Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Yep, you guessed it, that latest IUI was not successful.  Honestly, I wasn't surprised since it was such an incredible long shot.  I haven't really wanted to blog about it, to be honest, but I can't just say NOTHING about it, now, can I?!  Not after mentioning the IUI in the first place.

So, yeah.  It didn't work.  And I'm definitely disappointed, but I can't really say that I've been consumed by the disappointment, either.  Too many other things to do!  I'm kinda-sorta leaving the door open for a possible IUI in February, BUT I haven't talked with my RE yet, so that's just really, really questionable.  I really want his honest opinion first.

Right now I'm focusing on just enjoying my almost-four-year-old, looking forward to the holidays, and trying to picture us as a mom-and-daughter family.  A family of two.  Gotta watch some more Gilmore Girls...   lol.
As far as kids are concerned, I really do feel like with my daughter, I won the Kid Lottery.  She's just absolutely awesome.  Not all the time, of course, but generally speaking?   I just really, really love her to pieces.  She's a lot of fun to spend time with, and I live for the weekends when I can spend the MOST time with her.  Sometimes I really can picture us as a fantastic family of two.  Other times I feel like there's a missing family member, which is really how I've felt up until now, ever since K was born.  There's supposed to be somebody else in our family!  Two kids, one mom, that's always how I've pictured us.  So I've just been trying to re-envision our future together...

It's not easy, especially when I find myself wishing I had started this SMC process sooner.  Maybe I could have had two kids after all.  But K is just so meant-to-be that I can't imagine any other kiddo in her place.  In my eyes, she's absolutely perfect.  And I KNOW there are many, many advantages to having an "only" kid.  But I still get to be sad for a little while longer.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One week down, one to go.

The title of this post basically says it all.  I'm now one week into the two week wait, with one more to go.  Not going to comment on any "symptoms" since I honestly don't trust anything my body might or might not be doing right now, as my brain has made it all up in the past, so who really knows.  Suffice it to say, I just want to KNOW one way or another.  Tomorrow is 10dpiui, but I am going to try my best to resist the POAS nonsense until at least Friday.

In other, more exciting news, Miss K had an absolute BLAST on Halloween this year!  We practiced saying "Trick or Treat!" together for a day or two beforehand, and for the most part she did really well remembering what to say when people opened the door, as well as "thank you" after they gave her treats.  We stayed out for an hour, walking around the townhouse complex where we live, and that was just enough for the both of us.  Needless to say, she asks for a "treat" from her plastic pumpkin after every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Not that she gets one every time she asks, but I give her credit for her persistence!!

Here she is in her monarch butterfly finery--the wings were easily put together with cardboard, paint, and construction paper, but it was a bit hard for her to fit through doorways!!  She was pretty happy after all, though.  Definitely hard for her to settle on a costume idea, but eventually she did, and all was well.

I just love this kid.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

1dpiui (and a bowling mishap)

Yep, the deed is done!  I had my sixth iui yesterday...it took three tries to conceive Miss K, and this is my third (and probably final) try for numero dos.  All told, I did a total of six days of Folli.stim (150), five days of Fem.ara before that, and one ginormous (at least it felt that way) dose of Preg.nyl for my trigger shot.  With a huge needle, no less.  I ended up with one very big follicle, two medium ones that might have been viable at the time of the iui, and quite a few smaller ones.  More than I've had at other iui's, so maybe that's thanks to the Folli.stim.  Everything else my RE said looked great: my lining, the "specimen", my CM, all of it.  I don't think I could have asked for any better conditions, so here's hoping the stars were aligned in my favor.  And now...it's time to sit back and wait.

I can honestly say I pulled out all the stops with this try, and did everything I could, short of IVF.  Last week I was at the clinic on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, AND Friday.  Thank goodness for a fabulous colleague who covered part of my first period class on Monday and Wednesday--I had very early appointments--and refused any kind of compensation for it.  He's getting cookies, though, and he's not allowed to turn them down! :)  My Thursday appointment forced me to miss forty five minutes of parent conferences, and luckily I only missed two that my amazing student teacher covered for me.  And because we all made it through sixteen hours of parent conferences, four after school on Wednesday and twelve (!!) on Thursday, 8 am until 8 pm, we had no school on Friday, my iui day.  I am still so glad for that, since I felt like absolute crapola afterwards.  I don't remember feeling so awful after my other ones: lower back soreness, and achiness that was kind of like mild cramping.  It lasted all evening, and I spent yesterday evening curled up on the couch.  Thankfully I feel a lot better today.

You know, I feel really good about everything.  If K asks about a sibling later, I can definitely say that I gave it my all.  If it doesn't work, I know with 100 percent certainty that we will be JUST FINE.  No regrets either way.  Yeah, I'll be sad for a while, but I know that there are a LOT of advantages to having an "only".  I can already tell, though, that it's gonna be a LOOONG two week wait!!

