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October 2004

Watch This Space

Oh heavens. It is very nice of you to be sympathetic but I am fine, absolutely completely 100% fine. It is hard not to instinctively root for the blastomere, no matter how mythical it might be in this case, but after my short sharp shock of disappointment at the realization that I am not a mere 36 weeks from a baby, I started laughing and I haven't stopped yet.

You MUST see the number of pregnancy tests I now have in my bathroom, really you must. I am INSANE. I could build a playhouse with these things; a really disturbing playhouse, true, but we could start a rousing game of Match the Second Line Shades in it.

Worst (truly plausible) case scenario is that I need to have another D&C. Not an ideal solution, but not the end of the world for me either. I missed my OB's call tonight but I'll try him tomorrow and see what he wants to do. Probably another blood draw when I get back next week.

I did call the local RE to see if the hcg negates my Day 3 tests (yes!) and left a truly embarrassing message for the PGD nurse in which I tried to explain the entire year in 30 seconds (note to self: "This is Julia calling. I would appreciate a call back at the following number. Beep.") I need to learn to shut up.

I wish I hadn't promised an interesting post without thinking of one first, especially since I have like five minutes to write this.

Oh! Oh I know! We'll do a story exchange! That way I will have something to read when I get back (unless the Florida rental actually has the internet connection they promised in which case you'll hear from me sooner) and you can all entertain each other in my absence. We keep an open blog here at the sign of the hippogriff.

The theme will be worst rejections: romantic, professional or otherwise.

I'll start.

When I applied to law schools senior year of college I included what could charitably best be described as a "stretch" school. In other words, I wasn't actually bright enough to get into this bower of academe and I knew that, but I was hoping they did not. Or alternately, I hoped they might be looking to fill the Irrepressible niche that Fall. And no, I am not going to tell you which school because no doubt you all went there and then you would laugh at me. No, I am not telling.

Every day I would anxiously check my mail until, with the inevitability of death, the envelope arrived with their crest upon it. It was thin, depressingly thin, and contained the following letter reproduced to the best of my ability:

Dear Ms. Julia,

Thank you for your interest in our program.

Although our applicant pool has dropped significantly from last year (down to 3100 from 4700 in 1992) we are still unable to offer you a place in the incoming class of 1996.

Good luck with your future studies.


Better University Than You

That night my roommate Doug and I made Kahlua milkshakes until dawn and danced to the Crash-Test Dummies. We got drunk and silly and played strip Trivial Pursuit and quoted my rejection letter until we had it letter-perfect. We improvised ways that the letter could be used in alternate situations. For example: "I am sorry, Susan. Although my sexual conquests for the year are down significantly from last year (1 serious girlfriend, 3 semi-regular hookups and 5 end-of-party grope sessions) I still find myself repelled by you and unable to even consider taking this date any further. Goodnight."

Even in retrospect, and knowing that I hated law school with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, my feelings are still hurt. Couldn't they just have said No?

So that is the rejection story that comes to mind. And yours would be...?

Cannot. Stop. Laughing.



Forgive me, but I just got yesterday's hcg level and it was 25.

So, allowing for margins of error, it has not really changed at all.

The reason I am laughing is that I have been testing, like, every hour on the hour and carefully comparing the darkness of the lines like some art authenticator when the whole time my levels have been EXACTLY THE SAME. Oh, the jest!

So, crossing the possibility of a nice healthy pregnancy off the list, we are left with:

1. leftover tissue churning out tiny amounts of hcg
2. chemical pregnancy on its way south

And we might as well add:

3. an ectopic pregnancy just biding its time before it tries to kill me

I think that covers it.

Any thoughts?

I will be back later to leave you with something more interesting before I journey to Florida tomorrow, but I thought you should know what the deal is. Also, my OB is supposed to call this evening, so maybe he'll have some thoughts as well. Generally I just consider him my lab order monkey, but hell, he DID go to medical school. Might as well gets his opinion too.

Here's What I Know

My hcg level on Friday was 26.

So, um, so I guess that tells us exactly nothing.


1) it is lingering hcg from the last pregnancy


2) I conceived about ten days ago and everything is going to be just fine*


3) I conceived more than ten days ago and the number indicates that things are doomed, doomed, DOOMED.

