Wednesday, January 27, 2010

the birthday blahs

My 32nd birthday is exactly one week from today. Often, in real life, I have a difficult time articulating why and how my birthdays have morphed from a cause for celebration to a cause for depression (and usually, heavy drinking, if I'm being totally honest).

I blame infertility and loss.

It's not as if I haven't had plenty of other disappointments in my adult life: I've had difficulty finding a career that feels fulfilling, I'm not in the place I want to be financially, I don't have as many friends as I'd like.

It's just that all of those issues, and so many more, are compounded by infertility and loss. I know (hope? dream?) that I'd bounce right back from the normal disappointments in life if my soul hadn't been so ravaged. In my weakened state, though, things seem magnified. Normal disappointments loom like giant monsters. And each birthday I've had since we started trying to have a family drives me deeper and deeper into a hole.

Facing the fact that I am another year older also means facing the fact that my eggs are deteriorating, that my overall fertility is declining, and that our chances of achieving successful pregnancy are dwindling. Age is forcing my hand with family building decisions too. If we save for the next couple of years for adoption, IVF is pretty much out of the picture, because I'd be pretty. darn. old. by the time we could recover financially enough to afford it. I just don't know.

I also have to deal with my lack of friends (aside from the previously mentioned Terrible, of course!). Back home, in NY, I had a pretty tight group of girl friends. Birthdays were always a cause for celebration, and a party. But that was then, and this is now. Those girls, they have disappointed me. I know I live pretty darned far away, and they aren't available to celebrate with... but they just haven't been there, you know? And the group of guitar strumming hippies haven't been much better. I know that I have had a difficult time opening up to people since the pregnancy loss brigade has started. I have mostly myself to blame, I know. But they've disappointed as well.

A couple of years ago, a day before my birthday, we were at a bar for some groundhog day thingy. The hippies were there. And one of the girls insisted that we should celebrate my birthday that evening, that I should be glad to have friends who wanted an excuse to share a few drinks with us. so I acquiesced, thinking maybe this could be fun, maybe it would be a chance for me to start to develop some deep friendships here. Hubby and I went home, cleaned the house, prepared for twenty or so people to show up, shopped for refreshments.

And only one couple came. (Not, by the way, the chick who initially pressed the idea on me. Who also happens to be pregnant-to-the-point-of-bursting right now. Oh yeah, and it was an oops.)

I felt like such a loser. It was a really awkward evening, and the couple who showed up left pretty quickly. I guess the sight of party goods for twenty was pretty depressing for them too. I'm not an ogre, I swear. I can actually be funny (when I'm not crying!!) and nice and interesting. I need eHarmony for friend making, but only with other infertiles.

And then, the birthday depression factor is complicated by the fact that every time I have a birthday, I think of my seven dead babies, and the fact that they will never get to celebrate a birthday - not even one. Ugh.

I saw a naturopath today who told me that I need to celebrate myself. Lately I just don't feel like there's much about me to celebrate. I'll try to change my thinking, though, and change my perception of the birthday experience in general.
Okay, pity party over. It's time to workout and get some endorphins going.

ETA: I read this over after my workout, with the endorphins flowing, and it sounds really sad and pathetic. I'm really not like that all of the time, and I'm definitely not fishing for compliments! :) But that's how I was feeling at the time, and how I generally feel when I think about birthdays, so I guess I'll leave it up.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Oh, the humanity!

Hubby and I are what I would consider well-educated, well-read, articulate people. For a long time, our social crowd consisted of like minded folks. You know, the sort who proclaim that they rarely watch television (they prefer films), and instead would rather strum a guitar and discuss politics. And while we enjoy their company and conversation, I never quite felt like I fit in - I mean, I don't come from a background of college educated folks. There is no guitar strumming at my family dinner table, although there is cussing and yelling and laughing and hugging. Plus, these folks are really Hubby's friends, as he's known them since childhood, and they just kind of let me tag along.

