Monday, December 31, 2012

reflections on the simple arithmetic that crushed our holiday dreams: cycle 2, days 3-7

Exactly five days, an out of town vacation,
Calendared and planned with hopeful expectation,
That we’d have the green light, to try to conceive.
Instead? Exactly five concurrent days of Clomid. We. Were. So. Naïve. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

At least someone is happy to hear that I got my period: cycle 2, day 1

But seriously. Who do you call when you get your period[1]? Who is genuinely excited to hear that you are shedding your uterine lining? Absolutely no one because that would be weird. The fertility clinic nurse, that’s who. For the unwanded uninitiated, here’s the deal: as soon as I get my period, no matter where I am, I am instructed to call the nurse, immediately (cut to me in an office stairwell at 9 am, hand over muffled mouth and phone). And there’s no other way to describe it – when she calls me back, she is legit cheerful. Her emotion is so unmoored from reality – hello I am still so not pregnant – that I can’t help but audibly giggle on the other end of the phone.

It’s not that she’s thrilled to hear that I’m still barren[2], it’s that she knows that I now get to embark on another glorious round of Clomid. That, undeterred, I get to try again. That I now have another chance at that FX for a BFP on your HPT! baby. That once more, my hopes can be raised unreasonably high for approximately two weeks only to hit a crippling low shortly thereafter. It’s a rollercoaster, people.

Even my own mother was not this excited when, at the ripe old age of 14, I joined the lady club. You’ve reached a real milestone! is what she could have said, before taking me out for a martini and buying me condoms treating me to a PG rated movie. Instead? We spent 90 minutes  - I, in a fit of excruciating teen angst, her, probably wondering how much therapy would set us back financially - on a family vacation in Peru, screaming at one another through a hotel bathroom door as I cried my eyes out over having to (wait for it) put in a tampon. Oh dear. If only I had known then the transvaginal ultrasounds of my future...

But I digress. At least there's this. Thanks for the irrational cheerleading, fertility-clinic-nurse-lady!

[1] The transition from an entry exclusively showcasing decadent baked goods to my pelvis is SEAMLESS. Just seamless. I try my best to please you, anonymous interweb people.
[2] At least that’s what my rational brain tells me. My rational brain also tells me that she doesn’t work on commission. Wait, does she? She doesn't, right?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

food > fertility

Because food is funner than fertility and because the net result of hormones coursing through your body on the regular is, essentially: I must eat all the foods RIGHT NOW, and, because I promised, here are a few hits (oh boy were there some misses) that I made this month:

 Dark chocolate, sour cherry, no-knead bread

 Chocolate pumpkin pie with toffee crumble

Apple mosaic tart with salted caramel

You may notice a theme that goes something like this: the addition of melted chocolate makes all things better.

(Also, I swear that all of my other meals consist exclusively of steamed kale to offset this obscene consumption of sugar.)

Recipes after the jump.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

missed connections

I, was wearing purple polka-dotted crotchless panties, yellow fuzzy tap dancing shoes and rainbow knee-high socks with swirly peace signs. On my tits, I had disco pasties. I have sicc multi-colored dreads.
You, had a green goatee, and no pants. A cow patterned blazer, No shirt. Sicc tatts.
I saw you hula'n on the multi-colored flying dragon art-car as I was riding my TIGHT cruzer thru da sicc playa dust.
We made eye-contact and never saw each again! Hope the universe brings us together. Namaste.
P.s. my name is Raven.
p.p.s we saw each other at burning man. 

[You guys: I could not make this up. Also, I just lost a little bit of respect for the Atlantic. I mean, really?] 

The truth is my crotchless panties are striped OMG JUST KIDDING MOM I had a little missed connection of my own last week. The above writer’s schizophrenic commitment to commas notwithstanding, it turns out that I, egg had a missed connection with You, sperm. Namaste. Also: ofcourseyournameisraven.

