Thursday, December 31, 2009

good-bye to you

2010 will be better. 2010 will be the year that I beat IF. 2010 will be the year that we beat IF. I don't know this for sure, but I strongly believe it. I want to believe it. Why do I feel this? Because we are stronger than IF. We are more resilient. We don't give up and we don't lie down and take it. We keep fighting and we keep believing. We have to.

This year, the words, "Happy New Year" are taking on a whole new meaning for me. The new year will be happy. It will be filled with wonderful family, friends, and what I hope will be a tiny new addition before the year ends. It will be a year of redemption for me--a year of getting my life back after I let IF take it away from me.

That's my resolve for 2010, and I hope I can stick to it. More importantly, I want to wish all of YOU a happy new year. I brag a lot about how wonderful my husband has been in all of this, but you all are my second biggest support group. A lot of you received your miracle in 2009, but for the rest of you, I wish nothing but the best in 2010. May we all receive our miracles. We have waited long enough and we deserve it.

So, good-bye to you, 2009. May 2010 be a year filled with new memories and miracles.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


2009 was a year of . . .

pain – when Joey lost his job one day after President Obama’s inauguration, it was almost impossible to bear. I remember the phone call vividly. I was on my way to work. Joey had left an hour before me because he had the early shift. We had just talked the night before about the unstable economy and the possibility of him losing his job. “Yeah,” he said. “I worry about it.” I cried the entire drive to work after he told me he’d been laid off, and in my mind I watched our savings account drain for every month he would be unemployed. I never thought it would take six months and a move four states away for him to regain employment.

heartache – when we were told Grandpa Dick had a stroke. I lost all of my grandparents before I graduated college, so I had grown particularly fond of Joey’s grandparents over the six years we had been together. Grandpa Dick was a spry, 85-year-old WWII vet when he succumbed to pneumonia later this year, on Saturday, September 5. We miss him dearly, along with his inappropriate jokes and his “high kicks” over his head.

happiness and disappointment – when we celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary. With Joey out of work and me barely making ends meet, we decided to keep our anniversary simple and travel to Atlanta for the weekend. Our anniversary was a happy one, but it also meant we had reached the one-year mark in trying to conceive our first child. At this point we knew we were infertile and it would be difficult to reach our goal, but we were happy to have each other. We still are, as we enter our third calendar year of marriage and third calendar year trying to make a baby.

change – when we uprooted ourselves and moved back home to Florida after two years of living in Nashville. There are times when we miss Tennessee, but in our minds and in our hearts, we know we made the right decision by coming home. Our move was largely based on financial reasons, but it was also a result of two years worth of homesickness and missing the warmer weather. Although neither Joey nor I were born in Florida, I think it’s safe to say that we are officially Florida “people” and will think twice again before moving to a state with cooler climates. One thing we miss most about Tennessee? The people.

hope – when we went to see the RE for the first time in October. It really brought new life into our battles with infertility. We knew this doctor was one of the best in the business and he came highly recommended by a number of people. He seemed confident that he could help us reach our goal, and that confidence transferred into me almost immediately.

and fear – when our first two rounds of treatment didn’t work. We both poured our heart, soul, and all of our energy and faith into those two IUIs. And when neither of them worked, it crushed us. I think the second negative was easier to bear. With two IUIs behind us and only a limited number ahead, fear started to set in that maybe we wouldn’t see this goal. Maybe being parents wasn’t in the cards for us. Maybe life really just isn’t fair.

Without looking back, I know this wasn’t the best year. It could have been a lot worse. We could be homeless or have no food on the table. We could both be out of work. But we aren’t any of those things. We are still living, breathing, healthy human beings. We still love and have each other. That is all that matters, right? Yes, I want a child . . . badly. I want a house we can call our own. I want stable finances. So I hope, wish, and pray that 2010 is a better year. I know it’s impossible to expect next year to be perfect or for everything to happen that I want to happen, but it HAS to be better than this year. We’ve worked hard for it. We deserve it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

new year's motto

I know I haven't written about my ovaries in a while, but when I meant we were doing a natural cycle, I really meant we were doing a natural cycle. No OPKs, no temping, no obsessing over signs/symptoms. I'm currently on CD 18 and, as far as I can tell, I have not and will not ovulate. Part of me is blasé about this, and part of me thinks this serves as yet another reminder that this is my fault. My ovaries have not and will not work like they are supposed to, and there is literally no explanation for this. What do you do? This is the hand I've been dealt. Unfortunately for me, I have no clue how to play this twisted version of poker. "I'll see you one ovary and raise you a uterus."

