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


Sitting in the blazing sun in Justin Herman Plaza, I looked up into the blue sky and said, “please.” I had only the tiniest flicker of hope.

Then I listened to Olga’s voicemail which was already 40 minutes old.

“K! it’s Olga! I have great, great, great news for you! You are pregnant! Congratulations! Your number is 998 so that’s a fantastic number, we like to see a number of 100 and above so you are right right right on target. Congratulations, so happy for you! I can’t wait to tell Dr. Tran.”

And then I had to listen to it 3 times before I believed it was real.

And then I hyperventilated and cried and speed dialed my family. And then I called Olga back to see if that means twins. She said it’s a “definite possibility” but also could be a singleton. She said that she and Dr. T. high-fived when she told him the news.

And then I celebrated with a grilled cheese sandwich and smiles.

We are off to a good start and have already cleared many initial hurdles. An unexpected miracle!

Amazing how my reaction never changes; even after all I’ve been through I am 110% excited.

One day at a time, and so much gratitude for this day and all the love around me. xoxoxo

anxiety, dating, fertility, IVF, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait


Here I am doing laundry at a coin-op laundromat flashing back to laundromats of my past such as in Paris after college which is probably the last time I didn’t have laundry in the building. No, wait–I didn’t have laundry in the Mission but by then I was a wash ‘n fold connoisseur. I may find myself going back to wash ‘n fold but for today I needed the clean laundry pronto and plus am trying to save money. Ironically, when I lived in NYC in the tiniest studio of my life, I had a stacked washer/dryer in the closet which makes me cry with longing when I think of it. This honestly isn’t so bad though (especially with a car)…it gives me time to blog (free wi-fi!) and I’m even sitting on a bench in the sunshine.

I was a little nervous going into the weekend because I reserved the whole thing for unpacking and yet knew viscerally that I needed bigger distractions as I near my test date. I posted on Craig’s List that I’d have free boxes and packing paper available on Sunday which gave me a deadline to get out of boxes, or at least most of them. I woke up and read a story from my Dear Sugar compilation (Tiny Beautiful Things, highly recommend) about how Sugar went to a yard sale at 22 with her mom and noticed a sweet little red velvet dress for a toddler. She found herself wanting it, inexplicably, since she didn’t even know if she wanted kids. Her mom offered to get it for her (it was $1) and told her to put it in a box for later. Three years later, Sugar’s mom died. Ten years after that, Sugar had a baby girl. She found the box with the dress and thought, my mom bought this dress for the granddaughter she’ll never know. Then, seeing her daughter wearing it on her second Christmas, Sugar thought, my daughter is wearing the dress that her grandmother bought her at a yard sale. It was about the meaning of things, and how the meaning changes over time. This made me cry for 20 minutes.

Then, driving over to my old place to meet the piano movers, I heard the song that goes don’t you worry, don’t you worry child. See heaven’s got a plan for you and I burst into tears again. All of this to tell you that I’m hormonal and there is a lot of change to process, the end of an era, the beginning of a new one, and not knowing yet if this try worked or not.

I was just talking to my sister about how I don’t deal well with unstructured time. I spent the rest of the day maniacally unpacking, not stopping for food or water or fresh air, just unpacking my ass off and reading old journals as I set them on the bookshelf, remembering such heartbreaks as my camp counselor B (forbidden), my on-the-fence-about-kids ex-boyfriend N, and my on-the-fence-about-me ex-not-quite-boyfriend M, remembering my dating patterns in three quick dips into my past. And here I am at 40, unattached and on my 11th try to get pregnant, um, remind me–how did this all happen again?! Or not happen? At 10pm I fell into bed with The West Wing and had work stress dreams all night.

(Meanwhile, the place is looking great.)

FET#2 has been the opposite of FET#1. For #1, by this time I was almost cocky, eating for two, etc. Everything throughout the two week wait revolved around the two week wait. I was sleeping and eating perfectly. I had relatively low stress.

This time, not so much. I’ve been stressed, exhausted, and distracted. No routine since the move. I feel nothing much. Whenever I’m hungry, I’m just hungry. When I’m tired, I’m just tired. And when I’m weepy, I am certainly hormonal, likely from the estrogen patches and the progesterone shots. And just because this time is opposite still doesn’t mean it will work.

