Words to Live By

Happily married. 41. Infertile/perimenopausal. TV and iPod addict. Transplanted Canadian living in California. {Warning - abundant sarcasm and frequent *gasp* profanity lie herein.}

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend

I had a pretty good weekend. Saturday we took the dogs to a local art and wine festival, which consisted mainly of hand-made jewelry, tie-die and hemp clothing (we live in a former hippie enclave). The dogs were a big hit, lots of love coming at them from the crowd. Two well-behaved, beautiful Golden Retrievers, what's not to love?

Sunday we took the jet skis out on the water for the first time this season. Mine needed a new battery. The guy at the boat supply store said I looked like Elizabeth Hurley. What do you think? Extra points if you don't correctly guess who is who.

The water was a bit cold from snowpack run-off and was running high and fast. The canals were thick with debris, it was like running a slalom course just to stay clear of it. And of course, despite the sunscreen, we both got a little sunburned. Now I at least have a layer of color to work from.

Today we slept in and then spent the afternoon at a good ole-fashioned BBQ. The only thing missing was our child. Every year we go with the same group of people from DH's old job and every year there are more and more kids. Maybe year after next...

Nothing new on the surrogacy front, my friend was away for the weekend and I emailed her to ask her to talk to her husband to see if we were all on the same page. I continue to grapple with myself over my guilt (and quiet glee) at the possibility of not having to endure pregnancy in order to have a baby. I've always seen it as a nine-month sentence that I would have to serve. I'm not sure why, but I've never seen myself pregnant. Not in my dreams, not in my mind's eye, never. Maybe I just never thought it would happen, even though I've spent the last three years of my life trying to achieve it. There'll be lots more posts on this topic. I want to leave this one with this:

After I talked to DH about the surrogacy proposal, I left him to himself for a bit so he could have a chance to mull it over in peace. We haven't talked about it again, but at that initial moment I wanted him to have some space. Later he seemed especially loving, kissing my hand (something he does often), being silly, holding me closer than usual, or at least I thought so. A feeling came over me that seemed unfamiliar. Like my insides were filled with champagne and my head was filled with helium. I realized after a few minutes that what I was feeling was HAPPINESS. I've spent the last 5 years of my life being sad. 1/8th of my life. My entire marriage. All of the 21st century so far. I think it's time for a change.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Revelations I & II

I'm sorry I've been quiet so long. To be honest, I've been holding out on you. There has been a lot going on and I've needed some time to wrap my arms around it.

Revelation I came last weekend when DH and I had a long baby chat. He talked, I mostly cried. I won't go into all the details, suffice it to say he was as compassionate and loving and forthright as he always is, and I managed to say mostly what I wanted to say despite my emotions. [Read: snot dripping from my nose unattractively -- thankfully we were in the hottub so I was able to wash my face often.] If I thought I was getting to the point where I was OK about being forever childless, I was kidding myself. As soon as I started to talk about how unfair it is that my DH doesn't get to be a Daddy, all the emotions I thought I had in check were RIGHT THERE.

He said he was sad, and frustrated, and disappointed, and worried about me. He also said that adoption may be something he's willing to look at, once we've moved through the grief of not being able to have our own biological child.

WHOA! Back up. What did he say? "...willing to look into adopton?" As far as I knew, adoption was off the table. I guess 3 years of TTC changes your mind about some things. I fell back into his arms in the softly bubbling, green apple scented water and told him how lucky I was to have him in my life, that every day he makes me laugh, shows me and tells me how much he loves me.

I thought I was having a pretty good week, in Infertility World.

Revelation II came after I had lunch with a good friend on Wednesday. She's due in August with her second child, a girl. Her son will be 18 months old when her daughter is born. Even though she's my age (ancient in motherhood terms - 41), she gets pregnant easily and has had two successful, uneventful pregnancies. After a nice lunch during which we both cried a little at my plight, on the way back to her house she cautiously mentions, almost casually, that she would be willing to act as a surrogate for DH and I.

WHOA and WHOA!! Back. Way. Up. She didn't think we would want to use both my (bad) eggs and DH's sperm, since we had ruled out IVF for ourselves, but she would be willing to sync up our cycles and do it that way, or she would do an IUI with her (good) eggs and my DH's (good) sperm. I was speechless. I didn't know what to say, except thank you. And that I would talk to DH about it.

I wrangled with the idea for several days. Was this the easy way out? Did I care that the child would not be mine biologically? I came to the conclusion that if I was willing and able to love an adopted child as my own, then I sure as hell would be willing and able to love a child that had my husband as a father and someone I loved dearly as a biological mother.

