Wednesday, October 31, 2007

CD 11 and counting

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing my reproductive organs: I am on cd11, with no drugs--and only dregs of hope-- in me. I feel like I'm just going through the motions, to be honest. I do not, in my heart of hearts, believe that I will ever be pregnant or bear a child. I really don't. It's only those tiny scraps of hope that keep me going through the motions at this point, cycle after cycle. I don't know when to quit. I guess it's the fact that there is no possibility of a "miracle" pregnancy for me. You know, those miracles that happen when a couple decides to stop all the fertility treatments, or are on a break cycle from treatment, and she miraculously gets pregnant after trying for 3 years? Well, I'll never get that miracle.

I'm single, so there's no chance a random night of sex with my husband/fiance/boyfriend will get me knocked up. I have to deliberately make the choice to introduce semen into my body, and make arrangements so to do. So for there to be any hope of pregnancy, I have to keep going through the motions. It's that difference that makes it drag on. I can't quite completely give up hope, so I have to keep on insemming. Even though I know it isn't going to work. But I can't quit yet. This is so insane, and I know it. But I still can't stop yet. Next week will be insemination #1,298,635. At least, that's what it feels like.


By the way, part of the reason—other than all the craziness I’ve updated about today—I haven’t written in a while is because I’m finally making the switch to a high-speed internet connection. Yes, I still use… wait for it… a dial-up connection. My best guy-friend teases me by calling me a Mennonite.

Anyway, all the equipment was gathered last week, cords were unhooked and directions were spread out. And then the grand realization that parts were missing. Okay, fuck it; a trip to the depot of office stuff would have to wait until the higher priority problems were solved.

One thing after another (see previous blogs) just popped up, leaving little motivation to fiddle with new technology. So, I finally just gave in and started hooking up the good ole phone line again so I could get online. I was seriously fiending for a fix, I tell ya!

Maybe this weekend, now that things have settled down, I can take my first step into the modern world and get my fancy new internet stuff hooked up.

Kitchen woes

In the last week, everything in my kitchen has decided to go on strike. The can opener quit working. The kitchen sink was leaking uncontrollably; I figured the stems are bad. The fridge began leaking and then died, resulting in the loss of all the foodstuffs therein as well as some water damage. After days of no response to phone calls, the leasing office finally had the maintenance guys fix the sink and install a new fridge yesterday... after we made a personal appearance in the office to verbally kick a little ass.

The moment the spanking-new fridge was installed, I looked at the maintenance guys and said, "That's not going to work; the doors open the wrong direction."

"Huh?" the head maintenance guy replied oh-so-intelligently.

"The doors," I explained patiently. "They open the wrong way. We can't actually get into the fridge. You'll have to change the hinges so the doors open the other way."

After staring at me for a moment, he replied, "Oh, you can only do that on the really expensive fridges. This is a basic model, so I guess we'll have to get another fridge." Which, in maintenance speak, means it could be a week before I saw him again.

I quickly pointed out the extra anchor spots on the opposite side on top of the fridge. "No, see, here are the spots where the hinges go if you want the door to open the other way. You can fix this one."

Head guy looked at the other guy and sighed. "She really knows her stuff, huh?" Then he looked at me and said, "Yeah, I could switch the doors; I just didn't want to."

Didn't want to?!? What the hell? And don't get me started in on his apparent, original assessment of my intelligence. I mean, I might not know how to work a table saw, but even I know enough to be aware that you can switch the doors on a fridge! Anyway, they came back today--just left, as a matter of fact, and you know I think it's funny that I was typing this while they were working 15 feet away from me-- and fixed the doors. It took all of 20 minutes.

I actually learned a lot about maintenance, working in property management. I might not know how to fix things, but I'm pretty good at diagnosing the problem and knowing what needs to be done. I just need someone else to do it!

I don't even want to talk about the water damage and all the work that created. All I can say is that it's over now, and I want to sink into blissful self-induced amnesia.

Baby shower #492

One of my old friends, Lila (whose ticker is at the bottom of my site), is getting pretty far along in her pregnancy, far enough that it's time to start the baby shower talk. Here's the deal: under normal circumstances, I would have been asking to throw her a baby shower when she hit her 2nd trimester. But I just couldn't do it, and part of me feels so bad about that. She is one of my oldest friends, and I can't give her a baby shower.

Financially, I just can't afford to spend several hundred dollars on a shower. I've been unemployed for three months, and my budget is tighter than tight. I simply don't have the money. I hate that it seems like I'm putting a price tag on my love, but I hope that we've been friends long enough that she understands my situation.

