In da’ club

I’ve been part of many clubs.  Pre-Oliver, I was a devout member of:
– “women struggling with fertility” club
– “I will have another drink (or 2) because I can” club
– “I am a kick-ass runner” club
– “I’m only on Facebook so that I can look at people’s profiles who I am not even friends with” club
– “I’m a kick-ass runner” club
Now, post-Oliver, I have cancelled my membership to 3 of those 5 clubs (guess which ones??) but entered a new one that I am very proud of:
– “the new mom glow is so much better than the pregnancy glow” club
This new mantra of “I’m the mom, hear me roar” is fantastic and a great feeling; however, I am quickly learning that not all clubs associated with motherhood are so empowering and cheerful.
I taught a pre-natal swim class throughout my pregnancy and met some wonderful women that were all expecting children around the same time as me. While pregnant, we chatted weekly about the aches, cravings and surprises of pregnancy while bouncing ever so gracefully in a warm pool.  In the aftermath of pregnancy, we now exchange late-night emails about the unexpected surprises of motherhood.  And from these emails, I’m learning about the other “clubs” in motherhood.
To name a few:
– the “only my sweatpants fit me” club
– the “it’s lonely at 4am and I am limited by the games I can play on my iPhone while also feeding my baby” club
– the “my husband is awfully cranky and I’m not sure why because he got 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep and that makes me resentful” club
I have been fortunate to avoid one club all together.  Oliver is a wonderful eater and we have had wonderful success breastfeeding.  For other’s; however, it is not as simple and many of my are now member’s of a new club.
– the “I have to supplement my baby’s feedings with formula because I am not producing enough milk” club (or the other, less-popular club of “I have chosen to formula-feed my baby and that is none of your business”)
From the sounds of it, these are lonely clubs, in which the members feel shame, embarrassment and failure. Hearing my friends impressions of these clubs, it reminds me of my old stomping grounds in the “infertile” club. In a society where women are afraid to admit their shortcomings, embarrassed to show failure and no where to go for support, it hurts me to know that there are women struggling, thinking they are in it alone. How one feeds their child is a very personal decision, and regardless of what route is chosen, women should not be judged by anyone, especially other women.
I’ll jump off my soapbox in a minute, but not before saying this:

It’s a boy!

After all that, we actually had a baby!

I know you must be thinking how ridiculous that sounds. It’s biology… you get pregnant, regardless of how that happens and 9 months later, a baby pops out.

But for those who have struggled with fertility, our mindset tends to be more like this: “the ultrasound displays a baby, and my body looks pregnant, but some how, some way, some thing will go wrong and disappointment is the expectation”.

Throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, I became very superstitious and cautious. We abstained from learning the gender of the baby prior to delivery. Gabriel wanted to do this for the excitement of finding out in the delivery room; for me it was to avoid too much of an attachment to the unborn child. I had many friends offer hand-me-down maternity clothing, but I postponed taking and wearing them until I could no longer stuff my bulging belly (ok! ok!…and butt, calfs, boobs, thighs and pretty much every body part) into my regular clothes. And I refused to purchase anything for the baby until 6 weeks before the due date out of fear that I was jinxing the entire process.

For some women, this level of hesitation is normal for new moms. I’ve heard that many expectant moms fear the worst, become concerned when they have not felt the baby kick and google every possible complication associated with each stage of pregnancy.

I took my fears and hesitations just one step further – craziness 😉

We have glass shower doors in our bathroom, which makes for a beautiful but easily messy-looking space if not cleaned after each use. Given my obsessive-compulsive tendencies when it comes to cleanliness, we have a squeegee in the shower that is used routinely by me and Gabriel. A few hours before one of our first ultrasounds, around 6 weeks, I was cleaning the glass after my shower and somehow convinced myself that if I made sure to PERFECTLY clean off the glass, ensuring to get each trickling bead of water, that everything with the baby would be ok, at least on that day and thatultrasound. So, this became my routine. I made sure that no matter what, no matter how crunched for time I was, or if Gabriel was going to shower immediately after me, it did not matter. I meticulously cleaned the glass every day for the duration of the pregnancy.

I’ll spare you additional stories, but feel free to use your imagination to conjure up other strange behaviors i could have acquired in 40 long weeks. Albeit my neurosis, the entire pregnancy was perfect. I was very fortunate; I felt great, remained extremely active with hikes, bike rides, yoga and swimming. I enjoyed watching my body change as it was busy growing a tiny human. It’s easier to use the excuse of “growing life” as to why my body changed, because everyone knows it could not have possibly been due to my new addiction to chocolate covered pomegranates 😉

Labor was fantastic! Despite 27 long hours, labor was the most fun, painful, scary and gratifying experience I have ever had.

Oliver Milo Silverman was welcomed into this world at 12:14am on October 3, 2012, surrounded by his mom and dad, best friend/doula Blair, good friend/OB Jenny and our hard-working nurse and hero, Jessica. Perfect in every way, Oliver immediately captured our undying love and has been the heartthrob of our household for 18 spectacular days!



Did you hear that?

That is a BIG sigh of relief…..WE HAVE A HEARTBEAT!!!

Gabriel and I went in for our ultrasound today and our tiny little blueberry has a strong heartbeat of 127 bpm.  FANTASTIC!

My chance of miscarriage has now dropped to 5-10%, which I’m more than happy to take!

I even got a bag – the coveted bag my OB/GYN gives out to newly pregnant women, which includes magazines, books and class information.

I walked out of the ultrasound room to be greeted by my nurse and secretary with big smiles, congratulations and THE BAG!

We’ll have weekly ultrasounds for a few more weeks, which I am not complaining about.

So….where does that leave this once infertile girl?

Not sure.  I am not planning on documenting each step of the pregnancy, at least not here on the blog.  Mostly because I know I have many close friends that are still struggling in their process and the last thing I need to do is throw it in their faces…it’s going to be hard enough on them seeing that I’ve had success and they are still waiting for theirs.  This process has taught me a valuable lesson on how I will share my happiness over this pregnancy with those not quite there yet – I’m sure I won’t be perfect, but I will try my hardest to be sensitive and compassionate.

For a short time, I’m signing off…..this momma needs to rest 🙂

My devoted fans

Sorry – I’ve been slacking!

It’s been a long time since I’ve last posted, but honestly, there is not much to say.

Yes, as of today, I am still pregnant.  My blood work is all coming back nicely, but the real truth will be the ultrasound tomorrow afternoon.  Until then, all we do is wait.

Waiting sucks.  Some may think that in my world, that would be fine.  I am so active, I could just do something to keep myself busy and before you know it, the wait would be over.  But, no!  That’s the kicker – I AM NOT ALLOWED TO DO ANYTHING!  And it’s driving me bonkers!

No hiking.  No running.  No skiing.  No biking.

I will find out tomorrow if I’m allowed to swim, which will finally give me an outlet to enjoy something outside of reading, knitting and watching re-runs of 24.  Despite my best efforts, Gabriel is holding true to his beliefs of not having cable, so I’m stuck with any shows I can find on Netflix.  Luckily, teaching at the University has taken up a good chunk of my time so I have that.

Given that there is nothing new to report, I figured you didn’t need to hear about my boring life.  I promise I’ll update once there is more to know.


Did you hear that??  That was my big deep breath in.  I’ll be holding my breath now until tomorrow’s ultrasound 🙂


I have three “friends” (both close friends and acquaintances) that announced their pregnancies this week.  Two naturally, one from IVF.  Despite the fact that we are all pregnant, I only have things in common with one of them.  A dollar goes to anyone who can guess which one!

