Baby Velvet 07 Nov 2011 8:18 pm
I had lunch with a friend the other day who is enduring the same baby-making road that I am. In the email exchange where we were setting up our plan to meet and eat, she said something to the effect of how it’s nice to just talk to someone who doesn’t say the wrong things.
Oh, the wrong thing. There are so many things on the list of “wrong” when you are enduring something as difficult as the struggle to have a baby. I’m not even sure why I say things like this out loud anymore because it will surely prompt some allegedly well-meaning person to email or call me after having read this, to make some idiotic statement that will make me seriously consider ripping off their nipples. With. My. Teeth.
After I posted something along these lines the last time, someone actually emailed me to say, “Oh, I know someone who did IVF and she miscarried twins at 5 months.” FIVE MONTHS! So you mean, getting pregnant isn’t even the real hurdle? Apparently I have to STAY pregnant? And walk on eggshells the whole time? Yeesh. Thanks for your kind words.
Someone tried to say, “She didn’t mean it maliciously.”
Um, okay, how did she mean it? Why would she say this? Why would anyone say this?
What about when a friend knows you are going through pretty intense fertility treatments and knows it didn’t work responds by saying, “You’ll try again.” You know, I can see how you may think that’s helpful, but I’m not sure that you realize that your simple solution of “trying again” isn’t as easy as supersizing my meal. “Trying again” means 2 more months of downtime and ramping up, of 40 more shots in the stomach, of countless appointments for blood, sonograms, of veins collapsing, of another $15,000, of my vagina developing acid reflux because there are so many meds in me that they are rebelling. Suddenly “You’ll try again” doesn’t seem so quick of a fix, does it?
What about the old “just relax.” People love to tell you that if you “just relax” that you’ll end up pregnant. That their friends, and friends of their friends, and their babysitter’s next door neighbor’s kid’s teacher’s cousin all just quit trying and bim bam boom. Pregnant. Because that will work for you. That diagnosis, which was free! Yes, Free! It will work for you, even though the speaker has absolutely no idea of your personal situation.
A variation of “just relax” is the “why don’t you just adopt.” Well, shit. If you were at the store and you were looking for a watermelon for something specific you were making and someone said to you, “why not get the sausage instead?” Would that make sense? No? Well then why would you tell me to adopt when the goal is to have a child with my husband? (Yes, I get that the comparison of sausage and watermelon to adopting kids is weird and possibly insensitive, but I’m trying to illustrate a point to people who seem to have no fucking concept of what they are saying. I had to dumb it down with food.)
It’s a tough road that those on the Infertility Roller Coaster have to ride. There’s nothing you can say that’s right to us other than to just smile, nod, and say that you are sorry. Or not. Act totally uninterested and we’ll get it that you don’t want to hear it. But we don’t want quick fixes, we don’t want to hear what your friend did, we don’t want to hear that we should relax, or adopt, or get a surrogate, sperm donor, do acupuncture. We also don’t want to hear what your kid did that was so stinking cute you just had to tell the whole damn world. It’s not cute to us. It’s tear-inducing.
But people don’t get it. So we suffer in silence because it somehow seems wrong to say that what is being said to us is not helpful or downright hurtful. Does it make me a bitch? Most likely. But no one else is riding in my shoes right now, so they don’t get to judge.
Velvet in Dupont 19 Oct 2011 1:38 pm
I’m sorry to interrupt my regularly scheduled programming of infertility bitching, but something hilarious just came to my attention.
Apparently, because I don’t really try to hide it really anyway, this blog is making its way around my former employer of 7 days. So one by one everyone is reading it, which I guess makes my decision to jet out even more validated and it brings me back to my original question:
Does anyone do any fucking work at that company??? Or do they just wait for new people to arrive so they can dump all the work on them? Client service people, that’s where it’s at. Returning phone calls and answering emails, that’s how it’s done. Not by sitting there passing this url around the company and not doing your jobs.
Baby Velvet 17 Oct 2011 11:29 pm
4 IVF Cycles
X and I spent all night debating all the finer points of IVF and everything we’ve learned. While I love Shady Grove, and will continue to recommend them to anyone who asks, I have found their downside. It’s not just theirs, but that of many other clinics, and why all this really is just a big business. No matter what a doctor says about how he/she wants to help you “get your baby,” they won’t do so at a cost. I’ll get to that in a minute.
X had the foresight to pay for a multi-cycle discount which gave us the 2nd IVF at half price. His theory was that if we paid for the 2nd one, they had more incentive to make the first one work. He said it was sort of like insurance. (Remember, X gets hot down there for insurance products.) The first IVF didn’t work. No surprise there, I just expect the bad news now. When we started up the next round it was almost surreal. I literally could not believe I was getting the shots again.
Shady Grove changed the meds because I didn’t respond well the prior time. This time, as I went in for daily blood tests and sonograms, it sounded like we were hitting home runs all over the place. But, this is the lottery where you win, then they start taking money away from you and leave you with nothing.
