Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Now completely de-boned!

(*overhead cyberpaging system*) this thing on? Oh! (*feedback*). Ummm...well...if anyone finds a lost spine, could you let me know? I thought it was white but, now that I think about it, it must be a sort of yellow color. I think I lost it a couple of weeks ago at Dr. Meow's office, but it could also have been on the drive over, or the drive back. Maybe somewhere along the route? Anyway, if you see a yellowish spine, not very big, lying around anywhere in Oakland or San Francisco, I'd really love to have it back. It's not worth much but it has sentimental value. So if you find it, call me, OK?

. . .

If I could write poetry, I'd pen an Ode to My Missing Spine. Because it's gone. Just...vanished, with a quiet Pffft. (O, Spine! How I did take thee for granted.)

Until a few weeks ago, if questioned on the subject, I would have said that I was a give-me-the-bad-news-first kind of gal. Be prepared!, I would say to myself at every opportunity. Know what could go wrong. Pick at it, prod it. Think it through. Don't get taken by surprise. Dee-fense. Dee-fense.

This was how I managed every stressful life event from eighth-grade algebra tests to buying a house to receiving performance reviews. If I knew where the weak spot was, I could find a way to strengthen it, or work around it, or at least throw up some decorative screens. (Sometimes, to be perfectly honest, I even secretly reveled in bad news, simply because I had seen it coming.)

Since the day I picked up The Orange Folder, however, I haven't been able to locate even a little bit of balls (a little bit of ball? Nothing sounds right here.). I took The Folder home, fully intending to pick it up and dive in immediately, as I had with everything else on the subject--read every line twice, at least--but instead...instead...

Instead, I put it on the green-tiled coffee table and admired the contrasting colors for a week. When guests came one day, I moved it to the bedroom bookshelf. A few days later, still intending to pore over it thoroughly--any minute now, really--but beginning to chastise myself for being unusually chicken, I placed it on the kitchen table. Where it sat, untouched except for my one calendar-grabbing foray, for a good two weeks. Every time I went near it, something in my brain rebelled, telling me I should back away slowly, no sudden movements.

Other tasks would be unnecessarily invested with urgency--my brown heels for a nonexistent interview have a tiny scuff: must polish them now!--but I was becoming less and less inclined to open the damned Folder. Finally, two days ago, I managed it. Not because I had found my spine--nosiree, Bob--but simply as an act of self-flagellation. I was feeling so low about not having a job, not having a baby and not getting up the energy to do anything productive with my life that I figured I should just heap it on. More guilt-ridden misery, please! So I opened it up.

To be honest, The Folder wasn't quite as bad as I had anticipated. Not quite. Yes, in the "Informed Consent and Disclosure for In Vitro Fertilization" form, there were some doozies about OHSS and attendant ruptured cysts, severe vomiting, visual disturbances and shock, with the words "life-endangering" tossed in lightly for flavor, like a dash of aged balsamic. But the very next warning on the list was, "The performance of blood tests might result in discomfort at the time of venipuncture and a bruise developing at the needle site." Seriously: a full bullet point devoted to warning me about a blood-draw bruise. Kinda made the whole thing seem silly.

There is the "Informed Consent for the Administration of GNRH Agonists in Conjunction with Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation" form, which promises headaches and fatigue along with the teaser that it might kick in a little short-term memory loss, just for fun. The "Informed Consent for the Administration of Gonal F, Follistim, Fertinex, Repronex, Pergonal, Humagon, Metrodin and hCG" was even more entertaining: significant abdominal distention! Emotional mood swings! High-order multiples! Hypertension! An "unclear but possible link between the use of fertility drugs and ovarian cancer!" Hoo-boy, this is the good stuff.

But the form that really got to me in the way I had feared was the "Informed Consent and Disclosure for Cryopreservation of Embryos." In this one, The Patient and The Partner are asked to select from an array of options in case one of us dies: "In the event that the Patient should die first, Patient and Partner agree to the following disposition of the cryopreserved embryos...." Does the Partner want to have them destroyed, donate them to the physician for research or have them transferred to another uterus? And vice-versa--all are options. Bizarre, disturbing, sad options, but ones that need to be spelled out, I suppose.

We pondered briefly, but agreed that "The Survivor" should have unfettered rights to do with the embryos as he (or I) see fit. And we laughed a little over the "Disposition of embryos in the event of divorce" section: can you imagine how odd it would be to take custody of frozen 8-celled globs in exchange for, say, relinquishing your stake in the living room furniture? How strange it would feel to consider them simply property, to be divvied up like any other asset?

The process is still daunting to me--the thrice-daily injections, the side-effects, the horrible waiting and fearing and hoping--and my blasted spine is still missing. Will I be too big a wimp to make it through without a breakdown? Will I be pathetic, lying around whimpering and saying, "Woe is me"? Probably. But at least The Folder is no longer lying orangely on the table, gathering coffee rings and reproaching me.


Blogger Suz said...

Have your breakdowns, it's okay. Fuss and whimper as much as you'd like; your spine is probably hanging out with mine drinking martinis somewhere.

I kinda like the fact that our clinic asked us to deal with the forms first thing, which meant that anxiety over them didn't get confused & mixed in with everything else.

Spine or no spine, you can do this.

7:34 PM  
Blogger getupgrrl said...

You know, IVF is kind of like that Fear Factor show. Everything the contestants do - jumping off of cliffs, eating squid testicles, getting manacled to a horse under water - they do with their eyes squeezed shut, fighting every human impulse in their body.

I mean that in a GOOD way. Um.

Besides, we'll all be here, cheering you on as you go.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Wavery said...

Your spine is in what you wrote. Good on ya.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

You can do it Bugs. You already conquered that eeeevil orange folder (and that really is a big first step).

7:42 PM  
Anonymous deborah said...


Turns out you don't need a backbone after all...just a vagina, an ovary or two and a functioning uterus. Oh yeah, and a shitload of luck, which I'm wishing you.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Day said...

No spine needed for IVF - just faith and a willingness to jump!

IVF seems terrifying at first...but once you're in the throes of a cycle, you kind of go on autopilot and it's really not so bad. For me, the blastocyst wait was the worst of it all.

Seems to me your clinic could have chosen a better color for the forms folder- perhaps a soothing green or a calming blue?! So happy you were able to plow through it though - if you can do that, the rest is a piece of cake. Promise

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bugs -

I honor and totally respect your avoidance and fear over all of this. I'm terrified of the IVF possibility as well. Mostly because I fear the unknown more than just about anything. I'm glad you finally opened the file and I thank you because your courage may bolster mine sometime in the not so distant future.

Wishing you all the best!!!


6:34 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Hey Bug, if you can tackle that evil orange folder you can do the rest! Good luck. We're all here rooting for you. ~kat

9:20 PM  

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