Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do my eyes deceive me?

At three this morning, I awoke from a happy sleep with a full bladder and a sense of dread. I couldn't decide whether to end the dream or just take a damn piss. I decided to end the dream. But the dream may not be over. There's a faint, faint hope.


RIGHT? I'm not just hallucinating because of the early hour? Mr. Bunny is out of town, so I have no one to ask.

I've been here before and yet never been here before. I've seen this incredibly faint line before, but only three days after my period was due. Then, the ghost of a line told me it was over. Now, it's 12 days past IUI and I don't know what this line is telling me. Despite the helpful key on the test. I know, I have a PhD, I should be able to grasp this. But there should be a middle circle with a faint line, reading HA HA! Maybe yes and maybe no! Have fun with that! And good luck getting back to sleep, mothafuckah!

I should just keep this to myself, particularly when I know a) how much seeing this sight can be a punch in the gut in our world (I'm so sorry) and b) how quickly this phantom can vanish. But I can't untake the test, and I'll need you if tomorrow's test shows nothing at all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The state of my uterus

Thank you for all the information about your breasts! I'm fascinated by this kind of amazing variability. And I find it comforting to know there are loads of other women who go through multiple weeks of DON'T-COME-NEAR-ME-OR-I'LL-DIE-painful breasts, all for nothing. (I mean, okay, it's a sign of our bodies preparing for a possible pregnancy, so it's not for nothing, but still seems like a fucking ripoff.) But I may have inadvertently suggested that there was something interesting going on with me. Uh, NO. Part of my point was that my breasts are useless as a pregnancy barometer. And also as weather barometer. And as a vegetable peeler. The list of things my breasts are no good for goes on and on. Anyway, to convince you, here's a quick peek into my uterus. For comparison, I've included a peek into the normal uterus.

Fertile WHORES. HAAAAAAAATE YOOU! (Are you are fertile whore? Did I hurt your feelings? Sorry. But why are you reading this weblog? I mean, COME ON.) Also, a subset of wonderful infertile women, for whom I am genuinely thrilled.
Me. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Care to answer some intimate questions?

I'm very interested in your breasts.

Is that a creepy enough way to begin? Does it conjure up images of me lurking outside your bathroom window, notebook in hand? Actually, that's not me--must be someone else.

When BFB was early in her pregnancy, I asked her to tell me the story of finding out she was pregnant. Not because I wanted to hear it, because I felt I owed her that much. (By the way, I ended up telling her to fuck off for a while, and she was very gracious about it. And while I still think about her and her stupid baby a lot, at least it's on my terms now.) She said she knew something was up because her breasts started hurting way sooner than they normally do. This was surprising to me because mine start hurting well before they could be indicating anything. As I've listened to you guys talking about symptoms, I've become increasingly curious about this variable. I've also started wondering if you ladies with more ample bosoms are less likely to get hurty early on. So, if you'd care to answer the following personal questions, please oblige me. (Yeah, I could put up a POLL and be all technological and shit, but...nah.)
1. On what cycle day do you typically experience breast soreness, if you do.
2. Is the soreness slight, moderate, or XTREME. If it changes, please describe.
2. Would you categorize yourself as ample in the bosom?

My responses:
1. I used to reliably get painful breasts on day 21 of my 28 day cycle. Since my surgery, it's started earlier--maybe day 18 or so. THANKS FOR AN EXTRA WEEK OF UNTOUCHABLY SORE TITS! So this particular item is useless as a pregnancy symptom for me.
2. Goes from slight to XTREME over days 18ish to 21, then stays extreme until my period arrives.
3. Hells no. I'm a 34B.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ancient Chinese Wisdom

This fortune cookie fortune is taped to the wall of my office.


I was thinking of endless department meetings when I stuck it up, not two week waits, but, being Ancient Chinese Wisdom and all, it's got multiple applications.

Of course, unlike with department meetings where I make Noises of Extreme Annoyance when my colleagues get off track, I'm not showing any impatience. It's all within, bubbling away on endless simmer. Like one of those fancy water baths you use to poach things. Like fish. And chicken.

Uh...where was I? RIGHT! IMPATIENT! Impatient and afraid. Not ready to face the result I know is coming. I think y'all's positive attitudes towards my eventual pregnancy infected me, and made me forget that of course it will never happen. (Not that I want you to be negative. Too bad you'll never have a baby, Bunny. Sux 2 B U. = Not really what I'm looking for.) Maybe I just feel alone, despite your lovely support. There's not much we can really do for each other during these periods except offer words of hope. And my husband doesn't like to talk about it, doesn't ask how I'm doing, doesn't think about this every moment of every day. It's a solitary experience.

