Friday, October 31, 2008

54 - A Halloween full of gratitude...

I know, I know...some of the regular readers may be asking themselves "Is this an impostor blogger?". I must admit that the negativity has flowed freely on this blog over the last few weeks, but today was a good day. Actually, it was a great day. I felt joy and here's why:

Back in March, my best friend gave birth to her second son, Aaron (the little one pictured in the above photo). He was born after her uterus ruptured, and he was placed on a cool cap for 72 hours (check out her blog at It was a very traumatic experience for both mom and baby. He spent a few weeks in the nicu and many days were touch and go. I remember those weeks following Aaron's birth vividly (obviously not nearly as vividly as Aaron's mom) - I would wake up in the middle of the night crying...I was crying in my sleep. I was so grateful that my best friend was ok, but I really didn't know if Aaron was going to make it.

Well - Aaron has made it. He has beyond "made it". He is just shy of 8 months and is currently meeting all his milestones. He and his big brother, Sam, came over my house today to jump in leaves. After some rigorous outdoor play, we came inside and Aaron chased Sam all around the sunroom - crawling at lightning speed...and laughing that hearty infant laugh. And for the first time in a very long time I felt joy. And gratitude that both boys and mom are such a huge part of my life.

The second photo above is the cause of my second joyful experience today. After mom and boys left, I went into the basement to pick up. Sam played with a toy train and my husband's legos (from when Alex was a kid). I have a desk in the basement where I keep all my materials for the courses that I teach. In the process of cleaning up, I discovered the lovely above picture. Sam took it upon himself to decorate one of my student's term papers. I laughed sooo hard when I found it and immediately called Lauren. About 20 minutes later I got a somber phone call from Sam - "I'm sorry for drawing on your work paper Auntie won't happen again.". It's ok Sam - you made your Auntie Chris laugh really hard for the first time in a very long time.

The day was topped off by going out to dinner with some very close friends - this wonderful couple Alex and I have known for several years. We always have a really good, comfortable time with them. I was going to pass out candy, but Alex didn't end up being home - I didn't feel like passing it out by myself, so I gave them a call last minute and we went out for Korean. They treated me -so nice.

It was a good day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

53 - I once was a bear

The above picture was taken by DH and I last year when we took this amazing trip to Yellowstone. I post it tonight because I think I may have been a bear in a previous life. About this time of year, every year, I so easily put on those last few pounds of winter weight - maybe I should call it "fall" weight? Then I curl up on the couch under several blankets and wish that I could just remain there until early April. I feel a primal desire to hibernate - especially through the rest of this year. Frankly, 2008 has sucked in so many ways even beyond our BFN.

So today was interesting. I had my Micro Theory class. In this class we learn about the theory behind being a therapist - you know, Freud and such. The professor is amazing because we also talk about real cases and current issues. Take a wild guess what today's topic of discussion was? Here's a hint - begins with "I" and has the potential to send me into triggersville? You guessed it - infertility. I spent the first 20 minutes holding back tears as she talked about the emotional aspects, how the divorce rate in infertile couples is high, etc., etc.. Then she got into the technical aspects. And there were a lot of questions and comments from the 20-somethings (whom make up a majority of the class), and I felt my blood pressure rise. Questions like "So I heard that all the eggs that are frozen will probably die. Is that true?" and discussions of rumors that IVF clinics put in 6 or more embryos at a time. I, of course, was the class infertility expert for the day - lucky me. It was perhaps the only time in my life when I didn't relish in being the smartie pants of the class.

On the drive home I thought about why their questions angered me. It wasn't their questions and comments - those were all fair for someone who has not been through the process. It was their naiveness and innocence that got under my skin. They weren't tainted. I remember when I wasn't tainted. And it wasn't anger that I was experiencing. It was pure envy. Ahh, the days when I had no idea what IVF, DH, 10DP3DT, Gonal-F, Menopur, IUI, E2, and most recently, BFN, meant.

