Quick Takes – LA Style!

I don’t think I realized how bad I was feeling until, well, I felt better!  This week I’m almost out of the first trimester and finally over the cold that I got a few weeks ago at the conference, which means I no longer feel like if I don’t go to bed at 8:30pm, I will die (which, incidentally, was a flash back to my younger years.  Yes, instead of fighting my bedtime, I was the only child I know of that would fight if I wasn’t in bed on time.  I once went to the circus with my neighbors and made them leave early because it was my bedtime and I was afraid I would wake up late if I went to bed late and would miss school the next morning.  Yes, I was a born nerd :) )

So, here are a few things I’ve been up to lately, a la Quick Takes from Jen over at Conversion Diary!  Go check out her post from this week for more!

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Almost/In the second trimester!  I still can’t figure out how you count these things.  More importantly, another ultrasound Monday morning!  At that point I’ll be able to tell work about the pregnancy and finally have it out in the open.  Good thing I work with all guys that haven’t batted a eye when I turned down those glasses of wine at happy hour.  If I worked with females I swear someone would have caught on by now!  My secretary made a comment today “Alison eats all day and stays skinny!  I eat air and gain weight!”  I was sooo laughing out loud because she’s hinted at it before but never directly said it like that…and I’m about to make her feel a lot better about my “metabolism” next week…

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In case you’re wondering, I effectively stopped monitoring my progesterone which is contributing to me not worrying.  Not exactly, but with my insurance switch back in August and everything, it was getting really expensive to do the monitoring how we did it before, so I got our insurance system (Kai.ser, for anyone who has similar woes) to do the draws, only they did them in their lab – but for free!  Unfortunately Dr. H doesn’t take values ran in another lab, so even though they appeared higher, he won’t change my dosage.  Awesome.  Finally, after much finagling and telling of my crazy “I was seeing an infertility specialist and then I moved here and then my insurance changed and then I got pregnant, can you PLEASE help me?” I was finally able to get a little lab tech to agree to just hand over the vial of blood to me – totally against their rules.  And guess why?  Turns out it took her 5 years to conceive their child.  Gotta love the sisterhood.

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So, we had an “LA moment” last night…actually, it was kind of our second so before I tell that one, did I ever mention that we went to one of the first screenings of this movie?  That was back in September.  I’ve talked about the comics before and when I heard wind that there was not only going to be movie, but that we were living 10 minutes away from where the movie was filmed and we could attend a screening of the movie at the campus and meet the director and actors, for free, we showed up an hour early to get the best seats in the house!  The movie was a blast, although I have to say it did bring back some horrible memories of exactly how bad those last few months of grad school were, not to mention the other years.

I think my favorite part of the night was when they had a panel and the main character, who was actually only a college freshman at Cal Tech when he got the part (actually, all the actors are real students and/or grad students there!  And the director was a student there herself!  They did all this in their free time…How cool is that?!), made a comment about this movie only being a caractature of grad school and it wasn’t really like that and the whole audience, who were all predominantly grad students and/or postdocs, all burst out laughing.  It turns out he wasn’t really acting when he played that naive character just learning about grad school…!

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Ok, so our big LA moment was that we got to go to a movie premier last night!  Ok, so it was small budget film that was just released nationwide in 1,000 theaters today (which is apparently a lot for an Indie film) and I hadn’t heard of it until we got the invite, but I’m so glad we went!  Have you heard of The Mighty Macs?

If this picture doesn't sell it, I don't know what else will!

Apparently the National Catholic Register wrote this piece on it a few days ago (which I’m just now finding) and there’s more information on where its showing here.  Its basically a Rudy/Hoosiers story-line of the first team to win the NCAA Women’s tournament back in the 70’s, and it just so happened to be a small Catholic women’s college.  We were apparently at the faith focused premier, since I’ve never seen a movie with so many nuns and priests!  (Only a few, but that’s a few more than you normally see!).  It was a really cute, inspiring movie and if you have a family, you should definitely go see this.  Its the type of movie I’d like to buy and show my kids…all around feel good.

