Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Limbo Lower...

Back into limbo go our little frosties, as life throws us a doozie of a curve ball and we try to figure out what we should do with the pitch.

Our sweet dog, Coda (the Wonder Mutt) was badly injured more than a month ago while boarded when we were on vacation. He had been making painfully slow progress the past few weeks. Our vet encouraged us to be patient, but we didn't feel good about how he was healing, and we sought a second opinion from the University of Florida Veterinary Hospital. They are the "big dogs" around here (so to speak) and have a whole soft tissue department that specializes in the kind of injuries that Coda sustained. He had an appointment there today, and the news was not entirely good. Because of the nature and location of his wounds, there are no guarantees that he is treatable. They are going to attempt a skin graft on his left elbow, probably Friday, and then keep him another week to do follow up. (For us to run him back and forth is two hours each way, and the logistics of twice-a-day bandage changes are literally impossible.) So he has been admitted and will be there for about 2 weeks. We are all really concerned about Coda, and I am tortured by just knowing that despite being in pain he was so HAPPY to just be at home cozied up with his family, and I know he is terrified and lonely in a cage in an unfamiliar place where he is going to be put through multiple procedures. Most of all I am worried that things are not going to go well and that we will never see him again.

Which leads me to our pickle.

Spending all this time in a veterinary hospital and having at least one major surgery is not free. Not even close.

And neither is completing this FET.

What has been paid for are all the tests, consultations, and hysteroscopy.

What remains is the meds and the actual transfer.

And at some point we will need to eat. And pay our mortgage. And our car payments. And the kids tuition, and the utilities, and gas, and the kids prepaid college, and and and.

And Dearest has an awesome job and has done very well providing for our family. But the line has to be drawn somewhere, no?

So we are taking a moment. And reassessing adding to our family. Coda was here first, and he is where our obligation lies. Maybe in a week we will know more and be better able to make a final decision, but at the moment the FET is on hold, and its hard for me to know where my heartbreak over the dog ends and my disappointment over not giving those little snowbabies a chance begins.

A little flicker of sweetness to end with, though. I was a little choked up thinking about Coda when Soph came cavorting into the room tonight, and she froze in her tracks and looked at me, wide-eyed, for a long moment. "Mama, what happened? What happened to you? Why are you crying?" she asked me. I told her I was just worried about Coda and sad that he was not home with us. She threw her little arms around my neck and told me,  "It will be better, Mama. I know that you are sad but things will be better, ok? Don't worry." It wasn't long before Liv walked in and Sophie was quick to tell her, "Mama's sad, because she is worried about Coda. She was crying, Liv." Olivia patted my head and told me "I love you Mom. Don't cry."

It was the first time my children have ever comforted ME. (In truth, it was only the second time they have ever seen me cry. I'm not much of a crier.) And it was incredibly wonderful, seeing my kids display this empathy.

And I know that no matter what happens, I am lucky. And it is going to be ok.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

FET #1, or Clearly We Have Lost Our Minds

I have gone back and forth a hundred times about whether to blog about round two of our baby-making efforts. On one hand this whole experience has a much more laid-back feeling that the events surrounding the girls' conception, and a part of me likes it being a private, nonchalant experience. But at the same time I do from time to time look back on our experience with IVF, from the technical (what dose of Lupron was I on again?) to the emotional (four years ago is such a foggy memory) and I like the idea of being able to look back on potential-baby-number-three's beginnings as well. I would make a comment about how I hope others reading this benefit and it's all for the greater good or something, but that's not really my motivation. I know I'm not reaching a huge audience here, and I'm totally ok with that.

We did not take the decision to attempt to have a third child lightly. We agonized over it for literally years. Is this the best thing for us? And most importantly, for our girls? Things now are so easy (for lack of a better word) with the girls. They sleep all night. They are potty trained. They go to school. They feed themselves, entertain themselves, and are able to explain what they are thinking and feeling. So the temptation to maintain the status quo is there for sure. But... there's always been a but. Obviously, we have paid to keep these other two embryos frozen for a reason. I have always liked the idea of a big family. Of the thought of a household filled with lots of little voices singing "happy birthday to you" and lots of stockings lined up in a row on Christmas eve. And the thought of the girls leaving the nest at the same time, the thought of dropping them off at college and coming home... yes, I know it's 14 years in the future, but I also know how fast these first four years have gone... that thought KILLS me. I think about it way more than I should. Plus I think the girls would make amazing big sisters, and that any little soul who stumbled into our midst would be super lucky. Not that we are perfect, just that we have lots of love to spare. Would I be ok with life as a family of 4? Yeah, I'd be ok. But I would always spend the rest of my life with that little "what if" buzzing around in my head. I'm ready to try. 

