Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Things I bought for myself with Christmas money:
  1. Bigger bras. Yep.
  2. An extremely simple makeup routine.
  3. A prenatal yoga DVD.
  4. And yeah, a double-electric breast pump on clearance.
It's like I'm 13 again—obsessed with my boobs, discovering makeup—but in a very new and somewhat disturbing way.

I used to buy scented lotions. Now I buy giant tanks of whatever has cocoa butter in it. At one time or other, I owned thong underwear. Now everything I own has a ridiculously huge "stretch panel" across my midsection. My one desire was to be a bridesmaid. In November I had to skip out on my good friend's wedding so I could lay around a lot and puke.

They say your life changes forever when you have kids. But it changes when mom stops doing your laundry, you move in with roommates, or you get your first period. There are always trades to make, and I've sure as heck started this round.

It's not so bad to trade in what I'll call "digestive freedom" for a couple of kicks where my intestines once were every so often. And I'll tell you right now that while the "cute girl" discount/way of getting away with anything was on the worse end of a severe fade, the "I have a giant belly" discount got me both a free soda and an unhindered entrance to the movie theater with my giant bag of outside food.

Constant back pain vs. workplace backstab? Yeah, I'm loving this phase of life, as sick as I am. Also, my cat loves the extra cuddle time. I will probably never get a master's degree, but I chose which nevers I could live with, and "never be pregnant" was not on the list. So I did it, and I'm happy I'm making the trade.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Introduction

Here are the babies, from 3 days after conception to Saturday morning! Captions came out pooey for some reason, but if you click the pics they'll come out clear.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Truth About Pregnancy and Infertility

I didn't post this back when I wrote it last fall, but it still applies.

Yes, it is miserable. I'm nauseated for most of my waking hours and many of the ones I'd rather spend sleeping. I'm SO dizzy. My digestive system will mutiny unless I walk on eggshells to please it. But even when I'm in the bathroom for the twelfth time of the day, or when I have to lie down in the middle of the hallway to avoid passing out, I couldn't be happier. I'm puking and potbellied and pitiful and it's AWESOME. Pregnancy is a misery better than (a) any other misery and (b) most of the dates I went on when I was single. Even if I could relive ice skating and chocolate with Mike what's-his-name, I'd still rather be puking my guts out. And let's face it, puking a few times for every ultrasound I see of those two little wiggling twins is SO much better than the movies I might go out to see if I didn't have such a heinous headache.

In other words, I made the right choice. It may just be the low flow of blood to my brain right now, but I'm pretty sure I'm thinking clearly when I say there's nothing I'd rather suffer for. When I wanted this so badly, I wasn't chasing some stupid dream that would make me miserable. I was chasing something that would make a life, though sometimes miserable, so worth every pain.

A lot of people try to comfort infertile women and men by making them feel better about not having kids. How great it is to travel and sleep in, or how much freer they are to do what they want. We all know none of those folks would trade their kids for a lifelong vacation in the south of France, so why the BS? My favorite words of comfort came from the husband of an old friend, who had a sweet toddler daughter: "It is so worth it."

If you're wondering what to say to your infertile friend, those are the words. I am most grateful for the people who supported my desperate desire, rather than those who tried to minimize what I wanted most. So many of my friends were so supportive, and I can't thank them enough. But I think a lot of people just have a hard time knowing what to say.

I think I posted an infertility etiquette article a while back, and those can be very useful, but I think it can be summarized into a few simple rules:
  1. Be supportive of whatever they decide to do - and don't bring up the cons of the situation, because your friend almost certainly knows.
  2. Don't talk about your friend's infertility success or failure story. Those can be super depressing either way, and everyone has their own situation.
  3. Don't diagnose. "I have the same thing!" and, "You have the exact thing my cousin did!" are two of the least helpful phrases you can utter. Not only do most women have real doctors to diagnose them, but even when the condition name is the same, every woman is different, has different symptoms, thinks differently about solutions, and responds differently to treatment.
  4. If you know your friend is at a dead end with her current doctor, or doesn't like him, be prudent about recommending one you know to be good. A friend recommended me to Dr. Young, who ended up being the perfect fit and sending us to the ICRM, where we did IVF. I'm forever grateful for the recommendation. Similarly, another woman recommended a specialist when I was fine staying with my doctor, and it was just a tiny bit annoying.
  5. Support support support. Infertility can easily cause depression, and what your friend needs is people who will be her friend when she's having a hard time doing happy people things like throwing parties and going out with friends. Make lunch dates. Show up at her house, announced or unannounced (be prudent, again). Call or send an email. Social interaction is a natural treatment for depression, so this is the one case where you can be your friend's doctor. But maybe skip the baby shower and do something where you can talk (about infertility or not).
Those are the things my friends did for me that really helped get me through it. Also, not complaining about pregnancy, because every symptom is a blessing. Remember, you're not fat, you're carrying another human being in a life support system made out of your body.

And now that I'm there, I think I can say from experience that your pregnancy can't be worse than no pregnancy at all. Unless maybe you're teen pregnant (that is so an adjective now). But that's besides the point. Even if you are, there are hordes of women so jealous of your miracle.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And for the Record

My dad has a large movie collection that entertained me for hours during my youth. Not watching the films, but arranging the cases alphabetically, by genre, by how much I liked them, by how often I watched them, by color, and by age.

I was both psychologically and physically a very anal retentive child. Unfortunately it manifested in strange quirks like hording toiletries under my bed and using scissors to shred anything I could get my hands on. At least it saved my parents money on diapers.

In other news, after a brief trip to Kohl's, I am now both unreasonably tired and somewhat nauseated. And I have some clothes that fit over the basketball I'm digesting. And some that will eventually fit said basketball.

The Honeymoon Starts Early

Nausea mostly abated. Normal digestion. The ability to stay awake for almost 12 hours. It's too good to be true. Something must be terribly wrong.

Either that or my new nausea meds and exercise routine are doing too much good, but when has that ever happened?

Of course, I am completely powerless to do anything at this point and will have to wait until my next ultrasound in a week to know anything. And worrying in the meantime will simply make stress for me, which makes stress for the babies. And if the babies are too stress-prone, they'll probably both grow up to be accountants, managing their stress by organizing their movie collections alphabetically by genre while eating only the brown m&m's.

What I need right now is a good nap and for my Chick-fil-A breakfast to give me indigestion.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You Must Be at Least This Tall

I had an ultrasound yesterday and met my OB for the first time. We'll call him Dr. G. He is, of course, everything you can ask for in a doctor on the first visit. He even offered me both better nausea meds and an Rx for the acne I hadn't complained about. I suppose that's what I get for skipping the makeup.

The one thing that threw me was his shock that at my age, I had come from a fertility clinic having undergone IVF. I could attribute his shock to the fact that not many people my age could hope to pay for in-vitro, but then when he saw my twofer for himself, he said again, "Wow, twins at 23!"

And yes, of course I'm thinking, crap, how am I supposed to raise one baby, let alone two! And I'm fully happy with my decision to do IVF, even at my age, and even with twins. It's time for me to do the mommy thing, so I went for it. Adoption agencies wouldn't have a problem with me adopting. And I'm not even young to have kids. What am I saying, I don't need to excuse myself to you guys!

Anyway, I realize not many women my age get in-vitro, but that's because most women my age are WAY more fertile that I am, and respond better to weaker treatments. And, you know, don't have dangerous reactions to Clomid. And want to have careers.

Let's face it, I hated all the BSing required for a desk job. I'd rather be puked on regularly for several years than have a CEO who hates me hanging my job over my head every few months for no good reason. Not that I did this just because I didn't like working, but it certainly made me think about who and what I want to be.

And I figure if I'm going to kiss up to a-holes, I'd rather give birth to them first. I suppose I'm giving up the desk job grind for the rewards of screaming toddlers and messes made of poo (or for now, constant nausea, fatigue, and a pot belly). I suppose I might think differently in June, but even at 23, I'm happier than a very icky-feeling clam to be unemployed and expecting twins.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blogcation Over

Okay, so I took a month off. I've been avoiding answering the question. Also, I've been increasingly sick and tired. The last month has been an everythingcation. Really. I mean, I probably should have showered more. So at this time I've decided to step back into the real world. Tonight, I blog. Tomorrow, I may change out of my pajamas into whichever of my clothes still fit (which may just be different pajamas).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Timmy J

You may have noticed that last month had an especial lack of posts. I'll be honest. I'm not telling you people anything (or I'm trying not to) until Thanksgiving. And the only way for me to keep a secret is to not say anything. So while I may be a terrible friend for the next couple of months, the least I can do is update my blog.

Thus, I present Tim, my awesome husband.

My mom, when we were visiting my parents a few weeks ago, joked with me about an old teacher of mine she had run into. She told me how when she went in for a Parent-Teacher conference that this teacher insisted on calling me Timothy. “That’s what he prefers,” she said. This was news to my mom, and certainly never took up my full name. To her, I was her Timmy J in those days, her tiny Tim. She laughed about the experience, then the conversation switched to a different subject.

