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!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Your Baby’s Name is What?!?

Sometimes, I think of the “Working Towards Conceiving” as one big board game. You roll the dice, you pick up cards (“Insemination Failed – go back 3” or “You Actually Know When You’re Ovulating This Month – Go ahead 1”), you very often get sent back to start but hopefully, somehow, you will end the game knocked up and/or holding a baby. Mind you – I’m not going to actually market this game as losing it would be too sucky but you get the idea.

Along the way, while I play “So You Want To Have A Baby!”, there have been events that have occurred that just seem to fit into a board game mentality. People, places and things that seem so silly that only Mattel or Parker Brothers could have come up with them. These days, it’s the fact that very close friends of ours can’t figure out what to name their 3-month-old baby.

Believe it or not (I know I still don’t), I’ve read my share of articles on “baby name regret”. This is when someone names their kid a name, puts it on the birth certificate, and sends out the announcement only to realize they hate what they named their baby. It apparently happens rather often but I just never wanted to believe it to be true. It just seems to… well… stupid.

In the last few weeks however, our friends Jeff and his wife, Karen, have informed us that they are not sure they like the name they gave their second kid. They are trying out a new name for the next couple of weeks and seeing if they like it better. This means that no one, including the baby, knows what his name is. Fantastic.

I know it’s never beneficial to compare yourself to others but in a series of events that feel specifically designed to torture and annoy me, I’m now adding this latest development to the list. I have been exhausting every possible resource I have to have one kid; a kid that I already have both the first name and middle name for whether it’s a boy or a girl and these people have two kids and can’t figure out what to call the latest. How nice for them.

Look – this is not a Cabbage Patch Doll. This is a human being. Pick a name and stick with it for crying out loud. The way things are going, I’m not entirely sure that after a few months, they aren’t going to change their minds again and decide they want a name that’s more topical to current news events. Heck, they may even decide they don’t like the first kid’s name anymore either. As a parent, nothing is more important than showing commitment and if you can’t even commit to a name, what the hell good are you?

Maybe it’s judgmental. Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe you think of a name, really feel it’s the bees knees and then you see the kid and you’re like, “Sebastian! He’s not a Sebastian. He’s more of a Reginald!” I don’t know. I’ve never had a baby (and thanks for bringing that up) but I just can’t wrap my head treating your child’s name the same way you wear a mood ring. “It’s blue. No wait, it’s purple. No… it’s really more of a mauve.

Perhaps I’m overreacting to all this but I’m beat down. Jackson Polyp (my uterine polyp) and Aunt Flo (my bitchy period) have coupled up and are now kicking my ass as a unified unit. I’m bleeding heavily, my cramps are killing me, I’m getting migraines and I’m growing more and more anxious about my surgery next week. Will it hurt? Will it help? Why does removing a polyp entail words like “vacuum” and “scrape”? Can’t we say “exfoliate” and “massage”? I’m not going to a hospital. I’m going to a spa for woman parts. GO WITH ME ON THIS.

Overall, I simply can’t deal with the “We’re not sure what we’re calling our kid” card. I can’t. I’m dangerously close to putting down the board game, taking my playing piece and going the hell home. If I can name my polyp and my period, you can figure out what to call your child. End of story.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shoulding All Over Myself

Lately, I’ve been finding myself waking up in the middle of the night with thoughts of doubt…

I should have gotten a second opinion sooner....

I should have started trying to get pregnant the second we got married....

I should have told more of my friends about our struggle....

I should lose forty pounds…

I should have asked for my money back after seeing AVATAR...

Thoughts like this are not helpful to either my outlook or my sleep. Aside from the fact that there’s nothing I can do to change anything that’s already happened, the word “should” automatically implies guilt and guilt, in case you didn’t know, is a wasted emotion. This however isn’t stopping me from “should-ing” all over myself…

Yesterday was the work baby shower I helped plan (discussed in an earlier post: http://the2weekwait.blogspot.com/2010/05/infertile-plans-baby-shower.html). I tried to figure out some way NOT to go; an imaginary doctor’s appointment with an imaginary ailment, call in sick (when will companies start letting people take “mental health” days by the way?), break an unimportant limb (if one exists) or get hit by a car (well, maybe just a bumper car) all came to mind. I didn’t do any of these things though. Instead, I went to the damn party. Why? Because I SHOULD. I planned the effen’ thing, it would look bad if I didn’t go and on paper, I’m a lovely, f*cking person!

