Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Journey Continues

It's been well over a year since I've updated here. I suppose I needed time away from the whole process.  Since that time several things have transpired with respect to Project Bambino:

(1) I did one more medicated IUI (failed);
(2) I found an egg donor; and
(3) I have reverted back to being just friends with Mr. D. 

In my professional life, I Line Produced a very large project last summer and Production Supervised 2 other studio-type (yet still low budget) projects.  For 7 straight months, from April through November, I was working 14+ hour days doing work I love.  I really did savor every minute of immersing myself in that world, though by the end I was physically and mentally quite exhausted. Luckily now I am back working as a contract attorney in a law firm, in an "easy" 40-hour a week job. It has been a nice break actually (though I am already looking for new film type opportunities as I am getting antsy to get back in).

The truth is, I was happy to be so busy and have a break from thinking about Bambino for the better part of a year.  I needed to get out of my own head.

That said, the major reason I have taken a break is that I am still paying off a butt load of debt related to my failed IVFs and IUIs (and will be for years).  The straw broke on that poor camel's back and I just couldn't do it any longer.  I still want to proceed but am feeling more financially insecure than ever and with the distance of time am feeling like the whole things is harder to justify.  Even if I were to scrape up enough money and credit (approx $25k) to do IVF with an egg donor, I don't know how I would pay for pregnancy, childbirth and everything involved in child rearing. I guess I'm starting to believe what my father told me, which is that having a baby at my age and in my financial position would be selfish and irresponsible. 


I know that I want kids.  It is one of the only things I have always known.  Dogs and kids.  I'm now 42 (and a half!) years old. To do it, I need to act now. Time is not on my side. Even though I will be using an egg donor, age matters. I don't want to be too old to rear a child. My mother died at 56. I was 29 years old at the time, and thought I was way too young to lose a parent. I wouldn't want a child of mine to have to face that early in life, especially without having a 2nd parent. 

What I would ideally like is to find another woman or couple who is looking for an egg donor, and share eggs with them, thus splitting the costs.  I have told my RE and OBGYN to keep an eye out, but so far no luck. I even posted online ads and tried to spread the word. 

I found the most perfect egg donor.  She's smart, musically talented, pretty and just adorable.  I constantly worry that she'll change her mind, since it is so much to ask of someone.  But we have stayed in touch for over a year so I'm hoping it will happen. 

Ultimately, if it happens I know my life will change and I know it will be hard, and yes I am still as scared as ever.  How this will all transpire, if at all, I have no clue.  But I'm just here to let the world know that my journey continues.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tough Times

Note - I wrote this post back in mid-November, just before Thanksgiving, but was too scared to post it until now.  After things got progressively worse over Thanksgiving, I started to come out of the fog in December and am definitely feeling more like myself. So, no need to worry about me - I will be OK. Just wanted to get this out there.

So I appear to be having some sort of mini breakdown.  I think the whole of this past year is starting to become a reality and it is weighing on me very heavily.  Also, today is the 12th anniversary of the day my mom passed away.  So, tough times.

I love Thanksgiving and every year my family (my dad, his wife and their kids) all go up to the mountains where they have a cozy cabin.  I love it up in the mountains, especially the cold, fresh air.  But this year I have ben dreading the trip.  I think it's because last year I had just started TTC and really thought that by this time around I would have a baby on my hip or at least in my belly.  Whenever I spend time up there I feel like the spinster older brothers are in their teens and they have their friends and their own social life....and my dad and his wife's friends all have kids who go to private school and are on the ski I really have nothing to say to these people.  Plus, and this may seem paranoid, but I always feel like these people wonder what I am doing there - I mean, why doesn't this 41 year old woman have her own family? Or even a husband? Whether or not they think that, who knows, but I know I feel extremely self-conscious about it.  I am not one of the kids but I don't fit in with the adults, and I end up feeling pretty isolated when I'm there.  I just really had hoped that this year I would have my own family to bring.  But alas it did not happen that way.

