Multiples Choice

What do you do when your only choices all feel like total crap? Or when the choice is out of your hands entirely? Helplessness isn’t a feeling that sits well with me. Ever. I always want to know what my next option is, the alternative, the next step…

Got the call back from the clinic (the one telling me whether the Burlington Clinic would go ahead with my procedure, having found that I have 3 follicles big enough to implant). Given the high risk of multiples they won’t do the procedure. Guts drop to the floor. I feel so defeated. On one hand, my body is raring to go; but they are worried for the slim chance that it could be a higher risk pregnancy. No discussion allowed. So no pleading or persuasion possible.

How risky? Well, I called my uncle just to see what he thought of the numbers – to see if he thought they were being reasonable. He said he is in agreement. The risk with twins is considerably higher than with one; the risk with triplets is significantly higher still. They are making a call that is “disappointing in the long run, but safer” in terms of avoiding a bad outcome.

15% chance of getting pregnant with IUI per cycle. Of that 15%, 40% that I will release 3 eggs and end up with three babies. Even less that these would all be viable. I’m not a math person, but these numbers seem insanely low. Know what isn’t low? My age. Or the days that keep creeping by.

When I hear “you’ll just have to wait,” what I’m hearing is “just give up.”  And my mind starts racing against this lack of control by coming up with all the options – no matter how impossible – because crazy and outlandish is better than no choice at all.

How crazy? For example, in my car today, I’m eyeballing the handsome Croatian (I assume) guy driving the Croatian Electric truck beside me, as I come home from the city. Thinking ‘I’m so fertile right now, what if…’  How easy would it be to casually roll down my window and flirt? “Hey, you’re gonna have to stop driving beside me, because I’m finding it very distracting,” some eyelash batting, “… although admittedly I like the view.” Do guys really fall for that stuff? His beaming smile seems to suggest, yes, and I didn’t even open my mouth.

And then I get flashbacks to Bette and Tina in The L word, trying to seduce a variety of men and dupe them into becoming a baby daddy.

Screen-Shot-2015-03-16-at-5.51.20-PM.png

Do I sound crazy?

tumblr_ll1et0XJXJ1qc1ptfo1_500_large.jpg

Am I that desperate?

It’s a game of multiples with no choice. The nurse even said, “if you were doing this procedure at home, not the clinic, you look like you’re ready to go, so this would be a good time.” Except they have our sperm!

My creativity surges, along with my body, so I come up with questions with no right answer.

Question One: what do you do when your follicles are screaming ‘Open for Business’ and there is no available sperm in sight?

A) Accept that this month the meds, trips to the clinic, the stress, the needles in the arms, the hope and the feelings are all just a write off.

B) Put on your straightest looking dress and hit the club tonight hoping for a catch and assist.

C) Put a call out on BUNZ trading zone (if you don’t know about Bunz yet, look it up, it’s awesome. Like Kijiji without any money ever changing hands. People post what they are in search of, and are met with offers and replies. Sometimes it’s for help, sometimes it’s a service, sometimes it’s a trade for a good. Example: help my grandmother in a wheelchair get lifted down her front step so she can sit in the park/I need someone to practice a bob haircut on/I drank way too much this weekend and need someone to take away the rest of this two-four… will trade for subway tokens. I’ve included a little video link below to Bunz founder, Emily, speaking about the community. Bonus: My wife produced the video). I digress: My ad would read: ISO sperm belonging to a creative, smart and relatively good looking dude- no sex required. Name your trade. Ps. We are lesbians if that helps seal the deal.

D) none of the above.

