Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Lessons of Infertility

*warning: pregnancy update* Third trimester.  Crazy, maybe this is actually going to happen this time.  It's been really hard to wrap my brain around after all these years.

It's hard to get away from the place of FEAR that infertility places you in.  When you live in a place babies die, when you are the 1% statistic time and time again, it's easy to keep Googling and to run your own scaremonger local news feed in your head about everything that is about to go wrong.  I've chosen not to go there.  I don't live in that place anymore.  I can't control that stuff.  It took this much loss to figure that out.

It's also easy to live in the place of BITTERNESS that infertility places you in.  It's easy to remember how so-and-so didn't even text.  It's easy to focus on how people were out when things got tough, and now they suddenly think they deserve to be in my life now.  I don't live there anymore either.  Most people in my life couldn't deal with what I was going through, and I include myself and my husband in that category.  Hell, only one or two met whatever unrealistic and constantly changing expectations I had at that moment.  Maybe others were terrible, like I was to them for all those years to preserve myself.  I choose not to live there either.  Grief is not a reaction that can be judged kindly.  There was no good answer.  There was no good solution. Pregnancy has wiped this clean.  I am letting it take away the bitterness.  I choose to accept love given to me.  I choose not to be bitter anymore.

You can't make it through what we went through and come out the same.  I can remember way, way back, the first time I was pregnant, five years ago.  On the second try.  It wasn't even very long, but I had already bought all these books, researched everything down to the bath towels and the baby monitors, all of which is now obsolete.  Dear god they release baby stuff all the time!

And so I found myself looking at a former version of myself in the sad Amazon wishlist of what used to be a very, very Type A person.  Who the hell has time for all those books?  I'm not that person anymore.  We don't have most stuff yet.  People will give us stuff, we can buy stuff.  It's just stuff, I'm not worried.  This is the kind of sentence old me would have panicked and judged.  She would have called this bad parenting.  She would find it ridiculous that I would put this off and don't have an oxygen meter or a changing table scale or something.  But I know now that what matters is what I can't control, and I no longer seek out worry and problems.

I've released so much control, I've completely changed my life.  I quit my corner office, expense account job, and I managed to make more money and control my own life.  I'm pretty good at yoga, well, I used to be until the doctor made me quit.

The waiting room of a high risk MFM at a specialty hospital might be even worse than the waiting room at the IVF clinic.  Most everyone drove in for hours or flew in, and is in waiting hell where babies die.  I'm familiar with that place.  Me, I just drove a few minutes and I'm feeling pretty good because I choose to.  I know that with my blood clotting issues, this can go left at any moment.  And we will deal with it.  There's no point in being upset about what I can't change.  I have done everything I can and gotten the best care I can.  I have released control.

I finally feel what I longed for all these years.  I feel like a mother.  I feel like the universe is full of love and life.  I have a marriage that has survived a journey many couldn't.  And I know that whatever comes next we will handle.  There are flashes where I am so grateful that it was so hard so that I would appreciate it so much and so that other problems would just seem silly.  I have never been happier in my life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Choked Up

A little over a year ago, we rolled up the same clinic, the same dildo cam, and there was no heartbeat. We were both silent. I was thinking logistics of how I was going to take Cytotec again, because I am supposed to be on a plane on Thursday.

Tech asked the standard questions about prenatals or if I needed the info sheets. We were dismissive and silent, she knew we had seen some shit.

She started the scan and was very silent. Done that before. I was sitting in silence, waiting for her to get the doctor, she still didn't say anything. Then, without warning, she hit a switch, and there was heartbeat! THERE WAS A HEARTBEAT!

I felt it in my throat and I started to choke up. I didn't even hear what else she said. Something about the rate of the heartbeat being excellent, measurements perfect, a perfect seven week scan. Maybe fifth time is a charm.

Friday, April 8, 2016


I haven't even cried for what is probably another failed pregnancy.  I think maybe I have finally accepted that I have no control over this and that this is just how it goes for me.  I have resigned myself to my fate.