There are some other family strains as well (ie my relationship with my father and his reaction to my TTC efforts, plus the entire family's strong negativity towards my dog, who they do not let me bring) which have made me nervous about being trapped in a house with them for 5 days.  It's a good sized house but we do all share bedrooms and there really is no privacy. 

Add to this my extreme stress about money, my anxiety about not being able to get a real job, and my huge disappointment with the two failed IVFs and multiple failed IUIs this year, and let's just say I'm not in a good headspace.

But it's wierd, up until yesterday I was able to handle all this stuff.  During work yesterday I felt really strange - very jittery, and on the verge of tears all day.  In retrospect I was working myself up to something.  Then last night I was walking the dog, when I decided to sit on the sidewalk for a moment to just breathe in the fresh night air.  It was a nice moment, just me and the dog hanging out, until a guy with two yellow labs walked up to their car about 20 feet away from me.  The labs were distracted by my dog and the man politely asked me to move my dog out of the way so that he could get his dogs into the car without them going crazy.  He wasn't really rude about it but for some reason I just burst into tears.  It's like my whole life came crashing down in that tiny moment.  Suddenly I was crying for all my failures and telling myself that my whole life has just gone so wrong.  I know, it is very random and I'm sure a sign of clinical depression.  As the night progressed, there was more crying and I developed a headache. I even went to the store to buy some ginger ale since I was starting to feel nauseous.  Then, around 11pm, I started throwing up.  For years I had an unnatural phobia of throwing up, so obviously this was scary and upsetting. 

I didn't sleep much last night but I did hope that I would feel better today. No such luck. I keep thinking I feel ok then I will randomly burst into tears. I told my family that I can't go up to the mountains today - the thought of being trapped as a passenger in a packed car for 6+ hours really scares me today. The thought of leaving my dog scares me. Basically I am just a mess and can't get it together today. 

I am going to borrow a friend's car starting tomorrow night and drive up to the mountains then.  I feel better knowing I will have my own transportation. I have been car-less since the summer and for the most part it hasn't been terrible, but it is really starting to get to me. I hate feeling so trapped and dependent on other people to go anywhere. 

So I realize that what I am describing is probably clinical depression, but I also know that it is situational in nature. I am trying like crazy to change my life and "fix" my situation but I have been hitting my head against a brick wall when it comes to finances, career and bambino, so it is frustrating to say the least. 

I am hoping to get a good night's sleep tonight. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Interview That Wouldn't End

I had an interview this morning for a job which I am only marginally interested in.  In fact, the job itself sounds pretty tedious, and it is located in Santa Monica, which would make my commute about an hour each way.  The reasons I would consider it are: (a) they are very dog friendly, which means I could have my dog with me all day every day, and (b) I need a more stable job with benefits if I am serious about becoming a mama.  So, I rented myself a zipcar and drove to Santa Monica for what I thought would be a simple 30-60 minute interview.

I get there and begin the interview with a young attorney.  In fairness he does warn me that he has a lot of questions for me.  However, I am totally baffled by the inanity of most of the questions. Here is a sampling:

1.  Looking back to the time up through high school (HIGH SCHOOL!), tell me who was most influential on your life.
2.  What did you like about high school?
3.  What did you not like about high school?
4.  What were your career ambitions when you were in high school? [SERIOUSLY, I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL 22 YEARS AGO, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING]
5.  Same questions repeated for college and law school.
6.  With respect to your first job out of law school, what did you like most about it?
7.  What did you like least?
8.  What were the strengths of your supervisors at that firm?
9.  What were the weaknesses of your supervisors at that firm?
10.  What were your strengths at that job?
11.  What were your weaknesses at that job?
12.  What was your starting salary at that job? Ending salary?
13. Repeat same questions regarding every job I've had since then.
14.  What are you most interested in about our company?

And on and on and on.  That conversation lasted at least 45 minutes. 

