Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Geez, if I'm this anxious just before a stupid ultrasound when I'm not even on Clomid yet, how am I going to deal with my nerves before bigger things?!

I am 99% sure that there won't be a dominant follicle (though last Friday's bloodwork seemed to say it could maybe kinda almost happen, hence they're having me come in again). I just want to work out a plan for where to go from here.

I had a bit of a "discussion" with my boss late this afternoon. (She has been getting stricter and stricter about hours for summer Friday afternoon flex time as a way to deal with her own stress, I think. As far as I can tell, all or most of the other departments in the company aren't nearly this strict. I get the brunt of it because of my job, but she's been doing it to the rest of the department too.) Anyway, long story short, I tried to impress upon her that I had other obligations and appointments over which I only had some control outside of work, and thus I couldn't necessarily work the extra hours in the way my boss wanted me to, that I needed some flexibility on that. She knows I'm dealing with PCOS - I briefly gave her an idea a few weeks ago. But I made it clear that I was not at all comfortable discussing such details with my boss, so it's been VERY awkward, that I've tried to just get the extra hours in earlier in the week the last couple of weeks before the ultrasounds so I wouldn't have to discuss it at all with her. We'll see how much the situation improves, but supposedly she's going to try to meet me halfway - let me work the extra hours in whatever way I feel is reasonable, as long as I give her an idea of how I'm going to do it at the beginning of the week. So we'll see... if she really is a bit more flexible, that will buy me some more time in the job. But it also depends on how many appointments the doctors want me to do, and how soon.

I think my boss dealt with infertility - she adopted an older child about 10 years ago. Weirdly, in a discussion tonight, I floated the idea that she may see pushing me toward putting in more hours etc. as a way to "help", subconsicously, in case it doesn't work out for me to have a bio child of my own. As in, make sure you get a solid career for yourself, in case this pregnancy thing just doesn't happen and you need something to keep yourself busy and distracted. Just a theory...

Now, if only PMLG (Post Maternity Leave Girl) would kindly move her baby pictures *inside* her office door that I have to walk by nearly constantly, that would also help make the work stuff a bit more bearable.

Also, I've paradoxically found that a pregnant co-worker who usually works remotely has been really supportive since I told her last week that we were TTC, I hadn't ovulated since January, and that with our boss becoming ever more weirdly obsessed with our hours, I was losing my mind. Seeing pregnant women is usually hard, but I know this co-worker miscarried before her current pregnancy (it's her first), and she was really kind when I told her about what I was dealing with. I really appreciated that. She looked at me knowingly when she was in the office a couple of days ago, asking me with more depth how I was REALLY doing. I said that I was getting through - at least the Weight Watchers thing was going well (almost halfway to my WW goal weight!), at least that was one thing that was going well! The only other co-worker I've told that we're TTC and having trouble was super supportive also. She started cooing sympathetically when I told her (whispering on my cube phone). She's a mom herself (a teen and 9-year-old), and it was so obvious in the "there, there" sounds she was making! I just thought I'd burst if I didn't tell a couple of people at work.

Well... bedtime, since I have to be up very early to get to this appointment, and because my boss was only out for the late afternoon and will be back tomorrow morning. I hope either there is a big, bold, obviously lead follicle - or nada, like last week, so I can just ask when I could schedule the HSG (after Provera and AF, of course).

Good night.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What would your t-shirt/bumper sticker say?

You know those t-shirts that seek to inform, instruct, or just generally badger people into seeing your point of view? In this age where you can lay out your t-shirt online and order it, you can get any old t-shirt saying you want. Better not order one while drunk or in the middle of a crying fit!

Hmmmm... among the things my tshirt might say:

"One cat shy of A Cat Lady"

"Widowhood is permanent. Getting remarried doesn't make it 'all better'."

"'Relax' is NOT a cure for PCOS!"

"I'm having trouble getting knocked up, and you tell me to relax? RELAX?! Come closer and I'll relax YOU!"

My infertility has given my mom "grandma envy"

Okay, so maybe I don't have a future in the t-shirt design industry, but you get the point. :)

What would your t-shirt or bumper sticker say?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ultrasounds; next steps

I got a call from one of my RE's practice partners last Wednesday (my usual RE is out of town). He suggested I come in this past Friday to get an ultrasound to see where things stand for me. They were able to fit me in at 8am, which is great since I have to be at work a little ways away from the doctor's office. I went in (was late because I messed up getting there, another story, I was nervous etc.), got the bloodwork and ultrasound. It was fortunately a female doctor who did the wanding (I hadn't had one done in 4 years), which made it slightly less awkward.