I went to the dog park and googled furiously on my phone for over an hour.  Someone tried to talk to me and I didn't even acknowledge them.  My dog would not leave my side, even at the dog park.  She stayed in front of me, even seemed to be putting herself in front of me when dogs would approach.  She refused to play with the dogs.

My HCG/timing/ultrasound make zero sense.  The HCG is WAY too high and yet there is no fetal pole and no yolk sac.  This would put me in the 1% of pregnancies (done that before with the ectopic!)  I guess it's possible this can still work.  It's possible the ultrasound tech is a moron.  It's possible the blood test was wrong.  It's possible the ultrasound was broken.  It's possible this is (another) 1% baby.  There's nothing I can do until the scan next week.

 I don't feel hope anymore.  I feel the darkness coming back that tells me this will never work, and that I was never meant to be a mom anyway.  And now I have stood up the adoption lady in my naive excitement -- you would really think an infertility veteran like me would know better.  Maybe I can't even try for a CPS kid now.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

No Charms

Maybe the fifth time is not a charm.

This should have been a six week scan.  We barely said a word on the drive.  We hadn't been to the IVF clinic together in a year, and that did not go well.  Last time I was there was for a quick scan to make sure my spring 2015 cytotec adventure went to plan.  The blood test didn't match the ultrasound, which didn't match the dates.  Maybe the whole thing is fucked.  HCG is way too high at seven weeks, but there is no yolk sac.

I was very calm during the whole discussion.  I didn't even ask any questions -- in my head I was thinking of which method of abortion I would choose this time.  I felt very matter of fact, like I was choosing options on a used car.  My voice didn't even waver.

I went back to work, I talked on the phone.  Nothing I can do until the scan next week anyway.  I do know that it's easier to do this when there's no heartbeat.  Or maybe the other times just took so much of me I can't feel anything anymore.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fifth Time

Things are happening.  I have an adoption meeting on Thursday, we agreed to thaw an embryo in July, depending on what happens with adoption.  We should easily be able to do a home study or whatever else they make us do.  Things are moving forward and going well.  I haven't been charting or taking all these supplements or my blood thinner (except on planes!) or worried about any of it.  One way or another, something is going to happen because we are going to make something happen.

And then I had a dream.  That I was pregnant.

So I tested, the day before Easter Sunday.  SCREAMING POSITIVE.

And suddenly I was filled with all the love in the world, as if this is what were meant to be.  Easter has always had special religious significance in my house, and it's like I could feel my grandmother.  It's been a long time since I could feel her.  Suddenly, this feels like it could all be real.  Maybe after over four years, this could be me.

You know what they say, fifth time is a charm.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Evolving Thoughts on Adoption

From since I was a teenager, I always thought I would adopt.  Ethiopia, specifically.  But I also thought I would never get married, be a bad ass career woman who jets between cities out of a suitcase, and never have children, so there was that.

When we started this journey in 2012, Sperm Donor wanted a biological child.  That was how he felt, and that was that.  For four years I have fought nature, science, God, and time to make this work.  Maybe this isn't the correct path.

Both of our families are full of screw ups and morons.  We are the most successful on either side, by a long shot.  It's clearly not our genetics.  We're not particularly good looking, we don't have the greatest health.  Why are we holding onto this idea?  We are at a complete impasse over whether to use two or one perfect, genetically tested embryos, and THIS DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT.

I was inspired by Zero to Zygote and I sat down with my Sperm Donor and we had a real, serious conversation.  We haven't done this in a long time, generally agreeing infertility just isn't there.  But maybe this is stupid.  Even if we do ever manage to have a living biological kid, there's no guarantee that kid will be like us, instead of the rest of our screw up families.  We are interracial anyway, so this kid could never look like either of us.  Any kid we introduce to our family will be in an interracial situation in a superdiverse city.  I think we agreed.

We have resources.  We have a nice house, a fat college fund for this kid, a huge, loving, megadiverse extended family.  We can afford to send this kid to one of the best schools in the nation, and we can get this kid in.  (I've been working on that one since before I started trying.)  We both went to mediocre public schools, but our kid doesn't have to.  We have legacy at three elite universities between us.   Maybe there's a kid out there who needs that?  Maybe there's some whip smart kid who is about to fall through the cracks, and when they see that kid, they will know where to send that kid?