If you asked me (and who better to ask, really) I would say I am evenly split between thinking that it is just a little residual what-have-you and that it is a new, but chemical, pregnancy. In either event we will be waiting to decorate the nursery, hahahahahhaha. WHEW, I kill me. Although if this IS a pregnancy then I have set a bar for adorable ways to tell your husband the wonderful news. You know how some people bake pink and blue muffins and some people write "Hi Daddy!" on their flat flat abdomens? Well, I hit Steve on the forehead with a still damp pregnancy test and did, indeed, scream, "What the fucking fuck?" at him.

Isn't that a cute story? Or, Oh for cute! as we say around here.

We did another blood draw and those results will be back tomorrow morning some time. They might actually be interesting. I mean, in the general scheme of things and I will certainly let you know as soon as I do.

And, just for reference, I am totally embarrassed that this is even a question in the first place. I mean, talk about a lack of self-restraint and self-awareness. Am I some sort of naive chit, just out of the school room? Of course not. I am a worldly and sophisticated hausfrau who should know her way around prevention by now. What can I say? I blame Steve.

Stupid Steve, always luring me into things.


Unless You Are One Of My Internet OBs Just Move It Along; Nothing To See Here


I am just going to put this out here because if google myself into one more Pregnant After Miscarriage board/chat whatever the fuck these things are with the blinking banners and the [[HUGS]] and silly silly women with their stupid stupid chatter I will slam my head onto my desk until I am unconscious.

Here's the deal, muffins.

Six weeks ago, exactly, I had a D&C. The embryo was measuring just shy of 8 weeks but prior to that we had the twin thing and the quadrupling hcg thing and the drama and the chest-heaving. Whatever. D&C. Missed abortion. 8 weeks. OK.

Three weeks ago, more or less, I had every indication that I was ovulating. It is such a crap shoot after a D&C but if I had had to guess I would have said, yeah, I probably ovulated.

So, I waited to start a new cycle with one eye on the calendar and sure enough, two weeks to the day (last Friday) I started a new cycle. The unpleasantness (aren't I Victorian? I just can't write it) lasted for about four days, normal normal normal.

Yet, for reasons that are shrouded in the mists of time, I took a pregnancy test today. This afternoon, actually, and I sat there as the line moved eastward and I thought, "Oh my God, I have hit a new low! Taking a pregnancy test a week after I get my period! How utterly absurd."

Then I thought, "Isn't it amazing how the brain can play tricks on you? That looks just like a second line. Right. There."

Ha ha ha ha h.... huh?

At which point I tore out of the bathroom and went running into Steve's office and yelled "What the fucking fuck?"

Then I started to cry.

Because this cannot possibly be a good thing, it can only be awful and I cannot handle more awful. OK, I can but I do not want to. I just picked my IVF clinic and set up our big one-day appointment for the day before Thanksgiving. I am trying to move in a direction that might NOT end in blood and tears. NOT. NO.

I called my OB after I mopped up and they brought me right in, which was nice of them.

As I drove there it occurred to me that it might just be residual hcg from the last pregnancy and I started to feel really, really stupid. I mean, of course, right? How long does it take for hcg to leave the system after a D&C? Do we know? I have been googling it all night but... see above.

So they did another hpt (opt, what have you) and it was positive too. I suggested a blood draw and she went to check and I heard my OB's assistant say, "Oh! It's Julia! What does she want to do? Does she want the blood test? Then do it." I was touched.

My OB saw me in the ultrasound room and spent about three minutes going over why I was there. He agreed it would be "weird" to have hcg still in my system. The ultrasound, however, showed an empty uterus. We were mutually relieved and decided to see what the blood results show on Monday. He said his guess was that the test was a fluke.

I was reassured for about half of the drive home until I realized two things: namely, ONE incorrectly positive pregnancy test is a fluke, with TWO you might as well look for the Star of Bethlehem (shouldn't I know how to spell that without looking it up?) over my house; and two, if I did, indeed, conceive again in the past two~ weeks a gestational sac might not actually be visible yet.

I am so tired of living with an overwhelming premonition of doom tinged by uncertainty.

What do you think? Do you think it is just lingering hcg? Do you think I conceived again and will at least miscarry blissfully early? Do you think I need to do my Day 3 tests all over again?

Do you want to know what my brother said?

He said, "Jules, one word: condoms."

Thanks. That is really useful.