I went to the doctor this week for a follow up appointment in case I needed additional confirmation that I am BARREN not pregnant. In addition to not being with child, I am also apparently on the accelerated ovulation track (note to my first grade gifted and talented program: you failed to account for this particular predilection). Basically, I ovulate(d) too early. Although my follicles “looked great” and the nurse provided all kinds of false hope, my progesterone levels were already elevated by the time of my day 12 wanding. By the time of my post-coital headstands, it was probably too late.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

not for the faint of heart

There’s something I haven’t told you. There’s something I’ve kept from you. Something that shames me more than my uncooperative ovaries and over sharing, combined. But because we’re all recklessly divulging our most vulnerable thoughts to strangers friends here in anonymous-blog-land, I am going to be nothing if not candid.

You guys – I faint when I get my blood taken. Not every time, but kind of a lot. Enough so that there was[1] a special note in my file that two nurses should be present whenever I have the privilege of giving blood, in case I, you know, go down. I cannot lie: the nurses were INCREDIBLY UNAMUSED by this requirement. Because on top of the 30 other hormonal pincushions they have to deal with in a very short period of time, very early in the morning, there’s this super high maintenance chick. *takes bow*.

Plus, I also have to contend with this incredibly demoralizing fact: C is basically a phlebotomist’s wet dream. Because he is a self-righteous saint has a rare blood type and is a glutton for punishment, C gives blood at every opportunity. Doesn’t flinch, keeps his eyes open, chats away – the color never even leaves his face. But I, well, I am a freak. On bad days, sweat starts pouring off me with brazen abandon and my until-now-quiet-stomach lurches into a volcanic frenzy. Within seconds, I’m down for the count. The nauseous, sweaty, count.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

rest stop surprise: cycle day 19

At a rest stop on my way back from jail (yes, I heard that as soon as I wrote it and no, I’m not a transient grifter[1]) and lookee here. Surprise! That’s right, Aunt Flo’s in town. The crimson wave. Red tide. On the rag. (Yes, that last one is pretty heinous and yes, the six, four, two men who read this blog have now fled in abject terror).

I’m on Day 19 and I realized, that until this very moment, in a ramshackle Burger King bathroom – where I may or may not have audibly exclaimed “FUCK!”, much to the alarm of the mother of two in the stall next to me – I really hadn’t considered the prospect that I might find out I’m not pregnant by like, getting my period. Why? Well, because I assumed I would, like always, take 37 pregnancy tests and count my negatives before they hatch cry my eyes out on my own (much cleaner) bathroom floor. But my period? No ma’am. That never occurred to me (I am aware of my poor intuitive reasoning skills, thank you).

Also, math. Math plays an important role here. And while math isn’t exactly my strong suit (duh, that’s why I’m a lawyer), I feel like “counting” is a skill I should have mastered. Because, umm, wasn’t it way-too-effing-early for this? (more on that later).

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Okay, fine. This comes as no surprise. I mean just look at her. She is more fertile just as she is more thin, more pretty, and way more married-to-a-royal-prince. But whatever.

So, when I got home from work the other night (I swear there’s a sensible transition happening here), my dear, sweet husband said to me – in the calm, nurturing, reassuring tone he probably only uses when speaking to elderly Russian grandmothers who are one breath away from their last (you know, in his job as a hit man doctor) – so [putting his hand on my shoulder now like he’s prepared to break the news that they’re cancelling the Bachelor our dog died] you heard? And that was all he had to say.

Now, I should clarify something (because if one thing’s for sure, THIS needs to be said). We don’t actually know, Kate Middleton. Like, know, know. Or Prince William for that matter. In fact, we have no relationship whatsoever to the British royal family. It turns out, we often say things like Ohhh you want some mohrrrrr? in affected, obnoxious British accents  are just two, sloppy, unrefined Americans. We didn’t even watch the royal wedding (audible gasps from the interwebs).

Anyway, I swear I was making a point. Basically, C was afraid that I would royally (see what I did there?) FLIP when I found out that yet another basically-my-age-but-actually-older (the horror!) brunette was pregnant (did I mention we look nothing alike almost exactly alike?).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

dancin’: cycle days 12-16 (or so)

[Ahem. “Baby dance[1].”]

[1] To the intrepid Ally McBeal fans who clicked on this link: I'm sorry; I swear it was less weird in my head.

