We went to see The Color Purple on Broadway on Saturday night, as a special treat for my mom, who is here visiting for Christmas. And I have to say, I love-love-loved it, especially the first half. The costuming was gorgeous, the sets were intricate and beautifully rendered, and the singing was absolutely SPECTACULAR.

Seriously, everyone in this show had a powerful, beautiful voice–voices that seemed made for the kind of live, loud singing that is unique to Broadway musicals. It was sort of shocking to my system, given that I’m used to listening to popular R&B singers, some of whom have relatively thin voices (ahem, Chris Brown, Ciara), or whose voices are muted by the complex style of song or overwhelmed by the synthesized accompaniment. These voices were naked and vibrant, singing simple, striking harmonies, and accompanied only by a live orchestra. Needless to say, I was moved. One weird thing about me that you might not know: I have a real problem with powerful singing bringing me to tears, especially singing that has overtones of old-school black church choirs. So in this case, of course I had tears running down my face from the opening scene, which happened to be set in a southern black church. And no, I didn’t bring any tissues.

As to the title of this post, the star of the show, Fantasia, of whom I’ve been a fan since her American Idol days, was amazing. AMAZING!!! Her acting was surprisingly good: she had great comic timing and real pathos at the most tragic moments. And her singing–a lot of scenes she was singing along with others, but there were moments throughout when she would really let loose, and just, wow. Wow. What a voice. What an amazing gift. It actually makes me really impressed with the whole premise of American Idol–how could this young woman, Fantasia Barrino, be walking around living her life with this phenomenal talent that didn’t reach the world until she auditioned for this random television show? It’s crazy! Because she is a SUPERSTAR.

You know who else is a superstar? (Why yes, that was an awkward and somewhat nonsensical segue) My right fallopian tube, which showed up right away on the HSG last Friday. This cannot be said for the left tube, the viewing of which took three different catheters and a lot of painful extra dye. Sounds serious, but it turns out there was only “a minor blockage” on the left side. The radiologist said that it was right at the point when the tube joined my uterus (a uterus which, happily, is of normal size & shape).¬†So those are my HSG results–minor blockage on the left, but otherwise normal. It hurt like hell, even having taken Ibuprofen in advance, but it was over fairly quickly. I won’t know my RE’s thoughts on this until the new year, most likely, but I wonder whether the blockage is enough to justify going straight to Clomid plus IUI, rather than starting with just Clomid and timed sex. Either way, the pressure is finally off of G at work–the state review that he was working toward finally happened, and they got the top rating! So he’s now able to take time off, and hopefully can go in for an SA early in 2008 as well. That’ll give us a better picture of where to go next.

In any case, have a very merry Christmas, all! I turn 33 tomorrow, so expect the requisite “infertile birthday reflections” post soon, maybe after my mom leaves town. Meanwhile, wishing you and yours a wonderful and peaceful holiday!

My fertile cousins

December 16, 2007

Hey, remember how I just said my 90-year-old grandmother has fourteen great-grandchildren, but would probably have a few more before G and I got a chance to contribute one to the family? Well, turns out I was more right than I knew. Two of my cousins are pregnant. (Cue dramatic music: dun-dun-DUHHHH!) Actually there is more drama in the first situation than the second, but they are both “oops” pregnancies.

Cousin #1 is nineteen, or possibly twenty, and she dropped out of college after two semesters to move in with a random guy (described by my mother as “some thug”) who then deserted her when he found out she was pregnant. She has now moved in with her estranged father, who is widely understood in my family as a deadbeat, sort of shiftless type, as he left my aunt when my two cousins were young and never ponied up child support for either of them. My mom also claims that his regular M.O. is to sponge off of women, and that he never has an apartment or house of his own, but I’m not close enough to the situation to know if this is true. Either way, not ideal circumstances to bring a kid into the world. But nonetheless, ready or not, I’m sure she’ll have a beautiful, healthy baby in about six months.

Cousin #2 is one of my favorite cousins–she and I were very close when we were younger. She and her husband already have two gorgeous children, a little boy who’s 7 and a little girl who’s 5. She’s one of the few cousins I have who waited until she was married to have kids, who “did everything right,” so to speak. I always knew that she really wanted three kids, but her husband was against it–they’d had a boy and a girl, they were perfectly spaced and perfectly healthy, and two kids was still manageable and affordable, while three kids, in his opinion, might not be. Suddenly, right before she’s poised to go back to work full time, as their youngest is turning 6 and starting first grade next fall, she turns up accidentally pregnant.

Needless to say, her hubby is ambivalent, but they are, of course, going forward with the pregnancy. She’s always wanted a third, so of course she wants to keep the pregnancy, but termination is not an option for them anyway, as they’re both highly religious and in fact he is a minister. They’re great parents, and I know baby number three will join a wonderful, loving family, so I’m actually quite happy for them, but sorry that my cousin has to deal with her husband’s relative lack of enthusiasm. I’m sure that’ll pass, though.

