Monday, October 29, 2007

Barren Bitches Book Tour #7: Happiness Sold Separately, by Lolly Winston (Group B)

#1. On pages 51-52, Elinor discusses her abortion experience. She says choices are a fairytale and that she had always been pro-choice but now realized she had no choice. Has your stance on abortion changed at all since you began suffering from infertility?

Since I learned the difference between pro-life and pro-choice, I have always supported a woman’s right to control her reproductive destiny. As we considered our options down the road – ART versus adoption – I tended to lean more toward the adoption route. While I thought my beliefs on abortion might change the further we walked down the adoption path, they never did.

I remain steadfast that no one has the right to tell anyone what they should so with their body. The way my logic sees it, you if allow one to meddle in a women’s right to end her pregnancy, then we also have to put up with meddling in all sorts of other reproductive capacities, from donor eggs, freezing, donor sperm, surrogates, etc. And that kind of meddling, in my opinion, will lead us back to the dark ages.

#4. One of the parts of the book that brought me to tears was when the oak tree that Elinor loves is chopped down. The tree had become a solid source of support for her, something that gave her comfort following the failure of fertility treatment and the separation with her husband, so its loss was devastating. Have you found something inanimate that has provided you with such support? What happened (or what would happen) when you lost that support?


I loved this question because I almost cried, too, when the Elinor’s oak tree is chopped down. We have a lovely old black walnut tree in the park right behind our house. It shades our house in the summer and has grown wide branches that obscure our backyard and porch from the park’s playground. (As you can imagine, I sometimes get sad looking at the playground).

When they were building the park, I used to have nightmares that I would come home from work and find the tree gone. I would not love my house so much if that tree were not there.

A few weeks ago, my husband trimmed back the tree’s lower branches in preparation for winter. We get big wind storms off the Pacific Ocean in the fall and the branches often break off, hitting our windows. This season, however, he trimmed them back so far that I can see the playground and the other houses across the park. Upon seeing this, I nearly went into a rage. He thought I was being a possessed bitch (and probably with good reason) but I felt so exposed with those branches gone. I still miss them and wish they would grow back quickly. I could not imagine how depressed I would be if the entire tree, like Elinor’s, was gone too.

Now that I have almost gotten over the branch-removal-episode, I must admit that it is fun to watch the squirrels jump from our fence to the now-higher branches. Quite the little athletes they are.

5. At the very close of the book, having discovered her balanced translocation, Elinor likens herself to a screwed up silverware drawer. "Yet there's solace in discovering something is tangibly wrong. A diagnosis rather than you're old" Have you ever felt like this? Do you have a diagnosis for your fertility problems? Was it a relief? If your problem is unidentified, or age is against you, do you wish that you did have a reason?

After my second miscarriage, I had the recurrent pregnancy loss panel done. Mercifully, my doctors generally begin testing after two miscarriages. I vividly remember the first day at the RE’s office. I felt a little giddy because I thought they would find something (a HA!), I would just take a magic pill and viola! baby. Turns out it never is that simple, is it? And even when you do have something tangibly diagnosed – as I know from reading these blogs – the path from diagnosis is often a tough road, too.

I was both relieved and pissed to find out that nothing was really wrong except for my age (I am in my late 30’s but my FSH was in the normal range) and that my progesterone was low. The well-your-age-is-a-factor was the toughest pill to swallow. I blamed myself for waiting. My husband for wanting to wait. And sat by dumbfounded as friend after friend – not to mention celebrities – in their late 30’s and beyond got pregnant with little problem.

I am newly pregnant again. And while I am on 600mg of prometrium a day, my progesterone has hovered around 26 for my entire pregnancy thus far. I can’t help but believe that my low progesterone levels (no matter what the differing studies say) may have complicated my earlier pregnancies when I wasn’t getting any progesterone support. If this one makes it, I will be so relieved. I will try not to be bitter about the other ones and be thankful for what I have, but I will always wonder…

# # #

Like what you read here and are intrigued to see what other's thought about Happiness Sold Separately? Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at
http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/.

You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

16 comments:

Fertilize Me said...

