I sent the letter in the last post via email to Dr. Short But Sweet. I can’t resist posting his response, although I am on a deadline for the afore mentioned “friends” project and am posting quickly-and-may-delete-laterly, as I devoutly hope he does not stumble upon this blog. Obviously I have removed real names.
Dear ArtSweet (& Pili)
You are among the lucky ones in life and we are about celebrating life
I felt it important to invite all to our celebration and not leave anyone out. I am sorry if it was considered a slight on a sensitive issue, I certainly did not mean to be insensitive. I have wrestled with this issue for some time and believe that we are all part of the same universal energy and there are many ways to find success. By including all, I believe this is the best way we are going to expand the positive energy of life and the universe.
Please accept my apologies.
Dr. Short But Sweet
I cannot believe I let this man stick sharp needles up my
I’ve stopped counting how many online friends, real-life friends, and family members have successfully reproduced or adopted since we started down this path nigh on three and a half YEARS ago. Dozens. Probably close to fifty. Most of the time I’m fine with it. Occasionally something stings. And then there are the third degree burns.
Today Pili & I both got cards in the mail from our fertility clinic, where the four remaining embryos-of- certain-arguments-and-tears rest in their chilly freezer. The outside of the card features an adorable picture of a child in a lion-suit and invites us to “Party with the Animals!” On the inside: “Insensitive Tactless Fertility Inc. Invites You to Celebrate Ten Years With Us at the Zoo! Barbecue… Clowns… Magicians… Face Painting… FUN!”
Don’t you think they could’ve screened the mailing list to leave out us failures? Would that have been so fucking hard?
New Reading Material for the RE’s waiting room?
“Most downloaded woman” Cindy Marg@lis has posed for Playb@y at age 40 in order to raise awareness of infertility and the beauty of the older woman. (And, I dare say, to raise some other things as well.)
I predict that REs all over the country will be snatching up this issue to stock their “specimen collection rooms.”
p.s. I gather that CM did this (CM: infertile and TTC types, what do those letters mean to you? Not Cindy M*rgolis, that’s for shure. Give me a C! Give me an M! Give me Spinnbarkeit or give me death!) for Infertility Awareness Week, which is this week. Thanks, I’m aware now. Interestingly, November is also National Adoption Awareness Week. Coinkydink? What do you think?
p.p.s. Turns out November is a busy month. It also happens to be National Diabetes Awareness Month. Why are they pussyfooting around here, folks? Infertility, adoption, diabetes… Why don’t they just go ahead and proclaim November National Art-Sweet Awareness Month?
I wore Pili’s ear out last night, bitching about a letter to the editor in the NY Times. Finally, I said: “Perhaps I should blog about this.” And she, eager to get back to the Escapes section, said, “Yes, perhaps you should.”
ASIDE: There is nothing that gets my dander up more than reading letters to the editor. At least the ones in the NY Times are well written, which is way more than I can say for our local paper, whose letters to the editor generally read something like this: “How dare you say bad things about our President?!? Dont you know we are at WAR????” There are terrorists and WMDS out there in Iraq and they want to kill US!”
In this letter to the Editor, a nurse expresses her opinion about IVF and stem cell research. In the end, we agree with each other. “The ethical and moral obligation,” she writes, “lies with saving lives, not saving potential lives.” Great. Fabulous. We agree.
In the middle of her letter, though, she opinionates about IVF.
“It is disingenuous to support in vitro fertilization,” she says, “and not support stem cell research. With in vitro fertilization, precious health care dollars
ART-SWEET: Whose health care dollars? This makes it sound like the government is paying for IVF, which g-d and our bank account both know is not the case
are spent creating embryos
ART-SWEET: here’s the part that had me spitting out my tasty organic grilled veggies in shock
to satisfy individuals’ selfish need for children who match their own DNA. There are so many adoptable children already born into this world that it seems immoral to create ‘adoptable embyros’.”
A CONFESSION: When Pili and I first started down this whole get us a kid route, I was of the sternest moral fiber. Anything beyond clomid was immoral, I thought. A waste of money given all the kids that need homes. Obviously, somewhere along the way, I changed my mind.
So what bothers me about this letter?
First of all, there’s the typical misunderstanding of adoption. The desire to physically bear children is much more complicated than simply a wish for children “who match our own DNA.” There’s the desire to nurture life within one’s own body – to have that essentially human physcial experience. To know one’s child from before he or she is even born. To control the environment – nutrition, chemical exposure, drug and alcohol exposure – of one’s child’s early formation. To raise a child who knows without a doubt where he or she came from, what his or her medical history is. Not to mention the desire to have a child without undergoing the financial and emotional scrutiny involved in adoption.
