I did a 3 day cleanse prior to transfer to release any toxins from any chocolate or soda or processed food.

I saw my spiritual healer on the morning of the transfer, following days of curating medical appointments and conversations and emails for my 83-year old father, who is sick – so that I could release stress and responsibility for others who were relying on me so heavily and focus only on myself.

I entered the frozen embryo transfer appointment at roughly 11 am, already having taken the 2 ibuprofen to counteract cramping and the 1.5 valium to relax all muscles, to meet with Dr. V – and find out that the grade A blastocyst (perfect when frozen at day 5) had thawed at 90%, which is great (the highest they’ll ever give for thawing is 95%), and that the 2nd, previously a very early blastocyst, had actually upon thawing immediately grown into a blastocyst quality A – with a 95% survival.  Craig and I were joyful, and full of hope.

Dr V. expertly placed both embryos past the curve of my uterus, and away from the Adenomyosis – the muscle that as of now, wasn’t flexing.  He recited his prayer in Hebrew as he held my hand and I held Craig’s.

I was only told to stay on bedrest for 1 day, since it was already a 5-day transfer, but I stayed in bed an extra day and cancelled plans with my girlfriends for Mastro’s.

I ate pineapple, which is supposed to help embryos stick.

I prayed.  Endlessly.  I have literally created a meditation that centers on me connecting with G-d and our future babies, or talking to Finley and repeatedly releasing that grief to the universe, since I understand now that he could not stay; that he was only meant to come for that short time – which has taught me a lifetime of love and lessons.

I listened to positive music – like Barbra Streisand or George Harrison.

I did not pick up Maybelline once, per doctor’s instructions even though holding her is one of my favorite things to do and is one of the very few ways I feel actually happy.

I ate healthy, making morning smoothies and juices with beets or a day’s worth of greens every day.

I took my estradiol, methylprednisolone, baby aspirin, folic acid, calcium, CoQ10, and pre natals as instructed.

Every night Craig would find a new place to shoot me with 2 CCs of oil based progesterone in my butt – which turned lumpy because of the oil and bruised because of the puncturing of the needles.

I worked very few non-stressful hours on a light project I am doing.  I kept my family at arm’s length, being there for them, visiting my father multiple times, but making sure to protect myself with deep breaths and an invisible shield I imagined that would protect me from over extending myself.

Every night I drank a wellness pregnancy tea, and did not over eat Lindt chocolate or graham crackers, or anything else.

I did not wear perfume starting from the morning of my transfer, as scented lotions and perfumes are thought to be bad for the embryos.

I didn’t sleep well at night, nothing new really, but always but was able to make up for that with daytime movie or TV naps with Maybelline.

And still, on Sunday morning at 2 AM when I awoke – I took the Home Pregnant Test and it read: Not Pregnant.  It might as well have been in all caps, with a shrill sound attached that screamed YOU ARE A FAILURE.

I awoke Craig teary eyed, but we both agreed that I could have taken it too early, and I should take one again a bit later in the day.  By the time the real morning had struck, he and I agreed to wait to test again until Monday morning, which was the day I was to have my blood drawn which would offer a conclusive answer.

In the meantime, I scoured the internet for sites with strings of women who had transferred this quality embryo and succeeded, even when after they’d received negative results on the pee stick.  Inevitably I came across internet threads of other women who had received negative results on the stick, followed by negative blood.

I awoke Monday and took a test.  Once again, NOT PREGNANT appeared on that fucking digital stick.

Instead of commuting almost 2 hours to Tarzana to simply have my blood drawn, I had pre arranged having it done nearby.  Some guy in the lab was screaming at a technician, and I sat there, un-phased; numb; listless – I suppose – as I already instinctually knew that the blood test would confirm what the Home Test had indicated.

I called the doctor’s office around 4 to find out the status of the test, and was told that a nurse would call me back within 30 minutes.  I liked the idea of that, because every single time I had received a negative result, a doctor had called me.

Unfortunately, the receptionist had simply miscommunicated, because a bit after 5 PM, Dr. K called me – with the same exact cadence in his voice as I had heard too many times.  “Lorraine….”  And it doesn’t matter what else he said, because he should have simply been speechless, as I was.

