Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Need Input from TTC-ers

I've calmed down a bit from my last post, and things are better. Devon and I had a great talk this weekend. There is still a lot going on in our little lives and things still feel a little crazy, but I'm choosing to be thankful for all the things that are working right now, and I have a little more faith that in time, the other things will fall into place. Thank you for your support.

Yesterday, I filled out the paperwork for a referral to another reproductive psychiatrist. I've been to one before, who - although knowledgeable - was a little scary.  [I can't believe that was more than a year ago]. My own shrink says that the doctor he's now referring me will be a good fit for us. Plus, this is for an actual "pre-pregnancy medication visit". 

But, for the main event!: This Thursday we go to our first fertility clinic appointment. Through talking this weekend, Dev and I decided that our purpose is basically to information-gather, which is okay, I suppose. I feel like this whole TTC thing is going far too slowly, and we haven't even really begun, but I do want to be in a good place and be healthy and want for Dev and I to be on the same page - we owe each other, and our future baby, at least that.

I work in public relations/communications in the medical world, so I have been able to find out every last little snippet of published information about the doctor we're going to see (plus a few word-of-mouth tidbits). He looks great on paper; I hope he has a personality that fits us. Humour would be good. So would acceptance and understanding, of course. If all goes well, I may have to make up a blog name for a new RE!

So, dear TTCers and moms who got to be moms through TTCing, I would LOVE to hear from you. I don't know what questions to ask, aside from "what sperm banks do you work with". I don't know the ins-and-outs of the fertility world yet, and I know a lot of it will come with experience, but I feel like I have an advantage knowing many of you who have gone through this already. Do you have little nuggets of wisdom that you could share with a few lesbians going into this brand spanking new? What is the one thing you wished you had asked back at the very beginning but never did?

I know, I know. I have to be patient. I just have no idea how to be.

Thanks in advance!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Colouring/Reading Between The Lines

Lying in bed last night at about midnight, I finally caught up on some of your blogs via my little iPhone. My prayers go out to Linus and family - if you haven't already got your Linus button, please do by going here. My heart breaks for them right now and they need all the positive thoughts you can muster.

I haven't been able to blog, or even write for my own damn self, in a while and I'm really missing it. Our house is upside-down with renos. My parents just left after coming over to help for two days, and we went away for my birthday last week. Work is also busy.

I've had three quick waves of panic since my panic attack a few weeks ago, which come on strong but don't last. No full-blown panic attacks, which I'm grateful for. Devon and I are sleeping apart right now, for numerous reasons which all have to do with the fact that I can't sleep. We've never done this, and I hate it. But I also know how important sleep is to my health, and I know (hope) this is a short-term solution to a short-term problem. Sucks for her too. 

Our first appointment at the fertility clinic is on Thursday. I want to be ridiculously giddy and excited for it, but I honestly don't really feel like I can be. Not out loud. Devon and I haven't even brought up babies in weeks. We had a good chuckle when the fertility clinic sent us a questionnaire in the mail and we both had to fill out forms. They usually send one for male partners, but they had just photocopied the second page of mine for Dev to fill out - I guess just to make her feel involved or something. Maybe because some couples switch carriers when one can't conceive. But that ain't gonna happen with us. It's me or nothing.

Other than that, the topic has kind of been pushed away. Devon admitted that she's focused on other things and her priorities are elsewhere, which is valid and okay but really hurt to hear. In this moment right now, there is just so much shit going on with us that I can honestly say that I don't really feel like we're going into this as equals or even with the same hopes. I know we have to talk about it, obviously, but there is so much tension that instantly seeps in when babies come up in conversation. I don't know if she regrets making the decision to go through with it. It feels like it sometimes. I know she's really excited at the possibility of going back to school and I think she feels that it's either-or. I think we can make things work. Plus, who knows, we may be TTCing for months and months (and years? hopefully not).

So we're not really in this together right now. We haven't filled out the questionnaires yet. We haven't talked about sperm banks. We haven't talked about cost, timing, meds, or anything. I feel like our communication is breaking down big time around this - which is something we agreed a while back that can't afford to happen. 

