Friday, November 30, 2007

Comfort Zone

I tend to be wary of trying new things, food-wise. In part, this is due to the fact that I am often unsure whether any given new food has things I don't eat in it (I don't eat beef, pork, seafood/fish -- just turkey/chicken from the world of meats -- I've taken to calling it poultrytarianism). In other part, this is due to my father's lack of adventurousness. Tonight for dinner, we went to a Hungarian buffet, where there was a ton of unfamiliar food, but also Hungarian music and folk dancing, which was why I was willing to brave it.

It was quite awesome. And the food was great. I should do that more.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I felt nauseous all day today and decided it was a sign I was pregnant, even though I'm only 5dpo. It's far more likely to be a sign that I should stop drinking hotel tap water, or that breathing smog for 7 hours on the drive from Prague to Budapest was not an awesome idea.

Mobile blogging

evidently mobile blogging is harder than it looks. Sorry for the seemingly back-dated posts -- I must have done something wrong when I sent them, as they didn't post but rather sat queued up in my email. I have some access again, so here they are.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This was supposed to be our last vacation without kids. The thought keeps running through my mind, everywhere I go: I should still be pregnant right now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I had a series of recurring/repeating dreams last night that I was pregnant. Not visibly pregnant -- I just kept seeing a positive digital pregnancy test (oddly, in addition to saying Pregnant/Not Pregnant, it said how far along you were -- in my case, 4w4d for some reason).

This morning, I recorded my temp, and Fertility Friend decided I ovulated on Saturday, making today 3dpo. Hope is a crazy thing.

(This is my first attempt at mobile blogging via Blackberry -- our hotel's "Internet access in every room" is a phone line, and Czech dial-up is a bit beyond me. Apologies for any issues -- I'll fix when I get online again.)

Monday, November 26, 2007


This city, Cesky Krumlov, seems to be filled with children -- they are everywhere. How all these women and men push strollers over the cobblestones is beyond me.

I saw a stroller this morning outside a shop, then heard a baby crying. I finally realized someone had left their infant outside, alone, while they shopped. It broke my heart.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Miscarriage News Roundup 11.25.07

Judy Howard Peterson, an Illinois pastor who has lost seven babies to miscarriage, is speaking about infertility, miscarriage, grief, and hope in California.

Two recent stories in Indian newspapers have identified factors that contribute to miscarriage:


It's our first month trying again, and, according to Fertility Friend, I didn't ovulate. Stupid, fucking, uncooperative body.

Friday, November 23, 2007


P and I walked by a store in Vienna today that had things for children's rooms with animal themes -- there were clocks, growth charts, mirrors, clothing hooks, etc. with cartoon elephants, pigs, dogs, bears, etc. I was surprised when we both stopped to look in. He suggested buying a growth chart for our first child, then realized it would be metric, then suggested a name plate, then realized we didn't have a name. We may go back and pick up a picture frame. It's nice to be looking forward, even if I am still not feeling too optimistic re this cycle.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We did decide to have a quickie in this morning to get one last shot in before we leave for Europe tonight. Poor P -- that was a lot of pressure, as my dad was scheduled to arrive in 20 minutes :)

I'm going to attempt to post from overseas, but they may be short (and supplemented when we get home).

Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

CD13: The One Where K Asks A Bunch Of Stupid Questions

Okay, so I realized last night that I have some truly inane questions, and I'm just going to ask them in case anyone has any insight. Feel free time chime in with random thoughts on such matters, whether you have actual answers or not.
  1. Preseed: P and I decided to give it a try this month. The packaging says to "apply 10-15 minutes before intercourse" in order "not to interfere with sponteneity" (okay, I don't have the packaging in front of me, but it's something like that). Applying 10-15 minutes in advance seemed to do more to interfere with sponteneity than grabbing midstream. Any advice on usage? I'm still not entirely sold on it anyway -- I don't think I suffer so much from a lack of CM as a lack of arousal fluid, generally, and it is really a substitute for the former rather than the latter, according to the package insert. Do you use it?
  2. Preseed and odor: Following an evening of preseed usage, I feel like my lady parts smell like my dorm room my freshman year of college, back when I had a sex addict for a roommate. Is this normal?
  3. Tipped uterus and optimal post-coital position: Everything I have read says that folks with normal uteri should lie on their backs with hips propped for 10-30 minutes, while those with tipped utes (like me) should lie on their stomachs, some suggesting doing so with hips propped. I seem to have some trouble visualizing what all is going on in there and therefore don't understand the mechanics of why this is the case. Anyone able to explain this?
  4. Sperm lifespan: If sperm live for up to 5 days, and you have sex five days in a row, is all the sperm just hanging out in there? Does the quality degrade over time (i.e. is there a chance that a crappy 5 day old swimmer will be the victor in the race to fertilize, creating a less awesome zygote than the 1 day old swimmers he somehow beat out who are also kicking around in there)?
  5. Sex timing (or: are we doing it too often or not enough): Based on my BBT and the fact that it didn't dip today (which it did last month on the day I o'd, in a rather pronounced way), I probably am not o'ing today, which means I likely will do so tomorrow. If we do the deed tonight, should we bother doing so again tomorrow morning? We won't be able to tomorrow night, as we'll be on a plane, so this may be our last shot. (I suggested renewing our membership in the Mile High Club, but P declared that no child of his would be conceived in an airplane bathroom. ;) )
  6. Temping: Will I get thrown off the plane and/or arrested if I try to use a digital thermometer that beeps constantly to take my BBT on an airplane? I just keep thinking about this girl.
Yeah, so sex ed seems like a really long time ago. As we started TTC, I figured so long as I knew my cycle length, a guestimate at ovulation date, and how long sperm and egg each lived, I knew enough. I now know a lot more, but clearly nowhere near as much as I feel like I should. I should probably go buy a book. Or spend more time with Dr. Google.

