A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Abandoning Hope; or, Finding It Again

I'm not sure if this is a sign of hope or despair. I'm not sure if I'm taking action or giving up. But I took a really big step today: I made a firm appointment for my first RE consultation.

This cycle is not going so great, and it's had me down for the last few days. After all my optimism about vitex last month, I'm on CD 17 with no EWCM and still showing low readings on the CBEFM. Even worse, the mid-cycle spotting is back, despite continuing with my raspberry leaf tea. It's not a lot of spotting (not like it was in Spring 2009) and it's brown and faint, but this is not making me happy, to say the least.

Now in the past, cycles like this would send me into a tailspin. I direct your attention to this post (coincidentally, also on CD 17) from last September as case in point. But a few factors have modulated my emotional reaction into something more like vague unease and disappointment rather than vicious self-recrimination and dismay.

a) Time. Seriously, I'm no longer capable of getting all worked up over every fucking bump in every fucking cycle. After eighteen months, I just don't have it in me any more.
b) Options. Knowing that I have decided to go to the doctor, to get tested, and to finally have some assistance on this road is taking a huge burden off my back. So what if this is a fucked-up cycle. I'll soon have a professional on the case.
c) Experience. I've cried about screwy cycles before. I've worried I wouldn't ovulate. And I (almost) always have. I even got pregnant during that crazy-making screwy cycle last September, so I'm not shedding all hope now.

Make no mistake, despite my reasonably calm reaction to these setbacks, I am not a happy Sloper right now. So I decided to call the Dr's office at N.YU to find out if the insurance hurdles have been surmounted yet. They haven't (though the nurse is very hopeful for September 1st). That's okay. When they are, I'll make the appointment for the consult there.

In the meantime, I've got a consult with a Dr. at Cor.nell! Who takes my insurance! And has good patient reviews online! Once I get the appointment at NY.U, I'll go to both consults and figure out which doctor I feel more comfortable seeing.

So come September 17th, my RE adventure begins. The door on getting pregnant unassisted is starting to close for me, and I pushed it a little more by making that call. But a window is definitely opening, and the breeze feels good.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are You Feeling Lucky?; or, Always Something There to Remind Us

My dinner with Clueless Preggo was really kind of swell (I'm on a Mad Men bender now that the new season has begun, so expect lots of "gangbusters" and "donneybrooks" peppered throughout my posts for the next 12 weeks). She loved the gifts, particularly the cotton sweater. We talked about a lot of things other than babies, though I asked a few of the obligatory questions and listened to a few of the obligatory stories. And she asked at the end of the evening how we were doing with our efforts, to which I said something evasive and vague about enjoying the summer. But mostly we talked about work and school, her new apartment, things going on the city, tv shows, and gossip about friends-- the usual New York chit chat. (With more on gossip about friends to come).

Since then, however, I've been thinking about luck: who's got it, how we find it, where we see it, how we define it.

I blog a lot about how lucky I am. It's mostly to remind myself to feel lucky, even though making a baby has not turned out as I thought it would. It's also because I know my life is really good, no matter how depressed I get at times, and I want to treasure all the beautiful blessings that have been given to me.

For Clueless Preggo, I think I'm a walking, talking, occasionally-bleeding-out-a-baby reminder of her own luckiness. And this is because I suspect she's been feeling rather unlucky generally in this pregnancy. She didn't belabor this, but in explaining why she decided to find out the gender (girl) of her baby, she said that she "thought it would help her bond" after "being so sick and unhappy at first" and "not wanting to be pregnant." She of course immediately retracted the last statement when she became aware of her audience ("It's not that I wanted the pregnancy to end, of course not, etc. etc.). But I get the impression that with working until midnight many nights a week and being really ill she was feeling pretty sorry for herself for a while. Which, you know, may be valid and understandable, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for it and I won't cluck and hover and give ah-babies to someone who gets to have a baby right as soon as she decided she wanted one.

So yeah. I get to be a great big blinking reminder of "Be Happy That You're Pregnant!" just by sitting down for dinner.

But I'm not immune to the reminders, myself. At the end of dinner, Clueless told me a little about a mutual friend of ours, a former sorority sister of mine who wound up going to business school with Clueless and becoming her very close friend. Sorority Sister was married a year ago to a very kind, smart man (who happens to have gone to high school with my best friend, Doctor Lady. Just another day in the urban Northeast, I suppose).

