Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When I was at therapy on Monday, I had a thought about the whole ideal of relaxing and not stressing.  After all, people say all the time that it doesn't help me to be stressed, and I know that.  However (analogy time again, boys and girls), telling an infertile that it would help them to relax is like telling a person that has been shipwrecked and floating without a life jacket for a day or two to tread water and breathe.  Yes, it will help, but the longer the person is out there, the harder that is to keep doing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

For the past day or two, I've been numb when it comes to IF.  I've been able to enjoy things with people, and I smile whenever I think about the fact that my friend starts work at my job in the morning, but with IF I've been numb.  The topic came up last night because friends asked how I was, and then a discussion came about.  This morning was another sermon on hope, and those normally leave me bawling.  But instead I sat there twiddling my thumbs and feeling dead inside. 

I know I'm on what would, under normal circumstances, be too much Zoloft.  But these aren't normal circumstances.  Under normal circumstances I'd be pregnant by now and making sure that hormones didn't make my depression worse (in which case I might still need this much Zoloft, but that may or may not ever be a question for another time).  If feeling numb and dead inside is what I have to be like in order to be functional, I'll take it, because I was barely functional on the next lower dose.  Besides, if I'm dead inside, then it won't hurt so much to get my proof of failure on my favorite holiday and then go off to see kids and pregnant people.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Last year, I very carefully got both the regular and swine flu shots, thinking I might soon be in the vulnerable category.  I doubt I'm going to get a flu shot this year.   Not really any point, and I hate needles anyway, so I might as well go back to what I did the first 20-some years of my life.
I feel like shit.  Why can't I be happy for other people's happiness?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The sermon at church this morning was about Advent being a time of preparation and waiting.  It made me think, because part of what makes this so hard is that I've done a lot of the preparation, and it feels like I've done that preparation for nothing.  I declined to run again for my elected position so that I could free up time and be doing less traveling.  I prepared my heart for a baby.  I started to prepare my house by accepting baby things that a friend was getting rid of...which are now gathering dust in the attic.  I worked on preparing my mind by learning more about pregnancy and childbirth.  I work on preparing my body every month by checking when I'm ovulating and by not drinking for 2 weeks every month.  And I work on preparing my body on a daily basis by trying to eat healthier and deal with my weight.

I feel like I've cleaned the house and decorated and made food for a party that in the end no one wants to come to.  So I'm sitting at home alone while the food grows cold and the decorations wilt.

I'm trying to handle the waiting, but it's hard just like it was hard for the Jews in the days of Isaiah when they were waiting and preparing for something they never got to see and benefit from.  I keep praying for patience and peace, but I don't even get a prophet telling me that it will eventually come.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I've had a lot of thoughts and feelings going on over the past few days. 

For one thing, this month feels momentous to me, even though it's not actually different from any before or after.  The reason it feels momentous is because it is cycle #18.  I think I've mentioned before, two couples that I am friends with needed an extended period of time to conceive with nothing being wrong with them.  Both of those couples conceived at 18 months.  I know that the chances of me conceiving this month are the same as they are any other month, but I almost just wrote that I know the chances are infinitesimal, because that's how I feel.  I also know that it is possible that there is nothing wrong and it to still take over 18 months, even if the chances of that are about half a percent.  Still, emotionally it feels important even if objectively it's not.  I'm REALLY glad I'm going to be around a lot of my closest friend in the days after I find I didn't conceive again.

I was talking to my friend J yesterday (who doesn't read this blog because he hears every detail from me anyway), and he said again that I'm thinking about this all too much.  J said that when he sees me at that time of the month, I might as well have a tattoo on my forehead that says "I was a failure again, as usual."  He's right about that, I'm sure.  However, unlike other times when he's been concerned about how much I'm thinking about it, this time he had a couple of ideas about HOW to stop thinking about it quite so much given that I can't stop being surrounded by pregnancy and babies. 

J pointed out, for one thing, that because I'm tracking my BBT and, depending on the week, doing OPKs in the morning, pregnancy is literally the first thing I think about as I wake up every morning.  I said that it was to find the patterns and trends, and J replied that after 17 months, I know what the patterns and trends are.  He does have a point...I do know when the BBT is going to change, especially since (despite what my OB/GYN seems to think) I don't have irregular cycles.  So I'm going to try just checking my BBT for a couple days at a time when I expect it to change.  Maybe that will help keep IF from being the first thing I think about every morning as well as the last thing I think about every night (which is when I pray, even if I've prayed other times in the day).

I've also been thinking over the past day about calling my time of the month something other than my Proof of Failure.  I don't know if I can do that or not, because that's what it is to me, and at this point I can't think of it any other way.  But we'll see.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Something struck me as extremely unfair tonight.  And yes, I know that life's unfair, every infertile knows that if she didn't before.  But this is one piece of unfairness that people inflict on each other rather than unfairness that isn't under anyone's control.  And that makes me angry.

Why is it that people hold infertiles up to a much higher standard than they do anyone else?  Once people get to be my age and have been married for a while (so I'm not talking about teen moms here), if they start trying and are able to conceive quickly, most people don't say to them or their spouses, "you know, maybe you're not ready to be a parent."  Even when they get angry or upset or have a hard time dealing with things, their ability to parent isn't called into question unless they do something really egregious.  But if someone with infertility is upset or angry or anxious about their infertility, they're told, "you know, you have to be able to handle things better than that if you want to be a parent," or, "maybe you're not actually ready to be a parent." 

I know quite a few other people with ADHD, some parents and some not.  The parents I know with ADHD weren't told (and their spouses weren't told) that maybe they shouldn't be a parent or maybe they weren't ready to parent because they had trouble staying organized.  I know plenty of people who don't handle stress well or that handle stress but have a lot of it that are parents and were not told they weren't ready.  But the infertile person is told that they stress out too much and that they'll never conceive until they just relax.  Overweight people that become pregnant aren't told that they're not ready to have kids because they're too heavy unless they're obese enough that pregnancy and birth are likely to cause severe complications.  But the infertile woman with a little extra weight on her is told that her weight is probably the problem.  (For the record, yes, I know that I have more than "a little extra weight."  But I'm not just talking about myself here.)

To those that want to hold me and other infertiles to such a high standard, please put yourself in our shoes and ask whether you would need to do the same to be a good parent or to be "ready" to be a parent.  To the others of you out there, thank you for listening to me rant and not throwing rotten tomatoes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

