Friday, April 28, 2006

This is how much I love you

I am borrowing someone's laptop to post this from the convention center.

Repeat beta = 166.

U/S May 10.

What the hell do I do for the next 12 days?!?

ETA: I found one spot in my friend's house where I can get wireless internet from her neighbor's. Hooray, hoorah. For Allison and anyone else who was curious: Beta hcg levels refer to the hormone your body produces when it is pregnant. The initial number is supposed to double within 48 hours. Which it did. Hoorah, hooray.

Oh, and I'm having dinner with Julia on Sunday. How cool am I?

Thursday, April 27, 2006


I didn't mean to go wham bam thank you maam with that last post and leave you all hanging.

But I'm actually out of town at a conference and staying at a friend's house.

And she? Has dial up.

So I've been scarce in the commenting and reading of others' blogs division.

I will try to find a moment to post tomorrow regarding the results of either ebullient joy or total devastation.

your comments and all of you rock, big time.



Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Holy Crap

Pili and I, holding hands, tiptoeing in to the bathroom to see the inevitable negative:

Me: Holy crap, I think that's a plus sign.
Me: Do another one.
P: I only bought one.
Me: Holy crap.

Beta was 74 10dpt. Repeat beta on Friday.

I guess the third (FET) time is (cautiously optimistic, until we hear a heartbeat, until we're out of the first trimester, until the b-word is screaming and pink in the open air) the charm.

Oh. My. God.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


No, it's not that good news. Beta is tomorrow, and I am curious, but not overly hopeful. I think I may actually have mastered the art of not giving a damn.

(um yeah. remind me of that tomorrow morning)

We've narrowed our choices down to three adoption agencies, and hopefully sometime in the next two weeks we will actually have the time to sit down together, make some more phone calls, and then make the final decision.

When If this cycle turns out negative, I think we will wait a month to do another frozen cycle, just to give poor Pili's bum time to recover from all the progesterone in oil shots. Four icey little embryos still await us. But then I start thinking about the calendar, and my head starts swimming with anxiety.

Many things are up in the air at the moment and my poor head aches from juggling sixteen possible scenarios for our life over the next two years, involving timing of tenure decisions, results of said decisions, adoption/pregnancy timing (ha!), six week absences for research travel and its impact on said adoption/pregnancy timing. Oh yes, and the hope that someday I may actually find a full-time job in my field (ha!).

Oh right: yippee. Why YIPPEE?

Because... in her infinite wisdom Michele has deemed me...

Site of the Day!

For this of you visiting from Michele's - welcome! please, come back and visit again. We promise you only the most exciting news of infertility, diabetes and feline antics here at Artificially Sweetened. For those of you not familiar with Michele - she publishes these totally addictive comment games. I've wasted far too much of my employers' my time playing them and in the process gotten to "know" bloggers I probably never would have met elsewhere. So thanks, Michele!

In tomorrow's episode: Art-sweet masters zen and the art of pregnancy tests. Or not.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Photo Funday: Dinner (and an asterix)

Thank you all for choosing my shadow pictures for Photo Friday. I put probably far too much thought into these photo friday things, which is why they don't usually show up here until saturday or sunday or even tuesday, and it feels really nice to know that people like them. There are always so many amazing and interesting images submitted, so please check out the Photo Friday pool and look at everyone's pictures!

Pili was very grateful for this week's topic: What I ate for dinner

A few words of explanation.

I like to cook.
I especially like to bake.
I spent two summers working as a cook.
I am incapable of making a small amount of anything.

Whenever I cook, we wind up with enough food to feed a frat house. Leftovers for lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner...

This also means that whenever I cook, it's a big production.

Which means that Pili, wonderful wonderous Pili, is the primary cook in our house, when it comes to everyday meals.

But this topic required me to cook.

I made these for dinner and these for dessert. And a good time was had by all. (And will continue to be had for the next week). And Pili made a beautiful salad too!

Black bean and sweet potato enchildas with mole sauce

The sweet potatos, all mushed up and ready to go in the enchiladas

Sweet Potato

Mole sauce in the making


The whole enchilada

the whole enchilada

Yummy salad with mesclun, stilton, and pears


The lemon ginger bars

lemon-ginger bars


Because how do you segue gracefully from mole to miscarriage?

I'm so grateful for your comments on the previous post.

Your confidence, faith, and support mean more than I can say.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Heavy Thoughts

Reading the recent posts by Sandra, Julia, and Julia - and their comments - I've been overwhelmed by anxiety.

What if we succeed? We see the two lines, the plus sign, the positive beta, the heartbeat on the ultrasound, Pili worshipping the porcelain god morning noon and night... only to end in sorrow? Reading these posts, it seems like miscarriage happens more often than it doesn't.

Would that be worse than never getting pregnant at all?

