Trip Report

Despite a few bumps, this trip was definitely better than the last one! 

We arrived home, after the eight hour drive, about 10:30 last night and proceeded to share a bottle of wine and a plate of appetizers/snacks and process more about the trip.  S's very good intention of solely focusing on supporting me didn't exactly work out.  I think it's impossible to just disregard your own needs, at least over a length of time. 

S was supportive but also wanted my support and attention at certain times in which it was difficult to give.  For example, he offered a couple of times to take care of Zoey's needs while I did a family activity (Zoey did great on this trip btw!).  When he came back and joined us, he wanted some focused attention, such as a smile/kiss and a thank you.  This seems reasonable, however, when you are immersed in play with two little ones, ages three and five, it can be difficult to turn your focus to someone else in this way - at least I've discovered it's difficult for me!  My limitations as an introvert definitely come into play here.  I did acknowledge him and immediately began including him in the conversation, but I didn't give him the "good job!" feedback he was longing for.  He admits this is a need of his that has come up in other relationships and goes way back. 

On my part, I was better able to stay self-connected and was happy I had the wherewithal to remember our intention to support one another and talk through feelings after intense family times.  The last night, however, I kind of lost it when S brought up what to me was a very minor nit-picky oversight of mine to give him that pat on the head after taking Zoey out on a walk while we were at my sister's.  I was in relax and play mode, and I felt like he ruined it.  In retrospect, I was the one that made it a "big deal."  I think I was just tired and really needed some fun.  He felt bad about it and later said he could have just written it down or talked about it at a different time.

Similar to my desire for greater self-connection, he acknowledged that in the future, he wants to have better self-connection and to not choose to do things that he can't do freely, without need of a significant show of appreciation.  I don't know if that's always possible to know ahead of time, but I like his intention to do this.

Overall, I think we did a lot better, though.  We had lots more happy times and much less fighting.  On the way back, we talked about whether we could ever live in Oregon.  We came to the conclusion that we could (and it would be great in terms of being close to nieces and nephews), but we would need a significant in-road or reason to do so.  This might be having our own kid, connecting with an intentional community, or feeling like we could really make a difference there in some way.

Additional fun times with family that I would like to remember:  S and I bowling with my brother, sister-in-law, and baby niece Vivi (well, she didn't bowl :); us going to an Oregon Du.ck basketball game with my dad and other family in their awesome relatively new arena; spending some nice time with my 92-year-old grandpa, who is looking much better after having pneumonia; seeing my aunt and uncle in their new home; holding sweet Vivi and making her smile; and playing charades and reading books with my niece and nephew.   My mom was really sick so couldn't come out and do things with us, unfortunately.

Final note on ttc: I forgot to bring my birth con.trol pills on the trip, but I guess it's okay to start taking them within the first few days of your cycle (I started this cycle on Saturday, dashing the ever so small hope we had).  My polyp surgery is still scheduled for the 8th.


Next Stop, Oregon

S and I are driving up to my hometown in Oregon today for a visit.  I've had various forms of minor anxiety attacks all week about it.  I don't know if you remember our trip from a year and half or so ago, but suffice to say it was not a good one. 

Remembering back, I think I actually tried to look at the positives when posting about it... perhaps this was part of my "blinders on" stage of my relationship with S - when we clearly had major issues screaming to be dealt with but I was too afraid to push us to deal with them. 

Case in point, shortly before our last trip, I found out he had been in communication with his ex-wife (I assumed she dropped of the face of the earth apparently. ha) and that she was coming out to visit in December.  The length of the trip and that she would be staying with him were not yet on the radar - facts which caused me to ultimately break up with him.

As I've been sharing, we are in a much different place now - more honest and more able to navigate difficult issues and emotions.  But I think my psyche remembers that time - both the pain of the trip, in which we were both stressed and unable to support one another, and the events with the ex that sandwiched it. 

