Monday, January 31, 2011


For some reason I thought I was well enough to go to work. And really, I hardly had any pain or discomfort. I only popped a vicodin around 1 pm when I felt a little pain.

What I did not expect was the exhaustion. Which is bad, when I'm tired I am unhappy, impatient and snappy. I tried to keep myself in check for the sake of the spouse, who deserves better.

I really could have stayed home today, my presence was not absolutely necessary at work. Yet, the fact that I am a contractor and I don't get any sick leave probably influenced my decision. Who cares? My health is more important than any money I'm making. It's just that I already feel like the laziest employee on the floor because I work exactly 40 hours per week. It's what my contract states, but you see people here that easily put in 50 or more hours per week. Just today I was dealing with data that my boss produced yesterday.

For heavens sake, if they ever hire me permanently, is that what they will expect of me?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm so lucky

I'm very grateful for the support comments I got yesterday. It's nice to know that someone out there is reading my story and sending me get well vibes.

I am in pain, but nothing like last Friday. Plus, I have vicodin. Knowing the source of the problem is actually a relief: I can do something about it. According to my googlings, cranberries supposedly help with UTIs, because they prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder and kidney linings.

Yet your regular supermarket cranberry juice contains loads of sugar. I normally control my carbs intake, but right now I have to be even more careful.  Because my kidneys are constantly filtering my blood, my blood sugar will be available to the bacteria currently residing in them. Glucose is every bacteria's favorite carbon source, at least for most infection causing bacteria. And so, high blood sugar will make them fat and happy.

I sent the spouse yesterday to Whole Foods to get me some unsweetened cranberry juice. Which he accomplished, but he apologized for bringing back the stuff that was not organic and that came from concentrate. I, of course, did not care.

The spouse has been through a lot. I was going to drive myself to urgent care but he offered to take me, even though he had a minor crisis at work. Halfway there he saw my pain and brought me to the ER instead, where he was by my side during the worst of the pain, offering me comfort. He would have skipped dinner if I had not insisted on him taking off after the CAT scan, knowing the results were not going to come soon. He was away for only twenty minutes. He was my advocate, trying to get me fed and medicated. I got to sleep in a fancy hospital bed while he slept on the narrowest and stiffest pull out bed with his coat on because the blanket they gave him was too thin. When we finally got home, he was as exhausted as I was, but crept away while I was sleeping to bring back some lunch. And after that, he went to Whole Foods to get me my cranberry juice.

He's making breakfast as I write this.

I am sick. I am in pain. But I know I am a very lucky woman.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sorry, no IUI. Care for a UTI?

So I have a urinary tract infection. I did not know I had one, until the pain got so bad that I ended up in the hospital. All that frequent urination that in the beginning seemed like a pregnancy symptom had an entirely different cause. At least I am not crazy. I thought I was peeing all the time because my psyche was messing with me.

This was going to be my weekend of sushi, raw oysters, prosciutto, brie and wine. Instead I am in bed with cipro and vicodin. At least I am home now.

And I am totally blaming Dr. Mediocre and the last follicle scan he did. The incubation period checks. Sure, he was wearing new gloves, but those gloves you pull out of a box? They aren't really sterile. He did put a sterile condom on the dildocam. He covered the condom with lubricating gel, which is purportedly sterile, at least when unopened.

In other words, he did what he was supposed to do and I should not really be mad at him. I guess I was just unlucky.

When I was asked if I had ever experienced such pain, I could only think of the miscarriage. At least this time they drugged me so the pain went away. When I miscarried they did not dare drug me too much because my blood pressure was too low, so I had to basically go through labor unmedicated.

The service is still crappy. Oh, the personnel is nice but they just are not good at reading charts or talking to each other. I had to tell the same story four times. A doctor came in to explain that he was doing a pregnancy test to see if he could order a CAT scan. This after already explaining upon admission that I had had two negative HPTs. I guess he really had to be sure.

The test results came back, and the doctor ordered the CAT scan. But at radiology, the technician asked me about my last period and started arguing with the nurse, totally ignoring my claim that according to the ER doctor I was not pregnant. I wonder how they can operate such a delicate piece of equipment if they cannot bother to read a chart. They finally did and performed the scan.

