Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year-End Round Up


In January, we started telling people we were pregnant. And, blog-ally speaking, I posted a pretty awesome response to the Why Don't You Just Adopt? question (if I do say so myself).

In February, Mama lost her walker (which she needed to walk) and I was pregnant and worried.

In March, we contemplated (and even did research on) finding Mama a new adult daycare center. And my company announced that they were probably going bankrupt. And I was pregnant and worried.

In April, I was hospitalized. My placenta abrupted BUT THEN IT GOT BETTER. Because that happens. Sure. And I was pregnant. And worried. And spending huge amounts of time on bedrest.

In May, I started counting. How many days till the baby can safely be born? How many days until I qualify for maternity leave? How many days until my employer seases to exist? How many times can I run to the maternity emergency room? How many times ***OVERSHARE ALERT*** can I pass blood and still be told everything's fine.

Also, in May, we took Mama to a new doctor. Who should have figured out she was sick. Who should have given her a full examination. But didn't.

And, oh yeah. I was pregnant and worried.

In June, we gave birth. And I lost my talisman, which still STILL saddens me. And my life completely changed.

In July, I was sleep deprived. Mama went downhill quickly, and no one (at the time) quite knew why. She'd been complaining for quite some time, but she was MAMA. She always complained. And me? I wasn't worried. I was too exhausted to be worried.

In August, Spunketta started sleeping through the night. Which meant *I* started sleeping through the night. Which meant I returned to my role of guardian of the family's health. Which meant *I* took Mama to the doctor and refused to leave until we had an answer. Which meant that we found Mama's cancer. Which meant that she went into the hospital. H was resigned, but I wasn't worried. Because this was MAMA. Everything would be okay.

In September, Mama died. This photo sums it up better than any words could.

In October, one of our two cats died. I grieved. I coped. I returned to work.

In November, I started a new blog. And I grieved. And I coped. And I realized that some may not consider me an IF anymore. And I grieved THAT. And I coped.

In December, my blogging had greater frequency. I went to the RE to see about baby #2. Which will be an adventure for the new year.

I still grieve. And I cope.

I'm not done yet.

How about you?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why i Try

All The Shots You Don't Take

Yesterday, I was tag teamed.

First, my BFF calls. I explain about the test, about how poorly I did on it. I explain why I am disheartened, dejected, disheartened.

"Yeah, okay, fine," replies BFF, blowing by all my carefully constructed reasons to be depressed, "but you're still going to try again, right?"

Her patent refusal to give in to, to even acknowledge all the badness was... Well, I thought, she must not have heard me. She must not have understood.

I ingeminated, iterated, inveigled. Stakes high. Odds low. Outcome bleak. Why try?

"It's not like you're going to lose anything by trying," BFF insists, importunes, implores.


Later, my husband, H, chats me up.

"It's because you're breastfeeding," H excuses, expects, explains.

"It's because you drink too much soda. You eat too much sugar. You drink too much caffeine. You need more alkaline foods. You need to go back to acupuncture. You need to go back to getting massages. You need to go back to the chiropractor. You need to exercise."

But... but... I sputter in the face of his logic. We did it before, he reminds.

"It's not like we're going to lose anything by trying," H points out, prods, prompts.


Then, Spunketta chimes in.

Spunx has no fancy words, no well-thought-out argument. He just smiles contentedly in my arms and attempts to put my bracelet in his mouth.

"No!" I caution sternly, seriously, simply. At the sound of my voice, Spunx looks up at me, making eye contact with me for the first time since I picked him up. He smiles at the sight of me, and reaches for my bracelet yet again.

"No," I reprise, restate, retell. "No."

He gives up trying to eat my bracelet (for the moment) and smiles again. My bracelet holds a huge appeal for Spunketta. Sometimes, when he's crying, I can show it to him and the sight of my bracelet is enough for him to stop fussing.

Spunx looks straight at me and smiles. Giggles. Smiles once more and (I swear) shrugs.

It's not like he lost anything by trying.


So. Decision made.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Two Two Two

Two years ago, I took the M1S (Mü11erian 1nhibiting Substance) or the Mü11erian 1nhibiting Factor (M1F) test at my clinic. It's the hip'n'hot way of measuring "ovarian reserve" and is considered (by my clinic, at least) to be a good indication of how one will perform in 1VF.

Two years ago, I scored a 0.76. That was good, said the faceless voice of the clinic on the voicemail message. That made me a "good candidate."

The (normal) results range from 0.3 ("consistent with low ovarian reserve") to 5.0 ("high").

Two years ago, I was told the "cut off point" for my clinic was 0.4.

Two years ago, the faceless voice of the clinic on the voicemail message said it "wouldn't be worth it" to try 1VF with a score below 0.4.

Two weeks ago, I scored a 0.23 on the same test.

Two hours ago, H got the results.

Two hours ago, H heard the faceless voice of the clinic question our resolve to try again. Because the results were not good.

