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, December 14, 2011

Infertile. Pregnant. Myself.

In the last seven months, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive several generous compliments on how I’ve remained sensitive to those who are working towards getting pregnant even though I am now pregnant after my third in vitro. Although I have genuinely been mindful of what I write on this blog and who is reading it, if I’m being entirely honest (which I tend to be on my blog), the woman I've been thinking of the most whenever I write is my former self who I will call “Still-in-the-trenches-Jay”.

When I was that person, still in the trenches, I made several promises to myself about what I would do and not do if I ever became pregnant. Some of these promises are private but some of them, I’d like to share with you, BUT, LET ME BE CLEAR: If you or someone you know has done any of the below, it’s not that I think they are wrong or that I judge them in the least. This is just my personal list in reaction to the feelings I had when I was struggling to get pregnant. They were/are:
  • Do not post your sonogram picture anywhere.
  • Never talk or post photos about your nursery.
  • No over the top cutesy-poo nicknames for the baby.
  • Don’t make every post, tweet, status and conversation about your pregnancy.
  • Never, ever forget your struggle with infertility or the others who continue to struggle.
Again, if you have done any of the above – I totally understand. All of the things mentioned are a way of celebrating an incredible, life changing accomplishment that you have every right in the world to express and enjoy in anyway you see fit.

My personal gauge though has been how would my former self have reacted if I saw, read or heard about any of these things? Sonogram pictures used to sting, nursery decor talk used to depress me, and if and when I felt like someone forgot about me and my struggles as soon as they got pregnant, it definitely hurt my feelings.

So, still-in-the-trenches Jay (or SITT-Jay for short) is the person who has been standing behind me with her arms crossed reading over my shoulder whenever I post anything on my blog. Occasionally she’ll say something like, “Oh god! Don’t write that! Give me a break!” And I’ll respect her feelings, rewrite a sentence or take it out completely. I would never want to betray my former self.

And that's how it really has felt... like I have been living with these two sides to me: The “Still-in-the-trenches-Jay” and the “Pregnant Jay”. I like them equally, they both are funny, attractive (on a good day) and good hearted but their views on fertility, infertility, pregnancy and life are not always in agreement. Because of this, in the last few months, I’ve been wondering if Pregnant Jay could possibly say anything comforting to SITT-Jay, what would it be? What words of wisdom have I now gained being almost 31 weeks pregnant? What lessons have been learned, if any?

What has stunned me is as hard as I tried, I couldn't think of anything. Sure - I wish I got a second opinion sooner and I wish I spent more quality time with my husband while we were trying… but honestly and truly… I really think I did the very best I could under the circumstances. I may not have done as wonderfully as some people and I certainly won't win any awards, but again, I absoultely tried my best and you can't ask for more than that.

So, the only thing I ever came close to in terms of what I wish I could say to my former self was this: “You are not a failure. You’ve done nothing wrong so please, please, please stop thinking that. Infertility is a medical issue and not at all a reflection of who you are as a person, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a friend or a woman. Don’t be ashamed because I swear to you – infertility doesn’t make you any less of a person or any less deserving of happiness.” The truth remains though, although this is all completely true, I don’t know if SITT-Jay would have believed Pregnant Jay or quite frankly have even listened. SITT-Jay would think, "It's easy for you to say that. You're pregnant. I'm not. End of story."

I continued thinking about all of this when I started unpacking gifts I received at my baby shower which was about a week ago. Slowly, actual baby stuff has started filling my home and surrounding me. Right around the same time, I began feeling the baby move more and more and this has been very exciting. Then suddenly last night, for reasons unclear to me, something happened that was one of the most moving, powerful things I may have ever experienced. I don’t know if it’ll make sense but I’m going to try to explain it anyway...

It hit me (and hit me hard) all that my husband and I have been through… the surgeries, the procedures, the medications, the injections, the ups, the downs, the fights, each fertility attempt that failed, the days, the months, the years, the heartbreak, the finances, the tears -- all of it. And now, here we are. I’m really going to have a baby. Exactly this is what it's all be fore. This is what we dreamed of. This is what we hoped for and wondered if it was ever going to happen. In this moment of realization, SITT-Jay and Pregnant Jay unexpectedly became one person... and that one person is having a baby.

I started to cry uncontrollably... not because I was sad but because I was so overwhelmed with happiness. It was like a montage of all the struggling flew through my head and I realized that in a few weeks, I’d hold a baby boy in my arms. The two sides of me were on the same page and that’s when I finally knew what I would say to my former self and that was, “Thank you. Thank you so much for hanging in there. Thank you for not giving up. It's because of your strength and perseverance that we're able to be a mother. Please know it was worth it. Thank you so much for going through all of that. We’ve made it... we're almost there."

Again, I don't know if this all makes sense but what I wanted to say is that although I don’t know where you are in your journey to become a mother (trying, struggling, succeeding or holding a baby in your arms), the best person to tell you the words you need to hear may very well be you.

If you could say anything to yourself right now that you think you needed to hear, what would it be? Thank you? Hang in there? Stay strong? Don't give up? I urge you to take a moment and think about it. If you hit on what it is, it may be the comfort, inspiration or credit you need not to mention deserve!

As always, with hope, hugs and humor...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Missing: Memory, Sugar and Libido

This morning, my boss asked me what the mysterious appointment in his calendar was. As it turns out, I accidentally put my upcoming OB/GYN appointment in his calendar and not mine. Perhaps, in attempt to make light of the mistake, I should schedule a breast exam for him as well.

This is the way my brain has been lately. My energy tank is beginning to really run low, multi-tasking has become more of a challenge and my memory skills are similar to Dory’s in FINDING NEMO. I ask questions over and over again (it’s not that I forget the answer… I even forget I asked the question to begin with), I look for my glasses while I’m wearing them and lately, I’ll walk through the office with no clue of where I’m going. The other day, I was thinking how not filling my lunch was… only to realize I forgot to actually eat the lunch.

I’m 29 weeks pregnant today. It’s the start of my third trimester and clearly, my brain and body are behaving like a thirteen-year-old girl who doesn’t want to do any chores. “Ummm, like, you aren’t expecting us to do anything right now, are you? Cause like I’m good here on the couch. TTYL!”

In addition to laziness, lack of organizational skills and memory loss, I’m also finding that sex is becoming less and less appealing to me. At the end of last week, I sat my husband down and told him to think of my sex drive as a store that’s recently lost its lease. We’re having an, “Everything Must Go” sale in the next week but after that, we’re out of business. That’s right – if you act now, you can get two hand jobs for the price of one! Snuggling not included.

What’s also not helping matters is I took my gestational diabetes test and I was, allegedly, borderline. I say ‘allegedly’ because I’ve been tracking my blood sugar since the diagnosis and I have yet to come up with even one remotely questionable result. So far, the special diet I’m on (what do you MEAN I can’t have pumpkin pie???) and the sticking my finger four times a day seems pretty damn pointless. And after going through IVF quite frankly, I think I’ve stuck myself enough with needless to deem myself exempt from any further torture. Really – I should have gotten a “Get Out of Needle” free card.

When I took the initial one hour test, the nurses actually forgot about me. When I reminded them of my existence an hour and twenty minutes after I drank that disgusting orange liquid they make you drink, they were like, “Ohhhhh. That’s not good. We have to take the blood exactly an hour after you finished drinking the drink. Otherwise, it’s invalid.” After threatening their lives and the lives of their children, they took my blood anyway since if I failed, I would have failed twenty minutes earlier anyway. If I passed though, I would have to take the one hour again to confirm that I did really pass. Between this and the anatomy scan I had to take three times (not to mention my three in vitros), I can’t help but feel it’s my lot and life to never get anything correct on the first try.

The next morning, when the nurse called to tell me I failed, I was excited since it meant that even though the test got screwed up, it didn’t affect the results. Needless to say, my enthusiasm about having to take the three hour test surprised my nurse. It’s not often you say to a pregnant woman, “You have to fast, stay here for three hours while we take your blood every hour and you have to drink more of that orange crap.” and have the pregnant woman respond with, “That’s great news! When should I come in???

Something about having an overly positive response to the prospect of gestational diabetes cracked me up so I decided to keep this over-the-top enthusiasm throughout my three hour test. When it came time to drink the drink, I brought my own glass and put a paper umbrella in it. Every hour I had to get my blood drawn, I would say something to the nurse like, “Woo hoo! Take my blood you sexy thing!” or “I can’t wait to see how this hour turns out!” or "Pick a vein! Any vein!" or my personal favorite, “I’m going to put on make-up for our last hour in case we’re taking graduation photos!” I don’t mean to brag but the nurses said I was the most fun patient they ever had for glucose testing. I'm quite proud of this.

