Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sushi Panic

On my way to the doctor's office on Wednesday morning, I had a thought that made me gasp: if the test indicated I was pregnant, I hadn't had any sushi lately, and from what I understand, sushi is verboten during pregnancy. Many a friend has counted down the days until she could drink and eat sushi again.

For whatever reason, the universe said no to conception this month, so we went out for sushi.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Processing my Blood

So now I wait. I went to the doctor's this morning for a blood test, and the phlegbotomist asked if I had done a home pregnancy test. I haven't. The blood test is the most accurate at this stage, so I don't want to get my hopes up with a false positive, or my hopes dashed with a false negative. I'd rather be on pins and needles until 2 pm when I am supposed to get a call from the doctor's office. Somehow I thought the news would be immediate; apparently they have to process my blood. When I called D from the lobby to tell him we'd get the news at 2 pm, he sounded terrified when he answered the phone. This is another one of those moments where I feel like I'm standing on a giant precipice waiting for the world to change.

Monday, November 29, 2010

False Alarm Every Ten Minutes

They call it the "TWW" or "two week wait" at the fertility clinic and on the online fertility sites. I'm not a very patient person, but this is really trying whatever patience I do have. Because of the progesterone vaginal inserts that I have to take, I'm a little oozy . . . that ooziness feels like I'm getting my period. So every ten minutes or so, I have the feeling that I've gotten my period, and so far, it's just been progesterone ooze.

I guess I could cut down on this false alarm phenomenon by taking the progesterone at night like I'm supposed to, but I find it unappealing to have sex with the progesterone insert in for an hour (precisely because of ooziness), which is what the blogsters out there suggest. My doctor said to insert the progesterone pill AFTER having sex -- this was his answer, after receiving an anxious text from me asking if we could have sex at all for the 21 days I am using the inserts -- but I like to fall blissfully asleep after sex, so the idea of having to go in and put the insert in after sex was not appealing.

At any rate, my period should have come yesterday, today, or tomorrow (depending on what online calendar you use). I have a doctor's appointment Wednesday morning for a pregnancy test, so all I can do until then is try to resist running to the bathroom every ten minutes to check.

My heart sinks, and then it's happy . . . but no matter, I have to keep reminding myself that this was the first month of this type of intervention and it isn't necessarily going to be successful.

What's funny is how similar this "false alarm" feeling is to a "false alarm" feeling when you DON'T want to be pregnant . . . the waiting for the period to come.

New York Magazine had a really interesting story this month called "Waking Up From the Pill: Fifty years ago, birth-control pills gave women control of their bodies, while making it easy to forget their basic biology—until in some cases, it’s too late." I found the article to be perfectly relevant to what I'm dealing with now. Like this passage:

Now many New York women have shifted their attempts at conception back about ten years. And the experience of trying to get pregnant at that age amounts to a new stage in women’s lives, a kind of second adolescence. For many, this passage into childbearing—a Gail Sheehy–esque one, with its own secrets and rituals—is as fraught a time as the one before was carefree.

Suddenly, one anxiety—Am I pregnant?—is replaced by another: Can I get pregnant? The days of gobbling down the Pill and running out to CVS at 3 a.m. for a pregnancy test recede in the distance, replaced by a new set of obsessions. The Pill didn’t create the field of infertility medicine, but it turned it into an enormous industry. Inadvertently, indirectly, infertility has become the Pill’s primary side effect.
One of my colleagues in the women's rights/reproductive rights field thought that the article blamed the pill too much for women postponing childbearing, but I don't think that was the point of the article at all. What the pill did, I think the article argues, is relieve women of having to think so much about their reproductive capabilities. Like the author explains:

. . . [W]omen are half-consciously rebelling against the artificiality of the Pill’s regime. Removal from one’s true biological processes was more appealing in the Mad Men era, when machines were going to save the world and pills could fix everything, even the ennui of housewives. But for the wheatgrass-and-yoga generation, there’s something about taking a pill every day that’s insulting to one’s sense of self, as an accomplished, adult woman. “I feel like I’ve gotten a message over the years that the less I have to do with the nitty-gritty biological stuff of being a woman, the better, and that’s a weird message,” says Sophia, 35, who was on the Pill for fourteen years. “In my ninth-grade health class, I remember the teacher saying, ‘You can get pregnant any day of the month, so always use protection,’ and I kind of knew that wasn’t true, but because I was on the Pill, I never really cared about finding out the right answer. The Pill takes a certain knowledge away from you, and that knowledge is empowering.”