PS:  We had a bit of a scare today at a birthday party for one of K's preschool friends.  It was a bowling party at a nearby bowling alley, and she had an absolute BLAST.  After cake and presents, the girls wanted to bowl some more, and K was right there with them.  At this alley there was a metal slide-type thing that you roll the ball down, which gives it momentum down the lane.  During the whole party K was easily able to pick up the child-sized bowling balls and carry them, with arms underneath, over to the slide.  But unfortunately, this time either she slipped or dropped the ball, and landed on it face-down.  You can always tell by that scary cry that she's definitely hurt somehow.  The ball landed on (or rolled on) her hand, and my first thought was that maybe she broke her wrist or her hand.  Thank goodness it's fine, just a little sore.  She also got a bruise and a cut under her chin, and a tiny cut in her mouth, which I never was able to see.  But I tell you, it's no fun seeing blood coming out of the corner of your little girl's mouth and on her chin.  I ended up getting napkins and a cup of ice from the snack bar, and it all looks SO much better now.  Scary, but with a happy ending.  And to think I was considering having her birthday party in March at the same bowling alley!!  Yeah, I'm still considering it, though...we'll see.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Probably my last T42 attempt...

Yes.  Things are really picking up speed in this could-be-last Hail Mary attempt for number two.  (no offense to Catholicism intended, I swear)  I don't know whether I have another attempt in me, though I'm so completely thankful my RE is willing to go ahead with this try.  He actually seems to have NO problem with it whatsoever, possibly because I really don't have any fertility issues other than advanced maternal age (oy), and because I actually managed to have a healthy baby at the ripe old age of forty.  Forty!
He likes to say that I am in the rare one to two percentile category on the bell curve, which I guess is kinda flattering, maybe.  He also has a sister, Nancy, who had a baby naturally (!!!!) at age forty-seven, so you might say he knows that crazy miracles can happen.

  • I just finished five days of letro.zole (Fem.ara), and not a moment too soon.  I swear I had a low-grade headache nonstop for all five days.  I don't remember any side effects from last time, but then again, I can't deny that I'm getting older...
  • I did my first Folli.stim injection tonight, and it wasn't too bad at all.  Thank goodness I had a video to follow along with.  The injections 101 appointment with the nurse at my RE's office took a full hour and a half, probably because although she had watched the injections process taught to someone else, she had never done the teaching by herself before.  It all worked out fine because we just went over the instructions booklet together, but holy buckets, that appointment was long.  I have two more injections tomorrow evening and Sunday evening.
  • My next ultrasound appointment is bright and early Monday morning.  He's going to check the state of my follicles, and decide when I should do the Ovi.drel shot to trigger ovulation.  Insem day might actually be this coming week!  Yikes!
  • I turned forty-four on the eighth of this month.  Great birthday, but sobering as well, considering what a long shot this is.  But somehow I feel really, really hopeful, too.  I don't know why.
So there you have it.  I have a BIG week ahead of me.  I keep trying and trying to prepare myself that in all likelihood, this attempt probably won't work.  But it's hard.  Really hard.  I still feel hopeful, maybe because I've never done injectables before and now I really am doing the absolute most I can manage (can't afford IVF, after all).  I really want this to work.  Like, I can't even put into words how badly I want this to work.  And this blog space is pretty much the only place I can be completely honest about that. 

It's going to be a very, very sad day for me if it doesn't work.  But I also know that I'll just be sad and move on, because I am lucky enough to have the world's most awesome 3.5 year old girl who brightens up every little corner of my world. And that's no small thing.

(Another post all about her is coming soon.)

Here is a pic of my beautiful new niece, Piper Rose, whose one-month birthday is this Tuesday, October 22nd:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm an Aunt!!!!!

SO happy over here that I have a new baby niece!!  Piper Rose was born yesterday, September 22nd, at eight pounds, five ounces, to my brother and sister-in-law!  I haven't even seen a photo yet, but I'm completely in love with this tiny girl already.  Up until now, K has been the only grandchild, and now my parents can use the word "granddaughters"!  It doesn't quite register with K that she now has a "Cousin Piper", but at some point it will.  So over the moon right now!!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Life as we know it...

...is pretty darned awesome!

K absolutely LOVES her new preschool.  Well, except for in the mornings.  As in, just about every morning.  She'll say, "I'm too shy!" as soon as we get there, clings to my leg, and doesn't want me to set her down when I pick her up for hugs and kisses goodbye.  Truly, it's been getting easier over the past three weeks she's been going there, but considering how happy she is every time I walk in at pickup, how she doesn't want to leave, you'd think she'd be more receptive in the mornings!  But I think that's three years old for you.  All four teachers swear that five minutes after I leave, she's fine.  And I believe it.  I just think it's kind of funny how every morning, it's the same scenario.  Her favorite friend there is Dylan--I keep meaning to ask her which boy he is, but I keep forgetting.  Her least favorite kiddo is Connor, who "wears a red shirt and tells everyone they're babies."  She'll say he's "not nice.  Well, he's a little bit nice."  I love how she expresses herself--so funny how her little mind works!  I love the sentences she puts together!  I really think I need to invest in an old-fashioned tape recorder so I can capture her speech and her songs...for giggles as she gets older.

