breakup, dating, outdoors, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait, writing

peace

I love how whenever I don’t post for a few days, someone says, “So, have you not blogged in a few days?” and it makes me feel loved.

I had planned on writing tonight and then realized I left my computer at the office…so I am pecking on my iPad listening to Elgar Enigma Variations and will be keeping this short since I want to be in bed by 9:30. Trying to go to bed earlier and lay out my clothes the night before so I am leisurely and relaxed, have time to meditate, and get places when I meant to instead of 30 mins later.

My weekend was super awesome. I’ll list the things I did although nothing was too extraordinary and I spent a lot of time by myself. On Fri I worked out with R and then went for a run along the Embarcadero and around the ballpark. They’ve installed LED lights on the vertical cables on the Bay Bridge, tiny white lights that shimmer and create illusions of clouds going by…and the moon was right above it, and it was a warmer evening and Friday and I was running and everything was in its right place. Here is R’s stunning photo of the bridge from the gym (borrowed with his permission for minimal royalties):

20130128-210436.jpg

Then I had a fancy dinner with dear friend C at a restaurant where I used to go with my ex so many years ago and never went back… Reclaimed!

Sunday I had brunch in Palo Alto with my former assistant who ended a long relationship and got laid off two weeks later, and I was so proud to see that she has picked up the pieces, applied to grad school, and is leaving California. She is more self-assured than ever. The boyfriend just wasn’t in a hurry to get married after four or five years together… I’ve been there and I know the misery of it and the strength it takes to leave. I got all teary over how much she’s grown up.

I came home and got work done that had been hanging over my head. Baked blackberry scones, watched the West Wing.

Saturday I ran six miles at Crystal Springs Reservoir on the Sawyer Camp Trail in the chill morning sunshine, then went to brunch with the four women I’ve become closest to in this journey to single motherhood, all of whom are amazing, independent, successful women, all of whom I feel so lucky to know. The men of SF are simply jackasses if we’re all single. So we go on without them and make the lives we always wanted. Two of the women are prego now and of course the fantasy is that we will all have babies in succession and be huge support to each other, and maybe live in a big house where the men visit for sex but we have all the rest figured out.

Came home and slept for 2 hours on my couch in the late afternoon sun.

Totally feeling symptoms although it’s too early so there isn’t much more to say. I have a giant underground pimple on my chin where I normally don’t. I’m sleepy. I’ve completely disengaged from online dating. Just read an article about what you’re supposed to include and not include in your profile and it included, “Don’t talk about your career because guys are easily intimidated,” etc. Barf. Count me out. For now, anyway. I’m fine, thanks.

I recommend this article called Finding Hope After Miscarriage that made me feel normal–this woman got pregnant four times in a year before finally carrying a baby to term. Some women get pregnant easily and it doesn’t stick and no one knows why. And then there’s a happy ending. Read it here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/finding-hope-after-miscarriage/?ref=health

Sorry I can’t do a nicer link on the ol’ iPad. And it’s 9:32 so this girl better wrap it up. Happy birthday, D. Good night

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

20.88 million

IUI#8 went fine.

I worked from home yesterday, which I do strategically to cloak my suspicious number of appointments. At 9:45am, while peeing on mute during a conference call, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t called the sperm thaw hotline before 8:30am as instructed. Dropped off the conference call, called the sperm thaw hotline begging them to call me back with confirmation, called Olga hoping she’d put in a good word with the lab. Slight panic. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be to miss a cycle because of forgetting this easy step? But, now that I’ve missed the deadline twice, I see that it’s ultimately negotiable and probably more of a guideline. A nice lady in the lab called me back within 5 minutes and called me “dear.” Olga also called back and said, You’re all good!

Phew. Sigh. Gratitude. Thank you.

Half an hour before my appointment, I put on a ring from each of my grandmothers and hopped in the car to drive over to UCSF in the rain. I was called in quickly and the procedure was much like every other time with Nurse Stephanie, although this time the number of sperm was roughly double the usual: 20.88 million. They considered doing a second wash to weed out more of the slow-movers (a luxury option due to the high number) but decided it might compromise the overall number. She said it’s great news because you always want more. She showed me the vial and I saw that he donated on April 22, 2010. Earth Day. This seemed significant and memorable.

