Marie

Today, my grandmother would have been 95. My grandmother was an odd bird, but I loved her dearly. She was much older than most of my friends’ grandmothers because she had adopted my mom at an older age. I wish I had a younger picture of her scanned, because in her day, she was beautiful. 

She was born in New Orleans, one of many siblings. Her mother died when she was young. Her father almost immediately married and continued his family. She believed in voodoo and all that, though raised Catholic. She had a story for everything (which is probably where I get it from). She was a fit model for a while, for designers and buyers. She met my grandfather later and they fell in love. When he returned from the war, they married and moved to Buffalo. She got to see her first snowfall and hated snow after that. At 44, my grandmother’s physician helped arrange my mother’s adoption. This had to be pretty progressive in 1954.

I had a hard time dealing with her as a teenager, when she lived with us. I cared for her in ways I’d never want anyone to care for me. I learned a lot those years, but didn’t realize it until she was gone, as is usually the case. I often wish now that she were still here. Up until the last few months she was as sharp as a tack. Heart attacks, quad. bypass, diabetes and multiple TIA’s and strokes could not keep her down. She had a wit and a wicked sense of humor, though it often came across as acrid tongued. She was full of advice, and love, though it was often under a layer of bitterness. She was stubborn and argumentative, but once in a while, you had a conversation, a moment or an outing where she was herself. The way she was before she lost her husband, before she was lonely and sad, before she was full of pain.

She died seven years ago, at the age of 88. I was there when she passed away. It was the first and only time I ever saw anyone die. I was glad I was there, but to be honest, if I had it to do all over again, I’m not sure I would have chosen to be there. She had outlived my grandfather by 9 years and pined for him everyday after his death. We were glad that they could finally be together.

I wish she could have met my husband. (Although she would probably shout at him, because she was often flustered by people with disabilities and always talked louder around them.) I think they would have gotten along well, and I know she always wanted to live to see our weddings, even though she doubted she would.

I know that of everyone, she would understand me and what we’re going through now. Though we were separated by decades, I believe our infertility experience would have strengthened our bond. I know she would understand the intense pain and longing I often feel. Since she’s buried near the RE office, I often visit her grave with good and bad news of treatments and such. Somehow it makes me feel like someone is listening. She is missed.

random remarks

“If you are not outraged you are not paying attention” A bumper sticker I saw a little while ago. I know it doesn’t pertain to what I would like it to, but it kinda describes my personality towards issues I’m passionate about.

Speaking of… Always commercials. Please someone tell me that I’m not the only one outraged. “Have a happy period!” Never in my life have I had a happy period. So now my periods are as depressing as the rest of my life. Oh WAIT! I forgot to tell you the best part. You can wish a friend a happy period too. Ugh!

Sometimes our husbands are sensitive and sweet and waiting to hold their wife while she cries and they’re content to wipe away tears and stroke some hair. It’s always nice to see one like that, so if he’s yours, hug your husband while you’re at it.

I got an email from the library tonight. I have 4th of July by James Patterson waiting for me. It may be easy reading and he may be getting rusty – but I can’t resist a good Patterson novel. Plus – I think I’d make a great detective so I pretend I am one when I read.

For those who care apparently Brad and Jen will be officially dissolved on October 2nd.

And, last but not least – to everyone in the entire world that reminded me that relaxing and avoiding stress would get me pregnant – Suck It! Stress does not appear to influence the outcome of IVF Okay, so the articles aren’t all bubblegum and rainbows, and you have to forgive them both for crappy ads, but it’s as big a victory as I can get with this.

Guilt

There’s a lot of it swirling around the blogs I read and emails I get and my life in general right now. I believe that guilt and resentment are right up there with anger, jealousy, love and fear as some of the most primal feelings.

I was raised in a family where the term “guilt trip” had some serious meaning. My grandmother believed it was a tool crucial to helping children, of any age, develop. Maybe that’s why I’m seeing so much of it lately. Only, it’s not all mine.

