Dear Dumplings — 6 Weeks: Yes, I Can Call You DumplingS

Babies

Dear Dumplings:

Oh, how blessed we are.

I woke up this morning after only being able to sleep for six hours.  I was so excited to see you I could barely rest my eyes last night.  I also think it’s because your Daddy and I watched Justified.  It was a great episode, but boy was I jumpy when it was over.  As a result, I think you were too because you were stretching my uterus all over the place.

I have really been able to feel you growing the past couple of days.  I can tell by the increase in nausea and the fact that two hours after eating a steak dinner it feels as if I have not eaten anything.  Apparently y’all are hungry little dumplings.  Or you’re just using all of Mommy’s energy up to grow.  Whatever it is, please just keep doing what you’re doing.

All week I have been talking to both of you.  It was not just the high HCG numbers that had me thinking two of you were in there.  I have always felt like I was supposed to have twins.  I can’t explain it, exactly.  Even when I was little, I remember asking Mamaw Wines what it was like to have two babies at once and thinking how cool it would be to have two babies to play with at the same time.

Today I got my wish.  We will have two babies to play with at the same.  Two babies to love more than I could ever put into words.  Two beautiful babies.

Your Daddy and I arrived at the appointment on time, but it was not without our usual driving banter.  I am always telling him which entrance to use and he always tells me I have no idea what I am talking about.  Generally, he listens to me, while complaining my way is slower.  Directional disagreements are something you should get used to, they are not going anywhere. It’s really more of an act than and argument.

I was pretty nauseous when I got there, but I was trying to hold myself together.  I have been trying to balance that fine line between not eating enough and eating too much.  Ginger tea seems to help calm my tummy.  I like bananas and almond butter sandwiches.  And milk, you should see the amount of milk we’re drinking.  I feel like a baby cow.

I had no idea what to expect from seeing you on the ultrasound.  I am always so overwhelmed and excited with each moment, but I seem to have delayed reactions.  In the moment I am stunned and once I am alone or just with your Daddy, the magnitude of what is going on inside my body hits me and I well up with emotion.  Tears of joy streaming down my cheeks.

Dr. K brought you up on the screen.  We immediately saw two gestational sacs, but he did not say anything about it being twins right away.  He focused on the baby on the top of the picture.  I did not expect to hear the heartbeat, but we did.  116bpm.  Perfect.  You’re both bigger than a lentil, but not as big as a lima bean.  Afterwards, we went to the baby on the bottom of the picture.  The heartbeat was the same.  116bpm.  You were measuring slightly smaller than the top baby, but statistically basically the same size.  Dr. K even cut little pieces of paper out showing us how big you were. Of course, I am keeping them.  They are taped to the bottom of your ultrasound.

After the doctor left the exam room, your Daddy hugged me and we cried.  More joy.  More joy than we have ever known together.  I’m crying again as I type.

Tonight I get to stop the medicine called Medrol, which I was taking for my thyroid antibodies, but I still have to take the estrogen and progesterone.  I have bruises all over my rear end from those needles, but I want you to know, it’s worth it.  I would take every bruise 100 times over to see what I saw today.  I am so in love with you.  We are so in love with you.

I called all of your grandparents first.  They are over the moon that there are two dumplings.  You have six grandparents, you know.  I say we think of some original names for them between now and the time you start babbling.  I want you to give them some really cool ones, just for them.

As I type this, I am sitting in what is now my office, but will soon be your room.  I’m listening to Kenny Loggins, Return to Pooh Corner album thinking about rocking both of you.   I’m tall.  I’ve got a great uterus so stay in there as long as you can. I’ve also got really long arms for snuggling.  We’re going to be just fine.

What an incredible day it has been for your Daddy and me.  We’re having twins.  Two perfect heartbeats.  Two perfect dumplings.

My uterus does rock and you’re rockin’ in it.

Love,

Mama

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Week 6 — Tri-One: An Unexpected Reaction

Six Weeks

Six Weeks

This is the longest period between blog entries since I started writing at the end of November, so I might be a little rusty.  Yesterday was the official six week mark for the dumplings.  They are now the size of a lentil or a pea, depending on what I am reading.  I find myself talking to them all the time.

This is my official six week picture.  Not much has really changed on the outside yet, but I do feel more fullness in my abdomen and there is more of a pooch there.  Someone talked me into doing this weekly picture … we’ll see how long it lasts.

There seems to be a lot going on down there.  I have read the babies are making one million cells per minute.  I am not even sure how that is possible.  Maybe it explains why I sleep for ten hours every night, and take a nap in the afternoon.

Since finding out I am pregnant everything has changed.  How I think about everything has changed.  How I react to everything has changed.  How I dream about the future has changed.  All thoughts lead with, what is best for us as a family?

I even see the changes in Jonathan.  We are both hyper-aware of the need to take the best possible care of ourselves knowing our children are going to have a 8+ year parental age deficit on most of their friends.  I don’t want them to feel it by getting tired all the time. I’ve been to yoga three times since I last wrote.  Jonathan has been attending regular spin classes.  Of course, he is still feeding me bacon.  Probably has more to do with my pooch than any baby.

Miss, can I help you?

No thank you, I’m just looking.  With my back to her, I barely choke out the words.

On Friday, I met my friend Stacey for lunch.  Afterwards, I wandered into one of those shops you always find on quaint little streets like Tujunga Village (where I was).  I wanted to buy so many things in the store.   As I made my way into the back I saw their children’s section.  It was filled with books and handmade dolls, puppets, crafting kits, wooden trains and all sort of magical toys.  Not the kind you see in the big box stores.

I thought I might buy something for the nursery, but instead my eyes filled with tears.  As they did, the woman asked me if I needed help.  I stuck my nose in a book called, The Quiet Book and tried to hide all of this emotion welling up inside of me.  I stared at all of the toys and books, played with the puppets, but I couldn’t buy anything.  Not yet.

I bought some baby shoes once.  Before we had a fertility doctor, my cycle was really late one month.  I had convinced myself this time I was really pregnant.  I went to the store and bought some cute little baby booties and a pregnancy test.  I was all prepared to tell Jonathan, but it never happened.  The test was negative and my cycle started three days later.  I cried in bed for two days, never telling Jonathan exactly why.  Never telling anyone exactly why.  I was ashamed.

I was not having that sort of moment in the store on Friday, but I was still too scared to buy anything.  It was such an unexpected reaction.  I know I am pregnant.  I have no idea how many are in there, but I think until I see it on the ultrasound on Wednesday; my eyes are always on the verge of welling up with tears.  Part of that is all the emotions that come with being pregnant, I think.

I got home that afternoon, and started looking at sewing machines online.  I’ve never owned a sewing machine, but I know how to use one.  Granted, Memom had to help me remake my entire choir dress when I was sixteen, but I think I bit off a little more than I could chew that time.  I was not ready to make a choir dress.  I’m probably still not ready to make a choir dress — or, for that matter, anything with taffeta.  When I was little my Mom made me dresses and she made me dolls.  Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.  I still have them.  I want to make the dumplings some things.  Certainly not everything, but maybe a blanket and a doll?

I’ll probably decide that when I know how many are in there and what sex they are.  I found this website called Rag-a-Muffin, which I really like.  She makes lots of sweet things, most of them from patterns.  I can follow a pattern (except for a taffeta choir dress).  I figure if I get really frustrated I can just order from her — but I would like to try to make some things myself.

As I’ve gotten older I appreciate all of the artisans that craft and make things by hand. Much more so than when I was younger.  I find myself not wanting to buy anything else mass produced to decorate with or put on my walls.  I haven’t in a long time.

I have no idea what I am doing with the nursery except for one piece of art.  The StoryPeople poster that says:

“For a long time there were only your footprints & laughter in our dreams & even from such small things, we knew we could not wait to love you forever.”

I know this poster will anchor the room.  We’ll paint it a new color and I’ll make some stuff.  I’m sure more will come to me as the weeks pass.

When I was in yoga last Wednesday night, I put my mat down right next to the woman who is 34 weeks pregnant.  She has been taking Chaz’s class the entire time.  She even flips into handstands.  It’s beautiful.  I asked her why she was not taking the prenatal yoga class and she said she didn’t want to be in a class with a bunch a mothers talking about being pregnant; she wanted to do yoga and have fun in Chaz’s class.

