The Closer I am to Fine

There is an overwhelming air of calm as the 1st of the TWW is coming to a close. As we have been TTC for 17 months I have a few TWW under my belt. I have learned a new language, one of acronyms and unfamiliar well wishes. The two week wait (TWW) is what follows ovulation when a family is trying to conceive (TTC) and it is usually a barrage of hypersensitivity to possible early pregnancy symptoms. “Surely this level of tired is unusual, it must be pregnancy,” and “I’m craving a banana and I usually find bananas repulsive, must be pregnancy,” and my favorite “the Folgers commercial made me sob uncontrollably, must be pregnancy.” Hope builds and then that fateful first drop proving that you are in fact the only person currently living in your body and all is dashed, you make hot chocolate and begin to grieve. If this sounds like an unnecessary cycle to you, if it sounds absurd and dramatic, if the two week wait is illogical, unreasonable, and inappropriate you might be right. To the women on my fertility tracking ap it is real life and they have ways of helping each other through it.

20170609_150702
Also: waterfall trails help too.

There are a lot of technical acronyms: BD-CD-CM-OPK-DPO and my favorite DH which is not technical at all it stands for Dear Husband. We talk about things on this ap in the community tab no one I have ever met is willing to discuss. One of the best features of the ap is how it gives you a new anonymous character each time. Once I commented as Mint Aardvark and another I was Fuchsia Rooster there are antelope, spider monkey, prairie dog, mantis, cobra, rhino, manta ray, butterfly, gorilla, puma, best of all is the fox which I’m always hoping for. There can be a teal gorilla or a gold gorilla; you can be a blue stag or a sky stag, once I was a Purple Triceratops! When you pose a question or comment on a thread you are assigned a different colored creature each time. This is a fascinating tool I think it encourages me to comment more. The discussions are mostly helpful, there are varying levels of education about our bodies and the process of conception. It seems that for some women this is the only way they are going to get answers to their scientific or lifestyle questions.

Another thing in this micro culture that I find interesting is that you can filter the audience your question can see using the filters: same age, same time of cycle, same country, in a relationship, previous miscarriage, has children, diagnosed infertility. I can’t be expected to choose the people I want to see my questions; I can barely form them into sentences let alone exclude certain audiences. When I read exchanges like this can begin to see the value of filtering.

Silver sloth asks: What does is mean if my boogers are clear sticky and runny???

-crimson gorilla: boogers?

-silver sloth: yes like in my nose

-crimson goose: yummy

-silver sloth: you can eat them goose but I can’t stop blowing my nose, am I sick?

-crimson goose-no, probably Ebola

-silver sloth: oh noooooo not THE Ebola

-fuchsia dolphin: sick or allergies

Good thing that dolphin swooped and stopped this exchange, what filter would keep me from reading that? Maybe just my own brain choosing to open only relevant threads, like this one…

Mint Goose Asks: Period due tomorrow all the HPT (home pregnancy tests) are negative. It would show by now if I was pregnant right?

-purple dragonfly: most people say wait till you have missed your period. My hpts are negative too and I’m due Tuesday

-gold pig: I have been pregnant before where it didn’t show up till I was a week late

-lemon stag: not necessarily, I didn’t even get a faint positive until AF was a week late

-crimson stingray: should most likely have shown up positive by now. Best of luck next month

-lemon penguin: it might and it might not, depends on the initial amount of HCG in your urine, did you use FMU (first morning urine)

-mint goose: really lemon?!?! From what I have read online that is pretty rare, I’ll keep my fingers crossed I guess.

-lemon penguin: *baby dust*

Many threads use the term *baby dust* which is a way of saying good luck getting pregnant and having a baby I think. We all wish each other *baby dust* in most threads (save the booger one) and it feels so sparkly and kind. Every few months someone will post “I got my BFP” and waves goodbye as she wishes us all baby dust and advances to the pregnancy ap. Did you guess what BFP is yet? Sometimes I google the acronyms sometimes I just try to guess on my own. Big Fat Positive is what it means, it’s the top banana of TTC acronyms and it’s the best news. In one way it boosts morale that among all these women disguised as colored random animals, among all the personal anonymous questions posted across many age groups and countries and education levels someone succeeded. Someone got their dream, and we may yet get ours.

