Saturday, April 24, 2010


I want to introduce you to a part of me: Smaug
When I'm lucky, he's like this:

He's drowsy and curled up in the lower left area of my abdomen, nesting comfortably on my left ovary.  I know he's there when he stretches a little, or by the trail of smoke curling up from his nostrils that singes my insides a bit.  He tends to stay sleepy for about 6-7 days at a time. And during this time, I'm pretty much myself.  I can work, sleep, laugh, talk to my husband, clean house, etc.

But then, he wakes up, and he's like this:

He's a roaring, snarling, clawing, fire-breathing beast who completely devastates me.  And, by the way, it's my insides that he's charbroiling when he's on the war path.  

It's a burning, constant, breath-taking pain that seems to start deep inside my abdomen and radiate through my stomach and back. Oh, and it will last for the next 4-5 days.  When Smaug is awake, it is almost impossible to breathe, much less talk.  It's a pain that drives me in to a fetal position, where I will writhe and rock back and forth, trying not to scream.  Oh, and then the vomiting begins.  It's pain that takes you just to the brink of insanity. For 4-5 days and nights.  I am on the best medications possible, but for the most part, Smaug laughs at their efforts, and flaunts his armor-plated chest that's impervious to their puny attempts to stop him.  What I need to find is the medication that can find and penetrate the flaw in Smaug's armor: the medical equivalent of Bard's Black Arrow. 

I imagine it's pain much like labor, only without the break in between contractions.  Or the epidural. Or the hope of having a baby at the end of it. But having never experienced childbirth, it remains my imaginings.  And to top it off, I will go through it all over again in another 7 days.

It's hard to exactly pinpoint the start of Smaug's residence inside me.  3 months after Nate and I married, we flew to the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta, Ga., for my second laparoscopy  for endometriosis.  At that point, the pain was far less severe and far less frequent.  But it was making its' presence known  during, shall we say "intimate" times Nate and I shared as a newly married couple. In addition to the removal of endo and 2 cysts, they acknowledged the presence of the Fibroid in Residence (FIR)** , and discovered a veritable "rat's nest" of scar tissue and intestines.  My intestines were so badly entwined and completely obstructed by scar tissue, the doctors were afraid I was going to lose a good portion of my intestine.  It took about 4 hours of surgery, but when the surgeons were finally able to clear away the scar tissue, they were surprised to discover that the area of intestine in question was still viable.  Nate and I have no doubt they saved my life.

My recovery from that lap was a bit longer than my first one, but still pretty smooth and reletively uncomplicated.  As I recovered, I started working out and was generally feeling pretty good - better than I had felt in a long time. I was feeling very hopeful about being healthy for myself and the family we hoped to start in the near future.  Then out of the blue, Smaug started to rear his head. 

At first I thought I was going crazy - what could it possibly be?  They had just been in there and gotten as close a look as possible. And I tried denial for a while too.  But I finally called the doctor when I desperately wanted to get out of bed to go to a special occasion with Nate, but could not bear to leave my beloved heating pad because of the pain. 

It didn't take long for Smaug to regularly settle into his favorite pattern - 5 days out of every 12 were a living hell of him clawing and tearing and scorching my insides.  This was the beginning of my trip from doctor to doctor in a quest to find answers - and even more - treatment. . .

**FIR - every surgery and ultrasound as acknowledged FIR's presence, but it was not removed in any of the 3 laps.  Turns out it's in a very dicey location, on the cusp of the fallopian tube, and they're afraid if they remove him, scar tissue, which my body loves to grow in spades, will block the tube.  The latest ultrasound shows that FIR has reproduced and now has 4 fibroid cousins.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Aslan, Part 2

OK, so when we left off in this story Nate, me, Aslan, Holly, and Boo have been living together in relative harmony.  Aslan was 19, and except for slowing down a bit, he was in great health.  In November, he went to the vet for minor gastrointestinal issues. They resolved and all was well.  They seemed to resurface in January, but it was relatively minor. To be on the safe side, our vet ordered blood work and a full body x-ray.  The blood work came back crystal clear, but the full-body x-ray showed an enlarged heart, colon, and kidney.  He acted perfectly normal, though, so we were told what symptoms to watch for, and we would closely monitor him.

One of the symptoms to watch for was any breathing difficulties.  Shortly after that visit, I would wonder if Aslan was breathing faster than the other two, but then determine it was just my imagination.  Soon, though, there was no denying that he was often breathing harder and faster  than his siblings, but still without apparent distress. I decided to take him to the vet the next day.