Again, the results came back as borderline so they hooked me up with a nutritionist and a glucose testing meter. I’ve managed to keep my humorously positive attitude about it as the diet really isn’t all that bad… it’s just the actual needle finger pricking thing that’s a bit of a drag… especially when it genuinely seems like I don’t have gestational diabetes.

Any which way, I do think the lack of some of my favorite carbs (macaroni & cheese… I’m looking at you) and not being able to indulge in cookies and cake during the holiday season is getting to me. This weekend is my baby shower…something I’ve literally waited my whole life for and I’m telling you now - I'm going to have a cup cake dammit! I know I won’t feel guilty about it though… mainly because I’m sure I’ll forget I even ate a cupcake within an hour.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Story of My Uterus

I recently got a call from one of my nephews. He said, “Daddy told me where babies come out. I don’t think you’re gonna like it.”

November’s ICLW is upon us (http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2011/10/icomleavwe-november-2011/) so I wanted to say hello to any new readers and give you a brief overview of me, my uterus and its scintillating history. Please forgive me if I don’t get too clinical in my descriptions (i.e. medications, doses, dates and details). I’d much prefer to tell you our story as if you and I were sitting having a cup of coffee… so here it goes:

I started trying to get pregnant in February 2009. After several months of romantic interludes slowly becoming more contrived and monotonous, we tried two timed cycles using the drug, Clomid (which in my mind stands by Comical Lady Overly Moody In Distress). Neither of those were successful so we tried three IUI’s (again using Clomid): the first was around Thanksgiving, the second was around Christmas and the last one was on Valentines day (we like our inseminations to be holiday themed apparently). None of them worked.

In April 2010 (which is why I have a picture of the month of April featured on my blog), we did our first IVF using Gonal-F (the F standing for… well… you know). We had eight eggs and three embryos. Not only did it not work, but I found out right afterwards that I had a rather large uterine polyp we lovingly named ‘Jackson Polyp’, that might have been guilty of c*ck blocking our efforts. We’ll never know though for certain.

In July of 2010, we evicted Jackson Polyp and due to lack of funds, waited until January/February 2011 to get accepted into a clinical trial with a different doctor at a new clinic. On this cycle, we used a mystery hormone (how fun is that to inject yourself with some unknown hormonal fluid??? Woo hoo!) that produced ten eggs but only one embryo. Yup. One lone embryo. My husband named it Rudy after the famous underdog who ended up playing for Notre Dame (See the movie RUDY for details). Leave it to a man to make a sports reference out of a fertility disaster.

When the trial failed and we still weren't pregnant, we went to our now third clinic, our third doctor to try IVF for the third time in May 2011. We used our entire savings account to pay for it and all of my medications were donated, so it looked like a potpourri of drugs in my bedroom for awhile: Follistim, Menopur, Progesterone in Oil, Gonal-F, Estrogen Patches and needles galore! I was like an infertile in a hormonal candy store!

Between both the financial strain and the emotional, physical and psychological strain of the past couple of years, my husband and I began to forget that we actually liked each other around this point. We went into our third in vitro never having gotten pregnant once and wondering if perhaps it was time to give up on ever having kids or ever having a date night that didn’t entail talking about my husband’s sperm count or my cervical mucus.

Because the universe likes to try my patience, for our third cycle, we had thirteen eggs but again, somehow only yielded one embryo. Rudy Two - The Sequel! To be clear, one embryo is better than no embryo but when you're infertile... not only do you feel like you need more but you freaking PAID for more. I'm just sayin'.

It was then that my doctor said she suspected that, even though nothing had indicated as such in any of my tests, I had bad eggs. Literally, as I was standing in my hospital gown about to do my transfer for the cycle I was still in, she suggested what she would do differently on the fourth in vitro (How cute is she for thinking we could afford a fourth in vitro??? Simply adorable!)

In June 2011, I had every PMS symptom that I would typically have. The night before my beta, my husband and I made a list of questions we were going to ask the doctor for our “WTF” appointment but as it would turn out, this meeting would never happen.

The next morning, I took a home pregnancy test in preparation to get a negative beta later that day... only to find out that it was positive. As of today, I’m currently 27 weeks pregnant with a little boy and oddly enough, I’m due around the exact date in February that we started trying to get pregnant in the first place.

So, although my nephew is both very wise and thoughtful to warn me, I’m up for the challenge! The thought of labor, delivery, pain in general and pushing something the size of a watermelon out my already exhausted va-jay-jay frightens me but we worked hard for this and I’m just so grateful that we’ve made it this far.

To those of you who are reading my blog for the first time: stop by often, hang out, say hello, share your experiences and please join me as I, a pregnant infertile, slowly make my way to the finish line!

And of course, to those of you who have followed my journey since day one – I can never thank you enough for sticking with me, cheering me on, making me laugh and supporting me throughout all of this. It has meant more to me then I could ever begin to possibly express. And hey -- it IS uter-us... and we're all in it together.

Speaking of which, I’ve been seriously considering starting our own infertility movement called, “OCCUPY MY UTERUS!” C’mon people! Who is with me????

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Spin Me Right Round Baby

Do you ever feel like you’ve had a problem or that even your whole life is like a game of Jenga? You know that game – it’s played with wooden blocks. You take the blocks and build a sturdy tower. Then, the players start taking pieces out and moving them to other areas of the standing tower... all in the hopes that they don’t knock the whole damn thing over. Usually, the game ends with the loser unintentionally taking out that last key structural block thus causing the whole tower to collapse. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by blocks, your friends are laughing at you while you secretly wish you just played a drinking game instead.

As you know from my last blog post, my boss and I had an extensive conversation about my being out of the office quite often this past year due to my “medical issues”. These issues were for fertility treatments and now, my pregnancy. His argument was that when I’m not in the office (even for good reason), it affects him negatively. My argument was that they are valid medical issues and that he was acting like a douchebag (mind you – I didn’t tell him that last part. I just thought it really, really hard). He and I ended up talking it all out, putting everything down in writing where he wrote that he understands my health is important but my position requires I be in the office as much as possible and where I wrote that my occasional absences and lateness have been due to my pregnancy and won’t be an ongoing issue into the future… and that he was acting like a douchebag (Ok, I didn’t write that last part. But again, I just thought it really, really hard). We sent the document into human resources and all was right again with the corporate world.

Until…

On Saturday, October 29th, I got a migraine in the afternoon. This is not uncommon for me so I wasn’t alarmed. I took two Tylenol and laid down for nap. When I woke up, the pain had gone away but I felt dizzy. As the evening wore on, I went from mildly dizzy to having the spins (of course, I wasn’t drinking but that’s how it felt) and then, by Sunday morning, I felt like Amy Winehouse… the day she died. I couldn't open my eyes, the bed felt like it was flying, walking was near impossible and I felt this unnatural urge to put my hair in a beehive.

Due to the constant dizziness, my stomach eventually succumbed to motion sickness and literally every time I tried to move, I threw up. I’m not talking a little morning sickness kind of sick either. It was more like THE EXORCIST kind of sick. If people saw me, they wouldn’t say, “Hmmm. Jay is under the weather.” They would have said, “Holy shit –Give her the last rites!

For the record, I never wanted to throw up in front of my husband. Never. It’s bad enough he’s seen me be an emotional hormonal wreck during the last few years of infertility treatments. Then, add the weight gaining hormonal wreck of a pregnant woman that I’ve been in the last couple of months. Now, on Sunday, in what I can only describe as my lowest moment in quite a while, he saw me laying on the bathroom floor wearing only a pajama top, sweating uncontrollably, non-bikini waxed and throwing up non-stop into our tub. If he ever wants to have sex with me again after all of this, it will be nothing short of a miracle.

After calling the doctor, we were told that I should head into Labor and Delivery at the hospital immediately. I was, of course, VERY nervous about both myself and the baby but really, my main thought was, “Please God… let this stop. I’ll do anything. I’ll go back to church, I’ll be nicer to my mother-in-law, I’ll even stop saying mean things about how ugly Jennifer Lopez’s kids are – just please make this stop.

When we arrived at the hospital (which entailed me laying down in the backseat and throwing up some more. Again, very attractive), they immediately knew I was dehydrated. So much so, that they had trouble even finding a vein to put in an IV in to. They quickly also put a monitor on my belly to check the baby. They were concerned that they wouldn’t pick up anything as most of the women in Labor and Delivery are further along than me and… well… are in labor. However, through some sort of luck, they picked up our baby’s heartbeat and determined that not only was he totally fine but that they were also quite impressed how strong he was under the circumstances. I’m telling you – from only one lone embryo from a batch of 13 eggs right up until now, this baby has been a kick ass hard core fighter.