I welcomed McPiercy’s 21 million sperm into my uterus and the nurse’s assistant kindly pulled my paper sheet over my legs and sort of tucked me in before they left the room. On her way out, Nurse Stephanie said, “I hope this one goes all the way!” (See, no one is wishing for me to get pregnant anymore. We are all fervently wishing for the whole nine yards.)

I meditated. I listened to the cars going by outside on the wet streets. I thought about those 20 million dudes off to the races. I hoped this egg was it. I felt not much else–no tears, no lightning bolts, no prayers. Just mostly peace. When I sat up, the first thing I saw was a calendar that said 2013 in big numbers and my eye went to October. Please. October please.

On the way out, I remembered the woman who caught me at the elevators last time and told me she was sure I’d get good news. I told her last week that she’d been correct, but that it didn’t stick, and she said she seemed to have a knack with reading people–including the gender of babies in utero. I told her I’d swing by her desk for a reading on my way out this time, ha ha.

In the moment, I was kind of hesitating (wouldn’t she be obligated to give a good outlook?!) but when I took a few steps backward to peer around the corner to her (empty) chair at the front desk, who appeared but Dr. Tran! I have never seen him outside of our set appointments. Viewing him in that moment felt like the ultimate sign of good luck. He said hi and asked if I’d already had the procedure or if I was just arriving, and I got flustered and said something awkward like, “I was just exiting,” and he wished me luck. I swooned as I exited.

And, just like that, I’m back in the wait. It is a more emotionally serene place than the previous few weeks. Meditation the other night did help to center me, tears spilling out the minute I sat down and saw H, our teacher. He talked about the three refuges: Buddha (our own Buddha nature–enlightenment), the dharma (truth), and sangha (community). I felt the dust settling around me, a pause in the chaos, a reprieve from the stress. Refuge. It was the most needed medicine.

I held lil baby F last night for a while, went to deeply relaxing acupuncture today, ate mint chocolate chip ice cream while writing this tonight. My dentist gave me a green toothbrush because she said it’s the most fertile color. Everything is humming along.

Going to bed early. Love to my sangha.

 

 

breakup, dating, IUI, meditation, pregnancy loss, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

centering

I’m writing from a Mission coffee house crawling with hipsters, reminded of a recent “Some eCard” that said, “I’m 40 but still feel like I’m 20. Except for when I actually hang out with a bunch of 20 year olds and then I’m like, no, I’m 40.” What the hell are the kids wearing these days? I see an Amish farmer lady, a Solid Gold dancer, prints on prints on prints, and more big nerd glasses than I can count. It looks like Halloween down here, always.

Today tired me out. I started with therapy and realized, again, that this whole project burns up a lot of bandwidth in the background of everything else I have going on, even if my life appears to be humming along on the surface. My exes, the real ones I’ve never written about here, are all showing up in dreams, reformed and ready to win me back. I wonder why they are here now, and then, yet again, remember that I’ve gone through these losses. And it reignites all the other losses. This is hard work.

I went into my work day determined to be super productive–plow through the lists, do the hardest thing first, break it down into steps. Good intentions, then I got pulled in seven directions and even asked to re-do something I already did because it sat on someone’s desk and since then we have new sales data that will require new projections. My boss emailed me, “Good times,” and I responded, “I am crying. Not literally.” The real tears are not far behind.

I’m heading to meditation after this, after I finish this post and get myself some food somewhere along the way. I need meditation so desperately tonight. I need to sit and let the dust of the past few weeks settle. I need to remember that nothing turns out the way anyone thought, that there are disappointments and frustrations in any scenario no matter what, and there are always a million miracles to be grateful for. I saw a quote of Einstein the other day: “There are two ways to live your life: one as though nothing is a miracle, the other as though everything is a miracle.”

