single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

probably not

My temp plummeted this morning, which is what it does right before I get my period. The doctor told me to stop taking my temp, likely to avoid this type of freakout, but I sort of couldn’t. It seemed like the info could be useful later, and plus after so many months I am deeply rooted in this habit of waking up and rolling over to reach for the thermometer. So, there it was, down from 97.6 to 96.3. Exactly like it plummeted the morning of the day AF arrived last month. Likely a no-go. OOOOOK.

I started the day filled with dread. I feel unshowered (ok, I AM unshowered). I look a mess. I don’t think I’m exaggerating. I caught a glimpse of myself in the work bathroom mirror earlier and I kind of shuddered.  I know that a run would do me good but forgot to do laundry last night and have zero clean workout clothes. I slogged into the office knowing the importance of getting a LOT of work done today, and I did OK. But with moments of tearing up and zinging little SOSs to friends who all totally get it, especially the SMCs. Ms. R. even canceled her vague evening plans so she could come with me to see a silly movie tonight. As Beans says, we are PUPO = Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise, praying to the Buddha for our little panda bears. But it’s just not looking good. Or feeling good. O the unfairness that when you discover you’re not pregnant you’re already in PMS mode!

And, yes, it’s Mothers Day weekend.

I know I know I know this will happen for me (thanks La Colombiana) but it really doesn’t feel like it at this moment. So, I’ll cry it out and get on with hikes and sunshine and celebrating my own mom who is probably the best person I know. Thanks for being out there. If my thermometer is playing tricks on me, I will kiss it and delete this post. I hope everyone has a great weekend. On to CD1 or a bewildering turn of events!

PS Dear Wonderful and Much-Maligned AF: if you’re on your way, will you hurry the F up? I could use a cocktail.

single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

Day 25

Remember how I said we’d be like, “oh, has it been a month already?” Well, that was almost a month ago!

I kind of blinked at my chart this morning when I realized it’s already Day 25. My temp did a really nice rise, and rise, and rise after the day of the IUI and has leveled out in my upper ranges. The first week was so easy and blissful, truly. I was so on to those fakey-fake symptoms that they didn’t even appear. Such a great illustration of how much of our physical reality is only in our minds.

Week 2 commenced on Tuesday and the symptoms have come on like gangbusters. There’s something about knowing that, if the thing is in there, it may have implanted on the uterine wall, and that this precarious little teensy thing barely the width of your fingernail might be holding on for dear life and cell-dividing like a mofo…that makes you love it, just a little bit. And as soon as you love it, you’re toast.

I decided this time that rather than list off the symptoms when people look at me meaningfully and say, “how are you feeling?”, instead I would just keep a list in my wallet. This way, I am acknowledging the symptoms are happening (sort-of/maybe) but then I’m putting them away. I’m not getting anyone’s hopes up by listing lots of TMI pregnancy indicators. And if and when I get pregs, I will know which symptoms were real. And then I will win.

As the administrator of this blog, I can see how many hits I get per day, in fact there is a bar graph right below this box I’m writing in. I kid you not: the bar graph totally matches my cycle. My audience checks in around ovulation and during the suspenseful final days. It was totally predictable and yet makes me laugh. I’m going to add “blog views” to my charts where I track my temp and other gory things I won’t list here. Someday, when I have a surplus of free time (i.e. never), I will post a graph that shows the cause and effect relationship of my menstrual cycle and my blog’s popularity, like those graphs in econ books with the hemlines of skirts and the GNP.

A quick note about blog comments: everyone responds in their own way or not at all. After a blog post, I get an email, a text, a phone call, and a post on my facebook wall offering me a virtual trophy. Some friends have apologized for not commenting, or not being able to figure out how to comment. It is ALL good. I know you’re out there, one way or another. Thanks so much for reading my blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have some meaty topics I’m saving up for Mothers Day weekend which, for obvious reasons, is already getting me choked up this year. I’m more appreciative than ever of my own Mom (who got a very fancy gift from her three daughters today!!!) and all my mom friends who are just unbelievable, inspiring women. My friend S is posting hilarious mom quotes all week on facebook, and my favorite was from The Golden Girls: “It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”

As a final note for tonight because I have to go eat my late dinner of salmon and asparagus and my new staple drink of lemon or lime and soda water, I have to acknowledge our dear Obama for his newly unequivocal support of marriage equality!! YES! I gave money today to his campaign with more hope than I’ve felt since I worked on his campaign the first time around. (Imagine if someone had told you 5 years ago that we’d have a black President supporting gay marriage, you’d be like uhhh wha?) It’s all about the love. I am solidly in the pro-love camp. I will never flip-flop on that.

