Friday, March 31, 2006

From My In-Box

"On Wednesday, March 1, 2006, in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at American University, was requested to testify.

At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.""

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I Hesitate

... to tell you this, especially after my vitriol about the fatty postings, but I did say I would update you, and it appears after two weeks on the South Beach Diet, I have lost eight pounds. This is good, and I'm happy with it. The first time I did this diet, I gave up the booze for the first two weeks, and I was working out with regularity. This time I drank a glass of wine almost every night and didn't work out at all, so eight pounds is pretty damn respectable.

But I figure now that we're done with the evil first two weeks, I can start having manhattans again. Don't you think? And considering we get Lupron in a mere one and half weeks, I think I should enjoy it while I can. Because remember, I'm all hope this cycle. All hope. All hope this cycle. (Say it like a mantra, and maybe it will start sounding true.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

God's Gonna Trouble the Water

In the past month, Partner and I have been to three houses of three lesbian families in our church. Saturday night, we'll be going to the fourth. Since every one of the other visits we have had have been just lovely, I imagine this Saturday will be delightful also. Not only that, but I've been invited to help work on the new website for our church-- we want to make it a little "exciting." And we've been solicited to help with clean up for coffee hour, plus I've been asked by the rector to make a dinner for a group of people taking a class on a Sunday evening in May. This all adds up to a lot of "church" for me. Even though I am a regular attender at either the Catholic church or Episcopal, I feel the involvement seeping into my life, and it's a good thing.

Let me try to explain one of the positive outcomes: When we started going to the Episcopal church, we were urged by a friend (alas, no longer with us as a friend) to try out the Anglo-Catholics. The suggestion was followed by a specific mention of a church where a friend of hers was the temporary stand in until a new Rector could be found. Finally I plucked up enough courage to try it, and we slidled over the church one Sunday morning, arriving more than half an hour early. Partner kept wondering why we weren't getting out of the car until I admitted to her how early we were. I cried a lot in the car before going into the church. And then once in the church, I cried more realizing how similar the service was to my beloved Catholic Mass. And that temporary stand-in? Loved. Him. What a gentle soul. I didn't know the politics of the church, but I really hoped he could just stay. (Okay, I knew a little about the politics from a friend who used attend the church, but I didn't realize this was his church when I went there the first time.)

And of course, at the kiss of peace, here came this women from the opposite side of the church to shake our hands. It ended being frog, the official spotter of new lesbians.

Not long after this, the church found their new Rector, and Partner and I waited with baited breath to see how the new guy would be. As great as the temporary stand-in? We probably didn't have the same anticipation as congregants who had been with the church a long time, but still-- By this point, we were pretty sure we'd like to get married in that church.

The new Rector came. We approached him with our request as soon as we saw he wore Birkenstocks to preach in. That had to be a good sign. And he took our request to the Vestry, who said 'by all means, let the girls have a commitment ceremony here!" Which of course solidified how we felt about the church. (To be slightly more brief here, I am skipping all my associated Catholic guilt about all this.) In the interest of being open and honest, the Rector contacted the Bishop, who also said okay, but we had to avoid the trappings of "marriage." At some point before the wedding--oh excuse me-- the celebration of a covenant, my step-grandmother called the church and talked to someone there. She queried how they could marry us? After all the name of church is Saint Something of Somewhere. Sounds Catholic. And someone (I still don't know who) apprised my mean-spirited relation that it was an Episcopal Church. Ha ha ha. All of this was exhilarating, as I am sure you might imagine. But as this was happening and lighting my soul, something else was going on.

I am fairly used to extemporaneous speaking in church-- and while at sometimes that has even seemed canned, I wasn't used to seeing the priest read off notes, almost verbatim, sometimes even faltering when losing his place. The pastor at my Catholic church was a soft spoken, very intelligent man who went to the center of the altar and spoke to us without any notes. And he always closed his homily with the words, "Something to think about." Nice, huh? To my mind, he gave us room to take in his homily and mull it around and engage with it. And I always did. More than one Sunday morning breakfast was spent discussing his sermon. However, at our new church, the priest read off notes, and it bothered me. There was nothing charismatic about it. And then the sermons and speeches about money-- well, you wanna watch me squirm? Watch me at church some Sunday when that's the topic. Maybe because I was raised in a family where you just didn't talk about money, and certainly no one at any Catholic church I ever went to pressed about money. Perhaps this is because the parish I grew up in was as repressed about money as my family. I don't know. (For the record: It's not talking about giving that I object too. It's okay to emphasize giving in church. Because isn't that part of the whole deal? There was just a different tenor to the talk I was hearing at the new church.) So some Sundays I was just bored and squirmy. (In my head: Were we giving enough? Oh shit, and we're behind on our pledge. And oh crap, we haven't made any money in months because no houses are selling and our lives are on credit, but shit, where's the pledge money?) I'm neurotic enough about money and then there I was in church, my least favorite topic being harped on again and again. And beyond this, there was this and that that bothered me also. I even was emailing another church member from Paris about it this past spring.

