Monday, June 23, 2008

Fertility (not a post for the easily squeamish or offended)

I've learned some very interesting things about fertility these past few months. You have all the eggs you will ever have in your entire life when you are still a baby in the womb. That means that Amelia is almost as old as I am :) At birth, you lose a large percentage of those. At puberty, you lose another percentage. A woman has lost 90% of her fertility by the time she's 40. 99% by the time she's 45. Most of the women you hear of who are pregnant after the age of 40 have had extra help or are using other eggs. Apparently while your eggs age, your uterus never does. By age 40, you have a one in 15 chance of viability (meaning one of every 15 eggs that is impregnated will live). By now, my odds are 1 in 20.

For those who know Lisa, you do the math on what they must have done to have 9 kids by the time she was 40. I'm just saying....

My doctor, Dr. Blohm (in Savannah) is very, very direct - which leads to some unintentionally hilarious moments.

Like when he's giving me an ultrasound and keeps mumbling "42. 42? 42." Then he walks out of the room. That would be my actual age if, in fact, I was still having birthdays. Which I'm not. I stopped at 39 and I'm waiting for Rafe to catch up! :) Apparently, my age astonishes him because I'm not supposed to be doing as well on the meds as I am. Since most of my eggs are supposed to be gone by now, the best he was hoping for was 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 that reached the required size. When I go into his office, he tells me that my ovaries have a lot of bang left in them, and that I'm giving a 28 year old in his office a run for the money. I have 8 eggs that are the right size, and more that are growing still. I don't have to worry about having 8 kids, however, as again, my odds are only 1 in 15 or 1 in 20 of even having this be a viable pregnancy.

Then he tells me that only once before in the last 15 years has he had a 43 yr old (which technically he considers me since I will be having another non-birthday in August) conceive naturally - meaning without another woman's eggs. The good news is that my body apparently behaves much like hers, so he thinks it's a shot worth taking.
If this doesn't work, then we will try one time after Rafe leaves with IVF, but he thinks that will take all the eggs I have left and we will only have one chance to make it work. Out of 25 eggs, he thinks he can get at least 1 to live.

I'm oddly thrilled by knowing that my eggs are kicking butt. Since I was never the athletic type, never was in a marathon or really very competitive, it seems sort of funny to me that my little eggs are showing off their muscles. Go eggies!!

Anyway, the down side is that he told me that outside of the military, I would have been sent to a fertility specialist 2 years ago, with a much greater likelihood of being pregnant naturally. And that if we had the funds to pay for it to begin with, he would have gone with IVF immediately. Tricare doesn't pay for that, so we had to work with the option we could.

Please pray that it works this time. We want another child very much; and if I don't get pregnant, we have decided to use our savings for a one time shot at IVF. Which, by the way, is unbelievable expensive and I'm very bummed out that Tricare won't pay for it. As soon as I have time after Rafe leaves, I'm going to write a proposal to send to Tricare and the local congressman to bring to the Senate for a change in the Tricare payment. I think if you are over 40 and your husband has deployed or is deploying, they should pay for it 100%. As it stands, they won't pay for anything but assisted natural (meaning medication to help promote egg production).

The one nice thing that the MC is doing this time is letting Rafe start leave 1 day early so he can be home "in time". ;)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Back in Beaufort

I'm going to lighten up and list some things I think are wonderful. My blogging might be a bit emotionally schizophrenic for the next few weeks, so bear with me as I go through the ups and downs of the predeployment cycle.

1. They love their wives.
2. They are loyal and faithful husbands.
3. They are loving and involved dads, they take the time to play with their kids and talk to them.
4. They love mom and dad!! And they help them out when they can.
5. They are hard workers - they give 120% to every thing they do. They are definately not afraid of work. They spend a lot of time and energy providing for their families.
6. They are detail oriented - when they do something, they pay attention to detail and care about doing an excellent job. They are really very smart.
7. They have strong morals and ethics. They often put others first ahead of themselves, but are very quiet and humble about it.
8. They are very funny. VERY funny. Paul's sense of humor is a lot drier, and sometimes it takes you a few minutes to realize he just poked fun at something, but they are hysterical. Todd cracks me up and we can talk for hours about stupid stuff; and I think if we all lived in the same city we'd spend a lot of time laughing. We just don't get to see each other enough in relaxed situations - time is so short we cram a lot of serious stuff in when we see each other.
9. They have cute kids :)
10. They love me!!!!! :) I know they do, even though our family is notoriously horrible at communicating by phone or letter. (I last spoke with Todd in January, Paul in December). I hope they know how much I love them. Way deep down inside!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Three weeks...

That's how much time we have left before Rafe leaves for a year deployment. He'll be working with Iraqis on a MITT team. I'm trying not to think too hard what that means in reality - outside the "wire" and relatively unprotected as compared to the rest of the military.

Three weeks.

One week here in Beaufort - I have 3 doctor appointments.
One week together.
One week his dad will be here for them to spend some time together and to share some things that are very important to Rafe.

Then just a day or two and we're dropping him off back in Jacksonville to say goodbye for a year.

In some ways, it seems like he's been gone forever. Since January 2006, he's been gone so much that I actually don't remember what it's like to live with him. I remember what it used to be like, before we had Amelia (who will turn 2 on the 23rd of this month). I just don't have a clear idea of what it would be like to have a husband come home every night and be there on weekends with a small child in the house. I feel like a bankrolled single parent most of the time.

