Sunday, December 29, 2013

Almost time for baby

The last month has been delightfully calm- that is, after my gyno attempted to put me on limited physical activity. With this whole split prenatal care between my gyno and my midwives, it has been interesting to see how modern medicine (in my opinion) attempts to take all the risk and responsibility and "minimize" it (which isn't really possible, anyway). The idea of questioning the reasoning behind some prescriptions and requests for care seems novel for some doctors, and we had to get rather insistent that I did not want to take antibiotics for a small, very common infection so close to birth and that I did not want to have fetal heart tones recorded every 2 weeks for 30 minutes at a time. After we got through all that, I was able to breathe more deeply and relax, which has been just what I needed!

Now, we only have to wait until midnight on the 1st to be able to have Shrimpy at the birthing center, due to their new insurance for 2014 (otherwise, the clock would have started this week at 37 weeks and not at 38). Since I had some bloody show on Friday and have been having irregular contractions and shooting vag pain when walking, I have been taking it easy in the hopes of Shrimpy not starting the show earlier. I have been feeling pretty good, though, and being sure to nap during the day since sleeping can be hard between the hip & back pain and going to the bathroom so much.

I never thought that being off for so long before baby gets here would go by so quickly, but I have been really enjoying it! I've been teaching myself how to crochet, doing sewing projects and crafts, as well as reading and cooking. Broom and I have been doing our best to enjoy the calm before all of the changes, although we are both getting eager to meet baby! I have been able to talk to my mom more since I've been off (due to the time difference), and she has been really supportive, which is lovely. My homesickness tends to flair up around the holidays, and this year was no different, but it is what it is (Although we are seriously thinking about making a 5-year plan to move to Canada.).

Christmas with die Mutti was OK, although she is easier to deal with when I have had wine, lol. At least she only stayed 1 night, and then Broom and I could relax after she left. We have already taken down the decorations to have that out of the way in case baby comes, and are really looking forward to a quiet New Year's.

Tomorrow is my next midwife appointment, and I expect it to be pretty uneventful. I figure I will go on longer walks starting on the 1st and see when my baby and my body are ready for birth.

2013 was a great year, but we are both really looking forward to meeting this little one!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And then I had my last day at work for a year...

...Germany has a lot of interesting programs, including awesome parental leave. I saved two weeks of my (cough, 30 days) of vacation to take before the almost mandatory off-time for moms 6 weeks before the due date, and 8 weeks after. After this time ends, there is a somewhat-complicated program where the parents can take time off. I am taking 12 months, and Broom is taking 2. We still get between 65 and 67% of our previous salaries, which makes this feasible. Exciting and weird to be off for so long, although I am proud to say that I didn't have a problem leaving work behind.

The first week off, I had doctor's appointments and then we went away to the Baltic Sea for 4 nights, which was loverly. Daily walks on the beach and bubble baths were just the thing! I do notice though, that baby is in "start" position with his or her head already quite low in my pelvis. The daily movement has been good though.

Currently, I am working on sewing cloth baby wipes and burp cloths (my MIL is dating a laundromat owner, so we had waaay too many towels, so I cut them up based on our needs and am just finishing the edges). Other projects I want to do are: a blanket / duvet for the stroller, a collage out of cloth for Shrimpy's room, and a cover for the changing table extender we are making.

Feeling like things are coming together, but will feel better once everything is as in order as it can be (including the mountains of paperwork we are going to have to do since we don't have all rights and the whole bi national issue, *sigh*).

From the health perspective, it looks like the gestational diabetes thing really was just a fluke. I still have to test sporadically for the next 2-3 weeks, but everything has been fine. My gyno thought I might have a UTI, but didn't say anything since I brought in morning urine, so I would guess that things are fine there. She just said last time that she wants to use the fetal heartbeat monitor every two weeks starting next week, and I was too much in a tizzy to ask why, so I am going to do so and am thinking of declining since baby doesn't like being monitored. Also, she now seems worried about the polyp-y thing on my cervix, although she already said it shouldn't pose any problems for birth. She talked about sending me to a specialist/asking a colleague for advice.

Needless to say, this was one of those visits where I got overwhelmed and didn't ask enough questions here, so I wrote them down for next time. As far as I am concerned, as long as my cervix can still open, I am still planning to go to the birthing house (and the midwives are super-calm). If she is concerned about it being cancerous, then she should swab it for testing, and we can deal with the results after Shrimpy is here if we have to. I told my mom about me being a little worried that that was what she was getting at, and she waved it away (surprise!), so we will see.

I will probably run everything past my midwife before my gyno appointment and go from there.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Could be worse, could be better

Things are shaping up in Shrimpy's room, and once we buy a mattress and a car seat/stroller combo, we will have everything on our "must have" list of items! Sure, there is plenty that I would like to have by the time baby is here, but once these "musts" are out of the way, I think I will breathe much easier.

Last weekend, Broom's brother and nephew were here and helped by installing and securing everything that we had in that regard, and it was really nice to get so much done in such a short amount of time even though I was really exhausted for 2 days afterwards. Their generosity and how quickly they did everthing is amazing and wonderful!

On the health front, my first diabetes test was messed up by the lab, which meant I had to do another one. The 2nd one was positive, so I had to do a follow-up test that is longer and involved me looking like an addict afterwards since the incredibly nice nurse had trouble finding my veins. The last of the 3 blood draws that they did ended up being positive, so now, I am automatically labeled as a gestational diabetic.

The midwife didn't seem that concerned when I told her that the first one was positive, so I didn't think to ask what would happen if the 2nd one was positive. My gyno said that it is standard that gestational diabetics give birth in a clinic, although she didn't say it wasn't allowed. At our ultrasound today, Shrimpy was completely healthy and everything was normal- nothing was bigger, which is a common side effect. I am getting sent to an organ scan to make sure that the baby isn't under stress, so I am hoping that between that and the fact that since I got the glucometer yesterday that everything has been normal with my sugar, that my gyno and midwife will let me have the baby outside of the hospital in the birthing house.

I know that only time will tell, and that the main goal here is for me and the baby to be healthy, but I would prefer to have the baby in the birthing house if it is ok from a health perspective. Once I have a week of OK values, I am hoping that I am off the hook. The test itself I find to be a bit one-sided since the diabetes doctor said that 1 high number could have been from stress.

Today, I also brought up that I have had spotting 3 times since Friday, and 2 of those times were not combined with any strenuous activity whatsoever. It turns out the irritated spot on my cervix that I had has grown considerably and it causing occasional bleeding. For the next 11 days, I will take 2 different types of vaginal suppositories (one to calm it down, followed by one to improve the flora and fauna) to hopefully clear it up and then we will see. Once I am through with the suppositories, I am supposed to call if I have any bleeding.

Due to me cutting out all extra sugar, I have also lost some weight, but baby is a great size, that is good!
We will see how things develop, and if I get the whole pricking my finger down so that it works (with enough blood for the sensor) every time. I will do whatever I have to do for this little one, but I am sure hoping for my desired way of giving birth- but only time will tell- baby is calling all of the shots!

I am still doing well in trusting my body and my baby as well as not taking this whole being able to have a baby thing for granted, which is helping me a lot.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tempus Fugit

I am so thoroughly in the moment and enjoying being pregnant, that every time I think of blogging, I think that it hasn't been "that long" and then I see that another month has flown by.

Sure, there are some moments that aren't as enjoyable as others, but of course I am going to be uncomfortable sometimes- I am growing a person who I am carrying around in my womb. I have been trying to walk a fair amount, do prenatal videos from YouTube, and go to the gym to help with stiffness, etc. that is bound to only get worse :)
It can be hard to get motivated (and I haven't been denying myself naps, either), but once I do, I know it is what I needed.

