Sunday, February 28, 2010


Words are so powerful.

Or sometimes it's the lack of words that have meaning.

My Dad doesn't talk much anymore. He stares into space a lot. A lot.

So much of the weekend I talked to him, looking right in his deep brown eyes, and he didn't respond at all.

Sometimes he would, but mostly to just ask me to do something like reposition his leg or arm.

So I just kept on talking, just in case.

"Mrs. LC!" he called out, so many times. And every time I would rush to his side, and then....silence.

Late yesterday evening, weary from being met with silence so many times I rushed to his side once again. I leaned down and said "Dad, I got my hopes up that you were going to tell me something!"

And slowly, slowly, he said "I was going to tell you that I love you."

Oh Dad.

I know how much pain you and Mom have felt over the years watching Mr. LC and I suffer through the heartbreak of infertility because I feel it so deeply for you right now. You have wanted to fix it and you can't. I want to fix you and I can't. All I can do is love you, deeply deeply deeply.

Did you guys know that two weeks before my Dad's stroke I was angry at him. So, so angry. Things were not good with my parents. My Dad pulled a stunt at my mother's father's funeral and I was so angry at him. So angry I didn't want to talk to him--no more words.

I can honestly say that whatever happened in the past is meaningless now. It all dissolved on June 10th, 2009. There is only room for love.

Oh Dad, thank you for saying those sweet sweet words to me. It was worth one million silent responses.

(that's me as a baby on his shoulder)

*On a completely different note, the two words "It's over" in the infertility world should never be written. Please go give Mrs. Hope some love. She has been a tireless supporter for Mr. LC and I, for countless others struggling through this battle, and she has just received devastating news.

My heart breaks for you Mrs. Hope.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

RIP Saucer

Well, we knew it was going to happen at some point.

We had been so thrifty over the years...patching Mr. LC's little white Honda Civic (1995 edition) which we called the Saucer, with cheap repairs and such...begging it to just keep on driving so we could pour our resources into medical treatment. Every two days Mr. LC dutifully filled certain fluids that just kept leaking out all over the place. He didn't complain when the cassette tape player stopped working, although he has an impressive collection of cassettes and that was the only place he could listen to them. He started listening to the radio exclusively. When the antenna broke and the radio stations really didn't come in well he didn't complain. When it barely made it up hills in our hilly environment he didn't complain. When the AC went out he just rolled down the windows.

Yesterday it finally bit the dust.

Almost while we were driving downtown, no less. It lurched along for miles, shaking and shimmying and trying to hang on, and now, it's resting in peace in his workplace parking lot.

Oh the fun of car shopping! (sarcasm). This was is stretched so tightly right now.

Do we get a 'family car' and hope for the best?
Do we get a sports car with two seats only?
Do we abandon all our objections and buy a giant SUV so we can fit in with the masses?

OK, you know we aren't going to do number 3. No way no how.
And number two, well, that doesn't really fit with us either. We're not really sporty-car types.

So yeah, we'll probably look for some type of small wagon with good gas mileage. Neither of us are into cars for the looks. They need to be dependable, inexpensive, and get good gas mileage. Honda Civics have done the trick for years. Mine doesn't even have automatic windows or door locks--I still get looks when I go through a drive through and have to crank down the window! But a wagon...with a teeny bit more room...well, it's tempting.....

We're also going to see my Dad after work today and through the weekend. He's no better, no worse. I just need to see him. To sit by his bedside and talk. To wrap my arms around his frail little body and hug tightly. To give him a backscratch or massage his neck. To sing with him. To read him the sports page or a devotional, if he'll allow me to.

To ask for advice on what kind of car to get. Because even at age 35, I still need him. And he's here. By God, he's here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Uh-oh, and an award.

I think my last post came off in a weird way.

I guess I was just playing around with dictionary definitions, and plus what the mister had said...and while technically we might not meet any formal definition of family, I will never ever forget coming home from IVF #4 (our supposed to be CC.R.M. miracle where we had a catastrophic fertilization report that led to a transfer of the only two embryos we had and we just felt like the whole world had been ripped out from under our feet and we could barely breathe) and climbing into bed that night after being away from home for so very long and the sweet Mr. LC grabbing my hand and saying "Today we are a family of seven. Two adults, two embryos, and three furbabies."

