Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm not old, I'm 37.

Birthdays are always rough for me somehow and some years are like this one. Examining the good and the bad throughout the year really ought to be left for better timed moments. Unfortunately, it's like a sore tooth that you run your tounge over, testing to see if it hurts. Yep, still hurts. How about now? Ow.

The good news is that instead of wallowing in a puddle of my own tears with a growing mountain of tissues and wailing about my woes with fists shaking at God, I'll be laying low in a seaside resort that boasts trails, horseback riding and nature walks. Mr. Misfit decided that despite the expected rain, a stiff ocean breeze, a campfire and a bottle of wine would help ease the depression funk for a day or two. I'm sure it will.

I just wanted to say thanks to folks who have been reading and leaving comments; you are amazing. I started writing as a last ditch effort to stay sane after yet another defeat in no-baby-candyland. I am humbled by your participation here and the stories I've heard and just wanted to say how much it means. To be honest, I'm extremely sad that anyone who reads relates to anything I say, but I'm also eternally grateful that I'm not out here alone.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Secret sign

I feel a lot like I have a scarlet "I" tattooed onto my forehead. I feel it pulsating light like a loser beacon whenever I put on the show of strength it takes to get through the pleasantries with un-infertile moms. It's searing hot and keeps me on my toes to be as polite as needed and to remind myself to use any device necessary to extricate from breastfeeding, birth, or preschool conversations. It's wailing like a siren in my head, and I was was pretty sure that no one else can see it. But, I was wrong.

At the same party where I had a painful polite conversation with the 7.5 months preggers lady, I also caught the conversation of another acquaintance. We were one of the two childless couples at a 2-year-old birthday party, so it's hard not to notice each other. She stuck to the Misfits for much of the afternoon, talked about their new dog (seriously the cutest dog ever!), and took great pains to not be near the pregnant lady. And, I knew. I saw the red flicker as she turned to leave the room.

Later, on the way home, after my inconsolable bout of bawling, Mr. Misfit started talking about their cute dog.

"You didn't see it?"
"See what?"
"They can't have children."
Mr. Misfit was thoughtful for a moment and responded, "you're right. I had no idea."

The husband had recently illustrated a few children's books and I vaguely recall them discussing having kids out loud after our friend's now-2-year-old was born. As Leslie said, I'd never spouted off on our children plans, mostly for the fear that we couldn't have them and would have to face our disappointment publicly. And now, two years later, I realize that the scars that I carry aren't really invisible. Other women going through it can see them, fresh, raw and barely closed. I saw hers clearly when she looked at the adorable dog picture she'd just showed everyone and said, "I am going to be one of those crazy women who carries pictures of her ridiculous dog."

I wanted to say something, give her a hug right there and then. I needed to tell her that I saw it, and I know. We share that same third "I" and were sisters with a secret sign.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

F*ckit List

It dawned on me yesterday that despite my endless enthusiasm for babies and the idea that my life moving forward would have them, I might have to think about my life without them.

Here's the thing, I never thought I'd be married, much less having children. And to really prepare to have kids you sort of need to, well, imagine your life with them. So, before you throw out the bcps, you have that long talk with yourself.

"You know you are never going to see another movie?" Yes.
"You realize that you could be one of those moms, with the SUV stroller." Sure.
"Are you ready for the birth thing? It's all tore up you know." Righto.
"Do you love your partner enough to endure the lack of sleep, sex, and fun for an unspecified amount of time?" Where do I sign?

And here's the fucked up part, just as you convince that inner child that you are ready for a child, it becomes something you desperately want all of a sudden. The more trouble it is, the more desperate you become. I have dreams about them, holding them, teaching them, and for what? Are they here yet? Clearly not.

I got to thinking, maybe I need to take a look at where this is all headed before I get even more emotionally invested.

So, instead of a "bucket list" I'm putting together my "fuckit list" whereby I start ticking off the things that were equally unlikely to me 10 years ago, but I had a general interest in pursuing had the opportunity arisen.

  1. Get dogs. Ridiculous dogs. I'm talking a Frenchie, an IG and a Pomeranian. I'd have batshit crazy dog carriers and equally silly names like "pooky, tito and Mr. Gee."

