Thursday, September 30, 2010

wo der computer ist???

Augusta's Messy Desk

I think my computer is over here somewhere.  Is it?

Look at the state of affairs at my desk! Not pretty. You can see how mired I've been in my qualitative analysis. The thematic map at the forefront is about my 29th attempt.

Qualitative data analysis is fun and god awful. Both. That's a paradox I'm willing to live with (especially since my research also has 2 straightforward quantitative studies).  The qualitative study has not been particularly nice to me.  But then, things went better today after I went to see Sattva who is a superstar in these matters. With just a few incisive comments, she had my analysis organized so it made so much sense. Eggs AND research advice. I tell you, that woman is astonishing. 

One of Dr. Ninja's team members sent me my treatment protocol via email today. I still can't get used to that, where in my profession, sending something by email is almost as ethically wrong as sleeping with your clients. Not that I don't appreciate email. So, this fancy protocol, complete with herbs, and supplements and teas (beyond raspberry tea, Pumpkin), and acupuncture will cost me a lot of money. Somehow, I'm not getting overly alarmed. I've just decided to try trusting for once. Just to see. And I have the appointment booked with energy medicine woman, who sounds like a total sweetheart. Can't wait to meet her. 

Thank you so, so much for your warm comments on my last post. It felt good to be real with all of you and say that other part of the cause of my infertility. It sucks, and I'd like it to be not so, but it is my reality. Thanks for holding that with me. You all have amazing hearts. I am in awe.  

Preparing for tomorrow. The big 1-year anniversary since the failure of our infertility treatments, the day when the probability of having biological children became nil. It's been quite a year. I'll write more about it tomorrow. In the mean time, bonne nuit mes chères amies. Faites de beaux rêves.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dr. Ninja and the Medicine Woman

I dedicate this post to Hossein Derakhshan (aka Hoder), an Iranian-born Canadian who has been held captive at the notorious Evin prison in Iran for committing the crime of blogging. Today, the 35-year-old received a sentence of 19 and a half years in prison, which meant he narrowly escaped a death sentence. If you want to read more about his story, click here or here. I am grateful to have the right to free speech and to be able to blog without the fear of being prosecuted.

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Today was my appointment with Dr. Ninja. I know that sounds like an insulting pseudonym, but it is not meant to be. Sattva's husband has heard of this doctor and likes to call him Dr. Ninja. And Sattva's husband makes me laugh. So using this pseudonym makes me laugh. And any reason to laugh is good enough for me. Enough. Done agonizing over pseudonyms. 

The appointment started off by going downhill at a rapid pace. Sort of like a beginner on skis, in a double-diamond slope, on icy conditions. He basically said that Dr. RE had put me at great risk of cancer by exposing me to the gonadotropin injections. He then said that egg donation was an outrageous idea, given that my uterus had never been stimulated (he used the word exercised) properly. That's when I said to myself: "deep breath, 'gusta"). It looked like this appointment was on the verge of blowing away the shred of hope I'd gathered in late summer.

Fortunately, the appointment did not continue to go downhill. Dr. Ninja gave away that he is a passionate man in the first 5 minutes of the appointment. He heard a few of the facts I shared and from there, stood up on his soap box and talked about the harm caused to women by the IF industry. He may have a point, but that's not why I was there. I'm just hoping to have a baby. So the impassioned doctor calmed down and let me continue with my explication. This permitted me to discover some of his other qualities such as his kindness and sensitivity.

To my immense (great is too feeble here) surprise, Dr. Ninja said he had treated a case exactly like mine in the past. I have never heard of a case like mine. Ever. Have you? Someone who never went through puberty, never had a period without medication, never ovulated. He tried to say there was a second case, but clearly, that second case was not exactly close. The woman had VERY irregular periods, but she still had them. But woman A was like me. He treated her and within 3 years she was pregnant. She went on to have a second child without his or anyone's (except her husband's) assistance. At the beginning of the appointment, he was going down that road. 3 years! Like I have that luxury. In 3 years I'll be 39 and pushing 40. So will Sattva. Woman A first consulted him when she was 32. Different scenarios altogether.