So thank you to Meg (and others) for reminding me that our embryos--microscopic as they may have been--have been our children and thus for a few moments in time we have met, in a crazy way, the formal definition of 'family.' But who needs formal definitions anymore, right?

Anyway, onward to the award.

Sometimes I think about stopping writing the blog. I mean, I started it to document IVF #5--the secret IVF--in a safe, anonymous place where I could get support. It started slow and has grown. As you all well know, IVF #5 has come and gone and so now where are we? What is there to write about? Obviously I'm a talker--er, writer--and always have something to say. But I often wonder if this place has outlived its utility. And then I get two of the sweetest emails this week telling me to keep writing. Thank you.

Today Mommy's Midlife Crisis awarded me a blog award, the "Beautiful Blogger" award that many of you have seen. Here is what she said: Last Chance IVF (where I've learned a lot about how honesty, a sense of humor and pain can co-mingle into some beautiful writing. Her blog also reminds me to be grateful for where I am today, as I was in a very similar state of mind 5 years ago... when I think I was roughly the same age that she is now, in fact. Which is also why I have great hopes for her!)

So yes, I think I will keep on writing. I clearly have a lot to process, and who would I better process it with than you lovelies.

Oh yes, the award says to write/tell seven random things about you:

1) I do not get curling as an Olympic sport. I am waiting (hopeful?) that there will be an SNL spoof of it. That's all I'm saying.
2) I am a fairly snooty vegetarian sometimes (need to work on that). It particularly comes out when I see someone else's cart at the grocery store and it's loaded with bloody meat. It grosses me out. Of course, only a couple of years ago I was eating said bloody meat so there you go.
3) I still have my Ginkie. Yup. It's the blanket I was wrapped in coming home from the hospital some 35.5 years ago. Yup. It's sitting right next to me right this very second (dying a million deaths of embarrassment now).
4) I am not much of a traveler as in I have not been very many places. We tend to just go to NYC over and over again because we love it so much and it's so comfortable/familiar. I need to broaden my horizons in a major way, and come into some extra money for traveling! Currently planning NYC trip number (I've lost count) because the mister has a show in Brooklyn coming up. Can I just say: springtime in the city? Tulips in Central Park? I cannot.wait.
5) Sometimes, when I'm having a particular awesome 'couple day' I freak out and think "Why are we pushing so hard to have kids? This life is great! Why would we want to mess it up?" It's usually short lived when I see an 'aaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwww' family moment right after that...
6) Anyone who knows me in real life know this: I don't eat fruit. It's a texture thing. I will eat bananas occasionally. Other than that and my penchant for sweets, I'm pretty healthy :)
7) I have long hair now, but it was once 1/2 inch all over, as in an uber pixie. Man was it easy to take care of!

I think this award has been passed around quite a bit, so if anyone feels moved to write seven things about themselves, consider yourself nominated!

Edited to add: I am at work, and it's 'snowing' which where I live is a big deal, which means all the patients are late, or no-showing, or calling and canceling so while I should be studying, instead I'm checking comments on my blog. And now addressing one. So anon. asked if it helps or hurts to know if a lot of parents would be jealous of the lifestyle we have. I have a pretty good idea that a lot of parents would be jealous of the lifestyle we have--because they tell us. As in, we hear all the time how nice it must be to be able to just do whatever we want whenever we want, etc. We realize we're lucky in this regard, but as far as helping...I don't know. It's a nice life, which is why I mentioned my regular freakouts over it changing drastically if we ever get lucky enough to have a child, but I will say that it's a nice life tempered with some sadness. Yes, we can go trail running at the drop of a hat. But on that trail we will always pass Dad's with kiddos in back packs, or Mom's pushing jog strollers, or families picnicking by the creek. And their life looks pretty good too. I think what everyone, everywhere, fertile, infertile, married, single, etc. etc. is always struggling just to be in the moment with what they have, to recognize that it is enough, and to find the joy in the life that they have. I know I am.


When you're infertile, you throw around the phrase "family of two" quite often. I know I have defiantly stated that we are a family of two, with some furbabies to boot.

