valentine

earthquakes change the landscape permanently.   they devastate, destroy,  and cause complete change.  things are never the same after an earthquake.  it wouldn’t make sense to wait for that part of the earth to go back to what it was before… to “get better”.   it’s different.  everything is different.  the way it fits in and relates to the rest of the world around it is different.  meanwhile the rest of the world carries on at it’s usual  pace, spinning and moving and growing as it should.   and that broken, shaken bit of the landscape can’t keep up for a while,  as it figures out what it has become.  maybe this giant crack in the ground will become a lovely river full of life one day, but for now it’s just…different.  violence from underground brings chaos to the surface, and causes the terrain to be lost in its own unfamiliar self.

there are theories that tell me that somewhere out there in the multiverse,  my personal earthquake never happened.  somewhere…somewhere out there,  i let myself believe,  my son was born alive and well.   it’s my way of believing in heaven,  i guess.  heaven by way of quantum physics:  somewhere beyond all the stars we will ever know,  he lives and dances and my heart is in tact.

—-

it’s been two months.  not very long at all.  it still hurts all the time, i just don’t show it all the time.   it makes people uncomfortable, of course, and i just don’t want it to always suck to be around me.   i can manage it sometimes.   it changes shape sometimes.  sometimes it sleeps for a while, but it’s right here with me like a pet dragon i’m trying to tame.

i got this little heart shaped box yesterday~

happy valentine’s day, my love.

note to self

Dear Future Me (approximately 28 days from now),

Hi there, M.G.  This is your former self.   It’s the second half of the two week wait right now and you’re probably freaking out and getting yourself all worked up over what you think are “new symptoms”, so I’m here with a reality check to remind you of a few things.  You’re a smart lady and all, but you seem to have very short term memory about how your body works.

First of all,   you know how your boobs are hurting you right now?  Yeah well that has been happening to you every single month for the dozens of years that you have been getting your period.  That’s what they do.  They hurt sometimes.   They get heavy and you want to have them removed.   They look fantastic but if Husband tried to touch them you bark like a Doberman.  This is not new and it doesn’t mean anything exciting, okay?   It means you are female.   Now quit inspecting your nipples,  it’s weirding out the cat.

Next:   The Dreams.   Every month around this time you start having dreams that you are pregnant, giving birth, or looking at a child you assume is yours.   You really want to believe that those dreams “mean something”, right?   Well,  remember that you also have dreams that there is a UFO on top of the house with a nightclub in it.   Then there’s the dream that you’re secretly the president of the continent but nobody can know.  Sometimes you dream that Husband is a gorilla, and there are alligators in the bathtub.   Do all of those dreams mean something important too?  Maybe.  All you know for sure is that they are dreams.   Wake up.

Oh, and you’re going to get really excited one morning because you will be unusually nauseous for half the day.   Know what that is?   You took your pre-natal vitamin on an empty stomach again.  That makes you sick every time.   Eat a banana and get over yourself.   Who else gets excited about wanting to throw up anyway?

Also, the thing where you’re crying a lot and you just bit Husband’s head off for looking at you funny?  You do that every month, too.  Seriously.  Ask him.  He will be scared to answer you, which is all the answer you need.

Finally, there is something very important you need to know about yourself:   You have gas.   You know those little twitches and pulls you feel?  You know how they happen at the same time that your belly puffs up a little?   You know how sometimes you even feel a magical little hint of movement in your lower abdomen?  That is not your child, that is a fart.  You’re a big fan of Tex-Mex this time of the month so it’s gonna happen.

Now I’m not telling you that there is no way you’re pregnant right now,  Future Me.   God knows I hope you are.  I’m just saying that there is still a week or more until the end of your cycle and there is no way for you to know yet.  So calm down and try to get some sleep okay?  Lying awake at night feeling yourself up is only sexy if Husband is involved.   You’re not a doctor, or a psychic.  You’re an impatient lady with sore boobs and a little gas.

