Archive for the ‘Waxing Philosophic’ Category

Selective memory is my red bull!


Well hello there, Stranger! I feel as if I am coming out of a deep and contemplative hibernation, and am now seeking to rejoin the ranks of society.  

Is my hair OK?

I hope people still read this – if you are reading this I love you! I think I got tired of waiting for new developments and realized that, if the inspiration does not strike, don’t post anything. And since no one pays me to do this, I can do what I want. Fabulous.  

Today I actually did have a rendezvous scheduled at my fertility clinic. We are finally (insert song of the angels here) ready to transfer one or two of our magnificent little frozen people-to-be into the womb! I have these little imaginings that inside me there is perfect and pristine mini-human apartment decked out with a comfy sofa, a year’s worth of formula, and a bad ass rocking swing, but no inhabitants. Kind of like when that guy woke up from a coma in 28 days later, but much less creepy and without the flesh-eating zombies. So I was really jazzed to go to my appointment today because I thought it would go something like this:  

Nurse Lady: Hello, it has been so long……Sarah, you look incredible!  

Me: Oh, aren’t you sweet!  

Nurse Lady: Everything looks great for transfer, let’s do it first thing tomorrow! And by the way, don’t worry about those sly little charges that come up. It’s just a joy to have you in the office. Now let’s get you pregnant!   

Of course, it was pretty much the opposite. A long protocal of lots of pills, more shots, confusion over which needles and syringes I need, and an ETA of LATE SEPTEMBER OR EARLY OCTOBER for transfer. Am I on that Bloopers show?  How did I forget all these steps?  

So, this gets me thinking….do we subconsciously elect to have selective memory? And if we do, do women do it more than men? Here is why I ask: My friends that have been pregnant tell me about “baby brain” during pregnancy – they sometimes lose the capacity to talk, walk without falling, tie their shoe, or count change.  One of my friends was so entertaining to her husband that he contemplated keeping her pregnant into possible perpetuity. (No, he’s not a sexist asshole, he was just kidding. Calm down.) These friends of mine have mentioned to me that this happens so that women do not remember the whole of the pregnancy experience – swollen feet, things you need Preparation H for, cravings for food that Andrew Zimmern would not eat, and so on and so forth. (Pretty smart thinking, God.) So what if this instinctual and automatic little memory glitch is something we learn to hone, like early man with his evolving stone tools? They just kept getting bigger and crazier and now they’re machine guns. Do we do this so that we can keep on enjoying the awesomeness of being a woman without focusing on the undesirable parts? But wait, men do it, too! Maybe somewhere along the line we all possess the ability to harness this temporary lack of recollection. Like Memento, but selective. You keep going to work every day, because the reward of a paycheck pushes away the fact that your desk chair has been broken since January. So I am going to proactively use selective memory to keep me going. Which is great because you shouldn’t drink Red Bull when your trying to procreate. 

And so I am done being crabby (well, for today anyhow) and am once again getting excited.  I hope all of your journeys are progressing well….keep me posted!  

Peace & Love, 

S

Keep Truckin’


Last summer I was really grateful to have been invited into a 48 hour film festival group by some friends. Hearing about the project, I was ecstatic because it was right up my alley – but I felt intimidated that I would be joining a group of people that I did not know and sharing my ideas openly. They didn’t know me – would they wonder where I came from and why I was invading their project?

It was not that way at all – these people were fantastic. I got to work on a film project with some trained professionals who opened their doors to me and allowed me to participate. And there were others like me, who just wanted to contribute. It was a memorable experience because it was open. What I mean is that it was welcoming and free. My friend introduced me as someone who acts and writes to a group of people who, for most part, actually went to film school, but they did not judge me. They gave me a place on their team immediately, and gave me a part in their film. I really got to see how it’s “all done” – the lighting, the filming, the editing and camaraderie. It was a blast – to watch people work so hard together just because they have a passion for what they are doing. For what they were collectively creating, and for all the effort and joy that was put in behind the scenes.

That was almost a year ago. I remember that I was trying to work out schedules at the time so someone would be home for my first fertility drug delivery. I was so thrilled to be moving to the “big gun” fertility treatment and was calculating when I would be due, how fun it would be to be pregnant over Christmas, how long before I needed to start shopping at maternity stores, etc. How time flies; now we have lived another year and undergone 3 IUIs and a partial IVF cycle. Not pregnant yet. So much for the best laid plans.

