Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009---a good year---and natural child birth

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I am stuck at home today for yet another Northeast I have a cold. Yeah, I've been suffering for the past week with fatigue and now this cold. Right on target for the 3rd trimester. Luckily I have 4 days off in a row, and although I do have somewhere I could be tonight (NY's eve) if I wanted to, I'm inclined to just stay home. Is that really lame? I'm just tired...and it's snowing...and my nose and throat hurts....and I want someone to drive me if I go somewhere,...and blah blah blah.

I spent a very lovely Christmas with my whole family in Georgia. My parents have the perfect place for entertaining. Of course it was all about my 2 nephews. Lots of fun. Lots of exhaustion. Definitely one of those---holy shit this is exhausting---moments.

I can do this. Really. I can.

I just wish my family lived closer. I really do. We had good talks when we were together. My brother and sister and law (the ones with the 2 kids) have agreed to custodial guardianship in the event of my death. I did feel I needed to cover that issue with them given my singledom, and given the existence of a known donor who should not be held responsible for the child should I die. My other brother and his wife don't want children, so I didn't feel I could ask them (and they made it somewhat clear that they wouldn't be up for it). It's a bit ironic in my family that we have one couple with no apparent interest in kids and then me, the single sister, who does it on my own.

Thinking over the last year, one of the things that sticks with me is the total depression I felt after the holidays. It was awful. I'm so happy to say that I don't have the same feelings...of loneliness...of my life not going where I want it to go...of feeling like I have no control over my I did last Christmas. There have been some hard times. I mean, the holidays are still better when there is someone else there (which next year will be my little guy). It always sucks no matter how many parties I get invited to and how pregnant I am to be arriving and leaving single. So I do still think about the desire to find "that" relationship. But the urgency is certainly gone. And thus the sadness and the depression seems to be gone, as well.

I can't believe I'm at 30 weeks! I popped out big-time in the last couple of weeks and now I am unmistakably preggers even to the most daft stranger. It did take awhile. My little guy is jumping around like crazy and measuring perfectly. I've hired my doula; there's a possibility I'll have 2 doulas at my birth, actually. I'm shooting for a natural birth, to labor at home as much as possible before going to the hospital. So far there's no reason why this wouldn't be possible, but it's best to remain open to whatever might happen. My OB, though not overjoyed, is generally supportive of my having a doula and giving birth naturally. I think OBs usually just nod and smile and probably think to themselves "yeah, right" when a woman says that. But I have a lot of confidence in my ability to manage pain (I have lots of experience in this area, given my endometriosis); I've been preparing with hypnobirthing CDs and lots of reading (and recommend Ina May's Guide to Childbirth) and CDs (check out "The Business of Being born"!). So we'll see. I'm kind of looking forward to it! Call me crazy.

The snow is letting up, which means...time to get to the grocery store! It's going to be a long couple days without any food in my fridge!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Babies babies everywhere

Now that the semester is winding down I've had some time to catch up with some friends who I haven't seen for awhile. I have 6 lunches scheduled in the next two weeks. Lots of fun. Some of them didn't even know I'm pregnant (I tell ya, my friends just DO NOT gossip. I'm at the point where it's like---just tell everyone you know--please!). As the word continues to spread, I am so touched by continuing acts of kindness. And surprises. A senior colleague called me out of the blue the other day to tell me that her daughter is becoming an SMC! We are having lunch next week. How sweet that she reached out to me.

Then this weekend. Within 24 hours, I learned about 4 other pregnancies among my friends and acquaintances in town! This means that little Fitzwilliam will have lots of playmates! The most exciting thing is that 2 of the 4 announcements are close friends. This is truly astounding and amazing, because both are complete surprises. The first is a dear friend who had twins 2-1/2 years ago after several IVF cycles. So you can imagine their surprise when she discovered she was pregnant this time, with no interventions! I think my friend is feeling a bit scared, what with a set of 2-1/2 year old twins, but at the same time over the moon.

The other friend is even more of a surprise. She is unmarried, but in a relationship. The pregnancy is totally unplanned. I am a little bit concerned for her, just emotionally, because she just recently finalized a divorce, has been seeing this guy for only about 7 months (but it is a very loving relationship as far as I can tell). They also haven't announced their relationship to the world because of her recent divorce AND because they work together. So when she said she was feeling a bit overwhelmed, I could definitely understand! Coming to terms with being pregnant is hard enough without all the added stress!

Both are very early on so for now mum's the word and fingers crossed. Of course I am just so happy at the thought that such close friends will be experiencing motherhood right along with me.

I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year, and it's been YEARS since I've felt this way. I'm just so glad that I've moved forward with the things that I want in my life. For once I feel comfortable with where I am, optimistic, and upbeat.

Fitzw is great. He is SO active (like every time they look for his heartbeat at the dr, they comment about how much he is moving around). I asked my doctor if his activity indicates he will be a very active baby. She said, "yes, likely." Yikes!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Family, Donor, and Neighbors

The SI syndrome has subsided after several rounds of physical therapy. It's not gone...and I'm worried about aggravating it again. Thus the sitting on the couch. And eating. There is lots of eating being done. Thanks for your kind words. I feel lucky that it lasted for just a couple of weeks and hopefully won't return.

I decided to stay in town for Thanksgiving and spend the evening with a close friend and his family. It was very nice. I don't usually like to travel on Thanksgiving, since my family isn't really within driving distance and I like to avoid flying with all the crowds. But every year I do feel a bit lonely with my decision. Like today, for instance. It would be nice to be surrounded by my family rather than sitting and eating on the couch (or sitting and eating on the couch while surrounded by my family).

Speaking of which, my brother is actually applying to jobs near me! He's the one with the 2 boys. It's really too good to be true, so I don't want to get my hopes up. And the jobs he's applying for are very competitive. But having family---even within 3 hours as opposed to 8, or 14--would be so wonderful. One of the jobs is even in the same town as me, but I daren't hope for such things...

My donor visited me yesterday, for the first time since I got pregnant. It was nice to see him. My relationship to the situation has evolved somewhat. When I first got pregnant I thought a lot about how nice it would be if he was involved as much as he wanted to be. But as the months have passed, and as I have noticed he has pretty much zero interest, and as I have become extremely protective of this little life inside me and of MY family, I have become much more cautious about that. He is a wonderful person but not always the most inward-looking and very non committal (one of the reasons he is a good donor). So the last thing I want is for him to see the child at first and then, later on (just when the child starts to know who he is!) decided it's inconvenient or something. The whole thing is a work in progress/unchartered territory and the nice thing is that we can talk about it. It's very clear that I've thought about the situation much more extensively than he (not to mention that I live with it every day). After his visit, I still believe that I can be in control of the situation, which is what I want and what's best for Fitzwilliam.

Finally, I am miserably adjusting to some new neighbors above me. I live in a 3-unit house converted to condos. The condo above me has been empty for almost 2 years. It is horribly loud and I've actually started looking at real estate listings! I am really sensitive to noise..had I known that the house was a veritable echo chamber, I really wouldn't have bought this place. I just hope I get used to it. They have a dog, too...a pit bull mix. I'm not thrilled with any of it. I wish I could just chill and block it out but I really can't.

On that note, time to get off the couch and go a restaurant. Just what I need!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The dreaded SI syndrome

Ok, so it's not the worst thing that can happen during pregnancy. But it sure is darn painful, and it sure does affect pretty much everything. I have Sacroiliac joint pain. It's the joint that holds together the pelvis and the tailbone, and yes, it's the one that bears almost all of one's body weight. It started completely out of nowhere! And by last Saturday I was flat on my back and then wincing, crying with pain when I tried to do things such as: get things out of the fridge, put on shoes, get into/out of the car, descend stairs, oh yes, and walk. So just that kind of thing. Nothing important, really. Needless to say single Jo did not get around to taking out the garbage, the recycling, doing laundry, or cleaning the cat box for the last several days. Yea, my condo is looking GOOD.

2 rounds of physical therapy and I am feeling a bit better. I can't tell you how divine it felt to have someone forcefully push my pelvis back into place. Ahhhh. I'm worried about doing pretty much anything to aggravate this again (and I have 3-1/2 more months to go), even yoga. Not sure why I am susceptible to this. I am slim, healthy and athletic, but perhaps that's the issue--I may've put too much strain on my back in the past, and, I may be doing too much now. Not sure.

I do know that I NEED TO GET BETTER AT ASKING FOR HELP. Last weekend was ridiculous. I just sat there feeling sorry for myself. My neighbor surely would have offered a hand, at least with the garbage. But did I ask? No, of course not. Doesn't bode well when it comes to baby....let's just say it's something to work on.