I tried. I tried very hard to not let it bug me. But I thought very much I was alone in these feelings about this and that, and it started grating at me during church. The Catholic church started pulling me back very hard, despite all the positive experiences we had at the Episcopal church.

The problem I had, however, was putting more in terms of expectation onto Saint Something's than I ever had to the Catholic church. After all, I have always been very vocal about the Catholic church not being perfect. Why was I expecting this Episcopal church to be perfect then? And didn't my grandmother always tell me it was about the church, and not the priest? Of course, she was referring to the RC, but still-- Why was I having such a hard time remembering that? Perhaps because when I'm at the RC church, I'm well aware that there are parishioners there who don't like the current pastor, or are annoyed there aren't women priests, or think priests should be able to be married. I don't feel like I am alone in my disgruntledness, and then somehow because I am me, I am able to put that aside during the Mass and just enjoy the Mass for what it is.

And let's just say that one of the positive outcomes of so much "church" stuff lately (with the Episcopalians) is that I've found out I am not alone with some of my issues. And that somehow has allowed me to open myself up a little more. And because of all this, I'm back to being okay with being part time Catholic and part time Anglican. I've even started admitting publicly to both groups, the Catholics and Episcopals, that I'm aligning with both of them. I'm more open to everything, even the things that were previously annoying me. This could be spring creeping in my heart, or could be finding community. But whatever it is, I'm gonna wade in the water.

"There is one river of truth, but many streams fall into it on this side and that."
-- Clement of Alexandria (ca.150-215)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Madder than a Hornet

In the maelstrom of posts on "fatness" I am finding myself more and more enraged. Why? Well, because friends, I am a chubster. I also really like myself as a person. I think I am intelligent, funny, kind and a myriad of other really wonderful facets. Do I think my value is in indirect proportion to my weight? Fuck no. Yes, I am doing the SBD, but only because I don't like the health ramifications that come with carrying so much extra weight. And the reality is, folks, taking off 20 lbs is not quite going to cut it.

When you read my blog, how do you see me a person? Imagine you haven't seen any of the photos of myself I have on here. Am I trim? Am I fit? If so, and then you meet me and see I'm not trim and pert, do you like me less? Was I advertising a self that wasn't accurate? A life long commitment to one person in terms of marriage or otherwise, I believe is grounded in friendship. It's true-- sexual attraction comes in here-- but would you like your best friend less because she gained 50 pounds? 30 pounds? Less or more? Would love her a little more to see her starving herself to look "good"? Would you be less embarrassed to be with her with her bones jutting out or more embarrassed to be out with her if she showed her chub? Hm? I don't know-- not me-- Maybe I'm a freak and I've chosen my friends and my Partner because of who they are. Not their looks. If you're falling in love with someone because of his/her weight or looks, then I'm fearful for you.

And I'm not some goody freaking two-shoes-- I have my crazy shallow moments (well, longer than moments sometimes), and I'm not denying for one minute the role that weight or attractiveness plays in today's world. I'm not the Pollyanna around here.

I have a lot more to say about this, but I can't sit around here and write about any longer than this. I have to get out and do the life things I need to do. But don't worry-- today I'll be extra aware of how judged I am by so many people just on my weight alone-- a superficial, surface judgment. And let's face it: if that's how you want to judge me, I don't really want you to be a part of my circle.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Secret

Well, a secret for now anyway. I haven't had a chance to tell Partner yet, but we get Depot Lupron shots on 12 April. Procedure week is 7 May.

This is, of course, exciting for any number of reasons, one of which is that I have told myself I will begin to eat carbs again while we cycle. In particular, I'm thinking of the cookies and coffee Jen and Cait sent to us. (We actually drank some of the coffee already and it was nectar of gods that I remembered.)

The downside to this, however, is this cuts right into when we thought we'd get to be in South Carolina. My mom is going to be there at the house, with the dog, and we thought perhaps a few days on beach (with the dog) would be good for us. I still think it would be. Partner's idea was that perhaps we could go during our two week wait. Unfortunately (again), we are taking the follow-up to RHC 101-- RHC 201. Partner thinks we could miss a couple classes, but little did she know that she is partnered to the anal student extraordinaire. (Last night, I found out I had the second highest grade in the class and was duly pissed off because someone is beating me. This is really a quick way to a heart attack, and I'm trying to calm down about it.)