On the preparation front, my sister and sister and law are organizing an alternative American baby shower. Since shipping costs and custom fees would make gift giving more difficult and possibly quite expensive for all, we are going to do a Facebook group with a limited Amazon Baby Registry (things where we would be glad to pay the customs fees- mostly cloth diapering supplies- since some brands are just really hard to get here) for those who would like to send a gift, and otherwise encourage people to give my mom a check for my American bank account. That money will offset what I wire monthly for my school loans and enable us to buy things for Shrimpy. In the group I can post pictures of what we have purchased and "attendees" can guess when Shrimpy will come, gender, size, weight, etc. and winners will get a gift in the mail.

I know that such a baby shower isn't common here, but my family really wants to do one, and I am really lucky and grateful for that! This month, we will be organizing things for my brother in law to help us install- anchors for book shelves, mounting a mirror that we had just leaned in the hallway, shelves for some plants in the living room, etc.

Sometimes, I have to fight the instinctual urge to "have it all done, right now!", but rationally (which I haven't been all the time- but luckily, my mood swings have just been mostly weepy-fits), I know we have time.

I just can't wait to have everything ready, then I can spend the time that I am off work before the baby is born to make the finishing touches and to step up my meditation. I feel pretty zen about my mental preparation for labor, and feel like we have excellent care. As long as everything goes normally, I will be giving birth in a cozy apartment set up just for labor with women I respect and trust. Our relationships are building with each appointment, and I am confident that our baby and my body know exactly what to do and the fact that our midwives trust that as well is part of the reason we chose to have an out-of-hospital birth.

Less than a month and a half before maternity leave starts!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting Serious

After seeing on my FertilityFriend pregnancy countdown that I have entered the 6th (of 10) months, and the viability timeframe starting this week, I finally feel like we need to start getting serious with making room for baby.

Our appointment at the birthing house was wonderful, and we are both now sure that we want to have Shrimpy there. They do the following things that made it a no-brainer for us:

- Cord cutting after the placenta has been birthed
- They leave the baby with us, doing any weighing, etc. in the bed with us- but only after the first latch and breastfeeding session
- Baby is not washed, and they encourage rubbing in the vernix to moisturize
- Vitamin K is only given for births where they feel that some trauma might have been experienced- and then only in drop form- usually a homeopathic alternative is only recommended occasionally.
- Cervical checks and all other interventions are only done with permission- save for emergencies, of course.

So, we are only doing the "bigger checks" that include testing for gestational diabetes as well as ultrasounds with the doctor, the rest is done by the midwives at the birthing house. Our last ultrasound went great, all organs and everything were normal- the only thing we couldn't check were the 4 heart chambers, as Shrimpy (whose sex will remain a surprise) was mooning us.

Now, this was the cutest butt EVER, but we couldn't see the heart- so we are going back tomorrow for that, and combining it with my diabetes test. I am excited that they are checking up on it, and hopefully baby will have a good position for a picture for us :)

So, slowly but surely, I am going to start taking inventory of the things we have, so that we can see what we still need to get, and soon, we will be picking out a few pieces of furniture.

One thing is sure though, the most important things are already in place!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to the grind & TMI pregnancy symptoms

So, I've been back at work for about a week and a half now- and I have heard nothing but congratulations and questions about how I am doing, etc. Some people might be avoiding me (but it is hard to tell), but if so, then at least if there has been anything, it's been really subtle. So, all in all, I am a lucky woman!

It is hard to believe that I only have a bit more to go- November will be here, and I will be on maternity leave before I know it! Hopefully, the person we made an offer to regarding being my replacement will sign and that I will be one less worry- as they would start in September, giving me plenty of time to get someone up to speed. Once that happens, I can breathe a little more easily.

Now that I am home, Broom and I are purging a bunch of stuff and gradually trying to work on Shrimpy's room- once we have more space in the room, I will feel a whole lot better! Luckily, I am not worrying too much about it- yet.

Excitingly, our midwife appointment on Friday went swimmingly, and every time I have felt the need to hear the heartbeat for a little bit, I have been able to find it no problem. I am even pretty darn sure I have felt some kicks and moves, and am excited about when they get even more distinctive :) My weight gain has been really gradual, with a total gain (as of Friday) between 3 and 4 kilos.

***Start TMI part (Please skip if not your thing! It is me being completely honest about symptoms!)***

My symptoms are still pretty mild (and I love knowing the why behind them, I find it fascinating), but have included stuff like: dizziness, nausea, fatigue, increased CM & nasal mucous, puffy nipples, headaches, gas, irregular BMs, burping/hiccups, and heartburn. Also, my inner thighs have been hurting like I have been working out (although I hadn't been), but actually working out made that sooo much better. So, many symptoms that are quite common, and a few I had never heard about- but it is all good, as my body is doing what it needs to do!

***End TMI part****

All in all, I am persevering in my mindset that making a baby is a beautiful, beautiful thing- even if some of the symptoms aren't sexy- what we women can do, and how our bodies can grow, stretch, and adapt is just completely mind blowing and amazing, and I am loving this experience. When I look down at my growing bump, I just get so overwhelmed with joy- and Broom and I are really enjoying this time together, which I love! I have just been overcome with a sense of calm and contentedness- I am one very happy Mommy. :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Awesomeness all around

Vacation was busy and still relaxing at the same time!
I really loved seeing everyone and spending time with them while sleeping in and just being.

The city that we visited with my mom and sister was really awesome. It has a real European feel, and everything that we are looking for in a place to live: health care, public transportation, culture, and a body of water. It is more expensive than what we are used to now for cost of living, but salaries would be higher too. We will be using materials we gathered to estimate how much we would need to move and how much we would need to earn to make it plausible to live there. If we do decide to go through with it, it is more like a 5+ year plan, but it is good to really consider it- although the coolness of Europe and the proximity to other countries would be really hard to give up.

Spending time in my hometown was great- some friends and I got together and had an excellent evening together, and telling my family about Shrimpy at the reunion was great fun! As sweet as they are, none of them wanted to assume that I was pregnant in case I had just put on weight! Despite the health problems my family is facing (an aunt and uncle of mine are both battling stage 4 cancer, another uncle was in a massive car accident that made him, at least for now, a quadriplegic, and my mom's ex had a bladder blockage that they are currently testing for cancer), we were still a rather upbeat group- and I know that we really support one another in hard times like these.

This week I am at my work's American headquarters and catching up on everything that happened while I was on vacation and working on projects. We are also doing interviews for my position, which is exciting and filled with lots of hope and expectations. There have been a lot of comments made about it being hard to replace me and the value of my position which makes me feel really good.

My coworkers here also threw me an early baby shower (since I won't be back until post baby)! It was something they brought up right after I announced it to them, and I am just overwhelmed by kindness and acceptance. They have given our growing family such thoughtful gifts and I can't wait to show Broom all of the nice things that we have received.

Today I also got to meet up with a good friend of mine and her family for breakfast. My delayed flight on Sunday made that meet-up impossible, but we made breakfast work, and they even picked me up from my hotel and dropped me off at work so that we would have the most time possible to visit with one another. She is also expecting, and we are exactly two weeks apart- it is so lovely to be going though this "together" (at least virtually!) and it was great to see them and catch up- although there is never enough time! (Thank you! And thank you for breakfast!)

I can't wait to get home and back to our apartment, and I can't help but be extremely grateful for everything right now- even with the medical hardships in my family, the network behind us all is amazingly awesome!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


So, I have made it through my 4-day training in Chicago!

