Sunday, January 31, 2010

scene from a Sunday morning

In case you wondered: yes, it is possible that your pastor forgot her IVF injections at home and so had to call her husband in a panic, who (although he was going to skip church) drove down to give her said medications (thus explaining why he came in through the back door in sweats, having not shaved) - and that the relatively long time she spent in the bathroom was, in fact, not spent on primping or straightening the robe, but in ripping off her microphone, pulling open the robe, and hurriedly injecting the cetro.tide that she was supposed to have injected 30 minutes ago, all while muttering, "shitshitshitshitshit" under her breath and making yet another resolution NOT to swear in church because one of these days, that microphone is going to be accidentally on, and then there's going to be some trouble.

Just in case you wondered.

Friday, January 29, 2010

giuliana, bill, and me - take two

Okay. I have decided to give Giuliana and Bill, stars of their self-named reality show, another try. In spite of hideous promotional materials such as these,

which make me want to stuff one of those bunnies down their throats, the fact is, it's really hard to find anyone in the celebrity-industrial complex willing to admit fertility problems.

I watched the last episode, in which Bill and Giuliana went to a 'fertility specialist' (as far as I can tell, he's actually their Ob-Gyn, which is not exactly a 'fertility specialist,' but there you go). The doctor gave them a highly complicated treatment plan: Giuliana needs to gain 5 pounds, and they need to have sex slightly less often, given Bill's minor sperm count issues. (I do give Bill props for being willing to admit this on national television. Not the kind of thing most guys want out there in the public.)

I'm home this afternoon, and the next two episodes just happen to be on, so I'm going to watch them and see what happens. Join me, would you?

First, meet the cast of characters:

Giuliana, host of E! News and random other celebrity stuff on E!. Slightly whiny. Too skinny. But she speaks Italian, which is cool.

Bill, who won some season of the Apprentice, from what I gather. Cute. Pretty charming, actually. And despite Giuliana's whiny-ness, they are sweet together.

Matthew, works for Giuliana. Seems to be on show only as "generic gay assistant," with very little to do except make Giuliana seem slightly less stupid by comparison.

Here we go.

Episode One: In Which They Do a Charity Run and The Family Demands A Baby RIGHT NOW

1:00: show on. Bill is going to do some kind of 10K run to raise money for cancer treatments, in honor of his dad. Giuliana is traumatized by the explosion of the 'fresh-pack,' those little paper squares filled with beads, that came with her new purse. I seriously do not understand how this woman is going to handle actual children.

1:05: They discuss whether to tell their families that they are trying to get pregnant. Giuliana says yes; Bill says no. I'm with Bill, who quotes Kenny Rogers: "you never count your money while you're sitting at the table." Never argue with someone who can quote Kenny Rogers at will.

1:07: arrival of Bill's mom. Awkward Reality TV Conversation ensues, in which you can tell that everyone there is chatting for the sake of Looking Very Natural and Spontaneous While On Television.

1:08: Giuliana panics about upcoming reunion with her high school friends. Thinks she will look too old. Confusing, as she wears so much makeup I'm not sure how any of the aging process would be noticeable at this point.

1:10: Bill and Giuliana on the treadmill, training for the 10K race. They tease each other about who's going to win. This actually sounds a lot like my husband and me, if we were ever on the treadmill. More like competing over who's going to eat the last brownie in this house, my friends.

1:12: That girl wears a lot of makeup while on the treadmill. But I probably would too, if I were exercising on national TV. Perish the thought.

1:13: While Bill packs for their trip, Giuliana and Matthew are going to do "Fertility Yoga." Sigh.

1:14: Fertility Yoga ensues. Here's the trouble I have with this show: while I want to be supportive of a couple who's willing to discuss fertility problems openly, this particular show is making almost everything a joke. Ha, ha, ha, we're trying fertility yoga! I can feel my birth canal opening right now! (Giuliana actually said this.) Isn't this cute! Aren't we funny! As a fertility patient, watching from home, let me just say to you both: NOT THAT FUNNY.

1:17: Giuliana claims again that yoga is "opening up my canal, babe." Think Guiliana might need a serious biology lesson. And possibly a slap in the face.