The simple truth is that trying to get pregnant naturally versus with help from ART (assisted reproductive therapy) is completely different, and until you have been through this end of things, you will truly never know what it is like.

But that goes for everything in life, so I shouldn’t complain, right?  I don’t know what it is like to get the bronze versus the gold medal in the Olympic marathon, or only get elected as the Vice President versus President of the United States.  But I do know what it is like to want something so bad, do everything in my power to make it happen, and still not be able to achieve the final goal.

I envy those who are able to get pregnant both quickly and without distress.  I covet my friends and family who have not struggled to get what they longed for while quietly spiting (or sometimes not so quietly) their easy process.  But at the end of the day, when we are both pregnant, we are not the same, and I’ll tell you why.

Finding out you are pregnant after IVF is so different than I had imagined it all going down two years ago when Gabriel and I first got serious in our talks about starting a family.  I pictured it happening quickly, with me casually taking a pregnancy test one beautiful snowy morning, and although I would be excited, waiting until the perfect moment a week or two later, to surprise Gabriel with a card that said something to the effect of “congrats, Daddy!” and a picture of the positive pregnancy test.  I pictured what I would be wearing (looking skinny and beautiful, of course – hey…it’s my dream, so back off), Gabriel would look at the card, then look at me, then look at the card again, with tears in his eyes, and we would blissfully enjoy the weeks of us sharing the secret before spilling it to family and friends.  Nine months later, a baby would arrive and our story would just be beginning.

And for many couples, I bet this is similar to how their stories play out, beautiful characters and all.

Thousands of dollars, hundreds of needles, 50+ ultrasounds, 20 months, 10 pounds, 2 miscarriages and 1 surgery later, we still have not begun our story.   And with IVF, the story is never the way you picture it.

With natural conception, no one necessarily knows you are trying to get pregnant, whereas with IVF, missing work, injections and the mere process is impossible to keep a secret.  With natural conception, you can take a pregnancy test in the privacy of your own home without anyone knowing.  With IVF, your nurse calls you after you’ve had a blood test to give you either the great or devastating news.  And, even after that, you go for additional blood tests every 48 hours to confirm that your numbers are rising the way they need to be.  With natural conception, most obstetrician’s will see a new pregnant patient anywhere between 8-12 weeks into the pregnancy.  With IVF, you are monitored every week, starting around 5 1/2 weeks.  There are so many “hurdles” that you have to jump over to feel even the slightest bit of relief that the pregnancy will be a success.

So, a natural pregnancy could not be any more different than mine.  While I am excited that we have passed the first 3 or 4 miles in our pregnancy marathon, there are 22+ more to go until we cross that finish line.  Symbolically, we could run out of water, sprain an ankle, hit the wall, or suffer from the ever-dreaded bleeding nipples during this long marathon, so in no way are we placing the medals around our necks and or smashing the champagne bottle at the finish line.

Instead, I am optimistic that my hormone blood levels will continue to rise, assured by every little pregnancy symptom I feel, and hopeful that each ultrasound will show growth week to week.

Because for now, that is all I can do.



Got milk?

I’ve kept you all waiting long enough.  So, here it goes………………………..

No wine for me for 9 more long months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is still SUPER early, but I knew when I started this blog, along with the (amazing) support throughout the IVF process, would also come the fact that I would be sharing either good or bad news early, especially in respect to when other couple’s typically share this type of news.

With that said, please control your excitement.  Although we are overjoyed with these initial results, there is still a high chance of miscarriage, as with any early pregnancy.

So, no congratulatory emails, calls, balloons or flowers, please, it’s just easier this way.

Although, now that I think about it, I really do enjoy homemade chocolate cake with homemade butter chocolate frosting and Gabriel loves any bold Belgian-style microbrew (oh, how I miss thee), so feel free to show your excitement with the above listed items 🙂

I will have my first ultrasound in a week and I’m sure if all is well with that, we’ll feel even better about an eventual happy ending.

Until October 9, 2012 – cheers….with a cold flute of Pol Roger Brut 1998, eh hem, I mean a cold glass of milk, of course 🙂

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

This is by far the longest 8 days of my life, and it’s only been 5 🙁

My blood test is not until Monday and waiting “patiently” for that day to arrive is definitely not easy.  Luckily I’ve been busy with teaching, working and baking!  I’ll make my first attempt at a sweet cherry pie tomorrow afternoon – because even if I am not pregnant, I can at least eat like I am for another 3 days – enjoying it while I can.

There is a 50-50 chance the outcome will be unfavorable.  What will we do then?

I can start by saying Monday night will not be pretty – I suggest holding off on phone calls that day just in case.  I already have a great bottle of Malbec prepared (meaning = sitting in the wine fridge), priming, just in case I need it.  I also have my mind set on a very long run, given that my last long run was New Year’s Day and I miss it so much.  Finally, I’ll do everything in my power to forget about conception, IVF and all things baby-related for at least a night or two.

Of course, I am hopeful that we are on the opposite side of the outcomes.  That would be nice.  My evening would then probably consist of a celebratory glass of skim milk with ice, a long walk with the family and probably some leftover cherry pie…that is, if we don’t eat it all over the weekend.

So…signing off for now.  Catch you on the other side 🙂

Guest Post: The least amount of fun I’ve ever had

Hi, I’m Gabriel.  The male component of this fantastic saga.  I’m Melissa’s husband.  My role in this process is minimal, but it totally blows and I thought you’d like to hear a bit more from the male point of view.

Let me start out by saying that I was very honored to be asked to type here.  It’s been a long goal of mine to combine the word “blog”, the letter “o” and the word “sphere” in online content and I’m going to try really hard to use that word during my contribution to this blog.

I’d like to get one thing straight: I’m the one that has it easy.

I had to get a blood test (which really sucked) but that’s the only needle that poked me.  I haven’t had to have any ultrasounds, shots, injections, procedures, pills, x-rays, IVs, bloating or prodding that Melissa has had.  Actually, that’s not altogether true.  I made pizzas the other night and ate way too many pieces.  I did feel bloated after that.

My role in all this is the easy part.  In fact, I really don’t have to do much at all.  But my involvement isn’t enjoyable.  Now I’m not a mathematician, but I put together a spreadsheet in Excel to run the numbers earlier today and calculated out the fun factor.  Thus far, 0% of this has been fun for me although the doctor’s office did have this “special movie room” that I found to be…interesting.  I didn’t include that data on this pie chart though.  Deal with it.

I don’t gamble.  I never have and have never wanted to.  It’s not interesting to me.  I don’t leave  my life to chance.  Ever.  I either do, or I do not.  If I go to the grocery store to buy, some tofu and egg whites…actually, that’s a horrible example.  If I go to the grocery store to buy some steak and beer, and I pay for the steak and beer and the grocery store person says “thanks for coming in, thanks for your money, you can not have any steak or beer but feel free to come in another time and try again,” I’d have a very difficult time coming to terms with that.  I’d probably drop the F-bomb and maybe become violent.

IVF is a gamble of epic proportions.  You do the meds, you take the shots, you follow the prescribed protocols and you pay the money for a chance at becoming pregnant.  A chance.  There are no guarantees.  Ever if you do get pregnant after IVF, you may not stay pregnant.  If you do stay pregnant, you may not deliver a healthy baby.  If you do deliver a healthy baby, the baby could grow up to become a complete asshole.

You see what I’m getting at?  Anything else in life comes with a guarantee.  If you give me $10, you can have this 6-pack of beer.  I guarantee it.  If you pay for a new car, you get a new car.  If you work really hard, you can accomplish things.  If you hike for a really long time, you’ll get to the top of the mountain.

