Monday, December 13, 2010

Things To Say

I've got them, believe it or not.  I have thoughts I want to share on being a donor egg mom, about remembering to live in the moment, about continuing to heal from IF hell, about how excited I am that the IRL support group I host has been able to expand to include a primary infertility only meeting, even some thoughts on parenting in general.

But what I have time for is this:

I am not much a fan of Christmas.  Early on I hated the way it overshadowed my birthday (I will be 43 on the 19th), then I learned to dislike the commercialization and the way Christmas music blasted in all the stores now seems to have the undertone of "buy, buy, buy".  Then I went from agnostic to atheist and the"Christ" part of Christmas seems silly.  I still celebrate because the secular part of it is fun and I tend to think of it more of a solstice celebration than anything - which is probably the origins of the holiday.

One thing I love though, is the lights.  In these long, dark, nights, I love to drive around and see all the lights.  I think we should stop calling them Christmas Lights and start calling them Winter Lights.  They should go up by mid November and stay until the end of January.

When I am in charge, I will make it so. 

Happy Solstice to everyone.  May you enjoy what you can and survive the rest.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dying The Slow Death

I think that may be the fate of my blog.  It is not my intention, but it seems to be happening.  I am not ready to officially walk away and maybe things will swing in the posting direction again.

Just a quick drive by today with a tag line:

You notice that you might just have some pre-fertile mucus do you: A) Mentally shrug your shoulders then forget all about it.  B) Not-so-fondly remember your trying to conceive days and be thankful that those days are over. or C) Start mentally composing your text message to your babysitter to discreetly ask if she can babysit Wednesday, Thursday or maybe Friday and if she could please take the kids to her house this time - because you can't pass up the chance for a free baby no matter how remote the possibility.

Tomorrow will mark the 6th anniversary of Ernest's birth.  There are so many what if's that go along with that. 

His younger sisters are doing great.  They can play together more and more every day and there are many times I think, "I am meant to do this (to be a mother)."  Not in any spiritual sense, but by my genetic and environmental programming.  It is nice to be on the other side.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Remembering

Lori always puts a caption at the beginning of her Perfect Moment Monday post:

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one.

A couple of nights ago I was reading a story to LB to help her fall asleep.  I was exhausted as none of us had slept well the night before due to the common cold.  I knew it wasn't going to be a quick evening read because LB had taken a late, long nap.  I cuddled up next to her in her big-girl-bed and we sat up knowing that asking her to lie down would only fuel her fight to stay awake.  Half way through the first book with a mental song of "I am so tired.  I just want to go to sleep." looping through my head, I remembered.  I remembered that the perfect moment is now.  I remembered that this is what I longed for and that even if we read together at night until she was out of college, it will eventually come to an end.

I gave her a side hug and embraced this very special moment.  We finished the Dr. Seuss Sleep Book and we were half way though "Good Night Emily" before she decided she preferred to lay down.  It still took awhile to for her to fall asleep, but it was enjoyed by all.

I am also remembering another very special time.  Today, 3 years ago, we retrieved the eggs that brought us LB and LBII (goodness, I need better names . . . any suggestions?).  As Belinda said recently, "It was the summer our lives were entwined."  It was indeed.  In some ways, our lives will always be entwined even if we don't see each other as much anymore.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Bike Ride

How has so much time gone by since I posted last?   Partly because my employer has cracked down on non-work related internet time.  Not that I blog at work, of course.

In a nutshell:  Brad and I got to go for over an hour long bike ride together.  Sans kids.  It was the first ride I have taken without towing - or Brad towing if we are together - since LB was born - over 2 years.  I used to ride at least 3 days / week between April and September.  Gosh, I have missed it.  It just isn't the same when you have to worry about the well being of a munchkin or two behind you.  The ride was great and it was also wonderful to feel like a couple again. 

We rode along a local bike trail along a river that I used to take to work.  I used to watch as the summer season unfolded and ended.  The river would rise and subside again.  The trees would be bare, then bud, then in full leaf, and finally turn color.  The wildflowers would bloom and die.  The trail would start off pretty empty, then fill with people biking and wading in the river, then disappear again as the morning became to chilly. 

Thinking about the seasons coming and going and how our lives have unfolded from marriage through ttc to parenting too also made me contemplative of how time goes - moving so slowly while TTC and suddenly all too quickly.  It also made me appreciate the moment I was experience, knowing it would end too soon.
Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between

Monday, August 9, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Sunday Afternoon

Douglass Adams describes Sunday afternoons as 'the long dark tea-time of the soul'. The weekend is all but over and Monday morning is looming large.  If I recall correctly, he even has one of his characters give up immortality because of those Sunday afternoons were too much.  Or was it to have fresh linen every night?

The point is that we are no exception to feeling 'the blues' on a late Sunday afternoon.  I think this is where 'living in the moment' can be so important.  There is nothing positive to add to a Sunday by dwelling on the coming Monday so yesterday in order to shake those blues we decided to throw the kids in the cart and go for a walk.

Well, that was the plan.  LB wanted to walk so Daddy pushed the cart with the infant I could have carried while we strolled down the road with the sun at our backs. We waved at our shadows and watched them disappear and re-appear as we walked under trees.  To our unending delight, LB would shout "Oh, there I am!" when her shadow would re-appear.

We ended up walking to the nearby baker where we earned our parents-of-the-year award by sharing our chocolate cake and iced tea with L B (Could that be why she didn't fall asleep until over an hour after her normal bedtime?).  LBII got held and passed around to the delight of the baristas who loved to watch LBII's total-body-smile. 

After too short of a stay we headed back home.  LBII got a little fussy so I put her in a sling for the rest of the trim and LB took turns with Brad reading her book aloud (she has parts memorized).  We all took turns repeating the phrase "I love summer!"  Well, LBII didn't say it aloud, but I am sure she was thinking it.

We forgot all about Monday morning and had a perfectly delightful time.

For other Perfect Moments, visit Lori's blog.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Random Musings

Brad has been out of town the last couple of nights and perhaps that is why I have been lying awake wondering about things I have and will have no answer to.  I hope that is it because he will be home tonight and I can stop trying to find answers in tea leaves.
  • My neighbor across the street pulled his own tooth for lack of health care / money and he listens to right wing radio that is typically against universal health care.
  • I am sad that all three of my births ended up in a hospital yet I know of people who were never able to carry a baby to term . . . I should be grateful not sad.
  • What is the point of a life?  In the end we just die.  Hopefully enjoy it a bit along the way . . . which can lead me to think that I wish I had a bigger house or lived in the country or someplace warmer.  Then I remember my friends in West Africa who have so few options in where they live or what they do.  They call the rainy season (the current season) the starving season since the old crop is running out and the new crop isn't in yet.
  • If everyone in the world lived as well as I did we would have very serious resource issues.
  • What are nano particles and genetically modified foods and wi-fi and cell towers going to do to our bodies / environment.  Perhaps the answer is "nothing much"
  • We need to have our house mitigated for radon.  I think.
  • Why do top movie stars make millions and top scientists make in the hundred's of thousands?
  • A homeless man got kicked out of a bakery I was at while he was eating a 7-11 hotdog.  I was reading about Chelsea Clinton's 3 million dollar wedding.
  • I have decided Sting's song Shape of My Heart is perfect for IVF . . . at least the first part: 

    He deals the cards as a meditation
    And those he plays never suspect
    He doesn't play for the money he wins
    He doesn't play for respect
    He deals the cards to find the answers
    The sacred geometry of chance
    The hidden law of a probable outcome
    The numbers lead a dance
  • Rewarding times and happy times can be different but are both important.  When you look back on events in life with fondness, are they more likely to be rewarding or happy?  
  • The odds of conceiving our first child the way we did were extremely low - virtually impossible. But we did and then he died.  How does that make sense?
  • 90% of us have had our real income go down in the last 40 years.  The top 1% income bracket has seen their income triple. Why don't the 90% of us unite and do something about it?
Life.  Human life.  I just don't get it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

PTSD, Vanity And Miscelaney

Somewhere in a post before the birth of LB back in June of 2008, I posted about being afraid I wouldn't be able to take pride in our DE child(ren).  Given my belief that we are mostly who we are programmed to be, I thought I might feel a bit removed when someone compliments my child(ren).  For the most part, that has turned out not to be true.  I still feel a bit odd when someone makes a comment like, "You make beautiful children."  My mental answer is, "Uh, that's not really me, but thanks anyway."  Usually, however, I just glow with pride. 