Anyway, since I recently read one of Julie‘s posts on the Redbook Infertility Diaries, about the trickiness of pregnancy announcements for infertiles, I was thinking about my infertility in relation to these two pregnant cousins. Honestly, neither pregnancy makes me feel bad–I mostly feel worried about my younger cousin, and as far as my favorite cousin who is pregnant with #3, I really just feel happy for them. I’m sort of surprised by how NOT depressed I feel, but this is in part because my cousins live so far away, so I don’t have to go through every detail of the pregnancy with them. The other thing is that no one in my family except my mother (who has been sworn to secrecy) even knows about the struggles G and I have had to conceive, so I don’t feel that anyone is tiptoeing around me or keeping things from me.

Still, the prevalence of “oops” pregnancies in my family does return me to the mystery of our infertility. Given that even young, perfectly healthy people only have about a 20% chance of getting pregnant in a given cycle, I am downright AMAZED that anyone gets pregnant, ever, let alone by accident. But my whole family–and most of my friends, who also are partial to the “oops” pregnancy–seem to have no problem. What are G and I doing wrong? More to the point, what is wrong with us? Right now it’s more puzzling than upsetting.

In any case, G and I are still in line to add to the great-grandchildren–I guess now we’ll just be adding #17 (or #18, or #19, or #20…) ¬†instead.

So, the results of both my MIS test and my 2nd day bloodwork are in, and I am “well within normal range.” FSH low, estradiol also low, MIS high. Which means, basically, that I have plenty of eggs left, and they seem to be in good shape. This is good news, of course, but I still can’t help but feel like we’re at the beginning of what could possibly be a very long journey.

On that note, next stop on the train is the HSG, which is scheduled for this coming Friday morning. I’ve been instructed not to have any unprotected sex between now and then, which effectively means no sex at all, because I don’t think we actually own any condoms, even if either of us were willing to use one. Then, to compound the sex complications, my mom arrives for her annual Christmas visit the very same day as the HSG. Which means that if G and I are to enjoy the rumored fertility boost of the procedure (which is unproven anyway), we’re going to have to get down to the get-down while Mom’s in town.

…Well, we’ve done that before, and I guess we’ll be doing it again. (Doing it! Heh heh heh! )

In any case, here is a shot of me in those holiday shoes I mentioned a few posts ago, along with the rest of the outfit (click the pic for a larger version):
dressy

But, and this is the painful part, those shoes turned out to be REALLY uncomfortable. And these days I consider myself pretty heel-savvy. My biggest mistake was buying them a half-size too large (last pair, 40% off!) and figuring with various insoles and heel appliques and whatnot I could make them wearable. What I succeeded in doing was making them too small. I mean, they were wearable, in the loosest sense of the term–for a few hours, sitting down–but one go of the Electric Slide at G’s departmental holiday party and my left pinkie toe was burning like it had been attacked by a rogue power sander. And so I literally limped out of the hotel ballroom at the end of the night and took off the death shoes as soon as I got into the car. The moral of the story is never buy shoes that don’t fit you. I’d like to turn that into some kind of parable about life–don’t hobble down a road that doesn’t feel right?–but mostly, it’s just some advice about shoes. Seriously, take it from someone who knows. Ill-fitting shoes really suck, no matter how cute you look.

(But I did look pretty cute, right?)

…and/or, “if my words are that powerful, then why aren’t I already pregnant?” Remember last post, written on Sunday before I had even started seeing any menstrual signs? When in the process of musing about when my period might arrive, I wrote:

I vote for Tuesday, though, because I have to go into the city for meetings on Wednesday anyway, and that way waking up at 6:00am so as to make sure I leave by 7:00am and get to the clinic for my bloodwork by 8:00am will be much less painful.

Well, after the most minor of spotting late last night, Aunt Flo arrived first thing this (Tuesday) morning, right on time. Which means I will be going in for my bloodwork tomorrow at the crack of dawn, just as I requested of the universe. Or, you know, voted for.

Dear Universe,

While you’re feeling receptive, I also vote that I get and stay pregnant sometime between March and August of 2008, that I have a normal, uneventful pregnancy, and that I deliver a happy, healthy baby. Oh, and I vote that I get a huge raise next year without any increase in responsibilities and without having to change jobs, and that my college institutes a decent maternity leave policy just in time for me to benefit from it. Thank you kindly for your cooperation!

Yours truly,
Cityprof.

P.S. Yesterday I bought a pair of jeans in a size 10, which is a size I’ve never worn as an adult. Clearly, size 10s aren’t what they used to be, but also, wow, is that weight training working or is it working? I practically feel “skinny”!

T-minus _?_ days.

