May 31, 2006

It’s 9dpo…guess what’s happening???

Posted in TTC woes at 8:59 am by Erin

I’m spotting.  Heavily.  Now, as if that weren’t enough, guess what I did this morning.

I wore white underwear.

Apparently I don’t even learn from my own blatant stupidity.

Well, we may have a change of plans for next cycle.  J just settled a large case that they didn’t expect to settle, and he and his partner will soon be splitting a good deal of money.  (Mind you, this is a "good deal of money" to someone who has been earning a graduate student stipend for the last 5 1/2 years.)  So we may be able to do an IUI next cycle.  I mentioned it half-jokingly to J last night when he told me about the settlement and, while he didn’t say "Yes, let’s do that," he also didn’t say no.  He’s come to realize that that is the next step and is OK with it, particularly since it won’t ruin the "fun parts of TTC".  So we’ll be making that decision in the next few days.

Now the only forseeable problem is that J’s family is coming to town: parents, aunt, uncle, and a cousin.  5 people.  They get here next Thursday and were supposed to leave on Sunday, which would have been a perfectly lovely and doable visit.  Then they called J and asked if they could stay until Wednesday, since his mom’s birthday is Tuesday.  Which makes for a full week that we’ll be feeding and housing FIVE extra people.  The last time J’s parents stayed for a full week was when P was 3 weeks old.  After that, I swore never to have visitors who stayed for such a long visit, and that was only the two of them.  But it’s not like I can say anything about it.  Who’s going to kick out their MIL on her birthday?

So this may impact our plans.  They’ll be gone by IUI time, which is good, but will be here throughout Clomid time (which won’t help my mood at having visitors for so long) and will likely be here when I have to get blood work and the u/s done.  What excuse do I use for getting out of the house that morning?

Another issue is that I have to teach MCAT classes from 3-9 (not including travel time) on Sunday.  That wouldn’t have been a problem if they were leaving that day, but now it’s awkward because they tend to expect our company exclusively while they’re in town.  If I’d known they were staying through the day, I would have arranged for a sub.  As it is, there’s no time to do that now.

And the biggest problem is that I teach Bradley classes in my house on Tuesday evenings, when they will still be here.  I told J that they’re all going to have to clear out of the house that night–I can’t have a houseful of people when I’m trying to teach.  These couples have paid me quite a bit of money and they deserve to have as few distractions as possible while at my house.  So I’m not sure what they’re all going to do, but that one I’m chalking up to "Not my problem as long as they’re out of the house from 7 to 9."

I’m just rambling at this point.  Keep your fingers crossed about that IUI!  Now, off to buy more underwear.  Not white.

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May 30, 2006

Strangest Google result yet

Posted in Pure weirdness at 1:26 pm by Erin

I just had a search for "ttc sesame street theme".  I don’t think I even want to know anymore about it.

***Updated to add that later this evening, someone got to me by searching for "I’m Ready – The Best of the Tomato Years CD1".  ‘Nother one I’m not going to ask about.

May 29, 2006

Fun things to do while unemployed!

Posted in Pure weirdness at 8:59 pm by Erin

Or at least unique things.

J represents a chiropractic/medical office that decided to close because of some serious animosity between the owners.  They basically abandoned the office and stopped paying their bills because they couldn’t agree on anything.  Since they’re in serious debt, all the assets need to be sold off before they’re evicted, which could be as soon as Thursday.  Everything needed to be inventoried, photographed, and listed on E*bay.  All the medical equipment (they did have an appraiser come in for the big stuff, but there were a million little things), electronic equipment, other medical supplies, all the office furniture, and all the odds and ends–which were plentiful.  No one had time to do this…

Except me.

P and I met J at the office at about 1:30 on Friday.  I think J felt guilty about the sheer magnitude of the project he’d asked me to do, and he helped all afternoon.  We were there until nearly 8 just sorting and counting and photographing.  Then we went to dinner and got home about 9:30.  At 10:30, I turned on my computer and started selling on E*bay since this stuff has to be gone by Thursday.  At 2:00 a.m., I went to bed, having listed 70 items.  I was astounded at just how long it actually took, even with their high-volume selling software (which probably saved me at least 2 hours).

