Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why even bad movies matter sometimes

This is a journal entry from last night.  I go to a monthly film group (started off as a screenwriting group, but since none of us have written any screenplays in about fifteen years, it is now a “movie appreciation group”).

3/30/11  10:22 PM

Just got back from seeing The Adjustment Bureau which was the assigned movie for the group this month.  I have to say that even though I didn’t much care for the movie (kind of corny and clich├ęd to say the least), the topic was amazingly spot on, so much so that I found myself crying during the end titles. 

It was all about free will vs. fate (boy, what a tired topic that is!) and one couple’s bold attempt to change their fate – so bold that the Chairman (God) decides to grant their wish by rewriting their fates for them.  Now, as mentioned, this is all very silly and not at all anything I believe in.  But it did make me think about my current struggle.  As in, everything in my life has led me down the path of loneliness and childlessness – from my absent father to my man-hating mother and her many marriages to my multitudinous pointless dating experiences to my ending up sequestered off in this dance world in which there are no suitable men anywhere to be found.  If I just sat here and took it, yes, this is exactly what my life would be forever – alone in this house, running the camp year after year.  And again, that’s not so terrible.  Some people should be so lucky to have a successful business, a house they own, and a great group of friends.  BUT we all know I want more than that, and yet fate is not allowing it.  I feel like fate has been telling me, “No, you’re not allowed to get married.  You’re not allowed to meet a nice man.  You’re not allowed to have love in your life.  All of your friends will get this but you won’t.  You won’t be allowed to have a nice family.  You’re cursed.”  And yet I’ve found a loophole in the “system” that is trying to keep me down, and I’m fighting for my rights here.  I’ve found a way to have a family without a man in tow.  And now fate is throwing me a curveball by having my reproductive system not be in working order.  And you know what?  I’m going to fight that, too.  I’m going to fight until I get what I want, I don’t care what crappy path I’ve been headed down my whole life, ever since I was born to the people I was born to.  Fuck that.  I get to do what I want now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A member of the Club

Today while talking to my sister I discovered part of what’s been bothering me since the “you’re not ovulating” revelation is the fact that I have now officially joined a club I never wanted to be a member of.  The Fertility Issues Club.  Wasn’t it Groucho Marx who said “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would have someone like me as a member”?

I’m not going to say “Infertility Club” because that just sounds negative and is not necessarily  true (yet).  But after five months of thinking everything was A-Ok (indeed, a whole lifetime of thinking all my lady parts were functioning normally) it’s a shock to find out something is wrong, and profoundly wrong.  I mean, I’m incapable of the most basic female function, which is ovulating.  As much as I hate to have my entire being reduced to hormonal activity, that’s kind of where I’m at right now.  None of this would matter if I weren’t trying to get pregnant; I wouldn’t even know it was happening (or not happening).  But here we are.

So I became a first time dog owner about three years ago when I adopted my rescue Chihuahua, Sally.  Of course I never actually call her Sally – except when she’s naughty.  Her real names are Stinky, Stinkernutter, Puppernutter, Stinkengruven, Puppenmoven, and Stink Muffin.  The depth of love I feel for this jacked-up little mutt of a dog is unfathomable.  I never liked dogs – I was always kind of scared of them – but decided on a friend’s recommendation that I should get one.  And now I think dogs (especially mine, but everyone else’s, too) are pretty much the best thing ever.  I’m interested in other people’s dogs, I want to see pictures of them, hear about their antics.  I am a member of the Dog Club.  Now I get it.

I have a childless friend who constantly bitches about all the moms we know and their kids.  I tell her, “It’s because you’re not a member of the club.  If you were a member of the Kid Club, you’d be into all that stuff.”  Just like I’m a member of the Homeowner Club (you never thought finance rates could be so fascinating), the Swing Dance Club (whether to come in on 1 or 3 could spark a debate that would rage for hours), the Film Geek Club (1,001 reasons why the 70s was the best decade for movies).  And now, alas, the Fertility Issues Club.

It feels better to just embrace it.  Ok, I’m having issues.  I don’t know how bad the issues are right now; my hope is what I’m experiencing will be a (somewhat) easy fix.  At least I don’t have a combination of my stuff AND male factor infertility (that must be tons ‘o fun in a marriage).  It seems like everyone I’ve read about on the older single mom track has had something – has needed some medical assistance to make their beans stick.  So perhaps I was being overly optimistic thinking I could just try a couple of unmedicated IUIs and it would all work out.  Maybe this is the norm and I’m adjusting to it after having had unrealistic expectations. 