She basically told me I had "stereotypically cystic PCOS ovaries with no dominant follicle" and that "there is no question you would benefit from medication, no question at all." Again, not anything that surprises me, but it's still not fun to hear. But, later that afternoon, she called me back and said my estradiol was a bit elevated, so there was some chance I could develop a dominant follicle sometime in the following week - neither she nor I expected that. (Although I wonder if she looked at the full blood profile closely enough - what if my estradiol is just elevated this cycle? My temps seem lower than in the previous cycle? Don't know for sure if there is a connection.)

So, I'm going in for another ultrasound on Thursday to see if by some chance I've developed a dominant follicle. I'm not holding my breath, but I guess we'll see.

My tentative plan is to ask them about Provera to start an AF very soon; do the HSG before we go away for a week (command performance with in-laws); then do the birth control pill for that month to calm down the cysts; then the Clomid. We'll see what the doctors say when I ask them what they think of my tentative plan! I want to maximize the chances that the Clomid will work (or at least not quickly cause large non-functional cyst issues that would lead to some time on the pill anyway), so this seems to make sense to me. Make sure my tube are open with the HSG, and calm down the "millions of little cysts" currently on my ovaries.

And in the meantime, I've decided (pretty much) what I'm going to do work-wise. My DH and I have drafted a letter to my boss, giving her far more detail about what I've been dealing with than I'd wanted to share... but I feel like I have no choice but to share more than I'm comfortable with to lay all my cards out, so to speak. I basically said that I didn't expect to be at the point of having to choose fertility treatments only 6 months after starting the job (I'd hoped to ovulate at least 2-3 times by now, but instead I last O'ed back in January); that emotionally this is especially difficult for me because of the loss of my late husband and the loss of having a family with my LH, and now I'm having "fertility challenges" with my new husband; that I have no choice but to have some of these appointments at times that will eat into standard work time, and with what she's said about how I would be allowed to make up some time, it would be extremely difficult to make up enough time if I start having a lot of appointments. And that the choices are either for us to work out SOMETHING in the way of time flexibility for me to have my appointments (unlikely for a variety of reasons); for her to help me find a job that is part time with benefits there and with some flexibility in the hours so I won't have to worry about that when I have appointments; or... I would have to quit (and find a part-time job somewhere else). I am not thrilled with the last option. The best choice would be the part-time gig somewhere at the company. But I don't know if it'll happen.

Nonetheless, I have decided I will make it work as long as I can (probably until shortly before I start Clomid, whenever it winds up being), and then give her the letter and see what happens. Although I am NOT looking forward to having to actually give it to her and have the inevitable super-awkward conversation, I've made some peace with knowing that this is the deal, and I have gone as far as I can with this.

Another week is starting... we'll see how this one is.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I keep struggling with the idea of meaning of life. (I seldom do anything small-scale, do I?!) I lost my LH - a great guy who was overall an wonderful husband and would have been a great father - before he was even 30. I struggled so hard with the grief (both for LH himself and for our hoped-for family) - the worst of it took up almost 2 years of my life, and then it only gradually ebbed after that (it's now been over 3 1/2 years, 4 years this fall).

In the grief, it was hard to hear about widows with kids saying how they didn't think they would be able to continue or find any meaning in drawing the next breath if it weren't for their kids. I knew that was their reality and that was great for them, but conversely - what is the PURPOSE of a 20-something widow without kids? What reason WAS there to go on, without kids to take care of, or some all-consuming consmic mission to carry me onward?

But I believed that somehow, some way, there would be some form of okay life in my future. I fell in love again and took the chance to get married again. I guess I just figured, somewhere subconsciously, that because of all I'd been through but despite the likely PCOS, I would at least ovulate occasionally and thus not be trying to decide on fertility treatments only 7 months after going off the pill. That I could at least go 9-12 months believing we had SOME chance to have a baby without serious intervention, before having to take the next step if nothing worked during that time. I know life doesn't work that way, as far as getting a "free pass" or some amount of a break if you've already been through a lot... but I guess somewhere deep down I believed that somehow, I would, anyway!

So now that I'm having to accept that ovulation (much less a positive pregnancy test) is not happening on its own and we'll need help, I guess my house of cards is coming down emotionally, and I'm really having a very hard time. It was already hard for me to be the medical patient when I had two sinus surgeries over the last couple of years - far too many memories of what I went through as the caregiver, both with my LH and before that with my mother. Starting into the fertility realm will probably be even harder on me emotionally.

