30 August 2009

then and when

Sweet Elizabeth's comment on my last post included the following quote by Cynthia Rylant in her book called All in a Day:

"The past is sailing off to sea, the future's fast asleep./ A day is all you have to be, it's all you get to keep."

And it struck home with me and many other commenters. (THANK YOU ELIZABETH)

It is so hard to feel that now is all we know we have since that feels so scary, so limited and puts so much pressure on the importance of the moment. Zen bends us toward living in the moment, living in the now, the present, but I suck at turning off the spigot of whatifs that lead to futures that may or may not happen, and I suck extra at turning off the spigot of regret, memory, historical obsessiveness...

Time is a funny thing-- taken alone, I like sweeping second hands that remind me that this is all one continuous stream, and it lets me know how arbitrary our increments are for marking it- a second, a minute, an hour--- days start to make more sense, as do moon phases, as do seasons-- those have physical bases-- things that we can observe and experience more or less directly (assuming we trust our senses)--

Time during trying to conceive is crazybatshit as we all know-- waiting and rushing and waiting and panicking and rushing and waiting.... two week waits, marking time by ultrasound appointments, blood draws, inseminations of various kinds, test dates, all with the metronome of morning and evening stim shots...

We feel the panic of aging, the sheer and utter panic as if our ovaries will seize up the moment we turn ___ and we'll be done with a silent Ding. We feel the utter visceral panic of running out of time.

We spend time hoping for a future we can see so clearly- our kids at the beach or on a bike or in our arms...
We spend time fearing a future we can see too clearly too- one in which our dreams have not been realized or that things don't go as hoped, that something goes wrong, now, soon, or eventually. And we fear losses we know and those we cannot imagine. We fear loss of opportunity.
We regret not starting sooner, not realizing what we had or what we could lose, we wish we had made different choices...

I am all about "then" and "when"-- back then..... or when I....
and trying to stay right here, in this moment, is brutally hard. Sometimes because it sucks rocks, but sometimes just because it is just so hard to stop bungy-ing around, pingponging, crazy superballing (sounds better than it is, I promise)--

I think that is why this simple little challenge has been and continues to be so meaningful to me-- it is not changing my situation but it is changing my instantaneous experience of time.
My cat is lying next to me on the sofa cushion. For the past 10 seconds I watched the stripes on his sides expand and contract as he breathes, the black if his stripes is so dark it is not-light. And the hairs that sit to each side are those magical cat hairs that start silvery brown, and are tipped in white.

Why does this matter? Because for those 10 seconds, time stretched. My life slowed down a little.
And for those 10 seconds I was just simply kate, looking at the stripes on my cat rise and fall. Not old kate or failing kate or worried kate or maybepregnant-maybenot kate, or kate who might never be pregnant or....
just kate
and cat
and stripes.

28 August 2009

things we love for 10 seconds at a time

In my quest to be more present, and to open myself to more joy, I've been trying to spend just 10 seconds really tuning into a moment, a sensation.. and I invited you to come along and try it out.

Here is what you shared:

music- really, really listening to the lyrics, and hearing hope there, and the wonder and power of Yes

imagination-- letting ourselves open to an idea or experience that we can imagine and connect with, one we would like to experience

clouds-- watching them pass slowly overhead

fully experiencing a wonderful sensory bath of yielding cushions, gentle breeze and humming fan

reading something thought and joy provoking (aww thanks!)

breathing, deeply and consciously, slowing down, and being in the moment
and reveling in successes, like really challenging ones of habit breaking...especially those right at our fingertips!

Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and experiences!
See? and what did it cost? 10 seconds. So worthwhile I think. I just hope I remember to do it!

I had a wonderful, healing energy balancing session last night that felt like the right key turned in the right lock and I am much better. I think the trifecta of taking care of myself through the intellectual and emotional side (therapy), the physical side (yoga) and the spiritual side (energy balancing)-- just the very act of doing these things has helped. I feel much less mired.

I have one more big hurdle to pass, one of those shitty anniversaries: September 11th for obvious reasons but also for much more personal reasons-- it would have been my 10 year wedding anniversary. I just have to remember to keep taking care of myself and reaching out for help and support when I need it. Sometimes being or acting independent and strong is great, but sometimes it is bullshit and alienating, and sometimes it is nice to open myself up to feeling supported.


Remember how I said I was not really expecting success this cycle so the 2 week wait was sort of un-loaded? Still mostly true, but as I move into this sweet spot of potential implantation, I am aware of being aware, I am aware of being watchful, and hopeful, and on sort of an oblique I'm-not-really-peeking lalala symptom watch.
So, yeah, good intentions and all that. But I am not all wrapped up. Yet. Tonight I found myself being bad in a tiny little way (green tea with dinner)-- and realized I am kinda tired of doing all the right things (dhea, yoga, diet, no caffeine, acupuncture...) and having it not work, so apparently I was feeling like cheating just a tiny little bit.