Read a couple of VERY comforting posts on the WTE “Trying to Conceive” boards yesterday that made me feel better.  A couple of ladies were talking about having my exact issues – low progesterone, possible anovulation, thinking about Clomid.  And one lady answered that these issues are very common and a very easy fix.  Another said she had these issues, was put on Clomid for one cycle and got pregnant.  This all made me feel like the cloud was lifting a little.  And suddenly I understood why these ladies congratulate each other on their BFPs (Big Fat Positive, as in pregnancy test).  Now that we all know the hell this fertility stuff is, it really is possible to be happy for the women who beat it.  It gives us hope for our own situations, and it’s nice to see The Club shrink a little, member by member, as the Fertility Issues Club ladies go and join the Kid Club.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anything can happen with a razor

So today is one of those days that I am trying to comfort myself with pat quotations like “everything happens for a reason,” even though to my core I absolutely don’t believe this is true.  Try telling a woman in the Congo who just saw her family butchered in front of her that it “happened for a reason” or it happened to “teach her something”.  Try it, Oprah.  I dare ya!

But whenever I think of the phrase “everything happens for a reason” I think of one of my favorite comedy bits by a great comic, Laura Kightlinger.  And I quote: “The thing that amazes me about getting fired is that nobody ever has anything insightful to say about it. They always say the same thing. They always say, “Everything happens for a reason.” As lame as that sounds, I guess it’s better to hear it out loud. Because when you hear it in your own head, it sounds like, “Anything can happen with a razor.”

Now let me just point out that I am not suicidal.  I’m fine.  I have no intention of harming myself.  If I kill myself, then I for sure won’t get to have a baby, and where’s the fun in that?  Imagine what my progesterone level will be after I’m dead?  Wacka wacka.  But I will admit I was blindsided by a sudden surge of utter despair today and I’m trying to work out why.

Nothing happened.  I went to the Kaiser gynecologist and they of course told me they can’t help me until they have those Day 3 labs run, which was two days ago, so now I have to wait a whole month and throw another cycle down the toilet just to find out if I can even do any of this.  They set up an appointment with their new fertility specialist over at the Sunset complex.  And in the meantime I’ll go in for an ultrasound in a week to see if we can try an IUI but I already know what they’re going to tell me – you’re not ovulating, we can’t try today.  Please give your payment at the door.

Do I wish I had started this process running my labs back in December, so I would at least have known what I was in for?  Maybe, but I understand why I didn’t.  I wanted to wait to get the birth control out of my system, and then I had my trip which threw everything off, and I’ve only been back from that trip for three weeks.  I’m pissed I missed my chance to have labs run on Sunday and will now have to flush April down the crapper, but what can you do?  Also I truly believed my low post-O temperatures were just low progesterone.  Nobody told me low progesterone means you’re not ovulating at all.  Had I known this I wouldn’t have been in for such a shock.  I’m still adjusting to this information that despite all my testing & temping for months, and the belief that I was normal and healthy, that in fact my body isn’t working.  I’m broken, and I won’t know for another month if I can even be fixed. 

I think a lot of this too is coming down from having spent all weekend at my friend’s fairy tale wedding.  I hate to admit this (and I will delete this if I ever tell her about this blog) but it was hard for me.  Not that I’m not happy for her, not that I’m not confident in their future together.  But she just got everything I ever wanted and I didn’t.  She’s having this amazing lavish wedding surrounded by family and love and hope, and I’m off in a corner on my cell phone talking about FSH tests and hormones.  It’s just depressing.  I naively thought this would be so easy for me, and now it’s getting really complicated and expensive, and there’s no guarantee of anything – no way of knowing if a year from now I’ll be sitting here nursing a baby or if I’ll still be just like this, except broke and battered.  And you know what’s even more f’d up?  My friend that just had this amazing lavish wedding will probably be the one sitting here in a year nursing her baby that she conceived without even trying.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Oprah.

Monday, March 28, 2011

More fun with tests, numbers, and misinformation

I was planning on blogging about this tomorrow since I’ll (maybe) have more information, but what the heck, no time like the present.  Let me start off by saying I am totally confused and don’t know what to do next.

So as of Friday the plan was to start Clomid for this cycle since the consensus seems to be I am NOT in fact ovulating despite all signs indicating I am (except those pesky post-ovulation temperatures, which I admit this particular cycle have been unusually wacky).  My period started two days early which gives me a luteal cycle of 11 days which is not good, and two days shorter than normal, which really makes me think maybe they’re right about the lack of ovulation this month. 

Saturday I’m in hair and makeup to be a bride’s maid in my friend’s wedding and the clinic leaves a message.  They want me to come in Monday for a full work up – more blood tests (FSH and Estriadol) AND an ultrasound to check for cysts.  When I call back I ask why all this, and they say they can’t put me on Clomid until they know I don’t already have cysts, because Clomid can cause cysts.  Did you know that in an ultrasound a follicle can look like a cyst?  Fun!  They now seem to think the follicle they saw on March 14th that we all thought was sign of a just-missed ovulation was in fact a cyst.  Good times!  So I set up an appt for all this for Monday (today), but I also pointed out that Monday will be Day 4 of my cycle and for FSH and Estriadol they should do the test on Day 3 (Sunday, when, once again, they’re not open).  They say, “oh, don’t worry about that.”  Ummm….ok.

