Wednesday, May 26, 2010

American Idiot

No, not the Green Day Broadway play. Me. I'm the idiot.

I'm the idiot because I actually, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, thought that I could get miraculously pregnant on our "break month" before we try with IVF again.

When CD28, 29, and 30 rolled around, I actually let hope in. And the bitch fucking took off her shoes, put her feet up and made herself at home. Once again, I googled things like "timing of implantation bleeding" (there was a tiny bit of light pink spotting) and "spotting at time of period." You'd think I had never done this before. What you really would think is that I should just bookmark this stuff on my web browser.

And so, since I am usually a 28-day girl, I went out and I did the unthinkable. I bought pregnancy tests. Expensive ones. Ones without lines but with words that tell you the news. And to no one's surprise but mine, the test said "not pregnant."

The Boy had a pretty good observation (and I promised to give him credit). What the sticks should say is "Yes" or, in our case, "F**k you." I'm not sure how you market those, but I think it's really quite a bit more honest and more appealing for certain segment of the buying public.

And in more great news, immediately after my "f**k you " result, I discovered that we had no hot water and had to suffer through that. Which sucked almost as much. I love camping, but doing the cold shower at home? Not nice at all.

Then I had to spend a day at site visits with my pregnant co-worker and listen to how she was feeling and hear all of the cooing, and discussions of pregnancies, and listen to her whine about how hungry she was.

So overall, a banner day. Oh yeah, and by 3pm my period had officially arrived.
Like I said, I'm an idiot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A little perspective goes a long way

Since January, I have worked for a large poverty-fighting organization. And we do really great, really important work, but are still somewhat divorced from the in-your-face realities that exist for the poor here in the United States.

But yesterday? Yesterday was different. I went to an organization that provides housing, food, healthcare and job training services to people in NYC. There are a lot of these organizations and they are mostly doing great work, and the people who work there every day deserve all of the credit in the world for sacrificing higher pay for this important work.

Yesterday I actually got the opportunity to sit down and talk with someone who is homeless. Someone who lived on the streets and in the subway stations pretty near where I live in my apartment. He lived on the streets for 15 (yes you read that right) years, and through the outreach from this program was convinced to come indoors and be helped.

He is polite, charming, well-spoken. He graduated high school. He is 55 years old. He has both a serious mental illness and is an active substance abuser. And for the last 15 years of his life he has lived with a suitcase and his wits on the streets of my neighborhood.

Hopefully, through this program he will get stable housing, treatment for his mental health issues and begin treatment for his substance abuse. But what he said was the most important thing was that he is finally, for the first time in a while, regaining a little bit of what it feels like to be human -- to be seen, and not ignored, to be treated with respect, and not discarded with the trash.

I went back to my office, and someone had sent me this presentation. And the combination of this with my meeting really, really, I mean at a visceral gut level, hit me: I am lucky. I have pretty much won the life lottery by being an upper-middle class American. But yet I complain too much. I whine about infertility, about my husband's lack of meaningful work, and about pretty much everything. Instead I should feel grateful -- grateful that I have a wonderful husband and a supportive family. Grateful for my health, for my education, for my income bracket. Grateful that I do not worry where I will sleep or what I will eat or my personal safety.

I'm not sure how long this feeling will last, but I am going to try to hold onto it for at least a few days. Because sometimes I need a little perspective on what is really important.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thank you

Thanks to you all for your help with both my recent MTHFR diagnosis (is that the right word?) and in supporting me through this bumpy path with my friend-who-could-not-be-more-tone-deaf.

So what have I learned and done since then? I learned that I have only one copy of the MTHFR mutation, although I don't know which part of the gene, so I guess that's better than it could be. And since I am a firm believer in taking my medical care into my own hands, I have basically increased my folic acid, b-6, and b-12 intake to what it would be if I was also taking Folgard with my prenatal. Lastly, I have added a baby aspirin.

I do promise to tell the RE all of this before I start my next cycle (in about a week, unless I am miraculously pregnant this month), but I figured that I could get things started now. As far as I can tell, these vitamins are all water soluble, so there's no real downside risk of taking more.

Other news? I have not heard any more from tone-deaf friend, and I'm thinking she thinks she was super helpful and now I'm just being difficult and "hiding." And it's true, I have hidden out before when things were bad, but I had dinner and brunch with other friends this weekend, and am pretty open about things, so that's not what is going on now. I'm sure she just thinks I can't deal with her blissfully happy life, but in fact I just can't deal with her. Clearly I am still hurt/ angry and so I'm going to have to sit with this for a while more before I'm willing to call her, and I think I may just wait for her to call me.

But it was really really nice to hear from you all that I was not unreasonable in being disappointed at the emails I received, and it makes me feel better knowing that you all do get it. We each are following different paths and are in different places, but understanding the soul- crushing experience of wanting something very badly and not being able to make it happen? You all get it. And while I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I'm really happy that you are here.

