Monday, December 31, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday: CHOCOLATE!

I’ve started Sunshine’s birthday letter, and I’ve got a few things running through my head about the recent tragedy in Connecticut, but I’ve been too busy, or too tired and overwhelmed to get those together. So I thought I’d post a quickie for Lori’s Perfect Moment Monday.

I sometimes feel a twinge of guilt and sadness that I often miss terrific photo opportunities, but I know it’s generally because I’m right there in the moment with my girl. Even when I do take some pictures, it might be 5 or 10 pictures instead of a dozen or so. My Perfect Moment, for instance. I took Sunshine to a chocolate workshop last week. For the first part I was too involved with helping her to take my camera or phone out of my pockets. I wish I’d thought to hand my camera to an employee, but I did get a few winners later. Most importantly, Sunshine had a BLAST! It was awesome watching her have so much fun.

Wishing you a wonderful 2013 from our little family.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Post Sandy Update & Get Out And Vote Video

I know, not the best post title, but it’s been a week! We were fine during the hurricane. We had a few flickering lights Saturday night, but never lost power. The worst we had to deal with was toddler cabin fever. It’s going to be a long Winter!

Our neighborhood really came together. An alternative Halloween activity was quickly organized. The kids had a great time. Then the community came together to help fellow New Yorkers who didn’t fair as well. A few kids started out by setting up a table by our playground and offering manicures for donations for Sandy relief efforts, then a little bake sale popped up. By the weekend, tons of donations were being collected, and driven to Rockaway and Staten Island, The bake sale grew, and hot food and drinks were for sale to help the effort. Thousands of dollars were raised, calls were made to find out what was needed most, and trips to Home Depot were made to purchase requested vital items to bring to the devastated areas. It was heartening to walk around Sunday afternoon and see the huge piles of donations, people enjoying homemade baked goods for a good cause, and the adorable girls, still giving manis. Sunshine helped me fill a couple of bags with warm clothes, shoes, boots, and toys.

Now our video. I probably should have started sooner teaching Sunshine to pronounce our President’s name. Oh, well. GO! VOTE!

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Hard Earned Expertise And Other Miscellania

Two weeks ago yesterday I was walking home from daycare with Sunshine when we met a woman walking her golden retriever. We usually stop to say hello to the neighborhood dogs, as I don’t want Sunshine to grow up being afraid, and I want her to learn how to approach them safely. So I asked my usual question. “Is it a friendly dog?” “Oh, yes, Zena loves children!”

Well, this dog had pretty much the same color fur as Sunshine’s hair. So I asked her, “What color is Zena’s fur?” “Sawberry bond.” (That’s strawberry blonde, for those not fluent in toddler.) We laughed at her adorableness. The woman was completely enchanted by Sunshine. “Oh, she’s wonderful! You’re so lucky!” she gushed. I agreed, and told her that I’d waited a long time for her. Her expression changed. “Did you use fertility treatments?” So I gave her the abbreviated version of our story. “I’m single, too, “ she confided. “And my first IUI is tomorrow!”

We exchanged contact info and I wished her luck. Since then via text and phone I have guided her more than her RE. (Duh!) Explaining that when calculating days post ovulation, ovulation day is day 0. Reassuring her that the pink spotting these last two days is probably irritation from the progesterone suppositories. Laughing to myself that she had no idea about taking multiple HPTs to watch the line get darker. She got a faint line on a FRER on Tuesday, then a neg on a digital on Wednesday, so I assured her that digital tests are notoriously less sensitive. She didn’t want to spend more money on HPTs (CRAZY, I KNOW!), so decided to wait until her beta, which is today. Waiting for the text.

Update: Negative beta. I'm calling it a chemical.


Today was Dresden’s second beta. Not great, but not out of the game. Please go over and giver her some love.


Magpie Watch 2012 is ON! I can’t wait to hear that this long awaited little girl is here, and that mom and baby are well.


