Thursday, December 11, 2008

A New Chapter Begins

It’s been a while since I last blogged and with good reason. Brandon and I made some big decisions this month and I wanted to make sure that our families and closest friends were privy to the information before we shared it. We’ve decided to proceed with the international adoption. We are so excited, and like many parents-to-be, nervous as well!

Every month for the past year and a half, there has been that moment where I’ve realized that I am not pregnant. For a good year, when my cycles were very abnormal, that realization came in the form of negative pregnancy tests, often 2 or 3 each month. Since being on the Clomid, it has come in the form of fairly intense cramping in my stomach and lower back. When we were first trying to have a baby, these realizations weren’t so bad – it was still early, people often had to try for some time to get pregnant, and the hope inside was so strong that I easily got past my disappointment and sadness at those moments of realization. After about 6 months of trying, those moments got harder and since being on Clomid, they have become almost unbearable. As I went through the moment of realization this month that I was once again not pregnant, I came apart. I honestly feared that after so many months of disappointment and sadness that there would come a time that I would not be able to recover from those feelings and that all hope would be lost. So, after many private tears, I shared my feelings with Brandon and we jointly decided to stop our efforts to conceive a biological child and begin the adoption process.

I thought that when the time came and our decision to adopt was made, that I would need time to grieve for the aspects of pregnancy and child-bearing that will not be. Instead, I realized that all of those months of dashed hopes and tears shed were the moments that I grieved. Now I’m ready to hope again – to look forward once again to becoming a parent and to actually begin living my life again, without the constant thought in the back of my mind about whether my actions are hindering or helping the pregnancy efforts. I am very ready for the many months of waiting that are ahead and ultimately, for our much anticipated baby!

So, as one chapter in our lives ends and another one begins, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who read this blog and have supported us in our journey up to this point. A special thanks to our families, who have cried with us, known what to say (and what not to say) at all the right moments, who have encouraged us with their words and loved us through it all. To our many friends, especially the Core 4, who read my blog faithfully and who have supplied me with Ben & Jerry’s with a homemade label entitled “Why the ^$#&* can’t I get pregnant?” and who have devoted an entire evening of drinking and dancing to failed uteruses and cervixes; my dear friend (and co-worker) Jennifer who has been my rock both at work and at home, who has endured the many closed-door days where all I needed to do was cry on someone’s shoulder and to hear that yes, this whole situation was in fact very sucky; to our neighbors, Eric and Elizabeth, who despite being half-way across the world and have a brand new baby, somehow find time to write the most beautiful e-mails and leave well-timed voicemails on my cell on the most difficult days (how do they do that?); to our friends Mike and Jennifer in California, who have done an amazing job of equally crying with us and taking our minds off this entire situation through wonderful vacations to Tahoe and San Francisco and last, but not least, to my friend Sarah in Alabama for offering me an intimate and amazing glimpse into motherhood on my most recent trip to Alabama, which has given me a great deal of strength through these last few months of the Clomid. I know that there are many more of you out there who have e-mailed and called me over this past year-and-a-half with words of support and encouragement. We love you all very much and can’t wait to share the next portion of our journey with you!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Life in the Slower Lane

It's not until I go home to Alabama that I realize how busy my life in Minnesota really is. Between my commute, long work days, meetings, a billing requirement that is hard to reach, trying to fit in the gym and a weekend packed full of social and family events, I guess my life is pretty busy. Since I'm surrounded by family and friends with the same type of schedule, if not more crazy, it's easy to forget that not everyone leads such a hectic life. And to add icing on my busy life cake, I just took a part-time holiday position in the handbags department at Macy's. I've never worked retail, love Christmas, love handbags and love Macy's most of all, so why not?

I expected that when I started seeing an acupuncturist and a maya abdominal massage therapist that my life would change somehow. I knew that they would probably recommend that I slow down, destress and relax...easy to say, and not at all easy to do. But I have been pleasantly surprised. Tomorrow I will see my acupuncturist Nicole for the 4th time. I love her. Since she specializes in fertility and women's health, she knows what every stage of the infertility saga holds. She knows that the waiting is the hardest part, she knows the hot flashes that the Clomid causes and she knows about the Clomid rages. I don't have to tell her about all of these things because she just knows. Last week when I was getting poked with needles (not even close to as bad as I expected it to be), she looked at me and said "I know you're in the hardest part right now - the waiting part." It was pretty much like she read my mind. So although Nicole knows that my life is hectic, my job is stressful and that I have some control issues (Brandon was very surprised to hear that one!), Nicole is the first person to ever have suggested that instead of trying to completely eliminate all the craziness and stress, which is practically impossible, to offset them instead.

