Friday, January 29, 2010

Losing it

I was so freaking smug this past month or so. I've been all, "look at me not being infertile! Look how I'm thinking about and doing other things! La la la la la-de-dah." Stupid.

Apparently I have not dealt well with my issues, but rather pushed them to the back burner. You know, to come boiling over when I wasn't paying attention, ready to burn me and ruin my pot, stove, and probably my outfit too.

I have been seriously on edge the past few days. I can't explain it. My only guess is that I'm suffering from a raging case of PMS, because I'm also bloated and I have a headache. I'm on Day 2 of holding a grudge against my husband for something stupid that he said to me. Two days ago. It wasn't even that bad, I just didn't think he was being ... "nice." What am I, a toddler? Oh and speaking of toddlers? Mine? Yeah, I screamed at him this morning. Screamed. Then I slammed my car door. Why? Because he didn't tell me he wanted juice for the ride to school until I started to pull out of the driveway. Then he started to cry and whine. Which he has been doing entirely too much of lately. And because I couldn't take the grating sound of his whine, I pulled back in the driveway and got him his damn juice. Screaming at him as I slammed the car door on my way out of the car. When I got in the house I screamed at the top of my lungs until my hands stopped shaking.

What the hell is wrong with me?? I'm usually so good at dealing with his little tantrums. (And that's all they are, really. He's generally a pretty laid back kid.)

I got back in the car, and sat in the back seat with him for a minute, and apologized as much as I could. I told him I didn't like to yell, and I was very frustrated and angry and I shouldn't have yelled at him.

The whole way to school, I imagined other drivers pointing and staring at the crazy person. I thought the other parents at school, or worse yet, the teachers, would see it on my face, how terrible I was to my kid. To his credit, he acted completely normal, like nothing had happened. When it was time for me to leave him I gave him a hug and a kiss, and he kissed my cheek three times (a "triple" he calls it), and I told him I was sorry I was such a cranker this morning. Know what he said? "I'm sorry mommy. I won't make you late to work. Any. More."

Then I cried on the way to work today. Because of a Daughtry song.

Serenity, NOW.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Filling in the blanks


So far, 2010 has been a pretty good year, with just one exception.

My sister's marriage is crumbling. Listening to her, I'm pretty sure it's over. When I asked her a few days ago if she was decided on her next steps, or if she was still "trying" counseling (I put it in quotes because I'm not sure she ever really tried very hard; I think by the time they went to counseling she was checked out of the relationship), and she said, "well, I'm just not sure what to do with the baby, what to tell him, how to arrange for babysitting on my own..." I think she's just trying to figure out logistics at this point. Without getting into too much (searchable, identifiable) details, she is fed up with her marriage because her husband doesn't contribute anywhere near 50% to the house, the finances, or the child-raising. However, he is dealing with a medical condition. A medical condition that I never understood, or frankly even believed was for real, but that she knew about from day one. She always supported him, and, well, it seems now like she was covering up for him and making excuses for his behaviors.

I'll stop here and say that it's not drugs. It sounds like drugs or alcoholism, doesn't it? Not even close. I don't mean to be vague in an annoying way, I just don't want to share details that aren't mine, so I'm trying to be as anonymous as possible.

What is making it so hard for me to be supportive to my sister, is that I feel terrible for my brother-in-law. Truth be told, I never felt like he was the one for her. I told her my reservations about him when they first started to get serious, and so did our other sister, as well as a friend of hers. But she stood hard on the "It's not his fault, he's dealing with a serious medical condition, and I love him and want to support him" line. No matter that he managed to work full time before he met my (hard working) sister. He dropped to part time, then stopped working all together, to pursue his education. For the past few years, he's taken one class per semester (so he could take care of the baby), and a year ago stopped school all together. Oh, and he sends the baby to a babysitter every day of the week.

So why do I feel terrible for him? Since he clearly sounds like a deadbeat? Well, one because my sister is having an affair. Yeah. But mostly because I can't figure out what he did wrong. (Besides all of the above, you're asking?) Again, I would never be ok with a marriage like that, and I would never think that my workaholic sister would either. But she married the guy! Just like he is today. Nothing's changed, except his efforts, which she has been ok with all along. Supportive even. I can't figure out where her breaking point came, and why now. She said simply, "I just reached my limit - I can't take it anymore." I feel terrible for my brother in law, because all of his efforts (or lack thereof) have been my sister's idea or fully supported by her until now. How was he to know she had a problem, if her first mention of the problem is in the same breath as "I want a divorce," and "Oh by the way, I'm having an affair"?

Anyway. I have no idea what to do with all of this. (Except vent to my other sister, and be as supportive and thought-provoking as possible to this sister.)

Next time, I'll write about why this year has gotten off to an otherwise great start. Thanks for listening if you've made it this far.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First stop, write the dang goal

My husband and I were talking about the past year, and wondering what 2010 would bring. He said that he's already broken his new year's resolution for this year (being more decisive - hahah! Who knew he was struggling with the same thing I am?), and then asked me what my resolution was. I told him I wasn't messing around with a silly resolution this year; they're too easy to break and even forget. I told him I was writing a goal. His response? "So, then, your resolution is to write a goal?" I had to laugh out loud. Clearly I married him for his looks and his ability to crack me up.