I think I will take prenatal yoga eventually, but right now I just have fun in my regular classes, too.  Not every day, and I do not work at the same level of intensity because of fatigue.  I noticed after my first class that I am so hyper-aware of everything going on with my body right now.  I know when to push and when to pull back.  My body is constantly talking to me and I am listening.  When I realized this, I let go of any fears I had about exercising.  After all, these are yogi eggs, so they’re used to it.

All week I’ve been listening to a CD my mother-in-law loaned me, The Byrds, Sweetheart Of the Rodeo — which I love.  As I type this I am listening to The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter.  MCC is singing Late For Your Life.  I forgot how beautiful this song is.  It makes you think.  I love songs that make you think.  I feel like I’ve wasted years waiting for life to begin.  Its true what the song says, for every day that ends up wrong another one is right.  As I embark on this journey towards motherhood, I try to stay present so I won’t be late for my life.  Life is now.  Today.

No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on and on
For every day that ends up wrong
Another one’s right
Call it chance or call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
Still the question begs why would you wait
And be late for your life

Enjoy a little MCC.  I love her.  I hated the Oscars last night, but I won’t bore you with the nine million ways they continue to ruin an American tradition with classless humor and bad production choices.  And I won’t talk about that tasteless Lincoln joke, the crass bear or the bottle of Xanax Kristen Stewart must have swallowed before walking out on stage with Daniel Radcliffe.  Her hair looked like she was taking a morning after walk of shame, not presenting at the Oscars. (sigh)

I could go on and on, but instead I think about Wednesday.  We get to see how many dumplings are growing in there, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

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Dear Dumplings — 5 weeks: The First Letter

Dear Dumplings,

I was going to wait until next Wednesday to start these letters, but it seems I can’t.  So much is going on inside of me, I find it impossible to not be in constant conversation with you.  Today you are 5 weeks and 3 days old according to how they figure these things, but you have officially been kicking around inside of your Mama for 20 days.  For the two weeks prior to that you were growing inside the Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings in preparation to come and grow in my belly.  Then you kicked around in a lab for a five days with some really smart and caring embryologists.  That’s where you joined up with parts of your Daddy and became perfect, strong little dumplings.

How cool is that?

Depending on which book or website I am reading, they tell me you are about the size of a mustard seed or sesame seed.  So tiny.  So furiously growing.  Your neural tube has formed and you are now working on your brain, nervous and cardiovascular systems.  This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘have faith like a grain of mustard seed’ for me.  I hope I give you everything you need to get it all done.   It’s hard to believe you will grow into a baby in such a relatively short time, starting from cells smaller than the smallest seed.

One week from today your Daddy and I will find out how many of you are in there and hopefully the doctor will tell us everyone is growing on schedule.  If my fatigue, hunger, nausea, breast tenderness, heartburn, constipation and other miscellaneous symptoms are any indication — you are doing just fine.  I have symptoms, and I am so grateful for them I hardly notice the minor inconvenience of it all.  I’ve waited years to have these symptoms, so I say, bring it on. The most interesting thing so far is how I feel the rush of new hormone being produced by you — at least that is how I am interpreting it.  Some days it is stronger than others, but last night — while shopping in Pavillions — it came on really strong.  The rushing in my body, as if someone has turned up my water pressure.

Of course we’re already planning for your arrival, which will likely be early to mid-October according to the online due date calculators.  We are going to turn my office into your nursery since there is a door from it into our bedroom.  It works out well.  I have always been irritated that this door existed as it seemed so unnecessary, but now I can see why it was added.  I think the previous owners had a nursery in the same room and wanted quick access by adding the door.  Now I’m glad they did.  It’s all about perspective, I guess.

Your grandparents are all excited and waiting with the same amount of anticipation for next Wednesday.  Everyone is sort of holding their breath hoping for good news next week.  I can’t hold my breath because you need all the oxygen I can give you.  So I breathe; deeply.  I have faith the mustard seeds are growing; by next week they tell me you’ll be the size of a lentil.  I think that’s a pretty big jump from a mustard seed to a lentil.  I’ll admit, I got them out and compared them.

Daddy keeps feeding me like he’s trying to take me to the state fair for a weigh-in, so today I made him take me out and exercise me.  We went on a hike and saw this really huge house.  Massive house.  It was an ugly massive house on this hill overlooking the Santa Monica mountains.  It’s been sitting there for years now, empty.  Every time we hike this particular trail, we always marvel at all the money that must have been spent to build such a large, unattractive house.

I would never want to live in a house that big, it seems so lonely, I said.

Yeah, like you could never fill it up.  Each person would probably end up in their own corner of the place, Daddy said.

I’ve read that families who live in really large houses aren’t as close.  I read it’s one of the reasons Linda McCartney raised her kids in a small house in the countryside.  There may or may not be scientific evidence involved in that statement.

A house needs to be filled with family and friends and activity.  That place is too big, not enough trees surrounding the house.

If we have more than one in here, there will be lots of activity, I said.  I want a nice sized ranch house on at least an acre, but not too big.  Lots of trees.  The house should not eat the land.

I know. I know, Daddy replied; smiling.

I’ll mow.

If you mow like you cook we’ll starve in the weeds, he laughed.

He has a point.  I have to prove myself a little more consistently with the cooking thing, but I can do it.  I am a good cook.  I promise you won’t starve.

This house we’re in right now is not a perfect house and it’s not a forever house, but it’s where we are today.  I promise we’ll have it all ready when you get here.  Filled with family and friends, lots of activity and lots of love; just like your Daddy said.

Next week we’ll have a better idea of what is going on in my belly, but this week, I just wanted you to know how much we love you already.  Please keep growing big and strong.  I’ll keep feeding you dumplings.

Love,

Mama

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Yes, They Hurt

Do your breasts hurt?

Not yet.

Do your boobs hurt?

Nope.

Do they hurt yet?

Yes, they hurt.  My breasts hurt like the dickens.  Finally!

It was a slow start.  In fact, it was one of the reasons I initially thought maybe these little dumplings might not be sticky enough.  In hindsight, the fact that I had no breast pain prior to test day should have been a dead giveaway that I WAS pregnant since every cycle I was NOT pregnant; I was practically in tears from the breast pain.

As of this past Saturday, I can now officially say I have moved into the “yes, my breasts hurt phase.”

Today was my first full day of nausea.  And did I mention the constipation?  Well, I’m not going to.  I have to draw the line somewhere.

Jonathan also learned that if I tell you to bring me home carrot cake, apple crumble is not a satisfactory replacement.  Not even for a person such as myself who is ‘always ready for dessert.’

Tonight the menu was chicken n’ dumplings.  The official Wilcox recipe.  It’s basically my Mom’s recipe with a little help from Tyler Florence and my own special seasonings. Jonathan was gone for the evening to a meeting in Las Vegas, so it was just me, the dumplings and Boomer. The only thing that appealed to my all day battle with nausea was chicken n’ dumplings, so I walked to Whole Foods, bought the groceries and made them.

As each dumpling plopped into the pot, I thought about my great-grandmother, Mamaw Wines.  She never made chicken n’ dumplings — at least for me — but she did give birth to eight children in six pregnancies at home — two sets of twins.  As I begin to think about my birth plan, I think about her.  She was by far the most fertile woman I ever knew in my family; on either side.  As I got older, I knew she had to be fertile to have two sets of twins, but the romantic in me also liked to think that she and Grandpa Wines had one hell of a sex life.

From the looks of this picture, perhaps Grandpa Wines was the only one having a hell of a time.

Mamaw and Grandpa Wines

All of Mamaw Wines babies were born at home because that was how it was done back then.  Several people have tried to suggest things to me like water births and home births.  It’s apparently all the rage.  As beautiful as that sounds in some universe (not mine), even my Mamaw Wines is looking down on me and saying, Lord have mercy child, you’re going to be 44-years old.  Get to a hospital. 

For the time being, I’ve decided on all the modern conveniences offered at Tarzana Medical Center with a doula.  I’m not looking for heroics, but in thinking that it may be the only time I do this, I want a plan in place.  I don’t want to wing it and I don’t want to just do what everyone else tells me I should do because of my age.  For this, I want to be a little more like my Libra husband and weigh all the options.

It’s Los Angeles.  You won’t believe the options.

