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

Monday, September 30, 2013

What Else Can I Do?

Well, I wish I had good news on this fine Beta Day. The weather was gorgeous, I had a half day sick day so I could receive the news in private and react without students nearby, and I was feeling really positive.

Too bad my uterus wasn't full of positive. It's empty. Negative. Nothing doing.

A beautiful hatching blast and it's schmutzy companion did not care to stay.

This makes 20, TWENTY embryos that have come and gone.

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DEAL WITH THIS???

How am I supposed to reconcile my newly polyp-free, sticky'd up uterus, my supposed wonder donor eggs that made EVERYONE ELSE pregnant on the FIRST FREAKING TRY, my new and aggressive protocol that left me psychotic from the huge doses of Medrol and sore and black and blue from my hips to my thighs from the double PIO, with this NOTHINGNESS? What else could I have done? Am I that unlucky? Is there something awful hiding, undiscovered, that is the reason why I have to experience THIS MUCH PAIN?

I don't understand it. I thought for sure I was pregnant and all was good. Fooled again by the evil progesterone that apparently can mimic EVERY SINGLE symptom of early pregnancy.

Besides cry, drain my phone battery, eat Bryce's slice of lemon cake I was saving for him, and have wine for the first time in two months, WHAT CAN I DO?

Some people might wonder at what point I will consider other options. Well, I have six little Day One, 2PN embryos in the freezer. I don't think I can move on until those have been given their chance to make this cosmic tragedy into a happy ending. But do I just go for it? Or do we seek other opinions from big-name clinics, looking out of state? The problem is, I don't have an answer. There is no smoking gun. I was supposed to be all implantation-friendly after the polyps were removed. But that didn't work. I am working with DONOR EGGS, for pete's sake. That's supposed to mean SOMETHING. Frozens have a success rate of 30-40%, so I could just be THAT unlucky, again. But it is feeling awfully overwhelming, this piling up of evidence that this whole process is just not working for us. So do we move on to other options that are also time consuming, expensive, and a major process in of themselves? Or do we keep on going, since we have no concrete evidence that I can't get and stay pregnant and maybe it's just a matter of time and endurance? I know women who have babies in their arms right this very minute because they kept going when all seemed lost. But what if I am losing my stamina? What if I NEVER get an answer? When do I cry Uncle and cross a bridge to another avenue entirely? One that scares the pants off me? How about that the major adoption agency in my area recently shared that their waiting list for infants is so long that their program is currently closed? Do I let go of pregnancy AND experiencing a truly "fresh" baby? HOW MUCH CAN YOU ASK ME TO GIVE UP, FUCKING UNIVERSE??? HOW MUCH? I am at a loss. I am angry. I am incredibly sad. Do I take a break? Am I capable of taking a true break without perseverating and making myself miserable? Can we actually take a true break where we pretend we are normal married people who take vacations and enjoy spending money on fun, carefree things and not procreation which is supposed to be free? Can we manage not to be completely depressed on our fourth wedding anniversary that is rapidly approaching, since we were totally supposed to be pregnant for that? And now we have to hope it happens for the fifth? And DEAR LORD, not that this is the biggest berry in the patch of suckiness, but what about our CHRISTMAS CARD? I was hoping there'd at least be a little bump or announcement on that thing. Now I'm going to really have to do something humiliating to my cats. Last year's bow ties aren't obvious enough. That makes me incredibly sad, too.

I was worried this would be negative and I wouldn't know what to do. Well, it's here, and my research is at a dead end and I don't know what to do. Any thoughts out there? Any words of advice for someone who is apparently JUST NEVER EVER LEAVING THE GODDAMN TRENCHES? Other than "time to move on," because I'm not there yet. I have embryos and they will be utilized, just not sure how. Not sure what our reserves are financially for any next steps after these little embryolets are utilized. I am tired. My freaking thighs are sore from the shots. My hips and upper thighs are still numb from the hip shots that my body decided were too much this time around.

That's where I am. A very dark, very sad place. Feeling very, very alone and very, very left behind. This is a terrible way to feel. Also, I am fighting a respiratory infection thanks to school germs. So at least I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning that buys my puffy, bloodshot eyes time to normalize (ha) before I have to be there for my students in the afternoon.

