Friday, April 30, 2010

What IF.....

What IF we save the money we need, blow it all on IVF, and fail?

What then?

Money has been a constant factor in our IF journey. Hubby and I are a professional couple - I certainly wouldn't call us well off, but we both work and make decent money and try to live within our means. In those nightmarish beginning days, when we were just a few miscarriages in, money was like a balm. We used it to soothe our souls and our broken hearts with vacations, dinners out, and a bit of retail therapy here and there. We were reminded, by our spending power, that there are financial advantages to not having children. Our friends with kids would look at us wistfully when we announced another trip, just as we would look at them wistfully when they announced another pregnancy.

You see, in those days, we still believed that we'd be able to have a child with minimal medical intervention. After all, we thought, conception does not seem to be a problem. Eventually, we thought, one will stick and our days of lounging on a beach chair drinking frosty drinks will come to an end, replaced with the bliss of diapers and spit up and sleepless nights and chubby baby thighs.

Those sunny, child free days are now behind us. And no, we didn't magically have a child that I told none of you about. It has become glaringly obvious to us, four years and seven dead babies in, that a family won't come cheaply.

The physical costs - fertility drugs, hormones, supplements, miscarriages - are astronomical. The mental and emotional costs - well, I could write a whole blog about them. (Oh wait, I did!)  The financial burden of infertility is another layer of hurt, magnifying the other million daggers.

 My doctor has suggested that in vitro fertilization probably represents my best hope of having a successful pregnancy. Unfortunately, we do not have any insurance coverage for infertility treatments. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

And so we are left to scrimp and save, trying to pay off debt and build our savings, in a race against time. I started this journey at 27. I am now 32, and have precious few sort of fertile years ahead of me. We no longer go out to eat, or to the movies, or to see bands play. We don't take vacations. We cancelled our lawn service, and I walked to work every single day this winter (no small feat in Iowa) so we wouldn't have to purchase a second car. Our home is quite a mess right now, but things like renovations, repairs and upgrades will just have to wait, and we'll deal with the demolished bathroom that we can't finish right now. We want a family, and are willing to make whatever sacrifices we need to make, but the fact that we don't have a child, and cannot enjoy our child free life, sucks monkey balls (especially when plenty of folks we know are absolutely in no financial position to support a child, and pop them out like pez dispensers!).

I know that, for my own future mental health, I need to exhaust all of my options before we accept that birthing a child is an impossibility. I cannot have regrets about this process, or I will end up more bat shit crazy than I already am. My biggest fear, though, is that we will make all of these sacrifices, and drain our savings for IVF, only to fail. Then, we would have no back up plan, no option of adoption, no family, no future.

I don't understand - I really, truly don't - why insurance companies are free to discriminate against the infertile. Sure, infertility is not fatal, but neither is eczema, and I have coverage for that. If pregnancy is considered a "lifestyle choice" for the infertile, why is it not for the fertile? I think about people who don't have any extra income to save, and who will never be able to afford treatment, and my heart breaks into a million more tiny pieces. I think about the economic impact of millions of infertile couples in the same boat we're in, who are dumping every single penny into saving for treatment instead of stimulating the local and national economies, and it's clear to me that insurance coverage for infertility treatments benefits everyone.

What if insurance companies covered infertility treatments, and infertility was no longer a disease only the wealthy could afford to treat? What if everyone could pursue the dream of parenthood, without having to put themselves in financial ruin?

What then?

This post is part of Project IF: Part 2 in recognition of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24-May 1). For more information about infertility, please click here. For more information about NIAW, please click here. If you'd like to check out more about Project IF, and see the list that inspired this post and many others, please click here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Hubby and I had an emotional night last night.

It all started when he told me that we would be going to his parents' house to celebrate Mother's Day. I fucking lost my shit. I don't know if it was just picturing me sitting at that table again, wishing to be anywhere else, with no one acknowledging that it might be difficult for me. Perhaps it was the realization that another Mother's Day is upon us, and our arms are still so so empty.

