Thursday, November 25, 2010

drama drama, call your mama

We've been hoodwinked. I suppose you need a bit of backstory, so read on.

After my latest pregnancy FAIL, which occurred a few weeks after we learned that Hubby's SIL is expecting again (timing is everything, huh?) we told his parents that they shouldn't expect us around for Christmas. I knew that she would be a huge fat preggo at that point, and that, combined with all of my other loss and IF related holiday anxiety, multiplied by the in-laws' giddiness at having the whole family together - even the new grandchild to be - was just too much to bear. We told them several times that Christmas is hard for us, that our family will never feel whole and that this year we needed to spend it alone.

At first, they accepted it. But then, slowly, as the weeks began to pass, my MIL started laying on the subtle hints, and the guilt.

"We're going to get those gluten free crackers you love for Christmas," she says.

"Christmas is going to be so wonderful this year!" she says.

"This could be my last Christmas," she says (even though her health is pretty darned good).

"This could be Grandma's last Christmas," she says.

"This could be Grandpa's last Christmas," she says.

"It's been so long since we had the whole family together for Christmas," she says.

And then she cries.

Hubby cannot stand when his mother cries, because she uses tears as manipulation, and so her tears inevitably start us toward an argument of some sort. Divide and conquer; it's what she does best.

Despite our internal commotion, we have presented a united front to them and repeatedly said no, we're not coming this year, it's just going to be too hard.

So for Thanksgiving, MIL and FIL decided that they were going to go see BIL, SIL and grandchild (and grandchild to be), who live a few hours away. They left their dog with us earlier this week, and took off, but not before making Hubby promise that, no matter what, we'd make it to both family Thanksgiving dinners (one at Grandma's, one at his cool aunt and uncle's). I thought it'd be fine because there would be no babies/preggos in sight at either affair.

And then, last night Hubby got a text from his dad that said "Great news! We're bringing BIL, SIL and grandchild back with us for Thanksgiving!"


We had already committed to going to both dinners, and couldn't back out last minute. His family loves the drama, you know? After the demise of the Ocho, which occurred on a Tuesday, I didn't feel like leaving the house for about a week. That weekend I bowed out of lunch with his Grandma, who knew about Dead Dog Dead Baby Day and yet still insisted that the only reason I didn't show up was because I hate her. Drama drama.

Anyway, we both feel like the whole thing was a set up to get us to both events despite the presence of BIL and huge preggo SIL. They know that we (well, I, at least) would never have gone had we known in advance that they would be there.

We had Part 1, at Grandma's, already. Predictably, it sucked. The only thing anyone wanted to talk about was the grandchild and the soon to be grandchild. We exited as soon as was polite.

Part 2 will be upon us soon. I am trying to avoid an anxiety attack by repeating "Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity now."

I feel really disrespected by all of this. I don't expect anyone who hasn't walked this road to understand one ounce of what we've gone through, but I do expect people to respect our wishes and feelings when we make them clear. And we sure did make it clear that we didn't want to spend any of this holiday season around a huge fat preggo.

We love BIL and SIL, we really do. Things are just too raw right now, you know? Plus, I don't feel comfortable enough around any of his family to cry or scream or run out of the room if I feel like I need to. Right now, home is the safest place for me.

And I must get ready to leave it and face the evil in-laws over the carcass of yet another dead bird.

Fuck serenity. I need lorazepam now!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am the face of RPL (and Happy ICLW!)

This was also posted on Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope on Sunday. I thought it would be appropriate as an ICLW welcome post. 

Mama to eight stars: January 2006, April 2006, October 2006, December 2006, December 2008, June 2009, October 2009, October 2010.

There are many things I was prepared to fail at in my life, but somehow, becoming a mother never made it onto that list. I had expectations; children were inevitable. Motherhood loomed in my future, a sure thing, something I could reach out and grab when the time was right.

I have always been one to follow my gut. Eight years ago – after a broken heart and the tragedy of 9/11 brought me to my knees – I followed my gut and moved from New York, where I had lived most of my life and where my very large, very loud Italian family and most of my friends were centered - to Arizona, where I knew no one. Not a soul. I was idealistic; I just knew that I could change my life, even if I had no prospects for income other than an AmeriCorps position. I looked forward to the challenge of making my own way.

