Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Obsessions

Okay, well Mah Jongg is my biggest new obsession really.

But other than that, I have two new tv obsessions...

Season 1 of the S*pranos which Lo got me as a gift has been really fun for me. In part, I love it just to have a chance to hear phrases I haven't heard since my GM and her elderly Italian brothers and sisters died. Phrases I only ever heard them use.

One of the characters at one point, says to someone else, "Your sister's ass." It's like telling someone they're full of sh*t. My GM used to say that to my brother all the time. However right she was that he was full of sh*t, I always took that as a personal insult since I was his sister. I often responded, "What does my ass have to do with it?"

Tony Soprano's mother reminds me of my GM so much. Don't get me wrong. Tony's mother is not a loving person, and my GM, for all her craziness, was very loving. But my GM was not above sighing and saying, "I wish that God would take me now." All the time. Oh, GM. I miss her. This month was her birthday month.

My other new interest (not quite an obsession) is the tv game show, "Are You Sm*rter than a Fif*h Grader?" It's a program on which they take questions from elementary school textbooks and ask adults to answer them. The adults get a certain number of opportunities to cheat off of the 10-year-olds on the show. So far, the adults have really been quite unimpressive, missing some really basic questions. The first contestant used all his cheats and then dropped out of school, which is what they call it when you take the money and leave the game (he got $5000 because the kids could answer the questions correctly. He didn't get a single question on his own. Like, he didn't know that Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached, despite having majored in U.S. History in college. Madonna! [another phrase my GM used a lot and that is said by characters in both the Sopranos and the Godfather, pronounced more like Muh-thawn than like the pop singer's name])

Back to the game show, as a former fifth grade teacher, I think it's just such a cute show. I can imagine 10-year-olds sitting at home laughing gleefully that they know the answers that the adults don't know. Of course, what it really shows, too, is how seldom used a lot of the info we learn in school is when we're adults. But it's awfully cute nonetheless. Lo and I decided they would never let teachers or former teachers on the show though. We'd do too well.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Waiting Room

So, I finally got to the R.E.'s today. I was just having an u/s to see if my cyst went away.

Well, the cyst went away. So, now I stop the birth control pills and wait for my period.

I am trying injectibles this cycle since they're covered and I decided I may as well make this IUI and the two more IUIs I'd originally planned really count. But apparently, that's not what my clinic had in store for me.

Ta da... I got handed IVF consent forms to read over today.

Now, I know I'm not the first woman who's had IVF suggested to them after 4 unsuccessful IUIs (I've only had 3--it was suggested that I consider if it this IUI doesn't work), but seriously, I thought 6 IUIs was the standard. I'm a 33-year-old, relatively healthy woman (asthma, allergies, and hypothyroidism notwithstanding) who did just fine on every fertility test they threw at me. But Nurse Poker Face said if it doesn't *take* in 3-4 IUIs, then it means IUIs may not be a way I'm going to get pg.

I'm actually not angry or upset about this turn of events at all. I've accepted that my clinic is ultra-aggressive and I fully expected that they'd throw IVF at me soon. Not quite this soon, but... it didn't throw me. And I don't know what they would say if I pushed for 2 more IUIs first. We have the name of another clinic we would consider using if he didn't agree to 2 more IUIs. We might even consider switching regardless, but we have 3 vials of sperm at the lab our RE uses, so it might be an expensive switch.

I find the "it should work in 3-4 IUIs" rule especially funny juxtaposed with my het and married friend, CF, going to her GYN's after 4 or 5 months of TTC and being laughed at for being worried. "Come back if it hasn't happened in a year," she was reassured.

Oh, to have that kind of reassurance. I think in part the IVF suggestion didn't throw me because nothing except a pregnancy will reassure me, at this point. I just don't perceive myself as potentially fertile any more. At all. I know that's insane. But it's how I feel.

In other news, we have another possibility on our TTC horizon. I won't post much about it, but we have a potential known donor option to explore. Not someone we asked. Someone who offered. Someone we would feel good about making part of our family.

I'm not going to say much about that. I'll wait for Lo to post more on that, since this is through her connections, not mine. We haven't even officially talked to our new PKD yet, so if we explore this, it'll be a while before anything comes of it. We would definitely want to meet with him and his partner and talk some more about this. We would want a contract drawn up (for both his and our protection) and such. And since he and his partner live about 4 hours away, working all this out logistically will not be easy. I am not sure if we could even try insems until the summer, since Lo's job doesn't allow her to just take off for a few days in the middle of the week or something.