So yes, countdown to the end of August, I will not miss you.
And count up to the next few weeks and overall September craziness.
But for now? For 10 seconds I will watch my darlin' while he's not looking, and just really enjoy being right here, right now.

26 August 2009

beauty joy love

My dear friend David wrote to me yesterday expressing his feeling about the connection between love and joy-- "There is no joy without love."

And I agree in some ways-- love does not always bring joy, of course, and can sometimes suck rocks, but I also got to thinking about beauty. Because for me I guess experiencing beauty is also another form of experiencing love...

I am someone who has always taken joy in looking and seeing-- the horses I pass on my drive in (especially the small white one with the whiskers who sleeps flat out on his side), the funny woolly sheep with black faces, the big brown donkey in the cattle pasture, the red chickens in the big organic garden on insect patrol, round hay bales, the contour lines of plowing and cutting, the green fuzz of new corn, the yellow stalks of stubble after harvest, flocks of birds moving from telephone wire to tree top, or the stream that flows by the side of the road high in the spring, slow in august-- yes, all of these things I see each day, not all always, but my days-- when I notice-- are filled with beauty.
What changes is my attention. Sure I look, but I stop truly seeing, or tasting or touching or smelling.

David's wonderful note was a reminder to me-- to stop and look and see---- to reconnect with the things inherent in me that bring me joy-- simple simple things.

So, I challenge all of us-- for 10 seconds today, really look at something, or really notice as you touch something, taste something, smell something, revel in a fine flavor, or a soft shirt, or wriggle your toes, smell the coffee, or look at the clouds or the stars-- something, something that brings YOU joy, just by the noticing. Times whizzes past, in this one moment, for just 10 seconds, revel a little. And if you want, leave a note saying what you noticed, what brought you 10 seconds of joyishness. I'll put them up in a post later today or tomorrow.

25 August 2009

no nonsense

Sorry for my silence and absence, but I have not really known what to say. I was lying in bed sunday night, looking at the white twinkle lights in the living room through the windows, and thinking how much better I feel sometimes after dark when my options are more limited. I cannot see the garden that needs weeding, or the roof I worry I might need to replace, or this that or the other thing. My scope gets closer, I can only see so far. I do not feel as torn to do this or that. But as my outside life gets simpler- but that is when my inside life gets a little more intense. That is when my demons walk around. I have been sleeping badly, having a hard time getting to sleep which never happens, I am used to waking, not having a hard time sleeping, but then when morning comes, I feel like shit, so bone tired, I wake sad. And this is so NOT ME. Not the me I know and like. This is like being hijacked by my not favorite self.

I spoke with Patricia, the IF therapist from NYC, last night, our inaugural conversation- she is sharp, people, sharp and direct and knowledgeable. She knows the lingo, the people, the places, she knows the struggles, she knows the stats, she is not someone who blows sunshine or who strives for warm fuzzies at all costs. She is human and funny and seemed to really get me, get the split between my brain and my heart. It was so great not to have to explain myself, to worry about spending time describing the technicalities.

I had homework, and I have done most already-- easy stuff, look up the stats for DE and IVF in IVF New Jersey (anyone here go there? they have some pretty amazing stats), write to CCRM and see if they are willing to tell me what protocol they would have used if I could have afforded to go there (um, no, thanks for asking, and no, there are no studies for women my age that I can take part in).

Patricia affirmed that that is the dream place, for almost anyone in any circumstances, and that they are doing amazing things. She goes to the conferences, she has met most of the players. It was interesting to have the inside view of both her professional opinion and then the additional insight from her work with patients.

I told her I did not know what I was really after in our conversations, just that I feel like shit. And that was ok too. In that moment, that felt like enough. I did not need a big clear agenda.

I hated going over my history, hate that it sounds horrible all condensed like that. I hate that I cannot just answer something groovy-- life has been great, I just waited too long-- instead there is this tangle of other plot lines, of having and losing and distrusting and waiting and wanting and hoping and having and losing and..... not all about babies, but it sucks to revisit the powerlessness of so much of it. The blind hope, and then.

So, that part sucked.

Now I am babbling so I will stop.
Just wanted to say hello. And to any of you who wonder if it is worth talking with her, I say a resounding yes- as long as you are not after warm fuzzies and gentle affirmation, this is more about acknowledging the suckitude, gathering information and taking action.

23 August 2009


see? I knew I would accidentally forget someone, because I suck at this.
Sooooooo who did I forget? Hmm? Any guesses?

I FORGOT HOPE! which is so profound really that I hardly know what else to say.

Hope from Living in Hope, please accept both my apology for not including you yesterday and the lovely blog award.

