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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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Nanu Nanu

What to say? Staring at the blinking cursor against a stark white screen and hoping to put words to feelings.

The suicide of Robin Williams hit me hard. Yes, I’ve been a fan since before his debut on Mork & Mindy. That show defined my youth. And, after, I recorded every single Comic Relief Special he hosted and watched them over and over, mesmerized by his genius. And then there were the movies, way too many to recount, but among my favorites are Good Morning Vietnam, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, and Good Will Hunting.

It’s been 10 days since news of his death cross my life. I have been in a fog ever since, moving through but not living my life. With more than a hint of concern, my husband asked me, “why do you think his death has hit you so hard? I mean, a lot of people have died”. Why, oh why, indeed.

It isn’t because I was a life long fan. It wasn’t even because I visited and fell in love with Tiburon. Nor was it because we drove by and parked in front of his home, me in awe that he lived in California, right there!

It was because, for the first time in my life, I could relate to that level of darkness and it both hurt and scared me. To know that this man, who brought joy and laughter to a cadre of people the world over, with access to every resource possible to treat his addiction and depression, and surrounded by the love and affection of close family and friends, couldn’t see another way but to end his life? What does that say for the rest of us?

And, of course, as the malaise got worse and as I was not leaving the house and sleeping a lot and often, I worried that I was spiraling into the deep abyss myself. I kept thinking I was going to snap out of it, come around, get over it already. And, with each passing day, 10 of them to be exact, that didn’t happen. I didn’t want to eat or attend to anything, just get through the day in one piece so that I could go back to sleep.

But, you know what? I wasn’t spiraling into anything. It was a natural response to an unnatural act. Like his legions of fans, it made me very sad, that he would decide to take his life in such a horrific way. The echo of darkness of that depth of aloneness continues to reverberate and, well, how could I help but be moved? I learned something else about myself: I never allow myself to just be in it. I’m always trying to come around, put an end to it, try to get on with things. And, some times some things can’t just be gotten on with.

His death has taught be a valuable lesson about my life: it is OK to feel and sit and live with those feelings for as long as it takes. I don’t have to shove my feelings aside and put on a happy face. That might have been required of me as a child, but certainly not so as an adult. Some things just take as long as they take and that has to be OK. Relating to the plight of another doesn’t doom me to the same fate. It just makes me deeply human.

I have been championing a greater level of kindness and courtesy in my own life. It is one part of the human experience that I feel is missing in our day to day interactions with each other; just even noticing the other human beings who cross our paths let alone reaching out to those who are vulnerable in our own lives. I would HOPE that someone would do that for me.

Kindness. Courtesy. Compassion. Attunement. Connection.

May your heart, mind, body and soul be at peace, now, Robin Williams, and thank you for all that you meant to this world and to this fan. I am sorry that you left us too soon and that you were alone in doing so. May each of us affected by your passing make a point to connect, really reach out and listen to those we love, because without that human connection tethering us to this world, what is there?

Thirty-Seven Years. 8/9/1977

This post continues to stand alone, as an on-going tribute not only to the accident that profoundly changed who I would become, but to my only brother, who I miss always and especially on this day.

August 9

Even though 37 years have now passed, as soon as the calendar flips to August, I am transported back to that day, the day that forever changed the trajectory of my life. It always coincides with the heat of August. It was so hot that day.

I have moved through the grief and the survivor’s guilt while the pain of his loss lingers. I sometimes think how my life would have been. I suspect every single thing would have been different. I would not have become who I am, my relationship with my family would be entirely different had they not been broken by his death, I would have likely married earlier and someone else, I may have not had the career I had, or the sons and husband I have now. I can’t even conjure who that eleven year old girl would have grown up to be. She is a ghost.

And, my brother, too, is a ghost. He would have gotten married and I know he would have had children. He would have been such a great and proud uncle to my sons and our holidays would have been complete with him and his family present. But, he is forever frozen in time, a young teen-ager, taken too soon.

Even though my heart hangs heavy on this particular anniversary I am also reminded that I would likely not have the many gifts that make up the me that I am today. I wouldn’t have the love of horses that I do; I wouldn’t have the daily gratitude and profound respect for this one life I have to life; I would have never developed my resourcefulness, self-protection, compassion, or deep sense of self; I would have never become so self-reliant and independent which allowed me to embark on my successful and gratifying career in sales; I likely wouldn’t have switched elementary schools following the accident which means I would have probably gone to a different high school and college; I may have continued on to become a lawyer, which is what my parents wanted for me; I may have married young, even my college sweet heart and I would have had entirely different children; I would be an entirely different person walking around in this skin.