Dear God It's In My Hair

Aieee! An unfortunate mishap while braising short ribs the other day has resulted in a lake of oil at the bottom of my oven which continues to smolder as I type. It’s like Kuwait in there. This morning I attempted to subdue the situation by spraying the mess with Simple Green, then sprinkling on baking soda and finally adding a little warm water. The good news is I have invented an epoxy for which NASA will pay millions. The bad news is that it is caked on the bottom of my oven. We will see how the self-cleaning function decides to tackle it- I may never be able to use the oven again.

But you aren’t here for I Love Lucy-esque tales from my kitchen. No. You want Totally! Nude! Middle-aged! Suburbanites! Oh yeah.

So. So. God this is all so embarrassing. I have no idea why I offered to tell you any of this, but how can I say no to those sweet faces?

So, the summer after freshman year of college I started dating this total loser. He is a post unto himself but when I tell you he went to jail, honest to god DCDC jail, a week after we met (10 days for petty larceny) and that the police and jail continued to figure largely in our relationship you can draw your own conclusions (L-O-S-E-R.) Shudder.

But at 18 I thought that I was madly, passionately in love with this guy and after waiting tables for two months we decided to drive across the country to LA from whence we would hop a flight to Hawaii and spend the month of August bumming around the Big Island (which we did, but not before he got arrested in Salina Kansas- L…O…S… .)

I could tell a lot of tales from that trip… but I need to focus!

Eric (let’s call him Eric) had a best friend from high school (let’s call him Eric, too) who was attending the University of Utah and spending the summer in Salt Lake City. We planned on visiting him there as we drove through and we eventually arrived, albeit later than expected (what with all that JAIL.) Utah Eric had a girlfriend whose name I cannot remember (how about Theresa?) but I do know we hit it off. On the strength of our burgeoning lifelong friendship, she suggested that Eric and I join Eric and her for the weekend down in Moab. We would be, she explained, the guests of her parents who lived there and we could go hiking in the desert. I do not like 1) strangers, 2) hiking or 3) the desert but I also don’t drive across the country every day with deadhead felons, so I guess I was feeling up for just about anything that summer.

We drove down separately (down, right? I don’t remember) to Moab and arrived in the middle of the afternoon. Theresa’s parents lived on a cul-de-sac in one of the absolutely identical ranch homes that lined it. Close your eyes and you can picture the scene: the bulbous street ending, no trees, every house with white aluminum siding and an attached garage… pleasant middle-class America.

I was afraid we were going to be rather bored.

No one answered the door when we knocked so we tried to decide what good houseguests would do under the circumstances. I voted for leaving at once and never looking back. Eric thought we should break-in. The compromise was letting ourselves into the backyard, which is when we discovered the fine art of the naked barbeque.

There was a grill. There were meats of some kind sizzling. There was a handful of people splashing in the pool, and another group playing cards. Theresa was there, as was Utah Eric. And they were all stark staring nude.

I stopped. Gaped. Let out a piercing squeal: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! and then turned on my heel and fled back to the car.

I had never been so startled, so unnerved in all of my life. I had seen penises before it is true, but never in such immoderate profusion and never (never!) that close to a Weber.

I climbed into the passenger seat of the car and just sat there. I was too embarrassed to go back (why had I screamed? why had I run? why couldn’t I just be cool and why oh why were those people not wearing clothes?!)

A gentle tap aroused me from the fetal position and I turned my head to discover that my hostess, Theresa’s mother, had followed me out to the driveway. She had soft brown hair in an outdated style and a sweet face. She called me “dear” and spoke through the one-inch gap I cranked in the car window.

She said, “Dear, I am so sorry. We forget what a surprise it can be when people aren’t used to our lifestyle. Why don’t you come back before you roast in this hot car.” She was very soothing and motherly. She was also, may I add, dripping pool water onto the concrete from her buck-naked body. Are you with me? Me, cul-de-sac, car, completely open to the street, and a nice fifty year old woman standing there in the buff trying to coax me back to their all-nude soirée.

What could I do? I tried to play it off at first by giving what I hoped was a light laugh but merely sounded like a death rattle. Then I said, “Ha Ha, no no, I wasn’t disconcerted in the least. I am very comfortable with pubic… oh my god!… with PUBLIC nudity. I just needed to get this.” And I picked up the first thing I saw, which happened to be an empty french fry wrapper.

She smiled. I got out of the car. I followed her meekly back to the party and hoped I could just blend into the scenery despite the fact that I was the only one wearing shoes. And pants. And a sun hat.