OK, gird up your loins, people! We are in the final countdown. Good night

meditation, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

the gray area

If I knew slightly more about Buddhism, I might call myself a Buddhist. As it currently stands, however, I’m pretty much a meditator who hangs on every word of a dharma talk, feeling like the teacher is reading my mind and saying exactly what I needed to hear. I find it so consoling and reassuring that I think of Tuesday night Mission Dharma with Howie as my church in the sense of being the spiritual place where I go regularly, other than the woods. (Also, it literally does take place in a church. 🙂 )

There’s a teaching that talks about how people who are perfectionists sometimes go to the extreme even with their meditation, thinking “I’ll be the best meditator of all, and eventually people will revere me and I’ll become a teacher and then I’ll be the best teacher in the nation, and then I’ll become the best teacher in the world, and then I’ll be invited to speak at international Buddhist conferences.” And the dharma teacher’s response is, “There is nothing more sorrowful than international Buddhist conferences. Just be the earthworm who knows two words: ‘Let go.'”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of letting go, since the infamous two-week-wait is a perfect example of a situation where I want something very, very much (big-time attachment), and yet I have essentially zero control over the outcome. Could you think of a more perfect opportunity to practice letting go? I really can’t. In this moment, I am not pregnant but I am also not not pregnant. I am squarely in a gray area and practicing not veering off into one outcome or the other but just being with both even though they’re mutually exclusive… It’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity! (See–my super-spiritual Beez has taught me a few things!)

I’ve recently been reminded of how much more dire the potential outcomes can be. A dear friend with a long history of health issues causing nailbiter waiting periods went in to the hospital today to have a biopsy for possible breast cancer. In her case, she’s spent the last several weeks living with the possibility of grave outcomes. She is the quintessential zen master–I am so inspired by her superhuman ability to remain basically OK and positive and, as she put it to me last night, “just living in the gray area.”

I’m beyond thrilled to report that when she called me at 9:30 this morning, she was laughing. The biopsy was basically cancelled because after reviewing all her latest data, they said there was nothing to warrant a biopsy at all. She can go back for a checkup in 6 months. We laughed and laughed on the phone because this is so much like other scares she’s had and yet things always seem to turn out OK. I also sensed that she didn’t swing all the way over into an ecstatic flood of relief state either–she was relieved, certainly, but she was still centered. She knows that life goes on with its ups and downs and who knows what. But we really cracked up because it’s just so wonderful.

I once read about a Buddhist teacher who was asked, “How do you handle fear?” And he said, “I agree. I agree.”

With this incredible example of equanimity in my hip pocket, I feel calm. It simply would not be tragic to not get pregnant on the second month of trying. (In fact, it would be darned normal.) However, I have license to feel how I feel, and boy will you hear about it. I started reading a book my mom sent me and I love it so far: “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World” by Mark Williams. I meditate 10 minutes a day, and I practice gratitude as many other minutes of the day as I can remember to do so.

Today, I’m just so grateful that my friend is OK.

donor sperm, IUI, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

your q’s!

I just wanted to quickly respond to a couple of questions that came up as a result of yesterday’s post.

1. Why did you have to transport the sperm vials in the first place?

I’m currently working with PRS (the sperm bank) but transitioning over to UCSF Center for Reproductive Health. Because UCSF is a “center of excellence” for my insurance, my money goes twice as far over there. Plus, the care is much more comprehensive. Actually, there is no comparison. One is a sperm bank where they do IUI’s but there are no other services and it’s a very low-budge experience. They’re like, “hi, we have sperm and we’ll inseminate you if you want. If you pay extra, we’ll also do an ultrasound.” That’s about it. UCSF is a hospital with all the resources you could possibly need or want. Care is comprehensive. It took me a while to even realize that I needed to be working with a doctor–once I understood that and got my appt, and did the testing, it was too late for May. I don’t know that they’re any more or less likely to get me pregnant but I do love having the next round queued up–it’s reassuring to acknowledge the possibility that this could take a while. Dr. Lauri Pasch had a nice idea on how to think about this–to focus more on the broader goal of becoming a mother vs. whether or not I get pregnant this cycle.

