Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hallowanniverary

We love October. It's a beautiful month: it can be warm during the day and crisp at night. You can get your sweaters out from storage and actually wear them, and be happy about finally bundling up a bit. The leaves are beautiful, the light is beautiful, it's just a gorgeous time of year. And, it's Halloween. I have always liked Halloween but it is Bryce's absolutely favorite holiday. So for October, we watch scary or spooky movies (I am a wuss, much to Bryce's chagrin), try to do at least a couple events that are spooky (hikes in Mt Hope cemetery! Dracula at the GEVA theater!), and, for the past two years, celebrate our wedding anniversary.

We got married twice, which suited our purposes in 2009 but now makes things a little complicated. Which anniversary do we celebrate? For now, at least, we celebrate both. October is our completely selfish month, where we do what we want to do. And now that we have been embroiled in this infertility crap for the entirety of our newlywed-dom plus a bit, we really, really don't feel badly about being selfish during this month. October is special. It's when we celebrate the joy of us and the reasons why we want so badly to have a baby and add to our family and the love that we share.

This October it's been particularly important to celebrate all the things that we have in each other, because we've had such a rough time with everything this year. Just the other night Bryce and I were talking, and he said, "Didn't we think 2010 was a terrible year? Didn't we say GOOD RIDDANCE, 2010 on New Year's? I hate to say it, but I think 2011 has been worse." And in terms of the crap that rains down on us seemingly constantly, yup, I'd agree. 2011 was (and is) a rough, rough year. But, looking at our second year of marriage, we have a lot to be grateful for too. Despite all the horrible things that we have had to endure, we have a lot to be grateful for.
  • While it's not always easy, we still have a solid, strong relationship. We have had to deal with more crap in the first two years of our marriage than a lot of people deal with in a lifetime. And we are stronger for it, ultimately--so we are so lucky for the love that we have for each other.
  • We did get pregnant this year. We are moving up a trajectory, not stuck in place or looking at even harder choices than we've currently got regarding family building. We have frozens. Hopefully my body remembers what it's like to pregnant and adjusts to make it happen in the RIGHT place this time. As hard as August and September were, we are actually on an upswing. (That is some serious positive thinking to regard our experiences as an upswing!)
  • We are both healthy, employed, and in all other respects besides the babymaking ride have a pretty nice life. We have had to make hard decisions this year to maintain a sane household, but we are able to pay our bills, pay for treatment, and have a little fun, too. That's not a small accomplishment in this economy. We are grateful.
  • We are still filled with hope. I still believe that it's WHEN we get pregnant, not IF. I believe that "our time" is coming. (The concept that we are "due" a happy ending is bizarre to me--why wouldn't we have been "due" earlier if that's the case? Why wouldn't last time have been "our time?" But whatever, in a weird way I feel like we are close. Very close to being at the end, at least for now.) Going through everything we've experienced and still having hope is a significant accomplishment in itself!
  • I believe that we can celebrate our 3rd anniversary with a baby, or at least pregnant. I have to believe that to stay sane.

Back from fancypants dinner, wine-stained teeth,
time for a horror movie. Now that's true love...
So, looking back at our second year of marriage, I think that we have more happy than sad. We still have romantic moments despite the drudgery of doctor's appointments and sharps containers and finagling schedules to accommodate morning intramuscular butt shots. We can go out for a surprise fancy dinner at Richardson's Canal House and barely talk about infertility, truly enjoy each other's company, drink a killer bottle of Spanish wine (Alto Moncayo, smoky and delicious grenacha), and then come home to watch Christine. We can smile like newlywed dorks the whole night through, because while we can certainly feel inordinately unlucky, really we are the luckiest people ever. Happy second anniversary to us.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saying Goodbye (always with the goodbyes...)

Last August we adopted a beautiful greyhound, Kayak. We had lost our previous greyhound in February and the house was empty and quiet. We were ready to get another dog, another greyhound. We went back and forth on it--with everything going on, could we handle another big dog? We thought about other, smaller breeds more suited to our house, yard, and lifestyle. But we went to a meet and greet for greyhounds and left in tears--they are such sweet, wonderful dogs. And so, on August 28th, Kayak came home to us.

