Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year and all that jazz

I have read a lot of posts about the new year to come this week. Some were heartbreaking, some were reflective, and some were hopeful. This one is somewhere in between.

2011 was a mixed bag for us.

While I think of 2010 as worse year because of our miscarriage, 2011 had its own set of sorrows. We lost His Royal Fabulousness's mom too young in July. We had 2 failed IUIs. We hit our two-year TTC mark, without a take-home baby to show for it.

But, 2011 did have some highlights. DH started a new job after being laid off. I started this blog. Mel at Stirrup Queens hired me for my first BlogHer article. Best of all, we wrapped up the year with a plan for IVF and a trip to Aruba. All in all, I think we are ending on a high note.

But, when it comes to 2012, I have tempered expectations. I am not going to say, "This will be our year!" Of course I hope that is true, but I have learned during this process that there just aren't any guarantees. So, instead, I am going to hope for improvements. These may be small improvements, like getting another freelance writing gig, or they may be large, like finally having a healthy, full term pregnancy. But whatever they are, I hope that we experience some events that push us in a positive direction.

For now, I have a whole bottle of champagne, with my name on it.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Are you excited?

I have been getting asked this question a lot about our upcoming IVF cycle. As the Lupron start day nears, I am trying really hard to get some kind of positive, happy excited feeling going. But, if I am going to be honest with myself and with you, I have to say I am not. All I am is petrified.

I am feeling brief today, so I'll summarize in a Top Ten list of the things making me so scared, and making it so impossible to say, "Yay! I get to start IVF!"
10. Needle phobia anyone?
9. Cyst heaven is surely in my future after all the stimulation
8. Oh, the mood swings to come. Hide now.
7. My ass is about to look like a boxer's face after a prizefight
6.What I am going to want to do most during this cycle is drink. What am I NOT allowed to do? Drink.
5. Sure, I'll make time, at the crack of dawn, for blood draws and ultrasounds nearly every other day!
4. OHSS sounds like a hoot.
3. If it does work, I have PIO injections until my 10th week to look forward to.
2. This may not work.
1. If it doesn't, what if I can't get up enough guts to do it all over again?

Am I glad I have the opportunity? Yes.
Does it give us much better odds? Enormously improved!
Do many, many women wish they lived in my state with mandatory infertility coverage? Yes.
Can I change my overwhelming feelings of fear? No.

No amount of telling me I need to be positive seems to help either. So, this is where I am taking my therapist's advice and asking for help from those around me:

I am asking all of you to hold positive thoughts for me, until I can do it myself. A Quaker friend calls this, "Holding you in the light." So, as a personal favor, please hold me in the light until I can find the strength inside myself.

As a rule, I don't make resolutions for the new year. I feel like if we have goals, we should work towards them regardless of when they fall on the calendar. But since my cycle is coinciding with the new year, this is definitely what I should be working towards.

Well, this and getting massages more often. :)


Ugh, I accidentally momentarily published a draft of an upcoming post and now some of you might get it via email. Boo! Well, now you know, I am working on a Letter to His Royal Fabulousness.

Not sure when it will be ready for real, so for now, please delete! :)
For now, please read the post I intended to publish: Are You Excited?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"And how is it going with the baby?"

Aruba was amazing. We ate, drank, saw the island, and generally had an amazing time. It rained a bit, which bummed us out, but overall it was beautiful. We loved the friendly people, the ease of getting around, and the gorgeous waters. The only regret was actually scheduling too much, and not leaving enough time to just lay. The entire week, we said to each other that this will be the first of many trips to Aruba, and are currently scheming about how quickly we can return. The goal is March of 2013. Here are a few pictures to give you a sense of why we fell in love with the island:
The most lethal rum drink ever, the Happy Island

view from our balcony


view from our dinner on the beach

However, as an IFer, Aruba was a bit bittersweet. We started counting how many pregnant women we saw at the resort and on the island, and we lost count around 20 or so. It was unbelievable! Seriously, this was babymoon central. I could only take pleasure in pounding cocktails and hoping I would soon return in a similar state.