Inspired by my Blogger buddy, Jin, I've created at Day Zero list. I've optimistically put on there "Have a baby" and my goal is to try and think this into being during 2010. I can't guarantee that I will be a positive Patty every step of the way, but my plan is to try and take this one step at a time without freaking out too much. Basically, my new year's resolution is to chill the eff out. Obviously my heart and soul will still be poured into trying to have a baby. The emotions are still there and there is nothing I can do to control them or to ease the pain of the hole that remains in my heart. But I'm hoping that, with the help of my husband, I will be able to channel my energy into fighting IF rather than feeling defeated by it.

Despite the awesome feeling of a med-free cycle though, I look forward to getting back onto the IUI/medication bandwagon. Why? It's the control freak in me. I don't like not knowing when I'm ovulating, if I am even ovulating at all. Taking the medication isn't the most exciting experience, but it gives me a sense of power over my body, which appears to have none of it's own. Everything in me says the Femara will be better than the Clomid, and I'm sticking to that. If it's not, then we move onto something else. My plan is to exhaust every option possible, to the point where my RE can look me in the eye and say with 100% certainty, "You will not have a baby without IVF or adoption."

I will become a mother, one way or another. This is my motto.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

blogger issues

Merry Christmas, everyone! I would have written this yesterday, but Blogger is having issues--at least for me. I've only been able to read/comment on a few people's blogs and I haven't been able to post at all until now. Hopefully this gets fixed soon so I can read about everyone's Christmas celebrations.

Ours was good. We had dinner at my mom's on Christmas Eve, then we all went over to Joey's parents to open gifts. Joey and I managed to make it up for Midnight Mass, too. Yesterday, we woke up, got some Starbucks, and watched A Christmas Story before heading downtown for the Magic-Celtics game. The Magic lost, but we still had a good time. (I'll post some pics later.) We came back, grabbed a quick bite to eat, then went back over to Joey's parents to spend some more time with them. It was nice being around family this year, but there are times when I really miss living away and having our own holiday.

My dad is in town for the weekend, so we'll be spending today and tomorrow hanging out with him. I hope everyone has a great rest of the holiday weekend--and maybe I'll be able to READ about how great it was soon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

this isn't the real caesar's palace is it?

Have any of you seen the movie The Hangover?

Well, it's freaking hilarious and I decided to watch it on my iPhone on the way to Vegas to get "in the mood" for my trip.

I arrived in Vegas at about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and my friend A picked me up from the airport. A and I have been friends since high school and we went to the same college. She's pretty much the craziest girl I know, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

We dropped off my stuff at her house and hit the shops right away. I needed a pair of shoes to match both of my "party" dresses and to do some Christmas shopping for Joey. We had lunch outside at this restaurant attached to the mall, overlooking the strip: tapas, sangria, and lots of people watching. After lunch, we spent several hours in the stores before heading back to her place.

It was starting to get cool out by this time (the sun sets early in Vegas), so I changed into a sweater and we headed back out to the new City Center. Oh. my. gosh. was it beautiful. It was so opulent and extravagant, I felt like I should be walking around in a much nicer outfit.

The lobby and walkways were full of fresh flowers and beautiful artwork. It was amazing. Right next to Aria is the Mandarin Oriental. This place was insane. They even have people who stand there and push the buttons on the elevators for you. We ventured up to the 23rd floor and had a drink at their lounge. I had an amazing Bellini which was $22. But you were paying for the view, not the alcohol.

After leaving the Mandarin, we headed back toward A's house to get a bite to eat. We ended up at this place called Hash House a Go Go and split a dish of their famous Chicken & Waffles. YUM! By the time we got back home and changed, it was nearly 10:30 Vegas time (1:30 on the east coast) and I was already feeling jet lagged. But I braved the cold weather and downed a few caffeinated beverages so I wouldn't fall asleep.