I doubt that anyone who knows me would consider me a holistic-type person. I adore chocolate, check Web MD every time I have so much as a cough (and inevitably it diagnoses me with a multitude of life-threatening illnesses), and consider "down time" a few hours on the couch eating cookies and watching mindless TV. However, Nicole has helped me realize the importance of offsetting the stress and chaos in my life with quiet time, healthier eating and reducing my urge to control. So, although I haven't given up on chocolate, and will still relish my mindless TV time, I am making a real effort to eat more organic foods, be more mindful of how I spend my free time, and meditate every day. It's still early in my holistic-friendly life, but so far, I really like it. In my world it is similar to finding a great new line of clothing where most of the designs fit me, but not quite all of them. So instead, I mix and match with some of my other favorite designers.

P.S. I love Jennifer (my massage therapist) too, but I am not seeing her weekly like I am with Nicole.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Clomid Day 5, Month 5

Clomid is a much too clinical name for a drug with so many physical and emotional side effects. From now on, I would like to propose a new name for Clomid that I hope the medical community will embrace just as much as the women who have been subjected to the drug’s many unwelcome side effects. Clomid shall now be known as “The Evil Drug.” Not an evil drug, but THE evil drug.

Today is my last day of month 5 to take The Evil Drug. Knowing that next month is my last month on The Evil Drug is awesome. I eagerly anticipate the day where I don’t feel like a raging lunatic, or start sobbing at my desk or have to stick my head in the freezer because of a hot flash. I can’t wait to have my body and some emotional control back.

The Evil Drug’s emotional side effects have become more manageable over these past 5 months. Angry Anna has her moments, but the key is that there are only moments of angriness instead of days of angriness. What sucks the most right now is the hot flashes. I am a very cold-natured person when not on Clomid. My space heater is on in my office year-round and I always have an extra blanket on the bed. When taking the Evil Drug, however, my body temperature apparently spikes out of control at random moments. One moment I have my heater on, the next minute my suit jacket is off, the heater is off and I have to stick my head in the freezer to cool down. There’s nothing like your boss walking into the workplace kitchen only to find you in a tank top and with your head in the freezer. It’s very professional. Working out and having a hot flash is even better. The worst however, are the night hot flashes. Those wake me up in the middle of the night as I violently throw off all the covers and go to the bathroom to wipe the sweat off of my body. It’s awesome. I feel suddenly more connected and sympathetic to all the menopausal women of the world. Workplace nakedness should be allowed for those going through menopause and those on Clomid. Those visors with personal fans on them should be automatically distributed with each dose of Clomid. I am really full of practical advice for the medical and pharmaceutical professions.

Only one more month of The Evil Drug, only one more month. That’s the little chant I will remember today and tonight when my head is in the freezer and when I am wiping the sweat off my body in the early hours of the morning.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Countdown Begins

There’s something about the thought of little tiny needles being placed all over my body that scares the hell out of me. Frankly, I have to practically be sedated when my blood is drawn (and there are always a lot of tears shed) and I’m never excited to get shots. For the sake of overcoming infertility, however, I am trying acupuncture. It’s come highly recommended from friends of friends of friends who have also struggled with infertility. There are actually studies out there that show that acupuncture increases the likelihood of becoming pregnant when undergoing fertility treatments. The internet really IS amazing. So, as month 4 of Clomid was unsuccessful, and we have only a couple of months left on Clomid, I’m turning to holistic medicine for help.

In conjunction with the acupuncture, I’m also trying maya abdominal massage. I fear this slightly less than the little needles all over my body. Apparently, the maya abdominal massage is the massage of the pelvic region, something that also does not sound that fun since the Clomid makes every place around my ovaries tender and swollen. The thought of someone massaging that area makes me squirm in my chair. Filling out the form for the maya abdominal massage was similar to that you would fill out at the doctor’s office – very comprehensive, to say the least.

