Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Embryo Graveyard

I think I'm having a hot flash from the Lupron. Of course it could be from eating that warm oatmeal, or it could be because its 104 outside (except that I'm inside in air conditioning), but I want to stand in front of a fan or open freezer for a few minutes.

I came out yesterday to my boss about IVF. It was really weird. I felt like an attention hoor, but really it was because I didn't want her to think I was flaking on the job. She wasn't surprised so I'm convinced Di told her already.

Last night Valerie and I shared some wine. I was complaining to her how they charge for freezing, storing and thawing of embryos, each as a separate charge. It just seems like nonsense since you wouldn't freeze and not store or freeze and not thaw, etc. Then I started talking about the destruction of embryos, and wondered if the office has a tiny embryo graveyard about the size of a pillow, with green grass and bonzai trees. For a few dollars more, they will not only bury your embryos, but you can purchase a tiny cross or monument to be put over their tiny grave, but maybe they're really just Monopoly or other game pieces. I think a tiny embryo graveyard sounds better than the thought of them throwing them away. Of course we signed for any unwanted leftovers (all will be wanted now, so this would be much later) to be donated to science. Kind of like tiny little stunt pilots, sacrificing their lives to finding new mediums or maybe discovering a cure for Parkinsons. Be brave little soldiers, you're fighting a good fight.

Of course this is all assuming we have lots of extra embryos. That's pretty much what I do all day, start dreaming, then slap myself into reality, then get a little sad, then try to cheer myself up, then back to reality... a rollercoaster of hope versus experience.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Out of Luck

Our First Lupron Shot...
~Matt, that's more than 10.
--Don't we want to be a little on the extra side?
~No, this is to suppress. I don't want to be extra suppressed.
--Okay...
~Wait! You shouldn't have squirted it out. We have to make this bottle last for all.
--It's only a little bit. They must have built in extra.
~Now it's less than 10.
--I'm sure it won't make a huge difference.
~Wait! You're supposed to give it to me at a 90 degree angle.
--Valerie said to do it at 45 degrees so it will hurt less.
~You're taking Valerie's word over mine? Over the instructions? She wasn't going through IVF. She was taking Lovenox.
--Fine. I'm ready. Where do you want it.
~Wait! Don't do it while you're mad.

Saturday night Matt and I went on a date to Ruth's Chris steak house. After dinner, we talked about my evil (he thinks jealous) thoughts against pregnant women, and how he wants a motorcycle. I told him that if he sees a guy on a Harley weaving through traffic who has a pregnant woman on the back to accidentally open the door to knock them out to please both of us. I was kidding of course, but he knew what I meant.

I also told him I wanted to be the first infertile stand-up comic. I would come out on stage. "Are there any pregnant women in the audience tonight?" "Go to hell you freaking ungrateful bitches." That's funny, eh?

I don't actually hate pregnant women, I just don't think they appreciate what they have. They complain about how they're feeling and let out sad sighs when I don't offer to let them skip ahead of me in line at the supermarket. Sorry, but you're going to have a baby soon and I'm not, so this time you wait. Is that mean? I don't think so. I think it makes me smile inside the whole time I'm unloading my cart onto the belt.

I've been thinking about the cost of the IVF, and decided that I have to spend the money on trying to have a baby rather than a new car or new kitchen. Can you imagine how much I'd hate that car in a few years if I bought it instead of IVF?

The big scary part of the weekend was Shelly, our German Shepard, running away. She got out once during the day (found her at the pound, thought she had gotten out through the garage) and then again that night (gone for many hours, we found that she had broken the gate, we drove the neighborhood for hours calling for her, she then came back home by herself during the search). I told Matt that we used up all our good luck cards to get our dog back. This cycle doesn't stand a chance now. But, I'm so glad she's home.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Birth Story

All went well with my pre-Lupron ultrasound yesterday. Nothing to see here people. Please move along. Tomorrow night I'll start the Lupron, and on rollercoaster terms I think that means the start of that click click click noise as we start our initial climb to IVF. My doc, Dr. Young Power Chickie did it. In the few minutes we were together, I managed to squeeze in the fact that my brother is a doctor. I'm not doing this to impress her that maybe I'm smart because he is (although that could be implied), but in hopes that she will see that I'm associated to her elite club so treating me would be like treating her own sister. I don't know if she got that inner message, but it's worth a try.

