Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Memory Lane

And so we started all over again.
I remembered how it's done. It's not like I had much to fear. The BIG SHOT and I had already faced off. Those little shots made their attacks more than once, so I knew what to expect there. And I'd already felt the affects of a negative result. The worst thing that can happen is the same thing. And if the same thing is the worst thing, then I'm in much better shape this time around.

We decided to try something called IUI for this cycle. It stands for (hold your ears if you're easily grossed out by lady-parts words) Intra-Uterine Insemination. Basically, they get those little swimmers a lot closer to the egg than we could have if we were trying to conceive naturally. Instead of road maps and stop signs, it's sort of like a bus that drops them off at the right stop, then shoves them out the door and drives away shouting, "NORTH!"
Some may have thought it was a little bit pre-mature to move up a level in the game of fertility. But David doesn't like games. He decided the second we learned we weren't pregnant the last time that this is what he wanted to do. And I love when he makes decisions, so I went along with it. (David and I can get stuck at the end of our driveway for 20 minutes waiting for one of us to make the decision about whether to start walking to the right or to the left.)

The day I was to start taking the fertility goodness pills I was in Vero (where I grew up) with one of my best friends. We had been invited to judge a drama competition. These were the same competitions we prepared for every year when we were in high school. We had such a great day, cracking up quietly about how much these kids reminded us of, well, us. Super dramatic, very serious about their art, complete nerds, and, of course, accompanied by overcompensating drama teachers who obviously never made it as actors.
When we got our lunch break, we were served by the students themselves. The lunch was fair but it was absolutely adorable watching the kids cook and serve. I felt like such a grown up that day.
I took out my fertility pills and counted them at the lunch table. I held them under the table cloth in my hand. I lifted the cloth and showed my friend.
"What is that?"
"That's the fertility goodness. Say a prayer they work!"
My friend held my hands in his, lowered his head, and was silent for several seconds. There we sat, at a 6-top in the middle of the high school culinary classroom with a bunch of other drama teachers and actors, and we were bowing our heads in prayer over fertility pills. And as soon as we said "Amen" and raised our heads, I leaned my head back, popped the pills and slugged some water. I was so appreciative of my friend's support and the fact that he didn't care how strange it looked to pray over pills at a drama competition.
I smiled while we walked back to the judging room after lunch, acting much the same as I did when I was in High School: full of joy, walking next to one of my best friends, and making fun of kids who weren't as cool as us. And trust me, there were PLENTY who weren't as cool as us.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Consumer Complaints

So let's be honest, trying to get pregnant every month and failing isn't always funny. Sometimes it's downright mean of Mother Nature to give me ovaries and a uterus if she knew they weren't going to work the way they should. But I have to get over it and realize that we've all got a path and everything is happening exactly as it should and blah, blah, blah.
Whatever cliche you choose to impart upon me, I'm taking this time to thoroughly, authentically, and quite plainly, bitch.
How sick am I of hearing about women who accidentally get pregnant? It's not their fault, and they certainly shouldn't keep it a secret, but it sure does twist the knife when they remark on how terrified they were when they found out they were with child. It's unbelievably annoying when they tell me they weren't even trying or didn't feel ready. Yeah, you've been inconvenienced, but you've been inconvenienced by a PERSON you MADE. That's about the best freakin' inconvenience I can think of. Ironically, I was a surprise. (I prefer "surprise" over "accident".) And so was David. Does this mean two accidents combining make a couple infertile? Is it like two North Poles of a magnet? Our egg and sperm look at each other like, "Oh, no. We will have NO MORE ACCIDENTS."

And how about that show, "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant." Really? You didn't? How adorable. You gained 20 pounds, puked, stopped your period ENTIRELY, became irretrievably moody, and started going into labor before you figured out that you were harboring life. You know what? Give me your baby. Just give it to me. If you didn't even know, what's the difference? You won't miss it and then I'll get to have the baby I always wanted. There should be a call-in number at the end of that show where infertile women can vote for which babies most deserve new mothers and why. Because if you don't give those babies to someone else, in 20 years they'll all be on Nightline talking about how they never felt like their mothers even knew they were there. Because they didn't.

