The Journey: Part One

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This is Matt and I having lunch before our big day at the doctor’s office on March 22nd, 2006. But there is so much to tell that came before that. I’m going to begin this story by saying that I don’t share it simply for the drama of it, but so that there might be something in it for you whether you are on this particular journey or not. It is a story, not exactly of hope or faith, but of an opening. It is a story of being open.

After a miscarriage 2 years ago and many months (stretching into years) of trying for a baby, I was at my wit’s end. I had been depressed for much of that time, deeply afraid it would never happen for us or that it might take several more years to happen. I wasn’t sure I could endure any more years of depression, anger and rage. There were incredible lessons in there of course, miracles that unfolded and gifts, but there was no joy anymore, no joy left in the process.

At some point, I got it in my head that if a psychic could tell me that it was going to work out (and when) even if it was years down the road, I’d be able to wait. I just needed some faith and that was the only way I could think of to find it. (Believe me, I had looked inside for that shit and it was nowhere to be found)

I got on a 5 month waiting list for one of the most famous psychics in the country and paid hundreds of dollars to speak to him. When the day finally arrived, I was full of excitement and anticipation. The phone rang, he introduced himself, then asked, “So what’s your question?”

I explained it to him briefly, that my husband and I had been trying to have a baby…

He interrupted me.

“Yeah. It’s not going to work.”

What? I was in shock.

“Not unless you do IVF. Not going to work. You better talk to your husband about that or about adoption or just not having kids in this lifetime.”

I have always heard that expression “a chill went up my spine” but had never actually felt it. My entire body went cold. “Wow. That really doesn’t resonate for me,” I said.

“I don’t care if it doesn’t resonate. You asked me and I’m telling you. I know you want to do it all ‘naturally’ but the only way it will work is with IVF.” He said this coldly and bluntly, arrogantly, and a rage grew inside of me alongside a deep terror and sadness. “You didn’t hire me to tell you what you wanted to hear did you?” he said then, after a long silence.

But of course I did.

I got off the phone as fast as I could and cried for the next two days. I cried because I was angry. I cried because I was afraid he was right. I cried because I had given my power away (not to mention hundreds of dollars) to some arrogant prick on the phone. I cried because he shoved me up against my worst fears.

At Glide that Sunday, a woman I know was there with her mom. She had told me about her mom several times, about her connection to spirit, about her wisdom and magic and eccentric ways. When I met her she reached out and hugged me immediately (even though she couldn’t see me well due to glaucoma) and said something like, “I love you already!” which is how I felt about her.

We chatted for a while and and then I realized an incredible synchronicity – that her mom had been friends with the mother of the psychic I went to. I said to her, “I have to ask you a weird question. Do you know anything about her son? if his readings are accurate?” and then I burst into tears and told them the story. She said to me, “I don’t know if his prediction is right or wrong Andrea, but I encourage you to trust that experience. You manifested it for a reason. There is something to learn from it. You created it. Trust every experience.”

My conversations with Matt shifted after that. What once began as “That fucker doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” evolved slowly into, “So what if we did have to do IVF? What if we did have twins? We want to have two kids anyway. Maybe we’d have a boy and a girl! That would be so cool… and we wouldn’t have to go through this again! And the money… we’ll figure it out. Maybe our families could chip in or we could sell art…” Suddenly what we saw from this place was possibility and hope and excitement and kids! And with that we decided to make an appointment at the UCSF IVF center. The gift of the psychic was that it forced me to look a different way, to shift my perspective and see what was there.

Now let me back up for a minute and explain why opening this door was so significant to me. I grew up in Santa Cruz. I grew up with nutritionists and acupuncturists and herbs. My mother even had a “psychic surgery” once (a very interesting story I might add) We avoided antibiotics whenever we could and took chinese herbs to combat colds. The smell of vitamin stores and the taste of carob still remind me of childhood. I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to take aspirin when I have a headache. I am slightly western medicine phobic.

So this journey of (in)fertility took me to acupuncture, to herbs, to quitting caffeine, to exercising just the right amount, to drinking only bottled water, to taking my temperature every morning, standing on my head, testing my fluids, charting charting charting… All the while trying to “relax.” Which is scientifically impossible if you are doing all of these other things. (And by the way, if you don’t already know, telling an (in)fertile to “just relax” is the kiss of death. She will hate you.) But I digress.

