Like, infertility issues are hot

That's my Paris Hilton impression. What do you think? For the record, I typed that as I was clutching my pocket rat dressed in a pink Gucci top, seductively glancing at my monitor with a vacant look on my face, pouting.

It seems that lately I cannot visit news sites without being bombarded with issues related to fertility. It seems to be the issue du jour, which is both reassuring and annoying simultaneously. It's reassuring in the sense that recognition of the problems related to infertility increase awareness and abolish ignorance as well as the potential increase of government funding. It's annoying because with stories of infertility come stories of abundant fertility. Not the 35 year old suburban stay at home mom with three kids type, but rather the 15 year old with two kids living on a council estate type. I regularly experience such polarities as reading one article and thinking, "Yay, acknowledgement this is a problem more common than is realised!" to clicking the next link and wallowing in the inequity of life.

Yesterday this story was the headline on the BBC website. I awoke to IVF clinic ratings as the first story on the tv news, as well as on UK-based news websites. I wondered if I had suddenly stumbled into an infertile-friendly alternate universe where women were no longer viewed as freakish opponents of the natural order for daring to undertake ART. There is a nifty little chart in the article with the 6 clinics with the highest percentage of IVF cycles leading to live births, as well as the bottom 6. The clinic at the bottom of the table has a...10.3% success rate. 10.3%!!! The thought of people paying £3000-£4000 for a success rate like that is shocking. The clinic we are planning on going to is apparently not in the top 6, but based on the percentages indicated, cannot be much below that. I've just spent over an hour poring over statistics and my head just might explode. Live birth rate, age factors, infertility factors, ICSI vs IVF, Burger King versus McDonalds...I just don't know. What I do know is that everytime I see "Singleton live birth" I think I'm reading a Helen Fielding book.

Ladies, welcome to the flip side. Three teenage sisters under the age of 17 all have little joys of their own. Precious, isn't it? Aside from the abysmal names they have graced their children with, their mother has also blamed the lack of sex education in the schools for the three girls' ahem...indiscretions. Of course it is in no way a reflection of poor parenting on her part! Oh, and is it wrong that I looked at the photograph of the three of them, and when my eyes reached the third skank thought, "Ew. Someone had sex with that? She looks like a shrew." Yeah, I think it might be wrong, or at the very least not the way someone that is attempting to procreate should think. Oh well.

In the event that IVF is a failure, or I don't go back in time and get my 12 year old self knocked up (which, if I was like my real 12 year old self actually was, would be quite difficult since I don't *think* you can get pregnant from awkwardly kissing your middle school boyfriend in his rec room on a dare), we will look into adoption. This subject is also in the news, thanks to this study. Reassuring for my adoption-uneducated mind to read, since lack of adjustment is something that concerns me regarding adoptions.

I am trying to convince The Dude to adopt within the next few months actually. He teaches an absolutely charming 18 year old boy that shares our sense of humour. This child quotes Eddie Izzard and watches Scrubs. 'Nuff said. I'm thinking that there will be minimal paperwork involved, as well as no agency or travel fees! He's just about to head off to university, but I am willing to pay his tuition if it means he can be my new son. The hard work is already done for me, and I get to benefit from him being a perfect mix of mini Pru and mini The Dude! Bliss.



Sweatpants of Apathy/Depression all dressed up Posted by Hello

So here they are, as the result of absolutely no loads of requests -- bain of husband's existence, comfort to the emotionally unstable. Dressing them up in this manner serves two purposes*:

a) "Look honey, it's not just sweatpants, it's sweatpants with heels! Dressy!"

b) "I look like shit and feel like shit. On with the sweatpants! Dish out the ice cream! Weep at crap television! Ooo...but the heels...I feel so...elegantly depressed."

*Please note: I do not actually wear these around the house. Yet.


Trouble and strife

I tell you what...this marriage gig is hard work. Between arguing over holidays to having shouting matches over the Sweatpants of Depression, I am plumb worn out.

On Saturday The Dude wanted to go out and run some errands. As I cannot be bothered to get up before 10.30am on the weekends, I took my sweet time (ie 1 1/2 hours) to get from being huddled under my duvet with my 4 fluffy pillows to putting one leg, then another into THE sweatpants. I wasn't really depressed, just a bit down. Initially, I did not put them on as representative of any malaise, so when they were first put on we shall call them the Sweatpants of Apathy. Just so you know, these are not dingy, grey, $10 Wal-Mart sweatpants, these beauts are lovely sky blue Nike yoga-ey pants with flared bottoms. These aren't your mother's Sweatpants of Depression darlin'.

