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.