Immaculate Conception

So I know my last post was all serious and woe is me, and I really want to make it up to you.  Here is my mother’s response to the light up virgin Mary statue:

mary

I love my mother. 

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It’s a good thing I don’t believe in hell

You should know before you read the exchange below that I identify unapologetically as agnostic–bordering on atheist depending on what day you catch me. Catch and her entire family are Catholic. Pray before dinner, church every Sunday Catholic. This provides for some interesting scenarios… Especially for me. 9 years later I’m still the one who forgets and picks up her fork while everyone else is folding their hands and bowing their heads.

Catch: So, I have something to show you.
Me: Oh yeah?
Catch: I saw gram today and she gave us a gift.
Me: Uh oh.
Catch: opens box

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Catch: And she lights up.
Me: blinks

All the things

Good morning, world. Can anyone tell me what happened to the weekend? I swear I just blinked my eyes and suddenly it’s Monday.

Although it flew by, we had a wonderful weekend. Our anniversary was absolutely perfect. We gave each other the same card. How funny is that? We tend to give each other both a silly card and a serious card on occasions like this. We were lounging in bed Saturday morning when we decided to exchange the silly cards. They look different, but the message is almost identical.

 photo 1 (5)photo 2 (5)

Oh my gosh—we laughed until we cried. I think this was one of my favorite anniversaries ever. A lazy day, a wonderful dinner at a favorite restaurant, and some adult extracurricular activities that have left me with deliciously sore muscles as a reminder.

So… IVF. It’s official.The paperwork is signed. The bill is itemized. Traditional IVF, ICSI, anesthesia, embryo freezing… the list went on and on until the numbers stopped meaning anything to me and my hand was initialing boxes on autopilot.  If you’re considering IVF and would like to see all of the fees spelled out on paper, let me know.  I’ll happily share the specifics via email.

Shit got seriously real when our nurse emailed the IVF calendar on Friday. I’m honestly in shock. It’s a bit intimidating to see the next 6-8 weeks all mapped out with appointments and drugs and things like POSSIBLE EGG RETRIEVAL and POSSIBLE EMBRYO TRANSFER. Embryo transfer? What? Surely we are talking about someone else.

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I keep having to remind myself that this is real. We’re not just thinking about it anymore. We’re doing it.

I started taking birth control pills yesterday. The first birth control I have ever taken in my life. I find it ironic that I’ve never needed it to prevent pregnancy, and yet here I am TRYING to get pregnant and this is when they decide it’s time for me to start. If I close my eyes, I can see myself sitting with my teenage daughter someday explaining, “Well honey, the only time I’ve ever taken birth control pills is when I was trying to get pregnant with you… and here you are! Don’t forget to take your pill!”

I’ve had a headache and some stomach upset since yesterday. I’m not sure whether that’s the fault of the BCP or not. I hope it’ll pass in the next few days if it is.

I’m also going to start taking Metformin. Although my initial blood tests didn’t show that I really NEED it, my doctor decided that since I’ve got the whole polycystic ovary thing going on, it won’t hurt to take the Metformin, and it may actually help. I went for a quick blood glucose test on Saturday morning, and as soon as those results come in and I get the all clear from my RE, I’ll start popping those as well. I’m supposed to gradually increase my dose to 1500 mg over a period of 3 weeks. 1 pill a day for a week, then 2 pills a day for a week, and finally 3 pills a day from there forward.

It was really nice to pop by the Target pharmacy to pick up my free birth control pills and $6 Metformin. It’s the only thing my insurance has covered since we started all of this. Thank you, Blue Shield. But you are still assholes.

I’ll be doing the BCPs for 2 ½ weeks and then it’s back to the RE for another baseline, a mock embryo transfer and an endometrial activation. Gosh that sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

I am absolutely terrified.  Previously, there has been worry and hopelessness, but never this level of outright fear.  It all feels so weighted.  Like everything pales in comparison to these next 8 weeks.  I wish I could lock myself in some sort of protective wellness bubble until September. I’m working on getting my head into the right place, but I think I need a few more days to let reality settle in.

