Sunday, December 24, 2006

To Whom It May Concern:

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas!
(And a Happy New Year, too.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Birthday

Dear Sweet Pea,

Today is the day that I was supposed to finally meet you. Instead of it being an ultimately joyous day, it feels bittersweet. I only had eight weeks with you growing inside of me, and maybe a little less, but Sweet Pea, I have enough love for you to last beyond a lifetime. I thought I had experienced life before you, but in such a short span, I realized how little I really knew- how little I understood myself and the power of my emotions. I thought once I met your dad that I had more love for one person than most people ever have the chance to experience. From the moment I saw a faint "+" I knew I'd thought wrong. And when I learned that you were gone, I sank to deeper depths of sorrow than I'd ever thought possible.

Today, my heart aches and my eyes spill over with tears for you- for how much I miss you, what could have been. Would you have had your dad's red hair, his good heart, his love for chocolate? Would you be as excited about finger paints and play-dough as I am? Would you love animals and Cowboy games? Someday I suppose I'll find out. Sadness aside, you were my ray of hope. You were the impossible. And you were mine. Happy birthday, Angel. I miss you.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Love (Pregnancy) Is A(n) (Apparent) Battlefield.

Whoosh-whoosh. Whoosh-whoosh. Whoosh-whoosh. (Tempo slightly less than lightning speed) Y'all...this might actually be real.

Mr. Mandolyn and I got to hear the Gummy Bear's heartbeat on Tuesday! We tried to pressure for a sonogram, but it didn't work. I even baked dessert breads for the office staff in efforts to butter them up (ok, also to spread holiday cheer, but whatever). But we'll have to wait until January 9th to take a peek, mostly because having it covered by insurance outweighs my sheer curiosity.

My heart is happy.

And yet, I have to complain about how so many people living on this planet disregard the need to think before words fly out of their mouths. Ok, to be fair, I know that I'm extra sensitive being an IF'er. I also know that it isn't entirely fair for me to get bent out of shape over comments that people make when they don't know the full story.'d like to think that enough people would consider that pregnancy isn't a breeze for all women and think/speak accordingly. Well, that's how it works in MandolynLand, anyway.

Most people ask me if I've felt the baby move yet. Well no, not really. I respond with that, sometimes adding something like, "Yeah, I really can't wait for that part- I imagine it's so reassuring." Inevitably, I get to hear, "Oh sure, you say that now...just wait until the baby is kicking you in the ribs and you can't breath. You won't be saying that when you're uncomfortable and miserable." Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Because right now, this baby can shred my insides and I'd smile. I need the reassurance that everything is ok. Movement = life. Punt my organs, sweet gummy bear, it's fine.

I'm just barely beginning to show. It's only slightly obvious if I wear something with an empire waist, and let's be honest, I'm not convinced it's not just my normal pudge. My mother was over a few days ago and I showed her the maternity tops that my MIL had gotten for me. I mentioned that they just look silly right now because I don't really have a bump, and I welcome the time when one shows up. (Disguising fat rolls sounds like a pretty awesome fringe benefit.) My mom reacted immediately with, "Oh sure, you want to look pregnant now. Just wait until you're huge and nothing fits and you're awkward and uncomfortable. Then you'll wish for your old body." Ok. This is my own mother. Who has been informed of my infertility. Who has been around for the roller coaster ride that was this pregnancy through the early stages. Who (I thought) understood, to a degree. Apparently not. She also told me (repeatedly) that I "totally look pregnant. Oh yeah, totally." SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.

WHY WHY WHY do women feel the need to make pregnancy seem like the most horrible, awful, worst experience you could ever ask for? Why do they insist on making it sound like a punishment? Is it to scare us? Is it pity? What the hell? Because, especially for those who've longed for the opportunity to carry a child, all of these twist and turns, quirks, and inconveniences are entirely insignificant. We dream of throwing up, baby bumps, awkwardness, clothes that don't fit, ribs being kicked, peeing constantly, and every other cliche of pregnancy. Those things are normal. Those things indicate that you will end up with a child in your arms to love like you've never loved before. Those things make you think that someday, if you can just feel them and embrace them for all that they represent, the pain of infertility will lessen, even if just for an instant. Why can't we be allowed that luxury?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Sky is Falling!

