PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Formal Trying to Conceive Letter of Complaint

May 27th, 2010

To Whoever Runs the Universe:

I certainly don’t have all the answers. I suck at Jeopardy, I have a B.A. in Theatre and I’ve never solved any of life’s great mysteries beyond how to stop a run in your pantyhose with clear nail polish (which only works half the time). Perhaps there are reasons why the universe works the way it does, but in my opinion, there is room for improvement.

I am currently disappointed with your service and there appears to be no customer help line, nor can I locate a complaint desk. I would imagine that if you did have either of these things, there would be an unbelievably long line of pissed off infertile women waiting to have serious words with one of your representatives.

Since I’ve begun my “Trying and/or Working towards Conceiving Journey”, I’ve connected with a lot of women, such as myself, who want nothing more than to have children. These women are amazingly strong, funny and brave. They’ve saved up their money, made long term plans, and are responsible individuals. Although I don’t like the reason we’ve all met, I’m extremely proud to know them.

With me in particular, I can’t seem to get pregnant no matter what I do. We've tried good ol' fashioned sex (socks on, socks off, every day, every other day, from behind, while doing a handstand, etc.) and I’ve even tried several IUI’s and an IVF but zip. Bubkes. Nothing. The only thing I’ve conceived is the notion that whoever has been assigned my case in the universe has either not been properly trained, is on an incredibly long vacation or they’re dead at their post and no one has yet noticed. Please follow up on that, will you?

However, my trying to conceive issues pale in comparison to some of the women I’ve met. Many of them have actually gotten pregnant only to have a miscarriage… or two… or three… or more. When I think of that, I get angry. I mean I get really angry. Like Mike-Tyson-pissed-off-and-drunk-when-someone-mentions-Robin-Givens-angry. And it makes me wonder… what the f*ck universe?!?!? No really, what the f*ck?

To add to my dissatisfaction, while my fellow fertility challenged friends go through what I can only categorize as both physical and emotional torture, there are other women who I like to call “Fortunate F*cked-up Fertiles” (or F3 for short) who are somewhat ignorant, unprepared and think “implantation” is a large farm somewhere. These F3’s also seem to get pregnant very, very easily. Put them in a ten mile radius of sperm, and bam! They’re pregnant before you can say, “Assisted reproductive technology.”

For example, a month ago, in the same week I had heard about two different women having miscarriages; I happened to meet an F3 who got pregnant accidentally while in the process of breaking up with her boyfriend. That’s a hell of a break up when “exit sex” is involved, no? Anyway, this pregnant woman told me she’s taking pain medication without her doctor’s knowledge, that she eats sushi on a regular basis, that she has no idea where her baby’s daddy is and that she’s hoping by the time the baby is born, she’ll have either a job, insurance or a man in her life. She’s due next month and has had a problem-free pregnancy… of course. The women I know are scared to even vacuum or eat a hot dog for fear of jeopardizing their pregnancies and yet, it’s this F3 who takes Vicodin with her tuna rolls that will go full term.

Where is the justice? Why put us infertiles through this total and complete bullsh*t? And then, even after many of us work so hard, go through thousands of dollars, months of stress, and take hormone altering drugs to get pregnant, why do you punish us by taking our reward of a newborn away? That does not make for a very satisfied customer.

Is the message that all of my fellow fertility challenged friends and I should quit our jobs, become homeless, go into debt and start taking crack? Is that the moment the person in charge of the universe is like, “Oh wow! Look at that woman. Her life is falling apart! Quick! Let’s make her responsible for another human being!

Are you just spinning an enormous wheel with everyone’s names and whoever the arrow points to gets knocked up? Are you throwing a dart at our pictures and whoever gets it right in between the eyes gets it right in the uterus? What’s the logic? Is there any logic?

Now, I’m not saying every woman who gets pregnant easily is a horrible person that doesn’t deserve it. I’m also not saying that women who are perhaps ill-equipped can’t pull it together once a baby enters their lives. What I AM saying is that there are a whole bunch of fantastic women out there who not only deserve to be a mom, but who have been to hell and back in their quest. You, for whatever reason, appear to be ignoring them.

Could it be that you’re in over your head? I’m sure running the universe is a huge responsibility. I live in a six room railroad apartment and I don’t know what my husband is doing half the time on the other side of the place. Perhaps you need to hire more help?

Any which way, I can only guess that whoever is in charge of all this madness has to be a man because a woman would simply know better.

So, I’m asking as nicely as I can, please stop picking on me and my friends. Find out who’s responsible and fire them immediately. They are doing a piss poor insensitive job. We, my fellow fertility challenged friends and I, demand justice. We demand satisfaction. Please credit our accounts and give us all a happy ending… or I promise you – I will hunt you down and kick your ass. You’ve been warned.

Most sincerely,

Jay

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Infertile Plans a Baby Shower

In keeping with the universe’s infinite wisdom to crap all over me, I’ve been put in charge of planning not one, but TWO baby showers. Yup, you read that right; The Baby-less Babe is planning a Baby Shower. Boo! Shall we all start drinking tequila shots now or wait till the party happens????

Two women at my day job are due this summer. They are expecting presents, worship and a cake in conference room 2B and my boss has put me in charge of it all.

