Fabulous Fotography Friday: Portland Adventure

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I had a great time on Monday because I got to take the train from Seattle to Portland. I hopped on the 7:40 am Amtrak train near the Seatac airport (free parking dude!) and rode my way for a visit to fabulous Portland. I was heading down to meet up with my bloggidy twin Liv and her husband "Marvy” from The Life of Liv. She was visiting the Pacific Northwest and offered to drive a couple of hours to meet me in the middle of Washington for a lunch. I suggested instead that we meet in Portland and it worked out really great because I got to take the train and they only had to go 20 minutes from their hotel.  I love it when things work out like that!

Taking the train is really fun and costs RT about the same as a tank of gas ($56). I sat in the dining car, drank coffee and looked out the window at the gorgeous scenery. Here are a few shots out of the train window. Some are dark and have dirt because of the window. To see any picture in a larger view, click the image.

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The view was absolutely marvelous, the trees are very lush and green. We rode over rivers and bridges. I arrived in Portland and it was already getting very hot at almost 90°F (30°C). The Portland Union Station was very pretty and I had to snap a few photos.

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DSC_0576After donning my sun hat and walking through the lovely old station, I found a bicycle taxi and told the gentleman driver, “I have an hour to kill my good man, how about a jaunt to Powell’s?”

He and I chatted about the bike and the weather. After about 6 or 7 minutes of biking we arrived at Powell’s Books which is a truly remarkable place and everyone should go there. I lust Powell’s. It makes me miss all of my old super awesome bookshop haunts from when I lived in San Francisco. Powell’s in Portland is so awesomepants I am jealous baby, wah!

I perused a few of the sections at Powell’s and then realized I needed to hit Whole Foods where I picked up a couple of bars of Theo Chocolate’s 3400 Phinney bars - my favorites are “Bread and Chocolate” and “Nib Brittle.” My friend Andy is the Chief Operating Officer at Theo. The chocolate is fair trade, organic and out of this freaking world. If you ever come to Seattle, I highly recommend their factory tour.  For $5 you get the tour plus chocolate nibbles and samples (unfortunately there are no Oompa Loompas).

So with chocolate bars and book gifts in hand, I walked several more blocks and met Liv and Marvy for a fabulous lunch at Jake’s Famous Crawfish. I had a wonderful lunch. Liv and Marvy are as terrific as you imagined. Both are funny and vivacious and clever and warm. Marvy had clam chowder, then hazelnut crusted wild salmon. Liv had crab bisque, then a blackened salmon salad. I had crab bisque and a Dungeness Crab and Fresh Oregon Bay Shrimp Louis salad. YUM!  We talked about infertility and how hard it was to get through it.  We talked about her pregnancy and how they let a few more family members know about the little frijole. We talked about how we met our significant others, our work, our vacations, blogging. We talked a lot about photography and travel. I took out The Nikon for Liv to check it out. The time just flew out the window. We ended our meal with dessert. Marvy and I shared a hard-shell chocolate bag filled with white chocolate mousse, fresh wild berries and berry coulis. Liv had a banana cream pie. It was decadent and rich and I was stuffed full for the rest of the day, but it was worth it.

After our lunch, we walked over to Powell’s (they had never heard of it) and perused a few sections together. We wandered to the travel section and Liv pulled out a travel book on Guatemala and showed me photos inside. She told me how wonderful a place it is, how amazing the people and history and architecture are. We talked about the ruins and the hieroglyphics. I told her about this awesome documentary I recently watched on PBS called “Cracking the Maya Code.” It was truly fascinating. I would love to visit Guatemala some day. You could tell how much she loved it and how proud she was of her wonderful heritage. We said our goodbyes, Liv let me pat her belly and wish the frijole well. Marvy took a special photo of us that I converted into a short movie.


Thanks again Liv and Marvy for lunch and the great conversation.

I was also in Portland to run an errand for my girlfriend Alli. She is giving us wraps made in gorgeous Cambodian Silk for her wedding in October.  I took many photos of the material and color options they had available.  We are choosing a lovely copper color.  The matron of honor is having her dress made at this shop.  I am soooo jealous!  The shop is called Cocoon Silk.

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I perused a few other shops for my remaining hours. Did I mention that Portland has NO SALES TAX! The temperature got up to 102°F while I was walking around. Whew!  It was really hot and I was glad when 6:00 pm rolled around so I could head back to the Train station and be on my way in air conditioned comfort.

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DSC_0616On the way home I relaxed in the dining car again. I enjoyed a bottle of Black Butte Porter and watched the scenery drift by.

