Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hiding in Plain Sight Revisited - NIAW

National Infertility Awareness Week is coming up and it has been on my mind a lot. NIAW is an opportunity to do exactly what I want most: to help educate those who don't understand the experience of infertility, and to support other women who know that experience all too well. I am feeling more and more of a call to get involved with IF advocacy and I have made some small steps in that direction lately. (More on this in coming weeks.)

Then there is the but...

But, this would require me to be more public with my infertility. Between reading Keiko's posts on the subject, some soul searching, and several conversations with KG, I am feeling some urgency to finally be 100% "out" with my infertile status. A while back, I wrote a BlogHer post on this topic, and it is once again in the forefront of my mind. However, this time it isn't my blog that I am thinking of publicizing. I am considering coming out on BookFace.

I have been right on the precipice of doing this for quite some time. I would say I am 90/10 out.

Even though I still blog anonymously, almost all of my friends (at least the close ones) and my immediate family know I am in IF treatment and many read this blog. I also told my boss and a few select co-workers (most of whom are IFers as well.) Little by little, I have been honest with more and more people. I even came out to a few friends of friends, because they were also IFers and I wanted to reach out. It's almost like I am trying to swim in the ocean. I started by dipping my toes in. Then I waded to my knees, then my thighs, then my waist. But I can't quite seem to dive into a wave.

This is the deal: I have not gotten to the point where I am comfortable having all my co-workers finding out. The biggest factor holding me back is that I am a teacher. One thing you should know about teachers is that they are chatty and love to gossip. I hope I'm not throwing my fellow teachers under the bus here, but if you have ever been in a teacher's lounge, you know how it goes. They also tend to let things slip to parents on occasion. I am not friends with any parents on FB, but you know the way the internet is: you have to be ready for everything to become public, even without your consent. You just have to own it. Am I really ready for the families or students at my school finding out? Not so much.

But maybe taking the risk is worth it. Maybe this would mean people at school would finally stop asking me that dreaded question: "So when are you going to have kids?"

Additionally, I have mixed feelings about personal information being put out there on social media. On one hand, I feel like people overshare. I don't need to know every single thought that every single person I knew from elementary school has. (Although I am probably a complete hypocrite because I also share inane musings pretty often.) However, no one can deny that social media is a powerful tool. It reaches a lot of people in an instant and can spark amazing social change. Think of the recent movements related to Trayvon Martin, Personhood legislation, and Rush Limbaugh's disgusting rant. The more people that show support for NIAW and RESOLVE on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ the more it will become seen as a legitimate and respected cause.

So, the question is: is supporting NIAW publicly on my FB page, and acknowledging my place in the IF community in that forum, worth it? Does it do enough good to outweigh the risk? Should I do it but set the privacy on the post to exclude my coworkers? Is that wussing out?

While stuffing our faces with sushi last night (that's right - infertility has some perks) KG reminded me that being honest about our fertility issues is a powerful thing. Specifically, in the last several months, I have been chatting with one of those friends of friends that I mentioned above. Although we don't know each other very well, she confided in me about her own battle with IF. She chose not to tell anyone close to her about her journey, even her mother. But, because I was open with her about my experience, she decided to share. During one of our many conversations, she told me how much of a difference having my support makes for her. She said she feels so much better, because she feels less isolated. Less alone.

Sound familiar? Isn't this exactly what we all say about the blogging community? Isn't that why we are all here? What if we could all have that in a bigger arena, the way cancer survivors do?

Helping other IFers by sharing my experience makes me feel like I have purpose. I can only imagine that feeling with increase tenfold if I supported them in a more public way. I really want to do this, but as always, I am standing in my own way.

What would you do?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


When people ask me about how infertility has changed my life, I tend to have a pretty standard variety of answers. Off the top of my head? Learning about patience, frustration, and disappointment top the list. But, sometimes it takes me a while to notice more subtle changes.

I was talking to a friend the other night. She recounted the previous evening, when she went out until the wee hours to a bunch of amazing Boston bars with some friends. For half a second, I wished I went with her. But pretty quickly, I realized how unlikely that was. Not because I don't enjoy a fabulous cocktail or her company, but because I am physically unable to sustain that kind of energy these days.

