Sunday, March 29, 2009

If I Can Make it There

Because a remote island resort was out of the cards for us this spring, we bundled up, dressed in layers, and hit NYC for a few days this week while Bella was on break. (Nothing says spring break like a windy, high of 40 and urine-scented subway platforms!) We crashed on the sofa bed of a good friend who lives near the express line (location, location), and despite not really sleeping for four nights, enjoyed the hell out of the city. Kinda. There were a few unfortunate hours at a country-specific-large-scale-doll store (and though I did not partake, I am pleased to report they do in fact offer booze to the parents. Which is all kinds of smart), but you know, for the kids. Right? We spent a day at the Museum of Natural Science and overloaded on all things space and dinosaurs. Sadly, I am still mortified by how much I weigh on Mars even though it's only two digits. We somehow forced ourselves into the fin-tailed-red-headed-Disney musical and were, frankly, pleasantly surprised. High production value, and the bad guy (er, gal) had some serious pipes. Finally, if ever in the vicinity of the Transit Museum, go. Incredible. It's in an old station, and on the old platform they have lined up on both sides umpteen cars dating from 1904 to the present. Can you imagine a subway with wicker seats and ceiling fans? Neither could we. Again, sadly, I realized that even I can date myself on the token time line (my college years were a few iterations from the end of the token life span), and Mr. ABF even remembered an old bluebird line around Coney Island when he was a young lad.

We also paid a visit to a certain someone at the Plaza:

We ate way, way too much, came home, and entered a coma of sleep and catching up on television. And jeebus, from Sunday to Thursday my reader jumped from a manageable 30-something to 160-something. I kid you not. Time for a moratorium on news so we can all catch up, m'kay?

Hope you're well.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's Hard to Celebrate on Your Own

Happy Non-Biological Father of Jesus Day!

I have a partially eaten Zeppole on my counter that I bought so Bella could see what they were. Because I feel it's important to know your pastry-fried-in-lard stuffed with sweetened marscapone and ricotta with chocolate chips and topped with a cherry -- jeez, wouldn't want to mix that up with your carrot sticks, am I right?


Today my grandmother moved from her rehab center (she had a stroke about three weeks ago) into her new assisted living place. I hesitate to call anything that nicely decorated and well lit and cheerful and friendly and spacious a "Nursing Home," which I kinda reserve for creepy quiet places where screams rise from the basement and the occasional bat flies by. She was pleased and quite surprised to discover her furniture in her new suite ("This is MINE! This is MY CHAIR!"), and tonight will sleep in her bed for the first time in almost a month. She is obviously a bit nervous, but I think in other areas, genuinely relieved. "No more cooking!" she said beaming, after finishing every scrap of her lunch in their restaurant-like dining area. She asked a few times what the name of the place was, and kevetched about having to use her walker again (she's been in bed or wheeled for a month now), but was in good spirits. And she remembered me.

And she remembered it was my birthday.


I'm downplaying today with a force of a thousand suns. I've forbidden any cheer or notice or celebration EXCEPT that which emanates from Bella. I may believe in being truthful with her about a lot of things, but I really do honestly think she's too young to learn that birthdays can suck. In her world, Birthdays rate right up there with Christmas if not higher because there's cake and you get to pick the food. So I grin sheepishly every time she tells someone with gusto, "TODAY IS MY MOM'S BIRTHDAY!" as if I won the lottery -- and she did this, this morning, to everyone at her school.

Holidays and anniversaries and such are just a bit sour after Maddy, but my birthday -- this birthday especially -- is different. Unlike a day that just kinda has a dull edge to it that you know you'll revisit again in 12 months time, this birthday is like slamming a door shut. I don't get this one back, it doesn't get "better." I just get farther away from a dream and person I thought I was when I started the decade. I feel like I'm losing a grip on me -- my multi-faceted identity that I've always been so proud of. If one part started failing, there was always something else. And now I feel a bit as if I'm trying to hold sand in my palms and it's just blowing away.