Then I met with the head legal guy, who was really nice and talked to me like a normal human being, though he was relatively long winded.  At this point I was getting nervous about the time because I had to return the zipcar by 11:30 and still had an hour's drive to get to the return spot. 

The kicker was that at the end of that conversation, he put me in a room by myself and made me review and revise a contract for 30 minutes as a "test" of my abilities.  WOW, this is one serious mother-effing interview.  At this point I finally looked at the time and it was 11:23am.  I realized I would be late returning the zipcar but I didn't want to whip out my phone and call them in front of everyone. 

Long story short about the zipcar, I returned it an hour and a half late, and spent almost $100 (including the late fee) on it.  And I didn't get to work until after 1pm.....all for a job that I really don't want but kind of need.

I don't know why, but the "test" really annoyed me.  I understand why they did it, but honestly I was caught pretty off-guard about how intense this process would be - it's a first interview after all, from a job listing on career builder.  When I left I was panicked about the car thing and annoyed at the length of it all and the inanity of the questions about high school.  C'mon, you can tell from my resume that I'm over 40 - can't you at least try to tailor your questions to my experience since law school?

The good news is that I feel like I have done something on my list for today.  I am continuing to get out into the world, meet new people and have non-ttc experiences.  And that is worth something to me right now. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Coming Out of the Haze

So for all those who read my last blog entry, I wholeheartedly apologize.  Wow, I really take first prize in the "feeling most sorry for myself" contest.   But, I'm forcing myself to climb out of the hole.  I have even tackled one or two things from my "improve my life" list.

I have been hiking every week, which I absolutely love. Nothing makes me calmer or more content than walking with my dog through a cool, breezy mountain under the stars with my hiking group.  I have half-heartedly gotten back online, and even have a coffee date scheduled for this week.  I haven't been so good about staying off the internet but hey, one day at a time.  I'm still job hunting but am also grateful to even have this dead-end temp job, so I will stop complaining about that as well. 

I had a pumpkin carving party at my house on the day before Halloween.  It was good to be with family and friends for a few hours and not talk about myself at all.  We had contest for cutest pumpkin, scariest pumpkin and most creative pumpkin.  I am still working my way through all the candy and pumpkin seeds. 

OK so my guests didn't get quite as advanced as this, but we all still smiled real big!

This weekend I went to a friend's birthday party at the horse races in Santa Anita, which was super fun.  We got all dolled up and had a great time. I didn't know any of the guests beforehand but it didn't matter.  We all placed our $2 bets and had a blast.  We even got to meet one of the horse owners and watch a horse get saddled up for his race.  Man, those jockeys are TINY! I always knew they were small but I had no idea how small you really have to be to be a jockey. 

Bugle Serenade at the Races

So, slowly but surely, I am making my way back into the world.  Some days I do sink back into the woe-is-me moods, but I find ways to console myself, like by watching a good movie or reading a good book or walking my dog. 

I still have a long way to go, and am not even sure where I am going, but I am hoping to get there eventually. 

Super Dog on Halloween

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time for Change

Well, IVF#2 was a big, fat, failure. 

What can I say? I have tried everything under the sun, and put my life on complete hold for two years (!) and have nothing to show for it.  In fact I have LESS than I did two years ago.  I have no car, and I'm stuck in a dead-end temp legal job. I haven't made a movie in a year and a half.  I have no savings, not even a 401(k).  I am still single and childless.

So things are pretty bleak.

I gave myself a bit of time to let it sink in, but it only made me feel worse. I haven't been talking to friends about it because when I do I realize how pathetic it all really sounds, and I don't need people feeling sorry for me or taking pity on me anymore than they already are.  Plus, talking about it just makes me sadder.

So, while I will continue to do an IUI or two when I can afford it (dr. gives that a 1-2% chance of working) and may continue to try the old fashioned way, the big guns are over for now. 

I am going to spend the rest of this year trying to turn the rest of my life around. 