Over the weekend, we got bids on about 35 of those items, totalling about $120.  Since my "pay" for this task is 20% of the final amount, I was not so pleased.  By this morning, it was up closer to $150.  Whee, I’m rolling in it now.

Today, P and I went back by ourselves to continue doing some work.  I sorted and listed and photographed another 21 items.  P watched some TV, but his big entertainment was rolling the 95cm exercise ball around, especially up and down the ramp to the lower half of the office. 

Just for reference, P is about 92 cm tall.

It’s amazing what amuses kids.  He did this for hours.

Anyway, we were there for just over 4 hours today.  So far, I’ve put in almost 15 hours on this.  The grand total as of 5 minutes ago?  $300.69, so I’ve made $60.  That works out to $4/hour.  With 2 days left on the auctions (Friday’s were 5 day, today’s were 3 day), I might make a little money.  But for now?

People, I’m not even making minimum wage.

And I’m still going to have to package and ship all the items that aren’t being offered for local pickup only (which, fortunately, is a good many of the very large items).

If J ever wonders if I love him, he needs only look back on this task and worry no more.

But if he ever asks me to do something like this again…

Mama bragging ahead

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 6:00 am by Erin

Gosh, P’s a sweetie.  Having him reminds me of why we keep going with TTC.  Several stories to share with you:

We’ve been going to temple nearly every weekend and have started making some good friends.  Their "Tot Shabbat" program is fantastic, very well-organized and well-attended.  P asks to go all week long so when it’s finally Saturday and I say "We’re going to Temple!", he gets all excited and chants "Tempo, tempo" until we get there.  It’s quite child-friendly, and I know I’ve mentioned how many people have adopted internationally, so it’s a great support in that way as well as religious aspects.

This past weekend while we were there, we were eating lunch after the service was over (they have lunch after services to help people keep the Sabbath) and were sitting with two other families–one couple who has a 3-year old daughter and one mother who has a 3 1/2-year old daughter from Kazakhstan (and who’s just started the China adoption process).  P decided he was finished with lunch and walked over to the side of the room, where the 3 1/2-year old daughter, H, of another mom was laying across a couple of chairs.  He leaned down on the chair near H’s head and they just chatted away for a good 5 minutes.  It was adorable!

The mom whose daughter is from Kazakhstan said that P was one of the few little boys who really make her wish she had a little boy.  Normally she thinks that she wouldn’t know what to do with them, but he makes her think that it would all be worth figuring it out to have one.  I was so flattered, and so proud of P for being such a nice boy that he makes her think like that.

Later, I was chatting with the couple with the 3-year old daughter as we were leaving and P had run on in front of me.  At our temple, everyone’s very laid-back about where there kids go–an attitude of "they all show up eventually."  That’s one of the things I like about it.  Anyway, we turned to go into another hall and saw a couple standing there saying "Isn’t that the cutest thing?  That’s so sweet!"  We looked and saw P hugging H’s 18-month old sister.  Apparently, they’d been racing up and down the hallway, then turned and gave each other big hugs.  Everyone about melted right there…the "awww’s" could be heard for 4 miles around.

Last night, P was playing with his trains while J and I were on our computers.  All of a sudden he came over, sat on my foot, and sang "Old McDonald had a farm".  I always let him pick the animals, so we started singing together.  He chose a cow, a pig, and a goat.  Then he chose a cow again.  When I asked him if he was tricking me (tricking Mama and Daddy is his favorite thing to do), he gave me this big impish grin.  I burst out laughing and told J to take a look at him.  P looked at J and gave him the same grin.

P is a heart-warmingly sweet kid.  I feel so blessed to have him in my life–he makes even the darkest day brighter, and the bright days are just filled with joy and laughter.

May 28, 2006

Asshats abound!

