it’s been awhile

I don’t know how many people actually read my blog anymore, but I figured I’d give an update.  Mike and I were successfully able to get pregnant in April this year.  It was a completely awesome surprise, as we weren’t actually trying at the time, and we needed no medical intervention to help us.  It seems as though the miscarriage I had in January got my cycles back on track, and Mike’s few sperm were determined enough to make this all happen.  I’m almost 14 weeks along now, and I was able to see the baby and its heartbeat at 10 weeks 3 days.  I can’t begin to describe the relief I felt when I saw the baby on that ultrasound screen, I just started crying.  I think I’ll probably continue to feel that way all through this pregnancy, as I’m just so grateful for this baby.  I feel incredibly lucky that everything worked out for us.

I know some might wonder if I had jumped into IVF too soon, especially now that I was able to get pregnant on my own – I know I wondered the same thing.  But I truly believe that if I had never had the miscarriage the first time, I would have never gotten pregnant this time.   I think my body needed a kickstart to get things moving as they should, and unfortunately it took a very expensive and emotional procedure to do that.  I don’t know if Mike’s sperm count went up as we haven’t done any further testing, but I’m done seeking answers.

I won’t be posting here anymore, as it doesn’t seem to fit the theme of my life at this point.  I wouldn’t want someone unsuspectingly coming upon my blog seeking support for their infertility, just to see that I’m posting all about my pregnancy.  Don’t get me wrong, I always loved hearing the success stories from others who struggled with infertility, but when I was going through infertility treatment and everything seemed so impossible, I certainly didn’t want to read about the joys of pregnancy.  I haven’t decided if I want to start another blog, but I’ll post a link here if I ever do, just in case anyone wants to follow along.

Good luck to everyone out there who is still struggling with infertility, I really hope the best for you.

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Book Tour: The Handmaid’s Tale

I participated in a book tour this month for The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, coordinated by Mel at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters.  I read this book back in high school (which I didn’t realize until after I started reading it again), and I’m glad I got a chance to read it again.  The setting is in the society of Gilead, where women are now basically slaves to men.  They are not allowed to earn money, read, write, or have any of the basic freedoms that we have become accustomed to.  The main character, Offred (Of-fred), is a Handmaid, her primary purpose to produce a child to a couple that she is assigned to because the wife is infertile.  She is moved around from house to house, trying to get pregnant for the Commander and his wife, taking on a new name based on the name of the Commander.  If she is unable to have a child, it is considered her fault – never the males – and she will be banished from the society to work in a wasteland where she would die because of exposure to toxic substances.  The book is written from Offred’s perspective, like a journal, and she discusses her past life, where she had a husband and child, which were taken away from her.  The book is written with some interesting perspectives, and makes you think about how fragile freedom truly is if we take it for granted.

Even though the rampant infertility is acknowledged to be largely due to environmental pollution, Gilead refuses to acknowledge the possibility of male infertility; if a Handmaid is unable to conceive with three Commanders, it is assumed that she is at fault and she is reassigned to the Colonies. How did this double standard resonate with you, if at all?

I think that because of the way the society had been formed, with males being the dominant figures, they felt like they could not afford to question the “manhood” of men by allowing them to be the problem with infertility. This would demonstrate to them a weakness, while in the society of Gilead, all weaknesses belonged to women. I also think that the author was trying to demonstrate the common belief in our own society that when a couple is infertile, it is generally a problem with the woman.

For all that the Handmaids are supposed to be serving the society’s greater good and should be honored for that, they are looked down upon by just about everyone. Wives resent that the Handmaids do what they cannot, Marthas resent the time spent caring for them, Econowives resent them for the ease of existence they feel the Handmaids must enjoy. And the reverse is true as well, Handmaids resent the other women for having little freedoms they do not enjoy, whether it’s control over a household, the ability to hold a knife and make radish roses, or to simply not be a possession without a name. Does this mutual resentment exist in the world of infertility? Do “fertiles” resent “infertiles” and vice versa? If so, in what way?

I don’t think that there is a mutual resentment between fertiles and infertiles. I do think that many infertile women feel resentment towards both fertile and “less” infertile women. Infertility feels like a betrayal of the body, like something is broken and it cannot be “fixed”. Even though there are ways to become pregnant for most infertile women, it is expensive, time consuming, and a very emotional roller coaster. Fertile women have something that we infertile do not have, and we are jealous of that. I don’t think it starts out as resentment. After time, and many failed attempts, and hearing one too many time “just relax”, that’s when the resentment starts.