Of course, when I least expected it, love smacked me hard in the face. I met my husband on an internet dating site; two dates later he moved into my tiny apartment (so much for making my own way!). Two weeks after that we were engaged. It was a true whirlwind romance – I trusted my gut. I knew he was the one. We had so much in common, and we both agreed that we wanted a large family. Oh, and he gave (and still gives) me butterflies whenever he walked into the room. Of course, my family and friends thought that I was supremely CRAZY and that the Arizona heat had fried my brain. When my mom told my brother I was engaged, he asked “To who?” I’m sure they all thought divorce loomed in our future; I don’t think anyone could have imagined the tragedies our marriage would survive.

We had the Las Vegas Elvis wedding of my dreams (it was seriously awesome) and moved to New York, where I became a high school teacher and graduate student.

So of course when, two years into our marriage, we decided we were ready for a baby, I trusted my gut. We threw out the birth control pills and let nature run its course. I got pregnant rather quickly.

That morning, staring at the word “Pregnant” on the little digital test screen, was the best day of my life; it was the last time I remember feeling really, truly happy. My husband was still snoring away but I couldn’t help myself – I had to wake him up. We were both so overwhelmed, so happy. He kept whispering “We’re going to be somebody’s parents!” as we snuggled in the darkness and pictured the life ahead of us. It was pure bliss.

And it was over all too quickly. I remember seeing the blood in the dingy faculty bathroom at my school and feeling absolutely, utterly crushed. The bell rang and I had to pretend to be normal (something I’ve done a lot of since then) as I passed pregnant teenagers with huge swollen bellies in the hallway.

Another pregnancy and another miscarriage soon followed. Still, I believed the doctors who told me that we were young (we had both just turned 28) and it was just bad, bad luck. I trusted my gut and believed that if we could conceive so quickly, we were bound to have a successful pregnancy soon.

I quit my job and my graduate program, and again we moved across the country (this time to the Midwest) to a place where we could buy a house and live on one income (you know, so I could stay home with that baby who was just around the corner). That image of me as a mother loomed just ahead; I could almost touch her. I took a part time job that was meant to be temporary - just until that baby arrived. We changed everything about our lives to prepare for our mythical babe.

Over the years, my utesaurus has eaten eight babies. Eight. (Well, that does include Cletus, our ectopic babe and the only one to have given us an ultrasound picture. I guess I have a tubeasaurus, too.) She’s one cannibalistic bitch, that utesaurus of mine. She’s also eaten my self confidence, my ability to relate to people of proven fertility, my friendships, the happiness of a positive pregnancy test, most of my sanity, my belief in a higher power, and my trust in my gut. I’ve had a few diagnoses and a few treatments, but nothing can tame the utesaurus, or my desire to drop elbows to the skulls of people who give me advice about how to get pregnant. I’ve done it eight times, people; I’m pretty much an expert on how to get knocked up.

Slowly, the image of the mother I thought I’d become has shifted from something tangible, something to be grasped, into a nebulous being who slips through my fingers like a ghost whenever I reach out to her.

There have been days throughout these years that I thought the grief and sadness would swallow me, that I’d never feel joy again. I’ve been punched in the gut by too many pregnancy announcements to count. I dread weddings because I know that, inevitably, the happy couple will conceive and have a healthy pregnancy and a real live baby and I’ll feel like shit for feeling like shit about it. Of course their pregnancies will go smoothly because, as a fellow RPL mama says, I’ve taken the statistical bullet for everyone I know. Some days, I hate my (mostly wonderful, and now full time) job and my house (with its guest room that should have been a nursery) because they are constant reminders of the life I don’t have. I have been wounded a million times by the pointy arrows of cruel, insensitive words and friends who don’t call or visit. Some days I am rocked by the minefield of the calendar, and all of it’s reminders of what could have been. The irony of the fact that we got the big family we always wanted, except that they’re all dead, haunts me.

But every time I get knocked down, I get up again. I have found an inner strength and a bond with my husband that I could never have imagined on my wedding day. RPL has permanently changed me, like wood warped by water, but it hasn’t destroyed me. I still laugh, and make other people laugh, even if my sense of humor is tinged with darkness. I find a reason to smile even on my worst days; I find beauty in things others wouldn’t look at twice. I have found that all human beings don’t suck, and that even if people in my real life abandon me in my sadness, those that I have never met in person can lift me up with their love. Mostly, I still have hope that someday, someway, I’ll be able to grasp that ghost-like vision of myself as a mother and hold onto her, make her real.