Our social circle started to change a couple of years ago. Hubby and I are avid mixed martial arts fans. Mixed martial arts is a sport that combines boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, etc. It is the ultimate combat sport, and requires a toughness of mind and body that no other sport can touch. A while back, Hubby started to train at a local MMA gym here in our city. He never really harbored dreams of becoming a pro (although there's always a chance that might happen), but really just wanted the comraderie, the physical/mental challenge, and the outlet for his IF related anger.

At the gym, he met a guy we'll call Terrible. On the surface, you might think that Hubby and Terrible are too different to get along: white collar vs. blue collar, west side vs. east side, college educated vs. not. But in the last couple of years they have built a friendship on the foundation of beating the crap out of each other and a mutual admiration of tattoos. Bromance, indeed. And I have to say, I truly do get along with Terrible more than I do any of Hubby's other friends. We often have really interesting conversations about a wide range of shit.

And slowly but surely, we have shifted our social alliances. These days, most of our social outings are to Terrible's house. We hang out, maybe work out, have a couple of drinks, shoot the shit. We go to their kids' birthday parties and see them on holidays. Terrible and his wife were one of the first couples I tested our "coming out of the infertility closet" on. We met them after all of this shit started going down in our life, and so they can't compare us to the people we were before.

Friday night, this new friendship had a test. We were at their house having a couple of cocktails with some of their other friends, and as sometimes happens, the guys split off into one group and the chicks into another. And, as often happens when fertile ladies get together, the conversation turned to children/pregnancy, and eventually to my infertility. I don't know if it was the Southern Comfort, or my frustration at hearing yet somebody else who hasn't experienced IF tell me what I should be doing (as we all know, relaxing DOESN'T make babies!), but I lost my shit and had to run crying from the room.

There I stood, on Terrible's deck in the cold, crying my eyes out. And to my surprise, Terrible himself came outside to cheer me up and offer a hug before anyone else. It really surprised me, since I know how a lot of men don't like to confront their own emotional issues head on, much less those of their buddies' wives, but there he was, my tattooed, tough-guy friend, offering me a shoulder to cry on and a kind word. And now, I won't hesitate to call him my friend as well as Hubby's.

Human beings never cease to amaze me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I am a big fan of the show "Ugly Betty." It regularly makes me laugh, and sometimes makes me cry, and it always entertains.

Lately, though, my love affair with the show has been fading. You see, there was a pregnancy story line. The main character's sister, Hilda, accidentally got knocked up.

Uggh. Not just a pregnancy story line, but an oops to boot.

I stuck with it though, and watched last night's episode. Hilda was going to have an ultrasound, and the whole family was going along, so they could get a glimpse of the new addition. At this point in the show, I turned to Hubby, and, in my wallowing-in-self-pity voice, said "I'm sorry. You'll never get to experience that." Turns out, I was wrong.

Because at the doctor's office, they couldn't find a heartbeat. And boy oh boy, do we know what that is like.

Afterwards, Hilda's boyfriend reassured her that they would still be a family, baby or no. It's like they stole a page from my life story.

It was sort of surreal, to see something so close to me on a television show. However, it seems a little like they might gloss over the emotional aspects of miscarriage, the long lasting repercussions that shatter your soul and your sense of self, the grief that grabs you and won't let go. I don't know, because the miscarriage was revealed towards the end of the show, but it's just a feeling.

I'll stick with it though, just to see. And I'll probably have a few laughs along the way.

Welcome, ICLWers

My story, in brief: Stopped birth control June 2005. First pregnancy December 2005. First miscarriage January 2006. Since then, I have been pregnant six more times, all ending in miscarriage, except for my ectopic baby (referred to here as Cletus, as in Cletus the Fetus. He is the only one with a name because he was the only one we got to see even once on ultrasound. And he was in the wrong f-ing place). I have been diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder, but treatment for that has not thus far helped me to stay pregnant. I have just taken my last month of Clomid and am unsure what our next steps will be regarding ttc.
I get acupuncture, exercise a lot, eat organic and gluten free, cry a lot, laugh when I can, love on my dogs and cats, adore my hubby, read like a fiend, harbor dreams of actually finishing that novel I started writing, bandy sarcasm about like a weapon, dress like a femme fatale when I can so that I feel womanly despite my faulty parts, avoid pregnant women like the plague, and try not to wallow in self pity all of the time. That's me in a nutshell. (That was quite a sentence. Whew.) Thanks for visiting - please, leave a comment and introduce yourself. I love meeting new bloggers.