Otherwise, things are just fine. Had a nice weekend and now am just waiting for my period to come (ugh) so that we can get started again on IVF v.3.0

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So far, I'm not sure I love 40....

I'm 40. It happened Sunday, and overall I feel much the same.

A couple of exciting (read that ironically, please) things have happened since the last post.

First, I got some of the results back from the gallon of blood that they took last week (I had been sent in for a lot of immunological testing and the Boy and I both were sent to get our genetic karyotype). Here's where things stand:
- the fucking nurses (sorry, usually they are quite nice) forgot to check the box for my karyotype, so I have to go back and get more blood drawn. Suffice it to say, I am not amused, as I am intending to start another cycle around the 25th, and these results could be USEFUL and now may not be back in time. AAAArgh.
- I apparently have a MTHFR mutation. Fan.fucking.tastic.
I only spoke to the RE briefly, so didn't get all of the details (which part of the gene, hetero or homozygous), but have emailed her to follow up. But on the upside, my homocysteine levels are normal. She is not concerned about this and just recommended that I up my folic acid to 2mg. She said she'd be more concerned if I had recurrent pregnancy loss, but I seem to fail at the implantation stage, and in her view there is not much to do there.

Views? I know a lot of MTHFR mutated women out there are on regimens of vitamins (folic acid, b6 and b12), baby aspirin, lovenox/heparin or some combination thereof. For implantation issues, should I be discussing any of this with my RE? And does the mutation type matter? Homocysteine levels? Dr Google is annoyingly unhelpful here.

Other reasons that this week has been a bit of a sucky one? Remember that heartfelt email that I sent to my friend hoping that she would "get it" and be a good source of support? Four days later I got back the lamest shit I could have possibly imagined:

Hi there,

Haven’t watched the video yet but promise I will. Just a few quick things about below. Please don’t worry about “negating” my experience. In our society, it is validated every day, deservedly or not. And, if you don’t speak frankly about how you feel, who will know? And how will we know which pep talk to give or not give? I used to fight with my parents when I’d complain to them about something in my world and they’d say “Well, why don’t you do X?” or “Have you thought about trying Y?” Finally I just had a major melt down and said, “You know, I’m not telling you this because I need you to help me fix it. I can do that myself. I’m just telling you this seeking a little empathy. Sometimes, I’d just like to hear “Oh, that must really stink”. Because you belittle me by trying to direct me to solutions that I’m perfectly aware of on my own.” Thus I stopped seeking empathy from my parents because they were incapable of it. Remembering my own experience, I try my best to be attuned to the difference between empathy and problem-solving. Not that I always get it right, but I do try.

OK – now I’m going to watch the video. Toodles –


And so while I am pleased that she feels that she thinks she is empathetic, I'm really getting none of that. And that sucks.

Her follow up email after watching the video?
"The video made me weepy too, and I couldn't help but notice that she had the same bathmat that we got from Target."

Seriously? That is the shit I get back in response to my email? I don't even know where to start I am so hurt/ angry/ shocked/ saddened. I just feel so disappointed in her -- she is completely unable to get it, and I thought I was making it so easy.

I've already decided to cut my losses here and not come back to her with another follow up. But I'm also not calling her any time soon. I guess I should have just left well enough alone, but instead I feel worse than I did when I started: she validated my isolation.

I guess you guys are it. In addition to your views on MTHFR, I could use a reminder that I am not the only one stuck in this circle of hell.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The day before the day

So tomorrow's my birthday. And mother's day. And the age I will be is 40. And that is crazy, because 40 is old and I'm still very very immature.

So we've been pretty much low key about the whole thing, per my request, and that is all good. And I'm generally feeling better about things, but I'm pretty volatile right now, so that could change in a heartbeat. But I'm trying to be upbeat and at least modestly cheery.

Other things that are good? On CD 12, right after my predictions of doom and failure to ovulate, I got a "2" on the CBEFM. And have stayed there for 3 days, which is good. My body working as it should be has definitely improved my mood.

And on the topic of all things good, I reached out to another friend (B) and sent her the same article that I sent friend A, and she read it and we had a nice enough talk, and so that was generally good. Not great, since her toddler had woken up at 10pm and was having a meltdown in the background and she had to hide in the bathroom, but it was reasonably helpful just to have someone generally validate my feeling shitty.

And then friend A sent me an email which basically said "I think I did something to make you unhappy, and you should tell me if I do because I don't mean to." And weirdly, that email made me stupidly happy. Not so much because she made me unhappy about the squijillion references to her kids, but because she figured out why I bailed on our conversation.

And then I did something I should have done before, which is tell her the truth. And I sent her a long and somewhat rambling email, and while I haven't received anything back (perhaps this time I really DID piss her off??), at least I feel like I pissed off with purpose. By that I mean that my intention this time wasn't to make her unhappy or invalidate her feelings or experiences, but I wasn't embarrassed of how I was feeling and instead unambiguously articulated what I was feeling. And so if she is unhappy about it, I can't do anything because it truly captures how I feel.