I've heard that another doctor at the practice is highly revered and respected. For the same money, I could be seeing him instead, if I'm willing to wait the few months to get an appointment. Dr. Power Chickie seems nice enough, although during one IUI when I was very down during the procedure (because I knew the odds were so low with only 2 measly follicles considering I'd had loser cycles with 6), she actually told me to stay positive. That she'd had more success with patients who were positive. Maybe they were positive because their odds were higher with only 2 follicles. Or, maybe they were positive because it was only their first and therefore they had not yet had their hopes crushed. All I know is that right before the IUI where we conceived Janie, the PhD embryologist lab guy came in and told us that considering the results of the SA we did the week before and our counts that day, we were wasting our time with IUI and needed to move on to IVF with ICSI. (Have I told this story before? Probably, the whole wasting of time quote has stuck in my psyche.) Anyways, I cried for 2 weeks, gave our RE hell in a meeting, was the most negative person ever, and it was the cycle that worked. I'm thinking my best chance for success may be when I'm depressed and have given up hope rather than when I'm hopeful. In any case, I don't need a doctor telling me to stay positive to increase my chances. I'll be how I am and it will either work or won't. I don't think the egg and sperm are checking out my face for expression before they decide to tango. I think they're caught up in the heat of the moment and could care less about their host's current state of positiveness.

But I have decided to stay with Dr. Power Chickie for this IVF. She's very young, yes, but I think she has something to prove. Plus, she's been under the tutelage of Dr. Revered and it's all one practice. If it doesn't work, I can always switch. She was also somewhat considerate during the IVF appointment. I feel I have more control of the situation with her than maybe a Dr. Revered because I'm not afraid to ask or say something. She's not as kind and caring as my last RE at their practice, Dr. Been There who I had for the last few cycles, but Dr. Been There doesn't do IVF so I had to move on. I would have loved to have become friends with Dr. Been There, because she had implied she been through this to have her daughter who is also my daughter's age, and she actually seemed to care about me.

Thursday night, I went to bed at 4am and got up at 6am. I stayed up all night getting work done for my meeting that was right after my u/s. When I went to bed, Janie was sleeping in my bed with Matt. I scooted her over and she curled up against me. Even though I was so tired, I couldn't sleep. I could only listen to her breathe, touch her hair, and feel her feet on my legs. I remembered when I was pregnant with her and for the first few months I had rented a doppler machine so I could listen to her heartbeat. I would listen all the time. The sound of it was so real and comforting. It was as if we were having a conversation in our own language. I knew she was there and okay. Last night with her next to me, I wanted to open myself up and put her back inside me where she would be safe. I understood why kangaroos have pouches and wished I had one. I think I slept from 5am-6am, then got up and showered for my appointment. When I started getting her dressed, she was fast asleep but woke up part way through and started crying. She didn't want to get dressed. Usually in the morning I carry her to the couch, lay her down, put her ducky blanket on her, then turn on Sesame Street or Clifford. She cried that she wanted to go to the couch. I told her that we couldn't do that today, but tomorrow is Saturday and we can do it then. I felt horrible dropping her off at school 2 hours earlier than usual. She was the first kid there! I set her up with her breakfast and promised she would be picked up earlier than usual. She looked so sad and sleepy. I then took off to the RE's office. Really, I could have taken her with me, but I think bringing children into an RE's office is cruel. I've seen the women that do and it bothers me, and I have a child! Out of my 10 million appointments I've had this year, Janie has come with me to one. We waited outside the office in the general area not waiting area until they were ready for me. Then I had to explain to Janie that the doctor would be looking at my peepee with a special flashlight camera that would show pictures on the TV. She was very good until the end with Dr. Been There took the printed pictures from the u/s machine and started to leave. Janie wanted to see them. Of course, Dr. Been There then showed her the pictures because she's just that type of person. After she left, Janie complained that we didn't get to keep any, and I knew how she felt because sometimes I would like a copy too.