And, in fact, what I think the article argues for, although I think it could have done so more thoughtfully, is that women should be made aware of ALL of the risks and implications of taking the pill. I am constantly surprised at how much I don't know about my own body: blame it on inadequate sex education in school or at home, whatever. The fact is, before taking a drug that prevents conception, we should really understand conception altogether, and at least for me, I know I didn't. Of course I knew that waiting too long would make it more difficult to get pregnant, but I like the fact that the author talks about how easy it is to hit the "off switch" on fertility for a while with the pill, and not have to think about your body so much.

To arrive at the stage when one stops taking the Pill and starts timing one’s ovulations is to enter a new and anxious universe. After that, if you’re unlucky, you may enter a kind of medical and bureaucratic purgatory of doctors’ waiting rooms and insurance companies and worries that’s very far indeed from the freedom you enjoyed before.

On the Pill, it’s easy to forget the truths about biology. Specifically, that as much as athleticism or taut cheekbones are, fertility is a gift of youth. The body that you wake up with after fifteen or more years on the Pill is, in significant ways, not the one you started out with.

The notion of "choice" and "sexual freedom" in this discussion of the pill was also fascinating. The author talks about how NARAL and Planned Parenthood and other "choice" groups don't want there to be any public discussion about the relationship between the pill and infertility. It may be true that, as my colleague suggests, that the article overdoes it by actually insinuating that a "side effect" of the Pill is infertility ("Inadvertently, indirectly, infertility has become the Pill’s primary side effect."), I do believe that choice groups don't want to talk about how these issues intersect. As the author explains:

[I]ronically, this most basic of women’s issues is one that traditional feminism has a very hard time processing—the notion that this freedom might have a cost is thought to be so dangerous it shouldn’t be mentioned.

. . .

Sexual freedom is a fantastic thing, worth paying a lot for. But it’s not anti-feminist to want to be clearer about exactly what is being paid. Anger, regret, repeated miscarriages, the financial strain of assisted reproductive technologies, and the inevitable damage to careers and relationships in one’s thirties and forties that all this involve deserve to be weighed and discussed. The next stage in feminism, in fact, may be to come to terms, without guilt trips or defensiveness, with issues like this.

Choice is a more accurate word when the chooser—us—is aware of all the possible consequences of taking different possible paths. But reality has a hard time getting into these areas, let alone the Brave New World of infertility medicine.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Henna Tradition

I love Alanis Morissette. This is a picture of her surrounded by other women with a henna tattoo on her stomach. Apparently, there is a tradition in India and Morocco to have a henna design painted on the belly during the third trimester. The custom is said to "protect and bless the mother and child from any evil or malicious spirits that may be near during delivery," according to the Henna Caravan website. I have to remember this if we are successful.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's Going On Up in There?

It's so mysterious, this female reproductive system of mine. As prescribed, D and I made love this morning and I stayed still for 30 minutes after as I imagined the journey of the millions of little spermatazoa, excited by their sense of the egg(s)--their destination. All day long, I've been walking around thinking: Did they make it? Did more than one make it to more than one egg? If three made it, will all three attach to the lining of the uterus? What's going on in there? I want to go to a lab, hop on a table, and have them look inside and show me what's happening. It's hard to believe that such life-altering, momentus things might be happening (or not) inside my body while I walk through the mundanities of my life--doing dishes, feeding the cats, sitting in meetings . . .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flex Spending Revelations

A few months ago, our Communications Director, J., said that she had something small to tell us. "About the size of a lime," she said. She revealed that she was pregnant, and my heart fell. It's not that I wasn't happy for her--I really was. It was just that I felt like every woman my age or just a little younger in the office was a mother. We recently had a spate of pregnancies in my office--one development person, two staff attorneys, our deputy director, and an administrative assistant. The joke was that the pregnancy was contagious in our office. I would always think in my own mind when I heard this: "Except I'm immune." So when J told us, I felt like I was the only one who was struggling with this.

