Megan is Brilliant

I just read the most incredible post by Megan at Bottoms off and on a Break. She is an amazing blogger who has some of the most amazing creative projects, videos, and infertility artwork. I hope that I am not violating blog etiquette by reposting this here - but it is just that incredible.  Please go to her site and let her know if you are also blown away by the power of her words.

How does it feel to be infertile?
by Megan at Bottoms off and on a Break

I've never been asked by a fertile person how it feels to be infertile.  No infertile person has ever had to ask how it feels.  However, I have often found myself wondering if I could explain to a fertile person how infertility feels.

It's so abstract.  I won't die from this disease.  I've not lost any limbs.  I don't have any visible scars.  In my own case I've not lost anything tangible really.  I've lost clusters of cells, even my one miscarriage was a blighted ovum; a non baby.

The only way I can describe how being infertile feels is to equate it to what I imagine it would be like to love a child...

Infertility feels like loving a child...but the exact opposite.

I imagine that when a child is born the parents feel overwhelming feelings of joy, pride, happiness, and love.  I'm sure it is indescribable.  I'm sure it is emotionally debilitating, makes you reevaluate your life, makes you change your life for the better.

Infertility has made me feel that way too...but the exact opposite.

I imagine that when you are a parent the love you have for your child permeates your life in all sorts of little ways.  I'm sure that sometimes that love catches you off guard in little moments.  You remember your love when you see a picture, hear a comment, or smell a scent.  I imagine that love for a child is like a pleasant whisper throughout the day.

Infertility has made me feel that way too...but the exact opposite.

I'm sure that everyday as a parent is not good.  Just as everyday without children is not bad.

However, if a fertile person ever thinks to ask me how it feels to be infertile; if a fertile person ever wants to understand; I would tell them to think of all the intense love they have for their child, all the little ways that being a parent makes them happy.  I imagine the intensity of feeling is the same.

But where they have love I have bitterness.
But where they have hope I have despair.
But where they have peace I have heartbreak.

And just as a parent will always be a parent.  I will always be infertile.


FIVE little follies

Oh my goodness
Oh my goodness

I took my clomid (100mg) on cycle days 3-7. I didn't notice any side effects, except for some wonderful excitiement :)

We went in for my first monitering appoitnment this morning. Everything looked good. Maybe a little TOO good!

We have FIVE folicles. Yep, FIVE beautiful round folicles with FIVE perfect little eggs. Three of them are ready to go, and the other two are right on the cusp of being ready.

The Doctor explained that he takes the risk of multiples very seriously and that he advises patients to cancel the cycle anytime there are more than three potential folicles. ML and I exchanged looks. I knew what he was thinking before he even opened his mouth. I love that man so much.

ML asks, "So are you advising us to cancel, or are you telling us that we have to cancel? We've been waiting a long time for this." I am so glad that he talks at these appointments, since I can barely open my mouth. I love him so much.

The Doctor replies that it is our decision, and again reviews the risks of multiples, and the process of selective reduction. We exchange looks again. ML asks if we can have a minute to talk privately. Oh my god do I love him.

The Doctor leaves the room, and I grab ML's hand. We decide to proceed. We agree to consider selective reduction to prevent high order multiples. We are ready for whatever comes next. I decide that only three of the eggs will release, so it won't be an issue. I adore ML more than words can describe.

The Doctor comes back into the room. We tell him our decision. He says alrighty then. We are ready to rawk and roll!

He gives me the trigger shot and an appointment to return on Saturday and Sunday morning for back to back IUI. A blood test is schedueld for November 16th!

I am overwhelmed with excitement and joy, and love - so much love, as we check out and pay our bill. I look at ML and he is more handsome than ever before. He is so strong and loving and wonderful. We walk outside and embrace. I could stand right there in his arms forever.

We take a few beep breaths together.
We can do this.
We are doing this.