I might have been able to salvage my dignity too, if she hadn’t taken me by the hand and shouted, “Everyone! Everyone! Everyone this is JULIA and she is a little SHY!”

Later, much later, when beer had been drunk and jokes had been told and the dangerous sun had gone to sleep in his heavens, I stripped and slid surreptitiously into the dark waters of the pool. Not so bad, I thought. By the next day I had worked my way down to panties and a bikini top and by evening I had so embraced the liberating ideals of nudity that I stood in their wood-paneled kitchen with only a jar of mayonnaise between me and my maker.

“This is the life!” I thought.

Until, until… just for reference I have rather long hair now and I had extremely long hair at the time. Mermaid long. And it is not nice, well-managed hair either. Most of it curls and the rest of it snarls and the best I can say is Medusa and leave it at that.

So on our last night in the naked suburban party house (there seemed to be a never ending stream of people there by the way- it was that kind of house) I sat out on one of those peculiarly uncomfortable pool chairs made up of strips of plastic. I was playing quarters on the patio table and there was a cluster of people pressed up behind my chair, trying to avoid both the pool and the fire pit. One of these was the fifty-year old neighbor, Bob. I liked Bob and Bob liked me but Bob needed to step away by about a foot or so. Because, god help me, Bob had gotten just a wee bit too close and when he turned around my head jerked back with a snap and we discovered that BOB’S PENIS WAS CAUGHT IN MY HAIR.


So be careful out there, people. Don't let it happen to you.

Could You Repeat That?

Huh? Oh, sorry. I had my headphones on. Now, could you tell me again what was it you thought we should do about IVF?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, I am SO funny!

Hey! I just had to stop typing this to answer the phone because the RE's office was calling with my Day 3 blood work results. Finally.

FSH is 8 and estradiol is 43. She said that both of these numbers are "normal." The Great Internet says anything over 8 is potentially problematic. Does that make 8 borderline? Do you know?

Where were we? Ah yes, so you and you and you and you over there, you all think that IVF is the way to go, eh?


I see what you mean. I follow your logic. I accept the advantages you cite. I nod. I click my tongue and make notes and think "This is all so very very true."

And yet... I still cannot decide.

And it isn't because Steve and my brother are nudging me towards another unassisted cycle either. Hell, if I listened to the one we'd have a svelte and open-minded au pair running about the place in Band-Aids and a smile and if I listened to the other I would still be playing high school soccer even though I hate it and I am not any good and it is totally cutting into my boy-cigarette-being cool time.

No, I am weebling because my fear that IVF will not work for us is battling with my fear of another miscarriage and neither one is winning. In fact, I think they just sat down for cookies and backgammon together.

It is no big deal, really. I know I am just another load of laundry shimmying in the high wind of uncertainty. And, of course, I recognize that I am in excellent company. Anyone who has ever contemplated IVF probably stood here on the edge for a while saying, "Is it cold? It looks really really cold" while blue people frolicked in the reproductive waters and waved with enthusiasm.

In the meantime (uncertainty be damned), I am gathering my medical records, contacting my top two clinics and planning strategies to facilitate that great leap forward. I have this vague hope that somebody might be able to look at our specific information and come up with a specific assessment of our odds, either way. I also believe that elves live in our garage, so take it all with a lick of salt.

I had the best intentions in the world of ending this with a funny story, but my eyes are starting to squiggle and I have the premonition of a headache. So now you get to pick for tomorrow: do you want to hear about the time I was the surprised weekend houseguest of my friend's nudist suburban parents OR do you want to hear my hitchhiking stories? Pick one- nudity or hitchhiking. I will abide by your decision.

Little FISH, Big FISH

After much gentle prodding we finally got Steve's FISH results late Friday afternoon.

The envelope please....


oh, look at that! my hands are shaking! John Tesh, you had better take a peek....


Steve is 34% abnormal. Or, if you prefer your nutsacks half full, Steve is 66% normal.


This is good news. Nay, great news. Surprising, of course, what with all the miscarriages, but cause for rejoicing. Just think, with a large enough sample size of pregnancies, two-thirds of them should work out. If I could only get pregnant, like, 40 times we could expect to have 26.4 children. O! Just imagine the hijinks!