Still. Cycling.... Again. I could fail all the really hard classes out there if I thought it would help us get pregnant.

Maybe that trip is in order...

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Wild Destruction

Remember this? And I promised pictures of the damage. Well, here they are.

Okay, this photo-- I am sitting on the little deck off our bedroom. When taking this photo, I am at almost the high point of anger. I am thinking of how that morning, I could barely see that garage, and now it's the "feature" of my backyard. I am also trying to focus on that man, who was fiddling with the property stake. If he pulled it out at all, I was going to go beserk.

Clearly some of these trees were indeed dead. This did not bother either Partner or me. Many birds flocked to the dead trees. But many more of these trees were alive. To be fair (am I a Libra, or what?) these trees are considerable farther back on our lot, wheras they were right next to his house. I'm trying to be charitable. And gentle. This was part of my Lenten activity. If you want to be bitchy for me, I won't stop you. In fact, I'll probably smirk and nod and wish you were closer by so we could share such snark in person.

More death and destruction. How does this make you feel? I don't think I'm betraying my Lenten promise by saying it raises furies within me to new levels. This shot is straight down our property line. I can feel my heart being hard again right now looking at this. Why are newly planted pine trees any better than these old trees? Why does everything have to look like a fucking golf course? I hate golf.

And finally, for comparison, this is a photo I posted to my blog last may. As you might be able to tell, here I could barely make out the equipment to pour the concrete for the basement. You might be able to understand better my skeptism when the builder/neighbor tried to explain away his actions by saying "It was all dead anyway." That looks really dead, eh?

I'm angry enough now that my stomach has turned sour and I am off in search of Tums.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

This is me in Ireland. Literally about ten years ago. Today as I was putzing around the house after a night out with friends where I drank too much wine (yes, I know that is verboten SBD contraband, but seriously, did you think I wasn't going to drink?)-- and anyway back to putzing-- I was eating my lunch and turned the old idiot box on and what do you think I saw there? The Commitments: One of my favorite Roddy Doyle bukes turned movie. (The Snapper is really far better.)

Last time I was in Ireland, it was 1999. It's really getting time to reconcile this, but even there in '99, Dublin had changed. It struck me when watching the start of The Commitments how much that city has changed. I lived, as I've noted before, in a working class similar to the ones that Roddy Doyle describes in his books. Although I was a south-sider jackeen, so we did at least have that over the others. Nevertheless, times were very hard for many people in our little neighborhood. When I was living there the unemployment rate was 15-20% nationally. We used to tell a joke about a man drowning in the Liffey, and a man jumped in after him, pulled up and asked where his job was. When he found out, he swam back out, but let the man keep drowning. You know. So he could go and get that job. There's nothing glorious or glamorous about poverty, but I found myself a little wistful for that old Dublin. The small house and my room that was smaller than my closet is right now. The way we never really rang anyone up that lived in the neighborhood because it was "too dear." Instead we'd walk down the street, have tea and biscuits, and generally live in a nice world. Not that it was all wine and roses. You couldn't fart on Bulfin Road without the whole street knowing it. And at night when I'd come home, perhaps with a fella, I'd always see the neighbor's curtain go back to peep out at me. We'd laugh at our neighbors who every Saturday had the same things out on the line to dry: six pairs of ladies of underwear, one pair of men's boxers, and two tea towels. It never varied. And the neighborhood was rough and we had our alarm, but still got broken into twice. And sometimes in the morning I'd hear a horse clop past my window, and I'd wonder where it was really that I was living. One of the songs we'd sing was "My Heart is in Ireland" and sometimes I'd just tear up because I knew that someday that song would mean something more sad than it did at the time. I thought about the neighbor of my parents in Michigan, and how he hardly ever talked about Ireland. I didn't understand it at that time, and now I do. And for awhile I thought I'd never leave. And now I can't imagine my life if I hadn't left. And I'm both grateful for that and wistful at the same exact time.

Oh, Ireland. It's a long long way from Clare to here...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fat Face

We're doing it all over again even though it didn't quite work the first time.

No, not IVF. South Beach diet.

Mostly this is Manuela's fault. She started talking about the SBD and I recounted this to Partner and we agreed we'd do this if I wasn't pregnant. Guess what? I'm not pregnant.

And I don't know why, but it feels so much harder this time. It's day three and I want to eat the forbidden fruit very badly. I'm serious: I'm craving apples. How can a diet where I cannot eat apples possibly be good for me?

Never mind. When we did this before our commitment ceremony, we were serious for the first two weeks, and then slightly serious after that. We lost 30 to 40 pounds each. We gained it all back. And here we are again: Fat and jolly.

