Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Rabbit May Never Die

This month was supposed to be an IUI month. But I went in for my blood work on Monday and my estrodial level was high, but they said that they would wait to see if that meant anything when I got my ultrasound. This morning, I went in.

The good news -- the cyst from my right ovary last month is gone. The bad news -- there's an even bigger one on my left ovary. After talking to the doctor, the nurse practitioner called me this afternoon to say that they wanted to put me on birth control pills to clean out my ovaries. Another month down, without any real attempt. She mentioned things like ovarian failure and egg donor. I'm trying not to think about that, because I can't afford to do anything beyond IUI until the insurance kicks in. And that won't happen until after six failed attempts. Not six months, byt six failed attempts. So these past five months only count as two.

I picked up the BCP at Wegmans tonight and almost cried to the pharmacist when he asked me about the pills, if I was familiar with them. When I explained that I was only going on them for a month, he said, "oh you're trying out this kind to make sure you have no side effects."

"No, I'm trying to get pregnant and I have cysts, so I'm hoping the estrogen will clean out my ovaries." Bite lip.

"Oh, so you're using them for hormone therapy." Yes, that would have been another way to put it.

I skipped the gym, came home and laid on my couch, crying, while I watched Days of Our Lives from today. I couldn't really tell you what happened. It was sort of background noise.

My body is failing me -- again. And there is really nothing more I can do. I eat well, I exercise, I drink rarely (and when I do, it's moderately), I don't smoke (never have), don't do drugs (a couple of joints in college) -- and body is not only failing me, it's betraying me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Public Service Announcement of the Day

We all carry our cell phones with names & numbers stored in its memory but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends.

If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn't know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency?

Hence this "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) Campaign -- The concept of "ICE" is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name "ICE" ( In Case Of Emergency).

For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc -- or in my life, I have ICE -NY for my parents, and ICE-VA for my brother, since I travel to Maryland and Virgina a lot.

My sister is a 911 dispatcher in San Diego County and she confirmed this is something that the paramedics and first responders look for, even before they look for an emergency contact card in a wallet.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hug a veteran today...

...or send them greetings.

There are many of our troops in the Walter Reed Army hospital recovering from injuries received in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these recovering troops will not be home for Christmas this year.

If you would like to bring a smile to an injured soldier, when making out your Christmas Card List this year, please add a Recovering American Soldier to your list, you may do so via the following address (and please forward this to anyone you think would send a soldier a Christmas card):

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 George Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Buffalo Dave

I met with Lucia the other day, and we talked about what happened with Rich.

We talked about my childhood and tried to make some connection as to why I do this to myself, why I think of myself as so unworthy. It came back to the weight issues again, the way it was the family project, from the time I was 8 or 9, to try to get me to lose weight -- even though I didn't need to.

And again, if my family couldn't accept me the way I was, if they didn't see me as fine as is, how could I? How could I ever?

And so today, as I was driving back from Syracuse, I was thinking more about it. I was suddenly sad -- hormonal, about to ovulate, suddenly mourning the fact that I've given up on finding love -- and it made me think about all of the relationships I've had, and I wondered, beyond my childhood issues, beyond not loving myself as is, did I ever have a normal relationship?

Ten years ago, when I lived in Rochester...10 years ago I had a thing for my friend Dave. More than a thing -- it was a crush of the hugest proportions, and it got bigger every day.

Dave lived in Buffalo, and our friendship was mostly on the phone. And because of that, we got to know each other really well, from the inside out. And because of that, I thought he was amazing. And because of that, I knew that he cared for me, that he valued my opinion, that I was one of his best friends.

For two years this went on. For two years, every time we talked on the phone, as soon as I hung up, I would say "I love you." And for two years, I wondered when he would figure it out. I drove my friends crazy -- "you have to tell him how you feel, or you need to move on."

Two of my co-workers and I had to go to Buffalo for a business thing, and we arranged to meet Dave and some of our mutual friends out that night. Wanda and Julie saw it that night, they saw how I was the one he would lean into and make a private comment to, how his arm hung casually and comfortably around my shoulder, how he was attentive to only me, how he always made sure I had a drink. And so I knew I wasn't crazy, I knew that I was not imagining this connection between us. I had confirmation.