In my mind I had to be in the mental spot I am now before I turned to holistic medicine. I wanted to truly be at peace with the process we are going through, rather than angry and overwhelmingly sad. What’s the point of trying techniques that are meant for cleansing and relaxation if I just went back to being Angry Anna? There were just a few tears shed this month over the unsuccessfulness of month 4, but the acceptance of it all largely overshadowed any sadness. I recently promised a good friend in an e-mail that it’s not that I’m giving up on hoping to get pregnant, but more just feel like my heart is being prepared for the fact that it might not happen, or at least not anytime soon. It’s hard to say whether it’s my attempt to protect myself and my feelings, or whether it’s God’s way of preparing me. Maybe it’s a little of both.

As I begin taking my little white Clomid pills this month, I am also trying to emotionally prepare for the little needles all over my body and the massaging of my ovaries. This is one Living in Limbo moment that I don’t mind being stretched out just a little longer.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Regaining Focus

I made an appointment with a reproductive specialist. I’m cancelling it. Momentarily, I deviated away from our three plans. After failing yet again to get pregnant on month 3 of Clomid, I thought I needed to see a specialist. Why isn't the Clomid working? I’m ovulating, we’re having sex at the “right” time, we’re healthy… how could it not be working? It’s so frustrating. So, in a moment of sadness, anger and frustration, I made an appointment with a reproductive specialist. Reality set in, however, when we got our packet of information from the specialist, including the costs associated with even just the initial testing that would be performed on both Brandon and I. From my reading and additional research, we are good candidates for insemination. Insemination is less invasive than IVF and less expensive. It up to triples our chance of getting pregnant (versus regular ole’ intercourse). That statistic is enticing to someone in my situation. I couldn’t help but feel, however, an underlying nervousness about the impending appointment. Our chance of multiple births using insemination would be very high…and we’re not just talking twins. Insemination is how people get pregnant with quadruplets and sextuplets. No matter how badly I want a baby, thinking about getting pregnant with 3 or more babies scares the crap out of me. It’s dangerous, and financially, the implications are daunting. What I finally realized was the thing I was most nervous about was the fact that insemination is not a guarantee that I will get pregnant. At about $5,000+ per insemination attempt (with 3 suggested attempts), we could potentially spend $15,000 on not getting pregnant. Nevermind the fact that I would most likely be on either a higher dose of Clomid and/or hormone shots… think Angry Anna on steroids.

All of these factors, once thoroughly thought about and discussed with Brandon, reminded us of why we decided to only do Clomid and then go the adoption route. We made that decision rationally, at a time where I wasn’t jacked up on hormones, anger, sadness and disappointment. Now that I’ve regained my perspective, I feel at peace once again with our decision. Each month that I don’t become pregnant I grieve a little over the fact that I won’t feel a baby kicking inside of me, I won’t get to hear that heartbeat on the sonogram, won’t get to hold my seconds’ old baby in my arms and won’t be able to look at my child and recognize my physical features in him/her. That said, each month I also deal with those feelings, allow myself to be sad over them and recover from them. It’s a bittersweet feeling knowing that little by little I’m losing hope of having a biological child, but feeling more and more excited about starting the adoption process.

I know my husband faithfully reads my blog. Some of my feelings cannot be expressed with spoken words. Instead, I need to write them, taking as much time as I need to cry over the words, re-read and re-phrase the things that just aren’t coming out right. You can't do that with the things you say. I learned early in our marriage that I am not one to think before I speak, and most of the times, act. I say what I think right when I think it, which isn't always the best method for communicating. Unfortunately, you can't take words back and erase them, even though they might have not come out right. I am thankful that Brandon understands my need to share my feelings regarding infertility even though they are very private and sometimes are not just my own feelings, but our feelings and our stories. I am also thankful that he helped me regain my perspective this month. I am so glad that at least one of us can be rational and calm when the other is jacked up on Clomid and hormones. I can’t imagine going through this without him.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Glimpse into Motherhood

Recently, I was at a local Fed-Ex Kinkos making copies of some surveys in a real estate file. Although I am frequently at Fed-Ex Kinkos to pick-up/drop-off large copy projects for some of my work projects, I do not frequently use the over-sized copier nor do I make many copies myself that are outside of the standard 8 ½ x 11 paper size. Predictably, I was using the gigantic copier incorrectly, causing most of my copy material to be cut-off. As I was struggling to make this outer-space like machine to work for me, another woman was also struggling in the store. She was young with a bright smile and happy demeanor, trying to control her screaming 1 ½ year old in the long line of people waiting to speak with the sole on-duty employee. After I FINALLY got the copier to stop cutting off my copies (turns out I was feeding the paper in the wrong way), I got in line behind the young mother, glad that my struggle was over. At this point, her child was having a full-on tantrum. As I stood there on a Thursday morning, in my suit, copies in hand, making a mental list of the phone calls I needed to return and my afternoon meetings, this glimpse of motherhood scared the hell out of me. Although this woman was put together in her cargo capris and flip-flops, smiling while holding her screaming, wiggly child, I wondered how I could want something so badly that terrifies me so much. Although not an exact comparison by any means, I did not feel terrified before I got married. I was ready. I was looking forward to spending the rest of my life with Brandon. After we were married, I did have a mental adjustment period. Most of that “adjustment period” I blame on the fact that I worked solely in the area of family law. Dealing with ugly divorces day in and day out was an emotional strain, especially being a newly-wed.