And through it all, I AM NOT ASHAMED.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


is it strange to read your own archives, and cry as you relive your own heartbreak, and realize that despite all of your proclamations and efforts and all of those goddamned drugs you are still in the same. fucking. place you were when you started your blog almost two years ago?

I sure hope not.

Things to think about

Today I had my annual "WTF do we do now" appointment with my RE.

It went, I'd say, pretty well. Any appointment during which both patient and doctor laugh several times and doctor tells patient "I love you" (not in a molesty way, more in a "Oh my gosh you are so funny. I love you and your jokes" kind of way) and the speculum is warm is a decent one. Hell, any appointment that doesn't end with the two of us in tears and him saying "I'm so sorry" is a decent appointment.

I'd say you've probably been seeing too much of your RE when the fact that he is feeling your naked boobs and sticking fingers and other things into your va-jay-jay doesn't make you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable.

I digress. Once I was fully clothed again we discussed options. There are, it seems, several, when we're ready:
  • Try with no intervention (save folic acid and aspirin, and upon confirmation of pregnancy, lovenox and prednisone). We have not tried pred with any other pregnancies, but I have recently been diagnosed with another autoimmune condition. It could possibly increase the odds of success, but it could do nothing. Pros: cheap, easy, and involves lots of monkey loving. Not invasive (unless I, um, let Hubby invade...... never mind. TMI). Cons: Could lead to another miscarriage.

  • IUI. Pros: Increases the odds of pregnancy, and is relatively inexpensive (around $400). Minimally invasive. Cons: Does nothing to decrease the odds of miscarriage.

  • IVF. Pros: has been shown to increase the odds of success in women with RPL. Cons: Expensive (upwards of $18k with my clinic's shared risk program). Time consuming. Highly invasive.

  • Embryo adoption. Pros: Increased odds of success (around 40% for women with RPL). Somewhat inexpensive (around $4500). Less invasive than IVF. Cons: A year long waiting list (which I am now on, just in case). No biological link to the (prospective) child.

  • Surrogacy with donor eggs and hubby's sperm. My cousin, who has had two easy pregnancies resulting in two healthy babies, has offered many times to be a surrogate for us. Pros: Genetic link to child for both of us. 70-80% success rate. Cons: Missing out on the pregnancy (she lives in NY; we're in the midwest). Logistics. Cost (at least $12-13k; could be significantly higher) - we'd have to go through the adoption process and pay for either IUI or IVF (which would add significantly to the cost), depending on her comfort level. Could be highly invasive for her.

  • Surrogacy with my own eggs and hubby's sperm. Pros: Increased odds of success, but not as high as with donor eggs. Genetic link to child. Cons: Cost - would be at least as expensive as an IVF cycle, possibly more. Logistics. Missing out on the pregnancy.

 The fact that we have so many options - not even including the adoption option - is both great and overwhelming. They all seem so out of reach, and yet so close. My head is swimming. And I don't even have the hubs to run it all by. He is out of town until tomorrow, and regardless, he has made it clear that for him, being on a break means not even discussing options. I am trying really really hard to respect that.

In the absence of Hubby's opinion, I totally welcome any thoughts you might have.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

it ain't good, but it ain't all bad

"Grief and sadness knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger than common joys." 
- Alphonse de Lamartine

Faces of Loss has a monthly writing challenge. I like a challenge.

November’s topic: It’s easy to focus on all the negative things that come from losing a baby, but have you discovered any ‘blessings in disguise’ throughout your journey? What can you find to be thankful for related to your loss?

First and foremost, I am thankful for you all. When I have felt abandoned, lower than low, you have lifted me up and showered me with love and kindness. My heart, each time it has shattered, has also grown more than I ever thought possible; love can only be answered with love, and though we may never have met (but I'm working on that!) and though I may not say it often enough, I really do love all of you.

(Any diabetics out there? I know there's one who'll read this, and I'm sorry if all that sugar causes you trouble. But it applies to you too. You know who you are.)

I'm thankful for the love my family has shown me. They may not be near, but the ones who count have always lent an ear when the sadness has threatened to swallow me up unless I let it out. They may not always know the right words to say, but they listen to my verbal diarrhea, and they say something, and cry with me.

