Yes I’m focusing on positivity y’all. The Stressin’ Sally version of me just wasn’t working, so I’m trying to wiggle into being Optimistic Ora (honoring my great gram on that nameplay) for the foreseeable future.
Let’s just say my ass will look like it was the prime target of a BB gun by the time we hit Paris in October. The schedule came in from my doc and boy oh boy this’ll be fun, as we kick off with daily Lupron subcutaneous injections on Monday (these are way easier as they go in my tummy) to suppress ovulation (the irony!), and in early September, start on Delestrogen intramuscular injections every third day (these ones I’ve heard are not so fun and will be in my left bum cheek to protect my right side that I sleep on). And after the transfer? Progesterone in oil. Joy.
Bitchy Witchy or Zen Mama-to-Be?
Having been through the side effects of IUI injections and Femara already this year, I’m not keen on the six weeks of Killer PMS-esque physical and emotional havoc, but hey, that’s why I’m not spending years and years on this. We’ve got this one donor, and we’re going to see if her eggs work with my hubby’s sperm and my womb, and will hopefully have some good frozen backups in case we need/want to do it again in the future.
For the mental, I’ve amped up my acupuncture to weekly (my gal is so rad, I just come in there and she pops in the needles and I’m almost always out like a light in this floaty meditative state) and have made sure my monthly massages coordinate with shortly before and after the embryo transfer. Hey, some folks pay for cable TV, but I’d rather pay for a 90 minute massage for the same (if not cheaper) price.
For the physical, as mentioned in my last post I’ve made some dietary adjustments, saying adios to dairy and taking a reprieve from alcohol and coffee. I’ve never been a big drinker or caffeine addict, so leaving them out is cool. Of course, in past lives I dug drinking chai as an alternative, but ever since getting hooked on Prana Chai down in St Kilda (Australia) and having a big box of it shipped to our house, I’ve come to realize that it’s all pretty much shit up here in PDX. [No offense, baristas, but chai is not something that comes in liquid concentrate nor a teabag. The real stuff is now consumed a couple mornings a week at home with almond milk and a teaspoon of honey. It’s so special that Dan says one sip makes him homesick, as it’s so very much a collective memory for us when we fell in love over conversations and chai down under.]
In addition, I’ve told my husband that I’m no longer going to feel obligated to regularly eat at the same time as him in the mornings. (Gasp!) But honestly, my husband could eat twelve breakfasts in one morning and not gain an ounce, and so I have to listen to my body and eat later in the morning, when my body tells me it’s time. It keeps me eating what feels right as well, so if I just want some fruit, that’s what I have, and eat a bigger meal at lunch when he’s at work. We still eat breakfast together on the weekends, as I make our GF/DF pancakes and read the New York Times 🙂
The interesting tweak (TMI alert!) is that the doxycycline gave me a massive infection of the gnarliest kind, adding 3 more meds to the schedule this and next week, and a strict “no sugar” order from my GP so that it will clear out pronto before the transfer. Well there ya go. Fortunately I have some strawberry honey jam that I canned for those toast cravings…
Embracing the Cynicism
It’s funny, one of the most comforting things that happened earlier this year was when an acquaintance came to me expressly to talk about how she’d just found out she was (unintentionally) pregnant. No, it wasn’t the getting pregnant part, but rather her concern about the stereotypical mommy personality and how she didn’t fit it. She, being of huge heart but not of the goo-goo-ga-ga cutesy wootsy type, was exactly the breath of fresh air I needed to hear because not nearly enough women say it out loud about what their fears are about becoming a mother – as if somehow saying it out loud would jinx it all and tell the world “I don’t have any right to do this because I’m not 1000% gung ho about this journey. I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of women out there who are not completely on board on day one, who – even those who know ahead of time that they want a family – don’t question the whole thing. I mean, geez, it’s a big damn deal.
Which brings me back to the cutesy wootsy folks. Yep, like with the woman (who I now consider a dear friend) I just mentioned, we both share that annoyance with that certain type whose “world revolves around my miraculous belly” and/or the ones who refer to their unborn (and born) children in insanely annoying terms? Makes my skin crawl. Like my friend said, kids are born every day, you are NOT creating a miracle.
And yep, in the infertility world they exist as well. Go to the forums and you’ll see terms such as “baby dust” (as in, “sending you baby dust as you go in for your IVF”) and “my little totsicle” (referring to a frozen embryo), and my super duper favorite, any reference to God when it comes to why they finally got pregnant. No matter what your religious beliefs, we all know that getting pregnant is wholly and solely a biological/chemical/scientific, so please cut the crap and stop making it as if some higher power decided YOU would get pregnant while that same ever powerful spirit is doing nothing about things like starvation, female genital mutilation, rape, torture and genocide. Yep, I said it. Women have been having babies since, well, forever – must we turn ourselves into caricatures?