In other news, I've narrowed down to 2 doulas, who I will "interview" and then hire one. I went to a doula "meet and greet" and was so impressed with the generally caring attitude of these women, who just seem to love the process of birth.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another story

When I was on the NY subway last week, a young man got on the train and looked RIGHT at me, then at my belly, and mouthed the question, "Are you pregnant?" Firstly, I was wearing a coat, and a large scarf that covered my belly; secondly, I am "carrying small" and even people who know me haven't clued in to the bulging belly yet. So this was truly weird. It's like he had some sort of pregnancy sixth-sense--I mean, he was hardly even inside the closing doors when he noticed me, and I was half-way into the car! He immediately shamed the entire row of people sitting in front of me, chastising them for not giving up their seat to a pregnant lady (when in fairness to them, they really wouldn't have known). They looked so sheepish! So, that's my experience on the #6 train. I have a NY subway fairy.

Thinking of you

My heart is broken for one of my bloggy friends who just received some devastating news. I know she wants to lay low for awhile. I am thinking about her often and only wish I had some true solace to offer her.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Older Men and mystique of the Single Mom

Funny. Within the past week two older men have gotten REALLY into my pregnancy. By which I mean they are just so curious they can hardly contain themselves. And they haven't. Contained themselves.

So in my job I report to a Board, and these are 2 Board members and probably not insignificantly to the ego that is about to follow, they are both surgeons. What I find really interesting is they want to know all about the man who donated (which of course I don't reveal, and would rather not even talk about ... but the questions keep coming). Last night, this man actually said to me "Well, why didn't you ask me? If you want good genes that is." (READ: I am now projecting my ego onto you, and wondering why every younger woman doesn't ask me for my sperm). The major question both wanted answered was, "So, do you EVER want to get married?" (READ: Please, please don't tell me that men like me are completely unnecessary. Because we're not. We're really really necessary, right?) I do think it's funny that both just assumed that I chose mommyhood OVER marriage....the assumption being that had I wanted to be married I could've just snapped my fingers and found the perfect mate.

I will say both seemed utterly intrigued. They just wanted more and more information. I still haven't figured out quite how to deal with all the questions, probably because I don't expect that most people will actually have the nerve to ask them.

What I'm kind of enjoying, really, is the reactions that people who barely even know me have about my pregnancy. It doesn't offend me (well, maybe, sometimes a little). It's mostly just amusing. I think the worst thing one of them said was "WELL, I HOPE the baby is healthy because otherwise, you know, ...[didn't finish sentence]". That was just rude.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pics of Fitzwilliam

Long post. Two weeks of catch-up. Things are pretty darn good. Had my level II ultrasound a week ago Thursday... and here is my little one in the scary, alien-like view that is ultrasound technology.

All is well! He's measuring one day off, and he's average size, which is great for me....The next picture is the one that really made me laugh. You see, my family has these really flat, funny looking feet. Poor boy...I think he got them. And doesn't this look strangely lanky and runner-like? (the better to kick mommy). And btw, I am REALLY feeling him now!

I went to the appointment with my friend Ms M., who I am thinking will be my back-up for hospital / chauffeur duty when I go into labor. My hope is that my mom is here for that, but she lives in the south, and I live in the northeast, so the best laid plans may not be the best laid plans. I've been renting a few dvds on childbirth, etc. It's funny, when I first got pregnant I was so terrified of pretty much anything, I thought I would definitely be getting all the meds etc etc. The more comfortable I get with being pregnant and with my body in this state, the more I hope for a natural birth. I would like to give birth in a birth center (still located in the hospital), but there are some logistical problems, mainly with my OB and the practice I go to. I'm starting to not like my OB practice. My OB is great, but the practice is enormous, and it doesn't feel very personal. There are midwives on staff, but they don't attend births unless the birth happens during "regular business hours." Isn't that strange? If I had known how I would feel about that 4 months ago, I may have gone with a different practice. But now, it seems hard, and stressful, to go somewhere new in the middle of everything.

I am hoping that having a doula will help, but I also think that I would really like to work with a midwife, too.

Some more bullets
  • I just got back from 4 days in NYC for work. Even under normal circumstances, it is an exhausting week (it's a convention in my field, happens every year). I did great the first day (and even splurged in the evening to see Jude Law play Hamlet on Broadway. Yay). But the second day I had a major physical meltdown! I think I had some kind of blood sugar drop and just exhaustion. I had to return to my hotel and lay still for several hours. It was somewhat scary, but it made me realize just how important it is to eat frequently while traveling, even when I'm not hungry, and to GET COMFIER SHOES. I think I've decided not to take the quick trip to Vienna that I had been pondering over Thanksgiving. It's just not worth going if I can't see and do everything I want to do, and after this week, I'm thinking my body doth protest.

  • A colleague in NY was SO RUDE! She fits the profile of the type of person who thinks somehow that they deserve to know the most intimate details about my pregnancy (because of some kind of perceived closeness between us, which frankly does not exist). Anyway, in front of several other colleagues she said, "OK JO, SPILL THE BEANS." Me:, "um, what do you mean?" her: "YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN." me: "Are you referring to the fact that I am pregnant but not in a relationship?" her: "YEA, DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FATHER IS?" (can you believe she asked that??) me:"um, well, YES...", and hoping to close the subject there. But no!! her: "DOES HE KNOW?" This is when I got flustered: I couldn't believe she was pushing it!! So I definitely didn't say it how I would've said it had I been more calm...I could've just said "go suck it," but instead I said something about how I asked a friend to help me and everything's cool blah blah. WHAT an extreme bitch! Excuse me, but really?? She even said "C (close friend of mine who she works with) WOULDN'T TELL ME ANYTHING", as if C is somehow some kind of traitor to her, rather than being a very good friend of mine who is respecting my privacy! Unbelievable!!

  • Got the H1N1 vaccine. I had absolutely no qualms whatsoever about getting it.

  • My belly is getting bigger. It's pulling. AND, I SEPARATED MY STOMACH MUSCLES. Diastisis Recti. My PT mentioned this to me so casually, but it took me 5 minutes to digest what she was telling me. Um, excuse me? My stomach muscles have WHAT? SEPARATED? I have always been really very proud of my stomach, and in fact one of the reasons this may have happened to me is that I trained myself over many years to use my stomach muscles a lot, rather than my back or legs, to move myself from laying flat to sitting up, etc. Which is how you get Diastisis Recti. And thank you, yes, people have said that pregnant ladies should get out of bed by turning on their sides, but honestly it may have sunk in a bit more if they said "IF YOU DON'T GET OUT OF BED BY TURNING ON YOUR SIDE, YOUR STOMACH MUSCLES WILL SEPARATE." Yea, that would've worked. Goodbye, old body.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Weirdness of Normal Life

Basically, normal life for me is no longer normal life. That is, the life of a carefree single gal is somewhat over. And I don't say that in a nostalgic way. I've been wanting that stage of my life to be over for quite. some. time. But it's still kinda weird to be in a transitional stage.

Take going out on the town. I haven't done it much since getting pregnant, partially because of the extreme fatigue of the 1st trimester, followed by the extreme work commitment of the first month of my 2nd trimester. Well things are somewhat back to normal now, and I've had a few social engagements just like the old ones...which include such things as sitting in loud bars full of drinking folks, standing around at gallery openings, and dinners. I've found that I feel a strange kind of outsider-ness, but it's different from the outsider-ness of being the 38 year old single gal. Its more that my interior life has changed, and the casual 'catch-ups' with friends ("how are you feeling?" etc) don't really seem to do the trick. I need talking, lots and lots more talking about MY PREGNANCY, MY BABY. But who wants to listen to that all night at a bar? I have so much to think about and no way to really share it in a way that feels adequate to me. My therapist is helping; my "first time moms" group, which started last week, might help. This is the first time I've ever said this, or really ever thought it, but I can see why it would be comforting to have a partner-in-crime during this time, since there isn't anyone else who would be experiencing the journey quite as much as that person.

Yea. I've been feeling a bit lonely this week. Social engagements actually make it worse.