Well, I'm not. And this is how I know.

Our office offers Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) that allow you to set aside a certain amount of money for health-related expenses pre-tax; meaning, you put money into an account through paycheck deductions that reduce the amount of taxable income you earn. It's a great tool if you manage it well. One year, I had about $1200 left in my account and I convinced my dermatologist to give me a prescribed chemical peel ($1000) and stocked up on band-aids and cough syrup. Last year, I missed the deadline so I didn't have one. You can use the money for co-pays, expenses not covered by insurance, eyeglasses and supplies, counseling, and over-the-counter medical supplies.

This year, I wanted to estimate correctly, so D and I counted up all of the chiropractor visits we expected to make, the crown he wanted to replace, the prescriptions that we thought we might need at $20 a pop, and . . . then I remembered that if I got pregnant, there would be a load of expenses. How to estimate THAT?

Well, we're planning to find a midwife and see if we can do a home birth, so I knew the expenses would not be easy to determine with a web search. I decided to confide in J, who has also chosen to deal with a midwife for prenatal care and to have a home birth, and ask her for an estimate of what she was paying. J and I aren't close, but I like her and I trust her. When I went to her office to talk to her, she immediately confided in me that it had taken years for her to conceive. She did the whole fertility treatment dealeo . . . innumerable visits, shots, medication, etc. She said it took quite a toll. She said this pregnancy was a long time in the making. She spoke of how hard it was to see all of her friends get pregnant one after another. She talked about the expectations that people had of her, assuming that she was waiting until her career was more established before choosing to have a baby. She told me that she didn't talk to anyone about this while she was trying.

I was grateful to hear all of this. I was grateful that I wasn't alone among the people I knew. I wonder how many other women I know are struggling and not talking. I think it would be helpful to talk about it. I have to admit that on some level, it feels like a giant female failure to not be able to get pregnant easily.

At any rate, we did get to discuss expenses, and while I'll write about this in another blog entry, I should say that the estimate for a home birth (including prenatal care from the midwife) is about $7,500. A lot less than I thought it would be, and it seems that Cigna might cover 80% of that. They better, cause I think that's probably a lot less than what it would cost in a hospital.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


A few weeks ago, I started getting a series of calls from Cigna saying that I had ordered some drugs and where did I want them delivered. I'm like: "what drugs? I didn't order drugs! Put me on your 'do not call' list." Then I find out that the drugs my doctor prescribed were supposed to be delivered to me, and Cigna was calling me to confirm delivery address and get my credit card number for the copay. Fed Ex next day delivery to my office the next day allowed me to start this course of treatment this month. Thank you Fed Ex. Except one more problem: they didn't send the pre-filled syringe of hCG that they were going to--the shot that releases the eggs. Apparently it's a controlled substance and they only fill it upon a written scrip. So I call the doctor back, and they say that Cigna is notorious for this kind of screw-up; of course they mailed the scrip. Cigna just always loses them. So I ask to speak to the doctor to see if I can figure out whether the rest of the drugs (the clomid, the ones pictured here) will boost my chances enough so that I can risk maybe not doing the shot this month, or whether the hCG shot works in tandem with the rest of the drugs such that I should fork over the $90 out-of-pocket expense. The doctor's assistant got back on the phone after about 15 minutes and said that the doctor just happened to have an extra shot in the office and they'd administer it for free. Bingo. So, off to the doctor I go again, shot in the butt, and I'm off. Doctor advised us to make love that night, and then again Friday morning. (The math is just crazy: shot releases the eggs in 40 hours; sperm lives for 72 hours; egg lives for 12-24 hours unfertilized; sperm takes 30 minutes to reach an existing egg...) Unfortunately, I was so exhausted from work and running around all week that I just could not muster the energy for seduction. Thankfully, D knew what he had to do, and while it didn't work out that night, he dutifully performed the next morning. We were prescribed one more try on Friday morning (several hours after the eggs are supposed to have been released), and I've already arranged to go into work a little late, so we're cool. Pregnancy test on December 1, and if we're not successful, we try again in December. It's super exhausting to deal with all of this, but I feel like we're taking the right steps.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ovarian Amphetamines