I really thought I was in for a rough year teaching-wise...SO many changes at my school and at the district level, not all for the good.  I even consented to taking on a student teacher, something I've never done before in 19 years of teaching.  The first week, I had serious second thoughts...too many changes, I wasn't sure I wanted a "constant shadow" to whom I'd have to explain absolutely everything all the time, always having to be "on".  But now I'm so glad I said yes!  Not only is he super easy to get along with, very open as far as talking about what he needs to get out of this experience, but, dare I say, he's become a fun friend to have around.  I'm finding myself appreciating the need to make sure every aspect of my teaching is up to par--it's a great challenge, believe it or not.  I still feel like I'm living in a fishbowl, but I also feel like I'm doing well this year, I really like my students (more than in other years), and I really feel like it's been a strong start to my year!  SO glad things are working out well at school.  So far, at least.

The only negative, which isn't really negative when I stop to think about it, is that on Friday I learned that I will have to postpone my next T42 iui another month.  Turns out--much to my surprise!--that I have a cyst on each ovary as a result of ovulation.  My RE says I have an 80 to 90 percent chance of them resolving themselves by next month.  I guess it's good that I'm ovulating from both ovaries, but it does worry me a little--what happens if they don't resolve?  Surgery?  Not being able to try again?  Definitely a few unanswered questions.  I'll be using injectables next month in addition to my Femara, so that's something new.  Plus I'm currently taking DHEA and CoQ10 each month to improve egg quality.  Interesting stuff.  Hoping for a miracle.  I turn 44 in October...but pregnancy isn't exactly unheard of at my age.  Still got my fingers crossed.

I will become an Aunt around September 17th!  SO excited to have a new niece!!!  As if getting to be a Mom isn't wonderful enough...now I get to be an Aunt too!!  I won't get to see her much, since my brother and sister-in-law live in MN, but the idea of it is still so exciting!

And now a few pictures...K and I did a fabulous Saturday morning yesterday at the mall, and we found some fun things to do!  We rode the Monkey Train--K loves her trains--made wishes and tossed pennies into the fountain, shared a soft pretzel together, petted the puppies at the pet store, and finished up by spending some time at the indoor playground.  It was an awesome outing, one I know we'll do again, just because.  :)  (Yup, she still loves her "Baby Thomas".  She calls him her "little one", and she likes to pretend he's crying about something so she can comfort him.  So cute!)

PS - K's half birthday is today, September second!  She is now officially three and a half.  In six months she'll be four.  So hard to believe!  She's growing up too fast for her Mama...

Friday, August 2, 2013


Today was the perfect day for cupcakes on the back steps!  Sadly our city's mobile cupcake truck will be no more after next week, and they're actually trying to sell the truck/business.  Maybe I should quit my job and hit the road?!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tiny picture post

K has new glasses and new prescription sunglasses, so we recently took some pics to send to Grandma and Grandpa:

In between switching glasses, she decided she had to mug for the camera:  "This is my sad face."  Which to me looks more mad than sad, but it's all good.  Really, this pic cracks me up whenever I look at it, since it's so "her".

K LOVES her books.  One morning while I was elsewhere in the house, she crawled into bed--way earlier than her usual naptime--and started looking at a favorite book.  It got too quiet for my liking, so when I went to check on her (again, WAY earlier than naptime, which she usually fights), I found this:

I just finished summer sewing project number four (after a sundress and top/shorts combo) last night, so again, took a few pictures to send to Grandma and Grandpa:

(Last picture:  love those little hands!)

Yes.  I admit it: I love to sew.  I've sewn a few things here and there in the recent past, but this summer it really hit me full-force.  My absolute favorite thing of this summer, LAME as it may be, (I don't care) is to break out the sewing machine after K has gone to bed, pour an ice-cold glass of raspberry lemonade etc, turn on the TV preferably to something like CSI, and work on a project.  This dress marks my very first buttonholes, pleats, and pleated pockets, and I kinda like how it turned out!  Room for improvement, of course, but all in all, not so bad.  But really, my favorite part of all of this is the process, taking a big piece of fabric, following the directions one step at a time, and actually turning it into something my girl can wear.  It's kinda magical to me.  :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

An interesting proposal

I was offered free preschool yesterday.  As an SMC on (obviously) only one income, it was mighty tempting. 