I also got to watch the first disc of a series everyone has been recommending, The Gilmore Girls. I enjoyed the first four episodes and thought the writing was very fun and witty.

I had a truly spectacular day. The train ride, meeting Liv and Marvy, shopping at Powell’s books, walking around in Portland, enjoying the terrific shops. Wow. I was smashingly tired by the time I got home (around 10:00 p.m.) but I got to tell MrBeep all about my day and he was happy that I had a good time. 

Today this made me happy

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One of my favorite songs of all time, given like magic in a new and extraordinary way.

Their documentary “Playing for Change – Peace Through Music” is airing on PBS this month.  You can check the above link to see if it will be on your station.  Alas, the sucky Seattle PBS station is not currently in the list. 

3 more pills to go.

4 more days/pills to go

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First of all, the IF fairy ate my homework.  I got about  50% done on yesterday’s post for Techie Tuesday: Sperm Analysis a Go Go.  I didn’t forget, but wanted to get all of my links and info correct so more work is necessary on that subject.  Look for that next Tuesday.
 
I think I overdid it last week. I had three dinner parties and was completely exhausted by the end of them.  I hosted and fed 7 people last Wednesday (Harry Potter #2 movie night), 7 on Friday (gaming night) and 7 on Saturday (birthday party).  7 must be my lucky number.  I think I am supposed to do 7 tonight as well (Harry Potter #3 night).  After that I’ll get a week off.  No other invasions that I am aware of. 
 
There is so much going on in the IF bloggidy world.  Many people with happy news, moving along with their pregnancies, it makes my spirit leap and gives me hope.  Then I open the next link in my reader and am devastated when reading stories of heart-breaking sadness. Sometimes I feel at a loss for words of encouragement or comfort, because they seem so small in the face of it all.  But I do try my best to offer up words of support.  Smiles or cheers or tears or hugs. 
 
I have 4 more birth control pills to take before I go to the RE’s office for a suppression check.   Every day I take a pill and count how many are left until I start this cycle “officially” with injections and blood draws and dates with the wand.  It’s strange to be in this ho hum in-between state.  Not actively trying, not on a break, not in the 2WW.  Just me and pills and waiting.  In the back of my mind I am filled with uncertainty for the future.  What side of the IF coin will I fall on come Sunday?  Joy and Hope / Sadness and waiting.  It all seems so manic-depressive, y’know?

I had a super exciting day on Monday that I will write about very soon and tomorrow I get to meet Sunny in Seattle and her little Beanchild.  We were going to hit a neat park halfway between our abodes but because it’s a bejezzus degrees outside (BTW-what the total hell? This is Seattle, not LA, not Phoenix, and the pasty people are all melting and escared of the bright hot shiny yellow thing in the sky.)  Yes.  We are meeting at the mall.  Whew.  So it will be fun to wander around the mall and watch the cute little Bean play on mall playground stuff and I hope all of the smooshy cute toddler babyness of it all doesn’t make my hormones surge and make me S-O-L for Sunday.  That’s all I’m saying.  :-)

Fabulous Fotography Friday: Surf's Up!

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Well it’s another Friday and I’ve been saving these photos up special. As I mentioned in my previous post “I’m a leaving on a jet plane,” I wanted to make sure my vaycay to SoCal included a trip to the beach to play in the waves with my nephews and niece. I absolutely love those kids. Each one is such an individual spirit, they have been since they were very little. I get to spoil them rotten and a visit from Aunt Optimist is always a hit. Well, I got my wish!

We packed our food and swimsuits and headed off to Huntington Beach. I had a truly great and memorable time. I bought the kids new boogie boards and we hit the waves. There were some gnarly rip tides and the life guard asked us to stay in the first two sets of waves. He had 18 rescues that day. I could tell it was a bit harsh once I felt the surf and I kept a close eye on the kids. Even the smaller waves were very fun and you could easily catch and ride a wave for about twenty feet to shore. We played in the water for hours and didn’t get out of the waves until sunset when the life guards kicked everyone out of the water.

I rode a few good waves in honor of Jill and Clare and Sprogblogger as they were all waxing poetic in comments about playing in the waves. I didn’t bring my Nikon to the beach (too much sand) but I did use my little compact camera. I think I snapped a couple of good photos. Enjoy a day playing in the Pacific Ocean with us!

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Here we are all at the beach. We just arrived and the kids bolted straight to the shore to play in the sand. I have 3 nephews (ZMan, Kenz & DrJ) and one niece (MissD).

