Infertility Bites

Infertile, Trying to Conceive, and Forty-One Years Old – Ain't THAT a Bummer!?!

memories… July 27, 2008

We went the natural route this month…no big symptoms this month thus far, but ya never know, I suppose.  F and I are trying not to burst into flames here in Texas.  It’s been so hot-n-humid that it takes my breath away when I have to venture outside.  Nasty, I tell ya. 

I drove up to my parents’ home in East Texas a couple of weeks ago, if only for twenty-four hours.  I would have liked to have stayed for a little while longer, but it couldn’t happen this last time.  I went up there after my mom told me that three of her cousins were coming to visit for one day only, and she asked if I could please drive to Lufkin to visit with them too. 

It’s pretty funny, because F was convinced a bit concerned that I was going up there to meet with my mom and her cousins and then head to Louisiana to go gambling.  Ha!  Not hardly… these “girls”, as one of the ladies called themselves, were 70+ years old.  These sweet ol’ gals were hardly the slot machine type.  They were worn out by their trip to my mom’s, and I frankly don’t think they could’ve made it another fifteen minutes in the car. 

We had a very pleasant time, catching up on times past, especially their memories of my grandparents and great-grandparents.  I got to see a cool book that one of the “girls” had created about her family on her own computer.  Her book included pictures of my great-grandparents that I’d never seen before, which was a neat thing.  This book wasn’t a professional job, by any means, but I could tell that she’d spent a great deal of time researching her stories, scanning the pictures, and assembling it all into order.  It was a labor of love.

Perhaps one day I will pursue a labor of love along those lines.  I think it would be great to pull all of the memories together that my aunts, uncles, cousins, and my immediate family have of my great-grandparents, my grandparents, Mom, and her brothers and sisters as they were growing up in Central Texas and later in the Houston area.  Mom’s oldest living brother in particular has many, many fantastic stories about growing up as a child of my grandparents. 

Grandmama was an awesome woman, in my opinion.  Some of the stuff she dealt with – a child with epilepsy, a husband whose big heart turned out to also be a weak heart, and children whom she outlived – are the kind of life-altering events that most of us pray we never have to face.  Her eldest son, the man whose first name I share, later died in the same way as his father.  I was truly worried that Uncle Buddy’s (again, not his real name) massive heart attack was going to kill her, but she lived on, still taking care of her youngest son who lived with her until the day she died.  When her oldest daughter was diagnosed with liver cancer, and Grandmama saw another beloved child fading before her very eyes, she again was devastated by how cruel it was for a parent to outlive her offspring.

As far as anyone knows, Grandmama never drank a drop of alcohol, and she cursed just one time in her entire life.  She was a short little thing, about 5’1″ tall, and one time, Grandmama was unfortunate enough to be bending over to get something out of a lower cabinet while someone had left an upper cabinet open.  Of course, when she stood up, she whacked her head really hard on the corner of said upper cabinet door.  Apparently, there was a deafening silence while people held their breaths, until one of her sons asked her, “you all right, ‘Dessa Mae?”  When she managed to say yes, those folks who were within earshot of it began to release their suppressed laughter after finding out she hadn’t been mortally wounded.  Grandmama was still in a considerable amount of pain as she jokingly said, “Well damn, I’m glad y’all found out I was going to live before you laughed.”

Grandmama died on cold day in December 1997, just a couple days after Christmas.  When my sister and I went to talk to her preacher before her funeral service, her preacher asked us what were some of the things about this remarkable 87-year-old woman that would be remembered by those who knew her.  The first thing two words that simultaneously came out of both of our mouths was “her laugh”.  There was no way in the world for my grandmama to hide when something tickled her, because her whole body shook when she laughed.  She had an incredible sense of humor, and God, how I loved to hear and see her laugh at something. 

I think about her often, and wonder what she would’ve had to say about F, and about our infertility problems.  If she’d been around for our wedding, she wouldn’t have been able to not cry, especially since she would’ve known that I was going to move up to Washington state with F the very next day.  I know she would’ve cried to hear of our miscarriage, because she was a very tenderhearted lady, and because she lovedlovedloved her grandchildren.  It may sound bizarre, but the thought that she and my husband’s grandmother were in Heaven waiting to take care of our baby and shower it with all of the bajillions of kisses we would have bestowed upon our little one was one of the main reasons I could still function immediately following our miscarriage.  It’s one of the reasons I could still manage to breathe as the pain  and sheer grief threatened to cut off my supply of air.     

I never knew my grand-daddy, but he must’ve been a pretty spectacular man.  His mother was Native American – Comanche, to be exact.  His birth certificate says that his race was “Native”.  In that day and age, he never, ever wanted anyone to know that he was “Indian”; he’d fight anyone who said he was anything other than White.   He is the person I have to blame for my unruly, curly hair.  🙂

The only way I know him is through the stories that others have told and retold about him.  At the same time, he was both a gentle soul to his grandchildren, and “one of the meanest SOBs that ever played baseball”.  He had a nasty temper, but was generous enough to give a person the shirt off of his back. 

I regret that I myself have no memories of him; Grand-daddy died of a massive heart attack just six months after I was born.