So I had another really powerful insight today, but I think I'll post it this weekend. I have a full weekend planned. Tomorrow my best friend and her two boys (whom I'm really close with) are coming over for lunch and to play in the leaves. They don't have trees around their house, so last year they came over to experience the joy of jumping in the piles. Alex returns from a 9 day stint in Africa on Saturday. Then on Sunday we are going to look at some Shit-tzu puppies. Our Kharma will be six this December, so we thought it would be a good time to get another. I'll post pics.

Happy Halloween! Be well and safe.

Friday, October 24, 2008

52 - A seeking soul...

So the above is a pic of me along the shores of Lake Michigan. DH and I usually do a fall trip to Traverse City to see the colors, but with the current economy (and the ivf bill), we decided to scale back and just do a day trip (spent the night with some friends on the drive back) to the other side of the state. It was beautiful and a nice time. The trees didn't care how much money we spent :-).

I felt pretty good this past weekend....upswing, possibly?

One thing (of the many things, of course) that this ivf experience has done is thrown me into a spiritual crisis of sorts. Through the years, I've dabbled/educated myself in a variety of religions. I've even shaved my head before spending 5 days at a silent Buddhist about learning about yourself. But nothing has stuck because I inevitably reach a point where I have a falling out with the humans/leaders involved, usually ignited by my disagreement about the dogma that is being taught...and my inability to keep my questioning at bay. The end result, ironically, is that I am a dedicated, tenacious seeker that really doesn't have a solid belief in anything. The level of depression I've experienced as a result of infertility has left me for a strong craving to have a more solidified belief of something outside of myself.

So once in awhile (like 3 or 4 times total in the last few years), I attend a First Congregational Church in town. It's beautiful...I find such peace when I am surrounded by beauty. I also like the pipe organ. I was a pianist/organist for a church in my teen years, and I feel like the hymns (although I sometimes have big problems with their words) are imprinted in my being. After my last attendance, I sent Rev. Bob a very candid email. I summarized 33 years of life in about one paragraph, told him about my lack of belief in anything, told him about the infertility, and told him that I was curious about what he would say to such a person. We had a face to face meeting this week. It was one of the most interesting conversations I've ever had.

He basically said that based on what I told him, it makes a lot of sense that I don't have a solid belief in something more. He assured me that I am much further on my spiritual path than I give myself credit for - that those who quit questioning quit growing, and I, obviously, am all about questioning. He also shared with me his own (and current) questioning, and that how he believes that a lot of what is taught (in all religions) is historically based and no longer serves a purpose in our scientific world. We talked about infertility treatments - he said he thought they were "a gift" and in no way does he believe in a God that hand picks people to have babies or not. Most importantly, he said something along the lines of that the only concept of "God" that is important is the one you personally have - whether it is an old guy in a white beard or a beautiful fall leaf or whatever or nothing. Amazing. I felt such space when he said that. He truly blew my mind away and challenged a lot of my stereotypes of dogmatic Christianity.

He also gave me this book called "A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying and How a New Faith is Being Born" by John Shelby Spong. He said that he would probably be judged by many as a "non-Christian" for giving me a book by this author. He also said that he didn't care if I ever came back to his church, but he would love to have another conversation with me when I finished the book. I agreed.

I think the most important thing I took from the conversation was that I need to have more confidence in the very special path that I am on (that we're all on). I'm confused. I ask a lot of questions. I'm a skeptic. So what? Why do I sometimes judge myself as "bad" or "strange" for these things? I need to instead learn to love myself for having the determination and courage to dig deep. Amen.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

51 - Well hello Aunt Flow...

Finally. I was officially 12 days late. When I was in for that ultrasound to check for cysts, my ob/gyn said my lining was at 16mm and to expect a heavy period. It's pretty normal actually...makes me wonder if my uterus lining is always this thick. I'm thinking about it because a couple of other blogs have discussed lining lately...CCRM didn't say it was a problem, but my lining was at 15mm the day of the transfer...hmmmm.