Clueless told me that Sorority Sister and her husband learned a few weeks ago that he has an incredibly rare type of lymphoma. He's thirty years old. They're going to have to freeze his sperm before he starts treatments so they can hope to have children one day. There's a 70%-80% chance of remission after five years. Which is better than they feared, but still.

Clueless told me not to be prurient and gossipy, but to ask for my thoughts and prayers for this couple. I was completely gobsmacked at this news. I can't believe that this is happening to one of my peers, to someone in the same place in life that I am. Lawyer Guy and I held each other extra hard that night, reminded of how incredibly lucky we are to have each other right now, no matter what comes in the future.

It's not nice to be the indicator of someone else's good luck, so I'm not going to contact Sorority Sister and say anything. She didn't tell me this news, and she and I haven't spoken since Clueless's Christmas party last year, so I just don't think it would be appropriate (though I'm open to hearing otherwise). But I will be praying for them and thinking of them and hoping that they can leave this episode in their lives behind as quickly as possible. They're a wonderful couple who I can tell truly love one another, so I'm sure that even in this they've managed to find the joy and luck in being together. But I hope that they have even more to celebrate soon.

Among the gifts I gave Clueless was an elissa hudson Etsy print that I had framed. AMB linked to these prints at her blog a few weeks ago, and I loved them just as much as she does and quickly picked the one for me. A family of giraffes--Big, Medium, and Little--and right below them the statement "Lucky Little Family."

I didn't get that one for Clueless, lucky though I think she is (I gave her the penguins in pink). I'm saving the giraffes for myself. I'm saving it for the kind of luck you get after misfortune, which is maybe (if you make it there) the luckiest luck of all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mental Holidays; or, Requirements of All Kinds

Ich bin frei! Or something. I only learned how (poorly) to translate German into (bad) English, not produce it. Still, the spirit of the above utterance holds, however garbled it may have come out, and I declare today a half holiday in honor of taking (and maybe even passing!) my translation exam this morning and fulfilling one more requirement en route to the doctorate.

Said holiday has thus far consisted of: walking to the Union Square Greenmarket to clear my head of German fumes; picking up baby shower cards and gifts; and eating guacamole and hummus. In an hour or so I have to head back into Manhattan for my therapy appointment and then on to dinner with Clueless Preggo (for whom I picked up said card and gifts).

I was so focused on my exam over the past week that I didn't have time or mental energy to worry about tonight's dinner. And since the exam ended I've been focusing on getting just the right card and wrapping the gifts with just the right paper to keep from worrying about how much we'll talk about the baby, how long I'll be able to keep up a bright and interested facade, how much she'll ask me about our baby-making efforts, and how little (for what ever reasons I don't care to examine too closely right now) I want to share about the last couple of months of shit and sadness.

It will be fine, I know it will be fine. And it may also be frustrating and upsetting and depressing (or--here's a crazy thought-- maybe even fun). It will be what it will be, and since I've decided I'm going through with it, I'd rather not think about it too much beforehand.

I have more important matters on which to dwell, anyway. Like pondering the best way to eviscerate the card designer who came up with this gem I encountered at the card shop a few hours ago:

Seriously, barf, right? Just what smug pregnant ladies need, encouragement for their vile self-absorption in printed-, folded-paper form. Do you think anyone would mind if I torched the store tonight?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Black and White; or, Planning Ahead

These days, I've been bouncing back and forth between some very different reactions to my upcoming RE visit. It goes something like this:

Shit! Only two cycles left before we visit the RE!
Yes! We can finally get figure out what the hell has been going on the last 18 months!
Dammit, they're going to find out there's something horribly wrong with me and Lawyer Guy and tell us it was a miracle we ever got pregnant in the first place and we should have no hope.
No! You're going to get pregnant before you go. Duh, making the appointment is the magic bullet!
No! You're not even going to be able to get an appointment because the insurance issues won't be worked out yet, and you'll have to visit a third-rate fertility clinic, like, out on Long Island or something. And they wont get you pregnant and they'll probably mess up your uterus even more!
Still, it's great to start this process!
But why did you have to get pregnant at all if all it accomplished was delaying your RE visit by 9 months?
AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! Be quiet crazy lady inside my head!