So here are some questions: How do I, a woman who can’t seem to get pregnant, plan a baby shower and not let my bitterness show? How do I order a cake and not inscribe it with, “Good for f-cking you!” How do I write an email invitation to my co-workers that does not contain, “You’re invited to a baby shower! And if any of you sons-of-bitches ask me when I’M having kids, I’ll tap dance on your windpipe. Cheers!” How can I possibly fake a smile for a full hour without simultaneously taking a hallucinogen and imagining Robert Pattinson naked?

One of my non-pregnant co-workers has asked me what theme I'm going to have for the showers. The theme? How about ‘The Baby Shower of Hostility and Resentment’? Does Winnie the Pooh have any decorations for that? Perhaps there’s a paper plate set of Eeyore looking sad wearing a party hat and holding a bottle of Clomid while Tigger does his happy dance in the background? If not, can someone design that and send it to me?

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; this is nothing personal towards these women. I’m happy for them. I truly and sincerely am, but that doesn’t mean I want to plan a party for them! Besides, having someone who is fertility challenged plan a baby shower for two obviously fertile women is like having a nun plan a sex toy party:
Um, no... I’ve never used that but it’s a pretty color and has beads. Those are beads, right? Um, yeah, I guess it stimulates something or other. Oh, it feels that good, huh? Really? No, I’m sure God appreciates you mentioning him but just not maybe at that exact moment. Yeah, no, I wouldn’t know cause ya know... I’m a nun and all.”
Obviously, no one at my job knows what I’ve been through nor what I continue to go through. Perhaps if they did, they would throw me an “Infertile Shower”. I could register at Liquors R Us and instead of playing “Guess Mommy’s Tummy Size”; we could play “Guess How Much I’ve Spent on Fertility Treatments”. We could even do our own version of “Pin the Sperm on the Egg” where every contestant would have to be super drunk and spun for fifteen minutes solid before each attempt. Then, as the person accidentally stabs one of the other party goers in the eye, we’d all laugh hysterically and comment on the contestant’s motility issues! Ahhh, what fun we’d have!

This past week, I had to buy a baby present for my brother-in-law (they’re second child is due in a few days), I bought a card congratulating another friend who just announced her pregnancy and I mailed some onesies to another friend who had a baby a few weeks ago. Between buying gifts and cards over the past few years for the fertility fortunate, all while spending money on my own infertility misfortune, I’d BETTER get a shower of some sort. At the very least, some sort of reimbursement check.

Yeah, I know... that's not nice... but it's my blog and I'll be bitter if I want to.

Somehow, I will make the best of this. I’ll get through it with my usual warped sense of humor. As of late, I’ve been singing Tina Tuner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” but I’ve changed the lyrics to “We Don’t Need Another Shower” and that seems to ease some of the jealously. Whatever it takes, right?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yoda's Thoughts On Trying to Conceive

In the movie STAR WARS, Yoda says, “Do or do not... there is no try.”

In sessions with my therapist, when we’re talking about one thing or another and I use the phrase “I’ll try”, she always responds with, “Try and touch your nose.” Obviously, touching ones nose tends to be easy, so when I do this, she typically says, “See how easy that was? You’re either going to do something or not.”

Who knew Yoda and my analyst had so much in common… other than both being of short stature.

So, when I say I'm “Trying to Conceive”, is it a cop out? Am I sending a subliminal message to my uterus that says I’m not committed to getting pregnant? It’s like when a friend invites you to a party that you have no intention of going to. You say, “I’ll try to make it” but what you really you mean is “There’s no way in hell I’m attending. I’d much rather sit at home and watch PRETTY WOMAN on TBS for the twentieth time.” Hey, don’t judge me. It's a modern day Cinderella story... if Cinderella was a hooker.

I went to a hypnotist a few months ago to see if she could place a more positive attitude into my subconscious. She gave me several visual exercises, one of which was to picture that I’m in a garden and I’m planting seeds into very fertile ground. Within seconds, I am to imagine that these seeds grow into many different, beautiful and colorful flowers. I sincerely love the visualization but in reality, I tend to kill plants. Truly – I am totally lacking a green thumb. I even managed to murder a fake plant one time when I was dusting it.

Putting the fertile garden aside, she also suggested that Sam and I start saying, “We’re working towards getting pregnant” instead of, “We’re trying to conceive”. I liked this suggestion. It’s more proactive and positive sounding. The trouble is I don’t always feel proactive and positive. Sometimes I genuinely feel like we’re doing our best but nothing is working… which is where the word “try” sneaks back into my vocabulary.

Honestly, the quote that I most relate to on the subject of trying comes from Homer Simpson. It goes like this, “Well, you tried and you failed. What’s the lesson? Never try.”

Inspirational? Nope.

Funny? Definitely.

April 2010 was the month we tried our first IVF and it failed. I’m NOT going to say ‘It didn’t work’. It f*cking failed people. At least that’s how it feels. After going through the entire IVF drama and over a year of back to back fertility treatments, we decided to take a break from any medical procedures (i.e. clomid, shots, IUIs, IVFs, etc.). Instead, we’re focusing more on getting back to normal. So, even though we’re having crazy unprotected monkey sex (yeah, you heard me), I really don’t know what to say or what would even be advisable to say. We’re trying? We’re not trying? We’re working on not trying? We’re working towards conceiving through crazy monkey sex? I really don’t know.

As a writer, I definitely believe words have power. I also believe in positive thinking. However, and not to crap on these two statements but to me, the reality is I can sit at home and tell myself over and over again, “I WILL be pregnant” or “I AM pregnant” but do I believe it’s going to help? Ummmm, yeah. I don’t know.

