Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The pot calling the kettle black

This is a post about little frictions amongst family.

You may (or may not) recall a number of posts in which I harp on and on about my in-laws. Well, it's really been too long since I've mentioned them.

A recap: SIL&BIL#1 had a son in december, SIL&BIL#2 are expecting their first in a couple of months. SIL&BIL#3 announced they were going to start trying at the same time when we quietly started TTC. I worried they might be in our boat, but they just changed their minds it seems.

I feel it's time to inform the in-laws about our involuntary childlessness, DH still doesn't really want to, but agreed I could drop a hint if the topic arose.

Last weekend, SIL&BIL#3 came over for a visit. They didn't ask THE QUESTION, thankfully, but the topic was skirted. When DH popped out for a few minutes, I seized my chance and told them we were not childfree but childless. They weren't surprised. SIL#3 got a first inkling after our phone conversation last October. I assume the pinched look on my face when we first visited SIL#1 in the maternity ward told her the rest.

Before I could do any more explaining, DH came back, so we moved on to another topic. Am I being sneaky by going behind his back or being considerate of his feelings? I prefer to think the latter. Now of course, I didn't catch much in the way of a reaction from my SIL, but that will sort itself out over time.

The next big step is telling MIL&FIL, though I'm a little less sure of that one. How will they react? Will they harass us for details? Will they harass the lucky siblings to shut up about their kids when we're present? I wouldn't put it past her.
MIL has a lot of time on her hands and tends to dramatize things. At a family dinner way back in november, she asked me whether I disliked being with them because I was so quiet. BIL#1 - of all people - told her that was an awful thing to ask, after we had left. The same BIL of THE QUESTION and the sales pitch. But I digress.
One month later, when we were at the maternity ward with Nephew#1, she cornered me to say she was sorry, but couldn't leave it at that, she kept asking me all sorts of questions. It was really bad timing. At first I was just bewildered, what on earth was she talking about? I told her I had forgotten all about that comment, no need to apologize, etc.
Now, six months later, she still can't let it rest. She's given SIL#3 an earful and has talked about it at length with my mother (they're acquainted, but not more).

MIL = drama queen? Just a little? You see why I'm uneasy, don't you?

On the other hand, now it seems I'm blowing things out of proportion, hence the title of this post. It will all resolve itself over time I suppose (not the IF naturally, the rest).

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

I told me so

Well, my weather forecast was spot on. My period showed up just as expected, another excellent lining down the drain. Literally. This is one instance where I hate to be right.

I've decided not to mess with BCP but I will probably take my 6th (and last?) round of Clo.mid between day 5-9. I didn't bother calling dr. Sunshine on Friday to ask about it. I will be calling her this week to ask her to forward my file to dr. A, whom I will be seeing in about three weeks.

I want to thank you all for your advice on my last post, Thalia in particular. It is hard to let go of even just one cycle. I needed to hear that it will be ok from people who know how hard it is. I knew I could count on my friends in the computer. :-)

Oh well, bring on the vodka! What kind of poster would go with ABS0LUT Infertile?


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Question: Should I delay my next cycle?

It seems I have a bit of a scheduling problem. If my forecast is correct, I'm going to be out of town - on my own - on and around O-day. Not good.

Since I don't really hold much hope anymore for Clo.mid working, it shouldn't really matter to me. But somehow it does.

I guess I could take the next round of Clo.mid on days 5-9 again (I asked about that before). It might give us some more time, it might not. I suspect it actually did last time.

But I can think of more extreme measures. I could take ... gasp ... BCP for two weeks, then start taking Clo.mid three days after the last one. I'm considering whether to call dr. Sunshine for her opinion, because I'd rather not mess around with my hormones on my own.
Has any of you ever done anything like this with Clo.mid? I know BCP are a much loved part of many more advanced protocols.

Delaying my next cycle is alluring, because then my appointment with dr. Albatross would be in the first half of that cycle. But I'll probably just stick with the 5-9 plan.

On more current affairs, I started temping again after slacking for a couple of weeks. Big mistake. My temperature has been going up the last two days, granted, in infinitissimal increments of 0.1°C, and starting from a disappointingly low number. But that was all it took for Hope to come storming in. WHY? For goodness sake, I've been here before, over and over. So now I'm glaring at her over a cup of tea, while there's a nice bottle of wine sitting in the fridge.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

A weather forecast

This week: it will be sunny until Friday, overcast on Saturday with thunderclouds in the upper regions. On Sunday more thunderclouds in the upper regions and heavy rainfall in the nether regions.

