Good moves

Good moves. I want to share with you what has worked and is working, and what I predict will be good moves in the future. This recovery period has been the best one yet, I think. Pretty strange that I now have so many recovery periods to compare. But, right now, I’m okay with that. That is the overarching feeling: I’m okay. This is okay. Things are going to be okay. Nothing hyperbolic in one direction or another. Just: okay, and even pretty good sometimes. I still have sadness and tears, but those moments have become manageable and do not take over my day.

Here goes, some moves of goodness:

New therapist

Had my first appointment with her—I’ll call her Ann—and am counting every one of my lucky stars. The connection was so strong. Our plan of action is just perfect for me. In one session she allowed me to explore almost everything that has been on my mind lately and we even got into the biggest source of trauma in my life (other than the losses). Most therapists aren’t able to follow me there right away. But we were in synch—it was like making music with someone.

When I was twelve, my sixth-grade teacher, who was my mentor, helped me come out of my shell of shyness. We worked on independent studies together and I won scholar awards, etc. It was a time of tremendous growth in confidence, and he was helping me do it. Then at the end of the school year, he got me alone, told me he loved me, and kissed me–twice. Told me he loved me twice and kissed me twice, adult kisses. I nearly passed out from shock and terror. He kept asking me what I was going to do with my life and telling me how special I was, and then he drove me to his house, his hand on my thigh. Incredibly, his wife was unexpectedly home from work, sick with a migraine. While she slept on the couch (I don’t think she knew I was there), he took me into his backyard and took a billion photographs of me with an elaborate camera while I was on his kid’s swingset. I had wanted to run at many points during these events, but had found my body strangely paralyzed, and I was nearly unable to speak. I had a special weekend that had been planned for months with girlfriends—woods, cabin. At the cabin, I told my friend what happened, and she told her mom—but her mom didn’t do anything about it. I never did tell my parents. I experienced what is called depersonalization (of course didn’t know what it was called then) for weeks afterward, and would find myself staring in the mirror, not feeling like I was really “there,” touching my cheeks, confused. I’ve discussed this in therapy before, but never has a therapist honed in on it so quickly (yet gently). I told her about “The Pattern” that ensued in my life for decades after that—an exploration for another post, perhaps—and how I still feel that I have unhealed shame. She said that we are going to do chakra work (!), which is exactly what I’ve been doing on my own, hypnosis (!), which is something I’ve always wanted to try, and meditations and visualizations, which I’ve also been doing on my own. She said because of where I’m already at, we’re going to be able to work very quickly together (definitely). I am so excited! Not just for the effects this work might have on this upcoming transfer, but also simply for me.

She wants me to read The Mind-Body Fertility Connection, by James Schwartz, this week.


I am taking the lowest dose, 50 mg, and it has done wonders for my stability. I definitely needed the extra seratonin floating around in my brain to help me get unstuck. I actually feel good sometimes. Even happy.  My sad moments come, but they are not so gut-wrenching that they derail my entire day or night, like they used to. Anger and frustration come, but they are generally short-lived. I am able to accomplish so many things. Instead of constantly feeling like I am recovering from upheaval, I am even able to feel hopeful about this upcoming cycle. Zoloft is like a platform in a tree I can stand on. Whereas before I was riding unpredictable waves on a wonky surfboard.

The risks of taking Zoloft at this low dose are extremely low, and those risks are in the second and third trimesters, so I could feasibly wean myself off of it throughout the entire first trimester, if I get pregnant. All doctors are way on board with the Zolo–RBA, OB, local RE, and my new therapist.

I also feel more confident. This is related to the Zoloft in that I just don’t feel as shaken and disturbed by occurrences. If something starts to get to me, I’ll sometimes be able to let it go because I’ll have a thought that goes: I don’t deserve to be disturbed by this.  Or: Come on, I’m bigger and stronger than this situation. Not always, but sometimes.

