Struggle Hierarchy

This has been a tough few days for me. OK, extend it to a week. I found out my oldest friend, I have known her since were were 12-year-old campers, is pregnant with baby #2. “It was just so easy to conceive,” she remarked after I commended her on the timing. Babe #2 will come almost exactly 2 years after Babe #1.

Fast forward five days and my brother calls to tell me he and his wife is expecting in early September. After some “struggles” they finally conceived. Now, my brother has been in the know about my issues, so he was reluctant to say anything, but seeing as I’m visiting him in a month, this could be hard to hide. Regardless, it was like a kick in the stomach, again.

I’ve always believed that in some way women (and partners, too) pay for pregnancy and a baby. It may not be money but it could be pain, suffering, time, you name it. My friend mentioned above had a hellacious 3-day labor battle that ended in an emergency c-section and every imaginable abdominal infection known to woman. Awful. But, really, is that that bad? And my brother told me he and my sister-in-law struggled. They couldn’t conceive, my sister-in-law is a carrier for cystic fibrosis and a few other genetic gems, and so weren’t sure if she had any good eggs. Obviously this is not the case. Again, was that really that hard?

I realize I sound like a cold-hearted bitch, but what IVF survivor hasn’t thought, I’ve got it worse than anyone else. My pain, my struggle puts yours to shame. This is where the hierarchy of struggle has reared its ugly head into my life and I am in the throes of trying to shake it. Forget it. Ignore it. I feel awful for my thoughts. I feel ungrateful for the gifts some of the most important people in my life have been given. I feel like I should be a better friend and sister. But in the in-between moments of the last few days, I’ve slipped back into the horrible area of self-doubt and anger. Why me? Why us? What the fuck? Can everyone else get pregnant but me?

So what good can come from this? I hope that this entire experience, when it’s all said and done I have a kid in my arms, reminds me to keep things in perspective. To handle the good and the bad with grace and gratitude. To not panic when my kid goes down in a blaze of glory on the swing set. What are some stitches when compared to the pain and agony and hell of infertility? Sure someone else’s kid is going to be smarter and cleaner and faster, but does it matter? No. Well, at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself right now.

I’m bringing back AADFB protocol. That’s All About Doping For Baby. Put the pregnancy blinders on, and let’s make own baby … or go crazy trying!

dfb

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Real cause of infertility revealed

This is our dog. She is very cute. She’s soft and fluffy, and she was essential through my IVF. I’m seriously considering starting some program like Dogs Against Infertility because she snuggled with me on the couch and made me laugh when I needed it most. But after some careful research on my and my husband’s part, we have come to realize that she is the real cause of our infertility. And here’s why:

She barks like crazy when we’re having sex. Like a scorned lover angry that her ex is getting a piece of ass while she’s left out of the action, she races around the house letting everyone know what’s going on (luckily we don’t have shared walls). She’s even gone outside a few times and barked until we’ve finished. For me, this makes me laugh. For my husband, this causes small breaks in his concentration. Not good.

Some ideas to solve this issue:

1. Put her in the car. What dog doesn’t love a car ride? She won’t be going anywhere, but we can always pretend.

2. Find her a sexy mate to have some fun with, too. This could be harder to manage than we think.

3. Lock her out of our room so at least the barking isn’t as annoying.

Any other hot options out there? We asked one friend and he said his dog does the same thing whilst he and his wife are having some fun. Anyone else? It’s too funny not to share …

dfb

Paging Dr. Asshole

It’s funny what happens when your IVF cycle fails and you have to have a post-cycle meeting with your doctor. It’s even funnier when you’ve already requested your files be sent to other docs in the area because you want a second opinion. In our lucky case, our doctor, we’ll call her Dr. A-Hole, was a complete and utter nightmare. I guess this is what happens when Type A folks (who make good docs) feel like their skill is being put into question.

Let me give some backstory first, IVF and non-IVF related.

1. My husband HATES confrontation.

2. He also hates people who do not meet their obligations.

3. He hates our doctor because her communication was piss-poor in the final weeks of our cycle.

4. Do not say stupid shit to my husband about stuff he has done.

5. Never, ever make me cry (Doc did this more than twice)

I know what you’re thinking: you and the hubby are some tough mo-fo’s, mix in a failed cycle, and not even Godzilla would want to meet with you. I disagree. It’s just not prudent to move forward without some outside opinion, another set of eyes looking at our case. Is that so wrong of us? No! Add in that IVF is not cheap for the uninsured (well, we’re insured but not for this), and we are moving forward with hope but caution. Wouldn’t Dr. A-Hole want to seek out a second opinion should her cycle have failed?