We ended up back at Aria at the Gold Lounge.

Despite the debauchery that I'm sure happens all the time in Vegas, Friday evening was pretty tame. I think I only had two or three Vodka tonics (which was enough to make me more than a little tipsy since I rarely drink), and we pretty much spent the evening staring at the escorts the next table over.

Saturday we got a late start. We didn't eat lunch until around 4 p.m., but from then on it was a whirlwind. We started at the Wynn and its sister hotel, the Encore, both of which were probably the most gorgeous hotels I saw all weekend. Then, we headed to the Palazzo and the Venetian.

We took a break to visit one of the older casinos because I was DYING to play a game of bingo. Let me just say this: Bingo in Vegas is hardcore. It was cheap to play ($7 per round; 12 games per round and 9 cards per game), but you had to think and act fast and those old people are good! I think I want to move to Vegas when I retire, just to be a champion bingo player. I didn't win any money, but I did win my $7 back playing the slots. :)

Next, we headed back the strip to walk around Caesar's and see the fountain show at the Bellagio, where we met some guys who were out there for a bachelor party. By this time, I was exhausted and it was about 10:30. We hit up a local sushi place really quick before heading home to change and going back out to the Venetian to "party" at their nightclub, Tao.

While walking up to the doors of the club, one of the bouncers approached us and asked if we wanted to sit in the VIP. Of course we said yes! So we weaved our way onto the floor (I had to stare down the entire time so the crazy flashing lights didn't blind me or make me have a seizure) and ended up sitting at the same table as some soccer player and Nestle chocolate heir. No lie. He was staying in the penthouse suite at Caesar's and had three other guys with him, a bodyguard, and a handler. It was surreal. So while he hit on my friend, A, I enjoyed the free Grey Goose and Cristal.

Just when I thought the night was ending (it was past two at this point, and I could barely keep my eyes open), A thought it would be fun to join the VIP group in their limo back to Caesar's and continue partying with them at Pure. So we did.

Don't get me wrong, the guys were really nice. But let's face it: You don't invite a bunch of women to all of these places without expecting something in the end. Luckily, the wedding rings scared them off and I was able to drink and people watch in my own little world. Finally, around 3:45, I had to put my foot down and demand to go home. When I got back and got under the covers, it was so late I actually talked to Joey who was just waking up on the east coast.

Sunday dragged. I tried to sleep in as much as possible because I was feeling pretty yucky from the jet lag and lack of rest. We went to brunch with A's boyfriend's parents before she dropped me off at the airport.

Overall, it was a good trip. I'm definitely not cut out for the Vegas/party lifestyle, but it was fun to experience for one time. Joey and I plan on going together, and I think that will be a good trip since Joey goes more at my speed.

The flight home? Well, that was another story. And I'll save that for another blog post.

Monday, December 21, 2009

i'm back

I'm back home and in one piece.

I will try to do a "Vegas in Photos" post this evening when I get home and do a run down of my trip. For now, I am going to try and catch up on my blog reading.

[Oh . . . and WELCOME to the ICLWers! :) I look forward to meeting all of you.]

Thursday, December 17, 2009

the christmas elephant

Last year was our first year as a married couple and, naturally, we decided to send out personalized Christmas cards to all of our friends and family members. It was tough work, but I hand wrote almost 50 cards and managed to send them out before the holidays.

This year, I wanted to do the more "modern" tradition of sending out a photo card. It would have cost us more money, but I knew it was a lot less time consuming. But when the day rolled around when Joey and I were supposed to take our picture in front of the Christmas tree, I couldn't go through with it. I couldn't bear sending out 50 cards with our "family" photo on it with a tiny little version of ourselves missing from that image. I knew my smile for the photo would be forced and sad. I knew that I would probably sob while addressing the envelopes. I knew I couldn't ignore the giant elephant in the room. So I just didn't do it.

Then I thought, "Well maybe I will do a letter with photos of us from this year and send it via e-mail." But what would I write?

2009 was an awesome year. Joey got laid off from his job and was out of work for six months. His grandpa died suddenly. We were so broke from Joey being out of work for six months that we had to move in with family. Oh, and I have a uterus that doesn't work. Merry effing Christmas!

That's the kind of holiday greeting everyone wants to get in the mail.