It took me months -- maybe even a half year -- after that to figure out what to do. I lost sleep over him, I had dreams about him, and finally, one night, in the middle of the night, I pulled out a notebook and wrote him a letter.

It was not a rambling diatribe, it only filled one side of a sheet of paper. It wasn't overly gushing or emotional, but it was from my heart. I remember that unbelievably the letter was perfect in one take. Perfect in what I wanted to say, and perfect in that there were no scratched out words, no need to rewrite it. It was exactly what I felt and exactly what I needed him to know. I folded it and put it in an envelope, and mailed it to my friend Ed in Connecticut. Ed would be visiting Dave in two weeks, and he could hand deliver it.

For two weeks, I called Ed almost daily (and sometimes more than once a day), "don't give it to him," "you have to give it to him," until finally the weekend Ed was in Buffalo had arrived, and the fate of the letter was out of my hands.

He gave Dave the letter on Sunday, at the airport as Dave was dropping him off. And then I waited. Two days later, Dave called me at the office. And to his credit, he told me what I didn't want to hear in the only way I would want to hear it. He loved me, as friend; he didn't want to lose me; he appreciated my honesty; he apologized if he had led me on; he didn't want this to change our relationship.

A few months after the letter incident, Ed was back in Buffalo and I went to visit for the weekend. The three of us were out drinking, and Dave was acting as he always did around me. I don't know if it was the beer, the situation, the fact that he didn't know the effect he had on me -- but it was all too much. I literally felt my heart break. My chest hurt and it was hard to breath. I looked at Ed and said, "I need to get out of here."

Dave never knew what happened that night, never knew the tears I cried over him on Ed's shoulder. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of knowing that he was that important to me, even after he told me I would never be more than a friend to him.

And so while it was awkward for awhile, Dave and I have stayed friends. I attended his wedding, and sent presents when his son, and then his twins, were born.

But as I look back now, Dave was the last single man I ever let myself feel anything real for. Since him, the only relationships have been married men: J of Baltimore, Bruce, Chris. Along the way, there have been a string of one-night stands -- some married, some single. But really what was going to come from a hook-up? I'm not that girl who gets a phone call the next day.

And so what does this all have to do with anything? I don't know. All I know is I can't get these things out of my head and wonder if this is why I am the way I am? Is this why I can't open myself up to a single man?

I wasn't good enough for my family, and then the one time I took a risk, I wasn't good enough for. Sure, he cared about me, but I wasn't good enough for him to even try to see if a relationship would work. And it just wasn't worth the risk again. I got nothing more than a broken heart, and from that point on, I've put up a wall. A wall to protect myself from the one thing that I really really want.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sake and Herbs

I realized tonight as I started reading "Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom," that I haven't really written in much detail about the process I've been going through in trying to get pregnant. And while I promise to not be too graphic, I think this is something I'm going to want to remember.

I received a list of nationally accredited sperm banks from my doctor's office way back in June when I had my first appointment. The appointment consisted of your general pelvic exam and then bloodwork on very specific days of my cycle, to measure my FSH level (to know if I had good eggs left), and my estrodial and progesterone levels (to know if every other part of my cycle would work).

After requesting literature from each place and looking at their website, I waited for the official literature. I had it narrowed down to two places -- one in San Francisco and one near Boston -- mostly because they had experience in working with single women. It wasn't just an infertility issue, but they seemed to be sensitive to the other clients they could serve.

I hate to say it came down to money, but part of my final decision came down to money. New England was a little cheaper, and I also reasoned that being on the East coast could prevent potential shipping issues. Now that I had my umbrella supplier, I needed to find my main supplier, my baby daddy.

What was I looking for? And how superficial is this whole process? Honestly, I just want someone healthy, I just want a baby. But I have to choose, and I get to choose, so why not put thought into this?