DH and I have talked about not letting the meaning of either of our lives (but especially mine) be wrapped up in having kids. But given that I haven't found a job situation I'm okay with for more than a few months running and have sufficient interest in, and if it takes us a long time to get our BFP, and/or we have to go through the adoption process (which can take years), what is my PURPOSE in the meantime? Is it now to make my DH happy, only? (No, according to him, we've had this discussion.) Is that any better of a reason for my existence than being almost solely focused on being a good mother for kids to carry on some piece of me into the future?

The truth is, having kids is more central to my sense of meaning (not to the exclusion of everything else, but it's a HUGE facor) than my DH would like... he is a guy, he had started accepting that he might never have kids because we didn't meet until he was in his mid-30s, and because he hasn't been through what I've been through. I think having been widowed, and knowing that I am one of the few people who could be said to be carrying on my LH's legacy, has only highlighted the temporary and ephemeral quality of human life and human legacy.

I desperately want something, or several somethings, to survive my existence on this planet. Whether that's just a couple of well-raised bio kids and the memories of DH, family and friends, or maybe finding some way to contribute to the help and comfort of people beyond my own circle of friends and hopefully eventually adopt (and raise that child well) along with the DH/family/friends' memories, I just have to feel like there is some REASON to my being here on Earth.

And I feel like I carry my LH's meaning with me too, doubling the urgency. I feel like some part of him lives in me spiritually, so in a sense my having kids is also a small way of carrying my LH's spirit forward as well. I can't fail all three of us - LH, me, and DH - in such a fundamental way without it tearing me apart.

I hate being old before my time, as I am in some ways.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Brother-in-law; Post-Maternity-Leave-Girl

I made an ass of myself tonight on the phone with my BIL. He's a nice guy and means well, but is kind of chronically "a day late and a dollar short" as far as knowing what's going on, when to stop with certain comments, etc. (He's made too many comments about us and kids, other clueless things, etc.)

Well, I just spilled a lot of the fertility thing to him - I'd had to call him because he'd called to wish me a happy birthday a few days ago. I hope it ultimately winds up being a good thing. I feel like I overwhelmed him and probably babbled too much. But in my own (admittedly lame) defense, I had just gotten my hair cut and chatted a bunch with my stylist about all this stuff. (The stylist is a great guy, he knows my whole family, and has been really supportive since I started going to him after my late husband died.) So it was at the top of my mind - even more so than usual.

I feel like a complete idiot for having told him as much as I did - as much as he might try to understand, he really can't, because by his own admission he and his wife had absolutely no problem getting pregnant with either of their kids, and she was a few years older than I am now before she had the first one! And plus, he just generally seems kind of clueless about this kind of stuff.

And yet, maybe this will help decrease the number of at-best-unhelpful, at-worst-insulting-and-painful comments from him, especially since the last of my vacation days are going to be used on a family trip we're taking with DH's side of the family in a few weeks.

Normally if I was going to spill this much to anyone in my DH's family, it would be to my SIL (their sister, not the one married to the BIL), but generally I don't talk much about this to them. I feel like I'm admitting that their son/brother married someone broken and defective. DH's part of things seems fine... I'm the one not ovulating.

And it doesn't help that Post-Maternity-Leave-Girl at work's husband brought the baby in today. Daddy and Baby were walking around the floor all afternoon. I hate that feeling of "Awwww, how cute, I want to play with the baby" so closely followed by that heart-constricting pain of hating her for having a baby because I don't, and it'll be quite a while if it happens at all for me. I want to rip the baby pictures off her door. Apparently it hasn't occurred to her that having the pics on her office door is - ahem - less than considerate. No one else in the company has baby pics on their door (a couple of older kid pics, but not even many of those). If HR weren't largely not very helpful at my job, I would consider going to ask them to ask her to move the pictures into her office. Anonymously, of course! As my DH said, he is surprised that it's even allowed to post baby pics so prominently like that, given all the sensitivity to people's issues nowadays in the workplace. I don't want to be the bitch who complains, since I'm sure it hasn't even occurred to her that she might be causing pain to someone by posting her happy baby pics on her door. I keep hoping someone else complains first so HR makes her take them down, so I don't have to be the one to do it!

I guess I have to go to bed. Oh well.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Infertility and Work

As I hinted at in my last post, I feel like I can't really do what I need to do fertility-treatment-wise given work. (I work at a company that does education stuff, enough on that.)

