Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I know, I have a serious post or three promised. And in the works. But I just had a whole bunch of excellent Chinese food and I'm sitting here feeling fat and not very serious, so I figured I'd write about my latest venture into exercise.

I started prenatal yoga classes last night. I'm almost a complete newbie to yoga; I took one class at the Y a couple of years ago, and between sessions being cancelled and me not going, I probably only attended a handful of sessions. I also have a yoga DVD that I like, but let's face it-- with a DVD, you could look like a curly fry and there's no one to correct your alignment. So I consider myself a newbie who at least knows what a downward dog is.

I've heard that yoga is a good exercise for preggo chicks, and it can eventually help with labor and delivery, so I signed up. I also want to stay as active as I can for as long as I can-- I am short and not exactly slender, so I have to be as careful as I can. (Yeah, look back at the first paragraph and note the "whole bunch of excellent Chinese food" comment. Whatever.)

Talking to a friend before I went to the class, she cautioned me to take it easy. "It's prenatal yoga," I scoffed. "It'll be a bunch of fat women sitting around breathing."

HA. I was wrong, like a wrong thing that is totally wrong. It was hard. Hard in a really good way, yes, but hard. The only thing she doesn't really do are poses that are inversions, which makes sense. Otherwise, it was a typical yoga class. I liked that she provided more than one way to do some of the poses, based on where you were in your pregnancy. As the class wore on, I tried to do some of the tougher poses. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. :)

I have never had particularly good balance, nor am I a strong woman who can stay in frozen poses for long periods of time. But I (mostly) didn't embarrass myself, it felt absolutely wonderful to stretch and to push myself, and it was definitely mind-clearing.

Two very big thumbs up. I'm going to make attendance at this class (it's weekly) a priority.

Acupuncture, yoga... If I start buying crystals and chanting, someone needs to smack me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's still the holidays, darn it

Hey! How were your holidays! Here at chez Plus One they were nice; as usual, Santa was ridiculously good to me. Also, there were no blowouts with visiting family, which is nice. There was stomach flu, but (knock wood) not from me.

It is snowing. It has been snowing. It feels as if it will always be snowing. I know this is not rational, but there it is.

I promise a longer, more thoughtful, and more interesting update later this week. I have genetic testing on Tuesday, for instance, and want to talk about the process as well as my thoughts on the whys and wherefores. But today, I'm just enjoying having the house back to myself, and I need to get to the gym. So far, weight gain has just been in the belly area, and I'd like to keep it that way.

So off I go. See you soon, when I have something more to offer. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Be happy

"You don't sound happy. You should be happy!"

This is a direct quote from my mother.

Apparently, I'm supposed to always sound happy, and if I don't, that means I'm not happy. I'm not quite sure how this computes, but in her mind, it does. So I get a lecture about being happy. And then she passes the phone to my father, who asks why I'm unhappy and what's wrong, and tells me that I should be happy.

There are so many problems with all this logic that I'm not even sure where to start. Sounding happy does not, repeat not, equal being happy. Trust me on this: I've put on the perky voice during times when I was so far from happy as to be practically comatose. I've sounded happy talking to people I'd like to set on fire.

What my parents are telling me, basically, is that I should fake it. That I should sound happy, because it makes them feel better-- regardless of how I'm feeling during the conversation. And, you know, if that's what they want? Come out and say it.

For the record, I'm in a fine mood today. I've gotten some stuff done, have puttered around the house, and am about to go to the gym. It's a nice day, if a bit gloomy. We were having a good conversation, but apparently, I wasn't up to the happy standard of their day.

(Tangentially, somewhere out there, there's a really good essay by someone (Kate Harding? Amanda Marcotte? Can't find it now) about how annoying it is, as a woman, to be told by complete strangers (generally men) to smile. That's about the level of annoyance I feel when one of my own parents tells me to sound happy.)

I'm continually amazed that I've reached this ripe old age of 40-something, and my parents still don't have the faintest idea who I am. I told a good friend once that my parents think my being politically liberal is a "phase." Her response was "Do they know you?"

(Frequent Citations is wise. And absolutely accurate.)

Anyway. I'm actually in a fine mood, despite how I may sound. Hope you all are, too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It seems early for this

The Midwest has been hit by the first big storm of the year.

I kind of like snow, actually (especially since I don't have to drive to work). Snow puts a sparkly white blanket over the ugly dirt where flowers used to be, and it looks pretty on tree branches. If you walk outside during/after a snowfall, sounds seem muffled and distant, and you feel kind of like you're not really walking down your street at all, but down some strange, new, wonderful street you've never seen before.

What I don't like is when you get a couple of days of snow, and then the temperature drops like a stone, everything freezes over, and you slip and slide if you take two steps out of your house. (This is supposed to be what happens tomorrow.)

This is also the first snow since I lost Vertigo Dog. On the train home yesterday, a little part of my brain started thinking about how much suiting up was necessary and how many layers I was going to need to don in order to give her a proper walk when I got home-- and after a moment or two, the rest of my brain reminded me that she wasn't around to need a walk any more.

I would give anything to have to go to all the "trouble" of bundling up, just for the chance to give her one more walk.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I kind of played hooky from work today-- not totally, because I worked from home a fair bit. But I didn't go in, so that's hooky.

The Big Firm that bought us is changing how we get time off, and today was a little bit of petulant "nyah nyah, I've got three more weeks to use the sick days you're taking away from me," and a little bit of "I'm tired, dammit."

(I find "food poisoning" to be a fine excuse to stay home. You can't claim a cold, after all; you would still have the remnants of that in a couple of days. Headaches are good. Fevers are touchy. Food poisoning? Excellent.)

It was a good slacker day. I slept in, got up and did (work) e-mail, went to Tar.get, came home and did a conference call, met up with a friend and went to, then came home and did more e-mail.

Hey. It's not exciting, but it's life. And I love It's my happy place. Also, I ended up spending $40 and the friend I took ended up spending several times that. Ha! I am a pimp-- and proud of it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Heading out tomorrow for Turkey Day with the family. I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe, tryptophan-laden holiday.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Unnatural Redhead

After doing a bunch of research, I finally gave in and colored my hair this morning, using the least chemical-y kind of hair color I could find, which means it's one of those 30-day type colors. I look very red now-- I have so much grey that the dark red-brown I picked can't possibly make it dark red-brown.

Whatever. It's better than looking like a skunk, thanks.

** **

I felt very punk yesterday. So far today I feel fine, but then I felt fine yesterday morning and it went downhill from there; I'm hoping it was a one-shot deal. Seriously, I got almost nothing done yesterday, and if there's two days in a row of that, my house will descend into total anarchy.

** **

Various people I know have watched the Canadian television show Slings and Ar.rows, and all have recommended it. I've just not gotten around to requesting it from Netf.lix, but this week a friend brought the DVDs over and I watched the first two episodes.

I am totally hooked. It's the story of a theatre company, and all the people and personalities and conflicts that involves. It's got wonderful dialogue, extremely strong performances (Paul Gros.s is terrific, and from what I hear many of the other actors get a chance to shine as the series progresses), a terrific sense of humor, and it's just plain smart. I love smart television. (I also love theatre, so looking at it from the backstage view is a treat.)

It's three seasons of six episodes each, so it's not a huge time commitment. I'm looking forward to devouring the rest.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When does the grass get greener?

I keep thinking that work is going to get better. We "merged" (in other words, we were bought) earlier this year, and much of this fall has been spent wrangling with new policies, new people, aligning our support with their expectations, and trying very hard not to smack anyone upside the head. (That last one may just be me.)

I had to let a friend go today as part of the ongoing staff reductions. In my job, this happens. It happens more than I'd like. But afterwards, I felt like a balloon with all the air let out of it-- limp, drab, exhausted. At a loss for words.

I guess I felt just a little heartbroken: that this is what it's come to at this funny, quirky, sometimes frustrating, always interesting little company I worked for, that's now part of a larger organization: it's only about the numbers.

I know that's business. I know that's how it is. And it's good that I remember it, if only to protect myself. But it still hurts.

I went into my (former) boss's office afterwards and just sat down. "I need a break," I told him. "We just talked to D, and I can't be in my office right now." And he took one look at me and brought up another, less wretched topic, and for five minutes I didn't think about it. It was nice. He's a really good guy, and we take care of each other, I think. I'm lucky in that.

Earlier in the week, I was told by the purchasing organization they love me, they really want me to stay, they think I'm critical to the success of the region, that they want to work with me to make sure I'm in a role I enjoy and find challenging... and they're giving me more than a 10% pay cut so I'm aligned with the rest of the organization.

It wasn't a surprise. But it was still demoralizing.

** **

My best friend's mother passed away unexpectedly last week, so one night this week I made the trek down to the funeral home to pay my respects. I've known Friend and her mom for over 25 years; I'm godmother to Friend's daughter. I probably knew almost as many people at the funeral home as the family did.

Family isn't just blood. Thank goodness.

I'm worried about Friend. She was holding up beautifully, but her relationship with her mother was never smooth, and had been especially rough recently. Losing someone when you have unresolved issues is not easy. Ever. And as wonderful as Friend's husband is (and he is), a woman's relationship with her mother is something only other women can really understand.

