Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stranger Splits

Today I stopped off at the lab to have my blood drawn to check my progesterone levels which will indicate if I ovulated or not. I was sitting in the line of chairs-picture those old study carrels in the library- waiting for the phlebotomist to make her way down to me, when a delivery driver arrived. My chair was stationed at the end of the line, near the actual lab and the spot where they collect samples and get them ready for distribution. The driver was standing in the doorway waiting for the lab tech to get the samples packaged. I was sitting sideways, staring at the magazine cutout of a local park which was affixed to the wall because I don't like to watch when they stick the needle in, and he commented, "Too scary to watch?" "No, I just prefer not to watch" I replied. "Oh, well how about a distraction?" and he started sliding into the splits. He went all the way down, staring in my eyes the entire time. I was amazed and utterly embarrassed. Then he stood up and said "Not bad for a 58 year old." I told him he didn't look nearly that old, which was true. Then he blabbered on about winning the lottery and that he would blow the money. By then my blood had been taken and a cotton ball was firmly taped to the point of entry. I stood up and thanked the driver for the distraction and walked out. It was very entertaining and completely surprising. Definitely the highlight of this day.

Monday, January 23, 2012

While we were waiting for Husband's sample to be processed before the IUI last Wednesday, we sat in the lobby reading. An old lady came into the lobby area asking a nurse if this was the OB/GYN suite, which she responded yes. The entire lobby was empty but the lady sat in a section of chairs right next to us. I just knew she was going to strike up a conversation, could feel it. Sure enough, she sneezed and Husband innocently said "bless you" and the lady pounced "Oh, thank you. This is some weather we are having."Then she asked "Are you two having a baby?" I knew she was going to ask-it's not an unusual question to ask in the fertility/OBGYN office, but it still made me mad. She claims she used to work there...well wouldn't you know not to ask people that question unless someone was obviously pregnant? And while I am no skinny minnie, I don't look pregnant at all. I responded with "Hopefully someday" and it surprised her. She clearly understood and apologized, stammering out "Oh, I didn't think...that's not what I meant to...I used to work here." And that was the end of that conversation. We sat in silence for a few more minutes and then the nurse called us back.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Any Asshole Can Have a Kid...and Most Do

So now we are now fully on round two. People that I am acquainted with are now getting pregnant with their second child. How do I respond to that news? By crying, of course.

Last night Husband and I were over at our very close friends M&R's house. M told me that one of their friends is pregnant AGAIN. The pregnant friends are people we have known for years, due to the many social event M&R have hosted over the years. They are not my favorite people...their are perfectly fine human beings, just not our style. So of course, the fact that they are pregnant again hurts even worse because I don't particularly care for them. This is M&R's second set of friends to be having their second child. I have no joy for them at all. As horrible as that sounds, I couldn't be less happy for them.

This is the second time she had to tell me someone was pregnant, the last being in November when she told me R's sister (who we also don't care for) was pregnant. M waited to tell me because she knew it would be hard for me. Same thing this time. While I appreciate her sensitivity, it hurts me that she even has to think about what she can and can't say to me. That is probably ironic considering my recent posts about the insensitivity of the in-laws, but really, I never want our problems to cause others to walk on eggshells for us.

To medicate, I drank entirely too much wine last night, which is awful considering we just had our IUI on Wednesday. Now I am beating myself up for it and fear that if we aren't pregnant this cycle, it will be because I drank last night. This is unfounded, however. Crack addicts, alcoholics, prescription pill addicts can all get pregnant and have babies. One night of too much wine before implantation would not impact it. The longer we endure this process the more I realize that drinking, drugs, body weight, beauty, height, finances and mental stability have NOTHING to do with being able to conceive. You can be the kindest person in the world and not be able to have a baby of your own, but the meth addict stealing copper from metal scraps at an abandoned building downtown probably has three kids in the foster system.

I know people with life-threatening medical conditions that were warned to not get pregnant, have a healthy baby. I know people who have horrendous marriages, who said they never wanted children, people who are morally bankrupt...they all have kids. It's difficult to not constantly ask "why not us?" Us, with just a minor issue of a blocked tube, but superb sperm volume, progression and motility and consistent ovulation, with a good marriage, a stable financial situation and a support network, have yet to conceive.

It's a very dreary, rainy, gray Sunday morning. This morning I fought with Husband over something ridiculously stupid, my stomach is very unhappy with me, there is a mountain of clean, but unfolded laundry on the guest bed, I need to vacuum, clean the kitchen and take out the garbage. Instead, I have to get ready to meet my mother for lunch, which I assure you is the LAST thing I want to do. We're meeting at a pancake house she loves, where she will undoubtedly order two blueberry pancakes (taking one home for her dinner later), scrambled eggs, bacon and a cup of coffee. She never strays. Ordering something different is just way too adventurous for her.

