Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I've been a lazy fuck and not updating. Have you missed me?
Here's a short list of what I've been doing instead of blogging:
1. watching TV
2. playing Zelda
3. rocking around the Christmas tree and spreading Hanukkah joy.
Lucky for me Daisy tagged me for a Christmas meme (my first ever!) so I don't have to ask much of my atrophied brain cells.
1. Egg nog or Hot Chocolate?
Soy nog. It is nog sans the dairy coated tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa has no time to wrap, people. He's just one man!
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White lights in the tree. I have no house. I drape many many lights in my tree to compensate.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Yes. And I strictly uphold the mistletoe rules whenever people are at my house.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
Weekend after Thanksgiving! But no Christmas music until December 1.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child.
Driving between my parents' houses with my brother and sister on Christmas Eve singing Christmas carols in the car.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Some part of me knew, since our stockings were always full of the fruit that was in the fruit bowl on Christmas Eve. But I clung on. When I was 7, my parents were like: you're getting too old for this shiz.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas eve?
One for everyone!
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Lights wrapped around the trunk and all around the branches. So many lights. Then lots of ornaments from our friends and family. Most of them are horses and dobermans.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it?
I adore snow. I will sled on 1/2 inch of snow on a plastic bag.
12. Can you ice skate?
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Probably my plastic rocking horse. I used to ride that thing like I was headed to China.
14. What is the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Seeing lots of family.
15. What is your favorite Holiday dessert?
Pumpkin pie and fingerprint cookies.
16. What is your favorite Holiday tradition?
Stockings. Hello, what could be better than a dangling sock full of presents.
17. What tops your tree?
Ambrosia the Holiday Hooker. She is a trashed-out Barbie complete with smeared lipstick, a leg burned to a stub, and pubic hair. Our friends delivered her to us in an empty 6-pack. She is the most beautiful tree topper in the world.
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
I'm starting to much prefer giving. That's when you know you're getting old.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Delicious. Until I stab myself in the roof of the mouth with the pointy-ass tip.
Dude. This was harder than writing an actual post. But I did it! And I tag starrhill girl.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
E just finished The Thinking Woman's Guide to Pushing a Baby Out Your Vaghine. She read me random sentences from time to time, and the damn thing read like a Scientology pamphlet.
"Some women believe they will bond with their baby EVEN if they have an epidural. Sadly, this belief is INCORRECT and these delinquent whores will never successfully bond with their baby and are doomed to an unrewarding lifetime of exorcising their demons for having foolishly subjected their unborn child to spirit-altering substances." I swear that's a word for word sentence. Almost.
E very much wants a natural childbirth and is horrified by the prospect of a c-section. But - never having pushed a human out of her body - she reserves the right to sink her talons into my flesh and demand an epidural once labor kicks in. Fine. To each her own, especially in the throes of fucking childbirth. Right?
I was with my sister while she labored with her baby daughter at home. That was a whole other universe of awesome. But I readily admit that if I had a vial of painkillers handy I would have shot her up myself. It was agonizing to see her labor, and I had to fight the instinct to wrestle her unwillingly into a burlap sack and cart her off to the nearest hospital for immediate anesthesia.
Not because I thought it was unsafe for her to deliver at home, but because I wanted to rescue her from her dark island of pain. She was the only one there. I felt a harsh kind of helpless, watching her struggle.
But I suppose that is what childbirth is all about. Doing that shit all by yourself.
So, attention all birthing book authors: the sneak-attack proselytizing needs to stop. Seriously. Save that shit for the born-agains. At least I know I'll never buy one of their books.
E's 15 week appointment is tomorrow. Normally wary of impending bad news, we're feeling kind of heartened and reassured by E's belly that has become slightly round. She's not supposed to get an ultrasound, but she may or may not demand one...talons exposed.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Next week is E's 15 week OB appointment. This is maybe the most bizarre milestone yet. She is officially in her second trimester. I cannot overcome the feeling of disbelief that she is pregnant and our life has transitioned from trying to get E pregnant to her actually experiencing pregnancy.
I feel a bit lost in the woods sometimes. I think because she is just beginning to show, and it has been so many weeks since we had confirmation that all is well, it's difficult to entirely release myself to the idea of parenthood. Holy uncharted territory, batman.
A friend has told me that it may feel more real when we know the sex. I've heard conflicting reports on whether or not the sex will be visible at 15 weeks.
It is endlessly thrilling to wonder at the sex; and also, like Charlotte said recently, it feels crazy luxurious.
E recently decided she hopes it is a girl. This is classic for reasons disclosed below.
I would prefer a boy. Not because I'm into sports and stuff. In fact, I sort of hate playing sports. I have a major block about partaking in activities at which I suck. I HATE to suck at things, so much, in fact, that I'll avoid doing them at all costs. Softball? Suck. Won't do it. Football? Can't throw a decent spiral for shit. Won't do it. Golf? I will curse, then beat the earth with my leaden club. I loathe it. Because I suck.
So, if we had a son, I would totally shirk the required Saturday afternoons of "playing catch," and I'd likely show up with a buzz and a flask if I had to go to a bunch of Little League games.
But before you think I'm a lump of sodden potato fermenting on the couch, know that there are sports at which I excel. I know how to ride horses. And I rock - hard - at Badminton. How hot is that?
And if Rough-Housing and Horsing-Around count as sports, then I would be Champion of the Universe. Actually, I have been known to be such a starship shenaniganster that I have developed a reputation for unintentionally riling up other people's pets. I can't help it. It is my sheer enthusiasm for messing around that radiates from me and infects unassuming nearby animals. Dogs and horses alike respond to my presence by Acting Fresh.
One of my all-time favorite activities is riding a high-strung horse on a windy day adjacent to a corn field. Whee!
E stifles this aspect of my personality. She is the Anti-Horser-Arounder. She quashes my revelries with the dog with stern shouting, furrowed eyebrows, and a well-aimed pointer finger. In response, I call out that my spirit will not be broken and we, dog and human renegades, depart for the park across the street.
So if E has a boy, it would totally be two against one on the tomfoolery front.
In any case, the Chinese Fertility Calendar, in which I am a big believer, tells us that lentil is a boy. Mystery solved. Unless you consider the "mother" to be the egg donor. In that case, lentil is a girl. Mystery unsolved.
Again, hark! the luxury. I love that this is a total mystery. Part of me doesn't want to know at all, because somehow I feel like knowing the sex will suddenly make the reality of impending parenthood a bit more of the Crashing About My Head variety. For some reason having the ability to picture the kid as a boy or a girl magnifies the image of said child talking ceaselessly into my ear.
But as things stand now, I'm doing really well with our kid...lemon-sized and silent, you know.
I wonder if my powers of spreading hyperactivity will permeate E's womb.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Fear not, my friend, and read on.
A while back E and I were at a party with a lot of people who were meeting us for the first time. As is my fucking lot in life, I got trapped in a conversation with an Annoying Person. He was in his 40s, probably, and I think he lived in Manhattan, or perhaps Jersey, which may or may not explain some things. He was a triathlete (I know this because he spoke of it all evening), and was clearly taken with E and I, as he was hanging around us a lot, talking of his Iron Mans. I demonstrated some genuine interest in the conversation -- a colossal mistake, btw, when an annoying 40 year old man hangs about you and your wife and without having much of a reason to.
Annoying Person approached me *again* later in the evening and squatted down next to where I was sitting. He leaned in a bit, rather conspiratorially, and said: "So, do you know [insert female name here - let's say Phoebe McGee]?"
GS: "No. Why?"
AP: "Hm. Well, are you sure? Her name is Phoebe McGee. She's a lawyer at a law firm in New York."
GS: "Still not ringing any bells. Should I know her?"
AP: (slightly flustered) "Phoebe McGee. She works at a big law firm. I think it's downtown."
At this point I'm confused. Who is this McGee person? Why is he being so damn persistent? I'm terrible with names, so I was straining to remember this person that I must have met and now can't remember and I'm such an asshole for not remembering anyone I meet!
GS: (making an effort) "What's the name of her firm?"
AP: "Gee, I can't remember. It's a big firm, though, and I think she's a partner. I read about her in the paper. Her name is Phoebe McGee. Are you sure you don't know her?"
For the love of Stan, why does this guy keep repeating her name? He doesn't even know her -- he doesn't know the name of her firm or whether or not she's a partner. And did he just say he read about her in the paper? I was suddenly suspicious of Annoying Man. I looked at him blankly.
AP: (with desperation creeping into voice) "Yeah, she, um, has a partner, and I think she is a partner..." He trails off.
Ahhhhh. The many twinkling lights of understanding shine about my head.