2. How big was the box? There was no point of reference in the photo!

It wasn’t that big. I realize that in the photo it looks like a refrigerator box but it was only about thigh-high. 🙂

I had a lovely day of hiking with my friend M in the Oakland Hills, one of my favorite places on earth. There’s something so timeless about those tall trees and dappled, golden light, and clear, sweet air. I return there again and again.

The supermoon is full and pouring white light all over my city! Good night, Supermoon. Mojo and I are going to bed ❤

donor sperm, IUI, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

my guys!

I checked many baby project items off the checklist today, starting with: sperm vial transport.

At 9:30 this morning, I showed up at PRS to pick up my “tank.” I put it in quotes because you don’t really know what to say until it’s happening, but that seems to be the term. “Picking up?” Yes. OK, just take a seat and we’ll bring it out.

I honestly didn’t know what to picture them coming out with. A little tank? Big tank? Tank on wheels with frosty air curling up out of crevices? But when the guy brought it out, it was just a box. There was another lady in the waiting room also waiting for a tank, showing her donor’s baby photos in the waiting room binder to a woman who seemed to be a friend (“ooh, so CUTE!”)–I averted my eyes in case the donor was mine. Anyway, hilariously we both went for the box at the same time, which generated a lot of laughter about getting the wrong box. “Good luck!”

I took it outside and took a picture of it so you could see what it looked like:Image

Yep, just a box. A cold-ish box, and there was a little curl of frosty air coming out of the handle holes. Then I put it in the back of my car. I got in and checked the photo on my phone since it had been too bright outside, and the first thing I noticed is that it says “Keep Upright”–DUH! I jumped to the back where it was laying on its side and moved it around to be wedged behind the driver’s seat. At that precise moment, the lady from the waiting room walked by with her identical box: “Didja put a seatbelt on it?!”

Driving over to UCSF, I kept forgetting it was there, singing along to the radio and spacing out on such a beautiful day. But then I’d think–wow, there they are! The eggs are in here, the sperm are in there, and one combo is hopefully going to make a person. I recently read a SMC blog who referred to the sperm as “my guys.” I love it–we’re a team, and I’m their driver.

At UCSF, I checked in at the front desk (“Dropping off?”) and got the paperwork from Nurse Olga. She disappeared and I waited, realizing I a) really had to pee, b) was parked in a 10-min passenger loading zone, and c) had a work meeting in a few minutes. She took a while and I sat there stressing, forgetting even to be self-conscious about my giant box of sperm. Finally, I took the box with me into the bathroom (you don’t really want to be apart from that box!), and of course that’s when she came looking for me. We finished up the paperwork and dropped the box off with a lab tech who took it away and brought the tank back in the re-taped-up box, ostensibly sans vials. So, I never saw the tank. (I was a little disappointed.) Got back to my car (no ticket!) and called into my meeting.

After calling in to several meetings from home, I drove over to PRS to drop off the tank (“Dropping off?”), then headed back over to UCSF for my psych evaluation, which is a requirement for anyone using a donor. To understand “the implications.” I liked Dr. Lauri Pasch. The first thing she said was, “This is not an evaluation,” which is the only thing I was worried about (as in, could the outcome of this be that she says I’m too nuts to handle being a parent?), so that put me at ease. She also seemed to feel I had handled every single thing well already: I’m at peace with my decision, gave the donor selection process careful consideration, I know how I’d like to handle telling the story to my child, I considered a known donor and ruled it out, and I have been blessed with an enormous community of support, from friends and family to the national SMC discussion board to local SMCs to my blog. I felt like the honor student of anonymous donor inseminations! Check, check, check. Good.

Back to goin’ about my biz. Have a great weekend!

dating, IUI, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

16 million…

…is the number of sperm in the 2 washed vials (for the price of one!) that were gently placed in my uterus two days ago, “with blessings and love” from Ingrid. And with that, we’re off to the races.

Afterward, in the spirit of “goin’ about my biz,” I decided to go to an impromptu happy hour to see a couple of colleagues in from NYC, including my boss’ boss. I showed up to a nice welcome and whispered to the waitress that I’d be fine with water. The boss’ boss shouted, “WHY, ARE YOU PREGNANT? YOU KNOW IF YOU DON’T DRINK EVERYONE THINKS YOU’RE PREGNANT! HAR HAR!” and I did my best, Oh my GOD of course not, HAHA, I’m just planning on exercising later so (mumble, mumble)…and then everyone moved on. It was still weird, and will only get weirder as the months of intermittent drinking go on. Ah well…let them think what they will!