I made a list of things to do to change my life:

1.  Focus on career - find an in-house legal job at a production company/studio, or find another film(s) to work on as producer/line producer. Or start my own entertainment law practice at home.
2.  Spend less time on Facebook and gossip web sites.
3.  Watch less tv.
4.  Lose 5-8 pounds, and hike at least once per week.
5.  Get finances in order - pay down credit card debt, put together a realistic budget for single life and life with baby.
6.  Get a car.
7.  Start dating again
8.  Begin therapy when I can afford it. 
9. Work on envy/jealousy issues (see therapy, above).
10.  Figure out a way to have a baby.

My goal is to make sure to do at least 1-2 of these things every day, and keep track of them.  For yesterday, I watched less television, and I got a potential new legal client for a small project.  Unfortunately I also ate a half a can of chocolate frosting for dinner, so that wasn't so good.  Baby steps. Wow, did I really just write that?  It's like I'm torturing myself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fake Out or Flip Out or Nod Out? 11dp6dt

Since my last post I went through another round of IVF with my own eggs.  I re-tested my hormone levels and they were much better (still not "normal" but not nearly as psychotic as before).  Inhibin B was 46 (should be greater than 45), FSH was 11 (should be below 10, but this is obviously way better than 17), and my antral follicle count was 12, which is higher than it has ever been before.  My doctor told me that egg donation still gives me the best chance but if I were his wife he would have her go for it based on my AFC.  He called it a hunch and I started injectibles that day. 

I produced 5 eggs - 1 excellent quality, 2 good quality and 2 poor.  The first 3 fertilized. Egg #4 (the poor one) developed a polar body on Day 2 so we fertilized it as well, and it divided.  In the end, 1 egg made it to blastocyst on Day 6 and poor old #4 made it to Day 5.  The others didn't make it.  We implanted #s 1 and 4 11 days ago.  I go in for my beta tomorrow.

I am totally flipped out.  Last Friday I started having the kind of cramping I get when my period was about to start, and I spent the night a weepy mess, thinking it was all over. Then over the weekend I started to convince myself that the continued cramping could be a positive sign, not a negative one (based on some very unscientific internet research).  My boobs are also super tender but that could be a result of the progesterone and/or estrogen I'm on.  Basically my "symptoms" are faking me out. 

When I was in summer camp growing up, our Olympic Games always came on the 8th week of camp. We knew within a few days when it would start - but the counselors almost always staged at least one Fake Out before the real Break Out.  We were all on pins and needles for days, not knowing if this would be the day it all started, or if we would just get all excited for no reason. 

This sort of feels like that.  Except that I couldn't play sports and wasn't competitve, so I actually preferred the Fake Outs to the Breakouts, since I preferred regular camp life to Olympic Camp Life.

Ironic, huh.

I am just so terrified of bad news tomorrow.  I have let my guard down a bit and gotten my hopes up that these symptoms mean I could be pregnant.  I have even started to fantasize about telling people around Christmastime.  I normally don't even let myself go there.  These symptoms have really messed with my head this time around.

If it's bad news I will need to seriously face the music that it is over.  I don't know how I"m going to process it.  I do know that I will need to get back in shape and get more serious about moving my career along.  I'm going to have to make those 2 things my top priority, and put baby making on a backburner or maybe even pack it away forever.  I'm so not ready to do that, but I am out of money and there really is no other way to keep trying, unless I go back to trying the old-fashioned way with Mr. D.  Maybe I'll do that.  My doctor tells me there's a less than 1% chance but I suppose it's better than zero percent.

I'm just really scared. I can't think straight. I had what almost amounted to an anxiety attack today at work.  I can't concentrate. I just keep playing computer games to try to stay busy, since I know that productivity is gone until at least Thursday. 

I'm wondering if I should take tomorrow afternoon off if I get bad news.  Maybe take a drive out to the beach with my dog, or go on a long hike. But I know I won't do it.  I'll probably just sit in my office and cry, feel sorry for myself and sulk.

