Saturday, October 31, 2009


This is my favorite time of year -- the air is crisp, the leaves are doing their thing that they do, the food I cook and eat is heartier, and the earth just smells all loamy and, well, earthy. I get to wear sweaters and turtlenecks and boots and mittens, and when it gets cold at night the air has a steeliness to it that usually means snow is not too far behind.

It's also time for my favorite holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Halloween because I loved dressing up as a kid (and teenager and college student, and even now...) and Thanksgiving because that's the time my family all gets together and overeats. (We are Jewish, so we don't do the whole Christmas thing, and Hanukah really isn't enough of a draw for us to fly back home to Ohio.)

My mom used to make the best costumes for us -- we were clowns, witches, cowboys, the musketeers, bunny rabbits, robots and one year when we were especially creative I was a hot fudge sundae. We never had store bought costumes -- my mom was opposed to them, and so I grew up thinking that every mom made costumes.

So I've been keeping a mental running list of cute ideas for costumes for children who don't have opinions yet (I recognize that there is a time when Mom's ideas are no longer wanted). And I'm pretty much ready to start sewing now, thank you.

Tonight, I will give out candy to the many kids who live in our building. And I will laugh at the funny things they say, and be appropriately scared or admiring of their costumes. But I'd rather be on the other side of the door, holding my child's hand.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who's there?

I was reading blogs last evening and read this post from EB at IVF 40+ ( ). [Note: please someone teach me how to nicely insert links!]

And then I felt bad about whining. Pretty embarrassed about my shitty attitude, actually. So I am resolving to wrestle my hormones to the ground and not let them have me so crabby.

So. There.
Not crabby anymore.

That said, I do find it incredibly frustrating to know that my mind -- my conscious, that-which-makes-me-human, reasoning mind -- can so easily be thrown out of whack by chemicals. While I guess I am ok with other parts of my body reacting to the drugs, I am just a little troubled by the fact that the drugs also change the way I feel and think. Because I thought I was supposed to be in charge of that.

I'm clearly over-thinking this, but when I woke up at 4.12 this morning and lay there with my mind racing, I started thinking about how much our mind is really under our "control" and how much we are just pawns of the chemicals that go sloshing about in our systems. I think I need to believe that I have more control over what goes on between my ears. I mean, I clearly can't control what's going on between my legs (sorry, crass, but it's nice parallel structure, no?) and having only marginal control over both is just too much for me to bear.

I was talking about this with my sister, who is a research psychologist, and she started to laugh. Laughing wasn't what I expected (or, frankly, wanted) but she said that sometime during grad school she started just calling her foul moods by chemical names so that she could more directly acknowledge what was physiologically going on.

I'm not sure that helps me much, or makes it worse. I'm left with this question: what am I really feeling and what is just a side effect? If get angry, am I really irritated or is it "just the Lu.pron talking?" Is there a difference?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I appear to have recovered from the trauma that was my women's radiology appointment. Thanks to all of you so much for your comments -- they made me feel loads better that others understand how difficult moments like that can be, and they cracked me up, which was all good.

I'm one week into my lu.pron shots, and thought this would be a good time to regale you with how those are going, as it appears I have another week before adding on the stims (and I keep the lu.pron even after that. Fun!).

Worst thing about them is that they are screwing with my sleep in a big way. I like my sleep. I need my sleep. I am an excellent sleeper. But now I am finding that I wake up every 2-3 hours, and then am just lying there, listening to my Boy breathe, growing increasingly agitated that he is sleeping and I am most definitively not.

I have periodic weird cramping that feels a little like ovulation. Its a complete mystery what's going on down there, but it makes me bloody anxious.

I am getting crazy ass hot flashes. I got these from the progesterone suppositories I took during the five (failed) clo.mid cycles, but I keep finding myself needing to strip down at the least convenient times: at the grocery store, while walking the dog, at a Broadway play. This also fucks with my sleep, because I already heat up when I sleep, so I really don't need a temperature boost, thank you very much.

I would rather not have sex. Ick. That's pretty odd for me to say, since I usually possess a healthy sex drive and was so excited that we are not doing the whole scheduled, "let's do this even though we are tired and not that into it" baby-making sex. But instead of this being a period of unbridled physical fun, I'd rather watch a movie. Or do the dishes. Or organize my sock drawer. The Boy -- he's not all that amused.

I keep feeling over-caffeinated. It can't be that, since I cut out caffeine in June (and yes, that sucked just as much as you think it might). But I feel jittery and kind of hyper, and not in a good way.