So I've decided: There will be no cards sent from our house this year. The emptiness is too strong to ignore. It was impossible for me to recap the year without mentioning the elephant. It would be as though I was lying to myself and to everyone who knows what we are going through, and I don't want to do that. I have acknowledged it up to this point, and I have to continue. I've paraded the elephant around the circus ring from the very beginning, and there is no way I can hide behind it now.

I can't pretend this is just going to go away, and I have stopped being shy about it. When people ask me when I plan on having kids, I just answer, "I can't." There are times when I'm tempted to just put up a status on Facebook announcing I'm infertile so people will just leave me the hell alone. While I'm at it, I might put up a sign over my desk and with a bumper sticker on my car. Being open about it is what has gotten me through to this point, but sending a letter without acknowledging this year's failures makes me feel like a complete fraud.

On second thought, maybe I will send out Christmas cards this year. I'll sign them:

Your Favorite Infertile Couple!

And next to our signatures, I'll put a tiny sticker of an elephant--the pet I've embraced but now just wish I could set free.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

her response

My response from Stephanie Saul:

Ms. Schaber,
Thanks so much for your comments.

I didn't expect much more than that, but I am glad she read it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

my letter

My letter to Stephanie Saul. A huge thank you to Whitney for editing it.

Good afternoon. This letter is in reference to your series of “investigative” articles regarding Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART). I have read most of these articles and, with the year coming to a close, felt the need to address some of the issues you have highlighted in these pieces.

My first area of concern is your lack of knowledge or desire to use the correct terminology when referring to fertility treatments. For example, you repeatedly use the word “implant” when referring to an embryo being placed inside a woman’s uterus during in-vitro fertilization. However, no reproductive endocrinologist that I am aware of is able to physically implant an embryo to “make” a woman pregnant. The correct term to use is transfer. Please also note that I referred to the items being transferred as embryos and not eggs. Eggs alone are not transferred, only retrieved.

Another term you use often is “business” or “industry” in reference to the various clinics and doctors in the fertility community. What about the fertility community prompts you to refer to it as a business? Would you refer to adoption agencies as the adoption industry? Perhaps you already do, so let me try another example: Do you refer to the clinics and doctors who treat AIDS as the AIDS industry? You most likely do not, since this would be considered highly offensive to those who suffer from AIDS. In fact, I highly doubt you refer to any other doctors or specialists who study and treat various diseases as industries.

What makes the infertility community different? I say community because we are one. This is not a business venture, either for couples or doctors. As for the couples who suffer from infertility, none of us chose to be this way. We were born with a condition or defect that prohibits us from becoming pregnant naturally. Many of us try for years before seeking professional help. And though I am sure there are individuals who study reproductive endocrinology with the sole purpose of making money, most become fertility specialists because they have a desire to fulfill the dreams of deserving couples who seek their expertise.

Reading your articles sparked my curiosity as to why you are so interested in writing about ART when you clearly have no personal ties to someone with infertility, nor do you care to create those ties or empathize with those who suffer from this disease. Is this a series that was created and outlined by your superiors? Or do you simply enjoy writing passive-aggressive pieces directed toward women and men who so desperately want a child? I understand that you yourself may not have children or may not have the desire to procreate, and there is nothing wrong with this. Women and men every day choose childfree living and it is a perfectly acceptable way of life. The stereotypes once held against childless couples no longer apply today.

Yet the stereotypes that exist for couples with infertility remain. It is sometimes even more enraging to see the kind of responses your articles provoke. Your negative portrayal of our community sparks a number of outrageous comments, none of which are new to me, but they do not minimize the pain. To think that couples only want a child to tote around and play “dress up” with is not only absurd, it is downright offensive. If I wanted a baby to play dress up with, Ms. Saul, I would have purchased a Cabbage Patch Kid rather than spent thousands of dollars on fertility treatments. To imply that couples are now “buying” their children is even more ridiculous. If this is the case, where are your articles criticizing adoption?

Though I would love to write more about each topic you have covered, I have neither the time nor the patience or appropriate language to respond to each individual, biased piece of writing you have published on this subject.

I will end with this: I thoroughly look forward to the New Year when I assume your articles will focus on a different subject area, one on which I hope you are more appropriately educated.

