Monday, February 13, 2012

New Digs

Hi everyone,

If you are interested in following along with the rest of my story and our crazy antics, please visit me over on my new blog...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Please Help Holden

****UPDATE****12/24/11: Christmas Miracles? Holden's feeding clinic costs are now fully funded. There was a huge out pouring of support and I am so happy for this family...Really hoping it makes all the difference in the world and this little boy will start thriving...

I have been in the event industry for nearly 20 years now. It is a very tight-knit community, and, much like the ALI community I have come to love so much, we like to support each other in any way we can.

A very talented photographer, Scott, and his wife have a son, Holden who spent 2 months in the NICU. He is home now, and is having serious feeding issues. He is getting most of his nutrition through his G-tube, but at nearly 8 months is still experiencing failure to thrive. They have been accepted into a special feeding clinic, which, they feel is Holden's best shot. However, insurance refuses to pay. (Unfathomable).

They are trying to raise 20K to get him into this clinic. So, I am reaching out to you, all of you, on their behalf.

Please visit the link here to learn more about their need. WARNING: the video is beautiful, but heartbreaking. But it tells you all you need to know.

Please help if you can, even if it is just to lend moral support.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Own Creme de la Creme (2007)

Everyone knows about the Creme de la Creme list, right? (If not see side-bar). Well, like I mentioned in my last post, it has taken me um, 5 years to get around to submitting anything to the list. Finally, this year, I put my fear of humiliation aside and sent in my submission. I don't know why I was so scared. So, over the next few posts, I am going to share with you the posts, one from each year I've been blogging, that I should have submitted, but didn't. It will be a nice look back on the journey I've traveled since starting this blog, before I move on permanently to my Parenting blog.

This post, from 2007, may not be my best ever, but it was the one, that, while reading through my posts from that year, made me cry all over again. I suppose it is a testament to the fact the feelings surrounding our infertility will always be with me: It is so easy for me to be transported back to that space and remember, on a very visceral level, exactly how it felt to be where I was at that moment. It was also very eerie to read this post, about my jealousy of others' pregnancies, about my deep longing to conceive, and about my desire to move past my jealousy and pain and get on with the rest of my life, as a mother with our son whom we had adopted. Eerie, because this post was labeled "The Elusive Miracle-Surprise" which I moaned would never happen. Re-reading this now, I am hit square in the face with a great amount of awe and appreciation to the God/Angels/Universe that must have been listening all along to my deepest despair--for two years later, I received my very own Miracle-Surprise. It is also very humbling, because, reading it now, I wish I had had more faith that everything was how it was supposed to be, because, clearly the Plan was for me not to conceive at that point in time so that we would adopt. So that Handsome Man would be our son. How I wish I could go back in time to that woman I was then and tell her to have some peace and enjoy her life and be more grateful for what she had. It is hard though, when you are in the middle of it, the heart-deep longing, to let go, as much as I really, really, wanted to. And I have a great deal of compassion, too, for the woman I was then.

So, without further ado, I give you, "The Elusive Miracle-Surprise" originally written in 2007:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Elusive Miracle-Surprise

Another friend of mine is pregnant.

I found out as Mister and I were excitedly driving out of town on the way to our first day of vacation. My cell phone rang, and, I was delighted to see my old friend's number. So I answered. And she told me the news. After I hung up, Mister said he was very proud of me, because I did such a good job sounding excited and happy for my friend. To which I replied, "Well, I'm a very good actor." But, the truth was, I am happy and excited for her. And jealous and crushed. Simultaneously. This friend of mine is a bit older than me. (42). She had her first child 4 years ago, and though they struggled for about a year and a half to conceive (natural conception) they had no other issues. Due to my friend's age, she and her husband figured they'd better jump right back on the train and try for number 2 right away. So, for the past 4 years or so, they've been trying to conceive. ART is not for them, and so, after 4 years, and after celebrating another birthday, she figured it was over. She totally moved on. She gave away all the baby stuff she'd been hanging on to (high chairs, clothes, toys, etc.) some of which I was the happy recipient. She told me, the last time I saw her, that she and her husband knew they would just be a family of 3, and that was fine. Done. Moving on. Next topic.

Then, Blam! Pregnant. A total miracle-surprise.