Weather Alert! Weather Alert! Right now in Dallas, TX there is actual falling snow. Freezing precipitation, coming down with some serious gusto. Yesterday is was 75 degrees. According to my computer, it is currently 28. The news stations last night were buzzing with warnings of this Artic Blast that was sure to come. Everyone- stock up on batteries, milk, canned goods, bottled water! Find your ice scraper and your big huge jackets! It's cold, it's frozen, it's Armageddon, it's...WINTER!

Well, at least for the next week.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Open Letter to My Blog

Dear Blog,
Hi, it's me. Ahem. Mandolyn. Remember me? Sorry I haven't been around much lately. As much as I love the holidays, (fine, I long for them all year long) the workload here at the office is always ridiculous. I'm in a good place this year, right now. My Thanksgiving was considerably better than last year and I really wanted to come here and pour out all of my good things in the form of an amazing blog entry. And then I didn't. I'd think about it while at a football game or the grocery store, or when I was knee-deep in craftiness (read: Mandolyn's Heaven) and I just never got around to it. I'd start playing with ideas in my head, but I never thought any were blog-worthy. Still, for the record, I am insanely thankful for so many things right now: for pumpkin cheesecake pie, football games, days off from work to spend with Mr. Mandolyn, seeing my brother and his furry children (wishing I could add another creature to my zoo...his foster kitten is too cute), sips of Dr. Pepper, for getting a teensy weensy bit better at not worrying about the Gummy Bear, having the Gummy Bear at all, Mr. Mandolyn's patience while untangling stands of Christmas lights, and on and on and on.

Good catching up with you, Blog. I hope all is well with you. We'll talk soon!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

In my head, it was a clever idea.

So I made the official announcement today at work. It's rather frightening, being exposed. I baked cupcakes and put them in a pan with a sign underneath that said, "I'm having a baby!" The plan was for my coworkers to take the cupcakes and then discover the hidden message. I thought I was so clever...

Well, the two people that already know went ahead and got their cupcakes, and everyone else followed suit, getting a cupcake and telling me thanks for the sugary, delicious, healthy breakfast. No one saw the sign- no one saw past the chocolate frosting. The two that knew and I had to lightly encourage people to grab a second. It soon turned into heavily urging, followed by, "Tim, are you sure that you don't want to reconsider having that second one? Ahem." That worked, we all cracked up, the girls squealed. It was a little odd to be the center of attention and more odd with the inevitable questions.

Q: "So, how did you tell your husband?"
A: "Huh? Oh, he knew. It wasn't a surprise at all."
Inside my head: "When did I tell him what? Which part? He's been around for all the betas and pills and hormone surges, the failed cycles, the BFNs, the heartbreaks, the BFPs, the scary ultrasounds. Dude, he read the pee stick before I did."

Q: "How did you tell your family?"
A: "Um, we surprised them with paper mache balls that had messages inside."
Inside my head: "Well, that's what we did last time, anyway. This time lacked the fun because we were all on vacation together and I had to POAS in my parent's hotel room after a round of severe cramps during lunch at a nice restaurant. Then I got into a huge fight with my parents because they didn't wear the appropriate kidgloves that the situation required."

Q: "Are you showing yet?"
A: "Not really enough for anyone to notice that doesn't already know."
Inside my head: "Oh Dear God, let's all just look at my stomach now, shall we?"

All good. Well, at least for the Gummy Bear.

Today's appointment went well. I'm still not sure exactly how it happened, but I haven't yet gained weight. I was sure after all the mac and cheese that I've had lately that I would get a lecture rather than a thumbs up, so I'll just take it and be happy. The doctor came in we listened for the Gummy Bear's heartbeat with the doppler. At first he said, "There it is, can you hear it?" To which I sheepishly replied, "" He found a place where the sweet melody of whoosh-whooshing was unmistakable. And I let a big sigh out.

I still feel like an oddball in the waiting room. Once I get behind the door and start joking around with Awesome Nurse, I'm good, but for the ten or so minutes that I'm waiting with the Other People, I feel like an alien. Is that strange?

