Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Barren Bitches Book Tour #7: Happiness Sold Separately, by Lolly Winston (Group B)

First of all, let me say that I’m sorry I’m late with this post. Secondly, I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up on a Saturday and finished it by Sunday. Years ago it would have seemed completely normal for me to read a book in a weekend, but nowadays its very unusual! Obviously, the topic was interesting to me, but I found the characters intriguing and overall I found it a great read. Here goes…

Both Elinor in this book and Amelia in Love and other Impossible Pursuits are uber-sarcastic. Come to think of it, Peggy Orenstein (Waiting for Daisy) is, too. Do you think the experience of being infertile makes one sarcastic, or do you think such high levels of sarcasm lower one's infertility? Obviously, I say this tongue-in-cheek, for the latter scenario is ridiculous. But as for the former, do you find yourself more sarcastic as a way of dealing with IF? If so, how does sarcasm help?

I laughed out loud when I read this question. I’ve always considered myself pretty sarcastic (a trait my husband doesn’t exactly enjoy), so I wouldn’t say that being infertile made me sarcastic. I would say that dealing with infertility has made me somewhat bitter and, therefore, more impatient with people and situations. So I would say that my sarcasm comes out more often. I realize that sarcasm can border on mean, even rude, but I’ve always thought of it as being on one end of the humor spectrum. So, I guess for me, sarcasm is like comic relief. And we all know that when dealing with IF any kind of relief is helpful.

At the very close of the book, having discovered her balanced translocation, Elinor likens herself to a screwed up silverware drawer. "Yet there's solace in discovering something is tangibly wrong. A diagnosis rather than you're old" Have you ever felt like this? Do you have a diagnosis for your fertility problems? Was it a relief? If your problem is unidentified, or age is against you, do you wish that you did have a reason? 5. At the very close of the book, having discovered her balanced translocation, Elinor likens herself to a screwed up silverware drawer. "Yet there's solace in discovering something is tangibly wrong. A diagnosis rather than you're old" Have you ever felt like this? Do you have a diagnosis for your fertility problems? Was it a relief? If your problem is unidentified, or age is against you, do you wish that you did have a reason?

This is an interesting question for me right now. When I was trying to get pregnant the first time, I didn’t get my period for several months, then had a miscarriage, then had odd cycles. My OBGYN was pretty relaxed and put me on Clomid and progesterone and I got and stayed pregnant. So, when we started trying again I expected we might have some trouble, but nothing that a few minor drugs couldn’t cure. Well, after a year and a half of trying and 2 different doctors, I finally got a referral to an RE and found out that my tubes were blocked up with adhesions. The RE did what he could with the adhesions and then we went straight to IVF. Well, after 4 IVF cycles and no baby or sustained pregnancy I started to wonder if something else wasn’t going on. While I had a tangible diagnosis, in my gut I knew that there was something else going on. My RE refused to do any additional testing, he was convinced my only problem had to do with my tubes. Well, here I am 6 months later with a new RE, who ran new tests and actually discovered some things that are likely contributing to our problems. I can’t begin to express how relieved I actually was to have an additional diagnosis that actually might explain what’s been going on. In general, I’m not a person who likes the unknown. I want to know what’s facing me so I can figure out a way to deal with it. I feel for anyone dealing with undiagnosed infertility, I know it would completely frustrate me.

Elinor's thought on page 47 really struck me: "When Elinor was paying attention to her career, she should have been paying attention to her biological clock. When she was paying attention to her biological clock, she should have been paying attention to her husband." It made me wonder: Am I paying attention now to the things I should be paying attention to now? Are you?

Ugh, this question brings up my one complaint about the book. I’m sure that there are many women who put childrearing on hold because of their careers or for other reasons, but I get frustrated that in so much of the public discussion on infertility women get blamed and are viewed as selfish for focusing on other things, like careers. I was bit disappointed when I started to read the book that once again, the focus was on a women who “made the mistake” of waiting too long.

As for what we pay attention to. There’s no doubt that this stuff has been hard on our marriage. Between dealing with IF and having a 3, then 4, then 5 year old daughter through all this we definitely don’t spend enough time focusing on each other as a husband and a wife. We have tried very hard not to let this affect our daughter and most of our energy and attention goes to her. Having said that, we have pulled together to deal with the IF and adoption stuff and I think in the long run our marriage will be stronger for all this, but it’s been a hard couple of years.

On pages 51-52, Elinor discusses her abortion experience. She says choices are a fairytale and that she had always been pro-choice but now realized she had no choice. Has your stance on abortion changed at all since you began suffering from infertility?

Not one bit, and I didn’t expect it to. I’ve always been strongly pro-choice (my first paying job after college was at a pro-choice advocacy organization) and I remain so today. In fact, given the lengths and manipulations we’ve gone through to get pregnant, if possible, I think I’m even more pro-choice than I was in the past. Ms. Planner said it so well that I’ll quote her “I remain steadfast that no one has the right to tell anyone what they should so with their body. The way my logic sees it, you if allow one to meddle in a women’s right to end her pregnancy, then we also have to put up with meddling in all sorts of other reproductive capacities, from donor eggs, freezing, donor sperm, surrogates, etc. And that kind of meddling, in my opinion, will lead us back to the dark ages.”