In the not too distant past, I worked out 3-5 days per week. I went directly from a full day of teaching to a spin class or personal training session. Often, I would even go to a friend's house to hang out for a bit after the gym. I also socialized a lot - especially on weekends. In fact, KG was usually the one who was more likely to stay home, happy as a clam. But me? I went places. I did stuff. I was one of the cool kids.

Lately? Not so much. And by lately, I mean the last 9 months or so. These days it is literally all I can do to get myself through the school day, pour myself back into my car, cook some dinner order in, catch up on DVR, and go to sleep. Seriously, my couch and I have an intimate relationship. When I think back, I can not remember how I managed to be such a productive and busy person. Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, it's surreal. I look the same. I sound the same. But I feel like a completely different person - wiser? more cynical? More exhausted.

The level of fatigue I feel goes beyond the usual cures.  Sleeping in, cat naps, or some extreme cleanse aren't going to cut it.  I don't know how to describe this kind of tired. It's more than my body. My whole being is tired.

So when did it all change? I can track it back almost to the minute we decided to pull out the big guns with IF treatment. It seems like within days of starting my first serious treatment cycle, my ability to multi-task began to wane. Any extra energy I had went directly to adjusting to the idea that any baby of ours was not going to come from nature. It took me much longer than expected to get past the initial shock of that fact. A lot longer.

Although we have now completely accepted our relationship with the petri dish, I still feel like I can only put my emotional energy into this pursuit right now. Granted, I have a whole lot of Lupron flowing through my veins right now, which definitely amplifies all of this. But, even when I am not in a treatment cycle, the same is often true. I just don't have it in me to sit on that spin bike or make it to the third bar on a pub crawl. I have no capacity to push myself when I am being pushed to my limit as it is.

Are some weeks better than others? Yes. Do I sometimes leave the house and make the effort to see my friends? Yes. Does it take a lot more motivation and effort than it did a year ago?

You bet your ass it does.

The level of lameness I feel about this is considerable. I am 31 years old and some days I feel much older. I don't want much more time to go by like this. At some point, I have to turn things around and get some of my life force back. The question is: how?

Everyone, including my therapist, tells me to be forgiving of myself and that someday my old self will return. I just hope I'll recognize her when she makes her appearance.

Recently, I realized Mo and I have something in common - a deep love of Faith No More. Don't even get me started on how jealous I am of her planned trip to see them at a live festival.

This song, "Last Cup of Sorrow" is probably my favorite. The chorus speaks to me on days like these.

So raise it up and lets propose a toast. 
To the thing that hurts you most. 
It's your last cup of sorrow. 
What can you say? 
Finish it today. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012


This past week, I got the chance to see an old friend from high school, who is also a blogger. She and I both ended up at the same college, and even lived together for a year. Although she lives in Los Angeles, she and her husband were in Boston, visiting his mom. I hadn't seen her since our hs reunion in 2008, but as with all good friendships, it was like no time had passed. This morning, I checked her blog and she wrote an incredibly touching post about our hangout that made me cry. Go check out her awesome blog, Cease and Decyst

In other news...

My vacation is nearly over. I am depressed about that already. No matter what, vacation is never long enough. It's not that I'm lazy. It's just that sleeping on a natural schedule, being on my own agenda, having time to actually clean my house, and being able to stay up past 9:00pm just feels RIGHT. Somehow, I have to get my teaching hat back on.

Because several neighbors decided to start mowing their damn lawns at 7:00am on a Saturday, I only have energy for bullets today. May I ask the homeowners out there, WHY would you do that to your neighbors?

• I didn't really have any side effects from Lupron last time, but man I do this go around. My emotions are supercharged, I been having SUPER vivid dreams (last night's involved Brad Pitt - TMI), and I'm getting super hot at night. Oh the joys of injectable meds.
• KG and I watched Contagion last night. I have had a compulsive need to wash my hands and wear a mask all morning. If you have any germophobe tendencies, I suggest you avoid this film. Otherwise, it was really well done! Netflix it!