Upon exiting the bedroom, quite proud of myself for emerging from my typical Saturday outfit of The Dude's pyjama bottoms and 10 year old t-shirt with holes, he says to me, "You're not wearing that out, are you?" You know, because shopping for cushions to go on the new sofa requires a ballgown and friggin' tiara. I asked him what was wrong with them and his words were, "Umm...but they are sweatpants...and you'll probably be wearing them all weekend. It looks a bit sloppy." Huh? Uh, did he just...I think he did. I asked him why wearing them all weekend would make them unwearable at that moment since they were fresh out of the dryer, to which he had no answer. Clearly this boy has some lessons to learn. When a woman wants to wear the Sweatpants of Apathy/Depression, you don't tell her she looks like shit you say, "Darling, wear whatever you want. You're beautiful regardless of what graces your body."

The way I look at it, he was lucky I even wanted to leave the flat in the first place. Granted, after his anti-Sweatpants of Apathy tirade, I decided to stay in. The Sweatpants of Apathy gave way to the Sweatpants of Depression and I wore them with pride, though rather morose pride. I lounged all day watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition, crying, eating half a tub of Ben and Jerry's and shouted at The Dude to get out of the house because he was pissing me off...but hey....This is what I'm made of. To think this is me without drugs. Ha! I can tell you one thing. Once IVF starts and I'm even more of a raging bitch, I will be able to rock those sweatpants like nobody's business for days on end. I'm thinking marathons of Pimp My Ride, constant viewing of the melodrama on tap that is found on the Hallmark Channel, and the consumption of rather a lot of junk food. Ahh...it almost makes one want to put the sweatpants on now...


Yes Virginia, there really are infertiles!

Has anyone noticed the distinct lack of infertiles in television and movies? Despite the presence of over 6 million women diagnosed as infertile in the US alone, you would think we are a rare breed so infrequently do we pop up anywhere. I can recall various made for TV movies about adoption, but I don't think they ever focused on the actual issue of infertility that lead to the couples adopting. Instead, a loving middle class suburban couple would spontaneously decide to adopt and an everlasting bond would be forged with their new child. End of story. There would be a hint that they were adopting because they could not conceive naturally, but those depths were never explored. There were no emotional breakdowns in the middle of the supermarket, no daily hormone shots in the ass, and no crying into the pillow at night because of the searing pain of inadequacy.

This is why I will always stand by Sex and the City as one of my favourite shows. Sure, plenty of shallow types claim it is their favourite show as well, and I cringe each time I hear that with the knowledge that I have voluntarily grouped myself with such vacuous company. Despite the focus on being swinging single ladies in Manhattan consumed with fashion and the all important, token shoe collection (shoes...swoon!), I maintain that Sex and the City delved into issues that most television shows wouldn't touch. This of course, includes what is near and dear to all of our wombs, infertility.

When Sex and the City decided to write Charlotte as a character dealing with infertility, I was nervous. I assumed it would be a cliched portrayal with a happy biological ending. Obviously it would be great to see a woman go through all of the treatment and come out with a real, live biological child, but I find the Hollywood picture-perfect conclusion is so predictable. To the media, infertility is almost always resolved successfully. People try for children for years and somehow always end up with what they want, in the way they want it. I'd like to think that's my future, but real life isn't so interested in a perfect resolution.

I monitored Charlotte's infertility with a rather disconcerting amount of interest, because at the time I was going through my own trouble alone. There were a few scenes with Charlotte unable to cope with Miranda's pregnancy, and I cannot count how many times I would watch them and cry. I cried because that emotion was all too familiar to me, and to see someone else, even a fictitious infertile experience these feelings, was quite overwhelming. Up to that point the only coping I was doing involved writing in my journal. All my anger, resentment and disappointment was internalised and I had no one to convey these feelings to. Watching Charlotte endure what I was experiencing as well was oddly cathartic. Even though I still didn't have anyone to speak to about my infertility, the ability to see that what I was feeling was not unique to me was comforting. The person or people that wrote that arc surely felt what I was feeling, or else they would not be able to capture those emotions so acutely.

Charlotte's story did not end with a successful end of infertility. The final episode saw Charlotte and her husband preparing to go meet their daughter in China. It was an ending I was proud of, because it showed that there are alternatives to the standard happy conclusion of flawless pregnancy, flawless biological child. After all that turmoil and heartache, she would finally have the child that she always wanted.

