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On Being on the Today Show…

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who responded to my last post. Excuse me for getting a bit mushy here for a moment, but you guys are wonderful. I love each and every one of you. When I am down, you lift me up. And while I often feel too shy and reserved to carve a place for myself in this world, you have all embraced me and welcomed me into this community with open arms. Perhaps that is only because you have not met me in person. I am better with the written, rather than the spoken, word, after all. But I can only hope that all of you are right and I am indeed worthy of the love and support you have given me. So thank you thank you thank you.

And now on a much lighter note…

I mentioned in a recent post that it was on my bucket list to appear on NBC’s Today show and I had, in fact, accomplished that already. Quite a few of you requested that I elaborate and so this post is for all of you curious cats out there.

And really, I hope I have not led you on. It’s not an entirely impressive story. I was not on the show because I will be starring in the next big blockbuster or because my child or dog are some prodigy of their species or because I invented the new must-have household item. Thankfully, I was also not on there because I had just survived five winter days in the Oregon wilderness, or because I was a survivor of a horrific shooting spree, or because my husband is now on trial for my mother’s murder. It was nothing like that. Quite simply, I was a fan on the plaza.

In September 2011, my mom, daughter, and I (three generations of ladies!) traveled to New York City for the first time and on the top of my “must do” list was to go watch Today being filmed. I watch the morning show every day. And please don’t start imagining me, a stay-at-home mom, watching my show and eating bonbons with my feet up while Cupcake runs amuck. I don’t sit down and watch it and do nothing else, but for four hours each weekday morning that we are at home, it is playing in the background while I work around the house and Cupcake plays.  And, in ways, it feels as if the hosts (who keep changing!!!) are family to me. I feel like I know them better than some people with whom I share blood and a history.

The day that we were on the plaza at Rockefeller Center, the crowd was rather sparse. We were the first in line at 5 a.m.ish and got our choice of where to stand (we chose front and center). Every time the camera scanned the crowd, there we were, smiling, waving, screaming like all the rest. And because my daughter was a very cute baby (just nine months old at the time), and I had her dressed in an adorable outfit, she caught Al Roker’s eye and he talked to us on-camera before going to the weather maps. We were the only ones he talked to while the cameras were rolling that day, so we felt honored.

Ann Curry (who was one of the hosts at the time) was not there that morning, but we did have an opportunity to talk with Al, Natalie, Savannah, and Matt during commercial breaks, which was exciting. One of the cameramen even let me keep Savannah’s notes from the show. My only regret is that I did not ask to have my photo taken with any of them, Matt especially (who I think is so incredibly handsome on camera, and even more so in-person). I suppose I am just too polite. 🙂

We also made an appearance during the fourth hour of the show, when Hoda and Kathie Lee host. We were invited to be in the audience for their Wednesday trivia game and, while we did not actually play, Kathie Lee did give my daughter one of her lullaby CDs, which was very sweet.  And I guess if you were so inclined, you could look back at old shows in the second or third week of 9/2011 (is it even possible to view old shows?) and finally get to see my face.

All in all, it was a long morning, but a day I will never forget. And now to share a few photos from the experience that I will cherish forever…

As I don’t have the guts to actually show my mug here, this is the only photo you’ll get of me on the plaza…holding my handmade sign.

Check out the woman staring at Matt, with her hand to her chin…doesn’t she look hopelessly in love with him? 🙂

One of the guests, Will Arnett, who plays on “Up All Night” and is (was?) married to Amy Poehler.

Another guest, Hank Azaria, who some of you may know does several voices on “The Simpsons.” But *I* know him as David, one of Phoebe’s boyfriends on “Friends.”

And so, friends, that is my tale of the day when I was on Today. It’s nothing extraordinary and certainly is not related to infertility in any way, but I hope it at least made you smile.

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London in Review

An apologetic warning and a gentle plea for forgiveness: This will probably be long. Sorry.

Now that I’m caught up on my reading and commenting, and the worst of this cold has finally lifted, I have the time and energy to blog about our London adventure. Except, as I’ve been there so many times now, it doesn’t much feel like an adventure anymore. Just like going home, as I’ve mentioned before.

