By Law

Its been about 6 hours since I found out that my embryo didn’t grow. I am at a crossroads. Some people are already telling me to try again, and the truth is I just don’t know if I have it in me.

I still can’t believe I have to continue meds and check again in a WEEK to verify that it’s not growing.I asked how often embryos recover from this, but no one answered my question. It means I will be carrying a dead embryo for a week. The idea makes me sick, but it seems that by law they can’t give up now, they have to wait for 8 weeks.

I did everything I could, and I know that my Dr and Molly did as well. Maybe its time to give up, and acknowledge that I just don’t deserve to be a parent. I promised myself that if I ever got pregnant, I wouldn’t complain about the PIO shots or the symptoms or anything really. I haven’t. I promised that I would only care about the health of the embryo and that I would enjoy and embrace the changes I have spent the last weeks adjusting to. I kept my promise. I haven’t complained about anything. Not morning sickness, not the shots, not doing it by myself, not anything. I haven’t felt like I have the right to. If it meant getting a chance at a healthy baby then I would endure whatever I had to.

After the appointment my husband went back to work. I’ve spent the last 6 hours alone in a dark room trying to understand. Tonight I took my meds, gave myself the shot, my husband never administered a single one, was never in the room with me and never helped me with them. Mostly I think he just didn’t want to think about them. Like every night, he wasn’t here when I did it, and when he got home, he took my stepdaughter out for dinner.
I don’t know whats going to happen to this blog. I don’t know where I am supposed to go from here. I intend to mourn my loss privately, I do not need to feed the misery so many of you feel, and are still going through. So for now, I’m signing off. Good luck to all of you. For those of you that have my email address please feel free to contact me, but for now, I can’t continue to publicly write down my feelings. Right now they are overwhelming and almost too much for me to handle.

 

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Apricots

Apricots have nothing to do with fertility but I’m in the lull between one cycle and the next so I’m going to make preserves. Who makes preserves anymore?

I do. Damn good ones I might add.

I have a secret. Mine contains about 70% less sugar than the ones you buy in the store. Why? Because if you add sugar, and wait, osmosis draws out the natural sugars from the fruit and you wind up with preserves that actually taste like fruit, preserves that hold their integrity, and don’t go bad any sooner than any other jams, jellies or preserves.

If you skim the extra syrup off the top when the preserves are boiling and put it in jars, you have syrup as well. For pancakes or crepes or french toast. The preserves can also be used in cookies, so throughout the year, when I’m baking I use preserves from my kitchen, and something about it makes me happy. Because I like to know what I’m feeding my family.

Apricots smell like summer to me. They look like tiny butts, and have that rosy blush on them. I love their colors, and I love how they look when they are all lovely and orange and golden in the jars when I’m finished. Like the summer sun.

There was a post recently that got a lot of responses, about birthdays. And the idea of being an “old” mother. That they were the child of older parents and because of that, grew up embarrassed of their parents. A lot of people commented, apparently its a fear a lot of women in their 30’s have.

I never wanted to be an “old” mom. If I am honest, the post and the comments really hurt my feelings. Because clearly lots of women in their 30’s blog about infertility, and so there are a whole group of you who support each other. Which is fantastic. But it made me feel isolated in my wish for a child because I am over 40. My own mother was 37 when she had me. She had my younger brother at 39. As a kid yes, there were times that my parents embarrassed me. But I’m sure it wasn’t because they were old, it was because I was a kid and parents are embarrassing when you’re trying to become more independent, especially in front of your friends.

My parents were born in 1935. They were depression era parents, meaning that they were born during the depression, remembered going without, so wasting food was not ok. I had 3 older brothers and sisters, so I never had a pair of shoes someone else hadn’t worn until I was 13. I had to share a room with at least one of my sisters until I was 14, because there were so many of us, and we varied in ages by a lot. My oldest sister is 13 years older than my youngest brother.

Every summer, my mother would take a few weeks and “put up fruit and vegetables” I learned how to “can” from her. I remember when she would do blackberries, and blueberries, the entire kitchen would be purple. She also did beans, tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, peaches and apricots. The mess used to drive me crazy, we didnt have a dishwasher. Plus its really hot work.

I don’t do all that. I do a little, and mostly I do it because it reminds me of good times with my mom. Because people like them, and I like to give them away.

I’ve had a bad week. In fact the last few months have been really, really hard. I try hard to keep busy, making things, doing something constructive. My embarrassing, old parents taught me that the best way to keep yourself out of trouble when things are bad is to keep your hands busy. To not allow your mind to be idle. To make an intention and toil toward the future.

Maybe its better to be young parent. Maybe. Or maybe the world would be a better place if we stopped judging ourselves and others by their age without knowing their circumstances. Did any of you love your parents less because of their age?

