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Filed under ovulation, ttc


One year ago today, my wife and I were finishing up grades. We submitted them online, and we were free of the semester, free of any further duties related to the students we had over the fall. We were ready for our winter holiday. In our dining room, a tank from the sperm bank had been sitting for a few days, but I couldn’t think about it. The last month’s failed cycle had devastated me in a new way. I had turned off all hope and completely disconnected from the process. I kind of dreaded starting another cycle because I felt like we were flushing our money down the toilet. On the other hand, the semester was over, and I didn’t have to teach, and it was time to relax. At least there was that.

I don’t remember much of the day. We may have done some shopping; we might have simply lounged around the house. I do know that we had a little wine in the evening, and that my wife was eager to inseminate, and I was fairly ambivalent about it. I remember telling her that I didn’t want to yet because I didn’t feel like lying around in bed. And then, around nine, my wife said, “I think we need to do this, and I think we need to do it now.” So I polished off my wine, and she left hers on the table, and off we went. We used a speculum for the first time, and it was uncomfortable and pinchy. My wife saw my cervix immediately, placed the catheter right on the cervix, depressed the plunger on the syringe, and sent the genetic material on its way. This was the most no-nonsense, least intimate of our eleven attempts, but it was the one that worked.

I never imagined that evening that a year later, I would be typing a post one-handed while feeding my baby boy. It never occurred to me that this might just be the one, but here we are. I am so unbelievably grateful.

What a difference a year makes.

December 2008


December 2009

December 2009


Filed under Baby Genius, ttc

On Hope

J here–finally! I don’t know why I haven’t written sooner except that the immediacy of each moment seems to take precedence. First off, let me just say how thrilled, how absolutely over-the-moon happy I am that after all this time, we are finally pregnant!

Sure, there are many challenges that face us as we take this journey together. I’m aware that T and I have together challenges and individual challenges. I’m working very hard to understand hers and help her to get through them. But despite the moodiness, the hormones, the financial struggles, etc. I can’t help but feel peaceful about most of it.

See, before the positive result on Dec 31st, T and I had hit a crisis point, not with each other necessarily, but a crisis point nonetheless. T was particularly difficult. She picked fights with me, complained about everything, and had a generally negative attitude. Add to this that she was completely uninterested in my own stress and worries, and we were not doing well heading into the Christmas holidays and the lengthy stay at her mom’s. Some of it was the stress of finals and impending holidays, but we had weathered these tense times before. There was something very different–and scary–about the last TWW.

I realize this is like airing our dirty laundry, but I find it so significant, so bear with me.

I told her during one argument that she was losing it. I told her she was out of control, and she did not deny it.

We weathered the holidays and put our angst on hold for a week, but mostly out of necessity rather than any normalizing force. When we returned home after Christmas, the stress returned. T was just so. . . . unpredictable? negative? whiny? all of the above? We had this one particular day, the 29th I think, where it all came to a head. I told her that I was so worn out, so torn down, that I didn’t think that I could take another negative result, that it would just do me in and sink me into a depression. I had never said or felt that before in our long journey, but something was just dragging me down, and I didn’t think I could take all the disappointment and despair that comes with a negative test. T must have also been at her wit’s end because she was worse than usual–overreacting to every little thing, misinterpreting my words, and despairing about everything. When I called her on it, she told me it was likely PMS.

That statement ran me over like a freight train. It was not what I needed to hear, whether true or not. I stopped speaking. What was there to say? She went silent too. This went on for a few hours until I couldn’t take it anymore. It all hurt too much. I went into our bedroom and cried. Big, heaving sobs spilled out of me, and I had to hold on to the bed just to keep from falling to the floor. It hurt so bad. When will something, anything, go our way? We work so hard, but for what? What a lonely, godforsaken process TTC had become for us. I couldn’t take it. I wept until I was completely wrung out. Eventually, after an hour or so, T came into the bedroom and found me sitting on the floor staring at nothing in particular, my eyes swollen and red. She felt terrible for blaming her mood on PMS, and we decided to get out of the house and go to our favorite Irish pub. We drowned our sorrows. We paid the price the next day. The following morning T tested positive.

And there you have it. Just as we were spiraling into a dark place born out of the frustration, emptiness, and panic that comes with trying to get pregnant, we got our heart’s desire.

T’s disposition was the result of early pregnancy, not PMS. I could not have known, nor could she. We got used to disappointment over this long process. This is perhaps the most maddening thing about TTC, in my opinion. While we must brace ourselves and even expect a measure of disappointment, our efforts are also steeped in hope. They must be. Why try to get pregnant month after month if we have no hope that it will eventually happen? Why would we want to bring a baby into the world if we lack hope? Hope is our fuel, our thrust, the very thing that moves us through this process no matter how painful it gets. Necessarily it must be so. Without it, we would never continue the process because it feels so bloody awful at times. Weeks of hope followed by crashing disappointment, only to have to find a way to start all over again with hope.

But for me, hope was about the future. Something was going to go our way soon, just around the bend. We’d get around that bend only to find our surroundings just as littered with complications and disappointments. Hope. At the moments when the universe seemed to strip us of all hope, we dug a little deeper, and hoped a little harder. When we had no reason to hope, we did so anyway. To do anything less was to give up, and giving up wasn’t an option. To give up on being a parent was never an option; there was always another plan, another approach. We could not and would not consider the “what if.” You know, the what-if-I-can’t-get-pregnant thought. Hope wouldn’t allow it.