They gave me three bags of fluid that included anti-nausea medication and had me rest. As soon as the room cleared, the quiet kicked in and I lay on the hospital bed miserable, my husband said something I will never forget. After a minute passed, he said very matter of factly, “Today was the first time I ever heard you fart.” *sigh* Great. Yet another milestone in our marriage. Does Hallmark make cards for that?

By the end of my stay, the doctor on call guessed that I had something viral. He told me there was nothing they could do other than give me anti-nausea medication, send me on my way and hope for it to pass. And this is what I did for the next few days but when I saw it wasn't getting better, I phoned my neurologist who told me to come in to rule out a stroke. A stroke? Really? If ever there was a good reason to miss work, a stroke would definitely be a damn good excuse.

After a few tests, my neurologist said that I have an extreme case of vertigo (not the Hitchcock movie but the neurological affliction) which was probably set off by my initial migraine. He said I should continue with the anti-nausea medication, go home and rest as much as possible. This meant that I would have to be out of work for a total of two weeks. I don't know what's more amazing, that I was in yet another two week wait or that my brain apparently heard my boss complaining about missing a few days here and there and said, “Oh yeah? I see your complaint of a missed day and raise you two whole weeks. Suck on that!” It was then that my virtual Jenga tower collapsed.

To be fair, both my husband and a good friend/co-worker of mine spoke to my boss on my behalf and he has reportedly been very understanding. Still, I can’t help but marvel at the timing of this. I've spent more time than I care to admit in the past few weeks worrying about my job and now, I feel like this unexpected illness has just made things worse. In the words of Krusty the Clown from THE SIMPSONS, "This... I don't need."

Meanwhile, I did what I was told and rested. My husband dropped me off at my parents house so he could get back to work and I could get the constant care I needed as I have been unable to get around other than go to and from the bathroom. As soon as I got to my parents house, I was tucked into bed and my mother, for some unexplainable reason, started showing me her recent clothing purchases. I can only compare it to the movie, MISERY but in this scenario, I was James Caan and my mother was a very loving, well-intentioned woman who loves a good clearance sale at Talbots.

The BEST part of this dizzy fashion show though was when she showed me a pair of pajamas she bought for me. They looked a little like Vincent Van Gogh’s painting called “Starry Night”. “What is that?”, I asked.

She said, “I bought you these to have vertigo in.” Wow. Clearly, they DO make an outfit for every occasion. Vertigo pajamas. Yikes.

My father, bless his heart, kept forgetting I was upstairs and in bed. At one point, I sent him a text asking him if he could bring me lunch. It went ignored so I called him. The conversation went like this:

ME: "Hello? Dad?"
DAD: "Hello? Who's this?"
ME: "Dad - it's Jay."
DAD: "Ohhhh, hi! How are you?" (As if he hasn't spoken to me in months)
ME: "Uhhh, I'm ok. Can I have lunch?"
DAD: "Sure! How's peanut butter and jelly? It's all I can make."

Twenty minutes later, while wearing my vertigo pajamas, I ate a peanut butter jelly sandwich that looked like it was sat on. I didn't critisize though. I was just so grateful to have food.

I’m happy to report that I’m feeling better but it’s been a very slow, difficult process. I’ve spent a lot of time lying in bed thinking. I can’t really watch television (as I’ve been too dizzy), I’ve had trouble walking and up until today, the computer was completely impossible. In order to stay sane despite feeling like ass, worrying about work and dealing with my parents care taking skills, I would occasionally recite anything I’ve ever memorized: The Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer and a monologue I had in my second grade play (I played a cavity).

What really kept me from totally losing my mind though was how often I felt the baby kick. Anytime I’d worry about losing my job, or that I was never going to get better, or when I had a crying fit over how crappy I felt, the baby would kick as if to say, “Hang in there! I’m here!” It’s corny and perhaps a little crazy but I swear that it felt like he was cheering me on.

That’s one of the many things I’ve learned in the last two weeks: The timing of this has sucked and being this out of commission has been scary and frustrating but I’m pregnant… and that’s all I ever wanted. No matter how many virtual Jenga towers I knock over, I at least have that... and that means the world.

I've also learned that I can now freely pass wind in front of my husband. I’m just sayin’. The barrier has been broken.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Infertility + Pregnancy = Pissed Off Boss

Literally on the morning I received the “Neena Comment” (see here for the blog post), I had my "End of the Year Review" with my boss. It’s amusing to me that in the same morning, both my boss and a total stranger would somehow bring up how much unhappiness my uterus has caused them. Take a number people… take a number.

As some of you may remember, I started the year off informing my boss that I would be doing a clinical IVF trial in February, which would entail me having to miss a few days of work (see here for that blog post). He was not only less than understanding but as memory serves, he actually physically backed away from me when I told him about my infertility issues... as if it were contagious.

Of course, the clinical trial failed and I eventually went on to IVF 3 around the end of May, which also required taking a few more days off from work. Given the current state of the economy and the overall job market, my “infertility trilogy” (which was definitely not as entertaining as ‘The Godfather’ trilogy) wasn’t looked upon kindly. And now that I’m pregnant and have regularly scheduled doctor appointments, I suspect my boss might have been rooting for my infertility to win. Sure, this would have meant I’d remain childless… but much to his happiness, I would also never have had any reason to leave my desk (except possibly to pee).

As you may or may not know, I’m a freelance writer and an occasional stand-up comic (I’m currently on a break from performing to avoid either throwing up or falling asleep while on stage). Even though I get steady writing jobs, it simply does not pay the bills... let alone for three in vitros. Therefore, I have a day job Monday through Friday where I use my B.A. in Theatre to portray a woman who finds expense reports, photocopying and meeting planning as exciting as an orgasm. I’m sure many of you can relate. It’s truly a rare thing to get paid for what you actually enjoy doing. I think Drew Carey said it best when he said, “You hate your job? They have a support group for that. It’s called everyone. They meet at the bar.

So, until I figure out a way to collect paychecks without working, I have no choice but to remain a corporate ho. Perhaps if I were a REAL ho, I could not only get paid, but I could lay down for a bit during the day… which admittedly… would be nice.

Getting back to my review though: My boss pointed out that I’ve missed work due to several appointments and/or medical issues (the medical issues being infertility and pregnancy). Going forward, he stressed that he needs me to be in the office as much as possible. In theory, I really do understand. My ovaries and uterine lining have had their own timetable this past year and they know nothing of my boss’s schedule. I can totally appreciate that my reproductive trials and tribulations have often cut into work time. However, the fact remains that I am finally pregnant and this means, like it or not, I do have to take time away from work. I mean, I consider myself talented in many, many areas but I’m simply not capable of giving birth in my cubicle without attracting some attention. If that’s what it comes down to, I’ll at least have to make sure I put out a tip jar. Why not?

The thing is even when I have been out of the office after various retrievals, for my polyp removal surgery, while I’ve been on various bed rests and most recently, right after my amnio, I’ve always plugged in to work from home… even when I was still waking up from anesthesia (which explained the very unfortunate email I sent to the Chief Operating Officer of my company telling him how many eggs we got).

My point is that even though I have missed time here and there, nothing has ever been dropped, I’ve gotten my work done and I’ve made every effort to do everything I can to balance both my fertility and my job. And I swear - if he had any idea what it was like to go through infertility treatments, an abundance of hormones and worst of all – negative betas, all while trying to work and appear normal, he’d not only be shocked that I’ve shown up to the office at all but that I've managed not to attack fertile co-workers with my pencil sharpener.

I just can’t help but wonder if perhaps I had never taken time off for the infertility treatments in the first place, whether he might have been more patient about the pregnancy itself. There’s just nothing I can do about that now though. If only in addition to maternity leave, companies considered infertility time. Or how about just a mental health day? Something! Throw an infertile a freaking bone Corporate America!

For now, my focus is on trying to schedule early appointments before work and resist the urge to staple things to my bosses head. Hopefully soon, somehow, my boss and I can start 2012 in nothing but a positive, happy place where he and I never again discuss what is and isn’t coming out of my birth canal and how it affects my day job.

