Archives for the month of: August, 2014

I just went to an Italian language meet up in a great part of LA and had fantastic food and conversation. I’ve never been to one so was a little nervous, but felt instantly comfortable surrounded by a small group of friendly, like-minded Italian speakers. We introduced ourselves, drank prosecco, and spoke in Italian for two hours. (I suppose a little bit of English was also uttered.)

Putting myself out there socially in LA has been difficult. I don’t want to put any roots down here and it’s difficult to get around, so I haven’t bothered to make many friends. As I sat listening to bubbly, intelligent people share their connections to Italy, I felt I’d been missing out. We ate wood fired pizza with fresh produce and real mozzarella, which got me really excited to be in Italy. There was an industrial-organizational psychologist, a woman who lives near me and attends my yoga studio, and another woman who went to a Seven Sisters college like I did. I always think I don’t have anything in common with people in LA, but it’s possible to find community when you’re looking for it.

I’d rather sit around a restaurant having drinks and chatting than most other activities. I love running, writing, cooking and going out to eat. It struck me that once we have a baby I won’t do as many of these things, at least for the first few years, if ever. I’ve already had years of happy hours and wine bars and friends, but I’ve missed it this past year. I was so caught up in J’s egg stimulation, the TWW, the excitement of pregnancy, and the confusion and sadness of miscarriage. Of course I was – it all means so much to me and honestly, I can’t wait to be caught up in it again. I’m glad that in the meantime though, I’m moving on and forward until it’s time again.

Work has been so stressful. I’ve been focused on cleaning, budgeting, trying to get sleep – all the everyday mundanity. I think everyday about the miscarriage and the future. While we’re trying to conceive, or in-between tries, or deciding whether or not to even move forward in the near future, there are wonderful things to do and I’m going to do them!

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I took my first BCP last night and feel disgusting this morning! I can’t remember if it made me this sick last time, but I think so. At first I thought it was the Chardonnay I had at dinner last night, but there’s no way that would give me this horrible feeling. My partner thinks it’s ironic that I have to go on birth control in order to get pregnant.

I want to have a great day. It’s Payday Friday (I get paid the 15th & 30th) and I just got the biggest paycheck of my life today (don’t be jealous, it all goes to grad school loans!). But I feel like I want to lie down or puke. I leave work early today, at 4, and I can’t wait to get home and do a long workout video. That always helps me feel better when I’m nauseous.

Just needed to share since I can’t tell anyone at work I feel green! Does anyone doing IVF or who’s taken birth control remember feeling this sick?

Again, I’m too worn out from the daily grind to write the way I want to. When J and I were hiking in Idyllwild a couple of weeks ago, we talked about all of the creative things we want to do instead of working every day. She wants to weld, build furniture, work on cars. I want to write a memoir or a novel, come up with gluten-free recipes all day, and learn to play the piano again. We both do what we love for work, and I’m totally enjoying my new job, but I’m exhausted! It makes me wonder how people with babies do it. After work, commuting, then exercising in the evening, making dinner, doing the dishes, taking care of the cats, showering, and getting ready for the next morning, how would I take care of my little one?! I know parents figure it out but it amazes me 🙂 

A few updates on the TTC front: Last Thursday my period came! It was my first period since May 7th, before I got pregnant. After a miscarriage it can take 4-6 weeks to get a period. Mine came four weeks to the day that we found out. I suspected I was getting it because I had what could only be PMS – I went on a rant about nothing at home, couldn’t find my headphones and actually threw something across our living room! A few days later, I was so excited to see the blood. It meant my body was recovering, and I felt normal again. 

We’re not going to be ready for any actual fertility stuff for awhile. We’re going to Italy at the end of September so it won’t be until at least October. Everything in IVF has to planned so far in advance though. If we do a FET too late in the fall, we won’t be able to go to my grandmother’s 90th birthday in Sarasota in February if I actually get/stay pregnant. But in order to do the FET in October, I’m supposed to go into the clinic the second day of my period, but the way my period app calculates that cycle, the second day of my period will be a day we’re still in Italy. So I emailed our IVF coordinator who suggested I go on birth control now, so that they can control when I get my period and I can still do a cycle in October. I’m waiting to hear back from her about the prescription. I don’t want to go on birth control while I’m trying to lose this extra few pounds, but I’ll do whatever it takes! 