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about Happiness Sold Separately? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade Tour by visiting the master list here and here this post and scroll down a bit). All you need is a book and blog.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, it was yesterday actually. Hubby and I started the day by meeting with an estate planner (finally!) -- not exactly an uplifting way to begin a birthday. Then I went home and slept for 4 hours because I felt awful. That night I convinced my husband that we should all go to a restaurant because I wanted some good comfort food. Let's just say it didn't comfort me all that much. BUT I did get a gift certificate to a nice day spa, so once I feel better I've got something to look forward to! On a happier note, our meeting last Friday with the new RE went very well. I've got a bit of updating to do about that, but there's still some testing going on, so I'll wait and share everything at once.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Home Study Angst

Well, I got home last night and our new passports were in the mail. They arrived much faster than we'd expected given the recent news about delays in processing passports, and we didn't even pay for the expedited service. The new passports are important because we needed them in order to fill out our home study application. And that my friends, has me just a wee bit nervous. Um, no, it has me ALOT nervous. I'm mean I know there's lots of room for improvement in our parenting and housekeeping skills (certainly I could be more patient when the child fusses and whines, and certainly the house could be neater), but I also know that we're far from the worst. Still, the idea of someone asking us a thousand questions, checking out our home, generally scrutinizing our ability to parent, really scares me. I suppose it's a little like when I see the surveillance cameras or security guards in a store and, while I've never shoplifted and wouldn't consider it, for some strange reason I get nervous. But the stakes are a whole lot higher here, so my nervousness seems less amusing than my shopping paranoia.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


So I went in for my annual Pap yesterday (though it's actually been 2 years since my last). It started out well enough, the nurse was nice and when I asked if my results could be faxed to the RE's office, she told me that she'd had a friend who went there and ended up with twin girls. She seemed super nice and asked about my daughter and chatted about her own daughter and her grandchildren while she updated my chart. Then for some reason I don't understand she tell me that the friend, who is actually a friend of her daughter's, who had the twins via IVF went back to work after having her twins. She goes on to say, that her daughter's reaction was "I don't know anyone could parent that way" and then adds she doesn't understand how this woman could hire a nanny, especially since the twins were premature.

I was truly speechless. I had said nothing to this woman about my own work status. (I work outside of the home fulltime, by the way, AND my daughter was premature!) Frankly, I'm still dumbfounded that this woman would say this to a complete stranger, especially not knowing whether I worked or what I thought of such things. Yet, I said nothing to her, and I'm still mad at myself for not saying anything. While I admit to be a serious conflict avoider, I really was just shocked. In fact, I don't think I said another word to her. Shortly after that she left the room and I not certainly not sorry to see her leave.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


By far the primary reason that I haven't written much in the past couple of months is that I've been unbelievably busy at work. But I have to confess that I haven't really felt inspired either. In some ways a lot has been happening--adoption paperwork, tests for the new doctor, and house repairs--but in some ways I feel like nothing's happening. I realize it's the difference between doing what seems like administrative things versus actual treatment. In some ways its good, the pressure has certainly been off -- no 2 week waits, no shots, not many appointments or ultrasounds. But I also have been feeling as if I've stepped back a bit from the whole infertility world a bit. And now that I actually have the time to read a few blogs and am seeing how many people have gotten pregnant or are in the middle of a cycle I confess I feel a bit left out. And I know THIS will sound crazy, but I can't even join in the complaining about treatments or the angst over 2WWs, etc. I think I may even understand a bit the feelings those lucky ones who have found themselves pregnant express about not being sure of their place in this world. It's unfortunate that what's brought many of us together is the shared pain and frustration of infertility, but at the same time it helps create a pretty unique and powerful bond. And I get that no matter why--including the good fortune of a healthy pregnancy--to feel that bond and support system slipping away is difficult. So, I feel a bit sad that the bond seems to be slipping or weakening for me right now. I suspect that as my time frees up and I can post, read, and comment more often, I'll feel this less. In fact, just writing this post makes me feel a bit better. I guess it's a little like dating-- I just need to put myself out there more. ;)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I think I can, I think I can....

keep up with this blog. I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since that last post. So, I guess I'll just give another update. We're still working on all the paperwork for the adoption. It's slower going than we'd like, but we are making progress. Arranging for the home study is the next thing to do -- I'll confess THAT makes me very nervous.

I went in for my day 3 bloodwork and ultrasound last week. I have to say I was again very happy and impressed with the new doctor & clinic. They may be big and run like a factory, but as far as I can tell, it's a well-run factory and the people are really nice. I also had my HSG yesterday. Not so pleasant, but at least it's over. Next up is some more blood tests and then a followup visit on the 26th.