Miss K somehow managed to qualify for the Colorado Preschool Program, a program I registered for way back in January or February, when I was more concerned than I am now about her fine motor skills and how they might be impacted by her vision challenges (severe farsightedness).  At the time, I was told that it was a long shot because there most likely would be four and five year olds with bigger issues that would need to be resolved before they entered kindergarten, and K is only three.  In a nutshell, CPP is geared towards preschoolers who are considered to be "at risk" for a variety of reasons: living at the poverty level, being homeless, struggling with language barriers, and also having some sort of special needs (like vision) that might affect their success in kindergarten and beyond.  Most families qualify due to income, but not all, especially where special needs are concerned.

And we got in!  I just got the letter yesterday in the mail.  At first I was excited, because hey, it's free preschool!  And it does feel somewhat like an honor to qualify...hard to do at age three.  I was excited because it's an intensive program that coordinates with a lot of community resources to support the "whole" child.  It goes without saying that I want the strongest possible start for K, and this program really seemed to be a great way to go about it. 

But... (and it's a big but) it's only a half-day program, four days per week, held at an elementary school that is in the opposite direction from my workplace.  Doable, but certainly not convenient.  The website claimed that they partner with other daycare centers and home daycares for parents who need full-day care, but when I called today, I was told that they couldn't "advertise" daycares because it would be showing preference for certain ones.  (Wha?)  So it leaves me with the need to find afternoon caregivers who can pick K up from preschool, not to mention the impact it would have on K, needing to go to two different places every day (and the whole day on Mondays).  Not good. 

But the biggest reason I think I'm going to turn it down?  My dear girl is NOT actually an at-risk kid.  Not financially, cognitively, socially, or emotionally.  Not even because of her vision.  She's handling her glasses just fine, they correct her vision just as they're supposed to, and she's currently doing beautifully with her fine motor skills.  Some would say that my single parent status puts her at risk, but I strongly disagree.  It doesn't sit well to consider putting her into a preschool program where she'd be surrounded by other kids who have greater challenges (socioeconomic, behavioral, emotional, etc.) than she does.  This program requires two home visits per year by a "family advocate" (because they want to support the families as well as the kids) as well as a 90-minute home visit EVERY WEEK to do customized activities with the child.  Yeah, how am I going to find time for that?!  I'm not too excited about basically being treated like a family "at risk" for an entire school year, feeling like I'm living under a microscope, meeting with all these different people.  For a little while after I got the letter, I did consider forfeiting the registration fee I just paid for K's new preschool so I could go with this one, but now I'm content with my decision to keep her at the one we chose.  It's nice to feel like I made the right decision in the first place.  :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

She's on her way!

Preschool decision?  Made!
Potty training this summer?  Done!

Two big-ish things off my plate, and it feels darn good.  We got kind of a late start with the potty training thing, mainly (in my opinion) because I'm not a stay-at-home mom, and both I and K's daycare provider last year were quite laissez-faire about the whole thing.  It's hard to try to do one thing at home, and not have it reinforced at daycare.  But really, I don't think she was all that ready before June rolled around, to be honest.  We pretty much started the potty training gig as soon as school let out in late May, and I'd say she's probably 95 percent there.  She wears undies exclusively at home, sometimes a Pull-Up at night, and sometimes (if she'd had an accident recently) a Pull-Up when we went out, just for insurance purposes.  This whole growing up thing is kind of blowing my mind lately...but it's still all good.  Things are happening just the way they're supposed to.

I decided on the preschool program that is right across the street from my school, and we paid the registration fee yesterday.  The last one we visited, a church-based daycare/preschool, would have been a good second choice, but it was definitely bigger than the one we chose (infants all the way through school-age) and LOUDER too!  Those little three year old boys (and I'm sure some girls too, though I didn't notice them) were rambunctious!!  Turns out, it wasn't as inexpensive as I thought--it was a misprint on the website AND in the brochure...should have read ages 4-5 instead of 3-5.  But I really liked the people and the classrooms, and we even met a few little girls that the tour-giver thought might be good friends for K.  It was so sweet!  The preschool we chose has a fabulous playground, and since yesterday I've been talking it up to Miss K, telling her all about the fun she's going to have, the new things she's going to learn, and the new friends she's going to make.  I think she might even be halfway buying it...maybe.  She was intrigued yesterday by the fact that I was able to point to my school from the parking lot of "her" school...she can see that it's really close, and she comes to my school all the time, so I think that's at least a little bit reassuring.  This preschool is only $10 per week more expensive than the church-based one, $45 per week more than what I was paying last year, and we'll definitely make it work.  I'm getting excited, and it's great to know where she's going to be next year...finally!