Then I'm filled with remorse and shame. How horrible am I that I read these stories and the first thought that jumps to my mind is ME ME ME US US US?

My friends, I am so sorry. Sorry that you have been through this pain, and sorry that I am not a better person to help you deal with it.

ETA: I might take this down. Seeing it on my blog is making me very nervous, like even voicing the thought might bring the evil eye down upon my head. Kenahorah. I really am my mother's daughter. Am I ridiculous, or am I just pathetic?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Important Life Lessons

When you're running late for work...

and you can't find your glasses.


Always remember

to check


the cat.

Perhaps I should start a website called "stuff under my cat"?

In the meantime, stuff on my cat is always good for a laugh on a slow day at work.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Diadoofus Lunch

I had already torn the lid off my yogurt and reheated my ten-thousandth bowl of matzah ball soup.

A cup of coffee and today's NY Times crossword awaited me.

I was very hungry.

I reached into my bag and pulled out my meter.

Then I remembered. Taking the last strip out of the bottle of test strips this morning. Saying to myself: must remember to grab new bottle of strips

Did not remember. Strips are an hour and some away at home.

I bolused for the meal, and revised my plan for the day: go directly home after work instead of going to the gym.


Photo Freusday: Shadows

This topic was a lot of fun.

Then again, anything that gives me an excuse to waste an hour looking through all my pictures is a lot of fun in my book.

Houseboat ShadowsShadows on the wall of our rented houseboat in Kerala
Soldiers drilling in the forbidden city. If you look closely, even their hats have shadows!
Five RathasI like the way the old man and the shadow seem to be interacting.
shadow self portrait
A little closer to home. My shadowy self, in my garden. Look at the daffodils!

Monday, April 17, 2006

FET #3: Or, meet Tooty and Fruity

Otherwise known as embryos one & two.

Smoothly transferred into Pili's womb this afternoon.

In the waiting room afterwards, I fussed with the coffee machine as a pretext whilst shamelessly ogling eyeing another lesbian couple sitting side by side in the oh-so-tasteful mission furniture, gazing deeply into each other's eyes.

Should I break the sacred waiting room code of silence? This is Small City, and there aren't that many of us around. On the other hand... look at how lovey-dovey they are. They're either brand new here or they're here for a let's hear the baby's heartbeat ultrasound. In which case I may go out of my head with jealousy will be very very happy for them.

I finally decided that I had to break the code of silence, if only so that they wouldn't interpret my one-cup-coffee-machine-fiddling-blatent-staring as a straight woman giving them the hairy eyeball. While it can take a long time to choose between french roast and earl grey, five minutes is probably pushing it, no?

The unpardonable thing? In a fertility clinic, the only decaf option was chamomile. Blech.

So, how long have you guys been coming here?

Oh, this is our first visit. We're just here for a consultation with Dr. SBS. (oh crap. you do not want to talk to me) How about you?

Well, um, we've been here for a while. I'm just waiting for my partner. We actually wound up doing IVF, my eggs, her uterus...

Oh wow! How great. We're still trying to decide who goes first!

Um, yeah. It's great if it works. (Pili emerges) Well, good luck to you. See you again, maybe.

I am trying to welcome these embryos with sweetness and light, to convince them that they would like to stay put for a while. I held my hand over Pili's stomach for a minute and tried to think only cheerful happy smiling family thoughts.

I have absolutely no expectation that this will work, and yet I can't help hoping that I will be surprised.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

No Photo Friday

The photo friday topic was just announced, so photo friday will be happening something more like photo monday.

In the meantime.

I didn't get the job.

I'm not sure if I'm just numb or if I really don't care all that much.

The director was really good about telling me exactly why I was the runner up.
And I think that helped. I know that the candidate who won had specific skills that I don't have - and don't particularly want to have. Part of me is kicking myself for not being more gung-ho about this area in the interview. It was the one moment where I thought, ah crap, that was not the answer they wanted to hear. But when it comes down to it, I'm not a huge fan of this technology, and I'm not sure I would want to take a job that was moving in that direction, (I'm sorry to be so vague, but...) even if it's the only job in my area.

I also went to a conference earlier this week and made some contacts who might throw some consulting work my direction. If I could get enough of that to quit the job that blows, I think I'd be a happ(ier) camper.

Pili and I have both been so stressed out and fried lately, with no time to connect with each other. We had my parents up to our house last night for a Passover seder with some friends and are supposed to go to the Big City (~ 4 hours drive) for family seders friday and saturday. As much as I love my family and am excited to see the Wonder Nieces and Nephew (aka my cousins' kids), part of me really wishes we could just stay home, sleep in, and be alone together. My parents' apt is so small and cluttered, I feel in constant danger of losing myself - both literally and figuratively.

Blah. Blah. Blah. I could go on, but I will not. I will leave you with two tasty tidbits.