Maybe I am vain, but I guess I do take some credit for who they are.  Or maybe I just enjoy seeing other people appreciate and/or enjoy what I appreciate and enjoy so much.  I still think the kids are who they are and while I hope to be an influential guide, in the end I am just a guide.  The good thing is that seems to be more than enough.  I may have felt differently had they been of my genes as well but I don't believe that to be the case.  

It is on my mind today because I took the girls to the clinic where they were conceived to drop off brochures*.  It was fun showing them off.  LB even did her imitation of By.once's Ladies (well, the first couple of lines and if you didn't know what to look / listen for you would never know; but I love it).  While I really enjoyed seeing a couple of the people who helped bring about these two little loves of my life, going back to the clinic triggered a strong negative reaction.  I hoped I was sufficiently over it by now, but as I turned up the hill that heads to the clinic, my heart started racing and my palms got sweaty.  Once I was inside and committed and wasn't waiting for a blood draw and u/s, I relaxed a bit; but several hours later I am still feeling the effects.  (Or maybe it is the mocha I had for breakfast.  Don't "tsk tsk" me.  Brad is leaving for 2 days and LBII was up a lot last night.  I needed it.)

I wonder when these things will get easier.  At least I only stop by the clinic a few times a year to drop off brochures and I could always mail them in.  I would say the bigger issues are things like going to the park.  Am I the only one who goes to the park early to avoid the fertiles?   LB loves to see other kids so there is the tension between wanting to flee when fertiles show up for my sake and wanting to stay for LB's.  It never seems to fail - especially on the days I am doing well - I will overhear some parent being a complete a$$ to his/her child or talking on a cell phone the entire time or just plain producing ugly children.  No, I am not very charitable to the more fertile of our society although I make exceptions for the people I know personally.

I am sure I have said it before . . . "I'm not bitter, I am consumed with hate."  I am kidding.  Mostly.

In other news, I hurt my back the other day lunging for LBII who was about to do a face plant onto the patio.  I have never been in so much pain.  I ended up calling a babysitter to watch the girls while Brad took me to the ER for some meds.  I won't tell you how I almost made the trip in an ambulance because I couldn't figure out how to get off the floor. 

I made sure I got meds that were safe(ish) with breastfeeding, but I was so loopy afterwords I was glad Brad picked up a bottle and formula so I could sleep through the night.  As fate would have it, by the time I got back home and in bed I was wide awake again.  I swear, if the pain was an 8 when I went in, it was still a 7 with the pain meds and muscle relaxant.  Fortunately, 8 days, one deep tissue massage and two cranial-sacral massages later and I am 80% better.  I only took the meds for a day, but I am keeping the rest in case it happens again.  I am also going to start working on my core strength a little more diligently.

To end on a happy note, LB has started singing.  Can I say how much I enjoy belting out "Let's Go Fly A Kite" from Mary Poppins with our little one?  Good times.

*Local PSA:  I host a peer to peer infertility support group.  If you are in the area - Spokane, Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho - and are interested please email me at  We have a pretty active group right now and meet once a month in the evening and lately once a month during a week day.  If you are in infertility hell and don't want to talk with people who are currently parenting - I understand and will do my best to get you together with one or more of our ladies currently trying to conceive / adopt their first child.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Water

I have decided that one of the reasons I am not blogging as much lately is that I am too tired to string more that a few words together at a time.  How tired?  Sufficiently tired that yesterday morning - after 9 hours in bed - I was able to fall back asleep 4 of the 5 times I was woken up between 6 am and 7 am. 

I'm not complaining. Well, I am, but it is still worth it.

I want to follow up on that article in the previous post.  I'm not getting around to it so to put it simply and bluntly:
  • I appreciated the comments.  Thank you.
  • I agree with the comments - parenthood is rewarding, I don't regret having kids and I don't take enough time to myself (RJ - I mentally went on that solo bike ride with you)
  • Parenthood does well in studies that measure rewarding vs pleasurable activities.  That's great and all, but why shouldn't it be happier moment to moment too?
  • I wonder how infertile parents would compare to fertile ones.  I suspect we would would score better on all counts.
  • I think more time to myself is key.
  • I think lack of sleep is a big contributor to my feelings of sadness.
  • I think I am grieving the loss again of my easy-to-conceive-genetic-child-born-gently-at-home.  Or I'm just tired and this is something to pin "the blues" on.
  • After trying to notice the times I am happily parenting and not-so-happily parenting I have decided that the good times beat out the not-so-good times by around 10 to 1.
  • Which brings me to this weeks Perfect Moment Monday.
I was watering the plants around the patio when LB asked to take over.  I gave her the hose and for the next 30 minutes sat on the step while she flooded my herb garden, watered the patio, herself, the cat (well, tried), the firepit and a bench.  As she dragged the house around she would occasionally drag it right over a plant or two.

Sitting on that step in the warm summer air and watching my two year old get soaked from head to toe while potentially doing damage to the plants I worked so hard to plant and cultivate . . . well, it was wonderful.  I thought, "This is what I imagined and longed for for all of those years - moments like this."  I makes you remember how something so simple as water coming out of a hose can be so much fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Food For Thought

The article All Joy and No Fun is, I suspect, going to be making the rounds and talked about a lot in the IF world.  It explores the reasons why parents tend to be less happy than non-parents.

It is something I was aware of before LB was conceived.  I read the book Stumbling On Happiness (mentioned in the article), and at that time I came away with the theory that studies may be measuring happiness in a way that misses the happiness gained from parenting.  If I recall correctly, an example was:  Ask a non-parent, on a scale of 1-5, how happy she is at random points of the day and she might score a bunch of 3's and 4's.  Then ask a parent who is washing diapers, helping kids to school, etc and she might score a bunch of 1's but more 5's.  That is, parents may spend more time being less happy, but have moments of greater happiness and since we tend to remember the happy times more than the sad that would also explain why people's perception is that they are more happy with kids than without them.

I vowed to enjoy the 'chores' as much as possible and thought that I would have greater appreciation for those time given the time and longing I spent trying to become a parent.  I think I have done a pretty good job of that. 

And yet, as much as I hate to admit this to the infertility community, I believe I am less happy now than I was prior to trying to conceive.  I am, hands down, happier than I was while unsuccessfully trying to have a baby, especially after the birth / death of our son.

I have sometimes even thought that I would, if possible, go back in time to the Kami before TTC and tell her to forget the whole thing.  The 4 years between Ernest's death and LB's birth were horrible in so many ways.  I have changed for the worse as well as for the better, but I don't know that the net effect was positive on me or my marriage.  I wouldn't want to un-know LB or LBII and I would need a solution to the innate desire to have kids as well, so even if time travel were possible, it is more complicated than just choosing a different path; but I hope it illustrates my meaning.

The article makes some good points and also highlights a couple of things I am guilty of - not leaving enough time to myself and feeling guilty that I am not giving more time to the kids.  I think infertility adds to the guilt.  The article talks about parents feeling the need to sculpt their children - which can feel like work, but I also feel guilty because it took so long to get here and I need to make the most of every moment.

While I am typing this blog I am feeling the guilt.  I ought to be playing with LB and smiling at LBII.  They are growing up so fast and I am missing out on that at this moment.  It's sort of like waiting years to go the concert of your dreams.  You have front row seats and you are taking it all in knowing you may never do this again.  Then you have to go to the bathroom.  How can you leave the concert to waste time on that?!  But you have to, so you go, but you think about all you are missing out in the meantime.  Having kids, for me, is like being in that state 24 x 7.

In my on going effort to increase the happiness in my life, I am taking the points raised in the article to heart.  I know there needs to be a re-balancing of my time, but I don't know what that means yet.  Do I have a sitter come more often?  Do I let go of some of the guilt / responsibility I feel?  Other options I haven't thought of?  More importantly, perhaps, can I let go of the guilt and re-balance my time?

One more comment about how children has impacted our marriage.  Shortly before our son was conceived, a friend commented, "Geeze, you guys are like newlyweds!"  I smiled inwardly and thought how lucky we were to love each other so much.  By this point, we had been married for 4 years and together for 9.  Now I believe we acted like newlyweds because we had yet to have children.  I think we will recapture those feelings and habits, but I'm just not sure how or when. I don't want until the kids go off to college. 

What are your thoughts?  Do you find you are less happy if you have kids?  Are you less happy than you imagined you would be? Do you think these stats apply to you?  Do you think you will / are the exception to the rule?  What would you change if you could?  How do you think you are / will be different than the people in these studies?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


In my on going effort to be happier I have decided I need to do 3 things:  Exercise at least 30 minutes each day (shown in one study to be as effective as prozac ), eat less junk food and get more sleep.  I am not sure more sleep is attainable at this point so I have focused on the first two.