To follow up from my last post, one of my friends and I were talking about it, and she said something that really hit me as I look at trying to follow what God wants and wanting to feel heard.  She said, "He is the same God that put the really freakishly strong desire for a child in you."  I hadn't thought about it that way before, but she's right.
I was talking to someone recently who asked about whether I was truly trying to follow God's plan for my life and my family or whether I was wanting from God what I want when I want it how I want it.  That really hurt, because I had told that person before about my prayer life and how I had been asking God from the beginning only for patience until it was His time.  I had also told that person when my pastor told me to start asking for a healthy baby in addition to asking for God to work His plan in my life and give me patience.  I ended up talking to my pastor after church yesterday to get a sanity check.  She reminded me that she had been the one to tell me to ask for a healthy baby and not just for peace.  She told me that it was perfectly reasonable to want to feel heard by God.  That made me feel a lot better.  I do know with my head and my heart that God is listening, but knowing it and experiencing the comfort and peace of FEELING it are two different things.  Overall, though, it just especially helped to have that sanity check and hear that I AM praying the way God wants me to, like I thought I was.  That person had me feeling all upside down and shaken up, and now I feel more normal (as much as I can, given everything).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I realized something tonight that feels really pathetic.  My absolute highest hope for the next month is that my next proof of failure comes on Christmas.  I have got no hope at all that I'll have anything other than failure, so the best that I can hope for is that my proof of failure (maybe I should start abbreviating that POF instead of one of the more common abbreviations) comes early enough that it doesn't completely mess with my trip to Atlanta.
One of my friends just said that me doing this blog inspired her to do a blog about her specific issues (not related to IF) and that it has been really helpful for her.  I started this to help myself and others with my IF journey, and it's been doing that, but it's really nice to know that it has helped people with other problems as well.
I just learned that I failed again this month.  No wonder my stomach was feeling like crap when I woke up.  I was pretty damned sure I had because I hadn't made myself try on one particular night and instead tried a day late...sure enough that I wasn't even bothering to not drink during the 2ww.  I do appreciate the ability of cats to notice when people need I started writing this, my big cat got clingy.

I don't think I'm going to the football game today.  It has nothing to do with not wanting to see babies or the awkwardness of not tailgating and everything to do with the fact that it's 45 minutes before the game that's 45 minutes away and I'm still in pajamas, since I just woke up 45 minutes ago and the fact that I'm crampy enough and gassy enough that I don't want to get dressed and go anywhere.  Might as well be able to watch multiple games at once in comfort instead of watching one game with windchills in the 30s.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In terms of the things I love about Thanksgiving, this has been a great holiday so far!  Cooking and baking have been enjoyable and relaxing, despite a pie crust mishap.  In terms of infertility, it's been...interesting. 

One thing I was thinking last night is that a silver lining of me focusing so much on being pregnant and having a baby is that I haven't been focusing on what having an older child would be like, so I'm not upset about not sharing things like cooking for Thanksgiving with a child like I loved sharing them with my mom.  If that run-on sentence made any sense...

At any rate, I said that to DH last night.  Big mistake.  An hour or two later, we were finally done talking for the night, having not accomplished anything.  I feel like he doesn't understand me at all through this.  Those who know DH, do NOT get on him about this.  Most people don't understand me, and he is trying (very trying, at times).  But DH likes logic and order and consistency and stability, and this journey is none of those for me, which makes it very hard for him to feel anything other than angry and frustrated with me.

So where we are right now is that I'll be getting my support elsewhere.  I'm not mad at him for this, and I don't want you to be mad at him either.  Like I told him, I'd rather he tell me he can't handle it, especially since I DO have other sources of support that I can make use of, rather than both of us being miserable.

Please don't bring this up with DH.  It's not like I'm trying to hide anything from him...if he wanted to read this post, he could.  But I don't want what I write to come bite him in the ass, because that's not fair to him or, by extension, to me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I've been calling my one friend's toddler my birthday buddy or birthday twin since she was born on my birthday 2 years ago.  Today, I got a new birthday buddy.  I was excited to see that she came and that she came on my birthday.  I was happy, and not upset, and I appreciate that.  When I told DH about my new birthday buddy, he asked how I was doing, and I was honestly able to tell him that I was doing fine.  I didn't know how long it would last, but I was sure going to enjoy being fine while it did last. 

I'm not just fine anymore, but I'm not upset or angry or completely depressed either.  I'm still happy and excited for my friend, but pictures have started making their way onto Facebook and it's hard for me to see the pictures.  I'm not trying to say that people shouldn't post them or anything like that.  But it's still hard.

So now I have a mix of excited and difficulty rather than unadulterated excitement.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I want to clarify something about my last post.  I wasn't saying that people shouldn't complain or vent about troubles that they have with pregnancy, giving birth, or parenting.  I'm a therapist for heaven's sake...the last thing I'm going to do is tell anyone they shouldn't vent or otherwise express their feelings.  What I'm saying is to be grateful WHILE you vent, the same as when I vent about work or my house, I'm still grateful that I have a job and that my house isn't in foreclosure.  Appreciate the fact that you get to be a parent while you are waiting for that particular negative part to be over.

Also bear in mind, however, that your infertile friend may not be the best person to complain/vent directly to while they're desperately wanting to have that problem.  Before everyone gets upset at me, I'm NOT saying that any of my friends have done that, and I'm NOT saying to avoid posting complaints in public places like Facebook.  You all (and I) have the right to post what we want, and infertile friends (as well as anyone else) have the right and ability to block the posts of people who they like when those people's posts hurt too much to read. (Of course, that comes with its own set of ramifications which relate to why I haven't blocked anyone's posts, as hard as it can be to look at Facebook sometimes.)  All I'm trying to say in this paragraph is, we all have different people in our lives that understand different parts of us and with whom it is natural to talk about different things.  When I'm frustrated about something work-related, it's often a lot more helpful for me and the other person if I vent about it to another social worker or someone else in the general field than if I vent about it to, say, my software-engineer husband.  Similarly, when you're looking to talk to just one person rather than the internet universe or friends list universe about what you're experiencing related to pregnancy, birth, or parenting, sometimes your infertile friend is the best person to talk to anyway because you're just that close to them, and sometimes it's better to talk to another parent.

Again, that last paragraph is talking in generalizations and NOT about any of my friends.  That hasn't been an issue with my friends up to now, and if it starts to become an issue with anyone (which I don't expect), I'll discuss it with that person.  This blog isn't just about what I am experiencing and feeling at any given point, it's also about infertility in general.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thinking about it, I can already think of one thing to add to the last post:  When you complain about your kids or about the symptoms of pregnancy, remember that some of us would kill to be experiencing that.  I would kill to experience morning sickness.  I would kill to be up all night with a newborn.  I would kill to experience a screaming toddler in the store.  I would kill to have an elementary-schooler fighting to avoid going to bed.  I would kill to have a teenager snapping at me that I know nothing.  Because I know what goes with it.  And I know that I may never have that.
I took this from another blog, although I took out the parts that don't fit me at this point in my journey: 

We all get them, those well intentioned comments from family members, co-workers and friends that leave us either:

1)rolling our eyes
2) crying
3) screaming
4) punching a wall (or them if it's a really bad day :-) )
5) writing a blog about what "the others" need to know so that we do the above far less often!

So, here is my attempt at helping "the others" not get harmed along the way when
trying to help an infertile woman.

NEVER EVER SAY JUST RELAX (or anything that implies that we need to just relax): We couldn't agree more that we need to relax, but you informing us that we aren't and we need to do a better job of it is even more un-relaxing!

We do not want to hear stories about your friends friend who:
a) Got pregnant right when she went through with adoption
b) Went through infertility treatments and finally got pregnant with triplets and is now so overwhelmed (especially when you imply : be careful what you wish for)
c) Finally got pregnant after 3 years of trying when she tried.......... (yes, we've tried trick in the book, each one and if you could guarantee us that drinking a pomeranian's piss would impregnate us, we'd do it....I think most IF women would anyway!!)

Do not tell us that it will happen when "the time is right" or "when God wants it to." There are many, many, many reasons this is insanely annoying, too many to go into. And by the way, it does not offer comfort at all.

