Saturday, December 31, 2005

How To Ring in the New Year

Ha ha. That's not really how we'll ring in the new year around here. We're considerably more quietwhen celebrating to the new year. We've had a busy Christmas season, as usual, so we prefer the stay at home and veg approach to the New Year. This was usually the way I rang in the new year, because I used frequent the bar/pub quite often. (Me? What? At the bar?) Thus spending a night with a bunch of fools who went out once a year did not sound appealing to me. Partner, who was never a bar fly like moi was just fine with this mode of celebration. Now, I make fondue, we have a fire, we watch a movie, maybe. About 11:30, we'll argue because I want to keep watching the movie, but Partner wants to watch the whole (inane) Dick Clark New Year's Rocking Eve show. Last year we argued so intensively about this we didn't talk until about 30 seconds before the new year and when we decided we better make up over such a stupid fight before the new year came in. (Actually we won't argue this year, because I'll give in and watch the show. The sacrifices we make for our partners, eh?) Then we'll toast with champagne, call all our family members and shout "HAPPY NEW YEAR" into the phone, because invariably one or two of them will be at a bar, and then we'll don our heavy coats and Merrells and go outside and stand in the driveway with the champagne and watch some unknown neighbor across the (big) road from us set off fireworks that rival the 4th of July. At the end of the show, we'll shout our glee, but they won't hear us because there are clearly hoards of people at that party since we can hear the applause from their guests. We'll go back inside, climb the steps, turn on the fireplace in our bedroom, and sleep the sleep of the cheese and champagne laden.

So, happy new year to all of us! May we all see the hopes of our fondest wishes in this new year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

(Not So) Random Thoughts: Complete with Coronation Street. Philosophy

Partner and brother K are downstairs building a bird house that will then be up for grabs at a silent auction a week from today. A few builders in the area were asked to build these bird houses, and I think we're up for some stiff competition. One of the firms asked is an engineering firm, and their description indicated they were building more a "complex" than a mere a house. We decided we couldn't compete with such craziness, and therefore have gone the more whimsical route. Our bird house is shaped like a bird. Depending on the outcome, I may post a photo.

I'm terrified someone will lose a finger down there in the basement. There's circular saws and jigsaws and sanders, oh my.

I'm anxious about Lupron shots next week.

I'm freezing in the house. I've cranked up the heat, DTE be damned! (So easy to say right now before the bill comes, whereupon I'll flip out and turn the heat way down again.)

I'm sick of the Christmas stuff, but have no desire to take it all down. Usually I am stickler for leaving it all up until Christmas is legitimately and liturgically finished.

I'm terrified IVF # 2 won't work.

Brother K's betrothed is coming here after work, whereupon I'll cook dinner for all of us. I was thinking tuna with a wasabi marinade, but said betrothed doesn't like tuna. So I said I'd substitute salmon. Brother K says she doesn't like that either. Fuck. So now I think I might make chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, but I'm more in the mood for Asian type flavors. And fish. I'm crabby about this.

Somehow everyone in my family managed to get along over Christmas, but still, coming home to our own house felt glorious and peaceful.

Even though I'm ready to start again, the very nature of going to the RE's office almost every day in a few weeks has me weary already.

It's really grey here today. One Sunday when Partner was gone in Minneapolis, I was talking with Frog, and she related that although Minneapolis is cold as all get out, the sun shines much more there than our old mitten shaped state during the winter. I wonder what's worse: the grey days that are a fraction warmer or sunny days that are frigid? On a day like today, I'm not sure.

I think we're moving. Across the street.

Even in my dread of shots, I feel a little like Manuela did-- like the first IVF round was a dress rehearsal, and now this one is for real. And then I think, "Oh my God-- what if it freaking works?" And then I get dizzy. And then I worry I'm getting dizzy because I do have the diabetes. And then I start over on my round of random thinking.

I know this is silly, but last night as I curled up on our bed, put the fire on, and watched my favorite show, Coronation Street, one of the characters said something that I understood: Roy Cropper was talking to his wife, Haley, about a little boy who is staying with them after his mother swanned off to Spain with her lover, Les Battersby. Roy wants to go to Spain and convince this little boy's mother to be a mother. Haley said to Roy she was worried that she'd give the child false hope. Roy, who is somewhat bumbling, but ever-so caring, said to Haley, "There's no such thing as false hope."

There's no such thing as false hope.

