Saturday, February 27, 2010

The In Between

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Today we woke up to a very lazy Saturday morning. It was the type of day where time has escaped your frame of reference and any thoughts of responsibility have yet to fall upon you. The sun rolling in through the window, it was just the two of us, spending time under the covers, reading, talking and playing with the dogs in bed. We don't get a chance to start many days this way so it was a nice chance to shut off all the "Noise of Life" and just breathe. I love being able to steal these moments away with John; both of our lives have gotten so busy lately I feel like every time I blink another year has passed.

Later on, as I started to slowly transition through the house and get going with the day I walked by our bedroom door and noticed how empty and disheveled our bed looked - the leftover evidence of our quiet morning; the beautiful soft light trickling in through the window highlighting the rumpled sheets and it was then that I knew I wanted to capture this memory of our lives and somehow hold on to it forever. I started to think about all the amazing moments that are stretching out in front of us and all the memories still to be made: opportunities that will come and go, friends we will make and experiences we will have; and I realized that THIS moment in our lives too, is very fleeting. And before we even know it's leaving, it'll be gone. Sometimes very frustrating and trying - we are in the beautiful "in between". The amazing space that exists while dreaming of our children and making our own family a reality.

Finally, as I stood with my camera in hand staring at our room, my thoughts turned to hope. I began to let myself imagine that someday soon we would be having another beautiful Saturday morning under the covers but this time it would be with our baby (and dogs) lying between us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unsolicited Advice

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In a recent Elle magazine interview Jennifer Lopez had this to say regarding IVF and her choice not to pursue it:

"When it comes to family and relationships, I'm quite traditional; just because of the way I was raised. And I also believe in God and I have a lot of faith in that, so I just felt like you don't mess with things like that. And I guess deep down I really felt like either this is not going to happen for me or it is… And, if it is, it will. And if it's not, it's not going to."

The ultra spiritual, doubly divorced Lopez "supposedly" managed to naturally conceive and give birth to twins at the age of 39. Thank God divorce, promiscuity and premarital sex are "things you can mess with" otherwise she might run the possibility of being considered a huge hypocrite.

We here at Fun in Infertility would like to thank Jenny from the Block for her unsolicited but highly intelligent celebrity advice. Thank you for being such a beacon of hope for we mere mortals. You are truly an inspiration.

ps. I hated your flesh suit at the New Year's thing with What's-His-Name.
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Monday, February 22, 2010


John was asked to give his testimony regarding cancer and tithing for our church this past Sunday. And I know this is a very "my mommy loves me" kind of thing for a wife to say about her husband..........but I am so amazingly and humbly proud of this guy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's Behind Door #2

I love insurance companies. They give me something to focus all of my hatred and animosity on. Sometimes I sit in my living room, surrounded by candles, listening to whale music and I concentrate all of my anger into a little ball and I imagine that little ball floating down the street and silently bobbing into the lobby of Insurance Company X and then.......release. The windows explode and the doors blow off the hinges and the roof collapses in on itself and anyone who has ever made a decision based on money and never considered the human factor is killed (not immediately) in the disaster. The people that are employed there only to feed their families but hate their jobs and cry themselves to sleep everynight for the monstrous things they are asked to do don't get killed.......but they do get maimed; broken legs and arms and things and you know what? Their insurance doesn't cover disastrous acts. Afterward I laugh maniacally all by myself. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! And then I make a hot cocoa and watch reruns of Boy Meets World.

Right now you're saying to yourself, "OMG, that was exceptionally violent and more than a touch disturbing." To this I say, "Absolutely true. It has a name and it's called Just Desserts."

Insurance companies and their affiliates are soulless, money gobbling, fat-cat, self involved, gloat-gloating bastards; the enemies of the world.

Our insurance doesn't cover children (IVF). Children, they say, are elective, like having the fat sucked from your ass and injected into your lips. They are a choice (and to this all the abortion doctors say ho-ho-ho!). After paying thousands and thousands of dollars into these companies we say, "We need money for this," and we point to stomach and insurance company says, "We hold onto money. We say big no. We keep it for later".

To these people, having children is something you could live without. The difference between a need and a want. All I can think is that the person who okay'd that clause already has a house full of children they get to go home to every night after telling people like us that our money is no good for that.

The violence is buzzing in my brain again and the bile is rising in my throat and I am pushing it back, trying to get to the funny parts of this.....oh, HERE IT IS!

Okay, so, the cost of one broken condom: .75
The cost of one baby attempt via IVF: $16,000.00 (or the biggest condom you've ever seen).

A hefty chunk of change no matter which way you split it, this much is true. That said, we've taken the opportunity to put things into some perspective. Let us present to you:


$16,000.00 will buy you.....

1 round of IVF (in vitro fertilization) with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) OR...........