Do not imply that we are ungrateful for what we have simply because we are very sad that we feel we are missing something. I already ranted about this in a previous post, just know it's a terrible thing to ever say or imply that you think we are, because you are wrong.
5) If you are pregnant and are our friend or family member, we will probably go to your baby shower because we have to, and there is a good chance we will cry before during or after your happy day. There is also the chance that we will not come because.....well....we got a flat tire on the way! (Comment by Jessie: I can very much understand why people would either choose to invite me to their baby shower or why they would choose NOT to invite me.  I don't necessarily know which I'd prefer at this point, although either way I'm not sure I'm up to going.  For me, at this point, the most important part is whether you cared enough to consider my feelings in deciding whether or not to invite me, whichever decision you end up making)

6) You will never ever understand how we feel unless you have walked in our shoes. You can try and relate it to something tragic in your life, but it's like comparing apples and oranges. We do appreciate it though when you truly try to understand.

7) We are emotional, moody and feel like we are completely losing it. We do not want to, or like feeling this way just as much as you do not like us being this way.

9) We think about getting pregnant CONSTANTLY. We may or may not always talk about it, but it is always, always on our mind. Practically everything reminds us of wanting to get pregnant. Even a beer gut reminds us of how much we wish that our guts looked like that, but for other reasons.

11) We just want you to be there for us when we need to vent. We want to know that you are ok with us talking about our infertility with you, and that even if you don't get it, you will listen with an open ear.
13) Infertility sucks major donkey balls and we would not wish this on our worst enemy (unless you tell us to relax and that case........)

Wow, I could go on and on and on!!!!! What other things would you add to this list that you wish "the others" of the world would know about being infertile?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Up and down, back and forward, dance in place.  The insurance for my company will actually cover infertility diagnostics, but I can't switch to that until DH switches companies, which now won't be until February or so.  I could have gone on my company's insurance back at the beginning of October if I had known that this stuff would be covered.  Unfortunately, they gave us only THREE DAYS max to make a decision on whether we'd take this insurance or not...they wanted the decision in one day!  That's nowhere near enough time to find out what insurance covers in the way of infertility and whether it's cheaper to stay on DH's insurance or switch!  So now I'm waiting for DH to switch companies, since that'll be a life-changing event such that I can switch insurance. 

This puts off the adoption question for a while, I hope.  I did find out that domestic adoption is apparently cheaper than overseas adoption, when I thought it was the other way around.  I'm hoping that we can still try to conceive, though, and that DH won't want to just adopt in order for me to be back on ADHD medications sooner. 

I have my massage in 40 minutes.  It would be nice if it served two purposes instead of one, but that's basically impossible.  So I will enjoy the relaxation and try not to mourn the fact that I'll never know if a massage would help with conception because this is the only one I'll get.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So now we're apparently at the point of considering whether we'd rather adopt an American baby or a baby from overseas so that we can start figuring out costs.  DH and I were talking about why I want to be a mother (after having talked in the past about why he wants to be a father).

We were also talking about focusing on things a person is passionate about, and I said that one of the things I'm passionate about is wanting to become a mother.  I explained that I really wanted to experience ALL aspects of being a mother, including growing a life inside of me for 9 months, feeling our baby move, seeing our baby on the sonogram, giving birth, experiencing those first moments of our baby's life outside of me.  Unfortunately, at the rate we're going, that costs a lot of money we can't really afford with no guarantee of return.

So basically we're at the point of considering where we would want to get our baby from if we adopted so that we can use that as a starting point to figure out how much adoption might cost.  I guess we have to figure that out now along with getting prices for fertility services, because we can't afford to have fertility services and THEN adopt when they fail, so we have to decide which we are going to do before we would start anything with a fertility clinic.

PS. For those that are wondering, yes, I do have other things that I am passionate about besides motherhood, and yes, I am trying to focus on those things in an attempt to fill the holes in my life that I created in order to be a responsible mother and in my heart that my heart created on its own.  I am doing a lot with APO because APO is where I feel most competent and able.  I'm trying to make time at the correct times to be able to do stuff with flags again, which is the other thing I'm most passionate about.  But so far at least, no matter how hard I've tried, focusing on the other things I'm passionate about has not made the passion I feel for motherhood stop hurting.
There will be a longer post coming in a minute or two, but I first wanted to say in a separate post how grateful I am for people who break their baby news gently to me.  One of my friends had discussed with another friend how to tell me and ended up pulling me aside and telling me at the end of the day when we had seen each other, before telling a bunch of our other friends.  I very much appreciated hearing it in person, hearing her story, hearing it at the end of the day so I didn't have to put on a happy face while I was being professional, and it being ok to cry about it in front of her.  Later that evening, I went out to dinner with her and her husband, and I appreciated that we were able to joke around about me being able to drink and that so far it doesn't seem to have affected the friendship.  I really appreciate her friendship, her caring, and her concern.  I thought I might have been doing a little better after I was enjoying holding my other friend's 4-month-old Friday night, but this showed that I wasn't, and I really appreciate that being ok with my friend.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On Friday night, I was at a book signing.  Two rows behind me were a 5-month-old and a 3-month-old.  As the 3-month-old began to cry, I was hit with an overwhelming desire to hold it.  Immediately after came the knowledge that it would hurt like hell to hold it, knowing that I may never have one of my own.  Ever since then, my left arm keeps literally aching, wanting to be bent around the weight of a baby.  I can especially feel the ache in my elbow and my upper arm, which would be bearing most of the weight.

We had been hoping that the insurance would be better at DH's new company.  We got good news and bad news yesterday.  The good news is that they have an FSA, so we can pay for testing and treatments pre-tax up to the limit of the FSA.  The bad news is, the PPO that the company works with has no infertility coverage.  The HR manager was wonderful and noted that the HMO the company can also work with might have coverage and that she would check.  Still, what the hell is up with this?  So many of the people on my message board have coverage for diagnostic procedures.  Is that really so rare?  Are they all just really lucky?  Or is it that DH and I are blocked for some reason?  That maybe God doesn't want us to succeed? 

All I can say is, thank goodness for Zoloft.

Friday, November 05, 2010

I had a really hard day yesterday, hard to the point of crying in my office with my friend.  Part of it was horomones.  Part of it was that there was a baby shower that day for one of my coworkers.  Part of it was finally being able to let go after all the stress of the last month.  I hadn't been able to let myself feel that before because I had needed to be able to keep pushing through until it was over.  But the horomones and baby shower causing some emotion let the rest come out as well.  I think maybe the need to keep going and to be strong for others may have done more than the Zoloft did in getting me through this month.  But either way, I'm through it. 

I'm not doing well.  I'm not sure I even count as managing at this point.  But I am at least surviving.  I haven't been written up at work again.  I'm even catching up on paperwork since several intakes have not shown.  I'm not snapping at DH, I'm being successful at being supportive of him.  So maybe I'm managing.  I don't really know at this point.  Sometime next week or the week after, I'll redeem the massage that M bought for me.  I figure it works better to use it this month than last month because last month we weren't trying and last month the stress was so constant that the positive effects from the massage would have been gone right away.  Hopefully this month will be lower-stress enough that the effects of the massage will last a decent amount of time. 