Losing twenty pounds or so before the next pregnancy attempt sounds delightful. But so does a Reese peanut butter cup. Or cake. I love cake. I threw out a doughnut someone brought to me at the office. Do you even know how hard this was for me? To throw out a doughnut? I felt my soul go in the trash after it.

When we woke up this morning, we both admitted we had dreamed of food last night. In my dream, someone was in my kitchen cooking all sorts of food that had taboo ingredients. Like milk. I was steaming spinach. Partner dreamed she was at her grandfather's house drinking gallons of soy milk.

But this weekend, someone took a picture of the two of us and I was appalled at my fat face. It doesn't even look like who I think I am. I'm trying to remember that as I embark on a trip to the grocery store. There I will buy salmon, some garlic, and lite ricotta cheese. I will ignore bread, coca-cola, and cereal. I will delight in Laughing Cow cheese with celery. (Yes, I will-- damnit.)

I won't tell you how much I weigh now, or even after this grand experiment, but I will tell you if I lose the weight before IVF #3. We might not have much time either. Partner feels like she's getting ready to start her period.

SBD Goal #1: To stop my rapid morphing into Broderick Crawford.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Money vs. Babies

I'm on day two of the dreaded birth control pills.

We're just waiting around for Partner to get her period so we can schedule the next cycle.

It feels awfully quick, doesn't it? And apparently this is it: the final episode of IVF with Partner's eggs. (NB: the "apparently" above. I am always talking to my students about picking textual hints, and that's one. I'm not ready for this to be the last try if it doesn't work, thus "apparently.")

I know I said I was all about hope this time, but shite, I am scared. At our meeting with Dr. BusyBusyBusy he said our odds had dropped now, considerably. His previous numbers indicated a 50% chance on the first cycle, but now that we're on our third, it's down to 30%. He did note that this was the national average, so it wasn't exactly bad, it just wasn't as good. And he told us that if this next cycle failed, we should probably move on to my eggs. Because the chances are about nil that it will work with Partner's eggs if it fails this next time. And, he also said, there is the financial side to consider: we don't have infinite amounts of money to keep doing this. And at some point, we need to face up to that.

In the middle of this blogging about IVF, I don't see too many women write about the financial stress it puts on us. Either everyone is richer than us, or it's just taboo. We shouldn't write about how much money this is costing us because that's just crass. Right? Well, I don't think so. I think to deny that real stress of how we negotiate our lives to pay for this treatment is to deny part of the very real stress associated with IVF. Jesus-- I don't even like to buy gas because I hate thinking about that money just being burnt up. But ultimately, I do know that any amount of money would be worth a little squirmy baby nestled up in bed with us.

So what do you do to keep affording this? Take equity lines out on your house? Run up several "IVF" credit cards to their max? Ask your parents for a loan? Win a reality tv show for the money? Rob banks? Play the lottery religiously? Pray that the housing market turns up again so you actually start making money? Oh-- wait-- that last one is probably just us.

Do you think about the money factor at all when it comes to this? Because while I know Dr. BBB is right-- we're pretty much at our limit right now after IVF #2 and we're pushing for #3-- I still want to keep going and going and going until I get pregnant with Partner's eggs. (And even that being said, we both know we're incredibly lucky to have my backup eggs and uterus. We're well aware of how this eases the burden of any future questions.) Right now, we're motivated by love for each other and our desire to have a family together. I don't want our motivations to be altered by money. I just don't. I don't want to have to stop trying when I'm not ready because there's nothing else in the coffers. I want to stop trying when we're too tired to do this any more. When we both agree it's too much emotionally for us and we need to move on. I don't want to stop this dream of ours only for monetary reasons.

But how much real does it get? And where does one draw the line in the sand? And how often can one keep stepping over that line before getting lost?

Friday, March 10, 2006


We are officially moving. Across the street. The contract for the lot is signed, and I suppose I am resigned. When we moved to this house, I didn't want to do that either. I liked our old house. It backed up to a wetlands, and we built a fabulous deck that I'd sit on and watch the amazing wildlife. As an added bonus, I happen to love frogs and in the summer at the Rosefield house if we wanted to watch television, it had go up very high in order to be heard over the frogs. Most of the time, the frogs were preferable. Right now I am pretty sure the people living in that neighborhood are hearing the spring peepers. In the very early morning, if one was still enough, a glimpse of a wood duck might be had. I did not want to move.

I do not like to move. First of all, packing is a pain in the ass. I can not think of many things I hate more than packing to move. Secondly, I am a nester. I like to get into a place and stay. I lived in the same building all through college. Not only that, I lived in the same room for the last two years. We were very spoiled in this building with things like afternoon tea and packed lunches in case we couldn't make it back and sit down dinners with waitresses and the Sunday paper delivered to our door, and that helped to keep me there, but mostly I am nester.

