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.

Magical Moment


It’s 12.21.12.   The Mayans predicted it would be the end of the world.  That idea didn’t scare me, maybe because I am more and more spiritually centered in that which I can’t control; maybe because I believe in reincarnation; maybe because if the world was over my hurt and struggle in this life would be gone.

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Outwardly, I am not full of sadness and dread.  I’d say I am a pretty upbeat person. I think I’m affable, and I likely give most people the perception that I’m happy.  At a holiday party recently an associate said she thought I was always in a good mood.  A different associate at this gathering quickly corrected this, somewhat jokingly, saying that the 1st woman must not know me very well, and of course she was right (though the 2nd woman was simply referring to the level of drama with which she sees me at work, since she sits closer to me), but I think likely most people who don’t know me, the real me, the one who is writing this, the one who cries sometimes to and from work or in the shower, without any control – since grief does, as Joan Didion has written, come over me often like a rollercoaster – with so much abrupt force that it can make me keel over and need to catch my breath, think I am a happy person.

I am that person who smiles at strangers on the street.  Or returns a resounding “Good morning!” to the person on the hiking trail.  I will make small talk in line at the bank.  I have even become friends with the women at the dry cleaners.

But underneath all of that optimism is truly a void so big and a longing so deep that I am, as a matter of fact, a sad woman, and so the end of the world wouldn’t have been so bad.

That is not to say that I would opt out on my own.  Hell, no.  First off, having lost close friends way too early, I do not take being alive for granted.  Like my dad would say, “You know who wants to be 82?  An 81 year old.”  I look forward to a new day or in this case, next year, because I hope for promise.  Promise of a dream I know is meant to come true.

(Of course it’s worth noting that having to keep up this level of hope, the decision that I make to be optimistic every day, is exhausting.  I’ve never done a marathon, but I am positive that these fertility efforts are harder than climbing Mount Everest; 12 egg retrievals later, I am as strong mentally as a triathaloner is physically.  I have stamina.)

And along with the fact that I am a sad person who has a tremendous amount of hope for the new year, I have to say, I hate the holidays, specifically Christmas.

I hate that parents get to celebrate for the 1st, 2nd or 3rd time with their child, and that I don’t.

I hate that parents dragged their child to see Santa Clause at the local mall, and that I can’t.

I hate that they send me their stupid fucking holiday cards, with their beautiful children posed for a picture.

I hate that they take it for granted.

I am sad that we don’t get to do any of those things.  Again.  This year.

And it’s not just me as a bereaved mother or as a woman struggling with fertility that feels the pressure of Christmas, like a loaded gun being pointed at my back.

Holidays are rough for SO many people, and I think most people are blissfully unaware of that.  Some people are newly widowed.  Some people, at 10 or at 50 years old, are orphans this year for their first time.  Some people are starting chemotherapy.  Others found out that their chemotherapy didn’t work.  Some people just lost their jobs, and can’t buy any presents for their children this year.  I could go on. And on.

Almost 3 years ago I was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and I shared that I had lost my son.  I had shared at this meeting countless times over the years – sometimes commenting on what that morning’s speaker had said and sometimes about something that I had been feeling, but what was different about this meeting is that nobody responded as I had wanted, no, needed them to, to my heartfelt and incredibly personal share.  The people who shared after me talked about financial struggles or relapsing or fights with their families, things I had related to so many times, but by now found so incredibly small and insignificant compared to what I was experiencing.

So I decided to leave the meeting early, and as I traipsed across the sand on the beach from where this meeting was held, a man named Sandy came after me.  Sandy was a gruff man.  He often spoke in his shares about what it felt like to be free after having been incarcerated.  He sometimes read poems he’d written.  Always smoked Marlboro reds.  And I had never related to him on any level.  But there he was, calling after me on the sands of Venice Beach that Saturday morning in January of 2010.  “Miss?  Miss?” – I heard, and I turned around.  He came up to me, took his sunglasses off and grabbed my hand with both of his hands, and said, “I’m really sorry about your son.”   At the time, I didn’t think there was anything profound about the moment, though I did appreciate the effort.

This morning I was driving to work.  The world hadn’t ended, so I had a huge day ahead of me.  Christmas is in 4 days.  We have a stack of holiday cards at home that I have tossed aside like a true scrooge.  I have a great deal of resentment that another holiday is coming up without a child to love and protect; being the mother to an angel is just not the same.  And I was tired and cranky as my insomnia is alive and well.

And I saw Sandy, the man from that AA meeting – one I haven’t returned to since that time – crossing the street.  He looked the same; rough around the edges.  He was limping; I don’t remember him limping before.  And I realized that my hand went to cover my heart.  I did not do this consciously; seeing him brought back such a strong memory so quickly that my reflex was to hold my heart, almost as if to hug it from the pain that had immediately swelled up at that emotion, as quickly as a dip on a roller coaster ride, at having seen him.

The light turned green and I drove on to my coffee place, remembering the humanity of that moment differently than I had first experienced it, that Saturday in January, almost 3 years ago.

About 5 minutes later, after I got my coffee, I saw him walking again.  It struck me that he had walked pretty quickly from Marine to Pico, and also that when I’d first noticed him he was walking in the opposite direction of where he was at this moment.  Odd.

And I debated what to do; this is what I consider a G-d shot moment – a moment in which I think that there is a divine reason why I am seeing this person twice in one morning.  And why had he switched directions on his walk?  I debated and debated and then quickly pulled over on the side of the road and rushed out and yelled, “Sandy!”  He turned around and came towards me and I said something like…

“I used to go that Saturday morning meeting on the beach…. And 3 years ago I lost my son and when I went to that meeting and shared that, you came after me as I was leaving to tell me how sorry you were to hear this… I didn’t know you then, I don’t know you now, but I want you to know that I saw you a few minutes ago and simply seeing you reminded me on a deeply emotional level of how much that moment meant to me, you coming up to me on the beach; it made me put my hand to my heart…. So when I saw you again just now, I realized I had to pull over and say thank you. Thank you for being a generous human.  For being so kind.  I want you to know that your words did make a difference…”

I took off my glasses now, instinctually, so that we could really connect.

He was moved to tears.  He thanked me for thanking him.  I extended my hand.  He pulled in for a hug, and kissed me.  I thanked him again.  He thanked me again. I got back in my car, waved through the window, and went on to work.  I debated offering him money but then stopped myself, because our connection was beyond anything physical, so much bigger than everything commercial, and I did not want to pollute that with a monetary contribution to a man that I outwardly judged as perhaps needing financial help.

It was a Magical Moment.  One of those that makes me feel lucky, grateful to be alive, and happy that the world is not over.

THAT is what I will celebrate this Christmas.