Lastly, I did want to briefly acknowledge the overwhelming response to the Neena Post from last week. I have no idea if she ever checked back or if she read any of your many entertaining, humorous, blunt and hard core responses but I personally was blown away by how insightful they were. I also want to thank you for so many kind, encouraging words. It meant a great deal to me – truly. It was ‘Exhibit A’ that many who read my blog are supportive, generous, thoughtful, funny as hell, good people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Calling All Infertiles: I Want to Hear From You

This morning, I received the following comment from “Neena” (I didn't correct any of the typos... I'm literally cutting and pasting exactly what was written, how it was written):

You should change your blog name from the Two Week Wait - because it is misleading. You are not in that place, and you stop pretending to be "one os us". As one of your comments said "Welcome to Mommy World" - you and all like you should be honest and say "Thank the fuck I am out of that Infertile World" - you have now joined "The Club", that the rest of us are still excluded from. Enjoy it and leave the rest of us to our grief for goodness sake. Oh and by the way, 3 IVFs and you are pregnant - GIVE ME A BREAK! Try 5 IVFs, numerous operations and surgical investigations and a dead baby "born" at 20 weeks and THEN tell me your "boo-hoo-but-yeah for-me" story. Vy the way you adopted and find for your treatments - I assume that you will have the decency not to have a fund for your new baby? I totally sympathise with the person who sent you the "horrid" comment - s/he is hurting like the rest of us and frankly when we first came to read your blog it rang "true" - now it is just bogus, and supercilious, because frankly, you should now be blogging as you truthfully are - thankful to be pregnant and away from the hell of infertility. You may think that you still have the right to write about infertility - I personally think you should keep your patronising "I'm going to be a Mommy" drivel to yourself - but heh, what Mommy-to-be EVER keeps her patronising drivel to herself these days. I am totally surprised that you did not post up your sonogram - that would have been more honest. Oh, and as for you writing to your relative - SHAME ON YOU. You had no right to appease yourself at her expense - you can NEVER understand what she has been through unless you have been there too (and I have, and even I would think thrice about writing to her!)and luckily for you, you have not .....YET.

First and foremost, Neena – I’m very sorry to hear of your loss at 20 weeks. No one should have to go through that and I wouldn’t pretend for one second to know what that is like. More than anything, you have my deepest and sincerest condolences.

As for my response, I could attempt to address each of your accusations, criticisms and frankly, some of your seemingly hate filled statements but would it change your mind? Probably not. I can only say this: It’s clear from your comment that you’re hurting and angry. And frankly, after five in vitro’s and a loss at 20 weeks, no one would ever blame you. However, the thing that’s also very clear from your comment is you absolutely don’t know me, who I am, what I stand for or what I care about in the slightest. If you did, you would know how truly off base and incorrect what you wrote about me is.

That being said, I do appreciate you sharing this very strong opinion. I have no doubt that others who have read my blog may feel exactly as you do. This is why I wanted to dedicate today’s post to your comment. I hope you will check back, read what others say and then, I'd strongly recommend you stop reading my blog. You seem like you'd be much happier if you simply don't read what I write and went on on to read some one else's blog you can better relate to.

So, let’s talk about it, shall we? Readers, commentors, infertiles, pregnant infertiles, new mom’s and anyone else who stops by and reads my blog, what do you think? I want to hand this over to you. If you also have "only" had three in vitros, did you not really suffer? If you get pregnant after dealing with infertility, should you never speak of it again and pretend you no longer care about people still going through it as Neena suggests? Is Infertility a “whose pain is worse?” contest? And most important and most seriously, even though I’ve asked this before, I’ll ask it again, should I retire this blog and just start a new one? Thoughts? Feelings? Suggestions?

And don't worry regular readers -- no matter what the future holds for this blog, I promise at least one more post that will be fun, funny, possibly include the word 'penis' and will return to my regularly scheduled life. I just thought this was worthy to open up for discussion, debate and comments.

As always, sending you all back love, light and humor…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pregnant and Hated?

Since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve noticed a very slight increase in angry comments and pissed off emails and an even slighter decrease in blog followers.

Losing followers is one thing. It’s to be expected and frankly, I completely understand it. When I was in the thick of trying to get pregnant, reading blogs about others who were pregnant, even if they struggled, were not always my cup of tea. It really depended on where I was at emotionally and where I was at in my journey. If I was gearing up for an IVF, I found these blogs inspirational. If I had just received word of a negative beta and saw my savings account was down by a couple of thousand on a “wasted” cycle, my joy for others was not as enthusiastic and genuine as it could be.

Let me just say that if reading my blog upsets you, annoys you or doesn’t help you while you deal with infertility, then dear god – please feel free to stop reading. I will miss you terribly and I’d certainly hope you’d consider coming back at some point to say hello but I would never want to make anyone unhappy. Infertility is f*cking hard and if reading what’s going on with me doesn’t help, then I’d hope you’d do what you need to do to feel better. Any which way, with all my heart and soul, I wish anyone and everyone who reads my blog to have their happy ending… whatever and however they can get it.

Now, as for the angry comments and pissed off emails, getting those have not been what I would describe as a good feeling. It’s one thing to choose not to read the blog. It’s entirely another to go out of your way and actively express your hatred for me or for something I’ve said. (Example: Please see here)

I do try to remember that it’s not personal. Mind you - I don’t mean to diminish the fact that I’ve clearly said things on my blog that have upset people or perhaps have even gotten them to hate me on some level but at the end of the day, they don’t really know me. They wouldn’t even recognize me if they saw me on the street. I almost want to say to these people, “Hang out with me. Let’s have a drink! THEN, you can hate me if you want!” Truly - if you meet me and think, “I just don't like Jay. And can you believe what she said about Jennifer Lopez’s kids being ugly? How rude!” I just don’t understand why someone would go out of their way to tell someone they don’t even know, that they haven’t even met that I’m a bitch who deserves to die a miserable death soley because I mentioned that having morning sickness isn’t a sexy feeling.

(And a quick side note – I don’t blame Jennifer Lopez for her kids being… well… not the most attractive. I don’t want to name names but let’s just say that I think its someone who's name rhymes with Shmark Shmanthony’s fault.)

Anyway, I could be wrong here but I never got such emails or comments when I wasn’t pregnant. It’s since I’ve been pregnant that I seem to so easily tick off people. One thing that seems to irritate people the most is when I have the audacity to say anything negative about being pregnant... and at the risk of pissing off more people, I’d like to quickly address that:

A) Being pregnant doesn’t mean that they automatically revoke your “Sometimes I Need to Vent Card”. Of course, if all my blog posts were about how much pregnancy sucks, that I hated every minute of it, that I was disappointed in whatever the sex of my baby is (so you know, I would have been thrilled even if the baby were a hermaphrodite by the time I did my third IVF) or if I was endlessly bitching and moaning, I’d more than agree with people being for annoyed with me.

However, if I occasionally complain about being embarrassed about throwing up on a street corner in front of strangers, after almost three years of trying to get pregnant, I believe I've earned that right. Hell, if anything, I paid thousands of dollars to express the rare complaint if I want to!

Also, on the flip side, if I did nothing but marvel at how wonderful it is to have hemorrhoids, how getting an amnio was more fun than a trip to the Bahamas, told you how much I enjoyed my nipples changing colors so often that they were like mood rings and wrote non-stop about how pregnancy was an orgasmic cake walk of happiness, sunshine and lollipops, not only would you seek to have me committed, I’m pretty sure I’d get even MORE hate mail than I’m already getting now.

B) If and when I do occasionally have a complaint about being pregnant, that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful. That is one I’ve heard a lot. The fact that I’ve pointed out a few difficulties I’ve had while being pregnant doesn’t mean that I’m any less grateful. It’s like anyone who complains about their husband when they are happily married. You love him (hopefully) and you can’t imagine a life without him but when he uses all the toilet paper and doesn’t replace it, like it or not, it’s annoying.

I’ve worked very hard for this pregnancy. I’ve dreamed of being pregnant for as long as I can remember and to finally be here after going through so much and after beginning to think it was damn near impossible – trust me – I’m grateful. Actually, I’m more than grateful. I’m an emotion that hasn’t’ even been invented. I’m grateful, humbled, respectful, appreciative and thankful all rolled into one. I’m grahumresativeful.

Another thing that has bothered me the most as of late though was when I received an email from some anonymous person chastising me for daring to contact a relative of mine who recently lost her baby. Her issue was that I had no right to do so since I’m pregnant and having a pregnant person sending an email to someone who just lost their child is morally reprehensible.

On the surface, I understand the point and this person is more than entitled to their opinion. The problem is we’re talking about a woman who I’m related to. She just lost her baby and the fact that I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I don’t love her any less or that I don’t care. I can’t even imagine not acknowledging that she’s just experienced a heartbreaking loss and if the roles were reversed, I can't imagine a relative, pregnant or not, not reaching out to me. (This was discussed on the blog here and here).

The same goes for a few of my friends beyond the blogging/Twitter world that I know personally who are dealing with infertility. I love and cherish these people. To not send them an email or call them to say, “I want this for you”, “Are you ok?”, “Is there anything I can do?” or “I’m so sorry” to me is not only not being a good friend but it’s unforgivable. Seriously – If the fact that I’m now pregnant stops me from reaching out to people I care about when they are suffering, how big of an asshole would I be? I simply can't imagine doing that to anyone.

