The End of the Internet

Totally exhausted from three days of travel for work and estrogen overload, I created something a little different for my IVF friends today. Years ago I ran across an “End of the Internet” cartoon and have often thought about it when I go on one of my IVF information binges. These binges are especially common during the two week wait when I scour the Internet to see if I can divine what will happen based on statistics, anecdotes, and real life stories. We have all been there…to the end of our sanity and near the end of the Internet itself.

Enjoy and good luck to you. May you find what you are searching for in life if not on the web.

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Oh, Estrogen…

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I had my first labs done this week. The time has come to regularly roll up the sleeves and put those lucky veins to work. Except for visiting with the lovely ladies that work in registration who have been our cheerleaders for the last four years, I hate going to the lab. Hate may be a strong word. I do like discovering how we are progressing and blood work is a necessary part of it, but I hate blood draws. Even after four long years.

Giving myself shots in the comfort of my own home is one thing, but having my blood sucked out of me at the crack of dawn is another. No matter how gentle the tech is, it hurts. Cosmetically it is also super sexy. By the time we transfer I will look like a heroin addict. Thankfully its still -20 degrees Fahrenheit in the mornings so nobody sees my track marks except Bill.

Unfortunately the results of my blood work this week weren’t what we hoped. My estrogen level was low for this stage of my cycle which means yesterday I jumped from one estrogen patch to four.

The good news is this won’t create any problems with the transfer and its nothing to worry about at all. We are simply adjusting and bringing the levels in line with where they should be to create a thick endometrial lining by the time we bring our embryo home. Making adjustments like this are the reason we monitor levels so closely as we prepare for the big day. I am excited that we are doing something a little different this time as well, since following the status quo last time didn’t work out for us.

The bad news is this adjustment does skip a whole week of ramp up period where I would normally have increased to two patches tomorrow, three next week, and then four a few days before transfer. It also means I will be on high levels of estrogen for an extended period of time. In fact, it will be the highest level of estrogen I have taken for the longest period since I started trying to conceive.

So things could get pretty interesting around here. With our last cycle I found myself in tears in a coworker’s office just two days after increasing to four patches. There was no reason for crying. I just weep when I’m on it, most of the time for no reason and unexpectedly.

Good times.

Moodiness is just one of the many side effects of estrogens (also called oestrogens, hence the title). I use the plural here because there are actually four types of estrogens which support a variety of important functions in both males and females.

E1- Estrone. Dominant in menopause

E2- Estradiol. Large and in charge during the reproductive years

E3- Estriol. Rules the roost during pregnancy and produced by the placenta

E4- Estertrol. Present in pregnancy and produced by the fetal liver until birth

The type of estrogen prescribed in a medicated IVF cycle is E2. It can be confusing at first because E2, estradiol, and estrogen are often used interchangeably by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and lab techs. Its all the same stuff and performs essential functions in baby making, natural or otherwise.

In a natural cycle Estradiol is produced by the ovaries and stimulates the release of LH which causes ovulation. E2 also causes the uterine lining to thicken in order to prepare for implantation. That’s why I am taking it now, to develop a welcoming place for our embryo to settle into for the next nine to ten months.

This is necessary during IVF because our doctor has suppressed ovulation and taken control which means my body will not produce the levels of estrogen necessary to support pregnancy naturally.

In a natural pregnancy with ovulation, the follicle in the ovary that releases an egg will turn into the corpus luteum which provides estrogen support until the placenta fully takes over sometime before 10 weeks. As a result, I will be on four patches of estrogen from now until I graduate to our regular OB at 10 to 12 weeks if we are pregnant.  I have taken estrogen in two different forms, a pill and a patch (pictured above).

Hormones are just down right strange and confusing little boogers and estrogens are no exception. Estradiol is unusual because it has as many health benefits as it has nasty side effects. It has been shown to improve libido, cardiovascular health, metabolism, bone formation, and lung function. On the flip side, it can exacerbate breast cancer, cause endometrial cancer, and has been shown to lead to blood clotting.

Estradiol can also cause a variety of not-so-fun side effects. Hang with me the list is long…headache, breast pain or tenderness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, gas, heartburn, weight gain or loss, hair loss, redness or irritation of the skin that was covered by the patch, swelling, redness, burning, irritation or itching of the vagina, vaginal discharge, painful menstrual periods, anxiety, depression, changes in mood, change in sexual desire, back, neck, or muscle pain, runny nose, congestion, cough, darkening of skin on face, unwanted hair growth, and difficulty wearing contact lenses.

