Sunday, December 18, 2011

Say what?

My brother in law is here and we're having a good time. My father is coming this Tuesday. My mother is not coming, which is sad, but I understand. I am glad that my father decided to come anyway, even if I know he did not want to leave my mother behind.

Anyway, Plan A was to buy twin beds for my parents to sleep on, and to let my brother in law use the sofa bed. My brother in law arrived and we had not yet bought those beds. Plan B, in case we failed to buy the beds on time, was to put my parents in the sofa bed and my brother in law in the inflatable bed. Yesterday we dragged my brother in law to a furniture store while we finally chose some beds, avoiding Plan B.

My brother in law would have much preferred to do something more touristy, but he understood our need. Luckily, he had just bought a new phone (electronics are cheaper in the US) and he stayed busy playing with it and learning his way around the new features, while the spouse and I discussed beds and mattresses.

Those twin beds are going into the room that I would very much like to turn into a nursery one day. We have discussed the issue of fostering without deciding anything, but if we want to foster a young child, what we need is a cradle, not a bed, much less two. But the spouse does not even want to talk about furniture for a foster kid, and he really wants a functional guest room, since that is what we need right now.

So imagine my surprise when, as we walked out of the furniture store, the spouse said out loud: "You should also buy a cradle."

He meant, of course, a cradle for my brother in law's new phone. Luckily, I realized what he meant before I said something stupid. Still, for a couple of seconds, I was elated.

Oh well.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is it just about genes?

The nice thing about traveling is that the spouse and I had plenty of opportunities to talk. Two conversations were very important.

In one, we talked about someone I hardly knew, but who died last Summer of uterine cancer. She and her husband had suffered infertility and, though I never got the details, I assume she underwent some aggressive hormonal treatments when trying to get pregnant. They ended up adopting two kids, who have now, sadly, lost their mother.

One case does not make a rule. But it makes me ponder whether or not I want to keep pouring artificial hormones into my body, especially now that my sister has cancer.

Another conversation was about being child free and what that would mean for the spouse. To me, it is a life I do not wish to live. To him, it is not a big deal. My fear is that sooner or later he might change his mind, and then leave me for someone younger and probably fertile. He insists that will not happen.

I also told him about Dawkins's selfish gene, and how at least some of my genes have been passed into the next generation, through  my sister's kids. However, in his case, it is looking less and less likely that either of his siblings will produce offspring. And so he asked, all of a sudden, if I would agree if he were to donate sperm. I laughed, then I said no. Then I said maybe, and said I would think about it.

It's almost been a month, and I am still thinking about it.  I don't think he was serious, because he has not mentioned it again. But what if he does? I have no answer.

Monday, December 5, 2011


O boy, I wrote I was a lucky woman  for being able to go to a recital this Saturday, and then drove over there and had a major, monumental, blasting rage episode triggered by the city traffic, compounded by emergency vehicles, tourist buses and aggressive drivers. The spouse even considered missing the recital and taking  me somewhere else to calm down. But even in the middle of my tantrum I knew that if I missed this, I was going to hate myself even more. And so we went.

This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, to see Frederica Von Stade before she retires, together with very accomplished Opera stars, half of which are retired. And of course, the highlight of the night for me was to hear Joyce di Donato sing a very challenging aria. Even the critics agree with me, she stole the show.

Here she is, during a rehearsal, (almost) not losing her concentration in spite of all the clowining around (the clowns are a world known composer and two of the most accomplished opera divas of our age):

By then I was feeling much better, and I truly enjoyed the show until the very end.

But then came the encore. Frederica Von Stade sang Jenny Rebecca (she had previously explained that her first daughter was named after that song). And then I cried, obviously, because my babies never got to be four days old, and all those swings, trees, days, toys, grass, sun, ponies, wind, etc. all sound like a major waste.

If you've ever experienced infertility or miscarriage, avoid that song like the plague.

The spouse drove back after the recital, and tactfully suggested getting my medication adjusted.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

By the way...

... I was there. Yes, and I was pinching myself the whole time. I thought this would happen only after we'd both retired and spent our time traveling with whatever money we'd managed to save. But it's already happened, I saw an opera at La Scala, with a great tenor and my favorite mezzosoprano (in a soprano role!! She's incredible). I can die happy now.

Today I'll be seeing her again.

Am I lucky or what?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vacation, family, and more MTHFR findings

I'm horribly jet-lagged in spite of having arrived on Tuesday. I hope my internal clock normalizes soon because I have a lot of catching up to do.

Boy, this trip was intense. All in all we visited three countries. My sister is doing extremely well. If it were not for the bald head, you would not know she is undergoing chemo. And the best news: It's working! God willing, she'll beat this beast on her first round. My parents were also there so I got to spend a weekend with them, and I stayed a little bit over a week with my in-laws.

Whenever I stay with them I realize why the spouse puts up with me: He's had to put up with his mother all his life. She is a kind, loving person, but she happens to have a mental illness that she managed rather well all her  life, until menopause. She is still very  much under control, but she is very disorganized, is always late, loses her keys, IDs and other valuables constantly, and sometimes spends money recklessly.

After such visits I wonder if the spouse chose me because of my gloomy moods and my stinginess.

Speaking of gloomy moods, I found out that  MTHFR polymorphism carriers, such as myself, are more likely to suffer depression, bipolar disorder or schizofrenia. This, of course, in addition to anemia, miscarriage, birth defects, heart disease, blood clots etc.

What I suspect is that having doctors tell you constantly that you are a lazy bum who refuses to follow their instructions can drive you nuts, whether you carry the polymorphism or not.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Actually, we're not. But I find this very funny and thought I'd put it here while I'm on vacation. I plan on a big internet withrawal for more than two weeks, so I will not be reading blogs nor making comments for a bit. I'll still be thinking of everyone going through the pain of miscarriage/infertility, and wishing everyone happiness in spite of their burdens.

See you soon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The very long post on Eczema and Acne

I talked briefly about my skin problems in my last post, and felt like elaborating a bit.

When I was a little girl, my mother had a drawer full of make up. I always thought I'd have a drawer like hers when I grew up. Instead, my drawer is filled up to the brim with ointments and creams.

My skin problems have been described as psoriasis, dermatitis or simply a rash, but most doctors I've seen think it is eczema or dermatitis. One doctor performed a patch test, which consists of going without a shower for five days while your back is covered with 70 itchy patches of many different substances. The conclusion from that test was that I should avoid perfumes. But other factors trigger rashes on different parts of my body.
  • Sweat accumulation: This is the main cause of rashes on my armpits, my underarms, my eyelids, behind my knees, under my rings (including my wedding ring) and under my breasts. On hot, humid days, it might appear wherever an elastic band was in contact with my skin.
  • Friction. This comes from exercise and certain sports clothes. A  few bras have also caused it, and I also get it and around my eyes if I've been rubbing them. Wearing bracelets and necklaces is also an issue. 
  • Dryness: This is the main cause of eczema on my hands, which get washed many times per day, as it should be. Sometimes in Winter, when the air gets very dry, I get it also on my face.
  • Perfumes and perfumed lotions. These give me a rash that is very itchy and swells a lot, making me look like a puff fish.
I respond very well to corticoid ointments and creams. I have also had some success with coal tar ointments. As for over the counter stuff, I use Gold Bond to prevent itch, and witch hazel extract to treat swollen or broken skin.

About the acne, well, it is one of the symptoms of  PCOS. It started in my teens and it has not stopped to this date. I get it on my face, back and neck. Keeping my skin clean and staying on a low carb diet helps me keep it under control, but the best remedy is birth control pills. Witch hazel reduces the inflammation.  I apply an antibiotic cream directly on the breakouts. Regular over the counter stuff, especially benzoyl peroxide, gives me eczema.

