About Me

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North Carolina, United States
(Allie & Harris) Wife, teacher, patient, thinker, friend, worrier, planner, seeker. These are the hats I wear on a daily basis for the roles in my life. Harris and I've been married since 1999 and we have two fur babies of the feline sort. We have a pretty good life, all things considered. But, it's not complete. Seven years ago I received a diagnosis of PCOS, a condition which has taken a toll on both my body and soul. It will not beat me though and we will be parents.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Passing Time...

It's like swimming thru a pool of tomato soup, waiting for "the" email.  So, to pass the time, Harris and I have spent the last week enjoying time with family on Christmas day.  The day after, I went shopping with my cousin and we spent time talking and shopping.  The next day was spent looking for computers to replace my laptop that was dropped (twice) during our trips thru France.  Just in case you're wondering, computers do NOT bounce; nor do they bounce back when one tries dribbling them like a basketball.  On the bright side of this is my new laptop that's sleek and black like midnight.  It's pretty!

I'm not the only one who has had a difficult time waiting.  In the spirit of "good things come to those who wait" and as means to try and help pass the time, enjoy these...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Breakable


We heard from Dr. Shivani on Monday that the transplant had been done and 5 embryos were put into our surrogate.  Of the 7 that had fertilized, 2 were deeply fragmented and wouldn't make the transfer.  There were 4 Grade 1 with 4 cells, and 1 Grade 1 with 2 cells.  We are really hopeful that something will stick and we'll be back for baby pick-up in the Fall.  In fact, I keep having to remind myself that this may not work - usually, it's the other way around where I have to remind myself that it could work. 

It's been a week since the retrieval, 5 days the surrogate transfer & since leaving India, 2 days since leaving Paris, and 2 "nights" at home.  Our plane was on time arriving Wednesday night, and we were able to get to the house by midnight (my mom picked us up).  My head still is kind of spinning/swirling and I'm not totally sure I always know when I am...date, time, etc.  But, in the spirit of pushing-thru, Harris and I got up and started doing errands today.  We visited 2 friends who have been instrumental in the application of this plan. 

As for how Harris and I are feeling, it's touch and go.  I am having some stomach distress because of not having eaten fruits and veggies regularly in India...apparently, fiber IS essential and consequences will be paid!  We are both kind of emotional wrecks due to lack of sleep, jetlag, and the 2WW.  Plus, coming home and having about a million Christmas cards showing all the kids and families grinning up at us has been tough - if I'd realized it would be so hard to see all of those, I never would have opened any of them.  I feel a yearning for a child that may or may not even exist at this point that's more powerful than I ever anticipated.  We're also feeling various combinations of tired, energized, moody, bereft, happy, scared, anxious, isolated, fragile in every way, and overwhelmed.  In conclusion, Harris is treading lightly right now for fear that one (or both) of us may come unglued completely.  Thank heavens we have one more day at home before the Christmas madness starts!  It's going to be harder than we thought to pull off the "we-are-right-as-rain-and-have-no-secrets" look. 

For everybody who prays, and those who believe in sending positive thoughts, please keep us in mind over the next week and a half.  Fingers are crossed for a BFP! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day after...


Quick summary...

Yesterday we went to the hospital at 3:15.  They did the retrieval sometime around 4:30 and then I went back to one of the recovery rooms.  While I was in the back, they took Harris to give a fresh semen sample.

Results were:
aprox. 20 follicles drained (according to Harris-I was out of it)
11 were empty
9 had oocytes
7 of those were mature & have been ICSI'd this morning (according to Dr. Shivani)

For those who are interested in the details...
I had no bleeding after the procedure or this morning.  I have some oddly placed aches, but I feel so much less pressure in my abdomen since the follicles were drained.  The only thing I didn't anticipate was the mild cramping & urgency I'd feel when I need to pee.  I guess my ovaries are in the same general area with my bladder, and that it would kind of make sense. Currently, I am 4 meds including one antibiotic & a pain pill. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Surrogate Chosen!