  2. Wear all purple. I like purple, but who wears it. All the time. Why not, really? It's a power Feng Shui color, so hell, bring on all the luck I deserve whilst sporting purple socks and frocks.

  3. Become a dirt track stock car racer. If college hadn't worked out, I'm sure I would be dead, in a ditch, after a flaming burnout. My speeding and general driving is tempered only by better judgement and fear of hurting amateurs on the road. Don't mistake me for nascar, it's not that kind of thing. It's the Saturday night local special with demolition derby and beers the size of your head. To live in local infamy would suffice.

  4. Start a band. I play bass. I ought to play better, but I'm hardly focused on any one hobby. I'd be the older, less cute Donnas (The Dramas!). Except, I won't have a Supercharger to write hits for us. Mr. Misfit isn't so hot at lyrics, melodies, he's golden. I am a music dork.

  5. Travel. I know people who know you don't have kids say this all the time. But, jeebus people, I'm going to do it. The more far-flung and exotic, the better. (The only downside is my over active hypochondriac imagination and global diseases. I spent way more time researching dengue fever than one ought before a Caribbean vacation.)


The fact that we don't have dogs or cats (furbabies) stems mostly from our laziness. We put that off until we had kids, figuring we'd have the whole responsibility tracks meet up at the infant no sleep, have a puppy trainwreck. But, I have a carbaby and I have to say that getting a brother for King Catch-up (a red MINI) and naming him Colonel Mustard (a yellow MINI) is still an appealing (and becoming less crazy by the minute) idea.

I broke down over the weekend, spending each minute on the edge of tears as I was faced with yet another acquaintance who wasn't really looking to get pregnant, get pregnant, and is 100% healthy. I cried in the car. I cried pouring coffee and generally felt like shit. I'm depressed because I'm not where I thought I'd be by now and I turn 37 in a few days. And, yet, at some level, I need to just stop this merry-go-round and live the life I've got right now. I'm just tired of feeling so broken. So, I'm just trying to get a perspective on the meaning of my life. If it's not going to be a mom, or a mom right now, should I face this with any MORE disappointment than having my dream of an all purple, 1976 cadillac, with a sassy pet dog sidekick who keeps me company as I wander to exotic places as I rise to international rock-star fame?

Well, if the baby thing doesn't work out, you all can just say you knew me when.

Monday, February 22, 2010

While Away the Hours

Results are back, and despite my preemptive freakout (no makeup, pocket tissues in hand, and white knuckled fists clenching the chair) nothing major came up. We proved that one Misfit plus another does equal two; we tested positive for Trisomy 14 and Trisomy 22 in the Misfit nut. My RE seemed nonplussed over genetic problems and relieved at least that we don't have to start tracking down a few other things. That said, she's tracking down a few other things.

1. I don't lose weight easily. I checked in 5 pounds heavier than I've ever been when I went for my D and C. Since that shocker, I've dropped 10 lbs with diet and half-assed exercise, but have stopped just this week. She's testing me for the usual panel of lipids, fasting glucose, etc. Also retesting TSH as this was wonky for pregnancy. I have a good 25 to 30lbs more to go before I feel like I'm at my fighting weight.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis. My aunts are crippled with this and I have wonky symptoms that *might* mean something, but might not. As with any minor issue, I've Dr. Interneted this to death and I expect that this is entirely psychosomatic. I either have arthritis, cancer, or rat lungworm disease.

She did a scan and looked at the bits. My left ovary is pumping (bad tube), so it looks like I'm on my way to getting the cycle back on track. She recommended that we give it another shot naturally and come see her to talk options after 3 or 4 months. I was so armed with information and ready to argue IVF, that I wasn't prepared for her straightforward, informed approach. No PGD, just IVF, and with the caveat that it hasn't shown to vastly improve my chances over a natural pregnancy.

The last funny bit, as I'm always looking for signs, was driving to my appointment, thinking of Dr. Competant and how I hope she lives up to my internet name, I see Dr. Pasta. Literally, he's in a car, with a personalized license plate "drpasta." And, I think, maybe the universe is sending me a new doctor. Unless, of course, he only fixes carbs (har, har, har).

Tick tock, natural clock, back into the gate for the fertility merry-go-round. In the meantime, I'll say really sweet things to the right ovary, maybe even give her a name and promise her a car when she turns 16. I mean, hell, what's it going to take, sister?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hot Dog.