So these effects are combining to make me a wee bit cranky, which really means I am losing my freaking mind on a fairly regular basis. I'm not weepy like I sometimes am before my period, but I'm just very volatile. Case in point -- I kind of lost my shit yesterday over a salami sandwich. There was nothing wrong with the sandwich, except that the Boy made one and didn't make one for me, and that apparently was a capital crime. So he's kind of hiding out, and I am going to the gym and trying to burn off this inchoate agitation. But then I get angry that he's not paying attention to me, so there's really no winning for the poor guy.

I frankly think I'd be a happier person if I self-medicated with a good drink or too, but I've cut out alcohol as well. Gargh!

Anyway, if any of you out there have suggestions about how to keep the crazies out of my head, please let me know! Any and all coping suggestions are welcome (and especially if you think I am being a weenie about the booze and can (should?) drink during this time, I'd love to hear from you!).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baring my chest

Yesterday I had one of the more humiliating/ infuriating physician's appointments of my life. Actually, the fun started a couple of weeks ago when I made the appointment, but yesterday was the cherry (and whipped cream, and sprinkles) that topped it all off.

My mom has breast cancer. This is not the first time -- the first time was at the ripe old age of 49 -- and so we know the drill. She's going to be just fine, and all of the surgeries are done, and we are awaiting her treatment protocol (radiation & hormones and maybe chemo). But she's ok and I am infinitely grateful.

Because of my stellar family history in the boob department (both grandmothers also had breast cancer), I started getting annual mammograms at the ripe old age of 33. So when my mom's cancer came back, I called my radiologist to chat about whether I should get an MRI just to be super sure.

Receptionist: You know, you are overdue for your appointment. With your sort of family history you should come in every year.
Me: Wasn't it supposed to be in September?
Receptionist: Yes -- that's right.
Me: OK -- well, it's the first week of October, so hopefully that's not a problem.
Receptionist: Oh wait, are you nursing now? You can't do a mammogram if you are nursing.
Me: Nope. Why?
Receptionist: Oh, well I see here we did a sonogram on your ovaries to see how you were responding to Clo.mid in December of 2008, so I assumed you had a child.
Me: Nope. No child.
Receptionist: Well, then, since you are not nursing, when would you like to come in?
Me: Oh, as soon as I stop weeping. That would be fine. (OK -- I didn't say that last part.)

So yesterday, in I go. The women's radiology waiting room is a lot like the RE's waiting room, except the women are about 20 years older. No eye contact, no talking, even when it is jam packed like it was this time. I had to sit on a pile of phonebooks, since every chair was taken.

After waiting about 45 minutes, I get called to come back. I stumble back to the exam room (my ass had literally fallen asleep) and am told to strip down from the waist up. Yes, that's waist UP. What a nice change, right? I'm so used to waist down I actually paused a bit before I started undressing.

After waiting 45 more minutes in my not-really-keeping-me-warm gown, in comes the MD. We discuss the change in my family history. We discuss the MRI costs (about $3K, and not covered by insurance) and other options. Then I get the scolding lecture that I knew was coming.

MD: You don't have any children, do you?
Me: No, but we are trying.
MD: You know your risks are higher for breast cancer because you've never had children. You are 39, right? Weren't you in here almost a year ago for an ovarian sonogram with Clo.mid? What's the story?
Me: Well, we thought we'd give it a few more tries just to be sure, and then I was travelling, and now we are starting our first IVF cycle. I'm on my 4th day of Lu.pron injections.
MD: OK -- let's get you in here every six months for breast sonograms, since I'm concerned about your history and all of the estrogen surges from menstruating and from IVF. You can go into the next room for the mammogram as soon as you have your gown back on.
(Note to reader, this conversation took place while my boobs were being roughed up while checking for miscreant lumps. The fun never ends.)

As I am walking down the hall into the mammogram room, Nurse 1 bellows to Nurse 2 - "use the lead shield -- she's doing an IVF cycle now and doesn't have children yet."

So then I arrive in mammogram room red-faced and do the drill, during which Nurse 2 mercifully says nothing about the IVF and just goes about her business of making my breasts into horizontal and then vertical pancakes. (Ouch. That pancake thing hurts like a bitch.)

Into the sonogram room I go. I thank Nurse 3 for the warmer for the goo that they use. She tells me that it's a baby bottle warmer. Super. Then she tells me how cold the gel was each time she had sonograms for her 3 kids, and how she was sure that the cold gel made the babies more active for the sonogram. (Ummm... sure?) And then she says "Oh, sorry, I forgot. You're the patient doing the IVF cycle. You don't have children yet, do you? You know, I had gestational diabetes with my 2nd and 3rd, and had to give myself shots. I can imagine IVF is pretty rough."

At this point, I wasn't really listening, since I was contemplating how I might disembowel her with the sono wand. Seriously, a couple more days of the Lu.pron and heads would have rolled.

The upshot of my hell appointment?
- 2.5 hours there
- multiple conversations about my infertility and how it might give me cancer
- a painful mammogram
- a cold and goopy sonogram.
But at least my boobs are all fine. For my trouble I got to write out a check for $800.