In speaking with friends at the end of their pregnancies, I have been assured over and over again that, yes, by the end of that 9 months, you are pretty much ready for anything that will lead you to NOT be pregnant. I wonder if that includes being prepared for temper tantrums in small, professional settings (a term I use loosely when referring to FedEx Kinkos). However, if I compare it to being married, it’s true that I was not prepared for some of the difficult situations Brandon and I would be faced with. Our marriage’s “tantrums” were not all pleasant when we were in the middle of them, but we got through them and came out closer, somehow. I’m sure that I will feel the same way about my tantrum-throwing toddler, but sometimes, it really scares me to think about being that person holding the screaming child (mostly likely not wearing 4 inch BCBG heels) smiling at the suited, terrified woman behind me and leaving the store to get in my mini-van.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ovulation, Glorious Ovulation

Got the smiley face on Friday! Nice to know that other than not getting pregnant, my body seems to be functioning and responding to the Clomid in the way that it’s supposed to. I have been slightly more prone to irritability, and a little bit fatigued, but other than that, this month has gone the best yet. The only slight concern I have is that my first date of ovulation gets later and later each month. I’m trying not to worry about it and have a doctor’s appointment (appropriately entitled “Clomid Check-Up”) this month if I’m not pregnant.

It seems to never fail that right after the smiley face day everything in my world goes into a whirlwind… this month was no exception. Work is insanely busy right now and Brandon and I had friend/family events (all VERY fun) every night this weekend, with several more this week. This after-ovulation period is always the longest in the Living in Limbo world… waiting and hoping not to get a period and then gearing up for the actual pregnancy test, which is always very emotional. I can’t help but be super alert to any possible pregnancy symptom: Am I fatigued? Do my boobs hurt? Am I nauseous? Yep, this part really is the worst part of the month.

Thankfully, this month I have planned a trip to my hometown of Rainsville, Alabama at the end of the month to see one of my closest friends, Sarah. My last trip to Alabama in December of 2007, Sarah was having some pregnancy symptoms but was sure she couldn’t be pregnant since they had only just started trying. The first night I was there, she took a test. Convinced she wasn’t pregnant, we started to make cocktails while her husband, Chase, went to the bathroom and checked on the test results. I will always remember Chase’s nervous voice calling out from the bathroom “Sarah, Anna, what does a plus sign mean?” Thankfully we are all so close that the three-way hugs celebrating the news weren’t at all awkward. Sarah and I have been there for one another during some pretty important days in each other’s lives, but I never anticipated that I would be looking at her positive pregnancy test with her in the bathroom. It was fun being there when they announced their pregnancy to their families and our other friends. Baby Annabelle was finally born at the end of August, after much anticipation. I can’t wait to meet and hold her!

I’m also just really looking forward to taking some time away from the craziness of life. There’s something about going back to a place I’ve always called home that is so rejuvenating. It’s always a welcome adjustment to get there and re-learn all the benefits that come from a much slower-paced life. I’m also happy to have a distraction for my thoughts and emotions which I hope will make the waiting part a little more bearable this month.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 5 of Clomid, Month 3

I’m really happy that today is my last day of taking Clomid for month 3. Ovulation kits and naked bathroom to kitchen dashes here I come!