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ZMan had to bury DrJ and was “making him into a mermaid” which must include really big ta tas. They were both giggling like crazy. Why are b00bs so funny to boys? Oh wait. Nevermind. ;-)

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I stayed close to the youngest two (9 and 11) and we really enjoyed playing on the boogie boards. I taught my nephew DrJ how to tell which were the best waves for riding versus skipping. He may have drank about a gallon of salt water before he got the hang of jumping to the top of the wave to ride it instead of letting it crash onto the top of him. He got pretty good after a couple of hours.

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My older nephews Kenz and ZMan were naturals. They had a great time and bugged me to take them back to the beach in a couple of days. Unfortunately we couldn’t swing it, but I want to go back soon!

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Here’s my niece MissD bringing it home on a nice little wave. We found a really cool sand sculpture of a turtle on the beach near our blankets.

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ZMan had fun in the water. He wanted to go out to ride the back set of waves. I was concerned about the rip tides and asked him not to. He was really great and stayed in where he could keep an extra eye on his smaller brothers and sister. Kenz was having fun buried up to his waist in the shore. What a clown. He has decided he wants long hair like Uncle MrBeep. I sure love that kid.

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The sunset just got better and better as the evening went on. I really wished I had my good camera to get the some really fabulous hi-definition shots, but these turned out pretty good.

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My SIL took a picture of MissD, Me and DrJ as we returned from the waves at sunset. I have a special message if you look closely enough. I was sooo happy. I had a great time. We stayed until the last hint of the sunset faded from view. It was absolutely marvelous.

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Thanks for spending a day at the Pacific with me and my favorite kids.

A dark journey into my psyche

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Show and Tell

As the stirrup queen herself says, “Show and Tell is wasted on elementary schoolers. Join several dozen bloggers weekly to show off an item, tell a story, and get the attention of the class.”  I loves me some show and tell goodness.  I look forward to reading everyone’s post each week. After you read my Contribution To Crazy, I recommend you head off to see what the rest of the class is showing.

Today I will show you something very personal.  I know.  Infertility Blogs are chock full of TMI.  We know more about each other’s lady parts, cycles, hopes and fears than is comfortable (once you think about it for more than 20 seconds).  So what’s a little more loss of privacy or dignity, am I right?  I’m going to let you deep inside my mind via…

Yes…you guessed it. 

My refrigerator magnets.  Anyone who knows me really well can tell you my fridge magnets say a lot about my personality and my twisted sense of humor.  I choose my fridge magnets carefully.  Some have been given as gifts, some are found artifacts.  Indiana Jones couldn’t find treasures as good.  You can see any of the photos as a larger version if you click on the image.  Enjoy!

My Fridge Magnet Collection

Fornicators SmallWorld

StirThingsUp Shallots

AlcatrazReg OnTop

LiveLongSpock PopsiclePhilosophy

LooseWomen IvorySalt

Biohazard Flammable

Lasers Singularities

On the real TMI front, I am still taking BCPs for the start of IVF #2 - The Micro-dose Lupron Flare Protocol.  I have 10 more days of pills to go before I do anything that seems even remotely productive.  How f*cked up am I to be looking forward to starting injections?  I think it seems a lot more like I am working towards the goal.  Some semblance of control in an uncontrollable mess, right?  Ah well, c’est la vie de l’infertilit√©.

Techie Tuesday: Backing Up & ICLW intro

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So it’s about freaking time I get back to Techie Tuesday.  Next week I plan to write on MF and how to read a semen analysis report, but this will take more research than my addled brain is prepared for.  So instead, I give you a computer Techie Tuesday post.  For those visiting from ICLW…WELCOME!  To learn more about me and my journey, I recommend reading these posts:

TTC History (the long version)
Why the title IF Optimist, then…

I am a major computer geek.  Some people say this, but they are mere posers.  I have been an Information Technology professional for over 18 years.  I can build a computer from a pile of parts and chips and boards - install operating systems, software, update and configure the BIOS, etc.  I have installed and troubleshot many operating systems Windows 95/98/NT/ME/XP/Vista, Mac OS 7-OSX, SGI Unix (IRIX), Linux.  I was the person you called on a tech support line for years (I ran the tech support and repair service department of a $50 million computer hardware company when I was 24 years old).  I have purchased, installed and troubleshot hundreds of computers as an IT professional and manager.  OK.  Computer Geek = established.  Right?

The importance of backing up data

There is one thing in computers that is an absolute guarantee.