I started the exercise program about a week and a half ago and so far that is going pretty well.  It isn't too lofty a goal - I am not focusing on losing the baby fat (although that would be nice) or getting in great shape (also nice) - just looking for a mood boost.  Some days it is only a 30 minute walk, but on other days I am getting in a 45 minute bike ride.

I think it was helping, but it clearly wasn't doing enough. I decided to take the next step and cut back on the junk food.  I decided to get through just one day.  I couldn't face longer than that without ingesting some of the good stuff.

Brad joined me and yesterday was the day.  One day sans coffee, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, etc.  I would have told you I don't have a large quantity of these things, but there is some every day.  I might have a 12 oz double iced mocha (mmmm . . . mocha . . . ) in the morning and a 1/2 slice of chocolate mousse cake (from a local bakery - heaven!) in the evening. Perhaps a handful of chocolate chips to get me through the afternoon.  Chronic sleep deprivation has left me going for the next best thing: sugar.

When Brad and I compared notes last night, it turns out we were both feeling very anxious all day.  I went for a 20 minute bike ride to see my sister's soccer game and was so worried about falling and not being able to get my feet disconnected from the clipless pedals or that a car would not see us (I was towing the girls*) that I almost felt that I didn't have it in me to ride home.  I was ready to call my OB to see if maybe my hormones were really messed up. I was imagining the rest of my life being changed by panic attacks.

Nope.  Just withdrawal. It certainly confirms that I may be consuming a few too many empty calories.  With that realization, I am going junk food free today too.  I make no promises about tomorrow.  My long term goal is to reduce the need / consumption of the best stuff on earth junk food but I have no illusions that I would eliminate it all together.

Brad, on the other hand, decided to join his coworkers as they celebrate Mocha Thursday.  His text message to me this morning: "I am but a bag of chemicals.  With the right additives - I run as smooth as a top."

* "the girls"  Wow.  I still can't believe I get to say that. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

One Year Ago

This time last year I was waiting for the call to find out if our one frozen embryo would survive the thaw (we were given a 50% chance) and we would have something to transfer.  Amazingly, we did.  I remember taking the phone call in the kitchen.  Nice Nurse called with the good news and I shouted with glee.  Goodness knows I had been on the wrong side of good odds before.  Amazing that the slow-growing embryo not only thawed (thank you, Uncle Jimmy - the embryologist) but stuck around and gave LB a little sister.  Once again, I am struck by how lucky we are in so many ways.

Some stats:

LBII was born exactly 9 months after transfer (June 26th to March 26th).

LB was born exactly 9 months  after their conception. (Sept 20th to June 20th)

They were both born on a Friday

No, not magic - just coincidence but it is fun to notice.

Oh, and I missed it, but on June 10th was my third blogoversary.  I started blogging about the time we made the decision to move to donor eggs.  I thought I was the only one who had a mutually genetic baby die only to never have another one.  I soon found out that I was not alone.  Thanks to all the ladies out there in the blogosphere for your support along the way.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Do You Believe In Magic?

I recently came across a post about a message in a fortune cookie and how the writer hoped it was a good omen.  I suddenly felt saddened.  It was a reaction I found a bit surprising until I realized I was sad because I no longer believe in magic. It is like learning that there is no Santa Clause.  That the magic you thought was real was only just pretend.

If you had asked me earlier in our journey, I would have told you that I was not superstitious.  I might have admitted to being somewhat spiritual, but not religious.  If you asked me out right if there was a god, I would have told you, "I don't know, but I hope so."  I would have told you that I did not believe in magic.

But I did.

There was the time before our first or second IVF when Brad and I both got fortune cookie fortunes that seemed to predict a successful cycle.  There was the time when I biked to work shortly after an IUI when two geese - perched higher up on a rock than I had ever seen them - took flight just as I passed them and flew directly overhead.  There was the time 'the church ladies' (my affectionate term for the ladies I dance with) prayed over me.  There were the too-numerous-to-count times I meditated and visualized a baby coming into our lives and I felt it.  I believed there was an energy in the universe I could tap into.

I wanted and needed to believe that I had some control.  That maybe there was a being or 'energy' out there that had more power than I did.

Here I will ask my readers to please not take offense if you do believe in they type of magic I am referring to.  It is a wonderful thing and despite my strong views, I recognize I may still be wrong.  Even if I am right, believing in a magic that doesn't exist is probably worth it.

I know that I said that I became an atheist the day I realized Ernest was going to die, but in reality I let go of the hope in a god or power beyond me or magic much more slowly.  In retrospect, on that day I let go of a notion that there was God (with a capital G) who interfered - who took notice and answered prayers.  I had decided that, while there may still be some kind of spiritual energy, there was no direct interference.  Plus I wanted to believe there was life after death  - that I would see Ernest again.

As our infertility struggles wore on, I slowly let go of that belief as well.  I came to understand that the universe is wholly natural.  Life is as it is - just random chaos. There are times when I wish I could go back to believing in magic, but just as most of us never again believe in Santa Claus, I doubt there will be a time I can convince myself that there are other kinds of magic.

Now I read posts that talk about faith or spirituality and I don't know what to say, so I stay silent.  It's not that I don't appreciate the alternative viewpoint, but I can't really agree and disagreeing would be less than appreciated.  I guess I am saying, "It's not you, it's me."

The part of me that is still angry wants to add that I have witnessed miracles.  You know, a series of unlucky events that lead to a surprising outcome.  I just don't limit it to happy outcomes.  Why praise a god when it works out and not blame him/her when it doesn't? 

We conceived Ernest with less than 400,000 post wash motile sperm on an unmedicated cycle.  Most RE's won't even do an IUI with less than 10 times that amount and those cycles are usually medicated.  What were the odds?  One in a million?  One in ten million?  Then he died of an extremely rare non-inherited (based on the geneticist best guess) birth defect.  His chromosomes were normal (well, obviously not really normal but they looked good and there was the right amount of them. There must have been something wrong with the genes or how they were expressed).  What were the odds of that?  A miracle conception and a miracle death.

No, I'm not over it.  Yes, I am still trying to be happier

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Two Years

Two years ago today I was living the drama of LB's birth. It is amazing how slowly two years of trying to conceive lasts compared to two years on 'the other side'.  She is growing so fast which is fun and exciting and challenging and all the things that we hoped for.

Right now we are especially enjoying her new verbal skills.  On my second day back to work, she crawled into the chair behind me as I was at my computer and said "Move over please.  It's my turn."  When I was trying to calm her with a saying I have used in the past that made her laugh ("all is well!"), I got to "all" and she said, "No, no, no, don't say that!"  I hope calling me by my first name is a phase . . . "Hey Kami, can you come in here?  Play toys me?"

Just the same, it is delightful to hear what is on her mind.  We are also spending far too much time together watching videos. I always promised myself that I would never use the tv as a babysitter.  While it is technically a computer and the content is 99% music videos (everything from Sting to Veggie Tales), I still feel a bit guilty.  I also go to bed with catchy kids songs stuck in my head.  Case in point below.  If you aren't singing it to yourself the first time, try watching it again.

Happy Birthday LB!  Thanks for making me a mom (again)!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just Another Quick Update

There was a helicopter crash two houses behind mine two weeks ago.  I watched it drop out of the sky and was sure the pilot died. He did.  It was very sad and later I learned that a friend of mine was good friends with the pilot.  As they say, "It's a small world."

The reason I am blogging about it was that the evening news interviewed me like they do when something interesting happens in a neighborhood.  I believe they picked me because they saw I had two small children (we were just back from a walk and sitting on the porch).  I kept thinking of PJ's pieces 'as a mother' where she takes news articles and changes 'as a mother' to 'as an infertile'.  As if I had a more important perspective because (gasp!) my kids could have been killed!  Despite how they portrayed me, I am not worried about another such accident.  And when they asked me if I had something else to add, I did not say what I was thinking, "I know I look fertile, but I am not and having kids does not make me an authority on either helicopter crashes or the mood of the neighborhood."

In news closer to home, I am back to work in my part-time-from-home role.  It was a tough first day because I always had one of the kids in my lap.  LB is having a hard time readjusting and we are all adjusting to having two kids instead of one.  By the end of my 4 hour day, I was so sad I felt like crying.  I couldn't even tell you why.  It really wasn't that hard and normally I would get frustrated not sad while trying to juggle a kid and work. It makes me wonder where that feeling was coming from. Well, we shall figure it all out in time.

Despite the transition to work, things are going well here. I am still very happy and relieved to be done trying to conceive.  Yesterday I (virtually) sat with Sarah as she waited for her beta.  I believe it was her 7th IVF but the first with donor gametes (DS/DE).  It was one of those cycles that just has to work, but yet you know it might not (I guess they are all that was to some degree).  It brought back how awful that space it.  Such hope and fear and dread and hope and anxiety and hope and you can't really know what it is like unless you have been there. Thankfully and wonderfully, she got a great first beta.