Next week: first heavy than lighter rain in the nether regions, down to a drizzle by Wednesday. Overcast in the upper regions all next week.

Planting season starts in just a couple of weeks, so all you planters out there remember to prepare the soil with some fertilizers.

No this has not turned into the farmer's weather channel. Let me translate: I anticipate my periods to ruin next weekend. The following week I start my (as far as I know) last Clomid cycle.

I had wanted to get an appointment with dr. A in the beginning of cycle 6, in the hope that perhaps he could do something to salvage it (trigger shot, IUI, or even a plain old u/s).
What I got is an apointment in the last week of cycle 6. You know you're moving up the medical food chain when the wait to get an appointment jumps.

Meanwhile, I hold little hope for this cycle. I'll just blame it on the jet-lag. But let's not count our chickens before their hatched. :-)

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Visiting Canada - Part I

Our trip to Canada went fine, we enjoyed ourselves but it proved not to be the getaway I had hoped for.

DH had arranged for reservations in a charming B&B in old Montréal, a house with very thick walls, built in the 1700's.

The B&B was run by a young couple, there was a picture of them and their cute two-year old on their site. That troubled me a bit, but not too much... until we arrived, tired after a long flight, to be welcomed by the heavily PG missus. My heart sank and a feeling of melancholy settled over me that wouldn't lift until we left.
Mr and mrs B&B were very nice to us and we liked talking to them. Most mornings we had breakfast with them and enjoyed their company. She never talked about her PG unless one of the other guests brought it up, thankfully. But it made me sad to see such blatant fertility nonetheless.

On the last day, I was unfortunate enough to be present for the following conversation:
Nosy American woman*: So, how did you two meet?
Me thinking to myself: What an intrusive question to ask someone you've just met!
Mrs. B&B: We met a couple of years ago when we both rented a room in the same house.
Mr. B&B: Yes, a little more than two years ago.
Mrs. B&B: A month after we met I was PG with Kiddo B&B.
Me thinking to myself: Great, I really needed to hear that. Let's get OUT OF HERE!

All standard disclaimers apply, happy for her, sad for me, you know the drill.
But enough of my gripes about random fertiles.

French Canadian schoolbusBeing in Francophone Canada was a bit disorienting at first. Montreal is a North-American city and looks that way, but people speak French! Now French is a language I speak well enough, but Québéqois is a whole different ball game. What an accent!

chapel in Old Montreal

This winter has been relatively mild, I was told, but it didn't seem that way to us. The first day we were there it snowed gorgeously fluffy snowflakes. During our short visit to the Château Ramezey Museum 5 cm of snow fell.

Jean Drapeau ParkThe next day, the temperature rose just above zero only to drop sharply again in the evening. The top layer of snow first melted, than froze again into a solid crust. The streets and side walks were covered in ice. And if we thought that was bad, that night there was a spell of freezing rain, covering everything with a fresh coat of ice. This was a first for us, I had never heard of freezing rain before. I was glad we were only sampling winter, and don't have to live with it every year.

On the warmest day we walked up Mount Royal to enjoy the view over the city. On clear days you can see the mountains in the distance.

On the coldest day (-18°C) we ventured out to the Stewart Museum at the Fort on Saint-Helens Island. To compensate, we went to the Biodôme afterwards, and hung around in the tropical rainforest to thaw out.

The cold drove us to visit a number of (nicely heated) museums:
- Ecomusée du Fier Monde, the industrial and working class history of Montréal.
- The Montréal Museum of Archeology and History Pointe-à-Callière, featuring excavations dating back to first pioneer settlements as well as some aboriginal remnants.
- Contemporary Art Museum of Montréal
- Canadian Centre for Architecture, the exhibition showed a fascinating documentary on how the city dealt with all the snow in the 1920s compared to now.

Between visiting museums and ducking into the toasty underground system, we took shelter from the cold in a variety of eateries. When we're on holiday, we like to sample local foods. Here are some things we tried:
- scrambled eggs with maple syrup: nice.
- pecan pie: yum!
- smoked meat sandwich: not bad.
- tourtières (meat and vegetable pie): good.