I know this. We all know this. We breathe, and we send love and compassion to the hipsters in funny outfits, and we remember that someday all the 20 year olds turn 40 (if they’re lucky), and we feel grateful for the smell of coffee and our laptop and hearing “Love Will Tear Us Apart” playing a little too loudly in the café. We are alive.

I am not the only one experiencing work stress. Or struggling to start a family. Or wondering when/where/if a Good Match will show up. I am not one wave separate from the rest of the ocean. I am the ocean.

Tomorrow, I go in for Round #8. We don’t know yet how I’m going to feel. We do know that it will mark the end of Round #7.

Tonight, I will rest. Tomorrow, I will get up again and reach for the stars.

dating, depression, donor sperm, fertility, IUI, outdoors, ovulation, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

patience child

Good morning, friends! We’ve made it out of a prolonged cold snap and now I’m sitting on my couch with the window open, sweet morning air and warm sunshine flowing in. I love this time of year when the sun rises further south and stays lower all day long, beaming its warm light into my apartment throughout the day.

Sunshine improves my mood measurably. I’m a Leo, ruled by the sun, and have always sensed my connection to my master planet since I was a child in Michigan fantasizing about flying above the seemingly ever-present clouds. On cloudy and especially rainy days, I wanted all the lights on in the house. In the Bay Area, I finally bought a car so I could blast out of the fog into summertime sun just 20 minutes away. I track the angles of the sun from hopeful morning beginnings to nostalgic late afternoons, revering the golden light of California glowing in the redwoods and the eucalyptus trees, noting how it represents both the passage of time and the timelessness of nature. I think about this a lot, every day.

As the world turns, so does my cycle #8 forge onward. I had my Day 10 ultrasound on Friday and found myself feeling disconnected at the appointment, barely listening or asking questions. I gather that there is one dominant follicle this time, measuring 14mm, with two slightly smaller ones that could catch up, measuring 10mm and 11mm. Or 11 and 12, I didn’t write it down. She said I’m about a day behind where I was last cycle at this time, which makes sense because I started the Clomid one day later, on Day 3. My lining is fine. So, trigger Monday and IUI Wednesday.

I also transported my third batch of guys over to UCSF last week, extremely awkwardly trying to juggle phone meetings with driving, picking up, parking, interfacing with office people, driving, parking, picking up, etc. I basically pulled it off but did at one point find myself illegally parked, having to pee, and waiting for the nurse to come take the box while managing a work phone call (again). Here they are:

kkc

Why “Dry Wall Shipper,” I have no idea. I also still have no clue why the box is so huge for three tiny sperm vials, but I will also likely never see inside the box to understand its inner workings.

While at PRS, I learned that McPiercy only has 5 vials remaining, forever. I’ve been sitting on this for a few days… I now own 3, but should I have more as backup, in the event that either this takes much longer than expected or I want vials in storage for a possible sibling? I’m not sure yet, but am hoping that on some subconscious level, the procrastinator in me will realize that we’re getting down to the true last minute and kick into gear: my 40th birthday is approaching and it’s time for this to work!

I have a cycle buddy in England whom I’ve gotten to know via her blog–it looks like we’ll both go in on the same day next week. Here is her blog: Single Motherhood by Choice. You must scroll through and check out her posts from Ovarian HQ–a photoshop of her ultrasounds with follicles as the main characters. I especially love the cheerleading squad, it makes me LOL.

Lately I’m having a hard time expressing how I’m doing when friends check in. It’s such a messy stew of emotions, it’s hard to say, I’m doing fine! or I’m depressed! or I want to give up! or I’m optimistic! even though I may feel all of these things at one time or another. I’m not sure if I’ve really processed chemical pregnancy #3 or if I need to. My frustration spills over into frustration with dating because these two life categories come together into one frustration snowball when they’re not working. If my heart isn’t totally in it this time, I think that’s fair. Pink has a new song called “Try” and it’s very repetitive and kind of brainwashed me yesterday while driving across the Bay Bridge. You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try. Over and over. It’s the only way it’s going to work.