In summary: I ate too much. I ate too much junk. I drank too many caffeinated drinks. I slept too little. I walked, played, and shopped until I dropped. I carried my 26 lb toddler on my hip nearly 50% of every day. I forgot to pray often enough. I brought “cute” shoes instead of “walking” shoes and my feet hurt all day long. I spent too much money. I didn’t nap. I didn’t rest. I didn’t stop going. In other words, I did very few things that were good for my fertility.

In fact, there were multiple times while we were away, that I thought to myself, There is no way I could have done this if I’d been 32 weeks pregnant. Or 6 or 10 or 14 weeks pregnant, if one of these most recent cycles had worked for us. I would have pushed myself too hard. Even if I tried not to, I still would have. I know no other way when on vacation. And I cannot imagine that it would have been very good for any Baby in Progress. Perhaps, somewhere in here, there is a small blessing in disguise. Ha…if only I really believed that.

But…I digress. A few more details about our holiday:

  • We visited many of the major sights, not because I wanted to but because my Honey (who has never been to London) needed to see them: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and more.
  • I had High Tea by myself at the Berkley, where they style their cakes and pastries after the latest fashion trends. Delicious and fun!
  • We went on two Harry Potter-themed guided walking tours, which was perhaps one of my favorite parts of the trip.
  • I discovered Ben’s Cookies, which has the best cookies I have ever tasted in my life. Seriously. Enormous, soft, thick, chewy…I wish I could have brought a lifetime supply home with me.
  • During one of our two (three?) visits to Harrods, we happened to stumble upon a book signing party for Roger Moore, who once played the role of James Bond.
  • We hired a nanny for a day so that my daughter could have a day of rest while the three of us adults took a day trip to Windsor and Eton.
  • I enjoyed pineapple frozen yogurt and a giant muffin at Muffinski’s in Covent Garden, just like I did on my first visit to London and every visit thereafter.
  • We only had serious rain during part of one day. The rest of the time, skies were clear and we were…cold. So glad I had the foresight to pack a thick jacket, hat, and gloves!
  • We went to a pub for fish and chips and I ordered a hard cider, the first sip of alcohol I’ve had in months.
  • I slipped away for a couple hours to do a little shopping on my own and to enjoy a coffee while sitting in Green Park. I love getting to explore the city alone, just like in the good ol’ days!
  • I fell in love with Kensington Gardens all over again. My favorite park. Truly.
  • While visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral, I paid 30 pence to light a candle for our beloved Teddy Graham. I wish I would have thought to light one for each of your lost babies as well. I’m sorry. But they were all in my heart.
  • During our last evening in London, my husband stayed with our daughter, while my mom and I went for High Tea at Fortnum & Mason (a very nice department store, the Queen’s official grocer, and what I would say is a scaled-down version of Harrods…but I think I like it even better). Afterwards, we walked the Mall (cold but beautiful with the Palace all lit up) and then went to Novello Theatre to see Mamma Mia! on stage. So. Much. Fun. And perhaps my favorite night out.

There is also one other thing I did while in London that I have never done before: go shopping at baby stores. Lots of them. I’m trying to be a good sister (yes, I’m failing — I already know), and wanted to get something special for her baby. So I bought this:

The onesie on the left and the jar of hand cream (for my sis, not her baby), I will send to her just as a little “thinking of you” gift this week. The elephant jammies and rabbit rattle I will save for her baby shower this winter.

And for the day the baby arrives, I bought this:

My sis does not know what she is having and does not plan to find out until Baby is here. So I bought a boy outfit and a girl outfit and a gender-neutral musical star/rabbit. The outfit that goes unused will either be given as a gift to someone else or will be saved, in hopes that we may one day have a baby to fill it.

Shopping for these items were hard, all the harder because I’m still working through the feelings of resentment, hurt, anger, and jealousy that I feel when it comes to my sister, but it strengthened me too. In the end, I think perhaps I will one day look back at it and realize that’s when accepting my sister’s pregnancy began to get easier. If that makes any sense.

And while shopping, I could not help but buy these. For us. Or rather, for our baby. Our next baby.