Finally a picture Leah snapped on the way back from from riding the carousel.  The blue fabric over my arm is the baby sling I should have been using.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fifteen Minute Drive By

It has been crazy busy in the Brad and Kami household. Between the two kids we get very little sleep and very little downtime.  On a whim we texted LB's favorite person in the world and asked if she could babysit.  She gave us a blessed couple of hours so with LBII sitting next to me I am going to give a quick update.

Resemblance Talk:
I have really enjoyed seeing how LB and LBII look similar.  For some reason, I find it more warm and fuzzy then seeing how they look like their dad.  It is as close as I am going to get to the feelings I may have had seeing me in them.  People tell me it is no big deal, but I think I would have enjoyed it.  I consider myself fortunate to get a matched pair.

Only Human:
My OB has fallen from his idealized position.  Based on chart notes and pictures, I am convinced my OB is not being honest with me about why he got me back into bed from pushing on the floor and decided to do a vacuum extraction and why he did the episiotomy.  I don't know why he couldn't tell me the truth.  I would have settled for "it was in my best judgement at the time."  Instead, I will have to wonder if it was "I panicked" or "On hands and knees on the floor without constant monitoring was just too far outside of my comfort zone" or "I deliver babies, I can't just let them be born!"

He may have forgotten that his notes indicated the baby went from a +2 to a +3 station when he told me a week later that I was making no progress on the floor, but 8 hours after the birth the nurse told me he charted - in detail - that I was tearing and he made 3 cuts (as in "tearing so I cut a first degree, tearing more so cut second degree . . .).  I have a picture showing my perineum was completely intact when he made the cut and multiple witnesses said he did it all at once.  No longer "Dr Wonderful", he is "Dr Better Than Most OB's"

I still want to like and trust him.  I guess it is good I won't be having any more babies so it really isn't an issue.

Donor Egg Grief:
I won't say I am 100% ok with how things turned out.  I think, given the chance, I would have a third kid if I knew I could have a healthy genetic baby.  But I love our two girls with all my heart, feel extremely fortunate to even have two kids and the DE thing rarely crosses my mind these days.  If I didn't have a kid's book about DE conception, I would be afraid I would forget to tell them.

Frenulum Surgery:
Pediatrician's tend not to think it helps, but we were struggling with breastfeeding for 6 weeks before we saw a lactation consultant who suggested it.  It made a huge difference.  LBII couldn't suck hard enough to keep my breast in her mouth, but that changed as soon as the surgery was over.  We were doing ok intake wise before, but I had to hold my breast in her mouth and she would be worn out by then end of the day so she would nurse/sleep/nurse/sleep multiple times in a very short time.  I recommend it if an experienced lactation consultant suggests it.

Times Up:
Baby crying, gotta go.  Hopefully my next post won't be two weeks away.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Love And Hate

I have spend a good part of the last nine years alternately loving and hating our dog Ender.  He has been mentioned in a few posts even though I would say I liked my cats better who I have never been mentioned.  I guess there is something about dogs and the way they interact with their humans.  My cats never ate freshly baked loves of bread off of the kitchen counter.  They wouldn't have been capable of eating 10 pounds of frozen hamburger in the 90 minutes we were gone.  Neither would they have been able to eat through a tupperware dish to get to my forgotten lunch in the time it takes to go around the block and run back in the house.  I have told Brad that I feel repeatedly victimized by him.  Of course, Brad's very good argument is that I should have had the foresight to keep these items out of Ender's reach.  We got in a few fights over it, I am sad to say.

I have also been frustrated by the amount of dog hair, the drool on the floor after he drinks, the barking that could wake up a sleeping baby, ruts in the lawn.  Normal dog behavior, but I am not much of a dog lover.

But he was also the dog who went for walks with me almost every day while were were trying to conceive.  There is a fenced field near our hours that is about 1.5 miles long.  I could take him off-leash and he would stay near without any effort from me.  He was a companion who I didn't have to talk to yet I didn't feel alone.  He was the kindest dog I have ever known.  I have seen him aggressive three times - all when he was attacked by another dog.  Each time he was on top of the dog in a matter of seconds.  As Brad has been fond of saying, "He was the hardest hitting dog in Schutzhund class."  He was the hardest hitting and he always did it with his tail wagging.  He was also gentle with LB and I felt safer knowing he would and could protect her if needed.

After seeming under the weather for a couple of days we took him to the vet last night.  He had a tender abdomen and very high white blood cell count.  They sent him home with antibiotics.  He seemed be getting better.  He died late this morning.

Good bye, Ender.  I'm sorry I wasn't more kind to you after LB was born.  I hope LB keeps saying "Back door Ender" (translation: Let's go out the back door with Ender) for a little while longer.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Good Friday

Thank you, thank you oh wise women of the blogosphere.  Such wonderful and thoughtful comments on my previous post.  I am taking them all to heart.  I plan on being especially appreciative and mindful of my good fortune to be a mother this Sunday. I may also take advantage of a warmer day to go for a bike ride - my first ride of the season if all goes well.

Now I want to back up a bit and give a little background to the previous post.  It is a subject I intended to blog about several weeks ago but never got around to it.  It started the day LBII was born and solidified a week later on Good Friday. (No, I haven't found God or anything, I just remember it being that day because I was going to blog about it for Perfect Moment Monday . . . "Perfect Moment Monday: Good Friday" . . . catchy, no? )

For better and worse, Brad and I knew without doubt that we were done trying to conceive as soon as LBII was born and apparently healthy.  I would be lying if I said it has never occurred to me to try for a third, but I think that is mostly from my desire to finally get it right and have a home birth.  Besides, two kids keep us plenty busy, I am already 42 years old (Brad 41) and it would cost us approximately $30,000 just for the chance.  Although Brad is completely supportive of trying for and having a third child (as in, "You and your next husband can go right ahead with that."), we know it isn't really in the cards.

That can be rather freeing.  Our lives are no longer on hold the way they can be while trying to conceive.  We no longer need to plan our entire lives around how much it will cost, when it will happen and what we will do if it does or doesn't work. We can (gasp!) make plans about other things.  Like our first trip to Disneyland or shopping for a new house, or finding a different job in a warmer climate or getting back in shape emotionally and physically.  In those first few days, Brad and I talked more than a few times about how it feels like our lives are unfolding and opening up again.  Brad bought a new bicycle and will start biking to work.  I imagined getting back to my pre-treatment body and enjoyed not feeling the weight of infertility on my shoulders.

I continued to let the possibilities percolate in the back of my mind.  Then a week after LBII was born, on Good Friday by chance, something happened.  We will all sitting on the couch.  LB was asleep on one end of the couch, I was holding LBII who was also sleeping and Brad was sitting next to me.  It was unusually quiet in the house and it was a rainy day.  We sat there for over two hours listening to the rain, occasionally talking, just sitting and dozing off for a bit.  It was just incredibly peaceful.  I looked out the window and watched the rain and enjoyed just being and appreciating all that we have.  Then it occurred to me that I could do it.  That now was the time.  I could let go of my negative, angry, bitter tendencies.  This is our new beginning and it is the time to create new habits.

It was like knowing you need to get into better shape and suddenly finding the motivation to actually start exercising more.  Since then, I would like to think that I have been continuing to move in a positive direction.  I am still in the early stages and time will tell whether I end up svelte or back on the couch.  I'm not taking big steps - no crash diets, just trying to create a lifestyle change I can live with long term.

Currently I am trying to notice when I felt that tension in my body and mind - whether it is about infertility or something as trivial as the dog tracking mud into the house.  That alone has been quite the revealing.  I spend a huge amount of time wishing things were just a little bit better. When I remember and am willing to practice, I try to let the tension go by acknowledging it and then countering it with something positive.  My mental thoughts might be something like this: "Dog.  Mud.  Frustrating. (breathe) Easy to clean. All is well."

Much to my surprise, it isn't that hard.  I mean it is, because I forget or am unwilling to try; but it isn't in that when I am willing to try it usually works. In an instant I am in a better mood.  And just like starting to trim up a bit gives you motivation to keep exercising and dreaming about the bikini you will wear, changing a moment from negative to positive keeps me going and dreaming of all the more time I will spend happy instead of sad.