Maybe Sam & I should say, “We’re indifferently attempting to conceive”.

Jesus, that sounds horrible.

I don’t know the answer. It would be fabulous if we could all take Yoda, my therapist and hypnotist’s advice and just eliminate the word "try". Saying, “We’re working towards it...” certainly does make conceiving and pregnancy seem inevitable. If I’m being honest though, I still sincerely feel like I’m “trying", which may be my problem.

I just wish Yoda said something more attainable and helpful. Something like, “May the cervical mucus be with you" or "Crazy Monkey Sex you have, then Baby you will make".

But perhaps that’s just me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Team Edward and Team Fertility

One thing I’ve always had is a sense of humor. My mom told me that even when I was a baby, she would hear me lying in my crib telling myself jokes and then hysterically laughing. What can I say? I was always my best audience.

Throughout the whole trying to conceive debacle (or T.T.C.D. for fans of acronyms), I’ve maintained my sarcasm, wit and sense of irony. When I realized that IVF didn’t stand for “I’m Very Fertile”, I went with the flow and changed it to “I’m Very Funny”. However, this past Saturday night, I apparently misplaced my flair for the funny.

My husband was on the road this weekend so I was on my own. Although I missed him, I always find a way to enjoy “alone time” in the apartment. I lived on my own for almost ten years so when Sam’s gone, it’s like I’m revisiting my old self. The old self that would eat cereal for dinner, Nair her mustache and then give herself a pedicure while watching a bad Lifetime movie.

C’mon ladies… we’ve all been there.

Friday night, I went out with a friend and had a nice time and Saturday day, it was all about beautifying (tweezing, exfoliating, self-tanning, etc.) It’s takes a lot of work and expensive crap to look naturally attractive. In general though, the weekend was going well; I was feeling fine and doing my best to not think about anything having to do with babies, pregnancy or lack thereof.

Saturday night, I was invited to a family function. Even though I had anticipated relatives asking me when we were going to start having kids, I guess I didn’t realize how uptight I was about it until I started heading over to my uncle’s house. I had my stock answers ready to go (“No idea but we’re having a lot of crazy monkey sex” was a personal favorite). I felt confident I’d be able to handle any inquisitions, but I was growing more and more anxious the closer I got to the party.

When I arrived, my uncle’s house was packed with both people and food. Typically, I enjoy our family gatherings immensely but on this night, I immediately felt self conscious. Do you ever think you look great when you’re home looking at yourself in a full length mirror and then you get to where you’re going to and realize, “Maybe this brightly colored floral wrap dress kinda looks like sh*t. I should have worn spanx. Who cares if I can’t breathe! And what was I thinking with these shoes?!?

That’s how I felt. I suddenly hated my outfit, hated my hair and hated that I was surrounded by people I know would love a new family addition, and that I couldn’t deliver one. All without a single person saying anything about my having children, I somehow managed to upset myself without any assistance. I felt like a big fat failure… both literally and figuratively.

Sam and I only had two days in between learning our recent IVF didn’t work and my mother-in-law’s visit. During the week she was here, I was too focused on her stay that I think I never fully processed what I was feeling. I was particularly distracted from our fertility issues when she told me she had someone come to the house and give her a massage in our bed. Repeat: Some mystery woman came to our house and massaged my mother-in-law in my bed. She explained that this masseuse didn’t have a massage table, hence our bed. And yes, we changed the sheets and booked appointments with our therapists immediately.

After she left, we had an additional day or so before Sam had to go out of town on business; still not enough time to process. While I was stuffing my face with baked ziti on Saturday night and feeling like a loser, it occurred to me that some of the feelings I’ve been pushing aside might be catching up to me. I guess it had to happen sometime. Who knew it would happen surrounded by my family and enough carbohydrates to ruin any person’s Atkins diet.

I stayed at the party a respectable two and a half hours before returning home. I adore my family and they are all truly loving, wonderful, supportive people but I just needed to go home. I needed to be sad. I needed my pajamas. I also, as I decided on the ride home, needed to watch Twilight again. I’m not saying vampires completely cure the blues but Robert Pattinson definitely provides the loveliest of diversions.

So, I had a good cry, put the Twilight DVD on, drooled over Edward and fell asleep.

The next morning, I woke up and thought to myself, “I wonder if IVF could stand for ‘I’m a Vampire Fan?”

It would appear my sense of humor had returned.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You're Gonna Make it After All

I've always been a big fan of classic television. One of my favorites growing up was The Mary Tyler Moore show. If you remember, the theme song, "Love is All Around" talked about how love was all around the show's heroine, Mary Richards. How nice for Mary. However, if I had a show with a theme song right now, it would melodically inform you that pregnancy is all around me. How annoying for me.

We used to see Mary Tyler Moore enthusiastically take off her beret and throw it up in the air. During my opening credits, you would see me throw up my hands in frustration and promptly storm off to the local grocery store to buy several gallons of ice cream.

I just want one or two days where I don’t hear the word “pregnancy”, “pregnant” or any annoying variation on the word (i.e. preggers, preggo, PG, etc.) Some may say that I’m simply more sensitive to the word because of my current struggle to conceive. Although there’s truth to that, I still contend there genuinely HAS been a scary increase of people who I know who are either pregnant, asking me if I’m pregnant, who like to talk about their past pregnancies or in the case of one my single friends, just likes to talk about pregnancy a lot for whatever reason. Seriously, if I took a shot of tequila every time someone said the "p-word", I would have been falling down, stinking drunk for the past two months solid (which may or may not have been a bad thing.)

