Tuesday, September 30, 2008


First, thank you everybody who has commented on my blog recently-- Amanda, Rachel, MDC mamas, thank you. Your thoughtful words help me more than you know.

I know what I want. I've always known. I didn't just wake up one day at 25 years old and decide that it would be quite nice to have a baby; it's not because starting a family is next on the to-do list. I have wanted children always; everything else has lead up to getting to a place where it was finally practical to try. It's something that has been in my mind, in my heart, forever. The only reason I'm questioning it now is because it's been so hard, so unexpectedly difficult, to get started-- miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. So I have to ask, is it still worth it? Is it worth it to put myself through this, to put Don through this-- emotionally, physically? But it still is. I don't know at what point it wouldn't be, but we're not there yet.

And, it's not just 'a baby' that I want. Yes, I want a tiny, scrunch-faced, bright-red, nursing newborn, but I also want the toddler. The seven-year-old. The teenager. The adult (although it's hard to imagine.) I want our household dynamic to be less Mad About You and more The Burrow. I want a noisy, chaotic houseful of children... and eventually, for them all to leave and do their own thing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What we don't have

Some people seem to have a single goal, one task to accomplish, to make their lives complete. They think, 'when I _____, then everything will be perfect.' Weight loss is one example; I've known women (well, girls, back then) who believed that if they could get their weight to X pounds, they'd be happy. Everything would be great, everybody would love them. The fact that everything else in life would be the same-- same parents, same friends, same job, same house, whatever-- was always ignored, as though being skinny were a ticket to a whole different life. (If that were true, wouldn't all the thin girls they knew be endlessly joyous already, instead of having their own issues?) I've also seen it with school and work: once I get into this school or get that degree or get hired by this company or get that promotion, life will be grand.

I'm afraid, sometimes, that I'm doing the same thing with starting a family: thinking that once I have a baby (or the four children I wanted before I knew how hard this would be), life will be perfect. Because it's been so unexpectedly difficult, required so much effort and concentration and emotional commitment, it's made the whole issue my raison d'etre instead of the sideshow it started as. For at least a year, getting pregnant and staying pregnant has occupied an enormous amount of my psychic space and has become kind of a monomania: everything will be perfect once we have a baby... and by implication, nothing can really ever be OK until we do.

On the one hand, I'm worried that like so many others, I'll eventually achieve what I want, only to look around and realize that it was a hollow victory after all, and that life (and I) hasn't really changed, except now there's a baby, just like everybody that I know or have read about, who pinned all of their hopes on a single goal only to achieve it and still be unfulfilled. On the other hand, though, maybe it's because everything else really is OK, and the only thing wrong in my life is this whole infertility/ceaseless-miscarriages thing. I mean, I've been ridiculously, embarrassingly blessed overall in terms of parents, family, Don, health, jobs, friends, etc, and this is essentially the first time that I've had real difficulty with anything. I'm not expecting a baby to change anything else-- how people see me, how I see myself-- so maybe that's a difference.

Another thing I've been thinking about is this: a lot of the things I do right now, I do with the expectation that eventually this will all pay off re: babies. What if it didn't? What if I knew right now, that Don and I would never have a family-- what would I do? What would we do? I've been fairly unhappy at work for awhile, but I've stayed because I have my health benefits through this job, because looking for a new job when you're trying to get pregnant (and therefore possibly going to be leaving again soon) is silly. The health insurance is no small thing when you're regularly seeing a specialist, and the new-job-seeking isn't either, if you plan to quit should you have a baby. On a similar note, I've been fairly lazy about moving up even in the same company (it's just over a year now since my last promotion), for a couple of reasons. The first is that, as I mentioned earlier, the infertility stuff is taking up a ton of my time and energy and the thought of trying to master a new position at work is not a good one. The second is sort of bad but I'll come clean: I don't want to upset the income ratio. I'm afraid that if I start making too much more money, whether or not I should "stay home" would start coming under question and I don't want that. Stupid, I know. I didn't even realize that I was thinking like that until the other night. So you see, there are all of these decisions being made based on the theory that soon we'll have a baby. What if we knew we wouldn't? I'd quit my job, no question about that. Find something else, not worry too much about the pay or the benefits. Spend more, save less. Drink more wine, take fewer vitamins. I don't know.

It's just weird to have my life revolving around this center that isn't even a something but the lack of a something.

On a different note. I've been thinking about what the phrases we all insert into our conversations imply about how we feel. I have a friend that always exclaims, "...I'm serious, you guys!" when she's telling us something. Keeping in mind that we're not questioning it or laughing at her, I think it shows a real fear of not being taken seriously... She also uses the word "literally" all the time. I find myself constantly asking, "... you know what I mean?" or just, "... you know?" at the end of things, which rather hints that I'm scared of being misunderstood. Someone else, who consistently uses the phrase, "I'm the kind of person who ____" instead of just making a declarative sentence, ""I ___" What does it mean? That she needs to reassure herself that she's not alone in her viewpoints? Or that she doesn't have the self-confidence to just declare that she is x or y, or believes a or b. (I'm the kind of person who hates it when people claim to be the kind of person who...) I think we probably all have verbal tics that give away our social fears... personally I'm trying to drop the, "... you know what I mean?"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Completely Unrelated!

