Tuesday, November 11, 2008


When my sister was seeing an alternative doctor for detox after her chemo, he gave her all sorts of tests, but one was an estrogen test. He said there are two types of estrogen- good and bad- and you can decrease the bad estrogen by getting more exercise. Since endometriosis is associated with excess estrogen too, I wondered if I would also benefit by increased exercise.

It is so hard to drag myself to the (outdoor) swimming pool when it is windy and 50 degrees, and nearly impossible to look forward to my 45-minute bike commute, but I am ALWAYS glad I did it afterwards. Another tip that helps too- every four weeks allow yourself to slack off a little.

Exercise decreases stress and depression, and losing six pounds of infertility treatment weight helps with the self-image. Things are going well!


Last Halloween, I turned off all the lights and hid in the back of the house, ignoring every time the doorbell rang. Halloween itself wasn’t the problem- people were the problem. I had just finished the seventh and last failed IUI cycle and I was so unhappy and grumpy that I secretly referred to myself as the Grinch. Many times I wondered if I would make it through the day at work without walking out.

This year, there were a lot of kids in our neighborhood, but most didn't notice our front door, hidden in the back. A. thought the party favors that I was giving out instead of candy were lame, and he suggested we go out to a Japanese restaurant instead. That is a treat because sushi breaks our budget for eating out, but I have an insatiable craving for tempura, so he knew I would agree. Also, you aren't supposed to eat sushi while you are trying to conceive or pregnant, and I am still trying to make up for all that missed sushi.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In-law Visit

I apologize for posting so little lately. We have been preparing for the visit of the in-laws, who haven't been here for three years. They arrived today. I am happy to say that, five months after we moved in, our house is finally ready for people. We have been buying a lot of lamps and rugs and pictures, and now we have interesting walls and the sound doesn't echo off the hard wood floors. It's amazing how long it has taken us to get the house in shape! But now I am pretty happy with it.

For A's 40th birthday, we are going on a cruise to Mexico with his parents and my parents, and his brother's family. Altogether, we will be 11 people. I am most looking forward to playing with the kids. The 7-year old and 4-year-old will love the pool on the ship!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Triathlon results

I did much better at the triathlon than I expected- 269 out of 774, and I cut 50 minutes off my previous time on a similar-distance triathlon.
This motivates me to start training for a traditional-distance triathlon! The bike and run portions are about double the length, but the swimming (the hardest part for me) is quadruple. Still, a worthwhile goal.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I am doing a sprint triathlon this weekend. I did one three years ago, and registered just before we started trying to conceive. I remember I was worried that I might not be able to do the triathlon if I became pregnant. Ha!

I have done a little bit of training for this race, so I am hoping to improve my time by 20 minutes compared to the last race. I also have a better bike, don't have to take time to remove a wetsuit because I won't be wearing one, and am prepared for the panic I feel when I put my face in the cold green water.

I know this is way beyond me, but wouldn't it be great to brag someday that I completed an ironman triathlon? Or even just a marathon - no drowning worries there.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I betrayed infertiles

I think I betrayed Infertiles yesterday. Instead of owning up to being an infertile, I pretended that we don’t want children. When people ask the "when are you going to have a baby" question, denying any plan to have children comes so automatically that it is out of my mouth before I have a chance to rethink my response.

Yesterday a former coworker asked when I was going to have children, and I said, “No children for me.” She responded by telling me that I am still young and have time. (I’m 37, but I suppose to an older person anyone under 50 seems young.)

How do you respond to this question?

Should I have taken her, “You’re young” as an invitation to give out more information? Something like, “Since I haven’t been able to get pregnant after three years of trying, it is unlikely to happen in the next three years.” But then again, this was just a passing conversation at work, so perhaps I should treat it as the superficial conversation that it was and not delve into any personal details.

On one hand, mentioning infertility to someone who never had a problem is inviting pity and useless advice. But on the other hand, not mentioning it keeps people from becoming aware of how common a problem it is.

As a side note, two women recently told me that they were “childless by choice.” (Neither of these women had any idea of my situation.) I had always assumed that if you told someone you were childless, that the assumption was that it was by choice. Am I completely wrong on this? Why did they have to mention "by choice"? If you choose to stop infertility treatments, then are you "childless by choice" too?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Positive thoughts

I need to keep reminding myself to think positively and to believe in myself. I suppose we can all use that.

I saw a great quote on a greeting card this weekend, "What would you do if you knew that you would not fail?"

Monday, July 28, 2008


I am so ashamed of the way I am feeling, but I can't control it.