But what really gets under my skin is the idea that infertiles are expected, by virtue of the fact that our bodies have not cooperated with our dreams, to forswear those dreams as selfish – the means to fulfill them immoral since adoption is also an option.
Is it selfish for fertile folks to have one, two, three, four… sixteen kids? What about the healthcare costs that incurs? If they want large families, why shouldn’t they “just adopt”? I don’t hear her calling them selfish.
Bri, this is not your birthday post. It’s coming later, I promise. But if you’re reading this, go wish Bri a happy birthday anyway.
I’m placing this ad for my friend “Gonalfa.” She’s been living in our fridge for a while and is need of a new home ASAP.
Untouched but Hot-to-Trot Gonal-F Pen seeks willing infertile (US only please) cycling SOON (expires 8/06).
Please email me and tell me your story if you’re interested. I’ll run the answers by Gonalfa and get right back to you.
I will be honest, since this is my blog. But if you’re pregnant, you might not want to keep reading. I would understand that.
Lots of folks in my little corner of the internet have gotten pregnant lately. They are filled with joy. They are looking forward without hesitation to the Baby that will Be. And you know what? Their Baby Will Be.
They will have doubling betas, beautiful fuzzy ultrasounds at which they clasp each other’s hands and gasp (clasp, gasp, aren’t I clever?) at the sound of their baby’s heartbeat. Nothing will go wrong for them. Why not? I don’t know why not. Maybe they were nicer to their mothers in a past life. Maybe they’re just not me. Maybe if I had just believed whole-heartedly that nothing would go wrong, if I had not allowed doubt to slip in, nothing would have gone wrong. Did I jinx it by allowing the possibility of wrongness to materialize in my mind – one small grain and then another and then another – like the elementary school science experiment of sugar crystals on a thread?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t in the least begrudge them their good karma. I just wish it extended to me. Perhaps the very fact that I can’t just be happy for them without a reflex kick of self-pity and self-doubt is indicative of the starter crystal that sent our baby astray?
As excited as I am about the potential of Guatebaby, I just can’t get these thoughts out of my head.
I can almost hear the gentle, rational voice of my father in my head, telling me statistics, reminding me of the joys of my life, trying to convince me these things don’t happen because of me. And I don’t know what scares me more. Random crap luck, or the idea that I make my own luck and that luck is bad.
In a weak, I have nothing to say moment, I sucumbed to Shelli’s charms and put myself up for the interview game. A reminder for those who haven’t seen this before – if you’d like to be interviewed leave a comment and say so. I’ll post questions for the first five to do so, which they will answer on their blogs with the same invitation to be interviewed.
1) What is the hardest thing about living with diabetes?
Geez, ask an easy question, why doncha? How can I choose just one? I have lots of things I hate about living with diabetes – the extra suitcase I need when I travel to carry enough supplies for just-in-case-I-get-stuck-in-a-ditch-on the side of the road in a blizzard for two weeks and the inevitable oh crap I forgot x, y, or z, the diabetes drive-by comments
(an anecdote, because I have to get this one off my chest: said to me last night, on the phone with the director of my graduate program, a somewhat ditzy woman who I genuinely love and respect, “I forget because you don’t look diabetic.” In my iciest tone, “Annabelle (not her real name, by a long shot), tell me then, what does a diabetic look like?” A good conversation ensued, in which I once again educated the world that not all people with diabetes are old, fat, and gangrenous)
Then there’s the moments when I hit the wrong spot and OW OW OW! Or the moments when my blood sugar will not cooperate with what I want to do. Or the lows – at intimate moments, in important meetings, at 3 in the morning. Yeah, all those things SUCK.
But the worst thing overall, which really encompasses all of the above, is its constant hum in the back of my mind. The am I hungry or am I low hum, the should I ask when we’re going to stop for lunch hum, the how many carbs are in that, and should I bother testing when I’ve already eaten half of it, hum. The, do I just pull out my meter and test in front of this person when I really don’t feel like having a Diabetes Conversation? That constant hum separates me from other people. While you’re jumping up and down with excitement at the thought of going to the water park, I’m wondering: how will I carry my supplies with me? Will Smokey be safe? (Also, how many people have peed in that water? Ugh.) I wish I could just be there, in the moment, without this constant buzzing that only I can hear.
2) Have you two “picked” which gender you prefer? Can you just say “the youngest one you’ve got?”
