staycation

My husband and I booked a hotel in the city and are heading in after work today. We have dinner reservations tonight, a half-marathon (for him) and lots of yoga (for me, though he’s going to come to a class or two as well), brunch, and a baseball game planned.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Our last overnight trip together was a weekend away in December 2018; we stayed at a hotel in Pittsburgh last summer over vacation but went down with the kids and then met them the next day for a baseball game, so it’s not the same level of kid-freeness.

Anyway, I won’t be planning any meals this week but am looking forward to recapping the restaurants and getting back to swing of things next week!

 

mother’s day

For years, Mother’s Day left me in a strange place. I was a step-mother being celebrated for my contributions to my family but yearned for a child of my own at the same time. It was difficult to be appreciative and not show outward aching at the same time. When 3 came home, that all changed of course…

This weekend, we celebrated Mother’s Day and it was all lovely. Yesterday, I was showered with love and hand-made gifts from 11 & 13. They each made me mugs that were thoughtfully painted and they were both proud to tell me that I could use these mugs for my tea. I can’t wait!

Their mom took them to Michael’s to get a craft for me, which is appreciated. She has not always been so accepting and approving. Last night, when she came to pick 11 & 13 up, she texted my husband to let him know she got to the house and to have him wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. 11 & 13 left with handmade cards from an in-town printing press, flowers, and chocolate-covered strawberries in hand.

Before that, though, we went to Davio’s and had an Italian dinner (and a glass of Moscato for me). It was a delicious meal and our server complimented all three kiddos on their behavior (and their appetites).

I also was taught a new dance this weekend. I honestly wonder what the neighbors think, as there are frequent dance parties that take place in our sitting room and kitchen space. The newest dance I learned is where I catch an imaginary ball and then look like I’m tying a bow with my fists. It appears there are dramatized facial expressions as well.

All-in-all, a great weekend that led up to today. For Mother’s Day, my husband and 3 took me to brunch at one of my favorite places, Eastern Standard and surprised me with tickets to the Red Sox game! The weather in Boston was less than fantastic today, but after a Mother’s Day winter hat purchase, I was comfortable enough to make it through the game. Fortunately, my husband got us seats under the grand stand, so we stayed dry the duration of the game.

After a stunning Sox victory, we drove home, admiring the city and recapping our day. Then, we ordered pizza and cheesecake, because is there really any other way to celebrate Mother’s Day?

 

infertility, pt2

The funny thing about unexplained infertility is that everyone is so optimistic something positive will happen and then when it doesn’t, there’s not a single answer to any of the million questions you have. I deal well with logic and statistics, so basically getting a shoulder shrug as an explanation doesn’t really much work for me. More tests were ordered and a uterine scratch, which was an non-sedated procedure that was one of the more physically painful experiences of my life.

The best part of the scratch was when the RE performing the outpatient procedure said, “Well, you want to have a baby and childbirth is more painful than this.” It was true, I did want to have a baby; I never wanted this procedure. Comparing these two things and using such casual, condescending language, I assure you, is not something anyone dealing with years of fertility struggles wants to hear. My husband was there for the procedure; he took over responding to all questions at that point and told her I just needed to focus on my breathing.

I don’t remember much after that — just a lot of discomfort. We had to wait a month for results of the biopsy from the scratch and for proper healing before we could do our next round. As you likely gleaned from from the previous post, the scratch didn’t make much of a difference aside from the mental, emotional, and physical tolls.

Alas, the struggle with unexplained infertility continues, despite the perfect little addition to our family.

infertility, pt 1

I used to work full-time as a classroom teacher and then I worked in international education where I developed curriculum and teacher training for a program that brought American K-12 education to China. I traveled extensively for this position, both to our private partner schools stateside and to various cities and communities across China. I loved the work I did and really thrived in this position.

Then, we decided we were going to try to get pregnant and it didn’t happen quite as planned. After a year with no luck, my doctor put me on Clomid, which basically turned me into a raging psychopath. (My husband can vouch for this.) I had such an out of body experience with this drug, that after the first round, I asked to never use it again. I was persuaded to give it another try the following month and when that didn’t work, I promptly made an appointment with a local reproductive endocrinologist (RE).

Both my testing and my husband’s came back with glowing review — we were perfect and primed to easily get pregnant, except for that part where we’d been trying for 18 months and not a single positive pregnancy test in sight. I had apps, we tried trips to relax — nothing worked. After months of working with our new RE, we had a long conversation about IUI and IVF.