But that night, things took a drastic turn for the worst, and he was in severe respiratory distress.  There are no words to describe the utter helplessness, the sheer hell of watching him struggle for breath.  All he could do was lie prone on our couch, head hanging over the side, mouth gaping and drooling.  His sides would suck together so hard you would swear they were going to meet in the middle. And all I could do was sit with him, pray, and encourage him.

We rushed him to the vet, and his breathing eased, seemingly on its own.  The vet determined that the problem was his enlarged heart, and he needed to see the feline cardiologist ASAP.  Nate and I had determined that we would pay for whatever diagnostics would give us a comprehensive picture of his situation - that way we could make informed choices about what was best for his care.

The time until we saw the cardiologist was  largely good.  Aslan was mostly comfortable, with only minor flares of breathing difficulty.  We spent a lot of time with him, snuggling him and giving him his favorite foods.  I struggled with the unescapable fact that he was 19, and whatever time we had was borrowed. What did I want for him?  How would I be able to determine when his quality of life had deteriorated to the extent he could no longer enjoy his life?

I inadvertently answered these questions during a trip to the vet.  He was a terrible traveler; any trip would reduce him to heartbreaking howls for the entire duration.  I did what I always did when he was upset - I talked to him non-stop.  Knowing his distress, I longed to speak in a way he could understand that I was subjecting him to this nightmare because I loved him and needed help to take the best possible care of him.  And I rambled on about how much he loved stealing and eating my butter cookies, curling up in my lap, playing and snuggling with his brother, and napping on his favorite pillow.  And I realized those were my quality of life indicators - those were the things he loved most.  And if he was no longer able to enjoy them, than I needed to either help him find a way to enjoy them again, or help him let go.

But he continued to enjoy every single one of those things.  When I came home from work, Nate sometimes commented that he was glad I was home, Aslan had been having a really hard time.  And I would look down at my happily purring cat in my lap - the perfect picture of contentment.  And I would think he looked fine, surely Nate was exaggerating - he does have a flair for the dramatic.

One thing I had also considered was the intense grief and confusion Aslan had suffered when his "brother" Moses had died.  How he had searched and howled for Moses, no matter how I had tried to comfort him.  I had read anecdotal evidence that if the other animals in the family were allowed to encounter their "sibling" after he had passed, they were able to process it on their level and understand what had happened. If that was true, then I wanted that for Holly and Boo, as well as Aslan.  I wanted them to have the chance to say goodbye.  And if I had any say in the matter, than I wanted him to be in my arms when he died, with my voice being the last thing he heard.

While I had thought about all this, I really didn't think we were "there" yet (sound familiar?), and almost felt guilty even thinking about these things while he was contentedly curled up in my lap.  I thought the cardiologist appointment would hopefully determine the nature and extent of the problem, and we would come up with the best way to handle that.  Even if there was nothing we could do for him medically, it never entered my mind that we wouldn't be bringing him home from that appointment.  What did I think, that we would schedule an appointment to put him to sleep at some undetermined point in the future?  I guess I did.

When we went to put Aslan in his carrier, he typically went nuts, howling his gut-wrenching howl.  This time, though, Boo also went nuts.  He ran over to the carrier and started howling in response, frantically scratching at the carrier, desperate to get in to his brother.  Nate looked at me, shrugged, and said, "Why not bring him too?  Maybe he'll help Aslan settle down and comfort him."  So that was what we did.  For so many reasons, I am so glad we did.

Sure enough, Aslan settled right down, and enjoyed the most peaceful car ride he had ever had.  With the carrier on Nate's lap, Boo and Aslan snuggled in together like two peas in a pod as Nate gently stroked them.

When we got to the vet, we explained we had brought Boo too, for Aslan's moral support - no problem.  The cardiologist began with a cardiac ultrasound.  The visit almost entirely consisted of the doctor showing us problem after problem, and me gripping Nate's hand and cursing.  We just kept going from bad, to worse, to much worse. Aslan's chest was entirely filled with fluid to the extent it was forcing his lungs to collapse.  He only had the tiniest bit at the very top of his lung that he could still use to breathe.  The pericardium was also so filled with fluid it was compressing the heart, making it hard for his heart to beat.  A normal heart rate for a cat is up to 250 beats per minute.  Aslan's was 40.

