Saturday, December 31, 2011


Over the last couple of days, I've been reading post after post reflecting on 2011. Some have been filled with anger, others have been hopeful for the future and some have been somewhere in between, talking about happy times as well as frustrations with this journey.  But there is a common theme of wondering what 2012 will hold.

The last three years have been miserable for Grey and me. 2009 was when we both were diagnosed with mono, I had a close call with death while rock climbing, all my experiments failed and I wondered if I would actually make it out of graduate school. It was also the year that the baby bug hit and though I got to meet my niece and nephew and spend some wonderful days with BIL and his wife, I was filled with jealousy as I knew Grey wasn't ready.  All that changed at the end of our trip to Washington DC to help the new family, so though 2009 was rough, it ended with a note of hope.

2010 started off terribly. As we were toasting in the new year, I watch a golden retriever, who's owner's were stupid enough to leave him outside during the firework display, escape from his yard and ran down a major arterial. He was almost hit multiple times by on-coming traffic and though we tried to help, he was off into the night before we could get to street level. It was an omen for things to come. Months passed with more and more friends, coworkers and my 19 yrs old, unemployed cousin becoming pregnant while we were trying. We ended the year with me having a mental breakdown and beginning to look for support. 2010 was the year that I joined a forum of women who were trying to go through TTC calmly and since some of those women have become some my biggest sources of support and strength. It was also the year a prominent committee member announced that I had completed all the requirements for my PhD, but need to focus now on my paper and the next step. After 5 1/2 years, the end of graduate school was in sight.

2011 has been bittersweet. Grey and I were diagnosed formally with "unexplained infertility" at the beginning of February and treatment was immediately put on hold so that I could focus on finishing my degree.  That's still a decision I regret. In addition, my grandfather, who I was very close to, passed away. A day before I was to fly back to the midwest for the funeral, my sister called to announce that she was pregnant. I did find a support group that focused on teaching meditation and relaxation techniques in order to improve fertility and cope with the process (if you haven't read Ali Domar's "Conquering Infertility," I highly recommend it), but I found that the group wasn't a source of support when we were released for our group leader's guidance. 2011 is also the year we began treatment, with three back-to-back IUIs that failed. That was a turning point for Grey, as he really did believe that simple intervention was all it would take. Despite this pain, 2011 was the year I began to find my voice regarding infertility. We began telling people our story and seeking support from family and friends. Some failed miserable (my family in particular) and had to be excised from our life so that would could survive. Others surprised us and have become our rocks. Probably most surprising was finding support from unexpected places: from people in the blogger sphere (Jay, I'm thinking of you), from those in online forums (Keisha, Shelley, Gina, Libby, Jacqueline, Nicole, Leslie and Marisa) to those in real life who I never expected. With this new reality has come death, but there's also been birth.  Through all of this and quite a bit of encouragement, I finally bit the bullet and started this blog. Just in time for IVF. It's by far the best decision I've ever made as I've been blessed to find all of you.

I have no idea what 2012 holds for me. I'm scared to think that far ahead. My second beta was yesterday = 124. Not exactly double the first beta = 66; but Dr. Practical is happy with the number. Tomorrow is beta #3. The thing is, I'm no longer naive; I know all too well that all of this could be over tomorrow. And outside of being a bit more tried and hungry, I have no symptoms. But I also know that stressing about it isn't going to change things for the better. And I've learned that I really do need to give up this thought that I can, otherwise I will drive myself to madness.

So, 2012, bring it. I know there will be moments of sorrow (there always are), but I also know that I'm stronger because of this path I've been on. There is nothing you can throw at me that I can't handle because I won't be alone. And I'm determined that there will be moments of joy; moments that I can look back on and treasure for the years to come.

Let's get this show on the road!

I have vacation brain. I should be preparing for the upcoming semester, clean the house and reflecting on 2011, but instead I've found dreaming while curled up under the covers to be a formidable temptation. So, again, I apologize for my laziness and not getting this out sooner.

Here's the list for the sock exchange I have to date:

1) Kelley @ Ready For My Miracle
2) Her Royal Fabulousness @ Waiting for Little Feet
3) JustHeather @ BattleFish
4) Our Life in Cycles @ Living Our Life in Cycles
5) Still Hoping @ Hope Delayed
6) Chanel @ Just Waiting for My Turn . . . 

7) Kayla @ Life is Simple, It's Just Not Easy
8) Toni @ Who is this "Fertile Myrtle"?
9) Belle @ Scrambled Eggs

The exchange will continue to be open to anyone who wants to participate (just shoot me an email), but it's time to get this show on the road.

For transparency, this is how I've assigned "sock exchange buddies." I used a random list generator found here to randomize the names and then paired people off based on names that were next to one another.  Once you know who your buddy is, contact them to exchange shoe size as well as contact information. Again, socks do NOT need to be handmade, but I know all of you have a creative streak, so pick out something special. Let me know if you don't hear from your buddy within the next few days.

So, without further ado, here's the exchange list:

Kayla and Her Royal Fabulousness

Still Hoping and JustHeather 

Our Life in Cycles  and Belle 

Chanel and Kelley 

Cristy and Toni 

Good luck!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fertility socks, part deux

A few posts back, I proposed a fertility sock exchange. The whole point being that it would be a way to support one another while we're on this journey. I haven't forgotten about it, I've just been distracted.

Anyway, this is the current list:

-Rebecca @ Life of an Army Wife
-JustHeather @ BattleFish
-Our Life in Cycles @ Living Our Life in Cycles
-Hope Delayed
-Chanel @ Just Waiting for My Turn . . . 

If you're not on the list and want to be, please let me know in the comments section. Similarly, if you're on the list and don't want to be, let me know too.

I'm hoping to set all of this up in the next couple of days, with instructions for how to make all of this happen.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Game changer

Yesterday, I started a post talking about broken dreams and finding the need to move forward. In that post, I planned on talking about the biology behind IVF; how it's a great diagnostic tool as well as an effective treatment. How, before IVF, couples were subjected to living quietly with infertility, having no real treatment options, medically speaking. I think it will be a good post, particularly regarding the biology and the advances. But that will be for another time.

Yesterday, after posting about my anxiety disorder about HPTs, I went upstairs to shower and change out the Crinone. It was then that I found blood. Not a lot (none of it made it to the panty liner I was wearing), but enough that all I could think was "it's over." Grey found me in the shower, sobbing like a baby. Immediately, he took control of the situation, ordered me dress, out the door and into the car. His mission was to get me out of the house and to find sunshine, somewhere in the state of WA. So off we went, over the mountain pass.

We didn't find sunshine. But what we did find was snowfall. And during the drive, Grey calmed me down, reminding me that a little bit of blood is normal. And that he wasn't ready to throw in the towel. Because no matter what, we were going to expand our family. Our children exist, it's just a matter of time.

