Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Update

Thanks to all for the well wishes for us relative newcomers to lesbian parent blog-land. Sorry for the radio silence over the weekend. We don't do computers on shabbat and Sunday often gets away from us. There has been no appearance of AF (my usual day to start would have been Saturday). We succumbed to two more tests (Sat and Sun) and they are getting darker. (We don't remember using so many with Leigh. I think that's because we were apart for about 4 days just after the positive, and couldn't egg each other on). I quit temping, at Gail's "suggestion" (it came with a very stern look that makes suggestion seem like an understatement. I know she's right. We killed ourselves over every tiny temp fluctuation with Leigh, until our midwife made the rather obvious suggestion that we chuck the thermometer).

On symptom watch we have: (1) general queasiness, particularly in the subway, (2) fatigue (but not yet the bone-crushing sort I've heard about), (3) strangely bigger/heavy boobs, and freakily sensitive nipples.

Gail needs a symptom watch too, as she has been perhaps more tired than I am, and both of us are dumb as posts, walking around bumping into things. She keeps saying "I shouldn't feel like're the one with the hormones" to which I say pish posh. I was a mess when we found out about Leigh. A really happy mess. So fall apart as much as you need to, but let's try not to both completely de-convolve at exactly the same time. I think we both feel like the whole world should quit moving for just a second while we figure out what is going on. That's not really possible with a toddler on board.

I've been back and forth about whether or not to head in for a beta (I'm 14 dpo today). On principle, I would prefer not to. In general, if things seem fine, Gail and I do better with less information. We had virtually no prenatal testing with Leigh, not even an ultrasound. When Leigh was a baby, we told our pediatrician not to give us any info about Leigh's height/weight percentiles or developmental schedule unless she was worried. We just didn't want to think about it unless we needed to, don't want to constantly compare her to other kids, and figure the worry is better spent when there is an actual problem. Yes, I know we're kind of freaks, but it is how we work best. I called the clinic this morning, and they don't seem to want a blood test, so for now we're skipping it.

We're already having to do some thinking about who/how/when to tell (other than, you know, the whole internet and the couple friends in-the-know). There are several people that we are going to need to tell basically ASAP about this, even though it might be better to wait. My family is planning a huge get-together far away just before the due date (assuming this sticks) that my sisters are already shopping for plane tickets for. So for logistical reasons, my family needs to know, in case we can either change time or location of get-together to make it workable for us. My work places me near some potentially hazardous chemicals, depending on how we structure experiments, so I need to have a talk with my bosses sooner than later for health reasons. Especially since we're in the initial stages of planning some work right now and can plan it to be much safer if I speak up now. Ugh. I sort of can't even think about it, though for now it's a nice problem to have.

This turned into a rather scattered post, but we are a bit befuddled here, and are likely to remain so for a bit (or indefinitely?). Ah, so befuddled, that I forgot to say "shana tova" to other folks who celebrate Rosh Hashanah. May you have a sweet new year. We have much to be thankful for and look forward to here at first time second time.

Friday, September 26, 2008


This morning we got up at 5:45 so that Lyn could pee in a cup. It's only 10 dpo 11 dpo (see comments), but Lyn has to turn in FSA forms today, and we wanted to know if we should put in more money for IUIs. Lyn peed and dipped, and 3 or 4 minutes later asked me if I would look. "Tell me right away, though," she said. I walked cautiously over to the dresser, and things looked pretty negative from far away, but you never know. So I peered in close. Were my eyes deceiving me? I had to pause for a minute because you don't want to say something like this and have to take it back a moment later. Now, you've all seen negative pregnancy tests and they are quite rudely white and blank where you hope a line will be. You can stare and stare, but you can't even pretend there's a line. This one instead had a pale purple shadow of a line. "It's really light," I said, "but that's a line."

I brought the stick over to Lyn and we goggled at it. Then Lyn said, "Well, this is good because no matter what happens at least we know that I can get an egg fertilized." So I replied, "Do you know what this line means? It means you are pregnant. With a baby." So we decided to pull out the "free" digital pregnancy test that came with the I-can't-believe-they-cost-that-much digital OPKs. Lyn remarked that it probably wouldn't show positive, because it's probably less sensitive (see, I told you she was pessimistic!). Our first baby was crying from her crib for Mama, so I went and got her up while Lyn played with her pee some more.