Yes, of course, by it's very nature, hope cannot be false. It might be dashed, but it ain't false. And ultimately, there's a lot of hope in our home, and while I don't think any of it is false, it is scary thinking about hope falling from its great height. But for now, we'll just keep going on with the random thoughts, and let hope continue it's slow ascent.

Boy, is the house cold...

Saturday, December 24, 2005


It's Christmas Eve, and it's raining. I can't help but think of all the snow we've gotten this December, and it's melting away under a cold drizzle that I can hear hitting the windowsills and the roof of the porch beneath my window. Interestingly enough, the grass that is showing on my backyard is green, not the brown it will be in March when the spring is trying to assert itself. Funny that green can be so remembered, even under a snow and ice. It's a message-- and even though it's not a "White Christmas" there's something so much more poignant and meaningful about that green grass than a covering of sparkling snow. It mightn't look seasonal, but it is ever-more seasonal than snow.

The other thing I've thought about as I cozied under the covers (trying to rest up for true midnight Mass) while listening to rain is that sometimes things that seem like they're so normal, so par for the course, just don't happen. Like this rain after a month of snow-- it's not what we're supposed to get on Christmas Eve night. And that reminds me of how easy (ha) I thought it might be to get pregnant. A little less than a year ago, I was writing on this blog about seeing lawyers and our known donor. We thought we'd be doing insemination at home. Then we thought we'd just see our ob/gyn. Then we were off the cryobank for anonymous sperm. Next we realized we'd probably be doing IUI. I was conflicted in my excitement: I wanted the experience of pregnancy sooner rather than later, but I also wanted Partner to get pregnant and assumed she'd get up the duff quite easily. Like snow on Christmas in Michigan. But things panned out, and what we expected is not what we got. Retrospectively, it's been quite a year. Partner, who always assumed she'd give birth to a child, was told she could not do that. Me, who thought she'd have at least three years before getting pregnant, is on the cusp once more.

Anyone who's been through more than one cycle of IVF knows how elusive hope can be. Today I found myself thinking that on our third cycle, maybe I'd consent to a three embryo transfer. The implicit lack of hope there made my thought process stop.

Then when I saw the green grass, the hope of this season came back to me. The starry eyed hopefulness I once had when we started our baby search in earnest-- it might seem like we've been covered up with snow, but it's December, and underneath it, we're green with potential for new growth.

And that's just got to be one of the messages of Christmas.

Merry Christmas, friends. To close, I'd like to share the ending of one of my favorite pieces of work, and so apt for this night, "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas:

"Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnipwine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like aBird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

You're Fired!

The comments from my last post affirmed my instincts, which was super. That advice about staying with your gut apparently translates to more than success on multiple choice exams. I thought I should try and call Dr. BusyBusyBusy to press for more answers than I got from the nice, but vague nurses. So that's what I did yesterday morning. The twelve year old who works in reception answered the phone and she has already forgotten who I am. I used to be able to just call and say, "Hi! It's Katie!" and they'd be gushing and asking what they could do for me. This morning I got, "Are you already a patient of Dr. BusyBusyBusy's?" Um. Yes. I brought you cookies. And cake. Damn it. To be fair, it's quite possible she's a new twelve year old, and the Libra in me likes to try and be fair. In any case, I said I wanted to either talk to or leave a message for Dr. BBB. I told her my story, in brief.

"So, you want to talk to a nurse?" she said.

"No, dearie. I want to talk to the doctor."

This is what she told me: "The doctor doesn't really take messages from patients." What? Excuse me? I gripped the phone tighter. The doctor doesn't take messages from patients? What kind of clinic am I going to? What kind of doctor does not take messages from his patients? He's always saying to us, "Just call me if you have any questions or concerns" in his darling little accent. Does his reception team know that he says this? Is there a password I need to get to his voicemail? Open Sesame! Skinamarink! Hm. No. She asked me to hold when I insisted I wanted the doctor. I held for a long time. This is a trend in my life lately.

When she came back on the line she reiterated the fact that the doctor does not take messages or calls, and that questions or concerns go through the nurses. I interrupted. "Listen. I know Dr. BusyBusyBusy is a busy man, but the thing is, I am coming to this practice to see him, not the nurses even though I think they're lovely and knowledgeable. Ultimately, it is the doctor I am seeing, not the nurses. It's absolutely unacceptable to me to not be able to talk to my doctor, and I even think it's unprofessional. I want to talk with Dr. BBB, so as much as I can appreciate you are telling me what you've been told to say, you're going to have to figure out a way to get a message to him."

