Tuesday, April 27, 2010

3 Application Suggestions for Facebook

There you are, scrolling along down the "Top News" on your Facebook account, and BAM! There's nothing like getting blindsided by a pregnancy announcement or picture on your favorite social media network, is there?

As the geeky wife of an even geekier computer scientist, I realized the other day that someone needs to make some infertility-friendly Facebook applications. So here, I present some suggestions for some new apps:

(And apologies in advance if anyone finds this offensive or insensitive as I poke some harmless fun at the state of infertility.)

1. The Pregnancy Announcement Filter

Surely this would be easy right? You could set up filters on all your news alerts to pull out anything containing the words "pregnant, knocked-up, having a baby, etc." You could have an even stronger setting that would pull out things containing more generic terms like "expecting" or "due." More sophisticated versions could have recognition technology that would filter out pregnancy photos and ultrasounds.

You could maybe have it corral all of these announcements into a separate folder or tab, so you can wait until your next CD1 to get drunk and read through them all in one blow.

2. SuperPoke - the Infertility Edition

I don't know if you were on Facebook when the movie "Juno" came out, but SuperPoke ran a movie-related campaign where one of things you could throw at a friend was, yes, a pregnancy test. It was all kinds of funny back then as we were just starting to think about TTC, but I can't imagine how I would've reacted if I had been dealing with my infertility at the time.

So to turn the whole thing on its head, I propose we have an "Infertility Edition" open to infertiles only where we can drown in the irony and throw at each other not just pregnancy tests, but opk's (both positive and negative), prenatal vitamins, tubes of Pre-Seed, packs of Clomid (in 50mg, 100mg, and 150mg varieties), sperm collection jars, Instead cups, Mucinex, salivascopes etc. (The sad thing is that all I had to do to come up with this list is look in my dresser drawer.)

3. InfertilityVille

I don't play online games like Mafia or FarmVille, so I may be totally off on this description, but I wonder if you could educate "civilians" about infertility through one of those games where the object is to build your family.

The game would be rigged so as to give only 1 out of 50 players the ability to do this in an easy and straightforward manner. Everyone else would have to go through virtual Clomid cycles, IUI cycles, injectible cycles, IVF cycles, where success would reflect the real statistics. The game would only allow one chance a week to try for a kid, and that time could be made unpredictable, or trackable only through a virtual OPK.

Players could earn and save up "points" (to be spent on different cycles and strategies) by lending support and services to other players. Telling another player to "just relax" would automatically result in a loss of points. Babysitting another player's child would rack up major points.

Anyway, dear readers, I'm sure you know that I'm not trivializing IF by trying to make a game out of it or anything. It's just hard when a fun distraction like Facebook can turn into a virtual minefield with people posting pregnancy news, baby pictures, etc. I certainly don't blame others for sharing their joy, but I figure we infertiles need to find a way to make Facebook work for us.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cycle Watch: A Watched Stickles Never Ovulates...

Thanks every one for the supportive comments on my last post. I felt a little mean and ugly putting it out there, and I'm relieved no one decided to rip me a few new ones over it.

I hate the ovulation waiting game. Based on my last two Clomid cycles, I should be getting a peak on my ClearBlue monitor today, but I'm holding steady at "high." It probably will come tomorrow, considering that I can read the pattern of these sticks like a pro by now, but I'm bothered nonetheless.

When you're told to BD every other day and then abstain two days before the IUI, it sounds like easy instructions until your O day becomes a moving target. Now I feel like I'm "off schedule."

Friday's CD 12 ultrasound was pretty typical - lining is at 6.1mm (not a disaster, but nothing to write home about), and I have a 18mm follie on my left side (maybe I'll do better with a left side drop since my last two cycles were on my right and nothing happened). All things considered, I should probably be a little grateful that I'm a little behind on ovulating since it'll give me another day for my lining to build up. (Build cells, build!!!)

I really ought to let go though and just let things be without overanalyzing them. My cycles are notoriously "self-conscious" and stall even longer when I put them under a microscope.

And *DON'T* get me started on that "go on a vacation business." The first time my cycle went over 40 days, I was in Greece. And my longest cycle ever at 49 days (49!!!) happened while I was in Maui. (Of course, now I sound spoiled - "I went to Greece and Hawaii, and all I got was a long menstrual cycle.")

Hope everyone has a happy Monday!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Power of Three

I manipulated a backrub out of my guilty DH last night, I slept in until 10am, and the sun is shining today. Let's hope this day is on the up-and-up, and my appointment with the RE this afternoon shows a beautiful lining ready for IUI.

What I love about ICLW is that reading other people's posts often gives me fodder for mine, especially when I'm in a creativity slump like I've been in lately. Write Baby Repeat had a really moving post yesterday about getting lapped, and all I could think about was a friend of mine who is now expecting her third kid and what a visceral response I had when I learned the news.