I know we all have our personal bents about this TTC stuff. But please don't be super excited about the PKD sitch yet. It's a long way from actually happening.

I would really like it if the PKD route worked out and feel really positive about this particular PKD. But, I kind of feel like if we go that route, we should switch to Lo. I wouldn't be unwilling to try. But, as I said earlier, I just don't know that it's worth trying with me.

---

Oh, and I'm waiting to get the table of contents for my next book. I don't think I'm getting it for another few days. Which means I have no work to do.

While I sorely need a rest after my last project from hell, this week really isn't ideal for lots of down time. I'd much prefer it were a weekend when I could hang with Lo and when I didn't have so much on my mind.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Photo Friday Extra: Bedroom Videos

I managed to get some video of the most exciting things that go on in our bedroom.

No, you perverts....it's all about the weiner dog.

Maggie on her stairs:




Maggie and her water glass:

Friday, February 23, 2007

Photo Friday: Our Bedroom

Our bedroom is pretty small, pretty much dominated by our bed. So here it is in all its glory. Click on the photo to see the notes, and to see who the boss is in our household.

Our Bedroom

And here's a bonus pic of Her Highness sunning herself.

Maggie Suns Herself

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Burnout

E. wrote a post about how tax time has yielded her funds for either her sperm or her baby fund.

Tax time is not fun for me. I paid a ton of money in estimated taxes this year, as I'm self-employed. But still, I owe. In '05, I ended up owing a lot because I'd worked crazy hours to pay for grad school and our wedding without going into debt, and it bumped me into a higher tax bracket. (Kind of kills the Protestant work ethic to realize that that's the case; I'm not Protestant, but I got their work ethic nonetheless.) In '06, I ended up owing a lot because I just don't have enough expenses to deduct. There aren't a lot of expenses associated with editing and writing math books.

And we didn't actually spend a large enough percentage of my taxable income on medical bills to deduct any of the TTC stuff. Incredible.

I work a lot. Really, a lot. I am always working. My friends have come to expect that when they ask to see me, I say "I can't, I have work." I need a t-shirt that says that. And being self-employed, I have no one to blame but myself for that.

This year, I told myself I was taking on as much work as I could for the sperm fund and hopefully a baby fund and an opportunity for my self-employed self to take some maternity leave when we ever have our elusive child. (I am confident we will have a child one way or another. I'm just losing faith that it will be courtesy of my womb.)

But I am truly burned out right now. From TTC. From work. From everything. I'm depressed and Loestrin is making me crazy. The Loestrin craziness is made more annoying by the fact that I know I am going off it in about a week to back on fertility meds and other hormones, which will screw with my biochemistry in other ways. My body is never able to adjust because I am always mixing up the meds.

Right now, my employer has me scheduled to write 3 more books up to June, a book every 5 weeks. It's a doable pace, but by no means cushy. What I would really like is to call her and ask if I can do only 2 and have them be more spread out. So I could take a break.

But I don't know what that would mean for us financially. Could we still pay all our bills and afford sperm and copays and washing fees at the lab? I don't know. I guess I'll crunch some numbers.

The thing that kills me is... I work SO HARD, and I don't feel like I'm getting much return for my investment. I mean, I work really hard at my job for what? To pay a huge chunk of it to a government that doesn't listen to me or value my family? (I am not against paying taxes, but I do wish my tax money were put to better use.) I work really hard at TTC for what? So, I can get a BFN and keep going round and round the hamster wheel of infertility. (I am borrowing the hamster wheel image from someone. Vee, maybe?)

The definition of burnout... feeling like the amount of effort you put in is not at all equal to the return you get from your investment.

P.S. -- I posted this for 5 minutes and then took it down because I was insecure. Cali convinced me that I should just toss my insecurities to the wind and post how I'm feeling and resist the urge to take the posts back down, so here is a post that was up for 5 minutes a day or 2 ago.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Photo Friday Extra: 8th Grade Hair

So many folks offered up their bad 80s hair that I made the effort to dig up a photo. I escaped many of the most common 80s hair tragedies because my hair is naturally extremely curly. The LAST thing I would ever have done is get a perm (I shudder to think) or tease it up high. I did use a lot of hairspray in my attempts to keep it flat (which you can see in this photo with the bangs and the top) and I was guilty of sporting the side ponytail into the early 90s. (Though I did eventually graduate to a scrunchie as opposed to the shoelace in this pic.)