S is being quite good about it.  He says he's in a much different place now and wants to support me with my family.  We have discussed strategies of staying connected and, perhaps most importantly, strategies for me to stay SELF connected.  Even without S there, when I visit family I often lose connection with self.  I don't feel seen or that my life or accomplishments are particularly valued (not so with my brother, but definitely my Dad and Step-Mom).  My family culture celebrates business and sports and a stiff upper lip.  I'm a psychologist/dancer involved in building local, sustainable community.  You see the disconnect?  lol  That's another thing that might help: keeping my sense of humor!

Anyway, I better finish packing.  I will also be seeing my grandpa when I'm home.  He's 92 and has been in and out of the hospital lately.  This trip feels significant because of that, as well.  And we're taking Zoey!!  Wish us luck!

p.s. Brief ttc update: I have an appointment to get my pol.yps removed March 8th, which may be moved up when I start my next cycle on Sunday or Monday.  I have a fibr.oid consultation with the specialist in Hayward on the 12th.  There are not significant signs that indicate my current cycle might be successful, though we did time things well.  I had a cold for the last week or two.


Valentine's Day 2013

I'm not feeling very writerly this morning, having just eaten a huge breakfast and nursing a bit of a hangover and a cold, but I did want to share some of the lovely happenings from S and my Valentine's evening, as well as give a brief update on "what comes next" with ttc.

So after forgetting on Wednesday that Valentine's was the next day (I said to S, "Well, I guess I'll see  you Friday then?" and he said, "Well, I guess I need to take out an ad for a Valentine's Day date then."  haha), I redeemed myself by staying up late making a lovely accordian card and luscious cutout heart brownie treats for him.  I also gave him a book on dreams, since sharing dreams has been a bit of a deal with us - he doesn't have much familiarity with dream interpretation, and I love sharing dreams but not when the person takes them literally!  This can "literally" be a nightmare!  So the book was recognizing his desire for me to keep sharing dreams with him and giving us a bridge to do such communicating more successfully.

Anyway, my gifts went over very well (he ate a brownie before we left for dinner) and, for his part, he gave me a lovely thin but largish, light lavender crystal pendant on a silver chain, flowers, and chocolates.  I love the necklace and immediately put it on for dinner. 

And ahhh, dinner.  We all know how much I enjoy going out to a good dinner, which hasn't been happening much due to S leaving his corporate gig and working to establish himself in freelance.  But, wow, last night's dinner was over. the. top.  We had several courses with subtle and complex flavors and sauces, including lobster soup, the most lovely little raviolis, duck with delicious potato cake accompaniment, lobster (oddly my least favorite - the claw part was good but the rest was kind of tough), THREE desserts... well, here is the menu I found, which does it better justice:

Stuzzichino: Kushi oyster with American sturgeon caviar and Prosecco gelatina

Vellutata of Maine lobster with vanilla crema
Carpaccio of Piedmontese beef filet with Perigord truffles

Carnaroli risotto with Perigord truffle butter
Tortelloni of Castelmagno cheese and house-made ricotta with candied
walnuts and honey

Pan-roasted Liberty Farms duck breast with potato-duck leg hash
Butter-poached Maine lobster with celeriac purée, green apples, and young
celery rémoulade

Sorbetto pre-dessert

Dessert: to be announced


The other two desserts were a light lemon cheese cake type thing and rich chocolate brownie with berry sauce.  We shared everything and they were in quite small portions, so we weren't stuffed at the end.  So so good.  The restaurant had a corkage fee, so S brought up a yummy bottle from the market nearby; add in some dessert wine, and I was more than a bit tipsy at the end.  We then ambled about the local neighborhood, stopping periodically for affectionate exchanges, and visited a couple bookstores.  The perfect activity to match our mood.

Backtracking a bit, dinner was not solely about stuffing our faces with yumminess!  We had several meaningful conversations, lubricated a bit by the wine, including talking about our levels of openness to personal/relationship growth in both the emotional/spiritual and physical realms.  I think both of us want to feel like we're learning and growing, but what that looks like to each of us varies a bit.  But I think we are both open to the other's ideas.  I also shared that I feel most close and affectionate towards him when we are being "real" with each other, in terms of revealing our deeper thoughts and feelings.  Even when those things are "difficult," I feel closer to him through talking about them.  He requested I push him a bit to share more deeply at times, to which I agreed.

