Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Artificial Uterine Fertilization

Has it seriously been a week since I've posted? I don't think I've gone this long without writing something since I started this blog. Amazingly, quite a few of you wonderful ladies have emailed me separately to make sure I'm still alive. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you care.

I want to make sure the following statement isn't misconstrued in any way at all as a complaint, but... I've been sick as a dog and damn tired too. What's most jacked up of all is that I honest-to-goodness have a smile on my face as it's hanging in the toilet violently refusing whatever it was I just shoved down my gullet. So no complaining here, just an excuse for my absence.

I have been working on another post about our personal definitions of Infertility, but I clearly can't figure out what the hell I want to say since I keep re-writing portions of it. Grrr. I'll probably just put it up here in a day or two and be done with it.

For my rant today, I'm choosing to bitch about a woman at Megan's school. She's a perfectly nice lady, but she's forced me to experience wave after wave of whacky emotion so now I don't like her anymore. Let me explain...

This woman is beautiful. Tall, thin, blonde and pretty. She's clearly well into her 40s (I suspect her late 40s) and looks great. The first time I had contact with her was in Chapel the first week of school. Megan is in Nursery School at an Episcopal Church where they go to Chapel every Wednesday morning, and I always go for the service. This woman was sitting in the row behind me, with the other Nursery School mothers, talking to a person sitting next to her. She pointed to the twin boys in Megan's class and explained that they were hers.

So we'll stop right there. I'm thinking, "Hmmm, in her 40s? Fraternal twins? Smells like IVF to me." I silently smile, feeling a warm kinship with this woman. It's slightly tainted, of course, because SHE clearly enjoyed a successful IVF cycle that resulted in babies, which I have not yet, but I digress.

Here I am, feeling all fuzzy about her, like we're sisters or something. She goes on to the others sitting near us, explaining that she's got two girls as well -- one is in 1st grade and one is in Pre-K. Now I'm feeling even more sappy toward this chick, trying to tally up all the IVF cycles she must have endured to get all these flippin' kids!

Then she says it . . . the sentence that makes my blood run cold. With a half-laugh, she said, "The twins were a COMPLETE SURPRISE." I swear to you that if I hadn't been in the House of the Lord, I would have turned around and spit on her. Who the F*CK is 40+ years old and gets SURPRISED by twins? Someone out there clearly really hates me to put these type of women in my path.

After that, the warm embers of sisterhood that I felt inside for her turned into white-hot, boiling jealousy and anger. I planned to shun her for the entire year. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be.

About a week later, we were all at a birthday party for one of the kids in the class. The woman was there chatting with some other parents. I was making myself very busy glaring at her and wishing that her hair would catch on fire or something.

Then, she says another crazy thing: "My husband and I got married late in life, so we had trouble having kids. Our first two are IVF babies. So imagine our surprise when I found out that I was pregnant -- with twins."

Okay, okay, okay. Now maybe I don't hate her as much. I can see where twins at that stage of the game would be a huge shock. I'm back to liking her, and probably even flashed her a sappy, knowing smile shortly thereafter (which she probably interpreted as me being a raving lunatic).

Let's recap: love her, hate her, love her again. I'm a total basketcase.

Fast forward to this week. I had drop off line duty on Wednesday. This means that I stand near the entrance of the school and let kids out of their cars. The Moms or Dads pull up, and I open the door then help the kids out and off to school. I love it since I'm such a crazy extrovert -- I get to grin like an idiot and shout "Good morning!!" to dozens of people before the clock has even struck 9am. That's my idea of a good time.

The woman pulls up (in her Mercedes SUV, thank you) and I let her kids out. I already recognize the twins from Megan's class, but I get to see the other 2 kids. When I comment on them, she explains that the older boy isn't actually hers but that she carpools with the neighbor. So I said, "Oh, where is your oldest, then?" She reminded me that 1st grade starts at 8:30am (Kindergarten and below starts at 9am) so that child is already in school. The she said, "That's amazing that you even remembered I had 2 older ones."

Little does this woman know that her childbearing life story has been a source of an emotional rollercoaster for me. I'm such a loser.

At pick up time, I was there early, so I was the first car in line. When I got out to move the cones so that we could pull around to pick our kids up, I noticed that she was in line behind me. She waved so I walked back to her car to chat. I explained that I remembered she had 2 older children because of what she said at the birthday party about the 2 IVF babies. I also said that the irony of her situation hadn't escaped me -- that, without knowing how many embryos she transferred each time, the possibility of multiples with IVF is high and she got a singleton each time. Only to naturally conceive twins. Ironic, huh?

I wish she had just said, "Yeah. We feel really blessed." But she didn't. Know what she said?