A doctor friend of mind coined this euphemism for the drug "Clomid" or "Clomiphene Citrate," the drug I'm now taking to spark egg production. I like to call it my "twin pills," because I'm convinced that now that I'm taking it, I'm going to conceive, carry, and bear twins--or worse. I remember thinking, not so long ago, that I would never do this. And I remember darker thoughts: that women who did were selfish, foolish, and over-consumers of health care resources. In presentations that I would give to audiences about moms who were struggling with drug addiction, I asked folks to consider the moral, economic, and legal issues raised by moms who used illicit drugs, compared to moms who used fertility drugs. Didn't it cost society more to care for multiples than to care for an infant with drugs in its system at birth? Wasn't the harm greater?

But here I am. Taking one of these little pills twice a day for ten days. And hoping for many things at once. Including grace.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Offbeat Mama

I just read an amazing blogpost on Offbeat Mama. The founder of Offbeat Bride, the book and accompanying social networking site that helped me keep my sanity during our year-long wedding planning process, started Offbeat Mama, right around the time of our wedding last May. I check back every now and then to see if she creates a feature, like the Waiting Room on the Offbeat Bride Tribe website, for women who are trying to get pregnant. I don't think she did (yet), but I did find this post, by Ariel, the founder herself. She introduces her own story of problems conceiving with a video by a woman who poses a series of "what if" questions...questions that have been swirling around in my mind about infertility for the past year. I have been searching for something to read, something that I could identify with, around all of this for the longest time. My husband is so certain that it will all work out in the end, he insists on speaking in terms of "whens" as opposed to "ifs." Ariel's story was poignant, and scary . . . I hope I only have to go partway through the course of action she had to take in order to become pregnant. But I've already gone farther than I thought I would in order to conceive.

Two parts of Ariel's post particularly resonated with me:

the weight of the trying and failing got heavier and heavier. After a year of trying to conceive, it's not so much fun. It's depressing. It starts to mess with your head. I started feeling like a core part of my body had become an untrustworthy stranger. A breech of trust with your own body is emotionally brutal.

And this one, which describes so many things in my life about which I've harbored fear and loathing:

IVF was this terrible awful procedure that I'd invested a lot of fear in. It just didn't fit with my identity — who's heard of offbeat infertility? Offbeat IVF? Pshaw. It was the expensive invasive terror that desperate people indulged themselves in. It was like gambling: this thing that you keep tossing money at hoping that this time you'll win but ultimately the house always wins and you always lose. Of course you lose. It makes you crazy, and worst part? It doesn't even work most of the time.

. . .

What I want to say is this: I was wrong. I invested years of my life living in fear, seeing something (in this case Western fertility treatments and especially IVF) as the awful boogey man in my hippie closet, the terrible admission of defeat that would forever turn me into a person I hated myself for being. Ultimately, I was wrong. This makes me wonder ... what other massive fears of mine are completely unfounded? What other things that I see as the worst WORST case scenario could actually lead me to a place of profound happiness? What other paralyzing grief and fear could I release?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nourishing the womb

D's chiropractor has been giving me all kinds of advice about fertility--he even gave me a book called Wise Woman Herbal Childbearing Year by Susan S. Weed, a bottle of fertility formula (pictured here), and a bottle of false unicorn. I don't know if these things actually work, but I've been taking 20 drops of the fertility formula three times a day for the past month and a half. I feel like I have a more nurturing womb, but who knows? I hope a fertilized egg thinks so and decides to stay.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Indeed, the ovulation test showed a surge just an hour before I was to leave the house and go away for the weekend with my girlfriends while D packed up to head off in the opposite direction to a frisbee tournament. Thankfully, we had given it one try in the morning before we knew the surge was positive. What happened that day, however, I think will bear more fruit, so to speak, in the coming months. We had a really difficult discussion about priorities and our approach to this whole babymaking project that will be helpful next month. And then we gave it another try before I ran off to catch the train. : )

To my delight, D actually drove up the Catskills from his tournament in Philadelphia so that we could log one more attempt during the second fertile day. I love him for that (and so many other things).