On the other hand, how could I feel lonely when I FELT FITZWILLIAM KICKING for the first time this week!? I thought I felt a flicker last week. But then on Wednesday I laid down in bed and I decided I really needed to pay attention (a lot of people say it feels like gas...which means I definitely could've had kicking for awhile now but not known what I was feeling. heh.). Oh. my. goodness. He was there. He was SO there. Punch. Punch. Boom. Hit the bladder (oh!). Then he moved kind of to the center of my tummy and I just felt this big, hard bump there. Hello my sweet little boy! Mommy loves you!! Oh, my god. How goddamn amazing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Traveling, and the list

Well, I'm slogging through my options for maternity leave. Not sure how I will do it, but I'm still planning on taking at least 4-1/2 months. I wrote a pointed letter to the head of HR and cc'd the president of the college (it's a small college--he knows me) about the situation, arguing that they should have offered some kind of supplementary disability insurance at the time they canceled the previous benefits package. Which they should have. Because, get this, they ARE going to offer supplementary insurance, but in January...and guess what, I will be ineligible because of the "preexisting condition" of pregnancy. So I think I have a good argument that they've let me fall through the cracks and should re-instate my previous benefits. We shall see.

My colleague had her surgery; it went well but of course the real question is what the result of the biopsy will be. It's been very hard to see her go through this.

I am just focusing on the MANY things that, it seems, need to be done before the baby arrives! It has turned into a large, endless list. My problem is that I am really such a planner, so I feel like I need to have the nursery entirely done, the gear all purchased, not to mention all that other stuff like hiring a doula, devising a birth plan (deciding what that birth plan entails), finding a pediatrician, finding someone to take me to the hospital (yes, single girls, that's a douzy), etc. I mean, all of it is fun stuff, I'm not complaining. And goodness knows baby Fitzwilliam* will survive if he doesn't have a baby bjorn the instant he's born, but keeps me occupied.

Last weekend I painted the nursery. Will post pictures when it's done!

And then, one more thing. Need advice! I found out this week that I have the opportunity to go to Vienna over Thanksgiving! I am definitely inclined to go. I've been feeling great; I will still be just shy of my third trimester; I'm going to a very efficient first-world country with good health care, etc. The doc says it's fine, but I still wonder why I am hesitating? Something about being close to home during pregnancy feels good. But wouldn't I rather tell Fitzwilliam* that I spent his 6th month on a trip to Vienna, rather than being too timid to take the trip because I am pregnant? Lots of couples take last minute trips before baby, don't they? But I will be alone (it's a research trip for work). I don't mind traveling alone, but it's kind of different this time. The doc did suggest I wear a mask on the plane. Yep, I'll be one of those. I am a bit nervous about H1N1. Looks like the vaccine won't be out by then (would be interested to hear if others are planning on getting vaccinated).

Ok, then, time to check things off my list.

*Fitzwilliam Darcy. The hero of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and my pet name for baby boy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stressful news

This week things got kind of stressful. Thank god I've been feeling ok physically because the emotional stress was really bad.

First, I met with HR and confirmed the abysmal maternity leave policies of my employer. Well, actually, every employer in the US. This country is truly barbaric when it comes to maternity leave policies. 6 weeks at 60% pay and thereafter unpaid? Not so easy for a single mom. My workplace used to pay 100% (which is actually very unusual) but changed the policy last July (yep, just when I got preggers) because of the financial crisis. It's just depressing. But I've decided that I will still take as much time as possible, even if it means asking to borrow money from family members or going into my savings. I will never get this time back with my newborn child. I'm not taking him to daycare at 6 weeks (hell no). I think I can stretch to about 4-1/2 months if I cash in on sick time, vacation, and a maybe a loan or two. Of course I would like to have even more than that.

I wish I lived in England. Or Canada. Or France. New moms have it really good there.

The second source of stress is that my supervisor at work received the terrifying news that there is a mass in her lungs. She's going into surgery next week and will be out for 6 weeks. It's extremely scary, and the first word that comes to mind is cancer, of course. Which means this could be just the beginning of her trials. She is someone I care about--a lot--and the thought is truly horrifying. She is only about 55, with a child in her last year of college.

In addition to the emotional stuff, this adds other stresses to my life because I will be heading the department in her absence. I need to keep a pact with myself that I will say no to extra work if I need to. I really can't be overdoing things, and I MUST take the best possible care of myself. (I am writing this down as a kind of contract, because I am REALLY bad at saying no at work).

Yep, it was one of those weeks when things didn't seem quite so easy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Evolved people

It's interesting to me that I've been so SURPRISED at the generally very positive reactions that the "wider world" has had to my pregnancy. This tells me something about myself. Deep down I am so very very concerned with what people think of me. Even though I've often taken my own path in life, that path has always been very socially acceptable because it has involved achievements of the sort that people respect. This is definitely the most radically against-the-social-norm thing I have ever done, or ever will do. And in some ways, the "coming out" was very traumatic for me. Now that I've seen how accepting everyone is, I feel great, but also kind of embarrassed with myself that others' approval meant so much to me. I wonder if I would have TTC much, much earlier if I could have just let go of that?

Now, I'm kind of enjoying the fact that people might be whispering about me behind my back. I guess it makes me feel special and interesting, instead of the social pariah I thought it would! I'm sure there is whispering, because I haven't told the general world the 'circumstances' of my pregnancy. I don't feel that it's anyone else's business---that's between me and my baby. The amazing thing is that NOT ONE PERSON HAS EVEN ASKED. They have been so accepting. When I began to tell my boss about the donor (she was the only one I was going to tell), she actually kind of stopped me and said it was none of her business, that she is just so happy for me. Isn't the amazing? People are so much more evolved that I expected. I've also been immediately accepted into the mommyhood fold. It's so interesting; almost like people now consider me an adult, or something!

As far as physically, I've been feeling quite good. I wouldn't say that I'm bursting with energy, but I seem to be able to rise to the occasion when I really need to. I've been quite focused at work and feel well, sometimes even feeling like I'm not pregnant (except for those rubber bands currently being used to hold my pants closed). Pregnancy has been easy for me so far on the physical side, but more of a mental and emotional battle than I expected.

Finally, I miss my mom terribly. She's been on a trip to Europe for the last two weeks, and I absolutely can't stand it! She is such an important part of this journey. I've started to really scheme about how I can get her to take an apartment in my town for a few months a year when the baby comes...of course, yes, I still have my dad to deal with, who would completely nix that idea. So I'm wondering what other ways we can devise to spend more time together with my baby.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Big Reveal

This could be a very long update post. I'll try to keep it simple.

1. Last week was the major professional milestone that I've been working toward for 3 years. Everything went off smashingly well! I appeared in front of over 100 people on opening night (wearing a empire waist dress to hide the increasingly bulging belly). My family was in town. It was all a good good time.

2. Family in town (parents, bro, sister in law) was SO NICE. God, I wish they lived closer. We worked on cleaning out the 2nd bedroom, converting it from a guest room to a nursery. I bought a crib!! It is a beautiful Pali crib that I got second hand for an absolute steal. It's adorable. I will post pictures once I get everything the way I like it. Mom/Grandma is going to make the nursery linens.

3. Pregnancy privileges. This was the first weekend I got any. Having family around helps. My family has never been a baby-ing type family. But last weekend they treated me like a delicate little flower and let me tell you I WAS LAPPING IT UP. Bringing me chairs. Tip-toeing around the house so that I could sleep in. A nice, but fleeting feeling. The only negative so far about doing this alone is the lack of consistent pampering. :)

4. I TOLD WORK! The day after my event, I told my boss, my uber-boss, and then gradually the rest (although now I'm ready for the rumor mill to begin---I can't tell every last person for goodness sakes). It's been AMAZING. I must admit I had some rather irrational fears about the awkward questions and disapproving looks. Let me tell you---ALL irrational. My colleagues have been nothing but excited, supportive, thrilled, and, well, adult about it. I think they all realize that it's none of their damn business how or why I did what I did. Their business is to be supportive and happy for me. It helps that I work in a place run predominantly by women, most of whom are mothers. There will be a large shower!

5. The more people you tell, the more you learn of other people who have become SMCs. A few of my colleagues of all ages have SMC friends. People also reflect on their own experiences and say wonderful things about how special their own relationship with their children has been. It's all incredibly encouraging and touching.

It feels wonderful to be "out" to the world.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hitting the "mother"lode

Thanks for all the comments recently. Yes, my grandfather does use email! He's been doing so for about 10 years. Very impressive. I think it takes up a lot of his time on a daily basis, which is really a good thing. More lovely thoughts continue to stream in from near and distant family members. Strangely, the only big hole in all the congratulations is my sister in law, who hasn't said word one. But why worry about one when everyone else is so happy? And I'm feeling so much better about the BOY coming into my life. It did take about a week of sadness, but I've come to see all the wonderful things about having a boy!