After a week of winter, we were ready to move on. Lucky for us, the weather was clear on our last day there and our flight to Vancouver left on time. The pictures from that leg of the trip will follow later.

*She was from NY state. Clearly there are cultural differences when it comes to what are appropriate topics for conversation with relative strangers. Americans (U.S.ians?) are often perceived as forward or nosy where I live, but to many Americans we seem distant and reserved. I know some people are nosier than others, no matter where you go. :-)


Monday, March 06, 2006

The folly of youth

I'm back. We had fun. I'm not PG. More about the trip in a later post.

I didn't manage to meet up with Manuela while I was in the neighborhood. My schedule in Vancouver was pretty tight. I really only had one day of free time there. And of course on that day the area got snowed under. It's just too bad, since I don't think I'll ever get the chance again.

I'm afraid I said something rather stupid in an e-mail I sent to her.
"As infertiles go, I'm still young-ish. I'm almost 29. The only real advantage that gives me (as far as I can see), is that I can scorn anyone who suggests I started too late. Statistically, I didn't. I keep expecting my doctor to pull out the premature ovarian failure card though. Of course, the doctors are in no hurry to investigate what's wrong, since I 'still have plenty of time'. " To Manuela's credit, this didn't stop her from being very nice in subsequent e-mails.

A few days later, I had a little time to read a few blogs. That's when I read Manuela's post about ageism, and specifically about the IFs that reinforce judgements based on age. Now that could just be a coincidence or my comment could just have been the final straw, but ... Oh dear.

So what do I have to say for myself? First and foremost, I apologize to Manuela if I hurt her feelings. It wasn't my intention.

When I finished high school, I felt the urge to have a baby with my then BF (now DH). It was an instinctive urge, I'm sure of it. But I had to go to off to uni, you know to get a degree so I could become a productive member of society and to be in a position to provide for kids. After graduating, I decided to work for one full year before ditching birth control, not long enough to build a career, but long enough to get the hang of things. I had the ludicrous notion I'd get PG within a reasonable amount of time. Fast forward a couple of years, and here I am, a young-ish IF.

Manuela has a point about the small window of time that society apparently perceives as the appropriate time for a woman to have children or deal with IF. IFs in their twenties are told they're so young, they shouldn't be stressed because they have plenty of time.
IFs over thirty-five are told it's their own fault they started trying so late.

From what I've read about (in)fertility, I understand that there is a statistical decline in fertility as a woman ages. That's not what Manuela has a problem with, if I read her post correctly. The crux of the matter is that it is quite a leap from this statistical information to accuse any individual woman of waiting too long or reproach her for being unduly stressed, or do you have ultrasound-vision? It's unhelpful at best, cruel at worst, to latch on to one aspect of an IF women's life (her age) and judge her upon that basis.

"SOMETIMES, when I hear these kinds of arguments come up... I've heard the odd infertile here and there reply with a defense of their position based on the fact that they had started trying to have a child when they were much younger and are therefore exempt from judgment. THAT actually irritates me more than the person who's judging in the first place! Because it implies that there IS cause to judge those who waited until later in life."

Now read what I wrote again, and repeat with me, oh dear.

Do I mean to imply, a contrario, that an older IF can't scorn whomever accuses her of starting too late? Not at all (but you could read it that way). As a younger IF, I can take the easy way out by pointing out that they're not even getting the statistical argument right. Total cop-out, I admit. While an older IF has to deal with the statistical argument itself, by pointing out that age is only one factor. Manuela makes an excellent point that all IFs should beat the same drum when it comes to ageism, age is only one factor.

But I stand by the fact that this shortcut is one of the only 'advantages' I see in being a young-ish IF. Theoretically, I should be fertile, respond to treatment well etc. A shy-of-40 IF friend of mine has given me the plenty-of-time line more than once. Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. Where's my baby?
I constantly feel I have to prod my doctors to move ahead, and I'm not getting any younger here. ;-)

So, mental note to self: the answer is not 'I didn't start too late statistically', but 'how dare you judge me based on my age, IF is a medical condition in which age is only one factor'.

Live and learn.

Now I just hope I haven't misrepresented what Manuela wrote, if so I hope she corrects me. Erm, and I also hope there aren't 5 new blunders in here, otherwise I'm sure you'll all correct me. ;-)

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