When I discovered that I was a shocking 33 books behind on my Goodreads goal for the year, I went into a frenzy of book selections. I have three e-books on my phone and Ipad, six graphic novels on my desk, two young adult novels in my bag, a playaway digital book in my car, and two audiobooks on my phone.
Don’t judge me.
Anyway, one of the audiobooks, was Nia Vardalos’ “Instant Mom”.
While parts ring so very uncomfortably true that they bring tears to my eyes, another part of me knows that I will have to buy this book. In print, so that I can highlight parts, and extract quotes. I will then have to buy an extra copy so that I can wrap it in a note and give it to someone as oxygen.
I needed this book right now. I needed her hope, and her sorrow, and her success. I needed to hear my reflection. I’ve been stuffing myself so far down into my own chest that I have literally forgotten my feelings at times. I’ve hidden them under anger or fear, or completely blacked them out. I’ve treated the experience of our failed adoption this year the way I treat all mistakes in my life: as they that must not be named.
Do you know how when you’re writing longhand and you make a mistake in pen you can just draw a line through it and keep going?
Yeah. I don’t. Because I could never deal with just that line. I, and more importantly, any other human, would still be able to see my error… and that cannot be. I have to completely eviscerate the word or sentence. Like, to the point where the paper thins out where I’ve drug the pen across so hard.
That, is how much I hate making mistakes. How much I hate feeling or looking stupid. How much I hate failing. And this stupid journey(both the infertility and adoption) feels all the time like an error I can’t correct, white out, or even strike through. And I haaaaaaaate it.
I want to be past it already. To be on the other side. To be in the success story and look at me now portion. And no matter what I do, I just can’t seem to. And it hurts fresh every time I realize it. Like waking up in a new place everyday and being reminded that I’m there because my house burned down.
So when I listened to Nia explain this exact frustration as she journeys backwards through letdown after letdown, I felt both invigorated and instantly saddened. Because I got it. I got it in a way that no fan or family member who read it without walking this road could. I got her, because she got me.
She explained quite vulnerably, how her naturally upbeat personality made her wish, just as I have for so long, to just put this all behind her. She hates discussing infertility, and wanted to focus on being a mom, and finally being happy, but fate has a way of making us share our stories when they can help others. Nia soon found that the best way for her to feel truly “past” it all, was to tell the story of her journey, and help other hurting people find their children also.
This book examined not only the pain of infertility itself, but the struggle of enduring baby showers, failed IVF cycles, the pitfalls of shady adoption “professionals”, and even “the after”. The hero of this story, however, was hope. No matter how many walls Nia and her husband Ian Gomez hit, they maintained their ability to love one another, and love their dreams enough not to let them go.
The Vardalos-Gomez family found their daughter through the foster adoption system. I appreciated a celebrity speaking out on behalf of the kids who are in the foster care system and eligible for adoption. Nia took care to speak against the stigma that both adoption and foster care receive. She expressed that she respects everyone’s choices in how they plan to build their families, but that she encourages people to investigate all the options available.
This voice was so very valuable. Nia holds nothing back,…well, there is that first 80% of the book where she holds back her daughter’s name,…but other than that, she was exceptionally honest and real. Her humor, as anyone who has watched her movies is familiar with, was very present in every chapter and she also includes an appendix that is full of adoption resources.
Now, as a librarian, I usually advise you to grab books from your local library, but Nia donates proceeds from the sales of this book to adoption charities, so I’m okay with you buying this one. 🙂
Darn straight, Nia.
Ps: I recommend listening to the audiobook, because she reads it herself, and all the emotion is present in her voice.
So, last month, I returned to the hospital for another hysteroscopy. YAY!
I get to the post-op appointment two weeks later…Gyne says there was no polyp that she saw. Just my uterine lining stocking up for the apocalypse again.
So this giant lapse (a month and a half, which feels like eternity), was for nothing. Or at least that’s how I felt instantly. I know it wasn’t really, and that it was good to make sure everything was clear anyhow, but damn if it didn’t feel like a waste of time. A painful waste of time at that.
But whatever, it was what needed to be done.
So the next move was to return to the RE for our IVF consult. This meeting is where we sign all the legal paperwork regarding cryo-preservation, legal intent, and consent forms. This is also the meeting where most people learn of their IVF protocol. Meaning, what medicines their RE has determined will be best for them, and some start dates.
Notice how I said, “most people”.
Because as I told yall before, “if I haven’t learned anything in this infertility battle, I’ve learned that NOTHING on this journey can be simple for me. NOTHING.”
So, after we came in, she got right to it and said, “You’ve got three things working against you right now that we have to fight.”
I took a deep breath, and she continued.
- Your thyroid. We have to get it down because it’s too high. We prefer it to be >2.5, yours was at three.
- Your PCOS. Which is apparently a ROUGH case.
At this, I cringed. I have done my reading. I know that with PCOS and IVF there are risks of hyperstimulation, and even an increased risk of miscarriage. PCOS is a jerk. A hairy, fat, jerk. So I held my breath as she told me that my particular case of PCOS has already acted a complete ass.
The normal range of follicles a woman with normal or average egg quality has, is around twelve. 6 on one ovary, and 6 on the other. But Regina? Regina has Thirty-flippin-one. 13 on one ovary, and 18 on the other.