I'm sure there will be many times before my treatment comes to an end, however that will be, in which I will sit in front of the tv, box of tissues in one hand and my remote in the other, watching these episodes over and over again. I will cry when Charlotte cannot sit through a baby shower for one of her best friends because it is too emotional. I will cry when she gathers up the courage to attend that child's first birthday party even though she cannot help but to think it is not her own child's birthday that she's celebrating. I will cry when she miscarries the baby she so desperately wanted and tried so long to conceive. I will cry (but for a different reason) when her husband surprises her with the news that they can bring home their daughter.

So, who is up for an Infertiles-Only (present and former) Sex and the City marathon? Bring your own cosmopolitans, cupcakes/preferred snack cake, depression sweatpants and Jimmy Choos. I'll supply the tissues.


The world is full of crashing bores

I am home sick today, please pity me. I was fine all day yesterday, then suddenly at about 11pm a physiological rebellion was staged and the end product was me cuddling the toilet and whispering sweet nothings into its bowl. It wasn't so much, "Awww...baby you're so hot" as it was "It is times like these I realise I should clean you more often." There was a wave of concern at work when I phoned in, which was a nice feeling. Warm fuzzies quickly turned into emission of hateful death rays when I said why I wouldn't be in and was met with three (yes, three), "Oh! Maybe you're pregnant!" comments. Fuckwads. If I was capable of projecting fatal brain shocks via telepathy I would have done so. Instead, I was reduced to muttering, "No, I don't...just, err...no."

As a child, the definition of staying home sick was not being able to leave my bed, as ordained by my mom. Her belief was that if you were too sick to go to school, you are too sick to watch TV. I still don't understand that reasoning, nor do I think I ever will. So, in an act of bold rebellion, I have not been in my bed since 9.30am. Since then, I have watched TV, consumed way too many pretzels, and virtually stalked former classmates and co-workers.

"Stalking?" you say, ears perked up. Though most will deny the ease with which the internet has catered to our more...curious inclinations, who hasn't googled old boyfriends and former friends from high school? I take this shit up a notch though -- I go straight to Friendster and Myspace. I search results for my high school and I've come up with some preeeety interesting stuff. Please note, I still google as well. Please...I'm a professional.

Case one: Nerdy guy from high school who was in the Boy Scouts right up to graduation. Hell, perhaps even he's still a scout, I don't know. Now he has created a profile of himself, buff, shirtless and grinning like a fool on Friendster. His pose is worrisome, as it looks straight out of a gay porno, though he claims to be looking for single women. For what? Shopping buddies?

Case two: An old friend from high school, though I totally fired her ass from friendship about 4 years ago and wished her eternal pain and damnation from that day forward. I worked at a bookstore, and she walked in one day with her then-boyfriend. Upon seeing me, but not aware that I also saw her, she quickly darted behind her boyfriend and utilised him as a shield! I was completely appalled, because despite the apparent outgoing personality I have on this blog, I'm a social retard. I don't want to talk to people anyway, so she really needn't have hidden. I am not one to conduct awkward conversations, so for future reference, no one needs to hide from me if they see me out and about. I probably don't want to speak to you as it is!

So anyway...I found this bitch's profile on Myspace. Last I'd heard she had this massive, pricey, country club wedding (thanks Dr Mom and Dr Dad) and was hoping to get pregnant right away, like you do. I saw her wedding photos through a mutual friend, and I must admit I was ecstatic to see she lost too much weight, leaving her looking like a lollipop stuck in meringue. Due to this weight loss, her face also aged about 10 years. Ha. Back to this profile...there is a segment for marital status, for which she put single. I asked around, and as luck would have it, she's in the midst of quite a messy divorce....at the ripe old age of 26. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Case three: Occurred today. I used to work with a girl I despised at the bookstore mentioned earlier, we shall call her Miss Upherownass. She was shockingly self-obsessed, and always spoke about how highly intelligent she viewed herself to be. Miss Upherownass perceived herself as a political rebel, a "libertarian" that wasn't afraid to speak her mind in a conservative area such as Central Pennsylvania. She sought kudos for being so progressive, as if she deserved a big ol' pat on the back for not being Republican.

I found her profile on Myspace today, and now I'm terrified. There is a blog section of members' profiles and I found myself riveted. I couldn't get enough! The other sad thing is, based on her biography, she is me! We have the exact same interests in many cases: we like the same movies, tv shows and music. I'm scared. I know I'm going to have to read it again tomorrow. I need to. Please let me read it. In case you are interested, Miss Upherownass has not changed much. Her profile is littered with pictures of herself pouting, pushing her boobs together, looking coyly at the camera. In some of them she's wearing a pearl necklace (not that kind of pearl necklace you big pervs) and pearl earrings. Guess she's not too far off being Republican after all.