It is so-not-funny that most of these common side effects are also pregnancy symptoms. This can really mess with your mind after transfer when progesterone joins in to help estrogen in an effort to drive you completely batty, wondering if what you are experiencing are side effects or pregnancy symptoms.

I am already starting to look pregnant due to the water I am retaining and the growth and thickening caused by the drug. I even catch myself rubbing my soon to be pregnant belly from time to time. Just getting in a little bit of practice in preparation for the real thing.

Oh estrogen…

Let the games begin.

 

The Meaning of Fried Okra

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Every year at this time I ponder the meaning of life and face my own mortality. 19 years ago today this Daddy’s girl lost her real life super hero to an 8 month battle with cancer. I was four days before my 19th birthday and he was only 41. Tragically, I am the oldest of four and my youngest sister was 11 at the time.

This year marks a sad turning point, I am officially crossing the threshold of time where I will now have spent more time without my Dad than with my Dad.

Everyone expects to someday lose their parents, at least parents pray that is how things go. Its how things should go. But when you lose a parent too soon, when that parent dies young, it forever affects your view on the world and your own mortality. Since I hit my thirties, I have been counting down to 41. The number looms around my subconscious daring me to surpass it and taunting me with dark possibility.

Last year, I decided to start making a video for Spork every year on this day. I sing her favorite songs, talk to her about how much I love her, and detail her milestones. I do this so if something happens to me, if I leave her too soon, she has 10 minutes of Mommy tailor made for her age and needs right now.

Between all of this and the imminent birthday, I cannot help but to contemplate the meaning of life and my own mortality. Of course, fertility is a factor. I keep thinking that if we get pregnant this cycle and I only make it to 41, I will leave Bill with a 5 year old and a 3 year old. I wonder if its irresponsible of me to even try. I worry what will happen to my little girl if she goes through her formative years without her Mommy.

Two nights ago, it all came crashing down on me. Lying in bed with Bill asleep beside me I began to question my faith and whether there really was an afterlife. My thoughts on the topic are for a different blog, but in the midst of what was threatening to turn into a panic attack I woke Bill up to discuss it.

Me: “Bill.”

Bill: No response.

Me: “Bill. Are you awake?”

Bill: Some rustling and grumbling.

Me: A little louder and acting surprised “Bill, you are still awake too?”

Bill: “Uh…Yeah.”

Me:  “Oh good. I am freaking out a little bit. Do you ever start thinking about the meaning of life and freak out?”

Bill: “No”

Me: “Do you ever start thinking about what happens to us after we die and panic or get really scared?”

Bill: “No”

Me: “Oh. Okay. Because I am really freaking out.”

Bill: “Don’t freak out.”

I could tell from the grumbling and heavy breathing that followed that he was not awake enough to get me through my mini crisis and I was on my own. I did some deep breathing, a little meditation and eventually fell asleep.

And then I had the most amazing dream.

I won’t go into the somewhat weird and unimportant details, but I dreamed of my Dad. We talked. I don’t remember all the fine points of what we discussed or for how long but it seemed like it was all night. I do remember the sound of his voice. It has been so long since I heard it but it was unmistakably him. At one point I reached up and touched his face and I could actually feel the texture and temperature of his skin. It was so vivid and real. He had unique skin that was tough but soft at the same time, especially after shaving. I rarely dream of my Dad and have never had a dream like this. I didn’t want to wake up, and when I did I was exhausted even though I slept through the night.

Despite all my fertility superstitions, I am generally grounded in reality. I realize there is a limit to how much we understand about the universe but my open-mindedness stops short of believing that dead parents visit their kids in dreams. While I don’t remember the various things we talked about, I do remember the general feeling of the conversation was comforting. It felt like he was trying to put me at ease. He was letting me know he was okay and that I was going to be okay. Maybe this was a sign? Maybe he was visiting me from the great beyond to bring me peace?

And then he said something I do remember very well which totally shattered my illusions about it really being my Dad:

“I really miss fried okra. I wish I could have some fried okra. With bacon.”

Dad did like fried okra. And he liked bacon too. You can’t tell it from the photo in his twenties, but he rarely met a food he didn’t like which is at least part of the reason he is not here today. He could have used more exercise, a healthier diet, and a job that didn’t surround him with second hand smoke. But however much he loved fried food, I have to believe he would not travel through time and space and pierce the vail between two worlds to tell me he had a craving.