ALL hard drives will fail.  All of them.  100% of them.  They are mechanical devices with lots of tiny parts whirring around at 7200 RPM.  These parts eventually wear down. It may not happen today or tomorrow but eventually it will happen and if you don’t back up your data you are guaranteed to lose all your data.  Most hard drives have warranties of 3-5 years.  Yeah, yeah you know this, but hey take a second and THINK about that for a moment.  How old is your computer?  All downloaded email, all letters and documents, all spreadsheets, all contact info you keep on the hard drive.  Maybe a big deal, maybe not, but you will also lose ALL OF YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS.  That’s right.  If you have one of the new-fangled digital cameras,  you probably download the images to a place on your hard drive.  When (not if) you lose your hard drive these photos will be GONE FOREVER unless they are backed up.  Are you willing to lose these documents?  Are you willing to lose these photos?  I especially want to stress this to folks who had a baby recently.  I have read stories of people who have lost all photos from the first years from their baby’s life never to be seen again.  My heart sinks every time I read this.  I feel sick.  Backing up data is not hard, but it does take a small amount of effort on your part.  Once you have done it one time, you’ll realize that the inconvenience is minor but the benefit is enormous.  Here are a few options to consider:

Option 1:  Buy an external USB hard drive and use it as a backup
Lots of people do this.  It is a common and quick way to back up.  You can either purchase a fancy backup program (or use Time Machine on Mac OSX) or just drag and drop the files onto the backup hard disk.  Advantages: relatively cheap (you can get a good drive with a very large capacity for under $100), easy to use.  Disadvantages: Backup data can be accidentally deleted or altered.  It is still a hard drive and will still fail one day, so you need to make sure that this is an additional copy of your data not the ONLY copy.  Also these drives are typically kept in the same location as the computer so if you have a fire, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, flood (water damage in the basement computer room, etc) you may end up losing both your original and backup copy of data.

Option 2:  Use CD-R/W or DVD-R/W media to back up files
This is a good option for people who don’t have vast quantities (more than 50GB) of data to back up.  The media is cheap, it is easy to use and you can even make multiple copies.  Advantages:  Very cheap (4.7 GB of media backup on a DVD-R/W cost about 40 cents when you buy a 25 pack or greater).  Media is estimated to be viable for approximately 20 years.  Data on disc is static and can’t easily be deleted or altered.  Multiple copies of discs can be made and one copy stored off-site in case of fire, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, flood (you could save the extra copy at your Mom’s house 3 states away, or in a safety deposit box at the bank).  Disadvantages:  Need a CD or DVD burner (most modern computers already have these installed).  CDs can be burned using drag and drop from Windows XP, but burning DVDs may require 3rd party software, like Nero or Roxio (Windows Vista has DVD burning built into the OS).  Improperly stored discs can be damaged (don’t just leave them laying around unprotected.  Get a disc wallet or a hard case).  Data backup must be broken into smaller chunks (700MB for CD, 4.7GB for DVD).  A small amount of organization is necessary to find on which disc your data is located (print a copy of the contents or label the disc with a sharpie).

There are other options like backup DAT/DLT tapes that I won’t go into.  Those options require expensive drives and expertise typical to IT professionals.  Backing up up to a USB chip may seem like a good option that is similar to #1 if you don’t have a lot of files.  I don’t use these as permanent backup devices.  I use them as transport devices.  They are too small and easily lost for my taste.  I don’t recommend services that backup your data via the internet.  It’s a nice idea, but I don’t feel you have the control you need and the upload can be painfully slow.

All this computer nerd talky-speak is making my head spin. Cut to the chase!

So here’s what I do.  I own an external USB hard drive (500GB for $89) to back up my files quickly. I needed a big drive because I have a lot of RAW format Nikon files that take up a ton of space. Any time I add new photos, finish a project or have new important files, I make a copy on the external hard drive (it’s as easy as drag & drop/copy & paste).  I disconnect and don’t use my external backup drive every day to keep down the wear and tear on the motor and read/write heads.  I know that I am covered for most typical crashes and emergencies.  2-3 times per year I get off my lazy duff and make data DVDs as backups for my files and pictures.  I label the DVDs by the date range and then throw one copy in my DVD wallet and take the 2nd copy to the safety deposit box.  I also call my sister-in-law and pester her through a backup session.

Sound anal?  Maybe.  But I’ve never lost an important file or a photo.  I remember my old tech support days talking to people who lost entire novels or years-long photography/videography projects.  Remember.  ALL hard drives will fail.  Please do your old pal IF Optimist a favor.  Take an hour this week to back up anything that is precious.  Don’t wait, no excuses.  Don’t make your husband do it if he is a laggard.  If you have any questions, post them here and I will answer them.  You have an expert at your fingertips.  I am happy and honored to help. :-)

I agreed to WHAT?!?