The night ended with a lovely, yet odd, pairing of sex and last week's episode of Down.ton Abb.ey (not simultaneously!).  haha  A night to remember!

* Update on ttc:  Finally talked in person to my doctor, and she indicated my type of fibroid was not as likely a problem as other types, but it might possibly grow with a pregnancy (it's already quite large) and cause some pain.  The polyps might not cause problems, but then again they might, and considering I've been trying and failing for some time now, I like the idea of doing some corrective action.  Which unfortunately means another month delay in a medicated IUI, though we still can try without the medication.  I so wish she could have taken those out when we did the hysteroscopy!  I think she was nervous about the fibroid location and also the one polyp with the thicker base.  She told me on the phone that we will remove the polyps in the operating room, though it is still the same type procedure.  Regarding the fibroid, I'm still not sure.  I'm scheduled for a consult with an expert in a week or two to get more input, but as of now I'm thinking I will likely not remove it and lose another three months of ttc.


Yes, but what does it MEAN?

I will write more later but wanted to post the message I just received from my doctor.  It is full of objective information but no guidance or application of that information to pregnancy odds.  I'm posting in hopes you will give me your thoughts or share any knowledge you have about this type of fibroid and potential negative impacts of it compressing the cavity.  Thanks!
p.s.  yes, I survived my second MRI with the help of an awesome tech and being able to tilt my head up and look out the end of the tube.

RE: MRI Results - available all day Thursday by cell phone for your call
To: Kristina
From: MD
Received: 2/13/2013 11:37 PM PST


MRI Dropout

After my hysteroscopy on Tuesday morning, during which my doctor could not locate the larger fibroid seen on the ultrasound, she ordered an MRI to gather more information about whether it was located in the uterine wall in a place that might impede implantation. 

Said MRI was SUPPOSED to be yesterday, but guess who couldn't hack the lengthy entrapment in a solid metal tube?  That would be Moi. 

As a partial excuse, I may have lasted longer if I had known more about the timeframe and steps involved.  As it was, I thought it was kind of like getting an xray, but you're in this tube thing, taking about as long as the MRIs I see on an episode of "House" or something.  Yeah, clueless. 

Did you know that you have to be in that claustrophobic piece of crap for up to 20 or more minutes?  How do people even do that?  But if I had known that there would be several pinging/buzzing MRI picture-taking sessions, each a few minutes in length, well, I could have at least mentally prepared for it, or likely requested drugs of some sort (or inquired about an "open MRI," which I hear is not really open but at least a bit more spacious). 

As it was, when I was all prepped and slid into the tube, I withstood a couple pinging sessions and started to freak out.  I was thinking to myself, "This thing should be about over now, right?"  So, I called the techs name and asked how much longer.  When he said up to 20 minutes, I really freaked the F out and said, "I need out!"  At which point, to his credit, he had me out of there PDQ.  Kinda traumatic all around, though. 

S was very supportive afterwards and went with me to have drinks and decompress.  I'm frustrated they didn't set me up for better success.  I did mark "claustrophobic" on the form, but it seems he didn't take that seriously? or maybe he didn't see it?  But I'm also really disappointed that we weren't able to get the data needed to decide how to handle this fibroid.  I called and emailed my doctor yesterday afternoon but haven't heard anything back.  I guess I probably won't until Monday. :(

On a tiny note of hope, I did ovulate yesterday, according to temperatures.  S and I decided to try, on the off chance that his guys could survive the - TMI alert - old blood heavy spotting still happening from my hysteroscopy.  During the procedure Tuesday, the doctor did comment that my lining was thick.  It makes me wonder how thick my lining is normally, without being on birth control pills for the first week of my cycle!  I'm sure the chances are miniscule, but it still feels good to take whatever chances we might have.

One other point about the hysteroscopy:  the doctor saw three polyps but said they shouldn't interfere with implantation and that one had a "thick stem" and would be difficult to remove.  She also wanted to see what was going on with the fibroid prior to any treatment.  I was bummed she couldn't just take them out, though.


Nose to the Grindstone...

