Dreaming of Elephants

I had a dream last night that was so strange and yet so in line with the struggles in my psyche right now!  There was literally an "elephant in the room"!  I'll try and remember what I can and put it in context...

First, some background leading up to this dream:

I've been progressing with S.  We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas day together.  He fit in well at my friend E's house, and we enjoyed our time at my brother-in-laws family home: we had a "dance party," with iTunes open and the kids picking songs; we sipped top-notch wine (bro-in-law's dad is very knowledgeable about wines) and had a civil dialogue about the Occupation movement and property destruction and human rights, which says a lot, considering our different political viewpoints; and I had a lovely time coloring with my niece - a bonding activity with her I've come to treasure.

It was a "big deal" that S had a positive experience with (part of) my family, since we are still recovering (in terms of family connections) from the memorably bad trip to Oregon in October 2011.

The morning of the 26th, S took off to spend time with his dad's side of the family and his young adult daughter, before she likely moves to D.C. for political work.  I understood why I was not invited, as he is still repairing and building his relationship with his daughter after a difficult divorce and separation from her during her latter teen years.  He wanted some focused dad time with her before she leaves.  I'm really happy for them and so enjoyed finally meeting and spending time with her at the 49ers game we attended a few weeks ago.

Anyway, prior to him taking off, he brought up the possibility of moving into my house!  The house where he's been living has become less desirable for various reasons.  We both acknowledged it might be a tad premature, all things considered, but could be wonderful too.  There is a studio room out back, separate from the main house, that would be good place for him to work and spend time, as well as allow us both our space.

All this to say, we've had a lot of good time together and our commitment to one another is rapidly growing.  Part of this growth, by the way, includes a decision to make a few last active attempts at pregnancy, starting with an appointment with a new doc on January 7th.  I will share more about this in another post.

But back to the dream... not unsurprisingly, as we become more committed, my intimacy fears become more activated.  My mind wants to fixate at times on the ways he is not perfect - primarily the ways he is not physically perfect - for me.  We have a lot of attraction for each other and - sorry for TMI - have regular, "hot" (at least the way I define "hot" :) sex.  And.  He is not "perfect."  I have been in relationships where I have had more pure, physical chemistry with someone.  For example, my old flame, R, who I shared about last year.  R was wrong for me on every other level, including being a raving alcoholic, and only became a worse match over time.  But we still had that strong, basic physical chemistry.  Thus leading to last night's dream (please excuse the "dream-like" vagueness):

It started with R and I in a school or place where we worked and leaving to meet up together.  I had awareness that he was still married and was feeling great attraction and compulsion to be with him.  Then we were together, and I remember a sense of not having anything deep to say to one another.  

The next scene, we're in his house and S is there.  I'm with S, and I'm touching his back and he has some sort of contraption on like a spanx thing or something (I know this is super weird!).  I touch the edge, and he acknowledges he has it on with a nod (I think that's acknowledging something about age or not having physical perfection.  Both S and I could afford to lose a few pounds).  R was siting across from us and it felt awkward.  I pulled R out to talk with him and try to smooth things over.  I told S that we'd be back in a few minutes, which was an important component to S feeling okay about it.

Then the scene seems to switch and R is gone, and there is a huge elephant coming up the stairs and into the room.  I run out the back door onto the roof or patio and try to block the door, but I know it's a feeble attempt and the elephant will be able to break through.  

I start looking for a way down off the roof and see that it's a loooong way down, but I know I've climbed down before and can do it.  So I'm trying to get the nerve and find the right spot to climb over the railing and work my way down the ladder trellis on the side of the building.  At this point, a couple people from the soap opera Days of Our Lives are there (one was Bo! and another female) and strategizing with me.  That's all I remember...

Crazy, right?  When I woke up, I had an insight that part of my fear is closing the door on the opportunity for "perfect" physical chemistry with someone.  I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I also thought about possibilities of us eventually having some "non-traditional" relationship, where another person might join us in commitment.  I've actually known other families with this structure, so it's not completely made up for me.  I doubt I would ever be comfortable with this, or that S would.  I know I would never be comfortable with an "open" relationship or with "polyamory," where each of us have relationships separate from our commitment/marriage.  But the idea of bringing another person into a commitment with us feels different.

I'm sure some of you are thinking I've gone off the deep end at this point!  Again, I likely would never do this, but I think considering and talking about it with S may be part of the journey of going over the line into acceptance and full commitment with him.

Have you heard of or known people who had alternative families like this?  Or, on another note, any comments on my dream?

If I don't write before then (S and I are going to San Diego over New Year's to visit his brother's family), I hope all of you have a Very Happy New Year!  And may you receive multitudinous blessings of your heart's desires and more in the coming year!!!


Happy Birthday to Me, and Happy Holidays!

I had a great birthday, though I can't say I'm excited about turning another year older!  The day started with brunch at an English pub.  S and I met a friend I know from my dance group.  She had actually organized the brunch, cancelled when not many people could come that day, then went ahead with it when she found out we would be coming, which was totally cool.  Her husband was originally going to join us but could only stop by for a minute.  We had a good time, though, and then another interesting couple dropped by for breakfast and a chat.

At the end of brunch time, my friend and I broke away for a half hour to talk.  We had been trying to connect for the prior week, as she wanted to discuss motherhood issues coming up for her around a family member becoming pregnant.  She reads this blog and knows my feelings and efforts in this area, so wanted to connect with me about it.  Her husband doesn't want kids, but understandably she hoped this might soften over time.  I feel for her and hope that something in the situation might shift as what she wants draws into clearer focus.  We discussed how, while it's not foolproof, sometimes it seems that one person's position can change when the other person becomes really clear about their own needs or desires.  Or maybe something will shift in her own feelings.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the morning of good food, good company, and meaningful conversation.  We headed off from there to watch "The Hobbit" movie.  I enjoyed it!  I guess it's described as "cartoon" violence, and this violence doesn't tend to bother me in the same way.  The science fiction, other-worldly aspect is fun... and I love Gollum!  He's such an interesting character from a psychological perspective - so broken and delusional.  We all have Gollum within us!  ha  

Finally after heading back to my place for some Zoey care, S and I went to a very nice dinner in our favorite neighborhood.  The same restaurant we chose for his birthday a year and a half ago!

* As a side note, this is one example of many "do-overs" we're experiencing, which feel quite healing.  Opportunities to experience something similar but from a radically different (and happier, healthier) place.  My whole birthday and hopefully the rest of the month including Christmas are actually "do-overs" in that sense, as we broke up at the beginning of December, casting a pall on the entire month last year (as many of you might remember).

But back to dinner... we actually had a lot of deep conversation over wine and delicious food, including talking about our possible paths to parenthood:  we both still feel a desire for a biological child, could also imagine adopting, and can even consider the possibility of living child-free, though this is not either of our preferences.  It's amazing to me I am able to even try that last one on, but I have done so, as I think I've shared here, entirely separate from him.

We ended with a yummy tart with ice cream and chocolate cake dessert split.  He gave me presents of chocolates, a book, and a trip to wine country, but I swear, going out to dinner makes me as happy as anything.  Eating out more often is definitely one of the perks of dating someone, in my book.  I'm laughing at myself!  Ah well.

I need to wrap this up and head to bed.  I did want to share that we've had two counseling appointments, and this is going remarkably well.  So far, we are able to maintain closeness and not become adversarial, which I was a bit worried about.  Also, we are getting to the heart of some of the issues that affect us, including his responsiveness to intense sadness or other strong emotions I may feel, and my grief and anger (yes I still have some anger) about the shock and pain of our break-ups.