Yesterday, I decided to cancel the Friday night date because I was feeling less comfortable with it all the time. Contemplating my love life as a sidebar to the baby project has been quite the dilemma in itself… I thought that, theoretically, a more casual thing for once could possibly fit nicely given the bandwidth that must be reserved for trying to conceive as well as the fact that I’m no longer angling to find a babydaddy. But when this guy expressed more than once that he’s not looking for a relationship “per se” and suggested meeting at 10pm, I thought: why would I spend time on something that I wasn’t at least open to seeing where it goes? Why am I settling for another not-good-enough situation? Noticing also that it felt icky to put the maybe-baby in proximity to potentially messy dramz. I ended up giving this guy my honest assessment that I’m upgrading what I’m looking for (an open-ended connection, even despite or in addition to or because of my trying to have a baby), and said I’d still like to talk about music sometime, which he said he’d be open to maybe after a little time for switching gears on the whole thing. Another nice, talented, unavailable guy.

Tonight, I had dinner with two fellow SMCs, Ms. R and JJ. We absolutely howled with laughter–there is just too much funny and ridiculous stuff that goes on in this process. Between diet and temperature and donor status and dating and paperwork and tests and meltdowns and you name it. There is a LOT to discuss and I’m grateful to be going through this with a tribe.

Tomorrow morning, I have the important job of transporting two vials of my dear donor’s sperm in a rented cryotank from PRS to UCSF to be sworn in with a pile of witnessed signatures and paperwork. Glad, again, to be taking action on the next round while the current one is still in process. Later in the day, I’ll return to UCSF for the psych evaluation, which, from what JJ says, is a lot of, “Have you considered X super-obvious thing that you’ve obviously been obsessing about for months?” I will try to nod and smile instead of saying, “Oh, wow! Huh! No, I really hadn’t considered how I’ll handle child care! Thanks for the reminder!” etc. I think of it as another task to check off the list, and I already have a therapist to counsel me through this, thank you.

Then a real weekend of real rest (and doing my taxes, which are late and no extension, oops). Good night

fertility, IUI, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

think good thoughts

Getting ready to leave the office to head over to PRS for the quick and painless procedure that is so anti-climactic when you consider the potential impact on my life and the future baby’s life and the lives of everyone around us. I feel good. A little sleepy (stayed up a little too late last night), ate a salad for lunch, drank a lot of water. I saw something online today that said to eat full-fat dairy which helps with fertility and I think there’s ice cream in my future.

I’ll pack up, walk to my car, drive over to Potrero Hill, find a parking spot. I’ll pause to notice how nice it is to be outside in the sunshine instead of in the office. I’ll check in at the front desk. (I have 2 friends who work in the same building and I’m always unsure of what I’d say if I were to run into them in the hallway.), Then I’ll wait to be called in by Ingrid, the nurse practitioner. Whenever Ms. R. and I email or text or gchat about Ingrid, her name is always followed by a <3. We love her. She is beautiful and gentle and says things like “think good thoughts!” right at the critical moment. She also looks like a friend of my sister’s who is a family friend and also a good vibe person to resemble. I’ll have Mojo with me, and knee socks. The IUI itself feels like nothing; last time I couldn’t perceive anything after the speculum. Then you just lay there alone for a few minutes in the dim light, but Ingrid says it’s “mostly psychological” so you can get up and get dressed whenever you want.

Then I’ll get up and drive home and probably do some more work, practice for band rehearsal, go to bed early. We know I’m probably ovulating around now. The sperm, since they’ve been frozen, live around 12-24 hours (as opposed to 3 days with fresh sperm). So you hope that the window of the egg meets the window of the sperm. The fertilization happens within hours of IUI, then it can take up to a week to implant, the zygote traveling it’s merry way down the fallopian tube. Eventually, it turns into a blastocyst and finds a nice home on the endometrial lining. I have lovely guided meditations for both fertilization and implantation that use really obvious metaphors (like your pond and your flower and a dragonfly that’s coming to land, etc.) but they’re nice and relaxing and why not?? 🙂 Acupuncture tomorrow. The idea is to send resources to the tissue and de-stress as much as possible. What’s not to love?

And then, the two week wait. I know you guys will be here for me, and I appreciate it. I need it! Please think good thoughts for the next 24 hrs in particular, and maybe again in 1 week. You will receive partial credit for any eventual birth–you can all be aunties and uncles! Thank you! ❤