Last weekend I saw my cousin and her three-month old baby, and it didn't bother me at all, so I thought I was getting a handle on my emotions. I even thought about trying to restore my karma by making a baby quilt for someone else on the sewing machine that I originally bought to make a quilt for my own baby.

However, this weekend I saw a friend who is five months pregnant. I tried to avoid her at the party, but she kept standing at the doorway overlooking the backyard in a tight dress and rubbing her belly, which she has every right to do.

I thought I was okay with never being pregnant, and even feel fortunate not to be tied down with a child and have responsibility for all that brings. But why has this depressed me so much? Am I just jealous because she has something I can't have- even though I don't think I want it anymore?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Education in California must really be getting squeezed!

The public California university that I DROPPED OUT OF called me to ask for a donation. (I guess technically I am an alum, even if I didn't graduate.) I have dreamed for years that they would call me, and I looked forward to telling them how much I hated their school. But they never called, and I mellowed with time.

This year they called! I didn't have the heart to chew out the poor student who had the misfortune to have this job. (When I was there, it was the worst job on campus but the best-paying.) Although he was completely stuck for a reply since I forced him to stray from his script, and he suggested I donate even after I told him I hated that school, he finally accepted when I said I would donate money to the school where I graduated instead.

They called me again tonight to tell me about the improvements on campus, including the new Grateful Dead archive. If they are so desperate that they are calling dropouts, they really do need the money, and I did learn a lot there, even if most of it wasn't in class.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Birth Control

I haven’t been keeping track of my cycles, but I usually have a vague idea of when my period will start. Last Sunday, I suddenly went from very happy to very unhappy in the space of a few minutes for no good reason, and this is always a sign that my period will start in exactly four days. However, when my period didn’t start as expected, I began to wonder just how long it had been since my last cycle, and could I possibly be pregnant? This did not excite me. I have wondered that many, many times during the past several years, and I never have been pregnant. I successfully resisted the urge to calculate the due date.

Was this lack of excitement because I have been let down too many times, or because I finally got my life together and moved on?

I finally remembered the white pants that I was wearing the day my last period began, and realized that I still have one week to go.

I really enjoyed this entry from The Road Less Travelled about living childless and the birth control question: The Unspoken Question About Childfree Living

Friday, July 11, 2008

How many do you want?

When I read other IF blogs, all the women seem so desperate for their first (and only?) child. When we first started trying, I too looked forward to having a child. After surgery and multiple IUIs, I looked forward to having twins or triplets and I would have been disappointed with a singleton.
The emotional stress of fertility treatment was so high that I knew I could never go through it a second time. I also had to assume that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant naturally for a second child, since I couldn’t do it for the first. And since I think it would be lonely to be an only child, the only chance my to-be-conceived child would have for a brother or a sister would be to have a twin.
I know that multiples have lots of health problems, but that didn’t change the way I felt.
I was actually happier having zero children than having just one.

Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July weekend

Since I started getting more exercise (biking to and from work) and running occasionally, I feel so fantastic emotionally! My body is a little sore and tired, but I expect to get used to that. The Tour de France going on now is an additional inspiration.

This long weekend was great, I got so much done! But last night A was complaining about how sore his body was after so much standing up. (He usually sits in front of a computer 60 hours per week.) We were able to not only see my family, but get a lot of house projects finished up- like suspending the tomato plants from the eaves so they don't fall over and crush each other.

4th of July is apricot-picking-time at my parents house. They have one tree, which had a light crop this year, but produced an enormous amount last year. We brought home enough apricots to make about two batches of jam (5 jars each) but ended up making only one batch and eating the rest. Since I was still in a jam-making mood, I bought a half box of strawberries at the farmer's market and made Strawberry-Marsala jam out of them, but we can't taste the Marsala at all. If you use pectin, it only takes about an hour to do the whole procedure, including sterilizing the jars. My next batch of jam will be pectin-free, which requires up to an hour of standing over a boiling pot of fruit until it gets thick.

Thinking about apricots, and wanting to buy a tree for the former sandbox spot in our backyard, we decided to buy an apricot tree. This was also a nod to the heritage of our area, which is full of housing developments like "the greenhouses" and "cherry orchard," describing what was destroyed to build the new houses. Our neighborhood used to be an apricot orchard. When we brought home this new tree, we decided it made more sense to put it in the place where the living Christmas tree was. So we pulled out the Christmas tree with its pot, which was also buried, and then dug another hole, one foot away, for the apricot tree, in a better location. No shorcuts for us, even though we are renters and will most likely never harvest any fruit from this tree! Although, if we had known how hard the earth would be, we may have found it in our hearts to compromise on location.