Emotionally, I'm not 100% sure I could do it even if I had the money. It sucks for Lila, the timing and all, but unfortunately for her, her pregnancy comes after almost all my friends have had a child or two, accompanied by multiple baby showers, some given by me. I just don't know how much I have left to give before I start bleeding inside. Correction: before my already-existent cut becomes hemorrhagic.

Then again, I know myself, and I can play the martyr like nobody's business, even if I'm the only one who knows I'm doing it. I know there's no way I'd not give a shower if I could, no matter how much I was dying inside. Just because I'm sad for me, doesn't mean I'm not happy for her. I've already agreed to get involved with the planning of her shower. I'm neither throwing it, nor the hostess, but I'm getting involved nonetheless. See, I TOLD you I'm a good martyr!

Stupid= good news sometimes

After numerous phone calls, emails, and pleas, I finally got most of the mess with my old employers straightened out. It turns out that the big lump of money to the Realtor's Association (RA) actually hadn't been paid yet; my ex-employer was doing a preemptive billing to get me to pay before they paid the RA. The only reason I found this out was because in my fervor to find out as much info as possible, I was hounding a clerk at the RA, who told me that my account hadn't been updated/paid for yet. So I had the clerk double and triple check, then called ex-employer (EE).

EE then checked their records, and couldn't see where they'd made a payment. Finally, the lady at EE who was handling all this exclaimed, "Oh, you know what? I didn't send that payment in, because the bill is still in my Inbox. I think I went ahead and billed you, so we could get your payment in before we had to pay RA." What the fuck ever. At least this one time, after as much BS I went through with idiots at home office, EE's incompetence actually saved my ass. Since they hadn't made the payment, and don't need to since I'm retiring my license, no harm/no foul. Except that I was worried sick about it for days on end. Stupid bastards.

Of course, the insurance issue is still out there, but I can't do anything about that. The insurance co. said that since a company check paid for the premium, then a representative of the co. would have to make the written request for the policy to be cancelled and a refund issued. Anyway, it seems like that ordeal is 80% over, thank goodness.

The moon sets, and the sun rises

A sci-fi writing club I've been in for over a decade is shutting down at the end of the year due to dwindling membership and participation. I have so many emotions that I can't even categorize them. A large part of me is grieving, because it, and the friends I made there, has been a staple of my life for so long. Even though I haven't been as involved lately as I used to be, I still have a special place in my heart for this group.

At the same time, part of me is relieved, because many of those same friends have ostracized me because I dared (gasp!) to state an opinion that they didn't agree with. And when I stated that opinion, not a single person out of the 5-6 people I wrote to bothered to respond to me. Not a single one, not a single word. And most of them that would contact me outside of the group's concerns no longer do so. Kinda made it clear to me where I stood. I'm fairly certain that once the dust settles, there will only be two or three people who bother to ever contact me again. Like I said, there are a lot of mixed emotions in this whole shebangabang.

Oh, and let's not forget the guilt, shall we? The insidious voice whispering to me that maybe if I'd done this or that, things might have been different. Maybe the group wouldn't be dying out if only... I think the phrase "if only" is the most evil phrase in existence. The truth, though, is that over the last three years infertility has been the number one thing on my mind. Writing stories about make-believe people wasn't nearly as important as talking to real-life people who understood what I was going through. Researching IF treatments, then writing about what I found to benefit others, was a higher priority than plotting dastardly deeds for a villain in a tale. I might have lost the ability to string together words to make an interesting story; but I can write a treatise on reproductive endocrinology that would make you swear I was a doctor.

Rambling now. All mixed up. An era is ending.

Time to update!

I can't believe it's been over two weeks since my last post. And I mean that both ways: I can't believe I let two weeks go by without even a quickie post; on the other hand, so much has happened that I can't believe it's only been two weeks. I sat down and wrote a ginormous post, but it was crazy. There's been a lot of stuff going on, so I'm going to break it up into separate posts so it isn't so massive.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

7 weird things about me

I've been tagged by Yodasmistress , and my task is to share 7 quirky or unusual things about me. So, without further ado:

1) Even though it's 2007, and we're firmly in a high-tech age, I don't have cable/satellite television. I have eight channels from which to choose my television viewing pleasures, and 75% of the time I watch PBS. 'Cause I'm a nerd who likes history and science, and I also like kid's TV. I dunno, maybe that's two things...