I finished my Social Welfare Policy paper on embryonic stem cell research. We had to read both platforms. Ok, I am going to go out on a limb here and risk pissing a bunch of people off, but I don't even care. That's the beauty of blog - it fully exercises my right of free speech.

So, McCain has listed embryonic stem cell research under the "Human Dignity and Sanctity of Life" category of the issues section on his website. Obviously, he has decided, and hopes to make the ideological determination for EVERYONE in the United States, that life begins at conception. Obama lists the same issue under the "Women" category under the issues section on his website. McCain doesn't even have a "Women" section. Apparently, he wants my embryos to have MORE rights than I do as a full-developed human being. Bastard.

Those of you reading who are fellow ivfers are probably already aware of the ramifications for infertility treatments if the federal government makes the determination - either directly or indirectly through legislation - that an embryo has the same rights as a "person".

This appeal is actually to friends and family who read this blog who may not know that if McCain gets into office, he will try HARD to pass legislation that has the potential to eventually remove Alex and my right to pursue infertility treatments...or at least make it more difficult. I know this is an economic election (obviously), but if you support Alex and I trying hard to have a baby through infertility treatments, then please just give it some thought...just another issue to include in your decision making process. It is worth it to take the time to read the women's issues under both platforms (although you will find all these issues under "Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life" section on McCain's website)....scary stuff. If you are a woman, be very afraid. Then get out on Nov. 4th.....and vote for OBAMA!!!

I have been wanting to say that for awhile...feels good to do so and not care about the consequences! I think that's because I care more about the consequences for myself and this country if Obama doesn't win...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

50 - A Cozy, Welcoming Home To Be Filled

So, I was out doing yard work yesterday morning (another glorious day, I might add), and this car pulls up in front of the house and this lady yells "Excuse me...". I went down by her, assuming she was asking for directions. Nope. Apparently, she lives a few blocks away, and she wanted to stop by and tell me how much she liked our house. She said she loves seeing it on the way home from work...that it looks so cozy and welcoming and for some reason, really full of love. Above is a picture of it. It is obviously really quite modest compared to some of the homes in Ann Arbor. But her taking the time to stop by and tell me how she felt about it made me teary-eyed. She's right - it is welcoming, cozy, and full of love...and some baby (biological or otherwise) will have happy memories in this house.

I was reading Planet Davila's post yesterday...she made a comment about how when she found out that her sister (or is it sister-in-law...sorry about the details, Davs), she naively thought how easy it must be to get pregnant. Reading that reminded me of the time Alex and my naiveness was at an all time high. He was in New York City on a layover. I had about 14 hour free in between work and other obligations, and the ovulation test was positive, so I utilized my travel benefits, hopped on a plane, and spent about 9 hours in NYC - mainly doing the deed. And because this was going to be "the time", he bought candles, we had a nice romantic get the point. I even bought a rubber ducky with "NYC" on it at the airport on my way out. I still have it - only now it just serves as a reminder of how naive I was :-)! The whole thing kind of makes me laugh (KIND OF) baby yet, but a pretty good story.

Friday, October 10, 2008

49 - A second bladder...

That's what I thought when I saw the ultrasound screen at my ob/gyn appointment. I probably did have a large cyst or two that ruptured and the result was a large amount of fluid resting in my pelvis area. Nothing to do about it - just wait for it to reabsorb, which I think it may have by pain today. No AF either - I am officially 6 days late.

Today is an amazing fall day in Michigan. The leaves are getting beautiful, and the highs are suppose to be in the low 70s with "abundant sun". I love it when they say that in the forecast. DH is in Africa - Dakkar today and then heads to Cape Town tonight, then back to Dakkar, then home sometime next Thursday, so I have the weekend to myself. I'm really going to try to enjoy the sunshine. I feel this strong need to bring light back into my life - literally and figuratively. I have felt like I've been on the dark side a little too long...