And lastly, it took me longer than anticipated, but I did eventually rev up into the Christmas spirit.  My little tree is decorated (see below), gifts bought and sent, cookies made.  Really looking forward to going to a couple of friend and family events on Christmas and having S with me.  Glad to not be leaving the Zoester either.  I miss her when I don't see her for two or three hours; whole days are brutal!  Here are a couple fairly recent pics of my sweetie pie.  :)


The Ex-Boyfriend Chronicles and Holiday Planning

Yay, it's December 1!  I'm ready for December.  It's not like I have amazing holiday plans or anything.  In fact, my parents (Dad and Step Mom) are heading to Nebraska to see her sister, while my brother and sister head to their spouse's locales.

I'm considering two different holiday options but leaning towards number one.  The first option is hanging out here at home and not traveling anywhere.  My sister's husband's family lives in the Bay Area, so they will be here for a few days, but I'm not close with his family and wouldn't likely attend their Christmas gatherings.  I'm hoping we'd meet up at least a couple of times, though, and I would look forward to seeing my niece and nephew and giving them their presents.  I've been invited to a friend's for Christmas day.

The second option would be to drive up to Oregon again and hopefully catch my brother and family a time or two around their familial visits.  Of course I would love to see my baby niece, Vivian, again.  And I could see my aunt/uncle and cousins/family on my birth mother's side, including my Grandpa who is getting older and has been recently ill.  But the drive up is sounding horrible right now, as well as being apart from Zoey again.  I could try and take her, but I'm not sure how she would travel at this point.

Staying home, getting a little tree and doing lots of Christmasy stuff around here is sounding better and better.  And I could spend time with S, as well (I'll share more about that little situation later).  Yet, it might be kind of lonely right around Christmas Eve/Christmas without family.  Which option would you choose if you were me?

Everything's peachy on the Zoey front.  She is lagging on learning the "Down" command, likely because I've been inconsistent in my training.  I signed up for a training class for her on Saturday mornings starting mid January.  She's getting spayed around that time, as well, so it will be a big month for her.  She still loves playing fetch and is getting more focused and skilled with it.  For instance, she doesn't run off mid fetch to sniff something as often :), and when she comes back she kind of tosses the ball at my feet.  It's very cute.  We still love our cuddling on the couch and watching TV time, during which she's swaddled in a sheet and so adorable.

I'll end this post with an update on the "S Situation."  He and I have continued to spend time together and talk, though we have had our ups and downs.  For instance, this week he chose to have a friendly dinner with an ex. :(  Not the ex-wife that caused us to break up but an ex-girlfriend who did cause stress and strife in our relationship before.

The good news is that he is "showing up" more in terms of communication, and we have actually moved forward on counseling and narrowed our choices to two.  We are strongly leaning toward the one who has Non-Viol.ent Commun.ication experience, since this is a tool we know and use in our relationship.  In our separate phone conversations, we both really liked and felt comfortable with her.  Our first session may be as soon as this Friday!

A final confession:  S and I recently became "intimate" again and because it was around ovulation time, guess whose mind wants to ruminate about possibilities?  But since we "tried" for several months without success last year, and my age considered, of course the odds are extremely low.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!

I drove up to Oregon last weekend to meet my new niece, Vivi and see the rest of the family.  I would have liked to go for Thanksgiving but my brother, wife, and the new niece planned to be out of town this weekend, so I went a week early.  Which left me a bit high and dry for the holiday.

Luckily, my friend Elizabeth came through with an invitation to join her and her family, including a darling five-year-old granddaughter who was very smart and creative and gave me a hug when I left (so sweet!).  We had a lovely time, even though they are vegetarian and I missed out on the turkey!

So, not only have I not been blogging much lately, I've been cut off from email as well, due to my hotmail account being blocked.  The whole situation has really highlighted how much I depend on email to communicate and stay connected to people.  It was like dropping into a void.  Has this happened to any of you?  I've tried looking up how to deal with it and jumping through all their hoops to no avail.  I'm using my g.mail account now and trying to get my new address out to people.  What a pain!  But maybe a blessing in disguise as I was on SO many lists and now I get to start fresh.  If only I can retrieve the saved messages and information in all the files...

In other news, S and I have continued to move closer.  We've had many conversations about the past.  For instance, he recently admitted that he distanced himself (not consciously) from me by maintaining a kind of arrogant stance that he was better than me in some ways, like had a lot going on with activism etc.  This may sound like he's a big jerk, but it was honest and vulnerable, and I appreciated his insight. He said he doesn't feel like that now.  I told him I thought it was human and we all judge one another and think we're better at certain things, but that I wanted to be with someone who overall felt that we were equal and thought I was awesome.  He affirmed that he did feel this way. :)

Anyway, we're having lots of these types of conversations and also working on researching and deciding on a couple's therapist to see.  As mentioned, initially this was to help him understand the impact of his actions and help us trust one another enough to at least be friends.  But it's progressed into working on some issues in the context that we might move forward as a couple.

I'm excited AND nervous.  I love him.  I feel closer and closer to him, as we share at this new level and talk through difficult things.  I have a sense that the opportunity may be close at hand for me to choose to accept him, flaws and all.  To decide that he's "good enough" and step over the line into acceptance of him and of our relationship.  I have done this before in another relationship, so I know it is possible to move into a mental and emotional state of being where I'm not constantly judging and evaluating the person - my defense against intimacy and vulnerability.  I think if we decide to get into a fully committed relationship again, that will be the time.  Last night we talked about not dating other people, so we are definitely moving forward.

For those of  you who have been reading about our relationship and break up(s) this last year, I could definitely understand if you feel concerned or skeptical about this turn of events.  I probably would myself.  A couple of months ago, I never would have imagined things taking this turn.  Life can be very strange.  People do change when they are ready and really want to, right?  He certainly seems to be much more self-aware, "real," and able to take responsibility than before.  I guess time will tell.  But I am feeling hopeful at this point.


Pictures and Updates

I have really been lax on posting!  I'm not sure what's going on, other than I've been kinda busy and tired.  Plus, I feel like I don't have much going directly relevant to my primary blogging community of infertile/SMC/ART women.  Oh well.  I still love you guys and am following along with blogs.  I'm sharing some recent pictures of the Halloween cookies I mentioned in the previous post, me and Zoey on Halloween (she's wearing a bandana saying, "Tricks for Treats!"), and friends and I last night celebrating election results.

Bullet Updates:

  • Last weekend, I went to the conference in Vegas and was totally smoked out just walking through the casino in the hotel.  That place is the most unhealthy place on earth.  Yuck.  The conference wasn't that great either, though I met some cool people.  We saw an entertaining show one night called, "The Tournament of Kings."  I'm sure some of you have seen it, as it's been playing forever.  Lots o' horses, pageantry, jousting, and special effects.  
  • I'm really proud of myself for being brave and directly asking S about what he was thinking and about the amends process that had been put on the back burner.  I didn't do this in our relationship before when I should have and this felt like an opportunity for a "do over."  His answer wasn't thrilling, but at least it was honest.  Thank you, S!  I'll probably write more about this situation later but basically he can't likely give me what I would need to trust him again, and he's feeling insecure/withdrawn due to losing his job (with a software startup company), AND I have other doubts.  I do hope we can finish the amends process, though, as that would be helpful whether we're friends or just "see each other around."
  • I missed Zoey sooo much when I was at my conference!  My housemate was primary babysitter, and I wrote him a super long list of information about her care, as well as calling him every day to check in.  I was so excited to get home and see her and just felt the biggest surge of joy.  The intensity with which I missed her surprised me; definitely more than I've experienced before!  Guess we've bonded.  ;-)


Halloween Twilight Zone

I'm up too late tonight because I wasn't able to fall asleep.  Eating Halloween candy an hour before bed probably wasn't helpful!  I'm looking forward to dancing tomorrow morning, then packing some more calories on with Halloween cookies I'll be making later in the day.

My Halloween plans just came together in the last couple of days.  A girlfriend is going to come hang out and meet Zoey.  She loves dogs and wants to be one of Zoey's "Aunties"(there are Uncles too) - we can't have too many of those!  We are going to combine candy stashes and hand out goodies to the little neighborhood trick-or-treaters.  Then around 7:30 or 8, I'm going to get together with my ex, S, again.