This post makes it sound like this all sucks, but it doesn't. I am very used to it all: showering everyday and also after exercising (like everyone else, I guess), blotting instead of rubbing myself dry with a towel, applying ointments when needed, wearing jewelry and make-up only on special occasions, throwing away brand new bras that turned out to be itchy, washing my face before going to bed, and only using hypoallergenic AND non-comedogenic products, especially on  my face. When I want to use perfume, I apply it to my hairbrush, not to my skin. It all sounds harder than it actually is.

The only thing that sucks right now is that I have not had a manicure in two years, and it is looking like I will not get one until Winter is over. Oh well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Know your own limits

Those are very wise words, but I did not take heed for many years. It is never too late. I am being very conscious of my limits as I pack my suitcase for a trip that includes a wedding. Here's a list:
  • Don't wear make-up for more than three hours. I often struggle with eczema. And when I am not controlling my PCOS, like now, I also get acne. The last thing you want on your face is acne AND eczema. That alone is material enough for a very long post.
  • Don't wear high heels. I have scoliosis and had a back injury at age 23. I wore a back brace for 9 months.
  • Don't lift more than 25 pounds. See above.

I guess the bride does not need to worry that I might outshine her.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Poop post II

It turns out that poop girl was an expensive hire, who boasts several letters after her name. She also hails from a faraway land where, I understand, toilets look like this:

Regardless, she has been in the US for quite some time, and she should know how to use a sitting toilet by now.

Someone must have spoken to her. Or maybe she took pity on the cleaning lady, because she is now using toilet seat covers and more or less wiping the dirty surfaces. She still does a lousy job, especially given her poor aim. I hesitated about posting this, but I felt the need to share this horrible picture. You should not click on it if you're queasy.

I decided not to raise the issue with human resources because a) I am shy and lazy, and b) we are moving and, and since she is not in my team, I will not have to worry about her anymore.

I remember how stressed out  I was in July about having to move to a different cubicle. I guess I was very depressed back then and every stupid thing made me freak out.

Now we are moving everything in the lab to an entirely different building, and I could not be happier.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Recommendation

After more than 18 months, I finally found a book on miscarriage that I was able to read without feeling anger, envy or sadness. I started reading many books on infertility and miscarriage, some of them recommended by readers of this blog, but was unable to finish a single one. I always got discouraged after a few pages or even after a few chapters.

Not this time. The book is Coming to Term, by Jon Cohen. Let me start right out by warning you that the author has three kids and they get mentioned in this book. Yet,  this is not his personal success story (though he did experience the pain of miscarriage). It is a compilation of information he gathered throughout many years. This book is extremely well documented.

The guy is a scientific writer, and you can tell by how well he organizes and presents the information in a clear way that anyone can understand. A lot of that information is, of course, related to miscarriage, but there is also many facts on infertility, including a bit on PCOS and other conditions related to it.

I wish I had read this when I first started trying to conceive. I would have pressed for more tests sooner, changed treatments sooner, made life changes sooner, changed doctors sooner.

Even if you have never had a miscarriage, this is a good book to read if you are trying to get pregnant.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The spouse loves me more than he ever loved DS. He said so, during our conversations of what to do next, and I was struck by guilt, because my own feelings are different.

Don't get me wrong, I love the spouse more than anyone in my life right now. But the moment I saw a heartbeat, I had an overwhelming feeling of unconditional love that surpassed any love I had ever felt for anyone before, the spouse included. It is extremely hard to describe. I am crying as I write this. I think I will forever cry whenever I remember my little boy.

There is an additional feeling that puts me to shame. I always wanted to be a mother, and I think I would have left the spouse if at some point he did not want to or was not able to be a father. It shames me to know that I would have hurt him so much, especially in the face of my own fertility issues.

We talked for a long time about adoption, fostering, donor eggs, embryo donation and surrogacy. None of those seem good enough to him (and not all of them seem good to me either, but I wanted all cards on the table for now).

What he wants is another FSH-HCG cycle followed by another IUI. Yes, that is what he wants, in spite of Einstein's definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results). I'm not really into it, but if this might bring him closure, why not? What's a few more pricks and bruises?

But first,  we have to visit my sister, who is still doing chemo. We're also visiting my in-laws in the same trip. After that, my brother in law will come and visit us. And then my parents are coming for Christmas and possibly staying until Epiphany, which we celebrate on January 6.

I don't want to cycle while traveling (ugh, I just conjured the image of a TSA agent confiscating my needles), or with guests in my house. I know, I know, tick-tock, tick-tock, the biological clock is running out of time and so on and so forth.

But to me, this cycle is kind of useless. My biological clock, as I see it, has already given up. So it really does not matter if I do it in January instead of November or December.  Hope has nothing to do with this cycle. This time, it's just Guilt.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poop post

I warned you. If you don't like reading about poop, stop reading now.

Still here? OK, here we go. I work in a mostly male environment. The amount of women using the lady's room can be counted with the fingers of one hand. The cleaning lady used to tell me ours was the cleanest bathroom in the whole building.

Not anymore. The new arrival seems a normal person, but clearly she has some problems using 21st century plumbing. She apparently tries to eliminate her body waste while avoiding any contact with the toilet seat. If said body waste reaches its final destination, or ends up decorating the toilet seat or the floor, does not seem to concern her. As a result, we've been downgraded to the most disgusting bathroom in the building.

There are three stalls, and by the end of the day all three have been embellished with either solid or liquid waste. The cleaning lady sorrowfully tells me that she's complained to her supervisor and the response was that well, tough luck. Bathrooms get dirty. If she does not like it she can go find another job.

All I told her is that cleaning has more merit than dirtying. I don't think I made her feel any better.

Meanwhile, I've no idea what to do (other than going to the bathroom in the lobby). The other women using the toilet must be as disgusted and shocked as I am, especially since until recently we had a pristine, immaculate bathroom, and now we have a pigsty. Still, we're ignoring the elephant in the bathroom.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pets vs. Kids

We recently gave a friend a ride and I felt the need to reassure him that he needn't worry about dog hair, since the yellow dog usually sits on a towel whenever she drives with us.

The conversation drifted towards the old dog, who did not shed, given that he was a purebred Poodle. And then we could not stop talking about our dead dog. The spouse and I told one funny anecdote after another and described his foolish habits and his vicious alpha-male temperament, in spite of which he had been a wonderful dog and we still missed him so much...suddenly I felt very foolish and made a comment on how he must be tired of listening to us talk endlessly  about a pet.

His reply? That it was preferable than listening to people go on an on about their kids.

So there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Evolutionary Wallflower

I am trying to come to terms with the fact that my my eggs are all frittata by now. I am pretty sure that's the reason the second pregnancy went, literally, to the trash.  I respond well to injected FSH, but I guess I am producing crappy eggs that are unable to implant, even if fertilized.  I have to sit down with the spouse and make him see it too. He is OK with my decision not to do IVF, but I don't think he really understands what it means: Donor eggs, donated embryos, or adoption.

From a Darwinian point of view, my genes are out of the game. But I dislike the term "evolutionary dead-end". It sounds kind of... well, dead.  Evolutionary Wallflower sounds nicer. I know that a wallflower is a dull person, but still, that's better than dead, no?  And flowers are pretty. I came across the term in a book about, of all things, feathers (Thor Hanson, 2011). 

And yet, my sister shares 50 percent of my genes, and each one of her kids  is the genetical equivalent of my grandchild. In a Dawkinsian sense, the game is still on. I just skipped a whole generation, without ever having to worry about poopy diapers, school, violent media, drugs, or setting up a college fund.

I know I am missing also on the fun, the many milestones, the pride and the simple joy of being a parent. That may still come, attached, of course, to the above mentioned worries. Genetics is the only part that is settled.