The ER doctor that decided to keep  me overnight ordered me not to eat after midnight, since the urologist might want to do a procedure today. I explained I had not eaten since lunch so he ordered me a turkey sandwich. At that point, I should have sent the spouse to get me a cheeseburger. Instead, we waited endlessly for the food to come.

At eleven thirty I became a crybaby and begged for food. All I got was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, soda and crackers. Carbs, carbs and carbs, not the best for PCOS. I begged for milk and it was handed to me as I was being moved from the ER to a regular hospital room. Once there, they wanted to take away my sandwich and milk and treated me like a spoiled brat for not giving in and gobbling everything up. Don't you love it when nurses roll their eyes? They ignored my claim that I was allowed to eat before midnight. THEN they read the chart and saw that yes, I still had like a five minute grace period and they let me finish, and even gave me water.

This morning, the urologist came as my breakfast tray was being rolled in (didn't they read the chart? I was not supposed to have breakfast). The nurse turned them away. The urologist decided not to do a procedure and let me go home with my antibiotics and pain killers. Did I get my breakfast then? No, again, I had to beg for it. It came two hours late, but it came, so I should not complain. It was a bagel with apple juice and a banana. Again, carbs, carbs and carbs.

As soon as I got home I had some prosciutto. Not the meal I had planned. But it was wonderful.

I also had a long nap and I intend to take another one.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Of course it's negative

Why would it be otherwise? I had every single reason to expect a negative result.

And yet, I've become like Pavlov's dogs. I'm pretty sure that after a while they kind of knew that no treat was coming even if a bell rang nearby. Still, they could not help but salivate at the ringing of a bell.

In my case, negative HPTs make me cry.

Today was no exception.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Here we go again

T is back in touch with me. One of her embryos did not make it. They did transfer the other one. All she can do for now is rest and hope, and I am trying my best to be supportive.

Meanwhile I decided to do a HPT. I know, at this point it's a waste of money. But I am at day 37. It's time for me to call Dr. Mediocre, and the first thing his nurse will ask is: "Have you done a HPT?"

Calling Dr. Mediocre is yet another thing I'd like to put off. Normally when I take progesterone I do get my period a few days after the last pill. The only time it did not work was ten years ago, when my cousin was about to get married. I remember that my mother and I had an argument because I was planning to wear the same dress I wore for my sister's wedding. I was trying to get out of debt and saw no reason for the expense of a new dress.

A few weeks before the wedding I had another skipped period. All my PCOS symptoms were flaring up: bloating, acne, growing a moustache... you name it. I was given progesterone, and a week after stopping I still did not get my period.  So they injected me a megadose of progesterone.

Wow. I've never been so bloated in my life. Not a single item of clothing fit me. My mother had to dig up her "fat clothes" from the eighties to keep me decent enough to go to work. I ended up going to my cousin's wedding in an electric blue dress decorated with metal studs. I had a miserable time, feeling ugly and uncomfortable. Even my feet were swollen. In the end, both my mother and I were glad that I had not wasted my money on a new dress.

If it happens again, and they give me one of those injections, I don't have my mother's clothes from the eighties. I've no idea what I could wear, since not even the spouse's clothes will serve, he's a skinny guy.  Clothing issues aside, I don't want to get that bloated again. Looking like a pregnant lady when you actually can't get pregnant is the ultimate insult.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Dr. Funny was one out of only three choices my insurance company gave me. He specializes in marriage and family counseling. Another therapist specialized in children and the third one in sleeping disorders. So I chose Dr. Funny.

When I met him, I was convinced things would not work out. He must be in his seventies and, like myself, is a foreigner, although his ethnic group is more respected than mine. I did not think I'd have anything in common with this guy, but, given what little choice I had, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Oh, but there are a few things his culture and mine share very well: For example, women typically marry  young and have kids right away. Women are expected to follow their husbands' or their fathers' decisions. And the guilt!, the guilt! Oh, he understands that perfectly well. Guilt is a big thing in his culture too. People use guilt to manipulate you and to get you in uncomfortable situations. Dr. Funny has a lot to teach me in this regard.

I felt guilty for not spending Christmas with my family. For not wanting to visit them. For not traveling with the spouse to visit his family.

