ARGH.

What a mess this month has been.  We got to have all those tries last week only to realize my O was delayed this month and we were WAY too early.  I am ‘swimming in eggwhites’ today but it is KD’s gf bday tomorrow (and they have dates and parties) so now we are out of luck.  Argh.  We were able to do an insemination on Monday so there’s a still a chance that we were close enough in our fertile window to make a difference but I’m not counting on it.  I’m so thankful for the ‘free’ sperm but trying to coordinate my body with somebody else’s schedule (who is not my partner) is so difficult even with someone who is, for the most part, pretty accommodating.  Still no + OPK but those rarely work for me anyway.  Small temp spike this morning but, again, hard to tell since my temps have been all over the place this month.   I’ll know more tomorrow, I think.  For now, I’m letting go. There’s always September.

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Oh, for heaven’s sakes…

I don’t know what’s going on!  Last month’s timing was so smooth and this month has me turned upside down and inside out.  We did 2 tries last week (tues and thurs) because I thought we were entering ‘the window’ and then stopped because I was very clearly not fertile and I didn’t want to ‘burn out’ KD’s accommodating spirit too early.  My temps are all over the place and I still don’t feel close to ovulating. I’m now mildly convinced that I ovulated outrageously earlier than usual (based on a few neurotic details I won’t bore you with) and we missed the window entirely. But, I am still holding out hope that things just got really delayed and we still have a shot.   I figure, what with all the anxiety I had this month and the chemical pregnancy, I am probably pretty out of whack. We are going to try again tomorrow.  Clearly, I am quite thankful for the free sperm though we are still hammering out the trickiness of negotiating spur-of-the moment inseminations and KD’s own right to have a life.

The good news is that I am in much better spirits than I was a week ago.  I’m pretty prepared for this month to be a wash, but feeling hopeful again about the whole process. Bye bye, catastrophizer, nobody likes when you come to town.

On a happy note, M and I took a day trip to Mt St Helens with my parents today.  As they only moved to Portland a couple of months ago, we have been trying to fit in some fun family outings to help them explore their new surroundings.  Truthfully, I’ve been amazed by how much we have all been enjoying each other.  My parents come with quite a lot of baggage and, for the past few years, we have only seen each other in times of stress and tragedy.  For the first time, we have been able to regularly spend time together in positive and meaningful ways and it’s done wonders for tempering the usual ‘I can’t handle my crazy family’ feelings I am used to.

And, instead of an eternal barrage of sadness and anxiety, I am catching many moments like this one:

or this one:

and it makes me tear up. In the best way.

CD 20=Calm Down 20

I’ll admit it. I am wound up this month.  I’ve had the kind of rampant anxiety that settles so deeply you feel it in your body before the thoughts come.  Talking it out, exercising, acupuncture have all provided some brief moments respite but then it’s over and I’m left with that last resort, and least effective, strategy of anxiety management: Telling your self not to be anxious. CALM DOWN, I yell at myself… in the most soothing internal voice possible of course . . . PULL IT TOGETHER.   Better yet, ALL THIS STRESS WILL DELAY YOUR OVULATION. Yes, that one works really well for self-soothing.  It’s not that there aren’t reasons to be anxious, it’s just that some months I manage them with grace and others, well, not so graceful. All this, to say that this month’s cycle has left me feeling like salmon fighting my way upstream and the river is my own neurosis. Sigh.

Unsurprisingly, in an utterly chickenandegg fashion, my body has been squirrely-wacky temps, erratic CM, no + OPK yet. We’ve gone ahead and started trying anyway this past Tuesday since I usually ovulate between day 18 and day 23.  Tonight is our second attempt and, if no other signs change our minds, we will try again on Saturday.  I’m hoping KD will be willing to keep going beyond that if, for some reason (or all the reasons above), my ovulation is delayed this month.

But, there is a vacation on the horizon.  In two weeks, I will have a much-needed break from work and a lovely trip east for two weddings and many visits with best friends who live too far away.  If this month’s cycle is a bust, I plan on happily drowning myself in the pleasure of their company. 3 weeks after we return to Portland, M and I are headed to Orcas Island for 4 days to celebrate our 1-year wedding anniversary.  We’ve gone every year for the past few years and it is one of my favorite places on earth. I can’t wait and, in the mean time, my new self-soothing tactic is to imagine that I am already there…

It had to happen sometime…

Well, I guess even men can’t orgasm on command every time and, today, well…. nothin’.  Could be the 100 degree heat we’re having. Could be too many glasses of wine the night before. Poor M, sitting outside, waiting and sweltering for the final awkward pronouncement: ‘This never happens.’ ‘I don’t know what’s going on.’  Girlfriend arrives home from work, all three confer. M calls me. Poor guy.  It’s got to be rough to under-perform under the scrutiny of 3 women. Ouch.  Is this a case of ‘you get what you pay for?’

