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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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

Sharing Her Story

There’s so much misinformation out there about women having babies into (and sometimes well into) their 40s that is often perpetuated by celebrity women not revealing their path to pregnancy. I’m not in any way saying that they should, because I am all for each person’s right to privacy, but when they do, it can be a huge shot in the arm for the truth in having a baby in your 40s when using ART.

There is a local newswoman, Wendy Burch, who did just that: she revealed, in a 6 minute segment on the KTLA news, her path to being pregnant at 45. It is, perhaps, the most accurate, honest, and down to earth presentation of the use of frozen donated eggs I have ever seen. She is relatable and I am SO grateful to both her and this news organization for producing a factually accurate piece with heart.

Congratulations Wendy and your fiance and I hope the remainder of your pregnancy is smooth and uneventful.

PS If you watch the segment and are so moved, please leave a comment in the comments section of the piece. It is critically important that we lend our support to infertility coverage like this in the hopes of encouraging others to produce similar stories. One woman can help all women.

100,000 and a Break-Through

I noticed the number of page views was in the 90,000s not too long ago and, as of this morning, this blog, where I sometimes feel I share too much but know I need to, hit 100,110 views since its inception on January 17, 2010. It seems like something that should be celebrated, just knowing that something I’ve written was worth the time of others to read (and, even better, leave a comment).

As so many bloggers do, I’ve considered not writing here anymore. Even though I never set out for this to be any one kind of blog (infertility, adoption, being adopted, parenting, weight loss, family drama, etc), it is all those things and more. I don’t feel like I have a niche, so to speak, unless I think of my life as one big niche. And, while I don’t feel the urgency to write like I used to, I so appreciate knowing I have this space to come to and a handful of readers who might still be along for the ride. For that, I thank you. Your wisdom, insights, perceptions, and perspectives have helped me in ways great and small and I feel that, at 48, I am still learning and have so much to learn and know I learn best from others brave or interested enough to comment.

I have continued the EMDR therapy and believe it is helping in that I no longer feel as blocked or anxiety ridden in even contemplating getting on a flight as I once did. That, in itself, is HUGE for me. And, because it is therapeutic, I have had some break-throughs along the way, the biggest and most earth shattering of which came yesterday.

The crux of this therapy is in reprogramming a traumatic event so that it loses its power. The underlying tenet is that neurons that wire together, fire together. So, part of the work is to pair thoughts and feelings that bring me joy and happiness with thoughts of getting on a plane. Yesterday, the idea of feeling trapped on a plane, just prior to and during take-off came up as my first source of anxiety (this, by itself is huge, because it used to be that just thinking about booking a ticket or packing my bags or getting to the airport, etc, were when anxiety started). So, to ‘clear’ that, we went back to the first time I remember feeling trapped. And, it came up that that feeling was actually tied to my brother being trapped in the cab of the overturned truck during the accident. And, for my part, broken and injured as I was, I couldn’t get to him, so, in a sense, I felt trapped, too, helpless to do anything.

That led to the revelation: the accident and feeling trapped and helpless to do anything, set in motion the construct of my entire life, that as I made decisions for myself, I would never allow myself to be trapped, that I ALWAYS had a plan B and/or an escape plan. And, so it has always been. There are so many examples of how this has manifested itself (from the college I went to, to even going to grad school when I really didn’t want to, to not marrying the long term boyfriend I had prior to meeting my husband, to marrying my husband, to leaving my job the first time, to never getting off the ART train until we had the two children I knew I wanted to have, on and on).

Perhaps the best and easiest example to explain has to do with living in my prior home. That house was a family home, it was where I first came home as a newly adopted infant and lived for a couple of years before my mom bought a new house and we moved. She kept the home and it was a rental for 29 years until the opportunity for me to live in it presented itself. I won’t go into all the dynamics at play with that decision, but as things continued to deteriorate in my relationship with my mother, whenever we had it ‘out’ (which usually meant she arrived, unannounced and uninvited to my front door and would berate me for whatever injustice she thought I’d heaped upon her (I describe it to my therapist as her yelling at me on my front porch, her head spinning around on its axis, Exorcist style, as that’s always what it felt like to me), my very first thought, ALWAYS, was that I had to move out of that house immediately, and get out from underneath her. Now, for a variety of reasons, I couldn’t actually execute that plan, but it was always my first inclination, to get out, get away, presumably to safety.