Monday, December 10, 2012

MTV cribs: cycle day 12

Today[1] was a good day. Today I found out that I have three mature follicles, I’m ovulating on my own and I should proceed to can I say have sex here? Is the nurse listening? make a baby! Wow. This is like, really happening. So obviously, because I am still a million steps removed from having said imaginary, as-yet-still-not-conceived-or-birthed baby, I decided it was high time to start deciding on the kind of crib I fancy for my little (totally imaginary) tyke. And because I also TOTALLY have 1500 dollars to spare, the interwebs did not deny me my self-indulgent ogling. Oh no. The interwebs took my broken, battered, infertile-until-now hand and said here. Here you are, vulnerable-one-who-wants-to-look-at-pretty-things-she-does-not-need-and-cannot-afford. Here is a disturbingly vast selection of jaw-droppingly expensive, Dutch modern, fairly traded, sustainably harvested, bamboo cribs that turn into a toddler bed and then into a window seat and then, when your child turns eighteen, a space ship, a college fund an, okay fine I don’t really know where I’m going with this but it’s probably something really cool, thing.  So yeah. I totally want NEED one of those.

And now - because otherwise the title of this post would be false advertising - here is Aaron Carter (who is basically an infant because that's what you are when you have a stuffed Pumbaa on your "safari bed"), wearing an amazing Tupac t-shirt and showing off his “shag carpet” walls. Please. Hold the applause.

[1] And if you’re just tuning in, by today, I actually mean about a week ago. Breathlessly trying to catch up to real time. I feel like Marty McFly. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

acronym gymnastics: cycle day 11

Woe is me. Infertility is socially isolating. There. I said it. And now I come to find out that on top of not being able to ovulate all by myself like a big girl and not being able to really talk to anyone about not being able to ovulate all by myself like a big girl, I also have to learn a whole new language of inscrutable acronyms. TWW? OPK? BFP? And don’t even get me started on “BD.” Seriously. Really. We’re all adults here.

For the uninitiated still googling this bizarre pseudo-patois of dubious wordplay, let me break the news to you:

TWW = two week wait (the interminable wait, pre-pregnancy-test. during which time you might, hypothetically speaking, decide to start a blog. just an idea.)

OPK = ovulation predictor kit (an overpriced box full of tiny strips that lie, and lie and lie to you and say you never ovulated when you totally did a boisterous early morning activity!)

BFP = big fat positive (as in, the golden ticket. the not big, or fat, but tiny and small and almost indiscernible, little pink line on the drugstore pregnancy test you bought in a frenzy, along with Skittles you didn’t really want, but felt oddly comforting, and a People Magazine that you so did because honestly, what kind of person buys just a pregnancy test?)

And now, BD. I can barely stand to type this. BD is (cringe) “baby dance.” BD is SEX. Straight up. Sometimes my doctor calls it intercourse. Sometimes the nurse says “have relations” (still cringing). I call it sex. Superfluously not infrequently. As in, “So doc, when can I have SEX?” and, to the nurse, who is looking unhinged because it clearly makes her so uncomfortable when I utter such HEATHEN words “so, does that [test result/FSH level/weather report] mean we can have SEX?” Because honestly. Baby dance? If I am old enough to make the decision to voluntarily inject myself with Chinese hamster ovaries (seriously though, I feel like an adult should have signed off on that?), then I am totally old enough to say SEX in front of a medical professional AND in a pseudo-anonymous online forum. Thankyouverymuch.

Friday, December 7, 2012

i got the swag: cycle day 10

This morning as I sat down at my desk, at my office where not a single person knows I am HELLOTRYINGTOCONCEIVE, and where taking a nurse's phone call in the grimy stairwell full of recyclables and speaking to her as though I'm in a bomb shelter is-like-playing-with-fire, I felt something. (A something that was not the dull, ever present headache that arrived on day two of Clomid-the-wonder drug. Also a something that was decidedly not the oh-my-god-I-just-started-crying-during-  Teen Mom Schindler’s List “thing” that started on day four). No. This was something else. This was a subtle…twinge. Near my hip. Well, not so much my hip but more my pelvis. And not so much my pelvis but deep in my… holy shit that is my ovary. And it dawned on me right then and there, that I have never been aware of my ovaries before – like really, really acutely aware that I, WOMAN, have a pair of appears-to-be-functioning (hallelujah!) ovaries! And they’re mine! And they’re for baby making! (and like, other stuff, like hormones and… okay I honestly have no idea what ovaries do. Sorry mom, I totally never read that copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” that you insisted I purchase along with my subscription to Cosmo. Also, why did you let me have Cosmo?).

