Mini-Update

In response to AF’s unannounced arrival on Saturday and our subsequent freakout due to my travel schedule coupled with the completely unhelpful input from the weekend nurse on call, I roused poor LG from his very comfy sleep at about 5:30 this morning so that we could be front and center at the clinic when it opened this morning.

I told the receptionist that I was there because the on-call nurse told us we needed to come in for B/W and and U/S. OK, so she didn’t really say that…the conversation went more like this:

Me: I’m doing Dr. Yacht’s February cycle, and I was told to call when my period started. That’s today, but I’m going out of town for Cycle Days 3 through 5, so, um…what should I do?

Nurse TotallyUnhelpful: Well, now, I don’t know.

Me: Should I maybe just go to the clinic Monday morning just in case?

Nurse TotallyUnhelpful: Sure, whatever, that sounds like a good idea.

Close enough.

Anyway, to my utter shock, they fit me in, and I even got the one u/s tech that deigns to tell you what she’s actually looking at on her Magic 8 Ball machine.

Little sketchy on details from that point on.  Since I was going to be on a plane, we made a point of giving them LG’s number to call so that he could get the all important numbers from the bloodwork and ask some of our questions of our regular nurse, and they decided to call on the home phone instead (WTF?) and just leave a breezy message – Continue the Lupron!   OK, then.   All in all, though, I’m feeling better about things.   We didn’t miss the window and we now have a date to start stims (2/1), so at least for now, all systems are go.

Spreading the News

Megan, over at bottoms off and on the table, had a great post telling her IVF story and wishing she could share that with her family.  It got me to thinking about one of the things I’ve grappled with over the past year of decisions, treatments, and disappointments – what to tell to whom.   LG and I have made very different decisions on that front.  I am extremely close to my mother and sister, and so they have known right from the start and have been great about asking me how things are going and providing support.  My sister, in particular, has a true gift for knowing exactly what needs to be in said in the moment – whether that’s just to provide a listening ear, to offer advice or support, or even to gently bring me back on track when I’m spinning a bit.  I am incredibly grateful for this as I know from reading other people’s blogs that so many of people traveling this road aren’t able to get that kind of support from their families.

I’ve also been pretty open about things at work…almost to a fault sometimes.  Part of that is that I’m just a pretty open person, but another big part is that while I can keep secrets like a vault when it comes to other people (a job requirement in HR), I have a hard time holding onto my own secrets.  They rattle around in my head until the slightest little thing said by someone else triggers the floodgates.  If someone asks me a direct question – I’m done for.  If I ever find myself on a witness stand (heaven forbid), I will wither and crumble under the first “Isn’t it true…”

During my first cycle, my boss as well as most of the people on my team were aware not only about our difficulties, but also that I was in the midst of an IVF cycle.   The reason for this was the thought of having to hide things or make up excuses for why I couldn’t travel the way I typically do made me more anxious than telling them did.  Having the reality of the situation out there just made the whole thing easier in my mind.  As time has gone on though, I’ve become much less comfortable with people knowing.  This was driven home after my first BFN when people would ask about it, and I’d have to put on a perky smile and blather some BS like “didn’t work this time, but we’re keeping our spirits up…!”  As a result, I’ve gone more underground.  My boss knows about the upcoming cycle, but that’s about it.

LG, on the other hand, has told NO ONE.  Not even his sister who he talks to on the phone several times a week.  She’s knows we’re trying, so probably figures something is up, but they follow the family equivalent of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell when it comes to each other’s personal life.  That is so incredibly foreign to me just as it is mindblowing to him (although he’s getting used to it) that my mom, sister, and I provide each other nearly daily bulletins on all things big and small.   He just takes a very different approach when it comes to sharing any thing beyond his opinions on great guitarists and current events.  Knowing that about him makes me all the more grateful for how open he is when communicating with me.  It makes me appreciate how special it is that he’s chosen to share himself with me in that way.

So, this time around, I’m going to take the middle road between LG’s communication style and mine – limiting the news to my mom and sister, my boss, and then of course, the Internets.  I’m so grateful to everyone who’s stopped by and especially those who’ve left comments.  Many of you are cycling at the same time, and I look forward to following your journeys and cheering you on.