That, dear readers, is why I asked for your advice.  I noticed all the negative energy surrounding the coming holiday, but couldn't figure out how to turn it positive.  Your collective advice was spot on.  I think, as funny as this sounds, I needed to hear it was ok to stop hating the day.  I also feel very good about marking the day in a personal way without "celebrating" the day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It Is May

Well, THAT holiday has come around again.  I am fortunate to have found a way to be a mother, but I know so many of you are still walking that path. First and foremost, I want to wish you all peace during this weekend as well as motherhood down the road - hopefully not a long road.  I know, As if it hasn't been a long road already.

To those of you still trying for that Someday Baby, I will you forgive me for asking, but I was hoping to get some ideas as to how I should pass this Sunday.  I still hate it.  I cringe whenever I hear an ad or the M-word gushing that seems ever present this time of year.  We need this holiday like Hallmark needs to sell more cards. Oh, wait.  That's the point isn't it?  If my family appreciates what I do for them then I hope it would be on any day not just this one day.  Why don't we change it to "Woman's Day" where we honor any woman who is important to us?  Why should we only be honored if we are able to reproduce?  Either that or just get rid of it all together.  I would be good with that.

My regular readers will not be surprised to hear that I am both still bitter and angry.  Oh, and negative as well.  I really think it is time to start letting this negative energy go and maybe finding a better way through this weekend is a good place to start - or at least practice.

But how to do it?  I can't see myself doing anything typical to mark the day.  That would seem like a betrayal to my infertile sisters who continue to feel the ache.  But doing what I did last year - trying to ignore it like so many previous years - only seemed to add another layer of tension since I was actually a mother.

Any thoughts?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Falling In Love

It has been a bit chaotic in the Kami-Brad household.  I have been trying to keep up with everyone's blogs but haven't carved out the time to comment in most cases.  I apologize for that.

Having kid number two has been quite a different experience.  Some things are easier and some things harder.  I am very happy that I didn't need to recover from major surgery and I am getting about as much sleep as I have for the last couple of years - not enough but no painful transition either.  We also didn't really have to go through reorganizing our division of labor that is so hard on a marriage in the beginning.

The hardest part is feeling ok with the amount of time I have for LB and LBII.  They seemed to be surviving but I have been in tears over LBII being left to cry while I am tending to LB or LB monologuing about all the things she would rather be doing rather than play by herself.

From the moment of LBII's birth, I have struggled.  I know not everyone bonds with their baby on first sight and I have left space for those feelings to grow, but it comes with some guilt.  When LB was born we had waited 6 years to hold our Someday Baby.  I was beyond excited and then my time was all for her.  I was madly in love from the first moment.

By the time LBII was born on the third night of labor I was more relieved than excited.  I was happy to see her, but it wasn't the same.  Then we began our life as a family of four and my time and attention is divided.  There have been times I felt LBII was getting in the way from me spending time with the child I really loved - my nearly 2 year old toddler. We were closing in on 5 weeks with LBII and she still seemed distant to me.

Then a few days ago, I was changing LBII's diaper and I was making faces at her.  She gave me the biggest smile! And I realized something was going on and had been going on for days if not weeks.  I had just been to busy to notice.  I realized I was falling in love.

Thank you to Lori for reminding me to notice these perfect moments.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Can I Blame It On Hormones?

The only thing harder than trying to create a certain outcome - especially when it comes to my body, is trying to create a certain outcome for something that is already in the past.

Stop. Thinking. About. It. Kami.

Life is good now.  Enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

important detail

LBII is a girl. 

Our family is complete and we will never need to try to conceive again.  Thank goodness for that.

Thank you all so much for the support and congratulations.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy Birthday LBII

My apologies for the delay.  Crazy times with two kids.

LBII was born at 1:12 AM March 26th after 48 hours of labor and an additional 4.5 hours of pushing.

I went to the hospital after nearly 30 hours of labor.  It wasn't constant.  It kept slowing down and becoming ineffective.  It was my choice.  I was giving up.  I believe it was my own lack of confidence in my body (thank you, infertility) and fear of the lack of control that labor and birth brings that stalled my labor.  I am very sad about this now as I knew I would be.  I wish I would have kept trying, but my rational minds knows I was doing all that I could and made the best decision possible at the time.  There is much more to this part of the story - and some amazingly wonderful moments which I hope to share later.

At the hospital, Dr. Wonderful followed my hopes and gave me every chance for a vaginal birth even though he didn't believe I could (he kept encouraging me, but I could tell).  He also let me down in a couple of very important ways, but his belief system and I knew that going in.  I hope to share more of this story too.

In the end, despite spending most of the pushing phase on my back and pushing uphill (why do they continue to do this in hospitals?!); I pushed out a 8 pound 15 oz, 21.2" baby with very little epidural to the point that I got out of bed at about the 3.5 hour mark to push in a lunge position.  Thank God my midwife was around who offered this suggestion because it completely turned things around.  I am convinced that it would have been a c-section had we not done the things we did prior to going to the hospital and had my OB not been willing to let me out of bed.  That is a victory.

A longer post will come for those who may care to read it  and I don't want to give out all the best parts, but I want to thank Leah for sticking it out with Brad and I throughout and for taking some pictures - at great personal cost.

I also want to thank my midwife who was with me for all three failed home births, yet leaned close to me after LBII was born and whispered, "I am so proud of you."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


At my midwife's suggestion I did my best to get some rest.  It was somewhat successful.  I think I dozed for a few minutes here and there between contractions - usually at least 8-10 minutes apart. It is now 6 AM and although I am exhausted, I think it may have been for the best.  I don't do as well emotionally at night.

The sun is just coming up and I am having a week moment.  I don't feel like doing this right now.  I will rally. What choice do I have?  As far as it is within my control I am doing this at home. I am thinking of all of you and feeling your energy.

I just posted this, but logging back in to say that I feel better already knowing my fertility-challenged sisters are out there.  Whether you have given birth or not, whether you have a child or not; we have all gone through worse than a day of labor. 


LB is catching a cold and not sleeping well.  I try to nurse her back to sleep and although she keeps signing milk and crying louder and louder she isn't nursing.  I offer her some water and when I sit her up I realize her cheek is covered in milk.  My milk has come in and her life is changed forever.  I hope in the long term for the better, but I feel so bad for her now.  Tears are streaming down my face.

Brad is putting her back to sleep and she is calming down.  I am feeling terribly guilty, but I can't focus on her right now.  It is not soon enough, but still too soon.  I need to focus on her little brother or sister.  It is 1:30 AM and I am in early labor.  Is this what it will be like?  Torn between focusing on one or comforting another?  I know we will find a way, but right now it is heartbreaking.

Oh, if you are up at this hour, wish me luck.  I will update when I can.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Encourage, Discouraged, and Encouraged Again

No, no baby yet.  At least not one I can hold in my arms.  Apparently LBII is just too comfortable.

I was very encouraged by the comments in my previous post.  Thank you very much.

I have to say I was very bummed when the equinox came and went.  I was feeling like my body had let me down again.  Maybe I will feel that way again if things don't turn around, but I find I am encouraged again.

Surprisingly I made it to my OB appointment today.  I really thought I would have this kid before the equinox but then as it got closer I was sure it would be on the equinox.  Now it is two days past, I am 41 weeks and 1 day - the same as when LB was born after I went into labor spontaneously - and still no sign that things are changing.

My OB, a self described 'vaginal birth advocate' is just fine with waiting until 42 weeks before wanting to intervene.  We talked about how things might go at that point and a cesarean birth is most likely.  If my cervix is favorable we might be able to induce, but I'm not sure if I would want to take that chance.  Before my cesarean I always said I would never induce / augment a VBAC.  Of course, I could ignore his advice and go longer than 42 weeks, but I'm not sure I would want to make that decision either.  The chances of still birth start to go up after 42 weeks per the literature my OB has followed, but I don't know what that means . . . from 1 in 1000 to 2 in 1000? I guess I would have to know more, but even if the chances were small it would be tough to go against his advice on that one.

I am very much hoping we won't get to that point.

The good news is that both my OB and midwife are confident that I will go into labor on my own before the week is out.  They both said gestation times are determined by the baby and full siblings tend to go about the same amount of time.  I am crossing my fingers.  I hope the next post is about labor starting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Holding Pattern

I am 40 weeks and 4 days today and although each night for the past week or so I would swear labor is imminent if not already getting started, the next morning I am back to neutral. I think I am just more warn out by the end ot the day so it just seems like things are moving along.  I went into labor spontaneously at 41 weeks and a day with LB so I ought to be more patient.

The good and the bad about waiting is that Mach 20th would be the best birth day for LBII. It is the Spring Equinox and since LB was born on the Summer Solstice it would be a great pair. The downside is my buddy who was there for both Ernest's and LB's birth will be leaving town on the 19th for a week. I really want her to be there.  She is wonderful support, but I will survive either way.