I don't want to say "fingers crossed," because I don't want to set myself up for a big disappointment in two weeks, but I can honestly say that we gave it the best try yet.

Now, I just have to make sure that I scale down the stress level next month.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Too Busy for a Baby

I think we might be too busy to have a baby.

This past month was a wash--after getting the HSG test, I never got an LH surge, and we actually kept waiting for the LH surge before having a really good go at it, so conception certainly wasn't going to happen from our July chance.

I got my period yesterday, which meant a whole new round of planning. And guess what? All online ovulation calendars confirm that it's likely that my next two most fertile days will be next Friday and Saturday night--the two days that D and I have planned to be apart. He's going to a frisbee tournament, and I'm going to the Catskills with some friends.

I can't cancel, because my friends (one family coming from Buffalo, the other friend coming from Boston) have all taken time off and we've been planning this for two months. D could theoretically cancel, but he hasn't offered to.

I wouldn't ask him to cancel, but there's part of me that wishes he'd think about it. It's about weighing taking every chance we have (and the first, second, and maybe third month after the HSG are more likely to be successful) against the importance of this particular frisbee tournament. He used the excuse that I needed him home for babymaking to get out of a tournament he DIDN'T want to go to--even though babymaking was not on the agenda that weekend. that it should be....

Now, the other possibility is that my LH surge comes two- to three- days later than the ovulation calendar predicted: which was the case during the two months that the ovulation tests actually worked. So if he did cancel the frisbee trip, and the LH surge didn't come until three days later, I would feel terrible. Sometimes I wish he were the kind of guy who would drop everything and come running the minute the test strip showed a surge....The place in the Catskills is three hours from Philadelphia, so maybe I can convince him to either come with me on Friday and leave from the Catskills on Saturday morning, or come back early from the tournament if the surge says: "go!"

That said, the last thing I want to do is be seen as a ball & chain.

I haven't even asked him yet. Let's see what he says.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So I had the HSG test on July 28, where they shot radiation goo through my innards to see what was goin on all up in there (everything was all clear!) and I leaked for like a day and a half. I did ovulation tests every day since then (19 days now) and no freakin' LH surge. WTF. They say that this HSG test has a chance of resulting a smoother journey for the sperm, so there are some women who get pregnant after the HSG test. Well, we didn't take advantage of this extra boost this month, unfortunately. We should be doing it like bunnies right now, but instead, I waited for a positive LH test, and heat, exhaustion, and other diversions kept us from the job at hand and the LH surge never came. I totally don't understand it, and I am getting very frustrated with how little I know about reproduction, and how little it actually out there in a coherent, public way about conception. July-August was a bust. My doctor says not to worry, try again next month, but I feel really stupid. Not only did I waste a huge amount of money on these ovulation tests which were all negative, we also kept getting ready for the right moment to have sex, which never came. I am going to have to try to plan for less stress this coming month and just get myself ready for sex 24-7.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Baby kitten joins the family!

We brought her home on Thursday evening. Coco Armatey's foster mother is a friend of D's; she currently has 18 cats living in her apartment in Queens. It was quite a scene. She cried the whole first night because she missed her brothers. I got up several times to comfort her, thinking: this is what it would be like to have a child. Well, maybe even more rewarding. And exhausting. Kittens don't need much. Isn't she cute?

Armatey: she's a one-eyed cat. Arrrrgh, Matey! Get it?

Friday, July 23, 2010

"No Sex Allowed"

I had an appointment with my OB/GYN today who did an ultrasound to check my innards and see if there was anything to be concerned about. He also wrote out a "prescription" for my husband to get his semen analyzed, and a referral to a radiology diagnostic center for me to get that HSG test next Wednesday.

Things I Didn't Know Before Today
1. That I wouldn't be able to have sex between now and when they shoot the dye up into my body
2. That there would be some "dye leakage" and bleeding after the HSG
3. That they would recommend a mild pain reliever before the procedure
4. That I have a small, tiny 2 cm cyst on my left ovary (doctor says not to be concerned about it at all)

Things I Still Don't Know
1. How they're going to go about getting semen from my husband (will a nurse named Vanka or some such be "assisting"? Will pornography be involved?)
2. How badly will the HSG hurt during and aftewards?
3. What color is the dye they'll use? Will I be leaking neon green all day?