I took a job in sales, a decision that was completely unsupported by my parents, because I knew, if I was successful, it would give me an out, financially. And, it did. And, when my career was railroaded by our then male chauvinistic COO, I quit under the guise that it was time to focus fully on having a family, but it was ultimately because I no longer saw a path for me at the company. I felt trapped (as a woman, in my role, on my career path).

Every major (and many minor) life decision I’ve made has been, on some level, in an effort to never feel trapped or hopeless. It has served me well, but its inception was that accident. So many things in my life are tied to that accident. And, I knew it, then. I knew my life would never be the same (and not just in the ways one life is forever changed by losing a loved one in a horrific accident). At eleven, I couldn’t fully conjure what that meant, but I knew it was big. And, now, at 48, I know just how big it was.

Some Things

I have a lot on my mind and sometimes the only way for me to find relief from ruminating is to come here, this safe place of mine, the one I see less and less of even though I need it more and more, and jot some things down. I am at peace yet have many things swirling around, balls in the air, so to speak.

  • Even though the pediatrician doesn’t believe that there is any cause for concern that G has no words, she still ordered a hearing test and speech therapy visit.  It is a half day appointment, one that I am reluctant to schedule since I don’t believe there is any cause for concern either.  He is very engaged, understands what’s being asked of him, and communicates non-verbally.  It’s another one of those “shoulds” as in I should probably have him tested but really see no reason to do so, yet.
  • Conversations with my RE/fertility clinic are on-going after I presented a concierge role for myself.  He doesn’t envision it as a full-time role and I think that has him stymied.  I need to actually write a job description, hours, logistics, salary, etc to see if that helps move the ball down the court.  In the meantime, I have a meeting set-up with the owner of a DE/surrogacy agency that does work with the clinic and who my RE thinks he could ‘share’ me with, so, we’ll see.
  • I am feeling like it might be helpful to have our older son meet with a pediatric behavioral psychologist.  He is still prone to frustration (which often results in him hitting himself and/or calling himself an idiot or a jerk, his reactions to being even the slightest bit hurt are catastrophic and way out of proportion, and he cannot moderate his reactions if things don’t go as he plans).   Perhaps it is a maturity thing, but if there are tools to help him help himself or even for us to help him, I am all for it.
  • My EMDR sessions are on-going.  It is fascinating to me all that the therapy has brought us surrounding the trauma of the accident that killed my brother and how it got stored maladaptively.  I can see that things are beginning to change in terms of my level of fear and also see how the therapy can work (not to make me a joyful flyer but to enable to actually get on a plane).
  • Because of how life works, I’m not going to BlogHer ’14.  I was SO excited when it was announced that the 10 yr anniversary conference would be in San Jose, but between things with my husband’s job, me trying to find a job, and how tight our finances are, we just can’t swing it.  Neither can we swing a trip to Legoland, but I am hoping we’ll get to Knott’s Berry Farm and to at least one local water park this summer.
  • I have been given the opportunity to apply to do a 10 week fitness challenge sponsored by Nautilus at a local gym.  It is for people who have between 10-40 pounds to lose, who are OK having their journey chronicled in front of cameras (still or video), where we must adhere to a specific diet (although I’m  not sure what that is) and agree to do 5 day/week personal training sessions for 10 weeks.  It is a $3,000 value.  I want to do it and feel I NEED to do it, but I feel tremendously vulnerable (as I have images of the way contestants on The Biggest Loser must feel at every weigh-in).  I know I have a compelling story and will probably get picked, but it is daunting to me to consider exposing myself in such a personal way.  But what a gift if I get selected.  To be 48, peri-menopausal, hypothyroid and on anti-depressants and be given the very real opportunity to change my life where eating and exercise is concerned?  The deadline for the application is July 11.  Tick-tock.
  • Still no new news on the birth parent front.  I have less time now that I’m with both kids for greater portions of each day and still trying to fit in working out and home cooking almost every meal, not to mention arranging some outings/play dates.
  • I think I am going to create a bucket list of sorts, things I want to do, make, learn, see, or achieve by the time I am 50 (which is a mere 22 months away!).  It is so easy when parenting young children to forget to invest in oneself in real and meaningful ways and even if the list is 50 by 50, that’s still 2.27 things per month (which is a LOT, if you ask me).  Best get to list making and thing doing.