But where was I? Right. I got the swag and it’s pumpin out my ovaries!. Winning (but also kind of losing).  

cycle day 9

Who says that infertility can’t be a barrel of fun? Today, I got a gift. A very special gift. Wrapped in an ice pack. And left on my doorstep in, I kid you not, a gift bag. That’s right. The man from the fertility pharmacy, which has a sickeningly quaint name that basically makes it sound like the boutique-neighborhood-cupcake-store, actually left my prescription – including a giant needle and something called a “sharps shuttle” that looks comically like an uncomfortable plastic dildo space… shuttle – in a gift bag. On my front porch, INPLAINVIEWOFTHEREALLYNOSYNEIGHBORS.

That’s right. Just like this. You sure do know the way to a girl’s heart, boutique-neighborhood-cupcake-store-pharmacy-delivery-man[1].

[1] Or not. There were decidedly no cupcakes in this bag. Which is disappointing and frankly untenable. Do you know how ravenous hormones can make you?

on the count of three: cycle days 1-8

(So this first week was kind of a wash, wherein we made up the start date for my first round of Clomid by randomly selecting what would become the infamous “cycle day 3” – umm, how about this Wednesday? Whatdyasay? Yes? YES! – and then, for a few days over Thanksgiving, I took 100 mg of Clomid each night in abject terror of what the morning would bring which obviously, in my totally rational mind, was nothing short of projectile vomiting and complete organ failure and full-on-no-holds-barred-batshit-psychosis, because if nothing else I am totally realistic and a GLASS HALF FULL! kind of gal and then like, it wasn’t quite that bad, and then I went back to work.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

(gratitude interlude)

So this whole thing here (motions wildly with hands) went psuedosemiquasi public yesterday (except for the part that’s NOT PUBLIC AND SHALL NEVER BE PUBLIC cause you know, fragile ego, must-maintain-gainful-employment, etc.)

Anyway, since more than me, C[1] and two of our friends started reading this thing, you kind people – including one mystery reader in Qatar[2] – have given me a lot to think about. Firstly, thank you. For like, caring and reading and even occasionally laughing. It means a lot. Secondly, some of you came, like out of nowhere, with your own wilder-funnier-crazier-more-badass fertility sagas that I didn’t-even-know-about (not that we’re keeping score. cause that would be creepy). So, damn. It feels good to be among you, ladies (okay fine, it feels like the seventh ring of Dante’s Infertility Inferno, but you know what I mean, right?). Then there were those of you who, in response to news of this shindig, graciously made offers like: “want me to make you a dish of apricot, clam, shrimp, prune and tofu? yum!” because umm, she wants to kill me foods with iron may enhance fertility? Yeah. It’s the latter. DEFINITELY the latter. Others of you have babysat this luddite, shepherded her (uh, when did third person happen?) through the vast desert of the interwebs, and taught her the terrifying truths of tracing and trolling and also something called ROBOT.TXT which she still doesn’t actually understand even if she said she did. Because, let’s face it, she’s a lying liar whose palms sweat at the very mention of the words IP ADDRESS. <liberal arts major. does not compute. *moves hands like robot*>

All this to say: thanks. I had many good reasons not to start this blog, such as, in no particular order/this is only a partial list/there are so many new reasons I think of every day it’s like pick your own adventure: future prospects for employment quickly fading; if I ever do have children they will be completely warped, like, Motherboy-warped, and require years of therapy from having seen the word “transvaginal” written by a lady they called “mom”; my ego is a delicate flower; and also ohmygodiwillneverworkagain. But yet, I press on! (I know, it’s UH-MAY-ZING how much adversity I’ve overcome as a privileged-middle-class-white-lawyer-person. Sigh. A moment for my struggles, pleaseandthankyouverymuch.)