December 9, 2007

Well, here we are at CD24, which means the countdown to my period has begun. As you probably recall if you’ve been following along, my shortest cycle in recent history was 24 days, which means I could bleed tomorrow, or possibly Tuesday. On the other hand, just last month my cycle was 28 days, and the one before that was 26 days. So the bleeding could hold off until Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of this week and be well within the range of normal. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

I vote for Tuesday, though, because I have to go into the city for meetings on Wednesday anyway, and that way waking up at 6:00am so as to make sure I leave by 7:00am and get to the clinic for my bloodwork by 8:00am will be much less painful. Although I suppose any day this week except Thursday would be fine–Friday is the only day that I’d rather not begin with a crack-o-dawn trip to the city, as Friday is the day of G’s office’s big holiday party, and I’d rather spend the morning sleeping in and then working on getting glam.

Of course, this likely means that dear old Aunt Flo will show up on Thursday evening, just when I’ve decided I’m safe for the day. But Dr. No-Nonsense was very clear that even if I don’t see red blood until 11:30 at night, that still counts as CD1, and I should come in for testing the next day. Actually, Aunt Flo arriving on Friday night would also be fairly inconvenient, as the next morning I’ll be hung over and exhausted from the party the night before, and not particularly interested in getting up early. But at least G will be around and with enough cajoling I can probably convince him to give me a ride into the city.

ANYWAY.

Huge thanks to those of you who commented about my last, babylust-related post. Yes, while out holiday shopping I have been seeing ALL the adorable infants wrapped snugly in their strollers and/or baby carriers, wearing their little knitted caps and their little tiny shoes and mittens, and yes, they are awfully darling. But really the worst has been the older kids, the toddlers–and not the strangers, but the ones I already know.

The other day I finally, FINALLY had coffee with a dear friend of mine with whom I’ve been trying to catch up for months, and during the last fifteen minutes of our date, her hubby came by with their 19-month-old, and oh, man. Not only is he such a beautiful little guy, but he looks so much like my friend and her husband both–which is an interesting feat, as the two of them look nothing like one another. He has a zany little grin, and he TALKS now. He said “bye bye Ditypof!” and did that cute little baby hand-flapping wave. Swoon.

Then, quite without meaning to, I have been torturing myself by watching YouTube videos of the adorable toddlers of my online friends. (Hi online friends, if you are reading!) One video features the sweetest little girl running around with a spatula and repeatedly jumping onto her knees (this really, really is SO much cuter than it sounds in my description–you’ll just have to trust me), another, which practically broke me, is a friend’s husband playing the guitar and singing, accompanied by their little boy who is perched on his dad’s knee. SINGING! A dad and son acoustic guitar DUET! Oh, the humanity. I am tearing up a little just thinking about it.

Of course, this is probably because G plays guitar; in fact, one of his guitars is about ten feet away from me as I type this. I so want that for him, the father-son (or father-daughter) musical duet, the chance for him to share his love of music, along with all the other things that make him him, with our child. Watching this video made it so easy for me to imagine that for him, but of course just envisioning it was somewhat torturous. G is going to be such an amazing father. I can’t believe it’s been so hard for me to give him that gift.

It’s funny, when I think about becoming a mother I often think of the many things that I will lose, but thinking about G as a dad, I can see how beautiful parenting could be. I mean, I know toddlers are a lot to deal with (every mom of a toddler I’ve ever talked to has expressed insane levels of frustration), and I know I will be as frustrated as the next woman–this is not me doing that “if only I could have a baby I would NEVER complain about my child EVER” thing–but I am pretty bummed that we haven’t even had a chance to try our hands at it yet.

My grandmother, who lives in Texas, turned 90 years old last weekend. Although I wanted to, I didn’t manage to go to see her for the occasion–partly, the $300 plane ticket was just too expensive for us this close to the holidays, and partly, the weekend of her birthday was incredibly over-burdened with work, as I had two different batches of papers that needed to be graded and I had a new text to teach that Monday. But, and this is tough to admit, I also felt a little bit like the trip would have been more worth taking if I’d had a child to bring down with me, a little one who needed to meet her great-grandmother before she passed on. I have never lived in the same town as my grandmother, and my mom hasn’t lived there since she was in high school–she left for college and never really went back there to live–so I don’t get back there very often anyway. G and I went down after the wedding in 2005 to celebrate with that part of the family, but before that I hadn’t been in over five years. And I guess I felt like going back again so soon wasn’t worth it if I didn’t have a new baby in tow.

Especially since the big question when I got there, without a baby or an obvious baby bump, was definitely going to be “so, when are you and G having kids??” When I called down there on Thanksgiving to say hello, people could barely wish me a happy holiday before starting in with the third degree. Things would not be better in person.

Still, of course I feel somewhat guilty for not going. But I hope my grandmother is still here to celebrate her 91st birthday next December. And I really hope that G and I can be there to celebrate with her, and introduce her to her (fifteenth*) great-grandchild.

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*Yes, you read that right: my Grandma already has 14 great-grandchildren. Given the fecundity of my first cousins I suspect that she may get a couple more before G and I manage to join the party.