1st IVF: 15 eggs retrieved, 13 fertilized, 7 started dividing and only 4 were barely alive at day 3.
2nd IVF: Natural, no meds. 1 egg retrieved. Reached 5 day blastocyst, i.e. “the best it gets.”
3rd IVF: 7 eggs retrieved, 2 fertilized and started dividing and were put back in at day 3.
4th IVF: 10 eggs retrieved, 6 fertilized and started dividing and all 6 continued through to day 4. By day 5, 2 died and we were down to 4 eggs, a few of which were slowing in growth.
See how those numbers sound so good at first, but then every day after the egg retrieval, you keep losing?
They choose the strongest 2 embryos to put back in, and will freeze what is left as long it is a blastocyst. This means that if you have 6 embryos that are growing and 2 become blastocysts, they will put those two in. And guess what happens to the other 4? They aren’t good enough for their Kenmore’s apparently, so they throw them out.
This is exactly what happened to us. We asked if I could have just one of those other embryos put in with the two good quality ones, and they said no - two is their max. Their position is if it is not a blastocyst at day 5, then it would “most likely” not survive a freeze/thaw. Well, how does that explain my friend who has a 6 year old right now who was one of these “bad quality undesirable” embryos? How does it explain all the other women on message boards who had frozen, low quality, highly fragmented embryos put back in that resulted in a child?
You may be asking, why won’t the clinics just let you have your embryos and give them a chance? Because every failed embryo transfer, whether fresh or frozen, goes against a clinic’s stats. So they rely on statistics while we leverage our assets preparing for the next step and wonder if our child just got flushed into the Potomac.
So all this bodes the question that we’ve been debating all night. Most women get few, if any blastocysts. Is it worth it to spend all this money and go through the financial, physical and emotional drain to get the 2 embryos they’ll allow you on transfer day, knowing that the other ones will be thrown away?
I never expected this reaction but I cried as I told X tonight, I feel like someone actually took a baby away from us.
No more IVF for me. It’s one thing if the embryos are put inside you and don’t result in a pregnancy, but it’s a whole other ballgame if they never even allow them the chance to try.
Velvet in Dupont 13 Oct 2011 5:58 pm
Well, after my last drama where I was on deck for a job, then the potential boss was told of my fertility quest, they still hired me. They never said a peep about the baby stuff, and just called me to confirm that they resolved the issue(s) with my friend and would I want to start relatively quickly. I agreed and got all my other issues up to date so that I could start a job.
My first day I went into software training as they were completing this long-discussed software conversion for the entire company. I was introduced to everyone, all of whom seemed to do a lot of standing around and not a lot of working. From what I had heard about the company, I was told that this was sort of the norm - the support staff really didn’t do a lot of work. They didn’t answer emails, they didn’t do their job, and in October, they were 3 months behind on producing financial statements for the clients. In fact, one such Einstein was at her desk surfing facebook when they brought me to meet her. She had her ear plugs in, so she didn’t even hear us standing next to her, and just continued to chat with her facebook friends.
My second day, still without email or a phone, my personal inbox was filling up with all sorts of emails. People had somehow nabbed my yahoo email and were sending me every single outstanding issue for which they needed help. I was begging the people at the company to stop using my personal email and for some reason, no one listened. Late in the day, I received a forwarded email asking me to go to court at 8 a.m. the next morning to be a witness for a lien that was to be filed on a homeowner in one of our communities. Really? I’ve been here less than 2 days and you want me to go to court? No.
My third and fourth day I continued to amass emails and phone calls from pissed off people who had been ignored for, in some cases, months. Everything was a priority. The fourth day they finally issued me a cell phone. That fucking thing never stopped buzzing. I’d put it down and come back 20 minutes later and have 15 emails and voicemail. Is this a joke?
My fifth day I was issued a computer. The screen looked like someone threw a baseball bat at it. I emailed the computer guy and said, “Didn’t you notice before you left my desk that this monitor was cracked and I can only see the top left inch of what’s on the screen?” He replied and said, “You need to file a work ticket for that.” I do? Really? You fucking moron, you set up my computer when I wasn’t here, left me with broken equipment and I NEED TO SEND IN A GOD DAMNED TICKET??? At lunch that day the people in the office began discussing golden showers. Then they grilled me about my personal life and why I went to work there. I was starting to wonder.
The fifth day was also when I received an email from some beast in our office who told me that I would need to be “on call” next week and the week of Christmas. I said, “Are you serious? I just started, cannot grasp my own job and you want me to do everyone else’s job too?” She said, “Every manager has to do it.” I said, “I started almost at year end - didn’t you all have this figured out before I got here?” She said it was “company policy.” You can stick your company policy up your ass you fat bitch, I’m not doing it. I forwarded this whole exchange to my boss and said, “I am NOT doing this. It is totally disrespectful for her to even ask me.”