GS: "Oh, I see. She's gay and she's a lawyer so you thought I'd know her?"
I cannot believe this just happened.
A) Why didn't he just say she's a lesbian? The conversation would have been over 5 minutes ago!
B) There are probably ten thousand lawyers in New York. This guy thinks that, what, 15 of them are gay? 20, tops? And we all know each other? And hang out? We probably meet up weekly to have gay parades together.
E is elbowing me ferociously in an effort to prevent me from saying something inappropriate. As if I could top this douche-bag.
GS: "No, I don't know her." In my effort to keep from laughing, I contorted my face into a frown.
AP: "Oh, really? Well. Okay." Without the frown he undoubtedly would have stayed and pressed on. But he took his cue and toddled off, not in the least sheepish. I think he even smiled and waved to me from across the room later on, probably as I was rolling out the door.
I was probably heading to the evening Gay Meet-Up.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Several of those on my Most Favorite People list are Geminis. This is probably true because they are 1. notorious conversationalists -- let's face it, borderline "talkers," and 2. outlandishly intelligent, often bordering on brilliant.
And who, may I ask, doesn't love a brilliantly witty talker?? I love talkers if they're funny and interesting, and damn, Geminis are bizarre and hilarious. And I'm a Libra so I get along with everyone anyway, so set me up with a Gemini in a good mood and I'm happy as a pig in shit, as my dad would say.
ANYWAYZ, I bring all this up because of two things.
1. E is 13 weeks pregnant today. Does this get weirder and weirder or what? I am increasingly mystified by her pregnancy. How do bodies do this shit?
2. We got our nuchal fold scan results, which were outrageously good. 1: >10,000 for all three genetic abnormalities.
These two facts make us feel like Everything Is Going Our Way. Everything about this pregnancy has kicked ass, from E's sky high beta numbers to the unveiling of ONE little beating embryo, to the awesome results of the nuchal fold. And we all know that when Everything Goes Your Way, at some point, Things Will No Longer Go Your Way. It has something to do with physics.
So, of course, because this is what 3 years of Draconian education, one motherfucker of an exam and $150,000 of educational debt will get you, I attempt to rationally deduce at what point in time things will go wrong again.
It has occurred to me on more occasions than I'd care to admit that I'm afraid our child will be the spawn of evil.
My rational mind reminds me of the sheer number of evil spawn that exist in NYC, and I automatically must consider the likelihood of our child joining those ranks. For example, I saw one on the subway this weekend. It was like the Aryan Damien Thorn. And I was afraid. To be fair, the subway is jammed with the freaks and hos of this great metropoblitz. BUT STILL.
And then, of course, there is the small small worry we both still have, but mostly E, that it won't make it all the way. And that is a scarier thought.
So I've decided that the radical betas and the excellent nuchal fold is not about Things Going Our Way, and instead because our fetus is a Gemini-in-waiting. It's just that wicked smart already. It is likely our beautiful, A+ embryo, and it has basically been kicking ass and taking names since its petri-dish days.
So everyone better stand back, because it's gonna have some shit to say.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
E is twelve weeks pregnant this week. Do you believe that shizzle. I understand this may or may not mark the beginning of the second trimester. "Understand" being a rather strong word.
I have allowed myself to begin reflecting on the fact that our baby will probably be a Gemini.
Are Geminis not fantastic? I've known just a few intimately, but they are each spectacularly weird and wonderful people. People you remember your whole life kind of people. I would love a weird kid. One scenario I can actually imagine involving parenthood is having a moment with E in which we look at our kid doing something annoying or bizarre and then look at each other and just shake our heads and give each other a look that says: where the hell did this weirdo come from?
I can picture that.
On another note, I've thrice evaded death this week.
1. An elevator I was riding in free fell 20 stories before bouncing brutally to a halt. Nearly crapped myself.
2. On the way back to my office from Starbucks, a pair of electrician's shears came falling from the sky and landed -- point down -- mere inches from my feet. Hazards of working in midtown Manhattan, I suppose.
3. I just choked on a Smartie.
I have many blessings to count tomorrow.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
Thank you for the reminder that I signed up for this crap. I so did.
(Which, by the way, is partly why I am bitching and moaning and flinging myself around like a fucking ninny. I just got on board, people. I've been doggy paddling around the ship for a while, so being on board is a new and fragile feeling. The Shit Commentary sent me into a fit of despair mostly because I am -- remain calm, wildly inconceivable information coming your way -- a small quivering mouse inside about impending parenthood. How dare these people mess with my delicate high??)
Thank you for your war stories. They are preparing me for the worst of what I'll hear...and I am so grateful for that because there is nothing I loathe more than thinking of the knockout comeback three hours after the fact. God I hate that.
And thank you for reminding me that it will take more than a little old lady with mental incapacity to bust my damn bubble.
Bubble intact. Onward.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
11 weeks and 3 days in, the bubble has burst.
For all the invasiveness of our IVF cycle, E's pregnancy has felt so natural. So natural, in fact, that E and I pretty much forgot that we didn't just have sex and get E pregnant. Figs is from my egg and donor sperm. It has felt so natural, that we forgot that there are people in the world who were going to Act Shitty about that fact. Two recent Shitty Comments made my head reel.
First up, Giant Ignoramus at a baby shower asked E who the father was. I told E that in response she should have made a confused face and said: "GS, of course."
Seriously, I know I shouldn't be shocked that people are going to ask the question in this way, but I can't help it. Unmindfulness makes my skin crawl - it's pretty much the ONE THING we owe each other as human beings. And while I'm at it, I'll add that I feel the same way when I meet someone who acts awkward when they find out I'm gay, presumably because they don't know any/many gay people. Not only does this endlessly irritate me (who doesn't know any gay people? leprechauns? cave-dwellers?), but I instantly have a low opinion of this person, and they have to work to make it up to me.
Second, and much worse, was E's 85 year old Grandmother's reaction upon learning that her granddaughter, the absolute apple of her eye, is not pregnant via her own egg.
"Why didn't she just adopt?"
This is the same Grandmother who refused to attend our wedding 4 years ago, but who has since embraced me lovingly, referred to me as E's "partner," and, on occasion, has been known to boast of our wedding to others. She was once happy about this pregnancy. No longer.
This hurts for two reasons: 1) It is my opinion that it is beyond primordial to be less enthusiastic about a child who does not bear your genetic resemblance than one who does. This is one of the ways in which humans are more highly evolved than other species in the animal kingdom. 2) It is inconceivable that she would have uttered those words if I were a man, and E needed an egg donor to conceive.
Pray tell, what in the fuck is the difference between a woman and an infertile man when trying to get a woman pregnant?
Moreover, if I were her husband instead of her wife and we had the same failures to get E pregnant, we would have tried with an egg donor. What is the fucking difference here?
E wanted a baby yesterday when we started trying, and, by the looks of things, getting pregnant via her own eggs would take some time. So we used mine. Why? Well, I'm younger, my FSH is better, and hmmm...oh right! WE ARE MARRIED.
More than anything, I can't understand why people focus on the things that don't matter. E wanted with all her heart to be pregant. She had to wait for years, but now she's pregnant with our baby, and she is overjoyed, and that fucking rocks. Why isn't that the focus?
And I'll just end by saying that almost everyone has been loving and thrilled for us, genuinely. Our family, our friends, all of you people out there who, amazingly enough, read this and sometimes share your thoughts with me (you people, by the way, are the best thing going). I feel so vastly fortunate for all of that.
But the small, moronic comments can cut deep. Deep enough to pop a happy little bubble, that's for sure.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
That there is a living beating little human inside E is kind of rocking my world right now.
It is unspeakably small - 4 cm from crown to bum - and yet it has long spindly legs which it stretches against the wall of E's uterus (damn you, woman, empty your bladder! I have no room in here already!), and long praying mantis arms that alternate between waving wildly (I will commit an aggravated assault if you come any closer with that god-forsaken wand! I have a cord with which to wring your fat neck!) and shielding its tiny head (don't look at me! I don't have my face on!).
E had her first OB appointment this morning. She was pale faced and grim when I met her in the waiting area of Big Fat Hospital. She was certain it was dead. I tried to reassure her by saying she was looking more pregnant by the day, and all was well. I received the stink-eye in return.
E: Stop telling me I'm fat.
GS: Exhibit 79: you are emotionally abusive.
Our u/s tech took us from the waiting room to the examining room which has been carefully preserved from the World War II era. She laughed frequently and at a decibel inappropriate for the AM hours. At first it grated at my fragile morning nerves. But it grew on me by the end.