Sure, we’ve picked which gender we prefer. Pili prefers boys and I prefer girls. Babies in Guatemala are generally referred within a week or two of birth, so age doesn’t work as a decision avoidance method. And the wait for boys is less than the wait for girls, so if we say we want whichever comes first, we’re saying we want a boy. So here’s what we’ve lit upon and what our agency has agreed to: We will put our name on both lists. When we get to the top of the boy list, we will be passed over until three months have past. If we have not been referred a girl by that point (which is within the range of possibility, but not the range of extreme probability) we will take whichever comes next, which will probably be a boy. In other words, we’ve found a way to leave it somewhat up to chance. Now I just need to write my damn autobiography, yo, so I can get on to my interview with Vaseline Teeth.
3) Can you share your thesis with us in 25 words or less?
Once again, ask an easy question… My thesis is pretty specific to my work, which is not something I want to get into here. So, in 25 words or less: It has to do with making a content area which is generally seen as developmentally inappropriate for young children more accessible to them. During the discussion with my program director last night, we agreed that if I had not made substantial progress by labor day, I’d do the comprehensive exam option, and just get my damn degree already.
If that hasn’t put you to sleep, email me and I’ll tell you more.
4) Could you start a recipe blog, please? Your food pictures make.me.drool!
Aw, thanks. The comments I’ve gotten lately on my pictures, along with the recent disruption in my daily routine, have been inspiring me to focus some energy again on my photography. I love it when I do it, but am far too insecure about it to hang out my shingle as artist. I don’t think I cook enough to have my own food blog, but I’d certainly hint hint be happy to contribute to someone else’s…
5) As far as the embryos – can you do a “natural transfer” cycle – just stick um in, and add progesterone, and call it a day. ALL the while you are focuing on adoption?
A couple of people have suggested that, and I think it’s worth looking into. Mind you, I’m not the one being poked and prodded, but I think that the parts Pili minds are: a) the suppositories b) the ass shots (both of which are involved in adding progresterone) and c) being probed and medicalized in general. Right now, we’re still agreeing to disagree on what to do next. I’d like to do one more cycle, sometime before referral, and just put all four remaining embryos back, and pray that one of them sticks around long enough to say hi. Pili is still, a) bleeding, and b)not so interested in getting back on the table anytime soon.
Anyone who has more experience with this and can explain why a “natural transfer” FET would be significantly less unpleasant than an unnatural one, please speak up.
Someone with an ISP in Hinsdale, IL was my
I’m soooo curious about these lurkers, especially the ones who show up on my statcounter again and again and never comment. Am I scary? Do I smell? If so, why do you keep coming around?
I know that people wind up here and probably don’t get what they’re looking for.
These folks for instance, who were led here by Professor Google.
pictures of tickled belly buttons just belly buttons
(A: I don’t think this site is what you were after)
picture of a cat wearing pj’s
(A: Four outraged cats spitting at the screen at the very thought)
Is it possible to be pregnant when it feels like AF is on it’s way?
(A: Yes, supposedly, but we wouldn’t really know. And “AF” is on “its” not “it’s” way – the possessive does not take an apostrophe)
our friend stole our sperm donor
(A: I’m sorry, I think.)
(A: Plenty of that here, but not online, I’m afraid)
16,000 hcg pregnancy
(A: yeah, I can see why you didn’t linger here very long)
were does the snowbelt begin
(A: Where? Do you mean “where”? Because “we’re” where the snowbelt begins. Or at least it feels that way today.)
Coworker can’t give me insuline shot
(A: And why should s/he?)
What do you call someone who is teetering on that fine line between acquaintance and friend?
There is this woman, a friend? I will call her Hippie Sunshine, although that is not, believe it or not, her real name. I am sure she would say we are her friends, because she is of that sort of person who takes ownership of everything around her and makes it a reflection of her. I say that and it sounds like I dislike her. Sometimes I do.
But Hippie Sunshine is so well-meaning, it’s hard to dislike her. She’s horrifically insensitive at times, but it’s the kind of insensitivity that reminds me of our fat white cat, who can’t swish his tail without inadvertantly knocking over glasses of water.
And what does she do for a living, this acquaintance friend friendquaintance Hippie Sunshine? Why she teaches multi-cultural education, of course, this labrys wimmin wuving wimmin she.
She is so eager for us to have a child. She thinks we will make great parents. She asks us every time she’s sees us how it’s going. She tells other people without even asking us that we are trying because they are trying too and we should know each other. And she tells us (without asking them) that by the way the friendly mullety lesbians on the other blanket at her picnic are going to start trying to have a baby too.
What do you call someone like that? A faquaintance? I ask Pili.
Oh GOD NO! That sounds too much like fuck buddy, and eww, ewww no no none of that. Says Pili.
So we send her an invitation to our pride bbq and ask if she will kindly pass the invitation along to those other nice mullety lesbians who were at her picnic. She responds: “The other friends you mentioned are X and Y. They are fine * My partner went to the baby shower on Saturday (I was out of town) *- the baby is due in three weeks.”