And no, this isn’t some “I’m pregnant!” announcement in disguise. No. I had no business buying these things. Certainly, I had no business spending the sort of money that I did on a baby that hasn’t yet even been conceived. But I fell in love with them. And even more, I wanted some tangible proof of my hope. Of my faith. Because I do believe, I do know it’s possible at least, that I will have another child. I don’t know when. But I think it can, and probably will, happen. And now whenever I need to, I can look at and hold these few precious baby items, reminding myself that not all hope is lost.

So our trip to London was a success. A beautiful success. With the exception of one minor snafu the day after our arrival and missing our connection coming home because of mechanical problems with the plane, it went off without a hitch. Nearly perfect. Perhaps the closest thing to perfect I have experienced when going on holiday. Which I needed. I so needed that.

The hardest part in coming back is…coming back. Returning to the reality of our situation. While across the Pond, I felt thoroughly removed from our problems. I pondered them infrequently. I was happy. I felt light and free and unburdened. The pain of infertility and the grief of a miscarriage didn’t weigh me down for once. Instead, they were more like a small souvenir in my back pocket. Until our final day, that is. Then I broke down and cried because I suddenly realized it was all coming to an end and I didn’t want it to. I didn’t want to be faced with all of this again. I still don’t. I wish I could pretend that we’re still on holiday and go on feeling at ease with my lot in life for the rest of my life.

But alas, here I am. I am home. I am infertile. I am waiting. And I have no idea what the future holds. Oh, and I hate it.

And on that note, I’ll leave you with a few too many photos for your enjoyment. These are the best shots that don’t include my family (because, you know, I’m trying to pretend this blog is anonymous):

You all know what this is…and that blue sky is real, folks!

The London Eye, in all it’s Glory

Buckingham Palace

My High Tea at the Berkley…all inspired by the fashions of Spring/Summer 2012.

All things great existed inside this muffin from Muffinski’s. The only way it could have been better is if it had the amazing power to knock me up!

These are the beautiful boys who attend Eton College (where Prince William and Harry were educated). My husband found it “creepy” that I took photos of these young men, but really I’m just fascinated by the lifestyle. I once had naive hopes of marrying a Brit and sending our son(s) here. Now I look at my daughter and wonder if I would ever be able to send my child away for months at a time.

I love visiting Windsor Castle!

For all you Harry Potter fans out there…

My two companions while enjoying my “me” time at Green Park

London-bound!

Tomorrow, we fly to London. And by “we,” I mean my Honey, our nearly-2-year-old Cupcake, my mom, and I. We have a two-bedroom flat rented for a little over a week and we will do some touristy things and some wholly-British things and enjoy the city that I love so much. In fact, I have always said that London feels more like home to me than Home does. I have never felt so completely myself anywhere else in the whole world. So I guess, in essence, I will be going home tomorrow.

In all honesty, this is going to be a bit of a bittersweet holiday. I have been planning this adventure for the last eighteen months and, at the start of the year when we first started TTC baby #2, I had hoped I would be growing a new life by now. And when we conceived Teddy Graham, I realized I would reach a holy-moly 32 weeks halfway through our time there. And when I lost him, I said to myself, “Well, there’s still plenty of time. I can still get pregnant before we go!”

But none of that has come to pass and, instead, I will be going with an empty womb and a heavy heart.

However, this holiday really couldn’t have come at a better time. I need this. When I was nineteen, I ran off to London for three weeks, reeling from a broken heart. I was young, had never traveled abroad, and I went alone, knowing no one there. But if offered healing. I found strength in my independence and, I’m embarrassed to confess, I found a new boy (a sexy foreigner from Poland) to briefly obsess over. I fall quickly for charming men, what can I say? I’m not proud. I have traveled to London several times since then, and now, ten years later, I will be going with another sort of broken heart, in need of an entirely different kind of healing. I know that my trip will not cure my infertility and will not squelch my grief, but perhaps it will soften the edges and give me what I need to go on. If nothing else, it will just feel good to sit alone on a bench in Green Park, rain or shine, with a cup of coffee while I reflect and remember and pray. And by the time I return, I will be done with my period and Clomid, two weeks into my cycle, and just a few more away from my appointment with an RE. What a nice way to pass the time, eh?

