are you my moms?

the musings of yet another lesbian couple on the journey of mother(s)hood

Drumroll, please… November 29, 2011

Filed under: IUI — areyoumymoms @ 6:15 pm
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I’ve wondered for 4 months what I’d write when this day came.  I wondered how we’d feel, whom we’d call first, and how long it would take for reality to sink in.  I still don’t know the answer to that last question.

I’m at a rare loss for words.  I have absolutely no idea what to say, other than to thank all of you for reading, commenting, and thinking fertile thoughts for us over these 4 cycles.  And keep all that going…there are plenty of hurdles still to jump.

Obviously MKL and I are over the moon.  When we come down, I’m sure I’ll find something more eloquent to say.  But for now all I can come up with is:  HOLY CRAP.  WE’RE HAVING A BABY!!!!!


Hurry Up & Wait November 28, 2011

Filed under: IUI,Two-week wait — areyoumymoms @ 7:47 pm
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Yep...this about sums it up.

Tomorrow is the day for round 4 results.  I have been sitting at my computer for a while now, trying to figure out how to properly express the anxiety we’ve felt today.  I’m not sure I can put it into words, but I’m going to give it a shot.  If the words don’t work, just refer to the picture to the left.  That should give you a good idea of what we look like today.

In truth, this has been the easiest two weeks we’ve had thus far.  I’m not sure if it was the “all in” nature of this round, the Thanksgiving holiday, or the promise of a breather should we not succeed, but we have been amazingly low-key.  Neither MKL nor I are willing to make a guess this time.  Neither of us has a strong instinct one way or the other, and I’ve long ago learned to ignore any potential “symptom” I may experience during the two week wait.  Don’t get me wrong – we still wouldn’t wish the two week wait on anyone.  But for some reason we’ve been quicker to smile and think positively than in previous attempts.  It’s as though we haven’t really been thinking too much about the wait – just tried to live the life we have instead of putting it on hold to try to start a new one.  And then like Cinderella at the ball, the stroke of midnight last night turned our shiny, happy world back into a messy pile of pumpkins, mice, and rags.

Since then we’ve been a couple of basket cases.  MKL appears to be trying to release her stress via frequent heavy sighs and the occasional look of terror.  She has also been cradling our 40-lb dog on her lap like she’s a 3-lb chihuahua.  Some people have security blankets; my wife apparently has a security dog.  My anxiety has come out in the form of nervous chatter.  Constant chatter.  Like an auctioneer.  I called my mother to ask her a 5-minute question and hung up 20 minutes later, unsure of whether or not I took a breath during the conversation.  I’ve rambled to MKL about everything from the nightmare parking at Atlanta Medical Center (I’m certain I’m not the only person to get stuck in the garage) to the reasons why Neil Patrick Harris should take over for Regis Philbin, and have definitely exceeded my already high average daily word count.  Oh, wait.  That’s why she keeps sighing…

In keeping with tradition, I haven’t taken any home pregnancy tests.  We’re just waiting for the results of the blood test to come in tomorrow.  I can’t begin to predict how we’ll feel, regardless of the outcome.  In the meantime, all we can do is remain thankful for the life we have and wait for the guru to call.  Here’s hoping I run out of things to babble about by then.


Holiday Traditions November 23, 2011

Filed under: Backstory — areyoumymoms @ 12:08 pm
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Like everyone else’s, MKL’s and my life is full of rituals and traditions.  For example, we usually catch up on our dvr viewing while we eat dinner.  I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but it is very often an episode of Young & the Restless.  Yes, we record it every day.  And yes, we’re aware of how silly that is.  It isn’t because we just can’t live without knowing the latest on the Newmans or Abbotts – it’s about the escape from reality into a world that could never be real.  I’ve even been known to signal the start of the show by singing a rendition of a Guns ‘n’ Roses classic…”Take me down to the Genoa City, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty!” 

Another daily ritual: we let our sweet dog, Stella, into the bed in the morning for some cuddle time.  Every morning, we let her lay between us and we scratch her belly while she tries to see which one of our faces she can lick more feverishly.  We know Caesar Milian would not approve, but we don’t care.  We don’t cave about everything she wants – just this.  And we do it because we get as much out of that cuddle time as she does.