Yesterday alone, a friend talked about how thick her hair was when she was pregnant, a relative complained how she was tired of being pregnant, and a co-worker announced that she was pregnant. By the way, this co-worker is now the tenth woman in my office who is pregnant. Yup, we are having our own little baby boom at my day job. Woop-dee-fertile-doo.

The worst "p-word" incident of the day though goes to a male co-worker who I consider myself friendly with. He has been consistently asking when I’m going to have children for the past year. He’s been jokey about it, blunt about it and at times, even a little insensitive. The last three times he’s brought it up, I took every tact there was to get him to drop it. I was jokey back, I explained to him that things weren’t going well and he should stop asking, and then I was as nice as I could be about letting him know he needs to move on.

A few months have passed since our last conversation on the topic so I thought we all had moved on with our lives. However, yesterday, out of nowhere, he came over to my desk and within ear shot of several other people said, “So… are you pregnant????” Without much thought, I immediately got out my bitch-ray, turned it squarely on him and responded with, “NO. You need to STOP. It’s inappropriate, it’s not funny and don’t ever, EVER, ask me that again! Now get away from me and my desk.”

I can’t help but wonder in cases such as these, is he really that stupid to not understand what I’ve been asking him for the last few months or is he just a total and complete insensitive jack-ass? Whatever the answer, although I rarely use it, sometimes the bitch-ray is necessary for self preservation.

This coming Saturday night, I’m going to my cousin’s graduation party. I come from a big Catholic, Italian family and I’ve been married for almost two years. Not only would it not shock me if every single person there asks me why I’m not pregnant (including my cousin’s dog, Waffles), but it also wouldn’t surprise me if they have a priest come in to stage both an intervention and an exorcism.

This morning, I thought about all of this while making myself a bowl of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch cereal (I threw in blueberries to make it healthy. Go with me on this…). I grabbed the milk and happened to see my left over hormone shots sitting in the fridge. It’s amazing to me that I’m still paying off something that A) didn’t work and B) still reside in my home mocking me.

As I ate my Captain Crunch thinking they should make a cereal called “Infertility-O’s” for women such as myself (the O's could represent the amount of children I have), I considered inviting everyone over who asks me why I’m not pregnant for one big party. For appetizers; I could serve several hors d’ oeuvres and include the hormone shots. “Shrimp cocktail? Pigs in a blanket? Gonal-F injections?”

Perhaps Sunday, I'll get a break from the "p-word". If God rested on Sunday, why can't everyone else? Please... just one day where no one says it, thinks it, alludes to it or asks about it. I don't even want to read about yet another celebrity on People.com who's pregnant. One day people... just give me one day!

As you may know, the last sentence in The Mary Tyler Moore theme song is, “You’re gonna make it after all!” And if Mary’s infectious enthusiasm has taught me anything, it’s to still hope that in the end, it will all work out. So, I'm going to hope with all my heart that not only will I hold my beautiful child in my arms one day, but that I’ll still have a hand free to smack all the people in the face who’ve busted my chops over the years about it.

I'm gonna make it after all jack-asses! *SMACK*

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Trying Not to Try

It would be nice to have a decent amount of time where I’m not worrying about my cervical mucus. I'm just sayin'.

I’m currently sitting at my desk looking at bottles of Vitamin E, Evening Primrose Oil and Grapeseed extract and wondering, does any of it really help? Should I eat pineapple? Should I down cough syrup every hour on the hour? How about Raspberry leaves? Baby aspirin? Headstands? Sex with his socks on? Honestly, how many anecdotal cures and old wives tales can one person try without eventually buying some magic beans and having a nervous breakdown?

In the time we’ve been working towards getting pregnant, we’ve tried the old fashioned way, ovulation predication kits, sperm-friendly lubricants, three inseminations (IUI’s) and one long and arduous IVF. At present, we’re taking a break from everything but unprotected sex. Ahhh sex… I must say that it’s nice to be spontaneous and fun again. It’s also nice to be literally back on top without fear of how the gravitational pull will affect Sam’s sperm. After a month of IVF hell – I deserve to be on top.

The trouble with trying for so long though is it’s hard not to try. After months and months of practice, I know by heart all the tell tale signs that I’m about to ovulate. I can even tell without use of a thermometer and without peeing on anything or anyone for that matter. That’s how good I’ve gotten. How do I ignore this information after making it my main focus for so long? When I feel my one of my ovaries cramping from ovulation, what should I do? Put my hands over my ears and sing, “La, la, laaaa… I’m ignoring you mittelschmerz…”

What’s in our favor for not trying is my husband has to go out of town on business around the time that I typically ovulate, so unless there’s one miracle Rambo-like super sperm that plans on hanging around till an unsuspecting egg crosses his path, this month isn’t ideal for conception. So again, keeping these factors in mind, that he’ll be gone around the time I ovulate and that we’re technically “taking a break”, how do I NOT think about this? Do I still try to make for ideal conditions on the off chance that we could actually find success on our own? Or do I just totally give up for awhile? I mean, I had three fertilized eggs inside me last month and none of them cared to implant. What are the odds that this month, with my husband’s sperm will be out of town and without the aid of progesterone and steroids, I’ll actually get pregnant? Slim to none people. SLIM TO NONE.