22 August 2009

dungeons and dragons

My temp is up halfway this morning and my second line was fading fast when we got home so I think maybe I did ovulate yesterday sometime-- so the timing on the IUI was fine. It was our first unmedicated IUI and not at all fun. My cervix did not want to play along and it was ouchy and pinchy and crampy. Apparently drugs of any kind help with that. BUT it is over, and this two week wait feels pretty unloaded since I have no expectations that it might actuallly work (unlike the last one with the injectables where I really thought it might since it had before).
So hopefully I will not make myself insane riding the crazy rollercoaster of symptom watch and pee stick o rama. Just two weeks that need to pass before we begin again. Universe? Please feel free to surprise me in a happy way, I'd be ok with that.

The genetic news is not as clear cut as I hoped based on the phone conversation I had with the nurse pre-appointment yesterday.

While no variant was mentioned at all (leaving me to believe that it wasn't one) the mere fact of having now had a chromosomally abnormal embryo, my chances of having a little one with down syndrome (if by some miracle we do procreate) is now 1 in 26 from 1 in 40 for my age.
this sucks shit clearly.

The cost of knowing? higher stress I guess. A feeling that one less thing is ok-ish. But at least I know. Knowing or not knowing would not change the statistics, only my ability to respond to them intellectually or emotionally.

So.... that being said, I sure do wish it were different.

Statistics are crazy, I know it is all about populations and not individuals, but I also know it is the best predictive model we have for many things, and obviously the foundation of any sentence that starts with: the chances of ....

We have such long odds to get pregnant at all with IUI (even medicated)-- at most 4-5% (4-5 chances in 100) and we pray like crazy those odds will fall in our favor somehow. (This rises to 15% it IVF which is why I want to get back on That ride asap).

Then if pregnant, the odds shift in a lovely way- at that moment, even at my age it is more likely than less that we will have a real life take home baby (the chance of miscarriage for me at my age is around 40/100) and now this shitty chromosome bullshit of about 4/100 for down syndrome which seems like a very smal thing except it is also the same chance as getting pregnant in the first place.

hope This falls that way
and That falls this way
hope hope hope hope hope
fucking crapshoot with dungeons and dragons dice.

Illanare bestowed upon me a Lovely Blog award for which I am grateful. And I have ignored it not to be mean or snooty but because I have been feeling so off, so unlovely, that I thought I would wait until I surfaced out of this morass. BUT in the spirit of trying to haul my ass out rather than waiting to float, here it is:

Thank you Illanare!
The rules of the “One Lovely Blog Award” are:
Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I've had some new and kindhearted commenters lately which have lead to me discovering their blogs. And while I am not out seeking new blogs since I want so much to provide the support (intermittent but sincere) to the posse that I began this public journey with-- I would like to acknowledge you kind folks:

Phoebe at Tales of the Phoenix
Pundelina at Pundelina Kafoops Lives Here
Billy at My Pathway to Motherhood
Peaches who has a private profile, but has sent such kind words...
And Illanare, of course. Thank you for finding me and for being so sweet.

I might have missed someone, and if so, it was not intentional.

Because I am kate I will not follow the rules entirely, of course, so I will not be leaving this in the comments-- BUT please know I am grateful.

Love to all of you who support me so often along this sometimes very shitty journey. Thank you for being out there.

21 August 2009


...and heartache. you know, since they so often come in pairs...

CD18 and for the love of all that is holy (thanks Sherrie!)
2 strongish lines, and, while not a surge yet, it will be. And the IUI is on for this afternoon since sometimes when things are this delayed, it happens quickly so says my supernurse.

I got a call yesterday with the results from the cytogenetic testing: trisomy 14

Yesterday's news was a little ambiguous. That while it was trisomy 14, apparently it was an unusual variant that they felt might indicate something more serious about our potential (or lack thereof) for reproductive success and that they strongly suggested we meet with the genetic counselor (GC) to talk about next steps which freaked me the fuck out to say the least. But today making the appointment, the GC told my coordinating nurse that I only have a slightly increased chance of this happening again over the general population of old ladies who are trying to get knocked up (my words not hers), but she could see why I would want to meet with her first. um. ok. we will then, and I will drop the alert to defcon 3.
But we have scheduled a meeting with the GC before the IUI this afternoon because I like to have my bases covered, you know, unless I am swimming.

Other progress:
IF therapist intake scheduled for monday evening with Patricia Mendell. Yes she is in NYC and she does phone sessions and could not come more highly recommended. ( http://www.patriciamendell.com).

Energy balancing scheduled for thursday evening (www.nowhealing.com), Elma is a sweetheart people, she makes me feel calm and cared for, 25 minutes of bliss. Suspend disbelief and try it once. I do not care why it works. I do not care that it feels odd to have someone talk about energy blocks. But if you can wax metaphoric, it is so worth it.

I wrote to Shady Grove (whose name so much sounds like a cemetery I swear it sounds like a joke) to talk with their shared risk DE coordinator to start to find out if I can qualify, but she is on vacation until the 25th. But hey, I made contact! I also asked my group here at Dartmouth if they would coordinate monitoring as needed if I do a DE cycle elsewhere when the time comes and the answer was yes.

