Sunday, May 31, 2009


That's how long it took me to run my 12.4 miles Saturday. Sorta slow, but my aim was "Complete, not compete." And complete I did.

There were so many people in the race, and I ended up so far back from the start as a result, that I couldn't even hear the gun! It was a gorgeous day, a gorgeous route, and I'm already planning to do it next year, and also to run a half marathon in October. I think I can drop my time significantly, especially since I was battling charley horses in my calves for the last 4 miles.

Of course this plan is contingent upon my not being pregnant at either of those times, which, given my luck, is a pretty sure bet. Either way, I'm done planning my life around an off chance. Time is passing, old age is encroaching, and I cannot put off living any more. At the same time though, I am ready to commit myself to a Nazi-esque diet and fitness routine, not just to become super hot and super healthy, but because I secretly hope it will help me get preggers. Can't hurt, right? So this weekend was my last indulgence in beer for a while (nothing like a cold one after a long run!) and I'll be starting to wean myself off of caffeine as well. Steer clear, world, because the bitch is back.

Word of advice, though, to anyone who may be planning such a run: if race volunteers offer you champagne at mile 11 in celebration of the 30th running, pass it by. Do not, repeat, do not chug it and then try to make up the time you lost to charley horses by running really hard to the finish. Do not vomit immediately upon crossing the finish line, in front of thousands of spectators, while the announcer shouts your name over megaphone. Do hold the next wave of vomit in your mouth while the race official removes the timing chip from your shoe, because she really would not appreciate your spew on her head.

Running is fun :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

sadness smackdown

The emotional rollercoaster I'm on reminds me a little of a very special phenomenom in the veterinary world, the cuterebra. Basically, cuterebra are fly larvae that become embedded in an animal's skin. They can be difficult to treat, because they like to pop their heads in and out (Hello, world!)and hide, and they're difficult to prevent. Today, my grief cuterebra (let's call him Cutie) poked his little head out and ruined my day.

I was doing fine, even as of this morning, when I wrote about feeling glad to be empty-wombed (at least this month). But then I found out that an old friend's baby has been born, and that pesky Cutie poked his head out to say hello and remind me that, no, I am not normal/healthy/fertile at all. I want to be happy for them - she has had cancer and gone through treatment, and so this baby is a miracle baby. But all I can think about right now is how I want my own miracle, dammit. I'm so fucking sick of being happy for everyone else, or feeling guilty about not feeling happy for everyone else. I'm so fucking sick of these unexpected sadness smackdowns, just when I'm doing well. I'm so fucking sick of having the kind of life that builds character.

(Wow I just realized that I dropped a lot of f-bombs right there. Sorry.)

I wish that I could dig down deep into my brain with a nice long pair of tweezers and pull that Cutie out. And stomp on him. And crush his pasty little face.


shoulda had that beer...

because I am not knocked up. AF has clearly decided to invade my life earlier than scheduled. And I guess I am a bad, bad TTC-er, because......

I am glad. Really and truly glad to not be pregnant this month. I am scheduled to run my first 20k race on Saturday. It would suck to have just gotten AF, or to be pregnant/miscarrying and have to skip it. Another month not pregnant = another month not miscarrying.

Flog me now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

riding the red roller coaster?

I'm confused. Seriously. Here I am, spotting today, only 10 days past ovulation. WTF? Implantation bleeding? Of course, I wouldn't be so lucky. More than likely, just a fucked up cycle and really short luteal phase.

And of course, the IPS are messing with my head. Nausea? Check. Rage? Check. Tender boobies? Check. I'd be shocked if I were pregnant this month because hubby was in Europe for most of my fertile week (and I'm not so desperate to get knocked up that I'd take a lover, Springer-style) but stranger things have happened. I guess the morning urine will have to be consulted, and the let's-not-clean-the-house-let's-drink-a-beer-instead beer will have to remain undrunk.

I'm still not cleaning the house though.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

have helmet, will ride

Went for a ride on the motorcycle today. It was a ton of fun, except for the pain in my rear. The passenger seat on hubby's bike blows, but the replacement seat we want is fairly pricey so I guess I'll just deal with it for the present. Oh, and we were riding to the fabulously fun in-laws'. (Note: this is sarcastic. They are neither fab nor fun.)

