Archive | November 2013

Chocolate Pudding

This is a really small, silly thing that happened last week, but for some reason I just cannot let it go. I thought maybe if I post about it, I can finally put it to rest and realize how ridiculous I’m being.

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My parents are excellent planners. A month ago we had our TG 100% planned, down to who’s bringing what, what time they’ll arrive, and what we’ll do while we wait for the turkey to finish baking.

Conversely, my in-laws are notoriously lazy planners. If it were up to them, we would send out our first semi-planning email on Wed around noon. But somehow, amazingly, all 10 people manage to be present at every holiday. They’ve done it this way forever.

Until I came along. I’m the first addition to Kyle’s family in 15 years, and evidently I’m also the only one with a familial holiday conflict.

In the interest of being proactive, I sent an itty bitty feeler group email to Kyle’s family asking if we could have TG dinner late this year since we wanted to spend time with my parents earlier in the day. (Mind you, the only time we had an early TG dinner was last year, when two days before TG, Kyle’s SIL’s mother [yeah, I get confused too] invited us all to her place and set the time for 1:00, which is what my parents and I had already planned. I pulled rank and told Kyle we were going to my parents’ place. Kyle was not happy at all.) After a week, I did get “approval” for a late TG dinner. Planning Phase One complete.

Planning Phase Two: deciding what to bring. Kyle’s sister has always acted the martyr despite almost everyone else’s enthusiasm to contribute. She’s a workaholic, a cookaholic and a hostaholic, which my therapist says is actually a sign of being a control freak. It’s not the mean kind of control freak, it’s the “Oh, I already know how to do it, so it will be easier for me, and you shouldn’t try because everyone will like my way better and we’ve always done it that way” kind of control freak. So, once the “late TG” timing was set, my SIL’s final response was, “OK, Mom and I will start planning.” Which in SIL control freak language means, “OK, Mom and I will divide up the cooking and hosting responsibilities between us, and everyone else’s contributions will be purely nonessential.”

Call me crazy, but I was offended by her comment. Why weren’t Kyle and I included in the planning? Kyle and I both love to cook and we consider it an act of love to contribute to the food stash. I decided to ignore the “OK, Mom and I will start planning” comment and immediately asked them to please let us know what we can bring. After a week of not hearing from them, I decided to make a suggestion: I knew how much my gluten intolerant nephew and BIL love chocolate cream pie (so much so that I saw my BIL lick the pudding and whip cream right off the graham cracker crust last Easter), so I could make a big bowl of chocolate pudding with whip cream and they could eat it to their heart’s content without the threat of gluten. Seemed like a nice, thoughtful idea to me.

Kyle immediately jumped into the email thread by saying that he was sure we could make a gluten-free crust to make it a proper chocolate cream pie. I wasn’t thrilled about him editing my offer without my permission, but I let that go. Then my SIL, the martyr and control freak, said she had once made a gluten-free pie crust with cinnamon chex and could make it again. I fought off my first reaction, which was, “WILL YOU PLEASE JUST LET ME DO IT ALREADY?!” What the hell is wrong with pudding, anyway?

I decided not to let her be the martyr and usurp my idea, so I spent about 30 minutes formulating my response. I came up with “Interesting, I’m not much of a crust person myself, probably because of my anti-flavor-mingling tendencies. But it seems like a cinnamon chex crust will be much appreciated, so I will happily make that, along with a little bowl sans crust just pour moi.” There. I patted myself on the back for shutting the door on any argument while remaining sweet and civil.

At that point, Kyle stepped in again, saying, “Now, now, ladies, there is plenty of pie-making to go around!”

Well, I flew off the handle at him (privately, not in the group thread). In one sentence he had made it sound like I was perpetuating an argument and he was stepping in to lighten up this tense situation with his charming humor. It felt like he was trying to “manage” my relationship with his family. He said he was only “needling” me to be funny and he never would have done it if 1) I’d actually sounded b*tchy or 2) if he’d realized how much time and effort I’d put into my response.