We have holiday traditions, too.  Every year for Christmas, we buy each other at least one gift that’s completely stupid, but practical, and it becomes the favorite gift of the year.  Examples of these presents include new bathroom towels, an insulated coffee mug, cuticle sticks, gel shoe inserts, etc…you get the idea.  It’s not even usually about the gift itself, but about the fact that we know what the other’s daily pain points and annoyances are, and will listen all year-long just for the chance to fix things on December 25th.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is coming up this week.  Not tomorrow, though I do love everything associated with Thanksgiving…who wouldn’t love a meal built almost entirely on carbs and a table decorated with handprint turkey crafts?  No, the tradition I’m referring to is that which happens on Thanksgiving Eve: the annual Dia de Gracias por el Queso.  This oft-ignored holiday celebration allows us all to stop and give thanks for the joys of Mexican food before we’re forced to eat leftover turkey through Sunday, and without the crowds of tequila-filled frat boys one encounters on Cinco de Mayo.  Now before you go googling “Dia de Gracias por el Queso,” let me clarify: this is not a national holiday…not here, and not in any Spanish-speaking countries, either.  It isn’t going to be found on any bank calendars, nor will it be observed by your employer, so you’d better plan on showing up to work.  This very special tradition was started about 6 years ago, when MKL and I met our bff’s for dinner the night before Thanksgiving.  Over pomegranate margaritas (lots and lots and lots of them), we realized that Thanksgiving is not all it’s advertised to be.  We’re supposed to spend the day being grateful for the people in our lives, showing one another how much we love each other.  But don’t most of us usually spend it cleaning, decorating, cooking, arguing about football, and just trying to make it to the pie without incident so that we can get out in the wee hours of Friday morning and become horribly materialistic again?  Or worse – driving frantically from family dinner to family dinner so that no one feels left out or “un-thanked?”  Right.  And that’s why we decided it was time to start a holiday tradition with our chosen family.  So each year we return to one of a few Mexican restaurants in our neighborhood and properly give thanks for one another over queso and guacamole.

If you’re not part of the LGBTQ community, you might not be familiar with the concept of “chosen family.”  In our circles, this term refers to the people who aren’t blood relatives, but who love and care for one another as though they are.  Since many of us have been ostracized from the families that raised us, our friends often become our true family.  Fortunately, MKL & I and our bff’s all still have solid, (mostly) loving relationships with our biological families.  All four of us know that when times are tough, our families will be there for us; I know we’ll all be saying words of thanks for them tomorrow, whether we’re with them or not.

But tonight is just for us.  Tonight we celebrate a friendship that has carried us all through some of the best and worst times of our lives.  We are the kind of friends who are honest with one another about everything, and who can make each other laugh with just a roll of the eye or a joke from the loge.  MKL and I are particularly grateful for our bff’s this year, as they have supported us tirelessly through this ttc journey.  It has been a long road thus far, and whether I’m pregnant now or not, we have many more miles to go. 

Tonight, as I’m dipping chips into the holiest of holy queso, I will be grateful.  I will be grateful for all our chosen family has done for us – all the long walks and workouts, donor selection feedback, doggy dates, takeout dinners, champagne brunches, pool days and pool hall nights.  There’s no one else with whom I’d rather spend the Dia de Gracias por el Queso.


Baby Dreams November 16, 2011

Filed under: IUI,Two-week wait — areyoumymoms @ 6:37 pm
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Last night I had a dream about our baby, specifically about changing a diaper.  I saw the sweetest face – a little girl with strawberry-blonde hair.  As I was changing her, she kept reaching up to grab my face with her tiny, chubby hands.  And she kept saying “hi…hi…” over and over again and giggling.  She was decked out in a pale yellow onesie with giraffes on it, and she was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen – in my dreams or in real life.  When I woke up I would swear I could smell her – not the dirty diaper – the powder, the baby lotion, and that inherently sweet baby fragrance that makes my ovaries pulse.  I laid there with my eyes closed for a few minutes, hoping that when I opened them she’d be there.  She wasn’t; and for a nanosecond, I was a little sad.  Then I looked at who was there.  MKL was sound asleep next to me and Stella slept curled up at my feet.  I just had to smile.  I was so grateful for the dream – for what I can only assume to be a foreshadowing of diaper changes to come.  But I was even more grateful to see that my reality is what I spent years dreaming about. 

