Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bucket List for Summer - The Tech Edition

And I thought, nice! How timely! Because I've been meaning to share with you some things that have really improved my quality of life lately, too. I call them Game Changers. In fact, that's kind of a catchphrase around here lately. 

Last week's news: Clearly. Game. Changer. I mean, it doesn't get any more game changing than that, does it? And I'm happy to report, all remains well. Betas are fabulous. All levels are where they should be. Our GC is scheduling her first ultrasound later this week. We anticipate being able to see a heartbeat in just a few weeks. 


Ok, where was I? Oh yes. I wanted to share with you these techy things I love, and a few non-techy things that are pretty awesome as well. Almost all of these gems are free. Because I am all about the Free. I should probably note that this isn't a sponsored post of any kind (But hey, if someone wants to float something cool my way, I'm all ears. DM me). Now, here we go:

Tune In - This is a free app for your phone, iPad, mobile device, whatever, that lets you live stream real radio stations from around the world. This isn't Pandora. This isn't limited to what you can get (and pay for) on satellite radio - these are real stations with real DJs. Our kitchen dance parties have stepped it up a notch. First we were hooked on the University of California college stations, then we flipped over to Parisian public radio. BBC6 is pretty damn solid. I get my techno fix from Byte FM out of Hamburg. People: Game. Changer. 

Park Mobile - Another mega game changer. As you know, I've been spending a lot of time in Delaware lately due to circumstances out of my control. What is under my control, however, is fitting a few hours of beach time in while I'm there to decompress. It has become essential to my well-being. But parking meters - those @#$@! meters. They are a bitch. Even if you remember to stash your handy bag of quarters in your glove compartment.

Now, at least in the slower lower DE area, you can pay for your parking meter WITH YOUR PHONE. As in, get the app, type in your parking space, punch in your credit card, set the time. You get a text 15 minutes before your time expires and - wait for it - you press a button and your meter is extended. Sweet Jesus. For those of you who spend more than 2 hours at beach locations, you understand this is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Park Mobile, I heart you.

Evernote - This bad boy takes my obsessive note taking (psst, new article over at BlogHer. Check it out!) to a whole new level.  It's like having your little note book with you everywhere. I can pull down lists, groceries, blog post ideas from anywhere. Anywhere! I use this for work when I don't want to schlep my laptop around. I use this when I sit on the balcony and think of something I don't want to forget and have nothing near but my phone. You can clip web pages and add them, you can use audio, video, photos. Or just make lists and lists and lists. Like, ahem, I do.

Smart Girls at the Party - This makes me happy for every mom who is raising a little girl right now. In this world of crazy, there are smart and awesome and cool things out there that aren't snarky, aren't mean. They simply celebrate the wonderfulness of being a girl. Amy Poehler, you rock. 

The coolest hardcore techno compilation you will ever want. (if you're into that. I am) My pal Matt is 100 degrees of awesome. He's a London-based multi-media artist who also happens to throw down some amazing mixes. You can download them here. For free. But while you're there, go see what else he does. This particular mix is 2 hours long and filled with tunes that make me reminisce about a time I subsisted on beans on toast and clementines and played video games for days and maybe, just maybe, went to class.  I listened to this on the stairmaster last night, and felt really bad for the machine when I was done with it.

Ok, these next two items aren't electronic, but you could probably get them in a digital format? That counts, right?

Brendan Brazier's Thrive - You might recall a few months ago, I admitted to wanting to step our eating game up a little bit. To try to eat even healthier. This book right here - this was the ticket for us. I love everything about it. When we started with the P90X, a few of our friends wouldn't shut the hell up about their paleo diets and how we were really missing the boat if we didn't want to ingest pounds and pounds of animal flesh each day. Protein, man! Protein! That just wasn't cutting it with us. We thought there has to be some plant-based athletes that have figured this out. There is.

First I found the No Meat Athlete. That took us to Brendan's book. His whole m.o. is eating foods that are the most nutrient dense. There are also sections on eating to reduce your carbon footprint, water usage, etc.If you dig it, there's a follow up Thrive Food cookbook that we're making our way through right now.

660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer - Again. Game. Changer. M and I - we both love Indian food. We both admit that I haven't done a fabulous job creating flavorful curries at home. I mean, stuff is tasty enough, but nothing to knock your socks off. These recipes knock your socks off. With a quick trip to the indian grocery and the Asia Mall (yes, it's really called the Asia Mall) we had everything we need to grind our own masala blends, and get real with this shit.

