Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dear Universe...

Dear Universe,

Please do not seat me at a lunch table next to two pregnant co-workers who are discussing how much they hate being pregnant. Apparently the physical discomfort is just too much. I know they don't intend to be hurtful and they don't know about my inability to conceive. However, I also don't intend to stab them with a spork. I'm just saying, if you do that to me again Universe, I might become a danger to myself, or others.

Thank you,
(aka Member of a Growing Group of Women at Work Who are All Currently Undergoing Infertility Treatment and Don't Want to Hear It)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Put It Directly In My Veins

Forgive me if this post is a little stream of consciousness today.

I have decided that blogging (and blog reading) is like crack, heroin, or nicotine. It is a very addictive substance. I find myself craving it daily. I read blogs and brainstorm ideas all the time. Whenever I stumble on something inspiring I say to myself, "Would that make a good blog post?" or "Is anyone else interested in that but me?" It has somehow filled a need inside of me that I didn't really realize I had. I mentioned to hubby over the weekend that I somehow feel lighter, happier, and more focused than I have in months. I am giving writing the credit, even if it is just a coincidence.

Although at the heart of the issue, I blog for myself. I would do so even if no one was reading. But damn it feels nice to get so many new people reading and commenting, along with my trusted buddies who have been reading since the beginning. However, I started to sweat and panic when I realized the commenting blitz of ICLW is now over for the month. I am afraid I will go into comment withdrawal. I check my blog A LOT to see if my number of followers has increased, and to watch my counter click upwards. I might as well slap my veins and beg for a hit. Am I the only one who is obsessed enough to do this? Who's with me?

Really, this is a thank you post to all the other bloggers out there. It has been so amazing to read the stories of so many women, with whom I have this terrible commonality. Often through intense pain, so many of you are witty, irreverent, loving, and kind. Thank you for feeding my addiction and inspiring me to keep writing, and keep laughing. I will keep reading and writing on your blogs, and hopefully you will do the same.

Pinky swear?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Punk-Rock-17-Year-Old-Self

I was responding to this post on Stirrup Queens (which, if you haven't ever read it, is an AMAZING site for IFers) when I got my inspiration for this post.
I have had several versions of myself over the years:
There was my stuck-to-my-mother's-hip-self as a young child.
There was my I'm-a-fat-girl-who-is-too-insecure-to-face-the-mean-girls-at-school-self when I was a 'tween.
There was my (trying to be) punk-rock-riot-grrl-Doc-Marten-wearing-poetry-writing--teenage-self
There was my overacheiver-study-most-of-the-time-and-build-a-new-life-3,000-miles-from-home-college-self
There was the I-like-kids-I-think-teaching-is-my-next-move/graduate-school-self
There was my oh-my-God-I'm-married-and-semi-midlife-crisis-self
There was the all-of-a-sudden-I-am-dying-to-have-a-baby-self
There was the oh-crap-I'm-infertile-and-lost-a-baby-self
Now, there is the I-might-be-barren-but-I-am-rediscovering-my-talent-as-a-writer-self

I think I have a particular fondness for the punk-rock-teenage-self years. This period of time included lots of dyed hair, piercings, tattoos (first of many to come), tickets to see bands (like Sleater-Kinney, Chokebore, Weezer, Hole, Ani DiFranco, etc.) and generally lots of angst. I became much more in tune with who I was, became fiercely independent, and generally felt like I kicked some ass. I wanted to move somewhere far away from my Los Angeles home (check), go to a good college (check), and make some kind of writing career for myself (no check, yet).

Also, I was never one of those women who dreamed of her wedding day. Until I met the hubby, it was sort of something I had as an open possibility, but nothing I had my heart set on. I had a lot of other goals in my life and a man could, or could not, fit into it if I happened to meet someone. Of course, all that changed pretty quickly, once K sucked me in with his big baby blues.

So it clearly follows that I certainly never really seriously thought about having children until I was in my late twenties. I actually went through a brief period of absolutely NOT wanting children. But then, bam. Tick.  Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The cliche biological clock started and I haven't been able to shut it off since.

But, as I look at my life now (which I think is a pretty damned good one) I think my punk-rock-teenage-self would be shocked at how domestic my goals have become.