So, I put on my nicest dress, did my hair, smiled, set up the cupcakes, gave the pregnant women hugs and said my sincerest congratulations. I then hid myself in a sea of single women who talked about their weekend houses, swamped bad date stories and discussed which vibrator is the best (the pocket rocket won hands down incidentally). And although it didn’t help that one of the pregnant women being honored announced that her pregnancy was unplanned, the single women did help me cope. The cupcakes didn’t hurt either.

It was more the hours afterward that were the worst. For the rest of the day, I heard joke after joke about how many women in our group are pregnant (in addition to the two we had the shower for yesterday, there are three more but they are due later this year). Of course, the ol’ “Wow… guess there’s fertility juice in the water cooler and/or coffee” was a popular joke. Then there were the simple comments like, “Women in this group seem to get pregnant so easily” and “This is a fertile department!” I finally put my headphones on and turned on my mp3 player to drown them out. Is there a radio station called, ‘WTFU”? If not, then there SHOULD be.

In addition to second guessing myself, I’ve also been feeling ambivalent about some upcoming events:
  • A few weeks from now, I’m getting together with a bunch of friends; three of them are pregnant and one just had a baby so I’m expecting LOTS of baby talk and frankly, I don’t care how much liquor is served, I don’t want to go.
  • Then, another friend of mine who had a baby a few months ago has emailed that she’d like to catch up. She in particular is one of the people who constantly asks, “So??? Any news yet????” And then proceeds to go on about how easily she got pregnant with her FOUR kids. Love her but don’t want to talk to her. At least not right now.
What stops me from blowing everyone off though is again, that word “should”. I SHOULD go. I SHOULD talk to these women. I SHOULD be nicer. I SHOULD get over it and be a good friend. I’m telling you – this word is killing me.

Thanks to the special guest star taking up residence in my uterus, Jackson Polyp (my charismatic polyp that you can follow for a limited time on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jackson_polyp), I’m in a ‘trying to conceive holding pattern’. To be clear - I don’t know for certain that as soon as we evict JP from his happy uterus home, we’ll get pregnant right away, but any which way, I know that I logically have nothing to be embarrassed of. Trouble is I am. I am embarrassed. I feel like a failure. I feel like all these pregnant women and/or recent moms successfully managed to get pregnant and I can’t. The only thing growing in my uterus is an uninvited polyp. I can’t send announcements out for that. Ok… I could but that would be insane… or funny… or both.

On July 8th at 10:10am, Jay had a several ounce polyp removed. It’s named Jackson Polyp and looks like… um… the blob from that 1950’s movie. Both Jay and Jackson are doing fine!

I sincerely am a social person and avoiding everyone and everything isn’t me. I really SHOULD just suck it up, go meet these women for drinks and talk to this very fertile friend. There have been times where I’ve acted like a normal, happy, fertile person, and I actually seemed like a normal, happy, fertile person.

Perhaps this is the role I’m meant to play these days. It’ll be a hell of an undertaking. If I pull it off, lord knows I SHOULD win a freaking Oscar.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rebooting My Uterus

At one of my old office jobs, there was a woman in tech support named Miao. She had moved to America from China only a few years earlier and her English was limited. Whenever anyone called her with any computer issue whether it was related to email, Microsoft word, the keyboard or the entire computer in general, she’d always have the exact same response: “POWER OFF! POWER ON!” and then she’d promptly hang up the phone. The amazing part is these four words were incredibly effective. Nine times out of ten, it would fix your problem without any explanation. I don’t understand how or why but it really doesn’t matter. You can’t argue with results.