There is a part two to this story.

Not to spoil the surprise, but I did get pregnant! and we didn’t have to go all the way to IVF. Luckily, there were other interventions we could try first. Nevertheless, this story as I said before, is about an opening. So that’s what I leave you with now. With us opening that door… (Part two coming soon)

55 Comments

  1. Posted July 17, 2006 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Intersting….you were willing to do IVF, but ended up not having to? I’m doing the stupid charting, charting, charting…only to find out that I’m not ovulating (no basal temperature shift for 2 months – of course I was on the Pill for 11 years….but, when? I’m inpatient.).
    Can’t wait to read the rest.

  2. Kelly
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Hey! I love those pictures of you, I remember thinking when I saw the one of Matt before how it was “pregnant” with excitement–isn’t that weird! I felt slightly envious, too (only because I admire people with juicy lives). You guys rock.
    I know the “just relax” stuff is bugsome, but I will share with you a fantabulous Hafiz quote, and I really believe it’s true: “The place where you are, God circled on a map for you.” It doesn’t mean anything airy fairy, and this article says a lot about how to interpret that. But what it really does mean, I think, is that the essence of life is in the here and now. Making the most of this moment, because it’s all you’ve got. I know you are doing just that, and it’s fun to follow along.

  3. Posted July 17, 2006 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Oh poo, the article didn’t post. Check my name link if you want to see it.

  4. Posted July 17, 2006 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    That story is awesome.

  5. Prema
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Victoria, you made a funny slip there, you’re “inpatient”? I wonder if that is a sign about what you should do to get pregnant? πŸ™‚

  6. Posted July 17, 2006 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Your posts here are always so captivating, so full of intrique…good juciy stuff…this one is no different. You live a very interesting life, in a very awesome way. I can’t wait to hear part two. Hope you and the little one are doing well!

  7. Charmaine
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    oh I love this – ok ok I know you’re expecting – but I love how you tell this – and you tend to “ramble” (I do too!) ramling colours in the story – and sometimes I go so far back – I forget what I was talking about. I always felt sad for you before your “little sperm made it” – I just fell pregnant (at 19) and that was not where I wanted to be and 16 months later the twins arrived and 4 years and 8 months later no 4 arrived – no planning (not really wanting – rather unhappily married).. and then there you are – really wanting and needing a babe of your own -life can be so not fair. I’m so happy for you now (and for myself too – eldest is 25 and youngest 19 – so I got over myself and wow) hope you don’t mind my rambling too much.

  8. Posted July 17, 2006 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait for Part Two! x

  9. Posted July 17, 2006 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Love this, and can’t wait for part II.
    Hugs and love

  10. Posted July 17, 2006 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    We just finished our HSG injections and I got my HCg shot yesterday. That means we’ll know by August 2nd if it worked. We’re nervous and excited, but reading this makes me hopeful. We’re very willing to do the IVF, but hoping it wont come to that. Naive of me to hope the first treatment will be the one to do the trick.

  11. Posted July 17, 2006 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    >fingers strum table impatiently<
    πŸ™‚
    ~estea, aunt of a freshly delivered (IVF but it doesn’t matter a hoot to me, of course) nephew named Max.

  12. Dawn
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    We want to start our family next year and I have this horrible feeling, as ridiculous as it may seem, that I won’t be able to conceive. I don’t know where that negativity comes from, but boy is it an ugly ugly thing.
    Anyway, I look forward to your part ii. You’re such an inspriation of hope!

  13. Posted July 17, 2006 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    an opeing… i’ll remember that!
    i can’t wait for part 2

  14. Laura
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Part two, part two! πŸ™‚

  15. Posted July 17, 2006 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I love this! I love how you tell your story. Can’t wait for part two.

  16. Posted July 17, 2006 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  17. Hazel
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad you have decided to because only a few days ago I wondered if you ever would tell, I even thought about the beautiful book you could write. You have an amazing way with words.

  18. Posted July 17, 2006 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I love reading your story. And I think it’s so very fitting that the beginnings of your parenting started with a stretching of what’s ‘comfortable’ for you. In my experience, parenting has been one amazingly stretching, challenging and growing experience after another!