Next project is to buy an evergreen to put in the sandbox area- perhaps an avocado tree.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I owe you a new post, but things have been going pretty well lately, so I haven't felt the need to write.

I took a half day off work today to be home while they installed new carpet and linoleum. Despite all the noise, it was great to be home and finish the balloon curtain project that I started when I couldn't find anything I liked at IKEA. I can't hang it up until the adhesive on the velcro sets, but no matter what, it will look better than just tacking fabric over to the window, which was A's suggestion. (He can't sleep with ANY light in the room.)

A few months ago, in an attempt to increase our consumption of vegetables, I signed up for organic vegetable delivery. We only receive the deliveries every two weeks, but because we eat out so often on the weekends and I am so tired during the week, it has been difficult to use up all the produce- especially the unusual items that I don’t know how to cook- things like kale, parsnips and radishes. And just how often can you eat artichokes? It actually becomes a bit stressful looking at all the floppy parsnips and wilted lettuce in the fridge. But this week, I used up nearly everything in one week (yeah!) and now we can go to the farmer’s market on Sunday and buy some more.

Last week a friend who doesn't see me very often commented that he thought I had lost weight. The scale says that isn't true. Nevertheless, his comment has been quite the motivator to keep me bicycling to work. Maybe the scale is wrong- after all, it's probably an IKEA original.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


A. commented the other day on how parents will go to great lengths to spend time with their adult children. It's not that their children don't love them- just that they have busy lives and don't devote much to their parents. But it is sort of like unrequited love anyway- you can google a person, look at photographs of them, call them, but it is nothing in comparison to actually being with them. It must be so painful for the parents! My mom admitted that she calls me sometimes just to hear my voice on the answering machine. A's parents live thousands of miles away and only see him once or twice a year.
One good thing about not having children is that you won't have to go through this with your own adult children someday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The purpose of life

What is the purpose of life?

If you have children, then you do everything you can to give them a good life, and they become your purpose. But if you don't have children, what is your purpose? To work?

I would love to be the kind of person who can do things to help others, but I feel so useless! A useless liberal arts degree, no focus in life, no career, a hundred skills but nothing to tie them together.

I'm not really that bad off. I'm sure lots of people have jobs that don't use their intellect and don't challenge them. At least I get paid well! So what I should do is just resign myself to staying here for 20 years, until I retire, and not think about whether I enjoy it or not.

My short-term purpose is to get fit enough to make all the pregnant women jealous, but I'm not making much progress on that front.

Did it ever occur to you that having children might be a trap? Everyone encourages you to do it, but they (the people who encourage you) don't seem to enjoy it that much! Are they just encouraging others to make the same mistake that they made?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Blogging as Therapy

This morning I read an interesting post about why Life From Here started blogging about her infertility and miscarriage. What struck me was that she described herself as keeping the pain to herself, and how blogging helped her to connect with others.

She also links to two articles about blogging as group therapy and a second article about the positive effects of blogging.

I get even more out of reading other people's blogs than from writing my own, but the reason I used the word "secrets" in my blog title is because I do usually keep my feelings to myself. Even if I wanted to talk about my problems, I couldn't do it because I would become overly emotional. It is much easier to write instead. And the reader can always close the page so I know I'm not forcing my ideas on you.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I was listening yesterday to a radio show on Procrastination and realized that this is the reason I have made so little progress in my job search. Actually, it also describes why I often feel that I make so little progress in general. (I didn't listen to the whole show, only about 20 minutes of it while I drove downtown at lunchtime, looked in vain for parking, gave up and drove back to work, where I sat at my desk and surfed the internet for the rest of the hour.)

During the show, a caller phoned in who said that every time she sits down to work on her thesis, she feels the urgent need to clean the house. Whenever I get home from work, determined to apply to at least one job today, I always make it a priority to water the plants. (It's hot outside, I don't want them to suffer, you know?) By the end of the evening, I have practiced violin, run a load of laundry, taken out the trash, emptied the dishwasher and cooked dinner. But I haven't applied to any jobs.

I am procrastinating because I am afraid of failure. I have been at this job so long that I don't know what it is like to work for a different boss, in a different setting. If I "sell" myself and my skills well, I may end up in a job for which I am not qualified, and fail! But if I don't sell myself, I will end up in a job that bores me instead of challenging me.

Is list writing just another form of procrastination? I waste time writing the list, and I derive satisfaction from crossing items off the list, but I have never ever accomplished everything on the list. Instead, I transfer the unfinished items to a new list or sometimes just admit that certain things will never get done and I throw the list away. I even write "shave legs" on the list sometimes(!) but that usually gets done within a few days.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good things come out of bad

For the last two years, I have been commuting to work by bike and train- riding to the station, taking my bike on the train, and then riding to work.

