple of weeks from me once we received his diagnosis.

Amazingly, I felt bad for Miranda too. Who worries about the effect that her pregnancy will have on her relationship with Charlotte. Who tries to be as sensitive a friend as she can be considering her own situation.

I managed to sit through all of the episodes involving the infertility stuff, up until the point where Charlotte and Trey decide that they can no longer stay married. I was impressed enough by the depiction of infertility. Charlotte was moody, she was sensitive, she was hurt. The only thing she wasn't was bloated. I cried a bit. For me, for Charlotte, for Miranda. But the whole time we were watching, I couldn't help but wonder why the hell this was the season we were given as a present. Did the gift-givers think we'd appreciate watching a story that so closely resembles our own? Were they trying to send us a message? That we're not the only people in the world who go through this? Fictional characters are infertile too? Or was it just a coincidence? Were all the other seasons sold out? Was season four on sale? I'll never know, because I'm not going to ask.

When we first got the gift, I was excited to finally own a season of SATC, imagined myself watching and re-watching that kooky, kinky foursome on Saturdays when I had nothing else planned. But I think I'm going to shelve them for awhile. Maybe forever. It just hits a little too close to home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

don't even talk to me

I'm suddenly realizing just how sensitive I've become about infertility. I got a Christmas card yesterday (it takes a long time to get mail in Mexico) from a good friend and she wished my husband and I an "amazing 2005". I know she meant well, but somehow the words she chose just stung. She knows about our problems and somehow I wished she had thought harder about how to voice her sentiment. "Wishing you a happy 2005," for example or "May all your dreams come true this year." A generic "Happy New Year!" would have been just fine. (I think.)

I find myself getting angry at people who don't know any better, who don't phrase their thoughts in ways that are palatable to my infertile ear. My friends who (by sheer luck, I have to assume) express their opinions and concerns in sensitive ways are gaining points. The others are being added to my black-list one by one. I'm afraid that pretty soon I won't have any friends left.

I think I'll scream if one more person tells me that "Everything is going to work out fine." That they're sure I'll be pregnant within the year. I certainly hope that everything works out fine and I'd love to be pregnant within the year, but I also know that there's a good chance neither of those things will happen. And I find myself losing patience every time I hear a pat phrase meant to make me feel better.

I'm starting to shut down. To become bitchy. The same woman who told me to have an amazing 2005 also happened to e-mail me a couple of days ago asking if she and her husband could come for a visit in March. And that wasn't possible, would I want to go to a resort with her and some other friends in April for a little vacation. It was clear to me right then and there that she just doesn't get it. And unfortunately, I responded with a snippy little e-mail about how everything is just so uncertain right now that the last thing I can do is plan a vacation. She hasn't written back. I don't really blame her. Part of me feels like I should do the right thing and apologize for being so bitchy and part of me feels like my response served her right.

If I'm feeling this sensitive now, I can't imagine what it's going to be like once I start taking my birth control pills and hormone shots. The ground around me is going to be covered in eggshells I'm sure.

semantics

Sunday, January 09, 2005

eeny meeny miney mo

I thought I was done with all of the preliminaries leading up to this IVF. Not so. Yesterday morning I had more blood drawn to determine my thyroid function, my sedimentation rate, and my prolactin levels. But I think this is it until March when I'm scheduled for my mock transfer and SIS. At least I hope so.

Yesterday was also the day that my husband finally got online and looked at sperm donors with me. I assumed he had been avoiding the task due to the emotional discomfort of trying to find someone to replace him in the role of providing DNA for our future children. Everytime I had asked him to look at the donors I had chosen, he said he's do it "later". Well, later turned out to be yesterday afternoon. And I was shocked at his giddy response to the searches we did. He actually seemed to be having fun and even jokingly suggested that maybe we should skip his surgery and go straight to the donor sperm since the guys topping our list all seemed to be smart, well-rounded, mathematically inclined, artistic and athletic.

We narrowed it down to three guys. Two from my original list and one that my husband found all by himself and was impressed by mostly because of his height (6'0), his high SAT scores (a 790 in math!) and his professed love of traveling by motorcycle. It didn't hurt that the staff impression of the donor was very favorable- "very cute with a great build". We ordered the more extensive profiles (essays, 3 generational medical histories, baby photos, personality tests, and audio interviews) for our picks and so are now able to download any of this information at our whim. I took a peek at some of the essays and medical histories yesterday and have to say that I didn't find any real skeletons in the closet. All three of our guys were cute kids. All three are smart and excel in the sciences. All three seem to have interesting hobbies (though my husband is a bit put off by the guy who raises tarantulas for fun).

