Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Confession and Other Sacraments

Before you read this post I want you to understand that I do not mean to offend those who are people of faith and who practice their religion. These are my inner struggles and mine alone. This reflects upon me...not you.

I have one IRL friend who reads this blog and she has shared her faith with me on more than one occasion. I have nothing but respect for you and I admire your faithfulness. I admire it becasue I know you have struggled and questioned and continue to THINK and process and find relevance in your daily life. You live your words. You make efforts to examine your faith and the teachings and the manner in which you make your way in the world. I respect that about you.

I also greatly admire the writings of Mrs. Spit. She's a thinking woman of faith. I find such wisdom there.


Did I tell you I getting confirmed? Well, I am attending the classes to qualify to get confirmed. We'll see how I do.

Like many Catholics my age I never went through confirmation becasue they kept changing the age. Every year they kept saying "next year". So finally my mother said "enough" and pulled us out(my little sister and I ) in protest. Truth be told I think she was tired of driving us but that is between her and God.

So since a little extra free time was more important to my mother than my spiritual well being and the maturation of my religious faith I'm now obligated to 20 hours of Adult faith classes. That's every Wednesday night from here until eternity, I mean, the new year.

So here is the problem. All I do is cringe and roll my eyes (internally roll them.....I'm not outwardly rude or disruptive...give me some credit). I don't know what it is but I just can't buy it.. any of it. At least not the way it's being talked about.

After the first class I came home and complained about how simplistic and even child-like the belief systems were of the people in the class. Did I accidentally walk into a 1st confirmation class with some freakishly physically mature 2nd graders? It just seemed so ....unsophisticated and unthinking without any reflection.

Mr. Peeveme's response was, "I don't know why you are doing this?" and then walked away. He's all supportive and talkative like that.

Neither of us would be considered very faithful. We did get married in the church and had Piccolina Baptized but that's becasue that's just what our families do (He's Italian, I'm a Mission Indian). Not becasue of some deep seeded need for involvement in a community of faith. Plus the more sacraments you fulfill the more cake you get to eat. Specifically, sheet cake. Sheet cake rocks. The more you buy the cheaper it gets. I love sending people home with home giant slabs of sheet cake crammed on a paper plate with smooshed frosting under a double layer of plastic wrap. Now THAT's the way to celebrate a sacrament.

So why am I doing this? And why now? Why not in the past 20 years? Why not 20 years from now? I tell myself and others it's becasue it's a loose end. Just want to wrap it up. But it can't be a coincidence that I feel the need to do this now. I am doing IVF after IVF and now Donor eggs. The Catholic Church is pretty clear (and mean, if you ask me) about their stance on reproductive technology and even clearer (and meaner) about 3rd party reproduction. (I'd like to add mis-informed to that as well).

I confess, I'm not a person of strong faith. Clearly I'm not when all I do in cringe and inner eye roll the whole time in confirmation class? Nope, no faith here.

During the second meeting the Deacon gave us little notebooks so we could write things down. And I prepared for what I just knew would be 2 hours of cringing and inner eye rolls.

The session goes like this: The Deacon asks us a question...we share our thoughts with our "neighbors" and then share out to the larger group. And it's hard to listen to the answers of people without physical cringing at the simplicity. I think I have read more thoughtful and reflective ideas about faith in a coloring book about Jesus. And I certainly can't share HALF of what I'm thinking.

For example:

Question: Think of a time when you realized you were a Christian. Did that realization make you feel different? In what way did it make you feel different?

My head: Um...still not sure I am a Christian so I'm not sure how to approach that question. But why would I feel different? Different from other people? Because being Christian is not different it's the dominant religion where I grew up. I'm sorry, you're loosing me.

Question: Discuss some of the ways your faith is different from when you were younger.

Answers of other people (summary):
When I was younger I did it becasue I had to and because my parents made me. Now that I am an adult my faith is stronger. Pretty much every said that they all have such strong faith now and are ready to commit to the "responsibilities of their faith". (whatever that means...I have no idea what that means but they say it all the time.)

My answer: (I went last)As a youth my faith was inconsequential. There was nothing at stake. No reason to question it. With such little life experience I had no reason to question the teachings of the Church. Unlike most people here I am not here becasue of a deepening of my faith, I am here becasue of a crisis of faith. I'm looking for resolution between my personal beliefs and the Church. I'm here to gain a more sophisticated relationship with the Church and my faith. I disagree profoundly with some of the stances of the Church. If I am truly loved by Jesus and the Church that has to be ok.