I am now certified in training adults! A great thing to know/have and for my CV. The days were long, and the prep for the practice and the competency demonstration (which determined if we were certified or not) of course took its time, but I am really proud of myself.

In other work news, they have posted by position and the company helping us with the search has already received 40 applications, 10 of which are qualified. Since we officially started the search, and the timing of this trip was right after the "safer time", I had to pick a group of people to tell via email in order to keep the rumor wild-fire at bay. More than half of the people I sent it to sent congratulatory emails in response, which was a great feeling. When I am at our corporate offices at the end of the month, the US-branch of my department is even throwing me a baby shower! It is so nice to "feel the love" and if anyone has had any inappropriate thoughts regarding how I got pregnant, it hasn't made its way through to me. I am anxious to see if there are any questions surrounding it, but I figure I will just mention that we had medical help, and the rest was the sperm and the egg's doing. All in all, I am bowled over by their support.

In (not really) shocking news, it turns out the longer flights while preggo do not agree with me or Shrimpy, meaning I felt nauseated, dizzy, and generally shitty on the way over here. It was not fun being so miserable the whole time, but my homeopathic remedies at least took the edge off. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to the flight back over the pond. I will be avoiding any further flights until Shrimpy is here.

Since I have been sitting in a classroom environment all week, and the hotel has a pool, I have really enjoyed swimming! I know that this isn't surprising either, but it just felt so good to be weightless. I would like to continue swimming once back home, but am still searching for a tankini top (the bottoms I found at Target, with a nice skirt, since I have some nice new stretch marks on my thighs- but the tops they had were not enough as my cup overfloweth- literally).

Tomorrow I am off to explore a city that Broom and I are debating moving to one day. My mom, sister, and her kids are coming along (they are driving up to meet me), so I am excited to see everyone and spend quality time with them all. I am also really looking forward to our upcoming family reunion and telling everyone the happy news!

So, I'm not sure if I will write while on vacation, but if not, I will be sure to let you know how it went once I am back.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

(Almost) Time to leave on a jet plane!

Well, Sunday is the day I go to the US for almost 4 weeks! Crazy!

I am starting out in Chicago for a 1-week training, then we are visiting Toronto to see if we would like living there, and then I am spending time with my family before another 4 days of business at the end. I am excited and scared, and hoping that I feel ok while I am gone and don't catch any bugs.

Luckily, all of my appointments have been going well! They reduced my thyroid meds, and our 1st official ultrasound (the one to confirm the pregnancy doesn't count) went perfectly!
The baby measured the right size, the heart was still beating strongly (we got to hear it over the dr.'s doppler), and since Shrimpy was sleeping- my dr. got him or her to wake up and move.

It was amazing to see those little arms and long legs flail and wave as he/she was surprised awake by the gentle pushes on my belly. I felt a little bad, waking our child up, but it was great to see the movement before he/she settled back down to a more comfortable looking sleeping position (head more or less level with the body rather than feet up in the air). The dr. could even recognize that the baby's digestive system is functioning based on the stomach, and at one point, we saw the brain, too. Completely amazing.

We couldn't be happier that we have reached the 2nd trimester and we are keeping everything crossed that things continue to go well!

Since things did go so well, we went ahead and told Broom's brothers (who, reacted ok- a little weirdly, but ok), as well as my big bosses at work. Apparently, based on the meeting invites, they thought I was going to quit and were freaking out. One was surprised, the other relieved. It is nice to have it out now, and we will begin looking for my replacement any day now.

It is still hitting Broom and I that having this baby means coming out to even more people, over and over again. At least, so far, reactions haven't been bad, and Broom's mom seems to be really excited now, which is a little scary and nice at the same time. Babies do sometimes make people easier to relate to, so we will see.

Now, off to see if I can figure out how to shimmy my legs into the really serious thigh-high compression stockings I bought...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Busy Bees

We have been all over, it seems!
An alternative street festival in our city, Pride in Berlin, and speaking with journalists about discrimination.


Pride last weekend was really cool. Friday was kicked off with a Dyke March through the city (which we were really late for since we had to set our tents up at our odd but nice campsite). 1,500 dykes and dyke supporters in a really non-commercial march for more visibility and rights. It was really neat! Afterwards, there was a gathering and some dancing- although I just gathered- my work day had me too worn out to dance.

The big CSD parade on Saturday was amazingly huge- and we only watched a small part of it! According to 1 news source, there were 700,000 people in attendance. It was neat to watch, but I am glad that we did the "lite" version, as lots of standing and walking in the sun is not my thing (pregnant or not). Meeting up with friends afterwards was really nice.

 We also decided to answer a call for people to talk to journalists about discrimination here. I can't go into detail since it could later make this blog not so anonymous, so let's just say that I am excited that we decided to be brave despite the fact that it could be sensationalized. Hopefully, the subject will get visibility either way. This is an exciting time as far as the possibility of more rights go- here, and in the US- although I am fully aware that these changes could take place long after Shrimpy has made his/her appearance. 

In the meantime, I've still had symptoms that come and go, like waves. The nausea only seems to come when I am tired and hungry, which is good (although I do go from "I could eat" to "OMG feed me" in like 20 minutes...and then I can't eat that much, lol.). The round ligament pain has started, and I am glad that I knew that this happens- as it could otherwise be quite a scary sensation. I've got a bit of a mix of the "mask of pregnancy" / acne / rash thing going on on my face as well as increasing back pain- but movement helps. My "bloating" doesn't seem to ever go away completely now, and part of my belly is it is probably the start of my bump. I've made plans to check out thrift stores with my sister while I am home to get maternity clothes. In the meantime, dresses and my belly band are my friends.

A little hard to believe that I am 11 weeks today, and that our next ultrasound is next week- but I will be glad when we have that important milestone behind us, that's for sure.

The end of next week I will be flying to the US for almost 4 weeks, so by the time I am back, it will be time for another ultrasound, among other things!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Impulse Buy

All in all, this week has been lovely.
Somehow slow, but with nice events accenting the week.

On Monday, I was off sick as I had tooth pain from Saturday onwards that got progressively worse, but I was able to get in to see my dentist, who discovered a cavity. I hadn't really had anything but checkups with her before, so I didn't know how un-informative and cruel she is. NO information about what she was doing (unannounced drilling, anyone?) and didn't really tell me what she did- but at least I can see that she filled a cavity. After she checks on her work in two weeks, I will be getting a new dentist. I'm done with insensitive doctors!

I spent my day off sleeping, relaxing, and spending time with myself. I think I needed it more than I thought.

My workweek was fine, and I decided that I couldn't continue keeping my awesome boss in the dark (in fact, as weird as it may sound- it felt like keeping a big secret from a good friend) and told her on Thursday. She was super excited for us and really understanding- I am really glad I told her and feel a lot lighter now. I let her know that I would like to keep it confidential for the next few weeks, and of course she understood completely. Even though I will miss her company when I am on leave, I also want to make sure we find someone to support her and our department while I am gone.

We also told Die Mutti (Broom's Mom) on Thursday. She was positive, but a little weird (although I, while drunk last Christmas, gave her allll the details about what it was taking for us to get pregnant). She said "you (insert my name here) are going to have a baby" where I replied "yes, Broom and I are having a baby". We let her know that we weren't ready to tell Broom's brothers yet. True to her form, she then let us know that we should get a bunch of new furniture for the baby's room.
So, we will see how her reaction progresses / fluctuates.

Today, the impulse buy Fetal Doppler that I got online. It isn't that easy to use yet, but I was able to catch Shrimpy as he or she swam by. It was great to see the heartbeat, even if it was just for a moment.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A flood of emotions

So, the long-awaited day has come!

