Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Giving Up. But Not Really.

(You guys crack me up with how many of you are just as uptight about the spelling as I am. Of course, no-one is going to believe that I take my spelling very, very seriously, when I continue to have as many typos in these posts! Viola? What the heck?? I didn’t catch it, and my spell-check didn’t catch it, since technically, it is a correctly-spelled word. Just not the one I wanted. Thanks for keeping me honest!

Thanks, also, for humoring me through these gargantuan length entries lately. I feel like I’ve been going on for days and days, and well, technically I guess I have. Believe it or not, I’m keeping each journal entry as short as possible. It’s just difficult for someone as long-winded as me to condense years and years' worth of fertility and adoption struggles into a few paragraphs. But I promise … the end is in sight!)

OK, we started trying to get pregnant in spring of 1991. We applied to the adoption agency in February of 1994. My nephew was born the day after our first IVF attempt failed, in November of 1995. So, by my calculations (which good Lord, let’s hope they’re more accurate than my spelling!) we’d been trying for four and a half years. Although putting all our eggs in one basket (excuse the pun) with IVF hadn’t proved successful, we figured we owed it to ourselves to try again, if there was any way possible.

That’s the thing about fertility treatments. Just like “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, that journey ENDS with a single step as well. One successful step, and you’ll have placed yourself right across the finish line. And despite getting negative pregnancy tests month after month, year after year, you want so much to believe that if you give it just ONE MORE TRY, it will work. I mean, what if fate decreed that the **next** fertility treatment is the one that would have worked, and you had quit? How can you just give up, when the next one could very well be the one that was meant to be successful? You don’t want to spend the rest of your life regretting that you gave up too early, and always wondering "what if?". I’ve never been addicted to alcohol or drugs, so I’m not sure that’s a good comparison, but like an addict, I found myself scrambling for ways to justify another procedure. Just one, just one, that’s all we’ll need. And really, who were we hurting? It’s not like anyone was suffering due to our obsession with getting a baby.

Well, yes, our savings account had been wiped out several times. I mean, we started this process when we were in our mid-twenties, so it's not like our life savings was that big to begin with. My faith in the system was shaken. I no longer believed in the concept of fairness. My self-esteem had taken quite a beating. And sure, if you want to get technical, my outlook on life had deteriorated to the point I was a soul-sucking miserable hag who couldn’t find happiness in anything, and whenever friends and family saw me, they ran shrieking the other direction for fear I would release my wrath upon them …. But whatever! Let’s just keep trying! Because we’re not hurting anybody!

So we scraped every spare penny we had ---AGAIN --- and tried for a second time three months later. This time, we went with ZIFT: Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer. ZIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure similar to in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer with the difference being that the fertilized embryos are transferred into the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. So basically, I was stimulated and monitored just the same …. And the eggs were harvested just the same …. And Blaine did his part just the same ….. and a few days later I went back for the second half of the procedure just the same ….. and I continued with my progesterone injections just the same ….. and took a blood test just the same ....

And two weeks later we got a call from the IVF nurse that it was unsuccessful …. Just the same.

And can you believe that we still weren’t ready to give up? One more time, one more time … that’s all we need. You really, truly, seriously convince yourself that it’s true. So, we continued putting every spare cent away to save for another attempt. Who cared that we were nearing our 30’s and didn’t have a dime in savings? Who cared that I worked full-time, just so my entire paycheck could go into our baby fund each week? Who cared that if we ever DID get a baby, there wouldn’t be any money to send him or her to college?

Besides the fertility stuff, though, other things were happening in our life. We’d been at Tinker almost three years, and heaven forbid Uncle Sam let you stay anywhere that long. Orders came through for us to move that summer to Los Angeles. And being the optimist information-freak that I am, I had already started researching fertility clinics out there. And can you believe that I found one that offered a money-back guarantee?

I know, I know, I’m harping an awful lot about money. I’ve always considered it rude to talk about money, and crass, and normally I avoid those types of discussions at all cost … {hee hee, “cost” … get it?} But the financial strain for a couple undergoing fertility treatment can be high. Unless you’re lucky enough to have insurance coverage that considers infertility a medical disease, you’re most likely not going to get a lot of help from your provider. Fertility treatments are usually considered “elective”, like cosmetic surgery. So if you want ‘em, you pay for ‘em. And by our estimation, we had spent approximately $25,000 in the past two years. And, did I mention, just in case it wasn't clear, that we didn’t have a baby???