So off we go. If you will remember, when we left off we had two children and two cryopreserved embryos. About 2 months ago I went for an appointment at CRM to talk to our doctor about the FET (frozen embryo transfer, for those playing along at home) and get an idea of what to expect. Of course the protocol is much less demanding than it was for a fresh cycle of IVF. Yesterday was my hysteroscopy- done under general anesthesia- and my uterus got an "all clear" from Dr. Loy and company. As soon as the biopsies that they took come back (next week) I will get my final consult and start the drugs! Probably about a month of shots. I don't mind the subcutaneous ones at all, but the PIO (progesterone in oil) are an intramuscular and I am not sure how I'm going to manage that this time. When I was doing my fresh cycle, the school nurse where I was teaching was AMAZINGLY generous and did my PIO shots for me. Hoping I can either figure out how to do them myself or luck into someone equally as awesome to poke me in the butt with a giant needle for a couple of weeks. Then the transfer, probably in October, and voila! Either pregnant or not.

I do want to say that in the interim here, we have NOT made any attempt to get pregnant spontaneously. I have to admit, I feel a little obligation to those wee totsicles. Not to mention that those are perky 31 year old eggs, as opposed to my crusty decrepit 36 year old eggs. So if we get no results from the FETs, that will be the end of our baby making. Which leads me to another question that everyone, including the lady working at the post office today, asks me. "So when are you popping out another set?" Ahem. This will be a SINGLE embryo transfer. Not that we don't adore our twins. We totally do. But I would be lying if I told you that the first year was all sunshine and roses. Combine that with the higher risk of complications from a multiple pregnancy, and we will be doing one at a time. The only snag is this: when they froze our embryos, they froze them TOGETHER, in a single straw. So they will have to be defrosted together. If only one survives the defrost, then it's a no brainer. If they both survive, however, we will transfer one and re freeze the other. Yes, unlike chicken, you can defrost and refreeze a blastocyst, however it can cause fragmentation and there is no guarantee that it will survive a second thawing. 

So there it is in a nutshell. For now life is about enjoying my girls, enjoying having a little time to pay attention to my house when the girls are at school, and trying to keep my dog from chewing his own legs off. Which is a story for another day. 

Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

30 Years of Truth: Day 13

I think this is where this blog derailed. This question was so hard for me to answer that I just kind of dropped the 30 day challenge... like 2 years ago.

Day 13: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough-ass days.

It's not that I can't think of any. It's that I can think of SO DAMN MANY, so many tough days and so many artists I have connected with along the way, I don't even know where to start, who to thank first or last. My musical tastes are SO diverse it's hard to narrow it down to a genre, much less an artist. For me, Miss DiFranco wins the honors because she has gotten me through tough days for so very many years, her music has become a real emotional touchstone for me. Her lyrics and subject matter have stayed relevant to me as her albums have followed my journey through young adulthood's righteous indignation, new steamy loves, what it means to be female in a "man's world," romantic conflict, searching for the meaning of my existence, growing awareness of political injustices, and even parenting in this day and age. I've seen her live a handful of times and it is always a thrill for me.

I can't even name a favorite album, much less a favorite song, from Ani's catalog, but a handful spring to mind as ones that have gotten me through some of the toughest days. Studying Stones? Dilate? Not Angry Anymore? Wish I May? Tamburitza Lingua? Knuckle Down? Present/Infant? I have yelled them all at the top of my lungs, sung them into the mirror, choked on them between sobs, screamed them from roof tops. I have whispered them into the waves, repeated them as a mantra to myself alone. Her music has been cheaper and more effective than any other therapy for me.

