April 30, 2011

April 29, 2011

47 XY +13

At least now I have an answer as to why my twins did not continue to develop.  Forty seven chromosomes with an extra number 13 chromosome.  Both male.

The surgeon called me yesterday and left a long message.  Strange how I'd been waiting for that call for weeks but once I began to move on and hover less and less over my phone, he calls.  In a way I am glad I didn't have to speak directly to him.  As wonderful and caring as he was, I don't think I could have handled that, especially while waiting in line at Whole Foods.

I did find much solace in his statement, "It was nothing you did, not your fault in any way".  Those thoughts had been floating around in my head as I relived each "bad" thing I did during those happy weeks (drank caffeine, ate a hot dog, traveled by plane, used bleach).  He provided me with a number for the genetics department which I called this morning.  I should be getting a call back from a counselor by the middle of next week. 

Well, luckily the universe (or Al Gore) invented the Internet and I spent several hours last night consulting Dr. Google and any other website I could find that made reference to "Trisomy 13" and "with miscarriage" and "before healthy pregnancy". 

Unless the extra chromosome is a result of a translocation (meaning either parent is a carrier) then it is a result of a random occurrence when the egg met the sperm.  A small percentage result from the father but the majority are from the mother and are due to maternal age (the average age of women whose fetus has this is 31 - hardly AMA) and overall it's likened to stepping on a genetic land mind and just plain bad luck. 

"Unless one of the parents is a carrier of a translocation the chances of a couple having another trisomy 13 affected child is less than 1% (less than that of Down Syndrome)" is a statement I found at several scientific sites.  I am fairly sure I am not a carrier (just based upon the number of  my sibling's children and by the prolific number of offspring produced by both sides of my family) so I am assuming the issue is AMA.  I will of course follow up with the genetic counselor and get tested but for now the sentence above, which I found on several scientific sites, is providing me with some hope.

I understand that there are 22 other chromosomes which could technically be my own little genetic minefield (which seems to become more treacherous with AMA) but I am not throwing in the towel just yet.

I am wondering if IVF would be a better way to go and if genetic testing could be done after retrieval. I am woefully ignorant of the options IVF provides.  The learning curve regarding all I've experienced thus far has just about scrambled my brain but I am not done learning or questioning. 

Knowledge is power.  Painful, painful power.

April 28, 2011

This Guy Used to Be on My Good Side

I love The Oatmea.l. The author cracks me up with everything he does.  The words he uses, the pictures, the pop culture references...it all makes me chortle with mirth. 

Until I saw the one titled "How Different Age Groups Celebrate Christmas".  At first I scrolled down, grinning like a fool, naive in the feeling that surely, here amongst the most inane of hilarity, I was safe from the Cato-like assault of anything mentioning infertility or babies or age.   Then I saw the frames showing how the two age groups without kids celebrate the holiday.  I flinched like I'd been snapped with a rolled up wet towel.  Ouch! 

Matthew Inma.n, I used to love the hell out of your comics.  Not so much anymore.  Perhaps I am being a bit too sensitive.  Perhaps not.

April 27, 2011


Have you ever wanted to put your biggest secret, desire or regret down on a postcard and send it in to be seen by thousands of people in the blogosphere and at college campuses around the country?  Really?  Me neither!

However that does not stop me from reading other people's postcards and realizing that my deep and dark secrets are sometimes shared by others.

You can read more about Post.Secret here or check out the homepage or the roundup posted every Sunday.

I saw one postcard that was posted today that really hit home for me.  Perhaps I'm not so alone in feeling like the world's worst friend.

April 26, 2011


[dih-pree-shee-ey-shuh n]  A decrease or loss in value, as because of age, wear, or market conditions.

I listen to talk radio a lot.  I find it interesting and at times entertaining.  This past weekend as I was driving around doing errands I listened to a talk show host discuss the issue of Medicare paying for the elderly who are incapable of having any significant quality of life.  The debate was about how if these people can no longer contribute to Medicare then they should not be sustained by money funded by it.  