But how many times have I heard people tell me that it wasn't until they had children that they truly became a family?

True, the other week Mr. LC said, quite matter of factly, "No, we're not a family. We're a couple."

It stung even though he wasn't trying to sting. Mr. LC likes to deal with reality, the present, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized he's 100% absolutely correct...we--the mister and I--do not constitute a family.

For further proof I consulted the dictionary, good old Merriam Webster. Here is what I found:

The first listed definition said this: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head. Well, um, ok. We are a very small group of individuals living under one roof but I can tell you there isn't a 'head.' So no, that doesn't really fit.

Second definition said "a group of persons of common ancestry"--nope, we're not related. Next was "a group of peoples regarded as deriving from a common stock, race, etc. etc."--again, not what I was looking for. There was discussion of the scientific version of 'family' and then finally, finally, the definition of what most people think of when they use/say/hear the word.

"The basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children; also: any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family; spouse and children."

And come on: the 'various social units' they are referring to are not 'two adults without kids'--they are referring to single parents, same sex parents, etc. You can't get away from children being an essential component of family.

So yeah, I guess we aren't a family, despite my repeated attempts at making us fit into that definition.

We are a couple.

A damn good one, if I do say so myself (did I mention that when I flew in late late late from SF the entire house was spotless--oh my wonderful Mr. LC!) and we certainly enjoy our couple-hood (long trail run this weekend, walk around Town Lake, yoga together, out to eat with good grown-up conversation sans any interruptions, a long nap on Saturday afternoon...etc. etc.) but it ain't family and it ain't family life (did you catch the nap, the run, the out to eat without any interruptions?)

Thoughts? I'm not trying to be a downer, I'm just trying to be practical and it's something that's been on my mind. In living through infertility, I have spent a lot of time trying to tell myself that it isn't as bad as it is, that it could be worse (most definitely could be!), and maybe sometimes sugar-coating things...all reliable coping mechanisms.

But if it doesn't quack like a duck, walk like a duck, or have feathers like a duck...let's face it, it isn't a duck.

Edited to Add: I hope I am not offending anyone. I'm speaking in terms of me, and Mr. LC, and our situation only. Obviously if anyone wants to call themselves a family of two that's fine by me, whatever works, I'm just kind of working through some of my previous coping bear with me...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The only place in the world...

Where infertility is not on my brain.

Because frankly folks, there is no room for anything other than lipoprotein biochemistry right now.

Yup, I'm in SF at my board review course. 16 hours with 50 uber nerds nerding it up together whilst being overwhelmed with alphabet soup. If you thought lipids were all about LDL, HDL, and TC.. wait! What about those ABC1 transporters and don't forget those SRB1 receptors and the LXR receptors and who doesn't love some CETP and ApoA1 and ApoB100 get the point.

I guess there's some relief in being so completely brain drained that I cannot think about infertility or next steps or much else. All I really want to do is sleep right now and will someone please wake me up when I have taken and passed this damned board exam?

Plus, of all the people I've met today NOT ONE has been interested in my fertility (or lackthereof). Seriously, no one has asked me how many kids I have! No one cares. No one cares! Instead everyone is going nerd to nerd with the scientific stuff, trying to impress each other with their nerdliness. Gawd, you gotta love doctors, especially the cardiologists.

Fine by me. Here, I am just Mrs. LC, nerdy little lipid lady.

PS A commenter asked for my email address: Send me those numbers!! :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When a friend hurts...

There isn't much you can do.

I have a very good fertile friend, who is hurting right now.

It may seem silly, but you guys know what support can mean, even if it comes from people you don't even know. Sometimes the kindness of strangers touches us the most deeply.

I guess I'm just asking you to lift her up, show her some support and love. She doesn't comment on my blog much, so you might not have ever seen her link around here, but believe you me, she has supported me wholeheartedly through the last five years of IF hell.

It's the least I can do now...

Her blog:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh it's HERE!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The one holiday that--made up as it is--does NOT involve children. There will be no adorable kids in costumes at my door begging for candy, there will be no cuties on Santa's knee, or folks with hands joined around the table counting family blessings, there will be no toddler's toddling through fields of spring flowers looking for Easter Eggs, there will be no days devoted entirely to Mothers and there will be me and DH and our love.

