Monday, October 29, 2012

Boy do I have a story for you...

I am in the middle of riding out the hurricane that is hitting the NE - I am in NYC. It is scary and very wild outside right now as we head towards high-tide. The winds are at least 50mph and as of now, we still have power.

Last year's hurricane, well, tropical storm, was significant as it was the second act that mother nature gave us in NYC (the first being the earthquake in August) and the second act that propelled me to move towards separating from my husband. I took the acts of nature to be signs that my life could be bigger than it was and I chose to take a giant leap of faith and divorce my husband, say good-bye to the past several years of TTC and open myself to the possibility to living the life I love.

Here I am one year later - divorced, dating, living in my own apartment in the city, loving my new job and hibernating while nature kisses us again with her force, fury and significance. This time around as nature and I danced, I experienced something in life I honestly didn't think would be possible.

I got pregnant!

Now hold on before you fall out of your chair. This story doesn't end well, but it does have a silver lining.

Two weeks ago my period was late, but what else is new? She's been late and I have about a 4 day window of time that usually mocks me when it reaches the 4th day and I begin to think (pray) that maybe, just maybe, I could be pregnant. Year after year, cycle after cycle, I have experienced the same thing... negative hpts while in-between my high-technology treatments.

This time however, there was no in-between time. I am choosing not to go down that road anymore, ever again. High-technology treatments can stay in my past. I had arrived at a place recently, albeit a fluid and shifty place, where I was accepting of whatever happened. I am in love and Cacio e Pepe has a son, so either way it goes, I am a mom.

To my utter shock and surprise, I saw for the first time EVER in my life (even with two past pregnancies) a positive hpt!

Here's how the story goes.

Sunday, October 14th was CD 29 (1day into 4-day window) - My boobs were sore - more sore than usual.

Monday, October 15th, CD 30 - still have sore boobs and usually I wait for them to calm down and expect to start AF that day or the next. Noticed "changes" in the way they looked. That night I woke up at 3am and woke up Cacio e Pepe and said, " I think I am pregnant."

Tuesday, October 16th CD 31 - went to work and was sitting with my co-worker, who is on the same AF cycle as me. She mentioned that she started two days ago... and hadn't I? Nauseous from 7-8am.

Wednesday, October 17th CD 32 - Leave for MA for work on Amtrak, nauseous again from 7-8am. Cacio e Pepe suggests that I buy and use an hpt. Easy for him to say. I waited until Thursday NIGHT to test.

Thursday, October 18th CD 33 - After working all day, covertly buying a box of hpts, I head back to the hotel room, pee on the (stupid, mocking) stick, turn it over on top of toilet and go to skype with C.e.P. Knowing that the hpt would likely not be accurate I told him that I peed on the dumb stick and he can look at it, but I won't, not until the morning when I pee on the other stick. I went and got it from the bathroom, help it upside down and prepared him for the fact that it will likely not be accurate.

Thursday, October 18th - the day my life took a turn. After seeing the stick on the camera, he assured me that I could test again tomorrow, but it won't change. I gasped and reached for the stick, turned it over and...


Shock?!!

Understatement.

What ensued from that moment until that Sunday, when I was able to leave the store opening and head home to be with my love, was nothing short of a dream. I chose to tell my mom, one of my sisters, one of my dear IF friends (who has been in the trenches with me for years) and one of my good friends who is like a sister.

I was in a daze. I was in pain from the aching of my boobs - they felt like bowling balls in socks. But I was happy! I was over the moon and boy was I in shock!

I anxiously began to monitor and pay attention to everything I was feeling, eating, lifting, pushing, how many hours of sleep I was getting and counting the hours and days until I could be with C.e.P.  He was blown-away! He knows what I went through with my ex-husband and all we could think about, talk about and agree on was that THAT wasn't meant to be and THIS is definitely meant to be.

I noticed that if I slept through 7 or 8 am my nausea didn't show up. I was craving salmon and ate it every day for 4 days straight. I felt life, a being of life, in my belly and I was so in love Instantly.

I called and made an appointment with my new and normal OB. It was a on my list to find an OB that had nothing to do with IF, but would understand what I had been through. She is lovely, just lovely. I first saw her the beginning of September and said that the next time she sees me, she'd like me to be pregnant. Pow! Bang! Boom!

Monday, October 22th, 5 weeks 2 days pregnant - I spent the day with my love, so happy, still in utter shock and enjoying thinking about our future. I decided I wanted to create and make my own pregnancy journal, so I went to Michael's to begin my scrap booking obsession. I rejoined some pregnancy websites and began, ever so slowly to let myself imagine my days pregnant and when my due date will be. I felt like I was spending my moments in a dreamlike state - I think anyone who has gone through IF and miraculously got to the other side can understand that dreamlike and surreal state.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 5 weeks 3 days  pregnant - Doctor's appt. To say I was nervous would not quite describe what was going on on the inside of my being. One can be happy and freaked out all in one breath, isn't that the biggest joke?! I went for an ultrasound, blood work and a urine sample.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 10:30am - positive pee test! Phew! Ultrasound - nothing to see. My heart drops. I know that I am far along enough to see something, anything, but with normal OBs sometimes you chance their ultrasound machines not being as high-tech as our trusty RE's machines. Drat... oh how I had hoped this to be the case. I, of course, called my RE's nurse to see if she could put my mind at ease. It was possible that I was in there too early, but we weren't out of the woods yet. I had to wait for the blood work (my least favorite thing about waiting for a call back) and then we could go from there and also wait to see if the embryo was in my uterus or tubes. I was sad and felt like I was living my past nightmares over again.

Wednesday, October 24th, 5 weeks 4 days hopefully still pregnant - boobs no longer hurt, bowling balls shrank and they began to feel "normal." Nausea had not been felt in a few days and in my gut, I knew what was happening. All I needed was the call to confirm it.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2:35pm - The call, the numbers that changed every thing, the day that my life took another turn. My hcg was 155 and progesterone was 4. I knew what this meant and I collapsed into my hands and cried so hard I felt like my guts were going to seep out. I was in the car when I got the call with C.e.P. It was devastating, numbing. I felt guilty because he didn't deserve to come into this world... he was innocent and I felt tainted.

Tears and closeness ensued.

Thursday, October 25th - waiting for my close friend AF - She came late that night after a much needed acupuncture treatment. I didn't cry. By the time I started AF, I was at peace, if that is what they call it. I know it as insidious numbness.

Is it a good sign that I got pregnant for the first time ever... naturally??

Friday, October 26th - Call back from my dear, sweet OB.  She, as well as my acupuncturist, were both optimistic about the pregnancy. I just wanted to drink wine. The plan is for me to go in to see her the second day of my next AF. Both of them said that I should start to TTC for real now.

Today - Hurricane Sandy, wine, Cacio e Pepe, good food, electricity (thankfully) and I was pregnant a week ago, two weeks ago, today, I am back to where I started... again.

Is it a good sign that I got pregnant naturally?

I am still numb, still in shock, still reeling. It has been quite the past 6 weeks in total. I got strep, had an allergic reaction to penicillin, threw my back out, got a head cold (this all took place over 4 weeks) and was pregnant for five weeks.