Additionally, my worst nightmare happened. I was at the pool (granted, in an oversized swimsuit cover-up) when a hotel staff member asked me, in the sweetest way, "And how is it going with the baby?" I understood why he asked. I mean, EVERY WOMAN around me was expecting. But, you know how it goes. The question essentially made me feel like a fat cow, and I was crestfallen. I just said, "I'm not pregnant, but every other woman here is." He smiled and apologized, then quickly left. I mean, he could at least have given me another Rum Runner!

One interesting little interaction was with a woman on our snorkeling and sailing excursion. At first, I rolled my eyes because she obviously knew the owners of the vessel and was going on and on about her children, in nauseating detail. Seriously, she even talked about how small her babies are when they are born. But, then I overheard her talking about the details of IVF and I realized she was one of us. I took the opportunity to tell her that I was so glad she had success, and that I am starting my first IVF cycle in a few weeks. She happily told me about her process, and I came away feeling hopeful.

You just never know who will be in your boat.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Post-trip withdrawal

Well, amazing vacation is officially over. I knew it would go quickly, but MAN it was like a quick flash.

I am just trying to catch up this morning, as I apparently forgot the dates of ICLW!

I have a blog post in the works, and will be back up and running soon.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Friday, December 16, 2011


As promised, here is my announcement:

Something really exciting happened today! My first big step forward, in the pursuit of becoming a freelance writer, came to fruition. I have Mel at Stirrup Queens to thank for it. She gave me the opportunity to write a post for BlogHer and it was published today. I am so thrilled about this! Here is the link to the piece, in its official state. I also copied it below.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read it!
Hiding in Plain Sight:
Writing a Blog Anonymously

In case you haven't figured it out, Her Royal Fabulousness is not the name on my birth certificate. Confession: I am still living in the blogging closet. Although I desperately want to come out of the shadows, I am still grappling with the idea of blogging publicly, under my real name. As a member of the blogging community (specifically infertility blogging), I see my fellow bloggers split into three camps. There are those who are completely open about their identities, those who blog with real first names but no other identifiable information, and those who use assumed identities, like mine. We all have reasons for choosing our preferred level of privacy, but my decision has left me unsettled.

When I initially started my blog, it was invite only, and non Google-able. I felt very private about my writing, and needed my blog to only be read by the eyes of those who love and support me. Then, after a little time finding my writing feet, my confidence grew. I began to feel a connection to other women blogging about infertility and loss, and decided to take a risk. Soon, I switched it to a public URL, but did not make it Internet searchable. Now, with some encouragement (positive feedback on posts does a lot for your ego) and growing relationships with my online friends, I decided to make it searchable. However, my blog still has no identifiable information. I write under an alias, have a separate email address for most blog-related correspondence, and use a shadowed picture of myself. Even as I created my BlogHer account, feeling so proud of myself to have my first freelance writing gig, I sat and stared at the profile page, trying to decide whether to use my real name or not. Why shouldn't I be forthright and take full credit for my own writing? Why shouldn't I promote myself personally and professionally?

The reason is very simple: I blog about a topic that makes people uncomfortable. When the subject of infertility is raised, people who have never experienced infertility don't know what to say, because it is a topic that traditionally is only spoken about while wearing a white paper gown, feet in stirrups. So, once people know that someone close to them is infertile, what ensues is an awkward, and sometimes hurtful, conversation. For me, it feels easier to avoid the issue than deal with the “what ifs.”

What if more people in their day-to-day lives knew about the nitty gritty details of my treatment? Would I be subjected to uncomfortable silences or uncomfortable glances? Would inappropriate comments be made? Would it threaten my credibility at work? These questions are the ones swirling around my head as I frantically make sure I am signed into the right Google account before posting. I can only imagine those who blog about cancer, mental illness, AIDS, and other personal health issues also grapple with these feelings.