I know that what I experienced was probably just my slumbering brain working through its issues. I was unconsciously reconciling the pressure of getting closer to 41 and lamenting the loss of my father and my youthful eggs.

Still, I woke up at peace. Touching his face and hearing his voice gave me the feeling he was still with me, even if he wasn’t visiting me in my dreams. I knew with unshakeable certainty that just like I am okay, my little girl and her (God willing) sibling will be okay. I knew right away that as a parent I needed to accept that I can’t control what happens to them or to me in this life. I can give them life, give them my best, and pray.

I don’t know the meaning of life, but I am pretty sure we should soak it all in and savor every sweet moment. Kind of like the way Dad would have savored fried okra and bacon.

And just as it is with my Dad, I would rather have my family and this life for a short time than not at all. However I have a feeling that someday my kids will be watching decades worth of annual videos of their happy, old, crazy Mom.

His Perspective- Bill’s First Visit to the Gynecologist

I fainted at my first time at the gynecologist… almost….

You can do this:  Hold your breath for 45 seconds and time it..

Breathe…breathe…breathe… Seriously just relax.  Oh my god, it’s 90 degrees in this tiny little room.  Right next to my head on the wall is a poster of the female anatomy.  And on the shelf is the anatomy model that comes apart.  And they want to give her an ultrasound where?

Help.  Help. ……….

I have never fainted in my life but the closest I ever came was my first time to the gynecologist.  Just breathe.

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Most guys first trip to the gynecologist or the OB is with their partner when they are several weeks pregnant.  For us it was to try and figure out what exactly was wrong and hopefully how we were going to solve it.   Was I infertile?  Was my wife?  Was something even worse causing this?

While I wear my heart on my sleeve and can tear up quickly over truly sad stuff, I like to think I am in control and well prepared or at least can adapt quickly.  Well, this was definitely a new experience.  Unless you are in the medical profession, as a guy, this experience and what it involves would probably take you by surprise.  I was sort of taking the whole IVF thing in stride and even a little excited because it was all new and we were moving forward.  Waiting without answers is the worst, or I should say having a sad and stressed out wife waiting without answers is the worst.  If you have ever cared about anyone then you understand that knowing someone you love is hurting about something is usually worse than hurting about it yourself.

Anyway, going to the gynecologist was the wake up call that I needed; I was totally out of my element and this was going to be a “journey”.

First I had to learn how to behave in this kind of setting.  It’s not like I am a 5 year old but I can certainly act like one sometimes when bored, confused, or happy.  In this case, I was reading magazines, playing on my phone, and not paying attention to my wife.  This is the wrong approach at the doctor’s office or for that matter anywhere with your wife.  It took a while but I finally learned that during the whole IVF process I need to engage with my wife and the doctors – talk about feelings, listen, and ask questions.  Sort of mushy but it takes a little work and after all this is my (our) life so I should probably really get involved.  This has led to some silly questions for the doctors, just to participate type questions, that probably got me in as much trouble as just shutting up but, oh well, I tried.   I think at this point, 4 years later, I have gotten pretty good at engaging in the process but my wife still runs the show, knows all the details, calendars, the right questions to ask, etc.

This visit to the gynecologist was the first uncomfortable part of this journey.  It was about to get much more scary, sad, awkward, uncomfortable, expensive, and dangerous.  Don’t worry though because you already know there is joyous success along the way to where we are now.

Our Division of Labor

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I told a great big public lie and its time to come clean. My transgression ocurred  yesterday when I posted the above photo to Facebook with the following caption:

“Thank You winter storm. After eight years of shoveling we finally broke down and bought a snowblower for Valentines’ Day. I would hate to see it go to waste after shoveling our way through the Worst. Winter. Ever.”

I hit submit and immediately felt like a great big fraud. I don’t shovel. I never have and never will. I limit my shoveling to a an 8 foot path to our hot tub and the top of the hot tub on rare occasions. The only reason I even do this minuscule amount of cold, hard, labor is that I am the only one who likes to use the hot tub which means I am sometimes responsible for its upkeep.

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All of the other shoveling? The driveway, the mailbox, the long path to our house and our neighbor’s house? Bill has toiled away for thousands of hours over the last 8 years shoveling us out from under Northern Michigan’s worst wintery white blankets. Saying “shoveling our way though” in that Facebook post was a gigantic fib from a total phony. A poser.

But as much as I have never earned a callous or blister from the handle of a shovel, we are in this together as we are in all things in life.