Walks in the woods

I haven’t kept to my promise to self of walking in the woods every day, but I manage to go at least a few times a week. I do walking meditations and talk to the trees, sky, birds, and always to my two embryos in Atlanta. I also talk to myself, like a nutter. But this is a drastic change from a few months ago when I was afraid to go for walks in the woods because I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts for that long, didn’t want to sob on tree roots.

Meditation, chakra work, connecting with embryos

I’ve never been a disciplined meditator, but when my noisy downstairs neighbors are not home, I will sit on the living room floor and visualize the various chakra energies flowing from head to toe. If noisy neighbors are home, I meditate while I walk through the woods. It’s a time for me to connect with the two embryos in Atlanta in a direct way. Some of this is coming from the book Spirit Babies— I appreciate the book for its guidance in meditation (even if, overall, I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the example stories, which are a bit much). Some of this is coming from my own impulses and creations…

 Art to my embryos

Creations such as works of art therapy. I think I’ve mentioned on here that I once wanted to be an art therapist (until I found out how hard it would be to get a job that paid okay).

I’ve been adding paintings and mixed-media pieces to a notebook ever since The Dwelling Place, and although I didn’t sit down with this intention, every artwork has been an expression to and from the embryos. It seems like I am trying to communicate to them through the work, and like they are trying to communicate with me. I know this might sound “out there,” but I’m open to what is happening. It feels right.

You know what it is? Simply a time to acknowledge that we created those two lives. They exist. They will be inside me soon. I want to open up and feel connected to them.

I’ll post some of the art therapy pieces soon. They are extremely colorful! One embryo seems to want to be blue (light blue, turquoise blue, bright blue) the other yellow.


They’ve been deeper and  more cathartic ever since I started taking the Zoloft. Dreams that used to drag me down and destroy me seem more interesting, now, with potential for healing. Like last night for example: I had a dream that was basically all about the guilt I feel over leaving my ex-husband. I became my beloved Ma-Maw, in the dream, looking at me, 5 years ago. Do you know how weird it is to look at yourself, in the eye, in a dream?? Intense. And then I (as Ma-Maw) said to me: It’s okay to forgive yourself for what you did to him, now, and move on. 

The annoying rule of no violence

Sadly, watching or reading anything with lots of intense violence is off my list. I just can’t handle it right now. It exacerbates depression, enters my dreams, and enters my early-morning thoughts. This is annoying because a huge portion of good fiction and film out there has tons of violence in it. Like Breaking Bad—which I idiotically watched while recovering from this last loss, but damn was it good.

I recently started reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and was really enjoying it until I got to the part where a guy rapes a little girl and mutilates her uterus, rendering her unable to ever have children. Um, yeah. NOT the best time to be reading that. Now I’m reading Eggers’s The Circle which so far has no mutilated female reproductive organs in it, hurrah.

Conversations with DH about God

DH and I took the Buddhist Refuge Vows together, once upon a time—but Buddhism is a science and a practice. What we’ve been exploring together recenty is god/God, and belief in ultimate benevolence, structure, and meaning. The idea that god-energy created us in order to experience itself. That you are who you pray to. This morning DH said: “It’s common knowledge that when you dream, every element in the dream is you—which is obvious, it’s coming from your brain, of course it’s you. But what if we apply that to the universe and say that every element is god. All of us are god in the same way that every element of a dream is the dreamer.” Yeah, these are often the kind of conversations that will crop up between us while we’re, like, brushing our teeth, and that is why our relationship is awesome. “I’m going to text you today throughout the day: Don’t worry about whatever you are anxious about right now–we’re all one and you are God,” I said. And he said: “Do it!”

The gym

This is what I do:

Sauna (where I stretch); 15 – 30 minutes of yoga; 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine; sauna (stretch); 10 minutes of yoga. I do this several times a week. Body says yay.

Anti-inflammation recipes

Have tried several, now, and am smitten. Squash soup, turkey meatloaf, black bean hummus, tuna-avocado spread, banana bread. And now I’m making these elaborate stir-fries with sesame oil and GF terriyaki, radishes and ginger. I’m getting such pleasure out of being nurturing to DH, letting him relax while I whip up something and then wash down the whole kitchen. We make plenty of jokes about my “wifely” duties, jokes which sometimes lead to naughty sex.

