A Very Thankful Thanksgiving….

As all these big feelings wash over me (they used to crash, now they cascade), I can tell it’s time to bring my heart to the blog and weave.

I am bursting at the seams with gratitude this Thanksgiving. Holidays as a rule are difficult for me, and that’s an understatement. I am always a guest in someone else’s Family Stone Family, the one whispered about when I leave the room. Thankfully nothing like Sara Jessica Parker in the actual movie. I was the Claire Danes, but still….

I was always liked that was never the problem. The problem was I chose my partner for the kids and for safety and love. I was at such a deficit. And don’t get me wrong all the people I’ve shared my time with are special and I learned so much from them. I really have no horror stories in my love life. Sometimes however I fear I became theirs. A taste of love and belonging and then yanked away. I experienced those losses too though, whether they were my decision or not. Another family, another warm heart beat pulled away, excruciating.

They weren’t a fit because their hearts were as unsure as mine if we could pull the whole thing off. I wonder at times if I had more faith in life and myself if it would have been different. But then how could it be when I am this happy now, and they are in their journeys towards happiness as well.

I figure those who take the actual time to read through this whole thing deserve to know our IVF has worked. We are 5 weeks today I believe. And once we hit 2000 HCG (we are at 1100), blood level then we will begin ultrasounds. We won’t make any official announcements until it progresses a bit further, but that whole thing is so superstitious and sort of the opposite of faith. I hate the whole privacy idea in a way. Sure it might be exhausting to share bad news with your loved ones, but you will need them right ?!

We need each other, all of us beautiful fragile human beings. Why isn’t that allowed.

We are so fucking careful and so private. I’ve never liked that, but since my life isn’t just me anymore I have to walk that line a bit more carefully. I do not want to live scared of anything ever again. I’ve spent most of my life anxious. Anxious I won’t be loved or even liked for that matter, and often I wasn’t. Anxious I wasn’t enough. Anxious I wasn’t smart like other people. Anxious about my health. Anxious about how everyone around me feels, if I have somehow hurt or bothered them. Anxious about money. Anxious at any minute something terrible could happen. And it always could.

On fucking eggshells most of my life. Profound exhaustion. And now I’m stepping out into the light and loving myself enough to stop stressing my body and my heart with these anxieties. I am practicing enough self love that when someone else doesn’t see me how I’d like to be seen I can weather that storm.

Rian just popped in the bathroom and said, “you should watch Courtney butter this turkey, it’s making me uncomfortable” bwhahahahhaah! I told her to butter that bird up with love and she’s doing just that. There is actually a video, but I’m not allowed to post it 😉 sorry guys!!

My latest self-inflicted therapy is of the exposure variety. I am going to get over my profound nervousness of if people like me or not, by exposing myself to the highest possible annoyance. Arriving on their doorstep to tell them about how solar can save them money and the environment.

Last night a lady told her adorable children who came to the door to tell me to get away. The house was so cool too and I was warm and friendly. Scolded like a bad dog, and instead of reacting I simply smiled and thought of a time I would have done the same because I was overwhelmed, and thought I needed to protect myself from someone trying to take advantage of me. So I get it lady. You keep paying your giant electric bill and teaching your kids to be rude. Ok so I’m as enlightened as I can be, but still human 😉

But these interactions don’t up end my world anymore, reaffirming a long held belief that I’m bad, wrong, and unworthy. I’m learning to let them roll off my back, that they have nothing to do with me.

And sure enough I landed a nice couple with a giant electric bill, amazing sun on their roof, and it warmed me right up. They also had a 6 month old baby who adored me and laughed the cutest and it made me so excited to be a mom again soon enough !!

“There will always be light and dark in life, and often we never know which we will find behind the door we knock. We must knock anyway, even if it’s mostly dark, because eventually you’ll land the right door, and things can change in an instant.”

The dark is always more seductive, it gives us permission to blame and to throw our hands in the air. We had a deep rejection this holiday, and I’m surprised to find myself watching this one from the outside. It’s been so long since it felt like my sexuality was a shameful thing. I should say since someone else shared they thought our sexuality was a shameful thing. It cuts like a knife to the heart, we will feel the sting and the loss today.