But anyway, I cooked dinner with tears streaming down my face (and probably into the food too. Don't tell the health department!) and somehow we got into an argument. I think Hubby has a lot of anger towards me, and sometimes he acts like I should just magically be ok and forget that the last four years have ever happened.

I can't be ok, not yet.  Maybe I'm weak or just too FUBAR to ever be a normal person. Maybe I should just be over all of this by now, but I'm not.

Or maybe I'm just an emotional PMSing bitch, and this will all seem ridiculous next week.

Anyway, I've started to contact couples counselors in our area. I want my marriage to survive this, and we do love each other very very much. If I have to deal with a therapist, I will.

Infertility, you may have stolen my soul but you will not ruin my marriage.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


One of the worst things about infertility and RPL is what I like to call the grief smackdown. I can be walking around, a sorta normal, fairly happy person, when BAM! A grief smackdown leaves me cowering, snotty and tearful, waiting for another blow.

Most often, the grief smackdown is triggered by something ridiculous and unexpected. Sure, the belly rubbers and the FB baby boom get me down, but I expect to feel like shit when looking at newborn pictures or staring at pregnant bellies.

This week's grief smackdown has come courtesy of a bed.

Hubby and his dad spent the day doing some heavy moving on Wednesday. They picked up the materials for our new deck (to be built sometime this summer, I hope) and then some furniture his parents wanted to get rid of.

The furnishings? They're for our empty guest room. Since we've lived in this house, the second largest bedroom has stayed empty, ready to become a nursery for our baby. That emptiness was like a symbol of our hope that eventually, someday, some way, we'd bring a baby home. I'd go in there, occasionally, just to look around the room and picture how we'd set it up. It was a room that was fertile ground for daydreams and wishful thinking.

And then we agreed to take this bed and dresser from the out-laws. We need another bed, to be sure. My family lives halfway across the country, and between their visits and friends who spend the night, it'll get used. (Side note: I need to remember to put rubber sheets on that thing. One of our lovely friends occasionally spends the night because he doesn't drink and drive. Last summer he ruined our sweet. red. leather couch by peeing on it in his drunken stupor. Somehow, I love him anyway.) I always imagined, though, that we'd get some small daybed or futon and stuff it into our third bedroom/office (which is really not much bigger than a large closet). There is no way that queen sized bed will fit into the office - not if you want to be able to walk, too.

And so now, that queen sized mattress and boxspring and dresser sit in my dining room, because I cannot bear to haul them upstairs and say goodbye to my vision of us, as a family, filling that room with the sweet smells and sounds of babyhood. It feels like a betrayal of my hopeful self, but the reality is that I'm probably not pregnant now. And even if I were, I'd probably miscarry. Chances are, we have years left in our quest, because that is how long it's going to take to get our finances in order.

Hubby is so wonderful. I know he won't push me to get the bed together and the room established as a proper guest room until I'm good and ready to say goodbye to what could have been. And I suppose that is the one small light in all of this: I love him. I know how much he loves me, despite my faulty parts and bouts of tearfulness. That has to be enough, for now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy ICLW!

I love ICLW. I haven't participated in a few months but I'm glad to be back, and looking forward to finding new blogs to add to my reader.

So, if you're new around here, this will give you a little introduction to my life. Right now, I am in the Two Week Wait: Femara Cycle #3/6, and feeling alternately hopeful/hopeless.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm like a bird

Our house was previously owned by a childless (oh my god. maybe the house is making me infertile!) older couple who gardened like it was their job.

Then, the husband got sick and died and the wife got dementia and let everything in the yard go to crap. We've been in the house almost 4 years now and it is a constant battle to keep invasive vegetation from taking over. I am not a gardener! I'm more a concrete jungle kind of gal, and I have absolutely no base knowledge of anything plant related. Seriously. I got The Idiot's Guide to Gardening and it's too fucking advanced for me. There are days when I stare out at the yard, in my gardening get-up, trying to figure out what the hell to do, and what tool to use to do it, and then I go inside and fix myself a nice cocktail. Or three.