Infertility and the process of IVF are two things I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Actually, I went to high school with some real dick heads and I wouldn’t care at all if some of them had to go through this.

So, am I excited that we have one embryo that is now inside Melissa?  I’m not really sure.  It’s a big step and I certainly feel hopeful about it, but we’ve had positive pregnancy test results before and guess what?  No steak.  No baby.

I’m frustrated with the odds and frustrated by the process.  I’m frustrated that there’s nothing that I can do to improve our odds or even help ensure success.  For me, frustration and anger are pretty close cousins.  I feel angry about this.  I’m sick of thinking about it, sick of talking about, sick of having it rule our lives, sick of hoping for the best and sick of seeing other people skip this process and go right to the 9-month part.

I have a picture of Archimedes, our embryo extraordinare.  It’s taped to my computer monitor.

Now please understand that this photo is not to scale.  Archimedes is actually quite small at this point.  Here’s a picture that is to scale.

Don’t see it?  That’s not an accident.  It’s very small.  Too small to actually see with the naked eye though we’re both really hoping that will change.

I’ll be happy with either a boy or a girl.  I really don’t care.  I don’t know much about girls, but I can read a book or something and get up to speed.  Now it’s too early to tell if this embryo will become a boy or a girl, and we’re not planning to find out, but if you look at this last picture of our embryo, you’ll note I’ve indicated some interesting features.

I know what you’re thinking.  (A) clearly shows the female sex organ while (B) shows what are clearly male reproductive organs.

Now I’m not a specialist and I already mentioned that I don’t know a ton about girls, but I think you’ll agree that given the picture above and my cursory assessment, this embryo could turn into either a girl or a boy and nobody would be surprised.

I read somewhere that frogs have both sex organs for a period of time until they pick their favorite and go with it.  I’m pretty sure that was from Jurassic Park (the first movie with the Ford Explorers that are electric and can drive themselves around the park autonomously while the spectators just sit there and look out the windows at the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Raptors and the friendly ones with the really long necks).  That makes sense.

I’m sorry for interrupting  your usual excellent blog content with this departure for the norm.  I’m not sure how many male readers are out there in this particular blogosphere (I’m so cool!) but I suspect it’s not the majority.

Thanks for having me.  I will now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Chickened out

Quick update since my last post on Friday night/Saturday morning.

Our embryos were not quite ready Saturday morning when we were scheduled for our transfer.  It was tough news to take, but nothing some heavy tears and long sweat-inducing workout session couldn’t cure.

Luckily, I’m a fighter.  I INSISTED I talk with my doctor about allowing a little more time for my embryos to grow prior to freezing them and postponing my transfer for 6 weeks.

Man – am I glad we waiting.  Just a short 24 hours later, we had 5 beautiful looking embryos.  I went in this morning, met with my doctor and determined, today (January 22, 2012) is the day we are going to try to get pregnant.  But at the last minute, I chickened out and decided to only transfer 1 embryo.  Gabriel felt otherwise.  Our reasoning went like this:

Doctor:  (After showing us a picture of the 2 embryos he was proposing we transfer) These are great looking embryo’s – your chances are high.

Me: Chances that they would both implant?

Doctor:  Yes, high chance that they would both implant.

Me:  Holy shit – TWINS?

Gabriel: Do it!

Me: No!

Gabriel:  Yes, I want to get this over with and not have to do it again.  If we have twins, we are done.

Me:  But I REALLY don’t want to have twins!

Doctor: Then I would not put 2 in.

DONE AND DONE!  As always, and with most situations between Gabriel and I (should we watch The Bourne Identity or Runaway Bride, should we have steak and potatoes or tofu and spinach for dinner, should we go for a 6 mile run or go sailing), I won 🙂

I am no officially an incubator to one very handsome/pretty hatched blastocyst.

The next step is that the blastocyst has to implant in my endometriel lining and start producing hCG (a hormone that is made by embryo once it has implanted).

We will not know if this cycle was a success for another week plus.  Until then, here’s hoping for good luck!!

All the single ladies

It is officially my last night as a “single” lady. That is, my last night prior to the transfer of 2 embryos to my uterus. Weird feeling, knowing that in just 6 short hours (yes, I’m awake at 2:16am….thank you very much) I will, even if for a short 9 days, be “pregnant” with twins. And by “pregnant”, I mean having to “act pregnant” with no drinking, smoking, recreational drugs (there goes my social life) or strenuous activity with the hopes that 1 of the embryos will burrow into a comfy, well-prepared and hormonally perfect wall and make itself comfortable for 9 months.

So, what did I do on my last night you ask? We are in Spokane, so right there you can eliminate most intriguing activities or lively friends to hang out with.

The night started with a final workout at the hotel gym, and although I was only allowed to do light exercise and keep my heart rate below 130, I’ll took what I could get because after today, I’ll be on bed rest for the remainder of the weekend and then very light exercise for at least a few weeks. Wouldn’t want to run that baby right out of there after all this.

Gabriel and I then had a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant . I enjoyed some glasses of a local red blend, devoured numerous soft cheeses and indulged in rich dark chocolate ice cream toped with chunks of homemade peanut butter. Could not have been a more perfect last meal!

So, now I lay here, thinking about how it is we got to this point. I’ve been grateful for the journey up till now. Of course, I wish getting and maintaining a pregnancy would have been a seamless process, but you don’t always get what you wish for. It’s been trying but comparably, what do I have to complain about? I have a great support system, my health and the ability to potentially rectify our unfortunate situation, an opportunity many couples do not have.

Not much this single lady can complain about on a restless Friday night :).

Sleep tight, uterus. You have a big day tomorrow! Other than the girls on “16 and Pregnant” in their hopes for instant celebrity status, how many people get to say that before drifting off to sleep??


Home Sweet Home

We’re home!!  It was a long week but we are finally back in Missoula. 

Monday morning was the retrieval procedure.  Things could not have gone smoother.  My anesthesiologist was fantastic – made the perfect cocktail for me to fall sound asleep.  No offense, but I now realize why Michael Jackson enjoyed Propofol so much – that is one yummy drug 🙂 The entire procedure was very quick, lasting no more than 20 minutes.  I woke up well-rested and comfortable, although the real excitment came when my nurse told me they had retrieved 19 eggs.  YAHOO!  Way more than we had expected so we were pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday morning the nurse called to tell me that of the 19 eggs, 17 of them were mature (not sure how though, as I am one of the most immature people I know) and of those 17, 14 of them had fertilized.  Kudos must be given to Gabriel’s sperm – impressive!!

So, now we wait…the worst part.  The nurse will call me again on Thursday to let me know, of those 14 fertilized eggs, how many of them are dividing cells appropriately and moving towards becoming blastocysts.  A quick biology lesson for those who have forgotten from 6th grade.

A blastocyst is a structure specific to mammals and is formed during the embryogenesis process of reproduction.  It has 2 parts: an embryoblast, which eventually forms the embryo, and the trophoblast, which later forms the placenta.  With all blastocysts, they begin formation on the 5th day after fertilization, and this is the same for all humans, regardless of fertilization occuring within the body or in vitro (which, in Latin, means in glass)

So, technically, today (Tuesday) is day 1 in the process – as the eggs officially fertilized sometime yesterday after the retrieval.  The hope is that, by day 5 (Saturday), some or at least 1 of the fertlized eggs will have formed into blastocysts.  My reproductive endocrinologist only performs day 5 transfers, meaning that if the structure is not officially a blastocyst by that day, they will be allowed to grow until they are properly formed, then frozen and transfered back into the utureus at a later time (often, 6-10 weeks later).  The reason for that is a whole other biology lesson, one in which I don’t feel like teaching right now….Google It !!