I was so drained by the end of this that I took a long nap when I got home. If I have to go back in 6 months and am not pregnant, I'm going to blow my head off.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


In the spirit of the "how, when, where... to comment" posts that have recently been posted on the Stirrup Queen's blog ( I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you out there who have read and commented on my blog posts.

At a time in my life where I find myself incredibly lonely and have found it hard to talk about this with my friends IRL (most are either already moms or currently pregnant), you all have provided me with a fabulous community and support network. So thank you thank you thank you.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't say to all of you that you are some of the bravest, most impressive women I have ever "met." Regardless of whether you are an IF veteran or new in this community, you are all on an emotionally and physically taxing journey, and are amazing for your ability/ willingness to share your lives and seek support and guidance.

Again, thank you thank you thank you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This one kind of stings

It was a really hard decision to leave my job, as I liked it for many years, and has a lot of monetary upside, but it was taking too much out of me with 90 hour weeks and constant travel (80% of the time). It was essentially impossible for me to be healthy and, frankly, sane. So while I am not going to take advantage of the maternity policy, I am still pretty psyched that I am leaving.

A few months ago when I was struggling with how to better manage my work/life balance, I turned to one of the women who had been at my company for a few years longer. Her advice was to keep my shoulder to the wheel and do what was necessary to become a partner, and then worry about the lifestyle after. When I asked her how I should balance that continued effort, and the expectations of significant travel (increasingly to Europe for several weeks/ months at a time) with our desire to have a family, her response was "There's technology to deal with that. You will have to do the travel if you want to succeed."

So that was pretty much the moment that I decided that I would leave my job.

Not only is that just a crazy-ass thing to say to someone, but it is also, I have discovered, factually untrue. With our au naturel trying, we only needed to be in the same place for a couple of days each month. With "technology" I have to be at the doctor a whole lot of times, and the scheduling is even more complex. So her answer was basically bullshit, and I'm glad I completely ignored it.

So why is this now a big deal? Because it turns out that she was pregnant when she said that to me. Her baby is due in about 4 weeks, which means that she would have been about 15 weeks pregnant. For some reasons, that bugs the living shit out of me. I mean, I'm happy that she is having a baby and all, but I think that it's just beyond obnoxious to tell someone -- especially someone who you know is almost 40 -- to postpone/ de-prioritize TTC when you are currently pregnant.

I will shake this, but right now it really bugs me.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I'm very proud of myself -- I did my very first shot last night. It was a bit like I was standing on the end of the diving board over a very cold pool. I rushed up to the edge a couple of times only to back away, and didn't fall for the "one, two, three... GO" trick that the Boy tried to use, but then I did it and it frankly was not a big deal, although you have to push a bit harder than I expected.

To those of you out there who have done this multiple times and think no more of giving the shots than you do of brushing your teeth, my hat is off to you -- I'm sure you are rolling your eyes at my neophyte whining. But, well, everyone starts somewhere, right?

Comic relief was provided by the Boy, who also played a very helpful quality check, extra set of hands, and cheerleader role:
"The directions say to take a small pinch of skin. Isn't that pinch you have too big? Can you really pinch that much? I mean, that's a really big pinch." Yeah -- that went over well. But then we both cracked up and I just poked it right into that big ol' pinch.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ready, set...

Well, here we are at Day 1 of IVF cycle 1.1. I've got the box o' meds, I've been to the RE's for initial blood work and what my husband refers to as the vagi-cam. All systems are go.

I have a ridiculous amount of hope riding on this cycle. All of my numbers seem good, my thyroid is under control, the IVF/ ICSI can manage the mediocre SA, and all of the REs that I have spoken to (4 -- I did some shopping around for clinics/ REs) are optimistic that this should work for us. My husband keeps reminding me that even under perfect circumstances, even if I wasn't careening into 40, someone has to be on the wrong side of the statistics. And so while intellectually I know this (for chrissakes, I'm a trained economist -- I understand statistics), I can't get past thinking this will work. This has to work.

Famous last words. Don't remind me of these in December.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CVS and me

I'm inherently an optimist. I try like hell to be more cynical, but hope keeps elbowing in. Why is this relevant? Because for every single day since we started TTC in Oct 2008, I have taken either a folic acid tablet or some fancy prenatal vitamin. Every fucking day. Because, of course, I wanted my baby to be well nourished from the very start.

Over a year later, I'm starting to feel kind of stupid about renewing the Rx. Mostly because the same woman always gives me my meds at the local CVS at the same time she gives me another box of the OPK sticks. She's seriously the longest-term CVS employee ever, and I feel like she's starting to look at me with a combination of pity and confusion -- I mean how many times do I go in to pick these up?