I need an equal partner in this. I need someone who will actually be excited to start TTCing, or if not, at least able to tell me why she's not. I almost feel like I hit the rewind button to return to late 2010, where Devon and I weren't allowed to talk about babies (therapist approved). There is so much weight around this issue and quite frankly, I don't want to be the one that is always poking for a response, for comments, for emotions, for answers... 

Devon is hoping to going back to school in January. It's a dream of hers. She's really excited and I'm pretty stoked about the whole idea too. I don't know if she feels like having a baby will ruin her dreams. I don't know whether she feels like we have to decide on one dream - either "mine" or "hers" (they are in quotations for a reason). Whenever I mention something like "Let's see how school/work will look in our overall plan," I feel like she thinks all that I have on my mind is baby and I'm making everything about me. And I'm not. I'm a planner. I just want to fucking know what our lives are going to look like - in every respect - over the next couple of years, because there is so much change going on right now that I'm floundering a little bit. And I feel as though we're already being bad mothers if we can't even talk about what we want.

And as I write this, I realize how angry I am at our inability to address something that should be easy to at least WANT to talk about. Even if it's hard to talk about. We both deserve a partner who is open and willing to look at this big-picture. Right now it seems like there is just a little sketch in front of us. And it has no colour. Time to get some pencil crayons out, it looks like.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Mistake And An Offer

My friend emailed me the other day to tell me she "somehow acquired a fetus". Of all of my friends, she is the one that I just can't imagine as a mom. She's been very vocal about the fact that she and her husband have never wanted kids and though she's a lot more put-together than she conveys, I just can't see it.

She asked me to keep it a secret, which I will (none of my friends know I have a blog and there are many other people called Lex in the world). I thought she wanted me to keep it hush-hush because they weren't going to keep it. They are crazy partiers who have little responsibility in their lives right now and I know they don't want to change their lifestyle. I was waiting for her to tell me she was going to have an abortion. 

I went out for dinner with her last night, and she told me that they are going to go through with it. I'm happy for her, but she's not. She hates being pregnant, she's scared that her life is going to change too much to deal with and she's scared - of course she's scared. Understandable. She found out on week 6, and I know for a fact she partied her face off for those six weeks, so I just hope everything is okay.

Listening to someone who talks about an unwanted pregnancy, already hating the experience, is really hard. Knowing that this baby is going to be born into a household that has major issues on the best of days is really hard. Hearing her say that she's more worried about how her cat is going to adjust than how the baby is going to be is hard. And I know things will probably change when the baby is actually here, but it's still hard.

Oddly enough, I'm not jealous, which I have felt with other friends. I feel honoured that she's only told me and trusts me with the secret. She thanked me last night for not getting too excited and not judging her for her lack of excitement. I didn't really know what to say, because the not-wanting is so foreign to me, but what do you say to someone who is going through with something that you've always wanted, and really really doesn't want it?

On another front, she and her husband offered for him to be a donor for Devon and me. For real. I was not expecting that at all, so had NO idea how to react. I didn't want to dismiss it, but I also had no idea what to say. I thanked her - and told her to thank her husband - for the offer and said, "good to know for the future".

If there is any truth to addictions being genetic, I wouldn't want to go for it. He's got mental health issues too, so my baby doesn't need double-whammy genes on both fronts. He's also just been diagnosed with a really life-changing illness, which has some genetics involved too. And, there are just so many layers around using a known donor so close... I don't think we'd ever go through with it. I've thought about other friends, but just wouldn't feel right with this one.

I asked my pregnant friend whether she would feel weird sharing genes with Devon and my child, and she said absolutely not. It's incredibly generous that they are so willing, and I don't want to dismiss the offer, it's just not something I've run into before. What the hell do you say to say "thank you for the sperm offer, but no thanks..."? And then saying, "but your baby is going to turn out amazing". So make sure you love it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Trying to Breathe

The thing about panic attacks is that they don't make sense. So when you think you're feeling pretty relaxed, tired, and generally anxiety-free, and all you're doing is brushing your teeth and suddenly you can't breathe - that's pretty typical for when panic attacks hit.