Perhaps more to the point we are well within range for IVF with PGD. It doesn't mean it will work, of course, but his numbers (contrary to previously held beliefs) do not automatically disqualify us. As the beginning of a new cycle (5 weeks to the day, again, post D&C) coincided beautifully with the arrival of the FISH results I decided to celebrate Steve's relative normalcy by going in for a Day 3 blood draw on Saturday (Day 2, alas, but what can you do?)

We had left it with the local RE that we would wait to see if Steve's sperm was better than 50% normal (yes!) I would then do the Day 3 tests (FSH, e2) and wait for two full cycles following the D&C before scheduling a simultaneous mock transfer/ HSG. So that was the plan and I decided that wherever we wind up they will want to see Day 3 numbers for me. Thus, I went.

Hey, want to hear something funny? I wasn't sure what tests he had ordered so I asked the lab person as she drew my blood. She told me about the FSH and e2 and said he had also ordered a test to check for anti-sperm antibodies. I thought this was amusing. I mean, I haven't exactly been The Great Wall of Vagina when it comes to repelling swarming hordes of killer sperm from the west. Steve and I joked about sperm strapped with TNT wearing false mustaches and carrying passports with names like Kill R. Semen getting waved right on through the cervical checkpoints: "OK, this checks out! Bon voyage! Enjoy the Fallopians!"

Feel free to enlighten me if I just don't understand the antibodies test, but could I get pregnant so often if that was the problem?

Speaking of Steve we are having a little... not disagreement... um... well, ok, it's not Steve. It's me. Steve feels that his numbers are so good we should try one more time on our own. He hastily added that he would completely understand if I was not up for it and wanted to move right to IVF. He is fine with that. He supports that. He practically started handing me wads of cash as a sign of his good faith. So good, but....

The problem is that all I needed was the slightest nudge to start me wobbling*.

Steve gave me that nudge by saying he would like to try again unassisted. Then I talked to my brother and he said, Jules (I like the name Jules, by the way, it is what my brother always calls me) I STRONGLY recommend that you try one more time before IVF. STRONGLY.

What does my brother have to do with anything? Well, he is one of my very best friends and I trust him. He also has his doctorate in immunology and he is the closest we get to a genetics expert around here. He thinks that we have a good chance, solo.

I wish I could do fancy little charts, but let me try to break it down for you and then you can tell me what you think I should do.

Unassisted: I have a good likelihood of getting pregnant on my own but that also brings a high probability for another miscarriage (or worse.) Statistically it now looks like a 34% miscarriage rate but historically it works out to 88%. I KNOW. I KNOW I should not add them together like that but… ok. 88% of my pregnancies have ended in miscarriage, is that better?

Assisted: I have been quoted a few different numbers for my chances of conceiving with IVF after PGD. Let's say 18% on the low side and 40% on the high side. BUT if we do conceive the chance of miscarrying drops to, I don't even know, something really low.

So on the one hand I will probably get pregnant on my own but there is a that biggish chance I would miscarry; on the other I probably would not get pregnant but if I did it would likely stick around. Oh, and cost about $15,000 whether it worked or not.

Maybe someone has The Answer or at least knows how to clarify the question for me? I am utterly muddled.

Your views (be they based upon your personal IVF experience, your statistical genius, the goodness of your heart or your psychic abilities) are most welcome. Wellkommen. Bien venue.

PS Do not think I am not grateful that I even have this choice to make. I am. Exceedingly. Wheeee! I CANNOT believe that Steve has more genetically normal than abnormal sperm. It’s like an early Halloween present.

*The Wobble courtesy of Getupgrrl, all rights reserved

Hints From Hell

I wanted to let you know that I wasn't always defined by the rather narrow confines of this house. Once asparagus spears trembled when I bellowed and production lines ground to a halt when I screeched, "No, you idiots, we need 5000 cases of Mexicorn! Not creamed corn! Mexi'd!"

However, now, by popular demand, I give you ten things to do with baking soda:

1. I put about 1/3-1/2 of a cup in with the laundry detergent. You can then use less detergent and it gets out every conceivable odor from the wash. We used Dye-free, Scent-free detergent and sometimes Steve's frisbee stuff would still smell a bit rank. No more!

2. Soak a really tough pan with warm water and a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. It will wipe up easily. For the really hard bits sprinkle on a little more baking soda and scrub.

3. This is VERY bad for the enamel*, however, if you are noticing a certain tea or wine-induced discoloration of your teeth you can use a little bit of baking soda on your toothbrush and polish 'em right up again. Save for emergencies - it is hard on your teeth.