He listened to more of my history and focused on specific aspects. In an earlier post I wrote in August (Our Story), I referred to some HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) issues that I also meant to discuss but didn't. I'm again not feeling like delving into those depths at this moment, but there is a part 2 to the 'Our Story' post, and it is soon to be written (yes, and that's what I say about my dissertation). The short of it is that there is a bunch of trauma in my early history and I've known for a while that this is the origin of my reproductive woes. Some doctors have suggested this may have been the cause, although they said so with utmost caution. Other doctors have questioned me on whether that was in fact "really traumatic" or not. Fortunately, I was already in my thirties when I met that particular doctor, so I just looked at him without averting my eyes and say that yes, it was really traumatic indeed.

Dr. Ninja focused right away on this issue of trauma and wanted to hear about whether I had resolved it. Frankly, I've done a ton of work towards "resolving" it, but this infertility nightmare has brought it back. I cried like I usually do when I talk about that awful time in my life, but told him that I wasn't crying for then, instead crying for the impact it has on me now. In the last 10 years, I felt that in most ways, I had formed an acceptable narrative about my history, but this narrative is required to accommodate the bit about me never getting pregnant and having my own children. I can inform you that this has not gone smoothly (like you don't know).

By the end, Dr. Ninja said that he is certain that the trauma is what caused my reproductive system to shut down. He said, like I've always believed, that the eating disorder is just a side issue. He said that he could help me get my body ready for egg donation. Yes! After hearing more about Dr. RE (I stood up for him, since I really do think he is good), about the process that lead to the decision of egg donation and about Sattva's offer, he seemed to, as we say in French, changer son fusils d'épaule (which means change his mind). He said he would look at the 2 cases mentioned above and review the treatment protocols followed with them, look at my information, and get back to me with a plan.

However, there is one recommendation he made right away. Dr. Ninja wants me to go consult an energy medicine woman. Woawzer! Therein lies an opportunity to keep an open mind, wouldn't you say? He feels like I have a big energetic blockage and wants me to go see this woman. She's good, according to him and she may help with unblocking the energy of my shut down reproductive system (I know what you're thinking, Bunny.) I think I will humor him and visit this woman. Once again, I don't have anything to lose at this point. It should be an interesting appointment, so I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Excuse me! Your life is waiting.

I went to a Ph.D. defense yesterday and it was very good. This woman presented her very interesting research and did it in a way that was accessible, thoughtful and organized. Sometimes the examiners asked her questions to which she did not know the answer (or at least the answer they were digging for), and she entertained the questions, but then genuinely said that she did not have more of an answer for them. And that was ok. There seemed to be no pressure for her to have figured out everything about everything. The defense had a beginning and an end. She was nervous but got through it well. And at the end of it, she became Dr. Awesome.

Which leads me to my point. I am next in line and I need to sail this ship home. My dissertation is almost finished (I'm writing up study 3 and then the general discussion, and I'm done). There is another colleague of mine defending on Oct. 15, but really after that, I'm next. My turn! And it feels long overdue. I spoke to Dr. Awesome on Tuesday, 2 days before her defense, and she said it still felt so far away. It feels very far away for me, but I am working with that mindset, because in all honesty, it isn't that far away.

The failure of the fertility treatments last October sucked my hard-earned confidence right out of me. I somehow maintained my same level of clinical competence at work, but otherwise, I was a basket case. The progress I was intending to make on my research suffered, which is why I am still here working away at it. The narrative has been that everything is lost. But it isn't. It isn't at all.

I managed to quit that not-so-great job in June, which was a good move. I've been working on the big D ever since. At first, it felt like I was working for something I couldn't believe in. So much distance had grown between me and my research that I didn't even recognize it. But over the last 3 months, we've grown tighter.

I am now standing at the doorstep, my hand on the knob. I'm really afraid of what all can go wrong. But my job is simple. Keep writing. Get it finished.

In the mean time, I've received a job offer from that place where I interviewed at the end of August. They wanted me to start in mid-October, so I told them they would have to pick someone else, sine I couldn't make that work (remember: Augusta's #1 mission = finish dissertation). They wouldn't take no for an answer and said I was their top pick. They agreed to have me start in December, so I accepted!

I'm excited. And I have a whole bunch of other feelings running through me. Mostly, I have this sense of gathering momentum to step up . My life is waiting for me. The new job, the egg donation, the end of my Ph.D. I'm trying to open the door and cross the threshold. But if I think too much about it, I get a bit shaky, like I can't grip the doorknob and turn it. I think the best approach is to go back to my writing and just think about the sentence in front of me. I'll leave the rest where it belongs: the near future.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gratitude


I was very touched that Phoebe at Phoebe Gone Wild  gave me this Hope award. I'm am sheepish in admitting that I was behind on my blog comments and didn't discover it until I read her blog this evening, a full 5 days after she nominated me. Thank you very much Phoebe. That was so sweet. I send you lots of hope, and much gratitude.