She would say, "Making a baby your #1 goal for 2012? Really? Putting your body through IUIs, IVF, etc.? You really want to be changing dirty diapers and giving up sleeping at night? What about jetting off to Paris at a moment's notice? What about becoming a (semi-famous) author?"

The truth is, we never can fly off to Paris at a moment's notice because of work and lack of money. We spent a lot of years sleeping in, drinking too much, being selfish with our time, and generally being young. Right about now, being with K and trying to finally conceive this child feels much more right than wearing my old Doc Martens (which are still in my bedroom, at home in Los Angeles). Plus, as I was recently reminded, the author gig could still happen, if I put my mind to it.

So, my punk-rock-self with have to accept me the way I am, at 31 - a more domestic, blogging, and infertile version of who I used to be. But, I still might have some Manic Panic around here somewhere.

I can't help but toot my own horn for a second here. I was so excited when I saw that Mel at Stirrup Queens gave my post about my grandmother a major shout out in her Friday Blog Round Up.  It is so gratifying to have my writing recognized in the IF community. This made me incredibly happy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Liebster Blog Award!

I am so excited to earn my first blogger award, the Liebster Blog Award. Amanda at My Life in a Nutshell and Trisha at The Elusive Second Line nominated me. Both of these blogs have provided inspiration for me I thank you ladies immensely.
This Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers, all in the spirit of fostering new connections.
Leibster is German & means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’ & the idea of the Leibster award is to bring attention to blogs with less than 200 followers.
The Rules are:
  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top five picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the blogsphere – other bloggers.
  5. And, best of all – have fun and spread the karma.
These are the five blogs I wish to nominate for this award:

1. Detour - Her writing is heartbreaking and so honest.
2. MissConception - She recently had a terrible loss, and I am so inspired by her strength.
3. Cease and Decyst - She just started blogging but writes with humor and poignancy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Last week, the children in my class gave an assembly for Thanksgiving. We gave each kid a choice of 2 classic themes: either tell about a Thanksgiving family tradition or tell about something for which you are truly grateful. We did a lot of talking about choosing something that can not be bought with money and reflects the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It is one of those really cute and sigh-worthy moments to see 9 and 10 year olds talk about this stuff. Really, even my most cynical self was really touched by what they came up with. The one that really sent me over the edge was the little boy who discussed his grandfather, who had surgery on both legs, yet came from Pennsylvania to be with him on Thanksgiving. Man, if you don't shed a tear on that one, you don't have a pulse.

Now, all us IFers know that the holidays can MAJORLY suck. This time of year tends to open old (and new wounds), bring pregnancy announcements, and generally make you feel lonelier than you ever thought possible. It is extra challenging to find reasons to be thankful when you can't seem to attain what you want most. But, I think I should put my money where my mouth is and force myself to acknowledge the priceless (or maybe not so priceless) things that I am lucky to have.

1. The hubby. I don't want to make anyone puke here, but I am a lucky woman. There have been times when I wasn't aware of how lucky.

2. I am leaving in a few weeks for an AMAZING vacation, right before one of the most stressful times in our lives. IVF #1 hopefully will go better as a result of all the sun and lounging that will be had in Aruba. We might have to pay it off for quite some time, but I don't feel very guilty about it. P.S. We NEVER get to take vacations. Seriously, the last one together was our honeymoon, 6 years ago.

3. Living in Massachusetts? Not so bad. We may be the home of Whitey Bulger, but we also have decent infertility coverage, leaving me with only my (managable) deductible and co-pay costs. If we didn't have this, we would not be able to pursue treatment. Period. Plus, the Bruins are currently kicking major ass.

4. There is a lot of pie in my future this week. Dessert is one of my main reasons for living.

5. Cocktails. Cocktails are good. If I could figure out a way to stay buzzed from Thanksgiving morning through New Years (and not get fired or crash my car) I would.

Not a bad start, right?

What are you all thankful for?

Monday, November 21, 2011

IComLeavWe Week!

This is my first ICWL week and I am so excited to read blogs of other participants, and have them read mine. I'll be posting a longer post tomorrow, but for now, I wanted to give a quick introduction and pose a reader's poll.