After getting a second opinion, I am officially in what I can only describe as “Polyp Purgatory”. I’m in an intermediate state waiting to become polyp-free and possibly reproductively functional. Maybe it’s less like a purgatory and more like a holding pattern? Any which way, working towards getting pregnant has been replaced with working towards getting “Jackson Polyp” the hell out of my uterus.

Somewhat surprisingly, I’m realizing there are sincere benefits to being on hold. A few weeks ago, we decided to try things the old fashioned way and just have a lot of sex and see what happens. Even though we immediately put “Operation Monkey Sex” into effect, neither of us could completely put the chance of conceiving out of our minds. It’s so hard to let go of the hope… even when you’re naked, eating a banana and hanging from a chandelier. Hey – don’t judge.

Having a polyp however has made it clear that we are definitely, without a doubt, on a trying to conceive break. Who knew “Jackson Polyp” was SUCH a cock blocker?

The point is that this polyp purgatory is serving as the “power off” to our trying to conceive... and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’ve almost gone back to the way things were before we started working towards getting pregnant. For over the past year, we’ve had the best intentioned romantic dinners ruined by talks of his sperm count, my cervical mucus and whether or not we should have sex in the morning or at night. These days, none of that matters. Lately, we’ve been discussing our feelings, our families (and competing for which one is more dysfunctional) and most importantly, how in the holy hell my husband could be “Team Jacob”. Seriously! Jacob’s got nice abs and all but have you seen Edward?!? He could eclipse my moon anytime.

I’m sorry. What were we talking about again????

In addition, eating what I want, drinking what I want and not thinking about trying to get knocked up makes me feel like I’m reclaiming my body again. It’s a break I didn’t know I needed but one that I'm enjoying.

On July 8th, I’ll be having a Hysteroscopy & Dilation and Curettage procedure done. From what I’ve read, part of this process will entail scraping out both the polyp and the endometrium (lining of the uterus). The fact that they use the word “scrape” sounds very wrong to me. I mean, scraping your knee is one thing. Scraping your uterus in entirely another. I've never put Bactine on my uterus. My uterus will never fall off its bike and hurt itself so let’s just use the word “remove”, shall we?

Putting the medical description aside for a moment though, I’ve decided to look at it more as an extensive cleaning of my lady parts. I’ve powered my system down, Mr. Clean is coming in and will make my uterus all spic and span! Power off. Power on.

If Miao knew what she was talking about (and I suspect she did), I’ll be back up and running in no time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Meet Jackson Polyp

Let’s review, shall we?

After about a year and a half of more unprotected sex than a New Jersey teenager, three failed inseminations (including one involving a Starbucks bathroom… don’t ask), many expensive ovulation prediction kits, sperm friendly lubricants, Clomid, primrose oil, baby aspirin, cough syrup, desperation, thousands of dollars, periods of depression and a fantastically failed IVF, I’m still not pregnant. There has been no possible explanation… until perhaps now.

Dr. Smith (Not his real name. He is Italian though so maybe I should call him Dr. Smithoziti) is an older man and I’ve always thought very fondly of him. I had been seeing him for years as just my gynecologist and I always appreciated the intimacy of his office. It’s literally him, his receptionist, one bathroom and about two magazines. Truly. The same two magazines no matter what year it is. You don’t get lost in the shuffle, you get everyone’s undivided attention and you can read your favorite articles over and over again every time you visit. Apparently, Lady Diana Spencer is marrying some chap named Charles…

Dr. Smithoziti also happens to be a reproductive endocrinologist. When my husband and I weren’t getting pregnant; he seemed to be an ideal doctor for our situation. He already knew me, and was well educated in the matter of fertility. However, as time has passed, it became clear that it was perhaps time to cheat on good ol’ Dr. Smithoziti. My husband and I have no discernable issues and Dr. Smithoziti seemed to have no insight. Perhaps someone else could answer the question of why on god’s green earth I’m not pregnant yet.