So what is my goal going to address? I'm not really living my life as fully as I'd like. I'm too focused on what I don't have, and what might be missing, to completely enjoy and cherish what is great right now. I'm not trying to imply that I'm all together miserable or anything - I know that I'm not. But I also know that I'm much more focused than I'd like to be on the negative, and the unknown, things that are going on with me. The truth is, we are lucky. Yes, lucky as hell. We have food (and often too much of it), we have our health, we have a house in a great neighborhood, decent jobs, and a great family. We have our kiddo. Our little lightbulb. I don't want to look back and wonder what I missed because I was too busy worrying about or working towards an uncertain future. I have too many certainties in my future for that!

I was running late to work today. As usual. Except my boss, my boss's boss, and even her boss, were all in town for a meeting, and I desperately wanted to be early. So all morning I was rushing my kiddo, telling him to be a good listening boy for me, and running around the house trying to get us ready and out the door. We forgot his Nicky bunny (a tragedy, I tell you, leaving Nicky bunny at home), so I had to run back in the house to get it, with my car idling and my kiddo sitting happily in his carseat. My heart was pounding, thinking that I was going to look terrible showing up late to this meeting. I was ushering him into the daycare lobby, when I looked down and saw that he was walking like a duck, his back to me, waddling down the hallway toward his classroom. He didn't turn back around to me, just said - quietly, mind you, because he was focused intently on doing it right - he said, "mommy, look, I'm fancy-walking!"

Fancing walking. The kid cracks me up, all the time. All I have to do is pay attention, or else I'll miss it. And I don't want to look back in a year or twenty years, and wonder what I might have missed when he was two or three.

Those are the thoughts behind my new year's goal.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goal setting primer

I decided that I'm taking a different approach this year. I'm not setting resolutions. I'm defining a goal. In my work, I've done training on goal setting for managers and leaders, and I often apply these to more informal coaching sessions as well. When I talk of writing goals, I break it down into its parts, and I'll encourage you to consider what you want to achieve, how you're going to set about achieving it, why it's important, and how you're going to measure your success. Let's start with these pieces first.

What do you want to achieve? This is the goal itself: the outcome you're looking for. Often, it's helpful to include why you want to achieve the goal.

Is losing 15 pounds a goal? Not really. There's usually some reason you want to lose 15 pounds - whether it's to feel more energetic, or to lower your blood sugar or blood pressure, or even to be able to wear all your kickass skinny clothes.

What are some ways to get to that desired outcome? How will you achieve your goals? In a broad sense, or a big picture, these are your strategies. You might have one or two or five strategies under a goal.

To continue on the weight loss thread, one strategy might be to eat better and another one might be to move your body more. These are not really specific, but in broad strokes, these are the ways that you'll achieve your goal.

Specifically, what are you going to do to make those strategies happen? Here you'll come up with very specific, manageable, measurable, doable tactics. Often you'll have several tactics under each strategy. The key is to make them something to strive for (so, not too easy!) but not impossible. They should be challenging yet realistic. These tactics can change over the course of your plan; for example, for the first few weeks it might make sense to exercise at the gym twice a week for 30 minutes each, but as you progress it might be more realistic to go four times a week for 45 minutes each time. Tactics should also be things that you personally have control over. So, "get my husband to listen to me when I talk to him," is not a good tactic.

Some examples of your tactics might be: I'm going to walk 30 minutes a day during my lunch break at least 3 times a week, I'm going to eat fresh vegetables at least twice a day, or I'm going to sign up for and attend all sessions of a weekly yoga class.

Lastly, you'll want ways to measure your progress. How will you know if you've succeeded in your goal? These are your metrics. You'll probably have more than one metric.

Here's where the 15 pounds comes back in! So a metric might be to lose a specific amount of weight, to be able to run a 5K, to fit back into your skinny jeans, or to bring your blood pressure to an acceptable range.

To summarize:
Goal - outcome
Strategies - the approach (or approaches) you're going to take to achieve your goal
Tactics - specific sets of actions
Metrics - measurement of your progress and success

If you include all these pieces in your new years resolution - or goal! - it'll be more meaningful, easier to track, and hopefully in the long run will be more achievable for you.

Next up: my new year's goal, and an outline of my strategies, tactics, and metrics.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanks Grandma

We had a fabulous Christmas (and another installment to come tomorrow, thanks to splitting time among the different branches of our families), but rather than bog your Reader or feed down with another Merry Christmas post, I will just share with you what my husband's Grandma wrote in our Christmas card.

And I quote (though yes, I'm changing our names here):

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! To William, Billy, Stephanie ... AND ?????

I asked my husband if she thinks we're pregnant, or maybe just hoping.

WTF?! I can only laugh at this point.

But really, in all seriousness, I hope you're all enjoying your time, and to my fellow empty uterus infertiles, I hope the Grandmas of this world are kind to you this holiday season.


