Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The long cycle

I guess my cycles are still evening out. I am on Day 34 of this cycle and Aunt Flo has made no indication of her impending arrival, unless deep, dark rage is any indication.

Oh, rage is an indication? Huh.

A few days ago I took a pregnancy test, just in case. It was negative. I gotta say, this is the first time in over a year that I have seen a negative pregnancy test and not needed to either eat a vat of chocolate sauce or punch something. I felt mild disappointment and overwhelming relief.

The doctors said I would be scared to get pregnant again, but they were wrong, because the way I am feeling about getting pregnant again is something akin to horror. Terror, you might call it. Things would be very simple if my husband and I decided we didn't actually want to have children; I'd send him in for a vasectomy (he's going to read this and be like what the hell?) and that would be the end of that.

Unfortunately, it appears that we both want children even more now than we did before. Which is a problem, when paired with my severe fright about getting pregnant again. I can't even really talk about it, or think about why it scares me so much ... accessing that dark and smelly pit in my brain is such a disgusting thought. I really see it that way -- it's like I'd have to swim in tar, maybe go meet Gollum somewhere down in a dank, pitch black cave. This has begun to make exactly no sense.

I kept saying we'd wait until January to try again. Then I said we'd wait until I lost 15 pounds. Then I said we'd wait until April. If I keep pushing the try-again date back, eventually the pit of tar will dry up and go away, right? I'd thought it was gone, or at least on an extended vacation, until last week when I suddenly began to think of my baby. Who thinks of a first-trimester miscarriage as a baby? This cannot be a healthy line of thought.

Of course if I keep pushing the try-again date back, my fertility will lessen. Women who miscarry are most fertile in the three months following a miscarriage. It declines after that. I can't spend another year doing this; I might lose my marbles, you guys.

Yeah, I'mma try again. It'll need to be sooner than later. There's exactly no reason to wait, other than that dark pit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I've said it before and I will say it again

If you know you want babies some day, try to have them earlier than later. And please, let's stop keeping secrets from each other about how difficult it actually is to get pregnant when you're not in your 20s anymore.

The following was posted on SFGate's Mommyfiles blog by Amy Graff. 

Many women misinformed when it comes to fertility

Let’s say you’re a newly married, perfectly healthy 30-year-old woman. You and your husband have stable jobs, a three-bedroom house, a Golden Retriever.

In other words, you’re ready to start having kids.

Easy peasy, right? You’re still young. You’ll get pregnant quickly, as the women on television sitcoms do. You’ll soon be changing poopie diapers.

Not so fast. You’re probably not as fertile as you think you are. It could take awhile. That middle school sex-ed teacher who convinced you that you’ll get knocked up anytime the truck drives into the garage was wrong—and he never told you that fertility decreases dramatically with age.

But don’t feel badly about your ignorance. The results of a recent fertility awareness survey reveal that most women think it’s much easier to get pregnant than it really is.

For the study, presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, 1,000 women ages 25 to 35 were asked 10 questions about fertility, and most of them flunked the test, according to MSNBC.
Questions about the likelihood of becoming pregnant across different age groups were answered correctly by only 8 percent of participants. Most women assume a 30-year-old woman has a 70 percent chance of conceiving per month and that a 40-year-old woman has a 60 percent chance. But really a healthy 30-year-old has a 20 percent chance and that number drops to 15 percent at age 40.
Survey respondents also thought it takes an average 20-year-old two months to get pregnant, when it really takes about five months.

What’s more only 31 percent of respondents realize that increasing age is the single strongest risk factor for infertility.

These numbers are troubling because infertility is a huge problem in our country, and 7.3 million women in the U.S. struggle with it. This figure represents 12 percent of women of childbearing age, or 1 in 8 couples, according to the National Infertility Association RESOLVE. You can’t help but wonder if these statistics would improve if women had more accurate information about their fertility and opted to get pregnant sooner rather than later.

Holly Finn, a 43-year-old woman who has suffered from infertility, told MSNBC that she has a simple message for women ages 26 to 34: “Start having babies now.”

Why are women so clueless about fertility?

The researchers behind the study think women are simply misinformed.

Sex education in America focuses on prevention. In middle and high school lessons are focused on preventing pregnancy and STDs. There’s no talk about fertility and how it decreases with age. Many women don’t learn this lesson until they’re 40 years old and step foot inside an infertility clinic.

What’s more, many women in their 40s are successfully using infertility treatments yet they’re secretive about their use of IVF, and this leads other women to think it’s easy to achieve parenthood later in life. And so when a 40-year-old woman tries to get pregnant and fails, she’s shocked.

“We were not at all surprised,” says Barbara Collura, executive director of RESOLVE, told MSNBC. “This is what we experience every day.”


Monday, November 21, 2011

Now What?

Nothing demotivates me like the sight of a negative pregnancy test.

I know it shouldn't. I know I should reassure myself with the statistics, let myself know that I am on the right path, and that all the steps I am taking not only are for fertility but overall health. I should remind myself that the acupuncture and some of the supplements are helping with my anxiety. That watching what I eat and exercising are things I should be doing anyway. That getting in touch with my body through BBT charting and OPKs is a good thing to do.

I know I should be doing all of those things.

Instead I just want to drink a box of wine, put on my sweats and eat icing from a can. Oh, and warm my hands over a fire of all of the fertility books I have bought. It wouldn't be a small fire.