For those new to the blog, I am a 31 year old teacher, living near Boston, with the hubby and 2 cats. We have been TTCing since January 2010, with PCOS and one miscarriage in tow. After many months of anovulation, Clomid, injectable IUI cycles and cysts, we are finally moving to IVF #1 in January. I hope you'll explore the blog and follow me.

Quick poll: I have been doing acupuncture since April of 2010, with 2 different acupuncturists. Read here for more info. If you were me, would you continue with acupuncture, or would you save the money for things like massages during the IVF cycle?

Looking forward to "meeting" you all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Letter to my Grandmother

Dear Grandma,

This is kind of a strange letter to write. Not only have you been gone for over 10 years, but when you were with us, you and I were not very close. You lived far away. Your husband was a tough cookie who never made his son (or grandchildren) feel especially loved or supported. You were a much kinder and softer person than he, but we never had much in common. I never really felt as though I knew who you were as a person. I was barely 20 years old when you passed, and you did not know me well either.

However, I am starting to realize that you might be the one person in my family that would truly understand my current situation, if you were still here. After I lost my baby, Mom and Dad reminded me that you had several miscarriages. They didn't know specifics about why the pregnancies failed, but they knew you desperately wanted more children. Not in over a decade had I so badly wanted to pick up the phone and call you.

Knowing this about you makes me think of you in a completely different way. Actually, it also gives me an entirely new perspective regarding your marriage to Grandpa. I admit, I judged you harshly. Growing up, I would watch him order you around and lose his temper, and I blamed you for it. Your marriage seemed cold and distant, compared to that of my own parents and maternal grandparents. "Why on earth would you stay?" I wondered. I felt like you were a victim. I felt like you allowed a man to dominate you. Now, I think I was wrong.

I now suspect that you probably felt guilt, shame, and sadness about not being able to give my dad a sibling. Although you loved Dad deeply, you had more love to share and were robbed of the opportunity to share it. Maybe you felt like you failed your husband, who also wanted more children. Did this cause the tension and isolation between you that was so noticeable to others? The pain of repeated pregnancy loss must have been overwhelming, and you lived through it during a time when such things were rarely spoken of. Doting on your family was probably the best way you knew to cope and move on with your life.

Although your life was quite different from mine, I feel in my heart that you would have understood the pain I feel about trying to conceive. You and I both know the pain that comes from having a supposed biological certainty become the source of so much fear. We know that no matter how much time goes by, you can't help but wonder if the baby would have had your eyes and his smile. We also know that the stress of all of this affects not only your marriage, but your relationships with friends and family. I am incredibly lucky to be married to a kind, generous, patient, and loving man who never, ever thinks of me as a failure, as I see myself sometimes. I wonder what your life would have been like if you had a partner that was emotionally present and supportive.

I wish things had been different for you, Grandma. I am sorry that I was too young and inexperienced to understand the depth and complexity you possessed in life. I miss you.


Monday, November 14, 2011


"Re: Coverage Authorization

Dear Her Royal Fabulousness:

Monster Health Plan has authorized coverage for the following covered services, to be provided by Major Boston Area Fertility Clinic.

Type of Service: Complete IVF Case Rate (whatever that means)

Number of Cycles: 3 (6 Lifetime Limit)

Expiration Date: 11/7/2012

Blah, Blah, fine print, Blah

Monster Health Plan Clinical Services Department."

Feeling very, very thankful right now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New and improved!

Check out the nifty little changes I made on the blog! I tweaked the header, streamlined the information on the side panel, and added some helpful pages. It feels a bit like redecorating a room in my apartment. Actually, it makes me want to do just that...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Did you work out today? No, I forgot my pony tail holder."

This commercial is the story of my life these days. Seriously, I don't know what to do about the anti-exercise tailspin I am in.

Let me back up and give you some background knowledge here. In 2007, I had my high school reunion. In preparation for that occasion, and because of general self-hatred, I joined Weight Watchers and a gym. With really, really, really hard work, a 5 day per week workout routine, and a personal trainer, I lost 40 pounds in about a year. Since that time, I did a pretty good job of watching what I ate. I mean, I would definitely indulge on occasion, but I made generally healthy choices and always balanced out a splurge with a restriction later in the day. Although I didn't always work out 5 days per week after the initial weight loss, I did maintain about a 3-4 day per week average. My favorite activity was spin class, although I also did some moderate weight training and an occasional run. I had gym friends to chat with, knew the staff well, and generally felt like a member of the community there.