The problem was that we had discussed how maybe we might not be able to be as present for Kayak as we had for Doc, our beloved greyhound who had passed on. We discussed how with all the infertility treatment that we might not want to be tied down to the responsibilities of a dog (and a big, energetic dog at that). But we ultimately decided that we needed to have another greyhound--a companion to love, to play with, to take for walks. But we didn't realize what a long, painful, arduous journey we were truly on. August 28th was my first transfer date--I went in to have our first pair of embryos transferred to my uterus in the morning and then we went to pick up Kayak when his transport arrived from the track in Florida just hours later. We were so sure we were going to get pregnant and it would all be memories of needle sticks and sharps containers. But we didn't.

And we didn't in December, either, despite my hyperstimulating and despite having to be out of work for an extra week because of that. And we did in August, but only to have that end in surgery and loss and more time off work from a new job this time. Each time it got harder. Each time I was involved in more and more appointments to support my body and mind. Each time we had less and less energy and time to devote to our dog. And he suffered--he became very anxious, had gastrointestinal issues that couldn't be remedied with changes in diet, probiotics, anti-anxiety medication. Not to be gross, but he took maybe 4 solid craps the entire time we had him--over a year. When we decided to try a trial with another family, one with a bigger fenced in yard and a bigger house and more to give to our wonderful (but very emotionally needy) dog, he was solid the whole week through. He was a totally different, non-anxious, non-obsessive-butt-licking, non-destructive dog. He was happy. He was getting what he needed. And that was just not happening with us.

And so tonight, we brought our dog to another family to stay. We transferred our ownership over to a family with a five-year old daughter, a house with a nice big fenced in yard, a family farm where they let dogs run, and frequent hiking and camping trips. They had a greyhound who passed recently and wanted a new one and ours happened to come available when no others were. It was serendipitous. But is is one of the hardest things we have done. We love our dog. We wanted so badly to make it work, to be the family he needed us to be. But we just couldn't. I have nothing left to give a dog right now, when I'm dealing with so much physically and emotionally. I can keep it together for my job, and I can handle my home (sort of), but with other stressors it was just overwhelming and unmanageable. And I held a little irrational resentment against the dog because I thought maybe if I hadn't gone to pick him up and I wasn't unable to rest because I was watching him in his first days during our wait, that maybe the transfer would have worked and we would have been pregnant. It wasn't good for me stresswise, and Kayak was also stressed and not getting everything he needed. We made a decision for the better well-being of our dog, and that decision meant relinquishing him to another, better-suited family. It's heartbreaking.

Seeing his new home tonight made us feel much better. But then as we left, Kayak was so confused. He kept rushing to the door. He kept trying to leave with us. He didn't understand. It was absolutely horrible. We know, just know that he will have a better home with these people. He can run, and hang out with other dogs, and have a little girl who will grow up loving him and adoring him and going everywhere with him. (Bryce's smart-aleck remark was, "It's not fair--Kayak gets a kid before we do!" Ha ha.) It was just so hard to feel like we were abandoning him, even if we were "abandoning" him in the best possible place. We feel like it's yet another thing we just can't succeed at. We aren't able to sustain a pregnancy yet but we just keep losing other things, too. It just seems so unfair. It's like our lives have turned into a horrible country song where everything is lost.

The thing that makes us feel ok with all this is that we know it is the right thing to do. It is infinitely harder to do the right thing for Kayak and let him go to another home that it would have been to be bad dog parents and keep him in a situation that wasn't good for him and wasn't good for us. It's not like when we actually do get pregnant and sustain it that things would get better for Kayak. You don't get more attention as a dog when there's a new baby in the house. It's going to be hard to explain to neighbors that Kayak went elsewhere once they catch on that he's not with us anymore. But we cannot feel guilty about it. We did what was right. It just feels like one more way that infertility is chipping away at our lives, and we can't help but be resentful about it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Scars

I have two visible scars from my surgery to remove my ectopic pregnancy in August. One teensy tiny one on my left side that is healing normally and looks like a tiny comma. And one angry, inflamed, crusty scar on my right side that just refuses to cooperate. It's bigger, because it's where everything came out. The tools used were bigger, the cut was bigger, so it's reasonable to think that the scar would be bigger. But I just don't understand why it won't heal.