Side note: my internet service has been spotty at best due to weather issues (Iowa! In January!) so my commenting might be sporadic today. Please don't hate me :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dear Aunt Flow,

I hate you. You are a stupid stupid bitch and I wish you'd go away for a while. I remember when I used to be happy to see you, but now - not so much.

You are not welcome here.

Friday, January 8, 2010


If you’ve been a reader for a while, you might know that I currently work in a veterinary clinic. I never imagined, in all of my years of schooling for various things, that I would end up in a job like this. I do love animals, though, and while parts of the job are boring, frustrating, and heartbreaking, I generally enjoy working here.

There are times, though, when infertility rears its ugly head and I want to run screaming from the building. My coworkers are almost all female, and almost without exception, are child-free by choice. They prefer pets to children, for various reasons, and I respect them for their choice. But I am set apart from them, because it has never been my choice to be child-free.

And while I love my pets dearly (sometimes they are the only reason I drag my ass out of bed in the morning), I think I have a different perspective than my coworkers. They see their pets as their children. I see my lost babies, and my possible future children, as my children. My pets are a source of joy, sure. But they are pets.

This is where the bitterness comes in. One fellow staff member has lost two of her cats in the last few months. She is grieving their deaths, hard. I see the way everyone else rallies around her, supporting her, showering her with love to ensure that she makes it through this difficult time. It is wonderful, really, how supportive they are. And I know – because I’ve been there – how real and strong the grief for a pet can be.

This wonderful love-fest leaves me feeling isolated. Granted, most of my co-workers know only about two of our losses. But never has anyone offered me any of the support they are showing her. It is as if, in their minds, those babes never existed. I know, intellectually, that it is most likely because they don’t know how to approach the subject. But parts of me wonder if it is because it’s ME (do they hate me deep down?), and if it’s because they really think that losing a pet is the most traumatic thing that can happen to a person.

I know it is not right to compare grief, to say mine is greater than hers, but I want to shout “BABIES! I lost babies, people.” While they plan a memorial for her cats, I wonder where the memorial for my babies is.

All in all, work is just a clusterfuck for me right now. I feel bad that I feel bad, if you know what I mean. Add that to the fact that we have a slew of pregnant clients and pregnant friends of coworkers right now, and multiply it by the fact that this job was supposed to be temporary (you know, until I popped a kid out and stayed home to become mother of the year) and you have a formula for anxiety and depression.

I think I need to move on, find a job that is more fulfilling and pays more (so we can save what we need to save more quickly). It’s hard though, because I have more flexibility for doctor’s appointments with this job than I would with any other. And for someone with IF/RPL, flexibility in the work schedule is crucial.

Time for some soul searching.

Monday, January 4, 2010


You know you're a bitter infertile when.....

you log onto Facebook, see that two of your former high school students are about to have a baby together (like, today!) and all you can think about is how badly they are fucking up their lives, and how you'd make a better parent.

They are both 20, and both barely graduated high school. I worry for them, because if you can't get it together enough to graduate in a timely fashion from a NYC high school, what future will your baby have?



How badly do I want a child?

So badly I walk to work in the winter to avoid purchasing a second car (in the summer Hubby rides his motorcycle - otherwise known as "The Mistress" - and I take the car). I live in Iowa, people. That is no easy feat.

It means that, on days like today, I bundle myself up and slip and slide 1.6 miles over frozen and snowy ground when the wind chill is -25.

Is it all for nothing? All of this sacrifice and scrimping and saving and waiting?

What have YOU sacrificed on this journey?