It’s strange, knowing that for weeks, I grew these eggs in my ovaries, now they are sitting in a dish in Spokane, hundreds of miles from me in Missoula, with hopes that one will eventually turn into a screaming, pooping and mess of a baby.  Strange but intriguing process…one that I am extremely grateful for. 

Some might say (and actually, have said) that what Gabriel and I are doing is “wrong” – that is, playing with science to create life.  Screw that – we are going to be awesome parents…what difference does it make how we get there.  Maybe someday we’ll be able to conceive a child without medical intervention, but in the meantime, I am so grateful for the advances in technology and medicine that have allowed us to travel down this road. 

Now if only medicine and technology could be advanced enough to, overnight, shrink the size of my ass 🙂  For now, I’ll take the embryo and wait for advances in ass-shrinking to come after a pregnancy!!

I’ve been branded

It’s official. Infertility is exactly like being cattle. They’ve branded me!!!!!!

Tonight is my “trigger” shot. After tonight, I get a short 36 hour break without medications. Yahoo!! Tonight’s shot is a pretty important one. It’s an exact science, in fact. My retrieval is slated for exactly 36 hours after I get this injection (so for me, shot tonight at 11pm, procedure at 11am on Monday).

Given the delicate timeline, ensuring success with this shot is pretty important to my doctor. So, today, before leaving my daily morning appointment, my nurse put a big bulls eye on my ass….in the specific spot where they want Gabriel to put a ridiculously large and scary looking needle. This is the biggest of the needles that we’ll have to do, but just knowing there’s a mark on my ass that Gabriel has to stare at prior to injecting it makes the entire situation all that much more disconcerting.

I think Gabriel is more worried about the shot than I am. I have a feeling that in a couple of weeks, after nightly shots with the big needles, I don’t think he’ll feel so bad anymore.

I mean, really, how many mean farmers do you think kiss and hug their cows prior to sticking a hot metal rod against their ass. Probably not many.

At least Gabriel’s one damn good looking farmer. Yee-haw cowboy 🙂

Eggs, they are a growin’

Arrived in Spokane on Tuesday and settled into my hotel room.  It’s weird being here for “medical” reasons because I am not sick, have little to no interaction with my doctor and aside from my thrice daily injections of medications, have no other reminders that I am here for fertility treatment.  I wish there was a way to stay in my hometown of Missoula and go through IVF, but until I can convince a reporductive endocronolgist that the lifestyle is better in Montana than in Colorado, I’m stuck traveling to Spokane.

I saw my doctor Wednesday morning for the first time.  I have no other way to explain the experience other than this…I’ll give you the visual description that you must imagine followed by what actually is happening at this appointment

Close your eyes….

Visualization Actual
Barn in the middle of a large poorly cared for field Dated doctors office in the middle of a dirty city
Hundreds of sad looking cows lost and scared 20+ 20-40 year old women looking anxious and nervous
Disgruntled farmer luring the cows in to the barn with hopes of nutritious grass, hay and silage Mean doctor luring them into the exam room with hopes of impregnating them
The cows are fattened, branded then slaughtered (sorry to all my vegetarian readers 🙂 The women are poked, proded and then sent on our way without a word from the mean doctor

Ok, so I don’t know anything about cows and how they are cared for, but I do know a thing or two about health care, and that how the women were treated at the doctors office was disgraceful.  Despite that, I don’t really care, because honestly, the point is not to make a new friend in this doctor, but rather to use his brain power to get me pregnant.   The rest of the staff in his office, including my nurse, are fantastic.

The best part – the mean doctor seems to know what he is doing.  On my ultrasound yesterday, he saw approximately 12 follicles, which hopefully will have 12 mature eggs in them on the day of my retrieval procedure.  And until that day, and confirmation that my eggs are forming to become embryos, there is nothing I can do – a rather unsettling fact.

Until then, I will continue to visit my doctors office, enjoy Spokane and anxiously await the hopefully positive news at the end of all this.


Not so fun

The drugs, that is, are not so fun.

Negative side effects:

Black and blue/bruises at the injection sites
Being a slave to 8am and 8pm

Positive side effects:

Strong pain meds to counteract the headaches
Excuse for my body not looking great
I get to sleep in till 8am and have an excuse for not staying out later than 8pm

Look at me….just call me Mrs. Positive. Finding a way to take every negative and turn it into a positive.

My plan – keep this attitude up for the next 3 weeks!

Someone get me some damn lemons!!!

It wasn’t so bad

And I’m not talking about the meatloaf I made for dinner.  That was actually pretty good.

The needles, that is, were not so bad.

I got “the call” yesterday from my nurse, telling me that my numbers and ultrasound looked good and I’m ready to move forward with IVF.  What a relief – could you imagine getting this far in the process and then being told it is canceled?  I actually should not speak (or write), so soon though, as there is a chance that could happen to anyone.  The clinic has warned me they could cancel at any time, for many reasons:  cysts, over-stimulation, under-stimulation or even turning into a crazy husband-murdering woman (ok, so I made that one up, but I could TOTALLY see how that could happen on these meds…it could be an IVF first)!!!

Either way, I am moving forward – 1 injection in the morning, 2 at night – until Monday, when I go for more blood work and an ultrasound.  At that point, they’ll probably change my regimen.

Last night, about an hour before the most painful 5 seconds of my life (complete over-exaggeration), I started preparing for the shots.  I re-watched the online “how-to”, washed the counter and my hands about 20 times and paced the kitchen waiting for the clock to hit 8:00.

Sub-concious conversation with myself:

7:29PM – “I’ve been waiting for 1/5/12 for so long…I am so excited it is here”

7:42PM – “Yahoo – this is so great – I can’t wait to start!”

7:48PM – (after looking at the needles) “Oh shit, those look scary”

7:51PM – “Ok, never mind, screw this pregnancy shit.  I think we can just get one of those pretend babies, like the ones they give out in high school, the dolls that cry, you have to change their diaper, but at the end of the day, you can just remove the battery and call it quits”

<savior friend arrives>

7:55PM – “Just shoot me and put me out of my misery…that would probably hurt less”

7:59PM – “AHHHH”

<post shots>

8:01PM – “It’s all over??  That didn’t hurt at all”

Luckily, my friend Kristen was there to give me the first shot and make me give myself the second one.  I gotta tell you…there is nothing that brings two good friends together more than one pinching the other’s belly fat!  The worst part was really just the process and then sitting there, fat pinched, with the needle in your hand…but once it was in, I could barely feel it.

So, as I said, these were not bad at all.  Seriously though, the needles for next week look AWFUL.  I am going to have to take a picture of the needle because I don’t think you’d believe me any other way – this needle is HUGE!  It’s like a damn pencil being inserted into your ass fat – imagine that!!!

Now, it’s 8:06AM the following morning – just finished my morning shot.  It was a piece of cake!! – I could do this all day.  Oh what a difference 12 hours makes 🙂

Off to enjoy my day, despite:

1. Not being able to get my heart rate above 140 bpm (definition = no running, skiing, hard hiking, snow shoeing…pretty much everything I would want to be doing this morning) so instead I’ll be going for a long walk….wah wah!

2. Not being allowed to take baths (although, did you know sitting on the bench in the shower with the heat cranked up for about 30 minutes is very relaxing as well?)

3. Not being allowed to drink more than 1 alcoholic beverage (trick = drink from a VERY large wine glass – it’s still only one drink, right??)