That being said, if they don’t want to talk to me or if they say, “Jay – I can’t deal with you now or your pregnancy”, I would completely respect that, abide by their wishes and do whatever they asked me to if it would help. That’s their right to take some space from me. But for me to automatically eliminate myself from their lives or their problems because I’m pregnant doesn’t feel right to me. Rest assured that I've expressed all of this to the friends I'm referring to, that they can tell me to F-off at any time and so far, none of them have.

That’s the other thing (and here’s another point that I’m sure will annoy someone): Now that I’m pregnant, it doesn’t mean that it automatically erases all the feelings I had over the last couple of years of struggling. I have no money in my savings account, I’ve attended baby showers and felt like a failure, I’ve done timed cycles with Clomid, I’ve done three inseminations, I did three in vitros and I’ve felt the pain of infertility as much as anyone else who has gone through it. I haven’t forgotten that. I have tremendous respect for anyone who goes through infertility and I would never intentionally want anyone to think anything to the contrary.

So, to sum up, I’m not saying you can’t agree with me and I also don't mean to give the impression that I'm whining that people don’t like me as much anymore. The only thing I’m trying to do with this blog entry is vent about the extra flogging I’ve been taking lately and to attempt to respond to some of the things that a few readers have brought up.

But putting all of that aside for a moment and to end on more of a happy note, the majority of people who read my blog have been nothing but gracious and supportive. For every poopy email I receive, I’ve gotten at least five lovely emails from people either fighting the good fight or who also have found themselves recently pregnant. For those people, I’m genuinely eternally grateful.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Pregnant or not, infertile or not, pain is pain. We need to help and support each other and if it’s a choice between being angry and hateful or understanding and kind, I’d choose the latter every single time.

In closing, to those of you who are about to write me a negative comment or critical email, you do what you have to do. This is my blog and I’m just trying to express where I’m at and how I’m feeling in the most respectful manner. If that offends you, I sincerely apologize as that’s never my goal. If you feel you can’t read my blog or if you have decided you don’t like me for whatever reason, please know that in return, I wish you nothing but the best. We can’t please all of the people all of the time.

And no matter what – I still think Jennifer Lopez’s kids are ugly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Boy, Oh Boy!

First, the big news is that I found out I’m having a boy. That’s right – a little, tiny penis is growing inside me. I can’t even believe it. Before I got married, I was single for so long and spent so many years trying to understand men. Now, here I am about to have a little man. I hope and pray I can understand him!

Apparently, the baby can start to hear around twenty weeks so starting week twenty, I’m going to say these two statements to him over and over again:

1. No one will ever love you more than your mother.

2. If you say you're going to call a woman, you’d better f*cking call her.

The woman doing the sonogram asked my husband and me if we wanted to know the sex of the baby and we both said yes. She said that if she was able to see anything, she’d let us know. Five minutes later, she went, “WHOA! You still want to know the sex???” We knew immediately that it had to be a boy with that reaction. I mean really? Who says “Whoa!” to a vagina other than perhaps Joey Lawrence? Man, what a crappy catch phrase that was, huh? Damn you writers from BLOSSOM. Damn you straight to hell.

Right after the appointment, my husband made a list of all the things he can't wait to do with his son: Go to a baseball game, play catch, show him STAR WARS, etc. He also turned to me and very seriously said, "And think! You'll probably catch him masterbating when he's thirteen!" Uhhh, thanks? Frankly, I'd rather go to a baseball game. Yikes.

I’m also happy (and relieved) to report that the family member I spoke about in my last post (see here) did eventually email back. She thanked me for acknowledging her recent loss, she shared how she’s been dealing with it and she was generous enough to wish me only the best.

One thing she shared with me that I feel I MUST share with you was that when she returned to work after her loss, almost all of her co-workers avoided her and in some cases, wouldn’t even look at her. This absolutely breaks my heart as you know it wasn’t because she did anything wrong as much as it was that they didn’t know what to say. In my last post, where I debated whether or not you should acknowledge when someone loses a baby, I still think it’s a case by case basis, however, to totally avoid the person is unconscionable. Seriously – on what planet do people honestly believe that’s the best response? “Oh look… there’s that person who recently had a heartbreak. Quick! Let me run in the other direction!” Nice.

And I did end up getting an amniocentesis. I know so many of you were against that and it amazed me how many Tweets, emails, comments and even advice I got from people I work with about not doing it. To be extra clear – I was just as concerned and hesitant as many of you. I had three lengthy conversations with my doctor, I went to a genetics counselor and asked a million questions, I spoke to my husband and therapists about my feelings on it, and I went online and did as much research as possible before agreeing to do it. So, trust me when I say a lot of thought and energy was put into deciding to have it done.

A few things I learned on the subject was that when the "powers that be" initially said there was a 1 in 400 risk of complications from amnio, that was when they were doing these tests WITHOUT use of a sonogram. This absolutely blows my mind. Basically what they did was stick a needle in blindly and take a sample. If that’s the case, I’m surprised the statistics weren’t worse! Nowadays, it’s more like 1 in a 600 risk and the chance of miscarriage was a 0.5%.

Also, when they put a needle in the amniotic sac, it is not like a balloon that pops. I'm sure you all knew that but in my head, that's what I imagined. It turns out that it’s more like sticking a very small needle in your skin that starts healing as soon as the needle is removed. It's not as fun as a vacation in Bermuda but most of forty-five minutes for the amnio is taken up by doing a sonogram, sterilizing and prepping. The needle is usually in for no more than 60 seconds. For some, it doesn't hurt. For me, it pinched a little and I had a slight back pain afterwards but that was the worst of it. They have you on bed rest afterwards to help the healing process along… and in my case, to help me catch up on some serious crap television.

The main reason I decided to do the amnio wasn’t that I thought I would ever terminate the pregnancy, but it was more that if something was wrong, I would much rather be prepared and have the time to research Down Syndrome and find the very best way to raise the child.

Let me be EXTRA clear here though, I am in no way saying that what I did is the “right” or “best” choice. It was the choice my husband and I felt the most comfortable with. I don’t want anyone to ever think that I’m telling them what to do because whether to get an amnio and what you would do with the results are nobody’s business but your own.

That’s what kind of stunned me about the whole experience. On Twitter, I had asked people what their experiences were with amnio but I never asked, “Do you think I should get one or not?” However, I received tons of responses urging me not to get one. I don’t take offense to that at all since really, if anything, I think they cared enough to give me their opinion. Again though, I think it’s close to impossible to tell someone what to do in those circumstances. You have to do what's right for you.

As I mentioned earlier, even people at work, when I told them I would need to work from home because I was getting an amnio, openly shared their opinions. I had three different people say, “Oh don’t do that!” and I had four people tell me they had it done and it was no big deal. Again, who can say what’s right or wrong? Different things work for different people.

Any which way, we did the amnio this past Thursday and I got the results on Friday saying that everything was ok and that the baby was healthy. They also confirmed that the baby is a boy which I appreciated. A friend of mine was told she was having a boy and then the week after, she found out that she was actually having a girl. Apparently the person who did the first sonogram mistook the umbilical chord as a penis. Whoa indeed. That would be one hell of a big penis!!!

All in all, things are good. I now have to learn about all things boys. I haven’t had a lot of experience in the boy genre so I’ve got to bone up on sports, trucks and army toys. I would describe myself as a girly girl and if I were having a daughter, I had anticipated make-up lessons and pink fairy dresses. Unless this baby is a drag queen, I’m pretty sure those things are out now. Dresses or trucks, I’m just so grateful that our baby is healthy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Facebook, Family and Freaking Out

In the past few weeks, I’ve been waking up more often in the middle of the night and going to the bathroom. My husband, who never did this before, has started asking me, “Where are you going?” Usually, it’s four in the morning so I want to talk as little as possible but I’d love to say to him, “It’s four in the morning, I’m wearing an extra large t-shirt with no underwear, I have my mouth guard on and I’m heading to the bathroom. Where the hell do you think I’m going???” If he asks me again, I may answer, “I‘m heading to Nepal to climb Mount Everest. Don‘t wait up.”

This new line of questioning in the middle of the night I’m going to take as my husband being more protective and concerned about me now that I’m seventeen weeks pregnant. I can’t really blame him as I’ve been just as nervous and cautious. I even bought one of those home fetal heart beat dopplers. I must mention that my husband has often used it to sing to me with it. It’s like his own portable microphone. It’s cute and annoying all at the same time.