Back to the film project, it seems some of last year’s crew has disassembled. People have obligations and teams don’t just magically unite when you want them to. So my friends that brought me into the group last year decided we should still do it. After all, we have someone who can do the filming and editing, who actually went to school for it – we have someone who is organized and can see the big picture without forsaking the little ones, and we have someone who can write and act. We are pretty jazzed because we have decided to create something. We have decided to keep going even though it will be more difficult, and we are not even really looking at it that way. It gets me thinking, it’s the same premise with the fertility treatment. Here is where I am going to get a bit campy and cliche. Sorry. But sometimes there is a lesson to be learned in keeping your head down and forging ahead. (I know, I did not want to admit it, either.) When I was about 5, we lived in the same neighborhood as my grandmother. Walking to grandma’s house was always a joy -no doubt there would be a hot cup of cocoa in the winter and the basket full of toys she kept waiting for us grandkids. But she lived at the top of a fairly large hill – and my legs were those of an inpatient little girl. Getting up the hill, I used to dramatically drag my feet and whine to my dad, “I’m tired, I’m thirsty, I’m this that and the other…” And dad would remind me what was at the top of the hill and he would always say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going, Sarah!” Reminds me of what my brother wrote in our guest book when we got married – “Congratulations. Keep Truckin’!”

I have had times since then when I have been really tough. Pulled through some scary situations. And other times when I just wanted to be 5 again and give up, which I did. And I know it sounds really cheesy, but your mother was dead on when she told you that if everything came easily you would not appreciate it as much. Some gifts just find their way to you, and others have layers of circumstance that you have to peel away, slowly, methodically, over time. You have no idea how the story will turn out, but it develops as you go along, regardless of what you thought you’d write.  So yes – it has been a year and I am still waiting. But I am closer – much, much closer. And while I wait, I can create in other ways. The best plots are the ones where you wait in suspense, and then you find your story revealed. And it’s better than you ever imagined.

The Emperor


Penguins have a kind of  “hard knock” life. Ever since I saw “March of the Penguins” there has been a small little space in my heart reserved for these determined birds. This space grew a little larger this week as I pulled the pages, day by day, off my desk calendar. It is a calendar that celebrates the planet Earth, and nearly every day this week was devoted to penguins. These animals put a nearly inconceivable amount of work into reproducing, finding their one mate in a crowd of thousands when it matters most, and just surviving.

Monday and Tuesday may not have been about penguins…..Tuesday could have been, but I actually don’t remember. I was still deep in the mires of work and my own little trials. But Wednesday I still have, and it is what seemed to trigger the emotions I felt for these little guys all over again. Wednesday reminded me that Emperor penguins make a HUGE migration in autumn to breed in one of the most frigid, harsh, icy, desolate places on Earth. Beautiful, but not exactly nurturing. (Makes me think of my 9 frozen blastocysts, chilling out in pairs of two in a little, metal cyro-tube.) I don’t know how they came to be called “Emperor” Penguins, and I don’t care to find out. Because in my mind it is because they are regal; they have passion in their DNA so strong that they are born just a small bird, but with a monumental soul. What a proper name they have earned.

On Thursday, the males began to guard their eggs. For months, they withstand brutal winds and numbing temperatures without food to nurture their small counterparts within the fragile shells. Holding the prize between their little penguin legs, in a warm and furry place, they take great care to ensure the developing life does not end up on the frozen ground just inches away. They never take a break. They have no sports on TV. They have no Man Cave. What do they do, all those weeks? What do they think about? What do they feel? Maybe they just understand. They instinctively huddle in groups for warmth.

Instinctively. Without reserve.

In between Thursday and Friday, the females had gone to hunt and gather. They head to the oceans where countless perils await so that they can bring back food for their mates. It is fascinating; penguins and seahorses have a great rarity in common. Male seahorses give birth, and male penguins nurture and grow the unborn. Makes you kind of realize that if a seahorse in the temperate waters of the Atlantic can share a secret with birds traveling across the icy lands of Antarctica, anything is possible.

