Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Ketchup Incident

Okay, my hormones are very tricky.   When I figured they would be in overdrive--like when I was on the fertility drugs--I was pretty calm.  Being pregnant, I figured - "Hey, I have rode this rollercoaster before and (other than wicked PostPartum Depression) I was cool--should be an easy ride."  (Note, I have not consulted my other half to find out if I was indeed a hormonal pregnant woman last time around--what does he know, right?!?) 

I think those hormones were just waiting around during the IVF follies, and now they are raring to go!  For example:

I bought 2 bottles of Heinz One Carb ketchup last week. I am the only one who uses this ketchup--I actually like it, and it makes me feel like I am not using useless carbs/sugars. I put one in the fridge. (I mention the specialness of the ketchup, because, damn it...I really should have been upset with what happen next...I mean, its MY somewhat more expensive ketchup...right!?!) Last weekend I took out my lunch from the fridge, and the ketchup fell out and BURST open (the plastic completely and utterly cracked open). Ketchup was everywhere. I mean, it looked like a crime scene. And, in front of my husband and 8 year old son, I totally utterly lost it.   I was crying like my best friend had died.  I just could not stopping crying--and I mean the type of crying where you can't catch a breath!  Over ketchup!!! 

Looking back--it was funny.  Really.   



Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Notes on Christmas 2007

Christmas Eve: Was taken out to my favorite Japanese Steakhouse, requested extra fried rice (really too much!--I have left overs to prove it). Came home, opened presents, Michael wore the Santa Hat and passed them out. Had a few presents that were addressed to Willow (already!). Then my bro and his fiancee came over and we had Birthday Cake a day early. CHOCOLATE! YUM!

Then the real fun began---my son woke up at quarter to midnight to make SURE that everyone went to bed before Santa came. And he then came in our bed. He was literally shaking from head to toe with anticipation and excitement. The next 4 hours I stayed up with him. He just could not get to sleep. Every so often he went to one of the upstairs windows to check if the special oats he had thrown out for the reindeer was gone. I tried everything (apart from bringing him downstairs where "Santa" had already came). It was SO CUTE. Only at 3:30 a.m. did I start to lose it and mutter "really, now, this is getting f--ing ridculous...we both need to sleep!" (Oh, and hubby can sleep through ANYTHING---and he did...) Finally, Michael asked me to check to see if Santa had eaten his cookies (luckily we had)....and yes, I checked and around 4 a.m. my son and I finally fell asleep (getting back up at 7 a.m.). It was cute, it was annoying, it was heartbreaking, it was exhausting and it was WONDERFUL. The highlight of my Christmas.

After that, everything else was a blur. Michael got all he wanted and more, I got a GPS for my birthday (I wanted a massage--I guess this is better!). And Willow was thought about (and she made her presence known every so often).

Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Greetings and Thoughts

Another year older (literally) and I cannot say whether I am wiser, but I do feel happier. This year has had an unusual share of ups and downs. At the beginning of the year, I was lamenting my son getting older and our lack of giving him a sibling was looming ever larger. At the beginning of the year, I had lost 50 lbs. and was on my way to being healthier. At the beginning of the year, I had no idea what "IVF" stood for. I had never heard of GonalF Pens, or "PIO". But I soon would learn a LOT about them. In the middle of the year, I thought all was lost on the IVF front. By the fall, I was astounded (and a little bit cautious) with my good fortune. The end of this year has brought me something I did not think was possible at the end of last year. And I am so thankful!!

I am particularly thankful for my husband and son for being with me and helping me through this year. And for the Bloggers out there, from which I learned a whole lot...not just about the specifics of fertility treatments, but about the courage and persistence that it takes to go down this path. I wish for everyone a great coming year!


Christmas Songs for the Athiest

Friday, December 21, 2007

Braces Bunch Alert!!

Jeannine at I Think We Made A Nugget is in the hospital on bed-rest (2 weeks plus already). Send her something to amuse her, either via internet (she has a laptop) or via snail mail!

Having been on bedrest before, I can't tell you how much it would have meant to get something to distract me!

AND:

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all the Braces Bunches out there!!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Things To Do During a Snow Storm...

Well, not used to New England getting two snowstorms in a row (makes me think of my younger years in Michigan). But, at least today, we could do things indoors without much trouble...for one, I added the Braces Bunch to my blog roll...


Like play videogames...and boardgames...and some Wii games....


Eat chocolate cake...sorry, it was too good, too quickly eaten for a picture...


Watch classic Holiday Fare...Note the letter from Santa Claus Michael received in the mail (from the NORTH POLE) on Friday...he was in such wonder and held the letter all that night...


Finish (FINALLY) the last wave of holiday cards...

But, by far, my favorite thing we did today...

Start painting the Nursery...(I did not have masking tape, so this was just a start--Michael had fun painting "W"s on the walls (for Willow). The color is "Willow Leaf".


I don't know if you can tell, but our friend Ana started the mural--she outlined it in chalk...you can kinda see the giraffe and the elephant... (if you click on the above image, its a bit more clearer)


The crib is for X-Mas week...