It’s funny, but throughout my entire infertility journey, the actual being pregnant part has never worried me.  I have not had one moment of worry since I found out I was pregnant. It feels like the most natural condition to be in for me — but getting here?  The road getting here offered repeated gargantuan mental and physical roadblocks.  Sometimes it felt like a labyrinth.  Sometimes a mirage.  It was never something I could see until it was finally there.  One day I wandered out of the labyrinth; the mirage became a beautiful lake.

Terry and Jonathan DancingJonathan and I went to a Valentine’s Day Partner Yoga Workshop on Sunday led by Chaz.  It wasn’t that hard to get him to go once he found out our yogi fertility doctor and his wife were attending for a second time.  It’s not that yoga is out of his comfort zone. Jonathan is naturally incredibly flexible and athletic, and he has done Bikram yoga — but there is always a bit of trepidation during the learning curve.  Vinyasa flow is new for him.

I am the same way, which is why I continually talk about taking up tennis and biking (his official sports) and never give it much beyond the lip service.  I fear ever being good enough to do those things with him at his level.  I don’t want him to have to pull back to accommodate me.  I think he feels the same way about yoga — like he is invading my thing; my space.

Your yoga practice is so personal, two people can be practicing together while working in entirely different orbits.

For obvious reasons, he was treating me like a china doll for some of the poses, but for the most part I was able to do everything; it felt great.  The facial massage almost put me to sleep it was so relaxing.  It’s amazing how much tension we carry in our jaw.  I think it’s from all the stuff we don’t say that we want to say.  It takes a lot of energy to hold back; to swallow; to refrain from letting it all go.  Jonathan felt the same way I did about the massage.  I vowed to do more massaging at home, but only if he promised to come to bed before two o’clock in the morning.

Couples shavasana is basically spooning — which is how we start sleeping every night — but for some reason after massaging and stretching and listening to soothing music this spooning was much more magical.  Afterwards we had to write a thank you to each other at the same time on a card and seal it.  What he wrote made me cry.  Honestly, he is the writer in the family; a beautiful one.

As I was lying there holding him, I thought about our wedding day.  We danced to The Flamingos — I Only Have Eyes For You.  His choice.  He sang it to me while we danced. Spooning on our mats in this room full of other couples, it felt very much like our wedding dance.  Intimate and private; as if we were the only ones there in this room full of people.

By the time the workshop is over, I am all hot and bothered.  I know full well he will not touch me in quite the way I was feeling given the fact that he currently thinks I am precious cargo.  But, you see, at that moment I did not feel like precious cargo.  I may have looked really calm, possibly even precious, but inside I felt like a cat on a hot tin roof.

We see our doctor and his wife in the lobby after the workshop.  I have an overwhelming desire to ask him, How long until we can have sex?  But, of course, I don’t.  Jonathan would have been mortified.  Honestly, I would have been mortified.  The lobby of a yoga studio on our doctor’s birthday is probably not the time or the place.  Instead, I more appropriately just said goodbye and wished him a Happy Birthday.

There goes my jaw tension starting up again.

I still have no answer to my question.

Perhaps we can find that out on February 27th when we go in for the dumpling check.

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You Can Call Them Josephine (Josie) and Henery

Rachel letterI received this letter in the mail yesterday from Jonathan’s youngest cousin, Rachel.  She wants to help name the baby.  It is literally the cutest letter I have ever opened.  Honestly, it needs no further explanation, I just had to share.  I am going to frame it.  It makes me laugh every time I look at it.  Especially her picture of our baby — which looks a lot like the Great Pumpkin.  I’ve seen a few babies that look like the Great Pumpkin, apparently, so has she.

This was such a lovely surprise.  Life keeps surprising me.  I like it.

For some reason I was not ready when Oprah arrived at my house for dinner.  I was looking for the dog named Snoopy I had purposely let escape because the crazy girl named Madison said she wanted to kill him.  What!?! When Oprah arrived she was wearing all cream.  For whatever reason I had determined that it was okay for me to finish dressing in front of Oprah.  I slipped into some cream pants while chatting with my now best friend, Oprah, about the awesomeness of the Sundance Catalog.  I tell her the entire catalog is MY favorite thing.  I’m too embarrassed to tell her I can afford none of it.  And finally, while walking out onto the lanai I do not have, she asks the question, “Are you ready for this? Do you have any idea what you are doing?”

I was being dream-schooled on motherhood by Oprah.

If dreaming is really going to be this vivid while I am pregnant, it will be an interesting nine months.  Very interesting.  My only explanation for this is I had just watched the 30 Rock episode where Tina Fey imagined the real Oprah, but it was really a ninth grader named Pam.  Oh, and only my Mom and my husband know how absolutely comical it would be for me to serve dinner in cream pants, since I often wear half my meal. I have no explanation for Madison wanting to kill Snoopy.  She did not succeed.

The past few days I have had several people ask me if I am nervous about carrying the pregnancy to term.  Isn’t it scary to be so public?  Yes and yes.  I really didn’t have a choice since I had been yammering on for three months on this blog.  I tell them what I am now about to tell everyone.  Yes, I am scared to death, but also incredibly calm.  It’s not the sort of scared that keeps me paralyzed and afraid.  It’s the sort of scared that hopes I can handle everything that happens, no matter what it is.  It’s the sort of scared that wants me to be present until there is a reason to be scared.

Today there is no reason.

IF the final IVF had worked with my eggs I would be making an announcement about now that we were three months along — which is how people (especially at my age) generally do it.  As I sit here today with some perspective, I know with that scenario I would have spent the last three months stressing; keeping myself closed off; hoping for the best.

That didn’t happen and ultimately, I am grateful.  Life gives us what we need.  I believe that.  We don’t always see it the first or even the second time it comes around.  At least I don’t.

Instead of getting to quietly fret for three months, I reluctantly went on a yoga retreat and spent the last three months cracking myself open so wide it’s impossible to shove it all back in.  I’m not exactly that scared, fearful person anymore — despite my ugly cry meltdown three nights before the pregnancy test.  I don’t doubt that there may or may not be tears of some sort lurking around the corner on this journey.  I acknowledge, but refuse to anticipate.

Valentine’s Day has never been our holiday.   When I think back on the past several years, not much has been our holiday.  Last night we had our friend Bryant over for some Valentine’s Day tacos.  Jonathan and I have both been sick so the thought of going out was unappealing.  Food was good, company was good, they watched the basketball game.  I read baby books.  Boomer napped.

We are having Valentine’s Day on Sunday when we go to a couple’s yoga workshop with Chaz.  Jonathan is nervous, but I know he’s going to have a great time.

After Bryant left we were cleaning the kitchen and Jonathan said, Put on A Mighty Wind.

A Mighty Wind is a hilarious movie if you have not seen it.  It was once a staple CD in our car.  I can’t remember the last time we played it.  It always made us laugh and laugh.  We could sing it from beginning to end with gestures.  Last night, as he’s washing the pans and I am drying them, we were both singing the songs, laughing; stopping to add the hand gestures and choreography.

While drying the last few pans, it came on.  Our song.  A Kiss At the End of Rainbow.  We sing it as if we are Mitch & Mickey, complete with a pause for the kiss.  It’s the corniest thing ever, but I love it.

We do it as comedy, but deep down we really mean it.

I think there is a part of me that dreams of retiring as a hippie folk singer.  I need to learn to play the guitar first — or the dulcimer.

As I climbed into bed I was thrilled with my Valentine’s Day.  The letter from Rachel.  Listening to A Mighty Wind while washing dishes.  I felt like Jonathan and I were coming back.  The us was rejoining.  The clouds were moving to the side.  All the fun was not lost, just buried for awhile.

It was nice to know we can still kiss at the end of the rainbow. And laugh.  You always have to laugh.

 

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Week 4 — Tri-One: So Far, So Strong 1221

Terry, your HCG level is 450.

Is that good?

Yes. Very strong.  We would like to see it double in two days, so come back in on Wednesday. 

These little chicken n’ dumpling babies exceeded expectations for test number one.  My beta, which is the testing of the HCG (aka “pregnancy” hormone) in your blood was one day late because the official testing day fell on a Sunday.  My doctor likes to see it above 80 or so for the first one.  450 definitely qualified.

It has been an overwhelming couple of days.  I am already nesting.  I woke up this morning and redesigned how the entire house needed to be set up so we didn’t have to move out of this house before we decided where we wanted to buy a new house.  And yes, I made a list.  It was masterful.  It’s just an observation, but I might be making Jonathan nervous.

