Hello, Old Friends

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal (A)--nostalgia for the dozens of Sweet Valley books that I read when I was younger dictates the "A" for this book. What better than a reunion book that allows me to revisit trusted companions that I practically grew up with? I'll pretend not to notice that everything was a bit too predictable and a bit like poor Francine is out of touch with modern times. I was also a bit worried that time isn't moving just right in Sweet Valley. The twins were in high school when I was in middle school and now they are younger than me... Nonetheless, I'll read a reunion book with characters I loved as a youngster any day of the week.


Moving Along

Andrew and I have an appointment at Nashville Fertility Center next week, so I'm trying to mentally prepare for what they might have to say. It could range from "You responded well to the medicine this time. We'll try that a couple more times." to "Yeah, you might as well suck it up and give us all your savings for an IVF cycle." One is infinitely cheaper and the other is infinitely scary. I'm just about ready for scary. We've taken this process much more slowly than many couples in our same position. I'm finished being patient and moving slowly. My last chance at having a 2011 baby just passed, so I'm working against the clock.

If only my biological clock was this cute...


It'll Be Okay

I found a new quote a while back that really speaks to me. In fact, I often repeat it to myself when I'm sad and/or stressed out about IF.

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

I don't even think about what might happen that would make me give up on trying to have a baby. Even though people are beginning to ask why I don't just give up and adopt already, I still feel like there are things yet to try and time yet to wait. I tried to explain to someone not too long ago that, for someone who is trying to conceive and has even the tiniest chance of doing so, to "give up" would mean that one morning I would have to wake up and think "I'm done. I give up. I admit defeat." Instead, I get from one day to the next by thinking that something is bound to go my way at some point and, if I give up, I will miss my chance. Besides, I don't think anyone really understands that adoption can be even more expensive than fertility treatments.

I'll take hope any day, even if it's only a tiny sliver.


National Infertility Awareness Week-Myth Busting

As a part of NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week), women all across the country are using blogs to address popular myths concerning infertility. Even though I don't have a widely-read blog, I wanted to do my part to bust my least favorite myth, "Just relax and you'll get pregnant."

My first experience with the infamous "Just Relax" advice was with my family doctor almost a year after we started trying to get pregnant. When I confided in her that we had been trying for a while and that I was getting frustrated, she whipped out her prescription tablet and told me I needed some anti-anxiety medicine to help me relax.

I can't tell you how hurtful it was to hear that. It implied, at least to me, that I was doing something wrong. That I'm the reason I'm not getting pregnant. That all I need to do is get a grip and I'll instantly conceive. That my personality is at fault. I know it isn't true and I know that the people who regularly tell me this mean well. I still want to throat punch them.

In reality, more than 90% of infertile women are so because of physical problems that prevent conception and/or successful pregnancy. There are actually very few people for whom relaxing is really the answer. Do I understand that reducing my stress level is desirable? Absolutely. Will it "fix" the hypothyroidism and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome that prevent me from ovulating? Not in a million years.

By the way, I don't take those pills. I got the prescription filled and then put it away. I don't want to be one of those people who has to take medicine to take the edge off of my life. I don't judge anyone who does. In fact, I totally understand. Just because I didn't take one today doesn't mean that I won't take one tomorrow. I look at the bottle in the medicine cabinet sometimes and then shut the door, hoping the day will come when I won't even think about them.

Maybe one of these days I'll figure out just how to relax. In the meanwhile, I'll keep using a specialist (several of them, in fact) to figure out how to get my body to cooperate and my stubborn ovaries to let a few eggs loose.

If you know someone who's struggling with infertility, please don't tell her to relax. Tell her you've got your fingers crossed and that you wish her good luck and comfort in hard times. And, for God's sake, don't tell her you got pregnant the first time you tried.

For more information about infertility, please visit RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association.


Help Me, Mark Twain

"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval." --Mark Twain, 1906
Spring Break 2011 is drawing its last feeble breath. Tomorrow is time to go back to work. Time to go back to Thing One that has been stressing me out beyond the limit of comfort lately. I vow to keep reminding myself that all I can do while at work is my best and what I think is right for kids. Even when my opinion is the unpopular one, I will be "comfortable" if I do what I approve of and know is right. The good Lord gave me thick skin for a reason. One of the questions I often ask myself when I'm wading into deep waters or broaching difficult subjects is, "If not me, who?" Help me out, Mark Twain.

"...it don't make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense..."--Huck Finn


To Tell or Not to Tell?

One of the decisions every couple makes when they start trying to have a baby is who, if anyone, they will confide in. Some people tell no one until they're pregnant. Some people share every single detail with everyone they know. Most people, including me, fall somwhere in the middle. I only told a very few people when we first started trying, more because my husband preferred the privacy than because I did. As the months rolled along, I shared with those I work closely with because they deserved to know why I acted like a crazy person when I was cycling and few other close friends.

Because I'm from a small town and getting closer to thirty, it is perfectly routine for people in my hometown to ask nosy questions about when Andrew and I are going to start a family. He's rather aloof and people tend to leave him alone and spare him the nosy questions. Me, not so much. Before we were even trying, I would smile and give some generic answer about how we were waiting "for the time to be right" or "until I finished my master's degree."

As time went along and it became painful to be constantly reminded by near-strangers that I still wasn't pregnant, I started being more upfront with people. Nothing shuts a nosy old woman up quicker than, "I'd love to have children. We've been trying for __ months and have started fertility treatments. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be working." The result of all this sharing is that I now get the "Poor Kim" look whenever the topic of babies comes up. As mad as that makes me, it's still easier to deal with than pretending everything's rosy and that we don't have kids because we don't want them. There probably aren't any people left that I know in my hometown or at work that don't know we are having trouble conceiving. I hate the pity, but know that there will be dozens of people celebrating with us when I finally do get pregnant.

Whatever you decide about telling or not telling, be ready to be the topic of conversation, particularly if you live in a small town.

Elsie Louise Mroch

Elsie Louise Mroch
the puppy who changed my mind