While my mom just saw this little encounter as some funny thing that kids say, to me it was something that has always stuck with me. Growing up I always wanted to be great at everything that I did. I wouldn’t say I was an overachiever, although many probably would, my idea of achieving was to be at least as good as the best person in the class. However, in my young mind, the best was certainly not seen as I see it today, and this early experience made me extremely frustrated because I was unable to achieve what I saw as the best.

In my first grade class, one day my teacher Mrs. Cooper thought it would be fun to compare the lengths of names in the class. As we went around the class, I saw very quickly that with a name of “Tim” I would be at the bottom of the list of lengths. Being on the top of that chart would obviously be better than being on the bottom, so when it came to my turn, I said that my name was “Timmy J.” The teacher would not accept that and proceeded to write down “Tim” instead. I cried out that my name must be longer! My teacher, who now I am sure was used to hearing children complain about strange subjects, ignored me and put my name at the bottom of the chart, right below a Laotian boy named “Cow.”

To this day I remember the name of the girl who won: Elizabeth. Nine letters. It was always the girls who beat me in school. We probably even called her Liz, but that teacher probably preferred those perfect little girls who didn’t complain about stupid things like their names being too short.

That night, I went home and complained to my mom that my teacher wouldn’t let me use Timmy J as my name. My mom laughed, and asked why I didn’t use Timothy. Timothy. Seven Letters. Hmm. It was certainly less than nine, but twice as long as three.
I knew we wouldn’t do the same activity in that class, so I was resigned to be “Tim” for the rest of the year. But next year I was ready. Roll call came, and when the teacher called out my common nickname, I quickly corrected her. “Timothy,” I said. So Timothy I was for the entire second grade.

We never did do the name length comparison. We had moved on to counting money and bingo, perhaps two of the most important skills of our time. In third grade I had learned enough to know how silly I was for insisting the teacher call me Timothy. But if we did, I knew there was always a “Liz” in the class I could pull down with me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


You've all heard of reading tea leaves, gazing into crystal balls, and calculating astronomical alignments to tell the future. We'll ignore the fact that the only reason you know these things is Harry Potter. What you probably didn't know is that the most popular movement in fortune telling is the pee-stick reading.

It's an entire culture. These thousands of women buy a variety of pee-reading supplies, usually in the form of plastic sticks with absorbent tips, and occasionally in bulk as flexible absorbent sticks. With the use of these sticks in combination with a woman's own urine, many are able to foretell the coming of a child.

The world tends to look at this underground culture as a group of hormonal women over-analyzing one of the simplest medical test you can use in your home. They wouldn't be wrong. But within the culture, there are strong controversies about the most sensitive brands, the correct time in the month to test, or the difference between first morning urine and second morning urine. There are millions of web entries where women share their results, post pictures of pee sticks, and obsess over barely visible/totally invisible lines.

It's often more of an obsession than a hobby. Within the art of pee stick reading, there are the sub-arts of nipple tenderness assessment, real and imagined nausea and other GI symptoms, and the ephemeral study of psychological alteration.

I've become more than a novice in the art of pee stick soothsaying. I use the good equipment, am a staunch FMUer, and can't pass up a good opportunity to POAS. This obsession almost equals my involvement with WOW and related terminology. Thus I derive a complex question: POAS 10dpo or DPS naxx25 with DH?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Timothy Gordon, CPA

That's right folks, my husband officially has a comma and letters after his name. He passed ALL of the CPA exam tests on the first go, putting him in the top 10% of test takers. My man is in the top tenth of the smartest, hardest working, most anal people in the public sector. He cooks, he cleans, he treats me like a princess, and he acts like I'm not a psychotic hormonal B—all this and he puts on his superhero suit each morning and saves American businesses from improperly filing their taxes.

If you know how hard the CPA exam is, you're already impressed that he did all four tests over the summer. Preparing for these exams takes months of 40-plus-hour study weeks. He spent hours listening to somewhat douchebaggy guys on DVD lecturing him on GAAP, SOX, and about 400 other acronyms that make even less sense. He made thousands of notecards. He took four-hour tests at inconvenient times.

And he did it all while I essentially derailed our life, dragged us all around the western US, and spent all of his future earnings trying to get myself knocked up. He scheduled these tests often unsure of what state we'd be in when he took them. He dealt with extremely complicated personal decisions, financial stress, and household upheaval while he was studying for and taking these tests. He never treated me like I was making it harder for him, even though I was.

And he passed.

I always feel like I married a superhero, but on days like today, I get that extra $20-in-your-coat-pocket-from-last-winter feeling. Except more like winning the lottery minus the gambling. It's no surprise to me that Tim is an amazing man, but on a regular basis he does one more thing that's so awesome, I think it's impossible that one man is so fantastic, and even more impossible that he married me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Specks of Dust

I'm taking daily injections of progesterone (which is the hormone that makes you crazy during PMS), and they've started to take their toll. Sunday I was needy. Monday I was whiny. Tuesday I was grumpy. Yesterday, I slept through the afternoon, sent my dad and husband to the pharmacy for my various needs, and then yelled at them when they brought back the generic version of the prenatal vitamins I wanted.

But let me speak my peace: I specifically asked for the expensive Rx prenatals (Duet DHA) because they're small. If you've ever tried to take prenatals, you know that they're uniformly gigantic. The somewhat swallowable ones I've been using are simply becoming too much of a burden for my hormonal and nauseated self. You can imagine my frustration and disappointment when my Rx arrives in a box called "Renate DHA," which I open to find pills about the size of my pinky finger—not the tip, the whole freaking thing.

Still, that's not something I would usually fly off the handle about. By the time my hormones level out, my cat will be the only person who will talk to me.

On Monday, Dr. F inserted three little embryos into my uterus (we'd originally planned on two). They were the size of specks of dust, and I can't help but panic a little over how fragile they are. The little guys could divide themselves unevenly into oblivion, they could simply stop mitosis, they could fail to find a grip on my uterine walls—it seems like anything could happen (or not happen).

I'm rooting for my little specks of dust hardcore. Those finger-sized pills are going down because these little guys deserve every shot at survival. On Thursday (one week from today), I find out if I'm officially chemically pregnant. They'll have a good idea whether zero, one, two, or three survived the ride, and then they'll ultrasound in another month to see if I'm still really pregnant.

Remember Kitty Surprise? Those plush cats that had velcro openings in their bellies that would produce 2, 3, or 4 kittens? Well, I'm starting to feel like one of those. I'm also starting to feel like my younger self when I first received that coveted reproducing kitty. As far as I'm concerned, I want all my little speck babies to survive. Three please! Not because I want a huge family, or because I really want the struggle of triplets in my life, but because I just don't want anyone to die. Not in my uterus.

I'd vote for just one, or maybe two, but that would mean I'm hoping that little number three meets his barely multicellular end quite soon. Death is an inevitable part of the human procreative process, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vaguely . . .

So they put me out this morning with all kind of nice medicines that eliminated pain, nausea, consciousness, memory, and apparently all sense of decency.

For instance, I remember asking Dr. Foulk, "Is the sperm here?" as I was just about losing it, and him saying, "Well, I hope so, or you'll have to find some other guy's baby to have." I definitely remember not laughing. It's okay, Dr. Foulk is very funny and charming when I'm lucid.

Then, when they were moving me to the recovery room (I honestly don't know how they kept me standing all the way there), the very nice anesthesiologist said, "Here, I'll help you wrap up a little bit so you're not mooning the whole office." I responded in my barely awake state, "Oh, it's okay, I have a nice butt."

Yes. I told a man quite old enough to be my father or grandfather that I have a nice butt. And then he set me on a recliner, tucked me in with blankets and a hot pad, and brought in my mother-in-law. Or someone did all of those things. The whole incident is very fuzzy. In fact, most of today has been. Forgive me if I end up repeating myself to you. Or mooning you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Holding Back

Okay, so there are a lot of things I'm not doing right now. I'm not looking at Babies 'R' Us online to choose baby bedding. I'm not assuming this will work. I'm not thinking seriously about baby names. I'm not entertaining an irrational fear that they'll mix up my embryos with somebody else's and I'll deliver a baby from some poor Guatemalan couple's genes. I'm also not sleeping.

And it's taking lots of effort not to spend hours on ticker websites making cute little pregnancy tickers (which would, by the way, say that I am 1 week and 6 days pregnant). I'm holding back hardcore from wandering the maternity section at Walmart (which is very small and has only one flattering top anyway). I'm only guessing at what my due date would be (June 11, if you were wondering). And I am very much not fantasizing about having twins (are you kidding? Of course I am!).

There is a very fine line between hope that makes this exciting and hope that would make a failure devastating. And tickers, maternity clothes, and due dates will always be there. But I won't dream about hearing that heartbeat or seeing tiny feet pushing out next to my screwy-looking belly button. I'm just looking for little Embryos Gordon. Also, I may have a strong desire to get pictures of all of my embryos to put into an artsy wall hanging like in the exam room I've had the past couple of days. That's probably weird.