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I called my friend Linds today (she guest starred in my post “The Eggs and I” back in May) and asked her “Wotcha doin’?"  She said she was walking from her house to Juanita Beach to play volleyball tonight.

I lurves me some volleyball.  Did I mention that hand-eye/legs-feet coordination is not my forte?  Nope?  Oh well.  I may be a klutz, but I love playing volleyball nonetheless.  I AM getting better, thankyouverymuch.  I asked if I could meet her down the road and enjoy the walk/volleyball thing together.

Great!  She says.  I’ll meet her at 4:30 (in 20 minutes).

I googled mapped it.  6.2 miles is the walk, then a couple of hours of volleyball on top of that.  I think I’m going to be a sore but happy kid tomorrow.  We’ll see. 

I took my first BCP this morning so that plus volleyball really makes it a Game ON! scenario. <grin> I shouldn’t take myself so seriously.

Game On!

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OK.  Here’s the scoop.  I went early this morning for a blood draw, then came back an hour later for my baseline ultrasound with DocO.  He started out by saying he could clear things up.  While the lab “officially” opens for all RE office business on the day of my estimated retrieval, they always make sure that everything is ready for patients who need egg retrieval 2 days earlier (that is also a part of their normal routine when shutting down the lab for cleaning).  DocO said if it looked like we would need to retrieve 3 days early, then the cycle would be cancelled or converted anyway, because that is just too early to retrieve good eggs.  As for taking BCP for 14 days, it is totally within the protocol and no cause of concern.  The way he explained the lab schedule was totally clear to me.  I “got it” right away.  I immediately felt better, then we got on to the baseline ultrasound.

First we checked out “lefty” who had 13 follicles percolating.  Wow!  Then we checked the right ovary and there were 14 more.  Another wow!  Anyone need a 27 egg omelet?  My blood work came back pretty good too.  FSH is 8.4, E2 is 51.  DocO said everything looked great, all of the numbers look better than last time and it is a very nice start.

There it is.  I shouldn’t have got myself all excited and worried, but this is all just so important, you know?  I can’t help get a little edgy from time to time.  Sorry about taking you all on my wild ride. I really appreciated your comments and ideas.  I ran down to check my computer first thing this morning before heading off to the appointment.

I start taking BCP tomorrow. (Cool, now MrBeep and I can do it like bunnies and not have to worry about me getting knocked up! What a relief!)  In a couple of weeks I will take two small doses of lupron twice daily then add stims into the mix.  I’ll write more on micro-dose flare protocol as I learn it myself.  Thanks again to all who gave me some ideas and encouragement.  Maybe my new IF Haiku will be good luck all around (thanks for posting MeKate).  I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend, I’m off to walk in the sunlight and enjoy a decaf iced somethingorother with my girlfriend Ali.

Should I stay or should I go now?

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OK.  I’ll admit it.  I feel asleep Friday night at like 9:30 p.m. (WHAT?!? I am an old geezer) instead of writing my Friday blog post.  So here we are on a fresh and sunny Saturday instead.

AF showed up exactly on time, so yeah, I didn’t even have to POAS because hey, I could never be pregnant for even maybe a day on my own. No anxious “maybe maybe crossing fingers” hope for me.  Perhaps my contribution to IF Haiku was a premonition for the month?  Feh.  Anyway, a week ago Friday was the day that I headed off for playing in the waves at Huntington State Beach.  I’m riding shot-gun when my phone rang.  Caller ID showed it was my RE’s office. 

Me:  Ummmmm, hello?

IVF coordinator:  Hi.  I wanted to talk to you about your next cycle schedule.

Me:  OK.

IVF coordinator:  The team decided to put you on the micro-dose lupron protocol for your next IVF cycle.  I was looking at the potential calendar and we may have some issues between your schedule and the embryology lab closure**.  Normally you take BCP for about 10-14 days, if we push it to the max of 14 days, we’ll then have you start stims.  We estimate you will be ready for egg retrieval on the day the lab opens.  When do you expect day 1 of your cycle?

Me:  Friday the 17th or Saturday the 18th.  It sort of depends on the time of day things kick off.

IVF coordinator:  Oh.  Um, do you think you may be a little late?

Me:  I’m typically never late.  But who knows, now that I’ve said it out loud.  So let me understand this, you’ll be pushing me to the edge of your protocol and expect that I will be available on the day the lab opens.  What if I am a day early, or 2 days early?

IVF coordinator:  Ahhhh, good point.  Well how about we chat again when you start cycle day 1 as this may be a moot point depending on the day you start.