I guess this silly little email thread has bothered me so much because I have a long history of being misunderstood by Kyle’s family. I’ve been working very hard to improve my standing. It started when Kyle proposed too early and I asked him to wait a while. Proposing at that time was a bone-headed move on his part because it was obvious I wasn’t ready. But of course, his family is understandably biased, so they only heard his side of the story and thought I was being a b*itch. I think Kyle and his family still believe that the proposal debacle was entirely MY fault. Then later there were 3 years of of fertility troubles, which meant that I was sometimes sad at family gatherings because I was either having a f*cking miscarriage, or the previous day’s IVF didn’t go well, etc, etc. Rather than ask me what’s wrong, they would just whisper amongst themselves about what a morose b*tch I was being that day, and oh poor Kyle for having to put up with that, and oh she seems depressed, has she gotten any medication for that? In more recent times, they have begun asking Kyle what’s wrong with me. But as you can see in the case of the TG feeler email, he doesn’t always make things better. Then there’s the fact that I occasionally need time to myself because I’m an introvert. Conversing meaningfully in a group of 10 isn’t one of my strengths, no matter how hard I try.

On several occasions, I’ve tried talking directly with individual in-laws about my issues so that they wouldn’t have to whisper, surmise, assume, or ask Kyle to translate badly. But every time, I have felt very distinctly that they don’t want to hear about it. They only want to hear about good things. My SIL knew how to react to exactly one scenario: she could be excited for us after embryo transfers. Fragile X, miscarriage, infertility, hormone stims, chemical pregnancy… these are all ideas that are completely foreign and uncomfortable for all my in-laws. They’ll either change the subject or just stare at me, not knowing what to say. The support from them has been lackluster. If you ignore it, it will go away, and all you will feel is happy. If you don’t feel happy, we can’t help you.

Well, that’s interesting! I thought this was about chocolate pudding.

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In(not-so-sure)ance

(I’m in the 2ww again. My OPK showed ovulation a couple days earlier than expected. Maybe it’s because AF started so late last month? I wouldn’t know since a late AF is so rare for me. At any rate, we had sex 5 times in the 6 days surrounding ovulation…. that *should* do the trick, right?)

Here’s another installment of our fertility story. Last I wrote, we had finally gotten the DNA samples together to start the process of PGD, which is how our embryos would be tested for Fragile X.

Our next hurdle: Insurance!

We’re fortunate to live in a state where fertility treatments are covered by insurance, but they certainly don’t make it easy. Before the RE could submit the claim, we had to enroll with the Infertility Hotline. The phone rep listened to my sob story, looked at my poor hormone test results, declared me to be eligible for benefits and then spent 30 minutes enrolling me in the fertility program.

We celebrated that IVF was covered, yay!

Then PGD was officially approved, yay! Here’s how the PGD claims process was explained:

1) Pay $3850 out-of-pocket directly to the genetics lab for PGD
2) Wait 4 months while the DNA samples are grown and analyzed
3) Complete IVF egg retrieval, fertilization and PGD testing
4) Submit claim for reimbursement with the necessary “Date of Service”
5) Receive check.

If you’re thinking that’s a shady way to do business, you’re right. After we completed steps 1 & 2, our IVF claim was denied. Why? Because we weren’t considered “infertile.” And if we were, we’d be required to do IUI’s first. Try doing PGD on that.

Never mind the chunk of change and 4 months time lost. We were staring down the barrel of about $20K for a single cycle of IVF. What’s more, our RE wasn’t even sure that my Fragile-X-Carrier ovaries would even respond to the hormones; often they don’t.

So I wrote an appeal letter. It had four main components:

1) You already approved PGD, which is impossible without IVF
2) Our IVF claim isn’t for infertility; it’s for PGD
3) IVF with PGD will be much cheaper in the long run than caring for a special needs child
4) Denying this claim feels like an insurance loophole.

My therapist told me to use #4 because it hints at trouble that the company would want to avoid.

Surprisingly, we got a reversal of our denial within two days!

Fast forward a couple months. After completing our first IVF cycle with PGD, we submitted our PGD reimbursement claim. Guess what? DENIED! Because we didn’t use the exact genetics lab they *claim* they specified.

One day I’ll get around to appealing that….

On The Back Burner

Last night my friend Claire and I attended our friend’s performance of the Mozart Requiem. It was odd being an audience member, coat-checking my viola rather than unpacking in the green room. We settled in our seats and began searching the stage for any musicians we knew.