He came over last Thursday night, and we spent more time in deep conversation and locking lips.  I continue to feel a bit freaked by the whole thing.  He's definitely different, and it's clear he's worked through some things.  But... what was that phrase about, "Fool me once..."?  I don't want to be fooled again!

I will say it's very good to hear him talk about how he blocked things off in his mind.  He even used the word, "dissociated," though I don't think he meant it in a clinical sense.  He said he's really sorry for treating me the way he did, and that I didn't deserve to be in a situation where I had no access to what was going on with him.  We also talked about harsh things I said to him from an emotional place that he was unable to let go of, and we discussed an amends process; mainly focused on how his withholding/blindsiding pattern affected me but also the things that hurt him.

It feels good to be talking things through - and I'm feeling a lot of love for him and from him - but the past is still present in my mind.

p.s. I met with a potential co-parent last night.  He's a psychiatrist with a lot of money and a 7-bedroom house in Berk.eley.  It's a possibility but I'm not sure.  He's attractive and nice, so that's good.  I might have asked him about his feelings regarding sharing IVF cost (oh no you didn't!).  That might have put the kabosh on it, but I couldn't help myself.


Longish Check-In

Saturday check-in...  It's a foggy day in Oakland.  I'm trying to get some work done with these monthly reports I have to submit on my international students.  This month, there are a series of questions that must be answered by the student, school, and parents, so it's more of a pain.  The website just cut out for "maintenance," so I thought I'd blog for a while instead!

*Interesting side note:  I attended my first parent-teacher conferences yesterday as these kids "guardian" here in the States.  It was fun being in that role and discussing the kids and their school performance with the teachers; brainstorming ways to help them succeed.  This role may be the only one I ever take on in terms of parent-teacher conferences (guardian versus ever being the parent).  I'm trying thoughts like this on regularly lately...

Zoey's snoring away in her crate but will be up soon and wanting to play again.  I'm looking for some new, interesting and interactive dog toys - any of you dog moms out there have ideas for me?  I got her the Kong toy, which is great, but more interactive with herself.  It's perfect when I need a little time to check email or do something while she entertains herself.  We play fetch and rope tug.  And the training is fun - now she knows how to sit and then go down on her belly when I say, "Down," which is great.  Training is going to continue to be a fun thing between us, I think.  But even with all these things, our choices seem limited sometimes with play activities.

I think I shared about the Greater Bay Area Transition Conference we had on October 6th, didn't I?  I'm pretty proud that our committee planned and executed it successfully, and we had over 100 people when we thought we might just get 50 or 60.  I want to dig my teeth (uh oh, I've been hanging out with Zoey too much! :) into the next project to keep Transition growing in the Bay Area.  Our local neighborhood in Oakland needs to have a next Initiative meeting, also, to work on local neighborhood carbon and energy use reduction and community building stuff.  It's gratifying, and yes "meaningful," to see tangible positive impacts of my efforts.

Last but not least, this week, I spoke with my ex, S, in an effort to continue finding closure and a manageable comfort level in community circles.  Well, we got so "comfortable," we ended up kissing!  What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks!  

A big part of the reason things ended up there was that the conversation was quite open and caring, and I felt like he was able to be more honest - and hear more of my honesty - than he ever has before.  He's doing some "work" on himself, which he feels is dissipating his tendency to compartmentalize things (such as the impending visit from his ex, knowledge of which he withheld from me for several months).

Speaking of withholding, however, I also found out from him that, when she was here at Christmas, they made plans for him to visit her earlier this month (though they were not romantically involved while she was here).  The purpose being to both wrap up work stuff but also see each other, perhaps evading the ultimate "good-bye."  It's so strange: Who plans trips that far in advance!

Anyway, when we started considering getting back together in March, I think that would have been good information to reveal, right?  So basically he did the same old withholding crap he'd done before, and this apparently contributed to his decision to break up with me at that time as he didn't want to go through all the trauma of the first time he'd withheld information like that.  He also said, and truthfully I think this is more of the reason, that he had made a previous judgment that we would not work out together that he then couldn't let go of.  As mentioned, he feels the growth he's done since that time makes him less likely and less able to compartmentalize and withhold like that.    

I'll share more later, but don't want to go on and on right now.  Basically, I'm trying to figure out what I want and also what he can do to make amends for these choices he made previously, as he says he's willing to do what it takes to help me to forgive him.... so that we can reconnect as friends, which I think is all I want.  But things get confusing!


Crisis of Meaning

Sorry for not posting or commenting very regularly right now... I think it's a combination of my life shifting to a much faster track with a puppy on board (pictures and video to follow below), as well as taking a step back to sit with - and I'm aware of how dramatic this sounds - a "crisis of meaning."

Since at this point, it's looking like I may never become a biological mother, what will take it's place with regard to my life's purpose and direction?

Off and on for the last several years, I have focused on trying to conceive in various ways: known donor, co-par.enting, IUIs, natural way within a relationship, and medicated IUIs.  And when I wasn't trying to conceive, in the back of my mind, I knew I would return to trying at some point.  I don't have that confidence now.

I don't know why out of six IUI attempts, non-medicated and medicated, and at least 8 months of trying naturally, I haven't become pregnant.   Other than, for whatever reason, I just can't.  Either my eggs are too old (most likely I guess), or my uterus is unfriendly for some reason as yet undetected.

Yes, if I had $15,000 right now, I would try IVF.  But that is currently out of my affordability range.  I may still try to get a loan, but I think that would likely allow a couple more medicated IUIs versus IVF.  Maybe, just maybe, international IVF.

I wish someone could tell me with certainty whether I have enough good eggs in there to warrant trying more in this way.  In any case, I'm not feeling super motivated to try and make that happen right now.

I'm tired.  I'm tired of getting my hopes up every try, just to get no results at all.   I'm tired of trying to scrape together the financing piece and living with the stress of not having as much money or financial cushion as I need.

And.  There's one other new consideration.  Some of you may laugh, but having a puppy has given me a taste of single motherhood.  And it IS hard.  At least for me.

I read some SMC blogs, and these women are rocking single motherhood and don't seem to be all that stressed.  I am definitely getting in more of a groove with Zoey, but damn, she requires a LOT of care and constant supervision, not to mention always thinking of her with every plan I make.

She needs to be let out for bathroom breaks and exercise and food.  I can't just go out for a few hours in the evening or drive off to work for the day.  Care has got to be arranged, or I need to schedule myself accordingly.  She needs vet care and baths.  I am even obsessed with the health of her poop!  lol

I'm not complaining.  I think getting Zoey was the perfect decision for me right now, and I get so much joy and love from playing and cuddling with her.  We're having fun learning new tricks, like sit, down, leave it, settle, etc.  And she is giving my life purpose and direction, that's for sure (though not equal to the meaning of motherhood of course).

But it makes me imagine taking that care to the next level for a baby and doing it all alone.  It's a little overwhelming to think about.  I do think it's "training" me in a way, and I would be better prepared going into caring for a baby.  But boy does it sound more manageable with a partner or substantial help.

So, there's that.  I don't have a settled clarity yet, but it's all rambling around in my psyche and spirit right now.  We'll see where the pieces land...

With that, I leave you with some pics and a video of my little girl, Zoey (the video I took on my iPhone is not uploading - any advice?):

Here's Zoey chilling out on a hot day in her luxury swimming pool. :)

Zoey had a sun toy from the vets that she thrashed around, chased and chewed.  The sun has now "passed on" in torn-up glory, and she has an orange bear made of similar material.  We'll see how long Mr. Bear lasts... this could get expensive.


Work Changes and Puppy News

Friday, Friday... Lot's of stuff happened this week with work; mainly, I had a conversation with
our Department Dean at the college.