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend and I had a great weekend spending time with my husband and some friends. During a 6-mile walk last Sunday (that’s right - 6 MILES) with Brandon and our dog, Sally, we stumbled upon a children’s wading pool (complete with fountains and those water geyser thingies). There were probably 30 children squealing and running around, having an absolutely wonderful time on a hot, summer day. As I sat there and watched all of these beautiful babies and kids run around, I had what Oprah calls an “Aha! Moment.” Although we have had a tough year in some respects, with the whole not-being-able-to-get-pregnant thing, I am so fortunate in every other area of my life: I have the most caring, loving, attractive and giving husband; I have two very supportive and loving families; I have several groups of friends who have listened, hugged, fed and gone out with me each and every time I have needed it; I have a job in which I am challenged and fulfilled, with amazing co-workers and I have a beautiful home of which I am proud of and I enjoy spending time in. It struck me that these are things that other people want just as much as I want a baby. I have been so caught up in the wanting that I barely spend any time being grateful for the many other people and things that make up my happy life. This month, and hopefully every month going forward, I am going to make a conscientious effort to be happy with what I have now and not focus so much on the one thing that I don’t have and want.

To help with this effort, I made a list of the things I am able to do (and love) that I wouldn’t be able to do, or it would be much more difficult to do, pregnant and/or with a baby. They are in no order of particular significance:

1. Listen to music really, really loud in my car;
2. Drive faster than I should;
3. Talk on the phone while driving;
4. Text while driving;
5. Go on a 6 mile walk on a hot day with nothing more than a bottle of water;
6. Shop whenever or wherever I want;
7. Lay on the couch and watch hours of mind-numbing TV;
9. Eat cookies for dinner;
10. Eat cookies for breakfast;
11. Eat cookies for lunch;
12. Go dancing;
13. Sleep uninterrupted for 12+ hours;
14. Get into work as early as I want;
15. Stay at work as late as I want;
16. Hang out, in total peace and quiet, with my husband and our dog;
17. Travel;
18. Have a neat and clean home, with nothing out of place, 24/7;
19. Clean every other week (at the most);
20. Attend dinner parties with other childless couples to discuss politics, work, the arts and other grown-up conversation topics.

Hopefully if Angry Anna comes out to play anytime soon, I can re-read this blog entry and refocus my negative energies. I’m counting on the power of positive thinking!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Hard Stuff

Month 2 of Clomid was not successful. Although I really tried with all my heart not to get my hopes up, I did, and I cannot help but be overwhelmingly sad. Although I am sure some will try to comfort me with the fact that it is only our 2nd month on Clomid, it is actually month 15 of trying to get pregnant. Today, I am feeling the weight of every single disappointment we’ve had in this journey over the past 15 months.

So today, I am allowing myself to be as sad and pitiful as I want to be. My door at work has been closed all day so that I can alternate between working and crying at my leisure. Thankfully, there has been no continuous sobbing, which would then produce the swollen, red eyes and way too many questions from kind-hearted co-workers. But really, on the sad days like today, all I want to do is take an all-day hot bath (or sit in a hot tub) and eat pints of Ben & Jerry’s. In fact, I believe that Ben & Jerry’s could make a lot of money by offering special blends of ice-cream for disappointment, PMS, break-ups, bad work days, bad family days, bad marriage days and bad friend days. These types of ice cream may have to be on the upper shelves at local grocery stores due to the equal parts of alcohol, ice cream and chocolate that they would contain. The concentrations of alcohol, chocolate and ice cream would be determined based on the overall suckiness of the life situation. The “PMS” blend, for example, may contain more chocolate than alcohol or ice cream, whereas the “My Boss Is a Jerk” blend would contain more alcohol. My personal blend of Ben & Jerry’s would be entitled “Why the ^&(&^$%$ can’t I get pregnant?!!!!” and contain 90% alcohol and 10% chocolate/ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s marketing representatives, if you are reading, I have many more blend ideas should you need them.

By tomorrow, I will be gearing myself up for month 3 of Clomid. I start Clomid on day 5 of my period, and continue to take it for 5 consecutive days (5 is apparently a number that holds some magical, unknown fertility powers). Time once again to start peeing on sticks and charting in the wee hours of the morning, making naked bathroom to kitchen dashes and fluffing pillows at night. The hope that month 3 is THE month in which I will be able to get pregnant will also start to come back…eventually.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Waiting Room

It’s safe to assume your local OB/GYN office prides themselves on knowing women – in and out. After all, upon arrival, you are presented with a questionnaire that demands not only information about your personal experience with practically every medical situation known to man, but also detailed information about your sex life. Upon completion of the lengthy questionnaire (20 minutes later), you are then weighed, usually in the middle of the hallway, for everyone and their mom to see. As my own personal form of revenge of the hallway-scale- humiliation, I practically get naked before getting on that medically accurate down to the half-pound scale. The nurse is then forced to help me carry all my items of clothing, shoes and jewelry to the doctor’s office. Ha! Take that!