Naive excitement

I feel kind of giddy.
Like there are little joyful butterflys floating around inside of me.

Like I have a special, potentially wonderful, secret that no one knows about.
I love this feeling.

When we first started trying I felt this excitement.
This lightness.
This sense of purpose and future.
Of possibility.

I don't feel like I am waiting any more.
Everyday that passes is a day that my body is doing important work.
This cycle is special.
This cycle is real.
This is our first real chance.
I am loving every minute of it.


inevitable questions

I can remember being in a grocery store with my mom. I must have been six or seven. My two younger sisters were in the cart. An older woman approached us to ohh and ahh over my littlest sister who was still quite young. I can so clearly remember the woman commenting on how different the three of us looked and asking my mother if we had the same father. The question confused me, but my mom explained to the lady that we all shared the same daddy. I remember so clearly that the lady was so nice and even now I don't think that she intended any harm by her question.

My mom was so matter of fact in her response, and so confident in her and my dads love for each of us, so proud of our differences. That was the first time I remember that question being asked, but most certainly not the last.

It is a totally inappropriate comment to make, regardless of the family circumstances. (In our case my sisters and I do share genetics from both our mother and father, but look very different from each other.) But people are curious and will ask questions, inappropriate or not. It is how we respond to and educate people about situations that they don't understand that really matters. It may not be a duty we signed up for, but it is necessary. I can only hope that others will offer me the same education when I say or do things that might be hurtful. 

As ML and I embark on building our family with the assistance of DS, I am thinking alot about how we will deal with the future questions and situations that are waiting for us. 

Mel reviewed a post by Kristen at I Spy a Family in her Round-Up last Friday. Kristen describes a situation that occurred in the grocery store, where a store clerk inappropriately questioned how her family was formed. She acknowledged that this was an inevitable situation for her family that has been built through adoption, but wishes that people would show respect for her children by asking questions when her children are not in ear shot. 

Kristen's post reminded me of that day we were in the grocery store, and all of the times since that the formation of my family has been questioned. It is a gentle reminder to me that these questions are normal, that we can expect them. The only part of this equation that we can control is our response. For some of us the emotions of our situation make it difficult to respond in a matter of fact way, and that is totally understandable. What I will always remember is that my mom didn't hesitate in her response, she was so confident in our family, there was no doubt about her love for my dad and their love for us. She made it so clear that we belonged together and that our differences were valued. 

I hope that I - that we all - can find that confidence. I hope that we can use it to educate others, and most importantly to show our children just how loved they are. 

Thanks Kristen for this great post, and thanks Mel for making sure that I didn't miss it!


New Chapter

Today is the beginning of a new chapter of our journey. 

Until now we have not had one single opportunity to actually get pregnant. We've spent 20% of our income and 18 months of our life seeing doctors and getting tests and trying experimental hormone treatment, but not once did we have a real chance to get pregnant. So much time spent waiting, receiving bad news at every turn, the carrot of pregnancy moved just a little farther out of our reach every time.

After my dreams were shattered with the initial Azoospermia diagnosis, it took me a long time to see beyond the day to day struggle and envision that there is in fact a Someday family waiting for us at the end of this journey. I was so caught up with worry and anticipation of the next test, the next dr appt, the next decision facing us. It was so hard to put the details in perspective and see that they were all little steps that got us closer to our dreams. Refocusing on that dream made it so much easier to navigate the path. But it also took away any sense that my Someday was anytime soon. Until today.

Today is the first day 
of the first cycle 
where we will have a chance to get pregnant. 

We met with the new RE this morning, the local one. He reviewed everything and gave us the green light to do a donor IUI cycle this month, starting with this cycle!

(This is what I wanted, but on some level I was really expecting that there would be some reason why we had to wait again.)

We got lunch. We came home. We chose a donor. We sent our new account paperwork to the cryobank.     My cycle started this afternoon, just as expected. I called and made a Friday appointment for my initial ultrasound and meds.