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Apologies and Ramblings July 8, 2008

Geez, I’m sorry I’m not an everyday blogger.  Matter of fact, I haven’t even been a weekly one, or even biweekly.  My apologies, folks.  I’ll try to do better, ‘k?  I really will try.

The good news is that I finally had my period again after my miscarriage.  Yay.  It wasn’t as bad as I imagined it would be, which makes me happy. 

F and I are both eager to get back on the ol’ baby-making horse, but are going to wait to use medical intervention until my next period…dammit.  Two Three reasons, actually, but they’re definitely related.  The first reason:  money.  Yes, I know, we still have some of the meds from before I got pregnant, and that’s beyond wonderful, trust me.  However, Dr. S and I decided that my ovaries could stand some more stimulation, in the form of a larger dose of said meds.  Good news?  I have most of the meds already.  Bad news?   I don’t have the remainder of the Gonal-F I’d need to have on hand to complete the med cycle, nor do we have the available fundage for said injectible platinum.  (Okay, it’s not really platinum, but you get the gist.) 

Second reason, and the main cause of Reason #1?  F was sick, and didn’t get to work for 2+ weeks.  It’s getting to be like our frickin’ summer thing…I get out of school, start making plans to go places, do things, and then F gets sick for at least two weeks, and All Things come to a halt.  Y’see, F drives a truck for a living these days, and when F doesn’t drive, he doesn’t get paid.  Now, he and I aren’t the best at saving money, by a long shot.  I’d much rather have someone else cook than for me to do it, hands down.  That’s (sadly) our main source of wasted money, to my way of thinking – eating out / take out.  But, we have wayyyyy too much debt, and buggered credit, to say the least.  During those weeks when F doesn’t work, the bills still seem to keep coming, damn them. 

We try to survive on just my meager teacher paycheck.  That in itself is trying, but add in several visits to doctors, several trips to the pharmacy to get meds, and the usual grocery extravaganzas, and you can practically hear the sucking sound as the money leaves our puny checking account.  Now, of course – when we’re broker than broke – would be when I start my period, and when I’d need to go and purchase about $500 worth of Gonal-F, if F and I were going to try to Create a Life Through Modern Chemistry.  Ummm, not going to happen this month.  It simply can’t.  Dammit. 

Reason #3, you may be asking?  Well, F had a weird spot showing up in his chest xray, and after an inconclusive MRI, and had to take some radioactive sugar to try to see what was going on in his body.  He was supposed to get a PET scan, and the contrast stuff contained radioactive sugar (iodine, I think).  Pity he was too claustrophobic to go through with it, poor thing.  Exposure to radioactive stuff, all for naught.  He had to go get a broncioscopy procedure instead. 

I thank God that the doc didn’t see anything out of the ordinary during the bronchioscopy, but there is still something weird that shows up on his chest xray.  I don’t know, and neither do the docs, but they say it is NOT cancer.  At least this has (hopefully) convinced F that he needsneedsneeds to STOP SMOKING!!!  The doctor told him that there’s no permanent damage in his lungs right now, and that if he quits, they will stay healthy.  F says he’s cutting down, but I can’t tell that he has.  I just continue to hope and pray he quits.  God Almighty, I’m sick of everything we own reeking of it, plus all of the money that literally goes up in ashes.  When I think if it, it makes me ill.  I know, make everything be about myself.  I am truly a drama queen.  Sheesh. 

Still, I wonder sorts of effects the radioactive solution he drank had on his swimmers.  I need to ask about that when he goes to the doc this Wednesday.  I don’t want us to be trying the old fashioned way if there’s any danger that his guys could have been affected by the radiation, ya know?  I know that the doc said that the radioactivity only lasted about 24 hours tops, but still.  It’s not like it only stayed in his chest area, if you know what I mean.  We don’t need the added stress of worrying whether or not this batch of swimmers glow in the dark.  Suffice it to say that I’ll feel much better about trying naturally if there’s a reduced chance of mutation as a result of radiation.   

The doctor did say that F suffers from a severe B12 deficiency.  He’s now going in weekly for a B12 injection, but after this Wednesday, I’ll be giving the shots to him.  That ought to help save us a bit of cash – I hope. 

I often think about my former pregnancy, and in which week or month I’d be if I still were expecting.  Still, when F and I had this scare, it made me think that things do happen for a reason, even if we don’t see the reasoning at the time.  I can’t imagine how we would’ve handled this financially if I’d been pregnant too.  Am I a monster for thinking this way??  God knows, I would love to still be pregnant!  Could I have handled the stress without inflicting damage upon those I love??  Without that Xanax I took that Friday night to help me sleep during the weekend four or five days before he had his PET scan scheduled? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m made of pretty strong stock.  I can usually handle almost anything.  Usually.  But, when it comes to my family, I worry myself into a non-sleeping tizzy, to say the least.  I would lie in bed, cry to myself, and worry.  No fun at all, kids.  I sincerely don’t recommend this.  I mentioned to my mom that I hadn’t slept, and she gave me a couple of her Xanax “to help me get some sleep”.  I’m not the kind of person that usually pops pills to turn my brain off, but in this case, when it was staying on a spin cycle of nasty, ugly thoughts every night when I was supposed to be sleeping??  Hell yeah, I’ll take something.  If that makes me a wimp, so be it… but it did help, if only for that night.