But I write all of this and I still hope, I pray, I wish, I BEG, for the news to be positive. 

I know I could have tested at home starting several days ago, but I just don't want to be the bearer of my own bad news.

I just don't know how many defeats I can face.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An Unlikely Affair

It appears that I am having an affair with the father of my future child.  I suppose there's not too many people out there who would call this circumstance unusual, but in my very odd and sometimes backwards life, this was not part of the plan.

For those of you who know me in person and/or think of me as an asexual being, you might want to skip this post.  Also this post is really long so apologies to those with short attention spans. Finally, it'd be great if whoever reads this refrains from judging me or Mr. D.  Thanks :-)

It all started back in June, after my failed IVF.  My Donor (Mr. D -trying out that nickname) suggested we try things the natural way before I go and blow another $20k on more treatments.  I hesitated.  We've known each other for a year but had never been intimate in any way, nor did we really think of each other in those terms (at least I didn't).  We had in the past tried a very awkward at-home insemination at his office using a cup and needle less syringe. When it came to June, though, he balked at doing it that way again.  Sort of like a guy who complains about having to use a condom (they take away all the sensation!), he complained about having to do the deed into a cup (it's so clinical and impersonal!).  After only a small amount of encouragement, I agreed to go forth and multiply the natural, old-fashioned way. 

When I arrived for our first official skin to skin contact session, I was a nervous wreck (who wouldn't be?).  I always thought of him as good looking and kind, but I just didn't ever allow myself to think of him in a sexual way, because we had this very businesslike contract and quite a bit at stake for the future.  Add to this the fact that (a) I hadn't had sex in over two years (!), (b) he was involved with someone else (more on that in a minute), (c) everyone knows that sex complicates things, and (d) if things went bad I would lose my potential Baby Daddy, and I was understandably terrified.  Although I don't drink at all, I immediately took him up on an offer for a drink, and we went to a nearby watering hole where I drank half a glass of red wine and felt flushed and relaxed within minutes.  Within a half hour after that, we were back at his office where he had set up music and candles.  I let him initiate because I was frankly too freaked out - I mean, were we supposed to kiss? Should there be foreplay and if so, how much? Is this something we should enjoy and make tender or is it something much more businesslike?

Luckily he took very nice care of me and made it as easy, warm and as comfortable as possible given the awkward circumstances.  He started with a big bear hug which led to a kiss and so on and so on.  As he wrote me later, it was a very sweet and tender moment with a good purpose.

I left that day feeling more connected to him but still in a non-romantic way.  When I got my BFN from that cycle, I started thinking about trying again.  On my 2nd trip up, he got us a hotel room next to the airport where we frolicked with more ease and comfort than before.  However, he told me that he was having problems at home because his girlfriend suspected something was up. 

This was obviously a huge issue for both of us but obviously more so for him.  When he first suggested sleeping together many months back, we were both single but I declined and said it was better, safer and overall healthier if we went through doctors.  But when he suggested it in June, I was at the end of my rope with all the failures of IUIs and IVFs and decided it was time to give it a go.  However, by then he was seeing another woman.  She knew of my existence and the IVF attempt and understandably wasn't happy about any of it. She apparently had been so upset before my IVF that she couldn't sleep for 2 weeks.  I know for sure that she felt threatened by me, and frankly I felt threatened by her, not because of any romantic interest in her boyfriend, but because she might convince him to back out of our arrangement. 

So before we slept together, I was in a moral quandry about what to do. I admit that I was blinded by my desperation from all my BFNs and probably did not use good judgment, and I am not proud of what I did.  But at the time I felt that I HAD to do it.  We discussed whether he would tell her and ultimately he decided not to.  He repeatedly assured me that whatever happens is his responsibility 100% and I would not be to blame.  I think he knew in the back of his mind that he was not fully committed to this woman, and being with me was a way to face that for himself. 

