Posts Tagged 'neurosis'


I am the target audience for mass hysteria. Killer bees in the ’80s was hard for me because I really liked swimming in the pool, but there were bees everywhere. Traveling with the wife to visit her Midwest family in summertime gets me scanning newspaper headlines for the words West Nile or malaria. Now see, none of those things have gotten to me (and here’s the psychological issue) because I worried about them. So by not taking the flu seriously this year and forgetting about flu shots, all three of us have been sick all of January. Yes, it is my fault. And for it, I got pneumonia—one of those arcane diseases of the past that I think barbers used leeches to kill or something. Oh! It’s just like how I spent so much energy during my pregnancy worrying about getting a C-section that I didn’t even consider worrying about episiotomies and forceps—I mean, that’s so boil some hot water and grab some towels, right?

Don’t waste a moment worrying about my twisted narcissistic logic for how the universe works. I’m always in therapy.

With that said… I have been in bed for a few days now, which does not seem possible. How is the world going on without me? Right now, Josie, who is almost done coughing completely and hasn’t borne the brutality of the external nasal suction device in days, is out playing with the sitter while Kristy is at work. I did sneak out and vacuum as soon as I had the house to myself because in my brain the enormous amount of our dog’s shedding is somehow connected to illness. But I also showered, without rushing, which is huge.

Being out of commission has made it painfully clear to me how little Josie needs me now (I mean really needs me). She’ll be brought in to the sick chamber for an occasional nursing but is otherwise out of my sight for hours at a time. When I’m healthy, I am the upended marionette with Josie holding onto my pointer fingers as she walks around the house over and over. I had been moaning a bit about the unkind ways of her puppet mastery and the pain in my back. So, of course, I get fluid in my lung! Do you see? Now I’m in bed instead of walking her around—i.e., I did this to myself. Okay, enough with the self pity and frightening misguided views of cause and effect.

Josie is at this taking off point between baby and toddler that both Kristy and I have noticed very suddenly. She turned 13 months old, and wham! a toddler. She still doesn’t walk on her own, but there’s just something different about her. She’s started signing and/or saying a ton of new words, like book, car, all done, more, shoe, sock, all within a week. This is huge when the one word forever was “Hi” (spoken in three syllables like a flirty Southern Belle). She’s got at least a million teeth now, too. She walks behind her walker wagon and scoots while sitting on her car—things it seemed she would never do a few weeks ago. I’m so happy to see all of this. So happy and also kind of sad, which is understandable (the tiny baby Josie is growing up!) but also stupid because letting someone like me with depressive tendencies get a little sad is like giving a kid carte blanche access to the ice cream container; I’ll gorge and get messy with it. When I’m not with her on these long lonely diseased days, I feel a physical ache, like I need her near me (I mean really need her). Is it because I’m still breastfeeding? Can I hope that this is all just hormones inducing what in any other relationship would be deemed codependency? I freakin’ hope so. Ich!

Now, for what you’ve all been clambering for, another FoGy (Funny or Gross) Moment:
We were making a video of Josie for a friend’s birthday—ya know, to post on his Facebook page kind of thing. We have the hardest time taking photos and video of Josie, so we thought we’d do it in the bathtub where she can only move so far. We made the video and were watching it later to see how it came out. Panning up from the adorable baby to a taped-up sign that reads Happy Birthday the camera catches a UBO (unidentified brown object) sitting in the soap dish on the wall. It unfortunately does not resemble the pumice stone it actually is but instead looks alarmingly like dookie. Now, most people may see this and not assume poop, but if you know Josie like we know Josie (and have told others about Josie), you have to wonder/shudder. See for yourself:


Daylight Saving Crime

I lived in Arizona, one of the few places without daylight saving time, for 21 years. Now, after 15 years on this crazy back and forth schedule, I’m still not used to it. Sure I loved the extra hour this morning to get things done. But I also grew up in the sun for 21 years, so to take away an hour of my sunshine — especially in one of the cloudiest/rainiest regions — is criminal, plain and simple.