I went to the doctor a few weeks ago because it was gross and irritated, and there is nothing wrong under the surface. No abcess, so bowel issues, no fluid of any kind lurking in the recesses of my subcutaneous. So it is just skin-level. But now it's a few weeks later and it still won't settle down. So I am on antibiotics to try to clear the stupid thing up.

This scar thing is really making me upset. I am not exactly thrilled that I have a permanent, physical reminder that I lost a doomed pregnancy surgically. It is what it is, though. What's irritating is that my scar is not disappearing to red and then shiny pink, leaving a barely perceptible reminder of what almost was. It's not cooperating. It's leaving me with an angry, irritated, constant reminder that my body is not healing as fast as I'd like it to.

I feel almost like my physical scar is a representation of my emotional state of things as well. I thought that I should be ok emotionally by now. It's been a few months, I'm back to work, I'm looking forward to our next step. I should be totally over things, right? I should be healed emotionally by now. Apparently not. This has been one of the hardest weeks for me since everything went horribly south in August. I can't explain it. I have been wretchedly angry, just a seething ball of venom about the stupidest things. I have picked fights. I have had what can only be described as stompy, slammy, three-year-old temper tantrums. I have been like a living and breathing representation of fury. And underneath it all, I have been just drowning in feelings of being overwhelmed, and an utter, all-consuming sadness. But, as my amazing therapist brought to my attention, anger is easy. Working through the sad is hard. Because you have to sit in it. You can't just have a burst that temporarily makes you feel better (while really making you and everyone around you feel much, much worse), you have to really wade through the loss and the feelings of hopelessness and unfairness to come out the other side. And it's not like it's realistic to think that you can come out the other side with no lingering anger or sadness left. It sticks with you. So, on Thursday, when I had hit my absolute breaking point and had been on the verge of tears for days and the most horrible snappish shrew at home, I saw my therapist and was hit with what I knew deep down was true. I am not even remotely through my grieving process for our little lost embryo. I have this bizarre, overwhelming  pressure on myself to be ok, to be over it, but I'm not. So I'm angry. When really I am desperately sad. It's taking a toll on everything--my well-being, my relationship, the climate at home. And so I sat in that sadness Thursday and cried for about 4 hours straight. And while that was hard, I felt better. It's not like I'm not able to feel some hope for our frozen opportunity that's coming down the road. I am. But it's so hard to be truly hopeful and excited when I am so sad about what happened and so terrified that something similar (or worse!) could happen this time. I am scared. And I am grieving. I have scars, inside and out.

I have this weird, kooky feeling like once I've made some progress working through my feelings of loss, of self-blame and guilt, of colossal unfairness (Why, WHY can't we catch a break? Why does everything have to be so freaking hard?), that my outward scar will start to look normal. Or maybe the antibiotics will just kick in and it will look like any other shiny fresh scar destined to fade out of noticeability, and by that time I will feel a little better. It's just so hard to feel the angriness of my body under my clothes, and to see it when I step out of the shower. It slaps me in the face with something I'd like to forget, sort of. But maybe I need a reminder for now, to remind me that it was awfully recent and it is something that I need work out, emotionally. That I can't hide from it and cover it up, because then my sadness seeps out as ugly anger and malice. I don't need to be totally through it by the time we do our frozen cycle, I think that would be unrealistic. But I need to get a grip on things before my scars take over and make me feel like I am not the person I used to be. Clarification. I'm not the person I used to be (how could I be after everything that's happened?), but I still want to be the same kind of person: a well-adjusted person, a balanced person, a reasonably happy person who can laugh in the face of all this adversity. I think I can get back to being that person. Maybe when my scars fade. Maybe when they are blended in with beautiful stretchmarks on my round pregnant belly. I can only hope that's where those scars are headed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