For the past year, whenever I hear a pregnancy announcement from a "civilian" (non IF'er), my mind immediately goes into survival mode with a bunch of rationalizing thoughts. There is the sincere "I'm so happy for them," followed by a wistful "How lucky that they'll never have to question themselves about fertility," and then a rather selfish "I hope they won't bombard me with too many pregnancy updates and shower invitations."

Those thoughts take a mean turn, though, when I learn that it's a third or fourth pregnancy. I am immediately flooded with an outraged "How *dare* you?!" followed by an insincere "I hate you!" and then a selfish and childish "Why does the universe hate me so?" It's happened two or three times now, and I always feel totally surprised and ashamed by the depth of my negativity and my lack of grace.

I tell myself over and over again that having babies is not a zero sum game - there isn't some limited pool of them, so Jane having three...or nine children has no bearing whatsoever on the number of children I will have.

In my IF-addled mind, though, there is something subtly terrible and mocking when a couple flouts social convention and throws themselves on the other side of the average 2.2 kids statistic. I know logically that the following isn't true, but a primitive part of me sees 3+ kids as a flaunting of genetic wealth, as a kind of evolutionary and ecological selfishness.

"Our world is overpopulated, we don't know if we'll have enough water or gasoline to get us through the next few generations, but sure - go ahead and go over the replacement rate. Clearly two is not enough for you. Unless the third pregnancy was an accident, in which I already hate you for your untold amounts of luck and fertility." Something like that.

I am well aware that this isn't a nice way to think about this. That I'm taking someone else's deep personal joy and throwing my political and philosophical feelings on it, along with slathering a layer of infertility shit on top of it. I don't want to think like this, but I do.

But at least I know I will never say these thoughts out loud. That's why I have this blog. So I can exorcise these ugly thoughts and protect my happy and naive friends from them, and so that I can love their children - no matter how many of them they have - with a cleaner heart.

Why won't this day end?!

You know those days you get, every now and then, when everything seems to flow? You hit a streak of green lights on the road, you have all the ingredients for a recipe you've been thinking about, you stumble upon the most perfect pair of shoes...and they're on sale?

Today...or rather, technically speaking yesterday was not one of those days. It was the opposite. I am out of sync with the universe for whatever reason, and it's having a whole lot of fun mocking me.

Nothing bad-with-a-capital-B happened. It's just that everything that could have gotten stuck or turned upside down seemed to. I spent the better part of the day planning a shopping excursion for two neighbors (they asked me to give them an insider's tour of an asian grocery store), only to have both of them flake out on me at the last minute. Then, a big outdoor fundraiser that I help put on every year got rained out in the evening. And to top things off, my cat decided to stop using her litter box.

So it was a sucktastic day, I've had them before and know things will get better. I decided to write it off, watch some crap tv, and then haul my tired and grumpy ass off to bed to start afresh tomorrow. And then what happens?

Mr. Stick comes down with a case of clueless husband. The man decides that it's okay to, just as I am surrendering to sleep, plop down beside me in bed, pop open the laptop, and WATCH GLEE CLIPS ON HULU WITH THE VOLUME ON FULL.

After a couple of minutes of me silently going "WTF?" I ask him very nicely if he would consider wearing headphones because didn't I tell him not less than two minutes before that I was exhausted and wanting to sleep? He, of course, apologizes, but at this point the damage is done. I am so AWAKE from the Madonna music and just pissed off at life in general.

Putting this all down in writing makes me realize what a freaking drama queen I am, but I'm hauling out the "I'm-on-Clomid-get-outta-jail-free" card for this little tantrum right now. It's 2am, and I'm so worked up I still can't sleep and get this day over with!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy ICLW!

Wow, it's already ICLW again! Hello, and thanks for stopping by. The background details are all in this post.

As for the low-down on this cycle, I'm in the middle of my third round of Clomid, and I'll probably have an IUI sometime early next week. I have been consistently ovulating on day 16 on this stuff, which is amazing to me since I'm usually a 35-day cycler. I'm also doing acupuncture once a week. If this cycle doesn't pan out, my RE wants me to move on to injectibles. Sigh.

