It Lives!
This post will not be pretty. There will likely be too much information and too much honesty. If you are easily offended by either, I suggest you don't continue reading.

Honestly, I have no idea where to begin this story. I wrote a short entry awhile back about gonig through the IVF process over the summer, so I suppose I should pick up where I left off.
We picked a donor, and she did her thing. We were ecstatic with the results. 18 eggs harvested, 15 fertilized, 10 high quality. 1 to transfer, 9 to freeze for later. We'd have 10 tries at making a baby. The results could not have been better, really. We went in on the day of the transfer, and thirty minutes later we walked out, hopefully on our way to being pregnant.

I knew, 5 days post-transfer, that it worked. I was at work, checking my email, when a strong wave of nausea came over me out of nowhere. No big deal. I got a Sprite, sucked it up, and went and worked with some kids. 5 days post-transfer would be about 3 weeks 3 days PG. I wasn't suppoed to get a home PG test, but I couldn't wait. I tested positive that afternoon. The line was pretty faint though, and I didn't tell Andy that it was positive with any cetainty. I figured I'd try to wait for the blood test on Friday.  Yeah right. I peed on a stick the next morning - big fat positive! I was knocked up!

I couldn't believe it. I don't think either of us could believe it. National statistics don't allow for this working on the first try. Thankfully, our doc is GOOD at what he does. Really good. For the next few days I learned to manage the pretty mild nausea with constant eating. I peed on about 10 more sticks. Still pregnant!  Friday FINALLY rolled around. My doc's office called that afternoon and told us the good news. It was official. Still, we were shocked, but excited.

I wish I could relate how exciting those first two weeks were. I've already forgotten that feeling. Walking around, knowing that aall the hard work by us and the doctor paid off. That we were on our way to making a family. It almost felt too good to be true. Like, wow, this is really freaking happening. How did this happen?! How did we get here?

Something changed the next week.The nausea was more pervasive, a constant fixture. I knew that was completely normal, buut it was getting a little difficult not to look green at work. I had to run out of the classroom a lot. Not to puke, but just to get aa breath of fresh air and put myself back together again. By Wednesday, I was exhausted. The nausea in the evenings was wretchedly bad, and I wasn't sleeping at night because I was too busy throwing up. Andy convinced me to take Thursday off just to get some sleep. I spent all day vomiting. I spent all day Friday vomiting. I don't mean just a little bit. I mean every hour, every thirty minutes. I was living on the bathroom floor. On Friday, after going 8 hours without peeing, we decided to call the OB. By that evening, I was in the hospital.

It's nice being pregnant when you walk into an emergency room. You're instantly bumped up to the top of the list. I was within triage within 5 minutes and on an IV within 10.  It took 3 RNs about 15-20 tries to find a vein. They were all shriveled up and dead, dehydrated. As soon as they got me hooked up to fluids, they pushed in some IV Zofran, which is a drug used to combat chemotherapy-caused nausea and vomiting. That didn't really work. I was still throwing up in the ER. My blood pressure was low - 80-something over 40-something, and my heartrate was in the 100s. My heart was overly stressed by 48 hoours of vomiting and the dehydration. I was spilling ketones, which are a byproduct of starvation and malnutrition. My body hhad already started eating its own fat in order to get the energy it needed. The doc sent me to ultrasound to make sure the fetus was okay. I was exactly 6 weeks that day - October 5th. I didn't get to see the monitor, but Andy could see the baby in there. The tech didn't do a doppler, but Andy said he could actually see the heartbeat on the fetus. Baby was still there.

The doc came to see us after getting back from ultrasound. After looking at my blood tests, he told us it was textbook hyperemesis gravidarum - excessive, uncontrollable nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. WHAT?!  At this point, Andy and II were still not quite sure what was going on, but okay, at least we had an answer. Now what? The doc wanted to admitt me since my body was trying to shut itself down and I needed continuous IV fluids and meds. The nausea was still not under contrrol, so they pumped in some Phenergan.  Once that took effect, it was nigtht night time. I barely remember being wheeled to a room and set up in the bed. I was out until the next day, when all hell broke loose.

To be continued...

It begins
We've made it through the first phase of pre-IVF testing with the fertility god. I had to get multiple blood tests, a transvaginal ultrasound (NBD), a hysterogram, a hysterosalpingogram, and finally a hysteroscopy. They are listed in order of fucked-upness. Andy got the sweet end of the deal - blood tests and a semen analysis. We finished off Round 1 with a psych evaluation.