See? Totally exhausting.

I've been kind of relentlessly talking Lawyer Guy's ear off about this process, which is majorly stressing him out. We deal with upsetting possibilities in very different ways: I try to predict and plan for the worst case scenario, so I feel prepared; he tries to ignore it and just live his life until he has to consider unpleasantness. So for me, having a two-hour phone conversation with our insurance providers to get all the details on our infertility coverage is ultimately calming (if also anxiety-producing), but for him it's like a giant anvil of doom dropping on his head.

So to spare him any more of my obsessiveness, I thought I would lay out the potential steps to come here on the blog, so I can refer back to them, keep track of our progress, and adjust my mind to what's ahead (and, of course, so you all know what the plan is).

  • Aug 4: Visit my OB for annual check up. Will discuss testing/REs with her (though I have made up my mind to see one no matter what she advises).Will most likely have just ovulated (or will be about to ovulate), so preliminary testing will be impossible at this visit.
  • Aug 13: Leave for Scandinavia. Will get my period on this trip. Will not be able to get CD 2/3 blood work until following cycle.
  • After returning home, will start acupuncture/ Circle + Bloom relaxation techniques and continue with my herbs, yoga, and tea. Basically go balls out to get an unassisted BFP.
  • Late August/Early September: have first RE consult. Praying hard that insurance issues are corrected by this point and I can go to N.YU. Will have good back-up, in-network REs.
  • Mid September: Cycle # 8/15 begins. Get bloodwork. Will have hopefully had some other testing (HSG? SA?) by this point
  • Mid-late October: Possibly do one treated cycle
  • November/December/January: Break from treatments due to my sister's August 2011 wedding in California (try very hard not to hate her for this).
  • February 2011: Dive into the madness of treatments for the foreseeable future
Wow, laying everything out like that really shows how much time all of this takes! February sounds so far away, but so much will happen in between now and then. The fact that the start of treatments will exactly coincide with due dates that would prevent me from attending my sister's wedding really sucks and was one of my fears back in November when I miscarried. I'm sure it will be hard to back off just when we've finally got the ball rolling, but I will just have to suck it up.

The other difficult aspect of heading into treatments is that LG and I are going to have to completely backtrack on how involved we've made our families in this process. Right now we don't call them every time we have sex or I ovulate or anything (I save that for my lovely internet friends), but they do know how long we've been trying, what some of my fears are, how long it's been since the miscarriage, and when we're thinking of enlisting outside help. That's fine and I don't mind them knowing (especially not my mom, who never ever brings up baby stuff unless I do first).

But I don't want our families to know about what treatments we're doing and when. If they're waiting hopefully for the results of an IUI or IVF, that will just make the disappointment much keener when something fails. I also really, really don't want my brother- and sister-in-law to know anything about our possible fertility treatments. I have enough jealousy and bitterness toward them in general. If I suspect they're pitying us for our sucky reproductive organs, I'll drive myself crazy (even though I'm sure their pity will be entirely in my head and they will never say anything to us).

I'm a pretty open person, so it will be hard to shut people we care about out of this process. But I just can't handle the extra pressure, so I know it's the right thing to do.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Checking In With the Baby Mamas; or, Confucius Say

Last week, while feeling pretty blue over the conclusive end to yet another cycle, I had two long-put-off conversations with two friends. I spoke with Clueless Preggo for the first time since she told me about her pregnancy on Mother's Day weekend and I spoke with my first Former-Bridesmaid-With-Baby for the first time since her move to Denver in May.

I called Clueless because I needed to tell her that I'm not attending her baby shower in August. I know, I know, I made a big deal after she responded to my card about how I was going to enlist Lou-Ellen and put on a happy face and show up at the shower to spread my empty-uted cheer. But...then our close friends invited us to spend the weekend at their rental house in Shelter Island. And a baby shower at a restaurant in Weehawken, New Jersey is a poor substitute for a beach weekend under the best of circumstances, let alone after six fruitless months of post-miscarriage screwing.

So we're going to the beach!