Lo in 8th Grade

I believe those are the bangs I cut myself, though I assure you, they have grown out some from their original state. As for the glasses, well, I don't think kids today know how easy they have it with those child-sized frames.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Pointless Whining

  1. My reward for finally getting over a horrible case of the flu is tons of work to catch up on. Not that I haven't been working while I've been sick, mind you. (Don't get me wrong. My employers are really wonderful and understanding and would give me extensions. In fact, they already have given me the ones I've asked for, but I don't want to push my deadlines back too much lest I dig myself into a hole I can't get out of. I can't do all-nighters while TTC.)
  2. Lo is off from school this week and I don't have time to spend with her.
  3. Lo and I successfully dug out my ice-embedded car yesterday morning and moved it into an alternate side spot only to learn late last night that alternate side parking was suspended.
  4. The birth control pills I'm on while waiting for my leftover follie to go away have been causing annoying spotting for the past 5 days. So, even during an enforced break I am spared neither crazy-making hormones nor daily pantiliners. (I wear a pantiliner after every u/s because of all the lube they use. If that's TMI, I don't care.)
  5. Speaking of lube, Saturday is my next ultrasound. I am going to write my name on the sign-in sheet in ALL CAPS just to make it passive-aggressively clear that they'd better not forget about me this time.
  6. I can't help but feel that if we had used Lo's uterus, we might have a baby on the way right now. That I should have known not to try to depend on my f**ked up, useless body. It never does what I want it to do, no matter how hard I work. During a mountain climbing trip to the Grand Tetons back around the time I met Lo, I had my first asthma attack in 10 years. The attack happened while hiking to the mountain. Well, some might call it hiking, but it was more likely scrambling over boulders. During the attack, I started crying while puffing on my inhaler. Not because I was scared. Not because it was painful. But because I had trained so hard for my mountain climbing trip, running intervals every day for months beforehand to get myself into tip-top aerobic shape. And still my body failed me. I wanted my fellow climbers to go on without me. But, we were with a guide, who couldn't just let a climbee who'd just had an asthma attack stay by herself or hike back herself. So, after the attack passed, I continued on and made it to the summit because I didn't want to let my climbing buddies down. But I was furious with my body the whole time. I was furious that no matter how much effort I had put in, my body still let me down. Anyone see any obvious parallels to this TTC stuff?
  7. I just got a phone call from my very nice project manager asking about a standard that I completely forgot to cover in a lesson I wrote a couple weeks ago. Just completely missed it! Now, my editor has to go back and add in content and write new questions to cover the standard I missed, and I know he is swamped. My employer will end up paying extra for my mistake because I am paid a set fee for my writing and the editor is paid by the hour. So, if the editor fixes it, then he gets to bill for that. There is nothing I hate more than knowing I screwed up.

Timing Is Everything

I have read a lot of people recently write about how relieved the HSG results made them feel. "We haven't been shooting sperm up for there for nothing for several months. They say it'll up your odds for the next 3 tries or so."

I know some people who after multiple failed natural or IUI cycles are now embarking on Clomid. Maybe this is "the thing."

Don't get me wrong. I really am happy for TTCers who can feel that, if a tad jealous. (And I do hope that the HSG or Clomid is the thing for those people.)

But It's weird for me because I am at an ultra-aggressive clinic. I had to have the HSG before I even started. Not a choice. It was one of the things on my little checklist. I went on Clomid as early as my 2nd IUI (that was my choice, but it was made in part because I learned that a 'natural cycle' at my clinic involved a trigger shot and progesterone suppositories, so it wasn't really a natural cycle at all).

Now, the talk for me has turned to injectibles. I am not unwilling. But I think in part because I was pulled onto the ultra-aggressive wagon from the get-go, I can't feel what so many of the rest of you seem to feel when trying a new protocol. Hope.

Hope that this next protocol will be the one. Hope that the HSG will be like a roto-rooter for your insides and you'll get pg within 3 months (didn't happen for me). Hope that Clomid will get you pg (didn't happen for me). Hope that taking a break or stepping backward and doing a truly natural cycle might relax your body and allow pregnancy to occur (didn't happen for me).