So all of this to say that I will be off-the-grid for the next ten to twelve days. I won’t have ready access to a computer, so I don’t expect that I’ll be posting or commenting during my time away. I’ll surely have a lot of catch-up to do when I get back. For those of you who are in your 2WW, I hope there will be plenty of good news when I log in here in a couple weeks!  And for those of you who are at another stage of waiting or grief or limbo, please know that I wait with you and hold each of you in my heart. Every one of you, whoever you are and whatever point you are at in your journey, have a place in my prayers every night.

Be well, friends, until I return. XO

Back Home

Well, it’s CD8 and we’re back home…or at least, the place we call “home” but that doesn’t yet actually feel like Home, two years after moving here.

It was a good trip, but not easy. Between the conversation with my sis, Trisha’s sad news, the Clomid I was taking, and my daughter being the Tantrum Queen, I was a bit of an emotional wreck. There were plenty of meltdowns and I’m not proud to say that they weren’t all from Cupcake. Really, I was ready to come home nearly as soon as we got there and, by the time we finally did return last night, I was spent. Physically and emotionally spent in every possible way.

Still, it was nice to spend time with my mama and let our little girl see so many people whom she hadn’t in a year or more. And we went to the wedding of a family friend. A boy whom I have known all his life (him being five years younger than me) finally married his sweetheart of ten years. Weddings always make me cry, not only because it is always so beautiful to see love at its truest, purest, and most innocent (for who knows what all the tough years ahead will bring?), but also because I am reminded of my own wedding, how lucky I am to have married my best friend, and how much harder I want to try to do and be even better for him. I think I love going to weddings exactly for that reason: it breathes new life into our relationship and devotion to each other.

There was one moment at the wedding, though, that really made me ache. As I watched the groom dance with his mother for the Mother/Son dance, and they laughed and looked so at ease, I thought to myself, I will never have that with my Teddy Graham. I have always believed that our TG was a boy and, while I will never really know, I feel a constant loss over losing all possible boyness in my life — even the possibility of ever having a[nother] boy. I will never get to dance with Teddy and I may never get a Mother/Son dance at all. This thought was enough to make the tears fall while I watched the Mother of the Groom dance with her son, and enough to make them continue to fall into the night.

Then yesterday, before hitting the road, we met a friend for lunch. She’s a rather new friend whom I’ve known less than two years and she is expecting her second child. In fact, she is due one week and one day before my own lost due date…an “accident baby” they hadn’t planned on so soon. Ugh. The only thing that gives me any solace is that I know she, too, understands the pain of miscarriage. She had one six months before conceiving her first living child. And when I went through my own loss, she was there through e-mail and text, encouraging, comforting and praying for me. When she asked if we could meet for lunch, I had mixed feelings. I purposely hadn‘t contacted her since arriving in Idaho so that I could avoid having lunch with a pregnant belly at the table. But I’m not good at saying no, and mercifully, it was easier than anticipated. I still knew, as I looked at her swollen tummy, that mine would probably have been around the same size. I still wish it was me, of course. But it didn’t cut me to my core. I didn’t have to escape to the bathroom for a good cry. It was okay. Which gives me hope that maybe, some day, I will be able to handle seeing my sister with such grace and calm as well. Or maybe it will always burn my heart. Maybe the unfairness of it all will never escape me. Maybe.

So that was our short trip. Which felt so long. It was a mix of bitter and sweet. I shed a lot of tears. But the first week of this cycle was gone in a flash and for that, I am grateful. Up next: my birthday. Tomorrow! And then wait-wait-waiting — all ending with a heavy dose of disappointment or a mix of unimaginable joy and fear. And then more waiting beyond that.

Ugh.

My whole life is a series of waits, I’m afraid.

Some Thoughts on Hurting, Home, and the Things in Between

Today, I hurt.