Oh, and I promised Mom I'd take NO home pregnancy tests. They'll do blood tests twice in the next several weeks, and I'll have to wait for those. If they come back all positive, then maybe I'll pee on a stick just for fun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Sitting in a hotel room for days on end—well, except those trips to the clinic and Walmart—leaves me with lots of time to think about what's going on. For once in my life, the extra thinking isn't resulting in extra stressing. I'm just excited. And humbled.

Considering the diminishing numbers of eggs/embryos that survive each stage of the growth process, I'm likely to end up with about 10 embryos. 10 embryos is enough for five pregnancy attempts. Statistically, I'm likely to end up with three pregnancies. I could lose one or more to miscarriage. Considering the increased chance of twins, I think I could get a solid two to four kids out of this. Just right.

So now you have to actually go to my blog—that's right you Google Reader users—and take the poll. How many babies this time? Will they stick at all? Will one survive and grow, or both? Will one somehow split and create identical twins? Will those twins end up with another sibling sharing the womb? These scenarios are increasingly unlikely, but I'll let you decide. Click your pick on the right.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Times Two

Remember a couple of months ago when I had 14 follicles swelling my belly? Well, now I have a full 28. Each is about 1.5 cm in diameter (as of this morning), and each most likely contains a single egg. Either Friday or Saturday morning, they'll suck out the little bubbles and their contents, spend some time finding the important parts, and then mix us up some baby soup.

In case you were concerned, I won't be posting that Arrested Development clip again. Firstly because twice is enough, and secondly because they're taking Arrested Development seasons two and three off of Hulu. I am very depressed about it. That and the cancellation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

How am I supposed to get my Summer Glau fix now? And where will I learn mommy tips when that baby comes along if not from Sarah Connor herself (just kidding Mom and Sheri)? At least Dollhouse is still on. They could totally work Summer Glau into that show. I mean, she has two acting modes: creepy and uncomfortably creepy. She'd make the perfect crazy doll (comme Whiskey, but better). Plus, she worked with Joss in Firefly (another awesome show that was prematurely canceled).

Mostly, my insides are stuffy and achy. I would say it's like having the flu, but it's more like having two very swollen and tender ovaries rubbing and pushing on all my other organs. Do I want to puke? Mostly. Do I need to puke? Not really. Will I puke? No. So things are pretty much fabulous. I get the excitement of giving myself injections, now with the added pleasure of getting a good look at my insides each morning. And I'll tell you what: they're looking really good. I've never seen such an attractive uterus or such productive ovaries. Go my insides!

By early next week, they'll put two little embryos in my very cushy-looking uterus, and I'll be all set to wait 8 days and take my first bhCG test. That's about when I'll know if it didn't work. In about 38 weeks I'll know if it did.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Ranks

Today, I started what I hope will be my last period for some time. It's right on schedule, I suppose, and on Tuesday I have an ultrasound and start drugging my ovaries into mass producing little tiny genetic half-replicas of me. The injections aren't scary: I started on Lupron almost two weeks ago, and giving myself a shot has become easier than brushing my teeth. Well, except when I wake up to do the shot and am still too groggy to draw medicine into the syringe before sticking it into my stomach and wondering why I can't push the plunger down. It's like forgetting to put toothpaste on my toothbrush, but it's been years since I did that, and then I didn't have to re-stab myself because of my mistake.

As I get closer to the exciting parts of the in-vitro procedure, I find myself somehow hesitant in approaching that border into motherhood. I'm less than three weeks away from that fateful moment when the doctor will carefully place two tiny growing bundles of cells in my womb and hope they stick. A month from today, I'll probably know if they worked. I am more than 50% likely to be pregnant, and depending on when you count pregnancy as starting, it could happen the moment they put those little baby soup seeds into my uterus, hoping with all of the waiting we've done and the sacrificing we've yet to do that they find good soil in which to plant. Or it could happen in a month when we know that one has stuck. Or it could happen in three months when I don't miscarry. Or when baby is viable. Or when I've given birth. Maybe when the kid is three.

At one of those points, I'll have to make some kind of announcement. Look at me: I've got one of these baby things on the way. I don't want to. I don't want to tell anyone, ever. Whatever happens, it's not like I somehow earned or deserve a baby. The blessing of a pregnancy is more than I could ever expect, and I will always be less than what it takes to deserve such an amazing thing. But once I say the words "I'm pregnant," it's inevitable that someone's heart will break because somehow it came to me and not them. Where some will be happy to celebrate with me, others won't have the strength.

I want to hide my belly, if it swells, from the whole world. I hate myself when I think that I could, simply by walking in public, sting the open wound that other infertile women have—sure, it's hope to see a woman pregnant, but hope is painful, too. And there will be nothing I can do to comfort these women.

I wonder how I can ever join the ranks of the pregnant knowing that if from this very moment, things take that other turn, and more than 50% likely is not likely enough, I will hurt when I see a pregnant woman or a newborn baby. As wonderful as these things are, they sting like perfume on broken skin. It kills me that I would want to say, "Look, a miracle of my own!" And it kills me that some days, when I have heard those words, it felt like my life was ending.

It will be easy to have gratitude if I am blessed with a pregnancy, but I wonder if it will be hard to rejoice. To be one more wound in another woman's heart. Forgive me if I don't say a thing about how it works out. Forgive me more if I do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Survived That One

Okay, so I survived the first wave of medication-induced crappiness. I'm not sure if it was the shot, the antibiotics, or the combination of the two, plus the new baby aspirin regimen and all of the stuff I was already taking. If it was the shot, I should be due for round two in about five hours.

Turns out, stabbing yourself with a 28-gauge needle isn't so bad. If it were, I could switch to the 31-gauges they sent in my big scary box with the douches. A little sting, maybe a drop of blood, and a side of itching? Psh. Cake! Doing all of that stuff kinda' makes me want to go to one of those vocational colleges to become a nurse's assistant so I can stab other people with needles too.

Topic Change

Speaking of needles, we went camping in the redwoods! I even saw a dirty HSU student walking the rim trail at Patrick's Point while playing his guitar. I can't really blame him for being dirty—I mean, an afternoon's hike will turn anyone's socks brown. I stopped by a few of my old favorite places to munch, purchased some bath goodies at Bubbles, and ate Brio bread. The only thing I missed was a trip to Katy's for smoked salmon or shark jerky. Don't let the ugliness of the website fool you—the stuff is world class.

It's places like Bubbles that make me miss Arcata. There are some severely unique things up there. I mean besides the disproportionate amount of middle-aged people who can't go a day without some Mary Jane and the somewhat dwindling population of cardboard sign holders. Arcata is the home of the Mom and Pop Shop. There are like three chain stores there. It makes for some excellent food, some very interesting boutiques (I neglected to photograph the gigantic window display crammed with bongs), and things like the kinetic sculpture race (look it up on YouTube).

At Bubbles in particular, you can buy essentially any type of bath product you could dream of and have it scented with every pleasant smell under the sun—or fog and constant cloud cover. Looking back, I regret only not asking for coconut.

Aside from Bubbles, which has a fabulous scent of its own, many of the older stores in downtown Arcata have a smell. Really. Notes of moist wood and a bit of mildew, hints of patchouli and weed, and a deep spice of something I can always recognize but never identify. It's probably some sort of rot, but it always makes me feel like home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Okay, deep breaths. Focus on the head pain, not the nausea. This isn't the worst it's ever been. Things will be both better and worse, and this is just one more thing you have to endure in this process. Remember why you're doing this? So you can get pregnant and be even more nauseated for even longer. Then so you can go through L&D and come out the other side with a pooping, screaming, adorable little baby. So it can drain every resource you have until you're barely standing. This isn't the worst you will face, and you were made for much worse.

Things will get better, too. There will be good moments. There will be Zofran here at some point. There will be Tylenol, too. And you'll probably get used to the shots and antibiotics and tons of meds all at the same time. Everything will eventually stop spinning, and you'll wake up feeling like new. Or you can just stay in bed feeling terrible. Either way. Deep breaths. Focus on that baby that will someday be here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Free Douches

You've met them—but let's be honest, you haven't—douchebags: the guys who own an Escalade and park across two of the best parking spots in the lot. The people who send spam. Perez Hilton. They're the guys who act like douches because they'll never have to see the people they're torturing with their wanton douchebaggery.

This post isn't about those guys. It's about the gigantic box of meds that came to my door in a very cold box this morning. Injectable hormones, oodles of syringes and needles, alcohol swabs, pills the names of which I won't even try to remember, some baby asprin, a disposal box for the biohazards, more syringes and needles, and yes, douches. They didn't even charge me for them. Nobody told me there would be douches.

And now I sit here, hoping they stay put in their insulated box with the other non-refrigerated meds and don't sneak out and talk at the movie theater. You never know with douches.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting Ready

Today I laid down that first chunk of change for IVF, buying all of my injectables and pills. Lucky for me, because of my "stupid" ovaries, it cost about half of the minimum most women pay for IVF meds, and less than a quarter of the maximum. Those little malfunctioning egg-makers aren't really saving me any money, but at least since they're misbehaving, they're doing it less expensively than they could be.