You’re going to get there,  Future Me.  Maybe you’ll get there sooner than either of us realizes.  Maybe you are there!  But you’re not going to get there by making yourself crazy imagining that this is the first time you’ve had skin problems or cravings the week before you bleed.   So stop Googling yourself to death and try waiting to see if you’re late.   Are you late Future Me?  God,  I hope you are.  Can you write back and let me know?  Maybe check with Future Future Me and see if she know anything?    Hey,  I should Google “talking to myself 9DPO” and see what comes up!  Okay, maybe not…

Good luck,  Future Me… you’re going to be a great mama soon.

M.G.

the overpopulation of self righteous idiots

Never scroll down to the comments!   This is something I have to remind myself when viewing anything on YouTube or reading any news article.   Personal comments like those found in a blog like this are generally fueled by people who understand and care about the topic  so they are mindful and supportive,   but  news comments are a whole other can of trolls.    It used to be just YouTube,  (where the viewers seem to be bored, 13 years old,  and excited that they can anonymously sling nastiness at strangers to instigate a fight)  but now that vibe has spread to news articles.    It’s bad enough that most news stories themselves are emotional and opinionated rather than just fact-based reporting,  but to open up the floor for every idiot with access to the internet to chime in with their ignorant two cents has ruined a lot of perfectly good reading experiences for me.   A sweet story about kittens and puppies can somehow lead to a hateful debate about racism and politics if you make the mistake of scrolling down to the comments.

Still there are stories that I assume would be safe from this kind of mindless madness, and I’m genuinely interested in what people have to say on the subject… like the subject of infertility.  I deal with idiots all day every day on the matter, but somehow when reading an article online I forget that Joe Public has some seriously dumb shit to say about the whole thing.   Recently NPR has been running an ongoing series called “The Baby Project”  where they are following the journeys of different expectant mothers.   Somewhere in there was a thoughtful piece about infertility which I was pleasantly surprised to find.  Then I did it…  I scrolled down to the damn comments and saw it… one of the most common and simultaneously most offensive arguments against fertility treatments:  It is sinfully selfish to artificially fertilize oneself because there is an overpopulation problem on the planet and millions of children who need to be adopted.  Clearly infertility is nature’s way of controlling the population and it is wrong of us to fight against that.

I have always had my stomach truned by that argument,  but really never had a response to it other than wordless disgust.   Until now:

You know what else is nature’s way of controlling the population?  Death.  By this same argument,  it is sinfully selfish of people to try to end war and famine when clearly it is just nature’s way of thinning out the herd.  Cancer is another good way to cap the population.  If you or a loved on find yourself with cancer,  it would be sinful and selfish of you to expect the miracles of modern medicine to try to save you.   Why waste your money getting injected with radiation when you could just drop dead and be replaced by an adopted child?  Oh and there is no way your grandparents should be as old as they are.  It is sinfully selfish for there to be so many old people.   Old age and fragility is nature’s way of controlling the population and yet we selfishly fight against it all the time,  now there are too many of us!   In fact if you have a child (“naturally” of course) and that child gets sick,  you should just let them go.  They will be a burden on society,  and there are plenty perfectly healthy children awaiting adoption.   It would be selfish of you to care for your sick child when there are so many people crowding the earth.

The drive to have children for some is as intense and natural as the drive to love and have sex.  Can you imagine being told that you are incapable of love or sex?  The primitive instinct to procreate can be as strong as the instinct to survive.   As much as it is our nature to fight against death,  for some of us it is our nature to fight for the ability to create new life.   It is fundamental self preservation at its finest.  Add to that the undeniable force of maternal instinct.     A mother can love someone she just met with a supernatural power unmatched by anything in the universe.  That love is already there before the new life has even been conceived, driving us to find that child we have been dreaming about just as hard as a mother would be driven to find a living child that had been taken from her arms.

