Fumbling Towards Here

I don’t know

Posted by dakota on August 13, 2008

It has been hard to write and organize my thoughts. Last week we decided on a very high drug complex plan of action that will involve mulberry freezing her embryos first then us both going through a process for a fresh transfer of my embryos to her. Then we found out mulberry has asthma, and a continued mystery swelling of her ankles. Doctor says might be just a bit of weight gain but we are not sure. She’s on birth control pills while we are waiting for our two insurance companies to reject and accept whatever parts they will. I know she is afraid of the drugs related to IVF. I am too, especially since we won’t know what new symptoms will arise from them. I know how much she wants the experience of pregnancy. I keep coming back to wondering whether this really is the right thing for her–trying to carry my embryos. She hasn’t been diagnosed with anything negative regarding her fertility, and we’ve only tried once to get her pregnant less invasively. Oh.

When we were in the RE’s office discussing our options back in June and got to the part where mulberry would carry, I started to cry and blurted out that it may not be fair for mulberry to do MY heavy lifting. When the RE asked me whether her husband had allowed her to do the heavy lifting when they had their child, I said yes. Yes he had. As a feminist, I feel that he and we all betta recognize as they say in the neighborhood. Women do an incredible thing (risk our own lives really) bringing life into the world.

I can’t finish these thoughts yet. I feel suspended and surreal and sad today. U2 is on the radio I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Which has been followed by Ohio Players Rollercoaster. I am ovulating too. Another twelve-hour work day awaits.

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Posted in doubts, insurance, waiting | 2 Comments »

haiku allergy prayer #1

Posted by dakota on August 6, 2008

goddess please help me
not remain a lezzie who
achoos coos for cats

Edit Note: I welcome anyone’s haiku prayer for the day/week. The structure is three lines with five syllables in the first, seven in the second, and five for the last. Give it a try? Would love to hear whatever/angry/hopeful/whimsical. xxoD.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Crossing Borders

Posted by dakota on August 1, 2008

We still have the kittens. Given my allergies, our lives now involve a lot of costume changes, special baths, air purifiers, and constant hand washing as we cross the borders between kitten land and the allergen free zone. But then of course there is all that delicious purring, playing, protecting us from water bugs and the scientific fact that they are just so damn cute. Anyway, back to business.

I am heterozygous for the MTHFR gene. All the bloggers are right. There really is no way to look at that without thinking I’ve got a cursed little mothafu… well you know, gene. Thank you so much for your comments to my last post. Your questions prompted me to refer back to my lab reports. I’ve read that many people are heterozygous for this gene (some statistics state as high as 50%) but I don’t have my anti-phospholipid antibody numbers at hand nor do I know the statistical mix with my hypothyroidism. Although I have been taking vegetarian prenatal vitamins which contain 1 full gram of folate and 200 mcg of selenium for a while now, with exception of the folate, no one has ever specifically recommended any particular dosages of vitamin supplements to me. I was surprised to read on the internet how much these may be essential to managing my condition.


[This is very unusual for me. I am generally quite anal about getting all the background material on all things of interest. On parenting mulberry says that she will probably be scary mom (the-if-you-even-get-in-the-same-room-with-drugs-I-will-kill-you mom) and I’ll be information mom (the-let-me give-you-a-five-part-audio-visual-series-lecture-with-a-field -trip-on-why-drugs-are-bad-for-you-mom). But I digress.]
Our last IUI try in April involved aspirin and later Lovenox and progesterone supplements. Our reproductive endocrinologist kept insisting that the best time to start Lovenox would be with a positive pregnancy test. Both mulberry and I thought that may be too late. It took a while for our doctor to agree that it wouldn’t do any harm to take the aspirin at the beginning of my cycle. After insemination our week one progesterone result number was good, therefore no supplements were recommended. The next week we had a positive pregnancy result but low progesterone levels–that is when we began the suppositories. It was a difficult few days because at the time we didn’t know which way the pregnancy was going.