A minute or so later a yelp from Lyn told me that we had another positive. We're having a baby! If the little blastocyst (actually now officially an embryo, but we've taken to affectionately calling it "B") sticks around, we'll have another June arrival.

I finally convinced Leigh to let me pick her up and I carried her into the other room to look at the positive test. "What's that?" Leigh asked. "That," I said, "is a test that shows that Ima and Mama are really happy today."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What we did right without knowing it: Part I

I don't want to sound too whiny about not "going first" as they say, because truly, Gail bearing our first child ended up being by far the best choice for our family, but not necessarily for the reason that prompted us to make that decision in the first place.

Our motivating decisions around "birthing order" were 100% age determined. Gail has 6 1/2 years on me, and the clock was ticking. I wasn't yet out of my 20's when we started planning in earnest, so I had a little more time.

Soon after we started down this road, I realized I hadn't really understood what I'd signed on for. This was by no means the way I had ever expected to become a mother, and the feelings that I had during the pregnancy kind of blindsided me. It was way harder than I expected. I felt invisible and unnecessary. The constant comments by our SMBC lesbian friend who was pregnant at the same time that clearly implied I was peripheral, kind of a perk for Gail, but by no means an essential member of our family, really got under my skin (to be clear, I'm all for SMBC, and many of those comments were probably not ill intentioned, but they still stung). I had deep fears about how I would come to mother this child, how I would be seen by the world, how I would be seen by our families, how I would be seen by our child. Gail walked around to constant accolades and questions about due date (which of course, got annoying for her eventually), but when I told anyone I was "expecting", the best I got were blank stares, confused congratulations, and a quick change of topic. I had to constantly remind people that, no, I couldn't take on anymore projects because my BABY WAS DUE ANY DAY. They couldn't quite process it. After all, wouldn't Gail be taking care of the baby? Why couldn't I take on just this one more thing? After all, I wasn't pregnant. A close friend actually told me I shouldn't take any leave, since wasn't I more like a dad anyway? (to which I say, no, I'm not a dad, and also dads should also be supported to take leave). Ah, but there I go getting whiny again which was not my point.

Though actually, it kind of is my point. Gail is just a bit more likely than me to keep complicated feelings to herself (which is not to say she can't "process" with the best of them, quality lesbian that she is). Alas, the same would never be said of me. Not in a million years. One of the things that we did right without knowing it was having me, the one who is more likely to speak up if something feels strange or unexpected, walk the road less traveled. Pregnancy and birth are really hard, but they are common. Most women become mothers that way, so there are stories, there is support. There really isn't much out there for us non-bio-moms, and what is out there, isn't too encouraging (thank god I found chicory during the pregnancy). We needed me to notice what was strange and complicated about this path, and to point out the ways that it our family isn't like all of the others. Gail, bless her, totally met me on this. She didn't take my worries and over-analysis as any kind of threat. She didn't let my occasional black mood take away from the joy she experienced while pregnant (she sure was a sparkly and peppy pregnant lady, I tell you. She walked 3-4 miles in the pride parade, a couple days before Leigh was due, in the rain, smiling & laughing. Amazing.). Instead, Gail realized I was noticing real stuff, and jumped right in. As a result, by the time Leigh actually arrived, we had worked through a lot of our buried beliefs about motherhood, and decided they didn't really reflect what our family was going to be. We anticipated some spots where we might hit rough patches, and had a lot of practice talking about how this was going. It ended up being so much smoother once Leigh arrived than either of us expected, precisely because we had worked through so much, and thought of a few good strategies ahead of time. That wouldn't have happened so smoothly if I wasn't so...well...let's say vocal...and perceptive. (It's kind of like how we don't say that Leigh is "bossy," instead, she has "leadership skills")

Parts II & III to come: Accidental Economic Advantages & Accidental Implications of Naming

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What I missed last time

A few months ago I went for a massage (that Mayan abdominal massage that's supposed to help get you pregnant and cure evil cramps...I'll take all the help I can get, and hey, it's a massage!).

I have a bit of a tendancy to get emotional at a massage, especially with this therapist, who always seems to ask annoying (oh, I mean disturbingly intuitive) questions that get me going just when I think I've relaxed. At that visit she asked what I was looking forward to in a pregnancy.