Laughy: Pull up your dress, please. This will be a little cold! *LAUGHTER*
E: I'm nervous things aren't going well in there. Please just tell me right away if things are bad, alright?
Laughy: Oh, OK! *LAUGHTER*
E: (turns to GS, eyes very wide) Um, ok.
Laughy: Are you ready to see your little one? *LAUGHTER*
E: (with a deathly frown) Mm hm.
Laughy: Oh, why so nervous? Don't be nervous! Cheer up! *LAUGHTER*
She pushed the wand against E's belly and swivelled the screen towards us. There, laying alongside the bottom of E's ute, was a motionless little fetus.
E: (pushing herself upright) WHERE IS THE HEARTBEAT?
And she pointed at the little chest area where a barely visible light flickered. It was so much less visible this time, I suppose because there's more body around it now.
E: WHY ISN'T IT MOVING?
Laughy: *LAUGHTER* That's normal! He's just comfy down there!
She wriggled the wand and poked down on E's belly.
Laughy: Hello in there! Wake up, little guy! *SO MUCH LAUGHTER*
And the little thing stretched its legs and flailed its arms before settling right back into its warm and snuggly uterus bed. The relief that washed over E was palpable.
Our u/s tech continued to poke and molest E's belly area to get the little fetus to roll over, turn, move around, or do anything besides lie there like a lazy ass. She was trying to get the nuchal fold measurement, and the fig-sized one was uncooperative.
Which, btw, I understand completely at such an ungodly hour of the AM.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Hi everyone. This is E, the chosen guest poster for today. GS is busy working (yawn) and she’s asked me to submit a post for consideration. She stressed repeatedly that it may or not be approved, so the version you are reading now may or may not be my words at all. But I digress…
We’re 10w6d into this pregnancy and things have seemed pretty textbook – both in terms of symptoms and feelings. The symptoms part isn’t really that interesting – nausea, tiredness, heartburn, etc. But the feelings, well, I think GS has beautifully outlined the giant mind-fuck that is infertility. We can never be purely happy about this…Even after the last ultrasound of lentil at 9w2d where I saw it moving around, and heard it’s heartbeat on stereo. The thrill of that visit and the certainty of the success of this pregnancy faded with each day that passed and I woke up yesterday certain that lentil was dead and that our first visit with the OB – scheduled for this Tuesday – would be a festival of sadness leaving GS and I broken once again. Yup.
I want to be clear that we have a great life – and I mean that without irony – it’s great by any measure; we have been wildly happy together for nearly 7 years, illegally married for 4.5 years, we each have crazy, fun, bizarre families, we bought a beautiful apartment that we can almost afford and decorated it in ways that reflect “who we are.” We are privileged to harbor the most magnificent beast on the planet earth, and after trying to get pregnant for what felt like eons, we’re finally here. And I’m deeply grateful – I know GS is too. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to enjoy it? Wouldn’t that be novel?
So, I’ll spend the next two and a half days stuffing my anxiety behind my swelling heart and hoping it doesn’t burst through my ribs in the middle of a meeting about financial goals or maximizing the efficiency of our operation and GS will report back to her faithful readers with our news on Tuesday. Until then, thanks for reading and stay tuned for your regularly scheduled programming.
Friday, November 9, 2007
I am a kid. I am fickle and changeable and lazy and impatient and so so imperfect. And I am scared shitless about being a parent.
But I am doing pretty good, considering.
Am panicking only slightly. Am keeping it together, for the most part. Swallowing the fear. There are only so many ways to say holy fuck, before the phrase loses its meaning and you feel the need to get original or stop freaking the fuck out.
And I have nothing original to add to the cacophony of tired, cracked old voices telling me this is a bad idea for me. This kid didn't ask you to be born. It didn't ask you to be its parent. This is a responsibility you are so not cut out for.
So I'm taking deep breaths. I'm remembering why the place I'm going is going to be amazing.
I want to be a parent because I want to love E in new and yet-undiscovered ways. I want to experience a vastness of heart that I didn't have before. I want to learn and be humbled. I want to see where I go with this Great Human Experience.
But most of all I want to to be pulled into myself with all the force of love or anger or adrenaline.
E is happier than I've seen her in more than a year. She's so ready, and that makes me feel strong and ready too. She's right there, and she's amazing. She makes me feel like I can do anything, and that's...um...beyond awesome.
Why do/did you want to be a parent?
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I spend a lot of time at work.
A whole lot.
Sometimes, when the image of my desk feels as though it is burned inexorably on my retinas, Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" starts rolling through my head.
Home Sweet Home
I'm on my way
Just set me free
Home Sweet Home
And I start a little pity party for myself, because I don't get to go home. I lob complaints at anyone who will listen. I especially enjoy complaining to my friend who works as much as I do, for about 5 years longer than I have. I whine at her and ask how she has done it for so many years without curling up on herself and crumbling into dust.
She rolls her eyes at the melodrama and sends me here. And I feel better.
But sometimes I feel the need to Buy Something to make myself feel better. Ah, the salve of consumerism. It soothes so.
The last few weeks at work have been rough, and the tiny violins weren't helping, so the time came to Buy Something. Last Tuesday I rolled out of work and down to the Nintendo store: Guitar Hero III was finally released for the Wii. And I bought it.
Life has been really good since then. And not only because I freaking rock at Guitar Hero.
See, usually by the time I get home from work, E is comatose on the couch. After working for 14 hours, I can't just go to sleep. I need some form of entertainment, and when that endless source of entertainment - E - is otherwise occupied ... well, the pity party begins again.
So now when I get home from work, E is jamming to "When You Were Young" by The Killers. She's rocking out. And when she finishes her song, she passes the guitar to me, sweating slightly and breathless.
E: Here you go. I suck.
GS: Watch and learn, E, watch and learn.
And then I crush Lucifer in a Battle in Hell. By the time I'm doing my victory kicks, E is passed out and snoring behind me on the couch.
I merely shrug. My encore duet with Satan, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," is beginning.
Home sweet home indeed.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Pregnancy, I can understand. I can even reach down deep and find a shred of desire to grow life from just my own blood and thrumming being. I've even had the pregnancy dreams, although those are pretty weird for me. I never wake up all wistful and wondering. No, I always kind of thrash awake feeling vaguely violated.
But it's really the birth part that I don't get. To me (I speak only for myself and from my own thoughts and experience), it seems nightmarish. The inspiration behind Alien and Dawn of the Dead.
You grow. And grow. And continue to grow, until you are literally stretched to bursting. And that thing in there that's stretching the shit out of you must, sweet BBJ, get pushed out of the one place that should, it seems to me, remain free of such brutality.
And come out it must. Your bellybutton doesn't stretch wide to accommodate it. You don't have to take the biggest shit of your life. No. You must push that sonofa out, no matter the earthquakes of your bones, no matter the stretch, tear, or shred of your flesh.
And I don't wanna.
But that's just me. I bow down to the women who have done it and who will do it. (E! You will be amazing).
And don't worry, I'm going to get all kinds of shit from my sister for this post, who not only pushed her baby out without so much as a Tylenol, but she did it right there on the couch.
After 32 hours of labor.
My mom did it too. Pushed me out in her own bedroom, surrounded by a dozen high hippies chanting and swaying and tie-dying. My dad broke her waters with his fingernail.
How cool are these women? They are Great Arctic Warriors. They have traveled to the yawning abyss and back. They've gone where I will never go.
My lack of posting is due to some weariness that has draped itself over my cerebral cortex.
The weariness lifted briefly last night, when E showed me a 3-D ultrasound picture of our embryo, who stands (floats?) on the brink of fetus-hood. The lentil lives, and in fact wriggles its body and waves its beanpole legs.
It has legs. It is the size of my thumbnail.
I am overtaken with the arresting strangeness of this. E is pregnant. It is looking like there may be a baby in my near future. And right now, that baby is shimmying inside E with the force of its hammering heart.
My mother and sister, those Wise and Terrible forces of nature, have already sent extremely tiny shirts to my house.
And some of them are tie-dyed.
Friday, October 26, 2007
My computer has inherited my waking hours. My computer and my chair.
I can literally feel my ass flattening.
Tonight, the hours at work are stretching before me like a desert. Again. Friday night in my office, 40 floors up, under florescent lights. I have a Very Important Deadline.
I feel like throwing this fucking Aeron chair through the window and following it out.
Monday, October 22, 2007
For those curious, it takes 29 point something years for Saturn to rotate around the sun. So right around our 29th birthday, Saturn is returning to its position at our birth. This signals Big Changes and Grownup Feelings, which may or may not induce one to toss oneself under a hurtling bus. Depending on one's maturity level.