I did offer to make it up to Clueless by taking her out to dinner one-on-one next week to catch up and give her my gifts (a sweater that I knit a year ago and never got around to finishing, a courderoy jumper, and a sweet print I found on etsy and had framed). I know that I'll be fine. I'll talk about names and nursery decorations. I'll try to be a good friend. I'm sure she'll try to be sensitive to my distress. But no matter how much soft wool and newspaper we pack around these conversations, there's always something that breaks.

In our brief conversation last week, it was Clueless's statement that she and her husband moved from their 1-bedroom on the East Side to a 2-bedroom on the West Side rather than out to New Jersey (as they'd planned prior to TTC) because she "couldn't handle that much change after getting pregnant so fast, which she kind of freaked out about." Yeah, she said she realized it was a good thing to be in her position (the "rather than yours" went unstated). And no, I didn't cry or make a big deal out of it. But still, it stung a little. It stung that she could find overwhelming the very circumstances that from my perspective sound like the luckiest stroke a person could get.

A similar moment occurred in the conversation with Bridesmaid-With-Baby. She asked how the "baby situation" was progressing and was genuinely interested in and supportive of my response. She told me she thought skipping the shower was a great idea and that I was finally putting myself first rather than everyone around me, which she has always encouraged me to do more of. But in her description of the challenges of relocating cross-country to an unfamiliar city with an eight-month-old baby--and in a few comments about how the "timing" of my future assumed pregnancy will be better than the previous miscarried one--I got the weird impression that she envied me for being childless right now. She kept talking about how hard it is to find a home that fits all their criteria and accommodates all Baby's things, how hard it is to adjust to a new environment while caring for him. She said "This would be so much easier if it were just Husband and me. Having a baby makes things so much harder."

Was she trying to make me feel better that I don't have one? Was she trying to impress upon me the awfulness of her situation? Just venting to a good friend? Because all I could think was: This is just "stuff." This is "extra." These are not major problems. They will sort themselves out. Maybe you have to move while the Baby's in school-- you just do it, plenty of people have. Maybe you have to get rid of some of Baby's things--it's fine, he'll survive. This is all fixable. This doesn't even really need fixing!

I worry that I put my problems ahead of everyone else's. Maybe in her situation (or in Clueless's) I'd be equally worried and stressed, I'd feel equally ill-equipped and equally overwhelmed and equally afraid of everything not working out just the right way. Maybe--when I'm fortunate enough to be in their shoes--I'll go back to that detail-stressing self I've somewhat abandoned and feel just as wrapped up in everything that could fall short as a result of every decision. Maybe it isn't fair of me to compare them to me and find their problems petty.

But today, I don't think so. Today I think I understand more about the kinds of problems you can fix and the kind you can't, of what you can plan and what you can't, of just how much that happens to us is luck or chance or divine plan (take your pick) and how little we can say what will lie in our futures.

I don't know, maybe acting like Confucius makes the whole awful situation a little better. If I can't have a baby, I insist on excellent vacations, skinny jeans, and some righteous moral superiority.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thanks SlackieO; or, I'm a Prize-Winning Hog!

Slackie O gave me a prize! Thank you, Slackie! In the muck of feeling pretty depressed about AF's most recent visit (and trying very hard to be optimistic about it), I neglected to pass the award on to others. But since I'm looking for distractions from my depressing reproductive track record here, I thought now the perfect time to comply with this award's stipulations.

The rules are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award. (Thanks Slackie!)
2. Tell 7 things about yourself that readers may not know.
3. Pay it forward by nominating 8 bloggers you’ve recently discovered.

And here are some surprising (or maybe not so surprising) details about me:

1. My dream is to become a published novelist. I finished one complete novel before I went back to grad school four years ago and have several other incomplete starts and stops on my computer (as well as countless scenes and plot ideas in my head). It's hard to write fiction regularly while also working toward the PhD, but I haven't abandoned my first love.

2. I'm the oldest of four sisters, and I've always loved how many 4-girl families there are in literature. The Little House on the Prairie series and Little Women were some of my favorites as a child, partially because I loved to imagine my own family as the characters. But I was annoyed that the second daughter was always the writer while the eldest either got married really young and wound up a widow or was way too perfect and then went blind (umm, spoiler alert?).