There I was, completely relaxed (or as completely relaxed as I get), and that totally stopped me cold. I had absolutely no idea what I was looking forward to, and when I tried to think about it, I cried.

I didn't say anything (she's not a psychologist after all...I don't *have* to talk), but I did try to think, and feel in my body, what I might look forward too. I imagined growing a child in my body, and immediately had to stop thinking about it, and cried some more. I imagined birthing a baby, and cried some more. I couldn't muster more thank a 2 second thought about what I might be looking forward to.

Now, in real life, I can. I could wax eloquent for days about how great this will be or how there is this or that problem we'll need to figure out and generate about 300 plans for appropriate child care arrangements. But that day, when I was imagining a child actually inside my body, I couldn't do it. The sadness I felt wasn't from being tired of trying, or fearing my body won't be able to pull this off. I know that feeling and it is different. It was something else.

I think those tears were about what I didn't have with Leigh, that I'm grieving a bit what I didn't get on the first go round. I hesitate to look forward to experiencing pregnancy and birth, on some sort of base body level, because what would that say about who I am to Leigh? That somehow I'm less her mother? Or that I'm still incomplete as a parent only to her? That she isn't enough? (to be clear, Gail is also dead set on two).

You might have picked up already that Gail and I are really serious about sharing parenting of Leigh. Because we were so conscientious of this right from the get go, and because Gail didn't even bat an eye at shoving over a bit and sharing the mothering (and parenting) of Leigh, even from when she was teeny tiny, I really can't say I've missed much. What I missed was quite confined in time, and what I got was worth so much more. I love Gail to pieces and am thrilled when I see pieces of her in Leigh. I know I am truly mother to Leigh in my deepest self.

So really, there's just this tiny glitch left, this slight conflict between both wanting to carry a child, really really bad, but already being a complete mother to a child I didn't birth myself. It's not even an intellectual conflict, we've got that worked out. It's something in my body. Some little piece of sadness left about what I gave up when we chose to bring Leigh into our family through Gail. Culturally, "maternal sacrifice" is usually taken to mean those stretch marks, the sagging boobs, the "days of labor" (which was true in Leigh's case...the labor...not the sagging boobs), those really tangible things. But I gave up something intangible, an invisible sacrifice that had faded away, but now comes back to sting just a bit. It also seems strange, that those more tangible and visible sacrifices, that I'll hopefully be making this go round, in this light seem somehow a little selfish. If they weren't, why wouldn't it be OK with me for Gail to try this time? (Not that she wants to. She seemed pretty thrilled to pass off biological duties as far as I could tell)

Friday, September 19, 2008

My advice to Lyn

Lyn gave me some advice, so now I'm returning the favor. Lyn, here's my advice to you about how to be a gestational parent. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that you get to start using it in a couple of weeks.

Don't be afraid for this experience to be different. Being pregnant, giving birth, and nursing are amazing experiences. They are a real gift, and you should enjoy them. Don't feel like you have to minimize your feelings and experiences either because you feel guilty that I'm not having them too, or because you are worried that this new experience will erase or lower what you experienced in becoming a mother to Leigh. I take a lot of pride and pleasure in the fact that I carried Leigh and gave birth to her (and I know you do too!). None of that pride and pleasure diminishes you as a mother, so remember that your joy won't diminish me.

Be prepared for the need to come out more. You are never more straight-looking than when you are large with child. Everyone knows that you did the nasty with some man -- how else would you get to be this way? Except of course, you didn't. Being obviously pregnant puts you deep in the closet and it can be hard to fight your way back out. Maybe I'll get you a maternity T-shirt that says "Yes, my wife is very excited about becoming a mother."

Don't forget that I'm going to have my own struggles -- just because you figured out how to be a mother without a biological tie doesn't mean that I have it all worked out for myself. I'm worried about whether or not I can "walk the talk" -- will I really feel like a real mother to a child you carried or will I feel like something less? You can't answer that question for me, and my struggles with it don't mean that I don't believe in your relationship with Leigh. I just have to walk that road on my own two feet, and I know that you are committed to giving me support to do just that.