So, I'm distracting myself by not talking about anything related to babies or not having babies, because, despite the fact that those thoughts consume about 60% of my brain (I need a chart like Leslie's at Evolutionary Dead End) and I have an appointment on Monday that I'm pretty freaked about, I do have other crosses to bear. Enter the mother-in-law.

Let me start by saying she's the most generous, hospitable, and loving mother-in-law and that I'm fortunate in oh-so-many ways to lucked out in the marital coin toss. That said, she's a bit of a handful. And if there's only thing that I'm NOT grateful for, is having to be so goddamn grateful.

Eye for an eye, yadda yadda, you know the type. I take you to the airport, you offer to take me to the airport. I offer to help you move, etc. You can get an idea. Except, when it comes to a "return of the favor," somehow you hand over the $20 to pay that $11 charge and get a handful of nickels. People who keep score, tally the deeds, and then tax you and charge interest. That's it in a nutshell. You can never do enough.

I'm a giver by nature. I make you a cake on your birthday, I offer to drive you to the airport, and I generally like to think about how to help someone. It's a problem, I know. But, when you encounter someone for whom the act of giving isn't the joy, you start to become a bit stingy.

Mr. Misfit and I dated many years before getting married. I knew what I was getting into. I'd heard over and over about his previous wife's wedding shower and how she'd had to throw about 50 in return. It was a huge consideration for us to get married and a condition when I said yes "no showers from your Mom." Indeed.

So, we help all we can, we offer to pitch in, and when she offers to help in return we say no. It's the Italian thing, you don't EVER want to be in debt to someone, and especially not to the emotional mafia.

Mr. Misfit has a brother. He's immune to the guilt, the wailing, and the great expectations. Oh, Miss Jackson, you said it best as the MIL's song is "what have you done for me lately?" He's recently married and his new wife comes from a normal family, who sort of doesn't keep track of favor chips. The new wife, she's not immune. She's fed up and rightly so.

No thank you card after being invited for dinner. Off with your head. Bring a friend with you to dinner and they don't send a thank you card, flowers, and a housewarming gift, well, they won't be back again. The MIL says she's feeling low and you don't offer to drive the 60 miles out to her retirement community in B.F.E., pack your bags missy, you are voted off the island.

At some point last spring, MIL was in a pickle. either she needed a pace maker, was having a heart attack or just plain freaking out. It was serious, and the good kids (MISFITS RULE!) were on the East Coast. The impervious son and his new wife were left to tend to the freakout (oh vacations are a blessing). Everything was fine, her health rebounded, but the damage was done.

Not once did the other brother offer to drive to the boonies and evidently, the new wife missed an unspoken wifely duty, she failed to bring FOOD. Italians...ugh.

A few months after, when the the BIL's new wife had inadvertently snubbed the MIL (microscopic if it even existed), Mr. Misfit was there to pick up the pieces. The wailing, the moaning, the crying, oi! And then, there's the hitching, hiccuping voice saying "Did she bring me ANYTHING at all when I was not feeling well? I mean...not....one...single (hitching hiccup)..THING?!? (pause as Mr. Misfit nods knowingly) Not even...a. h--ho-hotdog."

We promptly send thank you cards filled with "appreciate" and "overly kind" and "generous" and other things to express how GRATEFUL we are to have such a wonderful Diva princess person in our lives.

But hey, if that's not enough, I do have a can of Vienna Sausages in the car. Just in case. It's not a hot dog, but shit, it's close enough.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Am Superwoman

My daily life seems really boring. I write soulless words to sell exciting things. I juggle, I argue, I charm and I generally get by. This person, the outwardly functioning one, is the superbeing. She gets up, gets to work, hops on calls and gets it done. And then there's Claire Kent.

She's got the coke-bottle glasses to disguise RE appointments, the unbidden tears, and the various "surgeries" that are really something painful she can't reveal.

Being two people for almost three years takes its toll. I gave up writing for pleasure, gave up discussing anything personal, and gave up my sense of privacy all at the same time. Naturally impulsive and open, these closed doors have created a chasm between selves. So much so, that I think it's permanent.