I haven't been there that long (several months, but less than a year). I have already had several false starts work-wise since my LH's death, so I don't want to quit outright, even if I had something else I could do part-time that would still somehow have benefits and more than $5 a paycheck. This job was mostly a foot-in-the-door type thing (but the benefits and an okay paycheck considering the position are really good too), so I don't want to burn any bridges, either. The vacation/sick policy is not horrible, but I have effectively used up all my days on a big trip that had to be negotiated into my starting paperwork already. So I basically have no time off that is not already a company holiday until after the New Year.

While there is some flexibility in my department in being able to take the occasional (and I do stress OCCASIONAL) couple of hours for a doctor's appointment and not be docked for it, I had several appointments in a row in late May-early June. I had put them off for a while already (checkups, follow-ups for stuff I'm supposed to get checked every so often, etc.). My boss was understanding at first, but then I could tell that she was annoyed by the number of appointments (despite the fact that I had given her ample warning that these were coming up, and had been making up the lost time). I finally had to print something out for her to let her know that I was dealing with fertility issues, and she was cool about it (I think she may have dealt with some of this herself when she was younger).

But, I just don't know if I will be able to keep up with sufficiently focusing on the job (which had already been getting increasingly difficult as I've begun to realize that I really am not ovulating, and thus will have to enter the realm of fertility treatments), in addition to trying to somehow work it out with my boss to do whatever appointments I'll need to do if I go on Metformin or Clomid. Not to mention the likely side effects of abdominal cramping and probably having to live in the bathroom for the first few weeks of Met, and/or the potential mood issues if we go straight to the Clomid.

To further complicate things, L and I are in the process of buying a new condo. While my pay is not a lot, it's still something, so I really kind of would have to continue in the position until we have a locked-in mortgage. I'm not sure how soon that will really have to be (officially we only have 45 days, but given that the place won't be done until late fall-early winter...?). And as I said, the benefits are good and COBRA is expensive on top of copays etc., so I feel like I shouldn't quit or go down to part-time without benefits (even if there were a position like that that I could take). So I just don't know what to do!!!

I figure, for the summer, I'll try to make whatever appointments on Friday afternoons (although that's tough, obviously, since doctors may be closing early on Fridays too), since we get summer Friday flex-time, and hope that somehow we get lucky in the next couple of months. But it kills me to continue to do the wait-and-see but not really do anything productive, because I don't know if I can take the side effects of the Met, or the additional appointments required of the Clomid. (What I've heard about the Met side effects sound in part much like how my stomach felt for about 2 years surrounding my LH's death... I never want to go back to feeling like that again!)

Am I just a wuss about the job stuff, and about being afraid of the side effects if I can't just take a sick day here or there? Am I just stalling? Am I afraid we'll actually get pregnant, paradoxical though that is?! I just don't know...

Oh, and this morning, we're meeting friends for brunch. I love brunch, big fan. But a friend in this group who normally doesn't show up to these things is coming... she got PG by semi-accident before she and her husband married, and now is pregnant with the second one. You think she's super-fertile?! (The kids will be only 18 months apart.) She only met her husband a couple of months before L and I met, and we didn't dilly-dally about getting engaged and married. To make it worse, it doesn't really occur to M that there can be other perspectives on life - she decides she wants to do or say something, and nothing will deter her. (But she seems very sweet and cute and harmless before you get to know that side of her.) Some of the same friends who saw me break down the other night (my husband gave them the topline summary while I went to the bathroom to wash off the Tammy Faye streaks on my face after crying) have been really nice asking how I was doing etc. At L's request, they have promised to help keep the pregnant one from making the whole conversation about her, her kid, and her pregnancy, which I REALLY appreciate. L said he'll also make sure I don't have to sit next to M., so I will hopefully not have to talk with her much at all.

I am not looking forward to seeing M, especially after the last few days I've had relative to other people's pregnancy news etc., and given that she is the not-so-empathic type. At the same time, I'm schizo about the kid thing - I went to a BBQ on the 4th for a couple of hours, and those friends have a baby. I wound up holding the baby for a while, talking to her, etc. But my pleasure in holding her was precariously close to my heart breaking again over the fertility issues we're facing...

Anyway, here is some of the issue as far as work/life expectations. To mangle a quote from Charlotte on "Sex & the City", "It's tradition! We will not behave like a typical barren couple! We have to LIVE!!!" I feel like that's what's expected of me/us. I'm not supposed to quit my job/shift to part-time to give myself the time and mental/emotional space to try to conceive, because I'm not supposed to put ANYTHING in my life on hold in the quest for a baby. I'm not supposed to mind hearing about other people's pregnancies, babies, toddlers, etc., since of course they have the right to get pregnant by looking at their husbands, and it's not their fault I can't do the same. I'm not supposed to be anything other than happy for my good friend who just got pregnant after only 2 cycles of not-preventing, instead of feeling guilty for not being happier for her and angry that I'm not right there with her. (I would be the logical person to offer to hold a small shower for her in the area when she is here around the holidays, but I don't know if I could do that without having to serve up a voodoo version of my heart on a platter for everyone to ritually stab, just to give physical representation to how I would probably feel if I did follow through with giving her a baby shower.) I'm not supposed to really resent the woman in the next department over at work who just came back to work after having her baby back in February, who has a bunch of baby pics plastered all over her office door that I have to walk by all the time.