Then I discovered the fertility clinic in Los Angeles that offered a money-back guarantee. They charged a lot more for their services, but if you did IVF three times and none of them worked, you got 75% of your money back. Their reasoning was that the couples, for whom it DID work, by paying more, would make up the difference for the couples it DIDN’T work for. It’s actually very logical, and compassionate, and fair. It gave me hope.

So we decided to try one more time in Oklahoma, and then if it didn’t work, consider starting up again in California. Although as much as I wanted kids, I dreaded the thought of starting over, from scratch, with another clinic. Another part of me, to be honest, was starting to consider the possibility that maybe we weren’t going to have kids. And I started talking to myself about the fact that although being childless wouldn’t be my first choice, if it happened, you know what? It wouldn’t be the end of the world. In fact, there might even be some positives. Not having to replenish the college fund. Not having to consider school districts anytime we moved. Not having to plan vacations around school schedules. The ability to pick up and go, whenever and wherever we wanted.

In fact, the more I thought about it, the better it sounded. Don’t get me wrong, I still wanted kids. More than anything in the world. But the fight had just gone out of me. I was pooped.

So one night, preparing to write yet *another* check to our fertility clinic, to try yet **another** round of IVF, I looked at Blaine ---- He looked at me ---- “Fuck it” we both said. "We’ll start again in California. "

For now??

We took that money and went to England.



In front of the British Museum. *Really* cool stuff in there. Please overlook the unfortunate leather jacket with lots of belts and zippers. It was the mid-90's and I still thought the biker look was cool. Hence the ankle boots as well.



In front of 13th-century Salisbury Cathedral; the tallest spire in England. The letterman's jacket? Almost as unfortunate a choice as the biker jacket. But it was freezing-ass cold in that country!!



Took a bus trip to Scotland. Here, at the beginning of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. My only comment about Blaine's jacket is that sadly, he was still wearing it up until last year. Partly I blame the fact he wears a military uniform, complete with military jacket, to work every day, so there's no real need to buy new clothes on a regular basis. Party I blame the fact that he and I are socially-fashionably-inept.


Well-meaning friends said, “You are SO going to come back from your trip pregnant! Giving up …. relaxing … resting …. taking a break …. taking a vacation ….. works every time!”

They were right about a few things. It was a great vacation. We relaxed. We rested. We saw some amazing things, and some breathtaking country ... Stonehenge, anyone? We returned home refreshed and rejuvanated.

But not pregnant.

And now it was time to move to California. And start over at Square One with a new doctor.

Blaine: “Oh good grief, I am putting my foot down about the cup this time!”

20 comments:

Amy said...

Okay Kristie, you said the end was in sight! I check your site seriously probably 10-20 times a day to see an update! I can't handle the pressure!!! I can't stand the disappointment when your webpage opens up and Voila, no entry! AAARRRGGGHHH!
Just kidding, I'm still hanging on every single word here. And I still kind of like that look you were sporting...I don't wear it anymore, but I do still kind of like it!

Amy
www.caringbridge.org/visit/gerryheidt

Anonymous said...

England and Scotland looked like fun. Actually, I like Blaine's jacket, nice two-tone contrast.
Ummmm, I will not be the one who tells you that you spelled Rejuvenated wrong because it really doesn't matter.
Moving to California has got to be where the good news starts. I mean, I had all 4 of my pregnancies in CA. Of course I have lived here most of my life but still, it happened.
I love all your journal entries, and boy a book just on this subject alone would be of value to so many.
Janice

Sherri in NC said...

And I will not be the one to tell you that you wrote this sentence: "Party I blame the fact that he and I are socially-fashionably-inept." Because far be it from me to critize someone's misuse of words when they are in the middle of a heart wrenching story that has so many people across the country hanging on every single word, and based on the comments section, probably more than a few of those are daily running the risk of being fired for excessive use of the internet.... or is that just me? How's that for a horrible run-on sentence? Feel free to critize right on back at me. So much for that New Years resolution to stop pointing out other's mistakes. But that's ok, I gave up cussing for Lent! Sigh. Actually, I didn't even last 24 hours at that, damn it.

Can't wait for the next installment and hey, if they fire me, that just leaves me more time to sit here hitting the refresh button anyway, right?

Anna in the IL gutter said...

Blaine put his foot down? Wouldn't putting his hand down have been more effective?

Sorry, sorry. (Please tell me your kids aren't reading this!)

Anonymous said...

Kristie this is so nice of you to share with us- I have passed the site along to a friend who is struggling with infertility right now so she can see there is hope. I look forward to reading the rest! (BY THE WAY: you should print all this and put it together as a book!)
Trisha

Anonymous said...