Mulberry and I are a bit back to the drawing board so to speak on how to start the next cycle. I’ve read that if I tried the complete IVF myself and was successful, my condition predicates an elevated risk to possible problems in the last trimester. One is that there may ostensibly be more preeclampsia result for women like me. We still don’t know how to get sync’d up if we go the route of mulberry not taking any initial drugs and then taking my biological embryos. This weekend we are going to make a chart of all the options we are considering and send more questions to the RE on what it will take to get us there. Mulberry is patiently/impatiently ready to get started again. I want to get on with it again too. We both just want to consider more fully what may give us our best chance. The million dollar answer.

Posted in ivf, last IUI Dakota, MTHFR, next step? sync, vitamins | 2 Comments »

kittens, embryos, and next steps

Posted by dakota on July 29, 2008

So my sweetheart has been back for a few days now (happyhappyhappy) and we still have these beautiful kittens in our home. I am on allergy pills and Shenandoah and I took them to a vet yesterday. The little grey and white one has an eye infection that will take about a week to fully heal. The blond one is just a cute, curious little scaredy cat. They have such sweet rambunctious spirits, it is almost like having two children in the house. We are all falling for them so we will have to find placement soon.

This surprising kitty distraction has temporarily lightened mulberry’s and my conversations about our next steps but of course has not eclipsed it. I am doing the acupuncture for egg health and, now that she is back, she will start her regimen. We are still not sure if we should have her do a stimulation cycle since we have only tried one IUI for her. We are concerned about Clomid’s possibility of multiples and mulberry seems clear she doesn’t wish to try this option. We have seven samples of our donor (the only one of my ethnicity) and there are no more samples from him available. Having her go straight to IVF on her second try seems drastic but it is what we are considering.

We are worried about the effects of the harsh drugs on her body. And since our current plan involves her carrying embryos which are biologically related to me and then those biologically related to her, she would have to go through this process minimally twice. That is only if we are lucky. Sigh.

My own history of quick pregnancy (five tries, four pregnancies), then pregnancy loss doesn’t buttress my faith that acupuncture and lovenox (a blood thinning drug) will help me carry a healthy baby to term. It is why we’ve considered mulberry carrying my embryos. I suppose there is still the possibility of me trying to carry but as I’ve mentioned, I have very little faith in that.

I’ll have to do more reading about the added complications of my hypothyroidism and antiphospholipid antibody condition. Our doctor says I only have “a little” of the clotting issue and that it is not full blown, but I actually don’t know what that really means. I probably didn’t fully want to know, but now time is upon me.

The kittens have completely tuckered themselves out and are sprawled asleep next to me on the couch. Wish I could do the same but am off to work.

Posted in antiphospholipid anitbody, decisions, hypothyroidism, ivf | 4 Comments »

guest blog by mulberry….

Posted by mulberry on July 28, 2008

…shamelessly squatting on my gals blog in hopes of finding a kitty home 🙂

we need your help…

two little kitties were abandoned near us and our roommate shenendoah found them and brought them home till we can find a place for them… we wish we could keep them, but dakota is allergic – and though she says she will take allergy shots so we can get a kitty someday, she can’t do it now while we are gearing up for ivf meds and all…

they already seem to know how to use the litter box quite accurately 🙂 and they are very very friendly and comfortable with people, the little grey and white one is on my lap as i type this…

if you live in NYC and can take these absolutely adorable little siblings – please please please email me as soon as possible, so we can arrange for you to come get them. we have to place them tomorrow, monday.

email us at mulberrymail@gmail.com


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Tear Jerker Alert (But Take A Look Anyway It’s Worth It)

Posted by dakota on July 24, 2008

This video just really touched me. There are many things in the world — some really are miracles:

I must shamelessly admit that I don’t even mind the Whitney Houston song in the background.
More of the whole story of Christian the lion:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25797678/

Posted in lions, reunion | 6 Comments »

Bad Buddhist

Posted by dakota on July 23, 2008

I have been working double evening shifts, working a few days in a row and then getting a few days off in a row. Needless to say, I am tired. And I miss mulberrry.