So, with feelings of guilt and betrayal, I made an appointment with Dr. Brown at a much respected fertility clinic here in New York City. As opposed to Dr. Smithoziti office, there is an entire staff of doctor’s, assistants, nurses and they not only more than one bathroom, but they also have more than two magazines available to read in the waiting room, recent ones too. Can you stand it?!?

Since infertility is their main focus, they have seen and continue to see a countless amount of couples that are having trouble conceiving. They are extremely blasé about everything. “You can’t have kids? Fine. Fill out this paperwork and then you’ll see the doctor. NEXT!” I kind of like this. It makes me feel less like a mutant.

Dr. Brown was very nice and from what he could tell from my blood work, I’m totally fine. My husband, despite having a slightly lower sperm count, was fine as well so the doctor shared our confusion as to why we haven’t gotten pregnant. Nothing like having a medical professional say something like, “Yeah… what’s up with that sh*t?

As a lark, he decided to do a sonogram. Within mere seconds, he pointed to the screen and asked, “What’s that?” Now I don’t know about you but those are words you don’t want to hear when someone is looking at a picture of your uterus. I don’t want any mystery or surprise cameos in my personal area. This isn’t THE LOVE BOAT or FANTASY ISLAND people. It’s my vagina.

Somehow… there appeared to be some sort of polyp in my uterus. They immediately made an appointment for me to do a hystereogram the very next morning. Over a year ago, Dr. Smithoziti did an HSG with saline water but apparently, they aren’t as detailed or as informative as a hystereogram so it was time to get all Ted Turner on my uterus and colorize it with dye. Good times.

The next morning, we confirmed three things:

1. Hystereograms are not fun. I don’t care what the brochure tells you.

2. I have a uterine polyp that is taking up a good amount of space in my uterus.

3. Considering the size, it has probably been there the majority of the time we’ve been trying to get pregnant.

Obviously, this raises many a question. Why didn’t it show up on my initial HSG? Why did I just spend thousands of dollars and lose a year of my life trying to get knocked up when a big polyp was standing in the way of implantation? How in the holy hell did my first doctor miss this after countless sonograms? Was I on some practical joke reality show mocking fertility challenged women? I kept waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop out of my uterus and say, “You got PUNK’D!

Here’s the thing though and it may shock you: I’m not too upset. Yes, it sucks. This past year could have been so different and maybe I should be pissed at Dr. Smithoziti but it’s pointless. I don’t really know what would have happened had we learned about this sooner, there’s no guarantee that even after we get this polyp removed – we’ll get pregnant immediately and ultimately, there’s nothing I can do to change what’s already happened. Besides, if this is the answer to why we haven’t gotten pregnant yet, then ultimately, I’m grateful. Pissed but grateful.

All in all, I’ve been remarkably calm about all of this and I credit a good attitude, my sense of humor of course, and finally, my special migraine medication which has something in it to relax me. Ahhhhh, that’s the stuff… zzzzzz.

The lesson here is f*ck guilt. Get a second opinion as you simply never know. Sometimes, it’s really not that your first doctor sucks ass as much as it is you just need a pair of fresh eyes.

For now, my surgery is schedule for July 8th. After that, we begin again. In the meantime, I have named my polyp, “Jackson Polyp”. Anything taken up residency in my uterus MUST be creative.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grabbing June by the Balls


Do you remember in fifth grade when they tested your physical ability? You’d run, you’d do sit ups, and they’d try to force you to climb up a rope (for whatever damn reason). Do you remember the chin ups? I could never, ever do chin ups. I still can’t. I vividly remember just hanging there while my gym teacher looked at me with her arms crossed waiting for me to do something. I would offer her one amusing anecdote after another but that didn’t seem to suffice. Typically, after five minutes or so of some quality hanging, she’d let me release the bar and drop defeated to the floor.

This weekend in general, I was in the serious throws of PMS. Every symptom was there: Cramps, backache, headaches, sleeping poorly, craving chocolate and moodier than a bipolar patient off their meds.