I will also always be thankful that the doctor went further and performed the ultrasound over the rest of his abdomen.  His kidneys were failing, his liver was failing, and even the primary blood vessels had already deteriorated beyond repair.  This knowledge left us with very little choice.  Anything else would be so very selfish.  The cardiologist looked at us and said "The only thing keeping this cat alive is love." At this point all I could do was nod and cry as I signed his death warrant.

Our vet gave us some time alone with him.  I had discussed what I wanted for Aslan, (and Boo) and our vet supported every request. Aslan straddled our laps and purred his heart out, despite his frightening surroundings.  That was almost harder for me.  The vet was waiting for us to signal when we were ready, and I couldn't help thinking the decision was in my hands to say "OK, stop purring now, and never purr again." And at the same time I was conscious of just how much effort each breath was costing him.

We let him have some time with Boo, and they groomed each other and snuggled together.  We then put Boo back in the carrier.  The vet came in and inserted the catheter in Aslan's front paw.  I then put Aslan in his very favorite positions, wrapped around my neck.  Nate held and stroked his head.  I tried with everything in me to talk without crying (and failed miserably) - I wanted the last time he heard my voice to be peaceful and reassuring, not like I was stressed.  He purred into my ear right up until his very last heartbeat as I sang "You Are My Sunshine" for the last time.

He simply relaxed in my arms, and the end of his life on earth was the barest whisper, peaceful beyond anything I could have imagined.  I viewed it as the last gift I could give him.  For 19 years I had done everything within my power to give him the best life possible. When I could no longer do that ,I carried him and handed him over to his Creator, who knows how to love him even better than I.

But at this, Nate and I crumpled, sobbing into his lifeless body, and the vet again let us have some time alone.  After some moments, we laid his body on a blanket on the table.  We took Boo out of the carrier and put him on the table a little away from Aslan, allowing him to decide if he wanted to approach the body or not.  Boo walked over, and sniffed him from head to toe.  Then he licked Aslan all over, then snuggled in for a last cuddle.  He finally reached over and gently nibbled Aslan's ear - something he always did as a sign of affection.  Boo then looked at us and howled twice.  He became very subdued, and of his own accord, walked to the edge of the table and jumped back in to the carrier, where he promptly curled up for the rest of the time.  Nate and I have absolutely no doubt that he understood what had happened to his brother and had said goodbye.  As painful as this was to go through, in may ways, Aslan's passing was also beautiful, a love story in every way.

When we got home, Boo immediately sought out Holly.  They sniffed each other, cried, then curled up together - something they had never done before.  The next 2 days were spent comforting each other.  The cats were subdued and far more affectionate with each other and with us. But there was no searching for their brother, no howling, no confusion.  They mourned the loss of their brother, but they understood.  I share this because when I tried to look for resources on the web about allowing the other animals to be present at Aslan's death, there was so much negativity.  Those who had posed similar questions before me were met with outrage and derision.  Some openly accused them of being sick - why would they want their other animals there?  Others tried to be more professional, but speculated that their attention needed to be with the animal being euthanized, and they should not have the distractions of their other animals.

But having tried both methods of handling a pets death, for us, nothing could have been further from the truth. Having Boo there brought both Aslan and Boo so much peace. So I would urge those out there dealing with similar issues to listen to your hearts and request what is important to you.

How do you say good bye to someone who has been with you for 19 years?  The sheer length of time is just incredible.

My beloved boy, you are missed beyond words.  Somehow, 19 years just wasn't time enough.  You are with me always.  Be free and fly beyond pain and fear, and know how very much you are loved.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Aslan's Story

Until February 23, 2010, our family here in Philly included 3 four-legged family members: Aslan, Holly and Boo.  You've see pictures of our youngest, Boo, but I thought I'd use a post to introduce each one to you. Today is Aslan's turn.

19 years ago, Aslan came into my life. I was a teenager, he was a frightened kitten tossed like so much trash on my family's farm.  I came home from school and found a terrified kitten hiding under our porch.  He was out of reach, and it was so dark and he was so dirty, it was impossible to see anything more than glowing amber eyes.  I tried to entice him out with food; the tastiest, smelliest I could find - nothing.  I tried everything I could think of, all to no avail.  

