"Self pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world."
- Helen Keller1880-1968, Blind and Deaf Educator

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why do you want to be a mother?

The answer to this question is complicated and can vary greatly from woman to woman. One thing I know for sure is that I have always wanted to be a mommy. I still recall the baby doll my mom gave me as holiday gift. I must have been about 7 or 8. I unwrapped the box, and in a rectangular wicker box was a life-sized infant baby doll. She was one of those dolls that you could feed and change. I was so excited that I had this special baby of my own to care for and love.

Is the most important aspect of motherhood the passing on a genetic link for future generations? This creates a possibility of genetic immortality- ones DNA can continue on through time until that branch of the family tree ends. There is something very comforting in that. My grandmother Sally, for example, had a strikingly beautiful color of hazel eyes. She passed that gene onto my father who, in turn, gave that to me. This side of my family link also gave me strong teeth and, at 40, not one cavity. I also got my nearly perfect eye sight from my paternal ancestry. The only glasses on that side of the family come with advancing age. While none of this may really be all that important in the grand scheme of things, it always strikes me as pleasing when I look at photos of my grandma, my dad and I. There we are, standing together, with the same eyes, same teeth.

Possibly more important than eye color is the legacy that was passed down through generations. My characteristics, values and perspective on the world were formed, in part, by how my grandparents raised my parents and, in turn, how they raised me. My grandma Sally had a witty sense of humor, exuded sensuality, was classy and held herself with grace. She had self confidence, was assertive and went after her dreams. No one could tell her she couldn't if she really wanted something. I like to think that those are but some of the traits she gave to me and those that I want to share with the world as part of her legacy. I want my children to have high integrity, a sense of priority towards family and community, and to learn to love deeply. I want my children to believe they can do or be or have anything they want and have the confidence to go after their dreams. I am so glad that Doug feels it is of the utmost importance that our children believe they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. So often as a child he was told he "couldn't" accomplish things-because of this, he wants the kids to have that confidence to go after their goals.

The idea of creating a family with Doug is also very important. Part of this has to do with the idea of blending the two of us into one- a genetic soup, if you will. The other piece of this is that it feel like the natural next step to grow an extension of our deep love. If Doug and I are great together, having a couple additions can help complete our family. It is the natural next step. I envision setting up the tent in the back yard on a warm summer evening, watching Doug teach the children how to ice skate, going to Sox games as a family, sitting at the kitchen table and helping with homework. It is the simple idea of parenting that brings great joy when I think about it. Nothing glamorous- just doing the every day mommy things.

I have never been a quitter. I think that is why I have been so successful in my life. I am a troubleshooter. I get things done. I go after my dreams and make things happen. That is one reason why this fertility journey has been so painful- I just figured if I put my mind to it, I would be able to have this dream. This month marks the official 4-year mark of my ttc. I never thought I would be here still with no children of my own. 13 IUI's, 2 IVFs, a whole lot of well-timed sex and the only thing to show for it was one traumatic second trimester loss and one very early miscarriage. When do I decide enough is enough?

I was on a Resolve conference call last week with a fertility expert and the topic was decreased ovarian reserve. This diagnosis may be made when you look at a whole host of signs- putting them together and it paints a picture. At age 40, I am now considered of advanced maternal age. At age 20, 80% of eggs produced monthly are considered genetically normal. By age 40, 80% are considered abnormal, causing a decreased ability to conceive and implant. My FSH levels are considered borderline high. While I have been known to dip below 10 once in a while, my numbers tend to range from about 10.1 to 14.2. This range does not exclude me from being able to have fertility treatment, but it does point to a lower statistical rate of success. Finally, my body's response has been low even to high levels of fertility meds. The fertility expert on the call said that if a woman only produces 1-3 mature eggs with high levels of meds, this may be indicative of low ovarian reserve. He said high levels of FSH were about 200 IU. I have been routinely prescribed 450 IU (the maximum does allowed) and have, at most, produced 3 mature follicles. I asked the question of the doctor- "if I was your sister, how many cycles would you suggest before moving on to other family building options?" His answer was 3 cycles.

There are so many motivations for having children- I guess it is my job to figure out what is most important. My doctor is willing to continue with the IUIs for as long as I am willing to try. After all, I did get pregnant last year so we know I can. Even if the statistics are not in my favor, pregnancy is not impossible. However, I have spent 4 years consumed with this goal. I can accomplish motherhood in a variety of ways.

Simply put, I wonder if I am wasting precious time being unhappy and missing out on motherhood in my attempts to become a mother.

Why do you want to be a mother? What would you tell me if I were your sister?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Too Old to Take a Break?