I sprint from my typewriter to the nearest phone booth (or bathroom stall), and in a flash I don my paper gown and secure my metal stirrups to ride the ultrasound steed into the sunset.

Good friends become acquaintances, old friends become more distant and close friends become carefully chosen confidants or old friends I don't talk to. With infertility, there's a level of sympathy that's universally painful, it feels like with losses, it's kryptonite. It can bring the strongest person to their knees. Recounting one story is awful, two is rotten, three is just really horrible. And with that comes the keys to the fortress of solitude.

Out of the IF closet, in the IF closet, it matters not. There are simply people who should never know the alter ego. Everyone loves Superwoman, and that's okay. She is easy to like. Stoic, successful, and strong, her story is inspiring and contagious. And if Superwoman manages a superchild, so much the better. Claire Kent is only here to help that superhero stay grounded to deal with very human problems. Sink or swim. Sink or swim? Not when there's the option to fly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It Made Me Laugh

I'm trying not to countdown to my 37th next week. Something about getting past 36 just feels so much older. This skit made me laugh so hard I snarfled and snorted for a good 5 mintues after it was over.

If you haven't seen the Saturday Night Live Reunion at the Wedding skit, enjoy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

For the Birds

You develop a coping strategy in life. My bad luck has had me in more-than-my-share of emotional and physical scrapes, so I tend to be heavy on the assvice. Got an issue where you are stranded on a fire road 6 miles from civilization and trying to decide which Samaritan to allow you to save you? Skip the prosthetic leg guy and look for the vehicle with the winch. Got a emotional vampire problem? I've got the conversational stake to dust that time-sucker. Career, love, money, I'll gladly weigh in. Yet, when it comes to all this loss, I can only say it's shitty and I slog through it as best as I can.

Right before we found out that we were preggers with #4, we discovered a precious bird nest in our jasmine. It's a meaningful plant in our garden. We couldn't help it. "It's a sign!"

A week later, we came home to find bits of shell and yellowy goo on our porch and the nest tattered and askew. We said nothing. But, I knew it was also a sign. Two days later I was spotting and within a week, we were back to another sort of empty nest.

I'm not a mommy to angels. I don't keep track of EDDs or anniversaries. And I think that both of those things are healthy for me. I've had too many bad things happen to create milestones for any new misery. My resolve is to not know an EDD until a doctor gives me one, something that has yet to happen. Otherwise, I welcome the very real birds that visit our garden and say goodbye to our baby birds with cracked shells.

Should you wear boots over jeans? Plaid with stripes? Should you kick your best friend's ass for stealing your man? I am ready to dish. Making poi for a party? Need to put bacon in your cupcakes? I'll be right over. Looking for a way to cope after miscarriage loss? I'm afraid that that is left for the birds.

Abby Normal

As luck would have it, the period arrived on Valentine's day. Ah, cycle days, how I've missed you. Back on the roller-coaster.

In an inspired burst of phone dialing, I managed to get a hold of my clinic. Not only did they call me back within 30 minutes (I've left two previous messages), the nurse also told me that my tissue analysis was in and that there were abnormal chromosomes. No further information other than to wait to discuss with the doctor in person next week. Hurry up and wait.

Rather than resting assured that this time, whatever was growing wasn't impeded by my rocky womb, but just plain dna division (math has always been a challenge). I, of course, start to imagine the worst thing that can possibly be discussed next week. It's a nice little drama that's been playing in my head since yesterday. Is it a Trisomy? What could be the worst thing they say? Ever since the first few miscarriages where my news went from bad to worse, I have this obsession with being prepared for the worst. So much for optimism, right?

I also know that Dr. Competent has written papers on PGD and I've been reading anything I can get to see if that would be helpful. The answer for someone in my age group seems to be a big fat, "it depends." It's a rotten menu any way you look at it. Trying and failing, IVF, or IVF with PGD. The scientist part of me wonders whether the other 4 had issues, too, or whether this is just another sort of bad luck. Unless there's something so awful that just one genetic test can rule out us ever having children. You see how my mind is working...

The most irritating part was canceling an appointment today that took me a full month and a half to get. The rheumatology specialist needed two tests done prior to the appointment and no one would call me back from the clinic in time. I do have family history of RA and had some bizarre joint pain just before this last pregnancy that went away about week 6. Maybe that will get checked out, and maybe not. Funny thing about seeing the doctor so much, I hardly feel better taken care of than when I used to never go.