Listen to Indigo Girls : Closer to Fine

As you faithful friends read my blog posts and stay in the loop of my journey I thank you for cushioning me with prayer and encouragement. I attribute the current peaceful TWW to you- my not anonymous community. Well timed text messages, and crafting collaborations, and loaned books, and phone calls (yes real phone calls), and coffee dates, and dinner invitations have kept me from too much alone time to stew and worry. A few of you have even come to me for advice or encouragement for your own struggles in life and that makes me feel like shiny gold. Its good to be needed when I feel so consumed by my own journey, gets me out of myself and reminds me that even when I feel that my gifts are used up and my energy taxed I am still a useful helpful friend. Hope this was a welcome look into a world not many of you know about, and I hope you laughed. I have a goal of laughing at least once a day during the TWW; laughter is a great tool for survival.

Advertisements

Take each day as it comes

Isn’t it the worst when you tell your friend you have good news and they get really excited like its going to be THE good news? The news that everyone is hoping for you to have, the news you have been looking forward to for 20 something years, the news she is hoping you have has already lit up her face with joy for you and she holds her breath in anticipation. Now you get to reassure her that while it’s not THAT news its still good. Josh’s sperm count has grown by 4 million, and those lil buggers are swimming faster than the last two times he tested.  The category that is the most difficult to improve in is morphology, which evaluates if some of them are morphing in to werewolves in the moonlight or are they all regular hardworking un-morphed classic sperm. There was a 140% improvement in this number (curtsy & bow) so we popped some champagne because our guys are average looking and mostly fast swimming.

We had made this plan that if we didn’t get pregnant on our own this month we would make plans to try our first IUI (intra uterine insemination) but this news has made us think again about that plan. Now that we have more champions should we forego the intervention and stick to the DIY method? Ive got a lot of voices in my head trying to guide me. I can hear the voice of fear telling me that I’m getting older everyday and we don’t even know if IUI will work so we should start trying everything we can while we still can. The Christian voice asks “can I really prompt the beginning of life by hiring someone to sort our sperm and place them in an ideal place to meet an egg?”  The hippie side says go natural take more supplements see the acupuncturist regularly it will happen when it’s supposed to happen.  The mother in me says “where are my children”, and “do they know how much I want to meet them, how I hope they are kind and generous and smart and able to be honest and vulnerable with those they love; do they know I pray for their spouses and for the leaders of the world they will live in, for their health and inner peace as they face life’s struggles?”

I had hoped that by writing out all my inner voices I would see a clear answer rise to the top but they all have valid points.

And now its time for a reading break, here’s a song.

My friend recently told me that when she got engaged in her 30’s she was first happy then sad, real sad to be leaving behind her friends who were still single. She described it as survivors guilt, “why me, why not them too”. They were all in this little life boat together encouraging and affirming each other in their singleness and quest for contentment with this stage of life, now she’s in a married boat with her new favorite person and they are happy for her (probably). I was asking myself if I would feel that way when we finally do get pregnant. I don’t have a boat of people who wish they could have babies, I have people who love me and think they understand my struggle and I would be lost without these souls. Infertility is a boat only Josh and I are floating in. Its lonesome, the water is constantly rocking us to and fro and we have to go to work everyday and contribute to society and to our friends and families lives. As my fantastic Stepmom would say we have to act like something, and some days I feel like I can while others I want to step out of my own narrative for a while and watch as a substitute me acts like something.  Should I join a support group so I have a boat to leave when I become a survivor? I would like to say that the man in my boat is exceedingly generous and so available to me. There is no comparison for the selfless way he joins me in this struggle, how he cries when I cry, and passes a hanky sometimes, and lets me roll my eyes at our friends accidental babies even though that is detestable behavior.