The population will always control itself,  and we will always find new and ingenious ways to fight back and preserve our place in the population.   There will always be disasters, both natural and man-made.  There will always be sickness and death.  Funny thing is, none of the people who fight those things will ever be called selfish or entitled for trying to save and preserve life.   They are called heroes.  Doctors who find ways to help the blind to see again are heroes.  Scientists who discover ways to help the deaf to hear again are heroes.  No one calls a deaf person selfish for wanting to experience a most basic aspect of the human experience.   When your legs don’t work and you strive to overcome your given limitations and make them work,  you are a hero and an inspiration when you walk again.  When your reproductive organs don’t work and you strive to make them work… you are sinfully selfish and adding to the strain on the planet itself?

No.*   (* <— that “No” replaces several lines of indignant profanity that I edited out.  But I feel the heated part of this rant coming on,  so they are probably going to sneak back in….)

The selfish ones are the ones who think they get to dictate what you should or shouldn’t do with your body, in any way.  The selfish ones are those who have never walked in your shoes but love the opportunity to chime in and tell you how you should be walking.  What is selfish and hateful and ignorant is throwing bullshit judgement  into the faces of families who are struggling with the confusion, heartache, and grief that this disease called infertility brings into our lives.   It is not just a trivial inconvenience,  it is a form of organ or system failure to be treated as seriously as any other.   It isn’t the same as not being able to get a new car or a bigger house,  it is the same as not being able to fucking breathe.   Am I selfish for wanting to be able to breathe? …or walk? …or keep my grandmother around for long enough to finally meet this kid I haven’t had yet?  Are the very cells that I am made up of “selfish” for needing to replicate?  Then neither am I!

The next time you hear the argument that there are already too many people alive and fertility medicine is somehow a destructive force against nature,  tell that person they should stop going to the doctor…  Or locking their doors at night…  Or educating their kids…. Or donating to cancer research.   All that stuff will probably lead to the extension of their life… and that’s just selfish.

take my kids… please!

A woman I went to high school with was visiting from out of town this weekend,  and we got together for lunch.   We were never really good friends back in the day, but through the magic of Facebook we have gotten to know each other as adults.  Sort of… as much as you can “get to know” someone through their Facebook page.   We’ll call her Betty for the purposes of me being able to trash her a bit later on.

One of the things that drew me to interactions with Betty is that she has two ridiculously beautiful children whose photos I am always commenting on.   She has a seven year old son,  and a two year old little girl with the kind of cheeks that just need to be pinched off and eaten.   Her family really is gorgeous… like, “why aren’t your kids in commercials” gorgeous.  I made a habit of telling her this as often as possible,  because I know it must be easy to take things like that for granted, and I thought it might be an ego boost to hear what miraculously adorable little lives she had created.   But when I do say something to her like “Betty, that little girl is so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes,”   she responds with something like “Oh, you wouldn’t be saying that if you had one of your own.  They’re not as cute once you know what they are really like.”

Ummm… you’re welcome?

The first time we had an exchange like this I sent her a private message mentioning how much I really did want kids but was struggling,  and that her family inspired me.   It was a version of what has become my standard manifesto that I have to send or recite when someone says the wrong thing about babies to me.   It was meant to elicit something like an apology,  understanding,  or at least backing down off of the whole “kids suck” propaganda she was pushing at me.   But no,  she still insisted that all I needed to do was spend an hour alone with her “little monsters”  and I would be… (here it comes)… “CURED”  of my desire to have a child.

Fast forward to this past weekend where I was informed that she and her family would be in town and they wanted to get together with me and Husband.   These kids had gone from three hours trapped in the back of an SUV to two hours trapped in a restuarant booth with strangers.  Naturally, they were whiny and restless.  Hell, so was I!   Every time one of them would get on her nerves or squeal or fuss she would look at me and say “See what I mean?  Are you sure you want to deal with this?”   (I was thinking, “What– you  or the kids?”)  Rather than responding directly to her I would say to the little ones, “This is boring, huh?  We should probably get you to a park to run around! You wanna run around for a while?  Cuz I sure do!”   “Yaaaay!”  