I called my parents to tell them that we still have good news and my evening quickly deteriorated. Quick back story: my dad does anesthesia and is opposed to the methyldopa (aldomet) I take for hypertension. He says that the way it works can interfere should something go awry with an epidural. Ok, fine. My general doc (he is incredibly amazing) and my OB (ditto) have decided that it's the safest for me and for Gummy Bear. That's good enough for me. So, upon my dad's insistence, I brought his issue up today. My doctor acknowledged it and said that he'd never had any issues with anything happening, nor had anyone that he's ever worked with. Again, good enough for me. NOT apparently good enough for my father, who immediately elevated his voice to SHOUTING and called my doctors "yay-hoos" who need to "get with the program and read some damn research." That's an abridged, censored version, but suffice it to say that it made me absolutely pissed. My mother quickly tried to do damage control. (And when I say "damage control" I of course mean "made ridiculous excuses and wrote me an email with more vomit-inducing powers than Chicken Soup for the Soul.") I realize that he's my dad and therefore overprotective of me and my well-being, but this has really escalated lately. I also know that my dad has an I-have-to-be-right-and-there-are-no-exceptions complex. He and my mom suggested that he talk to my doctors (that got a loud HELL NO from me, thankyouverymuch.) Apparently, he knows absolutely everything and that's the end of the story. Right. I'll do some internet research (always dangerous, I know) but I just don't think the man gets it. He's concerned right now with my pills and an epidural. I'm just trying to get through this thing one day at a time without completely freaking out. We simply aren't on the same page. Anyway, I've decided to avoid my parents for today (and tomorrow) and cool down, because I need to step out of Soap Opera World for a bit.

Oh, I just finished a batch of cupcakes to bring to work tomorrow. I made a sign that says "I'm having a baby!" and put the cupcakes on top of it. Tomorrow I'll offer the coworkers cupcakes, and they'll eventually get the message. Hopefully that will go smoothly...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Wednesday should be interesting.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. Provided all goes well, I plan on telling my boss and co-workers that I'm expecting on Wednesday. I have a few issues with this:

1. Right now, very few people at work know. Honestly, I don't care about anyone else outside of that small circle. I also don't care if that makes me a crappy human.

2. Outside of those very few people, no one knows about pregnancy #1. It's still too hard for me to be completely "out" at work. In my department of nine people, there are two "whoops, we didn't mean to get pregnant" babies and a recent "we were actually trying not to have a baby" baby. Call me bitter.

3. My boss (the big boss, in NY) likes me well enough, but historically doesn't take pregnancy news well. There have been occasions when a friend and I have been told that we "simply can't get pregnant." I think it was a backhanded compliment, but still... Also, I plan to ask if there is any way I can work from home, which is a complete joke, but I figure it can't hurt to try. I've been brushing up on my eggshell walking skills.

4. I still want to come up with some creative way of announcing this pregnancy. Part of me wants to avoid the awkward round-everyone-up-and-blurt-it-out method because that would be, well...awkward. My normally active creative juices are in hibernation.

For now, I can really only worry about tomorrow. And when I say "worry" it's really with a capital "W." Ok, and capital "O", "R", "R", and "Y" as well. I can't help it. Most of the time I just don't feel pregnant outside of feeling a bit "pudgy" (thanks to mom for that lovely adjective), and I need validation that all is well. I'm hoping that hearing a nice strong heartbeat tomorrow will sooth me for a little while.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

As if the fire needs any fuel

I opened my daily free paper, skimming all the contents before landing on the crossword puzzle, as I do every weekday morning. This caught my eye:

Vacay = baby

Miami- A vacation made Lucinda Hughes sick. Hughes is sick every morning and expecting her first baby in April.
She got pregnant after she and her husband went on a three-day Procreation Vacation at a resort on the Grand Bahama Island.
It's part of a trend in which hotels around the world are luring couples who are trying to have a baby. Resorts are offering on-site sex doctors, romantic advice and exotic food and drink calculated to put lovers in the mood.
Even some obstetricians are promoting the trend. Dr. Jason James of Miami said he often encourages couples trying to have a baby to sneak away for a few days, and he often sees it work.
"One of the most easy, therapeutic interventions is to recommend a vacation," James said. "I think the effect of the stress on physiology is truly underestimated."

Seriously? For a good ten minutes, all I could think of was, "Ugh." (in a real frustrated tone) You know, infertility issues aside, this is ludicrous. All the money in the world spent on a "Procreation Vacation" to the Bahamas, including famous love doctors and delicious aphrodisiacs won't force a crazy little thing like ovulation to happen during the three-day window. I wonder if they tell the couples to plan for that, give them a calendar, thermometer and an OPK before officially booking.

I found it referenced online, too. Part of the expanded article:

"My husband and I thought that we would go on the vacation and learn all these nice fertility secrets and we'd be practicing them for a number of months for them to work," said Hughes, 35, who conceived the day she got back from the trip. "We were stunned. There's definitely some truths to the foods and the elixirs."

