family, gratitude, parenthood, running, toddler

running/walking

I came up with the most brilliant idea. I still have to work out the logistics, but I’m going to start running home from work. It’s a distance of three miles. If I change at 4:30 and hit the door at 4:35, I should arrive to pick up E around 5:15pm, which is only ten minutes later than if I take the bus. Look at me, slipping in a workout AND outdoor time AND mood boost AND me time, all without changing our schedule!

There are some unresolved details here. I don’t think I can or should try to manage this while I’m still pumping. I’m not trying to run across San Francisco with breast milk sloshing in my fanny pack. I don’t even have a fanny pack (yet). Or whatever type of tight-fitting backpack I’ll need to carry my wallet and keys and phone. That part will be easily figured out, and I’m sure there are any number of running specialty stores excited to help me (and advice is welcome!). But not with milk and all the accoutrements in addition to work clothes/shoes and empty lunch containers and etc.

I think I’m almost ready to stop pumping. Heavily qualified by “I think” and “almost.” I like sending a bottle of my liquid gold each day. But even the nanny is saying he’s often not interested, AND he’s nursing more than ever in the hours we’re together, likely due to a gnarly moral coming in. I feel nervous about his daytime nutrients coming only from the food I’m preparing which he only sometimes wants to eat… And I guess I’m, oddly enough, nostalgic about the pump. Not that I love pumping, just feel like it’s part of the whole experience and now it’s almost over.

Our office just moved to a new location. In the old office, I had a cute little room with two comfy chairs and a fridge, and a window (with a curtain). In the new location, I have a windowless tiny storage room where I have to unplug a microwave to plug in the pump, set the accoutrements on boxes, and block the door which doesn’t lock. Yes, these are all signs! It’s time to wind it down.

They say they’re getting an “occupied” sign for the door. And of course it’s all guys who sit directly outside that door. Yesterday, I was asking this moving coordinator guy where to plug in and our IT guy made a joke about plugging into the adjoining server room, where you can hear buzzing and whirring of the server from behind the door. I said, “Yeah, I think that might be a little too much power,” and everyone laughed and it was at once terribly awkward and hilarious (which also kind of sums up pumping).

Anyway, not-pumping leads to the next dilemma–running home with super-full boobs. I suppose that’s all about the running bra. Won’t E be happy to see me showing up busting out! He literally makes the sign for nursing every time he looks at and/or touches me. Maybe he thinks it means, “Mom.” In a way, it really does.

E is only more and more delightful. Mostly–he can now get as frustrated as joyful, as his emotional spectrum gets more complex. He’s really reaching to communicate–he’ll say “Da? Da? DA? DA?!! DA???!!!!” increasing the volume to comical levels while pointing at something he wants, like more strawberries. One of my mom’s groups has been emailing about tantrums and there’s been nothing yet that I would call a tantrum, but definitely mounting frustration when it’s not what he wants. Usually he’s still distractable.

Oh and did I mention that he said his first word? I almost didn’t believe it when the nanny told me, and then, right before my eyes, E pointed at his little buddy and said, “Ta-ee!” or, “Charlie.” And then he did it about a million more times in case I didn’t believe it–in the evening, on the weekend, always with a big smile like he’s thinking about his friend. I think he’s also saying “Chacha” (or “Tata”) which is his grandpa. I’m hoping he learns “Mommy” and have been self-consciously referring to myself a lot in his presence. 😮

And he’s walking up a storm. He pretty much doesn’t want to be carried for transportation and insists on walking. He’s falling less and less but getting more and more circuitous in his route, checking out driveways and curbs and cars and not going in the direction we’re trying to go. It takes forever. I pick him up and he throws himself horizontal, trying to get himself back on the ground. He insists on climbing up the steps or walking up with my help, stopping to ring L’s doorbell and check out a bird toy on the top landing. I think he would go up and down the stairs all night if I let him.

My favorite thing he did lately, which my sister B was here to witness: I served dinner which included some butternut squash. I picked up one cube and blew on it twice before handing it to him. Then he blew on it twice and then put it in his mouth! Our eyes popped out!

HOW HOW HOW is it July tomorrow? I am in complete disbelief that the year is half over. But I’m not complaining that we’re heading for a long weekend and vacation not too long after that.

And I’m running and he’s walking. Kisses to the universe! xo

(shaking his bootay at Pride)

pride

gratitude, parenthood, pregnancy, running, single mom by choice, SMC, writing

9 weeks

Goodness it’s hard to find time to write–even surrounded by so much help, when the baby is sleeping I need to eat, shower, sleep, maybe run or jump in the lake. Just now at 10:40pm, I brought the half-asleep baby into our bedroom, turned on a dim light, and put him down. As he did his sleep-kicks and turned his head from side to side winding back down, I laid here with my hand on his belly, shushing him back to sleep. I noticed how this is my only free time and yet I am always too tired and yet- if not now, when? Then realized my iPad is downstairs and the door is creaky enough to wake the baby. And then I thought- I’m going to write this post on my iPhone. Screw it.