But this...this is my favorite. Everyone and their sister is pregnant. At least one person from every period of my life is pregnant. And they're all afraid to TELL me. Sure, they eventually tell me, but they tip toe because they don't want to "hurt my feelings". Well, that pisses me off even more. It would hurt my feelings if you were secretly shooting Dave up with anabolic steroids or stealing my fertility goodness from the fridge. It doesn't hurt my feelings that you're pregnant. I think it's tap-dancing, booty-shaking, kiss-you-on-the-face fantastic that you're pregnant. Now, let's not talk about how expensive your labor and delivery bills are going to be. Your baby was free.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Little Holiday Wish

Here's my little holiday wish: If you read my blog, would you mind becoming a "follower" if you aren't one already?

It would make my knees sparkle and my fingers shout.

Thanks everyone.
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dr. Kale vs. Bacon

When I decided to see a nutritionist, it was with the hopes that eating bacon and rib eye every night might have some healthier alternative out there.
Of course, as any good nutritionist would be, he was horrified at what I was eating. Without actually saying it, he basically guaranteed I'd be dead in a month if I kept up this "animal product" diet. This indicated to me that I needed to get pregnant within a month or David would be a childless widow. No pressure, or anything.
Dr. Kale told me that dark legumes, sprouted wheat, blueberries, and (of course) kale was all I should be eating to "cleanse" my body of the animals. This went against EVERYTHING my endocrinologist said (and frankly, I wondered where cheese fit in). I decided to keep eating meat and talk to the nurses at the endocrinologist's office.
I went in for a "pre-cycle" visit to make sure everything was fine before we started the whole process over again. I mentioned "nutritionist" (actually, I think I only got "nutrit" out) and my nurse dropped her pen. "Who? You went to a nutritionist?"
"Yes, Dr. Kale. He's really nice and very supporti..."
"I've had many words with many nutritionists in this town. I've even kicked some asses. They do NOT understand that our goal here is to..."
"No no, Winnie. It's fine. I'm not going to change anything about my diet." I mean, I'm not going to change anything about my diet now that I've watched your eyes turn red and your hands start to shake at the mere mention of the word "nutritionist".
"Ok, yes. No I know you wouldn't. You're not stupid, Erin. But some of my patients might have given into that crap."
Oh boy. Now my nurse is mad at me. I quickly lied through my teeth, denouncing everything Dr. Kale said in favor of eating all animal products all day every day for the rest of my life to please Winnie. These were the people I should be trusting anyway, right? They were the ones who got hundreds of women pregnant before me! I would just have to return to Dr. Kale and let him know I would be sticking with the pregnancy diet.
This is turn meant Dr. Kale was now mad at me, too. Being very zen-like (mainly because he doesn't eat anything), he reminded me of how important my own health was if I was going to have a child. He understood my choices, but couldn't hide the frustration in his left eyeball everytime I said bacon.
So at this point I've got two experts in two different fields totally up in arms about what I was eating and both guaranteed to get me pregnant if I just listened to THEIR ideas. I didn't think this hard about the last election.
Ultimately, I decided to write out the pros and cons while eating a cupcake -
Pros with the endocrinologist: This diet had worked many times and many women got pregnant this way. I've seen the pictures of the babies on the walls as proof.
Cons: All meat diet, could die next month.
Pros with the nutritionist: A larger variety of food, more fun 'cuz I'm not dead.
Cons: No real evidence that his method will get me pregnant.

I ultimately decided to stick with the endocrinologist's diet. My biological instincts are much stronger than my fear of mortality. And if this blog suddenly ends in the middle of January, you'll know to trust the nutritionist next time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hurry Up and Freeze