So, I guess this cycle, there will be no Vitamin E, no comparing my cervical mucus to the egg whites in my fridge and no over the top hopefulness. This cycle will just have to be about crazy monkey sex. I guess things could be worse....


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Non-Mother's Day!

I’ve given today’s blog entry a lot of thought. As someone who has been trying to conceive for over a year, Mother’s Day is an unintentionally crappy day. It’s the equivalent of using birth control when you’re single. Every time you take that birth control pill or insert that NuvaRing, it’s a reminder of how you have little to no chance of getting laid anytime soon.

At first, for today’s blog entry, I was going to collect funny quotes of advice our mothers and/or our mothers-in-laws have given us about trying to conceive. People have either posted or emailed me so many funny stories about things their moms or mother-in-laws have said that you simply can’t make up. Some of my favorites were Sienna (her blog is: http://timetomakeababy888.blogspot.com/) whose mom told her she wasn’t getting pregnant because she had long hair and it was taking up all the nutrients from her body thereby leaving her infertile. Incidentally, Country singer Crystal Gayle, who has floor length hair, also has two children. I’m just sayin’.

Then, there was another woman who emailed me anonymously. She told me that her mother-in-law informed her that if she would just ditch her maiden name and take her husband’s last name once and for all, she’d be pregnant in no time. Huh? Are fetus’s checking ID’s now for last name verification? Really?

After some more thought though, I decided that it might not be nice to make fun of other people’s mothers on Mother’s day… so I was just going to make fun of my own mother on Mother’s Day. I waited for almost a year to tell my mother about our trying to conceive issues. I waited simply because worrying is her hobby. Seriously – some like to sit down and knit or scrapbook. My mom seems to enjoy sitting down and lamenting about everything that could possibly go wrong in the world. After I finally told her about our situation, there was a good month where she couldn’t talk about it without sounding like I was dying from terminal illness. Somehow though, over time, she managed to sound more cheery and even tried to be helpful by making suggestions such as, “Have you tried having sex every other day as opposed to every day?”

I should quickly mention that my mom is a former Catholic School attendee and she’s never been comfortable with talking about sex. Growing up, she always told me that when I wanted to lost my virginity, I should come and talk to her. When that day arrived however, and I approached her about it, she immediately said, “I don’t want to talk about this.” and walked out of the room. Ah, well. She did try.

So when she brought up the every other day suggestion, I thought maybe she was more comfortable discussing the topic of sex. I responded with, “Oh yeah… we’ve tried it all. Every day, every other day, me on top, me on the bottom, him behind…” I believe it was after the “me on top” comment that she lost consciousness. Again, she tried.

After further contemplation, I thought that making today’s blog about joking about my mother wasn’t too nice either so I considered making today’s piece just be about me on Mother’s Day and how I’m still not a mom. That felt too depressing though and I don’t like depressing. I can’t even watch the “Bambi”, “The Lion King” or “Dumbo” as I can’t get through the sad parts. I swear – they should really edit bummer movies for the over emotional. “Steel Magnolias”, for example, could end a half hour early. That way, no one dies, all is well and I don’t have to see Darryl Hannah any longer than necessary.

So, after much thought, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s blog entry solely to women like me; the “Non-mothers” of the world. Through this blog, Twitter and Facebook, I’ve met so many incredibly strong, brave, funny, compassionate women all who want nothing more than to have a baby. They willingly subject themselves to emotional, physical and mental torture in the hopes of having a family. Most don’t do that until after they have kids… but these TTC women put themselves through it without any guarantees of success. It is a true leap of faith.

Don’t get me wrong – To all the mom’s out there, you deserve love and respect today but respectfully, this is my blog and I want to use today’s entry to acknowledge my fellow fertility-challenged friends. So to them, I want to directly say the following:
  1. You are brave and for that, you have my utmost respect.
  2. Eat chocolate, ice cream, or have a margarita whenever you need one.
  3. Never get a haircut or buy a chainsaw when on hormones. Trust me on this.
  4. Don’t ever, not for one second, lose your sense of humor.
  5. Don’t ever, not for one second, lose hope.
  6. Don’t ever, not for one second, watch the show “19 and Counting” on TLC. It’ll just piss you off.
  7. Never apologize or feel bad for day dreaming about punching someone in their face.
  8. You’re not alone. There are countless out there like us.
  9. If you want to be a mother, it may not happen in the way you imagined, but you will find a way to make it happen somehow.
  10. Please remember to have sex occasionally just for fun no matter when it is in the cycle.
  11. I urge you to tell any of your friends or family who just gave birth all about the nap you took for no reason.
  12. Watch RuPaul’s Drag Rage and The Golden Girls as often as possible.
  13. Don’t let this define who you are as a person or a woman.
  14. Ignore the annoying people… even though there is JUST SO MANY OF THEM.
And lastly, #15: Never forget that we’re not failures. We’ve done nothing wrong and we’ve done nothing to deserve this.

To all my non-mothers out there, from the bottom of my heart, I’m wishing you a happy May 9th. You are my people and I salute you.

Now let’s all go out, eat some sushi, drink some wine and a big cup of coffee, and then put on a bikini, get in a hot tub and enjoy the quiet and freedom! Happy Non-Mother’s Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Designated Crying Section

I realized something important today: There are “Smoking Areas” and “Smoke Free Zones” but there aren’t any “Designated Crying Sections”. We should really look into that.