So thanks, Ani. If I had the opportunity to talk to you, I'd sure I'd be speechless. You've pretty much said it all anyway.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tie Dye Personality Test

It wasn't MEANT to be a personality test. Or any kind of test for that matter. It was just meant to keep us busy for a while on a Saturday when Dearest had to be at work, with the slight possibility that an actual wearable product might come out of it. But expectations were pretty modest.

I had never done tie dye, not as an adult anyway, but the kit I ordered pretty much spoon-fed the technique, and the YouTube videos I got all exclaimed that "you just can't go wrong!!!" so I was willing to give it a shot. I did as much prep work as I could while the kids played elsewhere- set up shop in the garage, mixed dyes and prepped the dresses that the girls were going to add color to. And mentally prepared myself too, to let go and let them have this experience without me being worried about what the final product would look like. Not an easy task, but when things were ready Sophia and Olivia were chomping at the bit to try it!

First up was Soph. I explained to her that she could squirt the dye on or she could use the brush to put it on her dress. I told her she could use a little or a lot, and explained a bit about how the rubber bands would keep some parts of the dress white... she half listened, grabbed a dye bottle and started squirting. 

She went about her work with typical Sophia gusto. No questions asked, totally in the moment, ignoring my request that she pause to have her picture taken, and done in 60 seconds. Just done. "Was it fun?" I asked this poor child who had clearly inherited my attention span. "Yeah, Mom!" she called back over her shoulder, on her way to her next venture.

Up next was Liv. She listened carefully as I explained to her techniques and options, and had a lot of questions about "what would happen if..." and "why can't I..." before she even picked up a brush. She was thoughtful and meticulous about her dying, turning the garment over to be sure she had done a thorough job. A few minutes in, she informed me "I am Rapunzel painting this dress," not surprising as I get regular updates about who she is, usually involving a princess or a Star Wars character. (She also usually identifies Soph as her sidekick, as in "I am Ariel and Sophie is Flounder," and Soph usually plays along for a minute, or shrugs and goes about her business.) She clearly enjoyed watching the dye spread through the folds, and wanted to know if I thought she was done.

My yin and my yang. So incredibly different. Answering for all humanity the "nature vs. nurture" question. From their first breaths, these two were who they were. Sure, nurture played into it to some extent, but to a much lesser extent than I would have thought 5 years ago.

The funny thing is... despite their marked differences, the final products are both beautiful. 

And the dresses didn't come out too bad either. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

50 Questions.

I literally LITERALLY do not even remember how this works anymore.  It took me like 10 minutes to find the "New Post" button. But here I am, back on the horse. Not making any declarations about what a great blogger I am going to be from here on out, but I will say that something inexplicable has been drawing me back to the blogosphere. So here I am. I'm gonna start out easy with a meme that my friend Genny did on her blog because it didn't seem too hard.

So, hi.

Here we go.

50 Questions! From Buzzingfridge.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

Please understand that I have been sick as a dog all week so all of my answers are going to reflect that. Without that context you are going to really think there is something seriously wrong with me. The first time I looked at myself in the mirror today was after I took a shower at like 4 this afternoon. And what I thought was "I wish my stomach looked like this all the time and not just when I am recovering from being violently ill."

2. How much cash do you have on you?

I think I have about $20 in my wallet. I try to always have $20, just in case.

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?

Snore which is what this questi
on makes me do.

4. Favorite planet?

Earth? I haven't had the opportunity to experience any others. 

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?

Blargh now I have to stand up and get my phone. I thought this was going to be easy.

My sister.

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?

Marimba all the way.

7. What shirt are you wearing?

A blue t shirt with kind of rainbow palm trees on it from Target. They sold it as a pajama top but I wear it out all the time. F*ck the police.

8. Do you label yourself?

Yes but many of the labels are conflicting. I will blame that on my Gemini-ness.

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?

None. But the last ones I wore were my favorite Keen sandals. But I have not left the house in like 5 days, y'all.

10. Bright or Dark Room?

Bright. Unless it's night time. Then dark.

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?

I love them dearly and I hope they know that.

12. What does your watch look like?

Silver Bulova. Simple and classy.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Lightly sleeping and half listening for the sound of my children getting sick.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?

"That will change soon."