Plus, this month I have several APO events to run.  That actually lowers my stress rather than raising it for the most part.  At this point, APO is my happy place.  APO is where I feel competent and able to accomplish things.  APO is where a lot of my friends are, and especially a lot of friends that don't have kids and aren't having kids anytime soon.  It's not that I don't want those APO friends or any of my other friends to have kids.  But the fact that many of my APO friends don't have kids makes APO feel like more of a safe place for me emotionally.  Besides, it helps fill my time.  I thought I was going the responsible thing by not continuing as a Section Chair because I thought I'd have a baby by now.  Since I can't have that, I might as well fill my time with APO and other activities.  Yes, it's like dealing with grief by running around cooking and cleaning for everyone doesn't do anything to address the grief.  But it makes it possible to survive for one more day and try to keep going.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's pathetic when it hurts too much to look at my OWN baby pictures!

On another note, I really appreciated the concern and caring that one friend showed in messaging me privately before announcing her pregnancy on Facebook.  That made it a lot easier to take.
It's nice to know I'm not the only one having trouble dealing with Facebook but not wanting to let go of the connections to other friends that it offers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I know I haven't been on for more than a second or two lately.  My life has been blowing up big time in ways completely unrelated to the infertility.  It's been significant enough that DH and I decided not to even try this month, which I definitely have mixed emotions about even though I know it was the right thing to do.

My friend J was visiting a couple of weeks ago, and he and DH were talking to each other, concerned about how bad the effect on me would be if I got pregnant and then had a miscarriage.  Later that night, everything went to hell.  The week after that was when I was scheduled to ovulate.  Because the stress and issues from everything blowing up were sure to continue for much of the next week, DH and I agreed that the risk of a miscarriage from stress would be significantly higher this month than any other, so we decided not to try.

I've gotten the advice before that maybe DH and I should just stop trying, or that we should take a few months off from trying.  We've been told that when we stop trying is when it will happen.  Which, for the record, seriously pisses me off.  That's not what we're doing.  We're looking at the specific circumstances of this month and deciding not to try this time, just the same as if one of us had pneumonia with a high fever at the fertile time of the month.  It frustrates me to have this be the best course of action for this month, especially since I know that we only have, at best, 13 chances in a year (52/4 is 13, not 12, after all).  At the same time, I know deep down that it is the best course of action and that a miscarriage is just NOT something I can handle until things settle down at least a little bit.  J was calling it a wise decision, and I agree with that assessment...but I still don't have to like it.

I have more I want to post about, but that will have to come later. 

PS. I talked with my one PG friend a couple of weeks ago, and we're ok.  We're as much on the same page as we can be, given the different perspectives that we're coming from.  That's a huge relief, because I value her friendship and her as a person very much.  Like I told her, I knew we needed to talk, but I had no idea how to start the conversation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A friend recommended this article on Facebook, and it's a really powerful account of pregnancy loss by a father.

A lot's been happening and I'll post more later, but this is all I've got in me right now.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh, yeah, and that came up an hour after reading that another friend found out she will be having a girl.  Today is Pregnancy Loss Day or something like that.  I definitely am glad there's a day for that, because it is a serious issue that is horrible to go through.  At the same time, where's the day for those of us who can't even get that far??
And another friend announces their pregnancy while I continue to suffer in infertility purgatory.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So, I didn't get invited to my one friend's baby shower, and I don't really know what to think or how to feel about it.  On the one hand, not being invited means that I don't have to decide whether I can make it or come up with an excuse if I can't.  On the other hand, this is the friend that I haven't seen since she was about 5 months along because it hurts too badly to go to the tailgates.  The last I heard from her was when she asked that DH not come to tailgates without me and I replied, "Yeah, I understand what you mean about (DH).  I'm just trying to find a way to make everyone happy, or at least not upset, and there just doesn't seem to be a way to do that."  I posted on her Facebook wall a couple of days ago asking how she was doing, and I haven't heard back from her.

It makes me wonder.  Does she think I don't care about her anymore because I haven't been coming to the tailgates?  Does she think I'm selfish because I'm not oohing and aahing and wanting to see her as many times as I can before the baby is born?  Does she think I'm too weak to be worth talking to and having as a friend because I'm not right there in the middle of everything?

Am I too weak to be worth talking to and having as a friend?  My two best friends tell me that I'm too obsessive, that I can't let this stop me from living, that I shouldn't let it interfere with my life and my friendships, that it doesn't help me to crumble.  How do I not crumble?  How do I not let it interfere with my life?  I try not to let it interfere with my friendships, but I think that depends on the other person in the friendship, too. 

I can't be OK with this.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to be OK with this short of having a baby or not, but I sure as hell can't right now.  I need it to be OK for me not to be OK.  And unfortunately, as far as the above friend goes, I don't get the impression that it's OK with her for me to not be OK.  Now, I understand why that could be.  She's so excited about her baby that it can be hard to think about anyone else but her family and how excited they are.  That makes sense.  But it still puts me in a hell of a position.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

So, we've been looking whether and how we can afford to go to a fertility clinic, also known as a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).

I went to my OB/GYN today to ask were they refer people, and the only clinic they send people to is Shady Grove. I walked down the hall to SG to ask for a rate sheet. The front desk staff were very helpful and sweet. She told me about them having shared risk programs for IUI as well as for IVF. I was told that the initial consultation is $300 but to tell them if and when I made an appointment that we don't have coverage, because some of the doctors will be flexible about that fee for people without coverage. Unfortunately, DH and I make too much to qualify for financial assistance, even though we don't make enough money to have a baby. The woman was surprised that our insurance didn't even cover diagnostic testing because most people's does. Of course this would happen AFTER DH's company switches to shitty insurance. Because every possible thing that could interfere with us being able to have a family is. Murphy's having a frickin field day with me at this point.

The woman at SG did also give me their new patient packet. I saw a pamphlet on the way out for infertility counseling and grabbed it. They don't offer it at the Annapolis office, but they do have free support groups, while our local hospital does not.

Next step from here is for DH to ask his urologist for where they refer people to, especially since the doc said he refers people to somewhere that's less expensive than SG, and for me to get rate sheets from them and from other places that y'all were talking about.

Friday, October 08, 2010

And I finally get the confirmation I've been expecting since Monday of another month of failure.  Not that I'm surprised, of course.  I firmly believe each month that I'm not going to get anywhere.

At least this month, I have a free Reiki session at work and my extra special gift from my friend M, a gift card for a hot stone massage to help me relax.  I'm going to REALLY enjoy that after the way this week has been!!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

So, the Zoloft seems to be keeping the tears from being at the surface 90% of the time.  I feel numb in general a lot of the time, which I especially noticed when something unrelated happened that I should have been upset about and I wasn't.  That tells me that this dose would ordinarily be too much and that when this nightmare is over one way or another, I should go back to a lower dose.  This is what is letting me function at this point, though, so I'm going to keep it here as long as I need that level of numbing.

While the Zoloft numbs the emotions, it doesn't do anything for/about the negative thoughts.  The thoughts that every month is going to be this horrible, the thoughts that we can't afford to see a fertility clinic, the thoughts that we can't afford to adopt either, the thoughts that only rich people can create a family if it's not handed to them on a silver platter, the firm expectation and belief that I/we will continue to fail each month.  Hopefully the therapy will help with this part.

On a semi-related note, I came up with an analogy tonight to describe what my life is like and somewhat how that relates to my faith.  To set the scene, a couple weeks ago my mom had sent me the Footprints in the Sand poem over email.  I've always loved that one, but right now I feel like I'm not being helped or carried and I told her that.  She replied that God still is carrying me.  My thought in response was that if He is carrying me, it feels like He's letting parts of me drag along the sand to the point where I'm getting road rash.