I'm going down to help clear out the house soon-- possibly this weekend, but more likely after Thanksgiving-- and I need to make sure I keep in extra close touch with her. When she needs to talk, I will be there.

** **

Tomorrow night, a (different) friend is practicing cooking for me, and I'm crashing at her place so we can watch the deleted scenes/outtakes of a particular movie that I shall not admit to here for fear of outing myself as a complete and total geek.

If I wasn't knocked up, there would be serious drinking. As it is, I'm just hoping I stay awake long enough to not be insulting. (It just hit 10 p.m. here and I'm amazed I'm still upright. Pathetic.)

Have good weekends, all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We always want what we cannot have

I desperately wanted sushi tonight. I can't have it, damn you uncooked fish, so I went to Whole Paycheck and got some veggie sushi. It was fine. It was just not what I really wanted. I want sushi. Whine.

(Yes, my diamond shoes are too tight.)

I also want to dye my hair; I look like a skunk. Must find out earliest possible moment when dying hair is OK.

FYI, I was also craving cole slaw. Whole Paycheck's tailgate slaw is terrible. Don't bother.

** **

Things continue to progress along. I hit seven weeks yesterday, and the little parasite looks just as it should. I can even see a little rapid heartbeat. (The joy of being a high-risk IVF patient: early ultrasounds.)

The ultrasound tech (who I like very much) asked this morning if I was "taking pictures," offering to take an extra shot for me. I said no without really thinking about it. Later, I realized I should probably have said yes.

I'm the worst pregnant woman ever.

I do not feel the least bit of connection to this pregnancy yet; I'm still mostly stunned that it actually worked. I do not think of it as a baby; it's just an embryo at this point, and that's how I think of it. It's cells. See above, where I call it a parasite. I am not sentimental in the least-- which, for those of you reading this who know me, is probably a surprise; I'm a big sap. But not about this.

(I'm sure that some of this is probably self-protection; seven weeks is still a long way from out of the woods, odds-wise.)

There's a woman on one of my lists who has gone through so many different procedures to try to get pregnant that it's heartbreaking. "Nothing sticks," she says. And here's me. Something stuck, and I'm entirely clinical about it. Should I be all sappy and grateful? Should I be over the moon?

Maybe. But that's not me.

As I've said before, I'll get there. But not yet. Until then, you can feel free to call me the Worst Pregnant Woman Ever.

(For the record, this experience has made me even more firmly pro-choice than I was already. At some point, I'll write a post about it. And if you end up finding this post through a search and want to post some anti-choice crap in the comments, consider yourself warned that I will delete it. This is not a democracy.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


As mentioned in the last post, I don't have morning sickness. Or any kind of sickness, really. Sometimes during the day I'll feel a little queasy, but it passes. My mom told me she never had any kind of morning sickness, so I'm hoping I take after her. If I had to get her tendency to gain weight, it would be only fair to get the non-barfy from her as well.

I'm tired all the time-- but honestly, this time of year I'm tired anyway. With the time change and the darkness and all that, I'm always extra sleepy. I have noticed that even though my mad love for Jon Ste.wart means I want to watch him every night, sometimes I can't seem to stay awake.

(Fortunately, there are reruns.)

The only other thing I've noticed-- and this is going to sound uber-strange-- is that I smell different. Not stinky (I hope), but different. Almost... sweet citrusy? It's weird. I haven't changed body lotions or soaps or shampoos or anything, so I think it's just a change in body chemistry.

I haven't noticed it today, actually, but it's been the one consistent thing that I noticed even before I got the test results back.

Very odd.

Off to enjoy what is probably one of the last beautiful weekends of the fall.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Well, hey there

So I haven't updated in a while. My apologies. But if I come back, at least I'm bearing interesting news.

Guess who's pregnant?

I am not counting on anything yet. Based on how they calculate things, I'm only just six weeks pregnant, and at my age that's way too early to get excited. My odds are still terrible. I've told some friends, and my parents, but no one is allowed to tell anyone else until (and if) I hit at least eleven weeks. (Assuming my belly doesn't give me away sooner.) I won't feel safe until then. I probably won't feel all that safe then, but at least it'll be closer to safe.

The odds of success on my first IVF, at my age, were absolutely miniscule (and, as noted above, continue to be not great), and I am weirded out by the fact that it worked at all. I am a statistical anomaly of epic proportions. Should this go all the way, I am going to make my clinic's SART stats look gooood.

I think the absolute improbability of this is contributing to the fact that I don't feel all glowy and happy and full of loooove the way pregnant women are supposed to feel. I'm mostly crabby, actually, which then leads to me feeling guilty and ungrateful, and then that leads to buying a pumpkin scone from Star.bucks.

There are women, single and married, who have tried over and over-- IUI, IVF, everything else-- who can't get it to work. I go in once, take my one shot before I lose insurance coverage, and... huh? I should be more grateful. And I know I'll get there, should I need to get there. But until then, I'm looking at this with skeptical optimism.

Massive statistical improbability. That's me.

At least I'm not barfy. That's something.

So. Anything new with YOU?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

(Anti)social media

I have a account. (Like everyone on the planet, apparently.) I post rarely, though I read it a few times a week. Overall, it's been a fun way to reconnect with people I haven't talked to in years. (I could argue that calling those people "friends" is weird, given that I haven't talked to them in years, but that's for another time.)

Most of the people I'm friends with fall into the following categories:
  • People I am friends with, right now
  • People I went to school with (college, high school, middle school) that I'd lost touch with
  • People I work with or have worked with in the past; primarily people I trust more than I trust the average person I work/worked with
I just got a friend request from a vendor I know through work. A contractor. We've had several phone/e-mail conversations and have been out to lunch once, but that's the extent of our friendship.

Dude, I'm not going to friend you. You are not my friend, in any sense of the word.

I know many people use various forms of social networking for work purposes. That's fine-- but that's why I'm on Linked.In, not I do occasionally post personal stuff on the FB, and there's no way in heck I'm going to give a work vendor access to that stuff.

Public. Private. There's a difference.

The nice part about FB is that I can "ignore" his request. And if he ever asks me straight out why I didn't accept the request, I'll be honest: FB is for my personal life, and my work and personal lives do not mix on a regular basis.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to have a pseudonymn, so I wasn't findable to the general public. Something dramatic and mysterious, perhaps. Hm.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Not really a domestic goddess

I don't cook very often. I can cook, and I'm not horrible, but generally when it's just me, dinner is some variation on the salad/pasta/chicken breast/frozen meal tango.

I have, however, been trying some new recipes this fall. Particularly for vegetables-- I love steaming them, but sometimes a girl likes a little variety. One of the veggies that I've always been kind of meh about is cauliflower. I mean, it's fine, but it's not that interesting. It's a nice, white, safe vegetable; if you have a kid, you pour cheese on it. Sometimes it goes on sale and I buy it, but I'd rather have broccoli.

Last weekend, though, I tried roasting cauliflower. If you have not tried this, let me tell you: YUM. It was easy and absolutely delicious. The roasting makes the flavor richer and more complex. Highly, highly recommended.

1 bunch cauliflower
2 Tb olive oil

Clean cauliflower and cut into flowerets. Toss in the olive oil. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes (depending on how toasty brown you want it).

That's it! I roasted mine with a bit of chopped sweet onion and several cloves of garlic, becaue that's how I do things. But you don't need to.

It's ironic-- me giving domestic advice to anyone-- but really. Try this.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Here's a money-making idea

I swear to GOD, whoever comes up with a different (effective) delivery method for progesterone is going to make an absolute FORTUNE. I would seriously pay just about anything for something that wasn't one of the two existing methods. Anything.


And trust me. You don't want details.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm fine, thanks

People keep asking me how I am, and how I'm feeling.

I'm feeling fine, thanks. Not surprisingly. Because for another week, I don't know a darn thing, and even if I was pregnant, symptoms wouldn't be showing up a week in.

So yeah, just fine.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Beagle puppy attacks!

If this does not make your day just a little bit brighter (or a whole lot), then I worry about you.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Things you never really wanted to know

One of the side effects of IVF/fertility treatments: a sore butt. The right side of my tush feels like someone has been beating it with a mallet for several hours. Not good.

The reason: you have to inject yourself with progesterone. It's in a huuuuge needle, and it's an intramuscular injection; that means the butt. (Apparently you could use the thigh, but that's even more potentially painful, according to my doctor.) Then, the progesterone itself is suspended in oil, so if you don't sit yourself on a heating pad immediately after injection and stay there for as long as you can, well... You know what happens when oil isn't warm. Think about it.

I'm switching to an alternate progesterone delivery method (really, you don't want details, although you may get them eventually) after Sunday, so I've been trying to twist around and inject in my left tush rather than continue to make the right feel even worse. By Monday, both sides of my butt should feel equally like crap.

See? The things you learn from me. Well, the four of you reading this. :)

** **

Transfer was Thursday and went fine. Surprisingly, three of the embryos were of good quality, so that's exciting; the fourth was fragmented and rather sad, so while they popped it in with the rest, it's probably already moved off into embryo heaven or wherever they go.