Kitten update: Two nights ago at a dinner with friends, my husband said for the first time affirmatively that we are getting a kitten! We've made plans to go and pick her up next Tuesday. Yay!

1. My husband was able to "produce" at home and bring the sample in.
2. The HSG didn't hurt even a speck. I felt like I had metal in my mouth all day, though.
3. The dye was clear; lots of leakage, but it was all invisible.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hundreds of Women Crying

I cry alot. I cry at dog food commercials, I really do. I wear my heart on my sleeve. What I don't understand is why you don't see more people crying on the subway. I come into contact with thousands of people a day in my travels through this big city, and I wonder about the folks around me: didn't anyone get dumped today? didn't anyone lose a friend? didn't any of these women just find out that they weren't pregnant? I mean, there must be thousands of women in NYC trying to get pregnant. Odds are I'm riding the train with some that aren't finding success; I mean, jeez, it seems like I run into a pregnant woman every 30 seconds these days. So why aren't more women crying? Or are people generally better able to keep it together in public places than I am?

Monday, July 19, 2010


Hysteria After a tumultuous weekend, I feel like a stereotypical woman who, at the turn of the century, was diagnosed with hysteria. I got my period early Sunday morning and completely freaked out. My reaction to finding out our July attempt was not successful was very different from last month--I was totally sad, blamed my partner for not trying hard enough and being not as concerned as me, and I was angry about everything: I was angry that he was on the conputer playing video games, angry that he wasn't helping me around the house, and angry at everything he did. I should have been put down with a horse anesthetic. defines hysterical this way:


[hi-ster-i-kuhl] Show IPA
1. of, pertaining to, or characterized by hysteria.
2. uncontrollably emotional.
3. irrational from fear, emotion, or an emotional shock.
4. causing hysteria.
5. suffering from or subject to hysteria.
6. causing unrestrained laughter; very funny: Oh, that joke is hysterical!

1605–15; < L hysteric ( us ) hysteric + -al1

1610s, from L. hystericus "of the womb," from Gk. hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb" (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus.

He didn't deserve my ire; and I shouldn't have let myself go off the deep end either.

Take steps; take charge. That's what I did on Monday morning.

I made my annual OB/GYN appointment and asked about a procedure called a
hysterosalpingogram that a friend recently told me about. Dye is inserted into the uterus and fallopian tubes to determine if the passages are clear; and apparently, there is a slight increase in fertility after the procedure. I want it. My doctor called me back and told me that since we'd only been trying really on the right schedule for two months that he wouldn't immediately advise me to do it. He suggested waiting for two more months, sending D off for sperm analysis, and being persistent. And patience. He didn't recommend patience, but I think patience is in order. Even though I feel the clock is ticking.....

On the kitten front: D's friend brought over our one-eyed kitten to see if she got along with our existing cat. Things seemed to go well. Kitty Coco (the one-eyed one) will have her sutures taken out next week, and then, if I can get D to agree, we will bring her home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Implantation Day!

Today would be the day that the egg would dig a comfy little nitch in my uterus if all else went as planned. If the egg is fertilized, I hope it finds the space acceptable. : )

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Things I Don't Know

I wrote this review on my LivingSocial: Books page on Facebook. What I didn't say in the review is how the book affected me personally. Cohen was not that much older than me when she discovered she was pregnant at 6 months, and her writing about her ambivalence about (even hostility towards) her pregnancy was fascinating to read as I try so hard to conceive. Granted, I have only two of the four strikes against me that she had to grapple with: I have not-such-great health insurance and I'm of "advanced maternal age," but unlike Cohen, I am not a DES baby and I am not taking teratogenic drugs. It's hard to imagine not being aware of the pregnancy in the first six months--especially as I am hypersensitive to anything going on down there these days, but if you've been told for more than a decade that you are infertile, I suppose you wouldn't be looking for those signs.

Her discussions around her feelings about taking care of a child with a disability were hard to read. I don't know where I come out on that one yet, and I don't think anyone does that hasn't faced it. I just hope that I would be less depressed and more communicative with my partner than the author describes herself being.