For my part, I'm going to try to support you and empathize with you without making you feel as though I beat you to every milestone. This is our child that we hope is growing inside of you, but it's your pregnancy as well. During my pregnancy, I was blessed with a supportive wife that helped me to survive and enjoy the pregnancy, and I hope to be able to return the favor soon. I was also blessed with a stubborn and pessimistic wife who insisted that we deal with all of the issues that threatened her security as a mother and our development as a family, and I'm going to do my best to step up to the plate in that department as well!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Advice to Gail

This survey at Lesbian Family (which more people should answer!) got me thinking back to how things have changed since Leigh was born (though my comment has yet to clear moderation). Thinking about advice I would give looking back before Leigh was born reminded me that Gail and I wanted to each take time to write advice to each other, as we turn the tables on the pregnancy this time around. If I manage to get pregnant, Gail will not be in exactly the same position that I was in, not least because she is already a mother, and because we know we actually can pull of this parenting thing (so far). But she will need to find a way to build a relationship with our second child (knock wood), without the social sanction of a biological bond, without an automatic nursing relationship, and with a completely different experience of pregnancy, birth and life with a newborn.

The advice I gave to myself over at Lesbian Family was not to be afraid, in particular about (not) nursing. From the reading that we did before and during pregnancy (the Rachel Pepper Lesbian Pregnancy Book, Harlyn Aizley's other mother anthology, a bit of Sears and Weissbluth before we decided never again to read books that tell you how to parent), I came away with the distinct impression that I would be secondary and unimportant, completely peripheral in our new family. The "boppies" essay in the Aizley anthology kept me awake for weeks. (Seriously? We could have a three year old that will want nothing to to do with me because I didn't nurse her?). Rachel Pepper's and Dr. Sear's dire warnings about non-bio-moms and dads messing up the all-important nursing relationship pretty much had me believing that the right way to support my wife was NEVER TO TOUCH THE BABY. I should just do all the dishes and laundry, go back to work, and maybe I could parent the kid when she was bigger. Sure, I'm exaggerating a bit, but not much. Rachel Pepper doesn't even use the word "mother" to describe lesbian non-bio-moms in her book. Seriously. Go back and look. The word she uses most often is "partner," which does not define a parental relationship. You can be a "dyke daddy" if you don't give birth, but never a "mother." And yes, I do have a bit of an ax to grind here. I'm sure you can't tell.

I'm so glad we didn't listen. I'm grateful that both Gail and I realized we needed to prioritize my relationship with our daughter right from the beginning, and that we have truly learned to share parenting and share mothering. Thank g-d my fears proved to be unfounded, at least for us, in large part thanks to Gail. In another family, they might not have been too far off base.

Now, Gail, I will get to my advice instead of only bitterly ripping apart pillars of the queer parenting advice literature. I hope and believe that you will not begin our parenting of number 2 (knock wood) from a place of fear, both because we've done this once already, and because you believe in my relationship with Leigh. That said, my advice to you is to put in the time to build a relationship. Fear is part of what motivated me to reach out to Leigh, and you may not have that motivation. Do it anyway. I know you like toddlers better, but for our family to settle in to a larger form (g-d willing), you'll need to get in there. Know that I will absolutely prioritize your relationship with a new baby that I birth, but you will need to jump in and do the real work of building the relationship. I know that you can and you will, and that we'll find even more interesting things to figure out in the process.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're still in.

Well I finally got a surge on Sat night. A full-on LH surge with a smiley face and everything (I don't always get smiley's, even when all other signs after the fact indicate ovulation happened). Tons and tons of EWM. On CD26. Which is late, even for me. We went with it anyway as we'd decided we would try even this late if I got a super convincing positive. I felt so damn proud of that smiley. IUI yesterday at 10:00am and today at 8:00am, with the nice back-up nurse at the clinic. At least we don't have to worry about the 3 month storage fee.

Other than that, our weekend was primarily filled with a sick kid who wasn't sleeping, just in case we forgot what we're in for if this works...

Friday, September 12, 2008

About ready go call it.

CD24. Sensitive OPKs are still stuck in the same "almost positive" spot. I'm getting nothing on the cheapos. No smiley faces. Had EWM but not really anymore. Still no temp spike but it's looking like a no go.