Things started to go south in the meeting not 3 minutes in. When she briefly mentioned that “I already sent your files off to a bunch of other clinics,” my husband lost it and them clammed up. “You sent it to two other doctors. That’s not a bunch. That’s two.” Agree to disagree, but it was a battle from then on. Her body language, her conversation, her everything said she was pissed and angered that we would even think of seeking out another opinion after only one failed cycle. “Who does that?” she asked. There were some things I wanted to say, but for the first time in a long time I kept quiet. So we got the needed info and left. Great way to start the weekend, huh?

Here’s Dr. A-Hole’s opinion: Use other meds during the next cycle (no shit!). I don’t produce many follicles even on 375 mg of Follistim a day. But, the follicles I do produce contain good eggs. We should think about freezing my eggs and then putting them back in a month or two later. This will help synch the transfer with my uterine lining. There is some thought that I was off by a day.

I appreciate her insight and we may go back to her after meeting two other doctors. But, after this meeting I’m not sure I’d really want to work with her again. Professionally she’s awesome. Personally she’s a fuck wit. Her compassion is inconsistent. And clearly she’s holding on a little too tightly. Fun times.

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The Singing Bowl

Like most obedient infertile women, I go to an acupuncturist. I’ve been seeing her for close to two years and I’ve come to realize acupuncture is some of the best medicine I’ve ever received. So when I headed in for my visit on Thursday, my first post-failed IVF visit, I was greeted with a warm hug and lots of love from my practitioner. Not only is she awesome, but she’s also an IVF survivor. Yes, she went through all of the hoops and now has a ten month old. So I appreciate not only her professionally but also personally because she’s been where I am right now. And she gets it all.

She said she had been thinking about my treatment all day and thought that doing something different, doing something more focused on grief than fertility, would actually help me more as I moved through our failed IVF. Not one to turn down a knowledgeable person, I hopped on the table, assumed a new position (face-down) and let the fun begin. It was crazy.

First she put in a ton of needles, then she used some white angelica oil, then she struck the singing bowl, and that’s when the magic happened: my mother made an appearance. She’s dead. I know I have taken a lot of medication lately, but even my acupuncturist saw her. Wild! I was asked to focus on white light on my left side and to send my grief away to my left as the vibrations rang through the needles. My arm tingled, my heart pumped, my mother was there to catch it all. Seriously. Then I was asked to focus on gold light and the tingling faded along with everything else, including my mom. Funny thing is, the tightness in my neck was gone, too, as were my feelings of sorrow and self-pity. It’s like my mother just came and took them from me. My dad always tells me to talk to her, to ask her for help. So while she wasn’t as helpful as I would have liked during IVF, she clearly stepped it up for afterwards. Much appreciated.

dfb

A new beginning

Welcome February. Welcome my period. Welcome a somewhat normal sized abdomen. Welcome my first month in a while when I will not be doing any of the following:

1. Injecting drugs into my ass or belly

2. Peeing on a stick of any kind

3. Timing sex for any reason other than Marvin Gay pops up on the radio

4. Taking medication that will cause my ovaries to swell

5. Letting strangers look at my lady parts more than I do

6. Feeling bad for myself because I cannot get pregnant!

A week ago when I was in the 2ww hell, I went through my iPhoto albums to find photos of myself smiling. I know, this sounds stupid, but I was in a really bad place. I also had to watch videos of me doing cool things: crossing the line at Ironman and crossing the line at an ultra marathon. I had forgotten that I was capable of miraculous events. I know this might be a stretch, but I do believe that conception is somewhat miraculous. It’s crazy to think it all works. It’s fucked up it doesn’t seem to work for me (yet!). And so when I was feeling sorry for myself and my current situation, I had to remind myself that I too could partake in such amazing things.

And so tonight as I headed to a pilates class, my first piece of my kind of exercise in almost a month, I was reminded of how great my body is. Now, I don’t mean this in a “I’m super hot and you should be lucky to have a bod like mine!” Rather, infertility has caused me to question my body and my physical abilities more than anything I’ve ever done. It’s like I’m stuck in some shit middle school hell, and I have no confidence, no self-esteem, no way to believe in me. But as I went through class tonight, as I reminded myself that I have a functioning body, I had to give a little thanks to the earth or god or who knows that I am healthy. Yes, there’s this one part of me that isn’t functioning as I’d like, but otherwise, and for the most part, I am doing just fine!

So, in this new month, the month of so many milestones in my life — my birth, my grandmother’s & mother’s death, my dog’s birth, my parents’ anniversary, my mother’s stroke, my husband and I signing papers to own a home — I vow that I will never, ever, ever let infertility make me question my body ever again. Infertility may bring me to my knees, to hell and back, to crying in my office, but I will daily give thanks for all that I can do and will find the joy and happiness in that.

dfb