Do we want twins?

Of course, we want twins!  Double the pleasure!

That could be harder, don’t you think? — he replied only slightly terrified.

You’re mother has told me personally she is ready for the challenge.

Today I went to acupuncture where I will go once a week for the first trimester.  My body feels like blood is rushing through it at rapid speed.  Everything feels faster, almost making me dizzy.  I can’t explain it any other way.

I am most definitely pregnant.  I feel completely different.

As I was lying on the table, blood pulsing through my body, I saw two babies clear as day.  Their sex was alluding me somehow, like I wasn’t supposed to know that yet.  I saw the backs of two babies and their little bald heads in my completely re-organized house.  Two babies.  Two perfect dumplings.  When I woke up my mascara had stained my face.  More happy tears.

When I started the car, George was singing the last verse of I Saw God Today.  This time it was not corny.  It was perfect.  I just sat there and cried; smiling.  More happy tears.  It’s going to take me awhile to believe there is life growing in my belly.  In the meantime, I think I need to invest in some waterproof mascara.

Terry, your HGG level is 1221.

I almost fell out of my chair when she told me the next number.  That was more than doubling in 48 hours.  Really strong.

Since two dumplings were put in, for the time being I’m assuming two are kicking around in there.  Two babies.  Hopefully my uterus is as awesome as I am told, and these little dumplings continue to grow at a record setting pace.

I’m going to be happy no matter how many are in there, but I don’t want to discount anyone.  Everyone has a shot.  We’ll find out how many Wilcox babies are growing on February 27th.

Before I go any further with baby-growing stuff, I want to talk a little bit about infertility.  I struggled — we struggled — for more than three years and it seemed like an eternity.  Two friends of mine from college battled the infertility monster for eleven years.  Yes, you read that right.  Eleven very long years before their babies finally came home. That takes some special parents.  Speaking from experience, it can take a toll on any relationship.

I thought just over three years was about all I could take.  And yet, I don’t know that for certain because I believe the longing to have a child can push us past — again and again — what we think we can take.  If you have the pull to be a mother, you can take quite a lot.  Infertility definitely shows you what you’re made of.

There were times I wanted to give-up, but I never did.  I didn’t because of all the other women out there struggling with infertility willing to share their stories; willing to share hope; willing to pull me off a ledge with some rational comment; not helping me verify my crazy.

There is a lot of crazy-making that goes on in the mind.  Desperate hearts and minds are crazy hearts and minds.  I’ve wanted a lot of things in my life, never anything that brought me to my crazy or my knees quite like this.

I just had to acknowledge that by comparison to many women out there, my journey was short.  I know that, and I thank God for it.

Could you have triplets?

Well, there is a small chance, I replied.

Did they put in two or three?

Well, two, I said, but with IVF if you put in a 5-day embryo blast, there is a higher percentage that one of them may split into identical twins.  The second blast could also attach giving you three babies.  But, I’m not worried about that.  My doctor said the percentage is small. 

Well, we’re ready.  We can just buy three of everything, my mother-in-law replied.

No one is excited around here.  No excitement here at all.

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60+ Days On the Mat: From Beginning to End

Now that I am moving into the next chapter of this journey, I have created a post with links to 60+ Days on the Mat from beginning to end.  I became more open with each passing day because I needed to, but also because very few women are willing to talk openly about using an egg donor. It often creates shame where none should be.  Each entry can stand on its own, but the journey makes a little more sense read in order.

On November 3, 2012, I received the call that the final in vitro fertilization cycle (IVF) with my 43-year old eggs had failed. To have the baby my husband and I longed for, I now had to choose between an egg donor and adoption. Unable to let go of the idea of carrying a child, I turned to egg donation – and yoga — as the answer.

On November 16, I attended a yoga retreat after more than a seven-year absence. What I wrote upon my return opened the floodgates of years of infertility anguish. Regular yoga classes followed.

After selecting our donor, I decided to attend yoga classes for 60 days in a row and to blog about the experience. On Monday, November 25, I wrote the first post, titling it 60 Days on the Mat – Day 1: Get UN-Organized.  

Ultimately this memoir was nothing about getting organized or unorganized, but instead about letting go. It became a gathering of the stories and the memories of my life as an only child. As it progresses, I find myself replacing the sadness over the demise of my genetic line with the excitement and anticipation of something deeper and richer – the belief that a Mama will be blossoming.

What started as a superficial time-filler while waiting to begin my egg donation cycle developed into a memoir chronicling my life and culminating with my true acceptance of my egg donor and ultimately, the complete surrender to what is and what will be.

By the time of my last post on February 1, 2013, the embryos were put back into me. I felt so ready to be a Mama. On February 11, after 67 days on the yoga mat and 10 days of waiting it out for the test, I got the news: I am going to be one!

This and THAT.

Chicken n’ Dumplings With Gratitude

60 Days On the Mat

Day 1: Get UN-Organized

Day 2: No Biscuit Cutter Required

Day 3: Live Like You Were Dying

Day 4: It’s Raining Chaos, I’m Going To Yoga

Day 5: Getting Connected

Day 6: Where Are My Familiars?

Day 7: Community Rebirth

Day 8: Just Being

Day 9: Release Into It

Day 10: And So It Begins

Day 11: Forgiveness

Day 12: We’ll Always Have Amsterdam

Day 13: Then You Stand, Yes.

Day 14: Looking Back Laughing

Day 15: Chapter Closed

Day 16: Aunt Viola’s Shoes

Day 17: Move Over, Fear

Day 18: My Children Will Starve

Day 19: In Search Of Grace

Day 20: Before We Turn To Stone

Day 21: Traditions

Day 22: Don’t Wait To Live

Day 23: Empty and Mundane

Day 24: History In the Making

Day 25: Don’t Over Think It

Day 26: Stories, Stories, Stories

Day 27: Look Beyond the Backyard

Day 28: Happy Birthday, Mark

Day 29: Christmas Eve

Day 30: Christmas Day and I’m Half Way!

Day 31: Meaningful Happiness

Day 32: If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away

Day 33: Tall Terry From Texas

Day 34: In Memory of Charles Scott Turner

Day 35: Age Is Just a Number, Isn’t It?

Day 36: New Year’s Eve

Day 37: New Year’s Day, Old Songs and Old Friends

Day 38: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Day 39: Could I Have This Dance?

Day 40: From the Moment Of Devastation

Day 41: Let. It. Go.

Day 42: See Me! See Me!

Day 43: It’s Around the Corner

Day 44: Yeah, My Jeans Fit

Day 45: Reflections

Day 46: I Love You, I Hate You

Day 47: Soul Connections

Day 48: Get Some Sleep

Day 49: What’s Your Story?

Day 50: Just Fishin’

Day 51: Every Day’s a Good Day!

Day 52: When You Say Nothing At All

Day 53: What Happened To Letters?

Day 54: Some Kind Of Ride

Day 55: Reach Your Heart Forward

Day 56: Role Models and Road Trips

Day 57: I Have a Dream

Day 58: Make No Assumptions

Day 59: Patient Eggs

Day 60: Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise

60+ Days On the Mat

Day 61: A Dozen Eggs?

Day 62: Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain

Day 63: Dear Chicken n’ Dumplings Girl

Day 64: Chai

Day 65: Support

Day 66-68: The End Is the Beginning?

The Wait

The Wait: Update One 3dp5dt — Rhythm of Life

The Wait: Update Two 4dp5dt — Yeah, I’m Weird

The Wait: The Final Update

YES. The End IS the Beginning.

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YES. The End Is the Beginning.

Do you have any pregnancy symptoms?

I had some cramping and light spotting, but nothing lately, unless you count a sore throat and urine that smells like asparagus when you haven’t eaten asparagus.

Are those pregnancy symptoms?

Anything can be a pregnancy symptom if you search long enough on Google, I said.

Anything?

Yes, anything.  I once discovered a swollen left groin lymph node was a pregnancy symptom.

Why were you searching for THAT?

Don’t ask.  I was in Hawaii.  I was drinking something called a Maui Wowie.  I started Googling at the bar. 

Is that like drinking and dialing?

Yes, but crazier.  Everything is happening in your head.  You sit at the bar, you smile at your husband and tell him you are texting a friend — but you’re really Googling — “swollen left groin lymph node and pregnancy symptom.”  Of course, I found someone who said it was. 

Really?