**Oh, by the way, I forgot to write in my post IVF WTF meeting that we were taking one month off due to Dr. recommendation and then planning to do IVF #2 in late July/Aug.  It was estimated that the RE’s office embryology lab being closed for a month for cleaning wouldn’t be an issue for our schedule, but GUESS WHAT?  How lucky can one girl get?  Murgdan’s post, Frozen in Time explains she has the same thing going on this month.  Her FET was delayed another month due to lab closure.  I understand why it is necessary…really I do, but AAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!

Fast forward 1 week

Friday comes and it is for sure cycle day 1.  I call the RE’s office leave a message at 11:30 am saying it’s CD1. At 3:45 pm the IVF coordinator (who is a really nice person BTW) calls me back. 

IVF coordinator:  OK.  I’ve developed a plan and sent the calendar to you via email.  We’ll have you come in for a baseline bloodwork and ultrasound on Sunday, then you’ll take 14 days of BCP starting on Monday.  We’ll have you start stims and I have you expected for egg retrieval on 8/17 which is the day the lab opens back up.

Me:  Great, um…well.  We’re back at the same place aren’t we?  What if they find (like last time) that I am ready for egg retrieval early? I understand that they do not expect to have the same problem with LH surge since I am not on Cetrotide, but what if something else happens and I am a day early?  Do one of your other offices in the area have an open embryology lab?

IVF coordinator: No, those offices do not have labs.

Me:  OK.  Well.  Honestly this makes me a little nervous.  I have never been on this protocol and have never taken Lupron. It’s not just the time and the emotional issues, but we’re talking like $12,000 here.  Maybe I should wait another month if things seem too close.

IVF coordinator:  (very nicely) I thought you told me that you didn’t want to wait another month before starting the next IVF?

Me:  I don’t. Believe me.  I have been waiting for one thing or another, complications, etc. for 5 years.  I am very very tired of waiting.  I want to do this, but I am scared that something may happen.  I don’t understand all this stuff.  I don’t know if pushing the protocol to the edge is routine or not.  I have my expertises, but this is not one of them.  Do you think I can talk to the Doctor to answer my questions?  It will help me to decide whether to go forward this month or not.

IVF coordinator: I’ve got an idea.  I’ll talk to the IVF lab folks and see what they plan to do if there are any early emergencies.  Also DocO will be there for your baseline bloodwork and ultrasound.  We need to see how you are looking and we can develop a plan.  I’ll schedule your appointment as the last one of the day and he can talk to you, answer questions and help you decide what is best.  OK?

Me:  Oh, thanks so much.  I really do appreciate it, even if I sound a little insane.

So now I have an appointment for blood draw tomorrow at 8am and a baseline ultrasound/consult at 9:15 am with DocO (he wanted to have the bloodwork results).  I’m sure these guys will put me at ease and I’ll be glad to have MrBeep along to help decide but why, WHY does it have to be so complicated? 

Anyone else do the micro-dose lupron protocol?  How many days did you take birth control pills?  How long did your stims last?  Anyone else have good questions I should ask DocO?  I really don’t want to wait another cycle, it’s a bad idea when you are an older patient.  Should I go for it?  Should I wait?  I am stuck in a Clash song from the 80’s.

Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble,
And if I stay it will be double,
So you gotta let me knohoooow
Should I stay or should I go?

Catching up and calming down

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I have a blogging rule for myself.  I  am not allowed to check my own blog or start a new post until I have caught up reading and commenting on the over 30 blogs that I follow.  So needless to say when I returned from my vacation, I had a lot of catching up to do.  I tried to keep up here and there in the late hours while at my Mom’s house, but I just didn’t have a quiet environment during the day and my grandparents were in the void.  I returned on Tuesday night and enjoyed a snugglefest with MrBeep.  It is always so good to come home to your own bed, your own linens, your own pillow, (and especially) your own sweetie. 

********** Begin Bitch Session ***********

The next morning I made my tea, caught up on lots of reading, commented here and there. After a little while I got up to stretch my legs and walked down to my garden to check on things.  Unbeknownst to MrBeep and me, my MIL and FIL stopped by while I was on vacay.  FIL put together our new gas grill (they bought it as a Christmas present in Dec).  While he was working on the grill, MIL swept the back porch, pulled weeds and trimmed hedges.  Nice, right?  Unfortunately she chose to take my boysenberry bush and dump the vines (laden with just ripening fruit) in a big bundle on top of each other and piled on the fence so she could get a couple of weeds under the vines.  I stared at it, my heart sank.  I waited 2 years for that vine to fruit and now during the 2-3 week harvest this happens?  She didn’t even call to ask me if it would be OK.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

********** End Bitch Session **************

I tried to keep calm.  I tried to remember that she was being nice in her own mad-bull-in-a-china-shop sort of way.  I took a deep breath.  I put on my gardening gloves and carefully, gently detangled the boysenberry plant.  I brought down a plastic bowl and gathered the berries ripe for picking or fallen while I rearranged.  I probably lost a couple dozen berries, and some branches have been damaged but in the end I think it won’t be too bad.  A little bit of gardening Zen helped my nerves, calmed my emotions.  I was getting back to my normal self.  Hummingbirds are going crazy right now for some flowers that are blooming in the garden.  I love to watch them zip around like tiny winged magic green faeries. 