Luckily, we managed to get through a visit without them proselytizing. This is a rare occasion, akin to winning the lottery or seeing pigs fly. Since they have been "saved," they have been on a mission to save us. And this is my biggest gripe with them: they never cease in their efforts to convert us, despite the many times we have told them that we are not interested in their church. The right church, perhaps, at some point, although I find myself doubting any sort of higher power these days. But certainly not their church, a rich, white, suburban homophobic megachurch. That's just not my style.

We were fairly stunned that, on a Sunday, no less, we did not get the God lecture. I've been wondering lately if they might be somewhat disenchanted with their church, because it seems like they have been becoming less and less involved in God-centric activities, and more and more involved in life. My FIL is even going back to work, after spending years volunteering extensively for the church.

I have no beef with people of faith in general, only with those who commit to trying to convert me. The in-laws seeming newfound distance from their church, and from the missionary efforts, can only be good for familial harmony. Let's pray (haha) this lasts.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

hubby dearest

So, my wonderful Hubby has been having a rough time of it lately, for a myriad of reasons. I just wanted to let the world know how rad he is. So, ready yourself for the top ten reasons he is the love of my life!!

10. His passion. When he cares about something (like the crackbox), it shows. I love that about him, even if it means my big screen gets taken over regularly.

9. His intellectual chops. I've said before that I'm a pretty smart cookie. He's smarter than me. There, I just admitted it in writing for all the internets to see. I love that we can have really interesting conversations about pretty much anything.

8. His kindness and likability. He's just a really, really nice guy, kind to pretty much everyone. People love him. He even once had a dude follow him home on his motorcycle to get his phone number so they could ride together. And he wasn't even gay. I'd have no friends if it weren't for him :)

7. His strength and fierceness. He's got big strong muscles, and is very athletic. He's also quite fierce. I always feel protected around him, because I know he'd never let anything happen to me if he could stop it.

6. The way he melts when he sees kitties/puppies/babies/insert soft helpless critter here. I love that he's a tough guy who fights with his friends for fun, yet he'll coo at a baby like a girl. Sometimes in the same hour. It's also a helpful trait when I want to bring another homeless animal home.

5. His sense of humor and wit. He can be exceedingly funny at times, spitting out one liners that make me choke with laughter. We like to laugh. A lot. At anything possible, and we share a sort of twisted sense of funny. I'm so glad we get that about each other.

4. His dependability. If he says he'll do it, he will. And truly, I do depend on him for so much. He's my rock.

3. He's sexy. Oh, those muscly arms and broad chest and ripped legs. And since my mom reads this blog, 'nuff said.

2. He is so supportive of me, and everything I attempt to do/dream of doing, etc. He thinks I can write the great american novel, even if I don't. He thinks I'd make a great vet, even if the thought of going back to school seems so so daunting. And, most importantly, he eats whatever culinary creations I come up with and actually enjoys them. He makes me feel like Julia Childs.

1. He loves me fiercely, and I know I can depend on that.

I love you, Bear. More than you'll ever know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

anticipating the dread

Can you grieve for someone who only existed for an instant? Whose existence was proven only by pink lines that faded far too quickly? Am I grieving for them, my nameless, faceless brood, or for the loss of the life I had imagined?

After our first loss, in December of 2005 (holy shit - a lifetime ago!) I stopped allowing myself the luxury of anticipation of baby. What I did feel, in abundance, with each subsequent pregnancy, was dread: how will this one end? how painful will it be? how long will the depression last afterwards?

Part of my learning how to be happy - and for me, happiness is a skill set that needs to be built and added onto and regularly maintained - has been learning to tune out the destructive voices in my head. You know, the ones that keep a running tally of all of the babies who have been born to friends and family since we started our journey, or remind me of how old each particular kid would be had they lasted, or imagine how I would look pregnant if I were capable of staying pregnant.

It's a coping mechanism, surely, to build up this wall around my tender parts. I can't help but feel guilty though - maybe if I had named those babies, loved them more, just been better in general, they would have stuck around. The guilt pisses me off immensely, too, because it's proof that part of my psyche is stuck way back in an early stage of grief. I want to be done with it, please. (So that we can try again, and I can get pregnant again, and start the whole stupid cycle over again.)

