Monday, November 26, 2007

update: so far, so good

My hcg more than quadrupled since last Wed. Today's number is 1810 @ 20dpo.

In other news, it's really, really cold here in Chicago. Those of you who will be here in a few weeks for MLA, I'm sorry. I hope to see you, though, and am excited that the party (so to speak) is here this year.

We spent our third Thanksgiving in a row at The Land, my friend Exuberant Boy's kind of vacation home in Michigan, where we cooked and ate and watched tv in front of the fire and ate and ate and cooked and read magazines. Sadly, my contribution to the film fest was way less successful than last year's Pippi Longstocking. This year I tried to introduce everyone to what I could have sworn was the scariest movie ever--one of those movies that always seems to be playing on rainy Saturdays when you're alone in the house as a tween--The Other. When the imdb key words are
it's hard to believe it wouldn't be a crowd pleaser, but the 1972 pacing was way too slow for everyone's amped-up 2007 tastes, and everyone figured out the plot twist ten minutes in. Even Uta Hagen couldn't save it. OH. Well. I'm not sorry I bought it. Now that I'm home it's all grading, all the time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

numbers and letters

BFP @ 10dpo
HCG @ 13dpo: 96.9
HCG @ 15dpo: 218

Translation, for those not fluent in fertility game lingo: this cycle was successful, (!!!) and though it's still really, really early, things are progressing like they should. If my hcg numbers have quadrupled by my appointment on Monday, then we'll still be on track. And if everything stays on track, we'll have a Leo, or possibly a Cancer, if it's a couple of weeks early. I feel a little wary, because it's so early, but the numbers are a million times better than they were last time, so I'm cautiously optimistic and hoping everything will work out well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


J. C-K of Our Incredible True Adventures, one of my new blogging friends--part of a bunch of lesbians ttc and blogging about it, tagged me for the Six Random Things meme.

here goes:
1. I don't like sweets, usually, except maybe a little ice cream or a cupcake every once in a while. What I can't get enough of is salt. Recently I've crossed over to the really, really dark side and let myself buy those awful Doritos combo bags with two flavors. I can't stop eating the buffalo wing/blue cheese chips. Repulsive, I know. I portion it out into a bowl, so that I'm not eating the whole bag in one sitting, but still, gross.

2. The only black shoes I have right now are boots and a pair of mules. This is a big problem. I need an in-between black shoe.

3. I am obsessed with trying to figure out how to break up with my current stylist so that I can go back to my old one. Seriously. I think of it about fifty times a day. This is me trying to go to sleep at night:
"I wonder if I'm pregnant."
"Gotta break up with her. My hair is so ugly."
"Did I pay my credit card bill?"
"How do I do it? Do I call her?"
"Was it wrong of me to tell my students how much I hate that one queer theorist?"
"What if I sent her a letter?"
"If I get tenure, are they going to make me be the chair? Can they make me?"
"Should I tell her to her face? do you make an appointment for that?"
I've been with the old one on and off for a decade and she does great, funky cuts at a very cool salon that I love going to, but every few years I go super short and she refuses to take me there and so I stray, and then I come back when I'm ready to grow it out and she makes the process fun and never ugly and it's no big deal. But this time I feel trapped by my super-sweet new stylist who I just don't believe is funky enough to help me grow my hair out, but whom I really enjoy knowing and chatting with. Normally I'd just walk away and not think about it, but she lives in my general neighborhood, which is a small town in a big city. True, I've never, ever seen her outside of the salon before, but I've convinced myself that I will a couple of months from now, and I'll have to explain to her why I never came back. This is a super local lesbian hair salon, and it's infamous for being ridiculously possessive about it's clients. (Mer, you know the I'm talking about, right?)

Okay. I'm out. I can't think of anything else to say about myself that isn't self-deprecating, like how none of my clothes are cute and how I wish I knew what color my hair is. I was going to link to amazing posts I've written in the past that highlight random things about me, but instead I'll finish with three random things about my cat Manfred, who I hate tonight. Maybe blogging about him will make me like him again.