I am newly pregnant (as in less than 6 weeks) my progesterone lvl is also very low and I am hoping that now I am receiving prometrium support, It will correct and protect this pregnancy also

great responses - it's always fun to hear others opinions

Waiting Amy said...

I liked your tale of the walnut tree (I could hear your tone of voice go from angry to silly when you switched to talking about the squirrels!).

We are in the same boat as for diagnosis. I too had the recurrent miscarriage profile after 2 losses, but nothing substantial revealed.

Wishing you so many wonderful experiences from here on out!

Deb said...

Thanks for sharing. It was interesting that you could relate to Elinor's Warren so well.

May you have a healthy pregnancy.

Samantha said...

I agree with you about abortion. As I have gotten older, my feelings about how I see myself relating to abortion have changed, but I don't want to interfere with other women. The area of abortion is lot grayer than I first thought, and there's no easy way to say, "this woman, healthy, healthy baby--no abortion for you" and "that woman, sick, sick baby--you are permitted." Not to mention the slippery slope you mentioned.

Thanks for answering my question about Warren with a story of your own. Warren seemed like almost as important a character in the book as any human to me.

I think for Elinor, getting the diagnosis was reassuring, that it was more than something unexplained or her age. In some ways, I felt like the author throwing that in at the end was a bit of a cop-out, when unexplained would have been more likely. On the other Elinor certainly had been through a lot, so having that information helped soften the ending and make it easier for her to turn toward adoption as the right path.

Anne said...

I agree with the issue you addressed about abortion - if we as a society start regulating one thing (ie. a woman's decisions about her own body), how small of a leap will it be to regulate more and take away freedoms and rights that we've fought so hard for. You said it better and I agree. Hoping everything goes well with this pregnancy.

noswimmers said...

I very much enjoyed your story about your own beloved tree. It was a great analogy--the tree being stripped naked might make you feel more vulnerable...but I'm glad you're able to enjoy the little squirrels! :)

Mommy Someday said...

Thanks for sharing!!! Congrats on your pregnancy!

Carrie said...

Great answers, of course.

'The well-your-age-is-a-factor was the toughest pill to swallow. I blamed myself for waiting.'

We don't know if my age is the problem but I know it won't be a help. I ,too, blame myself for waiting. Why? It wasn't that I was overly confident I just didn't realise I wanted children until my early thirties. I wish I'd been a bit more forward thinking.

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I felt the same way when said there was nothing really "wrong" with me--it pissed me off. I almost want something to be wrong so I have an answer. But at the end of the day, I'll take a pregnancy over an answer, so I'm hoping for the former in that scenario.

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I wish you the best of luck with your pregnancy and I hope that the progesterone support helps. I'll be reading and look forward to hearing about all of your experiences! :)

Lori said...

I just noticed this yesterday, but do you realize that the name Elinor gave to her tree also means a place to breed rabbits? As in the most symbolically fertile of creatures?

I understand your wondering about if they'd been more on top of your progesterone levels...I was mad at my own doctor for not advising me better.

Love the squirrel imagery.

The Dunn Family said...

First of all, congrats on your pregnancy! I wish you an uneventful and easy 9 months!

I agree with you about the abortion issue. It is a hard thing to "support" especially when we would give anything to have a baby. But I agree that at the end of the day, it's a woman's right to choose what happens to her body.

Great answers! I'll be following your story now to see how things go!

The Town Criers said...

I loved your tale of the walnut tree too. And your point about reproductive rights is spot-on. Once you start meddling in one pot, you open the door to meddle in others.

Portia P said...

Thanks for visiting my site and for your comments and I really, really hope you stay pregnant!

It's funny how we choose different questions and how you could relate to Warren through your experience with your walnut tree. I'd have gone mad with my husband too for making me look at the playground!

Fingers crossed for you1 xx

Ms. Infertile said...

I really liked your own perosnal story about the tree.

Hoping you have a safe, healthy, and uneventful pregnancy.

Drowned Girl said...

You answered my question (no 5)

I liked your answers... congratulations on your pregnancy and I hope it goes well. I've added you to my googlereader!

xx

margaret said...

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