I went to the botanical garden today for a few moments of quiet contemplation. I threw a coin in the reflecting pool, and remembered throwing a coin in the pool this time last year, making the same wish. Today I sat on a secluded bench near a little stream. I watched water sparkling over sand, and a chipmunk sitting on the bank. I felt no peace, just a heavy heart. As the Ancient Chinese say, this shit sucks.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Savory torments

My, I haven't had a real two week wait in a while. I'm not really a fan. I'm doing my best to follow Low Fat Lady's advice: let go of all the what ifs, do everything I can, hope for the best. That does kind of quiet the noise in my head...but not for long.

Last night I saw two bunnies in the back yard, a big one and a smaller one. There's no guarantee that it was a mamma and baby, and it's not like I don't see bunnies pretty regularly (one of the reasons I love my house so much!), but of course I want it to be an Auspicious Omen. The thing about Auspicious Omens, though, is that you just feel worse than ever when they turn out to be Meaningless Coincidences.

So I'm also reminding myself that, should things not go my way, I'll get to have the biggest, most alcoholic drink on the face of the planet. And, I have to travel to CA for a conference (at which I have to give a keynote address! AAAAAAAAAH!!!) in a few weeks, and would be really worried about that if I were pregnant. So there will be a couple of upsides. Though you know as well as I do how completely un-comforting those upsides are when in the throes of disappointment.

Meanwhile...TOMATOES! They've arrived! We've been getting about one a day for the past week or so, and they are pretty damn tasty. I've made risotto, a tasty dish we call food stacks (basically puff pastry with carmelized onions, goat cheese, a slice of tomato, and some basil), and pizza. Just in case you thought I was only going to torture you dairyless, wheatless, low fat folks with desserts.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The four year anniversary gift is jizz in a catheter, right?

Four years ago was my wedding day. I married Mr. Bunny because he was the first man to love me despite the fact that I have a big black oval for a face. (He sees my inner beauty.) As it turns out, he's also the perfect match for me. I can never quite get over my astonishment that he's willing to put up with my crankiness and nagging and fits of despair. 

That blurry figure is Mr. BFB, who performed the ceremony. You can only see Mr. Bunny's hand. Just in case you think I'm married to a guy with a blurry face. Wouldn't THAT make a pretty baby?

I considered trying to get pregnant that same year. Once I'd recovered from finishing my dissertation and moving and buying a house and adjusting to life as a faculty member, I felt like there was a lot of extra time in my schedule. But I wanted to spend a few years being married first. I wonder what would have happened if we had tried then. Would we have gotten to skip this IF bullshit? Would I even want that? As long as there's still hope for a baby someday, I can be grateful for the ways this experience has brought us closer and made us stronger. Or would we have spent those first fairly happy years being miserable instead, going through exactly what we've gone through, but without the deeper understanding of each others' characters we developed in years one and two?

It would be pretty awesome if we conceived a child on our anniversary, if via a very unromantic method. (Everything went fine this morning. I told Nurse Idiot that the bend in my cervix goes anterior, then posterior, and she was in with only a few sighs of frustration. I HATE having some person between my legs sighing with frustration!) Missing out on the fabulousness of that coincidence will be an added source of disappointment if this goes the way it's always gone before.

It's a bit weird to post poems read at your wedding, because taste in nuptial readings is so subjective and personal. But one of the poems read at ours has come to have extra meaning for me in the wake of IF. I think many of us who are the broken ones in the relationship wonder whether our partners would like to trade us in for someone with working parts. And I know my husband fears that if we never have our own child, he won't be enough. And he won't be--something will always be missing, there will always be a hole in my heart. But he's what I would choose if I could have only one thing in life. And I do not think that this will change, no matter how rocky our path.

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IF 101

In the fall, I usually teach a small class in which I work with a co-instructor. We've worked together since my first semester here (with the exception of last fall), but she's from a different unit at Mediocre Institution, so I don't see her otherwise. She's a great woman. She's also a fellow infertile. This emerged immediately because she's got an adopted son who is a different ethnicity, and she chooses to explain that up front. She knows about my situation because she's nosy and kept asking me when we were going to try. (Good to know IF doesn't cure people of that annoying habit.) So when we started trying I told her, and now it's pretty obvious that things are not working out.