"Did I say IVF? I didn't mean IVF. I didn't do IVF. It was artificial insemin... um... uterine fertilizat... um... vitro... no... um..." I finally said, "IUI?" And she said, "Yes! That's it! IUI."


You can't even remember the name IUI when you have done more than one of them? Ridiculous. I was back to hating her. Of course it only got worse.

She said, "Emily, our oldest, was really quick. I got pregnant with her on the first try. I even had that vanishing twin thing. But then Courtney took forever. I had to do 5 IUIs before I got pregnant with her. If that one didn't work, we were going to have to try IVF and I really didn't want to do THAT." Imagine her making a face like she just bit into a rancid lemon.

Did I reach into her stupid Mercedes SUV, rip her out through the window opening, and beat her down right there in the school parking lot? No, I'm a bigger person than that. Ha! No, I'm not. I just don't want to get my kid kicked out of school for her jackass Mom fighting in the parking lot.

Instead, I said, "Well, it took a year and a half to conceive Megan. We did Clomid, HSGs, all sorts of other stuff. Then it took almost a year to conceive another, but I miscarried at 8 weeks. Then we did 4 IUIs and 3 IVFs. During that time, I had another miscarriage at 7 weeks. It's been a long, hard road." Oh, and P.S., I hate you.

She looked at me like I had 14 heads. But, I'll give her credit, she composed herself and said, "I'm really sorry you're having so much trouble. I hope it works out for you." Thankfully they motioned to us that we could start driving around to begin pick up, so I just walked back to my car.

Now I have no idea how I feel about her. It mostly pisses me off that she acted so coy and stupid about the IUI thing. That was just dumb. But, I have to hand it to her that she didn't say something outrageously stupid after hearing my sob story. She didn't say "just relax" or "it's God's plan" or "when you're ready, you'll have a baby" or "go see my doctor" or anything maddening like that. She said the right thing. So I guess I have to sort of like her now.

This is an unnecessarily long-winded story just to explain how I let my interactions with 1 person jack with my emotions. I am definitely looking forward to a day when I'm not so wrapped up and inexplicably invested in other people's fertility stories. It's draining.

For those of you on the other side of this raw, raw pain (who have either welcomed a child into your family via birth or adoption, or who have embraced a child-free life), I want to ask: Does it get better? Do you stop getting jealous and bitter about other people's successes? Or will this go on forever, like a tatoo that I never chose to put on my forehead, but seems to always be there?


Fertilize Me said...

"This is an unnecessarily long-winded story just to explain how I let my interactions with 1 person jack with my emotions. I am definitely looking forward to a day when I'm not so wrapped up and inexplicably invested in other people's fertility stories. It's draining."

Oh boy do i feel ya on that statement. I fefel i have been at this tooo f*ckin long and i just want a different result. I am tired and exhausted from all of this ..but I can't seem to get out of this re-accurate nightmare

As for the "other side". I can only hope

Shelli said...

o.m.g You had great composure with your interations with that woman.

I'd freely admit that outside of this blogging universe I am one jealous biotch. :-)

Sunny said...

I am so sorry you are feeling so sick. HUGS!

I work with a lady just like this stupid lady. She tells me her sad story and says, "You will get yours. You need to put in your time." When I ask her questions she can't remember what she did. WHATEVER!

OrchidLover said...

I understand your joy with your head hanging over the toilet, but had never heard anyone articulate anything like that! Sometimes I find myself laughing or smiling in the midst of the pukes as my stomach is churning (it's usually 3 or 4 before I'm done and ready to leave the bathroom...) just because I keep thinking, "This one is working properly!!! It must still be alive!"

I have no idea about life once you successfully have the child, but if you read my blog, you can read about my rage surrounding my happily pregnant neighbor whose nursery-to-be that she is putting together is directly across from my bedroom window, about 12 feet away. It makes me nuts.

Bean said...

Hi, sorry to hear you're not feeling well, but glad things are progressing happily! I can really relate to your post. I know I'm ridiculously fixated on other people's fertility. As for if it changes, I don't know. Obviously I'm not on the other side yet, but once I get there (one way or another), I have a feeling I'll still be extra sensitive to this stuff. I wish I could say it'll all go away, but I know myself and I think I'll always be jealous and a somewhat bitter about how hard this is for us. One reason I'm pretty sure the feelings won't entirely disappear is how I feel about birth stories. My daughter was a premmie (32 weeks) who spent 4 weeks in the NICU and 6 months on a monitor. 5 years later and it still pisses me off to hear of someone complain about how big they are at the end of their pregnancy. All I can think is "you should be lucky you got there!" It seems silly when I write about it. My daughter is a vigorously healthy 5 year old, so why should I care? But I do...

Katie said...