It is happening. It really is. I almost can't believe it.


Balancing Act

I had lunch with my mom last week. She is the awesomest mom a girl could ask for.

She brought me some info about all of the recommended pre-natals that I need to start taking. She encouraged me to get up to date on my flu and whooping couch vaccinations. She offered to research chewable pre-natals for me, since the swallow pre-natals are gross. (I was hoping that my dinosaur chewables would suffice, but mama knows best.) *** if you can recommend any good chewable pre-natals, please let me know!!!

My brave mama also asked me about how the IUI process works thinking that maybe we could take back some control of the process, de-medicalize it, and do it at home. Wouldn't that be awesome? If all other factors were equal at this point, I would really love to conceive in love with ML in the privacy and comfort of our own home.

I am really glad that I could go thru all that with my mom, so that she can understand what options we have and the factors that we are using to make decisions. 

The thing is that all other factors are not equal at this point. The way I see it we are balancing three big factors - physical, emotional, and financial - and will be choosing from essentially three different treatment options - non-medicated IUI, aggressive medicated IUI, or IVF.

From what we know, I can get pregnant. I have regular cycles and ovulate regularly. I've never taken hormonal birth control and would rather not mess with things unless necessary.
treatment choice = non-medicated iui

I am a mess. I want to be pregnant now. I am done waiting. The sooner I am pregnant the sooner I can move beyond the despair of this journey. The thought of prolonging treatment cycles any longer than absolutely necessary sounds completely unacceptable to me.
treatment choice = IVF

We've already spent about 20% of our income on fertility testing & treatment this past year. We have some savings, but it is limited and it makes me sick to think about spending it all. But I know we will if we have to. We'd like to be cost effective in our decisions. At quick blush were looking at a cost of $1,200 per cycle for un-medicted iui (with a 10% chance at success), $3,000 for medicated iui (with a 20% chance of success), or $15,000 for IVF (with a 50% chance of success).
treatment choice = I don't know how to do that kind of statistics, but I think it would be medicated iui.

So that leaves us... I'm not sure where exactly, but I think in the middle with an aggressive medicated iui as our starting place.

We meet the new RE on Wednesday, so we'll get better info then. (and my cycle starts on Thursday, so cross your fingers that we can jump right in! ohhhh am I hoping.)


A good omen

A lady I used to babysit for just messaged me on to ask if I knew anyone who needs a nice double stroller for twins.  

It was a pretty random message to get from someone I haven't seen or talked to in over a decade. 

I am going to take it as a good omen that my Someday Twins are on the horizon :)

I was brave in my reply. Offered to help put the word out, but also said "It is kind of funny that you ask though, since I am hoping that we will be lucky enough to find ourselves with "Someday Twins" someday soon. (I'll take this as a good sign that our time will come sooner rather than later...)"


a new hello

If you're brave to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.

We are saying goodbye to the dream of having a family who shares our genetics. 
It is a loss unlike any we have ever experienced.
It is a choice I thought we could never make.
It will be different.
Different than we expected.

We will have a family.
Our love is unconditional.
We will navigate this new path with love and peace and patience.
Life will reward us with a new hello.



I was on last night and came across something that has really gotten me thinking. 

One of the biggest things that I have gained from this journey is a deeper compassion for people. 

A deep awareness of and sympathy for another's suffering
Understanding without judgment.

I have been shown kindness at so many critical moments by people who had no idea how much their words or actions could possibly mean to me and who had no idea that I was struggling. This infertility has consumed me for so long, and yet, most of the people who interact with me on any given day have no idea. They have no idea that I am in so much pain, that I am so emotionally exhausted, that while I am talking to them I am at the same time thinking about my cycle and our next biopsy and so on and so forth.  

They have no idea that there is a secret that I am concealing. 