Thus my feelings of hysteria and impending doom are completely normal, and I'd like to take this opportunity to point my finger in blame at the second largest planet for any bad behavior I may exhibit until I turn 30.
And during this time of growth and transition, Saturn urges us to do an "internal spring cleaning."
So to dust off the old cerebellum, we visited the gorgeous Pioneer Valley on Saturday. Hiked with our doberson, and lord was it spectacular. For all the love in my heart for NYC, fall in New England stands alone.
This made me want to quit my job, buy 10 acres and start a goat farm:
Well that, and this:
On the real, though, I worship this city. And it helps that I live in the last legit neighborhood on the island of Manhattan. But, be it the trees or the trails or E's pooching belly, holy moses did I feel like moving this weekend.
And I'm not one to think that raising a kid in the city is a bad idea - au contraire. City kids rock. I'm jealous that I didn't get to grow up in this metaphysical racket.
But the idea of being swept up in the NYC parental attitude skeers me. We have friends who have yet to BEGIN to TRY to get pregnant, whose future child's name is already on the application list at 5 preschools.
Cause that's how long the wait lists are.
And we so aren't about that. We're more of the our-kid-rides-his-bike-the-6-blocks-to-public-school type of people. And let's face it, regardless of the strength of one's bike-lock, one's bike is not one's own in this great city.
(If you've lived in New York whilst owning a bike, your bike has been stolen. Unless you have magic powers.)
So all that is to say, it was a good weekend for internal tidying in response to Saturn's counsel. The sun shone and then it rained. The trees were crimson and gold, like my new bike. I thought about the city. I thought about the not-city. I thought about our peanut-sized embryo. E vomited for the first time.
Life was good.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Lo, the heartbreak. For he is good-hearted and gay, if slightly mysterious and perhaps a wee bit of a druggie.
Anyways, after S1 did some prodding about the status of E's womb, E revealed that she was indeed just under 2 months pregnant, and there was much whooping and squeezing and excitement, which was sweet.
Then we started talking about how it happened...you know, how it came to pass that I managed to impregnate E.
Since, like, I'm a girl.
So we kind of had to educate S1 and S2 on IVF. And fuck if that wasn't a weird experience.
For all us who are intimately acquainted with IVF -- or have real life or virtual friends who are -- it's just IVF. One of the many tortuous ways one attempts to get pregnant when nature, for one reason or another, isn't helping.
Yes, yes, nightly shots, yes, daily wanding, yes, foot long needles. BFD.
I was sort of dismissively explaining the process, but the more I talked, the further their jaws dropped. They were fascinated, and couldn't seem to wrap their heads around what in the holy hell IVF is.
"Are you serious??"
And so on.
It was bizarre to revisit IVF through the eyes of a person who had never been there. I felt myself becoming re-acquainted with that feeling of utter disbelief and shock when first faced with an IVF protocol. The visceral rejection of such invasive medicine, a reaction stemming from belief and trust in our own bodies.
But the amazing part is how distant that feeling is now. How quickly we adapt to the fucked up stuff we face, and never really give ourselves credit by looking back and saying: holy christ, we did that, and it's over.
Because we're not really sure it's over. How long do we leave those drugs in the fridge? How long do we hang on to all those needles and alcohol wipes? When can we ship them off to someone else who needs them?
From cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty in a year flat.
So all that shock and awe felt pretty validating.
"You really did all that?"
Fuck yeah, we did all that.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
So, the dreaded birthday came and went and I didn't have any major breakdowns. I claimed to boycott it until I woke up on Friday, October 12 and ran out to the living room to rip open my presents like a 13 year old boy (ah, only one of the numerous ways in which I am like a 13 year old boy, truly).
I could not have asked for a sweeter Craptastic birthday. The night before the big day, E picked me up from work in a white stretch limousine. There were hits of the 80s. And twinkly lights. And champagne. It was prom all over again, which rocked, since I never went to to the prom. And never rode in a limo.
On Friday, my work friends took me to my favorite Turkish restaurant for lunch. My co-workers (my co-workers!!) threw me a surprise party with a gigantic cookie-cake emblazoned with red and yellow frosting. I cannot overemphasize the bizarre wonderfulness of this - I work with corporate lawyers, people. I was completely surprised and kind of embarrassed for the stuffy old partners eating their frosting covered chocolate chip cookies with plastic forks.
But damn it was cute.
Then E and I went to the Berkshires with my brother and his lovely girlfriend. Our arrival was met with a "balloon-kitchen surprise party," which was as merry as its name implies. The lovely girlfriend had created a poster that will go down in history as the best poster ever created. I'll post a picture of it. And you will gasp for the cuteness of it.
As birthdays tend to do, mine extended into Saturday. The weather could not have been more Northeasternly Fall gorgeous. And. Saturday morning, I walked outside to get some firewood and was met with the glorious sight in the above picture.
An original. 1981. Schwinn Stingray.
A gift from my awesome family. (The only thing that made this present more perfect was the image of my 6'2" brother riding it over the Williamsburg bridge - his only means of getting it home).
Thursday, October 11, 2007
We saw you today, you little lentil with the flickering heart.
This is not, technically, the first time we've seen you, since we have a gorgeous picture of you at merely 8 cells. That's just a head-shot, if you will, not much action happening in it, but it captures your round perfection quite nicely.
But today...well, today we saw you in real-time. And you are nothing if not a rockstar.
You are .47 cm long, and your heart is storming away. We scoffed at the need to measure it, for it beats at the speed of light.
There's just one of you in there, no sign at all of any comrades. This news was received by your mom with a teary gasp.
Knowing her like I do, I assumed this was a teary gasp of relief; but to my great dismay her chin started to quiver and her eyes began welling up.
"I really thought there'd be two and now I'm sort of disappointed..."
And she clutched at her midsection, looking down at her belly and crying out:
"No matter, I'll just love you twice as much!"
Thank you for staying, our thunderous little Rockstar.
With preposterous amounts of love from me, E, and your many other swooning fans,
During this last week we've spent waiting for it, lots of Fucked Up Things have gone down. I won't detail most of them here. Some were just annoying, some were heartbreaking.
But shit is starting to get weird, and I'm trying not to feel like this series of Bad Events are leading towards bad news today.
1. We lost our sweet cat. She's gone. I can't even begin to go into it, for the guilt is nearly suffocating me.
2. My son, my beating heart, my doberman, had a hideous experience this morning. He's a huge, healthy, strapping dog, but we've started to suspect that he has a mild form of Wobbler's Disease, a degenerative neurological condition that disrupts their balance and ability to walk. He's completely unaffected 99% of the time, but there have been a couple of occasions where he seems to lose control of his hind end for a few minutes. Those instances have been scary, but he usually regains control quickly, so we've never been downright panicked.
We took him to the Animal Medical Center in NYC last year and they diagnosed him with mild Wobbler's. They told us to use a harness and keep an eye on him. Nothing else to do.
This morning, after throwing a tennis ball for him a couple of times, I watched as he went from standing still to suddenly staggering sideways at nearly a full run, his head cocked grotesquely. He was clearly unable to control his big lopey body, and he slammed into a fence, and then collapsed, all his muscles seized up, his eyes glazed, and he drooled uncontrollably.
All I could to was hold his head in my lap and soothe him until his muscles relaxed and he came back to himself. It was horrible.
And tomorrow, I turn 29. I looked in the mirror this morning and thought, "damn, I look a year older. At least." Trying to get E pregnant this last year took a toll on me. I look older. I feel older. For the first time in my life I made E cancel our birthday party plans.
I reject turning 29.
Ultrasound at 2PM today. Any life in E should be the size of a lentil.
I hope they are living lentils.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
In all seriousness, though, thanks for your thoughts. Bleu is right, I would be antsy if I didn't go. But it's early, so things might be vague and that will introduce its own kind of drama. But I have my legions of readers to think of, no? I will stand firm and attend the ultrasound on the eve of my birthday, if only to put your minds at ease.
Tomorrow is the big day. Infertile Pediatrician, you give E great hope, and I thank you for that because she was becoming a bit of a Debbie Downer with her twin-griping.
Although I must tell you that irony ruled the day yesterday. E had to attend a Fancy Fundraising Event last night for...of all things...the Multiple Birth Center of a major metropolitan hospital. Thus she spent the evening interrogating parents of twins and triplets, all of whom glowed with delirious joy about the wonders of parenting multiples.
She came home a wiser woman. And I'd wager - particularly after yesterday's post - we are all glad for that.