So here I am, hopefully not giving myself carpal tunnel as I tap this out on the tiny keyboard. Gold star for effort!

I wanted to write about my body. After weeks of belly shots, I gave birth to my ten pound baby and came home from the hospital still looking quite pregnant. Maybe seven months pregnant. Once the baby is out, what IS all that belly stuff that remains?? I don’t know, but it felt jiggly and jello-y and so not my body. pregnant or not pregnant. A pot of jello that you really just want to ignore and never touch in purpose. (We toyed with the idea of doing reverse belly shots but I wasn’t quite as thrilled about divulging my pot.)

Mercifully, the belly started melting away pretty quickly. Along with losing the pounds, I started losing hair: after months of luscious and thick locks, my body was going back to status quo. My skin turned dry. All those extra nutrients that supported the baby draining away! Too bad we can’t hang on to that forever.

The healing of what I like to call my “undercarriage” was fine–nothing much to report, which is newsworthy in and of itself since, as I mentioned, I pushed out a 10 pound baby. I was tempted to look with a mirror but never did, but both midwives have confirmed that the tears have healed nicely.

I started walking and doing a little yoga. Then, last week, I strapped on my new running shoes and started running again after a year’s hiatus:

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I’d been jealously watching runners for months! The danger for me is overdoing it, which I did two days ago by running 3 miles at close to my regular pace, breezing through the summer morning and then only stopping to take off my shoes before plunging into the lake. I’ve been extra tired since then. Little by little, my fitness will return.

My little pot of jello has plateaued at around 5-6 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, and because I have a decent diastisis I am doing “How to Lose your Mummy Tummy” exercises to bring my abs back together. And babe is giving me plenty of upper body exercise as I lift, carry, and rock his 15+ pound body day in and day out.

But enough about me! This guy is growing and developing fast and doing cool new stuff all the time. He is now somewhat mobile while on his back in that he can launch the bottom half of his body to one side over and over until he has turned himself up to 120 degrees. So, for example, if I fall asleep beside him parallel, I can wake up later and find his head in the same place but his feet pointing to the upper corner of the bed. As a result, I’ve doubled down on pillows stuffed between the bed and walk and also installed a side rail.

He also kicks me now to wake me up. No crying or grumbling, he just turns his body perpendicular to mine and kicks kicks kicks. OK, OK I get it!!

He also is hugely enamored of ceiling fans–cooing and smiling at them like long lost old friends. Someone told me that new babies can still see angels and I think they must be hanging out up there, telling him jokes.

While nursing, I love watching him working his hands. They are gesticulating like he’s giving a lecture in an auditorium. Or flagging down a waitress. Or pumping his fist at a soccer game. One night recently, he went 6 hours between feedings, and when he woke up and I was about to give him the boob, his little limbs we’re fluttering with total excitement–and my heart blew up for this adorable tiny human.

He’s starting to hold his head up with confidence and minimal bobbles. And I’m just starting to notice that he sometimes wants Mommy–not necessarily milk, and not necessarily just to be held, but to be held by me. That feels so good.

Still working on the bottle–we have graduated from instant fury to interesting toy (and I’m the one giving it to him, which breaks all the rules) but we have yet to get more than half an ounce into his little bod. Still, I’m confident that if his life depended on it, he could figure it out.

I’ve almost finished up this post, sitting in an un-ergonomic cross-legged hunched-over position in this dim light beside the baby spread eagle in the center of the bed with his angelic sleeping face. And I realize I’m hungry again (there is no hunger like breastfeeding), and so I’m going to have to open the creaky door after all.

Good night!

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anxiety, family, gratitude, outdoors, pregnancy, running, single mom by choice, SMC

11 weeks (w/ belly shots!)

I decided that since I see my sister B every Sunday, I could have her document the belly once a week. Coincidentally, Sundays are my pregnancy “weekiversary.” I sort of thought last week would still be baseline, but when I saw the photo I couldn’t believe how much rounder it looked than it actually felt. (note; I had also just eaten a burrito.) So, I have no photos establishing a baseline. Believe me when I tell you that I had a flat belly up until somewhere around a week ago.

Week 10, Dolores Park (10/6/13):

10wks

Since we happened to choose such a beautiful and iconic San Francisco location for the first photo, we decided to keep it up. My belly will be like Flat Stanley only more like Rounder and Rounder Me. Today, we were in North Beach to have lunch and play Scrabble with our dear 80-something friend H and B took this photo of my belly with Coit Tower in the background when we were walking back to the car.