Report on New Year’s Resolutions thus far: I am doing awesome. I’m undercommitting like a pro (I realized I already was). I’m getting outside and exploring new hiking spots. I’m writing almost every day. And I’m really close to being on time: I’ve narrowed my typical lateness window from 10 minutes to 2. Next: be early.

Last week, after my 2.5 hr run with R, I texted him to see why he hadn’t yet posted the photos he took of me along the run. He texted back “patience child.”

A good reminder for me. Patience…

Try, try, try.

 

anxiety, biological clock, dating, donor sperm, fertility, IUI, pregnancy, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

clarity

This is my 100th post. I feel exactly as committed to the solo mama project as I ever was. Even before I consciously decided, this mission was bigger than me, bigger than the Grand Canyon.

I remember reading my friend B’s blog after her first IVF didn’t work, scanning frantically for signs of hope. I couldn’t bear to see her lose hope, and when the first ray of light came through a few posts later, I breathed a sigh of relief. She’ll keep going, thank God. I knew she would get there.

Of course I am war weary. I’ve weathered some dark terrain. What is so mind-blowing to me so far is that I keep bouncing back. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, marching through the steps. Clomid for 5 days. Sperm transport. Ultrasound. IUI. Reminds me of the imagery of this Gotye video  Your Heart’s a Mess I’m on a difficult and unrelenting expedition, trekking through a murky world, joined in solidarity by a cast of quirky characters (that’s you).

Today, the paramedic resurfaced, apologizing for Cuddlegate and begging for another chance. A few days ago, a problematic friend I had a falling out with two years ago wrote to say she wants to get back in touch. To them both, I say no. There’s a part of me that misses them. But the part of me that shut them out of my life is now guarding the door like a bouncer. I am stronger.

Tonight, I was finishing up the black bean and hominy polenta recipe my sister D recommended (delicious) and watching the now-famous Jodie Foster Golden Globe speech (I thought it was lovely and not too crazy), when my Skype phone rang on my iPad which could only mean that A was calling from Colombia. She reminded me that the love you seek is already here. And, as a new mom, she recognized the single-minded focus of my ttc process as the precursor to what she is now experiencing as motherhood. Which makes me feel much more connected to the bigger picture rather than spinning my wheels.

As I was talking to her on the Skype phone (without video, because I have a first generation iPad that will crash), a comment popped up before my eyes from my friend C: “I just KNOW that your body can do this. It’s your mind that has to stay strong…and you have more strength than most people I know. Translation- you’re gonna be a mama. It’s just a matter of time.”

Now: it can be really hard to hear “it’s going to happen” when something isn’t happening. But what choice do I have but to believe and believe hard that my will of steel combined with the wonders of assisted reproductive technology and the oceans of love offered to me from this community will all add up to bring my baby into this world?

The women who’ve been through more losses, more unsuccessful tries, more expense and devastation: they are here commenting, they are pregnant, they are moms. They inspire me to keep going “no matter how rocky it gets.”

I realize now that last year’s new year’s resolution was to get pregnant. Careful what you wish for: I got pregnant three times. This year’s resolution: to have a baby.

I have thrown myself into fitness over the past few days, this chemical pregnancy’s equivalent of a bender. I went to boot camp. I ran for 2.5 hrs. I trained with my trainer this morning and will hit the climbing gym later this week. My body is strong and it’s making important decisions for me. I’m not in charge–it’s up to the lightning bolt in the sky and the mysterious inner workings of my biology. All I do is pop two Clomid and try not to overly stress.

As I get ready to post this, a comment pops up from A on my iPad: “Watch this before you post.” And now I’m in tears and it’s the perfect ending.

 

biological clock, fertility, IUI, meditation, ovulation, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

the plan

After my last post, I dove into work headfirst. I made the rounds to my few work friends to let them know that my good news from the night before was reversed. They were ready to prop me up if I needed it. All the comments on the blog and texts made for bittersweet reading, everyone so incredulous…we thought that was the one, didn’t we? It took a matter of hours for the news to sink in, a process of syncing my conscious brain with what my body already knows, a process I have now gone through three times.