Monday, October 8, 2007
The ultrasound will be at 6 weeks, 3 days. Rescheduled to Thursday, the day before my birthday. That way, if it shows an empty sac we can spend my birthday drinking heavily. Or we may see three occupied sacs, in which case
I'm kind of thinking it might be multiples. Not just because of her freakish HCG numbers. Mostly because I think God is going to punish E by giving her multiples.
See, E has a...um...let's call it a "weird thing" about multiples. Twins creep her out. Identical twins, fraternal twins that are dressed alike, and don't get me started on trips or more.
She used to be rather vocal about her "weird thing." Whenever she was witness to a set of multiples, she would...protest. This would lead to whatever companion she was with at the time of such multiple-sighting questioning her about what she would do if she herself became pregnant with twins.
Innocent companion party: My goodness, you are quite averse to multiples! What would you do if you had twins one day?
E: (deadpan) I'd throw one in the garbage.
Innocent party: (aghast) You wouldn't! Why, how could you choose which to dispose of?
E: The ugly one goes.
Invariably, her companion would laugh, until companion looked into her eyes and discerned that she was quite serious. The laughter would turn to a nervous chuckle, then to a concerned frown.
So I've debated moving the ultrasound to next week. That way, if there is dead baby inside her, we won't know until after my birthday. Additionally, if there are 2 or more sacs in there, I don't have to manage any panic attacks until after my birthday.
I'm more of the opinion that twins are kind of cool. I mean, I'm all for baby having another soul around so E and I aren't the only available sources of entertainment. (Anyone read The Golden Compass? They'll be each other's daemons!) And besides, two for the price of one, people.
So I can't decide. I want to know now. And I don't want to know. I don't need any drama fucking up my birthday. But then again this birthday feels weird already. I'm almost 29 and my wife is pregnant. It's the end of an era.
A magnificent era.
Monday, October 1, 2007
How the hell many are in there? One? Two? In the name of all that is holy, three?
Given the choice of anytime in the next two weeks, E chose a week from Friday for the ultrasound. 10/12. AKA, the greatest day of the year. AKA, my birthday.
E scheduled her first pregnancy ultrasound for the day I turn 29. That foxy girl. Happy Birthday, honey, I'm carrying ___ of your seed! Let's go to Penthouse Executive Club!
Hahaha. The seed joke (yes, yes, my own joke) gets me every time. I will full-on elbow people in the ribs and wink if she is pregnant with multiples.
I so knocked her up.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
These numbers seem so strong and good. The last week feels fantastical, bizarre, surreal. I keep thinking something jarring will wake us from this perfectly unfolding scenario. And at the same time I felt completely unsurprised by the positive hpts, by the good numbers. Each little hurdle cleared feels like stupendous, highly anticipated People magazine gossip that I already knew from reading Perez Hilton. There is just something that feels so right about this pregnancy.
It doesn't feel like reading Perez, btw. Not really. That was a retarded metaphor.
It's more like a swelling of the heart with just a little biting fear right behind it.
And yet I can't believe it worked. I feel bewildered. I feel stunned. I was so prepared for negotiating the next steps. What's next. What's next. What the fuck is next. I feel like that's been our mindset for eternity.
And while I'm at it, I just want to give a shout out to this embryo. I am so in awe of these little clumps of cells that are esentially just set down inside E's uterus and they really do just go about their business, do their thing. Those wild little fuckers. They just do their thing. They're like - eat this, clinic! We don't need you and your assy petri dishes!
E also feels stunned. But she also feels pregnant, I think, because today she called me, nearly hysterical, demanding to know if I was going to leave her if she was pregnant with twins.
She feels things happening in there. Pokes. That's especially exciting because it means it's still there. With every moment that passes, I think a little more uncertainty creeps in. Is it growing. Will it measure well in the u/s. Will its heart beat. Will it stay.
And with the swelling of our hearts, we hope it stays.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Have learned of your intent to stay in E's uterus for a while. Please make yourself at home.
I'd first like to commend your superior dividing skills - you were a mere 8-9 cell embryo on moving day, and by this time I understand you may actually have a distinguishable "head" and "tail" area. Impressive work over 12 days time, my little friend(s).
Secondly, I find your adaptability noteworthy. To say nothing of the brutal lasering you endured (that was to help you hatch out of your dratted shell, but doubtlessly traumatic nonetheless), your tiny self was quite forcefully removed from your bright and sterile petri dish and flung into the dark, warm depths of E. It was then that you were faced with a rather important decision for one of only 8 cells.
You could have merely fallen away. Mistaken this severe shift in environment for the end of your tiny cell-span, and cried, "goodbye, cruel world!" before flinging yourself into the abyss (which I suppose would only be the center area of E's uterus, but an abyss all the same to one as small as you).
Or, if you took much after me, you might have arrived and decided that the business of attaching yourself to the wall on top of having to divide yourself sufficiently was entirely too much work. In that case, it might have seemed preferable to instead just catch a quick nap and perhaps lazily drift around, do a bit of sightseeing.
But no. You decided to forge ahead, plow on, despite the strange circumstances of your beginning. And in that regard, you take after E. We knew you would truly be our creation.
We are so very happy with your decision, SuperStar Embryo(s). Just remember, as smart and diligent as you have shown yourself to be thus far, don't screw this up now. You don't want to wind up like those fugly embryos: in the dumpster out back. Right?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
My career was to begin in a few short months, and those months were dedicated to studying how to master the King of All Standardized Tests.
I was tired. I was scared. And I was more than a little cranky.
Summer of 2005 was also our earlier-agreed-upon time-frame for beginning our quest for a baby. I was slippery when E would raise the subject. Wily. Had so much studying. Last few months of semi-freedom. Please, let's discuss later.
E broached the subject in earnest approximately halfway through the summer. I was shoulder-deep in my books and flashcards and misery. The thought of a screaming baby sapping every last drop of our energy sounded worse than forcefully embedding one of my highlighters deep into my brain via my ear canal.
So we had The Conversation.
The Conversation wherein I told her I wasn't ready. And my E, my sweet E, was so ready. Had been ready for years. She was angry and heartbroken and devastated.
It was a rocky summer.
This morning there is a neat little row of home pregnancy tests lined up in the bathroom, each with a progressively darker second line.
And I am excited.
I've been trying to pinpoint the meaning behind the shift in my feelings. I'm still excruciatingly, gut-churningly aware of the fear, very deep in my heart, that I will not enjoy parenthood. But I am less haunted by it today. Rather, I have begun to embrace that fear as something many, many people (perhaps more men than women?) experience, and yet they become loving and witty and wise parents who hold on tight to their own identities, the one they had their whole lives before this other person came along and mixed all kinds of shit up.
That this process of conception has taken so long has graced me with the opportunity to face up to my fear, to dissect it and call it by it's true name. Because at first it seemed like a deep-seated ambivalence towards children. They're boring. They have poor vocabularies. They are terribly self-focused. They poop their pants.
Then it transitioned into becoming repulsed by parents (bear in mind I live in NYC - there really is a problem with the parents in this city). Pushing their 8 year old twins in double-wide strollers, scowling at their nanny from behind their venti non-fat lattes as she unloads 90 pound boxes of Pampers from their Suburban double parked in front of their door-man buildings.
But, of course, I began to realize that these Park Avenue mommies are not the norm. Lots of parents maintain their identity and continue to care about important things (like, say, the planet Earth) even after their child is born.
And finally, I began to see it for what it was. Fear. I won't know what the hell to do. How do you raise a person? I am wracked with guilt when my poor dog doesn't get his hour of off-leash time. Imagine the guilt involved in child-rearing? Holy mother of god, I'll be disabled with a fear of fucking them up.
And strangely, that seems more manageable to me. Everyone is afraid of messing up this kid that is their one and true responsibility in this life. I'm just like everyone else. And hey, who doesn't like being a part of the majority once in a while?
So anywayz. These little positive pregnancy tests. They are rather thrilling. E obsesses over whether or not each day is darker than the next. This morning, bent over and squinting at today's and Sunday's tests, she proclaimed today's test to be certainly NO DARKER than yesterday's. She is a little fearful. Her broken heart from January's miscarriage is slow to heal. We are both still painfully aware of the number of things that could foil this fragile little pregnancy.
But her sleepy smiles are coming more easily and frequently. And yesterday, when I turned to her as I felt the warm weight of her palm on my shoulder, she was looking at me with green eyes shining -- "I really am pregnant." As if she still can't really believe it.
Her beta is tomorrow.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
The picture sucks and is blurry. My iphone doesn't really do closeups, but from any further away it disappeared when viewed through the camera.
But we have a line. A very faint line, but a line nonetheless. Perhaps this picture does the line a disservice by showing it even fainter than it appears here in front of me. But maybe not. A faint line is a faint line, and a little bit more faint than faint seems like splitting hairs. Faint pink hairs.