Last Saturday morning Sunshine and I had a little dance party in our kitchen. Whenever we dance together I’m reminded of what a joy it is, and that we should do it more often. After dancing together, Sunshine did a solo dance. I know the video is a little long, but it’s worth it! Her moves at the end are great. Enjoy! (Please disregard the mess on my kitchen counters.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

You’re Invited! A Virtual Shower For Mo.

I am so blessed. Obviously, I’m so blessed with my amazing little girl, but I’m also blessed with wonderful friends. Friends who get it. I don’t differentiate between bloggy friends and other friends. If someone asks, I may say I know the friend through the internet, but I don’t offer up that information. My internet friends are not second tier friends. They’re just friends. Some of whom I’ve met face to face, and some I haven’t. I feel so lucky to count Mo as a friend. I’ll always remember our first face to face meeting, where we almost immediately began cracking dark jokes about cycling that may well have shocked anyone eavesdropping. She was the first person other than hospital staff and immediate family to hold my newborn. I was so happy to have dinner with her a few weeks ago and see her glorious baby belly.

And now I am so excited that she has agreed to my suggestion of a virtual baby shower. I have set up a separate blog for this: Waiting For Magpie: A Celebration. I would love it if you would write your congratulations to their family, or maybe the best bit of newborn advice you wish you'd known, or the odd baby gear you found invaluable, or whatever. Please email them to me at, and I'll post each one as its own post. Let’s hop to it! This baby girl could arrive any time now! I’ll be writing my own post as soon as I have a little more time. (And also create a cute little header.) But I’ll put up the posts as they come in. So join the party!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday: Conversations

Sunshine was a bit delayed with her speech. Her poor little ears were filled with goop until she had her surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids, and drain her ears and insert ear tubes. That was done a month after her second birthday. Immediately she could hear so much better, and her speech took off. I’m just loving our conversations. Her enthusiasm, peeking into her thought process, watching her sense of humor develop, the give and take, it’s awesome.

As I’ve posted recently, I haven’t been feeling great lately, but I savor our increasingly nuanced conversations. They are wonderful perfect moments.

Last week as I pushed her in her stroller after leaving daycare, I asked if she wanted a banana.

“You have one?” she asked.

I stopped pushing the stroller and walked around to face her. “Would I ask you if you wanted one if I didn’t have one?”

“You have it in you bag?”


“You rock, Mama!”

And speaking of her sense of humor, I tried to get her to sing happy birthday to her cousin, and this is what I got. Cheeky girl!

I Should Have Done This Months Ago!

Had my epidural injections yesterday morning. It was very different than the epidural I got during labor. It was done under fluoroscopy, with fine needles on both sides of the spine. It hurt, but not as bad as I anticipated. Definitely not as bad as the facet injections I’ve had. The dr told me I’d be sore, and to expect the injections to take full effect in a few days. But even though I was quite sore, I felt the difference right away. I went home and took a long nap, then spent some time sorting through Sunshine’s clothes. Bagging up the outgrown items and organizing the Fall clothes. I’d done a little of this Sunday night, and was in a lot of pain just from folding things. Doing it yesterday evening was easy! I feel like a different person! There’s still some pain, but I’m reassured knowing I will probably feel even better in a few days.

Started Mobic (7.5mg) this morning. The three days leading up to the injections without NSAIDs convinced me that I really need to be on a strong anti-inflammatory. Thanks so much for all the support!

Friday, September 21, 2012


Tears again this morning when I saw that Mel had chosen my post for the Roundup. That was such a hard post to write. I have a whole bunch of posts partially written in my head, and several ideas jotted down in a draft, but I’ve been telling myself I need to write THIS post first. My readers are my friends, and I kind of feel like I’ve been lying by omission with posts about being exhausted and what a joy my daughter is (most of the time). Those things are true, but they aren’t a full picture.