There have been a lot of these miracle-surprises happening lately. There have been several recently out in the blogosphere that I am aware of. And, there's all the second-hand stories I hear everywhere. (Some one's friend's-sister, who only had one ovary, tried for 5 years,yadda, yadda, yadda.) I have heard so many of these miracle tales over the past 3-4 years that I honestly assumed that eventually, one day, MY miracle-surprise would happen. It is what has kept the flame of hope alive through all of the bad news and evidence to the contrary I've received, that one day, it would happen.

So the overwhelming feeling I had when I hung up the phone was, "Where's MY miracle?"

And the following answer my mind and heart came up with was this. Maybe there is no miracle in store for me. Miracles are miracles because they don't happen every day, or to everyone. They are miraculous because they are "not supposed to happen." And the overwhelming evidence suggests that, after 4 years of wanting and trying to have a baby, there is no miracle in sight. In 4 years, I have never managed to get knocked up naturally. We got pregnant one time, on C.lomid, but it didn't stick. And, each month that passes, my already crappy eggs just get older and more geriatric. So, I am most likely one of the people on the other side of the miracle story: the ones you don't hear about. The ones for whom there IS no miracle. One of the ones that never gets her pot of gold. And, being sad, or angry, or jealous, or sorry for myself, won't change the outcome. It won't change the facts. So, then, why waste the energy feeling angry, jealous, and sorry for myself, if the outcome remains the same? Why?

I cried for a while after I got off the phone with my friend, as all these thoughts were swirling around in my head. And then, I vowed I would not let this bit of news ruin my vacation. And I didn't. Furthermore, I gave myself this cycle "off." I decided to not care (as best I could) about where I was in my cycle, what my ovaries were doing, or any of it. I did not bring along my thermometer, did not do any charting, nothing. Also, I drank wine, ate pizza, sweets, whatever I felt like. I started my mornings with my old friend coffee! I even had a cocktail at lunch, no less, one of our days out and about. Because I felt like it. Ha! I just tried to be present and enjoy myself, and my husband and my son. And it was great. There were even moments where, for the first time in a long time, I just felt "normal." I felt like Me.

And, since that day I decided to try and not care any more about my infertility (a weighty undertaking, but I'm trying) I have been repeating a few things over and over to myself. Mantras, if you will. Of course, the aforementioned, "Being upset about it, will not change the outcome. So don't be upset." "Be fluid" or, "Go with the flow." And, "What will be, will be." Also, every time I look at a pregnant woman, I think, "Some women are made to be pregnant. Some aren't. I'm one of the latter. So be it."

I'm not saying that I have reached some sort of higher ground (as you can tell if you read my last post about being in I.kea). But, it feels better than always expecting a different outcome than what I have received.

So when I was at my acupuncturist's office the other day, she asked me how my mood was. I told her it was pretty good, that I was feeling pretty relaxed after my vacation. And then, I told her about my friend. And, the conversation went something like this:

Acu: How do you feel about that? I can see it is making you weepy.
Me: Well, I wish it were me this time. But it's not. And, I'm beginning to think, it just may not happen for me.
Acu: And how do you feel about that?
Me: I just wish I could stop caring. If I could just open up my brain and remove the wiring that makes me care whether I ever get pregnant or not, then, life would be great.
Acu: What would your life look like if you could do that?
Me: Great. I could move on. I could focus on other things. I could just be a wife to my husband, and a mother to my son, and, I have this AMAZING child! We could get our life back on track, financially. We could stop living like we are on hold--in limbo.
Acu: Yeah?
Me: Yeah!
Me: But I'm not quite there yet.
Acu: But, I think this is how you get there. Day by day. You grieve a little, and you let a little go. And then, one day, you come out on the other side of it.
Me: I would like to get to the Other Side of this. I would like to have my life back.
Acu: Then you will.

Maybe I've had plenty of miracles, but have refused to recognize them, because I've been so caught up in my strangle-hold of trying to have a baby. For instance, is it not a miracle, that, despite the fact that my body refuses to procreate, I have here, right in front of me, a beautiful HEALTHY BABY? Is it not a miracle, that, the biological mother of this amazing child picked Mister and me, out of all the people on the frigging planet, and said, 'Here, I want to give you my Baby'?! Is not abona fide Miracle-Surprise that we got matched with our birthmotherthe very first day our adoption profile went up on our agency's site? Is it not a miracle that this baby loves me, and reaches for me, yes me, when he wants his Mommy?