This sucks. That is all.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Uncomfortably Numb

I am hoping that having some wacky things happen this cycle is a sign that the really important thing will not be wacko. Here is my latest wackadoodle experience--the PIO shots are causing me numbness.

Not I-need-a-wheelchair-I-can't-feel-my-legs numb, like Nellie faked on Little House on the Prairie, but someone-shot-my-hips-and-thighs-full-of-Novocaine numb. Especially my left side. Down at least a third of my thigh. The other side is just the side of my hip/outer thigh but not as pervasive and rubbery-feeling. I can walk, it just feels weird.

Has anyone else experienced this?

I am getting two shots of PIO in the butt every day and then every third day I add a del Estrogen shot into the mix, so my poor hiney is hurting. But I didn't think it would end up with this bizarreness.

I called the nurse line yesterday and they had me come in (I had to miss the pep rally today, aw shucks that was a shame...) to make sure we were injecting in the right spot. Bryce was completely horrified yesterday and was convinced he's doing it wrong somehow and he will help us achieve a baby but in the process paralyze his wife. Sweet, a tad neurotic, but untrue. When they redrew the sharpie circles on my hindquarters his sticks were right in the sweet spot. They think maybe the sheer volume of oil going into my ass is putting pressure on nerves and causing the numbness.

Here's the kicker: some people have experienced this numbness FOR UP TO A YEAR. Oh wow. Will this affect my goal to have epic Birthing Legs? Will I be rubbery and doll-like throughout my hoped for pregnancy? Dear jehosaphat I hope not.

Oh, and some other lovely PIO-related news... my husband is being told he needs to be on a plane across the country for a work emergency. Tomorrow. For a week. Guess who learned how to give herself PIO today while the nurse was trying to figure out the cause of the numbness? Guess who is probably going to be using 1 inch needles in her thighs because a contortionist she is not? This lady, that's who. I am thankful it is not summertime. I am thankful that while this whole development has me in tears and I am terrified, I'm pretty sure I can gather my mettle and get the job done.

It is absolutely amazing what a person can be capable of when they are focused on a goal. Do I want to shoot myself up with an oil-based injection and long needles? HELL NO. Do I have to to get what I want, what we've fought for for four long years of this crap? YESSIREE BOB. Am I thrilled that a weeklong business trip means I'll be alone for beta? NO NO NO NO NO! Can I handle it one way or another? YES. I guess so.

I can only hope that so many mini disasters in the midst of this miracle can only mean that the most important part is going right. That nothing is easy or smooth but I will get a good news call. Anything else is just TOO MUCH TO ASK OF THIS LADY. So please, Universe, if you are going to keep the hits coming, please keep them to self-injections and weird numbness and missing husbands during an important time in our lives. Let us have the precious miracle that we do all this madness for. Pretty please.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sometimes Plans Change, and That's Okay

Ok, so first things first. I do not usually write about my cycles while I am cycling, which is kind of crazy since I use this blog to process my thoughts on stuff, and you would think that would emotionally constipate me. But, because I typically share this blog on facebook, I don't like everyone to know exactly where I am in my cycles. I've done that before and it was a complete disaster. So, I am breaking my rule because I am not posting all my posts on facebook anymore, and I just kind of have to write about this cycle. So, if you stumble across this post and you are a facebook person, please don't mention anything about my cycle specifics. Please pretend you're reading about someone else. I realize this is kind of weird, but there are times that I kind of regret having everything out there on facebook because I don't have the blissful anonymity of being able to write about my transfers and betas as they happen out on the blogosphere. At the same time, I don't regret spreading awareness and (I might be flattering myself) acting as a resource for others who aren't quite out of the infertility closet. 
Feeling peaceful, feeling hopeful...just letting everything be.

So. My transfer is complete, and our little embryos are snuggled in. What's that, you say? I thought you were doing a Single Embryo Transfer...I thought you'd done all this research and convincing and were all set on your decision? What happened?