I should back up and say that I had a talk with my immediate supervisor last week, and she suggested I should start transitioning out of the middle school grant, since it wasn't what I really wanted to do and now would be the best time to do that for the grant.  This was a bit of a shock.  If you recall, when we had the conversation a couple months ago about the possibility of working more hours at the college, which was very much needed at the time, she protested and said the timing was horrible and they couldn't make the necessary staffing changes. So, I agreed to stay for this school year.  I thought we both agreed to that.

Well, either she "forgot" or that isn't what she understood.  I reminded her of what I understood as our agreement.  She said she wasn't going to insist on the change but that the change would need to happen in the next few months, versus at the end of the school year, for grant timing purposes.  I said I'd need to check out whether there still might be additional hours on the college side and asked if I could let her know this week, which she agreed to.  Sooo, back to my convo with the Dean... She said she could raise my hours from six to 10 for this semester and implied possibly more after that (counselors can only work16 hours total in this district).

I'm left feeling a mixture of feelings.  Excited to hopefully begin transitioning out of middle school teaching, but worried about stability and possibly losing hours.  I was looking forward to a bump in income with the new intl. coordinator job and increased hours with the college.  This could bring me back to where I was, at least for this semester. Thanks for reading this far if you've stayed with me!  I'm going to contact my supe today, and say I'm willing to start transitiong out but would like to continue working at least half the hours until the holidays.  I'm going to trust that my college hours will increase next semester.  I'm also going to intensify my search again for another part time counseling gig and start outreach for more career counseling clients.  I've got my business cards and website, now I just need people to see them!

On the Zoey puppy front, she's growing like a weed!  I'll post more pictures soon.  My computer cord died, so I'm limited to iPhone posting right now.  Guess what?  I've taught her how to sit!  She's super smart, folks! :-) no bias here! Ha. She fetches like a champion, too, and does this cute thing when I tell her to "settle" where she relaxes in my arms with her head kind of lolled to the side. Super cute.  My life continues to feel much more full and fast-paced since I got her.  I need to write a post about some insights I've had about being authentic that relate to relationships, too.  She's teaching me stuff for sure!

I've been keeping up with blogs but have not been able to post as much due to computer sitch.  I will return to more commenting soon.  Hope you all have an awesome weekend!  Tomorr


Back to the Dating Game

So I went on a date Friday night.  I met this guy on Spiritual Sin.gles.  I was impressed with the work he does in sustainability innovation but wasn't sure about the attraction part.  His one picture showed possibly not great posture and a belly... I don't mind if someone is carrying extra weight, as I am myself, but it's about how it all comes together for me in an individual's physicality.  And I have had quite a few experiences where a guy put up a picture that was extremely flattering and they looked quite different in person.  

Anyway, happily this was not the case here.  He was tall and sort of pleasingly big and had an overall appeal.  He's bald, has blue eyes, and is a little goofy looking in a cute way  I liked his eco-manly clothing style too, lol.

We went to a Kirtan (chanting) concert, which was great.  Lots of loving people and energy.  

 I warned him I was a new puppy parent and may fall asleep during the concert.  As it turned out it was engaging enough to keep me awake, but I spent a good portion with my head leaning on his shoulder, his arm around me.  This felt surprisingly comfortable.  Physically we seem compatible so far, especially considering how our evening ended.  More on that later.  

Before the concert and at the intermission, we talked.  I'm not sure our conversation styles are compatible, but he was open to the question game so that's a plus (where we take turns asking questions).  I think he's a deep person but... Well, it's too early to tell.

At the end of the night, he asked me to come in, but I had to get back to Zoey puppy. So we ended up kissing in the car.  It was very fun. :-). He has a conference this week but asked me out for next Saturday.  I just realized, however, I have the Transition Town conference until seven that day.  
Oh well, we'll figure something out.  I admit to feeling some excitement.


Fear of Commitment

Seems like forever since I've posted.  Living in surreal-ville over here.  A dog changes your whole freaking life, that's for sure!  I don't know if I've mentioned, but I had a cat for 17 years.  I adopted her in college, and she died about three years ago or so.  When she died, I said I was not going to get another cat because the next thing I wanted to bring into my home was a baby.  It felt like I was "holding a space" for the baby.  But the years wore on.  And then when I realized this latest trial was a bust... I don't know, something went off in me.  It sounds strange, but I feel like I was compelled to get my puppy - like the idea just came over me and was irresistible.  And strangely, my housemate has never really cared for dogs, but he told me that when I brought it up to him, basically he was compelled to say yes, as well.  Like it just seemed to both of us that is was the "right thing to do."

But I won't lie.  The past few days, I've felt quite a bit of fear.  It's like, "What did I get myself into?!"  My commitment issues are going off big time.  A puppy is not a cat.  They depend on you at a completely different level.  And when they are little, oh man, they are little balls of terror.  Well, terror, and love, and joy, and puppy kisses, and play, and messiness, all balled into one.  Zoey cannot be left alone in the house or she will tear the place up and pee and poop everywhere.  She cannot be left outside because I'm afraid she will get into something back there - my housemate has a lot of gardening and other junk stashed around under the porch and by the garage, etc., and then there is all kinds of "nature" crap she can pick up and chew, like sticks and pits and pods and random tree sheddings.  Likely, they wouldn't kill her, but I worry about choking.  I am a total "Helicopter Dog Parent."  lol

My days have been a constant stream of taking her out, cleaning up her messes, feeding her, taking her to the vet (she has had diarrhea, poor thing - likely from worms and changing food, etc.), hanging outside and playing with her (lots of this and it's the most fun part!), lying with her snoozing away on top of me on the couch.  She snores when she sleeps; it's pretty cute.  Oh, and then worrying about her when I'm at work the last couple days.  I asked friends to come over midday and take her out for a while but I still feel bad leaving her for several hours at a time.  We don't have a "safe room" to leave her in, so I leave her in her dog crate, which is big enough for her to move around, with a towel and a her rope toy.  Today, I came home to an accident and spent my first time period home cleaning things up, when normally I'd flop on the couch for a while.  I've definitely been a lot more active, since Zoey came to town!  And I haven't gotten a full night of sleep since friday night.  We get up twice - once in the middle of the night and once in the very early morning.  After you've cleaned up enough crap, you do what you can to prevent accidents!

Anyway, back to the fear.  Interestingly, I think it has some similarity to what I feel when I get in a relationship (like a little claustrophobia)... but with Zoey, I know it's not ending any time soon.  This is a looong commitment.  If all goes well, I'll have her until I'm in my mid-fifties or later.  It's just intense to commit to something in a big way like this.   And I want to be a better parent/friend to her than I was to my cat.  I want to let her in more and be closer companions.  I think part of my feeling compelled was knowing that this is what I need.  I too easily fall into a selfish rut of doing what I want to do when I want to do it, and ending up living in sort of a bubble.  I want to give to another being, and I want to live a full and messy life, to expand versus contract.  And damn straight this is practice for having a kid, way more than I ever would have realized.  Once I can take her out and about and for walks, after her third round of shots, I think it will expand my circle even more.  Dogs are the ultimate ice-breakers, right?

So, bottom line, I don't regret it.  And when I hold her and snuggle up and get puppy kisses and see her cute little face looking up at me, my heart melts.  But, right now, this commitment is also putting some fear in me, folks.


The New Addition

I picked up Zoey yesterday!!!  She's doing so well thus far with house training, knock on wood.  After a very playful morning, she's now snoring softly on her blanket.  Boston Terr.iers have kind of long legs in relation to their body, and she has a slight baby fawn look when she hops around and chases me, or her ball, or her rope toy (yeah, she likes to chase!).

It's a big adjustment getting a puppy, as all you dog people out there know.  My whole "routine" is just blown up.  I'm trying to get comfortable being the "pack leader."  She looks to me for direction and is constantly following me everywhere.  I have to be careful not to trip on her!  She's so smart and energetic; I can tell I'm going to want to get some more toys very soon!