Today, with the hugely pregnant woman behind me, I wanted to sink into the floor.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's not anyone's fault

Today was a rough IF day for the Boy. He had done 2 SA's before, but both samples were done at home, and neither was analyzed by the lab at my RE. So today the RE's office called me with the results of last week's test.

Volume -- so so
Concentration -- fab (so then not a big deal about the volume)
Motility -- ummmm....
Morphology -- yeah... we have a problem.

So I know that the Krueger morphology test is super strict, and so a lot of men are below the 14-15% normal cutoff, but even the RE did note that he is pretty far below that number. On the two previous tests, he had been kinda borderline low, but something is apparently going on that has dropped his numbers off of a cliff. And while before most of the little guys were moving around, now more of them apparently were kinda tired and so were, well, resting, so the mobility numbers were low too.

The upside here is that the RE told me that this is not an insurmountable challenge -- we are already on track for IVF, and so we will just tack on the ICSI and so it isn't really that big of a deal (If it is a big deal, please someone tell me that I am just being naive.)

Frankly, I think this test is (in a weird way) good news -- if we know more what the problem is, then it's theoretically easier to fix. This leave me feeling really optimistic, but the Boy? Yeah, not so much.

My sweetie is basically all freaked out that our challenge in conceiving is entirely his fault. Usually he doesn't overreact like this, but this apparently touched a nerve. So now he keeps coming in and saying things like "I'm sorry you have to do all of these shots because I'm not able to get you pregnant" and "I feel bad that I asked to wait a few months before starting IVF, since I'm clearly the whole reason we have to do this."

I understand that he feels flawed and broken -- I've certainly been there, and will likely be back there again. But I am having a hard time convincing him that it really doesn't matter to me why we are embarking on IVF, but it just matters that we are in it together. I figure if I keep telling him that I'd rather do IVF with him than get pregnant with someone else's faster, shapelier sperm, eventually he will be able to hear it.

I sometimes forget that this is hard on both of us, but today, it seems that it is mostly hard on him. I just hate seeing him so unhappy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Presents in the mail

On Thursday we got a package from Fedex and were all excited to see that it was a very lovely (somewhat belated) wedding gift. Both the Boy and I really like the gift -- its a silver leaf-shaped platter with a lot of very lovely details --it's really quite beautiful and I can imagine using it to entertain. Of course, it would be easier to entertain properly if we had a dining room, a table that could fit more than 2 and more than 4 dining/ folding chairs, but I'm not getting too hung up on that.

On Friday we got another package from Fedex -- the box o' meds. Yipeee!
I freely admit that I spent way, way more time poring over the contents of this box than I did admiring our new gift. Remember when you got a present that had lots of little pieces and you took them out, examined each one, and imagined how all of the pieces would work together in some sort of big erector-set, train-set glory? That's kinda how I felt about getting a box full of needles and hormones. And you know what I really like? What made me smile the moment I saw it? The hazmat box. For some reason, that cracks me up.

I can't figure out whether it's my inner child, who just loves toys with loads of parts, whether it's my nerves about starting the IVF cycle, or whether I am just so relieved to finally be doing something that might bring us closer to getting pregnant that is making me so crazy excited about the arrival of the meds. Either way, my Boy thinks I'm a little nuts and has resisted my efforts at show-and-tell. He's promised that he will go through it all with me this weekend, so then I get to look at all of the shiny bits and pieces again. Yay!

Seriously, I write that and I think I have lost my mind. But I keep looking at the box o' meds and getting happy, as if a baby is just going to pop right out of there. I am clearly going to need to ratchet back my expectations of this thing big time, but right now, I'm pretty psyched to be getting off the sidelines and onto the field.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ken Burns made me cry

I'm a big Ken Burns documentary fan. He has nice music and calming voices, and also because I like watching TV that makes me feel all smart and virtuous (America's Next Top Model, while definitely on my DVR, does not do that). But usually somewhere in the course of the documentaries there is something that is either so beautiful or so touching that I get all kinds of weepy.

So I was expecting that when I finally got around to the National Parks series I would tear up a few times, especially because I have a huge emotional soft spot in my heart for the National Parks. Why? Because my entire childhood was spent doing these massive 6-week summer camping vacations around the country with my family visiting the parks.

Although I've been told I occasionally whined at the time, and do recall that once I offered to use my allowance to pay for a Holiday Inn (apparently I was not always in love with our tent), these trips are now cherished memories of my childhood.

The parks, and the memories of these trips, are even more important to me because my Dad, who was the real camper in the family, and the one who taught me and my sister to be outdoorsy and respect the natural world, died suddenly when I was a teenager. So basically, I have a lot of emotional baggage just waiting to be unpacked by this new documentary.

