donor sperm, fertility, IVF, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

peace of mind

I’m on the iPad tonight and feeling sleepy… But before bed, i wanted to share this lil parcel which arrived in the mail for me today:

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Here we go, yo.

After my last post, my IVF veteran friends called one by one, sharing their experiences. I realized I was still swimming in uncertainty about Day 3 vs. Day 5 and genetic testing. Then I talked to Dr. B, my friend who is pregnant after 2 IVFs–first time she did a Day 3 transfer and it didn’t work. Second time: genetic testing and a frozen embryo transfer a month later–worked. She also reminded me of a woman we know from the national boards who, like me, got pregnant easily and had early losses. She got tons of eggs, and 6 embryos made it to Day 5. After testing, they found that only one was normal. And that’s the one she’s pregnant with now! They can’t eyeball these things… And at my age, 2/3 of my eggs aren’t going to work.

I realized that putting 3-4 embies in on Day 3 would feel like “spray and pray.” And why not find out which ones have the right chromosome count when the technology is there? And mitigate the risk of miscarriage? They only want to put back one to ensure that this blog doesn’t turn into solo mama with twins (as if I could keep blogging!). The risks are: losing a normal one between Days 3 and 5 (impossible to know if this happens or not), ending up with all abnormal, or ending up with nothing.

I sat with it, did a pro/con list. I have to say, the pro/con list never fails me when it comes to big decisions. What rose to the top as the favorite pro? Peace of mind.

Today I met with the genetic counselor along with a doctor who was observing. We were all women around the same age. I learned so much nerdy science stuff that I can’t adequately convey while typing on the iPad. Let’s just say that the technology is mind blowing. Particularly the part where they map the genetics of me and McPiercy and it’s where the code veers from either of ours that they determine it’s abnormal. That and missing or extra chromosomes.

They felt I was a strong candidate for PGS given my age and my high ovarian reserve. So, I’m going for the method that has the highest rate of success. Why not knock this out in one round? My favorite stat: they predict I have a 93% chance of getting at least one normal embryo. (and, if it works, there is a 100% chance it was the right one.)

I emailed Dr. T because he gave me his card and said I could. I apologized for changing my mind but apparently needed more time and now I’m clear. All he had done was “order the labs” so I think all he had to do was revise the order. He wrote back, “No Problem, K” and I liked how he capitalized No Problem. He acknowledged that it’s a very difficult decision and copied in Olga and Lili (the genetic counselor), so now we’re all on the same page.

So, sports fans, I just added a month to the final result. The biopsies, a few cells from the part of each embie that will become the placenta gets couriered down to San Carlos where the results take two weeks. So I’ll catch the next cycle and transfer in early May. After a little R&R and detox from all those drugs you see on my dining room table. My baby will be born in 2014.

Good night, friends. I leave you with this light fixture in the restaurant where I had dinner tonight with my friend C. Am I hallucinating or do you see it too?

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anxiety, dating, donor sperm, family, fertility, IVF, outdoors, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

ivf. omg.

This morning, I said to Dr. Tran, “I feel like I’m about to climb Mount Everest.”

He looked at me solemnly and responded, “You are.”

I’ve begun my IVF protocol, without a break, careening straight into a full calendar and a giant box of meds. It is so huge. I hope I can adequately convey to you how big this is.

It was a good time to take a break from the blog considering this monumental transition and the fact that I had no bandwidth for writing (or even thinking) while traveling and working and spending time with family and processing the neg bomb. I have not even close to sufficiently responded to all the love that poured in after my last post. I needed an escape, I took a break from everything, including you. But not including work–it’s my busiest time of year. I spent time in therapy talking through the way I channel a lot of my anxiety about fertility into my job, trying to stay on top of it, trying to control it. But while my job is a priority, it is not THE priority.

I am myopically focused on the priority. The intensity of it is awesome in the old-fashioned sense of the word.

IVF began in Indianapolis, when I emailed Olga to give the green light on this cycle. Yes, it was short notice to get all of our ducks in a row but her next email bowled me over: you need to go to IVF orientation, sign a consent form in person, attend an injection class, have a saline sonogram, do a test transfer, meet with Dr. Tran, meet with a genetic counselor, order your meds, start birth control pills, start antibiotics, have a financial consult, and clear your schedule. Next, I called the pharmacy and got bowled over again: Lupron, Gonal-F, Menopur, Methylpredisolone (I actually don’t even know what this one is), Progesterone, Estrace, more syringes than I want to count, 3 different gauges of needles, and 10mg of Valium. I could have used the Valium at the top of this paragraph.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Because if not, you did not read carefully. This is Mount Everest.

I have mountains of compassion for all women who have gone through this and I have only just started. Having a full life and then taking on IVF is like a second full-time job. And I have only just begun–what’s going to happen to my body, my finances, my mind?? And, the biggest question of all: will it work?