I try to limit myself to one night a week where I check the baby’s heartbeat. One night last week though, I couldn’t find it and I freaked me the f*ck out. Now, I majored in theatre, I have no medical background and to put it bluntly, I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing. Frankly, it makes sense that I can’t find the heart beat every single time as I‘m not the most qualified person for home health care. I also wouldn’t be surprised if our baby is like, “Dude! Can you leave me alone! I‘m gestating here!” and has turned away from the microphone for some privacy. Either that or the baby has heard it’s father’s singing and hides in shame.

Rest assured, the next morning, not only did I throw up on a street corner in the city (I assume that was the baby’s way of saying hello) but I found the heartbeat again later that night. Since this incident though, my husband has hid the Doppler. He did this to keep me from driving myself nuts and to perhaps rehearse a new number.

Now obviously, we all know that I struggled desperately to get pregnant. We also know that the more you connect with people in the infertility community, the more you hear horror stories of what people have gone through and all that can go wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ve had my share of heart break but I know so many who have had it profoundly worse and for that, they have my undying love and respect. All of this makes me especially cautious when it comes to this pregnancy… but there’s also another factor that I haven’t mentioned before that has also put me on edge.

Without going too into detail out of respect for the person involved, a family member of mine lost her baby somewhat around the point of where I am now in my pregnancy. We are not terribly close but the fact that this loss was not only sudden but also remains unclear as to what went wrong or why deeply upsets me. This also happened the same week I found I was pregnant and I have thought about it every single day since then. Come to think of it, I think that’s what prompted me to buy the Doppler in the first place.

Recently, we decided to announce my pregnancy on Facebook. I was very hesitant to but I was getting pressure from friends, family and even my husband. I get that this is the new age we’re living in but I can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable with it. Facebook pregnancy announcements tortured my sorry ass for two and a half years (I even nicknamed Face book ‘Fertilitybook‘) and I’m amazed at how this has become such an important part of letting people know you’re pregnant. The importance of Facebook in society in general is beginning to concern me. I’ve had two friends change their ‘married’ status to ‘single” and then receive hundred of posts asking, “Oh my god! What happened?” Do you really want to discuss the demise of your marriage on Facebook? Then, a month ago, someone posted that their father passed away but he lived eighty-five wonderful years. Do I click ‘like’ saying that it’s nice to hear he lived a long life or would it seem more like I’m happy he’s dead?

Anyway, we ended up posting something funny and not overly mushy about our pregnancy news. Still, after I hit ‘post’, I immediately thought of my family member. She’s on Facebook and although I believe a mutual relative had already told her the news, I couldn’t help but wonder if seeing the announcement upset her.

And here’s my question: When someone has a miscarriage, do you acknowledge it or not? My whole family, including myself, sent her cards and/or flowers when we first heard the news but beyond that, there has been no discussion of it. In the infertility community, I’ve heard different reactions to this. Some want to forget about it and move on. Others are deeply hurt when people stop talking about it as if it’s never happened. Everyone is different and I’m certain there’s no one way or even a right way of doing things but that’s almost the trouble. You don’t always know how the person going through a loss wants to handle it.

Still, for me, after our Facebook announcement came out, I felt I had to write her some sort of email acknowledging the whole situation. I basically said that I have been thinking a lot about her, that I sincerely hope she is hanging in there and that if my Facebook posting upset her, then I was truly sorry. I closed by wishing her nothing the best. I didn’t talk about my pregnancy (other than the announcement), I kept it short and just tried to let her know that she’s still very much in my thoughts. That was over a week ago and I haven’t gotten any response.


I can't help but feel this was a huge mistake sending this email. I had the very best of intentions and sincerely thought I was doing the right thing but the more I think about it, the more I think that if she hadn’t reached out to me to begin with, I probably should have just left it alone. I just hope I didn’t say anything overwhelmingly stupid or unintentionally insensitive. Again, it’s just so hard to know.

Meanwhile, I continue to worry, obsess and freak out over my own pregnancy. We got our second blood test results back and the risk of down syndrome is even higher. Mind you - it’s still not horrible and it looks like now we have a 98% chance of everything being ok but we’re seriously beginning to consider doing an amnio just so we can know for sure instead of worrying till February (which let’s face it, I’m sure I’ll worry till February anyway).

I’m terrified and lost on what’s the best thing to do. I was practically sawed in half several times to finally get pregnant and the thought of doing anything to hurt the baby or the pregnancy beyond scares me. Also, I myself have never had a miscarriage. Anytime I’ve heard of one, it has of course disturbed and upset me… but now, being 17 weeks pregnant and knowing first hand what it feels like to connect with my baby; well now I’m even more gut wrenched at the thought. And thinking about what happened to my family member makes me that much more scared the same thing will happen to me. How I would deal with it and what in the holy hell would I put on Facebook after already posting an announcement? It's a stupid, silly thought but one that has occurred to me.

So, there’s a lot in today’s blog post and I have this eerie feeling that I’m going to get the most anonymous, “You’re a twat” emails in response to this blog entry than anything I’ve ever posted on here before. I’m not sure why. Maybe because despite my best efforts, I didn’t handle things well with my family member. Maybe because I’m freaking out and that tends to annoy readers who find it ungrateful (which, to be clear, I could not be MORE grateful to be pregnant) or maybe because there’s someone out there who thinks Facebook is the most brilliant form of communication and I’m a big poop for making fun of it.

The plan over the next week is to talk to a genetics counselor, figure out our options, try to not worry more than necessary (if that’s possible), hope my family member doesn’t think I’m a big douche bag and let my husband ask me questions in the middle of the night and occasionally sing to me. Oh, and keep my sense of humor… I must ALWAYS keep my sense of humor.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Pregnant Infertile

If you read my blog often, you may have read my most recent post called, “But I Can’t Complain”. The post was about how I feel guilty for complaining about my morning sickness after going through years of fertility treatments. So many of your comments were incredibly kind, supportive and generous; especially those of you who are still working towards getting pregnant. I sincerely appreciate it.

That being said, I did receive one anonymous comment on that posting that said the following:

“Boo hoo... you pee and throw up. At least your pregnant you mindless twat. Some of us would kill to feel that way and your complaining. I guess you forgot what it's like, just like every other so called infertile who gets a BFP. Whatever.”

Putting grammar, punctuation and the sentiment of the comment aside for a moment, I do want to acknowledge that this is not only the first time I’ve ever been called a “twat” (at least that I'm aware of) but it’s also the first time I’ve included the word “twat” on this blog. I even wrote it down in my baby book (8/19/11 – First time Jay was called a twat!). I’d like to thank the poster for introducing the word into my blog because let’s face it: 'Twat' is a fun word.

When you get a comment like that (which is almost always anonymous by the way), the debate is whether to publish it or delete it. Some feel you’re rewarding them by acknowledging it and others feel it gives you the chance to respond. I get both sides of that argument and I went back and forth on what was the appropriate way to handle the comment.

It was when someone on my Twitter account asked me, “Is there anything to be accomplished by publishing it?” that things became clearer for me. It’s a damn good question. I don’t think the poster wanted to accomplish anything other than expressing her frustration at her own infertility and that she pretty much f*cking hates me for what she perceives as my ungrateful attitude, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be accomplished. This is why I decided to include it in today’s post.

Now bear with me for a moment… do any of you remember Pedro Zamora?  Zamora was on MTV's reality television series, The Real World: San Francisco in 1993. He was openly gay and publicly discussed being HIV-positive. This was groundbreaking television and it was before MTV became the big pile of crap that it is today. Snookie – I’m looking squarely at you.

On one episode, Pedro did some sort of motivational talk to a group of people about what it was like dealing with AIDS. He said (and I’m going on memory here), “I am not dying of AIDS. I am living with AIDS.” When he said this, it blew me away. By changing a few words, he conveyed that even though AIDS was not his choice, it was a part of his reality and he was living with it as best he could.

This quote in a weird way reminds me of how I feel about struggling with infertility and now being pregnant. Of course, there is a huge difference between AIDS and infertility and I don’t mean to compare the two directly. It’s more that I’m not just your average pregnant woman. I am a pregnant woman living with infertility. I’ve taken Clomid, progesterone, various hormone shots, estrogen patches, done three inseminations, three in vitros and suffered through embarrassments, disappointments, physical pain and both financial and emotional strain. Being pregnant, at least not for me, doesn’t erase what I’ve endured and here’s the thing: I don’t want it to.

I’ve begun telling people that I’m pregnant and nine times out of ten when I tell someone, I include either that we had a very difficult time getting pregnant or I tell them point blank that we got pregnant through our third IVF. Granted, I’ve gotten some odd comments when I tell people this. My favorite was a co-worker who said, “How do you know it’s really your embryo?” Really? We’re going to discuss this over the photocopier? And who asks this???