The BABY IS DUE IN THREE WEEKS. THE BABY, of the no-spring-chicken-mullety-lesbians, who were just starting to try last labor day weekend. The if-you-thought-for-a-minute-
maybe-you-would-realize-this-is-a-bit-of-a-sore-spot-for-us BABY is due in three weeks. Crappity crap crap crap on a hot crap roof. And she sticks this in a email without even the slightest caution, as if we of course knew that her random mullety lesbian friends were pregnant. So I say to Pili that I think Hippie Sunshine really needs to go to a sensitivity class. Which is hilarious, because of course, Hippie Sunshine? Teaches sensitivity classes.
In Other News:
Pili has to order her birth certificate from the town of her birth, because it is locked up in a safe deposit box and her mother has lost the key, and god only knows how long it will take the gentle hippies in the town of her birth to wave sage over the birth records until the stars are aligned correctly. And do I get any credit folks, for having both my birth certificate and my passport safely stored in my Important Documents file? I’m not kidding, it’s filed under I, for Important Documents.
We are having a bbq on Saturday. Pili gets to show off her mad grilling skillz with her new gas grill. Going to pride in the City That Always Sleeps gives me new perspective on the six frickin hour long pride parade in Very Flat Cosmopolitan City, where we bitched about the beer sponsorships and the endless cars full of politicians slowing down the good stuff, i.e. Dykes on Bikes.
In retrospect, those cars full of politicians seem kind of nice. It feels good to know that you’re enough of a voting bloc that politicians feel like they have to show up and sit in the hot sun for six hours in your parade even if they are running for assistant commisioner of public lavatories and couldn’t care less about the gay vote. On second thought, the assistant commisioner of public lavatories… never mind.
So yeah, anyway, not many politicians in the pride parade here. And last year we showed up half an hour late and almost missed the whole thing.
We met with the Social Worker, Mrs. Vaseline Teeth, today. She urged us to be circumspect, because if we went down to Guatemala and were publically affectionate Guatemala could go the way of China. Thanks, Mrs. Vaseline Teeth, for pointing out the obvious. Now if Pili and I were smooching passionately in her office, or even holding hands, I could understand this, but we are sitting with a good three feet of space between us and in fact I am worried that we are too far apart and look like we don’t really love each other. Mrs. Vaseline Teeth annoys the living daylights out of me, but she is reported to Get Things Done, and I don’t know anyone else around here who has an alternative to recommend.
Wait a minute. We met with the social worker. We filled out forms. We’re gonna have a baby! Hooray!
We went to the RE’s this morning so Pili could have a follow-up wanding with Nurse Tall and Brusque (TAB), who incidentally, I am really beginning to dislike. (Is it too much to ask that you give us the information we need to come to our conclusions and make our own decisions? What are you seeing in there, anyway?) For a minute I saw something that I imagined (heart leaping into chest, stomach turning over with emotion) was a fetus on the u/s screen, but apparently it was the uterine lining. I think sonographers really missed their calling as critics of modern art.
Nurse TAB, after much prodding on her point (oops! sorry! just trying to find your right ovary) and much prodding on my point, conceeded that there were still some clots in there, but that the sac had been passed. This was good, but Pili should come back next week again so that we can see if we need to take further steps. D’you mean a D&C, Pili asked. Um, yeah, further steps. Let me just go talk to Dr. SBS for a minute. And she ducked out the door.
This state of affairs jibes with Pili’s experience, which is that first there was blood, lots of it. And then not so much. And then more. And then not so much. For basically the past two weeks. And of a somewhat unusual color and consistency.
So we are to come back next week for further scanning and poking. How utterly anti-climatic this feels. We’re waiting for there to be nothing.
Last night, Pili suggested that we donate the four remaining embryos to stem cell research. She’s sick and tired of being poked and prodded. She feels sick to her stomach when she sees the tasteful furniture of the RE’s office and the tasteful smiles of the receptionists. I am… torn.
On the one hand, I want to see this through to the end. I want to know that we did everything we could, and it didn’t work. I have no compunctions about saying that adoption is a Plan B for us. When we have our child we will love him or her with one hundred percent Plan A love, but it’s not the scenario we had originally imagined. I still love the idea of Pili carrying our child, my egg & mystery man’s sperm.
On the other hand, I respect Pili and her right to control what happens to her body. If she’s worn out by this process and what it’s doing to her, how can I compel her to keep going?
Either way, we’re agreed, the adoption goes forward. Because the other piece of it is that neither one of us has a whole lot of confidence that we will a) get pregnant again, or b) stay pregnant again.