I've been really distracted lately thinking all of this through, and it shows. While I do consider myself to be a pretty smart cookie, I've been doing/saying some dumbass things lately. Consider the following:

Several weeks ago, I drove down to Kansas City, MO for a work meeting. Since I am fairly new to the midwest, I find Iowans' attitudes towards Missouri quite funny. The old joke is that if the southernmost county in Iowa were to become part of MO instead, the IQ of both states would jump. Basically, many Iowans think that people from Missouri, or anywhere near Missouri, are intellectually challenged. (I'm sorry if I offend anyone from MO with that.) On the drive home, I observed what I thought was an interesting confirmation of this. The conversation I had with Hubby when I got home is below:

Me: So, dude, guess what I noticed on the drive home?

Hubby: What? (trying to play his xbox, or shall we say, crackbox, and obviously distracted)

Me: Well, I noticed that there's a ton of roadkill in Missouri. I mean, everywhere and every species of animal. Literally, like every 5 feet.

Hubby: So? (still distracted)

Me: Well, as soon as I crossed the state line into Iowa, the roadkill disappeared. Virtually none.

Hubby: And?

Me: And, I'm wondering if that just proves that even the wildlife in Missouri is dumb. (I thought this was fucking brilliant!)

Hubby: (setting down the game controller, even! and looking at me with real concern on his face) Sweetie, all that means is that we spend the money to clean it up. Are you okay?

Duh. The simplest explanation.

Or another fabulous display of my intellect:

I had a friend's Olde English Bulldogge at work with me (I work in a vet's office, if you don't know already) and was walking him around lunch time. He happens to be a very sweet dog who loves people - adults, kids, babies - and he's very handsome, so he attracts a lot of attention. Of course, a lady stopped and wanted to pet him. I was focusing on the dog, not really looking at the lady, while the following conversation occurred:

Lady: Oh what a sweet boy! He just loves people, doesn't he?

Me: (still looking at the dog, and trying to convey that he likes kids too, because some dogs don't.) Oh yeah. Any shape, any size.

At which point I looked up and noticed that this lady just happened to be large. Quite large. And embarrassed. And I had no idea what to say to explain myself.

Open mouth, insert foot.

The kicker is that I come from a family of large people, and I truly would never ever be so mean to someone about anything, including their size. (Well, intentionally, at least.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

crunchy nuggets of bug

I've been spending oodles of time lately thinking about happiness, and how I can hunt it down and force it to be a part of my life. Apparently the desire to tackle a problem and make it submit is a character trait long a part of my personality. My mom likes to tell the story about how, as a tiny chica, I decided that I wanted to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. And learn I did, over the course of one day and many tumbles. I was determined. This steely will didn't always manifest itself with such cuteness when I was a kid - my mom also likes to tell the story of how I threw a tantrum and knocked out her tooth (with my head) because I wanted to wear a summer dress in the winter. I was determined. And I'm pretty sure I wound up wearing that summer dress. (Sorry mom. You really put up with a crapload.)

I've only sparingly applied this tenacity in my adult life. Opportunities to advance professionally, socially, financially have passed me by, because they are not important to me. What is important to me is having a family. For a long time now, I've ignored all the other tumbles of life because my purpose has been getting pregnant. Staying pregnant. Dealing with the loss of pregnancy. Repeat.

Lately I've been realizing how sick and tired of it all - by all I mean devoting my whole self to a long shot - I am. I never thought I would get here, to where the possibility of a kid free life doesn't make me want to puke. I think maybe, at some point in the not-so-distant future, it might actually sound good.

I think part of my depression/sadness/anger/frustration in dealing with my semi-reproductive system has been the irrelevancy of will in the whole equation. It doesn't matter how badly my heart aches when I think about seeing Hubby holding a little one: my body just doesn't work the way it should. I've been trying everything I can to fix it, but I'm failing. At some point I'll have to admit defeat. Those are facts, and I have to accept them, even if they make me feel like shit.

And so, without even intending, I've shifted my focus to things that make me feel good and whole and worthy of being alive: running (10 miles! with no company or headphones! never thought I'd be able to do that); cooking; finding the funny in life; taking care of my house and pets (although this last one hasn't gotten the house organized/purged yet, nor the toenails trimmed on the herd). And I've realized something: for me, the road to happiness is a choice. I can choose to sit on the couch and cry because everyone else keeps having babies, or I can go for a run and listen to the birds and feel the sweat drop down my back. I can sit and wallow, or I can dance with Hubby and laugh in the living room. I can choose to focus on what isn't, or I can enjoy what is.

