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!

Humbled

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 “[email protected]&? 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.