Ethan's Age

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving

Yet another Thanksgiving has come and gone, sans one infant.

I was sitting in the living room of my in-laws while a few of the in-law relatives discussed the large amount of grandchildren they possessed.  I got busy with my sharp white cheddar cheese eating and examining my fingernails for perfection.

Then, the relative who isn't really known for social graces and is slightly deaf  turned to me, and YELLED "SO WHEN ARE YOU AND JON GOING TO HAVE CHILDREN?"  The room quieted, as most knew that Jon and I had been trying to conceive for several years now.

"I hate kids."  I blurted out.  " I hate being around them, I certainly wouldn't want to have one of my own!"  I was quite proud of this comment, as it was on the fly, and everyone who knew the truth.  Thankfully, the relative was none the wiser and probably thought I was a child-eater carried on with conversation with another member of the family.

WHEW!  I thought, that was great!  I totally deflected, stayed in control and made everyone sort of giggle.

The irony of all of this is this month we weren't actively trying, and yet we managed to hit the right date for conceiving.  So, of course, since we weren't trying, we will will end up pregnant this month. That is how things work for us.

In other news, I've been having very vivid surgery dreams.  I get very nervous when I fly overseas, have surgery, you know... out of the ordinary stuff....  I am hoping my dreams aren't a weird omen.

Well, about 6 more days until the testing marathon commences.  Wheee!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ya... But what have you done in the meantime?

In the almost two years since my husband and I started trying to conceive, I've been able to do a lot of things... most of which I'd not be able to do with an infant.  So, let's recap.

Julia > Lucy in skill

1. Analyze THIS!
I started (and am currently in the middle of) my Masters in Psychology program.   The idea that I could get paid to analyze people all day thrills me to no end.  I do this anyway, why not get paid for it!  I've even started armchair diagnosing my husband.  (Who definately has  should be diagnosed by a professional as having Blood-Injection-Injury Phobia*.)

*Not an official diagnosis



Julia does not condone violence for promotional opportunities.
2.  I put my foot down at work, and basically demanded the ability to create a professional development plan for myself, since I was shut down for a promotion (and not even given an interview.)  I told my boss that the only way I could advance in the office was to kill her, and 4 other people who would be next in line seniority wise*.


...She agreed to the professional development plan.

 *totally not going to happen and any death of the before mentioned co-workers is completely accidental and not cause by this blog post.



Apparently our apartment is like a warehouse

3a.  Why, the more space to clean up, dear!
We've finally settled into our new home, with one extra bedroom, one extra bathroom and more than 60% more space. (Oh, and my HUSBAND suggested that he use the closet in the spare bedroom for his clothes, leaving me to inhabit the master closet.  What a guy!)

3b. We gained 100 pounds.  Of Dog!
We've significantly lessened the perceived space in our home with the addition of a huge 6,000 pound furball.  His name is Freuhauser. Yes, that's his real name, and NO I didn't pick it (though I agreed to it.)  My husband wanted to name our future child Freuhauser... so a dog it was.  He is a fine specimen of caninity, who loves long walks on the beach, chasing things and licking himself. and food.  and anything is food.  (Except grapes, olives and lettuce.)

"Love me?"

And yes.  He is adorable, and has horrible breath.  Much like my husband.  ZING! (*No honey, you don't have horrible breath.  Just kidding.)  (And yes, my husband made this picture card for me when I had a rough time at work.  He's adorable like that.  It's sick really... like too much cotton candy.  Well, any cotton candy really.  Or Candy Corn.  Jon is the Candy Corn of my heart.  So delicious... great in theory... but too much sweet and I will throw up.)

 
Candy Corn is Love.  Until you Vomit.
3c.  Total annihilation of all things nice.
Craigslist Ad: Apartments for rent with a lovely smoky flavor
Freuhauser was a puppy and he chewed on corners.  Then he teethed and chewed on everything.  (Our bed posts, our couches, our arms... our friends.)  Now he's an adult and he just* rips up our carpet.  We are convinced that the only way we can make this apartment re-rentable is total and complete destruction of the interior.  We will be calling out the Crime Scene clean-up crews for this job.   Or at least putting lots of runners through the house to try to hide the ginormous holes he has made in the carpet from the manager of the complex.  And rocks to hold the runners down with.  Big rocks.    