I finished reading Coming to Term, and I can't decide if I feel better or not. It seems that women who have up to 4 miscarriages are still holding an oar in the statistical boat. What happens after 4? That book doesn't say so much, but I'm hoping it involves rainbows and unicorns delivering a baby bundle on the wings of precious butterflies.

"If science teaches us anything, it teaches us to accept our failures, as well as our successes, with quiet dignity and grace." -Dr. Frederick Frankenstein

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thorn in my side (or belly)


First Endless Fun with the Candy Heart Generator

I am still waiting for my period to knock. I keep hearing a ghost doorbell and open the bathroom stall only to find that she's still door ditching. So, this is how it's going to be, right?

So, how does a misfit spend Valentine's Day? Get this...BBQ and video games. I know, you think the mister put me up to this, but seriously, it's all me. I absolutely adore our date and here's why. Valentine's Day sucks. I grew up in a flower shop, not as in raised by a pack of orchids or abandoned in an Anne Geddes portrait mind you, but close. My family is in the flower business and let me tell you that it's a hell of a holiday. I spend most of my early years and well into my college years helping strip roses, build bud vases and doing endless arrangements of dozens of evil flowers. Two words for you people, freaking thorns.

People use the internet to buy flowers from big company with advertising, who in turn passes that order on to a local shop in the town you are sending it to. You see a nice arrangement for $50 with beautiful roses and lovely lilies. The mega-hundred flower shop takes their cut and sends it to the shop minus their fee. The shop gets $39 dollars to put together a vase ($4) three roses ($18) and some filler flowers ($12) and then pays someone to deliver it ($5). People feel a bit cheated when they see the final product of their hard work shopping online. And, they call the shop to complain. Ugh. The business of romance is not for the weak. If you are sending flowers, please call a local shop that you trust. The big secret is that if you call a month in advance, you might even get those dozen roses for a more reasonable cost.

When we were first dating, Mister Misfit still wanted to do something special. We made cards for each other and decided that the most anti-valentine food to eat out would be BBQ. And the truth is we are almost always the only patrons and we get treated like royalty. As for video games, some year's we do and some we don't, but it's always an option.

This year we will be out of town and playing tourist. I suspect that there may be some secret plans to surfboard shop (his) and a scheme to play mini-golf (hers). The man is sentimental and he might bring me candy, but I can gar-and-god-damn-tee he won't be getting me roses.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The story of a Misfit Mrs.

I knew from an early age that I wasn't like other girls my age. My limited interest in Barbies, makeup and boys into my early teen years meant that I had little in common with popular kids. I read voraciously, I listened to Mexican Radio, and I did extremely well in school. I felt like the ugly duckling for much of my teenage years and even when I grew into a svelte, smart, athletic young woman, I wasn't ready to be part of the in crowd. Instead, I spent time with the stoners (despite my fear of doing drugs) drawing skulls and listening to Slayer and 7 Seconds. I didn't fit in.

I never saw myself married, never wanted kids, and really didn't care if I was alone for the rest of my life. I had friends and family and was generally unconcerned. I was a college DJ, I had pink hair, and I loved music more than anything. All of my friends shared a passion for music. It's how I met my boyfriend who became my best friend, and later my husband.

If pretty, smart and dorky were honey then my Mr. Misfit is just that kind of bee. He's equally dorky and smart and devilishly handsome and we were both sort of weirded out about being married. But, when you stick a misfit with another misfit, somehow it works. He's still my boyfriend even if we do have a legal paper saying somewhere that I get half.

I'm Aunt Misfit, too. When my sister gave birth to my nephew and I held him the first time at 26, something clicked. I knew that I wanted children somewhere even if I'd spent the previous 10 years vehemently denying maternal characteristics.

So, I don't have a Range Rover, I don't play golf. I still go to shows, stay up late, and make mixed tapes for loved ones. I still read a ton, i don't do laundry (I do cook, however which might be my only domestic quality), and I don't have a lot in common with the married women my age. There are a few other members of my Misfit Mrs' club, but I feel like it's a rare breed. Finding new friends to replace ones who've moved away or moved into the suburbs of real life is impossible.