Why does Garfield hate Mondays? It's not like he had a job, had to get up and go to work. I don't even remember Jon having a job, really. A Monday to Garfield should be just like a Sunday or a Tuesday. It doesn't really make sense, they're just pandering to us working workers who would feel the empathy.

Plans to get chickens over the weekend fell through, which was probably a good thing as the coop isn't quite finished yet. Still needs wheels, a roof, and the window.

Saw a bumper sticker today that said, "Midwives, they help people out!" which just slayed me. Think about it, it's funny. I wonder if the car belongs to the midwife I talked to in February, before I knew I was a special case (and that I'd lose that pregnancy.) From what I can find, there are maybe four midwives here-- two practices-- so the odds are good, unless there are more around who just don't advertise their services.

We have finished an entire bottle of multivitamins for men, an entire bottle of fish oil, and almost all of the L-Carnitine, which means it's been sixty days since I put Don on all this stuff, which means that it's been more than two months since the last miscarriage.

I could possibly be pregnant again, it's too soon to know. I don't know how I feel about that, except that I feel I have no real choice, as I'm compelled to keep trying by a force stronger than rational decision-making. (Which may not be all that strong anyways, as neither of us are much known for our powers of the rational as it is.) So, wait and see. I have a different mentality now about the chances for each pregnancy. It's sort of hard to explain. Before, I was convinced that each pregnancy was IT, the one that would be our baby. Everything I read, everything the doctors said, reinforced the idea that the odds were in our favor. There's no reason, they said, why your next pregnancy wouldn't work out! Even now, after four miscarriages and no successful pregnancies, the literature claims our chances for a successful try next time are still better than 50-50, and that's not assuming any kind of treatment.

Now I feel like this: clearly, there's something that makes it difficult for me (or us) to hold onto a pregnancy. It may be just the progesterone issue, or maybe it's that plus something else, something the doctors couldn't find or didn't look for. I did the progesterone religiously last time, but to no avail: could be "bad luck" (the doctors' theory), could be some problem with the method (maybe I'm not absorbing it properly, or once it's in me, it doesn't act right, or something-- I'm no scientist), or maybe there's another issue, either in general or with just that pregnancy-- a bad egg or a lousy sperm or a bad implantation. I feel like there's a number out there, that describes our odds of success. The doctors don't know it, nobody does. Is it one-in-ten? One-in-twenty? Or one-in-a-million? I'm veering towards the lower end because there's so much that's not wrong, so much that tested clean. But there's no way to know: it could be impossible but how to find that out without trying again and again? Everything we do is to push those odds higher: the progesterone, the supplements, the specialists. Maybe this next time, it will work because of some little change; maybe all the vitamins I'm force-feeding into Don will make his swimmer straighten up and fly right... if that was ever a problem. Maybe my megadoses of folic acid will make some kind of difference. We don't know. Maybe it will work because statistically, it's just chance, just a million different things falling into place. If our odds are one-in-ten for a good pregnancy, maybe this time the dice will roll right. Or maybe it will fail again. But I think I can be OK with that, maybe. Because I'm no longer telling myself that this next time is IT.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


It seems that I haven't written here in forever. Oops about that. Nothing's wrong or anything, just a confluence of factors conspiring against the blog. It started with a few really hectic weeks at work, with me working overtime all over the place, as well as being really busy while at work. I hate to admit it, but downtime at work is generally when I write in here. Then the camera batteries died, and I really wanted to put up a picture of something... Now I can't remember what. Mostly, though, it's because I've been really struggling with the miscarriage thing (again. or still.) and it makes for such repetitive writing. In a novel or a movie, trauma resolves itself to some kind of conclusion; in a journal it just rehashes itself endlessly.

I didn't want to write much about (or think about) the last miscarriage, because it was awful. So I kind of dealt with it in the most minimal way possible, which worked until a month later when my period came, because that was awful too, and it was like some kind of freaky flashback thing. (Note to self: vocabulary. find some.) I didn't feel like working through that on paper, so to speak. So I just didn't write at all. Then Don and I were confronted with the approach of the Fertile Window and had to decide whether or not we were Trying Again this cycle. After four miscarriages it's become a grim decision, not the joyous one it was the first time, or even the second. I actually said to him, "We need to talk soon about whether to try for our next miscarriage this month, or wait another cycle"... without realizing what I'd said wrong. Well, no point putting off the inevitable; we're going to keep trying so we may as well try as soon as possible.

Good things have been happening, too. I mentioned that we'd done a good bit of work on the fence; now the chicken coop is almost done too. Don took that project over, as predicted, but is following my design pretty well. We were supposed to be getting the actual birds this weekend, but that's up in the air now. The weather's been great, lots of rain from the hurricanes, starting to get into my favorite season now. Got a little raise at work. Plane tickets booked for New Mexico in December; finally get a chance to hang out with my family there for a bit. It hasn't been all five of us since Big Bend 2006. So that's something to look forward to.