It’s nearly impossible to explain how it feels, to fail at something that is based upon such a pure desire.  My husband and I want a child to love.  We don’t want a bigger home.  We don’t care about fancy cars.  We just want a child on whom to lavish the love that lives in our hearts, in our souls, for which our beings actually yearn.

So I am left to wonder:  Did leaning over and cleaning up after Maybelline stop the embryos from sticking?  Are the baby or babies not ready to come?  Am I being punished for something from a different lifetime?  Are there more lessons to learn?  Should I have slept on a different side? Stayed in bed even longer after the transfer?  Did any of the stress I have tried so hard not to own from my father’s illness seep into my protective lair and cause this?  Did G-d not want us to have children? Does G-d even exist?

I have 2 embryos left.  One is grade A.  One is grade B, with slight deterioration.  We spoke with Dr. V today, and talked about doing another hysteroscopy inside my uterus, and about adding a couple of different medications for the next round – not because they are needed, per se, but out of a pure form of desperation.  Dr. V will waive the costs for the next transfer, which is a very gracious courtesy.  (Of course there will still be lab and medication costs, plus out of pocket surgery costs.)

And we said that if that doesn’t work, that I have to think of a surrogate.  Do you know how much a surrogate costs?  Somewhere in the $80k range.  And we’ve already spent $45k this year.  The thing is, if we get a surrogate, then an enormous amount of stress is removed from me, and I would be able to work throughout that time. Because as of now, once I do (or at this point, IF I ever do) get a positive pregnancy result, the pregnancy will be so incredibly high risk, because of my cervix and now because of my increasing age.  So I am not against a surrogate.  (I would welcome suggestions, as a matter of fact, if you know anyone who would be a great candidate for me.)

I am already mourning and dreading the holidays that are now coming upon us, starting with Thanksgiving, that holiday during which I was hospitalized with Finley in 2009.

I am wondering if by not having written completely about what exactly happened on and after the morning I went into labor if I have not released my grief entirely, yet.  I will rectify that, when I can stomach the pain I must endure to recount those excruciating details.

I made an appointment with a Korean doctor on Saturday. I don’t even know his name, but while I wait to have a hysteroscopy sometime next week, I may as well see if any new herbs can do anything.  A $50 appointment is certainly easier to stomach than an $80k surrogacy.

A lot of you have reached out to me personally, on Facebook, through my blog, and I want you to know that I am beyond touched with the generosity of your spirit and prayers.

I remain in purgatory now, but will just keep walking in the right direction, until I find hope again.

Punishing My Self


First off, thank you for the notes you have written, the positive energy you have sent, the prayers you have uttered; I have begun to sense in a very tangible way that my husband’s and my mission is surrounded by a circle of loving people, who expend their energy and time to wish us well. I even know one person who is putting in a prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem this week, the very thought of which moves me to tears.

I haven’t been able to write anything since my “Failure” posting, just because I could not put pen to paper (for lack of a better phrase).  I have begun composing thoughts and we are diving into next steps, but it’s been important and valuable for me to sit with my thoughts, as opposed to immediately sharing them.

A few days ago I took a walk around our new neighborhood.  I just needed to breathe some fresh air and find my self in a space reserved for just me; that time of the day when the rings and buzzes and dings from all of my devices are not in hyper mode, and I invite nature in to soothe me.

I missed living a stone’s throw (if you have a great arm) from the sand of Venice Beach. We’ve moved only 2 miles inland, and it is definitely a move up, and I am in LOVE with the energy and space of our new home, but I am not able to immediately step into nature as my back yard, as I had with our previous home. (I can easily change that by hopping on my bike instead of going on foot, and that way I’ll be at the breakwaters of the Marina within minutes so that I can connect to nature, which allows me to just feel more, well, me.  We got a bike pump this weekend, so I will try that next time.)

More importantly, I saw something that both bothered me and resonated with me during this walk:  We now live near a hospital, and I saw someone’s hospital bracelet ID crumpled up next to a crushed pack of empty cigarettes with a few cigarette butts on the side, littering the grass less than a block away from the hospital – a few blocks away from our home.