I'll try injectibles. Maybe they'll work. I am even now thinking I might be willing to try IVF. But I don't have the hope that I see on other blogs. I fully expect that injectibles will be just like everything else. Not enough to change my outcome.

Bri told me a while back that she wished she had gone on Clomid sooner and she thought I was smart for doing it earlier rather than later. I know timing is everything in TTC, but I think that is even more true than I realized previously. Timing related to when you have a test done or start a protocol matters, too. I kind of wish I hadn't had the HSG before I even started or that that I hadn't gone on Clomid so soon. So, then maybe now, after just having had an HSG or just embarking on Clomid, I might feel like this could be the thing. I might have some of that elusive hope.

How could I be so hopeless after only 5 AIs? I must be the whiniest most loser-ish TTCer out there.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Photo Friday: Bad Hair

I don't like putting up real pictures of myself -- and I lack the photoshop skills at this moment to alter photos (I know it can't be too hard, I'll learn)-- so I offer this Halloween costume from my college days.

Lo as Albert Einstein

Yes, I'm Albert Einstein. The hair is entirely natural (save for the baby powder) and that, folks, is why I don't brush my hair. I use a wide-toothed comb when it's wet.

I dressed up as one of those N*rfin trolls one year, and another year as Marge Simpson, but I can't find pictures.

In other news, we went to our awesome new tax preparer today, thanks to a recommendation from Shelli. In addition to being very helpful with our issues (joint property, Co's self-employment, I work in a state other than where I live)...we saw M*chelle Hurd at the office. Wow, accountant to the stars! Does that make me one degree from M*riska Hargitay?? oooooooh, swoon......

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Best Valentine's Gift Ever

My Game Girl

Co got me this for Valentine's Day. Admittedly, she gave it to me on Saturday. One of Co's more adorable traits is that she cannot *wait* to give presents. Waiting for an actual birthday, or Christmas/Chanukah, or even Valentine's Day, is a trial for her that often ends in early gifting. She does not want her own gifts early, mind you...she just loves to give, especially when she knows she has a winner.

Also, she rationalized (correctly) that it was much better to give me this toy on a Saturday when I could play with it all. weekend. long. than on a Wednesday night when I would just stay up all. night. long.

Do you other children of the '80s recognize those characters (who all look kinda constipated; they're pulling up vegetables, the better to kill bad guys with)? We got a Nintendo (just plain "Nintendo") in 1989 when I was 15 and, except for an occasional rental, pretty much only owned the Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cartridge that came with the game. I have fond, fond memories of Mario. And Luigi...I was usually Luigi.

Luigi because, in fact, the Nintendo belonged to my 11-year-old sister, so she had claim to Mario. My parents were completely against video games (we didn't even have computer games, except for Lemonade Stand and a very early, all-text version of The Legend of Zelda). So my sister saved her pennies for the $100 system. Aside from the obvious parental objections to video games, they were convinced that the costly purchase would keep my sister entertained for a few days at most, then fall by the wayside.

She STILL has that classic Nintendo, and hooks it up from time to time (like when I visit, and when she can get her husband to unhook the X-Box). And I still have the Cabbage Patch Kid I paid $43.20 of my own money for after my mother refused to spend that much for a doll in which I would just lose interest.

Is the lesson here that our parents were wrong, or that spending our own money made us cherish these items? I'm not sure. But I love Co to pieces, and I am having a ball chucking vegetables at bad guys. (Yes, I know, that's not classic Mario; but I've already ordered it.)

I have a pretty awesome gift for Co, too, but you'll just have to wait to hear about it, because I am going to stand on ceremony and present it to her tonight, while we're here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Scraping Myself Up Off the Floor

So, I had a really hard week last week. I was depressed about being forced to take a break, while also having to ingest still more hormones (birth control pills). Having a bad cold didn't help certainly. Neither did the hormones. I have acted crazier in the past 6 months than I ever have in my life, and I really think much of it can be attributed to the various hormones that my body is absorbing all the time thanks to the world of reproductive endocrinology.