I hadn't seen snow in over a year. Standing outside as those big flakes landed on my face helped me remember happier times. And as I calmed down and began to listen to my body, I realized that even though I had zero pregnancy symptoms, I wasn't ready to quit.

This morning, Grey woke me up and told me it was time. Shaking and crying, I did my first HPT in over 6 months while my darling partner held my hand. And that's when, for the first time in over 2 years of this madness, we saw the second line.

The RE on duty called me 20 minutes ago about the results from the blood test: Beta #1 = 66.  Not as high as I thought it would be, but higher than I ever expected.  Second beta is on Friday.

Today, I find myself in unfamiliar territory. By no means are we out of the woods yet, but today we are further along in this process than I ever allowed myself to imagine we would be.  But I'm also sad too. I'm sad because I want all of you to have this too (outside of the hysterics . . . that I'll keep). I want to be able to wave my magic wand and to give all of us a baby, right now. Because all of you will be mothers, and awesome ones to boot.

Grey and I are off to go spin the prayer wheels.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I remember the first couple of months of TTC. Like most women, I was fairly confident that I would be pregnant within a couple of months of trying. After all, infertility was unheard of in the women in my family.  As time wore on, though, I started to become wary of HPTs. The anticipation of seeing that second line or only seeing the word "pregnant," began to be replaced with a sense of dread.

Today is 8dp5dt and I have yet to POAS.  Originally the plan was to take an HPT yesterday so that we would have some resolution before my birthday, but when it came time, I couldn't.  The anxiety of seeing only the one line and then having to wait until Wednesday to follow up with a blood draw was just too much. As much as I want to know, the rollercoaster ride that would ensue following the event isn't something that my heart can take.

I think I'm in the minority with this issue. Over the past couple of weeks, I've read many posts about follow IFers posting HPT result after HPT result. The anxiety I feel from reading these posts has made it difficult to follow a lot of these blogs and I've felt a lot of guilt for not being able to be more supportive.

Tomorrow morning, I go in for my beta. I will also bit the bullet and POAS. There will be tears for sure.  And shaking. And so much anxiety, praying, bargaining with the universe. But not today. Today I'm trying to hold on to this feeling that Grey and I have done everything we could.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas The Night Before Christmas (IVF style)

This isn't mine; I can't possibly take credit for this work of genius.  But I love it and thought all of you might too.

'Twas the day of the transfer and out the door we went,
My hormones were raging and I felt emotionally spent.
The stockings were hung by the stirrups with care,
In hopes that a baby soon would be there.
The nurse was prepping and readying the bed,
While visions of implantation danced in my head.
Me in my paper gown, and my husband in his cap,
I was getting ready to settle down for my Valium nap.
When out in the waiting room there arose such a clatter,
My husband sprang from the OR to see what was the matter.
Down the hall he flew like a flash,
Ran into the receptionist and gave her the cash.
The florescent light beamed down from the ceiling above,
Giving the lustre of paleness to my true love.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
A man in a white coat and I felt nothing but fear.
With a look in his eye that said nothing was missed,
I knew in a moment it must be my reproductive endocrinologist.
More rapid than pregnancy news, his assistants they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Betty! now, Alice! now, Sally and Sue!”
“On, Donna! On, Margaret! on, on Kelly and Drew!”
“Get the embryologist in here. Get her right away.”
“We’re ready to do this! I hope this will be your lucky day!”
As we said a prayer and everyone got ready,
The doctor pulled the catheter trigger and held it real steady.
So, up to the uterine lining it flew,
With a shot full of embryos and culture solution, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I knew I desperately needed to pee,
I said, “My bladder is about to explode, don’t you see?”
As I wiggled and squirmed and looked for my man,
I turned just in time to see him coming with a bed pan.
He was dressed in paper footies and was as handsome as ever,
I sighed in relief and immediately felt better.
I laid still for 20 minutes while he watched the clock,
Then, in someone came.  “You can get up,” said the doc.
But his eyes, they were serious,
He said, “There’s something we need to discuss.”
“Lay still for three days, before you get up and go,”
“You must give those embryos time to burrow in and grow.”
So off we went as my husband wheeled me away,
Back to car and we were on our way.
I laid in the backseat and looked at the embryo picture,
And, hoped with all my might that God might hear my whisper.
I felt chubby and plump, from all the hormones,
And, then thought of tomorrow’s injections with a groan.
With a wink of my eye and a twist of my head,
I knew the two-week-wait would be something to dread.
When we arrived back home, my mom went straight to her work,
She made a great lunch, then turned with a jerk.
She said, “You just lay there to relax and rest.”
“Leave everything to me and don’t you stress.”
With two weeks to wait and Lovenox to endure,
We readied ourselves for heartache some more.
I stressed about my symptoms and missed drinking wine,
Then we prepared for the big test and we hoped for two lines.

A Case of the Mean Reds

The holiday season is in full swing. Last minute gift shopping is rampant, Santa hats are everywhere, traffic is crazy, you get the picture.  Grey and I are laying low this year, as we are in the middle of the two week wait.  And for the past few days, we've done a fairly good job of distracting ourselves while embracing the holiday cheer.

Until today.

The day started innocently enough.  I had finished all my grading and submitted it while Grey was off getting a hair cut.  We went  out to run a couple of errands and decided to stop by a local park to walk along the beach of Puget Sound.  As I gazed out onto the water, I spoke out-loud to the embryos, promising them that if they decided to implant and hang out for the next 9 months that we would bring them back there and spend a day in the sand.

And instantly, upon saying those words, I got hit with this overwhelming feeling of dread and despair. And a singular feeling that it was all over.

Somehow, we made it off the beach before I broke down sobbing.  I don't remember how we got home.  All I know is that I somehow made it to the couch and cried myself to sleep.

Part of all this is due to recent bad news from other bloggers, watching them as they go from utter elation to absolute despair.  The other part is this ongoing belief that there is no way this will happen based on the simple fact that I don't deserve this.  That, since birth, I was destine for this misery.  Logically, I know this isn't true.  Yet after 2 years without a single positive result, it's hard to refute that thought.

Tonight, while families around the world gather to celebrate, I find myself on the couch shaking.  My body is sore from the last month and my heart is bleeding from yet another holiday without my children.  Yet, somehow, we're expected to trudge on, suck it up and put on a smile for all the world to see.  And if I don't, I'm immediately reminded how "lucky" I am.  I don't have cancer or some life-threatening disease. I have a warm home. I have food to eat. I should remember how blessed I am, right?

Yet, what people don't take into account is that there are far worse things in this world than death. And that life requires more than simply physical sustenance. Soul-sickness can kill too.

I'm struggling. I want to desperately to believe that there's still a chance for this cycle. And I'm so very tired of hitting this point in the 2 week wait where all I can do is cry.  Just once, I'd like that happy ending; some sort of miracle.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Weight Before the Door

First off, welcome all from ICLW. Brief background on me: after 2 years of TTC, we took the plunge and proceeded with IVF. From this cycle, we ended up with 8 embryos. 6 were frozen, 2 were transferred. I'm currently in the two week wait.