On an unrelated note: In case anyone wants to know a little more about my feelings about my career, read this blog post: Why You Shouldn't Go To Law School -- kinda wish I read this 6 years ago, as much of it rang true for me. The added thing he fails to mention: cognitive dissonance -- I am not the only lawyer who has convinced him-/herself that s/he enjoys the practice of law in order to explain the numbers of hours s/he spends doing it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Miscarriage news round-up 11.20.2007

Today's news items:

  • Research on alcohol and pregnancy: According to the headline of this article, studies suggest that individual episodes of binge drinking may not lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, pregnancy complications, or birth defects. What the authors of the study (which appears to have been a metaanalysis of the data from prior research, which I assume was descriptive rather than randomized and scientific) actually seem to be saying is that there is insufficient data to say for certain that infrequent binge drinking by pregnant women causes adverse effects. I suspect this is in part due to the nature of any studies like these -- you can't randomly assign people to the group that must binge drink, so you extrapolate from descriptive data, but it's hard to remove all the noise (i.e. all the confounding variables). My read of the bottom line was not that women should feel free to binge drink during pregnancy but rather that a woman should not freak out immediately if she learns she is pregnant shortly after having a wild night. The study was also reported on in the UK, and comments to that article were of the if-you-can't-live-without-alcohol-for-9-months-then-you-shouldn't-be-a-parent variety, which doesn't do much for the woman who finds herself in the "oh crap" position, nor does it assuage her guilt if she subsequently miscarries.

  • On a semi-related note: This op-ed considers a proposed Human Life Amendment in Colorado, opining that if, under such an amendment, abortion is murder, miscarriage would be manslaughter (and therefore arguing that the amendment should be rejected, regardless of one's views re abortion). The logic is that manslaughter is the unintentional taking of a life, and, under the amendment, a fertilized egg is a life. If a woman gets pregnant knowing she is at an increased risk of miscarrying (and thereby causing the death of another person) due to, for example, an auto-immune disorder or a history of recurrent miscarriage, and subsequently miscarries, she becomes akin to a person who drives drunk, knowing they are at increased risk of ending the life of another. (The analogy is the op-ed writer's; I would probably have chosen an epileptic whose seizures are incompletely controlled by medication but who drives anyway as the comparator rather than the drunk driver, as the drunk driver chose both to drink and to drive, while the driving epileptic and the pregnant miscarrier made no choice resulting in an increased risk of harm to others from a common activity. Even still, the comparison is rather inapt -- the person who dies at the hands of a driving epiletic who suffers a seizure existed prior to the driver's decision to drive; the person who dies as a result of miscarriage did not exist prior to the parents' decision to conceive him, which is the same behavior that resulted in his death.) It's an interesting (and decidedly disturbing) logic. I initially rejected it as cockamamie, but I'm not really sure it's that farfetched.

Vacation plans

So, P and I are leaving Thanksgiving night on vacation. We had originally (back when I should have been 20 weeks pregnant on Thanksgiving) planned this as a last pre-kid vacation. Instead, it'll be my first 2WW post-miscarriage. Hopefully it'll make the time go faster.

The itinerary: We leave Thanksgiving night for Vienna, arriving Friday early afternoon. We are in Vienna for a couple of days, then head to the Czech Republic. We will be a couple of days in Cesky Krumlov and a couple of days in Prague. We then head to Budapest. A couple of days later, we head back to Vienna and fly home. The whole trip will be 9/10 days (depending on whether you start counting when we leave home or when we get there).

We are renting a car and driving across a number of borders. I've only done one border crossing on land in Europe, and it sucked -- I am hoping this will be different (the last time I was crossing between Turkey and Greece by bus, and there were a couple of people aboard who were not permitted to cross the border, so every other person aboard had to wait at the border with their luggage while the bus drove them back into Turkey -- I am hoping it won't be like that!). The whole trip already feels rushed, and we haven't left yet. We wanted to try to see a lot of different places, but I think we're going to kick ourselves for having too little time in any one. We can always go back to anywhere we feel shortchanged, I suppose.

Anyone out there traveled to any of these places? Any recommendations?

Also, what am I supposed to do re temping while on an overnight flight? Fertility Friend says that your first day after changing time zones may have a wacky temp but that this won't make a difference unless it's right when you ovulate. I am supposed to ovulate tomorrow or Thursday. So not only will I have the time change affecting my temps, I'm going to be sleeping fitfully and uncomfortably, if at all, on a plane and waking at some unknown hour, which I can only imagine will have a major effect on my temp. Ugh.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Miscarriage news round-up 11.19.2007

So, periodically I'm going to post recent news stories dealing with miscarriage. Today will be the first edition.
  1. An inquiry has been opened in Sydney, Australia, following the story of a woman who miscarried at 14 weeks in the toilet of a hospital ER after waiting more than an hour for care. Other news outlets have reported that at least one other woman had a similar experience. The story is pretty terrible, and the response of the hospital nursing staff sounds dismissive at best.
  2. A woman is suing Walgreens for failure to properly supervise its pharmacy employees, saying that she miscarried after (and as a result of) being given chemotherapy drugs instead of prenatal vitamins by the pharmacy. My heart really goes out to this woman. The situation sucks -- sucks generally, and sucks that much more if it was preventable and brought about by someone else's lack of attention. That kind of carelessness, with such tragic results, is reprehensible. That said, proving causation (i.e. that the drug was the sole cause of the miscarriage) will be challenging, likely requiring, among other things, a pathology report on the fetus to show that cellular division and growth were inhibited and that there were no chromosomal problems that could have contributed to the miscarriage. I'm also curious as to what she was given at the pharmacy -- were the package insert and labeling those for the prenatals or for the chemo? If the former, that's really f*cked up. If the latter, she's going to be asked how she didn't notice during the month she took them that she was taking something different from what she was prescribed with what I can only imagine is a package insert filled with warnings. Putting myself in her shoes, on the one hand, I generally read the materials I get with a prescription; on the other, for something as routine as prenatal vitamins, I can easily imagine not bothering. Either way, I hope that she is finding some peace amidst the tragedy of miscarrying and the chaos of litigation.
  3. And in celebrity news, in this month's Marie Claire, Nicole Kidman reveals that, at 23, early in her marriage to Tom Cruise, she had an ectopic pregnancy, prompting she and Cruise to adopt their two children. In addition, late in their marriage (shortly before he filed for divorce), she suffered a miscarriage. She said this to correct reports stemming from an earlier article in Vanity Fair that she had lost one baby during her pregnancy with Cruise, and that this loss was a miscarriage early in their marriage.


As I vaguely hinted at before, I am not feeling too optimistic about this month. Call it magical thinking, superstition, or just a touch of the crazies, but I think on some subconscious level this derives from the fact that we're going to see the Pats take on the Steelers on December 9.

I am a huge Pats fan, as is P. We get to as many games as we can each season, which gets increasingly difficult with each successive year of success. This year, we went to the pre-season game against the Giants in August. That was the the day after the first ultrasound, the one showing something was wrong with the baby's heart and it was probably going to die. We also went to the home opener against the Chargers in September. That was the same week as the second ultrasound, the one showing the baby had died, and only two days after the D&E.