Absolutely.  Never drink and Google.

Yesterday I went to see Silver Linings Playbook with my friend Lori, so she was on my mind and in my dream. This conversation was with her and when I awoke the reality set in.  Today was testing day.  I was either in the jaws of victory or once again, I was going to experience the agony of defeat.  C’mon jaws of victory.

Whatever it was, I decided to get dressed up for the occasion in my $30 Whole Foods outfit.  I had been dressing up for everything so far.  I was sticking with it.

Overall, I felt good. I had never felt this good on test day.  I thought I might even let them do a urine test on site.  Ever since the ectopic, I had avoided it.  I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone.

The weekend had not gone particularly well.  After I hit publish on the final update on Friday where I wrote, I am not going to call my doctor.  Well, I didn’t call him, but eventually I did email him and it went something like this:

My Email: I think I am starting my period.  I have had dull cramping intermittently since about 2-3 day past the transfer. Yesterday while I was out to lunch I had some pretty strong cramping and then came home to brown spotting which subsided and went away.  Today the cramping is minimal, but I am still spotting, so I am thinking it’s my period. 

I don’t even know why I am emailing you this because I know there is nothing to do but wait until Monday.  I just don’t want to tell Jonathan or my parents and bum everyone out again.  I’m trying to stay off the internet and stay positive.  I wish someone could sedate me until Monday.

Doctor Response:  I know it is hard, but I would like you to try and withhold judgement until the test on Monday.  If you like, you can come in tomorrow morning and we can do a blood test then. If there is HCG being produced, we will be able to detect it tomorrow.  I won’t be there, but I will get the result in the afternoon.  Further, even if you weren’t pregnant, you shouldn’t be getting your period yet because of the progesterone, so hopefully this is what we refer to as implantation bleeding.

My Response:  I am just going to wait until Monday morning.  It has all stopped and now I feel like I am having hot flashes.  It just must be all the hormones playing with my mind.  I’ve got a good book, I’m going to take Ellen’s restorative class tomorrow and try to get through Sunday at the Arclight.  I can do it.  Maybe it will be okay.

Doctor Response:  It will be okay : )

And after I received the final response I cried on and off for an hour in bed while watching The Virginian and hugging Boomer.  The spotting had basically vanished, but the paranoia and fear and not.  I tried to just breathe.  I cried to God.  I cried to all of my grandparents.   I cried to those babies I hoped were growing in my belly.  I kept blubbering on about how I promised we were great parents, among other things.  It was an ugly cry.  Possibly pathetic.

I finally had cried myself out and relaxed when an episode of The Virginian guest starring Robert Redford started.  I love Robert Redford.  It was a nice distraction.

The offer to come in early for testing was tempting, but I decided to wait until Monday.  Every time my doctor was not there when I tested it was negative.  It was small, but significant enough for me to wait it out until he was there.  In my mind, he had to be there.

After his final email I determined that reproductive endocrinologists and ObGyns are saints — or should I say MY reproductive endocrinologist is a saint (so many people have sent me horror stories, so I feel so blessed!).  They have to deal with overly hormonal women all day long.  I guess they must know that on some level and enjoy the challenge.  No wonder my doctor does yoga.

I got dressed slowly.  Very slowly.  Fear was pulsing through my veins as I put on my leggings, my dress, applied my make-up and put my hair back.  I kissed my husband — who was sick in bed — and walked out believing I was ready for whatever it was.

I did not go to the bathroom before I left.  I decided I was all in this time.  I was letting the urine test happen.  I was going to know something when I came home to Jonathan one way or the other.

As I drove down the 101, Florida Georgia Line’s Get Your Shine On came on the radio.  Even though I had no idea what I was about to walk into, I felt like my shine was on.  I felt the wind at my back.  The only thing I had to go on was a little cramping, spotting, my first sore throat in two years and asparagus-smelling-urine without eating asparagus — but for some reason I liked my odds.  And no, I did not cheat.  I did not even buy a pregnancy test.  I wanted to walk into each moment fully present for whatever it was.

Taking a test would have ruined that, so I didn’t.  Plus, I have been saying for weeks I wanted to be surprised.  SURPRISE ME!

As I walked back for the blood test, she asked if I could do a urine test.  I said yes, as my heart pounded out of my chest.  I was shaking inside.

I flashed back to all the other times I did this walk.  It was always more dread than fear.  Something in your body just knows these things, I think.  At least it always felt that way for me.  This time I thought I knew, but I did not yet trust the knowing.

How can you trust something you have never known before?

I handed the nurse my urine sample.  I rolled up my dress sleeve and got ready for the blood draw.  I was suddenly eerily calm.

My doctor came in.  I could tell after our email exchange, he was a little nervous, too.  The nurse started the urine test strip; my doctor sat and watched it. He gave nothing away on his face so I started to worry as she stuck the needle in my arm.

Did you cheat?

No.

Well, you’re pregnant.  It’s a strong line.  It’s good.  He smiled.  I could tell he was relieved.

Then he proceeded to tell me how my email had worried him all weekend.

I was in complete shock.  No I had not cheated.  No I had not tested.

My intuition was right. For once it was right for the better.

The nurse wanted me to put pressure on the cotton ball as she removed the needle.  I was slow.  Everything was slow.  My doctor told me they would call later with the blood number and for me to come back on Wednesday.  I burst into tears when he left.

I cried all the way home.  Tears of absolute joy.  I wanted to remember this moment.  I couldn’t drive to Jonathan fast enough.  I cried again when I told him.  He wanted to put me in bed right away.  I laughed.  I hugged Boomer.  He purred.

Then the calls started.  My Mom.  My mother-in-law.  My Dad.  Family and Friends.  I started a phone tree of sorts.  I told people they could tell as long as there was nothing posted on my Facebook wall. I had a blog post to write.

I had been building up to this post.  I am so grateful for this ending.  I had thought about having to write the other ending.  Thinking was as far as I ever got.  I’m feeling blessed thinking was all I ever had to do.

As I type this I realize, yes, the end is just another beginning.  HCG levels rising appropriately.  The first ultrasound.  The heartbeat.  Testing. Getting here safely.  Keeping them safe.  Not screwing them up.  I think as a parent you will always be looking at START after you break one finish line.  That’s just part of it.

Suddenly, hopefully we will become full members of the club that knows the overwhelming joy of parenthood and the never ending worry that accompanies it.

As I walk my Road Full of Promise, I can’t wait to break the next ribbon.

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The Wait: Final Update

I’m going to go be a farmer, Mawmaw.

Ok, Tige.

I wanna run!  I wanna run!

Mawmaw and Me

When I was six years old I decided to get the indoor gardening tools (meaning those really small ones for house plants), put on my Mawmaw’s boots that were too big, and go out gardening — which I referred to at the time as “farming.”  The garden was about 20 yards from the house and a huge thunderstorm had just left; mud was everywhere. Being six, and probably feeling a little cabin fever, I thought this was the perfect time to put on shoes that were too big for me, grab a rake half the size of my six-year old arm and go pick beans.

Needless to say, it did not end well. My feet landed in the mud as they fell out of the over-sized work boots.  I decided the best course of action was to take my mud-covered feet and stick them back in the boots.  This scenario kept happening until I finally arrived at the back door, covered in mud from head to toe; sobbing.  None of the indoor gardening tools made it back with me as they were all stuck in the mud.

Mawmaw looked down in her boots and they were full of mud.  I think she wanted to “see red” (aka: be mad at me), but the sight was more than even she could take.  She just looked at me and laughed.  And laughed some more; howling with laughter as she striped me down to my panties and hosed me off from head to toe before letting me in the house.

What kind of a farmer are you, Tige? 

I DON’T WANT TO BE A FARMER ANYMORE, MAWMAW!!  I screamed this with the conviction of any six-year old covered in mud and having a meltdown while being hosed down in her flower-covered panties.

As I sit typing this I have cabin fever, I wish I had a garden twenty yards from my back door with beans ripe for picking.  Not that there would be any beans in February, but I could really use the outdoor distraction.  Perhaps I could plant something?  As you can see, I still don’t know an awful lot about “farming.”  I would, however, wear boots that fit.

I suppose it was a true statement I screamed at six, but as I look at 2-5 acre properties on Zillow, my husband thinks I want to recreate The Ponderosa.  He never saw The Ponderosa; he has never been to Lead Hill, Arkansas.  If he had seen it, he would know it is the furthest thing from my mind.  Starting that kind of farming at my age is crazy, I think. Of course, Mawmaw did it.  But she was slightly crazy, in a fun-loving, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants sort of way.