The awesome nurses and staff at my fertility office decided to try and save us some money. This is greatly appreciated considering we now have the names and amounts of our credit cards posted on the refrigerator as a constant reminder there will be no Christmas this year.
Instead of all the shots and pills arriving at our doorstep in one box, my nurse ordered several less expensive types of medicine that would arrive in stages. The biggest difference was that these shots needed to be refrigerated.
While they were less expensive, they weren't something you would set on the counter and forget about like non-organic milk. I had to be very careful to schedule their delivery accordingly. So I ordered the first box's arrival time on the day we came home from LA after Thanksgiving and the second for several days later when I knew one of us could be home. I had it on my calendar, David's calendar, and even in my neighbor's calendar (in case our flight was late and she had to come get the goodness off our doorstep). NO WAY would these cute little vials of fertility goodness get lost or go without the loving embrace of my refrigerator for any longer than they had to.
When we landed in Dallas for our layover, we were late. I texted our neighbor to ensure "the duck had landed" and that "the duck was in their fridge". She didn't respond. David texted her husband. No answer. Finally, we both called them. Their phones were off. HAD THEY STOLEN THE FERTILITY GOODNESS TO SELL ON THE BLACK MARKET?! Clearly, this was the only answer. And the moment I realized our neighbors were attempting to thwart our plans for a child, the flight attendant told us to put our phones away. BUT OUR NEIGHBORS ARE STEALING OUR BABIES!!!
It was a long 3 hours while I sat and prayed that our neighbors hadn't killed "the duck" by leaving it out in the "sunshine". (Too many quotations? I'm just getting started.) Oh please, Lord, save the fertility goodness from our evil and untrustworthy neighbors who turned off our sprinklers for us after they got stuck in the "on" position while we were in Europe and saved us hundreds of dollars from the Jacksonville Electric Authority. They were obviously thieves.
When we landed I immediately turned my phone on. Text message. Crisis averted. The duck had landed and it was safe in their fridge. Trust restored. Do you love how I overreact? Dave does.
The second box was due at 4pm on a Friday. I was at my mom's house so I asked David to stay home. He did and waited patiently for the box to arrive. 4pm. 4:15pm. 4:30pm. No worries, I'm sure they're just running a little behind with all the other POTENTIALLY LIFE CHANGING DELIVERIES.
4:45pm. 5:00pm. 5:15pm. Finally, David had to leave the house to go to dinner. You can imagine the panic. What if the drugs arrived right after he left and sat outside for 6 hours and killed all the baby-making goodness? Then we would have to re-order them using the money we would make from selling our kidneys on the black market, because how else are we going to pay for more of these drugs?! I called the pharmacy in charge of shipping. A tiger of a representative went after an unnamed package delivery service (not UPS, or USPS, or DHL, but...). She told them I was diabetic and needed the insulin that was in the package delivered to me immediately. (Hehe!)
As it turns out, the package was delivered to the wrong house on the other side of town because the driver was "new" and didn't know the "route" or how to read "addresses" on "homes". Well, you should have heard the pharmacy rep really REP her a new one (let me have that ONE pun). Luckily, the people who received our package noticed that they didn't need any fertility drugs that day, and kindly returned the package! My pharmacy rep insisted the driver go back out there after hours, pick it up, and then re-deliver it to me with plenty of time to spare for injections. This seemed an impossible task, as the driver was back in her comfy home for the night, assuming she was able to find it what with all those pesky numbers on her mailbox and street signs getting in the way. The two argued until finally I suggested they just deliver the package the next day. This sort of negated the whole "diabetic" argument, but at that point I just wanted my baby-makers home safe. All parties agreed and, in fact, the "package" was delivered "safely" to my "porch" the next day.
Maybe they should be renamed Fed Ups. Oops, did I give it away?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recovery...in One Step