The 9th will be CD32. I will probably test at some point during the preceding week, depending on when I ovulate. I am thinking it will be a BFN, in part because a 2007 Pats game wouldn't be a 2007 Pats game if we didn't get bad reproductive news the week of the game.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


When we last saw our OB, for the 2 week follow-up after the D&E, she reiterated her directive to wait until I got my period back and then had another full cycle before trying again. She also reminded us of the statistics on how long it typically takes couples who are trying and have the right timing and have no known problems to conceive. Finally, she told us that when we got another BFP, whenever we should be so fortunate, we should come in right away, that she would want to do bloodwork, check betas and whatall.

I'm not sure if I want to, though. I hate having blood drawn and am having trouble seeing an upside at this particular moment in time. Last time around, I doubt bloodwork would have shown any signs of a problem. An early ultrasound may have shown something going awry earlier, but we still would have had to wait it out, praying and trying to remain hopeful while we waited for the heart to stop beating. And it's not like seeing nothing obviously wrong in the early stages is really going to give me any great confidence in having a good outcome. So, is earlier knowledge that something is wrong something good? Because it's the only upside I see right now.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

63, 64, 83: A Nice Evening

Last night, P suggested dinner out tonight at a restaurant we like. So tonight we went out.

For no special reason, P:
  1. Suggested a date
  2. Suggested the place
  3. Paid
P did something that made me smile, and for that I said something nice to him.

Friday, November 16, 2007


The first time around, I was super excited to try. It felt like an adventure. Even though I was working crazy hours and had no free time, all my extra mental energy was fixated on TTC. I cut out alcohol, soft cheeses, deli meat, etc. the minute Flo left town, happy to give it all up indefinitely, unable to indulge again until we had a baby. I was as devoted to the task at hand as I could be.

This time, I'm just not there. I'm no longer wallowing, and I have finally stopped with my incessant sob-fest, but I can't seem to make the transition from no-longer-depressed to whatever it is I was before. And I'm not sure what to make of that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

64: Niceties

Of all the items on my list, the one I have having the most trouble with thus far is saying something nice to someone else daily. What does that say about me? Am I mean person?

On that note, though, what does it really mean to "say one nice thing" to someone? Is it only paying someone a compliment, or is it broader than that? If the latter, what does it encompass? I'm a little horrified to admit that I don't know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


My friend A and I had a chat a while back. It was a couple of weeks after my D&E, which was the same day as her HSG showed that her tubes were blocked, explaining her lack of success in the preceding year of TTC. She commented that night that the use of acronyms on infertility blogs and message boards bothered her. She had learned three acronyms during the preceding year -- TTC, 2WW, and HPT -- but had no intention of learning more. She didn't say it directly, but I got the impression that she didn't like that she would have to learn a new language in order to participate in a club she didn't want to join in the first place.

When P and I first started to try, I too checked out various message boards, and I too was put off by the acronyms. It all seemed foreign to me, and I hoped I wouldn't be around long enough to have learn the lingo. And I wasn't, then. But then things went awry, and I had time to kill, and all of a sudden charting BBT and keeping close track of my ovulation date seem purposeful and wholly necessary.

I know that I am likely to ovulate next Wednesday or Thursday. In fact, I knew that weeks ago when we booked our vacation to eastern Europe, leaving Thanksgiving night. We have plans to have a quickie Thanksgiving morning, before anyone shows up at our house, just to get in that one last shot. I am nervous about taking my BBT on Friday morning, since I will be sleeping (and therefore waking up) on the plane, at some hour that is not at all close to when I normally take my BBT. How will I know for sure I O'd? When did being certain of that start to matter? Crazy.

PS C is pregnant -- about 5 weeks. She and her husband are in the midst of a sh*tty 2WW -- waiting to find out if the baby has implanted on a uterine wall and therefore has a chance or on the septum and therefore doesn't. Keep her in your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

101 in 1001

Okay, I love lists. And this seems like the ultimate project for a list lover -- identify 101 tasks and complete them in 1001 days. I fear that the time period is too long to keep me motivated (I am a great starter but get bored easily), and I also fear that these tasks may be too closely aligned with the state of my life today, which may be quite different from the state of my life in 2.75 years, but I'm going to give it a shot.

I originally made my list by category, but it felt restrictive and I wasn't sure that I knew the difference between two of the categories, so I mashed it them all together (challenge for the bored, or myself at a later date: see if you can identify where the sections break and what the sections were). Technically, I made and started the list yesterday, so I'm using yesterday as the start date, but I was still refining it this morning (and reserve the right to continue to refine it as time goes on).

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Some common goal setting tips:

  1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.
  2. Stay Focused. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.
  3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.
  4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.
  5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.
Start date: Mon Nov 12 2007
End date: Mon Aug 09 2010
Last updated: Wed Aug 05 2009 (day 633, week 91, month 21)

