I'm having a baby. Which is exciting stuff for sure! Baby knits! Baby names! Morning sickness! (Oh wait, that part sucks!)

I've had a very, very long journey towards pregnancy. It's something that I'm supposed to be ashamed of and keep hidden, apparently. But honestly, I'm the kind of girl who instagrams my lunch. Do you really think I'm not going to give a ridiculous amount of detail regarding my attempts to create life???


I've never seen myself as someone who would be a mom. Kids make me kind of uncomfortable, I don't have any sort of natural maternal instinct, and while I enjoy kids when I'm talking to them, babies squick me out sometimes. I was at a friends house once, and they had tacos. TACOS! I was so hungry for tacos! Then one of the kids, put her hand in a bowl, got a fist full of cheese, put her entire cheesy fist into her mouth, (So impressive by the way. How the heck did she fit her ENTIRE fist into her mouth? Especially when that fist is full of cheese!) Then wet, formerly cheesy fist goes back into the cheese bowl. Repeat. I silently gagged. I did not touch any food in that house the rest of the night. Everyone who had kids? Totally cool with it. They all got to enjoy delicious tacos.

Now, let me stress something. If my dog licked something and someone didn't want to eat any food because of that? I would be freaking insulted. Is a dog that licks his butt any different than a small person who's had a hand in her diaper? Probably not. Nevertheless, one grosses me out and one doesn't.

I wouldn't say that I didn't want kids in the beginning of my marriage. My husband and I threw contraceptives out the window, since birth control made me a miserable human being. We figured if it happened, it happened. When it didn't happen, I just figured that was someones way of telling me that I shouldn't breed. Dill had also warned me that years of being around stuff in the military had probably ruined his fertility. Two guys in his unit had gotten cancer, and he always wondered if it was because of the things they were exposed to in their work. Plus, we're happy together! We have a rad life. We go on trips when we want. If we don't feel like cooking dinner we go to a nice, quiet local restaurant and chill out over a beer and some good food. I can't imagine those things could happen if we were responsible for a small person.


Part 1: Hey! This hurts!

After about 13 years together, I did start thinking... "what if we had a kid?". We would talk about it sometimes, and we flirted with the idea of adoption, but holy cow, the cost... the paperwork... that is not an easy path at all! Kudos to those of you that have done it!

Then, when I was between insurance, I went to Planned Parenthood for an annual screening, and the nurse asked if I had ever been pregnant. When I told her no, she asked about my periods. When I told her they put me in a crippling amount of pain, she said that I probably had endometriosis, and that I needed to get it taken care of.

Now. Let me rewind, I've researched my period symptoms before. Because they are a nightmare. I've broken bones. I've had surgery. I've torn muscles. I would have gladly taken all three at once, 24/7 in trade for my weekly period pains. I've of course complained to doctors about it, since the age of 14 when I realized that my friends didn't have it as bad as I did. I received prescriptions for extra strength advil, phrenilin, and even vicodin. I took them when I was desperate, but honestly, what's the difference between being unable to function at school or work from pain vs. unable to function because of pain killers? I had mentioned to doctors that I'd researched endometriosis, and they would just shrug and suggest the painkillers, or that if I got pregnant it would help. (There is research to suggest that pregnancy can help endometriosis. But endometriosis makes it almost impossible to get pregnant!)

Ok, so back to the nurse. I told her my history, how no doctor would help me. She suggested I go to another doctor, explain that I had pain AND I hadn't had kids, and he would recommend me to a fertility doctor, who would take my endometriosis concerns seriously.

Keep in mind I'm between insurance at this point (I had another 60 days before it kicked in) but I was so hopeful that someone might finally give me answers, I shelled out the $250 bucks for the first doctor visit, which honestly lasted 45 seconds, as he recommended me to a fertility doctor. With that in hand, I started my path to real answers.

I waited till I had my insurance lined up to see the fertility doc, who said "Sounds like endo to me!" and scheduled me for surgery.

Which my insurance denied, because clearing up endometriosis could be seen as a fertility treatment, which they don't cover.

We fought them for 6 months, which hell, 6 more months at this point of pain was really nothing, because now there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Once it was finally approved I went in for what was supposed to be a quick 45 minute procedure.