I'll know more in a couple of weeks. Given my odds, I am doing my best to simply live my life and not think about it; at this point, all I can do is be healthy and keep going.

The two days of bedrest after were excruciatingly dull. You always think it's going to be nice to have an excuse to laze around, until you actually have to laze around. Boring. I watched Net.flix online (documentaries, mostly), and napped. Friends came over both nights for dinner and movies, so that was good. I got a lot of crochet done. I paid bills. I thought longingly of all the cleaning I could do if I wasn't on bedrest. (That's how you know you're bored: when you WANT to clean.)

The friend that came over last night brought her dog, and it was so nice to have a puppy around the house for a while. She's a love bug, so I got lots of dog cuddles and a few unwanted dog kisses-- dogs don't really make any kind of break between licking themselves and licking you. Heh.

My house feels much more like a home with a dog in it. Someday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thursday is transfer day

So: transfer is tomorrow. I really wish they could have held on until Saturday, for a five day transfer rather than a three day transfer, but it is what it is.

I don't know how many embryos will be transferred. I suspect not all four will be of good quality; I guess I'll find out in the morning.

** **

With transfer tomorrow, they want two days of bed rest. There's really no proof that it helps, but I figure it can't hurt.

An unexpected Thursday/Friday off from work, with no notice and with all kinds of people in town from the company that bought us, is not an easy thing to explain.

I had to manufacture a "family emergency." I really hate doing that, but there wasn't any alternative. It was a pretty believable falsehood, too-- I'm disappointed about the transfer being tomorrow rather than Saturday, so I'm already a little upset. And, to be honest, in the three months since I lost my little Vertigo Dog, tears are never very far from the surface.

And it is kind of a family emergency. It's my family. Or could be.

I'm taking vacation, so I'm not cheating or anything. I just feel bad that I'm not there during what's been one of the busiest weeks I've had in a long time. I should be able to work from home for part of the time, too, so that's good.

** **

I have acupuncture before and after the transfer. My wonderful acupuncturist is dragging herself out of bed at a hideous hour to meet me at 7 a.m.. Seriously, I love her like pie.

** **

I'm watching an American Experience about Joan Ba.ez. Dang, she looks gorgeous. I hope I age half as well as she has.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A long day

I barely had time to breathe today. I like days at work where I feel like I'm useful, but I like being useful for a bit less than 11 hours straight, thanks.

** **

So, an update. Retrieval Monday: five eggs. Not great. But found out today that four of the five fertilized-- pretty good!

There are four little embryos off in a petri dish somewhere, plugging away. Think good thoughts for them, please. May at least a couple of them continue to do their thing, and be of good quality.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another romantic Saturday night

I got dressed up, went to a party, and left the party early so I could come home and shoot myself in the tuchus with an extraordinarily large needle. Aren't you jealous?

Yes, it's trigger shot night-- 36 hours before Monday's retrieval. Of course, I'm worried I did it wrong. But no way to know that right now, I guess.

Driving home from the party, I thought about why I'm doing this. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I wonder, and that I doubt sometimes the road I'm on. I'm old, I'm single, my job is precarious (and could be even more so if I actually get pregnant; we've been bought by a conservative organization, and I'm in a fairly visible role)...

Sometimes, you stay on a path because you're too stubborn to abandon that path. That's not it entirely, but it's part of it, for sure. And I suspect the doubt is because side effects from all the drugs caught up with me today, in terms of extreme exhaustion. Never think Big Life Thoughts when you can barely stay awake.

Speaking of which, I think it's time for bed. Entertaining, since I got 8+ hours last night, and had a nearly two hour nap this afternoon (unplanned-- I just sort of fell over). Like I said, side effects.

The glamorous, romantic life of me. Hold back your jealousy, please.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Who needs fancy?

Friends came over tonight and brought bags of tacos, and media. The tacos are from a little hole in the wall place on the near south side, and they're absolutely perfect. Just tortillas with meat, fresh chopped cilantro, lime, and onion. You can get cheese, or avocado, but... you don't need it. They are perfectly done in their simplicity. We chowed down.

Also, they brought media. Theoretically I'll have two days' bedrest after the transfer, and I've put out the call: lend me books and movies so I don't go completely mental, please. I have wonderful friends who've responded to the call, with everything from Major League to Nigella Lawson.

FYI, retrieval is scheduled for Monday.

We'll see.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I have a problem

I love Tar.get. I might even be addicted to Tar.get.

Now, in the realm of problems, this is a mild one. But... it's the perfect store. I even have the Super version, so I can do all my grocery shopping, try on shoes, get air filters for the furnace, and find a cute skirt. ALL IN ONE PLACE.

I am a simple person.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Better news

So! Whatever I did over the weekend worked. The follicles are growing like crazymad. They just took their own sweet time.

The nurse asked if I wanted the numbers, and I said no. I suspect I'm the only fertility patient in the history of forever that didn't ask for her numbers; I can tell from reading various forums that those numbers are currency. But I don't remember numbers. All I know is I went from two small, silly little follicles to a whole mess o'them. They are "in play," according to the nurse.

Go follicles!

I had various people offering theories about what would get my apparently lazy follicles to take some action. (Note: I'm lazy. My follicles are lazy, too. Hee!) One friend suggested getting Hugh and George Clo.oney in a room for me, which I thought was a terrific idea. Another friend said listening to the dulcet tones of Josh Gro.ban would work. (Sue me. I like melodic tenors, even if they're overproduced.)

My favorite was the friend on Friday night who said that I should drink a lot, thus perhaps reminding my ovaries of my wild and crazy youth-- when you spend all your time trying to avoid getting pregnant, not encouraging it.

Whatever it was-- liquor, laughing with friends, eating Indian food-- don't know. Don't care. It worked.

Updates as I have them!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Think growing thoughts

Five days in, on ginormous doses of two different stimulants, follicles are not growing.

This is Not Good. I go back in on Monday, and if nothing's happening, this cycle is cancelled.

Now, a lot can happen in the next two days, and some women take longer to react to stims than others. But given my already miniscule odds, this is a bad thing.

Think good, growing, egg-a-licious thoughts, please.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

These needles, I don't mind

Not everyone needs acupuncture. Not everyone wants acupuncture. (We had to stop talking about it this weekend in front of my dad, who went completely white when I started describing some of the points my acupuncturist uses. If I didn't love him so much, I could totally screw with him.)

But if it's something you've ever considered, for whatever reason, I'm going to be the non-paid-spokesperson here and say: give it a try.

Of all the things I've learned on this journey to potential IVF-momhood, the thing that probably suprises me the most (other than the fact that I've now shot myself up in a bathroom stall-- because that's never going to stop being completely freaking bizarre) is how much I like acupuncture.

It is relaxing. It is refreshing. It is, almost every time, an oasis in my day (or week), and I come out of it feeling more focused and more serene. Regardless of whether it helps with my nearly impossible IVF (TBD!), it absolutely does help with my tension levels, and it has helped with a couple of other minor things related to medication side effects.

I just might be addicted. In a good way, not a shooting-up-in-a-bathroom-stall kind of way.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Balloon or pincushion? You decide.

I'm on day four of meds, day three of stims, and so far the only side effect is that my lower belly has puffed up like the proverbial balloon. It's a balloon with little needle marks on it, in fact. It's fascinating. Actually, it would be more fascinating if it wasn't my belly.

There don't seem to be many other side effects. I seem to be more light-headed than usual, although there's been a lot of work stress this week, and that may have something to do with it. I'm probably imagining things when I think that I can feel my ovaries working hard. I am extremely sensitive to medication (I generally only have to take one of anything, even if the recommended dose is two), though, so maybe it's not entirely my imagination.

I had my first post-meds ultrasound this morning, and there are some follicles growing, but of course it's too early to know what will happen. I go back Friday, then probably again Monday. If things do progress, retrieval will probably be middle or late next week.

Is it wrong that I'm looking forward more to the day off work than I am to the retrieval itself?

It's been a rough week.

** **

I did indeed have to give myself medicine in an airport bathroom, too. I never thought I'd be shooting up somewhere like that, but I suppose the fact that it's legally prescribed medication makes it OK.

It was still extraordinarily bizarre. I felt like I was in some kind of bad Lifetime movie. Maybe Valerie Bertinelli (pre-bikini) could play me, and then there could be a tearful courtroom scene at the end where she/I explained that I was shooting up in the bathroom stall for a good cause. And then I'd be acquitted and end up smooching some cute guy. (I'm not sure what cute guys star in Lifetime movies these days.)

The actual shooting up isn't so bad. The needles are small. Smallish, anyway. They don't get big until later. I've also started icing the skin a bit, and that seems to help-- psychologically, if nothing else.

IVF isn't for lightweights, let me tell you. This is not a lot of fun. But it's still a privilege, and I shouldn't be complaining about how my diamond shoes are too tight. I'm lucky, and I know it.

** **

Because I know everyone's just fascinated with all this stuff, let me just say that I had a donor all picked out-- finally-- and got the paperwork filed today so I could order tomorrow.

He's RETIRED. No more. Off the market. What? Hello? He was available LAST NIGHT. It took me forever to pick him. I liked him, I finally picked him, and he's gone. This is not fair.