  1. Learn to play four chords on the guitar (0/4)
  2. Learn to play 3 songs on the guitar (0/3)
  3. Blog daily for one month three times (60/90)
  4. Write one poem per week for 2 months (0/9)
  5. Knit a sweater (0/1)
  6. Knit/crochet a blanket (0/1)
  7. Try one new recipe each week for 2 months (0/9)
  8. Change sheets every week for 2 months (0/9)
  9. Learn to sew (0/1)
  10. Write a letter of substance every three months (0/11)
  11. Go to a hockey game (0/1)
  12. Go to a college sporting event (0/1)
  13. Hang one thing in each room, minus kitchen and baths (6/8)
  14. Ask for someone's advice and take it (0/1)
  15. Attend one BSO concert (0/1)
  16. Attend one Pops concert (1/1)
  17. Teach dog one new trick (0/1)
  18. Have a baby (1/1)
  19. Brew beer (0/1)
  20. Try geocaching (0/1)
  21. Continue 2007 resolution to start and finish one book per month (9/33)
  22. Read 15 fiction books (11/15)
  23. Read 10 nonfiction books (4/10)
  24. Read 10 books from one of the Modern Library's best books lists (1/10)
  25. Visit the Royall House (0/1)
  26. Visit a Family History Center (0/1)
  27. Attend one Alumni College lecture each year (0/3)
  28. Attend one CLE or Bar Association program every quarter (2/11)
  29. Blog personal career evaluation once every six months (what I've learned, what I want to learn, thoughts on where I'm headed) (1/6)
  30. Get a compost bin and start composting (1/1)
  31. Plant an herb garden (0/1)
  32. Plant a vegetable garden (0/1)
  33. Finish planting flower beds (0/1)
  34. Fence yard (0/1)
  35. Clean out and paint small room (aka the-room-that-shall-not-be-named-but-is-currently-storage) (2/2)
  36. Create eating plan for family room (1/1)
  37. Organize files and update annually (0/3)
  38. Catalogue books owned (0/1)
  39. Organize genealogical research and update annually (0/3)
  40. Buy or make curtains for master bedroom (0/1)
  41. Buy or make better window treatments for family room, living room, dining room (0/3)
  42. Identify and get involved with a volunteer project (0/1)
  43. Get on a committee or involved with a group at church (1/1) -- elected to 3 year Vestry term on 1/27/08
  44. Knit a scarf, hat and gloves to give away (0/1)
  45. Buy extra food at grocery store for Food Sunday 6 times (3/6)
  46. Do a river, town or neighborhood clean up (0/1)
  47. Participate in Walk for Hunger every year (2/3)
  48. Do 150 hours of pro bono work (90/150)
  49. Do 75 hours of community service (0/75)
  50. Read a chapter from the Bible outside church once per week (40/143)
  51. Pray daily for one month three times (0/90)
  52. Go camping 3 times (0/3)
  53. Hike 2 new trails (0/2)
  54. Visit 4 of the national parks (0/4)
  55. Visit 4 new states (0/4)
  56. Take one good photo each day for a month three times (0/90)
  57. See 15 wonders I haven't seen before from Top 1000 Wonders list (8/15)
  58. See 10 movies I have not seen before from the AFI top 100 movies list (0/10)
  59. Take an art class -- photography or oil painting or something else entirely (0/1)
  60. Visit 2 continents other than N. America or Europe (0/2)
  61. Visit 8 countries I have not previously visited (3/8)
  62. Wedding scrapbook (0/1)
  63. Add one thing to list of things that make me happy daily (63/1001)
  64. Say or do one nice thing to/for someone else daily (105/1001)
  65. Make a calendar from photos taken (0/1)
  66. Visit the art gallery in town (1/1)
  67. Feed someone's expired meter 5x (2/5)
  68. Perform 5 other random acts of kindness (2/5)
  69. Pay off private student loan
  70. Pay off home equity line
  71. Accrue three months salary in brokerage account
  72. Save for and buy a new car for P
  73. Save for each vacation before planning it (3/3)
  74. Consolidate all finances
  75. Bring lunch 1x/week (28/143)
  76. Write a will (and make sure P does too) (0/1)
  77. Donate to charity or free-cycle 100 items (43/100)
  78. Email one friend I've lost touch with 30 times (4/30)
  79. Reply to each email received the day it was received for 2 weeks (0/14)
  80. Call one friend I don't talk to regularly per month (2/33)
  81. Send thank you notes for every gift received
  82. Send Christmas cards at least one year (1/1)
  83. Go on one date with P each month (11/33)
  84. Take one dance lesson with P (0/1)
  85. Get dog's nails cut 16+ times (7/16)
  86. Drink 80+ ounces of water daily
  87. Take vitamins every day<>
  88. Perform 30 minutes of cardio, 4x/week (62/572)
  89. Average one yoga session per week (13/143)
  90. Average two 30-minute strength training sessions per week (28/286)
  91. Try one new class at gym 9 times (2/9)
  92. Floss daily
  93. Play tennis (0/1)
  94. Swim laps once per week for 2 months twice (0/18)
  95. Walk dog every day for 2 weeks twice (14/28)
  96. Run every other day for one month three times (0/45)
  97. Take one martial arts class (0/1)
  98. Visit the dentist 6 times (2/6)
  99. Try cottage cheese, brussel sprouts, and one other food I'm afraid to try
  100. Finish walking every street in my city (0/1)
  101. Create new list

Monday, November 12, 2007

Taking up space

I overheard my mother this weekend commenting that when she was pregnant with my brother, she was gigantic and that it was particularly noticeable because she hadn't been as big when pregnant with me. This was funny to her because I had been the bigger baby -- both longer and heavier; my brother just took up more space. Decades later, this is still the case. He is now a couple of inches taller and quite a few pounds heavier than me, but even proportionally he takes up a ton more space.


Because I seem to be taking up more and more space these days, I have decided to follow Ms. Infertile's lead and join dmarie's 30 Day Get Healthy Challenge.

My firm goals for the next 30 days:
  1. Run every other day, as weather permits (I am too uncoordinated to run on a treadmill)
  2. Drink 80+ ounces of water each day (I used to do this but have fallen off the wagon lately)
  3. Continue to strength train 2x/week
  4. Get to a yoga class 1+x/wk
  5. Floss daily

My looser goal:

  1. Eat less junk -- try to eat more whole foods and less processed crap

My Real Age came back at only 27.2, which is great since I'm actually 30.4. I exercise and eat enough good stuff (which is mainly what it measures and why my real age is good); I just have been adding too much crap on top lately -- evidently, I still eat mindlessly when depressed. Not cool.

In addition to suggesting some of the above, Real Age also wants me to buy a bigger car. When I need a bigger car, I'll buy one. Until then, my ten year old compact car serves me just fine.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Molten Chocolate Cake

I have always thought I was a terrible baker. This dates to when, five or six years ago, knowing my love of such desserts, a colleague gave me a recipe for a molten chocolate cake, and I decided to try the recipe that year for Valentine's Day. It was so terrible, P wouldn't even eat it to humor me. It tasted like something burnt, then stuck to the bottom of a radiator and left to gather dust and a metallic aftertaste. I have no idea where I went wrong.

I have been trying to become a better baker over the past few weeks. Since mid-October, I made a pie, far too many oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and a pumpkin coffee cake (which came out far too dry -- I may try it again soon). Tonight I tried that molten chocolate cake recipe again, making four little cakes. And they came out awesome. The top was just crisp enough, cracked with a yummy, chocolaty goo oozing out from within. P ate it with gusto, and without pity.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lame, lame, and fat

Inspired by SarahS-P at The Island, I decided to learn what my Starbucks order says about me. The reality is, I am a lifelong New Englander and, therefore, a Dunkin Donuts girl. Until befriending C, I almost never went to Starbucks, even though there's one in the lobby of my office building -- I won a gift card once and gave it away. Because I am overwhelmed by the ordering process, I usually just order a tall regular coffee. Evidently, this makes me Lame:

Personality type: Lame

You're a simple person with modest tastes and a reasonable lifestyle. In other words, you're boring. Going to Starbucks makes you feel sophisticated; you'd like to be snooty and order an espresso but aren't sure if you're ready for that level of excitement. People laugh at you because you use fake curse words like "friggin'" and "oh, crumb!" Everyone who thinks America's Funniest Home Videos is a great show drinks tall plain coffee.