We've had the book for a little more than a week. Made 4 recipes so far. And we stop and say, Wow. Holy shit. This is awesome. In between nearly every bite. This isn't a veg cookbook, but with 660 recipes, you can skirt around the meat based ones pretty easily if you don't want them. 

Alright! That's what I've got! Enjoy. 

Now, any game changers you want to share?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And then....

Hello world. Yesterday was beta day. And the news was....fantastic.

hCG was 94.7  12 days post transfer. Our doc called us personally. She was thrilled. She's not the only one.

But it wasn't a complete surprise since we got a sneak preview from the best GC ever this weekend.

How beautiful is that?

And then we shed a tear or two and did a little happy dance in the kitchen. Its kind of been a kitchen dance party for the last few days.

So it looks like we are off and running! Our GC will be going back for another blood test next Monday just to make sure all is well.

And then we schedule an ultrasound. And then we figure out when a due date might be.

And then....

Sorry.  Couldn't resist.

And if you know any members of my friends and/or fam in real life**, mum's the word. We haven't shared any news yet, and probably won't until it's a little more solid and we can do it in person.

And then if you could just remind me to breathe every once in a while, that would be great.

**this obviously excludes those of you who are regular readers here. 

**not to mean that you, dear readers, also aren't friends in real life, but, you know what I mean, right? Don't tell my mom. Or my boss. At least not yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Women, you inspire me.

I'm on a four-day running streak since the last post. Not terribly far, just 3-mile jaunts. But the mornings have been glorious and you've been on my mind. My usual ramblings are replaced with thinking about how each of you spend your runs. It's very cool.

The running and meditation book is due to arrive any day now. Nadine, I'm waiting patiently in line at the library for some of your suggestions. My girl A and I are scheduled to run again tomorrow am and maybe, just maybe, a little trail run on Saturday.

If our GC can get up every morning for a progesterone poke in the ass, I can certainly pound out a few miles.

Since I'm in an inquisitive mood, I have a few more questions for you.

I'm obsessed with tracking my miles. Running, walking, hell, for a while there I was even counting the walk to and from happy hour. Every little bit, right? My tracker of choice is R*nkeep*er, while compiles your days and miles (and other stuff if you let it) into cool graphs and data sets that you can manipulate to show you how far, how long, how you compared to last week, last month....I love it.

So naturally, I was drawn to this recent article in Salon about the concept of self-quantification. Counting our miles, calories, sleep time, moods...Why we do it? What do the numbers mean for us? What's the point of tacking, counting, logging, listing?

I'm working on a writing side project based on these questions, especially how they come into play here in the ALI blogging community, and I wouldn't mind a few other voices in there with me.
  • Do you keep a timeline on your blog? What's it for (history of trying to conceive? Important dates as you counted down to adoption? Other?) 
  • Do you appreciate seeing these on other blogs, or do you find them distractions?
  • If you do have a timeline posted, why? What's your rationale? Why is this information important to you? 
Feel free to answer below or DM me at me@themaybebaby.com. Let me know if I can point back to your blog (linky love!) or if you'd rather I didn't.

And if you're counting other things with me, it's now 8 days past transfer. No news yet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oms per Mile

While there are a lot of trade offs with surrogacy, I mean, a LOT, it does come with its advantages. This whole two week wait thing, its a ton easier when its not you. I was thinking about this as I eked out a few miles on the treadmill last night and envisioned of the glass of wine I would have on the balcony after dinner.

Another thing I noticed while trodding along at the gym was that the person next to me was making some hand gestures every few minutes. Further inspection: it was the sign of the cross. It only took me a few more steps to realize he was actually saying the rosary* as he ran. Praying while he ran.

Now, you know I'm not the praying kind (although I heartily welcome and accept and embrace any prayers that might be happening out there for us and the little bud), but my fellow runner's actions really struck me. What an efficient use of time! I wondered if he was praying for anything specific. Was this his routine? Did he use his prayers to give him focus as he ran, or the opposite, to pull him away from his bodily thoughts?

I've been reading books by athletes lately (Brendan Brazier, Scott Jurek) and I've been debating this one here on running and meditation, but I wasn't quite there yet. Wasn't sure how practical it would be, or if I even wanted to give up my techno mixes for some greater enlightenment.

But my neighbor at the gym last night - he made it seem so effortless. Counting off the prayers as naturally as if he were exhaling.  I could do that.