When I connect the dots from that tragic yesterday to my happy today, I am humbled by the knowledge that had things not unfolded as they did, I would not have my husband and we would not have our sons. Of course, I can never know what life with someone else and other children might have been like, but I do know that I love my boys, in my heart, in my soul, and in my bones.

And so, it is on this day, brother, a day where I miss you profoundly, that I say thank you. Your death was not in vain. I have tried to make the most of the second chance at life that I was given and I am utterly and completely grateful that it all led me to this life and to my family. My adorable, challenging, sweet, smart, spirited, loving, talented H and the almost always smiling, joyous, cherubic Baby G. You would love them and they you. I send a hug up and out through the universe to you. I love and miss you, brother.

Although you can’t be here with me,
We’re truly not apart,
Until the final breath I take,
You’ll be living in my heart.
~Excerpted from a Bereavement Verse

Tuesday Tidbits

Thank you for your comments regarding birth control.  One of the reasons I love this space so much is that those who are inclined to comment have the opportunity to change my life.  Do you know that it never occurred to me that my husband could have a vasectomy?  Never, in our 15 years together had we ever discussed it, even in passing.  And, not for any good reason, it just never came up.  So, I asked him if he would consider it, and of course he would, so he has a consult set up for the end of this month.

And, it can’t come soon enough because I began thinking that I might be pregnant.  From some mid-cycle spotting (implantation bleeding I reasoned) to uterine cramping and twinges to the same sort of uterine heaviness I felt early on in my pregnancies, I was sure that I must be.  I started to panic a bit (in the oh-my-gawd-this-cant-be-happening) kind of way.  I had visions of posting a positive HPT here.  I scoured our bathroom thinking there must be one HPT in this house.  So, even though my period isn’t late yet, I did go out and buy a box of 3, the first of which is decidedly snow white.  I am relieved, to say the least and now the pendulum has swung in the completely opposite direction where of course I’m not pregnant and how could I have even thought it.  (We all know the cycle of “am I?” “no, I’m not” that comes with ART and in the 19 mos that G has been alive, I’ve never ever thought I was.  How easy to fall back into old patterns.)

I didn’t report here that I had another bout of pericarditis.  It came on suddenly (as in, I took a short afternoon nap and woke up with it) about a month ago.  And, with it, I’d become a “case” of a different sort as pericarditis is rare enough in women but it’s even rarer that it would recur and rarer still that it would recur 3 mos after my last bout.  There was much discussion and consultation, again, and this time with the head of cardiology.  It is caused by a virus.  My pericadium is vulnerable now.  There isn’t anything to be done to prevent it, per se, except be vigilant in not coming down with viruses in the first place.  However, we have come up with a better treatment plan should it recur again (and that is likely).

I had two lingering questions: 1-does the recurrence of this increase my risk for heart attack? No. And, 2-is there any reason to believe that this recurrent condition would affect my life expectancy? No.  It was hard to have to think of such things as a vibrant 48 yr old woman and mother to two young children, but they wore heavy on me and had to be asked.

I had another break-through in EMDR therapy.  We were discussing when, in considering flying now, do I begin to get anxious.  And, just the thought of saying good-bye to my husband and kids (whether it be here at the house or at the airport) brought me to tears.  So, we did some work around that and what I discovered was that my concern wasn’t that I was going to die on this trip it was that my husband was going to have to manage all facets of life at home with our two sons when I was gone and I was worried about that.  Not that I don’t trust him or that he’s not an attentive father but that to this point he’s never been home alone with both boys, needing to manage their complete care for more than a 2-3 hr window, ever.  And, all these hot car deaths had gotten into my psyche and I could see how easily he could become distracted and leave G in the car (or something equally disastrous).  Once we’d identified the source of my anxiety, I knew that one way to alleviate it would be to make sure he has some help when I am gone.  And, of course, I talked to him about it.  Not in an accusatory way at all, but that it was feeding into my anxiety.  He, of course, assured me that he wasn’t concerned about it in the least, but if making sure he had some help made me feel better, OK.  One of the many reasons I love my husband (did I mention the vasectomy?)

I have therapy again this week, but I can honestly say, without any anxiety, that I am going to be able to make this trip in October, by myself, on a plane.  I just know I am.  I’m not there, yet, but I am closer than I have ever been.  And, this is HUGE as this phobia has afflicted and shackled me for almost 3 decades!  It has stymied many a trip and caused me unnecessary tears, hysterics, and histrionics.  Other than pursuing all options for having a second child, this will be the biggest gift I’ve ever given myself.  You.have.no.idea.