I'm thankful for my pets, and how they seem to know when I need them. Nothing can end a crying jag more quickly than my dog kissing away my tears (ass breath or not) or the motor of a purring kitty. I'm also thankful for the love I feel for them; sometimes, it's the only thing that gets me out of bed. They depend on me, and when I think I can't go on, they still need to be walked and fed and loved on.  They have rescued me, just as I have rescued them.

I am thankful for the sting of the winter air in my lungs, because it reminds me that I am alive.

I am thankful that I have my legs and that I can run and walk for miles, because they remind me that I am not broken.

I am thankful for the love of my husband, my incredible husband, who can never fail to make me feel beautiful and sexy and loved, even when I'm at my worst. His commitment to our marriage - despite the fact that I keep killing his babies - leaves me breathless.

I am thankful for music and that I can sing at the top of my lungs and shake my booty until I sweat without my neighbors breaking down the door with a muzzle and a tranquilizer gun; it reminds me that I can still feel joy and that I do have gifts, even if I can't birth a baby.

And I'm thankful for (prescription) drugs and alcohol, because sometimes when I don't want to be reminded of anything, they let me escape.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

follow up - good times before end times

I'm totally serious about organizing a bloggy vacation get together in 2012.  I've been working  two jobs and 14 hour days and my brain is shot, so I haven't had much wherewithal to respond to anyone.

But y'all, let's do it! Feel free to pass the word along.

(See how brain fried I am? I just typed "y'all"!)

Anyways, if you're interested, you can fill out  this form to let me know.

That's how serious I am - I figured out how to make a Google form! Well, I tried to figure it out, but I won 3 bottles of wine tonight, and since it'll be a while before I ttc again....... I'll have to figure it out when I'm sober.


Ed: Maybe I'm smarter than I thought..... I think this link will take you to the form. If it doesn't work, feel free to email me at

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

my so-called life

I keep being told that I need to find a way to cope with the fact people in my life will continue to get pregnant and have babies.

My therapist tells me. So does my husband. My mother-in-law. Even my inner voice contributes to the litany.

I shouldn't constantly avoid people, I've been told. I shouldn't lock myself away in the safety of my own home because, dammit, that's life, and I have to live it.

I know how to cope: I just need to get knocked up - just once -with a baby that my stupid defective body won't kill. After all, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Apparently, this is not an acceptable response to anyone. I've been told that I need to accept that it just might not happen, because, really, an eight time loser can't really expect to break the streak with a win.

And I say FUCK 'EM. (Remember that scene in Legends of the Fall when the Hopkins character - recovering from a stroke - says "Fuck em" in his slurred speech, after - or maybe before, I can't quite remember - heroically defending his family? That's how I say it, anytime I have occasion to. I don't know why, or why I felt the need to share that particular craziness here. But, for authenticity's sake, imagine me saying it just like him, only I'm not holding a shotgun.)

I have come too far down this road to turn around now. I need to follow it to the end, wherever that may be. There are things we haven't tried; there is hope for me, even if I'm the only one to see it. I'm too damned stubborn for my own good, perhaps. But isn't that what we are all taught as children? We are told to follow our dreams, to fight for what we want, to try try again in the face of failure, that we all have the potential to be whatever it is that we want to be in life.

It's the American way.

Unless, of course, you happen to be semi-fertile, and what you want is to carry a pregnancy to term and look into your baby's eyes for the first time and fall in love. To feel his kicks in your belly and to push him out when the time comes; to smell his sweet smell and finally have him here to fill your empty arms after all of this waiting and heartbreak .

Then, you are told that you need to find a new dream. You are told that really, you should spend Christmas with the family and your very pregnant sister-in-law and you shouldn't have a panic attack, watching her and her fat belly care for a toddler; it shouldn't bother you to watch the family fawn over her - the giver of life - knowing that no one even gives a flying rat's ass about the fact that you - the giver of death - just lost another one. You shouldn't think about how she will have conceived and given birth to two children in less than half the time it has taken you to give death to eight. And really, you shouldn't cry about it at all because, dammit, that's life, and you have to live it.


Monday, November 8, 2010


My heart goes out to Lily Allen, who recently lost her son in the sixth month of pregnancy and is dealing with medical complications (and is very much in the public eye, to boot).