Week 11, North Beach (10/13/13):

11wks

I honestly didn’t think we’d be here already! I thought it would be weeks longer before there would be anything to see. It’s obviously very exciting and relieving to have emerging evidence that this is real and progressing. (And if anyone is holding on to maternity clothes waiting for the right time to send them my way, the right time is now! Thanks!)

A few big developments this week besides working my patootie off:

  • If all goes well, I am planning to have a homebirth. Inspired by my sister D, who gave birth to both her daughters at home (ask 2yo S where she was born, and she says, “the dining room!”), and my mom who had three natural childbirths in the hospital with no drugs, I’ve read a ton over the past year and feel well-informed and excited about this choice. I know it’s not for everyone–homebirth is still, as my midwife-to-be called it, “the fringe of the fringe.” But it is where I personally will feel safest, and I feel strongly that that’s exactly where every woman should be.
  • I met my midwife-to-be, I’m going to call her Bee. She came to my house for our initial consultation and I totally fell in love with her as I knew I would. She came highly recommended from every source I checked, including trusted friends, and her Yelp reviews had me sobbing, (“we consider her part of our family,” “we can’t wait to get pregnant again so we can work with her again!”) She is warm and has one of those smiles like a ray of sunshine. She sat cross-legged on my sofa and answered my carefully-researched list of questions one by one. She gave me a bear hug on the way out.
  • One of the coolest things about working with a midwife is that prenatal appointments are at home. She’ll come and check the same things an OB would, which takes maybe 5-15 mins, and then she stays for an hour and a half to chat about changes, nutrition, anxieties, and just to get to know each other and develop our relationship. I love that. For the birth, there will be two midwives, an apprentice, and probably also a doula, plus tbd family/friends/birth partners.
  • The amount of prenatal testing and ultrasounds I want to do is up to me, as is pretty much everything else. A big shift for me–the midwife presents the options and lets you decide.
  • I wanted to hire her on the spot but she more or less insisted I talk to others as well so I am an informed customer. So, I have another appointment on Tuesday but I can’t imagine liking anyone as much as her. I have calls in to five others but no one is calling me back, which I take as a sign.
  • On Saturday, I went to the free monthly Homebirth 411 workshop at Natural Resources, led by Bee. There were five other women there with varying size bellies. We watched a video of a home water birth in Sausalito which totally blew my mind–it was very calm and after the baby was born she was very playful, splashing her arms and legs in the water and looking around. Incredible.
  • As I was putting my shoes on to leave, this other pregnant woman J started chatting with me. I felt Bee kind of hovering behind us and when I said, “OK nice to meet you, maybe see you around at prenatal yoga or something,” Bee interjected, “See, now this is where you exchange contact info.” We laughed and exchanged info, and I ended up giving J a ride home, and we talked a lot and made plans to go to prenatal yoga together. She’s 4 weeks ahead of me. I haven’t even hired Bee yet and she’s already helping me create community = awesome.

And, to end this post with a bang: I WENT RUNNING yesterday. For the first time since before the embryo transfer in mid-August. I had just received my latest Runner’s Magazine and thought–it’s time. I had no idea what it would feel like.

It felt SO good. At first, a little rusty and sore. Even though I haven’t given myself an injection in over two weeks, the injection sites behind my hips were painful with each step. But not so much that I couldn’t enjoy it a lot, I got in the groove, and by the time I stepped into a eucalyptus grove in the Presidio, I just kept saying, “thank you, thank you, thank you.” I’m surprised, actually, how fit I actually felt after being a slug for two months straight. I drank a lot of water and walked up most of the hills. But I was running again, in my same old running clothes, with a little teeny belly that no one would ever notice but me. I was completely wiped out the rest of the day. A little running will go a long way.

And that sums it up. Feeling tired, hungry, and so grateful.

Have a wonderful week, my dears xo

family, fertility, IVF, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

sunset

Hi, people. I’m sitting in the living room after dinner–my sister and mom are chatting and my dad is doing the dishes. The pink sun just dropped from behind the clouds and is descending brightly over the lake. Bill Evans plays gorgeous jazz piano in the background.

My birthday was wonderful. Run followed by hike followed by nap followed by (just as predicted) duck, champagne, and profiteroles. The birthday love rolled in throughout the day and my heart was filled with love and gratitude. It felt so momentous that when I woke up on Monday, I felt like I was 41.

Yesterday, I went on an adventure drive with my dad, a tradition left over from childhood and my Father’s Day experiential gift. Have you tried this recently? It’s so refreshing to get in the car and not know yet where you’re going  A metaphor for life and letting go and being open and curious and expecting great and beautiful things.