This was met with big-blinking eyes and silence. I think one mouth was agape. I was worried the Deacon would kick me out right there....but he seemed impressed with both my honesty and my level of thoughtfulness and reflection.

And then I started blogging in my little journal because I felt I was onto something here.

Notes from my notebook:

Wow, everyone else is here to learn more about their own faith. I came to learn more about the Church. I don't expect to be more faithful after this....or do I?

Why am I here? Do I know? What am I looking for? I gotta be here for more than the sheet cake.

Maybe I think that there has to be more. There has to be more depth and intellectualism to this religion.

Does this sustain me? Can this religion sustain me? Certainly not in my current understanding of it, no. I find little here for me. There has to be more.

So many people find solace in this faith. Why not me? This can't be so hollow and simplistic and sustain so many people. There has to be some substance here. Why don't I feel it?

Will my inner eye-roll ever go away?

End notes

I was approaching these session as just hoops I had to hop through to get confirmed. But I actually got something out of the last class. I know why I am there. I have no idea if I will find what I am looking for but at least I know what it is I want. That's something. In fact, that might be everything.


And BTW, I'm not sure I'm completely down with the concept of the Holy Trinity. I know! The central tenet of my faith and I'm not completely on board. Quick, someone call a Council of Nicea.

I'm really hoping the Deacon does not collect these journals. That would be mighty embarrassing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cycle update

Since I'm actively in a cycle I could give everyone an update. It's weird because I'm not doing all that much so it does not really seem like a real cycle.

I started Lupron a week ago. I stopped BCP's on Friday. That combo isn't doing much for me. Headache, nausea, fatigue. If I didn't just have an u/s I'd think I were pregnant. I'm hoping this wont last too long. On Wednesday I get a blood test. I think I will start the estrogen that day. I think that means the donor will start stims around the same time.

I have a blood test on Monday Nov 3rd and blood test-u/s Nov 7th. ER is scheduled for the week of Nov 10th. So depending on the donor's progress (and my lining) I may have another u/s that week.

I intend to write the donor a letter. Is that weird? I just always thought I would write one so that she could know me a little (while preserving my anonymity). It's just always felt weird to me that I got to know so much about her and she doesn't know anything about me. Also, It's my only opportunity to express my gratitude. What would/did you include in such a letter?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Compassionate realization

As I'm getting older and life has kicked me around a bit I'm realizing something: The people who are compassionate, wise, non-judgmental, sage and understanding have probably had some pretty heavy shit thrown their way.

Of course, some of the most bitter people have probably had some pretty heavy shit thrown at them as well.

When you are humbled by life you can get bitter or get insight.

A completely unexpected moment of compassion

First, I just have to say thank you for all your thoughtful comments. I truly appreciate your advice and experiences. So it seems we all have one of those friends. I'll keep you updated on the situation but it looks like I do need to try to explain things to her (not going into too much detail). If she can't understand that I can't be there for her right now then perhaps it is time to break things off.


I had lunch with a friend yesterday (I know, halt the presses. I did something SOCIAL for no reason other than to SOCIALIZE!)

This friend is fertile. The kind of fertile where she had a 2nd baby much earlier than she would have wanted and it was hard. I can completely see how having a baby when you aren't ready for one can be very difficult. I've been somewhat hesitant to totally get into all my infertility but she does know we have had difficulties. She's been nothing but cool. No stupid advice, no flaunting her fertility, just sympathy and well stated questions.

I have never been jealous of her family or her fertility. I have never not wanted to hold her babies. I have never cringed at the thought of getting together with her.

She's Native just like me: mixed blood, professional, looks white, totally down with Native causes, lives as much of the culture as possible being married to a non-native and living in suburbia.

At lunch I was telling her how this IVF will likely be our last. I was hopeful it would work. I told her what I have been telling other people: That with this IVF I had some tricks up my sleeve and it was costing substantially more but our odds were pretty favorable.

She has a friend who is a bit younger than me (about 36) and has been trying for 2 years. I've met her once or twice over the years.

She is dragging her feet on starting any treatment. Not sure if it's her or her husband who is the dragger. I am pretty upfront about the need to be aggressive. Ditch your OB (who "specializes" in infertility) and RUN to an RE. If you are having trouble at 36 it ain't going to get any easier at 39. I gave my friend my FSH run-down as an example.