I think I'm supposed to mention one thing I am happy for right now, and one thing I hope for in the future. There are many in both categories.

What makes me happy at the moment:
I have amazing friends IRL, as well as through this blog. These friendships bring so much richness to my life. I can't imagine how I would go on without my friends. So often, my friends believe in me when I have stopped believing; they remind me of who I am when I've forgotten; they celebrate my joys and cry along with my sorrow; they honour me by sharing of themselves in our friendship. I have been thinking of my friends a lot lately and feeling immensely grateful. As the one year anniversary of the failure of the treatments approaches, I am finding myself acutely aware of how a few key friends have held me up. I want to thank them and I will.

What I hope for in the future:
Well, that's an easy one. I would like the DE cycle to lead to a successful pregnancy. I would also be happy to have children through adoption, but I guess what's in front of me is the DE cycle. And I would like Sattva's gift to be honoured by the birth of a child. I know I don't have any control over that, but I just want all three of us to experience that immense joy.

I am heading to bed, chickadees, so I will sign off on this note. But not before I nominate three amazing women for this award. I would like to nominate more than three, but surely, this will come around to all the women blogger I would like to include.

1. Foxy at Foxy Popcorn
2. Lady Pumpkin at Planting a Pumpkin Patch
3. Adele at Delinquent Eggs

Much love and gratitude to the three of you, to Phoebe and to all of you who read and comment on my blog for your warm friendship. Thank you to all of you for this amazing community that we have here. I am in awe of it everyday. I still can't believe I am part of this great force of love in the midst of sorrow.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The infertility clinic waiting room

What a phenomenon that is, the ol' clinic waiting room. A funeral face is required and eye contact is strictly prohibited. If you must speak to your husband (and you may only speak to him if you absolutely have to), you must do it in hushed tones, gaze averted, and a hand over your mouth would really be best. No talking is allowed, otherwise. Enter Augusta, Mr. August and Sattva (from Bodhisattva, aka our donor), an unusual constellation for the fertility clinic waiting room. Oh wait! They're breaking all the rules. They are chatting lightly about New Zealand. They are laughing. They are looking directly at each other!!! Chaos ensues.

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I'm sorry that the update from Friday did not come sooner. The weekend was filled with social events, which tend to tucker me out. Each chance I got, I sat on the couch, drank warm fluids and read the Globe and Mail, before having to go back out into the world and socialize. But I've been thinking of all of you very much. I look forward to catching up on all your news. Here's the report from our appointment on Friday.

I continued to work myself up for the appointment, although that being said, I was managing my nerves pretty well with a great game plan my therapist and I devised. I once again found myself calling on all of you. I had remembered that the night before, thinking that you would be there with me and I could draw on that for strength. As soon as we reached the floor of the clinic in the hospital, it was like you were all waiting for me when the elevator doors opened. Thanks women!

We picked up Sattva at 6:30am and drove to IF-treatment-town for our 8:30 am appointment. Sattva had to do all this paper work when we got there, but we still managed to shake up the waiting room, as per my introduction. I was called first for my sonohysterogram. I didn't like it one bit. It hurt pretty intensely, although it subsided after a little bit, even while the saline was still in there. Dr. RE said that my uterus looked good, except for a curve at the top. He said that if I had a history of miscarriages he would want to do a hysteroscopy or laparoscopy to check things out further and possibly work on that curve. However, since I don't have such a history (and with no eggs, how could I?), he doesn't feel it is curved enough to warrant that kind of intervention. I'm inclined to concur with him on that one. We agreed that surgery was not the way to go, and that we would go with the higher probability that this curve will not impact negatively on a potential pregnancy.

The three of us were then invited to sit in an exam room and wait for the doc. Sattva immediately commented on the waiting room experience. In a way, it was nice to share this whole fertility clinic scene with a good friend. She now knows what it feels like to be there without my need to describe it for her. It was also at that moment in the exam room that this all became very real. I just took in the fact that all three of us were sitting there and working towards the egg donation. The doctor came in with a student and thanked Sattva for being here. He went through her history and her family's history, and then reviewed Mr. August's family history. He gave her requisitions for blood work, some to completed that day, and another one for cycle day 3. And then she was brought in for an ultrasound and we went back to the waiting room, where we continued to break the rules by talking and looking at each other.