Ironically, my husband and I have been relatively open with those close to us about our struggles with PCOS, miscarriage, infertility, and our upcoming IVF treatment. Our immediate family, close friends, and even our bosses know. However, when I think about my extended family, colleagues, and any random stranger knowing the status of my ovaries, I feel uneasy. It doesn't seem logical to have these fears. I didn't cause my medical issues, I know that I am one of many women dealing with something similar, and being confident and outspoken are two of the qualities I like most about myself. So, why is it so hard to see my condition as a badge of honor, instead of something to keep concealed?

Interestingly, His Royal Fabulousness started a craft beer blog the other night. In addition to feeling really proud of him, I also began to turn green with jealousy. For him, it was as simple as putting the template together, writing his introductory post, and putting a link to it on Facebook for all to see. Of course he did, because it is easy to be public with his blog. The subject is so innocuous. There are lots of other beer geeks out there who want to read about porters, IPAs, and rare stouts that only a handful of people have tasted. He has no reason to worry about what his friends, family, and co-workers might think when they find out he is a craft beer fanatic. There is no perceived shame in it.

But blogging about infertility? That’s a whole other bowl of wax. I desperately want to get to a place where I can put my picture and name on my blog. I want to pursue writing about infertility on a professional level. I want to take credit for my work. I'm just not there yet.

But, I will be.

I will be offline for the next week, while on vacation. I can't wait to catch up with everyone when I return.

One foot out the door

At this time tomorrow, I will be on a plane to Aruba. It couldn't come soon enough!

The other night, after I took a picture of my meds, I promptly had an emotional meltdown. I should preface by saying that I had a series of stressful things happen all in a row on Tuesday.

1. I realized a few hours before a meeting at school that I forgot about a therapy appointment. My therapist gets really annoyed when she gets last minute cancellations so I was really nervous about calling her. I just felt so lame because I have been forgetting things left and right lately. So I left her a long, convoluted message about why I couldn't miss the meeting, then hung my head.

2. A few minutes later, I decided to check the status of a Caremark (mail away prescription company) order I placed last weekend. On this order I had SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED 2 DAY SHIPPING. I even drew an arrow to the little box I checked on the form so that I would have it in plenty of time for Aruba. I had a sinking feeling about this, and I was right. They ignored my 2 day mail request and shipped it standard mail. This sent me into a total panic because these are my "happy pills" and I am so afraid they won't arrive in today's mail. I can't just STOP them suddenly. Like really, it can cause bad, bad results that way. So, I have spent the last several days frantically checking the status and going back and forth on the phone with my therapist trying to find a solution.

3. Yet another co-worker announced a pregnancy yesterday.

4. Work has been super stressful lately, for a ton of reasons that sound stupid when you say them out loud to people who don't work at a school. :)

5. The sight of the IVF drugs just sent me over the edge. I broke down in tears in my kitchen. Then, the next morning at work, I cried at the copy machine, right before my students came in. <sigh> Thanks so much to all of you who commented. Your words of support really, really help.

I am so lucky to be able to do IVF, but that doesn't make it any less scary or overwhelming. All those jokes I made about celebrities getting IVF and having kids "the easy way" seem so completely ridiculous to me now.

BRIGHT SIDE: Today is my last day of school until January 3rd AND I have exciting news that I'll be posting later today. Yay for good news.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holy medication delivery, Batman!

Holy. Shit.

I got my shipment of IVF meds nice and early (starting Lupron on January 8th!) and nearly had a heart attack. I don't even know what some of these meds are!

Here is what came today:

Gonal-F (my old friend)
Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron, right?)
Progesterone for PIO injections
Vivelle patch (?)
Cefoxitin (?)
Methylprednisolon (?)
Diazepam (Yes!!!)
and an assload of syringes, some scarier than others.

I will be given lots of instructions when we get closer to starting the meds, but if any of my IVF veteran readers can tell me what (?) meds are for, that would be very helpful.

If only they could triple the dose of diazepam, I would be all set.

In other news, I haven't seen the Sporker for the last two days and we leave for Aruba on Saturday. Joy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


When I first started my blog, I received a Book Face message from an elementary school friend, out of the blue. She was always a sweet girl when we were kids, but we have only been in touch occasionally since then. In August, her note gave me goosebumps (aka I desperately wanted it to be true), but we know how that turned out.