Most callers found the idea of killing off these people simply because they were no longer "contributing" members of society abhorrent.  Many people referred to the service these people had provided to the nation, many being of The Greatest Generation and how it was now that the nation must protect and care for them.  

Then a woman (an RN no less) calls in and says that these elderly people are being unpatriotic by staying alive and that the money being spent to keep them alive would be better spent on people who need it more, like women with children who need transplants, chemo, etc.  

After this comment the radio host had a field day (much to my delight).  He asked the caller if she felt that women who had children were of more value to society than those without.  She answered "yes" and said that  it was universally known fact.

I don't think she's too far off in that statement...about this fact being universally known.  I've been made to feel this way many times in my life.  

As a woman without a child I am often made to feel I have a depreciated value to humankind.  I won't even veer off into the older woman without a child issue because that would entail a rant on ageism and I just don't have it in me at the moment.  

For example, today at work I met with my supervisor to discuss a program happening late on Thursday afternoon.  I asked how the preparations were going since the director has been out ill and we only have Wednesday now to prepare.  She asked how late I could stay on Wednesday.  I said, "Why?  Isn't ML coordinating this?".  She replied, "She is but she has to leave at 4pm sharp.  She has kids to pick up."

Oh, so what, my time is not as valuable because I don't have kids to pick up?

How many times have you heard a news story about missing women or injured women (yeah, nowadays not so infrequently) but then if she's PREGNANT or (second best) has kids, well then ALERT ALL SECTORS.  Suddenly she has more value as a news story, more value as a person.

There have been many other instances when my time, my opinion, my health, my finances, my contribution and my feelings have been deemed to be of depreciated value simply because I do not have children.

And it pisses me off. 

April 25, 2011


Circle + Bloom is offering a 35% discount* in honor of NIAW.  I haven't tried this before but am tempted to now.  What could it hurt, right?

*Good April 24-30th.  Use code NIAW35 when checking out.

April 24, 2011

Wall Space

I was feeling kind of down yesterday.  I think the combination of dropping a lot of cash at the auto repair shop and then going out and doing some errands, only to see "Happy Mother's Day!" plastered just about everywhere, really made me sad.  The fact that people were rushing around buying things for their Easter Sunday meal or gathering really didn't bother me.  It was never a significant holiday in my life.  The other one, the "Mother" (haha) of all acknowledgement days, well that's another story.

This year's holiday is especially charged for me after the combined double whammy of my recent miscarriage and loss of my own mother.  I'd like to think that I can handle it in a logical manner, but I am finding that Mother's Day isn't bringing up logical issues, only emotional ones.

I called my stepmom last night to check in.  She and my father have been married for almost twenty years.  She's a very supportive person although I have chosen not to tell her or my father of my ttc plans.  As we were chatting I told her how my mother's death has ripped open a lot of old wounds.  Despite having grieved the loss of her (or what a mother was supposed to be like) years ago, her death brought it all up again.  Our conversation led to me asking in a rhetorical fashion why my father had ever been with my mother in the first place.  In all these years I never really asked him that question.  Their relationship before I came along was something I hadn't really considered before (oh the joys of egocentric childhood!).

Once, when I was 12 and shortly after my parents' divorce I remember glancing through the newspaper (back in those days divorce announcements were printed in the paper).  I was shocked out of my shoes to see their marriage date in print along with the official divorce date.  The marriage date was three years after I was born and shortly before the birth of my brother.  It had never occurred to me that I was born out of wedlock or that my appearance in their marriage was nothing less than planned and wanted.

When I mentioned this to my stepmom last night she told me that my dad's mother (a strong matriarch) all but forced my father to marry my mother.  Well, she and the mores of the Catholic Church made the decision a foregone conclusion.  What surprised me is the fact that my stepmom said my grandmother recently apologized to my father for making him marry my mother.

