19.11.10

Red Writing Hood: Let Go


It's been a long time as I've been too intimidated. But today I'm nervously linking up again with the Red Dress Blog. My assignment: write a piece (fiction or non-fiction) inspired by a song. It can be any song of your choosing. If it is not clear from your story what the song is, throw us a bone and put a note at top or bottom of your post to let us know what you picked.

The song I chose is "Let Go" by Frou Frou. It's on the Garden State soundtrack, which is one of my favorite movies ever. How can you not love Natalie Portman my girl crush and Zach Braff (he starred in it but also directed it)? Garden State was released in September 2004, when The Father Load and I were in the thick of our infertility.



Flying down I-435 at 7 a.m., heading to Overland Park Regional Medical Center. Again. My red sharps box sits smugly next to me in the passenger's seat, half full of used needles. Evidence of my complete and utter failure as a woman. My body's unwillingness to cooperate. A symbol of the perpetual emptiness of my womb, the laziness of my ovaries. And super! It's the color of blood, the one thing any trying-desperately-to-conceive-woman dreads seeing. Well, aside from pregnant bellies, babies and birth announcements, that is.
sharps container Pictures, Images and Photos

"Let Go" is on repeat, blaring from the speakers in my navy blue VW Jetta. I'm trying to let go, to not worry that my ovaries aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing. I'm "too busy writing your (my) own tragedy." I have a full feeling, I'm bloated, I've been crying at every God damn commercial and if a pregnant belly even enters my peripheral vision, I lose my shit. Surely there's something going on inside me, but I'm too scared to let hope in. The possibility of parenthood has always hovered just out of our reach. Today is the first ultrasound after weeks and weeks of injectible fertility drugs. First Lupron and birth control pills to supress me and mimic menopause, then daily cocktails of Gonal F and Repronex to rev me up and put my ovaries into overdrive. Eggs galore being the ultimate goal. Delicately balanced, of course, with the desire for quality over quantity.

This is my second round of in vitro, hence the reason I'm trying to let go. Because aside from all the money that's been spent, I'm emotionally, physically, and mentally undone. I'm hollowed out, a fragile shell of a person. The idea of doing this song and dance again nauseates me. I want to be a mother, but at what price? There are plenty of other babies and young children already living in this world who need homes. Carrying a child in my womb isn't necessary in order to be a mother or for said child to know he/she is mine. Sure, that part would be nice, but I'm not gonna quibble over that.

The other night our friend Yasmeen and her husband came by to visit. They were in from out of town and Yasmeen and I had grown close when we were both struggling to get pregnant in the early days. Then after a few weeks of not hearing from her, I got the dreaded call. Yasmeen was pregnant. I was happy for her, sad for me. I'm always being left behind.

When I go upstairs to greet them, her belly takes me by surprise and I start sobbing uncontrollably. I let her hug me even though there's a part of me that wants nothing to do with her, that jealous, selfish part of me that's so ugly I want to smother it. But the other side wins out, the side of me that wants what she has--life growing inside of her. I ask if I can touch her tummy. "Of course," she says, smiling. I lightly lay my hands on her. Her belly is high and hard, so round. She is lucky. She is living my dream. Something thumps my right hand and I jump, and then start to cry harder, but can't help the smile spreading across my face, which is now dripping with snot. I turn away and curl into The Father Load's waiting arms, bury my face in his neck. Let go. Don't hope that the drugs are working. Just don't. LET GO.

I snap out of the memory and remind myself I never thought I'd get this far. Never even thought I could give myself multiple injections every day. The first time was the worst. Standing in the kitchen shaking and hyperventilating, leaning against the counter with one hand, my shirt pulled halfway up and tucked under my armpit. I'm embarrassed, though no one is there to watch me. It's just a needle. How do drug addicts do this all the time, I think to myself. Then:

"Jump in. Whatcha waiting for? It's all right."