And, the other thing is, I'm tired. I'm exhausted from the caring about my infertility. I'm tired of wanting and not getting. I'm sick to death of the sad feelings and the jealousy and the distance I have had to put between me and my fertile friends, and, sometimes, the world. I'm so tired of giving a shit, that I could just scream. I am ready to be done. I am not quite done, I know, in my heart, but I truly want to be done. Perhaps that is the first step on my road to recovery. When I think of how life will be after I reach that elusive place of not caring about being infertile any more, it makes me very happy and hopeful. So, perhaps my focus is changing. Changing from reaching that pot of gold (pregnancy) to getting past the point where I'm even looking for it any more. To being satisfied with what I have.

Lastly, I still want to do the IUI. I feel that I must pursue, at this point, what options we have, so at least I will know that I did all that I could. I am keeping the flame of hope lit for now. However, I'm feeling (at this point) less committed to the outcome. As I see it, one of three things will happen with this IUI. 1. I'll actually get pregnant! 2. I won't get pregnant, and when it's all over, I'll really be in that place of saying, 'okay, I'm done.' and I'll move on. 3. I won't get pregnant, but we will learn some new information about my body, and how it responds to the treatment that will be encouraging enough for us to go ahead an give it another try.

I think I am ok with any of those.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Own Creme de la Creme

Okay, so everybody knows about the Creme de la Creme list, right? Yeah, I've been blogging for 5 years, and um, I've never, ever submitted a post to the list. Why? I guess I just never thought I had anything that amazing (or well written) to say. After all, it's just me, Frenchie. Who cares, right? I think after reading and following (and heck worshiping) so many amazing bloggers in this community like Luna, and Lori, and JJ, and Mel (just to name a few) what could I possibly have to add? Well, maybe not much, but as I am starting a new blog (have you visited yet?) and am turning over a new leaf in my life as well....I guess it's time to start taking myself a little more seriously. Ok, so my little submission to the list isn't going to change anyone's life. I'm not going to gain the attention of a magazine editor and it probably won't leave a lasting impression on many people. But, it was important to me. My submission this year was a little post I wrote on one of those days when the absolute awe, gratitude and love for what I had (after so many years of yearning for what I didn't have) just washed over me, and I allowed myself to soak in it for a brief moment before moving on to the next bit of business for the day.

I won't ruin it, I'll wait till the list comes out, and you can read it there (among all the other much more amazing blog posts--there I go diminishing myself again, right?--). But, in the meantime, I think I am going to do my OWN Creme de la Creme here, on this blog, before I say goodbye once and for all. Over the next week, I'll pick a favorite post from each year I've been blogging and put it up here. It will be a nice way for me to reflect and wrap up the journey that I've traveled with this blog--and with all of you--over the past 5 or so years. Also a nice way to wrap up the end of the year, and (gulp) the end of my 30's. (So many transitions right now, yikes!) Anyway, I hope someone out there will read my own personal "gems" but if not, I will enjoy looking back at where I was, only to appreciate where I am all the more.

And if you haven't added YOUR submission to the Creme de la Creme, don't be shy like me--get on over there and add yours!! Happy blogging!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's Time

Infertility has touched my life in a dramatic way. It has not just touched my life, it has shaped my life. I don't think I will ever forget the feelings and raw emotions of those 6 or so years. I can recall just how it felt to be sitting in that doctor's office and being told my baby had no heart beat, I can be transported back that sinking, falling, sick feeling instantly. My palms are getting sweaty as my fingers type this now. That was in 2006. I still feel so much sadness, and so much anger toward the smug Fertility Specialist who told me my chances of conceiving were less than 1%, that when I heard his voice on the radio recently (a commercial for their facility) I almost had to pull over while driving. I remember each and every pregnancy announcement and the sinking into the floor feeling it left me with. And I remember the random, nagging, mosquito-buzzing-like sense of hope that plagued me each and every month for years, hoping something would miraculously change. I remember how much money I sank into special herbal treatments, acupuncture, vitamins, etc., and how much hope went right down the drain with them. I remember hugging my miraculously-pregnant-at-43 friend, and sobbing into her shoulder, ashamed, that I couldn't hold it back, even though I was so happy for her. I remember how humbling it felt when she said it was ok, and that we never had to talk about the pregnancy, she just wanted to see me.