And My Lie Catches Up With Me

So, a little while ago I wrote a post on how I told a little white lie to the fine people of American Baby magazine. I really enjoy their magazine, it's free, it helps me with my Baby Binder and my vision board, but there's just one little problem. I'm not actually pregnant. So, last March when I was doing an IUI for kicks and giggles to kill time between IVFs, I signed up and put down the due date that would be roughly when I would have been due from the IUI. November 11th or something like that. And then I just didn't think about it--I got my magazine, I got pregnant and for a brief moment thought that finally I wasn't a liar anymore, and then, almost as quickly, was right back to square one.

It may seem like torture to subscribe to a magazine for pregnant women/new mommies of new babies when you are in my situation. I gave it a lot of thought before actually signing up. The way I see it, if it comes at an inopportune time (like the day it came the day before Mother's Day, or right as I was recuperating from the ectopic surgery), I can just stuff it under the coffee table until I am ready to go through it, razor it to death, and put its eviscerated husk in my recycling bin to possibly cause speculation among my neighbors. It's worked out well--I look at it when I feel like I can handle it, and if it's too much, it goes back into hiding until another moment of well-adjusted-ness. And my Baby Binder is really filling up with all kinds of great developmental tips for pregnancy and newborns alike, cool new gear, nursery design tips,  maternity clothes ideas, etc. etc. etc.

But then October's issue came in the mail a few weeks ago, with a giant burst that said "A NEW SECTION JUST FOR YOU!" I looked at it and was so confused. How on earth could they have something just for me? I flipped through it and still couldn't figure it out. So, on the day when I felt mentally ok to read the thing, I got to the end and realized. There was a whole section on being 8 months pregnant. Just for me. Because, if I was actually due in November, I would be 8 months pregnant. (Coincidentally, just like my therapist is actually 8 months pregnant and due right around my fake-but-at-the-time-totally-possible due date. Hilarious.) I laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed.

I can laugh about this one because it's not tied to something real. It's tied to a lie. If I had actually gotten pregnant from that IUI and then subsequently lost it, it would be a different story. If it was tied to my due date from our last IVF that ended poorly (April 13th), I would have been an unholy mess. Kind of like when someone announced their pregnancy in a faculty meeting and said they were due mid-April, and I was in a funk for a long time because that was when I would have been due had my embryo had a better sense of direction. Or, how that godawful facebook meme for Breast Cancer month came out less than a week after my surgery and my status would have been "I'm six weeks and craving tomatoes" -- cruel on two parts because I was six and a half weeks when I lost my ill-fated pregnancy and because I was overrun by mutant tomatoes in my garden. The tomato part wasn't so very sad, but I cried for a good hour anyway.

But, the 8 months section is just funny. But it poses a problem. Apparently this is a recurrent feature. Next month I will get the 9-months birthing section. And then I will get sections based on how old my mythical baby is, for as long as they do this Just For You! marketing stint. So I'm not really sure how to proceed. Do I call up the fine folks at American Baby and 'fess up in my own way? Say that I've had some loss (true, but not for the November date, so then I feel like bad karma would be headed my way) and the section isn't accurate? Or wait and see if I get actually pregnant and THEN change my date by calling? Either way it's a little embarrassing. And it makes me feel slightly like a bad person. Because I was dishonest, but only because technically I've been expecting for over 2 years. We've been in this babymaking limbo for a long time. So it's like I'm an elephant or something, gestating for a ridiculously long period of time. There, that makes me feel better. Excellent rationalizing. I think I'll just let the magazine slide until I can call with an actual, viable pregnancy update. Which is hopefully soon, very soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Lasagna in the Freezer

Doing a frozen cycle is a little bizarre. It's surreal, because our embryos already exist. There is nothing I have to do for egg quality's sake--it's already done. Bryce can booze it up and go bike riding and wear tighty-whities if he so chooses because his part was done in July. It's so weird! It's like our babies are a lasagna in the freezer--all we have to do is preheat my oven and pop 'em in (and hope that somehow a vortex doesn't open in the oven and they disappear...that's where the analogy falls apart a bit).

