Sitting in the waiting room

Does anyone else find it weird that at the clinic you sit in a waiting room and everyone is … completely silent. I just made eye contact with a woman sitting across from me and smiled. No reaction… she looked back down and registered no emotion. So yes, I realize that

1) it's early and maybe people are actually still asleep.
2) it's taking a particularly long time today.
3) maybe people are stressed. Maybe they are nervous. Maybe they are frustrated. This process can be all of those things.
4) maybe it's awkward to talk to strangers, even if these people might be going through all the same things you are. Or worse … what if they're not?
5) is it about shame? Is it all of this, or perhaps none of this…

As for me: Today's result? Good. One big follicle on each side. 11 on one. 13 on the other.

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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.

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Do I sound crazy?

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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.

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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.

 

 

Okay, Crazy

This is what I looked like outwardly: 


But that was two days ago. You know that scene in The Exorcist, where the girl’s head spins around? That was me for one hot second (okay, 45 minutes) last night before I realized my insane mood swing was one of the listed side effects of chlomid. 


I feel like I was watching myself feel fully empowered to self-destruct, all the while trying to back pedal with the slim margin of my brain that was witnessing the scene in horror.  Once we finally realized what was going on, we made an action plan, I cried a bit and we figured out a SafeWord. Hopefully we can nip those little outbursts in the bud… We’ll be OK.

We went into the clinic Friday, good. On track. Saturday again, for bloodwork. My estrogen has spiked to a thousand. Good news. And today, Sunday, back for the works. In the post-exam meeting, the doctor said: 

“You’re the lucky one.” 

 (I’m not even sure where to put the italics in that sentence, but there was definite emphasis) delivered after she realized I was a Mississauga patient. It seems I’m the patient still getting monitored, but neither of us is quite sure how exactly it happened.   

 “Let’s not question the universe,” said the doctor. But I Am being monitored and it’s a very good thing. ‘Cause today is the day. It almost makes me forget the rest of this gong show, up and down, catastrophe, wild ride of emotions. 

Based on today’s results (19 and 21mm) they gave me an injection to ensure that my eggs release.  I still have two follicles, possible twin-set in the works, and I have an IUI booked for tomorrow morning!

Allia, now understandably, is cautiously optimistic and wants me to put some emotions on hold – to curb my expectations and excitement so I’m not devastated. I know the risks and stats (15% chance of success). But also given  my recent demonic possession, she doesn’t want me to be swinging out of control. I just really want to buy a crib. I’ve been waiting three years. It will feel so satisfying to put that sucker together. 

Really it’s just that I’m excited the day we’ve been waiting for is here. We step into the active ‘trying’ phase… 

“It’s the first time I will ever have sperm inside of me!!” 

Seriously. I’m not a gold star, but I’ve always insisted on scrupulous protective measures. 

Bring it on! 

Thinking of the numbers and likelihood of success, one has to ask: why not me? It could happen. 

It All Falls into Place

When everything aligns, there is magic. Or at least the appearance of it. These photos are all symbolic of how the magic happens, sometimes due to luck, sometimes intense planning, other magic moments are the result of chemistry and temperature, or hard work and saving. Try pushing the button that says, ‘yes, we will pay $750 to buy your single-use shot of sperm’… making yourself feel confident in that click is a feat of magic in itself.

I am ready to head into the clinic tomorrow to start monitoring for a REAL DEAL cycle (a miracle after the past five days of uncertainty). I captured the moon.

I pressed send on that order button and bought our sperm.

I am crossing many things off my To Do List.


I am going to eat some pizza and key lime pie. Both pies, totally different, equally delicious. I am all the good, tasty things that I want, and working out to keep it all in balance.


I am being upstaged by a tiny chihuahua named Daisy. I sometimes look at small creatures and wonder 1) how they can exist and be so mini. 2) why a common reaction to small adorable things is to want to squish them and make high pitched sounds.

Sometimes the simplest moments are the most surprising when they happen, they can be challenging to capture, while other seemingly simple tasks represent the biggest leaps of all. Like the click of a button. The cycles of the moon. The science of cells dividing successfully over and over again to create a tiny human. Or dog.