In an effort to distraction myself from analyzing every twinge and pang during this wait, I've been reflecting on my own journey so far and how it has changed Grey and me. Yesterday, as I was going through some old boxes, I came upon our wedding programs. The trip down memory lane was quite a bit of fun (we had a small wedding on a lovely summer day in June 2004. Overall, it was a wonderful day).  While flipping through the program, I came upon a story that we put at the end of it.  This story was collected in Morocoo in 1908 by Feridah Kirby Green, who was the daughter of a British Minister. I first heard the story while taking an African Storytelling course as an undergraduate and I fell in love with it's lesson immediately.

The Weight Before the Door

There lived once a man so rich that he measured his money by the bushel, as we poverty-stricken ones measure barley or bran. One day, he fell very ill, and, feeling that his last hour had come, he called his son and gave over to him all his wealth and property. He said to him, "My son, I leave your welfare in the hands of the Almighty, and to the care of such-and-such a one, who is my friend. Listen to his words, as if they were mine. I have instructed him to find a bride for you when you are ready to marry."

Having blessed his son, the man died.

After a time, the young man desired to marry, so, according to his father's last word, he went to the his father's friend, his guardian and informed him. The Guardian said, "It is well," and he set out and found a young woman. He made all necessary preparations, and caused a suitable feast to be prepared. The morning before the carrying of the bride to the groom, the Guardian called the young man and siad to him, "Son of my friend, I have found you a bride. But before we may know that she is the one destined for you by Allah, it is necessary that you should do this. Tonight, after the bride has been brought to your house and she is seated in your room awaiting you, and before you go to her, I shall cause a heavy weight to be placed before the door of the room. You are to attempt to remove the weight. If she is the fitting wife for you, you will succeed; if you do not succeed, you will know that she is not for you and you should divorce her tomorrow without so much as seeing her face." 

The young man wondered about this, but said, "It is well."

That night, the bride was brought with much pomp and rejoicing, and the bride was taken to the man's apartment and seated there in a rich robe to await him. Her eyes were closed and a veil covered her face.

The bridegroom, after tarrying a while in the mosque with young men of his acquaintance, came up to the door of the room. The door was agar, so that he could see the shrouded figure. Before the door lay the weight, of which the Guardian had spoken. The weight was round like a ball and not large.

The youth though, "I shall life it with ease and won't wait to go in to my wife." But when he tired to lift the weight, he could not move it---no, not the breadth of a finger nail. He tried with all his strength to move it by lifting and pushing and rolling it, but in vain.

He did not enter the room.

The next morning, he went to the Guardian and told him what had happened. The Guardian said, "You must divorce this woman, my son, and I shall seek another for you." This was done.

The Guardian, after he had found a second woman, caused a yet finer feast to be prepared. The bride was brought, as had happened the first time, and the bride was seated in the young man's room. When he came to enter, the weight again lay before the slightly open door. Though he saw the veiled woman, and though he tried with all his strength to remove the obstacle and go to her, he could not---no, though he struggled until dawn.

When the Guardian heard that the young man had failed once more, he signed and said, "Nor is this wife destined for you by the All-wise. Let us send her back to her father and I shall seek again."All was done as he said.

When the young man came for the third time to try to enter the bridal chamber, for the third time he saw that the way was blocked. He said, "This time, I shall remove the weight or, if I cannot do it, I shall try no more.  If I do not succeed this time, I shall know that it is decreed that I should die unmarried." He bent his back and seized the ball with his two hands, and he pulled at it until he groaned with weariness, but in vain.

The young woman within heard his groans and she said to herself, "Shall I let this man who is my husband kill himself without striving to help him?" She arose, put aside her veil and her outer robe of gold and pushed herself through the half-open door. She approached the young man who was wrestling with the heavy weight and said, "Let me help, my lord."

The two placed their hands together on the ball, and pushed with all their force. The weight rolled on one side of the door, so that the entrance was free.

The young man looked on the fair face of the woman who had come to his aid and saw that she was in truth the bride destined for him. He embraced her and the two entered the room together.

The past couple of nights, Grey and I have been reflecting on the journey we've been on. The road hasn't been easy: there's been a lot of loss, a lot of pain.  In truth, there were many times where it would have been a lot easier if we had simply given up.  Yet I couldn't. He couldn't. Because giving up would have meant giving up on our family.

7 1/2 years ago, I stood with this man before friends and family, promising to move any stone in our path.  I never dreamed that some of those stones would be the size of boulders and that there would be moments where we would be working together to climb over them as we were unable to move them. Yet I can't imagine any other person I would have wanted by my side during this.

The moral of this story is simple, though not easy: A fruitful and blessed marriage will be one in which the husband and wife (or husband and husband or wife and wife) struggle with life's problems, problems that are represent by the weight before the door.

In 7 days, we will receive results from this cycle. I pray that weight is nonexistent.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Carol: Destigmatizing Scrooge

 This last Friday, Grey and I went to see a radio-show performance of "A Christmas Carol."  I'm sure the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his emotional/ethical transformation following his supernatural visits is familiar to all of you, so I won't bore you with retelling it.  What I will say is that seeing the ghost of Jacob Marley as an adult isn't any less frightening than it was as a child.

While watching the performance, I found myself reflecting on Scrooge in a way I wouldn't have considered prior to infertility.  Scrooge is villainized early on for being a miser and curmudgeon, leaving many to wonder why he is so cold.  As Scrooge begins his journey with the spirits, we learn that he had a difficult childhood and the foundation is laid for why he is the person he is today. But this vision is brief and before long the audience is shown that Scrooge made choices too, leading him to his current state. Ultimately, Scrooge is able to make a choice to change his nature, embracing the Christmas spirit.  The audience applauded this happy ending and the auditorium was filled with a sense of knowing that good can prevail as long as you chose to have it be so.  

I didn't walk out of that auditorium with that sense of peace, though.  Frankly, I was a bit sad.  Because for the first time, I could really identify with Scrooge and it angered me that all the blame for who he was was put squarely on him while Dicken's glossed over one very important fact: hardship can break a person and someone neglected of kindness and love will become the only thing they know.

I thought about Scrooge a lot today as I walked around town.  As I watched mothers pushing scrollers with their children, ooing and ahhing at window displays, I felt like an outsider.  Though I'm so grateful for the gift that I currently have in my womb, the knowledge that all of it could be gone in 9 days isn't lost on me.  Because of this and because of this journey, I will forever be an outsider. And as much as society would like me to go hid in the corner, I find it hard not to acknowledge that society is a major part of the problem.