I do not feel courageous or brave I feel like I am getting out of bed and showing up for myself and not very well sometimes. It is against my nature to be inauthentic I only know how to wear my heart on my sleeve (people put that thing inside their chests?) plus I think I’m looking for any other tiny dinghies that might be out to sea surviving this kind of storm. I hope that by saying something I create a little light for them, that gives them hope when hope feels foolish.  It’s a familiar absurdity to grow a person inside you, or to take on the task of turning a baby person in to a full size human that acts like something. Raising a teenager is a terrifying feat, and as we all know but constantly forget adorable babies turn into teenagers and hate us for a while. I have contributed to the parenting of many babies and toddlers and even teenagers, I know what nonsense lies before me. I know that it will challenge and stretch me in ways I did not know existed, that parenting will refine my marriage and my career like a fire that burns away impurities. What’s funny to me is that I know all that and the steadfast desire to have my own story remains unswervingly the course I choose.

AH_KatePentz-53

I had coffee with a dear friend recently, she became a parent this month. She reminded me who I am, and how I was made, is not something to apologize for. I kindled this fire as a small tiny woman long ago. I have been naming my kids since I heard that was the custom for parents to name their kids. Today as I try to choose between intervention and not intervention this fire feels like a wildfire that is threatening to make me evacuate my home. You know what it actually is, the fire that heats my home and I will not be afraid of it.  I will lean in closer and be warmed by the dream of my babies in my arms. This requires courage, but I think I have a really heroic partner in my boat and between us we can muster the strength necessary.

 

.

Mama told me there’d be days like these

It happened, I farted in yoga. They encouraged the class to try a little harder in the pose, and take it to the next level. I doubt it was as loud as I imagined but it was hard to keep from cracking up. In hindsight I should have just busted out a loud cackle, everyone was trying to find their edge I could have been the comic relief we all needed.

Did I tell you I have started meeting with a personal trainer. Finding me inside a gym is the last thing I expected of my third decade here on the planet. I have this list of excuses as to why I don’t need to workout or have a trainer: I’m not overweight, I teach dance 7 hours a week, massage is a very physical job, I walk my dog for exercise. The person who is my trainer is amazing, she is grounded and funny and honest and if it were anyone else I would be sticking with my excuses. I agreed to trade with her mostly because I wanted to have an excuse to see her for half an hour every week, also because I love that we can trade services. 

She sets up all the cool machines for you to use and calibrates which weight will serve you best, and the goal is for the workout to be really hard each time. Today was next level hard. I know what your thinking, and no I did not fart, but I did cry. She asked me to lift this load and I started pulling it and it was so heavy guys, like so heavy there’s no way I can lift this thing. I attempted and found that I could lift it with some struggle, and after a few slow reps she assisted me when my muscles failed to continue the set. It got inside my head, because even though she was right there helping me lift the load I almost couldn’t do it. When I set it down I was so blown away, “you can do hard things Kate” I said to myself. Two minutes ago you were saying to yourself “there’s no way”, and here you are. I wept. 

In one week we will take a pregnancy test, like we do every month. Somehow this month is getting inside my head and I really hope this time is the time. I imagine how very cool to find out on Halloween, in my Fantastic Mrs Fox costume, that I am with child. The hope is unbearable. I do have help lifting this load, last night Josh and I accidentally stayed up till 1 am making our Fox masks. Fake fur everywhere, and hot glue strings catching the light, true love growing deeper through crafting. He cries when I cry, he hopes endlessly with me, and someday it will all lead to meeting our nice babies. We planned a chili cook-off Halloween party Sunday so we would have somewhere to wear our cleverly crafted costumes, I do not know if anyone will come. (If you are reading this I think you should come.) I’m keeping it real guys, as always. People say its brave, but I just can’t help but be honest about the journey. Its hilarious and farty and really hard, isn’t your life like that too? 

I have cut back significantly on my intake of social media because it’s not serving me right now.  What I need right now is to know that were all doing hard things and sometimes were fart in yoga. Reach out if you feel like it. Also this post is me completely endorsing Horizonline training, and I’ll tell you my girls name I  you want.
  

Cause the weeds are high where the corn don’t grow

I’m feeling really judgy as I overhear the brunch chatter this fine Thursday morning. The complaints are all 1st world problems that have really easy solutions, and the pains these women express are so shallow. Stuff like how hard it is to fit a run in when you have kids to feed, and how many times a day they miss a photo op of their kids being cute because they left their phone in the kitchen. Why can’t I tune them out and enjoy reading the book I’ve packed, the book about shame and vulnerability and our culture.  I start journaling to see if I can glean some kind of lesson from my irritation, and find that I’m going to have to ask my bestie for insight so I text her. Do I think my pain is more validated than theirs, are my complaints any less 1st world than theirs? It comes down to this: they are moms. Since they have the one thing I want most they can’t complain at all.  The guy who grumbles about a work trip to Hawaii in February, the person who gardens in the valley and says its so hard to keep things from overgrowing, the person who loves to fish but has so much chinook salmon they can’t eat it fast enough. See you are irritated now too aren’t you?