4. Speaking of baking soda and the mouth, dab a little bit on an early canker sore and it will take the sting away and hopefully keep it from getting bigger.

5. Use baking soda and a sponge to clean the inside of your microwave.

6. Put a layer of baking soda underneath the kitty litter to reduce odors (also, try A&H cat litter - it is absolutely the best there is.)

7. Pour a cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal followed by a cup of white vinegar. Whoosh!

8. Use baking soda to scrub out the kitchen sink.

9. Flush a cup of baking soda down the toilet once a month to maintain a healthy septic system.

10. You can use baking soda and a disinfectant in a swimming pool instead of chlorine.

Two bonuses:

1. Use lemon slices to remove mineral build-up from faucets and glass shower doors.

2. Salt on a red wine spill will remove it entirely (trust me on this one.)

OK, now don't say I never did anything for you.

And gimme a tip if you have it, we might as well go whole homemaker.


*Just in from Giddy: Baking soda approved as toothpaste by parental dentist! Enamel fine! Gums healthy! Good to know.

Faute De Mieux

I have a whole lot of little things here that I hoped would add up to something but I doubt it. Mostly I have some cautionary tales based upon poor decisions that I have made in the past few days and, although I hope that they may prove to be instrumental to the young reader just starting out, I fear they may also prove to be a little dry.

For example, while I have now been backing out of our garage on a regular basis for over a year, I have apparently not grasped the trajectories well enough to prevent myself from shearing the side-view mirror clean off the car today. One second Patrick and I were on our way to communist playgroup (yes, ECFE) and the next... well the next we were still on our way to communist playgroup but the mirror had been neatly deposited on the kitchen counter.

I suppose the moral here might be to always head South when leaving our garage and not allow yourself to be distracted into the equally plausible SSE route. However, the real moral is that having damaged the car, DO NOT simply leave the pieces for your husband to find in the kitchen like some severed hand. Trust me, the time to announce that you have just done $500 worth of damage to the vehicle is moments (seconds really) before sex.

This timing will permit you to say, "No, wait! I have to tell you something first. I... I dented the car."

And he will say *********


Never plant a palm in a planter without drainage, no matter how pretty the pottery is or how well it matches the living room or how vigorously you swear you will maintain the perfect moisture levels despite less than optimal conditions. Just don't do it.

Neanthe Bella
p.6-24-04 d.10-10-04


Someone asked if I would consider using donor eggs and then said, Don't smite me, or something like that. Good heavens, so I lose my temper one, two times and I am an unreasonable ogress all of the sudden? Heavens no! Perish the thought! A fair question. A fine question. I embrace this question, as I do everyone and everything, as I am loving and good.

Originally, no, I would not have immediately started my family building plans at donor eggs. If I found myself in a position where it was donor eggs or no child at all? Then donor eggs, definitely. If it was donor eggs or another miscarriage? Well.... it's hard. I think one of the things that makes the idea of donor whatever difficult for Steve is that we have Patrick. I mean, if our ideal is a child that is genetically related to both of us then we have done that in the past and there is reason to believe it can be done again in the future.

The question for us is not so much donor sperm or no child, as it is how many miscarriages are we willing to have before we luck into another baby?

Since the miscarriages are frankly easy on him (yeah, I said easy not easier), both physically and emotionally, the question is not a subtle one for Steven. Keep trying = have another child. His most recent concession was IVF, which is an expensive and less efficient way for me to get pregnant but would mitigate the miscarriage risk enormously.

So, if the question posed to me was would you use donor eggs to avoid another miscarriage I believe the answer is yes. To be fair, though, until I was actually standing there making that decision I do not know with absolute assurance what I would do. My personal problem is that I have a gambling heart and every month there is a moment where I think, huh, what the hell. And the next thing you know Steve is wondering what hit him. Ahem.

Aw, damn it! I forgot I had a theme going. That had nothing to do with my recent spate of rotten decisions (no! really!) Here's one more.