Well, for better or for worse, we selected our surrogate earlier today, and will go to sign the paperwork tomorrow at 5:30.  It will be our first meeting with the lawyer who we'll also use at the end of the process for baby paperwork and all things legal.  Our doctor did ultrasounds and bloodwork on the surrogates most close to our cycle last night and sent us a possible 5 surrogate profiles this morning.  From those 5, there were 2 that she recommended we choose from.  We looked at all 5 and agreed that these were the 2 best ones in terms of age, fertility, and general characteristics.  We did request to NOT have a picture of the surrogate or to have a meeting with her as we want to keep this a business arrangement; we are not here to bond with her, just to use her in this business transaction.  In retrospect, I wish I had asked for initials instead of full names.  It may seem cold, but in order to keep our sanity and peace of mind, this has to remain business.  While we will forever be grateful to her if this works, we don't plan for her to become a phantom member of our family or someone we send Christmas cards to afterwards.  I know that's not the way a lot of people do it, but this is our path and it's what will work for us as a couple.

Tomorrow morning at 6 am we go to the hospital for our trigger shot (ovulation will be about 36 hours later).  Tomorrow at lunch we're going to meet a friend at a nice mall.  Then, we have the meeting with the attorney at the clinic at 5:30 tomorrow afternoon where we will sign the contracts.  Friday, we are at the apartment like normal until 11 am.  Then, I have to fast from 11 onward and I go to the hospital for prep at 3pm.  They will give me general anesthesia thru an IV in my hand or arm (wherever they can tap a vein) which will knock me out completely (thank God).  The plan is to do the retrieval around 4pm - it's a 20 minute process - and then have me out and in one of the recovery rooms afterward.  Harris will give a fresh semen sample on the day of retrieval for them to use once the eggs are obtained.  The embryologist will then get to work.  I'll go home Friday night with some pain meds plus antibiotic to prevent infection and Dr. Shivani said I would be a little sore on Saturday, but should be back to normal on Sunday.  I am glad that we're able to have 48 hours after the procedure just in case there's a problem.  

Monday morning, the surrogate goes in for the transfer and then we should hear something around the 30th about whether or not she is pregnant with our child.  Boy, that's a strange sentence to type/hear/say/think about. 

Our nurse celebrated with us this morning when we took the last fertility shot!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's a date!

We're on Day 11 of the trip now (I think) and had what may be our final scan this morning with Dr. Shivani.  Although there are no guarantees on how many will be high quality, fertilize, or be good enuogh to use, I had 14 follicles that are almost ready for retrieval. The plan is to do retrieval on the afternoon of the 16th, which would put the end of our 2WW on the 30th.

After the scan, we were able to sit down and talk to Dr. Shivani in order to ask lingering questions about the rest of the process.  We've only done cycles in the past in order to try and get ME pregnant; never to do egg retrieval.  I was concerned about basic things like when to come in for the trigger shot, when do I fast, will I be completely unconscious (yes!), will I be in pain afterword and for how long, when does the transfer happen to the surrogate (Monday), when do we meet with the lawyer, etc.  Yes, these are all things I've read about, but I just felt more secure having the chance to hear it spoken today.  So, tonight, after the surrogate scans, Dr. Shivani will send over surrogate profiles for us to look over.  We meet with the lawyer tomorrow to sign the contracts, have my final injections, and then we're on for Thursday's trigger shot!
Last night, we had our final dinner with Aleksandra and Rich (and the twins), as they will be leaving Wednesday night for Canada.  Avey and Mia flew in this weekend and joined us to look at the apartment and have dinner.  I must say that my favorite part of this journey so far has been meeting other IPs.
Shayam spent all afternoon in the kitchen making 5 different homemade Indian dishes for us to try.  The food, the company, the fellowship were all wonderful!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Days 5-9

 
Over the last 4 days, we have not done too much.  Dr. Shivani did another scan on Wednesday (?) and found that my follicles weren't growing quickly enough, and I only had about 4 of them doing anything notable - prediction was that I would still be at least a week out from retrieval at that point.  She switched my meds and upped the dosage to 600 iu to try and help move things along.  The new meds will help support FSH and LH levels to, hopefully, really get the follicles growing.  I am still able to take the new meds subcutaneously and that makes me happy!  I have had a slight allergic reaction to the shots, but nothing too bad - hopefully not enough of a problem to have to switch over to intramuscular. 
Yesterday, Harris and I went to the Promenade Mall with Aleksandra, Rich, Helena, and the babies!  It was fun watching people get that "aww, see at the tiny babies" look on their faces as Aleksandra & Helena walked by them.  We ate at Chili's - and, yes, the food tasted just like the Chili's back in the US and I ate.  Three of us even had real hamburgers!  Good to know that some places serve beef here.  We've also found a place down the road from us that serves steak called the Smokehouse Grille.  It's high end and expensive, but might be a nice  place to go one time during a visit. 

