Vivid Dreams, Hormones and Loneliness

It can’t all be unicorns and rainbows, can it? I know I normally make you laugh, but today I’m going to give you a little story about a reality check moment I had last week. For 19 weeks, almost 5 dang months, I have been an absolute emotional rock star. I’ve felt joyous and excited and strong and ready. I spent a year before getting pregnant preparing my mind for going through this alone. And one vivid dream activated the hormones.

One of my favorite symptoms of this pregnancy have been the vivid dreams. Most of them have been… ahem… really nice. The other night though, I had one that shook me. Let me tell you about it.

I walk into a bar with the man of my dreams. He’s brilliant, sharp, hilarious, attentive, patient, gorgeous, ambitious AND successful. Along with every other box checked on my dream man checklist. We sit at the bar, and he orders me a water and a juice without asking because he knows the baby only wants toddler food and drinks right now. He demands a menu because he knows I get lightheaded and hangry when then baby is hungry. When the bartender starts quizzing me on why I’m not drinking at a bar, he comes to my side with pride and explains that I’m pregnant. I order the mac and cheese because they don’t have peanut butter and jelly. Toddler food or bust.

Next bar we go to, same song and dance. At this point we are having a blast. I’m not hangry anymore so I’m back to my wild and crazy self, which he loves. He eggs me on and laughs with me while we make friends with everyone at the bar and tell inappropriate jokes. When I flirt with the bartender, he pretends he’s jealous, but he knows I’m obsessed with him and don’t have eyes for anyone else. I knew the second I laid eyes on him in the Cermak produce department that he was the one. He knows it’s important for me to have fun and be a normal person, not a recluse.

Next bar we hop too, he’s leading the charge. He’s making sure I’m hydrated and taken care of; he’s proudly telling everyone we meet about the baby. I’m next to him filled with adoration and gratitude to have such a wonderful man by my side. The bartender tells us how lucky we are to have found one another and how compatible we are and how he loves how we make each other laugh.

We leave in an Lyft to get home, and we tell dad jokes in the backseat, having a blast, making the driver of the Lyft laugh and just being crazy and having fun, just like we always do. We get back home and I wake up from my dream.

You know that moment after you wake from a great dream? You lay in bed trying to make the dream keep going. That moment when it’s no longer a dream, but a fantasy. I fantasized of all the memories me and my dream man would have over the next few months. Feeling the baby kick for the first time together. Going to the ultrasounds and seeing the baby wiggling around. Footrubs when my feet start swelling up. A Babymoon in Grand Cayman or The Bahamas because those are the only places the doctor will let us go because of Zika. The drive to the hospital when the contractions start. The final moments of it just being us two while I push and he holds my hand and then…

I had to cut myself off. Because I was sobbing. Because it was just a dream and a fantasy. And I’m alone. Those dang hormones and a dream finally broke me.

I’m an eternal optimist who lives and breathes by The Secret (The law of attraction and the power of positive thinking) so I do believe my dream man is out there and will find me some day.

Until then, I have reached the point where doing this alone has become a little sad and lonely. I used to brag that I get to make all my own decisions and don’t have to deal with someone else’s input, but then I’m sitting on the sofa a couple weeks ago, feel the baby move for the first time, and look to the other end of the sofa and realize it’s just me and I have no one to share that special moment with.

I know all my friends reading this are shaking their heads and wagging their finger at me saying, “you can always call me, I’m always there for you!” But they all know it’s not the same.

I debated writing about this and sharing this story because a) you’re all used to hilarious stories and clever tales from me and b) I don’t want anyone, especially my future baby to think I ever had one moment of pause on doing this.

Someone reminded me though that I have to tell this story and share my emotions for a few reasons. 1) all the single moms and future single moms out there reading this have to know that this journey isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and that it can be very lonely. 2) my child will read this some day and I never want them to resent me for doing this alone. I want them to know that I always planned on completing our family and giving them a father figure but I wanted them so desperately and didn’t want to miss my biological window 3) To validate for myself how much I do crave a partner and that even though I’m getting what I always prayed for with a baby, I remain diligent in my journey to also find love for myself. I remain hopeful that I will find a wonderful father for my child and supportive respectful partner for me someday.