• Even though I was born without the shopping gene, I had some luck in Los Angeles. In general, I feel like the shopping is way better there than in Boston. I don't know why, but I always seem to have greater success in stores out there.

Success #1: Ralph Lauren brown leather riding boots for 45% off at DSW, on clearance.

Success #2: Black flats that are perfect for work, modeled by one of my cats (Buttercup).

Success #3: Blue color block dress that will be perfect for a wedding I have to attend, with the right accessories and shoes.

Of course I also bought a shirt that I completely changed my mind about by the time I got back to Boston.

• There are times when a bargain is a good thing, and times when it isn't. The other day, Smoon suggested a mani/pedi and I turned her down because I spent too much money in L.A. But, of course, then I couldn't get it out of my mind. So, I caved and got a cheap mani/pedi ($20) near my house. The problem is, it really was a $20 mani/pedi. Pretty crappy. Oh well, at least my toes aren't naked now.

• Tomorrow, I am seeing Hunger Games with Smoon and another friend. IMAX baby! Yes, I read all 3 books and LOVED them. I can't wait!

• Thanks so much for all the kid words regarding my last post. I sent off a sympathy card and will make a donation in his name to a charity his wife requested. RIP George.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Keep 'em Close

Well, it's official. Redux is officially underway.  I've done two Lupron shots so far. It's always right about now that the cycle in front of me seems exceedingly long and drawn out, despite retrieval only being a few weeks away.

Needless to say, I am no stranger to fear regarding treatment cycles. This one is no different. I'm pretty nervous all around: nervous about success, nervous about failure, and nervous about the in-between. It is really this time of limbo, between meds and procedure, that these fears bubble up the most. I keep trying to close my eyes and picture a baby bump. Sometimes that vision is clear, and others times I can't seem to conjure the image.

As I mentioned, when I get into a bad place, worrying about our TTC future, I always go back to planning for life beyond TTC. When His Royal Fabulousness and I have these discussions, this is the mental picture I create:

Not bad, huh?

I haven't been shy about expressing my love and appreciation for KG on this blog. I am a lucky girl. I'm not saying we don't occasionally bicker or get on each other's nerves. We have even had rocky times in the past. But I will say that we try to live by the rule of never going to bed angry and we make a concerted effort not to take each other for granted.

This past week, while visiting my parents and friends in Los Angeles, I was reminded of how important it is not to let a day go by (or even leave the house or end a phone call) without telling loved ones how much you care for them.

On Monday, we got some terrible news. A close friend of my father's died while on a biking trip in Death Valley. George and his wife were close with my parents for over 40 years, and this was a very unexpected and tragic death. He was a very kind, loving, and generous person who will sorely be missed.

His death really got me thinking. We do not know the reasons why, but George and his wife never had children. My parents speculated over the years, but respected their privacy and never asked. Of course, as an infertile woman, I have to wonder whether they tried to have children and failed, or whether they made an independent decision to live child-free. Either way, they had a wonderful, solid marriage and lived happily together.

I can't get his wife out of my mind. Although she has many friends surrounding her right now, in essence, she is alone. She wrote to my folks saying that she has lost her sweetheart, her best friend, her partner. I can't imagine her pain. I wonder whether her grief is compounded by the fact that she has no children to lean on during this time. Is she regretting their decision/fate? Is she wishing there were children to hold her up right now?

This is hitting a little close to home. The thought of being left alone, if anything happened to KG, is just too overwhelming to bear. Although our TTC efforts are far from over, it is easy to see myself in her shoes.

When chatting with a friend today, she summed it up. She said that all you can do is enjoy every minute together that you can, and never forget to say, "I love you." Well said.

I think I'll call KG right now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Home Sweet Home and ICLW

Oy. I got in late last night from Los Angeles and the jet lag is killing me. So forgive a super short post today. I'll be back into full blogger mode soon. I am slowly catching up on blogs. But, leave me a comment and fill me in! What did I miss this week?

To new ICLWers: Welcome! I am about to start IVF#2 after failed fertilization on IVF #1. Click on my ICLW page for more info about me. I hope you stick around!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane!