Back to that hotel room in July.  He told me that she must have read his emails that morning because he sensed she knew I was coming to town.  He knew there would be trouble waiting for him at home that night and was starting to take more serious stock in what was happening with their relationship.  I kept my distance for a while and ultimately it appears she decided to overlook her suspicions.

At that point I would say that our physical chemistry was good and we were definitely growing closer. When I got my BFN that month, I have to admit I was actually looking forward to going up there again to see him.

It's the third time that changed things for me.  This time I actually drove up north, and got to his office at around 9pm. Let me tell you, this time our chemistry was sizzling hot.  There was no small talk, no awkward exchanges.  We just got right to the point.  When I jokingly asked him "how was your day?" as we were getting dressed, he told me that he thought the girlfriend hired a private investigator or was otherwise spying on him, because she seemed to know again that I was coming to town, even though we had only made the arrangements earlier that same day.  He seemed to sense that he was in big trouble and that the end was near with her. 

I stayed with a friend in the city that night, and the next day, after my morning romp with Mr. D, we went to get coffee and something inside me changed.  At that moment, it occurred to me that I was starting to have actual real feelings for him.  Suddenly I didn't understand why I never let myself go there mentally before.  I mean, we had a million things in common, got along really well, had great chemistry, and were already trying for a bambino.  It also occurred to me that for the first time, I was feeling more than just threatened by the girlfriend. I was feeling jealous of her. And I was secretly hoping she did know about us so that she would break up with him.  I was also feeling like a home wrecker, which made me feel a bizarre combination of guilt, mortification and giddiness. 

Luckily these feelings began to fade within a few days, and I decided that I must have just been caught up in the moment of the sex, the secrecy and the uniqueness of our situation. 

About two weeks later I found out that he and the girlfriend did in fact break up.  He reassured me that I was not to blame, that it was 100% his fault, and that he has learned a lot about himself and what he wants from this experience.  I was relieved, not just that they broke up but that I was absolved from blame.  Mostly, though, I was relieved that I would not be competing for his sperm anymore, in the sense that I want to be the only Baby Mama out there until my bambino comes along.

The most devastating day for me in this whole TTC process came less than 2 weeks ago, when my RE told me about my very bad hormone levels, and suggested that I look into donor eggs.  As I've written in prior blog posts, this news hit me so incredibly hard and touched on all sorts of issues relating to my parents and my life.  When I reached out to Mr. D, he couldn't have been sweeter.  This prompted some emails and phone calls where we decided to go on a little getaway together.  Even though my RE told me that I would have less than a 1% chance of conceiving naturally, we decided to pretend otherwise and just get away together.  He was going to fly his plane down the coast and I was going to drive up, and we would meet in the middle.

I was really looking forward to the getaway.  My friends all noted that this story is turning into a romantic comedy of epic proportions, and I started to let myself get excited of the possibility of a real romantic connection between me and my newly single sperm donor. 

We did in fact meet up this past weekend, and though it was lovely in some ways, I realize that trying to turn us into a couple is like putting a square peg into a round hole - it just doesn't fit.  I'm not sure I can pinpoint exactly what it is, but we just don't have a romantic connection in that way.  Maybe the expectations were too high, or the girlfriend breakup is too fresh, or more likely, it just isn't meant to be.  That's not to say that things are ending (whatever "things" are), but ultimately I know in my heart that this is not going to be some fairy tale ending of us living happily ever in a big house with a bambino and a great love. 

In fact I admit that I came back from the trip a little bit depressed.  It's that old saying "a taste of honey's worse than none at all."  All this time I've been single and absolutely fine with that. But now I've gotten a little tiny taste of intimacy, and realize how much I am missing it in my life and how much I want to find it with someone I truly connect with.  I know it will ultimately be up to me to try to find that in my life, and although now is definitely not the time for me, I hope that the future will allow me a bigger taste of romantic love that even finds its way to a fairytale happy ending.

And that's where things stand in my convoluted world of romance and bambino making. Stay tuned for the next chapter.

Pismo Beach.