Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I wish I could say I've thrown off the pall of sadness that was cloaking me the last time I posted (just before Thanksgiving.) Unfortunately, if anything, it's gotten worse. I feel so.......vulnerable, I guess. Kind of fragile - like any little thing could send me into a crying, pity-partying meltdown.

I feel anxious all the time, and more than that, I've become aware that I seem to be constantly bracing myself for hurtful news of some kind.

I look at our little dog Murphy lately and all I can think is how wrenchingly sad it will be when he eventually dies. He's only 9 years old, and I'm not expecting him to go any time soon. But for some reason I cry every night when I cuddle up with him, and wonder how I will be able to get out of bed and go on with my life when he dies.

Every time we see friends I find I'm bracing to hear that they are pregnant (again.) Or when the phone rings my brain kind of winces, wondering if there will be horrible or sad news, or some other hurtful knowledge on the other end of it.

I feel needy and dependent. The slightest mood change in R has me spiraling into thoughts that he's going to leave me...if not now, someday. I've lost my faith in happy endings. I feel cynical. Empty, except for the tears that seem to be always right behind my eyes.

I hate myself for being this pathetic person. I'm so weak. I have SO much to be thankful for, and I have to really FORCE myself to recognize that on a constant basis. I would much rather sit around feeling ridiculously sorry for myself. All the time.

I'm also an ingrate. R took me out to a fabulous, expensive, special and romantic dinner for my birthday a week and half ago. All his idea. Instead of enjoying spending a special evening with him, and savoring time spent together (which is really the most important thing), and appreciating the substantive price tag of the bottle of wine and filet mignon, I cried in the night like a 5 year old because he didn't give me an actual gift to open. AAACCKK! I'm so not this person.

My God, I just read over this and it's so freaking melodramatic. Blech!!!! But, it's what I'm really feeling. Ugh. I don't know how to snap out of this.

I'm simultaneously looking forward to this Saturday, and dreading it with my entire being. I'm forcing myself to attend an adoption 'convention' in DC, where I'll attend seminars to get educated on the facets of international vs. domestic adoption, open vs. closed, costs, timeframes, etc.

I want to go, and learn, and understand our options. I'm also weighed down by the idea of it - overcome with sadness. I keep picturing myself wandering all over this huge convention surrounded by pictures of babies and children who need someone to love them. It should feel empowering to educate myself about our options. Instead it makes me feel like sobbing until I can't stand up straight.


I just had to dash off the bathroom. R just sent me an email that yet another couple, who got married right around the same time that we did, are now expecting their first child. They think it's a boy.

By this point I think we infertiles understand each other. You know that of course I'm happy for them - thrilled they don't have the same problems that we do. They must be so happy! How perfect to announce their pregnancy right around the holidays. That's what I've always dreamed of! These two are such a wonderful couple and will make fantastic, smart, compassionate, responsible parents. I bet their child will be gorgeous! And, OF COURSE I'm glad they are pregnant. I wouldn't wish infertility on my worst enemy.

But the truth is, when I first read the email I instantly starting crying. My first thoughts were: Poor me! Why not us? That should BE us! Oh God, please help us, our hearts are breaking! I don't know what to do anymore.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, I don't feel at all worthy of this, but my dear Jenna has suggested that I belong on her list of Distinguished Blogger Flame of Fortitude honorees. Although I humbly appreciate her tag - I've been feeling so un-thankful and un-thanksgiving-ish this week that it feels counterfeit to even post about this. Ugh.

I've been feeling so sad this week - I can't seem to get into any kind of holiday spirit. Usually by this time I'm feeling warm and fuzzy and spiritual and reflective and all of that. But this year I feel like I'm digging waaaaay down and the warm fuzzies just aren't coming. I'm going to try VERY hard tomorrow to dredge up some thankful-ness and put on a happy face and appreciate time with my family. But it won't be as natural as it normally is. I keep breaking into tears for inappropriate reasons and at inconvenient times. I had to race off to the bathroom several times at work this week before any one saw me having a "moment". I really, really hate feeling this pitiful.

I hope to post something much more cheerful, or at least productive, after we get back from Thanksgiving. Hope all of y'all in the US have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow with your families and friends!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hello again!

I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted anything here - I'm sorry I've been such a silent blogger! I have, however, been diligently keeping up with all of you. There's been happy news out there, as well as deeply, deeply sad. I've been rejoicing and grieving right along with all of you.