So first thing this morning, as I’m sleeping away ready to get up later and go in for more poking and prodding, the clinic calls.  The woman X (again, ultrasound lady) asks exactly what time my period started Friday.  I say early, when I woke up.  She then says they don’t want to do any testing because it might not get correct results because, of course, it’s Day 4 and not Day 3.  I ask if I can get on Clomid anyway and they say no, not without the tests.  They recommend I just go ahead and try a natural cycle this time, if I want.  So…what should I say to that?  In my head I was thinking I do have this gyn appt at Kaiser tomorrow, so maybe they can tell me something.  Or put me on Clomid (I’ve read you can start taking it Day 5).  And then there’s this whole issue of, well, if I didn’t ovulate in March, that means what I just had is not an actual period but “anovulatory bleeding” which would explain why two days early.  So then what do any of these cycle days mean?  If it wasn’t a period then it’s not Day Anything. 

Right now my only desire in life is to not flush April down the toilet if I don’t have to, which is why I’m sticking with this clinic for now even though they’re driving me crazy.  I just plain don’t have time to do a bunch of research and start all over going in for consultations with new REs and new clinics; if I decide to do that, April is gone.  Maybe the gyn will tell me something tomorrow; but I do worry, because the fact is, a gyn doesn’t know the intricacies of all this stuff whereas a clinic experienced in getting older women pregnant for the last twenty-odd years does (although the way they’ve been with me you’d think they were totally clueless).  It sucks that you can’t really determine if you ovulated or not until weeks later – after all, March was totally normal and by the books until a few days later and those temps just weren’t right, and then the period came early.  Is all of this still recovering from India?  Maybe.  Have I been ovulating but just not March for some reason?  Maybe.  March was a “long” month for me; on the long months are those the months that produce an inferior egg or no egg at all, but on the “short” months everything is cool?  Maybe.  The clinic wants me to start using OPKs as usual when the time comes (probably next week) and then right before do an ultrasound to see how that lining looks.  So most likely what will happen at the end of next week is this – I’ll get all the “signs” (far too disgusting to relate here – you TTC’ers know what I’m talkin’ about!), I’ll get the positive OPKs, I’ll go in on April 8th for an ultrasound and the lining will be too thin and they’ll tell me I’m not ovulating even though EVERYTHING is telling me that I am.  So we will skip the IUI and then I will take stock and decide what to do – probably start doing some consults elsewhere.  God knows I’ll have the time, then – a whole freaking month of time to try to get someone to give me some answers.

BUT if I go in for that ultrasound and they say the lining is happening then we might just go for it.  Right now I’m not going to do anything to jeopardize the chance to at least try.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bring it on!!!

I was exposed to an interesting phenomenon last night.  It’s the Kaiser system of transparency, by which they e-mail you your blood test results as they get them.  So as I was home watching TV (The Real Housewives of Miami, which honestly is turning out to be kind of a snooze fest) I kept getting e-mails detailing my results.  And it was fascinating.  I googled all of the tests to see what they were and what they meant, and was delighted to see I came up normal in all of them (except something about iron binding in which I am slightly below normal).  Then this morning, the best results of all. My TSH level as of yesterday.  Now remember Monday I came up at a 4.9, which they consider hypothyroid, and they want me to be under 3 for pregnancy.  Guess what it was yesterday? 2.06. Huh?

So I immediately called the clinic partially to gloat but partially to see what we should do next.  I talked to X (ultrasound lady).  She was surprised by the results but said we can go ahead in April if I want.  I mentioned I’m concerned now that I may not be ovulating; she said we can try Clomid.  And I think I’m going to do it.  Why waste an IUI when obviously there are problems that can be fixed with Clomid?  She said to come in on day 3 of my next cycle – just discovered today is day 1 of my cycle (which makes this month’s luteal phase 11 days which sucks, but then again if I didn’t actually ovulate then it’s not really a luteal phase, is it?  Jeez, maybe India jacked me up more than I thought).  So I will go in Monday and most likely start Clomid.  Seems pretty simple – it’s only $20, and you just take one pill a day for five days (or so it says on the internet).  Then I go in and get an ultrasound to see if I actually ovulated and if the lining is thick enough (still a concern for me – I’ve heard Clomid actually thins your lining).  So I may take Clomid, ovulate, and not be able to try an IUI because the lining isn’t where it should be (I think…unless they give me progesterone and this helps…?  Ugh, who knows).  Anyway I’m still going to see the ob/gyn at Kaiser Tues for their opinion, can’t hurt.  And maybe the remaining thyroid results (still don’t have T3s or T4s) will show a problem and I’ll be right back where I was Tuesday (pit of despair).   
But right now it’s all looking good and positive and I’m going to stick with that positivity because I have to get through being a bridesmaid in a close friend’s fairy tale wedding this weekend and I need a little boost (not to mention I will now be on my period the whole time…good times). 

So let’s all say a little prayer for April – and in the words of Joe, my favorite handi-capable character from Family Guy – BRING IT ON!!!