She came out and we left, heading downtown IF-treatment-town for her blood work. On the way down, she said that her ovaries were full of follicles and that Dr. RE thought that was very good. That was very good news to absorb. Plenty of follicles. Wow!

I am still so awed that she wants to do go through this egg donation process and wants us to use her eggs to bring a child into the world. I cannot find the right words to describe my gratitude. We gave her a little card and a bottle of wine from our trip last weekend as a token of our thanks. But really, how can we thank her? I feel so grateful to her for even just considering the egg donation, let alone starting the process.

I have more to write, but my dissertation awaits. Thanks for reading and for being here with me.

 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

chewing my nails

Hey, my nails are free of wheat, dairy and kidney beans. So I can chew on them, rest assured.

Ok, our appointment is Friday and I am nervous. If you haven't noticed yet, I'm an anxious little owl, and I am experiencing the prospect of our appointment on Friday as an 8 or 9 on the anxiety scale. Just to remind you: It is the appointment in which Mr. August, our lovely donor and I pile into the car and go visit the good doctor to talk about her eggs, with his sperm, in my womb.

I did not have a very good sleep last night. Mr. August was up with a sore throat, and each time I woke up, I found myself in that intensely irrational 4 o'clock in the morning place where fears are all of a sudden de facto realities. Can you see where I'm going? Yes, at 4 in the morning, I decided that our donor had backed out. I carried on thinking that all day, if you can imagine. I was making plans for calling the clinic to tell them to cancel the appointment (and the sonohysterogram. pity). I practiced what I would say to her so that she could feel ok with having to tell us this news. Like a strong and wild dog with me at the end of its leash, I let my fears spin me around the park a few times.

I wrote to our donor to make arrangements for Friday and even asked in my email "are you still up for this?" Which was met with "Of course, I'm still up for this!"

Yes, I must grab hold of myself and walk forward. Of course there will be fear, anxiety, worry, but who knows, I may get to excitement, anticipation, and effervescence even? I guess I won't know if I don't keep going.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bearing fruit

A few little pictures from our trip to Niagara on the Lake. The first two pictures are about fruit. Plants bearing fruit. Huh, I know the metaphor is facile, but nonetheless, it expresses my deep, deep wishes for all of us. MAY WE BEAR FRUIT. And may the harvest come soon.

The grapes and pears were taken at Frogpond Farm, one of the few organic wineries. We enjoyed meeting their sheep, chickens, and one very excited puppy. We bought a bunch of wine from them, since Mr. August is part and supporter of the organic movement.




One of the sheep had jumped the fence (which had been left off) and Mr. August put her back in her enclosure with her sisters. They were sweet creatures, those ewes. A bit skittish, but their eyes and smiles looked so sincere. We were fast friends.


We missed our chicken while we were away (chicken is how we call our cat). But the B&B had live chickens roaming around. Mr. August even picked one up to pet her.



Finally, here is a little photo documentation of my dairy free, wheat free find at a local coffee shop, called Balzac. Soy latte and vegan cookie. YUM!

We had a great time this weekend and returning to reality this morning was a little hard. My dissertation had not progressed in my absence, alas. The time away was very rejuvenating. I think my favourite was biking around on Saturday, with the sun shining over us, the wind on our cheeks, and the beautiful Niagara river flowing to our left and several meters under us. It was glorious!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Aurevoir

Just for the weekend, my friends. Not for good!

Mr. August and I are leaving town for a weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is Ontario's wine country. Tomorrow, we will cycle around the vineyards and stop sips of wine here and there. I can't wait!! I love cycling and I love wine! Perfect combo! I'm looking forward to staying at this sweet little B&B and eating at this lovely winery tonight. And then on Sunday, we get to see a play at the Shaw Festival.

We very much need this time away, Mr. August and I. I hope it will give us a chance to feel closer to one another. I am so thankful to our friends who gave us this little package of gift certificates as a wedding gift. These friends know us well and are so generous.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Next Stop: Egg Donation

I have not talked about IF treatments since the update on our appointment of August 19. I think I've been avoiding thinking about it, and instead chose to stew over it because that feels so much better (!).