Two minutes ago H finally screwed up the courage to call and tell me. (Mostly because I kept texting him).

Two seconds ago, H asked me the question.

"What do you want to do now?"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas with and without

This is the first Christmas with Spunketta. This is the first Christmas without Mama. And while the former is joyous, the latter threatens to crush the whole holiday.

Mama used to love the holiday. The lights on the tree. The ribbons on the gifts. All of it.

Christmas was always important to her. Before I knew H and after Mama was sick, they kept celebrating Christmas. H would go out and buy his own present, sometimes even wrapping his own present, only to open it in front of her on Christmas morning.

They say that Christmas is for children, but Mama was a child in that sense. And when I came on the scene, being her partner in crime (her partner in Christmas?), she was so happy. I was happy.

I miss my partner

Evil Post. Do NOT Read If You Are Easily Offended

So here's the bare bones of the background: My brother ("B") made plans to spend Christmas with H, Spunketta and I at our house. But he forgot to tell his wife ("R"). Who made plans for them to truck to her mother's house, and then refused to come to our house, and thus started a traditional holiday family feud. (You know the type).

Now, the fallout from the falling out will (most likely) be done and buried within a month or so. My brother is a jerk and this is not the first time that he (or R) have done or said something that hurt our (my) feelings/made me cry/etc. And we had a perfectly tense, lovely, negotiated dinner on a negotiated date at a neutral location.

And as I watched B and R interact, I (HERE COMES THE EVIL PART) wished infertility on them.

NOW WAIT. First and foremost, I didn't exactly WISH it on them. But having gone through IF, H knows a ridiculous amount of information amount me. He was the one tracking my cycle, taking my temperature, checking for fluids. We discussed all sorts of "miracle" cures (acupuncture, vitamins, d.h.3.a). Etc. And I know similar things about him.

R doesn't know B's inseam. (34, like our father). Or his waist measurement. (36, unlike our father). Or the fact that B hates (HATES) the short sleeve dress shirts R gives him each and every holiday. And, of course, the whole holiday kerfuffle.

And I didn't wish IF on them. Exactly. But as we sat there during dinner, and I saw the two of them interact (or, more precisely, not interact) I was struck by one thought: You could never get through IF.

Which I didn't think was "wishing" IF on them. (But H did, and then we bickered, and there you go.)

Now, I think it's important to note a few more things: B and R do not want children. Or, at least, R does not want children. She has stated, loudly and repeatedly, that she wants to concentrate on her career. She has done so in ways that has shocked and offended myself and my family, letting the interpretation be that those of us who want motherhood are somewhat lacking in our ambition.

And another thing: B and R have a perfectly adequate marriage. It's what I refer to as a Manhattan Marriage -- a little bit more business partner than life partner, but still functional. Still solid. But.


But H and I have gone through Hell. We have a bond that few couples share. IF is not only a soul killer, it's a marriage crippler. And if you can make it to the other side, whatever the other side may be, that's saying something. H and I are more than husband and wife, we're more than partners. We're war buddies. We're survivors.

We know. Others may think they love each other, but we know.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Non-Emergency Emerges

This morning in the bathroom, I screamed. Loudly.

My husband came running (as all good husbands should).

"What? WHAT?" H demanded.

"LOOK!" I screamed. I was passing blood.

"Um," says H. He pauses a moment, scratching the back of his left leg with his right foot. Taking a step (or two) back and switching Spunketta (did I mention Spunketta was in his arms?) to his other hip.

"Um. But that's okay, right?"

I blinked.

"Didn't the doctor say this would happen?"

I blinked again.

"There's nothing going on, right? I mean... isn't this normal?"

H stayed close enough to hear and be heard by me, but continued to inch away. And waited for me to come to a revelation.

I was having my period.

My PERIOD. Good god, what was that?

"Oh," I said, embarassed. INCREDIBLY embarrassed. I stammered a bit, and H nodded sympathetically.

I have been so used to being scared or saddened by bleeding that I had forgotten (FORGOTTEN) that for some people, it's a perfectly normal thing.

Heh. Whoops.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Say "Thank You"

This morning, I saw a pregnant woman on the subway.

I was sitting and she was not. I would have offered her my seat, but the man seated next to me (and closer to her) offered her his seat.

"No," she said. "I'm not going to fit there." She frowned and stamped her foot a bit as she said it.

Now, this woman was not only pregnant. She was PREGNANT. A large-ish woman to begin with, the tell tale baby belly jutted dramatically from under her too-small coat.

So, to be honest, she probably wouldn't fit comfortably. But, to be honest, she would have FIT.

The man entreated her, and I scrunched myself to the side, trying to look as small as possible.

"It's okay," he assured her.

"I'm not going to *beeping* fit there," she repeated, adding a profanity that shocked me.

I got up, so that now she had two seats to stretch out on. And stretch out she did. Sighing deeply and settling herself across two seats. Adjusting her purse in the space left so no one could possibly encroach on what was left of the second seat.