I didn't ask more about this apology because my mind was running in so many directions.  What exactly was my grandmother apologizing for, especially this late in the game?

My grandmother had six children who produced over 25 grandkids, who have since produced dozens of great and great-great grandkids.  In my grandmother's house, on the longest unobstructed wall of the living room, appears a photo of each of her children, with that person's spouse, then kids, then their kids, etc.  It's all chronologically placed, this line of genealogical proof of love, marriage and fertility.  My picture is the only bastion of white space on the entire wall.  There is no spouse nor children nor grandchildren (egads!) under my section under my father's frame.  I exist alone on an island of Sherwin Williams' eggshell white.

This has always been a point of embarrassment and pain for me.  This wall that proves I have been skipped over in love and barren of offspring.  So when my stepmom made this comment about my grandmother's apology I immediately thought she was actually sorry I was the reason for the marriage, that his bastion of white space on her living room wall bothers her as much as it does me.  Perhaps she feels I am so damaged that the normalcy of a spouse and family were clearly impossible for me.  Maybe long before my older cousins up on the first row of the photo parade had produced the first grandchildren my grandmother knew I was doomed to a dead end on this photographic representation of the family tree.

I know this is probably not true, but that's the first place my mind went after my stepmom made that revelation.

Mother's Day has always been a rough one for me but this year...well I'll be glad to see it go.  I only wish I could hide away in my apartment until it's over.  I don't know what I'll actually do on this day.  Right now my main concern is getting through all the days until that day.

April 23, 2011

A Close Second

The 2ww is nothing short of torture.  A close second for me is the 20-30 minute wait for the mechanic to check out my car and write up an estimate.  Ugh.  At least after this wait I got what I paid for...new brakes, two new tires and two sets of shocks and struts (whatever those are).  
Le sigh.

April 22, 2011

So Says Sarah Ban Breathnach

“Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.” 

I like Ms. Ban Breathnach's quote because it resonates with me and how I feel about the experience of blogging.  At a time when some things have most definitely not been working in my life, I have to acknowledge that this blogging thing is working most wonderfully.  Not only am I able to express my feelings and get out of my head all the sorrow, fear and despair about my path to parenthood, but I am also able to hear from others and, as an added bonus, communicate on other blogs to women who are struggling (and sometimes celebrating) too. 

Thank you Sprout who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  I started out the month of April committed to post every day as part of NaBloPoMo but realized I was needing to post every day for my own mental health. 

I was also nominated by Jen from Struggling to Become a Family of Two.  This is all very exciting to a new blogger!  Thank you both!

These are the rules:

1.  Winners grab the image above and put it in your blog.
2.  Link back to the person who gave you it.
3.  Tell 10 things about yourself
4.  Award 15 recently discovered bloggers.
5.  Contact the bloggers you have awarded to let them know they have won.

Ten things about me:
  1. I am known for not using profanity, however in reality, in my head, I swear *constantly* like a longshoreman.
  2. I have never gotten over George Michael's revelation that he's gay.  I love him and think he's an amazing artist.
  3. I have a teaching license and would love to teach again someday.
  4. My BFF workmate and I have made up nicknames for everyone in the office and most are not very nice.
  5. Lasagna is my signature dish.
  6. Beaker is my favorite Muppet.
  7. As a child I was obsessed with all things Laura Ingalls Wilder and wore a prairie dress with bonnet all of second grade.
  8. Russell Crowe makes me weak in the knees.
  9. Sometimes I want to sell everything I own, move here and work as a maid in any hotel that will have me.
  10. I love walking through and exploring cemeteries, the older the better.
My nominees are:

Never Mind the Distance

Small Obsessions

Invisible Mother

Misconceptions about Conception

Team Baby

Wistful Girl

Single Canadian Mom

The Chronicles of Violetta Margarita

A Single Journey

The Infertile Gynecologist

My $10,000 Baby

Single Mom Survives

True Confessions of a Single Mama to Be

One Cycle at a Time

It's My Life

April 21, 2011

Totally Awesome and Spectacular New Fangled Way to Deliver Sperm

Of those of you who use donor sperm...do you ever feel awkward walking into the RE's office with your tank?  Now there's a niftier way to have it delivered!