I made an appointment for the information seminar about CPS placements.  Hopefully, I can find someone to talk to about this idea.

Maybe this is an incredibly naive view of adoption.  Maybe I'll get laughed out.  Maybe you don't get to pick the features you want, like a used car.  Maybe adoption from sad child abuse situations isn't focused on college legacy admissions.  But I care about one thing, my kid being smart as hell.  That's all I want.  We can work through anything else.  I don't care what color that kid is, I don't care boy or girl.  If I got a crazy smart three year old, I know I could take that kid to the next level.  Maybe CPS needs us?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


I need to just get off Facebook.  A monologue about getting pregnant five minutes after getting birth.  OMG, we had no idea this would happen.  Maybe we should have read the books, tee hee.  I know so many people are struggling, and I am so grateful! #blessed

And it's true.  #blessed for that.  How else could that happen?  It's true that we can't control so many things, that this isn't all my fault, luck, God, blah blah.  But if that is #blessed, what does that make me?

God loves you and your alcoholic husband so much that you get two accidental babies, and here I am four years later.  Does this mean I don't deserve blessings?  Clearly I am not #blessed.  Maybe I never will be.  I am not sure what it takes to deserve blessings, but clearly I don't have it.

I've always had a strained relationship with spirituality, and when God took my baby and my tube four years ago, that was an all time low.  Since then, I have struggled mightily with this concept.  I am not worthy of blessings.  I do not deserve children, like everyone else seems to.  Why is everyone else blessed with what seems so easy?

So, if your pregnany is #blessed, I guess I am #notblessed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Insurance is My New Hobby & A Glimmer of Good News

After the insurance company started jacking me around, I was totally lost.   How can an insurance plan both cover and exclude IVF?  It makes no sense!  I paid a TON of money for this insurance, and now they are saying they don't even cover the reason I signed up for it?  Health insurance is screwed up in the US, people.  Seriously screwed up.  But you probably already knew that.

Well, I'm barren with nothing better to do, so I have made the insurance company my new hobby.  I am nearing what is called "exhaustion," which means I have almost done all I can within the insurance company.  It is appropriately named.  I did every claim separately, I appealed, appealed, appealed, met every deadline, provided every document.  I faxed hundreds of documents to a half dozen people and agencies.  There's even a delightful laproscopic photo of my deformed lady bits I always include.

I got the state involved.  I now have something called an ombudsman.  The first round didn't work with the state, but hell no, I'm not done.  The second round has been out for months, I think even the state is confused.  It is now on responses to responses to responses.  There are a lot of forms involved, a lot of people.  I am annoying as hell, but I'm not going anywhere.  I've got all day, and I can get a lot louder.

The next step would be to lawyer up and sue, and that's where I'm out of my depth.  This has to be in federal court and has some kind of process called ERISA, and I am TERRIFIED of losing my anonymity in a public court.  There's also maybe one more state appeal.

But something good happened!

While I was screaming very loudly, the insurance coughed up some cash!  They paid for the scans, the non-embryology labs, most of the drugs, and every itemized part they could, down to the hydrocodone and the Crinone.  That left my bill at about $8,000, and about half of that is CCS, which we knew would be out of pocket anyway, plus the straight fertility drugs, about $3,000, and anesthesia.  The anesthesia bill is in collections, so it's either the $550 cash price or the $1000 billed to insurance price.  No idea.

I think this is intended to back me off.  And don't get me wrong, this is pretty awesome.  But I made it this far.  The insurance company LIED to me.  I'm fighting for the women who don't have the resources I have, and I'm not going to shut up until they make me.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Tepid Love Letter to Lovenox

Now that I have some blood clotting nonsense, I have $1,400 worth of Lovenox injection in the top shelf of my closet which nobody has ever explained.  I take it sometimes, when it seems like it might matter.  Plane rides.  Ovulation.  A couple weeks until my period comes.  Then I give up a while.  Sometimes I take some aspirin.  It has no side effects, so, whatever.