On Saturday, the female penguin returns with food for the unshakable males. At the end of the harsh season, as the moderate (relatively speaking) summer begins, the chicks are born. The females nurture the new young, and eventually migrate home until mating season begins again. Here is what enthralls me – more than the advent of computers, surgery with lasers, or the fact that we have walked on the moon – after all those months, in an endless sea of twinned penguins, the same female finds the same male from before she left.  How? This is my argument for those who cannot find a way to believe in both evolution and God at the same time. Don’t they see? We have the divinity and the love of our creator and it has allowed life here to evolve to this momentous event. The saga of a bird, that we have mistakenly decided is leagues less intelligent than we are and much less complex. Yet it does this. Evolution is the glory of free will and divinity personified. It is God, in earthly form – to create life from love.

We should hope to be like the penguin. The Emperor.

The New Fertility Frenzy


I am just going to start by saying that, yes, I do have a subscription to Marie Claire magazine. But it’s not what you think. I have one to National Geographic, as well. Marie Claire was offered to me for $5.95 a year, and I like it when people send me things in the mail. Not that I am insulting readers of Marie Claire. It’s just that it is kind of like Cosmopolitan trying to dress up like a cultural advocate of women’s global issues. Printing an article about the plight of young prostitutes in a third world country back to back with the diet and dating secrets of a 17-year-old icon just feels wrong. 

I don’t hold a grudge against Marie Claire. I like to leaf through it just like any other girl and figure out which models have been airbrushed. (Spoiler Alert: All of Them) But as I thumbed through it tonight, I saw an article called “The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Contraception.” I thought I would take a gander at what single girl’s are doing these days; maybe there is some new, exotic contraception out there in the ten years since I have been on the scene. I was ready for a cool new pharmaceutical name like “Fertprotrex,” or “Spermishield.” But the article began with your standard “condoms and birth control pills,” and then do you know what the author did? She played the old switcharoo, “you better start to worry about your fertility because ALL YOUR EGGS ARE DYING.”  This is an article geared towards 20 somethings and it just has to take a trip down media-scare lane! I also love that the naked girl leaning on a huge cryopreservation tank is wearing only a huge Sex-In-The-Cityesque necklace and bracelet, and is probably about 23 years old. Do you think she is worried about her diminishing ovarian reserve? Not likely. And what about the young woman who is actually struggling with this issue due to medical issues? Do you think this girl feels trivialized now? Just a little bit? I don’t think I am being over PC when I say that I bet she does. 

The article says that “By age 30, almost 90% of a woman’s eggs are gone. By age 40, a full 97% have disappeared.”* Do you know how long this statistic haunted me as a woman having trouble conceiving past the age of 30? I know it is something to consider, but don’t you think we should also consider that we are born with between 4 and 7 million eggs? I just feel like the media makes a potentially difficult situation into a catastrophic dilemma. Or is the new age of career first, baby later going to cost us? Does the media tell us in one ear that we should go after the CEO brass ring, and in the other warn us that the baby dolls we nurtured as little girls were an exercise in futility?  There is a doctor who states in this article that she thinks 3o is a good age to consider having an ovarian biopsy. Meaning, if you are 30 and single, you should cut out part of your ovary and freeze it. Then, when you are ready to start a family, you can re-attach it onto the ovary. This way, as you look more like mama from Mama’s Family and less like Carmen Electra, your eggs will stay plump and healthy. Please don’t misunderstand me – I am in the throws of something as drastic as IVF and I would do it again in a flash. But where does being proactive end and being cajoled begin? 

Just one more thing before I get off my soapbox. I think I may be over-reacting to the Marie Claire article because other media sources have gotten me peevy. About a year ago I bought a book called, “Getting Pregnant.” Naively, I assumed this tome would tell me how to become with child. But most of it was what Meredith on “Grey’s Anatomy” might refer to as the “Dark and Twisties.”  Chapter after bone chilling chapter listed all of the reasons why I am NOT finding the second line of the pee-stick appear. If you are also getting inpatient with peeing on your hand to no avail, let me save you $16.95. ($21.99 for the poor schmucks in Canada who pay more for everything.) 