Alas, I have plighted my troth to a builder. And so we build. And move. And build. And move. And build-- Sigh. The idea is that we get to a place where we have flipped so many times, we'll end up being able to own the house outright. It works when you are the builder yourself, but not for awhile, and frankly, I think Partner might change her mind about all this moving palaver when/if we have children. It's not going to get easier.

However, one might be inclined to think my moving anxiety would not be as strong only moving across the street. One would be wrong. I think it's worse. To begin with, we were initially going to build the same house with modifications, but we've decided this house is too expensive to heat, so we're changing up plans. I like this house plan. I'm worried I won't like the new house plan, and then I'll be across the street, staring at the house I did love, jealous of people living in my old house. That would be no good.

And our lot now has more trees than the new lot. This used to be a tree nursery, and all along one side of our lot there are flowering crabs. Two rows of them, like a little bower. More maples on this lot too. Partner says we can move some of them over to new lot. We can also take as many of the flowering crabs as we want. But it won't be the same. We won't have the eastern sun come through the back of the house and flood across our bed in the morning. Or into the kitchen. And there are a number of things I like in this house that I don't want to leave. If I make the same exact selections in the new house, isn't that boring?

Here's the only thing that makes me slightly happy we decided to move across the street. When we announced our intention to buy that lot, some of our neighbors told us that the person who lives behind that lot was "odd." Why, we wanted to know? What was so odd about these people? "Well," we were informed, "they're kinda tree huggers." Now this is not something that strikes me as odd in the slightest, and I like the idea of moving next to some tree huggers, because apparently the guy building behind us is not a lover of trees.

One Tuesday, after the appointment with Dr. BusyBusyBusy, I opted to go home and not return to work. The crampones were too too much. So I sat upstairs in the office and attempted to grade some papers. After about an hour, I looked out the door, which gives one a good look out that two story nook window. And all our trees were gone. Okay, not all of them, but many of them. And there was a guy with an excavator plowing down more trees.

I ran down the stairs and hightailed it out there. After flailing my arms around for a few minutes, and basically standing under the excavator shovel, the guy finally turned off his machine and paid attention to me. I told him to stop! cutting! down! trees! And he pulled his smelly cigar out of his fat mouth and said they weren't on my property. Well, okay. I stepped forward, but that one, I pointed, is pretty questionable. It was a big tree. About thirty feet tall. He said he'd watch the property line more carefully and fired his machine up again. But I wasn't done, so I screamed at him more, asking where the builder was. "Oh" he growled at me, "he was here, but I think he's gone now."

Yeah, right, I thought, so I walked around our lots and trekked through the mud and stood outside the house and asked one of the carpenters where the builder was. And he said, "Here he comes now." Let me clarify: We know the builder. He was at our Christmas party. I like him. He's a nice guy and his house is beautiful and certainly will not effect us adversely when it comes time to sell. I railed a bit about the trees, and he told me most of them were dead anyway. "It doesn't look like to me in the summer," I said, "because in the summer it's solid green back here." When we got around the corner of his house, he told me that the excavator pulled more down than he would have liked (which I think is probably a really good BS line.) But I shouldn't worry because he'd be putting in some evergreens. "And anyway," he added, "most of this was just scrub."

I'm devastated. I know for definite that there is a rabbit warren back there. Some of that "scrub" was wild raspberry bushes that the animals ate all summer. In fact we'd often try to rush out and get a few berries before the deer stripped the bushes clean. Once this past summer, we had a group of people from church at our house. We were sitting on the back deck, and there across the back of the yard sauntered a couple of deer. The scrub provided a lot of protection for the deer, fox, rabbits, etc. And in a neighborhood where you can't put up a fence, the scrub was the best possible fence one could have. And it's all gone. It's all bloody gone. And he's cleared so much of his own lot, everything looks so different to me.

I don't understand this. I know that builders get a bad rap for tearing down trees, but my own partner, the builder, is not like this. We try to take as few out as we need to if there are trees on the lot. When we built this house, we opted to move trees in the build envelope rather than tear them all down. It was more expensive than having the exacavator rip them out, but they're trees! This guy behind us-- his house is up-- the trees did not have to come down. They weren't in anyone's way.

So of all the anxieties I have about moving (and the list is longer than I've posted here), living by tree huggers is not one of them. In fact, it may be the most welcome change of all.

