Monday, May 4, 2009

Tertia's book shower

My new job is situated directly across the road from the fertility clinic.  I take that as a good sign.  I look for good signs everywhere.  Where I can't find them, I make them up. (So Close, page 51)

I loved this book.  I devoured it in two nights, laying in bed reading as my husband rolled over murmuring, "when are you going to turn the light off?" and I kept saying, "after this last chapter," which then turned into nine chapters later, and I'm still reading.  

I was reading it in the stim-drug phase of my first IVF cycle.  I admit that I wondered if it was a good idea to read about someone who failed eight times at IVF while undergoing the treatment myself.  I think I was literally wondering if that was a bad sign when I read the sentence above: "I look for good signs everywhere.  Where I can't find them, I make them up."

Tertia, you are my sister.  I am a professional sign-reader/maker-up-of-signs (even though I know this is a bad idea and it is certainly very questionable theology most of the time).  

It's as if I can't help myself.  I desperately want something to hang onto, something to lead me in any direction.  I kept telling myself it was a good sign that I was responding without side effects to the stim drugs.  That it was a good sign everytime I got a parking spot close to the doctor's office, or that traffic was light when I had an appointment all the way across town.  For the first time in a long time, during that IVF cycle, I felt like it was a good thing to see pregnant women; maybe their baby mojo would rub off on  me.  Maybe I was finally going to be one of them!  

I kid you not: if there was a good sign to be had during that IVF cycle, I found it.  And yes, when I couldn't find them, I made them up.

And then the cycle crashed and burned in a spectacular manner.  (If you're new to this blog, quick summary: initial positive test, followed by 'abnormally rising betas' for two weeks = ectopic pregnancy.)

Then I looked back at all the bad signs I must have missed which surely would have given me a warning that we were headed for disaster.  And I found those too.

I loved Tertia's brutal honesty, and her unique brand of eternal-optimist-mixed-with-pissed-off-at-reality writing.  I can relate.  Our diagnoses are different.  I admit that I hope our journeys will be too: I know, at this point, that I do not have nine IVF tries in me (and neither does my checkbook).  

My personal mantra is to try as hard as possible to avoid sign-looking when we start treatments again.  I don't think it's good for me.  I know I will not entirely succeed at this, but it's something to work on.  

Reading this book, however, is nothing but a good sign.  Go get one for yourself.  I'll make it easy for you: go here.

Oh - and my book shower game?  You guessed it: are you a sign-reader?  Do you search for them everywhere, or do you think people like me are nutcases?  (Both of those might be true, by the way.)  What's the craziest sign you've ever seen?  Do you think reading signs is a good idea, or a recipe for disaster?

Now I'm off to the rest of the shower.  Enjoy!


  1. Do I read signs? Not At All. I'm the most cynical hard-core scientist Show me the PROOF damnit woman I know. Astrology annoys me, catching a green light or a parking space in front of the mall is only a sign of statistics and don't get me started on early pregnancy symptoms. They're all the same as period symptoms!!!

    Cough. Although... Uhm. Yes fine, I break the wishbone on the chicken every time when nobody is looking. I do wish upon shooting stars. The last time I blew out a birthday candle was long ago, but yes, I did. Because I hope, and I wish, and if there is a pit to be filled of my heart's desire in order for it to be heard, I guess each of those helps. Who knows. :)

  2. I used to catch myself noting "signs" fairly often, and am doing my best to stop. It was like a bad habit, and (like you) it really isn't good for me. I'd take certain things as "good" signs that were not, and vice versa. Small things like how many red lights stopped me, or whether my skin is clear, or if my computer starts quickly. I now try to enjoy moments in which things "click," and not dwell on moments where they don't. Otherwise I can make myself a bit crazy!

  3. I am an unwilling and somewhat un-conscious sign-reader. I don't generally believe in signs, but I find myself hoping nonetheless. I also think others who DO read signs are crazy (somewhat hypocritically).

    Three of the days I was expecting either AF or a positive HPT were on major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter). Before each day, I was sure that this was a good sign, and every time I ended up with AF and a BFN. Now I'm terrified to have a test day on a holiday, and it keeps happening. Even though I have a good feeling (and no reason to feel otherwise) about this cycle, the fact that the 2ww ends on Mother's Day is freaking me out. That is why I'll be testing a day early.

  4. I'm not a sign-reader. I actively AVOID looking for signs. But, at the same time, I don't think sign-readers like you and Tertia are crazy. Frankly, I think it's a great coping mechanism. It just happens to backfire too much for me and it drives me crazy, so I don't do it.

  5. I know that I look for "signs" myself, but I am drawing a total blank right now in thinking of examples. I know I'll hear certain songs on the radio that I'll take as signs sometimes.

    I loved your review, and especially your description of "Tertia's brutal honesty, and her unique brand of eternal-optimist-mixed-with-pissed-off-at-reality writing." Perfect description!! ; )

  6. i used to be crazy with signs... but more random ones that i created myself, like phones ringing before 5 or hitting 3 lights in a row on the way home or something... hmm, that actually sounds a like asperger-y now that i think about it. i seem to have outgrown it though. however, my 'signs' these days are more like coincedences and are all tinged with grief. at my transfer this time, my nurse told me to be calm and try to think of my favorite beach. this would normally be a completely ok thing to say to someone... however, i will never again think of a beach without being brought back to the beach in the bahamas that e & i had our little ceremony 2 days after the birth and death of our girls. so, now i'm stuck...i can take this as a negative sign of coming doom & gloom. or a positive sign of my angels looking out for me & my embies this cycle. i suppose the end result will affect how i read it...

  7. ps how funny... we blogged about the same thing! staying up too late reading this book :)

  8. I don't think you are a nutcase :)
    I look for signs everywhere, make them up, and try to ignore the ones that I don't want to see. I am very sorry about your ectopic. That must be really painful after the happiness of a BFP.
    For my IVF cycle, I had a small collage on the wall next to my bed, a mojo of sorts, with pregnant bellies e babies. Two days before the beta, I discovered it had fallen from the wall as I woke up. Then DH has also knocked down a picture frame with the two of us, on top of which I had placed a tiny baby doll. The frame broke a little and I knew what those two things meant. And they did.
    Good to hear you want to try again. And thanks for the tip on the book, I'll check it out.

  9. I think I did look for signs but can't come up with a lot of specific examples. I am surprised at how much is gone from my memory banks.

    I just wanted to say how very sorry I am to hear of your ectopic pregnancy. I've had 2 and they both suck in a way that is nearly incomprehensible.

    Here's to good signs ahead.

  10. I am totally a sign-reader, and saw signs all over the place when I was going through my cycle. And whenever things aren't going so hot, I think about all of the bad signs I might have missed. I don't know why I do it to myself, but I find believing (rather than rationally poring through facts) generally makes me feel better. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but anyway.

    I hope that you're doing OK -- I've been enjoying your open letter posts. Go SJP!

  11. I am a total sign reader. I believe in the pure craziness caused by a full moon. I wish on falling stars. If a favorite song is on the radio when I start my car, I am convinced it is the sign of a good day. Ahhhh . . . Can't help it!!

  12. I believe in signs, although I don't actively make them up. I think with IF, it's hard not to look for signs, because all we want is a signal of hope, that this journey will finally be over.

    So sorry to hear of your ectopic.