Anyway, I’m sure my therapist could give you various reasons why I feel the need to add our infertility struggles to my announcements, but if you ask me, I’d tell you that it’s because I’m proud of it. I didn’t just get knocked up by my husband sneezing on me one night. I worked my mother f*cking ass off for it. A fertile woman gets pregnant. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah. An infertile woman gets pregnant and she earned it through blood, sweat and tears. LITERALLY.

Plus, not for nothing but going through infertility has introduced me to the MOST amazing women ever that I’m forever grateful to have met. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or this blog: I’ve connected with people that have enriched my life. I'm as grateful for them as I am to be pregnant... and that's no bull sh*t.

Recently, I got my blood work back from my NT scan. In terms of the Down syndrome, they said for a woman of my age (which is 37), it SHOULD be a 1 in 142 chance. My blood test results however came back as a 1 in a 109 chance. Technically, that's a little less than a 1% chance but they asked if I wanted to do amniocentesis.

Again, a woman who gets pregnant easily might say, “Sure! Throw it on my tab!” But for me, I don’t know if I can do that. Although amnio is a very common procedure, there is still a risk of miscarriage. Because I am an infertile pregnant woman, I can’t even consider doing anything that might possibly harm this baby. I’m too terrified. We are going to do repeat blood work in two weeks to see if the odds have changed at all and we’ll talk to the doctor and see what she thinks, but this is another great example of what being pregnant after dealing with infertility can do to you. You worry. You obsess. You know how difficult it was to get here and you know how easy it could be to lose it.

So, getting back to my anonymous commenter. This is what I would like to say to her: Although I can’t say I relish your comment and although you may not believe me, I know EXACTLY how you feel. If I’m being honest, I know I’ve even thought that about other pregnant women in the past (well, minus the twat part) but the difference is I didn’t contact them about it.

However, you’re obviously hurting and I knew that particular post might elicit that response from someone. I even mentioned that in one of the last paragraphs of that post… that I was sure some of you would want to strangle me for bitching about throwing up.

Regardless, even though some may say I’m rewarding you or egging you on by saying what I’m about to say, I’m going to say this anyway: If you’re struggling with infertility and you’re having a difficult time, then I truly am sorry that my complaining about morning sickness upset you. I’m also sorry you’re going through this as no one should.

In short, the mindless twat is sending you back love and hope. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

But I Can't Complain...

My mother, who I adore, has a habit of saying, “But I can’t complain…” The trouble is she usually says this after a half hour of complaining.

Lately, I feel like I’m turning into my mother.

This Friday, I will be thirteen weeks pregnant. I still can’t believe it. Every time I get a sonogram and see someone in there literally waving at me, I’m amazed. After two and a half years of seeing nothing but blank empty space, it just never gets old. I love my OB/GYN, our NT scan went well, the baby seems to be healthy (we get the NT blood test results this week) and so far, things are going along as they should.

When you’ve struggled with infertility and you want nothing more than to be pregnant, you can’t imagine ever being bothered by even the worst symptoms of pregnancy. I find myself in the position now where it doesn't just feel ungrateful but it feels so incredibly sh*tty to complain. I worked so hard and spent so much money for this pregnancy that it isn't just that I can't complain, I feel like don't have the right to!

When I was nauseous the first week or so, I actually thought it was adorable. The next week, when I couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t beige (toast, crackers, bananas, etc.); I said to myself, “Well, you’ve spent good money on this nausea! I might as well enjoy it!” When I started throwing up one to two times a day during a heat wave in New York, I desperately wanted to whine but instead, I renewed my commitment to not complain. I just started to bring water, gum and plastic bags with me and vowed to keep my sense of humor.

Then, one time, when I threw up and peed on myself, I began to stop laughing. I was kneeling down on my bathroom floor over the toilet and I peed right on our bathroom area rug. The frog embroidered on the rug still smiled but I knew he felt degraded. I immediately took the rug, soaked it in hot water and took a shower. The trouble is when I stepped out of the shower, because there was no rug, I slipped. Luckily, I didn’t completely fall but both my pride and feelings of attractiveness went down the toilet right along with my flavorless mashed potato dinner. You don’t know how humiliating it is when your husband asks you what happened to the bathroom rug and you have to tell him, “Ummm, yeah. I had an accident.” I’m sorry to say this wouldn’t be the only time this would happen.

When your wife is throwing up and peeing on a daily basis, it’s a mood killer. My husband loves me but to say he backed off from me physically is an understatement. I can’t blame him though. The only way these fabulous new traits would EVER be a turn on would be if you were into German porn.

Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve thrown up in pretty much every bathroom in a ten mile radius of my home. I would be remiss if I didn’t add here that if you’re ever in this situation, do all that you can to avoid throwing up at the bathrooms in Penn Station, New York. The smell alone will not help your cause.

Almost impressively, despite my inability to hold on to much food these days, I’ve also managed to gain seven pounds. My doctor says that this is actually common with women who deal with morning sickness as they tend to eat more carbohydrates. After years of infertility treatments, hormone injections, progesterone and now pregnancy, I have become a permanent version of a bloated dying Elvis.

Adding to my already poor body image, my mother bought me some maternity clothes from the Salvation Army. I tried some on this past weekend and there were quite a few that made me look like I was a sugar mamma wearing a moo moo by the pool at my condo in Miami Beach while hitting on the pool boy.

I feel unattractive, I miss seeing color in my food, my underwear is tight and I feel like I’ve had the stomach flu for two solid months now. Every morning, my mantra is, “Just try not to throw up on anyone who decides what your year end bonus should be.

I hate writing all of this and I’m sure there are some of you who are following this blog and who are trying to get pregnant who want to now strangle me (that is if you actually made it through this sad, whiny post). Here’s the thing though: I WANT TO STRANGLE ME TOO. I am annoying myself as I truly am over the moon about this pregnancy. I am grateful, humbled and deeply appreciative of every milestone and every second this pregnancy has brought me.

The fact remains though that I have genuinely tried every trick, every rationale, every pep talk and every wive's tale to get through this morning sickness that lasts well past the morning and it still sucks total ass. My doctor said that it usually eases up anywhere in between twelve to fourteen weeks and dear god, I really hope that’s true.

But really, I can’t complain…

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Infertile Sleeping Beauty

Whenever you watch a movie, there is typically a clear resolution at the end of the film, the soundtrack kicks in and the credit roll. Well, ok. I should say most movies. Physiological thriller like INCEPTION or BLACK SWAN are exceptions to this rule. With those two movies in particular, the audience not only had no clue what the resolution was but typically, they would turn to each other and be like, “Uhhh, does anyone know what the f*ck just happened???

Getting back to my point though… if you take romantic comedies for example, the hero gets the girl or the couple gets married or they have a family. It’s a general happy and conclusive ending where they live happily ever after. End of story. Cue the sappy Celine Dion song.

When you’ve been struggling with infertility for awhile, the happy ending is you get pregnant and go on to have a healthy baby. That’s what you’ve been working towards, struggling with and wanting more than anything. What I’m realizing though is that a positive pregnancy test doesn’t automatically mean that everything you’ve endured while trying to get pregnant is now completely fixed and happy again.

My husband and I have been through so much in the last two and a half years. We’ve had medicated cycles, inseminations, in vitros, financial strain, debates on how to proceed, periods of depression and our own separate feelings of failure to contend with.

It's like our relationship is a country. Our country has been under attack for the last few years. We’ve been hit with Clomid bombs, estrogen grenades and financial ruin. However, the attack appears to be over and the President is currently assessing the damage. Our country still stands but frankly, it kind of looks a little like sh*t right now.

Now, I don’t mean to "over metaphor" you to death but I need to add one more. Lately, I’ve been feeling like the “Infertile Sleeping Beauty”. I’ve been in a hormonal, depressed coma for over two years and just now, I’m waking up. I’ve behaved badly. I’ve whined and put Sam in a position more often then I would like to have to take care of me. I complained about our lives, our infertility and often pushed aside what was good about us and our relationship. I have not been myself. Not the real me and now that I’ve “come back”, and even though I know in my heart that I handled things the best I could, I can’t help but be slightly mortified at my behavior. “Who WAS that chick? What a lunatic!

I don’t know if Sam will ever fully understand what it felt like to be on one medication after another; hormonal, upset, physically tortured (in a sense) and worst of all, feeling like a total colossal loser as a woman. We all know on paper that having fertility issues does not make you a failure… but that’s simply not how it feels. Of course, this doesn't excuse my two and a half year long tantrum. It’s only meant to try and explain it. No matter the reasons, I feel terrible about my reign of terror and I have apologized to him often.