Speaking of surviving, I feel the need to document - just in case things go terribly wrong - that I am not unaware of the added risk inherent in a planned VBAC homebirth.  If my uterus does rupture things are pretty grim for LBII, but wouldn't be much better in a hospital - death is not uncommon. One may argue that the chances of a rupture are higher in a hospital due to the increased chance of intervention. But then, I am sure death is more likely if the rupture happens at home.

In the intervention subject, I did a bit more research after posting on my blog that the chance of a rupture after cesarean was 4 out of 1000.  Some readers commented that those did not include augmented and/or induced labor but I found the studies I read (which had around the same odds) did indeed include augmented and/or induced labor.  My own OB will induce / augment with a VBAC although he said it needs to be done more gently.  I have also found, to my surprise, that there is a chance of rupture with no prior cesareans so we are not even comparing 4 / 1000 to 0 / 1000.

A couple of articles for anyone interested in more. The first is a study about planned homebirths and the second is an article about the NIH recommending a new look about guidelines around a VBAC.  Then I read this article which basically says not to believe anything you read because scientists don't understand statistics.

What can you do?  For me, I am still hoping for that homebirth VBAC and I am still seeing Dr. Wonderful (my OB) just in case.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Home Stretch

I am 39 weeks and 2 days along today.  If my OB and midwife are correct, in all likelihood this baby will stay content in his/her current home until closer to the 41 week mark.  But of course, we all know that statistics are great when looking at a group, but not so great when it comes down to looking at an individual.

With that in mind, we are doing our best to prepare ourselves and our home.  For better or worse, in the Kami and Brad household, that means not a whole lot has been done.  LB has transitioned to having Daddy put her to sleep at night and we have a toddler bed along our bed which she has used for 2 - 1/2 nights (waking up and crawling into bed with us in the wee morning hours) and 1 full night. Such a big girl!

Unfortunately, that is the extend of our preparedness.  Oh, wait!  We ordered the liner for the birthing pool and it has arrived.  Diapers?  Nope!  Nursery?  Well, LB never got one so I don't expect to have one for LBII.  We also don't have other home birth supplies, or infant clothes / receiving blankets washed.  Names picked out?   Not yet, but we have time for that.  We do have some onsies and such that LB used and Brad, being the romantic that he is, took it upon himself to get one outfit for baby II so that, "he or she can have at least one outfit that his just his or hers."  It never occurred to me to do this.  That's reason number 342 why I love him so much.

I also had a lovely baby shower (and got some more cute clothes!) which was something I was afraid to do with LB.  I didn't want to have to rid my house of too many baby things if she died.  I am more willing to risk it this time and I have more faith that it will work out.  Not that there are any guarantees.

That leaves mentally preparing for the birth and for having two kids (hopefully) after the birth.  The latter is easy in a way because it will work out whether I am ready or not.  There are moments when I am looking forward to it and there are moments when I am scared of the impact another infant will have.  This 42 year old body is feeling it's age right now. The former sometimes scares me - I want it to work out closer to the way I envisioned the first two births working out so badly.  Then there are times I feel I am doing all that I can toward that goal and, again, there are just guarantees, so I am trying to be open to all possible paths.*

I had been feeling like I am in the two week wait from hell (not that it is as bad as the fertility treatment 2 week waits) and then last week I caught a nasty cold / possible sinus infection. Suddenly I can wait for labor because I don't have the energy right now.  I need to get over whatever this is first.  This is the 9th day and my OB just called in an antibiotic prescription just in case it is a bacterial sinus infection.  I am pretty sure I will give it a try.  Not too much harm done if it is viral and I would love to feel better and sleep better at night.

If I don't get another post in before labor, I will at least post when that starts.  It's crazy to think that I could suddenly find myself birthing our second and final kid and then we will be a family of four.

Oh! That reminds me of a couple stories from my last visit with my therapist.  I had booked an appointment in hopes that I could work out any issues that may impede me mentally while in labor with LBII.  I was telling KJ (therapist) that I wasn't convinced that LB needed to be born by cesarean - maybe a different mental state could have changed the outcome.  Before telling me that I should just let that go - it is what it is and it was likely needed - she had me pretend I was sitting across from myself a few years ago.  I was sobbing and nearly convinced I was never going to have a child.  The memory carries enough grief that I started crying - nearly sobbing.  Then KJ said, "Now tell yourself, 'The next thing you are going to worry about is whether or not you needed that c-section.'"  And then I was laughing through my tears.  Yeah, I got the baby.  It's a wonderful thing and the c-section seems trivial compared to that.

Then, to just illustrate what a thoughtful and compassionate therapist I have, KJ had me sneak out of the office.  Really.  I quickly ducked into the bathroom across the hall as she greeted her next client - her body blocking any view of mine as she did so.  After the client was brought back into the office, I quickly made my way out of the building.

Why the stealthy exit?  KJ just remembered she was about to see another infertility patient who desperately wants to be pregnant and didn't want her to see my big belly.  Before the subterfuge, I gave KJ a big hug to give to her next client.  Not that KJ could tell her that it came from someone else, not that it would really make a difference; but I hoped, somehow, her next client might feel that she is a little less alone.

*Ha!  Rereading this I discovered this is a lie.  I am really not open to a hospital and/or cesarean birth.  Intellectually, I know that can happen, but I am not open to it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Thank You

Before I get to the "thank you" of this post, I would like to thank all the lovely ladies who commented on my last post. It is good to reminded I am not alone and not the only bitter infertile out there.

As for the "thank you" topic for this Perfect Monday post, I'm not sure I will able to capture how important this "thank you" I received meant to me, but I will try.

One evening last week, Brad and I took LB for a walk in her stroller. It was a damp, dark, but pleasant evening. We were enjoying the time to connect with each other since LB was quite sleepy and content to just take in the scenery. The topic of conversation turned to LB and we gushed to each other about what a great kids she is and how much fun we have with her.

I told Brad about how, the other night, I sat and watched LB sleeping and just couldn't get my mind around how she came to be here. In our lives. Sometimes she just seems almost a stranger (for lack of a better word). Here is this amazing human being unfolding right before our eyes. How did we get to be so lucky? Who is this person? Where did she come from?

It was an awe-some moment, if you get my meaning. I then suggested that part of my disbelief might stem from her being the product of another woman's eggs. Maybe if I looked at her and saw my eyebrows (very much her donor's) or my chin (her dad's) or something identifiable as clearly of me; the whole thing wouldn't seem so mysterious. I wasn't complaining or sad, just making an observation.

My dear husband had the most wonderful reply. He has said things similar in the past or perhaps even the exact same thing and I just heard it differently that night. Before I had heard reassurance in my role as LB's mother. That day, I heard gratitude.

He said, "Thank you." And I heard:  Thank you for doing whatever it took. Thank you for bringing into existence this little girl - the one that I love so much.

Thank you, love of my life, for saying so.  And thank you for keeping me going when I wanted to stop.

For other Perfect Moments this Monday, please visit Lori's blog

Friday, January 29, 2010

Issues? Me?

Please Note: This is a 'poor me' post about being pregnant after infertility. If you are not in a space to read about anyone, let alone an infertile, complaining about being pregnant then please skip this one.

I have recently realized I have issues - issues surrounding being pregnant and giving birth.

I did before too, but I tried my best not to think about it. Not entirely true - I did think about it, but didn't think it would effect the birth experience. And maybe it didn't. Certainly I tried enough positive thinking, imagery, meditation, you name it - all failed - during the infertility journey to doubt their efficacy during birth.

There was also my first birth experience. Let me tell you how ready I was to give birth at 27 weeks and knowing that immediately after the baby was born to be faced with life and death decisions. I was not prepared at all - for any of it. Not for the physical pain. Not for the emotional experience of being in labor. Not for being more convinced than not that the baby would die. Not for what it would be like to hold our dying or dead baby. Not for the image in my head of a limp baby trying to find his way out of the birth canal. Not even the tiniest fraction of any of it.

Yet I gave birth vaginally and without drugs. Despite not being mentally ready. Despite checking out emotionally because I didn't see any other way. Despite doing all the things 'wrong' that those natural birth books talk about - my body did it. Quite on it's own, it found a way to push out a baby I so desperately didn't want to see born - at least not yet and not how I was so afraid it would be (and was).

Going into LB's birth, I also wasn't ready. I couldn't allow myself to believe I would be a mother. There were moments it did seem possible. There were moments I could embrace and celebrate being pregnant, but I couldn't really believe I would be a mom. After six years, one neonatal death, two miscarriages and more compromises than I care to count; I knew with certainty that it could all still go to hell and we would be left childless. Since I could not allow myself to believe that it would actually work out, I also couldn't allow myself to prepare either for the birth or for having a child in our home afterward.