I am about a week into birth control and started the antibiotics last night (coincidentally I have a cold and maybe it will help with that). I attended injection class, along with 2 straight couples, a lesbian couple, and a couple of single women freezing their eggs–very educational. I learned that triplets are rare (maybe 4x/yr at UCSF) and cause for many staff meetings where they discuss “where did we go wrong???” Not your every day occurrence. I paid attention during Gonal-F but zoned out during Follistim, then got an email from Olga that I’ll be switching to Follistim because Gonal-F isn’t covered on my insurance (my reaction: yay, medication covered on my insurance! but damn–should have paid more attention during the Follistim presentation). Had my saline sonogram and mock transfer yesterday, thankfully not at all painful (I had visions of the HSG test and hives)–Dr. Renato said the transfer will be really easy and none of my fibroids are in the cavity: cleared to go forward.

Today, I met with Dr. Tran. As I have mentioned, I love him (as in IN love with him). Today he was in a tie and white coat, his coffee from Peet’s. He is masterful at drawing upside down. I had more or less decided to go with PGS (genetic testing on Day 5) and then had second thoughts when weighing out the cost and the risks. You can either: transfer 3-4 embryos on Day 3 and freeze the rest at that point or let them go to Day 5, lose 60%, genetically test them, freeze them, and later on put back the 1-2 normal ones (for an additional $7k on top of approx $12k). There are huge pros and cons on both sides and no guarantees for any of it, so it’s very complicated and gave me visions of gambling in Reno.. At this point, and on his recommendation, I am hedging my bets–opting for Day 3 in an effort to have a fresh transfer, enough leftover to freeze, and at least a little money left in case I have to do it all again. Higher risk of miscarriage which is terrifying. But I feel like there’s safety in numbers… I’m meeting with a genetic counselor tomorrow just to be informed.

And I start Lupron on Monday night. I might be on the road and this time I know to bring a doctor’s note for airport security (wisdom of experience). I have put my schedule and life and online dating and pretty much everything on hold–everything is canceled except work and health-related appointments. I still need to walk in the fresh air with friends and talk on the phone so–don’t let me drop off the face of the earth. Just know that I am consolidating resources and hunkering down. And I’ll probably write a lot because, as you can tell, this is going to be quite an experience.

And I need you along for the ride xo

depression, family, fertility, IUI, IVF, meditation, outdoors, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

groove

I just walked back to J’s from the office, stopping for two slices of pizza: one pepperoni and mushroom, one veggie. The pizza is always good here and rarely, if ever, gluten-free. Something was falling out of the sky that was right on the edge of rain/snow, probably hovering just above thirty-two degrees. Thousands of Knicks fans were streaming toward Madison Square Garden and I had to navigate carefully like a fish swimming upstream.

I’ve been in my most typical NYC groove–staying in J’s comfy and overheated one-bedroom, walking the 7 minutes to the office, traveling up to 175th Street to see E and E and their little genius L, eating at the Venezuelan restaurant in Chelsea, running the High Line. These are the rituals.

Now, I’m going to totally blast out of this routine and do everything completely differently: a touristy weekend with my family! It’s so exciting. NYC has no script for this, our family has no script for this. A true adventure. Can’t wait to blast out of this tiny corner of Manhattan and live some meaningful new family memories.

It’s been a good week although emotionally up and down. I started off so together, and then upon landing I got a call from a nurse through my insurance company to say she understands I’m pregnant and I was like…no, I’m not, and she got flustered and asked if I miscarried and then apologized and said “I hate this” and hurried to get off the phone. That was seven months ago, could they update their records?

Then a text that another friend got pregnant on the first try, and a careful heads up that I’d be getting an invitation to a baby shower. I believe I can be truly, unreservedly, wholeheartedly thrilled for friends’ good news and simultaneously punched in the gut–and it’s not a contradiction. The two emotions co-exist in me, and both are true. The punch is visceral…and then guilt over having a bad reaction to good news.

I called my sister for consoling words and she provided them. No, the universe is not ganging up on you. It went back to being a peaceful, sunny day, and I arrived in New York feeling great. Staying centered, getting sleep. Enjoying lovely, warm greetings from friends in the NY office throughout the day.

Then work stress knocked me down. I dragged myself through about 24 hours of a crisis in confidence (so many secondary and tertiary emotions–I’m mad that I’m sad that I’m frustrated etc), cried to J who gets nervous he’ll say the wrong thing, and sometimes does, but I love that he hangs in there and keeps trying. Eventually I am laughing.

I ran the High Line, where I looked for and found this art installation on the side of a building, something my friend S had told me about–breathtaking. I took my morning prenatal and twice-daily progesterone. I drank water, breathed, stayed present.

I felt pregnant-ish until yesterday when I really just didn’t, which added to my emotional distress. Signs of imminent menstruation.