Meanwhile, we have an appointment to consult with our fertility doctor about the miscarriage and our plan for the next cycle on September 17th. We only have two blastocysts, out of all the hard work J went through when we were harvesting and collecting her eggs. I wish we had more to work with!

It feels crazy to even be thinking about this stuff again. Part of me feels too scared to want to try again. Going through the terror of not getting pregnant at all would be awful. We’ve spent so many thousands of dollars and that would be the end of it, no way to get any of it back. Miscarrying again would be the same, but even more emotional and heart-wrenching. Also, I’ve just begun to feel okay again, physically and emotionally, so it feels soon to be thinking about trying to get pregnant again. Sometimes I’m so glad it’s still months away and J and I can just relax and enjoy ourselves, and other times I feel like I need those embies inside me NOW! and I want to be three months pregnant NOW! Just give me my baby!

I want to say congratulations to those of you with your BFPs. I’ve followed your efforts and triumphs for months now and I’m just so encouraged and excited for you! And to those with BFNs, my heart breaks a little for you, and also holds out hope that you will find a way. We all want our babies 🙂

J is away visiting her family this weekend, actually since Wednesday, so I’ve had a lot of alone time. I love alone time, but I miss her. It’s nice to work on projects and spend time with friends, to curl up by myself and write. This is the longest we’ve been away from each other in awhile though, and certainly since our loss, and I’m excited for her to return to me tomorrow! In her absence I’ve indulged in some excessive grocery-buying activity at Whole Foods, which I will share with you because it’s a blog and I can write about any random thing I want.

Did you read Eat Pray Love? Yes, I jumped all over the bandwagon of that wonderful, life-saving book. My favorite section was India, and I love how Richard From Texas calls Elizabeth “Groceries” because she can put so much food away. More on that book later.

Last night my close friend and I were sitting on the bluffs overlooking Santa Monica beach, eating delicious salads from Tender Greens and drinking a hidden bottle of red wine out if her bag. We’ve both had a lot of loss in recent years – both of us broken engagements, family loss, and my miscarriage. We were talking about filling our hearts in healthy ways vs with substances, which includes overrating and eating unhealthy food.

I’ve been focusing my meals on gluten-free whole grains, veggies and protein for the past few weeks. J and I ate a lot of unhealthy food during IVF because the schedule was so stressful, and once I was pregnant I was so nauseous I had to eat comfort food constantly. Needless to say, I’m trying to get rid of a few pounds, pounds that represent my pregnancy and the baggage of what I’ve lost.

I was vegetarian for many years, vegan for five, and we eat mostly gluten-free at home because we like it and tend to eat healthier, and fewer carbs, this way. I feel best when I’ve had a kale salad with a simple homemade dressing for lunch, and when I’ve had a chicken breasts and some veggies for dinner. Unfortunately, I’m also a sucker for real Italian pasta with Parmesan, a huge glass of red wine and cake, cake cake! So today I’ve spent two hours and $221 on some exciting groceries, including a bunch of important Italian wine. I’m going to bike to yoga, then spend the evening making paleo granola, carb-free organic egg “muffins” and as usual, prep my tofu, salad and hummus. I also plan to have some wine and gluten-free spinach pasta for dinner though!

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Santosha – contentment – is perhaps the most psychologically relevant niyama (Bennett, 2002). With contentment in the present moment, reassurance from other people, material things, and goal-oriented measures of success are not necessary in order to feel complete and satisfied. This is not the immediate satiation of a specific desire or yearning; it is a consistent feeling of comfort in knowing that happiness can only come from within (Bennett; Buttenheim, 2003-2004). Since outside influences are merely perceptions, only relationship with oneself shows true contentment. This does not mean pretending not to need others or feel emotionally sensitive to outside influences; emotions are difficult, and trying to avoid this difficulty will hinder true contentment. Paying attention to all emotions and accepting them as part of the struggle, while bringing the self back and knowing no one else can satisfy it is true happiness (Bennett; Buttenheim, 2003-2004). To feel content with oneself and the present situation is to accept the self and surrounding world, which is the epitome of well-being and mind/body health.