We just met up for a pre-semester planning session, and we updated each other on the personal front as well. Her husband is dying, so that's awesome for her, while I'm staring down the barrel of IVF. While I normally prefer to keep my personal life very separate from my professional life, I find that I'm really glad to have someone who knows my situation, and will be sympathetic in a way no other kind of woman could if some weeks I am a complete mess.

On the other hand, she's also one of those people who got pregnant while finalizing adoption proceedings. Those situations must come with all kinds of complex emotions that I can't begin to understand, but some of her comments to me do have a slight "just relax" or "give yourself over to God" flavor. So having her know my situation might also be rather frustrating. We'll see.

IUI tomorrow morning, barring unforeseen complications. I think my egg is hanging out around my appendix right now (I have this whole theory about my eggs never being taken up) so this is all totally pointless, but you know me--I'll do anything to have my cervix assaulted with the Extra Pokey Catheter.

Also, I won't torment those of you on fatless, dairyless, wheatless diets any more with photos of delicious delicacies, but those of you who want to gorge your faces on sweets can find recipes here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't WANNA!

School starts next week. I've got my trapper keeper, my crayons, and my new lunchbox with a unicorn and a kitten on it, so I'm good to go. Except...I'm thinking of playing sick, 'cause I just don't wanna do it.

I've been telling myself that Teaching is Fun and Rewarding. And it totally is. But because I suffer from pretty bad stage fright, getting up in front of my 100+ person class is incredibly stressful. It's worst at the beginning of the year, but the terror never goes away. And even getting up in front of my smaller class is scary. Ugh. I wish I could WILL the fear away. Since I'm totally fucking up the Do Awesome Research and Publish A Lot and Get Grants part of my job, it would be rad to have some aspect of my career that didn't fill me with dread. Plus the terror is bad for my Uterine Spikes.*

Please, Universe, give me classes with great dynamics and motivated, friendly students. Oh, and a baby. (In my uterus, though, not in my classes.)

Meanwhile, in addition to forcing me to not drink or smoke crack (SIGH!), the IUI sheet from my clinic recommends eating a balanced diet. NO PROBLEM. What's more balanced than a chocolate ganache tart with raspberries and cream? The crunchiness of the crust balances the softness of the cream, the sweetness of the chocolate balances the tartness of the berries... Perfect. 




*Bunny, G. (2010). Stress-induced uterine spikes 'cause teaching is scary and I ain't got no bebbeh. Journal of Sterility & Fertility, 60, 50-6,232.

Monday, August 16, 2010

You don't think you have any hope...

Until you find yourself terribly disappointed. First, I should say that I have NOTHING to be terribly disappointed about, and I'm quite aware that an awful lot of people do. They have my sincere sympathies even as I wallow in self-pity. It's just that any reproduction-related procedure gets me so keyed up that I have a BIG emotional reaction when the slightest thing goes wrong. And it's funny--I feel like a million different people with this cycle. There's the HUGE part of me that has zero hope for IUI.* There's the part of me that is following all the rules because I'm terrified of the looming finality of IVF. There's the silly little part of me that thinks if Egg can get pregnant via IUI, maybe I can too (isn't that the most wonderful thing? I'm not gonna lie--some blogosphere pregnancies are tinged with why not meeeeeee??? sadness as well as joy, but not this one! That girl has waited her turn like a CHAMP! Please, Universe, don't make her wait any more.), despite the fact that our situations have nothing to do with each other. Then there's the part of me that's trying to give positive thinking a chance in order to supress the uterine spikes. (Because stress makes your uterus grow spikes. I have a PhD so you have to believe me.) And then there's the entirely normal part of me that wants everything to go perfectly, just like every other woman who has ever gone through this. Because going through this shit is hard enough even when it does go perfectly.

A couple of things are not going perfectly this cycle. My ovaries are taking their time, so I'm not supposed to trigger until tomorrow. But what if I ovulate when I normally do? If that happens, there will be no sperm for my nice little egg(s). (My clinic is a No Sex Before IUI clinic, plus my husband will be out of town.) I know I should just trust the clinic and not worry about it, but I find that very hard to do. (I also got Nurse Idiot this morning, and she does not so much inspire the confidence.) And second, they wanted me to trigger on Wednesday for a Friday IUI, but a stupid mandatory pre-semester thing I HAVE to do got in the way. Take home point: the timing of the IUI will be suboptimal.