And then she agreed she'd try and get a message to him. But she told me about fifty times how busy he was, and how he had a full clinic and she couldn't say he'd call me back because he was so busy. Busy, busy, busy. Yes, I get the idea. He's busy. But I knew that already.

I honestly wondered if he'd call back, but oh, ye of little faith! He called me himself at four in the afternoon. (Is his busy day really over at four? I could have a busy day like that. My busy day at the office went until 8:00 pm.) I told him our story. "So, even if we were supposed to take the depot Lupron shot on the 28th, it appears it wouldn't work since we'll be starting stims the week we are gone at the builder show."

"Yes," he agreed, "that's correct. You are right, of course." (He always talks this way, making me feel like an expert.)

"But when I talked to the nurse, -- wait, by the way, part of this problem I am telling you about comes from the fact that our nurse isn't there anymore. We feel like we've slipped through the cracks a little and that the other nurses don't really know our story. What happened to our nurse?"

"She's no longer with us," the doc intoned. "It is a long story I will tell you sometime."

"Well, it's really none of our business--"

"It's okay. I will tell you. She was fired."

Silence. She was FIRED? Every atom in my gossipy being wanted to know why why why? I had to stop myself from going into girlfriend mode which would have sounded like this: "She was FIRED? Oh my GOD!! You are kidding me!? Why? What happened? What did she do? Oh my GO-OD! I can't believe she was fired! Shut up! But now tell me WHY?" This is not what I did, instead I fought off my internal gossip monger and tried to be professional Katie, the knowledgeable, but fun-loving patient:

"Oh. Okay. Fired. [Silence-- get down gossip monger, down!! Now, HEEL. Good girl.] Well-- back to my point, if we just extend the pill pack we can have the Lupron shot on the 4th of January, and that way when we are gone we'll just have the last light period and be ready to stim on our return, depending on when the procedure week is." But of course all the while I was bursting with the news our nurse was fired and I was giving the piercing eye look to Partner who sitting across the room from me. You know that look-- the one that says 'I-have-huge-news-but-I-can't-say-anything' look? That one.

Anyhow, the decision was reached that we'll do exactly what I proposed and he'll tell the nurses, but I should call them and ask for the calendar and etc. (And thank you all again for encouraging me in this proactive fashion) So this morning I did ring the nurses and left a garbled message. It felt quite awkward because really what I did was go right over their heads to the big guy in order to get my way. I don't necessarily feel like this will get us off on the right foot with our new nurses, but nonetheless, I'm still happy we're not canceled. Just delayed. Delayed is much better than canceled.

...But still-- fired-- I'm dying to know why.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Canceled Before It Even Started

We may have more sperm than we know what to do with, but we apparently don't have a cycle.

Next Wednesday, one week from today, would be day 18, and you know what day 18 means: a giant shot of depot-Lupron!

After all the follow-up appointments after IVF failure number one, we were advised to let Partner's little ovaries rest a little. Start taking the birth control pills again, and call when we started pill pack #2. That was last week. Like an obedient student, I called the office and asked for our nurse's voicemail. I didn't get her usual message, but instead a more generic voicemail saying that I'd reached the voicemail for the nurses, so I left a message for our nurse, but we never got a phone call back. I blamed this on reception-- why didn't they just send me to the personal voicemail for our nurse? We must have gotten lost in some paper shuffle.

Yet this bothered me just a tad, especially since she said for our next cycle she'd order the drugs for us from Freedom Drug, which might be just a little cheaper than our local pharmacy even with our drug plan. And when someone says "cheaper" associated with our IVF cycle, I'm all for it. Also, if next week is day 18, shouldn't we be getting a calendar? Some drugs in the mail? I called this week again, and instead of asking for our nurse's voicemail, I asked if she was "in." Reception said to me, "Let me just transfer you back to the nurse's station," whereupon the phone rang and rang and rang and finally went to the generic voicemail again. I left a slightly more snotty message, and reminded our nurse that she said she'd order our drugs, and someone should really call us back.

And someone did-- just not our nurse. Some nurse who knows nothing about cycle. And I had to tell her and update her on everything. She said, yes, we'll get the Lupron. And yes, we'll start next week, and she said this based on my word, not because she was looking at any type of chart or anything, and she was ready to hang up the phone when I said, wait-- we're going to be out of town from the 12-17, and can we still do the cycle? And she said, let me look. And then she said, no.