Oh, I forgot to mention in my last post, re the suggestion about getting my vitamin D levels checked, I do get it checked somewhat regularly, but the comment was a good reminder to stay on top of it as the days get shorter and playground time dwindles.

Now maybe I can find the time to write about the “daddy” conversations Sunshine and I have been having, about still happily cosleeping with my toddler, about my minimalist attitude towards toys, about princesses and pretty, and so on. Any preferences as to what I should tackle first?

This morning Sunshine and I were watching a garbage truck from the window (are all toddlers somewhat fascinated by trucks?), when she gave me a big hug and said, “I love you so much, Mommy!” My back hurts, but my heart is full.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Your responses made me cry. Thank you so much for validating how I’m feeling. My family is somewhat nearby (about an hour by car), and they do help, but emotionally they are completely unsupportive. I should be used to it. Many years ago I had a chronic migraine problem. They would go on for weeks and months without a break. At one point I even had my dr try an inpatient treatment to break the headache cycle. I saw several top neurologists who specialized in headaches. Despite going to a few appointments with me at one point and having two different neuros tell my mother that, yes, they were migraines, and likely inherited from her side of the family, since they were not like the migraines she’d had, she didn’t believe me. When I told her about the possible fibro diagnosis, she said, “I doubt you have that. People with fibromyalgia are very fatigued.” I thought my head would explode. Seriously, what part of “I’m in a lot of pain, it hurts pretty much all over, and I’m exhausted,” did you not hear? Instead I’m admonished not to talk about my “aches and pains” in front of Sunshine. I am grateful for the help I get with Sunshine, but the emotional battering that comes with it is hard to take. And makes me a little paranoid about being taken seriously.

Regarding the info in the comments, again, THANK YOU! The dr I’m seeing now is a pain specialist (as was the last one I saw for this, the one who kept me waiting so long). The current dr did send me for autoimmune blood work a couple of months ago, which was negative. I also had a very thorough autoimmune workup with a hematologist both before I started IVF, and again during the first trimester of my pregnancy. So I’m not sure if it’s really necessary to see a rheumatologist right now. I will ask my dr about mobic, since two of you have suggested it. I take a LOT of ibuprofen these days. I’ve tried ce1ebrex in the past, and didn’t find it helpful, so I’m a little skeptical of a once a day anti-inflammatory, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

I need a vacation! It’s just not in the cards right now. I read about other SMCs going on vacations with their families, or getting invites to beach houses. To say a vacation with my family would be a disaster is an understatement. And we don’t have any friends with beach houses. As a city girl and a non-driver, the prospect of traveling with my toddler on my own is hugely daunting. At the moment, finances don’t permit anyway, but I keep joking that we’ll go on vacation when Sunshine is old enough to wheel her own luggage. Only I’m not really joking. I love to travel, and can’t wait to show Sunshine lots of wonderful places. But traveling with her right now sounds more stressful than staying home. It makes me sad, but on the other hand, as an older mom, I’ve already seen a lot of the world, so I don’t feel deprived in that way. And I don’t think Sunshine will grow up feeling deprived that she didn’t travel as a toddler. She enjoys plenty of cool local events and attractions. Now that I sometimes let her get out of her stroller in the subway, a subway ride is an awesome adventure.

Again, thanks for the support. I love you all!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Single Motherhood At My Age: My Reality

I love, love, love being a mom. I become more enchanted with my little girl every day. But, man, this is hard! I’ve been putting off writing this for a long time. Mostly due to time and energy constraints, but also for emotional reasons. I don’t want to complain when I truly feel lucky in so many ways. I’m dealing with a lot of pain issues that I’ve been reluctant to blog about. Even though I know many younger people deal with chronic pain, it makes me feel old. And I am old. I’m 49 years old with a spirited toddler! I put in a 40 hour week, plus 10 hours a week commuting, and daycare is almost half my take home pay. It’s frustrating at this point in my life to feel like each month I’m slipping a little further behind financially. It adds greatly to my stress level, which adds to my pain levels.