Nothing more and nothing less.

And since infertility stories are really the deepest and bestest love stories of them all (I know I'm biased) today is a celebration of something big. Something special. It's commitment that goes deep, love that survives repeated batterings. It's two people that are running an ultra marathon together, pulling each other up the steep hills when necessary, huffing and puffing next to each other, sharing cool drinks of water and sometimes amazing vistas along the mostly painful path, but never stopping running...

Today, we will celebrate us.

And I hope you will, too.

(OK, not celebrate US as in Mr. LC and I--but celebrate your own love story!)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Be Mine. Or just Be.

So many of the infertile ladies I 'follow' online are becoming pregnant lately and I see a recurrent theme.

Not over the top scream from the top of your lungs jump up and down and run around in circles like a nutter happiness, but rather...trepidation. Fear. Happiness tempered with rampant 'what ifs.'

It makes me so sad for them. So sad.

They have been through so much that even finally hearing the words "I have good news! Congratulations!" is not enough. It simply cannot be.

And I wonder for them, if they can just 'be?'

Just be...pregnant.

The practice and idea of mindfulness is ancient. In overly simplistic terms it means being fully focused on the present...or maybe not even really focused on it, but moreso in that strange other-wordly place of bliss before the mind can start processing and sorting and assigning and labeling and thinking....and worrying and ruining everything.

It probably only lasts a millisecond for an infertile woman when she sees that second line, before she wonders if her beta will be high enough, then if it will double, then if she will see a heartbeat, then if she will pass the nuchal fold test, then if she will make it to...well, you get the point.

I think about the morning Mr. LC and I got the second line. It was blissful...for more than just a few seconds. I honestly didn't start really worrying about the number until the next morning. I guess I felt so surely that it was our time that the second line was all I needed to see. And honestly, I wanted so desperately to just be happy.

To just be....pregnant.

When I got the fake two lines a year before IVF #1 I ran around our house like a chicken with my head cut off whooping it up to my dogs, laughing and crying, laughing and crying, falling on my knees thanking God and man was I present in that moment only--there was simply no room for anything else.

I wish, to my fellow ladies that are in the process of crossing over, that your pregnancies are full of joy only. No room for fear. It's the way it is supposed to be, and I hate that IF robs you of that full experience.

No day but today--the theme of my favorite play. I promise I am not going all Zen on you--gag me with a spoon, man! but boy do I love that song. I love to sing it from the top of my lungs (badly!) and pretend like I am on the set. You can stop laughing now.

Happy Valentine's Day Weekend! I hope that whatever you are doing, however you are celebrating, whoever you are loving, whatever you are eating, that you do it fully and wholly and enjoy it one hundred percent without room for anything else and

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Boy I hate that I have to put a disclaimer here--after all, my blog, my words, my opinions, should be A-OK--but we all know that isn't always the case. Sigh. So after what B went through earlier this week I'll put this disclaimer: I know that my troubles aren't necessarily any worse than anyone else's or that many people have it much worse. That is nearly always the case if you get right down to it..sure, there is one person out there who has it the absolute worst in the entire planet but...I doubt they're blogging about it :) So there you go. I do not need any drive-by STFUs.

This has been a tough week. Tough. On so many fronts, on so many levels.

My Dad is not good. At all. I call and he gets on the phone (unwillingly) and I might get two words from him. Two words. Either he's cognitively slipping that fast or he is so depressed that he cannot even respond to his own daughter. I cry every day over this, either in my office with the door shut after my lunch-break phone call or in the evening with Mr. LC after my drive-home phone call or all by myself in the shower when it just gets to be too much. He could live like this for years. Trapped in a body that has ultimately betrayed him, trapped in a brain that has suffered a traumatic and devastating injury. There is nothing about this that is fair or just or right and every day--sometimes every hour--I think about this, think about how I can help, reaching out to other health professionals for their opinions, reading articles about stroke, researching and researching and nothing helps. I just feel more helpless, more lost.

