March 30, 2012

Friday Mash Up

It's just about the last day of March (how did that happen?).  Although I fell short of my NaBloPoMo commitment, I am glad I found my blogging mojo again.

Current thoughts:

  • I am very sad for Paige.  I hope she is doing ok.
  • My friend and coworker had a heart attack on Tuesday night. She is just 35.  Thankfully she is doing well but it's made me take a hard look at myself.  I guess something like this does make those around the person reflect upon themselves.  At any rate, I need to make some improvements to my overall health.  
  • My guilt at leaving my hairdresser has been assuaged just a bit.  My friend who still goes to him called to tell me he left town after breaking an appointment with her.  A little digging uncovered his license was suspended due to nonpayment of child support.  Perhaps I broke up with him just in time!
  • I am learning to cook with kale.  I hope to learn to like it.
  • It's Friday night and I am doing absolutely nothing.  I worked last weekend and have to work the next weekend.  Doing nothing feels amazing.
Happy weekend!

    March 27, 2012

    Nuts and Bolts of Planning DE IVF Abroad

    I thought I would share my research about going outside of the US for DE IVF.  I only researched Spain and the Czech Republic before making my decision. I did casually look into Greece but the current state of that country's economy made me a little skittish.

    My spreadsheet reflects information I received via email and the prices were quoted to me in the last week or so.  Both countries only offer anonymous donor eggs and sperm.  The clinics will pick a donor for you based upon your height, weight and general appearance.  All agencies will accommodate blood type preferences but in the CR this would delay the process as most of the population has a positive blood type (I was considering a negative donor as I am Rh-).

    Spain readily works with single women and in fact by Spanish law, all women have the right to access assisted reproduction techniques, irrespective of whether or not they have a partner.

    The laws of CR do not allow for clinics to work with single women.  There are ways to work around this law and many (but not all) clinics have a "don't ask, don't tell" approach.  

    The clinics all report using donors from nearby universities and in both countries women are not paid for their donation save for a small stipend.  The CR clinics also reported recruiting women on maternity leave as leave there can be up for four years long. 

    I did a lot of searching through online forums, most of them UK or AUS based to learn what others thought about the clinics themselves.  From those impressions I chose the four clinics below to research.  All are reportedly highly reputable, technologically advanced and up to American clinical standards of RE medicine.

    I also found that there are "concierge service" companies who will shepherd one through this process, helping to choose the right clinic, coordinate dates, make travel arrangements and generally hold your hand through the process, which from such a distance away can appear quite daunting.  There are a few different levels of these service organizations and I'll report on those in another post.

    I have other notes to share as well.  It seems the deeper I go, the more interesting things I uncover.

    In the meantime, I hope the info below can help someone else!

    Currency converter here

    March 26, 2012

    The Times In Which We Live

    Last week I had to order some supplies for a project I was working on at work.  The deadline was tight and with two days to spare I found a well known online merchant with next day delivery for free!  Score!  As I opened the box barely 15 hours after placing the order I marveled (and thought very thankful thoughts) at the age in which I live.

    This whole baby-making project is no different.  Regardless of all the bumps in the road, this isn't a path I could have even taken 20 or so years ago.  I marvel at the science, the innovation and the wide selection of choices I have to make my dream come true.  

    Aside from the mental struggle to accept this alternative, the fact that I can still have a baby with the help of someone else's eggs, simply astounds me.  It's pretty damn amazing and I am so thankful that I live in times in which this is possible.

    You know what else is astounding to me?  The price!  Gah!  I hate how this has a price tag attached to it at all, it seems really odd to have to weigh all these choices and think of money as a huge factor.  A factor it is though and an important one at that.

    I cannot afford the $30-$35k that donor egg IVF costs in my area.  I could save up for it, but time, as they say, is money.  I've wasted enough time and it's more precious to me now more than ever.

    So, I am moving forward with donor IVF outside of the US.  The more I researched, the more sense it made for me.  I'll have to further explore the flip flop of feelings I have had surrounding the known sperm donor and unknown egg donor issue, but for now, at the end of this day, I feel very at peace with my decision.

    My top two choices for foreign DE IVF are Spain and the Czech Republic.  Although Spain would fit my ethnic background more closely, the cost would be $15k for the IVF alone, not counting travel expenses.  A cycle in the Czech Republic would cost $10k for the entire thing, including travel.