Also drinks: V8

Can also be found: On the couch at home

I was a bit embarrassed. The paragraph part is pretty off (except the first 2 sentences, which are probably quite accurate), but I do drink v8 every morning and am, in fact, rather likely to be found on that couch.

To spice things up lately, though, I have been ordering Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Evidently, this also makes me Lame. Oh, crumb! But I usually get them nonfat. Apparently, this makes me Fat.

Personality type: Fat

You're always worrying about your weight. That's because you're fat. You're constantly whining about problems that are your own fault. You are a total pain in the ass.

Also drinks: Diet RC Cola

Can also be found: On Jerry Springer

To be fair, I am getting a bit chunky these days. Looks like I'm going to have to switch back to plain coffee.

Friday, November 9, 2007


AF has arrived early for what I honestly think may be the first time ever. I've never had a 26-day cycle before. Should I be worried? If BBT is an accurate measure, I ovulated on CD13, so the luteal phase was 13 days, which seems okay.

I guess this explains my paranoia leading into my annual review yesterday.

I can't even describe the slowness with which the first month post-miscarriage seemed to pass. The second month flew by -- it feels like yesterday that I got my period again.

Well, it's CD1. Let the fun begin.

In the end: September/October, loss

The D&E itself wasn't that eventful. I was ordered not to drink or eat after midnight and to report at 11 (I think). I got there and was shuffled around from room to room while they looked for somewhere to do the paperwork. Of course, when we went through the name part, the nurse commented on our uncommon last name, and, as usual, it turned out she knew Ps mom -- in fact, Ps mom had had that same job before her. Fantastic. We were eventually moved to another room and introduced to another nurse and the anesthesiologist, neither of whom knew my MIL, thankfully.

I couldn't stop crying. The nurse asked why I was crying, was I in pain? The question seemed absurd to me -- why the hell do you think I'm crying? You're doping me up because my baby died but won't leave so you need to suction it out of me. Wouldn't you cry? I mumbled something about being sad.

The doctor wasn't someone I had met before. He seemed callous to me, talking at micromachine man speed with what seemed to be a smirk on his face though I'm sure I was just being overly sensitive. I realize he does tons of these (200 a year, he said -- and only 3% have complications, he said, though neither fact was much comfort to me), so it may be easier for him if he distances himself from the emotional pain of it, but it's not a situation I find myself in every day, and I could use a bit more gentleness as far as bedside manner is concerned.

Once they concluded that I was sufficiently hydrated and sufficiently drugged, they had me wheel myself into the procedure room. Another girl wheeled past me, and I recognized the expression on her face -- vacant, worn and spent, raw, red and pasty. I wanted to say something to her but there really isn't anything to say that can't be conveyed without words.

I was conscious throughout the procedure but don't remember much. P said I babbled a bit. I remember when it was over, before I went into the recovery room, telling P I wanted a tattoo of Roo with angel wings and the EDD. It now seems rather ridiculous.

In the recovery room, I ate peanut butter crackers and drank juice. I felt extremely hungry and extremely empty. When we left, I closed my eyes, scared we would see pregnant people coming out of the Obstetrics ward, placed, of course, right next to Surgical Procedures. Totally awesome. We stopped for ice cream on the way home, and I got my favorite sundae (chocolate ice cream, peanut butter sauce, whipped cream and nuts). P had to go back to work that afternoon. So I made a grilled cheese and sat on the couch, mindlessly watching tv.

And sometimes I feel like that's where I've been ever since. I go to work, I go to church, I see friends, I even went to a Pats game, but a part of me seems always to be on that couch, staring blankly at the tv. Thankfully, I think I am snapping out of it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

In the middle: September, limbo

On August 29, we went in for our first appointment with the midwife (our practice has you alternate appts between the doctor and the midwife for a number of months before choosing; even though we knew the doctor, we started with the midwife). She took a history, did a pelvic, etc. We talked about proper diet, exercise, and finally my discomfort with the fact that I was losing symptoms. She offered to do an ultrasound using the portable machine in the office -- "just to give you peace of mind" -- but was sure to note repeatedly that the machine was somewhat low quality and she wasn't great at using it. She initially went for the transabdominal, but concluded she would be able to see better vaginally, as my uterus was tipped. I didn't really care -- I was just waiting for that peace of mind.

When looking transvaginally, she seemed concerned, but I had no idea what to be looking for to guess at the cause of concern. She asked me again how far along I was. Those who have been through this before know that is never a good question to hear when you have that wand all up in your business. I should have been 7.5 weeks, but she said she could only see a sac, and it was measuring at 6.5 weeks. She said she was worried, but again noted the low quality of the machine and her lack of expertise and told us she was going to call the radiologist and see if they could see us right away. I sat there and bawled. P just held me. Eventually the midwife came back, telling us to head to the radiologist across town, but to stop on the way out to have the bloodwork done that we had discussed when we still thought I was pregnant, "but we'll cancel some of the screenings, since we don't think there's a viable pregnancy anymore. At least you know you can get pregnant." Bitch.

As I quickly realized was going to be a common occurrence in this world, when we got checked in at the radiology lab, the woman behind the desk commented on my last name, asked if I was related to my mother in law. They used to work together in labor and delivery. Awesome. I had to tell her not to say anything, since my MIL doesn't know anything -- that we were trying, were successful, or were potentially having a miscarriage. Oh.

The waiting room was full of pregnant people, and I found myself extremely resentful, passing judgment on all of them -- they looked too young, too clueless, too anything to get to be pregnant when I might not. I was glad they called us back quickly before I lost it. The tech again started with an abdominal ultrasound but quickly switched to the vaginal. I still didn't really know what to look for, but knew I saw something that looked like a rice krispie with a white flicker. The tech said absolutely nothing. After a while of manipulating the wand, changing the area of focus, blowing the view up, and doing it all again, she said she was going to get the doctor, which is also always a bad sign. But I knew I had seen that flicker.