My meds arrive on Thursday, I start them on Tuesday, and I'm just dying with excitement. I have a good chance at a baby, but I have an excellent chance at collection of solid embryos. So I won't go getting all excited about future Baby (or Babies) Gordon yet, but I will most definitely throw myself a happy little brain party about the soon-to-be Embryos Gordon!

If I get pictures, I'll definitely post them here once the little guys get transferred in around mid-September. Embryos are so flipping cool looking. I'm beyond all of the stresses of choosing IVF and to the part where I'm super jazzed about doing it! Hooray for technology and hyperstimulating ovaries and injecting myself with meds! However and whenever that baby shows up, these are just a few more steps to holding it in my arms. Yay!

Social Blogterfly

I looked through my subscriptions on Google Reader and the links in the sidebar here, and I realized something somewhat ill about my social life: it takes place almost exclusively through the blog. I suppose it's somewhat like my addiction to reading, where I feel like I have a personal relationship with the characters in the book, but they aren't real, we've never met, and if they were real, that would just be creepy.

But my blog friends are real. Some of them I have conversations with every now and then. But it is creepy that blogging invites and perpetuates both one- and two-way voyeuristic relationships. (Yes, "voyeuristic" makes it sound all dirty, but you try finding an appropriate word that can take an adjectival form so gracefully.)

I read about my friends' lives, get excited for their triumphs, mourn their losses, and feel, in so many ways, like I'm right there next to them, living their lives too. But I'm not. It's normal to feel that way about fictional characters, but I think it might be somewhat sick that I relate to a bunch of actual human beings the same way I relate to the product of some stranger's craft.

The part that worries me is that I can, in public, claim these people as my friends. I like them. I think some of them might like me. Some of them link to my blog, anyway. If I talked about Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games as if she were a pal of mine, I'd be committed. But If they're real people, it doesn't matter—even though the relationship hasn't changed much.

Sure, we all know the difference between real people and fake people, but do we know the difference between real relationships and fake ones? And how far does mutual watching go on the friendship scale? And is this line of thought creeping you out as much as it is me?

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Okay, so I'm making another quiche tonight. This will be the third in a week. But they're just soooo delicious and easy, how could I possibly resist? Today I'll use onions, spinach, broccoli, swiss, and maybe some canadian bacon. Perhaps I'll even toss in a little artichoke. We don't have a ton of egg left, so it'll have to be thick with cheese and veg. My mouth is watering just writing about thinking about it.

The deal is that my parents are moving. In a week we'll be out of here, and I need to get rid of all their food. Being culinarily disadvantaged, the quiche is my only resort for "throw just about anything in there"-type food. I'd do frittatas as well, but they're just slightly too eggy. I'm a big fan of throwing veggies, beans, and pasta together with some italian dressing and calling it "pasta salad," but my dad insists that we first use the enormous jar of four-bean salad they picked up at Costco in the early eighties. It says "sell by" a few months ago, so it's probably fine.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for the twenty swollen cans of tomato paste I rescued us from a couple of weeks ago. Or the three expired bottles of teriyaki sauce. Or the fifteen cans of water chestnuts. Or the much-regretted mesquite barbecue sauce I had to put in the toss pile. Of course, all this is after my mom did her round of expired-food elimination.

But now that that's mostly over with—and I scored a haul of gourmet hot chocolates for myself and my Cocoa-motion—I feel a bit out of my depth in food experiments. This afternoon's bittersweet chocolate and sweetened condensed milk fudge, which now looks like a pecan-encrusted cow pie coagulating in the fridge, may put a stop to these little endeavors. We'll see if it's pie-worthy or better as cow chips for a fire (pardon the obscure old-westerny reference; I've been watching Firefly).

What I'm really saying is this: Here lies my diet. It was a good diet, and we had some magical times together. I'll take a part of it with me for the rest of my life. Right now, however, it's time to start on that next quiche.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This Post May Cause Birth Defects

Don't read this if you're pregnant. It will only make you more irritable than you already are. Symptoms will include not wanting to talk to me for the rest of your life. That said, this post is for you.

I realize you're huge and miserable. You've likely spent at least some time vomiting over the past few months. You're uncomfortable with your swollen feet and arms and neck and whatever else. I also realize you're full of hormones that make you irrationally angry or sad sometimes. I am more familiar with that condition than I'd like to admit.

And yet, with all of your sufferings, I still can't let go of the fact that some of you constantly whine about your condition. First of all, who decided to get you knocked up? I'd vote for the person who stopped taking your birth control pills. For you "accidental pregnancy" people, just keep reading.

Second-of-ly, what's with all the smugness? Back me up Garfunkel and Oates:

Third, I'd like to remind you that you're carrying a little tiny human being in your abdomen. This is your chance to get massively fat and have the whole world think you're the cutest, most special thing in the entire world. You are all massive a-holes for not believing them and being happy about it. Stop complaining about gaining weight. It happens when you have a miraculous little being growing in your miraculous little uterus.

Think of the alternative. Plenty of us ladies grow to gargantuan proportions from hormones or whatever without the amazingly wonderful excuse of having a baby on the way. We just blow up and get no screaming pooping prize out of it. If you think we're lucky about the no-prize thing, think again.

People pay thousands of dollars to get just as fat, nauseated, bloated, and miserable as you are. When you've been through hell just to get pregnant, then you can complain. Until then, please shut up about how every comment anyone makes about your pregnancy bothers you so.

Get over your swollen feet. Be thankful for such a wondrous source of belly fat. You can get all whiny when you've already given birth and are still all fat. What I'm saying is that you're so freaking lucky I refuse to hear one more complaint out of your prenatal-vitamin-eating mouths. It's like rich people complaining that their duck is slightly overdone.

Just be glad you have a freaking duck.

On a side note, April told me recently that she could tell what week of my cycle I was on by the tone of my posts. Yes April, this is week three. Except I don't get a hormone break in another while, because I just have to add more hormones. This blog may become completely unreadable. In fact, the local authorities may want to preemptively lock me up. And I haven't even started on the injections yet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shock Class

At Doctor Foulk's clinic in Boise, when they're about to give you bad news, they take you into a "shock class." There's no machinery in there, just a table and chairs, lots of pamphlets, and tissue. It's where they brought me to see my positive OPK when I really didn't want one. When I called the clinic today to get some scheduling out of the way, they told me the woman I was trying to contact was in a shock class with a patient. I realized then that if they ever take me into that room again, I'll probably start bawling before I even cross the threshold. It's not a happy place.

I prefer the little ORs and ultrasound rooms where bad news at least comes with the distraction of a visual aid or a good amount of pain/drugs. In fact, in my care plan I think I want to ask them to make sure all bad news is delivered when I'm in a semi-conscious or extremely distracted state.

But at least in shock class, they do things like my old boss Derrin. He was an excellent leader and motivator, especially in how he dealt with criticism. He'd drop the bad news, make sure it's understood and gets fixed, then keep you moving to the next thing. It's like how Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, deals with fearful dogs: he helps them deal with the things they're afraid of while he keeps them moving to stop their brains from dwelling on the fear.

I think Derrin, Cesar, and the ICRM can teach us all a lesson about delivering bad news, discipline, or criticism. Make sure your patient, dog, employee, child, or whatever gets the message, and then move their mind on to the next thing. When you don't, they just get to spend the next hours or days stressing about the criticism. When you let them do that, you're essentially keeping them from moving forward.

In the same vein, we can all move ourselves forward. We have to. But there's no time when it's wrong to help someone else do the same. It's easy to remember to take the bad with the good, but sometimes harder to take the good with the bad.

I could dwell on what I heard in that shock class and from other doctors for the following weeks: that my delicate hormonal balance (or, more accurately, imbalance) makes me a bad candidate for anything but IVF. Or I could just move forward and do what I've got to do. Sign up. Take the tests. Complete the prep. Take the stupid pills.

Sure, I have nightmares about injecting myself with scary hormones. Yes, I'm terrified of what the future will bring. Of course I hate the fact that this is costing me huge amounts of money when other people do it for free (even by accident) all the flipping time. That's the bad. I understand that and I'm acting accordingly. Next step? The good. I might get pregnant. I have an awesome husband who's supporting every step I take. I'm learning to stand up to the crappy stuff. I have projects to do.

Okay, so I'll face needles on a daily basis for almost two weeks, but that won't stop me from following them with a big hug, some website work, and a classic pat on the back.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bucket List

I've been doing some cursory internet research on things pregnant ladies can't do, and I'm starting to think that maybe my list wasn't such a good idea. In fact, if I just picked everything off of the "no" list for preggos, I would probably spend most of the rest of the year with my head in a bucket anyway.

For instance, not being pregnant gives me the distinctive pleasure of getting totally plastered in a field full of ticks, and then having my designated driver take me to Petsmart, where I could then rub my face on all of their reptiles and come into contact with cat feces. I am also now allowed to pour raw seafood down my throat and eat contaminated fish.