My mom suggested I check out some of the Labor Day yard sales for baby gear. Since I'm having the baby in March, there won't be a lot of yard sales closer to the date!, but did I hit the motherlode (literally and figuratively). I cruised around the upscale part of town and there was a couple with two young kids moving out of their enormous Victorian. They had absolutely everything--the best stuff and in great condition. I didn't want to go too crazy...but I did get a Mac.laren stroller, a pack and play, a bouncy thing, a "my breast friend" nursing pillow, and three books I'd been wanting for a mere $40. They also had a beautiful P.ali crib (a brand I hadn't even heard of, but they made it seem quite special), which I am thinking over. Not sure what the decor of the nursery is yet, so can't buy everything I see!

In the process of stopping by couples-with-young-children yard sales and revealing my pregnant status, I felt like I was immediately indoctrinated into some kind of mommy "club." Suddenly it was all smiles and girlfriend conversations. I found it slightly bizarre.

I've spent the weekend cleaning and starting to "conceptualize" (i.e. clean out) the nursery. I can already tell....I'm going to need a bigger place. I'm not even close to what would qualify as a pack-rat--in fact, I'm pretty good at paring down since I've moved so often in my life--and yet all of my closets are already full. All that new baby stuff I bought? Takes up half the room. If I can get through the pre-school years in this place it might be just about time for the market to rebound and to sell my place and move to somewhere with at least a 3rd bedroom.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

97 years of wisdom

I just have to post this. I think this it is the sweetest note I have ever received.

My mom wanted to wait to tell my grandparents until after the CVS (yes--I still have TWO living grandparents--my mother's parents--ages 97 and 95). They live clear across the country and I do not see them nearly enough. My mom decided to email them the news, because they have trouble understanding things on the phone sometimes. This is the message I received this morning over email (written by my grandpa, I'm sure).

"I got yesterdays mail today and it had wonderful news. We have seen pictures of you with Andy's babies and realize your love. You will be an excellent mother and this will fill a void in your life. We are glad you made the decision and are looking forward to another grand child. We send our love. Grandma and Grandpa"

I can't tell you what this means to me. Having family support is THE most important thing (and actually feeling that support has been something I've come to really treasure on a daily basis). I never thought my 90+ grandparents would understand, and yet this email shows that they understand on the simplest, most basic level. And what else is there, really, but love? To have a 97 year-old person express that to me means everything.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

RESULTS are in

Well the preliminary (99% accurate) results from the CVS are in, and baby has the perfect 46 chromosomes, so no indication of Down's. Thank god! I had a pretty awful day yesterday waiting for the phone call. The test itself was uneventful--other than the fact that it felt like I was being lanced with a spear, but not as painful. It felt wrong, just wrong. But the doctor was great and I'm so thankful to have the answer I was hoping for.


I am having A BOY!!

I had a feeling all along that it would be a boy! Here I'm going to admit something and hopefully never dwell on it again. Yes, deep down I was hoping for a girl. One of the things that drove me to this pregnancy was the desire to re-create the wonderful, loving relationship that I have with my mother. Obviously, having a girl is something familiar, and therefore not quite as scary to me.

Thus hearing the final news (even though I had mother's intuition) that baby is, indeed, a little XY has hit me harder than I expected. I know that this is not how I am supposed to feel! I love him dearly (he was bopping around like a jelly bean on the ultrasound---soooo adorable). But what has surfaced again is a bit more fear than I expected. Can I be a good single mom to a boy? Will it be harder for him to not have a dad than it would be for a girl, and will I know how to shepherd him through those hard times? Will we have the same kind of connection that I've been craving between a mother and a daughter? Does anyone have any answers?? :)

I just need to process this. I haven't had a "him" in my life (besides my cat!) for quite some time! Will I be able to find role models for him? Will he learn how to be a man in our society without a constant male figure around?

And now I also think: will I never have a daughter? I always hoped that I would have a daughter in my life, yet at this point, and under the current circumstances, I don't think I will. There is something to mourn there for me. I feel quite sad, actually.

Somehow it feels wrong for me to admit some of these things, but I feel I need to get them out before I can move on with the beautiful life that is growing inside me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feeling fantastic!

Ok, I'm still feeling very pregnant, but in a fabulous kind of way. Week 10 was a doozy: nausea, nausea, and absolute utter fatigue. But then last Tuesday, on the tail end of week 10, I woke up feeling kind of...normal. Well, as normal as one can feel when she's starting to burst a bit out of her pants. But I mean not as fatigued. And with food--normal again. For the last two months I've been absolutely ravenous for anything carb-ish. Pizza, bread...bread...bread, and gooey, cheesy things. I made myself drink vegetable juice but it was hard. This week...I actually began to crave vegetables again! Leafy salads! This is much more "normal" for me, as I've always been a healthy eater. My brain feels a bit more clear and I have more energy. Second trimester is just around the corner, so hopefully this is really the 'golden age' of pregnancy that all the books tell you about.

I had my first doctor's visit--everything is great. Next week is the CVS. We couldn't schedule it until week 11, but I decided to do it anyway. I want to have some definites (and yes, I'll also be finding out the sex!). Can't wait! Not one for surprises. I figure I'll have enough surprises in the next few years so waiting to know the sex doesn't have to be one of them.

Emotionally, I also feel very good, except for a couple of teary days last week after I told my brothers. It was weird: telling them was harder than I thought it would be. Even though they were both happy for me and supportive (if extremely surprised!), I think I had put a lot of pressure on myself about how they would feel and react. Clearly, this has something to do with my place in the family (I'm the youngest and the only girl). But once I processed that whole thing I am back to feeling very emotionally GOOD. Dare I say even happier, or more content, than before the pregnancy? I used to have frequent, waking moments in the middle of the night, wondering if I would ever have the things I want in my life. I don't have those anymore. Frankly, it's nice to not be worrying about finding a partner at the moment, too! It's like I have permission to put that aside for awhile and thankfully so. I am still committed to finding a partner in my life, but the pressure is SO off now! In some ways, I feel as if it will be easier and more natural for me post-baby (or rather, in a couple years, when I'm ready to date).

The next big reveal is work. I have a big work milestone in September (the culmination of a 2 year project) for which I am the public face--lots of public lectures, even some press interviews...all that. Not sure if I should reveal before the big event, or after? Is it better to wait as long as possible? I think I could actually hide the pregnancy for quite awhile, maybe until 4 months. But not sure why I should do that...what's the point? I guess I would like to avoid weird public outings, like my director introducing me for a lecture by saying, "and here's Jo, who's a pregnant single lady, to tell you more about such and such!" Ok, that sounds a bit irrational as I write it down.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Nurse Visit and Prenatal Testing

I had a great nurse visit---she was fantastic! She made me feel so comfortable, didn't blink an eye at my 'situation.' Said everything I need to hear. A real sweetheart. She made me feel comfortable with the OB practice as a whole.

I've decided to do the CVS testing. Both the nurse and the doctor said many reassuring things about the benefits vs the risks. There is one doctor who does it at the hospital and they say his success rate (by which I mean procedures accomplished without miscarriage), is way way higher than the national average. He basically does CVS and amnio all day long. We do have really good health care in this state, because of a great university hospital. Yay for that. So that will all be happening some time during my 10th or 11th week, about 2 weeks from now. I feel good about it.

I told a friend about my pregnancy, someone who recently had twins. She was SO happy for me--it felt great. Then she said: "one of my best friends did that, and it's the thing that's made her happiest in her life." Oh. my. goodness. What a lovely thing to say.

Off to a camping trip this weekend (rain rain stay away).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First Ultrasound!

My life changed yet again yesterday. How many times can one's life change in a 2 month period? :)

I saw my little bean on the screen. He (for some reason, I tend to use "he") is 1.3 cm long. Perfect! The exact right size for his age. And there's only him. No brother or sister (a relief). And a very strong heartbeat. Hearing that was definitely a tear-inducing moment.

I called my mom and she was actually excited and joyful for the first time! She's been holding back a bit on me until now. It was sweet.

Went to dinner at my dear friend Maya's and she and her husband had another couple over, friends of mine, not close, and their 2-1/2 month old! It was a precious evening. I asked the father how they were holding up. Can you believe what he said? "Taking care of baby isn't know what's harder? The negotiations between the two of us adults! Everything's turned into a negotiation! It's exhausting."

Wasn't that the most perfect thing for him to say to me, the future single mom? Of course he has no idea. Love it!

I feel so blessed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More joy

Don't know why, but the call of the blog has left me somewhat. I think I still feel somewhat at a loss for words (which I rectify below)! And it's too early to start blogging about baby gear (although I break my own rule, below). Viability still not certain (ultrasound Monday!). And I'm still dealing with some very complex emotions.

Today I feel wonderful (emotionally). Excited and joyful. I even, I admit, began to troll the IKEA children's website. Am pondering the thought of a bassinet. Wow!!