Finally I sat down on the ground next to the porch and began to talk to him.  I talked for hours and hours - almost 9 straight hours when all was said and done.  I told him how I understood how scared and lonely he must be, and how much I wanted to comfort him.  At times I talked utter nonsense.  When even nonsense failed me, I began to sing, off key, "You Are My Sunshine."  At that moment, he decided to take a leap of faith.  As I was singing, a tiny orange tabby kitten crawled out from under the porch and in to my lap.

He may have just decided that was the only way to get me to shut up, but regardless of his motives, something was born in that moment that lasted his entire life.  The closest I can come to describing it is the sentiment expressed in the opera Les pĂȘcheurs de perles, "Your heart understood mine".  In that time, he felt understood and connected with me on a level I don't think I've ever seen before or since. I'm not trying to exaggerate here, but it was like he found his soul mate, and I was it. My other cats have genuinely loved me; Aslan worshipped me like I was the center of the universe.  And I'm not complaining, but sometimes being worshipped is a pain in the ass.

In many ways, he was not the easiest cat to love.  He was a cat of extremes - he was afraid of everything.  I jokingly called him my vampire kitty because he often only came out at night, when he thought everyone else was asleep.  And when he did come out, he was attached to me in a way that was often suffocating.  He would climb up my neck, and wrap himself around my neck, and was almost impossible to separate him from me.  When he was with me, he demanded my constant attention, drooling on me and purring happily.  In many ways, he taught me a great deal about loving the one you have for who they are, not who you wish them to be. 

In subsequent years, other cats joined us.  Unruly abandoned kittens I was bottle-feeding, others I fostered temporarily.  One of those "unruly kittens", Moses,  became his brother for the next 9 years, and the two of them were a part of every major event in my life from that day forward.  They followed me to my first apartment, through medical crisis', and welcomed Nate into our lives.  When Moses suddenly became unexpectedly ill and died after an intense 3 week fight for life, Aslan howled for hours in the middle of the night, every .single. night. until his sister Holly joined us over a year later.  His grief was palpable.

The last few years have been lived very comfortably with me, Nate, Holly, and Boo.  As he aged, I closely monitored him, but he exhibited every sign of health.
Continued Next Time. . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Picking Up Where I Left Off. . .

OK, confession time. . . I wrote the previous posts a while ago. . . Like a long time ago.  I didn't realize quite how long until yesterday, when I decided to try this again.  It's been almost 2 years since I wrote the first 4 posts.  Another 2 years of longing, pain, surgery and spinning my wheels.  But as the previous posts were rather introductory, and still felt appropriate, I decided to publish them anyway. And now back to our presently scheduled programming. . .

Today 4/6/10, feels rather momentous.  I am writing this on my lunch hour from my laptop – with an aircard, it turned out to be the ultimate, if expensive way to thwart my employers' lack of Internet accessibility.  Anyway, rather than work on building my pet photo portfolio for an upcoming charity fundraiser I’m donating a photo session package to as I had planned, I went and read, in depth, for the first time, the RESOLVE website.

Now it’s worth noting that I had “secretly” booked-marked their site quite a while ago, with the subconscious suspicion that “I might need it someday”, but had not actively looked at it.  In fact, I think I quite deliberately avoided it. And I definitely had not signed up to it.   Heavens No!  We weren’t “there” yet.  And someone, maybe even Nate, might find out I was looking at such things. 

But I am coming to that place. Like it or not, we are “there”.  But I didn’t feel like I expected to feel upon reading through their site.  I don’t know how I expected to feel – a little denial, perhaps, maybe a little relief to find others out there like me; maybe hopeful to see new resources and answers to questions I hadn’t even posed yet.

But instead, I just feel lost.  I don’t know where I fit in. I wrote the first four posts  to this blog and then left off, convincing myself that I did not belong , did not have the right to blog, especially in this category. 

In the meantime, my niece, just starting college, started a blog.  I went to leave a comment, and innocently signed into Blogger to do so, not realizing it would link my blog directly to hers. To say I panicked would be an understatement.  Although I have used pseudonyms, it wouldn’t have taken her long to figure out who was behind this blog, and she was the last person I wanted to know about this side of me. Nate didn’t even know about this blog.  The reason I started it in the first place was to have a “safe” place to talk about this stuff and join others on this journey, whatever shape that journey may take.

But Nate quickly saw me panicking on the couch next to him, frantically trying to delete the message, then the link, then when both of those failed, finally the blog itself.  Without a word, he took my laptop and helped me.  He did not ask a single question, or show a hint of surprise that I even had a blog, much less one that I was panicking over my niece finding out about. He just dug in and helped, and fixed it.  Just one of the many reasons I love him so.