2) When I was a small child, around 3 years old, I used to wake up in the middle of the night, sneak into the kitchen, and eat butter. I'd take a stick of butter and unwrap it a bit, nibble a bit off the tip, wrap it back, and put it back in the 'fridge. When I got older, my mom told that she had been afraid that we'd gotten mice and they were somehow getting into the 'fridge, because she'd find these tiny toothmarks in the butter. Then one night she caught me, and the Midnight Butter Raids were busted. I have no idea why I liked butter so much. I can't help but wonder how much butter was wasted and thrown away because of the mystery bite marks. I also used to pour ketchup onto a saucer, and scoop it up with my fingers to eat it. I was an odd child.

3) This sounds totally gross, but I like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with pickles. Whether it's pickle slices on the sandwich, or a spear on the side, it's all good. I discovered this odd combination in my hungry college years, and it never left me.

4) I've always been fascinated by social insects. Bees, ants, some wasps... I used to read about them voraciously, and would watch them with the patience of a miniature wanna-be entomologist. During my college/hippy phase, I had daydreams of becoming a beekeeper. Then again, I went to class barefoot wearing headscarves and broomstick skirts, so that whole phase of my life was weird.

5) I rarely shave my legs. My legs see a razor maybe 4 times a year, tops. Part of it is cultural, part of it is laziness. It was just never something that was prevalent, shaving legs, when I was growing up, so it never became a norm or a priority for me. Then when I got older and my social circle came to resemble an advertisement for Benetton, it was something that was "done" by my melanin-impaired friends ;-) and I thought I ought to do it, too. But the habit never became truly ingrained, partly because I don't really care about hair on my legs, and partly because it just takes too much effort. And despite what some men and women have said about leg hair negatively effecting sex appeal, I've never had a man get nekkid and say, "Good grief, woman-- go shave those legs!" Never. Not even once.

6) I have a weird thing about sheets. As in, when they're put on the bed, I will spend 5-10 minutes smoothing them out until nary a crease or wrinkle can be seen. I can go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink without even blinking, but sheets have to be smooth, damn it.

7) I love Little House on the Prairie. Specifically, I love the book series (although I'm not averse to watching the TV show). Laura Ingalls Wilder painted such vivid pictures of her life in her books that I continue to read them to this day. At least once a year or so, I'll pull out the whole series and read it through. I can honestly say that those books were probably the reason that I've been into arts & crafts my whole life. Who could read about candle-making, weaving & sewing, hunting and fishing, preserving food, etc., and not want to try it themselves?!?

Friday, October 12, 2007

The joy of Chava

I spent last night at the home of two of my best friends, who just happen to be the parents of my goddaughter "Chava". Back before Chava was born, I used to tease them, half-seriously, about how once they had "my baby", s/he would become more important to me than they. I was wrong, though; I discovered that the heart has an unbelievably vast capacity for love. I love them as much as I ever did, but at the same time, found a new love that has me reeling, almost two and a half years after she was born.

Chava, almost 2.5 years old, is my delight, my joy, my frustration, and my light. I never thought I could love a child this much; at least, not a child that did not come from my own body. I spoke to her before she was born; I had the honor of watching as she passed from her mother's body into the world; I rocked her through colic, colds, earaches and teething; I saw her first smiles; I stood before God and man, and vowed to watch, love, and teach her as her godmother; I watched her crawl for the first time; I watched her first steps. Although she is not the child of my body, she is the child of my heart. I am so attached to this child that I almost feel guilty for wanting to have a child, because how could I think of possibly usurping her position by giving birth to "my second" child?

When I see her, even if it's just a photograph of her, I just smile and think, "That face. I love that face." I know this sounds unforgivably hokey, but I don't understand how anyone can look into the face of a child, and not believe that there is a God; and I can't honestly think of how to explain that, at least not well. Children are such miraculous packages of joy that I can't help feeling a connection to the Divine when I'm in their presence.

When Chava screams because we've taken away her "lipsick" (lipstick, which is really lip balm), which she applies constantly for hours on end, I love her. When she throws herself at me, hugs my neck so hard she almost strangles me, nuzzles her nose to mine and claims me by saying, "My Kimmy!", I love her. When she frowns at me because I've committed the unforgivable faux pas of walking in front of the TV if she's watching Rella (Cinderella, also once known as "Dress" for the blue ball gown) or Caillou (a cartoon of a little Canadian boy, whose totally bald head makes me & Chava's parents joke about him going through chemo), I love her.

She goes to a bilingual daycare, and has since she was a newborn. Her first words were a mixture of English and Spanish, and she still occasionally uses Spanish at home. I think I've learned more Spanish from this child than I ever knew; if nothing else, out of a sense of desperation to figure out what she wants. Zapatos? Mas? Vamos? Aqui? What is she saying?!? Heck, I took German and Russian for my foreign languages! We're all learning baby-Spanish with her just to understand this child!