But seriously, I am rather concerned about the prospect of going nine months without hotdogs, brie, smoked salmon, and Dr. Pepper. I will indeed be laying on my stomach at every opportunity. I am, at this very moment, trying to devise a way to combine all of these activities at once that doesn't make my stomach turn. Maybe I'll just stick to a schedule of each of these things in turn: Costco hotdogs with Dr. P for lunch, afternoon tummy time with a snack of bread and brie, and smoked salmon sushi for dinner. I'll rub my face on reptiles alternating days. I will leave the cat feces to my loving husband.

By the way, Lisa, your comment reminded me of a very important video:

Thanks for that.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yams as Birth Control?

So we're done with all of the preparation for IVF. All of the tests are completed, and with much outpouring of bodily fluids, they're confident we are free of HIV, Hepatitis, and all manner of icky diseases, and we're allowed to procreate. Hurrah!

Also, after a fun adventure involving Doctor Foulk with a flashlight strapped to his forehead, a nurse with what looked like the scariest water gun ever, and me on the ever-more-familiar ultrasound table, we all discovered that my uterus has a septum and, from some angles of ultrasound, looks a bit like an angry koala bear.

Once the scheduling is complete, all that's left is to actually go through some medications likely to swell my belly again and then do the procedures of removing and replacing cells. I saw a picture of an embryo at the doctor's office yesterday, and it's amazing to think that babies come from microscopic bundles of cells like that.

I'm starting to feel like it's a countdown to pregnancy. Frankly, it's terrifying. Of course I want to be a parent, but let's face it, it's not something you can ever change your mind about if you don't like it. It's the toughest job with the hugest impact on society. Who wouldn't be terrified at the prospect?

Probably the type of person who thinks yam pills will be an effective form of birth control. Did you know that was a thing? Yikes. Then again, it's always a comfort to know that complete idiots become parents too, and they seem to survive okay. Some of their kids grow up to be prominent politicians, I think—in fact, yam birth control may be the most prolific source of politicians.

Anyway, with pregnancy impending come September (possibly some months later, since these things are never definite), I feel like this is the time to sow my wild oats. I did the whole Europe thing earlier, and I'm in the hole for money, but this is my chance to live before I face the frighteningly heightened chance of twins that comes with IVF. What do I do?

I suppose I should make a bucket list. You know, of things I want to do before I start having to carry around a bucket to accommodate the regular need to vomit. I just don't know what to put on it. Help, guys. What cheap-as-free things did you wish you'd done before getting all knocked up?

I have a month or so until I start the craziest part of this (where I go to Boise and see my doctor every day for like a week), and probably two months before I get a solid positive on pregnancy. If the procedure is a success, there's about a 50/50 chance of twins. Looking at the pictures on the NCRM walls, I nearly panicked at the proportion of adorable twin photos. Of course, two for one would be a plus in some ways, except that I'd likely lose it entirely and turn this whole thing into some kind of sickening fairy-tale mommy blog.

Anyway, my time is short. Or it has about a 60% chance of being short (for women under 35). The nurses at the ICRM estimate a higher percentage because of my youth. So my time is probably short. I've lost the weight I wanted to, traveled far enough for my tastes, and eaten dangerously raw foods. I've experimented with my hair and settled on a practical style. I've almost got my WOW hunter up to 80. What last adventures should I choose before I have teeny-tiny beginnings of babies inserted into my uterus?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Amy Says "Tuckuses" in This Blog

There's a line from Arrested Development to describe basically everything in my life. For instance, I have a sister-in-law named Anne who kept mentioning yams recently. Or tomorrow I'm headed to Reno again to see Dr. Foulk. He's awesome, but these long distance relationships can be taxing (For legal reasons I must clarify that I mean strictly doctor/patient relationship. Nothing bad. At all.).

Anyway, when it comes to Reno, I can't not think of this entire episode:

Or we've been using the hot tub in my parents' yard recently, and with my brother and sister-in-law here, it's only a matter of time before someone says, "My eyes . . . they're burning!" Or then there's my uterus: "This isn't turning into the party hangout I'd hoped." And naturally, the whole baby soup situation:

I'll admit that I have an addiction. I'm too easily distracted to get addicted to many things (at least for more than a few months), but this sticks like facebook and hot men named Tim that also happen to be my husband. I'd prefer it if you all refrained from any kind of intervention. I mean, at least I'm not addicted to reality TV or PCP.

Anyway, it's way too cold to be blogging right now. Air conditioning here means sucking cold air into the house at night and freezing our tuckuses off so the house can remain somewhat refrigerated during the burning sunlight hours. We're in the sucking phase right now, and if I don't get under the blankets soon, my toes will turn purple.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Most Days

You know what stresses me out more than infertility? Reading about the stresses of infertility. I don't feel like our marital relationship has suffered at all, and yet I read about all of the hardships of fertility and the strain it puts on couples' intimacy and communication and worry that it's somehow happening to me and I don't know it. Or that it's just around the corner.

They call stuff like this "psychosomatic." The mind convinces the body it has a disease and the body plays along with symptoms. Except my marriage isn't playing along with symptoms. I'm just sitting in front of my computer reading "self help" articles that are pushing my stress levels through the roof.

This may be the worst thing that's ever happened to me, but it's really not that bad. My life just hasn't sucked that much. Sure, there are some huge downers, but they roll off the back after not too long. And this whole IVF thing? I'll get over stabbing myself with needles. I was never a shy girl, and quite frankly, the fact that over 10 people have seen my insides over the past couple of months doesn't bother me in the slightest. Heck, they can use my insides for educational videos if they want.

So I'd be lying if I said I loved doing this stuff or that it wasn't bothering me, but I'd be lying to myself if I said it was ruining my life. Everyone has something they want in life that they sometimes have to work really hard for. Boxers get the crap beaten out of them before they get good; accountants have to spend thousands of boring hours studying for the CPA to pass; and I have to spend lots of money and go through crappy procedures to get pregnant.

It makes some people feel like they have no control over their lives, but the thing is, I choose this. I know what my options are, and I'm choosing this. It doesn't matter that I don't really have any options. I wouldn't trade my infertility for any other problem in the world—and it's always a trade. I mean, what would I turn in to get working ovaries? My awesome husband? Never. My arms? Probably not. Indoor plumbing? No. Because I can handle this. Most days.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Things We Can't Afford

They (if not the proverbial they, at least my parents) say that nobody can afford to have kids. That applies triple when you're infertile the way I am.

I met with Dr. Foulk again a couple of days ago, and after a long talk, he convinced me that doing anything but IVF would be a bad idea: it would put my health and maybe life at risk, it would be financially inefficient because of low success rates and the possibility things will go wrong again, and it would just be frustrating and miserable.

Dr. Foulk is one of the top infertility doctors in the US, so I guess when he tells me I need in-vitro to have a baby, he's right. I signed us up for September.

We'll put off buying a house, live someplace a little more modest for the next few years, and go into a bit more debt because we want to start our family at the not-so-modest price of around 6K.

I know a lot of people ask why anyone would go through such lengths and expense just to conceive a child that's genetically theirs. I used to ask that question myself. But now I'm here, and I've realized it's a complex situation emotionally, financially, and hormonally. The choices to adopt or do IVF are just too complicated and personal to be justified to or questioned by anyone else. As pro-adoption as I am, this is my choice right now, and any support you have for me, emotional or monetary, is a huge blessing.

And on that note, I sell out. We'll be sacrificing as much as we can to make this work, but we need help. A friend suggested as a good way for us to find help doing this, and if you want to donate to help us start a family, you can visit our fundable page. I'll see if I can't get a button up in the sidebar, too. Updates to come.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Messages from Church

When Mormon missionaries come to your door, they often offer to share a message from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They tell you about the gospel of Jesus Christ and that it's been restored, since everything kind of fell apart after Jesus kicked the bucket. Gave up the ghost? Kicking the bucket sounds more . . . I don't know, intentional? And when God dies, it's intentional.

Anyway, my parents got that whole speech when I was about five years old. Since then, we've been living it up Mormon style. But not Utah style. I went to BYU and got married in the temple, but I don't listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir unless I really have to.

And once you get past that first missionary lesson and start praying and studying on your own and going to church meetings, you get messages from God yourself. He's a pretty subtle guy, so they mostly come as feelings, but when I was at church yesterday, I got a pretty clear message. It went something like this:
Dear Amy,

Stop whining. Keep moving. Don't forget to read your scriptures.


And if you're a Bible reader, you know that almost every woman who gets more than a few lines in the Bible was infertile. Maybe some of them had PCOS like me. They didn't have all the nice things we have now to help the problems, and they were mostly totally awesome, faithful women. And even when they prayed and had faith, it still took a really long time for them to have babies. A really long time.

The funny thing is, these were the women destined to be awesome mothers and matriarchs of huge families. The infertility in the Bible isn't some lesson about how the Lord curses bad people with no babies. Being barren, biblically, is not a punishment. What God's saying to any infertile woman is between Him and her, but it's not a slap in the face.