Yes, Scrooge makes some very cold decisions: he threatens to dock Bob Cratchin's pay for taking Christmas off and only allows him that one day to spend with his family.  He treats his only nephew poorly when invited to Christmas dinner.  He stomps around and pouted when Christmas carolers come to his door.  But what Dickens neglects to focus on is how society reinforces Scrooge: he's isolated during his childhood, considered an outsider by his peers.  Though there are happy moments, leading us to believe that not all of his life was filled with hardship, there are moments where we are reminded that the world is a hard place.  In that, Dickens fails to touch on a critical point: villains don't magically arise, they are created.

As the holidays rapidly approach, I find I work daily to confront feelings of bitterness and isolationism.  This year is less hard, as I have an amazing circle of support, both online as well as off.  But I've learned first hand that the world is scared of infertility: there are no easy answers/solutions to our plight and ignorance runs rambit regarding medical intervention.  In short, society would prefer to villainize, casting us in the same light as Scrooge.  And that's just wrong.

Tonight, I'm destigmatizing Scrooge.  Instead of focusing on his miserly ways, I chose to focus on how he became the symbol of kindness and love. Because Scrooge isn't the villain of the story; he's the hero. Just as every single one of you have become my heroes. Your stories, your rants, your humour; they all inspire me to have hope.  Without it, without this community I would be lost.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A happy day

Sorry for the delay, but all the excitement from this morning left me pretty exhausted.

We transferred two beautiful embryos: one 5AA, that was just starting to hatch; one 4AA that wasn't far behind.  I cried when I saw them.  I've seen textbook images of blastocysts, but never ones quite as clear.  They are beautiful.

We ended up freezing down four embryos today and they are culturing the other three for one more day to see how they develop.  It looks like we may have one more.

The only hitch of today was me not having drank enough water ahead of time.  I really thought that after 4 liters I would be okay; learned that isn't the case.  My RE and I had a nice chat about horses and riding while we waited for my bladder to fill.

Tonight I'm meditating, relaxing and indulging in bad TV.  And praying that in 9 days I get the best birthday present of my life.  I'm also incredibly grateful for all your words of support.  I'm so lucky to have all of your support.

Transfer Day

Well, we're finally here: transfer day!  I heard from my RE on Saturday that all 9 embryos are growing and dividing at a good rate, so all are in the final media.  I cried like a baby outside the post office after receiving the news.   I'm so grateful that we've made it this far.

I'll update you all later today, but I wanted to share a photo.  This is a shrine my neighbor set up for us.  One tea-light for each embryo.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fertility socks

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm a knitter.  A chronic knitter.  Keeping my hands busy calms me and helps me process.  Knitting has been a life-saver during treatments, especially in the waiting room.  Gee, the doctor isn't here yet and will be 30 mins late, no problem!  I'll just work on the next 10 rows.

About a year ago, just prior to starting the whole fertility work-up, I found a website talking about Fertility Socks.  The whole concept is genius: a pair of socks is sent to those going through treatments so that while they're in the stirrups they have a conversation piece as well as a reminder that they are not alone in this journey.  There's one problem, though: the creator Emily is swamped with requests while donations have been low.  The site has been down for a while, too.

Last February, I decided to put my knitting skills to use and I knit my first pair of socks.

I had been following the recipient's blog for a while and was my way of saying thank you as well as offering support.  She told me later that she worn them to every visit and I'm happy to report that she's expecting.

A month later, I knit another pair for a lady in my mind/body group.

I wasn't as excited about these, but apparently she likes them.  Her twins were born last month.

The final set was for another woman, who had just suffered a miscarriage following IVF#1.  

I found out later that she worn them during FET, which resulted in a BFP.  

As I've been reading your blogs, it's dawned on me (sorry, I'm a bit slow) that a number of you are starting treatments in January.  As much as I would love to, there's no physical way that I can kick out socks for all of you.  But I do know that what has kept me sane while in the stirrups has been a small collection of mementos from those who have been cheering me on.

So, I propose a fertility sock exchange.  Socks don't need to be handmade, nor is this exchange limited to those currently undergoing treatments, so anyone who is interested can participate. All that matters is that you pick out a pair for a fellow IFer and send them to them.  I have no idea on exactly how to organize this (and it someone does, please chime in), but the first bit of information is who's interested?!?!  Once I get a list, we can work out the details of how to do (Mo's Chocobuddy system would be a great model . . . I just need to ask her for permission to use her idea). 

Friday, December 16, 2011

The waiting is the hardest part

In 1981, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their album "Hard Promises." If you haven't had a chance to listen to the album, I highly recommend it (the duet with Stevie Nicks is amazing!!). The most recognized song on the album is "The Waiting."

Oh baby don't it feel like heaven right now
Don't it feel like something from a dream
Yeah I've never known nothing quite like this
Don't it feel like tonight might never be again
We know better than to try and pretend
Baby no one coulda ever told me 'bout this
I said yeah yeah

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Well yeah I might have chased a couple women around
All it ever got me was down
Then there were those that made me feel good
But never as good as I'm feeling right now
Baby you're the only one that's ever known how
To make me wanna live like I wanna live now
I said yeah yeah

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you get one more yard
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Oh don't let it kill you baby, don't let it get to you
Don't let it kill you baby, don't let it get to you
I'll be your bleedin' heart, I'll be your cryin' fool
Don't let this go too far
Don't let it get to you
Yesterday was a wonderful day. Grey and I finally received news that it is possible for our gametes to fuse and make embryos.  All that came crashing down, though, when reality seeped in that fertilization was only one step of the process. That just because our two genomes were able to fuse doesn't mean we're in the clear. Now these embryos need to divide. They need to become morulas and ultimately blastulas. And through those divisions, set up to the different layers that will eventually become their bones, their hearts, their lungs. I also know that human embryos are SLOW; they need time to do this.  But most importantly, I know where things can go wrong. I know first hand that all of this can halt and that within a day, the dream can be gone. And there is nothing I can do.

Monday is our scheduled transfer day.  We've been told that no news = good news; that we won't hear anything about how they're doing until it's time to proceed or unless something awful happens. Grey has banned me from Pubmed for the weekend, reminding me that I can't research my way out of this. But what I can do is meditate and focus on preparing my body. I can hold them in my mind, sending them love and asking them to grow and be strong. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Quick update

Two things this morning, all.

1) I you follow Rebecca over at Pink Lipgloss and Prenatals, stop by this morning and give her a hug.  She had quite a scare yesterday all starting with a visit to Urgent Care.  Rebecca, I've already said it, but I will say it again.  Thinking of you today and sending you so much love and light.

2) RE called this morning with the fertility report:
           22 follicles
           18 eggs retrieved
           13 eggs mature
             9 fertilized
I'm so relieved because now we FINALLY know that it is possible for Grey and I to make embryos.  I now have one wish:  GROW!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sympathizing with a small brown dog

First off, thank you all for your comments and kind words! I'm so incredibly fortunate to have all this support as we go through this cycle. You all rock!