I take up a lot of words in this blog bitching about the fact that we haven’t gotten pregnant yet and I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon.  But even if it’s just for today, I’ve established a new goal: to remain thankful for the family I have now…if we’re blessed with an addition, I’ll just call it a bonus. 

MKL, I love our family with my whole heart…whether it grows or not.


Round 4: Pajama Party November 13, 2011

Filed under: IUI — areyoumymoms @ 7:59 pm
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This morning marked our 4th round of iui and the beginning of our 4th 2-week wait.  By the numbers, that’s 22 ultrasounds, 9 vials of sperm, 8 uterine catheters, 7 tenacula, 6 hormone injections, 5 blood tests, 4 weigh-in’s, 3 early surges, 2 donors, and hopefully soon – a monkey in a pear tree.

On the way to the doctor I told MKL that despite our decision to wear pajamas to our early morning appointment, I feel like there should be some kind of pomp and circumstance surrounding today’s attempt.  We’ve already decided to take a few months off if this cycle isn’t a success, so today felt like a graduation of sorts.  Doc greeted us in her pajamas as well (with a white coat thrown on for good measure) and we got down to business.  As of yesterday’s pre-ovulation iui I still had 2 follicles on the left and 1 on the right.  I was expected to ovulate sometime yesterday evening, and doc had high hopes that at least 2 of the eggs would release on time.  In truth, I was a little skeptical.  This isn’t the first time I’ve had multiple follicles ready on time, but I’ve never managed to release more than 1 in time for an iui.  If I have finally learned what ovulation feels like (very low indigestion-like twinges), then it happened at 6:00 and again at midnight.  Whether I properly detected the timing or not, doc confirmed via ultrasound that I released an egg from each ovary yesterday.  The remaining follicle on my left side grew overnight, and she’s relatively sure it will also release sometime today.  She hasn’t been wrong yet, so I’m guessing this is a 3-egg omlette…uh, cycle we’re working with here.

So we proceeded with a 2-vial insemination early this morning.  Since we’re planning to take a break, we want to be sure there is no sperm in storage after this round; so we’ve gone all in…so to speak.  If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 3 eggs, and 3 vials of sperm, counting yesterday’s vial.  We thawed today’s 1st vial while waiting for doc to make the 1-mile drive from her house to the office, and upon confirming yesterday’s ovulation via ultrasound, she instructed her assistant to retrieve the back-up vial from the nitrogen tank.  Then the 4 of us hung out in the exam room, chatting about everything from the grooming of doc’s schnauzer (yeah, I said it) to the vocal stylings of Anita Baker, while doc held the 2nd vial to thaw it herself.  It was an oddly casual moment…and one that I experienced in stirrups and a life-sized paper towel.  I took a picture of that scene with my mind.  If this attempt works, I want to remember how simultaneously awkward and appropriate (dare I say Apatowian?) it felt; me, lying completely vulnerable, MKL going through our bag of good luck charms and giving me a twinkly smile, and doc laughing with her assistant while she held our extra vial in her hands with a surprising amount of humanity and care.

I’ve never really talked in detail about how the procedures feel, and don’t worry – I’m not going to start.  I’ll just say that they’re not painful so much as uncomfortable.  Don’t get me wrong – out of 8 times, there have been 2 or 3 that legitimately hurt.  But all in all, it’s not that bad.  I could go on for a paragraph or two about the flood of emotion that washes into the room when doc says “ok…” indicating that she’s done injecting, and what it’s like to stay afloat in that flood for 15 minutes while I lay with my legs angled toward the sky, eyes locked with MKL’s.  I could easily write a book about what it feels like to intentionally try to bring a new life into the world, and the responsibility that comes with it.  Thoughts of that responsibility loom as prevalent as the thoughts of folding onesies while we fight back tears, make small talk, and wait for doc’s assistant to come back in and turn the light on.  And someday maybe I will write some type of technical manual for coping with the sometimes painful, often hilarious happenings in the exam room.  Since the first week of August, we’ve spent a total of 26 hours in her office…reading magazines in the waiting room, getting annoyed on the scale, listening to doc reprimand her assistants for prepping the wrong size speculum (having already felt the physical pain associated with that realization), and staring at some bad artwork on the walls and ugly ceiling tiles.  [A side tip for any professional whose work requires your patients to lie down: decorate your ceiling.  Your patients will appreciate the effort.]  I could tell you about all of it…right down to the joys of the sperm cup.  But unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll never fully comprehend what it feels like to take this journey.  Try as I might, Christ knows I’m not a good enough writer to put it into words.