We have our next appointment on Friday, September 17. For that appointment, our donor will come with us to the clinic and will meet with our RE by herself. We will also meet the three of us with the RE to discuss all the steps involved in the egg donation. And of course, our donor will be treated to the magic wand, and I will have the sonohysterogram.

I believe that this appointment will make the prospect of the egg donation very real. For now, it has been hypothetical, with some brief moments of realizing that it was part of a shared reality among a few people who know. I think it's mostly when I hang out with our donor (she is a good friend of mine) and we speak about it that it becomes very real. Her resolve astounds me. There is no amount of scaring her with descriptions of needles and early morning drives. She is steadfast. She wants to do this.

Why has it been so hypothetical for me? We all know the answer: it is because of fear. The reckless prospect of hope is prohibitive to us who have failed at fertility treatments. Why would this work? Why would there be a baby in my uterus at the end of this process? I've come to understand my decision to go ahead with the egg donation as prevention from wallowing in regret in 5-10 years, when I sit there childless and feel like there could have been so much more I could have done. I do not want to give myself more ammunition to be beat myself down for not trying hard enough.

I find my heart cloaked in an opaque, velvety wrap that seems at once comfortable and smothering. The cloak becomes visible to me when I talk about the egg donation with my close friends and they light up with excitement and hope. All I want to do is run my hand gently across their face to make the excitement go away, like a mime changes his face by the brush of his hand. Thankfully, I happen to have the best friends in the whole entire world, so they can hold me in my fear of hope. My darling friend Dragonfly just looked at me lovingly from her little skype window on my mac and said "I'll be excited! You don't have to be excited. You can give that part to me". Bless her heart. That was just what I needed.

I thought about this potential baby on my walk to school this morning. I think it as a girl. I gave her a name and thought about carrying her for 9 months. I usually can't envision it. Like Jess talked about in her post, I have had mucho problemo visualizing this process coming to fruition. I am of the same opinion as she is, that for something to materialize, one must first create it in the mind. It makes me nervous that I have difficulty believing this will work.

I realize that my history does not permit me to believe in pregnancy very much. Never having ovulated, never having had a pregnancy scare when I was younger, let alone a BFP, it has become fiction in my mind. I had all sorts of hopes and dreams about being pregnant until the treatments failed last October and since then nothing. My unconscious doesn't really let those images come to the surface in the form of dreams, by day or by night. But I also find as I am reading your blogs that I am missing something so fundamental that most of you have: a cycle of some sort, a history of at one point having ovulated, an experience of early pregnancy, or something along those lines. In my case, it will be this friend's egg mixed with Mr. August's sperm, inserted into my (tiny, chronically under-stimulated) uterus, and a whack of estrogen and progesterone support. And from that, a baby is what we hope for an outcome. My logical side can't digest it very well.

What is left is that there is also part of me that knows it can happen. I have always responded to estrogen and progesterone, and for my last cycle at this time last year, the lining got all nice and thick, ready for an embryo. So through magic, or miracle, or the best of science, there is part of me that believes it could be successful. I just wonder if that is enough. Do I have to leave the safe platform of my fears and leap wholeheartedly, believing unequivocally that this process will work. Is it reasonable to be afraid, and does being afraid mean that it will fail? Ah, the superstitious workings of an infertile's brain. I tell ya.

If only I could blame it on baby brain

I apologize for not posting since Friday, but I fear I might have forgotten. Forgotten? Yes, it seems I am loosing my mind. Mr. August asked if I had maybe left my mind at school. Not a bad hypothesis. I'm surprised he didn't suggest it was due to a lack of kidney beans.

Let me explain. First, I have to tell you that I am endowed with a great memory. I have a GREAT memory. I'm not a circus show or anything, but I remember many things easily. My good memory is within the realm of the average population, within 2 standard deviations probably, but it's one of my sharpest assets (that and my rosy cheeks). I remember details about friends of friends' who I have never met. Like, where they went to college and the name of their siblings and their birthday. My good memory has served me very well and I am immensely grateful for it. Most of my undergrad was about taking multiple-choice tests and this little skill came in handy. Also, as a therapist, having a good memory is extraordinarily useful as it helps me connect with patients because I remember what they've told me in past sessions without having to write it down (but I do write it down because I'm ethically bound to do so).