Excitingly, we have one, really perfect Shrimpy! The baby measured perfect for 8w1d and we could see the heartbeat :) I got blood drawn and she did a breast and manual examinations and we got our first pictures.

What a sigh of relief to know that things are developing as they should! I couldn't help but get teary, it was such an awesome view, to see Shrimpy for the first time while holding Broom's hand. We got our open questions answered and are due on January 14th, 2014. Our next appointment is right before I go to the US for business and vacation, so that is perfect, too.

On a more sober note, we are still waiting on the worst of the flooding here and are hoping that everyone and as much of their possessions as possible are spared. When I see the news, I just want to cry when I see the level of destruction, but am glad that the number of fatalities hasn't risen and am glad to see how many people have been volunteering.

Stay safe!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One week

One week from today we will find out if everything is OK in my aquarium and if our Shrimp(s) are doing well, too. It can't come soon enough even though I know that we will have more to see next week since I will be 8 weeks. I've still only had what I consider to be mild symptoms, which had me a bit worried on Sunday. I expressed this worry aloud to Broom, and our Shrimp responded promptly with the worst wave of nausea I've had on Monday. It was, indeed, reassuring!

This week has also been one filled with mixed emotions (in pregnancy? shocker) due to news from friends. On the one hand, I was over the moon to hear that a good friend of mine is pregnant, too! On the other hand, friends of ours are unfortunately not pregnant anymore. I didn't ask at what week they lost their baby (we were on largely identical TTC paths and she was about 2 weeks ahead of me), but I see them tomorrow at the movies and will see if they feel like talking about it. It broke my heart, but they told me that they are dealing OK and want to try again to get pregnant with their 2nd. Sigh.

On a separate note, we are going away for a longer weekend for Broom's birthday!
Very exciting, although I am a little worried about flying to Spain :) We will see how it goes! At least I will be busy relaxing and won't have time to fret about the ultrasound. Just have to pick up my homeopathic remedy for travel sickness, as flying tends to make me sick sometimes, and I am only guessing that it might be more magnified this time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Luckily, with each passing day, our ultrasound appointment gets closer!
I am really eager, nervous, and excited to make sure that everything is ok and to confirm how many "Shrimpy/ies" there are in there. Some days I cannot ignore the pregnancy symptoms, while on others I feel like I should feel more in order to be sure that everything is ok. I used my last digital and the display went up to 2-3 weeks so I am glad that it my hCG went up!

All in all, I have been feeling pretty good- I've been having: nausea, bloating, heartburn, sore hips, and fatigue. When the nausea hits at work, it's either been mild, or I've been able to breathe through it. I've had a couple of mood swings / bouts of weepiness to boot, mostly for non-reasons, as stuff like that tends to be :)

I've had a hard time not feeling like I look pregnant (due to the bloat) all the time and wanting to tell people. We will decide when to tell my family after the ultrasound and I will probably tell my work in week 12. Broom's family will be kept in the dark the longest to maintain our sanity.

We went to the largest annual lesbian gathering in Germany last weekend and it was awesome! I couldn't do as much as I wanted to do due to my fatigue, but it was such a touching and rejuvenating experience to be around so many lesbians that looked so different (butch, femme, androgynous, all sorts of skin tones and ability levels). I am really glad that we went!

13 days before we know more about how my aquarium inhabitant(s) are doing!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sinking in

Well, it is slowly sinking in that I am pregnant- although I think that it will only truly sink in once we have a baby in our arms. I know I will feel better after our first gyno appointment on June 5th, but I am enjoying the now the best I can (ironically- it is only at night that I toss and turn with worries that have time!). The symptoms that I have been really mild so far and I am feeling great: nausea when I get too hungry or smell stinky cheese, pulling in my hips, massive bloating (belly and breasts), mild fatigue and really thirsty.

When I think about all that I did in my last cycle, I am still amazed and happy that we found the moment/combination/winning lottery ticket that did the trick:

- daily castor oil packs for about 1.5 weeks prior to the insem
- self-oil massage
- EFT-tapping and alternate nostril breathing
- omega 3-6-9 oil, coconut oil, folic acid, iron, and magnesium
- pulsatilla 5 globules 1x/day (I am not sure if that is the proper English name) which is really fitting to my constitution
- meteoreisen for the first ~3 days after the insem after which I decided it would be better for my immune system be weaker (my homeopath recommended it) to let implantation take place. I got a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat right after- which I took to be a good sign.
- after-ovulation tea
- ear acupuncture
- laughed after the insem (I probably looked crazy) and went out dancing the weekend after too (until 4am, so much fun! but of course no drinking)
- since this was our last "hurrah" I took 50mg of Clomid from cycle days 5-9, triggered with hCG 2 days before the insem, and have been on 200mg of progesterone since (the clinic wanted 600mg and I thought I didn't need that much)

I couldn't find a good pineapple, so I skipped eating pineapple core, and, well, this is the first cycle ever that I haven't spotted. The other cycle that I tried progesterone supplements on I spotted on, so I tried not to get my hopes up based on that- but it turned out to be a good sign for me!

*Please stick, baby!*

Friday, May 10, 2013

Body image and baby making

I have come to the unscientific conclusion that Germany is more critical about body image and what many Germans consider to be fat. It is also not considered (as far as I can tell) incredibly rude to call someone fat or talk about someone's body. There is even a show on called "The fat guy".

As a result, anyone who falls out of the societal norm is often judged for their body shape.
Here, I have heard people refer to me as being large or any other "nicer" term for fat, and I have been mistaken for being pregnant at least a handful of times (well, those were the number of times they asked me or said something about it- but now they would be right, ha!).

During the course of this journey to conceive I have made a conscious decision not to concentrate on how much I weigh. Priority number one was and is getting/staying pregnant and staying healthy. I do weigh a "lot" for my height- even though I think that with the exception of my small belly and ginormous breasts (thanks, genetics!), that my frame is actually on the small side. I am an average height and very strong woman- lifting weights makes me feel powerful and good (and, well, pectoral muscles are important for these girls I've got) and seeing my leg, arm, and back muscles makes me feel sexy. I am healthy and happy.

I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for unwanted comments once I start to show and am already giving  myself pep talks about how amazing the whole process is here- because I've heard people- including coworkers call pregnant women fat. (And the person who said it is friends with the woman carrying twins! I told her that if she was my friend and talking about me like that that I would hate her and that she should have twins and see how she felt/looked. My mouth got away from me there...)

But no matter what anyone says, they can't make this process any less amazing- and I will surely feel free to give them a piece of my opinion when appropriate as well. Body image is such an important lesson that we are taught by our families, and our family will certainly have that as well as the obvious two moms thing to contend with. I have come to the firm conclusion that both areas require a strong pair of shoulders to hold your head up high, and I plan on leading by example.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

For our bilingual friends

....this is new:

The English one is from yesterday and the German one is today.

I think it is time to call and get an appointment with the doctor!

We are so excited and hope that this baby sticks!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One week down, one week to go

A week ago tomorrow, we had what will probably be our last treatment at our existing clinic as well as our last IUI (at least on the IUI front for awhile). The visit was not spectacular, despite getting stuck in a traffic jam and my GPS stating that there were like 4 more coming up and that it would take another hour when I was 20 minutes away (I called the front desk at the clinic to let them know and they wanted to know when I would be there- I just wanted to scream- "It is a traffic jam! How the fuck should I know?" but I remained calm).