Hurricane Sandy, bring it on... you ain't got nothing on this gal who never gets knocked down!

Ugh... life... what a ride.



Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Blog is HERE!!!

Not sure if I have any followers anymore, but I wanted to let you know that I have finally started my new blog!

It has been 9 months since I left former Sweet Guy and it's been a long, long journey to get to this point of wanting to write anything down. Most of the past 9 months I have wanted to forget about, but I think someday I will want to look back on this time and have some record of just how I made it through yet another dark and difficult time in my life.

My new blog is: Learn to Pivot

Stop by and say hello... I have missed blogging, pouring my thoughts out onto a page, but mostly, I have missed the community of women that helped me get through the darkness of TTC.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rising from the ashes



Not sure if I have any blog readers left or if anyone has wondered where I have gone, what happened to me or what the latest is.... but I am back...well, sort of.

I don't know where to begin. I have had thoughts of how I would write my first blog back from the darkness. I have thought of a million different titles to best describe or explain what I went through... what I am currently going through. I settled on "Rising from the Ashes" as I do have an over-arching feeling that all that I knew, including myself, went up in flames after a shocking turn of life events.

The hidden lie.

The last I wrote, if I recall, without me going down bad-memory lane, is that I was in the middle of a seamless IVF cycle - my 6th IVF cycle. My body was stimming the best it ever has. I hyper-stimmed in the past and this time my doctor was doing an incredible job of making sure that I was on right amount of meds and that my body wasn't over-responding to them. If you recall, Sweet Guy was reluctant to do this cycle. He had grown tired and weary of TTC, timed-intercourse and IVF cycles. He was worried about the state of our economy and therefore the state of our finances and at some point, he told me that he wasn't willing to take a risky risk of TTC until he felt more financially secure. I ignored this and moved forward with the cycle somewhat without his blessing. After all, I knew in my heart that this cycle would work and that once he knew I was pregnant we'd get through anything - nothing could be harder than the IF battle we had just survived.

Rude awakening.

With the pressure mounting to be "a happy ending" and "a beacon of hope" I began to realize that I wanted a baby to fix my marriage. I wanted something, anything...anyone...to make me happy. I knew that I could set myself aside for a child just so I wouldn't have to deal with what I was really feeling. I knew Sweet Guy would be the best father on the planet, so please God, let me just get pregnant so that my life can really look perfect from the outside and I promise someday, I will follow my true hearts desire, but at this point, I am too far down this rabbit hole to turn back... I have taken a stand for women going through IF and now it was time for IF to take a stand for me and get me out of this hell-hole.

Two days before I was about to retrieve I called my doctor and my cycle was cancelled and the same day I told Sweet Guy that I want a divorce. Just like that. My perfect cycle and my make-believe perfect marriage ended.

Nervous breakdown?

For the next 3-4 days I spent going through everything I owned and boxed up all of my belongings. Within a week I was on a plane to London and later to Florence. I desperately needed to get as far away from the life I had known for the past 6 years. My friends and family were shocked, Sweet Guy was leveled. Questions were flying at me like scud missiles, trying to get the truth of the matter. I had no answers, just a deep rooted feeling that I had been living an inauthentic life. That I had lost track of the magic of life, the surprise and delight of the great mystery of conception. Having a baby became a mission, not an adventure. I likened it to a battle I had to fight rather than coming from a place of surrender and being receptive. I became jealous and catty rather than loving and supportive. I let long, loving, friendships fall to the wayside in an effort to protect myself from their happy baby-filled lives. I cursed God, rather than trust my path in life. I grew competitive with how strong I could be, how much more loss I could endure... with grace. I categorized my IF friends and judged those that "had it easy." I disappeared from my marriage, my friends and the life I knew. All for the chance, the tiny chance of becoming a mother. I gave myself up to a cause that depleted me to the point of  being unrecognisable...mostly to myself.

Eat, Pray, Love... bah!

I hated "Eat. Pray.Love." with a passion. The movie, for me, was much better, like I finally got the message through the big screen. But the book? I wanted to stab myself in the eye with a fork. Gilbert's writing was emotionless and dry. I did eventually get through it, but it really pissed me off. I felt, at the time, no sympathy or empathy for Gilbert. I thought she brought on all of her own sadness. She had a marriage (from the outside reader) that most women would kill to have. An apt in NYC and in CT?  (Give me a BIG fat break already!!) Money, a husband that loved her, a strong career, beautiful, successful and smart... she had it all. Or did she? She had a fling with a younger guy that is into yoga and meditation. Big deal... he was passionate and emotionally challenged - the writing was on the wall with that one. Then she discovers the magic of meditation and yoga and decides she has a guru - which irritates the hell out of me when people say they have a guru. The point of having a guru is not to say you have one, but to learn from them and lead a subtle and meaningful life, therefore, you shouldn't utter the word because it takes the magic and intention away. A guru is just a teacher, a guide... so be guided and stop making it sound like you are more special just because you are following an enlightened being. Grrr...Anyways, I get that time she spent in Italy, Bali and India was powerful and impactful...eating, praying and loving... perfect combination. Anyone would find themselves if they allowed time to be alone. Travelling alone is one of the best ways to break down your comfort zones, to stare uncertainty and adventure square in the face and say "yes, I am getting to the bottom of this complicated mess I just made and I will find myself again" I understand how her journey broke her down and at the same time allowed time and space for her to build herself back up. Life is a process, there are so many wonderful lessons to learn. I found myself understanding Gilbert's powerful process once I was in it. I still don't relate to parts of her story, but I relate to her more now as a woman. A woman that experiences having the world at her fingertips and at the same time the weight of that world on her heart. We do so many things in our everyday lives that are done to fullfill a status quo, a societal gravitational pull towards happiness, though I doubt that many of us really look within to discover what truly makes us happy. I respect Gilbert now...well a little more now. I did find out that she was able to finance her once-in-a-lifetime trip that we all salivate over from a publisher's book advance. I guess she was destined to have that adventure...it was already paid for.


EAT. PLAY. LOVE LIFE ~la prima parte~

When I was in London I thought about writing my thoughts down, blogging, sharing my process of just having lost the world that I knew, the world I gave my sweat, blood and tears to. But I couldn't. I had to live in the moment and not look back. At least until I didn't cry everytime I thougth about the dream I just gave up.

My trip was spectacular. I spent 2 glorious weeks in London. I ate so much amazing food, walked around many neighborhoods, partied at pubs with my brother and took trips out to the countryside to spend time with my friend who is a nanny for a celebrity. My friend was celebrating her birthday and I was so happy to be there with her. She and I, along with a few of her friends, had lunch at this darling organic food farm. The restaurant was incredible - everything on the menu came from the farm. The meat and poultry, fruit and veg from the market garden, bread from their bakery, and cheese, milk and yoghurt from the creamery. Their baked goods made my toes curl. Their shop was truly a bakers delight. After our lunch we gathered the kids, put on our wellies and funny hats and headed for the freshly-cut wheat fields in search of wild blackberries. On our way we gathered some of the neighborhood kids, handed them hats and off we went. It was a Lost Boy adventure and I couldn't stop smiling.... really, I was smiling! That night, with all the stars smiling back, a group of us lit Chinese Wish Lanterns and let them go into the night's sky... for the first time in many years, I finally had a new wish.