My happy moment today (besides the second line and the GC saying nothing alarming yet) was my amazing coordinating nurse sort of letting it drop that she spent 21 years as a lactation consultant in labor and delivery, and also has been a Doula for some folks, and I exclaimed I would beg shamelessly when the time came and she said she would be honored. How cool is that?

First of all: I really really like her. She is human and humane and sharp and smart and funny. Second: it was as if we both believe I will be pregnant.

Yesterday sucked shit- I hated those conversations about genetics and my miscarriage. I hate that it happened and hate that it could happen again.
And last night sucked shit-- I realized that so much of this makes me feel old and broken and I am really neither in general and I DO NOT LIKE IT. It does not feel true to who I am.

But today I am home for an hour or two, then I'll head north for the festivities of the day. Hope I do not learn anything too scary from the GC, and hope we go forward with the IUI. I am ready to be on to the next thing, oddly looking forward to the two week wait.

Oh-- before I forget: THANK YOU
Michele- I will ask for the gender of our baby in an envelope and put it with the ultrasound photo, you are very right. I want to have it, even if I do not want to know it.

And Mad Hatter-- goodness, and I call myself creative? I never thought for ONE MOMENT I could "workshop" here on my own (even though I have in the past)- I was so stuck in the Workshop or Work mode of thinking, I never for one moment thought-- ok, if I don't go, I can be here doing things I love and that feed me creatively! So THANK YOU, sincerely,for reminding me of stuff I should have figured out on my own if my head was not quite so far up my ass.

Not at work not at work not at work
and pretty darn relieved (dare I say happy?) about that.

thanks for listening.

20 August 2009

plan shmlan

and just
on the OPK pee stick

WTF? I don't meant that loudly, more like a sigh.

Schedule shmedule, I do not even know what this week looks like, I don't know why I am bothering to stress out about September. That seems crazy.

Four decisions:
I contacted a therapist who specializes in IF stuff courtesy of my dear friend A who has been trying to get me to talk to this person for what is actually now probably years. She is in NY, I am in NH. She does phone consults, praise the gods/goddess/all that is. I do not know what I am looking for. I do know I feel like crap. My therapist here is wonderful, but (and) this is not her specialty. So....

I also decided to do another energy balancing with Elma. I do not care why it works to make me feel better, it just does. I owe myself that.

And I called the doctor yesterday to find out the results of the cytogenetic testing on my miscarriage, and I hope and do not hope that they will call me back. I do not want to know. I do not want to think about it or talk about it or anything. But, on the slim chance it was something I need to know about, I have decided to pretend to be brave and get the report... but I do not want to know the gender, I do not want to reconnect like that right now to what might have been. It is all I can do to read blogs of lovely folks who were cycling near me that month, whose bellies are now big, and whose babies are moving. I do all I can NOT to imagine that that might have been me, if only....

And finally, after looking ahead to september, I decided I do not have to do anything right this moment. I may have to schedule something for work sometime soon, but I do not have to do that right now.
For the rest, I can wait until my period comes or doesn't. I do not have to cancel the art workshop just because it is the one thing I have control over. I do not have to freak out about it. Canceling today or one day before have the same outcome-- so just in case I can go, I want to leave that option open as long as I can. I will buy paints and brushes as if I am going.

Yes folks I feel like crap
but there is this one VERY good thing:


18 August 2009

regret management

still just 1 line
A note from my sweet nurse, Sharon, said the cyst may be wreaking petite havoc with ovulation, that is maybe why the delay-- and it is good to have a "why", a reason, since otherwise I start to wonder about the voracity of my own personal persecution complex.

My heart is feeling shitty still, and last night was a fragile one. Yes, work is hard right now, but I spent a lot of time talking and thinking and really, it is so many other things too that are causing the backdrop feeling of overwhelmedness. It is all of it, not just one thing. The bitch of it is, that there is not much I can do about This without horribly impacting That. And this inability to find a solution is extra hard. I am screwed either way. This, like so much, is about regret management. What will I regret less?

My darlin' and I talked about what's next, since the hourglass feels like it is running fast, and these next few months will move by so quickly. Dartmouth will not cycle with me with my eggs after 43. I imagine they may consent to unmedicated IUIs but otherwise...
So we talked about donor eggs, and I will be in touch with Shady Grove- we will need to finance this no matter what, and they offer the best program in terms of number of chances for the same cost as a single cycle here. I am not ready, I am not. But I will lay the ground work so I will not only know what is likely next, but know what is involved, already know how we might pay for it, know the next steps, and have the folks there know me. My darlin' had a good point, come February, why wait? Let's just move forward.