No cycling this month.


Postponed. One more month of pills.

Then I asked where our nurse was. She's gone from the clinic. That's all I got. And I feel bereft and lost. I knew we were starting over from scratch, but now I really feel we're back at the beginning, forging new relationships with new nurses when we already had a fairly nice relationship with our old nurse, and that was comforting. The two remaining nurses are nice enough, but one of them never could find Partner's ovary, and acted like it wasn't even there and it made us nervous and cost us more since she would make us come back for the doctor to do the ultrasound, and now she's going to be one of our nurses?

I just feel like there has to be a way for us to not have to wait until 25 January to start again. Couldn't we just skip the next period with the pill pack and take the Lupron right before our trip? I just think there has to be more of an answer than plain old NO.

Many sperm. No cycle. How do you like them bananas?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

2005's Hottest Christmas Present: Sperm!

Apparently the most coveted present for Christmas this year is our sperm donor. We have 7 vials in residence at the cryobank, one in residence at the IVF clinic for the grand total of 8 vials of sperm. We called a month ago to order more, but our donor was gone-- long gone. Very popular. (We knew he was good when we found him.) But the CCB told us when he'd be available again and advised us to call then. We thought that day was yesterday and and rang them up whereupon we were told that the big was tomorrow (today), and it was the last ever release of this particular guy's goo. Call at 8:00 California time, we were told.This put the fire under our respective asses, because sometimes Partner and I are a little relaxed about things. Eventually, usually, what needs to get done gets done, but sometimes, just sometimes, we could move a little faster. (NB: this never applies to Partner when it comes to business where she is one of the most capable and fast moving people I know.)

So, the sperm source runs out today. Why, you might wonder, do we need more sperm when we already own eight vials of the sperm? Well, consider our quandary: We'd really like all children we have, whether from my eggs or Partner's eggs, to have the same donor. Last cycle, Dr. BusyBusyBusy used only one vial of sperm, but requested two. Apparently sometimes the clinic will choose to use two vials, but since the clinic does ICSI, I assume that using two vials doesn't happen much, but let's just say it does this next time. Down to six vials. And let's just propose against hope here for one minute that the next cycle does not work either and we have to try again, and let's be conservative this time, and say Dr. BBB uses only one vial, but that leaves us at five. Bang! Five vials left for my eggs-- I'm pretty sure that in an IUI cycle with frozen sperm, the doc is going to want to use more than one vial per try.. but that leaves about two IUI cycles, with one tiny little vial left over. And that doesn't account for using more than one vial in each of our IVF cycles. Or that one sample might be sub-par. Or any number of things I can worry about being wrong with the sperm might be wrong with it.

(I'm on the phone right now with the CCB begging for them to release more to us immediately, but he hasn't been re-released yet! Blogging while begging for more sperm-- has to be a first.)

This morning when we called the CCB (promptly at 8:00 am, California time), we were told there was a fairly long waiting list for this particular donor. That the phone was ringing every three minutes with a new request for him. And finally, we were told that people who had mailed their requests were ahead of us in the queue. What?! We didn't know we could mail a request in and get on a waiting list! In fact, every time we asked about our guy, we were told we could not pre-purchase to hold our place. Needless to say, this was very upsetting. Here, however, I think it's important to note that everyone we talk to at the CCB is very nice and friendly, and I think they are well aware that they are dealing with a sensitive subject.

Our rep this morning told us we should call back often, maybe every ten minutes, because the release could happen at any time. Partner had her 11:00 meeting waiting, next to her desk, at our conference table and handed the task over to me, hence, why I am on the phone right now with the bank, waiting... waiting... Oh-- hold the horses-- here's the rep:

He hasn't been released yet. And yes, I am informed, many many people want this particular donor. What's our number? Name? Mother's maiden name? Hold on for one moment please...

I'm so nervous-- we really want/need more of our donor. It's one thing about lesbian conception, folks, we need the sperm from someplace, and it's most likely not located in our houses or sleeping next to us. And as silly as the "just relax" advice is when we're trying to conceive, a limited supply of the donor is going to do nothing to induce my repose about the whole process.

Holding still.