Our clinic charges a storage fee if you miss three cycles. I already missed August due to work travel and now this one due to a stupid cycle. Like we need more pressure next cycle. I know they're going to offer Clomid but I'm not there yet. I know my body does this in response to travel and I also know that I am capable of ovulating on my own (OK, if you define "on my own" as 3+ acupuncture visits prior to ovulation).

The only good news is that I'm not making everyone else in my house miserable. I'm not even miserable. I just feel kind of apathetic and hopeless. This was our last shot at spacing less than 3 years. I used to really think we'd have kids closer than three years.

I was home with Leigh yesterday and she was taking her baby doll everywhere and keeping me appraised of it's state. It needed lots of naps. It had a bath. It "pooped in the tub" which she "cleaned up" and then put the baby on the potty. I was sitting with her on the couch and she ran off to get the baby, brought it back and said "baby sleep on your lap now" after which she tucked it in carefully (not very SIDS friendly, face down, blanket over head...) and instructed me "No wake a baby up...shhhhh."

Her baby kick came out of nowhere. Maybe she's picking up on what's going on, or maybe it is the arrival of younger kids in her day care class, but I couldn't help thinking about her as a big sister, and really really hoping she gets to be one...though we'll probably need to supervise her "tucking in" techniques.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Leigh and Pee Follies

Just so it's not all doom-and-gloom, I thought I'd make a post about our two-year-old daughter Leigh (plus we're still waiting on those pee sticks). Leigh is as cute and aggravating as any toddler, and these days she's talking about everything. Our favorite Leigh-ism is "whobody," as in "Whobody outside, Ima?" or "Whobody in a car?"

She has to do everything herself. If you pull up her panties, she screams, pulls them back down and then does it herself. Actually, she's taken to doing her whole potty ritual herself. First, she pulls her pants and underpants down. Then she has to get her potty seat, so she shuffles over (her pants are around her ankles), gets the potty seat, puts it in backward and laughs. Turns it around. Shuffles over to get the stool and bring it over to the toilet. Scrambles up the stool. Plops down. Commands her helper to sit and perhaps read a book. Then she keeps you informed (in graphic detail) of exactly how things are going.

Speaking of pee, last night we had a big pee incident in our house, and it wasn't Leigh's fault. Lyn was doing her usual after-work ritual of peeing in a cup while Leigh was "helping" me with dinner. Lyn shuffles into the bedroom, pee cup in hand, to do her dipping on a larger flat surface than the back of the toilet, when suddenly there's a loud exclamation of dismay. Lyn has spilled the pee. Chaos ensues as Lyn tries to clean up and Leigh frantically tries to get into the bedroom to see what is going on and "help." Leigh is instructed that she can't help right now which results in a huge tantrum. Leigh has a time out as Lyn scrapes pee off the top of our dresser to collect enough to dip one stick. As I said to Lyn later in the evening, something strange has happened to your life if you find yourself trying desperately to scrape as much pee off the top of your dresser as possible. Leigh has since been going on at length and laughing loudly about how "Mama spilled a pee." We'll see what they think about that at day care...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Can We Get Our Sanity Back?

Lyn isn't kidding when she says she's a pessimist. I like to think of her as an "extreme pessimist." Throw any situation at her and she can tell you how it is going to go horribly wrong. Leading up to our wedding, we used to play a game called "Everything is Wrecked." To play, your partner names two completely unrelated things, like "fish" and "ice cream." Then you have the challenge of describing how the two elements combine to wreck the wedding. Lyn used to be absolutely amazing at the game.

I just asked Lyn why fish and ice cream means that we won't have a second baby. Lyn says, "I've been eating a lot of fish because of your new diet thing. Also I've been eating a lot of dairy my whole life and I refuse to pay extra for the organic milk. So if I actually manage to get pregnant, despite all of the hormones in the dairy that have surely made me infertile, then the kid is going to shrivel up and die because of the mercury in the fish." So you can see that Lyn's still got it after all these years.

Living with an extreme pessimist isn't easy. Living with an extreme pessimist who is trying to get pregnant is nearly impossible. Sunday night I got really mad because Lyn spent the evening freaking out about a variety of things. I tried to be nice and helpful several times (and once I even managed to be nice in a nice way rather than in a snarky way). But end the end neither of us could behave well enough, so we went to bed mad, which I hate to do (it's really hard to fall asleep if you are mad).

