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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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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.

Snippets

I feel like a fraud. I remember when writers of my favorite blogs stopped writing or their posts became so infrequent that I would forget, in between, where they were in their lives. I thought to myself, that will never happen with me. Writing and blogging and posting and communing is SO important to me. And, then, exactly that happened. My posts are few and far between, stolen moments as the busyness of life takes over.

With my husband out of town, it is even harder to find the time, but, yet, here I am because I NEED to be here. I need a respite from the noise, just to be and think and commune with myself and anyone who may still read anything that I post.

I have had a run of health/physical issues of late. It started with an outbreak of shingles (something I was first diagnosed with in the 1990s) likely due to combined stressors. Then, I ran full force into the corner of our coffee table causing a golf ball sized lump and now purple/green/yellow bruise above my knee. I then had a horrible case of indigestion/heartburn, something I never suffer from since having my gall bladder removed, that resulted in not being able to eat for 48 hrs. I gave G’s high chair (yes, this may seem like a non-sequiter but hang on) to a friend who, in turn, gave me a bottle of tangerine body lotion. An ingredient in the lotion caused me to break out in itchy welts all over my body, but most severely in the webbing of my fingers, the insides of my wrists, the area where my bra band sits, and around my low belly where my underwear waistband is. I have a known allergy to latex that causes something similar so there must have been a derivative or component in the ingredients that caused the reaction. That took 48 hrs to resolve. And, finally, my thyroid is completely out of whack (and has been since I gave birth to G 21 months ago). My TSH is as low as it can be and still have a reading (which means that I am severely HYPERthyroid and susceptible to abnormal heart rhythms). And, while this state would normally cause me to lose weight easily, it has actually resulted in me gaining 10# in 30 days despite my best efforts. It has been SO demoralizing and frustrating and worrisome. (I am in touch with my doctors on everything and we have made adjustments to my medication, but any adjustment requires six weeks to take affect so my next labs will be in six weeks. Who knows what my weight will do in that time).

I phone interviewed two realtors in Portland and will be meeting with both during our visit. I’ve perused 100s of listings on-line and have a fairly good idea of the market, neighborhoods, etc. Of course, I won’t know what neighborhood feels right for our family until our visit. Did I mention that we decided to go earlier rather than later?

Which brings me to that. We fly out on Saturday. We.fly.out. In anticipation of having to fly, I did several (six or seven) sessions of EMDR therapy. I am going to try to squeeze one more in before we go, but that is TBD. I am trying to think I feel mostly OK with this pending flight, but I am completely unsure if I really do. And, while I will still take ativan to manage my anxiety, I have NO idea how I am going to fare. Given that we are 3 days out, that I’m not chronically in tears or on the verge of throwing up, is its own improvement. We haven’t started packing, yet, which will add another layer, but I am trying to keep my emotions in check. The truth is, I have no confidence that I will actually make the flight since historically I wouldn’t. The rubber is about to meet the road. I want to feel confident, with absolute surety, that it’s going to be OK, that I am stronger than my fear, but that feels unreliable at best.

Just typing the above makes me feel like crying, but I am not crying, so, there’s that.

In the meantime, speech therapy with G continues. At 21+ mos he still has no words (not one) but he babbles and engages constantly and understands complex commands, knows his colors and shapes and animals and body parts and some sign language. On this front, we’ll just keep at it.

Oh, and my mom’s birthday was on Saturday. I was already contending with if/how to see them (my mom was forcing my hand in a way quintessentially her), so we decided to just pop over on Friday evening on our way out to dinner (that way, our time would be limited with two hungry kids in tow). I stopped and picked up some hand-crafted ice cream and we made our way. In addition to visiting with them at their house (that I’ve haven’t been to in 3+ yrs), I somehow decided it would be go a good idea to invite them along with us for dinner. This is all deserving of its own post, or maybe it’s not. It was uneventful even if painful in an “I can’t believe I am doing this” kind of way. It was a kind thing for me to do and I am trying to focus on that instead of how being around her makes me feel.

Mostly, I am thrilled at the prospect of moving. We’ve had record heat, gosh, since forever, with temps this last weekend in the triple digits and still into the high 90s. Ironically, it should rain the entire time we’re in Portland. YAY!