My ultrasound on Monday revealed great follicle growth and I had 2 that were 21mm and 1 that was 19mm (the 4th must have gone on vacation). That afternoon, I got a positive OPK, which isn't a bad sign for me, since I usually ovulate 2 days later. Nevertheless, I thought that this would be good information to tell the clinic, who acted like I had grown another head when I called- explaining that I was not sure if they change the protocol if you are having an LH surge on your own or not. Her (very comforting-ha!) words were "Well, we can never pinpoint ovulation 100%. But I guess I will tell the doctor that you called and we will call you if you shouldn't trigger tonight".

Soooo glad we are most likely not going back there!

After all of that, I stuck to my instructions and triggered with my hCG shot on Monday at 10pm and was there on time on Wednesday. The doctor (we got ours again) didn't seem as pushy with the IVF and I told him that if it didn't work, we would have to save up for awhile before moving forward. His "comforting" words were that he had another lesbian couple from our same city that got pregnant using IVF. When I asked him about progesterone (because I figure for the last try, why the hell not try it again?), he then told me to take 2 suppositories 3 times a day! Crazy, seeing how he doesn't have any recent blood work on me and his colleague had me take 2 suppositories at night.

Broom and I decided, that since my temperatures last time were so steady, that the dosage was fine with 2 a day as opposed to 6, and after confirming ovulation (which happened on the day I was there- woot!) had happened, I would ditch my thermometer. We don't know if I ovulated before I had the insem, or after, as I didn't have another ultrasound (fine by my book), but it didn't stop them from trying to bill me for it!

All in all, I am feeling good, oddly freed of the mismanagement and horrible treatment from our clinic. As I left, my long skirt and flowy top were swaying in the wind and I was humming, smiling, and giggling. I must have looked like a crazy woman- but I felt like we have reclaimed this process by making the decision to switch to somewhere that has service- and that feels good despite all of the sadness along the way.

It is my body, and we are deciding how it gets treated and by whom.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Last, but not least

On Friday, I got my follicles measured after being on clomid again from cycle days 5-9. My super-nice gyn said "Those look great! It has really got to work this time!" Turns out I reacted quite well and had 4 follicles, (2x 15mm, 1 14mm, 1 13mm). The clinic told me to go for another ultrasound on Monday and that I would likely have an insem on Wednesday.

Broom and I made the hard decision that this IUI will be our last due to frustrations with our clinic and the fact that the probability of us getting pregnant with IUI won't be going up with additional tries. We would rather put our money into IVF if this next try doesn't work due to the increased success rates.

It isn't easy setting such a limit for us, and I have to fight back the guilt and shame accompanied with it. Some days, it is easier than others- and I am trying not to get my hopes up too much for this next try. Luckily, I also know that my gyn is trying to support us the best she can and said it would be no problem to write me off sick for IVF.

Regardless of how the next try goes, we will most likely be dealing with at least an egg retrieval in our near-ish future, since Broom is seriously considering harvesting her eggs for use in me at some point. We are currently researching foreign clinics since egg donation isn't allowed in Germany. Only time will tell if they would even consider implanting the eggs into me (if we went this route, we would both harvest at the same time and use the same donor to make all of the embryos that we would use and freeze at once and possibly use a mixture of her and my eggs in one cycle).

If/when we start steps for that, we will probably have to take at least a 3 month break in order to save up for the process. It is a daunting sum of money, but I know it will all be worth it. Broom would like to save up longer- but waiting makes me uneasy since I feel like our dream is stagnant.

We will just have to see what the next few weeks bring.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Increasingly alternative

I couldn't exactly tell you when it started, but step by step ("nach und nach" just sounds so much better), I started to truly question everything I was putting in my body and how I can reduce how much trash I make. Undoubtedly, it is strongly connected to the fact that I am doing my damnedest to be as healthy as possible in order to get pregnant. I've purchased books (the last of which was really well written) that have really helped me slowly adapt a lifestyle that makes me feel good.

Now, for someone coming from a family of nurses and has a mother that in no way believes in homeopathic medicine and somehow always has a stash of meds for all ailments, it feels like unfamiliar territory. Sometimes, I am surprised how many steps I have taken, and am not sure how much further I will want to dive into a fully "crunchy" lifestyle. However, the biggest advantage about living more organically is that it can't hurt!

So far, I have started Biodanza (I am taking a break right now due to the financial strain of the fertility treatments), switched to full-fat, organic dairy, am buying as many organic groceries as I can, have started ear-acupuncture (with needles that stay in until they fall out- I am on day number 4 and on both ears, my weakest points were my ovaries), and have undergone homeopathic treatment to strengthen my ovaries. More recently, I have added self-massage with oil, alternate-nostril breathing, Castor oil packs on my abdomen, and EFT- tapping along the meridians of my body and repeating a positive affirmation about this fertility journey.

Wow. All out in a list like that, I sound like I am a little off my rocker (and, I haven't even gone into my excursions into cloth...but that is a topic for another time).

As "crazy" as it may seem, all of these things are a positive reminder that although I have no control over what happens each cycle, I do have control over how I react.

I think the moral of the story here is- I feel good doing what I am doing now, and it is keeping me calmer (although I am not sure if Broom would agree 100% of the time- but she does her best to understand where I am coming from).

All in all, that can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


There is something about women being angry in our current society that is unacceptable.

Well, suck it up!

I am angry. And that is OK. You will have to

I am tired and absolutely fed up with being a second class citizen in both countries that I could currently call home. Does my tax money count less than that of a straight person? Is it somehow counted differently to offset their distaste (either full-blown or subtle) for my lifestyle? Do they not want a well-educated woman ready to procreate producing another tax payer?

Well, in summary, not really.

Dear "Amerka",

What the fuck did I do to you?

I am a boring normal Ohioan who just happened to fall in love with a German woman. For some reason, this makes it OK for me NOT to be able to live in my home country with the person I love. I guess you don't want my bilingual abilities and tax dollars. I guess you don't want parents who so badly want a child that they will ignore discriminatory laws and high prices for any chance to have a child. A deep longing that isn't valued as highly as the longing that straight people have.

Maybe one day you will see the value of those that you shut out. And maybe one day I will forgive you.

Stop being such a fucking bigot,

PS: Germany, your letter will come later.

PPS: Not pregnant yet.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Trusting your instincts can be hard

I had my appointment on Wednesday, which was great because my boss was off and I didn't have to come up with an excuse about why I had to leave at noon. Got our normal Dr., which was ok, I guess.

He did say "Didn't you send me an email? We can go over your questions now." but then didn't go over any of the actual questions since he didn't have our "come to Jesus"/"we feel like cash cows, PLEASE look at my charts!" email open anyways. I told him I needed to talk to him with my wife present in any case, as they are OUR questions, not just mine.

After he asked me how I was doing- I said good- frustrated, but good. He then went on to tell me that since this is our 6th cycle (I figured there was no point in telling him that we don't count the 1st 2 due to my thyroid...since he is SO good at listening.) that if it doesn't work, that the next one should be IVF. I let him know that I would have to talk about it with my wife and that I needed a price overview (3x what we have been paying- without sperm! No surprise there!). I don't know how I feel about IVF. We would have to sit out like 3-4 cycles in order to afford it and on one hand, sure- I am tired of these lower success rates- but on the other hand, I don't feel ready. Maybe after 2 more tries, if it is needed. We will see what the next two weeks bring.

The insem itself was uneventful, although this time he did an ultrasound after the insem- without turning the screen towards me, so I had to strain to see. I had a perfect 17mm follicle, so BOOYAH! I asked to stay tilted in the chair, and he let me stay seated for a bit (but not tilted) so I just put an instead cup in and got dressed.