I can't just jump up and do this or do that without some forethought about her.  She needs pretty constant supervision right now.  One funny example:  I'm always setting down and misplacing my glasses, so now I have a little shadow as I go back and forth all over the house trying to track them down.  It definitely emphasizes the chaotic waste of motion!  lol

But I welcome the shake up.  I'm smiling and laughing a lot and completely enjoying the affection.  She's going to be part of my family for a long time.  Without further, ado, here's... Zoey!


Puppy Names

Adendum to the last post:

Ali and Sunflower asked if I knew what I was going to name my puppy, and I thought I'd throw out some initial ideas I had and see what you all thought.  So here they are:

Olive, Shiloh, Nella, Addie, Callie, Nala, Zoey (meaning=life).  Other suggestions?

I'm kinda leaning towards Zoey.

Down and Up

Thank you for all your good wishes and for thinking of me.  It means a lot.

Unfortunately, as I thought, my test came out negative.  My cycle hasn't shown any signs of starting yet, but I had a bit of cramping earlier.  My progesterone was 5.  I'm drinking Pinot Noir and watching a lot of TV tonight.

But... I think I'm getting a Boston Terr.ier puppy on Saturday at 3 p.m.  :-)  I'll post pictures if everything goes well.  I've already bought her a bed, food, chew toys, a leash and other items.  Will try and post a picture of these below.


Trending Towards Negative

Wish I weren't saying this, but I'm feeling a negative coming on.

Contributing factors:
  1. Tested this morning and it was:  Negative.
  2. Don't feel much of anything symptom-wise, except for backaches, likely due to the progesterone.
  3. Breasts have never felt LESS sore in a tww.
Yes, it's only 10 days post-ovulation, but I felt the twinging on Friday.  If that was implantation, wouldn't it show on a test by now?  I'll keep testing until it makes no sense to test further, though.

I'm not going to even try to do another cycle after this.  The financial stars are not aligned.  I will continue taking steps to see if I might be able to get a loan.  That would be the only development I can see right now that would allow another try in the near future (the next two or three months).

You know what I'm going to do if this cycle fails?  I'm going to get a dog.  A small, cute dog.  They say it's good practice for a child.  And one day, hopefully I'll be blessed with one of those, too. 


Twinge City

Feel free to skip this part if you're not into ttc symptom watching... So, I felt what seemed like uterine "twinges" today, 8 or 9 dpo, in the lower left side of my abdomen.  :-)  This point "twinged," or sort of pulsed, three or four times in about a minute.  Who knows what's going on in there, but I do feel happy to have felt it. 

In addition, my temperature also took a second jump up today from 98.2 to 98.5.  And, lastly, when I inserted my progesterone this morning, I noticed my cervix was decidedly lower.  I never noticed this before.  I'm thinking it's a "neutral" sign (and that's what Fertil.ity Friend tells me).  Any thoughts on this state of events?

No huge plans this weekend, but my housemate is around and I'm spending time with a friend tomorrow at her moving sale.  I normally go to dance on Sundays, then out to eat.  Because I was specifically told "no vigorous exercise," I chose not to go last week and will miss this week, as well.  Missing last week reminded me what a big part of my weekend my dancing is!  I would rather play it safe, though.

Speaking of my housemate, I wanted to share with you all that I think I cursed him by talking about his relationship in glowing terms on this blog recently.  I held him up as an example of glorious companionship, and then, this week, they break up!  I knew they were still somewhat in limbo about moving forward to the next step, which logically would have been engagement, but I didn't expect a break up! 

Right before he took this action, I asked him how he would feel if they broke up, and he said both sad and relieved.  I guess that was an indicator.  Plus, he started talking about how he didn't feel a strong desire to move forward; that he really wanted to feel excited and compelled to move to the next level.  I understand what he's saying... but now he gets to rejoin me back in "The Land of Singledom," which equals, "The Land of No Sex or Intimate Companionship." lol  Anyway, just thought I'd share the weird timing, immediately following my sunny blog post about the two of them.


Halfway Through

I can't believe it's only been a week since my IUI!  It feels like a month, lol.  This progesterone is kickin' my butt around a good bit.  

Case in point:  I got all weepy after work today when I told my housemate that I wish I could shut my brain off and felt like everyone was being mean, and he said in this little mocking voice, "Everyone is being meeean."  

Well, first I wanted to slap him, actually, but then I just went inside the house, shut the door to my room, and did the loud, ugly cry for a few minutes.  I sooo needed my Mommy at that moment.  

I can tell it's the hormones, though, because it's just a different level of feeling stressed and depressed; a feeling I don't normally have.  

Anyway, one more week to go.  

Symptom watch (feel free to skip):

Things are definitely different than my last medicated IUI in June...  
  • Last time, my boobs were quite sore and this time they aren't at all, at least not yet.  
  • Seems like I'm more moody this time, but I can't really be sure.  
  • I know I had low abdominal (cervical?) cramping last time related to the progesterone.  I've had some similar cramping this time but not as strongly.  
  • I've had some cramping that feels like it's on one side or another of my uterus that doesn't last very long, but it's the dull kind of cramping, not any sharp twinges.  *Seems like twinges are more clearly connected to implantation.  
  • My bbt dropped this morning from 98.2 to 97.9.  I often have a drop or two though in my luteal phase, whether I'm ttc or not.  Usually they seem to be earlier or later, though... I do like the 6/7 dpo timing.  
So, hope is alive but I'm trying not to read to much into things at this point.  

I think I'm testing this time, though, so that'll be different.  I usually avoid it but, "No point in avoiding the truth," is the approach I'm taking this time.  I'll probably start testing Friday or Saturday.  

To end on a celebratory note, Jen had her twins!  Congratulations, Jen!


Monday Morning

No symptoms, unless - sorry for the TMI - gas is a symptom.  Then again, I ate chili yesterday, so maybe that contributed!   ha!  What an awesome way to start a Monday morning post; sorry about that! But really, that's about my only symptom on 4 or 5 dpo, other than progesterone-related stuff like very light cramping down in my cervical region.  And the expected moodiness, of course.

I don't mean to be a whiner, but this weekend was pretty lame.  I can't blame anyone but myself, though, as I said in the previous post.  If I wanted to have plans, I could have made plans.  It was just one of those weekends that makes it so clear why I would love to have a partner.  Reliable companionship and intimacy is nothing to be sneezed at.

The reality of day-to-day partnership is right in front of me, too, as my housemate is in a relationship and is always going off to meet his sweetie or talking to her on the phone into the late hours of the night.  And he complains about not having enough alone time!  lol

I can't help but also think that if I had plans, I wouldn't have been so let down by S not wanting to get together this weekend.  I think our recent talks felt really good, and I was craving more of that connection.  As mentioned, however, he is not the source I want to be relying on to fulfill that need.

Trying to stay positive about this cycle... which I do think was timed pretty darn well.  But, in looking at how my pre-ovulation phase went down, I'm frustrated with the clinic.  I knew I should have had my first monitoring appointment on Day 3, when the rude nurse said there were no appointments.  Day 5 was too late to start Fem.ara if you respond quickly.  I only had one day to do a Men.opur injection.

And it's not like I ovulated super early, even, at Cycle Day 12/13.  I guess it's a little early but not crazy early, right?  I can't help but wonder if I would have started Fem.ara earlier, we might have caught more eggs, as well.

But.  I'm going to stay positive.  The two eggs were great sizes, the timing was good (for once), and maybe the "gentle protocol" was better for my body.  Here's hoping!


Saturday Night Pity Party

I'm feeling like such a loser tonight.  It's Saturday night and I have no plans.  I haven't had a date in a super long time.  I'm letting my stupid ex, S, get to me.  I am so uncool right now.

