Monday, October 29, 2007


Yes: Nothing.

I have done nothing, beyond discuss with J~ what something might entail, in regard to further medical intervention in our fertility journey.

We did decide to ask some questions of the doc, do a little research of our own, and possibly, probably, get all the blood tests - genetic for us both, immunologic, clotting, the works, for me. But taking action? Doing the actual research, making the actual calls, getting our arms stuck with actual needles? No. None of that has happened.

I can't say why, exactly.

I think of the downstairs bathroom overdue for a thorough cleaning and the kitchen floor we've been meaning to replace and the reservations to be made for our very first anniversary dinner. Yes, I know, this issue is a little heavier than mundane household chores, a little more daunting than "dinner for two," but still, the hold-up is, at least in part, related to how busy we are.

Okay, I know busy-ness is an excuse, but to be fair, J~'s weekends, ever since his son moved to Vermont, have revolved very heavily around the boy. B~'s been home every weekend, and J~ has done an awful lot of driving. As for me, I must admit, there's relief in focusing on grad school and my freelance graphic design business and the book proposals I've been chipping away at forever. I'm making real progress on all these fronts, which feels great.

Then again, I do worry about getting pregnant without being any better equipped to stay pregnant. As for the primal, primary, necessary act, the prerequisite to finding ourselves in just that situation, we haven't slowed down one bit. In fact, I would go so far as to say we've been more inclined toward that one, what with so many weekday evenings with no child in the house. Which also helps explain why we're finding so little spare energy to move on the difficult issues, like cleaning that bathroom.

In conclusion? Believe me, I see the contradictions riddling this entry. I see room for improvement, to say the least. But I keep coming back to the bottom line, which is this: I'm happy.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be a mother. I'd love to avoid another miscarriage. So why don't I do something about it? What's my excuse for all this passivity? What do I have to say for myself, young lady?


Thursday, October 18, 2007

First Things First

Thank you!

If there was a rule number four, perhaps it would be this: Orient yourself to thankfulness. Stretch your awareness to notice (in other words, to receive) more and more blessings every day. Express your appreciation.

And so, I begin today's post with thanks to you, dear readers, for sharing all your insights and perspectives and information and good wishes. Thank you! I am taking everything you say to heart. J~ is too. We sat down and read your most recent comments together. We do that often, actually. But this time, we're taking notes. We're having discussions. We're making plans. I'll give you more detail eventually, but for now, suffice it to say this: Babies or Not—in three forms—is alive and kicking:

1. as a question in our lives. Will we or won't we? We'd like to. There may be more we could do to coax that possibility into reality. But we also know it may not happen.

2. as a mantra. Babies or not, life goes on for us. At least for another few decades. We hope.

3. as a blog. As long as the preceding points are applicable to me, and as long as people are interested in reading what I have to say on the subject, this blog will also go on. At least until I write the book.

Another thing I am thankful for right now: Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. And my friend in Tennessee, who loved the book so much, he bought seven copies to give away. I was one of the lucky seven! I am thankful for this inspiring, touching, funny, wonderful memoir. It is rare that I finish a book and within a week, begin reading it a second time, but this is just one of those reads. Too delicious to put away just because I've reached the last page.

I love books! I am thankful for books!

And for the internet, and telephones, and all the networks of communication we have in this world. They are blessings that sometimes feel like curses, but right now, I appreciate them all.

Isn't it amazing, how black lines and curves inked on a white page (or a polka-dot page) can convey meaning, and emotion and story, the pure thread of our souls? Okay, I know, I'm getting sappy and overly romantic here, but think about it—there is no sap on this page, just colored pixels arranged in patterns.

If you, like me, are inclined to get excited over such mundane wonders, and don't mind a little math and science along the way, here's another book I recommend: I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter. I'm working my way through it, bit by bit, and it is blowing my mind.

Aside from the big things (our loved ones, food and shelter) what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rule Number Three

J~ and I flew to Tennessee for four days, Sunday through yesterday, so that I might introduce him to a place I once lived and loved, at the end of a dirt road at the end of another dirt road at the end of yet another dirt road, and to the dear friends I made there a decade ago.

We stayed in a lovely guest cabin belonging to some of these friends, under a quilt I sewed for its owners nine years ago, under a roof beam I helped raise a year before that.

Alone together, J~ and I hiked and talked and lounged. We made love in a field. We slept late, read books, took a good long run, and scratched behind the ears of many sweet dogs. With friends, we laughed and ate and shared stories. We also visited loved ones in the hospital, and cooked and shopped for groceries for their return.

Which brings me to the subject of this post.

Some of you, with your comments this week about my choices (or lack thereof) regarding reproductive testing, have your finger on my third of three rules to live by. I'll say more about those choices in a minute, but for now, without further ado, here's Rule Number Three: Ask for help.

What could be easier, right? But for some of us (namely me) this can, sometimes, seem near impossible. I put limits on how much help I imagine I am allotted. J~, like so many men, trained that they are supposed to appear all-knowing and all-competent, does this too. Which leads to the recursive: When uncomfortable asking for help, ask for help asking for help.

Which is why I've asked J~ to help me think about what comes next. I am shy about calling the doctor to ask the one question I forgot to ask in our appointment: what about the sudden, heavy bleeding I had with the demise of my most recent pregnancy? Is that to be expected in pregnancies that fail for the typical, genetic-combination reasons? Could this indicate a clotting disorder?

Maybe I will test for that, after all... but I'm not sure I'd take blood thinners (aspirin included) as, I am told, clotting disorders rarely lead to miscarriages, and when they do, it usually doesn't happen until at at least 14 weeks -- none of my pregnancies ever got beyond twelve.

I probably won't take progesterone, or even have my levels checked, as my research (and the doctors I've spoken to) suggest that low progesterone has never been proven to cause pregnancy failure. Progesterone might test low because a pregnancy is not viable in the first place.

As for karyotyping (genetic testing of myself and J~) I don't see the point. It would have been nice to have information about the past pregnancies. It would be nice to rule out, definitively, all other problems. But now, at worst, we'll learn that the odds of a good genetic combination aren't in our favor. In that case, short of IVF (which helps by selecting genetically viable fetuses from the outset, and involves a level of invasiveness and expense that is beyond what feels right for me), nothing can be done to improve our odds except to keep rolling the dice.

In the spirit of Rule Number Three, I welcome your thoughts, comments, stories, experiences, insights, prayers, jokes, etcetera! Let the comments section be a beacon to me and to all who light upon this blog post!