What can I say? I've watched this child grow from her first u/s picture (that made her look like a ghoul because her bones showed so clearly), to the strong-willed and enchanting little girl she is today. Everyday that I am with her, I am thankful that I am getting the opportunity to be a part of a child's life, and that that child is so wonderful. I just have to get her some more lipsick, because her dad keeps hiding it.

Oprah infertility show

Earlier this week, Oprah did a show on infertility. To be exact, it was about people using surrogate mothers in India, and a brief bit about IVF. I watched the show, waiting as always, to feel that sigh of relief, that someone in the media was finally going to show what it's like to struggle with infertility. And as always, I came away from the show feeling vaguely dissatisfied.

I want someone to show a real segment, with real feelings, about the pain of IF. The couple using the surrogate was okay, but I guess what I wanted was for them to teach the world about what led them to the decision: the feelings of hopelessness, because they'd been TTC for years with no success; the despair and loss of dignity of having to open the most intimate part of their lives to doctors; the strain as their marriage suffered under the twin yokes of scheduled sex and mutual resentment; the trickling away of hope every month when a spot of blood appeared.

Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I don't really think so. If the same show can capitalize on the heart-wrenching images of children weeping because of the problems caused by their parents' divorce, it can surely try to show the real pain of IF. I guess showing adults upset because they can't have a baby doesn't fetch ratings as much as showing cute little kids crying.

And the mini-segment on IVF that featured Alexis Stewart? I can't imagine anything less likely to induce empathy. She was so cold and detached while she talked about her multiple failed rounds of IVF that I was wondering if they'd replaced a human being with a robot. She could have just as easily been talking about getting a manicure done, she was so bland.

While I don't pretend that I know AS, or know her personal struggle, I'm going to be generous and say that perhaps her demeanor was her form of self-preservation: a sort of, "act detached and keep it impersonal, and maybe I'll come out of this interview with my dignity intact" kind of thing. But I think it backfired, because even I, a veteran in the IF war, found it hard to have any sympathy for a fellow soldier in the trenches. And that's sad.

We all have a right to do what we have to, to get through IF with as much of our sanity intact as we can. But if you're going to go on national television to talk about it, why not use the opportunity to do something really positive, and maybe show the world a real glimpse into the lives of people suffering from IF? It was pretty much a wasted hour, watching that episode of Oprah. Or, as my friends say, "That's an hour of my life I can never get back."

Friday, October 05, 2007

I have the no-job blues

Believe it or not, I could care less about TTC right now. I actually have NOT ovulated, and am on day 5,623 of my cycle (or maybe it's day 27, who knows?). I'm not bothering with opks anymore; at this point, I know this is a messed up cycle, and I have other things to worry about than TTC.

-I'm still unemployed, and it's not fun anymore. Yeah, sure, it was luxurious for a while, being able to sleep in everyday and have an extended vacation. But now it's just starting to get depressing. Am I just not good enough for anyone to hire me? Rejection is not a pretty feeling.

-Through a baffling mish-mash of miscommunication, error and stupidity, the company that I used to work for paid for the renewal of my insurance (real estate license E&O) and membership to the Realtor's association. Even though I was supposed to have been released from the company 2 months ago, and am in the process of retiring my real estate license. And even though the error was on their part, they've paid the fees and have been informed that none of them are refundable. Guess who's been presented with the bill? If I still worked for the company, they'd have paid for it. But since I'm not with them anymore, they expect to be reimbursed for all the fees. I now have a $500 bill sitting and waiting to be paid. And believe me, when you've been unemployed for 2 months, an unexpected bill for $500 is a huge blow.

-For the first time in my life, I've been having nightmares. Believe it or not, I've never had nightmares before. Now, though, it's like a nightly personal cinema, filled with horror, pain and despair. As much as I used to like sleep, it is no longer my friend.

I really don't know what to think most days. I feel like a failure and a loser because I can't get a decent job, while people I know with half my education make twice what I did. I'm worrying about things so much that I'm starting to have panic attacks. It just seems like nothing I do, or have ever done, is good enough. That I'm not good enough. No mate, no child, no job, and feeling like I'm sinking into depression.

And my friends have enough of their own drama that I'm not going to them for support. Besides, other than being a willing ear, there's not really anything that they can do, anyway. The only thing that keeps me slightly sane is remembering that I've had rough times before, and I've made it through. Not always whole or intact, but I've made it through.