I gently broached the subject with DH today. He was interested and did not give me any impression that he was thinking negatively about it at all. Of course, we all have questions and concerns, and there will be a lot of googling going on around here in the near future.

Oh, and my friend wants us to tell her for sure if we want to do this before she gives birth in August, since she was planning on having her tubes tied at the time of her scheduled C-section, and she would have to cancel that. Tick tock. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Infertility on TV

Yes, coming soon to a TV near you, the fascinating world of Infertility!

First came news of the fall NBC "delightful ensemble drama" called Inconceivable (I wonder what Julia Indochiva is thinking?). The ONLY good thing I can say about this is that at least it's not a comedy. Because we all know that once a couple finds out they have a fertility problem, the hilarity ensues. I watched the preview on the NBC site and had to sit on my hands to avoid throwing my computer out the window.

Then I came across this story on MSNBC.com. *banging head on desk* I'll just leave that as a stand-alone and slowly back away.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Trying to Learn to Be Less Alive

I'm feeling melancholy today, and since there are a couple of us feeling the same way I decided to post a beautiful, melancholy song from Ani Difranco.

I am out here studying stones
Trying to learn to be less alive
Using all of my will
To keep very still
Still even on the inside

I sometimes think what a blessing it would be to just not care that I will never see what my child looks like, but I know I don't live in a vacuum and not caring about that would mean changing who I am at the core.

Studying Stones [download from Amazon]

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Update and a Clarification

AF is still coming in in dribs and drabs, I wouldn't call it CD1 yet, but the rest of me feels like I'm in the throws of it. It doesn't really matter, obviously my lining is in the process of breaking down and it's too early for that.

I just wanted to make it clear that I don't think 41 is too old to have a baby. Except maybe for me. I know lots of women who have had or who are having a baby after 40, although finding someone having or who had their first baby after 40 is still rare. Ironically, this is possibly the only thing in my life that I had no doubt that I could do. When we started TTC (even though I was 38), after the initial round of tests on us both showed that we were in good shape, I thought, well heck, I'll be pregnant in no time! I've also thought that if perhaps I had some sliver of hope in all this time, a chemical pregnancy, or anything to show that this is something my body was willing and able to do, then I would feel differently now.

As I'm fond of saying (with a nod to Dr. Phil), it's clear to me that the wheels have come off my fertility cart and I'm sitting here with no means to roll forward anymore.

P.S. Is it wrong that I've come to my own blog a million times just to look at Will Kemp?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Barren Plain

I just broke my own record for the shortest cycle ever. Today is CD17, and AF will be here in full force by tonight. Yesterday I was weepy and emotional. I thought it had to do with the fact that I miss my best friend deeply, that was true but it was enhanced by hormones out of control. Since it was so early I assumed my mood couldn't be pre-menstrual in nature. Ha! Curses, foiled again.

For those of you keeping track, since our last failed injectibles cycle in February I've had two 20-day cycles in a row, then a "normal" 29-day cycle and then, (ta-da!) this 17-day cycle.

I feel old. Broken. Barren. Tired.

I turn 41 next month. Every day that passes increases my chances of 1) not conceiving at all; 2) if conception occurs, having a miscarriage; 3) if miscarriage doesn't occur, having a child with disabilities. If the current trend continues, I'll be having a period every two weeks soon.

I'm considering asking my doctor to put me back on the Pill. I was on it for 15 years straight and never had any problems, in fact, it keep my endo under control. I want my life back. I want my sex life back. I don't want to be worrying about getting pregnant or not getting pregnant every damn month for the next 5 years. Am I crazy?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Weekend Fun

Things have been pretty somber and heavy on my blog lately and I felt like throwing out some fun for you (and me).

First, some gratuitous hotness: meet Will Kemp. He's a British ballet dancer/model/actor, this photo is from his solo Gap ad from 2002. If you want to see the entire commercial (and hey, who wouldn't), click here. You're welcome.

Second, I thought I would share some of the music I've found recently and fallen in love with. I'm thinking of making it a regular feature here on WTLB. These are all free and legal downloads from recognized commercial sites.

Badly Drawn Boy

His real name is Damon Gough, he grew up in Bolton, northern England, a talented singer-songwriter with "baroque folk-pop sensibilities". "Not surprisingly, Gough has been showered with accolades and critical praise, most recently securing the coveted Mercury Music Prize, England's top album award. He deserves it. He's an astute and diverse songwriter, with great instincts for what makes the perfect pop song." [Quotes and downloads from Epitonic]
Once Around The Block
The Shining

Tell me what you think about the music and the new feature.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mother's Day Weekend

I must apologize to my friends at BE, they've already read all of this, but I'm too lazy to do much more than paraphrase myself.