    How crass is that, to weight such an important event, quite possibly the most important one in my entire life, on the number of dollars each will cost?

    Realistically though, my decision has to be based in large part on this fact.  And so the decision has been made.  I am in communication with a coordinator to set a date in September.  This is the best time of year for me to take some time off work and by then I hope to be stronger and healthier, both mentally and physically.

    It blows my mind that I have the opportunity to actually do this in this manner.  I hope to someday convey just how amazing this whole process is to my child.  I hope he or she will be just as thankful and impressed as I am.

    March 21, 2012

    Explaining The Difference

    Yesterday I had my employee review with my supervisor.  The organization I work for uses software for developing, plotting and tracking employee goals and improvement.  So, goals I created for myself early last year were combined with my own self eval I did back in December and then weighed and assessed by my supervisor and then compiled in to a report which was reviewed with me.  

    I was absolutely shocked to see my supervisor gave me "exceptional performance" across the board.  She was surprised I marked myself so low in my self assessment.  I was not surprised.  Frankly I thought I sucked professionally last year so I rated myself "satisfactory" or left it "not rated".  

    Today the dept. director asked to speak with me.  She was "curious" as to why there was such a difference in my self assessment and my supervisor's assessment.

    Last year was no joke.  I was doing good just to make it through the day so I could get to my car to cry as I drove the commute route home (for once I was kind of happy I had a longish commute).   So, in a detached way (I hate crying at work) I told her I had the worst year of my life and I was not at my professional best but had found firmer ground and this was reflected in my professional improvement.  She was empathetic and said she understood that people could not compartmentalize their work and personal life but perhaps I had been too hard on myself considering the circumstances.

    Driving home tonight I realized it's been a full year this week.  A full year of some of the worst days I hope I ever have to live through.  But I made it.  

    There is a difference between the me of today and the me of a year ago but the explanation defies any words I could articulate.  

    I can feel it and I am living it, so for now that's good enough for me.

    March 17, 2012

    Spring Forward Mowed Me Over!

    I can't recall a more difficult adjustment to the time change.  I think the combination of this, the last week of BCPs and two very large projects at work caused me to really struggle for firm footing this week.

    I deeply appreciate the comments to my last post. I've had a lot of things running through my brain but this week's craziness has kept me distracted from ttc issues which, let's face it, is a full time thinking job!

    CD1 was yesterday but things are not quite as usual.  My RE told me to take BCPs after my last failed IUI (de rigueur after all of my BFNs due to cysts) but this time I spotted for about two weeks, then CD1 and now nothing.  My body is probably on strike.  There's only so many meds one can pump into one's body before it revolts.

    I'm taking my body & mind to Vancouver, BC next month for my birthday.  I've never been and cannot wait to walk Butchart Gardens.  This is the first cycle where I am not worried about scans, meds, cysts, sperm-carrying tank pick up, appointments, missing work and the heart crushing appearance of a stark white dip stick.

    This feels right.

    March 12, 2012

    It's Time To Consider Going Double D

    No, not this kind (with all due respect to Dolly, I happen to like her very much).

    We're talking double donor here.

    It's been rolling around in my head for several months and I suppose I've gone through all of the "normal" stages that someone at this point of ttc-ing goes through.  Disbelief, anger, denial, fear, shock then right back around to disbelief.  How did I get here?

    I suppose it doesn't matter at this point.  I'm here.

    I still have an IVF consult next week but I seriously doubt the good doctor is going to peer over his spectacles and give me and my decrepit eggs the same odds of success that donor eggs would get.

    I want to be a mother. It's as basic as that.

    "Find out who you are and do it on purpose." ~ Dolly Parton

    March 9, 2012

    Would You Rather Lose Your Blog Or Lose Your Photographs?

    Today's NaBloPoMo prompt made me think of the boxes upon boxes of photographs I have stuffed into bookcases, albums, bins and drawers around my apartment.  These photos are reminders of all the old film-based cameras I had many years ago.  For the last several years all my photos have been stored in digital files.  I've always meant to scan the other photos but never have.  Now I am reminded that I need to do this to gain the space and to keep the photos safe.

    As a whole my photos are reminders of family, friends, trips, projects, jobs, activities and experiences that have made up my life.  Although I do not look at them that often, I am sure I would be upset if I lost them.

    This blog on the other hand, represents a part of my life that number one, I never thought I would experience and two, didn't begin until I reached a very dark place. It's brought me much comfort, community and reflection but I would not be as heartbroken if I lost it, rather than my photos.

