Monday, June 23, 2008
Same can be said for fertility "advice." This article, for instance, tickled me. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24777998/ Without question the article is written for women in their 20s who won't be reading it anyway because they're in their 20s and doing everything from modern science to voodoo chants not to get pregnant. That aside, I couldn't help but cringe while eye rolling through some of it.
1. "Luckily, fertility isn't a total crapshoot. And though you can't put off pregnancy indefinitely (despite exceptions like Marcia Cross, your odds of conceiving drop substantially after age 35), there's plenty you can do to help keep your body in peak baby-making form."
Eye rolling. Indeed, Marcia Cross would be a great example if she hadn't had in vitro. In vitro with donor eggs. The article should have cited Jennifer "twins run in my family and I knew it would happen in time" Lopez.
2. "Don't worry, be happy. Stress interferes with the brain's bulletins that tell your ovaries to do their monthly job of rolling out an egg, says Sarah L. Berga, M.D., chair of the ob-gyn department at Emory University in Atlanta. If you're a type A (for anxiety and angst), figure out a calm-down solution that works for you, whether it's practicing tai chi or thrashing around to the Foo Fighters, before you get ready to pee on the stick."
Eureeka! Smack head. You wily stress bastard! Had I but known, I would have built a yurt with meditation altar in my backyard years ago. Just think of all the little hippie children I would be tie-dying today. Certainly, I will practice tai chi or thrashing prior to peeing on a stick in the future. And I call myself educated.
3. "Freeze your assets. If sperm are the tough Gap T-shirts of the reproductive world, your ova are like gauzy couture dresses. Until recently, this meant that freezing your eggs was mostly out of the question (the ice crystals that form during the slow-freezing process used on embryos damages eggs). But a new method, called vitrification, involves very rapid icing that safely solidifies the eggs. It's pricey — $6K and up for a single procedure (and the number of good eggs you'll get varies), plus annual storage fees — and it tends to be most successful when you and your ova are young (in your 20s). Though there are no long-term data on the procedure, it's worth investigating if you know your antral count is low or if you're about to undergo a fertility-zapping procedure like chemotherapy."
Interesting, but ridiculous. Assuming that a 20 something would even read this article and isn't trying desperately not to get pregnant and isn't convinced that she'll meet her true love soon and isn't trying to develop her fledgling post college career and isn't paying off student loans and living in a studio apartment and trying to afford a social life and isn't living on ramen noodles and doesn't believe that getting pregnant is a snap anyway, this is great advice.
I recognize that I'm sensitive to these issues. In the interest of full disclosure, yes I did listen to much assvice in the beginning. Cut out caffeine, check. Monitor ovulation, check. Watch the alcohol intake, you betcha. And even got to the point of acupuncture, raspberry leaf tea, avoiding hot baths, baby aspirin. You name it. So it pains me now to read the silliness. In fairness, this particular article does impart some good advice, but the silly advice overshadows the good.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I didn't always make it to the dizzying heights. I remember once setting upon my usual climb but slipping; my foot stuck in a "Y" branch, dangling like a rhesus monkey. I was only about a foot off the earth, but I panicked and cried and screamed for someone to help me. No one came. I laugh now to picture myself, dangling from a tree, a victim of my own carelessness, pissed off at the world, pissed off at the tree. Stupid tree. Eventually, the tears dried up and I set about trying to free myself. I don't know how long it took (though I'm positive I couldn't do it today) but I twisted and contorted and, after what seemed forever, I dropped to the ground. Dusted myself off and set off to find some more trouble. And, yes, climb more trees.
How like life it is. You get in a pinch. Sometimes of your own making, sometimes not. You scream and cry and blame and accuse. Paralyzed by your situation, the utter unfairness of it all. Why me? Your plight certainly is worse than anyone else's. Why isn't someone making this better? Fixing it? Then the quiet and the soul searching. The tears dry up, the resolve sets in and you deal. One way or another, you deal. You climb more trees. Sometimes you make it to the top and soar with the birds. Other times, well you dangle like a rhesus monkey. But you always disentangle and get back up.