The doctor came in and we went through the same routine again -- manipulate, center, zoom, repeat. Finally he said, "well, that there is the sac, that is the baby, and that is the heartbeat." The expression on his face, though, made clear that he still had bad news to come. "The heartbeat is irregular. Watch." We saw it beat steadily for a few seconds, then seem to stop, then beat steadily again. I kept thinking, maybe it's just the angle, or something is in the way, or maybe he just sucks at his job -- how the hell does he know? "The heart also seems to be in the wrong place, but anatomy at this stage can be tough to see and interpret." And, it was measuring small -- 6.5 weeks instead of 7.5.

Our rice krispie was small but alive, but, he told us, there was very little chance that this would be a viable pregnancy and, even if it was, there was a good chance the baby would have severe medical problems. He said we should pray for the best but prepare for the worst. We would continue to monitor the situation, but we should expect to miscarry in the next week or so and should come back in a week or ten days for a follow up if it hadn't happened. The doctor kept touching my arm, trying to be caring and empathetic, but it was creepy -- he still had his hand on the fricking wand, still inside me. I couldn't cry in front of him.

P and I were supposed to be leaving on vacation two days later. The u/s doc thought we should go anyway, if we thought it would help and were feeling up to it. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen, and it would be depressing to waste a vacation sitting home waiting to miscarry. The midwife thought we should cancel. She seemed certain that I would need to go to the hospital in the coming days, and I didn't know where the nearest hospital was in relation to our destination (our cottage in Ontario). She thought it was too secluded, too remote, and we should postpone. The whole thought was incredibly depressing, and I wasn't sure how much fun vacation was going to be, but really couldn't handle the thought of cancelling for the exact reason the u/s doc said -- a vacation wasted waiting for death was too crappy to imagine.

On Friday morning, P and I got in the car with the dog to make the ten hour drive to the cottage. Per the midwife's orders, before we left we went online to research hospitals in the area and called to confirm that they had an emergency obstetrics unit. We were sure to drive by the closest one on the way up. Every twinge I felt I was sure was a cramp and marked the beginning of the end. Every time I went to the bathroom, I was sure I would look down and see that telltale smear of blood on the tissue. I had a meltdown at the beer store on our first full day -- all of a sudden, I was struck by the absurdity of me, standing there while P picked out beer for himself, not drinking because I was still pregnant, even though I was waiting to miscarry our dying baby. I prayed a lot that week, not that God would save the baby but that He would give me the strength to deal with the loss. I wanted to feel hopeful but felt extraordinarily defeated. As I feared, it was tough to enjoy being there.

But I read a lot, sat out on the dock, went swimming, went for walks. And, as the week went on, I started to have a little hope, a recurring daydreamy fantasy that the doctor was wrong, that the baby was fine. Maybe we were that small percentage with whom he sees what he saw but who go on to have viable pregnancies, ideally without severe medical issues. He had said to expect to miscarry within the week, but nothing was happening. Though the weather outside got stormy, hope began to slowly emerge in me, like the sun burning away a thick fog.

We got home on Sunday the 9th and had the follow-up ultrasound appointment the next day. We had a different doctor, different from the one we had the first time and in a different room with a different tech, and again with the LMP question over and over. And again with the abdominal and the switch to the vaginal. This time, right away I knew it wasn't good. The sac looked bigger but the rice krispie didn't, and the flicker was gone. This doctor was all business and bluntly delivered the news that there was no heartbeat and that, while the sac was the right size, the baby was still too small; while it had grown, it hadn't grown enough. I am sure he said other things, but I don't really remember them. I just remember bawling, trying to cover my face, wishing I could sink into the chair and just disappear.

I was supposed to be going to a friend's baby shower in the office that afternoon but didn't really think that was the best idea, so I went home. I think I cycled through all the stages of grief simultaneously over and over in the car on the way home, with a lot of time spent then and in the coming weeks vascillating between extreme anger and sadness, often colliding and leaving me extraordinarily bitter. When we got home, I informed the dog he was going to be an only child for a while longer. I cried a lot while P and I sat staring vacantly at the TV.

My doctor called that evening. I found the call very comforting -- unlike the midwife, who seemed to begin every sentence with "at least," the doctor seemed to recognize that wasn't what I wanted to hear. We talked about grief and we discussed the options -- wait and hope to miscarry naturally, go the medical route, taking medication and hoping it induces a miscarriage, or go the surgical route. She took the time to explain them to me and didn't push too hard for any one choice, giving pros and cons of each and asking me to call when we had decided what we wanted to do.

I did some research online and decided on the surgical route but I couldn't bring myself to call her to tell her. I must have been in the denial stage of grief at that point, because I kept convincing myself that if I waited a miracle would happen. No miracle happened. We met with the doctor in person on Wednesday and scheduled the D&E for Friday, September 14.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

In the beginning: August, pregnancy

I had an appointment with my PCP on August 6, so I asked her to confirm the pregnancy. I'm not sure why, but I thought they'd do a blood test; they did a pee test instead, which didn't feel that different from what I could do (and had done) myself at home, though it did serve as a marginally official confirmation. I was in a great mood at work that day, even though I was finalizing our final pre-trial submissions for the case heading for trial. That afternoon, the case settled, so I wouldn't have to spent the first month of known pregnancy sweating it up in New York in August, going back and forth between a hotel room and the courtroom. It was shaping up to be one of those days, one of those days that sticks with you because everything seems to go right, the opposite of Alexander's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I spent a lot of time over the next few weeks avoiding work, hoping nobody would come into my office and see me perusing the iVillage pregnancy message boards or ordering pregnancy books off Amazon or researching various pregnancy-related things (half the items in my google search cache in August began with "pregnancy and"). My pregnancy symptoms were relatively mild. My boobs were very sore and my bras were too tight. I developed pimples in the chest/collarbone area. I was so tired I couldn't keep my head up most of the time -- I fell asleep on the couch more than once. I have always been a big water drinker and therefore have always peed often, but this was rough even for me.

The most curious thing was the mood shift. I like to think I hide it well from most people, but I generally tend toward the anxious and irritable. I get grouchy quickly and can overreact to minor setbacks. I am constantly annoyed. But I didn't and I wasn't. Instead, I felt a mild sense of elation at all times. I had heard of people experiencing the glow of pregnancy, but it had never occurred to me that it might emanate from the inside, reflecting an actual change in one's internal self rather than just joy in the fact of pregnancy (or perhaps that this joy could have such a transformative power). I honestly don't know how to adequately describe this change in myself and suspect I'm doing a poor job here, but I loved it.