Suddenly my heart leapt into my throat because there in the chorus was the man I almost married before I met Kyle. It had been almost 5 years since I’d seen Jim, right after Kyle and I got engaged. Jim had congratulated me with a wistful look in his eye. I could almost hear him saying, It should have been us.

The backstory: It was that wonderful time between finals and college graduation, when the weather is gorgeous and there’s nothing to do but savor the time you have left with your friends. Jim and I went on two dates and it was kismet; the sun burst with brightness and the stars glittered in the night. I’ve still never felt such euphoric highs in my life. Two weeks later he proposed. He didn’t have a ring and he was so casual that I didn’t believe him at first. My spontaneous, passionate, free-spirited side was swept away and wanted so badly to run away with him, but my brain understandably needed more time. I was afraid that someone who falls in love so fast and hard would fall out of love just as fast and hard. When I asked Jim if we could take the proposal off the table so we could date without pressure, he said no, he’d only “put it on the back burner.” There were other red flags: he’d gotten his roommate pregnant but wouldn’t admit it to me; his finances were in chaos; he loved to argue about everything. I knew deep down he was bad news. Despite my fervent feelings for him, I reluctantly cut him loose.

Five years later we ran into each other again. Surprisingly, our feelings for each other hadn’t changed and he’d matured in many ways. It seemed that the universe had thrown us back together for a reason. But sadly, I wound up breaking his heart a second time. I wondered for years if I’d made the right decision. Only now do I know how to articulate it: I loved our passion for life and each other, but I didn’t trust Jim to take care of me.

During the concert, after my heart calmed down, I contemplated life if I’d married Jim instead of Kyle. With Jim, life would be one long roller coaster with endless metaphysical conversation, intense arguments, and explosive make-up sex. We would’ve moved from place to place to chase the next adventure, living paycheck-to-paycheck and sometimes not paying our bills. There is no way we could’ve afforded IVF, even if we had health insurance.

With Kyle, my life is smooth; our conversations are down-to-earth, our sex is yummy vanilla, we’ve lived in the same place since we got married, and our income is steady thanks to his excellent job. We’ve done four rounds of IVF with PGD to combat this Fragile X thing. But most importantly, I am happy. He is happy. Even when we’re sad, we’re happy.

But there is one fundamental part of my personality that Jim brought out in me that Kyle doesn’t: passion. Passion for life, passion for music, sexual passion, passion for the beauty of the earth, passion for thought-provoking conversation. Kyle never inhibits me from being passionate, but he doesn’t exactly inspire me, either. He works hard and plays hard but doesn’t dream the same way I do.

What happened to those passionate dreams I had when I graduated from college? And why have I fallen out of practice in my dreaming recently? It’s not really because of any dynamic with Kyle. No, it’s because we’ve spent the last three years failing to have a child. It has consumed my thoughts and drained my energy. My dreams, to use Jim’s words, were put “on the back burner.”

This is your wake-up call, Haven. You are more than a wannabe mom. You have dreams and goals of your own that have nothing to do with babies. It’s time to tap into your passion and live your life the way you’ve always wanted to.

OMG THE WAITING… IT KILLS ME!

15 dpo and no AF… but no BFP either!!!! OMG THE WAITING… IT KILLS ME!

Because of the absurd number of HPT’s in my bathroom trash last month, I tasked Kyle with buying them instead.

My printed instructions read: The ONLY brand to buy is First Response Early Result. It can’t be any other brand or any other model. Please buy one box of two (or three).

So, Kyle comes home with 2 boxes of two. Could I resist taking a test every morning? You guessed it.

I could’ve sworn I saw a faint line on 12 dpo, but I have yet to reproduce (har har) that faint line since then. There was a teeny tiny little bit of spotting on 13 dpo, a teeny tiny bit of cm and A WHOLE LOT OF CRANKY on 14 dpo, and today there was dark pink spotting immediately after we had sex. Other than that, no pregnancy symptoms.

I sort of dreaded writing this post after last month’s embarrassing “oh yeah, I’m so in tune with my body that I SO KNOW I’m pregnant.” We’ll just have to hope that wishing will make it so.