So jeez.  I have less than a month to go (I go back on August 12th for "teacher stuff", then the kids have their first day on August 19th.  We still have to go camping, ride a new train in Cripple Creek (a small town quite close to us), finish sewing projects (the sewing bug hit me this summer HARD), finish reading a few school books and a few leisure books, keep going with swim lessons (another one this afternoon), continue working on my classroom--yes, I've already started!--continue gardening (new grass and flowers this summer!), and get the house in shape for a new school year.  I think I have plenty to keep us busy!  :)

The last truly big decision I have to make is what to do once my cycle starts up again, in a matter of days.  My RE said to just give him a call once it starts, and we'll go from there.  My friend Jennifer, who is a few years younger than I, had her baby girl in January via embryo adoption, and couldn't be happier.  In the months leading up to her embryo transfer, she and I both agreed that we have been praying for one of two things to happen: either we actually get pregnant, or we find a way to be content with not having another child, and to be content with the family we have.  I don't know if this is God's influence or what, but lately I've been feeling a little more okay (MAYBE) with us being a mother-and-daughter family, small as it is.  I'm really starting to question whether I want to put forth the expense, the emotional investment, and the heartache into trying yet one more time, especially at my age.  The jury is still out...I'm still leaning towards trying once again.  But it kind of depends on the day...no clear-cut answer yet.  I better keep praying.  :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Preschool conundrums (conundra?!) **EDITED**

Heavy sigh.

This is when a spouse or partner might come in handy.  I'm feeling some sense of urgency now that I only have a month (a MONTH!) left before the marathon that is a new school year begins again.  I need to make The Decision about where K will be every day while I'm back at work.  For the most part it's turning out to be a choice between the home daycare scenario where K was last year, and the preschool-type place that is basically across the street from my school.  I've actually written out the pros and cons on paper to try and figure out where I stand...it's still a tough call, no two ways about it.  And who is the person who has to make this choice?  Yeah, me.  Only me.  [another heavy sigh]

The main pros of Miss Jackie's are that it's a cozy, homey environment that K looooves, it's my comfort zone, I do like the moms who bring their kids there, it's VERY affordable (the main pro), and it's just more (for lack of a better word) intimate.

The cons include the fact that it's less academic than an actual preschool would be, last I heard, Miss Jackie wants to take on a young infant who is the sib of one of the girls who goes there, which I'm not sure is the best decision, I kind of get the feeling Miss Jackie is starting to burn out (she's been doing this daycare gig for a long time now), too much TV is watched there, and last year Miss Jackie didn't often include K (who was the youngest) in much of the pencil-and-paper, fine motor skills stuff the other kids were doing.

The pros of the Creative Play Center include the fact that it's much more academic, it offers a wide range of activities, themes, and field trips, the hours are better (it's open later than Miss Jackie's), the food is a little better, there are more opportunities for K to make friends, there are more teachers there, and they even offer ten vacation days per year for which I don't have to pay (this doesn't include the summer).  Great playground, too.

The cons of Creative Play are the COST (it's almost $200 more per month), it's a bigger environment (we visited last week, and K was more than a little shy and shellshocked), and I would be only one of many, many parents there--would I end up feeling like just another number?  If I have concerns, would I be heard?  Who knows.  I know that K would get used to it, but I do feel some guilt about possibly taking her away from a place she loves.  But that doesn't mean she wouldn't grow to love this preschool, either.

There are still a few places I want to check out, but after writing this out, I think the best choice is probably the preschool, and I would just have to suck it up and pay the higher amount.  The flip side of it, though (I really hate flip sides!) is that she has this year and next year before she heads off to kindergarten, so theoretically I could keep her at Miss Jackie's for another year and then send her off to preschool the following year, the year before she starts kindergarten.  I feel like I have to decide soon, not only to hold her spot wherever we pick, but also to get things settled in my brain.

In other news, I got the results of the blood tests from my RE, and if I choose to do it, all systems are go for another iui.  My hormone levels are all good, but that doesn't say anything about egg quality.  My RE asked me to give the clinic a call after my next cycle starts (in a couple of weeks) and we'll go from there.  He's talking about injectibles, and also DHEA, which apparently is one of the newest protocols for aging women like myself, haha!  The question is, am I up for it?  Should I just give up the dream already?  I know that deep in my heart, I do have one more try in me, even at the ripe old age of 43.  (Halle Berry, anyone?)  If my RE is up for it, which he is, maybe I am too.  I have noticed lately, though, that more and more I've been envisioning a life with just me and K, and it's starting to look kinda...great.  That might well become our reality, for better or for worse.

**EDITED to add:

This afternoon (Thursday) we're off to check out another preschool, which *might* be the best of both possible worlds: affordable AND with the advantages of an established preschool program.  It's also close to my school and my aunt's and uncle's house (in case they need to pick up K at any point).  The curiosity is killing me!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Close encounters of the...ahem...venison kind.

Caution:  Long play-by-play post here, so grab a nice cup of coffee and come back to read it, if you have the patience!