I’m stressed and don’t feel like I’m handling it well, yet I’m not depressed. My anxiety level is through the roof right now, but I think I manage to be in the moment with Sunshine most of the time. Work is miserable. I mostly like the work I do, but my workplace is a very unhappy place right now. I don’t think I’ve ever posted about my job. I’m a graphic designer for a sales division of a big media company. I mostly design ads for tv and the web. There was an executive shake up at the end of last year and things are incredibly tense. Like coworkers in tears tense. Everyone is on edge, and the higher ups are demanding more productivity with less support. But in this economy, we know we’re lucky to have these jobs. Sucks, but just the idea of trying to find something else terrifies me.

Regarding the chronic pain, I’ve had some back problems for years, but it wasn’t too bad until my pregnancy. You may remember that I needed foot surgery while I was pregnant. It added to the lower back problems during and after the pregnancy. I have arthritis and bulging discs in my lower back. Also in my neck, although that hasn’t been causing consistent pain like the lower back. And my feet, even after surgery, are not so good. I also have some bursitis in my hips, likely also an aftereffect of the pregnancy. I was seeing a doctor for it last year who did some injections (facet blocks) with varying success, but decided not to go back to her, as I was not happy with how her practice was run. Last time I had an appointment with her I waited in the waiting room and exam room for an incredibly long time. I was at her office for over FOUR HOURS. The resident examined me and spoke with me some, then the doctor breezed in and out in about five minutes. I was furious! All these pain issues are connected, and without discussing pain other than my lower back, she was not getting a full picture. I recently went to someone new who gave me a tentative diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Apparently there are eighteen points on the body that are checked for tenderness if fibromyalgia is suspected. If there is pain or tenderness in at least eleven of those points, fibro is likely. I have pain in all eighteen points.

There are systemic treatments, but I’m not willing to experiment with the side effects while dealing with full time work and a toddler. So I’m trying to deal with areas that I can have treated, while hoping that if some areas feel better, my overall pain levels with go down. I had some cortisone injected in my hips last month and got some relief, but I think I’ll need another round in a few months to bring those levels down further. Next week I’m trying an epidural injection to try to get relief from the lower back pain. For the last few weeks my entire back has been tight with muscle spasms, but I suspect the mid and upper back pain is a muscular reaction to the lower back issues.

Oh, and let’s add in a little extra stress with an emergency visit to the ophthalmologist yesterday for what turned out to be a scratch on my cornea.

UGH! Can you see why I’ve been reluctant to post this? I feel like a whiner. I feel ancient. IT HURTS! It means I’m not always as patient with Sunshine as I’d like to be. It means I try to curb messy playing at home because I don’t have the energy to do the extra cleaning. It means I’m probably not performing as well as I should on my job, which scares me.

I have absolutely no regrets about becoming a single mother by choice, but when does it get easier?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today. And My Life, Eleven Years Later.

I don't really have much to say today that I haven't said before. My prior September 11th posts are easy enough to find in my archives. I'm feeling jumpy and out of sorts. It's a crisp clear day, like that one.

But I had a moment this morning that perfectly illustrated how different my life is today. Sunshine held my face in her hands and said, "You my girl? You my big girl?" Oh, yes, child! I am yours!

Hope this brightens your day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Why can't you hear the comments I write in my head? Seriously, I'm reading so much lately that I want to comment on, and there's so much in my head I want to write about here. I just wish you could all selectively (selected by me, of course) read my mind a little.

Oh, well. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm With The Band!

I'm really proud of this. I wrote a post for Aunt Becky's awesome Band Back Together site. It's a post that's been percolating in my mind for a long time. I hope you'll click over to read it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Did you read this post from Io? It's awesome! She's AWESOME! She's been blogging for a long time, but took a break while she and her husband have been saving up for IVF. She's been such a stalwart in the ALI community, I can only imagine how hard it's been to watch practically EVERYONE cross over to parenthood while she was still waiting for her chance. HER CHANCE IS NOW! She triggered last night, so retrieval tomorrow. I'm waiting impatiently for each update.