My spring break has been utterly divine so far. My days have been filled with sleeping, blogging, running errands, cleaning my house, and playing Just Dance 3. Exciting? No. Deliciously lazy? Yes. Hey, after 26 conferences, I have no guilt.

Tonight I head to Los Angeles to see my family and my BFF from high school for 5 days. When I say a BFF I mean it. This is a friend so close to me that in 2008 we traveled together, cross country, for weeks and still love each other madly. That's friendship. Someday I'll blog about that trip. It was a truly amazing, life changing experience.

Since my parents live in the dark ages technology wise, I won't be able to blog. This is making me especially sad, because it is supposed to rain the whole time! The weather gods fucking hate me. Well, at least I'll have time to finally watch Downton Abbey on On Demand.

KG can't go with me on this trip, which makes me sad. I know I have said it before, but I am a lucky girl and I get pretty homesick without him. He swears after about a day of gaming and drinking beer, bachelorhood loses its luster and he gets lonely too. He swears the kitties are sad when I'm gone too. On the upside, he usually does an outstanding cleaning job for me when I go on trips. <hint, hint>

In TTC news, my pre-Lupron ultrasound came back "perfect." I don't know if that word has ever been used to describe my ovaries before. We have the green light to begin Lupron the day after I get back from L.A. IVF #2 will be underway next week!

I am really trying to swallow my fears about this cycle, and focus on it as a fresh start. That is a really hard goal to meet though. Although I know many people who needed multiple IVFs to succeed, I don't know any who had failed fertilization, who went on to have babies. Here's hoping that ICSI is the answer.

By the way, if you haven't headed over to Stirrup Queens for Mel's Toasts, do it now. It will make someone's day and is just the burst of positivity this community needs.

I haven't attached a song to a post for a little bit.

Today's choice is the newest single from Jack White, "Love Interruption."

When the White Stripes first emerged, I didn't like Jack White at all. But, over the years, he has really proved himself to be a musical genius. He plays tons of instruments (a la Prince) and is a chameleon style wise. If you have never listened to his other bands, especially The Raconteurs, you are really missing something incredible.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Letter to my Worst Enemy

courtesy of Mad Magazine

Dear Depression and Anxiety,

You and I have known each other a long time. We became intimately acquainted when I was at the tender age of 11 when I managed to miss over 20 days of school in one academic year, because I couldn't handle you. Remember how it went?
1. Girls were mean to me at school.
2. I would cry at school and be unable to focus the rest of the day.
3. I would go home, crawl into bed, cry some more, and rerun the day's events over and over and over again.
4. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Back then, they called me a kid who "worried a lot." Oh if only it was that simple. Even then, I knew this went beyond just worrying and being sad.

That was only the beginning of our lifelong battle: you vs. me.

Remember when I was 16 and we really came to blows? You took the opportunity to attack when my high school sweetheart broke up with me, and you just wouldn't let go. You watched me stay in bed, day after day, crying and shaking with sadness. You laughed in my face and put your foot on my neck, holding me down until I nearly broke. Luckily, my family had lots of personal experience battling the likes of you, so they held me up and knew what to do to help. That's when I found a couple of lethal weapons against you: medication and therapy. I managed to beat you back, and I emerged victorious. Although you popped your head out of the sand again several years later, when I had a falling out with a college friend, this time I was prepared. I enlisted the help of a brand, spanking, new therapist (we'll call her Darlene) and you went back into hiding.

The next time we met, you brought a wing man: anxiety. This time, you pounced when my back was turned. I really thought when I decided to try going off medication at 27, all was going well. It was summer, I was stress-free and feeling good. But little did I know that the minute the school year started, you would pull a dirty trick: panic attacks. This time, it wasn't sadness that debilitated me. Instead, this was something much harder to handle. I had never felt anything like it. I couldn't catch my breath. I couldn't stop the racing, repetitive thoughts. I couldn't sleep or eat. KG would watch me pace the apartment at all hours, trying to work off some of the excess energy, feeling so helpless. This was a nasty, heartless addition to our battle. I was completely powerless against you, so I added something new to my arsenal of weapons against you. Along with a med change and therapy, this time I added exercise to the mix. All of a sudden, things calmed down and I was able to control the overwhelming feeling that my heart was going to explode in my chest.