Also while in London I met this woman who is a massage therapist and a healer. She was a friend of a dear friend of mine here in NY. We met for tea and dessert in Primrose Hill (apparently where Jude Law lives) and shared snippets of our life with each other. Once I got to the part of what I had been doing (or not doing) for the past 6 years, I began to cry uncontrolably. She took my hands and invited me to come to see her the next day for a day of pampering. The next morning I arrived at her flat that reminded me of a doll house and she proceeded to provide me with the time and space to let all of my sorrow go. Her massage was healing and truly helped me to relax and to be present with my emotions. She did a powerful reading for me that helped to ground me and afterwards we grabbed breakfast and headed for a boat ride on the River Thames. It was then that I began to feel glimpses of hope, thoughts of ease and serenity began to peek through the deep darkness that resided in my heart.

I wrapped up my stay in London with having mastered the Tube, figured out the bus system, visited all the major sites via the double-decker tour bus, escaped trying Guinness, and survivied the wrong turn I took at Picadilly Circus that took me up 193 stairs...rather than taking the lift. Fun times...



EAT. PLAY. LOVE LIFE ~seconda parte~

My trip then led me to Italy.... Florence to be exact, my self-professed soul town. I first discovered Italy when I was 4 when my obsession with maps led me to share with my mom that one day I will live in the boot. When I was 14, A Room with  a View came out on the big screen and it was then when I realized I had been born in the wrong country. Florence entered my heart then and never left. A Room with a View remains my favorite movie of all times. I have been to Florence a few times and I studied there a year before I met Sweet Guy. There has been a long standing joke between us about how I was headed over to Italy to marry an Italian and have Italian babies and then I met Sweet Guy... not so funny anymore.

I was having a difficult time finding hotels as most were booked since my trip was last minute. I decided to look into a host family and because of this one thought I had, my trip to Florence this time will go down as "the two weeks that brought me back to life." My host family, now who can be called MY family, was the most hilarious, wild, loud, comforting, supportive and loving family I could have ever imagined finding at this time. My friend (host mom) and her husband have 3 kids - ages 2, 3 and 8, live in a 4 bedroom/2 bath 5th floor walk-up (85 stairs!) and have 5 cats and 2 dogs... oh and two other American exchange students. If I went to Florence thinking I was looking for peace and quiet, I was set straight within 5 minutes of being there. The words to describe my time in Italy cannot express that which I felt. I was healed. I ate so much pasta, fiercly bright tomatoes, schicciata bread, paninis, pizza, and daily gelato - sometimes both before and after dinner. I drank wine, laughed until my sides hurt, walked my beloved city until I had blisters, would climb the 85 stairs back up to my palace, change my shoes and go back out and walk until the sun was setting. I met restaurant owners, saw old friends from the last time I was there, found a kick-ass yoga and pilates studio near the Arno River and mostly, I just allowed myself to BE.

The days would begin with me giving thanks for all that I am grateful for, followed by a statement leading myself to the blank canvas of life in front of me. Everyday was magical. Everyday something magnificent happened. The most amazing thing that occured was twhen my three friends and I were given the chance to attend a private Italian mass (Remember, I am Catholic) where Andrea Bocelli sang. There was a moment when I looked up at the ceiling, saw the sunlight pouring down and thought, "in this very moment, life is perfect."

Leaving Italy was more difficult than I could have anticipated. Aside from the obvious issues I had to face once I got back to the States, I didn't want to go back to any part of my old life. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt joy. I had been so deflated by life. Now I was filled up, centered, calm, clear and open. I didn't fear the blank canvas of unlimited possibilities before me. I didn't see my future as unknown, but rather not yet discovered. My heart, though not without the painful memories, had been healed.

EAT. PRAY. LOVE LIFE ~terza parte~

I am back in NYC. I am in the process of divorce. It has not been easy... but that is too obvious of a statement. My journey, on some level, is just beginning as I wave goodbye to my journey to motherhood. I don't know what the future holds nor do I want to even attempt to proselytize that there will be a happy ending to this all. All I know is this - I can't, for one more second of my life, live my life based on my past. At this time, it is still unclear why I went through what I did, why Sweet Guy and I went through what we did to have a baby. We lost two babies. Sprout will always be my first daughter. The second pregnancy will always be the child I never met. Our marriage disintigrated before my eyes, but even more tragic, I deteriorated faster than I could ever admit. IF didn't win, didn't beat me... I chose to walk away because my life is more important to me than being in a process that sucks me dry of all things beautiful in life.

I will be moving my blog - starting a new blog - so stay tuned.

Until then, I want to give my warmest and most grateful and heartfelt appreciation to all of the women I have met while I was trying to build my family. We became family through this process and I am indebted to those of you that have been a constant support to me. I think we can chose our own happy endings. Life happens, but it's up to us to decide how we handle it and as I have grown to know, IF takes an otherwise beautiful part of life and turns into the fight of our life. I know eventually we can get out of this darkness of TTC -some get out with a BFP, others with adoption papers... me, I got out while I still had a pulse. We are fighters, no one can deny that, you have to know what you are fighting for and decide whether or not it's worth it. I know now that I can survive and have survived a lot, but I can't just survive my life anymore... I want to live a life I love!

I don't know what is next to me, but after having spent a month travelling around by myself, I know that no matter where my path leads me, I will always be with my best friend.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Learning to pivot

Infertility is terrible. There is no other way of looking at it. It just sucks. Today, while at the dr's office, I realized just how tired and scared I am. There are so many, too many, unknowns with infertility. The only thing we know is that we need to seek outside help in order to even have a chance to become parents. We rely on science and other people to make a dream of ours come true. Even if you choose to adopt, you are still relying on other people to help make it happen. Nothing, aside from pricking ourselves with needles, is in our control. This is a very difficult place to reside when so much is at stake - marriage, money, sanity, friendships, relationships, your heart and your ability to trust life.

I am coming to terms with the fact that not only is life not what I thought it be like, but it's also incredibly chaotic. For some stupid reason I thought that if I tried hard enough or was patient enough or even "good" enough that I could achieve anything. I was sold a suitcase of BS that if you think positively, do right by others, help others less fortunate, work hard, be in a place gratitude, surrender to the process, trust in the process, honor the process, take action, be an inspiration, etc, etc.... if you are this person, the person I strive to be, then good things will come.

What was I thinking? Bad shit happens - it happens everyday and it happens or will happen to everyone. No one on the planet is immune to bad shit happening. Some people have more resources to help them through the tough times, while others just seem to get walloped over and over again and could use a helpful hand, but at the end of the day, we all get walloped in one way or another. Who am I to think that I could escape this tsunami of bad luck?

I am so so tired. I don't know life with Sweet Guy without infertility. It has been 99% of our marriage. That is depressing. I truly can't see straight anymore. I am beside myself with frustration, confusion and I just feel disoriented. When you are dealing with infertility it is very hard not to compare yourself with fertiles, it's hard to not compare yourself with others that may be worse of than you. You wonder if your pain measures to those with cancer. You wonder if others judge your dismay, think of you as selfish or misguided by the pressures of society. We bring this on ourselves - having children is a choice after all and those of us that can't just go get knocked up can chose to not want to have children..... ya right!