But, all these doctors looking at peepees with flashlights are not good things for little kids to learn. She's seen me take many many shots, so when she plays doctor she always gives her patient a shot in the stomach rather than arm or behind. She has a way of telling anyone anything that goes on in our house, so I'm afraid one day she's going to tell a teacher about my bag of drugs, tons of shots, and pictures of my peepee. Explaining how babies are made will be a much less embarrassing discussion, but a lot more technical. Matt barely understands the process we'll be going through.

She does know how babies come out. Valerie showed Janie her c-section owie, and Janie's seen my scar as well. What, you mean they don't come out that way? At least for me they do. And if I get pregnant again, I'm going straight to c-section. Last time I labored and was in excruciating pain for 12 hours because Janie wouldn't drop and I wouldn't dilate to 4 (I was at 3) to get an epidural. They had me on huge quantities of pitocin to expedite labor due to my water having broke hours before, which was just causing me to have unending horrible contractions. I was in such horrible pain that I was screaming and didn't care who heard it. I wanted to pick up a chair, through it through the window and jump out because I only wanted the pain to stop. Eventually they did give me the epidural, and I immediately dilated to 10. I pushed for 2 hours, but I was completely sapped of strength from the hours of pain prior, so I think I was a terrible pusher. I couldn't talk and just kept throwing up. Meanwhile, my 8lb 13 oz baby was wrong side up and had her head turned, so she never moved from -2, she was stuck in my pelvis. I ended up c-section, where one doctor had to push to unjam her while the other pulled from the incision site. She had a knot on her head. I Told You So! Next time I'm going straight to c-section. I know the docs and nurses don't care about my pain (no matter what they said beforehand) and that they are barbaric enough to let me be in agony for hours (no matter how much I begged for an epidural and had an epidural in my birth plan). Next time I will have a date set, go in, get an epidural, and have her out within minutes. Bliss. Valerie's husband thinks that's wrong, but I don't care what he thinks.

It's funny that I can talk about my future c-section when the odds of me getting pregnant again are so small. My birth plan for the next baby is not that important if there is no next baby. I've been talking about that next c-section for the last 3 1/2 years and I'm still not pregnant.

On the way back from my u/s yesterday, Natural Woman came on the radio and I sang along. I sing it for Janie, my sunshine. Isn't it funny that a child who was conceived in science and born from a surgical procedure can make me feel natural? There is nothing about her that is manufactured. I hate those hypocritial fertiles thinking that she's not because of how she was conceived. They're hypocritical because they think all other medical procedures are courageous and important, but fertility treatments are crimes against nature. The question is more common when you have twins of whether or not they are 'natural'. If I get lucky enough to have that problem, I plan on telling people that they are made mostly of synthetic fibers, but isn't it incredible how natural they look?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Actual Dollar Cost

IVF costs $8310, plus $1680 for ICSI, $425 for anesthesia, plus the drugs and physician fees. If I get lucky enough to have leftover embryos to freeze, it costs $1160 to freeze them, $365 per year to store them, and $910 to thaw them. I have over $1000 in fertinex in my fridge, plus the lupron, birth control pills and progesterone. Each price is like an ice pick repeatedly stabbing me in the womb. If my problem was after conception, it would be covered by insurance, but since it's before, it's not. Seems fair? All this for only a 30% chance of conceiving... or else return to Go and do not collect $200. Actually, start paying it all out again.

Let's not forget that we're coming into this already having had spent a bunch. Not counting all that we spent on the 6 medicated cycles and 3 injectable IUIs to conceive Janie, for this attempt at another miracle we've already paid for 3 more failed IUIs on various injectables. I also had a hysteroscopy last week and more blood work than could be figured.