It’s not like I’m a big dark looming cloud. Obviously I will be crossing my fingers for some type of earth mother-y “glow” should this DEIVF work (but fully expect the nausea, emotional outbursts, and cankles will be how I roll), and yes, we’ve got a couple of cute things for the kiddo’s abode (on being a vintage May Gibbs alphabet frieze from Australia honoring Dan’s country of origin). But dammit all to hell if you’re going to see any goddamn fairy princess shit in my house.
I’m just not that type that turns a baby into the center of a My Little Pony universe.
Prepping the Wallet
Anyhoo, so recently I checked out some options for how folks pay for fertility treatments when their insurance, like ours, doesn’t cover, and it’s pretty interesting how creative folks get. Fundraising, medical loans, credit cards, bake sales, and much more. The first one, I can’t imagine – asking people to help pay for me to get pregnant is not something I can imagine doing. In no way does that diss anyone who does – more power to ’em! I’m just the kind of person who has always done things on her own, and asking for help of that magnitude is just not in me. Hell, as my close friends and husband know, even asking for little things like asking our neighbor to watch our dog was a hurdle! (I suppose when the people you counted on most in your younger years made it clear that asking for things like helping with the cost of wedding, college education, and more were out of the question, you just. stop. asking.)
I was talking on the phone to a girlfriend the other day and she reminded me how awesome it was that I got all of my non-mortgage (student loans, home equity, credit card) bills paid off and built a successful business before we dove into this. Amen for the people who can speak volumes with one sentence and remind me to be grateful. Who knew at the time that this would come in handy, but after refinancing the house last year and finding out I have a pretty kickass credit score, we got our credit line bumped up, and decided that all of these family-making efforts would be put on the (mileage) card. As a quick FYI, everything up until now we paid off each month, so we’re not paying any interest – just accumulating miles 🙂 They say to only buy what you can afford, and frankly, I believe that includes building a family.
(And hell no this is not saying you’ve gotta have money to have kids, it’s instead about saving up, budgeting, and embracing a more minimalist lifestyle to get the experiences in life that are most important to you. I’m all over the Radical Homemaker vibe and living creatively to live fully no matter what tax bracket you fall into).
We live very simply. We own a home in the city near public transport and have bikes (and feet!), therefore eliminating the need for a car. I’ve not had one in 8 years, and my husband’s never owned one, so we have a Zipcar membership for getaways, major hauling from places too far by bike, and recent fertility procedures where it’s cheaper than a cab (don’t ask me about those assholes who run Uber, I’ve got no time for brogrammers). We don’t have cable TV, we pay $60/month on Ting for our family mobile plan (I swear, it’s the greatest – no contract, no BS, great service, includes as much data as we need), Dan bike commutes, I work from home, and our entertainment usually revolves around biking/walking around the city, playing in the garden, snuggling up on the sofa watching movies (Netflix on our SmartTV $8/mo), and out to dinner at the pub around the corner for about $20-25. I have never been a big makeup wearer – I like my skin getting fresh air, always have, so I only wear an SPF moisturizer, and leave it at that. I don’t carry expensive handbags or wear five hundred dollar ankle-busting stilettos. It’s not too complicated.
So with that, we’ve been able to save a good portion of the amount we need for DE-IVF and adoption while also ensuring our credit card stays fully open to initially absorb the costs of both. And with that, we charge everything from groceries to utility bills to this (our only) credit card. Only our mortgage payment hits our checking account directly 🙂
Why are these miles so important? We have to get to Ethiopia later next year for the adoption – twice most likely if the court dates are too far apart – and, oh yeah, someday we’ll need to get back to Australia to visit friends and family there!! All of these places are 80K+ miles per person, per roundtrip ticket, so with Alaska’s never-expiring mileage plan, we’re grateful for the many opportunities to accumulate miles!
But the best part is the timing: we’re doing the DE-IVF near the end of the fiscal year, and knowing that we all of our fertility treatment costs (including egg storage) are tax deductible is a HUGE relief. And for our adoption, there is currently a $13,400 federal adoption tax credit that is in the back of our minds for when our Ethiopian adoption finalizes. So while the second one is further off, it’s a good thing to be aware of all the tax benefits, timing, and options out there for getting through the financials. We do NOT want to start off this lifelong adventure deep in debt!!
“When that kid looks into your eyes and you know it’s yours, you know what it means to be alive. “