We think we would happily trade problems with people who have something we want. I have an response to every whine a mother makes: None of your clothes fit because you haven’t lost the baby weight yet? Trade you my size for yours if I could have great kids like you have. You never have time for yourself? All I have is time with myself. There’s snot on your shirt and crackers ground into your backseat? I can and do wear white often and it looks clean at the end of the day.  Your teenager is ungrateful and disrespectful? Yeah good luck with that.

There comes a point where you have to humanize the villain in this story, after all being a mom is the job I want. I have my things I’m sensitive to and careful about in social settings, my soapboxes,flippant talk of suicide, chemicals in food, being a parent are a few of my things. I made up some stories about who these brunch mama’s. Once I got creative giving them really hard lives that they couldn’t discuss at brunch I was suddenly compassionate of these strangers. I talked with Josh about it for a while and he helped me guess what their things might be, maybe one has a mom who was a world class athlete and she lost her foot in a tragic plane crash so now this woman wants to run to fulfill her mother’s dream, maybe one had a house fire when she was 10 and all the cute pictures her family took were incinerated so now she wants to do what her parents couldn’t and have zillions of photos backed up on the cloud for her kids to cherish. Yeah I gave them a lot of credit, I hear what your saying that its not realistic. But now I want to cheer for them and hope they can  reach their goals, so it was a good mental exercise.

They couldn’t have known that within earshot was a person struggling with infertility. We need to learn to be more sensitive to the invisible pain around us, at least willing to admit that the world is filled with people who are in the fight of their life. I need to be slower to judge people as shallow or vapid, and gently teach what wisdom I have extracted from the 36 years I have been on planet earth. So much goodness can be drawn from being teachable too, knowing that there is much to learn. I do grow weary though, do you sometimes want to quit being soft and strong and teachable? Hard times are real and there’s dusty fields wherever you go. (Yes, I have been listening to Waylon Jennings )

I’m tired of writing and being raw with you all, seeing you at the grocery store hearing you kindly say “I read your blog, how are things going?” It’s hard to be known and seen, it’s hard to report that we aren’t pregnant yet. I’ve been eating beans and corn and hash browns sometimes, I’ve gone days without taking my vitamins, I did yoga only 2 times this summer, and I am hardly interested in reporting data on my fertility tracking app. I’m choosing to have a little more grace with the journey and be less unyielding with my expectations of when and how. We have looked into IUI which is the less invasive way of “helping” to get pregnant (its what you do before IVF) and its not covered by insurance.  I’m told that the IUI procedure is likely to increase our chances of pregnancy by 20%. We may have to go through a few cycles of it and that’s not in the budget right now. The simple joy of eating corn is likely to increase my chances by 20% too right? Corn is in the budget so we are going to back off from the strict paleo way and be mostly healthy with some corn. Here’s to hoping that joy is as valuable a health tool as discipline.

 

20170717_133803
mexican street corn from Spork, my favorite!

 

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway

When its raining, but only kind of spitting, and the wipers make that awful sound on the windshield I can’t stand it. A rain sensing windshield is my dream, because I am unreasonably mad at the over wiping of the wipers. How about if the rains just stop coming now? C’mon May flowers!! Speaking of May we found a new place to call home and most of our belongings are there now. When should we start sleeping there? We treasure every “last” here on Delaware Ave. We drank Manhattans as we sat on lawn chairs in our empty living room and looked around at our echoing space remembering all the good times here. I don’t know why I’m so emotional about this move, the memories come with us wherever we go. By the time I was 15 I had moved probably 15 times or more, we then moved into the first not apartment we had lived in. At that time we made our mom promise that we could stay still in that house until we finished high school. I’m super adaptable and good at moving, I like the change of scenery and the opportunity to pare down the items you possess.