This is quite a change from Wednesday, when I felt totally freaked out. So, you see, it changes daily!

Physically, I've been really ok. Very little nausea. Monster appetite! In bed by 9 pm. Seriously. Yesterday I felt like muck at work (mostly just fatigue). But really doing well.

I've begun seeing a therapist, a specialist on maternal mental health. For one thing, I think it's important, with the lack of a partner, to have someone following my emotions throughout this journey. The "talky talk" is already helping...there are many issues (you name it--how often will donor daddy see the child? how will I tell my boss? will I ever date again? will it be possible, some day, to just feel normal? a normal member of society?)

That last one is an interesting one. I think the answer is YES. And the baby will help that. This year is going to be the tough one---the questions, while prego and while the baby is still in diapers. After that, no one blinks an eye about a single mom, do they? One of the things that's become so clear is that this NEW CHAPTER (and that's an understatement) in my life will be such an amazing learning experience. And I've always been extremely bored when I'm not learning new things. Granted, it's a different type o' learning than my PhD...but this type of learning I can only imagine will give me a whole new perspective on the world, on my life. It's something I welcome with open arms. Heaven knows, it's what I've been yearning for.

I also imagine that, when I finally get out of the house, baby will open a whole new world socially for me. The world of my peers. I know that I will find many cohorts among the moms and dads of young children out there who I never meet. So I'm starting to see this as an opportunity to expand my life in so many numerous ways.

See, I'm getting there! The shock of first-time-success is starting to slowly wear off. (Don't think I'll ever quite get over that surprise though!) Baby will be hearing that story. ("Baby, you REALLY were sick of waiting around!")

So, testing. I'm going to ask for the CVS (early) test for chromosonal abnormalities. I hope they let me do that. Not sure how it all works. Will learn more on Monday! My dear friend Maya is going with me to the appointment.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Feeling.....anxious? Why anxious?

I wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded to my last post. Your enthusiasm means a lot!

My shock and surprise at such early success (the credit for which must go to my donor's supernova sperm!) has undoubtedly led to the litany of feelings I've been experiencing. I still can't believe it. It feels strange to admit, but not all of my feelings are completely deliriously happy ones. I've had A LOT of anxiety. Gut wrenching anxiety. I really think and hope that this is normal. I'm a realist, at heart, and I know that what I am doing is going to be hard, very hard, and change my life forever. It's something I've been wanting (obviously!), but I still can't seem to stem the anxiety! The problem is that I'm a bit of an over-planner, so I find myself trying to visualize exactly what my life will be like, when I can't, really. What I should be visualizing is what it will feel like to look into my baby's eyes for the first time. Tell that to my overactive mind.

(My mother told me that parenthood is all about anxiety---get used to it).

I have nine months to process all of it. And believe me, in my case, it seems like nine months is a very necessary transitional period. It still doesn't feel quite real.

Yep, I have morning sickness and lots and lots of symptoms. None are overwhelming---I seem to be able to overcome the nausea by about noon every day (breakfast just AIN'T an enjoyable experience). It returns again just a little bit in the evenings. And tonight I'm super tired. Lower back pain; sore boobs. All the standards. It's quite a trip to not know what your body might do the next day!

My OB office is pretty hands off so far (and I've had very little contact so far, since I went the home-remedy route)! No betas even. My first appointment is an ultrasound July 27 (week 7) for "dating and viability." Until then I'm stocking up on books and trying to eat right and talking a lot to close friends who are in on the secret.

Really, I'm so excited, when I let myself not worry! I spent the weekend at my parents' (two very traditional people who took the news admirably well) and I came back with two adorable stuffed animals that my mom had sewn for me when I was a little girl. Winnie the Pooh, and Eeyore. They're now in my second bedroom, holding a place, waiting to be squeezed and hugged by little arms.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How life can change in an instant

Oh my god.

Yesterday morning, I got a positive.

I was so surprised, I could barely breathe. Surprise seems to be the overwhelming emotion at the moment. I am waiting for the shock to wear off so that the other, better emotions can flow in!

And this morning, the morning sickness began!

Ladies, I don't even know what to say!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not a happy camper

Ok, I'm chillin' until Thursday, or maybe Friday (?), when I'll try HPT #2. I'm leaving tomorrow for the family reunion. How awkward that I'll be testing in the bathroom I'll be sharing with my parents. Not holding out a lot of hope. Absolutely 0 symptoms other than the release from mid-cycle cramping.

I called my mom yesterday and really whopped her with a big one. I was upset about the BFN and wanted to tell her. The thing is, I hadn't told her that I had started trying in earnest, so it was a big surprise for her, the whole thing. She struggled quite a bit and said something really annoying, which she says every time we discuss single motherhood. "It will be hard." Yea, well, I understand it will be fucking hard. I don't understand why she can't just be excited for me like all of my lovely, supportive friends. I mean I do understand...she was put on the earth to worry about me. I hate that I still crave comfort and support from my parents, when they really have so little to do with my life at this point, and they so RARELY deliver on that front. It almost never fails that when I seek support I end up feeling worse afterwards. Clearly, I'm a masochist.

Therefore, not looking forward to the family reunion. Especially because it has become kind of a yearly marker for me, along with Christmas and my birthday. Every year I think to myself "Maybe next year, I'll have a...(fill in the blank with) relationship or child." I have a REALLY horrible cousin who always asks me about my love life in front of everyone at the table. I've decided this year I will ask him about his hair transplants.

Speaking of camping, I somehow agreed to 2 nights of camping with my bro, sis in law, and 2 nephews (3 and 1). Should be interesting!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The test this morning was a definite negative. I probably tested too early, but I still don't hold much hope for this cycle.

Now I will proceed to obsess over why I didn't have my mid-cycle cramps this cycle. I wonder if perhaps I never ovulated at all. See, doing this "blind" will lead to these questions.

It's hard having one's hopes dashed. Is that just the understatement of the year, or what?

I guess I'll be drinking at the family reunion. Good ole' spinster aunty Jo makes her appearance, once again.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fingers and Toes Crossed

I definitely wouldn't call it obsessing, but I have decided I can't wait much longer and will take my first POAS test tomorrow (Monday) morning (11dpo).

I feel GREAT, actually. By which I mean really even-keeled, full of energy, happy. I wouldn't call this a symptom, although some months at this time I'm really edgy...Instead, I think it has to do with being thrilled and excited that I've finally DONE SOMETHING. Now I also realize how, once you begin, it becomes something you want so darn keenly....! Daydreams of me holding my infant aren't going to go away.

But I do want to note one "symptom," which isn't so much a symptom of pregnancy as the disappearance of a symptom that I have *every* month accompanying my endometriosis. This is horrible mid-cycle cramping, around CDs 18-21 (post ovu), which only occurs in the middle of the night. I get 10-15 minute "episodes," occurring 2-3 times per night, in which my uterus cramps into a fist. A lovely feeling! No doc has ever been able to explain this to me, but they all attribute it to endo. It's like clockwork. Since going off the pill last year, I have not had one cycle without these cramps.

So...this cycle, I haven't had any of these mid-cycle cramps. It's currently CD24.

Heh. I've read about the body producing progesterone in early pregnancy, which keeps the uterus from cramping. But let's just pretend I didn't write that. Getting one's hopes up is not advised.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Practical things keep us busy!

Well, I'm all inseminated up and ready for the big TWW. I feel strangely calm about the whole thing! My main focus right now is to think about what things I should be cutting out and changing in my life. I started weening myself from my daily glass of wine about 2 weeks ago...caffeine, not so much. One cup a day.

One of the things that I obsess over is how I would clean the darn cat-box while/if I'm pregnant. You know, the whole toxoplasmosis thing. And being the only one in the house and all. I'm sure I'm an overworrier, since my cat is essentially an indoor cat. But still--seems like if I can avoid inhaling cat litter dust every night, I should. So I totally splurged on the most bizarre appliance you'll ever see---the! It is hilarious--it scoopes, washes, and flushes everything from the box and down your toilet all by itself. It's fantastic! Bartleby (also known as Rey de la Casa) is not quite used to it yet, but we're taking it slow.

And today I'm off to get a filter for my kitchen sink. Corresponding with my ttc has been a whole bunch of leaflets about lead in the water. Nice.

The hardest thing by far is the lack of antihistamines. I am dying. Any suggestions?

As for the TWW, I have a good friend's 40th birthday party tonight---big dance party, lots of drinks. I haven't told this particular friend and I'm not planning to (yet), so I'll have to figure that out (since I'm usually heading straight for the bar). Also, I'm supposed to go to my yearly family gathering on 12 dpo (testing day). Could be an interesting family reunion this year!

