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'mon....no 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.