Update

Just as I predicted in my post below.  AF arrived this afternoon – with no advance notice.  It’s next to impossible to get anyone from my clinic on the phone on the weekend, but finally managed to get the on-call nurse to phone me back.  I don’t know her as she isn’t one of Dr. Yacht’s dedicated nurses. She told me that she  “doesn’t know” if I need a Day 3 baseline.  Well, that makes two of us, sister.  Her suggestion was that I just show up at the clinic Monday morning and try to find someone who does know and, if I do need the cam/vampire treatment, to beg/plead/cajole/bribe them into fitting me into the always packed Monday schedule – hopefully before I have to leave for the airport for my work trip to NYC.  I plan to take LG with me as the heavy.

Guilt

I often tease LG and tell him that he must have been a Jewish or Catholic mother in another life, because he is extremely skilled at the art of friendly guilt.  Even my Irish Catholic mother, whom I thought had the lock on the title, could pick up a few tricks from him.

The one thing he has never ever ever made me feel guilty about is my inability to give him the children he so desperately wants.  Even though our diagnosis is unexplained, his SA was picture perfect, so that leaves me and my half-time reproductive system looking like the culprit.

I remember a time pretty early on when were dating – a couple months or so after we had started having the no-agenda-it-just-feels-AWESOME sex versus the methodical and everything-but-romantic-hurry,  we’re in the window-sex that would come later.  We were sitting by the lake near our house, and he looked at me and with incredible tenderness asked me about my scars.  My body bears the marks of the rather tumultuous relationship I have had with health over the years.  I have significant stretch marks everywhere (without the benefit of every actually being pregnant), due to severe childhood asthma that required high doses of corticosteroids over an extensive period of time.  I also have pretty dramatic scarring from the surgery which removed my right ovary, fallopian tube, and several lymph nodes due to (thankfully) very very early stage ovarian cancer.   Because he asked with such genuine interest and caring, I felt comfortable telling him everything.  He listened, and stroked my arm, and then quietly asked me, “Can you have kids?”  This is a man who has been telling his friends for years that he wants 5 kids.   I told him that there was no reason to believe that I couldn’t.  That people get pregnant with 1 ovary all the time and the doctors said there was no reason to think I’d have any issues.  (Of course, to be fair, they did say that 10 years ago…).   He kissed me and we went on with our day.

I have always known how much he wants to be a father.  If it’s possible, maybe even more than I’ve dreamed about being a mother.  And because of me, this is a dream of his (ours) that is so far – and maybe forever – elusive.  I feel horrible guilt about that.  On some very deep scary level,  I worry that if it doesn’t happen for us (to date he hasn’t wanted to talk about adoption or other alternatives, but it may just be too early for him for that), that something will be lost in our relationship, because he feels deprived of what he’s wanted for so long.  He’s never given me any reason to think that…but there it is all the same.   I desperately hope – for both of us – that we find our way to the family we both dream about.

The Name Game

I really struggled coming up with a name for this blog.  When I was thinking about starting my own, I would look over all those listed on blog rolls like Stirrup Queen’s List of Blogs and be impressed and more than a little cowed by the creativity I saw when it came to blog titles.   I confess I probably would have started this blog sooner if it weren’t for the major blog name block.  Finally, as these things typically happen, I had my burst of inspiration when I least expected it…  on a conference call with a co-worker who was driving me up the wall.  (One shouldn’t necessarily correlate the fact that I work in HR with me being a people person.)   As I was on the phone trying to keep my frustration from coming through, I mentally started singing an old childhood standby to myself – The Patience Song.  This is a song from a children’s CD called The Music Machine, which has great little songs about joy, peace, love, and my nemesis – patience.   The song is sung by a father snail – Herbert – to his son and goes thusly:

Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry

When you get impatient, you only start to worry.

Remember, remember that God is patient too,

And think of all the times when others have to wait for you.

As my sister and I have grown into adulthood, we’ve both developed a charming tendency (at least we think so) to sing the song to our mother and respective husbands anytime a gentle reminder is needed.  I’ve also been known to sing it myself – hence the rendition mid conference call – to try to bolster my highly limited patience reserves.  This time, however, as I mentally went through the lyrics it struck me how related this is to dealing with infertility, which is an incredible test of one’s patience and ability to wait for answers, for understanding, for meaning, and to keep a hope and spirit going in the face of that wait.  Thus, a name was born.