I am sort of at a loss with this cycle, because I've never done one before. I consider myself somewhat of an amateur expert at the IVF process for fresh cycles--having done three of them and done a ton of research to be prepared for each eventuality (and unfortunately experiencing a few eventualities that I'd rather have passed on, thankyouverymuch). But a frozen? I am not as knowledgeable. Mostly because we never thought we'd get a frozen cycle in the works. Why research that when the first two IVFs didn't produce any embryos that could be frozen? And then with the last cycle, we had our embryos frozen but were so sure we'd be pregnant (we were) and that we wouldn't need them (but we do) that I didn't look into it then, either. So now that our little freezie pop babylings are up on deck, I'm feeling a little lost.

Here's what I do know. It starts like a regular cycle protocol for me, where you go on Pill first to sync up your cycle with the lab schedule. Then, unfortunately for me, the Lupron starts. I am so sad that there is no alternative to Lupron for a frozen. (You can do a "natural" frozen cycle with no meds, but seeing as how my system is so collossally dysfunctional that is just not an option. My hormones need tight controls! My body is not to be trusted with itself!) So, back to the fake-menopause nightmare for me. After a while on the Lupron, when I'm nice and suppressed and my body's control (ha) is relinquished, I start injecting estrogen. Which, sadly, is intramuscular (butt shot) but is not as nasty as the progesterone in oil shots, so I've been told. It's a small amount to be injected and it's only injected every 3 days, so that's not so bad. After a while on that (I really don't have a clear idea of how many days), we do a lining check to see if the estrogen has plumped me up and made a nice home for the freezie pops, I quit Lupron, start the awful progesterone in oil butt shots in addition to the estrogen, and then I go in for the transfer! Our beautiful blasts are thawed the day of transfer I think, and then they get their glamour shots so we can see what we've got in our oven. Then we wait, and test. That's it! No ovarian stimulation, no risk of hyperstimulation, no surgery, no anesthesia that makes me loopy, just a baby deposit made with a catheter into my cushy uterus. It's incredibly surreal.

One of the reasons why it's surreal is because technically, these babylings were conceived in August. But they go in my uterus sometime before the holidays, and so will be born sometime in the summer if they manage to stick around. So even though logically they don't start the age count until they actually implant, they will be older than they seem. Sort of. It really screws with your mind if you think about it too much.

We have been nervous about the frozen cycle, because in the limited reading I have done on the topic, the success rates aren't usually as high as a fresh. I read on average they are around 20% or so. But then, we found out that at our clinic it can be as high as 45-50%! They only freeze primo, primo embryos. So they have lower rates of embryos frozen, but much higher success with the procedures they actually do. It has to be a robust, extraordinarily beautiful embryo to freeze. Because of those strict quality controls, they lose very, very few embryos in the thawing process and they enjoy wicked high pregnancy rates. Looking at those statistics, I actually have a higher chance of getting pregnant with a frozen than a fresh. And I got pregnant with our last fresh--it just didn't choose the best place to land. That's the other thing I read--you are more likely to get pregnant with a frozen if you got pregnant from the fresh cycle. Not by a lot, but enough to make me feel better about it. Although I know a handful of people who got pregnant from a frozen after failing the fresh, too. So frozens definitely can work!

I think I've decided to keep my research to a minimum for this frozen go-round. Sometimes I can go a little overboard (who, me?) and overdo it when it comes to information. I can stress myself out. I can be a bit of a control freak. For this cycle, I am going to truly let go. I mean it. I will do my acupuncture and maya massage and yoga to prepare, but I'm not going to stress about it. I'm not going to go crazy. (I say this now, but when the time comes I am going to need people to remind me that I said I'm not going to go crazy this time. Way, way easier said than done!) I hope that we are looking at our last cycle, for now at least. Although it would be really cool if we had two blasts and got pregnant with-twins, and could wave buh-bye to this whole rigamarole. We've never done a blastocyst transfer before--they've all been Day 3. It's so exciting to do something new. And terrifying. But mostly exciting.