I moved over to a different bank and now have three possibilities. Talk about power shopping... All are normal looking, tall, seem to be fairly smart, have decent family medical histories, and don't appear to be serial killers.

It's such a crap shoot. My pool is also limited-- you should forgive the pun-- by the fact that I want to use a donor that's willing to be identifiable. If I was going with anonymous, my choices would be endless. Far fewer men choose the ID donor option. I don't know if I blame them, frankly, but it means that my choices are far, far less.

I considered going anonymous, but... no. That's not for me. And as long as I can find donors that meet my requirements in the identifiable pool, that's where I'll stay.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's a grab-bag roundup

Had a nice weekend with family in town. They ended up leaving early, actually, which was OK-- it wasn't for bad reasons. They were being considerate, mostly, given they know my horrific schedule this week, and they saw me working at home both Friday and Saturday nights. (They're also not entirely comfortable in my house, but that's more because of their personalities than it is anything else, so I try not to worry about it. Much.)

So I had an unexpected, free Sunday afternoon, and it was much appreciated. Of course, "free" included going in to work, so.

** **

Early last week I attended volunteer orientation for the local animal shelter, and today-- in between work, Tar.get, and a quick trip to the gym-- I squeezed in my first trip over. It was excellent, excellent therapy, even though I couldn't stay long.

I walked a stocky, older little Shih Tzu mix who was absolutely delighted to get out, but who tired early on; we ended up taking our sweet time on the second half of the walk. At one point, she found something yummy in the grass, and her ecstatic back-rubbing roll was so reminiscent of my Vertigo Dog that I got tears in my eyes. It was worth it, though.

** **

I have a week coming up at work that is going to be incredibly, incredibly difficult on a personal level. My job involves doing some things that are extremely difficult; sometimes, they're painful. This is that kind of a week. And, while I can feel sorry for myself all I want, my angst is not the point this week. Not at all.

I'm also going to have to travel with all my fertility drugs, two of which have to be kept cold. I can't wait to deal with airport screening on that one. Plus, you know, injecting myself while in the airport bathroom stall. Oh, yeah.

** **

Speaking of drugs, I promised to post a picture of the big stack o'drugs.

From one

Impressive, hm?

I started shots today. It's surprisingly easy and painless. But I suspect it will be a little less easy in an airport bathroom stall.

Whine, whine.

Tell me something happy?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No TIME. There is no time!

I have updates to make! I picked up all my drugs and it is a massive bag o' stuff and I took a picture to share. But I have family arriving... well, any second. Pictures must wait.

I'll be starting on the drugs any day now. Oh JOY.

Updates to follow. Probably Monday, when I've collapsed after a weekend of no time to myself wonderful, family-filled weekend.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

A letter with no love

Dear dude getting off the train with me:

As we go down the stairs together, in a herd of people on their way to work, I understand that sometimes one gets the urge to spit. (Actually, I don't really understand it, but work with me here.) Sometimes, the spit must out.

But really-- does it need to come out on the stairs? When you're not the only one descending said stairs? The spit can't wait another thirty seconds until you're down at street level, where there's a convenient road, and thus a convenient gutter, waiting for your precious saliva?

Next time, wait. Please. Those of us who follow you will appreciate it. As will our shoes.

No love,

** **

I'm finally making my way through the premade curries I bought a while ago. Two very big thumbs up for the micro curries by Raja Foods. I love Indian food, but for 99 cents, why go to all the trouble of making it myself if I don't have to? One package makes two sides, and there's enough sauce that you can use it as a base for other things (i.e. more veggies, or some cooked chicken, or whatever).


** **

Work was brutal this week. We're going through a merger... which is not a merger at all. They're buying us, and all the platitudes about "taking the best from both organizations" and "learning from each other" were just that: platitudes. They could care less.

They are also an organization where overtime is worn as a badge of honor.

Been there, done that, and I'm not doing it again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Need I say more?

One quick note... the medications I mentioned yesterday?

Without insurance: around 8K.

With insurance: under $200.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bookends. Sort of.

My day started with a visit to my doctor's office, where I met with my nurse practitioner. We went over, in exhausting and terrifying detail, the wide variety of drugs I'm going to be putting in my body beginning in early October. My day ended with an acupuncture appointment.

From the most unnatural hour, to an extremely natural hour. What a day.

** **

When I pick up the box o'drugs (next week), I will take a picture of it, because it's gonna be huge. The extraordinarily cheerful dude at the drug place described it as "more than you'd take on a picnic." That's... a lot of drugs.

I'm not looking at my notes, but off the top of my head there are three injectibles I take pre-retrieval, one injectible that will act as both my trigger shot and as potential boosters post-embryo transfer, and then another injectible that goes in post-transfer. There's also an antibiotic in there somewhere, and possibly another pill I'm forgetting. And one-- ONE--

Seriously, people, what is that? One? Give me a whole damn bottle.

The pre-retrieval injectibles are all subcutaneous, using leetle tiny needles, and should be easy. However, the trigger shot med and the post-retrieval injectibles are all intramuscular and involve needles as long as my palm. And, not only are they ginormous needles, but I'm going to have to twist around and shoot myself in the ass.

("Usually we're teaching this to people's husbands," the nurse said. Yeah, I know. I wish.)

My nurse went carefully over the different drugs, how to mix them, what needles to use, etc.; we even practiced injecting on a fake bump of skin. It was helpful, and I took piles of notes. She's crabby but competent, and while some days it'd be nice to have a warm shoulder to lean on, most of the time I prefer that things not be sugar-coated.

I'm going to have to give myself shots in the ass.


** **

Acupuncture was, as usual, an oasis.

I love my acupuncturist more and more, and now that I know for sure she's pregnant (hey, I never assume-- some people gain weight in the belly) I need to find a baby blanket pattern and get to work crocheting. Something in a gender-neutral color, and I think in a nice cotton. Organic, if I can find a sale.

Yay! More yarn! What? I don't have a problem. Shut up.

Now that I'm getting a better idea of the time frame for this IVF shindig (it won't be 100% certain until my next cycle actually starts), I can see her moving the points around, thinking things through. She also started me on some Chinese herbs, with the idea that I'm done with them before I start with the needles.

I don't know if acupuncture helps, but it certainly can't hurt. And I absolutely walk out of there feeling better. It might just be the enforced down time, but I'll take it.

** **

If you've never read Post Secret, it's addictive. But this secret just wrecked me.

Thank God I was there for her, right until the end.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I swear I'm not going to start talking about past lives or anything. Really.

Had a truly amazing acupuncture treatment this morning. I got the usual stickies, but she also used heat on various points-- she's trying to draw out some of the water associated with my BC weight gain. (Some of the weight gain is also the Ben and J.erry's light chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream I polished off this week, but that's not all of it.)

Anyway, after she left me to rest, I became very deeply relaxed-- not asleep. Truly relaxed. After a while, it was the weirdest thing; I almost literally felt weight leaving me, drawing down through the ends of my arms and legs. And when I say "weight," I don't mean pounds. I mean heaviness related to stress, and sorrow, and anger, and negativity. I could almost feel as if darkness was leaving my body.

It was awesome, and I'm not describing it well. I am totally not the kind of person into crystals and astral pla.nes and all that, and I know this sounds like that kind of thing, but was very real.

When I left I felt lighter and freer. I may have been imagining it... but I don't think I was.

The rest of the day was spent helping a friend with serious yardwork (she's a new widow, far too young, and is working towards selling her house), and tonight another friend is coming over for some Bollywood fun. A good, albeit unusual, day.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Low is bad, in this case

I called to get my day three FSH. My FSH was extremely low (2). First time I was tested, it was 7-something; normal is under 10, and low is good. So on the surface, a low FSH sounds positive-- but it's not.

Because unfortunately, while my FSH was very low, my estrogen was very high (192). This is a symptom of perimenopause, and almost certainly indicates that I have low ovarian reserve. Not sure why this didn't show up before now; they must not have tested my estrogen in my initial blood testing? I thought I'd had day three bloodwork before, but I could be wrong.

In other words, my chances of conceiving are "severely limited," and if I do, my chances of miscarriage are high. My odds were already terrible. They're several times more terrible now.

Well, I knew this was a long shot.

I'm still giving it a try, of course, but it looks like I'll end up moving to adoption sooner than I'd thought. With results like that, I can't imagine they'll recommend more than one or two IVF cycles at the very most. There's little point in IUI cycles, really. (And I'm not interested in donor eggs.)

I am pretty sad about this. Yes, my primary motivation here is being a mother-- not producing a child. I will love my child, whether adopted or born, and that's never been even the smallest of questions. I do not really care which road I take to get to motherhood.

It's still sobering, though, to find out your body can't do what you want it to do.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Looking around

One of the reasons I started this blog was to connect with other people in similar situations to me-- women trying to conceive (TTC), single moms, all that. I haven't really done much about that goal yet.

I'm finally trying to get around a bit more and find blogs written by people that not only have things in common with me, but that seem like people I'd actually like to know. You only know so much about a person from their blog, really, but it's nice to find a blog written by someone you think you might get along with in real life.