As we were leaving she was telling me how she uses me as an example of a success story of infertility. I kept saying that I wasn't. She kept saying, "Yes your are. You had Piccolina and you were late 30's. And you'll probably have another so you are a success story. I tell my friend about you all the time". It was difficult to hear that.

I don't feel successful. Yes, I do have one child but for my next child (if I am so lucky) I am using donor eggs. Using me as an example of a "success" is just like Nancy Grace cryptically telling women in the 40's, "There is hope" but not admitting donor eggs or IVF for that matter. It's the WRONG thing to tell women. It's the opposite of what I want people to get from my experience. I don't want to be the reason someone puts off IVF becasue Peeveme got pregnant at 38. It feels fraudulent to be called a "success" without an *.

And so I told her. I told her not to tell her friend that I'm a success becasue it sends the wrong message. It says you can wait and still have a baby. I told her the only reason I have confidence that I will be successful is becasue I'm using donor eggs. I was not telling anyone... not my parents, no friends, not my in-laws, nobody. I should not be used as a success story. If anything, I am a cautionary tale. I'm not telling anyone because people can be very judgmental and I don't want to compromise the privacy of my children and I'd appreciate if she'd take it to her grave or else I'd put her in an early one (we Indian chicks are tough).

And then she did the craziest thing. She hugged me and whispered, "I would never judge you". And then I cried like a big -fat -girl.

Is this a giveth or taketh away moment?

Today's post is manifestation of my previous post: a real-life example of not knowing if I should be giving compassion or asking for it (or in my case how to ask for it). Mostly I am trying not to blow up with anger at her. But after the initial(and secondary and tertiary) instinct to mutter swear words under my breath passes I am left with how to handle the situation. I'll try to be brief with the background.

She's the kind of friend who's really hard to be friends with. The kind of friend that all your other friends, husband, co-workers ask why you are friends with her. She's demanding, self-centered, insensitive. But she's also super fun and always there when you need someone. She's high maintenance but will be there for you when you need some maintenance yourself. I rarely need maintenance but the one time I did need it she was sooo there and everyone I knew was like, "OK, we see why you are friends with her. She's awesome ". But that was once 5 years ago. And while she really came through for me in a time of need the demands of being her friend can be exhausting and frustrating.

She's the kind of friend who's parents have money and pay for her lifestyle but she plays it off like she has earned everything herself. She had never had to work hard or pay for anything not her house, her breast implants, her IVF's (which she never had to do becasue she got pregnant on her own...twice...but she did not have to stress over how she was going to pay for it of she had to do IVF).

She's the kind of friend who thinks she understands infertility but does not which is even worse than someone who is simply clueless. For a long time she always said she did not want children or that she did but she never wanted to be pregnant AND she wanted to have an egg donor becasue she wants petite-blond children (she's a tall, dark-haired woman). As soon as I started TTC she started TTC only she told everyone that she had been trying for months and months. I had to stop talking to her about infertility because she says really stupid, awful things to me "I have my perfect family now." "I only had sex once that month." "You better hurry up and get pregnant again. Last time I was 4 months ahead of you now I'm way ahead of you" (I think that was intended to be encouraging but wrong).

She's the kind of friend who always throws herself a birthday party. These celebrations used to be a girls-out-of-town weekend. Wild, drunken, boy chasing weekends. At 33 years old I was way beyond that stage (I'm not sure I was ever at the stage but I'm petty sure at 33 it's a little...pathetic) Of course we had to cough-up hotel, dinner, drinks, and a gift. Now that we are all married she does a dinner out. And of course, we cough up for dinner (plus pay for her and her DH) and bring a gift. But she's the first one in line to celebrate your birthday or attend any type of function (baptism, birthday, shower ect) with a gift, a card and balloons!

Back when we were both engaged to be married we went looking for wedding venues. I took her to the place I thought was beautiful and prefaced it with, "I have always wanted to get married here". Of course, I could not afford such an extravagant place. As we were standing in the hall she proclaimed it to be "perfect" for her, called her parents and booked it. When a mutual friend said to her, "Isn't that where Peevme wanted to get married" she said "She could never afford it so why should it go to waste?"

About getting engaged: She was not even talking about marriage with her boyfriend. Mr. Peeveme and I were planning a marriage but not officially engaged because he needed to save money for a ring. She suddenly, out of nowhere, got engaged. Guess what? Her parents paid for the ring.