Well, apparently that was one of those things that I have to let go of. The day before transfer I received a call from our embryologist asking how we'd like him to choose which embryo to transfer. What the freak? I thought--because I had just had this conversation a month earlier with the nurse who asked if we wanted to thaw two and transfer one and I totally didn't get it. Why on earth would anyone discard a perfectly good embryo? I mean, SET is great but I want to THAW ONE, TRANSFER ONE, thankyouverymuch. Not outright choose one blast over another. And now here was our embryologist, saying the same thing the nurse did. Making me feel like these people truly think we're crazy. Except he explained it. Apparently, they freeze the embryos in the same tray. There was never a chance for us to transfer only one, not since the blasts were frozen in June. I was very, very upset about this, because I had AGONIZED over the SET decision and really convinced myself that it was best (and still think it is), and it was never really a choice. So, I informed the embryologist that I guess we'd be transferring two after all. And now everything made sense--I would think we were crazy, too, if I thought we were asking to triage blasts for the sake of doing SET.

I was really mad at the apparent lapse in communication (how exactly does this come up THE DAY BEFORE TRANSFER???), but did not want to address it immediately. I don't really want to be aggravated and angry going into transfer, and I don't really want to piss off the people in charge of my future precious cargo. So we went with it.

Remember my cast of characters I was going to line up to watch transfer and give us mucho good juju? Here they are in action:
Good Fortune buddies, and embryos #19 and #20 to go into my waiting uterus.
The one in the middle was my absolute favorite. This is a Personal Blessing statuette that was lent to me by my awesome therapist. She is so peaceful, and happy, and has so much potential in that belly. A little cosmos of potential, right in the uterus.

I usually feel funny about posting blast pictures, too. But, I figure they're kind of far away. The one on the left was "so-so" according to the embryologist--it wasn't fully re-expanded, which was disappointing. We had the choice again right before the transfer to not transfer it, but, to repeat myself, WHY WOULDN'T I TRANSFER BOTH if they're thawed? Just because it's a bit of an ugly duckling doesn't mean it shouldn't get a shot. I'd rather give it a chance in the uterine environment where it belongs and if it makes it, great, if not, at least it had a fighting chance. I am not ok with just discarding a blast. Those are the only children we've ever had. They are hard won and represent a lot of time and grief and medication and monetary cost. Now the one on the right, that one is perfecto. A B5 hatching blast. Yup, that's right, there's a little smudgy area at the bottom right where it is actually starting to hatch. I have never had one of these miracles before, so I can only hope it is a good sign.

Once home for bed rest, I set up my little meditation-y area on the coffee table:
I can't seem to let go of the whole red candle thing. You can't see it in the lotus thingie, but yup, red candle. And my happy little personal blessing lady. And Lord Ganesha. Can't hurt. The rest of my cast of characters are sprinkled about the house, some in my purse, all just little tokens to remind me that good fortune is possible. I have done everything I can to make this a success, and I can't do any more. It will either happen or it won't. I've already had plans set in my mind--just one embryo, please--that have had to change. And you know what? Such is life. Things change. I am not overly worried about twins, because I've transferred so many embryos in the past and never once got pregnant with multiples. But if it were to happen...things change. I can just accept what is coming my way and accept it wholeheartedly, because really, do I have any other choice? You can't change what's thrown at you. You can change how you deal with it.

I am full of hope. I am full of my little superstitions, and my little meditations, and I send sticky, loving thoughts down to my precious cargo all day long. My rest has been lovely, and I'm totally taking it easy all week. I am doing my best not to overanalyze everything. I am doing my best to just keep telling myself, "You've done all you can do. It's either happening or it's not, and you can hope for the happening, but there is no sense getting all crazy about it." I really feel pretty calm.

Of course I'm not without my crazy, like the little gallery audience I brought to transfer. Oh, and the virtual blastocyst shrine I have going in the dining room. Remember that beautiful Buddha statue my husband bought me for Christmas, the best and hardest present ever because it represented our lost baby from the miscarriage last summer? Well, that Buddha is watching over our little babylings. I have the pictures secured by the Hope shell in his lap. And floating above is my little clay star that a friend made me after our ectopic tragedy, to represent our little lost babyling who neglected to ask for directions. I hope that star guides these little potential babies home. I wanted to include our losses in our bid for hope. Without those losses we wouldn't be where we are today. I hope they help ease our take-home baby home to stay. We are so ready.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Feeling Pincushiony