The series is six 2-hour episodes. In the first 5 minutes of the very first episode, a very nice historian (William Cronon) says this:

"One of the things I think we witness when we go to the parks is the immensity and the intimacy of time.

On the one hand, we experience the immensity of time which is the creation itself. It is the universe unfolding before us.

And yet it is also time shared with the people we visit these places with. And so it's the experience we remember when our parents took us for the first time. And then we, as parents, passing them on to our children -- a kind of intimate transmission from generation to generation to generation of the love of place, of the love of nation, that the National Parks are meant to stand for."

And that is pretty much when I started to cry uncontrollably. Because right there, in that one passage, was why I would like a child -- to pass on the things I love, to share stories of my family, to teach a love of beauty and respect for nature and to create memories for a child of their summer vacations with their family.

Maybe this isn't the right reason to have a child, but it's my reason right now. What I have learned from both my parents shaped me into the adult I am today, and I think it is a wonderful inheritance that I would like to pass on to a child. My child.

And so I cried during that part, and I got choked up when I rewound it so that I could write it down. I admit that I am kind of afraid to watch episodes 2-6 because I know that something else will strike me again, and I'll get all weepy. But Episode 1 was really good, so I'm going to try to keep it together.

I'll let you know how the rest of it goes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goddamn NYT

Quick rant on this: why does everyone who knows that we are having trouble TTC feel that its their business to send us the NYT articles about multiples and IVF and IUI?
(Yep, for those of you who missed it, Monday's paper had a followup. Spec-fucking-tacular)
What are they thinking? All of a sudden they are experts with opinions to share? I live in NYC- I get the damned paper, people. (incidentally, I usually heart the NYT, so this is tough for me to be so angry at them.)

Seriously, what are people thinking? And please don't even get me started on the vitriolic comments to the article on Sunday. Gargh!

Forward progress

Since I am just waiting for this cycle to start (thank you, RE, for your poorly timed lab closure last month), I have come up with 3 things on my IVF to do list:

- Call RE and get them to call in the order for meds for IVF v.1: check.

- Call scary evil health insurance company and confirm coverage and check on copays (the idea here being that they had already told me I was covered, but now that I know the specific meds, I'd rather not be surprised with a large bill): check, but it took literally 1.5 hours on the phone to get this sorted. Because I was not really pleased with their response "oh -- these drugs? we can't send these drugs to you... they are only covered if you have them sent to your MD and have them administer the injections. "
Ummm.... what? That's a new one. Sorry, but that's not the right answer today.
And so I basically held two people hostage on the phone until it was sorted. Boy referred to my approach as pleasant, but firm. Read: I can be a tremendous pain in the ass.

- Send the Boy for a test run at the Sperminator: check. All other samples he's been permitted to generate at home and then take the 10 min cab ride to drop off, but the RE really prefers in-office. This test run is basically to confirm that he can do this, so that I am not left high and dry on ER day. He just walked back into the apartment and (phew) he was able to get the job done. Although he came home less triumphant than I expected, and slightly more freaked out. He's really quite the sensitive little bunny, my Boy, and I think it just wasn't the warm, fuzzy experience he prefers. He kept muttering about bright fluorescent lights killing his mood.

So now I just keep looking at the calendar and waiting for day 21 to show up. I mean, I know when it is, but since we already got delayed a month, I am really impatient. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Not as much action as I would like, so I'm just trying to keep busy. I could do other useful things like look for a job, but that's less interesting. I mean, I will, but just not now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Sometimes good moods just elude me. Maybe it's that I have too much stressing me out, or maybe I have given into the frustration and gloom that accompanies my increasingly fervent belief that nothing for me is ever easy.

So today I woke up kinda gloomy, which is ridiculous, because it is a perfect fall day, with crisp air and blue skies, and have been trying to shake out of it. I just feel like I am trying, and failing at almost everything.

I'm trying to be in a good mood. It's not really working, and the Boy finally said that he was going to go out by himself the rest of the day, because I was being impossible to deal with. He's right, of course, because I know when I am a pain in the ass, and today is one of those days. So I will try harder later, and hopefully we can salvage the day.

I'm trying to find a job that I like. This is sort of hard, because I am tired of working, but don't really have the luxury not to work. Upon reflection, quitting my job during the worst recession since the 1930s may not have been a good plan. But I still think the idea was sound, and think that I will ultimately find something that I like to do. I just hate the "trying to find" part, because, well, it's just a lot of work and I am fundamentally in a lazy, not very optimistic, not very confident place right now.

I'm trying to get pregnant. That's not going great, as discussed, and now we are embarking on IVF after 12 months of trying a variety of other options and being tested and poked every which way. So we've ordered the IVF drugs and are starting in 11 days.