What a week!  My work days at the college, were a bit busier than usual, but the main attraction on the busy-ness front was my International Coordinator work.  I had researched and prepared to write my normal, paragraph-or-two monthly reports on my seven students, when lo and behold, I open them and.... gah!  They were the looong reports that we are required to do every few months!

Usually, I will get some sort of heads up from my Manager or co-worker, but this month, nada.  This basically translated into me becoming the Tasmanian Devil for a few days: calling and emailing schools, families, students; sending reminders; entering numbered responses and comments and rechecking; until finally, the last report entered at midnight last night.  Whew!  The good side is that I am paid double for these reports, so my check this month will likewise be double. :)  Which will come in handy considering upcoming medical procedures...

Yes, I am going forward with the Hysteroscopy this Tuesday morning at 9:30.  I have started taking birth control pills, and have the good drugs, Val.ium and Vic.odin, on hand to take just prior to the procedure.  I initially asked her about taking care of anything we might find during the same procedure, and she said, yes, they normally do but sometimes the pain is too much for the patient and they can't go forward.

Hmm, well, let's see, how about we take some pain medication beforehand, just in case?  She agreed.  S will be taking me there and home, as I clearly won't be able to drive.  So, fingers crossed.  Part of me hopes they DO find something, so that there could be some explanation and cure for my series of unsuccessful attempts.  But nothing too serious please?  Just a few little polyps getting in the way of implantation maybe?

On the relationship front, S and I took a detour a couple weeks ago and regressed into some old pain.  Prompted by a conversation we were having about the possible end of counseling and not yet having agreements around communication with exes, he shared he had been continuing to talk regularly on the phone with his ex-wife.  I actually don't want to talk a lot about the drama around that right now.  Just to say, that it triggered my feelings from our previous time together and breakups and really sucked.

Since then, he has been sharing more about his motivations around maintaining these friendships (including that he blew friends/family off in the past in big ways due to relationship demands at the time, as well as a pattern of less than complete honesty to avoid conflict).  I'm appreciating his honesty now and ability to take a look at himself.  I also wonder if there are additional, less conscious reasons for this pattern, as well, such as fear of intimacy or of us not working out - so keeping a foot out the door, so to speak.

As part of recent conversations, he's agreed not to talk to his exes at all until we can get a longer-term agreement with the therapist's help in the next two or three weeks.  He says he loves me and wants me and only me, and I believe him.  He says he's in a different place now than when we were together before - that he's not looking for problems and that he has faith in us - and I believe him... mostly.  

On my side, I eventually was able to see his point that I never asked about her or whether they were communicating - at some less than conscious level, I assumed they weren't, which was my pattern before, as well.  Making assumptions and not getting agreements.  We had been talking a lot about his other ex, the content of which I would have thought would apply to his ex-wife, but it seems it did not.

As mentioned, I do see his talking to his ex as possibly keeping some distance or keeping a foot out the door.  But I also see my pattern of judgment and criticism as doing the same... In a way, I feel like we are in a game of chicken, seeing who will give up their most effective line of defense against intimacy first.

Though it might seem crazy to some, I see continuing our efforts to conceive as an act of faith in us.  I'll admit that the thought of stopping all that really sucked, when we were going through our recent difficulties.

Our therapist, btw, thinks that we are going through completely normal, inevitable ambivalence that come up at the precipice of commitment with a capital "C."  S saw her right after this conflict erupted. I have an appointment with her early next week, then we will both meet with her a couple times to work on these agreements.  It's tough, but I do see progress.

Any encouragement or shared experiences are welcome.  Have been reading along with you all and hoping good things for you, but not finding energy to post much at the moment.  I'll let you know how the procedure goes on Tuesday.

p.s. I have been taking Metformin and am now up to three pills a day.  Feeling some queasiness here and there but overall, I seem to be be tolerating it well.  I did find out that it only combats the physical/male hormone effects of DHEA (gaining weight in abdomen and, I'm assuming, increased hair growth), but not the mood impacts.  This sucks, as I seem quite prone to these volatile mood eruptions.  It's strange that I spent much of my relationship with S before on these drugs and am back on them now... interesting to compare how we cope.

p.p.s. Zoey continues to lighten my energy and keep me sane!  Her procedure healed well and she's doing great!