My butt is not happy with me. This new protocol has an obscene amount of butt shots built into it, which started this weekend. I am excited, because it means that transfer is sooner rather than later, and this new protocol is hopefully going to make a big difference for me, but OUCH. Yesterday in particular was a medication-heavy day--Lupron shot in the morning, PIO and Del Estrogen butt shots in the morning, my big nasty dose of Medrol (oral thank goodness, but holy bad taste, Batman), and then a second PIO shot in the evening. I am exhausted. It hurts to sit down. And then we went for a five mile hike up and down a ton of hills today, which I think made matters a bit worse. Or maybe better--maybe working my glutes works the oil right into the muscles. Ha.

I am concerned about the effects of all this progesterone. I am concerned about two things--the sleepiness (PIO turns me into a yawning, napping lump), and the effect on my pants size. Mostly the sleepy, because when you are teaching all day and you are bouncing around from one area of the building to another (but not between two buildings, which is a lovely change), you need energy. Oh, and I teach 8th grade special education, so that in itself requires a LOT of energy. It's going to be a rough haul. Especially since I am hoping that all of these wonderful changes are going to seal the deal--that I will be tired because of PIO, Estrogen, AND being in my first trimester. Because, as all you infertile people know, all these drugs continue anywhere from the 10th week to the 13th week of pregnancy. Pincushiony all the way to the second trimester.

And, apparently, just plain cushiony. I am so frustrated, because my master plan was to work out like a fiend after my June negative and get myself in a good place to start a cycle. I gain between 8-12 pounds per cycle, and then work my tushy off to try to at least get back to where I started. Unfortunately, there's been a bit of a creep, and I was further up the scale than I wanted to be after that awful failed donor cycle. But, I did my workouts diligently all July and the first half of August--power yoga, yoga/pilates blends, yoga/pilates/dance with weights and without, 3-5 mile walks at a very sweaty and red-faced pace. And NOTHING REALLY HAPPENED. Well, that's not entirely true. I did feel like a lost an inch or two, but my weight went up. Yes, yes, muscle weighs more than fat, but after 4 weeks I would think there would be a balancing and I would start dropping... And then after 6 weeks it still wasn't happening and I had to have that hysteroscopy. Complete with a week of no exercise and then it was the week before school and I was all stressed out, and then school started and man I do a terrible job of exercising in those first weeks. School sucks everything out of me. I love it, and my year is off to a fabulous start, but it virtually takes all the energy I have and when I get home I collapse on the couch for an hour. I should try going for a walk, but considering the drugs coursing through my veins, I think I deserve couch time. I try to make up for it on the weekends (like today's 5 mile hike with many hills and roots to scramble over).

However, I had a sobering experience when trying on my pants the morning of the first day of school. WHAT WAS I THINKING??? I should have tried them on a week before, so that if they were, uh, snug, I could get new ones. Oh wait. Late August/early September is the time of no money, and so I couldn't get new ones. But I wasn't expecting that some of pants would NOT FIT AT ALL OUTRIGHT, and that the other ones zipped and buttoned, but were verging on uncomfortable. Sigh. I have a lot of elastic-waist skirts, but I have a teeny problem. It is not a big deal, and probably I am making more of a deal out of it than it truly is. I have this little green snake tattoo above my right ankle, on the inside. It's 3 inches long and a relatively happy little snake, not a scary biker snake or anything. No fangs, just a little red forked tongue. I got it when I was 24 and not a teacher. There are a zillion teachers with tattoos, but somehow I think that an ivy ankle bracelet or a dolphin or a rose or something like that is a little less distracting than a green snake. I like to wait a bit before my students see it--I like for them to get to know me and make their assumptions and THEN see the snake tattoo because it does cause a bit of a stir. Briefly, usually. Of course then winter and pants and tights happens and the snake doesn't come out until spring, and the students have tattoo amnesia and get all excited about my snake all over again. But, for now, I want to keep my snake my secret. Which means pants. Which is sad, because having my pants not fit BEFORE the advent of PIO is a bad, bad sign.