Speaking of wellness, my RE recommended Circle & Bloom. Have any of you used it? Is it worth it? Helpful? Calming? All that jazz? Will it help me focus on the big picture and stop obsessing over the little things?

I threw this together and set it as my desktop background today.  I took the photo on a camping trip in February of last year just a few days before we took our first steps toward starting a family.  The best is yet to come.  I’m actually starting to believe it. Maybe.

bestisyettocomesm

Three Squared

Today is the 9 year anniversary of the day I met my wife. It’s also our 6 year wedding anniversary.

I don’t know what I’d do without my Catch. I don’t know who I’d be. I don’t even want to know.

It feels like we’ve grown up together over these past years. The difference between 24 and 33 is pretty significant. At 24, we were most concerned with who was bringing the vodka and how soon we could take each others clothes off. Actually, maybe that’s a bad example because we still worry about those things–although vodka is often replaced with wine, so surely that’s a sign of maturity, no?

Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the universe for this woman—my partner—my wife—my best friend. I would not trade the life we have together for anything in the world.

I framed this picture from our recent camping trip for her for our anniversary. We were up early that morning to go fishing at Donner Lake. I was wandering with my camera, and Catch was behind me, fishing pole in hand. The sun was rising, and the lake was quiet and still. It was in that moment that it occurred to me that no matter where this year leads us, we will be just fine. As long as I can share these moments with her, my life will be complete.

lake-01

Happy anniversary, my love.  There’s no one I’d rather be lost with.

My Wife (Sham)Rocks

Throughout the (almost) 9 years we've been together, I've told Catch repeatedly that I. DO. NOT. RUN.  It's kinda been a thing.  I would even get annoyed if we were out walking the dogs and she would get them all excited and run down the block with them.  What the hell, woman?  I told you–no running. 

Yeah, I'm terrible.

AND THEN…

Someting cosmic exploded and set into motion a chain of events that have lead me to running.  I can't explain it.  It just sort of happened.

Catch has been so supportive of my endeavors, and I find it SO ironic that it's now HER telling ME, "You know I'm never gonna run with you, right?"

I've had an itch for a month or so that I wanted to sign up for a 5k.  Trouble is that all of our March weekends are booked, and moving into April… well, I'm not really sure how much running I want to be doing during two week waits and all.  I didn't want to commit to anything.

Cut to Monday.  Saint Patrick's Day.  I come home from work to this:

Photo 1

It's a registration table.  Complete with t-shirts and sweatbands. 

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And with the treadmill…

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Upon completion of my 3.1 miles on the treadmill, I was given a strand of light-up shamrock beads as a medal.

My wife truly freaking (sham)rocks.  The whole thing was so cute it's ridiculous.

Goal.

In November, I said that I wanted to lose 28 pounds by the time we started trying again.

I took an unofficial month-long break from dieting over Christmas/New Year’s because I couldn’t handle the stress of it all.  I didn’t REALLY get back on track until we met with our RE toward the end of January, and I have truly been working my ass off since then. 

Here’s my progress:

November 18th – First weigh-in

December 16th –  11.9 lbs lost

January 20th – 12.3 lbs lost

February 17th – 19.6 lbs lost

March 17th29.5 lbs lost

Patio2

I consider myself agnostic, but Catch was raised Catholic.  Our differing belief has never been a huge issue.  I know that neither of us can really understand where the other is coming from, but we acknowledge this difference between us and treat it with respect. 

Last night, we had dinner out on our back patio for the first time this year.  I spent the day cleaning up the yard and it was such a nice place to be in the early evening.  When we sat down at the table and Catch asked if she could say something, I prepared to raise my water glass for a toast, but she made the sign of the cross.  I folded my hands and tried to ignore the way my body involuntarily tensed up.  I can’t recall her exact words, but the sentiment was, “Thank you.”