All of those emotions are just a thought, a moment, a mere wrinkle-in-time away. Even though, I sit here, on what many might call "The Other Side."

What's my point? Infertility will always be a part of my life. How can it not be? I believe it has changed who I am. I am certainly more aware, more cautious, and more concerned about other people's feelings. I am able to recognize that weird, pained expression, on another woman's face as I pass her in the mall with my two kids in tow. I was that woman. For years.

However, though Infertility will always be my shadowy companion, it no longer consumes me. It does not define me anymore. And I have a life now that involves so many other things. Things I can fully pay attention to now that the veil of sadness has lifted. I have been extremely blessed with two children. And my life, and my blog have moved on to a different type of existence. I am a mother. I am an adoptive parent. I have a child with special needs. I am a wife. I like to cook. I get frustrated with the ups and downs of parenting. We have recently moved to a new state and we are starting over from scratch. I'm looking forward to new career possibilities. I am spending time examining myself, outside the bubble of Infertility: Who am I? What's going on? What do I want? What do I need? What can I do better? And.... how am I ever going to get a full night's sleep again? :)

Oh yea, and I turn 40 in a couple of months.

How did I get here?

So it is time. Time to start a new blog. Time to feel free to say without any reservation on any given day that maybe my kids are driving me crazy. I know most folks in the throes of IF are not going to want to read about that.

And, although my infertility experience will always be a tactile memory-a shroud of experience I can wrap myself up in at any given moment, I feel it is now time to hang her up in the closet. She's there, right next to my pile of maternity clothes I don't quite know what to do with.

So, if any one is still interested in reading about the ongoing (and mostly boring) life and times of me and me crew, then please visit my new blog:


Monday, November 14, 2011

We Made It

I underestimated how much moving would take out of me, mentally, physically and emotionally. I am sorry for the long silence. There have been lots and lots of post-in-my-head moments that have never made it into 'print'. But I am still here, and all is well.

Here is a brief snippet of what's going on.

10 Things I Love About Our New Life:

1. Bigger House.
We are not all on top of each other anymore. Everyone is happier.

2. Mister loves his job.
When Mister is happy, everyone is happier.

3. Handsome Man is in school.
Clark County School District has been good to us. For the first time since we started this struggle through HM's diagnosis, etc., he is finally--FINALLY-- getting special ed services. And he is thriving. And I get a 3 1/2 hour break, 4 days a week.

4. Our new health insurance is pretty freaking awesome.
No more gigantic bills every time we visit the pediatrician. Jeysus Lordy.

5. Sunshine.
I know California is sunny, but it is like seriously sunny here, even when it's cold. (and yes it does get cold!) No more SADD.

6. Renting is not so bad.
If something breaks, someone else has to fix it (and pay for it). Nuff said.

7. Everything is close.
Seriously, everything and anything I might need is close. And compared to the Bay Area, traffic is virtually non-existent. Seriously, people around here have no idea. If they have to drive like 20 minutes to get somewhere it is a big freaking deal. Me? I'm like, only 20 minutes? Sweeet!

8. Trader Joe's AND Whole Foods nearby.
Need I say more?

9. Cost of living is just basically lower, in general, which is super nice.

10. Did I mention BIGGER HOUSE??

10 Things I Am Struggling With Since Starting Our New Life:

1. I seriously miss my friends, and my familiar surroundings. I'm lonely.

2. I miss being able to drive an hour to see Mister's parents and spend time at their house. (Handsome Man seriously misses grandma and grandpa).

3. People here are weird. Not as friendly as I'm used to.*

4. The heat in the summer time is pretty extreme.
Hard to be outside for longer than 30 minute stretches with the kids during the day and we end up spending a lot of time indoors.

5. Gigantic energy bill from aforementioned summer months; running the A/C 24-7.

6. I miss green things.
Green trees, hills, grass.....and flowers.

7. White walls.
This house has white walls. Not only is it boring but they show every smudge, smear, dirty little hand print. I have invested heavily in the Magic Eraser. We are renting so don't want to deal with painting, at least not right now. Maybe if we end up being here long term....?