Today is just meant to be a crappy day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Smiley Face

Today is day 11 of my cycle and unexpectedly, we got a the smiley face on the OPK. This has only happened on day 13 or 14, never this early. I'm so excited, even though I shouldn't be. I have the follicle scan today at 2pm, and there is no point being excited until we know which ovary will be ovulating. Of course we think this time will be different since the positive OPK is so early. Stupid things gives us hope, which will only add to our disappointment later. It's human nature, right?

The Farm

Yesterday was my first acupuncture appointment. I'm going to a clinic that my esthetician recommended because her friend had similar issues and was pregnant after just one month of treatment there. The practitioner was a Korean man, probably in his mid-40s, with a slight build but about 5'9'' and with a very thoughtful demeanor. While he does speak English, it is not without carefully considering his words before saying them, with a thick accent. During the interview portion of the appointment, he went through the five pages of medical history questions I had to answer and asked very detailed questions, which was assuring. Sitting there while we discussed my menses-the color, consistency, etc., I realized how this is never something that has been talked about with the medical doctors.
*WARNING* slightly graphic details: This is something my older sister and I have discussed before because sometimes the consistency made us think something was wrong with us. turns out, our mother (which my sister only recently found out) had similar issues with clots-the flow was not so much blood flow as pieces of the uterine lining. In addition, he asked me to detail my bowel movements, urination, temperature changes, etc. While it felt a bit strange to discuss these intimate matters with a male stranger, there was no embarrassment, just the feeling that all this information is going to help him, help me.

He palpitated my abdomen and chest and I could feel the difference between my left and right side. My right side was stiff and it hurt when he pressed on it. He told me I must have a high pain tolerance because the way my abdomen and intestines felt to him indicated I had severe menstrual cramps and he could tell I was constipated. It was remarkable that what he felt just by touching my body told him so much that was true about me. It was even more surprising that I could feel it.

He explained the way Eastern medicine approaches infertility is to think of the body as a farm. In order for the farm to be productive and fruitful, you have to prepare the soil before sowing the seeds. You have to get the body prepared to conceive so it can conceive. What we are doing first is to get my blood moving (blood stagnation causes many problems-constipation, bad liver function, digestion issues) and balancing my right side. Once these changes are made, then my body will be ready for a baby. It's simple, but it's so logical. He noted that changes will not be made right away, but over time, and I would have to take the herbs he gave me to complete the process.  It struck me how lacking, at least at our fertility clinic, is in treating the whole person. Not one of the doctors or nurses asked me about the consistency of my periods, how my digestion is, if I have body pain or concerns. Yes, they do have you  go for a whole battery of blood tests to check for diabetes, HIV/AIDS, STDs and other diseases. Yes, they do ask how long you've been trying and do test for problems-the follicle scans, the hysterosalpingogram, but it's all focused entirely on reproductive organs. They don't look beyond those organs to determine what is going on. I understand the philosophical differences between the two types of medicine, but I feel they should be united when treating infertility.

Anyway, the appointment went very well, the needles did not hurt and when he gave me the herbs with which I was to make tea, he had packaged them so all I had to do empty them into a pot-no measuring, just add water. I brewed the tea yesterday and tried it for the first time this morning-not delicious. Unfortunately I am not allowed to add honey or lemon to improve the flavor, so I just plugged my nose and drank it fast. It is to be taken three times per day, that's alot for something that tastes terrible. That's alright though, it's worth it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Here We Go...Again

Today is day five of my cycle and I will begin my fourth (consecutive) round of Clomid tonight. This will be the fifth month I take it, the first being back in June when we conceived. Next Tuesday I have the folicle scan to determine which side will ovulate, then hopefully, the IUI.

Last night was our weekly evening with our godson. We get to hang out with him while his mom goes to a work function. We haven't seen him since the beginning of December and wow, he has changed! He turns one at the end of the month and he now has twelve teeth, is standing very well, he is clearly ready to walk soon, and chatters away. He was once a big baby, but as he gets older he gets taller and more proportionate. He's adorable and really smart. It is so much fun to see his personality come out and notice the behaviors that are similar to his parents.

I recently had lunch with our other close friend and her baby boy. He too has changed in the month since we've seen them last-he has four teeth, is really smiley and observant. There was a couple with a baby sitting at the other end of the restaurant and he noticed the baby and talked to him, from his high chair. His new thing apparently is to twist around constantly. If you are holding him and he is standing up in your lap, he twists and turns until you help him turn around. He wants to see this way, then the other was fun. He's a very intelligent baby and enjoyable to be around.