As we left doc’s office, she told us she hopes to see us soon for a pregnancy sonogram.  We all walked to our cars, headed back to our Sunday beds, and MKL asked how I was feeling.  Full, I told her.  I wanted to mean it in a deep way (i.e. I am full of hope or full of love).  But I really just mean full…down there, as your weird aunt used to say.  Apparently a little extra sperm makes a big difference.  (I sure hope it does!)  The end of our 2ww will bring a fork in the road: either we’re pregnant, or we’re getting off the roller coaster for a bit.  Someone asked me if we were looking forward to getting back to our “normal” lives (of course, having already expressed his hope that we’ll conceive this time around!).  I had no idea how to answer that question – not because it’s not a valid question – because I can’t picture going back to our old lives.  There’s no going back now.  Regardless of the outcome, we’re adjusting to a new normal.  We might have a low-key holiday season, focused on spending quality time with each other, living a good healthy lifestyle, and paying down medical expenses so we can get ready to incur them again next year.  But I’m hoping and praying that we’ll be fighting morning sickness, talking about baby names, registering for all kinds of necessary (and completely useless) stuff, and making room in our house for our sweet little monkey.  We’ve already made room in our hearts.


The IUI Inquisition November 7, 2011

Filed under: IUI — areyoumymoms @ 9:32 pm
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We’re just a few days away from our 4th iui attempt.  Hopefully the 4th will be the last, but it’s certainly the last one for this year.  Everything looks great so far.  My early-recruiting, ovary-achieving tendencies have already produced 4 follicles that measured 9mm to 16mm on cd 5.  A few of you just re-read that last sentence twice, googled “follicle size,” and still don’t know what I’m talking about.  But suffice it to say: my eggs are huge already, and should be a great target for the new swimmers to aim for.  We also got a 3rd vial again this time, just in case I have another early hormone surge.  If I surge at the appropriate time, we’ll just use that 3rd vial in one of the planned iui’s.  So here’s what we’re thinking: big follicles (and more of them!) + new donor (and 1 more vial of swimmers!) = better chance for success.

It’s been fascinating to hear everyone’s feedback after the 3rd unsuccessful attempt.  I think we’re getting more questions about the process now than we did when we started.  When we started this, we’d get fun questions about how to go about ordering donor sperm, whether or not the procedure hurts, will our kids call us both “mom” (we still haven’t figured that one out yet!), and of course we entertained the inevitable “turkey baster or doctor?” discussion.  We were happy to answer those questions, and still are.  We know that for the rest of our lives as parents, we’ll hear questions like “who’s the mother?” and other inquiries of a more sensitive nature.  [For the record: it’s considered poor taste to ask a same-gendered couple “who’s the baby’s real mother” or “which one of you is the father?”  The correct answer will always be “both of us.”]  Regardless of the fact that they don’t intend to overstep the bounds of curiosity, people can ask some really invasive questions.  Here’s a sampling of the inquiries I’ve fielded since announcing our lack of success in round 3:

  • Why don’t you just adopt?
  • How much does each attempt cost?  This has got to be wearing on your checkbook.  I don’t know how you’re affording this.
  • What can you do to reduce your stress?  That has to have an impact on whether or not you conceive.
  • When will you just stop trying?  I mean, how many attempts will you do before you decide to call it quits?
  • And my personal favorite: Does the doctor know what’s wrong with you that you haven’t conceived yet?  Are you sure you’re fertile?

If you’ve asked any of these questions, know that you’re not the only one.  Also know that I love you anyway and am not offended.  I get that this is unconventional in the grand scheme of things, and the questions are natural.  But stop and think if you’d ask these questions of the straight couple next door who just got married last year and is trying to start a family.  After 3 months of newlywed sex still doesn’t result in a positive pregnancy test, are you going to ask them if they’re ready to adopt?  Probably not.  You probably won’t suggest meditation or ask if the wife has seen a doctor.  You’ll probably just tell them to be patient and it will happen when it’s supposed to.  The same goes for us. 