E) Feel like you are a bundle of raw nerves and try to avoid taking it out on all the people you interact with today; like when work decides to switch the class/course and periods of the day that you are teaching TWO DAYS before school starts, after I’ve already gone in to school (on my vacation) to set up classes, photocopy, made all my websites, plans, etc. Did I mention that the new class got put into period 1 (which I requested as my lunch before the end of last year, so I could avoid this whole issue of having to get supplies in on short notice for one period, constantly disrupting the learning of one class of kids)? Per. 1 starts at 8 am, and the clinic doesn’t open until 7 am? That’s gonna be a blast.

anigif_enhanced-24180-1394553101-1.gif

I know I should be grateful that my body seems fecund, but overly so. It’s the opposite problem some of you are dealing with, but we are left in the same boat at the moment: unable to proceed.  I just can’t win.

But you can trade, and live and try again.

Here’s that video about Bunz.

dims.jpeg Watch it here. Thanks for all the support. I will try to be normal again tomorrow.

 

 

Advertisements

Good Body, But Still Waiting for Good News

At my clinic appointment this morning there was good news and bad news. The good news is that I am progressing well: my body responded very well to the drugs and it looks like I would have a great chance of getting pregnant this cycle. BUT. My probability is also the problem. The bad news: I have three follicles, one at 18,19 and 20 respectively. One Burlington has a policy against inseminating if you have more than three follicles over 15. They're going to call to see if there's anyway to make a judgement call on this one and do the insemination. I'm off school right now, and so ready for this to start. I've paid for the medication, but now I have to figure out whether to do the hundred dollar shot that prompts me to ovulate so we can do the procedure tomorrow, if it's a Go. If I get the shot and they say no, I am totally out of luck. And it will take them up to two hours to find out whether I will be allowed to do the procedure. Now, I don't know what to do – because I don't know if I should get more money invested via the drugs before and the shot today. It all rests on the clinics and whether or not I will be able to do the procedure. And I have to come back to the clinic either way to get the shot, either in a few hours or later this afternoon, but I'm heading out to the school to start prepping for classes that start in less than a week. So, cross those fingers. Let something go right today.

Weekend Update

Went in for a progress update in Burlington. My right side has follicles at 11, 12, and 13 mm, and the left has one at 10. A bunch more small ones. The nurse says it looks like I responded well to Serophene, but I might be at risk for triplets if all three follicles keep growing. My lining is at 10 mm. The rest of the weekend is free and they don't need to see me tomorrow, but it looks like I will probably have to do the procedure on Wednesday or Thursday. Need to book in Mississauga for Monday morning.

So it looks like we are back to our weekend of fun and dates.

Went for some Mexican at La Carnita for dinner last night and over to the Broadview Hotel for 'Good Enough Live' karaoke. Motown with a live band = my dream come true.

Tonight is dinner with friends and some dancing. What was the highlight of your weekend?

Something to Remember

_MG_1857

In the moment it's really hard to keep perspective. Everything is so now, so urgent. Or not, if you're one of the lucky people who can detach and calm themselves internally, not letting too much of the moment into their psyche.

I just, in my nesting craze, went through a box of old mementos. I'm obsessed with relics of the past. I was pretty ruthless this time though -casting aside anything that no longer 'sparks joy' as Marie Kondo would put it. I found so many things, letters, cards, a print out of an icq conversation… from past loves, crushes, heartache-causers and people I invariably caused pain to in some capacity when it all ended. It made me think about something I already know: I am lucky. I have had – from the time I first fell in love, so wholly and naively, right into the deep end of feelings – been so fortunate to experience the scope of love that I have. Reading through those letters, before second year university I had already had what, at the time, felt like epic loves and losses. I had thrown my heart into the hands of another and been so brave. I was never cautious and reading back through all that old stuff, I find it charming, sweet and really fucking pure how much I was able to feel and how giving I was of myself.

I want that back. I've become a person who has deep cuts and fissures that seem to never heal. I've become a fool-me-once type of person and I am ruthless in my self-protection now. Back then, when I first came out in high school, tenderly and with all the gumption of a wholesome, quirky, confident and plucky 16-year-old – I dared the world to challenge the love I felt. I was ready for a fight and none came. Not really. I think my own conviction shut up most of the nay-sayers and I was friendly and feisty enough that people didn't mess with me (for the most part).