Posted in The musings of Erin at 4:01 pm by Erin

I have started taking a stand against asshattedness about infertility and international adoption lately.  I wish I’d had more when speaking to my IL’s, but will in the future.  It’s finally dawned on me that if I don’t say anything, how can I be sure that someone else will?  For the record, I do think that most of these people really are speaking out of ignorance rather than out of malice, so I try not to go off on them as a first response–though it is often my first instinct.

At my graduation ceremony, the commencement speaker mentioned that you don’t have to ask how you can make the whole world change, you only have to change yourself.  Basically, lead by example.  I’ve always admired people who’ve posted about situations in which they’ve spoken up when confronted with an asshat but used to feel like it was too much, that I wasn’t comfortable with telling people about our reproductive life.  And if we were fertile, I probably still wouldn’t.  Then I started thinking that if I had cancer, I can’t imagine not telling people when I heard them saying insensitive things about cancer.  I think it applies to infertility and adoption as much as to anything else. 

Several months ago, someone posted a question about homeopathic methods to help with secondary infertility for a couple that she knew on a message board (the board isn’t about fertility per se) to which I belong.  Another woman responded, then put this as a p.s.:

she could also go the adoption route. how many women do you know who head down that road only to finally get pregnant? 🙂

You can probably imagine my initial reaction: $#*&&$*#!

But instead of saying that, I posted the following response:

Please don’t ever tell anyone to start the adoption process as a way of getting pregnant.  It’s one of the most insensitive things you can tell a person dealing with infertility.  People do not adopt as a way to get pregnant.  They do it because they want to be parents (or parents to more children) more than they want to get pregnant again.  And, just so you know, the rates of infertile people who adopt and then get pregnant are exactly the same as those who are infertile and don’t adopt.  It’s purely ignorant to suggest otherwise. 

We dealt with primary infertility when trying to have our son, and have been dealing with recurring infertility while trying to have a second child.  We are planning on starting the international adoption process soon, and the thought of having people say things like what you just said fills me with anger and frustration.  The adoption process (both domestic and international) is longer than pregnancy, extremely expensive, and emotionally heart-wrenching.  When infertile people decide to adopt, it is not in the hopes that they will get pregnant.  It is in the hopes that they will have children.

I actually have a blog about our infertility struggles to help educate and provide support for people, both fertile and infertile.  I’ve got many fertile friends who’ve said that reading it really helps them understand what infertile people go through, both physically and especially emotionally.  If anyone is interested, it’s www.pcosbaby.typepad.com 

Sorry to hijack this thread, but I refuse to let statements like that go unchallenged.

Now perhaps calling her statement insensitive and ignorant (while true) was a bit strong, and might cause her to roll her eyes and ignore the rest of what I said.  But I just couldn’t leave it alone.  I hate to think that someone out there is essentially calling adoption an infertility treatment and I could have done something about it.  I know there are many people who are saying "Just adopt ($#*&% just by it’self!) and you’ll get pregnant!"  I just hadn’t been confronted with it personally before (and she wasn’t even saying it about me).

What really disturbed me was that she claimed that we experienced some secondary infertility while they were TTC#2 (but didn’t have the problem when TTC#3) and still made the statement!  Since she said that what helped her get pregnant was taking R*bitussin, I have to assume it wasn’t particularly serious and that perhaps she never really experienced the emotional aspects of IF.  Then again, who am I to assume anything about someone else’s emotional state?  It just seems to me that someone who’d been in that situation would see the statement that she made as the assvice it was.

But you know what?  I don’t know what it made her think, because she didn’t have the courage to respond to the post.  I don’t know if she ever came to my blog to see the face of a person who’s really struggling with secondary IF (as the people referred to in the original post were), who doesn’t just need to "take R*bitussin" (for the record, I’ve tried that, it does increase my fertile CM, but I’ve never gotten pregnant on a cycle where I took it). 

