Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I think of this when I encounter people whom I feel don't really get me, at least as far as infertility goes. Thanks to Mel. I hope you know some of the good that you do.


You don’t understand, so let me explain.

We thought we’d be able to have children and then we couldn’t.

It wasn’t a choice to enter into treatments/adoption/donor gametes; it wasn’t an option.

Having a child may feel like a choice to you, but it isn’t to us.

You and I will need to disagree on that, because you’ll never change our feelings about having a family be a need over a want.

When we’re cycling–whether we’re trying naturally, doing minimally invasive treatments, or doing invasive procedures–I am riding on a roller coaster of emotions.

I am angry. I cry a lot. I am frustrated. I am told one thing and another happens. No one can give me straight answers. No one can make real promises. We pay A LOT of money for the chance to have a child. This money does not guarantee that we will have a child at the end of the day.

We get pregnant and we are elated. And then we lose the pregnancy.

Or we get news that the pregnancy isn’t taking and we never get a chance to feel that elation–we only get the depression on the other end.

Even though I’m a pro-Choice feminist, I also love my children when they’re only embryos.

And that is a difficult thing to wrap your mind around.

You think that you know what we’re going through based on the small amount of information you know.

You think you know how I feel or how I’m reacting based on what I present to you.

You never see the full picture, but you make a lot of assumptions.

You are impatient that we plan our lives like this.

You think you need to make parenthood seem less enticing–this doesn’t make me feel better. This just makes me feel like you are belittling the thing I am putting myself through hell to obtain.

You say that you feel like you can’t support us. And you can’t. Not really. Or not in the way that you want to offer support.

Infertility isn’t linear. It’s a wavy line and you can’t know if you’re entering on a crest or a dip. I don’t expect you to get it right.

I don’t expect you to run in like a cheerleader and accompany me to appointments or help me raise money for treatments/adoption.

What I want from you is actually quite simple.

Ask me how I am and want to hear the answer.

Ask me about treatments and where I am in the process.

Ask me to explain to you more of what I’m going through.

Let me vent.

Don’t try to change my mind or see the world from your eyes.

I used to have your eyes too before this happened. And I know you mean well, but even if you say that you went through infertility or loss yourself, my own experience is unique.

I try very hard to be proactive. I do this not only by seeking treatment, but gravitating towards other infertile men or women or other people using assisted conception/adoption.
We are a supportive community.

They take care of my emotions–I rarely have to explain myself to them. They understand with few words. I enjoy being with them because it’s easy.

I also enjoy being with you. Sometimes I like being with you because I don’t have to speak about infertility at all. Other times, I like being with you because I can talk it out and explain and hear my own words and make sense of this myself.

Infertility is so different for every generation. When our mothers and fathers were experiencing infertility, they had few choices. They had fewer answers.

Now, we have many choices–maybe too many choices. It makes it difficult to step away.
I believe that I probably won’t understand much of what my children are going through if they experience infertility. I’ll try to be there for them and I’ll do my best. But I also know that they will have opportunities or choices to make that I never had. And it will affect them in a way that I will never understand because I didn’t go through it myself.

And that will make me sad because I really want to be there for them. That’s the closest I can come sometimes to understanding how you feel when you are dealing with me. So, I’m sorry. I know it really sucks to watch me be sad and feel like there’s a wall between us.

Infertility makes some women want to sweep it under the rug. It has made me want to be an activist–not only for infertility, but for all the taboo topics still out there. I talk about infertility a lot–not because I’m obsessed with the topic, but because it has shaped who I am and it is a large part of my life. It has to be–so much of infertility is a day-to-day monitoring that it becomes impossible to set it aside fully.

It makes me want to reach out to other people–and that is something I am extremely proud of that I do. I think I used to lead a life that was very focused on self and I think I lead a life that is now focused on others–the children I have, the children I want, the people I reach out to comfort or help. You may think I focus too much on self because you may not understand the intricacies of what I do. What I put myself through because I have a burning need to parent. You may think the choices I make are selfish. Or self-indulgent. You may think that I like being sad or that I should just move on. You may think that I’m making unhealthy choices. I can’t really do anything to change the way you think and frankly, I don’t have the emotional reserves to focus on you.

We can’t take you to the edge where we stand–we can only tell you about it. And hearing it is nothing like living it.

But if you want to stand over here and watch me at the edge, you may find that everything you are scared that I am or becoming isn’t true at all. And if you opened your eyes, you would see that I’m not at the edge to jump, but I’m at the edge because I trust myself and my choices so completely and I know this is where I need to be if I want to fly.

Monday, June 28, 2010


2mg k + < 5mg ambien

Remind me to call and cancel w my shrink. Just not connecting anymore. No, it's me. Not doing it right.

Just need a nap for now.