The other plan for this weekend is to work on my next paper for my US Social Welfare Policy course. We have to pick a political issue, read both platforms, compare, contrast, etc., etc.. I have selected the issue of stem cell research. Ironically, I just noticed on Desperately Seeking Spawn's blog ( that she posted a great article about this topic as well as asked for people's comments about the article. Who knew these blogs would not only provide emotional support, but academic assistance as well! :-).

You know, as I type this I am also getting very inspired to get a massage this weekend. I can tell my body is begging for one. Maybe I will - kind of as a "kiss and make up" for how crappy I've been treating it lately.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. As per some of your suggestions, I did have a piece of real cake, well it was actually a piece of homemade coconut cream pie (thanks DH!), in lieu of my proverbial crap cake from the previous post :-).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

48 - BFN with a twist of a cyst....again, seriously?

So I have been feeling some pain in my left side that feels EXACTLY like how my ovaries felt during the stimulation process - except this time it is only on my left side. I started feeling it about 3 days ago, but it has gotten progressively worse - enough where it kept me up all last night and we contemplated an ER visit. I finally fell asleep, but I don't feel that much differently this morning. So I did some research and found that it is probably one of several things - 1)gas or constipation (don't think so - I could set my clocks by my bowel movements...I know TMI), 2)an ectopic pregnancy (HIGHLY doubtful, but could actually turn out to be my luck), 3) Growth of the corpus luteum (SP) cyst (which I just learned about - always grows after an egg is released, producing the progesterone, then reabsorbs if you are not pregnant, but continues to grow/exist through your first trimester if you are pregnant), which could indicate pregnancy - apparently, a lot of women experience lower left sided pain because of this starting in week 5 (right, that's the reason), or 4) a cyst of some sort that is somehow a result of the fertility drugs - this is possible and probably the most likely cause.

So, apparently a lot of these cysts that develop as a result of the fertility drugs don't reabsorb and have to be surgically removed. I am going to try to get in with my ob/gyn today or tomorrow.

For my fellow ivfers, have any of you experienced this after an unsuccessful cycle?'s the icing on the big piece of crap cake.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

47 - Another pregnant woman...seriously?

The above picture is of my dog, Kharma. God I love her. Can't you all tell by her eyes that she is really a human trapped in a dog's body?

So is it just me (and I am talking to my fellow ivfers in waiting) or is everyone pregnant or with a child...or two...or three? I seriously find myself dreading to go to Target because only pregnant women go to Target...sometimes I wonder how I slip by the door without the secret code. It's enough to send me into loony land.

Hence one of the reasons I have been seeing my therapist a little more frequently in the last few weeks :-). We've had some struggles, but she has really been a great support over the last week or so. One thing we talked about at our last session is how I've just been isolating and over-functioning way too much since the BFN...and how that really is a recipe for disaster. So, I came out if my shell a little (ok, a lot) this weekend - we watched the debates with my best friend and her husband, we had people over for dinner on Saturday night, I had coffee and good (and needed) conversation with my best friend this morning, and then we went over to a neighbors house for dinner tonight. And, as I do everything in my life, I have successfully gone to the EXTREME in un-isolating myself...will I ever reach a balance?

Today while I was catching up on reading some ivf blogs, I came across an ad for a domestic adoption agency, filled out the initial application, and felt some sense of control. Sigh.

My period is due today. No signs of anything. No sore boobs. Nothing. Would you believe I allowed myself to think "what if..."? I mean, despite the depression, the romps in the sack have been good and frequent. Then I quickly read up and found out that the first full cycle after ivf is often delayed. I'm going with that - it's the much easier option than being hopeful, and sometimes I just need "easy".

Sometimes you just have to scream "FUCK!" (Sorry to all those reading this blog who have believed that sweet Christina doesn't drop the F-bomb...she does, and pretty frequently these days) :-).