Today was a rough day in general.  I felt disconnected and adrift.  This morning, I spent some time completing college and career counseling-related emails.  I talked to my housemate for a bit.  But he was in his room most of the day.  It was a day I could have used some companionship.  The highlight of my day was grocery shopping.  That's just sad.

I tend not to plan ahead and sometimes it bites me, like tonight.  Tonight was a night it would have been great to have plans.  If I had plans, I wouldn't have been so bored and stupid as to call S.  We had talked a couple of times and were supposed to get together again for a final round, after things settled with our first talk (I was assuming that would occur this weekend).  But last Saturday we flirted some on the phone.  That was a mistake.  I feel like I'm kind of vulnerable right now, since I'm not seeing anyone and haven't had a date in quite a while.  I felt in need of an affirmation of my desirability.

Anyway, then at the end of this week he wrote me this email, and it pissed me off.  It was so arms length and avoidant, saying he had so much on his plate and had to finish a book this weekend, etc. so how about talking again next Thursday or Saturday.  I could have just gone along with it, but it felt controlling and not at all considerate of what I wanted.  Plus we'd had these two fairly intense conversations, and it seemed strange to then go a couple weeks without talking again, as we'd said we were going to do.  And why couldn't he pick up the phone instead of writing an email?

But, honestly, I should have just let it go.  I certainly have no intention of ever being in a relationship with him again.  I don't want to depend on him for anything.  He's not trustworthy, and, frankly, he's deceptive.  Even this weekend, he said he had to finish his book, but by calling I found out that he was at a game with his son (great, no problem, but tell me the truth!) and then going out tonight somewhere.  We were talking on the phone, and he was being his slippery-eel self, trying to seem witty and charming and above it all.  And then he gets to this place and says he has to go.  Nice.

See what I mean?  I am soooo uncool right now.  I do not want this stuff to be getting to me.  So, now I've written about it, and I'm going to try and let it go.  He is who he is - not worthy of my trust or my love, not capable of honoring agreements or upholding commitments.  Not emotionally mature.  What I need to decide, though, is do I follow through on the plans we have to talk later this week?  A big part of me would like to say,  "Screw you," and bail, but then we've still got the problem of being in each other's circles.

I suppose I could withdraw from the NVC circle for a while.  That's the main one that overlaps.  My theatre and dance are my own, and he's not part of them.  The other area is the Transition Town stuff, but we're not in any regular meetings together.  We will see each other around at TT events, like at an upcoming regional conference, etc., but not on a regular basis.

What do you think?

As a side note, I wonder if progesterone is affecting my mood!  Very likely!  lol


Good Timing

Knocking on wood over here, but I think the IUI was timed very well.  It feels so good to think the timing might finally have been right, after five prior IUIs that all felt like they were done somewhat late. 

I saw the surge on an OPK Tuesday night, which I think means I was well on my way to surging on my own, if not already there, when I did the HCG trigger shot.  Then, Wednesday morning, my temperature showed a dip, and I did the IUI later that day.  This morning, my temperature rose by two and a half tenths.  So, I'm thinking the sp.erm might have arrived a few hours before the egg.  It could have been a half day prior, though, which might be pushing it on timing with a frozen sample.  What do you think about the timing?

I taught my middle school classes today.  This morning, I felt quite a bit of uncomfortable cramping.  Not unbearable, and I didn't need to take anything, but definitely uncomfortable and somewhat intense at times.  No bleeding though.  Has anyone else experience this?  By afternoon, I was fine.  It maybe have been uterine irritation, or reaction to the sp.erm, or possibly ovulation?  I hope it wasn't ovulation, as that would put it on the late side.  It felt more uterine than ovary-based, so I think it was some kind of irritation/reaction. 

Luckily, I'm not working at the college or middle school tomorrow.  I'll be doing computer work for my other job and catching up on things around the house, but don't have to drive anywhere, thank God.  I've done WAY too much commuting back and forth in rush hour traffic the past three days.  How do people do that every day, like with the long commutes of an hour or more?  Blech.  Grateful to have some home time.


HCG Humor - update

I want to check in, but I'm super tired so will probably be an abbreviated one.  Just wanted to share the bit of HCG Laurel and Hardy entertainment I put myself through today.  So, my OPK was a little darker this morning but still not a surge.  They moved my monitoring appointment up to today from Wednesday, even though I knew what has happened would end up happening: i.e. back-to-back appointments, two days in a row.  Suddenly, 40 minutes to Fre.mont seem a bit more of a pain.  Oh well.

My appointment was okay, but not quite what I'd hoped for.  Looks like two, maybe three good follicles.  One 23, one 17, and I'm not sure if there is one more or not.  There was another one in the 20s on the sonogram pics, but the NP had gone into another appointment, and the nurse wasn't sure if it was two pictures of the same follicle.  During the monitoring, I thought she said there were only two big ones.  Anyway, I'll confirm it tomorrow.

When I left, I said I didn't need her to prescribe the HCG, as I already had some at home.  Well, apparently I was flashing back to the HCG shot I had an used in my last cycle or something because it wasn't to be found after tearing through drawers and cupboards and my refrigerator several times in a panic.  Of course, everyone had left for the day.  What to do?

I decide to call the Kai.ser Fre.mont emergency line and get this fabulous nurse who found me an ob-gyn to prescribe the HCG.  I run down to the pharmacy and look at the medicine... and I recognize it!  I've got that exact medicine back at home (did I mention a couple people have passed on some sweet meds?)!  The brand name is something different, but I know it's the same human chor.ionic gona.dotropin or whatever - it's a catchy name!  Plus, I find out the price - ouch!  Okay, I'm using what I have at home!

So I have to laugh at myself, as I drive myself home after putting myself and others through needless travails.  I get home, watch the youtube video about how to shoot up HCG, and get the job done by 8 pm.  Whew!

My delay will throw the timing of the IUI off by a few hours, and I'm wondering if that makes much of a difference.  I'll give them a call tomorrow.  Anyway, it was quite a day.  The journey continues!

Update:  Oh, and:

This community means a lot to me, and I appreciate the mutual support we all share; support - and understanding - I feel is hard to find anywhere else.  It seems fitting this post is right at the time of trigger/IUI!  I woke up this morning to a temp dip so things seem on target so far...


Labor Day Drama and Positive OPKs

Hey, I'm almost to my 200th post!  That's sounds pretty cool.  This is 199, so I'll have a little festive aspect to the next entry. 

Hope everyone is having a nice Labor Day weekend.  I went to dance, as usual, yesterday, then a few of us went over to the nearby park for a picnic.  It was a gorgeous day and fun to kick back in the sunny warmth and just talk and snack. 

Z, who leads the dance had me cracking up with his stories about a camp he use to attend called "plantation farm" or something.  It had another word in it that I can't remember, but a California camp with the word "plantation" in it just doesn't sound right.  And he said he and the other kids used to do all the farm chores, like feeding the pigs and milking the goats, etc.  These were the "camp activities."  Now, doesn't that sound more like "free labor for the owners" camp?  Then, he was saying they used to sing a song with the names "Cocaine Jim" and "Morphine Sue" or something.  What happened to, "The other day I met a bear," and, "The wishy-washy washer woman"?  I've been to camp; I know what "normal" camp is like!  lol  Not sure if the humor is coming across, but it was pretty funny at the time.

Today, I'm planning to attend a potluck and games gathering through the Non-Viol.ent Communication social network group I'm part of.  Guess who's going to be there?  Yep, S (formerly known as Sound Healing Chocolate Man).  He actually emailed me last week, after seeing I was signed up to attend, to tell me he was happy to not sign up if I would feel more comfortable.  I had been thinking about the situation because his name had started to come up among friends.  I knew he had been at recent events where I easily could have been there too but hadn't for one reason or another. 