Last week after our bfn, some of these questions started to creep into conversation with our merry band.  Last week was too soon – I was still on hormones and my only response to most of the inquiries was to cry.  So now that I’m processing thoughts a little more clearly, here are a few answers:

  • Yes.  We would certainly consider adoption.  Some of our favorite families were created out of adoption and we are 100% in favor of giving a needy child a home.  The phrase “why don’t you just adopt” is a funny one, though.  People make it sound like there’s a social worker stationed at each Starbucks, giving away babies to gay couples – free with a latte purchase.  There is no such giveaway.  Trust me….I checked.  The reality of adoption includes waiting lists, lawyers, home studies, interviews, more lawyers, and more waiting.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for any couple who adopts.  They are far more patient than we are.  We haven’t ruled it out at all – it’s just not our first choice for starting our family, for a variety of reasons.
  • Yes, iui costs money.  The kind of money you don’t find in your couch cushions.  The kind of money that can get someone a decent college education.  The kind of money the average couple saves for a down payment on a house.  How much?  It varies by the couple, doctor, insurance, and other factors.  But since natural conception isn’t an option for us, there’s no legal/ethical way for us to start a family for free.  You wouldn’t ask how much we earned last year, so why would you ask how we choose to spend our earnings?
  • I love my friends and family who think I’m just too stressed out.  Their care and concern for MKL and me is genuine.  However, the idea that I can somehow find a way to melt away the stress is, frankly, laughable.  5-8 times a month, I go to the doctor for an ultrasound; at any time, what she sees on the screen could result in doc saying, “nope – not this cycle.”  I spend all but 72 hours of each month on some sort of hormone designed to make me a crazy person.  On the flip side, I don’t work out as hard as I like for fear of overheating my insides, and have turned down multiple performing opportunities so my schedule isn’t too packed with extras.  So while the process itself causes more stress than I’ve ever known, two of my favorite stress relievers (exercise and singing) are enjoyed with less frequency and/or intensity.  But I’ve been working from home when the stress of the day gets to be too much, meditating, taking long walks, and spending my down time at the piano, watching Bravo, or writing this blog.  If I take any more measures to reduce my stress, I’ll be legally comatose.
  • The idea that we might someday have to “stop trying” is not something we’re quite ready to face yet.  You don’t suspend your entire way of life in an effort to make a family and then just give up when 3 attempts fail.  You rally, you pray, you hold each other close, you find the motivation and the money, you vent your frustration to the blogosphere, and you try again.  That’s how we’ve gotten this far, and that’s what we’ll continue to do until this works…or until we can’t anymore.  
  • Before we embarked on the actual insemination portion of this journey, there was the testing phase.  There were 12 vials of blood taken from me and analyzed like crazy.  There were several ultrasounds and a hysterosalpingogram.  I had to consult with my regular gynecologist and primary care physician, and I disclosed about 10 pages worth of medical history.  It’s true that there may be something physically wrong with me that’s preventing me from getting pregnant, but that doesn’t seem to be the case right now.  Infertility is usually defined as more than one year of failed attempts at natural conception.  I’m not infertile – I just don’t attempt natural conception…so to speak.

Contrary to how it may appear by my answers above, I don’t want people to stop asking questions.  Making a baby is the topic that occupies the most space in my brain, so I’m more than happy to talk about it.  Plus the only way this process becomes more “normal” is if more people understand it.  So I will still gladly answer anything thrown my way, and I promise not to take offense.  I can only hope that people will consider the tone of the questions they ask.  Optimism is really important right now; you can help us stay positive by not talking about things like money, stress, or giving up.  In return, I promise not to ask any of you about your annual physical, net worth, or the paternity of your first born.  Deal?


Today’s Stream of Consciousness November 2, 2011

Filed under: Backstory,IUI — areyoumymoms @ 5:56 pm
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I haven’t been blogging very faithfully lately.  It’s not that I’m too busy, or haven’t felt well enough or anything like that.  I just haven’t had much to say.  Today I’m full of things to say, so I’m going to have to work hard to stay on track.  Look out.

First, an update: no, I’m not pregnant.  F#%k.  F#%kity f#%kity f#%k f#%k f#%k.  Yeah…that about sums it up.  (With apologies to the members of my family and clergy who read this blog, but today doesn’t seem the appropriate day to try to curb my potty mouth.)  The words “strike 3 – you’re out!!” keep running through my head.  It’s been a great few days.