According to Dr. Funny, why should I care? I had the worst year ever. My baby died and I almost died too. I had to quit my job due to unexplicable and scary health issues. I am scarred, depressed and in mourning.  I have a hard time taking care of myself, I cannot cater to other people's needs, much less listen to their useless advice or their clueless pronouncements on my reproductive health.

This sounds too much like the woman I do not want to be anymore. But it works: the guilt is gone. And I don't really feel sorry for myself. I had a rough time, I still have a long way to go, but I am recovering.

I'm glad I found Dr. Funny.

PS. Still not period

Monday, January 24, 2011

K's story

At some point, about three years ago, I was exhausted and wanted to stop trying to get pregnant. At about that time, one of my friends  broke up with yet another boyfriend. She was heartbroken.

Like me, she had always wanted to find a great guy and have kids. But the great guy failed to show up for her. We were both in pain for different reasons, but still tried to give each other support. It was hard, since we live so far away from each other and only communicate through chats, emails and phone calls.

And then she met Mr. Not-Quite-Right. He also had a dream of finding a great woman and having kids. Other than that they had nothing in common, unless you count the fact that they both thought that getting engaged after dating for three months was a good idea.

So my friend is now Mrs. NQR. They still have nothing in common except a beautiful baby they both love maddeningly. But they don't seem to love each other anymore. K tells me that she still wants to stay married to this guy, basically for the sake of her child. Mr. NQR does not seem to enjoy her company and avoids her as much as he can. When he's at home, he either lavishes the baby with attention while ignoring his wife, or he sits in front of the TV, oblivious to the world.

To make things worse, she has migratory issues, in the sense that if her marriage fails she might be denied a green card and be deported, leaving her baby behind. Which pisses me off, since up until her marriage she had a perfectly good work visa and never had a problem entering or staying in this country. K is in pain. She needs support and advice.

I have no idea of what to suggest. And I am feeling very guilty, because now I often find myself thinking: "At least I have a green card, at least I have a loving husband and no marital problems..." Almost as if I were using her horrible situation to feel better.

But of course, I only feel worse.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Long distance support

In the middle of my period-less annoyance, I am keeping in touch with T, one of my best friends from college who is undergoing IVF. Since she already has too much on her plate, I kept my silly problem private.

She had retrieval on Thursday and she happily emailed  me to tell me that 5 eggs were retrieved and two were fertilized successfully. She was supposed to call in on Friday to see how her two embryos were doing, and then come back yesterday to have them transferred.

I did not hear from her on Friday, so I called her and found out that the two embryos were not doing as well as expected. They were subdividing, but not at the healthiest rate. Still, they did not cancel transference, and she was supposed to hope for the best and show up for transference yesterday morning anyway.

I have not heard from her. I sent her a support email yesterday evening, but still no word. I don't want to call her, and I am assuming that when she feels like talking she will contact me and the other friends who have been cheering her up throughout the whole process.

But if I don't call, will she feel neglected? I wish I knew what to do.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yet again...

My period is late. Which  in my case is perfectly normal, given my PCOS. Except that I am not on a natural cycle. I was given progesterone precisely to trigger my period. I took it from days 15 to day 24. Today is day 33.

No, I have not done a HPT. Why bother? On day 14, I had a follicle scan after taking clomid (way too much clomid, IMHO). There were no mature follicles, just a bunch of cysts. The cycle was declared a failure, the IUI cancelled. So, if there were no follicles, there were no eggs.

Since I did not get the hCG trigger injection, even in the remote case of there being an egg, there would have been no ovulation, as is usually the case with me. And in the even more remote and improbable case of ovulation, I did not have an IUI. I was never able to get pregnant without one. So, no fertilization.

And that's why I haven't bothered to pee on a stick. Makes no sense. Aunt Flo is coming, just you wait.

Still, I stopped the antidepressants two days ago. Just in case, you know?

Oh, who am I kidding?  I should just keep popping pills. And have a beer while I'm at it. And some live oysters, why not?

Because I don't dare to, that's why.

I'm an idiot.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen looks like boiling water that produces fog, given that the nitrogen of the surface evaporates really fast.

One teacher used to sacrifice mice by immersing them in liquid nitrogen while holding them by their tails. Nasty. The poor mice died instantly, so the teacher argued this was a humane way of killing them. Still, the contorted "mousicles" he pulled out of the liquid nitrogen container still give me nightmares.