Off to the hardware store...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

When to Test?

Today I got the big smiley face on my OPK, so it's time for the first home insem. Holy Moly! And Aiy Caramba!

So, I'm a bit slow, internets, and honestly, overwhelmed by all the info out there. When should I do my first pregnancy test if I insem tonight and tomorrow (3 insems)? Would it be a home test (POAS) day 12 after insem? Or should I make a doctor's appointment for a blood test earlier than that?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Life is Fun

You're not going to believe this.

I met a sweet, interesting, smart, successful, intriguing, dare I say gentlemanly, man.

I have seen him twice in 2 days. It's somewhat lovely. But very new of course.

New, but full of all kinds 'o potential. Not to mention that a relationship with said man offers me the possibility of one of the best summers I've ever had. His whole life revolves around yachting in some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Yea, heh. I almost wish I was kidding. But I'm not.

I just. can't. believe. this. universe. sometimes.

But REEEEEEAAAALLLLLY. A girlfriend who announces she's pregnant a few weeks into the relationship (knock wood) is bound to be a real turn on, right? Sure! Hoist the sails, let's sail to the Caribbean! (as she barfs over the side of the boat).

Ah, life.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

CD2 of "The Big Month" !

Yesterday was CD1!

I met with the midwife last Tuesday. She was a real sweetheart. I am not her usual client. She is most often working for lesbian couples and teaching them how to do their own home IUIs. Since I don't have the option of having a partner to help, she would perform it in her office. Logistically, it's a bit difficult, as my donor has to travel from NY, and the midwife is 40 miles away. It was nice talking with her because of all the successes (including her own pregnancy) performed via home IUI or ICI! Hers in fact was ICI from frozen sperm.

Because of the logistics, and because I feel the need to start slowly (and admittedly, I still harbor some fear about the IUI, given my strange reaction to the HSG last November) I decided to start the easy way and do a home insem for the first cycle. Folks, I know there is a very low chance that this will actually take, but at this point I prefer to remain optimistic. Why shouldn't I?

The midwife is definitely a good option for the future, and waaaaaay cheaper than doctor IUIs. I would have to pay almost $2,000 out of pocket for a doctor IUI (vs. $250 for the midwife). Remember, all, I live in a mandate state where I get 0.00% coverage for any fertility treatments because of my single status. (news flash, there was actually a proposal in the state assembly last week to change this mandate! but it never went to a vote because of assurances that the nazi governor of my state--who's in office for 2 more years--would veto it).

I have been charting my cycle for months now, and I can usually feel when I'm ovulating, too. I'll be using an OPK. My donor has cleared his schedule for the window. This is happening!

And one last thing: has anyone ever heard this little bit of folklore? The midwife mentioned it but then I got this from W.iki "answers" : The X sperm (which are the sperm that make females) live longer than the Y sperm (which are the sperm that make males). However, the Y sperm swim faster, so the chances are equally good that you will get a girl or a boy. If the Y sperm swim fast enough before they die to fertilize the egg, then you'll have a boy. If the Y sperm don't reach the egg before they die, chances are an X sperm will get there shortly, and then you'll have a girl.

The midwife told me that the above explains why people who artifically inseminate have more boys: because they inseminate exactly when they are ovulating, the fast sperm (boy) tends to reach the egg. For those who inseminate (or have intercourse), say, the day or hour or whatever before ovulation, they have a better chance of getting the longer living (girl) sperm.

I never knew that. Do you believe it?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Smug parents

Have you ever noticed that when your mind is focused on something, the cosmos seems to recognize it, and throws things your way to either challenge or support you?

So in the last two days there was a long story on NPR about how most new parents feel completely incompetent (the story was about new dads, but still). Then, my uber-boss went on a major tangent in a meeting about how she used to take business trips when her kids were young just so she could have some time for herself, followed by a lengthy tangent among all my colleagues chiming in their own stories of same.

Then there are the smug parents (kind of like the smug-marrieds a-la Bridget Jones). I attended a BBQ hosted by some newish friends on Sunday. The kid quotient was very unexpected--at least 15 children under the age of 5! It was chaos, but hilarious. And the parents were nice (most were new acquaintances)--I'm not saying I was treated as a pariah, but there was definitely a bit of smug parent posturing in this particular crowd. And I was feeling great until one woman said to me "Oh, sorry, you were probably expecting a nice, relaxing afternoon, something quiet, right?" What do you say to that? I should have said something like, "Oh, yes, usually I spend my afternoons sipping martinis while having a simultaneous mani- and pedi-." She was probably just trying to be nice, but she ended up skillfully pointing out how different I was from everyone else at the party.

The funniest thing about the day was the tiny little tyke--he must've been about 2 years old, clearly potty-training--who pulled down his pants and started to pee in sight of the entire party. He pointed it directly onto one of the beautifully planted new flowers in the garden. His father was mortified, but it was pretty hilarious. Ah, parenting!

Anyway...there's definitely a part of me that can't wait to surprise them all in a few months (fingers crossed).

Meeting the midwife tomorrow! Will report back.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jo's Family

I'm meeting with a midwife next Tuesday. My plan is to use the midwife for live sperm IUI with my known donor.

Saying I'm ready to begin has not been without its fears (several late-night awakenings in somewhat of a panic). I think this must be quite natural. Yes? But every morning when the night terrors have subsided, I am finally able to think to myself that THIS IS the time. A realization, long labored and long time coming, washed over me after my trip to San Francisco. This is me having a family. My own family. I know that sounds kind of...rudimentary...duh...of course it is. But for some reason my "thinking" stage has involved a lot of feelings that what I am doing is about a lack (of husband), a loss (of relationships). I don't really feel like that any more. Or, at least, I think I'm finally over it. This is about my own, sweet, loving, happy little family, one that I am building, one that is as vital and meaningful and wonderful...and anyone else's family.

I hope that makes sense. And when I think about it that way, it is so...amazing. So exciting! It's about plenty rather than lack.

On the money front, I paid off ALL OF MY CREDIT CARDS yesterday. What better time to begin? (note to self: no more visits to TJM.a.xx.)

Happy weekend!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Feel Ready

I feel ready to begin.

First try will be mid June. I'm mid-cycle at the moment.


Friday, May 22, 2009

The New Mommy Group

I've been on the west coast in my favorite city on an actual real vacation for the last week. It's been great. I realize how much I want to move back out here. Making it happen is another thing altogether. Meanwhile, back at work (while I was conveniently away), layoffs were announced. I am safe, thank god. But a close colleague--who is pregnant--was laid off. It seems very unfair. And I'm sad about it. This, followed by a panicked day or two, where I've realized how INCREDIBLY unprepared I am if I were ever to lose my job. I need to be smarter and better about my finances. A real wake-up call.

Hanging out with my friends and their kids is fun. I've also had a lot of "me" time, and finally, had dinner and drinks with my ex and continuing "potential." Boy, was I in a mood. I think I said absolutely everything I could have possibly wanted to say. Directly. I told him about ttc. So it's all out on the table and FINALLY I think I can move on. Things are not happening between us---I guess I've known this, but I needed to really talk it out and say everything I needed to say. Shew. How many exes do I have, you may ask? Are there any more lurkers who I need to confront before I move on? Guess what? This is it!! It's over!

One of my favorite things to do is sit in a busy cafe in this city, drinking great coffee (maybe a cupcake!) and reading the newspaper. Yesterday, while doing so, I found myself in the midst of a "new mommy" group. I should've left as soon as I realized it (the group grew and grew as I sat there). But I didn't. I guess I was feeling strong and was more curious than anything. Ok, after about 15 minutes I admit I couldn't take it anymore. But I am not bitter---I know that I can have this if I want to. It's just a matter of moving forward with the possibility. So in a way, it was good for me. This process of "thinking" has taken much longer than I expected since last August when I started making plans. But it is what it is.

Ok, one more day of vacation and then back to reality in the world of lay-offs.

I have been bad at commenting but I am still following everyone. Cheers to you all!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We Know Her Well

I'm done with all the crazy wackiness at work! I now have free time. And yet...not so much to fill it with. The terrible truth of the workaholic.

The thing with 3rd time guy TOTALLY self-combusted. As I should have predicted. As many of my friends predicted. I actually feel relieved. But I'm glad I gave it every effort. I now have no regrets.

I will admit, only to my blogosphere, and now that I have some distance, that I was pushing it almost wholly out of desperation for not being sure about the whole SMC thing. This is what happens. Yes, it's far better to do it alone than with someone who is totally not right for me. I know that, intellectually. But when I get into that state of uncertainty I convince myself of all kinds of crazy wacky things.