So firstly, Congratulations to Faith! I've been reading along with her since before her successful IVF cycle. It's hard to believe it's been 9 months, and then some! Go and see her beautiful new boys, here.

And if you haven't already been over to visit Cam or Ann during this soul-crushingly sad time, please do - and if you're behind in your reading, like I was last month, go and give some love to ISOMorning Sickness, too. They all need our support now more than ever.

So, you may have guessed that since I haven't been fervently blogging and posting loads of detailed accounts of treatments lately, that we're taking a break. Oh the consternation that is bound up in that phrase: taking a break. Usually in our case all breaks have been physician-mandated ones - wait for a cyst to go away, wait for my lining to thin out, take another cycle of BCP's, etc. This time however, we mandated the break.

We were supposed to start IVF#2 when we came back from our annual Outer Banks beach vacation the first week of September. The several thousand dollar water-pipe repair emergency the second week of September put the kibosh on that month.

So then we were supposed to start in October.....but in the beginning of the month I suddenly realized the origin of the feelings of dread that I had been unconsciously carrying around for several weeks: I was dreading starting a new cycle. I had fallen into a comfort zone, pretending the problem didn't exist, or I was at least relieved not to be consumed by dates and calendars and shots and worries of impending doom for a while. I just blithely ignored the irony of taking my birth control pills each and every night, having been given license to do so by the perpetually pending cycle that was going to start any-minute-now. More than anything I realized how effing tired I am - bored, I would even say - with the whole being-infertile thing. I'm tired of being sad, I'm tired of agonizing over every cycle, I'm tired of worrying about where the money will come from to pay for treatments, I'm tired of structuring and scheduling every other part of lives around the unknown and un-plan-ahead-able requirements of treatments. I'm tired of saying to myself on every holiday or otherwise momentous occasion: I wonder if I'll be pregnant by this time next year? I'm tired of answering the question "Do you have kids?" with an answer like "Not yet!" I'm so, so, so tired of being the person that everyone feels sorry for. I'm even more sick and tired of feeling sorry for myself. I'm tired of thinking about fertility all the time, every day, every week, every month. I'm tired of feeling a sharp pang to the heart when I hear that someone else I know is pregnant, with their first, second, third child. I'm tired of waiting for my life with children to begin. I'm tired of hanging out with other people's children and wistfully thinking of the ones we don't have yet. I'm tired of thinking "someday." I want someday to be soon, now, today. I'm tired, dare I say it - of even talking about this! None of what we have been through in 3 years has made one iota of a difference to the bottom line - Nothing has changed in 3 years: I'm still not pregnant and we still don't have a child.

R and I had several long discussions in October about what we should do - or, I guess more accurately, when we should do it. We decided that it would be very difficult to face the emotional, financial, and physical stress of doing a cycle so close to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was picturing myself fighting the throngs of people in the malls with bags of gifts and having to duck into messy public restrooms to stick myself with needles. Or being at Thanksgiving dinner all hopped up on hormones and bursting into tears for no outwardly apparent reason. Or receiving the crushing, blackening news of a failed cycle - malfunctioning body, money down the drain, yet another disappointing setback - just before Christmas.

I just didn't think I - we - could handle it. So we've decided to wait until January to embark upon IVF#2. It wasn't an easily reached decision however. At least, not for me. I'm all wound up about the fact that three days from now I'll turn 37. Only 3 years left until I'm 40. I can vividly remember when my mother turned 40, and I thought she was ancient. I don't feel ancient yet, certainly. But when I let myself contemplate the full weight of being thirty-seven years old.....I feel a sense of panic, like there's a rising tide that is swelling up faster and faster, and my legs are buried in the sand. I feel an overwhelming sense of urgency to do something, anything, just do it quick because time is running out! But yet, there's nothing else I can do. Is there?

Well, that actually brings up an issue for another post - I went to an adoption fair yesterday at work. I'll devote an entire post to that emotional event, next.

In other news, I've decided that during this non-cycling down time I should concentrate on eating healthier and losing some weight - getting more fruits and vegetables into my diet, and cutting out bad fats and bad sugars, etc. I decided to try Weight Watchers, for the first time in my life.

I've struggled with my weight my whole life. I went on my first diet when I was 9. I've had a lifelong love-hate relationship with my bathroom scale, let me tell you.