1 2009 Pontiac Vibe

64 Nintendo Wii systems

78.4 years of a 3 DVD Netflix subscription.

80 Apple iPhones

1,390 movie tickets. This means we could BOTH see a movie EVERY DAY for 1.9 years

2,000 Starbucks visits

4,819 gallons of gas. Geographically we could drive around the WORLD (including oceans) just over 5 times

16,000 Burger King Rodeo Cheeseburgers. Enough to eat 1 cheeseburger a day for 44 years

32,000 games of Miss Pac-man. I could play one game a day for 87.6 years (or until I die)

42,666 cans of delicious Diet Coke. That means Jade could quench her thirst 3 times a day for the next 38.9 years (and she probably will regardless)

Are you as nauseous as we want to be?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cold Feet???

I am a worrier.

THERE, I said it. Intellectually, I am fully aware that this is a useless and completely self-feeding affliction. Doesn't help - I can't stop! I am THAT girl. I worry and analyze everything to death and in between bouts of anxiety I have strategically mapped out plans A, B, C, D........all the way to F - just in case the S really hits the F. Does admitting this flaw mean I am now on the road to recovery? 11 more steps? Where am I going with this you might ask.............permit me to tell you.

I'm worried that I have cold feet - infertility cold feet. You know...the kind you're not really supposed to admit to because it somehow jinxes the process (and not the "We said the same word at the same time" kind of jinxing that leads to a free coke). This kind leads to tears, anger and a perpetually empty uterus. Is it possible to have infertility cold feet? Is this normal? Part of the process? anyone there?

While John and I were going through his/our battle with cancer I always felt confident that everything would be okay. I NEVER doubted - even through all the major setbacks (and there were a few doozies ie fainting spells, anxiety spells, emergency blood transfusions, grand mal seizure, discovering it had spread to his lymph nodes, discovering it had spread to his heart, discovering it had spread to his lungs, just to name a few). Through all this though, I still maintained a calm sense of peace about his inevitable success and recovery.

I don't feel that way about IVF. I'm scared. Can I say that? So many times I feel like I can't speak it's name. It seems that saying it out loud somehow gives life to the fear; very similar to the way Harry Potter is hushed for speaking the name of Voldemort. It is a taboo topic.

Truthfully, I'm terrified to so much as let this process begin, terrified of the embarrassment/pain of all the procedures, but mostly terrified of the "What If It Doesn't Work?" scenario and what it will mean for our lives if it doesn't. Is it better to live with the hope that "someday" (if we choose) in the far distant future we might have kids or to KNOW that it'll never happen and get on with coping? I'm afraid I might not have the courage to find out the answers to those question.

I went to my first appointment with Dr. Friend (OBGYN) last week. I LOVE that her name is Dr. FRIEND. All I can think about whenever I hear her name is "Dr. Friend. Dr. Friend getting friendly with the girlie-goods". I know, I'm a child. I can't help it. This was the first time I've met the good doctor and my 4th gyno appointment. EVER. So obviously I'm not horribly familiar with these types of appointments but it seems like we maybe should have shared dinner or at least some wine before we moved on to third base. But, alas, no - Dr. Friend is ALL business. She tells me to lie back, scoot my "bum" to the edge of the table and "just relax". I don't know about you.....but whenever a total stranger comes at my goods with what looks like a a plastic toy gun and a miniature chimney sweep brush the last thing that comes to mind is RELAXED. I did my best though and tried to pretend like I wasn't actually blushing. On the ceiling above my head is a poster with a cat hiding a dog's eyes with it's paw and saying something about being scared. Seems like a weird choice of poster for this scenario each their own.

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After what seemed like a very thorough groping she finally said we were done and I could sit up. Then came the bad part. She started rambling off some doctor mumbo-jumbo that I don't even pretend to understand - but I DID manage to catch the "send you down to the lab to have some blood drawn" part.

Oh. Holy. Jesus.

Not needles. Anything but needles. My greatest weakness......the proverbial Achilles heel. I. HATE. NEEDLES. It's not about the pain, because there's really not much( IV's excluded. Those hurt like a mother). More the idea of the disgusting little steel straw being shoved into the delicate pink skin of my elbow (near bone and tendons!) to suck out my precious life juice. Gross. I quickly got dressed before any other bad news could ensue and reluctantly trudged down to the evil-doers lair. Thankfully the next few minutes went blessedly fast and before I knew it I was seated in a chair with my arm strapped down while a monster posing as a nurse took 12 vials out of my arm. TWELVE. It was literally enough to feed an infant vampire for the better part of a week. Afterwards I got a Sponge Bob band-aid, some juice and a cookie. It's the small things in life.

Good news is that my goods look good. Step 1 complete.