And with that, I am, clearly, done with the sap and back to the snark. Thanks for playing.

[1] Me: So…(casually now since he has been working nights in the hospital for the last 4 days and is exceedingly tired), have you read the whole blog?
C: [pause as cog turns ever so slowly and then, haltingly] I have not read all of the blog.
Me: VERY diplomatic choice of words. <points out that this statement does not preclude him having read none of the blog>. 
C: *throws small tantrum and concedes that he actually did read the part he could see on his screen without scrolling THE BLOG but he’s being obstinate because he finally realizes that I’m actually funnier than him*
[2] <waves to Qatari censors> 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

let the games begin

Well, there I was. Battered and breaded and bruised up like a heroin addict[1] following a series of blood drawing, wanding, MRI-ing (now with contrast!) and even some iodine-dye-ing, for FUN good measure. (Ed. Note: during this time there was also birth control. ten VERY IRONIC days of birth control which I obviously had blocked out of my mind as a psychological coping mechanism until now. and during which time I ate-all-the foods-in-the-house-and-cried-all-the-tears-in-my-eyes because I basically just PMSed for 10 solid, miserable days). And so, I was probably a little too excited for my second meeting with the doctor man and the delivery of my DIAGNOSIS[2] *cue horn section.*

Anyway, after an hour that felt like thirty seconds, during which time big words were thrown around, pictures were drawn (ohmygoddoctor please stop drawing GIANT follicles on the back of my official medical record), and instructions were given (when a man and a woman really love each other, sometimes they will show that love by…. ok, not those kind), I left the office with two prescriptions, a confusing looking chart, that is obviously just a list, and was clearly made on Word Perfect in 1991, and which coldly instructs me exactly when to have sex, not that I can really read it friendly-sounding “cycle calendar” and basically, not a clue what any of it meant.

meet and greet

(Some of you have asked for more of the back-story. And since pleasing you is whatIgetpaidthebigbucksfor!, here goes.)

Way back in October of this year[1], we had our first meeting with the reproductive endocrinologist or, for those in the know, the “RE.” So me and C left work early and met on a secluded beech for a romantic nooner in a drab office building, in a waiting room full of other nervous but tryingsohardnottolooknervous couples, along with the requisite back issues of Star Magazine (point, Sarah!). I was probably sweating profusely through nice business attire and C was probably being all blasé and calm cause you know, he still hasn’t had to actually do anything (except of course, try, and there were no complaints there).

So in we went. The RE seemed like a pretty affable guy: he shook our hands (obviously, he and C did their secret doctor handshake exchanged a bunch of medical words I didn’t understand just to show off), he offered us mints, and later, when I started crying for no apparent reason (for every reason!) he offered us me tissues and assured us that he goes through at least a box a day.

And then there was this. Honestly, this little nugget was worth the price of admission. My reproductive endocrinologist smartly endeared himself to my reality-tv-loving-soul when he casually told me the back-story on Jon and Kate Plus 8. (Don’t even for a second suggest that he uses this story on every hapless, teary eyed, infertile lady patient. No. He knew this would mean something to me.) Ahem. Where was I?

The RE’s tale was one of intrigue! betrayal! the-importance-of-heeding-the-truth-of-the-transvaginal-ultrasound! Okay fine. I think the scientific explanation went something like this: Kate was on Clomid. Kate came in for her regular wanding[2]. Doctor told Kate “you have too many follicles! Do not have sex! It is not safe! You will have too many babies!” Kate said, to hell with you, doc! *visions of plastic surgery and a life without Jon TLC paychecks danced in her eyes.* END SCENE!

There was a point here, yes? Oh. Right. We left this visit with some very important information. Mostly, that there would be a lot of blood drawing, wanding, MRI-ing and even some iodine-dye-ing in my future. In short, it was time to start the work-up. And boy were we excited (and also NAÏVE. Very, very naïve.) 