Still not 100% sure when I ovulated (if it was Wednesday or Thursday), since my temperature went up some on Friday, but not a lot. I had fertile CM for almost a week and + OPKs on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by negatives, so it wasn't exactly easy to read.

In summary, I feel good, but as always, there is no way of telling. Enjoying the long Easter weekend and the fact that we didn't have to sit out this cycle while trying to keep my hope at a healthy level.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I think my vagina is finally sending me an "email"

In jest, I have often told Broom that this whole process would be MUCH easier if my vagina would just email me or even send me a meeting invite to let me know when would be a good time for the sperm to make their appearance. You know, then I don't have to hide OPKs (used and unused) under my bra strap or in my knee-high boots on my way to and from the bathroom before trying to move around my crap at my desk so that I can lay it flat (but hidden) to read later- all without my boss, who sits in the same room, noticing. So far, she probably only thinks that I have odd bathroom practices, but maybe she doesn't suspect a thing.

Despite the fact that the fact that my vagina cannot, in fact, send emails, I woke up this morning to the 3rd day in a row of fertile CM (probably TMI, but it was hard to miss this morning and it was more than ever) and then got a +OPK at 10am today (the 3 before and after were negative). So, I figure that's the closest I am going to get to an email and it is a clear message. As long as my body isn't just practicing gearing up, this timing is as good as any- and it isn't any worse than how the doctors determine when I should show up. As a result, Broom and I made the decision that I will just go for an insem tomorrow and even convinced the clinic to give me an appointment. Basically, we are letting me listen to my signs and are hoping that it just feels early in my cycle due to the progesterone I took last cycle.

Turns out my "Easter egg" won't be wasted, after all, and we will have 1 last chance at a 2013 baby. I have no idea what our chances will be or even if our timing is even close to right.
Only time will tell (and because I am going to be a great mom, now I am thinking that getting drunk with Broom and my MIL last night might not have been the best call, but at least I am relaxed, amirite?).

Keep your fingers crossed, people of the interwebs- this could be a fucking huge week, especially when it comes to my home country giving us the possibility of being able to live in the US.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Our weekend away was glorious! The drive there was a little complicated due to some Windows-screensaver-like scattered snow showers, but it was sooo worth it! Luckily, everything was like it was described on the website, and we were welcomed on to a small farm owned by two lovely women and a warm fireplace in a cozy room- right above the horse stalls (it was extremely well insulated, and you could barely hear, let alone smell the horses in the apartment we were in). We were able to spend time with their animals, ride horses, and explore the nearby villiages. Although it was cold, we were able to get a fair amount of fresh air in before not being able to feel our extremities. Lots of cooking, napping, and relaxing in front of the fire was had.

This was all very nice, since on Thursday, before I needed to leave to get my blood pregnancy test, I started spotting. It wasn't consistent, so I went anyway, and on Friday, right before I went riding, it was confirmed that try number 3 (we don't count the first 2 where my Thyroid wasn't OK) was a bust.

Although it is "only" try number 3, we have had the emotional and financial strains of the other 2 tries, and I was dealing fine until we got home. Last night I broke down sobbing in the bathtub, feeling like those tests will never be positive for us. I know it is silly, but that is how it makes me feel after I know that I did everything I could and it still didn't work- 13 years of learning Catholic guilt in school doesn't go away quickly, even though I know I am doing my best.

Equally upsetting was getting the confirmation of what I suspected- that the next cycle will probably have to be another forced break because German holidays trump everything (even ovulation, which you of course cannot plan). I just feel like we are not being taken seriously at all, and are viewed as a cash cow- especially since when I wrote the clinic to ask if they were open over the Easter weekend, I also asked the doctor if he would like to look at my charts (he has always ignored the fact that I chart), and this question was completely ignored.

So, I have typed up ALLL of my questions (including when they recommend IVF and the costs) and am going to go  over it with Broom and request a telephone appointment with our doctor so that we can talk about how we should continue our treatment. We are also going to see if there are other nearby clinics who might- due to the changing political climate- be willing to treat us. I am tired of spending money with people who don't respect us enough to answer our questions.  

I'm going to let myself be sad, angry, and depressed for a little longer, and then I just need to keep on repeating to myself: "We will have a baby."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Almost halfway through all the waiting

So, as planned, I drove to the clinic for the insem on Friday of last week. Late afternoon the day before as well as on my way there, I had ovulation pains. It then came as no surprise that my ultrasound there showed that I had, indeed, already ovulated. As baffling as it may be, they only do this ultrasound (which costs €20 more than the one in my own town, even though nothing is different about it) after they have defrosted the sperm. You'd think they would at least give you the chance to back out if the timing was way off. This is the first time that I had already ovulated before an insem (even though they did not do an ultrasound every time- another thing that doesn't make any sense- but I digress) so I am hoping that this is a good thing, and my egg(s) were already patiently waiting on the sperm.

My Dr.- yes I got my own!- asked about blood work and I told him again that my own gyn's lab is really slow and that it wouldn't help for current cycles. I did let him know that I had my values that he insisted on from the previous cycle with me, if he wanted to check them. He then told me I should go to the local clinic and ask them to do the ultrasounds and blood work since they can work more quickly. After I let him know that they have refused to treat us in the past, he let me know that if I tell the clinic that he sent me, that it would work.

Why the fuck didn't he say this earlier?!? Do you have to spend a minimal amount to get the real "advice"? And if the blood work is so important to making sure that we are getting this right, why didn't they insist on this or another solution during the first tries or our consultation?

Of course, my Dr. didn't even want to look at my old values. Waste of time and money, thank you!

Since I am using progesterone suppositories this cycle, I called the local clinic to test the waters by asking if they would do a blood pregnancy test. They confirmed that it is no problem- and it is even under €20! Once I am there, I will ask about possible future cycles and what the costs are for that.

Other than that frustration, I am feeling good this cycle. I've got the normal bloating, breast tenderness, and pulling in my ovaries- which I don't read too much into most of the time due to the progesterone. My temperatures have been hella awesome, even with the progesterone (I checked similar charts on Fertility Friend, of course), but I am trying to take it with a grain of salt.

I did pineapple core for the first 5 days after ovulation and have been drinking my fertility tea and using my homeopathic globules from my natural healer. Even the suppositories haven't been bad.
All in all, the waiting is going OK, and I am glad that we will know (hopefully for sure) what the blood test says on Friday, so only the rest of today, and then one week! Fertility friend says that a test on Thursday would be accurate and the Dr. from my clinic said Friday, so it should be able to tell us something. Luckily, we will be on our short weekend away, which will help either way.

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wake up call

Today I ran some overtime statistics and realized, that for the month of February, that I worked the highest average number of hours per day than anyone else who punches a clock in Germany (which most people here do, as there is a working hours law that requires employers and employees to have a record of the number of hours worked.

This was hard for me to see. I don't want to be doing as much overtime as I have been, but I am worried about letting my boss down, who I really like as a boss, and as a "friend" (I dunno if we could call it that, but it feels like that to me). I don't want to be that person- because no matter what you might think- no one gives a shit about your overtime or "all the work you've done for the company". Really. They don't care. Once you are gone, you are gone and the work will either be taken over by someone else or not. And the clock still keeps on ticking.

Getting pregnant and having a baby with Broom is my highest priority right now. I've given up coffee, alcohol, and vigorous physical exercise until we know for sure how this cycle turns out, and then there is a small window for wine and the cross trainer before it starts again. My overtime is the other part where I just need It's not like I'm saving lives! So, I'm giving up feeling like I need to be able to do everything, because I can't- and work is where I need to start cutting down. Starting Monday, I am going to try and not work any more that 9.5 hours a day. It's still not perfect- but it would be a big baby step (pun intended).