It appears that the next step in this new and exciting adventure is something horrible called an HSG test AND, I must admit that after reading the pamphlet it seems I have a new object to direct my worry at. BUT, until then, I will sit in my living room, trying not to think about it while I just keep mumbling the words, "Voldemort.........Voldemort.........Voldemort" over and over again, refusing to give the process power.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Team B

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As we have discussed............Jade is a photographer and I am an editor by trade and a self proclaimed writer by night - and although both of us work and function within the entertainment industry, everything from family and wedding portraits to documentaries and reality tv series, following and chronicling the lives of others, we have never actually set out to have ourselves photographed. We've never taken the time or initiative to crawl out from behind the desk and / or camera and seek someone out to document who we feel we are at this point in time.

Permit me to leave the beaten path for a moment. Stay here. I'll be right back.

Right towards the end of our battle with cancer - when people say that, when they refer to it as a battle - it is not an exaggeration. There are war cries and blood and sometimes people die. Cancer was the most horrible thing I've (WE'VE) ever had to go through AND it was the best thing that's ever happened to us. Jade and I are closer now than ever. It's like those war vets who run into each other and they just understand one another even though they've never met before. There is a strange and powerful bond that supersedes words and is in the realm of the unexplainable and unbloggable.

SO. Right towards the end of the battle we meet these people named Mary and Scott. Mary is a photographer and Scott is a filmmaker and attended the film school that I almost went to before galloping off to Colorado at the last minute. Very strange. I wonder if I'd gone to Florida instead of Colorado if Jade and I would have broken up. I wonder if I would have met Scott in Florida. I wonder if I would have moved to LA with him and met Jade again. Maybe life has a way of working things out.

ANYWAY, Mary is a photographer and she shoots weddings and documents people's lives the same way Jade does and she just purchased a new camera after her old piece was pushed into a fountain by a drunkard at the last wedding reception she shot. SO she bought a new camera and wanted to test it Jade and I gamely volunteered our services.

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For our place and location we choose the strange little carnival that has come to town. We arrive at about one in the afternoon. The place is still shut down. The carnies are still hibernating under the rides and in their trucks BUT.....the gates are open. The three of us walk inside and have the place to ourselves. It was like being at The Neverland Ranch.
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We hung out by the ticket booths......
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......the thunderbolt......
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.......and the bumper cars.........
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.......before just spinning aimlessly in circles but BOY OH BOY DOES IT LOOK FUN OR WHAAAAAT???
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This was such a fun session. Not just amazing or entertaining but FUN. I just love hanging out with Jade. She's often times quiet when we're in large groups of people but when we're alone she is very sassy and funny and often has me cracking up and grabbing my sides with glee. Just the other day while we were driving home from church she was doing this funny thing with her feet (don't ask) that was just KILLING me.
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That said, I like these photos so much because (and I hope I don't sound conceded in any way, shape or fashion by saying this but......) I really feel like it's sort of captured a very personal essence about us that people probably don't usually see. Not because we're not affection. That's not what I mean to say at all, but rather, that the photos are super personal and intimate and I think Mary did a great job at capturing those moments and the general "weirdness" that Jade and I believe exists between us. And when I say "weirdness" I mean that in a good way.
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After the carnival we headed south towards Topanga Canyon where Mary shot us in some golden fields that look very romantic but were very uncomfortable.
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I've washed my pants and undies since lying down in the thistle and still have thorns in my cloth. BUT CAN YOU EVEN TELL?? NO! It looks like we're having the time of our lives. And while it was a little uncomfortable and while it was a little hot and while there were spider webs and sharp objects and animal poop everywhere, we really WERE having a great time and the truth is, most of the time, when we're together, we ARE having a great time. No matter if that's traveling down the 101 to Eugene, Oregon or making fun of ScreenVision in a movie theater or finally having our photos taken and "our moment" documented or battling cancer with a bloody sword and an unbreakable will. We laugh and sob and fight and love and these photos show it wonderfully.

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It was worth it.

It took:

1 operation
10 hospitalizations
1 grand mal seizure
4 rounds of chemo
15 IV sticks
1 blackout
1 panic attack
35 lbs
and 163 days

to say we’re cancer free.

It was worth it.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Since we've found out that my man purse is about to be unzipped and all contents emptied out (ie, my one remaining testicle removed due to the unwanted cancerous growth dwelling on it like the weird blond german junkie that's been living on the couch in front of my neighbor's house for the last week) the missus and I have been working tirelessly on sperm freezing for the last few weeks. The only downside is that now I don't have any room for my ice trays or TV dinners and my refrigerator is sort of starting to smell funny.