Niobe once posted a link to The News From Your Bed by Bishop Allen, and it's become my life's soundtrack. (In fact, the last verse starting "When your family calls you make nice to them all" is my ringtone.) And today it's bouncing off my inner walls. I'm not splitting town with the husband, leaving the kids at the 'rents for a weekend of hedonism. I'm not going to Vegas with the girls. I'm hunkering down at my counter with a piece of Ganached Guinness Goodness lovingly prepared for me by Mr. ABF and Bella (who calls it "Beer Cake"). And wishing I was somewhere, someone, somehow, else.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I had what I thought was a good post, and I wrote and contemplated and eventually it sat in the juice too long and instead of fall-off-the-bone-goodness, it was more a tough whiny bitchy shoe of of Saturday Night Skit that I just couldn't end. But the gist was meaningful, so here's at least that much.

Mel had this gem of a post a few weeks ago as part of her Barren Advice series. I felt with some substitutions (turnips for carrots, cumin for cinnamon) I probably could've written the question itself, which was essentially, "I've tried to have a second child, but it's not going so hot, and maybe I should just stop -- how do I know if I should get off the gerbil wheel?" (Obviously one of my substitutions was"tried" for "sat around on the couch and hoped the decision fairy would call with my fate.") Mel suggested making a decision tree -- you know, where you start with a big circle (e.g., "Try Again"), which leads to some smaller circles (e.g., "Successful Pregnancy," "Unsuccessful Pregnancy," "No Pregnancy Whatsoever"), each of which has orbiting circles of consequences (e.g., "Gain even more weight on top of two-year-old flab you haven't yet lost," "Spend $," "Baby Dies, again.") Make one page for each major decision and see where the chips fall.

I decided this was fucking brilliant, and I would try this and see what transpired. My pages were "try again" and "don't," and soon I had filled each with a host of tiny circles. Yay me! Self-satisfied smile. And then I sat back and read them. And jeebus, if 98% of the circles weren't downright sad, negative, and depressing. On both pages. Including the circles orbiting the "Baby lives" option on page one.

I know.

So I threw the circle sheets in a drawer and proceeded to have this amazing weekend that got me thinking long and hard about child care (and how convenient things are now) and my current circle of friends (and how that would likely change with a baby), and I decided I'd add a couple more circles to complicate things (because Mel said to add even the really stupid embarrassing things. So shut up.)

And then I stepped back and realized a few things about the forest of trees I had just amassed:

This -- thinking about trying to add another child to our family -- is a fresh decision. This is not the same decision I made to have another child a few years ago. I now have a completely different mind set, and a life I've grown somewhat comfortable in. And the last time I played (what I thought was candyland but turned out to be roulette) with my comfort zone, I got royally hosed. And not for nothing, comfort's kinda really important to me now. I'm older -- hell I've aged exponentially. I live somewhere else, I have different friends. I still don't have a job. It's not just having another, it's having another now.

The little tacky, mundane, stupid circles filled with utter nonsense (Mel MADE me put them in, I SWEAR) also illuminated the point that I'm still dealing with an enormous amount of fear. I'm to some extent trying to rationalize my way out of this decision because I'm afraid of what will happen . . . . in the big picture kinda way, not the "We can't host dinner parties for a few years" kinda way. Truth be told, I'm not exactly sure how to separate "babysitting will suck" from "I DON'T WANT TO CREMATE ANOTHER CHILD" because they're kinda part of the same line of thinking: risking change is no longer "good" in my mind. Hell, risk can go take a hike. I didn't even worry about ticky tack stuff like this before, and look what happened. Why do I want to mess with what I have -- in any way, shape, or form? I like my comfy couch of grief, with it's indecision and mug of angst on the side table. I've grown accustomed to the ebb and flow of not-knowing and shirking and dodging my husband. And when I question, "Will my friends with no kids still invite us over for dinner on the fly?" I know the answer. And I care about the answer. How many other answers on this page do I know deep down as well?

I swear on all holy to me (come back here, chocolate chip cookie) that I have also thought of (a few) good things. And if you must know, not like it's your business or anything, the other page with the big circle "Don't try" is full of medium and little circles that positively scare the shit out of me. I'm worried I'm creating a lesser of two evils situation, but hey, maybe I knew that going in. Who has to make a decision tree that looks like this one, anyway?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Did I miss this in Kubler-Ross?