Shrink/Therapist specializing in infertilty/pregnancy/adoption in the southwest Ohio area.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Science vs. Art vs. Magic

I've been thinking about this all afternoon, so instead of writing a nasty letter, I'm going to vent here.

When we first met with our RE, he and C bonded over the science. They were able to talk as two professionals, discussing research in scholarly terms.

During the cycle in which I became pregnant with the boys, I made a joke about a certain family with eight children, and he (my RE) was visibly angry at the irresponsible behavior of the woman's doctor. It takes careful monitoring, understanding of the reproductive system and of the woman's own chemistry, he said.

On my RE's website, from the very beginning, he has included the line, "A child is a gift from god." We didn't talk about god. We didn't discuss the quote, nor its implications. It didn't seem to have much impact on our treatment.

When I came back, finally, and began treatments, my RE had clearly gone through life-changing things. A divorce. An illness. He became certified in medical acupuncture. In the middle of restarting our professional relationship with him, my RE got remarried. To a woman who runs the shop where he does the acupuncture. To a woman who calls herself a psychic.

It was during our second cycle after we came back that we had a conversation where I told him that C was atheist, and I was agnostic, though leaning towards atheism. It was the idea that everything we had been through, everything my family and friends and loved ones had been through, was for a reason. I told him about the faculty member who told me "Everything happens for a reason." He, my RE, winced and said that's horrible. I told him that I was trying to understand the universe not just as chaos, but not with a plan from some god on high.

I think it was last January that I saw posted in the lobby a photocopy of some inspirational thing, entitled "why did god give me infertility?" The gist of it was that it was a way to give a woman (and her partner, I assume) a special relationship with the child she would eventually mother.

"Sounds like everything has a reason" to me.

Somehow, I ended up on his email newsletter mailing list and in part of his most recent featured article, was this:

It's not anything magic that we do in the laboratory. The real magic lies in children who are so wanted and desired by loving parents who pray over days/weeks/months/years. Through such careful attention and caring, the world now has the opportunity to share in the many blessings these mini-miracles are bringing forth.

Huh? Is it that I'm not praying? "Mini-miracles"? Blessings? Do I not desire it enough? Or in the right way? Is that why I lost my boys? Is that why I can't get pg again?

Do I not get these?

It sounds to me like this doctor believes there is a plan. That there is is some greater force deciding who gets to be pregnant, who gets to be a parent and who doesn't.

Maybe he thinks he is just the instrument of god's will?

Aside from all this crap is the question of interests, as in "of course he is going to recommend acupuncture because it is in his (and his wife's) financial interest." Or, "of course he is going to say that I don't really need IVF because he can get me pregnant because if I go to IVF, he loses a patient and the revenue. And yes, he did get kinda twitchy when I brought up the possibility of IVF. It was only in recent months, as I approach 40 that he seemed okay with it.

Oh and on his fb page, which, btw is open to all, he is a fan of "O.B.A.M.A -- One Big Ass Mistake, America." I don't care what your political beliefs are, if you are a professional (i.e. doctor/lawyer) or a smart businessperson, you don't put partisan stuff out there for everyone to see.

I feel like I've wasted 5 years. I feel like I've given tons of money to a man whose politics makes me ill.

Did I feel respected and cared for at the time? Yes.

But hindsight sucks.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Comfo.rtably nu.mb

Well, numb-ish.

An hour or so after my second K today I decided it was time for bed and took 2/3 of an ambien. That was about 45 mins ago. So, I'm a little bit high.

in my FB status today, I answered their question: What's on your mind? with Everything. You name it. It's there, making me anxious, sad, hopeless, worried, longing.

I got my records from my (old) RE in preparation for what might be the beginning of consulting with a new RE. The anticipation of beginning this again makes my chest clench. I have this ridiculous fantasy about doing just one last cycle with my old RE, since i have a bout a half a cycle of meds, and this last cycle would land around my 40th birthday in a couple of weeks or so. And of course, I would be perfect about taking my pills and shots and not overly stressing or anything because i would be working on other things like finishing my projects from this spring/summer (oh, which all have to do with loss and infertility and change of worldview and women in academia) so I can be ready for my comps in October. No. Sweat. And it would work perfectly.

In the world I live in, the sky is a lovely lilac/blue with twinkling stars.

there are terrible neighbors down the street who have (I think) two dogs, one of which lives in a cxrate in the garage and even though it gets food and water, I am tormented with sad dog visions and me sneaking over there in the middle of the night to take it out of the terrible, lonely situation it's in. They also have a chocolate lab I've seen them walk on one of those prong collars occasionally. Also, he's got a huge ford pick up truck with the ford emblem emblazoned with the confederate crossed swords. this nice jewish girl from ny is a little bit afraid of him. Oh, and they are also keeping ducks in a rabbit hatch in the garage, the same one with the dog. ??? I know. They are in the process of moving out and I am praying that there is a big pond and yard for the pup (a year old basset hound to romp in). I am becoming my mother. Except for that whole reproducing thing.