Back to facebook - - - A photo had been tagged in the album of 'Sam Smith' (names changed of course to respect the privacy of those involved). I have a professional colleague named 'Suzy Smith' and wondered if Sam might be her brother. (My sister works with me an I hadn't realized that she worked with her siblings also.) I clicked over to see Sam's page and it had a picture of Suzy. I noticed a link to a blog and clicked through. 

The blog was all about Suzy's transgender experience and her recent transition to become Sam. Sam wrote incredible posts about being outed to the community, about not fitting in with traditional social structures, and about the support that comes with breaking the silence.  I don't need to 'know' Sam's experience to know that it had been a hard path. 

Reading thru Sam's posts I was struck at the similarities we've experienced on our different journeys. I tried to write more about those similarities, but can't seem to get the words right, and really don't want to inadvertently marginalize anyones journey or experience. 

Sam and I have been colleagues for some time. We've attended the same events and know who each other are, yet we've never had the opportunity to really talk beyond the social introductions. To be honest, I'm not sure that I would have really known what to talk about beyond our work.  

However, the reality is that, at each of those social events, we were both struggling with deeply personal challenges. We were both wearing a mask of social happiness and had anyone asked, we would have both responded that life was good, we were fine, concealing the truth to protect our souls. 

It's not that I ever assumed that my journey, that my pain, that my struggle was somehow 'special', but it is so hard to see beyond the social masks to know that I really am not alone. It reminds me that there is always a reason for compassion and kindness, even when it may seem unnecessary, even when we may not know the secret that a person is concealing.

I have so many more thoughts that are just not translating very well.

Sam is an awesome writer and I immediately added his blog to my reader.  Someday, I hope that I have the chance and am brave enough to tell Sam what his words mean to me.


Strong and Wise

Dear Caitlyn and Tyler,
You are two beautiful human beings. 

Watching you make the most selfless and loving choice really touched me. You opened my eyes to the full experience of adoption. You opened my heart to acceptance of the beauty and love that can be created through adoption. 

You are indeed strong and wise. Thank you for sharing your story with us. 


Dear Brandon & Teresa,
I don't know your journey, but I do know the struggle of infertility and the longing for a child. 

I just watched the reunion episode of Teen Mom and cried. The love that you have for your daughter is so complete. The compassion that you show to Caitlyn and Tyler is so genuine. 

I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. 

With love,


Tetris Master

 I am a tetris master. 

Something about putting all of the little pieces away, right where they belong,

I love it. 


Pen and Paper Challenge

Gil at The Hardest Quest issued a challenge. She challenged us to reach out beyond these blogs and offer to write (with real pen and paper) a note so some of our fellow bloggies who have touched our life in a meaningful way. 

She says, "Make the offer to write a personal note to them (if they're willing to give you a snail-mail address) and let them know how or why they have affected you." 

It is kind of like the Celebration Society, but I like the idea of a real note being tangible. So I am going to participate, and encourage you to join in as well. 

(Granted I have tried to remain anonymous here in blogland, and am not totally comfortable myself with giving out my mailing address, so I will be most understanding of others who would prefer not to share the their info.)



I've been working on this school bond campaign, and am simply amazed at how many are against it because they are mad about all of the school cuts that we've experienced in the past few years, or mad that they have to donate school supplies to their child's classroom, or mad that the school board made a decision that they don't agree with. This bond will raise over $100 million to begin the process of fixing schools that were built 50 or more years ago. 

So many people are so selfish, worried about their own self interests. If this bond won't support their child and their child's school and their child's classroom, they are against it. If this bond won't directly benefit the teachers and their union negotiations, they are against it. Even the local PTA chapter is not supportive because they don't like the Superintendent.

I mean, I get that people are upset about a lot of things that may in fact be super legitimate and need attention. However to let those issues get in the way of passing a bond that will affect the lives of students and families for generations to come, I just don't understand that thinking.

I wrote a letter to the editor about the bond that was published in the Sunday edition of our local newspaper. I'm PUBLISHED!