I hurt today because yesterday I came to the conclusion that my sister is pregnant. She has not confirmed this, but I know. I know that she and her new husband started trying during my short-lived pregnancy in April. I know that she has always had regular periods and will probably have no problems conceiving.  I know that she has dropped hints such as being the designated driver at a bachelorette party, feeling so tired all the time, and in an e-mail yesterday she mentioned that she hasn’t been feeling well for a few weeks but said nothing more. And I know that she is probably afraid to tell me her good news.

I know she is pregnant, and I think I have for a while, though I have tried to convince myself otherwise. Either way, I sent her an e-mail last night to ask if my suspicions are true. Was this out of line? I hope not. I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. But if she is expecting, I want to know so I can accept it and move on. So we don’t have a pink elephant hanging around every time we talk on the phone or send an e-mail.

Sigh.

This, in the aftermath of my loss, is one of the things I have been fearing the most.

As you may remember from a previous post, my sister is no ordinary sister. She is a half-sister whom I learned about just this year. At this point, we are bonded only by blood and quite a few common interests and personality traits. We don’t have a history. Not really. And the history we do have is short and shadowed by the fact that I feel as if she did not support me through my miscarriage as I had expected. This has left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a lot of resentment. I’m trying to forgive, to believe her intentions were always good, to fake it until I make it. I think I have done a good job at that, but it doesn’t mean I want to celebrate her pregnancy with her.

I am happy for her but sad for myself, torn between wanting to hear every detail about every second of this pregnancy and this baby (my niece! my nephew! my very flesh and blood!), but also afraid to experience all of that. Afraid of the jealousy and contempt and pain it will cause me. There have been times that I wished she would have to deal with my same infertility issues (that somehow it was genetic) and, in the last 24 hours, there have been times when I wished that this pregnancy didn’t exist. Not that I would wish her and her unborn child any harm or tragedy. Just that this had not happened for her quite so quickly and not yet, not until there is another life growing inside me too. Maybe then it would hurt a little less.

I just want to stop hurting.

Someone please tell me I’m not a horrible person, or a bad sister. Because I’m new to this sister thing and I don’t know if these feelings and thoughts I have make me the very worst sister-friend to ever exist.

But on to other things…

It’s cycle day 3! Officially. Not long after my last post, the flow started to pick up and blazed throughout yesterday and into this morning. I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see that much blood! (TMI?) So of course, I was worried for no reason. Like always. It’s still not as wicked as it has been at times in the past and I’m not nearly as crampy either, but maybe that’s a good sign? I’ve heard extraordinarily heavy and painful periods are not healthy either. And now I’m at a point where I’m hoping for a little mercy and for the flow to slow waaaaaay down by the end of the day. And I took my first 100mg of Clomid with breakfast this morning. It’s always exciting to me, because it gives me new hope, even if that hope wavers. Often.

(And btw…thank you so much to everyone who offered their advice about cycle days, spotting, and Metformin. I needed to hear all of it and, with each new comment, I breathed a sigh of relief.)

As for the Metformin, I am still on the fence. I go back and forth about a hundred times a day. I did fill the prescription and pick it up from the pharmacy, but I’m going to leave it sitting on our bathroom counter for a few days. I want to ponder it and give my decision time. On one hand, I find it deliciously tempting not to take it and not to have one more obligation and worry in TTC-land. Especially when there is no proof that I actually need it. But on the other hand, I want to do everything I can to up my odds and help my body to ovulate and hopefully ovulate earlier than is standard for me. But at any rate, I won’t be taking it until next week (after my birthday and road trip) and I will definitely be taking it if this round of Clomid doesn’t work at all. I think.

And speaking of our road trip…

We leave today!  Going back to Idaho. Back home…or at least to the only home I had ever known until the place that we now call home became our home. (Hey…that was a lot of fun to say!) I’m so excited for this return to our “roots.” There was a time when I hoped I would be returning with a growing belly and, for a short while during my Teddy Graham pregnancy, I really believed I would. In the weeks after my miscarriage, I lamented that this picture I had of myself in a cute sundress attending the wedding of a family friend in Idaho would never come to be. I cried for days over that silly image. But I’m stronger now, and looking forward to going back to a place that is so familiar to us. It will be good to get away for a short while and, when we return, I will already have made it through the first week of this cycle…with only one (but probably two) more weeks until the anticipated ovulation date. I will welcome anything that can make time go faster right now.