We show up to the cryo-bank to make a "deposit" and we're (I'm) so hoping to see THIS:

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or THIS:

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INSTEAD, what we THIS:

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and THIS:

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They ask us some questions, get the initial paperwork done. Bill Cosby says, "Is the address on your license your CURRENT address?"

And I say, "No - I didn't drive THAT far!"

She looks at me sideways and i say, "...........It's a South Dakota license."

She looks back at it and laughs WAY HARDER than is deemed even remotely necessary. She then repeats her folly to her coworker in a fit of giggles.

I know I described the person as "Bill Cosby" and then as "she" - but trust me when I say both descriptors are correct.

Bill opens the door and brings us to "The Back". She hands me a small cup - sort of the ATM deposit envelope, if you will - and then says, "Choose any door on your right". They all look the same except for room four. Room four has wallpaper......and printed on the wallpaper is naked women and close up shots of butts and boobs.

I choose the room I'm standing in front of.

Bill Cosby hands me a disc. I look at it - an adult DVD called "Bangin' at the Cabo Cabana". I say "thank you". I pause for effect. I say, "This should be romantic".

She doesn't laugh.

How do you picture these rooms where you excavate for "the good stuff". Mood lighting? Dark walls?......maybe a hue reminiscent of maroon? Candles - black AND white? Votives? Incense?

Maybe........a recliner? Would you sit on the recliner if there was one there?

Did you picture this?

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How about a light dimmer, at the very least? I get "Bangin' at the Cabo Cabana" and a stack of porno - seen above in Exhibit "Thumbs Up". I mean, it's SOMETHING, but a little ambiance goes a long way.

We pop in "Bangin" - more to just check out as a novelty with no real plans of watching it (PLEASE DON'T THINK WE'RE PERVERTS!!!!!)

The DVD starts on the little flat screen television. There are headphones but I just turn the volume zero. I don't like being confined by a cable and I don't want Cosby walkin' by thinking I'm a pervert.


Baby blocks DROP from the sky and twist around until the words "BABY DOLL PICTURES" is spelled out in front of us. No joke.

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From the baby-like logo it pretty much wastes no time getting down to biznus. "Bangin' at the Cabo Cabana" has CERTAINLY earned it's title from frame 1.

We kill the movie because it's sort of breaking the "mood" - the mood that is like being locked in the closet of a dentist's office without pants on. PLUS, I'm really concerned that if we watch it all the way to the end, the guy, rather than choosing to go with the "traditional" adult ending, will just decide to neatly collect his "product" in a little plastic vial and then set it on a nearby counter and I think if i actually witnessed that, it would be game over for me.

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The place is small enough that you can hear Bill Cosby and Mimi from The Drew Carey Show talking down the hallway. Mimi has a bad cough, full of phlegm. Bill Cosby does most of the talking and laughing. People walk by our door with heavy, echoey footsteps. For a moment two people actually stop to chat about plans after work outside my room. I feel really out of place, a little awkward, afraid to be caught, even though I'M paying THEM to be HERE doing THIS.

It's a strange paradigm.

I'm not really going to get into the logistics of the deposit itself for obvious reasons, but I will say this.......the "deposit envelope"........the little jar.......after four visits I'm STILL not sure of the best way to get the "money" from my "wallet" into the "envelope".

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Once you' have to walk through this place, carrying your "envelope" with you, proclaiming to anyone that sees you, "How are you? Why yes, I AM carrying around a jar of SPERM - FRESH FROM THE TUBE! I'd love to stay and chat but I really must be getting off to work."

You drop the goods off behind some sliding glass and ring a bell. DING - EVERYONE THIS YOUNG MAN HAS COMPLETED HIS JACK OFF! CONGRATULATIONS, SIR!

I turn to leave and ALMOST make it back to the exit when a small Asian woman in a radioactive suit pops her head out from the sliding glass door and says in a Darth Vadery voice, "Excuse me.....sir......(all these dots are where Darth is doing his heavy breathing).....i need to ask you........a few questions......"

I come back over to Darth Quan and, with my canned specimen resting next to her writing hand, she says, "How long......have you been.......absent.....?"

Certainly she MUST mean 'abSTInent'? CERTAINLY the LAB TECH JEDI at the CRYO-BANK knows the difference.

She says, "Did you get it the cup.........?

I want to tell her that most of it went on the floor because of their stupid little cup technology (even though it didn't). I want to tell her it's on the TV and all over the magazines and on the headphones. I feel like I should say SOMETHING, but nothing comes to me.

I nod and say, "yes, ma'am. It was a clean escape."

At the front desk they charge me a hundred bucks, which I don't really understand since mostly I did all the work. The lady hands me the credit card paper and a pen and says she needs my signature.

I say, "Ah yes, the ol' John HandCOCK, huh?"

Bill Cosby certainly thought THAT one was funny - and I don't blame him / her.