This post starts with a story about a small brown dog. Every year, my graduate program held a BBQ at the end of the academic year to celebrate the upcoming summer and to congratulate one another on surviving.  It was always a great party with faculty, staff and grad students, where we could toast getting through it intact and spend an afternoon not talking shop. It also was a time for graduate student mischief, usually involving kickball (side note: I loved kickball when I was 9 years old; kickball as an adult involving alcohol usually involved blood and bruising. This crew plays for keeps). Not long after I started my program, it became an annual tradition to roast a pig. This is a day long process and the area around the pit became a favorite spot for every dog within a 5 mile radius. Most of the dogs were very obedient, taking only what was given to them. But there was one dog who was food-motivated and a bit too smart for her own good.  Her name is Sara, the brown dog.

One year, Sara was making the rounds, convincing every naive soul that she haven't had her share of the pig. Near the end of the BBQ, the person in charge of the pit remarked at how quickly all the leftovers had been snatched up. No one thought anything of it. During kickball, Sara's caretaker commented that she had had a good day and was going to sleep well that night. We all lovingly patted the brown dog as the party ended and headed home. A couple of days later, I ran into Sara's caretaker, who was clearly pissed off. Turns out the brown dog had had an interesting night following the festivities. Around midnight, brown dog was twitching uncontrollably and couldn't stand. Afraid for the worst, she was rushed to the emergency vet clinic and admitted right away. After 20 minutes, the vet on duty called her caretaker to the back.  She was followed by two vet techs who had tears in their eyes. Once in back, the vet put up an x-ray of Sara's abdomen and announced that she had a diagnosis.  "You see, her stomach is very distended, filled with food.  Her problem is that it's stuck because her colon is full, because she can't poop.  And she can't poop because her bladder is full.  And she can't pee because her stomach is full." At this point in time, both vet techs were laughing uncontrollably and the vet had a grin from ear-to-ear. The resolution: a $500 enema.

I thought of Sara last night when I woke up at midnight because of a sharp pain on my right side.  Immediately I was freaked out that I had developed full-blown OHSS. It felt like I had a rock in my abdomen that was pressing on both my colon and my sciatic nerve, sending pain up and down my leg.  Grey grabbed cold washcloth to apply to the area and as soon as he put him hand on my belly, we both felt the gas bubbles move through my GI tract. "Damn" I thought as we both came to the realization what my issue actually was. Once I managed to relief some pressure, I felt better for a couple of hours, only to be awoken again due to the same problem. It occurred to me following the third attack that I was at a point where I could empathize with brown dog.  The only difference was that instead of a full stomach, I had enlarged ovaries.

This morning I went in for egg retrieval.  I was warned that following I might experience some pain and discomfort. Nurse S had a good laugh the story about the brown dog and how, like her, was actually feeling better following following some induced relief.

The report so far:  Started with 22 follicles.  18 eggs retrieved, 13 mature.  We should know tomorrow morning about the fertilization status.

In the meantime, Grey has me on a strict diet of soup and salad.  And he's threaten to have the brown dog come over to act as my nurse if I don't follow doctor's orders.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I hate being a pessimist. Nothing is attractive about all the self-loathing and the second-guessing. When I was younger, I longed to be one of those girls who's so confident that "everything will work out for the best" or "though the rain falls, the sun will peak it's head out from behind the clouds soon." Yeah, I hated those girls.

My problem: to date, this cycle has been going really well. I'm currently at CD11 and have 22 follicles. That's right, 22. Any doubt I have about their existence is continually squashed by the lower back pain, the feeling of two cue balls pressing up against my kidneys and stomach and the constant feeling of nausea.  E2 level is 4728 as of this morning. We're triggering tonight for a retrieval on Wednesday morning. For all practical purposes, I should be very hopeful and optimistic. After all, the medical staff is elated. Yet instead, I'm finding myself waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Being on this path long enough results in hearing a number of IVF stories: there's the ones where everything was perfect from the beginning leading to a very happy ending. Everyone on this path wants one of those. Then there's the ones where things didn't look that great going in, but resulted in a healthy happy baby. I've done my share of cheering for those. And then there's the stories that people talk about in the third person or are not told till years later. The stories of the optimal cycle that failed.

Tonight, I'm finding myself on the edge of a cliff, getting ready to dive head-first into this next step.  Though I know that there is nothing I can do to change the future, I'm absolutely terrified. I'm terrified that in the next few days everything that I knew will be changed. There's a chance that all of this will work out wonderfully and the thought of that brings tears to my eyes. And yet the eternal pessimist looms, pointing a gnarly finger at the other possibility. I really wish that I had a bat to beat her up, knocking her out of commission, if just for one night. So that for once, that sense of caution and preparation for the worst was gone. That I could for the first time in two years embrace the unknown, excepting whatever the outcome would be.

Friday, December 9, 2011


One of my favorite things is to walk through the woods when they are covered with fog.  There's a quiet that sets in due to the land-cloud muffling any noise and a sense of mystery.  You never know what's around the corner.  The problem with fog is that it can be disorienting, masking potential dangers.  If it gets too thick, there is a very real danger of becoming lost.

The past few days, my head has been in the clouds.  I've been finding it hard to concentrate on the simplest tasks and have become incredibly forgetful.  It's gotten so bad that yesterday I had to stay home from work, concerned that driving would be disastrous.  The problem with being so foggy mentally is that I don't know what's good news from bad news, what's up from down.
Today was monitoring appointment #2.  Dr. Practical has been in charge of watching my follicles grow, upping my dosage of Gonal-F.  Today she had a resident and senior medical student in tow.  When they entered the room, all I could think of was "don't say anything dumb."  Nodding and smiling was something I can do without having to seem mentally together.  As I lay naked from the waist down on the table, allowing them to visualize the progress of the medication and ask questions/make observations, I found my thoughts drifting to the Muppets song 'Mahna mahna."  It wasn't until about 2 minutes in to playing this over and over in my head that I realized that the room was awfully quiet.  When I opened my eyes, I found Grey giving me the most amused, bewildered look.  I looked over at the three medical professionals who were starring silently at me and it was then it dawned on me that I had been humming.

Good news of the whole visit: I have 19 follicles, with the leading follicles being around 12 mm.  They want to see me Sunday morning for another visit, but I'm hoping that we're getting close.  Bad news: I'm now one of "those" patients; the ones that become immortalized for abnormal behavior.  So I have two options: fret about it, or run with it.  I'm all for the latter, but I don't know if I can come up with something as equally entertaining by the next visit.