But I still have the rest of my life to live, and I definitely do not want to play the part of a wallflower in it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What period?

I did not have a period during September, and I was beginning to think that I was not going to get one in October either. PCOS is crazy. I am not taking anything now except for the antidepressants, hence the delay. I knew I had to see a doctor but I chose instead to enjoy my period-less life for a while.

My period came this afternoon, which was good. If I go for too long without one, eventually I end up with a period that lasts several weeks, and I become anemic. Plus, I already have a little acne. I had thought about going to see Dr. Careful and asking her to scan for cysts and also prescribe some Provera. Luckily, I did not have to. I hate calling in and talking to her assistant. I can hear it in my head now: When was your last period? Really? Are you sure you're not pregnant?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blame the victim

Lately Steve Jobs has been all over the news, and rightly so. His death is a tragedy and a loss for all of us. Today the news were, to me, disturbing. I saw several articles in which he was criticized for not handling his cancer properly.

I read all sorts of comments, all in the conditional tense, such as: " if he had ____________ then he would have _______" or, "he should have __________ instead of __________."

We forget that, just because a medical treatment exists for a serious condition, it does not mean that it is our moral obligation to go along with it. It makes sense to me, and probably to everyone else, especially when it comes to cancer. But it is still a personal decision. The man was a business genius, but whatever he did with his personal life, including his health, was his own business.

This touches me personally, although at a smaller scale, because I have decided not to do IVF. And when sharing that decision, the comments I got were very condemning. The general sense is that, regarding infertility, you have to try everything out there before you give up.

I am not afraid of needles or surgery. Heck, I am not even scared of the price (although I should be). It is simply a matter of statistics. Just look at the  the odds. I will turn 42 in December. The implantation rate is reported per age group, and for a 42 year old woman the implantation rate is less than 10%. Of course, when I point that out, they say I should have done  IVF sooner (see? still my fault), even if all my doctors were convinced that IVF was not necessary. Or, they mention a cousin of a neighbor of a friend who had IVF twins at age eleventy something.

Of course, infertility is not a life threatening condition. But still, the general consensus is that if I never achieve motherhood, it will now be my fault.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mommy cards?

I recently came across this ad (forgive the huge size):

What on Earth is a "mommy card"?

Nobody I know has attempted to give me one. Maybe because I do not need to plan on any playdates. Does anyone know how long these have been around? Has anyone actually met someone who uses them?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Here we are

My daughter, you were lucky not to come
my son, you were lucky to stay back
a crazy world ruled by crazy men
is no place for births

we will not mourn those absences
we would, of course if you were
among two fires or two bloodsheds
or dutifully preparing to be orphaned

here we are, the old ones, the witnesses
with that unintended privilege
of watching planes and other vultures go by
with lethal messages as trophies

my daughter, you were lucky not to come
my son, you were lucky to stay back
and since we have been orphaned of children
let us drink to your awaiting souls.

                         Mario Benedetti

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wins and Losses

You know what's back? The sex drive. I never knew it was gone. One morning I woke up and thought the spouse looked very handsome and I should make love to him, so I did. Only later did I realize that I had not felt like that in a long time.

I also got back my grooming instincts. I looked down and noticed that I had not shaved my legs in ages, and that the war zone had not been waxed and trimmed properly except for the occasional benefit of Dr. Careful. The worse part is, I have not had a manicure & pedicure in two years. I am not about to have one, because the eczema  is still troubling me, but two years is a long time, isn't it?

One thing that is fading away, I think, is the hope of conceiving and carrying to term a healthy baby.

I always thought hope was a beautiful thing to hang onto during harsh times. But six years of infertility and miscarriage taught me that hope is also a shackle that makes you put yourself through painful procedures and humiliating tests. It takes away your freedom to eat and drink what you like, have sex whenever you want, do whatever exercise you like and treat other medical conditions that you might  have.

Hope has made me move too quickly into the next cycle, accuses me of not trying hard enough, makes me ignore my boundaries, has made me be available at all times for his benefit, insists that I stop spending time with friends and family, insists that I stop participating in leisure interests and, worst of all: seems too good to be true. And what has Hope given me, after putting me through all that? Bad bruises, physical and emotional hurt and even a visit to the ER. Oh, and bitter disappointment. That, too.

Hey, I guess I've been in an abusive relationship with Hope. So if this thing with Hope does not work out and he dumps me, well, good riddance. I'm just not ready to dump him first. I still like hanging out with him.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Syringes for a reason

Long ago, my father and I were in a foreign country and he had sinusitis. He sent me to a drugstore to get him a syringe, which he intended to use, as he explained, to shot up warm water into his sinuses and clean them up. Now, I'd never heard of such a revolutionary idea but well, he was my father, he knew best.

So there I was, babbling in a foreign tongue at the drugstore, making a saleslady laugh with my awkward explanations and gestures to explain what I wanted a syringe for. In our defense, where we come from, anyone can buy a syringe at any drugstore.

I failed. They would not sell me a syringe, not even one without a needle. My father had to make do with the antihistamines I got for him instead. I now know that in civilized countries people use a Neti pot for that same purpose.

Well, I don't have a Neti pot. But I have a few extra syringes from my last cycle. I also happened to have a bad combination of a really bad cold and opera tickets that we could not exchange.

So I trusted that memory and injected warm water through my nostrils. I immediately felt better. At the opera, I discreetly blew my nose whenever there was a round of applause and I made it through the night.

You know what people of faith say, I had to hear it over and over through each diagnosis, failed cycle and failed pregnancy:  everything happens for a reason. Does that mean that I went through two unsuccessful FSH cycles just so that I would be able to clean up my sinuses and not miss Renée Fleming?


Still not convinced.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


This week I was mostly sick in bed with a bad cold. I ended up with my email account open, which resulted in a few friends inviting me to chats. These I gladly accepted because I wanted to catch up with them.

And all the conversations sounded like the convoluted plots of the stupid telenovelas I always hated. It does not help that all conversations were in Spanish.

  • L broke up with his girlfriend of five years, because she finally told him she does not want to have kids with him (she has kids from a previous marriage).
  • K is still unsure on whether she should divorce, though it is clear she and her husband do not love each other anymore. She feels staying together is what is best for their son.
  • M is still fighting for full custody of three kids that treat her like sh*t, have no respect for her and do insulting things that no mother should tolerate.
It all made me think that we all want kids for different reasons, and are willing to do really illogical things for the sake of those kids (ending what was otherwise a good relationship, staying in an awful relationship, going broke in lawyer fees and tolerating horrible teenager behavior).

As for me, complaining about the torture of  artificial hormones, scheduled sex and having stuff shoved up my vagina, all for nothing... do I also sound like a stupid telenovela to them?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Someone like me

Conversation with a friend who is also foreign, speaks a different language than mine and has an entirely different accent from mine:

Me: The squirrels ate all my zucchini.
Friend: You need to get them at night. That's what I do in my garden.
Me: Huh? How?
Friend: Well, they usually come out at night, so I go find them with a flashlight, pick them up by hand and throw them in the trash.
Me: .....
Friend (helpfully): You can wear gloves, if they're too disgusting.
Me (finally getting it): Oh, I meant SQUIRRELS, not SNAILS.

Please don't ask me how on earth I was pronouncing "squirrels" that I made it sound like "snails". Having foreign friends is fun.

This is one friend that I only get to see once in a while. She also went through infertility and totally gets it. She chose to stop treatments and also chose not to adopt. She is now doing everything she can to be happy with her choices, which is not always easy. She does not patronize me and tell me everything will be fine. She does not think I am baby obsessed and I should just move on. She is, in fact, very supportive about my current indecision.