There is a lot of "I'm not supposed to feel/act that way" in this infertility thing, and the choices in every way are not easy - work, treatments, friends, etc. I'm still trying to even begin to get a grip on them.

Okay, I'm going to try to get to sleep now, really.

Late night musings on fertility issues...

I started posting in response to the NYTimes' multimedia feature "Voices of Infertility", but thought better of it, figuring I should edit it and repost it here. Forgive me if there is some repetition of events, but this gives more detail.

To anyone insensitive (or just flat out completely ignorant) toward those with fertility issues....

Until you have gone through fertility problems, don't you DARE say you judge those who feel "lifeless" and grief etc. because they have fertility problems. When you can't get pregnant easily and naturally, it has a way of creeping over everything in your life.

I need to find some way of talking with my boss (even though I think/hope that my boss will be understanding) of the fact that I need time to go to doctor's appointments for the situation. Seems like not such a big thing, a doctor's appointment or two. But the appointments multiply, and I know that these 1-2 appointments will become more follow-ups and ultrasounds and sick days I don't have due to side effects of medicines I'll probably be given to try to help my chances of conceiving. Thus, I am afraid to tell my boss what I'm going through, even though she/he can tell you're distracted etc. and even though I THINK they might be sympathetic, it'll still get in the way of their doing their OWN job. So I feel guilty about even bringing it up and asking for more understanding about this, because I feel incompetent enough in my job given how distracted I already am. And because I'm afraid (even if it's not exactly legal) that will eventually lead to it being suggested that I "move on from that position", when I need the insurance and the money (even if the pay isn't that great) that come with the job.

A few days ago, I e-mailed with a friend who I haven't talked to in a while, and I decided to try to open up a little about my fertility problems. He used to be a good friend of my LH's, and a friend of mine as well. But honestly, I haven't talked much with him in the 2 1/2 years since his wife was pregnant with their first child, he knew I was in a world of pain still about having not had kids with my LH, and yet he e-mailed me this joyful e-mail about feeling his child move inside his wife etc. On what PLANET was I an appropriate recipient for that e-mail?!?!

Anyway, so I told him about my PCOS and about how we were trying to decide on what treatments and when. When he wrote back, instead of even offering the platitude, "We'll pray for you/send good fertility thoughts your way," he launches into the fact that that they are 9 months pregnant with their second child. Without even acknowledging what you just said about your own fertility status. He didn't tell me, because they were afraid of how I would react. Um, like I wasn't going to find out. They could have told me (kindly and gently but directly, without undue delay, and without a lot of fanfare, is usually best when telling someone with fertility issues) when they were only 3-4 months out, but they didn't. And then the he procedes to crow about how great being a parent is, and how you and your spouse will make great parents (again, no acknowledgement that I'd already told him that we were TRYING SO HARD to join that club, but it's just not working!!!!). So that drives a further wedge into that friendship. Even though you've known this friend for 15-20 years, I start thinking maybe it's another lost friendship due to fertility issues.

An hour later, I found out that a good friend who who I have known for almost half my life and who has been very sweet and supportive particularly through my LH's illness and the ensuing 2 year morass of grief, got pregnant after only 2 months of not even really trying, just not preventing. You had both wanted to be pregnant at the same time. I was happy (or trying really hard to be) for my friend, but feeling guilty because I'm not able to be happier for her, but at the same time angry that I'm not pregnant too, afraid this will be yet ANOTHER friendship lost due to fertility differences, etc. My friend is, again, truly sweet about saying she knows it may be hard for you that she got pregnant, she understands if you won't want to hear a lot of the details, etc. She's babbling, it's awkward for her too, she's somehow trying to make it all better when you both know there aren't words to magically conjure up a BFP for me too. For much of this conversation, I'm standing out in front of a bar. Somehow I manage to congratulate her and finally get off the phone.