And there were a lot of cool quirks we learned about the movie from the panel Q&A afterwards…like how there’s one scene in which one of the nuns listening to the game back home was actually the directors mom, who died unexpectedly just a short time after filming.  Really amazing that they had that footage and very meaningful once we learned that.  Also, the director was one of 12 kids!!  Obviously Catholic (ahem, nuns on the advertising material?) and moral undertones without being preachy…I think that’s what I call good Christian art :)

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The other funny part about the evening is that we were totally under dressed.  I don’t know what I thought, but somehow the fact that an invite ended up in my email box had to mean that it would be a lot more casual…so we both showed up in jeans (at least I was wearing heels and not tennis shoes like someone!).  Turns out there was a red carpet and the media there!  Don’t worry, they don’t even bother pointing their camera at the rift-raft…it just would have hilarious to have just dressed up super glitzy (like I have those clothes) and just strut down the red carpet.  Umm, definitely not.  We were relegated to the ‘general admission line’ but the tickets were still free so I’m not complaining :)

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Actually, truth is I joked with my husband about having a red carpet moment like Beyoncé did a few months ago.  Oh, you know what I’m talking about.  Actually that’s a common running joke we have about how we’ll eventually tell people I’m pregnant…at my music show…with the wind blowing in my hair…as I reveal our “love child” bump while singing my #1 hit.

Drat! How I wish I had photoshop right now! I could have created the best/scariest picture ever...I guess this will just have to do

Oh yes, of course, that’d be classy, hunny.  But then that red carpet was there and I was like, quick honey, blow in my face so my hair will look cool and I can reveal my….beer gut.  Let’s be honest, only in my head can I pass for a pregnant woman.  Noooot quite, but it totally had us laughing for a while…or at least me…

Which brings me to my next point…

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Apparently I was dead wrong when I wrote this post.  I never formerly apologized for being dead wrong, but I am now.  I’m sorry!!  It turns out Beyoncé just really knows how to dodge media questions.  Well played Beyoncé, well played.  At first I thought, well with an out of the world pregnancy announcement like that – and as excited as Jay-Z looked – maybe they did have troubles?  But I’m pretty sure that was just the work of a diva entertainer putting on an over the top announcement that no sub/infertile would have the gall to pull off.  What do you think?

Hope y’all have a relaxing weekend!

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The first picture of “us”

I don’t know if foreshadowing is the right word, but I don’t know how else to describe it.  I haven’t told anyone else besides my husband this story so I don’t know if it will make sense but here it goes…

I want to write down all the reasons why it boogles my mind that I got pregnant the month I did.  You would think I would be used to it by now but at alllmost 12 weeks I’m still trying to comprehend it and not take any moment for granted.  Part of me feels like I was finally settling into being sub-fertile and I wrote many of the reasons that prove I was settling in was way back here, right around the time I wrote the first draft of this post.

But what really, really made me think I wasn’t pregnant was because Monday, my P+12, I took a pregnancy test.    And it was negative.  That’s pretty conclusive, right?  Negative test on a month you take HCG?  Only, I didn’t take it hoping it would be positive, I took it because I had a weird feeling.  My husband and I got into an argument that weekend, during which I realized in our quest to be a mother to imaginary children, I had been doing a pretty horrible job at my first responsibility, being a wife to a man here and now.  And so I realized what had to go.  We had had our surgery, which was our deal – fix the things that can be fixed no other way – but somewhere in there we started along the treatment path with the HCG, which I admitted made me more emotional and difficult than I already am, requiring so much out of the people closest to me.  So that’s what made me take a step back.  No more treatment, I said.

Only, there was still the issue of that month.  So that’s why I took a pregnancy test that month.  After deliberatly deciding and praying to God that this was not where we were supposed to be focused right now and that we needed to turn it back to the basics, I actually feared that I might be pregnant – because that would screw it up.

Yes, for the first month in 2 years, I decided that it was better if we weren’t pregnant.

A day after the fight I got that feeling…that what if I just prayed for the exact wrong thing and God’s messing with me and I’m actually pregnant feeling.  So on peak+12 I took that third pregnancy test, just to know it was negative and I could move on.  Of course the negative line showed up and I went about my day, not surprised at all.