I am GLAD that you are feeling sick. Sorry, but I am! You had me a little worried when you hadn't posted for awhile, so the sickness was good news! I know how miserable it is, but I also know that isi usually a great sign.

Sunny Jenny said...

I am glad your doing well. You handled the situation very well. It infuriates me when people who've undergone ART still have no clue! How is that possible!

LJ said...

As my mother would say, we are all so connected. I went out to get lunch, thinking about you and how I hadn't heard about how you are doing in a while, and I come back, and here you are! I totally don't fault you for the grinning yack, I hope I am doing the same thing soon.

Your composure is amazing. I didn't even see this go down and I wanted to smack sense into that woman. Glad you're okay!

Shelby said...

I'm impressed with how you handled her! And you're right- she did say the right things- I'm shocked! And I'm amazed that she couldn't remember what the heck she did to have her kids! IVF and IUI are so different!!

and glad you're feeling like crap! ;)

Samantha said...

I'm not on the other side, but I know like you, I have an unhealthy fascination with how other's people's children are conceived.

I hope you feel better (unless you like the morning sickness to remind you that you're pregnant) :)

Grad3 said...

Leah- can't say that I am sorry you are sick... it's a wonderful, odd, and a little sick-and-twisted kind of comfort. I am glad it's there for you right now :)

I have no idea what the other side is like, I would imagine that there will always be a little jealousy but I also think that we will have a different appreciation- in my opinion anyway... cheers to puking :)

JJ said...

Sorry you had to go through that--I know how those types of women can get in your head and just make a mess out of logic...
Im glad you are feeling crappy too...=) Funny how that works! Hope to chat soon. Hugs to you...

TeamWinks said...

I love your internal monologue! I guess they even let stupid people go to RE and do the's the...hang on...Oh yeah, the IUI thingy!

Anonymous said...

I think the only thing worse than an ignorant fertile is an ignorant infertile.

And you rant? Blame it on the horomones. :)

Meghan said...

Rant away, sounds like she deserved a good smack! I am obsessed (yes obsessed) with other people's fertility. I wish I could stop it.

Glad things are progresing and you're happily puking your way along ;)

In and Out of Luck said...

Soon you will meet a unicorn or the Loch Ness monster because you've already met one mythical creature: the woman who has successfully forgotten or remained utterly untouched emotionally by infertility (primary and secondary too, to tell from her story).
Glad you're feeling sick by the way!

Erin said...

Oh man, that is frustrating. I'm surprised she didn't say, "Oh you know, the turkey baster thing." You'd think no matter what level of care you're at that you'd want to know what procedure is being done to you!

Kudos to you for even reaching out to her in the first place!

Sorry/Happy you're so illin'! I've been queasy, and have come VERY close, but still haven't puked. I will smile right through it, too! Unfortunately my damn acupuncturist cured me for these last couple of days. What was she thinking!?!

Kami said...

I don't know if it gets better. I doubt it. I can tell you that I hated that woman even before you found out it was IUI instead of IVF. Getting lucky with your own eggs TWICE? And even the chance for a surprise pregnancy. Ug!

I'm glad you shared your story with her.

SaraS-P said...

I would've been soooo upset by those interactions.

I think you handled it all very well.

Baby Step said...

I am sorry you are dealing with the barf monster! But glad it makes you happy! (Ha, Ha)

I have been TTC for FIVE years with nothing to show for it except less $$ in the bank. I am not ready to give up yet, but I can tell you that I am as bitter and raw as I was the first day. I do hope it will get better. And I do hope that if I have to choose to live a child-free life, that I can let go of these evil, hateful, jealous feelings that are living inside me right now.

passingwindows said...

I think I would have felt exactly the same way you did - love, hate, love and then "what???". I am also so tuned in to other people's childbearing stories, I wonder if it will ever end.

A woman who took clomid to conceive one singleton and twins once said to me, "I just can't understand those women who take all those cancer-causing drugs just to have a child!" I almost hit her over the head but being passive-aggressive, I just ignored her for the rest of the year and gave chilly smiles.

Kami said...

Leah - I was just thinking about you and this post and realized YOU got lucky with your own eggs twice too! I hope you know that I not only don't hate you, I am thrilled for you and hope this little guy makes it.

It is easy to hate someone you don't know. Of course having an oops pregnancy with twins takes it over the top.

Hope you are still feeling sick and healthy.

Imogen and David said...

That woman jacked with my emotions just by reading what she said! All forms of assisted conception can be draining but I loath when people who do IUI say they are doing/did IVF.

Rachel said...

What a story! I can't imagine that I'll ever not have just a little resentment.

Amanda said...

And you didn't kill this woman? How could she have gone through that and just pushed it out of her mind?

I hope the sickness has gotten better!!! :-)