I haven't had an attack in probably 10 years, and this weekend, I spent a good twenty minutes clutching onto my chest because of the pain, trying to decide whether I was going to puke or cry (or both), and trying to get enough air into my lungs. Thank god Devon was home, because regardless of how many panic attacks I've had in my late teens and early twenties, I was not prepared for this one.

For the first time in a long time, it passed through my head that I might die. It sounds silly now, but when you can't breathe and your chest feels like it shattered inside, and you don't really know what's going on, it's sounds about right. Not remembering ever feeling this bad, I thought perhaps it was an allergic reaction to the Trazadone (which I did fill), and perhaps an interaction between medications. We were going to go to the hospital if it had lasted any longer, but I got through it - despite feeling as though I couldn't and wouldn't.

I've had a panic attack in front of Devon before, but it was one of those can't-get-enough-breath-in-for-three-minutes type of attack, not the think-I'm-going-to-die type of attack. She was amazing and grounded and calm and very wonderful. She breathed slowly and encouraged me to match her breath, she put her hand on my chest where it hurt, she helped me find the best position to lie down in, and most importantly, she talked me through it.

I don't really know what's going on with me right now. I know I'm tired and I haven't been able to sleep, which is huge for me. I know I'm a little anxious about work, as I'm covering a mat leave and although I know my boss has put in a proposal for me to stay, I don't know - and don't know when I'll know - whether I'll be able to stay, or whether I have to launch head-first into job seeking. Nothing that warrants the panic that I had this weekend.

But like many thing in the crazy world, panic attacks make little to no sense at all.

Do. Not. Like. Hopefully this was a one-off.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Appointment MADE!

A special thanks to all of the people who encouraged me to check in on my appointment status at the fertility clinic – I called and spoke with some lovely people this morning, was very pleasant with them, and we have an appointment for the end of the month!

I would love to hear from people about gender. To get a female doctor, the wait is 3 months. To be seen by a male doctor, the wait is a mere week and a half. He is the head honcho of the whole program, was a medical director of a very high-up institution, and has an amazing CV… and yes, I’ve checked him out pretty well.

Maybe I am just anxious to see anybody at this point, but I would love to hear from people whether they made a similar choice – or a different choice to have a female doctor. Yes, it would probably be nicer to have a female under the hood, and I don’t want to say I’m a little desperate to get going… but I’m kind of desperate to get going.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wake Me When This Part Is Over

I went to my shrink this evening to get a referral to a reproductive psychiatrist and I left with a prescription for Trazadone.

I don't know whether I'll fill it. I don't think I will, but I took it from him so I could have some time to think about it. It would not be to take as an everyday medication. It would be to take once or twice to finally get some sleep.

Since coming off the anti-anxieties completely, I have battled middle insomnia (waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back to sleep). I usually don't sleep that long on weekdays on the best of days - about 5-6 hours - but I have always "caught up" by sleeping 8, 9, 10 hours on one day on the weekends. That's what keeps me (relatively) sane for many, many years. Without those blessed weekend days, I am feeling completely wired and exhausted at the same time.

Coming off meds sucks.

And it may not make sense to take another medication to deal with the side-effects, but when it is a physical dependence, I don't know when there will be an end in sight.

I just don't want to feel like I'm taking steps backwards. So, I have the prescription in my bag, I will not fill it for now, but I will know it is there.

As for the reproductive psych referral, I didn't ask him whether he did it last week, because I felt uncomfortable (see my post the other day on my trouble asking for thing - especially when it comes to doctors). But I thought about the comments you left, and I used them to work through all the icky feelings and just ask the simple question.

His answer? "I forgot".

