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Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Book Review: Where Have All the Storks Gone (+ Book Giveaway)

Even though this space has taken some detours from being solely infertility focused, the struggle, the cause, and the journey of those diagnosed with infertility continue to be something I am involved with and in. I was approached by the publishers of a new book, “Where Have All the Storks Gone, A His and Hers Guide to Infertility by Michelle & Chris Miller to write a review. I’ve never agreed to review, promote or advertise on this blog, but will admit that the idea of a his/hers guide intrigued me, so I accepted the free book in exchange for providing a review. The thoughts expressed below are solely my own.


I tend to be critical of show segments, articles and books written about infertility, having gone through almost every single aspect of diagnosis and treatment myself.  That said, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Michelle & Chris Miller’s, Where Have All the Storks Gone, A His and Hers Guide to Infertility.  The book is a candid, factually accurate, humorous and loving portrayal of the couple’s attempts to have a baby, struggles month after to month to conceive, eventual tests and procedures which led to a diagnosis of infertility, and their many treatment attempts from IUI to IVF.

It is written in a back and forth style, from the perspective of both husband and wife, each and every step of the way.  I found this to be particularly refreshing as we don’t always hear the husband’s (or significant others) point of view simultaneously with the woman going through it.  Their style of writing is conversational, with his being more direct and to the point and hers often providing a more in-depth look at what she and they are experiencing.

What comes through is their love for each other, their desire to start a family, their commitment to supporting each other as they navigate each step in the labyrinth that is an infertility diagnosis, and the hope that they come out the other side as parents.  Not only is this their personal account, but it also serves and an Infertility 101 Primer, for those just starting out or for the loved ones of those struggling with infertility who want to better understand the process.  Each test or procedure is accurately defined and there is a glossary of terms at the back of the book which is useful.

Their story does not gloss over the emotional toll that trying to become pregnant month after month takes, nor does it wallow in self-pity.  They persevere in the face of snow white HPTs, high FSH results, a fibroid sighting (and need for surgical removal), having no embryos to freeze following their first transfer, dropping hCG levels after a promising start, a miscarriage, and finding themselves back at square one.

I will not spoil the outcome of their journey here.  I highly recommend the book to anyone having trouble conceiving, or who has been diagnosed with infertility and is starting down their path of treatment, or to their family, friends and loved ones to get a better understanding of what the rigors of treatment mean to and for a couple. It is a quick and easy read packed full of insight, warmth, humor, and love.

If you would like to win a free copy of the book, please leave a comment about what holiday tradition you are most looking forward to by Thursday, 12/18/14 (11:59PM PST) and I will select one winner at random on Friday, 12/19/2014.

My Christmas Wish – 2011

We have a gorgeous “Wishes” ornament that comes with slips of paper to write new wishes every year and store them inside. The only year we’ve ever used it was Christmas, 2011. For whatever reason, I hadn’t seen the ornament since then until we trimmed our tree today. My older son wished for a Lego police station (he was 4), my husband wished for ‘peace, love, and happiness’, and me, well, this was my wish that year.

It came true the following year and he was with us one day past Christmas, 2012.

From my heart to yours, whatever you are longing for, I hold your wish as my own and hope it comes true.

“Where Am I? Where Did I Go?”

~ From BabyFirstTV’s Peek-a-boo; it is the cutest thing.

I am committed to NOT falling off the face of the blogosphere, but it is harder and harder to find time to write. In fact, I was approached to review a new infertility book that I am way overdue in posting (which will include a giveaway of the book, both of which are a first for this blog!). I write posts in my sleep over and over but can’t transcribe them to this space. I felt a lot of guilt that my reader was well over 125 unread posts, 26 belonging to Mel, and my commenting was non-existent. I’ve whittled the list down to under 40 and hope to catch up (and with my commenting) this weekend.

Thank you to those who have checked in on me and to those who’ve said they miss my writing. I’m touched. And, I am well. You may remember my post about my uncle who was murdered. He was my uncle’s (my mom’s brother) wife’s sister’s husband. There is another sister, my Aunt C, whose husband passed away rather suddenly two weeks ago after a recurrence of prostate cancer that swiftly took his life. He was 81. They lived nearby, and theirs was the house we spent Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. My aunt is devastated, still in shock, and can’t believe he is gone. Even though he was 20 yrs older than my other uncle and even though that uncle’s death was tragic and completely senseless (do you know that the police STILL have not issued a final report on his murder?!) my aunt is grief stricken. We were already a small family who just grew smaller in the span of 3 months. It is sad.