It is easy to think that God is cruel, especially when I can't get pregnant but some airheaded teen named "Bristol" can have a baby, graduate from high school, and get featured in People and who knows what else. But the truth is that life is cruel. It just is. Evil comes from people and from Satan, but not all of the bad in our lives really has a sentient source.

So some of the bad in our lives is just a condition of living. Here on Earth, things are sometimes bad. And God put us here. He's pretty smart, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say that for the purposes He's put us here on Earth, a little suffering is necessary.

To recap:
  • God isn't cruel
  • Life is cruel
  • Life has a purpose
  • God has a purpose
So all in all, it evens out a bit. And if all else fails, you've got to remember, Jesus suffered everything, then got nailed to a board and hung up on a cross. That sucks more than infertility. And it's not like I can expect that somehow Jesus should suffer through all of that for my soul, but I shouldn't have to go through any of that.

And where Christ's suffering saves souls, our suffering changes them. So life is cruel, and life changes us. And maybe God gave us life because we needed to change. Not to punish us or to be cruel, but so we could grow up a bit.

So here am I with my growing pains, feeling the strain of change caused by suffering. It's not the fun kind of change, but it's the kind I've got. What should I do? I guess I should stop whining, keep moving, and don't forget to read my scriptures. And wait for more messages.

Where Do Babies Come From?

When most people's toddlers ask them this question, they'll likely squirm for a way out of explaining sex. Or they'll come up with some cute metaphor or euphemism that will have their child confused for ages.

Not me. You see, I won't have to shop for a way out of explaining sex to a three year old. Ever. Because I know the truth: babies don't come from sex. It's a widely perpetuated myth, but I think many of us know otherwise. And really, there's no reason to oversimplify the concept to sex = babies for anyone over sixteen. It's such an egregious oversimplification that I'm being nice not to call it an all out lie.

Sure, sex is a required condition, but it's one of among tens. At least tens. So when little Timmy Jr. asks me where babies come from, I'm covered.
It starts with a mommy. The mommy has two little organs called ovaries. They're about the size and shape of almonds, and they have million of little eggs in them. Like the kind that come from chickens.

If mommy is lucky, every month or so her ovaries will talk to a special part of her brain and together they'll make some chemicals that will help an egg grow up. Once that egg is all grown up, mommy's body lets it go from the ovaries using another special chemical. Some mommies don't make all of the chemicals in the right way, and they can't have babies.

Once the egg leaves the ovary, it's still in the mommy's body. If there are cells from a daddy in there (cells are little teeny pieces that make up the body), then one of the daddy cells might just find the egg. When it does, it turns into a little tiny beginning of a baby.

Then, when the little beginning of a baby, called a zygote, finds the right place in the mommy's tummy, it has to hold on tight. If it holds on tight enough, it makes a little home in the mommy's tummy and starts making some of its own chemicals. The baby chemicals and the mommy chemicals work together and help the baby grow. If they don't work together right, or if the baby couldn't hold on tight enough to the mommy's tummy, the baby could stop growing and die. But sometimes all of the chemicals work together right and the baby grows big!

That's when mommy's tummy starts getting all big and round until the baby is about the size of a watermelon. When the baby is big enough, mommy has to squeeze really hard, and the baby comes out!

And that's where babies come from. Simple enough for a child, and glosses over sex easily. How do the daddy cells get there? He puts them there. That's not the important part. It's the chemicals. Trust me. It's the chemicals.

So instead of putting mommy and daddy cells in a test tube and making baby soup, I'm thinking I'll risk another month like this one and try another round on Clomid. We'll see if I can get those chemicals to agree on an appropriate number of eggs to make. It could hurt, but I've been there and done that. If I've proved anything to myself, it's that I can do pain. Pain is my beeotch.

Last chance? My butt! This is America, and I can blow up my ovaries to gargantuan proportions as many times as I want. Or hopefully just until that whole baby thing happens.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Yesterday and the day before, all I wanted to do was scream all the swear words I knew at the greatest volume I could muster. I've been loud since birth, so it would have been an impressive display.

But I didn't scream any cuss words. I didn't even say one. And today, with the final BIG FAT NEGATIVE showing its ugly face on my second-to-last early response pregnancy test, I'm too tired.

I'm much too exhausted to even think about how I went through absolute hell this month. How I woke up in so much pain I could barely hear myself screaming. How I landed in the ER and they made me walk to the room even though every tiny step felt like being stabbed. How this was our very last chance to have a baby of our own without spending $10,000 on a procedure that has only a probability of working. How we spent all the money we don't have on this first and last real chance I might get pregnant. How we're now at the point of either spending our lives away on amazingly uncomfortable procedures or just giving up on the idea of a little one that in the strangest ways takes after us.

Half of me knows that going through IVF is complete insanity. The other half is completely insane. And my ovaries, which take like 10% of my body volume now, are just screaming for me to leave them alone (and give them strong pain meds).

Everyone keeps telling me how strong and brave I am, but it makes no sense to call someone strong and brave just because life seems to be thrusting pure crap at them left and right. It would be brave and strong if I'd chosen to be hopelessly infertile and desperate to be pregnant. If I'd somehow taken that burden off of someone else so they could live pain free and I could have their problems, that could be considered brave. It might be strong of me not to spend 100% of my waking hours feeling sorry for myself. As it is, I'm fluctuating between 20% and 80%, if you count the time I spend picking plastic apparatus filled with my own urine out of the garbage to make sure they're definitely negative. Does that sound strong or brave to you?

I'm just going to say it: This sucks.

And if you come back with some lame silver lining like, "At least you weren't raped and murdered and left in pieces in a sewer," I will mutilate you with the sharp edges of crushed home pregnancy tests.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I like to think the best of people. It's one of my common practices. I like almost everyone I've ever met. I'll give people the benefit of the doubt, or I'll believe they've changed, and I'll do it as much as I possibly can.

But eventually I come to a point where I have to admit to myself that some people suck. You can chalk a lot of things up to a miscommunication, but some people are just liars. You can consider yourself oversensitive until you start to seek counseling for it, but some people are just mean. You can assume people have grown out of their terrible traits and habits, but every now and then, they'll prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are still the type of people that should end up in Hell just so nobody who doesn't deserve Hell has to ever talk to them again.

Maybe you're sure that all ill in the world is either misunderstandings or mental illness. People can't be evil, can they? I know firsthand that they can. Some people simply perpetuate evil. Haven't any of you done something just mean? If you say you haven't, you're deluding yourself.

And others are capable of doing evil things as well. Just for the sake of being mean. And you can't call it a misunderstanding or miscommunication, because it wasn't. That doesn't mean you shouldn't forgive the person, but I think we'd all be healthier if we didn't make excuses for everyone, just like we shouldn't make excuses for ourselves.

The thing that will really shock you is that normal people sometimes do evil things intentionally. It would be nice to assume that everyone is generally good, and when they do bad, it's because they were confused, they had an accident, or they made a mistake. But you know what? Sometimes that's total bull. There are real life people who just enjoy making life miserable for other people.

I'm not just talking about Saddam Hussein, either. I knew a girl in high school who would lie to people repeatedly to try and get them out of relationships. She would actually go back and forth between couples or friends telling them lies to the tune of "so and so said such and such about you." If you think that kind of thing doesn't happen outside of high school, you must still be in high school.

Or I had a boyfriend who was a manipulative liar. When I ran into him years later, I assumed he'd grown up, but it turns out he was an abusive a-hole worse than I'd known when we were young.

It's easy to look at these situations in the aftermath and admit to yourself that, hey, that person is just a bad dude. But when you're in that type of situation, it's hard to recognize whether you're being emotional and oversensitive or judgemental (take that "e" and suck it). Sometimes, you'll have to say, "Yes, I'm acting like a judgemental psycho, and I need to get over it." But other times, I would like you to take a deep breath and remember this mantra:

"Some people suck."

Monday, July 13, 2009

And Then There Were Fourteen or So

So my "wait a few days and see what happens" follow-up didn't go exactly as planned. Me, Tim, and Doc met Saturday morning at his office for an ultrasound and little conversation. During the ultrasound there weren't so many shocked comments, but when he came back (after I had replaced my clothing, because this was a very pants-on conversation), his eyebrows had nearly hit the ceiling. The first words he could get out?

"Well, you could be on the news!"

He had actually removed his little tie-on doctor's hat, which was a nice treat for me since I'd just been wondering the day before if he were hiding a bald spot. But nope, full head of hair with just the slightest tinge of blond left over from his youth. The shocked expression was a little bit of an instant face-lift, making Doc look almost as young and confused as I was.

So where I was hoping for a number less than seven to describe my mature egg products, I got fourteen. Which could very easily come out to quintuplets or some other litter of what Doc calls "high order multiples." High order multiples, by the way, result in multi-million-dollar NICU bills if not a whole load of deaths. At some number they just have to abort the pregnancy because nobody can survive it.