Some people would say starting parenting at my age is crazy, so I guess we all have our own kinda crazy, and weird for that matter.

I’ve got a little too much of my mother in me to be let’s-buy-500-acres-in-the-middle-of-nowhere crazy. (She is now breathing a sigh of relief as she reads this.)

Unfortunately, Jonathan never met Mawmaw because by the time we were dating the real Mawmaw was not available for meeting.  I knew somehow meeting her would not reconcile with the stories I was telling him.  Some ornery, cantankerous — occasionally sweet and docile — old lady had kidnapped her.  I preferred to just tell him the stories of the larger than life woman as I like to remember her.  That’s the woman she would want him to know and want me to keep alive.

Today is the final update I will write before the big day — Monday, February 11th.  My main reason for this is I am exhausted.  The second reason is as it gets closer to the day of the test, the head full of doubt really begins to rear its ugly head; blocking the road full of promise from comforting me completely.  The first 4-5 days I can blissfully remain PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise) but the final 5-9 days are shear torture.  Every single thing means everything one way or the other in your mind.

I suppose I could just take a pregnancy test, but that would send me into a place I am not ready to go if it is negative.  So I wait.

This happens every time I go through this, and since I have never had a real success, it gets worse every time.  I am trying to stay in the moment and just observe it.  After that doesn’t work, then I do something like clean out another drawer, mop the floor or organize the pantry … again.  I do wish I had a garden to tend or some rocks to pick up.  Mindless activity to wash the day away.  If I could wear myself out with physical labor Monday would arrive in no time.  I would prefer to be knocked out cold and someone could wake me up when it’s all over and say, “You’re pregnant!”

I’ve been feeling all sorts of cramps and things.  Sometimes that is good, sometimes it isn’t — depends on who you talk to.  I won’t even call my doctor about it, there is nothing he can say to make me feel better.  I sleep a lot, at least two hours every afternoon.  I think this has more to do with the progesterone than anything.  I keep telling myself we have some good embryos on ice.  Hopefully, we won’t need them for awhile, but they are there.  It does give me some comfort.

Every time I go in my room I am greeted with this picture of Mawmaw and me so long ago. It sits on my nightstand and is the same one I carried with me to the transfer last week.  It is one of my favorite pictures of us.  I talk to her.  I tell her to put in a good word for me.  I tell her not to be too nervous that I am the same age she was when she became a grandmother.  I take better care of myself than she did.

more a3

Louise and Lucille

Annie sent me this picture the other day.  Mawmaw was a twin; that’s her there on the left and her fraternal twin sister Lucille.  They were completely different in every possible way, except they both rocked those handmade  dresses and cowboy boots.

Aunt Lucille is still with us.  She is careful and cautious; a planner.  She’s meticulous.    She’s methodical.

Mawmaw was none of those things.  Perhaps that is why Aunt Lucille has outlived her sister. She will turn 88-years young on May 18th.  She still drives, which scares the bejesus out of all of us.  Luckily it’s only to the Dairy Queen, church and a few other places she has been driving to for over 40 years.  Perhaps the car is just taking her there on its own?  I tell myself this.

Next month she will be moving to Arkansas to live near my Mom.  Her driving life will come to an end, but she is ready to be somewhere with a little more care available and family close by.

This makes me happy.  I hope she is able to meet our child(ren).

Last night I determined that our children would not starve as long as I had a potato and a few other staples on hand.  I made a mouth-watering sausage vegetable soup while listening to the entire Willie & Family Live album.  I chopped and sang Whiskey River, Bloody Mary Morning, Will the Circle Be Unbroken and so many more.  By the time I got to the end of the album I had a soup going, no recipe, just instinct.  I guess it is in there somewhere.

It was delicious and passed the Jonathan test.  And believe me, that is some kind of test.

I’ll still never be a farmer, but I might actually be a gardener (only if Jonathan will stop worrying about having to mow a yard — he does not realize I come from a long line of women who thrive on mowing the yard).  More importantly, I’m pretty sure I’ll be a half-way decent cook as long as my iPad is loaded with good music.

Thanks again for listening to me ramble on these past few months.  I hope I have good news to tell you on Monday, but either way, I am going to keep going.  I’ll keep kneeling and keep praying at the road full of promise until my baby(ies) comes home.

 

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The Wait: Update Two (4dp5dt) — Yeah, I’m Weird

I’ve been waiting my whole life betting on a change

See it coming, getting better, getting better now

Feel the shake, shake steady of a soul to the flame

Come in closer, oh, come feel the love on the inside

Electric current in my veins lets me know I’m alive
I burn, I breathe, I blink, I change
Wide, wide, wide, wide open
And it’s a fine, fine, fine, fine world
And this is my, my life I’m hoping

Will be a fine, fine, fine, fine world

I heard the Sugarland song, Wide Open, while driving the Malibu Canyon on my way to my second lunch outing this week.  I have one scheduled every day for what I like to call: Operation Distract Terry.

The Malibu Canyon drive is unlike any other drive in Los Angeles.  It’s in enough proximity to Los Angeles, to be considered Los Angeles, yet it isn’t.  It’s other-worldly beautiful.  Whenever I drive it alone, the majesty of the drive will illicit a conversation with God, even if I’m singing.  Today it was God, Sugarland and me.  Wide open, we flowed through the canyon; absorbing the tranquility of the pristine mountain peaks and the valley below; as the voice of Jennifer Nettles escalated through the speakers. I tried to emulate it with the sun roof open.

As I bounded out of the car, Wide Open remained my daily rhythm.  The song making my heart dance and spirit soar whether I was editing, bookkeeping or eating lunch.

You ARE weird, she said.

I know, I smiled.

I was not going to write today, but after lunch with my friend Katherine, I suddenly had a lot to say.  Whether anyone wanted to read it or not is still up for debate, but I had to write.

Katherine is one of my biggest “fans.”  She says my blog is like a soap opera — in a good way.  I am still not sure what to make of that word fan.  Most of my “fans” (if not all of my fans) are my friends and family. Fans are people painted and screaming at football games.  I love all of these people.  I only mention it because Katherine is not the first person to say it.  I struggle with the word (over-thinking it), but love the fact that some people enjoy the writing; or perhaps just the journey.

This week I am on a lunch tour to distract myself from every little cramp, pull, tug and twinge.  Yesterday it was Cheryl.  Today Katherine.  Tomorrow Haley.  It is officially 4 days past a five day transfer (4dp5dt); I do feel some mild cramping and tugging in my lower abdomen.  I imagine they are in there burrowing in deep, hell-bent on sticking around. Stubborn like their mother.  Athletic like their father.

I have felt this before many times.  It can be due to the copious amounts of hormones I am on, but it can also mean something more exciting.  I focus on the more exciting thoughts while honoring the less exciting ones as possible.

After eating a ridiculously healthy beet salad, I finished lunch with two decaf cappuccinos and pushed the cramping and tugging out of my mind.  Not completely out, but to the periphery, at least.

In other news, we have eight embryos on ice (aka: frosties).  Eight.  Nice.  (Sigh of relief.)

As we’re talking at lunch my friend Karherine asks me lots of questions about writing.  Had I ever done it before? Had I ever thought about it?  How did I get here? 

When I began to realize people were actually reading what I was writing, I did a lot of personal introspection on the subject.  I’ve always loved writing, but how did I get here?  And the bigger question … what took me so long because this is magnificent fun.

I find compliments hard to absorb because I am not a trained writer, so despite loving it, I have so much to learn.  As I watched Oprah’s interview with Ayana Mathis (author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, which I just finished reading) I was humbled once again.  I am writing drivel.  She is writing velvet prose.  Her sentences float off the tongue with an elegance and grace I have yet to even contemplate much less master.

She writes literature.  I write about my uterus.  We are worlds apart.

Writing is certainly not a career for me at the moment, and I have no idea if it ever will be, but it does bring an inner peace I have not felt in a long time, if ever.  Just allowing myself to do it opens me up, let’s me out. Wide Open.  It’s a passion I have either unlocked or uncovered.  Whichever one it is, now I need it.  It’s like a really good drug.  As I write this, I think how much we should all dig to the depths of ourselves in order to unearth the passions in us — unleashing a euphoria generally reserved for really good drugs.  Sans drugs.