So as I mentioned in my last post, yes, I managed to hit a deer at the tail end (no pun intended) of our big birthday train trip adventure in Durango last March.  It was about 8:30 pm and we had first left Alamosa, a decent-sized city that is home to Adams State College, then passed through the tiny town of Monte Vista, Colorado.  Dark, but not quite pitch black yet.  The area was pretty rural, though I had noticed a brightly-lit gas station on my left.  Out of nowhere a group of three deer darted across the road.  I missed two, but couldn't avoid the third, and I hit his flank with my right front fender.  Once I realized I couldn't avoid him, I literally gripped the wheel a little tighter and braced myself for the bump, not unlike being in a bumper car and knowing you're about to hit another car.  I was only going about 35 mph or so, not fast, and it seriously felt I would just end up bumping him out of the way, since I hit the deer's flank as he ran fast across the road, and he seemed to just keep going.  I didn't even expect much, if any, damage to the car...I drive a Jeep Wrangler with the best bumpers in the world, strong as hell.  And they didn't disappoint--not a scratch on 'em.  The front grill was a different story.

I immediately slowed down and pulled over onto the shoulder, and the first words out of my mouth were, "K, are you okay??"  She was fine; we both were.  Physically, that is.  But she didn't cry...I think she was as surprised as I was.  After I pulled over, I noticed two things:  I heard an audible hiss, and I noticed that my headlights were pointing in weird directions.  By this point, it was pitch black, but I could still see the lights of the gas station behind me, so that's where I headed.  I turned the car around, and drove a block or so very slowly back the other way, feeling very thankful for all those bright lights.  I honestly didn't know what had happened to the deer, and that that point, I was assuming that he was all right, since it hadn't felt like such a hard collision at all.  I nervously stepped out of the car and peered around at the front end, not sure what I would see.  It didn't look that bad--a wide but shallow indentation in the front grill, a broken signal-light cover, a front passenger-side fender that was dented out of shape, and lots and lots of deer hair on the bumper (yuck).  Thankfully, no blood or other yucky stuff, which was what I was hoping I wouldn't have to look at.  An older man stepped out of his truck to go inside the gas station, and we made a little bit of small talk, me telling him that I had just hit a deer.  I honestly don't even recall what he said in response.  I knew Monte Vista was just a few blocks beyond the gas station, and I figured that K and I would have to find a motel or something where we could spend the night, since I was just too shaky to keep driving, it was late, and I wasn't sure what was up with the car.

In just those few blocks, I saw that the car had started to overheat badly, something was still hissing (the radiator!!), and the engine just didn't sound right.  It was all I could do to get the car to limp into the parking lot of the local Dairy Queen, pretty much the first business I came to.  I turned the car off and sat for a few minutes, hoping the engine might get a chance to cool off some.  But then it would. not. start.  And I really started to feel panicky.  Nothing happened whatsoever when I turned the key.  I realized then that we would definitely need a place to stay for the night, and as luck would have it, there was a motel right across the street, so I grabbed K and my purse and walked over there.  It was nicer on the inside than it looked on the outside, and the guy at the counter was friendly and professional, so I chose to make a reservation (since I didn't really have any other choice!).  I almost had a heart attack when I walked in, though, because the entire motel was decorated on the inside in Early American Hunter, complete with a HUGE deer head mounted on the wall of the lobby, just inside the front door!  The very last thing I wanted to see, trust me.  The room itself was very homey and almost cute, and it even had a small, but full kitchen in a separate room.  I thought, "Well, this might not be so bad after all!"  So we headed back across the street towards the Dairy Queen to grab our suitcase and so forth.

Now I've seen enough episodes of SVU, Criminal Minds, and the like to know that I really had to get in touch with someone to tell them what had happened.   And I know that I am opening myself up to endless tongue-lashings (and rightfully so, so please be merciful) when I sheepishly admit that we were traveling sans cell phone--these days I have a land line and a cheapie cell phone only for emergencies.  Why I neglected to bring the cheapie cell phone on the trip, I have NO idea.  Stupid, stupid, stupid, a thousand times over.  So anyway, we went inside the Dairy Queen, which surprisingly enough looked much more like your average Denny's or IHOP, wait-to-be-seated and everything.  It was actually quite nice, and I was glad it was right across the street from our little motel.  I asked if there was any kind of public phone (there was not), but the manager, bless her heart, offered her cell phone for me to make a long distance call.  I called my aunt back in Colorado Springs, just so she was aware of what had happened, then with the manager's permission I made a quick call to my parents.  I figured I'd have to find a repair place the next day, but I wasn't even sure how that was going to work since the next day was Sunday!  Things weren't looking good, but at least we had a place to stay for the night...and then the manager insisted, "I wouldn't stay there if I were you!"    /gulp/