Tonight, we're looking forward to heading over to Douglas & Chad's place to have dinner.  Avey flies in tonight also and we're planning to get together with her & Mia, Aleksandra & Rich on Monday night for dinner.  I LOVE that we're able to meet so many other IPs here during this trip.  The timing has worked out so well!

Time now to go and take a nice hot shower!  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Showers of Joy!!!

I couldn't be more THRILLED to be in our new Tulip Apartment tonight!  Sandeep worked with Dr. Shivani's office to make sure that Harris and I were both totally happy in a new place where EVERYTHING WORKS AT THE SAME TIME!!!   The apartment is great; the Internet works great; the showers are hot and have pressure!  It's exactly what we had wanted from Tulip House Apartments when we made the arrangements.

I must give lots of thanks and high praise to Dr. Shivani and the staff at SCI for their help with getting the move organized.  I just cannot say enough about how much they have worked to help us in this transition.  It was SCI (Dr. Shivani personally) who worked out an agreement for our benefit.  Sandeep, the Tulip owner, called and offered to change the apartment if the problems were not fixed by morning.  In fact, he came over during the night and early in the morning to check and see how things were progressing on repairs.  What we have learned is that the motor on the pump that supplies our building's water tank had burned out and so no water had been pumped in for several days.  In effect, we were dry.  Since then, we have learned that the government controls the release of water in Delhi and only sends it twice daily.  If you miss one or both of the collection times, there is no make-up for that...you just have to wait until the next time.  It is because of the pump issue that the water problems happened, not because of a problem with the actual apartment itself.  Because of the language barrier, we had not been able to understand any of this until Sandeep came and educated us as to the water system in Delhi.  Knowing that the pump was in the process of being fixed, but wasn't totally corrected, it seemed best to move. 

Our concern was that if we moved, we would no longer be close enough to walk to the doctor's appointments daily.  The agreement was reached that we should move to the Tulip apartment in GKII and Sandeep would take care of the cost for a driver for us daily.  Sandeep even took care of moving all our things, under his personal supervision.  He stayed at the new apartment with us after moving for a while and had both a plumber and electrician come thru to check all outlets and water pipes to ensure they were working.  He has also left us with someone (like a caretaker) who will come and supervise the cleaning people and meet with any repairmen if something should a problem come up.  That leaves us now free to explore the famed M-Block Market and visit with friends away from the apartment.  I am so happy that I can't stop smiling over the move!!!  We are pleased that everything has come together and that Sandeep took such interest in making the remainder of our stay as wonderful as possible.  We are grateful to both him and SCI for helping us to move into a place where we can be at peace.

Bottom line, if there is a problem, you have to speak up.  I am so glad that we spoke up and allowed Sandeep the opportunity to take care of the problems.  For us, he honored the arrangement and we are satisfied with the way that he is taking care of the move's ramifications.  We are so much better off now and are eagerly anticipating hot showers tonight before bed!!!  WHOO HOO!!!

New Bedroom (1 of 3) - You can see the bathroom attached!
Relaxing in the new living room!

Oh, and as an added bonus, there were 2 monkeys at the end of the street when we were unpacking today!  MONKEYS!





Wednesday, December 7, 2011

To Stay or To Go...

Before reading this, I have to say that it is written while I am very frustrated (and it's compounded by 3 days of hormone injections).  Maybe it will look better later...I doubt it though.