Io, my friend, this is for you.

I also put a little good luck package in the mail for her yesterday. Before my first FET, Kathy sent me a package with two pairs of lucky socks. I wore both pairs of socks for both FETs. I can't part with the Canadian flag socks, but I can't think of anyone more deserving of some good sock mojo than Io. So she'll be receiving the other pair in time for her transfer. She has been waiting SO DAMN LONG just to get out of the gate. Here's to the next nine months, girlfriend!

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Happy Father's Day, Mommy!"

I have so many posts swirling around in my head. A few snippets in my drafts folder. Life as a single, working, older mom of a spirited toddler is overwhelming. Work is very busy and stressful. I've been having some back and neck issues lately. The toddler is challenging, but oh, so amazing! Sharp as a tack, my girl! So this post is sort of a cop out with links, photos, and video.

Re the title of this post, did you read Dresden's post about Father's Day on Creating Motherhood? Go on, click over and read her post and my two comments. The first written Friday, the second one yesterday, after I received the Father's Day love from my Sunshine. Pretty awesome! BTW, did you know that Dresden was chosen to read at the BlogHer Community Keynote as a BlogHer Voice of the Year? She ROCKS!

Now for my adorable girl.

 Taking her baby to the playground.

A little diva at our neighborhood Pride parade.

Face painting at a school carnival.

After getting her face painted at a local school carnival, we watched a second grade dance performance. When the second graders were done, there was a break, so Sunshine took to the "stage."

She's got the moves!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Deep Breath ... Keep It Simple

I've been anticipating that questions might come soon. Our SMC/ART/3rd party reproduction story is even more complicated than most. I have been and plan to continue to be open with Sunshine about how our family came to be. Her little BFF was almost three when she asked her mom if Sunshine has a daddy. (She simply said, no, their family doesn't have a daddy.) Sunshine is nearly two and a half. We have lots of different kinds of families in our circle of friends. I recently got her The Family Book. But I still had to think quickly recently when Sunshine was scrolling through photos on my iPod and came across a picture of her siblings at around the age she is now. She pointed to her sister, and said, "Dat's Sunshine." "No, honey. That's J, your sister." "Who's dat?" she asked, pointing to her brother. "That's your brother, E. They live with their mommy in Canada." Then she scrolled on to look at more pictures of herself.

She's certainly heard me discuss her origins with other people. I'm often asked where she gets her red hair. I gauge the particular situation in deciding what to say. When I do feel comfortable telling our story, the most common reaction is how wonderfully incredible it is. Other moms (fertiles, too) get teary. I tell Sunshine how happy I am to be her mommy and that she's my miracle. One morning last week we were cuddling in bed and I asked if she was mommy's big girl. "No," she said. "Are you my little girl?" "No." "Are you mommy's baby?" "No." "Are mommy's miracle?" "Yeah!"

I've thought about whether using the words brother and sister would be confusing to her, but in reading and hearing the adult donor conceived children speak at the big SMC event, that seems to be donor siblings preference for language. And our children are full genetic siblings. Conceived the very same day. Pretty fucking amazing!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Take Home Baby

A couple of weeks ago I came across a ring I had made while I was cycling. I posted about it here, way back when. I wore it until Sunshine was born. When I held it in my hand that day my thoughts were with Mo and her very precious little one. I slipped it on my finger. I think about what it took to bring Sunshine into the world ALL. THE. TIME. All children are miracles, but dare I say that some are more miraculous than others? The love and support I received from the ALI community while on the rocky road to motherhood was immeasurable. I love seeing the comments rack up when Mo posts. I imagine they give her little nuggets of strength as they pop up in her email throughout the day. I’ve decided to wear my ring again until Mo and Will bring home their child. A little personal show of solidarity. Can’t wait to meet this kid!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Three Years Ago