I finally walked into the bar where I'm meeting my husband and a bunch of other friends for dinner. I'd been doing so well. In a moment, I can't hold it back anymore. My house of cards comes down all at once, a la a tired, cranky toddler, and I burst into tears at the table. My heart is breaking open along fault lines very close to those opened up by my LH's illness, death, and the loss of our planned-for family. My husband quickly sees that I'm not going to be able to pull it together after half a minute, and pulls me outside. I sob on his shoulder, heart wounded and aching desperately. In front of the outdoor seating, how wonderful.

Are you dying of the infertility? No. But it sure as hell hurts.

On the responses to the NYTimes piece, some people say, "It's not like you have cancer." And of course, that's true. However, I watched my mom battle back from cancer, and only a few short months after she finished active treatment, my LH (only 28 at the time) was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. We tried everything possible to get him better, or at least get another year or two of "quality time" in remission. Neither one happened. I know the heartbreak of cancer - not from the perspective of the patient - but from that of a closest relative.

Having been through all that, I can't help but feel two ways. Could I somehow find meaning in my life if my new husband and I can't have children? I suppose so. I survived losing my LH, something I NEVER thought I could do - and also survived the worst of the mourning of not being able to have the kids we'd dreamed of having together. And what's more, I fell in love again and took the chance of getting remarried, and hoping again. I've been gradually battling back to try to reclaim my mess of a work life. All of this is more than I thought myself capable of.

HOWEVER - do I really want to be forced to completely rewrite my visions of and hopes for my future, yet AGAIN, as I had to do following my LH's death? Absolutely not!!!! It virtually killed me to begin to rewrite my life once already. I feel like I should have a pass, so to speak, from fertility problems. Haven't I been through enough?!?! I'm sure so many who find themselves with fertility problems after having been through other stuff in their lives feel similarly... it's just not fair that those of us who have already been through the wringer in other ways in particular can't just easily get pregnant and bear healthy children, and be spared that set of heartbreak!

On that topic, I have a widow friend who lost her LH to cancer a few months before I lost mine. (We met through an online group.) She had been told after she married her LH that she was already in premature ovarian failure, at age 30, and when her LH had already had a couple of bouts of cancer and was in remission. She told me the name of the girl she'd dreamed of having with him. Although she didn't talk about it a lot, I could tell it was terribly painful for her. Fast forward a while after her LH died (and before I met mine). She met a guy she liked, and who was open about the fact that he liked her, wanted to be a husband and father, etc. She told him not to date her because she was a young widow (too much baggage) and had been told years before (by then she was in her mid-30s) that she couldn't have children. He said he wanted to get to know her, and they would see. Well, several months later, she hinted something was going on... she was almost 5 months pregnant!!! They had gotten completely, accidentally pregnant when she thought it wasn't even possible for her! The baby came early but was healthy, and then they went to City Hall, baby in arms, a few weeks later. They are happy and so grateful for their son, but I know my friend has not forgotten what it was like to deal with both the cancer spouse/young cancer widow thing, and the fertility issues. I keep hoping that maybe, somehow, I will have my own version of this happiness-out-of-sadness story...

I am wearing a string around my middle most days now. It's from an acquaintance who hadn't gotten PG after several months of not-preventing (of course, I think, for goodness' sake, why didn't you chart and use OPKs long before that?!). Anyway, she's very spiritual, and in her tradition, the Old Wives recommend wearing a string around your middle to bring on the fertility. She did it - and wound up pregnant with fraternal twins! She wore it all through her pregnancy. Then she got PG again, but didn't wear the string and miscarried, so she's a big believer in the string. She cut me a piece of the original ball and told me to wear it. I figure, what the hell, can't hurt, right?! Geez. If by some chance I get prgnant while doing the string thing, I swear I'll frame the damn thing!

Anyway... I suppose I should try to sleep. I haven't had sleep issues like I've had the last couple of weeks in probably almost 2 years, since the end of my years of sleep issues surrounding my LH's illness and death.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Noise, and new places to live

I'll probably bitch a bit about some of my favorite bitch topics in the first several posts, so you'll learn what I'm about...

I live in a condo in the metro area of a large Northeastern U.S. city. I got this condo after my LH (Late Husband) died. I'd meant to live here on my own, for at least 2-3 years, figuring at the rate I was going it would take me at least that long to find a guy who was actually good for me in my post-widowhood state, and get serious enough with him, to even think about moving or having him move in with me or whatever. Didn't work out that way - turns out the guy I had only recently met wound up being my new husband. For various reasons, when we officially moved in together last year after the wedding (having split time for a while before that between his place and mine), we decided to live in my place.