It's the judgments that people make against those who can't conceive that give the insurance companies the easy out. If I believed in conspiracy theories, the theory would be that the insurance companies don't want to pay for all this so they continue to feed the media stories on the edge of fertility (such as cloning or McAughley septuplets) to keep the general public suspicious of the fertility treatments and unwilling to cover them.

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In other news, I talked to Valerie today. Her brother is visiting and she's feeling good. She actually asked if the travel was going to be possible with my IVF schedule. Yes, I'm threading it in between ultrasounds, but I was impressed that she thought of me considering all she's got going on (see yesterday's post). She put the baby up to the phone and I could hear her little cooing noises. It made me want to cry happy tears, but thankfully I'm not on drugs enough yet to let that happen. Now, the birth control pills just make me bitchy, but that could just be me. Hard to say really at this point.

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I'm working late tonight. I took a nap from 8-9pm, so I can stay up late finishing up this work. I've got an early morning ultrasound so I'll have to drop Janie off at school two hours earlier than usual and then race off to the hospital 1 1/2 hours away (in regular traffic). Then, I have a phone meeting that starts 1 1/2 hours after the start of my ultrasound. Unless they get me in and then out, I'll be late which really sucks. I hate being late, especially since I'm leading it. So I've forwarded them things to get started on in my absence, notified them I'll be late, and extended it an extra half hour. Oh joy, I bet they were so excited about that.

I'm thinking about telling my boss when I'm back in town so that she knows I'm not flaking out in July. I have told one person at work, my friend Di, but I have a feeling she may have already told my boss (she also works for her). I think this because today my boss called me, and told me that she fired one of our coworkers so she needs to take her duties and give them to the rest of us. She didn't give me any of those extra duties, but then she offered to take some of my duties and redistribute those as well. What? Why? I think I'm doing a good job, and everyone is already going to have more, so it would seem bad timing. But, if Di told her, then maybe she's trying to do me a favor. Maybe it could be a favor, but I have a hard time letting go of work. I called Di and asked her if our boss was unhappy with my work since she tried to take it away from me. Di assured me that the boss loves me and was probably just thinking outloud. I didn't ask Di if she told her about the IVF since I had already sworn Di to secrecy and didn't want her to think I didn't trust her. I just don't trust in general. So I think my boss knows, so telling her will only show her that I trust her and we can talk about any concerns she has about my ability to work this month.

Truth is, I don't know how much this will affect me so I don't know what I can or can't handle. If I can't handle it, then I'll tell her and ask for her help. I've done it before when I was having my back-to-back gall bladder and breast lump surgeries in December and January. I don't like giving up work. Work is part of me and who I am. Sad, huh?

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Today I took Janie for her first real haircut. She's had small ones before. Valerie trimmed her bangs and sides once when I was at work. I was peeved since I especially didn't want the sides cut, but not as mad as you'd think for missing her first haircut. Actually, a year before then she had a first haircut from a stylist I paid for my brother's wedding. Her hair was so short, and the stylist barely trimmed, mainly just played with it. Today the stylist straightened things out and took length from the back to try to make it more even with the sides, but all in all it doesn't look that different. I'm glad since I was scared that her curls would be cut off and be gone forever, but I also had hoped for some more style since I felt she needed more layers so that it would be more curly.

Janie's hair is one of the attributes that makes her look like an actual angel. When I was pregnant, I had assumed she would look like the little Pepsi commercial girl with Matt's dark curly hair and brown eyes and my dimples. Matt has black hair and brown eyes. My hair is brown and eyes are hazel. Instead, Janie has blond curly hair and blue eyes, and my chubby cheeks but without the dimples. She looks a lot like Shirly Temple (her Halloween costume last year) or a cherub. My mother and half my siblings are blonds, my father has green eyes, and Matt's mother has blue eyes, so maybe her looks aren't so surprising. But they still are to me. I look at her and I can't believe she came from me. She even likes chicken nuggets instead of cheeseburgers! Can you imagine? Anyways, whenever she's with my blond sister or curly haired Valerie, people will first assume she's theirs instead of mine. About a month ago, a flight attendant complimented me on her, then asked if my husband was blond. No, my husband's not blond, but there were those Vikings who pillaged our village about 9 months before she was born.