We realize this faint little line means not much in the grand scheme, the long run, the big picture. But we're still very glad it's there. Hopefully tomorrow it's there. And a little less faint.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
FOR GOD'S SAKE, WOMAN, WILL I OR WILL I NOT BE DEALING DIRECTLY WITH LOOSE STOOLS SEVERAL TIMES DAILY NINE MONTHS FROM NOW?
But the damned thing didn't work. No second line and no pricking control line.
I'm certain she sabotaged it by not peeing for 5 seconds. Perhaps unintentionally, but one would think - due to her vast experience - she would have the skills to properly complete the necessary steps of a home pregnancy test.
I prefer not to think she misunderstood the simple instructions, and instead "accidentally" held the stick under the faucet, fearful of seeing another lonely line.
I say this because last night I read the "FAQ" section on the test instructions. One question asks:
What do I do if the test remains blank after 3 minutes?
Answer: read the instructions again, fool, and try again with a new stick, but this time put your tiny feeble brain to use and do it right.
And I thought to myself: what kind of imbecile screws up a home pregnancy test? And I laughed, cruelly.
So I'm going with sabotage.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
She has few indications that she's pregnant. No boob soreness. Aside from a few waves over the weekend, no nausea to speak of. Still some cramping low down in her abdomen...but that's a classic progesterone side-effect.
She cried this morning. I will punch him in the face.
What makes IVF so vicious is the sheer amount of information one has in one's clutches. It is a strange circumstance to be utterly powerless with so much information at hand.
Watch me obsessively pick apart the minutia:
We know how many embryos. (3)
We know their quality. (A+, A, A)
We know how many cells they consisted of. (9, 8, 8)
We know what she felt last time. (Not much. Some pulling and pinching on her left side)
We know what she felt the time she was pregnant. (Very painful boobs starting between 5 and 7 days past ovulation.)
We know my egg quality. (Normal FSH but thick zona pellucida - or "shell" - for my age)
But we also know they have a way of breaking free. (We did assisted hatching)
We also know we have none frozen. Zero. All but one arrested prior to blastocyst stage. The one that made it looked "abnormal."
I feel like we're already staring down the barrel of IVF #3.
We're 28 and 31. What. In. The. Fuck.
I pushed off starting for years because I thought it would happen instantaneously. I had no doubt. The stars have aligned for us over and over throughout our relationship. Fertility abounds in E's family. She has those sick child bearing hips. She'd be an elvin princess wood nymph mama. It was all there in the cards.
So I pushed it off. Pleaded with E to wait. And wait she did. It was rough for a minute but then we were happy. We had such good years before this shit.
But O, how little I knew. From the very beginning we stumbled.
Known donor said no...high FSH (fuck, did I make us wait too long?)...negative test after negative test...IV assing F...my donated eggs funkdified.
Our 40 year old friends have lapped us.
And I sit here thinking to myself: this is our life now. We just do this. At least it has made me confront my ambivalence about procreating. But there are - honest to god - times when I have to remind myself this isn't a damned competition. What we're working for is a human, not a positive. It's hard, though, when your love is a mess, a wreck, a broken little shell of herself because she wants the one fucking thing that you can't give her.
Taking years out of our young lives for this feels all wrong.
I feel ancient. And I feel like we've just begun.
Monday, September 17, 2007
The Interminable Wait To Learn Whether Or Not Your Entire Life Is About To Change In Ways You Could Never Begin To Imagine
More serious side effects are the chronic google-ing and the violent boob-squeezing.
The googling is non-stop. She googles first thing upon waking. She won't fix me my ever-loving dinner because she's googling. She sits down to "read Harry Potter" and googles. She googles during the curb-stomping scene in American History X. She googles whilst brushing her teeth.
I swear, if I'm not walking into the kitchen to find her squeezing the christ out of her boobs, I'm wandering around at 2 AM, looking for my wife, only to find her on the toilet squinting at our damned laptop.
Today E decided it was time to visit the esteemed and trustworthy magic 8 ball website to determine if she was pregnant. When she typed in "am i pregnant" it responded with "My Sources Say No." Feeling angry and skeptical, she typed in "does GS love me," to which it responded "No Way!" After this rather cruel exchange, E decided the magic 8 ball was full of shit and navigated away to google.
This two week wait (tww) bullshit is risickulous. What really gets me is the constant wondering when you'll have your partner's body back. It could be 2 weeks! It could be 2 years! My readers familiar with IVF will know of what I speak:
...the wretched suppositories.
E claims she'd prefer the daily progesterone ass-injections. That's right, she'd prefer that a 2 inch needle inject PIO (progesterone IN OIL - all kinds of nasty viscous) in her ass every day. That was the protocol for IVF attempt #1, and she had angry purple welts covering her ass for a month after her negative beta.
That's how repulsive it must feel to insert vaginal progesterone suppositories thrice daily.
In other news, our clinic refuses to call us and let us know if any of our embryos made it to freezing. It is day 7 for the stragglers. They are already either in the dumpster or in the frozen cell aisle, since the embryologist made the decisions on days 5 and 6. I get little twinges in my heart about the ones in the garbage. I can just imagine them, the little hoodlums, acting like criminals and then getting the heave ho to the garbage, calling out on their way down:
Hippie Embryo: (bitterly) That's harsh, dude!
Ghetto Embryo: You don't know me! You don't even know me!
Loser Embryo: (whinily) Don't judge me. I don't judge you. Quit with your judgments.
Poor little cells.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Of the 11, only 3 look good. One is "beautiful" (tremendous improvement over the 3 fuglies we put in last time) and two look "almost perfect."
The rest are dividing slowly. Again. Doctor said he wouldn't make the decision to toss them until day 5 or 6. But so far so bad. I don't know what exactly this means. I want to grab his fucking microscope and see for myself what those little shits are up to in their petri dishes. I will kill them, those lazy sons of bitches. Don't they know what I went through to create them?
I'm so pleased with our 3 pretty ones that I give them little gold stars of their own. They are ready for the flashcards and the baby sign language.
But 2 things, and for anyone who has traveled through this particular circle of IVF hell, I'd be so grateful for any words of wisdom:
1. Why does he want them in today? Why not day 5? In his words, it's because they look so good that there is no reason to let them sit around in culture for the next 2 days. He claims there is no advantage to waiting, especially when we have so few to work with.
But I thought the purpose of the 5 day transfer was to give them a better shot of implanting. Why aren't we letting the good embryos develop into blastocysts so they are more likely to implant? Then maybe we could put 1 or 2 in and freeze the other(s).
To me, this 3-day decision sounds like he's concerned they'll stop growing and then we'll have nothing to transfer and nothing to freeze.
2. Why 3 in if they look so good? He says we should put 3 in due to our poor result last time. He also claims his clinic has a <4% triplets rate. Is he just being aggressive, or does this sound like he's concerned that none will take, so he's just tossing all the good ones in there? (And btw, 4% triplet rate?? Yowsa. To me that sounds like a lot of people having frigging litters, no?)
Thank you, exceptional people.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
It went well. The experience was weird (how could it not be?), but ended quickly and relatively painlessly and I got to sleep on my couch all day, which doesn't ever happen unless I'm donating my eggs. So that's a bonus.
I promised I would recap the experience on here for a couple people who love me enough to always be interested in my navel-gazing stories.
Arrived at clinic a mere 10 minutes late, and was called in about 30 seconds later. E could not come with me, since "they can't be responsible for more than one person." Fine. I usually act like an idiot under anesthesia anyway, and E saw too much last time, so I was actually kind of grateful that she wouldn't see me act foolish a second time.
Nurse led me back to the "surgical suite," and on the way there I passed 3 of the many doctors who have been up inside me the last couple of weeks. Each of them cheerily waved and called "Hi, GS! See you in a bit!" I was slightly confused, thinking there would only be room in there for 1 doctor with a foot-long needle. But I smiled and waved back anyway.
At my clinic, there are about 7 doctors, and you see whoever is available at the time for your scans and for the retrieval and transfer. I had attempted to learn who would be doing my retrieval, but couldn't really get an answer from any of the nurses. Apparently all 3 of these doctors thought they'd be the lucky wielder of the foot-long needle that morning.
So I got ready, little socks and gown and fluffy hat donned, and I climbed aboard the retrieval table. And then I got kind of excited. Not for the retrieval or the transfer or the potential of this IVF working...no.
For the drugs.
I know I'm sick. I remember being a kid and getting a tiny bit thrilled when I had a cavity because I knew it meant getting the laughing gas.
