Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Unfit Mother?

Today J and I went to meet the kitten we want to adopt. He’s 5 weeks old, and kind of cute. (Kind of cute? Puh-lease. This kitten is INSANELY cute. But why even mention that? So are all 5-week-old kittens. I mean, seriously, is there anything as cute as a 5-week-old kitten? Ridiculous. And the kitten-cuteness factor is exponential. Two kittens are 10 times as cute as just one. Three kittens? 100 times as cute! And there were FIVE in this litter, tumbling all over each other and climbing all over us and mewing like crazy. And once they got stuck to your shirt you couldn’t get them off. They were like little mewing adorable balls of Velcro. I was so overwhelmed with cute I could barely breathe.)

But I’ve taken a look at the adoption application and now I’m worried I’m going to be rejected as an Unfit Mother! The critical issue: they want to call my vet for a reference. Now, I do have a vet, because one of my kitties got sick last year and died. But the one that didn’t die? She hasn’t been to a vet in probably 6 years. She’s incredibly healthy, and has no contact with any outside cats. She’s never going to go outside, and I just don’t see why she needs yearly vaccines. Especially because she gets so worked up about going to the vet. It just didn’t seem worth it, so we stopped doing it. Obviously I now have to take her to get updated on shots, since we want to add a new kitty to the mix.

I’m so worried that I’m going to be rejected. Rejected from trying to adopt a kitten?!? For god’s sake, what is this world coming to? You’d think after what I’ve been through I’d be an automatic lock. I just want someone to say: “What? You’ve been trying to have a baby for three years? You’ve had three miscarriages? You give yourself shots, swell up your ovaries, shuttle out tons of money, even get your belly cut open? Surely you must deserve an adorable kitten! Of course you can have one, oh motherly type woman! Here, take five.”

(I’m not even going to get into the whole “home visit” requirement listed on the application. I mean, seriously, get a grip. But I don’t think they really do that for everyone. Maybe if they just get a bad vibe off someone. The lady I’ve been talking to never mentioned it to me, and the shelter is an hour away from where I live, so I’m assuming that’s not happening. And if it does, so what? I have a home. What more do you think they require?)

Friday, February 22, 2008

As Boring as Io?

Io recently posted that, to her dismay, she was running out of things to say. That got me laughing, because I feel the same way. When I started posting in January, I was desperate for company and comfort, with a thousand things to say about how unfair life is and how outrageous that Fertile World is. I wrote about grief and friendship and love. And I felt really good about what we IF-chicks were creating here in the blogosphere.

And then I got really busy at work, which, while stressful, did wonders for my self-esteem, and I didn’t have time to post, or even check in on everyone else. And now that’s over, and I’m back, and is it possible that I really have nothing to say? This seems so unlike, well, me. (I’ve been accused of many things, but rarely a loss for words.) I seem to have just dried up.

So I spent some time today thinking about that. Am I really out of things to say? Or, with my final partially-insured IVF cycle looming, am I just desperately trying to avoid thinking about what’s coming? Hmmm… pretty plausible.

So I present to you a list of things I fear are going to happen, with an assessment of how likely they are:

1. Next week, I am going to learn that the billing person at my RE’s office hasn’t put in my insurance preauthorization request for my IVF cycle, which she promised to do yesterday. (Likelihood: I give this even odds. She’s not the sharpest tack in the box.)

2. My period will start early next week, and my insurance won’t be in place yet, and I’ll have to decide whether to wait another month, or beg my RE to let me pay out-of-pocket for my sono and bloodwork so that the insurance has time to process (usually they don’t let you separate one visit from the $10K flat rate for a self-pay IVF cycle). (Likelihood: even odds again. My cycles have been REALLY short lately.)

3. Getting the insurance company to cover my injectibles will be a nightmare, again. They say they cover it, but then I can’t get anyone to authorize it. Last time the nurse at my RE office spent two hours on the phone with the insurance company trying to work it out. (Likelihood: very probable. Grrr…)

4. The two weeks on the pill are going to send me into a downward spiral of deep depression. (Likelihood: probable. Happened to me last time. But might be better this time, because I’ll see it coming.)

5. Whatever I decide about acupuncture, it will be wrong. I have to ask my RE whether she thinks it’s okay if I drop it this time. If she says I should do it, I’ll still be unhappy about it, because I want to stop and I have totally unrealistic reasons for thinking it caused problems last time. If she says yes, and I stop it, maybe my cycle won’t go as well. (Likelihood: This is going to stress me out no matter what.)

6. My ovaries and uterus will have a bad reaction to the stims. Since my surgery, I still get a lot of twinges that seem unusual. Maybe I’m just paying more attention now? (Likelihood: very low. I’ve done pretty well with two cycles already, so doing the stims without the fibroids or the endometriosis has to be even better.)