Somehow I’m betting the answer is no.

Sister

*This post is a major downer, and isnt about my IVF process so please feel free to skip it. It just makes me feel better to write it down*

This morning at 8:03am my sister, the one who hasn’t spoken to me in 4 years called. Because I happen to know she’s visiting our mother, and was afraid something happened I answered the phone.

“Hello?”

“Hi, I want to know what you know about moms condition”

“This feels loaded B, what do you want?”

“Fine, I will make this clear and frank. Are you aware that mom has pancreatic cancer?”

Yes

“Well what are you going to do about it?”

“I’m going to visit her soon, I’m going to try to get along with you and I’m going to try to be a good daughter to her. Shes a grown woman, and I have to respect her choice not to get treatment for it”

“You realize that its fatal”

“Yes, so is congestive heart failure. Endgame for pancreatic cancer is roughly 5 years. Without treatment I figure if we are lucky we will have 2″

“We can expect 2 to 2.5 years, so you’re not going to try to talk her into treatment?”

“No”

“It’s obvious I care more for her since I’m here and you aren’t, and I want her to get treatment and you don’t”

“It’s not a competition, and I live 8 hours away, you live less than an hour, where do you get the balls to call me at 8am after 4 years with this snotty, condescending attitude?”

Click

This particular sister is 50 years old. She seems to forget that in 95′ I was the one that came home from the East Coast and took care of our father when he was first diagnosed with congestive heart failure, drove him to a million appointments, fought with his doctors about his medications and why they kept causing him to faint. It’s a long way to the ground when you’re 6’4″. At the same time our mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. Again with the Dr appointments, and the meds and the chemo and radiation. I nursed them both. Alone.

Our mother has survived breast cancer twice, she’s been to the cancer rodeo before. She doesn’t want to do it again. I understand that. I respect her decision. I choose to stay neutral. Shes never been someone that anyone could make do anything so I’m not going to try. It has nothing to do with how much I love her, it’s that I respect her decision to live her life on her own terms.

My sister also seems to forget that in 2001, I was the one that ID’ed our fathers body, closed his eyes, signed all the paperwork, chose his urn, got in touch with the priest, set up the memorial, and paid for the funeral. About that. No one ever told me that a man 6’4″ would need two urns. I also picked up his ashes and dealt with every single ugly task around his passing. Alone. Not a single one of my 4 siblings ever offered to help with even the most basic tasks.

Shes accuses me of “living my life in secret” because I don’t share anything but the very basic facts of my life with anyone in my family. I don’t share them because I don’t trust them. Because they gossip, and tend to be judgy and unkind. While I wish with every single fiber of my being that it was different, it isn’t. I can’t make it so. So I keep my stepdaughter achievements to myself, I don’t tell them when we have gone through a rough patch, I don’t tell them about my successes or failures. And none of them know about my IVF or anything else in my life that matters. My mother and sisters have these hen parties where I get regularly trashed and gossiped about. They say I am “stuck up”, and have my “nose in the air” and that I think “I am too good for them”.

None of those things are true. I don’t think I am better than anyone. In fact, if I am perfectly honest, I have spent my whole life feeling not good enough, not accomplished enough, just not, enough. I guess to them, my reserve comes across as aloof. It’s not my intention. I swear that it’s self-preservation. it’s the only way I can subdivide my life into chunks that I can handle.

My husband wants to bring my mother here and have her live with us until the end. I will talk to her about it. If, on Friday, I wind up scheduled for an egg retrieval, I will go through with it, and then I will drive the 8 hours to see my mother. I will talk to her about coming to live with us and I will do my best to put the past in the past.

I haven’t posted a song in a while, but this one seems fitting to me. It’s a cover of a Bonnie Raitt song.  I know it’s about lovers, but for me it represents all the feelings I have about my family.

Surprise!

Yesterday was better than I expected. I spoke to my mom and had a 13 minute conversation where she didn’t swear at me or hang up on me so progress? I never heard from my stepdaughter but I never do on Mothers Day so that was par for the course.

The husband decided after 5 years of me asking, to take me to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. It was a beautiful day, and  the market was actually really incredible. We both had a great time. There were working Victrola’s, tons on vinyl, lots of old glass, milk glass, old toys, classic working typewriters, rotary dial phones, with handsets so heavy you could kill someone with them. I love the noise the dial makes, this soft kind of clicky sound, I must have dialed about 100 of them yesterday. Linens, vintage jewelery and clothes, furniture from all time periods, a lot of hardware from old homes, like doorknobs and window closures, skeleton keys, light fixtures, and I even saw some old slave sale documents. Which completely creeped me out because who the hell would want to own those? That is some seriously bad karma right there. I’d never seen such a thing before so it was interesting.