Sometimes we had a gut feeling about which way to turn and sometimes we flipped a coin. We ended up south of town on a remote seasonal road that looked like we might get stuck–which kept it suspenseful. We stopped to walk around a totally remote old family cemetery. We stopped again to take pictures of a butterfly and a beautiful red and black bird. The further we went, the more we wondered where (or if) we would pop out–this was a two-track with no signs of civilization. Eventually, we popped out at Pearl Lake in a fancy development! Then we passed someone’s yard that had a sign: “Come on in and set awhile,” so we walked around and met a giant metallic grasshopper and appreciated the flowers and vegetable garden (and, by the house, a sign with a rifle that said “We don’t call 911”). Then we cut over to Lake Ann for soft-serve ice cream on a totally deserted beach, and visited a summer camp, my Dad’s horse Lily, and three other lakes I’ve never seen before as the late afternoon sun intensified, casting longer shadows. Meaningful time with my dad.

Today was the first day of the film festival in Traverse City. I put on two estrogen patches this morning which likely contributed to my weepiness during the first film and afterward–it was a Korean film called Dancing Queen (highly recommend), about a guy who runs for mayor of Seoul and his wife whose dream is to be a pop singer/dancer–the theme was following your dreams: and never giving up. Every time someone almost gave up on their dream, they got propped up by those around them who knew just how important the dream was, and I thought of how you all prop me up during the setbacks. It made me feel like I just know we’re going to do this thing. My mom held my hand as we walked down the street together afterward and I cried it out.

Tomorrow I will log back in to work email after nearly two weeks away. I am rested, sun kissed, wind blown, reset by chilly Lake Michigan. Bracing myself for 700 messages (that’s just an estimate) but also intrigued to see how things are going for my team and my projects. I had a good break.

It’s almost time to westward ho! Toward my dream apartment and a birthday bash with my SF family and giving embryos #2 and #3 my best shot.

Meanwhile, enjoying my last days of Pure Michigan. We all just gathered on the balcony to watch the last of a fuschia popsicle sun melt into the horizon. See you on the other side.

family, fertility, IVF, meditation, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

40 eve

It’s the first time I’ve been home alone since arriving one week ago! In such a constantly boisterous  household with my little nieces around, I’ve been on the family channel with almost constant activity every day, including reading The Phantom Tollbooth with newly-5-year-old E (we got almost 200 pages in) and bouncing in chilly Lake Michigan with almost-2-year-old S (she loves splashing). Given my limited time with the girls in particular, who call me K.K., I didn’t really want to tear myself away for regular grown-up vacation activities like a book or a phone call or…writing. So, I didn’t. I just rolled with the days, inventing inside jokes, playing hide-and-go-seek, and going out for activities like seeing my dad’s horse.

Today, we did the whole unbearable scene of the family waving from the parking lot as the adorables drive away waving their little hands from the back seat. I felt flooded with despair for about ten minutes and then got on with a quieter day. I cleaned, did laundry, did yoga, read the New Yorker, napped, did a couple of online errands, meditated, and now it’s time to write. This is a big preamble, just trying to set the stage here.

I kicked off birthday celebrations on Thursday night with a family dinner, dance party, and jam session. It was the best party ever. As always, my mom masterfully pulled together a delicious meal over at the river house, including a made-from-scratch chocolate cake with pink frosting (my niece E perfected the shade of pink), with a little picture on top for each birthday celebrant: 40 for me, a heart for my sister, Wonder Woman for E, Fallout Shelter for my teenage cousin M, and Charlie Brown for my uncle P. The W family showed up with four bottles of Veuve Cliquot (my favorite) and we ate and drank and danced and then broke out the violin, guitar, and ukelele and played and sang and improvised hysterical blues verses, broke two glasses and spilled another, and it was a glorious evening of love and connection and music. What could be better?? I LOVED it. Party #1 rocked.

Yesterday, I got my birthday wish from my sisters: a financial consultation. (they are both financial wizards). I can now admit that I tried to get pregnant for over a year without really having a clue about how a child would (or would not) work with my finances. We sat down to start crunching the numbers and I realized that my fear was that they would look at me and shake their heads and say there was no way to make it work in San Francisco. But they didn’t–we created an action plan with several steps which will allow me to start saving now for child care.  This is my favorite kind of gift–the whole scenario feels more possible and my vision of the future is more clear.  I started taking the action plan steps today. Thanks, D & B!

Then, D’s husband took us out for a fancy (bday!) dinner and then left us to make room for girls’ night out, which included time in the bookstore followed by a huge monster sundae and hilariously ended before 10pm when there was still some light in the sky.

Tonight is the eve of my 40th birthday. I elected to stay home–B and my mom are in Traverse at the opening film of the TC Film Festival and my dad is playing tennis. After a day of chilly rain, the sun is bursting out over the sparkling water of Lake Michigan. It’s peaceful here. My bro-in-law just texted a photo of the girls at baggage claim in Baltimore saying they miss us already–it’s mutual!