Then our sweet doctor - the one we started with - walked in just as I was getting the IV in my hand. Of all the doctors there, he is the most gentle, the least offensive wielder of dildocam, so I was very happy, since last time I bled heavily afterward and didn't feel right in there for weeks.
He asked how I was feeling and I told him OK but about to feel a lot better, as the anesthesiologist was preparing the first of several injections into the hand-thingy. For a sick moment, as I saw syringe after syringe headed toward my hand (why so many separate drugs?), I imagined lying on the executioner's table. What's wrong with me?
When he noticed my drugs were flowing and that I was chatting away happily with the anesthesiologist, he gripped my knee and said "Is E in the waiting room?" I guess I looked loopy.
The anesthesiologist had me talking about something, and then the next thing I knew I was in the recovery area, with our sweet doctor telling me he got 16 eggs, and that was great, and good job in there, but I don't know if I said anything coherent back because I had cotton mouth.
Anyway, I get the report on how many were mature and fertilized this afternoon.
Updated to say that of the 16, 14 were mature and 11 fertilized (with ICSI).
AND, all 11 look not in the least bent or androgynous.
Granny would be proud!
Saturday, September 8, 2007
At first I thought I had to pee terribly (I always wait too long), but as soon as I rolled over and stretched out flat, the pressure just eased away.
I guess it was just my ovaries telling my bladder to back the fuck off or it was going to get ugly in there.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
They think I'll be ready sooner than Monday...probably Sunday instead.
So now that we're almost to retreival #2, let's relive the fun of #1. Back in June, when they measured my follicle sizes the day before trigger, there were a smattering of 12s, several 16-18s, and a couple of 20s. Dr. Inappropriate estimated he'd get 10 - 12. That sounds pretty good, we thought.
Ah, the young and naive.
He retreived 7, and 2 were immature. We did ICSI, and all 5 fertilized. But my eggs were bent. Our embryos were crappy. We put in 2 of "pretty good" quality, and 1 of "shitty" quality. The other 2 clearly took after me, as they were only seen sagging about in their petri dish and dividing wanly before the embryologist gave them a scorching look of disdain and scrapped them.
The rest is history. The 3 we put in didn't stick around. They didn't even try. There was no grabbing on and clinging for a second (ohmygodyouguysmyarmsaresoweak!) before dropping off into the abyss (wheee!).
Aside from the very serious and concerned expression Dr. Inappropriate plastered on his face while giving us the news, there was no real explanation for why my eggs were weird looking. My FSH is normal and all that junk.
I told E it's because they keep trying to force their little round egg bodies into sperms.
My Lovely Accupuncturist told me my vegetarian diet was not affording my eggs enough protien to grow properly, and that I needed to kick up the tofu intake. She claims that every vegetarian she's treated through IVF had bent eggs until they got a solid 40 grams of protien a day. I thought I was a good vegetarian (I don't love carbs) but cramming 40 gs of protien is no joke. That shit is hard.
So I've tried to be good, but these drugs have killed my appetite, so these last few days my eggs have grown from a steady diet of Reses Pieces that I choke down every afternoon (5 gs protien in a little bag!). Good vegetarian, goooooood vegetarian.
And the accupuncture. E and I find needles loathsome (especially after our many encounters with them) and were not looking forward to loads more of them. Well, my tune changed straightaway after I started with Lovely Accupuncturist. I heart her. She taps those needles right into my qi and I get this hugely heavy painful pressure that just blisses me out. She's like a sadist I hire to spank me.
Anyway, hopefully these measures will help my eggs grow into nice, round, female-identified ova. We'll find out soon enough.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Actually, I have a great many things to say, all in half-written, unpublished posts. Most of them are bitchy. Some are sort of funny, but they're mostly dumb.
It's all the same shit. Shaking my fist at universe. It's tired.
Maybe it's because these drugs make me feel slightly comatose. Or maybe it's my fear creeping back in. We could be pregnant this month. Holy fuck. Parents don't go to strip clubs.
To quote the very great Timbaland, who always knows what to say: Dirty babe, see these shackles baby I'm your slave, I'll let you whip me if I misbehave, it's just that no one makes me feel this way. *take em to the bridge!*
I don't know.
But, in efforts to keep track of the "JOURNEY," I shall record where we're at. I started stims a week ago (Repronex and Gonal F). Doctor: Everything Fantastic! Cetrotide last night and everynight to retrieval, which is scheduled for Monday. Transfer Friday, barring withering embryos.
Izzy izzy ahh zizah zizah za.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Last Christmas, E and I were spending the holidays with my family in Country House outside of Small Town inside of Large Midwestern State. Let's call it Monotony.
E had done her 5th IUI, medicated, a few weeks prior. She had gotten her period a few days before we left, and the disappointment was threatening to suffocate the few days we had off for the holidays.
Christmas was celebrated with the family, who were bouyant and compassionate about our repeated failures to get pregnant. They consoled E and engaged in much frank discussion about the trials she had endured thus far to get pregnant. Which was good, because I had grown surly with the perpetual talk of frozen sperm and anonymous donors and injectables and the whole damned medicalized process.
Frequently, when I woke and stumbled to the kitchen for coffee, I would find E and my mother quickly hushing their conversation and rather loudly discussing the weather or the dogs. I'd scowl and march off.
At this point on our path to parenthood, I was rather ambivalent about the whole baby thing. Moreover, I was almost wholly uninvolved. Our initial plans to do home inseminations with a known donor did not work out. Having been initially quite determined to make it happen naturally, we were disheartened to have to find an RE, and the news that E had high FSH was an even bigger blow. We gave up the notion of making it ourselves, and started medicated cycles. My job prevented me from attending E's frequent doctor appointments, and trying to conceive was nearly the only thing she talked about. I was feeling more and more peripheral to the process.
That, in a recap, is where we were when it happened.
A couple of days before our holiday vacation ended, we were milling about aimlessly in Monotony. E popped into Depressing Drugstore for some Advil before we drove back to Country House.
Later that afternoon, E approached me, wild-eyed, and asked that I accompany her to the bathroom. There on the counter lay a stick, with two very dark blue lines. What she thought was her period was actually implantation bleeding.
This was the first time in her life she had ever been pregnant, and she was lit and shining with the thrill and the terror of it.
And there it was, for a long and wild 6 weeks. I was alternately sick with apprehension and filled with a a soft, warm, spreading happiness. What a ride it was.
Our first ultrasound showed a little sac, the fetal pole just a bit small for what it should have been at that point. Just a bit.
The second appointment was the biggie, The One When You See The Heartbeat. E was nervous, but oh, we had hope. It had only been a bit small.
When we got there, E clutched my hand, glowing as she had been for weeks. I looked at her - she was pregnant, without question. The physical manifestations were there: she often had a faint sheen on her face (sweat from the persistent nausea), and her belly felt hard. She had changed shape somehow over the last few weeks, although obviously what was there was not big enough to show. Maybe it was just her happiness.
I squeezed her hand and felt only blind optimism.
It took a while for the doctor to do the ultrasound. He kept moving the wand, and there was what felt like a deafening silence.
There wasn't a heartbeat.
E folded in on herself when the doctor left the room, and I wrapped her up and took her home.
Her body clung to that little fetal pole for three weeks. We refused the D&C, and instead she took one tiny pill on a Friday night, and we holed up for the weekend. We called it our Miscarriage Party. I rolled a joint, and we took the dog for walks.
And we loved eachother endlessly.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
For those unfamiliar with Dr. Bailey's "science," he wrote a book a few years back in which he hypothesized that (I'm summarizing, here) transgender women are actually just male cross-dressing fetishists, motivated to change their sex by the sexual arousal they feel when perceived as women.
So, whatever your thoughts are on that asinine theory, Dr. Bailey also expounds the belief that sexual orientation is genetic (stay with me here), and, once the gay-gene is isolated, parents' determination of their fetus' sexual orientation and subsequent selective abortion based on the results of that test is "morally responsible."
Let's be clear here. We're talking about an educated white straight man who has made a name for himself by categorizing trans and gay people essentially as "genetic mistakes." Talk about exploiting those a wee-tad bit lower on the political-clout totem pole.
What a douche-bag. I feel like calling him up and telling him that, given the choice, most gays would stay gay. I know I would. I'm not one of those lesbians who snub other lesbians because "my orientation is the least interesting thing about me." I'm just not interesting enough to feel that way, I guess.
But also I think sexual orientation is pretty deep. It informs nearly every part of my life, down to the most widely-experienced life events: making friends, buying a coop, interviewing for a job. Having a baby.