"I Can't Stand Commercials." 
I've managed to make sure he doesn't chew on the valuable items, such as a bench given to me by my grandparents that has been in my family for a LONG time.  (Only by putting it behind a padlocked door with pop cans on the handle so I can hear him go in.  I know he has opposable thumbs, because I've caught him in there watching Showtime.  How else could he have opened the door, grabbed the remote and selected an item from our DVR? (But he has good taste in programming, His favorite show is the secret life of a call girl.)

*And by just I mean he also poops in the house from time to time, which is lovely.  Nothing makes a long day worth while more than coming home to a stinky house and an ashamed dog.  



Now the serious!
4.  Full Fledged Marathon Training! 
Check me out.  No, not like that, you sicko!  

5.  Resigned myself to the TTC journey taking way too long. However, it's taking a good turn!  I finally got all my paperwork done for my FMLA/ESLB Medical Leave I'll be taking in December over winter break for the surgery.  I'm actually very excited for this*.
Not Really Julia's Innards
*I may have thought about asking the dr to let me have a picture of my insides.  I mean, when would you ever have the opportunity to see your organs... when you are alive anyway.  My husband is promptly throwing up after reading that last statement. However, I'm pretty sure that I'll I've got inside me are Chipotle Burritos and a full knife set from QVC that stabs me every time I run too hard.   

6.  The complete cut off of communication with a couple of family members.  
Prompted mainly by the reaction on a blog post a few months ago, I was cut out of (and did some cutting out of myself) a portion of my extended family.  I am truly sad about the way it all went down, but I feel a sense of peace about it.  
I've battled with my feelings on this issue for many years now, and though I'm not happy with the resolution, there is a sense of completion.  I've always wanted things to be nice and tidy and in boxes on a shelf, and life doesn't always deal you the cards to do so, or the ability to put something in a box without some emotional carnage.  So, with a great deal of emotional blood, guts and gray matter, it's finally done and shoved into a box.  I'm not sure how long the box will stay on the shelf, but it will not be taken down by me in the near future. 







To end on a Happy Note, I am loving life right now.  Work is challenging (and hopefully with continue to challenge me in a good way) My marriage is blissful*, my mother is great, my in-laws are the sweetest most not-crazy in-laws I've ever heard of, and I am addicted to sudoku on my ipod touch. I'm running 3-4x a week thanks to a wonderful accountability partner at work, and I'm 4 weeks into my 44 week marathon training plan!  I may also have a problem with addiction to Hyperbole and a Half.


* I have to add that while I'm writing this (at 1 in the morning, whattheheckiswrongwithyou,youhavetogetupforworkat6:15!) my husband is snoring next to me, and my dog is on his back, spread eagle and snoring himself.  How can life get better than that?


I'd also like to add that there is a Facebook fan page up and running!  If you don't have me in your reader (so you know when I update) you can add the blog there, and see my updates!  You can also give me some warm fuzzy cookies by following my blog here!  I love to know who's reading (and being that I have over 600 hits a month, I know you are out there!)
Drop me a note when you join, so I can follow your blogs too, or at least say welcome!

I love you all.  I wish you all good luck on this month's try if you are trying, or that the Oregon Ducks can go to the National Championship if you aren't trying.  Either way, everyone wins. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In other news..

We have decided to take a month off of trying.

Couple of reason promoted this.
1.  If we get pregnant this cycle, surgery is obviously off, but when we want to havea  second kiddo, we might have to go through the same things all over again.
2.  Our insurance situation is ideal right now for paying for this procedure.
3.  Winter Break is right when surgery happens, making my amount of work missed 2 days less than any other time.

I'm thankful for a month off from testing, from timing things out of obligation, to just keep thoughts of "am I pregnant" out of my mind for a month. 

I feel very relaxed about all of this.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Here goes nothing!

Well, I have a laproscopic procedure scheduled for December 17th, where Dr Awesome will check out my tubes (ooo lala!) and fix anything that might be going on. 

I had no idea that there were so many pre-op appts that had to happen for surgeries! 

I'm very thankful that we have met our deductible for this year, and so we are only responsible for 20% of the total cost, with a lovely benefactor being willing to pick up half of that cost. 

Jon and I have figured that now that I have the surgery scheduled, I'll end up pregnant this cycle, because that seems to be the way things work for us.  We make peace with what we are doing, and then everything falls into place.

I am very excited and VERY nervous about this surgery.  I have major issues with being unconcious and out of control.  I'm also nervous about the pain level, and whether they will need to use a breathing tube (for some really crazy reason, this idea is what scares me the most.)  I'm going to be doing some investigation into this, but my pre-op appt will answer a lot of these questions.  (But if you have any links, let me know!)