That is the way it is in our marriage. He shovels. I balance the check book and pay the bills. He cooks and does the dishes. I do all the laundry and straightening. He hangs pictures and puts things away in the attic. I frame the photos and organize the junk that goes into the attic. He takes care of scheduled maintenance on our vehicles. I take care of the license plates and our taxes. We have a division of labor in our house that works like a well oiled machine. We never discussed or planned it this way, we just fell into it based on our natural talents and needs of our family. The invisible hand of marriage created a near perfect process that satisfies both of us most of the time.

This division of labor started me thinking about how shoveling is for Bill like going through IVF is for me. Even though we are both impacted by this process, the heavy lifting is all on me. I take all the shots, undergo surgeries, experience side effects, schedule and attend appointments, cut all fun and taste out of my diet, organize travel plans, and resolve issues that develop. Bill is involved and concerned, but for the most part he just shows up when and where I tell him and does as I say.

Good husband.

Its not as if Bill doesn’t do anything. He does one BIG thing in that tiny little cup to contribute to the cause. He also cut way back on drinking from August until November to get his swimmers in tip top shape. During that time he remembered to take his supplements most days. Yes, I often laid them out for him and had to remind him but that’s okay. That’s what I do. Our beautiful Christmas cards would never  go out if I left it up to Bill, just like he wouldn’t remember to take supplements on his own. It is what our family unit needs to work.

Bill’s real work begins after the transfer when he morphs into the most caring man on the planet. He takes care of me while I am on bed rest for two whole days. He waits on me hand and foot and scolds me if I break the rules. While we are in our 9 day wait he becomes Spork’s primary caregiver since I am not supposed to lift more than 10 pounds. This means he changes all the dirty diapers, plays with her, feeds her, washes her, dresses her, puts her to bed, and takes her to and from daycare. He becomes a single parent of two for those nine days.

But for the most part, during the long months of preparation, its all on me.

Little problems arise every now and again from this arrangement. I haven’t ingested a smidgeon of alcohol, gluten, or caffeine since the beginning of this cycle. So when Friday night comes after a long week at work and I hear him crack open a beer jealousy envelopes me and begins to fester. When I sit for nearly two hours in the parking lot at work because the FedEx truck didn’t make it there with my Lupron before we closed, I become aggravated that I am there alone. When Bill accidentally wakes me up at 5 AM while he is getting ready for CrossFit, I am ready to wallop him because not only do I want to sleep off the effects of the meds I am taking, I also would love to be able to go to CrossFit.

I know I am not alone. This is a common issue among the fertility challenged that threatens marital bliss. And why wouldn’t it be?

Take any woman. Give her nearly all the responsibility for something of great magnitude that will equally benefit her husband. Make sure her husband needs to do almost nothing to support the process. Just for fun, throw in some hormone induced mood swings. What you have are all the ingredients needed to fuel a marital Battle Royale.

Largely, the responsibility of fixing this imbalance rests with me. I am in this alone because as a classic control freak I don’t ask enough of Bill in the process. I worked to begin to change that with our last cycle. It is not that he doesn’t want the responsibility, its that he needs to know how to help and even when he tries I often don’t let him.

I inject my medications myself and always have , even the difficult and painful intramuscular injections in my hips. We started out with good intentions of Bill doing this part, but I travel often enough for work that I had no choice but to learn to do it myself. Once I was comfortable going it alone I stopped asking him to help. Why should I wake him or distract him from what he is doing?

In our last cycle, he gave me all the shots he could. It was a way for both of us to feel like we were actively doing something. It allowed us to feel more connected to each other in our quest to make a baby. I changed other behaviors as well. When we had the little snafu with the Lupron delivery, Bill called the pharmacy for the tracking number and information to help us work through the issue and find the errant driver. In the past I would have taken care of it myself only to become annoyed with Bill later when he didn’t display enough sympathy during my post-problem rant.

This cycle, I am recognizing that while his efforts in the process are less life altering and painful, they are still there and a necessary part of our success. I am consciously asking for more from him when I have a bad day or don’t feel well. He will continue to be my own personal phlebotomist and problem resolution department.

My goal is to change my perspective and bring a little balance into the process. Perhaps by doing this we will avoid our historical estrogen fueled battle and bring about some good luck that will break our current IVF losing streak. In the end, we are in this together and I couldn’t do it without him, even if I almost could. Almost.

The truth is we needed what was in that little cup back in November to make this happen. But even more essential, I need him to grab his shovel and dig me out when infertility dumps its worst on us. He is always there with his calloused hands and his quiet strength to save us from the heavy, cold, worst of it.