I am lucky. I was shameless. I threw myself into closeness – not for the reasons some people might – self-doubt, need for validation, loneliness – I was passionate and curious. I heaped life onto life and had a wild time. It was awesome. Partly, I have my parents to thank – for letting me have enough range and confidence to navigate, and for supporting me without questioning whether putting all my heart in one basket was wise.

I found letters of apology, post-breakup, that I never sent – trying not to throw an old relationship out with the bathwater. I found cards promising to love me forever, from more than one woman. I found post-it notes, saved for eternity, telling me that she'd be right back after breakfast and didn't want to wake me. A letter from an ex-girlfriend who had stayed at my family's house while we went to Italy (she had looked after my cat and my brother who had refused to attend our family vacation). I found mix tapes, lovingly inscribed. Phone numbers written on match books. Ticket stubs.

Most bizarre, I found a letter – a printout from my first year university computer screen, from a person I no longer remember. It was so intimate, starting with: 'Reflections on lying at the foot of Alison's bed…' and went on to describe her thoughts at two am, after I'd fallen asleep as she continued to massage my feet. It's such a specific thing NOT to remember. She had left two pages of messages on my computer for me to find when I woke up. The things written there were clever, beautiful… how could I forget this person? Did I just have so many awesome, intimate and clandestine moments that I've lost track? Maybe I'm trusting too much in a memory that is almost always SO accurate. I remember everything, as long as it happened a long time ago, to the point that people often find it strange how much I still remember. So why does this person elude me? I really wish I could go back and ask: what didn't I know about you then that I should have? How did someone so eloquent and brazen escape my notice? Why didn't I snap you up? All I have left is a printout, which obviously struck me at the time, or why would I have saved it? There must have been a reason.

All this excavation of the past reminds me of how far I've come. The feelings then felt real, because they were, but now with new highs and lows, it seems amazing that we can possibly survive our own emotions – and contain so much of them in our lifetime. How do our hearts – in all that angsty, intensity not kill us? Sometimes they do, obviously.

PortraitsBook_bothsides

Recently, I participated in a friends' book: Portraits. My participation, the specifics of it, is anonymous – but I'm one of the women who shared stories of unresolved feelings about past relationships. It's a beautiful book and right up my alley: mining the past and turning real, specific memories into micro-fictions that are so universal and telling about the shared experiences we all go through. Unlike the author, who claims to find her feelings 'embarrassing' I love the anguish and awkwardness of feelings. My favourite way to laugh at myself is to take stock and perspective on the humiliations of my past, and to check-in with myself – because how I feel about my feelings is important. It tells me who I am. And how much I have changed, or haven't.

All the feels. I'm still open to it. I've just become harder. Because life has.

But I was refreshed today, in revisiting a simpler self. I literally loved like no one was watching. And damn it was adorable.

How do you feel about your past loves? Do you hold them close? Push them away? Forget all about them? What do they mean for you?

At the end of the letter I found it reads: "I wish I could have this night all over again". And so do I. I wish I could remember it. Remember everything. I bet it was epic.

Jordan Claire, if you're out there… holler back.

Only Rich People Should Reproduce

Find that statement hard to stomach? Yeah, me too. But the further into this journey we go, the more I see that this system is designed in a way that really doesn’t equally support all hopeful parents. If you are queer, the cost is astronomical. It’s expensive for ANY person who doesn’t get pregnant without assistance. If you are a woman struggling with fertility, for any reason, it’s not fully-funded (in Canada), like other illnesses or conditions. Fertility is seen as an elective procedure.

It’s not really a ‘choice.’ It’s not my choice not to be pregnant – if it were I’d be pregnant right now. Some people (idiots) talk about ‘choosing’ to be gay… if that were true, I’d quickly be choosing some healthy stud to knock me up. Crass, I’m sorry. But when it comes to this: elective is a slippery word, because it isn’t about choice, it’s about need.