April 20, 2011

Dollars and $ense of Family Building

I am participating in Lori's Write Mind Open Heart project. I have found the answers to other blogger's situations to be very interesting and enlightening.  Building a family is full of emotional and physical complexities but nothing can snap things into line faster than finances. 

My journey thus far is out for all to see so I'll just move on to answering the questions that apply to me and my situation:

1.  Consider your now or future children as adults, and consider the fact that you had to spend money to either conceive them or make them part of your family. What effect do you think the latter will have on the former one day? What do you think your grown children might feel about the funds it took to create your family?

I do not think this will be an issue when my future child is an adult.  Personally I do not feel the expense is any different from the “extracurricular” expenses parents spend on children already.  Expenses for orthodontics, tutoring, tennis lessons, field trips, etc. are expenses above and beyond the typical “care and custody” expenses parents pay.  How are fees I pay to my RE or sperm bank any different?  I pay them and I pay them gladly because even now, with my future child an unknown, I still have love for the child and will spend the money.  To make this happen I have made "sacrifices" in my life such as stopping cable and newspaper service, driving an old car and curtailing all unnecessary spending.

I would hope my future child would feel fairly neutral about the finances incurred to make them a reality.  It’s a fact about them just like any other fact.

2.  How did/would you handle it if your child asks you, “Mom, how much did I cost?” How would you answer at age 7? At age 18?

I would answer age appropriately of course but honestly.  This fact is simply a part of my future child’s story.

3.  When calculating the costs of your family building, what do you include? The direct costs are easy (such as RE fees for a cycle or homestudy fees), but what about fees that didn’t directly lead to your child’s existence in your life, such as cycles that didn’t work, adoption outreach avenues that didn’t work, failed adoptions, avenues that were explored (and that cost something) but not pursued, etc.?

I add it all in:  the failed cycles, the opk sticks I used in the beginning, the surgery fees, the books, the mileage, everything.  This is more a result of my overly organized way of dealing with my life but also I keep track to submit to my pre taxed spending account.

4.  To what extent have finances determined the family-building decisions you have made? How have you able to balance financial considerations against other factors such as medical, ethical, emotional…?

Finances were a concern of mine in my early thirties.  That is one of the reasons I chose not to do this earlier.  Of course now I could kick myself because while my finances are ok, the clock is ticking. 

I do not have unlimited resources or a contributing partner.  Therefore I am financially limited in what I can do.  I have full insurance for all IUIs and medications but only partial coverage for IVF.  I am willing to spend the money because I think it’s worth it however there is a finite limit to what I can do. 

I have been researching embryo donation and egg donation outside of the US.  While I am not trying to do this “on the cheap” I do have to be aware of my financial limits.

All in all, these limitations do make me frustrated and angry at times. 

5.  Has institutional and governmental support for certain family-building paths impacted your choices? For example, ART being covered by insurance, tax deductions for adoption expenses, etc.

Before I began my current job I had a career in the field of domestic open adoption, which ironically did not cover any type of ART services (this fact will be a dead giveaway to anyone who knows me IRL so if this happens to be true, please respect my personal confidentiality) so I knew I could never swing ttc-ing while working there.  I looked for a job with better IF coverage and landed in a company which has great coverage.  

I still feel that the government has a long way to go in bridging the gap for people/families who are financially caught in the middle between upper class and middle class.  Fertility issues are no less damaging and painful than any other illness or disease traditionally covered fully by insurance.  I hope by the time my future child is an adult this will no longer be an issue.