We talked about this last night at length. We've agreed: three IVF cycles using Partner's eggs and my uterus. Of course we both agree to talk after each cycle, and if she wants to go for four cycles if three fail (ohgodohgodohgodpleasedon'tletthathappenagain), I'm open (right now) for doing that. When we go back to my own eggs, we'll do IUI, and Partner thought we should try six IUI cycles before moving to IVF for me. I disagreed; I'm not sure I could take six failed IUI cycles before moving on, but it's all speculation. I just don't want to worry about sperm. Why am I still holding?

Hi, your donor has just been released, and your name was on the list, so you're alright. I don't know if you were told earlier, but we have a December special: buy six and get 10% off. So, how many vials would you like to order?

Do I have to tell you I feel like I've just won the lottery. We are know the proud owners of fourteen, count'em up, fourteen vials of sperm. Who would've thought?

Merry Christmas to us.
(Small update on this subject: Our donor is officially gone.)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Attention Student

Don't lie to me and tell me an A- is going to ruin your GPA. Because then I will have wild conversations with myself regarding your grade. I'll think I shouldn't give you that A- because I might be ruining your perfect 4.0, and a perfect 4.0 is such a wonderful thing and you'd always resent the teacher who made you go to a 3.921 (because I still resent the professor who did that to me, so I know).

I'll wake up at night and think about it. I'll have these see-sawing thoughts, where I vascillate between blaming you-- you should have been there to take all the quizzes if you were that serious about getting an A-- and blaming myself-- maybe I was grading you too harshly on that final paper, after all your topic was really original, and better written than the majority of papers I got.

But then I'll remember I can see your transcript, something I don't necessarily think is quite ethical because you should be judged on your performance in my class and I shouldn't let past performance influence any decision making, so I never look at student transcripts, but now, after telling me I'll ruin your GPA if I give you an A-, I can't stop my fingers from typing in your name and finding out that you're lying, and it's not a little white lie, it's fierce lie, which really makes me want to fail you, but instead I wearily will give the A-, because you did actually work hard in my class and that's the grade you earned...A-.

Just stop emailing me now.

Monday, December 12, 2005

[At This Very Moment] These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

(Semi-complete with photos...)

1. The Beehive Liquor Store: Where Partner just called me from the parking lot after overhearing two men talk about what a pain it was to have a $25,000 bail bond placed on them "because you know, I gotta work" while they were debating "Bud" or "Bud Light." I love the Beehive. Mostly because it's called the Beehive.

2. When I was kid, I couldn't wait to get into the snow and make tracks all over the yard. Build a snowman. Make 20,000 angels. Generally, a blanket of snow was an invitation to let my presence be known to all and sundry alike. As I aged, I came to enjoy the untarnished view of snow, and a track across it was like an affront. There was something so pristine about that silent white, and even more special was the way the moon looked blue upon it. But I had brothers, considerably younger, and they wanted their day trekking across the yard. Now with no kiddies or brothers, and an acre plus of land, one might think I could enjoy all the pristine snow yards I want. Not so. On Thursday night, we watched a fox catch a rabbit not fifteen feet from our front door. Yesterday, while vacuuming two deer moseyed across the back yard, and I can't even capture all the animal tracks on our lawn. Here are some photos from today:

We have a two rows of flowering crab apple trees on our property line, left over from when the property was a tree nursery. I have noticed that under many of those trees, there is often a plethora of animal prints. Partner and I have had a few hypotheses about this, especially after seeing the fox and rabbit fracas. We imagined fights taking place under the tree. However, after yesterday's deer sighting, I have a new theory.

The deer are eating the crab apples left on the tree. I tried very hard yesterday to get a photo of this for you, but the deer spotted me as her little muzzle was reaching up into the tree to nosh on the splendid bitter fruit. She took off with her pal in a glorious run across not only my backyard, but our neighbors too.

If you look closely, you can see the corner edge of our house. This photo shows how near to our house the various and sundry animals come. Deer, fox, coyote, a few cats (which makes us very sad), rabbits, raccoons-- etc. All this and we are only seven minutes by car from dear old Ann Arbor. We have been talking about moving into town, but I would miss this part of our house very much. Once this summer, we were hosting a contingent of young adults from our church. As we sat convivially on the back porch, two deer marched across the back property line. We couldn't have been more pastoral on a summer evening with the deer, wine, and good talk.

3. My manhattan.

I don't need to say anything more.