I guess I just don't know my place anymore in life. I use to know where I stood. I was defined, I was measurable, I had momentum. Now I am stuck in a sort of purgatory - neither heaven or hell will have me. I don't know who I am or what I am doing here anymore. I feel wasted by this process. Infertility has changed the person I was, am and will become. Us infertiles don't have role models or historical documents to refer to as to how a group of men and women survived infertility in the past. What did they do? Who did they become? How did they survive? For those that became parents, did they forget the war they had been through in order to fit in with the rest of the fertile parents? Can someone, somewhere, anywhere, please assure me that this wound will heal and will be covered up joy, happiness and a future filled with possibility?

My cousin shared a great anecdote with me yesterday morning - "When life gets hard, you learn to pivot." It was short, sweet and so true. I have to learn to pivot my way through this. I have no idea how this will all end. I just hope that by the time I get to the end I still have enough "self" left to grow into something else, perhaps something new.

I have an amazing support group of friends right now that are helping me get through this darkness. The sad thing, yet possibly the most wonderful, is that they are all women I have met along this journey. They have become my closest friends, more close than the friends I have had since I was a young girl. They are my insides, my family even though they have only known me for such a short amount of time. They can be reached anytime, anywhere and always, and I mean always, offer nothing but kindness and encouragement. I am forever indebted to my IF girls. I guess this is the one positive thing about infertility - the friendships built are by far the strongest built to date.

Oh and that Sweet Guy... we have really been through so much in such a short amount of time. There have been days when we thought we'd call our marriage quits. However, one thing I have learned is that Sweet Guy is here to stay and regardless of his trepidations about this IVF cycle, he still takes a stand beside me. He is my eternal graceful rock.

Gotta run... I have to go practice my pivot.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

Well this past week has been quite a show for mother nature here in NYC. First, we had an earthquake on August 23rd... what? Huh??? Where am I? I happened to be in the back of a basement down in the SoHo area of Manhattan. I knew we were having an earthquake when I began to feel sea sick. It freaked me out so much that I almost peed my pants... seriously! All I could think of was crumbling skyscrapers and me being trapped in a basement under the rubble.  I was in a training and when I was done for the day and came back up to see the sunlit sky and tourist-filled streets, I realized, nothing phases NYers.

Then we heard that a category 2, possibly 3, hurricane was headed our way. What? I had barely recovered from my wobbly feet and now we are going to be under water and possibly have 90 MPH winds? Yes, I am talking about hurricane Irene. She came and went and we braced for the worse but got much less, thank you mother nature! The preparation for the hurricane was insane yet orderly. I went, with 8 million other NYers, to the neighborhood grocery stores in hopes of buying all of the essentials. I have never been in a hurricane before, so I had no clue what to prepare for. I made soup, filled my tub, gathered flashlights and candles, turned up my fridge and freezer in case of power outages and made sure my cell was charged... then I waited. Notice I say "I" and not "we"  - this is because Sweet Guy, who doesn't play into media instigated mass hysteria or acu-weather reports, didn't think we'd get hit by a hurricane - he thought a tropical storm at worse. So he headed out to Long Island to make sure his parents were ok and worked his way to the North Shore to play in a (indoor) soccer tournament. Yeup... that's right, my Sweet Guy left me and the dog during the hurricane to go shoot goals into a net with a bunch of sweaty guys. Nice. The verdict is not in yet as to whether or not he is gonna get a whoopin when he returns - which by the way will be awhile since he took public transportation out there and NYC has closed ALL public transportation - buses, trains and subways - until tomorrow...maybe longer. I wasn't scared, but I did feel alone. We have awesome doormen and a great super for our building, so I knew if something really bad went wrong, I had muscle to call on. However, I felt lonely and bored. I just stared at my boardgames, longing to have a teammate.

This leads me to the next possible catastrophic event of this week. Sweet Guy is convinced that this cycle - the pending IVF #6, will not work, and based on our past 3-5 years of this madness, he can't be convinced that the tides could turn in our favor and that we could actually get pregnant and keep the pregnancy. With that said, Sweet Guy has informed me that having a baby is no longer a priority for him. So much so that he thinks that it may be better for us if we consider not trying for a baby at all. In summary, baby-making days are over. done. no mas. As I mentioned in a previous post, he shared his deeply moving concerns about our baby quests and they have finally caught up to him in a negative way and he'd be happy to never have to think about this again...thank you very little.

This of course has been quite the volley. One day he tells me to move forward with the cycle, but prepare myself for the worst (how can I straddle hope and failure?). Then he says we can't continue because he doesn't want to see me go through all of this again, the meds and such. We have fought, we've cried, we've talked about walking away from each other and we've held each other tightly hoping to disaparate (for fellow HP fans). This cycle has literally been stop and go the entire time and I am completely exhausted.

I have nothing else to report for this cycle.... it could end or it could continue, it remains to be seen. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking for a sign, but then would I be willing to listen to the sign if it wasn't what I wanted to hear?

I ponder this often - how do you stay the course towards something you desire or want when you keep getting hit by the pounding waves and taken back out to sea by the under-tow? Should you give up? Should you continue on no matter what?

I am realizing that I must be insane. Completely out of my mind. Babies have not come to me with little or no effort and yet I keep trying, over and over and over and over again to have a life grow inside of me, to stay inside of me for 9 months. Am I just asking for too much? Am I going against nature? Mother nature is chaotic, unpredictable and stronger than we can comprehend.... maybe she's trying to tell me something - stay indoors, get under a desk and prepare for the worst. I will either weather this storm or I won't, but the path of destruction my choices have created may be too large for a speedy recovery.

Something has to change. Something has to give. I have given this effort all that I have and it has taken all that it can in return. I just don't know what I am suppose to do anymore.

I leave you with pics I took this morning as the eye of the storm passed over Manhattan. The air tasted like salt, the city was hushed and the rain was soft yet continuous...it was surreal.

 FDR Drive is closed as the storm surge approaches
 FDR Drive becomes the East River
Here comes the sun... bye bye Irene

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Updates and ramblings


I am not sure why this is, but I just don't blog much anymore. It's not that I don't want to or that I don't have anything on my mind that I want to share, it's just that I have finally filled my life up with too many distractions to even think about writing about my fertility woes. I have been yearning for the day that IF takes a back seat instead of being the hood ornament. I have worked so hard on finding the balance in my life that I may have gone to the other extreme and now I feel as if I have neglected my readers, missed out on other blog updates or perhaps gotten squeezed out of the IF inner-circle.

The truth is, I am doing ok. Some days better than ok. I don't cry as much, whine as much or even glare at pregnant women every time I see them - which is almost on an hourly and daily basis. Perhaps I am immune or numb to the fact that they have what I want more than anything in the world. Perhaps my raw nerves have become dulled with time, or cauterized by willing my pain away. I just couldn't live my life in the depression hole any longer. It was effecting way too much in my life - everything in my life, when I finally took a hard look at the destruction IF had caused me over these past several years. I guess you can say that I went from drowning in the sea of uncertainty to now just floating on the surface. I wouldn't say I am going in any particular direction, I still feel directionless at times, but at least I can see light on the horizon. There must be something off in the distance, dry land perhaps?