After talking with the manager and a few of the employees up at the front counter, I learned that I could buy a little Trac phone at the dollar store down the road, but that it wasn't within walking distance at all.  No pay phones around, either.  I was a little surprised that this town didn't even have taxi service, so I wasn't sure what we were going to do about getting to this dollar store, since I really needed a cell phone for the next day.  (Yes, in case you were wondering, I did learn my lesson!)  One of the employees, a sweet girl in her late teens/early twenties, offered to drive us there, so I took a leap of faith and accepted the ride.  (She had a booster seat in her car from giving her nephew a ride, so it was safe for K, too.)  She told me that her cousin was a mechanic, and he might even be able to drive over and look at the car that night, to give me a ballpark idea of what might be wrong with it.  While I went into the dollar store she'd call him and ask.  I really didn't know what to expect, but I felt that I didn't have much to lose at that point.  After I got the Trac phone, we drove back to the Dairy Queen to wait for her cousin to show up.   K and I went in, sat down at a table, and I put my hands over my face in utter exhaustion and, quite frankly, desperation.  All of a sudden, someone spoke my name: "Heather?" and I looked up to see the face of my friend Nicole, whom I haven't seen in at least five years.  I couldn't believe it!  She hugged me, and it was like a dam burst.  I looked at her and just dissolved into tears.  She was like, what on earth?!  So I told her the whole story, and she said, "Well, the first thing we're going to do is go across the street and cancel your motel reservation, because you're coming home with me!"   Nicole lives in Alamosa, about ten miles back the way we came.

Nicole was an absolute lifesaver.  She and her fiance Steve had gone to the Dairy Queen with another couple after having gone out to a movie, and she just happened to have a craving for a blizzard, so they stopped in.  She said they had never even been to that Dairy Queen before, which blows my mind.  We did wait for the cousin, who also turned out to be amazing.  He looked at the car and discovered that the force of the impact had knocked the fan blades into the side of the radiator, making a big gash and actually bending the blades.  He handed me his business card, and it turned out that he has had a home business doing car repairs for the past fifteen years.  He was willing to do the work the next day, and he did a terrific job for a very reasonable price, on a Sunday, no less.  I bought a new radiator for him to install, and he bent the fan blades back as well as getting all the fluid levels back up to par.  It ended up to be a lovely weekend visiting with Nicole and Steve at their beautiful home, and they both loved meeting K as they hadn't met her before.  Despite the circumstances, it was absolutely wonderful reconnecting with Nicole and hanging out at her house the next day!  She was more than willing to run all the errands I needed to run, i.e. going to the car parts store, checking on the car, etc. and it really was a lot of fun after all.  We headed back home late Sunday afternoon, and the car completely behaved itself, except for the headlights still being a bit wonky.  Unbelievably, another deer did run across the road on the way home, but thankfully I was able to avoid him.  It freaked me out, though.  Oh, and Nicole mentioned that she thought she saw a dead deer near the spot where I said the accident had happened, so it would seem that he didn't make it after all.  Sorry, old fellow!

I am so, so thankful to have run into Nicole that night at the Dairy Queen, and truly, I am not so sure it was just a coincidence.  She and Steve are both such wonderful people, and I recently got a beautiful invitation in the mail to come to their wedding on July 12th!  I have to admit, I am feeling rather nervous about it since the wedding is at a ranch southwest of Alamosa, so I have to drive that same route all over again.  I'm still so paranoid about hitting another deer (that was my first deer collision, and the first accident since getting my Jeep back in '02), yet I see them all the time when I drive around my neighborhood.  K still talks about our "crunch with the deer".  But I think we'll go, and you bet your sweet bippy I'll have my cell phone with me!      

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Photo post: Birthday train trip adventure

Thank you for such a warm welcome back!!  It's such a pleasure to hear from my "blogging family" again, and it means more than you know.  :)

Instead of throwing a party for K's third birthday this past March, I decided to take her on a little road trip instead.  We had a blast--we traveled about five hours west to Durango to ride the historic train (on her birthday!) between Durango and Silverton.  She looooves trains, and she's still talking about the trip and asking when we can do it again.  It was a pretty big undertaking, so I don't know when we'll do that exact trip again, but there are several smaller trains we can ride that are a lot closer to home.

You can see that she was pretty tuckered out on the way back...she took a snooze in the sunshine on my lap.
What will have to wait till another post (sorry!) is what happened on the way home: we were between two small towns at about 8:30 pm when three deer lunged across the road, and I hit one, taking my car out of commission.  Something else K still talks about, when our car had the "crunch with the deer".  The story has a happy ending, but as wonderful as this day was, it ended pretty awfully.
To be continued...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Has it really been almost a year since I last posted?!?

I have started SO many blog posts in my head over the past...ahem...year.  For whatever reason I just haven't been able to commit them to an actual post, and I don't really know why.  Well, I have my suspicions, but they've been hard to admit to myself.  I think the main obstacle has been that I just haven't had anything new to report on the baby number two front.  There simply hasn't been extra money for anything fertility-related, and I'm still waiting to find out whether my "window" has closed.  My finances have been very challenging ever since last June for reasons I don't want to get into, and for me, financial stress is the worst kind.  It's what keeps me up at night, and eats away at me during the day.  I don't have anyone I can fall back on financially, and now that I have a daughter to support, the worry of how am I going to hang in there until the end of the month has been tough.  The bright side is that I've been able to knock off a considerable amount of debt over the past six months, and things are *really* starting to lighten up.  It's a good feeling, especially considering where I was last June.