I'm trying to lose weight and get in better shape, since I have gotten heavy and really absurdly un-fit over the last several years. I'm making progress, but it's slow, and on days like today, I really really really want a cupcake. I'll just feel worse when I eat it, but damn do I want it.

All of this trying to do things takes a whole lot of effort, and what I want right now is for things to be easy and smooth. I don't want to be tested; I don't want to prevail over difficult odds. Dammit, I just want what I want and don't see why things have to be harder for me than they are for so many other people.

Yep -- re-reading that, it's clear that I have lost all perspective. I need to get the hell outside and go for a walk. This mood will pass, and I will realize that I am fundamentally lucky in that I am healthy, have a strong supportive family, have significant savings, am well-educated, etc., etc. I know this, and I try to focus on the good things.

But man oh man, today I just wish that things could be a wee bit easier, because trying is sometimes so hard.

Update (6 hours later):
I went for a 5 mile walk with the baby (yes, that's what we call our dog, M) in the lovely fall weather. Turns out, exercise almost always helps me feel better, so for now, at least, I feel like I have my shit back together.

I might have felt even better still with the cupcake, but I'm trying to stick to the diet. OK -- that's a lie. I did go to the cupcake store, and was in the process of selecting my treat when I realized that I had left the house with no money. The teenage girl behind the counter wasn't really interested in bartering the cupcake for the old hall's cough drop and dog pick-up bags I had in my pocket.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sheer force of will

Fairly random list of things in my head today:

- Even though I still think that Wall Street is lame, and am still worried that we will have no shelter or insurance in a few months, I am less angry. Now I'm just anxious, but at least I can do something to address those worries.

- I rode my bike hard for an hour in the park (12 miles) and made a kickass dinner last evening, and it made me feel better. Pork chops with apples and pecans and polenta with goat cheese. I have to say, it was pretty awesome. The fact that my ass is killing me today (from the biking, not the pork chops) is, well, not as much of a good thing, but I will live with it.

- Even after feeling better about the world through the magic of exercise and tasty food, I still managed to have a huge meltdown about something stupid last night. It might have been freezer bags that set me off, or whose turn it was to feed the dog. All I know is that these BCPs are making me absolutely nutty, and I went through nearly half a roll of toilet paper blowing my nose while weeping. My husband is still asleep now -- I think he needs to recover.

Today -- I will try to be cheerful. I am going to will good cheer into being, and if I am lucky, I might even start to buy into it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wall Street is lame and stupid

I'm starting to really buy into the whole "Wall St is the source of all of this country's ills" thing, as it kinda turns out that a lot of those guys (and believe me, they are mostly guys) making craploads of money are complete dicks. And bear in mind that my Boy has been working on the Street for over 20 years, so you might rightly put him into that dick-ish category. But he's different, and maybe that's why this is so hard for him. Some of these guys have egos too big for the island of Manhattan, and one of them at least -- KR (otherwise known as the Liar) -- is just not a nice person at all.

Why am I agitated? My husband's prospective job has evaporated in the way that promises that aren't really every meant to be kept just kind of fizzle out. Like those mirages on the highway -- you see them and believe that they are there, and when the time comes, they are gone. Turns out that loyalty and past success and a handshake aren't really a substitute for a signed piece of paper in this world of ego and money, and that the last 4 weeks of the Boy's working for free in a consultant kinda role while HR pulled its act together were really just kind of a gift to a guy who already has so much that, in my view at least, he shouldn't be looking for handouts.

I suppose we should have known that it would be too easy if one of us acquired gainful employment without too much grief and stress, but then, well, that would be someone else's life now wouldn't it?

So now I have a really foul-tempered husband rattling around the house (and by rattling, I mean slamming doors, and muttering all manner of obscenities). My response? Be supportive to him but (a) try to figure out where this guy lives so I can mentally plan to go bitch him out and (b) internally begin to freak out that our health insurance is going to run out during the middle of our first IVF cycle....

Shit shit shit. Would catching a break really be that bad?

Stepping away from the hampster wheel

First off, thanks for the advice. I know people don't mean to be insensitive, so I will try to be less touchy. I might actually tell them what I am feeling so that they are not relegated to reading my mind. (Turns out that isn't so effective as a communications technique.)

Second, I finally weighed myself after a month of dieting, and it turns out I have lost 5 lbs this month. Seriously, this makes me feel like the daily trips to the gym and the lack of cupcakes is worth it. Yay for me!

Third, one of my former colleagues sent me the partner elections from the firm I used to work for. I wasn't on it (obviously -- I no longer work there), but I actually didn't care and was able to be just happy for my friends who did get elected. It's so nice to finally say goodbye to that part of my life and be less driven about always having to "win." Don't get me wrong -- I still compete pretty hard (usually just with myself), but I'm super psyched to not have to perform for anyone else and to have made a proactive decision to step off of the treadmill. I love love LOVE having some of my life back and to be able to focus on being healthy, doing things that are important to me and to the Boy, and basically getting more of what I want and need. So today, when I say the new partner list, I realized that I finally can say that I don't need to be a partner to feel good about my career and myself, and I don't need to work 80-100 hours a week to feel like I am excelling. And that, to me at least, was a big, fat breakthrough and a huge relief.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Insensitivity training -- advice requested.