This year has been the year to clean out the corners of my life. To get to the bottom of my pain and sadness and to release it once and for all. Whatever happens in my present and future should not be determined by my past. I needed to get ahead of this fast moving destructive storm that has the tendency to ruin people's sense of hope, identity and livelihood. I took two amazing courses earlier this year that completely changed my life. In the first course I was finally able to let go of the shame, guilt and horrible sadness I felt about loosing our first IVF pregnancy (we nicknamed her Sprout). I was carrying around this horrible secret, this insurmountable ball of pain and shame. Her life and death was encapsulated inside of me and I couldn't move forward because I thought I didn't deserve to be a mom. Letting go of the entire traumatic experience of her loss was in and of itself, life changing. The second course I took was a leadership program. Through that course I planned and organized a Women's Wellness Workshop for women going through IF. The workshop offered stress-relieving tools on all levels to support women wherever they may be on their path to motherhood. We came into the event as strangers, and left as community. It was a moving, again, life-changing and a humble experience for me. It was my way to give back to the community that has given me so much love, support, wisdom and long-lasting friendships. I even threw my very first baby shower last month! It was for a very good IF friend of mine who has been through hell and back. 10 of us came....all IF girls. About half of the girls with pregnant and the other half were/are still TTC. It was actually one of the happiest days in recent memory!  I proved to myself in the past few months that not only am I strong enough to face IF, but I am also strong enough to break through the IF chains that bind us to sadness and isolation.

All of my hard, hard work this year has been getting me prepared for what the latter part of this year will bring. I am at the precipice of yet another IVF cycle. This will be my 3rd fresh/6th transfer... and last cycle. Sweet guy is not on board with this cycle. In fact, he has admitted that he is looking to go down the path of living child-free. The adoption process isn't, nor has it ever been, something he wants to embark on, so really when I say that this will be our last cycle, I truly mean it. He's D.O.N.E. with this entire process. As I have said before, he wants his wife and life back. I don't blame him, though to say that this hasn't shocked me or saddened me would be a complete understatement. This is unlike him to throw in the towel. He is an athlete, a major competitor. I haven't known him to give up on anything in his life, and yet, he can't imagine fighting against nature one more day of his precious life. He's had a hard time psychologically reconciling how drug-addicts or young women who throw their newborns down the trash shoot (happened here in NYC a few weeks ago) get to have babies and we don't. He doesn't get how guys he know who have done copious amounts of drugs are able to get their girlfriends pregnant without "trying", while he's never done one drug in his life and can't seem to get his wife knocked up no matter how hard he tries. All of his friends are now dads - even the ones that were having IF issues have crossed over. He is finally getting the dose of reality that I have been living and breathing for the past 5 years - let's just say it has all caught up with him and he thinks it's the Universe, or God or nature saying we are not fit to be parents. Lovely.

 I don't intend to blog about my next cycle that much, nor am I talking about it to many people IRL. This cycle I am going to go underground. I have my schedule set up with acupuncture, massage, mind/body and yoga classes, chiropractor appts and a few Resolve support group meetings. I have even scheduled play-dates with friends during the times when I will need someone who knows me well to ground me. I need to keep my wits about me and stay away from Dr. Google searches and reading other people's stories of triumph or defeat. I have heard it all and sometimes I feel like I have seen it all, now it's time for my story to be told. We have fought a long, hard battle and it is time for us to cross over. Whatever that may look like....I know I will be ok. If the past 5 years haven't killed me yet, then living a life without children won't either. It's not at all what I want and I will carry a sadness with me that many can't comprehend, accept those of us that have gone through this journey. I know by now that IVF is a numbers game and that any way you look at it, this cycle with either work, or it won't. Sweet guy will be there, cautiously holding my hand as we go down another rabbit hole, but he's warned against not being able to follow me down the depression hole again. He can't handle seeing me go radio-silent. He is truly afraid of this cycle failing and what it will do to me. This is why he'd rather walk away now, on a high note (meaning at least I seem "happier" now) and go on to live our lives with each other. Clearly he's not a gambling man - this is where he feels that the stakes have gotten higher and rather than going all in and going for bust, he'd rather turn and walk away and not loose his shirt and his wife in the process. Smart man I'd say.... though I'd be lying if I said this didn't frustrate me or make me second guess even doing this next cycle.

I also have a BIG birthday in the Fall and I will either be celebrating a baby bump or on a plane to Italy! I will not have much to celebrate if this cycle fails. I will have to do what I know best and that is to run away.... to my favorite place on the planet, Florence, Italy. There you will find me at the bottom of a wine vat, but hey, life will go on.

So my friends, a lot is riding on this next cycle. My life will never be the same after IVF #6.... fail or succeed, I will be in the next chapter of my life.

Wish me luck~

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Judgement and Adele

Recently I have had a handful of people tell me that they are convinced that if I "stop thinking about it, I will definitely get pregnant." I have not been able to refrain from blurting out a snigger and eye-roll.

If only I had known that if I could stop thinking about what I desire, it will happen, apparently without effort or any action on my part. Wow, I have been going through my life all wrong! I could have stopped thinking about a college degree and poof! I would have had my masters and a high-powered job just by focusing on something else or going on a Hawaiian vacation. Let's be honest here! When you hear of stories of people gleefully declaring that they got pregnant after they stopped thinking about, do you really believe that they STOPPED thinking about it? I highly doubt that the thought of having a baby and one's drive to do so, just simply disappears on demand (if it were true, please lead me to that wishing well). I agree with the notion that the thoughts can go from the front burner of the mind to the back, but it is NEVER out of your mind. It pisses me off beyond belief when I hear couples say that relaxing and forgetting about (the past 4 years of TTC) babies is what got them pregnant. You know, they stopped forcing it and it just happened. Nope! I think at best, they gave up hope for a moment and in that moment, magic happened.

The two friends that mentioned that relaxing is "the new black",  didn't get much of a verbal rise out of me. At this point, I am tired of defending my actions, my thoughts and my journey. I haven't the energy to process or reconcile my own thoughts on the past several years of  TTC, let alone how to offer solace to those that feel like I have gone off the deep end. I am tired of making this process comfortable for everyone else around me. I get that their concern is coming from a place of caring, but I am not the one bringing this topic up in conversation anymore. I have stopped wearing my battle wounds on my sleeve, I've stopped making TTC my opening tag line. I really only blog about it- though I barely post anymore because I am tired of hearing my thoughts out loud.  I have wisely chosen to talk to only a select few that are going through this - to find my own solace amongst people who don't judge, who don't offer stupid, ignorant anecdotes, or who don't feel sorry for me and try to make up for it by telling me to relax!

Though, one girl I recently met sent me into a tizzy. After hearing that I had been through 5 IVFs, she said that her friend, who has been on prednasone since she was 13 (!!), has been trying to have a baby and has been unsuccessful thus far and this girl is annoyed with her friend's plight. This girl said she has no patience for her friend's process. She feels that she's crazy and she doesn't know how to support her, though she doesn't really want to support her in the first place because she disagrees with what her friend is chosing to do to try to have a baby. My favorite line she said was, "I mean even if the technology is there, doesn't mean you should use it. Why choose to put all of those medications in your body and turn into a hormonal wack-job? Why choose to alienate yourself from your friends, to have your body manipulated in order to "try" for something that has no guarantee. She just needs to adopt and get over it" She thinks that if your body isn't naturally having a baby, then you should listen to it and then move onto something else more "meaningful" in your life.