Yes, it should be ‘elective’ to have children. You should choose it (whether you wanted to become pregnant or not), you should know on some level as you carry the child to term, that you want to create a human being (or a few). But not being able to have children as simply as some shouldn’t mean that you have to choose between that… and rent.

Don’t even get started on the price of baby THINGS once you have them. As soon as you put ‘baby’ on the label it’s 50x more expensive. Sort of like a terrible sequel to the consumer blockbuster “The WEDDING,” where everything is way more expensive than it should be because it’s someone’s ‘big day’. That means the beer costs more, the venue costs more, the dress costs more, the cake… which obviously knows it’s ‘wedding cake’ …costs more.

I’m getting off topic. Two days ago, I got a lovely note in the mail from a friend, thanking us for hosting an amazing weekend away in Ontario’s wine country. We had a fab time. I didn’t drink. I was conspicuously booze free. They were invited in on our secret. So, when the card came and I spoke to the sender they said, ‘Good! It arrived!’ and I felt compelled to mention what else had arrived:

My period.

092495546efd2a994a2b8cfa64570fde--period-funnies-funny-period-texts.jpg

Inside my body, it’s total assault time. But it’s also an assault on our wallets, at our most vulnerable, unpreventable moment. No, I’m not talking about the 17% hst (tax) on essential ‘feminine hygiene products,’ I’m talking about the failure of our government to provide access to subsidized IUI and IVF. But Viagra is covered, fully, by my work’s drug plan.

Which brings me back to a system that is systemically designed to privilege some, not others. Today, at the clinic Nurse N, always the beacon of joy and pleasant updates was there when I went in for my blood work, external and transvaginal ultrasound (the one where with a full-bladder they press the jelly-lubed wand agains your pelvis, then after you pee they put it inside and stir it up, all while on day three of your period)…

She lets me know: they are closed for the Labour Day (ironic, no?) weekend… AND… wait for it…additionally…

They’ve changed their policy on subsidized IUI. The cost of the subsidized procedure is currently $500 (plus drugs and the cost of the sperm $750).

Now, she says, all patients will only have 3 partially-funded IUIs.

So, I asked, ‘how much is the procedure without the subsidy?’

‘$1200’.

Deep breath. But, she tells me (cause remember it’s all about the bright side here), ‘I have some patients who have been here forever and they’ve had like 5 cycles and now we have to tell them they are out of subsidized ones.’

Great. That really puts it into perspective. And, she continues, ‘You’re coming up in October for your subsidized IVF cycle’. That’s awesome… except that even with the subsidy we could be looking at $10,000 for that. The ambiguous enormity of that pricetag looms over us…

To be fair, they are limiting it to 3 per patient. That is fair, but it isn’t equitable. Some people have a way harder time than others. Some of us have our significant other come and ‘cum’ in a cup, for free… while others have to buy, ship, store, freeze, thaw and test the sperm.  And others have seemingly insurmountable difficulties… none of it is fair. This funding change happened when we didn’t see it coming.

And yes, I hear some of the eye-rolling internal narrative: at least you have health care. At least you have a government that subsidizes any of it. At least as a lesbian couple you are allowed to have a marriage and babies. At least this isn’t Trump-land.

Yes, but stop there; it is possible that way worse things are happening right here, and far away, in perpetuity. But are we really going to content ourselves by aiming for the lowest common denominator as a goal?