This morning, I had an incident that I haven’t had since the fifth grade. I was at my day job sitting at my desk when suddenly, I felt like I had “leakage”. My period has been heavier than usual this month (not sure if the recent failed IVF has anything to do with this) and despite wearing a maxi pad as big as my Brooklyn apartment, I couldn’t help but fear that an accident had occurred.

I ran to the bathroom and there was blood everywhere. Well, everywhere but the damn maxi pad. It was like Aunt Flo decided she’d have enough of 'Always with Wings' and she wanted to travel. So she bled all over my new adorable pink cotton underwear and down my thighs. Oh that Aunt Flo... what a bitch.

I sat there for a second trying to figure out my options. “Let’s see, I have soaked underwear, a maxi pad, toilet paper, bobby pins in my hair and pearl earrings. What would MacGyver do?”

I decided to make a dash back to my desk and see if I had extra underwear lying around. Thanks to the days when I used to go to the gym (those days are gone but not forgotten…) it wouldn’t be unusual that I would have extra underwear, socks and sneakers in my desk somewhere. I figured if I didn’t have underwear, I at least could get creative with the socks. Mercifully though, I found some clean underwear in my now dusty gym back and thankfully, no blood made its way on to my outfit. Phew!

Something about this incident took the fact that I’m still not pregnant and put it in bold red typeface. What’s KILLING me is truly, everywhere I go, I feel like I’m reminded how very NOT pregnant I am. I walked through the lobby of my day job, and there were women pushing strollers, Mother’s Day merchandise in the window of every store and I have seen more pregnant women than there are at a Mormon polygamous compound.

My visiting mother-in-law talks about her grandson and the impending birth of her granddaughter incessantly, I’m surrounded by pregnant women at work who swap stories of baby kicks, breast pain and cravings, and ninety-two percent of stories people tell me have to do with their kids, or having a family or something relative to all of the above. I’ve never been one to be paranoid but I’m beginning to suspect a meeting was held where some enthusiastic and sadistic leader called everyone into a room and said, “You hear Jay isn’t pregnant? I say we have fun with it! Who’s with me? C’mon! It’ll be fun!”

On my lunch break, I was overcome by the need to cry. I don’t even know why but I felt that a good, healthy cry was in order. The trouble is I had no idea where to go for privacy. I walked outside to the nearby park and tried to find a secluded bench. As soon as I sat down though, my eyes locked on to the baby play group stretched out and playing on the lawn directly in front of me. I got up and moved to another remote bench, only to have a nanny and a stroller filled with twins sit next to me. I got up again and just began wandering and thinking very rationally, “Hmmmm, now where can I go to cry? Where to go…” You would have thought I had this tearful appointment written in on my day planner:

12:30pm: Meet with emotions.

For one second, I actually considered going to what we call “The Milking Room” at work. It’s where new mothers can go to pump their breast milk. I immediately shot this idea down though. I wanted to have a little cry; not a have a complete nervous breakdown.

Then, I remembered there was a church near by. I haven’t been to church in ages as god appears to have broken up with me, but I knew it was quiet and that you could possibly find a little corner, a “crying vestibule” if you will, to have a moment. When I walked in however, it was crowded. If I had to guess, it looked like half were there to worship the lord and the other half were there for the same reason as me. Any which way, the only seat I could find was, of course, next to a huge ornate statue of Mary holding a baby Jesus. Perfect. She didn’t even have sex and managed to get pregnant. Jesus Christ indeed.

After sitting there for only a few minutes debating my next move, I decided to just give up altogether, get a bagel and go back to work.

It’s a sad day when an emotional, hormonal, menstrual woman can’t find a decent place to cry in New York City.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It May Be "Uterus" but it’s really "Uter-Me".

This morning, I got my period. Actually, it’s so heavy that it’s more like an entire sentence than a period.

I find it interesting that both “Aunt Flo” and my mother-in-law arrived on the same day and are staying for approximately the same amount of time. And notice you never see Aunt Flo and my mother-in-law in the same room at the same time. Hmmm, I wonder if they are the same person…

By day, I work in an office and in the last few months, three women who sit near me have announced their pregnancies. Then yesterday, on my first day back to work after my two week purgatory, I found out two more women are pregnant. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, today, another woman told me she was pregnant. It’s like that scene in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video when the female lead looks around and realizes everyone, including Mr. Jackson, is a zombie. That’s exactly how I feel. The pregnant women are closing in and I’m surrounded. Cue the scary music!

A colleague of mine couldn’t help but remark to me, “I guess there’s something about this office! The women here get pregnant so easily!” Wow. I can’t think of anything I wanted to hear less after my failed IVF and while I’m seriously bleeding. I had no idea the universe was a bitchy-spoiled-thirteen year old that liked to torture me. “Everyone else is doing it! Why can’t you? What’s your problem? *SIGH* Whatever! Talk to the hand!”

I’ve been working towards getting pregnant for over a year. I’ve pulled out all the stops, tried every medical approach available and even after a doctor put three fertilized eggs in me that had nothing to do but implant, I’m still not pregnant. Apparently, whatever water cooler all these ladies at the office are drinking from, I’m not privy to. I’m stuck at the vending machine of infertility.

There is also no one in my very fertile family who has had trouble getting pregnant. It’s just me… but I’ve always been lucky like that. On my thirtieth birthday party, there was “unusually high winds” and on my wedding day (a day that according to the Weather Almanac hadn’t had rain in thirty years), a hurricane blew through my town a mere hour before the ceremony was to start. I suppose if you give a person the gift of humor, you want to make sure you put them in situations where they will need it on a daily basis.