I do think we’ve decided to stay put, in So CA, for the time being, even though I continue to look at listings in the Portland area. We just had a solar company come out to give us a bid and we’ll likely move forward with that in 2015. It is possible that we’ll buy an income or vacation property in the Portland area, but before any of that can happen, I MUST return to work. I have been out of the workforce for 4 1/2 yrs and, as a former headhunter, I know that 5 yrs is its own kind of gainful employment death knell. I am looking at all sorts of options as my background is varied and would lend itself to a few different kinds of opportunities, but I haven’t landed anything, yet. It is going to be very hard for me to return to a corporate environment and I wish I had a skill or passion that would translate into a small business venture, but we don’t have that kind of money to spend as I need to be generating income as soon as possible (that will add to our depleted savings and pay for G’s care while I’m working). I’m flummoxed, if I’m being honest, but I am looking, daily. I would still love to foray into the infertility business, but when my proposal to my RE/clinic went nowhere, it kinda cooled my jets.

In 18 months I will be FIFTYFUCKINGYEARSOLD. It seems like the biggest age related milestone of my life. I am working on a 50 Before 50 list that I will post here when finished (very interested to know what is on your list?). Having a toddler keeps me feeling young as does consistently working out. That said, my metabolism has slowed to a snail’s pace and it has been recommended that I need to increase my 4 time/wk work-outs to daily and restrict my calories to 1,200. That is a tall order as being hungry does not suit me. I’ve continued to attempt the THM lifestyle although admit to being mostly confused by it, still. Now that my thyroid levels are within normal limits, something that has taken months of tweaking my meds to achieve, I am starting the lifestyle over, which is to say, from the beginning, and trying to learn what I couldn’t the first go around.

Even though the general stressers of my life persist (continued estrangement/difficulties with my parents, our deepening financial worries, weight gain as a result of my thyroid that I am hoping to turn around now, the need for me to be employed, G’s continued speech lag) I am abundantly grateful for my health and that of my boys, for my marriage to the exact right man for me, for the close friends I have who are my chosen family and who fill my heart to overflowing, and for this life that I live.

I <3 this kid!

Eleven

Today is our eleventh wedding anniversary. Being engaged was one of THE best times in my life. Our wedding was such a perfect day, exactly as we wanted it.

The gift for eleven years is steel. I have a decades old Hamilton Beach blender that I use daily, sometimes twice/day. I was testing margarita recipes for an impromptu Halloween family dinner were throwing for friends tomorrow night, and it was SUCH a problem as I just couldn’t get things blended right. My husband got me a Ninja Ultima as an anniversary gift and got such shit from his co-workers. I, however, LOVE it. It is probably one of the best gifts he’s ever gotten me (without me prompting him to do so). Here is the side by side image of my new beast vs. my antique:

I love celebrating our anniversary. We typically go out to a nice dinner and spend our time together talking about our relationship, tweaking our needs from each other, talking about our plans/goals/desires for ourselves and our family. It keeps our relationship fresh, gives us a time to reconnect, and allows for an at-least annual tune-up of our relationship.

Our wedding is the first happiest day of my life. There would be others, particularly my two successful positive pregnancies (pee-sticks, heart beat confirmation and all) and the births of my two sons. But, none of that would have happened but for this day exactly eleven years ago today.

Happiest Day

Portland – Lush & Plush

We made it home safely, although I could have done without the turbulence.

As for our pup, poor thing. She is going to be 10 in January and these kinds of injuries take their toll on this small breed dog. She is very sore, very tender, very unlike herself. Even upon hearing our voices and excitement to see her (it was just my husband and I), she didn’t come out of her bed to greet us and went straight to her crate when we got home where she barely moved all night. She’s got another 4 days of antibiotics and he one wound (between her shoulder blades) has an abscess and needs to be flush twice daily.
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The thing that struck me most about Portland was how green and gorgeous it is. Somehow it is called the Rose City, but it really should be called Tree City as there are trees everywhere. So many trees lining the streets, the hills, the yards, creating a wall often times that blocks from view what’s behind them. We would drive down major thoroughfares from one town to the next and couldn’t see the shops or malls or strip malls for the trees.

We had lovely weather while there. It rained when we landed, rained overnight every night, but was mostly clear, if not sunny during the day. It made the extensive driving we did more manageable.

It is unlike LA in every possible way. That is not a judgment one way or the other, but the two cities could not be more different.

We toured every possible neighborhood in Portland that might be a fit as well as every suburb. We fell the most in love with Eastmoreland, around Reed College. But, the homes there are more expensive on smaller lots, so it’s not ideal but could work. Given my current love for mid-century modern homes, we found other neighborhoods that might suit us better both in terms of price point, schools, and type of home and those would be West Slope, Sylvan Heights, and Hillsdale. It is possible to find a 3+ bed/2+ bath, 2,500SF+ home on a regular sized lot for $500K.

Of the two realtors we met, one was clearly a better fit. She is a mom (to 20 yr old and 2 yr old daughters). She lent us a stroller so we didn’t have to pack one. She picked us up at our hotel and drove us everywhere, explaining the demographics, property values, and why people live in one area over another. The other one is almost 40, no married, no kids and she had us meet her at her office and our time together felt antiseptic. She left it to us to drive around and figure out where we thought we’d best fit vs. get to know us and offer her expertise.