I was a little snarky and I hope it doesn't backfire on me or the bond... I wrote "The fact is, this school bond is more important than petty disagreements, special interests and individual fiefdoms. It is about ensuring that future generations of our kids have the opportunity to get a quality education from our public schools."

***I know that many of you are teachers, so I hope that I haven't been offensive in anything I said. I just know that my Someday kids will be attending these schools long after the Superintendent is gone,  many of the principals have retired, and a new school board is seated. The issues that might prevent this bond from approval are passing, the need to invest in these schools will remain long into the future. I'd really love to think that we can see beyond the 'here and now' to start investing in the future.


It is what it is

It is what it is. ML says that. and he is right.
We did everything that we could and now it is what it is.

He is really sad. In the way that boys show they are sad. But I know that this is really hard for him.

I feel... maybe in a little bit of shock still. Getting this news didn't feel like the punch in the gut that i was expecting. It feels quiet. decisive.

I was preparing for grey, for ambiguity. for results that presented some unexpected and additional choice. But this is black and white. and I although I hate the outcome, I have tremendous comfort in the certainty.

It is what is is.
and we will move forward from here.

I have to take a moment to thank each of you for your loving and kind comments recently. Each comment was like a pillar of strength that surrounded me in a moment when I wasn't sure I was strong enough to stand on my own. Your strength reminds me of just how strong I really am. Thank You.



the results are in.
they found nothing.

we tried everything.
and yet we get nothing.


I am depressed.

I told ML that I feel like my life has no purpose. Without kids, without my own family.

But then I feel selfish and guilty. My life is as close to perfect as I could have ever imagined it could be. But there is this one thing, this one basic and fundamental thing that is missing. and without this one thing, my life is incomplete. it is worthless. it is meaningless.

I couldn't bear to get out of bed yesterday. and then the tears started and didn't stop all day. I had to call my boss and tell her that I was a blithering idiot and not suitable to be seen in public. She understood and was nice about it, but I still felt like crap for leaving her hanging unprepared for an important meeting.

This feeling is partly an anticipation of the FNA results that we are waiting for next week, I know that anxiety is just building up inside of me.

This is also about just wanting so much to be on the other side of this. and until I get there, my life is just a series of actions that are only intended to pass the time.

This depression feels very different than what I felt last year. Last year I was consumed by shock and grief and fear, which left me so overwhelmed with emotions that the pain was nearly unbearable.

This year, it feels much more cerebral. I am dealing with the grief, and am building good coping skills to manage the anxiety of waiting. And now, there is space for this underlying belief to rise to the surface. What is the point? What is the point of any of this when it has nothing to do with my purpose for being?

Last year, I felt no hope, I experienced no real joy or laughter. I really was just going thru the motions because I was so caught up in my own grief and pain. This year that fog has lifted. I have laughed, I can envision our Someday, I have re-engaged with friends and family and community work. But beneath it all is this truth, this truth that my most fundamental reason for being is missing.

I get that this daily routine of going to work and paying the bills and so on and so forth is necessary. But it suddenly feels so damn meaningless.


Welcome Mama!

I've thought about so many different things to write about in the past 24 hours, but now that I am sitting here, none of them seem to be tangible.

I had a really nice dinner with my mom last night. I feel like it has been so long since I've been able to just sit and talk with her. I've been wanting to show her my blog for ever, and finally, after dinner last night I was able to tell her about it and pull it up on my iphone so she could see it. She is so wonderful and supportive and I am so lucky that we get to be connected as mother and daughter.

So, Welcome to my blog Mama!
Ohhh - and Sister and Bestie, You are now welcome here too!
You three have been so incredible and patient and kind and understanding and available to me during this journey and I am forever grateful.