4.  No smoking crack cocaine (no explanation needed here)….

….man – life is just so unfair 🙂

If some drugs are good, more drugs are better

Did you know that Walgreens has an entire “specialty pharmacy” dedicated to fertility? The Walgreens specialty building must be made out of gold and all of the employees fly to work in private jets. That has to be the case, because what would possibly be a better explanation as for why they charge so much for their drugs. 6 weeks worth of drugs and $3,000 later, I’m ready to start IVF 🙂

So…check them out ladies and gentlemen…. This is what $3,000 (non-insurance covered) will buy you!


Regardless of the cost, it’s crazy how big these needles are! I can’t believe Gabriel has to inject this thing into my butt muscle (or as I like to call it “my meat”) for upwards of 6 weeks!

I’m sure we’ll both eventually get used to it, but man, nothing less sexy than having your husband inject you with meds daily, or even multiple times a day. It would all be worth it if the daily injections miraculously made me turn into Jessica Alba, but since they’ll more likely just turn me into a hormonal, bloated brat, I think they’ll be less sexy.

So, cheers to really big needles, overpriced medications and beautiful, non-hormonal women everywhere!

Happy New Year!!


Goodbye Rubber Ducky

We are not supposed to take baths. That is, neither Gabriel nor I are supposed to “fry”….this according to the IVF class nurse. I quote “the doctor wants fresh eggs and fresh sperm….not sunny side up and fried”.

For those of you who don’t know us very well, WE LOVE BATHS!! Gabriel even owns multiple bath toys, although they more often serve as bath art than bath toys.

Exhibit a:


Which leads me to exhibit b:


For those astute readers out there… You will notice that exhibit a and exhibit b are identical.

You see, while Gabriel has been more than fantastic about following all of the “rules” associated with IVF, I unfortunately, have not.

You see….I really do love to take baths. I enjoy baths more than showers, more than chocolate, and it would not be a stretch to say that I might even enjoy baths more than wine. In fact, I am writing this post from my iPhone in the bath as we speak!!!! That is my leg in the picture….I’ve been caught wet-legged!

So scandalous!

But, I have made a promise to myself and to my healthy and soon-to-be not over-cooked eggs….no more baths starting January 1st. That’s right folks. You’ve read it here and once it’s posted on the Internet, there is no chance for me to renege.

Given that I still have about 26.5 hours until 1/1/12, I am planning to take at least one bath tomorrow. I may even drink a glass of red wine and eat dark chocolate while taking my bath. I might as well live it up while I can!

So…goodbye rubber ducky. Hopefully we’ll see you soon!

I’m entering my “zen” – or whatever that means!

I don’t even really understand what “zen” means, but whatever it is, I need to find it before January 5. And by “need”, I mean “should”.

I start my medications January 5 – a measley 8 days from now. It is the recommendation of my IVF clinic in Spokane, as well as many clinics throughout the country, that patient’s going through this process to remain as calm and comfortable as possible. I’m assuming this is because you are putting your body through so much between the drugs and stress of the process, it’s important not to add anything more on top of that.

My idea of calm and comfortable – sitting by a pool in Mexico, drinking a $1,0000 bottle of Malbec while Keanu Reeves massages my feet.

Since I don’t have time to travel to Mexico right now, I guess that idea should be eliminated 🙂

In the meantime, I have lots of big plans to achieve my goal of calm and comfortable.

1. Minimal work – working straight from Christmas Eve thru New Year’s Eve has its perks – I get LOTS of time off!

2. Having minimal work to do allows me lots of time for long walks, getting things in order at the house, organizing drawers (which everyone knows is my favorite thing to do) and cooking/baking.

3. Massages, accupuncture, manicure, pedicure – I mean – WHY NOT??

4. I’m starting a new job at The University of Montana immediately after I return from Spokane – teaching Neuroanatomy…SUCKS TO BE ME!!! When I first accepted the position, I thought…”how fun – I hope I get a grade book!!”. Now that I realized I actually have to understand Neuroanatomy before I can teach it…well, that’s not what I thought it would be like. Either way, I enjoy learning…so I’ll spend lots of time reading the book, writing tests, preparing lectures and trying to convince myself that I am capable to teaching 🙂 Ok – so maybe not super calm and relaxing but it needs to be done so I have no other choice!

So halfway thru writing this post, I decided to google the word “Zen”. As it turns out, I was using it all wrong! Wikipedia describes it as a meditative state. I don’t think my above stated plans for relaxation would exactly constitute a meditative state, with emphasis on experimental wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. I’ll leave that to the Monk’s.

Since I had my definition wrong, I’ll see what I can do about scheduling Keanu for next week – I think I have Friday open 🙂

Just figured this out…

Now that I’ve put my story out there into the blogosphere – there is no turning back!

Everyone and their moms (literally, I’ve received emails from my friend’s mom’s) have read this blog. OK – not everyone, but at least most of the people in MY world and Facebook.  Everyone in my world knows what the next step is in the process of getting me pregnant – IVF.

IVF is funny. A couple months before even going for the “series”, I know the approximate date I will “get pregnant”. As of now, mine is scheduled for January 21, 2012.  9 days later, I will have a blood test to determine if it “takes”.

Which means that around January 30, I’ll know if I’m pregnant – but where does that leave all of you? My wonderful friends, family and random strangers who are following this blog?

I think you’ll know everything as I do. Cuz why not?

I was chatting with a girlfriend today about the whole idea/wives tale/superstition of waiting the full 12 weeks to tell the general population that a woman is pregnant.

I know this is a relatively touchy subject, although it seems the general consensus in my immediate circle is waiting the full 3 months to tell the exciting news (most often in a big Facebook post).

Regardless of others opinions, I am ok with people knowing the “good” news early. I’ve weighed the pros and cons (appendix a).

Appendix A:                                                                                               Cons of telling before 12 weeks:

– There is a high chance of miscarriage and having people know you are pregnant, only to have to tell them you are no longer pregnant kinda sucks (I know…it has happened to me 3 times – I’ll explain later 🙁 )  That includes the disappointment for our family, which sucks!

Pros of telling before 12 weeks:

– You don’t have to pretend at parties that you are not pregnant.  I would not have to fake drinking an alcoholic beverage by asking the bartender to give me diet coke but to add a lime, cherry and a cute little mixing straw just to make it look like I’m drinking.  This also includes other “forbiddens” of pregnancy, like hot dogs, deli meat, raw sushi and soft cheese (and everyone knows how much I love me some good Brie cheese!)  I could just flat out tell people “I am pregnant, so I am not partaking” and leave it at that.


As you can see, it’s a score of 1:1 (pros vs. cons) – A TAMARACK TIE 🙂

Regardless of everyone’s opinions of this blog, in which I have to say has been 95% positive with only a couple of my friends looking down on it (although they would never admit it – I just know from their comments to me), I feel that what I’m doing is a good thing.

I’m not being quiet about infertility or the struggles it takes to get pregnant.  I’m admitting to the world that this is difficult and that, unlike some, it’s not something that HAS to be gone through alone.

Which means, you’ll all be a part of it with me.  I’ll keep you posted on all the good, bad and hopefully exciting news when the time is right!

Will it be hard if I miscarry? – possibly,  but I would not be going through it alone, which makes the whole thing easier.

So, thanks in advance for your support 🙂


I have a mullet!

Who knew that birth control pills could make me so crazy??

I was on birth control for about 9 years – and I can’t remember how they affected me when I first started them in 2001. They probably made me a little crazy, but then again, I was in my sophomore year at Indiana University, living in a sorority house with 50+ other girls….I had PLENTY of reasons to be crazy!

Did you know that prior to going through IVF, you have to take birth control pills for the month before? Who would have thunk?? I would imagine that the doctor would prefer you to GET pregnant prior to going through the awfulness that is IVF, but then again, maybe this is just another scam by those ridiculous doctors.