I think about this a lot  when I think of IVF and frozen embryos. I've talked about embryos before and stated that I don't really think of them as children. But I do know they are alive, and the idea of immersing them in liquid nitrogen gives me pause. I've frozen cells many times, mostly mouse cells and a few HELA cells and a bunch of different bacterial cells. Most of the time I was able to bring those back to life, and I'm sure the same applies to frozen embryos. And yet, there were a few occasions when a strain or a cell line was lost during thawing, without there being any reason. The cells just failed to come back to life.

The loss recently suffered by amiracle4us, who was hoping for a FET, reminds me of the fragility of "sound science". Very often, science fails us.

Could I take such a loss if it came to my embryos? I think not, and my prayers go out for those who have undergone such pain.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hushing up

I know pregnancy is not contagious. I know this for sure because throughout the years I've endured pregnant friends making me rub their bellies so I could get some of their baby dust. And, of course, it never worked. Frankly, I never thought it would. But at least now I have empirical evidence.

And so I also assume that infertility and miscarriage are not contagious, but apparently the general public has some weird ideas. When I came out about my infertility, I faced avoidance. It's almost as if people fear they'll get it too if I discuss it openly. As for miscarriage, people explicitly tell me not to talk about it anymore, as if by sweeping it under the rug I'd get to feel any better.

Of course, there is the other extreme: bringing fertility into every conversation.  At some point I had to explain the miscarriage to my nosy yoga teacher. And then she could not stop herself from talking about how beneficial yoga is for fertility. Out of the blue, doing a stretch, she'd say things like "this creates more space for the uterus, if you are trying to get pregnant".  It got to the point where I told her that if she ever mentioned the words uterus or pregnancy again I'd stop the lessons. And of course she kept at it so I stopped the lessons. I now do yoga with a DVD, thank you very much.

She must miss me, because she's been asking about me. A close friend told her I am doing OK. She now tells everyone that she "cured" me. Of what, of miscarriage? Gee, it's true. I haven't had another one. But that's probably because I have not gotten pregnant.

What is wrong with people?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On forgiveness

I hate my ovaries and my uterus. I should be kind to them, tell them pretty things, nourish them and forgive them. That's what the therapist says. But I feel like a hypocrite when I try.

I also hate my dog for dying when he did. I loved that dog, he was almost 18 years old and in spite of his age he was a darling. He had some health issues, but you could still tell that he was enjoying life. And then he got an infection and had a couple of bad days.

It's like he said: "OK, this is not fun anymore. I'm going to have breakfast, go take a leak, and then I'll come back, lie on my favorite spot and stop breathing." And that's just what he did.

I always envisioned him dying in my arms. I resent that he took that away from me. I was still very weak from the miscarriage, lying in bed in the guest bedroom and I could not even say goodbye. It was the spouse who notified me that the dog had stopped breathing. I begged him to bring the dog to me, but he did not dare move him. So I hauled up my ass leaning on my walking stick and yes, I made it to the living room only to find my dog's cadaver. He was gone.

I know I should not hate my dog because, really, what else could I have wished for him but a peaceful, natural death? An old dog's death is not a tragedy, unlike the miscarriage. I certainly don't hate my baby for dying, I just hate my body for killing him. So I am very confused about why I feel this way about my dog. I hope I can forgive him one day for his bad timing.

Forgiving my uterus is going to be much harder.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Novus amor est quod pereo

I took that verse from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. It means that new love is to die for. But what about old love, when years have passed and things have changed? B made me think about it.

B was in her fourties when she unexpectedly got pregant with her fourth child. It was during her first pregnancy check up that something wrong was detected. Soon after, she was told that she had cervical cancer and she needed to terminate the pregnancy. But by then she was in love with this baby, and she was willing to put off all cancer treatments until he was born. In other words, she was willing to risk her life for this new love.

B gave birth to a healthy baby boy through a C-section, after which she had a hysterectomy and started aggressive chemotherapy. Her cancer is in remission. More than 20 years have passed.

Last time I had lunch with her, she complained bitterly that her useless kids lived at her expense, sucking her blood like parasites, never helping out with housework and not contributing a single cent to the household. Her youngest boy, the cancer baby, had still to complete his GED and he had all the indications that he, too, was not going anywhere in life.