It is hard to feel as patriotic as I usually do in light of the SCOTUS decision handed down in the Hobby Lobby case.  Between that and what will now be the ensuing erosion of rights given its precedent and the continued shooting of children in this country because we can’t effectively manage firearm ownership (this death by gun story of the day is weighing on me currently) has me wanting to bury my head in the sand more than it has me wanting to celebrate.

However you plan to spend this long holiday weekend, may your weather be good, the lines be short, the conversation be lively, the company be enriching, and the food and libations be plentiful.

G at 18 Months

Oh, G, heart of my heart, soul of my soul, light of my life, how is it possible that you are 18 months old already? I must have blinked and the world spun many revolutions in the split second my eyes were closed that we’ve gotten to this milestone.

Even though you are a big boy, 31.7# and 34.9″, you have become a picky eater of late. You practically eschew any animal protein (no hot dogs (turkey or otherwise) no chicken or chicken nuggets, no deli meats, no eggs) except turkey meatballs. If I offer it, you’ll drop it on the floor to feed it to the dog OR will push it off your tray OR will shake your head vigorously and purse your lips shut. As for what you like: yogurt, cheese, fruit of every kind, pouches (as long as you can feed yourself), honey-nut Cheerios (do NOT try to pass off the regular Cheerios), Goldfish, Popsicles, sherbet, frozen yogurt, ice cream of any kind, peas (occasionally), corn (occasionally), sweet potatoes, potatoes, French fries, chewy granola bars, TJs mini pancakes, pizza, mac n cheese (occasionally) and milk. We essentially rotate these foods at every meal.

You are a sweet and gentle being. Oh, yes, you want what you want but your wants are easily satisfied. You are happy and curious and hilarious and sensitive (oh, are you sensitive) and coy and charming and loving and so much more than my minds eye ever could have imagined as we struggled to find our way to you.

It is true what they say that when you have multiple children your love expands. Just thinking of my love for you and I can feel the bigness of my heart. And, there is so much joy and happiness and glimpses of the relationship ahead for you and your brother. He, for his part as big brother, wants to make you laugh and, I dare say, is the best at it. He chases you and tackles you and tickles you and blows raspberries and you laugh from your belly and squeal with delight. Since the first day you became aware of him, you still think he hung the moon.

I am grateful and content and proud that you are our son and that you completed our family. The dynamic shift from family of three to family of four took place the day you were born and we didn’t know life could be this full, this rich, this colorful. You are the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for finding your way to us. I hope you see your light in my face every time I greet you, feel my love for you in every kiss, hug and snuggle, and know to your core that my gratitude for you knows no bounds.

Just be you, little boy. Sunshine and moonbeams and shooting stars. That is what you are.

A Simpler Summer

I have found myself saying the dreaded, “when I was your age” to my older son in response to him saying he is bored. This is the middle of his second week of summer vacation (I started this post a week ago and he has since started summer school at his school). And, I did my best to schedule activities during these past two weeks that would be fun for him (slip n slide play dates, play dates at a friends house, day camp at the local country club with a friend, Lego day camps, and an amusement park today).

One thing I have struggled with as a parent who grew up in a vastly different time, was wanting to provide outlets for my kids while not making them dependent on activities to stimulate their minds. I do far less than most parents I know but far more than was ever done for me as a child. Attending summer camp is something I never did as a kid.