I wish that Lyn didn't get so self-absorbed and angry at the world when the TTC isn't working so well. But I understand why she does. It really sucks and that's not Lyn's fault. So maybe I wish she just kept everything inside so that I don't have to see it because it's pretty damned unpleasant. But that doesn't seem quite right (not to mention the fact that it would never work -- Lyn is pretty much an open book). So maybe I really wish that if she's not going to talk to other people about about the shittiness of TTC, she'd at least pour some of her nasty stuff out to the blogosphere rather than getting it all over me. OK, there's an idea I can live with.

Just to be fair, you should know that I'm an obnoxious optimist that likes to ignore problems until they go away. As mentioned above, Lyn is a pessimist, and when she encounters problems, she prefers to protest loudly while carrying a sign that says "The End is Near." This is just about the only difference between us, but it's a big one. Sometimes it works in our favor. I spout off a lot of crackpot ideas about the next great thing we're going to do, Lyn finds 75 reasons the next great thing is in the toilet, and then together we find a way to fix all the problems and actually get something done. We get a lot of things done this way that never would happen otherwise, either because I completely forget to think about anything practical or because Lyn couldn't get started because she's sure it'll never work. So it works for us a lot of the time.

Other times it works like it did Sunday. Lyn starts to gnash her teeth and roll her eyes about how she won't be able to do an insemination appointment tomorrow and, oh yeah, she's not going to ovulate anyway. I respond by ignoring the real problems and saying some variation of "It will all work out, honey." Lyn responds by blowing everything up in a desperate attempt to get me to acknowledge there's really a problem because she feels like I've left her alone in the crazy world of TTC. I repeat my same theme of "It will all work out," but through teeth that are clenching tighter and tighter.

Tonight, as I write this post, Lyn claims that things might go better if I don't, in her words, "just roll over and try to keep me happy." In particular, I think she'd be much happier if she wasn't the only one noticing and worrying about all the problems. That's fair.

So maybe we have a little bit of a truce. I'll try to acknowledge and investigate possible problems, making use of some of my natural optimism to keep us moving forward. We're a team here after all. Lyn, for her part, will try to put some of at that negativity out there for you legions of lovely readers instead of me (lucky you), and maybe be a little bit nicer.

[P.S. It's Tuesday morning now that I'm actually posting this. Things are much more cheerful around our house, but we are still waiting for those pee sticks to give us some love. CD 21 and counting.]

Monday, September 8, 2008

OK, so maybe I don't actually still have my sanity

Every cycle that we've tried, and the one where we didn't but were planning to, just prior to ovulation I've turned into an absolute disaster, as a parent, as a wife, and as a worker. I make myself miserable. I make my family miserable. My co-workers seem fine, but I'm pretty good at faking it during the day. Gail and I are currently in "anti-phase" (apologies for the bad math reference) so my ovulation break down is unfortunately correlated with her two PMS days. It is super-fun at our house.

I swear waiting to ovulate (especially if you have a history of not actually pulling it off) is worse than the TWW. But I'll probably take that back once I'm in the TWW. If I get there.

I'm on CD20. It's fairly typical for me to get a positive OPK anywhere between CD18 and CD22. My intricate OPK system involves, at this point, 3 different brands of pee sticks, all with different strengths and weaknesses. I have a finicky ovulation. I don't get an honest to goodness positive on all tests, but the more sensitive tests can give me a false positive (hence the infamous cycle of 4 vials in July).

Right now I have an almost positive on the sensitive test, and nothing whatsoever on the less sensitive test. I haven't even broken out the smiley face brand. At 7$ a pop, that one is strictly for confirmation of a real positive, and I'm not there yet. If I get a positive tomorrow, and the clinic doesn't have that coveted 1st appointment open, I'll either need to take Leigh with me to the appointment or rustle up a sitter last minute (how to keep a 2yo busy during an IUI...?), or Gail will have to ditch work things in the afternoon. I have absolutely no idea how that is going to work.