Christi

I am feeling your pain with your fertility saga. The secret combo for me to get pregnant was to sell my house, live in my brother's basement while building a new house. Oh and have your dog die. So being homeless and losing your dog did it for me, I became pregnant while all this was happening.

robbin

briana said...

The roller coaster ride continues. I had to laugh at your comments about fashion. My kids were looking at old college yearbooks the other day and couldn't believe how "big" my hair was. They got a big laugh out of that.

Anonymous said...

Kristie,

Have been reading since Kendrie's site. You manage to bring a smile to my face with almost every post. Not to criticize Sherry for pointing out your party mistake, she spelled criticize wrong! Anxiously awaiting the next post!

Diana

Liz Stevens said...

Aaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.....the suspense is KILLING me!!!!!!! If this were a Harry Potter book, I wouldn't be putting it down! But here Kristie is FORCING me to stop by NOT PUTTING IT ALL IN ONE, BIG, LONG, GARGANTUAN ENTRY like I want!!! Girl - you really should write a book....you obviously have the talent, and you can hire editors for the spelling!!

Kristin Hicks said...

Seriously, WRITE. A. BOOK. I haven't had this much fun reading something since the last Harry Potter book. U.N.B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E.

Kristin in NC

Anonymous said...

I must admit I am hooked...waiting for the next chapter...its just like reading a really good book - but then I can tell the kids "hold on...this is a really good part...let me finish this page, chapter, book!" But with you, I must be content to wait until you can give me the next chapter and just to let you know...I am inpatient!
Oh- by the way - I have NOT noticed a single typo that you have made. I am so engrossed in the story
Waiting patiently :-)
Kristina
ohio

lynne said...

Hello I am a lurker who has been following your daughter Kendrie's journey for a while. I am delurking as I work a stone throw from the British Musuem and just had to say hi. Shame you didn't get to visit before the super extension in the middle was built. And yes, you can freeze your arse off in this country but this year its remarkably mild. P.S. I shrugged over "viola" I thought it might be an Americanism to use the term of a stringed instrument as an exclamation ;) Tomatoe, tomatah.

kim said...

Oh I just do not believe it, Kristie, now we're going interstate! I was so relieved when I read that the two of you went on vacation; you all HAD to already be exhausted! I am exhausted! I have high hopes for California, though..hehe! Even knowing the ultimate outcome, I still am so nervous, it's like I don't know the outcome! EEEK! I'm obsessed...well, only a little...yeah, right. How about cereal for dinner two nights in a row because I KNOW I'm not the only one who is so nervous about California. I'm thinking along the same lines as Anna...if Blaine has been "putting his foot down" all along, maybe that has contributed to the problem..HAHA! I know, I know...there is no danger of me running away to become a comedienne anytime soon! The edge of the edge of the seat is getting uncomfortable, so hurry back :). Your adoring public awaits...HAHAHA!

Cathy M said...

This is like waiting for my favorite TV show to come on!! You are awesome....when are you going to publish this and replenish that savings account!!
Take pity on the poor children at school who have to WAIT for Ms. Cathy to get done reading your blog. I mean really!! The imaginary boo boo needing the "hello Kitty" bandaid can wait.....I'm reading GREAT stuff here!!!!!
Carry on my friend!!

Anonymous said...

While I don't love the saga your life has been, I'm glad you are sharing it. I did not have the gyn/OB history you had (I did have 1 miscarriage and one healthy child after that) but I do have friends that are having a hard time. Just one side note...I'm going to Manchester England in two weeks and we are going to Edinburgh. Do you have any ideas of places to go? You can e-mail me at:

mmusrey@yahoo.com

Thanks for sharing a part of your family!

Meg from Americus

Melissa said...

This is what I get for not checking your site in days. I've read all three blogs that are posted, and now I CAN'T WAIT for the next one. I have to know what happened! I almost typed "happens" as if it hasn't happened yet. So...hurry up and tell us before my head explodes!

HeiressChild said...

hi, i followed this link from one of the clubmoms. i like your introduction at the top of the blog, and love this song playing. it's my daughter's favorite saying, "it's all about me."

sylvia

Megan said...

ok Kristie, even I am waiting to see what you write and I know the rest of the story. Hurry the heck up already, I'm not a very good at waiting!

Megan

Cate said...

The following takes place between 1996 and 1997. This is worse than waiting for next week's 24!

Having just had major surgery for endometriosis, it makes me feel great to know you battled infertility and won.

Cate

Marisa said...

Kristie,

Screw the book idea, start your own Daily show, comedy show or soap. This blog is better than Melrose Place or Knots Landing.
Can't wait until tomorrow to check in for the next episode.
Thanks for sharing.