As I write this, it is now almost 11am Delhi time and I am STILL in my pajamas - not because I am having a lovely relaxing morning, but because our water is not working correctly for the 3rd day in a row.  The first few days we were here, the plunger that changed the faucet to the shower wouldn't hold.  Then, there was no water in the kitchen at all (washer or sink), yesterday there was no hot water at all (which made us late leaving for Agra), and today, there is nothing but a trickle of water coming out of either shower unless you want to turn them on to fully cold.  Call me crazy, but I don't think I should have to take a cold shower in an apartment that was advertised as having 2 bathrooms with their own hot water heaters - the implication is that each will have hot water available

I appreciate that each time we have had an issue, the owner, Sandeep, has sent someone within a reasonable (and sometimes surprisingly quick) time frame to try and take care of it.  That's not the problem at all - the problem is that each day there has been something wrong with the apartment,- and I am not sure if we want to continue staying here thru the 19th because it seems like we are dealing with something different everyday.  To date, we have had these issues:
  • Water line in washer clogged causing water to leak all over the kitchen floor to an aprox. depth of 1 cm and allowing for sewage to back-up into the floor there also.  As you can imagine, it smelled just lovely.  - One of the guys working for Sandeep came over and unclogged the line that night, mopped the water up, and explained the problem.
  • Internet didn't work the first day we were here - fixed quickly thanks to a call from Rachnna
  • No water in the kitchen from about 9pm until about 10am, water ran out mid-wash cycle (clothes now smell a bit mildewed) - When the guy came to look at it, we were in a rolling blackout and the water had come back on, but he wasn't able to check the washer.
  • No hot water yesterday morning in either bathroom - we flipped the hot water heaters off and on several times and then waited a while for them to warm up...45 minutes later, we were ready to go.
  • Today, no hot water pressure to take a shower - it's not just "weak" water pressure, it's so little that it takes about a minute to try and come out the top at all, like the pipe has to fill up and roll out.
Apparently, in retrospect having written this and read it again, all of our issues have centered around water.  We did give permission for them to come in on Monday while we were gone to Agra with the plumber to look at everything.  I have no confirmation of what happened, although the beds were made so we know someone came thru and cleaned at least.  If he did come, as he was supposed to by Tuesday morning according to Sandeep and Rachnna, why are we still having water problems? 

At this point, Harris and I are just really frustrated and feel a bit trapped.  We chose Tulip House Apartments because they would have both a kitchen and a laundry.  But, each day, there has been a problem with the water which has impacted the functionality of either one or both of those.  So, the question is, do we stay or go?  We put down a 5 night deposit and I had my bank to wire another week's rent Monday morning.  So, in all, we've paid for 12 nights and only stayed for 7 so far (including one we missed because we were delayed in France).  If we move, we lose either the kitchen or the laundry as far as I can tell, plus it would cost more per night.  The rent here is $99.27/night with all taxes added in.  It's also within walking distance of the Clinic and Hospital.  Those are all pluses. 

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  I write all this just to keep things straight because I am trying to keep track of what's happening.  Since starting to write this, 3 people have shown up (1 cleaning the apartment, 1 cleaning the kitchen, and one manager pulling the apartment cleaner to try and figure out what's wrong with the water).  It's kind of like a zoo in here - oh yeah, and I'm still in my pajamas with no makeup and greasy hair. 

I am also supposed to have a blood draw for Estradiol level today at some point.  I'd rather not have to go out greasy and yucky, but may not have a choice it appears.  All I want to do right now is cry.  Even Harris, who usually tells me to relax and hang on, is frustrated and irritable at this point.  How much, if at all, is the stress going to impact what we're doing here?  Am I asking too much for everything to work at the same time?  Is that not normal here?


Now, finished writing this, all 3 people have left and the resolution is this.  We still have only a trickle of water in the shower if it's not cold.  The manager will be back with a plumber at 2pm to check things.  And, Rachnna just called to let me know a driver will be here to take me to Dr. Modi's office for blood draw at 1pm.  I guess it's going to be a cold shower for me today.  Yay.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

India: Days 2-4


Can you spot the 4 monkeys in this picture?