What does my birthday mean to me? Well, first of all, I’m a Leo so I have always pushed the celebration factor to the extreme. Recently someone said to me that I seemed to have a good attitude about this milestone birthday. While I grant you that there are downsides to aging (and at 40, for me, it is primarily about how hard it’s been to get pregnant), I feel it is truly obnoxious to complain when there are so many people we’ve known and loved who haven’t been fortunate enough to make it this far. When we think of the only other possible alternative, we realize that all we can do and should do is celebrate.

Not to mention just how much learning and experience and love and craziness has led up to this day. As a cumulative number, 40 adequately represents it. 39 was just bananas and it got me to 40, to this moment, which is a good one. Now let’s look ahead.

As I turn 40, I am moving into a big, new apartment! I am moving into a new office! I am throwing myself a big party! AND I am gearing up to transfer two healthy embryos in about 2.5 weeks! My good friend T reminded me that I’m entering my fifth decade (thanks for that! 😉 ) –and I’d say I’m entering with extraordinarily positive momentum. It’s easy to say in hindsight that the babe wasn’t meant to be until now. The way the universe is throwing good mojo in my direction it feels like we’re finally almost there, maybe.

(Speaking of the apartment: I received the lease, went back and forth with questions, received the revised lease, and will sign it in person with the landlord in one week when I’m home–and the current tenant is leaving all kinds of great furniture for me! More details when I have the signed doc in hand!)

Tomorrow will be a mellow day. I’d like to be outside as much as possible. Then I’m putting on my party dress and my red heels which are totally over the top for this rural area, and we’re going to our favorite French restaurant where my parents are legitimately great friends with the French owner, and I will hopefully have something like duck and profiteroles and some champagne and we’ll toast the day.

On the occasion of my birthday, I want to tell you how much you mean to me, my dear readers, family, and friends!!!!! Whatever my 40s bring, I’m grateful that you are my companions on this journey. ❤ xoxoxo

 

anxiety, fertility, IVF, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

consultation

Good news: Tara Brach’s talk on hope is posted to her website as a video! I hope you watch her beautiful self and appreciate her guidance on how to live in possibility:

I’m at home on the 4th of July feeling very sleepy after taking a long run earlier today–I’ll be in bed soon. Meanwhile, my neighborhood sounds like a war zone with all the fireworks going off nearby and all over the city. Hope you had a nice 4th.

I met with Dr. T. yesterday. I pulled up and parked, having just wrapped up my work day before the long weekend. As I walked into the building for the first time since the transfer, my muscle memory took over and I felt heavy. I sat in the waiting room just intensely waiting, not reading or looking at my phone. I was looking forward to the discussion and looking ahead to FET#2, mixed with some amount of dread about rehashing what may or may not have gone wrong with #1.

He called me in to a tiny conference room. He first acknowledged that he was sorry this time didn’t work out despite everything looking promising at the beginning. He said he got the news while on vacation in Vietnam and felt really disappointed, took it personally (which made me want to launch into his arms and cry but I held it together). Then he asked me how I was feeling. I opened my mouth and nothing came out. He took this to be a hesitation but it was really me trying to articulate a rush of complicated feelings. I told him I was devastated, that the cumulative weight of all the tries was making this one the hardest.

What he said next is the best thing anyone can say to me right now: that it’s understandable that I would be so upset about it. That it is truly disappointing and an extremely difficult thing to go through. I am reminded that this is probably almost always true when someone is in crisis or having a rough time–they don’t necessarily need someone to problem-solve or find a positive spin. They need to feel validated and heard and understood.

He also said that while it is understandable and appropriate and reasonable for me to be struggling with the outcome, he remains optimistic about my case from an objective medical vantage point. Everything is still fine, I have four normal embryos remaining, and there’s no evidence that anything caused embie #1 not to implant. Sometimes they just don’t. Age can be a factor here although sometimes it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint an actual reason.

As with other cycles, Dr. T. discouraged me from going down the road of hunting for one anyway. In the absence of actual evidence, some people go into “hand-waving” mode (his term)–doing any and all tests trying to find something/anything that can be fixed. For example, I have a large fibroid. It’s on the outside of my uterus and I had a test done to confirm it’s not inside the uterine cavity. However, there’s a small chance that it is impeding blood flow to the very spot where the embryos are implanting. Super unlikely, but there’s a chance. What would it take to get it out? Surgery, followed by 6 months of bench time waiting to try again, and a very real chance that vaginal delivery would be impossible. And, in the end, the fibroid may have had nothing to do with anything. So I’m fine with skipping all that and having some faith in Dr. T’s opinion and the battery of tests I did at the outset.

He asked me what I was thinking about next steps. I told him that I am ready to try again (or I will be by the time I get there), and this time I want to put two. He readily agreed. I was prepared to argue with him on this, but he respects my decision–he says that, given everything I’ve been through, it’s “not unreasonable.” As long as I understand that if I get pregnant, there is a 20-30% chance it will be twins. He said that if insurance paid everything and there was no emotional cost, he would have me keep doing one at a time. But the reality is that time, money, and emotional stamina are running out. I’m ready to double my chances and pray for one. And if it’s two, it will be a blessing and we’ll figure it out (and by we I mean me and all of you).