There are only a couple of friends with whom I have shared that we are having a tough time getting pregnant.  One of them, who I have mentioned before, was all kinds of freaked out about getting pregnant with her second child, and was running around showing other women her FSH and LH and E2 numbers. (Frankly, they weren't that bad, and she got pregnant again from her first IUI.)

So this same friend (due in January) sends out this email last evening to me and two other women:
"I had a terrible dream. We were all back in B-school, and all of you sat together at some class dinner, but decided I should sit somewhere else. And then the people at my table got up and left, so I had to sit alone the whole night.  How weird is that? Think I'm having antepartum nightmares induced by fears of further mommy isolation..."

Seriously?  You just sent me that?  We talked about how I am having trouble getting pregnant in May, in August, you know I'm still not pregnant and you send me that?  Jeesh.

But since I am willing to take criticism, am I being oversensitive?  I don't want to be all bitchy and difficult, but this bugged the bejesus out of me.  Input welcome.


As previously mentioned, I live in NYC.  Smack in the middle, actually, and so it's usually pretty noisy and hectic.  But today was one of those days where I found real quiet and peace even in the middle of all the craziness.

This evening when I took the baby out (and by "the baby" I mean my golden retriever) to the park, I went to sit by the small pond not far from where we enter the park.  There, I saw several types of migrating ducks feeding, and also a great blue heron fishing.  We sat and watched for a while.  It always surprises me to see things like this in the city -- it's a 3 foot tall bird about 5 blocks from my apartment!  But there it was, and so we watched it.

On our way home, we passed a man staring at the top of a tree.  So of course, we also stared at the tree.  In the tree was a hawk.  A big one.  This is actually one of the pair of hawks that lives near the park. You could see it preening and stretching its wings -- it was lovely to see something so majestic and so wild.

On our walk tonight, the moon was out and beginning to wane.  We passed a man with this enormous telescope set up looking at the night sky.  It's pretty hard to see a lot of stars in the city, and that's something I always love about getting out of the urban environment, but tonight I got to look through his telescope and see a close up view of Jupiter and several of its moons.  I don't know why, but it made me foolishly happy.  I'm going to go to bed and dream of stars.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Comfort food

In order to keep my mind off of everything that is going on right now, I have been cooking a lot. I view it as therapy, and if I didn't live in NYC, I'd also be gardening like crazy -- there is something about cooking and gardening that is meditative and comforting.

Last night I made braised chicken. But not just any braised chicken. The super-special-ordered-from-the-internet-so-that-it-is-like-the-chicken-we-had-in-Paris chicken. This chicken (actually chickens -- the boy ordered 2) arrived last week in a fancy cooler and we have been waiting until I was home to cook it.

One tiny thing to note about these chickens: they are whole. And by whole I mean that the heads and feet are attached. And the insides -- they are still there too. So I basically am terrified of these chickens and can't stand to have them looking at me and have been averting my eyes every time I open the refrigerator.

But terror notwithstanding, we are not going to just throw them away because we are afraid. I will not be defeated by a chicken! So what did I do? I made the Boy deal with it. I kind of think he should anyway, since he ordered them. I put headphones on and pretended that all of the noises coming from the other room were just part of the music.

After browning them and then braising them with wine and loads of onions and herbs, they were not so scary. Worth the hassle? Definitely not. But a good cooking adventure, and for 3 hours we thought about chicken, not about cancer, or TTC, or our upcoming IVF. And so it was worth it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

People get ready

I'm back from the homeland and trying to focus on things other than my mom's cancer and my inability to get pregnant.

What I should be doing today is getting the job search started so that we don't lose our health insurance.

What I am actually doing today is getting this IVF cycle up and running, so that I feel as if we are making forward progress. Here's the list:
- Spoke to clinic nurses to check on whether all pre-cycle tests are done. Apparently DH needs to get yet another SA since the motility and morphology numbers have been all over the map. We agreed to deep freeze some of his stuff as well -- he's had some trouble getting it done in the RE's office, and I will not be left sperm-less after the whole month-long cycle of shots. That would prompt an unpleasant incident I'd prefer to avoid.
- Spoke to insurance for the umpteenth millionth time to sort out who provides the drugs. THis has been unbelievably hard and complicated, and I suspect that it will continue to be a source of agita.
- Went to acupuncturist. She keeps telling me that I need to relax to ensure that the energy is flowing. I like her, she knows her stuff, and I always feel better once I am done. However, "just relax" has the (expected) result of stressing me out even more... Grrrr
- Went to grocery store. Yeah, I know this isn't directly related to TTC, but both the Boy and I are trying to lose a couple of pounds , and it's definitely healthier than take-out or eating out, and I think that it will be harder once on the drugs. (OK, full disclosure: I am trying to lose 15 lbs, since I am relegated to wearing the Boy's pants at this point.) But nothing takes my mind off of all that troubles me like planning and cooking meals, so it makes sense to put it on the list.