But, since yesterday, I rounded the corner on most of it–dove back into work because the only way to go is forward. Decided that IUIs didn’t work and it’s time for IVF. Decided that I create my own destiny, and it’s a big world once you force yourself out of your groove. Decided I won’t take a month off because the last time I did, I landed in the ER. I have waited 18 weeks’ worth of two week waits. I’m done waiting where there’s a choice involved.

When I caught up with a friend recently, she sighed and said she didn’t think her life would turn out this way. Me neither. But why measure ourselves against an invisible and fictitious standard? Or other people? Or what other people think?

This is real life, how my life turned out, sitting on J’s couch in the quiet of his apartment (he’s at dinner), with rain/snow/sleet falling gently outside on a city about to be re-discovered; pizza in my belly; gratitude, frustration, love, and longing in my heart.

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):

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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

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.

 

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.

donor sperm, family, fertility, IUI, ovulation, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

the year in review

A year ago, I drove to the Grand Canyon to shake hands with the universe. An excerpt from my journal:

12/30/11: Here I am–end of the year, solo roadtrip, contemplating the New Year.

Once I arrived last night, I thought, Wow, OK, it’s really time to make a decision about having a baby. A little voice said, “I’ve already decided.” It’s true. It feels true and right and it’s my destiny. It doesn’t mean I won’t be fearful or stressed or lonely at times. But the decision has always been made, since I was born with my finite set of eggs. One (at least one) will become my child.

…So, My Baby, if you’re reading this one day, I made the decision tonight to bring you into the world. You who could be so many different people but who somehow is destined to be one and only one you. I’ve worked so hard to get here, and I feel proud and relieved and and scared. But tonight, peace.”

The decision was so clear. In truth, the decision was made implicitly as I extricated myself from my last relationship: if not x, then y. It took a couple of months to make it official.

It’s amazing how much time it takes to really get the process rolling, which is something I always want to point out to women contemplating this path–each step takes time, longer than you think. Do not delay!

Once the decision was made (after years of contemplation and several months of research), I was charting my cycles, did my paperwork at the sperm bank, had an intake appointment. I chose my donor, McPiercy, at the end of February (this was a whole process in and of itself that I will describe once McPiercy knocks me up for keeps). I missed my ovulation window in early March, unsure and hesitant about how to interpret a positive ovulation kit. Finally, on April 3, my dad’s birthday, I went for IUI#1. And I started this blog!

My blog is one of the best outcomes of 2012. Thanks to all of you who read it and encourage me in a million ways.

#1 didn’t take and the first BFN was rough. #2, same deal. In retrospect, it was so DIY with the sperm bank that I’m sure I had the timing off. IUI#3 in June was a hit! The poppy seed! But three days later I started bleeding just as the official blood test results came in: negative. There is nothing like the first BFP and telling everyone for the first time. I will use revisionist history to tack those first shares on to the pregnancy that yields the birth of my baby. 🙂

The chemical pregnancy was devastating and bewildering, but I had only 3 days of believing I was prego–I reverted fairly quickly back to trying mode. And it was good news that my body is able to do its thing.

I barreled into IUI#4 two weeks later, spending much of the two week wait on summer vacation with my family, blissed out by the lake, knowing intuitively the whole time that I was pregnant and that this would be it. I tested the day before I left: BFP. Happy and calm. I knew this time it would work because I had already paid my dues the month before.

Wrong. The 6.5 week ultrasound showed no fetal pole. It was inconclusive and they wanted me to come back in a week. Work travel prevented me from having another ultrasound until nearly two weeks later. It was a bad scene. I was stoic.

The moment I saw the ultrasound screen upon return to SF, I could tell the lentil hadn’t progressed. The nurse said, “I’m so sorry.” Numb. Discussion of next steps to remove the “products of conception.” Cried in the courtyard with A.

Fortunately, I didn’t go off the deep end about it. It was hard when I was in the middle of it, really hard. And then gradually I moved on.

That was four months ago. I went to Brazil and totally forgot everything for ten days–brilliant timing and a wonderful trip.

IUI #5 in the beginning of October, IUI#6 at the end of October, both BFNs. Emotionally disconnected and fatigued as I approached the end of the year. Took November off.

Which brings us to lucky #7. If I wait the full 14 days, I’ll test on New Year’s Day, 3 days from now. I am emotionally reconnected. I am present, alert to every twinge and tenderness, nothing to distract me while I”m staycationing. I am sleeping well, eating ridiculously well–today I had eggs w/ spinach and a smoothie of banana, frozen mango, frozen açai, blueberries, kale, coconut milk, and ginger. For lunch: a sandwich of leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry. For dinner: salmon and quinoa with spinach. C’mon, that’s ridiculously healthy, right? (as I head to the kitchen for chocolate peanut butter ice cream…)

I also did a massive purge of my closet today–10 bags of clothes, cosmetics, shoes ready to give away! Pow!