I wish I could see her more often, but she now lives far away. I wish it weren't so.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Endowment Effect

It was not a bad anniversary. Thank you for the happy wishes. We ended up having dinner at home and not doing anything special, that is the problem when your anniversary falls on a weekday.

I'm trying to remember where I read about the endowment effect. I read a lot of stuff but then I forget what came from where. Anyway, it all boils down to a good being worth more when seen as something that you might lose than when it is a potential gain.

The example I remember is the Duke University experiment with basketball tickets. Students enter a lottery after standing in line for days. Those who actually get a ticket, when asked, say the would not sell it for less than, say, 500 dollars. Those who had also stood in line for days but did not get a ticket said they were willing to pay 50 dollars.

The bottom line is that  when you actually own something you think it is more valuable.

Under this light, I see why miscarriage was emotionally more painful*  than the negative pregnancy results I used to get month after month of trying to conceive. And negative results were also more painful after going through the trouble of Clomid/FSH injections and IUI. It is as if going through all that trouble entitled me to a baby.

And so, at the risk of offending someone, I wonder if people with kids simply cannot fathom life without them, and when they read all those studies that indicate that people without kids are happier, they convince themselves that they are the exception.

If it is so, maybe, being childless is not going to be so bad.

* Let's not talk, for now, about the physical pain.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What is it with women?

Our 9th anniversary is fast approaching. Yesterday, at the opera, the spouse and I had some bubbly between two acts.

A friend of ours who knows this is something we never do (the bubbly between acts) asked what the occasion was, and we informed him of the upcoming anniversary. He congratulated us and made some jokes. Children were never mentioned.

It dawned on me that all my women friends  have had something to say about us being married for so long and not having kids. Some know about our struggle in detail, and feel the need to comfort me about my childless situation instead of congratulate me for staying married for so long. Some don't have much information, and make stupid jokes about how I should not waste more time and get to it, or that they could not imagine being married that long and not have any kids.

Most of these women have good intentions and I try not to take anything personally. Still, I wonder why kids are so important for women, while men simply do not think about them much.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Today I learned that the yellow dog is scared of toddlers. Especially if they try to poke her with a stick. She is so unlucky, with her fluffy and cute looks, all kids want to pet her, but she's scared of strangers. It's hard to be more protective towards my dog. I am afraid of falling into the stereotype of the childless woman who's grown bitter and unfriendly.

Last week I went to a mindfulness workshop. It was packed and I was grateful forthe opportunity to attend a talk by Thich Nhat Hanh himself. I'm not about to turn Buddhist. I'm just hoping I can be more careful about not letting the past hurt so much, and not worrying about the future to the point of being unable to enjoy the present.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Second best is best

Dr Funny seems to think I should pursue adoption. It's what I am most comfortable with, even if it requires me to wait another three years. Of course, the spouse and I have to make this decision together and we're not there yet.

Meanwhile, I'm overcoming many of my own fears. One of them used to be that any child I adopted would have preferred to stay with her biological mom. For that child, I would always be second best. And wouldn't the child think she is also my second best choice, and that I would have been happier with biological kids?

Well, second best sometimes turns out to be the best. Take the spouse, he was not the guy I wanted to marry. No, the sweet boyfriend I wanted to marry was a handsome and kind guy I was very much in love with. Too bad we were both busy attending grad school in two separate countries. Oh, but we loved each other so much...

Then all of a sudden he stopped writing completely and all my attempts to reach out to him were unsuccessful.  I finally decided  to make an expensive and time consuming trip to the Central American jungle where he'd been conducting his research. I wanted to know if the guerrilla fighters had kidnapped him, or if the army had confused him with a guerrilla fighter and taken him into their custody, or if an alligator had eaten him, or if he had succumbed to dengue fever.

The truth was much less scary. The guy was living with another woman, a fellow researcher. Everyone in the fishing village near the river where they conducted their research thought they were married. I did manage to meet him, tell him what an idiot he was, wish him luck and a happy life and return to grad school in a pitiful state of mind.

I later met another handsome, kind guy, became friends with him, dated him and eventually married him after a few more years. That's the spouse. Under a strict definition he was second best.

But the truth is that my first choice did not deserve me and I am extremely lucky I got dumped. I now firmly  believe that no other person on this planet would make me as happy as the spouse.

I wonder if adopted kids feel that way about their parents. I hope they do.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Thank you for the supportive comments on my last post. I'm still bothered by the fact that we have no plans whatsoever regarding further fertility treatments or even fostering (we cannot adopt, but we could foster).  I will try to leave that alone until I meet again with Dr. Funny. By the way, cgd suggested therapy, which is, indeed, great advice. I know, because Dr. Funny is my therapist. Therapy has not been a cure-all, but it is one more tool that helps me put things in perspective and have a more optimistic view on life. I only wish I did not have to drive that far away to see him, but he is among the very few that takes my insurance and is willing to see me after work.

Doing stuff on the weekend is hard. The spouse is always working. When he's not working, he's learning and practicing new chess tactics. Which is great, I like that chess is his hobby, because that is a low risk activity he'll be able to pursue into his old age. Also, it is obviously less annoying than having a husband that's hooked to the TV, watching baseball or football. But it leaves little time for us to do things together other than walking the dog and going to the occasional movie.

Or going to the opera. The spouse loves it, but for years, he was either too poor to afford it, or lived in a place where it was not available, or both. When we moved here almost six years ago, having a good opera house 45 min away (and finally a decent salary) made it possible for us to enjoy it more often. Two years ago, we splurged on season tickets. Last year we didn't, since we expected to be caring for a newborn baby during the fall. But this year, once more, we got season tickets and will not miss a single opera.

Yesterday the season began with  Heart of a Soldier, the first modern opera we've ever seen or listened to. It tells the story of  Rick Rescorla, one of many of the 9/11 heroes. Because it is a modern opera, everything about it surprised me: the music, the pace, the imagery. The story in unforgettable, as it should be, and it was, I think, well told. I was reminded that the horrible tragedy of 9/11 is unquestionably worse than anything that I've been through.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I freaked out

I was talking to Dr. Funny and I started crying. I just left because really, we were not getting anywhere, with me just crying non-stop. I cried on my way home, then cried during dinner, cried before going to bed, and cried a lot in bed until I decided I'd better let the spouse sleep and took my crying to the bathroom.

I kept crying and crying until at 1:30 I felt I needed to do somethig. Now, my insurance supposedly has a mental health specialist available at any time. I'd never tried them before. It seemed like a good time.

It turns out you don't get anywhere without first dealing with their automated system (which does not do well with foreign accents) and entering your policy number and your date of birth, then being put on hold for three minutes while you listen to recorded health advice (if you think you're pregnant, stop smoking and drinking alcohol) until after another five minutes or so you finally talk to a bored nurse who just wants you to go to the ER, and will not put you through with the mental health specialist until you beg and cry a little more, and then explains that she has to hang up and have someone from the mental health and substance abuse line call you. By the way, why do they call it the mental health AND substance abuse line? I'm not sure I like that they throw those two together.

Anyway, the mental health specialist was nice. The phone ringing woke up the spouse, but after sorting things out I finally had a compassionate human being on the line who listened to me go on and on about injections, infertility, getting stuff shoved into your vagina over and over, ovarian cysts, bloody periods, anemia, miscarriage, hormonal imbalances, six years trying to conceive, uterine malformations, being away from my family, and even the death of my dog more than a year ago.

She made me make a plan: Go back to my antidepressants and begin taking them ASAP. She kindly tried to find a nurse practitioner in my area who would prescribe them but had no luck. She told me NOT to go to the ER or urgent care (duh) but to try to get my PCP (Dr. Nice) to prescribe them without an appointment, even if the doctor who prescribed them last time was not him. Best of all, she gave me a 1800 number that will supposedly get me directly to the mental health line if I ever need to, which I hope I won't.