Despite having the most intimate and secretive information about me, my OB/GYN office fails to know the most basic fact about me, and all other childless women ages 18-50: what we want to READ while waiting for the hallway-scale-humiliation and the subsequent unpleasant experiences that come with any visit to the OB/GYN. From the magazines offered in my OB/GYN’s office, women must fall into only 2 categories: mothers (who presumably only want to read about their children) and women going through menopause. For the mothers so focused on their children that they want to read every parenting magazine available, there are several options:

1. Parenting (apparently the most respectable and loved of the parenting magazines since a complete set of issues from 2005-2008 is available);
2. Kiwi (raising children organically);
3. Parents;
4. American Baby;
5. Fit Pregnancy;
6. Parent and Child; and
7. Working Mother.

Those going through menopause have just one option, “Pause” (very, very clever name).

Where are the interesting magazines - People, Us, Vogue, Shape and InStyle? Is the receptionist hogging them all at the front desk, afraid that she too will be forced to read the 7 versions of parenting magazines or “Pause” in a moment of boredom? Next time I am at one of my now bi-monthly OB/GYN visits, I’m bringing my own magazines and leaving them for the next childless woman age 18-50. At least I will have afforded her the opportunity to get caught up on the latest trends and celebrity gossip before she is stripped of her dignity in the hallway-scale-humiliation.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Three Plans

I credit my dad for passing along the gene of ultra-planning. Although Stan (my father) values daily planning, through daily, monthly and yearly lists, much more than I do, there is still a little part of me that needs to have a plan. It should be noted that one plan is not sufficient in my world. I need to have three plans – a short-term plan, a long term plan and an alternative plan. I reject the term “Plan B”, because often times I like the alternative plan just as much as I like the original short-term or long-term plan. Usually the alternative plan is just one that is less immediately feasible, and will take more work to fulfill. Brandon (my husband) is kind enough to indulge my need for the three plans with regard to our finances, home, careers, and now in our family planning.

The Short-Term Plan

The short-term plan is that the Clomid will work and we will be able to conceive a biological child. My doctor’s limitation for Clomid is 6 months, so that is our window for conceiving. Brandon and I decided together that Clomid is the only means of reproductive aid that we will utilize. No hormone shots, no IVF. I am proud of our decision and stand by it 100%. We have several friends who have conceived beautiful babies using IVF, and I could not respect them more for making that choice. It is a hard decision to make and not an easy process to go through.

The Long-Term Plan

If we are unable to conceive within the 6 months on Clomid, we will take 6 months off to let our hearts and bodies heal. This was hard for me. I want a child so badly that even putting our alternative plan off by a day is going to be hard. However, I think everyone who has seen Angry Anna will agree that 6 months to get the evil Clomid out of my body is necessary. It might also take 6 months to get used to not having butt-propped-up-on-the-pillows sex and for me to become accustomed to not peeing on a variety of sticks first thing in the morning. No more naked dashes from the bathroom to the kitchen! I’m sure my neighbors will be thankful. I have in mind several trips to take during those 6 months… They include: Hershey, Pennsylvania (I think it only fair to visit the American birthplace of my favorite food), New York (for shopping at its best), Las Vegas (preferably with my girlfriends so that there can be lots of dancing and laying out in the sun – neither are favorites of Brandon), and maybe, Paris (my favorite city of the places I’ve been). It should be noted that the three plans for each area of my life sometimes conflict with one another. For example, the long-term family planning plan and the long-term financial plan might not be in agreement over the plethora of trips I plan to take in 6 months, but the family planning plan is in the spotlight for the purposes of this blog, and the financial plan is just the boring and way too practical older brother.