IUI was given an 11% chance of working and IVF for us was given significantly higher numbers (38%), so we went that route. My husband watched videos on how to give shots and I made early morning appointments with my clinic for all kinds of invasive testing. I also joined a support group with a local therapist; there, I met A who was on the same cycle as me at the same clinic. We’d see each other at each early morning appointment, which was equal parts comforting and uncomfortable.

After many shots, it was time for retrieval — all of my emotions came to a head there. The anesthesiologist hooked the IV to me and I went ballistic. My husband had already been taken downstairs to leave a sample, and this poor woman whom I’d just met, was faced  with a hysterical woman. Every single emotion from the shots, the Clomid, the failed attempts came pouring out of me and there was simply no stopping it.

Eventually, I passed out and they extracted six healthy eggs; all six fertilized; we implanted one; and froze four. Two weeks later, we found out that our IVF didn’t take and I’d have the pleasure of fully miscarrying on our family vacation to Disney World.

Once we returned, we did a round of Whole30 and then waited another month to discuss next steps with our RE who suggested that I should take a step back from so much work travel, so I quit my job and focused on working part-time doing some consulting and teaching at a local community college.

We took a trip to celebrate my newfound freedom but it was hardly worth celebrating. We did a frozen round of IVF and ended with the same fate as our first cycle. It was devastating: During this round, I’d visited my best friend who also had the pleasure of giving me shots, just further humiliating me and my poorly-functioning body. (She was great, as was my husband through it all but it just was something I’d wanted to keep so private which is tough to do when you’re too chicken to give yourself shots.)

After another Whole30 blitz and the healing of my bruise belly and backside, I’d mentioned to my husband that I didn’t think I could go through another cycle. It had broken me more than I’d ever realized possible: I felt like I was in a constant haze and was one comment or look from exploding.

I’ve never seen such a look of relief on someone’s face when I uttered those words to him that night. So, we decided that we’d take a break from it all and then figure out what we’d do after talking to our RE at the next round of follow-up appointments and tests…

yoga & boston

When I lived in Boston, I was probably the healthiest I’d been since living in DC. I used to walk everywhere I could, I was training for my first half-marathon and I was going to yoga at a studio called Sweat & Soul regularly. My favorite yoga class there was hip hop yoga — what’s not to love: A heated room, hip hop music, and a vinyasa flow. It was a great workout and I was going twice a week.

I have tried several yoga studios in my area since moving to the suburbs but none of them compare, so I get bored and agitated during my practice. I’ve managed to do a good bit of at-home practice but it’s just not the same; and my husband, surprisingly, is not impressed by my jacking up the heat to recreate a studio feel.

My husband was traveling for work a few weeks ago and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get back to that level of health and happiness. I scoured the Internet, but was unable to find any hip hop yoga classes on Boston’s north shore. I looked in my immediate area and maybe 15 miles in every direction. The only hit was ONE yoga studio in Boston’s Copley area.

I checked out the yoga studio online and took them up on their free first week offer. I attended Friday night’s restorative class and yesterday’s hip hop. I loved both but if I’m being honest here, I found far more benefits than just the yoga classes.

The studio is in a bustling area of the city, so after class both days, I walked to a restaurant and grabbed dinner/lunch to go. I got to walk around the city for a little before heading back on the MBTA and going home. I realized as I walked that being in the city gives me another type of energy. I truly love walking around — it brings me a great joy! Another thing I realized was how much these classes can lessen my mental load.

Currently, I am the go-to for all questions in the household, but if I’m gone (and off the grid, as I am during yoga and was before/after largely), nobody can ask me any questions. As a result, I had 3-4 hours on Friday and Saturday where I just got to be, me. It really helped me feel energized and after discussing, my husband and I agree that this should be a big part of my weekly routine. So, I am hoping to get there Friday & Saturday and then Monday afternoon before class and Tuesday evening.

Now, I have to keep this in mind as I meal plan. With hot yoga, you shouldn’t eat within four hours of class, so I will miss a few dinners a week that I’ll need to figure out. I think want to make sure I’m budgeting to grab something at Dig Inn, Sweetgreen, Cava, or other counter service places that offer loads of veggies.

I was pleasantly surprised at how great it felt to have that much time to myself and how the simple act of walking and grabbing a bowl of beets, brussels sprouts, and apples could make feel so great. I am looking forward to more weeks like this and more walking around once spring/summer are upon us. (It’s tough to be too excited about logging miles walking during a New England winter.)

What kind of exercise or activity makes you feel joyful?