No Choice

Work is going to be a problem. When we had decided to do IVF in July, it was because I didn't want to wait any longer and because it would be while I was on summer break from school. I'm working on this big project and will be flying next week for a few days and a day for the week after, and I've been trying to arrange it all around my IVF schedule. Now they are wanting more travel and I will try to again slip it around and between ultrasounds, but I'm not sure how much I can. This is not easy. How can people work and do all these appointments without telling their bosses?

I've decided to use pseudonyms instead of initials for the people around me to make these notes easier to read and write. We'll call my daughter Janie and my husband Matt. My best friend is Valerie. I mentioned Valerie before in that she's the usual person I go do to talk about my thoughts and worries but I can't right now. She's dealing with her own things and doesn't have time to take on mine.

Basically, Valerie's first child, a girl, was still born around the same time as 9/11. She almost died herself a week later of pulmonary embolism. It was discovered that she had a genetic blood clotting disorder. Unknown to her and her OB, her placenta had been filling with clots and starving her baby of vital fluids, then it had the same as a heart attack. Once the placenta died, the baby died, and she had to deliver her. It was horrible. The doctors hadn't realized there was any problem with the baby because Valerie had fibroids that were growing during the pregnancy, so her belly was always sized correctly. Also, she had never had any health problems so didn't know she had this genetic disorder.

She got pregnant a few months later and because of twice daily lovenox injections, almost weekly ultrasounds, and the care of the best perinatologists in the state, she had a healthy baby boy. A few months later she was pregnant again, and underwent the same level of care and monitoring. She had problems at 7 months and ended up in the hospital. Her daughter was born about a month ago, 3-4 weeks early, and was diagnosed at birth with Down's Syndrome, and a hole in her heart that will need surgery at 4 months.

Valerie was the most monitored pregnant woman in the world and had more ultrasounds than anyone. Her triple screen blood test had come back normal. Her ultrasound measurements were normal. She's 30 years old. Her problems have been because of her blood condition, not anything to do with the babies. The doctors couldn't get a good look at the heart during the 18 week ultrasound. The first doc marked the file and the next doctor a week later couldn't get a good look either, but he didn't mark the file. The ultrasounds on the weeks after were for exactly that, and never trying to check the heart again. I think they were so concerned with the blood condition and fluid levels that they missed this other problem. She believes that if they would have found the heart condition that is common with babies with Down's, they could have told her she had higher odds of her child having it and to get an amnio. She believes she would have ended the pregnancy had she known, and I believe her. I think I would do the same, even if I had spent all my money on IVF to get that pregnancy. With her, the choice to stay pregnant always means putting her own health at risk, and the shots, and the constant monitoring. Pregnancy is not the same for her as it would be for me or anyone else, it's also dangerous. Although, I don't think the choice to end the pregnancy would have been just a handicapped child wouldn't be worth the danger, but because she didn't intend on raising a child with Down's. It's a much higher commitment than just having a child. The Down's wasn't diagnosed until after the baby was born, so she had absolutely no choice. To find out in the recovery room after her dangerous c-section (breech baby), I think is barbaric. She said she started screaming. They tried to get her to be quiet because of the other mothers who were also recovering, but she didn't care about them. They would go home with their healthy babies.

She talked about adoption, but she felt that her daughter may not get a good home because of her condition and could end up raised in foster homes and/or abused. Besides, things are different once they're born. Her daughter is beautiful, they sucker you in when they're babies. I could talk on and on about terminating pregnancies due to Down's, but really, chances are you'll never be faced with this issue personally so it's very easy to say what you would do. Valerie loves her daughter, but she wouldn't have had her had she known. It's too much. Now that she's here, she's love her and raise her and give her the best of everything, but it's something in which she was never given a choice to undertake. I still can't believe that can still happen in our so-called modern society.