Monday, December 14, 2009

tell me if you hear me falling

Sometimes I want to quit.

I'm not a quitter by nature. I'm a fighter. I've always been someone who works really hard toward a goal, and I have to say that I've achieved every serious goal I've put my mind to. But this goal, this elusive goal that I've desired so badly for the last 19 months, seems like it never gets any closer. Sometimes I ask myself, "What if I just stopped?" What would happen? I bet a lot of non-IFers would say, "Then you'll probably get pregnant, silly! That's always what happens when people stop trying."

But really, what would happen to me? I'm a different person now that I've started this. I think that even if I threw in the towel today, I would never be the same. My heart and my head are both in different places than they were before this journey started. I've grown up. I'm not interested in the same trivial things that used to amuse me.

They say marriage changes you, but I disagree. Hardship within your marriage changes you. Don't take this the wrong way. Joey and I are great. Our six-year relationship has grown to its strongest point in the last 19 months. He is the only person in my life who completely understands what it would feel like for us, as a couple, to never have children. We share the same hopes and the same fears. Neither of us have patience for immaturity and stupidity in our friendships. And both of us are doing everything we can to protect ourselves and work toward achieving the same goal: a child.

I made the mistake today of reading Stephanie Saul's latest column, and I made an even bigger mistake when I read the comments. It saddens me to hear how people still believe that having children through the use of ART is some kind of terrible "sin", how those of us seeking fertility treatments are going straight to hell, and how we just want a child to carry around like a token. Yes, that's exactly why I'm going THROUGH hell trying to have a child. Because I want a baby to dress up like a doll. If that's what I wanted, I'd buy a fucking Cabbage Patch Kid.

Sorry, back on track . . .

What would happen if I just stopped trying?

Sometimes I'm exhausted and I think I want to, but I don't know if it's in my blood to just stop. Part of me would always be looking in the rear-view mirror wondering if I made the right decision. Part of me would feel like I bigger failure if I didn't continue to try. Part of me would fight until I was so physically and mentally exhausted, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. There are times when I sit back and think about life without children. I've never wanted to imagine my life without kids, but every failed treatment brings this possibility closer and closer to reality.

But for now, I keep fighting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

weekend update

Since the beta, time has flown by. I haven't really had a chance to dwell on the negative:

Tuesday night: Support group. I dragged Joey along this time and he seemed to enjoy it. He even spoke, which surprised me (my husband is extremely reserved around people he doesn't know).
Wednesday night: Joey had class.
Thursday night: Joey had a test and I had my company Christmas party.
Friday night: House of Blues to see Less than Jake.
Saturday: We got most of our Christmas shopping done and went to dinner with my BIL and SIL.
Today: Errands in the morning. The afternoon will be spend doing laundry, helping Joey study for his final, and possibly making one last trip to the mall.

This weekend I'm going to Vegas to visit one of my best friends. I need this trip. It will be an escape for me--a place where there aren't constant reminders about my failure in becoming a mother. AF showed up on Friday, so I won't have to worry about being cranky and bloated on my trip. I also am excited to not have to worry about popping pills this month. It's too much for me to stress over around the holidays.

As for next steps, January will obviously be Femara + IUI#3, so long as the Femara produces good follicles for me. If it doesn't, I guess we move to injects and see what happens.

In other "life" news, we have started house hunting. For those of you who only recently started reading my blog, when my husband and I moved back to Florida, we decided we didn't want to get into a lease. We wanted to buy, but we really didn't have the money. Joey's five-month unemployment left us with little in savings and it would be difficult to save for a house with not much left in the bank to begin with. So we put all of our stuff in storage and moved into the guest area of my mom's house. It actually hasn't been a bad arrangement, but we don't want to stay here forever. We are looking to buy a place this spring, before the tax credit expires at the end of April. I think we'll end up with a townhouse, mostly because they are cheaper and the maintenance is less. It will be our first place, so we don't need anything extravagant. We picked out the neighborhood we like and there are a few for sale in there now that we are hoping stay on the market until we're ready to get serious in February or March.