I'm usually a pretty chatty person, but I've been a little challenged in the energy and creativity arenas lately. I am totally blown away by my fellow bloggers' ability to churn out post-after-post of interesting content for months at a time. Anyway, due to said lack of creativity, I will lean on the tried-and-true crutch of:

The ABCs of Me
  • Age: 33. Except for the IF thing, in which age is my enemy, I actually like being in my 30's. I am ever so much more together now than in my 20's.
  • Bed: King size, and it's still too small. You'd think that a Yorkshire terrier, a tiny asian chick, and an average guy would easily have room to spare, but we're all space hogs.
  • Chore you hate: Washing the dishes, especially since we don't have a dishwasher (long story) in the house.
  • Dog: Fetch (not his real name, but it's pretty darn close actually). 10-lb yorkie with a 200-lb attitude (see "Bed" above). He was a rescue dog and is probably one of the best things to ever happen to us.
  • Essential start your day item: Tea. Green is my favorite, though I usually go herbal during the 2ww.
  • Favorite color: Depends on my mood. Wine red today.
  • Gold or silver: As an investment, gold. (The strike price on gold is just whoa.) For jewelry, silver. 
  • Height: 5' 1" - on a good day
  • Instrument you play: Took piano lessons until college - can barely play scales anymore. I was blessed with a great set of pipes though and can sing pretty well.
  • Job title: Web marketer. Wish it were "Mom."
  • Kids: Sigh. See "Job Title" above.
  • Living arrangements: A cabin-like house in the rural part of Austin, Texas. Badly needs a new kitchen (see "Chore you hate" above) and a new floor in the master bath, but I love it.
  • Mom: I hit the lottery with her. I don't think I will ever live up to the amazing example this woman set for me, but that's not gonna stop me from trying...if I get lucky.
  • Nicknames: Teeny, Princess (in a sweet tone of voice if it's my husband; in a sarcastic voice if it's my sister)
  • Overnight hospital stay other than birth: None!
  • Pet Peeves: Stupid people. Sad, but true. I have no patience for stupidity or cluelessness whatsoever - I'm such an elitist liberal in that way.
  • Quote from a movie: "I'm not a witch, I'm your wife!" from The Princess Bride.
  • Right or left-handed: Right, though I'm strangely left-dominant in sports.
  • Siblings: One younger sister and one older sister-in-law. Hit the lottery with those two as well, as we all truly love and support each other.
  • Time you wake up: I wish I could say 7am, but no...9am...on a good day. I work from home and set my own hours.
  • Underwear: No-nonsense cotton bikinis, unless I'm well...you know. I do not get thongs.
  • Vegetable you dislike: Eggplant and okra. Okra is ewwww.
  • Ways you run late: Husband. I used to be 5-10 minutes early for everything. If husband is in tow, I'm lucky to be 5-10 minutes late.
  • X-rays you've had: Besides dental, my first major x-ray was the lovely HSG for diagnosing my infertility. It came out all clear, which I know is good but gave me no answers whatsoever.
  • Yummy food you make: Freshly baked bread. I'm so proud of myself for this one.
  • Zoo favorite: The big cats. I don't believe in zoos in general, but the Austin Zoo is different because they take in rejects from circuses and other zoos, as well as "confiscated" exotics. 
Hope that was semi-interesting. Leave a comment, and say hi!

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010


    That's the new term Mr. Stick and I have been bandying about that encompasses my descent into the hazy, hot-blooded, teary-eyed fog I go into when I'm "under the influence." :)

    I'm a little less whacked out this go-around than last - DH is trying hard to be more patient and sensitive with me, and my acupuncturists put me on a different herb regiment to keep me "cooler." I can tell that I'm less edgy, but I'm still getting super hot at night.

    Dreams have been really odd and disturbing again. Last night's was kind of gross, so you should stop reading if you're squeamish. I dreamt that I got my period and was passing...plants. Yes, plants.

    I have no idea what to make of it - if I think of it one way, it seems to suggest fertility. But if I think of it another way, it seems like everything is a lost cause down there. Or maybe it's just because of all the "stick" references in this blog.

    In other news, I've just learned that two friends are both pregnant with their first. They are few years older than I am, so DH thinks that this bodes well for us. Maybe, but I somehow doubt they took 2+ years to conceive. At this point, it's like comparing apples with oranges. I know age matters and all that, but infertility is infertility.

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    No Deduction for 2010

    Sorry I didn't post this week. Tax time around our household is huge nightmare because I do all my freelance work under a separate LLC, and we have a partnership interest in a clinic out of state, so we end up sending in something like 4 or 5 tax returns as well as a big ol' check every April. Which I try to think of as a good thing, because if we are sending in money that means we're making it.

    Anyway, to continue in the vein of GlumBunny's census post, the IRS has so many lovely ways to prick at the infertile. The big one is the child deduction, and then you also have tax credits for adoption.

    What burned me in particular this year was when we were trying to determine estimated taxes for 2010, and the question came up of whether or not we thought we could get a child deduction for 2010. The timing is pretty nefarious if you think about it. If the cut-off date for the child deduction is a birthday on December 31, then you generally need to conceive (premature births notwithstanding) before the last week of March/first week of April. Which means the 2WW ends squarely around the income tax deadline. Which is kind of what happened to me.