2012 was quite a ride, and yet I have never wavered on the decision made one year ago. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you, 2012, for teaching me so much and for getting me to where I am now. Babies, are you in there?

2013: let’s get it on!

 

 

dating, donor sperm, fertility, IUI, meditation, outdoors, ovulation, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

going with the flow

Second dates are a huge tossup. They are the swing states. Remember when my most recent second date was a big No from the moment I saw him? Last night, I was texting the Moroccan from outside Jupiter to say I had arrived and asking where he was (it’s a big place) and I got his response “sur la terrasse” and was finishing an email to KC about hiking the Lost Coast when he walked up. And he was a big Yes.

I noticed after my last post that I described him as a “mysterious man of mystery,” so something in my unconscious and sleepy mind’s description of him revealed a perceived double mystery and wanted to know more. I said that I was feeling “go with the flow” on this one, not wildly excited but with a pleasant feeling. Last night, my heart skipped when I saw him. He gave me a big smile and a hug and walked me back to the table where he’d been waiting.

On the whole BART ride over, and really the whole previous two days, I was feeling AF was imminent, and I was starting to wish she’d just show up already so I could at least have a beer with my pizza. But she was still MIA, so I settled on hot tea given that we were technically outside and under a not very hot heat lamp.

To describe him: he’s tall, maybe 6’2″, dark, and…handsome. He has a gentle voice and a big smile. Speaks English flawlessly with only the tiniest errors in pronunciation and many Americanisms like “taking one for the team” (to explain his drinking beer when I wasn’t–I told him I was detoxing), and telling me about a friend from Idaho who was always teased with, “Who da ho?” and she’d have to answer, “I da ho.” He came to the US on an internship for Hilton and has worked seasonal jobs all over the country (including Mackinac Island, twice), was married to an American for a while in Salt Lake City (thus the green card), and when they split he was ready to move to SF, which he has always bookmarked as where he wanted to end up. He got here eight months ago, waits tables and works on his computer science degree, saying that all his previous jobs/cities were fun in the moment, and now he’s ready to stop being seasonal and build a future.

He’s solicitous, kind of mini-waiting on me as he confirms I’m happy with the table choice, the menu, the heat lamp, serving me my salad. He congratulated me on Obama (I congratulated him back even though he couldn’t vote). He wants to go running but doesn’t know where to go. He’s been researching meditation groups and exploring places around the Bay Area. He drives a ’97 Honda Civic. He plays guitar and jams with friends at his favorite bar in North Beach.

I felt myself leaning further and further forward in my chair as if I were eventually going to pounce on him. He paid the bill while I was in the ladies room (no AF still). We stepped outside and I assumed I would take BART home but he offered to drive me, claiming to be meeting up with friends later in the city. Whether or not this was true, I accepted. On the way to his car it was really freezing and he put his arm around me. In the car, he put on nice acoustic guitar music, blasted the heat, and then kissed me. It was the kiss I have dreamed of. We made out for a while, parked under a streetlamp on the Berkeley campus. He said he enjoys every minute with me.

I did not expect my going with the flow to take me to such a sweet and unexpected place! He drove me home. He tried, gently, jokingly, all possible angles, as guys will, to get me to invite him in, knowing that I wouldn’t but that I wanted to. I left him there and walked in to my building, feeling powerful, and where anxiety might rush in (what happens next? what if…? etc.), I instead remembered that, for now, I’m just looking for a guy to hang out with, and found one, and felt glad and grateful. I’ll see him again over the weekend.

Went to bed and woke up at 7 to use the bathroom, feeling AF had landed. And there she was. Going with the flow ends in flow.

Quoting from a poster photographed next to Obama at the Chicago campaign office, “The definition of hope is you still believe even when it’s hard.”

And it IS hard, made harder by the fact that I now have to skip a month while I’m out of town. Yes, I can make a case for it being a good idea–I haven’t taken a month off yet in 6 tries including 1 chemical pregnancy and 1 miscarriage. Yes, I’m about to start a medicated cycle and need to take a class first on how to give myself a shot (a class that isn’t offered in time for this cycle anyway). Yes, the next 6 weeks are stressful with work deadlines and holiday travel. I just can’t believe it will be Christmas before I can try again. It’s getting old. I’m coming up on the anniversary of my trip to the Grand Canyon where I shook hands with the universe. Even my dear readers seem tired. This isn’t how any of it was supposed to turn out.

But this is my story, this is my flow, this is my lazy river. This is it, this is where I am today. What can I do but keep floating along and trying and hoping and believing and enjoying my precious time on this earth, greeting all of its surprises with equanimity, all the disappointments and all the loveliness…

I will be Buddha in a kayak, breathing it all in.