Father's day sucked. C is really feeling things and I have no way to comfort him except to be sweet and leave him be. And I feel terrible. Responsible. Which he would dismiss, but, you know, still.

I am getting nothing done. And part of me wonders if this is just frustration and trying to get over the hump from bio/pregnancy to adoption or if I'm really just this fucked up. I had an appt with my pharma shrink and he (along with every other professional and probably every other perosn I know (except my sister) is probably thinking "Ok, Sue, enough denial. Get your shit together before it's too late and you've acummulated 4 dogs and 6 cats and you're featured as some neuor-psycho on discov.ery heal.th. But not for "I didn't kno.w I was pregnant." Hah.

I want to get moving on things, but there is little ot get moving on because we don't know where we are going to be in a year or so.

My project at school, it appears, will be about all of these things, loss and infertility and the process of becoming a woman in academia and how it affects world views and I think, how can I write about this in the midst of this? And, id this what I want to establish my professional career with? and how can I deal with all this while I'm supposed to be writing scholarly work on it?

And two of the most important people in my life in this very small town in the last few years, wonderful people who have been supporting and understanding with all my craziness day to day and month to month (and yes, year to year) and all my grief are leaving town in the next few weeks. And they are moving on to wonderful, wonderful opportunities, and I am really so very excited for them, I really am, but I'm so very sad for me, too. I have not appreciated them nearly enough, have not been the kind of friend to them that I would have liked to be. And the last thing I want is for them to pat my hand and say of course you have, because it doesn't feel true, and the last thing I want is for them to feel guilty or manipulated or anything by this because they sometimes read here. Maybe I will write something else that is less weepy and more...something.

I need to get through my work. I am feeling like I am losing my standing and need to get through this. But my throat and my chest clenches and I just want to cry.

I'm sorry. I was hoping for numb. Not bawling mess.

There's always next time.

Talk to me -- what's going on in you worlds?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pesach, sort of

My husband has a new post up in honor of this painfully contrived and yet ridiculously important day.

He's titled his post "How is today different from all other days?" which reminds me of the recitation of the four questions (asked by the youngest at the table) in the Passover seder. The wonderful thing (I think) about Judaism is that we all attribute varied meanings to holidays and rituals, and many of those meanings are accepted (you've heard about 2 Jews, 3 sides of a story?). Anyway, in my hippie Jewish school in the 1970s, Passover, or Pesach, celebrated survival: making it through the desert, making it through another winter. As a people; as people.

We have survived another year. Another winter. Another father's day. Two and a half years now. In some ways, I've gotten used to this load I carry. In other ways, it seems to change from day to day.

What makes today different from all other days? After all, it is simply another day we have survived -- survived when we did not know if we would.

And what the future holds? We simply put one foot after another, hoping/not hoping the load we bear gets lighter this year.

To all fathers with empty arms, you are in my thoughts.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A New Member of the Club

I just heard from JK that a good friend of hers just lost her baby boy at 33 weeks. I don't know other details.

I sent her links to GITW and Stirrup Queens. Also the links from Julia and Chris's posts.

What else can I do? Something that helped me was messages from LFCA, but I don't think she's got a blog. Suggestions?

How about here? Feel free to leave her messages here. I'll pass them (or the link) to her through JK.

Times like these remind me how lucky I am to have you all. I know I've been whiny and a bad bloggy friend lately, but I really couldn't have made it this far without you.


Monday, June 14, 2010


It's too much.

A few weeks ago, I went to this life coaching group session and I actually said the words out loud: I can't have babies. Not without heroic effort. And enormous risk.

Every once in a while, I say out loud to myself. Perhaps I'm trying to get used to the idea.

We are likely done trying. I don't know what comes next.

I don't remember if I posted about this, but a few weeks ago I asked my brother if he was reading the blog. I had asked him to stop last year. I noticed hits from his workplace and hometown around the time he told me SIL was pg. He said, No, he wasn't reading. I asked him why the hits from work? He said he didn't know. Those hits miraculously stopped around the time I confronted him. Liar.

I sent him a bitchy email judging him for taking a "babymoon" to Mexico when he was bitching about being broke. I told him I resented his complaining about losing vaca time to support me and them using another week for this babymoon when he could be using it to be home when his newborn comes.

He's back from his babymoon and sending me resentful email at 1:20 am. I didn't read it, but apologized for the bitchiness. I told him I'd stay out of his business but he'd better appreciate what he's got.

I scanned the email. Can't believe I was even arguing with him. No sense.