I know I'll never end up with the wrong guy, though, for the long term. The reason is that unhappy, unsatisfied Jo is a very unpleasant person. Not many men, not any man, would be able to hang with that. It probably feels somewhat like a never-ending teeth cleaning. Jo, the evil dental hygienist.

Back to the good ole alone Jo. We know her so well.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Taking the Reins

I've continued to see the guy I'll call John, previously known as third-time-around guy. We see each other about once or twice a month, so it isn't what I'd call hot and heavy. Not a lot of petting, nor sex. So in my opinion, we're just very very casually dating. Nothing else. Think of him as an occasional dinner partner, with flirting.

Of course recently, as might be expected, I decided this was just silly. What the heck could be the point of this, if it isn't building toward something, or becoming more intimate? And so I started to let go entirely. For the third time.

Then a friend told me about another guy who I had dated briefly, a guy who I had been CONVINCED was not looking for anything serious, who was definitely just wanting to date around (according to me), and especially wasn't interested in women his own age (like me), but much younger women....WELL, this guy is getting married. And to a woman his own age. So apparently, I totally wrote that guy off and yea, totally misread the situation. It had nothing to do with the guy's readiness. I didn't even give it a chance. Not that we should or would have ended up together. But it definitely shocked me, and got me to thinking my perceptions may be a little bit off? Perhaps?

So the natural extension of these thoughts was too think...What if I let John go (for the third time), a man who clearly does like me? And what happens when I hear in about a year's time that HE'S getting married? How would I feel?? Definitely. extremely. crappy.

So, yea, I'm starting to think it's good ole' Jo, (that's me), who's the problem here. Why can't I achieve any intimacy with this person, or with ANY man, really, for the last 5 years? Am I still so damaged from my last relationship that I've just turned off, completely?

I'm trying to explore this with John (not that I've shared all of the above with him). I do care about him. But it's hard, so far. He is NOT a talker. Not sure where it's leading. For now, we're going to try to see each other more consistently to at least establish whether or not intimacy is even possible. He is interested in this. In fact, he seems to just be waiting for me to swoop in and take the reins. I'm just not sure if I have it in me to take the reins anymore. But isn't this what I want? A relationship?

I think I need therapy. Sigh.

And, no, this and ttc definitely do not mix. Trying to figure out how/if to talk about it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Almost Done

Almost there. This period of all work and no play is almost over! My big deadline for the book is on Wednesday (although there will be some loose ends after that). And 3 more weeks teaching (my 2nd job!), then DONE. I am barely holding on, waiting for this overload of work to be over. Somehow I've made it through, although my sleep patterns are totally off. I don't think I've taken more than 2 or 3 full days off in a row since last October, and that includes weekends. Ugh. I have THREE WEEKS of vacation to take before June 30. Time to start planning that!

After this, I am making a vow to myself to try to find some kind of focus outside of work. [I know, a baby could definitely be a focus.] I feel like I also need another, I dunno, hobby or something. The things that have crossed my mind are...gardening (I have a wilderness of a back yard...a very big project), sailing (join a sailing club), tennis (join a league). I've tried lots of crafts over the years, like knitting, collage, even refinishing furniture, but those things never really felt relaxing to me. More like work. I envy people who have a real focus outside of work, whether it be a club or a charity. Any suggestions??

Gotta go. I have a blind date this evening. I re-joined e.ha.rmon.y after one of their 50% off specials (so expensive). It's absolutely irritating on so many levels--too many to go into--but every now and then an interesting man comes along. We'll see if he holds up outside of cyber land. The key to internet dating: have very few expectations. Not that I'm a pro---never really had a success story.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back on the Bandwagon

Back from my trip to California.

I have some truly amazing friends there. I talked extensively with my two closest girlfriends about my plans. Both of them are new mothers. Both are in relationships. They couldn't be more supportive of my plans. In fact, they are actively encouraging me with all their hearts. And the stories! One tried to describe to me what it was like the first time she held her son. This is someone who wasn't sure she wanted children until just recently. Tears all 'round. The other told me how her 1-1/2 year old girl cupped her face between her hands after mommy stubbed her toe and asked, "mommy o-tay?" More tears. The intensity of their love and connection to their children was so evident, and so wonderful. They are two of the people I love most in the world, so it was incredibly moving.

It was different from the other talks I've had with friends and family. Those talks usually amount to me convincing myself I can do it, met by the usual "it will be hard, but you can do it," questions, practicalities. But these friends didn't even consider the practicalities (it was nice). To them, there was no question that I would adapt to the situation and that, obviously, whatever I had to do was completely and totally worth it.

One of my friends is having a difficult time in her marriage. She has said to me many times that a relationship doesn't necessarily make you feel less alone as a parent.

Internets, I'm getting there. I'm going to be back on the ttc bandwagon very soon.

Oh, and I had a date with my ex in California. It is very clear that things are going nowhere unless we happen to live closer together at some point. Makes sense, obviously. And now I know. I can move on.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

38, surprised and proud

In the past two weeks, things have gotten really weird at work. Basically, it's the same story as most places at the moment. It started with a call for belt-tightening. Then, after the board meeting, pending layoffs were announced. This is not something I thought I would ever be confronted with. This moment in our history is so surprising...and even those of us who planned out our lives in a deliberate, practical way--never took risks, never spent egregiously beyond our means, entered a seemingly stable field, didn't buy a ridiculously overpriced mortgage--will be affected.

Sigh. I don't think I will be laid-off (knock on wood); but I do fear that something will happen to make my financial circumstances less palatable. The most likely scenario is a permanent reduction of hours or even a pay-cut, and reduction of benefits. All would be bad, but not as bad as losing my job altogether. If it's a reduction in hours, one less day at work is one less day of daycare, and one more day with a child. Looking at it that way, it almost seems nice.

My natural inclination is to start looking for another job. But everyone in this situation right now is presented with the same problems: few jobs, and, on top of that, real estate that is not going to sell. Moving would be a bitch under those circumstances. Wow, do I feel stuck. Who would've ever thought buying real estate would be a BAD move? It's a whole new world.

So I am waiting--we won't know the decisions for at least a month. I know that I will be losing many valued colleagues. It's going to be hard. For the moment, denial is working well. I hosted my own birthday party last night (yes--38 was last Tuesday). It was a fantastic time. Last spring, I set out to answer several questions by 38, and I realize I've answered almost all of them. I revisited two exes, one of whom became my donor. Another of them is still on the table (this is SF man, who I will see in 2 weeks). I also looked seriously into single motherhood. These were all must-dos. So I guess I should be proud.

Cheers everyone!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Exciting and Not So Exciting

Well, I have three of 'my ladies,' that is, my online ttc ladies, who are currently in a tww. This is very exciting and I would say that March is a very auspicious month...crossing fingers, ladies!

I don't have a huge amount to post about, as I continue to be working my fingers to the bone. This period of having-no-life work will end in late I'm just holding on until then. Unfortunately my body starts to react to the stress. The worst of the worst is the insomnia. Last week I got 3 or 4 hours of sleep on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. It's pretty much hell...when you know you have so much to do the next day and yet cannot get to sleep. I've tried myriad drugs, over the counter ones (I can't take A.mbien--it freaks me out and makes me whacky). The following do not put me to sleep (but succeed in making me very groggy the next day): T.ylenol Pm, Actifed (it used to work), even muscle relaxers. No dice. I finally tried good ole' natural Mel.atonin last night and got 10 hours. Thank you lord. This is my new best friend.

Strangely, I am pretty functional (although not very cheerful--or pretty) on very little sleep. Maybe I'm practicing for a little one! ?

So, yea, this is what I've been focusing on. Not very exciting, is it? However, the end result of all this work will be a beauoooootiful exhibition and BOOK ! I can't wait to share it!

Social life is a bit off. I had a weird falling out with a friend recently (nothing major, more of mutual moving on from the friendship). However, moving on from one friendship significantly decreases my social life. So my closest friend in town and I decided to take action. We pooled our address books for all those women we've met and thought "I'd like to get to know her better" and started organizing drinks and other events (my friends is really more the organizer, thank god). Tomorrow we're doing a very Sex & the City-style brunch with some new lady friends. It's always good to make new friends, and it makes you realize that there are always interesting people out there if you try. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to cross over to males, at least not in my town, and at least not yet. Numerous address book searches don't seem to uncover any interesting males who would like to go to drinks or brunch.... sigh.

Signing off, cheers !

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Swimmers Humor?

My donor is a really self-effacing, shy kind of guy, and it took him a little while to get up the nerve to talk to his doctor about being a donor and get his stuff analyzed. So I've been waiting around kind of patiently, I hope, and I finally got the news Friday. His doctor, with whom he seems to have a hilarious, friendly relationship, left the following message--transcribed verbatim--on his phone.