I will say that my anger over his various acts of betrayal (the most recent being his bail-out a few months ago of our agreement to "try again" for a couple of months), has pretty much dissipated.  I definitely have felt "over him" for quite a while but still felt some anger when he wrote an email back in June suggesting we should be ready to move on and be friends, and that we might write a book together.  The man was cray cray!  I didn't respond.  But more time passed and it now feels somewhat inevitable that we "bury the hatchet," as it were. 

So, I emailed back and we went to dinner Friday night and talked.  It was good.  He said he'd made some headway with his "despair work," as he's now calling it, which he feels played a big role in our relationship and final break up.  Don't worry, I did hold his feet to the fire and say I wanted him to take responsibility for the deception.  There is no excuse for keeping the facts about his ex-girlfriend's visit secret for several months (how does someone even do that?) or for not telling me earlier that he planned to move and that he wanted to end our "trying again" effort.   That was in the works for at least a week or more and, during that time, we had been talking. 

The phrase that has come up for me around the betrayals and their devastating impact on me and our relationship was that, "It didn't have to be that way."  And I truly believe that.  If he would have been honest and upfront about things, I wouldn't have felt so blindsided, and we wouldn't have blown apart as we did more than once.  In any case, things happened the way they did and we are where we are. 

We had some heart connection during the talk, once when I said I felt sad that he had seen me as the enemy.  He reached out and we held hands in that way you do when you're broken up and you're sad about losing the good parts and you wish it could have been different.    We also both agreed that the insecurity we both felt indicated a real issue - that something was not right around that reality.  It shouldn't be that way, you know? 

So, the talking was good, and we plan to have another conversation in the next week.  Believe me, I have no intention to consider getting back together, and I doubt I even want to be friends because friendship requires trust.  But I would like to be able to be congenial at events and meetings.  I think today at the event will be okay, but we'll see.  I know a lot of people there, so that will help.

Regarding my ovulation timing crisis, I did take an OPK this morning, and guess what?  It showed a light line.  So, sure enough, I bet it's going to be dark by tomorrow... which means I should trigger then and inseminate at my Wednesday appointment.  Or at least that's what I'm thinking.  I have a call and email into my doctor's office, so hopefully they'll get back to me first thing tomorrow morning.  Doing my first injection tonight anyway.  Finger crossed!


Potential Crisis of Timing?

I was just calendaring my next monitoring appointment, scheduled for Wednesday, when I realized that it falls on Day 12 of my cycle.  In the recent past, I ovulated as early as Day 10!  My average ovulation day, however, is Day 13...

I don't understand how the monitoring and cycle timing works if you're not suppressing ovulation.  You can't exactly hold the train for other follicles to catch up or that sort of thing.  My protocol includes a trigger shot.  Does ovulation occur predictably at a certain follicle size, so the doctor could tell if I'm about to ovulate on my own?  And isn't it possible that I might "prematurely ovulate" for lack of a better phrase?

Perhaps I'm over-thinking?  It wouldn't be the first time!


I want my mom...

It's been an interesting week...

Today was my second day back teaching middle school career exploration classes.  The teacher is great to work with and very engaged, which makes all the difference.  I'm still getting my teacher legs back under me and feel pretty exhausted, especially after Tuesday when the exhaustion was coupled with a headache.  We did mock graduations today, as part of a lesson about how college degrees are connected with higher earning potential.  I still have Pomp and Circumstance circulating in my head.

Then, I went to my first monitoring appointment for this cycle yesterday.  Thanks for your supportive words about scheduling.  It was stressful but the doctor ended up reassuring me that coming in on day 5 was fine.  So, all this week, I've felt kind of weepy and vulnerable and needy.  You know how you feel when you just want your mom, if you had a mom and she was kind and nurturing?

And I wasn't finding anyone to give me the mom energy; not my housemate, not the nurse on the phone, and certainly not the nurse practitioner who did this first monitoring.  She was perfectly skilled in her nursing abilities, but not very warm, and kept chattering away about how local businesses were closing and her favorite quilt store closed, etc.

And then, when we were done, she gave me some papers and told me I needed to walk over to the nearby pharmacy to get the Femara... oh and by the way, I only have 10 minutes to get there.  Great, thank you!  I wanted to sit down and have a calm, relaxed discussion about my protocol, and instead I get ushered out the door and told I need to rush over to the pharmacy.  I'm not proud to admit it, but I cried a little on the way out of the building.

Maybe I'm expecting too much handholding from these people.  As mentioned, I want my mom, or else I want a partner to hold and comfort me.  But it would help if the nurses and nurse practitioners were a bit more kind and patient.   Not all of them, but two of them have been quite harsh.

In any case, without any meds in my system yet, I had about eight or  nine follicles that stood out.  There were other smaller ones but eight or nine she measured: five on the left and three or four on the right.  I'm on my second day of Femara.  I'll take five days, and then do two days of two vials of Meno.pur before my next monitoring appointment on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed!  Despite the frustrating people interactions, I'm feeling hopeful.


Flowing Along

This cycle is definitely in full flow now, excuse the pun.  I left two messages for the doctor yesterday, at different times, on different lines.  Nervous much, Kristina?  I couldn't remember the policy on returning calls on Saturdays.  Hopefully, they will call first thing tomorrow morning.

I'm worried about scheduling my initial monitoring appointment because at this point I have two appointments for my International Coordinator job Monday afternoon, and my first day teaching school on Tuesday.  

A less than kind nurse answered the phone when I called Friday and informed me that others who had already started their cycles were in front of me (I was only spotting which does not count), and she was running out of appointments for Monday.  I don't know what I'll do if they demand that I come in on Tuesday before 4 p.m.  I can reschedule the Monday appointments, but Tuesday is not so much a flexible situation. 

I've started the doxycycline, and I guess it's okay if I start the Femara on Day 3 or 4?  She said she'd give me the prescription at my first monitoring appointment.  

Plan is in place to purchase the donor vial tomorrow... t'will be nice to avoid walking around the bustling streets of San Fran.cisco with a huge cryo tank!  This clinic is in the more mellow hamlet of Fre.mont.  A bit longer drive but less traffic and an available parking lot.

On another note, I love the references to "The Red Thread" that have been going around the IF blog world lately.  The novel has to do with infertility and adoption stories, but I'm not sure of the plot.  I just love the thought of my baby and I being connected by a red thread, and the thread growing shorter and shorter, until the baby is in my arms and the thread is just a dot.  Here is what I believe is the related Chinese proverb: 

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.” – Chinese Proverb


A Ball of Nerves

I think my cycle will be starting today!  Temperature dropped, cramping is underway.  Why am I feeling nervous?  To be accurate, I'm feeling both nervous AND excited.  Maybe it's nervous excitement...

I counted all my medicine and paraphernalia last night, and I'm all set there.  I actually have enough for two more cycles, which is what I'm hoping I'll be able to do.

Once I saw where things were going this morning, I called the doctor's office and am waiting to hear back.  I think I would come in today if my cycle starts... or I could go in tomorrow if they have Saturday hours.  Once they confirm I'm ready to go (no cysts etc.), then I'll pick up my Femara prescription and start the Doxycycline.  Order my vial of Donor #1.

Thank you all, by the way, for your input.  Reflecting on and discussing it with you on the blog helped me to feel more confident in my choice.  It's definitely an individual choice; no "right" or "wrong," just right for me.  A big factor for me was the education levels in his family.  More of his relatives had gone to college, and his brother attended graduate school.  It's strange, this certainly wouldn't be a topic about which I'd ask a date, and, in my own family, my maternal grandparents didn't go to college.  I guess I do value it, though.  And then, there was the baby picture.  It is so cute and endearing.  And a few other little things, like that sweet answer to why he's donating.  So, #1 it is.