I was a bit nervous going in.  Luckily, it was a kumbaya session about, "does your family know, do your friends know, and do you plan on telling your baby later that half of his DNA isn't yours?" blah blah blah stuff.  I might have made a comment about how its easier for women "to lie back and think of their country" when they do it the old-fashioned way, but it has been interesting for me to go through painful testing and whatnot in order to get the job done. Thankfully, the social worker laughed. Hopefully we come out smelling like roses on the report.

Next week is our final consultation with the fertility god before we go in to pick a donor. I think we discuss the results of all the testing and make sure everything is good to go on my and Andy's end.  If all that has gone well, we pick a donor and get the party started. More on that later.


(no subject)
Well, crap.

Everything started off so well. It was a gorgeous morning. I started the race and ran the first mile pretty fast (for me, at least - 10:30) and was feeling good. At mile 1 I went off the trail for what was supposed to be a nice, meandering shortcut. Lies!! The undergrowth was ridiculously thick - I was bushwhacking through serious undergrowth and couldn't even run. It took me 20 minutes to cover a kilometer. Killed my time. I went in at the middle of the pack and came out only a few spots from dead last. I was feeling pretty disheartened by that point. What the hell happened? Was I the only weirdo who took the supposedly no-undergrowth shortcut? More on that later (I wasn't).

I was still feeling good, and had to tear ass through the next 4+ miles. The elevation was killer. When I say tear ass, I mean try to make 11:30 miles. There was a lot of hands-on-knees climbing. At one point, I had to cross a river by climbing up onto a fallen tree, then using a rope tied to the tree to pull myself up the rest of the way. More hands-on-knees climbing ensued.

My feet started burning at about mile 4. I usually have issues with blisters, so I shrugged it off and just trudged on. I started making up pretty good time. I encountered the leaders somewhere between mile 4 and 5, so they were only a few miles ahead of me, and they were hauling balls. I felt better. It wasn't until almost mile 6 that I started running into the majority of the pack. I had made up a lot of ground.

I stopped at the 6.3 mile checkpoint and checked my feet. Crap. They were dunzos. I went into the checkpoint at 1 hr 40 minutes for 6.3 miles. My little 20 minute, 1 kilometer detour killed me. I slapped on some Band-Aids and set out for the last half. As I was leaving, another woman was talking about how she took the same shortcut and it took her a ridiculously long time. She came into the checkpoint just behind me. Apparently, I was not the only weirdo that screwed up. :D

I got another mile into the back 6.3, and realized that my feet were totally hamburger meat. Every downhill felt like I was lighting a fire under my feet. I called it at that point, then turned around and walked back another mile to the last checkpoint. Finished.

My first DNF was tough to take. I teared up a little bit, but chilled out after convincing myself that a race like this, no matter how fun, was not worth destroying my feet for the next couple weeks. I plan on increasing my mileage soon, and I didn't want to screw that up.

I have blisters on the balls of my feet, the tips of my toes, and deep blisters on my heels. Those deep ones are the worst. I'm a little bloody and a little bruised, and I just washed spiderwebs out of my hair. Running into the first spiderweb freaked me out, but after running through about 30 of them it didn't faze me anymore. Bring on the spiders.

Next time, I'm doing some serious foot-doctoring. In a couple weeks, I wanna get back on this trail and vindicate myself. I'm so totally disappointed. I had plenty of gas left in the tank, but no feet to run on.

Been a long time
It has been awhile since my last post. Almost a year, actually. It has been a rough year, now that I look back on it. I sort of hit my wit's end with dealing with depression, ennui (fancy), and worthlessness. I was tired of being fat (180 lbs at my heaviest, though everyone, of course, swore they couldn't tell). Rabbits ate all my plants over the summer and I did a lot of vacationing, which took me away from the computer for long stretches of time. Once school started up again whoreganic was officially hibernating.

One year later, I resolve to actually blog.

What better thing to blog about today than diagnostic testing on my uterus?!  Awhile back I wrote about my premature ovarian failure diagnosis and how I am unable to conceive a child naturally. My husband and I decided to make a go of donor egg stuff some time at the end of 2011. We were training for a half marathon, and I made the first consultation appointment for two days after we ran the half (more on the half marathon and all the running later). I've had to go through a battery of tests to make sure that I can successfully and safely carry a child.