The plan was made, and she suggested I just have a  glass of milk and  go sit somewhere comfortable without even trying to go to sleep.

It worked. I cuddled with the yellow dog on the couch and before I knew it the sun was up and she was waking me up.

Dr. Nice is on vacation, but one of the other doctors in his office took pity on me and prescribed the antidepressants. I also called Dr. Funny, apologized for leaving and made another appointment for next week.

So that's the plan: Antidepressants and not making plans for now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My happy place

The Pacific Ocean overflowed the map. There was no place to put it. It was so big, rowdy and blue that it did not fit anywhere. That is why they left it in front of my window.
                                                                                   Pablo Neruda

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Car Decals

I took a break and went to my happy place for a few days. It worked, I am happier and certainly at peace, although I still have no clue about what the next step will be.

Meanwhile, I noticed that yesterday Julie, from  a little pregnant, made a reference to xkcd's decal cartoon:

She designed her own infertility decal, which I am copying here in case you missed it:

Well, I designed my own decal a long time ago. I call it the Freak and the Geek.

I'm not telling who is who.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prices and Service

These days, we are all scared of losing our jobs. You would think every business would be focusing on offering better prices and services, but you'd be surprised.

I feel sorry that Borders is going out of business. I also feel guilty, given how few books I buy compared to how many I read. Now that they are closing their stores and offering their merchandise at reduced prices, I went on a shopping spree. I bought a  bunch of toys and gadgets for my sisters' kids, a few children books, and a doggie bed. There was one book I actually wanted to for myself, but even at a 30% discount, Amazon had it for less. After seeing that, I am amazed that Borders lasted so long.

Another thing that amazes me is the terrible service at the post office. I'm hearing that USPS revenue is low, and that they will have to close some post offices. Well, sending packages through them is still the cheapest option, and their employees know it. Maybe that is why they are so rude. Not only that, but at my closest post office all the employees are foreigners and their English is horrible. And please don't call me intolerant. I am not a native speaker myself, but Americans understand what I say and I understand them. Previous experience has taught me to arm myself with patience when dealing with mail employees. Yes, there is a country called Austria, it is definitely not Australia, and I did not misspell it. Yes, I already paid for that box, your co-worker made sure of that. Here's the receipt, see? Yes, I already filled out the customs form, you don't have to send me to the back of the line. No, I did not bring packing tape. Oh bummer, do I really have to pay for a full roll? Sure, I guess I'm lucky I get to keep it.

My recent experience was totally different. I went to a UPS store. An employee offered to measure my stack of gifts when she saw me looking at the boxes. She called a coworker (in a different language, see? She was also a foreigner) who got me a box that was just right. While she weighed it, I looked around the store and picked a card. She gave me the rates, and helped another client while I wrote my card. I chose to send my package through regular mail, since I am not in a hurry. The rate is the same I would have paid at the post office. She gave me a customs form to fill out and helped yet another client while I filled it out. Then she printed the labels, let me double check them, and added the box and the card to my total. She threw in some air cushions for free. I did not have to tape the box shut, nor attach the labels. She understood my English, and to my ears, hers was perfect.

Now, was that too hard?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thank you

I think all the comments made me feel much better. Everyone of you knows what I am going through, and that really makes a difference.

I had to tell my parents and sister about this cycle due to travel issues. I am not looking forward to telling them the bad news. I wish I could just say something like: "It's negative, I'm fine, please don't say anything". But that's rude.

And so, I am putting it off until it becomes inevitable.

I also do not want to discuss the next step with either the spouse or Dr. Careful. I know what that is: IVF. Frankly, I don't think I can take it. What I really want to do is hit the antidepressants again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I cried, as usual. I tried to be quiet, but the spouse came out and hugged me and we cried together while we sat in the living room. After that I had my shower and walked to a bakery to have breakfast with a friend. After I came back, the spouse and I walked to a bagel shop so he could have lunch. I was not hungry. The yellow dog was with us, and so we had to sit outside. From there we walked to the park, until the yellow dog was exhausted. We came back home, and had beers, almonds and olives in the garden, followed by a very long nap during which I dreamed of cute little girls.

Later we went to the library and a coffee shop, where I tried very hard to read a book I was not really interested in. I pulled out a magazine but that did not work either. That's when I noticed the bugs on the window. They were very tiny, and there were four or three. They kept butting against the glass, then falling to the window sill, then climbing the glass again or trying once more to fly through it.

There were a couple dead bugs on the window sill. Apparently, they just keep going until they die of exhaustion.

The sad part is, I felt a little like those bugs. I keep butting my head against the glass, though it's obvious by now that I cannot go through. And throughout the whole process I am accumulating as many bruises and getting as exasperated like those bugs.

Now that's where the analogy stops. I'm not going to be a dead bug on the windowsill. The problem is, what happens now? Where do I go from here?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Tirednes- check
Breast tenderness - check
Frequent urination - check

The tiredness and breast tenderness can easily be blamed on the progesterone suppositories. The frequent urination reminds me too much of my recent kidney infection.

I am drinking cranberry juice and, aside from this post and skipping the wine, trying very hard not to think about pregnancy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Mommy to be, from A Miracle in the Works, kindly included me in her list of amazing bloggers. Frankly, I don't feel very amazing at all, but I appreciate the interest. I am to pass on this tag to other bloggers of my choosing, so here I go:

My Journey through Infertility
Endo and beyond

Also, I should include seven things about myself, so here I go:

1) I read every night before going to sleep. If someone recommends a book, and I can get it through the library, I always give it a try. I might not finish it if I don't enjoy it, but I usually do.
2) I do not have a TV.
3) I do not wear make up except for weddings or other special occasions.
4) I like wine and beer, but not spirits nor cocktail drinks.
5) I hate cooking, but I love all sorts of foods from all around the world, and I'll try anything new.
6) I like all animals except spiders.
7) I am very disorganized, but like keeping things clean, especially the bathroom and the kitchen.

So that's it for today.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Hidden Enemy

I've been watching my carbs for a long time now. It has not helped me ovulate regularly, but it has helped with other PCOS symptoms (mostly weight loss and hirsutism). I don't go to Atkins extremes, but I do avoid pasta, potatoes, cereals and sweets. I do eat a lot of vegetables and a reasonable amount of fruits.

And so it annoys me when I find myself eating carbs where I least expect it. Recently I bought a vinaigrette. I did not bother reading the ingredients, and thus was surprised when my salad tasted sweet. Sure enough, my vinaigrette had sugar in it. When I'm not lazy I make my own vinaigrette and I never put sugar in it, nor do I know of anyone who does. Then it occurred to me to check recipes online, and it turns out that nowadays it's common to add sugar or honey to vinaigrettes. When did that happen? So, no more store bought vinaigrette for me.

And then there's today's example: I just made meatballs. My meatballs are atrocious, with no bread crumbs, rice, starch or flour in them. I make them with flaxseed and chia seeds. I freeze them and I bring them to work for lunch, so I made a batch enough for four days. After I was done with the sauce, I tasted it. Good, but too sweet. Then I checked the can of tomatoes. They were organic tomatoes, and once more I failed to check the ingredients when buying them. The culprit? Organic sugar cane.

I usually use a store brand of canned tomatoes, but this time I was tempted by a very good price for organic tomatoes. Again, it stumps me that someone would add sugar to tomatoes.

I realize once more how hard it must be for diabetics to keep their blood sugar under control, when they keep hiding carbs where you least expect them.