Day 2:  Saturday – 1st Medical Visits
We woke up at 4:30 am and our bodies were totally out of sync with the time zone.  After a breakfast of PB&J (so glad we had a few basics stocked in the fridge ahead of arrival), we pulled out the DVDs and watched a few Big Bang Theory episodes.  Nothing is happening in Delhi at that time of day, and in fact, nothing much gets going before 9am.  It's perhaps the only time of the day/night that you don't hear a constant blaring of horns and street vendors.    We napped later in the morning, and then met with Dr. Shivani for the first time at noon down the road at ISIS Hospital.  One thing I got clarification on is that ISIS actually has 2 facilities.  The "clinic" is on the corner at the end of our block.  The "hospital" is about a block and a half away from us.  The IP treatments are done at the hospital, not the clinic.  At the clinic, the staff that I've corresponded with are hard at work on behalf of IPs and surrogates alike.  Rachnna (puts you at ease, helps make connections for what you need, calls the apartment manager when your shower doesn't work - THANK HEAVENS FOR HER!), Lalit (the man that sets up treatment schedules and maintains Dr. Shivani's schedule), Shilpi (helps coordinate things to do in Delhi/India), and all the others are based here.  At the hospital, there are nurses, a receptionist, and IPs.  Dr. Shivani shuffles back and forth between the two as needed.  She was very welcoming and gave us information about the timing for this week's treatments.  She did my first ultrasound (no cysts!) and showed us around the clinic where the surrogates were waiting and introduced us to the staff as well.  Everyone was so very respectful of us and Dr. Shivani - well beyond the professional level in the States.  There was no non-essential chit-chat or banter, just professional dialogue.  Dr. Shivani opened almost every door at the clinic to show us the facility (VERY clean, well lit, smelled good) including the office where contracts are signed by the surrogate.  The paperwork for the surrogate is VERY comprehensive and lengthy.  It includes things we didn't think about at first like a pre-surrogacy psychological evaluation and a section where both husband and wife had to agree that they wouldn't have marital relations during the surrogacy period.  Dr. Shivani sent me over to Dr. Modi's office for her to do the blood draw personally since I have very tiny weak veins that roll and make blood draws horrible.  Dr. Modi is AWESOME!!!  It's the first time in my entire life that I have had blood drawn and not had bruising.  I was a little embarrased because I didn't realize Dr. Modi was Dr. Modi - She is a very unassuming woman who was dressed traditionally and spoke softly.  She sat on the edge of the bed with me and held my hand while directing the nurse where to draw and how to prevent problems.  I wish she could come home with us!  All labs were back to me within 4 hours via email, and I had a message from the Hospital that everything was within normal range.  We made contact with Aleksandra and Rich Saturday night and then headed to bed early.
ISIS Clinic from our terrace
Day 3:  Sunday – Meds, Sightseeing, Select City Walk & Dinner with Friends (IPs)
Again up at 4:30, ate breakfast, and called about going to the mall with one of the drivers.  We ate, waited for the caretaker to come and try to fix the washing machine, and went to the hospital to check-in with Dr. Shivani and pick up my Gonal F pens.  While there, we met another IP named Joanne from Australia.  We invited her to dinner and later made plans with Aleksandra and Rich to bring the babies for dinner too.  (It won’t surprise my cousin, Wendy, to realize it took me only 2 days to find enough friends to have a little dinner party!)  At 1:00, we left with Rahul and saw the Lotus Temple, saw the Indian Parliament and living quarters, the President’s mansion, India Gate, the Red Fort, Humauyum’s Tomb, and then went to Select City Walk mall for a taste of Western culture.  The sights were beautiful and we had a good time.  I think Rahul was surprised at the quick pace we moved thru them – we’re not ones to linger anywhere…we toured the Louvre (including the Mona Lisa) in about 2 hours.  I bought a beautiful pashmina with hand embroidery at the mall.  We ran by Nature’s Basket and picked up chicken, salsa, rice, and flour tortillas for dinner.  Harris and I had a great time visiting with our new friends and holding the beautiful babies for a while! 
Yes, those are Cobras
Day 4:  Monday – Agra & Taj Mahal
Satish got to the apartment around 5:45 this morning and we were not ready – but it wasn’t our fault.  We’d been up long enough, but the shower didn’t have any hot water at all.  Thankfully, we have a second bathroom with independent hot water heaters so we were able to wait the 20 minutes and jump in there.  After showers, a quick bite, and dressing, we hit the road about 6:30.  We were so thankful to have eaten, because it wasn’t until about 2:00 when we were able to eat again.  It took us 4 hours to get to Agra.  We picked up a guide (that we didn’t realize we’d have to pay for…maybe we were told, but I don’t remember.) and headed to the Taj Mahal.  It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  Pictures do not do it justice at all.  There is such detail and artistry in every piece of it.  Afterwards, we went and saw how a carpet is made by hand – and declined purchase of same despite best selling efforts.  Then, we saw how stones are inlaid into marble like was done in the Taj – where again, we declined purchase despite best selling efforts.  We left there and went to MacDonald’s (yes, it’s “Mac” here) where Harris got the Indian version of a Big Mac, called a Majaraja Mac and is made with chicken instead of beef.  I got the MacChicken Spicy and fries.  Yes, I ate the lettuce, and yes, my stomach is okay…I think it’s the meds that are causing the stomach upset.  Oh, and MacDonald’s fries taste the same in America, France, and India…believe it or not, that’s comforting.  Even better, I saw Mountain Dew in the little market stalls yesterday!  I’m not having any because of the caffeine, but once the retrieval is done, I’m all over it!  Still haven’t found M&Ms yet, but I haven’t given up hope!  We got home, totally exhausted, at 8:30 last night.  We were planning to wash clothes, but found that there was no water stopped completely in the kitchen after the wash cycle, no rinse, – fun times – and decided to go to bed.
Does this really need a caption?
I have had mild cramping around my ovaries and my face is looking bloated from the meds already.  Dr. Shivani put me on 375 iu of the Gonal F in order to produce as many good follicles as possible.  Harris gives another sample Tuesday afternoon, I go back in for a blood draw Wednesday, and another ultrasound on Thursday.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