Dear Gonal-F, I want my brain back

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sometimes when you lose, you win

Many years ago, I took a literature class that assigned Dante's Divine Comedy.  This epic poem describes Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, representing a soul's journey to find "God."  As a final assignment, we were asked to analyze and compare one part of the Divine Comedy with a modern and/or popular form of art.  "What Dreams May Come" had just opened and, being a rather smug college student, I decided to write my paper comparing the Inferno to this movie.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this film, it's based on the book by Richard Matheson and is billed as a supernatural drama.  The story focuses on the journey of two soulmates, Chris and Annie, following tragedy and sorrow, leading to hopeful new beginnings. The story starts with the pair meeting in Italy while on vacation, followed by a scene of their wedding.  We then get a flash of their idyllic life together with their two children.  This all ends, following a fatal car crash.  The wife, Annie, blames herself for the accident, believing that if she had been driving that day, their children would still be alive, lending her to a complete mental and emotional break-down.  The movie jumps between scenes in the past and present, where the couple has pulled through this tragedy.  It isn't long after, though, that Chris is killed and begins his journey through the afterlife and, ultimately, back to Annie.

There's one scene of that movie that I've been playing over and over in my head as I've been reflecting on our journey.  And I'm been thinking about it all the more as I see many posts from fellow bloggers talking about the despair they feel with having to be on this road.  How alienated they feel from those around them, especially their partners.  It wasn't that long ago that Grey and I were constantly fighting over infertility: him feeling that I was overreacting all the time; me feeling alone and pushing him away while hurting so badly, day in and day out.  In the movie, because of her despair of losing Chris and her children Annie commits suicide. Because suicide is a sin against nature, she is sent to Hell.  Angered over this, Chris journeys to Hell to rescue her, traveling through the different circles.  When Chris finds Annie, he finds her in a state of being unable to remember anything.  In his attempt to help her remember, he recalls a conversation that originally saved their marriage.

During this discussion, when Annie was originally institutionalized following the loss of their children, he reveals that he is part of the problem.  Because he couldn't join her in her grief.  It is only after that realization that they are able to move forward.  And it is because of that realization again in Hell, and his decision to stay with her in damnation, that ultimately saves them both.  

The last couple of days have been hard for Grey.  Infertility has taken such a toll on both of us, but it has only been within the last few months that we've both been on the same page.  Watching him as he grieves and deals with feelings of despair has been so difficult.  It hurts me so much to see him hurt like this. Partly because I can't do anything to alleviate the pain. Partly because I understand it so well. Yet, reflecting back on that scene, I also realize that his joining me in my grief is actually a good thing, as we are now in a place where we can actually comfort one another.  Just as Chris says to Annie, sometime when you lose, you win.

Today is a better day for both of us.  We've been feeling more hopeful following the news from yesterday morning.  But doubt still creeps in, along with daily reminders of the fact we have to struggle.  The hardest part of all of this has been remembering to hold fast to one another as we travel through our own revision of Hell.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quick update . . .

It's that time of year, again.  With the holiday season in full swing, finals week is looming.  My students are officially in full panic mode (I've been informed that I'm part of the problem) and demanding that some form of help comes ASAP.  So, it's bullet points for today.

  • Had first monitoring appointment this morning.  And we have 15 follicles currently at 10 mm!  There are potentially more, but they won't be able to tell for a few more days.  Next appointment is Friday morning.
  • The drugs are making me very sleepy.  Last night I passed out at 8 pm.  This means I was up at 4 am.  Jax and Dais were totally excited about the idea of 4 am breakfast.  
  • Because of said panic, my students have requested two review sessions prior to the final.  One over the weekend (which I can do) and another right before.  Problem is, I may be doing the retrieval at that time.  So I had to level with them and tell them that I was going to be having surgery, but can try to set up a skype review session.  Now they're concerned I'm dying.  It's nice to be liked.
  • We've been slowly decorating the house for Christmas and I now have two very happy furballs who are camped under the tree.  Jax has moved all his favorite toys and insists that play time center around him hiding under the branches.  When I'm more awake, I'll post pictures.
  • With the holiday session comes holiday parties.  Grey and I are being selective regarding which ones were attending.  And I've thrown all caution to the wind and have been telling everyone who asks how we are about our IVF cycle. Found it's been a great way to get people to shut up regarding the "when are you going to have children" question and allows me to immediately deal with any misconceptions regarding this treatment.  I'm sure this will bite me in the ass at some point, but I'm officially done caring about what other people think.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Award encouraging TMI

Hooray for another award!  This one from Her Royal Fabulousness at Waiting for Little Feet, promoting community and encouraging oversharing.   If you haven't had a chance, I highly recommend you check out her newly redesigned blog about her infertility journey.

Similar to the Liebster Blog Award, certain rules also apply in receiving this award:
  • Thank the person who passed the award on to you. (Thanks Her Royal Fabulousness!)
  • List 7 things that people may not know about you.
  • Pass the award to 15 other bloggers and don't forget to notify them as well.  Feel free to ignore my nomination if you received it from someone else
1) I hate crowds.  This makes activities like shopping, concerts, airports, etc a bit difficult.  Having a plan of attack when needing to be in crowded areas helps a lot and so do various forms of distraction, but I have my limits.

2) I love water.  Particularly large bodies of it.  Some of my best nights of sleep involved being near rivers, lakes and the ocean.  I love how free my body feels when I'm floating, the energy of water rushing past me, how warm and wonderful the liquid feels as it surrounds me.  In my next life, I'm coming back as a mermaid.

3) As much as I hate to admit it, I'm hopeless addicted to Disney.  I cried like a baby at the beginning of "Up," hosted a girls-night-out centering around "Finding Nemo," watched the "Lion King" more than I care to admit, you get the picture.  We even spent part of our honeymoon at Disneyland.  Corny, yes. Totally worth it, though.

4) I'm the opposite of a rapid adopter.  Smart phones scare me.  Just starting a blog was a huge deal.  Universe help me if Grey dies before I do.

5) Some of my happiest memories involve sinking my hands into soft, black soil and working in fields in the Midwest.  Despite this, I've managed to kill most of my plants.

6) I dream in color.

7) I've never been off the North American continent.  No joke.  Everyone else in my family has traveled to Europe, Asia, even the Middle East.  Your's truly really wants to travel.  Or at least live abroad.  Trying to convince Grey that this is a great option since doing what everyone else does doesn't seem to be working for us.

Now the blogs;

Brooke at Becoming Parents
Trisha at The Elusive Second Line
Will Carry On
Kayla at Life is Simple, It's Just Not Easy
Chanel at Just waiting for my turn
Hope Delayed
Jessica at Our roller coaster through IVF . . .
Amanda at My life in a nut shell
Gee at Geebaby
Rebecca at Life of an Army Wife
Alissa at Miss Conception
Belle at Scrambled Eggs
Rachel at Eggs in a Row
Rain Child at Weathering the Storm . . . 
Sara at A Mommy's Thoughts

Have fun, all!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The great embryo debate

Okay, just to get this out of the way: I had my suppression check this morning and we are good to go!!  17 follicules and the RE on duty (I have three at this practice) decided to up my dosage of Gonal-F.  So I'm waiting patiently for the phone call for instructions for tomorrow.  

