Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Zero to Four

I just returned from a three-day introduction to life with quads. Two girlfriends from nursing school and I went to Texas to hang out with our friend Suzanne and her four bundles of joy.

I know that multiple births is a risk with infertility treatments, but I really just want one at a time. Which I guess is what most if not all parents of multiples wanted, but fate had a different idea so they adjust their expectations and boldly go forward (Suz and Joe, you're truly amazing).

I always wonder what it will be like when I spend time with newborns, what kind of feelings will come up. Honestly, I loved every minute of it. I feel hopeful about our next step with the IVF, and have been able to avoid the sadness and resentment that has come up in the past.

Holding those babies for hours and hours had a wonderful and calming effect on me I think. I am confident that somehow, someday, I will be a mom. That feels good.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tears and Needles

The place I go for acupuncture is in the country just outside this "groovy" little town in the Russian River wine country. The place is small and tranquil. It has this almost other-worldly vibe to it. Laurel (the acupuncturist) has been doing it for over 20 years and her practice is almost exclusively dedicated to women before, during, and after childbirth. She's treated hundreds, probably thousands, of women over the years and is acutely attuned to what it is to be a woman and live in your body and its cycles.

I was her first morning appointment last week. We usually talk for a little bit, she sticks me with needles from my head to my toes and then leaves me to myself for the next 30-40 minutes. At this last appointment though, she stayed for a little while after the needles were in. She talked to me about my body and this child that I long to carry within me. She encouraged me to trust that life is unfolding as it should and to try and see this waiting as a gift. I'm usually just annoyed and turned off by this kind of thing, but for some reason it struck me differently that day. I started crying, and kept crying for the first 5-10 minutes of my session. It was the first time this had happened on the acupuncture table. I've heard that people can have all kinds of different emotional reactions during treatments, but I've always just felt relaxed and restful. I guess it was just time to cry.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Watch your mouth

Today after my weekly therapy appointment (which is great by the way, really changing the way I process and perceive myself and the things around me) I went to get my hair cut. I mentioned to the stylist that I was going to visit my friend who recently gave birth to quadruplets. She didn't say anything for a second, then said something like, "She must have taken the pills, right?" Which is really none of her business, but yes in fact she did. Then she proceeded to go on a mini rant about how she thinks that reproduction really isn't something to be "messed with" and that she thinks some people can't have kids for a reason, etc., etc. I mostly tuned out, but am pretty sure she included some comment about how it's dangerous when you start playing God too.

I was shocked. It felt like the kind of completely inappropriate thing that Michael Scott would say to the woman who just got pregnant through IVF, making everyone really uncomfortable (if you don't watch The Office, you should).

Especially in this area where it seems like every other woman you talk to has had some type of fertility treatment. Who does this woman think she is? Does she live in the same world I do? Since when is it only OK for the sick and dying take advantage of every advanced medical technology available while those trying to create life are restricted and accused of "playing God"? I guess there must also be a "reason" that couples and single women much less "fit" to be parents than we are have more kids than they can take care of. I kept my mouth shut, neither agreeing or disagreeing. My therapist would probably say I should have spoken up for myself, but I didn't. Maybe I'll be more prepared next time.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Liver Congestion and Castor Oil

I've had three visits with my acupuncturist now and this is my diagnosis: Liver Congestion. If you aren't familiar with Chinese medicine, as far as I can tell they view disease as disruptions or imbalances in Qi. Organs usually involved in infertility are the kidney, spleen, and liver. My diagnosis was made based on my pulses (measured at three different places on the radial artery at three different depths) and the appearance of my tongue, which looks pretty good according to Laurel, especially compared to my pulses.

In order to smooth out my Qi and get the blood moving to "decongest" my liver I'm taking herbs (Qui Gong Peony), getting acupuncture, doing yoga (especially twisting postures), and applying Castor oil packs. I'm not giving up on Western Medicine fixes, just taking a break and exploring other possibilities. The Castor oil isn't as bad as it sounds either. I'm supposed to apply it to my abdomen, cover with a flannel cloth and a hot water bottle and leave it for at least an hour three nights a week. The University of Maryland Medical Center actually endorses it as a treatment for endometriosis. I still haven't found an explanation for why or how it works, but it's kind of a nice quiet time with my hot water bottle and Castor oil, so I'll keep doing it I guess.

Writing it all out like that makes it sound like I'm desperate. In a way I guess I am, but that's not how I feel most of the time. I just that this (having a baby) is really important to me and I want to give it a good try. If I have to let go of this hope at some point I will feel better knowing that I tried (almost) everything.

I think every woman in this situation at some point asks herself, "What am I willing to do? What can I live with? When is it OK to stop?" I'm still trying to answer those questions, but for now I feel authentic about where I am and what I'm doing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hormone Free

This cycle was the first one in the past 4 months that was free from synthetic hormones (no Clomid!). If you were around me during the Clomid days you know that for about a week around my period I went a little crazy. At the time I denied the effects of the meds. I thought it was just me reacting to stress and disappointment (I tend to be overly emotional anyway--especially premenstrually). Now that I've had a cycle without intervention to compare it to, I can see that the Clomid was definitely a factor. I know my poor husband and parents were worried about me. I cried uncontrollably. I would call my folks and end up hanging up because I couldn't talk between the sobs. My husband would come home to his wife laying in the middle of the living room floor listening to sad music, tears streaming. Yes, it was bad.

These days I'm feeling much more stable and the tears are less frequent. I still got a little weepy when one of my co-workers (who is my age with 3 adorable kids) asked me if I wanted to have kids, but I was able to talk to her about it and recovered quite nicely. I guess when you wait seven years people start to think maybe you don't want kids, when actually I am trying everything to have them.