6.  Have you considered having ART treatments abroad, either due to lower cost or due to certain methods being unavailable or illegal in your own country? In your decision-making, how did you balance the financial savings against issues like the unknowns of the country, perhaps not speaking the language, and medical practices that may differ from those of your home country?

I have looked into this and have a close friend who went abroad and had great success.  I have absolutely no qualms about doing this.  I have traveled abroad extensively and would not have a problem combing ART treatments with a vacation. 

April 19, 2011

My RE's Nickname

I've noticed that many bloggers have a nickname for their RE.  At my consultation I met with a male doctor.  He was thorough in running blood tests, discussing my chances and recording my health history.

He even opened up and shared some boyhood stories with me.  He is from Germany and I got a kick out of him going to Goo.gle Maps and pulling up a satellite picture of his parents' home...with this mother standing in the garden!  I liked him immediately but as the blood tests rolled in I began to get frustrated with him.  His main form of communication was email and in a few he left me hanging on the edge of my seat.  The last straw was something like, "You may have Thelassemia and I would not recommend getting pregnant with this disease".  Nothing else.  I burned up the web looking for info on Thelassemia and the days until that blood test came in were excruciating (ha...if I only knew how bad waiting for blood tests would eventually get!).  I eventually nicknamed him Dr. Doom.

After that test came back negative I had my first unmedicated IUI (now about 2 months after the initial meeting with Dr. Doom) and I was astounded when the nurse said I had "something" in my uterus.  The subsequent months were spent waiting for surgery, surgery and recovery and then treatment for complex hyperplasia.  All in all, by the time all of this was said and done, a full year had passed since I first saw this doctor.

It may have been irrational but I was angry that Dr. Doom did not even wand me in the initial appointment.  Beyond that I was mad that my OB/Gyn NP didn't find any issues at my last appointment which was two months before my RE consultation.  (It's amazing what perspective knowledge and experience gives you in hindsight!)

Not only had I lost time but I felt like I had been let down.  Why weren't more tests done before I started to ttc?   I eventually realized it was pointless to become caught up in the "what ifs".  If I started down that road I would have to ask myself "What if I..." (insert all the twists and turns that got me to 39 and single. Answering that question would take days).

So, back to my current RE's nickname.  For my lap and hysteroscopy I happened to get the female partner in the practice.  She had the first available surgery slot and I jumped on it.  She agreed to keep me on her panel after my surgery and I am so glad she did.  She is calm, patient, understanding and has a sense of humor.  She also has an ego (I often hear about her training at Stanford) which I do not mind at all.  Her knowledge and expertise normalizes my fears when I come in fresh from a Googling jag.  The bottom line though is that she is positive.  No matter what the news (and she's given me some crappy news in our time together) she explains it fully but in a balanced way that allows me to leave holding on to some scrap of hope, feeling like I have possibilities, that I can achieve my goal. Thus, I have nicknamed her Dr. Conceivable.

I met with Dr. Conceivable today and she feels that I have a good chance of becoming pregnant again and there's no reason to expect I would not progress further in the pregnancy than I did the last time.

The pathology report is not in from the D&C and she said there's a chance that it won't come in at all.  So, even lacking that information there's no reason why I cannot move forward with a more aggressive protocol and try again in May.

I know the fears, the grief and the sorrow that I have pushed to the edges of my mind are itching to creep back into focus but right now, having just turned 41, I do not have time or energy to allow them into the forefront of my mind.  I must stay positive, hopeful and focused.

I want to hold my baby in my arms.  After today's appointment it's entirely conceivable that someday soon I will.

April 18, 2011

NaBloPoMo Prompt For Today

Gave me a good chuckle:

If you could have a tree in your yard that would sprout anything, what type of tree would you have?

umm...how about a tree that sprouts mature and genetically perfect eggs?  Of course my kindly RE would be doing the harvesting, not the mutton-chopped farmer in the picture!  I girl can dream, can't she?

April 17, 2011

Simple Sunday

Early morning three mile walk with two friends 
around a spring-tacular lake.