(I can't find the camera, but when I do, I'll post a picture of the wild destruction.)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Fruitful Attraction

On Saturday, Partner's mother came over. She brought lots of food for us and just hung out a little. We announced to her that we were indeed moving (again), but this time it was going to be across the street. Our initial plan was to rebuild the exact same house we have now, but with a few key improvements. We love our house plan. But it's expensive to heat, so now we're thinking that we'll build a brand new plan. (I have more to say on this topic later.) Partner's mother was thrilled we might not have our two story breakfast nook any more, because that meant we could put curtains up.

We don't have a lot of window coverings. First of all, we have beautiful windows, even if they aren't all painted yet, and the view out the backyard is quite nice. (Or was, and more on that later too.) I don't particularly like the idea of covering up all my windows with blinds. Right now we have wood blinds on the windows of the front guest room, our bathroom, our closet, and two side windows in our bedroom that face the "big street." Oh, yes, and in the back bedroom because we thought our friends Paul and Jacqui would be staying there before our wedding, and that room faces east, and since they were coming from Wales, we thought perhaps it would be nice for them to be able to block out the bright August morning sun.

I'd like some curtains for my dining room, but I want what I want, and it will be expensive. So, we don't have those yet. Other than that, I'm okay with our lack of window treatments. And I'll do it the same in our new house. I'd probably feel differently if our house were in more densely packed neighborhood or if we lived "in town." But we don't.

Partner's mother was worried about people looking in at us. For the most part, at night, the only things looking in at us are deer, fox, a random coyote, feral cat, or skunk. A raccoon. And if anyone is really interested in my blubbery body, well then...

I made a comment to her that sometimes I think one might attract things that one fears. She didn't like this theory.

I don't like it either, but earlier this week I posted about my lack of bleeding to mark the end of IVF # 2, and I guess I attracted it to me. In a big time bad way. I have now broken through my fabulous keeper on two separate unfortunate times: One while arguing with the man building behind us about the trees and scrub (story to follow) and once today while at the dentist, one of my all time favorite places to be anyway. The cramps have been horrendous. But mostly I feel good to get done with this. If my beta is negative tomorrow, I start the pills again on Sunday. And we're starting it all over. Probably sometime in late April or May? Feels very fast to me, but I'm ready.

I have this car starting theory. It's like we're turning over a hard to start car, and this third time, I just think it's going to start and then stay started. I'm trying hard to attract that hope to me now, because I just need to do that. It's going to be our last IVF cycle with Partner's eggs, and I so desperately want to have a little baby that looks like her. She's damn cute. I'm also going to try be open and not worry so much. (Ha! Ha! Ha! If you know me irl, please contain your laughter.) I'm considering being drastic with beta numbers next time too. No more hpt's-- I kicked them out of our house, and they aren't welcome back. I am also considering asking the nurses to not tell me what the beta number is. Just say positive or negative. And then maybe I don't want to know doubling time, but just if it's doing what it's supposed to do. I don't know if I have enough fortitude for that, but it might stop me obsessing so much. And let me be open to possibility more. (Can I sound more new-age mamby pamby?)

Nothing is going to change next cycle with Partner, but we're treating me more aggressively. I'll be taking low dose aspirin and some drug that begins with an L? And a steroid at transfer time. And I think there was something else? I can't totally remember because at the time Dr. BusyBusyBusy was telling us this, I was cramping so badly I was sweating. (What is this L drug? Does anyone know? I know I've got a cadre of experts here, so help me out here, friends!)

And even though cycle #3 is still a month and half or so way, if you want to start praying now or envisioning us surrounded by white light or sending us good vibes or anything, I won't say no. This is now my official end and beginning of begging to the internets.

Monday, March 06, 2006

... and I'd like to thank...

Last night as we were watching the Academy Awards being out for movies we have never seen, I told Partner if we ever have a kid who's up for an Academy Award (because all of our future kids will be award winners or super athletes or scholars extraordinaire, and we better start thinking about what kind of advice to give them now) I will have one piece of crucial advice for this child.

If you act in a film that was once a book or short story, thank the author who wrote the initial material to begin with. It's not immaterial. As far as I could tell, this only happened twice. In fact, you might want to throw a nod to the screenwriter even if the material wasn't adapted from a novel or short story or play. Or poem. Or whatever. Because without that initial writer's words and story, it doesn't matter how well you acted, you'd never be on that stage crying and acting surprised and waxing on far too long about "mattering."

Thank the writer, you fools, thank the writer.

Love Train

That's right: The Love Train. Pretty much that's what I was on with all your comments. I am unbelievably touched by the sentiment and wishes everyone sent. No matter what we blog about, I'm pretty sure almost everyone who has written about something close and personal to his or her life has been amazed at the support that comes from all over the world. So the fact that I am floored by your support is nothing new, but it's still enormously special. I'd be in some vacuum of grief without this blog and my friends here.

Well, not entirely because we do have a great network of friends and family in real life too, but you know what I mean.