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?

Wayyyy down by Target, I believe.

16. What's a word that you say a lot?

Probably "like." Also I make this grumbling sound a LOT which I was not fully aware of until Sophia started to make the same sound whenever she gets exasperated. Now I am aware that I make that noise way way too much.

17. Who told you he/she loved you last?

Sophie, I think.

18. Last furry thing you touched?

Coda the wonder mutt.

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?

Like I said, I've been sick. So too many to mention. On a normal day just my thyroid meds and my pill.

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?

One, actually. In an underwater camera that I took last summer and never got developed. Because who thinks to take film to get developed these days?

21. Favorite age you have been so far?

Um, I usually like whatever age I am at the moment. I mean, I have liked different things about different ages. Except for like 13-15. Nothing redeeming there comes to mind.

22. Your worst enemy?

I... actually don't have one. I mean, there are some people I dislike to varying degrees, but no real "enemies." As far as I know. 

23. What is your current desktop picture?

A stock solar system pic that came with the computer. I don't even know how to change it.

24. What was the last thing you said to someone?

"Just wanted to be sure you are ok." to Sophia who has been upstairs singing to her stuffed animals since I tucked her in an hour ago.

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?

A million bucks because I could share it.

26. Do you like someone?

Lots of someones!

27. The last song you listened to?

This kid singing the national anthem (really well) before the Heat game.

28. What time of day were you born?

Around 9:30, at night I think but I'm not sure.

29. What’s your favorite number?

I don't have one. But I like to like 13 because I think superstitions are hooey.

30. Where did you live in 1987?

Hmm. Rockford, Michigan, I believe. I think we were in the green house by then.

31. Are you jealous of anyone?

Envious, for sure. Jealous? I don't know. Jealous sounds so ugly. I try not to be. Because the older I get the more I realize that what I perceive what other people have/are is not really superior to what I have and am.

32. Is anyone jealous of you?

I sure hope not.

33. Where were you when 9/11 happened?

Here in Orlando, in my old house with my first husband. I called my dad on the phone and neither one of us could believe what we were seeing. I remember the moment I realized it was not an accident. And I remember being terrified that, long-term, tourism (and my livelihood) would be impacted. And it was, but not as terribly as I thought it would.

34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?

Pout. But usually try again. Because I'm an optimist like that.

35. Do you consider yourself kind?

Generally, yes, very kind. But I have a "mean girl" streak, if in the right company, that I am ashamed of.

36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?

I have one. And I would not get another one I don't think. If I HAD TO, like gun to my head had to? Right on top of my first one, on my left hip. Maybe it would improve it.

37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?

Italian because it's soooo beautiful!

38. Would you move for the person you loved?

Absolutely. I love a fresh start.

39. Are you touchy feely?

I guess so. With my kids for sure, and I am not into PDA but I like holding hands with Dearest when the opportunity presents itself. With friends, not as much.

40. What’s your life motto?

"Bend like a blade of grass to the wind."

But I also like the Humans of New York lady with her "Be kind and thoughtful" platform. Some people make that more difficult than others.

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times?

iPhone, Sophia, Olivia.

Oh, THINGS? iPhone, package of wipes, sunglasses.

42. What’s your favourite town/city?

New York City. No contest. But Florence was pretty kick ass too.

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?

I don't even know. Maybe something at the Brooklyn Flea?

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?

Couldn't even tell ya. But we should do that. It's really nice.

45. Can you change the oil on a car?


46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?

Well I kind of have two people I could count as my first love. One was more a first lust. I hear he's sucking at life and that's fine by me. One was my first love, and I hear he's doing good, and that's also fine by me.

47. How far back do you know about your ancestry?

Ooh, I love the ancestry.com, and I went way way far back on my side of the family! We have pretty much been Americans for as long as there was an America. Before that lots of Irish and French.

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?

P.E.O. meeting, and I wore the dress I bought to wear to Pippin but couldn't on account of the deluge.

49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?

Actually... no.

50. Have you been burned by love?

I'm usually the burner, not the burnee. Which sounds worse than it is. I just mean I am usually the relationship ender. I have been hurt many times, but burned implies something more permanent and scarring. I'm pretty resilient, truthfully.