My usual M.O. when I run varies. Sometimes I plot out my day, think through any meetings or conversations I need to have. I write blog posts in my head. Sometimes I just sink into the repetitive beats. when the going gets tough I talk to myself - this twisted combination of cajoling and castigating to get a few more steps in. From: C'mon, m, you got this, you're doing GREAT!....Descending into: dude, stop being a p*ssy. Run. It's not rocket surgery. Just do it. When I'm feeling unusually cruel, I match my steps to some greater prize. Ok, m. if you can make it to the bridge, everything is going to go ok in this next cycle. If you don't....well, no baby for you.

Cruel. I know.

Which makes me think, maybe a meditation route is the kinder, more constructive way to go.

Fellow runners (walkers, exercisers), what's on your mind when you run? Do you pray? meditate? plan? write? daydream? How do you spend your miles?

*Rosary: it's a Catholic thing. String (or ring) of beads, each signifying a series of prayers.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recap, Even Though I Said I Wouldn't

This week is a blur, and I'm not sure why I thought it wouldn't be.

I said I wouldn't write, but I'm not sure how I thought that would be possible. I am working though narratives and scenarios in my mind at breakneck speed, so why not share them with you.

Here's the synopsis. I won't even keep you waiting: Thawed five. One remained. No double transfer action, but that's ok. There were options that we declined. One is nestled somewhere safe right now and god, oh god, please be ok. Please keep growing. Just. please. grow.

Now, we can go back to the beginning.

We've been away from home since Friday evening when we set out for the Delaware shore and my parents. We arrived to find dad back in the hospital and mom a bit of a teary mess, I think mostly from sleep deprivation. Friday night I went to sleep thinking how I might get out of speaking at a conference in Dallas in August if I had to, drafting my father's obituary in my mind and wondering if we even have a photo of him where he's not wearing a @#$%@#$ golf hat. (note: my father hasn't golfed in over 2 decades). 

Saturday morning I was convinced my dad was nearing the end. He refused to eat for the last several days and seemed resigned not to. M and I spent some time at the hospital but left maybe not so graciously. My thoughts: if this is how you want to go, dude, this is on you. I don't have to watch it. We left for the beach where at least we could steam with thousands of others baking for different reasons. My brother and his girlfriend arrived shortly after and met us there and you know, we had a pretty amazing day together, floating and talking. Eden recently wrote about this. There is something a little magical about drifting in the ocean with people equally affected by a situation and trying to piece it all together, but not. There is an ebb and flow. Resistance and acceptance. And cool, cool water. I went to sleep Saturday feeling much more peaceful than I woke.

Sunday was more of the same, but dad was looking worlds better. It's amazing what choking down a little oatmeal to humor your kids will do. Oh hey, you feel better when you eat? Amazing! Monday the race began. We left straight from mom's house to our new clinic to pick up a steaming tank of liquid oxygen, soon to be temporary home to our remaining frozen embryos. As M lifted it into the car he tilted it a bit too much and a rush of steam went spilling out of it.

from http://www.j-statham.net/movies/the-transporter-2You know when something happens and you suck your breath back into your body and it makes that hissing sound that's also a gasp? I wasn't sure if that was coming from M or the tank. If there was a soundtrack for this day, I think it would be that sound on continuous loop.

Or maybe some techno tracks from The Transporter. 

We ran inside the clinic oh no oh no oh no we broke it! They smiled. Told us to chill the fuck out (not really) and just keep the canister upright. We asked how much time we had to get from there to our old hospital back to there. Hours? Minutes? Should we get a police escort?

Days, dudes. The tank is good for days. Now, please. Just go.

So we did, and got the goods and made those sucking hissing sounds again when the embryologist wanted to to pull out the straws filled with our future to show us what was where and how they were color-coded and had our names on them and M and I were just like CAN YOU PLEASE JUST PUT THEM BACK IN THE CONTAINER PLEASE? He laughed and did and sent us back on our way.

Four straws pulled. Four embryos to thaw. One straw empty (wtf). So pulled another straw to bring us back up to four. Jump to next day. one out of four still growing.

Just one.

Options: Assuming this little guy stays strong, a.) transfer it to our gestational carrier the following day as planned, perhaps thaw a 5-day blastocyst to transfer to me later in the week.  b.) transfer little one to me, a 5-day blast (or two) to GC later in the week (requiring an extended stay, more hotel rooms, changing a flight, making plans at home for work, daycare, etc) or c.) wait until later in week for all of us and all try for 5-day blast transfers.

Moment of gratitude: believe me, I am thankful to have these options.

Hurried call to our GC as she and her husband were already en route to the airport to give her the options and to see if the latter two were even possibilities. Her response:

"We are here to do whatever needs to be done. We will make this work if we need to."