I intuit this to mean that someone got discharged, and then immediately polluted his / her body with cigarettes, when it is possible that the reason they were hospitalized in the first place was related to their cigarette smoking.

I haven’t taken up smoking again (or any of my other previous unhealthy vices, which would come in awfully handy right now if I was my old self), since learning over two weeks ago that the Frozen Embryo Transfer didn’t work, even though in these past weeks I have had to work more than 80 hours per week, move into a new home, talk to my doctor about next steps, keep social obligations, and experience the deep sadness that this latest disappointing news (an understatement, obviously) has brought.

But I do notice a trend that I treat myself differently after a loss of the dream, after the crushing of the hope, after the vicious words “Not Pregnant” appear on the expensive digital pregnancy tests.  I almost punish myself: I ate McDonald’s, twice.  I haven’t taken my pre natal pills every day.  I allow myself to get stressed about work (a bit hard to avoid on this current project, anyway).

What I should be doing is wrapping myself up emotionally in my equivalent of a warm blanket or scarf and Ugg boots, those things that I equate with comfort.

I should be drinking soup and taking the vitamins which replenish my body.

Do you notice how I say my body, as opposed to me?  This is something that we really explored in my therapy sessions in ’11, the fact that I can not actually separate my self from my body, that I am one and the same, but that when I get the bad news, and I know full well that it is nothing that I did or didn’t do perfectly, I tend to want to blame someone.

Blaming G-d is no good for me; I can be mad at him or the universe or whatever my faith is, but that does not make me feel better, so that’s not really an option.

I can’t blame the doctor, as he is doing the very best any doctor could.

So I have a tendency to blame my body, which in turn means I try to punish my body.  And so I don’t eat very well and I don’t take all of those great vitamins to prepare for our next efforts, and somehow that little bit of withholding of love, as it were, gives me the control I need back.

I have had no control over the outcome of all of these fertility efforts –obviously – so punishing myself has become a habit, a very bad habit.  I am aware when I am doing it; I knew that I was running out of those pre natal pills, and yet I waited for days to re-order.  I know that getting stressed about work instead of relying on the meditation and spiritual calm is not good for me mentally or physically.

But this punishing of my self is a mechanism that is familiar; I am sure it is deeply rooted in my childhood and times when I felt like I was being punished.

(When I used to cry as a baby, around 2-years old, my parents would put me in the laundry room in my high chair and shut the door, so that I did not disturb them, their dinner; the family. I don’t know why I was crying so hard, but I can tell you with certainty that when my child has fits like that, I will pick him or her up and hold him or her; I will not put my baby in a small room, alone, and punish him/her for crying.  I was 2; I did not have the ability to communicate with words yet, and crying was my only way of telling them something was wrong.)

Of course this behavior of punishing myself for feelings I had, for inadequacies I suffered, for failure, has spanned my entire life; I was a drug addict for years, starting as a teenager and into my 30s; I took drugs, actual poison when taken to the level that I did, to make the feelings go away, because I had been taught by observation that having feelings was wrong or bad.

So it’s not surprising that I wanted to punish myself for learning that I was not pregnant, again, or still.  But I can tell you that I recovered from this behavior more quickly than last time, and the last time, more quickly than the time before.  That is due to lots of work in therapy, an unwavering faith, and a plan.

Yes, A PLAN.  We know what we’re doing next, efforts are underway, and there is a great comfort in knowing that.  We had made a long term plan last October, and now that we are where we are, we are at the point where the plan goes into effect.

While my goal in writing this blog is for others who are struggling to feel less alone, and get the love and positive energy and validation that so many of you have been generous to provide along the way, I am going to shelve what exactly we’re doing next, for the moment.  What could be so personal that I wouldn’t share with you now? – you must wonder, considering how much I have opened up thus far.  Well, you will understand better later.  But for now, I shall get back to work, and continue earning the money that allows us the luxury to chase our dreams.

My next posting will be returning back to the Fall of ’09, when I was in my second trimester, so that you can learn more about love affair I developed for my sweet Finley while he was in vitro, and how he metamorphosed into Craig’s and my own beautiful butterfly.

Until next time.