1:18: Giuliana brings up the "let's tell the family we're trying to get pregnant" possibility again. Bill thinks this is too much pressure. Hey, everybody's different, but let me just say: Giuliana, listen to your husband. He is right. Keep your bloody mouths shut.

1:20: decision made: wait to tell family until actually pregnant. Smile wanly at idea that people think they can get pregnant. Then remember that most people actually can get pregnant. Sigh.

1:21: Giuliana and high school friends reunite. Slightly charmed by Giuliana's willingness to show high school yearbook photo, albeit briefly. Meanwhile, Bill is home with Giuliana's family. Apparently, they mostly speak Italian. Feel that confused look on Bill's face has also been on own face when talking to own in-laws, who admittedly speak English, but often have widely divergent views from self. In-Law Face is universal, I think.

1:23: Giuliana confesses fertility problems to high school friends. "It's not as easy as I thought it would be," she says. True that. "Try not to worry, it stresses you out," says friend. Clearly friend has children. Might hate friend.

1:25: Bill and Giuliana at cancer fund-raising race. Both get weepy when discussing his dad. Sweet. Also, note that Giuliana is now wearing more human amount of makeup. Looks good.

1:26: race. Enjoying Giuliana's brother, who is walking a the very end of the group. Like him. Feel at one with him. Would do the same thing, most likely. Giuliana gets a cramp while running. Whines. SHOCKER.

1:27: more discussion of Bill's dad. Both weepy. Totally understandable, and very heartfelt, in opposition to the tone of the rest of the show. In spite of self, get slightly teary. Choose to blame fertility drugs.

1:28: dinner with Giuliana's family. Giuliana's brother asks why they don't have kids. Now do not feel at one with brother: hate brother.

1:29: "It's a simple question: when are you guys going to have kids?" REALLY hate brother now. Long Pause With Dramatic Music While Focusing On Concerned Family Faces follows. Giuliana admits "we are trying to get pregnant!" Note: she admits nothing about fertility problems. Feel alternately irritated by chickenshit response and understanding as have given same cheerful answer myself to demanding groups of people.

1:30: Giuliana's family thinks it will happen "next month!" and toasts to "masculine children!" Think of own undemanding family (Scandinavian - we don't talk about anything, which comes in handy sometimes) with gratitude.

Episode Two: In Which Bill Flies with the Air Force and Giuliana Has An HSG

1:30: Bill and Giuliana complain about their Super Busy Lives in which they have So Much to Do and How Hard it is to Have So Much Money, etc. Whatever.

1:31: Bill confesses that he is going on a flight with the Air Force Fighter Jet guys. Could never do that. Never, ever, ever. Giuliana suggests renting Top Gun instead and staying safely on ground. Think Giuliana has a good idea, there.

1:32: This Week's Big Conflict: Bill is going to fly with the Air Force on the same day that Giuliana is going to be on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Crisis! Terrible, real-life, not-at-all-staged, and obviously Terribly Important, CRISIS! What shall they do?

1:33: Bill brings in actual 5th graders to quiz Giuliana, who cannot name 1.) The Bill of Rights, 2.) The Great Lakes, or 3.) anything else. She blames this on having gone to elementary school in Italy. Find self very irritated by consistent portrayal of Giuliana as Charming Airhead. Why can't any women on television be smart? What happened to Murphy Brown? Find self despondent for future of possible daughter. Sigh.

1:35: Giuliana and Bill's mom have coffee. Giuliana tries to use her mother-in-law to dissuade Bill from flying with the Thunderbirds. Giuliana then has Heartfelt Realization that Bill really wants to do this, so she should support him. Whatever.

1:36: back to the fertility stuff - Giuliana talks about the HSG, not that she would use that term, in which her "baby doctor" (still the ob-gyn - get an RE, people) is going to "make sure her fallopian tubes are clear and open." Fairly accurate. Props to Giuliana. She is nervous: perfectly understandable. Doctor insists on this test. He is right. Giuliana, however, does not know the very basics of human anatomy and cannot seem to figure out whether this test is about her tubes or her uterus. Airhead qualities of Giuliana increasingly irritating.