  19. B
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t keep us waiting too long – I have a friend who has been struggling for years and if there’s something you’ve discovered that might help…

  20. hummingbird
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful “opening” to your blossoming baby!! I am already a mom of three…and promise that there is so much wild magic ahead of YOU!!
    Your story touched me in another way…you are right to put your words out so that those of us who need it can take pieces and embrace them in our own lives…in whatever window we are opening, closing or looking through….I need to remember to be “open” and your story brought that perspective back to me….or perhaps I brought it to myself by being willing and open to read your post…
    thank you precious one!!
    xxohummingb.

  21. Posted July 17, 2006 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    dear andrea! you look so beautiful sitting in the cafe like that. so serious thoughtful and mysterious looking. I’m wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy journey.
    from a sister in texas!
    Meenu

  22. Posted July 17, 2006 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this story and all of the doors that are opening in both of our lives. You rock Andrea! *hugs*

  23. Posted July 17, 2006 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this story and all of the doors that are opening in both of our lives. You rock Andrea! *hugs*

  24. Jennifer
    Posted July 17, 2006 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    That psychic isn’t a fucker for what he said, but how he said it….
    In the end, I think the final result is just as important as the path we took to get there. So from that perspective, thinking about IVF or adoption as a way to get a baby are great things to think about. I mean, if you all decide to do that for your second child, that’s great….

  25. Posted July 17, 2006 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this –
    you are so brave.

  26. Posted July 17, 2006 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    you.rock.it.
    your.story.rocks.it.
    i thank you deeply for sharing it with the world.

  27. m
    Posted July 18, 2006 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Need part two. Need it now. No hurry or anything, but … gotta have part two.

  28. Sam Findlay
    Posted July 18, 2006 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! Just beautiful Andrea. I have never experienced what you have recently been through, but your writing has made me feel like I’ve been there every step of the way. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I very much look forward to the second installment (and the third, fourth, fifth…..).

  29. Posted July 18, 2006 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Andrea, thank you SO much for sharing this story. I’ve had a few friends experience infertility, my own sister too in fact, and currently one of my best (male) friends in the world (we often forget about the toll this stuff takes on the men involved…which I would be very interested to see you write about sometime actually). It’s hard for me to relate to the difficulty since I conceived easily. But what I can relate to is the total yearning for a child and the joy of having one. Knowing that desire, I can so understand your journey. And while I despise that guy for being so blunt with you, I totally agree that everything (every asshole comment included) happens for a reason, often to make you take a step back or take a new approach. That’s what life is all about…realizing that and being able to be brave enough and secure enough to take that leap! Still soooo happy for you and looking forward to reading the rest of the story. By the way, I really think you should take a look at something I posted on my blog. I sent it to a bunch of women I know that have had kids…though your just on the start of your journey, I think you would benefit from it. I warn you, it might scare you a bit…it’s about the aftermath of a woman’s body aftering pregnancy. I didn’t send it to you to begin with because I wasn’t sure if you might get a little flustered, ha,ha. Hopefully not. I’m hoping it will help you down the road…and anyone else for that matter. Please pass it on. It’s a very empowering thing for women!
    http://www.faydean.tyepad.com
    It’s the first post you’ll see…with links to the sites I’m referring too.

  30. alison
    Posted July 18, 2006 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    “I don’t know if his prediction is right or wrong Andrea, but I encourage you to trust that experience. You manifested it for a reason. There is something to learn from it. You created it. Trust every experience.”
    i am thinking of seeing a psychic on a certain issue in my life, but afraid… yes afraid he’ll say what i don’t want to hear, that would hurt me.
    your lesson has taught me a lesson.
    looking forward for part 2 of your story.

  31. Laney
    Posted July 18, 2006 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this. Your story gives me hope. I can’t wait to hear Part 2! πŸ™‚

  32. Posted July 18, 2006 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Oops! I meant impatient! ha ha! I’m not in the hospital or anything! πŸ™‚

  33. Posted July 18, 2006 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I just returned Sunday from a week in Vegas visiting a certain person… (While there, I slept on a fold-out foam pad that has crystals embedded in it…somehow I thought you’d appreciate that.) We so often lose sight of the lessons of our journeys as we put so much of our focus instead on the endpoints. We all know that this story has a happy ending…but what a powerful journey it’s been for you. Maybe I’m just a powerful believer in the idea that the high’s are so much more sweet when the low’s have been so damn low…at least that’s been MY experience. Sending you and Matt and baby lots of love and light as you embark on this new journey together. xoxo

  34. Jennifer
    Posted July 18, 2006 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    You know, I’d forgotten how emotional your entry was from 2 years ago – I just re-read it, and I absolutely cried when I read your last 3 or 4 sentences. I guess it is true that you have to experience absolute loss and sadness to understand true joy.