Fuming on the inside, but holding my composure, I asked her how old she was and if she ever wanted to have a baby. She is 33 and she has no desire to have a baby. I calmly told her that she will never understand what her friend is going through, because she doesn't want what her friend wants. If you have the desire to have a baby, then you will pretty much do anything and everything to make that happen and some reluctantly chose to life childfree after exhausting all efforts. I felt compelled to educate her on the fact that there are as many different diagnosis for infertility and reasons for seeking ART as there are stars in the sky. To think that her friend is representative of ALL women going through IF is narrow-minded and judgmental. (yeup, I said exactly that!) I went on to say that she doesn't have to agree with what her friend is doing or why she is doing it, but if she were a friend at all, she'd just support her by being a generous listener and not try to fix her.

I wonder if fertiles think that we are crazier than crazy for "choosing" to go through the often numerous procedures and hormonal rampage meds in order to have a baby. Maybe it is crazy, but I hardly think it's a choice. Don't people realize that these are often our only options to create a family? For some reason it seems like what we "do" to ourselves is frowned upon and that fertiles and nay-sayers are more comfortable if we "just chose to adopt." It doesn't matter to them that adoption doesn't cure infertility, frankly, it is just another option that we could chose to put ourselves through. I think it is unanimous, fertiles would be more comfortable if we all just adopted. I think it would make them feel much, much better about the state of the world and their floundering friendships with infertiles. We'd be doing something admirable and they could go on with their lives making sure everyone will chose a path less threatening or uncomfortable to those that don't want to talk about unpleasant choices in life.

I think this is a major issue for us as a IF community - not only do we have to go through our own heavy personal and painful process to become moms (IUI, IVF OR adoption), but we are faced with a heavy blanket of judgement from our society. I don't know anything else in life that is as uniquely controversial as this. IF doesn't care if you are a democrat or republican, if you believe in God or Buddha, if you are anti-abortion or pro-choice, rich, poor, fat, skinny, black, white, brown or red or live in a city or in the country - IF brings together women from every background from all over the world and it unites us in a very rare way. One IF person can speak for many. It doesn't matter our beliefs about anything else, what matters is what we go through and that we all share a common desire. If you think about it, we have power in numbers and I venture to guess, the numbers are rising, not falling. So if we are a large enough group, then why is there still so many misconceptions about what IF is or what it isn't?

Part of me doesn't care anymore what other people say or think. I have been down here, down this IF rabbit hole, for far to0 long to care what other people, who are not medical doctors, think I should or shouldn't be doing. If they were so sure of how I'd get pregnant, then they should open up an office and start charging IF patients for their fail-proof advice. Until then... please stop judging, stop telling me to relax, no, not thinking about this will not get me pregnant, and no, we are not adopting.... it's not the path for us. IVF#6 will either work, or we are chosing to life childfree... Thank you very little. I am looking at this straight on, I have no illusions, so either support me or don't, but keep your opinions to yourself!!

The song I am obsessed (yes, I can get obsessed about other things besides my uterus functions) with right now:
ADELE.... Rolling in the deep.... aren't we all?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sweet Guy has turned a corner


On Thursday of this last week, Sweet Guy and I celebrated our anniversary. We drove outside of the city up towards the Hudson River to Bear Mountain. It was a beautiful sunny and hot day. We grabbed our water packs and headed for the trailhead that leads into one of the longest American trails -  The Appalachian Trail which stretches from Maine to Atlanta. The first 20 minutes we hiked up about 300 stone steps and my heart was pumping so fast I thought for sure it'd fly out of my mouth if I yawned. Once we got about 1/2 way up you could see Hessian Lake below and the winding Hudson River below.... stunning tree-littered hills enveloped our view. I felt so alive, free and happy.




We got to the summit and took in the views as if it's been years since we'd seen mountain sky-scrapers. Well it has been years. I am from the Southwest and lived in the Northwest, I miss my mountains! The smells were ripe with fresh foliage and the breeze was light and appreciated. We saw deer, hawks, monarch butterflies, and chipmunks...thankfully, no black bears. Sweet Guy and I talked about as many things as there were steps to get us to the top. It wasn't until we started our descent that we began to talk about babies... or the lack there of.

Sweet Guy is O.V.E.R. I.T!!

He went on and on about how he can't bear the thought or experience of living through another failed cycle. He can't handle seeing me sad anymore. He doesn't want to work his ass off day in and day out just to have to spend it on the accrued expenses of children...or more IVF cycles. He's tired. He's tired of talking about it, hearing stories about his friend's babies and kids, seeing pregnant women, seeing babies in strollers and mostly, he's tired of trying, watching every month pass without a hint of a pregnancy. He's beat down and somewhat defeated and he doesn't think he has it in him to deal with any part of another failed cycle aftermath. He is tired of the fighting, the arguing, the distance, the isolation. He wants a partner in marriage, not a partner in battle. He wonders what sex would be like if we each didn't have thoughts of conception filling our heads rather than thoughts of being present to the person we each love.

I don't blame him.

My once pillar of strength, eternal optimist, my coach, my solace, has fallen from his pedestal and is at my feet begging me to consider living child-free.

I asked him if he could go through one LAST cycle. He said he doesn't want to, but he'd do it for me.

I think this is when I began to panic a little. Sweet Guys has always been the one that would think positively about our cycles, even when we were (are) trying naturally, he thinks and says out-loud, "I just know you're going to get pregnant this month." I would always smile and say under my breath, "your mouth to God's ears babe...." Whenever I was doubtful or fearful or feeling negative during a 2ww, Sweet Guy was there to offer a handful of hope, a thought that it is possible that we will get pregnant.... and give birth to a healthy baby. He has been there for every moment I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. He's been the little engine that could and now that engine has decided that this hill, this mountain, is just too damn steep to climb anymore.

I know that if we go through this cycle he will be there to support me, but I don't want to do force him into doing something he's not 100% committed to. It's not fair to put him through this again. Yes, this cycle could work, we could get pregnant. However, we all know that a positive beta is only the very beginning of yet another long journey, yes one that hopefully ends in 9 months, but let's be honest, pregnancy after IF can be just as stressful as finally getting pregnant. Aaarrrgh!!!! I am so pissed at the Universe today!

I want to hold Sweet Guy and tell him that it will be ok. But I don't know that. I don't know what the future holds. If we live child-free will I be able to survive my life? I know it sounds dramatic, but I have always wanted children. In fact having children has been the one thing I have never wavered from, have never doubted, or feared.... until infertility came into the picture.

I am filled with so many questions in my head about the (un)fairness of life. This is not what I signed up for, it's not what I thought my life would be, could be, when I started writing in my diary at age 12 about the life I hoped to live. I feel robbed, cheated, duped. Where did I take a wrong turn. How could it be so fucking hard to have a baby for some and effortless for others. Having a baby SHOULD NOT be this hard! I won't even dive into a diatribe about Casey Anthony. I can't go there... she's just one of many, MANY women, mothers on this planet who selfishly throw their gifts back into the waters from which they came. Public Service Announcement: If you don't want your baby, or child and are thinking of killing them or tossing them in the trash or off a bridge, please feel free to leave them at my door step... you stupid, idiotic fools!