I'm still in limbo with this whole thing-- (stop reading now if you don't want to hear too much information)-- and I imagine it will be worse when I actually start to bleed, which has not happened yet. This causes me some consternation, so I called the RE office about it today. The last nurse I talked to seemed surprised on Thursday when I told her I wasn't bleeding, so here it is days later, and I show no signs at all. None. Not even a pinkish tinge.

The twelve year old nurse called me back-- I should be more supportive to young women embarking on their nursing careers, but she's twelve. I was very blunt with my question, and do you know what she did? Put me on hold. To ask another nurse. Okay, okay-- I'm being hard on her. It's called a learning curve, but I just don't want to be part of it. It's the one thing I'm being fairly bitchy about with this cycle, and I think I might be allowed. No one in the RE office seems concerned I haven't started bleeding yet. I guess it's only me. If it's over, I want it to be over. Just the kind of girl I am I guess.

Of course part of me worries excessively that the labs were all wrong and I am indeed still pregnant. The masses of wine consumed all weekend-- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday-- make me nervous in this case. But it's not the case, but I also think some irrational worries are allowable also.

I haven't had a big breakdown about anything yet. My guess is that will come with the tangible sign of blood, but I have cried about stupid things and my gut instinct is that those cries were less about the broken vacuum or moving or Partner singing to me boldly and out of tune, and more about this current shit. (See how I still balk when writing miscarriage. I have a real hard time with saying it.)

In any case, we see Dr. BusyBusyBusy tomorrow, and we'll hopefully get more insight into what happened or didn't happen and this time I'm pushing for a better answer than "egg quality." I understand that might be all I get still, but nonetheless, I want answers.

Again, all the love-- Staggering-- and I will never be able to say how much it has meant to me.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Rather Rotund Lady Singeth

What is one of the hardest ways you can hear the news you don't want to hear? Well, I'll tell you. Go to a good friend's house who is due in two weeks. She has a 21 month old too. You made plans to get together to see another old friend who just had a baby last week. And that baby is adorable. Only five little pounds. The friend who just gave birth had a very hard time-- and the conditions surrounding this little baby were very scary. When you hold her new son, you just laugh and laugh because you can't imagine the scare she's had and that he's out and safe and so is she is really a miracle. So what you're dealing with shitty infertility-- here is something really good in the world and it's amazing. Incredibly, you really feel this way. For real.

So, imagine you are holding this baby and you hear your phone ring, so you hand the baby back to your friend's father. You answer the phone and right away you know the nurse is not going to give you your number. In fact, the number she gives you is 36. So you think about that horrific cramping from yesterday. The cramping that made you grab the lecturn while you were in front of your whole class trying to talk about Iranian history. And so when the nurse is talking to you, you sit on a couch in a room next to where everyone is talking about pregnancies and babies and when you put your hand up to your mouth to cover your cry, you can smell that little baby smell you want to know so intimately, but you don't want to cry at this moment because the day is about your friend and her own little miracle and if you start crying you'll never stop. That's what you think. You talk to the nurse for a long time who wonders if you've started bleeding yet. You look down in horror at the pale yellow couch you are sitting on. But no. Not yet. And you talk about how you have to go back to the RE office where they will verify your blood type as positive, because now that you've been pregnant-- now that you've been pregnant-- now that you've been pregnant--oh God-- there are things they have to be sure about with Rh and you listen to half it because you just realized you are miscarrying the rice. Miscarriage is an ugly word. You try to convince the nurse you don't need that blood test because you are definitely A+, but you don't have any piece of paper that is verified on. Not even your old Red Cross card because they banned you years ago since they thought you might be a mad cow. You hear the baby make baby noises from the other room. And the nurse tells you how your miscarriage will probably happen. And you schedule all your follow up appointments and the nurse tells you not only do you need to come back in tomorrow but next week as well to make sure the beta number goes negative. In the middle of this phone call, your friend's toddler will come into the room and look at you with the boldest blue eyes you have ever seen on a child. You will him away from you so hard, you start to feel like a cruel person. For hours after this, you will listen to pregnancy complaints and you will want to scream out in aggravation. You want to cry to some of your oldest friends, but you won't. You don't. You call your partner, who can't cry either, and you call your mother who is in the middle of an art class, but cries a little anyway and you finally leave the room you are in after pacing back and forth a few times drawing in shaking breaths. You come back to your own house where you want to pour that huge drink at that very moment, but your old friend and her parents are still with you, and since her parents are Adventists, you want to respect that they won't appreciate you guzzling down a hearty drink, you compromise with yourself and just drink the caffienated tea and you still ask to hold the baby, because this is one of your oldest friends, and the baby is really very amazing. At some point in the afternoon you realize they are going to leave and you start dreading it because then you will be alone and you know it's going to pour out any minute after that. And when they leave, your favorite cat will come to you and sit on you as if he knows that know you can take your allergy medicine again and he will look at you so intently, you know he knows. And then you finally make that drink and curse that there's only enough CC for one and you go upstairs and watch the sun set beyond some dark and heavy clouds and know that the night has come for sure and you wait. You wait for the horrible bright spot to mark the end.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Fat Lady Could Be Warming Up

Well, no news is good news, right?