India: Part 1

We're here!!!  There is much celebration and implied fireworks going into that statement!  When we left RDU airport for Chicago, we knew our flight to DEL was overbooked and there was a good chance we may not make the flight.  Thankfully, we had a Plan B (and a Plan C) on hand.  Once the doors closed (with us on the outside of them), we went to the gate agents and they rebooked us on a flight bound for Paris, France.  We had only 80 minutes to get out of the terminal, collect our baggage, check-in with the new itinerary, clear security, and make the plane.  Believe me when I say that it was a race to be sure!!!  While in the air, my mom and one of the sainted friends I have who is keeping our secret, reservations were made on Air India to get us to DEL.  It was only once we arrived in Paris that we found out about the next leg in our flights.  Harris and I made the overnight flight to Paris and then enjoyed a lovely 13 hour layover in CDG airport - we were so bored out of our minds that we took to watching the crazy homeless people that seemed to be living there.  We had thought about stowing our baggage and taking time in the city to sightsee.  But, since the airport is on the other side of the city, and since we hadn't really made a plan for this day trip, and since we were zombie-like at this point from lack of sleep anyway, it was not something we thought we'd get much out of. 

So, to summarize the trip, here's the travel:

6 am Wednesday - leave for RDU
11 am Wednesday - depart RDU for Chicago ORD
3:40 pm Wednesday - missed flight for DEL, rebooked for Paris
5 pm Wednesday - depart ORD for Paris CDG
8 am Thursday - arrive CDG
9:30 pm Thursday - depart Paris for DEL, India
10:05 am Friday - arrive DEL - Thank God!

When we arrived, we realized that all of our information about how to contact Rahul (driver) was in the kitchen at home on the printer (along with Doug and Chad's maps and list of things to do!!!  I am so SERIOUSLY bummed at this because I wanted to be sure and go to some of the textile markets and art shops they've suggested - still mourning that loss of information).  So, after searching both inside and outside the airport, Harris finally found the driver and we were on the way. 

After being on the planes for so long, all that was holding us together was the thought of being able to shower.  We went to the apartment and met Sandeep (the owner) who had taken care of stocking a few things in the apartment for us to eat.  A quick visit to ISIS Clinic allowed us to meet a set of new parents to twin girls - that has to be a good omen, right??? 

After the visit, one of Rahul's drivers took us to Nature's Basket store in M-Block market to get some groceries.  Both of us were such zombies, that it's amazing we walked out with any two things that would work together.  We also went and picked up outlet adapters for the electronics.  Harris had no idea that we were supposed to bargain, and so he paid full price for everything we got.  Now we know, though. 

Finally, after what seemed like a month without sleep, we were able to go to bed and sleep like rocks for about 6 hours.  We're not totally on the correct time zone with our circadian rhythms yet, but we're getting there.  For some reason, we're ready to be up at 4:30 am.  Hence, I am typing this at 6:20 in the morning after already making breakfast, reading all blog updates since last Sunday, and cleaning the kitchen. 