Anyway, I'll get over it, and will simply have to hope for the best. But it's always a surprise how devastating these little things can be, considering how little I expect the procedure to work in the first place!




*I know, you guys are all like But your shiny new uterus! However, if my RE thought the fibroids were a real issue he would have recommended myomectomy from the start. Having them out is really just a pre-IVF necessity. Ergo IUI is pointless, same as it was the last four times.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Red Raspberry for Fertility...Bunny Style

In order to get my ute in shape for the upcoming IUI, I know I should be eating lots of fertility-enhancing things like pineapples and owls and whatever the fuck. I've heard red raspberry tea is the shit, but I couldn't bring myself to actually buy a box. (Or borrow a few DOZEN from Lady Pumpkin.) But then I realized that Other Pathways are open to me. Namely, raspberry jelly doughnuts with lavender sugar. (In case you were wondering what to do with that lavender in your garden.) Mr. Bunny and I made them last night. (He does the deep fat frying in our househhold.) I figured I should let you in on my amazing secret for tons of babies, and also provide a little disgusted frisson for those of you who are into clean living.

NOM!
Tomorrow's my ultrasound, so let's hope nothing horribly disappointing happens. Not that it could, what with my doughnut treatment and all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another day, another snotfest

I'm having a rough time.

I know, I totally disguised that fact with my cheery, sunshiney attitude. I'm so tricksy.

I've been trying to convince myself that because my life may never improve in the ways I want it to (i.e., dozens of roly poly baby bunnies, smashing...or really any kind of...career success), I need to find a way to live it instead of wishing for things I may never have, or experiencing endless anxiety about my job and my general degree of adequacy as a human being. And then I notice how tight my chest is and how tears are welling up in my eyes again, and all the studies I accidentally looked at dealing with links between infertility and stress and depression flash before my eyes and I feel my uterus shrivel up or grow ten foot spikes or something.

I know you can't help me with this particular problem.

So here's something you actually can advise on. I need to find a nice way to tell my best friend that she's going to have to FUCK OFF for a while because I can't stand thinking about her. (I know, you probably thought you'd never have to hear about this particular relationship again now that she's moved away. NOPE. Still gonna hear about it.) Though come to think of it, it's hard to do better than that phrasing. Who wouldn't react with compassionate in the face of such a request? Only a total monster. But feel free to see if you can do better.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fifth verse, slightly different from the first

During previous IUIs, I didn't always obey the instructions on my clinic-provided sheet. For example, the sheet says:
  1. NO ALCOHOL. Whatevs. I had a drink now and then up to the insemination day.
  2. Decrease caffeine intake. Whatevs. I drink a latte in the morning. What am I supposed to do--drink half a latte?
  3. No strenuous exercise. Whatevs. I continued my not particularly grueling workout routine until the insemination day. 
But now that IVF is becoming less of a distant possibility and more of a forthcoming reality, I find that I want to do what I can to give this procedure a shot. And it's not because I want to spare us the expense and the trauma of an IVF cycle. We've saved the money, and while I don't mean to downplay the physical and emotional stresses, I think I can handle it. It's the fear of reaching the point at which we've run out of options. IVF is still that comforting Big Gun right now. Though I know all too well that it's no miracle solution, it's still a major source of hope right now, and I don't know how to handle the prospect of looking forward and seeing nothing to cling to. All the impatience I used to feel is morphing into something else...something more like reluctance.

(Am I jumping the gun here a bit by contemplating this? Yes, but that's how I work. )

Anyway, I don't think the failure of IUIs 1-4 had anything to do with those bullet points from my clinic checklist. But, here's the plan for this cycle:
  1. NO ALCOHOL. NO ALCOHOL.
  2. Decrease caffeine intake. Half a latte.
  3. No strenuous exercise. No strenuous exercise.  
At least I'll be feeling suuuuuuuuuper good when I get my negative result.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A little experiment