Right back at ya, Universe!

I think at some point all of us dealing with infertility feel at some point that the universe is flipping us a giant bird by arranging for constant reminders of what eludes us at every turn. I am having one of those weeks – and given that I’m under the influence of Lupron – not dealing with it well. May I illustrate…

Yesterday, after doing a careful inventory of my left-over meds from IVF #1 to send to my coordinator in preparation for IVF #2, I logged onto my e-mail to send the list her way. There, in my inbox, was an e-mail with the always clever “Hello Stranger” subject line from a former co-worker with whom I have not spoken for at least 2 years. Since I’ve made it my New Year’s Resolution to try to reconnect with former friends who have faded away due to time and circumstance, I eagerly opened it. The first part was harmless – just telling me about her change of jobs. The second part read as follows:

“I also have some personal news… I am having a baby in about 3 months! We are very excited for our little surprise! I guess life happens :-)”

Why yes, I suppose life does happen. Just not to me — at least with respect to surprise babies… Not even with drastic medical intervention come to think of it. I was surprised by the funk that this e-mail kicked off. Up until now, I’ve been pretty lucky in that I could genuinely say that pregnancy news in others didn’t kick of a maelstrom for me, but this was different. I think it was the “whoopsie” like manner in which the news was presented. (In fairness to this person, she has no idea that we’re dealing with this, so this wasn’t an issue of insensitivity – just bad timing.)
The second reminder is a little harder to compartmentalize, because I’m in the throes of dealing with it at work. I work in HR and manage a team of 9 – all women. As of today, I have 1 person out on mat leave (in Canada no less, where mat leaves are a year – definitely a topic of another post), 1 going on mat leave in February (also in Canada), and 1 who just let me know today that she will not be returning from mat leave. Much of my time at work as of late is trying to figure out how I’m going to cover for all of these – particularly since given the economy, it’s likely I won’t be able to replace some or all.*  The irony of simultaneously feeling both horribly put out from a manager’s standpoint and personally jealous is not lost on me. I don’t begrudge any of these women (2 of whom did not have an easy road getting there) their happiness, but enough already. You know how when you buy a new car and just about every 3rd car you see on the road is the same as yours? Well, here’s the deal, universe – I haven’t bought the car! I’d appreciate a little break on the pregnancy reminder drive-bys!

Edited to Add:  In Canada, because maternity leaves are a year, it’s common to bring someone in on 12 month term contract to cover the workload while the person is on leave.  Didn’t want people to think that I meant permanently replace.  Full compliance with FM.LA and all applicable Canadian laws here!

Inaugural Post

Starting something new is always hard – where to begin…? While I’m a bit of a latecomer to the world of blogging, I’ve recently become very entrenched (at least by way of lurking) in a particular blogging community – that of my fellow adventurers in infertility. Now I’ve decided to jump in with both feet – both by capturing my own story here in this blog and also by commenting on those that have been such an important part of my journey thus far. Here’s the short version – more to come as the story unfolds. I’m 37 years old and married to an amazing guy – I’ll call him LG here (not his initials but rather shorthand for the nickname we use for each other). It took us a long time to find each other, but we finally did and now have a year of marriage under our belts. We knew we wanted a family, and because of our ages (he’s 43) and my medical history – my right ovary and fallopian tube were removed about 10 years ago due to borderline ovarian cancer – we started trying right away – literally on our 1st night of marriage . While I was not then the scholar on all things TTC that I would later come to be, I knew enough to know it was the ideal time of the month and naively thought we were going to have a honeymoon baby. In fact, I worried about having kids before we really had time to enjoy our new marriage. Fast forward 6 months filled with temp charting and nearly obsessive tracking of all other activities in the general area of impact. At that point, we realized things weren’t going to be that easy. We were prepared to wait the requisite year, but instead followed the advice of a friend who had gone before who advised us to take matters in our owns hand and go to an RE right away. So we went and did all of the testing, and…na da. Unexplained. That being said, our RE suggested we go straight to IVF. Needless to say, we left that appointment like a deer in headlights. We were expecting a lecture on patience, and instead came out with a binder full of forms. After much conversation, debate, and a few tears (mine), we decided to go straight to the big show. And there the story begins.