The worst thing is, I hate throwing food away. I can donate the rest of the cans, but there is not much I can do with the vinaigrette.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chemo Caps

I hate it when there is a bad situation and there is no action I can take. My sister started chemo today,  hence the knitted chemo caps. It took me over a week to finish all three.  I just finished washing them and I might have to wait until Monday to mail them to her. I wish there was something more I could do for her, but for now that will have to do.

Often when I was knitting them I forgot that I was in the middle of a two week wait. Funny how tragedies put things in perspective.

A friend asked me how I was feeling. I thought she meant how I felt about my sister's cancer. But no, she wanted to know whether I felt pregnant or not.

How the heck do I know? My body does not speak to me. I have missed symptoms of pregnancy and blamed them on a UTI. I have also had imaginary pregnacy symptoms that have caused me a lot of grief and disappointment. I still prefer the Schrödinger's cat  metaphor. I did not bother explaining it, saying that I avoid thinking about it as much as I can.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What not to say

You know the drill. You're introduced to someone and you start asking questions about each other. The inevitable one, after finding out that you're married, is whether or not you have kids.

I used to say that we had a dog instead, but after the old dog died I lost practice. So I reverted to my: "sadly, no". Which usually keeps people from telling me that I should have kids because they are such a wonderful gift from God. Also, they can also tell that this is something I don't like talking about. But I just met a lady who did not  take the hint.

She asked me what church we're going to.  I just told her I don't go to church (not entirely true, I still go sometimes). Her reply? That I should attend St. _____ church. After all, he is a "very powerful saint". We might have kids if we start going.

I did not hit her, though I really wanted to. I only explained what I did not like about St._______, and compared it to another church that I like better.

The worst part? Later, a friend of my commented that this woman had been very nice.

Nice? I believe my perceptions are all distorted.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The eternal wait

I am very grateful for the compassionate comments I got on my sister's situation. I did give her a short update on our infertility situation, just so she understands that, if we do get pregnant, I would like to go see her sooner rather than later. She still prefers to brave chemo on her own. Well, with her husband's help, which is all right. He is a wonderful guy.

Meanwhile, I went ahead with the last scan. Of the five follicles, four looked about the right size. I did the trigger and did get a positive ovulation result. I used the very expensive kit, the one with a smiley face. I hate those kits, and not because of the price, but because of the smiley. As if ovulation guaranteed good results.

Anyway, the IUI is done, and I am now biting my nails, as usual. I know it's only two weeks, but it feels like forever.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Five follicles

I know, whooppeee, right? Especially since I only had three on my first scan. And why didn't I post anything about the first scan? Well, my mind was elsewhere. That same day, before my scan, I got a call from my sister telling me she's been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

It's like all of a sudden nothing matters. Whether I have five or no follicles is not as important as whether or not my sister survives. Heck, even my cousin's divorce suddenly ceased to matter. More than anything else, I want my sister to live many more healthy years and continue to be the caring, loving mother she is. Her kids need her. And I need to know that she is all right and that all is well with her.

She has no clue I'm undergoing fertility treatments. In fact, nobody in my family knows, just a few friends who live far away. I have no idea of what I shall tell my sister, or if I should say anything at all.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Keep going...

My cousin and his wife dealt with infertility during several years. That plus two ectopic pregnancies. But they persisted and now they have two healthy kids. Somehow, now that they have everything they were hoping for, something else is broken. I have no clue of who is at fault, but I learned this week that she asked for a divorce.

I know my cousin to be a true gentleman, who works hard, loves his wife and children and would never do anything to hurt them. I've also known his wife for many years, ever since we were all teenagers. I remember talking to her about my own infertility problems. She was always very compassionate and kind. I have no clue what brought up this decision but I can't help but think that maybe the ordeal they went through while trying to conceive somehow took its toll, and it is only surfacing now.

I am scared. I hate to think that we might be able to finally become a family, only to break that family to pieces later on. Just because it happened to my cousin does not mean it's going to happen to me, but I think about it a lot, especially remembering my recent breakdown when I had my period and the FSH was not here, and then discovering that they did not even send the right amount and I had to order more. I still marvel at how the spouse put up with me and my anger, despair and depression.

He took it upon himself to call in the missing injections and deal with our insurance. He has also kept me company during three of the four times I've injected myself for this cycle, and each time he hugs me and tells me he loves me.

I have always known I am blessed to have him, but the news from home have made me even more aware of that fact.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's all going to be all right

This has become my mantra. I have to remind myself that, if this cycle is a total failure, it's not a tragedy. We'll still be childless, but  blessed to have each other.

There's already a few glitches going on with this cycle (besides the yellow dog being sick and the office move). The delivery of my FSH was timed so it would be sent to the spouse's workplace before my period came. Somehow they failed to notify him when the meds were delivered. My period (and PMS) arrived, and the meds were not yet in my hands. Only when I was close to hysterics did the spouse finally start making calls and asking questions, until the meds showed up. Thankfully, the icepacks were still half frozen by the time we got them.

My FSH dose was supposed to increase by 50%, but I got the same amount I got last cycle. My doctor said that would not be a problem, since I could get a refill. But the insurance said I cannot get a refill without the doctor requesting it first. So once more, I am frantically sending emails, hoping the rest of the FSH will arrive on time.

Today was my first day of injections. I talked to the spouse about using the same dose as last cycle so the meds would last longer, but he convinced me to put all my faith in the system and inject the correct dose, hoping that the mess will be solved, otherwise I will run out of FSH by day seven.

By the way, he hates needles. He runs away when I am injecting myself. This time I explained that, even if I don't mind needles, I do hate doing this on my own, as if this were exclusively my problem and he had nothing to do with it. I made him stay with me and watch the whole rite: Disinfecting the area, uncapping the vials, extracting the saline with a syringe, and mixing it with the freeze dried hormone, one vial after the other. He cringed when I disinfected my belly and injected myself. When I was done, we hugged.

I don't know if he'll be willing to go through this again tomorrow, but I am hoping he is.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Here we go again

Well, the ball was set rolling today for the next cycle: Dr. Careful found no cysts. I am grateful for small blessings.

I'm increasing my FSH dose by 50%. We hope my period comes in a few days. When it does, I'll start injecting again. I was looking forward to a stress-free cycle, without having to worry about moving or meeting contractors. But guess what? They're moving my cubicle at work. Most of my stuff is in the lab and I spend very little time in the cubicle. Still, I consider it to be bad timing.

Also, the yellow dog came down with kennel cough. She takes one pill every 12 hours and another one every 6 to 8 hours. She is, of course, banned from doggy daycare for another two weeks. Which means I'll have to sacrifice my 30 min lunch "hour" to come here and let her out, and find a way to have my lunch in my cubicle (as long as I still have one).

So much for a stress-free cycle

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting there

Some days I sit here and start writing, and then decide not to publish anything. I'm still very depressed, but not as much as when I wrote my last post. I was so depressed I did not even call my doctor until much later. Now it's too late and I might have wasted not one cycle, but two.

You really need to be in the right frame of mind when you are incurring in self-harm through daily injections, plus allowing access to your vagina to a stranger on a regular basis. I was not in the right frame of mind, and in fact I am not sure I'm there yet. I have another appointment next Wednesday.

I have not missed a single day of work. I have often cried at work but have managed to pretend I have a cold or something. The fact that it is always very cold in my lab helps.

I stopped going to zumba. That was bad. I started again this week and felt quite good about it. I also started yoga. The first thing out of the teacher's mouth was that we should not simply take Prozac or other pills for stress and depression, that we should instead seek to heal ourselves, which of course takes time and effort.