On that note, I had my 2nd ultrasound yesterday, and my endometrium was up to a perfect 11mm and I had 2 follicles, on 15mm and the other 18mm (multiple smaller follicles on the other side). We triggered yesterday (still have yet to break the ampule for the mixing liquid without it at least partially shattering), and yesterday (before the trigger) I had another 2 glaringly positive OPKs. Today I had ovulation like pains around 2:30pm and tomorrow I need to be at the clinic at 10:15 for a 10:45 insem.
So, this timing could still be really good, although I have no idea what to think since hCG can increase your temp, and mine was slightly up. We will see in two weeks, I guess.

Happy Friday, people!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waiting with a side of more waiting

Yesterday I got my thyroid results, and everything was normal (1 result was in the high range of normal, but I'll take it!). Woohoo! Was so nervous about something possibly being wrong that I couldn't sleep well the night before.

That afternoon I had another shot to strengthen my ovaries (probably my last, my natural healer checked with the company that makes the medicine and they said that any interference is unlikely, but they would still recommend no shot after an insem), and then I got my follicles measured.

As always, predicting ovulation is really hard. And, it turns out, my follicles weren't as big as I had expected. The biggest was 11.6mm with multiple between 8-9mm on the other side and an endometrium of 9.6mm. So, altogether positive, but probably points to ovulation on Thursday or Friday at the earliest. I called the clinic today, and they want me to get another ultrasound tomorrow, and luckily I got an appointment first thing in the morning.

To throw everything through a loop, I got a +OPK today at 10am after a 2 hour hold. No idea what to think now....but I am leaning towards Thurs / Fri anyway, and I am not sure if I still want to trigger or not since my hormones are already surging on their own. I guess I will tell the clinic tomorrow and see what they say, although I don't think they care. My gyno encouraged me to talk to them about my unhappiness with their service, but I told her that I am too nervous that they will refuse us service.

*Sigh* sometimes I feel like all of my doctors, and myself are all just guessing.

Keep your fingers crossed for a good measurement tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Is it Monday yet?

I know, I know, no one likes Mondays.

But next Monday, I find out if my Thyroid is still ok, and what my follicles look like (and, if everything goes OK, I will get an appointment from the fertility clinic. And no, they did not answer my question regarding other possible vacation times where we wouldn't be able to have an insem- I mean, that would be something close to customer service, right?).

Keep everything crossed that we will get a green light on all fronts. I really don't like all of these forced pauses. I counted, and between now and when I want to go to the US for training for work and vacation are 5 tries. Statistically, we could be pregnant by the next time I go home. However, if there is one thing that I have learned from this whole process is that you can't predict shit. April will be the anniversary of our 1st insem, and if we can insem next week, it will only be our 5th actual, and since we have decided not to count the 1st two, it is really our 3rd.

Aside from regular gym visits, increasing which foods we buy from local sources and / or organic, eating organic, full-fat dairy (OMG, it tastes so good- why are so many American families afraid of full-fat dairy?!? And, I feel great when I eat it, and have lost a few pounds), taking my vitamins (iron, folic acid with B6, Magnesium, and omega 3-6-9 oil), and meditating- I haven't been doing much. (HA) Oh, and those cycle-regulating shots and drops- the last of which are next week. Since I started my homeopathic treatment, I ovulated for the first time in over a year on cycle day 14, and had a 28 day cycle. I still spotted beforehand and didn't have a very long period (3 days, not counting the spotting), but baby steps here- in every sense of the word.

I'm feeling good and whole though, which counts for a lot in my book.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, February 11, 2013

I think we can declare last week a crap week

Last week kicked my ass.

It started off with a bunch of work crap going wrong, and whole lot of stress that I did not deal with well. I felt like I couldn't do anything right, a lot of my work had mistakes, and I felt like I was seriously done with feeling like we weren't getting anywhere.

Admittedly, I know I am undergoing hormone treatments and gearing up for my next cycle and insem, but it still felt like too much to handle- more than I was capable of dealing with. So, when Broom asked me about my day on Wednesday, I burst into inconsolable tears, and then again later that same night.
I want to be able to have more than two hobbies (blogging and working out)! Not work 50 hour weeks! Have time to help on strategic projects rather than drowning in a sea of administrative and urgent tasks!

My boss being as awesome as she is, I geared up to talk with her about it on Thursday, and had planned to do so after lunch.

Right before lunch, after running errands in the building where I work, I glanced at my phone. Every email account and digital profile I had contained a message:

"Please call Dad."

Anyone living abroad, or somewhere that you can't get home quickly from knows that this a really bad message. This means bad shit has happened, because good news usually has a larger time window than bad news.

Due to above mentioned awesomeness, I used the office phone and called my Dad at 5 am to find out that my Grandma had passed away that morning.

Her last words were "I'm fine.".

With those words, the amazing life of one of the most consistently-nice people I have had the pleasure of knowing came to an end. 87 years of volunteering, mothering, grandmothering, and being the epitome of  a "good person". My family told me that many more people came to the services than they had anticipated, and even the nursing home staff were in tears at the news of her passing (even though I wonder if you ever truly get used to loss).

On Monday, I put a card in the mail for her- a bouquet of flowers on the front, since they are easier to send that way. On Wednesday, it came back because its smaller, unusual shape called for more postage.

Thursday night, I made the tough call not to buy a ticket home for the next day. My family completely understands, but I wish I could be there to grieve with them.

The last time I saw her, Thanksgiving 2012, she asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told her "15 minutes with you, Grandma". As she was consistently very tired as of late, she asked me 5 minutes later if her time was up yet, but in a way that was more funny than rude. Later on, she looked at my rings, and asked me if I was engaged. When I replied that I was already married, she responded "That's right, Broom." and then was able to state our wedding anniversary, including the year (2010).

Was last week a crap week?
Hell yes.
But you know what my Grandma taught me?

Niceness pays off. And of course, I'll be fine.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Week 2 of homeopathic treatments

Week two starts tomorrow!

I am doing the shots to strengthen my ovaries, twice a week as administered by my natural healer and drops for the parts of my brain responsible for hormone production (40 drops, diluted in some water, sipped slowly, 3x a day before meals).

While there are no side-effects whatsoever (there usually aren't with natural remedies), I ovulated this week on cycle day 14! I had been ovulating on day 16-19, so I am excited to see how long my cycle is this month, and will have to plan on getting my next follicle ultrasound done earlier next cycle, just in case.
Nevertheless, I am excited to see that there have already been changes, even after just a short amount of time!

Other than practicing patience in regards to next cycle, I have also been trying to manage my work stress with workouts and eating healthy. I am going to try and work with my boss so that my consistent overtime slowly becomes only occasional. I do feel like I am dealing with my stress differently and better, though. I am back to the mindset that I had when I ran the department myself, which is that I can only do so much in one day- and we really aren't saving lives here!

Enjoyed a really nice weekend with Broom, and we are slowly working our way through reorganizing rooms in our apartment, and getting rid of stuff we don't need feels really good.

All in all, I feel like I am truly taking care of me in a way I believe in, and it feels really good.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Well, it turns out that hormones really are a bitch, aren't they? This hormone-roller coaster that started with my thyroid problems just doesn't want to stop.

Someone, please tell me, where is the emergency brake?

Did some analysis of my chart data (who doesn't have oodles of data about their menstrual cycle?!?)and realized that since I took Clomid for the first time in April, that my period length shortened dramatically and has never gone back to what used to be "normal" for me. Even though, according to my last blood work, my thyroid was fine, I still worry that it could sneak back away from me, and I will have an under function again, which would most likely render me infertile. I am debating if I should ask the doctor for a monthly check to make sure the inseminations aren't a waste of money.

