Monday, February 25, 2008

I survived

I survived our friends' 1st birthday party for their little girl. I should say that WE survived because Husband was as nervous as I was. I think he was actually more nervous. The party was originally scheduled for Feb. 16, but the parents rescheduled it due to the baby having a fever. I was very nervous as the original date approached, but the rescheduled date put it on the same day as our meeting with our surrogate's family, so I think my bit of nervousness over the surro meeting overshadowed any nervousness over the birthday party.

The party was good. The baby is very sweet, and it wasn't nearly as hard to see her as I thought it would be. She went right to Husband and looked like she enjoyed being in his arms, which was very sweet. She did the same to me later. Everyone was happy to see us and no snarky comments were made; no stupid comments were made either--a huge relief for us. Husband is making plans for lunch with our friend's husband, so hopefully their friendship can start up again. I think our gift of 4 books (3 age-appropriate books and 1 to grow into) went over very well. I have to say that Husband and I looked good too :-) We both dressed with care, and I had my hair cut last week, so we were both looking our best. It helps your confidence knowing that if nothing else, at least you look good! We'll see what our attendance at the party does for the friendship. I still feel a little bit of hurt and anger bubble up from time to time, and it does frustrate me a little bit that we sort of gave in. Oh well.

Our dinner with our surrogate and her family went well also. It was an interesting juxtaposition going from a 1st birthday party to a dinner with our surrogate. She was so afraid her kids (she has 3) were going to be rowdy, but they seemed like normal kids to us. It was actually refreshing. After our experiences with our nephew, I think Husband and I were afraid that we didn't like kids, but it reassured me that I do like kids because I like her kids. We talked a lot about the process and details. It turns out that she has better health insurance than we do! If I were to miraculously get pg and give birth, it would cost us about $2k out of pocket before insurance paid the rest thanks to my deductible and co-insurance. All she (and therefore we) have to pay is a $10 co-pay at the first OB appointment. I'm going to call the lawyer today to set up an appointment to start working on the contract.

The best news is that our surrogate thinks that she will have the third AF cycle required by my clinic in April! Hopefully we will be able to cycle for IVF in May-June. And now I'm getting a little freaked out because that's not very far off, and I need to find out what tests and bloodwork the clinic needs from me, evaluate whether my endometrioma still exists and how we'll treat it, etc. The good thing is that I am BCPs, so hopefully I won't have too long of a delay to get my body ready for stimming. I think my new clinic uses lupron, and my old clinic used antagon, so I don't know how much prep work I'll requre beforehand. Honestly, I've avoided thinking about these kinds of details because they make my head spin. It's a lot easier on me if I tell myself to take things one thing at a time.

And let me tell mother is SO excited about our surrogacy journey. I'm actually a little bothered by her enthusiasm. I'm glad she's excited and all for it, but I wish she would calm down a bit.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Breaking up with family

I hope everyone had a good weekend! We had some much-needed rain last night and this morning, though I could have done without the drama of my weather radio going off at 2:30 am. It certainly started my Monday off right!

I received some sad news this morning. My friend's baby died this morning. Even now my friend is choosing to focus on the 19 wonderful days they had with her. I hope that I have similar grace and strength in any crisis I encounter. Please keep her and her husband in your thoughts and/or prayers if you would.

We had an interesting weekend. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and nephew were in town, which is always stressful because they are incapable of planning. It irritates the entire family because it's like they expect us to be simply sitting around waiting for them to grace us with their presence and have no consideration for us. Husband's family is pretty bad about confrontation, so we all grumble about it but no one does anything. Long story short, their lack of planning sets the tone for the visit as we are all irritated at them by the time they arrive.

Bottom line is this: they were so obnoxious to Husband this weekend that Husband declared we were never attending another family event at which they were also present. Our nephew is 9 and always treats Husband like his personal plaything and wouldn't leave him alone. When Husband didn't want to play "slap the belly," our nephew started calling him a "nancy boy" and his mother, our SIL, egged him on by telling him that Husband is "a nancy boy and will cry if you hit him too hard." Variations of that went on all evening. BIL didn't say a thing, and Husband didn't because it's not cool to beat up a 9-year-old (or his mother). It's hard to explain the context since this behavior has been escalating for a while, but suffice it say that SIL is a bitch who hasn't tried hard to hide her contempt for any of us. And she is raising a very annoying son who is very much his mother's son. Some of the comments he says makes us wonder what his parents say about us when they are home in NJ.

The straw that broke the camel's back, however, came when Husband and BIL (his brother) were outside. They were talking about something, and BIL says, "You're just mad because I passed along my genetic material and you can't." To his regret, Husband was so stunned that he wasn't able to think of a suitable response. And this is his brother! Someone with whom Husband has shared his feelings about our situation. I've often wondered if BIL and SIL are secretly glad we can't conceive so that they have the only biological grandchild, and BIL's comment makes me wonder even more.