4. The Christmas Tree

We got a new kind this year, and I am officially in love. Putting the lights on this one was a breeze. My hands are not torn to bits from the tree biting and fighting me.

5. The beautiful cats (minus Maya, but only because I couldn't get a good photo of her tonight, not because I love her less than Noah or Eli.)
Here's Eli, the lover cat. One of his favorite places in the winter is here, in front of this heater vent. He often sits very close to it. Other things he does to keep warm: suns himself under the halogen desk lamp, lies across the heater vents on the floor, snuggles under blankets, preferably with me or Partner in such a position that allows him to keep his head on the pillow.

This Noah (the Neurotic) who has become much more of a lover since Chloe moved out. He never used to sleep with us, and now does every night. He barely ever sat with me, preferring Partner's cat friendly aura, but now almost every evening, he checks in with me by sitting on my lap or the arm of my chair for a few moments. He gets a "high" look when we pet him, thus Noah's blissed out orange face here.

6. I used to think I wasn't a frou-frou jewelry girl. But I might be wrong because looking through this catalogue has been inordinately fun for me. The price list, enclosed separately, is not as much fun. In fact, it takes much of the bliss out of the catalogue. Therefore, I threw that silliness away. Who needs prices? It's not like I am actually buying anything.

7. Christmas music is giving me much pleasure of late. I mean good Christmas music. Not that shit that's on the 24/7 Christmas music stations. Have you heard Grover Washington Jr do "Blue Christmas"? "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" a la Kenny Burrell? "Snowfall" Ahmad Jamal? No? Then come right over for a cocktail and Christmas jazz.

8. You can come over because our house, from top to bottom, is spotless. All toilets scrubbed, bathtubs clean, floors vacuumed and hardwood polished, sinks bleached, pantry organized. There's probably something wrong with me, but the feeling of joy this gives me is unexplainable.

There's really more here-- but I just wanted to post somethings that are making me really quite content, because as sad as I sounded in the last post, I am actually quite happy this season. Partner and I are making some changes in our life, together, and it's brought us both peace of mind. I haven't felt as close to Partner as I do now in a long time. I suppose really that's number 9 to infinity: We've felt ourselves have so much love for each other lately, and it's thrilling to know that after five years we only feel more love, like renewed love for each other.

And while I'm at it: You fellow bloggers, commenters and lurkers alike, make me happy too. Who knew I'd find such a community here? And while I am insanely green and jealous about upcoming blogger meetings from Boston to Melbourne, I'm still thrilled to be part of such a wonderful community of (mostly) women.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Beware All Ye Who Enter Here

Sometimes when I stop to think about October this year, I'll cry all over again. I don't think I realized how much the hurt of losing/not getting pregnant would effect me. Only at the start of Advent did it all come home to roost again. First of all, the Advent reflection book I am reading seems to harp on the Elizabeth story and mention time and time again about how she was "barren." (Yes, and being the "good" Catholic I am, don't you think I prayed to [nagged?] St. Anne and St Elizabeth frequently?) And there's this thing about how this season is all about expecting-- and generally focused on a baby. And of course, Christmas has so much "child" implicit in many of the celebrations.

At church on Sunday, my pregnant friend hugged me at the peace. Now, please, I am very happy for her-- pleased to bits she's having another peanut-- but as soon as I felt her pregnant belly press into my body, I felt myself start to shake. We haven't seen each other since right before the procedures were done, so she didn't know the news. She asked me right after she finished hugging me, and guess what? I started to bona fide cry, so I guess she figured out what our result was, and consequently, she hugged me again. In general, I am a hugger-- not at all shy here about body contact-- but the shaking started again, and I had to actually leave the sanctuary and go into the bathroom to run my hands under cold water.

Yesterday in the mail I got a Christmas card with a letter enclosed from another friend from this same group (there's four of us who are still fairly close from high school). Their big news? She's pregnant too. Again, I cried. I don't mean to suggest I am not at all happy for these friends of mine because I am! So happy! But... I wanted to send out Christmas card this year with that same little sentence: "Our big news is that I am expecting a baby..."

Here's what I think: I think I got too stoic too fast after the negative HPT and confirmation from the doctor's office. In my family, we were told not to dwell, or to "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps" or "to get on with things." And so I thought to myself, "You can cry about this for two days, and then it's time to get over it." When the nurse called us to tell me I wasn't pregnant, I shocked her by asking to talk to reception to schedule an appointment with Dr. BusyBusyBusy. She thought I'd want to wait a little. Nope, I said, I just want to get on with it.