I guess I finally know how my parents have felt all these years watching Mr. LC and I hurting so much. Watching what we had planned for our lives slip away, bit by bit, as it was taken from us. Watching us get hopeful about a treatment and thinking we'd finally break free of our nightmare and then watching us get crushed all over again. Watching us navigate amongst friends and families who blissfully move through life having babies and babies and babies while we sit on the sidelines clinging to each other, hoping for a simple chance at what they have. My parents could only watch and want to help so desperately but had nothing--nothing at all to offer other than love.

I have always said that IF causes a heartache that you didn't even know can exist until you go through it. This is the same. I can't fix my broken father just like my parents can't fix the broken LCs.

On the IF front things are no better. I can't fix us. I have read and researched and read and researched and poured so much of my life into this and I am exhausted.

This week has been very hard. We have big decisions to make. Time looms. No one can make these for us and it is just hard. That's all.

Mr. LC's car is teetering on the edge. It's a 1995 model. When I think about the 20K check I wrote last month to pay for our twelve hours of two-line bliss I think about his car. His need for something else. Only we don't have a choice, do we? Those of us stuck in the trenches. We can't just choose to have car payments or vacations or building large retirement funds over building our families--we don't have that option. Some how, we have to figure out how to pay for chances that cost more than most people could save in a year but we do it, don't we? Choiceless, we do it.

We are choiceless in so many things.

My heart is heavy this week. So heavy. I can't even get into it all here, my safe place.

Instead, I will be grateful for certain things. Grateful for going to the movies with two of our favorite people and then going out for a late night meal to pick apart said movie (Avatar ya'll--once someone said "Dances With Wolves" only with aliens, well....). Grateful for my pets and my husband who never judge me, only listen and snuggle with me and catch my tears when they fall. Grateful for hobbies, and exercise, and two legs that work--that automatically run when I tell them to run and do yoga poses when I tell them to do yoga poses--my body may not work the way it is supposed reproductively, but I am at least grateful that it moves because in those moments of running hard, of breathing hard, of sinking deeper into a yoga pose, of feeling lactic acid searing through my calves I know that I am alive, that this is not a dressed rehearsal, and that somehow, I have got to get out of this place.

With that, I'll leave you with a distraction, pure and simple. Dark chocolate brownies with a raspberry ganache and a cream cheese frosting piping. Cut into the shape of hearts, because even when your heart is broken, it is good to bake.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Out of the mouth of babes...

One of my Mom-blog friends wrote a post with the same title and it made me think about my own 'mouth' when it was a 'babe.' Not as in a hawt babe but as in an IF babe. OK, not in that way (what? stirrups and wands and follicles aren't sexy? who knew!) but meaning when I was just starting out on the journey. Before I blogged I had to write it all out somewhere and I did on an online support group's journal feature. Thankfully, I have all of those journals because frankly, I wouldn't believe they were mine if I didn't have proof I ever thought that way! Sheesh indeed.

So for your amusement, check out the journal I wrote after the first fertilization report I ever received. I will highlight in a different color the ironies of that post....

Well, out of the eleven only six were mature. This makes me very sad. Five fertilized. I know that's not bad, but I guess I was hoping for a nice big number so we could make a day 5 transfer and also maybe have some to cryopreserve. I really want to have two children (I can't imagine my child not having a sibling since I'm so incredibly close to my own) but at this point in time, I cannot imagine doing this again. I think every few days all these emotions just catch up to me and I get really upset. When my RE called personally to tell me the news and said he was disappointed in the lower number of mature ones, it really got me down. I know it only takes one.... I just feel like my body continues to perform at less than stellar performance. And I was having such a good day...

Are you laughing yet? Well you should be. I was an idiot at that point. Why was I using the word "cryopreserve" instead of just "freeze?" Oh well. That girl back then couldn't imagine doing IVF again, because really, if someone had told me I'd do five and end up with nothing I would have probably shot them, or myself. And IVF babe, you didn't know anything about being 'really upset' or what feeling down feels like.

A couple of points: our first two IVFs had good fertilization rates. Granted, low numbers of mature eggs but I think that was a stim/protocol problem. I do not understand why my fertilization rates tanked on IVFs 3 and 4 and somewhat on 5. I have my theory, but it just makes me sound like a nut who can't give up.