And who knows? Maybe she's not offended but just waiting for time to get back to me. All I know is that I feel this huge sense of relief from sending an email that is frank and true to me.

For those of you interested, here's an extract:
OK. You outed me. Apparently you've known me long enough to see right through me.
Mentioning your children 2 times in a 2 line email just was like hitting me over the head with a bat about how different my life is from yours and pretty much everyone else's. And I know that I'm a huge ass for saying that, but it made me feel way more isolated and lonely, not less. So I bailed. Because I'd rather feel *as bad* as I am already feeling, not feel worse.
The thing that I hate the most in the entire world is how this fucks up every relationship I have. It's beyond poisonous and yet consumes about 1000% of my waking hours. Actually, there's a lot else to hate about this, but that's the most germane.
So, in an effort to get out of the cave I am hiding in, I am embarking on a "let's talk frankly about how I feel" campaign.
Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week (don't get me started about how lame it is to be part of some group that has an awareness week -- the earnestness alone makes me want to puke). And someone sent me a link to a video that someone else made. It's worth watching, and it's not entirely my experience, but it's pretty close. I cried when I watched it, but then I cry all the fucking time nowadays so that's not that notable.

There's much more to say about this, except I'm supposed to be prepping for a meeting so I have to go. And one other thing -- I adore your kids and so you should know that they are not verboten topics. They are a part of your world right now just like not having kids or being pregnant after trying for 18 months is part of mine. I just thought that was important to say -- I don't need you to negate your experience just to feel like you can help me with mine, but sometimes I just can't bear to hear about it.

Next time I post, I'll be 40. Holy shit.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Going, going... gone

Yeah, that's me losing my shit.

I don't know really what has precipitated the total and complete meltdown, but it started last night and continued this morning until I was both screaming at my husband for not helping me feel better and sobbing uncontrollably about how big I felt the hole was that was eating away at me.

In case he reads this, let me put this out there publicly -- I was a basket case and completely irrational. And I'm sorry. He's been beyond awesome 99.9% of the time, and so I should really cut him a break when I wake him up to whine.

Back to the meltdown. Let's recap a bit to see what might have caused this:

Sunday is my birthday. I'm turning 40. I refuse to actually believe it's happening, and just get really peevish when my other friends say -- "oh it wasn't that bad." Yeah for you, maybe. Your life is exactly how you thought it would be, and your kids are already 4 and 2. But for me? For me it's the sign of impending disaster, so shut the hell up about how bad it is.

Sunday is also Mother's day. Enough said on this one, but I thought I would leave you with this link to spread a little bit of cheer around the IF community. Because this commercial nearly sent me to bed weeping last night, and very likely was the catalyst for this meltdown today.

What kind of cruel ass joke is it for the infertile girl to have her 40th birthday on Mother's day? I think it's just mean.

I think I pissed off a friend by trying to ask for help (see last post). This is a friend with 2 kids and the one who responded to my email for cheering up with about eleven thousand mentions of her kids in a 2 line email. And then she left two chipper messages, and then I emailed her back saying "I'm doing ok, thanks very much for calling." And I can just tell she's pissed off. And she'll say she doesn't get it and she was trying to help and I will just look like the asshole for essentially blowing off her help. But it makes me feel like crap all the same, because she could try to get it -- googling this stuff wouldn't be that hard, and she might even stumble upon the resolve website and learn something useful. So I not only didn't get the verbal hug I wanted, but I am left with the sinking feeling as if she doesn't care enough to try to understand what is happening with me.

I keep thinking about this, and about thinking about how to get more out of the friendships I have, because I have cultivated these friendships for 20 years, and if they are not so useful now when I need them, well, then what was the point? So I tried another friend, also with kid, and actually sent her this from the resolve site as pre-reading for our call. Because it's really really hard for me to ask for help and not just try to shoulder this all on my own, and so a little but of outside perspective could help.

I hope it works out, or that I am not left feeling worse than I was before. Because I feel pretty bad about how my first attempt to reach out to a friend went, and I don't know if my presently fragile ego can take any more blows.

I'm just so scared that this won't ever work out and that I will be left with this huge aching gap where my heart should be. Right now I am at a place where I don't have the internal resources to know that other parts of my life and my other relationships are valuable and worth cherishing -- I only can see what is missing. So I need people -- people who know me and whose opinions I respect -- to tell me that yes, this experience sucks, but it is not my whole life and will not be my whole life forever. Right now it feels like it will be and that this hurt will swallow up everything else.

Oh, and to top it off, my always-regular body is misbehaving: usually by now I get a "2" on the CBEFM and then get the "3" and the little egg by CD14. Today is CD11 and I've got nothing. Still at a "1" and I'm thinking that this is the month that my body has chosen to not ovulate regularly on it's own. Because why? Because nothing is ever easy. (Yeah, I know it's still very early, but I'm doing my best Cassandra imitation and predicting doom.)

I'm exhausted and my eyes burn from crying and I'm clearly not working. I just want to go home and lie down.