There is a cape for each of us, we just have to figure out what color ours is and start flying.

That’s how writing feels for me.  Like I’m flying — without a flight plan.  I’m having a good time wading through the words.  Putting too little and too much thought into it, depending on the day.

Perhaps infertility served a deeper purpose in my life?  Opened me.  Made me more receptive.  Wide Open.  I would rather have not had it, but sometimes I think it’s better to look at what you gained from something rather than ponder what you lost.  From where I sit now, I’m not sure if my glass is half empty or half full — I’m just so happy to have a glass at all.

During lunch, Katherine said (paraphrasing because I do not carry around a recorder), Do you know how when you go to a movie, you come out of the movie sometimes wanting to be the character in the movie?  You take on the mannerisms of Julia Roberts or Meryl Streep?  The voice?

Yes, I said.  We both have acting backgrounds, so of course I get this.  My husband does it sometimes, too.  I think lots of people do it if a character speaks to them in some way.  I could walk around pretending to be Judi Dench in anything … for days.

I went on to tell her about the summer I spent in New York devouring every volume of the The Diary of Anaïs Nin I could get my hands on.  Sitting in coffee shops, The Cupping Room, The Little Church Around the Corner and even the lobby of the Marriott Marquee – I could not read her inner ramblings fast enough.  I was so engrossed in her really crazy life.  Every time she mentioned an address I would write it down and plan a visit to that part of town.  Sometimes I would even put on skirts and thrift store hats from the 20’s and try to somehow embody her, even if only for an afternoon.

After I finished rambling this story — a story I had never actually told anyone before — that’s when she said it.

You ARE weird.

I suppose I am.  Proudly weird.

I’ve always been more drawn into the characters in books than in movies; you spend so much more time with them; drinking tea and getting to know exactly what makes them tick.  If the characters are well written, they suck you into their soul so deeply, it sometimes takes me days to get them out of my psyche.  I find myself day dreaming about someone who does not even exist; or who did or do exist for that matter.

I was well into one of Anaïs Nin’s later diaries before I realized she was one of the most critically acclaimed writers of female erotica.  I had no idea.  I just loved autobiographies.  I bought the first one for fifty cents at a used book store knowing nothing about her.  I instantly became absorbed in her relationships with her therapist and Henry Miller — and even her relationship with New York City itself.  She was so weird and mysterious; I was drawn to it.

I’ve never read the erotica, but let’s just say I was not surprised when I learned that about her.  She was pretty promiscuous.

Try as I might, I’ll never be that mysterious.  I’m too silly to be mysterious.  I’m too married to the love of my life to be promiscuous.  But weird?  Weird I can do.  We should all wear our weird a little more often.

Jonathan had dinner scheduled with friends tonight, so I was solo.  It was all about Sugarland.  The banjo picking bluegrass was gone and replaced with dancing around the kitchen jamming with Jennifer Nettles.   I do that a lot when he’s not home.

It’s weird, I know.

As I’m bouncing up and down I remember I’m not supposed to be bouncing up and down.  Oops.  Hopefully I didn’t jiggle anyone around too much.  Luckily these little eggs are younger than me.  (Sigh.) (Pray.)

After hitting publish on this blog, I will crawl into bed and start an episode of The Virginian in honor of Katherine.  Unfortunately, it is not one of the ones she was in, but in honor of our day, I will watch one of the many I have on our DVR — next to Gunsmoke and Twilight Zone.  Oh, and Justified.  But I have to wait for Jonathan to watch Justified.

Today I downloaded War & Peace on my Kindle.

I know, I’m weird.

Every life has a moment where sweat meets fate

On your mark, get ready, get ready now

Gonna find out fast what a heart can take

Come in closer, oh, come feel the love on the inside

Electric current in my veins lets me know I’m alive

I burn, I breathe, I blink, I change

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The Wait: Update One 3dp5dt

I’ve had bluegrass on a loop for several days, starting with the new Darius Rucker rendition of the Old Crow Medicine Show song, Wagon Wheel (which was originally sketched by Bob Dylan, and Old Crow Medicine Show finished it).  I am not sure why this has been my song of choice.  Sometimes a song feels like the rhythm of my life, or perhaps the rhythm I want for my life.  Or perhaps I was just too tired to change the song — I’ve been sleeping a lot.

It could be any number of things, I suppose, but in this instance, I think it had a lot to do with rhythm.  Slow down.  Enjoy the ride.  Breathe.  Even if you might think you’re going out of your mind.  I don’t really think I am going out of my mind, but if I thought I was, this would be a good song to calm me down.

Wagon Wheel led to Steve Martin and the Old Crow Medicine Show bluegrass which led to Emmylou Harris Red Dirt Girl which ultimately led to the Guy Clark tribute album. And then … it led BACK to this Old Crow Medicine Show AND Darius Rucker video singing Wagon Wheel at the Grand Ole’ Opry (see above).

Why have I been to Moscow and NOT the Grand Ole’ Opry?  I have no idea, but it is something I should look into.

What would I do without music?  I have no idea.  I think you could throw my television in the ocean, but music … there is a reason people made music using washboards and tin cans.  We always have an internal beat.  Music helps us find it.

Saturday afternoon we sat on the couch watching the John Wayne classic, Red River.  I love John Wayne.  I am a sucker for westerns.  I love Davy Crockett.  I love the Lone Ranger.  I even love Bonanza, The Virginian, Gunsmoke and The Big Valley.  They were all in reruns when I was a kid.  The only thing I ever watched during the summers in Arkansas were westerns or basketball.  If I wanted to watch anything else, I was always told we didn’t get that channel.  Mawmaw had an additional 500 acres when I was a kid; she called it — The Ponderosa — hence, my love for Bonanza stemmed from hers.

One of my favorite parts of Red River is when John Wayne shoots someone and then says, “Bury him and I’ll read over him in the morning.”   I guess you might call it respect for the dead.  He never left a dead man on the field, even one he’d killed.  There was something sort of morbidly dignified about it.

Wouldn’t it be funny if we showed our kid(s) only black and white movies until they were five?  (I was, of course, joking — after all, how would they learn about The Brady Bunch?)

Don’t think for a minute they’ll think it’s one day past 1958,  Jonathan replied.

We are not eating Wonder Bread, I said.  Or Twinkies.  

He actually wasn’t kidding when he said that.  One of the first songs my husband ever learned to sing from start to finish was Knock on Wood from Casablanca.  Our kids will be quoting Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and know every episode of The Twilight Zone by heart by the time they are five if he has anything to say about it.  I suppose there are worse things. They could know who Honey Boo Boo is.

As I sit typing this, I feel nothing but fatigue.  I have tried desperately to stay off Google and just pray harder.  All in all I feel good.  The title of this blog post represents the fact that today is 3 days past a 5 day embryo transfer.  That is what today is.  I wish there was some definitive sign, but having been down this road many times now, I know there isn’t.

Just wait.  Wait until February 11th.

This silly conversation Jonathan and I had got me thinking about influences.  I love Eddy Arnold.  Why do I love Eddy Arnold?  Because my mother loves Eddy Arnold.  I love Glenn Miller.  Why do I love Glenn Miller?  Because Gran Gran loved Glenn Miller.  I think all of our loves get passed on in one way or another, but then you wake up one day and your kid has started school.  New influences.  New likes.

Suddenly they’ve fallen in love with Donny Osmond and Andy Gibb.  As my mother purchased the Donny and Marie Osmond stage, the dolls and every Osmond Brothers and Andy Gibb record we could afford  — she probably wondered briefly where she went wrong?  Who had stolen her Eddy Arnold – Willie Nelson – Three Dog Night loving child?

Gran Gran tried to give me jeans from his store when I was about ten, but I cried, Gran Gran, why don’t you sell Luv-It jeans?  Looking back now, I must have hurt his feelings.  I mean what a freaking brat I was!  He had no idea what a Luv-It jean was, but he marched me across the way at Forum Mall to the Little Angel Shoppe and bought me a pair of Luv-It jeans.  They had “Howdy Partner” inscribed on the pocket with a cowboy hat.  Suddenly Wranglers and Levis were no longer acceptable to his ten year old granddaughter.

I guess that jarring transition as your child leaves your generation and steps into their own is all part of it.

