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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Portlandia

Even though my birth mother conceived me in MA (presumably), I was born in LA and consider myself a die hard Southern Californian. Not only have I lived here my entire life, but I also attended college and grad school here. The only living family I have is strewn through the state.

Growing up, I heard things like “this is THE best place to live” and “why would anyone want to live anywhere else” and “anyone we know who’s moved has regretted it” and “it’s a privilege to live here because not everyone can afford to”. I have never, as in never ever, entertained moving elsewhere. Until now.

California is in the midst of a historic drought. The previously predicted El Nino event which could have brought epic rain, has all but evaporated and it will be surprising if we get any more rain (read: almost no rain) than we have in the last few years. Almost all communities are on voluntary water restrictions with some on mandatory. We can now even turn our egregious neighbors in where they’ll face a $500 per incident charge for violating the restrictions.

I have been feeling a degree of angst for a long time. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew it had to do with the estrangement from my family and this feeling of never being fully relaxed when out (or even home, for that matter) because who knows who I’ll run into. And, yes, my father popped by last week, unannounced, to deliver an errant piece of mail that went to our old house (we’ve been here 3 1/2 yrs and still some businesses (mainly the city we used to live in) can’t update their records). I was asleep, taking a rare nap because G had been up off/on the night before and I figured, when the doorbell rang, that it was a delivery. Oh, it was alright, just not the kind I was expecting. But, I digress.

I am not even sure how it came up, but my angst led me to ask my husband if he’d seriously considered living anywhere else. That led to a deeper conversation about our finances, me going back to work (out of necessity), the cost of living here (not only are property values high, but property taxes are 1.25%, and our older son is in private school because the public school system is still, um, broken, and G will have to go to private school, too, which means about 30K/yr in tuition ON TOP of our property taxes) but goods, including utilities, gas, and things to live, are higher now than they ever have been (and they were higher than most regions to begin with).

I said, with all seriousness, that we should consider moving, which shocked my husband to no end (he is still shocked and in a state of disbelief when we talk about operationalizing a plan) and the places that topped our list were Denver, Seattle, and Portland. After weeks and now months of research, I believe that we have narrowed it down to Portland, a place that I have never even visited (but we are planning an exploratory visit in November).

As surprised as anyone who knows me is when I casually mention, “we’re thinking of moving to Portland”, not one person has thought it was a bad idea. The lifestyle where we live, especially with young children, is just not sustainable as this part of So CA becomes more arid and dessert-like. It it hot here, a lot, so much so that we can’t enjoy our local parks because there isn’t enough shade and the equipment is too hot to be on. Add to that that the water restrictions have turned everything brown here, parks included, so they are not nearly as friendly a place as they once were. Our doors/windows and window coverings are closed and down/pulled all.the.time in an effort to keep the house cool. We run errands in the early morning hours or after the sun goes down. We take something to drink everywhere we go as it is so hot that we are all thirsty, the kids especially, something I never remember being as a kid living here.

But, at the forefront of my mind is the drought. I’m actually not sure what the plans, beyond conservation are (the county is giving lawn removal rebates of 3K to home owners who remove their lawn in favor of installing drought resistant landscapes). I do know one thing, as this drought is likely to continue, we have to move while we can still get top dollar for our home. Oh, and I know one other thing, we can’t live without water.

The kicker came during my last therapy session when I was sharing with my therapist my desire to move, to allow for a different life for my boys and for me (if my husband could transfer with his employer AND if we sell our house, I could continue to be a SAHM whether we buy or rent in Portland) and because it is just exceedingly difficult to live here, yes because of the drought and heat, but there was something else with the estrangement from my family, that I just couldn’t put my finger on. And she, quite astutely said, ‘you want the physical distance to match the emotional distance’. BINGO! Pass GO and please collect $200! That, my friends, is it. It is incongruent to me to live within a few miles of my family yet to have no relationship with or to them. And, that causes me distress.

My uncle’s murder reminded me that we have this one life. He awoke that morning like he did many mornings before, and went outside to do some gardening. Little did he know it was the last thing he would ever do. I don’t want to live my life, our lives indoors because of the heat and constantly being on guard because I might run into my mom or dad or sister or her husband.

If the opportunity exists to create a different life, even where it rains 40″ a year, I want to explore it. And that we shall.

PS I found this helpful in making Portland our #1 choice and in making me feel that it is the right next move for us.

17 comments to Portlandia

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  • You know, science. There must be research happening somewhere that could find a way to take ALL THE RAIN we get here in Pittsburgh (and the midwest/northeast) and deliver to California. I would put money behind that research. Anyway, good luck with your choice! And if you ever decide to make an even more dramatic move, Pittsburgh is awesome and ridiculously affordable. For 200 dollars a year I have an annual membership to 4 museums AND our zoo – not to mention loads of free parks, an affordable house and no commute. But winters are growing more and more severe…

  • sarah b

    You know how I feel about Portland! Summers are amazing. I think it’s great you’re exploring your options. Staying tuned…

  • I’m very excited for you! I think it’s a great plan to put some geographical space between you and those you need to avoid.

  • Good for you! I wish you the best of luck with this plan.

  • It sounds like a great plan! And healthy to have a location change. Good luck!

  • Battynurse

    I lived in Portland for 6 years when I was much younger and I loved it. I don’t know how I personally would do with the rain now as I can struggle a lot with seasonal affective disorder but there are a lot of things about Portland that I loved. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  • Ana

    What an amazing adventure! And how astute of you to realize that the physical location is impacting so many aspects of your physical and mental health. I absolutely love every part of this post, it is so proactive and self-aware. So many of us stay in the same situation for most of our lives because we fear change and the unknown.

  • Wow. I can’t imagine making a move that big! I’ve lived in MA most of my life (very close to your birth mother, as you know). I’m not under any illusion that it’s the absolute best place to live, but it’s where *I* live and where I’m used to, and it would be very hard to leave. I’m pretty close to my family, though, so I guess that is completely different. But also, the very idea of moving house totally overwhelms me, as does the idea of going to a place where I know nobody at all. I do like Portland, though. I was only there for a weekend, when I was 15, but I liked it. And it does sound like it makes sense in your situation.

  • Wow! Big changes.

    I visited Portland last year and really really liked it. Great vibe.

    It feels really healthy to me that you are open to these possibilities. I’m excited to see where things go from here!

  • Rebeccah

    I’m afraid I’m terribly behind in reading your blog, but the title of this post caught my eye as I was scrolling through the many unread posts in my feed. Email me! PDX has been a great place for us, and we moved here for many of the reasons you describe.

    And, I’m so very sorry about your uncle. How horrible.

  • I think this sound like a wonderful plan. I have visited Portland once and it was really lovely! I was most impressed that they recycle everything and the traffic is no problem even at rush hour. The lush parks were amazing too! I completely agree about the physical distance. Being estranged from my sister was easier when she lived 1000 miles away. Now the she lives only 2 hours away I worry she will appear at family events or even that I could run into her when we visit my in-laws who live close to where we now live. It’s also easier to just say “my family lives far away; we don’t see them much” then to try to justify estrangement to those who ask questions about your family. I hope your visit to Portland goes wonderfully!

  • Claire

    I’m SO excited for you!!! This IS the right move! I can feel it! And rain won’t melt you like the sun will. It makes a lot of sense about the family and distance. You are very smart. We aren’t ever going to move anywhere that’s not north or not near a big water source. If you don’t get out soon you will be living in an arid empty land in a decade or so. Of course all the so. Californians who finally get the message will eventually move up there are raise all the prices and cramp you in, but you’ll be way ahead of them.
    Looking forward to hearing more of your new adventure!

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