Over 3 hours later, I woke up from surgery, with the doctor telling me I had the worst case of endometriosis he had seen in all of his years of practice. He called me a "pioneer woman" for actually getting up and functioning every month. He kept shaking his head and saying "I don't know how you did it".

Which has me thinking, how many women are living with the same level of pain that I lived with? I didn't see the same doctor my entire life. I told my symptoms and my pains to multiple doctors over the years, male and female, and they all just shrugged it off and wrote scripts. Why? Just because the pain is in my "lady bits" and not my stomach, or my back, it's not a valid pain that should be cured, or at least looked into?


Part 2: So, babies?

At my follow up visit (where the doctor gave me pictures of my surgery. Ew.) he asked if I wanted to see if I could have kids. He couldn't tell me definitively of course, but we could do blood work, see where my egg count was at, try some stimulating drugs and see if I produced follicles. We did those things and the results weren't great. All the years of just dealing with the pain of endo and not getting it taken care of was probably a contributing factor. Dill got tested as well, due to his aforementioned fears of his military career causing problems. He was declared, "excellent" which I think he is considering putting on a tee shirt. (Seriously, ask him about his sperm count. He's very proud.)

We tried an iui, and that didn't work. Then we tried another and again, no go. This went on for a few years (in the meantime, let me tell you how fun it is to do infertility treatments and have various friends declare they had "oops! Gotten pregnant") so we finally pulled out the big guns and did IVF.

It was humbling. 4 shots a day. Doses increasing every couple days as my body doesn't respond. Then finally, finally, 2 eggs. We did the extraction, made a couple embroys, implanted and... nope. Fail.

At the follow up appointment, the doctor says I should consider doner eggs. I could "maybe" get pregnant with my own, but it would be a lot of money, and a long road. I felt like a complete failure. My body didn't work, I couldn't have kids, all this money was gone and I was told that if I wanted to have kids, ever, I had to pick some random person out of a book, pay an even larger amount of money that I didn't have, and have a kid that wouldn't even really be mine.(hormones and emotions talking. Of COURSE it would have been mine. That was my upset, knee jerk reaction)

I politely said no thank you, and went home and cried.


Part 3: That's what friends are for.

Look, if you're anything like me, your hairdresser knows way too much about your life. So when I saw mine just a couple weeks after getting the news of a fail, I told her everything, including the part about the egg doner, and how there was no way I could afford it and how upsetting it was.

"Dude, you can have my eggs! I've had twins naturally, they're probably great!"

Um, what? Seriously?

"Sure! I'm all about it!"

I told her to think it over for a few days to see if she was really serious. She was, and made an appointment with my doctor.

So a few months later, we go in for IVF number 2, this time with my friend Sarah's eggs. Which, were freaking great. We got over 10 out of her, and turned 6 of them into perfect embryos for me and my husband. I bawled like a baby when she did the procedure. I mean, come on! Not only does my friend give me perfect hair, she gave me baby making dna!

2 embryos in, and I waited for the line on the stick to turn pink, because of COURSE I was pregnant this time! Everyone was in such a good mood during the implantation! The nurses were like "Test early! Don't wait for the blood test! That way you can get excited right away!" and even the doctor said "This is gonna be twins!"

And I was pregnant. For a second.

I had a very, very faint line 12 days after the procedure. The blood work said my hcg was 20. Then it was 5. Then it was 0.

Failed. Again.

(At this point, one of my friends announced they were having natural twins and another got "accidentally" pregnant for the second time. Awesome.)

PS- According to Mike Pence I should have had a funeral for my period that month.



Part 4: This is it.

At this point, my doctor wanted to do more tests. He wanted to see if my body rejected my husbands. (insert jokes here) Sure enough, a crazy expensive blood test later, we learned I have something called antiphospholipid antibodies
.

Which meant, if I wanted to try IVF with some of our frozen embryos, I needed to:
1) Go on daily aspirin.
2) Have a nurse come to my house every 4 weeks for a 2 hour intralipids IV treatment.



(That entire bag goes from the fridge into my arm!)

3) Inject blood thinners twice per day.

Those three things were of course, on top of the OTHER stuff you have to do for IVF. I had to inject lupron twice per day and an inter muscular shot of progesterone every night. And the pills. So many pills!



(The little one is my blood thinner, it goes in my stomach twice per day. The big guy alternates between my thighs and my butt. It feels about as painful as it looks.)