And so, for no reason other than it is appealing to me, I chose blond hair, blue eyes, and ethnicity similar or near mine (Scottish, Irish, German, French). And from there, it was about their chosen professions and their personality traits that would appeal to me if this person were in front of me. Ultimately I chose a music student at Berklee, an avid runner and reader.

I've had two tries with him. In August, I went to work in the morning and left early for the appointment. Again, like a pelvic exam, except a little more intrusive to get the cervix open -- and a long thin tube, hooked up to the thawed sperm. After I was "squirted" as my nurse practitioner referred to it, I laid on the table, flat, for 30 minutes. I read a magazine and held onto my good luck charm.

I was absolutely convinced that I would get pregnant. 100%, there was no chance that this wouldn't work. Ten million sperm, six egg follicles. But guess what? It didn't.

September's ultrasound showed that I had some residual cysts from all the follicles, so I rested. October gave me another chance. This time, I'd been getting acupuncture treatments and I took the day off. I rested and had a friend drive me.

And when it didn't work this time, I was much more prepared. And less disappointed when the ultrasound revealed, yet again, that I had a cyst.

When I went for acupuncture yesterday, my doctor sent me home with a bottle of herbs -- different from the herbs I'm supposed to drink twice a day (not a tea drinker, I shoot for once a day) -- these herbs get mixed with Sake (rice wine), made into a paste. I put them on my stomach, over my right ovary (where the cyst is) and then cover with a heating pad for 30 minutes.

It sounds like a bit of voodoo, but if nothing else it's relaxing. And the whole mind/body thing is definitely something I believe in. So tonight, for my second night, I got home, made my sake and herb paste, and sat in my chair with the heating pad on my abdomen.

And so another daily thing that goes towards the process of getting pregnant:
  • herb drink
  • basal body temperature each morning
  • charting my temperature and cervical mucus
  • moxa stick on specific pulse points
  • and now sake and herbs
Will it be worth it? Absolutely, no question about it.

Weekend Update

My friend Karyn came over Friday night. We co-hosted a baby shower on Saturday, and she came by to help me move furniture, decide on last-minute details, etc. Honestly, it was the easiest party I've put together -- we're both so scarily organized and love to plan events that it just came together.

So, there really wasn't that much to do. So we opened a bottle of wine -- Red Cat from Hazlett. I am so not a wine connoisseur that this would probably be considered not one of the finer reds. It's pretty sweet, but I can't take a dry wine. Anyway, the Red Cat went down very smooth and easy. And less than 45 minutes later, we were opening a second bottle -- Niagara from Wagner. Another sweet wine, this time white.

So, for the first time since early August, I was drunk. Someone should take my cell phone away from me when I'm drinking. I don't drunk dial, I drunk text.

To J in Baltimore: "Why are you so far away when I'm this drunk and horny?"

To my local friend G (all 26 years of him):"

G wrote back almost instantly: "Ha....whats good...out of town, call u when i get back."

No word from J, and given the way he bolted away from the flirtatious line after boldly crossing it during Hall of Fame weekend, I got a little worried. Today, I got this: "Outstanding text! Just got back from China and just got it, sorry!"

Riiight....he was in China with #8 teaching kids about baseball. Bubbles thinks I should ask him to be my donor, my baby batter supplier. It makes me nervous, but I will admit that I've thought about it. More than once. I'll probably see him -- or at least talk to him -- when I head south for Thanksgiving, so maybe I'll ask him, but I'll probably chicken out.

Back to the weekend, I pretty much passed out Friday after Karyn's husband came and picked her up. Saturday was the baby shower -- and it was a huge hit, but a long day. Several of my friends asked if it was hard, given my disappointment in getting my period last week, but you know, it wasn't. And that makes me feel good. That I'm not selfish, that it wasn't about me...that it was about Jess and Drew and their happiness.

Saturday night, I went to see "The Full Monty" on campus. So good! I can't even believe that they were college students. When I saw that the play was two hours and 45 minutes -- after being on my feet and hosting 22 people all day -- I thought about turning around and leaving. But the time flew by and the play was great.

Sunday, I napped and watched football. You can't ask for a much better Sunday than that.