1:38: now to L.A., where Giuliana is getting ready for Are You Smarter than A Fifth Grader? Matthew accompanies her as her "gay husband." Giuliana is traumatized that she may, in fact, not be smarter than a fifth grader. Suspect that she is correct.

1:39: meanwhile, Bill goes through testing for scary plane ride.

1:40: Giuliana is freaking out about appearing on Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? "in front of the whole country." Cheer up, Giuliana: nobody watches that show. She is "petrified." Bill has recorded special video to make her feel better. Giuliana proceeds to do well on the show and answers all kinds of things correctly. Confirms theory: Giuliana is not nearly as stupid as she acts. Murphy Brown would kick her ass for this.

1:42: Giuliana is now sure that Bill is going to die in a fiery plane crash. While acknowledging that her panic is clearly made-for-TV, strongly suspect self would feel the same way if husband were taking joyride in F-16. Give thanks for husband's lack of celebrity connections.

1:43: Giuliana could not focus on E! news because "Bill is up in the sky risking his life." We are all very, very lucky that she managed to pull it together. What if we could not get our daily Brangelina fix? What would happen? Civilization as we know it would end. Close one, G.

1:45: Bill goes up in plane. Think Bill is nuts. Bill throws up. Imagine self, in similar situation, would not be able to stop throwing up.

1:47: Bill safe on ground. Giuliana thinks that hearing Bill's voice is "better than winning on Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, times a million." Sweet, but oddly self-promoting. Perhaps accurate summary of Giuliana, actually.

1:48: time for HSG. Giuliana sums it up: "the doctor puts a dye in the fallopian tubes, and if there's any kind of blockage, you can't have a baby." Sigh.

1:49: HSG was painless. Unrealistic. But whatever. However, her uterus appears to be in the wrong place. Doctor "has never seen this before." What is wrong? Surely we will find out? Ooops - to be continued.

OMG: what is wrong with Giuliana's uterus? Will Bill's sperm ever find their way? Will they ever have a baby? Tune in the same time next week - same reality time, same reality place...

that's the thing. I think there could be a way to portray a couple with fertility problems, and do it in a responsible, honest, and helpful manner. This show is, so far, NOT IT. I can't imagine a show in which any other medical issue would be treated as cute entertainment. Would Giuliana and Matthew giggle at popsicles and whisper insults about the tackiness of chemo patients' headscarves while taping Giuliana's Battle With Cancer? Would E! send out a promotional poster of Bill in a MRI machine, all part of this season's Will Bill Survive His Brain Tumor two-part special?

Look, I get it: infertility is not a life-threatening disease. It's not going to end your physical life, although it does threaten to end the life you imagined, and that's no small thing. It's a medical problem, or a series of medical problems, and my issue with the show comes down to that: medical problems are not entertainment. Maybe it's because everything else in this show feels so staged that the fertility part comes off the same way: as if they needed to invent a conflict so they'd have something interesting to put on the poster. You can just feel that this season's "fertility problem" is going to turn into next season's "Giuliana's pregnancy," followed by "Bill and Giuliana as parents," in which the generic gay assistant cannot figure out how to change a diaper and Giuliana thinks the breast pump is a juicer. Or whatever.

But my life is not staged. And my problem is not going to be neatly wrapped up in 22 episodes. And maybe theirs isn't either, but there's nothing sincere enough here to convince me otherwise.

And yet, I'm going to watch the next episode.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

oh, that's right. i remember you.

Ah, men.opur. You had tricked me the past few days - I remembered you as the dose o' acid in my subcutaneous self, but you snuck in at the beginning of this cycle. You really got me; I was convinced that I must have blown your intense burning sensation way out of proportion. "Wow," I said to myself last night, "this isn't so bad. What was I complaining about last time?"

And then, like a thief in the night, like Jay Leno sneaking up on Conan and stealing the Tonight Show from right under his pasty little fingers, BAM! Tonight I marched into the bathroom, vastly overconfident, injected that silly little Men.opur syringe and HOLY FREAKING COW THAT STUFF DOES BURN LIKE ACID, CURSE THE BASTARD WHO INVENTED THIS ALTHOUGH I REALLY HOPE IT WORKS.