Before the ultrasound, I had a very tense discussion with the RE.  As I mentioned, there are three practicing REs at my clinic. Of the three, the youngest,  Dr. Practical, is my least favorite (The other two, Dr. Sage and Dr. Optimism are awesome!!).  It was expected that any serious discussion with Dr. Practical would be tense, as her bed-side manner is not very good.  The topic of discussion: Single-embryo transfers.

For those of you not familiar with this option, Elective single embryo transfers or eSETs, is a procedure where one embryo is transfered following fertilization or thawing.  Usually it is a high quality embryo that is selected from a large set of high quality embryos.  The whole push for this comes with the knowledge that a multiples pregnancy is dangerous, both to the mother and the fetuses.  And even after birth, there are long-term health consequences for the children.  

Grey and I are very well aware of this.  My BIL and his wife were able to conceive fraternal twins naturally and, though the pregnancy went as well as could be expected, there have been a lot of complications.  The delivery was very hard on my BIL's wife (she lost a lot of blood) and recovery took a lot longer than usual despite it being vaginal. Shortly after the twins were born, we flew out east for an emergency visit when we learned our two-month-old niece would be requiring surgery due to the fact that she wasn't able to keep anything down (luckily, the surgery was cancelled at the last minute).  And when we got there, we were immediately immersed into a world that had been turned upside down.  It took four adults to manage two less-than-healthy infants and though I loved every minute of it (feeding them, rocking them to sleep, holding them), it was obvious that this was a very stressful situation for the parents.  Even two years later, life revolves around what is best for the twins.  Though they are both healthy and happy, my BIL and his wife are still dealing with the aftermath of their birth and my niece still requires physical therapy.  

Knowing this, and also knowing the research, avoiding twins is something that is at the fore-front of our minds.

But I also know that single-embryo transfers have a lower rate of success.  For my own selfish reason, I don't  want to blow our chance of getting pregnant because we only transferred one. It's only slight (5%), but it's still there.  In addition, I have no idea how I will respond to the drugs, if we'll get eggs and if they will fertilize. And if we are so lucky to end up with embryos, we won't know the quality TILL they are being cultured.  

So even though Dr. Practical wanted to get a verbal agreement from me that if we have high quality 5-day-old embryos, that I would only do a single transfer.  She pushed, I stalled.  I stalled because I'm not willing to verbally agree on a hypothetical.  And it was obvious that this wasn't what she wanted to hear and the pressure to make a decision increased.  Thank G-d Grey was there.  He immediately started firing off questions and, between the two of us bombarding her, we made it clear that she wasn't going to be getting an answer today.

After the ultrasound, Grey and I talked.  I'm amazed at how well he is able to break down the situation, offering different hypotheticals for each outcome.  He agrees with me that no decision can truly be made until we have the data following the retrieval.  But he also told me that he'd really like to avoid twins.  And that, if everything is optimal, that eSET may be for us.  

I'm still processing all of this.  And as this cycle begins, I know that over the next few days I'll get more and more data to help us make this decision.  But right now I'm blocking it.  Partly because I don't like generating multiple hypotheses without any data to back it up but also because I'm scared that I'll jinx myself.  That after all this talk, I'll won't even end up with embryos and all of this will have been pointless.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In need of inspiration

Thursday is my suppression check.  I'm both excited and nervous.  I'm nervous they're going to find a cyst again, nervous that everything is not sufficiently quiet, worried that they'll put us on hold.

Today I'm trying to keep my hopes up, listening to music that will provide me a sense of peace and purpose.  This song from Charlotte Martin summarizes everything a little too well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Am I being selfish?

First off, thank you all for your feedback yesterday.  It helped guide me as in the decision making process. I decided after a lot of thought to simply send a card to the family, expressing our sympathy.  I don't know where the funeral is being held and contact the mother would equal a long conversation trying to pretend that everything is fine, which right now it's not.  So the card will do.

A fellow blogger, Gee, recently wrote a fantastic post that I wanted to expand on.  The second to last paragraph touched on a persistent thought that I've had since our diagnosis.
On sleepless nights I worry about this, that my overwhelming desire to be a parent is not because I think I would be a good one but because I'm looking to fill some inner deficiency. That pursuing extraordinary measures to conceive is the height of selfish, adolescent self-centeredness. That I'm just jealous and obsessed and petty and everything an adult shouldn't be.
Or, the way I think about it: Do I want to be a parent simply because everyone else is?  Is my desire to have a child selfish?

I'll be honest, there are many days, especially as the end of this month nears, that I have my doubts.  We're filled with this image of Mother from the time we are little.  This person gives of herself daily, putting herself second to meet the needs of her children.  Everything she does, every thought, every action is all meant to protect her children, allowing them to prosper.  In short, a Mother is a selfless person.  And as I struggle with infertility, I feel that my actions are more self-serving.  I've doubted that I really want children, that my pursuit of treatment is simply to fulfill a selfish desire.  And that through my actions, I am unworthy of having someone call me "Mom."

But in my calmer moments, I reflect on the fact that most fertile women probably never ask themselves these questions.  Or if they do, usually it's after their toddler has hit the terrible twos.  And when I actually watch most mothers, it becomes obvious that they are not entirely self-less; that their relationships with their children is fulfilling a need to love and be loved.  Sure, they make sacrifices, but their are also many rewards.  Despite what we are lead to believe, motherhood is not an altruistic act; it is both selfless and selfish.  And that's the way it should be.

The cruelty of infertility is that it robs us of the chance to love.  Suddenly, something that is so pure and simple is gone and we begin a journey filled with uncertainty.  Some of us will be lucky to resolve our infertility through pregnancy (either through treatment or not), others will come to a cross-roads where they will need to pursue adoption or decide to live child-free.  But one thing is certain, to make this journey, to make these decisions, requires that we be selfish and self-less.

A purely selfish person wouldn't spend thousands of dollars on fertility treatments.

A purely selfish person wouldn't subject themselves to cycle after cycle of drugs that alter your body physically and emotionally.

A purely selfish person wouldn't muster the courage to congratulate a friend/coworker/family member following a pregnancy announcement, and then cry quietly in private later.

A purely selfish person wouldn't spend hours filling out paper work for an adoption agency nor subject themselves to the months of waiting and uncertainty.

A purely selfish person wouldn't even consider parenthood.  It's not on their radar.
(BTW: I've met couples who made the decision early on that they did not want children.  I don't put them into the same category as a selfish person because children were on their radar.  There is a difference)

Everything is do in life has some element of self-interest.  We rely on our environment to produce the food eat, provide the water we drink.  We require shelter to protect us found the elements and clothing to protect our bodies.  And we also require love. Without love, life is hollow.

My main point of this rant is that I think anyone who has walked for a little while on this path has reflected on whether they are pursuing parenthood for selfish reasons.  Ultimately, in my opinion, it's that reflection will make/has made them better parents.  We have to work harder than most to build our families.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

What would you do?