I have spent the better part of the past two days letting my mind wander into the "life without children" world. It makes me scared, it hurts my heart, and yet, how would it be any different than today? I feel like I am in that scene in Sex and the City when Carrie is talking to Samantha about her life with Aleksandr Petrovsky - "Could you make up for the fact that we didn't have a baby...." (paraphrased). What would my life be like if I didn't have a baby? Would I forever feel like I would be missing out? Will I always wear jealousy on my sleeve? Will my heart remain bruised and tattered? Please let this nightmare end... I want out of this, all of this.

I feel confused, pensive and once again, defeated and deflated.

If I could be guaranteed that this next cycle would warrant a baby in our arms, I'd do it with eyes and heart wide open. I'd assure Sweet Guy, even bet him the moon and stars that we will get through this, marriage intact, non impaired. But I can't. I have no way of knowing if it will work. It will be another shot in the dark, the darkest dark known to man. There is no light on this journey, only glimmers through tales told by those that get to the other side of this madness. I think I have to decide between my marriage an another IVF cycle... oh the joys.

We had a taste of pregnancy. We had Sprout. We loved her so much. Losing her changed us forever.

I don't think I could ever go through that again.

Today is CD-1. Thank you AF for coming in the midst of yet another storm of dismay. I left a message with my nurse to let her know. I don't know what I will say to her when she calls me back. I didn't have the heart to tell Sweet Guy. What a pisser.

If there was ever a time when I wish I could hear the words of God, to find a crystal ball, to receive a message from a stranger, it is now. I have no idea what to do.

Grant me the serenity and clarity.... and please heal Sweet Guy's broken heart.... and mine too please.

Mama Deer and her little baby...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Meet me at the intersection of faith and hope


I have to admit, taking a break from blogging, from thinking about where I am on this journey, not keeping tabs on where others are at on this journey and filling my over-worked mind with new things to think about, to consider, new paths to discover and a good ol' fashion break from it all.... has left me with a fresh new look on infertility.

I am embarking on my 6th IVF cycle (gulp!). I have come a long way since the moment we started trying for a baby to when I went through my first IVF, lost Sprout, had another loss and quickly fell down the slope of bad luck. I have had moments of suicidal thoughts, moments of deep, unruly despair, fits of unbearable jealousy and have nearly been engulfed by rivers of tears.

I have watched many friends pass me by with babies in their bellies and arms....too many to consider counting. I have been left behind, left in the dirt, with a mouth full of dust and defeat. I have had moments of feeling like I could take on the world and moments when I thought the world was conspiring against me. I've faced my IVF cycles with strength, only to fall short of hope, sanity and patience.

I am not sure how I feel about IVF #6.

I know I have a 50/50 chance, meaning it will either work, or it won't. I don't listen to the Drs when they give us odds based on averages, ratios, our age, number of antral follicle counts, how well we stimm on the meds, or how many fertilzed eggs make it to day 5. They clearly don't know what the true odds are - it's all a guessing and numbers game. I've seen women get pregnant on crappy, fragmented day-three embryos and women get pregnant naturally after 5 failed IVF cycles after the Drs said they had a 3% chance of getting pregnant based on their "bad" eggs.

So you see, I could go into this cycle (possibly our last IVF) with a basket filled with hope. I mean, it is possible that this could work... I could have a baby in 2012 from this cycle. I could, for once, fall on the other side of the odds and consider them in my favor. I have been lucky enough to get pregnant twice, but I am hoping to go all the way, hoping to cross that long awaited finish-line.

But I am beyond tired.

When I look back over the past 5 years, I observe the moments when I felt small and incapable and see that infertility is not for the faint of heart. I can claim to have been weak, suicidal, at the brink of insanity, but I still continued on this path. It was a choice I made. I could have chosen to not be a mom, but that wasn't an option, so here I am, battle wounds and all, still heading down the path of "cross your fingers and leap!"

I don't know whether I should line up a list of "best practices" for those about to cycle - you know the list, I know it all too well - The acupuncture, choking down Chinese herb teas, eating less carbs and more organic veggies, meditating, light exercises, massages, yoga, wearing lucky bracelets, lighting candles in church, holding onto saint medallions and charms in our pockets or handbags, downing vitamins by the handful, writing blog posts asking everyone to say prayers for us, and of course, battling with our thoughts to make room for positive visions of a baby in our arms.

A part of me wants to go rogue, be bad, throw out everything I've done in the past that was suppose to "UP" my odds and throw caution to the wind. I am at the end of my road with what I could have control over. I've tried and tried and tired some more and now, I just want to do as little as possible to get through this. Is that bad? Shouldn't I try everything in my power to help the scientific procedures we put all our hope into?

I stopped taking all of my vitamins and medications. I have been on prescription strength folic acid for almost 3 years, a mega dose of vitamin D for over a year, metformin for 9 months and a medley of other vitamins based on the ridiculous amount of research I've done. I stepped up my exercise routines (boot camp in Central Park is a must!) and have been drinking my fair share of Pinot Grigio and Montepulciano. I barely keep track of my cycles and sex with Sweet Guy... well, that's a little to private, but let's just say it's not "timed" anymore.

One could say I am free!

One could also say I am still trapped.

I have found a clearing through this storm and I feel joy again. However, I still have an empty second bedroom, tears that well-up when another friend announces a pregnancy and I still have to take a deep breath and count backwards from 10-1 when I see (what feels like hundreds) pregnant women all around my NYC neighborhood. I am happy, but I still carry sadness in my heart.

So what now? I know the drill, but would like not to.

I have gone back to an RE that I saw after I lost Sprout. It's a new facility, a new lab... perhaps with those changes I will have some luck. My old/new RE is going to keep me on the same meds, but will try a 3-day transfer ( I have always done 5) and he's going to add in co-culture. At least this will be something new and it will give me one more shot before we do a PGD cycle as I was hesitant to move to this point. I am still not 100% with testing of embryos, and the only other option my last Dr gave me was to transfer up to 4 blasts.... uhm no, not going to challenge Octo-mom. It'd be just my luck that after all this, I'd get pregnant with 8 babies...not funny!

I close with this - I am back from my infertility hiatus, looking down the tunnel of yet another IVF cycle. I have no idea if it is going to work or not. I have summoned the strength to continue towards motherhood and I hope that I can arrive in one piece. I have faith that what will be, will be and that it is possible for this nightmare to end with a happy ending.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Paying it Forward Through Gratitutde


Yesterday, one of my dear IF warrior friends, "Kaos" and I held an event - The Red Tent Fertility Wellness Workshop - and it was life-altering. This was our way to give back to the community that has given us so much while on our journey to motherhood.

11 women attended our event, 4 practitioners presented and within 5 hours, a community was created.

We began the class on yoga mats facing windows that beamed with the morning light. I introduced myself and my friend and set the tone for the day - stating that this day was about us, all of us, no matter where we are on our paths. We then had everyone go around and introduce themselves to each other and share, if they wanted to, where they were in this process. It was then, in this moment, that the intention for the day was sealed.