Want to see a picture of my stomach after all the injections? Of course you do!



(Also, see that weird piercing mark? Take heed kids, that's why you don't pierce your own belly button in high school!)

Before we went in for the next procedure, we decided to take a vacation. I was tense and stressed and no part of my mental state was going to be good for getting pregnant. We decided to go to Wizarding World in Orlando. I cashed in a bunch of points, we flew our asses first class, and learned that if you mix Firewhiskey with Butterbeer it costs you $20 to get a small buzz.



It was exactly what we needed to relax.

I'll also say that during this time, the November election happened and made us really sit down and think about what we were doing. Do we want to bring a child into this world? What will happen if our baby develops with no brain and abortion rights get taken away? Will new legislation put my life at risk if it becomes law for a doctor not to tell me everything that is going on with my pregnancy? There are a lot of new and scary factors with this administration. In the end, we decided to go ahead, but that if this didn't work we might wait and see how new laws shape up before we tried again with our other embryos.


So finally, we go for the next implantation. The mood was definitely less hopeful and I was just trying to cling to positive thoughts. And also trying not to pee myself. If you've never been through an IVF procedure, it involves drinking a ton of water to make your badder full, having that bladder pressed on for the ultrasound to guide the implantation, then not moving from the bed for an hour during which time you literally start counting seconds until you can get up and go to the bathroom!

Dill also thought his MST3K shirt was incredibly appropriate because it says "it lives".





Part 5: Holy crap, we're pregnant.

I took 2 days off work after the procedure. For those who know me, you know I don't take time off work. Taking time off work is a huge deal when you own a brick and mortar store. For 2 days I just laid on the couch and tried not to move very much. Day 3 I peed on a stick and got a negative. Day 4 our friends were having a huge reunion show for their band, and I really, really wanted to go, but I decided to play it safe and stay home instead of jumping around a mosh pit. Dill went, and when he came home at 2 am it woke me up and I thought, "well, technically this is day 5, the earliest I could possibly get a positive result". Peed on the stick, set it down, glanced at it as I left the bathroom and did a double take.... there was a second line. A very, very faint second line.

I didn't go back to sleep. I tried to tell Dill, but he was in a comatose state at that point. I tested every single day, waiting for the line to disappear and send me on my typical roller coaster of ivf emotions, but instead it got darker each time. Then the bloodtest came, and instead of the low numbers I feared, I was in the 200's for my hcg level! At this point, I had to retest every week, with the goal being that the levels would double every 48 hours. Which they did and then some! Then the ultrasound and there it was, one perfect little heartbeat. (We had put in 2 embryos, but only 1 took)
The next ultrasound, even bigger embryo, and still a solid heartbeat.

So I was officially "graduated" from my infertility doctor, and now I'm pregnant, sick as can be, and absolutely delighted. (except for the sick part. Have I mentioned that it sucks? Because it really, really sucks.)

Part 6: The ugly parts.

Here's what people don't always talk about with infertility. The jealousy. Even if you're not convinced you want kids, seeing everyone around you get effortlessly pregnant, or accidentally pregnant, or pregnant on the very first time they try... it's rough. I had to hide people from my facebook feed and unfollow them on twitter and instagram. It's not like I don't love these friends, or that I'm unhappy for them. It just downright sucks to see someone achieve something that you can't.

I couldn't even read Amanda Palmers book, because she mentioned there was abortion in it. Look, I am ALL ABOUT a womans right to choose. I am as pro-choice as they come. That doesn't change the fact that hearing about someone getting an abortion when you can't even get pregnant in the first place is just not possible sometimes.


The judgement
Oh my gosh, do people like to tell you what they think of IVF. It's immoral! It's murder! If God wanted you to have kids you would have them! Reading up on egg donation and so many sites advise you not to tell anyone you did it. There are people who are so ashamed of it they don't even tell the kids that are a result of egg donation. There are political movements right now that will actually endanger IVF. Some Republicans want embryos to have "personhood" status. Which means freezing them or discarding the ones that are unhealthy will be an absolute no go. I've attempted to argue the point before, and have been called a murderer for not accepting "gods will" and for having embryos frozen. There are other Republicans trying to pass bills against same sex couples, arguing that only the biological, DNA parents can be on the birth certificate. Which, if that were to pass, could mean that I couldn't be on my own kids birth certificate, since I'm not the DNA parent.

