Tuesday, December 26, 2006

'Twas the morning after Christmas

And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Except me, my umpteenth OPK of the month and some animatronic tree ornaments.

So, on the...what would this be? The twenty-third day of my cycle, maybe? Anyway, I'll call it CD 23. On CD 23, to my jaded, cynical and, yes, wondering eyes did appear not one but two very dark magenta lines. Which is lucky, since I was ready to throw in the towel (the rag?) on this interminable cycle and just wait for The Blood to return. Not that The Blood won't return anyway, but at least I will sporadically be able to delude myself for the next twelve or fourteen days and go into a nice little depressive tailspin from the hope comedown sometime in early January.

Friday, December 15, 2006

And now the nanny thinks I'm pregnant

Yesterday, I opened stick-peeing season. There was a faint magenta second line on my inaugural OPK, which I left on the bathroom counter for purposes of comparison with this morning's urine. When I got up at 3 a.m., I forgot; when I got up at 5 a.m., I forgot. When I got up at 8:45 a.m., the nanny had already arrived and gone to the bathroom, where the stick was still prominently displayed next to the sink, its misleading two lines clearly visible.

She has been smiling shyly at me all day.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Return of the Insipid Acronyms

I can't believe we're doing it, but we are.

Today, Jeff bought a whole passel of OPKs at Long's. He made a special trip just for the purpose.

I'll be urinating on sticks again. Just like the old days, back when we had sex.

It won't work. I know it, Jeff knows it. There's no reason it would. I mean, get real: I'm a 37-year-old poor responder. The odds are awful. But, what the hell, all I have to lose is a small bit of my soul.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My Sister That Was

Back in 1973, my mother's third husband and his ex-lover had a smart, peculiar child, whom they raised in shifts. This ex-lover and her same-sex partner were surprisingly free-spirited Quakers; the third husband was an ex-hippie opthalmologist. The parental units gave their peculiar daughter a woo-woo name, a lot of independence, a detailed introduction to hallucinogens and very little by way of social skills. Woo-Woo, three years my junior, lived with us in my mother's house for a few years.

Initially, the three bio siblings called her "step-sister"; eventually, we learned that it was much more PC to call her "sister". When her father and my mother divorced, it seemed impolite to call her an "ex-sister", so we came up with "former step-sister from our mother's third marriage." At some point, I felt so awkward about the whole thing that I asked if she minded if I called her "sister" again, even though we only spoke occasionally and had almost nothing in common.

She embraced the word "sister", as, aside from us, she was an only child. We were happy to give her that, for what it was worth. As an adult, she would, on occasion, show up unannounced at our house in a state of inconsolable emotional turmoil--even though she lived some four hundred miles away--and stay for several days while we fed her and tried to cheer her up. But when the crisis was over, we would not hear from her again for, say, a year and a half. Not very sisterly, but, then again, perhaps very sisterly.

Last year, she made a concerted effort to get back in touch. She wanted to be part of Olivia's life, wanted to be an aunt, spent hours asking about infertility and the heartache of barrenness. I remember saying several times that one of the worst parts of it was feeling different, feeling like I had to be treated with kid gloves by anyone who knew about our struggles. She sympathized mightily, saying it was a lot like the people who tried not to upset her because they were afraid of sending her on one of her four-hundred-mile crying jags.

So, I heard through the spindly family grapevine that Woo-Woo is twenty weeks' pregnant. She didn't want to upset me so she didn't email me when she told my (other) sister. She and her boyfriend have been together for a few months. She is happy with him and plans to get married when the baby is old enough to travel with them to Vietnam or Antarctica or the Serengeti Plain for the honeymoon. She is getting no medical care, believes that ultrasounds will cause brain damage to her fetus and says that she "just knows" that everything is OK with the baby because, well, she just knows. She has an approximate idea--within a couple of weeks--of how far along she is.

I still find it hard to believe that people like this exist--people who can approach pregnancy with no fear whatsoever. I find it even harder to believe that my very own sorta-sister is people like this.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Red Tide at Night


(All apologies to The Fixx.)

Last night, eight months to the day after Olivia's arrival, I had a dream in which I was giving birth in my living room. I was pushing hard and my water broke, then the faceless woman standing over me said that the baby was coming and that it wouldn't hurt at all. I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this.

The return of my period has hit me like a stray Nerf ball to the head: painlessly, and with almost nostalgic connotations. I've actually spent a fair amount of time lately thinking about my period. Thinking, specifically, of the fact that it would have to return well in advance of my next IVF attempt. "Worrying" would be the better word, I suppose. You've got to have a cycle to do a cycle, after all, and I've read that the first several are usually whacked out, frequently anovulatory and often have luteal phase defects. And that I might not get one for another six months--clearly not ideal when you're hoping to spend this coming April planting tomatoes and injecting enormous quantities of gonadotropins. So this is probably a good thing.

In a way, though, it's also a stressful thing. Because, try as I might to pretend I'm resigned, there's still this tiny, warbling voice in my ear that wants me to believe we might just be able to reproduce au naturale. I keep hearing these stories--the latest one coming from my OB's office, where an IVF couple had b/g twins and then went on to have another set of b/g twins without any intervention--that prevents me from embracing reality with both arms. And, with that tiny splinter of hope comes an obligation to try. And if we're trying, I will doubtless be disappointed when it doesn't work. Even though I should know better.

I really, really should know better.