Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mission: Get Lost

Little Miss Positive has a difficult first mission assignment:

IVF patient finds out she has the blood clotting disorder Lupus anticoagulant. How do you keep IVF patient positive after her first major bomb since the miscarriage? 

Little Miss Positive knew this would take much more than snuggling next to me. This would take more tactical skill. The war has just taken an ugly turn and more reinforcements are needed. This means full-on mental escape. She says firmly, "We need to go to the island of LOST." 

So she began her first adventure in distraction whizzing me off to the island where not unlike us infertiles a bunch of people crashed and wait for rescue. They, like us, don't know if or when they will get off the island. Weird shit happens all the time. There are no answers which frustrates everyone. No one can get pregnant on the island. 

Wait a minute. I say back to her, "Get lost Little Miss Positive! I have a blood clotting disorder that may or may not cause me to miscarry. Now if I get pregnant I have to inject Lovenox everyday for the ENTIRE pregnancy. Oh no, it doesn't stop at the colossal feat of getting pregnant. Now staying pregnant is going to be a whopping ordeal. No break from the agony of shots for this IVF girl. My body wants me to feeeeeel the pain all the way to the very end."

"Are you finished now?" she said as I concluded my whirl of anger. As you might imagine Little Miss Positive had a lot of work to do today. Darkness reigned over my mind. So she had to remind me that many women use this drug; it is better to know this now than after another loss; Maybe this will be the key missing piece to my infertility puzzle? She also politely reminded me that I have several people coming over tonight to watch the 2 hour premiere of LOST, so pull it together. As much as I would like to sit and stew over this more, she's right. I have a fun-filled evening planned and all I can do at this very moment is spend an evening getting lost in whether anyone on LOST will stop being lost and finally be found.

Stay tuned for more adventures of Little Miss Positive. Posted weekly here on Channel IVF, The Art of Being Infertile.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Box O' Drugs

The first time I got my enormous box of IVF drugs, I felt a mixture of terror and curiosity, like I was rubbernecking at my own car accident. It looked like a scary mess but I couldn't stop staring at it.

The second time I got my enormous box of IVF drugs, I was so excited to get started again that I was a kid in a candy store. That special delivery was like some long awaited care package.

Now the third time getting my enormous box of IVF drugs, I've come to a new threshold. Having been around the block a few times, hardened by tough times, my eyes glaze over. The screen swirls to dream mode and suddenly I've been hustling on the streets for years to get high on baby making. Everything seems to be in slow mo. I open my box with the excitement of an IVF addict finally about to get her fix. Both hallucinogenic and fanciful, my drugs are as happy to see me as I am happy to see them.

Have you gotten your box o' drugs fix?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Introducing Little Miss Positive

As many people attest, thinking positively and visualizing your goal is suppose to help positive things happen to you. All sorts of self-help books such as The Secret claim that this is key to getting what you want. So what did I get for Christmas from my mother? A book called The Power of Positive Thinking. My family knows me well. Now, I've always been what positive chirpy people called a pessimist. I don't assume it will all work out. I assume that it probably won't work out and would rather be pleasantly surprised by a positive outcome. So I am the best test subject for this whole visualizing positive outcome philosophy since worst case scenarios are the first things that pop into my mind. 

But I've truly tested myself the most with our attempts for making a baby. I admittedly started out this process with a bad attitude. Before I ever tried to get pregnant I would always preface a sentence about children with "If I can have them." The big "IF" was always present. I would joke and say, "I will probably be the one out of  all my friends who is infertile" or simply "I have a bad feeling about this." So yes, I didn't start off on the right foot. Does this mean my current IVF life is just a self-fulfilling prophecy? Did I bring this on myself with my negative thoughts? I would argue a big no on that one. Even though I was pessimistic at first, I was forced to see the error of my ways and began to fight my negative thoughts. I have at many points closed my eyes and imagined my big belly or cradling our first born in my arms. I tried to wake up every morning and say a mantra, "Thank you for this baby," after reading the argument that if you believe you already have something then you will get it. I've tried in the two week wait to think I still had a chance for a positive HPT (home pregnancy test) despite my cramps and PMS. I've prayed for positive outcomes and I've relinquished control. I really tried to battle my negative side with great armies of positive thinking, but each time I got slaughtered by a bad outcome. I've touched the holy grails of positive pregnancy tests only for them to be torn away by an ectopic missile and then a crushing miscarriage bomb. All in all, my attempts for positive thinking has yet to bring a baby. 

So naturally a pessimist like myself would get the final laugh here and say, "See, I told you so." But I am not going down that road. That's how much I want a baby. I am willing to deny my comfortable identity as a pessimist to try to get what I want. You can riddle me with bullets and blow up my headquarters, but I've now got a nuclear weapon. Writhing my hands together with a villainous chuckle I introduce to you Little Miss Positive - my new soft plush toy creation. If just positive visualization has not worked yet, then I'll step it up. I challenge negative thinking to a duel. Why not transform what I have to imagine in my mind into something I can physically squeeze to my heart's desire. Little Miss Positive is here and now. She's present. She's my new best friend. She sleeps with me. She eats lunch with me. She watches TV with me. She travels with me. She's oh so soft and cuddly. 