It was a different, pre-9/11, pre-rampant shooting sprees, pre-Megan’s law time. With the exception of a family vacation (which was never fun because my dad was wound so tightly that if we every got off track, if his itinerary wasn’t executed perfectly, we’d all pay), and the very occasional trip to the beach or Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, we were responsible for creating our own fun. We lived in a real neighborhood where there were sidewalks and other kids that we either went to church or school with or that simply lived nearby (and ‘nearby’ could be up to a 10 block bike ride away). My parents both worked so we were with my grandparents during the days. We’d play with the hose or with water balloons or a slip n slide and eat Popsicles or snow cones or bomb pops. A highlight of any day or week, even, was when the ice cream truck came around.

Nothing was really planned for us. A play date happened when other kids happened to be out or around at the same time we were. We’d find each other and gravitate to one house or the next or play in the street. Hopscotch was a favorite, and so was jump rope, tag, and hide and seek. Or, a real treat would be if our parents decided to get together with other parents who had kids. Even though their getting together was the event, we benefited if the other couple had kids.

Our parents were not our friends. I do not ever recall my mother playing dolls with me, having a tea party, or any of the myriad things I do with my sons. I do remember playing board games when we were older (Life, Parcheesi, Monopoly, and I became a bit of a poker ace playing with my grandpa) but I had no expectation that my parents were my playmates. True, until I was 11, there were three of us kids, so we were better suited to play with each other. But there was a ‘children should be seen and not heard’ element to my childhood, at least at home. My grandparents and aunts and uncles were far better playmates.

Life is entirely different for my kids. With my older son, one of us was home with him, if only part-time, until he started kindergarten and ever since I’ve been picking him up from school. We are very involved parents (but, parents none-the-less and not looking to be best friends with our kids) and since our older son was an only child for almost 6 years we were his play mates and, to a degree, still are.

Kids here routinely spend summers in one day camp or another. Even though there are 4 families that live on our cud-de-sac, we NEVER hear the shrill of children playing during the day. None of the kids on this block are home during the day. And, now, at least in the mornings, neither is my older son. But, come afternoon, after lunch, and we’re outside playing badminton or slip n sliding or hoking the hose up to the slide on his fort to make a water slider, etc. We get frozen yogurt or play cards and, yes, my older son will sometimes watch TV or play on the iPad but we’ve regulated his screen time since he was a toddler and still do. So, if he uses his time during the day, he won’t get screen time before bed. I’m not even sure when parents stop regulating it, but we’re not there, yet.

At any rate, with t 5y9m age difference, this summer is more challenging than any one before it. G mostly takes two naps a day (one long morning nap and one shorter late afternoon catnap), so we really have only a few hours of unplanned time every afternoon. It is hard to attend to both kids on such different ends of the developmental spectrum. I have to keep an eye on G at all times which makes undivided attention for H hard to come by unless G is napping. And, because the other kids we know are in camp all day, it’s not like I can schedule play dates. I feel pressure and, to a lesser degree, guilt if I don’t have something planned.

And, then, I wonder if I have to plan every single afternoon. We have a house full of toys and games and self guided activities and an entire backyard and garage that’s set-up like a playroom. Still, my older son wants me to play with him. I feel guilty for not wanting to or not being able to but at the same time want him to cultivate skills that allow him to play on his own. Sometimes I’ll get him started with something and let him finish. It never seems like enough and with an active toddler, I just don’t have the creative energy to design afternoon play for them both.

This has taken me over a week to finish and post, so I’ll stop my rant there. I’m not going to succumb to the pressure and I want this to be a simpler summer. This is just to say that even though the 4th of July is next week, it feels like it’s going to be a long one, but I know it will go by in a flash. Do any other SAHMs struggle with this? It feels like a high class problem because I am so fortunate to be home with them but I am trying to find a job (more on that later) which is its own job. Never enough time…

Tomorrow G will be 18 months. EIGHTEEN MONTHS! OHEMGEE!

(Publishing without previewing or editing in the interest of getting it posted. Fingers crossed it makes sense.)