It'll be fun to have our own place, one we can officially call "home". I'm looking forward to getting some new furniture and decorating. 2010 is going to be a fresh start, hopefully in more ways than one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

dear clomid

Dear Clomid,

A lot of my blog buddies have been writing you letters lately. But the reason for my letter is a little different. You see, I'm writing to break up with you.

Now, you may think I didn't give you a chance, but I did. In two months, you produced one "okay" follicle and one really strange looking follicle and gave me no baby. Then, during the next month, you gave me one ginormous follicle and didn't give the other one a chance in hell to catch up. You've thined my lining so badly that I have to stick estrogen pills up my cooter and argue with Wal-Mart pharmacy techs about it. And because of the estrogen pills, half of my panties are stained blue. Happy yet?

Oh, and not to mention the chronic ovary pain. As if it wasn't bad enough to have constant pain in my left ovary before I started taking you, now I have pain in BOTH because of your STUPID CYSTS. Thanks for making my ovaries feel like they could burst at any moment.

You are a complete bastard and I've just had enough. I think my new relationship with Femara will be a better one and, if not, then there are plenty of other fish in the sea. But I know one thing for sure: there will be no Clomid babies in this household.

Yours truly,


still waiting

My nurse said something interesting to me yesterday. She said, "Ultimately, you are in charge of your fertility treatments."

Yes, I am. And I'm just starting to realize this. It seems as though REs just want us to write them a blank check for every treatment on the planet, but they are not concerned with 1) whether or not we think that treatment is working and 2) why the hell we can't get pregnant in the first place.

Seriously, why CAN'T we get pregnant?

I have eggs. I release eggs. My husband has sperm. Are they just not figuring it out up there and getting together? Are they getting together and then they can't implant in my crappy uterus?

Part of me wants to look in the mirror and tell myself to move on--that I'll never know the real reason why we haven't been getting pregnant. That's the tired part of me. The gut feeling part of me is telling me that something is wrong.

Of course, I don't know what that something is. But it's just a woman's intuition. I have no other way of explaining it.

I'm still waiting for the nurse to call. If I don't hear from them by 3:30, I'll be dialing their number.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

don't act shocked

But the beta was negative.

I talked to my nurse about some of my concerns:
  • are we being aggressive enough?
  • where the hell are my comprehensive blood work results that I had done two months ago?
  • can I see the doctor I actually signed up to see or do I have to see his lame partner every time?
She is going to sit down with the doctor (MY doctor) and come up with some other possible plans for us. We may be paying him a visit sometime this month for a follow-up consultation.

Good thing my support group meets tonight and it's our Christmas "sweets" potluck. I'm going to need all of that sugar to make me feel better.

Friday, December 4, 2009

another one bites the dust

The last thing I wanted to do was bring this fight into a third calendar year, but it looks like that might happen.

Yes, I got a BFN this morning.

I'll still go for the beta on Tuesday. If it's negative, like I suspect, we'll take December off then reassess in January (meaning: we'll decide if we want to continue with our clinic).

Please don't comment on here that you "know" Tuesday's beta will be great and that I could "still be" pregnant. I do not want to hear it. I'm not trying to be negative, I'm just protecting myself.

At least it's Friday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I've mentioned a few times that I have some truly wonderful friends in "real life" that have been extremely supportive of my journey.

Back in late October, Mic over at IF Crossroads posted that she had purchased a pomegranate bracelet as a good luck charm for her upcoming IVF cycle (which worked, by the way! Go wish her congrats!). For those of you who don't know, pomegranate is the symbol of infertility. As I admired Mic's bracelet, I thought, "What a good idea!" and decided to search for one of my own. For me it would not only serve as a good luck charm, but a constant reminder of who I am and what I needed to overcome.

After a few weeks of searching, I found a few bracelets I liked, but none that jumped out at me. So I asked a good friend, Hayley, to make one for me. I already knew Hayley made fabulous jewelry, but I was so happy when I recieved my bracelet last week, just one day after IUI#2.

The "hope" charm is so appropriate. Now, every time I look down at my wrist, it's a reminder that I need to keep the hope and that people have hope for me. Thank you, Hayley, for being a great friend and for making me this bracelet. It means a lot to me! And thank you, Mic, for giving me the idea. :) I'm so happy for you. You're an inspiration to all of us still waiting for our BFP to never give up.