In the most painful moments of absorbing bad news, it is tempting to stop hoping, to lose faith, to really want to give up. It makes sense; if you burn yourself on a hot pan, you reflexively pull your hand and probably your whole self away from the source of the pain. How could I be so phenomenally unlucky…maybe this wasn’t meant to be. Maybe I will land, against all odds, on the wrong side of the odds, every time. Maybe the doctors will observe me as a medical mystery, not able to sustain a pregnancy and no one knows why. Maybe this is not my path.

When these voices get going, it is so reassuring to hear friends counteract them: “Don’t lose hope.” “Thinking of you.” “Sorry the process is so difficult.” “Just know that you are inspiring.”

I am proud that I didn’t fall apart or even halfass the conference–I did my job, I smiled, I stepped outside for five minutes of fresh air. I went on a group run the morning after I got the news. I had oatmeal from Starbucks and a glass of wine each evening. I got through it and found a way to thrive even as a sad song played in the distant background.

So, I haven’t really “processed” last week’s news yet with all the distractions of the past week. Occasionally a tear leaks out. But my chin is up.

I’m looking ahead: this afternoon, I met with Dr. Tran.

At this point, it may seem to an outside observer like I’m experiencing recurring pregnancy loss which must point to a “problem” that should be “fixed.” However, the most likely scenario is that I’ve been conceiving with eggs that had chromosomal abnormalities, something that is correlated to age. I happened to get three out of the last five. I am sure this is my issue and that it’s just (still) a matter of getting the Good Match. Here are some more things I learned about options:

  • I could do the full panel of tests for recurring pregnancy loss now (or: in 4-5 weeks because you have to wait that long after being pregnant). However, Dr. T. feels it’s overkill right now. He’s not worried about the fibroid in my uterus or clotting syndromes or a septum (whatever that is) or immune responses or all the serious and rare conditions that can stand in the way of pregnancy. These aren’t conditions that cause chemical pregnancies per se; they cause miscarriages at later stages. And he is worried that if we do the tests and get one of these results, the interventions will be extreme and possibly fruitless. He really doesn’t want to go down rabbit holes prematurely (and neither do I).
  • I could do the saline test of my uterus to see if the surfaces are ready for an embryo. (They would do this one before IVF.)
  • I could do a karotype to see if I have any abnormal chromosomes in my DNA. Not sure what I would do with this info until IVF. At that point, embryos can be genetically screened, it just costs more and may not be covered.
  • I could do progesterone suppositories, which is what a lot of women swear by on the boards. He said there is no harm in doing it so if it makes me feel better I should do it. But he didn’t seem to think it would make any difference.
  • I could change donors. But he doesn’t think this has anything to do with it–the donor is clear. He has established pregnancies and births. I’m sticking with McPiercy.

I have certainly gotten some medical details incorrect as I am recapping this from memory, but that’s the gist. I trust my doctor and he’s telling me that I am one of the lucky ones: I get pregnant easily. I have high ovarian reserve. I just have to hang in a little longer. And I have a plan.

The Plan:

  • Olga just called to say that this morning’s blood test was negative so I am cleared to try again this cycle.
  • Today is Day 1. I’ll start on Clomid tomorrow or the next day. Ultrasound Day 10. Trigger shot.
  • Two more medicated cycles, then IVF. The main impetus for IVF is my waning emotional stamina and my age–my eggs are in decline. Let’s get this show on the road. He says my IVF prospects would be high.
  • Pray, meditate, run. Rest. Get outside. Love.

 

fertility, IUI, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

beta #2

Bad news. The number went down to 45. Another chemical pregnancy. F-ing unbelievable.

I’m angry. Angry to be jerked around, to be given false hope, to get everyone rallying around me again and again, all for nothing. A lot of screwing around for absolutely nothing.

All the beautiful symbolism of New Year’s and the sunrise and renewed faith and getting on the bandwagon with good friends already expecting–out the window. It was so nice while it lasted.

And I’m finding this out on day one of a five day meeting so I can’t fall apart. I’m actually not crying because I am so incredibly mad.