The couple had been trying for only two months, since their wedding in May. But like most couples they have hectic schedules in Washington, where she is a freelance writer and he is a city employee. Cell phones are always ringing, day planners are jammed. "We're all overscheduled," Hughes said.

Excuse me, I'm going to throw up. For the whole nauseating experience, here's the article.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

National Infertility Awareness Week

It's here, and while every day should be equally dedicated to raising awareness about infertility, this week is highlighted. I feel like I should do be doing more to contribute my part to the cause. It's several days in and I feel like I haven't moved any mountains, broken any significant boundaries. Patience has never been something that I have an abundance of.

I'm going to make a real effort this week. So far I've tried to gently pass along IF blogs and pomegranate strings to an infertile couple who might welcome the support that they are bound to find. I've talked with my family a little more deeply about my personal infertility. I congratulated a college friend on Saturday who was giddy with news of a BFP following her first IVF attempt. (I'm working on spreading some pomegranate love there).

But it isn't enough. I feel like I'm still skipping around in my comfort zone. I feel like I should do something deeper, more significant, more meaningful. Mel had some really good suggestions for taking immediate action. Maybe I'll roll my sleeves up and dig into some of those. It doesn't have to be hard, right? And who says we can't work together? If every single one of us found a way to pass along a pomegranate string (and its meaning) to JUST ONE PERSON this week, think of the effect it could have. Single candles contributing to the collective warmth.

The challenge?

1. Keep some #814 thread with you throughout this week (and beyond).

2. Print out "The History of Infertility's Common Thread" from Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. Or write your own. Or be creative and make it into a card or bookmark...

3. Find an opportunity to share them.

4. Repeat.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Proud Sister

I had a long conversation with my brother this morning (which I will probably get in trouble for when the cell phone bill arrives). He's in college, studying nutrition (which, yes, makes eating in front of him a lovely adventure) and told me about a three-day presentation he's doing about nurtrition through pregnancy. He had questions, I attempted to answer as much as I could. We talked about this pregnancy vs. the last which brought up a mini discussion about infertility. I've been pretty out with my family about my IF for about a year now, so it wasn't new territory, but at the same time, has never been a subject that he's wanted to dive into. Until today. He was curious, and for me a curiousity about IF is fuel for my informational train. (Is "informational" even a word?) He mentioned that his girlfriend's sister has been struggling with IF for several years, and have begun to deal with IVF and possibly adoption. He said how heartbreaking it has been for them and also that he felt for them a little deeper because he knew a little about Mr. Mandolyn and I and our BabyQuest.

So I recommended the IF Blog World to them. He was happy to pass along the information, and thought that it would really be something that might help. (I sent him straight to the Headquarters- Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters.) I told him that for me the IF Blog World is like a raft in the turbulent sea of infertility- it reminds you of hope and helps keep your head above water when you feel like the world is against you. I tried to tell him how much it means to have the support of so many others who are also struggling with IF in so many different ways. When I explained The Common Thread project, he said he'd be proud to wear a pomegranate bracelet in support. (I'll be sending him some #814 this afternoon.) I know that reading a blog won't take their pain away, or lessen the blow of infertility, but I still felt good being able to pass along something positive. I felt proactive, and sharing what has helped me felt a little like lighting a candle. One candle may not bring immediate warmth, but it sure as hell beats sitting in the cold.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Me vs. My Hair, Outcome Undetermined

This morning I had what I think is a pregnancy-related freak out that for once does not involve the well-being of my child.

It involved the well-being of my hair and possibly my husband, who watched the events unfold with completely helplessness. This week I've had a problem that has gotten steadily worse. After I get out of the shower and blow-dry my hair, I realize that the area of my scalp right in front looks oily and feels tacky. (It's ok, I gross me out too) We're talking at least a 4 inch diameter circle. Yesterday I freaked out, put some baby powder on it and tried to comb it out- I ended up putting my hair half-up in a sad attempt to mask the sticky powered mess. Today it was worse. I washed my hair twice and seriously scrubbed the area. I rinsed super-extra well. Then I started blow drying and freaked out. It was like tree sap. In my hair. RIGHT IN FRONT. I combed it and the hair just stuck there, defiantly mocking me. I tried to pull it into a ponytail, but that seemed to showcase the spot. So I jumped back in the shower about the time that I should have been leaving for work and washed my hair three more times, conditioning twice for good measure.

It finally worked, and I have the softest hair around, if not also the least volumized. Whatever, as long as it doesn't look like I poured a bottle of Aunt Jemima on my head. It this as bizarre as I think it is?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

For everyone who crossed fingers (and toes...)