Shopping at Trader Joe's for a week's worth of healthy food.

Making progress on a sewing project I started in January.

Calling my dad and hearing the happiness in his voice.  
Bonus:  my stepmom getting on the phone and hearing the happiness in her voice too.

Visitation from my foster kitty who visits me once a day.

Folding and putting away my last load of laundry.

Fresh steamed artichoke for dinner. 

April 16, 2011

Welcome Back You Beautiful Bitch

CD 1

The Mae West Lips Sofa Designed by Dali 1937
image courtesy of Google images

Like most women I've had a love/hate relationship with my period.  At 13 I remember being so jealous that I was the last of my friends to begin menstruating.  In my teen years I was certain she existed only to bring me pain and embarrassment.  As I grew older there were times in my life I was overjoyed to see her and other times, more recently, when any sign of her has brought me to my knees.  

She has made me feel like a vibrant healthy woman and she has me feel like a monstrous failure.

Her arrival today on April 16th makes it exactly one calendar month since my D&C. Once again I find her to have a wickedly sharp sense of humor. 

In man, the shedding of blood is always associated with injury, disease, or death. Only the female half of humanity was seen to have the magical ability to bleed profusely and still rise phoenix-like each month from the gore.
~ Estelle R. Ramey

So today I welcome her back with sincerity and respect.   Now more than ever I understand the complex and integral coexistence she and I have and move I forward with hope and acceptance.

She may be a bitch, but today she's beautiful and I love her.

April 15, 2011

Sunburned and Sore

On the last day of my mini vacation I took a long hike with my bff. The scenery was gorgeous- pastureland, meadows, lakeshore and oak trees. It felt great to be outside and exercising. I don't even mind the sunburned spots on the top of my head or my sore leg muscles!

So far being 41 is ok but I am fundamentally a different person than was a few short months ago. This different me is going to take some time to get to know and to get used to. I have a feeling that by the time I turn 42 my life is going to be vastly different as well. I've reached and surpassed my tipping point.

April 14, 2011

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are

I've had a lovely couple of days in the mountains, enjoying fresh clean air, beautiful greenery and the occasional deer or two. I had a good birthday, received many warm birthday wishes and devoured a gigantic piece of chocolate cake.

A great trip, right? Then why the hell does the "Guaranteed to Jack Up Your Vacation Menstruation Principle" not apply this one time in my entire life?


Dearest AF,
I have one more day of vacation left. For old time's sake, let's say you pop in and mingle. I would be ever so grateful.
Hugs, SD

April 13, 2011


                          image courtesy of Google 

April 12, 2011

Read of the Week

The mailman just delivered my order from Amazon.  I love getting packages!

Along with random vacuum cleaner filters, a bag of cheapie hpt tests and a book for my friend's son I bought Laura Day's "Welcome to Your Crisis:  How to Use the Power of Crisis to Create the Life You Want".  

I figured the happenings of the last few weeks have all qualified as true crises.

Right from the beginning the author compares the medical word "crisis" with the other version of the word which is typically associated with a life-changing situation.  In the medical sense a crisis happens when the person's health is at its most precarious.  The person is either going to improve or not.  If this premise is applied to a life-changing situation then a crisis is a point where you're either going to croak or jump up off the hospital bed, flex your Popeye arm muscles and  drop kick your oxygen tank out of the way.

I like the author's theory that one can learn from a crisis and perhaps emerge as a stronger and better person.

April 11, 2011

Just Three Words

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is what three words do you hope other people use to describe you?

A couple of years ago I hope people would have used the words funny, strong and friendly to describe me.

Today if I queried people I hope they would use the words thoughtful, empathetic and determined to describe me.

If I were to use three words to describe myself today I would use fragile, anxious and afraid.

April 10, 2011

I Have Fallen Off the Wagon

...and fallen hard.  We're talking a triple iced vanilla latte hard.  Oh well, I've chalked it up to getting through a tough time and keeping myself going when my body doesn't exactly feel like it. 