At some point in your life, every girl has a best friend.  They're the ones you talk on the phone with all night, go on adventures with, hang out with at school, etc.  Some of us are lucky enough to grow with this person from childhood into adulthood.  Otherwise find that their best friend changes as they move through the different stages of their life.

The BFF that made a particular impact on my life (outside of Grey) is Jan.  I met Jan when I was 13 yrs and I was instantly attracted to her wild behavior and ability to laugh.  Over the years, the bond formed more deeply: we learned to drive together, attended concerts with garage bands, teased the boys and even spent a couple of Spring Breaks together.  I became a part of her family (sang at her mother's wedding, helped move her father into his new home) and she became a part of mine (holidays, visiting my grandparents, etc).  In short, for a time, we were like sisters.

In 2002, after I had been in Seattle for only 4 months, Jan moved in with me for 7 weeks.  She had been engaged for about a year and was having doubts about the relationship.  Her mother encouraged her to go see me (hell, she bought the plane ticket) and we ended up spending the summer as roommates in a one-bedroom apartment.  Jan was the one who found the one of my favorite coffee shops in the city.  We went to Mt. St. Helen's together.  She even humored me about a guy I was seeing, but was clearly treating me poorly.  She disliked him so much, that during a game of frisbee, she made sure to throw the disc in a manner that had him running all over the park.  Apparently many people were amused.

At the end of the summer, we had a serious discussion about her going back to the midwest to end her engagement.  The plan was, if the discussion with her fiance didn't lead to some serious changes, she would end the relationship, I would break my lease and she would move out to Seattle.  Considering all that happened over the summer, I really thought they were through.  Imagine my surprise when she called me a few days later and announced they were buying a house.

As I think about this now, that decision was kind of the beginning of our currently relationship.  Shortly after returning home and buying the house, we started to lose contact. Though there was the occasional phone call, in general I didn't hear from her. Jan was married 3 months after Grey and I and shortly after, she was electrocuted at work, resulting in a lot of pain.  Through communication with her mother, I was able to learn the particulars and began a one-sided letter writing campaign in hopes of maintaining some sort of contact.  We reconnected in 2007 after her mother was able to help with establishing a phone call and again in 2008 shortly after the birth of her son.  During that visit, outside of briefly holding the baby, Grey and I were ignored.

I remember calling her when we were starting our TTC journey and chatting excitedly about what to expect and wishing each other the best.  And then, as had happened in the past, all phone calls went unanswered.  At the end of 2010, when it was clear something was wrong, I tried again to contact her.  No response.  This time, though, I was hurting too much to pursue contact.  We haven't spoken in almost 2 yrs.

Yesterday, I received an email from Jan's mom telling me that her father had passed.  Her dad has never been in the best of health, nor has he really been willing to take the necessary steps to improve his situation.  But I do know the pain that comes with losing a loved one.  I'm torn though.  A few years ago I would have called right away to see how she's doing and to offer my sympathy. If necessary, I would spend the next month writing letters just to let her know that I'm thinking of her. But, right now, I'm emotionally spent. I can't be the hero in this situation.  And I tired of being the one to reach out.  I'm tempted just to send a card and leave it at that.

So I'm in need of advice:  what would you do?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Human Nature?

The holidays are a time that brings out the crazy in most people.  As people come together to celebrate the year, we are bombarded with messages of materialism, pressured to present our homes in a seasonal manner and told that everything needs to be perfect.  This usually leads to humanity at its worst; headlines of "Black Friday Mayhem" always appear (this year, pepper spray is a big theme), aggression increases in daily life as people prepare to travel or receive guests and there's a major focus on making sure there are enough presents to open.

Can I ask, is anyone else sick of this?

Yesterday, Grey and I had a lazy Thanksgiving. Originally we planned to spend the day skiing with friends, but when we realized that it would involve crossing the US/Canadian border with my injectables, we decided not to chance it.  Instead, we slept in, woke up around 10 am, made love and began preparing dinner around noon. Instead of roasting a turkey, we roasted chicken. We made pumpkin pie, green beans, herbed stuffing and mashed potatoes with the skins on them. Grey called family and spoke with each of them, catching up with where everyone was at.  We ended the evening with some tea and cuddling on the couch while Jax and Dais enjoyed a small helping of chicken and some whipped cream.  In short, a perfect day.

It hasn't always been this way.  When we were first married, we played the whose-family-are-we-visiting-during-which-holiday game.  Which meant either 4-5 hr car trip or flying to the midwest.  With my family, there was always the rush to prepare everything, race over to the aunt or uncle that was hosting and then spend the next few hours making small talk, always under the instruction not to bring up the elephant in the room.  Sometime is worked, but there were holidays were it didn't.  And the aftermath from the events, usually involving one person being unhappy, always took months to recover from and the stories have become legends.

It was hard not to reflect on this yesterday, as it was one of the first holidays that my stress-levels weren't through the roof.  Opening the local paper resulted in some of that stress returning, as story after story reported various incidents around the country regarding early morning shoppers.  And I began to wonder: why do we do this to ourselves?

If you google human nature, you'll find a nice overview on Socrates and his view on the subject.  Socrates is said to have studied the question of how a person should best live and believed that the best life and the life most suited to human nature involved reasoning.  Yet when we talk about human nature in a non-academic context, usually it's associated with primitive behavior, usually in the absence of rational thought. The high we receive from dashing through crowds to save a few dollars, to yell at that individual who cut us off in traffic, to send that enraged emailed because the item we ordered won't be here in time for Christmas: we chalk all of it up to human nature.

This year, in light of my upcoming IVF cycle, I'm rebelling.  As I'm suppose to be as calm as possible this upcoming month, I've decided to share that with everyone around me.  For the next 30 days, I will smile at strangers, perform small acts of kindness, laugh more and find pleasure in the things around me.  I'm determined to make this experience, no matter the outcome, a turning point.  A reverse-Grinch if you will.  And I'm hoping it's contagious. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm thankful for . . .

I'm thankful for having a warm, dry home.

I'm thankful for being employed, especially in a position that I love.

I'm thankful for my general health and that I'm healthy enough to be able to live life to the fullest.

I'm thankful for friends who have supported us on this journey.  They've helped me through some dark hours.

I'm thankful for my family.  Though small, there is a lot of love and laughter.

I'm thankful that 8 1/2 years ago, I found my partner in life.  Grey, I can't imagine my life without you.  You're my other-self.

Finally, I'm thankful for this community; for all you've taught me and all the support.  Though I'm only beginning to know all of you, your words have helped me as I prepare for this cycle.

My first award!!

Given to me by Kayla at Life is Simple, It's Just Not Easy

Liebster is a German word meaning dearest, and the award is given to up-and-coming bloggers 
with less than 200 followers.

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite bloggers and keep it going!

The 5 Blogs below are the ones that I want to pass this award onto:
Alissa at MissConception
Gee at Geebaby

Thank you again, Kayla!!
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