Your Culprits May Be: 

  • You are suffering from an immune disorder, scar tissue, an odd inflammatory condition, or thyroid condition. No?
  • Your partner’s sperm are dead beats
  • You have contracted an STD at some point in your life. Was it the toilet seat at that concert that you accidentally sat on?
  • You are abusing drugs
  • You are too fat. You are too thin. (As If)
  • You are stressed

    Occupational Hazard

  • Your workplace is constantly exposing you to radiation, low-oxygenated air, bad AC, bad heat, and chemical pollutants 
  • It’s your computer monitor
  • It’s the climate you live in
  • It’s your kitchen – too much heat while cooking
  • It’s a mystery and you will never, never, never know

See what I mean? I have determined that the best thing we can do for our fertility is to limit our exposure to the media. Of course we should take charge of our bodies and our health – and this means to self educate – but let’s not allow a magazine article or one book to strike fear in our hearts.  Because even though time does keep marching on, the strongest factor I believe we can concentrate on is our minds and our dreams…and the course of our journey. 

*Marie Claire, July 2010, Pg. 169

Crossing the Divide


John Mayer was right: My body is a wonderland!

Having a scan done today, my wonderful doctor (that is not sarcasm, he is actually wonderful) tells me that I have “Kissing Ovaries.” My first thought was that he was trying to make me smile while I wriggled on the table to the tune of my organs were being smashed, but then I detected the calm and serious nature of his expression. Then he told me what it means – get this, are you ready – they are so full of eggs and swollen that THEY ARE TOUCHING! If you are a boy this might not mean much to you because all your junk just clambers around as it will, but ladies’ ovaries do not touch. Not ever. One is in New York and the other in San Francisco, so they don’t even know one another. It really hit me about mid-day, while feeling like Shamu after a feeding; I thanked myself for wearing a long shirt so I could unbutton my pants at my desk in secret. Holy Crap! It dawned on me – they have crossed the divide!

This brings up a whole host of questions that, I would guess, anyone would be asking themselves. Medical questions, personal questions…..you realize that you feel you are so ready to welcome a new little person into your family, that something pretty damn uncomfortable hasn’t really been that bad. If I had to take a medicine that might make my insides swell inside of me just because it was something blasé, like an antibiotic or an antacid, I would be kind of bummed. I would probably mutter complaints under my breath and throw a fit in the morning getting dressed because my stomach looked like Kate Gosselin before she delivered a small nation. But, for this, it wasn’t that way. It was kind of exciting. Not that I am down on bended knee hoping to do it again, but it makes me think about our minds and how perception is everything. I think it is important when going through fertility treatments to try and focus on what are bodies can do,  not what we think they can’t.  Maybe this is how we cross the divide. After all, I never knew my ovaries could kiss…and yet, they do.

Stupid is as stupid does?


The past couple of days I have been losing my edge. Mentally, I am just a bit….dulled. I think it must be the hormones, because my mind just has not been connecting the dots between the filter and the mouth. Also, small things have begun to either irritate or confuse me. Point in case: What the Hell does “Stupid is as stupid does” mean? My brain breaks it down, a stupid act is a sign of stupidity. I just don’t know. I mean, I get what Forrest’s mama meant. Kind of. And only recently has this compounded my brain, because I think the shots are rendering me stupid.

I was talking to a virtual stranger the other day. No, wait. A total stranger. And in the midst of conversation it just flew from my mouth like a bat out of Hell….”yadda, yadda, yadda….because I am going through fertility treatment.” This poor stranger, who knew me for about 2 and half minutes, was stupefied. I was mortified. Why would I say something so personal like this to Aunt Pearls’ sister’s best friend’s niece? (You get my drift.) Things just pop out and I only have so much say as to when.

This lack of filtration may be viewed by others as stupidity, but I am actually starting to liken it to Mr. Gump. He was very wise, and always spoke the truth, right? So maybe women’s hormones are just the anti-bullshit serum. Maybe we only have small amounts of these in our day-to-day because our brilliance and inability to not say that thing that we know is true is there so that people can stand to be around us – maybe my filter defect is just that I do not have time for crap. Interesting. I love saying true things. It’s FUN! Oooh, I have the perfect clip. Sum it up for me, Ray!

So, I guess I started this post feeling stupid – and based on the fact that it is fairly non-linear and does not really make a point is proof. But it’s all good. Because that is exactly what my brain is like inside right now. And it’s kind of entertaining. It’s part of the journey.

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