I bought a watch with many alarms

This might sound crazy, but it really helps me. It goes off in the morning, at meal-times, supplement-times, snack-times, making-dinner time, and bed-time. Because I am not working, an entire day can slip away from me before I know what happened. Without reminders, I often forget to take my supplements. Because I am a dreamer, a deep thinker and fantasizer, I have always responded well to the grounding effect of structure. And I have very rarely given structure to myself with much carry-over. So: I’m loving this watch, this gentle dictator who vibrates my wrist every so often. That sounded weird.


I went to an excellent dentist and finally had my bite fixed! A previous, shady dentist had done some work on my teeth that threw my bite off for two years. I had jaw pain, neck pain, face pain. It sucked so badly. This dentist fixed it in two visits, with careful work. “Some people aren’t bothered by having a slightly off bite, but some people react dramatically to hair’s-width difference—you, it turns out, are a case of the princess and the pea.” Yah–no surprise there.

Also, I got a super-cleaning, have been flossing ever day, and my gum inflammation is completely gone. Zero bleeding! This is very good news, because it is imporant to have low inflammation in the mouth for pregnancy.

HEPA filter

Today, I will be ordering Honeywell HEPA air cleaners for our home, because we live above someone who smokes. She smokes outside, and tries to stay far away from the house, but I go insane if I even smell a whiff of it. Nothing makes me catastrophize faster than secondary smoke. Whenever I see her outside with a cigarette, I say, “Smoky Smokeface is out there, smoking her face off,” which isn’t very nice of me, because she’s actually a cool person who tries very hard not to invade our home with her smokey-smokeface smoke.

Their 25-year-old son, who lives in the basement, also smokes—but only outside, and not often. Once, a few months ago, we smelled pot smoke in our apartment and went and confronted him about it. I burst out crying, basically begging him not to “invade my home” with smoke: “I need to feel safe! I could have a miscarriage!” I cried. He was so shocked (and probably higher than a kite) that I probably traumatized the poor kid for life. Needless to say, we haven’t smelled pot smoke since!


Obviously, writing this blog has been perhaps one of the most important things of all. I’m going to post something soon about narrative therapy, and how it changes the neural pathways in our brains.

Thank you for reading my good moves. And just for being out there listening. That’s one of the things that helps most of all.  



Leave a comment


  1. it sounds like things are going well! So happy for you!

  2. So many positive steps! Happy for you!

  3. Clare

     /  January 16, 2014

    Your therapist sounds amazing!! So glad you found someone you gel with so easily!
    As a fellow artsy type person, I find getting into creative projects a big help when I’m down. I think there’s something really beneficial to that. I’ve done some dark ass paintings over the past couple years though. I like how you’re connecting to your embryos that way. Very cool.

    • Ooo, a fellow artsy person. So glad that interests you. It really is helpful, tapping into that “flow” state….but I hear you re: the darkness. I’ve made some things that kind of jolt me when I find them in my pile. But it’s good to purge the poison. I’ll post some images soon.

  4. great post! I am so sorry to read about teh trauma that happened to you. And very glad you found a therapist who you truely connect with! You know I love me some Zoloft, Your art, exercise and cooking sound awesome. But not as much as the post kitchen cleaning sex! lol enjoy!

  5. So excited about your art communications with your embryos – that’s fantastic. You’re sounding so much more grounded.

    I read The Mind-Body Fertility Connection a little while ago, though I’d bought it ages ago (along with Spirit Babies, which sat unread, too, but for less time). I found it somewhat helpful and hope you have some a-ha moments reading it, too, though I suspect chunks of it will be familiar to you.

    • Yes, it is exciting! I started the book last night, and it is already receiving multiple annotations. Spirit Babies was so helpful in reminding me to pay attention to the spiritual, ethereal aspects of this and so grateful to it for that.