HSG

HSG. Holy Shit Guys.

Also the name of the procedure where they fill your insides with liquids to make sure it’s smooth sailing for the little travellers to make their voyage to your egg. This fun experience happens in hospital and I cannot wait.

But with all these appointments and hurdles, we routinely have the ‘we still want to do this, right?’ conversation. Which is sometimes just a look. We think about how much effort this is all taking and, rightly, whether this effort is still what we want for the life we have together.

Think of all the things that might happen if we don’t have kids: we’d be rich (comparatively), we would save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifespan of the future offspring; we wouldn’t have to move and our current home would feel like a palace… and keep being a spacious, tidy, often immaculate and tranquil abode; we could just be really amazing aunts; we could travel whenever we wanted; we could get a whole whack of pets (if we decided living spotlessly was no longer our thing); we could keep our pre-pregnancy bodies; we could eat for two for fun, then go work out vigorously without worry of upsetting a budding babe-in-the-making.

All of these are the fantasies I lubricate my brain with – mostly because I like to imagine I have choices – likely the self-preserving kind of self-talk that helps me feel in control when so much is out of our control. I can hardly imagine how any autonomous person hands over their body to tiny aliens that just get bigger and bigger then absorb your entire life, heart and savings. Except that we see this as the norm. Some do it better than others. Some people even make it look easy. Instagram helps. But I really do love those ‘Asshole Parent’ posts, because I feel that there must be a happy medium  – between heavily curated ‘I make my own homemade organic baby food on my hobby farm where my organic produce grows in the rose-smelling shit of my Angora rabbits’ and the ‘I am being terrorized by my toddlers and held-hostage by my entitled, social media zombie teen’ posts.

Does everyone go through this range of emotions?

It reminds me of when I was a student at the National Ballet of Canada – the summer intensive – and they did psychological testing on all of us to see if we would be good candidates for the full time program, should we pass all the other barrage of tests; they asked us leading questions, like ‘What would you want to be if you couldn’t be a ballerina?’

The answer they wanted was ‘what do you mean? this is the only-thing-i’ve-ever-wanted and I would die if I couldn’t dance’ delivered through hysterical sobs, or saucer eyed bambi blinking lashes.

My answer: I’d be a vet. Or a teacher. Or I might design houses, or write a book. Can I still horseback  ride if I make it into the program? What about jazz? Will I have to just do ballet?

I didn’t make the cut.

But I feel like my answer is the same, at least in theory, here. If I can’t be a mom, will I be a shrivelled waste of human womb and potential? I hope not. I would never let myself be defined by one component of myself. I just wouldn’t. But, like anything, if someone tells me I can’t – I rebelliously challenge that idea, too. Then decide for myself it I want to be that thing: whether it’s ‘being sporty,’ ‘looking like a lesbian,’ ‘not looking like a lesbian’ or ‘being handy.’

Tell me what I am and what I’m capable of. I dare you.

But all of this, too, might be a coping mechanism for the doubt I have in my own capacity; to do it well, or to do it at all. There needs to be a trap door of doubt, so that if things don’t work out – I will know that I can overcome this, or fall down a passage way and claw myself out from under it (if we are going with that trap door analogy).

Either way, I don’t think that a healthy amount of questioning, or a screechy ‘I must be a mother’ reaction is a good fit for me – like my marriage, my career, my breakfast; every day is a choice and I want to do things because, yes, I still want and am committed to them every day, not simply because a while ago it seemed like a good idea or everyone thought it was a great plan.

For now, we are off to the hospital, for a bunch of stuff to go on up there, so that a bunch more stuff can go on up there… and that’s where we’re at. And if tomorrow the news is bad – we’ll go from there.

Does anyone always know, with certainty, what they want, without question?

Ambivalence

She (x 20) tells me she is expecting.

I feel like the biggest jerk. Because yes, I’m so thrilled for her. But.

I struggle with the constant happy news of other people’s pregnancies. I have watched people who, as my wife and I – years into our relationship were trying to conceive – were lamenting their singledom, crying about how they felt their life was off-track… who have since gotten engaged, married and pregnant. Have had healthy bundles of joy.