And this is where my heart melts  I know we have a solid set of people along for this ride. Moment of deep, deep gratitude. Ok. Ok. Let's just see how this all plays out.

Fast forward to transfer. One still there. Still growing. The question is posed again, we can always wait until Friday and try to transfer two, and one for you.....

We decide that one is a wonderful number. One is all it takes. It only takes one growing embryo to grow into one beautiful baby. Let's do this. So we did. One frozen embryo thawed and transferred to our very full-bladdered GC. And then we all went back to the hotel and crashed. And then hung out by the pool, watched TV, had some pizza. Enjoyed each others company. And that was good.

One last email from our nurse: are you sure you don't want to thaw a blast and transfer to you on Friday? Just let me know. 

And you're never sure, are you? This whole process is lit with decision points and choose your own adventure scenarios, only so many times the choices are illusions of ones. More like rolls of the dice. The choice we made was to stick with one. To focus all of our attentions and thoughts into the one little guy snug in our GC's womb. We don't need a vanity transfer (which is what a dual transfer was starting to feel like for me). So I stopped my meds. We got off the train.

And part of me is feeling a little guilty. Like I left a game before seeing the final score. Like I am walking away too soon. But another part of me is feeling....relieved?

When I mentioned that I was thinking of cycling along with our GC to my co-worker, her immediate response had been: Are you sure? Do you really want to put yourself through this? And I have to say, her questions were (and are) valid. And I didn't know. And even as we were restructuring our diet and physical activity to gear up for this cycle, this was a constant in my mind. Do I really want to do this? How will I feel if there is not one to transfer to me? Sad? Happy? There was constant fluctuation between the two.

So there was relief when the decision was made for us. There will be one. I will not be the one who could be pregnant. And that is really ok. More than ok.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Post-Budget Blues...and Some Lighter Hues

Hi! Hey, over here. (waving) Here, right in front of the computer where you last saw me.

I just look a little more dazed today than usual. The state budget season is over for another year where I live. After a race to the finish line that ended minutes before midnight on the last day of my state's fiscal year, it's done. I've been waiting for this moment for at least two months and now that's its here....meh.

I'm feeling like someone just threw a big bash at my apartment with people I didn't invite and don't really like and now everyone's gone and I'm left staring at dishes I don't want to do and trying to remember where I stashed all my valuables so they wouldn't get broken or stolen. In short, I'm feeling worn out, and more than a little exposed. And dazed. Did I say dazed already? 

You could look at the budget and the pieces that I fight for and think, hot damn, you all fared pretty well. And yes, we did. Compared to other years. Compared to other equally worthy pieces. Compared to what was originally proposed. But damn, it got ugly. And personal.

Maybe that's a sign of when you know you are a "real player" when you're on the radar enough for people to talk shit about you. Me, personally, I don't much care for being above the radar OR for people (that I have never met) questioning my integrity. Yeah, I don't think real players get teary when big mean jerks act like big mean jerks. I think my thin skin eliminates me from real playerdom. Oh well.

I'm taking some time off.

Not as much as I'd like and there are no exotic or foreign destinations lined up, and there's a week of meetings I actually need to come back for in the middle, but for the most part, July is mine.

Now, what to do with it?

There is a transfer coming up. I'm hoping you'll forgive me for not being more specific than that. But I'm feeling a need to keep some things a little close to the chest right now. (see also: feeling exposed). A few of our friends know. We haven't said anything to either set of parents. My boss knows I'm taking some sick days. That's it.

I've spent some time "managing expectations" at work lately. The habit has stuck. I'm trying to manage expectations. Especially mine.

I've also spent a lot of time thinking through numbers. And this is such a useless task, isn't it? But it fills my brain up nonetheless. Thinking about what transferring two embryos to our surrogate and one to me could mean. It could mean one baby. Or two. Or three (faint). Or none.

I dig the first two options. The third one gives me pause. The fourth and final outcome I don't care for not one bit. We've talked about different strategies - maybe just one for her. Maybe I'll sit this out. But maybe nothing makes the thaw. Maybe the one we don't put in was THE one......

It's been so long since we've thought through numbers. So long since a real cycle. I am rusty at this. Some of it is like riding a bike. Oh, you stick that there? Ouch. Ok. Next. That goo goes where? Oh. Alright. But some of it never gets easier.

Cue the radishes.

This cycle, our cycle. Me and my cycle sister, our surrogate. It feels good. Good to know I've done everything I can to be ready. Even better to know there is another safe womb ready for this adventure. God does that feel good. We'll know by the end of the month whether one or both of us is pregnant. And I promise I will show my cards then.