The first time we got the negative result call, we were devastated.  The second one was disappointing.  This third time did nothing but piss us off.   As cold as it feels to type it, the phone call was almost routine.  It’s negative?  OK – are there any recommendations for changes in treatment?  Alrighty, then.  But we knew we had a decision to make.  MKL and I had always said we’d pause and take stock after 3 unsuccessful attempts.  We said we’d consider options like changing donors or taking a break.  We didn’t have to discuss it very long.  We both want to give it one more try this year, and take the holiday months to either settle into an early pregnancy or allow our minds, hearts, and my body to rest for a spell.  I texted the guru our plans and we went about our day with a shocking lack of tears. 

Sometime between making this very quick, but earnest decision yesterday and waking up this morning, we realized this means another 4 weeks of the roller coaster.  Neither really wanted to acknowledge it, but we were both nearly paralyzed at the thought.  This process is so much harder than either one of us anticipated.  We’re strong – we’ve been tested individually and as a couple on more than one occasion – and we can get through anything together.  But folks, this stuff is seriously not for the weak of marriage.  You have to love each other enough to know when it’s time to put your relationship before the ttc adventure.  And I’m really glad we do.

Next decision: do we abandon bachelor #1 and change donors?  We’ve read about and know personally of couples who seemed to succeed as soon as they tried a new donor.  It’s a question of compatibility; sometimes a woman’s body is just more or less tolerant of a particular specimen.  The decision of whether or not to change donors sort of made itself sometime mid-afternoon yesterday.  MKL was searching the cryobank site and found a donor we both loved immediately.  His number kept coming up at the top of every search she did, and for a variety of reasons, it just seemed meant to be.  I find it fascinating that you feel a connection with the donors just from reading their essays and seeing their baby pictures.  Today we purchased the extended profile information on the new guy and he contributed a very cool piece for his future children to experience – something that gives a glimpse at the truly unique and creative guy we believe him to be.  Of course, it’s entirely possible that his whole profile is bullshit.  But I’m pretty sure it’s not.  We both wish we had found him a few months ago, but he just became available.  Here’s hoping the change is just what my body needs; bachelor #1 struck out, but there’s still another batter in the lineup.

There’s so much going on in my head today – I’m still angry that #3 didn’t take.  I’m trying not to feel like a failure…like I’ve done something to keep us from getting pregnant.  But mostly I’m trying to focus on all the things I have to be grateful for.  MKL and I are blessed in abundance with friends who cheer us on every step of the way.  Our merry band of supporters has grown a bit in the last few months.  The longer this takes, the harder it is to keep it quiet.  I thought it would make things harder, but it has really just made the band merrier and more supportive.  And since most of them read this, the most efficient way to thank them is to do it here (I’m nothing if not efficient).  So here is my tribute to our merry band, and a shout-out to the key players.  You know who you are. 

  • To our sweet friend who is like the kid brother neither of us ever had.  Lunch was a great diversion yesterday, and we can’t wait until you take the monkey camping.  (I promise to come with you guys the first time and I’ll try not to be too prissy.)
  • To our church family.  We cannot wait to see the monkey running down the aisles of that beautiful sanctuary, chasing the light show created by the stained glass.  Your prayers will have made it happen.
  • To those darling boys in our life who always know how to respond to bad news.  Whether it’s a single expletive, a (very) wordy and sincere message of hope, or an off-the-wall way to make us smile, it always does the trick.
  • To my mother, who is ready to be called Grandma any day now.  And to winky and the honey badger, who will be ready someday.
  • To my work family.  There aren’t enough ways to say thank you for the support and understanding I’ve received.  I’m particularly blessed to have two bosses whom I can count as friends and to work with another dear friend who “gets” me like few others do.  I wish every woman going through this was so lucky.
  • To our BFF’s.  These two are by our sides no matter what.  They are the first to wish us luck on iui days, and the last to leave the pity party on result days.  They will be the best godparents a kid can ask for, and we cannot wait to witness their journey toward a family in a few years.

If you’ve said a prayer, sent up a positive thought, remembered us on milestone days, or even just thought enough about us to keep up with this blog, thank you.  When this process has us at our lowest, your support is what carries us through.


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