Please watch for the debut of “His Perspective” tomorrow. Bill’s will publish his first blog post, yet another way he supports us in our battle with Infertility.

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A Subtle Change of Theme

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Image: Opus Moreschi via Flickr

The self-discovery I experience as a result of IVF never ceases. When I began this blog, I had every intention of posting something humorous about infertility every day. I vowed to readers I wouldn’t complain. I promised to not provide gory details of ultrasounds and other tests. And above all I promised no pity parties or rants. My goal was to bring a little levity to an otherwise heavy topic while also reminding myself to stay positive and laugh.

What was I thinking?

Positivity and humor are still great goals and I am not planning to dive head first off the deep end, but I am only on day two of estrogen and I am already throwing in the towel on trying to be funny every day. I don’t know how I forgot about the effects of that nasty lupron and estrogen cocktail. It’s like having a never-ending hang over. The headaches are constant and pounding. Fatigue has wracked my body. The moodiness is already wickedly bad.

The scary thing is that it is only just beginning. I am wearing only one estrogen patch at this stage in my cycle. By the time I fly out west to reunite with my long lost embryo I will be wearing four patches. Tears will be flowing and fights will be picked. I know myself and my body and its inevitable. Comedy writing on a daily basis is not in the cards.

You can already see the effects of the drugs in my writing. My posts have grown longer and just a wee bit darker as the injections have worn on and the patch was added. What I am learning is that there are just times when I am not a funny person. There are times when I barely feel like a person at all.

Freaking out and worrying are also tell tale signs of successful progression in an IVF cycle that are sure to make humor elusive. Yesterday I was convinced I hadn’t shed my old lining and that I shouldn’t start my patches until I did. I pleaded for an ultrasound to confirm that it was gone and I was getting a fresh start on developing fertile ground for implantation. As expected the ultrasound was fine. Despite the good news, I still dialed up my clinic twice today for no good reason to ask a couple of questions that don’t really need answers until March, if ever.

The questions were about the odds of success of our lone embryo. The doctor already told us the embryo had about a 35% chance of making it to a real life baby. But yesterday I spent some time with Dr. Google, never a good idea, and began wondering what factors went into the creation of that number. Did the doctor take into consideration that the embryo had to be thawed and retested because the first genetic test was inconclusive? What are the impacts of an extra thaw and biopsy on our delicate embryo? What are the odds that we will get all the way to our clinic and the embryo won’t survive the warming process?

I pestered my clinic with these questions even though I laid in bed late into the night last night reminding myself that the answers are irrelevant. The clinic has a 95% survival rate for thawed embryos. And even if the odds were lower, its not as if we aren’t going to go through with the transfer.  What would this information change? Nothing good can come from this knowledge. I have already been meditating on the only statistics that matter, my very own 100% success rate. I visualize a SART data report with my name on it and in every column my results are 100%. Why would I want to mess with that image and its mojo by finding out what some doctor thinks?

One word, hormones. Hormones make the sane insane. They make the intelligent foolish. They make the happy sad. And above all else they make the confident worried. I don’t like worried.

Worry is a meditation on shit.

Worry and hormones aside, there is another reason that I am having troubling channeling my inner comedian.

The real self-discovery has been that its not only that I am not always capable of humor, I have also discovered that I want to try a variety of types of writing. I don’t just want to tell cute stories about IVF, I want to pour my heart and soul out on a page and see what it looks like in black and white. I want to hear my emotions and deepest thoughts roll of the tongue of the voice in my mind. I want the therapeutic jolt of liberation I feel when I hit publish on something I have created. The writing process won’t allow me to limit my life to one genre.

With all this in mind, I made a little change to the Laughter Through Tears subtitle today. Yesterday it read “for those in search of the lighter side of infertility.” Today its simply “In search of the lighter side of infertility.” It’s a subtle change, but its recognition that I can’t promise anyone levity every day, especially not myself. I can’t always be funny and witty. However I will commit to always being in search of the lighter side. For you and for me.

Waiting- Part 2

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Image: Victoria Pickering via Flickr

Ahhhh…. waiting. If you battle infertility you know a thing or two about waiting. Waiting- Part One detailed the many milestones a couple must pass in the quest to become parents through IVF. The type of waiting discussed in Part One is a tactical type of waiting. One procedure, medication, or result leads to another, then time passes and its time for another, then yet another. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. You wish you could sleep through all the steps and just wake up blissfully pregnant. This type of waiting is torturous, but worse exists.