    Honestly, the only way this blog would become as valuable to me as my photos is if I am fortunate enough to bring home a baby.  I think chronicling this journey is something I would want to eventually share with my child.

    Now I suppose I should make a plan to get those photos scanned and uploaded!

    March 8, 2012

    Waiting For The Universe To Bitch Slap Me

    I happened to glance at my desk calendar today and realized this time last year I was pregnant and somewhat hopeful.

    I sit here now a different person, not just because of that experience, but others that followed and the aftermath of surviving it all.  I am beginning to feel stronger, to feel that perhaps my life is going to move forward, that perhaps I do have something to move forward to.

    But then I remember the time of year and I shrink in fear.  All my life this time of year, Mach/April-ish has brought with it upheaval and crisis.  This time also happens to be my birthday time so I often do not remember my birthdays but the events that overshadowed my birthday.  Last year was my miscarriage and mother's death.  I don't remember my 10th birthday, but I do remember it was the day my great grandmother died.  The next year my birthday was the date of my maternal grandmother's funeral.  Parents' divorce, mother's revelation I had two siblings I never knew about, moving schools, several other family deaths, and many other events, none of which were happy...all happened within these two months.

    Now at almost 42 I've come to expect it and I'm scared shitless.

    What else can the Universe throw my way?  Should I consider last year the pinnacle of all that could have gone wrong and did?

    Experience tells me I am nuts to feel positive and hopeful that I will make it to May unscathed.  Part of me, the clinical, logical part that loves to dissect and assess, is loving this, sitting back and waiting to see exactly what will happen.

    Only time will tell.

    March 7, 2012

    Tiptoe Through The Tulips

    In a previous post I suggested I might have shot my foot off by telling my supervisor that I was not willing to work outside of my current job description and towards a promotion that was not on the horizon (I have been on this "work the job you want" plan for almost two years!).

    Yesterday the director of my department let me know she was heavily advocating for my promotion and "changes were coming" although she could not make an offer yet.  She also gave me this beautiful tulip plant and the card which read, "Singular Desire, Sometimes it's nice to know you are appreciated - I do appreciate you! Warmly, Boss Lady".

    March 6, 2012

    When Does The Human Experience Cease To Be An Experience And Begin To Be Something To Be Managed?

    Loribeth's post "Gives a Whole New Meaning to the "2-Week Wait"  at The Road Less Travelled made me just as ticked off as the "single mother = abuser" article I read yesterday.

    In a nutshell the powers that be are proposing to make changes to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) to amend the diagnosis of mental illness after loss.  Currently the timeline is two months of "allowable grief time" before clinical depression is diagnosed.  If this amendment is approved the "allowable grief time" will be TWO WEEKS.

    Two weeks of grief and bereavement is apparently all the time one needs.  After that, if you haven't snapped out of it you're mentally ill, clinically depressed and most likely in desperate need of meds.  Ok, I admit it, the last one was a swipe a Big Pharma.  Sorry.

    Shocking!  I had no idea that my grief was on such a tight schedule!  Imagine what I could have been doing in the third week after my miscarriage and my mother's death.  I could have been at Disneyland (or heavily medicated, which I suppose isn't a bad thing when one visits Disneyland).

    Loribeth's post is linked to Dr. Joan's blog, who provides an in depth look at the implications of such a change.  In her words, "This change occurs against a historical DSM backdrop of salient criticism relative to the medicalization of normal human emotion, clinical hubris, cultural incompetence and insensitivity, and ethical misuse of such nosological systems."

    Loss is hard enough to bear. Are we now to be forced adhere to a timeline, and if we don't do so, bury it deeply so we won't be seen as mentally ill?  