The way they both smile makes me melt. Husband and I do just about anything ridiculous to get them to smile because it feels so good.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Reprieve From Anger

I have been working on two other posts all week but just don't have the energy to continue them right now. They are full of anger, bitterness and my need to detail every bit of the painful New Year's weekend, the ridiculous conversations that resulted this week and to list all of the "crimes" Brat and Wife have committed against Husband and I. It's pathetic, really. I'm sure I will eventually tidy them up and post them, but right now it's too much negativity and it's making it difficult for me to focus on my job. All week the posts have been demanding my attention, constantly nagging at me to write more scathing comments about Wife or to rehash events from the past that have no bearing now and need to be forgotten.

Don't be mistaken, I'm not full of hope and joy today, I just don't want to be mired in my own pettiness today.

My cycle is on right on schedule, so we're definitely not pregnant this month. We didn't think we would be since it was the right ovary which would release an egg, so that meant no IUI and no real hope of a pregnancy. Still, it's disappointing that it didn't happen. It was my deepest hope that we would conceive on our own, without an IUI, so that the fertility treatments would have nothing to do with our baby. Just to know that our child was concieved naturally, no test tubes, catheters, nurses or flourescent lights would be nice. As if there will be a stigma attached to our child because of the fertility treatments. Silly fears.

I told myself last night it's better to not be pregnant than have another ectopic pregnancy. A small comfort.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Happy New Year! This year begins for us just as it ended- listening to Wife prattle on about her baby and her milk and her lack of sleep. It's 8:44 a.m. (when I began writing) and we've all been up for about 20 minutes. 

I wanted to discuss narcissism in this post in an effort to better understand the amazing focus Brat and Wife have on themselves. They have always been this way, so it's not just the baby, but if there is a single silent moment amongst us, one of them has to start talking and they always talk about themselves. Case in point: this morning in the kitchen the in-laws are prepping for breakfast, Brat is chopping onion and the rest of us are standing around drinking coffee. No one was talking, we were all just enjoying the morning and then Wife comes out of the bedroom, pump bottle full of milk (we all know by now she has no trouble producing milk. She has said so repeatedly), goes to the sink, looks around, and I swear because no one was paying attention to her or commenting on the baby, she just suddenly said, "I hope this is just a temporary growth spurt-this waking up every three hours. I was used to her sleeping through the night."

The comment on it's own is innocuous. However, the comment in the context that no one asked, that no one was talking, certainly no one really cares what her sleeping schedule is and her history of always having to fill the silence with talk about herself, the comment becomes hugely annoying and unnecessary. I'm not offended that she said it, it's just another example of her self-focused behavior. 

Yesterday Husband and I were discussing Brat and Wife's narcissistic tendencies. Husband surprised me by telling me he had been researching narcissism and the causes. According to one source he said, it is caused by extreme insecurity and self hatred. This totally makes sense in light of her eating issues, obsessive exercise and how all she used to talk about before the baby was losing weight and not eating badly. This morning I did a bit of research; according to the US National Library of Medicine, ADAM Medical Encyclopedia, symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder include:
  • Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
  • Have excessive feelings of self-importance
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
  • Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
  • Need constant attention and admiration
  • Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
  • Have obsessive self-interest

The Mayo Clinic says, "Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism." 

Both of these sources describe Wife to a T. It's astounding she could be so textbook. Other sources claim that narcissists do not have underlying insecurities but really are very confident. They also tend to disagree about the causes of narcissistic personality disorder. It doesn't matter to me, all that I care about is the symptoms are all the same and they apply to Brat and Wife. 

As I sit here in the bedroom typing, I can hear Wife continue to turn every conversation into something relating to her, her pregnancy or her baby. Just now the group was discussing barometers and she cut in to say "what is the point of that barometer? The baby was staring at it." You probably think I'm just focusing on it too much, I'm exaggerating or being just plain ridiculous, and I can appreciate that. But it's all true and not just my perception. It's at least becoming humorous at this point. 

After a very long day yesterday where once again I had to listen to her discuss her parents divorce (because she's the only one who has endured such a painful experience?), how she has all these contacts who adore her and will help her get hired on where she wants to be be working after school,  how small the baby was when born and how surprised they were (really? they measure the baby all the time during pregnancy, you gained only 15 pounds (another point of bragging) and never ate enough because you were too concerned with getting fat), etc., all I could do was drink. I would literally get up and move to a different part of the room to get away from her and she would follow me. I don't want to hear about it anymore! I tried to remove myself from the situation and it was not effective. Who doesn't pick up on irritation, annoyance or dislike when talking with another person? Who doesn't notice when someone is obviously uncomfortable with the topic of discussion but continues to talk about it? 

A narcissist, that's who.