Actually, I don’t know what anyone else who posts to that board thought of it, because NO ONE responded to it.  No one said, "Gosh Erin, I’m sorry you’re dealing with that," though announcements of pregnancy are always well-congratulated.  No one said, "Gee, I never thought that saying something like that might be insensitive."  No one even said, "Maybe if you propped up your hips? only used missionary position? charted your temperatures?"

It was disappointing not to have anyone respond.  And yes, it hurt a bit.  But I don’t regret posting it, not for a second.  Maybe next time one of them starts to say something to an infertile person, she’ll pause for a second and wonder if what she’s saying might be taken in the wrong way.

I can only hope so.

May 25, 2006

Water, water everywhere

Posted in The musings of Erin at 11:31 am by Erin

I’ve known for a while that I need to get my diet and exercise routines back on track.  I’ve gained weight, I have less energy, I’m more tired at night.  Not good things, indicative of an unhealthy lifestyle.  I do my best to drink 64 ounces a day but had been consuming a good deal of that in the forms of milk, as well as some juice and the occasional soda (since I won’t drink diet sodas, I just don’t drink many of them).  And even so, I often fall short of that goal.

A long time ago, before we started TTC P, I did a program that was dedicated to healthy eating and exercise.  It’s not a mainstream one, so you’ve probably never heard of it.  But I was pretty faithful to it, to the point that I was jogging 5 days a week.  Slowly, but jogging nonetheless.  I lost weight, toned up, and felt great.

The first step on that plan was that for the first week, you add water to your diet.  Make sure to get at least 64 ounces of water a day, in addition to anything else you might drink.  If you’re already getting that much, you try to get at least 80.  The result for me the first time I did it was that I lost 4 lb in the first week, by doing nothing more than drinking more water. By the end of the 8 weeks on the plan, I was drinking at least 80 ounces of water a day, often 100.  And strangely enough, your body adjusts very well to that.  When I first started, I was in the bathroom every hour.  By the end, I could drink 100 ounces in a day and still only go to the bathroom a normal number of times.

I’m not going completely back to the plan, though I’m going to incorporate a lot of it into the way I’m changing my diet and exercise, but I am starting with the water aspect.  For the last 3 days, I’ve made sure to get at least 64 ounces of water, in addition to some milk and juice.

Today I woke up earlier than I normally do, even though I went to bed late, and felt pretty well-rested.  My mood is better (the 2 new baby fish helped some, they always make me happy).  I’m already not in the bathroom as much as I was on Monday.  I’ve had more energy than I normally do.  I feel like I could go out for a nice, long walk with P in his stroller–and would, if it weren’t 90 degrees, sunny, and humid (ah, summer in Hotlanta).  Maybe after the sun goes down.  Or I could just get on the treadmill.  Anyway, that’s a major step for me.  I’m usually feeling too lazy to actually WANT to do some exercise.  Now I feel like I really want to get some exercise.

I’m excited about it.  I’m starting to remember the way I felt when I actually looked forward to waking up at 6 a.m. so that I could go jogging, which was the only time to go in South Carolina (where we used to live) during the summers.  It helped me stay happier for the rest of the day because, even if the day went to hell (which, in pre-IF days, was a far more rare occurrence), I had started the day doing something healthy.  I never got home after work feeling guilty about being too tired to exercise, because I’d already done it.  And it was such an easy step to take.  Not cutting anything from my diet yet, but adding something.

If I can keep this up, and start feeling a little better, I think it will drastically improve my overall mood.  It may have some effect on my fertility, but I’m not doing it for that.  I’m doing it for me.  I’m already starting to think that I could wake up at 6:30 tomorrow and go for a walk around the neighborhood.

Such a little change.  And yet, already so big.

Fish tank fertility

Posted in Pure weirdness at 7:44 am by Erin

I swear that all the fertility vibes in our house are centered around our aquarium.  Yesterday we had snail eggs, which will apparently take a few weeks to hatch if they were fertilized.  This morning, P and I were feeding the fish when we noticed 2 baby platys swimming around.  One is all orange, the other is mostly orange with black fins and tail.  Tiny, tiny little things, only a couple of millimeters long.  I rescued them (the dalmation fish were looking at them and licking their chops–or would have been, if they had tongues) and put them in the separate chamber to keep them safe while they grow.