You are the absolute best! Thank you so very much- I felt the positive thoughts that came my way today. At the appointment, my blood pressure was normal (I'm medicated, but I guess the environment usually makes it skyrocket). I got a quick annual exam, lucky girl that I am, and then did the sonogram. There Baby was, a little squirmy gummy bear. We saw movement and heard a heartbeat! Baby grew two weeks and a few days, which is a little more than we were hoping. The little grape-sized fighter is a feisty one, thank goodness. We got our pictures, I got a flu shot, and then made an appointment for a month. A full month. I'm not sure that I know how to stay away from the doctor's office for that long.

Another office visit, another happy departure. I can seriously get used to this.

Hoping for No Whammies at 2pm today...

I have the Second Sonogram Jitters.

Mr. Mandolyn keeps reassuring me that everything is fine. It's not that I don't believe him. Most of me does. There's just that little part of me that is scared to death. Maybe it's because I've never made it this far before, never had reason to go for another sonogram. Maybe it's because that little beating heart was so amazing to see that I'm afraid to not see it again. I liked leaving the doctor's office feeling good. I know a good visit/bad visit lottery isn't in play, so why do I still feel like I'm watching the lights race around the huge gameboard? "No whammies, no whammies, c' whammies and STOP!" I want the grand prize: another heartbeat to watch and good significant baby growth. Maybe it's because I feel like after this time, if everything looks good, I can feel more confident about thinking of myself as pregnant. I've made it a benchmark, although I have a feeling that for me, clearing one benchmark just opens the door to another. Whatever works.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wait, don't touch that dial!

The past week has been emotionally hellish. I've admittedly left most of the hope and good thoughts in the capable hands of everyone else. Yesterday we went for another sonogram. I opted to wear glasses instead of contacts because then I couldn't rub out a contact while sobbing on the way home. Mr. Mandolyn and I trudged down the hallway to the sonogram room with heavy feet and heavy hearts. The nurse quietly asked if I'd had any spotting. A defeated "no" from me. The doctor came in and gently said hi to us, and that he had been a bit puzzled by my 43,000 HCG level last week. I just wanted to get this over with.

"Well, let's just take a look."

Two seconds later a pregnancy sac was on the screen. And HOLY SHIT there was a white blob in it! The doctor looked at me and said, "You saw that didn't you?" He twisted the view again and got a better look...a yolk sac and baby blob with a heartbeat. Actual moving parts! Mr. Mandolyn was so excited that he jumped up to the screen (right in my view, but I quickly took care of that). Our mouths must have hung open for a full 5 minutes. That was certainly not the outcome we had been expecting. Measurements show the baby at 6wks 4 days. According to everything else, we should be at 8wks 2 days. So there is still cause for concern. And while we aren't out of the woods yet, we are taking our good news and running with it. We know that good news isn't something you carelessly sling around. Oh no. We took our good news and let ourselves smile. And it felt good.

Part of me (ok, most of me) is afraid to get to used to the goodness. Like at any moment the world might fall out from underneath me. So far, whenever those thoughts creep in, I try to shove them away. I really don't want that fear to get the best of me. We go back to check on progress in two weeks. Two long weeks.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Emotionally Shipwrecked

I'm glad I exhaled last week because right now it's hard to breathe. We went for the first sonogram of this pregnancy this afternoon. 7 weeks. I've been trying with everything in me to think positively, and why shouldn't I? I've been feeling increasingly nauseous, most all food sounds terribly disgusting and my boobs are still tender. But my heart was scared.

It had every right to be. From the moment the sonogram view was up on the screen, Mr. Mandolyn and I knew something wasn't ok. It took a long time for the doctor to see anything. (Apparently I'm adding disgruntled tilted uterus to my growing list of dysfunctional parts.) Every now and then we could catch a blurry glimpse of a pregnancy sac, but couldn't see anything in it. Nothing. The sac measured 6 weeks. I know that isn't a good sign. So I'm going back next week for another go around. Basically, it doesn't look good, but we're holding onto a sliver of hope. Just in case. Fuck me. The All Time Best Nurse in the world came up to us as we were making the appointment. She gave me a hug, looked at me through teary eyes and said, "I'll pray for you." One of these days I'll let her know how wonderful she really is.