Stay tuned for more adventures of Little Miss Positive. Posted weekly here on Channel IVF, The Art of Being Infertile. 

Monday, January 14, 2008

Handed to you on a silver platter

If you had your old life handed back to you on a silver platter, would you take it? There is no end to the sacrifices made in this baby making endeavor. How many vacations did you not take or cancel? How many job opportunities did you not take? How many social engagements have you avoided? It goes on and on how many times I decided not to do something because it might interfere with IVF.

So what's plaguing my brain these days is the possibility of a new full-time job. The new job would start exactly when I will start my next IVF -- naturally, since "good timing" doesn't seem to like me. It's a job that is very similar to the job I had two years ago - a job I got bored and frustrated with so I left to live a "less stressful" life trying to conceive. I was going to free myself from the golden handcuffs and gladly turned my back on the 9 to 5 grind towards a life of freelance and independent work. My vision was that this would be better when starting a family because I would be able to enjoy raising my kids at home if I worked from home. Well, the rosy picture never happened. The baby never came so all I was left with was myself alone in my pajamas working at home. 

A month went by and no one had called yet about an interview. I was partly relieved and partly my ego was bruised since I knew I was more than qualified for this job. So I decided to find a middle ground. I would start a part-time job at my husband's design company. They need my help, I need to get out of my apartment, it seems like a perfect fit. But then last week I get called for an interview for this full-time job and it just opened up all these insecurities about whether I am investing too much in this phantom baby and not enough in my career. So I am constantly flip-flopping. On the one hand, I'm in this bubble right now where I don't have my next IVF schedule and I've been "on break" since my miscarriage so the prospect of my old life is highly seductive. Wouldn't it be great to forget 2007 ever happened? How delicious would it be that these past two years just turned out to be a bad mini-series where the main character was just having a bad dream. She woke up and she was exactly where she was two years ago getting ready to jump on the subway to head to her boring yet stable job. But the problem is that damn dangling baby swinging in front of my face, taunting me, telling me I want to be a mother and how lucky you are to have a flexible lifestyle. I start to think I am crazy not to take a more relaxed part-time job when I am in the middle of the most stressful experience of my life. Even though I absolutely hate that trying to get pregnant feels like my only identity, I can't help but constantly kowtow to IVF as the master of my life. 

So there is no clear answer yet. I have a lot more thinking to do and I can't complain about having job options. I know it's very tempting to think that your old life was easier. We all know that we have the option to wake up one day and say "I'm done," and wallah your pre-baby-making days return and life could presumably go back to normal. All those bastards who made you feel bad you were not pregnant suddenly become your friends again. I can't tell you what I would give for a mind-erase and all that disappointment and loss and physical pain would vanish. I read that a lot of couples who do finally say, "This is the end" feel a huge sense of relief to not to have to think about it anymore. Of course saying those words is no picnic. I'm not there yet. But boy, oh boy, there are these moments where it seems so easy to simply take your old life back. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Time won't give me time

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There is no doubt that the biological clock tick-tocking away is a tired cliché of a woman's reproductive life. Sure, we are warned by endless media about how our eggs will shrivel up and die by the time we are 35, but my body never felt like it was ticking away. I still look pretty much the same since college, or at least that's what people tell me. As much as my body could blow off that relentless biological message, alas, the mind is a whole other animal. My mental clock has unfortunately absorbed all those warnings and went into overdrive. I told myself starting 2008 that I would not dwell on the past. Nor would I obsess about time. However, I can't help but laugh at how many times over the past couple years I have said "I will never do that," and yet inevitably that turns into a "sure, I'll do that." We don't have the leisure time to say "never." So it's amazing how many miles my mind has travelled while constantly saying to my body "are we there yet?" I remember being so torn up about whether to start clomid. CLOMID! My god it's just a pill. Now I can pretty much at the drop of a hat lie on my back and get ready for my IV drip and spread my legs for probing. I am, in the end, an easily trained monkey. 

So our minds and bodies often have a major disconnect in how we exist. I think we all struggle with our heads convincing us that time is slipping away at exponential speed. Even if I were 25 and having fertility problems I am sure I would still feel like I am running out of time. So when people advise me, "why don't you take some time after this miscarriage?" I would like to show them a peek into my mental biological clock to answer that question. Time won't give me time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A new year, a new dose

Just a short post to wish everyone a very fertile new year! For those doing IVF in 2008, a very special cheers for your gumption to persevere. The outlook for my new year looks bright. I was told that my next IVF round they would be giving me the maximum dose of stims to get more eggs. So I raise a glass to the prospects of more good eggs this year.