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.