The Lafayette house is twice the square footage we live in now, it has a dish washing machine and garburater and a garage. In a lot of ways we are really moving up into a better place, even the landlord is super cool and has allowed us make some changes to the place to suit our style. Win after win, but I’m so sad to see our itty bitty blue house go. I think I pictured bringing our babies home to this house, and the babies are nothing but a twinkle in our eyes at this point. Its a reminder that the thing I want most in this life is outside my control, and hasn’t happened yet.

Josh worked like a hoss in March and April and he lost more than 25 pounds Which I wrote about here. We hope this means his fertility numbers are improving, we hope that some babies will find their way from the twinkle in our eyes to the 3rd room in our new house. We already set up room number two for our annual hosting of an intern this summer. We have so much to look forward to in this space, so many meals with friends, and dance parties outside, and such a great view of the fireworks. I’m real thankful, just incredibly grateful that we found somewhere when we needed to.20170430_185646

I will not wax philosophical about putting my belongings into a boxes and transporting them across town, I know how my readers hate philosophy talk. (this is a joke…obviously) The Prius is packed full of the kind of things that don’t make it into boxes, and it is strange to think of all my stuff and how little is has to do with who I actually am. In my trunk:  I have a bag of tutus and a fedora and my kitchen aid mixer a pair of pants that is passed furtively among 3 friends and some oranges and onions. I don’t normally feel defined by the things I own but moving makes you really consider what you possess. I moved no less than 6 vases of dried lavender! What?!? Who am I? OH yeah, I’m Katharine raised by an often single mom in lots of different places taught to say what you mean and that if people don’t like you that’s not your problem.  Well for the next 2 years I shall be Kate of Lafayette, and hopefully future blog posts will not be written from the bathroom. (The bathroom is the only grounded outlet in the house my laptop won’t plug in elsewhere) Eyes still twinkling.

Last Man Standing

“Rest your head on your mat, open your eyes, see the mat.” I see it. I has tiny circles separated by capital letter I’s and inside the circles are little squares. My eyes get blurry like I’m looking at a magic eye picture from the 90’s, but i don’t see a hidden picture of a dolphin appearing. This is of no consequence to anything. At the end of class he says “open your eyes, meet the eyes of the people sharing your practice today, see each of them” I prefer seeing people to seeing my mat. They have eyes and expressions and they sweat with me here today. Baptiste Power Yoga is hard, and I feel like I am building something when I’ve finished. Daily yoga is my Lenten commitment. I cry every day because they say “happy baby” which is a pose you do towards the end while lying down, and the hot tears drip into my ears. I’m not totally sure why I chose this for Lent. I know that I didn’t want to give up anything since my diet is already paleo and very restricted, and I feel like I have a lot of loss in the balance of my life. So adding something felt like a safe choice, turns out an hour a day commitment is still a sacrifice. Shrugs.

Fun update: we went to the naturopath on Friday morning for our most recent fertility results. These results have to do with my dear sweet grooms body not mine, and so I asked him yesterday if its okay for me to write about. “This is our journey, Kate, not mine. Be as transparent as you need to”. Our culture has taught us that one’s manhood is tied to his performance and sperm count, I challenge that to say this guy’s manhood is tied to his response when asked to be vulnerable with his numbers. Together we have done so much work to improve our fertility, and now we embark on a new leg of the journey towards being parents. ( I doubt anyone really watches my song links, but I literally listen to this song everyday. it is the title of this post. Last Man Standing )

In November I wrote about the odds being stacked against us for natural conception, here are the details of that, and the fantastical new plan to beat the odds. The swimmers need to be at least 60% quick and zooming, we’re at about 30%; We need at least 20 million of them and we only have 16 million, lastly only half of our guys are normal the other half have two heads and coiled tails and stuff like that. Upon receiving this news (on his 37th birthday) he had his game face on and was ready for the next step, our ND calmly asked “how hardcore do you want to be.”  “Very” was my champions answer. She explained oxidative stress like this (3 minute animation)  and told us that  carrying some extra weight is the main cause of his oxidative stress. Well he has been hitting the gym an hour or more a day, 5-6 days a week since November and while he has lost some weight he needs something more dramatic to jump-start his metabolism.

 

Drum roll please….