She even went as far as to say to Husband “I promise you these kids are going to get her over her baby cravings by the end of this meal, just watch.”  It was exhausting.  I kept reminding her that I in fact work at a daycare with a hundred kids much more active and wild than her two angels so she was welcome to cut that shit out,  but she wouldn’t hear it.  She wouldn’t hear me.

It never stopped.   I wondered if maybe she considered it some bizarre act of kindness.   It’s not like she really doesn’t like her babies.  She posts adoring, snuggly, soft-focus pictures of them about every 15 minutes on her Facebook page.  This is not an “I feel bad for those kids” situation.   They are clearly loved and cared for.   Betty is happy.  The family is happy.   So what was this obnoxious act?  Was she playing it down for me?   Did she think it would make it easier on me to think that motherhood sucked?  Did she think I might fall apart or lash out in a jealous rage if she actually acknowledged how lucky she was or accepted a single compliment I gave her children?   I guess I don’t really care enough to find out.  If I considered her a friend and not just some chick I vaguely remember from high school I might call her on it.   I might tell her she is making herself sound incredibly self-centered and thankless.   I might tell her that her little display was like pretending to hate your food in front of someone who is starving:  It won’t make them like the idea of food any less,  it will just make them like YOU less, you ungrateful ass!

It was loud in the restaurant and Betty wasn’t going to be a good listener anyway or maybe I would have tried to “educate” her more about her idiotic behavior.   I elected instead to eat my lunch as quick as possible and get the hell outta there.    Check , please!

exam room makeover

We are already taking a break after our first IUI cycle last month.   Seems they weren’t happy with Husband’s swimmer count on game day (which may be our fault since we had sex the night before), so this month he gets to be the star of the show!  He has to have blood sucked out of his veins,  be poked and prodded, get drugged to tears,  and have a camera stuck up his happyhole.   Oh wait… no, that’s me.  He just has to have an orgasm.  Poor guy.

As eager as I was to get the show on the road I thought it would freak me out to have to pause so soon,  even for one cycle, but I’m relieved in a way.   I am sick to death of not being pregnant,  but I’m also sick to death of that effing exam room.  For one thing,  it’s really cold in there… all the time.   You’d think they would do something about that.  You want me to strip for you?  Get a fireplace up in here!

Whenever I have to spend time in a room I don’t like the looks of,  I redecorate it in my mind.   Certainly any room I have to spend time in without pants on needs to be cozied up a little.   I mean, when I try to get pregnant at home I don’t want harsh fluorescent lighting with the AC blasting directly up my ass.   Maybe they should have themed exam rooms the way they have themed honeymoon suites.  “Good morning Mrs. G… would you care for the Safari Suite this morning?  Or perhaps the Grecian Getaway?  Excellent choice, now please take off your pants.”  Or they could be like themed weddings in Vegas, with the doctor dressed like Elvis or Cleopatra.   Maybe some colorful lighting… Ooh!  And they could do some magic tricks to entertain you while they’re down there behind that paper sheet!   They should at the very least let you pick out the music.  Nobody should ever be forced to listen to Celine Dion when they are in such a vulnerable position.  Remember when you were a kid and the doctor would give you a sucker after you got a shot?  Yeah, the grown-up version is that they need to buy us a drink after every exam or procedure.  The waiting room should be an actual lounge with a bar in it.  Hell, with all the talk of  “Just relax” and “Don’t be stressed”  they should be prescribing cocktails before your procedure.  Like an anesthetic,  with a cherry in it.

We are going to start up again next month of course,  but I think I should call up one of those home makeover shows and get them in there before my next visit.

“So? How’s the babymaking coming along?”

I’m new enough in the Austin area that I have to remind myself to make an effort to bond with people and actually go out sometimes.  Otherwise,  all my energy is focused on Husband and that isn’t fair to either one of us.   For example, this past month I took Clomid for the first time.  I don’t know if any of you have experienced the joy of  clomiphene citrate before, but one of the effects it had on me was that I became even more of a crybaby than I already am.   Dog food commercials,  checking the mailbox,  Husband looking at me for too long or not looking at me long enough… all these things sent me running for snot-rags and ice cream.