AMH stands for Anti Mullerian Hormone. This hormone gives doctors an indication of the estimated number of eggs a woman has left. It gives the RE an idea of how many eggs they can expect to retrieve from you. The normal AMH levels of women my age, are between 1.0 and 3.0. In PCOS patients, AMH levels can run high. My doctor has NEVER SEEN A PERSON WITH AS HIGH AMH LEVELS AS ME. My AMH was 21. Not 2.1, TWENTY ONE.
So do I have a great possibility for egg retrieval? On the surface, yes. But having done the research, I knew what that really translated to: I am at high risk for hyperstimulation during IVF.
In other words, my follicles may get a taste of those sweet hormone meds and go “fat kid at the buffet”, and my cycle could be cancelled. She even mentioned that she may have to cut my doses in half just because of my risks. WTF, lady bits? What are you doing?!!
My body’s a damned overachiever in every area except weight loss.
But remember, she said there were three issues.
After all this time, the next blow, is that we now have male factor infertility also! YAY!!! We won!
We have been referred to urology now. To which we won’t get in until next year. Depending on what is required, that pushes the IVF process to at least February.
So, all the craptastic news out of the way, we continued with the other parts of the consult and learned all about the risks of IVF, had the painful discussions about things like selective reduction, and even what to do with our embryos if we divorce or one of us passes away. Then came the great layout of costs for preserving embryos, $1100 up front and $450/year after, and the cost of preserving “backup” sperm for retrieval day, $350.
And then to add insult to emotional injury, I got some yucky news about the little one who we were planning to adopt earlier this year. She’s fine! But the info was yucky nonetheless.
I got in my feelings for a hot second. Mostly angry, not sad. Angry that we’d waited before following up with the male factor information. Angry at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, yet again. Angry to be on hold yet again.
Then I just stopped. I reminded myself to calm down. I reminded myself that now was the time to focus on others and not myself. Prayers for that precious baby girl, and love to my husband who got his own bad news today.
That being said, I’m giving myself permission to be a tad p’d off today. And prescribing my OWN meds for a change. Thanks to my sorority sister for the appropriately named gift.
Featured image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Originally Published 12.29.10 @ 1:27pm
Ujamaa! The principle of today means cooperative economics, as well as social and economic development. The focus of the principle is that African-Americans should support and promote other African-American businesses and institutions. The reason for this thrust is based on the belief that of all other cultures, African Americans have the least amount of cultural identity and resourcefulness.
As I thought about how to relate this particular principle to The Egg, I continuously hit a wall. You see when I first thought about it, I planned to promote other blogs and infertility resources that catered to African-American patients. Then I remembered… LOL
While the field is growing, it surely isn’t the largest. However that is no reason for me to not share with you guys the outstanding Fertility blogs and resources that I have found which are either founded or written by African Americans.
More Info on Why I’m Special!
Visit The Quest for the Nest on Facebook
Purchase The Quest here!
Check out the blog for Lena Arnold, author of For This Child We Prayed: Living with the Secret Shame of Infertility.
Check out Joshua’s Coming by Rhonda White
Blogs And Social Media:
For a list of other blogs that are written by African Americans who battle infertility check out the BrokenBrownBlogs page up top! (If you have one and would like to be added, send me a message)
Facebook Pages & Groups:
Let’s Talk About it
My Adoption Chronicles
Luck and Baby Dust
The Rare Soil Project
African American Fertility (Facebook Group)
Fertility/Family-Building Organizations Created by African Americans
The Center for Family Formation
The Tinina Q. Cade Foundation
Other Great Causes I’d like to mention, also founded by African American women:
Cosmopolitan Kids – Raising children to be global citizens through cultural awareness and activity (co-founded by one of the Egg’s board members!)
ChocolateBrides.com – The Premiere source of inspiration and sisterhood for the marriage-minded woman of color
So, that’s what I came up with! Not a lot, but still SOO much. What’s your Ujamaa today? Shout out a business or resource that I may have missed.
This week, I am completely and totally floored by the amazing outreach initive of Redbook Magazine. Through partnerships with Resolve: The National Infertility Association and First Response, Redbook has launched a massive no-shame campaign entitled “The Truth About Trying“. From behind the scenes, I’ve known about this campaign for a couple months now, but even as I got excited and prepared for it, I had no idea how absolutely amazing this movement would really be.
If you haven’t seen it, let me explain a little about what it is. (more…)
A while back, I received this awesome email:
My name is Kelly and I am a science teacher. I teach science and biology in our high school. A few of my summer students came across your site while researching for their current research project on topics related to fertility and reproductive health. (more…)
BlackCelebKids posted this picture in their Hot Topics yesterday and my jaw hit my toes.
This billboard, is a part of an ad campaign by the pro-life group LifeAlways.
A billboard that reads, “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb,” has been placed in the heart of SoHo by Life Always™ as a part of a new national campaign to expose the truth about how Planned Parenthood targets minority neighborhoods as they perform over 300,000 abortions a year. This particular billboard is about half a mile from a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. Life Always board member Stephen Broden said that Planned Parenthood has had a devastating effect on the sustainability of the African American population.”
My heart is pained.
In case you’ve been out of the loop, there has been huge interest in Planned Parenthood since last week, when the House of Representatives, voted to strip the 95 year old organization of its federal funding. The decision was wrapped up in frilly bows and tape, but the bare bones of the matter is that it is centered around the pro-life movement. Because Planned Parenthood does in fact offer abortion services, these crafty legislators feel that they would much rather leave the three million people who use the clinics without care, than be involved with such an organization.
How intelligent. (more…)