Those few weeks were tremendous. P and I spent a lot of time trying to come up with something to call the baby while it was in utero but never really decided on anything. We had decided not to tell anyone, as telling anyone at all would obligate us to tell family, which would obligate us to tell my mother, which was definitely to be avoided. (This made choosing an OB challenging, which was an issue we hadn't really thought about. People typically ask people they know for recommendations, and we had planned to ask Ps mom (she was a labor and delivery nurse), but it's tough to do that when you aren't telling anyone.*) We were both so excited, so the urge to tell was overwhelming. I had always mocked people I knew who told the world super early on, thinking they were tempting the miscarriage gods, but I now understood the impulse.** We finally agreed that after our first ultrasound, which we assumed would happen around 9-10 weeks, we would each be allowed to tell one person, but it had to be someone who wouldn't tell anyone else. After my brother's wedding on Columbus Day, by which time I'd be 13.5 weeks, we would tell the rest of the world.

On Wednesday the 22nd (at about 6.5 weeks), I started having stomach cramps. I don't mean abdominal or pelvic cramps or anything even vaguely menstrual-esque in nature -- these were knotty stomach cramps, like when you have food poisoning and feel that wrenching through your gut that lets you know your gut is pissed at you for putting something awful in it. But I didn't throw up, and I didn't expel anything from the other end either. I tried to find information online about stomach cramps and pregnancy, but the only info I could find was about abdominal/uterine cramps that people were describing as stomach cramps or stomach cramps that were accompanied by an expulsion of something from the body. The cramps lasted throughout the afternoon and early evening, but they weren't frequent, there was no bleeding, and they stopped before I went to bed. Looking back, that's right around when something seems to have gone wrong, but I didn't know it at the time.

I woke up the following Monday and realized I had had trouble sleeping the night before -- I had gone to bed early, but I hadn't felt that tired. My boobs seemed less sore. And I felt, well, annoyed with anything and everything that I encountered. I decided not to read anything into it (opted to live in denial?), but I did finally get around to calling my insurance company to figure out exactly what they covered pregnancy-wise, as was recommended by some book or pregnancy journal or message board poster. The insurance manual just said that pregnancy was covered in full with no copay for routine maternal care visits. I had no idea what this meant -- what exactly is routine? Would that cover everything I could possibly need?

I am somewhat embarassed to admit it, but when the customer service rep said that my insurance would only cover one ultrasound during a pregnancy, usually between 16 and 20 weeks, I, well, freaked out. Looking back, though I didn't entirely realize it at the time, something was gnawing at my subconscious, something that made me feel ill at ease. I was already trying not to panic over the fading symptoms issue, and this news just set the panic free. Somehow I thought pregnant people had ultrasounds with some regularity. What if something went wrong? How would I know? She explained that if there was "a medical necessity," they would cover additional ultrasounds; she could not, however, provide me with any further information as to what would constitute such a medical necessity. It was an incredibly unproductive, incredibly circular conversation. My level of hysteria on that call was at a level pregnant-me had not previously experienced.

Over the next few hours, the panic subsided, but the grawing ill-at-ease sensation continued. That said, I wasn't cramping or bleeding or anything else that would give a legitimate reason to worry. Plus, there really was nothing I could do but wait for my first appointment, scheduled for two days later. So I waited.

* As for how we chose someone, we knew where we wanted to deliver (the hospital where Ps mom works, as we knew we'd be well taken care of), so I made a list of every female doctor who delivered there (definitely preferred to have a woman doing all that observing of my nether regions). I then eliminated anyone who wasn't board certified or who seemed likely to retire before we'd be done having kids. Finally, I circled anyone whose office was walkable from mine (i.e. within 2 miles). When I looked over the circled names, one jumped out. I was sure I knew her. It turns out, she is a friend of my MIL; in fact, she was a guest at our wedding -- I even had pictures of her talking to my dad. So we chose her.

** The fucking irony of it, of course, is that none of them miscarried. I didn't tell, but I did. Apparently, the miscarriage gods cannot be tempted -- they hate you and want to punish you or they don't.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

In the beginning: July, TTC

My period started July 8, which I only know because of the number of times I was later asked the LMP question, including three times in the same office on the day we went in to find out for sure the baby had died -- you'd think they could keep track of such things. We joined my family on their vacation the following weekend (I couldn't take any more time off) and had our first condom-free sex since I went off the Pill in a king bed that was really 2 twins pushed together. It felt very illicit. And rather terrifying. It was one thing to talk about being ready and another thing to take actual action.

We figured if we had sex every day for at least ten days, we at least wouldn't miss the egg completely. If a few months went by with no pregnancy, we'd try to figure out the whole charting thing. We missed two nights, I think, out of the next fourteen. I was working late almost every night, but made it a point to always be home before P went to bed, even if I would have to go downstairs and do more work afterwards. We had a couple of quickies on nights we were both too tired for anything better, but I was at work until 5 or 6 am one of the two nights and we were both too exhausted even for a quickie on another. We figured we had maximized our chances.

I had a huge case heading for trial, which thankfully kept me from obsessing too much during the 2ww. I was on conference calls, writing jury instructions, and preparing our final pre-trial submission rather than making lists of real and imaginary pregnancy symptoms. That time actually passed surprisingly quickly, aided by the exhaustion that came from the rabid babymaking. A couple of days before my period was due, I started burping -- constantly. For some reason, I took that as a sign and decided I was pregnant.

I had an appointment with my PCP for my annual on Monday the 6th, which was going to be CD30, and maybe 15dpo, so my plan was to wait until then to find out if we had been successful. P had other plans, though, and bought two of the expensive digital early response tests, and I couldn't hold out. On the 4th, I peed on one of the sticks while P waited outside the door. In well under a minute, it said PREGNANT. I wish I had taken a picture, because sometimes it doesn't even seem real anymore, almost like I was never pregnant at all.

Monday, November 5, 2007

In the beginning: pre-July, pre-TTC

We decided a long time ago that we would start TTC in July 2007. My brother got married in October. If we started any sooner and were successful, we would have to tell people before the wedding. My brother (and my now-sister-in-law) deserved to be the center of attention (and definitely expected to be -- they were upset when other people in our family and group of friends planned 2007 weddings after theirs was scheduled, as 2007 was "supposed to be their year"). The concern was my mother.

See, my mother enjoys being the center of attention (she seems to take a perverse pleasure in being the bearer of news, good or bad -- after numerous calls notifying me of the terminal illness or death of a family member, said in such a way as to convey her clearly-covet-worthy-in-her-eyes "in the know" status, I have come to dread seeing her name on the caller ID). We feared that if she knew she was going to be a grandma, THE BABY would be the story for October rather than THE WEDDING. The last thing I wanted was to have her take the mic during the toasts and make some major drunken proclamation to the crowd. Waiting until July seemed like it would allow us to delay telling anyone and avoid any such scenarios.