It also doesn't help that I don't feel like I have a right to be sad. Ever. In my family growing up, I was the stereotypical "hero" in the alcoholic family, especially after my mother's death. I had to be the strong one, the adult (even if I was 9), the one who counterbalanced whatever my father's actions had done to keep the family afloat. I wasn't allowed to lose it then. I still feel like I'm not allowed to lose it, even temporarily. And that if I do, then I shouldn't be trying to have a child, because I'm not going to be a good mother. I know that's crazy. I know I could call upon a great deal of strength if I needed to for Lo or for my hypothetical child. But any sign of weakness or humanity can make me question my ability to parent.

(Watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent last night, Detective Goren said that orphans typically become (1) overachievers, (2) substance abusers, or (3) con men. That's an oversimplification, but when Lo patted me on the head upon hearing that, as if indicating that she saw me in one of those things, I had to ask her to verify which one she thought was me. Just checking that she thinks I'm in category (1).)

There was another unhelpful dynamic at play this week, too. Lo has a real stake in this whole babymaking process, and every setback for me is also a setback for her. And we've known since early in our relationship that things are worst when we are both feeling down, because neither of us has the energy to fully support the other one. So, we were both dealing with disappointment.

So, it's been a hard week. But I'm feeling a little better now physically as well as emotionally.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Photo Friday: Favorite Places

It's been a tough week here at The Family O, and I'm grateful to Cali for the diversion of Photo Friday. Especially a happy topic like this one!

One of the many things that Co and I share is our love of the beach. We both feel at home by the ocean, love to dodge the waves and lie in the sun. Co grew up going to the Jersey Shore; I, to Cape Cod. We've gone on many beach vacations to different locales: a few towns on the Jersey Shore, Topsail Island (in North Carolina), Fire Island, and this summer our honeymoon in the Virgin Islands. We even fantasize about someday living by the shore.

Of course, being The Family O, the beach pictures will include gratuitous dachshund cuteness. She has accompanied us on most of our trips, and also enjoys the beach: digging in the sand, chasing bubbles in the waves, and just soaking up the sun.

Here she is chasing bubbles in the surf on Fire Island:

Maggie Chases Bubbles

Here she is enjoying one of the many dog-friendly beaches in Cape May:

Maggie in Cape May

Monday, February 05, 2007

Photo Monday: Sofa with Obligatory Dachshund

We have many, many cute pictures of Maggie on our sofa, so I just chose a favorite. We call this "blankethead."

Here I must admit that our "sofa" is a futon. Real adulthood, I think, is having a couch. The futon cover is the second one we've had, since Maggie ripped the old one in several places with her digging behaviors. The blanket she's wrapped in is one of two lovely, soft blankets that my mom brought home from a trip to India. I initially said, let's keep these for us and not let Maggie take them over.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. (But we are still allowed to use them.)

And the afghan whose corner you can just see was a homemade wedding gift from my Great-Aunt Shirley.

Blanket Head

Saturday, February 03, 2007

February Break

So, I went to the R.E's today.

First off, I was running late. The trains were skipping my stop, so I had to walk to another stop. It wasn't that cold out, so I didn't see the ice on the ground and wound up on my a$$. (It still hurts.) I really didn't want to go at all after that. I envisioned the doctor wondering where that big bruise on my a$$ came from whilst inserting the dildocam. I passed by our synagogue and was jealous that I wasn't going to services. Yes, it was one of those days.

But I managed to get on the train and to the R.E.'s.

There are no special appointments for sonos and bloodwork. Patients just have to show up within a certain 2-hour window. I got there at 11:00. Since the window for Saturday sonos is between 10 and 12, and I always wait a zillion hours anyway, I figured that was fine. (Technically, they always say "come in at 10:30 on Saturday" but it's not like if I get there at 10:30, they see me before noon, and I have the form which says the window on it. So, on the one hand, I wonder if maybe what happened today was my fault. But it really wasn't.)

Well, I waited and waited and waited. I even checked the sign in sheet at one point to make sure I hadn't imagined signing it. Nope, my name was there. Meanwhile, plenty of women had been "revolving-doored" in and out, and more had joined the wait.

It turns out... they forgot about me. Yes, they completely forgot about me.

Apparently, Nurse Poker Face and Nurse Vampire (she's nice, but I only ever see her to give her blood, hence her name) left around 12:30. Forgetting about me!

I was informed by Nurse Thinks-My-Last-Name-Has-a-C-In-It that I had been forgotten, but that Dr. I-Don't-Want-to-Be-Here-on-a-Saturday would take care of me.