At my German conference, I decided to try a little experiment in openness about IF. There have been a number of conversations lately about how to be an advocate for IF when it's such a private issue and one that the general public seems pretty unsympathetic to or at least incapable of appreciating the seriousness of. (Take THAT, syntax! You are my BITCH!) I was thinking perhaps one place where I could help the cause was in discouraging people from asking about others' reproductive plans. This can be done by a combination of being an asshole and making people feel very uncomfortable, both things at which I excel. That is, when people ask about your plans, the nice thing to do is say something polite that pretends having a baby is just a question of deciding you want one. The assholeish awkwardness-creating thing to do (or AACTD, if you will) is to tell the truth. This will ideally make at least that one person think twice about asking next time. So I did a little AACTD. (That acronym is TOTALLY going to catch on. Eat it up, RESOLVE.) It happened fairly naturally because of the circumstances. The conference was attended by a lot of people who know me pretty well (my old grad school cohort and labmates), and many of them are or recently were pregnant. So of course they all asked me about my plans. In addition, for reasons that are mysterious to me, a lot of people seemed to think I was pregnant as well. Like, several people said, Didn't I hear good news about you? while starting at my stomach. In short, I had many opporunities for AACTD. When people asked me if we wanted kids or had plans to have kids, I said, We desperately want kids, but it's not just a question of wanting for some people. When they asked if I was pregnant, I said, Noooooooo, in a tear-choked voice that implied There's a world of pain here and aren't you sorry you brought it up?

I have to say, peoples, AACTD did the trick. People usually said, Oh, gosh, I'm sorry and backed off as though they'd just wandered up to a big pile of writhing vipers. I don't know that the people who got ACCTDed will be less likely to raise the issue with the next woman of reproductive age they encounter, but if the faintest whiff of the notion that infertility exists has entered their brains, I will have accomplished something. Sure, they may now think I'm extremely socially maladjusted, but that's the price you pay for advocacy.

So: Here's a call to arms. Join me in my asshole!

No, wait, that's not quite right...uh...never mind.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Nothing of any significance

First, a big I'm So Very Sorry in Andie's direction. She deserves a truckload of beautiful babies, and instead she gets heartbreak. You're really stupid, World.

Meanwhile, my husband has agreed to come home early if necessary so that we can do an IUI this month regardless of how the timing works out. I'm grateful, but also just hate hate hate having to be grateful. I wish...well, that we weren't even in this situation, but given that we are, that he'd somehow magically take more control. That I didn't have to feel like I'm asking for favors. Uggh. Anyway, my day 12 ultrasound is now set up, all the drugs are on hand, and I can at least feel like I'm killing time til IVF in the most productive fashion possible. Which brings me oodles of joy, as you can probably imagine.

Here are some trivial things that actually do bring me something mildly joy-ish. First, yesterday was Mr. Bunny's birthday so I made miniature eclairs...and they were hella NOM. And we went out to dinner so I got the chance to wear a super awesome new necklace.

Coffee icing, vanilla bean cream filling.
From Etsy. Enter "untamed" in a search by seller and you should find the shop.
One has to keep from despair somehow: stuffing one's face with sweets and wearing frilly frocks are not bad options.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Jetlag + bladder = FUCK YOU

I made the mistake of e-mailing Mr. Bunny (who is traveling) about how well I was doing getting back on Ohio time. Sure enough, I woke up (irreversibly) at 4:30 this morning. I know how important it is not to congratulate yourself on jetlag recovery, but I did it anyway. STUPID! Also, over the past year or so my stupid full bladder has started waking me up around 5 or 6. I hoped that maybe with the removal of my meatballs this would go away. Nope. Still waking up needing to pee. NOT A FAN! It would be fine if I were gestating a fetal human or some shit, but waking up just because I'm an old lady is laaaaaaame and depressing. I've tried not drinking anything after a certain time of night, but then I just get horribly thirsty and end up chugging water as though I've just crawled across a burning wasteland. And maybe if my life were filled with unicorns and rainbows I'd just go back to sleep, but as it is, the moment I become conscious, worries flood in with amazing velocity. OhmygodihavetoteachagainsoonandineedtofinishthatpaperSTATandi'llnevergetpregnantandi'maviodingmybestfriend'semailsbecauseihate thinkingaboutherstupidbabyandOWmybladderandwhydidisaythatthingtothatpersoanandihavesomuchironingtodoand, on this particular morning, please let cycle day one hold off until tomorrow, as that would make me pretty secure about actually having some sperm around on the day I'm likely to need it. Fucking timing. So sick of worrying about timing.

(Speaking of timing, yeah, my understanding is that I can't go straight to IVF because I need to heal a bit more before my ovaries get all inflated like balloons. I think my RE likes to do everything he can to protect his clinic's IVF success rates, and to the extent that this makes me more likely to be part of the lucky 50%, I'm on board. I think after this IUI I'll schedule a consult to get a timeline down.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Journey into my psyche...