"People don't usually give a *beeping* *beep,*" she said. Not thanks or a wordless smile or anything etiquette (or my grandmother) would deem appropriate for the situation.

"People don't usually give a *beeping* *beep.*" She looked around calmly as she said it, unfazed by using (in rapid succession) words that would have necessitated an R-rating. "People are such *beepers.* The world is such *beepity beep.*" {Insert your favorite invective}

And all I could think was -- this is your response to people being NICE to you. What the beep?

Annoys me greatly when the WRONG women are pregnant.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Okay, This is Funny (in a shameful way)

Sorry, We’re Booked, White House Tells Obamas

Blair House, where incoming presidents usually stay before Inauguration Day, is booked.

BOOKED. With someone who outranks President-elect Obama. So they can't stay there.

Can anyone say "back of the bus?"

Looking Normal Feels Odd

"We look so normal," said H a day or so ago.

We were out somewhere normal, doing something all-American and normal (grocery shopping, I think, but don't hold me to that). We had Spunketta in the kangaroo carrier thing and total strangers were coming up to us, playing with Spunketta and sharing with us details of their life. That they had one child, two grandchildren, three daughters, four nephews, whatever.

H commented that it was odd. I shrugged it off. It happens all the time.

H wanted to know why, and I pointed at the giggly, smile-addicted Spunketta.

Ah, H said. And then he thought a moment.

"We look so normal."

We talked about that, briefly, this morning. (We were, briefly, all snuggled in bed, as one should be on a Sunday morning).

"I don't feel normal," H said. I nodded in agreement, then said that life without Mama yet with Spunketta was odd. Like we swapped, traded in a car for a (much, much) newer model. And we miss the smell of the old leather interior.

We went from being the couple that folks looked at with a mixture of pity and admiration to, well, the couple that total strangers come up to and smile with. Smile at. Smile, smile, smile.

"We're supposed to be happy," I said. And we are. We are. Spunketta chose that moment to attempt to crawl over H, and while he failed miserably at that, he succeeded at flopping safely on the bed. Spunketta broke out with a chorus of chuckles and giggles that let us know he was happy. H and I smiled at him and at each other.

I just feel as though our badge has been taken away. Our super-powers, our not-so-secret identity. The whatever it was that made us special was Mama, and she's gone.

No one comes up to you when you're pushing an old lady around in a wheelchair and smiles at her. The sight does not engender giggles and hellos in folks. If we were lucky, someone would open a door, or make eye contact and share a knowing look.

And now, we're supposed to be happy. And we are happy. But we are also sad. I am also sad. Everything that makes me happy makes me sad, because Mama isn't here to share it with us.

We looked at a house the other day. Long story short, it belongs to a friend of H's, and we might be able to swing a deal and live there. H loves it because it's a house (born in raised in apartments, my husband was). I love it because H loves it. (I really REALLY don't want to move, but that's another blog post entirely). But it's the kind of house we never could have even thought about before. An 80-year old house with a narrow stairwell and a full tub. A "normal" house, with no thought given to handicap access or accessibility.

It feels odd.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Getting Over" IF

Let me make this brief: it does not happen. You do not "get over" IF. Or, okay, maybe YOU do, or you will, but I haven't.

H mentioned something a few weeks back. "Now that you're over IF" or some suspicious phrase to that effect. My head snapped so hard my neck hurt and I could tell he could tell he'd said something stupid.

I asked (dared) him to repeat it, and he did. I don't remember the words, but the intent was not to offend and the thought was clear.

I have a baby now. Therefore, I am "over" IF.


Nope. Sorry; it's not that easy. I tried to explain it to him, and am not sure that I succeeded. As is with most husbands, H does not always listen to me.

So I'll tell you, because I know YOU will understand.

I have a fear every day that SOMETHING will happen. I don't know what, but something bad. I check on Spunketta regularly to ensure he's breathing. REGULARLY. I'm not so crazy to wake him up, but I have hung my head in the crib until I heard enough inhales and exhales to assure myself this was a regular habit.

I have six neighbors (NO JOKE!) who are pregnant. Apparently, only one of them was planned. The fact that they've no idea of conception dates or due dates blows my mind. That they didn't do extensive genetic testing beforehand strikes me as almost... negligent. Somewhere, in my head, the way we conceived has become the "normal" way and everyone else is a freak.

Now, just to tempt the fates, we have decided to try for another child. H keeps saying that "maybe we'll get pregnant the old-fashioned way" this time. You know, because I have been through a pregnancy. I try to explain that unless MY having a child has impacted HIS ability to (a) produce lots of sperm and (b) produce sperm that goes some where it ain't going to happen. But H has been brainwashed by health class. Or maybe M.onty P.ython. Every sperm is sacred.

I miss Mama. That's another thing I'm not getting over.

From my phone

Look, it's technology. I'm blogging from my phone. We'll see how this works