I also want you all to know that it’s all good. I read this excavator book to my best friends child 14,324 times while snuggling on the sofa and I’m back to being so very excited for moments like this with my own little nugget. I’m so grateful that this worked. I’m constantly filled with gratitude that the Lord blessed me with this incredibly special gift when women and men all over the world including very good friends of mine suffer daily with fertility challenges. I’ll never take it for granted.

The excavator book. If you would like, I’ve memorized it and can tell you everything there is to know about excavators.

Thanks for your support on this journey, and I promise my next post will be filled with laughs.

A 20 Week Baby Bump to make you feel better after reading that post. Halfway there!

What is IUI? Round 1.

Let me break it down for you in layman’s terms and tell you about the process from my eyes. Complete transparency here though, so stop reading now if loosely accurate medical terms and reference to many bodily fluids give you the heeby jeebies. I’m going to tell the story of my first round of IUI, starting on Day one of my 28 day cycle. (For the gents, that’s a standard period cycle.)

Day 1: I get my period! Yay! First time ever being excited to be on a period! On day one, I’m supposed to call the doctor to alert them that I’m ready to try my first round of IUI. They only let you try 3 or 4 times. I imagine that’s because the drugs are pretty hard core on your body, and it’s also about a 25% chance each time of working so by round 4 if it doesn’t work, there might be something else going on. It’s after 5pm though, so the office is closed and I have to wait until the next day.

Day 2: I call the doctors office and they tell me to take out a pad of paper for my checklist of items to accomplish in the next couple of weeks. 1. Order the sperm. Ship it to us to arrive on day twelve. Not earlier, not later. The cryotank only holds for five days. 2. Order your trigger shot of HCG from a specialty pharmacy in Arizona to arrive on day eleven. 3. Go pick up five days worth of Letrozole at the pharmacy and start taking it on day five. It’s going to fire up your eggs. 4. Schedule an ultrasound to measure your follicles on day eleven. 5. Go in tomorrow on day three to get bloodwork done. Did you get all that?

The cryotank that the sperm arrives in

Day 3: Bloodwork. I am now a regular at my local blood place. Good thing I love needles and have the worlds best blood donation vein in the crook of my arm.

Day 4: Spent the day reviewing sperm donor options and narrowing down the final selection. Also spent the night out on the town considering live donation options. Just kidding. I spent 17 years doing that, it’s a little late now for the live donation option. I’ve committed. Also spent the day googling “pelvic ultrasound”, “HCG”, “trigger shot”, “Letrozole”, and “Follicles”.

Day 5: Took two little pills of Letrozole in the morning with some food. These are pills that I am going to take for 5 days. Letrozole is a pill that is normally used to treat breast cancer. In this case, it’s going to give me extra hormones to increase the number eggs I produce. Fire em up!

Day 6-9: Holy. Crap. Extra hormones are no joke. I’m a “power through anything”, “never had a sick day in my entire career”, “what broken leg?” kind of girl. But these little suckers are strange. My side effect? Brainlessness. Completely airheaded. I would be talking to someone and looking directly past them. Distracted by EVERYTHING. Couldn’t focus on anything. If I met anyone new in those 5 days, I’m certain they thought I was an idiot.

Day 10-11: Let there be peace. Calm before the storm. Can I get some tequila please?

Day 12.1: The ultrasound. Yes, you were paying attention! It was supposed to be Day 11, but Day 11 was a Sunday. Yes, the IUI process allows for office hours. The ultrasound was internal. That was a little bit of a surprise. Nothing like the movies with the jelly on the stomach. The technician took her instrument and went right into my ovary. She counted and measured follicles. And then she went into my left ovary. And burst into a smile. “Wow! TWO giant dominant follicles!” (Still don’t get the follicles thing, I had not googled anything about dominant follicles or multiple follicles on Day 4. Why don’t they teach you able this stuff in school?)

Day 12.2: The doctors appointment. The doctor who is actually doing the IUI procedure walks in and… I KNOW HER!!! Oh Smallwaukee. She’s one of my best friends sisters best friends and we have done some excellent bachelorette partying together in the past. Good omen. She’s incredibly excited to see me, super pumped about the two follicle situation, it’s all very exciting. I’m to take the trigger shot tonight at 9pm, and then come back 36 hours later at 9am to get inseminated.