Otherwise, all other meds going fine. Ultrasound tomorrow.

**Edited post-ultrasound: 14 follicles going strong! It looks like retrieval is mostly likely next Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Nothing dramatic (which is nice), so just a quick update:
  • Meds are going fine. I've had to be away from home three nights out of the past five, which is really unusual, so I've also become a pro at packing a mini-cooler which looks like lunch but, when opened, appears to be...well, not lunch. I seem to bruise every time on the left side, but never on the right. Good times. Otherwise, no particular side effects - though I can't tell if yesterday's headache was lack of sleep, or medicinally induced. Time will tell.
  • Ultrasound yesterday showed between 17-19 follicles! Woo hoo! Five are leading the pack, so it remains to be seen if the rest will catch up, but it's a significant improvement over last time, when 12 was the top number seen (and we ended up with 5 eggs retrieved). I'm adding cetr.ocide tomorrow morning and go in for another ultrasound on Friday.
  • I love acupuncture. Just wanted to say that.
  • Work is busy. More going on than I anticipated. Mostly, this is good; keeps me from sitting around all day thinking about estrogen levels and egg numbers.
  • Hmmm...headache coming on again. Oh, well. Could be worse.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Last night, I hung out with the elementary kids at church. They have a group that meets every Wednesday night, and last night the big topic was, "Stump the Pastor." They've been coming up with questions for several weeks - questions which, they informed me at dinner, were SUPER EXTRA TOTALLY HARD AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO KNOW THEM. "Bring it on," I said to a fifth-grader, who snapped her fingers in response and replied, "it's been brung."


Anyway, about half the questions were in the Random Biblical Trivia category, and I got most of those right. Not all of them: I do not know "what page Adam and Eve are on," and also, I cannot recite the books of the Bible backward. (I don't even think I can recite them forward, to be honest.)

Another set of questions could be categorized as, "random stuff we are going to ask her because there is no freaking way she could possibly know the answer." My favorite question in this category: "what are seeds made of?" This was followed by a very long silence on my part. I was, indeed, stumped.

And then there were the "get to know the pastor" questions, including, "What is your house like?" and, "do you have a dog?" and, "where did you grow up?"

Before I tell you the rest of that story, let me interrupt to say that one of the girls in this program, who is about seven years old, is the kind of kid who is preternaturally smart in some ways - who thinks at a much deeper level than most of her peers - but who also has absolutely no sense of personal boundaries. None. Zip. Nada. Here's an example: when we had finished all the written questions and it was time for a sort of question-free-for-all, she marched up to my face, pointed at the mole right below my left eyebrow, and asked very loudly, "What is THAT?"

Again: awesome.

So. One of the pre-written questions in the "get to know the pastor" category was, of course, "do you have a baby?" "No," I said. I looked at the mom asking the pre-written questions, who was ready to move on to the next one - except for our Smart But Boundary-less Friend, who asked in a voice as if she could not believe how unbelievably foolish I was to have waited this long because my biological clock is ticking like a time bomb, "well, when are you going to get pregnant?" I smiled and said, "I think we should move to the next question," and our little friend said again, in a voice every bit as impatient as every nosy adult who tortures the infertile for fun, "no, really! WHEN?"

I am telling you this story for three simple reasons:
1. Because you should be forewarned that questions about how you'd better hurry up and have a baby can come from unexpected quarters;
2. Because you can never escape such questions, no matter how hard you try;
and, most importantly,
3. Because I would like some credit for managing to remember that it would be neither socially nor professionally appropriate to tell a seven-year-old during a church-sponsored activity to "shut the fuck up."

That is all. Carry on.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the last one

Today is my last birth control pill.

Going on the pill to get ready for an IVF cycle always makes me laugh a little. It's like when I was younger, bringing my curling iron on overnights, and people would always look at my naturally-VERY-curly hair and ask, with a baffled look on their faces, "Why do you need a curling iron?" "To straighten my hair," I would reply, as if this were the most normal thing in the world. "Why are you on birth control?" "In order to get pregnant, silly. Isn't that how most people do it?"