But it will never be as bad as the pain of living a life inauthentic. I always know that truth. Sad, scared, and unhappy people will always spread those feelings, the best we can do is to love them anyway. From a distance. I’m proud we won’t let this be a dark cloud on our happy time. It hurts, but it won’t block out our sun. See what I did there 😉

I’ve created my own solar panels for how I receive energy in my life, and it’s clean energy. I’ve chosen the kind of want to focus on and absorb and learning to protect myself from pollution.

This Thanksgiving is the first one where I feel like I belong. I am about to be 38 years old. It seems like that story would be a sad one, but I assure you it is anything but.

I belong here and am not a guest. I am grateful beyond measure for my kids who believe in a mother who has made herself from scratch. I am grateful they let me make mistakes and love me anyway. I am grateful for my beautiful wife who is the glue of this whole operation. I always thought I had to be the glue and fell into resentment at times, but it turns out she is. She is the constant warmth that keeps me glowing. She made this house a home in so many ways.

I am in radical gratitude this year!!!

My life gets better and better with time. Thank you to all who follow my journey. You are definitely a dedicated reader, and you are part of me being able to believe I am not too much.

A toast to family, red wine, and turkey basters to all of you 😉

It’s the day before another beginning… IVF moments

Some of the beginning of us…..

Anytime my thoughts are all tangled up in my brain, like many a brightly rainbow ball of yarn, my blog is the place I come for comfort.

Time has been standing still again.

We are in another freeze. We are 10 days post fresh embryo transfer. We have done everything right. We are quite literally on the edge of our seats. Tomorrow morning we go at 7 am to get the blood test that will show if her progesterone has spiked tremendously (mustn’t it considering the three times daily suppository), that basically says we are pregnant ish, or a stranger will tell us your result is negative, please stop taking all meds, and you will get your period in one to two days.

My emotions have always been intense and of the roller coaster variety. This however is like a ride you can’t even fathom in your imagination. It’s like being on the worlds scariest, tallest, most dangerous one with a faulty seat locking mechanism. If you can picture this whole thing it might look something like me upside down dangling out into the air with only my strength to hold me in the seat until it returns to a right side up position. Each time my palms more sweaty than the first and feeling like for sure I’ll just slip out and be on a free fall that ends with a plummet into the cement. The end.

Is it the end or another new beginning? And either way it will be the beginning. We will either begin to grieve and make decisions about taking a break, a vacation, though those funds become used in IVF, or whether we can dare to get excited. Even more nerve wracking is that we are hosting thanksgiving. So we are either going to be happily chirping about dreaming of our little speck happily bouncy in it’s turkey and cranberry sauce induced euphoria, or have to find a way to manage cooking through heart ache. And to smile back the tears.

If this is the case I feel like a dark cloud will always threaten our Thanksgivings. They don’t have a great track record so far, and already this year there are some disappointments before we ever don an apron.

The truth is I’m scared, and I’m also not scared. Because the world won’t come crashing down this time. I have finally gotten out of that purgatory, and it’s taken me almost a lifetime to do so.

This love strengthens me, and the love I am talking about is for myself. I often praise my wife (and she does the same for me), but the most profound thing here is that I am not nearly as unkind, if at all, to myself anymore. I will allow my feelings and honor them, and create room for my loved one’s as well. I’m not worried about falling into a destructive tailspin or checking out, or behaving impulsively to cope, thereby sucking out all the energy in a space.

I have learned that I can love myself more when I am stable and able to weather emotional ups and downs in such a way that I don’t do “must be nice”, to all the happy new parents right now. It’s still a bitter sting, but has nothing to do with something they have I don’t. Because I am learning to trust my journey and have faith.

After faith betrayed me so hard in the beginning (never faith itself, more the institutions that professed to sell it), I never would have imagined I would find my way back.

The truth is though to have faith in a higher power, but none in yourself would be a grave situation indeed. I am learning not to be bathed in such self-doubt, and so many painful pages replaying of my story. Each day is a new adventure and even the hard ones, especially the hard ones are more opportunity for growth.