Day 12.3: The Arizona pharmacy messed up. They didn’t send the trigger shot on time. It’s trapped in a sorting facility by the airport in a giant metal shipping crate. On the way there, I stop to get a crowbar at the Home Depot to pry the crate open… Just kidding. My amazing doctor friend texts me and tells me that follicles grow slow, I’m not to stress, I’ll do it the next day! Sends me a GIF of some cute sperms swimming and a text that says “I’m excited I hopefully get to knock u up!” (Chillest. Best. Doctor. Ever.)

Day 12.4: Spent the night googling what the heck a follicle is. Turns out, follicles are where the eggs come from. You get one, and rarely two or more follicles every month. This is called the dominant follicle. Follicles happen in your left and right ovary, but the dominant one appears in one or the other, and switches from left to right every other month. When the follicle gets big enough, it explodes, and the egg emerges from it, and that’s ovulation. I think.

Day 13: The HGC trigger shot finally arrives via FedEx in the afternoon. Which means, I have to wake up at 2:30 in the morning to inject myself for my 2:30 in the afternoon appointment 36 hours later. I watch this video to prepare.

Day 14.1: (2:30am) I watch my video again to prepare, and then I begin to mix the compounds. I take a syringe, take some air out of the powder jar, put it into the liquid jar, then I take the liquid from the liquid jar, put it in the powder jar, and then swirl gently to combine. Then, I switch the needle to the injecting needle, and I prepare the shot. My lifetime of watching medical dramas has been waiting for this moment. I’m fully prepared. Am I prepared for having to get it in a spot in my butt that I can’t reach? Probably not, but this is what I signed up for going at this alone. (Brief J-Lo fantasy moment that this time doesn’t work and the next time the love of my life injects me and we laugh, and laugh, and then we snuggle…) I awkwardly reach behind me, and stab the needle into the fleshy part and press the plunger. It. Is. Finished. I go back to bed.

Trigger Shot. Just kidding, that’s a Jello Shot!

Day 14.2: I wake up this morning ANGRY. HCG has one side effect on me. It’s anger. I hate everything, everyone, I can’t talk unless it’s in an angry voice, keeping my shit together for more than 30 minutes is HARD. HCG is the pee of a pregnant woman. Or horse. Or anything pregnant. But it’s pee. Some people use it to diet, but in this case, it’s forcing my folicle to erupt so that egg comes out. So that’s also happening. Day 14.2 can kiss my ass. But I’m fine. It’s fine.

Day 15: The big day. I arrive at 2:30 for my appointment, and a nurse is holding the teeny tiny vial of sperm in her hand. Her and the other nurses have been passing it around for the past half hour, bringing it from cryotank frozen to sperm temperature with the love radiating from their hands. Aww. I sit on the edge of the patient bed in a windowless room. Yes, glamorous conditions for conceiving. My doctor excitedly walks in with a posse. She’s got a nurse and a student doctor. She wants to know if the student doctor can watch and learn. My response? “The more the merrier!” (Hindsight, super odd thing to say during a conception.) She takes a syringe with a 6 inch soft, thin attachment on it. Think about the science of that product design. Wink wink. Sperm goes in, pillow goes under my butt to raise my hips, and I’m left in the windowless room with a 20 minute timer to allow the spermies a head start on their journey. I spent the 20 minutes after on my phone. See? Not everything was different than the old fashioned way. Just kidding. That was funny though, you have to admit it. My doctor runs out of the room with a drop of leftover sperm to look at it under a microscope. She said they were incredible. All 38 million of them! My favorite part was after my 20 minutes she let me look at them too, and they were still swimming. It was BEAUTIFUL. I’ll never be able to look at that particular bodily fluid the same every again.

The 6 inch syringe aka turkey baster

Day 16: What better way to celebrate an insemination than to throw a party for 100 of your closest friends? You can read the article here.

Day 17-26: Just living my life. Pretending I’m stress free. Pretending I’m not thinking about it 24/7 and wondering if every little feeling in my body is a pregnancy symptom. Just lying my way through the days.

Day 27.1/Day 1: My SIL kept trying to get me to pee on a stick on days 25 and 26. I refused (mostly because I really wanted to enjoy that last glass of wine) In hindsight, I wish I would have peed on that stick. I would have MUCH rather found out that it didn’t work and I wasn’t pregnant from a stick rather than my day early, vengeful period arriving.