    So no child deduction for 2010. Hope 2011 brings a different story. 

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Cleaning the Closets...

    After finishing up a major work project in February, I rewarded myself with a piece of furniture I've been hankering after for a while now - a big 10-drawer dresser to contain all the clothes that have started leaking out of a much smaller chest of drawers. I picked out a simple, sturdy, unfinished oak piece from a local furniture store a few weeks ago, spent last weekend finishing it with a beautiful golden tung oil, and we happily moved it into our bedroom on Friday.

    Today, I started moving my clothes into it. I love organizing in general and started out having a fun time of it. But then little reminders and questions started creeping up into every decision I made:
    • I haven't worn this shirt in forever, and it's a little big on me. Why don't I donate it? But wait, it's got a nice empire waist. Wouldn't it be great for early pregnancy? Oh yeah, that's why I keep holding on to it.
    • Hmm...these skirts barely fit anymore. I should work out a little more to fit back into them. But what if I get pregnant? Surely I will never be able to fit into them post-partum, and I'll need the room for maternity clothes. So I'll throw them out. But wait, what if I don't get pregnant? Should I really throw these skirts out then? They were such a good find.
    • Okay, now that I've emptied the old chest of drawers, maybe I should put some of DH's clothes in them, so he doesn't have to keep using those plastic Target drawers in the closet. But wait, didn't I plan on moving the old chest to the guest room so that we can put baby clothes in it when the time comes? Didn't we talk about putting a diaper changing station on it because it's the perfect height? So if I fill it up with DH's clothes, does that mean I've lost faith, or should I just buy the baby a whole bunch of brand new furniture when the time comes?
    It all got to be too much for me, and Mr. Stick found me sitting in front of my brand new dresser with tears in my eyes. I hate that I can't make decisions around what clothes to keep and what to throw out. I hate that writing this has made me realized that I haven't done any major clothes shopping in the last eighteen months because I  keep hoping that I'll get pregnant and won't fit the things I am buying.

    I know that these decisions are simple. I can always throw out clothes, buy new clothes, move DH's clothes out of the old chest, and/or buy new furniture. But IF is clouding it all in my head.

    Each decision has been reduced to whether: "I'm hoping to get pregnant soon, so I should plan around that." or "Just keep on living like nothing is going to change."

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Calling the game early so we can all go home.

    Temps have been falling the last two days, and the big fat one-liner this morning pretty much drove the point home for me.

    I usually wait at least a few more days longer to test - mostly because experience has taught me that taking a pregnancy test is a surefire means to bring on AF. But I didn't want to play the mind game of "What if this is just an implantation dip?" with myself like I do so many other cycles, so I nipped hope in the bud. I realize this is terribly negative of me, but it's a self-preservation thing. Prolonging the hope = prolonging the pain.

    This way, I can have a good cry when AF shows up, dry the tears all the faster and gird myself against another showdown with the Clomid.

    I've got at least a weekend full of distractions to keep some of the blackness at bay. There's a local festival going on with all sorts of arts and crafts and rides, plus a BBQ cookoff that DH gets to help judge. And tomorrow we're all going out to dinner with the hostess I met at the chocolate party a few weeks ago and her husband. I don't know if IF is going to come up with the husbands around, and I'm a little worried that it'll set me off on a sadness spree, but who better to condole and share a drink with, right?

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Bump on a log...

    Sorry for not having posted for a few days. I've been feeling seriously unmotivated these days. Not just blog-wise, but life in general. I'm treading water or maybe even just floating...doing the minimum I can to keep my clients from firing me and my house from turning into a condemned disaster zone.

    I'm not really tired, just...blah. And I'm not really sad or depressed - in fact, being sad or depressed would take too much energy. More like I'm not in the mood to expend energy to exert control over the things I usually like to control and keep the chaos/entropy/craziness of life at bay. I'm just wanting to curl up on the couch with a not-too-brain-taxing read and some episodic television. Wake me up if the apocalypse comes, otherwise I'm not budging.

    Of course, this is the one of the worst times I could be sinking into "bump on a log" mode what with taxes due and a bunch of other spring projects to tackle. And it doesn't help at all that Mr. Stick is like the energizer bunny around me either - just his ability to *do* something makes me feel like a guilty bag of lazybones.

    Sigh. Since I haven't taken Clomid for a few weeks now, I need to find a new scapegoat. Maybe it's the weather. The past few days the weather has gone from lovely warm spring to hot and muggy. Yep - got about oh...two weeks of spring. Stupid Texas weather.

    Anyway, I'm nearing the second half of the 2ww which means I should at least have the energy in a few days to go crazy watching my temperature and analyzing every twinge and ache. But right now even just thinking about that makes me...blah.