  35. Carole
    Posted July 18, 2006 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your story, Andrea. I have several friends who I will direct to your site so they can read it – but after Part II is posted!! πŸ™‚
    As for the psychic, I can totally understand why you’d seek one out – especially when it comes to the deepest longings of our hearts, we want to KNOW. And I think what we want to know is not just if it will happen, but if we matter to God, if our cries are going out into the void and coming back empty or if God is there with us, holding us through it all when He/She feels so far away in our hopelessness. And God is. And God does. And thankfully God does have a way of being able to redeem even the shittiest interactions with people – I’m so glad you have friends at Glide to encourage you!

  36. Julia
    Posted July 18, 2006 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Your story is just the BEST!!! I can’t wait for part two. Thanks for your candor, and grace in sharing this very personal story of yours, with the world. πŸ™‚

  37. Posted July 18, 2006 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    thank you Andrea for sharing your story.
    I too have been trying for years. Sometimes it really feels so out of reach. But I just keep on trying. When you want something bad enough, you can’t just give up on it when times get tough.
    thank you again.

  38. Posted July 18, 2006 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m anxious for Part 2!
    During our infertility and miscarriages I had a palm reader tell me I would never have children. It stuck with me, and stirred something in me. It really bothered me for a long time, and when we had more miscarriages it haunted me.
    So then I thought, “Well maybe she just meant natural children.” Mind you, I don’t even believe in Palm Reading and it was some random woman at a hotel I met who told me she could do it over wine, but it still haunted me.
    Needless to say, I have two kids as you know. One adopted and one biological and SHE WAS WRONG.

  39. marsha
    Posted July 19, 2006 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    Andrea, I am just bubbling over with happiness for you!

  40. Vivienne
    Posted July 19, 2006 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I adore you! I just simply adore you! I can’t wait for part two…and I am just ecstatic for you! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    xoxox
    V

  41. sophia
    Posted July 19, 2006 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Aaaaah! Don’t make us wait too long!

  42. Posted July 19, 2006 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Andrea, I can’t tell you how much your blog entries mean to me. From your sharing about leading a creative life, to your friends finding love through you, to your very honest and open struggles with fertility. I just want you to know how much I appreciate your willingness to share the tender parts of life.

  43. Posted July 19, 2006 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait for part two πŸ™‚

  44. Posted July 19, 2006 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to hear the rest. I had an experience with a psychic many years ago. I was told something very cryptic, which I am still trying to understand. I could interpret it in so many ways. Wow, I had planned to write it, but I think I don’t even want to read it in print or I’ll cry.

  45. Posted July 20, 2006 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Sometimes doctors can be the coldest people on this earth. I imagine that it’s because they see life and death every day, and become immune to the feelings that go along with it. I have a friend who suffered miscarriage after miscarriage before she finally gave up. She had to go see a doctor for yet another D & C. The doctor took one look at her, this woman in pain because another pregnancy was lost. He actually said “You stupid, stupid woman.” He viewed her as foolish because she kept trying for a child when it just wasn’t working. He couldn’t see the loss she was going through, not just the loss of losing the baby, but the slow death of a dream of ever having a baby.
    No, the doctor you saw wasn’t being mean. But I imagine after years of “breaking the news”, he was unable to fathom that his words might be heartbreaking, and therefore did nothing to soften them. Thank the Lord that you actually did succeed. Yes, you could have started IVF. And you very well could have had a child that way. But you were able to bypass that and will be welcoming your little person into this world in a few months. What a blessing!

  46. Pamela in Austin
    Posted July 20, 2006 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Andrea, I had the most wonderful doctor during my journey with infertility. During one extremely low moment, when I simply could not follow the instructions to “relax” (I mean, it’s so contrary to every fiber of your being when you’re on that rollercoaster), I started to cry and asked him whether my inability to relax was keeping me from not getting pregnant. His words were the most reassuring I had ever heard. He said, “You can’t make it NOT happen.” I clung to those words fiercely until it finally DID happen. Continuing to feel such joy for you and Matt!