My middle school teaching gig is starting next week, too, and I'm less than enthused.  I talked with my Dean and this is the last year I will be doing this grant, so there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  After next year, I will continue part-time at that college, working with college students and doing some high school matriculation counseling, as well.  I'm still hoping to get brought on at another college much nearer to where I live, as well, but the person I'm depending on to get my information to the right people is a bit of a flake.  I'm continuing to be persistent, though.

Off now to a career counseling appointment.  I'm making an effort to settle down and put on my calm, professional hat.  Wish me luck!


A Blessing

* Welcome ICLWers!  Thank you for visiting my blog.  I don't have a journey summary, though I'm thinking I should create one now.  But the first post (and second) should tell you some background if you're interested.  I'm about to start my second injectable IUI cycle in a few days and am excited!

Today's Post:
As I've mentioned in prior posts, my mom passed away when I was four-years-old.  I connected with her best friend from childhood, P, quite a few years ago when I was living in San Luis Obis.po.  When I moved up here to the Bay Ar.ea, about two-and-a-half years ago, I lived in her guest house for the first few months until I found my own place.  She is close to my heart and has become a bit of a mother figure in my life, gradually, over the years.

So, it touched me when she told me the other day - while we were having a snack and coffee after a work meeting I had down in her neck of the woods - that she thought it was a good thing that I was putting this effort in to becoming a mother.  That she supported me because it was something I really wanted, and she didn't want me to have regrets.

This means the world.  It's as close as I will come to hearing my Mom say that she supports me and gives her blessing.


Give me your thoughts...

Just a few more days until this cycle starts! I had blood drawn today for my progesterone and thyroid tests. My progesterone came back about 12, which is on the low side. I'm glad I'll be supplementing. Haven't received my thyroid level yet. The results are early enough that I could switch things up my dosage, so I'm more interested in that one.

I'm firming things up on the donor front and am likely going to choose the same guy. I thought I'd share some more information about him, as well as the second choice, to see if you have a different perspective.

Sooo, bullet points on first, likely candidate #1:

  • Identity-Release: Yes 
  • Current occupation: Video Game Artist
  • Height: Over 6'
  • Weight: About 225
  • Hair color: Dark brown
  • Eye color: Blue
  • Body type: Medium (hmm, but it said "large frame")
  • Ethnic origin: Dutch, English, German, Scottish, Irish
  • Baby photo available: Yes
  • Why do you want to be a donor?: He admitted part of it was to pay down loans, but also said he thought if people worked so hard to become parents, they would likely be good ones.  Sweet, right?
  • What are your special interests and talents?: Said he's right brained and creative, including drawing and painting.  Loves music (plays instruments) and animals.
Bullet points on second candidate #2:

  • Identity-Release: Yes
  • Current occupation: Motorcycle Mechanic (maybe this isn't so exciting, but he's also an artist and loves helping people achieve their goals)
  • Height: 5’ 11’’
  • Weight: about 175
  • Hair color: blond
  • Eye color: blue
  • Body type: medium
  • Ethnic origin: Swedish, German, Scottish, Irish
  • Baby photo available: no
  • He said people describe him as thoughtful, caring and compassionate.  Loves dogs and motorcycles.  And that he's reliable and helps others.
  • Designs and constructs art.  Skilled mechanic and enjoys outside activities. 
  • Why do you want to be a donor?: To help others achieve their goals.
  • He said he had dyslexia, which he completely overcame and graduated from college.  Said some sensitive things about learning disabilities.  But maybe dyslexia, genetically, is a negative.
It's definitely a positive for me that #1 has a baby pic, which I've seen, which is super cute.

#2 is Rh-, which matches me. They say this doesn't matter in terms of pregnancy rates, so maybe it's just psychological, but I feel like this somehow makes us more "compatible."

They both have freckles, which I love. :-)


*Update: Received thyroid result and it's 5.2 on a Standard Range of .10 - 5.50. Hell!


New Doctor, New Protocol

The appointment with my new doctor finally came today.  The office assistant was kind of crabby - I overheard her say she hadn't had a break or chance to eat so this is understandable - and the nurse was quite rushed, pulling me about like a piece of meat.

But once I got into the good doctor's office, ahhh.  Very calm, intelligent, and trust-inspiring.  She took lots of time - sometimes a bit more detail than even I cared for, which is saying something - but it was welcome.  We discussed questions and topics I want to thoroughly understand, like immune testing, potential uterine and egg issues, and recommended protocol.

I will not be able to do the conversation about immune testing (MTHRFR and NK Cells, etc.) justice here.  Suffice to say, Kai.ser lab is inexperienced with these tests, so she would have to send me to an outside lab at full cost.  Also, she prefers not to order tests unless there is real data indicating there may be a problem.  This data comes through sp.erm testing and IVF, neither of which relate to me.  Lastly, this falls under the uterine issue percentage listed below, and she believes my issue is in the egg category.

But, she admitted there is so much they don't know, and research is underfunded because the affected population is relatively small. :(  All facts considered, I'm not pursuing these tests right now.  I did have prior clotting-related Lupus anticoagulant and Cardiolipin ab tests, which came back negative.

Regarding potential uterine issues:

  • She said 2-5% of problems are based on uterine issues.  It was kind of cute, as much as a uterine metaphor can be cute:  she talked about the uterus as a good child, sitting there waiting, but usually the problems happen prior to the uterus even getting involved.
  • I asked about ureaplasma infection, which I understand can cause problems, and she said they treat every patient with Doxycycline, because the testing for ureaplasma is difficult and expensive.  I'm okay with that and will begin taking Doxycycline when my period starts.
  • She reassured me that they could see polyps on the ultrasound but occasionally there are spots on the uterus wall, like the start of a polyp or something, and they can more readily see these if they do a saline-infused sonogram.  So, I guess that's an option if I choose, but the longer we talked, the more I agree that it's probably egg-related issues...

Regarding potential egg-related issues (this info. may be old news for some of you):

  • She said some of the follicles don't even have eggs in them.  What?  It's true.  So, they can look fine on the monitor, growing well etc., but the egg is crap and disintegrated (she definitely did not use the word crap!).  They know this from IVF harvesting.  She did say that, considering my tests/FSH, it's highly unlikely all three or four follicles would be empty.
  • Some eggs fertilize but have three sets of chromosomes.  These don't make it past Day 2 or 3.
  • Usually, the problem is an extra chromosome, like with Down's Syndrome or Trisomy 16, etc.  These will usually form a blastocyst, but then I guess they stop developing at some point.  If they reach blastocyst, though, they have the potential to implant.
  • She gave an example of one 42-year-old patient undergoing IVF:  On day 3, 50% of embryos made it to blastocyst and of these, 50% were normal.  Soooo, I'm taking from that, relating to me and an injectable cycle, starting with 4-6 eggs would be a good thing if you're cutting in half and then half again!  I had 3 eggs last time... which brings us to protocol...

Protocol for Upcoming Cycle (in possibly as soon as 9 days!)

  • I'm getting my thyroid and 21-day fertility tests in a few days, even though I'll be on progesterone again so that result doesn't matter much.
  • We're going for a more "gentle" protocol, since I responded so quickly.  Did I mention I love this new doctor?  She looked at my results, and she saw ways they could be improved.  Dr. Negative looked at them and said, "Meh, might as well do the same thing."
  • So as mentioned, I'm going to take the Doxycycline to get rid of any infection that may mess with things.  Sounds good.  And, stage two, I'll take Letro.zole for five days.  Then, finally, I'll inject Meno.pur again, but less aggressively at two vials a day versus three, and no Lu.pron.  Hopefully, this will help line things up, and I can collect all my eggs, instead of half.

Now, to decide if I want to go with the same donor...

*On a side note, the doctor was very encouraging and positive about doing international IVF.  She said they collaborate with other clinics (doing everything but egg retrieval and putting embryos back), and she's worked with folks in India and Europe.  She thought Canada would be even easier.  I located a good clinic in Vancouver, but I would definitely need to also find a lending source, even with the dramatic cost reduction.