Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A not-so-perfect 10

Tonight Sam was playing with his blocks. He was taking them out of the box, one by one and stacking them on the tile. As he reached for each block, he counted.

Sam counted to TEN!!

I'm still standing here beside myself in amazement. Rob and I were so shocked that Sam counted for the next five minutes before we thought of recording it on our video camera.

10. That is a big number. OK, so he missed 4 and 7 a few times, but he made up for it by repeating 6 and 8 at least three times! I helped him along when he seemed stuck, but by-and-by he counted to 10 all by himself!

Wow. He is counting to ten and I'm still counting the ways in which I love him.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pomegranate - Wear to make aware

I have a healthy, happy son. I am blessed to have my miracle baby. He was hard-won and we're trying to give him a sibling. I am 32 years old and have endometriosis. To add insult to injury, I've recently been diagnosed with what seems to be premature ovarian failure. My infertility has worsened since giving birth to Sam. This makes me angry and sad and desperate to move quickly, for whatever window of opportunity I have is quickly closing.

Some may say that I should be happy with what I have - that some women never experience pregnancy or have the end result of a healthy baby. "Never worse than never again," is something a fellow infertile blogger wrote. The news of my failing ovaries blindsided me. I did not have Sam prepared to stop at one. Yes, I enjoyed every milestone of Sam's infancy the best I could, but I did not live it like it was my last. I've always dreamed of two or three children. I want another baby. If that makes me selfish or greedy, then tell that to my heart.

Infertility is lonely. It is all consuming and the emotions it brings are very hard to understand unless you've lived it. The shame, depression and guilt of infertility often cause debilitating silence of the sufferer. No one knows what say. I don't know what else to talk about. I feel so alone. Then I read another post of one of my frequented blogs. The History of Infertility's Common Thread helps women like me to not feel so alone. Please read this blog post that I've pasted below. If you see a man or woman with a pomegranate-colored bracelet on their right wrist, say a prayer for that person that they will overcome their struggles with infertility. Perhaps say a kind word (don't say "Just relax" or "Don't worry!") or just simply acknowledge that you know what the bracelet means.

For anyone who has ever had a miscarriage, struggled with pregnancy, and all things infertile...there is a movement upon us that you might want to join. It's rather simple actually: a discreet ribbon on your right wrist to signal to others that they are not alone in their struggles.

As someone who has had 5 m/c but am currently 5 months pregnant (YEAH), I wonder who looks at my big belly with sadness because they are in the month-to-month struggle. I mentioned to a friend that I wished there was some secret nod or international sign as if to say, this belly was hardwon. Well, she posted this quandary on her blog ( and the response has been quite overwhelming...and a movement has been born!

The pomegranate-colored thread holds a two-fold purpose: to identify and create community between those experiencing infertility as well as create a starting point for a conversation. Women pregnant through any means, natural or A.R.T., families created through adoption or surrogacy, or couples trying to conceive during infertility or secondary infertility can wear the thread, identifying themselves to others in this silent community. At the same time, the string serves as a gateway to conversations about infertility when people inquire about its purpose. These conversations are imperative if we are ever to remove the social stigma attached to infertility. Tie on the thread because you’re not alone. Wear to make aware. Join us in starting this conversation about infertility by purchasing this pomegranate-coloured thread (#814 by DMC) at any craft, knitting, or variety store such as Walmart or Target. Tie it on your right wrist. Notice it on others. Just thought I would pass the word along!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Step 1 of 1,000,000

The surgery has been scheduled for June 29, 2007.

So now? We wait.

Monday, June 11, 2007

And men think women never fake it

My brain actually hurts. It is so filled with thoughts that it has swollen to twice its size and is pressing on my skull. Or so it seems. It has only been 5 days since the fateful phone call yet it seems like an eternity. I still don't have my surgery scheduled. I called last week and left a message for the scheduling lady. At the end of her voice mail greeting, she informed her callers that multiple calls will not help, but rather delay a return call. I understand that desperate patients (ahem) have the propensity to call several times an hour and she would probably spend more time checking her voice mail than actually doing work, but I happen to be one of those desperate and emotional patients. Perhaps "patient" isn't the word we should be using here. How about client? That seems more fitting.

I often wonder what it must be like to work at an infertility clinic. I hold my doctor in the highest regard; an almost God-like regard. His nurses are great too. The office is extremely efficient and I hardly ever wait more than 5 minutes when I have a appointment. The reason that the scheduling lady hasn't called me back is legitimate. She is on vacation. However somewhere in my crazy oh-my-God-my-biological-clock-is-about-to-explode mind, I think that these people should never vacation, or eat lunch or take bathroom breaks. The future of my family or quite possibly the human race lies in their hands. They should work tirelessly, day and night to find cures and soothe the over-active minds of infertile women.

I've always be a planner. That might even be an understatement as I'm always thinking not only days ahead, but months and years. It is a physical impossibility for me to shut my mind off, while Rob on the other hand can actually decide to not think about something. I have thought of every what-if scenario regarding my infertility issues that I can imagine and my planned response for each. Rob lovingly told me this weekend that there are so many things that I can't control, that worry will not change these things and if everything comes out OK (which he also assured me it will) then my endless hours of worry were for naught. I agree with his logic. I just don't know what to do with myself in the meantime.