Driving over here, that Pink song “Try, Try, Try” came on the radio as the sun broke through the fog. My fiercest hope is that I can think of this try in the context of the bigger picture–that it’s all part of one unpredictable and ongoing story as I pursue an ordinary dream, that my babies could be these ones or the next ones or ones after that and this whole long period of trying will have great significance in ways we cannot yet imagine. The meaning has yet to be revealed.

The meaning for today is: the two week wait is not for sissies.

And with that, I will take my warm laundry home. Love to you all.

anxiety, fertility, IVF, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait, writing

transfer and transition

Hi! I have thought of you often, readers, and how it probably seemed strange that I didn’t post after my transfer. Alas, I am still thumbing it on my phone; the internet self-installation didn’t work, the technician who came today couldn’t get a signal, and they’re supposedly sending someone to the actual telephone pole to fix it tomorrow…I’ve been hanging at the (24hour!) Starbucks around the corner but using the time for work. So it’s time to tap out a slow post in a constant battle with auocorrect in order to send you an update.

The transfer went perfectly. My sister arrived to pick me up and a moment later the doorbell rang again and it was a dozen roses from dear friends M and T. Just then, the valium kicked in and we coasted over to UCSF where we already knew the drill.

We ran into my genetic counselor whose last day in that department was the next day and she hugged me and emphatically promised that I WOULD get pregnant this time and it WOULDN’T be twins. She totally TOTALLY promises.

B didn’t come into the room with me this time because she had a cold. Everything about this try feels laid back, it’s all good, no superstitions or good luck charms or anxiety. Just taking the steps. B worked on her laptop in the waiting area.

Dr. Z was great, Nurse Angela kept rubbing my arm and telling me I was perfect. I was warm and stoned. They gave me this photo of embies #2 and #3 and said they are beautiful, textbook, and survived the thaw with flying colors. Here they are:


I love those punks!

When Dr Z said, “Think good thoughts,” it felt like my very first try, when what’s her name said the same thing and I was filled with love. We watched on the monitor as a little drop of fluid containing the potential for two future humans was dropped off in my uterus. And that was that.

Oh: they redid my paperwork so it wouldn’t include the genders but we can safely assume it was two boys, two girls, or a boy and a girl.

On the way out of the dressing room, I ran into Dr. Tran! Wait, what? He was even in scrubs so why he didn’t do my transfer I will never know. He also rubbed my arm and wished me luck and looked handsome as per usual and was a generally good omen. Then I went to acupuncture which I slept through entirely, and came home and went to bed at 6.

Since then, I have been wildly distracted by work, unpacking, a wedding, and did I mention unpacking? The kitchen is done, I still have to unpack clothes, books, and the bathroom. I forget about being PUPO for hours at a time. This may change, but for now it’s good. Hoping it holds as long as possible, 10 days to go.

I joined the JCC! They have an amazing gym near my house! All the SMCs are doing it because they have 100+ classes (cuban dance! kickboxing! yoga! swimming!) and child care.

I am floating along, loving all the changes. Amazing how the universe plucked me up and dropped me here.


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

not this time

For reasons I didn’t share earlier, I ended up doing the blood test today instead of tomorrow, and Olga called this afternoon to say it was negative.

I did absolutely everything right, the best I could do, spared no expense. It just didn’t work. Much like lots of life’s bad news, there is no reason.

I entered that surreal mode where I realized I was actually having the dreaded conversation (again) with Olga and not dreaming it. I hung up and sat very still for a long time, doing all the mental math to catch up with the verdict. I put my head down. I looked out the window at the unseasonal June rain. Then I called my family, one by one.

It feels unfair in the sense that I deserve this after trying so hard for so long. But I know that’s not how life works. Life can be random and sometimes the worst things happen to the nicest people.

This is hard, but not even close to one of the worst things.

Last February, after the second-to-last IUI failed, my friend A gave me a charm representing “Unexpected Miracles.” I hung it on my purse. At the time, we laughed about how a baby wouldn’t exactly be unexpected.

What didn’t occur to me then but occurs to me now is that while we still haven’t gotten a baby out of this, SO MANY unexpected miracles have taken place in my life: the uber focus on wellness, the million forms of therapy, the getting stronger through adversity, the writing, and, especially, the friendships. I feel grounded.

I’m not going to be a martyr here and say I’m not disappointed, as tears balance on the edge of my eyelids. But I’m not falling apart. I reserve the right to fall apart later, but my impulse is to just keep going. I’m glad to be out of the wait.