"Hi pkd. This is Dr. soandso, how are you? Um, we have your 2emen analysis report and I’m happy to tell you that you have the largest volume of schpuze that I have seen in a long time. You are quite the stud, and your volume was 6.7 milliliters—anything over 2 is normal, so you’re more than three times the normal, sort of, schpuze amount; and your, um, concentration is, um, 154 million per milliliter—20 is considered normal. Your 2perm count is over a million, when 40 would do. And 59% of these guys are wiggling—normal’s 50, but I think the other 41% can’t wiggle so well because… they’re crowded.

"Anyway, um, so I think that you are probably incredibly fertile, and anyone would be really lucky to have your 2perm. Okay? So that is my distinct medical opinion. And if you need a copy of this 2emen analysis report just call my office and we would be glad to send it off to you. Okay? Maybe you should frame it. Bye."

Funny, yes? This probably made my very unassuming pkd's year--and why not? He deserves a manly boost of confidence for all his efforts.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Shining

Hey there! I am feeling so much better than I did about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Thanks for everyone's kind and supportive thoughts.

I am ridiculously, relentlessly busy at work. Actually, I took on a second job to try to pay down some debt and get ready for baby. So in addition to my regular work, which includes a fair bit of teaching in addition to exhibition planning (plus a publication due in about a month), I am teaching a college course two evenings a week. I really considered carefully whether I could handle the extra work (and teaching is such a notorious time suck). But in the end I felt I couldn't pass up the opportunity, given my debt and future plans--not to mention the current climate...any money is good money. One of the only ways someone with my training can make extra money is to teach (academics have few marketable skills :) )--so when the position fell in my lap, I really couldn't bring myself to say no.

That said, it is KICKING MY A.SS. I spend every Sunday, all day (just finished) preparing lectures. And during the week, it ain't easy. Last Thursday, I had a brutal day at work where I barely sat down, and then had to go teach at 6pm with forced energy. It felt like prison. I actually enjoy teaching and even prepping....but there need to be many more hours in the day...especially the ones when I actually relax my body, exercise, or laugh a little bit. The phrase from "The Sh.ining," when Jack Nicholson is typing the same thing over and over at his typewriter, comes to mind: "All work and no play makes...Jo...a very dull girl." Add the crappiest winter weather in years, + cabin fever and who knows, I may just end up a crazed axe murderer. Let's hope not.

Back to the feeling better part. I'm not quite ready to jump back into my plans at this moment, but I am feeling recovered enough from my depressing holidays to move on. I have a couple of things coming up. First, a combined work/fun trip to California in March, and second, hopefully, a real vacation. I am looking seriously into going to Europe for 2 weeks in June (specifically, Bordeaux), working on my French and tasting wines. I feel like this is something I need to do for myself before I start ttc. After that, I'll revisit (at least that's the plan as of today!) I'm still in good touch with bab.ydaddy and all is really great on that front.

And then, men. I am still seeing third-time-around guy just casually, very casually, and I have an old flame who I'm going to see out in California. I saw him over the holidays (long story...and yes, it did contribute to my confusion and depression). I am not expecting anything to come of it but I am looking forward to spending time with this guy in March.

So that's where I am. I've become terrible at commenting but I want everyone to know I am still following your stories!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where I've Been

Here's the dish.

The holidays were hard for me. Really, really hard. I was lonely, and frustrated. The knowledge that I was moving on with my own plans for a family didn't help matters. I thought it would, and I've read other bloggers who say as much. But it didn't. I was low. Very very low. I was fixated more than ever on wanting a partner. And to top it all off, I spent a few days with my nephews and I was questioning whether I could handle it alone. Or honestly, whether I really wanted to do it alone. This is all very common stuff but I have not recovered from it yet, and I'm not sure if or when I will.

I know putting things off is not a great idea, but I think I'm going to have to, for the moment. It just wouldn't feel right to ttc with so many doubts.

Does anyone know of an SMC group in the southern New England area? the environs of Boston perhaps?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Meme

I know, another list. But I'm trying to get motivated to post, without luck, and this seemed kind of fun. Feel free to cut and paste (like I did) and do it yourself! (edit Jan 9: date fix: didn't even notice I copied 2007 instead of 2008...! Still in denial apparently:)

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

I went sea kayaking in the actual sea.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
 My usual resolution is the vague, "experience more joy." That's not something you can really control, but I'm trying it again this year. Fair to middlen last year. My most major resolution is to once and for all pay off my credit card debt.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
 My brother/sis in law, and one of my closest friends, Marci.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit? None, I guess. (but Western TX did seem like another world).
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
 A relationship.
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? November 4!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 Running my department at work in the absence of my colleague and then getting a promotion.
9. What was your biggest failure?
 Saving money.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
 No, thank goodness!
11. What was the best thing you bought?
 I guess it was a new computer-- or a new bed--or two beautiful etchings (yeah, workin' on that credit card debt) :)
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
 my very supportive mother, and my PKD
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
 a friend who seems to think she's still in high school
14. Where did most of your money go?
 mortgage/credit card debt/school loans
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
 my trip to Marfa, TX
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
 "I Feel it All" (Feist)
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
 a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer?
 probably about the same: not too happy, not too sad, I'm slightly thinner since going off hormones, I'm slightly more flush since my promotion
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
 traveled for pleasure
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
 sitting at my computer on weekends
20. How did you spend Christmas?
 with family in the Midwest
21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
22. What was your favorite TV program? oh, those mad mad men
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
 I feel bad saying I hate her cause she's just so pathetic. (ffft ffft, rreeerrr!)
24. What was the best book you read?
 Sebastian Faulk's Birdsong
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
26. What did you want and get?
 a really pretty new winter coat
27. What did you want and not get?
 an ip.hone
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
 totally blanking; the only thing that comes to mind is WALL--E
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
 37; I got a facial and a pedicure at a nice spa. I went to work.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 having a boyfriend to spend the holidays with would've been really really nice. Yeah, I'm still there.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
 spend more money on fewer things and make 'em special. Thus the cc debt.
32. What kept you sane?
 my kitty
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
 the Palin phenomenon. Wha??
35. Who did you miss?
 my friends in SF and NY
36. Who was the best new person you met?
 definitely my internet friends
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
 take a friend to the hospital with you when undergoing invasive test procedures
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. "She gonna put, sugar on my tongue. She gonna, gimme gimme gimme some." (talking heads).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

7 Things

I got tagged by MeAndBaby. This is good: I've been very unmotivated lately to blog. There's a lot going on my head, and for some reason I can't seem to get it out. I'm kind of in a don't-deal-with-it phase, I guess. goes. 7 unusual things about me.

1. I lived in Antwerp, Belgium for a year. This was while I was doing research for my dissertation. Every day, I walked about 1/4 mile to a beautiful 16th century museum and did research in the archives there. I love Belgium although it was very difficult to make friends there (with Belgians): I made a lot of foreigner friends. The month before I left, I tried one chocolate truffle per day to choose the best one (I chose it, if anyone is interested!)

2. I didn't grow hair until I was 2-1/2! Seriously! Only peach fuzz til then. (I'm hoping this means my hair will stay around for a really long time). I also had a wandering eye that was fixed by surgery at age 2. I like to think I was a charmingly cute baby. :)

3. I was the valedictorian of my high school class. It was very dramatic because it was a surprise. I kind of edged out the girl who everyone had assumed would be valedictorian for 4 years. At the time, I liked to fancy myself the smart-girl-who-also-partied, so after that my cover was completely blown. I would go to graduation parties, the room would go silent, and someone would say "Ohhhhh, the valedictoooooooorian is here. Everyone behave."

4. I love to backpack and have taken several somewhat death-defying 'backcountry' trips. I know this isn't really that unusual, but I do get raised eyebrows when I tell people. I'm somewhat girly-looking and people get confused.

5. My favorite vegetable by far is brussel sprouts. I have them at least once, but sometimes multiple times per week. I have no idea whether this has anything to do with my stay in Belgium. Perhaps.

6. I'm ridiculously organized and I'm never late (even when I try to be). At the same time, no one has ever described me as Type A (my condo is usually a mess). I'm a weird hybrid.

7. I'm a sucker for really sentimental, moody types of music, like Col.dplay, Kate B.ush, Joni Mi.tchell, that kind of thing (but then again, I've been known to jam out to the truly un-sentimental PJ Ha.rvey).

And I'm going to tag our SMC blogging newbie, Rachael at SMCDownUnder. You're it!