Unfortunately, for the second condo in a row, I have obnoxious, noisy, fairly-inconsiderate upstairs neighbors, with children no less. And unfortunately, it's a typically constructed building for its age and location (i.e. very little sound insulation between units). As in my last place, we hear A LOT related to the kids from the upstairs neighbors (I blame the adults, not the kids - it's the adults' responsibility to put down enough carpeting, not do noisy things like construction late at night or early in the morning, keep the kid from playing loud games at 6am on a Sunday in the master bedroom when they know about the sound carriage situation, etc.).

I just have to wonder why it is that nature/the universe/fate/God etc. thinks it's "funny" to make me live underneath three inconsiderate sets of neighbors with children in the last 6 years. Given that my LH and I had wanted to have kids, then he got cancer, then he died, and then I was a young widow living alone in a large condo, now remarried and struggling just to ovulate for starters, etc. - how is that fair? In the last building when we moved in, there were only probably 2-4 families out of almost 100 units who had kids - and yup, we lived below one set of them. Just my luck.

Now, whenever I hear the upstairs kid really get going running around, in addition to it being annoying to deal with the noise, I keep thinking how lucky they are. Back before she clued into the fact that we really were serious about their needing to put down carpeting (gee, they had only been there for over a year at that point and we'd been nicely asking them to put carpeting down given the noise for almost 5 months) and trying to be more considerate about the noise issues, I was friendly with the mom. She pretty much said she got pregnant accidentally. Yeah, not a problem I have. So while I know it is not their intent (clueless as they are), having to listen to their kid-related (and other) noise just rubs in the fact that I am still not a mom at 32, and that given the PCOS and anovulation issues, it's probably not happening any time soon. I can't help but be really jealous. Their daughter is adorable, even if she is very loud. *sigh*

Anyway, we are soon moving a little ways away! Probably in December. The place is all steel and concrete (sadly, I am EXTREMELY EXCITED about the building materials since it'll mean much less noise!) between the floors and sound-dampening drywall between the units, and we will be on the top floor! The place will be much bigger, which is great. But... I am also a little apprehensive about affording the larger mortgage, especially if the TTC thing gets expensive. (At the moment we have pretty good insurance through my job, but we'll see what happens with that.)

And... I worry sometimes that in getting the larger place before we actually conceive and it appears sticky, we're cursing ourselves. I'd had the larger place with my LH, and well... you know what happened with that. I wound up there alone and widowed.

Think positive, think positive... I bought the fan deck from a paint collection yesterday, so I can have some fun with that, dreaming of paint colors!

Tonight - or why I started blogging now

I've been thinking of starting a blog for a little while (likely topics: the TTC thing, PCOS, young widowhood, young adult cancer, remarried young widows, work stuff, etc.). So, I finally did it. (BTW, "LH" in my world is "Late Husband" - it will be a somewhat frequent reference, so there you go.) This will be a bit long, since I'm trying to give you guys some background.

As I alluded to in my first post, issues of pregnancy/babies/etc. were HORRIFICALLY painful for me while my LH was slowly dying of cancer and for 2+ years after he died. I literally couldn't deal with most things related to those topics. It was like the proverbial "Why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? We're CLOSED!" Only, times about 100. At least.

And now, L and I are having trouble getting pregnant. I ovulated once right off the pill back in January - and then nothing since then. I'm doing the whole temping/charting THING, so I KNOW I haven't O'ed. I have freaking pretty charts and statistics (those of you doing this too will totally get what I mean). Lots of pretty pictures showing why I'm not pregnant, why I could have two martinis tonight (I was not a happy camper, so sue me). And I'm doing occasional ovulation predictor kits, not that they're overly useful for many of us with PCOS anyway, but whatever, just for sh**s and giggles.

The cause of my not being a happy camper tonight? Within about an hour of each other, I found out that two friends are pregnant - one, an old friend of my LH's (who I also knew going way back) whose wife is due any day now, and the other, a close friend who had been not really hardcore TTC but kind of not NOT trying for only a couple of months... and bingo, two lines. The first set already has a 2+ year old daughter, and this friend had already accidentally put his foot in it. When his wife was pregnant the first time, he sent an e-mail to me about how overjoyed he was to feel his baby move inside his wife - to his friend's widow who had already told him that pregnancy stuff was incredibly painful to her - hello?!?!?! The second friend and I had wanted to be pregnant together. Oh well.