While recovering from the week's big let down, I realized that seeing as how I wasn't pregnant, I could drink! I hadn't had anything to drink in months, so I figured a glass of wine would be a good place to start. My neighbor got home at about 4pm and came over to help me choose a bottle and enjoy a glass.
That same day, my husband had a tv company out at the house working on switching our cable service. There were men in and out all day long, much to Charlie's dismay. They were supposed to finish around 3, but of course, there was some kind of technical problem and it would take a few more hours. No matter. David was the one dealing with them and their shoe covers (because I'm not mopping again).
My neighbor helped me pop a bottle of red and oh my did it smell good! I got out two fancy glasses and sat on the couch, lamenting with her about our problems. I'm sure we looked like a couple of desperate housewives, or at the very least some snobby little winos, but it felt good to sit back and relax.
It seems that after not drinking for a few months, one forgets about the affects. You see, when you drink a glass of wine, you feel great! And because that glass makes you feel wonderful, it seems like 2 would make you feel TWICE as wonderful! Right?!
While I poured a second glass at 4:30 in the afternoon, David informed me he would be leaving to run errands. Leaving? Wait a minute, mister. You never mentioned leaving! What about all these cable guys?! David told me the guys would be finished in a minute and to just relax and enjoy the wine. After having just had a glass of wine, that sounded like a good idea, so I continued pouring. If I passed out, the cable guys would just have to step over me (wearing those shoe covers, of course).
It would be over an hour before the cable guys were finished, and by that point let's just say my neighbor and I had become fairly verbose. Marco, the main cable guy, came into the living room to do the "education." That's what he called it. Apparently, cable companies are now taking the time to instruct people on how to use their products to prevent technologically-green folks from clogging up their customer services lines so those poor service reps have time to be rude and dismissive to people who REALLY have problems. The trouble was, Marco entered into the "education" portion of the day at about 5:45pm, or as I was calling it at that point, Wine-Thirty. He showed me the remote control and started explaining how to change channels and scroll through the guide. Ordinarily, I would politely explain that I knew how to use a remote control, even a fancy one. But all wined-up, I held in the biggest case of the giggles ever and told him I'd gone to Cable University while my neighbor shoved her head in a pillow (very discretely), holding her wine glass straight up in the air. When he asked me if I knew my IP address, I recited my own address and laughed again. My neighbor asked, "Isn't that something that they give you, like, at the cable place?" This poor man.
After about 10 minutes, Marco decided to write down the rest of the information "for my husband" and give me a brochure. It really wasn't until later when David asked me how to find the sattelite music stations on our new cable box that I felt really badly about having not paid attention during my "education." It took me about 45 minutes the next day to figure out how to record a television series. And to this day, I can't tell him why we can only record HD channels in the living room and not in the bedroom. I'm pretty sure Marco told me, I just can't remember. Of course, I'm sure if I called, the service rep would condescendingly refer me to the brochure I received during my "education".
The moral of the story is, don't underestimate the power of the cable education. It's worth listening. Even taking notes. And if anyone can help me find the picture-in-picture button on my remote, I'd really appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

...we read the results.

"It says not pregnant," he said.
I'm not sure I responded. I don't even think I looked at him. I was leaning against a stool and I just sort of collapsed on top of it. I stared at the floor for a minute while we occupied the space together, silently.

"Are you sure?"

I started waiting for the episode of Friends to play out when Phoebe tells Rachel her pregnancy test is negative, and then when Rachel cries because she's so sad, Phoebe tells her the truth (she is pregnant) and now Rachel knows how she truly feels about being pregnant. I looked at David for a minute waiting for him to say, "I lied before! It's positive!" He never did. He just stared back at me.
The tears came and went about 20 times that night. There are no words to describe the pain I felt for losing something I never had. It just seemed like the path: We start trying, I get diagnosed, we make a plan, I write a blog, and boom. But no boom. No nothing.

