Monday, August 27, 2012

Infertility Humor of the Day

Why attend a baby shower when you can throw yourself an infertility party?

Fun games can include:
1. egg retrieval: an ovary-shaped pinata stuffed with Cadbury eggs
2. fertilization: pin the sperm on the ovum
3. see-saw (low-budget) or, if you really want to splurge, rent Emotion: the larger-than-life roller-coaster (big budgets)
4. Guess the number of negative pregnancy tests in the jar -- win 5% off your next IVF cycle
5. Another guessing game:  Guess how much money the guest of honor/hostess has spent so far on unsuccessful babymaking.
6. Bingo, using the top phrases you should never say to an infertile.  Free space is "it'll happen when the time is right."
7. Instead of "What Time is It, Mr. Fox?" play "What Time is it, Dr. Reproductive Endocrinologist?"
8. Freeze (an embryo) tag!  (Warning: not everyone survives the thawing process.)

Serve sushi, wine, coffee, and anything else a pregnant woman can't eat.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In Which Our heroine should be happy about the latest update, but is instead terrified

This is a whiney, desperate-sounding post.  You have been warned.  But there is comic relief at the end.

If not excited I should at least be glad that things are moving forward.  Our donor's colonoscopy was normal, so; God-willing, we anticipate a mid-September transfer.  It will likely fall on or around Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

I should be looking forward.  I neither expect nor want to be excited or optimistic.  But must I be terrified?  I keep envisioning losing another baby or babies.  And I don't know if I'm strong enough.  I know I come from a line of strong women.  But I don't even feel like a real girl.  (Cue the Pinocchio music.)  And I had some Very Black Days and some Very Black Thoughts during this process.  I never acted on them.  But what if...?

My mentor gave me her usual wise advice today:  I need to remember I'm not in control, and I need to remember that motherhood is not the only role that defines me, nor is it the be-all and end-all.  Of course she is right.  But I struggle to take her advice.  I want to be a mother more than anything else in the entire world.  And I don't think it's just wanting what I can't (ever?) have.  I want to be a mother because I want to be a mother.  I changed my sister's diapers when I was ten years old.  In high school, I read my little siblings bedtime stories and drove carpool.  At Shabbos dinner I spend more time with my baby cousins than with the grown-ups.  There was even a period where my little sister would call me "Mama" by mistake.

Give me children or I shall surely die!

(And yes, I know Jacob's reply.)

I know I mustn't think too many steps ahead.  And I know that I shouldn't focus on a timeline because I "won't be less of a mother just because it happens at forty-five instead of twenty-eight."  But honestly -- it doesn't feel that way.  I do feel like less of a mother because I play no role in the creation of this baby.  I know this is foolish.  If someone else were talking like this to me, I would tell her that motherhood is about raising a child, not making a baby.  And the idea of waiting another seventeen years sounds SO INCREDIBLY PAINFUL.  I know that the moment I hold a baby or babies in my arms, if I ever do, the hurt will be healed and it won't matter if I am a geriatric parent.

I can't seem to take even my own advice, huh?

Do childless women get babies in Heaven?

I just want to curl up and cry, and maybe talk more with my mentor, but I have already taken up so much of her time.

Okay, I should provide at least some comic relief.  Here: I asked a patient to provide a urine drug screen today.  He provided a cup of water.  Um, busted!

And how about other good news: Husband and I celebrate our third anniversary this weekend.  We have reservations at a very fancy restaurant, and I'll be wearing the dress from our American reception, and I even bought nail polish.  I haven't bought nail polish since I was thirteen.  It's ridiculously frivolous, and why would I want to be unable to do anything for two hours while the polish dried?  But I like being girly because stupid things like nail polish and makeup make me feel like a real girl.  You don't need chromosomes or hormones to do that.

I just wish I could get out of this self-centered rut.  I need to remember how lucky I am.  Even just to be alive is a gift.

I need to get a grip.

Friday, August 3, 2012

In Which Our Heroine is not yet sleepy she's reading blogs and trying to calm herself to sleep.

The Baby Immersion weekend was actually a lovely time, no thanks to Delta for delaying both the departing and returning flights.  Seeing B and L, and S, and of course Baby A, was great.  I was very proud of myself for not breaking down even once.  It helped that B and L took a genuine interest in my struggles, and that B expressed their support for me in simple, heartfelt terms.

And I got to hold a baby  I held a sweet little two-month-old for what probably totals up to hours.  I haven't had that opportunity in so long...five years, I think.  In my arms I could pretend she was mine.  I sang to her in Yiddish and Hebrew.  I rocked her.  She fell asleep in my arms.  And I won't lie.  I pretended...that's allowed, isn't it?  It doesn't hurt anyone, and at least if I can't have real children I shouldn't be denied my dreams.

And I think increasingly about giving up.  I can't close this door yet.  I also know I will NEVER be truly happy without children of my (sort of) own, and I don't want to be happy without children because that would truly mean giving up.  But I just don't know how I can go through this again.  I nearly broke at least twice.  (Losing Baby B was easier because we still had Peanut.)  Can I venture there again?  Because I have no more hope.  This is a perfunctory exercise in futility that I am doing only because if I quit now I would always wonder if maybe the next cycle would be The One.  And honestly -- I don't want hope.  Hope hurts horribly.  Pessimism, on the other hand, is a protective blanket in which I can wrap myself.

People tell me this next cycle will work.  Why?  Why should it be any different?  Yes, I know the egg donor is a different young woman -- that is, IF she passes her colonoscopy on Wednesday.  With the luck I've had thus far...

I'm going to give a shout out to S for volunteering again, by the way.  I love you dearly.  I know I could count on you if I need to do so.

And I know my sister (who's ten years younger than I) will probably finish having children in another fifteen or twenty years, but would she be willing to make me one?  And is my late forties too late?

I am not giving up, but sometimes I don't know why.  This just feels like the definition of futile care.  And I HATE that I don't even bear the brunt of it!  Other people are taking medications, undergoing procedures, and paying more money than I can imagine, because of me and my flawed meiosis.  Why?

And the ridiculous part is, from an evolutionary standpoint, I shouldn't even exist.

I did have a sweet, wonderful, miraculous afternoon and I shouldn't neglect to record that.  I had a lovely morning clinic with one nutty patient and one very pleasant woman, and after noon conference ad a quick stop at Target, I picked up my little cousin and we made challah together.  While the dough rose we played hide and seek, and put on makeup, and ate marshmallows and chocolate chips.  And we both got covered with flour.  And yes, the challah tasted delicious.  Just like Shabbos should.