Now if you ask me to sound this calm and grounded if we hear that negative result for the 4th time, I won’t be able to find it for a bit. But I will be able to rest in the arms of my loved one, and hold my children in mine (ours), and we will learn to be more loving and grateful for every small thing through this process.

This process makes me take my children for granted less. This baby is not the only thing that matters while they dust in a corner. This whole process has brought me to my knees in some kind of sacred prayer that I have these three. And I would say if you can find that during the teenage years, even for a moment you’re doing something right.

This whole thing is just another piece of my thawing. And if for some crazy reason we are not meant to have a baby together I have to try and believe that was so we could love each other, and the kids we have now even more. I have to choose to have this be my process before I encounter the actual emotion, or I run the risk of being sucked under.

Finally making this blog post feels like I’ve just been administered CPR and taken my first gasp of air. I have so many loves in my life. So much love inside and outside of me.

I almost can’t even paint anymore that something won’t be ok. Of course my brain already is harping away that that is when life gets you, and it will. To be human is to suffer. It will reach you. If you were lucky enough to avoid too much in the beginning as you age and watch people lose loved ones, and have profound disappointments, and watch the news and see the violence and shambles our nation is in right now.

I’m always my most afraid because with a very difficult beginning your only hope becomes some relief. So then when you go into the years that naturally hold more disappointments, when you are no longer naive to the pain of the world, you feel like none of your layers of skin are there to protect you.

I thought I was fragile by now. Since my long ago forged armor has fallen away. And I’ve transformed my disconnect from me emotions into my own connection system. And I’ve fashioned the self I want to be from scratch. I’ve put in all that effort, so if the story turned to tragedy after all that, it used to feel like the world would end.

But now I am much wiser than I once was and much kinder, and since I can trust and love that self I know that I can be graceful in my disappointments and teach my family from that composure. Most days anyway 😉 I’m still as human as ever. Actually much more human than I was ever allowed to be.

I cry when I need to cry, I rest when I need to rest (or I try anyway ha), I ask to be touched when I need to reconnect to a safe space versus fear, I give myself what I need when I need it. It feels calm.

So right now I feel calm and scared. Before I would have felt panicked and scared. My wife is the one who has undergone all the procedures, her poor body, all the hormones, and who has bravely jumped right into the middle of a harrowing adventure book. She jumped with her whole heart. She knew I never needed someone to only stick a toe in the water again. And that has given me all the strength and courage I ever needed to become who I always was.

Here we are….thank you for loving us and being on our journey.

Trying to bring a new member to share all our love with….

Ivf: a love story

Every time I have fallen in love I’ve always thought my heart could not possibly get any more full or it would burst. Then every time I do, I realize it’s stretching capacity. It’s like a pair of jeans that never get too small, every person’s dream right 😉

What I am in the midst of learning blows away every variety of rigid thinking, supposed to or should be. Never underestimate your adaptability folks. Your brain is wired for it. It can be a little hard to wrap your mind around that, because it’s always wired to complete tasks quicker by the railways of habit. So when you make it think a different way and go off the tracks it’s first reaction is to balk.

But if you keep going through that resistance that’s where the payoff lives.

Lately I am completely wordless with presence. I’m living less in my head and more in the storybook creation of my life. I like the layout, the language, and I can’t put the book down right now.

Yesterday was embryo transfer day, and I am just here basking in the glow of so many emotions I didn’t even know were there. Sometimes you can’t know how you will feel until you’re feeling it. Sometimes you’re just called by an unnameable gale force wind and you have to follow that absurdly until the next great realization.

I’m in love with my life lately, and that’s more than I ever imagined. It’s like being on ecstasy 24/7. Disclaimer I’ve never actually done that truthfully, drugs freak me out I’m too much of a hypochondriac. Life already burns bright for me. I feel gratitude for every tiny thing.

Anyway yesterday we experienced being able to see our new baby be transferred inside my wife. It was unreal. Admittedly there is a lot to sort through emotionally using the sciency approach and fighting feeling it’s somehow still less natural. It’s always a challenge in some way not to feel less than, and that challenge is increased when you’re a woman, a minority in any capacity, etc.