This week, on separate occasions, two friends expressed these feelings. One said that my situation causes her to keep things about her life from me and that she feels guilty talking about her children. That she’s somewhat resentful because of that. The other one had similar complaints. I instantly felt the need to apologize and beg forgiveness. I feel guilty for maybe not giving enough. I feel guilty for not asking about their children, letting them only say what they choose to tell me.

It’s just easier. Sometimes, I’m afraid to ask because I never know what I might hear. I still don’t even feel ready to hear about most children, even ones I feel close to. I was proud of myself for talking to my friend from Texas last week. She’s 33 weeks and I would have been just a little bit ahead. She’s sensitive and understanding, but I’m still fighting those resentful feelings a little while after talking to her. Yet, I feel bad if I don’t ask about her nursery and her pregnancy, her showers and her health. It is conflicting, because I’m glad I know now, and other times I wish I hadn’t asked.

I wish I could get rid of ALL the guilt I feel, and theirs, and yours. We feel as if we have to suppress “bad” feelings, but that only makes us feel worse in the long run. I know sometimes I’m too hard on myself and my friends, especially those that I believe don’t or can’t understand what I’m going through. To any of those friends reading this. I’ll try to be better and contribute something more positive to our relationship. I can’t promise to not feel even the tiny bit resentful, but I can try.

And I truly don’t mean to make anyone guilty for what they have. I’m thrilled that you’re pregnant, or that you have children. I don’t begrudge anyone their family, their kids. I just wish I had it too. You can’t give me yours, and you can’t share, so I’ll just ask you to pray that I someday find a better way to deal with the feelings my situation causes me.

Thursday’s random remarks

Yes. The thought of a weekly feature has you quivering in anticipation. I know.

This morning I’m exhausted. Last night was another of those weird nights where I was up too late and got too little sleep. Not good when you think it’s starting a trend. I’m trying to steel myself for another outing with my mother. I’ve spent more time with her in the last few weeks than I have all summer. I think she misses me.

Anyhow… in no particular order, I present the first of many Thursday random remarks:

I hate the cheerios commercial where the boy listens to his dad’s heart. The look the kid gives his father at the end breaks my heart.
I caught part of Pamela Anderson’s roast, and all I could wonder is why in the hell they were roasting her. She had a look on her face, and I couldn’t quite make it out, but she was either confused or she didn’t understand the goal of the roast. The quality of the American Icon has gone way down in past decades.
Purses, I’m sick of all mine. Do you recycle, or when you’re done, toss or donate it?
Do you believe that movie producers should be responsible for considering the feelings of victims’ family members when releasing a movie based on a real crime? Karla has had a lot of controversy swirling around – but being that the real events happened so close to home, the people in my area may be biased. Caution, the story is a disturbing one.

explanations

No matter what the circumstances, you are presented with a few different paths when you try to start your family. Perhaps you get lucky, and the most traditional one leads you to your children. We knew that road was less likely to work in our case. So we investigated our options and spoke to experts.Despite the increasing odds, we were optimistic. Roadblocks sprang up, but we were determined, and dealt with every setback as we reached it. But, there comes a time when the paths and roads to what you want have dwindled, and all that’s left is a futile attempt to claw your way to your destination.

We went into his office full of anxiety and fear. I was looking for answers to questions that hadn’t fully been asked. I expected the textbook response of “we did everything we could”. I sat down expecting a plan, some notion of what comes next, something other than what I got. There was a medical student in his office, observing. In my opinion, asking whether or not she can stay in front of the the patient puts them on the spot and makes them say yes when they might otherwise have said no.

There was no softening of the blow. No “I’m sorry it didn’t work” no “everything looked so good for this to succeed”. Just a rush of redundant information followed by a rejection. Most of the questions I had spent the past 3 weeks thinking up no longer applied, so the meeting was painfully short. I assume his view was that it’s better to rip the band-aid off quickly. He feels I stimmed too long, and that the egg quality with 21 eggs isn’t as great as one would guess. That our eggs and embryos weren’t as great as we were “led to believe.” Funny, since all reports on their quality came from him. He said that trying again would be useless. He “decided” there would be no next cycle. It’s a sperm problem, it’s an egg problem, it’s a uterine problem. We could work on his sperm, we could try a third party route. With our issues and medical histories and genetic considerations we should learn to be happy with our lives and move on. End of meeting, thank you, nice knowing you.