But the experience rattled me and served to convince me that even blogging did not offer a safe outlet for this. And I contented myself with that, until today.  When the feelings threaten to overwhelm and I am uncertain where to turn. Journaling is good, but still rather isolating.  And so I turn once again to those out there in the Internet, those I so boldly considered my sisters.

Here is the gist of the problem: as I stated in a previous entry, we are not actively trying to conceive a child. Although I have endometriosis and fibroids and cysts and absolute masses of scar tissue that totally re-arranged my insides, I cannot say those are making me infertile.  Am I infertile?  Although we have been aching for a child for more than 3 fucking years, we have not been actually trying to conceive one. The reason?  I cannot get healthy enough to conceive or sustain a pregnancy.

There are a myriad of issues at stake. As you saw by my previous entry, I have had 16 surgeries. A number of them were for my knees.  Especially the total reconstruction that went south and caused more harm than good, and almost resulted in amputation.  The medication I am on for that issue alone would endanger any child I carried.

But even more is the lower abdominal pain that cripples me approximately 5 out of every 14 days. 4 laparoscopies have uncovered 4 separate problems, but none have actually solved the problem.  Oops, except the last one this past September that other than the fibroids and cysts, uncovered “nothing that would explain the issue”.  I guess I should be thankful the Lupron and BCPs have seemingly kept the endo under control for the time being. That moment in the recovery room when my RE told me that (and then promptly dropped me like a hot potato), I knew we had reached the moment when I needed RESOLVE, and all the support it supposedly offered. 

But RESOLVE also “categorizes” everyone.  Am I infertile? The technical definition determines one to be infertile if, under the age of 35, you have been utilizing appropriately timed intercourse for a year without successfully getting pregnant, than yes, you are technically infertile.  But how does that apply to me when we are not using "appropriately timed intercourse" and I am on continuous bcps?  Technically, the doctors tell me my ovaries and uterus look healthy and should work well.  I’m not cycling, the issues I’m struggling with seem to go beyond the scope of gynecological, or at least what the gynecological professionals have uncovered thus far. Are we pursuing adoption? Well there’s a complicated nut to crack – yes/no/not yet/????  Are we pursuing a “childless by choice” lifestyle?  No.  I can definitively say that.

So where the fuck do I belong?  Anyone?  Anyone? 

I Think I’ve Turned In To Gepetto . . .

I was cleaning out the litter boxes this morning and came to the startling realization that my life has started to resemble Gepetto’s, as portrayed in Disney’s Pinnochio.  If only Gepetto had ovaries.  Remember the scene in the beginning where childless Gepetto is celebrating the birthday of his Goldfish Cleo?  Along with his cat Figaro?
This is Figaro:

This is my youngest cat, Boo: (on the silk/cashmere scarf I knitted)

Except for the White on the tip of the tail, it’s a pretty good match.
This is a pic of Figaro and Cleo:

And this is a pic of Boo and Jonah (our fish) I took last night. . .

**Please note that the water in the fish tank is supposed to be green.  It’s an additive to the water that promotes healthy stuff for fish.  Well. . . except in this case it didn't do much good.  Jonah died shortly after this photo was taken. 

What struck me in remembering this scene was how lonely Gepetto was, and in his longing for a child, he lavished his love and affection on his pets.  And as beautiful as that was, it did not change the sense of sadness, of loss at what was missing.
I can so relate to that.  I pour myself into my “babies”.  When I was growing up on the farm, people would abandon litters of kittens on our property all the time.  I remember one litter still had their umbilical cords attached.  They had to be fed around the clock, every 2 hours.  They slept with me, came to work with me.  Sleep deprived, in the wee hours of the morning, I would sing to them and rock them as I bottle-fed them. 
And they thrived.  It was wonderful to see them grow sleek and sassy, with round little tummies.  To see their own personalities emerge.  To see firsthand just what love could accomplish in another life. 
Now if only my own goddamn Blue Fairy would show up, complete with "real boy" (or girl). . . 

OK, Now That’s Out of the Way. . .

Alright, I'll admit getting the formatting right on that last post was a pain in the ass. . .Still getting used to Blogger formatting.

So now you know more inane details about me than any one could possibly desire.  Let me now share a little more of my medical/baby situation. 