I'm career. She's a stay at home (subsidized by her parents). My Dh travels for work. The step-mom gig takes up so much energy and adds so much stress. Since April I have been through 2 failed IVFs. I have an upcoming Donor cycle. The financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual stress of which can't be comprehended by anyone not going through it. Mr. Peeveme lost his job. He stops getting paid this month. He has had ONE interview after sending out 2 dozen resumes. If he does get this job he will be on the road much more than he is now.

On the weekends I am cleaning my house (no housekeeper), trimming the yard (no gardener), trying to spend some time with the only child I will ever have from my genetics, trying to give equal time to two sets of grandparents who do not live close by.

In a word I am overwhelmed. I'm barely treading water here and I'm worried this is the calm before the storm (I'm either going to get pregnant or not...both scenarios offer their challenges). I don't have the time for her. I don't have the energy for her. I can't stomach it.

Yes, her baby is 3 moths old and I have never seen her. I find taking care of myself more important than sucking it up and visiting. I just can't do it. Don't want to and can't. Equal parts.

Now that I have one-sidedly trashed her that brings us to today's exchange. This interchange has been building up for a few weeks. She called me 3 times over the past two weeks and I did not return them. I should have returned at least one but just can't stomach it. They were going on their twice-a year- vacation to Disneyland. No big deal. So you are going on a vacay. You are always going on a vacay. So last week I get a VM the gist of which is:

Her on VM:
Haven't heard from you in a while. I've been leaving messages. Are you breaking up with me because I have been trying to talk to you for weeks. You haven't even met "Daughter".

Trying to be evasive, I left a message on her Facebook wall. I don't want to talk to her and I don't want talk to her about why I don't want to talk to her.

Me on facebook:


Sorry I've been MIA. Can't tell you how busy I am. Not breaking-up. I promise. You must be exhausted from your trip. Love the pics. At least I get to see you on the Facebook.

Her on facebook:

Listen here, Miss "I just joined FB and already have 173 friends", your dearest friend misses you terribly and would love to see you in person. I understand you are swamped and all, but I'm honestly sad that you haven't even met Daughter yet...she is over 3 months old...can we get something on the calendar please?

I get it that she is hurt but COME ON! Hurt becasue I'm not being there for you in your time of ....happiness? Time of ...perfection? I'm treading water here. Don't see anything getting better for a long time. So I haven't met your daughter. You haven't met my loan for 30K for a donor cycle. I did the shower, I got the gift, I crocheted the blanket.

In her defense I have not spoken to her at length about anything I am going through. Just some vagueness about being overwhelmed and not doing well but that I don't really want to talk about it. It's somewhat useless becasue she doesn't get it. How can someone who's life is comparatively easy "get it" that I'm splitting a the seams?

I'm fragile. I'm going to be ok. I know I will be ok no matter how this ends up but right not I'm fragile. I'm agitated. You exacerbate my ill being. You are clueless and incautious. I don't have the patience to explain it to you. I barely have the patience to get through a normal day.

I'm an open wound. You are salt.

How do it say that without being know....strident?

I haven't even given her the chance to be there for me but I don't want her to be there for me. I want her to understand why I can't be there for her without me having to explain it all the time. I'm indignant that she's indignant that I have not met her daughter. And yet, I feel like I'm being a bad friend for not doing this one little thing for her. I'm so raw I can't even calmly, rationally explain why I am MIA.

So while I feel like she should be giving me compassion how can she if I can't even tell her what's up with me? But shouldn't she know? Or do I need to explain it? Is it easier to just cave in? Carve out some non-existent free time to ooo and ahh over her daughter, home, vacation photos? Preserve some friendship for when I am not so overwhelmed?

The crux of the issue is my friend is hurt by my not visiting her and seeing her new daughter and new home. I don't want to given how life has been kicking me in the gut and the nature of her high maintenance-ness. But I have not explained that to her. Even if I did I'm not sure she'd understand. It's a compassion impasse.

If I were rational I'd dissect my choices:

1) Give compassion. See her, hold baby. Preserve friendship.
2) Ask for it. Find a way to explain what I am going through. Chance she want get it.
3) Break up. Loose a dear, old friend over a temporary situation.
4) Break up. Rid myself of a long-time pain.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


There are times when a little compassion goes a long way. The key is discerning when you need it and when you need to give it. Those two different occasions often feel the same.

Today's episode of Obnoxiously Pregnant Co-worker

Me: Are you taking baby T.ylenol?