I got married almost two years ago and I know the “Where’s the kid?” questions are only going to increase. I’ve already gotten them from all of my friends and co-workers. I have no doubt that my uncles, aunts, cousins, cousins once removed and relatives I haven’t even met before will soon start hounding me. It wouldn’t shock me in the least if I get a call from some distant relative in Italy that’s like, “Ciao! You don’t know me. I live in a small town near Naples. Listen, all the villagers are wondering… are you pregnant yet??”

Due to the explosion of baby bumps where I work, a co-worker asked me point blank today, “Are you trying to conceive?” I managed to respond with a “Not at the moment because I’m here with you at the office.” She laughed and then I quickly changed the subject to something happier like the recent death of Lynn Redgrave.

There have been times however when I really can’t think of a snappy comeback. For example, we live in a two family brownstone and the family downstairs has a son that has Asperger’s Syndrome. About two months ago, I had gone downstairs to get the mail when I ran into him. He said, “Hi. Getting the mail?” I smiled and said yes. Then, out of nowhere, he said, “You’re not pregnant yet. Have you thought about insemination?” I’m still not clear on how the topic of mail led to getting an IUI but there it was.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I tried to think of some way to respond. If he was someone I knew better or who I felt had some sense of humor, I could have said, “Why? Are you offering?” and laughed it off but this was not an ideal moment for jokes and he was not the ideal candidate for sarcasm. So I stood there frozen trying to think of something, anything to say. After what felt like a good solid minute of awkwardness, we thankfully got interrupted by his dad who came out into the hall and started talking to me about something that didn’t involve sperm.

Obviously, I know this guy has a condition that compromises his social graces but holy crap! I really don’t want to talk to anyone, especially my 26-year-old male neighbor, about my uterus. It may be “uterus” but really, it’s just “uter-me”, thank you very much.

Now that my mother-in-law is here, I can’t imagine she won’t ask while she’s visiting. Sam and I have already had a pre-visit-conference that practically involved power point presentations and spreadsheets in how we plan to handle the topic. I’m hoping we’re able to dodge the subject at least for a little while longer. After everything we’ve been through, I’m just not ready to have this conversation with her. When Sam and I were just dating, my mother-in-law casually mentioned over dinner one night that both her sons have “good swimmers”. I’m still working through that comment with my therapist. I can’t handle another one.

In general though, I don’t understand why people even ask. I never asked anyone. Even when I was single and an immature idiot, I had an awareness that if you asked someone if they were pregnant and they weren’t, it was a super quick way to make that person hate you. I’m truly stunned at how often I get asked and I’m amazed by who asks me.

So far, these are responses I’ve come up with:

  •  “Not sure. Say, what’s that mole on your arm? You should get that checked out!”
  • “I’d rather not talk about it, thanks.”
  • “That’s a rather personal question, don’t you think? How would you feel if I asked you if you’ve ever had a horrible yeast infection?”
  • “I have no idea so you need to stop asking before I smack you in the face.”
  • “I’m waiting to see how your kid turns out first.”
Bottom line, unless a baby is actually coming out of me and waving at you and asking for help, please don’t ask me if I’m pregnant. End of story.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Small Victories

The mouse is dead. Repeat: The mouse is dead.

Upon arriving home from our weekend stay on Long Island, I discovered the mouse that has been plaguing our apartment throughout my two-week wait was in fact dead. I don’t usually make it the habit to enjoy the demise of a living being. However, I couldn’t help but feel a slight sense of accomplishment to at least achieve one of the goals I set for myself in the recent week.

Kill the mouse. Check.

Listen, I’ll take any victory I can get right now people.

Also, today, I managed to actually get some money back from my prescription plan. Initially, my doctor had me taking progesterone three times a day. When I told him that I was still experiencing cramping, he told me to start taking it four times a day. The trouble is my prescription plan was never notified of the change, so when I ran out of pills and needed a refill, my pharmacy said, “But you should have pills left.” I explained the change in the dosage and the reasoning but they, the compassionate entity that they are, made it clear they could give a sh*t. They said I needed to pay them $300 out of pocket if I wanted my pills.

Here’s what I don’t get: Do they think I’m taking progesterone for kicks? Or that I’m going to sell them as a second income? Last I heard, the street value of progesterone is a big fat zero so why they were holding my hormones hostage was beyond me.

After a heated debate, I gave up, paid the money and silently vowing that although they had won this round, I would win the next one. So, when I spoke to them this morning, after casually mentioning that I have an Uncle Vinnie, they suddenly understood my plight and are going to credit my account. Every girl dealing with a bitchy insurance company should have an Uncle Vinnie.

Get my money back. Check.

As we found out over the weekend, I didn’t even need the progesterone as the IVF didn’t work. I can now add it to my collection of “left over” medications: Gonal-F, steroid patches, and now, progesterone pills. I’m thinking of giving them as Christmas gifts this year. Hey, they weren’t cheap. They’d be the most expensive gifts I’ve ever given anyone.