It was a hard time for both of us.  He’s a computer engineer, and he needs to try to fix things when they aren’t operating properly.    When a man tries to ‘repair’ you while you are mid-meltdown, it only makes things worse.   We don’t always want to be fixed,  sometimes we just need to be validated and given space to melt for a while.   Our partners can’t always figure this out,  but a friend can.

In my experience, the balance of energy gets thrown off when I expect Husband to be everything to me all the time.  I’ve been trying to remember to use my friends,  but the problem with that is that most of my closest friends are half way across the country and I never really made an effort to rebuild my circle after I moved here.  I’m making that effort now,  and I’ve noticed that it is tricky deciding what I will or won’t talk about over dinner with someone new.

The other night I went out with the wife of a friend of Husband whom I had chatted with via Facebook, but never really had any actual face time with.   It was her birthday the next day and she happens to be going through a divorce  so there was plenty to talk about other than my reproductive system, which was nice.   One of the many benefits of  hanging out with different kinds of people and their different kinds of problems is that it gets you out of your own head for a while.  All that anxiety and worrying about ourselves gets boring and gross,   like wallowing in dirty bathwater.   Sometimes you just need to get out and dry off.   It is within the isolation of keeping to yourself that depression can fester and spread.   So it was refreshing and healthy and good that I could be away from my home and even Husband for a while and think about somebody else’s problems and hopes and dreams.   I loved the feeling, and it was making me love her.

Then it happened.   The shift in conversation that always comes up when I’m chatting with someone new:    “Soooooo?  How’s the babymaking coming along?”

*GROAN*

My stock answer:  “Well, you know,” (uncomfortable chuckle) “we’re working on it!”    This is never a satisfactory reply.   Even though they are clearly asking me the most personal thing you can ask anyone (basically: “What’s happening up your vagina?”)  people feel bizarrely entitled to the details.

“What’s going on with that?”  she asked.

“What’s ‘going on‘ with it?”  I repeated.  Sometimes when somebody asks me what I think is a stupid or rude question I repeat it at them, giving them a chance to hear it back and decide if they want to retract it.  She did not.

“Yeah, like,  what are you guys doing?”

“What are we doing?”  I mirrored again,  the smart-ass in me begging to be released.   She nodded sweetly with a smile.  “Well, we fuck a lot, if that’s what you wanted to know… cuz… I hear that’s how it’s done.”

This should have shut down the conversation but it didn’t.  She laughed.  I’m known to be kind of a goofball, so surely I must have been being goofy.  She pried a bit more, saying she knew we were having a hard time and blah blah blah.  This is where I had to make a choice:  I could continue to be an asshole about it and deflect all her questions (It is my uterus after all,  so screw you if I don’t feel like giving you a tour);  OR I could be open with this sweet lady I was trying to bond with who just spent half an hour telling me about trying to get her alcoholic husband to sign the papers and get out of her life.  She was able to share her dirty laundry with me with a smile on her face and light all around her.   She wasn’t grumbling or dark, she was just talking about her life.   What was I so scared of?  Why couldn’t I do that, too?

I softened a bit and offered some vague insight.  “Well,  we have been trying for over three years now, and I have been checked out… so has he.   They keep saying everything looks good to go, but nothing is happening.  It’s pretty heartbreaking sometimes…”   She nodded and grinned like she understood exactly what to say.   That is NEVER a good sign.

“Oh, it’s just not your time yet.  That’s all.  You just need to stop thinking about it for a while and that baby will come to you when it’s ready.”