Not a problem. I allowed myself a few onsies, I had breasts to breastfeed and I ordered a diaper service. I had all I needed for a baby to come home. As for the birth process? I had my midwife and a home. The rest was left up to my body. It worked before, it would work again.

But it didn't (not that it wasn't still wonderful in many ways) - at least not the way I wanted. I am mostly convinced that there was nothing I could have done about it - that it was the double nuchal cord that caused LB's heart rate to drop every time she tried to descend which led to the cesarean birth. But I also had, per some studies, a tired uterus (my contractions were slow to build and slow to recede by the time I got to the hospital). There is some indication that this can be caused or made worse by a build up of adrenaline. Was my body responding to my mind's inability to face what may come - for good or ill - by pumping out extra adrenalin? Could I have made a difference if I had been more mentally prepared?

While I feel that the likelihood is small, this time around - my last ever chance for the birth I imagined twice already- it is beyond important that we at least have a birth a bit closer to that ideal. That is, a home birth with a live baby. It is so important that whenever I verbally express my hope, tears come to my eyes.

To that end I have been doing what I can to prepare (fortunately this time around I can imagine having a live baby and am willing to take the emotional risk to plan for it). One of the things I have recently been doing it rereading a book I read before Ernest was born: Birthing From Within. In the second chapter, it encourages you to do 'birth art' - basically drawing a picture on a particular topic and see what comes out. Rather than participate fully, I just visualized what I would draw. The first topic: Draw yourself as pregnant woman.

Pregnant woman?! I am NOT pregnant woman. Pregnant Woman is arrogant and boastful and undeserving. Pregnant Woman walks around in tight maternity shirts, rubbing her belling. Pregnant Woman thinks she is all that when she is really just lucky and has no idea how lucky she is. Pregnant Woman is fertile and I hate everything about her.

I wasn't quite expecting such an angry response. I felt my whole body stiffen. I am not one of those people. And I am pregnant.

Suddenly, as I stop to reread the last two paragraphs, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Remember the phrase, "I'm not bitter, I'm just consumed with hate."? That's me.

It's all good. I am pregnant, the baby is seemingly healthy and it has all gone remarkably easy so far. I just have some work to do. It might even help. Thanks for listening.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Taking The Long Way Home

After dropping Brad off at work late last week, I was almost home when I realized I didn't want to go home yet. For whatever reason (sleepy? hormones?) I was feeling blue and going home to do some laundry and get ready for work just didn't sound good. I didn't know where I was heading, but I skipped the turn that would take us home and instead continued north over the river near our home.

Where to go? Up the hill to the winery and enjoy the view for a few minutes? North to visit family for a bit?

Ahhh . . . left to the trail by the river. That's it.

Almost directly across from our house, but on the other side of the river, LB and I took a little walk. We had some stale bread left in the car to feed the ducks and we took that with us (I know . . . bad for the ducks. Does it help that it was whole wheat?).

It was a wonderful 30 minutes or so. The Canada Geese turned out to be a bit aggressive so we quickly jettisoned all 3 pieces of bread (after imagining a goose taking LB's finger along with the bread) and headed for high ground. Soon we returned to throw rocks in the water and watch the action. Such a peaceful, happy time. I'm so glad I trusted my instinct to keep driving.

A cell phone picture from that day:

For other Perfect Moments this Monday visit Lori's blog.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Heart for Adoption

My good friend Leah is going forward with adopting a second child and could use a little help.

After 5 IVF transfers at the ripe old age of 28 (and given a 97% chance of success), she was unsuccessful in bringing a child to term. After spending tens of thousands on fertility treatments she moved on to international adoption and after a few more tens of thousands (and living in-country fostering her child for 8 months) she brought home her beautiful daughter, Maya.

Now she is hoping to give Maya a sibling via domestic adoption.

No, I am not asking for a donation, just that you purchase one or more of these lovely chocolate hearts for Valentine's day. They are 5.25 oz of great quality Guittard chocolate.

Just go to Leah's blog and let her know you are interested. More detail is in the flier below. Feel free to Please pass it on to your friends.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So There!

How I got a little bit even with a fertile:

This is the story about how I, unintentionally believe it or not, horrified a fertile. In the retelling, it isn't as good as I remember it. The memory is just as good, but it just isn't the same if you weren't there or perhaps if you weren't me at the time. This happened just over a year ago at my husband's work kid Christmas party.

A little background first. The person in question - I will call her Lisa - was married to "Dan". They both worked for my husband's company as did I when Ernest was thought of, conceived, born and died. I used to work in the same department as Dan. Before Brad started working there, Dan and I would regularly go for walks on our lunch break. Often the conversation turned to money. Money was important to Dan. He said, again and again, that money was a means to an end for him. Money bought freedom - the freedom of time (as opposed to spending 40 hours / week; 50 weeks per year working for someone else). More then once he painted a picture of him with a kid or two and maybe fixing up houses for a side business. Given the flexible nature of that kind of job, he would have a lot more time to spend with his kid(s).

Dan was quite frugal and also invested well. When Dan and Lisa married (also frugal) at the age of 41 (her) and 40 (him) they each owned a house outright. I know he had many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars invested. Dan moved into sales and Lisa was promoted and together I know they made over $200,000 / year.

Brad and I were trying to conceive when Dan and Lisa got married. Given their advanced age, they immediately started investigating adoption. Then a bit less than a year in the marriage she got pregnant - just as they were going to sign up with an adoption agency. You guessed it - they told everyone that it was signing up for the adoption that helped them get pregnant.

A few months later we had our miracle conception. Their child was born - live and healthy - about one month before Ernest was born and died.

Then despite all the talk - neither one quit his or her job. I don't think being a stay at home parent is the only way to go, but Dan had gone on and on about how important time with the kid was. I guess it seemed important until it came to actually giving up the income. I'm not sure how Lisa envisioned parenthood. The only insight I got was when she said that if she had been in her 20's she might have been willing to be a SAHM, but now that she had an established career she couldn't imagine leaving her job. Brad and I were making less than half of what they made, didn't have their huge nest egg and yet I was willing to quit. We were willing to do anything (and we did just about everything before it was over) to have a kid and here they were handed this gift and they didn't give a damn.

I clearly began to hate them. I admit some of this was probably unfair and stemming from envy, but hate them I did.

Cementing my feelings of dislike for this couple came about a year later. Lisa saw me in the company parking lot after dropping Brad off (I had since left that company). I cringed inwardly as she approached my car. After a short hello she said she wanted to give me back the baby sling I had given her. I was horrified! Not only did she tell me she never used a present I selected for her, but what the hell was I supposed to do with a baby sling when I had no baby?! I politely told her to give it to someone else and drove off as quickly as I could.

Fast forward 3 more years to the company's kid Christmas party. I was quite uncomfortable at the party being surrounded by fertiles and was hiding out in a corner for a bit while Brad stood in line with LB to see Santa. She was just 6 months old at the time.

Lisa found me in my corner and the conversation went something like this:

Lisa: Hi! Congratulations! Dan and I were so happy to hear you had a baby.

Me: Thank you. We are very happy. In fact, on the way here I was thinking that if LB died today, at least I got to be her mom for 6 wonderful months.

Lisa: Silence.

Me: Well, you know, I often wished I could have been with Ernest for even a couple of hours. It seems wrong that the only thing I did as his mother was sign as 'next of kin' for the release of his body to the funeral home.

Lisa: Dan and I tried IVF for a second child. It was absolutely awful. It obviously didn't work and we didn't try a second time. It was really awful.

Me: I understand. We conceived LB on our 5th IVF cycle.


Me: Well, we wouldn't have tried so hard if we already had a living child.

Lisa: Yes, well, congratulations again. I need to get back to ____"

That's it. Not very dramatic. I'm still glad that she had the tiniest insight into what it is like to deal with infertility and loss and it was that overwhelming for her.

Me: Yeah. Try living it, Sweetheart.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Previous Post

It seems my previous post came across as negative which I didn't intend. I was very tired when I wrote it, but not feeling down. I am hoping to redirect a bit.

I am very happy to be a mom and so thankful I get to experience it. It is a role I am very happy in. I also need to figure out how to not lose track of the other things I like to do.

I thought before we had LB that nothing else would compare. I thought that a dead end job would no longer matter. I also thought that I would maintain my hobbies - just add a kid or two to the mix.

What I have learned is that I still want to have that contributing role. I don't think it needs to be a formal, paying job; but I think there needs to be something like it in my life. It also needs to be something I feel is worthwhile not just something I am doing. My job isn't all bad, but it isn't going anywhere and it doesn't have as much flexibility as I like. I am on the fence about what to do about it and am happy to maintain status quo for a bit until I decide.