Three years ago today, in Toronto, Ontario, I had an embryo transfer. This morning in New York City, the two year old who grew from one of those embryos, was sitting on my lap in our kitchen and puked all over both of us. My stinky little miracle baby. Life is grand.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mysterious Ways

The internet works in mysterious and wonderful ways. My readers friends know that my daughter would not be here were it not for connecting with my donor, Kathy, on my blog. I'm often overcome with emotion when I look at my daughter and think about the fact that she's here in the world, in my life, grew in my body, because someone, who was a stranger at the time, read of my longing to be a mother and decided to help.

A few weeks ago I received a comment here asking me to email the reader, as she wanted to ask me a question. I did and received an email from Heather Von St James, a mom and a cancer survivor. She was reaching out to me as a mom asking if I would consider putting up a link to her blog as a resource for other parents who might be dealing with a serious illness while parenting young children. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma when her daughter was just 3 1/2 months old. Mesothelioma is virulent form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. There is absolutely no way Heather could have possibly known that my father died of mesothelioma a few weeks before my 17th birthday. The prognosis for mesothelioma is grim. I have never before known a survivor. Six years after her diagnosis, Heather is cancer free. She is a survivor! Every day she spends with her daughter is a blessing she wasn’t sure she’d have. She has written eloquently of her experiences. From realizing she was having serious symptoms, through her diagnosis, aggressive surgery, and treatments, Heather focused on surviving for her daughter.

This quote from Heather shows what kind of warrior Heather is:
“When I found out I had mesothelioma, I easily could have given up after reading statistics on the disease. The survival rate was dismal (2%) It’s not very encouraging to read when you are diagnosed with a disease, but instead of giving up, I made up my mind; SOMEONE has to be in that 2%. That someone was going to be me. And now, almost 6 years later, I am considered a long-term survivor. My attitude is this; I survived for a reason, to spread hope and awareness about mesothelioma.”

Heather is one of us. Those of us who have defied the odds and become mothers despite infertility and/or loss and blog about it. Those who are still battling to cross over to motherhood. We share our stories. We never know who we may touch. Who will find hope in our success or tenacity. We connect. We abide by each other during hard times. We hit refresh dozens of times a day when a bloggy friend is waiting for test results. And we celebrate each other’s victories.

Heather asked if I wanted to write a tribute to my father. I’m not finding the words. My daughter is my tribute to my father. She is named for him. Oh, how he would have adored her! Here are a few pictures of me and my father. Then please go click over to Heather’s blog and get to know this amazing woman.

I am one here.

My father scared the crap out of me by renting a clown costume for my 5th birthday.
My father felt awful, but I got over it fairly quickly.

I think I'm about seven here. Wow, did I need braces! That's some overbite.

 Heather Von St. James - Mesothelioma Survivor Blog
 Visit Heather's Blog

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chocolate Update

Thanks for the responses. It was funny and irritating. But, truly, I waited a long time for a mommy problem like this. It's still kind of surreal, like when I find stray crayons in my purse. I kept thinking this would be a perfect thing to tweet, but I honestly can't keep up with twitter. Whenever I go on twitter I just get caught up reading everyone elses tweets and hardly write any myself. I did find the chocolate. I hid it quickly when we got home Saturday because my little helper decided she wanted to help me put away our purchases.

I hadn't noticed them getting smaller, but now I have to try freezing one. I never thought of that, and I do enjoy some candy bars frozen.

Hoping I'll have more time to blog soon. In the meantime, I'm busy blogstalking Mo, waiting for beta number three. Please let this be the one for them!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Halp! I hid the C@dbury eggs from my daughter ...

and now I can't find them. My first ones of the season. Where would you be if you were a C@dbury creme egg?

Sorry for the drive by, but seriously, this was going to be my exciting Saturday night treat.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be Ours

I have much to write and no time or spare energy. So I give you this instead. Mwah from our family to yours.