So I say, gently to myself: Honey, you're way more than your infertility. I spent a good many months yelling and screaming and sulking and crying and blaming and dangling time and time again and I find myself now changed somewhat. More than somewhat. I find that I like, like, like my life. I find that I like who I am and how far I've come, am thrilled to pieces with my husband, think my marriage is the cat's meow (It's two years today, by the way), have the wonderful good fortune of having good people in my life, have a job that challenges me, pisses me off, gives me an identity and also lets me enjoy nice footwear. And as to that baby thing, pardon the really bad pun, but it's not the only egg in my basket.
This next IVF will be my last. I will go into it with positivity and hope, but also with the understanding that I will have reached the end. Either it produces a live child or a new life path. I'm ready for either. My new marriage counselor mentioned a Harvard study showing that the three most stressful events a person can face are cancer, divorce and infertility. I've had two of the three. My goal is to skip the third and put the other two to bed. And keep climbing.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I accomplished: Neither.
What did I do instead? Went to Target (Oh, Mecca) and bought new summer rafts and floated in the pool all weekend. All Weekend Long. With plenty of sunscreen, but again, I floated all weekend long. I accomplished nothing substantive. Didn't even purchase some shoes.
I love me some summertime.
I did go to a new counselor recommended by my RE (my "marriage" counselor according to E). There was nothing wrong with my old one except that I wasn't feeling it. I don't want to talk about my childhood or what kind of mothering I received or who I resent or my anger issues (all provoked I must add), I just wanted help on "the" topic. My new marriage counselor had 8 IVFs, so I think she may know a thing or two about the "the topic."
I liked her. We got right to business. No foreplay in this relationship, which at $2 a minute I don't need to be held or caressed. Why do I want a child? Why do I not? How does E feel about it? What's my relationship like with my mother? Kidding. She did interrupt me at one point to tell me how refreshing it was to talk to someone going through infertility who has such a strong marriage. I assured her that E realizes he could never do better than me and behaves himself accordingly. Overall, it helped. She asked good questions that got right to the issue. At least I think she did, I was shlumped in awe over the 8 IVFs.
That's my weekly report. I'm still infertile. I'm still planning on one more try in the fall. I must go now and prepare my float for the weekend.
Love me some summertime.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Self loves shoes.
No seriously, I don't think I was so aware of the effects of our words until the infertility fairy came to roost. The first example above is just stupidity. The second example is stupidity and insensitivity... a lethal combination.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I jest you not, below is verbatim from my "Life Planning List":
Lose 10 lbs no later than August 1, 2008.
Determine if I will attempt IVF again, no later than July 15, 2008.
Outline of great American novel completed no later than June 1, 2009.
Solve life's mysteries by January 2015.
Have X amount in savings and investments by December 31, 2008.
You get the point. I've lost myself in lists.
I very much want to blame infertility for this. I would like to say, well before I started infertility treatments I maintained a healthy balance between planning and living. Instead of just writing that I would lose 10 lbs, for example, I would also take daily steps to meet my weight loss goal. Actually, I can blame infertility. Infertility treatments make me hormonal and bloated and mean and then depressed so I eat and thus cannot meet my weight loss goal. Not my fault. Next.
Not a good example. My point is, I understand the importance of goals, but I've noticed lately that my goals and my obsessive need to plot my future are eclipsing my life. You know, the life you live every day. I'm not taking time to smell (much less plant) the roses. I'm wishing for Fridays Monday through Thursday. I have the discipline to sit and think and plan about the future; I just seem to be lacking the ability to enjoy the, well, dailiness of life. Or even enjoying the daily, weekly steps that make up the future plans.
Clearly, I need to find the joy of NOW. I need to luxuriate in the unexpected; cozy up to the out of the ordinary; appreciate the uneventful; and relish in the routine. I want to find myself one day right around the corner from one of my long time goals and say, "Well, it's nice to be here, Life's Mysteries, but the journey was kind of nice too."
So, this is my new project. No, no, I'm not putting it on a post it or a list, which is hard to find anyway in the smallish leather country I carry around. It's my new daily mantra. Live in the NOW. Live in the NOW. Live in the NOW.