I just want this to work, internet people, I really do. I just want to get pregnant and stay pregnant for the correct amount of time, give birth to a healthy being, be healthy myself, fall into the day by day, moment to moment learning of a never-before-parent and curse the day I thought this was a good idea... I want ice cream and kites and sidewalk chalk and screaming craziness in the supermarket. I want sugar crashes and ugly plastic toys from neighbors and a teddybear that cannot be washed.

I do not want my little pony, but I will cross that bridge when I must.

Leaves are starting to change color in the swampy spots and on the branches that are broken from last year's storm. It is odd to look out through the august haze and see red maple leaves falling. But I have learned that seasons overlap, that cicadas start to buzz and hum way before I am ready, and that not everything happens when I want it to.

17 August 2009

my own inconvenient truths

Surfacing, but still scattered. I am trying to sweep pieces up with my bare hands, and keep having to pick out slivers that make me bleed, leave me bruised. But the month is passing.
I am the kind of bone tired that if I did not know me better, I would worry. I would say: anemia? virus? But I know it is just the weight of things. Time is passing, it will get better.

CD14 and no second line on the OPK yet.

At this point, my next cycle (see my cynicism?), my september cycle will fall exactly wrong for my plan to attend squam art workshops and my need to attend a conference, october will fall exactly wrong for my annual writing trip to maine with my dear friend Tammy...both fun things are already paid for, both are non-refundable.
Each day that slips by moves the whole schedule forward into the "damn it, will I be able to leave the art workshop for an insemination/ET or should I not even go? what the hell will I tell my boss about the conference? in october, will I be able to get ultrasounds and bloodwork in Bangor?
I do not like to think of this whole bullshit ride as one of convenience or inconvenience. It is what it is. It needs to happen. It is not predictable. But it impacts my job every time I need to be somewhere or cannot go somewhere, and this is exactly the wrong time to be saying "no" economically speaking. The un-fun conference is a command performance, I opted out, thought I was off the hook, but my boss opted me back in. To say no, to back out will be a big problem.
But, the biggest but, the but that drives all else: I cannot afford
to skip cycles. I have, at most, 5 left.
I am now officially 42.5. I will play this out until I am 43 with my own eggs. I wish I could win the lottery and go farm eggs in Colorado until we know we have a handful or two of good ones to put back in. But instead we have to just take one cycle at a time, and make the most of each cycle while we can.
This cycle will result most possibly in an IUI these next few days if the surge ever happens. I do not even have a ghost of a second line on those sticks yet. And I never ovulate late-- often I ovulate early. Just going to show that the only thing I can count on in this journey is that whatever I would like, whatever would have been convenient (just this once), it sure as hell will be different than that.

14 August 2009


gosh darn
enough of That.


So last night I stayed up late late, caught up with all of you for the first time in a long while. I stayed up until I couldn't, and I slept through until my usual 5am waking. Crazy ass cinematic nightmares featuring spiders of every kind size and number. Good lord. What was that about? Anyway, glad I slept but I do feel a bit like crap, like I pulled an all-nighter, that heavy armed, heavy brained feeling of moving through mud, and a hole in my chest like emptiness surrounded by fluttery oddness.

On my way home from yoga last night, it was after 8, twilight, and the sky was streaked with lavender and peach. There is a field filled with tall dried golden grass, and the field lies not quite flat. Sometimes there are sheep in that field, but not lately. And since the ice storm, there are thick downed branches. Last night fog was rising from that golden grass, and the color of the grass, the glowing lavender fog, the softness of the light and the soft folds of the field, and the sharp dark branches close to the road, Oh it was so lovely. I pulled off and watched through the trees that line the road-- watched the fog rise and move, watched the glowing light.

13 August 2009


I am not sure where I am and have not known what to write that would not sound like craziness.

This old grief, this old vulnerability, they have one acute gift: the ttc trauma is barely on my radar. I feel as if we are taking this month off in terms of active intervention-- which, if the LH surge happens just on the wrong day, we will need to. The timing is potentially perfectly bad for my Darlin' who is in the end of his summer season.

So this old grief thing has me really off balance, and I feel raw and wired and ready to be wounded by a tone or misplaced glance. Last night I had a moment of near elation which is uncomfortable, this zigzag emotional landscape is not my favorite. I like joy, don't get me wrong, but big chemical joy feels like the far end of a swing before you jump. And I was right, sometime in the dark of the early morning I felt myself crash down.

Of course that is the time of reflection and insanity, 4am, 5... the cat insistent that I wake, the sky brighter than I expected and filled with the sound of rain. I pick up my BBT thermometer, press the button, hold it in my mouth while the cat pulls at the covers and yowls as if starving. I wait and wait and wait and cannot see the readout in the dark. Minutes pass. It never beeps. I try again. Nothing. I feel my eyes fill with tears of frustration as I set it back on the bedside table and finally, as I swing my legs from under the covers it beeps. And in that moment I am sadder than I can say-- this is how I know I am frayed.