And my sister recently recounted a tale of woe surrounding some dinner party and catering hassle she had to deal with.


Sorry, folks. I just helped my oldest friend bury her mother and I have just come to the realization that I will probably never conceive or even carry any children we might be lucky enough to raise.

I am in the process of giving up on my body for reproduction. I turn 40 in a month. In the family self-pity Olympics? I fucking win.

I have therapy tomorrow for the first time in a few weeks. I'm sure she's going to tell me I'd better get my shit together (school work, relationships) before I lose all of it, and end up with nothing but a mountain of debt.

Or maybe that's the couple's counselor. 'Cause, you know, panic makes me so productive. Time to kick some therapist butt.

2:43 am. Time for some ambien, I guess. At least.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Just finished her book. You know the one. I wasn't ready til now. (Maybe I'm still not.)

It was so beautiful. I want to send her a note to thank her for writing it. I want to give it to everyone I know.

Friday, June 11, 2010

so much

Visit to NY was good. Well, as good as it could be. I kept thinking "sometimes you can go home again." I was a grown up without the sibling drama, family grief. I could just be there, in small ways for my oldest friend. B was my sister before A and I came back together as sisters. Somehow, it's always...easy. Family.

I was glad that I could just be there to be moral support. Lots of familiar faces. Some very difficult moments. I hope I could give her a little of what she needed in those times. It was hard for me, too. But I know there is nothing like losing your mom. It brought it back, a lot of it. But somehow the 9 years distance has helped some. All I could do was be there. (And bring challah and rugelach and black and white cookies from our favorite local bakery.)

She is an amazing woman, B. Strong. She does the right thing because it's the right thing. She took care of her mother in life and death. And though it's cliche to say so, I think B's mom would have been pleased with the way B honored her. B has an older sister, who is basically absent and selfish. Their mother died on Tuesday; B's sister, who lived 3 hour away, "couldn't" make it until Sunday morning. something about work. B did everything. Without bitching, without announcing. Just because it needed to be done. To take care of her mother. To honor her.

I consider myself so lucky to call her my friend.

My visit with my dad was good, too. I felt like I was a grown up. We had grown-up interactions without the complications of family dynamics and drama. My dad was happy to share his knowledge of trusts and estates to help B. It was what he focused on in his 30 year career. "She's family," he said. Indeed.

I think my father feels bad that he didn't give me my mother's engagement ring. However, he said he found his mother's engagement ring and wanted to give it to me. It was just beautiful. I don't know the lingo, but a simple gold band with small diamonds along the top. I was touched. Speechless that he would share this with me. Dad holds on to things, precious things like these. It means a lot. I don't think I communicated that to him. I hope I can. He spoke with his sister, my Tia, to make sure that she was comfortable with this, and she said she was pleased (or something) that I would have it.

Coming back was hard. In NY, I was just Sue. Grown up. Doing things that needed to be done to support friends, family. Not thinking about school or infertility or dead babies. Except, of course, traveling and seeing so many beautiful babies. Those pangs I couldn't even name until I felt them a bunch of times. That wanting to just... just wanting all those babies around me, the impulse, the empty arms... I don't know.

Now I have work to do. School to get through when all I can think about is life and death and family and reproduction. C and I have had some very difficult conversations. Productive, probably, but incredibly difficult. Starting to understand what lies ahead and what came before. And the impact of it.

I haven't been able to move, to do *anything* the last day or so. Maybe it's just catastrophic thinking about how to get through, to produce my dissertation, immerse myself in all that thought, theory, life, change. Delving deep into...everything.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Favorite line from a recent TV show

Sue Sy.lvester (from that show about a HS show choir):

This room is as barren as I am.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mrs. K

B's mom.

When we weren't hanging around my house, we were hanging around her house. Her kitchen. Spotless. It was always spotless. Any time of day. Even with the dog, Taffy.

B and I made chocolate chip cookies over there when we were bored teenagers.

She was the first person I told when my mom died. I called her to get B's number at work, and I couldn't not tell her.

She sent me info about possible wedding sites. She was the red herring to get me to my surprise bridal shower.

She'd run into my dad at Shop-Rite. She sent me congratulations on my pregnancy, but not until 16 or 17 weeks (she didn't want to jinx anything). She sent cards after we lost the boys. She just sent me a sympathy card when my grandmother died.

I had a standing invitation for family events. I came for Easter dinners. I came by whenever I was in NY. I griped to her about my brother. She made great apple pie. She talked to me like a person.

She always had a smile for me. A sarcastic laugh or raised eyebrow or eye-roll. Short blond hair with a shock of white.

Always with a cigarette.

She had emph.ysema. A heart condition.

Surgery I didn't get to ask about.

I got a text message at 10pm tonight from B.

She's gone.