Some have been pregnant not just once, but twice. To be so blessed.

Some are unexpectedly pregnant. To be so blessed.

Some have been trying, just like us. To be so blessed.

All while we have slogged through 2.5 years of miscarriages. We are on hold. Waiting for the timing to align, with career and performances (mine), to create the best moment for me to start trying. For US to start trying again. But pregnancy is everywhere.

I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

At work, maternity leaves abound.

My book club.

My extended circle of friends.

My cousins.

People have had first and second children who coincide with miscarriages 1 and 2.

At my dance company, most recently, the barely concealed bodies, changing and morphing from powerful dance machines to sweet, preciously rounded bellies gloat unintentionally – they are everywhere. The choreography is adapting to accommodate bodies that can’t bear weight as they bear life; lifts are altered, as are costumes. We are making room. I am so thrilled for all this change and growth, but heart-broken too, because other people’s journeys remind me of my own stunted path.

And I am nervous that when I take the next step, I may go sliding into the same mire that has held us, suspended, for the past few years.

I know I’m not the only one. But it feels like I’m both surrounded and alone.

It’s hard For Them, Too. (Re-post))

Thank you to my sweet friend who posted this article. Originally found here.

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It had been a long night and I was so close to being on the other side of it. Then halfway through the last verse of the last bedtime song, you lifted your head up. “Wawa?” you asked. I took a cursory glance around the room, knowing I wasn’t going to see a sippy cup. “There’s no water up here. You’re fine.” “Wawa?” “Honey, no.” “Wawa!” More insistent this time. And my anger flashed to the surface, fast and red and hot and fiery. A quick intake of breath. My body stiffened, my teeth clenched. And of course you felt it. Despite my quickly stifling it, you felt it as clearly as I did and you melted into me. Your tiny body shook with sobs because the person you love most in the world, the person who you depend on for everything you need, turned momentarily monstrous because you wanted water. Because you were thirsty before going to bed and you have no autonomy with which to resolve your problems.

Imagine living life with that kind of lack of control. We talk a lot about how hard it is to be a mom, and with good reason — this gig is anything but easy. But the second week of April is “The Week of the Young Child,” and in its honor I’d like to acknowledge how hard it is to be a small child.

As a therapist, I often try to imagine what life is like for young children. If I want to find a solution to difficult behavior, I first have to try to understand it. And each time I put myself in the shoes of a young child I come to the same conclusion: Not a single one of us adults could cope with the things they have to cope with.

For starters, think about being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it — endlessly. Eat this thing that you’ve never seen before. Don’t make a rude face (what does rude mean?). It’s time to go somewhere you don’t want to go, and hurry, hurry, hurry to meet an arbitrary timeline that means nothing to you.

Imagine failing as much as a young child does. Not being able to make your hands move the right way to cut the paper, stumbling as you run across the lawn, spilling the milk you so desperately wanted to pour (and here I am, exasperated with him again).

Another bedtime example:

“Dad, tell me how the guy got up there.” “He climbed.” “NO, tell me how he got up there?” Over and over again, our son becomes more and more frustrated until I realize he meant to say, “ASK me how he got up there?”

One wrong word changing the whole sentence and causing all that frustration. Imagine constantly failing to effectively communicate with the people in your life. Day after day, struggling to find the right word, saying one thing when you mean another, mispronouncing words so much that nobody knows what you’re saying. And then having people get frustrated with YOU, lose patience with YOU.

One of my favorite books to read with the kids is “Everywhere Babies.” The last page reads, “Everyday everywhere babies are loved. For trying so hard, for traveling so far, for being so wonderful, just as they are.” I tear up almost every time I read it because it’s so true. In spite of it all, they try and they try and they try again. They greet their days with smiles, enthusiasm, and excitement. They forgive our mistakes, our flashes of fiery, unfair anger. They meet our impatience with patience (at least sometimes), they laugh and live and love with reckless abandon.

So when they push us to the edge of our limits, let’s try to remember that we’re doing the same thing to them.

Happy “Week of the Young Child”!