Oh, and I guess...shovel snow!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Book Tour - Handmaids Tale



Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite author's and "The Handmaid's Tale" is one of my favorite books, so when the Barren Bitches Book Brigade decided to "tour" this book, I could not resist. I first read this book in college. I have a copy and thumb through it now and again, but this was the first time in about 2 years that I had actually read it cover to cover. And it was the first time I had read it while dealing with infertility. It was amazing to see how I had sympathy for not only Offred but also Serena, which was something I had not had before. As usual, it was a book I could not put down, as usual, I found parallells in this society. I also highly recommend the movie made some time ago with Robert Duval, Fay Dunaway and Natasha Richardson.

Below are questions and my answers from the book tour:

Question: Aunt Lydia describes the handmaids as "a transitionalgeneration," that has the especially difficult job of normalizing the new fertility practices(chapter 20.) Do you think that infertile women today can be called a transitional generation? If so, in what ways were things different before, and how do you think things might be different after?

Yes, I do believe this is the transitional generation of infertiles.

Scientifically, it is definitely a transitional period. Since the 1970s the reproductive sciences have explored the many ways to help infertiles, with often mixed results. Even today, scientists are just now understanding what makes a viable embryo and what limits there are to manipulating eggs and sperm. Techniques that were used 10 – 15 years ago are being rapidly replaced with new protocols and medications that have helped to increase success rates. And yet, there are still many questions left to answer. We joke that it is a lottery, but in many ways, it is.

Socially and economically it is a transitional period. The fact that many states do not cover fertility treatments in their health care coverage causes fertility treatments to be too expensive for many infertiles. The ones who can afford treatment are often looked upon in society as people who have “chosen” to do something for their infertility which is “foolish” or “extravagant” and often chided for not “just adopting”. This lack of understanding of the process of fertility treatments versus adoption, etc. is in a transitional state as well, as more and more infertiles are sharing their stories. I do think that the internet and other media are helping to change people’s attitude towards the infertile world. I do think that health care reform will cause many of the procedures to be covered. I think that sharing our voices in this cause will make a difference to the next generation.


Question: One major theme through this book is the role that religion plays in the new society's "quest for babies" (arguably, it's a very sinister role, but a role nonetheless). In fertility treatments, you often hear of the religion playing a role in the lives of the men and women who undergo treatments – some won't reduce as it's against their views, some won't undergo certain types of treatments, and others separate their views on religion from their views on the science of fertility treatments and options. What role did/does religion play or not play in your fertility treatments or child-rearing choices?

I feel that the book really showed the dangers of a theocracy (and why I don’t believe in organized religion). Their agenda was forced onto society and there was no “choice” for the men and women in that society. Forcing an ideal, whether its “moral” or “ethical” on another person is choking and suffocating to not only the individual but the society as a whole. And it eventually will breakdown that society.



For me, the moral and ethical issues with fertility treatments were not as important as the logistics and economics of the options we had. But my experience is different from anyone else, and because of that, I do not feel that my choices should be the only ones out there.

Being a secondary infertile, there is the guilt of already having something that many do not---a healthy child. We did debate about whether we “really” wanted another child. However, given our family dynamics we felt a sibling was definitely something we wanted and needed. And we had decided that no matter what, we were going to have another one, whether by adoption or treatment. Fertility treatments are covered in my state (IVF for 3 cycles). Adoption is not. It came down to the economics. Morally, I would have had no problem with adopting. Morally, I would have no problem with egg donation/sperm donation. I believe that what ever it takes to make a family, that is what you do.

As for child-rearing and religion, I feel that people have moral compasses whether or not they have religion. Teach your child the golden rule “treat others as you wish to be treated”.


Question: On pg. 70, Offred is discussing her past studies of psychology and at this time she mentions a study done on three pigeons trained to peck at buttons for grain. She states: Three groups of them: the first got one grain per peck, the second one grain every other peck, the third was random. When the man in charge cut off the grain, the first group gave up quite soon, the second group a little later. The third group never gave up. They'd peck themselves to death rather than quit. While reading these lines, I could not help but identify with the third group of pigeons. Sadly, I think I've come to a point where I will never give up, even if it means death before success. How about you? Do you identify with one of these groups? What do you think Atwood's intention was in including this bit of information?

I identify with the second group. We went into fertility treatments feeling like we needed to try this solution first, but if we tried the three cycles and it did not work, I think we would have started to explore other options, such as adoption. We had already started filling out the forms to be foster-to-adopt. I take the analogy as saying that the third group would never give up to the point of losing the actual goal, and Atwood’s use of it to show the desperation and hopelessness of the society’s goals in general and the Handmaids and Wives goals in specific.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about The Handmaid's Tale? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #9 (The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

20 Weeks...Reflections

I thought I would celebrate the half-way point by writing down my reflections from almost nine years ago. I found a partially completed Pregnancy Calendar from when I was pregnant with Michael. Since I have been writing about this pregnancy here on the blog, I thought it would be a good thing to remember when my earlier pregnancy was such an innocent venture...