Finally, I am embarking on an entirely new eating life style.  I can’t even recall how I came upon this plan, but I did. I was intrigued enough by stories of weight loss successes and improvements in overall health that I joined a FB group and lurked for a year.  I didn’t want to actually buy the book or implement the plan because there is an underlying Christian component and nothing turns me off more than bible banging.  Yet, I still read and lurked and wondered how the plan worked (and it did, for all manner of people, at all ages, with all sorts of underlying and chronic health conditions and it seemed a livable plan if I could only understand it which required me to buy a $35 , 610! page book, which I did, but not until after reaching out directly to one of the authors (sisters) to feel out whether a non-religious woman could embrace the plan and be embraced by the community. She wrote me back almost immediately and I was so touched by her response that I decided to go for it).  

As this post is long enough as it is, I’ll link to the plan here and follow-up again as I continue to implement its practices. It is involved and includes a bit of food combining (not in the 1980s way) but I think the premise is spot on: eliminate refined sugar and simple carbohydrates, eat every three hours, have protein at every meal, and vary the fuel source, whether it be complex carbohydrates or fats but don’t eat protein/carbohydrates/and fats together and definitely not carbs/fats together alone, try not to spike your blood sugar as to keep insulin stable. There are dozens of recipes in the book and literally thousands on Pinterest and blogs along with meal plans.

I do find some irony in an atheist doing a Christian eating plan, but, that’s life.

Wordless Wednesday

This makes my heart super happy

 

Condundrum

**This post may be TMI (especially if you know me IRL), so, you’ve been warned**

Facts: I’m 48.  I’m perimenopausal.  I’m hypothyroid.  I’m on ADs.  I’m infertile.  I have an active sex life now, although inconsistently so (this alone is a HUGE improvement over the drought I was in, so, YAY).  I.am.not.on.birth.control.

That last pesky fact had eluded me, until yesterday when I had copious amounts of EWCM and my next thought was, ‘oh, shit’.  Now, I’m not an alarmist and I am not going to report in this post that I am pregnant, but it has occurred to me, that even with the above list, there is the infinitesimal chance that because of that last fact, I could, in fact, become pregnant.

It might seem laughable to some that this actually just dawned on me.  You see, when you are not having sex and you are all of those other things, it isn’t even in your consciousness, so much so, that once you return to an active sex life, it takes something like EWCM to jar your consciousness enough to remember that sperm lives up to 5 days in a welcoming environment and, well, missy, you better figure something out.

I sold my fertility monitor a long time ago and, while I do track my cycles in an app, it’s only so that I know when to expect my next period (because they were so horrendous, I needed fair warning, although that has improved).  Even though I spent most of my marriage having sex to procreate and was very aware of my ‘peak’ fertile days and my BBT and my CM, since having Baby G and being in a long term sexual drought, once we finally returned to having sex, it NEVER crossed my mind that we may want to, you know, take precautions.  It is as if all those years of planning and tracking and monitoring and knowing when/not to have sex optimally to conceive flew right out of my mind in the intervening months since G was born.

In fact, even as recently as three months ago I was coaching a friend, who got married and just turned 40, as to how to increase her odds of getting pregnant and, wouldn’t you know, she did conceive her first month trying (she, unfortunately miscarried after seeing the heart beat which has been very hard on her, but, she will be ready to try again next month).  So, it’s not like its not on my mind at all.  Yet, I just forgot that the rules apply to me, too.

So, I’m ignoring the post ovulation uterine cramping I’m feeling by writing here, but it isn’t lost on me that, yes, I could get pregnant and since that is not in our family plan, I need to take some judicious steps toward preventing that as ludicrous as that seems to me.  I have been around long enough to see this scenario played out in the lives of fertile and infertile friends alike, who had completed their families, and, well, oops, found themselves pregnant with #3 or #4 (or, in one case, #5) at 43, 45, 47.  So, while it is not likely to happen, it could, and I am all about managing risk.

I actually am not sure what to do.  I did not tolerate any of the BCPs I tried post partum or even the ones I tried to regulate my horrendous periods when they returned.  And, once we were relatively sure I was in perimenopause and given that I wasn’t yet having sex, it just didn’t occur to me that it was something that needed to be revisited.  I cannot be the only one.  Am I?

What was recommended was to get an IUD and I have some friends who have, but, seriously, me?  Now?  That just seems, well, overkill and laughable.  I mean, really.  My inclination, now that I have snapped out of it, is to just avoid having intercourse during any fertile period of my monthly cycle.  But, my last period was 5 days early, so that is not reliable.  My husband works where condoms of every sort (and, yes, I mean every) are offered in bowls throughout the office), but, really, condoms?  Ick.