3. I can't parallel park. I fortunately did not have to attempt it to get my license, because Pennsylvania didn't require it for a few years (I barely passed the exam as it was, so that was lucky). My husband tried to teach me when we moved to Brooklyn and started street parking, but gave it up as a hopeless cause. And now we park in a garage, so I have once again evaded having to learn.

4. One of the things I love most to do in Manhattan is take long walks by myself in nice weather. Years ago, I used to walk walk home from my first job on 34th street to my apartment on East 89th almost every day (that's roughly two miles). I'll walk from Midtown East to the Upper West Side, from SoHo to the LES. I love to walk through Irving Place and Grammercy on late summer evenings. I feel like I have time to think and be truly alone and to notice how the city changes around me.

5. I like to cook, but I'm not very good at it. Most of my fights with Lawyer Guy happen when I'm in the kitchen, because I invariably screw something up and get really mad about it and start yelling (which I almost never do any other time). We routinely eat at 10 or 10:30 pm because I'm too ambitious for my own good and insist on trying a new recipe and don't start it until 7 and then take a really long time to do everything. But I love it when something turns out well!

6. My favorite museum is the Frick, which contains my favorite painting, Whistler's Symphony in Flesh Color and Pink: Portrait of Mrs. Leyland Howard. (You can see the painting--and hear a brief curator's lecture on it--here). I love 19th-century painting generally and Whistler most of all. The Fragonard Room at the Frick is also amazing.

7. I love to sing. My whole family sings all the time, my dad especially. When I was a kid, I was so embarrassed that he would sing country songs in line at the bank or the grocery store, but now I walk around singing to myself, too (and always bust out a descant during "Happy Birthday"). I've sung in choirs nearly all my life. I've got special songs picked out for our babies: lullabies for boys and lullabies for girls. I sang to the m&m everyday that I was pregnant, and after the miscarriage, I couldn't get through the song I had picked out for him or her without choking on my tears. I really, really want a baby to sing to (I know that's not something new or surprising, but that's just how this blog is sometimes, I guess).

Most blogs I read and list in my Blogroll are ones I've been following for a while, so I'm going to have to define "recently" rather loosely. That said, here are the prizes I'm passing on to some wonderful bloggers who deserve every happiness in life:

1. Overcoming Obstickles
2. Katie at From If to When
3. Kelly at The Rabbit Test
4. Rebecca at Trying Not To Scream
5. Adele at Delinquent Eggs
6. Sienna at It's Baby Time~!!
7. The Port of Indecision
8. Only Time Will Tell

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Half-Full Rose-Colored Glasses; or, Cycle Day One

Yesterday, I sent Lawyer Guy an e-mail giving him the heads up that I'd started spotting and would be getting my period soon. I told him I loved him and tried to keep an upbeat and encouraging tone; he told me he loved me and that we'd get through this. I had an event last night that prevented me from getting home until late (by which time AF had taken up residence), and when I walked through the door, Lawyer Guy confessed that he'd been sitting alone feeling sadder and sadder that this cycle didn't work out.

As I've written before, it hurts to see Lawyer Guy taking our troubles so much to heart. But as I hugged him and tried to put on an optimistic attitude, I was also glad that he felt comfortable enough to share this with me. Six months ago, he wouldn't have. Six months ago, he was worried that I was an emotional hurricane waiting to happen and needed to be handled oh-so gently lest I break out in another storm. I'm glad that he feels that his fears and sadness deserve equal weight with mine, and I'm glad to be able to give him some of the support he's given me the last eight months.

While I put on as positive a face as possible--for his benefit and my own--I'm feeling pretty worried under the surface. Maybe "we did it once" doesn't actually count for shit in the reproductive stakes. Maybe "it's bound to happen sometime" is a big fat lie. But we've only got two or so more months until we start testing with an RE in the fall, so I'd like to be as positive and happy during these two months as possible.

And in the service of that goal, I decided to think of reasons to be grateful right now. Not just reasons to be grateful for my life generally, which I am and which I have listed before, but specifically reasons to be grateful for the difficulties that we've faced in trying to have a child. I'm grateful for this challenging time because:

- I believe I will be a better mother for it. I believe I will appreciate and maybe even enjoy my children more than I would have if they had come easy.