I asked her what she thought would be best, thinking that maybe she needed to ask the older siblings to pay rent or help out with some bills. Her answer? "I want them all OUT!!!! It's time for me to enjoy life!!! I should not have to worry about lazy bums partying all night and coming back home drunk!!!"

Basically, she would prefer that they all disappeared from her life. I suspect she does not really want that, but just the fact that she said it out loud tells me a lot about "old love".

I loved my baby the moment I saw a heartbeat, and I would have died for him. Would I still want him around me 20 years from now? I want to say yes, because my love for him was so strong that I really wanted to die after he was gone. I tell myself that he would have been a good student and a productive person, just like his parents. But what do I know?

Monday, January 17, 2011


They are a  surprise from the spouse. The Rubik's cube is there for two reasons:

A) To show that I was not bluffing when I said I could solve it.
B) To show how big this flower bouquet is. I think he overdid it this time! But hey! No complaints!

I think I said I needed to appreciate all the positive things in my life. Well, I guess this is one of them. Today I am happy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

None, whatsoever

Yesterday's post about religious leaders having superpowers reminded me of a bumper sticker that says "I make milk, what's your superpower?" Whenever I see it I think she has it all wrong: Her real superpower is that she makes babies. Live ones, I assume, since she is breastfeeding.

I have no superpowers. I made milk once, shortly after the miscarriage. I was horrified. My body had failed miserably in sustaining the pregnancy, but happily kept going onto step two. I don't count that incident as a superpower. The milk was gone after two days.

I can solve the Rubik's cube. Is that a superpower? No? Yeah, I thought so.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yes I am religious

Reading yesterday's post, I realize that I maybe sounded like a religious dweeb when talking about baptizing my baby. I can't help it, I'm religious. In my defense, I also keep my religion as far away as possible from any scientific argument.

Take embryos, for example. Ever seen one? I have. Well, the ones I saw were chicken embryos, but they were indistinguishable from human embryos. We all know how they look like: a bunch of cells. Were they alive? Definitely (those cells kept dividing right under my eyes). Did they constitute a chicken life? What do I know? They looked like a bunch of cells, not like a chicken. The same goes for human embryos.

What bugs me is to have religious "leaders" dictating whether or not an embryo constitutes a human life. To  my knowledge, they've never seen an embryo under the microscope. And even if they had, what could they possibly see besides a bunch of cells? Do they have some sort of superpower that allows them to detect the presence of a human soul?

Had they not ended under my microscope, those embryos would would have turned into chicken fetuses. Now, fetuses have something that embryos don't have: a central nervous system. This means they are capable of experiencing sensations, including pain. And this is important to me. I am perfectly OK with eating live oysters precisely because they lack a central nervous system and I tell myself that they do not suffer. So I would not want to hurt a fetus.

Still, let me tell you that at that stage you cannot tell a human fetus from a pig fetus. Does that fetus constitute a human life? Again, what the heck do I know? It no longer looks like a bunch of cells but it really looks ugly and scary and certainly not human. I know, its genetic material screams "human!", but so do the cells in my spit and I don't think of spit blobs as human beings.

Basically, because I don't think these questions can be answered, I believe we should let people act based on their own opinions. Me, I would never do anything to harm a human fetus once it is capable of experiencing pain. At the same time, I don't feel I am in any position to impose my personal viewpoint on anyone who thinks differently. Hey, some people think it's wrong to eat live oysters.

When I think of IVF for myself, I worry, among other things, about the contrast between having an empty nest and having a freezer full of embryos. I don't think of them as children, just as bunches of cells with potential. If it were my embryos, I would not want to waste that precious potential... but that's just me being sentimental. If someone else feels good about donating their embryos to research that may one day save a life, who am I to judge them?

Friday, January 14, 2011

An old picture

I'm cleaning my camera and found that picture. I had downloaded it more than a year ago but left it there. What, normal people don't take pictures of their peeing sticks? Well, for me, this was a miracle worth recording.

Oh I have ultrasound pictures, but those are staying in their box for now otherwise I'll start bawling and crying and not write a single word.