But it’s the challenge that makes you even more fiercely grateful, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

We are lucky and blessed to have our family and friends cheering us on at this time. I’m still my whirling dervish self and constantly need to be learning and challenging myself to new growth levels. And I’m enjoying being a parent, a partner, a warm guide, and a friend.

Baby’s first photo. This is a fully formed highest quality level blastocyst (baby dust) hatching from its protective layer. Hopefully right now the little one is firmly embedding itself into the uterine lining and will develop from the size of a microscopic speck (anyone else thinking of Horton Hears a Who), into our much anticipated bundle of joy. And sleepless nights.

Yesterday was a gorgeous New England fall day (in November).

My wife’s twin was able to come, and the reaction of all the fertility doctors and nurses was hysterical, many double takes. They made the hole thing really fun and many hugged us and wished us well. Snow patrol chasing cars came on and of course tears were shed. The embryo traveling in looked like a quick shooting star, and there it is: we must wait and see if that spark becomes a glow, and that glow becomes our beacon. And if for some reason this one isn’t the one for us, we must have the courage to begin again, but we aren’t at that part of the story yet. And for once in my life I refuse to skip ahead. I want to taste every delicious word as it unfolds.

We celebrated our victory by getting tacos and an authentic churro to share, at the food trucks on Long Wharf. The water sparkled under the sun’s golden fingertips like a bed of diamonds. The air was crisp and cool, and not a single fearful emotion could touch my mind, not a single one.

This is what living is really all about. Daring to reach for what you really want in life, sometimes not even knowing what exactly it is until you have created it!

Ivf Retrieval Day

It’s retrieval day!!!!

It has been feeling like the (an) end to this journey, but it’s actually just the beginning.

It’s the end of hormone injections and the related symptoms, and the end of a great many questions and nervousness. The end of three failed iui treatments and all the associated emotions. And yet it’s the beginning of an even more intense period of waiting for phone calls from the lab on the development of our little one (ones).

It’s beginning again down a road into a dark forest and not knowing what’s on the other side.

Will we get lost in there? Another gigantic disappointment, another cycle to wait and more hormones before a frozen transfer if this one doesn’t stay? How much of this roller coaster can we take? It’s been such a wild ride. But for the first time in my life even amidst sometimes crushing disappointment nothing feels like life or death.

I never even pictured having another baby, ever.

I spent most of my life worrying I didn’t deserve, nor was I up to the task of the first three. So to find myself standing here, calmly walking toward my next dream with confidence and joy. It is a dream like no other. I’ve already won the lottery, and written the best seller, and recognized my singing voice on stage in a moment of sheer shock and gratitude. Finding my love already feels like all those things mixed.

It has changed me so profoundly I am becoming rewired.

So many of my anxieties are calmed. And this isn’t a momentary high from idealizing something that turns out much differently. This is the real deal. Steady on my feet and walking headfirst toward another amazing dream, one I never saw.

It’s not very often life surprises me.

This is because whenever it did when I was young, and that was often, those were not good surprises. I became hyper vigilant and carefully in control of each happening to avoid further pain. But that has its side effects. And finding this love has surrendered me back into a childlike dreamer I was always meant to be.

I’ve turned my Stephen King movie into a John Hughes one. Sorry Stephen I love your work, I just wouldn’t want to be in one…. again.

And I used to be too fragile to be in the creation of a dream. Any setback would crumble and tumble me, and lead me down a path of dark thinking and misery.

Now I am finding faith and a well balanced way to view reality.

So it’s neither fantastic or terrible, but a mixture of both of those moments on a steadfast bridge of love.

I have a family of best friends on there with me, and I’m finally adjusting to life in partnership and belonging that I couldn’t feel I deserved before. Now I am accepting this as my life, and everything that comes with it.

So here we are…. I’m about to be a “nearing 40” new mother. Here I am, the happiest I’ve ever been.

At another new beginning….with knowing there will still be so many more.