I'm exhausted, but otherwise none the worse for wear. It did indeed go better than any of us expected (sad but true, we all had low expectations of ourselves as a group). We flew up Friday afternoon and came back Sunday afternoon, quick and dirty.

I don't really have anything exciting to relate. Everyone behaved themselves pretty well. Both my Mom and Dad were there, and even sat relatively close to each other, although I never saw them speaking other than a hurried hello. Mom told me later that Dad tried to talk to her (oh horror!) but she couldn't handle talking about my brother so she turned him away.

I don't know what I was thinking going into this thing, but I didn't think it was going to be the West Coast Memorial. I realize the death of my brother was the reason why we all gathered, but I didn't know it was going to be the focus of the entire day. My brother had brought back a lot of pictures and momentos from the funeral and had made copies of a lot of stuff for everyone. He first related the story of the accident (which was different than we had initially heard - he was wearing his seat belt, it was the overhang of the street sweeper coming into the cab of the truck that killed him), and started to cry several times during that speech, then later went through what happened at the funeral and cried several times through that too. Other than my Mom and my Dad (briefly) noone else seemed to be emotional about any of it.

Now, I'm no beauty queen, but I felt like an anorexic movie star in that room. WTF? Bad/missing teeth, bad/dirty hair, bad/dirty clothes, lumpy bodies, half of them live in trailer parks. Only me, my sister and one of my cousins brought their spouses. They served MEMORIAL CAKE. It actually said "In Loving Memory of _____" in the frosting, like it was a freaking birthday cake.

At one point my great-uncle, who was hosting the event, quieted the room and wanted to know if anybody had anything they'd like to say, or tell any stories. One of my cousins (who's been a stoner/drinker all his life) told the story of he and my brother waking up from a 3 day bender on a nude beach. Another cousin told the story of her ex puking out the window at one my brother's annual parties, losing his false teeth in the process, and my brother, ever the good host, diving out the window to retreive them from the flower garden. Ah, good times.

I'm sitting there, dry-eyed the whole time, thinking -- yeah, I gotta couple stories I could tell ya. Otherwise, I got nothin'.

In between all the brother stuff there was a lot of catching up being done. And a lot of drinking. That was the first thing my great-uncle did was take drink orders, and EVERYONE ordered an alcoholic drink, it was 2 in the afternoon. I kept a steady buzz going on white wine, which helped. Other than my immediate family, I hadn't seen anyone else in the room for at least 15 years, some of them 20+ years. My Mom and my Dad both said one completely inappropriate thing each in front of the whole group, but that wasn't bad, considering.

I left without wishing my Mom a Happy Mother's Day, and DH and I went out with one of my girlfriends to de-tox a bit after 4 hours of family. I called her from the airport the next morning but all she wanted to talk about was how sore she was from the long car ride and that my brother's wife had already called to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. I guess things are pretty much back to normal. Unfortunately.

I left feeling very, very lucky to have the life I have, the friends I have, and the husband I have. I managed to get through Mother's Day without a hint of sadness for myself. I don't know what that means.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Ambivalent -- Party of One

I was just wandering around in the mall at lunch. I know I'm struggling when shopping can't make me feel better. I know that going home for a family get-together this weekend is weighing heavily on me. I don't regret making the decision to go, that's not it. To be honest, I'm not sure what's going on in my head. I'm sad that I'm not more sad about my brother's death. I'm sad that I'm not looking forward to seeing my Mom. I'm sad that it will be Mother's Day and I feel I don't have anything to celebrate.

I'm sad that I feel so ambivalent about continuing to TTC on our own, now that we've gone as far as we were willing to go with medical assistance. I like my life the way it is. I just took over the room that was going to be the nursery for my new dressing room. Yet my eyes still fill with tears when I realize I'll never know what a perfect mixture of me and DH would look like.

My surviving brother just became a grandfather for the first time yesterday. His wife's daughter gave birth to a healthy baby boy. There was a time when he wanted children of his own, but for a variety of reasons that never happened, and now he is perfectly happy to forego fatherhood and skip ahead to grand-fatherhood. He's only 7 years older than me, and only 2 years older than DH. I guess I really did wait too long to get the baby bug.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Happy May Day

Having grown up in Canada where all things British are still revered, I took part in many May Day festivities. I found this and linked it on Olivia Drab's blog because of her auspicious May Day. I never realized the fertility connection of the ritual, although this makes perfect sense: "Originally the Maypole represented a phallic symbol or a Pagan symbol of Fertility celebrating sexuality..." Dancing around a giant pole makes about as much sense as most of the other crap we've been told that increases our chances of conceiving.

Maypole dancing