Thank you for everything we have.  We know we have a lot.  There’s just one more thing…

It suited us.  She talked to god.  I threw the sentiment out to the universe.

So, I’ve met (and exceeded) my goal.  The same goal the RE set for me in January.  We’ve picked a new donor from a different cryobank (also at the request of the RE).  The financial end of things has been addressed, and our savings account is ready.  I’ve had all of the requested lab work done. 

There is nothing left to do but wait.  In the meantime, I’m going to keep working my ass off and Catch is going to keep praying to Saint Anne.  We make a good team.  No matter how the next few months pan out, I am so incredibly grateful to have her on my side.

Just Your Average Date Night

Catch and I have a tendency to discuss big important topics over a couple of drinks.  Saturday, we had planted ourselves at the bar at Island’s with a couple of happy hour mai tais before our movie time (American Hustle—worth seeing primarily because the 70s were not fans of bras) and the next thing you know, we’re talking about big important things while simultaneously stuffing our faces with french fries.  (Yeah—I know. Weight Watchers starts again today. Can someone please explain why I weigh 5 lbs less in the kitchen than I do on any other flat surface in my house? Please?)

We managed to cover everything from savings/income to vacation plans to life insurance to fertility treatment in under 60 minutes. Do we know how to do date night or what?  ROMANCE—nailed it.

In short, we are stressed about money.  She more so than me, but that’s not to say it isn’t on my mind.  Our savings account will only get us so far, and we feel like we’re dealing with a catch 22 scenario: A few rounds of IUI with the fancy fertility clinic could wipe out our savings and leave us with nothing for IVF if we end up needing to take that route.  That would mean loans for IVF (or further IUI), and neither of us is thrilled with the idea of digging a huge financial hole right before we (hopefully) end up with the biggest ongoing expense of our lives—a baby.  If we just go straight to IVF, we'd need a much smaller loan, but even with a higher percentage success rate there's no guarantee of success, and I have a habit of being a statistical anomaly. 

We’re attending a seminar at the fancy fertility clinic next Thursday evening, and I imagine we’ll learn something about their costs.  The other clinic had all of their cost info posted on their web site, which my inner control freak LOVED.  I’m not loving being totally in the dark walking through the door of this new place.  I like to have all of my ducks in a row from the get go.  I was never comfortable with the learning process in school for that reason—I want to know it BEFORE I learn it.  Problematic.

All we can do right now is roll with this vague outline of a plan.  In terms of everything else this year has to offer, the only thing that matters is getting pregnant.  Everything else—vacations included—can sit in the back seat for a while.  Candy Crush is free and we have a 2 year contract with DirecTV—who needs vacations?

Don’t worry, Roly—we’ll make sure there’s a squeaky toy fund, too.

Roly

Secrets

My sister in law is in town from Colorado this week with her husband and their two dogs.  The plan is for us all to spend the weekend at my in-laws new place a few hours south of here.  6 adults and 4 dogs under one roof all weekend.

I have a few concerns about the togetherness.  My in-laws don’t know that we’ve been trying to get pregnant, and since it has been the primary focus of our lives for months, that’s tough.  I am not a good secret keeper, and keeping this particular secret has made me a shadow of my former self when I’m around them.  I don’t know what to talk about anymore.  I’ve become very reclusive around groups of people lately in general.  I find myself observing rather than participating.  I’ve been very caught up in what’s going on inside my head, and my head really just wants to be left alone in the corner with some knitting and an audiobook. 

I know my hormones are partially to blame, but I also blame my own shortsightedness.  I really never thought that I wouldn’t be pregnant by now, and it hit me like a ton of bricks this month.  My body has let me down.  I’ve let my body down.  I’ve lost all enthusiasm for this process.  More than anything, I just want to close my eyes and wake up in the spring with a new outlook on life.  Instead, I’m going to plaster a fake smile on my face and act as if all is right with the world.