Well, with all this boasting of my amazingness, I need to interject here and tell you that my memory failed me unscrupulously in the last few days. Two major breakdowns of my memory functions within the span of a few days. And now I am paranoid. What the heck else have I forgotten?

First, I forgot to feed my friend's cats and let them in for the night on Saturday evening. When did I remember? Oh, a full 24 hours later, at which point I raced over to her house and fed them (which meant they got fed three times on Sunday evening). Second, I made an appointment to go donate blood on Tuesday morning at 8am, and thought about it at about 5pm that day.

If I could only blame it on baby brain.

It's probably more like dissertation brain. I have been immersed into writing up my research and hopefully producing the full document by the end of September so that I can FINALLY MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE! But the memory lapses are unnerving. I must say I also thought it might have been the low estrogen, since there appears to be a link between low estrogen and memory loss. Or maybe I'm having very, very early onset dementia. But now I'm slipping into a hypochondriac state, and I will grab hold of myself for your sake and spare you the neurotic downward spiral.

I decided to go up to 4mg of est.race for this cycle. The rise from 2mg to 3mg was not all that noticeable. I know the doctor said that what is best is the lowest effective dose, but I sort of want to see how it will feel at 4mg. And he said he was comfortable going up to 4mg and let me decide how to do it. So, I'm deciding. 4mg of est.race and no dairy, wheat or kidney beans.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kidney Bean Update

Last evening, I waited until he had eaten most of his dinner. Then I showed Mr. August the results chart from the food sensitivity test. The kidney bean part was on the reverse side, so he took in the dairy and wheat news first. But then he screamed when he saw the kidney bean result, and went on to shake his head in disbelief all evening. I think it felt to him like a personal affront. The poor guy. He finally said, resigned "I've got a lot of kidney beans to eat, then"

I have given myself the weekend to wrap my mind around the changes, and then start the implementation phase on Tuesday. Meanwhile, my belly is quite unhappy with me, perhaps as a result of the wheat, dairy and kidney beans I've been consuming. The belly ache is perhaps extra motivation to start making the necessary changes.

Friday, September 3, 2010

the results are in

I wish it was something as exciting as a kick-ass beta, but for that, you'll have to go visit Bunny. And please do visit her blog. She is a wonderful, witty, and at times sardonic writer who will put a smile on your face at the worst of times. And she has the best news ever! For additional good news, you can also visit jrs who is awaiting a baby boy in October and who just met the birth parents last weekend. So. Much. Joy!

No, what I am referring to is the result of the IgB and IgG4 antibodies tests I had done at the TCM clinic early last week. They told me it would take 2 weeks for the results, so this is was a bonus. I just had a muffin earlier today, you know, one of those poor quality muffins filled with trans-fat and whatnot. As I purchased it in the coffee stand in the library, I made a mental note that I was preemptively rebelling against the dietary restrictions I was sure were soon arriving. Well, I would say that was clockwork.

The email from the nutritionist said: "We recommend avoiding any foods which fall within the ‘moderate’ or ‘avoid’ ranges for at least 4-6 months." It added that I may be able to re-introduce those foods after that time.

So the dairy case is off limits! (pour moi, at least.) Most of the items in the dairy category where in the moderate or avoid range. Crap. It appears that cheddar and Swiss cheese are not a problem, but pretty much everything else is a problem. I am crestfallen, people. As you know, I love me a little ice cream Oh, and what to do with the cappuccino frozen yogurt sitting half-empty in my fridge? Any takers?

Wheat, was also on the moderate category.

The kicker was kidney beans. Off the freakin chart! Why is that a kicker? Well, I may never have mentioned what Mr. Augusts does for a living, but you should have the strong suspicion by now that I am about to mention it. He is an organic farmer, with a passion for growing coloured beans. That is, he grows kidney beans and we eat them regularly. Mr. August LOVES them, so regularly is like twice to three times a week. I can't even fathom how I'm going to tell him this. He'll be as sad as I am about the ice cream.

Spared from the chopping block are items such as coffee (praise the Lord), chocolate (all together now!) and peanuts (although peanut was at the upper end of the low category: I have never shared with you my obsession with peanut butter, but I will for sure wax poetic about it in the near future).

Adele, I am looking to you for strength, dear woman. Tell me it gets easier. Tell me it's not so bad. Tell me you're pregnant! (I know you would love to tell me that. And you will.)