While at Target I frequently enter a trance-like state from which I emerge in the parking lot only to find myself clutching bag after bag full of stuff I have no use for. Many of these items seem to be procured in the beauty care section and I have yet to determine why I, who have never worn eye shadow in my life other than the occasional sixth grade slumber party, seem to be unable to resist sparkle powder and liquid liners in colors I wouldn't be caught dead in. Fortunately these cosmetic forays are few and far between but I am generally susceptible to skin care that swears I will glow and gels that promise to straighten my hair on contact (liars.) Most recently I veered into Shave and succumbed to the Schick Intuition razor refill in Cucumber-Melon. I mean, I like cucumbers and most melons and I sometimes shave my legs! Win-win.

So in the bath last night I ripped open the package (for men seldom make passes at hairy-legged lasses - oh god, forgive me, Mrs. Parker) only to discover that I had no idea where the razor I had bought in my last Target stupor had wound up. Get out of my nice warm bath dripping wet and rummage thorugh the cabinets OR try to employ the new razor cartridge by pinching it between my soapy fingers and using it that way?

I would go on but I need to go apply more soothing poultices to my legs and find another box of Harry Potter Band-Aids.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.....

PS. Still no FISH results. I am contemplating going back for a doctorate and then funding my own lab as I believe in the long run this might actually be faster.

PPS This week's menu:

Coffee-braised Short Ribs with Ancho Chile
Chile Pepper Shrimp with Saffron Pasta
Hot-and-Sour Soup
Grilled Sourdough with Extra-sharp Cheddar, Plum Tomatoes, Red Onion, and Chipotle (aka Grilled Cheese sandwiches- Patrick gets the onion-less version.)

I'll put up the Shrimp Pasta recipe if I can figure out how to do it neatly. It is from Emeril and great. Fast, easy and incidentally wonderful with champagne. The Hot-and-Sour Soup recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated and is truly good. I haven't tried the short ribs yet, so I will let you know if they are worth trying.

PPS My friend Fernanda told me that I hit a new blogging low when I mentioned being out of baking soda (10 lb Bags $4 at Sam's Club - freshens laundry, annihilates baked-on grease, balances a septic system, keeps the litter box sweet and friendly... I mean the only thing it can't do is vote.) I believe with this last post I have just outdone myself. Mundane, the new Interesting. What do you think?

The Cobra-Sperm Analogy Is Actually Pretty Good

Steve and I watched The Scorpion King tonight. Oh, don't look so shocked- it's not like I am an intellectual or anything. I enjoy a film in which people get stabbed with daggers, what can I say?

Anyway, there was a scene in this movie in which there are six earthenware jugs and four of them have cobras in them. I turned to Steve and said, "It's like having sex with you."

He looked blank and then laughed. "Oh right, the sperm."

Yeah, right, the sperm.

I got an email from the FISH guy saying yesterday "we are almost finished" with Steve's FISH analysis. As I have heard the exact same thing from him three times in the past three weeks I am no longer holding my breath. I am not saying that to be hostile; I understand that lab tests can easily get screwed up. So, although I am hopeful that we might actually get some news tomorrow it will probably be pushed into next week.

As Steve and I drove back from the RE appointment I read aloud the price list for IVF and calculated how much one cycle would cost us. It came to about $15,000 not including the specific PGD costs. As I read further down the list I got to Donor Sperm: $166.

So I read that number out loud to Steve as well and watched his jaw tighten. Then I started to rummage around in the change cup we keep for the tolls when we drive to Chicago.

"$155...$156...oops, no, state's another nickel... look at that! $166 in dimes and pennies!"

He said nothing.

"It's not like you are fucking Pharaoh," I snapped when it became obvious that he wouldn't take the bait and talk about the dangling sword of donor sperm.

Why is Steve so opposed to the idea? I don't know, not really. For awhile I accepted the blanket excuse that he proffered: he is adopted and for this reason he wants children that are biologically his. Now, though, I think there is more to it than that. At the very least, adoption is taking an unnecessarily hard rap and upbringing is getting off surprisingly easy. I'm just saying is all.

When I came home after the last dead embryo ultrasound Steve eventually found me sobbing under the covers of our bed. He tried to gather me up in his arms but I pushed him away and asked, "Why do you keep making me do this?"

He was stricken. I know he feels guilty. I know he wishes that he could just get past his aversion to the idea of donor sperm. But he can't. Or at least, he hasn't yet.

So when he says to me, "Please. I know it is irrational. I know I am a bad person. I know I shouldn't care but I do - I do care. Please. Please" what else is there for me to say?

I love him and I always say yes.

So that's why we haven't moved to donor sperm, in case you were wondering.