I pinch a small slab of skin from my lower abdomen, jab the needle in, and push the plunger. Done. Crying with relief, I call my mom and tell her I've done it. My husband comes home prepared to administer the shot, and I smile with tearstained cheeks and tell him he doesn't need to worry about it. I'm beaming. And with each day, administering the shots becomes easier. I'm practically a pro.

There's beauty in the beakdown. After weeks of injections and a tender, bruised belly, it's time. They retrieve 14 good eggs, and we have two to transfer on the fifth day. Six days later I'm at home and feel a familiar wetness in my panties. A sob catches in my throat as I stop right there in the middle of my living room, yank my pants down and see the bright red blood.

no no no no no no no no no
I grab the phone and with shaking fingers dial my husband.
"I'm bleeding," I say when he answers.
Silence.
"I'm going to call and see if I can get in for a pregnancy test. I need to know this is over. I need closure. I need to move on. I can't do this anymore."
The Father Load is holding back his own tears and his voice has gotten so low I can barely hear it.
"Okay," he mumbles.
"We're going to adopt," I say.
"Whatever you want," he replies.
I hang up.
I call the nurse and after blubbering into the phone I finally make her understand what's going on.
She puts me on hold.
For what seems like a long time.
Then she comes back on and tells me I can come in tomorrow morning, because today is really still too soon.

No sleep that night.

I stagger out of bed, zombie-like, and go through the motions of brushing my teeth, using the bathroom, putting in my contacts.
Before I know it I'm at the office with a tourniquet on my arm. And it's like I don't even know how I got there. I don't remember having driven myself. But I did.
Then magically I'm back at home, as if transported. I feel nothing. I sit on the couch in silence, starting at the green patches of our yard coming back.
After two hours, the phone rings. I look at the Caller ID and it's the nurse.
"Hello," I say. Praying for the last time that this is some hellish mistake.

It is.

I am pregnant. With terribly low levels of progesterone, hence the bleeding. But after everything, I.Am.Pregnant.

And now?

I have let go of the desire for more children. We are enough. The four of us. My twin girls, my very patient husband, and me.

Someday I will have to let the girls go.
But not today.

16.11.10

Stop Self-Defeating Thoughts With This Amazing FREE Program!

My dear friend Cherry Woodburn, the brainchild behind the blog Borderless Thinking, is launching an impressive FREE email series that begins tomorrow (Wednesday). Once you register (which is quick and easy via her site) you'll receive an email once a week for the next five weeks which will radically change the way you view yourself and your future. I've already signed up, and encourage you to do so as well. In fact, I'm so confident that you'll enjoy Cherry's program that I'm going to give you a gift if you join me/us (remember: it's FREE, it's an email that comes to you each week--you don't have to GO anywhere, PAY anything, or sign your life away). If Cherry confirms that you've registered, you'll get to ask me one question, whatever you want make it good. And I will either blog or vlog the answers in the near future. Go on. Embarrass me. Make me look like a fool it's not hard, people . On that note, please welcome Cherry Woodburn!


These days, and for many years now, I can say with ease:


• I’m smart.
• I'm confident in my abilities.
• I’m a good problem solver.
• I say no.
• I make friends easily.
• I’m willing to take risks.
• I’m worth showering myself with self-care.
• I’ve learned to tame my inner shrew: http://bit.ly/bIQyst

Although I believe in myself, I’m not perfect. And I want to be completely honest with you: I’m struggling with getting older. I haven’t yet tamed the voice of the inner shrew-on-aging. I hear her in the cold, stark reality of morning light when I put on eyeliner and use my index finger to pull my skin away from the side of my eye for ease of application, and release my finger only to have the skin decide to stay out there for a bit of a rest. Then slowly, almost begrudgingly, my beloved piece of skin, that’s been with me all my life, decides to make its way back to the place where it started. The shrew-on-aging lets me know that, like a dried up white rubber band, my skin’s just not holding things together the way it used to.

For the first time in my life I’ve reached an age which I have trouble saying out loud. My brain (vs. the resident shrew-on-aging who’s bribed and owned by the media) KNOWS that I am succumbing to a society-induced dis-ease. And I need some support to stop succumbing.