Recently, some life circumstances invited you back into my life. Between my miscarriage, PCOS diagnosis, failed IUIs, KG's mother's death, a failed IVF, financial worries, and plenty of work stress to boot, the door swung open, inviting you to come prancing through. It feels like we are at opposite sides of that door - you pushing in while I try to keep you out. You try and try, but I put all my strength into keeping myself safe. Occasionally, you cause me a pretty bad day (or week) of sleeplessness, tears, and worry but I have gotten better and better at keeping you at bay. My newest secret weapon? Blogging. Somehow, writing about all of this chaos has helped keep you on a leash.

I have to admit though, you still have power over me. Even when you aren't rearing your ugly head, you make me feel weak and ashamed. Whether I like it or not, there are assumptions about people who battle with depression and anxiety and I hate being saddled with that stigma. Just like with infertility: people who have never experienced it have no clue what it is like to deal with something like this.

I can't help but wonder if we will always battle, or if this chapter of my life will end at some point.

Until then, I'll be the one pushing on the other side of the door.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rose Colored Glasses

So, there have been lots of posts about the blog-pocalypse. I don't mean to make light of the situation. It really seems like the issues raised by Mel regarding the creation of the PAIL Blogroll have caused lots of underlying feelings about people's sense of inclusion or exclusion in the infertile-blogging world to bubble to the surface. Many people are wondering whether the community can/will recover from some of the accusations and comments made on this topic. Some are even threatening to stop blogging or remove their blogs from both blogrolls (a little extreme in my opinion).

Let me tell you right away that I feel relatively emotionally detached from the core of the argument. I don't necessarily feel excluded from PAIL or the parenting after IF section of the SQ Blogroll, because at this point in my journey I honestly feel like it has nothing to do with me. Although many respected and wonderful mommy bloggers are members of both PAIL and SQ, I do not read many blogs that focus solely on parenting after IF. I do read a few that are written by moms, but their blogs tend to include their children in their lives as a backdrop, instead of writing about specific parenting issues. I am a relatively new blogger TTC #1, so most of the blogs I read are also about those who are TTC #1 with me, or perhaps are recently pregnant. That being said, I do have an interest in this argument, but from a different perspective.

I don't think it matters at this point whether people believe PAIL should exist or not. It's there. It's growing. I doubt it is going anywhere, and I sure as hell hope Mel never even considers the possibility of shutting down Stirrup Queens. I feel a huge amount of gratitude to Mel, as SQ was my gateway into the world of blogging and continues to be completely inspirational to me. Her perspective on the duplication of work between PAIL and SQ, as well as her protectiveness of ICLW (her invention) seem justified to me. However, I do believe the two blogrolls can and will have to co-exist. This doesn't have to be as divisive of an issue as it feels right now. It can actually be thought of in a much more positive light.

My inner Pollyanna tells me that this community will heal. Here's why.

Both Mel and Elphaba (PAIL's founder) have the same goal. The goal is to maintain an environment of support, love, inclusiveness, and expression for women at some point in their infertility journey. They are both being generous enough to provide a space where like-minded women can connect with each other. The intentions on both sides seem to me to be genuine.

I also believe that sometimes it takes one issue to bring another to light. In this case, the existence of a separate blogroll brought up all kinds of suppressed anger and hurt about how free people feel to blog about their pregnancies and parenting after IF and how bloggers still trying to TTC sometimes abandon PAIL blogs.

Did anyone else see the parallel between this argument and the fights you have in a marriage? You know, the ones where someone forgets to buy something at the grocery store and it turns into an argument about how you never have sex anymore and feel unloved? In those arguments, you usually end up having a long talk (or two, or three) and work through it, because your love for each other outshines the argument. It doesn't mean that anyone should be censored or feel fear of saying what they feel. It just means they need to be open to hearing the other side as well. There was simply some feelings of resentment that needed to be confronted before moving on.