In the thick of it though, while I was off having my prolonged mini-depression, I think it’s safe to say that Sam felt abandoned. He gave me space but that space slowly created distance and in that distance, we appear to have created different coping skills. Sam began playing online video games and took up photography. I turned to the online community (which has been enormously helpful) and started reading the most mindless chick lit books I could get my hands on. More and more, we had our own little lives and our own ways of dealing. It was like, “I need to decompress… I’m going to this side of the apartment… you go to yours… I’ll just see you at the next retrieval.

I don’t mean to give the impression that Sam and I are desperately unhappy. We absolutely love each other, he is still very much my everything and we’re beyond grateful to be ten weeks pregnant. It’s more that we’ve created some counterproductive habits, our relationship has been strained and we aren't on the same exact page as much as we used to be. Luckily though, we're in the same book... and possibly even the same chapter... so there's hope!

Any which way, this is the time, more than ever, to come back together and rebuild. We have to become reacquainted with one another and develop new habits and strategies to work together. It’s not, “What can I do to get through this?”. It’s “What should we do to help each other out and plan for the future?” I realize we should have been doing this all along, but as many of you know, when you’re in the hell of infertility, you really do what you need to do to just get through the day.

We’ve been making an extra effort to spend more time together and we’ve been going to couples counseling more frequently. There are things he feels like he can say to me that he couldn’t say to me before (when I was in my Infertile Sleeping Beauty state) and I am way more together now to actually hear him and express myself in a coherent manner. We’re figuring out how to reconnect, to better communicate, to decide what type of parents we want to be, where we want to live, how to work out the financial future and how, most importantly, to be one big happy family unit.

It’s a process and I know now that I was na├»ve to think getting pregnant would magically fix the damages of the past few years. It takes work. I just hope that when the baby is born and the credits begin to roll, Sam and I are starring in a Romantic Comedy with a happy ending and not a physiological thriller where everyone is like, “Was that a happy ending? Did they dream it was a happy ending but it’s not? Where am I? Whose underwear is this?”

I guess we’ll see...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

My husband and I were laying in bed the other night when he said to me, “Listen. I love you and I’m not trying to be difficult but I really don’t think I can “handle” diapers. I’m sorry, I’m just being honest.

In response, I said, “That fine… as long as we’re clear that I don’t think I can “handle” performing oral sex until you’re able to “handle” diapers.” We’ll see what happens…

This past Friday, we heard the heart beat of the baby (now allegedly the size of a raspberry). It was 175 beats per minute and it sounded like the fetus was a pro-boxer hitting a punching bag. My Reproductive Endocrinologist also remarked that the baby had grown quite a good amount since our last ultrasound. I can only assume that the baby has inherited my curvy genes.

I told my RE that I had made an appointment with an OB/Gyn in two weeks. I added, “Not that I’m breaking up with you yet though…

She smiled and said, “Well, that’s ok, because I’m breaking up with you. It’s an amicable break-up.

When I asked her what she meant, she said, “This baby is officially too big to be here.

Now, I’m not an overly emotional person but for some reason, that made me cry. It was a happy cry but one where I couldn’t even talk or collect myself. It’s safe to say that I think I threw everyone in the room for a loop. I was just so overwhelmed that I was finally graduating from a fertility clinic… and that for now; the baby was strong and healthy. I had to check my driver’s license to make sure this was actually happening to me.

So, for the next two weeks (again, another two week wait), I’m in between doctors. I’ve been relying on friends, the internet and books for advice while I notice new symptoms and cravings. For example, I’ve noticed I’ve been listening to more Queen music. Does this mean I’m having a boy, girl or an English flamboyantly gay rock star?

I’ve also been getting more and more morning sickness (although in my case, it’s pretty much all day). I have a friend who, whenever she was pregnant, would do a running commentary on Twitter of how many times she threw up in a day. She'd even go into horrific detail including what meal preceeded the event. Even before I had fertility issues and became a super snarky sourpuss times ten, this used to annoy the sh*t out of me. Who wants to read about any activity involving you, a toilet and any kind of bodily function? I don’t care if it’s only 140 characters. It's disgusting!

So obviously, I could never sit here and whine about throwing up. Aside from the fact that it’s for a good reason, one that I’ve wanted my whole life, I can never forget that I paid $15,000 for this. I’ve spent good money and I want all the bells and whistles!

However, I do feel the need to say a few things on this subject. Hopefully I can do so without being too graphic and without making any of you want to hurl:
  1. I am now living off of toast, bagels, crackers and ginger ale. Picasso had his blue period. I’m currently having my beige period.
  2. I have mastered the art of cleaning my toilet while using it. Martha Stewart would be so proud.
  3. My respect for bulimics has grown exponentially.
  4. Yesterday, I dry heaved so hard that I peed at the same time. This, my friends, was not my sexiest moment.
I’ve tried saltine crackers, ginger ale, smaller meals, Tums, ginger candy and preggie pops. Many have suggested I try medication but my doctor “doesn’t believe” in giving anti-nausea medication in the first trimester. I can respect that and in reality, this should only be going on for a few more weeks. As long as I can avoid having to wear Depends and as long as I don’t throw up on anyone at my job who decides my bonus, I should be able to get through it.

As I wrap up today’s blog, I received an email from the Baby Center. The subject line was, “Baby poop guide: What you need to know!” Wow. They are sending this early! Perhaps I should forward this to my husband to give him time to prepare… and to decide which it’s going to be.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Doesn’t ANYONE Want to See My Vagina?

I had no idea how difficult it would be to find an OB/GYN. I’m not talking about one I like. I’m talking about one that takes my insurance and is accepting new patients. So far, they either don’t take insurance at all, they aren’t accepting new patients, they don’t do deliveries anymore, they’ve moved out of the city or in the case of one doctor someone recommended to me, they are currently in the middle of a messy lawsuit. Oy.

As you may remember, there was a doctor who actually takes my insurance, who is affiliated with the fertility clinic I’ve been going to, and who specializes in high risk pregnancies. He was my holy grail. Wait, no. He was more like my holy speculum.

Anyway, allegedly, he was reviewing my case to see if he would take me on as a new patient. If they requested I also write an entrance essay, it wouldn’t have shocked me in the least. “What My Uterus Did This Summer” by Jay.

After waiting a little over a week, I called his office back and got a receptionist on the phone. After explaining that I had called twice already but hadn’t heard back, I added, “I feel like I’m single again and I’m sitting by the phone waiting for 'him' to call.” Luckily, she laughed and said, “Ok, for that – you have my undivided attention.” She confided in me that he’s actually been on vacation (not sure why that would be a secret exactly but whatever) and she’ll go ahead and schedule an appointment. I'll see him in a few weeks.

Although I’m thrilled to have “got in”, I can’t help but be slightly annoyed that I had to be Shecky Green in order to get someone to pay attention to my va-jay-jay. My private area doesn’t need an opening act. It needs love and attention!

And on that note, in one of my many, “You’re Pregnant and Don’t Know What The F*ck To Do” books, on the subject of oral sex, they advised, “If your partner performs oral sex on you, be sure they do not blow air into the vagina.” Beg your pardon? I didn’t want that when I wasn’t pregnant. Why in the holy hell would I be interested in that now? Seriously – that doesn’t stimulate anything but my need to punch my partner. Furthermore, it’s a vagina. Not a balloon for crying out loud.

What’s super scary is you know this must have happened enough times that someone needed to put this in the book. I see the writers sitting around going, “We’ve REALLY got to make sure we address that blowing air in the vagina thing. It’s become such an epidemic!” And all the others nod in agreement. “Oh yes, we should have a whole chapter on that!”

Also, continuing my “what food, animal or mineral” is the baby this week, the baby is currently the size of a blueberry. Maybe it’s just me but this immediately makes me think of WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY when Sam Beauregarde (the father of Violet Beauregarde) says, “Violet! You're turning violet, Violet!” after she eats the incomplete three-course meal gum and subsequently starts swelling up to the size of a Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. As Sam is escorted to the juicing room, he says, “I've got a blueberry for a daughter...” Any which way, at least it’s not the size of an oompa loompa or a snozberry. Who’s ever heard of a snozberry???

This Friday, we have another appointment with my reproductive endocrinologist at the clinic to see the baby again and actually hear the heartbeat for the first time. I’m so excited and of course, nervous. I am hoping with all my heart and soul that everything looks good, that the baby is healthy and the heart beat is nothing short of fabulous. I’ll keep you posted. For now though, I’m just so happy someone will be checking things out without me having to do a stand-up routine and especially without blowing any air up my wah-hoo.