After setting the garden in order, I went to our farmer’s market and returned with sacks of deliciousness.  Crisp lettuce, radishes, carrots, rainier cherries, organic grass-fed beef and lamb from a local farm.  I even got veal bones to make demi-glace.  I also scored some fresh shelled peas.  The peas are only good for about 1-2 days so I cooked them up for my dinner party.  I had a few bucks left and I bought a $3 small bag of kettle corn.  It was freshly made and handed to me, still warm.   Mmmmmmm salty and crisp and sweet.  Hooray for the little things that can cheer your day.


Thanks for listening to my bitch session.  My stupid rant.  MrBeep was a tad peeved about the intrusion/destruction too, but he is a guy and doesn’t appreciate the therapy of a good bitch session.  It’s out of my system now.  I have a delicious bowl of freshly picked boysenberries to enjoy with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream tonight.

Before my dinner party started and I fired up the new grill (pork chops, portabella mushrooms and squash from the market plus shelled fresh English peas).  I finally finished catching up on all my blog reading.  Here are some of the highlights from the week I wanted to share:

I read an excellent post from The Steadfast Warrior.  She wrote eloquently about the need to feel you can “make things happen”.  Her post is called “Finding Peace“ and I highly recommend reading it.  Sprogblogger is back from her vacay and has excellent news about her poppy seed.  I am so happy for her I can’t express it in words. Barefoot has the great news that there will be a new set of toenails to paint in the years to come. MeKate has been posting some truly excellent IF Haiku.  You should check some out and submit some if you are inspired.  I plan to do an ART ART project based on her excellent idea.  In fact, I think I’ll head upstairs and drag out some pencils and get some planning underway.

Burritos and melting in the WiFi void

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I am enjoying my visit with friends and family in LA for the most part. I am at my grandparents house in the desert. It is great to see them both. Gramma is 85 and Grampa is 87. They are the sweetest and most caring people I have ever known and being with them is warm and soothing to my soul. My only minor inconveniences are that it was 105 degrees on the outdoor themometer in the shade. Whew.

Did I mention they have no air conditioner? Only fans and a swamp cooler. I took them out during the hottest part of the day for lunch. My other inconvenience is that there is no internet or WiFi. I am writing this entry via my cell phone interface. I can't catch up on your blogs beyond a quick view. It is driving me a bit crazy being out of the loop but I'll be back Tues eve.

I wanted to say thanks to those who offered very valuable advice for talking about the IVF cycle with friends/family IRL.

BreakfastBurrito**Updated**  I enjoyed my lunch with Mom.  I got my awesome breakfast burrito. We headed to my favorite local diner as soon as my rental car hit the driveway. Their fresh salsa was the best I've had so far this year. I love salsa in the summer! I’m waiting for the good tomatoes to come into the farmers market so I can make mine for the year. 

I couldn’t figure out how to add a photo from my cell phone but now that I am on a computer I can share in the deliciousness.  I always get eggs (no meat!), mushrooms, peppers, salsa and hash browns on the inside.  For the outside I get extra salsa and hot sauce too. Mom had french toast.  I love it! 

Stay tuned for The Big Beach Adventure posting on Friday!

I’m a leaving on a jet plane

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Here I am, on a plane, thinking, typing. I’m travelling to LA to visit my parents, brother, grandma and grandpa.  I look forward to seeing them but hate being down there in the hot months  The pacific northwest has shifted my temperature tolerance.  I can wander around in shorts and a tee shirt when it is raining, windy and 45 degrees, I have photo proof of me in a tank top on the ski slopes, but get me over 85 and I get way too hot and cranky.  I’ll do my best to consider the ninety degree heat as a “vacation.”  I will only be gone for a week, so I’ll suck it up.

I have a tentative plan is to spend one day at the beach with my nephews and niece.  I haven’t played in the waves in years.  I used to love body surfing (couldn’t afford a board) and just swimming and jumping waves.  Staying in the waves for hours, your body gets accustomed to the sway of the tide.  When you go to bed that night, you can still feel the waves pulling and pushing you.  A strange muscle memory that gently rocks you to sleep.