So, today I stumbled out of bed and checked email. This is what I found:


So I have a random thing to tell you. I know I wrote to tell you I had dreamed you told me you were pregnant a while back. I think I mentioned to you that when that happens it always surprises me to learn that it's true. You shared you had done a procedure and I hoped to hear that it had been successful.

Well, last night I had a dream I was your surrogate. Totally random, I know. I mean, my dreams are really irrelevant and one should pay no attention to them, but I felt I should tell you if only to say that your baby is in my thoughts.

Just know there is one more person out there sending massive amounts of good thoughts and well wishes for you. From what I see on Facebook alone you and your husband are a wonderful couple and adorable. I'll be so happy for you both when you get to wherever this journey is taking you.

All the best,
Old Friend

I don't know how to feel about this. Her note is so kind and thoughtful. But, it makes me both hopeful and sad at the same time. Why did her dream switch from me being pregnant to her being a surrogate? Does her dream mean I'll be successful, or that I'll need a surrogate?

Or, maybe it means absolutely nothing. His Royal Fabulousness dismissed the last dream, and I probably should dismiss this one. Right?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dear Universe: Part 3

Dear Universe,

Perhaps I was unclear in our previous conversations. Yes, I work in a small school. Yes, it is the kind of place where people are all up in your business and generally overshare. Yes, I am used to that.  But, you have to knock this shit off. Stop putting me in situations that might seriously jeopardize my sanity, or at least my job.

This morning:
Me: "Yes! Fresh coffee!" <happy dance>

Preggo in danger of sporking: "I really miss coffee. There are so many things I can't do while I'm pregnant. What I wouldn't give for a glass of wine! And sushi...don't get me started on how much I miss sushi..."

Me: "Oh, yeah." <secretly plugging my ears and singing "la la la la la">

Preggo: "I mean, everyone thinks it's so easy but being pregnant is hard!"

Me: <eyeing the door> "Gotta run!"
The End

Really!? I am getting dangerously close to putting her in her place. I have started to fantasize about how I would phrase it. Inspired by some of the comments on my previous letters, I have narrowed it down to something like this:

Me: "Preggo, I am not the person to whom you want to be saying things like that. I like you a lot, and we have  worked together for a long time, but I am telling you that you are being incredibly insensitive. You are extremely lucky to be carrying a healthy baby. Ask anyone who has ever had a miscarriage, dealt with infertility, or a complicated pregnancy how much they would want to switch places with you. If I had to puke my brains out every day for 9 months, I would gladly take that in exchange for a healthy baby. So you bitching about giving up your Dunkin? STFU."

Preggo: <stunned silence>

Me: Now, go apologize to everyone who has had to listen to your daily pregnancy rants. You have been spoken to about this by your boss several times (true story), and you didn't stop. Maybe now you will."

Preggo: "Yes, Her Royal Fabulousness. You are right. Now here is $1,000,000."

Ok, maybe that last bit was pushing it, but you get the idea.

Universe, if you don't start working with me, this will become war.

Spork in hand,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Universe: The Sequel

Dear Universe,

Seriously? You've done it again.

In no way should I have been forced to spend 30 minutes with a preggo co-worker who is complaining about the 10 pounds she has gained. 10 pounds, in 5 months. Really? Starting out as a waif must have been really tough. What WILL you do?

Where did I put that weaponized spork I mentioned...


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Getting Lapped

When I was in middle school, I was forced (like most others) to take gym. In high school, I was able to avoid this torture by taking dance classes instead. But, in 7th and 8th grades, I was forced to suffer the humiliation of running laps. Actually, it is more accurate to call it walking laps (aka dragging my ass around the field a couple of times). What I remember most about that experience (other than a sadistic PE teacher screaming at me to hurry up) was watching my friends lap me. In the time it took me to run one lap, they would run two or three. It made me feel so lame, so fat, and so ridiculous. I would just watch them disappear around the track. So. far. ahead.