I feel absolutely awful - almost dirty - about not being able to be happier for both of these friends. And I'd suspected it, too. I've developed a hyper-sensitive radar for pregnancies in the last 5 years. But at the same time, I am ANGRY and HURT that I can't be there with them. I hate - loathe - that my LH's friend has become one of these obliviously happy parents who just don't get (and worse, don't really respect) the fact that no everyone's lives revolve around children (even if they ARE parents!), and thus I pretty much have nothing to talk to him about anymore. And clearly they have had absolutely no problem getting pregnant either time (I know they got pregnant pretty much immediately the first time, and I can do the math with the fact that there is not much time between kids). I had even told him that my new husband and I were having trouble in the TTC area, and he barely even acknowledged it much less offered any kind of empathy when he wrote back to tell me that they were pregnant again. Um, thanks for even trying to be empathetic!

I also absolutely hate that my other friend and I will not be able to somehow have the stars align and both be pregnant together. And now I am afraid I will lose her as a friend, as has happened with so many others, especially given how hard pregnancy/kid stuff has been for me in the last few years. Not that she would purposely leave me out of her life, but kids have a way of doing that to so many friendships. Especially if you don't live really near each other, and my friend and I don't. And so of course, I am really upset that I can't be more supportive of her, happier for her pregnancy, etc. She was very sweet on the phone, saying that she knew this may be hard for me, that she wanted us to be friends but she would understand if I needed to take little breaks from her pregnancy news as long as they weren't permanent breaks, etc. Of course, that only makes me feel worse.

After all this, I walked into the bar where I was meeting my husband and some friends for drinks to kick off the holiday weekend... and promptly burst into tears. My heart felt like it was breaking in a way it hasn't - well, pretty much ever - about anything other than my late husband's death and related issues. My husband steered me back outside to the curb, and I sobbed into his chest in front of all the people at the outdoor tables. Yeehaw! How classy. Good thing I had lots of training in getting over crying in public during the intensive young cancer spouse/young widow period. It felt like something was coming open in my chest, and such painful, deep sadness was pouring out. I hadn't cried like that in a while.

Anyway, as far as our TTC, I more or less knew I probably had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) even before going to the reproductive endocrinologist a few weeks ago. I went off the pill last December, ovulated once, and then nothing since then. I guess I never figured I wouldn't have ovulated at least 2-3 times by now. (Ah, to believe that again...) To make things even more fun, since we went on a big trip this spring (for which I had to get extra unpaid days worked into my contract) and have another "command performance" family trip next month, I have basically absolutely NO vacation/sick days left at work. So, I feel like I can't even really start medical intervention to TTC - even Metformin, a diabetes drug that helps some women with PCOS to ovulate more regularly - because I really can't take much time at all for the doctors' appointments. Not to mention possible sick days due to potential drug side effects. Ugh.

So I feel like I'm really between a rock and a hard place. Especially after news from two friends who are PG and how I felt tonight, I want to jump on either the Met or Clomid freaking tomorrow. But I feel like I'm barely holding on at work as it is (my job isn't that hard, but it's been really annoying and rather stressful for the last 6 weeks or so, and will probably not get any better in the next 2 weeks). So how would I be able to deal with all the feelings about getting treatment, how the drugs may make me feel, etc. - and still function even halfway decently at work? But I am pretty much over acting like there is "plenty of time", like it's not a big deal if I don't start treatments until more like late fall or so, etc.

So anyway... that gives you an idea of some Stuff I'm dealing with, may be writing about, etc. Thanks for "listening".

Let's get this started

Let me briefly (ha ha) introduce myself.

I'm KJ. I'm 32 years old. I have lived in a few different cities before returning to the Northeastern U.S. area where I grew up. I had been married a few years, we had bought our first home, and were probably a few months from trying to get pregnant. Instead, my late husband developed a rare and super-aggressive cancer. He lived almost a year before the cancer took him from me. Thus, I was widowed at 28. Other than the loss of my LH himself, the loss of our planned-for and much-wanted family was by orders of magnitude the second-most-painful part of the whole widowhood thing.

Incredibly, though, I was lucky enough to meet L only a little over a year after losing my LH (and after several mistakes related to "men" - quotations needed - dating too soon after being widowed is rarely a good idea). Although it was a bit tough in the first few months given all I was still dealing with, we fell in love, and then got married last summer.

Now, we are moving onto that next part of things... trying to get pregnant. However, I had my diagnosis of PCOS confirmed a few weeks ago, which is kind of a problem. Yeah, I would say not ovulating since right after I went off the pill 6 1/2 months ago is a problem. At least it seems my husband's part of things is all good, fortunately. It's just me who has "issues" in trying to get me knocked up.

Anyway, I hope that this blog proves helpful for me to work out all my swirling feelings, that maybe it winds up helping some other people also, or at least is somewhat amusing.

Thanks for indulging me.