I look forward, with great interest, to confusing the shit out of people who will doubtlessly question the origin of our child (for this will surely happen, even in enlightened NYC).
It's pretty freaking interesting, watching the world react to gay people.
Anyway, the Dr. Bailey scandal made me think of the whole infertility thing again. Part of why I feel so connected to the world of infertile people (even though I'm sort of reluctant to become a parent in lots of ways) is that people who struggle so hard for a child are more likely to love that child no matter its orientation.
Imagine a poor infertile woman busting her ass to get pregnant finally becomes pregnant and takes Bailey's gay-gene test only to discover her long-awaited fetus is, lo, a 'mo.
If she's a homophobe, she may grit her teeth, sock money away for ex-gay camp, and line up Billy Graham himself to christen the wee baby, but she sure as shit isn't aborting.
And my guess is she'd probably love that baby anyways. Because we infertiles have a lot of fucking love to give.
Monday, August 20, 2007
On the phone with the clinic last week, I questioned the necessity of said "swab." Oh, we just need to be sure you don't have gonorrhea or chlamydia, Nurse chirps. I tell Chirpy I'm quite certain that I'm not infected with an STD. She responded that she, too, was certain, and yet I still needed to come in for the necessary swabbing.
I told her the clinic's repeated attempts to get me in the stirrups was becoming suspicious.
When the alarm went off at 6 o'clock this morning, I was like, Swab? I think not. I shut it off and rolled over. E intervened.
E: Get up.
E: Get up! You have an appointment.
GS: It's 6 AM. I'm not getting up at 6 AM for a damn swab.
E: They said you need a swab. You have to get one.
GS: Why? Why must I blindly follow their commands? I refuse.
And I slept until 7:30.
So, I know, it certainly isn't interesting enough to blog about, and yet I do it regardless. Why? SEE EARLIER POST!! Despite attempts by E to thwart me, I wrestled a little dignity and control from the iron-grip of Clinic, and it feels good!
But I still have to get that fucking swab tomorrow.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Babymaking is, on the whole, an instinctive kind of thing. Papa Wildebeest doesn't read little Willy "Where Did I Come From?" before he trots off to the praire for some grazing with the girl wildebeests.
The sheer amount of deliberate fuckage one must do with their mind and body to conceive through IVF is off the damn map of Intuition-ville. IVFers are milling around in the stratosphere.
- Instinct tells us not to poke ourselves in the sensitive belly area with shiny, extremely pointy objects which must thereafer be disposed of in biohazardous waste containers.
- It suggests we not shove little hormone-saturated pellets up our vaginas.
- It encourages us not to spread our legs for strangers with a camera .
And yet, and yet.
We brashly defy our intuition: deliberately shoot ourselves up nightly with drugs that make us miserable and fat, purposefully paste in pantyliners to soak up our melting suppositories.
Seriously, who regularly injects drugs that provide not a modicum of pleasure? Not even the tiniest hint of euphoria, here, people. No wonder it's legal.
I'd like to announce that my instincts, my reflexes, all those handy self-protective resources written onto my genetic code, have surrendered. My IVF cherry was popped 2 months ago, and now I willingly hop into my stirrups. I pop my pills, easily surrender my veins to satanic phlebotomists.
But injecting myself with those anti-pleasure serums? That still really gets my goat.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I was a holy cunt on Lupron. I alternated between knashing my teeth whilst kicking those in close range in the shins and sitting limply in my chair, staring at the wall with glazed eyes.
"YOU ARE IN MORTAL DANGER!" I would cry out when E approached me with the syringe each night.
And she would soothe me and after my shot bring me a gin and tonic and I'd clutch at her and apologize for being a monster. It felt like my time with Lupron lasted 8 months. I think in reality it was closer to 2 weeks.
E, of course, is having no similar symptoms, because she's a better person than I.
She enjoys pointing out that "fits of violent irritability" and "lapses into semi-concious stupor" are not included on the list of potential side effects.
Lupron is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist that, over time, downregulates the release of FSH and LH, which are hormones that stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. It "shuts down" your reproductive cycle so the doctor can ramp it back up with a cocktail of stimulating hormones.
This is called an agonist protocol, and apparently it is the most common protocol used in IVF because:
1. It is more controlled, thus easier to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which, as I understand, is no diddling flu (with a moderate case, you can put on 2 pounds a day - yippee!)
2. It works with most people.
You fail your agonist cycle (i.e., you produce few eggs or poor quality eggs)? You're given the glamorous label of "poor responder," and may be told you need an antagonist cycle, which, your doctor will surely point out, is generally used for elderly ladies with shrivelled up raisin ovaries so desperate to become with child that they'll try anything. An antagonist cycle stimulates the ovaries without shutting down your system first, so you're more at risk for OHSS.
I'm not on Lupron because our new doctor has put me on an antagonist cycle. To be honest, I threatened suicide if I had to go back on Lupron, so he had little choice. If I've learned anything through this process, it is self-advocacy, and I was determined to avoid Lupron this cycle.
Not only because it fucked with my head, but it also gave me huge cysts on my ovaries. During monitoring one day during IVF #1, our old doctor, weilding dildocam with a vicious glee, proclaimed that I had Lupron-cycts. "Holy God! Look at the size of that one! That's gotta be ASPIRATED!"
"Aspirated?" I moaned.
"YEP. Don't worry, I'll prescribe you some VALIUM. You might even enjoy it!"
1. He prescribed me one feeble little Valium. Although I'm a relatively small person, I have a strangely high tolerance for drugs and alcohol. I need a horse tranquilizer to take a nap.
2. He refused to give me the pill until after I read my consent forms, so I popped it as I signed. I was strapped to a gurney with a foot long needle between my legs about 15 minutes later. I was feeling EXTREMELY UNRELAXED.
Lupron was cruel to me.
Anyway, I was pretty convinced that my Lupron-cysts had something to do with the fact that we only got 7 eggs from the egg retreival, only 5 of which were mature. It seemed like such a small number after so many drugs.
Hence, the antagonist cycle. E takes the Lupron to align our cycles and I start stims next Friday.
I'm glad that my old mate Lupron and I have gone separate ways. So is E. Things are looking up.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
When E and I decided to go the "let's split this baby down the middle, shall we" route, I poked around the net for others who've done the same, but didn't find much. I did, however, find loads of people blogging about their IVF experiences, which was enormously helpful, and especially consoling after our first go didn't work and we were struggling.
So I thought I'd try it out - to talk about the experience of IVF, in particular the experience of sharing the IVF-related responsibilities with my partner E. Initially I had lofty goals of creating a resource for other lesbian couples going this route, but it quickly became clear that I would instead be regularly abusing my readers with verbal diarreah of the bitter variety.
And that's okay too.
Because what other bloggers have taught me is that infertility (whether due to troublesome reproductive organs or the general sameness of your partner's sex) sucks a whole lot and so does IVF.
Infertility kicks the shit out of you and leaves you doubled over on the sidewalk, crying like a ninny. Then IVF steps over you, walks over to your car and takes a dump on the hood.
E and I have been married for four years tomorrow. Which is astonishing, since I feel sometimes like I am just beginning to know her, a feeling this ordeal has intensified. We laugh a ridiculous proportion of our time together, hysterically; we are mirrors of eachother's twisted and juvenile sense of humor. We cannot ever seem to get enough of the other, despite being tired, overworked people.
And o, our love for eachother. It's fierce. That our love is incapable of creating our family is profoundly unfair. Just as it is for so many infertile people.
So there's stuff to bitch about, in other words. Reading others' stories of their experiences makes this whole bumpy-ass ride less desolate and the disappointments less devastating.
And frankly, it just feels good to know that we're not the only ones with busted lips and shitty hoods.
So the time has come. Today our second IVF cycle begins.
We met with our doctor today (wait time: 3 minutes - i heart him) for my day 2 ultrasound (time spent with dildocam: <1 minute - i heart him so much) and bloodwork (satanic phlebotomist scrubbed my arm with steel wool then poked my vein with her pitchfork: i will seek my revenge with holy water).
We next met with the Protocol Nurse who is also Adorable and who Loves Us Very Much, and she informed us that E would be on Lupron this time, not me, which I think is best for all involved (although I admit I am slightly evil because I hope E experiences a taste of the ferocious Lupron-induced crankiness).
So, I'm doing my best to be hopeful and positive in the face of the barrage of drugs and dildocam appointments and blood tests that lay ahead.
But ambivalence spreads its wings right in my chest when I remember all we put ourselves through last time, for nothing.
But what the fuck else are you going to do? You get to your feet, wipe the shit off your car with a bit of newspaper from the curb, and then you stab yourself in the gut with your Gonal F pen.