So tonight I was thinking while I drove to drill.  A lot of stuff has been going on in the last week or two, some related to the infertility and some not, or not directly.  I realized that I feel like grain that God is grinding between the millstones of circumstance.  There may be something good that comes out of it, like flour, but in the process, I am being utterly mutilated and destroyed.

Previous circumstances have been like threshing the grain, knocking me out of my comfort zone and into where I can be used, but they only knocked me around, they didn't destroy me.  No matter how bad it got, I still knew that I could do it, that I could make it through and accomplish what I wanted to and needed to if I only kept fighting.  This is different.  Every time I think I might be able to get my head above water long enough to catch a breath, another wave of shit comes in and tries to drown me.  I try to cling to the few things in my life that are going well, but they're increasingly overwhelmed by everything else.

Gee, can you tell I like analogies?

Monday, October 04, 2010

My BBT dropped this morning.  Damnit, another month of failure.  Fitting start to a rainy, cold, dreary Monday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I saw this on someone else's infertility blog, and it grabbed me because it's so true.


I want to share my feelings about infertility with you, because I want you to understand my struggle. I know that understanding infertility is difficult; there are times when it seems even I don't understand. This struggle has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings in me and I fear that my reactions to these feelings might be misunderstood. I hope my ability to cope and your ability to understand will improve as I share my feelings with you. I want you to understand.
You may describe me this way: obsessed, moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic, and cynical. These aren't very admirable traits; no wonder your understanding of my infertility is difficult. I prefer to describe me this way: confused, rushed and impatient, afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and ashamed, angry, sad, loss of control and hopeless, and unsettled. 

My infertility makes me feel confused. I always assumed I was fertile. I've spent years avoiding pregnancy and now it seems ironic that I can't conceive. I hope this will be a brief difficulty with a simple solution. Surely if I try harder, try longer, try better and smarter, I will have a baby. 

My infertility makes me feel rushed and impatient. I learned of my infertility only after I'd been trying to become pregnant for some time. My life-plan suddenly is behind schedule. I waited to become a parent and now I must wait again. I wait for medical appointments, wait for tests, wait for treatments, wait for other treatments, wait for my period not to come, wait for my partner not to be out of town and wait for pregnancy. At best, I have only twelve opportunities each year. How old will I be when I finish having my family?

My infertility makes me feel afraid. Infertility is full of unknowns, and I'm frightened because I need some definite answers. How long will this last? What if I'm never a parent? What humiliation must I endure? What pain must I suffer? Why do drugs I take to help me, make me feel worse? Why can't my body do the things that my mind wants it to do? Why do I hurt so much? I'm afraid of my feelings, afraid of my undependable body and afraid of my future. 

My infertility makes me feel isolated and alone. Reminders of babies are everywhere. I must be the only one enduring this invisible curse. I stay away from others, because everything makes me hurt. No one knows how horrible is my pain. Even though I'm usually a clear thinker, I find myself being lured by superstitions and promises. I think I'm losing perspective. I feel so alone and I wonder if I'll survive this. 

My infertility makes me feel guilty and ashamed. Frequently I forget that infertility is a medical problem and should be treated as one. Infertility destroys my self-esteem and I feel like a failure. Why am I being punished? What did I do to deserve this? Am I not worthy of a baby? Am I not a good sexual partner? Will my partner want to remain with me? Is this the end of my family lineage? Will my family be ashamed of me? It is easy to lose self-confidence and to feel ashamed. 

My infertility makes me feel angry. Everything makes me angry, and I know much of my anger is misdirected. I'm angry at my body because it has betrayed me even though I've always taken care of it. I'm angry at my partner because we can't seem to feel the same about infertility at the same time. I want and need an advocate to help me. I'm angry at my family because they've always sheltered and protected me from terrible pain. My younger sibling is pregnant; my mother wants a family reunion to show off her grandchildren and my grandparents want to pass down family heirlooms. I'm angry at my medical caregivers, because it seems that they control my future. They inflict discomfort and sometimes pain on me, pry into my privacy, sometimes patronise me, and sometimes forget who I am. How can I impress on them how important parenting is to me? I'm angry at my expenses; infertility treatment is expensive. My financial resources may determine my family size. My insurance company isn't always cooperative, and I must make so many sacrifices to pay the medical bills. I can't miss any more work, or I'll lose my job. I can't go to a specialist, because it means more travel time, more missed work, and greater expenses. Finally, I'm angry at everyone else. Everyone has opinions about my inability to become a parent. Everyone has easy solutions. Everyone seems to know too little and say too much. 

My infertility makes me feel sad and hopeless. Infertility feels like I've lost my future, and no one knows of my sadness. I feel hopeless; infertility robs me of my energy. I've never cried so much nor so easily. I'm sad that my infertility places my partnership under so much strain. I'm sad that my infertility requires me to be so self-centred. I'm sad that I've ignored many friendships because this struggle hurts so much and demands so much energy. Friends with children prefer the company of other families with children. I'm surrounded by babies, pregnant women, playgrounds, baby showers, birth stories, kids' movies, birthday parties and much more. I feel so sad and hopeless.

My infertility makes me feel unsettled. My life is on hold. Making decisions about my immediate and my long-term future seems impossible. I can't decide about education, career, purchasing a home, pursuing a hobby, getting a pet, vacations, business trips and houseguests. The more I struggle with my infertility, the less control I have. This struggle has no timetable; the treatments have no guarantees. The only sure things are that I need to be near my partner at fertile times and near my doctor/clinic at treatment times. Should I pursue adoption? Should I take expensive drugs? Should I pursue more specialised and costly medical intervention? It feels unsettling to have no clear, easy answers or guarantees. 

Occasionally I feel my panic subside. I'm learning some helpful ways to cope; I'm now convinced I'm not crazy, and I believe I'll survive. I'm learning to listen to my body and to be assertive, not aggressive, about my needs. I'm realising that good medical care and good emotional care are not necessarily found in the same place. I'm trying to be more than an infertile person gaining enthusiasm, joyfulness, and zest for life. 
You can help me. I know you care about me and I know my infertility affects our relationship. My sadness causes you sadness; what hurts me, hurts you, too. I believe we can help each other through this sadness. Individually we both seem quite powerless, but together we can be stronger. Maybe some of these hints will help us to better understand infertility. 

I need you to be a listener. Talking about my struggle helps me to make decisions. Let me know you are available for me. It's difficult for me to expose my private thoughts if you are rushed or have a deadline for the end of our conversation. Please don't tell me of all the worse things that have happened to others or how easily someone else's infertility was solved. Every case is individual. Please don't just give advice; instead, guide me with your questions. Assure me that you respect my confidences, and then be certain that you deserve my trust. While listening try to maintain an open mind. 

I need you to be supportive. Understand that my decisions aren't made casually, I've agonised over them. Remind me that you respect these decisions even if you disagree with them, because you know they are made carefully. Don't ask me, "Are you sure?" Repeatedly remind me that you love me no matter what. I need to hear it so badly. Let me know you understand that this is very hard work. Help me realise that I may need additional support from professional caregivers and appropriate organisations. Perhaps you can suggest resources. You might also need support for yourself, and I fear I'm unable to provide it for you; please don't expect me to do so. Help me to keep sight of my goal. 