And, of course, the big question: What’s next? We’ve tried pretty much everything available to us and at present, we’ve exhausted both ourselves and our finances. If we were to do another IVF, it wouldn’t be until we were able to pay for it on our own, and that wouldn’t be until the end of the year. This makes my doctor nervous as I’m going to be thirty-seven in a few months. He seems to like to throw that fact in to all of our conversations as often as possible almost as if I’ve forgotten how old I am. I know it's not ideal and we should be able to do it sooner but unless he'd like to treat me to an IVF, the reality remains that I can't afford one. Suck on that.

We can try more inseminations so that’s an option, but for now, it looks like we’re just going to go back to the ol’ fashioned way for a month or two, not think about it and hope for a freaking miracle. I guess you could say that my “two-week-wait” is now officially terminal.

If my “Operation Kill Mouse” plan worked though and I was able to threaten my prescription company into giving me some money back, then who’s to say there’s not some other small victory waiting around the corner. Dead rodents and playing the mafia card may ring as sad little accomplishments but I’m counting them anyway. Perhaps they are signs that the tide is turning is for me. Well, either that or I really need to take up a healthy hobby super soon.

So, as they say, onwards and upwards. Tonight, I'm getting a hair cut in the hopes that it will make me a totally new person. Preferably one who is fertile. Any which way, I’ve got a message for my reproductive organs: I’m not giving up. Do you hear that uterus? Are you listening ovaries? You'd better get on board and make this happen! Did you see what I did the mouse? Do you want me to call my Uncle Vinnie? You just think about that you lazy bastards the next time some sperm is coming towards you! Fertilize and implant damn you!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yeah, yeah, yeah… Shut the Hell Up

As a writer, I’ve always been a lover of words. Some of my favorites are superfluous, behoove, persistent, sardonic, milieu and for whatever reason, pajamas. Growing up, I would often look through the dictionary just to look at all the different words available to me and I remember particularly appreciating that my parents spoke to my sister and I as grown-ups. I don’t mean that they confided in us about their sex life or anything. It was more that they used words that adults would use in their sentences such as “That was a rhetorical question.” or “You’re exhausting my patience.” or “Please don’t annihilate each other in the kitchen.” or “Go to sleep or someone may have to be euthanized.” Ah, childhood…

So it’s sort of shocking to me that for someone who has an interest in expressing myself to the fullest and a passion for vocabulary that the only phrase I can use to express myself today is, “Yeah, yeah, yeah… shut the hell up.”

People magazine says Jodie Sweeten is pregnant?

Yeah, yeah, yeah… shut the hell up.

A friend emails me ‘It’s always darkest before the dawn.’

Yeah, yeah, yeah… shut the hell up.

My doctor calls and tells me my second blood test is negative.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… shut the hell up.

Words, shmurds… “Yeah, yeah, yeah… shut the hell up” pretty much covers how I feel right now.

With the second blood test confirming that I’m once again not pregnant, I planned to celebrate as any woman would: By taking a scalding hot bubble bath while drinking a bottle of tequila and eating a bucket of mercury laden fish. I know, it’s so cliché but I’m a sucker for going all out when I know Aunt Flo is on her way to visit!

In keeping with my good luck streak however, the taking a bath thing did not work out whatsoever. I’m currently staying at my parents house on Long Island for the weekend. They are away and I thought I could use their house as both an escape from the city and from the unwelcome mouse that has taken up residence in my Brooklyn apartment and that I’m in the process of murdering.

My parents just had their bathroom redone and it’s super state of the art, top of the line everything. So much so, that I don’t understand how the hell to turn on the shower or what I'm supposed to do to get the tub running or what the hell the knob on the side of wall does. What ever happened to one way for hot and the other way for cold? Seriously. I’m a pissed off officially premenstrual woman. I don’t need a complicated bathing experience. What I need is water. Now.

After Sam came in and solved the “How-the-f*ck-do-you-turn-the-tub-on-mystery”, I lovingly poured in Epsom salt and some tangerine scented bubble bath. I pinned up my hair, looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Enjoy this. Relax and just let this disappointment go.” I then proceeded to get in the tub. It took approximately three seconds for me to realize that the water wasn’t hot. It was bone-chillingly cold.

Sam thoughtfully came in to help. Perhaps it was my screaming that tipped him off that he might want to check on me. Despite our best efforts, neither of us could figure out why there was no hot water. What was meant to be a respite was instead a tub filled with Titanic-freezing water. My anger grew. I suggested Sam leave the room as I began to fear for his life.

I sat there for a few minutes as I felt like somehow, I was being served a punishment that I needed to accept. You can only ignore the universe for so long before you start to wonder if it’s trying to tell you something. Something along the lines of, "You suck and we hate you." Seriously, let’s review, shall we? Infertility, hormone injections, progesterone pills, thousands of dollars lost, medical procedures, retrievals, transfers, bed rest, fights with my insurance company, the bastard mouse, the upcoming and abnormally long visit of my mother-in-law and now, an unexplained cold bath. It would not shock me in the least if I was soon diagnosed with testicular cancer.

I decided to get up, let the tub run out and just take a cold shower instead. Screw it. There will be no relaxing. There will only be the underlining of my misfortune.

And so I sit here and type with my hair looking quite a bit like icicles. I accept that this is currently what I’m being given. Really, what other choice do I have? I did the best I could, I listened to the doctor, I went to acupuncture, I took all the medications as instructed, and I gave it my all and it didn’t work. There’s nothing I can do to change that. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Unfortunately, every time I think of such comforting words, that wonderful phrase pops back up in my head, “Yeah, yeah, yeah… shut the hell up.” I can’t be too disappointed though. It is really fun to say.