But again, and I've written about this before, a little vain part of me DOES NOT WANT NEW PANTS unless they are of the elastic-banded maternity variety. I have worked hard to stay at the high end of the tubs of pants sizes that I have holed up in my closets and crawlspaces. I do not want to invest in a bigger size when, ostensibly, I will be shopping for maternity clothes before Christmas. Please, please, let me be shopping for maternity clothes by Christmas... So I must work out and try not to eat my face off. Even though nothing makes this cranky fertility patient feel better than comfort food. Hopefully my racing around the middle school all day helps, and my complete inability to snack until dinnertime.

Other than the pincushion ass and the cushiony ass and tummy and my general sense of malaise when not hiking or attacking weeds and overgrown or dead plants in my garden, and the fits of rage and sadness that I seem to swing through on a daily basis (thank you Bryce for loving me even when I've transformed into this hormonal beast), I'm good though. Hopeful. A smidge terrified, which makes me sad because transfer days used to be such a beautiful moment of abject hope and opportunity. Now I am nervous, although less so for having those insidious bleeding polyps removed that may have been a reason why I wasn't wildly successful with my last cycle. It's kind of nice to have something concrete to hang on to in that regard. The nebulous "we're not sure why it failed" is so much harder to deal with. The Valium will help calm me, I'm sure! Also, I have my new little ladybug elephant, and that silver body cross from my teacher friend, and my little pewter "hope" cockle shell that feels reassuringly like a worry stone, and my "hope" star that my best friend sent me a couple years ago. I think this time I am going to line them up on the table during the transfer. A bit odd, but better than the ceramic elephant teapot and pomegranate seed offering that I laid out for one of my transfers. I figure I have to keep the embryologist guessing--what decorations has she brought this time? Yup, just a collection of hope talismans. Having a little party while you load me up with my SuperEmbryo that is going to make me a mama.

Any positive thoughts at all in the next few weeks would be greatly appreciated. I am so excited for the new bloggy friends who have attained their BFPs, but I'm feeling awfully lonely on this side of things, and definitely a little dejected and deficient that I'm off to a donor FET when just about every donor patient I know got pregnant off the first, fresh cycle. Recently at least. Send me your baby dust, send me your thoughts of stickiness and hope and positive results. I have a really good feeling about this cycle (but really, when don't I...), and it will calm me so much to know that there is a warm light surrounding me during this difficult time where the magic either happens or doesn't, an orange creation beacon to the Universe that says, "ENOUGH already--the baby goes right here, in this beautifully renewed uterus, to these wonderful people who have learned enough lessons about loss and how badly you can want something, and experienced more pain than really is necessary in life. Make that magic happen, right here, right now. Pretty please."

Much love, folks.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

There Should Really Be A Sign

I have been consumed by school--getting ready for school, back to school, surviving the first week of school without ending up sleeping for 24 hours straight Friday night... So I have not been the best blogger in the world. I have tried to keep up with your posts, but these first weeks of school are BRUTAL for sucking away all free time.

But today was a day worth writing about. We had a lovely day--slept in to 10:00 (after the cat thought 6:40 was quite late enough to be fed after a week of being fed at 6:20 and I realized I had to give myself a Lupron shot anyway so why not feed the noisy little beast, I could always go back to bed), had a leisurely breakfast over Wednesday's Daily Show, read my People magazine on the couch a little while, and then we decided to go walking along the canal and get some GF pumpkin cupcakes at my favorite cupcakery in the town along the canal, even though it was a rainy-ish day.

On the way, Bryce suggested we go to the George Eastman House, a gorgeous museum that is part photography galleries and part George Eastman's monstrously beautiful house. Even though I've lived in Rochester for 12 years, I have never been, so it sounded good. Plus there are beautiful gardens, and I love me a beautiful garden. So, since we have no kids and no dog and had no plans for the day, we could take a two hour detour through the exhibits and the house. It was fabulous, and a great diversion for a day that otherwise had no plans really to speak of. (I can always do the scads of schoolwork I have on my list tomorrow).

After, we went to the Bird House, a garden/outdoor wildlife/birdfeeder store where we get the nyjer seed for our little birdfeeder in the backyard that draws all kinds of finches and chickadees. Mostly goldfinches. Sometimes an occasional acrobatic squirrel. I am not a bird person, birds en masse freak me out actually, but we won this bird feeder in a silent auction because it came with a really beautiful owl watercolor (owls I like), and since setting it up I have realized it is actually kind of nice to feed the colorful little birds and invite them into your space. The cats like watching, too.