I need you to be comfortable with me, and then I also will feel more comfortable. Talking about infertility sometimes feels awkward. Are you worried you might say the wrong thing? Share those feelings with me. Ask me if I want to talk. Sometimes I will want to, and sometimes I won't, but it will remind me that you care.

I need you to be sensitive. Although I may joke about infertility to help myself cope, it doesn't seem as funny when others joke about it. Please don't tease me with remarks like, "You don't seem to know how to do it." Don't trivialise my struggle by saying, "I'd be glad to give you one of my kids." It's no comfort to hear empty reassurances like, "You'll be a parent by this time next year." Don't minimise my feelings with, "You shouldn't be so unhappy." For now, don't push me into uncomfortable situations like baby showers or family reunions. I already feel sad and guilty; please don't also make me feel guilty for disappointing you.

I need you to be honest with me. Let me know that you may need time to adjust to some of my decisions. I also needed adjustment time. If there are things you don't understand, say so. Please be gentle when you guide me to be realistic about things I can't change such as my age, some medical conditions, financial resources, and employment obligations. Don't hide information about others' pregnancies from me. Although such news makes me feel very sad, it feels worse when you leave me out. 

I need you to be informed. Your advice and suggestions are only frustrating to me if they aren't based on fact. Be well informed so you can educate others when they make remarks based on myths. Don't let anyone tell you that my infertility will be cured if I relax and adopt. Don't tell me this is God's will. Don't ask me to justify my need to parent. Don't criticise my course of action or my choice of physician even though I may do that myself. Reassure yourself that I am also searching for plenty of information, which helps me make more knowledgeable decisions about my options. 

I need you to be patient. Remember that working through infertility is a process. It takes time. There are no guarantees, no package deals, no complete kits, no one right answer, and no "quickie" choices. My needs change; my choices change. Yesterday I demanded privacy, but today I need you for strength. You have many feelings about infertility, and I do too. Please allow me to have anger, joy, sadness, and hope. Don't minimise or evaluate my feelings. Just allow me to have them, and give me time. 

I need you to be strengthening by boosting my self-esteem. My sense of worthlessness hampers my ability to take charge. My personal privacy has repeatedly been invaded. I've been subjected to postcoital exams, semen collection in waiting room bathrooms, and tests in rooms next to labour rooms. Enjoyable experiences with you such as a lunch date, a shopping trip, or a visit to a museum help me feel normal. 

Encourage me to maintain my sense of humour; guide me to find joys. Celebrate with me my successes, even ones as small as making it through a medical appointment without crying. Remind me that I am more than an infertile person. Help me by sharing your strength. 

Eventually I will be beyond the struggle of infertility. I know my infertility will never completely go away because it will change my life. I won't be able to return to the person I was before infertility, but I also will no longer be controlled by this struggle. I will leave the struggle behind me, and from that I will have improved my skills for empathy, patience, resilience, forgiveness, decision-making and self-assessment. I feel grateful that you are trying to ease my journey through this infertility struggle by giving me your understanding. 


The author, Jody Earle, frequently felt the need for a brochure like this one during her own eleven-year infertility struggle. She experienced three pregnancy losses, one in each trimester and eventually, the premature births of her two sons. She continues to be a peer counsellor for those working through infertility.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I lost control today in church.  To make matters worse, I was the liturgist, so I had to look like I had it together long enough to get to the last hymn.  I couldn't make it through the last hymn, and I followed one of the choir members through the little escape door behind the lectern so I wasn't as obvious.  The sermon had been from a person from the conference instead of our pastor, and she had spoken about hope as our church proceeds through a merger.  I just completely did not have the ability to think about hope without falling apart, when I'm having so much trouble having hope for our situation. 

As I was leaving the sanctuary, the visiting pastor asked if I was ok.  I mumbled that we were dealing with infertility.  She asked if I wanted to talk, saying that she had dealt with the same thing, and I initially said I would be ok, thinking that I was supposed to go home and meet my cousin to talk APO stuff.  (DH, meanwhile, was projecting thoughts of, "Don't be stupid and turn away help when you need it, especially not from someone who's been there!!!") 

So, the pastor sat down with the two of us and talked about how we (especially I) have been feeling.  She was lucky in that 18 years ago, stuff like this was actually covered by insurance, but she needed IVF to conceive her twins.  She said that she could see how much grief I'm experiencing.  I've never used that word to describe it before, but it fits better than I would have guessed.  The pastor also compared it to having a loved one MIA because you don't know whether to give up or keep hoping.  She said she'll pray for us.

When we got home, DH and I were talking more, and we eventually decided that maybe we should see a fertility clinic once we can get the money together rather than waiting longer and potentially wasting more time.  Course, who knows how long getting the money together will take, after the bills from getting us both checked out in the first place.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Has anyone ever felt compelled to keep picking at a scab or pimple even thought it hurts?  That was how I felt at the Maryland game today.  There were 2 women side by side with infants in the same row of the section next to ours.  I couldn't stop looking over there.  It wasn't a complete stab it the heart each time, which I suppose is a good thing.  But I couldn't stop looking at what I want and may never be able to have.

I feel like so much of my life is on hold.  I can't tailgate with my friends at this point because it hurts too much to spend the time with a one-year-old, a one-month-old, and a friend due in November.  I let go of a position I loved within APO, thinking that I would need a position where I'm not traveling by now.  Instead, I have a project that I am working on through mid-November that I enjoy, but I'm at loose ends after that.  I don't know what I'll be doing, I don't know what will be available that fits my abilities and interests, and I feel like I'm being punished for trying to do the responsible thing for myself, my family, and my students, given that I expected I'd be able to do what 85% of couples are able to do in a year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How do I decide what to do or say and what not to do or say in terms of events and taking care of myself?  My decisions on what I can handle, how many babies and pregnant women I can stand to be around, don't just affect me, they affect friends that rely on me if they want to be able to do fun things.  How do I tell them they have to suffer because I'm too fragile?  How do I tell friends that I've had for years that I don't know if I can keep from crying if I see them?  How do I tell newer acquaintances/friends that it hurts to see them?  How do I tell someone that their greatest happiness is a knife in the heart for me?

I feel like I'm supposed to just move past this and find a way to be "fine," but I don't know how.  I don't know if there is a way for me to be "fine" without a baby in my body or in my arms.  I can't become a shut-in, but everywhere I go it slaps me in the face, and I have yet to find a way to not feel slapped by it.  I don't want to be a burden on the people that care about me, and I feel like I am at this point.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One step forward, one step...I don't know...sideways?

I texted DH and my best guy friend tonight, proud of myself because, when I was at Wal-Mart, I saw the same magazine cover that had upset me on Sunday and managed to not get teary-eyed.  I said in the text, "Go, me."  It was an effort, and I also had to make an effort to look away from the magazines any time I passed them, but I didn't tear up.

When I got home and checked Facebook, I saw that pictures had been posted from a former coworker's baby shower.  I wanted to be able to look, because I miss the friends that were there, but I just couldn't.  I suppose it's a good thing that I didn't try to make myself look anyway, but it was easier to take care of myself in that situation because it didn't take away from anyone else.  Plus, the pictures will still be there when I reach the point where I can look.