Okay-- Here's what happened yesterday. When I woke up, I felt like I was ready to go to a funeral. It's not like I felt it right away, but I knew there was something unpleasant to be done, and then all of sudden I remembered. I cried a little on the way to work. I checked that certain IVF bulletin board all day and tried to reassure myself with the stories from other women about beta numbers that didn't properly double but still resulted in healthy pregnancies and happy babies. I chanted "vanishing twin" to myself like a little calming mantra.

At the office, Dr. BusyBusyBusy gave us his sympathetic face as we rounded the corner. I said I was trying to not give up too much hope yet, and he started to talk, and I interrupted him. "I know it's probably stupid, but it's what I am doing." To his credit, he left it.

Up on the table. You know the drill. Dr. BBB told us that he was mainly checking for an ectopic, but admitted he probably wouldn't be able to see it unless it was really big. And he fished around and couldn't see a thing. My uterus is very thick and plush, and really, I have to say, looks very lovely on screen and I can't imagine any little rice that wouldn't be happy to have such a cozy home for nine months. But taste is personal, I guess.

I told Dr. BBB about the many things I have read, and he then appraised me of the opinion that I read too much. I immediately admonished him. "Dr. BBB," I said, my legs up in the air, "you can never read too much." And he got serious and said, "Actually, you are right about that." (Have I told you about his adorable accent? I so wish you could hear it.)

Partner asked him what we'd do if we saw an ectopic, and he said we'd all hold hands and cry a little. Man. I know we're having a hard time around here, but I just like him so much. I believe he really would hold our hands and cry.

Nothing of note on the ultrasound then. I asked about vanishing twin, and he said there was a chance of that. (Guess what I've seized on?) And that there were no answers. I have another blood test tomorrow morning that he things will give us the answer. Either it will go up, dramatically, stay the same, or go down. If it's either two of the latters, I'll stop taking my drugs. I can't even go on with the "and" that should follow that sentence. He also told me all the signs of an ectopic and I should be watching for them.

We should be realistic, he said, but to wait for Thursday. Which is tomorrow. And I am anxious about its arrival and dreading it concurrently. Just another example of how fucked up IVF makes your emotional life. I'm trying to keep perspective in check, but I also think that a person's life is just what it is as he or she is experiencing it. It's no use trying to "console" oneself that there are other people who have it worse. Of course there are. But it's still important that I note to myself all the really positive good things in my life too, and the primary one of those is my partner. We've both agreed that unless you have a really understanding significant other to go through this with, it would be so much worse than it is already. She keeps feeling horrible because this is my body this is happening (or not happening) in. I keep feeling awful because it's her little egg. What this does, ultimately, is create quite a bit of empathy for each other. So while this all feels messy and drawn out and something like the tenth circle of hell (Dante, hello? You missed the IVF circle?), I can be grateful forever for my girl.

And all the love. And all the love.

Dear God--A Letter

I'd really like to be inside something small and warm right now. Since there's the off chance that I'm pregnant, the hot bath is out. All those comments from my last post-- I wish I could get right in the middle of all them and feel their goodness press down on me hard. I think what I really want to be is swaddled.

I am trying so hard to keep it together like my mom told me. But sometimes I just hear something or look at something and the light hits it just so, and inside me it's like an arrow that needs to come out. It presses up into the bottom of my throat and it's so hard to swallow it back down.

I'm so scared to ask you for an answer to this because I'm so afraid your answer is going to be "Not this time, Katie." It's almost better to be in the in-between, in the space between night and day. Sometimes dusk can be a very comforting time of the day. But at the same time, this arrow poking my insides is killing me. And the fact that the sun is going rapidly down leaving Partner and me in darkness hurts.

Oh God. I'm open to your magic in the world. And I want for some of that to be happening inside me right now. I feel like I should ask you that the right thing be done, but that's not what I want. I want that little rice to be settling in. I want it to be growing into a baby. That loves rice.

Ha ha. See? I'm still trying to laugh. But I'm really hanging by little piece of thread until tomorrow and that blood test. An answer will come to us then. Whatever it is, help me to be at peace with it when it does come to us. Please. And please please please.

Yours, and always trying,