Well- Aunt flow is back to visit. I've had the regular crying fits, regrets, anger, and grief episodes again. What can I do? Not much except keep going.

It is cycle day 1. I am going to wait until next month to do what is supposed to be my last IUI. My doctor wants another clomid challenge test so, since I am in TX on business, I can do that easily from here and give my body one more month on all the fertility enhancing things I'm on to work (that would be the DHEA, the Folate megadoses, essential fatty acids, multi, baby aspirin, herbal tea, acupuncture, massage, visualizations, and prayer). Let's all imagine nice and low cycle day 3 FSH numbers, shall we? For those not in the know, we want a number lower than 10- let's shoot for 9. That's what it was in November. Last month, it was 14.2. So, my cycle day 3 test in on Thursday morning, for those of you who have time to send good intentions.

For those wondering why I need that test at this point in the game, depending on how this and my last cycle goes, will determine next steps for me. I responded pretty well this past cycle in terms of follicle production for the IUI. Another good cycle and maybe IVF is still in the picture. If I don't respond well, egg donation is a real possibility. I have a family member who is willing to donate for me and I suppose that could truly be the best next thing for me. I mean- it's been 4 years, lots of loss, and lots of pain. I really would just like to get on with it now and be a mom.

You probably won't hear much more from me regarding donor eggs. If I move forward, it will be IVF either way and be sure I will tell you all those details as I progress. Those of you who have grown close to me, feel free to email me on the sly for the skinny as time goes on. I just think that, for now, the choice I end up making will be a private one for me and my family- something for my children to share rather than me posting on the 5 pm news, if you know what I mean.

Who knows- I've been an open book all along. Maybe I will share how things move forward. For now, I am hoping that the clomid month yields an immaculate conception, or that the next and possibly last IUI is the one that takes.

With love and tears,

Lisa DG

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Party Pics

Ok- you've asked- here it is...me at the raging party. I'm the second diva from the left. The woman of the evening is the gorgeous woman standing in red.

Here I am after my 5th martini, with hubby holding on...

Thanks for supporting me. I feel a bit of regret that I don't quite remember the night of fun like I planned to do. I really needed to blow off steam, but there needs to be a limit and I crossed that line. Oh well. I have gotten great at beating myself with a stick. Best not to do it on things I cannot control- like the past. Keep moving forward one step at a time. Each moment brings me closer to my live baby.

Waiting is loaded with emotions

I am not sure how to wait gracefully, patiently. I tend to do a lot of crying as I think back on what could have been. Then there's the "I need to relax" piece when I start my deep breathing, yoga or relaxation tapes. I often try to think of something different in the early days past IUI- usually that means a fabulous dinner and wine- anything to make the feel indulgent and distracted. My husband gave me the home alone today, and I have filled it mostly with sleeping, eating and working.

As time goes on I get more and more tightly wound up. I want it so badly but I am afraid to be that exposed, that vulnerable- to open myself up completely to the "what may be." I have done that so many times before and look where that got me.

Oh well- I guess it is better to hold out hope that I will have my hearts desire. It feels a whole lot better than believing I am destined to be unfulfilled.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Crossing Fingers

Going for my IUI tomorrow. While I am a bit discouraged given my history to this moment- I'll do what I do so well- which is wear lucky socks, say a prayer, think positive, have good intentions, stay on my back all day, take herbs, do acupuncture, relax...you who have been around with me for a while know the drill.

Please hope along with me. Maybe this is my time...

Monday, March 2, 2009


We're all trying to keep warm here in snowy New England. I couldn't think of a better time to drive to Boston for an ultrasound than today. They say we should have over 15 inches when this all is said and done.

My great husband did the driving. I am so lucky and he is so patient. At least I took the day off today. I am thankful for the small things- like the rest of the day at home, that I am getting along with my hubby so well, that we are being more playful lately (like when we first got married). I guess all the worrying and depression I have been feeling has been getting old. I need to remember that this is my life. I can choose to be sad or happy, even in the face of repeated disappointment. It's my choice.

I know it is easy to say all this on my day 7- not as easy on a day 1. For today I will choose happiness and worry about tomorrow when it gets here.

On a total separate note, I went to an old friend's birthday party this past weekend. For the first time in a long time I partied like a rock star. Drank multiple martinis and don't remember much after about 10 pm. They say I had a good time. I lost my favorite shirt (yes I was wearing something under it), an earring, my necklace and my blackberry. Oh- and the heel on my Fendi boots fell off. Yahoo. I can't do that more than once every few years...I guess I needed to blow off some steam. Ya think?

And my husband still loves me. What more can I ask for?

Oh yeah- a baby.