I am trying to remember to breathe slowly, trying to be present, trying to focus on one thing at a time. I feel flooded by competing priorities, work is busier than I can keep up with, and yet it must all be done, right now, by me. And I am overwhelmed-- I feel lump-throated. This is vulnerable kate, this kate who has such a thin membrane and so little reserve to draw from.

So today, since I do not have the option of taking care of myself the way I need to, I cannot just go home and be gentle with my day, I will focus on one thing at a time. I will do the best I can with what I have and who I am today.

I just cannot wait to feel less raw. This is not my highest and best, and it is all I can do to remind myself to be gentle, be sensitive, be patient. It is all I can do to remember to treat myself as a beloved. These days will pass, they will, they do, they always have. I am astonished at the body memory of grief, the raw flayed feeling of my heart and memories. The incessant persistence of regret. All useless, all useless since there is nothing to be done. Nothing I can go back and re-do. Impossibility does not lessen the desire I guess. And that is frustrating too.

I used to have an image that encapsulated how I felt-- you drop something precious, your time-sense stretches and as you watch if fall, you know there is nothing you can do to grab it and yet you try, you try, you flail, you grasp and as your fingers touch the smooth surface you send it spinning, and it hits and shatters and there is no solace in knowing it would have happened no matter what- it still feels like failure, failure in the holding, in the keeping, in the dropping, in the saving.

So, me, kate, in the present tense, I wiggle my toes, do EMDR tapping, I will go get hot tea to fill my favorite mug that I will hold between cupped hands, I will try to be gentle with myself today, move slowly, careful of corners, I will retreat as I need to, I will extend gentle loving kindness to those who brush too hard against my raw self, they are not doing it on purpose, they do not mean harm, and yes, that means me too.

10 August 2009


Survival, they say, is an instinct. We make it through unimaginable things, one single breath at a time. The first wave of grief is like drowning. And then we surface, and figure out which way to shore, even if the only thing we can do there is collapse. Then we figure out how to get home, even if all we can do is crawl.

I do not know much, but I do know this: we live and go on because it is what we do.

It pains me to hear folks blame themselves, their bodies, their eggs, their uterus for a failed pregnancy, and yet, I know exactly how that feels. I know what it is like to say I am sorry, because it feels as if I caused it, like I failed.

And I know what it feels like to have a loss that feels somehow somehow as if it could have been avoided, if only, if only, if only.

And I know what it feels like to feel like an idiot for hoping, for wishing, for believing it might be possible in spite of all that I know and all that I have experienced. And I know what it is like to juggle the question of brave or crazy as I step up to try again.

Today I do not have many words of my own to share from my dark quiet place, where I am holding still and holding tight. So instead I want to share a poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer that I came across long ago. I have found there is power in the act of asking myself the questions. It is almost as if I am asking myself: What still matters? Is my heart still open? Am I still here?

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

© Mountaindreaming, from the book The Invitation published by HarperSanFrancisco, 1999 All rights reserved


She asks:
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

I answer: yes, but sometimes I can only whisper.

08 August 2009

fucking august

Ahhhh damn it. How can a broken heart break more?

As you all may already know since I was missing yesterday and am one day behind, dearest Susan at sprogblogger learned that her miraculous FET has ended and she is now in a purgatory between knowing and waiting for monday's D&C. I hate this loss for her, I hate this more than I can possibly say.

As she so rightly said a few days ago when Mo found out her pregnancy had ended-- this is not about fairness or what is right or who deserves what, but holy crap.
Why can't it just work? Miracles keep me going, they make me hopeful, they make me think that THIS IS POSSIBLE. To have something, a positive, a growing pregnancy, a heartbeat, and all of that hope and to have it end-- gosh darn people. NONE of this is for the faint of heart.

I sit here and look at my nephew playing with legos on my rug. This is what we are after, this amazing hopeful thing we do and want, this vote of confidence that the future is worth it.

For all of you who have had and lost, and all of you who are waiting and hoping, for all of you with big beautiful bellies, and for all of you with someone playing legos on your rug,
I celebrate all of you, all of us. The sheer act of wanting is such an amazing act of faith, a manifestation of some trust that the world is worth it, the future is worth it, that this whole thing is worth trying for and fighting for.

07 August 2009

sadness and protocols

I am still shaken to the core for Mo and Will and their loss. Truly devastated. I put so much hope in success for you all-- I truly do. And I swear, if there were points to be had for tenacity and resilience, goodness gracious, they would win some sort of prize. I cannot imagine it, Cannot and do not want to.

Some of you have asked kindly about the lack of protocol this month, this month of LH surge and IUI. My clinic offered monitoring and triggering if I wanted it (after I asked)-- but the truth seems to be that since I do surge, there is no statistical benefit in triggering. It would only be helpful if I never had a detectable surge. Otherwise, literature says there is a better chance of success with my body doing the work rather than the hCG trigger--
Granted, the odds truly suck either way. But by doing the IUI at least I feel I am doing something to improve the chances over a natural cycle.
I talked to my darlin' about it all since he is discourged too, since even clomid IUIs never worked for us. He will help me decide if we need to do something differently, but to be honest, the papers I read indicated no improvement with triggering for a non--super-ovulatory cycle so I am not feeling compelled.