I have a feeling they laugh at all the crazy women coming in (crying, complaining, bitching, etc) after they’ve been on the meds. Or even better, all the reproductive endocrinologist’s go for beers once a week, just to swap stories of crazy girls on heavy hormones. What I would give to be their bartender and pee in their beer!!!!

Either way, the meds make me crazy. Thank goodness for my wonderful husband. He has been such a trooper! Just to give you an idea of my craziness:

1. Last night, after our hockey game, I insisted that Gabriel carry my hockey gear from the car to the garage “because I said so”.

2. While getting my haircut last week, my hairdresser asked me how I’ve been liking my recent cut and I replied with “I have a FUCKING mullet – what do you think of it??” (She then poured me a mimosa – I felt much better afterwards :).

3. For breakfast the other day, I ate a handful of M & M’s. Although, I can’t say I wouldn’t have done this on any “normal” day.

4. At boot camp class this morning, I was mad at the instructor for not making the kickboxing workout longer! I enjoyed kicking and punching into the air and wanted it to go on forever.

Only 26 more days of these silly drugs, then on to the bigger ones. I can’t wait to see what I’m like then :0

“But I can drink…”

My good friend, Annie, had a baby boy last night.  Despite being 7 weeks early, mom and baby are doing fantastic.  Annie is such a strong woman.

I sat on the edge of her hospital bed this morning, enjoying our time together, but in the back of my mind, trying to cheer her up (it will be a rough few weeks as Elliott spends his days growing big and strong in the NICU).  In all of our usual ridiculousness, Annie and I came up with “good” reasons associated with having had a shortened pregnancy.

1.  Less weight gain – Annie is beautiful!!!  And looked amazing throughout her entire pregnancy, although I take half the credit because I did go walking and/or hiking with her almost every week of the pregnancy.  But, there is something to say for having 7 less weeks of weight gain and starting early on the the post-pregnancy weight loss program!  I already promised her that 2 weeks post c-section, I’d be rounding her up for a short hike.

2.  She can finally drink!  Just a few weeks after she found out she was pregnant, Annie and I went for a girls weekend away and I was left all by myself to enjoy libations.  It is not fun drinking alone (although that didn’t stop me tonight as I sit here typing with a *plastic cup* of red wine is sitting next to my keyboard).

At this point – our handsome and charming OB-GYN walked in the room, so we had to end our conversation so she could have her exam (*insert jealousy here*). This list got me thinking though….

Are there perks to NOT being pregnant?


So, to all my pregnant (or recently pregnant) friends out there (and there are TONS)….enjoy it.  Before you know it, it will be over.

When it’s over, and you have a bouncing baby on your lap, we can enjoy life again together 🙂

I love you, Annie!!!!  Hang in there my friend – you are so strong!


Thanksgiving thoughts

Question?? Could you take this blog, remove the words infertility or anything pregnancy related and replace it with whatever it is you might be struggling with? Maybe weight loss, divorce or addiction?

I’m assuming there is probably a good chance most people could. Because I can’t possibly be the only one who is going through a rough/difficult/stressful time right now?

Whatever the word, if you feel there is something in your life that you are wrestling with, and it even slightly consumes your thoughts, you can probably relate to what I’m going through.

Why do I bring this up?  It’s not to make you feel bad – I promise…I don’t believe in misery loves company.

But, I think we can relate.

As you can imagine, infertility is something that consumes most of my thoughts, and although it would be an exaggeration to say it consumes me every moment, it is something I think about at least a couple of times every day.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving today but it seems that I just can’t shake the “I want to be pregnant” bug.  For example…

Gabriel and I ran the Missoula Turkey Trot this morning and at the finish line, I saw a woman my age who was pregnant. In reference to our slower-than-average pace (which I’m going to blame on the ice, obviously!), a girlfriend of mine jokingly said “I bet that pregnant girl beat us”.  Funny line, right?  The not-so-funny thing is that I was thinking “I wish I was pregnant this Thanksgiving…why is that bitch so lucky”.

Later tonight, while sitting around the dinner table, a friend of mine asked my father-in-law (who happens to be a child and developmental pyschologist) how it is that children learn to walk, which was apropos as her 1-year-old daughter is just learning that skill.  My father-in-law, speaking exclusively as a professor, answered immediately with what he presumed was a good analogy…”well, how did your body know how to get pregnant?  It’s all biology”!

Now, again, if this comment had been made two years ago, I would not have even blinked an eye.  But, given my current situation, I thought (sarcastically, of course…thank goodness it was just to myself rather than aloud)…”well, not every body KNOWS how to get pregnant so mind your own business dude meanie“.  

Almost immediately, my loving in-laws and husband shot me looks, as if to say “we are SO sorry”.  But, here’s the thing…I DON’T WANT THEM TO BE SORRY!  It is not anyone’s fault that I’m not pregnant, including myself and people should not feel sorry about mentioning pregnancy around me.

I guess what I am trying to say it – people should not feel bad for what it is that I am struggling with.  I think my goal of this blog is to increase societies awareness that there are many struggles in life, most of which people deal with in silence.  But rather than feel bad for people, just be aware that they struggle and that is OK!  It is good to be a loving member of a support system but not feel you have to change their suffering.

So, on this beautiful evening, I am SO very thankful for my friends and family that are MY support system.  They know I struggle and are there to “give me a look”, pat me on the back or just be by my side when they know my crazy, unconscious, self-depricating thoughts are just that….thoughts that will hopefully be a distant memory sometime soon.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone – I am one lucky girl – knocked up or not 🙂


10th purchase on us

A couple times a week, I go for a decaf skim tall latte, no foam, extra hot.  And each of those times, I hand the barista my $2.75  along with my “frequent drinker” club card, which she punches a nice coffee mug-shaped hole into the cute little numbered circles on the card.

I tell you – it is a great day in the world of Melissa when I get to #10.  I swear, sometimes I feel like I’ve won the lottery when I get my 10th coffee for free.  Many times I even do a calorie-splurge and order a Grande (what can I say…it’s free…although about an hour later, I regret it when I can’t even hold my pen straight as my hand is shaking so much from my 16 ounces of decaf espresso – cheap date :).  Regardless, it’s a good feeling.  It makes me feel that this little coffee hut drive-thru really cares about keeping me as a customer, so much that they will buy me a coffee every few weeks.  So, I keep going back….

Which leads me to a great idea.  I think that every 20-30-40-something wishing to conceive should be part of a club that gets our own punch card (Sorry I left the “teens” out of my club….but go away, you are too young to be a parent…but that’s a whole other post that I’ll rant about later)!!

Ok, back to my theory.

Imagine this:

Every of-age woman should be given a punch card to use for…….PREGNANCY TESTS!

For those of you who have never purchased one – they are expensive little buggers.  And if they had a punch card for pregnancy tests, I would be on my 127th free one by now.

Ok, maybe a little exaggerated but I swear I have purchased well over 50+ pregnancy tests throughout my journey (keep in mind that many times they come in packages of 2 or 3 so that helps my numbers).

Imagine the excitement when you walk up to the shy checkout guy at the CVS counter and he notices you are up for your free pregnancy test on your punch card.  I would probably do a little fist pump.

One time, I was at CVS, picking up a few items for the weekend – you know, my typical drug store items:  2 bottles of wine, a bottle of hairspray, Gabriel’s favorite deodorant (the one with the sailboats on it) and 2 boxes of pregnancy tests.  I  had purchased these items many times in the past, although maybe not together all at once.  Either way, I didn’t think much about it as I walked up to the checkout counter.