The last few cycles leading up to July seemed to drag on. I was incredibly busy at work, working 12-18 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. Each time my period came, I would note how many periods remained until we would try. Clearly, these were exciting times in my life.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Church ran long today. Because it was the first Sunday after All Saints Day, the minister did a musical sermon, discussing the origins and history of jazz. Our interim minister has to be in his late seventies, but he played the sax, with the deacon on drums and the music director on piano. It was fun.

There were three (infant) baptisms today. I'm really looking forward to the baptism(s) of my own future child(ren). All through the service though, I kept wondering how P, my atheist husband would feel about it -- even though he has agreed to have any kids baptized, I know he isn't going to go along with the "repeat after me," reaffirming your own baptism part. There's a bridge I'll wait to cross until I come to it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

If or when

The last time I saw my mother in law -- a couple of weeks ago -- she had come over to our house to drop off stuff. P later told me that he had recently told her he didn't want her bringing things over, that he was sure she was going to punt the responsibility for making the hard decisions regarding Ps late father's stuff. My FIL passed away three years ago, and the basement was still full of his stuff. My MIL remarried this fall, and she decided it was time to start cleaning the house up, making space for her new life. P sensed that she was going to clean out the basement by bringing everything here -- that way, P would have to make the decision to throw things out instead of her. Of course, when she called me while P was at work on a Saturday morning, I didn't think much of it. I suggested it might be better to wait a couple of hours until P got home, but she said she had to come right then. Evidently, I got played.

When we were done unloading the contents of her SUV into my basement, we made a little small talk. She let me know that this was just the first load. If P and I ever had kids, she had boxes and boxes of things for us that she had kept from Ps childhood -- little pants, little shoes, and little coats with Ps name on them. I waited until she left to cry.

She doesn't know about our miscarriage. She was a labor and delivery nurse for much of her career and worked in the surgical procedures unit where we had the D&E before that.* She knows how common it is for things to go wrong, that wanting kids does not always lead directly to having kids. But the word if still startled me. I hope it's a when not an if.

* Our last name isn't common. It turned out every person we met during this whole process knew her -- our OB is a friend of hers, the receptionist at the radiology lab had worked with her, the nurse at the surgical procedures unit commented that she had taken the job when my MIL left. We kept having to tell people not to mention they had seen us to her. Still didn't stop our OB from telling us to pass her congrats along at the wedding. We had to remind her that we would then have to explain where and how we saw her.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Financial Recycling

This is a bit out of left field, but, since I first heard someone speak about it years ago when I was in college, I have been fascinated by the idea of microcredit, primarily by the idea of Grameencredit-type microcredit. Somehow it never occurred to me that I could become a microlender myself, that is until I saw this post in my IRL friend's blog.

There is a lot of info about microcredit available online, but the short of it is that microcredit provides a way for those who need a small-scale loan but might not be able to get one to get one. Those in need apply, and those who can fund it fund it. In its most traditional form, microcredit comes from moneylenders, pawnbrokers, personal loans, etc., and can be used to finance anything the borrower wants to buy. In the form I find appealing, microcredit is financed by community development banks (e.g. Grameen Bank), by non-profit foundations (e.g. Accion), and by individuals, often with the aid of non-profits (e.g. Kiva, which serves as a hub to introduce microlenders in the developing world to those with funds to lend), and is used to finance economic growth. Loans are made to the poor in developing nations, generally to provide capital to fund a business to help it to develop -- for example, allowing a dairy farmer to purchase another cow, a shop-owner to acquire additional merchandise, or a dress-maker to buy more cloth. As the business expands, the business owner pays back the loan. When the loan is repaid, the borrower is eligible for a new loan.

As has been said (and oft debated) before, it often takes money* to make money, which means many people around the world have no ability to make a sustainable subsistence income. I have some money I can spare, but not really enough to make a difference in my own standard of living or that of anyone else I know. So, today I made my first two loans -- one to an auto repair shop in Togo, the other to a dairy farmer in Azerbaijan. Such loans are neither charitable donations (since, if all goes as planned and the borrowers are able to expand their businesses successfully with the help of the loan, I'll be repaid), nor investments (since as a lender you receive no interest). The risk to me is low -- 96+% of loans through Kiva's field partners are repaid on time according to their repayment schedule. If/when the loan is paid back, I can reinvest the money in one or more additional businesses. It's like financial recycling, and I do like recycling. Plus, it's a little kick on the positive side of karma.

* or an economy in which there are enough jobs paying a living wage to accommodate all who are willing and able to work one

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick or Treat

I love Halloween. As a kid, I mainly loved the candy. As an adult, I love seeing the little kids in their costumes. Our two year old neighbor was a pumpkin and seemed confused by the whole concept. Our three year old neighbor was Snow White and was spouting lines from the movie (according to her mom, earlier in the day she reenacted an entire scene by herself). We also had a Paris Hilton, a Beyonce, a princess, a flapper, a baby, and a couple of unidentifiable animals, among others. There are very few boys in our neighborhood (people have joked that there's something in the water) -- I actually think we only had one boy trick-or-treater, who was dressed as a sheriff from the wild west, and I didn't recognize him as a neighborhood kid. I usually wear a costume to hand out candy but skipped it this year. We also normally do a couple of jack-o-lanterns but didn't do that either.

P also really gets into it. For the past couple of years, he has set up a fake graveyard in front of the house and covered the front porch in cobwebs. He hangs a fake bloody arm out of the mail slot (which I jiggled when two of our six year old neighbors were on their way up the porch -- one seemed startled, the other not so much so, but I heard them ask another girl after she got candy later in the evening whether the arm moved when she was there :) P also plays creepy Halloween music very loudly (he sets speakers up on the porch so you can hear from down the street). Evidently this was too much for some of the smallest kids, as P saw one family approach the porch, hear the music (or see the arm), and turn around and walk away.

Halloween is definitely something I am looking forward to enjoying with our future kids, whenever they may come. There's just something about the unadultered joy in a kid's eyes when they shovel fistfuls of candy into a plastic pumpkin, a grocery bag, or, if they follow my parents' tradition, a pillowcase. I had been feeling pretty emotionally wretched for the past few days, but am definitely feeling a bit of a renewed sense of purpose today. I am starting to feel more positive, which makes it easier to look forward to trying again.