Gee, I wish things were that simple. I have not gone back to antidepressants because sooner or later I will try again for another FSH cycle. But even if I did, those things take weeks to start working, and they also take weeks to wash out of your system. Also, I think it is in bad taste to criticize people on how they choose to handle their depression. Someone should tell her, but it's not going to be me. I am not that much into antidepressants anyway. My drug of choice is chocolate. Much better, no?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not Pregnant

Oh well. I think I took it rather well. I cried a little, then went to work as usual. I might have indulged in too much chocolate and cheese. No alcohol whatsoever, which is surprising because I was planning on at least one glass of wine that evening, but in the end went for more chocolate instead. Today I had my period.

I do feel as if the world were against me. I am easily irritated or offended. I have to think things twice at all times before reacting or replying in every situation, because deep down I know it's just the depression coloring my perceptions. I am proud of myself for being able to notice it. Still, it takes a constant effort not to blow up.

I should have called Dr. Careful to make a baseline appointment and order more drugs, but I didn't. I can't just move ahead without digesting this failure first. The idea of wasting another month does not bother me. In contrast, the idea of starting another round of injections does.

I wish I had seen Dr. Funny after the test. I will  see him in two weeks, but I am thinking of calling him and letting him know what happened.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On my own

Did I mention that Dr. Funny went on vacation? I basically moved to a new house, underwent ten days of FSH injections, an  IUI, and am now approaching the end of the two week wait without the support of my therapist.

He was really worried and left all sorts of contact numbers for me before leaving. I told him I'd be fine. He knew better.

See, I am a crazy person. Not the kind of crazy person you find talking to themselves on a street corner but nevertheless crazy. Crazy, as in hurts-herself-when-she's-depressed crazy.

There. I said it. I am not proud of it and I hide the fact as much as I can. But if I cannot be honest here, where, then? Just don't leave any stupid comments about how this totally makes me unfit to be a mother.

I've been pretty good at not hurting myself. Sadly, these days that is the only positive thought I can come up with. Because the rest of my thoughts tend to wander into the many possible ways there are of hurting myself, plus some other not so gloomy but still pretty depressing things. And you're going to say: "Don't do that! Don't think those thoughts!" and I am going to answer that yes, I know I should not do it, but the harder you try not to think about something the more it creeps into your mind.

Anyway, I am really glad that Dr. Funny is back, and that I am seeing him tomorrow.

I want this to be over, whatever the outcome.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Schrödinger's Pregnancy

In case you've forgotten your quantum physics, there's this thing about how the act of measurement causes a probability to "collapse". In other words, when observed, an object is forced to take one state or another. This works rather well with electrons, who behave as a particle when you're looking for particles, but behave as waves when you're looking for waves.

Erwin Schrödinger came up with a theoretical experiment with everyday objects instead of quantum particles. In this case, a cat in a sealed box with some radioactive material and a geiger counter connected to a hammer, which in turn was placed above a vial of poisonous gas. I know, even if theoretical, it's totally sadistic. That, plus, he obviously did not own a cat. Any given cat would not stay still inside a box just waiting for the hammer to drop on the poison by itself. No, a regular cat would be frantically jumping and scratching and would probably break the vial long before any atomic particle had the opportunity to decay in order to trigger the hammer.

But I digress. During his stay in the box, the cat existed in an unknowable state. If an atom decayed, the Geiger counter would trigger the hammer, breaking the vial and killing the cat. But if no atom decayed during the cat's stay in the box, the cat would be alive. Since it could not be observed, it could not be said whether the cat was alive or dead. It existed instead in the state of both life AND death, just as electrons are both a wave AND a particle until you bother finding out which.

Then there's the interesting postulate of the "many worlds". According to it, when you open the box, the probability does not collapse into one of the two possibilities. Instead the universe branches, and in one world the cat is alive and in the other one the cat is dead. Neat, no?

So, here I am, halfway through the 2ww, in my own little quantum box, waiting for the universe to split and hoping I end up in the right world, where I am, in fact, pregnant.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random thoughts during 2ww

1) I went way beyond the limit on my cell phone plan. Mostly because of calls to and from contractors and movers. I feel very stupid about it.
2) Our rent deposit came back. They only deducted $170 for cleaning. Not bad, considering that the old dog gradually became incontinent, or that the yellow dog came to us not yet housebroken. I had also broken a door (it was a flimsy door! Not my fault!) and had used many anchors on the drywall.
3) The yellow dog is getting a haircut this Friday. I usually groom her myself but I just don't have the energy and she's beginning to look like a raggy mop.
4) I saw a teenager riding his bike with no helmet, and no hands! And I felt very sorry for his mother, thinking she might have done three IUIs and nine IVFs just to bring this kid to this world.
5) Something hacked my yahoo mail account and sent six spam emails in less than a minute, each one of them to multiple recipients. I reset my password but I still feel violated and insecure.
6) It's nice to have a garden, but I have snails and mites. I have a lot of poisonous chemicals in the garage left by the previous owner but I am very afraid of them.
7) I ordered a composter from Home Depot. The spouse doubts my ability to turn food scraps and yard waste into compost. I felt very confident that after so many years of dealing with bacteria in bioreactors I'd be fine.  I also felt very confident that I was going to be able to assemble it on my own, but ended up requesting the spouse's help. Which of course eroded  my confidence.
8) I am grateful for all the book recommendations. My library has a few, and I can get others through inter-library loan. Only one of them was immediately available but, since it deals with miscarriage, and miscarriage is one of the thoughts I am trying to stay away from, I'll save that one until later.
9) I started a lace shawl, because lace requires lots of concentration and it does not allow my mind wander into negative thoughts. Unfortunately it does not allow me to read or watch movies while I knit, either.
10) I am peeing a lot. Which does not mean much. It's finally Summer int he Bay Area and I am drinking way too much water. Or maybe I am having another UTI. Or maybe, just maybe, I am pregnant.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Any good reads?

I appreciate the suggestions I got for trying to get distracted during this time and am also grateful for the good wishes. I am trying my best not to think much of the outcome of this procedure, though the cramping makes it hard not to think about the procedure itself.

I cannot find much information, but it seems that artificial insemination was specifically developed for cows. I wonder if anyone has bothered writing a book on the history of ARTs. It should make an interesting read.

There's plenty of books on ART on Amazon, I've read a few of them. Or attempted to read them, given that many of them are written in the so patronizing way of self-help books that I try to avoid at all costs.Truth be told, there is no book out there on ART that I have found helpful. Except for the description of the treatments available, none of them seems to really talk to me. I read them and I feel like the authors are talking to someone else, some woman who will actually achieve motherhood, no matter what. And, forgive the negativity, but I yearn for a book that tells me that it is all right if I don't get there. These days I am reading Do I Want to Be a Mom? by Diana Dell. The spouse commented that it's kind of late to be reading that, since the IUI is done already.

And yet I find the book appealing. It explores the many aspects of motherhood that at some point or another have caused different women to worry about the decision. The decision was made for us many years ago: We definitely want to be parents. But reading all these different opinions reaffirms my decision and at the same tame allows me to appreciate what being child free would entail.

Does anyone have a good book to recommend?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's done

The IUI took place this morning. I finally found an appropriate name for the not so new RE: Dr. Careful. Not only has she always been very careful with the vaginal ultrasound transducer, she was also extra careful today with the speculum.

She had troubles getting the cannula through my cervix (to the left! to the left!) and warned me I might bleed, but I didn't.

The cramping though, that could not be helped. I cramped about the same as I did with my previous IUIs with Dr. Mediocre.

And here's one more aspect where Dr. Careful is being extra-careful when Dr. Mediocre wasn't: She is prescribing baby aspirin and progesterone suppositories. I know, yuck, but still, anything that helps is welcome.

So here I am, embarking into my 2ww, trying not to think about it too much.

What do you do when you do not want to think about something? What helps?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yahoo is evil

I've wasted a lot of time with yahoo's ad interest manager trying to avoid baby themed ads each time I check my mail. Bottomline: it cannot be done. I can tell them what categories I am interested in, which ones I am not interested in (like family and children) but not what I want to avoid at all costs.