Last week, Cal.Tr.ain suddenly changed the type of train on my morning schedule. So now, instead of a train that holds 32+ bicycles, we have one that holds only 16. We bicyclists only learned of this when the train pulled up and the conductor said that none of us would be allowed on because the bike car was already full.

In February, they made the same change to the train that I take home, and at that time I started riding all the way home instead of taking the train.

I tried complaining to Ca.lTr.ain, as I have done before, but they always respond that they can't do anything about it. In reality, I think they want to discourage bikes because we take so long to load and unload that we delay the whole train.

However, since this change, I have begun riding to work, three days a week. Eight miles really isn't that far, and the ride is rather pleasant. Maybe I will finally lose some of the weight that I wanted to. Perhaps this will help decrease my stress too.


Yesterday I was reading the tragic story of Liz, who died one day after her baby was born. Life doesn't go as we plan, but we plug on anyway.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Follow up

Apparently I sounded really decided in my last posting. It isn’t really as simple as that.

Since we aren’t considering adoption, if we are no longer trying it means that we will NEVER have children. That means I need to throw away my baby names (I always feared that choosing names was bad luck, but I couldn’t stop myself), accept the fact that I won’t ever teach my child how to swim, we won’t ever have a bilingual household, and our nieces and nephews won’t have any cousins. I also need to stop wondering, when I pass teenagers on the street, if that is what my child will look like some day. I also have always had some misgivings about bringing a child into a world full of pollution, war, greed, bullies- at least I won’t have to worry about that anymore. Also on the plus side, I won’t have to change dirty diapers, listen to whining, discipline a teenager or pay for college.

Also, I need to start using birth control again. A waste of money because obviously I don’t need it! But as long I’m not actively preventing conception, I will continue to have a little bit of hope that it will someday happen, and that hope prevents me from moving on. I am sure A. is still hoping and part of the reason he agreed to “stop trying” (whatever that means to him) is because he knows that I am so tired of the process and because I am the one who has to do nearly all the work, so if I’m not willing to continue, then we shouldn’t.

P.S. Perhaps I need to clarify- hope is usually good. But getting your hopes dashed month after month is depressing. So what I need to do is to stop hoping to get pregnant and instead hope for something else- like happiness.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

To resume or not to resume

I had a dilemma. When we initially stopped medical intervention in October 2007, I begged for a six-month break, with the idea that we would resume or consider resuming in six months. I hoped that I could find a new job and get settled in during those six months, and that then I would feel positive enough to be willing to pursue treatment again. However, those six months have come and gone, and I still am at the same job, and I still don't want to pursue any more treatment.

A and I talked about the negatives of having children, and our reasons for wanting to have them, and we both agreed that having children isn't worth the steps that we will have to go through to get them. Although it is possible that we will change our minds in six months or a year, at this point it looks like we are finished.

Now I feel like I can finally (for the first time in three years) make plans that don't take into account medical treatment timing, costs or possible pregnancy. (In other words, I can go on vacation whenever I want, change my job without worrying about becoming pregnant right after I start, go scuba diving if I feel like it, and drink wine with dinner every night if I wish.) This has the potential to be wonderfully freeing, but it is hard to completely change my mind set after so long!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Test results

I did finally receive my test results from the doctor. My TSH level is 2.91, which is quite a bit higher than the 2.03 I had 14 months ago, but still under 3.0 and therefore within everyone's definition of normal. I still think I do have a lot of symptoms that point to a thyroid deficiency. Maybe in another 14 months my level will be high enough that the doctors will think so to.

I looked at the possibility of wasting some more money on a non-traditional doctor, but then I realized I already know what they will say:
Stop eating wheat
Replace all your metal fillings
Avoid (insert food name here)

Unless I am willing to make sacrifices, going to see a naturopathic doctor is just another waste of money.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Better not let me babysit

Our neighbor moved out six weeks ago and left us as caretakers of her 19-year-old cat and free-ranging white bunny. Since she was moving to a rural area, she thought it would be unsafe for them (eagles, coyotes, raccoons, etc.)
Five days ago the cat died in her sleep, and today Luna was killed by a car. A woman down the street came home and saw the rabbit's white body in the middle of the street. Everytime we come home, for years, we have been afraid of seeing a white spot on the street. We don't know how long she had been in the street, but we are hoping that she didn't suffer. She was already dead when the neighbor got to her.
Luna was well-known in the entire neighborhood. Children would look for her on the way to the park, and people would feed her carrots. She recognized people and would often hop over to people that she knew so they could pet her. She loved sitting on top of the mound in the neighbor's yard and watching everything going on around her. Although she would have lived a longer life in a cage, she wouldn't have been as happy. She roamed freely in our neighborhood for over two years, and enriched the lives of everyone who knew her. She is missed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Coming to Terms

Sharah wrote the most fabulous post about coming to terms with childlessness, and I am linking to it here so other people will read it, but also so I can reread it later.