I think about the November day, four years ago, when I took my last birth control pill - having been under the impression that said pills were keeping me from getting pregnant. (Silly girl.) I remember how hopeful and exciting it was. Maybe that's why it's fun to stop taking them again; I get to recapture a little bit of that hope and excitement, a little bit of the long-ago person who started counting nine months ahead every single month. I used to be bitter about this. If none of the three cycles we have ahead turn out successfully, it's entirely possible I'll be bitter again - but not now.

For one thing, though I know how hard this fertility journey has been for me and for us, I have only to turn on the news to see the suffering in Haiti and remember how far removed I am from grinding poverty, from bone-deep fear, from not having clean water, from hearing the cries of those buried under rubble. We all have our sorrows, and the terrible suffering of others doesn't erase our own personal grief - but sometimes a big dose of perspective hits you in the face.

I keep reminding myself not to borrow trouble - not to think ahead to all the "what if's" in front of us. For now, this is enough: the medications are at the house. The birth control pills are done. The appointments are made, the first shot has been given (not bad! Maybe cetro.cide is not as terrifying as the name sounds), and we're on the way.

At Friday's appointment, I had 6 follicles on the left side and 9 on the right; more than last time. So I'm going to think about these good things, and pray for the people of Haiti. (Have you sent some money? We have. Not much, but some. You should, too. Really. Even if it doesn't feel like much, a million small gifts really add up.)

And then, tomorrow, morning, I'm not going to take a birth control pill. I'll take a deep breath instead, and hope. One more time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

guiliana, bill, and me

I have a few embarrassing TV loves. I kind of like Tori and Dean: Inn Love in Hollywood With Babies And Motorcycles, or whatever the name of that show is. I used to like Bridezillas, but now the women are so crazy-ass rude that it makes me want to take a shower afterward, so I stopped that one. I'm slightly addicted to Say Yes to the Dress.

And then I got sucked into Guiliana and Bill, about that super skinny girl from E! and her cute reality-TV husband. Really: he is about the only normal person I have ever seen on TV. And also, cute.

Anyway. Tonight, they're airing an episode about how they're going to a fertility doctor. This could be good. Let's watch together, shall we?

5:05: oops; forgot show was on. Turn on. My bad.

5:06: They go to the fertility doctor, who first off tells them that they are not considered infertile until they've been trying for a year. I missed the first 5 minutes, wherein they might have discussed how long they've been trying, but obviously it's less than 12 months. I hate them right now. Wimps.

5:07: doctor gives them this creepy speech about how making babies is like "making a recipe," so they need sperm, and eggs, and then "a quiche dish," which is apparently supposed to be her uterus. I would have kicked this guy in the head.

5:09: But they like the doctor, so whatever. Doctor performs ultrasound on Guiliana. Lord, but that girl needs a sandwich. All looks good.

5:10: Doctor leaves room. Bill whispers that doctor pulled him aside in the hallway to tell him that Guiliana needs to gain 5 pounds. (Note earlier comment about sandwich: I am now able to diagnose fertility problems just from looking at a person. Am brilliant scientist!) Guiliana immediately looks depressed. I would be depressed that my doctor had neither the respect nor the cojones to tell me this himself, but Guiliana is only thinking about how her job requires her to wear Super Skinny Sample clothing, and she is crushed by this news. I can feel every woman in America hating her right now. Including me. Also am wondering how she plans to deal with pregnancy and post-baby body if gaining 5 pounds puts her into a tailspin.

5:11: Doctor ready to give Bill's sperm analysis results. But network puts "long, fake pause with dramatic music" moment here and goes to commercial. Bastards.

5:16: back from commercial. Bill has 47 million. Apparently they are having too much sex. Bill thinks she has "old eggs." (They are kind of cute together, actually.) Doctor prescribes "sex every other day." I think of entire drawer of fertility drugs in my bathroom. Sigh.

5:18: Guiliana goes shopping with Generic Gay Assistant for ovulation predictor tests. (That guy has had a really bad tan job.) Guiliana and Matthew laugh about ugly maternity underwear. Lesson One: do not buy underwear at drug store. I feel like I know that already.