Day 27.2/Day 1: Toughest part about today was that it wasn’t just the end of IUI Round 1, it was also Day 1 of IUI Round 2. I had the morning to deal with the emotions of finding out that I wasn’t pregnant, and some time mid day to decide if I was ready or wanted to embark on a Round 2, and then the afternoon to commit, make my calls, and start preparing for Round 2. Wild round of emotions.

Now that you know the process, you’ll know what I’m up against for Round 2. Wish me luck!

Thanks for joining me on my journey,


1 Year

It was March, 2018. I had just exited yet another long term turned wrong term relationship. And I wanted a baby. Yes, I could have stayed in that wrong term relationship and had all my baby-making dreams come true, but in those dreams this particular relationship didn’t come with a lifetime of happiness for myself, or us. Our hopes and dreams didn’t align*. And neither did our love languages. (The 5 Love Languages is the single most influential book of my life that has helped pave my personal and professional life’s every success. That, and The Secret. Watch it. Power through. The message is important.)

So I got a dog, and called a doctor. The dog was a no-brainer. I missed having that unconditional love only a dog could give, but I also wanted to start reassuring myself that a lifetime of 24/7 commitment was something I still wanted. Could I still travel? And give work 110%? And have a social life? And take my dog with me? The answer was yes. And still is yes. Best decision I’ve made in years. I’m currently sitting at my local Colectivo writing this while my perfect angel baby sits quietly and people watches. Her favorite hobby.

The most amazing dog in the universe, Sushi.

The doctor on the other hand? The doctor was a bigger, scarier commitment. First of all, she was booked out until May. A great thing, because I can be impulsive and too decisive, and this was no puppy. I was terrified. I waited in the cold sterile room for this doctor that I had never met who was in complete control of my destiny to come in. And I practiced in my head what I would say. And in true Lisa fashion, rehearsed what she would say back, and so and so forth until I had manifested the outcome. My inner monologue is a scary place to be. As you know, fantasy is never the same as reality, so what really happened I never saw coming.

Me: (shaking, scared, apprehensive) “I’m thinking about having a baby by myself.”

Her: (ambivalent, amused, nonplussed) “Great! Let’s look at sperm donors! (Pulls up a website on the computer) Look, this guy has a black belt!”

Never in a million years in a million fantasies was the epic decision to have a child by myself so clear. For someone I had just met to respond to me with humor and unconditional trust in my decision was the ultimate sign for me. She then explained how she normally doesn’t talk money with patients, but in this situation, she does. She gave me my two options, IUI and IVF, and explained the difference in procedure and cost. I’ll get into procedure later, but lets just say that IUI is 1/20 the cost of IVF and the only avenue I could afford. The whole appointment was so reassuring and comfortable that I knew what I was going to do. None-the-less, I decided to give myself a year to consider all options and really vet this decision.

Over the course of May 2018-May 2019, I would say my biggest challenge with committing to this decision was the man part. No matter how feminist this decision looked and felt, I desperately desired for my life to become a Rom-Com** and Prince Charming would show up and we would be perfectly aligned in our hopes and dreams and do this thing together. (ie. “The Back Up Plan” with J-Lo. Premise: She gets inseminated, on the way home, meets *the guy* in the cab, they fall in love, he comes to all her appointments with her, becomes the father of the twins (!) and then they “accidentally” get pregnant quickly after the twins with their own DNA sharing child(ren) and life is perfect)

I painfully spent a year realizing my life is about as far away from a Rom-Com movie as possible. My life is entirely more of the “Com” part than the “Rom” part. I had strike out after strike out. In hindsight, most of the stories of my strike outs are fun to tell (my friends tell me). My heart broke a little every time though. Mostly for my future child. Because I do want them to have a present father. But also for me. Because life is more fun when you have someone you can do it with. Life that is. Get your head out of the gutter. Ok, and “that”.

But then, some random day in February of 2019, I finally felt at peace with myself being enough. Because I’m extra. Just kidding (but not really). I did realize that I wasn’t lying to myself when I always told people,

I don’t NEED a man, I WANT a man.

So here I am world! Doing the thing! Alone. And I’m going to tell you the story. Because that’s who I am. And who I will always be. And if I don’t share my story for other people to commiserate with, who will? And frankly, I could use all the support I can get.

Thanks for joining me on my journey,


*Hopes and dreams include: a lakehouse, downtown condo, snowbird villa, and much international travel.

**Rom-Com=Romantic Comedy