(This isn't always the case, of course. One blog I read regularly-- not linked, and I won't give the specific location-- is someone I just plain don't like. I'm fascinated by her take on life in general not because I share opinions with her, but because her worldview is so incredibly different from mine that it's like encountering an entirely different species. I guess we learn from all different types, hm?)

One recent find: Sarah Solitaire. Sarah has been TTC for over four years, and has gone through more than I can imagine. She does it all with a great sense of humor, and reading through her archives has been really interesting. It's sobering, though; she started this whole process far younger than I, and has stuck with it much longer than I plan to (well, honestly, I will not be *able* to stick with it as long as she has; I'm aging out of the process fast). She's not a saint, and her writing is engaging and honest.

I know what I'm doing is a total shot in the dark; I hope when my attempts fail-- as they're likely to, let's face it-- I can keep my sense of humor and face the next thing as well as Sarah has.

** **

Apparently it's highly unlikely that I have the gene for cystic fibrosis. So that's good.

(I got the results of my pre-IVF blood panel. Forgot to ask what my FSH was, though. Given that at my age it can rocket up in a few weeks, I'll call tomorrow.)

** **

I've now had several acupuncture sessions and I must admit it's a little addictive. Is it the masochist in me? I dunno. I do know that really like my acupuncturist, and I like her space. Who knows if it's actually doing anything, but at least I'm trying. I also mentioned the annoying BC-pill related weight gain (seriously, we're up to five pounds in six days, with no change in diet or exercise! Argh!) and so she hit a few extra points that will, hopefully, help.

I was especially wiggly during last night's session. She likes you to rest for 45 minutes to an hour once the needles are in, and I barely made it to 45. "You didn't look like you were getting much rest," she observed.

"I'm really wiggly today," I replied. "I'm not good at staying still."

She smiled. "You'll get better." She said this with calm, absolute certainty.

I react really well to people who believe in me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Long weekends don't suck

Oh, three day weekends, how I love you. More than pie, that's how much.

Nothing too major planned-- hanging out with a friend tomorrow, and a BBQ on Monday. Sunday, I think, will be a major lazy day, though I am going to get to work on a couple of house projects. I also brought work home, but it's not too taxing and I can probably get it done while watching bad movies.

The BBQ on Monday is not only appealing because hello, BBQ, but also features a dog. A big sweet spazzy dog. I was talking to my mom today, and she told me she spotted a puppy in the newspaper, actually called on the puppy, and then my dad talked her out of it. They lost their dog at the beginning of the year-- what with that and the loss of my own dog, this is the first time our family has been dogless in about 15 years. We're not good at it.

After admitting that my dad was right to talk her out of the puppy (it's too soon, and they're just not ready yet), she mentioned that both she and my dad really spot dogs when they're out and about, and focus in on them. I had to laugh, and admitted that I'm doing the same thing; I have an embarrassing tendency right now to kind of fling myself at every dog I see. Fortunately, dog owners all pretty much think their dogs are the cutest, most awesome, best dogs ever, so (for the most part) strangers telling them how fabulous their dog is is par for the course.

I do have to restrain myself from offering dog-sitting services to strangers, though; that sounds too much like stalking. (I'm only half-kidding. We have two new puppies on our block, and I'd dog-sit in a heartbeat.)

So hopefully I can drag myself away from the dog on Monday enough that I'm not insulting to my hosts. Of course, given how awesome they think their dog is, they probably won't mind.

** **

Quick update on medical stuff (now that it's not really "the plumbing" any more, I need to come up with a tag): they confirmed today that I'm approved for IVF, I'm scheduled for both a consult with my doctor and a session where the nurses teach me to administer the IVF drugs to myself (whee! needles!), and I started birth control today. Sadly, the BC pills aren't because I'm trying to prevent pregnancy from all the fabulous nookie I'm getting; they're just to control my cycle until I further manipulate it with the IVF drugs. (Bleah.)

It's been a while since I've been on BC, but I suspect one thing won't have changed: hello, almost instant 10 pound weight gain. Seriously-- every time I start new, 10 pounds go on automatically with no change in eating or exercise. And I'm already up a few pounds from all the stress at work.

So I went to the gym tonight, and am going to do my best to get back to four days a week at the gym; I may puff up from the pills, but I don't have to make it easy for them.

I also started a spreadsheet to track costs and dates for all the various things I'm doing. Probably-nonexistent-baby is already costing a fair bit of cash. If baby ever does exist, though, s/he will be worth every penny.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

All's quiet

Rose early this morning-- 5 a.m.-- and was on the bus by 6:20, on the train by 6:30, and at the hospital by 7. This morning was my day three lab work, in anticipation of IVF coming up. Many, many tubes of blood today; it's a pretty comprehensive workup.

Even public transportation is relatively quiet before 7 a.m.. There are fewer riders, and the people that are on the bus or the train are quieter, often still with that just-woke-up look about them despite their neat work clothing. There's less eye contact and little of the casual conversation you'll hear, even between strangers, later in the rush hour.

This morning, the first person who actually spoke to me was the young woman at the doctor's office who gave me my paperwork to take to the lab. (I said "good morning" to the bus driver, but he did not respond. Everyone's quieter before 7, even the bus drivers.) I get ready for work in my quiet house (too quiet, wrongly quiet, without my little Vertigo Dog), and I take the bus and the train alone, watching the city go by in choppy morning light. I walk from the train to the hospital across a long expanse of lawn, and the sun isn't even up over the buildings that surround me.

I'm doing this with the crazy idea that, at some point, there could be a baby; that my quiet house and my relatively uncomplicated life could change radically, and change by my choice. Some days, this seems crazy.

Most days, though, I know that this much quiet is not what I want. It's not me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Went to a baseball game yesterday which was fun-- but chilly. It doesn't help that we were so high up that I'm pretty sure our seats were somewhere in Iowa. And the wind was pretty brisk.

It was fab, though, except for the group of women sitting behind us until about the seventh inning. Apparently, they thought it was a good idea to pay $50 per ticket and then sit there and let one woman talk the entire time about every detail of her gynecological life. Seriously, I know more about her girlyparts than I know about mine. I suspect, based on the age of the group, that she's the first one of the girlfriends to have had a baby.

News flash: not only are you not the first woman in history to have had a child, you could have all gone out for a lovely lunch for $50 apiece OR LESS and had the very same monologue converstion over some bruschetta and a nice glass of wine.

Plus, no one wants to know about your c-section, or other things I won't mention here that you discussed in great detail. NO ONE! Based on some of your friends' actions during the game, I am pretty sure they didn't want to know either! Shut up!

I love baseball, especially live. I like watching the game. Watching the fans. Criticizing the pitcher who, even when he sucks, is a zillion times better than I could possibly ever be. Cheering when things go well, and commiserating with fellow fans when they don't. I think the smooth green expanse of the outfield is mesmerizingly beautiful. Plus, they sell soft pretzels.

Why would you go and not only not watch the game, but talk to people about your girlyparts in great detail while surrounded by strangers?

I don't get it. But it was a great game regardless.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Attitude adjustment

Good Lord, being around me this week is like being around one of those cartoon characters that has a black cloud floating over her head. I am grumpy and crabby and snappy and eyebrow-raising and just plain not my usual self.

The culprit, mostly, is hormones. Work has also been one of those weeks where, if I was Queen of the Forest, I'd be throwing a bunch of people over the cliff and shouting "Have a nice trip!" at them on their way down. Of course, I don't get to do that. I have to stay at least polite to people, even those people at the top of the Over the Cliff List.

I don't have to like them. I just have to work with them professionally. (I think maybe that's my next tattoo.)

Anyway. On days/weeks of grumpy, sometimes the YouTube is my savior and my happy place. Don't judge me.

Interspecies lurrrrve (this makes me cry every time, but it's a happy crying):



And last but not least, one of my favorite Bollywood numbers: "Maahi Ve" from Kal Ho Naa Ho. (Hey, don't knock the Bollywood until you've really tried it. It's awesome and happy-making. If you want recs, let me know.) FYI, the main dancing guy in the burgundy salwar kameez is Shahrukh Khan, who's the uber-superstar of Bollywood.

My work here is done.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back in town

Had a nice long weekend visiting friends. Of course, the weekend I'm there is the weekend that the east coast is drenched in humidity-- it was like taking a bath every time you walked outside. In NYC, I was hopping in and out of stores periodically just to keep my body temp below spontaneous combustion levels. (Seriously. But if I'd spontaneously combusted, my own sweat would have put out the fire. Such a pretty image, I know.)

I didn't care about the heat, though, because I love NYC. If I ever won the lottery (which would be tough, as I'd need to actually buy a ticket to win a dime) I'd buy a little place there; maybe with a view of Central Park. I'm not sure I could ever actually live in NYC permanently, but I'd love to be able to visit far more often for so many reasons-- not the least of which is that FC is there.

We met for lunch, took over a table and talked and talked; it was so good to catch up with her. (It was also good that we didn't go to lunch until later, so that no one kicked us out, given how long we hogged that table!) One of the nicest things about good friends is that no matter how long it is between good conversations, it feels like only a few minutes have gone by.

