Friday, April 29, 2011

Fear and Loathing

Here are some thoughts from today's journal:

4/29/11  12:49 PM

Been having weird defeatist thoughts lately, which I suppose is natural considering the level of disappointment from last time, which took me by surprise.  After all, there’s no reason to assume try #2 won’t work.  It’s just as likely to work, or fail, than last time.  But every minute of every day I picture myself going in for the procedure and it just not working.  Of feeling all those crampy, twingy feelings again, enduring 10 days of progesterone suppositories greasily leeching out of me, walking around on egg shells with this weird feeling that something may be going on inside of me, not going in the hot tub, not drinking iced tea, going to the same CVS to the same cashier to buy the same early pregnancy test (and not trying to bury it with other non-essential purchases as I would have done as a young girl), only to get yet another negative result and go down yet another rabbit hole for a few days, and have to face the even worse unpleasantness of “Do I do this again at all?  Do I see an RE and spend thousands on injectables next time to up my chances?”  That’s what I’m really afraid of – the decision for #3.  The clinic advises getting more aggressive for #3, but I can of course ignore them and try naturally if I want.  But…isn’t it worth it to up your chances rather than continue on like this, which clearly isn’t working?  Ugh.  I don’t want to have to make this decision, yet every blog I read involves additional medication; nobody’s doing this naturally.  Do they all know something I don’t know…?

The worst thing about my current doubts is they’re so complex.  Because of course there’s a part of me that believes it will work otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.  I do have moments of hope; in fact, I’ve been working on it.  I’ve been visualizing my little healthy red headed baby, and I admit it’s seeming more real to me, some times.  But the overriding feeling is no – this is too hard, it’s too much to ask, it’s too much of a crap shoot; by the time it could have happened for me I’ll be mentally and financially drained and will have stopped long before.  It all gets down to that defeatist thought of “I don’t believe good things can happen to me”.  This is trauma from a lifetime of rejection and failed relationships, I know.  I wish I could see a therapist about this; but now I’m afraid Kaiser will charge me $1000 for one ½ hour visit (until I meet my deductible of course).

I have to admit I did watch the royal wedding last night and the ¼ of me that’s pure Brit was completely enthralled and delighted by it.  But unlike most women watching Kate (or Catherine as we’re now supposed to call her) I wasn’t thinking “I wish it was me”.  I was thinking “Of course it’s her and not me.”  I feel that way about all weddings.  Of course it’s the other woman and not me – everyone gets to get married and have someone to take care of them except me.  Haven’t I figured this out yet?

I am going to read “Knock Yourself Up” again because I am completely amazed now that the author tried ICI at home FOURTEEN TIMES before conceiving her son, and this all in her 40s.  Now that I know more about the whole process, I wonder how she felt this was the best path – my clinic strongly advised against at-home ICI, saying the odds were so low of success that it’s pretty much not worth doing, especially when the sperm vials are around $500 + the cost of shipping, washing, all the other prep work.  Still I always liked the idea of the DIY method, and yesterday even thought if repeated IUIs don’t succeed I might give myself a couple of shots of doing it on my own terms at home, since I know now that it’s not a biological problem with me and I really don’t need medication, I just need to beat the numbers game.  I certainly know how to chart my own ovulation accurately and am capable of shooting a syringe in my v-jay.  The only problem is it’s really not that much cheaper than doing an in-office IUI; I mean, $500 or $600 vs. $880 – not that much of a savings.  But I guess I’m glad it’s out there as an option.

I hope I get more hopeful as next week comes on – after all, next week is the fun part of charting the oncoming ovulation, then the ultrasound on Thurs, and then (if all looks good) proceeding over the weekend.  And I promise I will think positive thoughts at that time, even though I know what I’m thinking has nothing to do with sperm meeting egg.  But I’m entitled to a little hope, I guess.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Anyone remember this Sex and the City episode, the one where Mikhail Baryshnikov asks Carrie if she wants children and when she wavers, he tells her she’s 38 and she doesn’t have long?  I hate to admit it but I think this was a large part of my deciding to try this now, at 38.  It’s just a number that stuck in my head as being “the end of the road”.  So, here I am, trying.