The only change to my protocol is to add a endometrial biopsy (or “womb scratch”)–Dr. T. was surprised I hadn’t heard of it. It involves taking a biopsy of the uterine lining, thereby causing an injury that needs to be healed. The healing process releases chemicals that are thought to help promote implantation and the research is mixed but there’s some evidence that it works. I’ll go with my doc on this one.

Our plan is to put embies #2 and #3–my two best. Waiting on my calendar from Olga.

It’s both a relief and a terror to look ahead at trying again. Meanwhile, I take my bc pills, take good care of myself, and put my hand on my heart and say, “It’s going to be OK, sweetheart.”

acupuncture, dating, depression, fertility, IVF, meditation, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

hope

First, thank you to all who have reached out to me in so many thoughtful ways. I love you.

It’s been hard to decide what to write as I navigate the aftermath of FET#1. The depth of grief goes well beyond what I’ve previously experienced in this process. I will admit that my last post was written hastily after learning the news myself–I was in shock. I wanted to appear strong to those who might worry that the disappointment would send me into total collapse. I thought I might be able to skip over dealing with it; with margaritas, keeping previously-made plans, and working hard. Keep moving forward.

Here’s a shocker: that didn’t work. By Thursday it caught up with me. I felt the familiar old tentacles of depression wrapping around me and pulling me down. The awful chanting of negative thoughts in my brain. The worst one: I spent my 30s trying to build a family, and I have failed. No one will attach to me permanently, not a man, not an embryo. (Not even a dog!) I sobbed to my therapist. Poor, poor me.

While grieving and disappointment and sadness (and even anger at slacker embie #1) are normal and healthy after how much time, money, and effort I’ve invested in this process, I also recognize the ‘poor me’ refrain. It’s a sign that I’m hooking into distorted thinking and descending into a place of hopelessness. I’ve felt it before. There’s a healthy grieving process and then there are the terrorists. The terrorists aim to use this as proof that hope is futile. Thank God I know the difference by now. I knew it was time to use my tools before I sunk any further. My acupuncturist reminded me that depression is a state of static and clenching, and, even if it sounds like the last thing you want to do, it’s important to force yourself to get out and be active, go for a run, be outside. It moves things around, helps you move through.

So, yesterday I hiked from 8-4, with MM, along the stunning, sunny coastline of the Marin Headlands–a big loop from Tennessee Valley up to Muir Beach and back through Green Gulch Farm. I cried to MM that there’s a big scoreboard and my score is zero, to which she responded, “And the game isn’t over yet.”

Toward the end of the hike, I stood at a single high point from which I could see Bodega Bay, Muir Beach, Ocean Beach, Sutro Tower, the GG Bridge, the SF skyline, the Bay, Mt. Diablo, I felt my body in the warm sunshine. My anti-depressant.

This morning, I listened to Tara Brach’s latest podcast, called “Part 1: Hope and the Spiritual Path.” I beg you to listen to this podcast. I command you. It’s one hour. You can listen to a lot or a little. Not only does it perfectly articulate where I am right now in terms of maintaining hope, it has priceless nuggets of wisdom for each one of you. I will listen to it many times. The potential of the oak tree is contained within the acorn. What we hope for is already within us.

There is egoic hope based in fear, and there is a holy hope based in a basic faith that God isn’t just rolling the dice on us. Our lives have meaning. It will be some time before I become a cheerleader for FET#2, but for now I feel, deeply, that I am still on my spiritual path, and this is all part of it, and it is all making me stronger and better prepared for whatever comes next. (That still sounds a little stronger than I feel, but I know it’s the right direction.)

At times, I have wondered how this blog could be inspiring to people–I have tried and failed ten times. Sounds like a bummer. Then, this past week, I have been reading other women’s posts online, and every time I see someone weather a failure and then somehow continue to put one foot in front of the other, my heart soars. I get it.

So, here I go, out for a run at Lands End. xo

[Tara’s podcast will be available within a week or so on her website www.tarabrach.com. Meanwhile, you can access this podcast by downloading the Podcasts app through the iTunes store, search for “Tara Brach. Enjoy, and please report back if you listen!]

anxiety, IVF, meditation, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

PUPO

Yo! We are 4dp5dt to those in the know. Aka 4 days past 5-day transfer. 10 days till beta.

It was a good few days back at work–focused, productive, forgetting at times, remembering with a smile. I’ve felt every symptom on the list already, so that was predictable. Thrilled to have embie #1 with me. My little, huge secret. (PS 75 microns is the width of a human hair.)