4. He likes baked goods. Our next door neighbor is incredibly sweet and often gives us homemade pie or brownies or banana nut bread. Unless these are in the fridge, Manfred finds them and eats them, even if it means tearing through tin foil to get to them. Tonight I hate Manfred because he knocked a box containing two beautiful cupcakes off the counter and did his best to eat them. I bought the stupid things on my way home from work tonight from a sweet little cupcake boutique in the silly boutique-y neighborhood where I teach to cheer myself up, because I had had really, really bad day. I rescued one of the cupcakes. Sure, I lost the frosting, but I would have scraped most of it off anyway, and the part in the paper was still good. I would have eaten it for breakfast tomorrow, but before I could finish cleaning up the frosting mess from the floor that stupid cat had it down on the ground and had pawed through it. I hope he feels miserable later, but not miserable enough to throw up.

5. We got him at the Shell Station off of Volmer Road on I-57, between Chicago and Kankakee. Not because we were there getting gas and happened upon someone giving away cats, but because that's where the crazy lady we bought him from (I know. That's what I get for buying a cat) wanted to meet us there. She never even got out of the car; she just thrust the little kitten out the window and said "he likes to suck ears. he's driving me crazy."

6. He likes to suck ears my left ear lobe. Only mine, only the left.

My academic bloggy friends have all done this meme, and my new ttc friends tagged each other when they tagged me, so I've got no one to tag.

Monday, November 12, 2007

civic duty avoided

For the past several weeks I've had a summons for stand-by jury duty on my fridge door telling me to call today after 4:30 to see if I have to report tomorrow. I have a letter from my doctor getting me out of serving jury duty if called, but knowing that I'd still have to drag myself downtown tomorrow morning in order to show them the letter and get myself excused has weighed heavily on my mind. Disproportionately so. But I made the call and since my last name does not fall between the letter D as in Delta and K as in, who even knows--K words are hard, hence all the Scrabble points, and I wasn't really listening at that point--I'm off the hook for the time being.

Friday, November 09, 2007

life in two week increments

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It's only two weeks until the end of the quarter, and this one has both flown by and dragged.

The part that's flown: my work life. Since I have a fellowship this year, I'm only teaching one course this quarter and the next, so teaching hasn't been much on my radar. I'm teaching Feminist Theories and it's going reasonably okay. I think this is the first time I've actually scared students away--once on the first day of class, when I went through my usual spiel. I was sorry to see those students go, but it's a difficult, dense class, and not the appropriate follow up to intro. to women's studies. I hope they'll come back next year, or the next. But then I scared someone off more satisfactorily, when I finally called a bullshit non-major on his bullshit. You know when it's a tough class with tough readings and tense discussions and real, earnest trying on the part of most of the students and then some philosophy student who thinks he knows theory and thought he'd give feminist theory a "try," but never turns in any of the work, and doesn't do a very good job pretending that he's kept up with the readings nevertheless keeps trying to make it look like he's read by repeating what I've just said? Oh no. That wasn't gonna play this quarter, especially not when the other students are trying so hard and taking it so seriously.

Mostly I've been treating this like a research leave--I've only been going in to school on the day I teach and have spent the rest of the time working on my book. I completed a chapter that has dragged on and on and refused to end on a self-imposed deadline, and then a conference paper that forms a crucial part of another chapter I'm revising. (That conference, by the way, was fabulous! a fun, quick trip to Southern California where I got to hang out with friends I've made at this conference over the years, including the fabulous, fabulous Hilaire.) I'll do another round of revisions on The Chapter That Won't End next week, and then will turn to my MLA paper, which will also go into the revising chapter. After that I have two more chapters to revise and an intro., most of which is written. But the thing I can't bring myself to do, really, really can't bring myself to do, is send my proposal to editors. I have a proposal. I think it's a good one. It's snappy and sexy and explains why my book is important and why no other book in the world ever has, or ever can do what my book will do--promises I think the book keeps--but I find that I am loathe to send it out. What if they want my ms., which is still rough? What if they want the ms., see it in its roughness and say no, forever? And of course, what if they don't want my ms? That fear keeps me working and polishing and waiting.