Let me start with something amusing, since the rest of this post will not be. And perhaps even this item will not be, particularly to those of you who are not into black humor. Although if you're not into black humor, you may not want to ever come back here.

In Berlin, Mr. Bunny and I were having lunch with one of my favorite grad school friends (male! not pregnant!) at an Italian place. Our pizzas were taking an incredibly long time. Grad school friend said, Maybe they have to fire up their special ovens. Mr Bunny (who is ethnically, though not religiously Jewish) said,  OH NOOOOOOOOO! My people have had enough of the special ovens!

Today I stopped by the pharmacy to put in an order for Ovidrel so that I'll be prepared to do an IUI this month. I have some Clomid left over from my last IUI, and I've looked at Mr. Bunny's travel schedule on our shared calendar and the timing should work out with respect to his Contribution. (You will not recall, because why should you? You have important things to going on in your own life! that I have to wait until November for IVF, but can do IUI in the meantime, provided travel doesn't get in the way.) The thing is, I haven't told my husband about my negative test yet.

Based on what I've gleaned from reading your stories, I'm a crazy person in this respect. I mean, those of you who test at all, don't you share the news right away? I don't know why I don't want to tell him. It's not just this month--I've always had a really hard time getting myself to do it. Many months I don't think I even DO. It just becomes obvious. And recall that I'm also the person who didn't tell her husband about her chemical pregnancy until SEVEN MONTHS later. I'm not sure what my deal is. So I figured I'd ask you, because what's more fun that psychoanalyzing someone else? And if you're like You're a psychologist, do it yourself, I repeat, I'm not that kind of psychologist.

So that you have complete information to work with, it's not that I'm hoping I'm pregnant despite the negative test, though it's true that when I tell him about a negative test, he sometimes asks if there's  a chance that I'm still pregnant, and I HATE IT when he does that. (HAAAAAAAAATE IT!) What it feels like inside my head is that I don't want to remind him of the whole fucking situation, 'cause he's told me he doesn't like thinking about it. And telling him requires us to talk about next steps, often, which he's said he hates. But there's got to be something more to it. Something DARK! DISTURBING!

So, how do you handle this particular moment in your lives? Why do you think I have such a hard time with it?

(Oh, and don't bother suggesting that I just stop testing. I have my specific reasons for doing so and you ain't gonna convert me.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ich bin ein Berliner

Except not any longer, as I'm home. I'm pleased to see that all some of you needed to get knocked up was for me to leave town; if I'd known I'd have left long ago. The trip did not have the same effect on my own personal uterus. I got a big fat NOT PREGNANT this morning. Oh yeah, I remember this feeling of devastation and despair and total non-surprise! Good to have it back.

I'd like to tell you that I had a wonderful trip and didn't think about babies for an instant, but while I had a good trip on the whole, I thought about babies a hell of a lot. I admire those of you who can put the topic out of your minds, though in my defense, there were a few things working against me. To begin with, babies was the unofficial theme of my conference. All my colleagues were either pregnant, showing me baby pictures, or not attending because of their impending deliveries. IT SUCKED. It made me feel really left behind, particularly because all these horrible women ALSO seemed to be extremely intellectually productive. It's almost like I just spent two years accomplishing nothing and being miserable while everyone else was having a normal life!

It also turns out that everyone in Berlin is pregnant. (Even the men.) This is stupid, but it was actually depressing to face the fact that it's not just the entire American population that can have loads of children, but the rest of the world as well. Except for us.

So yeah. That was a rather gloomy travelogue. But that's my style.

Less gloomy tidbits include discovering that my German is totally adequate. You know, not for elaborate conversation, but for basic interactions, I'm THE SHIT! We also had some tasty food, saw some lovely sights, and, because Mr. Bunny has been saving his miles for a million years, flew first class. Duuuuuuuuude! I've never done it before, and...I like it.

Now that I'm home, I'm facing year three of IF. I can't let it be as bad as year two. I have no idea, let alone any concrete plan, for how to make it better. But at least I have this super awesome resolution. Sweet. While I'm mulling it over, please enjoy these faceless travel pictures.

The view from our hotel in Frankfurt.
Fr├╝hst├╝cksetagere! I'd tell you where I had it, but that neighborhood has the largest concentration of bellies ever seen.
The universal expression that goes with "This Flammkuchen is way too fucking large! Why is this happening to me?"