But here's another secret: my hands were shaking so badly, I thought I might drop the phone. The sobs were so deep in my chest, I thought if I opened my mouth too wide, the keen would bring people in from other offices to see what was wrong. After I got off the phone with the nurse, Partner knelt on the floor in front of me and we held each other while we cried and cried. And then just as abruptly I stopped and started pacing our office. I tried to quiet the massive rumblings in my chest. I thought to myself, "Stop crying. What's happened has happened." After that I'm not sure I ever let myself really wail again-- just a few weepies, brief, and then I'd talk myself out of mourning.

I got a phone call last weekend from another concerned party, whose query about whether or not I was pregnant was caring, but annoyed me nonetheless. This is partially my fault that I am still getting these questions since I hermited myself away after our news. I just couldn't keep telling people I wasn't pregnant. This person's response was "Well, not everyone gets pregnant on their first try." And this just made me angry, so I said, "Well not everyone has two fully formed blastocysts transferred to their uterus on the first try either." It wasn't a nice thing to say to someone who was genuinely concerned about me and Partner.

Here's what happened to me after the transfer--honest now: I would hold my stomach and think about transferring energy into what I hoped were two, or at least one, growing baby. I talked to these little blasts in my head, even though the devil (or angel?) on my other shoulder told me not to get attached and I should wait until the pregnancy tests came back. But I couldn't help it. Oh Negativity, be gone with you! I thought about these two parts of Partner in my womb, and so did she. I wasn't the only one who put hands on my stomach that were full of hope and dreams. She did too. If this never works-- and we switch back to IUI and my own eggs, it will be a lot harder for her. I can't even think about that right now. (Cursing negativity again: ptoo, ptoo, ptoo) But after the transfer, we both ignored that painful possibility and focused sharply on the two photos we had of the blasts that we transferred. We looked for a journal-book to paste the photo into. I felt fondly for a group of little cells. I tried to stop myself. It didn't work.

At Michigan Womyn's Festival this year, I bought a shirt that says, "Listen to Your Mama." It's really about the earth, but we both liked it. And we agreed that if we bought that shirt for me, I wouldn't wear it until I was actually pregnant. After consulting with Partner, I put it on, three days past the transfer. I put a fleece on over it, so no one really saw it, but I knew I had it on. And so did Partner. We grinned at each other all day.

Even though I tried to stop myself, I picked up the Deepak Chopra book I bought and did some of the little mediations he included in there. Mediations about having a healthy baby. I would lie down on our bed and Partner would read to me from the book, "With each out-breath, create an image of our baby, growing inside your body. Breathe in tenderness; breath out a clearer vision of our baby. Own your part in creating this little being..."

I'm really ready to try again, but in the process of getting there, I think I need to let myself feel a little more about this first loss. Or failure. Or whatever it was. Take it up with both hands, look it all the features of this feeling, and then I need to put it on the shelf. I won't "move on" in the way my family would counsel me, but instead I'll acknowledge this experience as part of who I am instead of trying to ignore it. I'll nod every once in awhile to it. But mostly, if I just can read it in full, it will just expire slowly and eventually, while I might remember the general gist of the story, I'll forget the plot. And that will be okay too.

John Says...

... this is a Mirty meme, and what one is supposed to do is hit shuffle on your MP3 player, and then list the first 15 songs that come up. Since John and I have shared some thoughts on our MP3 players, I thought this sounded like a relatively easy meme to take part in. You cannot change the results, no matter how embarrassing the songs might be. Here's my songs:

1. Bad Sneakers -- Steely Dan
2. O Grande Amor -- Stan Getz
3. O Tannenbaum -- Vince Guaraldi Trio
4. Que Rico El Mambo -- Perez Prado
5. Big Boned Gal -- k.d. lang
6. Signifyin' Monkey -- Oscar Brown Jr.
7. La Petite -- Frances Gall and Maurice Biraud
8. Finale (The Dargason) from St Paul's Suite, Op. 29 #2 -- Gustav Holst
9. The Ocean -- Dar Williams
10. Blue -- Joni Mitchell
11. I've Got You Under My Skin -- Diana Krall
12. Older Chests -- Damien Rice
13. I've Got a Woman-- Ray Charles
14. This Was Pompeii -- Dar Williams
15. Highland Fling -- Paddy Noonan

That was off the MP3 player itself, and the list has some rather appropriate choices for this morning, although when I opened the iTunes itself, I rather liked that shuffle a little more. Instead of Paddy Noonan (and no offense, here Paddy lad), I got the Pogues. Paddy can sound a little deedly-dee, if you know what I mean, and I don't expect you will unless you are Irish or Irish American yourself. The Pogues make me want to go to the bar RIGHT NOW and start drinking Guinness AT THIS VERY MOMENT.