The current owl family of two
So anyway, here we are in this little store, getting our gallon jug of tiny little seeds refilled, and I'm wandering around. I must have been extra tired and sensitive from the drugs I'm on, because I started to have an overwhelming sense of sadness. Why would birdseed make you sad?  you might be wondering....well, the store also carries a lot of really cool picture books and kits and nature bingo games and other awesome stuff for kids that encourage a love of nature. The kind of stuff that I would love to buy for my kids. But instead, because I HAVE NO FREAKING KIDS AFTER FOUR YEARS OF THIS COMPLETELY EXHAUSTING CRAP, I was thinking, "I wonder if my best friends' kids would like this stuff? I bet I could send some for the next birthday." And then I got angry. And sad. Because again, I WOULD LIKE TO BE BUYING THIS STUFF FOR MY KIDS. I want to be playing Wildlife Bingo and going for walks in the woods with a kid-friendly field guide. I want to be having these experiences and it frustrates me to NO END that here we are, headed into our 8th transfer, with nothing lasting to show for it. I felt overwhelmingly sorry for myself. I started tearing up, but TAMP TAMP TAMP pushed it down so I wasn't a crazy person in the bird store. Then I turned a corner and found a display of little rock owls. Some bigger than others. One big enough to maybe be bigger than the one Bryce gave me for my birthday two years ago. I have another, mini stone owl that my best friend gave me for my birthday this past year, so it's like a mom and baby owl. This bigger owl looked like a good dad--I mean, maybe it's bad luck to have a single parent situation in rock owls in your garden. (Yes, I know how completely insane that sounded, but this is how I have been trained to think at this point.) So the waterworks started brewing again, but TAMP TAMP TAMP I made it go away, for the time being. Then, in the checkout line, there were all these little pocket good luck charms. I am a sucker and a half for these little good luck charms. There were these DOUBLE luck charms--different lucky items with a
The either huge ladybug or tiny elephant.
Dime for size perspective.
ladybug on them--that claimed to be for when you need more than a little bit of luck. WELL SIGN ME UP! I thought. Then...I found a freaking elephant. An elephant with a gargantuan ladybug on it (or a really, really tiny elephant). Sold. Bryce bought it for me and I felt like this was my little good luck charm for this cycle--all I need. No more earrings, special shirts, special panties--just this little bug-infested elephant to give me my double luck.

We get into the car, and I put it in my purse. Bryce jokingly says, "Make sure you don't lose it." Enter waterworks that were unsuccessfully TAMP TAMP TAMPed in the store. And a completely irrational response. I may or may not (I totally did) have screamed, "That was the WORST possible thing you could say to me right now!!!" while I wailed uncontrollably. Always this happens as I have just gotten behind the wheel, sigh. He was flabbergasted. It was a jokey, totally offhanded comment that wasn't even serious, but all I could think was a) omigod, if I lose it I will have lost DOUBLE the luck and it will be ALL MY FAULT and then b) I already feel so guilty (which I know is not warranted but I cannot stop myself from feeling this way) that everything is great UNTIL THE EMBRYOS GET BACK INSIDE ME. I singlehandedly "lose" them, whether it's before they even try to stick around (last time) or after they've shown themselves to be able to stick and then they run away (last August's horrifying miscarriage). I am a wee tiddly bit sensitive on this point. I feel responsible somehow. I am terrified that on top of having not so great eggs, my uterus is crap as well (this despite the fact that it was recently cleared of the nefarious hidden polyps that could be one of the reasons why the last attempt wasn't successful). I am terrified that all this is an exercise in futility. I am terrified of this next go-round, for reasons I've stated earlier--if it fails, I'm out of things to research to figure out why. It is so frustrating. Oh, also not helping my lupron-and-estrogen-fueled freakout to Bryce's innocuous comment about losing the tiny elephant was the fact that WE BOUGHT ANOTHER BIRD FEEDER. This one a beautiful patina'd copper suet cage. We have skipped over procreation and have become old people with multiple bird feeders. Worse, people who have bird feeders TO ENTERTAIN THEIR CATS. We are headed down the wrong freaking path on this one. I may as well start applique-ing my sweatshirts and knitting cat-hair sweaters now.