I’ll meet with Dr. Tran on July 3 to discuss my protocol for transfer of embie #2 later in the summer. On the SMC board, they recently changed BFN (big fat negative) to NTT (not this time). I’m lucky there’s a next time. Four of them.

Meanwhile, long (long!) runs in the woods, two weeks on the lake with my family, and, in two hours, at least one margarita.

I love you guys so much. I wanted to tell you before you start sending well wishes about tomorrow. Which I know you would have, and for which I am already grateful.

Thank you for all the support. I’m gonna need some more. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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


The sky looks a shade darker than in the banner of my website and there’s a 3/4 moon out the window above my dining room table. It’s already 9–I was so excited for a luxurious evening at home and the time flew by. I’m making pasta and whipping off a blog post because I don’t mean to leave my dear readers hanging.

And yet, we all know there is nothing concrete to report until the blood test. I could list you all the symptoms–but couldn’t it be the hormones? stress? the inevitable result of intense scrutiny of every bodily sensation?

Pasta w/ pesto is now steaming to my right. I’ve decided not to POAS (pee on a stick) this time. I know, it’s radical. It’s even a little ludicrous when Tuesday is essentially 19dpo and 13dp5dt. Anyway, however you do the math, I am going fully conservative on this one, and it still won’t change the outcome. I will not add to the roller coaster by creating a gap between POAS and beta. I will be as kind to myself as possible  by waiting and following the UCSF rules, which include an admonishment not to do a home test due to false negatives.

On Sunday, I went to the hypno-restorative yoga class and while we were in one of the poses, we went down an internal staircase and took a short path to a place in our minds that we associate with joy. And there were our spirit animals, and what was mine? A unicorn. I questioned it–really, a unicorn? Not a white horse or a zebra? Nope, it was definitely a unicorn. It had big soulful brown eyes through which it communicated with me. It asked me to stop comparing myself to others and reassured me that I have done every single thing I could do and now it’s time to let go.

Nevertheless, on Monday, I went a little crazy googling “6dp5dt” and reading other women’s fertility blogs. I also learned of two women who transferred the same day I did and had already POAS and are pregnant. And I was obsessively reading the SMC national board. I found that, while it can be so reassuring to see that someone who felt exactly the same as you on the same day of the process ended up with a perfect baby, it can be equally troubling to read of other people’s heartbreak. So I finally listened to the unicorn and swore off anything related to fertility on the internet.

Since Tuesday, I have felt calm. I think my busy mind ran through all the mathematical possibilities and exhausted itself. I have finally thrown the reigns over to the universe. I’m enjoying this part, this blissful ignorance where I can choose my reality. Soon enough, my path will emerge again from obscurity in the brightening moonlight.

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


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

happy transfer

Embie on board!

I took the Valium an hour beforehand, so by the time my sister got here to pick me up I was giggly. I was overly-accessorized, wearing one item to represent each family member: earrings from my dad, a scarf from my mom, arm warmers from my sister, a bracelet from my other sister, and a ring from each grandma. I was Ready.

Upon arrival, I took all that off and changed into my gown, cap, and booties. So did my sister so she could be in the room. We were invited into the transfer room adjacent to the embryologist lab and the first thing Dr. Tran did was hand me this printed photo of embie #1, freshly thawed and hatched this morning:

embie1 (2)

I am SUPER PROUD of this photo and it’s on my fridge now. Dr. Tran said that this is a “textbook” blast, looks really really good.

I asked how big it was and he said 75 microns. How big that is, I am not sure. Still very small.

The embryologist gave me a visual tour of the lab from where I could see it from the table, and I can’t say I remember any details in my loopy state but I was fascinated and thought he was cute. I thanked him a lot and he gave me a thumbs up.

Once we were ready to go and Dr. T. inserted the catheter, the nurse had put jelly on my belly and it was my first non-vaginal ultrasound perhaps ever. I could see the end of the catheter appear on the monitor, with a white dot on the end. The catheter nudged a little until the dot stayed in place and the catheter backed out. I saw the dot stay in my uterus and it brought me joy. I looked over at my sister and we were both wearing masks but had WOW in our eyes.

And that was that. I was given an “After Visit Summary” that begins, “We want you to know that once the embryo is transferred, there is really nothing a patient can do to influence the outcome of the cycle.” (And then goes on to list a bunch of restrictions anyway… Precautions.)