As I said a few days ago, this month is one of survival, of grief management, of distraction. The TTC thing, while present, is not consuming this month. The lack of injections helps it take a back burner since most days this month, I will "need" to do absolutely nothing-- just wait, just be. And that is too bad really, since I could use it being consuming this time around.

Odd how I bitch about it one month, and long for it the next. Sillykate.

Yeah, August. You may bite me.

05 August 2009


So today I did the baseline stuff. I'll skip the details and cut to the chase: one whopping big 17mm follicle on my left, and a second only slightly less whopping follicle on the same side says.....no meds for me this time around.
The right ovary had about 5-6 normal sized ones, so that was heartening for next time.

So, this will be a "natural" LH surge/ unmedicated IUI cycle if all goes well and if a surge is detected. One never knows, damn pee sticks feel like the enemy at the moment.

And yeah, you know how I thought I was taking this ok? Good old pragmatiKate? um, not so much. It caught up with me last night, tears flowed all over my sweetie's shoulder, and he was good enough to just hold me tightly. Hear me roar.

I am struggling anyway this season. I hate August. I do not use the word hate lightly. In fairness, some very very good things have happened in August. Jane was born in August for example, a wondrous occurrence that we should all celebrate just because it made the world a better place just to have her in it, and I celebrate beyond that because by knowing her I learned what love could feel like at its very best even if I was stupid about it at the time. August is when the president was born. And when my sweet darlin' was born too. So see? not all of August is bad. But for me it is a quagmire of memory, of losses on so many levels, a time when my marriage came apart, when I lost my husband to suicide, when I came apart so fully I was sure that there was no way to ever ever put myself back together. And in some ways I was right, I am not the same person as before. This one, this one is different. I like to think of the cracks as something beautiful, the glue as evidence of strength, the holes as openness to new things, the stains as evidence of mistakes I will not be making again.

But the slant of the light and the milky sky, the moon rising, the smell of the air, the sounds of late summer insects, the feel of everything, they all conspire to take me right back and I am floundering, trying to stay present in the NOW of my wonderful life. But all the sticky fingers of memory pull me back again and again and again and it is such an effort to extricate myself. So I feel sloggy and heartsick and like I just want to sleep through these next few weeks and wake up whole.

BUT sisterlove starting tomorrow with a nice long visit, a wonderful, timely distraction. This next week is the worst and then I'll be out the other side. I try not to give it this power, but it is stupid of me to deny what I feel even when I so much want to feel differently.

So yes, a hard time. A time that will pass again. I am buoyant and inherently positive, but I know this dance. I don't like it much. Sadness and I are well acquainted but we are not good friends. I know there are gifts, there almost always are. But the cost.
Oh, the cost.

04 August 2009

17dpo and, um methinks CD1

So I think the purgatory has ended- undeniable red blood today.

last night I told my darlin' that since this late period stuff is so unusual for me, it was giving me renewed hope, real hope, and that if this turned out to be negative that I was afraid I would face a farther drop than usual- but you know what? it is more a feeling of resignation, sort of an "of course" feeling. With some swear words, you know, because I am kate. Sad, yes, disappointed, hell yes (imagine that in big font). But not surprised. And since I pulled this particular miracle out of the air once, I hoped to again-- and I think that makes it harder too, as I mentioned before....and now, I move on.

So---- I'll call the clinic this morning. But I imagine I'll do baseline stuff tomorrow or thursday. And hope that the coast is clear to use this cycle with meds again.

Kate-- about the progesterone, when they do injectables for sure (no idea about clomid) they support with progesterone because your own body is so fucked up by then, and since in IVF cases eggs are not truly ovulated out of their follicles,but sucked out, it is not clear if the usual corpus luteum progesterone engines will work the way they are "supposed" to to provide the progesterone needed for early pregnancy prep and support. So most clinics give suppositories or gel or pills or shots. I think that no one wants to Not do it and be wrong, and since it does not hurt, why not? I know different studies show different things, but I think that since all clinics I know of do this, everyone is erring on the safe side. So no, I was not tested to be low, it is the protocol (injectables) that made me use them. When I was on clomid (same clinic), no progesterone during the luteal phase. But of course, I did not get pregnant. If I had, I have no idea if they would have added it to the mix after a positive.

To all of you: thank you. thank you thank you for holding out hope for this one for me. Your support, as always, humbles me, and makes my heart bigger.
Let's try again, shall we?

03 August 2009

16dpo update

no no, nothing that good.
I just got a call back from the clinic.