The place I work is in transition. There is a lot of potential for being a great company but they are stuck in old patterns and bad habits. In fact, the place almost closed down last year. Since my best buddy, Shenandoah, also works there it was a fun fun time for all contemplating our jobless selves. I signed on in the middle management position I have now a little over a year ago because I thought I could be a part of something positive and because I knew the health insurance would cover a large portion of my and mulberry’s fertility costs. There are snags to coverage payment and how it impacts my taxes because we don’t have the legal perks of marriage, but I am grateful that we have some domestic partnership benefits. Did I mention I oh so miss my domestic partner?

The drama gets so thick sometimes (my department has over 300 people) there are moments I am unsure whether I can make any significant contribution. Those are the days I remind myself that we couldn’t afford the IUI’s, coming IVFs, or any other acronyms without this company’s health benefits. Although I’m a Buddhist and really should be chanting for peace more, some days it’s my mantra. I read with empathy and disgust the blogs where women report what insurance won’t cover — husband’s necessary surgery, surrogate embryo implantation. On to do list — Do my legislators support insurance for all and fertility coverage included? Find out.

Being private person, it is a challenge for me to work at what feels like Peyton Place because they don’t really understand confidentiality. I see it with how the employees we manage are treated and throughout the corporation. Many have been there a long time and gossip and strange liaisons are an unfortunate mainstay. I have no idea how many complications may be associated with mulberry’s and my new endeavor or how it will affect me professionally.

When I first started,
a human resources person was going over papers with me and when she came to the domestic partnership stuff she said apologetically “oh uh yeah I have to show you this but anyway….” and she moved on to the next thing. She paused (and almost audibly gasped) when I submitted my family additions to my health form.

I’ve been out since I was a teenager and being an artist and having worked mainly in the quasi non-profit world for most of my life, this is the first completely corporate job I’ve had where I am not out. Here is the line where my political views and my embedded personal views on privacy walk a tight rope in myself. I cultivate my relationships and hold what people say to me about themselves to be precious. My training and field of study in college actually have people always telling me personal private matters. In fact people have always chosen me to keep their confidences or to record their story.

My cousin confirmed last week that her adoption proceedings have gone through. I, silly me, said, “wow congratulations — this has been so hard for you. Who have you been able to really talk to about this? Have you ever tried a blog community? She was horrified. She incredulously said, “of course not. I’m too private. Too much possible fallout.” Of course this was her response. This is my cousin from my family. We don’t show ourselves unless it is absolutely necessary or in the service of someone else.

This whole ramble came up for me because another manager (who has ties to leadership) and I are potentially becoming friends. She has been going through a tough time and found out yesterday she has a scheduling conflict during the same week that mulberry and I plan to be “on vacation” in the thick of fertility land beginning stimulation treatment. I didn’t feel comfortable telling her my reason so I started to cry and only revealed that it was not going to be a vacation for me. I told her I only asked for it that way because I don’t want to take any kind of medical time off for fear of other staff members being privy to my issues. I see this is going to be a theme for me. I’m not exactly trying to have a baby the old fashioned way. More to work on. More to work on.
Nam-myo-ho-rengekyo.

Posted in privacy, work | 2 Comments »

Complex Chemistry

Posted by dakota on July 17, 2008

I am cranky today.
Mulberry is in California for the next ten days. Shenandoah is not feeling well and is staying home for a second day. I have my second acupuncture session before work. And we need a new refrigerator.