Now this was bad. If it had been a come in and check your follie size u/s, whatever. But this was a beginning of cycle u/s. A cycle after I'd taken a month's break. A cycle when I was expecting to have to argue about injectibles. I didn't even know what I was supposed to be doing this cycle. I was screwed.

I actually started crying, which is mortifying, but I did. I so didn't even want to go in today. It took every ounce of willpower to go in for my CD2 sono. I was even passive-aggressive with Lo when I left, saying, "Enjoy your sleep." I was mad that I had to go and get a sono whilst hemorrhaging on a table while she got to sleep in. It was unfair that I was angry at her for not coming with... after all, I hadn't told her I wanted her to. I kept that little nugget to myself, of course. But I really could've used some support.

Especially with what happened. So, I'd been forgotten, which just brought out all the insecurities that hadn't already come up. Why had they forgotten me? Were they being passive-aggresive because I took a month off? Was I being punished for getting there 30 minutes after 10:30? Was I unworthy of getting impregnated?

So, anyway, I have a leftover cyst from my last cycle. Ya know, the one during my break month where we didn't do meds or a trigger. So, I am out this cycle. I have to take Loestrin (yes, birth control pills) and then go back in in 3 weeks to make sure the cyst went away. Now, I've had leftover follies before on my CD2 sono and Dr. Quick never cancelled my cycle over them. In fact, my 3rd IUI cycle was the only cycle when I didn't have leftover follies. So, I don't know what the deal is. Maybe Dr. Quick just never cared about my health. Maybe Dr. I-Don't-Want-to-Be-Here-on-a-Saturday just wanted to get rid of the hysterical problem patient who isn't even his responsibility.

But I still feel like I'm being punished. If I hadn't taken a break, we would've done a trigger shot, and I probably wouldn't have had a leftover follie and we could try this month.

So, our break has been extended.

Maybe I need to find a new R.E.

Friday, February 02, 2007

On to the Next Cycle, More Gratitude

So, yeah, didn't expect AI #5, our at-home insems with frozen sperm, to work. I'm really not as upset as I usually feel when the negative news is confirmed. I think I really didn't get my hopes up as much as I often do. Or maybe I'm just getting used to this.

I don't look forward to another Saturday morning at the RE's talking about injectibles vs. Clomid and having an ultrasound on Day 2 of my period as is my clinic's yucky baseline custom. But it is what it is.

So, onto another medicated cycle, IUI #4, AI #6. Will lucky number 6 be the charm?

- - - - - -

By the way, those of you wading through bigtime hell right now, there is no need for you to read the gratitude part of this post. If you're in a place where everything just sucks, then I totally get that and respect that. You don't need to feel grateful. Not at all.

I'm not there right now (although I'm sure I'll visit again soon), so for those of you who want to read it, here's my second gratitude post.

- - - - - -

More gratitude...

I was talking to a friend of Lo's, Dr. EF, who is a family practice doctor. She was telling me about how she is trying to help some of her patients get pregnant, by prescribing Clomid and telling them about BBTs and such.

Dr. EF works at a clinic that serves low-income, mostly uninsured patients. I complained to her briefly about how much I hate the R.E. and how pricey this whole process is and how stressful and she gave me a big-time reality check. Her patients don't have the luxury. Not at all. No matter how much they want it. Not even a consultation. They don't have the money. They can't possibly save it. It's not an option.

So, I know I bitch about going to the R.E. I know I bitch about how much this all costs, and how invasive it is.

But I'm lucky in many ways, and grateful. I'm lucky that I have good health insurance. I'm lucky that I can afford to buy sperm, even though I'm by no means wealthy. I'm lucky that if I need to, I have good credit and a good income and Lo has those too, and together, we can rack up debt or get a loan to help cover the costs of IVF or adoption if we later choose either of those. As much as debt sucks, at least I can acquire it if I want it.

And yes, I know what some of you are thinking. I know I've worked hard for what I have today (and I know many of you have, too). I know it's a combination of luck and really hard work. (C'mon, I'm an orphan! No silver spoons fed this mouth growing up.) But if I'd gotten cancer at age 30 like my mom, I wouldn't have what I have today. If my GM had gotten ill and needed caretaking when I was 19, I would've had to quit college and run home and be my brother's guardian and my grandmother's caregiver. I have worked hard, but some of what I have been able to accomplish was because I do get dealt a decent hand most of the time. Knock wood.