So that was it. Husband has had enough. He called his mother yesterday and told her his resolution. Thankfully, she understands. It will be interesting to see how things play out. It's a shame because none of us want to dislike our nephew/grandson, and BIL is Husband's only sibling. But what can you do? We're tired of their crap.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


First of all, Happy Valentine's Day! I hope everyone has a good one. Nothing says romance more than I spent the morning at the gynecologist's office waiting for my endo consultation. And I waited and waited and waited despite the fact that there was only one other patient in the waiting room, and my appointment was at 8:50. Oh well. I scheduled this appointment to discuss my endo, the constant spotting and lower back pain I have and to decide what we should do to best preserve my ovarian function before we cycle. Bottom line is that the doctor decided to keep me on the same BCPs I've been on so that we don't disrupt anything since I will cycle hopefully relatively soon (summer). I suppose that's ok. I've been taking BCPs continuously since December after I had horrible pain right after AF ended, but he wants me to have a withdrawal bleed. I'm a little nervous about that since I had such a bad time in December. I did get a new prescription for Tylenol 3, so I guess that was worth the $20 copay.

The friend of which I wrote in the previous post gave us an update on her situation. They took the baby home last night, but apparently things aren't looking good because hospice care is involved. I'm so glad they were able to take her home and have time with her there. My friend amazes me. She is so calm and strong. You never know what you will do in a situation until it is upon you, but if I were in her situation, I envision hysterical crying and shaking my fist at the sky. I am truly in awe of her. I think she gets it from her faith. I, on the hand, don't have a lot of faith. Well, I have faith that treatments won't work for us and that we'll fall on the wrong side of the odds, but I don't have what you would call religious faith. Sometimes I envy those who do. I would like to feel that there is someone whom I believe can be appealed to to help me and who hopefully has my best interests at heart. I wonder if I would feel less alone through all this if I had faith. I hope her faith continues to sustain her. She's going to need it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More suffering

There is a fellow local IFer I met on a message board a few years ago with whom I became friendly before either of us knew we were dealing with IF. We both cycled at the same clinics, and she became pg from her first IVF. She has hinted all along that some things haven't been progressing completely well with her baby's development and her fluid, but she didn't go into details. At 30 weeks they put her on bed rest in the hospital with the hope of her making it to 34 weeks, which she did. Last Thursday she gave birth to a baby girl. Today she told us that her baby's kidneys aren't functioning at all. I don't know what that means. I don't know what the prognosis is, but my heart goes out to her. Just as I can't imagine the horrific pain of a late pregnancy loss, I cannot imagine what it feels like to carry your baby knowing that the baby will have significant problems when it is born. My friend mentioned a month or two ago that she has been so depressed that she couldn't even get up the energy to prepare the nursery.

Again I ask...why is so much pain heaped on the same people over and over? Like many IFers, this much-wanted baby was the result of many years of IF. At what point is your bucket of suffering full?

Please keep my friend and her family in your thoughts.


Apparently I am making leaps and strides in my ability to deal with the pain of IF. I write that somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but yesterday I did something I haven't done in a long time: I held a baby. And not just any baby but a 4-week-old baby girl. I didn't fall apart. My mood didn't plummet afterwards. What I did feel, though, was longing. I LOVED holding that baby. I loved the feel of that baby in my arms. Holding that baby reaffirmed what we are working so hard for. There have been times when I've wondered if maybe our difficulties aren't an indication that maybe we should consider a child-free life. And since nothing we have tried has ever come close to working, I have wondered if all of our attempts (surrogacy, adoption) would fail as well. We have a good life and could have a lot of fun just the two of us. I am an only child, so for me, babies and children are abstractions in many ways. They are something I want, but deep down I always wondered if I truly wanted them. But oh my God, yes, I do.

It feels a little inappropriate to write this post about someone else's live baby and the joy I had in holding her when there has been so much tragedy around the blogosphere this week. It makes me reflect on the difference between the fertile and IF worlds. This baby girl was a second baby for her mother and father, and both she and her older sibling were easily conceived. Both pregnancies never gave the mother much difficulty. This baby was also conceived around the time I had my first IVF and was born around the time my baby would have been due if IVF #1 had been successful. Juxtaposing this baby girl with the recent tragedy makes me wonder WHY tragedy, disappointment, grief and failure seem to occur in the IF world in spades. It's not enough that it is difficult to get pg? All the joy must be robbed from any achieved pg, and if you are really, really unfortunate, you might get to experience an awful, horrible, no-words-to-describe late pregnancy loss. It boggles my mind. I cannot comprehend such pain. I wish life were fair.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Thanks, IRS. No, Really, Thanks

Humph. Husband and I like to do our taxes in early February so we can get them done and know what (if any) refund to expect. He decided to have them done yesterday. Since we had a over $20k of medical expenses last year, we hoped that we would get a decent refund since we had exceeded the percentage needed for medical deductions. Well, we are getting a refund, but it's nowhere near what we fantasized about. I know it's a good thing that we are getting anything back for our medical expenditures, but it's just one more frustration with the IF process that you must spend so much money and get so little back for it. I didn't get a baby; it would have been nice to get a fat refund. Instead, I got only a new endometrioma and constant spotting and back pain!

Oh well. I had another appointment with my therapist on Saturday, and she is proud of us for agreeing to go to J's baby's 1st birthday party. I guess it is a big step. I've decided to get books for her gift. Her mother told me that her bookshelves are rather bare, so I thought that as a librarian-in-training, it made perfect sense for us to buy her books. I'm thinking about buying an age-appropriate book as well as the Anne of Green Gables set that she can enjoy later. Hopefully she will enjoy them as much as I did.

My use of the treadmill continues. I'm doing about 30 minutes on it almost every day. I think I can see results already despite only using it for a week! Or maybe that's wishful thinking :-) Our surrogate, F, is working on the contract, and we're getting together with them on Feb. 23 to go out to dinner and meet her kids. Should be a wild evening!