Tuesday, February 27, 2007


You would know, my first post and I manage to screw it up and get a double post. Ah, well, at least I can edit the second post to say something different....

The Odds

One thing I find frustrating about this process is that we are surrounded by information, but it is hard to know what any of it means. For instance, it is said that our current treatment has a 20% chance of twins. But how does that information relate to the ultrasound we saw last week, with multiple largish follicles? Does that increase the chance of twins, or (as the doctor said the ultrasound results were normal) is the 20% number normal for ultrasounds that look like that?

It's a frustrating thing for a thoughtful worrier, to not know what to worry about....

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Other People

Growing up, I defined my life by what other people did but our family did not. We didn't watch television while doing our homework; that was something other people did. Other people used fabric softener, leased their cars, ate frozen dinners, rode the bus to school, played sports, and generally did a lot of things that looked interesting from afar but were immutably outside of my world. Most of them still are. I backslid a bit on the frozen dinners in grad school, but they will never become food to feed other people.

When, unlike my parents and my brothers, I got through high school and college and grad school without finding a spouse, I began to wonder whether getting married was something other people did. How do you meet someone if not in class or extracurriculars? I had no script in my head.

Eventually, I did meet someone, and some time later I realized I'd met someone and that we had effectively been dating for months -- or was it years? -- without ever actually discussing it. Once we both clued in (me after him ... low slearner...), it was only a matter of time until I found out for sure that getting married wasn't something other people did after all. Looking back, it seems so inevitable. But at the time, my also-now-married roommate and I used to wonder for hours how other people met their husbands.

And now, after three years of marriage and two years of infertility treatments -- five rounds of Clomid, four of Femara, two miscarriages, Metformin and now a round of Follistim injections -- I see myself wondering whether having a baby might be something other people do. I'm not sure whether faith is a prerequisite. But if it is, there might be trouble. At some level, I don't believe my body can do such an illogical, magical thing as to conceive a child and carry it to term.

In some ways, I feel I've become an expert at the attempts we've made until now -- at all of the things that failed to work. I know about Clomid and the chalky anticipation of swallowing those pills and the headaches that followed. I know about Femara and the sight of a fetal sac on the monitor, and I know what it feels like to be taken by the shoulders and told that the shape on the screen will never be a baby. These are things I've learned.

I've also learned that at each stage, I will feel like a rank beginner until we've passed it. Each unfamiliar treatment we try feels new until it's over. I am 4 shots into an approximately 8-shot cycle, and each day begins with my clumsy attempts to remember the doctor's instructions. It feels like mining, like panning for gold, like reaching into the darkness to grasp what might be a jewel, or a tarantula, or nothing at all. Or like sitting by the side of a country road, trying to have faith that someone will surely come, wondering whether we are characters to be mocked or pitied and trying as much as possible not to lose our trousers in public.

As we wait and wish and try each new technology, the process overshadows the goal: we take each step in turn, trying not to spend too much time considering the reason, lest we break ourselves with hoping.