The neighbor's cat

Our neighbor moved out about six weeks ago and we agreed to feed the cat and rabbit that she left behind. (She moved to a rural area and was afraid it would be unsafe for them.) The cat was 19 years old, afraid of people, and I often wondered if she might be deaf too. She also (so I heard from her former owner, since only once did the cat let me close enough to pet her) had a large tumor.

Last night she died in her sleep in the yard next door. I am relieved! I was afraid she had been suffering, and wondered what I should do when it became obvious. Her owner (the neighbor who moved out) is the kind of person who never throws anything away, and I was afraid that she was going to hold on to the cat in the same way, past the point of humanely taking care of her.


I have been a bit depressed this week. I wonder if it correlates with my cycle- this time it started on day 1. Just when I am so happy that I forget what it is like to be depressed, it happens again to remind me. Really little things can set me off- a rude salesperson, heavy traffic... And then my unhappiness is so deep that I can't imagine it ever ending. (I do still go to work and behave more-or-less normal, except that I cry at the drop of a hat.)
But I snapped out of it yesterday, so I am back to my normal self again. Great!

Monday, May 19, 2008


I thought I was past the point where it bothered me when other women became pregnant, but yesterday a friend called to say that she is eight weeks along. I already knew through the grapevine that she was pregnant, but her feeling confident enough to announce it herself is much harder for me than I expected.

Although her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I hope she realizes how fortunate she is to be able to get pregnant so easily- twice in six months!

It was my own fault for asking her how she was doing. You know how people slow their cars so they can see an accident on the road? I not only cause the accident, I am the accident and I get to watch it too.

For me, a miscarriage would at least be a sign that my body is working, and that I shouldn't give up hope. But hopes frequently dashed just cause pain, so I don't think I want any hope at this point.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Condescending Doctors

I finally received my blood test results from last week, including the results of the thyroid test that I had been so curious about. However, the doctor didn't send me the actual test results like my gynecologist always did! Instead she just sent me a summary, with 'Normal' marked for each test I had taken. How condescending!

This was the first time I had seen that doctor. I chose her because she had written that she "encourage[s] a proactive role for patients to get involved with their health care."

To top it off, her summary contained what I think is a sticker she puts on everyone's summary, advising me to "Follow enclosed diet. Continue low cholesterol diet. Lose weight. Exercise daily." While that may be good advice for most people, it doesn't make any sense since we didn't discuss diet or weight and there was no enclosed information. Pitiful!

I called the clinic to ask for a copy of the actual test results. We'll see if they arrive!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Job Search

I wouldn't blame anyone for wondering if I am really looking for a job. I have been complaining about work for so long, and haven't really done anything about it, in large part because of infertility. I thought it would be most convenient to stay in my present position, have the baby, then find another job while I was on maternity leave. But of course the baby part of the equation never fell into place. So, here I am three years later, no child and still in the same job.

One good thing about staying in my present job is that I have accumulated over 300 hours of sick leave, so it was no problem when the nurse practitioner wanted me to come in five times in a single week for IUIs and ultrasounds. That would definitely have been a problem in a new position, with no sick leave accumulated, or with a boss who didn't know you well.

Looking for a job is really depressing. I hardly hear back from any of the positions I apply to, so after a while I start to think of myself as a clod of dirt, with no worthwhile talents, or at least none of the talents that I wish I had.

Once I have been settled in a new job for a few months, my attitude should improve and then I might be willing to pursue IVF or even more IUIs.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

At least 1282 others...

Despite my recent "going public" I am still struggling to think of infertility as the same as any other problem, not something to be ashamed of. Imagine if a friend asks if you are training for a marathon. You might respond that you would like to be, but you have a bum knee. That's how casual infertility should be. Is infertility so much more shameful because our society is embarrassed by anything related to sex?
I recently came across a rather impressive index of infertility blogs and found out that there are at least 1282 people out there doing the same thing I am, in different stages of IUI/IVF/adoption/living childfree.
It really makes me realize that I am not alone! I also need to check out some of those blogs to see what you are up to, and perhaps add a few more to my sidebar.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thyroid tests

My appointment with the doctor finally arrived, and I convinced her to give me thyroid tests. But since there is some controversy over what is normal thyroid level, I am worried that I will have to still fight to get treatment. And if I my thyroid is "normal" even by both standards, but I know that I have so many symptoms of low thyroid, how do I deal with that? Perhaps find a naturopathic doctor who has a treatment even if it isn't the usual treatment?