These days I am, of course, thinking of baby, but not too much, as I know very well that getting my hopes up will translate in deeper pain if this cycle does not work out. Having yahoo welcome me with this ad was definitely not helpful.

Please understand that I am not a mommy-or-baby-phobic. When I check my facebook account, I do so knowing that I will be met by lots of pictures of other people's kids and babies. And it's OK, those are my friends' kids. I love my friends and I celebrate their families, and am happy to see those kids because I have a connection with them. But having cute and unexpected babies popping into my screen when I don't expect them is not cool. Plus, as much as I agree with pampers in that every baby should be celebrated, supported and protected, it only made me very sad to think that I never had the chance to celebrate, support and/or protect my own babies.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Only one follicle continued to grow. I repeat to myself that one is enough. The trigger is this evening, the IUI on Thursday, plus scheduled intercourse to increase our chances. I hate scheduling these things. We try to pretend we don't mind but we do.

I also hate missing work and not being able to explain why. And I hate not having internet at home and having to sneak in early at work so I can post from here, and still feel guilty about it.

Oh, the negativity. I don't know if it's the artificial hormones, stress or what.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Still growing

I'm still posting from the library. For some reason, I was unable to leave comments last time I was here. Or maybe it was a blogger glitch.

I had my second scan yesterday and the three follicles are growing, though now only one of them shows any promise. Still, one is enough. I have my next scan tomorrow.

If all goes well I could have the IUI on Tuesday or Wednesday... wish me luck!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Three follicles

I still have no internet at home. I am posting this from the library, and the picture was quite a challenge. I had my first scan today, and it showed a total of three promising follicles and, as usual, a bunch of tiny cysts. The doctor dedided to keep me going at the current dose. I'll be seen again this Saturday.

There's plenty of things that went wrong with the move, and that are wrong with the new house, but am very happy about having moved. No more stairs! No more hauling laundry across a parking lot! But the truth is, it is those three follicles who keep me smiling.

Monday, May 30, 2011

In limbo

Phone and internet do  not work yet in the new house. We still have internet in our old apartment, which I should be emptying and cleaning right now since I have to turn in the keys tomorrow.

So I really should not be blogging, I should be hurrying up with everything else that needs to be done and did not get done on time due to a bad cold and sprained back (me), leg injury (the spouse), and an idiotic mistake at the pharmacy that was supposed to supply my syringes so I could start injecting FSH yesterday.

I wasted all Saturday writing desperate emails, making phone calls and biting my nails at the pharmacy. But thanks to the new RE and her availability over email it kind of got sorted out. I did not get exactly what she prescribed, but at least I was able to start shooting up.

Which reminds me again how grateful I am that my doctor is willing to get in touch through email, and the fact that she was available during memorial day weekend.

I hope everyone else had a better use of their time during this holiday. I will start reading blogs again and making comments as soon as the phone/internet conundrum is solved.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The childless four

T is not pregnant. This was her last attempt at IVF. She kept very quiet about it and only after a second email told me the result, stating that she will be incommunicado for a while. And I gave her a brief reply saying that I love her and know very well that there's nothing I can say to make her feel better, sent her my hugs and said I was sorry.

And I truly am. We have two other friends, also from college, who are also childless. D got  pregnant a year ago, and then miscarried at 12 weeks. She had to undergo a D&C. And then there's O. She's never been married, though she's been with her boyfriend for the past 17 years. They have never moved together and they do not want to start a family. But O confessed to me that she sometimes yearned for children. Here's the four of us, at one of the weddings.

I know I don't have the right to blog about other people's lives. And yet, these three friends, and a few others, feel like family to me. At some point, we were all roommates. Little by little, our periods became synchronized. Pheromones, maybe? Coincidence? Who knows?

I do know that it is a tragedy that none of us is a mother. In this case, I know there is no biological connection. It's just coincidence. A very unlucky one.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Feeling excluded

I've been trying very hard to stop worrying about everything. Some days are easier than others. The spouse is very supportive but he also is under a lot of pressure. At least we are not exploding at each other. I try to explode in private and my previous rant was one example.

I feel better now in spite of this little sign that was placed by the mailboxes in our apartment complex yesterday. Sometimes they organize events for the community, usually potlucks and the like. But this time they're doing something they've never done before: They are offering spa treatments... to "moms".

Though it is targeted to mothers, I am pretty sure that, had I shown up, nobody would have denied me my skin treatments, but it would have been a little awkward. We've been here more than five years and everyone in the leasing office knows very well that we do not have kids.

Even if this had not had been targeted at Moms, I would not have participated, given my eczema issues (right now I have a big flare on my left hand, for example), so I really should not care.

Nope, I really shouldn't.

Why then do I feel the need to make a comment? Should I? Or should I just forget about it? After all, we are moving away in less than a week.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Things I should not think about but I think about anyway

Divorce. The spouse dying. Me dying. Having another miscarriage. Bleeding to death during that miscarriage. Having a very ill baby. Not having a baby at all. Death again. Never seeing my family again. Not wanting to see my family just now. Not even wanting to talk to them. Cooking squash for tomorrow's lunch. Not wanting to cook but too guilty not to. Guilt about eating chocolate. Guilt about not giving the yellow dog a bath. Guilt about falling behind with the packing. Divorce again. I have to pay the plumber. I should call the general contractor again. I should get the gas turned on. I should call the power company about the vines on that post. Why bother? I don't even want to live there anymore. I want to stay in this apartment forever, and eat lots of chocolate, and never deal with moving, contractors, or infertility again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Paradox of Choice

That is actually the title of a book I read a few years ago. And here I am, faced with the decision of what brand name to choose for my FSH: Gonal-F, Follistim or Bravelle.

I like the name Bravelle. It sounds like a brave woman. And I really need my courage, since these days I am thinking of chickening out of this. It's not the injections that worry me, I don't mind needles at all. I just find myself thinking constantly of the many ways this can go wrong. More than anything else, I fear another miscarriage. But my train of negative thoughts is also quite creative at bringing all sorts of birth defects into mind. I am, after all, 41 years old, and my chances of having a healthy child are not as good as that of a 22 year old woman.

Anyway, Bravelle is a simple method: There's the solvent, there's the powder, you mix them together and you inject them. Straightforward and familiar. Although if I need large doses, I will end up mixing the contents of several vials. Sounds cumbersome, but the volume to be injected stays the same at all times.

Then there's the Gonal-f, which according to their website is preferred by two out of three patients. It also says that "The Gonal-f® RFF Pen has a visual confirmation scale that lets you know the precise dose you set is ready to inject, reducing the chance of dosing errors." If I am reading it correctly, several doses are provided in one Pen. I prefer throwing away syringes after using them. Also, If I am mixing the doses myself, I don't think I have to worry about dosing errors. Still, there must be a reason why people prefer this method.

Finally, there's Follistim, which comes in vials, which can be used with syringes,  or in cartridges that hold more than one dose and can be used with a Pen. As the cartridge empties, you may be left with an incomplete dose and need two injections for one dose. Not a big deal. Can this happen with Gonal-f too? I see less potential for mistake with this type of pen compared to the Gonal-f pen, where there's the potential to pull the plunger and then realize that you have entered the wrong dose.

Well, there they are, my three choices. I am inclined to choose the Bravelle, simply because I like the name and the injection method is familiar. Follistim could also be injected with regular syringes, but larger doses probably mean larger volumes. Plus, refrigeration is a must with Follistim and Gonal-f. Not that I should worry about that, but I did grow up in a third world country where power outages were not that rare.

What would you choose? If you have used any of these drugs, do you have any comments to share?