I calmed down and apologized for being ridiculously sensitive, as Bryce was feeling pretty horrible and like he was doing all the wrong things even though he was trying to mastermind a beautiful, spontaneous, fun day for us. Onward to the cupcake place, where thank goodness they still had the pumpkin and I could get a few to stockpile away because man, they are yummy. Lots of cream cheese frosting. A little bite (maybe bigger than a little) of fall. And we headed to Simply Crepes for lunch, since it was 4:00 or so and when you get up at 10, that's lunchtime.

We went in, sat down, and noticed a large group of women down the middle of the restaurant. They have big family gatherings a lot there, so I didn't think much of it. Until we had our drinks in front of us and were stuck because the outdoor seating was wet from the rain and we had nowhere else to go...and I saw one of the women put a onesie on her chest and heard a chorus of "awwwwww"s. OH HOLY JEEZUM. It was a motherflipping BABY SHOWER. These women were easily 10 years younger than me and the gift opening had JUST STARTED (which is why we didn't notice earlier). I had to talk really fast to try to NOT hear all the wonderful pregnancy anecdotes spewing from these crepe-eating pregos (oh, there was more than one in the group) but didn't miss hearing, "Everyone deserves a baby." YES, DAMN SKIPPY, EVERYONE DESERVES A BABY WHO WANTS ONE. I kept staring out the window, tears overflowing my lower lids, trying so hard to keep it together, TAMP TAMP TAMPing enough so that there were no sobs, only silent waves of hot tears making my delicious watermelon lemonade salty.

This brings me to the title of this post. When you are having a baby shower out in public, in the CENTER of a not-so-big restaurant, I really believe that THERE OUGHT TO BE A SIGN. "Natalie's Baby Shower Inside" or something like that on the door. Or a smattering of pink or blue or yellow balloons with "baby shower" written on one of them. SOMETHING so that when people, unsuspecting, walk into the restaurant, they aren't suckerpunched by becoming audience members to an event that I DON'T EVEN GO TO for close friends anymore because it is so painful. It was too much. I told Bryce right then and there, when the time comes that we finally get to have a baby shower for me, for the love of all that is holy, I DO NOT want it in a public place. If it's in a restaurant, I want it in a private room, preferably one that we can scoot into right from the entrance so that it's not the baby belly parade. Better yet, at my house or an enclosed park shelter thing or somewhere else where the unsuspecting infertile public doesn't have to be a peripheral part of my celebration. In part because I am super sensitive to other people who are dealing with this same personal tragedy, and also because I am pretty sure that I am going to cry my way through my own baby shower when the time comes. Nobody who's not invited needs to see that. (See how hopeful I am? I am not using IF! I BELIEVE this is coming to me!) Everyone who is invited will know why I am even more emotional than the typical prego lady. I don't expect everyone to think this way, but really, some kind of warning system would have been nice today.

I guess in a weird way I can be proud that not only did I manage to not sob in the restaurant or feel the need to leave, but  I also could actually think about the possibility of my future baby shower and how I will want to be a little more private than that. I know, that even though I am an admitted control freak, I won't be planning my own baby shower. But I want an Infertile-Friendly baby shower. I want to celebrate my good fortune without inadvertently sending a bystander into a spiral of sadness and fear that this day may never come. I want to invite people to join me in my joy but will TOTALLY UNDERSTAND if someone is going through hell trying to conceive and hasn't made it yet and just can't make it. Baby showers are hard. And, thanks to the stealth nature of today's little event, I got to go to one--not to be a part of it but to hear everything and see all the goodies and it was NOT PLEASANT, especially after the Bird House triggers. I am in a sensitive place right now. I will say that we ran into an inordinate number of pregnant people today, and I choose to see the baby shower as a good fortune sign, as hard as it was to be so close to it.

So, people out there, do us infertility-stricken ladies a favor--get a sign, or balloons, or something so that we aren't caught off guard when you decide to have a completely public baby shower. We thank you.