There’s also the drinking.  This is a drinking family.  When we’re all together like this (which is not often), it’s mimosas in the morning, beer by lunch and cocktails with dinner.  That’s just how they are, and I have always been a willing participant.  Until now.  My MIL noticed that I wasn’t drinking at a BBQ last week and commented to Catch several times.  Normally, the only way I’d survive a weekend like this is with a cocktail (or 3) in hand.  Now I can’t even hide behind the warm glow of a bit of vodka.

I know I need to get my head in a better place before we leave tonight.  I’m going to Costco at lunch with my work BFFs.  It’s always great to combine good company with retail therapy.  Plus, I have enough weight watchers points today to have Costco frozen yogurt for lunch.  The nutritional value is zilch, but it’ll make me happy and I deserve that bit of happiness, damnit.

Luck

My lucky number is 33. 
Catch’s lucky number is 22. 

Catch’s number is related to softball, but mine—well, I’m
not even really sure of its origin.

Personally, I have a thing about even numbers.  I just don’t like them.  But I am getting used to smatterings of 22 in
our lives. 

I’ve been feeling a bit odd about potentially conceiving our
child at the age of 32.  It’s an even
number—and my favorite number is just a year away.  Am I superstitious enough to postpone TTC for
the sake of my lucky number?  No.  But I won’t lie and say I don’t wonder about
it.

The other night, we were lying in bed alternating between
reading and trying to catch each other off guard with sneak tickle attacks.  We do that sort of thing.  Catch had just proclaimed that her cat-like
reflexes could outmaneuver me any day, so I reached over, pinched a ticklish
spot with my fingers and pulled my hand away so fast that as she reached out to
shoo my hand away, she ended up smacking herself instead of me.  Cat-like reflexes my ass.

We sat there laughing—hard and loud and gasping like a good
laugh should be—when it occurred to me.

32.  It’s the
combination of both of our lucky numbers. 
I don’t know how I never thought of it before.

Today is my 32nd birthday.  

I feel twice as lucky. 

Sunshine

To quote one of the donor profiles we were considering, “the
minutia of daily life” has been pretty stressful of late. Work is insane for
both of us. The house is a mess, and the laundry is never ending.  It feels like there’s no time for anything,
but the reality is that when we do have down time, we just plant ourselves on
the couch in front of the television.

In general, we’ve both been feeling a bit down.  Throughout our relationship, we have always
relied on each other to help pull the other out of a funk. When I’m feeling out
of control, Catch finds a way to get me into the garden or out with my camera where
she knows I’m happy.  When Catch is
feeling down, I give myself a wake up call and just try harder to be a good
wife—whether that means unexpectedly doing the dishes or setting the dining
room table, cooking a real dinner and opening a bottle of wine. 

Point being that it’s unusual for us BOTH to be in this grey
area at the same time and we are both grasping at straws to try to bring
ourselves out of the gloom and into the beautiful spring sunshine. 

I know it’s temporary. Soon, she’ll have a month off from
teaching, and I will have hired another person for my team at the office and
some of the pressure will be relieved.  In
the meantime, we’re instituting, Get Out and Do Something Alone Together That
Does Not Involve Sitting in a Restaurant Tuesdays.

So far, our list of possibilities includes:

  • mini golf
  • wiffle ball at the park
  • bowling (Catch started looking at lesbian
    bowling leagues, but I’m about as likely to join a bowling league as I am to
    join her softball team)
  • batting cages
  • a movie (we NEVER go to the movies and have
    amassed a collection of gift cards)
  • pool, although I am so terrible at it that I
    have been known to send balls flying across the room
  • an excursion to the used book store by our house
    that I have always wanted to go to, but never have
  • one of the shows at the Samuel Oschin
    Planetarium
    at the Griffith Park Observatory (tickets are only $7—not too
    bad)

I like our list so far. It may seem a bit boring and
predictable, but honestly? We’re pretty boring and predictable. I’m just
looking forward to spending some time with my wife. I can already see some
sunshine peeking through.