7. J’s sperm are going to be worse, or even nonexistent. Ooh, this is Numero Uno on my list of things freaking me out. J’s been really amazing—hasn’t had a drink or smoke since Thanksgiving (neither have I, showing my solidarity). But last time we had sex I noticed (LOTS of TMI right here, so move on if squeamish) that the cyst he’s had on his scrotum for years seems to have gotten bigger. After (didn’t want to freak him out during), I asked him about it. “The doctors have already checked it out,” he informed me testily (sorry, couldn’t resist), “it’s not cancer.” He’s right, they did check it out, and they told him that since it was on his sac, not actually attached to a testicle, it was nothing. But I’m telling you that thing has GROWN. Maybe it’s not testicular cancer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not skin cancer, does it? I badgered him into agreeing to go to our PCP and getting a referral to someone about it, but he hasn’t done it yet, and it’ll probably take months for him to get seen by whatever specialist you go to for something like this. This is probably totally unrelated to sperm count, but I’m totally paranoid about it, both with regard to his health and his sperm morphology. I mean, what if we got to the big day and there were no sperm? Did I mention this is our last shot at an insurance-covers-half cycle? (Likelihood: really low. But still an issue I have to force J to deal with soon.)

8. And then there’s the Big One. I get preggers again, and have another miscarriage. Maybe even later in the pregnancy this time. I’ve never done an IVF cycle with a BFN, so I don’t obsess over that (thought it’s certainly a huge possibility). Instead, I’ve been mostly pregnant once, with two weeks of bleeding, a month of bloodwork every other day, an ectopic scare when the numbers weren’t going down, and the bitter hormone crash that comes even with a “chemical pregnancy.” And I’ve been all the way pregnant as well, with a nightmarish night in the emergency room all alone with an ectopic pregnancy, then a month of bloodwork, shots, miscarrying, more fancy sonos, and yet another brutal hormone crash. No doubt about it, my IVF cycles have ended badly. So I have to wonder what horror this one will bring. (Likelihood that this will end in miscarriage: Who the fuck knows? None of my three miscarriages appear to have been caused by my fibroids, so my surgery doesn’t really cause me much relief. I’ve just had really bad luck. So could I have more bad luck? Sure. As far as I know, there’s no quota.)

So, Io, are you sure you don’t have anything to write about? Or, like me, are you just scared to think about what’s out there on the horizon?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Drunk on Girl Power

This morning, for the first time in my life, I cast a vote for a woman to be president of the United States. I got a little misty-eyed when I hit the button on the screen. Then I stood there and savored the moment. I've been glowing with girl-power all day.

My husband voted for Obama, and that's okay too. And Obama's going to win, and that's probably for the best. (Could his star be any brighter right now?)

But I voted for a woman, and she's an honest-to-God real candidate for president.

Does anyone else out there feel like this country is taking a deep breath, readying itself to burst into into a whole new consciousness? Does anyone else feel like maybe there is a spark of hope out there, a way out of the dark ages? Does anyone else feel like maybe we really can save the world? (Does anyone else thing I've been watching too many Obama ads?)

A final note: You know it's bona fide freezing rain (and not sleet or hail or snow or regular rain) when you finish ice-skating your way home and you finally get to the safety of your porch, only to discover that you can't close your umbrella because it has frozen over. Seriously, I had to bring it inside wide open to thaw it out. And that's just not natural.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tagged and Quirky

Yikes! I’ve been tagged, which means I need to get my shit together and figure out how to embed a link into my post. Shinejil tagged me (see the pretty link?), so now I have to expose my quirkiness for all.

Here are the rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.

2) Post the rules.

3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.

4) Tag at least three people.

5) Make sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

Things that make my strange, odd, different, quirky:

1. When I’m depressed I like to eat ramen noodles raw. I mean dry. I mean whatever it is you call it when they’re straight out of the bag. I break up the square and dip the pieces in the spice packet first. Mmm… salty…. Add Gatorade and it’s the ultimate hangover cure. (Gatorade and French fries works pretty good, too.)

2. I love girly TV shows. My guiltiest of guilty pleasures is America’s Next Top Model, but I’m also going nuts for Gossip Girl right now. Period romances also totally do it for me. Like the BBC's Pride and Prejudice miniseries (mentally drooling over Colin Firth right now). And I’m really not a girly-girl, which makes my girl-TV obsession that much stranger.

3. I know I just said I'm not a girly-girl, so this will sound funny. I was in a couple of beauty pageants when I was a young teen. (Don’t get excited, ladies. Believe me, you do not have to be beautiful to be in a pageant. You just have to pay the entry fee.) After that, my BFF and I made a pact that we would do the “city” level of Miss America when we turned 18. By the time that happened, we were living in different cities, but we still both did it. So I have, indeed, participated in the lowest level of the plasticine machine that is the Miss America Pageant, even though in two months I was getting the hell out of my ass-backwards state to go to college. No, of course I didn’t win. But I did look fabulous in a size-7 (sigh) gold lamé (without the accent mark that comes out “lame”) floor-length evening gown. (And I actually learned something, too. I was a kind of punked-out goth-ish chick in HS, who I hung with the debate/drama crowd or the science nerds. Before the Miss [City] Pageant I had never hung out with—or maybe even spoken to—a cheerleader or dance team girl. But when I did the pageant with them, I found out they were really sweet girls. A bit of a Breakfast-Club-in-reverse kind of experience, you know?)