Fast forward to my current limbo: there is an eerily similar situation happening here. While we are still working on conceiving our first baby, many of our friends are starting to try for their second child. This is completely normal and natural, yet it also a reminder of how little progress we have made in the last two years. We are definitely moving in the right direction with IVF, but still. I am getting that same sinking feeling as I did when I was 14.

As I said to His Royal Fabulousness the other day: I just have to keep reminding myself that this process is not a sprint. It is a marathon. As long as we cross the finish line, it shouldn't matter how long it takes. In the meantime, I'll have to put up with the shin splints.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Woot! Another Award!

I'm sure, just to feed my blog addiction, the smart and fabulous Cornfed Feminist gave me this blog award.

Woo hoo! An excuse to give you lots of information about myself that you might, or might not, find useful.

Similar to the Liebster Blog Award, certain rules also apply in receiving this award:

  • Thank the person who passed the award on to you. (Cornfed, you rock.)
  • List 7 things that people may not know about you.
  • Pass the award to 15 other bloggers and don't forget to notify them as well.  The hard part is trying to pick 15 bloggers not chosen by others. Feel free to ignore my nomination if you received it from someone else :)
1. I am originally a southern California girl. I left when I was 18 to go to college in Boston, despite everyone I went to high school with (except Sunny at Cease and Decyst, with whom I went to both high school and college) telling me I would be home by Christmas. 13 years later, I'm still here.

2. I didn't drive until I was 20 years old. I did the whole driver's ed/training thing, and then failed my test at 16. I was a petrified driver and sucked at it big time. Being the type A that I am, I gave up driving entirely. Since I was moving back east, I didn't need one anyway. I didn't conquer my fear until I was forced to. Now, I love to drive and went on a cross-country road trip a few years ago with a BFF.

3. I have a ridiculous amount of pop culture knowledge, especially about 1980s and 1990s music and movies. Anyone want to test me? Maybe we should go play at a local bar...

4. I have two very naughty cats.

5. I have a ridiculous addiction to burritos. Those who live in the Boston area will understand this: I am a serious Boca Grande addict, NOT Anna's Taqueria. I am slightly ashamed that Chipotle has stolen some of my business though - damn you cilantro rice.

6. I hate to shop for clothes. Seriously, it is one of my least favorite activities. I am the reason personal shoppers were invented. If I could get by with wearing jeans, t shirts, flip flops, and a sweatshirt or two, I would be a happy woman.

7. I have many tattoos. I got my first one when I was 17 by batting my eyelashes and flashing some cash. It was a major addiction for many years after that. If I had money to spend frivolously, tattoos would be in the top 5 things to buy.

Here are 15 other bloggesses out there I want to know more about:
Detour at Detour
Rebecca at Pink Lipgloss and Prenatals
Jes at All I Ever Wished For
Izzy at Eggceptional Blues
Lanie at Unruffled Lanie
Katie at From If To When
ADSchill at MissConception
Cristy at Searching for our Silver Lining
Amanda at Our Life in a Nutshell
Trisha at The Elusive Second Line
Mo at Life and Love in a Petri Dish
Stephanie at Clay Baboons
Courtney at Bodega Bliss
Anasara at Who Scrambled My Eggs
Aggie Armstrong at Cablearms

Have fun, ladies!

I'll take some guilt with my pancakes.

This post is going to be full of stereotypes. If you aren't cool with that, read no further.

I come from a Jewish family. Anyone who is a Jew (or Catholic, or a woman, as far as I can tell) is intimately acquainted with guilt. Guilt permeates the basis of the culture, really. Jews are supposed to always do the right thing. Not because there is a threat of heaven or hell, but because it is intrinsically correct thing to do. That's a lot of pressure.

So, at least in my experience, we operate with a fair amount of guilt on a huge variety of topics, ranging from minor to major. For myself, I'm talking anything from taking a few extra minutes in the shower (I'm wasting too much water! What if hubby needs to pee?), to the fact that I keep meaning to spend Thanksgiving morning doing community service, but I never do (you terrible, selfish, person HRF!).