That is where we tend to go, when things get tough. (Skip this part if you aren’t interested in a little rant about the parallels between the past teacher strike action and lack of funding for fertility): I remember the mentality that was swirling around a few years ago, with all the vitriol and teacher-hating, when we challenged the Ontario government who imposed a contract on us and took away our right (protected by law) to negotiate our contract. People immediately started the sing-song of ‘lazy teachers/summers off/paid too high already/look at their benefits/they only work ’til 3/I knew a totally terrible teacher once/I work a real ‘hard’ job’/how dare you take away your voluntary after school coaching and extra-curriculars when my kids needs them to get into university? … and the like; mostly what people failed to realize was that they remember what their adolescent self remembers about teachers (and since everyone went to school, they think they know with some accuracy what that job entails). What they didn’t realize is that we weren’t fighting for more pay, we were protesting slashes to our contracts and to protect collective bargaining (a right that future generations will enjoy unless the government erodes our ability to stand up for these gains). What kind of laws do we have, and what do they mean, if the government can choose to disregard those laws when it suits them? We were protesting the stripping of our contracts, the devaluing of the job we get paid to do and work very hard to do well, often in conditions that are adverse and made more difficult by policy makers who have no idea what we actually do. The biggest complaint I heard was: teachers have a cushy job with great pay, vacations, amazing benefits and retirement plans. We should stop whining and take a pay cut/benefit cut/pension cut… because lots of other people have none of these ‘good things’. But… Rather than begrudge many hard-working (99 percent of the people I work with are passionate and do this job so well) people the things you don’t have, why don’t we strive to ameliorate the systems that prevent ALL of us from having these things? Shouldn’t the goal be to avoid raking back the policies, pay and benefits that maintain a stable middle-class, and healthy and well-supported professionals doing their jobs well? All of us should have retirement security, health care, time off when we are sick, bereavement leave, mat leave, access to a fair income to be able to create stability for ourselves and families. That is what progress looks like. P.S. The Supreme Court found the Government GUILTY in the suit against them for the very the actions we were striking over. When you get pushed, sometimes the only way to not lose any more ground is to push back.

Government cuts to fertility mean that my clinic, the 4th my wife and I have been to, now has a new policy, unceremoniously dropped on us today, that limits our access from a previous ‘no-limit’ to a ‘for fairness sake’ limit of 3. This leaves us to ask: what will we do when the money runs out? By ‘we’ I mean my wife and I, a dual-income household. I have three degrees and have worked for almost ten years in my field; my wife has 13 years in her industry and just took a contract position in the face of massive layoffs in the media sphere. We own a house, purchased before the huge skyrocket in prices in the GTA, which we will be paying off for 27 more years. If we, the people who should fall squarely into the middle class, are struggling – how on earth could we do it as single or low-income earners? As people with student debt? If we were also faced with precarious employment?

On one hand, yes, I was sad for myself when I found out I wasn’t pregnant this past Monday. But I know we can scrape together money for a few more tries. I’m saddened for the whole process, which is so much less crucial or vital than the crushing and immense problems occurring globally; I talk about that in real life, in my newsfeed, at art and activism events, in my classroom. But this is my real. This is where I talk about how hard it is to still muster the optimism that everyone thinks I have. Because on the outside I do seem to be taking it in stride. But part of me is indignant about the injustice of putting myself into debt in order to do what others can do for free. When an arbitrary decision about three tries, might mean ‘three strikes and you’re out.’

But we are all grownups and know: life isn’t fair.

I can’t help myself

It's like watching a clock, or a pot, or whatever else one does when they cannot wait the required amount of time for the thing they want, or don't want, to happen.

My blood test is on Monday. But I dreamed of pregnancy tests. And woke up so early. So I went and peed on a stick. Only to realize in my sleepy stupor that I'd pissed on an Ovulation monitoring stick. Lol.

Not quite right. And if I were pregnant it's less than two weeks so,… so it's not likely to register anyway. But man o man, do I ever want to know. I'm telling you this, like these feelings are any different from what so many of you are going through/have gone through.

My boobs feel noticeably bigger (not a usual period symptom for me), and I feel bloated (a usual pms symptom). I just want to knowwwwwwww.

Thank you internet for being full of people who are pot-watchers in solidarity.


This is my cat. She has no problem covering her eyes and just waiting for it.