I used to think hope was for fools who hadn’t suffered enough to know better. I was too smart, too enlightened to ever stake my future on such a naive emotion, and yet it saved us. It saved us from our worst inclinations. It saved me from myself, from my tendencies to engage in self-destructive behavior; it helped me to not give in to anger and despair, which is my nature. It helped me prop T up when she was low and being negative.

Hope, for most of this long process, was all we had, but I’m sure as hell glad we found it.

I cling to it today, hoping I’ll be able to find a good job that will provide healthcare for my wife and baby. I hope I’ll be able to be a stabilizing force in my wife’s life during her pregnancy. I hope I’ll be a good mom and pass on good behaviors rather than the ones passed on to me by my mother. I hope, I hope, I hope.


Filed under the P word, ttc, us

pregnant. period.

Early this morning, I had a dream that I was taking this digital pregnancy test, and the “not” kept flashing on and off. Eventually, it leveled out and stayed off, and I left the bathroom to tell J. At that point I awoke, and I was so utterly bummed. This seems to happen nearly every test morning. I have a dream that it’s positive, and I awake to test negative.

So, I trudged to the bathroom, cracked open the test, and went about my business. I set the test on my leg, waiting for an answer, and suddenly, it was there. Just one word:


I bounded out of the bathroom, and started turning on lights, saying, “Oh my god! Oh my god!” J shot up from bed and said, “What’s wrong? What’s going on?” She was utterly confused. Until I showed her the test (after fumbling with more lights). I collapsed on the bed with her crying and laughing. Needless to say, we have not gone back to sleep. We’re so excited, and yet I’m also nervous as hell that the next test I take will have that dreaded word “not” in it. I took the test apart, though, and the test line was nice and dark.


I’ll take another test this evening since I need to use the other one up anyway, and I’ll make some sort of doctor’s appointment today, and, and, and…

The list of symptoms for those interested:

  • sore boobs, but a more through-and-through soreness than usual
  • hints of nausea
  • weepinesss
  • irritability
  • crampiness

I also had some weird sort of hot flash the other day in the grocery store, after which I was shaky and weak. That would have been 10dpo, and I would say it was my first sign.

Holy shit. I’m pregnant.


Filed under symptoms, testing, ttc

here we go

Well, the OPK was the tiniest shade away from being positive last night (and may have been positive in the right light). It was as positive as could be this morning. My guess is the surge started in the middle of the night. We’ll sperm up tonight. I’m oddly nonchalant about it. What’s with that?

In case you were wondering, the coughing has subsided significantly. I am relieved. My abdominal and chest and back muscles are relieved. But most of all, J is relieved that I won’t be keeping her awake all night again.

I need a nap before teaching. The next time I write, I’ll be in the midst of the TWW again. Our tenth TWW. Please let ten be lucky.


Filed under ovulation, ttc

riddle me this

Why is it that for the entire six months we weren’t trying to get me knocked up that my breasts were only mildly sore before my period, and now that we’re trying, they’re like orbs of molten lava? Why is that?

I don’t think it has anything to do with pregnancy. The  whole time we were trying to get pregnant before, the same lava boob phenomenon was in place. Can one really make one’s own breasts feel like blobs of fire with one’s brain? I think not. Surely there must be a scientific explanation. Surely.

We were dumb this morning. We decided I should take a pregnancy test. Bad idea. It was negative–starkly so. I’m 10 dpo, so it’s possibly a little early, but I’m fairly convinced that this will be the outcome on election day as well.

But we have a plan for the next cycle. We’ll likely buy two vials and attempt IUI or ICI at home. I think we can do it. I’d rather spend the money on sperm and an extra insemination than hope that the midwife will come through for us. We were a little too burned last time to take that chance again. J is asking me to consider finding a doctor to do this after we try it two more times. I admittedly had a hard time thinking about that this morning, but that’s probably where we will need to go if these next two tries don’t work. Ugh. I hate thinking about that.

I think I’ll go strap ice packs to my chest.


Filed under negatives, ttc

this is when i start talking about my body parts

I don’t know how I could possibly forget how hypersensitive one becomes during the TWW, but it’s happened again. I keep trying to trick myself into ignoring my body. There’s not much to report, primarily just some sore nipples from just a couple of days past ovulation and killer headaches. The headaches are easily explained by my endless hours of grading. And the nipples? Well, J swears she hasn’t recently purchased any nipple clamps lately, but I don’t know if I believe her. In all of the months of our break, I have to say that I didn’t pay attention to one damn sign. I was actually surprised a couple of times when my period showed up! I miss those carefree days already.

Our neighbor’s baby is coming for a visit again tomorrow morning. We get haircuts tomorrow (we both have waited FAR too long.) We will hand out high fructose corn syrup in colorful wrappers to the kiddies tomorrow night. We’ll have a weekend, and then a day of work, and then we’ll have election day and a pregnancy test, and all will be right with the world. (<–That’s me trying to stay positive.)


Filed under babies, pseudosymptoms, ttc