I told J that from now on, we can only do it around the fish tank.

May 24, 2006

That’s not what I meant…

Posted in The musings of Erin at 11:12 am by Erin

Or, I should say, that yesterday’s post wasn’t quite how I’m feeling.  It sounded right at the time but now that I’m looking back on it, it was really more negative than I’m actually feeling these days.

I think J’s and my discussion a few weeks ago was enough to make me realize that, as excited as I am about adopting, I’m not ready to do it today.  Or tomorrow, or next month.  And that kind of took away my "safety net", as I was thinking about it.

I know how callous that sounds.

I’ve spent the last few months trying to convince myself that I’ll be OK if I can’t get pregnant again by the end of the year, that we’ll adopt and love that baby or babies as much as we would any baby that came from our bodies.  But now I know I was wrong.  I’m not OK with that idea.  I love that we will adopt, and I know that we’ll love those children as much as we love P.  But the fact that I might not be able to have another child is more frightening than depressing at this point.  And it’s frightening because I’m scared of just how depressed I’m going to feel come the holidays this year if I’m not pregnant.

I’m not a big fan of the unknown.  I like to forge ahead with things as quickly as possible, before the apprehension has a chance to sneak in.  Some might call it recklessness, I think of it as being prudent and knowing myself well.  Because when I don’t do something right away, and get scared, I delay as long as I possibly can, until I am either forced to do it or admit that I’m not going to do it.  For example, I was partly really happy that my water broke several weeks before I expected it to with P–it meant that I had to really go through labor and have a baby within 24 hours.  No real time to get frightened, no worries about induction, no weeks of painful contractions that would have made me nervous about the real labor.  Just POP, then it was off to the hospital to have a baby.  In retrospect, it was the perfect way for me to have a baby.

That’s not how you can deal with infertility.  It’s not like I can go out there and say "OK, let’s do a lap today and see if I have endometriosis!"  If I could do that, I probably would.  I wouldn’t have time to get scared about the procedure or the ramifications if they did or didn’t find endo.  But you can’t just dive right in because no matter what happens, you’re at the mercy of your body.  Of cycles and medications, of ultrasounds and bloodwork.  So it’s given me lots of time to get scared.

I know I sounded depressed about everything yesterday.  A big part of that is fear.  I realize that I’ve pulled back on even doing the most basic of adoption research lately.  I’ve had time to realize the responsibilities of raising an interracial family, and it’s got me scared.  What if I can’t do it well?  I know it’s best that I realize just what a huge responsibility it is to adopt a child from another culture ahead of time, to not go into with rose-colored glasses and think that just because we love our child, it will all work out OK.  But there’s just so much to consider and, now that I’ve had some time to realize that, I’m afraid of it.

It’s not easy to admit such a thing.  I like to consider myself strong.  I don’t like to admit to fears.  OK, I’m terrified of falling–even a few inches makes me panic.  But other than that, I like to think that I’m brave and willing to face hardships head-on.  Lately, I’ve started coming to the realization that I might not be.  That maybe I’m a big wimp.  I don’t like feeling this way.

But I’m not as depressed as I sounded in that post.  I just wish I could fast-forward the year and know what was going to happen by December.  Right now there are two pathways in my brain, infertility and adoption, and I can’t pursue the second without resolving the first in one way or another.  I just wish I knew what that way was going to be.

Damn, I still need those shooting stars…

*************************

Oh, and fertility abounds in my house, just not in my body.  We already knew the fish were fertile.  To add to that, last night, our snails laid eggs.  Lots of eggs.  Probably 50 eggs.  We’ll see if they hatch or not.

May 23, 2006

I wish…

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:06 am by Erin

I wish I hadn’t gotten an e-mail from a friend thanking me for making her son a pillow, and asking if J and I have any plans for having more babies.

I wish I didn’t know that that one sentence means I’m probably not going to be able to respond to her for a very long time.