We're still trying, of course. And I'll still be as healthy as possible, but now it won't just be to increase my baby productivity odds but also to take care of me. I just can't let it - the dream of baby - crowd out everything else, including the little nuggets of happy I pluck out of life, much like baboons plucking delectably crunchy nuggets of bug from each others hair.

Happy nugget of the day: little dog's tumor was the good kind, if there can be a good kind of tumor. My boss assures me she's got at least several years left in her before she makes that trip to the rainbow bridge :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

stupid tumor

It's been a truly rotten week. Last Thursday, my little dog was diagnosed with a tumor, and had surgery to remove it on Friday. I've been on pins and needles waiting for the pathology report to come back so we know if it's an aggressive tumor or a non aggressive tumor. She's had lots of restrictions on her activity while the incision heals, and for an active dog, and an active dog's owner, that sucks.

On top of dealing with the dogs and keeping them from playing, keeping the little dog medicated, etc, Hubby left for Europe on Sunday. Mother's Day. Blah. He didn't even acknowledge it, nor did anyone else (except one facebook friend who sent me a flower. As trivial as that was, it made me cry). I keep telling myself it's just a silly holiday invented by those evil Hallmark executives to sell more cards in their scheme for world domination, but it's futile. I wish I were a mother with an actual, live baby. I wish this didn't suck so much.

I've been really teary this week, which is odd because it's the wrong point in my cycle for emotional breakdowns. If I've learned anything during these long years of trying to create spawn (in my own evil quest for world domination!) it would be that when the tears start flowing, I need to focus on taking care of myself, because I will push my own needs to the back burner and that just makes everything worse. So I've been making sure to run every day. Eat healthy foods. Get lots of sleep. Still, I can't wait till Hubby comes home and I can have a nice long hug, and a shoulder to cry on.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Road trip recap

We're still married! That's worth pointing out, since, over the course of 5 days, we spent 40 plus hours in the car, with our dogs (who, it is also worth pointing out, handled the trip like they were road trip pros). Somehow, in all of the last minute packing of the car, we neglected to bring any CD's with us that weren't already in the CD player. I love Hubby, but really, I can only talk to him so much before insanity ensues, so we made sure to rectify that situation before heading home.

Anyway, the weekend was filled with family activities at an overwhelming pace. Communions, parties, and a surprise party for my mom's 60th birthday were on the agenda. Mom had the best reaction to a surprise party I've ever seen. She walked in thinking it was a party for my brother's wife, so of course she had a card in hand. As soon as she realized that SHE was the guest of honor, she turned and started whacking my bro (who was behind her) in the head with the card. Whack, whack, whack. And she didn't even remember doing it afterwards! Stay away from that woman if there are greeting cards handy.

We saw cousins, friends of the family, aunts and uncles galore. Considering my family's history, we're lucky we got through all of that without some serious drama (like the time my cousin Vinny - stereotype away - ripped off a car door at my brother's wedding, leading the cops to crash the party). Minor drama, for me, was quite abundant.

First in the minor drama department was the realization that I really do not have any friends left in NY, save a few. I am sure this is my fault as much as anyone else's, but it still sucks. Only two friends made an effort to hang out (they all knew I was in town). One of them is preggo. Yay. My mom suggested that they get all the girls together and take a road trip to come visit us here. I'll eat my hat if that ever happens.

Speaking of visits, I had several well meaning people (friends and relations both) tell me that they'll come see me when I have a baby. Ouch. I guess I'm not worth a visit unless my babymaker is working. Which it isn't. So the only guests I'll ever have from back home are my mom and my godson (and I love both of them dearly) - the only folks brave enough to venture into the wilds of America's heartland.

I can't tell you how many people told us that they're rooting for us, or praying for us, or whatever. I know they mean well, but its hard enough to handle my own disappointment every month. Now I picture hordes of folks halfway across the country waiting to hear good news that may never come, and I have to manage their disappointment as well.

My cousin has a four month old baby, and is going through all sorts of drama with her baby daddy right now. I was holding her precious girl and she teared up and told me how much it sucked that Baby Girl's daddy didn't appreciate her, while people like Hubby and I tried and tried and ended up with no baby in return. Then I teared up that she would be feeling bad for me at such a rough point in her own life, and we had a good cry together. Crying seems to be a family trait. We cry at everything - good news, bad news, while giving toasts at parties for happy occasions (my brother has done this at both of his kids' communion parties. He's a cop. It's hilarious to see him all choked up, which results in me laughing/crying/choking on tears and snot. An attractive look for sure.)