Fast forward to the last 6 months or so. Since the spring, I have been on a slow decline, exercise and diet-wise. At first, I slipped down from 4 days per week at the gym to 3, then to 2, then 1. Since late August, I haven't stepped inside my gym once. After all those years of keeping up my activity level, it is just GONE. I have also gotten exceedingly sloppy with my eating habits. Basically, I have been eating whatever the hell I feel like (i.e. every baked good that sits on the table in the teacher's lounge. Carrot cake - 'nuff said).

There are several reasons why I think I lost my mojo. Obviously infertility treatment is stressful, and that sucks the energy right out of me. Hormonal treatments can also cause fatigue. Losing hubby's mom this summer also posed its own set of difficulties. But, mostly, my desire to go to the gym after work has been replaced with my desire to blog, cuddle, and catch up on my DVR. I discussed this issue with my (wonderful and amazing) therapist and she actually gave me the blessing to ease up on myself and not feel so damned guilty. She says we all go through phases and that it is understandable considering the circumstances. However, since I am 1. female, 2. Jewish, and 3. a neurotic mess, that guilt piece is a constant static in the background of my day.

So far, I have not seen any weight gain, which is a blessing. But, I have noticed some serious flab where there once was muscle, low energy, and low interest in any kind of activity other than watching "The Walking Dead' and "2 Broke Girls." A close friend showed interest in joining my gym recently, and I am really hoping that meeting up with her for a weekend workout might be the motivation I need to get back in the swing of things.

I need a serious kick in the ass, and it needs to come quickly, or else the people in Aruba might mistake me for a beached whale next month.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Signing my life away...well at least my embryos

This week has been filled with all the fun preparation needed for our IVF cycle. Like anything bureaucratic, there are lots of hoops to jump through, both medical-wise and paperwork-wise. Don't get me wrong, I am counting my blessings. My insurance covers us for up to 6 IVF cycles over my lifetime. That is much, much more than most women have.

Anyway, because we are nearing our year anniversary with the RE (will she buy us dinner and bring roses?), we needed to update all of our testing, before we start IVF. This is not only for the insurance companies, but also to make sure there is nothing in the way of a successful procedure.

For hubby, that is just a dimly lit date with a specimen cup and a blood draw. For me, it was the mother of all blood draws (6 vials!), ANOTHER ultrasound, a hysteroscopy, uterine measurements, a pap smear, and STD testing. All very fun stuff. The hysteroscopy sucked, but all my girl parts looked healthy and perfect.

However, more than seeing my uterine walls on a TV screen, the most interesting part of the process has been the steep stack of consent forms we filled out. These cover every microscopic detail of the procedure, along with every possible risk. I really should have avoiding reading all of it. We are definitely talking about the stuff of nightmares.

For some reason though, I found it hilarious when we had to sign off on the "what ifs" part, regarding our potential frozen embryos. We had to make contingency plans for possible divorce, death, and the Apocalypse (complete with the undead roaming the earth). Well, almost. For each, we had to decide:
1. Would I be in charge of the little snowballs?
2. Would hubby be in charge of the little snowballs?
3. Would the snowballs be donated to research studies if we didn't use them?
4. Would the snowballs be discarded with last night's leftovers, after 5 years?

I know a lot of people have serious ethical/moral/religious issues with this stuff, and I don't want anyone to feel like I am being insensitive. But for me, at least while it is hypothetical, it just seems so bizarre. I can almost picture zombies invading the cryo-lab and stealing my future sons or daughters! The ensuing conversation between hubbs and I was so surreal, that you had to giggle.

But, you know what isn't funny? The fact that there are now THREE pregnant women at work. Two have announced, one has not yet. It also isn't funny that a friend who had initially gotten pregnant with her second IVF cycle, lost her baby last week. It also astounds me that I am one of three women at work (and maybe a suspected fourth) who are all undergoing IVF treatment at the same time.

I really am trying to stay positive and hopeful about our first IVF. We have a lot of good factors on our side. But, it seems that there are always little reminders that even all this amazing technology has limitations.