Oh wait, I am a nut who can't give up.

I had another point but it escapes me.

I feel some major Valentine's Day baking coming on...

If you could go back and meet yourself pre-IF treatments, what advice would you give your babe-self?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's nobody's fault.

This is a post meant for infertile eyes only. Otherwise, if you're not infertile, you will not get it, you will not understand and you will think I'm a bitch or a baby or completely and totally selfish. And if you were infertile and have crossed over, well, this post might not make as much sense to you, either...I'm not sure. Because even though I believe you never forget the pain of IF, once you have succeeded with ART it does take you into a different realm than those of us still clawing our way through this hellhole of a reality.

But I need a place where I can write it all down without censoring. Unfortunately, this post involves a friend who reads this blog and writes a blog. A good friend, a dear friend, who was honest in one of her posts and so I know it's ok for me to be honest here, too. We emailed, she understands, it's all good.

As most of you know, as most of you infertiles have also dealt with, I've been surrounded by fertile friends. It's been hard. Hard doesn't describe it, but there really aren't words adequate to describe the myriad feelings one experiences watching their friends get pregnant and birth beautiful babies so easily. I hosted more baby showers than I ever care to recall during our infertility...and even though they were hard, because we were still in treatment I was always stringing myself along with the notion that I would be next. I went to brunch after brunch with my friends and either their ever expanding bellies or their ever expanding broods thinking, surely I will join the fray and belly up the table with my own bump one day. It was no fault of their own--hello, I wanted to BE THEM SO BADLY--but it certainly hurt nonetheless. Because that's the biyatch that infertility is--causing hurt and pain when nobody is really at fault.

A few months ago a friend with two beautiful girls wrote a post about wanting a third so desperately but her husband did not. In fact, he was going to get a vasectomy. And while I do hate it when people don't get what they want and ultimately want my friends to be happy (duh) my most overwhelming emotion at the time was...relief.


As in, I could mark them off the list.

You guys know what list I'm talking about, that neverending list in your head of 'who is going to be next'. Who's pregnancy announcement will knock you to the floor, reduce you to a heap of tears.

She had her two kids, there would be no more. And so I could cross them off.

I'm sure it was a similar relief that she or my other fertile friends felt the morning I got two lines on an HPT and excitedly called to tell them. I'm sure they felt happy--another duh--but I'm sure they also felt relief. Relief that finally--FINALLY--we could move forward in a friendship not complicated by the shackles of the infertile friend always dragging everything down. I felt relief, too.

This past Sunday I was prepared to have a good day. Studying (bleh, but necessary), a trail run, yoga class with Mr. LC, good food, etc. etc. etc. I innocently clicked on my friend's blog.

Oh how I wish the disclaimer had been at the top, not the bottom. Although let's face it, I would have read the post anyway.

Needless to say, the post revisited the issue of having more kids, and it turns out the issue is back on the table...they're debating on the third baby.

I read the post and immediately felt gutted. Sucker punched. Kicked in the ribs while I was already down.

No, not by anything she did.
Let me be clear here.

I cannot even fathom having the choice, two or three, two or three.

I have none.

I cannot have babies. I desperately want babies.

I have no choices in the matter.

I cannot have sex with my husband and have a baby.

I cannot look into the eyes of a daughter and see myself.

I cannot have babies. I desperately want babies.

I cannot sit around and think about the pros and cons of a third versus having only two. Only having two.

Instead I sit around and think about a life without children versus spending more money on a snowballs' chance in hell versus exploring other options when I'm already at the end of my emotional rope and just want a fucking break in life.

These are my choices.

I cannot have babies. I desperately want babies.

She says she knows she might not be so lucky to just have a third easily but as irrationally as this sounds I know--because she knows me--she doesn't have to worry about having secondary infertility. I've soaked up all the infertility for my friends.

My perfect Sunday was thrown for a loop. It's nobody's fault. It's not my friend's fault for wanting more more more and having that choice. It's not my fault for having a fucked up body that can't accomplish the most basic and human of tasks nor is it my fault for having emotions that are raw on a good day, but are bloody pulp on most days.

It's nobody fault.

It's just infertility.