Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Fertility saga, Part 2


The first RE that we saw got the results of our test back and determined that they were inconclusive; we had "unexplained infertility." He suggested that we consider IVF and ordered hormonal shorts to increase egg production (AJS called it "twin juice"). I sent the Rx to the pharmacy but when I went to pick it up, the price tag that the pharmacist showed me said something like $11,051.79. Stunned and shaken, I mumbled an answer and wobbled home, sans Rx. I fired that RE for not informing me of the hard fact that our insurance wasn't going to cover hardly anything, and then found a different RE.

Around that same time, while we were on a short day trip to Annapolis with a friend, I got it in my head that we ought to check out a psychic that was up on a second-floor storefront. We went up and I got an appointment with the main psychic, while my friend sat in with her mother (AJS did some window shopping elsewhere). The fertility issue wasn't the first thing that came up, but when the psychic asked me how many children I had, she seemed surprised when I said, none and no miscarriages. According to her reading, I should have had at least two children by this point in my life. Something was blocking my fate, she said. Then I tearfully let loose my tales about the curse and many other things that I'd been keeping to myself as crazy reasons for the unexplained infertility. So, to change my fate, I needed to do a few things. At the top of the list was to stop wearing so much black (I swear I was wearing colorful clothes that day, so I was shocked that she knew what I wore most of the time); also, I needed to create a closer bond with my husband. I was starting a new job (this was in 2001) and had been considering a name change; I kept my last name when we were married and it didn't seem convenient to change it, with all the bureaucracy involved. With a new job, kids in mind, and now with this new information from the other plane, I went ahead and made the change. With regard to the curse, she recommended burning specially made candles and incence (that I could buy from her, BTW). She did suggest that this curse's power had a lot to do with my own belief in it, not so much with whether the curser was a witch or not, which made sense to me.

The new RE's patient interaction skills were so much better that the first one! I think the first one was more of an academic, but the second RE really knew how to set me at ease. He reviewed my charts (a bit of a condescension, but it told him at the least that I had irregular cycles) and asked to review my records. He prescribed Clomid and IUI, which were covered by insurance. When the first IUI didn't work and the records from the 1st RE showed a problem (undiagnosed by #1), he recommended a laproscopy, so we prepared for this.

Meanwhile, my grandfather, who had been living with my parents for several years due to poor health, took a turn for the worse and died. I arrived at the hospital and was joined by my mom and sister. While they were dealing with arrangements, I found myself alone with Grandad's body — or mostly alone; the hospital chaplain had dropped by. She softly explained that if there had been something that I wanted to tell my grandfather that I hadn't had a chance to say, his spirit was nearby, and now was a perfect time. I had been thinking of a photo of his mother with me right after I was born. I cherished this image, of me with my great-grandmother, and really wanted very much to give him a great-grandchild so that a child of mine could have a generational photo for themselves. I told his spirit all this, while in the hospital with his body.

I found out a few days later that I was pregnant.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Fertility saga: Part 1


After I was married, I took some advice I'd received: enjoy your marriage for at least two years before having kids. Even though we'd been together for five, I decided to treat the marriage as a different animal that needed its own time and at the two-year point, got to work on the having kids part. To AJS, I said (among other arguments) that I had a goal to have a child before I turned 30 (I was 29). Many months later, I was concerned. I started reading up on fertility and made an appointment with a specialist. At the outset, I thought I was under too much stress at work or the wrong weight or, really, I had no idea. I was pretty oblivious about my body's goings on aside from purchasing Tampax and getting yearly pap smears. The Reproductive Endocrinologist (R.E.) ordered some tests for me and AJS, gave me an assignment to start taking my temperature in the mornings and chart it.

Another theory that began to darken my days was that I was cursed. Really. This is silly, but I started to wonder if a past event needed to be taken seriously: back when AJS and I were dating, we were quietly minding our own business in a mostly empty Dupont Circle café when an older woman came in with a baby in a car seat and sat at a table near us. She proceeded to hand the baby cymbals and tambourines to play with. After several minutes of having our peace disturbed by exponential amounts (baby loved him some cymbals!), I gritted my teeth, walked over, and calmly asked the woman if she had some quieter toys to give her baby. Her reaction was intense. She turned on me and practically yelled.

"You obviously don't have any children and NEVER WILL."

After more months of charting (I found a great online charting resource with wonderful information and full of helpful women at, using an ovulation predictor kit, and tracking other cyclical events, I felt that I knew more that I ever should have to about fertility. I could teach a course. But the woman who cursed me left lingering doubts in my head: did her curse have real power to keep me from having kids? Would all these scientific efforts amount to nothing? Maybe I would have to try another type of expert.

Next, crossing over.
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