The one thing that is good about being a Misfit Mrs. is that I know I can't possibly be the only one.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Adrift

It's been 4 weeks and change since the D and C and two phone calls into the RE's office asking what's next. I have yet to have a period but given the mood swings in the last day, I'm guessing that lady's about to knock on my door.

Since 2010 is the year of friends, we decided to invite fellow non-football friends over to watch the Who with a side salad of Super Bowl. There was some good humored wagering on what songs they'd play and overall, we had a great time. Saints or Colts? The big question was do you want wine or beer?

We invited two couples with children around 2 years old. Both were super sweeties and we've really enjoyed being around them (even babysitting now and then). And, I was especially proud as a guacamole paw landed mid ottoman, I was quick to grab a napkin and wipe the microsuede and let the parent know that, seriously, it's okay. We expect it. Because, well, when we invite our friends who have kids, we prepare for such things.

So, I'm here about three weeks from an appointment with a specialist in rheumotology where I have to get pre-screened for certain items. She specializes in immunology and how that affects pregnancy and works one day a week only. I made the appt. 4 weeks ago and it looks like I will have to cancel if I can't find a new primary physician or get my RE to actually talk to me in the next 2 weeks. Arrgh...

I wait. I pray. I hope for the best. I expect a period. I worry that it won't come soon. And, I think about what's next.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Allergies to Baby Dust

I've lurked in any place on the internet where women talk about loss, recurrent loss and infertility. Sometimes I'm looking for hope that someone like me succeeds at some point. Sometimes, I'm looking for stories that make my own woes seem pale in comparison. I can follow a story, a post, a response, a wish for good things, but when I hit the baby dust I choke.

"Wishing you happy sticky baby dust!"

For some women, they will find it reassuring. If you are someone how takes comfort in those words, you might want to skip reading this post. If you feel like you just vomited a little in your mouth, read on.

I'm not a girly girl to begin with. I don't squeal with delight (at least not often). I know that the term doesn't literally mean anything, and that people who use it intend only the best things for the intended recipient. "I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers this month that the evil bitch AF never arrives" or "hope you get lucky" would serve equally well. Or even "I am really hoping that this is your month" would be something genuine and helpful. Dust is not.

My thought is that it's a rampant mythology of some areas of the infertility world where the veterans have moved on the new recruits sort things out themselves. It's like your teenage years where you say "bitchin'" or "rad" and then move on to "awesome" at some point. I just hit those words and come to a full stop. It diminishes the luck and the fate of conception in one fell swoop.

I would rather invent a baby fairy and pray that she blesses us with dust than face the reality of five miscarriages. I'd like to think I'm missing a vital element Bd (next to Au on the new periodic table), and that with proper supplements, I could have saved myself some heartache. Mostly, I attribute all this to a combination of bad luck and a suspicion that something else is going wrong. My ancient dusty eggs are meeting the walker-ridden sperm in the geriatric disco-uterus and pooping out before getting it done. I don't think that some baby dust confetti dropped at midnight will be part of the magic concoction. Some luck, some science and some magic are all involved. I can't think it was my fate to be like this any more than it's the fate of any woman to have her hopes for a pregnancy dashed. Our bodies do amazing things. It's a complex system and in our imperfection, we are perfect. As much as I want my own children and believe that it will happen, if it doesn't happen, I also know that there's simply not enough love in the world and that what I have to give will not go to waste.

So, I find that all of that complexity of emotion remains undefined. It swirls about my thoughts and floats into phrases as I follow along only to funnel into empty words to end or begin an otherwise honest account. Clearly that fairy needs to be fired as she's not very fair in her affections. And, if you see someone out there ending her tale wishing someone "luck, love, & money," you'll know that the baby dustbuster was there.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Losing it

You will have to forgive the rather rushed story being told. I'm trying to get it all out and there, to make it seem a little more real. I know no one else going through this. I've read a few blogs out there, but it feels pretty alone here in the trenches with the little broken birds hovering about. Very few people know our story in real life and of those, no one knows the extent of it. My best informed people are the acupuncturist and the nurse at the clinic. Otherwise, we are alone in our grief and sadness. It's not that we don't have friends, but as all of this has unfolded, it's coincided with the time when all our friends have had children. Some have had struggles, and we've been waiting to unburden when the coast is clear. "Boy you have no idea what we've been through in the last two years."