Well, the look the cashier gave me was fantastic – I could just read her mind as looked at my items – “poor girl, she is either going to have an awful night and drink both these bottles of wine or get a positive on the tests and then this wine will go to waste”.

I remember the first few times I bought tests. I would hide the tests under other items in my cart and sheepishly put them on the checkout counter LAST, hoping that the cashier would quickly swipe the items over the scanner (and not leave them on the counter for too long where people might see) and promptly place them into the bag.

Oh how times have changed!

My husband is a graphic designer, so I’m sure I could get him to design the “trying-to-conceive” punch cards.  I’m thinking the cute little circles would represent the egg and the hole punch would be the shape of small sperm, you know, like the ones in the opening credits of “Look Who’s Talking”, swimming along while Bruce Willis encourages the other little swimmers to race towards the egg, all while The Beach Boys “I Get Around” plays joyfully in the background.

Do you think Office Max has hole punches in the shape of sperm???


Mom is proud

I called my mom to “warn” her about this blog. I already had 2 glasses of wine and she was half asleep but the conversation went something like this.

Me: I wanted to tell you something.
Mom: is it good or bad?
Me: not sure…decide for yourself.
Mom: ok, what is it?
Me: I started a blog about my fertility problems and anyone can see it.
Mom: anyone??
Me: well, anyone who cares to see it.
Mom: why??
Me: because I wanted to.
Mom: good for you.

(I then read her my first few entries)

Mom: that’s good…who wrote it ??
Me: I did.
Mom: I thought Gabriel was the good writer…not you.
Me: thanks mom!
Mom: no, really, it’s good. I’m proud.
Me: maybe someone important will read it and turn it into a movie.
Mom: yeah, why not? That girl who cooked all of Julia Childs recipes wrote a blog and they made a movie out of that.
Me: not the point of this blog but can’t say I would complain.
Me: I hope Natalie Portman would play me.
Mom: that’s perfect….she’s Jewish!
Me: as if that’s the defining reason why Natalie Portman would play ME…easy fit for religious purposes.

(in my mind I was really thinking someone like Rosie O’Donnell would be a better fit but it is my mom…why burst her bubble??)

Me: alright, good night!

I came upstairs to find Gabriel half asleep. Again, not exactly, but our conversation went something like this.

Me: my blog is getting lots of attention. It’s really exciting.
Gabriel: that’s great Meliss!
Me: my mom said it should turn into a movie. Natalie Portman could play me.
Gabriel: she’s hot. What about Kiera Knightley?
Me: no. Who would play you?
Gabriel: I know you think Ben Affleck or Patrick Dempsey would be great, but I really think Denzel Washington or Eddie Murphy would be better.
Me: WHY??
Gabriel: for “size” purposes! I think it would only be fair to have an equally endowed actor.

Mom…aren’t you proud??

Sleep tight Gabriel!


It’s almost 5am and I’m awake…thanks a lot. Work is going to be super hard in a few hours.

I have a good excuse though. I’ve been busy. I just finished responding to emails and messages from old neighbors, long-lost friends, ex co-workers and extended family. Each one of them offering words of support or stories of their own struggles and eventual successes with fertility.

That feels pretty darn good! Although I don’t wish this upon anyone and definitely knew I was not the only one, it’s nice knowing there are others, many right in my very own mini world.

I read an interesting article the other day which discussed the phenomenon of FOMO (fear of missing out), which has always existed but is now in overdrive due to social media and instant updates to networking sites. The downside to these great advances in technology is people’s ability to instantly portray their lives to the onlooking world in whatever way they want. Tagging yourself in only the “most flattering” photos, checking in at the newest and hottest location or writing then rewriting your status updates to make sure your friends know you are (insert your preferred emotion here)..funny, sad, angry, etc.

What I’m trying to say is, it’s easy to have FOMO, especially with fertility issues. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t post a picture of their most recent ultrasound, their newborn or their post-baby weight loss.

I like your honesty. So many of you have sent me messages, letting me know that you’ve struggled yourself, that motherhood isn’t as easy as you had hoped or that you have experienced FOMO yourself.

That is humbling!

Truth be told though…I’m still going to only post flattering pictures of myself on Facebook. This blog is awfully cathartic and exposing…don’t think I need everyone seeing embarrassing pictures as well.

9 pounds

That is how much weight I’ve gained since starting this journey. It would be great if that 9 pounds was a slimy, crying baby that I could easily get rid of it a few hours of labor, but no, I’m stuck with it. At least for now.

The best part? The look I get from my OB-GYN after getting off the scale. What I want to say is “$@&? you…do you know what it’s like??” but instead, I smile, smirk and wink, as if to say, “yeah yeah yeah, I need to add more miles on to my daily runs”!

I walk out of his office, smiling, but only because he is charming and handsome. But, the whole way home I’m trying to figure out where those pounds came from.

Luckily, I think I have an excuse for each one:

Pound 1: it’s easy to eat an extra bowl of cereal when you just “have the feeling” this will be THE month I conceive. It’s all for the baby, right?

Pound 2: one too many glasses of wine while feeling sorry for myself watching an episode of “19 kids and counting”. Share the damn wealth, lady!

Pound 3: the age old excuse… “I shouldn’t run today because it might jostle the impending embryo from implanting”. We’ve all said that before, right?

Pound 4: Going for meals with all my pregnant friends makes it easy to overeat. Hey, I’d they can eat for 2, why can’t I?

Pound 5: I’m chalking this one up to straight old meds. If college girls can blame their Freshman 15 on birth control, I can blame a measly pound on fertility drugs. Fair is fair.

Pound 6: it’s easier to eat at a baby shower than it is to mingle. No more explanation needed.

Pound 7: to stop the constant stream of questions at a party as to if/when we’ll have a baby, I keep my glass full at all times. Alcohol calories really add up!

Pound 8: when you are already sweaty from fertility meds, the last thing you want to do is go to a 90-minute Bikram yoga class. And I depended on that class to keep me slim!

Pound 9: Probably the best pound of them all…I’d rather stay in bed with my husband than get up for a 10 mile run on a Saturday. Fertility issues really causes stress in a relationship and I have to take advantage of every great moment.

So…9 pounds, not so fun. But, I can run that off. I registered for a 1/2 Ironman for July 2012. Hopefully, I’ll be pregnant by then. And maybe I wont be. If not, I’ll have one great (and pound-shedding) training adventure ahead of me!

Until then, cheers!

No Hawaii for you

Haven’t you heard??? Spokane, Washington is the new Honolulu? With its bustling city center, beautiful views of I-90 and the best seafood in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a top contender for the hottest romantic get-a-way.

Well, even if everyone else doesn’t think so, I have to start believing it myself. Because while the rest of my husbands side of the family will be spending 2 weeks relaxing on the beaches of Hawaii, I’ll be in Spokane going through my first round of IVF.

Spokane? Only because there is no specialist in Missoula, Montana! As if you had to ask??

Sucks? Yeah, I guess it does. I’ll be there for over a week, more than half of it on my own while my husband is working. But I’ll have plenty to do, preparing my body for the “retrieval”. That’s just a nice way of saying “we’ll pump you full of medications to overstimulate your ovaries to produce as many eggs as possible prior to plucking them out of you”. Not exactly the romantic conception of a baby I once had in mind.

After the doc plucks me dry, I go back 5 days later for them to put some hopefully test-tube created embryos back into my body. It’s kinda funny, actually! I can’t tell you how many times Gabriel and I have gone back and forth on “how many” we will put back in.