    March 4, 2012

    Three Way Standoff in a Cemetery

    The Good
    • My trip last fall was the best of my life. I went with my bestie since the fourth grade and we spent a week in London, a week in Paris and one week split between Madrid & Barcelona.  The highlight was having the opportunity to see G.eorge Michael twice, including a black tie charity show at the Royal Opera House in London.  This was just before he became ill and nearly died so this experience will always be dear to my heart. 
    • On this trip I "came back to myself".  I don't know how else to explain it.  I had been so beaten down, so exhausted and so damn sad that I did not resemble the person I used to be.  Perhaps my "other" self had been somewhere there, wandering the continent and found me when I landed?  Maybe all the candles I lit in those Gothic cathedrals worked?  I don't know how it happened but it did and although I am still a somewhat fragile person, I feel more whole than I have felt in years.
    • In November I began taking classes at a local M.ethod studio.  The results have been phenomenal, physically and mentally.  I've never been one for yoga or Pilates, always thought that if I wasn't gasping for breath and running around the exercise wasn't "good enough".  Ha!  I still gasp for breath, but the overall mindfulness and strength I've built is greater than any boot camp I've ever done.
    • I received a generous bonus at work this year.  I know nowdays just having a job is the new bonus so I am very grateful for the additional funds.
    • I turned down an offer to teach in Korea this fall (after going through the application process!).  I put this under the "good" section because I took care of myself, realizing that emotionally I am not in a good place to move clear across the globe and set up a new life in such a different place.
     The Bad
    • Since my last BFN I have done several more IUIs (all back-to-back), all BFNs.  In between each one I've had breaks due to cysts, including one stable cyst that has evidently camped out for good. 
    • My RE asked me if I watched the tv show "Parenthood".  Really? 
    • Two years ago I was promised a promotion at work.  Six months later I was then told I "wasn't ready" and that I needed to "work the job I wanted".  About three months after that someone from another site was transferred in and promoted above me.  A week ago I had enough and told my supervisor I was not comfortable working outside of my job description, especially towards a promotion I was likely never to get.  Yeah, makes it a bit awkward now.  Could have shot myself in the foot here.
    • Since the death of my mother almost a year ago, my realtionship with my brother has not improved as I had hoped.  I don't know what to do about this.
    The Ugly
    • I have an IVF consult on March 22.  I turn 42 in April and I am sure the doctor is going to bring up donor eggs.  I don't know how I feel about that and I hate myself for feeling that way, however way that is (I know, confusing to me too).
    • I flat out have a sugar addition.  As I type this I am eating mini Twix straight from the bag.  I think I've been using sugar to cope and I don't know what to do about this either.  Each day I try to stop but the abstinance lasts until oh, about 10am. 
    • There's been a few new blogs lately, authored by women my age (I suppose those catch my eye first when the weekly blog list comes out from Stirrup Queen).  I find myself being "scoff-y", if that's a word. It's certainly an attitude and I hate it.  I feel impatient and jaded at their words of hope and excitement.  This is an ugly part of me I do not like.  I should be offering words of support but I cannot.
    • A few days after my miscarriage last year a good friend of over 20 years who had been through her own IF hell, had twins.  In an email she said something like, "I shouldn't say this so feel free to kick me if it's insensitive but..." and proceded to tell me all about her aches and pains and lack of milk supply.  I told her I needed a break and would contact her when I could.  I never have.
    *blows smoke from the business end of her six shooter*

    Thank you fireworksandrainbows for prompting me to give an update.  I felt very shy about coming back into the blogging arena after all of this time, not sure that I could convey all that I've had knocking about it my head.  There's more of course, but that's another blog or fifty!

    March 3, 2012

    Did You Hear?

    Picnik will be ending its services on April 19th.  Fortunately Premium Services are FREE until the site shuts down.  I thought this edit nicely summed up my feelings about my life as of late...

    March 2, 2012

    Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

    Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is Would you rather make your own choices or have someone make them for you?

    Sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone to make decisions for me.   Passing along the responsibility would certainly reduce the toll on my already overtaxed brain and relieve some of the agony of making a choice.

    All good things EXCEPT when it comes to my hairdresser.   For way too long he had made the choice of what my hair was going to look like (even when I asked for something quite unlike what he did).  I took that power back today and tried out someone new.

    I won't pretend to swagger when I say that.  I was a cowering and quivering ball of angst for about five months, trying to build up the confidence to make an appointment with someone new.  On my way to my appointment today I actually had a tummy ache.  What a wimp!

    This afternoon when I looked into the mirror as the final touches were put on my hair, I met my own eyes and smiled.  I loved my hair but better yet, I loved the fact that I made the choice.

    March 1, 2012


    ...or not I would return to my blog was never a question.  It was a matter of when I would return to it.  When I could return to it.  When I saw this month's NaBloPoMo prompt, I was motivated and willing to not only revisit my past words but to move in a forward direction with new ones.

    PS. I was incredibly touched by those who left comments and wished me well during my absence.  Thank you.