This is an excerpt from my own dissertation. Alas, I know I’m a pretty good therapist and writer, but I not as good at my personal life as I’d like. That is to say, I can’t take my own advice. My dissertation isn’t about contentment; it’s actually about adolescent girls who practice yoga. In writing it however, I got intense enjoyment out of describing the yogic yamas and niyamas, or beliefs and guidelines to base your life on. They are both basic and wonderful – asteya, which means “non-stealing,” reminds you that jealousy and coveting are in fact ways of taking away from the experiences of others. Saucha suggests that you purify your thoughts before allowing them to overtake your mind and ripple into your beliefs, actions and therefore your happiness. I always aim to live by these guidelines, and in spirit, I do, but in my own behaviors, it’s a struggle.

NIne years ago I met one of the great loves of my life at Animal Services, and named her Santosha. I thought if the kitty I curled up with every night carried this name, I would remember to aim for contentment. She embodies it for sure, lying in one delicious spot for hours on end, seeking out the spot under the covers where I she can curl into my arms and purr. I named my cat Santosha as a symbol of what I want my life to be.

I’m definitely content in my daily, hourly life, but not so much in the big picture. I usually bounce out of bed, I’m energetic and inspired at work, I love my evening workout and J and I spend pretty much every night enjoying dinner, good conversation and our time together. We meet friends for dinner, go for sunny jogs, go to the beach, hike, and have our separate hobbies. The place where I get stuck in discontentedness, where people have actually referred to me as a malcontent, is in the big picture.

There are messages that run over and over in my head – I’m not married yet and everyone else is because my relationship history (before J) was erratic, and it’s my fault. Most people my age own a house with a yard and nice furniture, but I don’t. Spending all of my money and adult life thus far getting my doctorate and license was too hard, I deserve more. I’ve made a mistake in moving away from my family and I may never get to spend my daily life with my sister, which I regret every single day. Nothing ever feels quite right when I reflect on the big picture. It seems like I’ve made decisions I can’t go back on, like not living near my family, and when I think about it, I feel old, like at 35 I should have gotten farther, figured out where I want to “settle down,” saved more money.

I want to be happy. I’ve read highly acclaimed books on happiness, I’m an expert in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, I run mindfulness groups. As a teenager I was upbeat and carefree, before the world dragged me down enough times that I became jaded. So why can’t I say to myself, wow, I have a successful career, the most amazing partner I could ever have imagined, and so much to look forward to? WHY??

I’m not saying I’m unhappy. Not quite feeling contented isn’t the same thing as being unhappy. I enjoy my daily life, I have good solid family relationships, a partner I admire and never get enough of, a job I like going to every day that pays well. I’m just saying that I always want more, and I compare myself to others.

This especially happens with babies, the way it used to happen with weddings. For several years I yearned to get married and sat through many beautiful weddings, wondering when I would get my turn. I got engaged and started planning a wedding I thought was going to be romantic, run and meaningful, a wedding that never happened. Now I understand how true it is that weddings, and marriage in general, although legally useful and often successful, isn’t necessary for me. I’ve moved past it. Now babies plague my psyche. Why do so many women get accidentally pregnant and deliver one healthy baby after another, while I pined after the idea for years, finally got my chance, and had a miscarriage? I see pregnant women and mothers everywhere now, after years of barely noticing them. Before this year they reminded me that I may never get the chance to be a mother. Now that J and I were pregnant, they remind me that I lost my little nugget.

Why don’t I look at pregnancy and babies and see the hope for my own happy future? Why don’t I see beautiful houses and think, Oh, I can’t wait until J and have our home? What makes us notice the bad things more than the good? I know it’s part of the human condition to fear more than feel safe, to be on guard more than to relax, to defend ourselves more than be humble. I guess that is the reason that in our society, we always want more. We need to prove that we’re going to be okay, to ourselves and each other. That’s also why mindfulness, self-care and contentment are hot topics in psychology today; we must fight for our happiness.

I’m going to keep fighting for my happiness because I know it’s a reachable goal. I have everything I need to feel content, and I know how to discipline my mind to remember that. I’m lucky in more ways than unlucky, and I’ll benefit from allowing myself to feel that way instead of feeling slighted or inadequate. I meet a lot of strong, intelligent women who forget that their lives are positive and fulfilling. As neurotic, self-indulgent and negative as I can be, I hope to make these coming months happy; I hope to be able to relate to one of my best friends, Santosha.

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