Here's hoping that our lasagna in the freezer makes it through the baking!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

We're So Lucky

Every once in a while, complete strangers (or people you know at a highly superficial level, like neighbors down the street) say the most insensitive things unwittingly. And usually, we just let it slide or say something mildly sarcastic (that only we, or a friend in the know who is with us, pick up as sarcasm). The first time it happened was right at the beginning of our journey, about a month after we got married. Our neighbors down the street, who have two children in the late-elementary-early-middle-school range and are always frazzled and driving off to one practice or another with harried expressions, commented on Bryce's car. Bryce is an Audi guy. He likes to drive a fun car. He never gets them new--so they look very expensive but in reality aren't more than, say, a new CRV would cost--but his choice of car causes people to have certain assumptions. Bryce's current car is technically a sports car, but in the housing of a family sedan. It's sleek and fast but a four-door with built-in window shades (no "baby on board" shade featuring Winnie-the-Pooh required in this car), and has lots of great safety features. But, it has a V-8 engine and makes a lot of purring and roaring noises. And it's fast. The dad of the family down the street (who can't be that much older than we are) said to his wife, "when can we get a car like that?" (they drive an SUV) and her response was "Whatever, they don't have kids. That's why they have that car. Just you wait." It was the beginning, so I wasn't as jaded and open and easily irritated as I am now. But I just laughed a forced laugh "haha, yup, we are certainly free as little birds!" and tried not to give in to the overwhelming urge to get psychotic and yell "WE WANT YOUR STUPID SUV! WE WOULD TRADE THIS STUPID VROOM VROOM THING AND OUR "FREEDOM" FOR YOUR CRAZED SCHEDULE IN A HEARTBEAT!" It wasn't worth it. (However, now I silently goad on these same neighbors... go ahead--say something to me now!) They have no idea what we are going through. I can't blame them for being insensitive to an issue that they know nothing about. But you can bet I would clear up that misconception pretty quickly should a comment arise now.

Last night we went out for Thai at a restaurant we go to fairly frequently. We had a waitress we haven't had for a while, and at the end of the night she asked the question I dread. "Do you have kids?" Now, just to be clear, it's not the question that bothers me. It's the reaction to our answer. It is perfectly ok to ask a couple if they have kids, especially when they look like they're in their thirties and it's feasible they might. It's what happens next that burns my britches. We say "not yet," or just "nope" without any happy expression to be seen. And, like the waitress last night, people tend to say some variation of "Oh, you're so lucky." Given, if you don't have kids you have certain freedoms. You can sleep in without someone crying in the next room or jumping on your sternum whining "Mommymommymommy wake up I need juice." You can go out to dinner more freely. You aren't spending money on diapers and school supplies (for others) and food for more than just the two of you. At least, if you don't have kids by choice, either because you aren't trying or you don't intend to try. It's a little different when you have been working very hard to lose those freedoms but to no avail. So do we feel lucky? Not so much.

Last night Bryce was my hero. Usually he just says something sarcastic and laughs it off or virtually dismisses it. Like the other day when he got breakfast at the Wegman's across from his office and one of the ladies he sees every day said "Do you have kids? You'd be a great father. I bet kids just love you! You should have kids!" and Bryce's response was "No, kids don't like me." It's a defense mechanism, and his friend totally got what he meant. Haha, kids don't like Bryce because we've technically conceived 8 times--8 little embryos, half me and half Bryce, have gone into my uterus--but none of them have stayed. Or stayed very long. Haha, kids don't want to hang out with us. Very funny. At first when Bryce takes that tack with people I get irritated--like he's misrepresenting himself to avoid the conversation and somehow jinxing us.  But I do kind of get where he's coming from.