Enter the HCG diet. Daily injections of this cool hormone will cause him to burn fat cells as energy, and somehow survive on 500 calories a day. Don’t worry guys its only for 3 weeks and then he can resume normal (is paleo diet normal now) eating. Did I almost pass out at the office when I heard about this, and saw the price tag, and comprehended the commitment level? You bet your buttons I almost did. So I’m in the waiting room looking at the patterns in the carpet and sipping water and being told to breathe, and my bad-ass groom is getting the instructions to take injections at home and how to count calories and scheduling weekly followups with our ND.  My head is spinning. Sally you will be proud of how Dr.Science this post is, the rest of you might be rating this post high on the EW! scale.

untitled-705
Here’s us on our wedding day

I honestly don’t even know what to expect in the next 3 weeks, but did I know what to expect the last 3 weeks? NO one could have known that we would be sad and mourning the loss of a perfect little baby in our family, and it felt like I couldn’t breathe at some moments. Today I showed up though, and I might show up again tomorrow. Its a daily thing. We wake up grateful and put one foot in front of the other, we look each other in the face and try to see one another. So far that’s what I’ve learned from yoga-show up and see. We do not know what will happen in the hours and minutes we spend on this earth, sometimes its awful and unbearable and we feel crushed. The man I have married is so clearly the best partner for me in this journey. He is grounded and focused and kind and compassionate and also really tough. We are sharing our story so that you can see into us, and can lament and rejoice with us at the appropriate times. If you have experiences with this diet or infertility or grieving lets talk about those things and learn from one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In these arms of mine

When you are grieving the world is filled with landmines, spending time with anyone who is not grieving is eerie and wrought with danger. You must eventually return to the land of the living, but when, how? You wake up, you make coffee, you take a shower because that is what you do. The vacancy is loud and every crying baby is a reminder of what is missing. Today my dear nephew Braxton would have been  months old. We look at pictures, we talk about getting memorial tattoos, we say his name a lot. We look at the list of names of people that gave dollars to help with the expenses*, we say we should write thank you notes but we don’t know how.  This is what I’m listening to (blog title at 1:10)

I’ve told you before that I come from a big family. I grew up in my Mom’s house with one brother, and all my littler siblings grew up in my Dad’s house. (They range from 6-13 years younger than me) I have allowed myself to believe there is a separation because of our age, or because of our cross town households. I guessed that they thought of me as other, and I didn’t come around much because I focused on our differences. This week crying and praying in the waiting room, listening to the “CODE BLUE” on the intercom in the hospital, mourning and wailing : there were no differences.  They ushered us into a private waiting room and said “Now, this is just for family” and we all proudly rose and marched into that room. There were 15 of us in there, and we were family.

I have come to recognize the hot breath of the enemy on my neck. If there is a voice whispering “you don’t belong” or “you are not good enough” or “you’ll never fit in here” its not a voice worth listening to. In this strange land of mourning I will watch for the accuser of brethren, the last thing we need is to become divided.  I would encourage you to watch out in your relationships too, the family unit is under attack in this culture. Have you been unnecessarily critical and nit picky of someone you love, have you been holding onto your “rights” in disagreements with them, are you like me shushing the voice that says “your not worthy”?  As we learned in the movie The Usual Suspects “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world that he does not exist”. Calling the lies what they are is often enough to silence them.

img_20170221_111807_449

I have a lot of questions for my maker, don’t you? I have some doubts, and I’m kinda mad right now at him. I will not be deceived in this painful time to thinking that God is not for us. I can’t understand what the cuss he is doing in this scenario, but do I understand how the stars were made, or the oceans, or big fat ugly spiders? No ma’am I do not. I’ll keep being me, and let God be who he is, let him make all the hard decisions and not fill me in on the details. I know he loves me. I also know he loves baby Braxton. He loves you too dear reader, I’m absolutely positive of this. Lets be together in this nonsense and let love be the guide through the maze. Cling to these truths, hold fast, and call a friend if you think there may be a lie rolling around in your piles of thoughts and feelings. I love to bust lies, I’m a ferocious slayer of falsehoods so call me for battle okay. We can wrestle doubt together.

*HERE is the link to give if you feel so inclined. even $5 makes a difference.

A Blog about Guts & Uterine Management