I recently purchased Cindy Bailey's, The Fertile Kitchen Cookbook, Simple Recipes for Optimizing Your Fertility and plan to really dig into it in the next week or so.  I need to regain control of my eating and exercising and say good bye once again to espresso.  The starting part is always hard but I know once I get a week into the new regime I will be fine and will feel so much better about myself and the control I have over this part of my life.

I am now off to catch up on my blog reading!

April 9, 2011

Plan C

Plan A, to meet a man, marry and have a family hasn't panned out. Neither has Plan B, to have a baby on my own. Plan C is what exactly? In my mind I keep coming up with leaving the country and teaching abroad or joining the Peace Corps. *throws back of hand to forehead in dramatic fashion*

I wish life came with an instruction book and an Allen wrench like you get with Ike.a furniture. Sure, the instructions are vague and the process challenging, but without fail if you do it right you end up with a sturdy desk or functional table.

Feeling a bit frustrated and lost. I know it will pass but in the moment...it sucks.

April 8, 2011

Weekend Plans

I've taken a couple of weeks off work and am staying with a friend in another city while my mother's affairs are put in order. As a distraction, or perhaps just as a function of moving forward as life seems to do no matter what happens to an individual, I plan to do a few fun things this weekend. I plan to see a movie, attend a home and garden show and catch a minor league baseball game. Oh, and sleep. Despite some lovely sleeping aids, sleep has been elusive the past few nights. I hope this weekend brings fun, distraction and good sleep to everyone out there.

April 7, 2011

Thank You

I want to convey a deep and genuine thank you for all of the kind and thoughtful comments left on my blog. Each comment and warm wish has touched my heart and provided great comfort.

April 6, 2011

I Knew It Would Happen One Day

My mother passed away unexpectedly on Monday.

I haven't written about this until today because my thoughts were not connecting in any clear way to words which would articulate the feelings I have, the relationship I had with my mother or the impact her passing has on my life.

My mother had a significant mental illness most of her life.  This illness prevented her from being a whole person, a healthy partner in marriage and a capable parent.  Through two marriages, two sets of children, many jobs, moves, physical illnesses and stages of her life, she was always suffering, unable to find relief from her torment, unable to accept love and to find peace.

After many years of estrangement, I came back into my mother's life last summer.  Ironically, now burdened with dementia and early Alzheimer's, she had finally found some relief from her mental torment. 

Through therapy, education and distance I had long since forgiven her for things which she had no control over but which greatly impacted my childhood, my own mental health and later my adult life.  Our relationship, one which had roots in maternal love but gradually withered under the onslaught of mental illness, and my subsequent need to break free for my own survival, has always been a part of me.  It has crept into the crevices of every relationship I've ever had, fueled many of my life's choices and defined some of the sharpest corners of my self.  
Although I knew it would happen one day, this watershed event in every person's life- the death of one's mother- I never knew exactly how I would feel.  Driving back home today after taking care of some of the arrangements it finally hit me.  All the appropriate feelings are there picking at my heart and making my soul ache but I finally realized today that they are old feelings.  I had grieved the loss of my mother many many years ago.  What's now left is immense sadness for her life and the waste of a relationship that was never viable.  

Strangely though, much like the feeling of a very sore muscle, behind the sadness there is relief.  I feel relief that her physical  and emotional suffering is now over.  I feel relief she is no longer confined to a bed in the only care home her state funds could afford.  I feel relief she is no longer afraid, no longer so very sad and no longer feels so alone.

I believe that those who had always loved her but have since passed were there to greet her and to gently take her hand, kiss her cheek and welcome her, finally to a peace which she never knew her whole life.  

That thought bring peace to my heart.  As my mother I think she would find peace in that too.

April 4, 2011

The Journey

At the beginning of this journey/battle/quest I felt normal.  I remember thinking to myself that the initial call to the sperm bank would be the hardest part (blush). 