8. Dealing with the stress of leaving behind our house in the Bay Area.
Not that we are the only ones going through something similar, but it sucks. And we are not out of the woods yet.

9. I feel pretty isolated.
...ergo, I spend waaay too much time on Ugh. Stupid.

10. Did I mention how much I miss my friends?

*Mister is meeting a lot of really cool people from his work, and so we have had the opportunity to socialize a bit. It will just take time for me to make new friends. It will happen eventually, but it just doesn't happen overnight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

it's Official...

....we're moving. Mister got a job offer from Big Company out of state. We are going for it. It is going to be a huge change. But, as time has gone on (and the possibility of this company offering him a job became more and more real, aaand we got nearer and nearer to the end of his severance pay) I have started to warm up to the idea of a fresh start. Yes, it will present a whole new set of issues that I will have to contend with: Where to put Handsome Man in preschool in the fall, and who/how/where to talk to about his IEP. Who will work with it? Will they have room for him if a program even exists? Also, a new community, where I know absolutely NO ONE, and at nearly 40 years old, with two young children, I have to go about the seemingly impossible task of making new friends. Which sounds positively exhausting. I can't imagine how I could ever do better than the friends I have surrounded myself with here--and it took a while after we moved here to find and foster these friendships. I am spooked about navigating my way through a whole new city, in a new state...even though I've traveled a bit, I've never officially called anywhere but Northern California my home. Now we are moving to a city that I have never been to....(even though everybody and their kid brother has been there at some point in their lives for a bachelor/bachelorette party, quickie wedding, convention, vacation, or just for the Elvis impersonators...{can you guess where I'm talking about? No. I've never been.}) And then there's the whole business about going back into business. I was looking forward to getting back to work within the next year or so, and also starting a new business partnership. Now what? Start over? In a market I'm totally unfamiliar with, where I have ZERO contacts? Oy. That also sounds positively exhausting and impossible.

But then there's the flip side.

There is something so appealing right now about hitting the RESTART button on our lives. The past many years have been one struggle after another, the biggest and most debilitating and crushing of which has been infertility. It has colored every aspect of my life for so long. Mel at Stirrup Queens has talked about Location Casualties; the places you can't bear to revisit because they hold some horrible memory for you. My world here is full of them. So many places that I must drive by or even visit on a semi regular basis due to my work or just because they are so many and so near: There's the hotel we stayed at the weekend after we learned our first pregnancy was not viable. It was a vain attempt to 'get away' and forget and an excuse not to answer our phones for just a few more days, not to have to answer the horrible question. There's the restaurant we ate in that weekend, where I ordered wine, feeling strangely guilty even though I knew it didn't make a difference to the dead embryo inside me. There's the locations where I attended friends' baby showers, or heard pregnancy announcements and nearly cried my guts out in one bathroom or another, and on and on...And there are many more places that are mixed for me now on the other side of our journey: The hospital where I had my d&c but also the same hospital where I delivered Grace. But, either way, I am surrounded by this gauzy film that sort of covers the lens of my mind's viewfinder. Every where I look, old sadness, new joy, but melded together into one large opaque shroud over everything. How will it be, I wonder, now that things are different, now that I am no longer mired in my Great Sadness, to be somewhere new, somewhere totally devoid of memory and meaning? No reminders of old longings, losses or heartache. Even our house, which I will be sad to leave behind, as it was the home that welcomed both of our beloved children, is also the home where I sat for hours, incapable of moving, during the most suffocating moments in our struggle. How many hours did I spend completely stuck to this couch, drowning in inertia. How many times did I sleep (or not sleep) on this couch when I couldn't stop crying in the middle of the night and didn't want to disturb Mister? I think before we leave I will drag this couch into the front yard and light it on fire! I will dance around it and proclaim: You no longer have a hold on me! I am free! I have ripped through the dark veil of sadness and I will start over!

Can you start over at almost 40?

No one I meet from now on in our new town will have any idea of what came before, what sadnesses I endured or how broken I once was, how fragile our marriage became. Maybe that is good, maybe just what we need. I/we can be whoever we want... I think. Maybe we can forget too.

Who will I be now? Who can I be now...? Is there a more confident, happier, sassier, funnier, kinder, more energetic version of me, waiting out there in the desert?