My husband and I have had several conversations and will continue to do so as we process all that this trip was for us. If you’d have asked my on our first or second day (when we were virtually on our own), I would have wanted to fly home early and call it a bust. By our 3rd day, the day of our guided realtor tour, I was committed to moving. I feel excited and invigorated at the prospect that maybe a whole sale move was in our future and, gosh, wouldn’t that be a great adventure for our family. By yesterday and even now, I am not so sure.

On the one hand, knowing what is out there, having seen the possibilities, could we ever go home and settle into our lives and not move? On the other hand, is it worth the risk to uproot everything for even what appears to be an informed decision?

Do I have what is required to move away from what I have always known with the only real, albeit cultivated support system we have and start completely over? As must as the things that compelled us to look at Portland remain the same, what’s the cost of staying vs. going?

I am not afraid to move. The prospect excites me. I guess I’m just not all that confident that Portland is the place. I’m actually disappointed that it wasn’t clearer that Portland was beckoning us. I’m going to wear the memories around now that we are home and see what comes of it.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

We will be heading home today from our exploratory trip to Portland. It is a beautiful city, lush with trees and green foliage. We had great weather, it rained overnight and was either partially sunny or dry during the day with 70+ degree temps. I have an entire post dedicated to this trip and where things likely stand.

In the meantime, I haven’t had time to be nervous about the upcoming flight until this morning. I’m trying to recall that our flight here was uneventful and hope the one home will be the same.

We have an Italian Greyhound that we boarded. On Sunday, she was attacked by a Golden Retriever (of all breeds) which resulted in a day long stay at the vet, several puncture wounds and lacerations. She’s been on anti-biotics and pain pills 3 times/day. The owner who is extremely apologetic, has been in constant communication with me, sending me pictures documenting our pup’s improvement. In the decades we’ve boarded dogs while we’ve traveled, nothing close to this has ever happened. It has been awful being away from her at a time when she would be soothed just being with us. A friend did go by and visit with her and reported back that things were not a bad as they were reported, but our dog just wanted to leave with her so we decided not to have her go back. The owner has kept her mostly with her. Can’t wait to pick her up tonight. Poor thing.

For those of you who tracked our flight, I’m calling upon you to do the same today. We are on the same airline, departing PDX at 2:30 PDT on Flight #570. I’d appreciate you tracking us again.

Solid Ground

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Really and truly, I appreciate every person who reached out to track our flight, who posted to FB, who texted or emailed me, or who held us in positive thought. I know it may seem silly if you are not afflicted with this phobia, but your good thoughts, your eyes on our plane, mattered to me and made the flight that much more bearable. I did better than I thought I was going to. There was no tears, no white knuckling, no hysterics, no throwing up. I was able to attend to both kids without being in an utter panic. The EMDR therapy definitely re-wired something. Obviously, I was anxious, but no in the paralyzing way have always been.

We arrived ahead of schedule. There was only a bit of turbulence. It was raining glorious rain when we landed and it smelled so good and it is lush and green with billowy clouds.

We drove around the Tigard area (near our hotel), went to the local Trader Joe’s to pick up some things, then drove through and around Lake Oswego.

I am going to reserve judgment until we’ve met both realtors, have seen the city AND the suburbs, and taken in more of what the area has to offer. I will say this, it is much more small town America than I thought and the suburbs are rural. I feel every bit a fish out of water, but that is not a bad thing.

As a thank you for caring and cheering me on, please enjoy the scrumptiousness that is this little boy.

Flight Tracking

It is mid-day on Thursday and not a thing has been packed. I was supposed to be going out with friends for a moms night out tonight, but cancelled as this is really our only time to pack, see what we have/don’t and for me to plan my day tomorrow as we fly out first thing Saturday morning.

I decided it was probably best to take an ativan this morning to see how it made me feel. Anyone who’s ever taken it usually reports it’s effect in the same way: it takes the edge off, and, yes, that it does. Of course, now I just want to take a nap, but that’s good to know, too.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. I am afraid to fly. At best, the EMDR therapy has gotten me to a place where I was able to purchase our flights and have not been in a panic this week like I usually would. It doesn’t mean that I’m not without nerves or a knot in my stomach or on the verge of tears even if I am able to keep them at bay. All of these things are huge. HUGE! But, I am on edge.

If you would like to support me getting on this flight, making it to Portland, and returning home, there is a way that you can help. I believe in the power of collective consciousness and if you would track our flight as we are making our way from LA to Portland and back, I would sure appreciate it. I hesitate posting the flight # here because, as a phobic, I am sure someone with bad intentions would get a hold of it and doom our plane, but if you’d like the flight info, email me at dolfynstar@gmail.com and I will provide it to you.  There are many real time flight tracking sites, but the one I use is FlightAware.

However hokey you may think it is, should I become overcome with anxiety on the flight, just knowing that there are real people (whose names I can call to mind) tracking our flight will bring me calm.