5:20: Guiliana and Matthew try out ovulation predictor tests. Fertility problems are so funny! Ha, ha, ha! Too cute! Extreme emotional, physical, financial and spiritual pain of millions of Americans is THE FUNNIEST TOPIC EVER and I am SO CUTE WHEN I MAKE FUN OF IT WITH MY ASSISTANT! Ha, ha, ha! Look at my hideous maternity underwear!

5:21: Bill ignores them and goes to watch TV. I like Bill.

5:22: Guiliana goes to make ovulation calendar. Agree with Bill that presence of Assistant is creepy and weird. Bill and Guiliana find out that they will be in separate cities on Magic Baby Day. Think of all Magic Baby Days in past four years. Sigh.

5:23: Bill has really well-groomed eyebrows. I'm just saying.

5:23: Bill goes to some university for motivational speaking. Insert motivational cliches here. Then goes to see Rachael Ray. He's giving coupon tips. Bill does not look like much of a coupon-clipper, but you never know. Think that Bill is unaware that most of the coupons in newspaper are for overpriced and unnecessary items.

5:24: Guiliana tries to spice up their sex life. Meanwhile, Bill is signing books, all the while thinking about Magic Baby Night for which he MUST RETURN HOME BECAUSE THIS IS THE NIGHT TO MAKE BABY. Guiliana home, waiting for Magic Baby Night to commence. Commercial.

5:25: Included in commercial break: ad for pregnancy test. Consider claim of ad that huge numbers of people can't read pregnancy tests correctly. Weep for future of nation.

5:26: Back to action. Bill sells lots of books while Guiliana, who is nearly too stupid to open a bottle of wine (or perhaps too weak: eat sandwich, woman) sets up candles and roses, etc. Bill is running late. Guiliana is bored. Eats mud pie. Now I like her a little more. Guiliana keeps leaving messages for him, which is clearly stupid as he is on a plane somewhere. But she eats more. Good job, girl. Keep eating.

5:28: Bill arrives home. Magic baby night commences. They decide to - get this - relax. Not worry so much about it. Just have fun sex. Prepare self for inevitable Guiliana Pregnancy Announcement in Next Freaking Episode, followed by cutesy speech about how all they needed to do was relax. Imagine following episodes of Generic Gay Assistant laughing about breast pumps. Maybe will not watch show anymore.

5:29: preview of next episode shows family needling couple about needing to have a baby, pronto. Suddenly feel overwhelming and illogical gush of love for poor Bill and Guiliana. They are working on it! Leave them alone!

5:30: realize that next show on schedule is all about celebrity kids. IDIOTS.

Verdict: Could have been worse. Appreciate that some celebrity couple is willing to talk about fertility problems. But strongly suspect that this particular couple makes all infertile couples look like whiny, self-centered, impatient yuppies who panic when they don't get pregnant after 3 months. Very strongly suspect that E! people are sending subliminal message that "infertility" is solved by "relaxing."

Still better than Private Practice, however.

the best week

I think, of all the weeks it takes to complete a treatment cycle, this is the best one: The Week Before.

I love this week. Because, this week, it's all possible. Fantastic response to drugs? Could happen. Lots of healthy eggs retrieved? Completely possible. Lack of Crazy Bitch Side Effects? Feasible. Awesome quality embryos to transfer? Can absolutely happen. Pregnancy? That too.

It's like the week before Christmas, when you're still anticipating all the fun things, and it could all be just as great as you've always dreamed - the family could all get along, the gifts could all be wonderful, that person could scream with joy at the present you chose for them, the food could be delicious, the weather could be perfect - it's all out there, in the future, in your head, and it could all come true. It could happen.

This is the best week. It's perhaps the cruelest as well, when you look back.

But that's another week. This is the good one. The happy one. The anticipatory one. It's one of the few weeks when I hate pregnant women just a little less, because I feel like I could be one of them in the not-too-distant future. Don't get me wrong: I'm not throwing myself into ecstasies of pregnancy-dreams quite yet. I haven't been infertile for four years for nothing, you know.

But not even those four years can quite ruin this week. I love this week.

Friday, January 8, 2010

counting down

One week until injections start.