I feel much better about doing something, vs doing nothing -- it's just the waiting that makes me a little bit nutty. I'm just kinda anxious to get the show on the road.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Sometimes, you catch a break. My mom's surgery went about as well as could be hoped today: initial pathology review shows that the cancer has not spread to her lymph nodes and so she got to come home. She's sleeping now, and that has given me some time to catch my breath from the ordeal. We won't know next steps (chemo, radiation, estrogen suppression) until next week, but for now it feels like we dodged a bullet.

To whomever is out there and in charge -- thank you.

I might have felt pretty good about the whole day if (a) I didn't have to wake up at 5.15am to get to the hospital and (b) my mom's old friend didn't keep scaring the living shit out of me with talk of wigs and anti-nausea medication and other chemotherapy-induced horrors.

I call this friend "the vulture" -- any time someone is sick, or dies, she swoops in to "help," and so today she insisted on sitting in the hospital with me. I tried to politely tell her yesterday that her attendance was not desired by either me or (more importantly) my mom, but she was actually already in the hospital by the time we got there. And she talked. The. Whole. Seven. Hours. She even found me at the Star.bucks. Apparently, making me homicidal is part of her "helping" strategy. Not sure how me incarcerated for murder helps my mom, but I guess it's her strategy for becoming indispensable.

So I am having a drink while my mom sleeps, and just trying to let it go.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Mom's screen came back ok, so be happy. And I am happy. Really. I am so enjoying this quiet time so I can actually think about how grateful I am that this went well.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


So I'm back in Cleveland, land of my forebears, to hang out with my mom for the weekend since the big cancer surgery is tomorrow.

Not much to say about that except I'm a little bit nervous. OK -- I'm a lot nervous. We've done the breast cancer gig before, and it wasn't so bad; I'm just hoping for not so bad this time around, too. She's had such a rough go of it, I wish she could catch a break. Seriously -- she deserves to smoothly sail through her life from here on in.

I wish I could will the cancer away and make her life smoother, but this is just another part of my life where I feel totally powerless to change anything. There is really nothing I can do to make it better, except be helpful and supportive. I know this, but it frustrates and leaves me feeling enervated and agitated.

At the least, I wish I could come bearing some super exciting news like "I'm pregnant with your first grandchild" or something else positive. But I've got nothing to bring except myself, and I can just hope that will be enough.

I just can't shake the feeling that I am a huge disappointment to her since I am failing to produce a grandchild. I know that she doesn't feel that, but I also know that she gets all wistful at the mention of her friends' numerous grandchildren.

But like I said, this time I can only bring myself, and my heart full of fear and hope.


Crap. Crap. Crap.

Spotting started. I'm 14dpo, and I was foolishly hopeful that this extra cycle au natural that we did before starting IVF would be "the one."

It's not. My period is coming, and I know it. My Boy, who likes everything to be quantified, asked me how sure I was. Even he didn't look happy when I told him 98.5% (There's that damned hope again, using up the other 1.5%.)

So here's some more quantification:
- How many months have our 39 and 45 yo newlyweds been trying to get pregnant?: 12
- How many of those months were total losses because my (now former) job had me either at the office for 24 hours a day or across the Atlantic?: 3 (hence "former")
- How many months did we try with clo.mid: 5
- How many of those clo.mid months were in the aforementioned total loss category: 2
- How many times did I try to convince the Boy to start IVF, only to have him ask for "one more try?": 3
- How many times did I have my thyroid tested to ensure I wasn't on the wrong side of the hypothyroidism cut-off?: 4
- How many months did I have spotting and obsessively research implantation bleeding during the 12 hours before my period started?: 3 (Yeah -- that one is embarrassing -- It's like I am too stupid to actually get it. Someone really just needs to say "You over there with the pleading look in your eyes, you ARE NOT pregnant. Again. Now step away from the internet and go buy another box of tampons.")
- How many months did we try to start an IVF cycle, only to find out that the RE's lab would be closed for 3 weeks during the time I kinda sorta needed it open?: 1
- How likely is it that this month, my upcoming IVF cycle will require ET during the week I am out of town for Thanksgiving?: 100% (OK -- this one is probably more like 95%, but I am in a pissy mood)

Crap. Crap. Crap.