1) FET monday. Anyone actually think this is going to work? Yeah, me neither.
I should cheer for the poor little frozen embryos, and think positively, but all evidence to date seems to indicate that neither thinking positively nor making Pili stay horizontal for 24 hours post-transfer have any effect on the success rate of this procedure.

2) The best passover desert ever.

Matzah (about three sheets)
2 sticks of margarine (or butter for a tastier dairy/don't care about kashrut meal)
1 cup of brown sugar
1 small bag of chocolate chips

Cover a cookie sheet with foil to make cleanup easier.

Line the cookie sheet with matzahs — it is okay if they overlap a little.

Melt the margarine with the brown sugar until it starts to boil. Pour the mixture over the matzahs and bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes (should be starting to brown, but not burning)

Take the pan out of the oven and pour the chocolate bits over the matzahs.

After they melt let cool in the fridge for one hour.

Break up in small pieces.

Take large insulin bolus and eat the whole thing.

If you like savory, rather than sweet, add a little (1 tsp) salt to the butter/sugar mixture, sprinkle some nuts on top before baking, and omit the chocolate.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Photo Friday I: Finding Something to Love

I have obsessed about this Photo Friday topic:

We live in a world where females are taught to pick apart and hate their bodies at an early age.This week I ask you to renounce any body hating that you have & celebrate yourself: your beautiful self.Please submit a photo of your favorite body part or part of your body. Along with the photo include a short love letter to that body part.
My favorite body part. The minute I start thinking about body parts, I am transported into negativity. Stomach. Disgusting overflowing I should be at the gym not writing this and stuffing my piehole with BBQ soychips. Legs. I like them okay but has that jiggly flab always been there? Even when I think of the parts of my body that I like, I'm seeing them through someone else's eyes, as objects more or less appealing to others.

My body, defective and flawed, so often the target of my rage and frustration.

And yet, think of all it does.

My heart will beat approximately 100,800 times over the course of the next twenty four hours.
Over those same twenty four hours, I will inhale approximately 28,800 times.
I will conceive of words, and somehow, they will be transformed and transported from wisps of ideas in my mind to muscles working bones to produce words on the keypad.
My kidneys filter my blood, removing wastes and diluting them with water.
My muscles lift a cat to rub his soft fur against my face, my nerves process fur, soft, pleasure.
My eyes blink to keep themselves moist, and catch the flicker of a nuthatch circling down the trunk of a dead tree.

You, body.
Allow me to be.

Walt Whitman says it so much better than I possibly could (particularly the very last section).

Photo Friday II: for Pili, who lobbied for them

My eyes surprise me sometimes with how blue they are.

Take a sad song...


For Kerri, Flmgodog, Charlotte, Lo, Beanie Baby, Lyrehca, Andrea, Shannon, Erica, Julia, Abster, Hoping, Sue, Melissa, Sandra - and of course my beloved SB and PILI.

You do make it better.

I think Charlotte is right - what I do - or don't do - cuts right to the core of who I think I am. It's so hard to have confidence in myself, to believe in myself, when I'm rejected over and over again on the job front. I have people I respect - in my field - read my resume and tell me it looks good. They'd hire me, they say. So what's wrong with me?

Add to that that for the past two and a half years I've been promising myself that once we have a kid it won't matter that I'm working two part-time jobs with half the decision-making responsibility I had back in beloved big city.

And I think Melissa is right. It's time to start adjusting the happy pills again. I can start by remembering to take them consistently. That always helps.



Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I guess it could be worse

I'm trying to be upbeat. Really I am. I am so proud of all of you for all your proud things big and small. And in the meantime, I'm kind of um, losing it. I never thought I would post an IM conversation on my blog because well, I usually get bored reading other people's IMs. But I had this conversation today with my friend - my soul_brother I will call him - because if I had a brother, he would be him. And it just pretty much sums up where I'm at.

soul_brother: I've been reading your blog sporadically. I'm sorry to hear the latest round didn't take.
soul_brother: What's the next stage, if you know?
art-sweet: Well, we still have six icicles left, but...
art-sweet: looking seriously into guatemala adoption
soul_brother: right on
art-sweet: so, are you moving to ny?

(conversation about SB’s several fabulous job offers ensues)

soul_brother: And you? Are you moving to SMALL TOWN?
art-sweet: Dunno
art-sweet: I had an in-person interview last week that I thought went pretty well, but he said he would be in touch friday or monday and I haven't heard anything.