Baby Girl made me realize something - it's not the baby so much as the pregnancy that makes me jealous. Maybe in my heart I know that one way or the other, we'll end up with a kid in our lives, but I'll probably never experience a full term pregnancy. I expected to feel all emotional and stupid at the sight of her, but nope, she's just cute. And that's a good thing. I felt almost normal for a moment- I CAN hold someone else's kid without having a breakdown! Another victory in the land of the semi-fertile!

I'm not sure where I intended to go with this post, so I'll leave you with my birth control moment of the week: I was in Target the other day when a little girl threw a tremendous tantrum, screaming at the top of her lungs that she did not want to leave. The parents, to their credit, stayed calm and collected, and pretty much ignored her tantrum while they waited in line. They probably went a little deaf from the volume/pitch of her voice, because I was two lines away and could feel my ears beginning to bleed. She was kicking, hitting, screaming non stop for several minutes. And I looked at the ovulation kit I was waiting to pay for and actually considered putting it back for a moment, because, really, parenthood sucks sometimes.

But I bought it anyway :)

diarrhea of the keyboard

I'd like to begin by extending a not-so-warm welcome to the recent visitor in my life, Aunt Flo, who has brought with her her trusty companion, Depression. I feel like myself again now - sad, tearful, despondent, etc. Good times.

Like every cycle, I imagined myself pregnant. I hate that my brain plays these tricks on me, but my IPS (imaginary pregnancy symptoms) shows up with full force every month. Complicating all of this is the fact that with 4 of my 5 pregnancies, I had what I thought was a period (bleeding, cramps, and misery! oh my!), including many negative pregnancy tests, before finding out weeks later that indeed, the IPS was not imaginary. I feel like I cannot trust my body to tell me what's really going on, and I obsess, even when it is really the red monster. So here I am - I assume I'm not pregnant so I've stopped the lovenox and progesterone.

Speaking of lovenox and progesterone, my doctor thinks there's no reason for me to begin these before a positive pregnancy test. However, with my history, I'm giving it a go from ovulation onward. Many doctors do prescribe such a regimen, so they must think it has some worth. I know I only have a year at the most of trying left in me, and I want to try everything possible so I do not look back at this time with regrets. To that end, I am considering going to an extreme, and cutting sugar and flour and alcohol completely out of my life, at least for the next six months or so. We'll see. I'm not sure I have the willpower to forgo chocolate, or the occasional bottle of wine.

Alcohol - such a guilt trip for me. I think it began when we were first trying, and I'd visit all of those silly TTC message boards. These ladies all swore off alcohol, and anything else even remotely harmful for the length of their stays in TTC land (inevitably short)and so for a long time I did too. But now, 3.5 years into this whole mess, I've fallen off the wagon. I am no alcoholic by any means, but I do occasionally like to imbibe (always after a negative HPT, of course). I know that it is not the best thing to be putting into your body when you're trying to put a little one in there too, but I enjoy beer. And wine. And, while my babies may be dead, I am still very much alive. Now that I feel we're nearing the end of the TTC road, though, I think it's worthwhile to give teetotalling a chance.

Writing about those message boards I used to visit - where, daily it seemed, some lady who had been trying for all of three months would post something ridiculous like "We're finally pregnant!!" - reminded me of something that happened at work the other day. A client came in to to buy food for her cats, and announced, "We're going to have a baby!" Since she is a larger woman, and could have been near the end of her pregnancy for all I knew, I asked her when she was due. "I'm 6 weeks, five days" she replied. And a whole rush of emotions clambered into my head. First was jealousy - welcome back as well, green eyed bitch - not just because she was pregnant, but also because of the innocence and joy she radiated. Oh, how lovely to just assume that pregnancy=baby! I know that I will never ever have that. Even if I get knocked up next month with a healthy pregnancy, I will be worried and anxious and scared shitless the entire length of the pregnancy. Such is the life of the semi-fertile. And then - and I'm quite proud of myself for this, because it reflects at least some emotional maturity on my part - I worried for her. About her. And I even said a little prayer to the god I no longer believe in that everything goes well for her, and that she never has to experience untelling people about her baby. Because I know how life-ruining that can be, and there are far too many of us in baby loss land as it is. Stay pregnant, cat lady. Please.