Yesterday, the Fe.dex guy arrived, smack on time, with my Big Box O' Drugs - always an exciting day. I meant to take the requisite picture of all the stuff and post it, but I was in a hurry to get to work and had to refrigerate a bunch of it, so no time for the photo. You can imagine it, though. I love the Big Box O' Drugs. So exciting.

We also sent the Freakishly Large Cashier's Check off to the Shared Risk people yesterday - a little scary, sending that kind of money off into the wild blue yonder, but it arrived safely and all is well. HUGE load off my mind.

It turned out to be a bit more complicated than I thought - long story short, it took visits to three separate banks, a half-hour drive up to my husband's workplace to get his signature, a panicked phone call to the Shared Risk people while standing at the teller's window because I had forgotten the one piece of paper with the "make check out to" clarification on it (of course, of course, when I brought every other freaking piece of paper in my office WHY WHY WHY did I forget the one I really needed?), and a slightly panicky drive to the Fe.dex office for overnight shipment, arriving there at 3:59pm when the overnight truck was leaving in exactly one minute...

...but the amazing piece of the day, stressful as it was, came from the fact that every single person who helped me yesterday - the delivery guy in the morning; the guy at my bank who couldn't process the check the way I wanted but helped me figure out how to do it; the woman at the bank across the street who patiently explained what I needed to do; the woman at the next bank who waived the cashier's check fee and made an exception for us, non-customers at said bank, to get this check done; the shipment guy who held the overnight truck for me while I go the package ready - every single person was enormously courteous, helpful, patient, competent, and kind. Every. Single. Person.

That is a small miracle to me. (With emphasis on the miracle, not the small.) And now, we're ready. Acupuncture appointment in an hour. Fun family visit this weekend.

And, next Friday, the Festival of Belly Poking begins. At last.

Monday, January 4, 2010

victory garden

My husband, who is a teacher, is the kind of person who needs a project. When he doesn't have one, I'm always a little afraid that I'll come home and find a wall torn down or a toilet removed, with a smiling, sweaty, dirty husband next to it proclaiming, "but I needed a project!" (This has almost happened, several times. It has happened, actually, just at a lower level, though one time I did come home and the front porch had been ripped off. We were going to do that, but it got started a few days earlier than I had planned.)

Anyway. Being a teacher and therefore home for Winter break, and stuck inside the house while it rained a bunch, he was started to get pretty antsy by this weekend. I felt the tool belt coming on. Sometimes the man needs a trip to Home De.pot like an addict needs a hit - he gets this certain look in his eye which makes me want to start leaving post-it notes on all the walls: "do not remove." So we found him a project.

Remember, it's January. It's cold. And wet. And DARK. The sun sets at 3:30pm around here. But he decided that he wanted to start the garden. (I called my mom to ask for her advice on this project, which we'll get to in a second, and there was a long pause before she asked tentatively, "He does know that it's January, right?")

This is a man with a plan. He's obsessed with growing tomatoes, for one thing. We moved here from a land of much summer sunshine and heat, where tomatoes grow the size of your head and taste like heaven, and he has a PLAN to replicate said conditions here in the land of clouds and rain - this PLAN involves heat tape in the dirt (laugh if you want, I did; apparently you can order this online at Wildly Desperate and Crazy, or something), black plastic over the roots of the plants, special fertilizer, probably generating our own heat source, etc.

But it is January, and the tomatoes will have to wait. For now, he wants to grow lettuce. So he built this thing:

which, yes, looks something like a giant Old Lady Rain Hat for the garden bed.

But wait, there's more:

That's right: he put a heat lamp in it. On a timer. So it goes on about 4pm, until about 9pm, during which time our backyard looks like we are either a.) growing pot; b.) hosting a convention of very small campers; or c.) insanely trying to grow lettuce. In January.

I was all set to roll my eyes at this, until I thought about the fact that there will be a box chock full o' drugs arriving at our house on Friday. I will inject myself with these and visit the doctor's office a hundred times, all in our efforts to get pregnant despite the odds otherwise. I am bound and determined to make of my uterus a womb, even if, to the outside observer, my chances look about as good as starting your garden in the middle of winter.

So now I am cheering on the lettuce, and my sweetly deluded husband. Lettuce in January? Baby in 2010? Why the hell not?