Your friends are idiots
If your friends don't know about your fertility issues, they will say the dumbest things. Hell, even if they do know, they'll say dumb stuff sometimes!
I was grieving the loss of a friend, and another friend said, "be glad you don't have kids. You don't even know grief unless you have kids. Once you have kids and lose someone, you can actually feel the true level of emotion."

Great. So I'm not only infertile as hell, now I'm also an unfeeling robot? Fantastic.

I'm sure that friend didn't mean anything awful by that, but it felt awful. There's also a certain amount of ostracizing when you're the only people in your group without kids. You're not likely to be invited to the kid friendly cookouts, or the kids birthday parties, or to dinner hangouts where there will be children. I'm sure no one is doing it to be mean, but it makes you feel even more isolated at times.

And when you do actually get pregnant, there's age judgement. I've been told that I'm too old, that my husband is too old, that it's not fair to our kid that we're so old and just starting out, etc, etc.

Look, if biology would have allowed me, I would have waited another 5 years! My goal was to have the house paid off and a newish car before we had a kid. Obviously, the expenses of IVF put a big pause on that, and now the expense of a kid is going to put an even bigger pause on it. Is my kid going to be born out on a farm, with plenty of country and horses and a pet cow? Nope. It's going to spend it's first few years in suburbia, with our neighbors loud dog and even louder kid, and the cars that go too fast down the street, and the room that's probably just a little bit too small, and clothes that are going to be secondhand. Sorry kiddo.

The great part about being older parents? Dill and I have had 17 years together to figure each other out. We don't fight very much. We don't raise our voices to each other, we're both pretty chill about everything. We know our faults, we know our strengths, and we don't have to spend time figuring that out with a little adorable blob that needs all of our energy and attention 24/7. I know that I'm not nearly as moody as I was in my 20's, and I'm going to be way less likely to shout or lose my temper over the little things.
I'm definitely not saying that if you had a kid at 20 you did it wrong. I'm just saying that it would have probably been the wrong decision for me.

You aren't allowed to whine.
There's this expectation that if you've gone through infertility you aren't allowed to complain about any part of pregnancy. Sorry. I'm going to complain. The morning sickness is freaking terrible. I'm in "puking purgatory." I am constantly on the edge of throwing up, but I can't throw up. I'm hungry and I can't eat anything. I get headaches and can't take advil. I have SO MUCH work to do, but I can't even sit up to get it done.
There. I broke the rules and whined. Expect more of it.


There you have it. That's what it's taken to get pregnant. I'm terrified of the labor. I'm even more terrified of the cost. (My insurance covers some prenatal, but not delivery unless there's a complication) I'm worried that my insurance will be even worse, or gone completely by the time I give birth (Thanks "pro-life" Republicans!). I'm terrified that the kid will be born and scream every time I pick it up, since that's what kids do with me. I'm worried that we'll just sit there and stare at each other and have no idea what to do. Overall though, I'm excited. A baby! From me! Maybe it'll love horses and books, or guitars and music, or maybe it'll want to do nothing but play sports all day long! Either way, I get to meet a little person that we've made! That's incredible!

I promise this blog won't turn into all babies, all the time. However, I am planning on being extremely open about this whole process, and I will post a ridiculous amount of cute baby knits!

And as an aside, the book is still full steam ahead. I've just had to take a few weeks off as I lay on the couch in misery trying not to hurl.

xoxx


PS- Since I started this blog post, I had another ultrasound and saw little legs and arms moving! There's a little MOVING person n there!










In case you missed it, Drunk Knitting Episode 2 is live! I always have such a blast hanging out with John and Krissy, and John was a great sport for picking up some knitting needles!

Plotting episode 3 as I type! This is such a fun thing to film!

I've been really busy for over a year now, working on a new knitting book that is definitely different from what I've done before. But here's the problem with being different in a traditional industry... nobody knows if "different" is going to sell. It's pretty easy by now for most publishers to know what kind of knitting book works. So when my agent tries to sell something of mine, there's usually a lot of back and forth. "Is there a crossover between nerds and knitting? Do sci-fi fans like crafts?" Of course, you and I know the answers to those questions!

When I presented my latest project, there's been even more "I LIKE it, but is there a market for it?" type of questions. So I decided, let's just find out!