So after dinner I was walking back to my car and noticed that the light was on at the massage place. This massage place is awesome - they offer hour long foot massages for $25 that are really a full body clothed massage that includes a hot water bath for your feet. I wandered across the street and found myself laid out in the chair enjoying an impromptu massage. I thought about so many things but successfully kept refocusing on the music that was playing. It felt so good to just stop and do something that was just for me. Then after the massage, I got my hair cut! I figured that I was already there, and I'd been wanting to get my hair trimmed for like the past year. The lady washed, cut and blew out my hair, and, it felt so nice.

I have a spa day all set for October 16th, with my sister and a few friends. (anyone want to join us? :) and another spa day scheduled for me and my mama the first week of November. My mama reminded me that I have got to be taking care of myself - thanks mama!

If everything proceeds as planned, we'll be getting started with treatment pretty quickly after getting the results of the FNA next Friday. I am trying so hard to let this journey be what it is but I seriously can't wait to get moving on what comes next. The sooner we start treatment, the sooner we get to Someday, and the sooner I get off this freakin roller coaster.

*** A perfect moment to share: ML and I called my grandma before stopping by her house the other day. She was so glad to hear from us and to hear that we were headed over. She asked if we could do her a big favor and run by the grocery. "Of course," we say, "What do you need grandma?" She replies "a bottle of Kettle One vodka!" 

Omg, I love you grandma!!! 


Capacity to Love

I found a new bloggy friend whose posts resonate so deeply with me. Ginger and Lime also has the nicest most wonderful readers and commenters. She wrote a post a while back about needing to have her pain seen and validated. It was exactly what I was trying to explain in my earlier post about My Scarlet Pain. And then she had a post about a Character Survey. I took it, and am kind of intrigued by the results. They actually seem to represent me pretty well.

Capacity to love and be loved
You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.

You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Perspective (wisdom)
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.

Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

The Virtual Lushary

I spent the morning having coffee with Jenni at the Yak Hotel, reading through her story from beginning to end. What an awesome gal she is! One of her posts led me back to Mel's Truth Lies and Bounce Virtual Lushary. What a great idea. I tried to leave a comment, but the link wasn't working. I really love the idea of a virtual bar. It inspires my imagination and I love the thought of sitting with all of you at a poolside bar, drinking mimosas, floating in the pool, and talking for hours about things that no one else in our lives seems to understand.

Mel asked us to:  Leave a comment below telling either a truth or a lie about yourself along with your monthly update about yourself.  It has to be one or the other, not a partial truth or a sort of lie.  If you’re going to lie, make it a good one.  And if you’re going to tell the truth, make it a damn fine one too.

Here is my response:
I'm a little late to this party but I'd love a Mimosa. Could you serve it to me out by the pool? (thanks!) And now for my truth/lie... The night I first met my husband, at a fraternity party in a house reminiscent of the house in Animal House, he propositioned me for a threesome with his buddy. I declined, but gave him my phone number verbally instead. Somehow despite being so inebriated that his glasses were fogged up, he remembered my digits and called me later to ask me out for lunch. The only reason I accepted the date was because I wanted a free lunch.

What do you think? Is this really how I met the man of my dreams?

In other news, I spoke to the IVF nurse yesterday to let her know that we might be ready to move forward with a cycle ASAP if the FNA map shows sperm. She informed me that all of the testing that I had done for our IVF checklist "expired" in September. According to her, I'll have to repeat everything on the checklist before we can proceed. 

Are you f'ing kidding me? That will add another $5,000 to our cost. I feel sick about it. I have that nasty sinking stomach feeling, and just want to scream obscenities at a god I don't even believe in.

This last week was hard, and I am so glad it is Saturday. However we made plans to visit some friends who have a one year old. We've done a great job at avoiding them all year, but finally ran out of excuses. For whatever reason, the thought of being around them with their perfect little boy makes me want to cry. The Travelers, good friends I've written about earlier, will also be at the party. Last I heard they were going to start 'trying' in June. I have this sick feeling that they are going to announce a pregnancy today. I wish we could cancel, instead I guess I have to rely on xanax.



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