Last night, with the distraction of work lifted away, I found myself sinking into worry over the not-knowing. Then I was instinctively scolding myself for not thinking uniquely positive thoughts during this critical time. I have this image of the perfect two-week-waiter: serene, neutral, intuitive, self-assured, full of faith (does this person even exist?).  Once I became aware of this layered internal dialogue, I did what I have learned to do: I turned to Buddhism.

I put on a Tara podcast. Her soothing and wise voice calmed me and encouraged me not to resist the thoughts–invite them to tea. On the night that the Buddha achieved enlightenment, Mara showed up, a demon who tried to tempt the Buddha away from his spiritual practice. He fired arrows at him all night, but because the Buddha didn’t react, the arrows turned to flower petals and eventually Mara disappeared. There were mountains of flower petals in the morning. Rather than resisting or reacting, we can invite our fears to sit with us, to  have tea with us. So I did. I remembered that I’m on a bunch of hormones. I cried and fell asleep. I moved through.

Tara quoted Annie Lamott, which kind of blew my mind, given their recently prominent roles as my spiritual leaders. The Annie quote was, “My mind is like a bad neighborhood. I try not to go there alone.”

Today, I met up with two SMC friends and was reminded in a big way that I am not alone. I met C, 38 weeks pregnant, for a muffin and tea, then J, 18 weeks pregnant, for brunch. I came away remembering that motherhood at every stage of pregnancy and beyond is about living with uncertainty–heck, LIFE is about living with uncertainty–and I am getting a lot of relevant practice. My SMC friends are inspiring examples–even if there are days when they feel disorganized, they have their shit together in such a fundamental way. And they reflect this back to me. Which makes me feel like I don’t have to solve everything today, since I can’t anyway and neither can anyone.

I swam this morning, exercise being a critical part of the program of keeping me afloat. Swimming will be my new substitute for running, and although I don’t love swimming in the same way, it did feel good. Although wow is it really hard when you’re not in the habit. And kind of annoying with the sharing a lane, and boring with the repetition, etc. But a great low-impact, muscle-toning, cardio workout, and hopefully I’ll get stronger. Swimming and yoga. I signed up for a 3-hour hypno-restorative yoga class tomorrow afternoon with C. Also hoping to get outside into our deliciously cold weekend fog in the morning.

I’m back to being happily-maybe, and sometimes probably. Grateful to be PUPO = Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. Rolling with it. Making friends with the present moment and all it has to teach me.

night night

 

acupuncture, anxiety, fertility, IVF, meditation, outdoors, ovulation, parenthood, pregnancy, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

tomorrow

Tomorrow is my transfer day, at 12:15pm! Good vibes, prayers, and love sent in the direction of Sutter and Divisadero, SF, CA, USA are  welcomed and appreciated! Thanks so much for the love, hugs, texts, emails, and calls already flowing in.

The weekend was a slow and steady build toward the big day. On Friday night, I had my two-hour clairvoyant reading. The five readers sat across from me with their eyes closed as they took turns reading my energy. They checked all my chakras, cleaned out the old pictures, told me about some of my past lives (I was a contented Eskimo mom as well as a famous actress in the 1910’s), and generally validated my commitment to having a child. No major blockage toward reaching my goal. After the intensity of the reading, I felt emotionally delicate. I walked to Dolores Park and sat on a bench overlooking the twinkling city, and cried. It was cleansing. If that’s what it means to get your chakras cleaned out, I’m for it.

On Saturday morning, I ran to the top of Twin Peaks, remembering with every uphill that it would be my last challenging run for a while–I savored it. I don’t normally go to the tippy-top, but this time I did.

In the afternoon, I went for Maya abdominal massage. At first, we talked about diet. She gave me some foods to target: avocado (superfood), cilantro (cooling), cinnamon (anti-inflammatory), chia seeds (another superfood w/ omega 3s, she wants me to eat them throughout the day), have a smoothie soon after waking up (to maintain blood sugar), avoid grains in the evening (to not spike blood sugar then crash overnight), drink cranberry leaf tea (to support healthy lining), etc. She has a really soothing manner. We both spoke softly.

Then, we prepared for the vagina steaming, which was very simple: she had been simmering some herbs in a regular pot which she put under what I think was a birthing stool, with the lid at an angle to let the steam rise up. she had me sit on the stool and then she wrapped me in a thick red blanket, leaving me to meditate for ten minutes. It felt odd but nice, not too hot. Every herb in there had a specific purpose, the end result ostensibly being an irresistibly sticky womb.

Afterward, I got on the massage table and she said she was going to feel around for my uterus. Did you know this was possible? I did not. I would have thought it was too far in the middle of the body. The uterus is, in fact, impossible for me to visualize, unless it’s a Georgia O’Keeffe painting, or a pancake. In the 3D environment of my body, I am clueless.