This week she has to meet with some social worker because of I think social security for the baby, and she has doctor's appointments for her too. In the meantime, there's always her 1 1/2 year old son who is very active and far more demanding. There's more too, but I think you get the idea that with two little kids under 2, one with special needs, and all of what should have been, she's going through her own thing right now. I try to be patient and let her call me instead of calling her, but I'm not that patient. I miss her and want to see how she's doing, so I usually try her once a day. That's about how often we used to talk since her first baby died and before her last one was born.

She got her tubes tied and her husband had a vasectomy. They get pregnant so easily that they wanted both bridges burned. I announced that we were finally the more fertile couple. We liked to joke about how combined we made the most fertile woman and the most infertile woman since she could conceive so easily but had trouble pregnancies, and I couldn't conceive but once pregnant I was fine.

With Valerie, I can be myself. Pessimistic, bitter, snarky, and hopefully supportive. There aren't too many things I haven't told her, and she still seems to accept my flawed and mean self. Truth is, I don't have that many friends because I don't want to open myself up and I don't have time to spend on cultivating new relationships. I also don't want to hear about how wonderful everyone else's life is. You and your husband have never fought? You've never mourned the loss of your pre-children self? After you were married and had a child your life was complete and you never wanted for anything more? Hmm, excuse me, I think I have some place I should be.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Secrets

Yesterday I finally got to pick up my refill on the birth control pills. I need to take birth control pills for 30 days, but there are only 21 active pills in a pack, so my RE called in a refill. The insurance company wouldn't pay for the refill until the 22nd day. Why? I haven't costed them anything in birth control since 1998. Did they think I was starting a clinic for wayward girls? Can't they tell from the rest of my prescriptions that I'm not that interested in birth control? Considering the cost of this compared to the other drugs, you'd think this would be the easy part.

I was thinking about our savings. Over the past few years we've saved some money. Originally it was going to be to fix our retaining wall, or retile our bathroom, or remodel our kitchen, or buy me a new car. Instead it will be going towards IVF. It's hard to let it go. Sometimes I look around and see all the things we need to fix and I think that I'm being very selfish by using the money on a maybe baby. Maybe. My best friend V said that I was spending it all on a lottery ticket with just as poor odds, but I won't even win a million dollars, just maybe a baby. Maybe. What it's worth depends on how much you value conception.

I want to dance around and sing and dream about the possibility of getting pregnant next month, but I can't. If it doesn't work, it's going to hurt like a bitch. I don't think I can protect myself from that hurt, but I try by trying not to dream or dance or get excited. We keep it a secret so that if it doesn't work I don't have to repeat it when I'm hurting, and I don't have to deal with the "helpful" advice. If they don't know what I'm going through, then I don't want them to know what I'm going through.

My Mom knows that we've been trying and I know she's dying to know details. I can't tell her. She told me about two weeks ago that I could be pregnant. I told her I wasn't (negative tests, period, baseline ultrasound), and she tried to argue with me telling me that I could be and just not know it. No. I'm not. And I know it. I told her that if I was, I'd tell her, so no news is bad news. I don't talk about it because I don't want to talk about it. This is partially true. I do want to talk about it, but in confidence and with someone who knows what I'm talking about. My mother had 6 children, 3 of them while on various forms of birth control. She also tells everyone everything so nothing is ever held in confidence. Nothing. I remember when I was abused as a kid by my stepfather. I had reported it and did my part by testifying to put him away for felony child abuse. I was just a kid. My mother told everyone what he did to me. I tried telling her that it happened to me and it was not her news to tell, but she told everyone under the sun anyways, claiming she needed to as part of her own personal therapy (in other words, it's all about priorities and my own emotional health came second after hers). She even told a boy I dated in high school, so I broke up with him immediately. If I wanted him to know, I would have said something to him. She still doesn't get it and still tells everyone what happened to me. I don't want to be the abused girl, I want to be me. And now, I don't want to be the infertile woman, I want to be me. I don't want strangers knowing my very personal business (present company reading this excluded), so I don't tell it to them, and that means I don't tell my mother either. How many times have I met one of her friends only to have them give me the sad sorry eyes, sigh, and then want to give me a hug?