But all of these logistical details are just beating around the bush really. The logistics suck. They are really stressful. And then I get stressed about being stressed. But what's really going on is that I hate not being in control. While I'm waiting for ovulation, when I have absolutely zero control and am convinced my body is going to fail (I never claimed to be an optimist), all I can see is my other failures. My failures as a parent, my failures as a scientist and my failures at keeping our house afloat (which in reality is usually afloat pretty well). No one can do anything right. Not Gail. Not Leigh. Especially not me.

But I have got to figure out how to be nicer. We have to find a way to make this sustainable. We're in this for the long haul and I can't be a disaster for both ovulation week and the two week wait. That's about 3 weeks out of 4.

Part of the problem is that Gail and I haven't really told so many people that we're working on this, so she is pretty much the only receptacle for my TTC angst, when she already has plenty of her own. I'm not an easy person to "support," though she's trying valiantly and occasionally even manages to say the right thing. On principle, I feel strongly that Gail needs support as much as I do, but I'm certainly not giving it. She wants this baby, too. A couple real life friends know, and Gail can talk to them, but they are close to us both, so she can't exactly complain extensively about how I'm driving her up the wall. And even with just this couple knowing I already can't handle the gentle questions about what is up. Every question feels like a judgment, and I'm impatient enough as it is.

I'm not sure where this leaves me other than "I'll Try To Do Better" which usually just ends up back at square one. Maybe having a place to write will help, or maybe not. If anyone happens through here and has any advice, I'm all ears. We didn't get to this point on the last go-round.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On acupuncture and (not) biking

If you look at our stats summary to the right, you can see that I've been in acupuncture treatment for a very long time (well over a year). I used to have ridiculously irregular cycles (19 days to 2 months plus), at least half anovulatory (based on temp charts), and extremely painful periods. The key words here are "used to." After sticking with acupuncture this long, I now have more or less regular periods (if a bit long, 32-34 days), ovulate most cycles (all but one in the past year), and have only moderately painful periods (instead of the kind of pain where I can't get out of bed, or think, or take care of our kid, or go to work and if I was out and about when they started, someone might offer to call an really was that bad).

I don't harbor any illusions that with my history it will be easy to get pregnant. I know that other folks with much better cycles go to the RE right away. But I'm stubborn and based on personal experience, I know that medicine sometimes does more harm than good, even when the intentions are noble. So for this, and perhaps other less justifiable reasons, I wanted to give my body a decent shot without a lot of medical manipulation...hence the hard core acupuncture. Even if I do end up at the RE down the line, I'm confident that this was time/money/energy well spent and my body is in much better shape than it was when I started.

That said, I have some annoyances with my acupuncturist. The primary one being her tendency to drop bombs like "you shouldn't try this cycle, you'll have a miscarriage" or "did you ride your bike? You really shouldn't ride your bike" as I'm walking out the door (imagine this in barely intelligible English coming from the most fierce Chinese woman you can conjure up. She is seriously not to be reckoned with). Now the first one might seem more shocking, but she has finally stopped saying that one, though she did suggest skipping this cycle because I currently have a hideous cough. I eventually got out of her that her real concern is that ovulation might be missed, weak or postponed due to illness, so I should make sure to get a good surge before we try. OK fine. Maybe this cycle is a go. Maybe not. But it is actually the admonition about biking that causes me the most trouble.

Gail, Leigh and I don't have a car. We live in a city where you don't really need one, and we love to bike. This is like telling someone else they can't drive. When I don't bike, I feel cooped up and impatient. It takes twice as long to get anywhere because I have to take the train. When I'm home with Leigh, we can't get very far from home, which is manageable because our neighborhood contains plenty of friends, parks and other amusements, but it is annoying, especially because we just got the most awesome kid and cargo bike set-up ever. My acupuncturist insists the problem is with "jostling" while waiting for implantation, which I have to admit sounds like complete BS now that I write it down. She says that women don't bike in China if they are trying, and I have no idea whether or not to believe her. But as much energy and time and money as we're putting into this, I know I can buckle down and give up the biking, at least during the TWW (though I think she'd prefer never, something about some point or meridian or something in my leg, I don't claim to understand). And I have. Mostly. Of everything that has gone on hold or been given up so far for TTC (caffeine, a conference invitation, a speaking invitation, lots of money, time, worry, sleep, hopefully not my sanity), this is the hardest.