I have also found that maintaining my hobbies and my relationship with DH isn't as easy as I thought it would be. We co-sleep with LB which is important to me but that means I don't sleep next to Brad - she sleeps between us. I am thinking it is time to move LB to a toddler bed. We will either do that - starting with her bed next to ours - or move to a king size bed and figure both kids (assuming this pregnancy works out) will move out into a shared room in about a year. I am also hoping that LBII will be a better sleeper than LB. This may not be related, but neither Brad nor LB's donor need much sleep. I do. Perhaps she is just programmed to only need 10 -11 hours a day. The girl only sleeps 9.5 hours per night (and naps between 1 and 2 during the day while I am normally working). I need about 8.5 but more if I am waking up to check on her or not sleeping well due to pregnancy hormones and aches.

The other thing is not all my hobbies are as baby / kid friendly as I thought. I used to bike a lot. I thought I would just get a trailer and continue as usual. Then I discovered how much I like to let my mind wander while biking a local bike trail. It is a trail isolated from traffic and very safe to not really pay attention to my surroundings. Unless I have a kid behind me then I am always thinking about her contentment and safety. No more mindless riding. On top of that, she would get bored about 1/2 to where ever I thought I was going and wasn't too keen on getting back in the trailer with only a 30 minute or hour break. I am crossing my fingers LB and LBII might keep each other entertained a bit. I will keep trying.

Another thing I used to enjoy a lot was baking bread. I stopped in the last few years because wheat wasn't supposed to be good for TTC if you followed Traditional Chinese Medicine. Since LB I haven't been in a position to easily have sticky fingers for 30 minutes at time. The vast majority of the time she naps while I am working and if she isn't napping, she doesn't normally entertain herself for that long - although this is changing. Well, thanks to my wonderful DH I now have a shiny red Kitchen Aid. I have wanted one for over 12 years but thought I would get one when we got a bigger house. We have made accommodations and made some space for Lady Red (or whatever I end up calling her) and I am baking again. I miss the kneading part, but if time or LB allows, I finish up the kneading by hand and there is always the shaping and baking.

So it is an adjustment and I am still learning to set boundaries that protect my own happiness while maximizing my commitment to being a good mom. And by 'good mom' I don't mean someone who has to respond to every little whim of her toddler. It is just something I need practice. I believe when she seems heartbroken because I won't nurse her she is heartbroken not just manipulative. But heartbreak happens and I refuse to be a giving tree.

I am confident I will figure it out and continue to enjoy the time as it is. I am actually pretty proud of how much I am appreciating and enjoy toddlerhood even though I am quite tired many days and somewhat tired the rest. I would be very surprised if I looked back on this time with any regrets. Although I don't know I would have made the decision to parent had I known what it would take to get there (and been able to turn off that innate desire to parent), I wouldn't give it up for anything now that I am here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Highs And Lows

Before I get started on the subject of this post, I would like to beg your forgiveness for a moment of thoughtlessness in my previous post. I don't know how I did it, but I stupidly asked for peoples opinions about posting child pics from those with blogs and kid(s). Effectively telling those people who are still trying for number one that 'you couldn't possibly have an opinion since you haven't actually experienced parenthood yet.' Of course you would and I welcome your thoughts on the matter. I feel awful and I am also sorry that it took me so long to apologize. I woke up in the middle of the night and realized my arrogance not two days after I posted it. In the future, please feel free - no, I encourage you - to point out when I am being insensitive to those on the IF journey.

I swear I have all these ideas about blog posts in the middle of the night and here I am with a rare occasion to blog and I can't think of anything pertinent to say. How about some random highs/lows of parenting?


Well, this isn't really a conversation, is it? My apologies for complaining about being pregnant and parenting. It is the truth the way I see it right now. In a way, it is also my answer to people who try to coerce others into having kids. It is wonderful, but it is not without it's trade-offs. While I believe choosing to live childfree / childless after infertility is the hardest path to take (how do you turn off that desire to parent?), there is also a reason why studies show again and again that those without children are happier than those with children.

High: I am sure there is at least several times each day when I am delighted to watch LB learn and grow. Tonight I put LB to bed early. She has been teething and/or had a bit of tummy trouble and she hardly napped today. She fought it as she usually does, but it all fell apart when her stuffed duck told me she wanted to go night-night so I laid her down on her side. LB cried the cry of the heartbroken, but it was cute at the same time. I don't know if she was sad because the duck went to sleep when she wanted to play or it was a clear indication it was indeed nighttime. Either way, it was an insight into her world. After I assured her that the duck would get up with her in the morning, she quickly fell asleep.

Low: I got back out of bed at the late, late hour of 7:30. This is a rare treat - normally I go to bed with her closer to nine o'clock. How wonderful to have some quiet time to myself. I decided I would start a crochet project for which I bought the yarn somewhere around 2 years ago. I gathered everything up (and imagined blogging about it for Perfect Moment Monday) and decided I was way too tired to follow directions never mind get my tired eyes to focus. I have not been well rested since late in my pregnancy with LB - not even a day. Just as she started sleeping pretty well, this pregnancy has been taking it's toll. Some nights I am just wide awake and I don't know why. I am hoping I will get some much needed sleep in a year or two.

High: Oh my god, I can't come up with another 'high'. That tells you how tired I am, I guess. I like being a mom, I really do. What do I like about it? . . . . I like getting hugs and kisses from LB. I like that she comes to me when she needs comfort or reassurance. I am not auntie or second best. I like being the one.

Low: Who am I? I find that my day is often a day of doing: Make breakfast, tidy house, take a shower, work, tidy house, make dinner - all interspersed with playtime. What happened to my hobbies? What happened to that feeling of self I think I used to have? I know I am the adult here and can set expectations and make time for myself. I am always working on doing that better, but it is hard for me. After waiting so long for LB, I find I want to give and give and give. My job isn't satisfying and I entertain the idea of quitting, but then I wonder if I would disappear all together.

High: Our morning ritual: Ready or not (usually not) LB wakes up and is ready to eat! Sometimes I can nurse her back to sleep for a blessed 30 - 45 minutes, but usually she signs "eat" with vigor. Stalling, I ask, "Are you hungry?" "Yeah." "What do you want?" "Banananana." "How about some cereal?" "Yeah!" "With banana?" "Yeah!" Then she climbs on the momma-express and we get a small bowl of cold cereal and sit on a stool (LB on my lap) and watch the sun come up while we eat. It is a good, peaceful, if sleepy time for me. Soon we will be playing with toys or taking a shower or tidying house until it is time for a more nutritious 'second breakfast'. Yes, we also often have elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

Low: Husband? What husband? OH! You mean the daddy! Even though Brad and I have a standing date night and so get at least 2 hours / week together to be a couple, so much of our time is spent parenting LB. I can spend all day with my poor hubby and still miss him at the end of the day. Where is our friendly banter? Didn't we used to have sex? At least cuddle? Ok, it isn't that bad - well, the lack of sex is, but we find times to connect intellectually throughout the day. Still, it isn't like it used to be. I suspect it is just one of those trade-offs. I think as we move out of the toddler stage, we will have more time to simply be together and less of, "Isn't it your turn to take her to the potty?" and "Oh look how cute she is!"

High: Cute factor. Need I say more?

High and Low: Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! It isn't a form of address around here, it is command. With limited vocabulary, "Mama!" and some signs/pointing is about all you need to get your point across.

This is great when I notice how well we can communicate with only a few words. It isn't great when I am lacking in patience or feeling . . . micromanaged. LB is getting increasingly demanding and prone to tantrums when she doesn't get her way. I suppose all kids go through this (again and again, I suspect) to see what they can get away with. This is hard for me, as I have said. I hate to see her upset because she wants something and doesn't understand why she doesn't get it or get it immediately. Necessity is teaching me to be strong and to find creative ways of saying "no" (like walking away from a tantrum), thankfully.

High: Emptying the dishwasher. I think this is a 'high' Oh, it is. Given my normal lack of patience the fact that I almost never think "hurry up!" while we unload the dishwasher together must mean it is a good thing. I can be tiring though. The dishes are easy - she takes them, hands them to me and I put them a way. The silverware (after I have quickly removed all the knives) is more of a process. She will get a spoon or fork, walk over to the silverware drawer, turn her back to me, say "Mama!", I pick her up, she figures out where the particular item goes, and with no small amount of time actually manages to place the item in the correct spot. Put the baby down and repeat.

I will end with a question - What do you do (if you have kids) or imagine you would do (if you are trying for kids) to maintain a balance between your role as mother and your other roles?