On the TTC front, I am 6dpo, so about the time I return home I will know if we were successful this cycle trying on our own “au natural.”  I would love it if were were one of those magic couples who get pregnant before their next IVF cycle (I love those triumph stories) but I honestly don’t hold out much hope. I think the MF makes our chances so low (probably less than 5%) that I can’t bring myself to get excited any more.  Anyone else feel like that?  To top it off, in the last week I’ve had to tell about a dozen close IRL friends and family that no, we’re not pregnant and no, the IVF didn’t work, and yes we are going to try again and here’s what happened with the meds.  I feel the need to explain why it didn’t work (beyond the chemical) and why it is OK to try again, despite the meds and hassle and costs.  I know that I shouldn’t have to feel that way, but I do.  I think it is my own screwed up coping mechanism.  I am a tad frustrated at MrBeep who didn’t tell his folks anything and I got the excited MIL call yesterday, “So I was wondering when you are going to take a pregnancy test?” I stood there, feeling like I had been punched in the gut and finally replied flatly “I’m not pregnant.”  <pause>  “I assumed MrBeep would have told you.”  I didn’t offer any details, no explanations.  Generally speaking, everyone is very kind to me and they all say the right things (I don’t get much assvice, thank the universe).  But it’s really hard not to get upset and and feel wounded and sometimes I just want to crawl under a rock and not emerge until I have some good news.  I would have loved to had the opportunity to keep this all a secret just between me and MrBeep, but circumstances made it impossible.  I fucking hate it sometimes.  I am trying to figure out how to keep IVF #2 a little more under the radar, any suggestions?

OK.  I’m shaking the darkness and cobwebs out of my head.  I get to see my mom in about an hour, we’ll eat breakfast (LA = awesome breakfast burritos + fresh salsa) Cheering up now.  Things are still fine, and there’s hope in them thar hills.

Fabulous Fotography Friday: Discovery Park

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It was a great week to take a hike, so a great friend and I hit Discovery Park in Seattle. I managed to get several good photos and wanted to share a few. Put on your virtual hiking boots and come on a hike with me. :-)

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We started out by walking down some a steep staircase. As you descend, the shade cools your skin and you are surrounded by ferns. The smell of cedars and fir trees hit your nose. It is summer and the scent is warm and earthy.

There are a million little things to notice as you walk. Spiders spin their webs, tiny wildflowers are trying to find a little patch of sun.

It is a great walk and I even had to put away my camera so I could use my hands to climb down a cliff in order to get to the next path.

We walked for quite a ways until the path opened up to the beachfront.

DSC_0563 There was tons of driftwood. The grasses and wildflowers blew in the breeze. I managed to catch this one with my macro lens when the wind died down for a few seconds.

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DSC_0575 Little ole me standing at the end of the beach where it reaches the bottom of the cliff. It is an interesting close up view of the geology of Puget Sound (glaciers carved this area). You can see the striations on the wall. My friend took a geology class in college and was explaining some of it to me. It was really neat! I asked him to snap a photo of me. I’ve got my awesome Asolo hiking boots and hat on!

DSC_0623We started the steep climb from the beach to the top of the bluff. It was nice to be back in the shaded cool forest and when my legs were about to turn to jelly, we finally reached the top of the bluff. A bald eagle flew by and I got a pic, but it was a little fuzzy. Then several Ospreys riding the updrafts and swooping near the cliff edge came along. I managed to get a good picture of this fellow below (click the pic for a bigger view).

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DSC_0643 At the end of the day we were bushed! I decided that since I was not in the 2WW just yet that we could enjoy a refreshment at Prost! I enjoyed a very refreshing weissbier. My friend enjoyed a huge stein (1 litre actually) of Bitburger Pilsner. He got a little buzzed and silly by the end of the glass, but that’s half the fun, right?

I hope you liked the photos, I was a tad late in publishing them, but I did so before I went to bed, so I count it as still being Friday.

Any good hikes or walks for you lately? I always enjoy seeing pictures when I read your blogs. It's like a mini-vacay and always brings a smile to my face.

About Fabulous Fotography Friday:
As I mentioned in my prior post “
Guess my number, win a prize” I was going to grab the ole Nikon and spend some of my 2 week waits taking and editing pictures. To save any of these photos for your very own, just click on the picture. A new window will open and show you the larger (higher-resolution) version, then right-click on the big image and choose “Save Picture As…” in Internet Explorer (“Save Image As…” in Firefox). They make awesome desktop images.

 

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