I have often wondered what happened to Offred after the events in the book. There was speculation in the lecture notes, but if you were to add to that speculation—what happened to her after she was taken away? Did she work with the underground? Was she pregnant? Did she try to find out what happened to Luke and her daughter? What would you want for her to accomplish (if anything)?

I generally have a dislike of books that have unanswered endings, but I thought it was appropriate for this book. It was not the author’s purpose to lead us to an end, rather to tell the story from Offred’s perspective, which ended upon her escape. My hope is that she would gain courage and strength from her escape, and join the underground, but based on how she dealt with the situation while in Gilead, I did not see her as a strong person with the courage to fight against what was happening in Gilead. She was a survivor. She would do anything to survive because she was afraid of dying. I imagine she probably escaped to Canada, most likely trying to get word on her daughter and Luke. She may have even tried to enlist help to rescue her daughter. As far as what I would like for her to have accomplished, I would like to think that she gained courage and strength to join whatever fight there was against the society of Gilead.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about The Handmaid’s Tale? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #9 (The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

could it be?

I tested this morning….a very faint second line showed up.  It’s possible that I am pregnant…

5 days to go

and I’ve changed my mind…I’m going to test at home before the official test with the lab. I thought about it, and I’ve decided that I would rather know the results prior to receiving a call from the IVF clinic. If the results are negative, so be it, but I just don’t want to find out for the first time over the phone. I’m even considering taking the day off of work so I can either sulk or celebrate when I find out. If the test is negative, I am certainly not going to feel like being around anyone that day. And if the test is positive, I don’t want to have to contain my excitement, since I don’t plan on telling anyone at work until probably after the first two months.

So far I’ve had no pregnancy symptoms…not that I would really expect any this soon. In fact, I’m surprised that so many other women say they have symptoms during the first two weeks. I’ve always heard that you usually don’t feel anything until the 2nd month or so. Still, I find it reassuring when I read other women’s blogs who say they had no symptoms and had a BFP.

Despite the lack of symptoms, I’m actually starting to believe this could happen…I can see me being pregnant and being a mom. I imagine my pregnant belly, and buying maternity clothes, and planning the birth. Before I could never imagine it, therefore I thought it could never happen for me. Now that I can see it, it scares me even more that I might receive bad news this Friday.

good fortune

Mike and I went out for Chinese food tonight, and got these these fortunes in our cookies. Think it could mean something? 😉

Fortunes

time to start reading

Woo Hoo! I got my books today that I ordered from Amazon on Tuesday (very fast service). I’m participating in the Barren Bitches Book Brigade that Mel at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters organized, and this month’s book is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m looking forward to getting into reading again, and it’ll be nice to share perspectives on the book with other people.

I also bought another book, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. It discusses different aspects of giving birth, including cesareans, induced labor, epidurals and so on, with a bias towards natural birth vice current common hospital practices. The author explains in the introduction that while she is biased, she tries to present the facts so that the readers are well informed to make their own decisions. Since I’m interested in having a natural birth (when I actually get pregnant), this book should provide some very good information. More to come later as I read through it.

About this blog

My husband and I decided to try to have a baby about 9 months ago, and since then, I have ovulated only once.  I’m currently seeing an RE who has put me through a few tests to determine why I am not ovulating, but it still seems that I have a long way to go.  I do not know anyone around me that is having infertility issues, and I find that I cannot open myself up to people that I work with, so I’ve been mainly finding my information online by reading others blogs.  I decided to create my own blog dedicated to my infertility issues, so hopefully if anyone else is going through the same thing, they can find information on my site.  I also plan on writing about my thoughts on various parenting styles, as I am trying to prepare myself and learn as much as I can for when I eventually do get pregnant.  Topics that I have found interesting so far are breastfeeding, cloth diapering, cosleeping, and bentos.   I know, bentos is an odd topic to stick in with the others, but it’s something that I hope to eventually be able to do when I am a parent.  I am looking forward to meeting others going through the same thing I am, sharing our experiences, and also to have discussions on various issues dealing with infertility, pregnancy, and parenting.