I'm trying, here.  (I know, I know, I'm very trying to the people around me.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In my continuing quest to survive, I took a couple steps tonight to try to care for my mental health.  I went to the psychiatrist to get my Zoloft raised, and I had an intake with a faith-based counselor.  Most of the intake was, of course, giving her background about what's been going on.  We did talk some about coping strategies that I've already tried and about my difficulty with taking care of myself instead of others.

Part of my difficulty with this stems from how much need there is in the world.  Yes, that's the social worker in me coming out, and yes, I know that I can't help everyone in the world.  But I do believe that I should make up for the fact that I can't help everyone in the world by helping everyone I can.  After all, imagine if everyone did that!

Part of the difficulty also comes from the fact that I often enjoy doing things for others, whether it's because the activity is something I enjoy doing or because the people involved are people I enjoy spending time with.  It seems like recreation to me to be doing things for others, at least some of the time.  However, I'm ending up in a situation where I'm doing so many things for others that there's at least one activity that I want to make time for, but I've been having trouble carving the time out.

I don't really know where this post is going, aside from to say that I'm trying to find ways to take care of myself.  I'm having to be creative, though, because most of the traditional coping skills aren't doing jack.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ah, the joys of trying to pay attention to tv or anything entertainment-related while dealing with infertility.  I don't care at ALL about those Kardashian sisters, but I was at 7-11 today with my best guy friend, and I caught a glimpse of a magazine cover with whichever one's preggo again on it.  So, yeah, I was wiping away tears while J and I were walking to breakfast.  He was telling me about a couple of friends of his who had adopted babies from Vietnam and China.  DH and I had talked about adoption before, as DH was wanting to find a way to make things better for me and us sooner rather than later.  One thing we didn't talk about, though, was whether we'd want a domestic or foreign adoption if it comes to that.  J was telling me it's too early to think about that.  Thoughts from the great beyond of blog-land?

I was watching the season premiere of One Tree Hill tonight, and it was interesting in relation to this because of how Brooke is trying to be happy for Haley as she announces her second pregnancy, as well as how Julian tries to help Brooke though this stressor. DH was watching the show with me, and he was sweet about putting his arm around me or holding my hand as the baby issue kept coming up.  On the show, Julian was trying to distract Brooke with sex, saying, "Let's keep trying to have a baby."  I don't know how that would make me feel if I was in Brooke's shoes of having been told that there was no hope for her to conceive, but I give Julian's character writers credit for having him be sensitive to her needs and emotions related to Haley's pregnancy.  One thing I appreciate about DH is him recognizing when the infertility issue is bothering me more and him noticing situations that are likely to stress me out and putting his hand on my arm or something like that.  He and I both have physical touch as one of our primary love languages, and so him just making a move to touch me helps me to feel comforted and loved even if it doesn't do anything to fix the problem.

Speaking of fixing the problem, we tried something new on Thursday.  I'm not going to go into exactly what on here, because I still haven't decided what level of TMI to put in this blog.  If people want to know, comment and I'll tell you privately.  Next month at this time we won't be going out of town for the weekend, which will make it easier to try that something new at exactly the right time.  This month we had to try it a couple of days ahead of time and hope, since we were both doing things in different places this weekend.

And so it goes.  I have an appointment to meet with a counselor tomorrow to talk about my feelings about all this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ah, the complex relationship between infertility and insurance.  I had my open enrollment meeting today for insurance at work.  I've been on my husband's insurance plan for the past couple of years, since he has a PPO and I like the choice that PPOs offer.  Unfortunately for us, at the start of this year, his company went from a really good PPO with a smaller insurance company that still had a good network to a mediocre PPO from United this year.  I don't actually remember whether the old plan covered infertility, since I didn't have reason to look before.  At the time when the insurance switched over, we had only been trying for 5 months, and we still thought we would conceive any time now.

The first clue that this would be an issue came after DH got an EOB from his insurance company rejecting his first visit to get checked out.  Oddly enough, they accepted the second visit for him, but rejected the first.  IIRC, his semenalysis was covered, but his ultrasound wasn't.  I don't believe we've received any bills from the actual doctor's office from my visit and ultrasound.  However, we did get a bill for $635 in lab charges from my first visit.  We're working with his company's insurance broker to see if any of these charges can be covered after all.  For one thing, part of the lab charges for me are $246 for STD tests, since certain STDs can affect fertility.  Can't that also be preventative care and screening, though?  Screenings and preventative care are covered...

I looked at the insurance coverage that my company is offering starting next month.  Unlike with DH's insurance, IVF is covered under this plan.  No other infertility treatment is, however.  Our plan had been to try IUI first in terms of interventions by an actual fertility specialist.  I've raised the question with DH of whether it would be worth trying IVF earlier in the game if it's covered and IUI isn't.  I didn't expect an answer, and we haven't discussed it further, since we're not close to crossing that bridge yet.  I had just figured I'd throw the question out on the table so it could rattle around in our heads.  I wonder why a company would cover expensive stuff like IVF and not IUI, which is exponentially cheaper.

My company likes to do a high-deductible HMO and then give employees an HRA card for the deductible, paid by the employer.  They find that less expensive for them than paying for a policy with a regular deductible.  Starting next month, that would be with United.  With my company's insurance having more infertility coverage than DH's, but only of an intervention we may not need, it raises the question of whether it's worth switching from a PPO to an HMO in order to get that additional coverage.  One benefit of this HMO is that as long as a specialist is in-network, referrals for specialists actually aren't necessary.  It's not even that I want to be able to go out of network, especially since United has a nationwide network, so I'd be ok even if I was out of town.  It's more that I've tended to find PPOs to have larger networks than HMOs, as well as fewer hoops to jump through.

Another thing that makes this interesting is that this division of United that my company is using also has a savings program where their customers qualify for discounts on things that their insurance doesn't cover, like gym memberships, nutrition counseling, and infertility treatments.  The discounts range from 5-50%, but I can't look at what companies participate or what the discounts are for individual things until I'm a customer.

Oh, yeah, and my employer wants the enrollment forms back tomorrow, when the meeting was today.  DH just got home and is comparing his coverage (my current coverage) with what my employer is offering.  He's frustrated, saying it's really confusing and seems like they put a lot of fine print in so they don't have to cover anything while they sound like they do.  I started reading the chapter on Affording Infertility in the Infertility Survival Guide, but didn't get to finish it before DH got home.  He's currently reading the section of the chapter on dealing with health insurance.

Final decision: my company's health insurance is free, and we can't cancel my insurance with DH's company at this time, so unless I find a reason not to when I talk with the person I turn the form into tomorrow, I'll add it as secondary coverage.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I bought a book a couple of weeks ago called The Infertility Survival Handbook: Everything You Never Thought You'd Need to Know, by Elizabeth Swire Falker.  Tonight was the first time I opened it.  I love reading, but I tend to use it most as an escape, a form of relaxation.  If I learn anything in the process, cool, but there's a reason I'm usually reading fiction and not non-fiction, and that's because it's fun.

Anyway, I was going to just read the book like I do most of them, even non-fiction, just straight through.  As I was paging through the table of contents to get to the first page, though, one of the later chapters caught my eye: Telling Friends and Family.  The chapter has sections on "Who to tell and what to say," "How to cope with insensitive comments," and "How to cope with social and work obligations."  I turned to that chapter and read it immediately.