The rest of the weekend sadly didn't involve either FC or NYC, but did involve many other good friends and good things. This is likely to be my last long weekend/vacation for a while. It was a good one.

** **

Tonight after work I went and helped friends paint their new house. It's adorable, and of course makes me want to move. RIGHT NOW.

My real estate lady, though, thinks I should wait until late winter/early spring to list. Given everything else I have going on, this is probably a good idea.

I guess.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Update, and travel, and needles. Oh my.

I leave tomorrow for a long weekend in NYC, NJ, and PA. There will be lunch with Frequent Citations, and sightseeing in Philly, and much catching up with people I love. It may be my last vacation for a while, and I'm planning to enjoy it.

I'm even taking the good camera. Be afraid.

** **
All has been pronounced clear after the hysteroscopy. What now?

If I'd already selected a donor, I could actually have done an unmedicated IUI cycle either tomorrow or Thursday. Sigh. I haaate missing even a month at this point, so I'm smacking myself. Of course, since I go out of town tomorrow night, even with a donor safely in place I might still be out of luck.

(Travel is apparently off the table for the next little while, it looks like. I am a slave to my girlyparts right now. Whee!)

Given my upcoming loss of IVF coverage, my doctor's office is put in for approval of IVF today. AND GOT IT. I can't tell you how surprised I am-- there's no demonstrated history of IUI/other fertility treatment; the biggest issues are my age and my blocked fallopian tube, and I didn't think those would fly to justify IVF.

I asked the nurse "Did they get a confirmation number?" Seriously. I deal with insurance companies all the time, and am SHOCKED. (I hope they don't come at me after the fact.)

So at this point... IVF in, probably, early October. Meds start next month.

Ack. Yay! Ack.

** **

I had my first acupuncture session today, and am surprised at how straightforward it was. E, the practitioner, was straightforward and approachable, and I liked her very much. The space was open and inviting. The needles didn't hurt.

She had said to rest with the needles in for at least 20 minutes; I rested nearly half an hour and time just flew by-- rare for me, since I'm a wiggly person. When I finished, E said I'd done well for a first-timer-- most first-timers she's seen can barely last 20 minutes, but the average for returning clients is 45 minutes to an hour. Heh. It was somehow far more soothing than just resting in a chair would normally be.

E said a good chunk of her clientele, currently, is coming for fertility reasons, so I'm not alone in having found the data and pursuing it. Beginning in September, when I am officially on the track for IVF, I'll start going twice a week.

Despite the fact that the needles were placed related to fertility areas, I feel surprisingly clear and rested now. Very, very cool.

** **

OK. I'm going out of town for five days and have packed nothing. NOTHING. I need to get offline and, if nothing else, decide what shoes I'm taking...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quick thoughts on a Friday morning...

...before I head out for the weekend.

- It's a good thing I hadn't planned to sleep late on this particular vacation day. Hello, tree-branch-grinding-up machines! How loud you are! And I hadn't realized there were quite that many branches needing grinding up. Who knew?

- I'm fascinated that the majority of people I see on the news freaking out over healthcare at those town hall meetings appear to be individuals who are probably covered by Medicare due to their age. They do realize that they're already on a single-payer system, right? Do any of them plan to give that coverage up? Just checking.

- I went to our local animal shelter last night and signed up to be a volunteer. I can't go to training for several weeks, but once I do, I can go and help out. This seems to be a positive way to help a good organization, keep myself busy, and get some dog back into my life. It won't be the same as having my Vertigo Dog back-- it couldn't possibly be, ever-- but dogs are always good for the soul.

After I filled out the application last night, I went in and visited with the dogs that are up for adoption. Such a wonderful variety of personalities, not to mention shapes and sizes, but all had absolutely one thing in common: all they want in the whole world is to be loved. Food, play, walkies-- absolutely. But love is number one.

As it should be.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A long week

Spent a lovely evening with a friend, playing with her adorable baby, eating Thai food, and catching up on gossip. It was a nice end to a long day.

The day started with saline ultrasound #2, to follow up on the hysteroscopy. FYI, the second SU was no more fun than the first. ::sigh::

On the plus side, they're going to document exactly what they did that finally worked. If they need to do one again, they can go straight to a working solution rather than having me legs-up for 25 minutes.

And that's all I'll say on that, much to everyone's relief.

My doctor's out until next week. I go out of town next Wednesday night, so I'm a little antsy; at my age, every cycle I miss is a problem. If I am going to go straight to IVF, though, I should be able to at least start the medication protocol fairly soon and could potentially have an IVF cycle as soon as September. Hey, if I'm going to lose my coverage, start now-- I will probably only be able to get 1, possibly 2 cycles in before I lose my coverage, so I should do it while I can.

A couple of other things I've made decisions on:
  • Timeline. I'm going to be as aggressive as I can on IVF this calendar year, while it's still covered. As of 1/1, I can still do IUI (assuming my new insurance company isn't a bunch of arseholes about me being single, which is entirely possible), so given that the IVF probably won't work, I'll start right up with the IUI when 1/1 rolls around.

    If nothing's caught-- so to speak-- by spring, I'm done and move to adoption. My odds decrease enormously each and every month. If it hasn't worked by then, the odds are overwhelmingly that it isn't going to work at all, and it's time to move on. I'll have given this a good shot, I will know I did my best, and I will move on before I am physically and financially in a bad position.

  • Donor: I've decided to go with a donor who's willing to be identifiable, and contacted after the child reaches a certain age. Of course, this all will probably be moot when I don't get pregnant. But if I do, I've decided this is the right route for me.

    I can't possibly judge anyone else for their decision on this-- it's incredibly personal. For me, though, I feel strongly that this is a choice I can give my child. He or she may never have any interest in contact with their donor; after all, the donor will be just that; they won't be a dad, just a donor. But if my theoretical child does want contact, and I've chosen an anonymous donor, then I've taken that choice away from him/her, leaving them no recourse. I can't do that.

    I feel so passionately about choice. This is a choice I have absolute power over, and I choose to leave things as open as I can.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I swear I'm not being whiny. OK, yes I am.

You know, if (when, probably) I stop trying to get pregnant, the first thing I'm going to do is have an enormous diet Coke. ENORMOUS.

Fizzy water + juice is much healthier, but oh, oh, OH so boring.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


When you think "awesome willpower," my name does not come to mind. I am lazy. Laaaaaazy. I'm talking Olympic gold medal-level lazy. I'm a perfectly good cook, yet I eat frozen dinners rather than wait a few more minutes for the pasta to cook or the chicken to broil. I always have clean bathrooms, but dust can be seven layers deep on my tables and I barely raise an eyebrow. Sometimes (more often than I will admit, even here) my outfit for the day is decided not by what I want to wear, but by what requires the least amount of ironing. I can waste hours-- days, even-- on the internet rather than doing anything remotely productive. (How long have I needed to sand/paint my bathroom ceiling? Don't ask.)


I beat myself up about this, sometimes. One of the ways I've been doing this lately is wondering about just how I'll be as a single mom. Lazy is not an easy thing to overcome. Lazy trumps a lot of things. Will my child get the short end of my lazy stick?

If I think about it, though, maybe it's that I'm lazy about things I have (apparently) decided just don't matter as much. To me, anyway. For instance, despite the amount of work it takes as a single person in the city to have a dog, I had an awesome dog for over 14 years. And while sometimes I grumbled about the time it took to keep her cared for in the style she was happily accustomed to, I never really minded; as lazy as I am, she was worth every second, every dollar, every worried night, every walk in subzero weather. I carried her up and down stairs for the last month of her life, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

I'm lazy, but it didn't matter one bit when it came to her.

Since I found out about IVF going away as of 1/1 (see a couple of posts ago), it's like a switch has gone off. I've given up artificial sweeteners, I'm scheduled for acupuncture, I'm bringing my lunch rather than eating processed foods, I have a yoga DVD arriving in the next few days, I've been to the gym a number of times...

Maybe I'm just someone who needs a really good reason not to be lazy. Maybe my "really good reason" bar is set high.

And maybe, just maybe, that's OK.

I do need to get motivated on the bathroom ceiling, though.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Big earrings

From one

Worn last Friday, in honor of the friend who moved south. She always rocks the big earrings.

I liked them, and liked how swishy and clinky they felt. By midday, though, the right one kept getting caught in my hair. Note to self: wear these earrings when the hair is up.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I can't think of a catchy title

I hate to bump my previous link from the top of the page... if you haven't visited the link, page down to the YouTube screen featuring the cat, and watch. It's amazing.

On to much more mundane topics.

We've finally hit summer here in the great midwest, and after weeks of people complaining that it was cold, now they're complaining it's too hot. I love the midwest, and I love midwesterners: we are entirely predictable.

This morning before all hell broke loose at work, I logged in to my health insurance's website. The preliminary bill for the hysteroscopy was up: almost 11K. Seriously! I was in for less than six hours. With my deductible and copay, this is going to cost me a few thousand bucks. And I have decent insurance and some savings. Sheesh.

Speaking of insurance (which no one really likes doing), my insurance changes as of 1/1, and my coverage for fertility (specifically IVF) ends. Argh. This means I probably need to go straight to IVF now, while it's still covered. It's 12-15K a pop, and given that the odds even for IVF are terrible at my age, I won't be able to do it once insurance runs out. For that kind of money, I will move straight to adoption.