I.... Must.....Relax

How do other people make time in their lives for relaxation?
When I came home from work yesterday, I needed to feed the cat and rabbit, water the plants, do laundry, clean the room where our guest was staying, cook and eat dinner, practice fiddle, put away the laundry, hook up my computer and arrange things since we recently moved... By then it was 10 pm.
If I could find the time (at least an hour) to sit down and knit, then I would have to be really relaxed. But there is so much to do! Once the moving and straightening is over, I need to start looking for a job.
The knitting project (a purse) that I started in May 2007 is only two inches long!
Sometimes I feel so stressed that I call in sick to work to get caught up with all my "home" work.
How do other people cope?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Going public

I finally decided to tell others about this blog. It was this posting that convinced me: http://faithexnihilo.blogspot.com/2008/05/gratitude-and-celebrity-sighting.html
There's no going back now.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Are we unknowing destroying ourselves?

I often wonder if my fertility problems are created by something in my environment- something I am eating for example.

The discovery that bisphenol-A leaches into our food and may disrupt our hormone system isn't new, but I just became aware of it. http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/114/bpa

Do I need to avoid exposure to plastics (as well as pesticides on produce and antibiotics and hormones added to meat)? Or are our poisons so pervasive that I had better get over my concerns?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Help! The dryer's shrinking my clothes.

Every pair of pants that I buy becomes too tight after a few months.
To avoid the most obvious conclusion, I theorized that the dryer must be too hot, and it was shrinking everything. I also have a tendency to buy tighter clothes when I feel more confident in my appearance, and looser clothes when I feel fat and frumpy. (I even buy smaller or larger shoes.)
But last week I went to Eddie Bauer to buy some new pants, and the only ones that fit me comfortably loose were size 12! There's nothing wrong with size 12, but that's the size my mom wears!
In 2003 I could squeeze into a size six. I was even forced to admit a couple years ago that size eight was unflatteringly small. Then I promised myself last year that I couldn't buy any more size 10 pants. Instead I had to use what I had until I could fit into an eight again. And now size twelve! Nooo!


I am torn between wanting to share with others what I am going through, and wishing I hadn't. That's why I haven't told anyone about this blog yet.
I take a foreign language class once a week, and the class is very small and the other students (all women) and I have been in the class for a few years. I dropped out of the class because one of the other women in the class was pregnant.
It took her eight months to conceive, but before she conceived, I enjoyed having someone in the class who was sort of going through the same thing as I was. (Two of the other students had babies a year earlier.)
Once she did conceive, I felt like she and the other students all pitied me and I couldn't go anymore.
I don't know if I will go back next year or not.

The Magic Bullet

I still think there must be one simple thing that will solve all my infertility problems. Perhaps I am exposed to a chemical at work, so if I find a new job my problems will be solved. Or perhaps I have a thyroid deficiency, and if I can persuade a doctor to give me the whole gamut of thyroid tests, the problem will be discovered and treated.
Realistically, I should accept that there is unlikely to be a simple solution like that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No longer forbidden

These are the things I couldn’t do for the two years that I was trying to get pregnant:

Go running (my heartbeat might go above 100 beats per minute)
Ride my bike to work (same reason)
Eat blue cheese or brie (listeria)
Go out for sushi (also listeria)
Go gambling in Reno (second-hand smoke)
Ride rollercoasters (too much movement)
Drink wine (alcohol)
Soak in the hot tub (too much heat)
Color my hair (chemicals)
Drink black tea (caffeine)
Eat chocolate (more caffeine)

Worst of all, I couldn’t be happy! I would drag myself through work and school, trying to stay away from people because I knew I had a horrible attitude. I would come home and try to be cordial to A. while we ate supper, but all I wanted to do was go to bed and cry. I couldn’t even find a private place to cry alone- a major drawback to being married.

Now that the Clomid is out of my system, or maybe just because I’m not putting any more restrictions on myself, I have found happiness again. Not constant happiness, but generally happy sometime for weeks. It is so wonderful!

The number one reason that I don’t want to resume treatment is that I don’t want to be that unhappy ever again!

Everyone is suffering

Everyone suffers for one reason or another, and to that person, their suffering seems worse than everyone else’s suffering.

I just found out that a friend of mine is pregnant again after her first miscarriage. I’m sure she suffered significantly with the loss of her first pregnancy, and is suffering even more now, worrying about this one.