Sweet Sharon said: they don't usually do a blood test for anyone until day 18, that includes IVFers. it is just standard practice. the cramping I had last week sounded like implantation cramping to her. If so, even though this is day 16 this is still early since that cramping was thursday night and friday night. So--

option 1: wait it out. pee on sticks if I want. keep up with the progesterone.
option 2: ask/demand/beg for a blood test. She said she would order one if I needed it. She was very sweet but made me feel like I maybe could (not should) wait.
two more days?

My period may come in the meantime. Or not. She said she'd feel horrible to pull the progesterone too soon if it is helping something get established.

I am leaning toward waiting. I realize that I am extra impatient since I do not think this worked and I want to get on to the next thing that might.
But she made me realize that until my period comes, really comes, not just spotting and cramping, that maybe, maybe maybe there is a tiny minute sliver of a chance of a something and if so, why rush it.



And, because I am kate, I told her I will call her tomorrow either way, because a little reassurance goes a long long way.


Another glaringly negative test at 5:30
my temp still high (progesterone)
So, I called the clinic this morning and left a message asking explicitly for a blood test and advice. (I called again a little while ago). I admit I hoped to hear back long before now, but I guess not.

and then, later in the morning
I had a little spotting, pinkish, reddish, clearish..
then none for a long while
then a little more than that, brownish this time, clearish....
I simply think my period is trying to come.

So if I had to call it? I'd call it done.
If I don't hear back, I'll test again tonight, then if negative, I'll skip the night progesterone, and just let my period come.
A CD1 lets me try again, maybe not this cycle, maybe I have to wait one out in terms of ART.

I am feeling a fine mix of resigned, exasperated, frustrated, discouraged and the tiniest slice of insane hope.
The spotting felt like a punch in the gut. But I cannot say it was surprising.

Thanks to all of you for the amazing support and hopefulness. One of these days I hope to have a positive to report, I really do.
I know my blog is relatively new, but many of the folks I started with are pregnant. It is a great thing, a wonderful thing, the thing that SHOULD happen. And honestly? I am tired of building character in these particular ways. I am ready for a positive too. A pregnancy that sticks around and is normal.

So, I hope that will come. Just not this time.

02 August 2009

15dpo, nothing to see here

la la la


I was not going to test today, was just not. was going to take the day off from the psychological trauma. But then I finally did anyway when I got back from my hike, because I'm kate. and no.

temp still up, no period, no positive, no idea.


I know there are late positives
and some very late positives
and some of those turn into babies
I know it is possible, even it if is unlikely.
I know it.

And I sure hope I have one of those late positives, particularly one that turns into a baby, because really? This is sort of a mind fuck.
On the other hand, this now-into-the-3-week-wait thing is in keeping with the way this whole cattywonkus cycle has been going (that I am sure is spelled some other way than what I guessed but spell check is not helping me out). The most likely outcome I imagine is that I will get a blood test on tuesday. And I imagine I will stop the suppositories after that shows a negative. And I imagine that my period will eventually come.

And so yes. I mean no.
clear as mud.

01 August 2009


still no.

another night with several hours of bigtime cramping, although not quite as bad as the night before.
a negative test around 5 this morning. The cramping was worse after I peed, but finally waned a bit and I was able to sleep again on and off for a while.

Fertility friend says that based on their data, there is still 40% chance of a positive after 14dpo, so, um, I guess I take some solace in that, but I also read somewhere else it was just 10% and that late positives mean late implantation and late implantation has a higher chance of miscarriage. With information like that, what the hell do I wish for?
I just want to be pregnant, stay pregnant, birth a very healthy and hale little one, be healthy myself, and just do this thing. The ghosts that come by and say it might not ever happen suck.

This time things have been different, since last time I did this IUI thing, it worked. So that means I thought, truly thought it might just work. Where last time I had no such hope.

I feel sort of dislocated today. I'm ok and I'm not ok. It is so hard not to get all delusional about this stuff, say, ok maybe it will still work! Some stats say so! And feel my heart rise to the occasion. Then skepticalKate says, righto mate. As if. And snorts. And disappointment floods in.

My temp is still up, but of course I am also on progesterone.
So I guess I just don't know where I stand.

The fact is that my period is not "due" until tomorrow. My temp always drops the day before and it did not drop yet.
I simply do not know anything about anything. If no period and no positive by monday, I will call my RE and ask for a beta, then get off these progesterone thingies and get on with whatever is next.

So really, just like all of this crazy journey, it is all a day at a time, a pee stick at a time.

My sister will be visiting this coming thursday-monday with her kids and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. So that is a fine thing to look forward to. And today, in this glorious weather, I spent time outside, weeding, cutting the grass, time in the hammock feeding mosquitoes.
Fresh air, sunshine, dappled shade. So glad the rain let up to let me get out and just be for a while. Tomorrow if the tests are still blindingly negative, I will hike. I will hike because my soul needs it, my heart needs it, I need it. I've been holding off just in case. Just in case. Just in case.