PTSD demands I talk about the hysteroscopy right now.

My poor ute has had a rough go of it for the past couple months. I've had a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), sonohysterogram, and a hysteroscopy. The hysteroscopy was today. The other two procedures/tests paled in comparison to the extreme discomfort I felt during today's thing. To make a long story short, a hysteroscopy sorta goes like this:

(If you don't wanna know anything about invasive wimmen things, turn away now)
1. Scare the shit out of woman by making her sign a release form.
2. Require woman to put on hairnet and cloth bootie-things on her feet, complete with paper gown.
3. Usher woman into big room with bed and giant stirrups. Make sure you leave scary instruments on a table next to woman.
4. Woman begins to freak out because woman has already had HSG and sonohysterogram, both of which were painful for childless, technically post-menopausal woman.
5. Get started.
6. Inject lidocaine into cervix.
7. Insert cervix dialator. Go from 0 to 1 cm dilated in 1 second.
8. Wait.
9. Insert thing and pump ute full of fluid. Go from 0 to 10 weeks pregnant in one second.
10. Insert camera. A fucking camera, my friends.
11. Poke around with camera.
12. Say, "Ok, now it's time for the endometrial biopsy. You will feel this, but after this you're all done."
13. Drill some devil-thing into woman's ute, take chunk of endometrial lining for future study.
14. Drain fluid.
15. I don't remember this step.
16. After getting dressed, woman walks out to waiting room and asks husband if he could here her scream.

Does it sound terrible? It was wretched. Some only feel slight discomfort, but for a post-menopausal woman who has never had children and is only 30, it can suck gorilla balls. I took three Tylenol before the procedure, but the only thing it did was knock me out when I got home an hour later. I have residual bleeding (like day 3 or period bleeding) and cramping. 

To put this all in perspective though, it's all for a good cause. The doctor wants to make sure that should an embryo be deposited in my uterus, all will be well and hospitable inside there. From what the doctor has said, things are looking good. We have to make an appointment with a social worker to talk about donor egg stuff, and then we'll be ready to pick a donor after that. Things are happening. The worst of the stuff is over now. We just get to sit back and enjoy the ride. Hopefully I'll be knocked up within the next couple months.

I guess backtracking and explaining the past year would be pointless. So here we are again. I'm considering this day 1 of a new whoreganic adventure.    

A recipe, by me
My girlfriends took me out to a French place in Dupont called Bistrot du Coin for my 29th birthday. It. was. awesome. Good food, good wine, and lots of fun. To start I had the Salade Frisée aux Lardons. It was, in a word, delectable. I think it's also called Salad Lyonnaise, but don't quote me on that. Salade Frisée aux Lardons contains bacon (holy hell!), croutons, vinegar (trust me, it's good), and a poached egg. Sounds a little f'ed, yeah? I made my very own version of it for dinner this evening, and DH called it "the salad to end all salads." Such a darling.

I'm not exactly sure what a more traditional french version of this recipe looks like, but if you want to try making it from a French recipe, go here. I based my recipe on lots of different recipes (at least 6 or 7), my own taste buds, and how it "looked" at Bistrot du Coin. I'm patting my back after this one, ya'll.
Salade Frisée aux Lardons

cue watering mouth...

to poach the eggs:
3 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar. I recommend moderate to high quality - I use Lucini's pinot noir vinegar
4 eggs (you may need more just in case you're like me and you eff up the first couple tries)
large ladle
large saucepan or pot with 2 inches salted water
bowl of very warm salted water

for the salad:
This is really important - use endive lettuce or baby frisee. These lettuces are fairly bitter and will stand up to the hot dressing without wilting. It just doesn't taste "right" if you don't use these lettuces. As baby frisee is rather expensive, I mixed up one little bunch with endive lettuce. Gives the salad a little more color variation.

for the toppings/dressing:
Large saucepan
2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup of dijon mustard (personal taste)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced (again, personal taste)
Thick cut or slab bacon. The thicker the better. Chop bacon into 1.5 inch long pieces, about a finger's width thick
Salad/pepper to taste.


Set the pot of water to boil. Add the vinegar and a couple pinches of salt. To poach the eggs, crack the egg into the large ladle, then gently set the ladle in the boiling water with the egg and let it slide out. Add the other eggs, but do not allow them to overlap. Reduce the heat a little bit and simmer the eggs for about 3 to 4 minutes. You want the eggs to be runny when you cut into them. Use a slotted spoon to drop the eggs in the bowl of warm, salted water.