Calling Portlanders

As we continue our due diligence for our upcoming trip to Portland, I’m feeling overwhelmed by the 95 neighborhoods and where we might fit in best. IF we make this move, my 7 yr old will be at his 4th school so I want to try our best to make an as informed decision as possible.

A long time reader of my blog (and now IRL friend) recommended I put a call out to any Portlanders (past or present) who would be willing to share their insight on the Portland suburbs. If you are interested in providing your experience living in the Portland area and answer a few questions I would like to hear from you. I can be reached at dolfynstar@gmail.com.

And, for your effort, I give you this Wordless Wednesday pic in advance.

Bits & Pieces

Now that G is down to one nap a day (and desirous of near constant attention/interaction otherwise) it is hard for me to find time to read my favorite blogs, much less comment, much much less find time to write myself. Oh, and then there’s Breaking Bad, which we started watching 4 weeks ago today. We have 4 episodes left in the entire series which we’re hoping to wrap up tonight.

We’re still waiting on the final investigative report which is pending the toxicology results on both men involved in what appears to be a murder-suicide involving my uncle and his neighbor. I made the very difficult but I believe right decision to not go to my dear friend’s wedding in Denver (for which I sought out about $1K in EMDR therapy in order to be able to fly to) in favor of going to the memorial being held the same weekend in Northern California. This side of my family is the only family I have a relationship with and I can’t imagine not going. So, we’re going to drive up there, all of us, and we’ll have friends watch the boys while we go to the service.

We are 4 weeks into speech therapy with G. The most notable change is an uptick in his babbling and the kinds of sounds he is making. He is also learning some basic signs (more, all done, I want) which is helpful. That he has been able to pick them up and use them correctly makes it even more baffling to me that he won’t/can’t say their corresponding word (or even try). He will repeat actions but not words.

I have continued incorporating the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle into my own. That essentially means that I no longer eat refined sugar or simple carbs and that I’ve reduced my intake of most processed foods to almost zero. I have grown accustomed to using stevia as a sweetener (mostly in my morning coffee along with a splash of heavy cream) and in other drinks and some baked goods. By and large I feel so much better. I have more energy, am less bloated, am sleeping better and my mood is stable. It has not, however, resulted in a significant change in my weight. I think this is because I am not eating my foods in the proper combination and that will come in time. Just to be off of artificial sweeteners (which began when I gave up Diet Coke many months ago) and off of white sugar and most simple/processed carbs is huge for me. I’m getting nutrition from sources I rarely if ever did before (cottage cheese, unsweetened almond milk, sprouted wheat bread, almond/oat flour, brown rice (if I have rice at all) cinnamon, turmeric, portobello mushrooms (as pizza crust) and zoodles (zucchini noodles).

We are heading to Portland over winter break and will likely make a second trip up in the early Spring. We’ve preliminarily decided to try to lease our home (you know, in case we do come back) and will, perhaps, lease up there for a year before buying (being in the right neighborhood for our family is THE most important decision and I am not sure that can be determined from Internet research and two trips there) although given that property values are likely only going to increase as people migrate there and that interest rates are still low, we may reconsider. We are going to treat it as an adventure, one that I hope improves our quality of life in many ways. We’ve been in an epic heat wave here, of late, with temps reaching 109 degrees yesterday (the record is 111 set in 2010) and remaining at 100 degrees even AFTER the sun went down. I was up a couple of times overnight to let the dog out and it never got below 83 degrees. EIGHTY-THREE degrees OVERNIGHT! It is triple digits again today. Oh, and we lost power for the second time in a week, yesterday. It is UGH at every turn, weather/water wise.

Nothing ever came to fruition with the concierge role I proposed to my RE. However, he just turned 50 and we’re going out to celebrate his birthday next week (with another mutual friend who is also a fertility acupuncturist who’s birthday is today) and it is my intention to see if I can’t make something (part-time, contract or even consulting) materialize. For now, that’s what I need, a part-time gig. I’ve also put my resume out to some staffing firms in the event my skills/expertise might come in handy on a consulting basis.

G is up from nap but I thank him for giving me the time to at least publish this.