I envy her. If you have a miscarriage, doctors take you more seriously. They can examine your tissue and possibly determine the cause. If you have never conceived, after a while doctors get tired of you and really just wish you would go see someone else because they don't know what else to try.

But then I think about my sister, who might never even have a chance to have children because of her chemo. How can I complain when her problems are so much worse than mine?

There is no justice or reason to what we are dealt in life. We just need to find strength to deal with our own personal pain.

Big waste of money #2

My chiropractor is nice- don’t get me wrong. I just don’t understand how straightening my spine is going to help my overall health. I didn’t have patience to continue going after months of treatment that I couldn’t tell had accomplished anything.

At first, she had me visit three times a week!!! (Each visit cost $50 and wasn’t covered by insurance.) After eight weeks I was down to twice a week, and then once a week. Then I gave up. I should have cut my losses sooner and not continued to waste all that money.

In my opinion, the only worthwhile part of the visit was the $10 extra I paid per visit for a “prep” massage. Those were so addictive that I wondered how I would survive without them on vacation!

Big waste of money #1

When I was first diagnosed with endometriosis, I thought it was a venereal disease. My gynecologist handed me a pamphlet, but didn’t offer any guidance on how to deal with it. I searched for help with Dr. Google. I had known someone who successfully treated her endo by working with a nutritionist, but all the nutritionists at my clinic focused on diabetes and weight loss. Then I found someone who advertised “integrative health." This seemed like the right track!

The consultation cost $150. After all sorts of tests conducted with a machine and a metal wand poked into my palm, she said that I had heavy metal poisoning from my silver fillings, I should avoid wheat flour, and I was allergic to everything except beef and broccoli. She also prescribed $250 worth of pills and liquids that I could only buy from her.

I did (and do) try to avoid wheat flour, but not at the expense of pasta. My dentist refused to remove my silver fillings. And at the time I saw her, I hadn't eaten beef in over two years due to fears of BSE.

Friday, April 11, 2008

To Tell Or Not To Tell

What do you say when people ask if you plan to have children?

I really want to tell the truth- we have been trying for 32 months and gone through 7 cycles of IUI with Clomid (12 IUIs total), without any "signs of life" (as B puts it), so we may never have children. I want to tell the truth because bottling it up inside is killing me. I want to tell the truth because unless people start talking about infertility, nobody will ever realize how common it is. I want to tell the truth because I want to meet other women with the same problem. And I want to tell the truth so that other infertile women know that they aren't alone.

The best non-committal answer I can come up with is, "Perhaps someday." But I dread the most likely response, "You're already 37. You can't wait much longer."

The problem is, people who ask are never people who have trouble conceiving. If they had had trouble, they would realize what a touchy question that is.

So, instead I end up embarrassing the question asker, who is completely taken off guard by my response. They deal with the shock by giving well-meaning but useless advice:
You drink coffee, don't you? Maybe if you stopped...
Do you know that your fertile period is between days 9 and 14 of your cycle?
Never give up...
Buy a new car. Our daughter was having trouble, but as soon as they bought a truck that they didn't need, it cleared up.

Causing my own bad luck

Years ago, when I worked near Union Square in SF, I overheard a woman who had recently given birth rave about how Cocoa Butter Body Butter from the Body Shop had prevented her from getting stretch marks. Since then, I planned to buy that as soon as I became pregnant.

I had also read that learning-disabled babies needed encouragement to explore the world. It seemed reasonable that all babies would benefit from that. So, I planned to make a baby blanket using many differently-textured types of fabrics.

The first month that we started trying, I bought Cocoa Butter Body Butter from the Body Shop, and I bought a sewing machine.

I didn't start reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting" because that seemed a little too hopeful.

But then I didn't get pregnant, that month or any month after.

I gave away the body butter in the hopes of breaking the curse, but I still have the sewing machine.

Could it have finally happened?

Your breasts are sore to the touch, you feel funny pangs in your abdomen, you are so tired that you go to sleep at 8pm, you eat twice as much as normal and still feel hungry...

These signs can only point to one thing: pregnancy.

But then your period starts just like it always has. Not even late.

How infertility books end

A woman in my support group (one of the ones who still isn't pregnant) had recently read the book "Waiting for Daisy." When she finished she was so angry that she threw it across the room.

I had enjoyed the book, but I understand her frustration. Books about infertility invariably end with pregnancy. I have never read a book where the major character ends up adopting or lives child-free. Why is that? Is it too anticlimactic or depressing for a publisher to accept it? I would really like to read about someone who doesn't have a baby, and moves on with her life.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What would you name yourself?