She found it with her fingers, pressing gently. She exclaimed, “She’s pretty anterior!” and then gradually guided “her” back to center. It felt a little strange to have someone pawing at my belly, but not as uncomfortable as I imagined it could be.

She finished with a full body massage, my first in years–so amazing. I was jello after that. I had no choice but to go home and take a nap. The rest of the weekend I spent holding babies at parties and celebrating my sister’s graduation.

Today, I went around feeling like I swallowed a canary. At the end of the day, I stopped to pick up groceries for an uber-healthy, delicious dinner, and ended up spending $15 on a wild salmon filet that turned out to be maybe the best salmon I’ve ever had, simply prepared with lemon and garlic in foil. Also, broccoli. And chips with homemade guacamole w/ cilantro. Now I’ll drink some cranberry leaf tea and take a bath before bed.

My evening protocol right now has me decreasing the estrogen patches on my belly while I increase the dosage of intramuscular progesterone injections. This is mimicking what happens after ovulation, but without the ovulation, getting my uterus right where a Day 6 blast would want and expect it to be. The progesterone shots are gnarly–1.5″ needle and a funky angle to do on yourself. They’re not so painful at the time, but I have a little painful knot developing behind each hip. I massage them a lot. I’ll continue these for several if not many weeks–and it should be noted that the side effects are identical to those of pregnancy (including delaying AF!).

Tomorrow is a dream day: therapy at 7:30, personal trainer at 9:30, go home and take a Valium, my sister picks me up at 11:30, meet embie #1 soon after 12:15, then acupuncture at 3pm.

How do I feel? I feel like I’ve done a really good job. I have done everything in the world I could reasonably do. I feel really hopeful and a little anxious, also grounded, centered, uterus-centered, nourished, peaceful. I feel like all that I’ve learned and practiced around self-care these past weeks are gifts already received from the baby to be.

What a process. Grateful for you and all of the above and the chance to get pregnant tomorrow.

xo

dating, depression, IVF, Mother's Day, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

mind/body

Just a quick hi, how are you, and Happy Mother’s Day! I didn’t mean to not write for a week–and now the ‘how are you’ texts are flowing in.

I am great. Last week was an exceptionally busy work week and I came out drained at the end of each day and not inclined to keep looking at my laptop. I also was drained enough that I started moving away from things that have proven to keep me energized–when you’re buried, it can seem like more working more now will equal less stressing later, and then when I get home all I can do is watch multiple West Wing episodes to stay awake until bedtime.

I didn’t even realize how buried I was until I went up to Point Reyes on Saturday with MM for a 9.6 mile hike among the tall trees. My body said WHOA!!! and I totally woke up. Today I felt like a new lady.

A theme in my reading and radio-listening this week was the mind-body connection. There are many mysteries about the human body but it is well demonstrated that our beliefs shape our biology (e.g. the placebo effect), and our biology shapes our beliefs (e.g. mental clarity after a run). So why isn’t the whole medical industry focused on helping us feel great about ourselves?

I’ve been reading about childbirth, in part because it’s fascinating and in part because I’m getting my head in the game (with the hope that the rest of me will follow, i.e. belief shaping biology). In childbirth, so much is determined by how the mother is feeling emotionally and how that manifests in her body. Ina May talks about “sphincter logic”–just like the urethra and the anus who can get performance anxiety without privacy, the cervix can be shy. Scare the mom and labor will slow down. Tell her she is “marvelous” and stroke her hair and you might buy yourself a couple more centimeters.

Ina May says (and I’ll take her word for it) that a bunch of men peeing at urinals in a mens’ room will all spontaneously stop when someone bursts in loudly. Shy sphincters!

She also talks about a woman who had been adopted and grew up with the fear that her mother had died in childbirth. When she was in labor, her body was holding on to the fear that the same thing would happen to her–until she was asked if anything was worrying her and she articulated it, let the fear go, and her body let the baby be born.

I’m gradually making my way toward finalizing a four-week curriculum for gearing up for transfer, in which I am fully believing I’ll get pregnant this time. I need to remember how much exercise and the outdoors are my natural Paxil. Alcohol has the opposite effect (the anti-anti-depressant). Working extra hours is sometimes necessary but has diminishing returns. Thanks go to Dr. Hawaii for helping me realize I am happy to be entirely and peacefully off the market. Same ducks, new row.

In the coming weeks, I’ll do a two-hour psychic healing session to clean out my chakras. I will make an appointment with B’s “Mayan abdominal massage” lady whom I think of as “the vagina steamer” based on her description. I will write more (promise). I will spend time with people who energize me and avoid the emotional vampires. I will be driven at work and disconnect and recharge outside of work. And I will let my body rejuvenate my mind through maybe a new set of exercise types like yoga, swimming, and extended hikes in the endlessly mind-blowing wilderness.

Some Sunday nights feel like New Year’s Eve, and so be it!

Good night, mamas!