He was a boy. One of those shameless boy fetuses that happily display their parts for the ultrasound technician to see. His name was DS. And no, that does not stand for "dear son", those were actually his initials. We had chosen names years before we were actually able to get pregnant. During the last days of my pregnancy I prayed that I could at least get to baptize my child. And yet, he was dead before we knew it. One day after the miscarriage, I baptized him in my prayers.

I remember the joy of that positive test, and the second test I did just to be sure, and the love I felt as soon as I saw a beating heart and the excitement later when we actually saw a head, a little torso and limbs and what I thought was a pointy nose and a smile... and I can't help but think that I want all that again.

But I also have the awful memories of the anguish, the broken hopes, the pain and the horrible sense of loss. And I definitely don't want that ever again.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Anna Netrebko

I saw this movie a couple of days ago. Unlike many opera DVDs, this was not recorded live, this was all filmed on movie sets. It offers a very refreshing version of what is a very popular opera.

I was surprised to see Anna Netrebko looking so thin. I saw her in 2009 in a production of La Traviata. She was wonderful, but, let's say, a little chubby. Still, she was a very convincing consumption victim. She's that good.

So I started wondering how she could have made this film in 2008 and then go on to put on so much weight in one year. Was she having a difficult time? Experiencing health problems? Like I said, it really does not matter much, many opera singers are heftier. But I was still curious, so I made a few searches and found out that she had had a baby on September 2008. So that explained her chubbiness in 2009. It was "baby weight". All of a sudden the concern I was feeling for her health evaporated and turned into pure green envy. Why? Don't I still want her to keep on singing and to go back to her slim figure? Will I love her less if she does not? Of course not.

Ugh. I really need to work on my issues.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why I left my previous job

I'm very happy about the new job but I will not be talking about it. Let me talk instead about my previous job. Every six months I had to sit through what must be the equivalent of the farmer rounding up all animals and telling them that the farm was running out of resources and could not sustain so many animals. Particularly chickens. Did we really need five of them? If you were a chicken, you would feel singled out and very uncomfortable. I know, because I was one of those chickens.

But the first to go were not us chickens. It was the poor part-timers who helped the chickens and some of the other animals. These were "assistants" that were earning little above minimum wage and doing the dirty work nobody wanted. My own assistant's hours were reduced from 15 to 5 hours per week. She quit and got a job as a waitress. I scurried around until I found someone else to work those five hours per week, but it was not enough. Luckily, I had volunteers. The economy was in recession and people were sending their resumes to any email address they could find on the internet. I could not hire anyone, but managed to convince two of these desperate people to try out their luck as volunteers so as not to have a gap on their resume. One of my volunteers was a woman with a master's degree and the type of experience that would have made her overqualified for my own job, and yet I made her do all the boring, time consuming and repetitive tasks. I felt very guilty about it.

Then came the budget cuts: We did not have enough money for supplies but we had to keep things going. As an analogy, imagine that you need cheeseburgers and you always get them from McDonalds, but now you have to fire up the grill and cook them yourself. It really was not cost effective, considering the time I was wasting. I was quickly running behind my schedule and I started leaving important stuff on the back burner and concentrating only on the urgent things.

Finally, rumors started circulating that the chicken with less seniority was going to be fired.  I'm not saying any other chickens deserved to be fired instead of her, but I am sure that when a farmer decides to cull his flock he does not simply get rid of the last chicken he bought. He probably considers other factors such as the productivity of each chicken. In any case, the union fought back, because they did not want to lose one single vote. The chicken was not fired but, wisely, she started sending out her resume to every corner on this planet. Two months later she got a good job offer and left.

I was happy for her, but obviously nobody was hired to replace her and that left us, the other four chickens, severely understaffed an overworked. And that's when the union negotiated the furloughs: we were to work only 35 hours per week. Believe me, I did not mind the pay cut, it's just that it was impossible to keep up with all that work with only 40 hours per week. How were we supposed to keep things running working only 35 hours?

Sometime while all this was happening I did two IUIs with clomid. That I was able to squeeze that into my crazy schedule was a miracle in itself, but the real miracle was that I actually got pregnant. I was ecstatic, but obviously under too  much stress. And I was puking all over the place. I was not eating well because I was too tired to cook when I got home. I had been very good about bringing my own lunch to work but not anymore. Just when I needed homemade nutritious meals I was buying junk food in the cafeteria. And then I would throw it all up and convince myself that it was for the best.