Mostly I’m supposed to take it easy for a couple of days and that’s it. Dr. T. said not to run a marathon or take up smoking. Be sensible. Modern medicine has done everything in its power to create a successful pregnancy, and now it’s up to the embryo to do this last step on its own. The handout also says, “Most embryos that fail to implant do so because of intrinsic genetic abnormalities.” We know my embie is normal so let’s hope it’s happening right now (implantation in the first 24-48 hours).

I told Dr. T. that I was so glad it was him today and he said he would have done it even if he hadn’t been on this week. Love him!

I’m really, really tired. I woke up at 4:40 this morning and couldn’t fall back to sleep in my excitement. Then the Valium knocked me out in the afternoon–I napped, then did acupuncture, and now I’m a wet noodle. Time for bed.

THANK YOU for the many good wishes today–love you all.

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


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.


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

transfer date

You guys! At long last, we are almost to transfer.

I drove over to my lining check feeling happy to be going back to UCSF after weeks and weeks of no appointments. The woman at the front desk told me I owed “$27.99.” I looked at her in confusion and told her my co-pays are usually $40. She said, “No, sorry, I meant [whispered] $2,799.” OOHHH. Right. This is the cost of one Frozen Embryo Transfer, up front. This time, I had an amazon Rewards Card–see, I’m getting better at this all the time.

When Dr. Zamah walked into the exam room, I was reading through my lengthy FET consent form, getting my head back in the game. He said he’d be looking for a good lining and no cysts. I wasn’t anxious until that moment–who’s to say what’s going on in there??

Going in, though, I knew that throughout this entire process, I have not missed a single pill, injection, or patch. Amazing. That’s how #1 this is in my own mind.

Awesome results–lining is great, left ovary quiet, right ovary quiet; he said, “I approve! Green light!” He’s a nice, light-hearted guy. And, just like that, I was over the last hurdle.

Almost. I met with Nurse Claire, who said they’re having great results with FETs recently. We went over my new protocol. (I now have four calendars taped to my kitchen wall from this whole process.) Tonight, I’ll peel off one of the four estrogen patches on my belly and give myself a progesterone shot. Start Medrol tomorrow. Valium on my transfer date, which is:

—>Tuesday, June 11<—

My sister will drive me there and back. We are transferring one embryo, my Day 6 5BB, my frontrunner.

Between now and then, I’ll do acupuncture, a clairvoyant reading/healing, and Maya abdominal massage (including vagina steaming–you know I will report back). I’ll sit outside with friends, and otherwise relax and meditate and rest and drink smoothies. (I just had one with banana, avocado, frozen blueberries and strawberries, spinach, honey, almond butter, chia seeds, coconut milk, and ice. Delish.) I’ve got this covered.

Pregnancy test 2 weeks later on 6/25 (yep, it’s still a two week wait…if I don’t pee on a stick first).

On the way out, I saw Maria from the front desk and Lili the genetic counselor and gave them hugs. When I told them my transfer was Tuesday, Lili said, “O….M….G!!”


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


Happy anniversary, blog!

Yes, it was one year ago today that I began this writing project that has become a complete archive of my journey. I was in the first week of my first two week wait (how sweet!).

I don’t have the energy for a full retrospective (my eyes have been at half mast all day), and plus I did one around New Year’s. I’m grateful to be where I am. This process has been my best teacher–it has put me through my paces. I am stronger. I fall down seven times and get up eight. I have a wider circle and more love in my life than I did before April 8, 2012. I have four local SMC friends who are so dear to me. And I have this blog, which was the most brilliant idea I’ve had maybe ever. It is how I make sense of this whole ride. It is my creative outlet, my work of art, my community, my lifeline, my storyline, my book in its nascent stages. My status report. Without you, it would be merely my journal.

In honor of the anniversary of the Solo Mama Project, I would love to hear from you! Either in a comment or an email ( or a text or a phone call–what does this blog mean to you? what do you most enjoy reading about? do you wish I’d go on more hilarious dates? do you pull your car over when you see a new post has come in? do you want clarification on any particular aspect of the process? are you thinking about having a baby on your own? do you share my blog with friends? do you wish there was more pregnancy and birth on my blog (me too)? would you buy the book? are you hanging in there with me, one year later?

We have no PayPal tip jar here (something I should maybe consider as I just calculated my medical bills for 2012), so please show your appreciation in the form of words! Let me know you’re out there–from northern Michigan to NYC to England to Australia to Mexico, friends and strangers.

I am so grateful for all of you. Thanks for reading.