Let be upfront with the one fact that that has made me hold off on writing this blog for so long, and makes me feel like a total fraud for writing this in a category related to fertility.  We are not actually actively trying to conceive.  As in, we are not participating in those nauseating monikers “babydancing” or baby-making sex.”  In fact, I’m actually on continuous birth control.  The reason for all this – I haven’t been able to get healthy enough to start trying.
But that hasn’t changed the fact that we, especially I, just ache for a baby.  So I can relate to the endless humiliating and invasive medical procedures.  Even though I’m not cycling, I, too, have ridden the dildocam more times that I can count.  Had the repeated laparoscopies, etc.  I have ridden the endless rollercoaster of “let’s try this protocol and this should work and you’ll be able to get pregnant”, only to have hope extinguished from my soul.  And just when I think she is dead and buried, she comes rising up like a phoenix at the first hint of another course of action.  I understand the fragility of the soul in this time, experience the frustration and anger as friends and relatives pop out kids like a Pez dispenser.  I know how the inane comments by well meaning friends and family members only serve to drive heartache deeper.  So, in spite of the fact that I have never had a positive pregnancy test, never stimmed (although I have been on long courses of Lupron!) never experienced pregnancy loss, I identify with you as my sisters.   
I very much hope you won’t think this presumptive of me.  I have learned so much from your willingness to open yourselves up and share your “adventures”, and thought I just might have something to share with you as well.

25 Things. . .

Yea!!!  I knew I could get something posted!  I just have to be sneaky and persistent and wait until the employer’s internet security has failed.  In fact, it’s down right now and I’m tempted to try to write this “live”, but if it comes back up in the middle and I loose it all, I will be seriously pissed. 

So let me try to use this post to tell me a bit about myself.  Remember that “100 Things About Me” meme that was quite popular a while ago?  As usual, I’m behind the times, but here goes. I most likely won’t get anywhere near 100 things (even though I am wordy), but we’ll see how far I get.

  1. I grew up on an old farm in NJ. We mainly raised goats and sheep and grew some veggies. I couldn't care less about the veggies (still can't) but loved the animals.
  2. From the time I could say the word, I begged for a horse.  At the age of 5, I decided to save up for one. 
  3. At age 11, I had almost enough for an 18 year old Appaloosa gelding named Marcus.  My parents not only let me get him, they paid for all the things I never thought of, like shipping fees and vet inspections.
  4. It took me another 2 years to save enough for a saddle:)
  5.  I absolutely hated the all-girls Catholic school I attended and was determined to get through as quickly as possible.  They helped by announcing they were closing in the middle of what would have been my junior year.
  6. I graduated in three years as Valedictorian of not only my class, but the senior class as well.  They would not let me give the actual Valedictory speech because I was not Catholic.  See why I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible?
  7. I started college at 15.  I ended up transferring to a school in upstate NY.  It was a frozen iceberg most of the year.  I grew to love it, especially the people.
  8. I double-majored in English and Biochemistry.  I loved the contrast in subjects.
  9. I desperately wanted to be a doctor, and believed with all my heart that was what God was calling me to be.  Then I got really sick, and that went out the window. . .
  10. While in college, I got a job as an assistant to the head of the Biology department.  I ended up teaching most of his classes/labs.  I could never have dreamed of how that decision would change my life.
  11. During this job, I had an office in the lab, surrounded by rats.  At first it creeped me out, but then I came to love them too, and would walk around with one or two on my shoulder.  They were really friendly and loved to be cuddled.
  12. I also did original research on learning in Siamese Fighting Fish as part of a class I took on theories of learning.  It was actually published.  I didn't think much of it, and then years later, my husband was channel surfing and paused for a split second on Nova.  They were talking about learning in fish and were citing MY research!  I think that was the only thing that ever came out of that experience, except that I still have a thing for Siamese Fighting Fish.
  13. I volunteered as an EMT when I got out of college.  I loved doing this with all my heart.  I participated in 2 successful "conversions"; (where someone in cardiac arrest and is legally dead is "converted" back to a normal heart rhythm); absolutely amazing.  On the second one, I was riding home from the hospital at 4 am, and had the radio playing.  The song that came on was "Welcome Back To The Land Of The Living."  I swear I am not making this up.
  14. I currently work for the State.  As my Dad says, I am one of those &%^*$ bureaucrats!
  15. Finding my State salary wasn't quite enough to pay the bills, I took a job as a tutor.  (This is where the college teaching experience came in to play).  LOVE, LOVE this!
  16. This is also where I met my amazing husband. He is the kind of guy fairy tales were inspired by.  I am still in awe of how blessed I am to be married to him.
  17. Nate is a passionate Democrat.  My parents had a harder time with that than the 18-year age difference between us:).  He has the biggest heart for people.
  18. He is also a phenomenal singer – has sung in Carnegie Hall.  He sang to me at our wedding, as part of our vows.
  19. Call me odd, but I really love working with teenagers.  They are on the cusp of thinking about bigger things, outside themselves, trying to find where they fit in this world.  They can be irreverent and hilarious, and more often then not, they teach me much more than I teach them.
  20. Due to a family health emergency, Mike and I ended up planning our wedding in about 3 1/2 weeks. 
  21. 6 weeks after our wedding, we ended up flying across the country for a surgery that ended up saving my life.
  22. I've had 16 surgeries so far.  
  23. More than anything, I ache to be healthy enough to sustain a healthy pregnancy. 
  24. Part of me struggles with the selfishness of this.  Am I just being selfish to put my health and our babies life in jeopardy simply because we’d like to physically carry and deliver a baby? 
  25. After saving 2 1/2 years for my beloved Nikon camera, I started doing photography for my local inner city pet shelter.  LOVED it, but totally heartbreaking.  But it has led me to start doing on-location pet photography for pet owners. 
 I I think I’ll leave off there for now.  I want to write this blog because although I am happier than I have ever been, I’m in a really hard place, and I need a place where I can work this all through.  And I tend to work things through best by writing about them.  I’d really love it if you’d join me in this.  I know our stories may be different, but it seems to me there is far more we share in common.  I’ve seen the impact a blog can have and I’d love to be a part of this community, even if it’s across the Internet.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Hello Everyone. 