Growing up, I used to love this time of year because it meant: 1) Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing (full of gluten in those days), 2) my birthday, which I shared with my snowbird Grandpa, 3) Chanukka, and 4) I might get to wear a sweater soon. Alternately, in the Pacific NW, November means stuffy noses from heaters, wet dog smell, mud chunks in the house, and wearing coats over sweaters. I would say that the joy of my approaching birthday remains, except that it’s just not fun to celebrate my getting older anymore.  Mortality takes all the air out of my party balloons. The biggest change to this season is that it’s now the time when my entire being relives my dad’s death. The light, air, smells, etc. trigger my mind to remember and “see” various traumatic scenes from 2 years ago. My cells like to remember things, too, so my body gets in on the act by feeling anxiety where there is no longer the imminent loss. Back to my brain, which now finds new reasons to be anxious to make sense of the anxiety’s presence (pregnancy is a well-fueled source of such reasons). All I can say is that at least this year I’m home; I turned 35 on my trip to AZ for the gravestone unveiling last year.

Then come the self-lashings for not letting the anticipated birth of my daughter completely wipe away all of this dark stuff. Am I not excited to be 8 months pregnant after trying for so long? Do I want the last weeks of my daughter’s gestation to take place in a gloomy womb? What the hell is wrong with me?, right?! My dad sure wouldn’t want me waddling around like a sad duck.

I’m not saying there aren’t lovely moments of light in this time as well. Some of these days I actually see the sun way off in the southern distance. Other folks I know are having babies, and I get a hit off their joy. K and I get to snuggle on the couch more. Friends are truly wonderful.  Maybe I’m just going through sugar withdrawal (the “close, but not a diagnosis” diabetes test has brought out the protective mama in K).

Since I can’t have a problem without a solution, I’m going for this long shot: to travel back in time to 1895 and steal all the ink from George Vernon Hudson’s inkwell. And put a gag in his mouth for extra precaution.

So Close

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mostly because I’ve been feeling so deathly. I heard about morning sickness, but I never imagined it to be so overwhelming, so long lasting. I have become an agoraphobe with an eating disorder. Seriously, I do not leave the house for fear of feeling sick in public and I cannot deal with food. If I know I have to eat something, I start to panic. People say this will end in a couple weeks, but since I don’t understand the hormones and the process, I don’t get why it would. I’m at 11 weeks 4 days, and I don’t feel well at all. I banked my entire summer fun on this being over by the end of the first trimester. Now I fear that when my family comes to visit next month, I’ll spend the whole visit moaning and crying and begging for relief.

I’ve been getting an earful of the saying/proverb/old wive’s tale that as rough as the sickness is, so is the good health of the baby. I want to care that this could be true. I want to be happy about how far we’ve come. But I’m a miserable sack of pathetic.

We had our appointment for genetics testing (i.e., Down Syndrome check) made for next week. But neither of us felt good about going through with it, so we canceled. K did some research, and apparently these 12-week tests often give false positives that would just stress us out for the rest of the pregnancy. We know we will not abort this baby, so why go through that? We’ve heard from friends and family who have been glad they did the tests because of the relief they got. But what if they’d gotten false positives? These tests only give you percentages of the chance anyway. Where’s the relief in that? Maybe we’re letting our fear of fear make this decision. Maybe we’re being naive. But am I missing something? Is getting an inaccurate likelihood going to change anything? And what if I was still 34? Would we be magically spared from this decision?

On a lighter note… we’ve started referring to the fetus as Baby Mochi because when I can eat, all I seem to get in is rice or rice-based. It’s also about the right size. Would it be the worst thing in the world if the baby was a delicious rice dumpling with ice cream in the middle?

Is This Thing On?

Yesterday we got the go-ahead. Last week’s ultrasound showed a large follicle that this week’s ultrasound showed flattened like a heavily suppressed pancake.

K injected me nightly for the four days preceding, while I continued taking the birth control pills. My breasts grew so large that I can now imagine what they will look like when I’m pregnant/breastfeeding. Man, that’s some extra weight! There were some emotional times, but my guess is these were merely appetizers to what we’re going to see this coming week.