The last few days I’ve been having a lot of mixed feelings.  I know much of this is due to the failure of IUI #1; it’s sort of comforting to think “maybe this isn’t the right thing for me after all”.  So my head is standing still, but my body is still marching forward.  Weird, isn’t it?  Most of the day I spend thinking “I don’t know” and then my first thought when I wake up is “next week I get to do the ultrasound!” Talk about mixed messages.  It’s exhausting. 

One thing I’ve come to accept is the fact that you NEVER feel 100% sure about this stuff, or 100% happy, or 100% confident.  Women who achieve pregnancy are riddled with doubts and fears; of course I’d be feeling the same thing just trying (because I know I can still turn back and save myself a ton of $$ and heartache).  It sure is tempting to just stop.  But then my brain starts counting the days to my next IUI.  So, what do we do here?

Things got far worse and far more complicated yesterday when I spent the day yelling at Kaiser on the phone.  I had called to check up on this weird bill for $118 I got some weeks ago – supposedly it was for the Kaiser gyn appointment I had that was basically a total waste of time (she just ordered the Day 3 labs for me); I paid $30 to see her as is my co-pay, then got this bill.  So I called a couple of weeks ago about it asking why is it $150 just to see a doctor, and they said they’d put it under review, but then the lady on the phone mentioned “I do see some charges for blood tests…” and then the phone died, and I didn’t call back because I had to go out.  So, worried about this, I called back yesterday just to make sure I don’t have to pay the $118, and the lady on the phone said she sees that I owe $948 for blood tests.  Uh – what???  I exploded on her.  The blood tests were supposed to be a $10 co pay.  She said no, I’m responsible for all charges until I meet my deductible, which is $1500.  I said how is that possible, the doctor told me they were $10!  And all I needed was the TSH and she ordered about twenty tests, how can this possibly run $948???  She said it’s not their job to know my coverage, it’s my responsibility to know my coverage.  I immediately e-mailed the doctor and said how can she have ordered all these tests I didn’t need, when I thought it was all covered and now they want to charge me almost $1000.  Someone in her office called back and said according to the doctor the tests should be the $10 co pay; I said what about the deductible, and she said she didn’t know about that.  So then I called the main customer service line to lodge a complaint.  They again said it’s my responsibility to know my coverage and apparently during that first, cut-off phone call I was advised that blood tests were not covered (no, she just told me I owed some money, I freaked out, and then the phone died).  So now I just have to wait until someone gets back to me within 7-10 business days.  I know I’m out $1000 – I checked my coverage and sure enough, labs are not covered until after the deductible is met.  How this is possible is amazing to me – I just needed one lousy TSH test, and now I owe $1000.  Well, some of that I’m sure is the tests from this Monday, which I’ll happily pay for, but even then I shouldn’t owe more than a couple hundred $$, not $1000.  Had I known ANY of this I would have just had the tests done at the clinic.  I thought this was all covered!  You go on line to check your coverage and under “labs” it says $10 co-pay; office visits $30.  Nowhere does it say “after deductible”.  So, basically, every time I want to do anything at Kaiser, even see a doctor, I’d better call customer service first to see what it would cost me.  If I’d known that useless gyn appt was going to cost $150 I never would have gone; if I’d known the blood tests were going to run $948 I never would have had them run, ever.  I feel totally scammed and ripped off.  I don’t have any money right now, and this bill (for absolutely nothing) is the cost of one IUI.  So, I could have tried to have a baby with that money, and instead I have a whole lot of nothing.  I’m so angry I spent the day crying and yelling and running around like a mad, wet hen yesterday.  This is the last thing I needed right now!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Picture yourself...