And with that being said, I will probably be off the grid for a few days. If there’s time (perhaps in the evening while watching the Olympics!), I will stay caught up on my blog-reading, but I don’t anticipate that I’ll do any of my own posting. Unless, perhaps, I hear back from my sis about her suspected pregnancy. In that case, I might have no choice but to come here to whine and cry over the unfairness of it all.

Just a warning, friends.

10 Things, Part 2

On Monday, I revealed the first five of ten things about myself so you all can get to know me a little bit better. Here is the second part of that list:

6. I was a good student. I graduated from high school with all A’s except for two lousy B’s that still make me mad these many years later. In college, I graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English.  I also won a writing award, had two of my short stories published, and won the top award in the Humanities Department for my senior research project on Harry Potter (yes, it’s true). Several of my professors encouraged me to pursue grad school and I am sure I have disappointed them all by choosing to stay home and parent my daughter instead. But I do hope to one day return to school, hopefully this time to finish my degree in nursing, because I studied that for two years too. Okay…bragging done. 🙂

7. I’ve suffered a lot of loss. And I’m not talking just about my Teddy Graham or my sanity as I have taken this infertility journey. In my 28 years, I have lost six grandparents, two uncles (and one was only 40 years old), and a 19-year-old cousin. I don’t know if this is a lot for my age or not, but I do know that in my circle of friends, it is. Some of these deaths were more unexpected than others and some have hurt my heart more than others have, but they have all affected me in some way, big or small. And I still mourn my losses, especially my maternal grandparents, my maternal uncle, and my cousin. My cuz and I shared the same birthday (five years apart) and our children were born on the same day (three years apart), so we always had a connection, even if we fought like crazy. Not to mention that he was very young and died in a senseless act that could have been prevented. I miss him. I miss them all.

8. I love to travel. Like, loooooove it. If I could travel for a living, I would. I love it that much. It all started when I was very young and my beloved grandparents would take me along on their summer road trips. Two of my favorite places on Earth are London (where we will be returning to in October) and Kangaroo Island in Australia (where the Honey and I honeymooned), but I also have enjoyed Paris, Zurich, Venice, Cairns (in Australia), Sydney, Hawaii, New York City, San Francisco, Alaska, Cancun, Carmel (California), Yellowstone National Park, Walt Disney World, and so much more. In fact, there are very few places that I haven‘t liked. Some day, I hope to visit every state (I have 15 to go) and every continent…both are on my very-long-and-perhaps-impossible-to-complete Bucket List!

9. I’m very flawed. I’m lazy. I’m self-centered. I’m bossy. I’m so indecisive that I changed my college major a total of five times. I half-ass things (like housework) if I can get away with it. I’m a control freak. I’m super sensitive and get my feelings hurt very easily. I’m painfully shy, which I’m afraid sometimes comes off as stuck-up and snobbish. I’m terribly insecure. I’m occasionally self-righteous. I have unfair and unrealistic expectations of everyone, including myself.  The list really could go on, but I would hate to make you think I’m totally unworthy and then cause you stop reading my blog.

And finally number 10. I’m an only child…sort of. I was raised as an only child and I am my mother’s only child, but not for lack of trying. My mama would have loved to have a handful of children, but my dad (the man who raised me as his child) was sterile due to diabetes (type I). So I was conceived by a sperm donor. I guess I’m part of the first generation of sperm donor babies! My mom tried to have another baby after me, but after 12 tries, she finally gave up and I was raised without any siblings (which I hated, but I’ll save that rant for another post). However, in January, thanks to The Donor Sibling Registry, I connected with a half-sister who was conceived by the same donor and lives just three hours away. Amazing, right? Like, we could totally be a Lifetime movie. I’ll save our full story for another post, but I can say now that I have a sister (which still seems so weird to me)…and yet, she doesn’t feel like one. Not yet. Not at all.

So there you go! A little about me. But what about you…any little-known facts you want to share?