More specifically, here are some of the criminal acts I have been self-flagellating about lately:

Food: I have had food guilt my whole life. It is the fat kid still living inside of me. TTC has intensified these feelings. Not only is there a possibility that a bit more weight loss could help my PCOS (along with the elimination of sugar, dairy, wheat, and anything else delicious), but it might also help me stop feeling like such a lazy piece of shit (see more below). The worst part is that I keep thinking I could have avoided some or all of my infertility treatment, if I could just get to a size 6. Likelihood that there is truth in that statement? Little to none. Apparently the guilt was not enough to keep me from consuming 10,000 calories a day over Thanksgiving weekend, but still.

Exercise: I'll keep this brief. I used to work out all the time. In fact, at this time on Saturday mornings, I used to be huffing and puffing on a spin bike. Instead, I am currently hanging my head in shame, while I sit on the couch and write my blog. I rarely make it to the gym these days because I just can't seem to muster the energy.

Money: Some folks have a lot of money. Either they earned it themselves, they have wealthy families, or they got insanely lucky on a scratch ticket. Hubby and I fit in none of these categories. We both work hard at only moderately paid jobs and we have a fair amount of credit card debt left over from our 20s. Although our families wish they could, neither side can provide much of any financial assistance. So, we have worked hard to pay down our debt, but the tradeoff has been putting off the purchase of a house. This won't happen any time in the foreseeable future, because saving for a down-payment seems totally impossible while dealing with the credit card crap. Am I a terrible person to try and have a baby, despite still being renters? Can I be a good mom and not own a house? Is this some kind of sick obsession with The American Dream?

Aruba: We leave in about two weeks. We have been together for over 10 years and have never been on this kind of a trip together. In fact, we rarely travel anywhere outside of New England, except for visiting my family in California. Even our honeymoon was in Maine. When we lost hubby's mom this summer, we decided that life is too short, and we needed to get away and spend some reconnecting after our loss and spending so much time dealing with infertility. However, despite the good deal on the trip (thank you CostCo Travel), I feel REALLY GUILTY about the money we spent. It was not a smart financial decision, and I'm afraid it will take away some of the fun of the trip. The only solution will be continuous consumption of margaritas.

My stupid, defective ovaries: Eggs? Got a ton of them. Uterus? Pink and healthy. Tubes? Open and ready. Ovaries? Stubborn, sarcastic, and unresponsive to anything except strong ovulation drugs. Feelings of extreme guilt and failure regarding being able to conceive? Check.

Now, I am aware that carrying around this much guilt is a fairly useless habit. I mean really, it is kind of ridiculous. I am generally a good person who tries to be kind and make good choices, even perform a mitvah or two. But, I can't seem to shake the feeling that I am not doing enough, even that I am not enough. It could just be my nature. It could be that I am genetically destined to beat myself up. Even so, I have to figure out an alternate method of operation here.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Thanks so much for the response to my last post. Between the combined wisdom of my IRL friend MFred, the designer Anne Austin, and Rebecca at Pink Lipgloss and Prenatals, my blog is looking rather gorgeous, if I do say so myself. It is amazing what a little paint on the walls will do for your psyche. I could keep messing with fonts and colors for weeks, but for now, I am happy with it. That being said, please comment if you have suggestions to make the new look even better.

I also wanted to say there are a bunch of other beautiful blogs that I follow and read, and I am so impressed with the artistic eye of many blogger buddies. I have been feeling a little badly that I only shouted out to 2 of them on my last post. If you check out my blogroll, you'll see what I mean.

In the meantime, I am riding a few hours of giddiness from my new design. I'll take pleasure in the little things, when I can.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blog design - HELP!

This is a plea for help!

I have a friend who created a BEAUTIFUL re-design of my blog in photoshop. But, neither of us knows what to do next, to make it my blog template. Some of you bloggers out there have beautiful, customized Blogger templates (I'm looking at you Meier Madness and Pink Lipgloss and Prenatals) and I would LOVE to know how you did it.

I am super excited about how my blog is going to look, if I can just figure this out.

If you have any experience, please email me (herroyalfabulousness(at)gmail(dot)com) or comment back.

Thanks in advance!