Damn it all to hell, this hurts. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel- how much hope to hang on to versus not setting myself up for disaster. But if that tiny tiny chance is right and there is a baby in there fighting with everything she has, I can't just emotionally check out. Not yet. Most of all, I'm afraid to listen to my heart. It's trying to protect me, I know that...and I know that I'm thinking worst-case scenario, but that's all that I know. I needed good news today. Desperately. I needed to know that everyone else and their "good feelings about this time" trumped my guarded thoughts. I needed my prayers to be answered, to feel like they were listened to. And I don't. I feel empty, angry, confused, hurt...shipwrecked. I need a damn lifevest.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A slight exhale

The Awesome Nurse B just called with the latest news. Progesterone is up to 16.1 (it was around 12, then down to 10). HCG is now over 5000.

I let out a tiny sigh. I smiled. For one full minute, I didn't freak out. Don't worry, no one was looking.

And then I settled back into my normal knot-in-the-stomach and nervous breathing routine.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

smiley face with a straight line mouth

I went in to donate another vile of blood to analysis yesterday afternoon. The shirt that I was wearing wouldn't roll up past my elbow, so I took it off. Stellar planning on my part. Everything was normal- gauze and pressure, then new gauze and tape, shirt back on. I was exiting the lobby when I thought my arm felt wet. Yeah, clotting? Not so much. I had blood running all down my arm. Apparently my vein felt cheated having to stop at just one vile. (Bonus Tip courtesy of my OB office: hydrogen peroxide gets blood out of a dark purple shirt.)

Today, good news/not so good news. I just got a call from the nurse that I've been anticipating all day. My HCG levels seem to be behaving themselves, but my progesterone is down. Delightful-sounding supplements are currently waiting for me at the pharmacy. (High Fives for the details on what to expect from Stirrup Queens Operation Heads Up.) Nurse B (who I love- she's a no-nonsense kind of girl with personal knowledge of IF) said that the baby's levels are fine, but we need the progesterone to help sustain the pregnancy. Those last three words send me into all kinds of nervous fits.

And now for something completely different...

aah0424 at A Somewhat Ordinary Life tagged me earlier today and I'm supposed to list what I think of when I see the following words:

My biggest concern. Now that I finally have something alive in me again, I am overwhelmed by the wait to find out progress and the emotional weight that this process brings.

Can I get a definition and origin for this word? I slept over nine hours last night and should have some serious energy. I still had to verbally abuse the alarm clock this morning. Possibly because I only got three hours the night before, but whatever.

The song I heard this morning on my way to work.
"You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world..."

The picture on my desktop cracks me up. It has three drawings: Rock. Paper. Scissors. The caption underneath says, "Choose Wisely."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Dark Side

It never ends. Tabloid reports of Britney's new baby seem to all lead to her quote about how the baby wasn't planned, how it "just kind of happened." I think of Mel's sliding scale of happiness and sigh. I shouldn't care. It shouldn't matter to me at all. And yet.

Yesterday Mr. Mandolyn anxiously called me to find out what they said about my blood. So far, so good. I go again this afternoon again so they can compare levels. I want to be genuinely excited. I want to be grinning ear to ear. And yet. I can feel myself trying to build a wall around my delicate heart. Just in case. I loath "just in case." I hate that it keeps reappearing in my head every time I think I've kicked it out for good. Mr. Mandolyn and I talked yesterday about it. While I'm comforted that we are going through the same emotional ups and downs, it truly breaks my heart to hear how it's hard for him, too. He is also somewhat involuntarily guarding himself, trying to strangle out thoughts of doubt. Yes, so far everything is good, but it was all fine at this point last time we made it this far. A close friend joked that I'll be uncomfortably pregnant in the hot summer months and I choked back tears. We have a room empty at the house, painted for Someday Baby. My mother was asking decor questions the other night. We both avoided eye contact and rapidly tried to change the subject. We're so afraid to think ahead. We're afraid to let ourselves imagine something that might not come true. We're afraid to be thoroughly happy. Maybe it's that we've never been down the smoothly paved highway of fertility. We got diverted to this unnamed dirt road, littered with rocks and tumbleweeds. At any moment, the scattered debris might cause you to blow a tire, but it's familiar.

"Think positively" is something I keep hearing. Damn. I try, but these thoughts simply won't go away. It's all just so unfair, and I know that I haven't experienced anything compared to some. "Fair" is something that only exists in fairy tales. But sometimes I like fairy tales with their sweet innocence and nicely packaged storylines. I'm thrilled to be at this point, don't get me wrong. But that happiness comes with strings attached. I'm still angry that Mr. M and I won't ever get to experience the joy of gestational naiveté. I hate that we've realized the fragility of our hearts and that we have to cloud this pregnancy with emotional cautiousness. I hate "just in case."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Um...Hold Please.