Around that same time was the announcement of the perfectly planned pregnancy on Facebook, complete with a backlog of “belly pictures” dated from the beginning of the the pregnancy.  For some reason the thought occurred to me how much support those few pictures garnished, that she had such proof of her short time of ‘waiting’ and evidence of the changes she had been through.

So I threw myself a great big pity party of 1 and decided it would be a great idea to take a ‘belly picture’ of me, alone, with a flat belly and a caption of X weeks waiting and still exactly the same.  So I calculated it out and I came to the number 99.  99 weeks waiting was where I was at.  99 weeks of waiting and nothing.  I actually purposely waited a bit before executing the solo photoshoot because I realized that I was being snarky and probably idiotic in taking such a picture.  But after that negative test on P+12, the next day I thought what better time than now, right after doing some morning yoga.

But a strange thing happened and I guess this is why I’m bothering to share this story with you at all.  I took a series of pictures and something crazy happened on the second one:

I promise those are in order and not photoshopped.  I took the third one after I looked at the second and saw the bright light illuminating the background, despite doing nothing different.  I took it to see if it would happen again, if maybe something was wrong with the way I positioned the camera.  But no, it went back to exactly the same as it was before.  I’m pretty sure such a malfunction only happens like, 1 in 1000 shots, where the shutter closes too quickly or something.  But for it to happen at this exact moment?  When I positioned myself to stand alone under the “Michael <3’s Alison” sign for the ultimate pity shot?  When I was feeling as alone and isolated as possible, only to have the backlight illuminated so brightly and intensely that my first thought when looking at this picture was Dear God, how can I be so selfish to ignore you?  You make it so evident you’re here with me even in my most pitiful moment.

So, I decided not to post the pictures with my snarky post.  I realized that even if I think its just me and my husband trying alone and waiting without the acknowledgement of the world and friends, God would still be there with me.  That picture was my little miracle and proof that when He wants to, He’ll make Himself known. I don’t need to proclaim announcements on Facebook or be jealous of those that do…this is enough for me.

The picture developed a whole other meaning looking back after what I found out about a week later.   I can now look upon that picture as a miraculous picture as the first “belly shot” of me and my child, at only 2 or 3 days post-implantation.

99 weeks trying...unknowingly 3 weeks pregnant

My husband got chills when I told him this story after we found out we were pregnant.  I was almost too embarrassed to tell him let alone the whole internet how far my self pity had gone that week.  But, there it remains.  And I don’t think that because I went to the brink, I somehow “caused” this pregnancy.  It amazes me when people think they can cause or earn such good fortune and this is no different.  This was just a little moment where I feel that God literally reached out to me to make Himself visible at a time He knew I really needed it.  I can’t pretend to make sense of God’s plan and I feel to try to would be to belittle His omnipotence.

Still praying for those who’s reality is harder to ‘just accept’…God is with you even if there’s no proof in the moment.

Fall prayer buddy reveal

After some unexplained hesitancy…or just distraction, I joined this sessions prayer buddies at the very last minute.  And I’m so glad I did.  I had the pleasure of “meeting” someone new and being able to pray for Holly at Falling Upwards.  I had never read her blog before and honestly, initially felt unprepared to pray for someone who had such different prayer requests than me.  But I prayed and continued to pray at daily mass for Holly, her beautiful family, and their intentions.  As I went through so many changes myself these past 6 weeks, my prayers evolved also.  I was glad to have been matched with a woman who challenged myself and really made me stress the importance of putting and praying for someone else before yourself.  I really needed that.

Holly, I hope you have felt the power of these prayers in your life and that your intentions are being resolved!

Additionally, I learned that Perfect Power in Weakness was my prayer buddy this time around and she was as sweet as can be.  I was totally surprised too!  And what did I come home to last night but a beautiful card and the first gift I have for my baby from someone else: a sweet book that will help me record memories for my child.  I want to let you know I have tried to read it twice and had to stop because the tears were blocking my vision AND that my husband loves my “reading the baby book face.”  I’ll have to pull it together to finally write something!  Thank you again, C!

 

Finally, a special thank you to J at Still Standing for tracking me down and making sure I was signed up!  This would have been a horrible session to miss.  Please join me in prayer that J gets the insurance issues resolved to help pay for her surgery this coming month as well.  Her situation is breaking my heart right now.