Saute the bacon on medium-high heat in a large saucepan. It should be brown on all sides. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. You want the bacon to leave plenty of grease behind in the pan - at least three tablespoons. If there isn't enough, supplement with olive oil. Leave the heat on, turn down to medium.

With saucepan on medium, add the garlic and the shallot, cook for 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Turn heat down to low. Add the butter, red wine, and the dijon mustard. Stir until blended.

Divide the salad onto four plates, add the croutons and drizzle the dressing over the top. Top with the poached egg, then salt and pepper to taste. Keep the red wine vinegar handy in case you want a bit more of the vinegar taste.

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Monica, why you so quiet?
My garden sort of died this year. I'd really rather not show you a picture. I will take one and post eventually, however.

At the end of the May, Andy and I went to Texas for a wedding. Apparently, it got hot here...Really hot. The critters came out of their hidey-holes too. In March, I planted cabbage and a pretty large variety of lettuces. I had a lot of success with lettuce a couple years ago; we had fresh salad for weeks. When we got back from our trip, the cabbages were moth-eaten, and some varmint ate the tops off all my lettuces! Crap. There went my food. Andy's hops took a big hit as well. He had to cut them down and let them start over (they will send up shoots again if you prune).

So to compensate, I put plants in containers. Hardy plants. The kind that don't die even if you forget about them for a week. Enjoy some pictures.


about that home improvement project...
It's done! (ish) The shelves are up and the cabinets have been torn down.


I hated those cabinets. The ones on the bottom are still there - waiting for their remodel too. I think we'll just strip those down and paint them a fresher color. Like white. We still need to get rid of the countertop and get new appliances, but those can wait.


I'm still not 100% happy with it, but it is definitely prettier and much more open than before. We'll see what else I can come up with over the summer.


home improvement just got more interesting.
Behold! My new toys...

Looks like I'll be tearing my kitchen apart this week.

Something about the Brits, other than the bad teeth and bad food stereotypes

Has anyone else gotten into this British crown and floral craze lately? I don't usually catch onto fads, but there's something about crowns and floral prints that make me drool right now. To satisfy my hunger I went to Home Goods and picked up four each of these dishes, for a grand total of $28.


Once again, no matchy-matchy is allowed in my house, so of course it makes perfect sense to layer two trends right on top of each other, even if they didn't come from the same company or even actually fit together. Heh. I decided that I wanted to eat on pretty dishes instead of the ones I bought when I was in graduate school...

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I have a gypsy house. A bazaar house. Some would probably say "bizarre." Nothing really matches, I don't think, but I've never been accused of being "put together."

We've made a lot of changes to our house recently, like painting, rearranging, and a boredom-fueled kitchen cabinet demolition. At this point I'm realizing that my favorite little things about this house are the details - the random shit I pick up here and there and set next to other random shit. The end result is comfort and familiarity. My house may be messy at times (I blame my shedding dog and my messy husband, let's not talk about my part of the blame), but I can still relax here amidst my stuff.

The stein was a birthday gift to my husband from his brother. Andy is a homebrewer, so by extension we are drinkers. I knit, and that's a picture of my parents on their first trip to DC.

Andy won the German mug in some random raffle in a Russian restaurant. He picked up the matryoshka for me in Moscow. I'm not sure why he thought glitter was my thing - I was expecting something a little more, er, polished, but I love it anyway. I found the bird on sale for two bucks at Michael's, and I made the cherry blossoms out of origami paper and birch branches. You can find the tutorial here.

Andy picked up the red elephant for me in Afghanistan. The grey soapstone elephant was a gift from friends of my in-laws for our wedding. They're from India, and it's customary to give the bride a small gift of jewelry after her wedding, but she wasn't sure of my tastes so gifted me the elephants instead (it has a larger twin on my bar). The bookends were a Home Goods find, and those are antique books paired with some more modern selections.

I saved the picture from the trash bin at school, sort of. The Paymaster was my DH's grandfather's, the table was made by a great-grandfather (?) of my husband.

I found the ribbon piled up on the "refuse table" (as I like to call it) at work. People pile things they want to get rid of on a table in the teachers' lounge. I liberated it, and it found a home threaded through the curtains in my living room.


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