The hardest part of a military marriage isn't so much the seperation, it's often the coming back together after so much time apart. So much of what makes up the threads of the fabric that weave through a marriage are the daily exchanges and conversations about the things you experience and how you feel about them. You change and grow together, grow forward. In military marriages, you both grow in different directions and have to constantly work at weaving them together

You often forget what the other person doesn't know about your life because it's become so second nature to you. You have a harder time understanding what they just lived through because you didn't live through it with them - you only live through the aftermath. You often can't find the words to explain how exhausting and demoralizing it is to sleep on the concrete or dirt or in the heat night after night; or how exhausting and demoralizing it is to sleep alone with no one to share the daily triumphs and frustrations of your child night after night.

It's hard to explain why you feel like giving up after your child threw magnets and all the papers off the refrigerator and your laptop on the floor trying to get a chair to climb up to see the microwave when you were closing the blinds in the other room. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything... and it's hard to even begin to say it when you know that your spouse would much rather be dealing with a cranky 2 year old than a crazy Iraqi. You feel that you have no room to complain and can't ask for anything for yourself because your spouse has it so much worse.

What really bites for me right now is that no one else on this freaking base has a husband who is deployed. I don't even have a deployment buddy this time. Deployment buddies are your friends who also have husbands gone. You have family dinners at each others houses so your own isn't so quiet and empty, you watch their kids when they give birth without their husbands, you trade babysitting so you can get some much needed alone time or just time to mow the grass and pay the bills. They are there for you when you want to scream with anger or frustration or fear or sorrow. They are there for you after watching your husband fly away on his first deployment, that first night when you hang out with the girls, watch movies and pretend what just happened didn't really happen. There's always one friend whose husband is still around and he becomes the shared husband - he's the one who does the heavy lifting, fixes broken things, gives car advice, and other safely generic husband things. And they are there should the unspeakable happen. You always have a plan if the uniformed men come walking up to your door. You know who will take your kids while you fall apart and pull yourself back together to deal with the rest of your new life.

I should lighten up and look on the bright side - I do have 2 deployment buddies... they are just in jacksonville. It's a long way to drive for free babysitting. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Helicopter Lullaby

The BOQ on New River is directly in the flight path of the helos, and just down the road from the landing zone for the Ospreys. We can look out our window at the water and often see maneuvers of the different helocopters. Amelia LOVES them. She will squeal, run to the window, and yell, "Haycopcop!! MOMMA!! HAYCOPCOP!" She can't quite figure out how to say helicopter, but it's cuter the way she says it anyway. At night, we hear the rumble of the rotors as they fly overhead, coming in or going out on night maneuvers. It's a very peaceful sound and I love it. Sometimes they sound like they are purring as I drift off to sleep.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back at Lejeune

Are you dizzy yet trying to keep track?? We are.

We drove back up June 1st to Lejeune. We stayed 2 nights in the BOQ, but were not able to stay longer because there was a celebrity golf tournament at the base and all the rooms were taken up after that. Interestingly enough, the Marines can't make long term reservations to stay there until they are actually there in person. Apparently the same set of rules didn't apply to the people who were golfing. I guess it's true that it's good professionally to know how to golf! It's much more important to give a golfer a place to stay than the Marine who is seperated from his family for 4.5 months and then deploying for a year.

The entire town was pretty much booked up. Rafe, rather than Omega travel (the MC travel agency) was tasked with having to find himself a place to stay, move all his gear out of one place and then into another. The best place we could get was (Poor) Quality Inn. We stayed there two nights, desperately looking for another place to stay. It's not that I'm not grateful for the preopened bar of soap in the bathroom; the dirt left on the dresser to make it feel homey; the ice bin already filled with melted ice just to prove it didn't leak; the bloodstain on the bedsheets; the cigarette burns in the furniture in a non-smoking room; or even the friendly drunk guy who screamed outside that he didn't want to "be put in a cage" many times just in case we were too sleepy at 2 am to get it the first time he said it. Truly. I was grateful to have a place to sleep, the king size bed was a revelation, and the pillows were quite fluffy. There is always a bright side.

Rafe called around every night until we found that there was a spot available at New River Air Station. We've been back here for the past 2 nights and it's been so much more peaceful. We are right by the New River (actual river) and our window looks directly out on the incoming flight path for the flight line. We saw the Osprey coming in for a landing as we were pulling in and felt so much more at home right away.

I'm sitting in the lobby typing away. It's a NMCI computer, so while I can access this, I can't access my email. :) Maybe Monday or Tuesday I'll hit the library to get it. I didn't bring my laptop this time, but as soon as I can I will come back and update the posts with pictures.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Did I say Sunday night?

This is typical of military life - there are some things they do very, very well. And there are others that just don't make sense.

Rafe isn't coming home until tomorrow morning (monday, instead of sunday, which was instead of friday). Why? Because someone forgot to schedule a bus to come pick them up from 29 Palms and take them to March Air Force Base where they will now have to take a later flight because they obviously missed their first flight.

This basically means they have been sitting in 29 Palms,doing nothing, since Friday. Away from their families. Right before they deploy.

No, I'm not mad or frustrated right now. Not one bit.

Beachfront Property

That's our house in the picture; the other pictures are taken in 4 different directions at the end of our street. Look how close we are to the water!! Too bad it's marsh, then water. Alligators love marsh. One of the guys the next block over saw an alligator on the golf course last weekend.

There's a reason Amelia and I never play "Barnyard Sounds" when we are outside. I don't want Mr. Alligator to think we're plump, delicious chickens.