This is a hard step to take.  It’s funny, because there is a part of me that grows bigger everyday, the part that wants to write this.  And every day it gets harder to ignore.  When I am away from the computer, my minds just spills over with things I want to say.  But on the other hand, putting myself out there is HARD.  Kind of like being the new kid at school.  To quote Shel Silverstein, the “What Ifs” dance inside my head.  What if Nobody likes me?  Especially when the “kids” at this new school are so cool they leave me in awe.

I first started lurking when in pursuit of info on fertility, I came across the Stirrup Queen’s website.  And from there I stumbled upon Julie, Paul and Charlie and Ben at A Little Pregnant, and was captivated.  I started reading before Charlie and Ben came along. Now I’m in a bit of an odd situation because my work closely monitors my internet usage.  And I hate just coming into a blog in the middle and having no clue as to what is going on.  I feel that if a person has put themselves out there in this manner, than the least I can do is read what they have to say, share in what they have had the courage to share.  So. . .my way around my employers monitoring was that when I came upon a blog I wanted to read, I would go to the  Archives and from the beginning, I would spend my breaks copying and pasting each entry into a Word document.  I could then peruse the entries at my leisure without worrying about the Computer Nazis.  This has at least two major drawbacks: 1.) I was always behind, trying to catch up with what was going on in the person’s story, and 2.) I couldn’t really comment on the situation.  This has rendered me the ultimate Lurker.  It gets more complicated though, because lately my employer had beefed up security and many of my favorite blogs have been blocked as now anything the computer detects as a “Social Networking” site is verboten.  This is really silly of them, because human nature being what it is, the more you try to tell someone they can’t do something; the more they are going to try to find ways to do it.  Just to prove they can.  And I think this was probably the final push I needed to actually start this blog.

Anyway, back to my point.  I have shared in the stories of many of my wonderful sisters in Blogland – Tertia, Marko, Adam and Kate at So Close; Tess, Charles, Sebastian and the Triumverate at Dim Sum Mum;  Olivia Drab; and Julia, Hannah and Caroline at Uncommon Misconceptions.  To name a few.  I have laughed and cried along with you, and had my ideas and beliefs stretched in new and wonderful ways. 

But here’s the kicker, I didn’t want to start my own blog because I’m not exactly in the same place as those I’ve mentioned.  And yet, I keep being drawn to their stories.  I wondered why, and then realized that even though our journeys may be distinctly different, I, like all of you, and even like the Biblical story of Hannah, know so well the longing to have a child.