Me in my one-woman show "IVF: You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry"

I realized yesterday that I have been an uber control freak lately. I’ve been hyper about how the house looks and, worst of all, how and when K helps me make things just like I want them. I’ve been on her like Capt. Lewis on Pvt. Benjamin. As we talked about it, it hit me… I’m so out of control over my body and this fucking process that I’m trying desperately to control whatever I can (or can’t and shouldn’t). Even though this makes total sense, the awareness came with a shock.

Saturday begins our morning shot of follistim and evening shot of menipur routine, with the occasional ultrasound to monitor the development of the many eggs. I got a little bruised from the suppression shots, so we’ll see if my belly looks like a blueberry muffin by the time this part is through. My biggest worry (okay, not my biggest — I think we all know what that is) is that I am a huge asshole to K with all the crazy hormones making me crazy(ier?). She says she’s ready for what I throw at her, but I felt so awful on the chlomid last month that I wonder if this next batch of injections will finally turn me into the big, green, muscled monster I feel like sometimes.

Ready, Set, No!

Just when you thought you’d heard the last from me for a while, I come back with more proof of how my terrible world view is actually quite realistic if you look at my life’s track record.

We went in this morning for my suppression check to make sure that the birth control pills have been doing their job these past couple of weeks. Surprise! There was a big fat follicle screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!” totally unaware that she was so not invited to the party. I don’t get it. I have such strong estrogen that my ovaries want to produce in spite of birth control, but when I’ve needed them to work in the past, they’re all like, “Oh, sorry. You snooze, you lose. We were all spent in your early 20s. Too bad you had to be a big ol’ lezzie and couldn’t sleep with one single guy in your teens!” My ovaries star in the new Mean Girls.

What this means for me is possible cancellation of the IVF for this cycle. But because my estradiol test came back with a decent number, we’re going to try keeping me on the birth control another week and adding in another suppression drug (this would be a prequel injection I had no idea to fear). If the follicle magically shrinks? or disappears?, we’ll move ahead. You know where I’m going with this.

I spoke to my sister today, and I asked her why she thought I can’t take the hint. Do I need an anvil to fall on my head? She said that I’m very “thick skulled” (which I suppose would preclude said anvil from working anyway), and that knowing what I want and being so determined aren’t always the happiest personality traits to deal with. I also asked her why, since today’s our dad’s birthday, dad couldn’t lend a spirit hand. She finally got me to laugh when she said that he couldn’t hear my crying over the Spanish music he can now listen to whenever he wants and at whatever volume he wants. I should definitely know better than to ask for miracles during a fiesta.

One Way or Another

I’m sitting in my teashop, hoping none of the other patrons can read the agony on my face—aglow in MacBook sheen. Another period and another day o’ pain. Really bad pain. Is it wrong to want to get pregnant just to take a 9 month break from the cramps? I’m here because I am taking baby steps to Walgreen’s. I have my first prescription of Clomid waiting to be picked up at the pharmacy, and I just can’t get myself there yet. The teashop isn’t technically on the way, but it’s out of the house, which I haven’t been since our return from the Christmas, er, I mean, the Midwest.

Probably on the plane to Chicago, I inhaled a happy virus floating on the Southwest flight’s recycled, cabin-pressurized air. I hacked my way through four nights at a suburban hotel; literally all coughs and no ZZZs. The heaters in every room, plane, and car helped to further dry my irritated throat. Please add to this unpleasantness nonstop Christmas music and my personal discomfort with all things crossy and christy. Ooh, and don’t forget the food allergies!

I’ve set up quite an ugly scene, but the truth is that everything went pretty darn well on our trip to family land. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of Catholics when we arrived at K’s grandparents house in Indiana. But all were very decent (no horn checks!). Some folks spoke with us a bit, but mostly it was an opportunity for me to put faces to names and support my lovely K, who definitely needed to be there. It was the last Christmas Eve celebration that her grandmother and grandfather would be hosting as they will be moving into a small, more manageable place this year. I can only imagine how overwhelming it was for her to see full-grown humans where she last saw babies, and full-fledged parents where she last saw younger cousins.