Now I am really pissed that the tubal ligation I consented to having during my c-section couldn’t be performed because my OB couldn’t discern fallopian tube from ligament and that alone has probably put my odds for natural, spontaneous conception at zero.  But, there is that pesky word, probably.

So, it’s a conundrum that I hadn’t considered and I don’t like my choices (but do like having sex).  So, there.

Try

I know this has made the rounds of late, but I love, love, love it. I wish I had a daughter or that this was around as an anthem during my angst ridden, trying-too-hard-to-fit-in youth. But, even at 48, the reminder still resonates.

Try

Oooh
Oooh

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don’t be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong, so they like you
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
Yooou don’t have to try

Oooh
Oooh

Get your shopping on, at the mall, max your credit cards
You don’t have to choose, buy it all, so they like you
Do they like you?

Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
Yooou don’t have to try

Oooh
Oooh

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you

~Colbie Caillat

Fathoming

It is nearly impossible to fathom, much less accept, that I live, and my sons will grow up, in a world where a civilian passenger aircraft can be shot out of the sky at 32,000 feet, probably by ‘mistake’.

It is just as unfathomable what happened to my friend and her family. It has weighed so heavily on me that this type of senseless tragedy could befall someone I know in real life, that I have not been able to shake the unsettled feeling I’ve felt since learning about it.

You probably heard, saw, or read about the Stay Family massacre in Houston, where 6 out of 7 members of the Stay family (39 yr old father, Stephen, 33 yr old mother, Katie, and 4 of their 5 children ranging in age from 4-14) were executed by an estranged uncle in their own home. One child, Cassidy, 15, survived a gun shot wound to the head by playing dead and alerted authorities that her uncle was en route to kill her grandparents. He was eventually apprehended.

Stephen Stay was the cousin of a friend of mine. I learned this through her FB page. She is a mother to two girls, the older of which was in preschool with my older son. And, my friend and her husband are members of the same organization that my husband is.

Other than send my support, contribute to their gofundme account (which covered the funeral expenses and Cassidy’s medical expenses and the balance will be transferred to an account for her long term care/needs), I have felt helpless about what else I can do. I know it means a lot to her that we’re in touch, that I’ve posted to FB about it and encouraged comforting thoughts and donations but that isn’t possibly enough. But, given the depth of this tragedy, could anything be enough?

The image of 6 white caskets, each bearing a large black and white photograph of the slain family member contained therein, is a haunting image of young lives cut short by someone they knew. And, if it could happen to this family, it can and does happen in countless American families and families around the world.

Where is our moral compass, our conscience, our humanity, our empathy, sympathy and compassion? When exactly did the devaluation of human life begin? Yes, I know it has been around since the dawn of time, and wars have been fought and innocent people have died. But this kind of senseless act, wherein by the hands of one the life of another is taken? And, someone one knows and, at some point in time, purportedly loved? A child? A FUCKING CHILD!

The level of depravity, the senses completely taken leave of, the soulless, psychopathic, sociopathic shells of humans walking among us is frightening. What has crept in is a feeling of imprinting otherwise mundane moments. For instance, today, when I dropped my older son off for his last day of summer school, where he ran exuberantly through the school gates eagerly anticipating the donut party, BBQ, and water slide fun that lie ahead, and once he was out of view, my eyes turned toward the enthusiastic and innocent children playing on the playground, the shrill of their laughter permeating the closed windows of my car, and the thought crossed my mind, ‘is today the day?’ And I thought of the many school shootings I’ve come to know by name, Cleveland School, Littleton, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Amish School (which doesn’t even include colleges and universities like Virginia Tech).

But, no, I will not live my life in fear as fear dims the light of love. It’s just that the worst call my parents expected to get when I was at school was that I had a tummy ache, a fever, had kissed a boy, or maybe broke my arm falling off the monkey bars (in my case it was a bike, but you get it). And, now, in a post-9/11 world, where folks care way more about themselves than they do about others, parents are guarded. We make sure to kiss our children and tell them we love them whenever they will leave our company. But, when we can’t protect them in our own homes from the evil that would kill a child, I don’t know about you, but it shakes my confidence as a parent in a series of reverberating earthquakes.

To Bryan, Emily, Becca, and Zach and to your parents Stephen & Katie, even though I didn’t know you, I knew of you through your cousin, K, and your names will be with me as I try to protect my children from grave harm and to meet hate and evil with love and strength. And, to Cassidy, be strong, grieve, and feel the love and support of the tens of thousands who know your name and pray and care for and about you.

There is no sense to be made of the senseless. Be at rest, Stay family. Together, in peace, forever.

Wordless Wednesday

Lucky to be his Mama