Sorry Mom, but you really can't be trusted. Remember when J was born? M was calling everyone to announce the birth. You were at the top of the list. Each call was in quick succession, only a few minutes, trading off between his family and my family. By the time he got to my brothers and sisters (again, 6 so it takes a while to call each), they already knew because you called them first. Next time I wonder where on the list your name will be.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Home Alone

I'm really sleepy, but I know I won't be sleeping for hours. My child and husband will be asleep in an hour or so, but I will stay up for a few hours more. This is typical. The nights are mine. One thing I like to do late at night is to work, doing downloads and pivot tables as the TV plays whatever just to keep me awake. I feel that it's free time and I can get ahead and get things done. With my work, usually I feel like the miller's daughter, spinning, spinning, spinning through the night to turn the straw into gold as I turn the data into useful information, trying to solve the questions of the day. (In reality, Rumplestilskin did the actual spinning in return for a promise of a child, but I think that's a little to close so let's not explore that.) Spin, spin, spin, pivot, pivot, pivot, doing my magic to pay the bills and try to stay a star. It's hard to show how I'm working when I'm working from home, so it's all about results.

Speaking of results, I remember when I worked for Arthur Andersen. I was struggling with the 70 hour weeks and the total mind numbing activities of audit. Do everything the same way it was done last year. Creativity is shunned. I HATED that job. It was just something I had to get through because for a finance person it is important to work for a large accounting firm, or so I'd been told. Anyways, a partner told me that the only thing that mattered were results, not effort. It didn't matter if it took me hours or minutes, only that I got the right result. This stuck with me because to me it's from the effort that we learn and we grow. He, of course, had no interest in my growth, just my potential to complete audits and bill clients. I think Arthur's eventual implosion was caused by such an overemphasis on result, causing them to overlook the process. A year after I left the firm, Arthur went down in flames. I still laugh every time I think about it.

But working from home, my company can't see my efforts, only the results. Sometimes this has meant assigning me more than I could possibly do. Sometimes I have worked overnight doing it anyways, in a desire to please and be magical. My boss lets me work at home because she thinks I'm a star, so I have to keep her under that delusion. It's not easy. Spin, spin, spin.

Lately I've really hated working from home. I've been doing it ever since my daughter J was born 3 1/2 years ago. I could make a lot more working in an office, and move ahead a lot faster. I actually miss meetings. I had to give up my big office with the window and little conference table. I still have an office there which I've tried to make cozy, but it's not as sunny nor as large. I guess it's good to just have one considering I'm only there a few days a month, but still... I miss wearing my suits and driving downtown. Now I'm a magical black box. Insert requests, spit out results.

So why do I continue to work from home? Because being able to work from home while J was a baby was the best thing ever. I got to be with her all day every day, and still use the work side of my brain and bring in a good salary. I had everything but sleep and I felt very grateful. I've been trying to get pregnant for 3 years, knowing I could be at home with the baby while working. I'm in a holding pattern so that I will be ready for the day I'm pregnant. Why don't I go back to the office in the meantime? Because I live 12 hours from my work. I fly there twice a month for a few days. To go back to the office would mean moving back or getting a job here. Once I do either, working from home will no longer be available. It's hard to explain. I didn't think I'd be doing it this long because I figured I'd have had another baby by now or would have accepted my only child and gone back to the office. Instead I'm still waiting and it's wearing on me. I'm not feeling so grateful anymore.