My sixth day I was told I would have meetings that night, and every single night the following week with clients. Every. Single. Night. And because we are salary - you guessed it. There is no such thing as comp time. Shit, even if there were, at this point, 6 days in, I have over 150 emails that need attention. That night I went to a meeting and practically got a standing ovation at my announcement as the new manager. After the meeting I was accosted by all the clients saying that they never received calls back, that they were in the middle of elections and ballots needed to be mailed, that their annual meeting was soon and their budgets were late. It was totally obvious I was 6 days in and 6 months behind.
And on the seventh day, God rested.
I went to the office, got bombarded with several dozen more email stating that I needed to do this “right away” and a few dozen more emails that started out with “Velvet is the new point of contact” which I could add to my collection of 100’s of emails that all needed attention and I just flipped out. I emailed my boss with a “where are you / we need to talk.” No answer. I went to my car, got all my keys, fobs, and access cards, brought them to my desk, put them next to my cell phone, laptop and chargers, and sent an email that said, in a nutshell, the following:
I’m leaving. It’s one thing to start a job and be a few weeks behind, but this is insane. Every single thing I touch hasn’t been touched or worked on in weeks, sometimes months. Everything is a priority, and now I find out that I have to get budgets mailed out, ballots sent, annual meeting notices, the accounting department has been blaming on a software change for their incompetence for 3 months, everyone is angry and they all bombarded me by email or in person with lists of not a few, but dozens upon dozens of things that need to be done. I need to just learn the job, and I can’t do that when I’m flooded with emails and work that hasn’t been done in months, as well as things going forward I don’t even know how to do. I can’t dig out of this. I left my keys, etc on the desk. Sorry.
And with that, I left.
They called and asked me to come back, promised to help, and I said absolutely not.
Velvet in Dupont 20 Sep 2011 11:15 pm
It just doesn’t pay to be a nice person.
An old co-worker, Steve, called me earlier this year and asked if I would be interested in a 3 month contract job working for him at a property. I agreed and was able to fit it into my life as a Realtor. It ended up being a decent stint and I met some interesting people I’m still in touch with. At the end of my time doing the work, the company who employs Steve expressed an interest in hiring me full time.
We had been discussing various positions for the past few months, but it quieted down in late August. A week and a half ago, I heard from the company again, and met with Charlie for an informal interview. He told me that part of my responsibility would include lifting some work off Steve who was overloaded. Nothing seemed amiss.
The next day Charlie asked me via email if I was available immediately. I said if they could be flexible with my existing clients and time demands, I could start in the near term.
The day after that, X and I were at his mother’s house and when I went to check my phone and saw that both Charlie and Steve had called within a few minutes of each other. I called Steve back first. He said that they gave him “the talk” and that they were either demoting him or getting rid of him, but that they were giving me his job. I thought this was mega-uncool. Then I called Charlie back and got essentially the same story - there had been “a talk” and they were unhappy with Steve and planned to have me replace him. They wanted to tell me since he was my friend who basically introduced us and to see if it would be uncomfortable for me.
In this conversation I really went to bat for Steve. I set forth two points: First, I worked with Steve at another company and knew him to be diligent and attentive. If he wasn’t able to do a satisfactory job, I wasn’t sure what I would be able to do differently. Second, it just didn’t feel right for me to be the catalyst for them letting someone go, much less someone who had brought me into the company and they needed to resolve this first before bringing me on. X was sitting there listening and he said he was so proud of how I handled them and myself, and that Steve really was lucky to have me be so loyal that I’d forego a job for him.
Charlie recommended I talk to Steve and get his side. I had already done this, but we did talk again the next day. He confirmed that he was told to “get his resume together” and because he was one of the few who I was honest with about the IVF process, he said that the condition the company was in was so bad, that if I wanted to get pregnant I should really reconsider taking the job regardless. I did tell him that we felt like time was running out for us, and while no one knew of the IVF, I didn’t want to get pregnant and then lose a baby because of a stressful working environment or something else like that. In all, he was appreciative of the things I had said about him to his boss.
A couple days went by and Charlie emailed me to ask me if I had made a decision. I told him that I would rather that they resolve the issue with Steve, that if I took the job and they let him go that I would feel like the catalyst for it. I ended by saying we could talk at some point down the road. I didn’t hear back from him. I didn’t hear back from Steve either, for 5 days.
Steve finally called me to tell me that “nothing had happened.” He wasn’t fired last Friday as he had been led to believe, he wasn’t sure what was going on, and said that Charlie had told him to convey to me that the situation was resolved with Steve. Steve then said to Charlie, “Well, with them trying to have a baby and going through IVF, I seriously doubt she would want to get involved in this company.”
Um. Okay…I had said several times that Steve was the only one who knew about this, and that I certainly did NOT tell the company where I’m interviewing that I’m trying to get pregnant. First of all, I’m not actually pregnant so what does it matter, and second, it’s none of a company’s business and was totally inappropriate to say and now probably removed me from all consideration for getting a job there.
I’m just so pissed off because from what the company had told me, they were really unhappy with Steve and even went through specific performance related shortcomings about him. The fact that I didn’t take the job enabled Steve to keep his, and he sold me out. For no reason.
People really suck.
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