The most recent chapter unfolds as follows...

In November of 2009, we said screw it and planned a real vacation. An expensive Caribbean kind. We half-heartedly made TTC efforts in the month prior, but mostly prayed for no pregnancy and a week of frivolous fun. And so it was.

Three weeks back from our vacation and the double tap HPT said, "it's on." We cautiously celebrated and told no one. Pregnant 3 months after our last miscarriage. Betas doubled perfectly, on the high side of normal even. The first ultrasound showed a gestational sac and yolk in the right spot, dead center. With Christmas week in between, we had to wait until two weeks later to get an update. At 7 weeks 5 days, we'd know for sure if we had a chicken that had a chance of hatching. I started spotting at 6 weeks on the button. Yes, I know it's common, but it's never reassuring and not usually a good sign. No full flow, just spots. We visit family and try to not think about miscarrying.

But, you know when you are thinking of not miscarrying, it's all you are thinking about. Worse, I had the world's worst heartburn and the strongest pregnancy symptoms ever. Sore boobs gave way to painfully excruciating boobs that hurt with every movement. So much so, that I couldn't even sleep well as I'd turn over and scream "ow, ow OWWW!" I kept thinking that I manage to go through one of the roughest parts of early pregnancy, and keep getting to be in early pregnancy. As I see it, I have spent 4 months of the past 2 years pregnant and all of that was the yucky, tired, sorest boobs in the world bit. Prepared for the worst and hoping for the best, we met Dr. Competent's backup (she was on vacation for two crucial weeks).

First, I love going to a clinic where no one hides the ultrasound screen. The first thing the doctor did was turn the monitor right to where I could see it. And see it I could. There was nothing. No growth, no heartbeat, just a sac and yolk measuring 3 or 4 days bigger than the last time we were in. I wore no mascara or makeup and expected water works with the bad news, but strangely enough, that didn't happen. Mr. Misfit squeezed my hand, and asked if I was okay, and strangely enough, I was. The doctor started to tell me what was up and I cut her short. This isn't my first rodeo. I know when the clowns come in to distract the bull.

She gave us the options of D and C and natural miscarriage and delivered it with the hope that it is rare, but it can happen that the fetus will grow and "catch up." As she said, "It doesn't look good." Two days before New Year's Eve, and two days before my ten year anniversary with Mr. Misfit, I could only think "and we are back to square -2." We were given a specimen cup by a nervous attendant who practically ran out of the room after holding it out for us to take. We needed the laugh. She seriously had little road runner smoke and whirling legs as she rushed out the door. After all, it's not contagious (I think).

We toasted the New Year (me sans alcohol still) to new beginnings and to miracles, if they are out there waiting we are ready to receive ours. The strange part of having gotten knocked down so many times, is that you start to expect very little. The people who expect nothing can't be disappointed, right? But, still there's some part of us where we nurse a wee flame of hope that our desire fuels. Sadly, the miracle truck missed our house and the following week we confirmed no growth and I continued to bleed.

I swore against ever doing another D and C. The first was a horrid experience for me. The only time I started to cry when the doctor confirmed our imminent miscarriage was relating my experience with my last one. I DO not want to go through that again. But the call of analyzed tissue and science won out. The last one I was offered nothing. No tissue analysis, no idea if our unhatched chicken was a hen or a rooster. The bit where we might have an answer won out. I scheduled the surgery for the following day.

I'd tell you all how it went, but I'm blissfully unaware of anything after the IV went in. I often kid the phlebotomists that I'll bet that they can't find a vein in the first poke. I am what they call a hard stick. I accept that my veins are shy and also accept that my pre-existing fear of needles and tendency to pass out when I'm stuck probably come from an evolutionary advantage. I also have come to accept that I will be a pincushion every now and then and just have to lay down. The anesthesiologist went for 6 veins and caught the squirrelly rabbit on the 6th try. Nothing like calling in sick for outpatient surgery only to show back up at work looking like amateur heroin addict. Again, I digress.

So, it's almost 4 weeks later and I've yet to get the letter that AF is planning to pay a visit. I'm waiting to see if the tissue they got tells us any story at all and I'm waiting to get started again on the doorstep of my 37th birthday.