What I have done is go back to school for my MBA. It's tied me to this area until graduation but it should be well worth it. I'm in an evening program with 1 year out of 3 done. It's an expensive way to get to hang out with other business people. Once I'm done, I'm going back into the office. IF I get pregnant in July from the IVF, I will be pregnant during year 2 of the program, and able to be working from home with baby for year 3. I've been thinking of quitting my job at the end of the pregnancy and not working again until after I graduate, but it depends on money, of course. I think on my resume it would be okay because they could assume the time off was for school rather than for a baby. But first I have to get pregnant. My time to spend with this unconceivable baby is shrinking the longer this process takes. All these plans guarantee that it won't happen. I should stop.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Charmed, I'm sure

I remember when I was a kid and going to the dentist meant picking a toy from the treasure chest. It made all the teeth cleanings and cavity fillings a lot more tolerable. What if the RE's office had a treasure chest to choose little prize from before or after each visit? Then I was thinking what could be in it. Maybe lotion samplers, scrunchies, funny socks for ultrasounds, little packs of decorative tissues, or chocolate for the IF soul. Considering the price of these services, having a little treasure chest couldn't cost that much.

Maybe they could give out charms for a bracelet. Little syringe charms, embryo charms, swimmer charms (sperm), speculum charms... maybe you could get special ones to signify your diagnosis so I'd get a male factor charm (maybe a swimmer with two tails), and a PCOS charm (little ovary charm with tiny pearl necklace)... or they could signify the journey like little wings for miscarriages, catheters for each IUI cycle, or petri dishes for IVF... the possibilities are endless. Anyways, that way when I saw a pregnant woman at the store, if she was wearing an infertility bracelet with lots of charms, I would smile at her instead of just my usual pretending not to notice that she's pregnant.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

First Entry Ever

My child and husband are sleeping. The house is quiet except for the sounds of my typing. What has brought me to sharing myself in this manner? Do I really have something substantial to add to the literary world? Not really, but I keep on typing.

I have thoughts I have to get out. I would really like to call my best friend V and talk to her about all these thoughts that keep me up so late at night. Right now she's going through her own life trainwreck so she really can't help me. I don't blame her; I miss her and her dark sense of humor. Since we haven't told anyone else about what we're doing next month, I'm really feeling alone right now.

July we start our first cycle of IVF. I've read all the office handouts, tons on the internet and about 1 1/2 books on the subject, but none tell me what I really want to know which is whether it will work. What if it doesn't? What if it doesn't?

I remember when I was pregnant with J. It took us 2 years and tons of medical technology to create her, far more time than the pregnancy lasted. I couldn't imagine life after the due date. It was as if the calendar ended and it was a cliff that time fell off, or at least slid off kind of like a Dali painting. Now she's 3 1/2 years old and I'm still in disbelief that I have her. She's funny, devious, smart, and fun to watch. She cried when Shrek II ended because she loved being at the movies and didn't want to leave. She looked at each person leaving the theater as traitors for walking out during the credits instead of banding together in solidarity for unending movies.

She is perfect. Is it wrong to want another? Am I selfish to ask for another miracle? What about all those who don't have one? I remember when that was me. The thought of not ever having a baby was much much worse than what could happen now... having an only child. They're not comparable pains, but then this isn't a contest. Maybe its a spectrum and I feel in the middle. I'm really really lucky to have one. But, I'm not near as lucky as those who can make babies as easily as I was told in high school. I justify this quest as normal in that any fertile couple can create another child without even trying and never be called selfish or told they're asking for too much.

Train of thought... Hijacked.

This reminds me of the RE's waiting room. There always seems to be couples in there looking very despondent and checking us out when we walk in. What I would like would be a knowing smile and little wink from another sister. Instead, it's as if there's a limited number of babies they're holding in the back office, and we're sizing up who is the better candidate to get one before they run out. Lately I've been arriving in a good mood because moving on to IVF, although scary, means getting to trying in a way that can really give us a good chance of getting us a baby. They probably think I'm smiling because I have a positive test. No, I'll be back again in a few days, but I feel closer to a positive than I did when we were doing those IUIs. Then I felt like I was going through the motions.

So I'm excited. Very excited. Maybe... and it makes me smile. But then again, maybe not. Maybe it won't work. What then? It's that cliff again where time ends at the end of the cycle.