Now, I don’t want to become the next Octomom. In fact, I think there are pretty strict regulations on how many embryos a doctor can “put in”. But, I still want my chance to be high. After much attention to the subject, we’ve decided we’ll do 2. Given the pure logics of math, we are capable of ending up with 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 babies. Holy shit!!! 4 babies??? If I ever thought I had trouble getting a flat stomach before pregnancy, could you imagine 4??

The positive? The grandparents who are paying for this lovely trip to Hawaii??? They don’t read this blog. They think we are not going to Hawaii because we are too busy. Now if only there was a way to transfer my unused ticket to Hawaii to pay for IVF?? Damn this shit is expensive!!

No offense

Disclaimer: Melissa Silverman, and all entities associated with Melissa Silverman, mean no harm by anything I am about to say.

Pregnant people and people with children really annoy me.

Ok. I said it. Feel free to shoot the messenger. The truth is, lots of women dealing with infertility issues feel this way but are too afraid to say it. So, I now pronounce myself the messenger.

Honestly, I’m happy for most people who are pregnant or have children. And when I say most, I mean those people who are friends or family (or even friends on Facebook). The remaining 50% who don’t fall into the “most” category? People I don’t know…those walking around the mall, 3 bratty kids in tow, about to pop any moment…the 16-year-old high schoolers who “didn’t know the condom broke”….and my favorite, the women on the show “I didn’t know I was pregnant” who spend 40 weeks not knowing they were pregnant and show up the hospital with stomach pains. Ugh – you annoy me.

Everyone else – YES, I AM HAPPY FOR YOU! But, let me tell you something. It is hard for us who can’t/might not/won’t get pregnant or have children of our own. I love hearing your stories of early morning sickness, seeing your swollen belly or holding your child while you just “grab a quick bite”. But you guys suck! It seems like all my friends are pregnant right now. No joke – All my friends! It seems like there must be something in the vodka. Why have I been busy drinking wine all these years when I could have been drinking the vodka?

It’s hard to fake excitement for someone when you are pumped full of fertility meds – I swear some chauvinistic 50-something reproductive endocrinologist sat in a lab concocting these medications. It seems that the medications primary purpose is to drive infertile women crazy with the secondary purpose to make women ovulate. They make you bloated, sweaty, hungry, tearful, gassy and miserable all at once – now that is what I call the perfect medication if you want to feel good and fit into that “perfect little black dress”. Now imagine that, mixed with late night facebook posts of, “baby (fill in your last name here) does not like this cold weather…he/she is kicking like crazy when I just look outside the window at all this snow”. Ugh. Gag me with a spoon. Why can’t you just say that YOU hate the cold weather. As if that baby even cares….he/she is all snuggled up there in their warm amniotic fluid, not thinking about the blizzard outside your window.

But, again, no offense!

If looks could kill…

I told my mother-in-law that I was starting a blog and it was going to be about infertility. The look she gave me was priceless. She has been involved with our trying-to-get-pregnant process for awhile now but I don’t think she ever thought I would put it out there for everyone to see. It’s strange, having close family members knowing every step of your attempts to conceive, but it has been for good reason. My family and my husband’s family has been super supportive.

I got pregnant a few months ago. In fact, it was my second pregnancy. The first was an early miscarriage, but this second one, we were actually pretty excited about. I was 6 weeks when things started to go bad. Long story short, I ended up having an ectopic pregnancy that, a week after finding out I was pregnant, had partially ruptured and I was rushed for emergency surgery at 1am. My close family and friends were great. My mother-in-law watched over me with bated breath, not allowing me to break my strict bed-rest precautions for even a second. I did try to blow dry my hair once after a shower and I was immediately yelled at and told I was only allowed to dry my hair in bed. Now that is what I call a bad hair day. All 6 of my siblings and siblings-in-law sent me flowers and balloons that I kept near my bed at all times. My friends walked the hospital hallways with me, trying to keep me from going crazy of boredom. My mom played online Scrabble with me all night when I couldn’t sleep from all the alarms and buzzers going off. And Gabriel, oh Gabriel – poor guy! I don’t think he even knew what to do – I can’t imagine how scary it must have been for him. He had quickly lost the possibility of a baby and now here I was, post-surgery, feeling like crap and needing lots of attention. I don’t like to admit this often, but I had also turned into a raging brat for a couple of days. 7 weeks later and I’m still using the excuse “it’s the pregnancy hormones”.

Luckily, I recovered, with my fallopian tube and ovary in tact, ready to tempt fate and the trying-to-conceive world again.

So, if looks could kill….I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m lucky to have a great support group in my close friends and family, despite their looks when I decide I’m doing something crazy. Whether it be my 6am acupuncture appointments (FYI – it doesn’t work!), a new medication my doctor prescribed that someone has to inject into me multiple times a day or traveling hours away for in-vitro fertilization treatments, they have been supportive. Ok – enough of the sappiness. On to funnier topics soon…

The stuff no one talks about

Why is it that infertility is so taboo to talk about?  It seems like the second you tell someone “we’re trying, but it’s not as simple as you think”, they squirm a little in their seat, become noticeably red in the face and don’t have much to say.  Meanwhile, I politely sit there, many times draining my second or third glass of wine, finding myself comforting them more than they are comforting me.  “It’s ok, it will happen for us when it’s the right time”.  Bullshit.  Even I don’t believe that.  But, it often times makes them feel better so I continue with the small talk and pour myself another.

I never thought I would be one faced with infertility.  To tell you the truth, I knew very little about infertility.  When I was in my early 20’s, I was single, living in downtown Chicago and attending graduate school.  My biggest daily worry was balancing my marathon training with my classwork.  Now, almost 10 years later, not a day goes by where I don’t think about my lack of bearing children.  I blame that partly on the vigorous fertility treatment plan I’m on and then partly on my own anxieties.  Once you decide you want to have a child, it’s rather hard to “go back”.

A little background.  I am 29 1/2, happily married to my husband, Gabriel, and living in Missoula, MT.  I was born and raised in a nice Jewish suburb of Detroit, went to undergraduate at Indiana University and then moved to Chicago to get my Master’s Degree.  Mid-way thru my graduate program, I met Gabriel and we dated, blissfully, for 4 years prior to getting engaged.  Gabriel is from Montana and had always wanted to move back and after 5 years, I willing obliged.  We have now lived here for 2 years, just bought our first home and have been enjoying the amazing adventurous lifestyle that only living in the middle of the Rocky Mountains could give us.

So, why a blog?  Well, it’s been 1 1/2 years since Gabriel and I decided we wanted to start trying for a baby.  And, for the entire 1 1/2 years, I have felt guilty and embarrassed to talk about my troubles.  Not sure why though? Maybe out of fear of outcasting us from friends, maybe uncomfortable with the idea of embarrassing my family or maybe just because it sucks to be the person “with something wrong”.  But, I wasn’t doing myself any favors.  Trying to get pregnant SUCKS and having to go through it alone sucks even more.  I feel like I’m part of this secret group of women, bonding only over the fact that we are all up at 3am, typing into the google search box “chance of being pregnant even when you have your period”.   The sad part is, we type that into the search box, with the hope that we’ll find a success story, from an anonymous writer in another random message board, hinting to the insomnia-ridden childless 20-30somethings that there may be a chance for all of us.  And that is all that connects us.  We know each other only by the stories we tell, some sad, some hopeful, but nonetheless, anxiety-ridden.  All we want is to be pregnant.  To be a mom.  To have a reason to blame any weight gain on a pregnancy.

So, welcome to my/our journey.  Some days it is painful, some days it is outright funny.  Regardless, it’s been a crazy ride and I hope that someone who has been on a similar roller coaster can relate.