The scariest part of the book was her description of her process of laboring and giving birth. At one point she says that a doctor told her that after 35, a woman's ease at giving birth and her needed recovery time increases exponentially. I mean doctors say all kinds of shit, so hopefully that's not altogether true, but it does make me feel like I ought to start doing yoga like, now.

Here's my review:

Anyone working in the field of abortion rights should read this book--today. I heard an interview with the author on NPR a few months ago and scrawled the name in my agenda so that I could remember to order it. I forgot about it until I attended the premiere of the Human RIghts Watch film festival a few weeks ago to see the film "12th and Delaware" about a corner in Florida where on one side of the street is an abortion clinic, and the other side is a Crisis Pregnancy Center--basically a "clinic" set up to fool women that they provide abortion services but instead offer them a sonogram and aggressively and with lots and lots of lying, try to convince them not to have an abortion.

There are like, tens of thousands of CPCs that have cropped up all over the country, and it is part of the culture shift around abortion. If we simply demonize the right to lifers and we don't start examining our feelings about life and answer the hard questions about abortion, we're going to keep losing this culture war and women's lives will be at risk. Alice Eve Cohen's articulation of why abortion rights are important in the face of her decision to keep an unwanted pregnancy are starkly and refreshingly honest. Her thoughtful revealing of her struggle around this pregnancy should be front and center in discussions among those of us who fight to retain abortion rights in this country.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Solstice Disappointment

When you have a yardsale, you see tons of kids--newborns in little front-packs, babies in doublewide strollers, toddlers knocking things over . . . And when you go to a yardsale, you see tons of baby detritus--plastic pieces of things that look necessary but it's unclear what they are, stained onesies, weird yesterday's toys . . . We had a yardsale this weekend and what I saw was all that AND proof that this is not the month.

I wasn't as sad as I expected to be, mostly because I kept reminding myself that this past month was the first month that we were really on target with our timing. Its so strange, it's not the baby part that I feel saddest about, it's this feeling that my body isn't nurturing anything. I get that feeling when I have my period, I get it during that time in between when my period ends and the time that I am "fertile." So, basically, half of every month for the past year I've felt like a non-nurturer.

I have to turn that around. I have to create a hospitable womb. (Nothing I'm saying here is knowingly supported by science, by the way). I am going to take the prenatal vitamin every day. I am going to stretch and exercise. I am going to take this "super oxygenated female fertility formula" from our chiropractor. I'm going to avoid yogurt at all cost. (I have this weird feeling that yogurt strengthens your body's ability to fight invaders, and that Nat Geo special on the journey of the sperm made me feel like sperm was being treated as invaders by my body).

I'm also going to make sure that D's little guys are as young and fresh and frisky as they can be (by ensuring that he has lots of orgasms over the next month!)

Three more months of quackery and then I'll pack myself off for some professional consultation.

Thanks to my two good friends who are new mommies and passed along about $75 worth of ovulation tests. I'll start them the day after my period ends and we'll see what we can do this time around.

I have to investigate how common it is for fertilization to happen, implantation to happen, and then immediate flushing. The spotting I had several days before my period made me feel like there was implantation, but that it was not sustainable. I wonder what I can do to turn that around?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bugaboos and Hummers

Have you ever tried to get around one of these things in a small cafe in New York? Sheesh! I was having breakfast a nice little place called Perch in Park Slope yesterday with a friend who has a two year old, and we had such a funny experience. Perch sponsors a kids' sing-a-long every morning at ten, so around 9:50, the kids with their nannies or moms started pouring in, each with a different kind of stroller. My friend was pointing out the McClaren's and the Bugaboos . . . and she and the restaurant owner (who has two kids of her own) were saying that the Bugaboos were like the "Hummer" of the strollers, kind of an unnecessary status symbol. Well, this one power-mommy (aerobics outfit, visor, armed with a backpack that looked like she was going to war) overheard and piped up in a very defensive and angry tone: "The Bugaboos are the best strollers out there, hands down." Yikes. If looks could kill.