What's up with the Guilt? I'm talking about guilt and grief today, at GITW.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Whadaya Know, Georgia?

Dear any State Politician who thinks now is a good time to ram through some really assinine anti-IVF legislation claiming to be proactively warding off octoplets, but really fucking over potential parents everywhere and giving a big wet one to the pro-life contingency:

Am I in favor of octoplets? Well, in some abstract universe I suppose I find a line of puppies slurping from their mama curled up in a basket kinda cute. As for humans I'm happy they're all here safely, but I don't think anyone in their right mind (stress "right mind") thinks that being pregnant with eight babies is safe and prudent for mother and especially the children in question. The financial outcome I suppose is another concern in these trying times -- but really before we get in parents' biz, howsabout we get your own fucking State Legislators to pay their goddamn taxes? Hmmm?

Back to the point: I'm rather concerned that "politicians" (word used loosely) don't have the necessary reproductive chops to go messing with these medical issues. Let's go take a look at a few politicans in Georgia for kicks: the Senator who is introducing this nonsense lists his profession as "Investor." We also have an Orthodontist and a Grocer. Worthy and valued professions all, but NOT obstetricians or reproductive endocrinologists or anyone who might know about things reproductive. This is just a hunch. But an itch I'd love to scratch. I'd really like to see just how much these concerned citizens know before going and making laws curtailing Georgian Women's Bits and Pieces. Have you done your homework? Have you had some hearings and asked experts and professionals to explain these issues to you? I understand that we all can't be experts on the differences between Follistim and Gonal-F (Trick Question! There really is none!), and I do not claim to be an expert in budgets or deficits or things of an agricultural nature. I would think, though, if I held elected office and was asked to weigh on some of these incredibly important issues, I would take my sweet, sweet time doing some research and talking to people who DO know before weighing in with an opinion or -- gasp -- voting.

I think if you'd like to weigh on this bill and vote, that you must take the following quiz, and make your answers public with your name and picture attached. NO CHEATING! NO LOOKING THINGS UP ON YOUR IPHONE! NO FAIR IM'ING YOUR WIFE! TWITTER IS OUT! Pick up your pencils, and begin.

1) What does RE stand for?
2) What is an embryo?
3) What is a zygote? A blastocyst?
4) What does IVF stand for?
5) List two reasons why a woman might opt for IVF -- and no, "Being Angelina Jolie" or "Being a Really Disturbed Angelina Wannabe" are not valid answers.
6) Can you explain what happens procedurally during IVF? Please be specific. Extra credit will be given for knowledge of medications and their side effects and costs. Will give credit for original body-part euphemisms, but demand use of word "uterus." Feel free to make a table with corresponding calendar. (Hint: there is enough information here to actually fill a table.)
7) Please define the following and place them roughly on a pencil drawing of the human body:
-- ovaries
--fallopian tubes
-- uterus
-- cervix
-- vagina
Extra Credit:
-- corpus luteum cyst
-- endometrium
-- placenta

8) What does IVF cost? With/without insurance?
9) Does an RE "transfer" or "implant" embryos, and what in your mind is the difference?
10) Does every IVF end in pregnancy?
11) What must happen biologically after transfer for a woman to become pregnant?
12) What are the current odds of a successful IVF? Same question, but for a woman over 40? (Answers within 10% acceptable)
13) Can you think of any medical reasons why a woman might transfer more than 1-2 embryos? "Shits and Giggles" is not a valid answer.
14) When can a woman get pregnant? How does this happen for a woman undergoing IVF?
15) What hormone does a pregnancy test actually test for?
16) If you transfer a blastocyst, and the test comes back negative, have you just committed murder?
17) If you and your wife create an embryo the old fashioned way (sketches and diagrams not necessary) and the test comes back negative, have you just committed murder?
18) what is a miscarriage?
19) Compare/Contrast IVF with FET.
b) What is FET?
-- What is procedurally different?
-- What is monetarily different?
c) extra credit: What is IUI? How is it possible that more multiples could be produced from this than IVF? (Hint: IT COULD!)
20) Do you know anyone personally who has undergone IVF?

Want to know more about the proposed bill and what you can do? Go visit Mel or Julie.