My gut says that the same will happen in this community. People definitely got feelings hurt and may feel a little differently about each other. But, the closeness and emotional connectedness around these parts is too strong to just throw in the towel. There might be a little cold shoulder for a while, or even a period of separation, but in the end, we'll be watching The Walking Dead on the couch together again in no time.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Where have you been?

This week, I have 26 parent conferences. Yup, 26. Five of them were today, after an entire day of teaching. However, after my last conference on Friday, I am on spring break for two weeks. Thank fucking God.

So, all my brain can handle right now are bullets.

• I got the call from my happy fertility pharmacy setting up my medication delivery for next week. I also have my pre-Lupron dildocam to check for cysts on Tuesday. Booya! It was kind of depressing telling the pharmacist that I still had all of my medications for transfer and after. But whatevs. Cheaper med delivery this cycle: bonus!

• I have decided not to comment on the issues happening between Elphaba/PAIL and Mel and Stirrup Queens. So much has been said on both sides, and until I have some time to really think about how I feel, I'll hold off.

• I have a blog post in the works (to be finished this weekend) about how bad my anxiety has been lately. I'm not sure how much I have said on this blog before about my struggles with anxiety, but it has been really flaring lately. Uncomfortably so. Maybe some of you will relate.

• His Royal Fabulousness is the best anxiety medication there is.

Evidence: The perfect post-it.

I'll be back in the blogging world this weekend. In the meantime...

P.S. A big hello the the new followers I got this week! Welcome!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


courtesy of Warner Brothers

The thing about sequels is that most of the time, they are a pale version of the original. Yes, occasionally, a sophomore effort can outshine its predecessor. But, it's rare. So much more often, you realize you are watching someones desperate attempt to hang onto the credibility they garnered with their original hit.

Evidence (in no particular order):
Back to the Future vs. Back to the Future II
The Matrix vs. The Matrix Reloaded
The Karate Kid vs. The Next Karate Kid (okay, The Karate Kid II was pretty good)
Teen Wolf vs. Teen Wolf Too
Look Who's Talking vs. Look Who's Talking Too
Ocean's Eleven vs. Ocean's Twelve
Jaws vs. Jaws The Revenge
28 Days Later vs. 28 Weeks Later
Grease vs. Grease II
Psycho vs. Psycho II
The Wizard of Oz vs. Return to Oz
Gremlins vs. Gremlins II
Scream vs. all sequels
Neverending Story vs. Neverending Story II
Mannequin vs. Mannequin: On the Move
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure vs. Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
City Slickers vs. City Slickers II
Lost Boys vs. Lost Boys: The Tribe
original Star Wars franchise vs. new Phantom Menace franchise
Sex and the City vs. Sex and the City II
Cars vs. Cars II
Dirty Dancing vs. Dirty Dancing Havana Nights

On the other hand, here are some rare sequels that matched or exceeded the quality of the original:
Star Wars vs. Empire Strikes Back
Tim Burton Batman movies vs. Christopher Nolan Batman movies
Ghostbusters vs. Ghostbusters II
National Lampoon's Vacation vs. National Lampoon's European Vacation
Evil Dead vs. Evil Dead II
Terminator vs. Terminator 2
House of 1000 Corpses vs. Devil's Rejects

Why am I bringing this up? I keep thinking of our upcoming IVF cycle. While you might be wondering how it could get any worse than the first attempt, as we know, it is always possible.  I keep having the same recurring thoughts:

Will it be an amazing follow-up that blows the first attempt out of the water, with a successful ending instead of disaster? Or will it somehow be worse?

Perhaps instead of thinking of this as IVF: The Sequel, we should be thinking of it as IVF: Redux.

At first, I thought redux was a synonym of sequel. But, then KG reminded me of when Apocalypse Now was re-released as Apocalypse Now: Redux. That wasn't a sequel! It was an enhanced, improved version. (Okay, it was also way longer.) 

When I googled the meaning of each, I realized how different the meanings are.
Sequel: an event or circumstance following something; subsequent course of affairs.

Redux: remastered, redone, restored.

I'm sticking with redux, because what I really need right now is to have my faith and attitude remastered, redone, and restored.