I’ve been reading blogs all morning. Found a hilarious one called Vet Mafia Bloggers and it definitely gave me a laugh. A gangsta laugh if you will — shout out to them for it. And then I felt sad as I wished for a moment that we lived in a place where we didn’t just give lip service to mom and apple pie but where people could actually take whatever time we need from whatever else we are doing to have babies/adopt babies, care for them, help them grow into valued adults, and really take care. I have mentioned to mulberry that we could always try to live in Denmark. It is where the most content/happy people in the world live, according to a recent survey. The high taxes they pay support the intellectual development of individuals and their familial/social relationships. Childcare, elder care, higher ed, vocational ed, time off to care for a sick loved one–all subsidized. But I know it’s not a panacea. We still have to work for change here. Neither of us speaks Danish. And I would probably miss the complex-harried-personal-public-confidential-souped up-attitudinal-peaceful New York Beautiful that I so love and loathe sometimes.

Personal and confidential are words I relate to. They were the sticker on the package that came yesterday filled with new pharmaceuticals. Shenandoah helped me unpack and take photos. The fridge to our new place is too small to keep all our food much less our new legal drugs which contain the powerful ovulatory inducing chemistry toward life which withers without a cold pack. So there I was, crankily making room on precious shelf space while worrying can I really do this? Find the space, the right balance in myself? Find the calm and the fortitude to put my body (and mulberry’s) through what it may take to increase our family? I need space for food.

Cranky.

And then there’s my chi and the acupuncture. The acupuncturist I met for the first time on Monday seemed nice enough, but I couldn’t relax and let it flow, as it were, since I was so uptight with the seemingly inexperienced masseuse poking my back while I lay there with needles in my hands. Mulberry said, “baby it’s just like sex. You have to speak up and say what you want.” She’s right but, unlike my first consensual sexual experience, here I just wanted out. I didn’t ask the practitioner enough questions either. It took all the energy I had driving through the city at rush hour, trying to find a parking space, trying to not be late and then explaining to a new someone the science and stresses of what may be ailing me and keeps preventing me from carrying babies to term. I want to cry.

Last night Shenandoah dreamed Madonna signed our shower curtain. We don’t have a shower curtain — we have a pre-war style separate shower and tub — but we could have one and if Madonna signed it we know it would be valuable. Maybe Shenandoah is channelling an important message here. We don’t need Madonna (an external) to affirm what we don’t have — we need to have what we have and valuable surprises may ensue.

Maybe.
But surprises can go many ways.
Cranky.

Posted in acupuncture, medication | Leave a Comment »

Beginning With The End

Posted by dakota on July 16, 2008

I’m not sure how to start so I’ll begin with the end.
I want a happy life with my beautiful sweetheart, mulberry, and a baby or two or three. (oh my!)
The future notwithstanding, here, in this moment, is where I want to live. But it’s so hard for me sometimes that I find ways to recede and dodge my true desires in the hectic day-to-day of urban living.

I am very new to this world of personal blogging. But like many, once I started to read and read and read the heartfelt, heart wrenching, slap funny words, rages, and joys of others in the blogger world, it felt wrong to not participate. Even though I am unquestionably very social (in matters of art, politics, helping a stranger), I am paradoxically and unfathomably private — and the thought of putting private unformed thought in a space outside my head seems risky, but here for me now is about risks and actualizing dreams in the here.

This is a girl who when she was six, her mother bought her a gold pendant with the symbol for Libra on it even though she is a Taurus. When I asked her why, she said, “Taurus, the bull, is very powerful. People don’t need to know the power you have or they’ll want to take it from you. Or keep it from you.” Although my mother teaches me many things with her generous, humble, tragedy-stirred life, she was only partially right. Although she is a health professional with two advanced degrees, the old world fears of spells and magic slip in where she doesn’t notice and have imprinted me (for better and for not). My life teaches me that power is within and that power is, among other things, also for the sharing.

Mulberry heard me say that as much as we need each other, we need community to help us navigate through this new territory we’ve chosen. So she set up shop and started to write. She encouraged me to do the same. So there. I’m here.

Posted in privacy, why blog | 3 Comments »