Except last night, Bryce rose the to occasion first. The waitress asked her question, and I said "Not yet." She said, "Oh, you're so lucky!" and Bryce immediately (but very politely) said, "No, actually, we're not lucky at all." I added that it wasn't for lack of trying, and she said "Well, just keep at it, it will happen!" and then Bryce said, "Well, we've been at it pretty hard core for two years, so the last thing we feel is lucky." She said, "Well, at least you can save your money for when you do have kids!" (can't really blame the lady for trying to find something positive), but then Bryce quickly said, "Yeah, that would be nice, except all our money goes into trying to HAVE the kids. We're in medical treatment for everything." I did temper things with "I guess we are a little lucky, we can sleep in and enjoy our time to ourselves for now" (but it does feel like a crappy consolation prize). That poor, poor waitress. She totally got more than she was planning on with that conversation. She felt really bad, but for once Bryce told me after, "I really didn't mind it if she got uncomfortable. You shouldn't ask a question if you don't want an honest answer--if you're going to tell a childless couple that they're 'lucky,' then you should be prepared for the response if that's the last thing we feel. She asked the question, I just answered it." I LOVE THIS MAN.

Because that's the thing--we do appreciate the freedoms that we have since we don't have kids yet. The nice bottle of wine, the nights out at Maria's, sort-of-sleeping in (instead of kids crying or begging for breakfast or saying "Mommy-up!" we have a dog who walks around and digs his nails into the floor around the bed until you take him out, a cat who is banished to downstairs with a baby gate because he cries and whines at 7 on the dot or when the toilet flushes (whichever comes first), and another cat who occasionally sleeps in the bedroom but will lick your face until you wake up if he's hungry...so we really don't totally get out of the morning scenario. Although you can ignore animals to a point whereas you can't really ignore your child...). But our later mornings are in no way better than what we want more than anything.  I would welcome needing a bigger car or having to haul baby crap with me everywhere I go or having someone puke on my feet in the middle of the night if it meant we finally had the family we dream of. We don't feel like we are lucky, not at all. Lucky is not failed procedure after failed procedure, complications out the wazoo, and finally getting pregnant only to have it end in surgery due to an embryo with a crappy sense of direction. Lucky is not spending tens of thousands of dollars and feeling trapped in the sense that we have no idea, none at all, when this will end and how much we will need to put into it in every possible way. Lucky is not feeling totally exhausted at the thought of injecting myself again and feeling terrified of what our results will be on our next go-round--if it's negative I will be sad, but if it's positive I will be so nervous that something will go wrong until I can hit a "safe" point. And I really don't know when that is anymore. Lucky is not technically having extra time, but spending it all in a doctor's office or acupuncture appointments, or doing 8 billion little things to "relax" and "prepare your body." It's not waiting by the phone to see if your dreams will finally come true or if, again, you are decidedly unlucky. Yup, we definitely do NOT feel free or lucky right now.

So, while I feel a little badly that our waitress last night got an earful, I think she will think twice before flippantly saying "You're so lucky!" to another couple if they don't have kids. Maybe she will just say "Ok" and move on to some other small talk topic. Maybe by being the weird people who were firm and detailed but polite about how unlucky we are, we have saved some other infertile couple the same situation.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rearranging

This was a productive weekend. We stopped bitching about how we feel crowded in our house, and started to do something about it. Bryce has been building bookshelves, built-ins, to go on either side of our fireplace. This will hopefully solve some of our storage issues for books (we have about a zillion, which is wonderful but they cover every possible surface), and use some space that isn't being effectively utilized. But, in order to put the bookcases there, other things had to move. Which started a flurry of furniture-sliding, rug-rolling, and piling-crap-onto-the-dining-room-table-ing. It was awesome.