(update follows this conversation)

art-sweet: Frankly I'm feeling pretty crappy and hopeless these days.
art-sweet: Not very good company I'm afraid
soul_brother: I'm sorry to hear that. I mean, I kinda guessed from the tone on your blog, but still.
soul_brother: But it sounded as though you had changed your mind about that job, as if maybe you were still interested in it, despite your earlier anxiety.
art-sweet: Y'know it's not my dream job. But it sounds challenging and interesting and even if I only did it for a year or two my resume would look a hell of a lot better than it does now
art-sweet: yeah, I dunno.
art-sweet: I hate that I have a hard time being happy for other people
art-sweet: but honestly I just look at other people's success and all I see is my failure
soul_brother: I, too, am prone to that self-defeating trap.
art-sweet: I keep trying to convince myself that I won't be upset if I don't get it b/c it's not my dream job
art-sweet: But in reality I know that it will just feel like another message to me from the universe that I suck
soul_brother: hm
art-sweet: yeah. that's kind of the general mood of things.
soul_brother: you don't suck, though. I mean, really, you very much don't. I know that when you're feeling that way, it's hard to believe encouraging words from others, much as you might want to -- but they're sincerely meant.

(this is why I love him)

art-sweet: y'know, I try to tell myself that.
art-sweet: But all evidence seems to point decidedly to the contrary.
art-sweet: Remember that big flashing arrow on the mission in the south loop?
art-sweet: I feel like there's that big flashing arrow
art-sweet: and it's pointing straight to
art-sweet: YOU SUCK
soul_brother: ouch
art-sweet: and I'm trying really hard to look in the other direction and convince myself that's not the case.
art-sweet: and days like today, well.

(discussion about a family friend who has been behaving badly ensues)

art-sweet: Pili and I have been doing pretty well through all this stress
art-sweet: I think that's the one thing in my life that's working right now
soul_brother: I'm glad to hear that. What's the origin of "Pili"?
art-sweet: Partner I Love Intensely
soul_brother: oh, nice. that's sticky-sweet
art-sweet: yeah, I decided PWFAL was too hard to pronounce
art-sweet: Partner Who Farts a Lot
soul_brother: that's probably for the best
soul_brother: btw, in the spirit of "everyone else is successful but me", I envy the strength and quality of your relationship
art-sweet: y'know, I realized the minute I hit enter that I was probably rubbing some salt into tender spots of your own. I wish... there ought to be enough happiness and love and good job juju to go around for everyone. Or at least for both of us.

ETA: and everyone else reading this

art-sweet: You totally deserve love.
soul_brother: Thank you; and you totally deserve a good, fulfilling job. Wanna trade?
art-sweet: hmmm....
art-sweet: when you put it that way...
art-sweet: good reminder for me to count what blessings I've got.
soul_brother: right on

(Single straight girls: I will screen applications for him.)

Update: About five minutes after I got home the phone rang and it was (thanks, caller ID) JOB.

I stopped breathing and let the voicemail answer - because I was afraid I would start blubbering for like, the fifth time today. Then I started panicking and hyperventilating every time I went to dial the voice mail number. Pili's away at a conference, and I couldn't stand the thought of hearing bad news by myself.

I called my friend and she came over and sat with me and fed me small sips of cold water and dialed the phone for me and let me make her late for her meeting while I blubbered all over her. And then the message was vague. I did call him back and it's neither good nor bad. People have been traveling. They need time. They will let me know Monday.

This is almost as bad as waiting for a fucking beta result.

If you are still reading at this point, you deserve a medal.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Proud (A Monday Morning Comment Game)

I'm proud of myself for something I did this morning.

(Beyond just getting out of bed, which some mornings, is the best I can do)

What did I do?

Check the comments to find out.

And then post your own: what have you done today that makes you feel proud? Even just a little teeny weeny bit proud of yourself?

Once you've boosted your own self esteem, go boost the esteem of the person who commented before you by visiting their site and commenting there. This is shamelessly ripped off adapted from Michele, who for the record, writes: "the lovely thing about being me is that I am so damn good at it."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A glass of whine

For Felix, who commented on my Pet Peeves post:

Dear Felix,

I'm glad that you felt comfortable enough to post your peeve here, but I feel like I have to draw a line between venting and whining. Venting - finding out that other people share your feelings and you're not alone - is not the same thing as whining. The people who posted here are venting because they do carry the purse, every g-damn day. And they do give the explanation - every g-damn time. And then, when they're amongst friends - well, they blow off a little steam. Because if you don't blow off steam at some point, it ain't pretty.

That we allow ourselves this space to vent doesn't mean that we aren't grateful for the medicines and technologies that make our lives and those of our children possible. I think I can speak for all of us and say that we are.

Oh, and apparently you didn't read very far in my blog or you'd see that not only am I riled up about s.1955, I'm even trying to get people in other interest communities riled up as well.

I do hope you'll keep reading - and keep commenting - but I feel like it's important to me to have this be a space in which it's okay to be sick of being diabetic, to be sick of being different. To complain about the little things that drive you crazy. Because then you have the strength to go out and keep on going.

Take care Felix, and be well,


p.s. I don't think I'm going to try to sum up all the pet peeves for people to pick a top ten. Just too hard. And I have far too much work to do this week for one lifetime.