He tried to shake my husband’s hand, but he missed it as my husband was already heading towards the door. Which, as you might guess, is brave for a blind man to do in an unfamiliar office.

My problem is that all the things he explained as possible reasons for why this didn’t work all existed before. He says now that he wasn’t optimistic. I can only think about the pre-IVF consult I never got, and how THAT was the time to tell me these things. I believe if he felt that way that it was irresponsible to let us proceed. We did not need to get our hopes up, I did not need to beg, borrow and steal to finance this cycle, I did not need to go through 3-4 months of hell, just for you to tell me these things NOW.

I know many of you would suggest immediately dropping his ass and writing a nasty letter. That’s my husband’s opinion as well. Obviously we’re not going back, yet that isn’t totally our decision, seeing as we were dropped like a hot potato. However, going elsewhere isn’t so easy. Many RE’s won’t touch us because of my history. There’s only one other RE in the area, he is completely self pay, too old, not informed of the current advances; and in my book, somewhat incompetent. The next RE is 4 hours away, and is out of network as well.

I don’t know what comes next. Everyone said during the cycle that things were going fabulous, that there was no reason it wouldn’t be successful, that I was young, and on and on. I firmly believe that the horrible ER experience had something to do with it, yet, when I asked, I was immediately shut down. My pain was minimized and my concerns trivialized. Not that I thought there would be an admission of wrong doing, but after I asked that, his tone became darker and the conversation changed. I could go into how I feel hopeless, and how I can no longer imagine anything getting us to where we want to be, but that’s implied and too long for this already convoluted post.

random remarks

– No matter how many programs I record, I still end up watching crap in the middle of the night. There is nothing on this late on Sunday/early on Monday. On that note, why is is that when you turn on the TV in the middle of the night, you invariably get only the middle of movies that interest you?

– Buffalo weather bites. We’ve had the hottest summer in decades, and I should be grateful, but I need a reprieve. Remind me that I was bitching about muggy nights when I complain about 87″ in 24 hours this winter.

– My father was over today, helping with a very simple home repair type thing, and was waxing poetically about how I’m growing up and discovering life isn’t always what you want. Uh, newsflash Dad, I learned that years ago as a kid when I took care of Grandma, and helped her to the bathroom, I learned that after a financial troubles. Then he made some joke about how chemotherapy could help him lose weight. I know he isn’t aware of my emotional state right now, but sometimes I cannot tolerate shit like that.

– Why can I not find dry grape ginger-ale? Don’t ask me who made it, maybe Schweppes, but it was purple and delicious. I can still find raspberry, but that doesn’t cut it. It’s been gone for years, but really now I want to drink it. Although, getting anything like that involves going to a grocery store, which I avoid at all costs.

– I cannot sleep and laying in bed causes me to be extremely uncomfortable. I have a lump on my rib area, under my breast, and laying on my side hurts. It’s been here a few weeks, but now it hurts. I know I have to go get checked out. Can I admit that the impending loss of insurance has sent me into a panic that it’s something horrible. Do people who’ve never even flirted with disease get this worked up over every weird bump, lump and symptom?

– How long can someone survive on very little sleep before they absolutely crash?

Hate Fairy

If you are unfamiliar with the hate fairy than you are missing out! It’s when you go to the grocery store and think to yourself how much you hate everyone. Speaking in your mind as if they could hear you. What do you say to the old man who slammed into your ankles? "I hate you you scummy old man!" To the mom with the cart cushion thingy and a carseat in the large portion? "I hate you and your cart full of children!" It goes on and on. I’m not sure it makes me feel better, but it’s better than the alternative – yelling it with a bullhorn.