Puhleeze self, get real!!!

I’ve read many blogs whose authors have had similar feelings of innocence and naiveté.  I lost those feelings long ago.  This change has not just been brought about by my own experience but by being a “part” of so many others whose experiences have been similar and much more difficult and traumatic.

This journey has exposed to me fear, pain, desperation, embarrassment, indignity and the double edged sword which is hope.  It has changed my personal relationships, impacted my financial and emotional stability, altered how I perform at work, required me to reexamine my spirituality and question the purpose of my life.

I now have a new normal. 

Eventually this issue will be resolved, either through a baby (by whatever means) or the realization that I will live child free.  Still, I can’t help but miss that old girl, the person who I was before. 

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is “How do you usually feel at the beginning of a journey?”  I thought about that for awhile and knew that for me, at the beginning of any journey I hope to experience new things, but above and beyond that, I want to change, to be different because of the experience.

And that I am.

April 3, 2011

Dear Family Members

To the family members who said, "You brought this on yourself", "It's only your first pregnancy", "You're taking this too hard" and "Miscarriage happens all the time" when I told them about my loss...go fuck yourselves.

I cut these family members out of my life about a year ago because I knew they were toxic and I was unable to keep up with things going on in my life and also be involved in their chaotic lives.  I had only recently reconnected with them (before I became pregnant).

I had already worked through my feelings about removing myself from the family dynamics and making a life with minimal contact or none at all.  The recent developments were shocking but but also provided closure and confirmation.  In one way it's refreshing to hear how they really feel, as opposed to feeling uncomfortable because I had been picking up on strange vibes for several months before I originally stopped contact.  I now know I was picking up real vibes and I now know where they stand.

What's ironic is that the direct quotes above came from my cousin, herself a single mom, pregnant by her best friend's brother (not telling the father or BFF about the baby) who does not work, lives at home with her parents and obviously has a control issue, besides being the family tyrant.

I debated about posting this for fear that someone who knows me IRL might see it although I've only told a couple of my friends about this weird family issue.  I think getting the ugly facts of the situation out of my head is very important.

P.S. dear family members...seriously, go fuck yourselves.

April 2, 2011

I Am a Stalker

No, not a creepy stalker!  I am a real estate stalker.  Although I currently rent and am not looking to purchase a home or condo any time soon, it does not stop me from spending hours trolling the two most popular real estate sites on the web.  I've looked all over the United States, in small towns and large, college towns and metropolitan cities.   I find it thrilling to look at the different floor plans, to see how a kitchen is configured and how the backyard is landscaped.   I especially love the listings where the pictures show a home that's being lived in.  It's fascinating to see how people decorate their spaces.

Deep down, I think I am restless.  I live on the west coast in one of the most expensive housing markets in the US.  I will never be able to afford to buy here.  Not ever.  I would love to own my own home but wonder if I'll find the vibrant diversity and culture that I now have here somewhere else.  I also wonder if my choice to be a single mother will be as accepted elsewhere.

I long for a place not crisscrossed by freeways which are packed on Friday night and Sunday night,  a result of the "Weekend Warrior" syndrome.  I want to feel safe, to have a sense of community, to experience the outdoors which does not include man-made ponds and overly manicured greenbelts and I want to stop paying half of my salary for rent.

In five year's time I could see myself leaving this state and relocating.  But where?  Is life happy and liveable outside of the Golden State? Do we really have a corner on culture, food, jobs and diversity?

I'd be interested in hearing about other places around the US (in general terms of course!).  Do you like where you live?  Why or why not?

April 1, 2011

What I'm Ready To Let Go Of

I'm ready to let go of my current hairstyle.  I've had it for such a long time.  Due to its general frizzy unruliness, I'm not sure there's much that can be done about it but I'm headed to see my hair stylist this afternoon to see what magic can be worked.  I'm ready for a new look!