I felt myself wanting to get impatient and rude again,  but instead I tried to illustrate what it’s like to hear things like that.  I felt the floodgates open and I gave her details I normally wouldn’t have shared over enchiladas,  like what fibroids are and what they look like up close after you have them removed.  I told her what it was like being told I should have a hysterectomy and would never have kids at all.   I told her about the journey recovering from all that crap, and how it was a major challenge.  I told her it was not something I could just wish away or I’d be pregnant by now.  I told her that infertility was a real medical condition that I was working on having treated, and not just some negative way of looking at things.   I told her these things until I was tearing up.  I realized that my voice had gotten louder as I talked,  so suddenly the thing I was originally trying not to share with the person across from me had been shared with half the restaurant.   (“Check, please!”)

I had opened up,  and I wanted her to get it.  I certainly didn’t want pity,  but I also didn’t want to be told it was no big deal.  I wanted her to say something similar to what I said after she had described her drawn out divorce situation to me:  “Wow.   I don’t know how I would handle that… probably not as gracefully as you seem to be.”    No one ever says that, ever.  Not unless they have been through it, too.  And that is why I am here sharing with all of you…  but that is what I desperately needed to hear in that moment.

Here’s what I got instead:  “Well, I had my kids really easy… so if you ever need a surrogate,  I would totally carry for you!”

Ouch.

I didn’t want to be mad at my new friend.  She didn’t know.   I wanted to finish my margarita and laugh about something silly and be able to have girlfriends.   I wanted to get through a conversation with a new person without having to show them around my internal organs.  I wanted to go home and blog to you guys and feel like a little bit less of a freak.

Cheers, new friends!

the cliffhanger

As I begin this new blogging adventure, I happen to be on day 25 of my cycle.   In fact that is probably why I started this blog today.    These last couple days before the end of a cycle are the excruciating ones.   I couldn’t sleep last night for wondering what my temperature was going to be this morning, so I started a blog.    I do this to myself at the end of every single cycle.   I find myself  checking and rechecking the thermometer at 6:30 am, thinking maybe it’s just out of batteries when my temperature begins to fall;   Picking apart every single “symptom”  that I somehow don’t remember having the month before;   Googling every single twitch and tingle I feel between day 20 and 28.   Then, at the beginning of the next cycle, I swear I won’t do that again.   I say I’m going to ignore it this month, take a break like “they” say I should.  Watched water doesn’t boil, right?

But it’s irresistibly addictive,  like  watching a cliffhanger.   *Cue the thriller movie music!*   Will she or won’t she?  Did they or didn’t they?  Stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion of As The Girl Turns… Even the charts themselves start to look like an actual roller coaster after a while, don’t they?  And my temperature does this fun thing where it bounces up and down for a couple days toward the end,  just to get me extra insane.

This month has been a particularly dramatic wait because this past cycle, I  had my first IUI.   I want to think I know better than to expect big results right away… but of course I do.   The experience of being inseminated is not something you really want to have to keep repeating.   Also, it seems clinical and expensive enough that it should just work…  like a defibrillator for your hooha.     I also had a laparoscopy last month so my doctor could poke around, do some dusting,  and see what she was working with.  So between minor surgery,  an insemination, and a lot more money than it’s supposed to take to get knocked up,  I have been following my own story with unusually obsessive attention this month.  Even though I know that the higher up my hopes go, the harder the crash will be on Day 28.  I know better, and yet there I was lying awake at 4am:  feeling my neck to see if I was unusually warm,  feeling my breasts to see if they were unusually sore… just generally feeling myself up in the least sexy way imaginable.

So I decided maybe writing myself through this would make me feel better,  and at about 5 this morning I started this blog (probably as a way to keep my hands busy so I’d quit groping myself).  It’s nice to get it out,  and it’s nice to share with others who know what you’re experiencing down to the weird details.  It’s nice to have somebody to watch the cliffhanger with you… like watching a scary movie with a friend so you can hold hands and squeal together when the monster appears… and then laugh at each other for being so jumpy.  Thanks for laughing and squealing along with me, new readers.  I hope  you enjoy our feature presentation.

“Is that… my….. PERIOD?!!”

 

Previous Older Entries