The next morning, the entire doctor's office knew the second they saw me. I'm sure my eyes were bloodshot and instead of a perky little greeting of some sort, I just mumbled hello. I looked like a mess, and I ALWAYS looked cute for the doctor's office before. I finally said, "We took a test."
"You did? Oh no! Was it negative?"
Enter your own sarcastic comment here.
"Did you take one of those 5-days-early tests?"
"Yes. I did."
"Maybe you drank too much water beforehand? Diluted the test?"
"No. I didn't."
"Well, there's still a chance that it was just plain wrong."
"Not much, I don't think."
The nurse sat me down for the blood test. I had to sqeeze a squishy ball while she found a vein. And what was the squishy ball in the shape of, you ask? A big squishy sperm, of course.
David took the other two squishy balls, a bull and a ball respectively, and began a short circus show just for me so I wouldn't look at the needle. While the bull was trying to balance on the ball, I stared that sperm in the eyes (yeah, it had eyes) while I squeezed. For a moment, our gaze locked and I said in my head to that sperm, "Listen. I am doing everything I can here. Pills, shots, positions...the least you can do is swim. Do you need directions? A more clearly marked path? It's your only job, so I'd really appreciate it if you could figure out what you need to get the job done quickly and correctly. We're all counting on you." Now, maybe that was too much pressure for the little guy. But seriously, someone had to lay down the law. And who better than me?
She drew the blood before I could finish our "conversation" and sent me on my way. I stopped and chatted with one nurse about how to proceed and was sick at the thought of doing all this over again. And now that I knew this first round didn't work, there was NO telling how many times we would have to do it all again. The fear became infinite.
I spent about 3 days on the couch. I tried to work, and I tried to make dinner, but I couldn't do anything. I was paralyzed with sadness. When I finally woke up one morning feeling less that horrendous, I decided that this next round would be different. I wasn't going to set myself up again. My day would include more than doctor's visits and carefully written calendars. I would cook dinner and visit my friends on the weekends. And I was NOT going to blog everyday about "BabyGate" anymore. Sure, it could make it's way in to every other post or so, but my life is so much more than making babies. To tell you the truth, maybe it was MY stress that scared those poor little swimmers off. They probably took one look around and said, "Well, hell, it feels like a pressure cooker in here! This is too much. I don't want to swim. I just want to sit down and think about my short little life."
And so, we begin another round, another hopeful month. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported our choices thus far, and I am personally so grateful to everyone who follows the story. I have received many letters of encouragement and advice that have all given me faith that blogging is one thing that will get me through this crazy adventure. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And so...

The day before we were due at the doctor's to get a blood test, we decided it was best to take a test at home. Our blood test would take 5 hours, and I couldn't imagine sitting and waiting 5 hours for the results. That way, even if the results were negative, we could be ready for the next day. David wouldn't be home from work until 6pm, so I had the entire day to net raccoon-sized butterflies in me stomach and put them in a jar for use wall art later.
I went to the drug store to pick up a test. I also needed a refill on the drug the doctor put me on to help control my sugar. I couldn't take it anymore if I was pregnant. At the end of the day, the test would determine whether or not I would need the drugs anymore. I went back and forth as to whether or not it was a good idea to refill the medicine.
If I did refill it, it could jinx the test, or scare away the positive result.
If I didn't refill it, it meant I was so sure I was pregnant that I didn't even need the medicine anymore.
If I did refill it, it might be like admitting I don't think I'm pregnant.
If I didn't refill it, and I wasn't pregnant, then not only do I have the pain of not being pregnant but I also had to make another trip to the drug store.
Finally, someone in the pharmacy department noticed I was just standing there staring at the yeast infection medications and asked me if I needed help. I refrained from asking what he thought I should do. I just grabbed a pregnancy test and headed back to refill the prescription. The lovely pharmacist got my meds and checked me out and looked me right in the eye. She smiled and said, "Congratulations, and good luck!"
Well, if "to refill or not to refill" wasn't enough, now I've got "Congratulations, and good luck." WHICH IS IT? CONGRATULATIONS OR GOOD LUCK? I'm looking for signs here, lady. I need a clue. I'm see omans everywhere. And the best you can come up with is Congrats and Good luck? You couldn't just say one or the other? BOTH? Because now you're making re-think the brand of pregnancy test I bought and if I bought the wrong one and it's results are inaccurate, I'm going to sue you.
I drove home thinking and re-thinking everything I was doing. "If I make it to the stop sign before the end of this commercial, I'll be pregnant." "If I don't have to press on the break until I get to the driveway, I'll be pregnant." Stupid, superstitious games that were making me nuts, but I couldn't stop playing them.
It took 794 hours for David to come home and when he finally did, a guy I work for called me with an urgent request. I probably seemed like a total flake, because I couldn't focus on anything he was asking me to do. I just kept saying, "Ok, alright, no problem, I'll do it..." when he was asking me yes or no questions. That never-ending conversation was nearly the death of me.

I decided I would pee on the stick and turn it upside down. I didn't want to see the results. And since David felt like he had so little to do with the entire process, I decided he should read the results. We sat in the kitchen together and stared at each other, waiting for 2 minutes...