In college, one of my dorm mates was becoming a US citizen, and as part of that process she had the option to choose a new name. If you could choose your own name, what would it be?

My real name is unusual, and I like that because people don’t have any pre-conceived notions of what a person with my name is supposed to be like. However, I get tired of spelling my name anytime someone needs to write it down, and my name seems sort of childish to me.

But choosing your own name would be difficult- like deciding what image you want tattooed on your body for the rest of your life.

It’s a good thing our parents take care of it for us.

Everything happens for a Reason

I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I don’t yet know the reason for my infertility, but it will be clear when I look back in five or ten years.

Perhaps I have breast cancer that doesn’t yet show up on a mammogram. Finding out you have breast cancer while you are pregnant would be horrible- do you undergo chemo and risk harming your baby, or do you postpone it and risk your own health?

Maybe I am having trouble now to make me a stronger person and better appreciate the life that I do end up with.

On the scale of human suffering, infertility is pretty minor. I haven’t lived in a war zone, I haven’t lost any close family members to violence, I haven’t been divorced, I haven’t had any miscarriages, I haven’t been homeless... I am really quite fortunate!


What do you fill in as 'occupation' on your income tax return? I have a job, not a career, so I don't identify myself by my job. I have written 'wanderer' and 'undecided' in the past. This year I tried to write 'unknown,' but B objected.
Why does the IRS ask this?

How bad do you want it?

When I was meeting with a support group for infertile couples, I remember thinking that it would be okay if I didn't get pregnant, as long as the other women in the group did, because they wanted it so much more than I did.

When I think of having children, what I look forward to is the enthusiasm and wonderment that children feel when they do something new or exciting. I don't look forward to disciplining, changing diapers, or even holding a baby.

Is there something wrong with me that I don't want a baby that much?

Maybe I should just get a pet.

Breast Cancer

My 33-year-old sister (four years younger than me) was diagnosed with breast cancer in February. It was such a shock to everyone, and for about four weeks I didn’t think about infertility at all. Not being able to conceive just doesn’t seem important in the perspective of surviving cancer.

She is fortunate in so many ways- she is small-breasted so she found the lump by accident when it was still small, she has a tremendous amount of support from friends and strangers, she has great insurance, and she is single without children.

She also doesn’t have to go to work for five months. During her last week of work, she mentioned that she is almost looking forward to chemo since it means she won’t have to chase after five-year-olds with runny noses.

Support Group

I joined a support group for couples coping with infertility. We were six women and two men. Within two months of the official group finishing, three of the women had become pregnant, and we stopped our informal meetings because there were only two couples attending.

They should form different support groups depending on how long you have been trying.

Do you have a blog?

At a party in January, a woman asked me if I had a blog. The way she asked, it sounded like she thought having a blog was as normal as owning a telephone. “What a funny question,” I thought. “What on earth would I have to write about?”

Then in January my sister (33-years old) was diagnosed with breast cancer. She started a blog to keep everyone updated about her treatments. I started reading her blog, and all the blogs she linked to (all her friends’ blogs) and soon it didn’t seem like such a strange thing to do.

Friday, April 4, 2008

People I wish I hadn’t told

The only person I wish I hadn’t told is my coworker, and that is partly because I don't like her and regret sharing personal information with her. She was one of the first people I told, and she was the person who suggested that I might not realize that my fertile time is between day 9 and 14 of my cycle. I resent her luck in getting pregnant the first month she tried, for both her pregnancies.

I heard that her sister had trouble conceiving, and recently gave birth to twins through a medical-assisted method, so perhaps my coworker is a little more sensitive now.

Talking Behind My Back

It’s really ideal if you can tell someone that you are having trouble conceiving. My sister has a large group of friends, but none of them ever ask us when we plan to have children. I think it’s because they asked her first.

We didn’t tell my parents-in-law, but we did tell my brother-in-law, who told his wife, who told her father (a retired gynecologist) and I think the word got around to my husband’s parents because they never ask anymore.

My aunts don’t ask either.

We do receive the occasional awkward question about next steps/progress, and they don’t always come at a time when I have the emotional strength to answer, but at least these questions usually come from people who are supportive.

I am glad that I didn’t tell people when we initially started trying. It is less painful to start from a point where they already know you are having problems than to have them asking you for status when you are dealing with infertility for the first time yourself.

We were trying for nine months before I started telling anyone that we were having problems, but even that was a little too early.

Keeping a blog

I have been writing on this blog for over two weeks, but wasn’t ready to post. So many issues to decide… What title expresses me but doesn’t lock me into only talking about infertility? What should I call my husband? What to call myself? I am finally happy with the way I have set up everything, and ready to start!