I put in my time-off requests for the 17th through winter break, and FMLA/ESLB will cover my surgery recovery time (most of it will be paid for!) 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A New Morning

Well, today was a follow up appt with Dr Awesome.  She and I chatted for a while about where we are at and she provided me some options.

1.  Surgery to repair the blocked tube
2.  Adding another medication to the mix (primarily femara.)
3.  IUI

So, I did find out that though the surgery option isn't my favorite choice, my deductible for this year is no doubt met, and could be mostly paid for.  I also have a generous person who is willing to help me financially to have the surgery.

This option is something I'm seriously considering.  It caught me by surprise that I was as emotional as I was in her office.  I have a wonderful support system, several of whom went through this very process, but I feel so alone.  I'm tired of this process, and I need something drastic to be done.

To keep my mind off this for now, I'm focusing on my running and making a plan for the marathon this year.  Hopefully I'll not be able to do it because of pregnancy, but for now, it's kept my mind off of this for the most part.

Friday, November 5, 2010

www.endthebacklog.org

Normally, you tune into my blog to hear the trials, tribulations and humor in my infertility journey.  However, there is a cause that is near and dear to my heart that I must share with you.

Please note, this post will be talking about sexual violence.  If this is a triggering topic for you, please do not continue.

As a survivor of a sexual assault that occurred in 2000, the issue of advocacy has been central to my life.  I've been lucky enough to have an amazing mother, husband and support system that has created a safe space for me to heal properly from this event, and the ability to use it to motivate and inspire change.  While working with children, I've run into far too many (especially teen girls) who have been assaulted in one manner or another.  The scary statistic that 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in their life time is staggering.  (This stat is also based off of reported rapes, which far too many go unreported.)

For a while now, I've been writing letters to various state and national representatives regarding the backlog of rape kits, the evidence collected by a hospital immediately following an assault.  End The Backlog is partnering with Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation to raise attention to this important issue.

You can find all the following information at their respective websites.

What is the backlog?

With the crime of rape, a victim's body is part of the crime scene. A sexual assault evidence kit (referred to here as a "rape kit") is the collection of DNA evidence from a rape victim's body. If the victim decides to report the crime to the police, the rape kit is booked into police evidence. Not every one of these booked rape kits will get tested and they become part of what we refer to as the rape kit backlog—untested rape kits in both police storage and crime lab facilities.
We consider every untested rape kit to be a backlogged kit.
In a minority of law enforcement jurisdictions in the United States—notably New York City, Los Angeles, and the state of Illinois—policy or law requires that every rape kit booked into police evidence is sent to the crime laboratory and tested.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of law enforcement jurisdictions do not require that every rape kit be tested. Experts in the federal government estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the United States.

About Sexual Violence
Every year, tens of thousands of individuals report their rape to the police. Despite that figure, rape has the lowest reporting, arrest and prosecution rates of all violent crimes in the United States. The statistics around sexual violence are shocking:
  • 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
  • Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
  • Only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.

What is a Rape Kit?
In the United States, a sexual assault evidence collection kit is a set of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving a variety of evidence types and providing medical care following a sexual assault that can be used in rape investigation. The kit was developed by Louis R. Vitullo and was for many years referred to as the Vitullo kit. It is commonly referred to as a rape kit.
The contents of the kit vary from state to state, but most kits include the following items:
  • Detailed instructions for the examiner
  • Forms for documenting the procedure and evidence gathered
  • Tubes and containers for blood and urine samples
  • Paper bags for collecting clothing and other physical evidence
  • Swabs for biological evidence collection
  • A large sheet of paper on which the victim undresses to collect hairs and fibers
  • Dental floss and wooden sticks for fingernail scrapings
  • Glass slides
  • Sterile water and saline
  • Envelopes, boxes and labels for each of the various stages of the exam
The rape kit examination may take between four and six hours to complete.
When Did the Backlog Begin?
Sexual assault evidence kits were collected from victims starting in the 1970s, but DNA testing was not regularly used as evidence until the mid-1990s, after significant advancements in DNA technology. This means that very few rape kits collected before the 1990s would have been tested for DNA, although they may have been analyzed to determine the perpetrator's blood type.
Thus, ever since rape kit evidence collection exams have existed, there were likely untested rape kits sitting in police storage facilities according to common practice of the time and due to a lack of testing technology. Still, in recent audits of rape kit backlogs, investigators found untested rape kits not just from old cases, but also from new cases that occurred well after DNA evidence technology advances made such evidence valuable.