Nadine: Yea, it's the only thing I can take.

Me: You can take regular T.ylenol.

Nadine: Yea, but you have to less.

Me: No, you can take as much as the label says...probably more.

Nadine: Really, somebody told me you had to take less.

Me: Well, if your Dr. told you that then you should listen but why Baby T.ylenol? Why not just less adult T.ylenol?

Nadine: Oh, my Dr. didn't tell me that. I don't remember who did but they said you had to take less.

Me: Well, I'm sure you can take it full dose. You might want to double check the things people tell you with your Dr. or at least Dr. Google.

------end scene------

I still have no idea why she was taking baby T.ylenol.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another episode of the Obnoxiously Pregnant Co-Worker

Me: I'm pretty sure that fetal movement can't be felt at 9 weeks.

Nadine: But I'm feeling this pinch, and then a pull, and then a twist and then it goes away.

Me: Actually, I'm certain fetal movement can't be felt at 9 weeks. Not even close.

Nadine: But I feel like something is pinching, then pulling, then twisting then letting....

Me: ...I'm pretty sure a 9 week old fetus lacks definable fingers let alone has the muscle control to pinch. (not looking up from my computer)

Nadine: It happens a lot. Like someone is pinching, then pulling, then twisting then letting go. Then pinching, pulling, twisting then it goes away. Right over here (pointing a bit above her hip bone)

Me: Go google "round ligament pain". (Thankfully, she goes away for 2 minuets)

Nadine: Oh, I guess that makes more sense. But it's just this pulling and pinching and twisting......

In other news I just re-ordered my BCP's because I need to be on them for 12 more days and I only have 5 left. Given my horrible reaction to the pill this might be considered bad news BUT it also means that the donor got her period (what is it with fertile people having NO idea about their cycle?) I ordered both her and my meds for a total of $2,400. For my other IVF's with my eggs I spent a bit over 6K for meds.

I know we have many other hurdles but starting is a pretty important one. If all goes well the ET will be the week of Nov 10th. I start Lupron next week. Donor scheduled to start stims the week of Oct 20th. It ain't a baby or even a positive pregnancy test but it's something. Something....anything after a whole lot of nothing feels nice.

It even takes the edge off hearing about Nadine's paint swatches for the nursery.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

BCP induced Psychosis: A whole lot-a crazy going on

Sorry for the lack of consistent posting. It's now been over 3 weeks since the Donor said she'd get Af in 1-2 weeks. In between breathing, talking myself out of thinking the Donor has changed her mind, and forcing my self not to call to DE coordinator hourly (JK...I only called ONCE this entire time), I am fighting off a major case of BCP induced CRAZIES. This must be what menopause feels like. If it weren't down-right dangerous it would be funny. I remember this feeling when I went on the pill for 11 days last April for IVF #1. I have now exceeded 11 days and the Donor has not even started suppression.

I feel like shit emotionally and physically.

Lets start with the physical. I'm having hot flashes, my eyes feel like they have sand in them (sever dry eye). I'm hungry all the time. I can't fall asleep or stay asleep without a sleep aid. Inexplicably my middle finger hurts.

Ah but the physical is nothing compared to the emotional/psychological.

Anxiety, edginess, tension, anger, hopelessness. And that's on a good day. Bouts of despair can instantly turn into violent rage. I'm not kidding about the violent thing. I' having a hard time not throwing things at people or challenging strangers to fights. Again, not kidding. I told Mr. Peeveme to keep some cash handy for my bail because I am likely to be involved in some kind of road rage incident that will undoubtedly be viewable on youtube. More than once I have found myself trying to make eye contact with some offender to my vehicular sensibilities. They, wisely, do not return my glare somehow sensing their proximity to a profanity laced invitation to settle this like men or menopausal women which, I have come to find out are MUCH more hostile, dangerous and unpredictable. As it is, I am left to flip-off these cowardly, commuting transgressors. Oh, mystery solved!

I imagine if John Malkovich went on the pill he'd sound a lot like me. I can't get through a conversation, nay a sentence, without the aid of the f-word. It very handy that it can be used as a verb, adjective, adverb, and noun. To be fare, I was not most delicate or ladylike orator to begin with but I have raised my game from merely course and irreverent to downright vulgar and abusive.

And I have a few more weeks of this.

My saving grace is that Piccolina lacks the manual dexterity to raise her middle finger. However, as substitute she is pointing at other cars. And we all know how I feel about that.