This worse type of waiting is on a higher level, its more big picture. Let’s call it a strategic sort of waiting, even though that word feels too business like to describe it. For the couple that does not have a child of their own and desperately wants one it can feel like they are waiting for the life they were meant to live to begin. At least that is how we felt.

During the years we were trying to conceive Spork, I distinctly remember feeling like life was on hold. I could see what our life could be like, what kind of parents we would be, how much fun we would have. But we didn’t have our child and weren’t sure that we ever would. We were reasonably happy, but something crucial was missing in our lives. There was a giant void sitting between us as we drank wine and watched movies together, threatening to suck us in forever.

I know we did more than drink wine and watch movies back then, in fact for a large chunk of time I didn’t drink at all. We were extremely active and on the surface must have seemed to be completely content. We trained for and ran a marathon together. We travelled. We sailed and motor boated all over Northern Michigan. We entertained. We developed successful careers.

However when I think about that time, I remember it as a few years of sitting around, barely talking, drinking wine and waiting. I felt as though our lives, our marriage, lacked purpose and that if we could just have a baby our life could be vibrant and full in a way I felt it may never be without a child.

We are lucky, we came out of the holding pattern and our life is exactly what I had envisioned. I am confident that many couples who don’t succeed in having a baby also find purpose and happiness. Perhaps not all couples, but many. Likewise, not all couples that do have children find what they are seeking. Ultimately it is all about moving beyond infertility and its hold on you either through having a baby through some means or through accepting a life that is childless and discovering fulfillment and purpose within that life. For healing to begin, with or without a child, it is important for this waiting to end.

Interestingly, my experience in the quest for baby number two has taught me about a new kind of waiting. Please understand, I want so much to once again be pregnant. Other than the health and wellness of Bill and Spork, there is nothing in this world I want more than another baby. However there is a growing part of me that also just wants to get beyond all this. More and more I find myself eagerly waiting to start my life again. Not just our life. My life.

I thought about this while running my three measly little miles on Sunday morning. I am itching to go long, to train for distance again. But logging double digit miles is not particularly good for building life sustaining fat stores. Oh how I miss my running and exercise. As much as I tease Bill about being a member of the cult of CrossFit, I long to join in the fun and get tone again. Not female body builder ripped, I just want to see my abs and have a little definition in my arms and legs.

My desires go beyond exercise and vanity. I fantasize about having a cup of coffee, some chocolate, or a glass of wine when I want without having to worry about how it will affect my uterus or ovaries. I dream about waking up in the morning on a weekend whenever I feel like it, not to an alarm set for a shot that has to be taken at just the right time.

My most profound and clear vision of the future involves me being free from infertility and able to be fully available to my family. I want to feel good again, not always affected by some hormone or another. I need to have energy again so I can completely enjoy the daughter and husband I have. Hopefully I will need even more of that energy to take care of a fourth member of the family when all this is behind us.

Sometimes I worry that allowing this longing for the future me is sending a message to the universe that I don’t really want to be pregnant and that maybe the universe is listening and giving me what I want. I have to believe, however, that is the universe is indeed paying attention, it understands and it hears my cries to experience motherhood just one more time.  It is possible to want a baby and a life after babies at the same time. I do.

All of this waiting has taught me the importance of enjoying the moment and being fully present in the now. I have been doing a lot of work with being mindful and it has been rewarding. When I eat lunch, I eat lunch and pay attention to the flavors and colors of my food. I put my phone away and take a moment to breathe. When I am driving I take in the scenery around me and experience the trip, rather than multitasking. When I am with someone I focus on them, not what I have to say or do next. I only check email twice a day so I can interact with people at work on the phone or in person and have real experiences. When I am home, I engage in activities with my daughter and husband. Or at least I try to do all these things and its helping me get more out of all areas of my life.

If life had a fast forward button before we were blessed with Spork, I probably would have used it, even if it meant losing precious time and life experiences. While its tempting now to wish my life away so I can make it to that next step, I can’t do that. My little girl is already growing up too fast and I don’t want to miss a moment of her precious childhood.

So I will be patient and I will suck every bit of goodness out of this time that I am in right now. Its something I wish I would have understood back when I was waiting for Spork. I can only hope that this story may help one person try to find the joy in life, marriage, friendships, and work that exists even before you have a baby. It was always there for me, I just couldn’t see it through the blinding light of my burning desire.