And I finally found out what motivates these guys to donate their genetic material in the first place. MONEY! In their answer to the question about why they decided to become a sperm donor, each of our guys mentioned the money. Strangely, that wasn't off-putting in the least. I was relieved that they were being so honest about it. I'm not sure what my reaction would have been if they had written some dribble about wanting to help others achieve their dreams of starting a family. Nice thought, but come on! What 22 year old guy really thinks that way?

So the next step is to narrow down our choices. Sort of. When we order our vials, we need to have three potential donors (which we do), but we need to rank them in order of preference. That's going to be tough. It was hard enough narrowing it down to 3 guys, but now to decide which one of the three is better than the others? Do we go with the guy whose baby picture most closely matches my husbands? The one who scored highest on the SATs? The one with the cleanest bill of health? I couldn't even begin to tell you what the most important factor is to me anymore. Well I could. But I would wind up contradicting myself left and right. And that's just the dilemna here.

Luckily we have some time before we have to call in our order (about 8 weeks to be exact). And so I expect to read and reread those essays, check and recheck those medical histories, listen to those audio interviews over and over again looking and lsitening for some sort of clue. It's difficult work. But its certainly interesting. And at the end of the day, as my husband keeps on reminding me, any one of our potential donors would be okay as a biological father. If he's okay with randomly assigning them preference, then I guess I can be too. But first I want to check over those profiles again.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

a date with destiny

The end is in sight. Or maybe I should say the beginning. My new nurse e-mailed me today with my protocol and I'm to start birth control pills on Day 2 of my next cycle. That's the end of this month. Then 7 days of Lupron injections at the end February and then I'll start stims when I get to New York for my mock transfer on March 4.

I'm really excited. While I realize that this could easily be one of many cycles in my future, the fact that I have concrete dates to look forward to is unbelievable. Until today the prospect of starting IVF was a foggy notion. And now, there's something to put on the calendar. The countdown has begun.

I'm feeling giddy and tingly. I'm feeling positive. I'm feeling like we're finally moving forward for real. The prescriptions are being sent. The days are going by. In a little more than 2 months I will be back in New York for the real deal. No more consultations. No more diagnostic tests.

At this point, I'm thinking more about the procedure than what it ultimately means. Of course I have high hopes for a successful cycle, but I'm well aware of all the things that can go wrong. So my excitement at this point is less about the idea that I could have a baby in my arms next December and more about getting this whole process started. Amazing how one little e-mail could completely change my mood. I was feeling frustrated and helpless and stagnant and now? Not so much.

Time has passed differently for me since the diagnosis. Instead of months, I think in cycles. I've been waiting for a date, for a real timeline since we first met with Dr. Hope way back in July. And now, with Guru, I have one or at least an approximation of one. It's scary and exciting all at once.

But if nothing else, I'm ready.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

new year, new you

How I wish that New Year's Resolutions worked a little bit differently. That they didn't take willl-power and perseverance, but could be achieved with hope and faith. That just wanting them to happen would be enough. I wish that resolutions could take any shape or form- not simply the little promises to quit smoking or to eat less chocolate or to go to the gym more or to be a nicer person in general, but that they could be greater aspirations, things that really matter. If I resolve to achieve world peace, for example, it wouldn't mean that I personally had to sit down and come up with a plan for global harmony, but that just wanting it badly enough would result in the ticking off of that box on the old 2005 Resolution list.

You see where I'm going with this.

In 2005:

1. I resolve not to get impatient with my IVF team no matter how long it takes them to return my phone calls and e-mails.

2. I resolve not to complain (too much) about the meds and the injections.

3. I resolve to do my first cycle of IVF in late February/early March.

4. I resolve to have a successful cycle (eventually).

5. I resolve to become pregnant (maybe even with twins).

6. I resolve to have a healthy, happy pregnancy with hopefully very little morning sickness, no excessive weight gain, and no excessive moodiness.

7. I resolve to give birth to a healthy baby (or two)- though if the birth part happens in 2006, I won't complain.

8. I resolve to become a mother (again, this one could happen in 2006 without any bitching from me.)

9. I resolve to keep my eye on the prize when things get really tough and to remember why I'm going through all of this.

10. I resolve to count the blessings I already have even when they seem to be overshadowed by all of the crappy stuff.

May 2005 be the year that your dreams come true, too.
Feliz Ano!