So this old lady is hoping to enlist your support by providing the following information I wish I’d known sooner.

1. Old is a relative term.
    a. When you’re 30, you suddenly understand that 25 is young.
    b. When you’re 40 you chuckle at the 30-year-olds that are complaining about looking older.
    c. When you’re 50 you realize you’ll never feel “your age” because you spent your life with misconceptions about what 50, or any age older than you are, feels like.
   d. When you’re 60 you realize that you definitely have wrinkles and that when you’re 70 or 80 or 90 you’ll look back and think how great you looked and felt with them.

2. Cosmetic surgery has taken away the level playing field. We aren't all aging together or “at the same rate”. That can make the body-signs of aging more challenging to accept.
    a. That being said, don’t start with the procedures because there will always be another procedure you could have, and another one and another one. There will also always be someone you can compare yourself too (like the plastic surgeon that goes to the same yoga studio I do) that looks younger because she’s had more procedures. Comparison is never a wise idea.
    b. The cosmetic & cosmetic surgery industries are making HUGE profits off of your fear of getting older.
    c. The industries play on that fear with ads, ads and more ads telling you you’re not good enough the way you are. “Look younger!” they shout to women of any age.
    d. You’re still 20, or 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 years old no matter how much botox etc. is keeping your face and neck wrinkle-free.
    e. Gloves will have to come back into fashion all year round to hide the proof-is-in-the-hands. Do you really want to be wearing white gloves in the summer?

3. Old is just a word, like short or tall are. Old does not inherently have a negative meaning.
    a. It’s time to venerate the older generations for the stories and experience they have.
    b. You will one day become that older generation.
    c. If you don’t become old, it’s because you died.

Aging really is a gift. I realize it more and more. I’m alive to see my grandchildren; to pass on the love and lack of rules that grandparents are supposed to do.

Granted I still have to contend with the image that some of the younger generations have that people, particularly women, of the age of 60 don’t have a lot to offer. They’re wrong. So I’m asking you to join me in a huge Fuck You to a culture that says there’s something wrong with living. Because living equals aging.

I invite you to sign up for a free 5-week program I designed to help other women get on the path to increased self-esteem. For more information, click here: http://borderlessthinking.com/are-you-limiting-yourself/

To contact Cherry:
http://borderlessthinking.com

http://cherrywoodburn.wordpress.com/
http://twitter.com/cherrywoodburn
http://blogtalkradio.com/cherrywoodburn

15.11.10

10 Ways to Embrace Your Inner Jew at Hanukkah Time

Here's me in all my glory. This is how scary I look like on a daily basis. I meant to shower this morning thank goodness there's no smell-o-vision. BEWARE: I violated my own personal vlogging rule, which is to try to keep the vlog to a 2-3 minute minimum... yet we Jews are not known for our brevity. Le sigh. But you love me anyway, so you're going to watch. And seriously? When I watch the vlog regularly on my computer, my lips match the sound. But something happens once I turn it over to You Tube. I am not techno savvy. Is it me/my settings, is it my webcam? I hate that it looks dubbed. Oy vey!

Here's the rub: I want to seriously spread this Hanukkah love.

For a really fun PRIZE, here's how to enter:

*leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite part of the video was.
*follow me/my blog via Google Friend Connect.
*follow me on Twitter: @erinlynn76
*for every tweet, you'll get yet another entry (you can tweet twice daily, just post the links to your tweets in the comments!).
*follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/erin.margolin#!/erin.margolin
*"like" my Facebook Mother Load fan page: http://www.facebook.com/search.php?q=the+mother+load&init=quick&tas=search_preload#!/pages/Fairway-KS/The-Mother-Load/112118315466348

*post a link to this vlog post on your Facebook page for 5 extra entries (link to me so I can see it!).

At the end of the week I'll choose a winner and you'll get a PRIZE! A goodie package of some of my favorite things.

 

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