Anyway, Doc says he needs to give me a shot to stop these eggies from popping and send me to Boise to see Doc Slater or Doc Foulk and either suck out some of the eggs so they don't turn into babies, or suck them all out, make embryos, and do IVF at like 1/3 of the normal price. Sounds good, right? We figured he'd give me the shot, send me to Boise, and we'd see the Docs up there on Monday or Tuesday.

No such luck. Doc calls the clinic up there and they agree to stay open until we get there and see us that very day. Even better luck!

So we head up to the Idaho Center for Reproductive Medicine. (This place is one of the top repro places in the nation. If you're infertile and want to have a baby, GO THERE.) We didn't want to make them wait, so we threw everything we could into the car and high-tailed it up to Boise.

And got a speeding ticket.

Which was a surprisingly comfortable experience for me because the cop smelled like my dad when he's in uniform. Also, I wasn't the one driving.

When we finally made it up there, Doc Foulk had waited as long as he possibly could just so he could talk to us before he hopped on his flight. Pretty cool that he did that just to greet and talk to us.

We got pretty excited about the idea of converting to IVF, which means a really likely pregnancy really soon for way less than usual. But when we did another ultrasound, the follicles were too big. Bummer. How big? over 2 cm for 10 of them. Three more were over 1.5 cm. My ovaries were each six times the normal size. It was getting painful to walk, bend, etc.

First, we thought it would be best to cancel the cycle, do what's basically Plan B, or the morning-after pill. It was a really crappy and tearful decision to make, but the other option was to have some eggs removed, which sounded VERY painful and didn't give us much of a chance at pregnancy. So I allowed myself about ten minutes of crying and went home with the birth control.

But when we were about twenty minutes away from the clinic, Doc Foulk calls us. Now, doctors never call their patients. The nurse calls, the answering service calls, the receptionist calls, but the doctor never calls. But he did. The nurse talked to him just after the ultrasound, and then he called when his plane landed to check in. He then made it a point to call us and strongly advise that we turn around, go back to the clinic, and have the "follicle reduction" (egg removal).

I can't tell you how impressed I was with Doc Foulk for caring enough to call. This guy takes the Hippocratic Oath seriously. He said he just wasn't comfortable with the possibility that still remained that I'd get pregnant with high order multiples, which inevitably mean big trouble. Now that's a clinic that cares.

So everyone who needed to came back in and got me all drugged up for the procedure. If you've ever had the kind of ultrasound you get when you're not pregnant, it's like that, but with a massive needle. I wasn't drugged up enough to be asleep—just a little too giggly—so when the poking started I was still in a bit of pain. Like, the second worst pain ever. But I've never broken a bone or given birth, so my scale is a little off. And really, Doc Slater, who came in on her Saturday night to do the procedure, made it as easy as possible. It was painful, as having a needle stabbed into a very tender area through a very sensitive one always is, but is was fast, and once all the equipment was out, I felt mostly better. I've just been a bit sore, and it's been way better than it was when I was stuffed full of eggs. They removed at least 8 oz of stuff from my abdomen.

All in all, I can't speak highly enough of the staff at the ICRM. They were without fail kind, gentle, sensitive, caring, and excellent at what they do.

So where does all of this leave me?

In eleven days, I will take a blood hCG test. There's a 20% chance it will be positive. Six of those percentage points are twins. The other eighty send me to another round of blood tests and IVF later this year. Turns out, no doctor is likely to give me Clomid ever again, since I clearly overreact and sane doctors (and by that I mean not Octomom's doctor) do not want their patients to have litters.

Things are simpler now that I have two options: be pregnant now, or do IVF. And for having kids entirely, the option to adopt. We know what we want. We'll pray for it. I hope with everything I have that the two swollen follicles they left turn into one or two screaming, stinky, hungry, adorable, infinitely lovable little babies.

But as I am continually reminded, God is still God and I am still not. He's got a plan. Right now it seems a little convoluted, but I'm sure things will work out the right way at the right time. Fat'n'Happy or not.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


They say you shouldn't count your eggs before they've hatched, but today, I did. I do realize it's supposed to be chickens, but I'm not talking about chickens. Today is cycle day 12, the day of my first clomiphene cycle checkup ultrasound.

So around lunchtime Tim and I sat in a the teeniest possible ultrasound room waiting for Doc to give the prognosis. Doc and Nurse came in complaining of the heat in the microscopic room. I said I hadn't noticed, since I wasn't wearing pants. Nobody laughed. With four of us in the room, plus ultrasound equipment, a computer, three chairs, and the exam chaise-lounge (sounds so much better than table), I still didn't feel the mugginess. Ah, those sweet pantsless moments pass too quickly.

Except when you realize you definitely used the word "pantsless" in your last entry, and you're wondering if pantslessness is becoming a theme not only in your blog, but in your life.

Anyway, Doc takes what my mom so aptly named the "magic wand" apparatus from the ultrasound machine and does his thing. On the big telly they keep facing the exam chaise-lounge, I see a massive white blur that eventually resolves into my uterus—supersized. Boring. Then he starts poking toward my right ovary, and here come about one million huge black blobs. After measuring at least seven follicles, he switches to the other side and measures like ten more. I say, "Oh, so that's what's been hurting." He says, "Oh my . . . Geez . . . Wow . . ." and finishes with, "What to do . . . what to do . . ."

Apparently there weren't enough spots in the program to record the number of developing follicles that, as I type, continue to slowly expand into the places my intestines usually like to sit. Turns out my body reacted very strongly to the clomiphene—to the tune of approximately seven eggs that may be ready for release later this week. In case you missed basic reproductive biology, seven eggs releasing at once (with a little help from their male counterparts) have the potential to develop into seven babies. At the same time. Suddenly our chances of a pregnancy this month are much better. Suddenly our chances of having too many babies in nine months just got high enough to be somewhat sanity-threatening.

The natural solution is, of course, to wait three days, hope something good happens, and check again. So while we may want to wait on counting my eggs before they hatch, both you and I will be praying for one to three strong, healthy, gorgeous eggs to make their time. Because somebody has set up us the bomb.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


The last two weeks have been a rather long string of what most would consider to be terrible events: fired, on fertility meds, pyrex explosion, canceled Netflix, can't pay bills, can't collect unemployment, must move out of apartment, had to pack up in a week (all the while dealing with icky meds), parents show up a day later than expected, and now, to top it all off, we're homeless. I suppose you can't be entirely homeless when you have a place to sleep that's indoors, but still, I think not having a residence and staying for a day or two at a time at a long list of family members' houses counts.

When Ma and Pa arrived on Friday to help us load up a moving van and scrub our very existence from the first apartment I ever enjoyed living in, I realized that I hadn't mentioned to my mom that we weren't just moving the furniture—I'd neglected the part where our landlords had found replacements that wanted to move in ASAP. So after Sunday, I told her, we were homeless.

Mom, laughing it off, kindly reminded me that I've been homeless before. Like the time my apartment contract ended before I'd finished my finals for the semester (so I couldn't go home), and I had to move all my stuff onto the sidewalk and wait for my folks to show up and move it.

I had to spend the next few nights at my then-fiancé's friend's apartment. It had about fifteen creepy windows visible from the couch I slept on, a very creepy door to a communal basement, and a bunch of people I didn't know (also creepy). Well, they weren't really creepy until everyone who actually lived there had to go out of town, leaving me completely alone in a strange apartment for the next night. That's a little creepy, but not all bad.

The really terrible part is that they left no toilet paper anywhere in the apartment. Not a square. Of course, I'd idiotically assumed the presence of toilet paper (or ANY paper product) when I'd sat down to have a little poo. But upon finding the immediate vicinity toiletpaperless, and subsequently the entire area I could reasonably explore pantsless also toiletpaperless, I decided that my best option would be to call the fiancé. Guys like to be heroes, right? And I definitely had the (somewhat soiled) damsel in distress thing going on. SO I call him up, tell him my awful predicament, and he does what any horrible, terrible, completely dump-worthy fiancé would do and says that he doesn't really want to bring me toilet paper. Really, how could I ever have been engaged to a guy who won't put down the NES controller and drive .2 miles to save his (very good looking) girl from such an immense personal emergency?

I don't want to even tell you how I solved my problem, but it didn't involve any kind of reasonable man rushing in with a roll of Cottonelle to save the day.

And I have to say, that whole homeless thing is way worse than having about five families offering to put us up until we get the okay from doc to go to California. And I love these people. And they would never leave me without toilet paper. And even if they did, now I have the kind of man who would, even if he were across the world in the middle of a hotdog eating contest, rush to me with arms full of Quilted Northern. Ah, my Prince Charmin.

Anyway, if anyone ever calls you to ask for toilet paper, and you say, "no," I want you to know that there is a special place set aside for you in Hell. Yes, you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So I did all of that complaining stuff, and I feel like it's time to stop whining. It may be all of you yelling at me through your computer screen, but who knows. So it's time to say thank you. Seriously, I've got some fabulous friends and family. Heaven knows I'm the last person to deserve them!