  6. This is an awesome update. I’m especially happy to hear about your connection with your new therapist…sounds like it will be really good moving forward!

  7. You are an incredible person. So thoughtful and grounded in the midst of what I know is just heartwrenching at times. I enjoyed reading about your routines – I might call them ablutions.

    • Thank you! I do feel fortunate that I’ve managed to keep “okay.” I’ll remember your words when CD1 comes and, with it the anxiety…xo


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  • Posts By Month


  •© the unexpected trip,, 2012-2017.
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  • About Me

    Me: 41
    DH: 38

    Fertility issue:
    Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
    6 pregnancy losses
    All early
    5 with my own eggs
    1 with donor egg

    Abnormal embryos

    Factor V Leiden heterozygous
    MTHFR heterozygous

    AFC: 2 - 12
    AMH: 0.2
    FSH: 6.8
    E2: 40
    LH: 2.8


    April 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac only). D&C to remove products of conception at 9 weeks.

    Oct 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac & yolk sac). Took Cytotec to induce miscarriage at 9 weeks. PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, night terrors followed.

    Winter 2012 -
    Two rounds of Femara/Clomid + IUIs at Columbia and RS of NY. The idea: to produce more eggs and increase chances of catching a good one. BFNs.

    April 2012 -
    Natural conception, first try. Ultrasound showed activity in the uterus, but no complete sac. Diagnosed with "missed abortion." Natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    June 2012 -
    Conception after 7 mg Femara for 5 days + IUI. Diagnosed with chemical pregnancy. Natural miscarriage at 4.5 weeks.

    August 2012 -
    Natural conception, without trying. Chemical pregnancy and natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    October 2012 -
    ODWU at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM).

    January 2013 -
    IVF with Dr. Schoolcraft.
    Straight Antagonist protocol

    What he predicted:
    I will produce 11 eggs
    Good chance 1 will be normal
    30% chance 2 will be normal
    Transfer 1, then a 45% chance of success
    Transfer 2, then a 65% chance of success

    What happened:
    7 follicles stimulated
    6 mature eggs retrieved
    2 died during ICSI
    4 fertilized
    3 out of 4 embryos CCS-tested
    All abnormal

    Aug/Sept 2013-
    Frozen Donor Egg IVF at Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA)
    What Dr. Shapiro predicted:
    6 or 7 will fertilize
    1 we will transfer
    1 - 3 we will freeze

    Protocol: Lupron, Vivelle patches, Crinone

    8 frozen eggs from donor thawed
    6 fertilized
    1 Day-5 Grade A XBbb blastocyst transferred
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst frozen
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst frozen

    September 13, 2013: Pregnant

    Prenatal vitamins & baby aspirin,
    Vivelle patches & Crinone

    Beta #1: 171
    Beta #2: 706
    Beta #3: 7,437

    6 w 3 d: measured 6 w 1 d
    FHR: 80 bpm
    Fetus did not grow
    7 w: FHR 121 bpm
    8 w: heart stopped
    9 w: D and C

    Test results: We lost a normal karyotype male for unexplained reasons

    Quit stressful job
    Anti-inflammation diet
    Gluten-free diet
    Vit D, DHA/EPA
    Therapy/energy work
    Creative Visualization
    Art Therapy

    March 14, 2014:
    Double FET at RBA
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst

    March 24, 2014:

    Prenatals, baby aspirin, Folgard, Vivelle, Crinone, Lovenox

    Beta #1: 295
    Beta #2: 942
    Beta #3: 12,153

    1 fetus implanted

    Measured on track

    Fetal heart rate:
    7 wk: 127 bpm, 8wk:159 bpm, 9wk: 172 bpm

    Due date: Dec, 4 2014!

    NatureMade (USP Seal) Prenatals and 4000 Vit D3
    Baby aspirin
    40 mg Lovenox
    DHA and EPA
    Folgard 2.2

    Born: One perfect baby boy 12.4.14

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