Anyway, I have a theory that childhood obesity is related to these little mini-wheelchairs for kids who can actually walk. I say: if you can walk, you walk. If you need to be carried, well, let Daddy carry you. : )

If we're blessed to have a child, I wonder if I'll look back and say: "I can't believe I said that about the bugaboos! They really ARE the best strollers!" And I have to say, even in searching for a picture of the double wide Bugaboo for this post, I found a cute little frog Bugaboo with three wheels--which is the only kind of stroller I think I would want.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Every little sign . . .

So after the LH surge test finally showed the surge last week, I think we took the right steps towards conception, at just the right times. : ) The online fertility advice peddlers estimate that "implantation" is to occur at a certain time after the egg is fertilized, and tomorrow was the pegged day for said implantation. Well, yesterday I was walking down the concourse at the legislative building in Albany and I got this weird gripping stomach ache. Never felt anything like it. I kept walking, wondering how much worse it was going to get, but it never did. It just kind of waved, and then subsided.

I was okay that rest of the night, a little tired and listless for no discernible reason, but that could just be because I was in Albany. : )

Anyway, I get home tonite, and what do you know? A little bit of blood appeared when I went to the bathroom. Could be anything really, I suppose. But every little sign is interesting and worth recording. Apparently, at the point of implantation, there is a little bit of blood when the egg kind of smashes itself into and grabs onto the side of the uterus. I think. It's amazing how little I understand about this process.

I told D that if I didn't get a positive pregnancy test by July, I want a kitten. And I want this one. One of D's friends is a cat-rescuer, and little Cyclops as we've affectionately named her is one of her rescued kittens. A little trouble with the eyes, and too young to adopt, but by the time I'll need her (hopefully not/hopefully!) she should be okay. But with only one eye. We'll see.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Finally, a surge!

Well, already our zero dollar baby is not a zero dollar baby. I've spent well over $50 on ovulation tests so far! ($15.99, $23.99, and $22.99 respectively)

Yesterday, I almost became hysterical when the test, again, failed to show an LH surge--the sign that you are about to ovulate. I let out one of my banshee yells (which David hates), spent about an hour googling things like "Does no LH surge mean that I'm entering early menopause?", and then finally made up my mind to be calmer and go through with the plan--have sex anyway and just cross my fingers. I didn't get to the stage where I attempted to make peace with the fact that we might not be able to have children--I'll save that effort for a more desperate time.

This morning we tried again, and after breakfast I walked up to the drugstore to purchase yet another kit. This time, I bought the one with 20 test strips (I've been testing 2-3 times a day).

I waited a few hours, tried not to drink too much water, and when I finally tested at around 2 pm, voila! The test line was darker than the control line, which means that there is now an LH surge. I think this morning's attempt was perfect timing. Now we just have to keep at it for another day or so and hope for the best.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Journey of the Sperm

D and I watched a fascinating show on the National Geographic Channel the other night about the sperm's journey to the egg. This is how it was described by National Geographic:

Each of us was the grand prize in an ultimate reality competition, the amazing race a sperm makes on the road to fertilization. Millions of sperm compete while overcoming armies of antibodies, treacherous terrain and impossible odds to reach their single-minded goal. To illustrate the full weight of the challenge, Sizing Up Sperm uses real people to represent 250 million sperm on their marathon quest to be first to reach a single egg.

We were just agog at the TV as we watched the show, and realized how crazy hard it is and how many obstacles there are for those little guys! It's so funny how it seems like it's so easy to get pregnant by accident, but when you actually think about trying, you realize what a real miracle it actually is that one of them made it. Even after fertilization, though, there are so many things that could go wrong. Failure to implant, early miscarriage....and so much more.

Here more about the show; and another interesting link I found to a series on PBS about the miracle of conception.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Maybe Baby?

I bought this book several years ago when D and I first started to get serious about our relationship. I had long been ambivalent about having children, and I couldn't find any writing that spoke to BOTH sides of the question. Everyone I knew said that having a child was the best decision of their lives, that they would never regret it, and that, in fact, no one regrets it once they have the child. That didn't answer the question for me of whether one NECESSARILY regrets NOT having a child. Sure, there are tons of women out there regretting not having a child, but how do you know whether you might be one of those who was better off not having one? I remember liking the book, but since I was reading it at a different time in my life, I feel like I want to read it again. Anne Lamott, a witty and thoughtful self-help writer, does the foreward.