First, Tim. He never said a word to blame me for getting fired. He's been as patient, kind, hard working, and flexible as ever (which is VERY) and then some. On top of all of the stress I've piled on him what with losing my income and fertility treatments and suddenly having to move, he took a CPA exam today and is taking another in a couple weeks! Talk about a total champ!

Then, to the very awesome people who made our anniversary spectacular even though we'd just hit a family crisis. Tim's friend Ron set us up with a room where he works in Colorado a few weeks ago, and we couldn't have been more grateful for the free lodging when the time came. Then Ashley (and Clif) totally made our day special with dinner. I can't thank them enough for their amazing generosity. We needed that. And I'm quite humbled by the help.

And of course, my parents. When I called them panicking about everything last week, they invited us to move in and offered all kinds of help without hesitation. I'm blessed enough to have the kind of parents who are there when you need them but don't smother us with parental care. My in-laws are that way, too.

Then, just because they knew I needed it, my two favorite stalkers came by with boxes and chocolate to comfort me after all of my disasters. They heard that a pyrex had exploded in my kitchen and decided that my day needed saving. Thanks Andee and Noel!

Eileen! She came over and just sat and talked with me last week because I needed someone to sit and talk with. She even put up with my Metformin-induced lethargy. Then she came back today with boxes and spent the whole afternoon (and into the evening) helping me pack up my life. Since sixth grade she has been one of the kindest, friendliest, and most generous people in my acquaintance, and she's been there for me to pick up after all of the biggest life-plosions and to celebrate the best days of my life.

And then there's a neverending list of people who have called or emailed or messaged me with words of encouragement. That list, naturally, overlaps significantly with the neverending list of people who have sat and listened to (or read) my tirades over the injustice of it all. I mean you guys. I save up all of the nice things you say to me (so sorry if I didn't reply) and think about them when I'm tired of packing. It makes a difference.

So out of all of the undeserving people whose friends you could be, thanks for being mine.


You all knew the day would come when I'd write another rather disturbingly personal rant about my lady parts, and, well, today I just feel inspired. I'm not the only one with an unruly uterus, either. Jen of Cake Wrecks shared a special gem today that just reminded me what fabulous company I'm in. We should all be in a club or something: "Lady Bloggers and their Lady Organs." You may leave your suggestions for our club name in the comments. So Jen, this one's for you and your upcoming cauterization.

My uterus has been relatively submissive lately, having been beaten down by regular doses of hormones. They make me totally insane, but they sure do keep my uterus in check. But now that my employment has abruptly ended, my ovaries have decided that they can finally, without consequence, completely take over my life. Of course, they're taking full advantage of my inexplicable and totally insane desire to have children.

So now my schedule, my doctor's schedule, my parents' schedule, and even my stomach's schedule are ruled entirely by two puffy, cyst-covered, self-important masses in my lower abdomen.

Of course, I'm leaving out my diet. How could I forget? In order to please the new gods of my existence, I'm back on the Metformin. It hasn't been too bad—just your average nausea and fatigue routine—except that if I consume anything from the very top or the very bottom of the food pyramid, my body goes into emergency evacuation mode (is that not a fabulous place to use that phrase?), and whatever carbohydrates I've consumed make a rapid and violent exit. Eating may have lost a bit of pleasure, but I've come to appreciate quality toilet paper so much more.

And while I'm talking about pills, I might as well mention that I'm on my first round of Clomiphene. I'm one pill down, and so far I haven't developed the kind of mood swings, super-human screaming skills, or canine lengthening that would indicate a state of hormonal critical mass. Four to go. And when I take these pills, I can't help but think to myself, "May cause multiple births. Am I trying to get myself killed?"

Here's where we get to the really fun part. Once I finish my "days 5–8" pills, I go in for a "day 12" ultrasound. This is where my ovaries get to choose my fate. They can either go for broke and pop out an egg, in which case I can keep doing what I'm doing and move it on out to California with Mom and Dad the next Monday, or, they can hold out against all of my crazy pills and keep all of their eggs in painful little fluid-filled sacs in my abdominal cavity.

Contingency plan for ovarian misbehavior? Another round of even crazier pills and back on the table for another ultrasound after a week. This could go on all month. Once my ovaries start to work (which they will hopefully do with the minimally crazy pills), we move out to California to stay with my folks.

So if you ask me when I'm moving, and I tell you I have no idea, it's because my ovaries have made it quite clear that we're all on their schedule now. They will decide when my doctor has to see me, when I have to move, how Tim will schedule his CPA exams, When my parents will have a surly daughter and patient son-in-law moving in, and most of all, when and if I'll start puking my guts out because of a miraculous little parasite of my own.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Donald Trump

They don't say fired anymore, I guess. They use the word terminated, which I think is even worse. I picture Arnold crushing my windpipe or that shiny silver guy stabbing my brain with one of his fingers. And now I know that's pretty much how it feels when you find out you'll have no income for the next few months when you were going to start fertility treatments the very next day. Thanks!

So I'm having a bit of a crap day. If anyone has money or food to send my way, I'll take it. Or if you need a maid/babysitter/web designer/writer, I have some spare time. Or if you really feel like punching someone, I am SO there.

So the next couple of weeks should be quite an adventure. I have no idea what's going to happen with the fertility stuff (or the rest of my doctors, for that matter). We'll probably move in with my mom and pop, and then go to Denver when Tim's job starts. Please send boxes. If you're feeling really generous, fill them with goodies first (wink).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

One for Tim

I can't let Fathers' Day pass without recognizing Tim. He is a very, very good man. I'd guess only a minority of men have to deal with women as crazy and sick as I am. And I'm sure it's a tiny minority of those who deal with them as well as Tim does. He's an amazing husband, and I'm sure he'll make a great father whenever kids come into our home. There is only one of him in the world, and I'm so glad he's mine.


My mom met my dad in Germany, and within weeks they were ready to spend their lives together. My mom was lucky my dad didn't turn out to be some kind of axe murderer, but she couldn't have known until much later how very lucky she was. What are the odds that two people would meet while traveling in another country and in such a short time snatch each other up for good? And then that that man my mother found would turn out to be such a good one?

My dad is a California Highway Patrolman—a gun and badge, multi-holster, here-practice-shooting-this, don't-mess with my daughter cop. When one of my college boyfriends came to visit, my dad didn't care if he stayed in the bedroom next to me because he knew that if the guy tried anything, he'd wake up to the sounds of teenage boy screams. Because of Dad, I knew how to load and shoot at least three kinds of guns before I was twelve. And don't get me started on control holds.

But when it came to home and family, my dad dropped the drill sergeant routine. He was and still is very much a dad, and as tender and caring as any dad could be. He never quite figured out braiding my hair, but he always knows just when I need him to call.

I love you Dad!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thin-Crust Pizza

I've been loosely dieting, and when I was craving pizza yesterday, Tim brought home a chicken/bacon/artichoke deelite from Papa Murphy's. It was pure diet heaven. I'm finally starting to enjoy a few sugar-free treats.

But is it just me, or does time pass slower in the absence of Hostess Cupcakes? I feel like I've been sitting at my desk for years since I got here this morning. At home there are all kinds of lovely things like Tim and Coco and leftover pizza and sleep. Here, I sit endlessly cutting and pasting the right text into the right spot as I listen to my stomach sluggishly digest a 25 calorie bag of baby carrots. Yawn.

I've reached the height of boredom, the height of sloth, the height of tired. My thoughts are bouncing back and forth between my next slice of pizza and my next nap. Well, more like rolling or oozing than bouncing. They say TV will melt your brain, but guess what: so will a desk job on a Thursday in June.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Important Confessions

I say I don't like cooking, but I actually really enjoy it when the dish involves bacon. I'm pretty sure bacon is the original aphrodisiac.

I am developing an unhealthy addiction. When Tim was out of town, I decided I'd try something new and get a mystic tan. Then, I decided I might as well try for some real color—you know, since I've been ghost white all my life (I look like a flipping apparition in my senior photo). I went all out and got a month of unlimited tanning, and I feel like I've discovered El Dorado. But it's more than just looking like an actual human being. When I close the lid on the white-noise filled tanning bed and feel the breeze of the fans keeping my cooking skin cool, the rest of my life disappears. Me time. Ten minutes of solid frying is as good for me as an hour of deep breathing and meditation.

Laurel has now saved me twice from embarrassing zipper incidents.

I play World of Warcraft. I am Donnanoble, a level 53 Beast Mastery Specced Dranei hunter (and occasionally Frexxa, a level 62 Blood Specced Gnome Death Knight). I realize this makes me a gigantic loser, and is probably why I have a weight problem instead of friends.

I will probably never own an iPod out of respect for Tim's deep hatred of Apple.

As a girl, I never had celebrity crushes. I did, however, fall madly in love with several fictional characters. Lucky me, I also happened to marry Prince Charming, so I suppose my disconnect with reality worked out for me.

I actually like Smart Balance fake butter spray.

I usually eat ice cream because of peer pressure rather than actually liking it. I don't dislike it, and I do occasionally crave it myself, but I'm not a big ice cream eater. I am, however, a big ice eater. MMMM!