I will tell you right now there is nothing about how to overcome this feeling. That one they leave you to figure out on your own.

So, that's what I'm doing right now. Oh, and trying to determine if the four pounds I have put on is from the prometrium, or from pity eating.

I'll let you know how it goes. I think if I figure it out maybe I'll write a book of my own. "Kick Yourself in the Ass: A Guide to Dealing with Infertility When it is the Last Thing you Want to Do" is now the working title.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I'm not sure how I would feel about this last year and everything that happened during it if it weren't for the Internet.

In real life, I have a couple of friends whom I've struggled alongside to get pregnant. We all have our own very individual, unique issues, and having these couples in my life has produced sanity for me. I just can't imagine being the only one of my friends dealing with this. And while I wish my friends didn't have these problems, I selfishly am glad I know people who get it. Everyone says it and it's true: You don't get it unless you've been there.

When it first started to become clear that getting pregnant wasn't going to be as easy as I'd believed it would be, I must have said something somewhere on the Internet about it. And Libby saw what I said and, maybe jokingly, said she and I should start a blog about exactly this problem. I roped Christina into joining us, and here we are almost 9 months later, all of us battle-scarred and -- there's no denying it -- pretty pissed off.

But what I didn't know until we started this blog was about the entire, enormous community of women out there who call themselves infertiles and blog about the things they go through. The things I've been through pale in comparison. It ain't nothing compared to five failed IVFs. Can you even imagine?

For the several weeks that I was pregnant in the summer, I read their blogs and wept. It was probably survivor guilt, although there's no denying what they have to say is heartbreaking. And I follow so many of them out of fascination and a sense of sisterhood, that when I became pregnant, I noticed when other self-professed infertiles became pregnant at the same time. Look at us! Pregnant together! There was something really bonding and strength-building knowing myself and these women were pregnant together and would have children around the same ages.

Then about half the infertiles began to have miscarriages. Why? I wondered. I read their profiles. Multiple miscarriages, been trying to get pregnant for ten years. Stuff like that. Unexplained infertility. (Few phrases enrage me as much as "unexplained infertility." It's the biggest load of bullshit out there)

And some kept their babies. They're coming up on five months now, getting over morning sickness, starting to get their baby bumps. That would be me, too, I can't help realizing when I read their updates. I'd never wish otherwise for them, but I still feel raw and wounded when I think of how it could have been me, too, with a viable baby.

I think the infertiles of the Internet (and other wonderful friends) kept me sane during the darkest times. There's just something about knowing other women have been through it, and whether or not it's just in my mind, I sensed a warmth, a cushion of support that, in my mind, was the collective voice of these women holding me up. It can't be overstated -- this kind of support is life saving. It'll never take away the hurt you naturally have to go through, but it will make it easier to endure, and easier to see the light on the other side.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Progesterone Pain

Progesterone is a bitch.

The past two weeks have been filled with symptoms that had me absolutely sure I was knocked up. My boobs ached. My nipples would not be "at ease." I had light cramping in my lady zone. Smells were really bugging me. I was overly emotional. I seemed to be pudging out.

However, two pee sticks have confirmed I definitely do not have anything growing in my uterus, except maybe mold; and a quick Googling of "prometrium side effects" told me just why I have been feeling so funky. Oh, and since I took the last dose on Saturday the effect have been lessening. I don't think that's supposed to happen with pregnancy.

Still, I'm glad that at least the progesterone is doing something. It gives me hope that is is helping with something my body previously wasn't doing correctly. Now, we just have to get it doing the other parts correctly as well, at the same time, and voila, I will have good news to report.

Or maybe I'll just start playing the lottery. Sometimes it feels like those odds are better...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My husband's hair dresser knows about the miscarriage because she also recently had a miscarriage and these days when someone we haven't seen in a while asks: "How are you? What's been going on?" here's an approximation of the answer that runs through our heads: "Miscarriagemiscarriagemiscarriage."

Sometimes, if it's too much information for that particular person, we just say "same old" and proceed with some how's-the-weather kind of conversation.

Anyway, Liz, the hair dresser, knows about the miscarriage. She told him at his last appointment to be wary of my reaction when I finally did get my period because it's kind of like a reminder of the whole incident and can be pretty emotional.

Living in denial, as I tend to do on a regular basis, I viewed the impending period as exactly what it was. Just another period. And then it arrived and turned out to be more than that.

My reaction wasn't even conscious. I wasn't even necessarily that disturbed that this was an extremely heavy period -- heavier even than the bleeding following the miscarriage, and heavier than any period I've ever had, period. (heh)

I think it disturbed me on a subconscious level. I was exhausted, and sad on a different level ... It was sadness and a real hate of me. My inner monologue: God, sometimes I just hate myself. What in the hell is wrong with me? Why can't I get it together? If I could just live in the woods by myself for maybe six months, maybe I could stop hating me, stop hating everyone else, stop being such a sucky, boring, repetitive asshole. I hate everything. Why is everyone so annoying and demanding? The holidays are coming. Is there any way at all that I can opt out of the holidays? God, why do the holidays all have to be so close together and suck so bad?

I'm a real joy to live with. Just ask my husband.

I believe I'm pulling out of it. 

Some women say the only way they can handle this post-miscarriage span of time is to immediately become pregnant again. That would be a great distraction, and I totally get that. More power to them. I won't do it until I'm ready. Good and ready.