Anyway, Hubby and I have this week off because we really need some time away from work, and we really really need to tackle some serious house projects, including the yard. (And what are we doing this fine morning? I'm writing and he's sleeping. Productive indeed.) He got started on Saturday while I was at work and took down a rotting, swaying pergola attached to our garage that had probably been up since the dawn of time.

I didn't know he was going to do it, and if I had, I probably would have convinced him not to. I know that it really needed to come down before it collapsed onto the dogs. I get it.

But it had become the perfect nesting place for some birds. They constructed a nest under the overhang from the garage. They made a home there last summer, and we watched them raise their babies and taunt our dogs, who really haven't figured out that they can't fly, and will never be able to jump high enough to snag a critter that can. And then the birds came back this year.

Hubby was worried because the thing was so damned rickety, and the dogs were trying to climb it to get to it's residents. So he took the pergola down, and the little nest with it.

There were two eggs in that nest.

And now the momma bird sits on my garage, staring at the spot where her nest used to be, looking for her soon to be babies. She makes me so sad, that poor little momma, because I get it. I know what it's like to do everything right, and lose your babies anyway.

Maybe I'm anthropomorphizing. Maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to avoid being outside and doing yardwork. But still, whenever I see her, my heart aches.

Friday, April 16, 2010

fertility drugs

since crackheads can have babies

and i can't

maybe i need to start smoking crack.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

From the lushary....

I'm making my first visit to the lushary.

((Drinking a giant virtual black velvet and cherry coke. yum.))

Did you know that pain can be a good thing? Pain usually indicates that something is wrong, somewhere, and that something needs to be done.

My pain tolerance - physical, emotional, mental - is a bit on the high side.

I think the fact that I have survived seven miscarriages and I'm still trying proves it.

Need more proof? Well, settle in, have another drink, and I'll tell you a story.

In 2000, I was living the good life. I was working, dating a musician, about to graduate from college, partying as much as humanly possible. I was an athletic, active girl then, one who hadn't alienated half of her friends and who didn't cry every day. My boyfriend and I took up snowboarding that winter, and we became fanatics. After the yearly ski/snowboard trip we took with my friends,  after just one lesson, we went out and purchased all of our own equipment and planned another trip, just the two of us.

So, the first morning of our trip, we decided to take another lesson. It went well - I seem to have a bit of a natural knack for snowboarding -  and I decided that my nascent skills needed a test.

So I attempted a jump. Note the word "attempt." It did not go well, and I fell hard, but got up and continued to ride all day, despite the pain in my groin.

Fast forward two weeks. I was still in pain, and the thought occured to me that I might have more than a strained muscle. I'd go out for a jog and only manage three miles instead of six or seven.

So, off to the doctor I went. He sent me out for xrays. That night, I was out in a bar with some friends when my (giant! non-web-browsing!) cell phone rang.

It was my mom, telling me to get my ass home immediately. She had just spoken to my doctor, and that strained muscle? well, it was actually a fractured pelvis. As in, sit down, put your feet up and don't get drunk and stumble on your fractured pelvis.

I was a very lucky girl: lucky that all of my snowboarding (and falling on my black and blue butt) after the accident didn't cause the fracture to become a clean break. Lucky that nothing else went wrong in those two in-between weeks that I was jogging and partying and clubbing.

And very very lucky that I didn't go to the hospital when it first happened.

At my consult with an orthopedic doctor, I was informed that had I presented in an ER with that fracture, I probably would have been sent to surgery to be repaired, which would have meant immobilizing my left side and a long and painful recovery, which would have put a crimp in my two-job having, college attending, party all of the time style.

As it was, by the time the rads were taken, the fracture was starting to heal. All I had to do was rest as much as possible for another 8 weeks. No running or other strenuous activities. And I healed up just fine, no issues or complications.

I think I used up all of my medical luck on the wonder-pelvis.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

mirror image

To recap: I work with my friend A, who is best friends with M, who just had a baby this weekend.