Hopefully you can give them enough pieces of your puzzle, so one day they’ll have this eclectic mix of family and personal loves from across generations to create their own unique puzzle.  I hope.  If I have to pick one musical influence, I’m going for love of Willie Nelson.  And George Strait.  And Huey Lewis.  (What!?! — Jonathan and I went to a Huey Lewis concert as part of our honeymoon trip.  Heart of Rock Roll is still beating … now and forever right here in the Wilcox house.)

I am sitting here pregnant until proven otherwise (PUPO), but not confident enough to start planning much beyond next Monday.  However, Jonathan and I have been having conversations like this one for years now.  Or sometimes, we’re out and with friends and someone starts talking about applications for pre-school and I want to scream.  I tell him we have to get out of here, otherwise I’m going to home school our children until they’re 40.  He then says, Look at me, I turned out great!  And I say, Yes, you went to a fine prep school that now costs $35,000 per year.

I determine there has to be some sort of happy medium between pre-school applications, college tuition worthy prep schools and a homeschooling prairie in the middle of nowhere.

Perhaps one in the middle of somewhere?

I know I am ahead of myself.  First, we must get them here safely.  I’m not leaving my doctors in Los Angeles.  We’ve come this far; I must finish the journey with them.

When I want something as much as I want this, I am always one step ahead of the moment even as I try to stay in it.  It’s much harder without yoga to keep me occupied and grounded.  I have been getting on my mat for restorative, but it’s not the same as a class.

For now I am trying to slow down … just enjoy the ride … and BREATHE!

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

I know they don’t have any ears yet, but I’m secretly trying to get some bluegrass genes in these kids before they spend too much time with Frank Sinatra and Ska music.  Nothing wrong with Frank (or Ska for that matter), but I want them to know a banjo and a guitar.

This evening as we drove home from Whole Foods in awful traffic surrounded on all sides by bad Prius drivers, Jonathan said, Maybe Texas isn’t far enough?  

I just laughed and thought, oh, yes it is.  

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60+ Days On the Mat — The End Is the Beginning?

 “We continue on the same path, with appropriate growth.  Tomorrow is a big day because they begin genomic activation, where the cells begin to have specific roles.  We don’t look at them tomorrow, so the next update will be Friday before the transfer : )”

~ Dr. K

That was the last email from my doctor before the transfer this morning, which I received on Wednesday afternoon (Day 66).

On Wednesday I heard the Tim McGraw song, One Of Those Nights, three times.  The final time I heard it was after driving away from dinner with Selma and Heidi. The situation of the song is not relevant to me at the moment, but the theme of the song was.  The chorus of the song was. I decided to heed my friend Tiffany’s advice and take the song being played three times for me as something to pay attention to; something significant.

Someday you’ll be looking back on your life
At the memories, this is gonna be one of those nights

In retrospect (yes, the 36-hour retrospect) I think Wednesday night is going to be one of those nights I remember.

The day began with a yoga video at home.  I was desperately trying to finish all of my work before the transfer, so that was the number one priority that day.  To say my head has been someplace else for the past several weeks (possibly even the last 60+ days!) is a gross understatement.  I had a dinner scheduled during my regular class with Chaz, so I took a lunch break and got on the mat while Boomer looked on.  My favorite part is when he gets right under me while I am in down dog.  Even at almost 18 years old, he still never wants to leave my side; even as he stumbles over his hind legs while following me around, or cries out when he is lost … in the living room.  I always try to remember we are all getting old as I pick him up in his state of confused despair.

As I sit in bed now, home from the transfer of two perfect blasts — one of them hatching — Boomer is contently purring next to me.

Selma, Heidi and I met at the Elephant Hut for Thai food that night.  I remember being abnormally present.  I wanted to remember everything. I have been like that for about a week now.  There has been no part of any day where I don’t think to myself, “Remember how this feels.”  We had an amazing dinner, but more importantly we had a truly good time.  I think when you wake up to your life and begin to take it all in — let God back in; let the light in.  You find a deep sense of appreciation for the smallest of things and this realization of how miraculous it all is; the potential for it to be even more so as you open wider.

How overjoyed I felt to be in this place, and not the place I was in for the first three IVF procedures.

I feel blessed beyond measure right now thinking about these little embryos snuggling in; praying they snuggle in. I am propped up in bed, while my husband serves me breakfast. Warm biscuits. I thought my little chicken n’ dumplings might like something familiar. Though I am not someone who needs much of an excuse to eat a biscuit.

After dinner on Wednesday I went over to my in-laws to fix their computer set-up.  This is something I have done many times over the years (I am tech support), but it was significant in other ways.  It was one of the best and most open conversations I have ever had with my mother-in-law.  I felt like I could say anything.  The blog, the yoga, the awakening — collectively it has made me more receptive and open, and that will nourish the soul of any relationship.  That night when I left I knew what I considered to be a good relationship was blossoming.

When we plant fresh seeds in ourselves and weed our internal flower bed; fresh flowers blossom all around us.  I think pieces of me have been shut down trying to hold myself together while free-falling through the abyss of infertility for so long; I simply forgot how to relax.  I forgot how to ask for help.  I forgot I even needed help.  I forgot who I was — apparently I was buried under all of those weeds.

I now sit snuggled in bed talking to these little embryos wondering what that was?  Wishing I had been able to get to this place sooner; but knowing I am most likely where I need to be right on time.  Hopefully for all three of us.  ;-)

Yesterday (Day 67) Selma stopped by with a  special gift for me.  She bought me a sterling silver chai charm necklace.  It was such a beautiful necklace and the charm was very unique.  I felt a sense of calm and peace as she placed it around my neck, so honored to have it for the transfer the following morning; still in complete disbelief we had 18 embryos growing. CHAI!

After almost five years of working together, Selma has become like my older sister.  I honestly do not know where my life would be without her or what I would be doing.  I am grateful every day she came into it.

When I came home, I read a beautiful email from my Aunt Ann about my blog.  I love the reconnection with her.

After not sleeping well because I accidentally drank caffeine, yesterday was a full, extremely tired work day.  I am happy to say it is not all done — but I got enough done; enough to relax.  The rest can wait until Monday.  This weekend I am going to enjoy being pregnant until proven otherwise (PUPO).

I went to my last yoga class on Day 67 with Chaz.  I can honestly say it was the strongest I had ever felt.  It felt like I was flying, like I was finally free.  Of what, I am not exactly sure.  But whatever “it” was — it was no longer weighing me down and there was no place I felt that more strongly than on my mat last night.

As I was walking out to my car after yoga I felt that sense you get when something is ending.  But the stronger sense was something amazing was beginning.  I road that all the way home as I sang El Cerrito Place with Kenny.

The hot pink alarm clock went off at 6:15am.  I jumped out of bed, so excited for the day.  I remember this was the first time I ever felt that way when getting ready to do this.  I got dressed up for the transfer.  I don’t want my baby embryos to think I am a schlub.  My chai charm was around my neck.  My iPad was loaded with my relaxing playlist.  I had a picture of Mawmaw and me.  I brought it to place under my pillow during the transfer.  I am not sure why, but this time it was important for her to be with me.

My email and texts were full of prayers and well-wishes from my parents, family and friends.  I was elated and grateful we had this army of good thoughts headed our way.

I had acupuncture with Denise before the transfer.  I fell asleep.  I had two dreams on the table.  The first one was sort of like a montage of all these memories with Mawmaw on the farm.  I was little.  I was running everywhere.  I was free.  The second half of the dream was me as Mom in my vintage baby nursery rocking our baby to sleep.  Jonathan was in the chair next to me rocking another one.

I woke up when Dr. K came into the room and told me we STILL had 18 embryos growing.  I had taken a valium so I was relaxed and completely happy about this.  Overwhelmed with joy inside.  We had 5 PERFECT embryos.  He said he was generally happy with 2-3 perfect ones, so he was VERY happy with our results.  The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings outdid herself.

Jonathan came into the room and held my hand, Denise rubbed my head and Dr. K placed two perfect blasts into my uterus where they will hopefully grow into strong Wilcox babies thanks to the amazing gift of egg donation from one very special dumpling loving yogi.

As I was getting dressed alone in the room after my final acupuncture, I pulled out the picture of Mawmaw and me.  I put it next to my heart and cried, wishing she was here just like in the picture  — but knowing as I heard her singing De-Da-De-Da-De-Do in my head, that she was.  She was right there.

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