I can't believe I've never shuffled before, but I think this is my very next favorite thing to do with the iPod. I like the way the music jives together, or doesn't as the case may be. However, I can really get into the fact that I can hear music that was composed for the marriage of Louis VIII in 1615 followed up by Diana Krall singing "Let's Fall in Love." Seems appropriate, doesn't it? Or even better, "Banana Split For My Baby" (Louis Prima) followed up by a little Kanye West. How could it get better?

I love to listen to a radio station that mixes up music genres. It's why I have chosen my favorite FM and XM stations-- I like when I can hear one radio program that might play everything from jazz to classical to folk to whatever in the span of two hours. This is why shuffle is now my favorite MP3 function. All thanks to John and Mirty's meme!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Worry Number 6,789

We've already established I am stellar worrier. Let's work on another example as even more proof of this.

The Scene: Friday night dinner, after Thanksgiving
The Place: My parent's house

Katie: I am so glad I am done taking the stupid steroid. I had to pee so much when I was taking that drug.

Brother K: Really? That's awful.

Katie: Yes. The first night I took them, I had to get up and use the bathroom about five times. No joke.

Dad: [looking alarmed] You should be concerned about diabetes. It can be a side effect from taking steroids.

Katie: [looking more alarmed] SERIOUSLY?! But it would go away after stopping the pill, RIGHT?

Dad: No. It would bring it on. You should be concerned about diabetes.

Brother K: That's ridiculous. Why should she be concerned about this?

Dad: Because she needs to lose weight and it runs in her family.

Katie: [Looking shocked, glancing at Partner with question in eyes: Did Father just call me fat diabetic?]

Brother K: It does? I didn't know that?

Dad: Oh yes. Your grandfather had diabetes. And heart disease. And cancer. And a stroke. {etc-- ad lib at will disease of choice because he probably had it.}

Brother K: He was an industrial chemist, for God's sake. He invented a paint which is outlawed for use in the Great Lakes and all major ports. You can't say we're at risk for all these horrible things because of genetics. You have to take into account his profession.

Katie: Seriously, I could have had diabetes onset from taking that pill?

Dad: Absolutely. You should think about these things before you eat.

End scene.

Great. So, since then, I've been plagued with diabetes thoughts.

Am I am too thirsty right now? Jesus, I am thirsty. I'm, like, going to die if I don't get a drink right now. Shit. How is it possible to be this thirsty. I'm going to ask Partner if she'll get me a glass of water and tell her how I am dying of thirst. This is a fucking sign. It's the diabetes. (Partner asks me how much water I have had to drink thus far-- it's 8:00 pm. I've had one glass of water, two cups of tea. She admonishes me for not hydrating properly. Perhaps it's not a sign of diabetes after all.

Tuesday night:
It's 3:00 am, and here I am, awake and peeing. This is the diabetes. I just know it. I can't get through the night without peeing! Shit!

Is that chest pain? Or gas from the bean burrito? Diabetes side effect or Mexican food revenge?

I think I'm dizzy. I am really dizzy. I feel like my vision is blurry. Damn, Diabetes. Or could it be that I've been staring at the computer screen and doing the company books for five hours now.

Putting up Christmas lights with Brother K and confide in him how worried I am about the dad's comments about diabetes. Brother K admonishes me, tells me how stupid it is that I am worried about this, and expresses annoyance that my dad freaked me out in this way.

"But Brother K," I whisper to him, "I can't even sleep through the night without having to pee."

"But Katie," he yells back, "how many cups of tea do you drink before bed?"

At least two.

"And Katie," he continues, "don't you think the endocrinologist you are seeing would have pegged you for high risk if you were?"

But he's a reproductive endocrinologist...

"It's a sub-specialty. He had to train as an endocrinologist first."

I don't know if that's true or not, but I feel somewhat better: God bless the little brother. But worry lurks.

Can you get me a glass of water? I'm parched again.