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26, 25 and 24 – Baby Rabies

11 Jul

I never dressed up as a bride, wanted to be a princess, or had many tea parties when I was a kid. My idols were She-Ra and Cleopatra and later in elementary school through today, Sarah Connor (no lie, that bitch has mad skills). I always figured I’d be a career woman, especially later in high school and into college. I studied Feminist Theory in college, wrote hundreds of pages on postmodern feminist theory and interned under the first black woman to ever serve in the Minnesota Legislature. I earned a degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Minnesota and eventually landed my dream job in the social services/nonprofit sector working with under-served urban adults and youth. Thanks to the likes of Planned Parenthood and a good dose of common sense, I was able to achieve these goals whilst maintaining relationships with a couple of suitors, including the lovely dude that became my husband. This was all a part of the plan. I am a woman driven by goals.

What was also a part of the plan from the very beginning was having babies. Almost all little girls go through the baby phase and I don’t know how much of that is driven by social influence, but at some point the urge is most definitely biological (my WoSt friends are kicking me for the essentialist statements). Throughout all my life stages and all the career steps, I wanted most to be a mother in the end. I always imagined that would happen by 30.

I’m not sad anymore about the challenge. I’m just growing tired of waiting. I’m thankful for my education, all the traveling I’ve done, the freedom L and I have had to change jobs on a whim, and the most recent ability to move out of state for this amazing opportunity. Always I have held onto the belief that everything happens for a reason, as naive as that sounds, and this move to SD has only strengthened that conviction.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the desire still lingers. I have developed a serious case of the baby rabies! My life experience would just not be complete if in the end it was only L and me and a pack of dogs, but no real family to carry on my values and family history. Both L and I are committed to adoption regardless of our ability to have a biological child. Foster parenting runs in my family and L and I know we could create a positive environment for kids in that program. We have spent hours having this conversation and are 100% on the same page.

We have gone back and forth about IF treatments, wondering how far we’re willing to go to have biological children when there are millions of great kids in need of loving families. And yet selfishly (and biologically?) I feel a real need to see what kind of offspring my husband and I could create from our genes. Because he is pretty rad and I want to experience pregnancy, to grow a human. Doesn’t everyone deserve their complete life experience? I think so. L thinks so. Recently we decided that when the time comes to start the process again, we will go all the way.

So there you have it- items five, six and seven on my bucket list:

To create our own little one.

To adopt a little one.

To foster little ones.

28 – Complete the Tattoo Project

7 Jul

It was the summer of 1999 and I was a new high school grad. I was the last of my bff trio to turn eighteen so on my birthday the three of us rode BART into Berkeley to get tattoos. We made appointments ahead of time at a shop on Telegraph with an artist we’d never met. I wanted a tribal turtle on my shoulder (why the turtle fixation, nobody knows), my bestie wanted a Pi stamp (the cutest math nerd you’ll ever know) and our third wanted a Celtic cross. We took turns in the chair, holding each other’s hands and acting tough. In the end I’m not sure any of us were satisfied with the tattoos we received. My simple small black tribal turtle morphed into something much more sizable and colorful because I was worried about looking cool and pleasing the artist.

The turtle and me on our wedding day

The turtle and me on our wedding day, 2008

As soon as the ink dried on this tattoo, in a random act of maturity, I decided I wasn’t allowed to get another tattoo until I was closer to 30. That was the magic number. I’d be a true adult. Then and only then could I be trusted to make good choices that reflect who I am, what I believe, and of course, good taste. (Although at 19 I pierced my nose, which lasted about a week. This is a story for another time.)

Turtle Tattoo and I lived together in harmony for a good ten years before I decided enough was enough and it was time to cover up this teenage mistake.

This brings me to number three on the bucket list: Complete a half-sleeve tattoo.

Maybe it’s odd to add that to my life’s To Do list, especially since I’m STILL not exactly sure about what I want. I need to have the cover-up that I started over a year ago completed so this is not happening any time soon.

I do love me some body art. This is fueled partly by my obsession with the show LA Ink (and now NY Ink… I love to hate Ami). Tattoos + reality tv drama. What’s not to like about those shows?

Whatever fills the space needs to coordinate with those art nouveau poppies, which are a tribute to my first home state of California. My ability to continue to add to this tattoo at will is perhaps one of the most advantageous effects of infertility. This is the bright side of not being pregnant (well that, and semi-regular hormones, not having to give birth, etc.).

I have an appointment with my fabulous tattoo artist later this month. My lovely husband’s birthday gift to me is contributing some funds toward the cover-up cause. I am hoping to talk with her about some of my ideas for the rest of the space.

If you’re reading- tell me about your tattoos! When did you get them and why? Do you regret it? Do you have plans for more?

Gettin’ Pregnant: Yer Doin’ it Wrong

30 Mar

Along with advice to just stop thinking about it so much (and let the baby juju come to you), researchers are now offering the IF crowd some new advice: During your next fertility treatment, lighten up and have some fun. And get a sense of humor, why don’t you?

I don’t yet have any experience with IVF per se, but I have had my share of US wands and various medical devices shoved where the sun don’t shine. Along with exhibitionists and ladies of the night, only those truly committed to their local public institution of higher learning can say they have gone full-frontal before half a dozen young strangers.

Perhaps the UMN medical school is ahead of their time. Encounter did I one particularly clownish young med student during my HSG (a right of passage for the infertile). As I sat in radiology, dressing gown agape and feeling the breeze, a young gyno resident stood awkwardly beside me. He explained the details of the procedure and, in what I can only assume was an effort to practice his beside manner, offered to hold my hand. Which was really nice (albeit unnecessary- I’m not really a toucher) apart from the fact that he went on to explain how very painful this procedure would be. So painful in fact, that some women cry out in pain- scream even, beg for this to be over. Afterward they feel crampy, spotty, and downright awful – for hours.

And then the team of MDs and their residents walked in, gowned, gloved and sterile. With needles and tubes and speculum, oh my.

The HSG was not as bad as I imagined it would be after this dude’s tale of pain and woe. To his credit, he may have been playing some tricky psychological voodoo on me. Who knows? I got to see my own fallopians and ovaries and as long as I end up pregnant someday, all’s well that ends well.

Busy

15 Jan

Classes have commenced and now that it’s the end of the week things are heating up. I have two exams next week, including one in Medical Terminology. I cannot imagine how nursing and medical students stay sane for 4+ years. I feel like I am beginning to eat, sleep and breath in Latin, Greek, French and acronyms.

I can’t even pretend that I don’t love it. Since I stopped working and started learning I have seriously never been more happy. I don’t even have time to think about babies or PCOS or adoption… and that makes life much more enjoyable. It’s also amusing to think about the possibilities of more school in the future (Master’s in Health Care Admin, anyone?). I feel as though a weight has been lifted. I don’t feel the same pressure I once did.

I have had quite a few conversations with other women who have experienced infertility over the last two years. The consensus has always been when you stop thinking/looking/trying- that’s when you get pregnant. And all of them will admit, that concept is inconceivable while you’re fighting the battle. When you are faced with the failure of your body to perform a basic biological function month after month- it consumes you. I have had (and still have) some pretty ugly thoughts about women who take their fertility for granted. It’s not good for me, for anybody, but it happens.

But today is the first day in over a week I have given the baby-makin’ any thought. And it feels so good to not feel frustrated or sorry for myself. In this moment I can say, maybe I’ll get pregnant this year, maybe I won’t. If I have to wait to be a mother for another year or two, what difference will it make?