If that wasn't enough, as ordered by the fertility doc last time, my gyn took blood on my 14th cycle day and the results were not positive. My progesterone, LH, and Estradiol were all low. I am torn about whether or not I should even tell the fertility center about it, as they seem to really not give a shit about me as a person, nor my plans (as documented by them not being able to remember shit about us or telling us about vacation plans). I worry, that if they knew, they would just prescribe a bunch more drugs that would fuck up my system yet again. But, I also want the best care possible.

I just got back from the natural healer, though, and we will be doing shots to regulate my ovaries and drops to regulate the parts of my brain responsible for hormone production. Maybe I will give the results to the fertility center next time we are there? I don't feel like I owe them anything since they don't even have the respect to tell me about their vacation planning (I asked, twice, if they could please let me know about any potential other times where an insemination wouldn't be possible for us- no answer!).

The sad thing is that I have no idea if this is the best way to get me on the right track to conceiving or not, or if fertility testing is in order or not. (If I remember correctly, we didn't do a row of tests that the fertility center wanted us to do because they never really checked to see, and we didn't want to go broke on checking things out beforehand...)

What I do know is that I don't feel like things have been right in my body since I was on those fertility drugs, and that the only ones that really make sense to me are the trigger shots and the progesterone. The rest just feels like it has made me off center.

This feels right, and like I'd be moving along with my body and its natural rhythms, not against it. I just hope I'm right on this.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Customer Service

I don't usually blog in anger- but I am going to make an exception this time. Also, I'm going to let my "potty mouth" flag fly.

Fuck this customer service!!

We are (highly) paying customers, who, without complaint, pay €170 WITHOUT TAX for a Dr. (we have only had the same one twice, and our actual own doctor once, in four tries), to spend a TOTAL of 5 minutes with us (including the time it takes me to take my pants off), and put a catheter into my uterus.  I have to bat my eyelashes to get them to let me stay tilted in the chair for 10 minutes, and any ultrasounds, fertility drugs, and bloodwork all cost extra. And of course, that does not include the sperm, the shipping and handling (within the same damn city) for the sperm, nor transportation costs for us to get there.

And now 2 of the 3 (I think there is a total of 8 or so) are on fucking winter vacation and apparently none of the others can do it, and we are forced to take a break for the next cycle.

I am speechless. You'd think with how they prescribe fertility drugs like candy that they would be grappling for cash. At the least, I would expect them to tell us that this was coming up?!? I had already booked my appointment with my gyno, and this seems just like basic service to me, especially if we are paying for everything out of pocket.

If they had told us this in advance, it wouldn't be such a slap in the face- but after the let down of not being pregnant again and mentally gearing up to do another try, I am just completely pissed.

I really wish that we could switch clinics, but we are bound to them with the contract we signed with the sperm bank.

Nevertheless, I am going to use this unplanned "down time" with my natural healer to get my system working more smoothly. Hopefully, we will have our "take-home baby" soon, and then we can find a new clinic when we are ready for another child.

No news

is not really good news.

Hopefully, no one was waiting to hear if I was preggo with bait on their breath. :)
Despite a good cycle, we are not pregnant.
I found out before having to go "man" my company's stand at a career fair, and dealt with it OK at that moment. Later, after some wine, I had my pity moment, and am feeling positive again right now.
Luckily, the good thing about working all weekend is that I was so tired that I didn't have time to be sad, and now that I have made my next follicle measurement appointment for next week, I have something to look forward to.

I am going to my natural healer on Friday to see what he can do to strengthen my ovaries, and although he didn't say anything about my request to use acupuncture last time, I would like to insist on it this time since I have heard so many good things about it in combination with IUI and IVF.
And, after being on my feet all weekend, I am also thinking about booking a massage. It is all about taking care of myself and my relationship with Broom during this process, so these steps are very important to me.

Off to Biodanza for the first time since before Christmas tonight. I am excited about dancing with them, and about sharing, despite the fact that I am a little worried about being judged for not getting pregnant "quickly" (whatever the hell that means). It just boggles my mind how many people don't understand how getting pregnant works. Unfortunately, the teacher made an offhand remark about me just having a one night stand a couple of months ago, and even though we talked about it, I still don't think she "gets" how horrible her comment was. Alas, I at least know they are trying to understand where we are coming from and what we are going through, and sometimes, that is really all you can ask for.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

One Week Post Insem

Surprisingly, time has gone by pretty quickly since my insem last week.
Broom had to work, so I woke up at 5 (she got up with me to make me breakfast and pack me a lunch, I have it good :))
The almost two hour drive went well, although it was quite rainy and still really dark out. I drank fertility tea and sang along to CDs I had packed to listen to.
I arrived at the clinic 10 minutes before they told me to show up (since it takes 20-30 minutes to defrost the sperm). Finally, I after waiting an hour, I found out which doctor would be doing the procedure, and luckily, it was the really nice female doctor.

As usual, the whole thing was over in a few minutes, but she let me stay tilted in the chair for 10 minutes afterwards, covering me up with a paper sheet. She confirmed that my stats looked great, and I could really get pregnant any time now. She also didn't seem to mind that I told her that I don't do the post-insem hCG shots, since I find them too invasive. I explained that I wanted to try natural progesterone cream (which I bought while in the US), and she was really positive about it. I got blood drawn again (the 2nd nurse in a week to go for the "small vein", which should have been my cue to say oh, please look for the invisible big one, but I didn't, and both of my arms were then quite bruised).

I rested in the car with my legs up and ate my sandwich before driving back, which was equally rainy, but luckily uneventful. My nap after I got home was glorious!

Since then, work has been really busy, although I have been dealing better with all of the stress from both trying to get pregnant and work than I have in past cycles. I have managed to meditate pretty regularly and treated myself to a wonderful shiatsu massage, which was extremely relaxing.

Now, I continue to make sure to eat fertility foods, drink my fertility tea, and use my natural progesterone cream. The further along I get in my cycle, the more I want to test, but I think I will manage to wait until Thursday or Friday, and Friday would mark my 30th cycle day, which would be the max my cycle has ever been, so we will see.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, January 4, 2013

hCG shots are not my favorite

I gave in.

Despite not having a positive OPK yet, I went ahead and followed what the dr. said and gave myself an hCG shot last night at 9pm.
I went to the gyno here on the 2nd and had a follicle with 15mm and a normal endometrium, and they wanted me to trigger the next day and come in on Saturday.
Even though it might have been the same time with my natural trigger, it just felt like the right thing to do this week. Meditating before doing the shot really helped with my fears about it, even though, despite watching a how-to on youtube, the damn glas vial broke again!

Luckily, neither of us were hurt (poor Broom hasn't had luck the 2 times we have done this), and I don't think we lost too much liquid. Today, I woke up to very fertile CM and got a positive on my OPK, so that means it is doing what it is supposed to.

Today I am off work since they had to shut off the power. It feels nice to be able to take some time for me before driving the approx. 2 hours to the insem tomorrow. Unfortunately, I will be going alone since it is Broom's last day at her shit job before starting a new (and hopefully better) one on the 15th. Although it sucks, my wife does have character and not showing up on your last day is a crap thing to do.

So, I will be waking up at oh-God-thirty on a Saturday to ensure that I get there at 8:30. Keep your fingers crossed that this try goes well and that traffic and everything is OK. The next two weeks are supposed to be busy at work, so I am going to try and keep my stress in check (massage scheduled for next week, yay!) and enjoy being distracted.

Happy Weekend, Everyone!