I should have quit. But I thought that, since we were going to have a baby, we were going to need the money more than ever, and I reasoned that I would not be able to find another job that was so secure. If the union had proved one thing it was that nobody could fire us, no matter what.

Then came the miscarriage. It did not happen all of a sudden, I had some close calls that kept me from work while pending tasks piled up to the ceiling, until finally I lost the baby. Nobody sent me a card. All I got were desperate phone calls from the lonely part-time assistant who was put in charge during my absence and could not juggle the mess I had been in. I kept sending emails with updates on my health and letters from my doctor but barely got any replies. My supervisor did send an email wishing me a quick recovery, but Human Resources never emailed or called, not even to explain that I had run out of sick leave and my paycheck was being butchered. This caused many misunderstandings and bad blood later on. After a month of bedrest, one of my colleagues called to see how I was doing. Three days later I received a get-well card that she must have convinced everyone else to sign.

I was still feeling like shit when my doctor said I could go back to work. I could now walk with the help of a cane but I couldn't stand for more than a couple of minutes. I could have convinced my doctor to write another letter putting off my return to work, or asking that I return part-time until fully recovered. Instead, I finally came to my senses and decided that having a job you could have forever was not necessarily a good thing. It had been all right in the beginning, but now it was a miserable mess and I wanted out. So I quit.

Boy, was that liberating. Now we only had one income, but who cared? It was enough for the two of us, now that no baby was coming, and I was already on my husband's insurance. My former insurance was still good for two months, which ended up being convenient, given that during those two months I kept bleeding non-stop. I had been severely anemic upon arrival to the ER, was given blood transfusions, but I still was not fully recovered even after all that time. I had to have a bunch of tests and scans and bloodwork done. It was scary for a while, when nobody knew what was going on. But finally I had surgery, the problem was fixed and six days later I stopped bleeding. And I did not have to pay a single cent, given that I had primary and secondary insurance. See, that left me with enough money in the flex plan to buy those sunglasses later on.

It's been almost seven months since that surgery and my health has been improving. Emotionally I am a wreck, hence the therapy and the antidepressants. But physically, I have no complaints. I felt good enough to try those clomid cycles (after stopping the antidepressants) but once more my ovaries betrayed me. Then came this job opportunity, which frankly was too good to pass. And so here I am, enjoying the present and trying not to think too much about the future. As for the past, its pointless to dwell too much on it, though writing this very long post was a positive exercise. It made me appreciate the new job even more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Giving my time

Thinking on the previous post , I want to point out that I always do volunteer work whenever I am unemployed. In my last volunteer position I was supposed to help out with translations and be an interpreter when needed. I ended up instead filing documents, updating databases and doing some number crunching. Overall, I did not enjoy the experience, as has been the case with other volunteer positions.

I think the issue is that I always volunteer in positions related to the hispanic community, and boy, are we fertile folks! Except me, of course. Somehow I always end up with someone's baby on my lap and lots of small talk about parenting.

I don't want to discriminate against my own community, but I really have to stay away for a while. My current work contract is for three months. After that, I'll probably seek another volunteer position, but not as a Spanish interpreter. I'm not sure what I will do, and maybe it's better to put it off until later. Who knows? Maybe this positions turns to be permanent and I get to keep working instead.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gee, thanks for the reminder

No kidding, tell me something I don't know. That's paper waste, ready to be recycled. I never noticed the sign when I got the bag at the store. Boy am I glad.

I'm tired of the mommy craze. I don't want to sound jaded but I already feel very much excluded from normality. Why all this recent "mom" upheaval?

Last December I volunteered as an interpreter during a workshop. The workshop was not targeted specifically to moms, though it was expected that a lot of mothers would show up, and so daycare was provided.

All the attendees turned out to speak Spanish, so the speaker decided to do the workshop in Spanish, and my services as interpreter were no longer required. But oh, would I mind helping out with the kids? I said clearly that I would rather help with something else. I ended up serving coffee and bagels and distributing instructional materials. So I got to listen in during the workshop. There was a lot of talk about empowering moms, how moms can improve their lot, moms can really succeed, moms can do it, moms this, moms that. I kid you not. This workshop was for anyone, not just moms, but apparently the speaker was really into mommyhood.