Apparently, the roller coaster ride was not over.

I called my doctor's office last week and had a conversation similar to this:
Doctor Awesome: "Ok, I want you to call us and make an appointment next week."
Me: "Uh, ok. Am I waiting for a period that isn't going to come?"
DA: "No, we know that probably won't happen. I want to wait until then so that we can do a test and make sure that you aren't pregnant. I don't feel comfortable giving you Provera until I am confident of that. There could be a chance you just ovulated later than we both expected."
Me: "Fine."

I went out of town this past weekend for a wedding. I had a beer on Friday night because I was absolutely certain that this cycle had been a bust, too. I had already cried my tears. And then at lunch with my family on Saturday I started to have strong cramps. I couldn't eat the deliciousness that was the enchilada plate in front of me. Mr. Mandolyn leaned over and asked me if it was as bad as last time. Yeah, it was. So we stopped by the drug store on the way back to our hotel. I'm sure the cashier's odd look was directly attributed to my purchases: a pregnancy test and a box of tampons. Well, it was bound to be one of them. We soon saw a faint blue line. And after another trip to the store, two plus signs.

The element of surprise was so far from my head that it was actually nice to be caught a little off-guard. We didn't get a solidly good reaction from my parents. We got a reserved, cautious response, along with a "I don't know, cramping like that makes me worry" from my dad. I fumed to my brother about it, letting him know that about my mom's statement the first time I was pregnant, "Well, we'll see if it gets to three months, and then we'll celebrate." Apparently my mother had been at the door to hear all of that. So my (selfish) joy was interrupted by a damage control session with my hysterical mother. I felt like shit. She shouldn't have heard it that way, but it needed to be said. But damn it, this was not how it was supposed to play out. I know at one point I told her that "anything and everything you could possibly be thinking about this, we've already thought about. We are painfully aware, thank you. Leave that to us. We need you to be absolutely supportive right now, even if it's a false front." I wish that Mr. Mandolyn and I could have had the experience alone, so that we could inform everyone else on our own terms, but apparently that wasn't meant to be. I'm upset that we won't get to see that thrilling excited reaction that you dream about when breaking BFP news. Damn you, IF.

Still, in this world, a positive is a positive. Today's calendar date has such potential to be a sad, mournful day. I'm more than thankful to have something smile about.

"Happy" doesn't do it justice. But then again, neither does "Terrified."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Big Bad BFN

Per yesterday morning:

Womb status: Vacant
Thought status: "Fucking A, Man."

You know, by this point, a BFN shouldn't shock me. It shouldn't send me into a sobbing fit, shouldn't make it hard to smile, shouldn't make me feel defeated, even if temporarily. It shouldn't steal my sunshine. Oh, but it did. Again. It stole my sunshine and made a quick getaway, laughing and pointing at me. Big Bad BFN threw my sunshine out the window and then made a U-turn, scattering dust, just to come and run over it. With a Mack truck.

Again. Damn it.

I'm not looking forward to calling the doctor today. I will soon though. It's not like I'm waiting on a visit from Aunt Flo. That saucy bitch hasn't so much as called without excessive force since I ditched the pill.

Friday, September 01, 2006

An Open Letter to my 2WW

Dear 2WW,

I've tried to largely ignore you lately. It hasn't really worked out for me. You've got me analyzing every stomach twinge. Was that a slight dizzy spell? Oh! I had to pee in the middle of the night again. Wait, I've been starving and I only ate two hours ago. I have a headache again but it isn't a migraine...and I'm afraid to actually take anything. I'm almost finished with you, so if you wouldn't mind, could you possibly BACK OFF? You know, just slightly. Look, I've already embraced the fact that Sunday morning will bring me to my knees either in a state of raging anger/disappointment or happiness a la nervous wreck. Isn't that enough for you? Why the two week torment? I'm exhausted trying to keep a semi-normal front for the world when my insides are constantly debating whether or not I think I might be pregnant.

I need a nap. For about three weeks.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Give me an "S"..."U"..."C"..."K"!