Fortunately, IUI will still be covered (assuming they don't give me a hard time with whether I'm qualified or not). So I can give IVF a shot (so to speak) and then move to IUI for a few tries.

I'm a little blue over this right now. Not only are my odds, overall, wretched-- I've got less than 10% chance of this working at all-- now one of the methods is now off the table after December.

It's clear that if something hasn't happened by next spring, I move back to looking at adoption. Which is absolutely fine, although adopting as a single person isn't a cakewalk either.

Either way, I'll be a mom. It's just hard losing any of the few options I do have.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

For your listening pleasure

This made my morning.

Link found at BitchPhD.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I realized this past weekend that my mother is possibly obsessed with my selection of a sp*erm donor. I don't know this for sure, of course, but the fact that she brings it up in almost every conversation we have, in one way or another, is a pretty good indication.

She hasn't (surprisingly) asked a lot of details; she was comforted that you can sort for things like height and eye color, and that seems to be more or less enough information for her. She's just very, very interested in when I'm going to select someone.

Now, I won't lie. I've played around online, sorting and selecting and reading whatever free information is available. But there's just no sense in doing anything else (and certainly no point in putting up money) until I know if everything is OK from the hysteroscopy. The earliest I'll know that is about a week and a half into my next cycle, and that's a couple of weeks away. (I'll need another saline ultrasound. OH HAPPY JOY.)

When I go for that, I'll ask for information on timing and all that stuff, and then I'll get serious.

Oh, and if you're interested: my base criteria are:
  1. Tall (counteract my short genes)
  2. Compatible blood type
  3. A bit on the skinny side (again with the counteracting)
  4. Medium complexion (match up with me)
  5. Straight or just wavy hair (give the child a chance!)
  6. A medical history that doesn't make me cringe
You're almost guaranteed that the donor has a college education, no learning disabilities, and a reasonable GPA; they do good screening on that. And I'd like a donor who's athletic (since I'm very decidedly not) and musical. I'm not sure you can really test for a sense of humor, but that would be nice too.

::shrug:: So much is nurture, not nature, but you want to give the kid whatever advantages you can.

Relative to anonymity, or a donor that they can find when they reach a certain age? I'm not 100% on either side. There are far, far more available anonymous donors, so that may end up deciding the issue for me. But I'm leaning towards an identifiable donor. I know so many adopted people that can't find one or both of their birth parents, and it's a gaping hole for many of them. I don't know that I want to do that to my child, should I have one.

** **

I actually went to the gym tonight. Since being at home, these days, means missing my little Vertigo Dog and feeling like my house isn't a home at all, I'm trying to find ways to stay out of the house. The gym is a good, healthy alternative.

I made it to the gym partly because I'm extra sad today, and knew the exercise would help. A good friend left today to move south. I'm so excited for her, and I know perfectly well we'll keep in touch, but her departure is just something else that I need to work through. My issues, let me show you them.

I feel it's time for popcorn now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mmm, spicy

Got out of the house this afternoon and met friends in an area of the city that has a large Indian population (continent of, not Native American). It's a little like taking a trip to that area of the world without having to sit on a plane for hours-- women walk down the street in colorful saris and salwar kameez, video stores are plastered with posters of various Bollywood stars, and the grocery stores have more pre-packaged curry than they do Lean Cuisines.

We all bought food at one of the grocery stores-- I now have masoor dal, split mung beans, fresh ginger, whole mustard seeds, and four different packages of premade curries-- 99 cents each! A good deal, as each is two meals if you add in a bit of chicken or a salad. (Look at me, being all budgety and stuff.) I was seriously tempted by an absolutely glorious pair of earrings, but due to the "being all budgety" (and also knowing that I've got a deductible to meet from last Thursday's fun and games), I walked away. Entertainingly enough, they thought I was trying to bargain, and by the time I left the price was about $100 less than it had been originally. When I go back, now I know how flexible prices are. Or aren't.

After shopping, we ate lunch; it was probably the best Indian food I've ever had-- fresh and delicious and perfectly cooked. We got four or five different dishes and shared, and all of us brought enough food home for at least one more meal apiece. Yum.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, and a nice escape from what has been a grim couple of weeks. This is a terrific city, and I'm ashamed that it's taken me so long to get to this particular neighborhood. It certainly won't be so long before I go back.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I do not think it means what you think it means

I had my hysteroscopy on Thursday. I'd been warned by Dr. M that there would be some "discomfort."

To me, "discomfort" does not mean "doubled over, bathed in a cold sweat, going entirely grey, and wishing that some kind nurse would come by and put you out of your misery." Seriously, if someone had come by and offered to off me, for about 20 minutes I'd have taken them up on it.

Fortunately, that passed, but it's been an uncomfortable few days. The worst part is that there's a balloon in there (to prevent adhesions), and until that comes out on Monday morning, my body desperately wants to get the plastic the hell OUT of there.

Whine, whine, whine. I'm glad it's over. I'll worry about next steps when I have to.

I've had pretty good coverage, friends-wise, since I've been recovering. Tonight, though, is one of the first nights I've been home totally alone with nothing to do since my sweet Vertigo Dog left me. (I had an invite to go out, but given some of the equipment associated with having the balloon, I'm feeling less than festive. WANT IT GONE.) I am still not adjusted to not having her little face around. I still flinch when I drop something or make a loud noise-- she'd gone so deaf in her last years that sudden noises startled (and often scared) her.

She's not there any more to be startled. It's just so wrong.

I've had several people tell me that they "saw" or "heard" their pet around, after the pet was gone-- not a ghost, of course, but probably some kind of emotional memory. All have said it was very comforting.

I haven't seen or heard her; I wish I could, because it would feel less lonely around here. And maybe it would help me know she's all right. I know that sounds silly. But there it is.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

One of the blogs I've read for a while is "The Spohrs are multiplying" (link on my sidebar). It's tough to read, lately; Heather and Mike Spohr lost their beautiful daughter Madeline, and I don't know how they keep going every day.

They do keep going, though. More than that. Madeline was a preemie, and they've started an organization that will support families with babies in the NICU. It's a tremendous thing they're doing-- making something wonderful out of such a devastating loss-- and I post a lnik below. It's a worthwhile cause.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

End of an era

Friday morning, I took my sweet old Vertigo Dog in to the vet. I lifted her up onto a blanket on the examining table, and she fell asleep in my arms for the last time.

It doesn't seem that long ago, really, that I saw her sitting in the back of her cage at the city animal control facility-- tail thumping, ears up, eyes alert. We were constant companions from the moment we left the pound together; that was fourteen and a half years ago. I barely remember the person I was before she was part of my life. I barely remember what my life was like before her.

Pets are family. To a single person, they're even more important. Hers was the face I saw first every morning, last every night, and the face (and tail) that greeted me whenever I came home. I hate coming home now; it's all wrong. My house is empty and quiet and awful. It's all wrong, and the wrongness is a constant weight pressing on my chest.

I tell myself I did the right thing. I know, intellectually, that I did. As the friend who went with me said, she went while there was still a little bit of her left. But my heart can't quite catch up with my mind.

The vet actually asked if I wanted to be there for it. I am sure there are people who can't, and that's an incredibly personal thing that they have to handle themselves. But I knew, and know, that it was my responsibility to be there for her. It was my responsibility to tell her I loved her, to have my arms be the last arms she felt around her, and my face be the last face she saw.

She trusted me to take care of her for fourteen and a half years, and I just hope that, wherever she is now, she knows I did the best I could.

I know this terrible sadness will pass. I know it will. But right now, everything hurts, and I would give anything to have her back, no matter how selfish a wish that is.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

There might only be two people reading this, but I should still update.

First of all, my knee is annoying. Every so often, it hurts like a something-we-won't-name-here when I'm going down stairs; I went to the ortho last year, and there's really nothing to be done. I take the glucosamine, blah blah. I may call and see if I can get a couple of PT sessions just to teach me some good strengthening/stretching exercises.

Relative to the plumbing, cautiously optimistic news. I need a hysteroscopy (which is much like a more specific D&C, from what I can tell) to clean things out a bit, and after that my fabulous doctor doesn't see any reason why I can't get knocked up. My hormones are good and everything else seems to be in decent working order.

Of course, I'm not sure it's a good idea to have a baby when YOU CAN'T WALK ON YOUR KNEE, but hopefully that will clear up. :)

(God, getting old is sucky.)

Lastly, and leastly, an update on Vertigo Dog. She's definitely overall better than she was-- she's walking with what appears to be only minimal discomfort, her appetite is good, everything relative to digestion (if you get my drift) is fine.

But she's just less than she was, which makes sense given that she's around 100 in dog years. She still can't go down stairs (hey, something we have in common), and going up is difficult. She can't jump into her favorite chair. She still gets very agitated if she can't find me, even if she sees me leave. And she still has periods where she gets agitated and can't/won't settle down, which kill me.