My eyes have been burning since Wednesday. My throat houses a permanent lump and I am on the verge of a sob all day. I have been pretty good at distracting myself with working out, shopping, cleaning and visiting with friends, but in reality I'm just covering up my worry with these things. The only thing that can completely take me away from the chaos is being with Sam and even then I return when I realize he may never have a sibling. My eyes fill with tears when he does something amazing, which is ALL THE TIME. He is so wonderful - beyond words- that I can't imagine not having more. I think secondary infertility is so much worse than primary infertility because you know what you're missing if you can't have more.

When I read back over this I think, "My God, Shannon, you're so dramatic." I am tempted to delete the whole post and put on the Tough-y Tiger act. But then instead of dramatic I'd be fake and, to me, that is so much worse.

In my heart I know that things will be fine. One way or another, I'll find peace with whatever happens, be it another child or the mother of just my incredible son. I tell myself to try to breathe deeply and have faith. The planner in me is screaming for answers faster than they are coming. Even if this whole journey takes years, I'd be OK with it if I knew the outcome. The not knowing is the hardest part. The hoping for the best and preparing for the worst is exhausting. The self-imposed guilt is overwhelming. The thoughts of insane selfishness of wanting more when I already have more that I could ever wish for wear me down. It is selfish, I suppose. Sam is so silly and smart and such a sweet soul that I want more. I want another baby to snuggle close and watch grow. I want Sam to have a sibling to fight with, teach and learn from. I want the time to slow down because my baby is no longer a baby and is growing faster than I like.

Deep breath.

The scheduling lady will be back on Wednesday. Hopefully she'll call me back this week to get my surgery on the books. Until then, I'll try to focus on making it to Wednesday without going ape shit. Just two more days.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What is it worth?

A phone call I received today at 4:30pm changed everything.

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to grow up. I used to look at my parents with envy as they sat on the couch in the evenings, relaxing and watching TV. Man, they had it so easy. I still had homework to do. My day hadn't ended like theirs had when they left the office. I just couldn't wait to grow up. I wanted boobs, and my period and boys to notice me. I used to dream of being a woman and a wife. It seems the part of me that took heed of my 10-year old wish was my ovaries. They have aged quicker than the rest of me, according to my blood tests and my egg reserve is low. I heard this today on the phone. This is when everything changed.

I called the RE's office this week. Something seemed off with me. My periods were coming early and I certainly hadn't gotten pregnant in the months we've been trying, I wasn't too alarmed. But still, something didn't set right with me. The nurse asked that I have some blood tests done to check out my hormone levels. "Let's see what your ovaries are up to, " she said. That very day I slapped my arm down on the table, donned a tourniquet and pumped out a vial or two for the nice phlebotamist lady. "Your doctor will have the results tomorrow. Have a nice day."

I was not prepared for the news. I know I have endometriosis, but I never thought that my clock was ticking so loudly. I was informed today that my FSH levels are high which means that my ovaries are having to work harder to produce viable eggs. My egg count and quality is low and I will have to use injectable medication to help me produce some good, strong eggs. This is after surgery to clean out the endometriosis, which might be as soon as next week. The nurse urged me, "While I don't want you to be alarmed, I DO want you to understand how serious this is." I asked my questions and took my notes. She asked me to call back in the morning to talk to the scheduling person to get surgery on the books. With my head still spinning, I thanked her for the call, hung up and began to shake. Over dinner, I explained to my loving and amazingly supportive husband the news. He is 110% behind me and is ready to get on with this business. I am aboard the infertility roller coaster again, buckled in and holding on tight!

Injectables? Surgery? Increased chance for multiples? Low egg reserve? I'm only thirty-freaking-two. This isn't supposed to happen for at least 10 years. Hell, a 60-year old woman just gave birth to TWINS. How can this be happening!? I don't want to grow up so fast! Slow down! I didn't mean it when I said I wanted to be old! I was only 10! What the hell did I know?

My mind has been racing since I hung up this afternoon. I have already started asking myself so many questions. "Is it worth going through all this when we already have a wonderful child? Should we just stop at one?" I remember how desperate and emotional I felt when I was trying to get pregnant with Sam. The imagined pregnancy symptoms and the crushing disappointment every month when the tests showed negative. I remember my difficult pregnancy and delivery. The 37 hours of labor that ended in a cesarean. The preeclampsia and 8 days in the hospital. I remember all of it. But what casts away those unsettling memories is the thought that I have an amazing and beautiful son who completes me in more ways than I can imagine. Sam makes me a better person, and since becoming his Mom, I can look inside myself and like what I see. Knowing what it is like to love Sam makes all of surgery and treatments worth it. I would do it all a million times over to get Sam. When I look at Sam and he delights me with another silly antic, I think, "How can I not try?"

So long are the idealistic dreams of conceiving naturally. Somehow though, I know this is how it is meant to happen for us. I believe that all things happen in the right order. The infertility experience and taxing delivery of Sam brought Rob and I so much closer. We have an understanding and experience that only he and I share. We know what we're capable of and what we're willing to do for our family. We're excited and holding our heads up strong in the face of this new adventure. Just think! As early as next month, I will be batshit crazy on injected hormones! Aren't you excited!? We sure are.