- I will never wonder "what I missed" by having children. I will never feel cheated of youth, of time with my husband, of my career. I know what is most important in my life and in my heart, and it's not amazing career opportunities or nights out on the town or a stunning physique (which I've already lost). It's being a mother and having a family with Lawyer Guy.

- I will never use birth control again. Score!

- Lawyer Guy and I have both decided that we will welcome as many children into our lives as we are lucky enough to conceive. For a long time, I wanted a large family while he wanted no more than two children. But after the last eighteen months, we both agree that we will be grateful and thrilled with any "oopsie" pregnancies that come along, something I can guarantee would not have been the case with him if we hadn't lost the m&m or struggled to conceive afterward. And given my age and our recent track record, I think we can all safely assume LG and I are not going to turn into the Duggards of the 21st century.

- I've stopped caring so much about the petty, superficial aspects of parenthood. I used to want the best stroller and crib set and bedding and preschools and diaper bag that money could buy. That all seems so pointless now.

- Lawyer Guy and I have grown as husband and wife and as friends. We've worked through some incredibly upsetting situations that might have derailed other couples and have found ways to build a stronger relationship through them. We have become even closer and more intimate as partners. We've learned to grieve with each other and laugh with each other through our grief. And we've also learned how to handle when our feelings don't match up, when one of us is sadder or angrier or more worried or more frustrated than the other. After almost ten years together, I didn't think it was possible for our relationship to grow like this so quickly, but it has and I am so grateful for that.

I don't know what comes next: if we'll get to testing, to treatments, to a pregnancy (and healthy baby) in months or years. But I'm going to try to keep growing closer to my husband and making our marriage the center of everything we do (even our fertility treatments). Today, I feel confident that ten years from now, this will feel less like wasted time and more like the sturdy foundation for beautiful family.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Perfection; or, Reworking the Fantasy

When we started trying to get pregnant almost 18 months ago, I of course hoped we'd succeed immediately, but I also recognized that getting pregnant that March wouldn't be "perfect." Giving birth in the middle of the academic year--in the middle of my first year teaching, and before I officially finished coursework--would be less than ideal. Plus, December would have been absolute dead last on my list of desired birthday months for my future child-- the same month in which the baby's father, cousin and aunt all have birthdays. But I wanted a baby (and I wanted one right then) more than I wanted things to be perfect, so I still hoped.

Seven months later, when I did get pregnant, it felt like I was being compensated for the frustrations of waiting with a "perfectly" timed pregnancy. We planned to tell our families at Thanksgiving. Perfect! We planned to announce to our friends and on Facebook on Lawyer Guy's birthday. Perfect! I was set to give birth in June-- during my summer break; a month without any other family birthdays; wonderful early summer. Oh so very very perfect!

I don't dream about perfect anymore. I don't care what month the baby is due in or how much time I have to take off. I don't imagine announcing the pregnancy to anyone other than Lawyer Guy. I don't picture strolling with my newborn under a winter sky or a summer sun. When I envision the end of this particular voyage, I picture a hospital room and a baby on my chest, warm and alive. That's all. That's perfect.

I recently read the New York Magazine article on parental dissatisfaction--the same story that took Adele by surprise when it appeared in her mailbox last week. As others have mentioned, it was less disturbing than I feared it would be, though it didn't address many of the questions I have on this subject: Do those who suffered loss or infertility feel happier as parents? Do those long-thwarted desires raise expectations of parenthood that foster disappointment? I don't know if anyone has studied the issue from that angle so I don't know if my instinct--that sadness and loss and longing create grateful and enthusiastic parents--can be supported.

The article did make me think, however, about the expectations we bring to parenting--or any great change in life, really. A few sentences of Senior's in particular stood out:

"This is another brutal reality about children: They expose the gulf between our fantasies about family and its spikier realities."

"This is especially true in middle- and upper-income families, which are far more apt than their working-class counterparts to see their children as projects to be perfected."

I'm certainly as guilty of having unrealistic dreams and fantasies of myself as a mother, of Lawyer Guy as a father, and of my place in our family once we have children. And I'm sure I'm no more immune to the quest for perfect progeny than any other over-educated modern mama. But the hard work that Senior and her sources suggest new parents must perform--the work of remaking expectations to fit realities, of hammering out newer, less brilliant visions of what it tenable or right in family life--I feel like that has been my task these past 16 months.