  47. Posted July 20, 2006 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m feeling happy and I thought I’d stop by to tell you to be happy too!

  48. Posted July 22, 2006 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou for your bravery. Thankyou for your openess. I have read your blog for many years and have finally after many deliberations started my own (I was inspired also by you to read Anne Lamott- now my favourite author) Thankyou.

  49. Posted July 22, 2006 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Ah! The suspense…

  50. Pamela
    Posted July 23, 2006 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Oh … it was so heartbreaking for me to read about your experience with the psychic, as about 10 years ago now, I too, in desperation, sought out the “help” of a so-called psychic healer. She charged me (and this is embarrassing) nearly $600 to supposedly cleanse my chakras and engage in some healing process that, even as I was participating in them, felt scripted and random. Her entire demeanor with me felt uncaring, impatient, and most eerily, inauthentic. After about 15 minutes of “healing,” she told me in no uncertain terms that my time was up, and that I should eat more protein–which was ironic as I had homemade protein drinks every day for lunch. When I hung up I wondered why she never asked me a thing about my husband. It was a fruitless exercise. I should have done what you did, turned the anxiety around, found the connection that made sense.
    My ending, unfortunately, was not the same as yours. I think I let the psychic entirely unravel me. At age 39, I’d had enough. I began taking the pill again because I was tired of the monthly sledge-hammer of infertility. I felt betrayed by my healthy vigilance, by my commitment to a natural attempt, so I went on the offense. In hindsight I think I did the worst thing I could have done, I insisted on regaining control of the outcome.
    But I HAVE redefined my life, and I am a very happy person (despite the inner dive I still feel when I ponder motherhood, such an unanswered craving). I have discovered other ways to birth. I am so happy that you will have your baby–so very joyous to see the way you processed the emotions associated with the grapple of (in)fertility!
    I type this from Venice, Italy … my gift now is travel and writing and living life in an authentic, engaged way. Can’t wait to hear the rest of your story.

  51. Posted July 23, 2006 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    this post really touched me.
    my husband and i have been trying for two years, with no luck, to get pregnant. we had a doctor, and i finally left his practice in april after feeling like a raging maniac. i took hormones, was prodded and probed and explored.
    and, no, i couldn’t relax either.
    so i have been trying to get used to the fact that it will just never happen. that maybe my purpose is to be a “mother” to all of the beautiful children that i teach.
    but your post has given me hope.
    and i am anxiously waiting for part 2.
    thank you for sharing your experience. and congratulations!

  52. Sandy
    Posted July 25, 2006 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    First let me say that I am so happy for you :->
    Second, let me say that I’m happy to see you’re reading the SF Weekly!! I work for their sister paper – Phoenix New Times. My dear friend Joshy is the publisher of SF Weekly. Thanks for the plug :-> whoot!

  53. Posted July 26, 2006 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to be patient here, but, puhleeze give us part 2! Thanks.

  54. Posted July 26, 2006 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    what a great and amazing story. can’t wait for part 2. and loved that you were able to shift from “that fucker” to an opening. so glad for you. i’m finally in oakland now (moved from portland) and will get to Glide soon, maybe even this sunday!

  55. Posted July 27, 2006 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I don’t exactly know HOW I came across your blog…. you know, surfing around, clicking on links to cool stuff… but, voila! here I have found you.
    I just want you to know that your entry really resonated with me. I had one successful pregnancy with my daughter (who is now turning 5 next mth) and have had 3 miscarriages in a row in the last year and a half. The last 2 both terminating (what a yucky word) a day before the start of my 2nd trimester. I am like you, a natural junkie, who has done her share of preventative measures, trying to do whatever I can to be at my best. I can feel your probable anxiety, and all the other stuff mixed up in what is supposed to be the happiest time of your life. I have had to suck up my humanity and be resigned to the fact that I just do not know why. Maybe someday I will. Be brave, and don’t let the doubt crush this start. It is a beautiful thing.
    So, I don’t email to give you a headful of worries, but to let you know that I have said a heartfelt prayer for you and your little one. Congratulations! I do believe that everything will be fine. Don’t base your future on one man’s opinion. He is, after all, only human.