Friday, December 18, 2009

A lot to consider

I met with Dr. D today, to talk about what went wrong, next steps, and options. What went wrong? One thing: my eggs. "You just can't get around egg quality," he said. I asked what my highest FSH was ever with them, and he said 14. Terrible, right? Except that 3.5 years ago, I had an FSH of 13, and got pregnant with IUI and tamoxifen. My first IUI, by the way. He responded that an FSH needs to be considered along with a woman's age; so, an FSH of 13 in a 34-year old is a much better consideration than an FSH of 14 in a 38-year old.


I asked if there was anything else to try, anything that might lead to a better response, and he said no. They started me at a fairly high dose of meds already for this IVF, and unfortunately there's just no other combination or protocol that he thinks would lead to me producing more eggs. No tricks up their sleeves. I was sort of hoping for another shot, but honestly - truly - knowing that IVF is off the table is a good thing for me. At least I know.

Then he said what I was secretly hoping to hear. He said, "we could try more IUIs. I have no objections to that, and in fact, what if we tried an IUI with tamoxifen?" (Tamoxifen, for those of you who aren't familiar, is like Clomid, but a much smaller dose.) Then he said, "now, wait, I know you're going to say that this is like taking a step backwards..." Um, no. It's exactly the option I was going to ask him about next. I told him I'd been thinking of that, and asked him if maybe there was a benefit of fewer eggs in response, like maybe there'd be higher quality with less quantity. He replied that he has never seen any data to support that, but that his embryologist swears that the outcome she sees is better for women with high FSH on Clomid rather than injectibles.

I also asked him about my tubes. What if they're blocked? What if my endometriosis came back, but more this time? I had an HSG and a laparoscopy previously (when I got pregnant with my kiddo), but this time around I've only had an SHG. We talked at length about this, because I had a terrible experience with the HSG (I swear it hurt worse than my epidural-free labor and delivery). He said that the clinic's Physician Assistant does all the HSG's, and "she's rather good; of course I'm sure you'll feel some pain, but I would guess that it's not going to be like what you felt before." I wouldn't be surprised if it were a walk in the park compared to the one I had before; that guy was an oaf, twisting and turning me on the table, cursing my cervix, and generally acting like an ass. Dr. D even reminded me that some believe that fertility is enhanced in the few months following an HSG.

We also talked a lot about the option of donor eggs. I told him we were absolutely open to the idea, but it was the cost that was prohibitive at this point. He advised that I talk to his insurance person, because she could outline the costs more specifically - taking into consideration my awesome insurance coverage (albeit without donor coverage) - so that we can make an informed decision.

In the end, he kept repeating that there's nothing to suggest that I can't get pregnant. He told me that they've had women with an FSH over 20 who got pregnant successfully. But, he also said a few times that IVF is not going to be the way to go for me. He said something like, "It's too much to go through, too much stress on your body, your time, and your wallet for you to go through that." Apparently for women like me, IUI has about the same chance as IVF (which, yes, is very small, but still a chance), so he wouldn't recommend IVF at all any longer. I asked him at what point he'd cut me off from treatments, and he replied that we could try the HSG and then one - maybe two - IUI's, and that would be all he would recommend. He even stressed that we could be that rare couple that gets pregnant on their own. I liked his attitude - stressing to me that it's not impossible, but yet reminding me to be realistic about our chances.

Clearly, we have a lot to think about. I'm no less confused about our next steps than I was before, but I have to repeat that it's a relief that we know what roads we won't be able to go down. I plan to get through the holidays, and decide what happens after the new year.

Monday, December 14, 2009


It's amazing how one phone call can pull me right back in.

Land of IF: Population, Me.

I have been doing really well the past couple weeks. No, I haven't been perfectly content, and I have been so conflicted about our next path that it's downright confusing at times. But I have been calm. I've enjoyed the feeling of being done with treatments - if only for a time - just the feeling of not having to schedule appointments, spend a quarter hour mixing meds and jabbing myself nightly. It has felt nice. Easy. I have distinctly *not* felt infertile, at least for the past couple weeks. I thought about our next steps with a sort of detachment, thinking the whole time that whatever works out will be for the best ... no, that we'll make the best of it. I will even say that I have spent more time being happy with feeling done, and less time being sad about what we're missing.

Then today. Today I did something that's been on my "to-do" list since this day. One month ago today I learned that my IVF wasn't going to happen, because my ovaries were sleeping on the job. I knew when my cycle was converted that I'd have to sit down with my doc and talk about our options. I knew it would eventually be time to figure out what happens next.

So I called today to schedule time with the doc for what we infertiles sometimes call the "WTF appointment." As in WTF went wrong? WTF do I do now? As I said, I went into this phone call with a sort of centered calm. It is what it is, whatever will be, will be, and all that fun stuff. Within minutes of the call I was crying. (Frankly I'm lucky I held out until I hung up the phone.) I was internally cursing my body, angry and feeling broken. Guilt. Tired. Again, again, again.

The appointment is Friday.

I'm scared.