How would you feel about a knitting graphic novel? Illustrated patterns, instructions, everything from a basic learn to knit to more advanced patterns and techniques. However, it won't JUST be patterns and instructions. Every pattern will be based off part of the story in the book.



And of course, there will be illustrated techniques



And help from the characters, Jane and Claire, when you need it!


All illustrations by Bri Rudd

While the book is illustrated, the back will feature actual modeled photos of every pattern, so you don't just have to rely on drawings to see what a finished item will look like! (Actual book photos will be WAY better than this, promise!)



Like, way, way better. Basically live action versions of the characters.




So what do you think? Is this my next knitting book? I'd love to show potential publishers comments, facebook shares, twitter retweets, etc.

You know what's humbling? Derby practice. 




I love reconnecting with derby thanks to Naptown Roller Girls and Rolling Thunder. No matter how hard you work out, there is no sore like derby sore!

 

I've had a theory I've been wanting to test for a while regarding drinking and learning how to knit. Luckily, my friend Paige, who's been struggling with trying to learn how to knit, was willing to be my test subject!

Also, let me tell you, condensing two hours of this hilarity into 13 minutes was really hard!


Check out the video and let me know what you think! Should we try it again with fair isle?

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE DRUNK KNITTING!


When we first formed Naptown Roller Girls, we wanted to do something that everyone said was foolish at first, we wanted to not have intraleague home teams. Our idea was that Naptown would have the top skaters and would only play teams of other top skaters.
Other leagues questioned us, told us that the best way to get butts in seats was to have home teams that bouted each other, then a travel team that would play other leagues.*
*side note to add that we never considered it, beyond the brief few months that Naptown was called Crossroads, and we were a league made of Bloomington and Indy, and thought for our first game we would bout against each other.

I'll admit, I was a snot about it. I thought that home team bouts were just a glorified scrimmage and that what we were doing was "real" derby.

God I'm an asshole sometimes.

After over a decade of derby involvement and observation I have found myself wondering if Naptown actually needs to look at embracing home teams.

The idea of only having an A team play other teams from around the world is a great one, and for many years it worked here. NRG packed thousands of butts in those seats. Sell out crowds. A bleacher breaking from too many people attending a bout. Lines out the door and crowds outside disappointed they couldn't get in.
Then the rankings system changed. It became harder to get other teams out to play and the ones that did show up were often pick up teams or teams that just weren't ranked nearly as high as NRG. So there were blowouts. Fans began to leave after the first half of the game. I sold tickets for NRG at my job, and I heard over and over again, "It's boring now. I don't want to see a team win by 200 points." and I couldn't blame them.

Now I've seen Naptown struggle with attendance and seeing the example of teams like the Dairyland Dolls and Minnesota, I see a great argument for having home teams. Each girl has friends and family. If you double, or even quadruple the number of girls that are playing within driving distance of their friends and family, you've got a bigger potential audience. Girls are getting chances to play with more experienced skaters in a bout (Because no matter what, a scrimmage in a practice space is much different than a bout in front of an audience)and frankly, you're going to have a lot fewer frustrated skaters.
Not every skater is going to be at an elite level. No matter how much heart, how many hours of practice, some skaters just aren't going to be heading out to skate at playoffs. So to tell those girls that they might never get to bout in the main venue at home, with their loved ones cheering them on kind of sucks.

I wouldn't want to see every single game be between home teams, but it might be something to consider for a good chunk of the season. I hear of fans getting really passionate about their home teams, so it would be interesting to see if Naptown fans would react the same way, especially when it's something that Indy hasn't "grown up with" as far as derby is concerned.
I'll say that from my personal fan experience, derby is derby. I've seen home team bouts, which I hadn't before we formed NRG and... I like them. I really, really like those games! Plus I WANT to see more of the talent that Naptown now has to offer! There are so many great skaters that fans just aren't getting to see in action!

I'd like to end by pointing out that I'm not writing this as a representative of NRG and that all of these thoughts are my own. Nor have I heard of any plans to do something like this, beyond the one mixed team "B" game bout that took place at Bakers Life Fieldhouse several years back. I simply spent a weekend talking to derby people in another state, watching a lot of derby, and decided to put virtual pen to paper something that has been swirling around my head for the past couple of years. I love Naptown and I would love to see those sellout crowds of 5,000 again!

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