We were supposed to start tomorrow but this afternoon got real egg-whitey so we wanted to move up our first try.  No + OPK yet so I think we are still ok…

brief hiatus, now over

It was unplanned but it felt good.  My period came with such aggression that I felt cowed by it’s vigor and needed to hide.  Then came the strange lull of TTC-nothingness: post-period, nowhere near ovulation, no attempts in sight.  In the midst of that week, we had 3 brand-new babies come into our lives. THREE in one week, for heaven’s sakes, plus a new conception.  Baby mania. What strikes me is that none of the actual births gave me the same ache in my chest as the news of the conception. Conception is such an all-consuming goal right now that I almost lose sight of what’s beyond it. Almost, but not quite…

One of those new babies is the child of close friends of ours.  This is the same friend whose baby shower I vented about not so long ago and whose pregnancy happened on the first try, ‘way sooner than we expected.’  It’s one of the few pregnancies I have watched from very close-up and, truthfully, expected to proceed blissfully.  Instead, overall, she seemed to have difficulty settling in to her pregnancy-first overwhelmed and ambivalent about being pregnant, followed by lots of morning sickness and difficult symptoms.  Don’t get me wrong, there were many moments of joy, oohing and aahing over ultrasounds and baby-kicking, setting up the nursery and so on. But, later, she struggled with the discomfort of being very pregnant: feeling anxious and huge and uncomfortable and waiting for a baby that was agonizingly overdue.  Then, when the baby came, she CAME. The birth was 36 hours long and so traumatic for my friend that she can barely talk about it without crying.  But in the end, when I see her, she is holding her happy, healthy, gorgeous 9lbs 10oz baby with a full head of hair!  She is tired and painful but completely in love with her new daughter and, turns out, it’s all part of ‘it’, that whole ‘making a new life’ thing.

Trying to get pregnant is so consuming in some ways, that I get stuck on thinking things are EITHER easy or hard, successful or ‘unsuccessful.’  I keep finding my way back to the same perspective though: the process from start to finish is just CRAZY. It’s amazing and horrible and wonderful and hard and scary and even if those experiences occur in very different ways for different people.  It’s so trite, I know, but cut a girl some slack!  I’m coming up on try #2 in the next week and my anxiety is steadily building.  I have to have these talks with myself to make sense of it all and remind myself I am totally normal 🙂

On another note, in the midst of all that, I organized a bit camping exodus for our friends.  It was our first camping trip of the summer and the only event that has fully distracted me from everything else going on.  I have organized it every year and it has steadily grown in magnitude.  This year evolved into a 4-campsite, 20-person event that was more sleep-away camp than wilderness adventure.  But, there was a rushing river beside our tents, campfire story-telling, hiking, laughter and 48 hours of snacks and food cooked on propane stoves. And alcohol-of which I could indulge!

And now, we start peeing on sticks again, waiting for the creamy to turn stretchy sometime in the next 5-7 days and so on…

More soon….

Try, try again…

Well, try #1 is officially over.  My period came yesterday and, seemingly, with a vengeance. It’s like my body wants to make SURE there is no confusion about what all this bleeding and cramping  is about. It’s a relief to have the suspense over and at least know where I stand. Still, I am more disappointed than I thought would allow myself to be on the first try.  I think I am a little haunted by the two days of ambiguously positive results and over-the-top PMS symptoms.  I feel pretty sure that, for just second, I was pregnant and it didn’t stick.  Sometimes this makes me feel better and sometimes it makes me feel worse.

I allowed myself a full on pity-fest yesterday but let it linger a little too long.  By the end of the day, I practically had myself convinced that my chances of success are hopeless. Partly, it’s my general penchant toward the neurotic exacerbated by a crazy-making process and heavy-duty hormones.  Partly, it’s that M and I have had a few years marked by a better-than-average list of life traumas to deal with: suicide, job loss, parent illness, more deaths and, the latest headline this week, ‘M’s Mom Hospitalized after Relapse and Semi-Suicide Attempt; Parents get Divorced.’  I’m amazed at how M is managing to navigate such heavy emotional waters so sanely amidst school, TTC and everything else.

Generally, we weather this stuff with a serious amount of grace and resilience, if I do say so myself.  We have so much joy in our relationship, such an amazing network of people in our lives, and so much humor in our day that it is usually not hard to focus on the things make us so very lucky.  And we’ve had a lot of practice. Still, if I let myself sulk for too long, I fall back into an old, unhealthy story in my head.  Suddenly, we are CURSED and one unsuccessful pregnancy attempt becomes a promise of certain failure to come. A toxic, fatalistic, self-pitying wail wells up inside, ‘Nothing is ever Eeeeeaaaasssssyyyyyyyyyy for uuuusssssssssssssss……….’

Yikes.  Even writing about that voice makes me squirm. I’m sorry you had to see that.

But, TODAY involves brunch. and good friends. and sunshine. and rafting down a river. and cold white wine and M.  And, for today, that’s all I need.