The question of who to tell and what to say is especially key as I start this blog.  When I created this blog, I decided to use my first name and a common screen name of mine.  This decision wasn't that big a deal to me because I decided that if anyone randomly came across it and realized it was me, I didn't care.  Today, I created a fan page on Facebook for this blog and linked it in to the NetworkedBlogs application.  That has more risks involved because of the number of people I have friended on Facebook that are acquaintances more than they are friends.  As I set up the NetworkedBlogs app, I listed myself as the author of this blog and needed to verify that fact by asking friends to say that I am who I say I am.  One of my friends who has a blog and had suggested the app to me called me to ask if I wanted to list myself as the author of the blog, given that people I don't know well would then be able to see that.  I decided that it was fine, because I don't care if people I know are looking for information about infertility, come across this blog, and realize it's me.  And I figure that anyone who doesn't care about my infertility isn't too likely to click on the link if they do see it.  The biggest thing that I wanted was to make sure that it would not post to the feed of everyone I know whenever I post, so I have it set to only post to the feeds of people who liked the page for the blog.

I'm going to devote a whole separate post (or many more than one) at some point to insensitive comments.  The other part of that chapter that's really key to me right now is the section on social and work obligations.  I haven't had baby showers to go to since we started trying, especially since the one or two at work were on days when I was at another location, but I'm sure I'll have 2 or 3 in the upcoming months to decide whether I can handle.  My most imminent obstacle is tailgating.  The group that I tailgate with includes a one-year-old, a one-month-old, and a pretty close friend due in November that conceived without trying.  Yesterday I skipped tailgating in the end, arriving just in time for the game, even knowing that the pregnant friend wasn't going to be there and thinking that the one-month-old wouldn't be there...I decided that even just dealing with the one-year-old would be too much for me this weekend.  Good thing I did, since the one-month-old was there too.  I hope I don't have to skip tailgating all season.  It's something I enjoy, and having to skip something I enjoy because I'm not strong enough feels like having to punish myself for being weak.  At least I have 2 weeks before I have to make that decision again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So what the heck does infertility mean, anyway, and how does that relate to why I started this blog now instead of two months ago? 

The simple answer, at least according to, is that any couple that tries actively for a year without success qualifies for a diagnosis of infertility.  The answer is rarely if ever that simple for individuals and couples, however.  For one thing, most people don't know at the time when they pass a year of trying whether there is anything medically wrong with them or not, since many doctors don't want to see a person to do testing before they've been trying for a year.  For another, a couple is affected by infertility (most of the time, anyway), but about 60% of the time, a problem is identified with one partner and the other partner has to find a way to deal with the face that "we" are infertile, but "I" am not.  (The other 40% of the time, both partners have problems affecting fertility or no problems are identified with either partner, but they still are not conceiving.)

The biggest complicating factor, however, is the emotional impact that people put on the word "infertility."  Many people are reluctant to use that word to describe their situation because of what it means to them.  Just speaking from my own perspective, infertility means not being able to do what my heart yearns most for, not being able to become a parent in the normal way.  It means my world not being the way it's supposed to be.  I've dealt with my world not being the way it's supposed to be in one way or another for most of my life, but somehow, this one is too much.  Maybe it's because of how long this could affect my life.  With other things that weren't supposed to be that way, there was a limit to how long it would affect my daily life.  Not with this. 

The other thing that makes dealing with infertility so crushing is being surrounded by people who obviously can have what I can't.  With other problems that I've had, I couldn't look around me to see who had depression and who didn't or who got along with their parents and who didn't.  With infertility, though, I'm constantly surrounded by people who can and do have kids.  Every time I turn around, I'm hearing about someone else I know that is pregnant, and when I'm not hearing that, I'm hearing people talk about their kids.  I'll go into my love/hate relationship with Facebook later, because that's probably a whole post of its own.

At any rate, with the word "infertility" meaning so many negative things to people, individuals and couples choose different times and milestones to determine at what point they describe themselves as "infertile."  Even though DH and I have been told that we shouldn't have any issues interfering with our ability to have children, we've failed to do so 14 times.  It's been more than a year, and we're at the point of artificial options and looking at what it would take to adopt.  To me, that's infertility, whether there's anything that should be making us infertile or not.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The idea for this iteration of Ninth Circle (not that I did much of anything with it before) came from reading this article that my friend Kristin sent to me:

 When I read it back in July of this year, I thought about blogging about my own experiences and refusing to contribute to the culture of silence that surrounds problems with infertility.  At that point, however, I was starting something new, acupuncture to aid in fertility, and I thought it would be pretty silly to start a blog about infertility and then conceive in the very next month.  Besides, I didn't know whether what I was experiencing was really an infertility problem.  At that point, my husband and I had been trying to conceive for 12 cycles, not technically a full year, which is 13 cycles of 28 days.  For the sake of his privacy (in case I end up with people I don't know reading this), I'm going to go with the convention I have seen on forums and call him DH, for Dear Husband.  After all, while I am trying to break the silence for myself, we are still two separate people, and I won't speak for him.

Anyway, at this point, I've reached the milestone of labeling what DH and I are dealing with as "infertility."   We've been told that there's nothing that should be causing a problem.  In other words, there are two issues that could be causing a problem but supposedly are not.  While I do know two couples who have taken 18 months to conceive with nothing wrong with either of them, I also know that statistically, we should have conceived by now if there's not a problem.  A couple with nothing wrong with them has a 25% chance of conceiving on any given cycle when they are trying at the right time.  I may not have been that good at math in general, but I was good at statistics, and I can calculate that there is only a 1.8% chance of not being pregnant by now if there really is nothing wrong.  For you statistics people, we're outside of two standard deviations, and if this goes on for 5 more months, we'll be outside of three standard deviations.  We're pretty damned close to disproving the Null hypothesis here, people!

OK, now that I've come as close to geeking out on math as I'm generally ever going to, I'll be a social worker again and talk about feelings.  I'm depressed.  I'm angry.  I'm frustrated.  I'm hopeless most of the time.  I swing back and forth between wanting to cry when I see a baby and wanting to slap every bitch that has it easy when it comes to getting pregnant.  Yes, I know that a lot of people who have babies had to work hard to get them.  And yes, I know that many people who have babies had difficult pregnancies or deliveries.  But right now, I'd give almost anything for even a hard pregnancy full of complications (as long as the baby was healthy in the end) just so I could be pregnant at all.

And the worst kick in the stomach has been the past week.  I spent 5 days in a row at the end of my cycle queasy and exhausted, with my BBT readings not dropping in preparation for the end of the cycle.  Reason to have a smidge of hope, right?  Nope, cause there's never a reason for hope down here in the Ninth Circle, boys and girls.  Realized Saturday night that the reason I was queasy and exhausted and my temp wasn't dropping was because I was running a slight fever.  Oh, joy!  And then DH and I get back from our weekend trip, and DH is opening the mail last night and finds a bill for $635 for bloodwork that said there's nothing wrong with me but that insurance doesn't want to cover.  And of course we can't find out what insurance is supposed to cover in terms of testing for infertility problems because we can't even get a copy of what the insurance covers from DH's HR department at work!  I don't know why I even bothered to get checked this rate, we won't be able to afford to go to the fertility clinic or to adopt if our next efforts don't work out.  Oh, yeah, and I was in enough pain from the results of having failed again that I was having trouble moving today.

So yeah.  Have a good night, boys and girls, while I go take some more Tylenol to try to keep my fever down and my pain at a minimum.