Tracy Toon Spencer of Fertile Life, then led a  beautiful guided meditation while we all lay in goddess pose.  She walked us through a powerful visualization followed by a grounding breathing series. Tracy has the kind of voice that I imagine my guardian angel would have. I yearn to hear it and when she speaks, all I want to do is listen. She herself went through many years of TTC and when she told me of her journey, my jaw was on the floor. She is who I look up to in so many ways. She is a survivor, a mentor, a constant support and most importantly, a friend. When we completed the meditation, we then moved into restorative yoga.... yes!! More goddess pose...nothing is better than goddess pose!


We then took a break and provided everyone with a nutritious food spread - I wish I had remembered to take a picture of it, but believe me when  I say that we could have spent the rest of the day grazing and chatting. We ate raw yogurt and cheeses and sour dough bread from Hawthorne Valley Farms, organic fruits, vegetables, hummus and quinoa cakes from Whole Foods Mkt, a diverse tea selection, crackers (both gluten-free and whole grain), and enjoyed a lot of good conversation.

When we all came back into the room we had the pleasure of listening to Hannah Springer of Earth/Body Balance who led a thorough and fascinating talk on whole-food nutrition. This presentation blew my mind! Hannah knows as much about nutrition and healthy eating as I can imagine the FDA and the USDA should. I began to realize how I could not only prepare my body for pregnancy through eating more consciously, but also how I can provide my children with amazing and useful knowledge on good eating habits. Hannah provided in-home cooking classes for small groups - this will be my next event organization for my IF friends. To learn that eating food such as grass-fed meat rich in good fat, could provide us with all of the vitamin A and D we need is a good reminder that the business of food in America has quickly become just that, a business. We have truly gotten away from providing and producing what can come so naturally. The mass-production of food hasn't helped our food consumption, it's somewhat tainted it and distorted it in such a way that we hardly know or recognize what we are eating anymore.

Our next presenter was my acupuncture muse, Erin Hessel of Esema Healing Arts. I have been working with Erin for almost 3 years and she, by far, is one of the most dearest people to me. I met her while she was in acupuncture school and knew instantly that I wanted to know her forever. Her practice is gentle, caring and intentional. Her background is diverse and if I didn't know any better, based on her life experience, with those she worked with, what she's trained in and the knowledge she bestows, I'd think she was a 100 year old wise woman.... she is far from 100 years old, but she is a very wise woman.

Erin provided a historical foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine and herbs and how it pertains to women's reproductive health and fertility. She talked about BBT charting and how knowing your body is a way to feel empowered, especially when we are in the care of doctors  and taking medications that control and manipulate our cycles. It's the one thing I have felt like I have insight on while TTC, I can literally take my temperature anytime during my cycle and know if I have ovulated yet... 10 years of charting will do that.

The final presenter was the lovely Pardis Partow of Hummingbird Healing. Pardis is a Healer, Reiki Master and Intuitive Coach. Pardis is a gentle, yet powerful healer that provides in-depth insight into areas of our lives that we feel stuck, lack clarity, or are struggling with. She invited us all to consider that there are forces, guides perhaps, that are here for each of us and that we are never alone. She talked about the importance of journaling (blogging) and how getting our emotions out on a page helps clear our mind, helps get rid of the chatter that clogs our ability to listen to and hear our intuition. Pardis is truly a gift and her insights have helped me to see a bigger picture, that a larger story is being told, not just my struggle to have a baby.... timing perhaps, lessons to learn, maybe, but in my heart, I know I will be a mommy.

We finished our event with tender breathing exercise. We had all of the participants lay on mats head-to-head in order to hear each other's exhale breaths. This breathing exercise is called Ocean Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama) and the sound of this breath in the room brought me to tears. Clearly this day was emotional for me.

Lastly, after the closing breathing exercise, we sat in a circle and everyone, including the presenters, Kaos and I, went around and said one word to share about our state of being. This was the single most moment that had the biggest impact on me throughout the entire day. We were women each from different backgrounds, with different stories of how we came to be here, what we've gone through/are going through to try to create family, how we support others on their path and we were community.

I want to thank everyone who was involved with this project, without you believing in me, believing in this community, this project would have been stuck in my head and would have never been given a chance to be so powerfully shared with others.
 
To my husband, Sweet Guy, thank you for believing in me, believing in me, believing in me and believing in me some more. I can't imagine life without you. Our children will be the luckiest kids on the planet to have you as their daddy.
 
Kaos, my dearest fellow-warrior. I can't wait to see you as a mother and to meet Pinto. It's been a long battle fought, but you've done it with grace, humor and determination. You are my inspiration on so many levels.
 
Tracy Toon Spencer, my mentor and dear friend. You have given me such wonderful insight into my inner-strength and abilities to continue this path with hope alive in my heart. Because of you, Home Tree lives within in me.
 
Erin Hessel - You have been my rock, my salvation and constant support. I am in awe of you and your ability to provide such an intentional and caring practice for so many women (many of my friends) and I look forward to having you as my doula and being there to welcome our babies into this world... you are and always will be family.
 
Hannah Springer - You my dear are an incredibly powerful and dynamic woman with too many gifts to name. Your knowledge and dedication to providing useful tools and knowledge of the foods we eat is invaluable. You are a beacon of light for our community and I honor you in so many ways.
 
Pardis Partow, my spirit smiles because of you. Thank you for all of your thoughtful insights and commitment to my path in this lifetime. You have given me the ability to believe.....
 
My mom, Ginny, who made, with love, eye pillows for each guest, the presenters, and a few more "just in case." My mom is the love of my life. She has the biggest heart I know, regardless of what the doctors say, your heart is strong - you capable of loving the entire world. You are my heart and soul,
 
Thank you to AC for coming to our event.  It was very meaningful to both Kaos and I to have you there to support us. You have given so many of us hope, humor and never-ending support. I cherish you and am so grateful for your own efforts to give back to our community. I am already planning our trip to Alaska for bear season~
 
Thank you to Circle+Bloom for your support of this event and your participation in the gift bags and raffle. You provide a wonderful mind/body tool for all of us and we are grateful for your dedication and commitment to all of us.
 
Thank you to my soul-sista Lauren  of Schwa Designs for creating and donating such beautiful jewelry for our raffle. Your talent is unparalled. I am where I am today because of friends like you and I am blessed.
 
Thank you Maureen for the donation of your humorous and thought-filled book about your journey to create a family, "Step Right Up and Take Your Chances." I look forward to hiking the Grand Canyon with you! Hope is alive~
 
Finally, thank you to the women that attended the event and to all the women in this community. I honor each and everyone of you. Everyday I give thanks to those that support me, encourage me, inspire me and give me hope. We are together in this journey and we really do walk in solidarity....we are community and we are family.
 
I hope to provide many more of these Fertility Wellness Workshops in the future. If you are interested in attending, participating or contributing in any way, please feel free to email me.
 
I leave you with one of my favorite Marianne Williamson quotes~ from me to you~
 
Our Deepest Fear



"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.



We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?



You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking

so that other people won't feel insecure around you.



We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

our presence automatically liberates others."

~ Marianne Williamson - from "A Return To Love" ~

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