I think I’ll leave it there. I’m supposed to re-test next week to make sure the number goes all the way down before trying again, which I’m sure I will do, like an addicted gambler running up debts. But is this really in the cards for me? How much more can I take?

Meanwhile, I’ll be throwing myself into work and trying to forget the whole thing for a while.

IUI, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

beta #1

I left a message this morning at UCSF about yesterday’s test result and Olga called back and said I could do the blood test today or tomorrow. I figured it would be easier to do it today and again on Friday and avoid dealing with weekend hours and potential conflicts with a conference I’m attending that starts tomorrow. So I went today sort of on the spur of the moment.

It was fine, pretty uneventful–I had a nice chat with the nurse. I didn’t feel nervous. She said results take less than 5 hours but it was already noon so I figured I’d hear back tomorrow. But Olga called me at 6pm!

I was still at the office and ran toward a conference room  with my cell phone, saying “Wow, you’re still there–I wasn’t expecting to hear from you today!” Yeah, she said, she was swamped after the holiday. I shut the door behind me.

She wanted to call to congratulate me because the blood test says I’m pregnant: the beta was 64. Anything over 5 is considered pregnant and above 50 is great. On Friday, I’ll go for a second blood test to see if the number doubles, and you will not believe who is coming with me:

Gay bf J! Is flying in tomorrow morning for the conference! This is unbelievable! He has been here for testing every time, always in town for work reasons! The conference hotel is walking distance from the lab! It’s cosmic and uncanny and gives me faith that there’s a higher power choreographing our bicoastal friendship and my whole ttc process in general. It makes me feel calm and optimistic and grateful.

I woke up the other morning noticing that “gratitude” and “congratulations” share “grat”–I just looked it up and “gratus” is Latin for “blessing.” So expressing congratulations is like joining a gratitude party and sharing in the awe of blessings bestowed. What a sweet idea.

Grateful for all your congratulations and kind wishes, dear friends, family, lurkers. 🙂 More soon.

 

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

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last night I was at my friend C’s super fun NYE party, a great time–I was playing music at midnight and tossing back the sparkling waters with a hint of juice! Rather than drive home late with questionable drivers on the road, I spent the night there along with 6 other house guests.

We went to bed around 2:30am. I tossed and turned, sleeping lightly, nervous about the morning’s test. Even though I knew in my bones that it would be positive. In rehearsing how I would react to a negative, I told myself that if it said “Not Pregnant,” it would just be wrong, and I’d test again the next day.

At 7am, I heard C get up to get her mom up to go to the airport, then I heard the four people in the living room rustling around and preparing to leave. I had to pee. I had precious moments to do my test before someone else would need the bathroom. These tests recommend FMU: First Morning Urine.

I got the box and tiptoed to the bathroom, shutting the door quietly behind me. With nervousness and lack of sleep, my hands were shaking and I was sure the whole house could hear me wrestling with the plastic around the box. Finally got it open. I have to read the directions every time. Yet again, they hadn’t changed: put the test stick in the stream of urine for 5 seconds, then wait 3 minutes for the result.

I did it. I washed my hands and my face. I stared at the blinking hourglass. It really seemed to take forever. I started cursing it, caught myself, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them, I saw one word: “Pregnant” !!!! YES!

This is blurry after many attempts to get my camera phone to focus, still love the result and will keep staring at it until the battery runs out:

Image

I tiptoed back to my sleeping bag and N whispered, “did you test?” and I thrust the stick at her, she put on her glasses, and we silently hugged with wide smiles. I got in my sleeping bag and lay there for a little while to let it sink in. So many things have already gone right at this point: the little implanted bundle of cells is emitting HCG which is what results in the positive test. Good job, everybody!

I put on my boots and my jacket over my pajamas and stepped outside. It was a gorgeous, crisp morning in San Rafael. As I heard my mom’s sleepy voice answer the phone, i watched as the first rays of sun climbed above the green hills.

A new year, a new day, and a new beginning!

I just napped for two hours and now I’m going to meet up with two pregnant SMC friends for dinner. I love how things are coming together.

Praying that the nugget found a good spot and has all it needs to thrive.

Happy New Year!!!!