Anyway, one of the reasons I've always been turned off by Weight Watchers was the thought of those gruesome in-person Weight Watchers meetings where all the middle-aged ladies in their elastic waist pants congregate in the fellowship hall of the local baptist church and celebrate losing 1/8 of a pound every week and swap recipes for lightened up versions of tuna casserole. Blech!!!

So, maybe the fact that I finally decided to try this has something to do with the fact that I'm finally accepting my OWN middle-agedness? Or maybe it's because a co-worker told me she hates the idea of going to meetings too and that you can join 'anonymously' online. Who knows? But for better or worse I joined in October, and I've lost 16 pounds and one pants-size so far. Not bad. It hasn't really been that hard to adhere to - that really surprised me. The thing I really like about Weight Watchers is that you can eat anything - anything at all - and it doesn't cause a collapse of your whole diet/system/plan so as to send you into a tailspin and cause you to immediately throw in the towel and begin planning for when you'll RE-START at some point in the future. That is usually my downfall with diets - especially when I was doing Atkins years ago. One slice of bread and you were completely ruined! Knocked out of fat-burning ketosis by one bite of mashed potatoes! It would be days before you could get your bodily chemicals back into the precise balance required to burn the fat and lose weight! There's simply not enough wiggle room in a diet plan like that - at least not for me. It leads to the pound-packing mentality of - "Oh well, I've already gone off the plan today by eating that Snicker's mini from the Halloween candy bowl. It's all downhill from here. Might as well 86 that salad I was planning to eat for lunch and have a grilled cheese instead." But Weight Watchers is much more forgiving. If you eat the Snickers mini, it is not the end of the world, or even of your day. Just means you must adjust your food intake for the rest of the day to compensate. It makes for faaaar less guilt than I'm used to shouldering when it comes to food. This is sad to admit, but I've become accustomed to feeling guilty every time I eat something - no matter what it is. I think Weight Watchers helps people like me to let go of at least a little of that food-guilt, and for that reason I think it's been good for me so far.

But the season that is by far my biggest downfall during this time of year, the thing that strikes fear in my dieting, salad-munching, saturated-fat-avoiding heart, is well upon us. Thanksgiving, you ask? Christmas? Hanukkah? Kwanzaa? Nay, nay - even worse, and MUCH more insidious and long and draaaaawn out: Football Season. Aaaaaaggggjhhhhhhh!!!!

Every Sunday whilst watching the Redskins (lose) I'm assaulted by chicken wings, beer, chips, cheese dip, brownies, beer, chips, pizza, beer, chips....did I mention beer and chips? I'm a sucker for beer and chips. I think I could subsist on beer and chips alone, if the case arose on a deserted isle.... And the worst part is that all this food is usually at my OWN HOUSE! We tend to entertain very frequently during football season. So, invariably, if I'm tempted to go 'off-plan' as the Weight Watchers say, it's on Sundays.

So instead of serving the good stuff for all of our friends, and then forcing myself to either abstain or cry into my celery and carrot sticks all afternoon, I've endeavored to find some recipes for less fat-laden, but still football worthy things to serve on Sunday afternoons.

To wit, the delicious and road-tested recipes cut-and-pasted below (from the Weight Watcher's website.) Everyone at our house has enjoyed these, hope y'all will too. Enjoy!

(For anyone else who happens to be counting Weight Watchers Flex Points, the chicken wings recipe makes 4 servings at 4 points per serving, and the chili recipe makes 10 servings at only 1 point per serving, not including the baked tortilla chips you'll include for dipping.)

Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

1 sprays olive oil cooking spray, or enough to coat sheet
12 oz uncooked skinless chicken wing(s)
1 1/4 oz Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix, or similar product
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
2 Tbsp blue cheese, or gorgonzola, crumbled
2 Tbsp fat-free skim milk
4 medium stalk celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place chicken wings in a zip-close plastic bag, add taco seasoning, seal bag and shake to coat. Transfer wings to prepared baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to prepare dip, whisk together sour cream, cheese and milk.

Serve wings with dip and celery on the side. Yields about 3 wings, 3 tablespoons of dip and 1 celery stalk per serving.

Chili Party Dip

15 oz canned turkey chili without beans
8 oz fat-free cream cheese
4 oz canned jalapeno peppers
1 small onion(s), finely chopped
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Yields about 1/4 cup per serving.