I look forward to sharing the pilgrimage of this little owl down the dairy and wheat free way. I think it may also be time to add some raspberry leaf tea to my daily fluid intake as suggested by Lady Pumpkin Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When confronted with pregnancy

I want to first say thank you to all of you for reading and responding to my two last posts. The intersection of IRL and blogland worlds is a funny one, and I appreciate the respect and compassion with which you allowed me to puzzle over this issue. I don't think it is settled for me, and maybe it isn't for you either. Sharing our blogs with IRL friends is not something that everyone feels comfortable with. The reason why I chose to share it with a few of my IRL friends is that I am not always able to tell them how I feel. Sharing my blog was my attempt at being more open with them. I am also aware that some of you may not agree that this is a good idea. And that's ok. We all do what works for us. We use our blogs in ways that can benefit our difficult process with infertility. I hope you can respect my way of doing things.



I went to a job interview yesterday. The job is a one-year maternity leave coverage. I even took a picture of how fabulous I looked in my suit, new blouse and matching bag, but the pictures turned out lousy. I didn't have the right shoes to go with the outfit, which is probably a reason why I won't get the job, but the rest of the outfit looked alright. Mr. August teased me about obsessing over the shoes. I guess it was a safer thing to obsess about than my inadequacies, so I focused on them. I laugh at how I do this, since I am not very appearance focused (I barely wear any makeup, my hair style is low maintenance).

So, let me tell you about anticipating this darn interview. I was convinced that the psychologist who is going on mat leave would be interviewing me, along with a selection of other psychologists who work at that agency. I'm sure you can appreciate the freak out I was having about the prospect of being interviewed by a pregnant woman. My strategy was going to be to not look at anything below her chin. To my surprise, she did not interview me. I didn't even get to meet her.

The interview was pretty stressful. I nailed the first question, but some of my answers after that were weaker. I can only hope for the primacy effect of the interviewers' memory functions, where they will remember more vividly what I said first as opposed to what I said in the middle or last. The interviewers were 2 ladies from HR, and no psychologists were involved, which I found strange. After over an hour of answering their 7 questions with as much depth, specificity and illustration as I could muster, I then had to do the written part of the interview. This involved sitting in a room by myself for 30 minutes (not a second more) and answering two questions which would have taken me 60 minutes to answer decently and 90 minutes to answer well. I was pretty exhausted when I left, and was very tempted to be hard on myself.

But I stopped that 'hard on myself' momentum right in its tracks. I've been working super hard (with the help one amazing therapist) on letting the stronger, wiser part of me take care of the younger, terrified part of me. And there was a golden opportunity to show myself that I was there for me. As hard as it was to really get behind this idea, I HAD done the best that I could with the interview. I had prepared well, I took all the steps necessary to be successful, and I had promised myself that no matter what, I would leave there with my dignity intact. And I did.

I went to an interview in early June and it did not go very well. It wasn't catastrophic, but it resulted in me promising myself to not apply for a job until I had finished writing my thesis. You are wondering if this means I am finished writing my these?! No. Sadly, I am not done yet. But progressing. I just had this job opportunity fall on my lap and it was too good to turn away. But I worried about feeling less than confident and having that come through in the interview. I think that I didn't appear as confident as I would have liked, but I showed more confidence than I feel most days.

After the interview, I went to visit a friend from residency. This friend is pregnant, of course. It was nice to see her, even with all the pregnancy and baby talk. I knew she would prod me about Mr. August and I's time line for having kids and I was prepared to tell her that I am infertile. I knew she wouldn't handle it very well, but also wouldn't handle it horribly. Because three of the women from internship are pregnant right now, my friend said she was taking bets with others on who was next. She put her money on me. HA! HA! HA! Very funny! Then I told her I was infertile and then she said we could adopt. What else was she going to say? I didn't get my underwear in a bunch about it. I just thought, how else can she handle this? How else are we supposed to negotiate celebrating the joy of her pregnancy and the grief of my loss? We just kept licking our ice cream and switched topics.

Looking back on yesterday, I feel like I handled myself well overall. I did the best I could. So did everyone else I encountered, including my pregnant friend. We are all doing the best that we can. Here is a poem by Anne Hillman about this very topic:

We look with uncertainty
Beyond the old choices for
Clear-cut answers
To a softer, more permeable aliveness
Which is every moment
At the brink of death;
For something new is being born in us
If we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
Awaiting that which comes...
Daring to be human creatures.
Vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.