We tried about four different configurations. What we ended up with involved rethinking the way we see our first floor. Our house has no entryway. You walk in and BAM! You're in the living room. We sort of faked an entryway before, by putting the couch as a divider and creating a sort of hallway. We had a desk and the wine fridge in a little recessed area by the (tiny) coat closet and a letter-holder-key-hook thing hanging on the wall above it. And what happened is stuff piled up on the desk, it wasn't an entirely usable space, and we weren't fooling anyone. Still no foyer in our house. So we moved all that stuff--the desk went to the upstairs nook that was empty, waiting for the trestle table with benches and basket storage underneath that Bryce was planning to build (it is lovely to have married a handyman with flair and talent!). The trestle table that was going to be a crafting-coloring-homework station for phantom futurechildren. But, we needed the built-in bookshelves more, and more immediately, so the trestle project got tabled (ha, ha) but the nook remained empty. Which is a colossal waste of space. So, the desk went up there, my school crap and laptop went there, and hopefully my files will go up there too, neatly and in a system that works (haven't quite figured that out yet). It's ironic, because when I first moved in, the nook was where my desk and office was originally. And it moved because I am a hot mess piler. But, this is a sacrifice I must make. We don't have enough space in this house for me to hide my piling in a room that's better suited for storage. I need to reform my ways and practice some of what I teach all day in the resource room...organization and time management. So I'm back in the nook.

Which is great, but leads to other spaces that we have that are being "saved." Like my little room upstairs. This is a guest room that was my first total stamp on our house. I totally redid it, with input from Bryce but the concept was all mine. Coastal, cozy, and airy despite the fact that it's the tiniest room ever. The room, even though it is one of my favorites in the house, almost never gets used. Because it's supposed to be the baby's room. All of my picture books went in there, in a window seat Bryce built years ago. Then all my Maine picture books went in there on display. Then the drawers of the nightstand and little dresser started filling with pregnancy books and organizers. And, unfortunately, drawered they stay. I used to go in there for meditation. I used to go in there and read to my belly, to encourage my slow grower to keep up the good work. Lately, it's just a smidge painful to go in there. I can see where the crib goes, and how I'd keep the little dresser for baby clothes and put baskets in the built-in bookshelf for baby stuff. But it's still empty. It's not even truly waiting for someone who's getting ready to make his/her home in there. But, in the vein of our rearranging/ reorganizing/space-utilizing frenzy, I think we will have to tackle that room too. I can't afford to have a museum room that's kinda-sorta a shrine to the baby we don't have yet. I can picture me in there, feeding my FutureBaby, rocking my FutureBaby in my glider, putting my FutureBaby down for a nap. But I should actually use the room now. Maybe if I use the room now we'll actually need it sooner. (Odd logic, but not the first time my mind has worked in mysterious ways. And actually, that's Bryce's theory. Once we start using that space regularly and appropriate it to something else, require it for something else, we'll need it for FutureBaby(ies). I wish it were that easy!)

Our new "entryway"
The new reading nook
So anyway, back to the living room. We moved the desk upstairs, and the wine fridge to a temporary home in the living room (it will go in the storage room that's now my hot mess piled office, once we're I'm done with that project). We put another table that Bryce built, his first, next to the door and made THAT the depository/entryway place. We'll put a basket underneath with organizers for mail, stamps, bills, coupons, etc. and keep the letter organizer on top. My school bag(s) go underneath. The table fit perfectly. We decided not to separate the room, but to use the whole space as the living room. Bryce's leather Morris chair, which is the seat everyone gravitates towards when they come over, moved to the recessed area as a little reading nook that was still close enough to the couch area so that if we had a lot of people over (ha, ha) the person in that chair could still be connected. The couch (really a loveseat) is on the wall with the windows. The ottoman is faking a loveseat on the opposite wall. The coffee table is between the two. The coffee-colored armchair is floating at the top. It's open, airy, roomy, and cozy. All of a sudden our living room doesn't seem so small and crowded.
Fake "loveseat"

Imagine the built-ins flanking the fireplace.
The best part about the rearrangment is that last night, as we were sitting and reading and drinking a yummy California Zinfandel, Bryce said he loved the new space. That now there's room for playing and running around. That finally, he can see children fitting into our house (or at least child, singular). I can see it, too. I can see the toys and space for bins for the toys. I can see the exersaucer and the floor mat. And Bryce made the point too...it feels like we're nesting, like we're getting physically ready for what it's taking us so long to achieve. Our house has been a stressor--and while we realize that rearranging one room does not account for the chaos and pure "stuff" that comes with a tiny child, at least we are further ahead of the game than we were. It cost us nothing to make this shift this weekend. All it took was the time to totally rearrange everything and see things in a different way.