Sigh. I should have gone next door and face the kids instead.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I understand - wait, I don't

I am a good listener. People tell me all sorts of crazy shit. They even ask for my advice, as if I would know. Most of the time I am very disconnected from the circumstances they are dealing with. I never say stupid things like "I understand", "it's God's will", "you'll get over it" or any of that stuff because frankly I am not in their shoes, so I really cannot understand. I am as clueless as any mortal about whatever it is that God's will is, and I don't even know if people can get over some of the things I've heard.

When people tell you their problems they don't need your pity. What they need is to get it all out and talk openly about their problems without having to pretend that nothing ever happened.  At least that is how I feel. Bad things happen to everyone and we all have to deal with our baggage, and talking about it can be helpful. So I listen and make comments about how horrible and sad it all seems, how sorry I am that such things happened, how I wish I could help. And people keep telling me their shit.

Sadly, I clearly cannot talk about mine. I am too sensitive to stupid comments, and I get them all the time. Perhaps that's why I started this blog, so I, too, can get it all out. Even if nobody's listening.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Taking a break... by working?

After last Monday's follicle scan, my doctor suggested moving onto FSH. Frankly, I don't think my ovaries can take any stimulation after these past three months of increasing doses of clomid. The scan showed multiple cysts on both ovaries, in the typical "string of pearls" pattern.

So I asked for birth control pills. Over the years, that has been the only way for me to get rid of the cysts, the discomfort, and the uncertainty about my crazy periods. I know, boy DO I KNOW that at 41 I should not waste more time. But I need a break from this infertility craziness. I want to focus on the present and be thankful for the blessings I already have and I normally take for granted.

One blessing is the new job I am starting soon. I don't want to start a new job and deal with the stress of spurious doctor appointments, FSH injections in public bathrooms, and the cover stories for missed hours of work. And I am not even thinking about the possibilities of a pregnancy.

I need this job. And not because of the money, although if we keep going down the infertility path we are going to need lots of that too. But what I really need now is a purpose in life. Even my dog died less than a month after the miscarriage. I honestly cannot be happy simply being someone's spouse. Oh, I love the spouse, and he loves me, and all this shit has made us stronger, just like the saying goes. But I want to put my knowledge to good use and use my brain in a productive way, and I want to be happy about this new opportunity instead of moping about what I do not have.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The third cycle

When I talked about the clomid cycles, I should have mentioned that there was actually a third cycle, but it would not have been covered with last year's flex account since insemination was scheduled for last Tuesday. Oh, but we did plan for that insemination attempt with this year's flex account. Of course, a follicle scan on Monday proved that there were no follicles, just a bunch of cysts, thus saving me the expense. Like a good friend with good intentions said: "Hey! At least now you didn't have to have an injection!" Talk about putting a positive spin on things.

I have had ovarian cysts on an off for 18 years. Probably more, since my periods were always irregular. I have been diagnosed with PCOS only to be later told by other doctors that I do not have PCOS. I've also been told that I have a bicornuate uterus, determined by ultrasound, but later a histerosalpingogram failed to find any abnormalities. I still think there is something wrong with my uterus, given the unexplained miscarriage, but, frankly, I am not willing to undergo another HSG. Ever had one? No? Trust me, you don't want one either.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First Post: Sunglasses

It is difficult to know where to start, even when I need to write all this stuff somewhere, or risk insanity.

So I am starting with my new sunglasses. A year ago I was pregnant and we put a bunch of money into our flex plan, knowing we were going to need it for doctor visits, delivery, baby checkups etc.

Fast forward to the end of last year. I had miscarried at 17 weeks. Even after paying for two ER visits, two blood transfusions, a bunch of medical tests and one surgery, we still had money left. Oh, there were other expenses that went on the flex account, like antidepressants, therapy and even two cycles of clomid, which should have been followed by HCG triggers and IUIs but my ovarian cysts got in the way in both occassions.

By the end of December, we still had about 500 dollars left in our flex account. So I ordered new expensive prescription sunglasses. I picked them up yesterday. Frankly, they don't look like 500 dollars to me. I wonder if I actually will use them.