I wish I were sure of which country I wanted to to for adoption–I got an e-mail today from one of the agencies that works with Ethiopia, but this was saying that they expect all their families adopting from Russia to be matched shortly and that the wait for an infant was 4 months at most.  That killed me.

I wish I didn’t see that and immediately think "Our child could be in Russia!"

I wish I could get as excited about TTC as I used to be.  I ovulated yesterday and J had to seriously talk me into "taking one for the team" last night, as all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

For that matter, I wish I enjoyed sex as much as I used to.  Now it often feels like more of an obligation than a loving experience (though J doesn’t seem to mind).  I hope that’s a temporary thing and that I’ll appreciate it more in the future.

I wish I could get off my rear and find a counselor.  I think I need it.

I wish P hadn’t completely regressed in his potty training while the twins were here.  The shock of having to share his toys with babies (he’s good at sharing with kids his own age) was enough to send him back into diapers for 2 days, and now we’re back to going entirely pants-less.

I wish I knew if that was a harbinger of what to expect when we bring home another child.  Should we deliberately request a child closer to his age so that he’ll see him/her as a playmate and not as competition?  Should we request a younger child who won’t be playing with his toys yet because he/she isn’t mobile?

I wish I wasn’t avoiding a friend of mine, who e-mailed back in February to congratulate me on passing my defense, solely because she’d mentioned that they were also TTC#2 and I think it’ll hurt to hear that they’ve succeeded.  I’ve little doubt that they have, but I don’t know that I can hear it personally.

I wish I knew if this cycle was successful.  We’re about as covered as we can be in terms of timing, but I hate having to wait out the next 12 days.  OK, only 8 before I start spotting.

I wish the thought that I’m going to start spotting next Wednesday (which is the day I teach Bradley classes and have 3-4 pregnant women in my house) didn’t make me want to cry.

I wish I could cry about TTC more often.  I think it would help relieve some stress, but the times I most want to cry are the times that I feel like it’s hopeless anyway, and crying wouldn’t do any good.

I wish that all infertiles had good friends to talk to in person.  As great as it is to have this outlet, sometimes you just want to be able to cry on a friend’s shoulder.

Is there a meteor shower soon?  I need a whole lot of shooting stars.

May 22, 2006

I feel like I owe you a post

Posted in The musings of Erin at 1:09 pm by Erin

I’ve had a million visitors lately (no, not really), but without anything new, I doubt anyone’s going to stick around.  And I really like comments–I know I write this blog mostly for me, but I am a people-pleaser.  So, for your Monday amusement:

Deep Thoughts by Erin M

I think my brain is sabotaging my body’s attempts to get pregnant–I’ve felt very bleh this cycle, and I ovulated 3 days later than last cycle (despite the same dose of Clomid and the fact that it’s supposed to build up a little more each cycle.  Does anyone know how to do trepanation?

We had 10-month-old twins here for the weekend.  I helped their parents come up with some more answers to nosy questions.  Like when they get asked if they’re "natural", they could put on a strong twangy accent, scratch their heads, and say "Well, there was that night when the aliens showed up…"

And when they’re asked if the twins are identical, to say "Yes" then look at one and say "OH MY G-D, THIS ONE’S NOT MINE!!! WHERE’S THE OTHER ONE?"  ‘Cause if you’re asking if boy/girl twins who look nothing alike are identical, do you really deserve a serious answer?

This video is really funny, but makes me very sad about the education level of young girls in our society.

Yesterday, J took P out for lunch and I stayed home to do some more sewing (oh, blessedly quiet house!).  I told P that I was staying home "because that’s what a good woman does, stays home to clean and sew while you’re out having fun."  A few weeks ago I said something about being barefoot and in the kitchen (minus the pregnant part, of course) was just where a good woman ought to be.  Since he remembers having a pink lollipop in daycare 4 months ago, perhaps I should stop saying those things around him.  Sarcasm is a wonderful tool but sadly misunderstood by the under-3 crowd.

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