I desperately want her to be happy and healthy for as long as possible, and as I look at her now, I wonder if I'm keeping her around more for me than for her. I guess I need to figure that out, and soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, I went to the first birthday party of a friend's daughter (yes, that sentence took a while to construct). We went to college together, and have stayed in loose touch ever since. We reconnected recently-- originally through Fac*ebook, and later in person as she's a single mom by choice, and I wanted to pick her brain.

(I think Fac*ebook is an entire blog entry by itself. Or three. Remind me to write the one about where my middle school nemesis has friended me. Hello? We loathed each other throughout middle/high school. Why would either of us care about what the other is doing now? Sorry. I digress.)

Anyway, the first birthday party was lovely, though of course the birthday girl couldn't have cared less about her presents; she was busy slamming together two coasters and laughing uproariously about how funny it was.

They're much cheaper to entertain at that age, that's for sure.

Also worth mentioning: the child spotted the chocolate cake and immediately scooped up a piece and shoved it in her mouth with absolutely perfect aim, then was startled at the wild applause. The pictures will serve her mother well someday, I'm sure.

** **

Vertigo Dog is... well, not doing all that well. The morning of the big negative stuff at work, she took a tumble down a flight of stairs, and it's been a slow road back to having full use of her hind legs. My poor old girl; I'm not sure how much more she can take of this. I'm not sure how much she should take.

What's especially hard is that I don't know, now, if things that are wrong are simply related to the vertigo, or related to her fall. She got agitated tonight and stayed that way for about 45 minutes, for instance; I think she only calmed down once she tired herself out. Was it a recurrence of the vertigo episode? Some of the symptoms were the same, but not all.

I have to think it's scary to be in her little brain right now. She feels dizzy and nauseous, on top of her already aged brain cells, and her back legs are (probably) sore and not working like they should. Then, of course, there's the existing problem with one of her front legs.

There's definitely been improvement since the fall Thursday. No question about that. I just have to be patient; incremental improvement is better than none at all. But at some point, if there's not even that...

The look on her face today, when she was agitated, broke my heart. I have to make sure she has a life that has some quality.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Little Vertigo Dog continues to improve. We've actually taken a couple of (very short) walks in the last two nights. It probably looks like I'm walking a drunk dog-- she lurches about, head permanently cocked to the right-- but she doesn't want to come back inside. Her appetite is better, too, though she'd like me to believe that she will diiiiiiie if I don't continue cooking her chicken.


It is a grim, grim week in the world of me. Nothing to do with motherhood or lack thereof; I'm still waiting for a callback for an appointment to go over test results in that area. No, it's work. Saying that the industry I work in is "struggling" is possibly the understatement of the decade, and it's so hard to watch good people (not just in my firm) struggle, and lose their jobs, and have no hope of finding another for a while. It's just bad.

And I'm just tired of it being bad, and of being in a role where I have to keep a relatively positive outlook on things when I just want to grumble and moan and possibly crawl into a corner and cry a bit.

No point to this post, really, outside of whining a little bit. And I shouldn't, really. But sometimes, everyone needs to whine.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


So, you might think your older dog has had a stroke, because s/he has all the symptoms, and they are heartbreaking. And you might cry yourself into a headache, say your goodbyes, and take her into the vet thinking that it's the end.

And then you might find out that she actually has what essentially amounts to dog vertigo, and that she's probably going to recover, and then you spend your weekend feeding her baby food off the tip of your finger and making sure she doesn't try to go down stairs or run into anything.

If something like this should happen, you can now at least recognize the symptoms and not have to cry yourself into a headache and say your goodbyes. You can just get ready to baby the heck out of your dog, which she will probably think she deserves anyway.

Consider yourself informed. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Economizing. Or not.

I'm working towards giving up artificial sweeteners and caffeine*, and am trying to create a new morning ritual for myself that has nothing to do with diet Coke. I'm trying tea; specifically, a spice tea that I just love. (Decaf!) It's expensive, so I thought "Hey, I'll reuse the tea leaves. Just once. Save a buck or three."

Well. If I wanted to drink dishwater, I have some over in the sink I could scoop up. Bleah. I think the little tea leaves gave their all in the first go-round, and just didn't have any more to give.

I will thank them for their service, retire them, and use a fresh batch each day from now on.

And investigate cheaper teas. :)

*My caffeine delivery system is, primarily, diet Coke. I've been pumping aspartame into my body nonstop for 20 years, and it's time to stop. Since I won't get withdrawal from giving up aspartame, but I will from caffeine, I'm giving up the caffeine first and then will move away from the artificial sweeteners. It's a process. It sucks. Fie on all this healthy crap!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Two totally random Thursday thoughts, both about food

It is the tail end of asparagus season here in the midwest; the season is lasting longer because of the chilly spring we've had. Today I picked up three little bundles at the farmer's market-- so fresh that I ended up cooking them just a bit too long, by mistake, because they're so tender that they didn't need as long as ordinary grocery store asparagus.

Heaven. Slightly overcooked heaven, but heaven nonetheless.

** **

Met up with friends for lunch today (a whole post in itself, if I had time), and ordered a salad Nicoise at a little walk-up counter. I ended up waiting a minute or two for the tuna to finish grilling. When the woman working the grill came out, bearing the tuna, she placed it on the lettuce with so much care that she might have been plating a meal at Charlie Trotter's. She nestled that tuna in there like it was the finest of cuts.

It was clear that she took pride in that tuna and that salad, and refused to let it be anything but her best. It was one of those tiny moments that surprise you, and make you think. And, in my case, made me smile.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Thursday already?

Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. I'm fond of holidays not just because of the holiday itself, but because when you go to work feeling like it's Monday, it's actually Tuesday! Already! And that lasts all week! Awesome.

Back to the plumbing: I'm nearly done with round one of the testing. I had a saline ultrasound this morning, the details of which I will draw a veil over because it sucked like a gold-plated Hoover. It was worse than the HSG. (Of course, I had Val*ium for the HSG, which I'm sure explains a lot.) Next Tuesday I have bloodwork and another regular ultrasound, next Friday I have an MRI, and then I'm (theoretically) done.

Based on today, the doctor thinks I have polyps or fibroids, which may or may not be correctable with surgery. I dunno; I'll find all this out after the MRI. If they're easily fixed, maybe I'll do it. But if it's not an easy thing, and isn't necessary for my general overall health, I think that means I go back down the adoption route. We'll see.

I have a lot of admiration for women who go through years and years of this kind of poking and prodding to figure things out and get things fixed. This is not fun. The only reason I haven't thrown my hands up and started working on my home study is that I am stubborn. As in really stubborn. I've started down this road, and like hell I'm not going to find out what's at the end of it, even if it's misery along the way.

(This is possibly an excellent explanation for my success in the relationship department.)

So I'm nearly down this particular section of the road. We'll see if it's a dead end, or if there's some kind of reason to continue.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Modern Wing

Photos from the new Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. Glorious.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Testing, testing

Last week: Nurse Practitioner P (who tells me about the HSG results indicating lousy plumbing) says to call when I start my period; there are tests to be performed on specific days of my cycle (see previous entry) and they'll schedule me once they know what Day One is.

This week: Get my period. Call. Nurse Practitioner P-- the same one:

- Tries to schedule me for another HSG
- I tell her I've had the HSG and remind her of the tests I've been told I need, thus the reason for my call
- Talks about scheduling me for an ultrasound which doesn't sound like the specific type of ultrasound I was told that I need
- Tells me that we'll probably be doing an ins*mination next week if all looks well. This would be difficult, given that I'm 1) not done with the testing and thus 2) have not been given the go-ahead to buy the sp*erm, not to mention 3) the plumbing doesn't look good THUS THE ADDITIONAL TESTING. Whose chart are you looking at, lady?
- Backs off this last statement without sounding like she's actually found the orders for what testing I DO need
- Has a long conversation with me to discuss what kinds of prescriptions I need, which turn out to be for the HSG... which I've already had... which she's trying to schedule me for AGAIN.
- I tell her, again, that I have had the HSG, and again remind her of the tests I've been told I need
- Schedules me for bloodwork and an ultrasound, hangs up.

I know I need the bloodwork, so we're good there. Thinking about it, though, I called back later and left a message, asking to confirm if I had been scheduled for the right kind of ultrasound-- I do not want a test I don't need, nor do I want to miss a window to take the test I DO need.

Didn't hear back. Left another message today. Finally got a call back, and there are TWO kinds of ultrasounds I need; the saline one needs to be done next week. I can schedule that tomorrow morning, I think.

I've scheduled my MRI, so I'm doing my part. Argh. Sick of this, and hate missing work. Plus not everything can be done on the same day, so I'm missing bits and pieces of different days. Joy.

** **

Work is insanity cubed right now-- we're merging with another firm, and all the records requests and various reports/due diligence things are exhausting. It's fun to be busy, though. With the economy and with waiting to hear what was going to happen with the merger, things were really quiet for a while. I was very, very caught up on filing! It may be chaos, but I'd always rather be busy.

I have meetings Tuesday/Wednesday relative to the merger, and I won't be getting any kind of agenda until sometime this Friday... so I anticipate working over the holiday weekend. Whee. Because of this, my plan is to sneak out a bit early tomorrow with my new camera and snap some pictures of an amazing new building. Watch this space!