We had a late lunch, went to our favorite bookstore, and then home. Where husband promptly took a nap. He spent Saturday gardening, and isn’t normally an early riser so getting up early for the flea market was a big deal for him.

Which leads me to the least awesome part of the day. A farmers tan. Or in my case, a farmers sunburn. It’s a great look if you’re a man (not really). Or you know, a farmer. But I am neither. I put sunblock on my face ( I missed a stripe right before my hairline, put sunblock on my neck, but apparently SPF5000 doesn’t exist yet. I completely forgot about my arms above my elbows. Who knew that where you part your hair can get sunburned? Do they make SPF for your scalp? Husband laughed and said “You need to get a sun visor, or an umbrella like those old Chinese ladies”. I answered, I don’t carry umbrellas when it rains, you really think I’m going to carry one when its sunny? Hurmph.

I made breakfast for dinner, because we were both too tired to bother going out or making a proper meal and then sat down to watch what is absolutely the best night of the week for TV in my opinion. I loved the first 3 seasons of Mad Men, but they kind of lost me a little during season 4, and now at season 5 I feel like the show has completely lost its way. My new replacement for it is a show that is critically acclaimed, but I’m not sure how well it’s doing in the ratings called “Magic City”. Its fabulous, check it out if you can, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is in it, and who can’t look at him all day? I think the Good Wife is over for the season, and Parenthood ended really early (possibly too expensive to continue to produce).

RHWNJ has started, boy am I starting to hate Theresa, and Mob Wives is almost over. I refuse to watch either of those shows in front of my husband because they are so completely trashtacular that I’m embarrassed to even admit I watch them here. But I will DVR them and watch them later when my husband is working late.

Later today I will go to acupuncture, and then I have Chinese class tonight.

This might have been the first weekend in 6 months that I didn’t spend it obsessing over the status of my ovaries, follicles or lack thereof. It was really nice to have had something else to think about, something else to do. I felt like myself for a little while.

I’m not sure it’s going to take another 3 or 4 days for shark week to begin. The Circus may begin earlier that I anticipated. SURPRISE! As usual my body does whatever the hell it wants. No matter what I AM going to ask for a different protocol this time. Now, lets just hope I can get through another month without having to compare my ovaries those hollow chocolate bunnies or any of the Kardashians.

Clean

I’m not going to talk about Mothers Day tomorrow. Ok I am, but just a little.

My own mother is very sick, and has never liked me much to begin with, so on our best days the relationship is strained. Yes I know I need to come to terms with it before she passes, but it takes 2 to solve a problem and if she was even willing to meet me 10% of the way, I’d have no problem covering the other 90. You can’t make someone love you, or want to solve problems. I think the best you can do is just try to come to terms with it’s the best she can do.

I am a stepmother. Which means, in the “mommy” community, I’m no ones mom. I have to be honest, the mommy community is pretty judgy and mean-spirited a lot of times. Like mean girls with toddlers. If I ever have a child of my own and act like that, I fully expect someone to slap me in the face and call me out on being an assclown.

In my family it means I will step aside so that my stepdaughter bio mom wont be threatened. Which leaves me feeling excluded. Its only one day so, I will put on my big girl pants, and live with it. I’m a little squishy to be honest.

Tonight I will take the last pill of the Provera I was given after last cycle. 5 or 6 days from now shark week will come, and I will start the circus again.

In the meantime, I said I was going to try some new things so I have. I’ve started a new Chinese class, I’ve tried some yoga classes and found a DVD that might be helpful, and I went to a Buddhist ceremony last night called “The Great Compassion Repentance Ceremony”.  It was long. Twice as long as a Catholic High Mass. Those Buddhists really make you earn your repentance. With all the kneeling and prostrating my thighs feel like I’ve been through a long work out.

I also finished painting the ceiling in the room that I use for reading and meditation. The room for the baby that doesn’t exist yet. I went back to acupuncture twice a week, and have made bracelets out of semi precious stones. I will show pictures when I have a few that are completed.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping myself busy. Of trying not to obsess, but I’ve still had moments where I’ve been overwhelmed and my eyes fill up with tears and I can’t help it, I’ve cried. But I have another week to clear my head, shake off the last few bad cycles, go to acupuncture, and yoga and try to find some kind of zen in it all.

I’m also going to ask the Dr for a different protocol this time, the one he’s been using hasn’t produced very good results, and with my cycles being so scary, I’ve been afraid to ask for something different.

My intention has been a clean mind, a clean body, a clean slate. I’ve worked hard at making my intention. So for now, I wont think about the future, or what “surprise” the next cycle has in store for me. I will love my family, try to live in the moment, and keep my hands and mind busy with things that are constructive.