The Alternative Plan

International adoption. I have my heart set on Columbia, for practical, and maybe a tinge of superficial, reasons as well. For the practical, Columbia is the country where we can get the youngest child (3-6 months old), which is appealing since we have never had a baby before, and want to experience as many phases of our child’s life as possible. For the superficial reason, it is fun to think about my child having an olive skin tone, with big brown eyes and dark hair, not characteristics that our biological child would likely have coming from pasty Irish and Scottish-gened persons, both with light eyes and light hair. International adoption is expensive, which is why it is the alternative plan. I like it just as much as having a biological child, but with adoption comes homestudies and large, upfront costs at certain stages. Brandon and I would also be required to stay in Columbia for up to 6 weeks. I still see the flashes of terror across Brandon’s eyes when he recalls his experiences as a passenger in our 2 car rides in the Dominican Republic on our honeymoon. As this is his only international driving experience (which seems to be one of the predominant memories from our honeymoon), I think it scares him a little bit to think we may be dealing with those kind of car rides on a daily basis for 6 weeks. From the research I have done online, Columbia is a beautiful country and very historically rich. I have never had the opportunity to visit any central or southern American countries. To me, this trip sounds amazing and one that I would no doubt want to make again when our child is old enough to want to learn about his/her home country.

I find solace in knowing that no matter which of the plans in the family planning category will become “The Plan”, I will be a mom. In the “Life After Limbo Plan” (that’s right – there’s one of those as well), I envision myself walking to school hand-in-hand with 2 versions of children. One is blonde, blue-eyed with my laugh and Brandon’s eyes, is bubbly and vivacious and excited to start kindergarten. The other has dark hair and beautiful brown eyes, the complexion that my dreams are made of, is bubbly and vivacious and excited to start kindergarten. Either way, I envision myself as feeling extraordinarily happy and fortunate… I can’t wait. But waiting is the name of the game when living Life in Limbo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reality Sets In

This was not how getting pregnant was supposed to be. You get married to the person you love, you buy a house (or move into the one he so wisely purchased before you got married), you get a dog as a “trial” to make sure that you are both patient enough to have kids (or deal with the one he already had for several years before you – which requires even more patience), you make sure you’ve traveled enough, slept in enough, had enough couple time, and then you have that magical baby-making sex and you get pregnant. Sure, maybe you have to try for a couple of months, do a little charting and what not, but within 6 months, you figure you’re going to be glowing, pregnant and over the moon. That’s exactly how I thought it would work. I’m young, I’m healthy and I’m ready to have a baby…why shouldn’t I be able to get pregnant? Unfortunately, life is unfair sometimes with no rhyme or reason, especially not when it comes to infertility.

Our baby-making efforts are obviously much different than I expected or imagined. Instead, we have been trying for well over a year to get pregnant, are on month 2 of 6 on Clomid and experiencing what I call “living in limbo.” The magical baby-making sex is now very planned, right down to the position (trust me, none of the fun ones) and involves my butt being propped up on an ungodly amount of pillows for optimum swimage. As if the butt-in-the-air isn’t humiliating enough, our world also now revolves around my monthly cycle. In fact, I have never been so aware of my cycle as I have become over the past two months. And with the general awareness also comes the endless charting… Charting of the length, flow and discomfort level with the period, length and discomfort of the ovulation cycle, amount and timing of sex… One of my personal favorites is that the ovulation and pregnancy tests need to be taken first thing in the morning when all you really want to do is get in the damn shower. Instead, I find myself peeing on at least 7-8 varying sticks throughout the course of my cycle, waiting the requisite 3-5 minutes until my digital ovulation/pregnancy tests give me the fool-proof evidence that I am/am not ovulating or am/am not pregnant. Then there comes the recording of these digital test findings which have on more than one occasion caused me to run from the bathroom to the kitchen naked to look for a pen. How do the pens disappear even from the bathroom? There is humor to be found in these situations, although it is harder to find some days than others. I often smile at the sight of my husband coming into the bathroom, still groggy from sleep, and the first thing out of his mouth is “Did you get a smiley face today?” (the smiley face is the read-out from the digital ovulation kit when you are in fact ovulating…Yes, that’s right, back to grade school, where your body is given a smiley face if it is cooperating). I don’t think I ever imagined my husband, a man’s man – loves the outdoors, fishing, hunting and sports, becoming so engrossed in my cycle - and that makes me smile. At least it does on the days that I am not in an angry Clomid rage. On the “Angry Anna” days, nothing about this process makes me smile. In fact, those around me should feel lucky if I have not snapped, yelled or hit them on the Angry Anna days. So far no one has been mortally injured, but I can’t make any promises. It’s only month 2.

Blogging feels like the modern, much more public version of a diary. I have never had my own blog before, but other blogs regarding infertility have inspired me and confirmed that just because I have Clomid-induced Angry Anna days, or days where the thought of not being able to get pregnant is so sad and overwhelming, that I am not alone in this struggle. I hope that this blog will help me (& others) to more easily find the daily humor in trying to get pregnant.