Sperm Donor asked why I keep taking it, and well, I don't want a blood clot on a plane.  I fly more than once a week, and that would be a shitty way to die.  Thanks infertility!  At least you saved me from dying on a plane from a blood clot.  After all I've been through, THIS is not how I'm going to die, and THIS is not going to be how I lose another baby.

Lovenox is physically a tough shot, worse than any in IVF.   (Except maybe PIO?  I never had that one.) Lovenox's needle is thick, and the medicine is gel.  Bonus, there's an air bubble at the end!  The packaging says the air bubble will reduce bruising.  This is a lie.  My stomach is always covered in bruises.  I done it fast, I've done it slow, 45 degrees, lying down, cold press, whatever, doesn't help.  Sometimes I hit a part that is too hard, even for this nasty needle.  I think this is literally scar tissue from Lovenox.  I think IVF has literally left me scarred.

The weirdest thing I noticed was that I can't even feel the needle anymore.  I look for a soft spot and just do it.  Watching the needle go into flesh, it seems like it's someone else, because I don't even notice.  What?  I CAN'T EVEN FEEL THIS GIANT SHOT ANYMORE.  Maybe needles don't actually hurt that much, and it was in my head?  Or maybe my stomach has been through so much, that it is literally numb now.  Like me, I guess.

Monday, January 25, 2016


I unsubscribed finally from the October 2015 Babies message board digest.  I guess I stayed on this long to torture myself.  Hell, I'm not even in line for an October 2016 baby.  There's nothing to say, there's nothing to plan.  I've unsubscribed from all of this.  Unsubscribe.

The insurance battle is still going.  The state is involved, it's this giant mess.  I might have to hire a lawyer, which would cost more than just paying the IVF, which I think is what they are betting on.  Unsubscribe.

Hermione is now the most annoying OMG MOM on Facebook.  I stopped responded to her OMG MOM texts altogether a couple weeks ago.  I gave a her a little room with a new baby, but why put effort into someone who doesn't even care about me?  Don't need this one-sided conversation.  Unsubscribe.

My mom finally had the courage to harass me about IVF again, and I told her that I thought four dead babies was enough.  That seemed to shut her up.  Unsubscribe.

I spent a whole day with my sister, who didn't even return a text after my miscarriage, and she was delightfully in her own world with her kids' soccer/ballet/whatever it is people with healthy kids worry about.  That was nice.

And again I find myself wishing I had TOLD LESS PEOPLE about IVF.  Sure, if it had taken a year or whatever, maybe it would have been nice to have the support.  But now, four years later, it's just this awkward elephant that follows me around and no one talks about.  It hurts even more to think how many people know about my suffering and say nothing, do nothing, and just don't give a shit.  It would be less painful to just be alone in this suffering.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Facebook Floods

Two babies born last week, and that makes everyone.  Everyone but me.

I lived with the same five girls for most of college.  Our last year, we all bet who of the six of us would get married/have kids first.  The bet was always on me to be last, but I don't think anyone imagined it going like this.  The last of the five had a baby last week.  She must have been in the freaking car home from the hospital and had already posted a bunch of political shit about maternity leave and complained about whatever breastfeeding details people with healthy babies complain about.

And my friend from grad school.  The one who never called back after I almost got taken out by my first pregnancy in 2012.  She had her baby last week.  I'm sure she's already in size 4 jeans ago, because that's how life goes for her.

I need to stop checking Facebook.  It just makes me feel even more alone.  How can everyone be so UNGRATEFUL for their babies?  Why does everyone just kvetch all the time?  And I am left behind.  No shock there.

In 2016, I am facing reality.  I don't feel like this is my year.  I think I have finally wrapped my brain around that this might never happen to me.  I might lose a few more babies, it might kill my marriage, my sex life, my vacation schedule, I don't know.  There's not much left for infertility to take.  I can't feel it for 2016.  I'm not sure I can feel it at all.  Maybe this is just not meant to be.