Lily, I know you will never read this, but please know that if I could, I would hug you and tell you that I love you, because although our experiences have been different our hearts have both been shattered in a way that only someone who has walked this path can understand. I am thinking of you and your sweet boy today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a feeler

I hope this doesn't reek too much of desperation, especially considering my last post...... oh hell, I don't care if it does.

Hubby and I are planning an early 2012 vacation. We're going somewhere tropical and all inclusive - possibly the Dominican Republic because we loved it there and it's relatively inexpensive. We think it might be fun to have some friends along as well. So far, another couple and my cousin are likely to be joining us.

Anyway, would any of you dear readers be interested in an infertility stress free getaway? It might be fun to get together somewhere and cut loose for a few days or a week.

I realize that I could be pregnant or possibly have a child by then, but the chances are slim, and I'm done planning my life around a maybe. I also realize that saving for a vacation while we're trying to get out of debt and save for treatment/adoption is irresponsible, but hell, I'm alive. And I damn well should enjoy it.

So, if by chance anyone might be interested (I'm not creepy, I swear!) feel free to leave a comment or email me at

The thought of beaches and meals I don't have to prepare and adventures of all sorts has me feeling a bit better about life already.

And the winner is...

Aunt Flo!

I have never been so happy to see that red headed bitch show up. Alas, I had to reschedule my appointment because we were going to do a pap. I'm a little bummed - I had lots of things I wanted to discuss, and now I've got to wait two more weeks. Another 2ww - I've had enough of those for a bit, I think.


In other (non) news, the up and down cycle of my mood persists. The high of our anonymous donor still makes me smile, but I'm definitely on a down swing of the pendulum. It makes it hard to enjoy the high moments - I know the down is just around the corner. I'm hoping this down is just my usual period-related depression, and that it'll lift soon.

I don't know. I feel very alone these days. Hubby and I had a serious fight Friday night - bad enough that I thought the neighbors might call the cops (oops) - and I seriously thought about getting in the car with my dog and driving 18 hours to be with my family. I have no one here - no one - to whom I could go in a situation like that. I have no one I could even call at that hour to talk it out with. I sat in the car in the driveway, my pooch licking my ear from the backseat to get the tears, and then we went back inside, since I had had a few tequilas, and upon further reflection, driving seemed like a very bad idea.

I've realized that alcohol, under any circumstances, is a bad idea for me right now. It just complicates things, and I need to get my head straight before I complicate things any more.

Anyway, since then I've felt so alone. I rely too much on Hubby to be my everything - best friend, confidante, lover, soul mate. But when we hit a rough patch, and things between us feel disjointed, I am faced with overwhelming loneliness. Right now, he doesn't get me at all (and our therapist warned us that this could happen - working on issues causes other issues and emotions to bubble up). He's accused me of causing us to lose friends, and while there may be some truth in that, it's also true that my "friends" know what we've been through (for the most part) and do not reach out to me. When they have babies, they are flooded with love and calls and well wishes; their ability to procreate is a bonding experience for them. It seems like I am shunned because of my dead babies and my sadness; I want to scream at them that miscarriage is not contagious, that I can still be witty and fun to be around, when people want to be around me. I get no phone calls, emails, cards or even fb messages.

I know that I need to make new friends. I have no idea how, though. It's always been so easy for me to connect with other people, to find things to bond over. Now, I feel as if I am a piece of warped wood in a pile of straight boards. I just don't fit.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

oops, I did it again


Brief update: AF never showed up after DDDBD (dead dog dead baby day). Hubby and I, um, did the deed as soon as we were able. Several times.

The next day, I experienced many of my "I've ovulated!" signs. Weird thing is, I never experienced any of my "Ovulation is imminent" signs, so I figured we were safe.

Now, ten days later, I am experiencing minuscule amounts of pink spotting - perfect timing for that infamous implantation bleeding.

I'm freaking out a bit because, well, fuck. I can't do this again right now. I'm really really hoping I'm misinterpreting things and everything is a-ok.

Luckily, I have my annual "What the fuck do we do now" appointment with my RE, and I can discuss all of this with him. And maybe get some labs run.

Well, aren't I a wonderful contradiction - the infertile praying that she's not pregnant.

(And, BTW, as soon as I can get my hubby to get a computer up and running for me, I'll be back to reading/commenting regularly. He uses his computer constantly to either work or play WoW. He's an IT guy, and we have half-broken computers all over the house, like the cobbler with no shoes.)