Awesome. And now, you are reminded and I will be following up. (I even called the clinic today too... but - no answer there and I didn't want to leave a message. I felt like I couldn't call back. I will tomorrow).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Life's Phases

Can you tell by my Costco shop yesterday that I'm in a bit of a transition period in my life right now? I had to laugh at what the cashier must have thought...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Another Family

If you don’t know about The Next Family, it’s definitely worth checking out. There are very few sites that I can name that do what it does. It’s a lifestyle site dedicated to the modern family –stories from gay parents, single parents, surrogates, urban city dwellers, and basically everything outside of the dry, “normal” range of relationships and parenthood. They also have a huge resource section that it pretty notable.

I actually wrote an entry for them, and will be writing for them on a frequent basis. The people behind the scenes are awesome, and the folks that write always have some really great stuff to say.

A bit of a shameless plug, but I’m just excited to be part of it... and I think we all need communities like the one they’ve built.

Happy Friday everyone.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Making a Fuss - When to Push

I'm not the kind of girl that sends the food back.

I think humans are split up into two groups: one group sends the food back, one group eats the food as-is. I'm in the latter group. It's not that I'm complacent, I'm just the kind of person that would rather eat cold food, or the wrong food, rather than bring on the awkwardness that I feel accompanies "making a fuss" at a restaurant. If I'm brought the wrong order, I honestly believe - in the moment - that it will be easier on everyone if I just suck it up and eat what I get. In theory, I know that telling someone they brought the wrong tray won't break their inner psyche, but in practice, I feel as though I'm making their world crash down if I say, "Excuse me, but I asked for a vegetarian sandwich, not a bacon wrap."

Why am I bringing this up? Because it's not just about food, although that's probably where it is quite noticeable, it's about every aspect of life - especially when it comes to health and health advocacy. I have never been a strong advocate for my health, both mental and physical. I also come from a stoic Scottish family who refuse to ask for help, so the odds are against me.

I didn't ask for a time line of how long it takes for the fertility clinic to book an appointment after a referral is made. I also asked my shrink a month ago for another referral to reproductive psychiatry, and he has not got back to me. Another doctor said he was going to ask a colleague a specific question about a specific medication I'm on, and he forgot to mention it last time I saw him, and I didn't bring it up. I don't want to be pushy about things, because that's just not what I do, but I'm realizing that for this journey that Devon and I are embarking on, we need a voice. Devon has been a really good advocate for me in the past, especially when it comes to my chronic pain that I've been dealing with, but I imagine (I know) that it becomes exausting for someone else to be the constant fighter, when you don't do any fighting for yourself. It's not really fair to ask.

With a mental illness, it's twofold. Your self-worth takes a hit, and that's why there are so many people with mental health issues that aren't getting help - unless you have a fighter close to you, you won't get the help you need, because you certainly aren't going to ask for the help yourself. All those years in hospital, I always thought that I was the most despicable patient in there, who was making nurses go out of their way to "treat" me, but in retrospect, I certainly wasn't a shit disturber, in fact, I was hardly asking for a thing. Despite being suicidal, I was actually really quite lovely. Figures...

I don't know whether TTCing is suited for people who don't fight. There will be lots of appointments, lots of doctors, lots of questions, and I'm not good with any of those. I had to get 7 vials of blood taken from me today to go through the fertility blood tests, and I couldn't even ask the lab tech whether she could take it from the other arm (knowing that it's near impossible to find a good vein in the arm she eventually took the samples from). I just don't know how to stick up for myself.

I envy those people who can just say what they mean, when it comes to service, and medicine. Those wonderful characters who can grab a waiter over and say, "Yeah, sooooo not what I ordered, so go get me the right meal, and just so you know, I'm not paying for it". Although they make me cower in shame if I'm with them, I do envy them... but I know there is a happy medium in there somewhere.

I just want to be respected through this journey. I don't want to wait for calls, but the alternative is not enticing: calling a clinic to ask how long they take to set up an appointment? No way! That's not what they're there for! They're there to make babies for worthy people! (I know, it sounds silly, but that's the dialogue that goes on in my head). I want to feel in charge of my health through this fertility journey. I'm so glad I have Devon to fight for me and us, but I need to be conscious of what I'm giving towards our advocacy.

It is my uterus, after all.