Yesterday was a strange work day for me. I felt disjointed and out-of-place, like I had woken up in some alternate universe. A was aflutter over the recent birth of M's baby girl, and was spilling details left and right about the whole process. My office was transformed from a somewhat baby-hostile environment into motherfucking baby land.
I've spouted off many times before about how when someone I know has a baby, as is true for many of us dead-baby mamas, I'm sure, I am sent into a tailspin of self-destructive and self-pitying thoughts. It's an ugly place to be, and it makes me feel like an ugly person: selfish, locked so deep in my prison of grief that I cannot even muster a smile or a "Congratulations" to welcome the miracle of a new life.

Yesterday was different though.

I watched A, radiating happiness pure joy for her friend. I saw how she loved the hell out of this new baby, this newly expanded family.

And suddenly, it wasn't M and her healthy-baby-popping-out abilities that turned me green. A, and her I-don't-have-a-kid-and-I-don't-care vibe shocked me. I wanted to be her.

I could have been her, before my utesaurus started eating babies. I could have gone grocery shopping for the new parents on my break. I could have spoken with pride and joy about the birth of my best friend's child. I could have been there for every pregnancy milestone. Seeing A act with such concern and kindness was like watching myself in a mirror to some weird opposite land, where babies don't die, and people don't break up with their friends when they reproduce.

My oh my how RPL can change a gal.


Did I just mark myself as a child of the nineties by using the word "props?" Well, the nineties were great for me, so I really don't mind.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank each and every person who reads and comments here for, well, being you. The ALI blogosphere is comprised of the most amazing and supportive women in the world, and I appreciate each and every kind comment left here.

So, props to all of you.


Monday, April 12, 2010


Once again, a friend (M) has had a baby.

Once again, I am in a tailspin.

I'm sitting here at work, overhearing snippets of conversation from the back. Baby talk, like women do.

I fucking hate it.

This typing is my attempt to look too busy to join in the conversation.

My mind wanders. Will we ever have that moment? Will I ever get to melt as I watch my dear sweet hubby meet his child? Will I ever bring joy into my loved ones' lives, rather than sadness?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

And another post......

I've posted before about our friend M, who is about to pop.

Like, literally. She's now almost two weeks past her due date. And once again, I'm left thinking about how different our paths are.

Her FB is filled with comments about how much her baby loves being inside of her, how she's created such a wonderful home that the baby just doesn't want to come out. And all I can think is Does that mean my babies hated me? I think this, despite the very impossibility of the words. They weren't actual babies, at least not with the capability to hate (not that it would have made much difference even if it were possible) but still, I am plagued by visions of my babies as kamikaze pilots.

And I want to send her good wishes, but all I can think of are the worst. possible. outcomes. The things that can go wrong when a little one hangs out past her due date. I'm so scared for her, but as Shannon (who has lost another one - head on over and give her some love) recently wrote, I've taken the statistical bullet for everyone I know in real life. Most likely, things will go perfectly well for M and her sweet gal. I sure fucking hope so.

BTW, I kind of like the vision of me taking the statistical bullets for everyone I know. It makes me feel a bit like a superhero, almost. So, go on, girls! Get knocked up! Have unprotected sex - nary a miscarriage or stillbirth will head your way. Wifey will protect you!

(It's times like this that I really wish I could draw. I'd like an avatar. If anyone who does draw would like to draw me a picture of a Deadbaby Mama superhero with tattoos, I'll be your friend forever!)


I have this sneaky suspicion that my blog has been discovered by people I know in real life (other than the people I've invited to read).

I'm not thrilled about it, but it is what it is. I just have to post this disclaimer: Please don't be offended by anything you might read here. This is my therapy space, my place to connect with the other ladies in this unfortunate sisterhood. I know it's probably difficult for you to understand what's written here, to connect it to who I am in the flesh, but just know this: it's all me. The good, the bad, the ugly.


Aunt Flo showed. I hate that bitch. We're on to femara cycle #3, and we're working on a timeline to **gasp** stop trying.

Or, at least, take a break until we have treatment dollars saved up. It might involve me flying to a foreign country and selling a kidney. And perhaps half of my liver.

I'd sell my eggs, but, well, you know.