Even though we genuinely want to take the summer to have crazy monkey sex, lose some weight (which I’m hoping you can do through the crazy monkey sex) and regroup in general, I still can't help but get sad when I know I’m getting my period. Aunt Flo has become “Exhibit A” in the case I’ve mounted against myself as being a failure. Her arrival is always a reminder of what could have been.

Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best emotional place when I got an email from one of my friends with pictures of her child. She and I started trying to get pregnant the very same month (not that I'm bitter). She now has a four month old son and I have a several thousand dollar debt. Perhaps I should email her a copy of my invoice for good measure?

Then, on Facebook (or “Fertilitybook” as I like to call it since everyone on there seems to be pregnant or having babies), another good friend of mine posted pictures of her three children. If only I could post the picture my doctor took of the fertilized eggs they transferred for my IVF. It’s a lovely photo; in black and white and the two embryos are side by side. They both even look like me – curvy and fabulous! Still though, aside from the fact that they no longer exist, they really aren’t as cute as my friend’s two-year-old daughter. They may be cuter than Jennifer Lopez’s kids though. Have you seen her kids? WOW. Too bad they look like their father… it’s a shame.

The biggest news from this past weekend was that Sam’s brother and sister-in-law gave birth to their second child; a girl. They started trying for their second kid six months after we started trying for our first (again, not that I'm bitter or anything). Yesterday, they sent me the baby’s first picture. That also happened to be the day Aunt Flo arrived. Despite trying to pass it off as some sort of “Rorschach Ink Blot Test”, I resisted the urge to send them a picture of my period.

Seeing everyone’s families grow, the pictures, the emails, etc. made me feel like I was in fifth grade again hanging from that bar only this time, I wasn’t in gym class. I was in "Fertility Purgatory" being forced to watch everyone else live our dream... just hanging... waiting for something to happen.

It’s like when you order something at a restaurant and you see a member of the wait staff put it on someone else’s table. That’s how I felt this weekend. “Umm, excuse me? I’m sorry but I think you got the baby we ordered?”

Did I mention I'm not bitter?

There really is only one thing to do when you’re feeling stagnant and in the dumps and that’s to come up with a new plan. Get active. Fight the good fight. In short – get super effen pissed off and start kicking ass and taking names.

In my case, I’ve decided to cheat on my usual Reproductive Endocrinologist (a very nice old man who I’m sure means well) and get a second opinion from a respected fertility clinic here in New York City. This shouldn’t be a big deal as it’s my uterus and I can show it to whomever I choose, but I do have a bit of guilt. I honestly don’t know why. I mean, I’ve been with my doctor for awhile now, but it’s not like he put a ring on my finger. Well, if I’m being fair, he did give me a Nuvaring once but that hardly counts.

I’ve left a message with a new fertility clinic and I’ve faxed over a request to my current doctor to ask for a copy of all my records. Perhaps a pair of fresh eyes looking at our case can come up with some explanation as to why we’re not pregnant yet. If not, then hopefully I can at least get a hotter doctor.

I’m also taking herbs that my acupuncturist has recommended, I bought the book, "The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies", I'm eating healthy, I'm taking my vitamins, I’m exercising, and I’m trying (yes, that work again… trying) to not be scared.

I’m scared that they’ll never figure out why we can’t get pregnant. I’m scared that they will find out why we can’t get pregnant and it’ll be something unfixable. I’m scared of spending more money and not getting results. Mostly though, I’m scared it’s never going to happen for us. And if it isn't obvious, I'm also scared of Jennifer Lopez's kids. Seriously - they don't look right (not that I'm bitter...)

What I need is to remember is what my fifth grade gym teacher used to say to us: “It's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get back up.” She also said, “You’re all lazy and probably won’t amount to much.” But I find the first quote far more appropriate and inspirational. Yes, I’ve been knocked down but I’m getting back in the game in the hopes that this time around... I won't get knocked down. I’ll get knocked up.

So, I have a message for the month of June – I’m handing out lollipops and whoop ass… AND I'M FRESH OUT OF LOLLIPOPS!