Here are some comments from today’s journal:

4/27/11  11:58 AM

Had a hard time waking up today.  Watched a frustrating German movie last night about a relationship.  It’s one of those typical European “lovers on vacation” movies where there’s this horrible tension and sense of doom throughout, which makes you think one of these people is going to end up dead or they’ll have a horrible break up or something…no.  All that happens in this movie is the girl out of nowhere says “I don’t love you anymore” and decides she’s leaving; then bizarrely sits down on the floor and collapses on her side, and stays like that for hours, making her boyfriend (and us) wonder – is she dead?  Is she playing?  Is she sick?  But no, hours later the boyfriend starts blowing on her belly and she laughs, and that’s the end of the movie.  Huh?

Been thinking lately about the nature of relationships and codependency.  My theory is that your parenting & childhood often has very little to do with how you as a woman relate to a man.  I think it’s just chalked up to low self-esteem; isn’t it always the smart, educated, talented, beautiful women who think they’re a piece of crap, whereas the fat ghetto girls with nothing going for them think they’re the shit.  It’s funny how that works, isn’t it?  I mean, I freely admit I was super codependent at one time, but again, it was a long time ago, and I think that “lawd don’t leave me” thing is pretty normal for teenagers and girls in their early 20s.  It’s all hormones.  But I certainly don’t feel that way anymore.  I can’t imagine a man coming into my life at this point that would be so amazing I’d want to die if he left me – I mean, what’s so great about him? He probably can’t get it up half the time, has thinning hair, plays video games all day on the weekends, spends his money irresponsibly on a bunch of adolescent bullshit.  What’s so great about that?  Most men are nothing but a liability.  I mean, sure it’s nice to have a date on Friday night, but come on.

It’s so hard to tell a woman who really wants to be married and have kids that she’s better off on her own – I mean, no woman wants to hear that.  No movie ends with the woman just walking off into the sunset by herself (although many movies end with men doing this).  Are we just conditioned to think our lives are supposed to end with us pairing off?  Or are we hard wired for this and then the media just picked up on it?  And yet it’s not at all what happens in real life.  Most people are in relationships, sure, but are they good for the people in them?  I believe many people would be better off by themselves – well, the men wouldn’t, because as married men they have a free maid, cook, and prostitute; they have a free pit crew so they can function in the work force.  But most women subjugate their dreams to be with a man.  This is simply a fact of life. 

That’s another funny thing, the last couple of days I’ve been sitting here picturing myself pregnant and I just can’t picture it.  And this has always been the case by the way, even before the failed IUI.  I guess it’s hard picturing things that have never been.  Like, I can’t picture myself married, or old, or working in the corporate world, or living in another country.  You just don’t know what it’s going to be like until you get there.  And then it’s too late, ha ha! 

Spring is finally here and for the first time I’m able to sleep with the window open, which makes everything feel different.  Cool breezes running through the house, the sounds of the birds and wind – everything feels strange and new.  Every minute I ask myself how would you feel if you were pregnant right now, how different it would be if I had a real due date, a real plan for the next few months, years, the rest of my life, instead of the sort of “well, I don’t know” thing I have going right now.  Personally I can’t imagine it; there’s a big part of me that believes this is just never going to work, that I’ll never be so blessed, that I’ll just go on like this forever, in this house, alone, running my event.  And again, this isn’t so terrible – it’s certainly familiar; it’s how I’ve lived since I was 29.  I just can’t imagine change will happen for me.  I don’t want to jinx it, yet at the same time I know my thoughts mean nothing; I can sit here all I want and say “it’s never going to work, I’m never going to be lucky enough to have my own kid,” but the fact is, I probably will – it’s all up to me.  I could put a round of IVF on my credit card right now and cut to the chase and probably succeed; or I could spend myself into the poor house on IUI after IUI, medications, etc...and succeed.   