I am currently awaiting bloodwork results, namely my AMH results, to tell me whether a pregnancy might still be a possibility at my age.  I have two unsuccessful IUIs under my belt in this quest for #2, but I haven't done one since last June, when I found out that it didn't work on the first day of our evacuation during last summer's big wildfire.  I consulted with my RE at the end of May, and he was very realistic with me about the slim chance I have of conceiving again, based purely on my age (43).  The fact that I had a baby at 40 does actually bode well, so it's definitely still possible, technically.  I really need to give him a call tomorrow to see whether he's received the AMH results...my blood had to travel all the way to the Mayo Clinic in MN.  I am actually considering pursuing home insemination on a monthly basis...I found a sperm bank in CA that does offer unwashed sperm specifically for home insemination.  I can afford to do this monthly, but in-clinic IUIs are a lot more expensive, so I definitely can't afford to pursue that option every month.  Maybe every other month or every third month.  I haven't figured out whether it would be more effective to try home IVIs every month versus an IUI every third month.  As I understand it, quite a few women have conceived via home insemination, so maybe it's possible.  Are the advantages of IUI that much better than IVI?!  The jury's still out.  Lately I've been trying to more deliberately envision my life with one child instead of the two I've always imagined, and it's not easy.  I would love to be content with one child, but so far I haven't been able to get myself to that place.

In the meantime, K and I have been completely enjoying our summer off!  (Well, with the exception of having to relive the horror of last summer's wildfire.  That's been very hard over the past week, but thankfully the firefighters have now achieved 85 percent containment, so for all practical purposes the fire is out.  They're putting out the hot spots and allowing most of the evacuees to head back to their homes, many of which are still intact and many of which have been destroyed.  It's heartwrenching to read the stories...the number of destroyed homes is now up to 502, with two fatalities.  I think there's a part of me that's in denial that it has happened again...that it's not possible for my city to have had to endure yet another wildfire just one year later, and this time it's the worst one yet.  They say it's now the worst wildfire in Colorado history.  It's the third one I've been through:  there was the Hayman fire back in 2002 (I wasn't evacuated, fortunately, but I came very, very close: on pre-evacuation status for many days.), the Waldo Canyon fire last June when we were evacuated, and now the Black Forest fire.  Evacuation was never really a possibility for us this time--we live NW of the city, and the fire was mostly north-central and northeast of Colorado Springs proper.  Completely horrifying to watch the footage of homes burning down and see the photos of nothing left of people's homes but ash and rubble.  I don't think I've been able to sort out my feelings about this latest fire yet...I don't want to let the reality of it sink in too far because it's just too horrible to contemplate.  It's so easy to say, "Well, it was just stuff.  At least you and your family are okay."  Even though that statement is true, a home is so much more than just a house, and so, so many people lost nearly everything they owned as well as a special place with so many memories attached to it.  They've lost their home base, their center of operations, their comfort zone, their sense of security.  It's almost too much to contemplate.  The silver lining of all this (and it's a big one) has been the incredible response of our community--firefighters, companies, groups, individuals, families putting forth time, energy, money, and compassion to help out in any way they can.  People have spent countless hours rescuing animals, putting together donations, pooling resources, feeding firefighters, you name it.  It's been so beautiful to witness.  I'll admit it, my faith is important to me, and the only way for me to describe it is that God's work is being done here.  It's been an emotional week.

Well, enough of that.  As I was saying, it's been a great summer so far for K and me.  We've been busy doing all of the fun stuff that there doesn't seem to be as much time for during the school year.  I will make a more concerted effort to post pictures etc. of our adventures this summer!  I'm planning to take K camping next month, and hopefully we can make it happen.  I'm also planning on swim lessons for K starting next month.  She's a great girl at three...in a nutshell, she loves trains (including Thomas), everything Toy Story-related, she loves to "read" books and be read to, loves playing outside, visiting the library (which we did today), and going to the pool.  She talks a blue streak all the time, loves joking around and being silly, and I just love spending time with her!  She is stubborn, though (just like her mama) and we're struggling right now with her not wanting to take naps or go to bed ("I not tired!!  I don't want to go to bed!").  I've quickly discovered that my skills in managing middle school kids simply don't apply with a preschooler!  Speaking of preschool, she's currently on the waiting list for our neighborhood school district's preschool program.  It's an amazing, high-powered school district--NOT the one I teach in, but the one we live in.  To be on the safe side, I am also going to investigate the private daycare/preschool that is across the street from the school I teach in.  It comes highly recommended to me by a colleague, and the location is ideal.  Time will tell.  :)

Well, that has to be it for now.  Several other posts are still percolating in my brain, and those will most likely appear within the next few weeks.  It feels good to open the floodgates again, so to speak, and write down how I've been feeling lately.  I've never stopped reading others' blog posts, though I've been lurking almost exclusively.  It's good to be back!