We spent Christmas day with the other side of her family, who have known me for almost 9 years and who, as it turns out, may struggle more with my un-Christianness than with my being another lady. But, with the genuine affection I’ve developed for them over the years, I gave it my all (Well, not sign-of-the-cross-before-dinner all, but I did see The Chronicles of Narnia in 3D. Funniest thing about this is that I had to inform K that it’s a big ol’ Christian allegory—why do American Jews know these things?!).

Is that Aslan or me on Clomid?

Anyway, I brought my virus home with me, tried to give it to K, and only recently, finally, started taking the Western meds. I love me some Chinese herbs and such, but ‘nough’s enough. On the health front, I’m happy to report, unsurprised, that I am STD free! I am all set to proceed with the fertility treatment as planned.

So I’ll finish this post and run right over to… the pet store across the street to get our pup some treats. Then I’ll go to… the library to pick up a CD on hold. But right after that, I’m heading to… the grocery store. Shit. Walgreen’s shares a parking lot with the grocery store. I will have put it off to the final errand.

Why the trepidation? If you’ve read any other posts in this blog you’ll know the general answer to that question. But the specific one is that I fear the monster inside me and what hormone play will do to my otherwise carefree demeanor. And I fear a gotcha universe that will mess with my life, as follows: you want to be pregnant? here, have multiples! how did that Clomid treat ya?

BUT, I will do whatever it takes. I will have me a baby to love and teach and be in awe of and nibble. It’s been suggested to me that, in the face of infertility and the poor odds, it’s good to have (or at least discuss) a plan B. Adoption? Really? Do people really let lesbians adopt? What countries would we need to exploit? What funds beyond funds would we need to procure? Finally, are we up for the challenges of raising a kid that will not only have two mommies but have two very white mommies? I read this article last night that looks at the growing prevalence of non-white Jewbies. Of course, the article discusses the phenomenon in terms of heterosexuals, but I took the message to heart: I waited too long. I got an education. My infertility… is all my fault. Check it out here. What do you think?

Leggo My Eggo

I wish people would stop telling me to relax, that women in their 50s have babies, that I’m so young, and that I will get pregnant and have a baby. They have nothing to lose with their optimism. I have it all. So when I’m spewing negativity, I want people to say, “You know, you’re right. Your situation sucks, and you may not be able to get pregnant. If that happens, I’m really sorry.” Is that so hard?

Last weekend we celebrated K’s birthday. I let myself relax and really enjoy being unpregnant. For example, we went to a chocolate tasting, and I consumed a significant amount of caffeine, which I would not have done if I was waiting to find out if I was pregnant. We also went to a hot spring and sat in a hot tub that was way too hot for health. Again, I would’ve missed out on that preplanned excursion. I felt good. I felt like I was doing exactly what I should be to prepare for the next go ’round.

I felt even better this week after talking to a fertility specialist. We formulated a plan of how to proceed. And since I was there and hadn’t had my FSH levels checked in a while, we went ahead and did that too.

This morning I learned that my FSH, which had been tested on a couple of other occasions, is fine. It’s my day 3 estradiol level that is too high. This means I was right: my eggs are old and tired. Beyond my years. I always say I’m old and people poo poo me. Well, according to my blood, my egg quality/number is decreased—especially for someone so young. So, if you’re a friend, please do not take my age for granted when I express my worries in the future. I will probably hit you.

What now? Well, we had E2 bank his stuff this morning so we have “him” here even after he leaves for Europe. (He told me  this morning that he bought his ticket last night; it took everything in me to bop excitedly with him and not start crying.) The expense of every little step in this new world of fertility clinic makes me realize what a gift we had in a local known donor this whole time. I’m going to have a look at my follicles next week. If there’s any big enough, I’ll get a shot that’ll ovulate me early, since it’ll only be day 9. Then we’ll do a quickie home insemination hours before K and I get on a plane to the Midwest. If the ultrasound shows what my estradiol level suggests, few poor eggs, then we’ll wait until January and bring out the big guns.

Isn’t it interesting how you think you’re going to the next level of a process, just sticking your toes in to test the water, and the next thing you know you’re being dangled from the high-jump diving platform over the deep end?

(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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