I'm not going to get "perfect." I don't even want it anymore. I just want a child. If I can remember that and remember these months--or years, however long it takes--of struggling to let go of my fantasies, then I know my future family, however imperfect, will be perfectly suited for me.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sloper Sings the Blues; or, 10 DPO

I'm sad today. Not super-duper, cry-into-my-pillow, refuse-to-get-dressed-all-day sad. More gaze-wistfully-out-the-window-while-heaving-large-sighs sad.

The summer is slipping away and I feel like I've accomplished nothing. Everyone's moving forward--mothering their babies, nurturing their pregnancies, deciding to start their families--and I'm here on this treadmill I mistook for a sidewalk, seeing them pass me by. Failing at reproduction. Failing at academia. Failing.

In three months it will be the anniversary of when we conceived the m&m. And in four months, the anniversary of the miscarriage. That sounds so soon, doesn't it? Three months pass so quickly.

I can tell my period is coming. Which is crappy, though I've gotten okay at muddling through that dissatisfaction. But Lawyer Guy's taking it really hard this month, and that hurts more than I ever imagined. We had a fight the other night and I apologized for being a crank, blaming it on my PMS. He cried, which sliced my heart into ribbons. "You hadn't said anything lately about your period so I thought it meant you were pregnant," he said. "I really thought this was our month."

Why am I still here? I remember last July so clearly: taking off for London, convinced we'd conceive our first child in the UK. Beginning to blog with a little embarrassment, positive that I'd have to shut it down after a few entries because of course I'd get pregnant right after I started writing. Explaining to my friends all about basal body thermometers and Taking Charge of Your Fertility (friends who have since gone on to conceive without plotting a single temperature on a single graph). Drinking beer at outdoor bars, determined to take advantage of my last summer without kids. Trying to stay optimistic by assuring myself that This time next year... What? I'd have a kid? I'd at least be pregnant? Starting treatments? Doing something--anything--different than the previous five months?

Still, it's no big deal. I know these feelings will pass. Just another case of the blues.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Three years ago, I married Lawyer Guy in the 19th-century chapel at my old high school. It was a hot day, but the old stone kept us cool in our formal clothes, even without air-conditioning. We stood under a chuppah of white lace knit by my best friend, Doctor Lady, in front of a deacon and a rabbi and promised to be always faithful to each other in words spoken by countless other brides and grooms in countless other weddings.

Our home is filled with reminders of that day-- gifts and photos, the framed invitation, and that very same square of white lace folded at the end of our bed. I treasure remembering how happy we both were, how much love we felt (from each other and from all of our guests), how months of planning became one beautiful day.

I didn't know then that three years later we would be facing these challenges or grieving these losses. But I could have predicted that Lawyer Guy and I would find a way to work through them. I could have predicted that--despite our differences and occasional arguments--we would each become the rock for the other, our mutual support and strength and stability.

Three years ago, I made the best decision of my life, and every day I'm rewarded for it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vow of Silence; or, No More Symptomology

I'm back to reality after a nice weekend away at my father-in-law and his wife's beach house. This is the first 4th of July we've spent out there--it was always claimed in the past by brother-in-law and sister-in-law before we had a chance to go. But now they don't want to travel while the new baby isn't sleeping through the night, so we get all the weekends. Ha ha! Suck on that, breeders!

I've struggled with blogging a bit this past week. I'm really tired of the blog devolving into SymptomWatch! during every two week wait. It just feeds my intense focus on my imaginary signs and my intense sadness when AF comes at the end of it. This month, I've taken a vow of silence: I will not post about any symptoms nor will I google any combination of "xdpo" and "tiredness"/"sore boobs"/ "excessive farting"/"scratchy throat"/"night terrors"/"thumbnail fungus" / etc.

Though, as a bone to those of you who have expressed interest or optimism for this cycle, I just want to put this out there: I don't think this is the month. I wish it were, and I'll obviously convince myself it is at some points in the next few days, and you can certainly never know until AF shows, but still. I'm thinking no.

'Sokay, though. I've got German homework to do. A Mets game to check out with Lawyer Guy tonight. A puppy to walk. The Bachelorette to watch. Vampire Weekend tickets to buy. Surely that's enough to sustain a blog for a week, right?