Yesterday’s lab results really changed everything – I know now I’m not too old, that everything is A-ok in my body (something I doubted before).  So yes, it is possible, and very possible, actually.  Yet I still can’t picture it.  I think I doubt anything that good could ever happen to me, I’ll be honest.  So few things ever do (well, to anyone, really).  I just can’t believe I’d be so blessed as to have a happy, healthy little red headed baby.  It seems too wonderful to be possible for me.  I feel like when (or if) I do see that positive pregnancy test I’m just going to be totally overwhelmed with joy; I won’t even be able to believe it. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bopping away the blues

So this last weekend I engaged in what I now call Tribal Activities.  This particular Tribal Activity involved dressing up a bit like Lucille Ball and listening & dancing to tons of 50’s rockabilly, western swing, and rock and roll, surrounded by about 10,000 other people doing the exact same thing.  It was awesome. I bopped, jived and strolled until I was reminded how great my life is and how much I have going for me, and how many good times I have ahead with or without a baby.  It was just what I needed at the right moment.  Oh, and I also saw several men who looked just like Joe Strummer which reminded me there just might be a man out there for me, somewhere, some day.  And I hope when I do meet him he looks like Joe Strummer.

Crashed a bit when I got home to my empty house.  Dog was still at the kennel and it’s always a little lonely without her.  I noticed when I went into the bathroom to unpack just the smell of the room freaked me out me a little (it has a sweet, flowery smell of a candle I have in there) – it reminded me of all the failed pregnancy tests.  So I guess I am a bit traumatized by all that still, which I suppose is normal.  I also hadn’t emptied my garbage in a couple of weeks, and thought what a sad, gross little story my bathroom garbage would tell the homeless guy who sifts through my trash cans looking for recyclables – a couple of positive OPKs followed by two negative pregnancy tests followed by used tampons.  Guess what happened to this lady this month?

In other news, I was in town on Day 3 of my cycle so decided to take a chance and run my Day 3 labs up at Kaiser.  I figured if the numbers came out all wacky at least I wouldn’t waste another IUI and I could either a) get more aggressive now, or b) stop entirely.  It seemed stupid not to just go for it, so I presented my arm for yet another bloodletting and tried to go about my day, but as the evening progressed I got increasingly anxious.  The same way many people know when something is “off” in their bodies, I have the opposite feeling – that nothing is “off”.  But I also know my instincts on this front are often wrong, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Thank the Lord the results were just great – totally normal, and pretty darned good for my age I might say.  They are, for those of you who know what this means:

FSH – 6.7

Est – 50.8

FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) is the biggie, because a high number means the hormone is working extra hard to release those eggs, which means the egg number/quality are on the decline.  Statistics vary slightly from RE to RE, but most info I could find on line says that anything under 10 is good; under 7 is excellent.  And Estriadol under 75 is also very good.  So my eggs are good and not on a serious decline!  Whoopee!

Some of you may be thinking right now, “but I thought you said you were quitting…?” Let me clarify – I have myself PERMISSION to quit if I need to, which may still end up happening.  Just doing this was enormously freeing, because it took the pressure off and reminded me that I’m currently my #1 priority; I get to do what I want, and if I want all of this to just stop, that’s ok.  But it’s certainly very premature to assume this isn’t going to work.  I’m actually currently quite confident it will work; since I have those numbers behind me now, I know it’s not a biological problem but merely a numbers game at this point.  When, and how, to catch that egg.  It could still be months and a lot of $$ to make it happen, and I’ll admit I am not looking forward to the emotional torment this process will still be.  But I’m not quitting.  Not yet.  At least if I do quit I can know I tried, and hopefully now I won’t forget that my life is already good and worthwhile sans baby (something I admit I lost sight of for a little bit).

Last night I was reminded of a poem that haunted me when I was a kid.  I did always wonder if this poem would be me some day.  I dug out the old battered “Treasury of American Poetry” and read this and a lot of other poems I had completely forgotten had a huge impact on me as a young girl, so I may start including them in my posts from now on.  Here is the one that I think so completely sums up the TTC journey:

Waiting, by Jane Cooper

My body knows it will never bear children.
What can I say to my body now,
this used violin?
Every night it cries out so desolately
from its secret cave.

Old body, old friend,
why are you so unforgiving?
Why are you so stiff and resistant
clenched around empty space?
An instrument is not a box.

But suppose you are an empty box?
Suppose you are like that famous wooden music hall in Troy,
New York,
waiting to be torn down
where the orchestras love to play?

Let compassion breathe in and out of you
filling you with poems.