We got a call last week from Mr. Mandolyn's aunt. She and Uncle had extra tickets to an out-of-town football game that they knew we wanted to attend. We'd cheer for opposite teams, but they wanted to offer two of their season tickets for the game-- a nice gesture nonetheless. We already made plans to go with my parents, so we graciously declined. Most of Mr. Mandolyn's family went to the opposing team's school, so we thought his brother, SIL and our one and a half yr old nephew might be invited (they had expressed interest in going). Turns out they were ultimately told Uncle didn't want to invite them because he didn't want children in his area. They might be loud and rowdy and squirmy and crawl on the seats. At a football game.

This won't exactly do wonders for the already strained family relationship.

I infer three things from this unfortunate situation:

1. I feel sorry for his grown children and future grandchildren. Sounds like he'll make such a tender, warmhearted Gramps.

2. I hope that everyone around him is loud, obnoxious and under the age of four.

3. I realize that we were only invited because we don't have children. And although I'm sure it wasn't meant as such, that stings.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I normally don't like egg whites

Or yolks, really. I'm not a picky eater, I just can't handle eggs. Scrambled, sunny side up, poached, fried, etc. I'm especially disgusted by bits of eggs hiding in tuna fish and salads. My nose turns up at eggs. And milk. Unless they are baked into something...then it's usually ok.

But I digress.

I've heard of this "consistency of eggwhites" sign of ovulation but always filed it under my "another thing that somehow doesn't apply to me" mental folder. Until three minutes ago in the bathroom at work. (TMI? Well, tough.) It wasn't intentional. I was tending to business as usual and then was caught off guard by this clear stretchy stuff that resembled, well, eggwhites. I smiled. That's supposed to happen. That's a sign that things are working. That's (gasp) normal.

After my first round of Clomid, blood tests showed that there was no sign of ovulation. Second time around, same result, but with a fantastic twist. Intense cramping and no period (again) made me POAS just to be able to answer the doctor's office with an exasperated "YES (damn it)" when prompted. We were surprised. So that time, we beat the odds, threw a finger up at the blood test results, and put some pretty good pregnancy hormones on the board. Until...

But now I feel confident that an egg (or two?) is chillin' just waiting to be fertilized. Actually, I hope that she and Mr. Mandolyn's contributions are already doing the tango in my womb, but it is Day 16, which means that we've got at least two more chances to start the music this go around. So thanks for the reassurance, eggwhites, the chaos in my brain appreciates it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Season Two: A Projected Winning Streak

Mid-August. That marks the official one-year mark of attempted baby making. What a trip around the sun. I've felt excited, nervous, disappointed, emotional, elated, in complete disbelief, blissful, devastated, shocked, teary, thoughtful, calm, and now...hopeful. 365 days. Five (give or take) rounds of Provera, two rounds of Clomid, one conception & loss, and a lot of healing. It could have been better. It could have been worse.

Yes, the innocence is long gone. One of my best friends was talking to me not long after the D&C and trying to understand. She paused and then said, "So you're saying there's not a single day that goes by that you don't think about it?" Nope, not a single moment. (I know she had to be thinking, "Wow, that's effed up.") But now I'm realizing that doesn't have to mean negativity. In the past month or so, I've begun to make peace with it. I feel a million times lighter and a little bit stronger. Reasoning and logic has been thrown out the window.

And again, I'm ready. I've got a pomegranate string on my wrist. I'm in the middle of my third round of Clomid. Mr. Mandolyn and I are excited to start taking it again. Woo-hoo! Now we feel like our game piece is on the board. So here we go, team...Game On!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Tentative Love Letter to My New Blogger Account

Dear Blogger Account,
I recently set up an account with you. Truth be told, I just wanted to leave a comment on a site that required a log-in. I have to admit, it feels a little like cheating on my MSN Spaces account. But Blogger, it feels pretty good. I notice that you have spell check. (For that, I could kiss you. In fact, I just did.) Now, don't get too excited, I plan to keep up my other blog. In fact, I will probably treat it as if you never existed. But I think you'll be the one that I will spill my TTC guts to. From now on, you'll get to hear about the relief of "day one" after a layover in Provera Park. You'll have to suffer through the bitchiness that will once again follow the 5th-9th days of our vacation to San Clomid. You might have to endure the emotional tidal waves along the way. Heads up, Blogger, I haven't seen calm soothing waters in quite some time. Welcome to my head, my body, my world. Make yourself comfy, New Account...we could be here a while.

Love (I think),

P.S. So as not to repeat over and over, I'll let you visit my Mandolyn'sBabyQuest background story over at the other blog if you so please. It's in a nutshell, but you get the idea.