4. I am addicted to nature documentaries. Planet Earth is, of course, the greatest ever, but I've made my way through the entire Ocean Blue, Life of Birds, and now the creepy-crawly Life in the Undergrowth. I've been jonesing so bad lately I've started Tivoing Nova. Something about science and nature is just so soothing right now. Like even though that mean fox is eating that tiny chickie, it's okay, because the fox is doing is to feed her babies, and all is right with the world. Hmmm... Whatever could this mean?

5. When I was in college I slept with a guy that is now a really successful author, especially in the comic-book world. I was a freshman, and he was a senior, and it was, in fact, the week before graduation. Can it get any more cliché? Not only do I take great pride in this brush with fame, my husband does as well. He’ll be showing one of this guy’s comic books to a friend, and say, “you know, H slept with the guy that wrote this.”

6. I have four tattoos on my back. I haven’t had a new one in 8 or 9 years. But I still fantasize about what the new one will look like. When I get really depressed, or bored, or stressed, I try to figure out what my next tattoo design will be.

Most of my "regulars" have already done this, so I'm going to tag a couple of long-shots. Come out and play, Jen, who writes "Maybe If You Just Relax" (best blog name EVER), Malloryn at "Quest for a Lifetime", and Working Girl, over at "Barren by the Bay".

Friday, February 8, 2008

Shiny Happy Uterus

Water sono today was a big success! At first, I didn’t think it was going to happen at all. I was scheduled for a Wednesday afternoon appointment, so I arranged to work from home that day, hauled all my research and crap home, and spent the morning working at my kitchen table. At about 10 am, I got a call from the RE’s office. (Never a good sign.) Turns out my fabulous RE is horribly sick, and had to go home, and could I reschedule for Friday?

Grrr…. I know there’s nothing my doc could do about it, and I’m sure she had to be really sick to cancel appointments, but it seems my appointments are always getting moved or canceled (usually b/c she has to do surgery, retrieval, transfer, etc.). I just have crappy luck. So I make arrangements to work from home again today. Again, I had to ask for special permission from my boss, pack a huge bag of research, briefs, etc to haul home (probably would have had to haul stuff home for the weekend anyway—am really busy this month). Then this morning, another phone call. Turns out my RE is now “quarantined”—which I suspect means that she tried to come back to work and her doctor gave her orders not to.

Rather than have me miss my chance at a water sono this cycle, and thus wait another month before IVF, they sent me downtown to a different doctor’s office to do the sono. So who is that different doc? The surgeon who did my myomectomy in December. I was pretty stressed about this. First, I didn’t want to drive downtown and try to find parking, etc. But more, I didn’t want a different doctor doing this procedure. Which is kind of funny, when you think about it, because this is a man who cut me open two months ago. When I told J I didn’t want this guy peeking at my insides, he said, “but he’s already seen your insides.”

“I know,” I whined, “but I was out cold. And it wasn’t from this angle.”

But it turned out great. First, because he was just filling in for my regular RE, I somehow got whisked away into the sono room the moment I got there. No waiting. On top of that, he was really good at threading the catheter through. Barely felt it. But the best part was that he got to admire his handiwork. Nothing like an arrogant surgeon to get your spirits up. He kept telling me how “beautiful” my uterus looked. (This is a man who also calls me—and presumably everyone else—“my darling.”)

Even I was a bit surprised by the clarity of the sono picture. With the water pushing it open, my uterus had a completely open cavity, all round and everything, with nary a fibroid in sight.

So I have yet another picture of my insides to add to my collection. Maybe someday I’ll make a collage.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Sweet Moment

Subtitle: Maybe Boys Can Be Taught!

Sunday morning, I went into the bedroom to wake J up (our morning routine), and I ended up crawling under the covers to snuggle with him for a minute. I had spent Saturday at my friend T’s house, helping her with the new baby. (Yes, blatant excuse to cuddle new baby––any new baby will do––but she was grateful, as she hadn’t washed her hair in a week. Careful what you wish for, right? Wrong. I still wish. I wish hard.)

So J asked me how yesterday had gone and I said it was great, but that I still ached inside. “I just wish infertility didn’t hurt so much,” I said.

“I know,” he murmured softly, and then he added the magic words, “me too.”

I wonder if he knows how much that “me too” meant to me? For that moment, it was us against the world again, and I felt less empty on the inside, less alone.

I think maybe, in all of my ranting at him, some of it has gotten through. I think it was deliberate—he gave me a little, just a little, to let me know we were in this together. Anyway, it was nice.