Here are some entries:

Week 7 (7-10-98): "Went to my first exam today. Liked the doctor. He made me feel comfortable and made me laugh. Saw an ultrasound of the baby. So SMALL!! Got to keep a picture - brought to McDonald's and to [husband]'s work."

Week 12 (8-11-98): [Husband] and I heard the hearbeat for the first time!! Very fun!! [Husband] was so nervous, he kept figeting. I am just happy to finally hear the baby!

Week 17+ (9-20-98): Things have been going well. I have gained 5 pounds and I feel "more" pregnant. We have started buying stuff for "el Twerpo". Both [husband] and I can not wait! Today I have been mostly by myself. I am getting a little anxious and overwhelmed about all the things that have to be done.... Most of our time is spent with everyday things. It is only when you slow doen do you realize the task ahead is so major!

Week 20+ (10-11-98): Bought a crib and dressing table from Sears yeaterday. Very excited!! I am getting anxious to meet "el Twerpo" and want to get nursery all in order. I think this is the nesting instinct in motion!

Week 25 (11-9-98): Things are starting to seem more real. I can feel "el Twerpo" move! It feels like pop corn popping in my stomach. Sometimes it tickles, and I smile or chuckle because of it. I really can't wait to meet the new person who is growing inside me. [Husband] and I are very very excited and anxious for the baby!

Week 25+ (11-12-98): Found out through ultrasound that the baby is a boy! I am so grateful! I so wanted a son and I am so happy that everything is going so well! I thought that knowing the sex would take something away -- actually it has given me a chance to get to know Michael before he even arrives!!

Week 30 (12-16-98): Michael keeps kicking pretty hard although not as often as before. We are getting closer to deciding on a daycare. Also, anticipating going to Michigan. Bought some nice tops last week and think that I look pretty nice in them indeed! [Husband] felt Michael kicking last night. Thought that my stomach popped up like this: [drawing of a bump]!! Both of us can't wait to meet him!!

Week 32 (12-30-98): We have been visiting with family in Michigan. I have had sinuitus and a cold for over 2 weeks. It is making me feel miserable, especially since I cannot take any strong medications. I think being sick is making me a bit depressed and more anxious about the whole birth thing -- ultimately you are alone in your suffering..."

After that--no more entries. I actually ended up with bronchitus. Then pre-clampsia and pregnancy hypertension. Two weeks bed-rest and induction, full labor without medication--12+ hours that ended with an emergency C-Section.

And it was so damned worth it!!!!

Love you Michael!!

Can't wait for you, Willow!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Things About Me - 90 - 100

Finally, the final ten, which will be randomness (and I mean Random). It actually is hard to come up with 100 things that can be shared on the internet.

91. Famous person I have met: Rita Moreno (my friend met her on a bus when Ms. Moreno was doing a play at our university campus). We got backstage passes, and I have several pictures of me and my friend with Rita Moreno (in stage make-up--so its kinda scary looking).

92. Another famous person I have met: Bert Convy. I was like 4 years old. My dad played in the symphony, and Bert Convy was a guest singer.

93. I love the theatre, especially musicals. My first memory is going to "Annie" (I was again probably 4 years old). We were WAY up in the balcony area. I remember being quite bored, actually. One of my favorite memories is when my Grammie took me to see a high school production of Carousel. It was just me and her, I was in junior high school. I felt very adult. And then, my future husband used my then obsession with "Phantom of the Opera" to talk to me and used it as an excuse to come to my dorm for the first time (to borrow the CDs).

94. Christmas albums on my I-Pod: Christmas Portrait - The Carpenters; Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi; and The Muppets Christmas with John Denver. Also, "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC.

95. Two Birthday's ago, my husband gave me a new wedding ring--on a severed finger (it was a fake finger). Boy, does he know me!!! (My son kept the finger--I kept the ring). Last year, the ring got caught in the copier at work---wow, almost a real severed finger! Ring repaired, work paid for it--and I have all my digits...

96. I miss our chinchillas! They were so cute and fluffy! It has been a weird feeling to clean out "their" room out for the nursery. I am excited to be making a nursery, but every so often, I go upstairs to let the Chins out or to feed them...and then I look into the now almost empty room... I guess the room and I are at the in-between stage right now...

97. The first night of Hannukah was a success. We made edible dreidals (toothpick or pretzel rod; large marshmallow; hersheys kiss; icing to write the symbols), had latkes, and played the dreidal game. It was fun and Michael helped to make the latkes (not from scratch).

98. Magazines I/we subscribe to: Entertainment Weekly; National Geographic; National Geographic Kids; The New Yorker; Woman's Day; some computer gamer magazines (they keep changing their names!).

99. I have always wanted to learn to play the guitar and piano. I am also toying with joining a singing group--just like a glee club or something...I think the guitar lessons are more obtainable... (I know how to play clarinet and can play a few tunes on a piano).

100. Things I am thinking of accomplishing during maternity leave: re-arrange the cabinets in the kitchen; clean out and re-arrange the basement; organize and sort through my scrapbooking stuff;
organize my filing/bills; meet up with a mother support group---yeah, right....well, we shall see how many of those things get done....


To see the others, go here, here, here, and here, and here, and still more, almost done, and here, and finally here.