And waiting is the real theme of my quarter. This is my third cycle of IUI and I'm in what ttc'rs (people trying to conceive) call the 2ww (two week wait). Again. It goes like this: you get inseminated as close to ovulation as possible (that's a whole drama right there. Well, two: first the drama of watching for ovulation, then the drama of inseminating, which can either be really pleasant if your nurse is nice, or really unpleasant if your nurse is a homophobe.)

And then you wait, for two weeks. If you get your period at the end of the two weeks, you are not pregnant. But of course you know this way before your period comes, because not only do you start spending all your money on home pregnancy tests starting around 9 days after insemination, you go back to the clinic for blood draws several times a week, first to measure your progesterone, E2, and lh levels, and finally, your hcg levels. (You start to realize that knowing all these numbers doesn't help you get pregnant, it just helps you measure how pregnant, or potentially pregnant you might be, day by day. It makes you crazy.) If you have an hcg level, you're pregnant. But maybe not pregnant enough. I got pregnant on the first try and was startled at my luck, because that's not how it works with me. Things usually take a long time coming to fruition. But there it was: six pregnancy tests saying that yes, I was pregnant. I wanted to be like many of the lesbian bloggers whose Trying to Conceive blogs I read religiously and post a picture of my digital test saying PREGNANT, but I hesitated. Which turned out to be good, because after a weekend of positive tests, my beta at the doctors showed that I was only a little bit pregnant and a day later, not at all. Technically that's called a chemical pregnancy. Not too big of a deal, theoretically, but certainly disappointing and, ultimately, expensive, because two weeks later you're back on the table getting filled with expensive vials of what you hope are super-potent sperm from a stranger.

During the 2ww you take progresterone (estrogen's fraternal twin hormone) to help your body be as ready for pregnancy as possible if 1) you conceived and if 2) your zygote feels like attaching. What makes this super fraught is that while you very well may not be pregnant, you start to feel pregnant--incredibly tired, craving salt, headachy, slightly nauseated, twingy and crampy in your uterus. You start googling things like "2ww symptoms" and then reading pages and pages of entries where women go through their cycles day by day and list exactly what they felt and when they felt it, hoping to find an experience that matches what you think you are feeling and confirms that you are still in the race.

You try to be a normal person and go on living your life, but there's lots of conflicting information: some sites say eat lots of pineapple to help the egg burst out of its corpus luteum; others say No! Pineapple!, claiming that it causes contractions. Some say no deli meats or soft cheeses (which kind of makes sense during pregnancy, but during the part where an egg that may or may not be fertilized floats around your tubes? Really?) Some say no cold drinks, only room temperature. Some say no coffee; some say lots of green tea--the kind with caffeine. Most say no alcohol. Some say have sex as you normally would; others warn to be careful of the uterine contractions that come with an orgasm. Some say the only exercise you can do during the 2ww is "mindful" walking, whatever that is; others say exercise as you normally would, only don't let your body get overheated, or let your heart get above 140. My logical mind says this is stupid: most straight people don't know they're in a 2ww and they run marathons and do cardio kick-boxing and eat whatever they want and have rough sex and their zygotes don't bounce out of their uteri, or shrivel up, or melt. But my illogical mind says, why take the risk? Think of the children.

So I walk, mindfully, around my neighborhood, and I lie around like a Victorian heroine and I take my progesterone, and then, because that first cycle failed because I didn't have a "strong enough" ovulation, my clomid, and the hormones make my body start to feel and, yes, LOOK, pregnant; my pants stop fitting and my button up shirts stop buttoning. I live in fear of someone noticing and asking if I'm pregnant. I crave Doritos. I drink fertility teas made from oatstraw and thistle and red clover and red raspberry leaf. I throw caution to the wind and eat pineapple and let myself have one cup of coffee, maybe two, as I read the paper in the morning.