Why does the backlog exist?
In the many jurisdictions where there is no law or policy that mandates the testing of all collected rape kits, whether or not a kit is tested is based on the discretion of police or prosecutors. There are various reasons why law enforcement may decide not to request a kit for testing, including a lack of resources necessary for testing requests. Untested rape kits also represent the fact that many rape cases are closed before making it very far in the criminal justice system.
Very few rape cases make it to an investigative stage where law enforcement would request the kit for testing. In the United States, according to the latest FBI crime data, the crime of rape has a 24% arrest rate-the lowest recorded arrest rate for rape in nearly 40 years of tracking such information. This means that a rape victim has a one in five chance of seeing her perpetrator brought to justice. It also means that a rapist has a 74% chance of getting away with the crime.
Even when law enforcement does send rape kits to the crime lab for testing, those kits can sit for months and, in some cases, years, before being tested. This delay is often because crime labs lack the resources and personnel to test rape kits in a timely manner. This delay in testing also represents a rape kit backlog.

Where is the backlog? Where is it being resolved?



There are no comprehensive, national numbers on the nature and scope of the rape kit backlog. Numerous experts have estimated that there may be hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the country.

Backlogs Across the United States
The rape kit backlog exists in police and crime lab storage facilities across the country. No state or federal government entity tracks rape kit data nationally or by locality, so it is difficult to determine which states and cities have problems, and which do not. Still, media and non-governmental organization investigative reports have found rape kit backlogs in many jurisdictions across the country, including:
  • 1,100 in Albuquerque 1
  • 2,100 in Birmingham 1
  • 1,200 in Cincinnati 1
  • 5,600 in Detroit 1
  • 3,800 in Houston 1
  • 4,000 across the State of Illinois 2
  • 12,500 in Los Angeles 3
  • 16,000 in New York City (c. 2003; now eliminated) 4
  • 4,100 in Phoenix 1
  • 1,050 across the State of Rhode Island 1
  • 11,100 in San Antonio 1

Why is Rape Kit Testing Important?



  • Rape kit testing can bring justice and healing to rape survivors.
  • Testing a rape kit can identify a potential assailant, confirm a suspect's contact with a victim, corroborate the victim's account of the sexual assault and exonerate innocent defendants.
  • Rape kit testing works to move more cases through the system. National studies have shown that cases in which a rape kit was collected, tested and contained DNA evidence are more likely to result in arrests and prosecutions.
  • When New York City eliminated its rape kit backlog, its arrest rate for rape jumped from 40% to 70%. Testing its backlog resulted in over 200 prosecutions of cold cases. Los Angeles, which is currently working through its rape kit backlog, recently made, according to our interview with Police Chief Charlie Beck, two high profile arrests of serial rapists who were found from testing old rape kits that were in the backlog.
  • Rape kit testing can help bring healing to survivors. Not testing rape kits sends the message to survivors that their cases don't matter. It also sends the message to perpetrators that they can escape punishment for rape. Testing kits demonstrates a commitment to survivors to do everything possible to help them find justice and healing.


TAKE ACTION

Join our efforts to ensure healing and justice to survivors of sexual violence.
LEARN MORE. Experts in the federal government, including the US Department of Justice and members of Congress, estimate there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the country. These kits represent lost justice for survivors. Rape kit reform requires an understanding of the scope, causes, and consequences of the rape kit backlog. Learn more by exploring this site.
JOIN US. We seek justice for survivors by working in partnership with law enforcement, advocates, lawmakers and survivors to bring attention, funding and new legislation to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits across the country. We believe that the collective energy of committed organizations and dedicated individuals will put an end to the backlog and begin to deliver a sense of healing and justice to survivors. To do so, we need your help. Sign up for our mailing list to receive updates and action alerts on ways we can make change.
SPREAD THE WORD. Share endthebacklog.org with your community. Email your friends and family, tweet it, blog it, spread the word anyway you can. Visit endthebacklog.org for helpful tool kits, tweets, buttons and other assets to share on your website, Facebook profile or blog. Help us keep this conversation going.
ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE. Sharing the news about the rape kit backlog in your community generates the kind of public concern we need our elected officials to hear. Use the advocacy tools at endthebacklog.org to contact city, state and federal lawmakers and other officials whose support is key to advancing rape kit backlog elimination legislation. Let them know that sexual violence response is a priority for you and that, as a voter, you support this type of legislation.
SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS. We can achieve our goal of ending the rape kit backlog. This important work requires the resources to sustain an advocacy presence on a national, state, and city level for years to come. Your financial support allows us to work on this issue until the problem is solved.