[1] So by now, logical-thinking-human-reader, you’ve probably realized that these initial blogs aren’t exactly written in real time (and if you didn’t realize, it’s okay. It wasn’t backinoctober obvious.) I'm trying my best to catch up quick. Until then, let’s all just pretend we’re in a time machine, shall we. Very well then.
[2] Because writing out transvaginal ultrasound is… cumbersome. And less funny.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

for when the "trying" gets tough

As I mentioned, we jumped into this whole baby abyss about nine months ago with the totally rational and not at all unreasonable idea that the only thing standing between us and an adorable, cooing infant was relaxed, plentiful sex, nine months of eating ice cream and voila: BABY! (That’s exactly how it works, right?). But then, it didn't work.

What follows are a few gems of wisdom picked up during nine months of the-trying-isn’t-working:

1. Just relax!

(This is obviously a joke. This is something your doctor, who is literally nine months pregnant, and probably conceived all of her seven children naturally after her husband just looked at her, tells you as you sit in her office, fingernails bitten down to the elbows. This is something your friend tells you, the one who “ohmygod, got pregnant after one month of trying, isntthatcrazy?!” This is something your mother tells you, but then asks you on the regular whether or not you are yet pregnant. But seriously, whataboutnow? But you cannot relax. Because you had a plan for this whole pregnancy thing. You had a plan for actually having this baby in time for a summer marathon/learning how to knit a cute and possibly ironic fall sweater/trekking across Bhutan. Because you were totally going to do those things. With a ten month old. On your back. But now, you cannot. Because now, your sole focus is planning the days on which you and your husband will both be home at exactly the same, very romantic, time.)

2. Which brings us to number two. Have a lot of transactional sex because you are using the cycle beads and the stupid cycle beads say YOU MUST HAVE SEX EVERY DAY FOR TWELVE DAYS STARTING NOW, we don’t care if you’re tired and just ate a lot of cookies fun!

3. You are not alone!

(You are totally alone. Every single woman you know between the ages of 18-40 is currently pregnant or has recently given birth to the most beautiful-precious-porcelain-doll-of-a-gorgeous-baby, none of whom look all weird and grandpa-alien-ish, and there is literally no one, not a single other person in the entire god for saken universe who has ever tried as long as you have to have a baby – which is really not that long at all. Also: Facebook. Honestly. You swing wildly back and forth between liking every single picture of a child under the age of three – even the only semi cute, goblin looking children of some former intern who you have literally exchanged not seven words with – and feeling like, hey girl, I do not need this constant stream of adorable baby mugs and fawning social-media-o-sphere taunting me with every teeny-tiny baby mitten and teeny-tiny fuzzy baby chicken Halloween costume ever sold or made.  So alas, you are going to have to leave Facebook. Because that is a totally rational, not impulsive decision and the only available option. Obviously.[1] )

4. The mommy blogs. Dear lord in heaven, the mommy blogs.

(The mommy blogs, collectively speaking, are a deep, dark, discombobulating vortex into which you will fall. Hard. You will become irrationally obsessed with mommy blogs as a way to numb your pain get excited about motherhood! But it’s okay! Because even though you do not have a child, and are neither breastfeeding nor pregnant, it is totally imperative that you form deep, nuanced opinions on cloth diapers, “keeping baby safe from scary electrical outlet thingy,” and some mystery verb called “Ferberizing.” Oh, you are ready for that baby and now that you suddenly discovered these feminist, progressive mom-ladies and their profound missives on the interwebs, the amount of time you spend reading this stuff is bordering on crazy town.)

5. The TV is a bunch of lying liars.

(Getting pregnant is totally not at all like they say it is in Teen Mom. You will know because after months of “trying”, you will convince your husband to pretend that you are both totally irresponsible sixteen year olds and you are like, you know, hooking up at his parents house, and he like totally doesn’t want to wear a condom, because you know, it like doesn’t feel good, and plus he’s “too big”, and you think you took your birth control but umm, you don’t really know because whateverrrr, so let’s just bang, hmm? Spoiler alert: you will not get pregnant this way despite your strong work impersonating the only-semi-literate stars of MTVs hit series which is made for people much younger than you and which you totally do not watch while working out. Anyway, you’re still not pregnant.)

[1] You do not leave Facebook because, duh, how would you remember birthdays? Also, the cute babies!