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who know that Harris usually washes all the dishes, you are in for a surprise.  Not only do I do all the dishes here - I'm totally germ phobic - but I am also sterilizing everything before we use it by boiling bottled water in the kettle and washing/rinsing dishes with that water only. 

I do wish that I had brought along the antibacterial dish soap I'd planned to bring and the GIANT bag of M&Ms.  Other than that, I'm pretty happy about everything we packed or left home.  Oh, and if you are coming over and planning to stay in a place with a washer, you might want to think about bringing along some travel packs of laundry soap/fabric softener.  I got 24 packs of each from Target.com and our clothes are coming out fine. 

More later.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful...


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

This year, I will count amongst my blessings...
  • Good friends who support us
  • Good jobs that we are secure in
  • Having money sufficient to pay our bills and have a life
  • Time spent with people we love
  • A new adventure on the horizon (6 days and counting!)
  • Living in a place where I can be educated and have a career when so many other women in the world are persecuted for having dreams at all
  • Having good health and access to wonderful medical care
  • New friends from all over the globe
  • The possibility that this time next year I will be dressing someone in a little outfit that says, "1st Thanksgiving"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

8 Days...


The stats: 
  • 8 days away from leaving for India now
  • 9 days away from being in India
  •  2 1/2 days left at work for me
  • 1 major holiday Thursday where we'll see all of my mom's family
  • Aprox. 1 million things left to do
Yup, that about sums it up.

The natural worrier inside of me has apparently consumed any part of me that could have ever been described as "laid back."  My efforts both at home and at work have tripled because I want to leave no loose ends when we're away.   Even sitting here now typing, I hear that little voice saying, "You should be typing that math quiz." 

A meeting has been arranged tomorrow with my sub to go over everything that's been done for the next month - lesson plans, curriculum movement, classroom management, tempo of the room, and anything else I can think to tell her at that point.  I have a tough group this year (whom I love), and will pray for her as she tackles a field trip, a classroom party, crafts, and a major holiday in my absence...oh yeah, and she's supposed to be teaching too.

On the homefront, Harris and I have just packed a big box of things to ship over ahead of us in hopes that we won't have to pack that extra suitcase.  According to my research on the UPS website, if we ship tomorrow and use the cheapest speed (because we need to pinch pennies where we can since we'll be parents next year, right?), the box will arrive about the time we're leaving the USA on the 30th of next week. 

I have assigned Harris the job of writing the "How To Run Our House While We're Away" manual.  That's going to contain all of our personal information, contact information for us in India, names and numbers of people to go to with emergencies for the house/cats/insurance/banking/anything else we can think of, for the two people watching over things while we're gone.  We're leaving some blank checks, have notified the vet and set up a billing arrangement with them in the event of a problem, and have added our loan officer to our "circle of trust" (as Harris has named it) so that she can watch over our accounts and be on call if we are swindled or locked out of our accounts overseas. 

This week and weekend, we'll visit family to say goodbye in a covert way.  I am telling my other teaching partners on Monday and I'll say goodbye to them.  I'll hug my kids at school and tell them goodbye on Tuesday, then send home a note to the parents on Wednesday.  I've said goodbye to the world's best girlfriends who also are members of the infertility family!  It's an amazing adventure we're getting ready to go on, my girlfriends keep saying.  They're right!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Coping...

 
After reading Bernadette's post about Holinxiety, I felt like I had to write this post.  Every year, my family gets together for Thanksgiving dinner (in the South, that means "dinner" is the same as "lunch").  I come from a big farming family and we have cousins out the wahzoo.  In 3rd grade, I had to do a geneology project and counted up to 300+ before I finished with the 3rd cousins.  It's one of my favorite things that happens all year when we drive into the church parking lot (we rent the fellowship hall) and see my family walking in with their chicken pastry, pies, home-grown vegetables, and other morsels of pure delectable delight!  But, I also know that the questioning will begin - not intending to hurt, offend, or cause stress, there will inevitably be someone who asks  when we're going to have a little playmate for their child. 

When I get back to school, after the holiday, it's full steam ahead for Christmas.  We try to help the parents out by writing the letter to Santa (which gets sent home in an envelope marked "To the parents of ______").  This way, they can have an idea what their kids want for sure as well as that keepsake to mark the passing of time.  However, about 6 years ago, I came into the school system just after Christmas, I had a child return to the classroom who had gotten nothing Christmas day.  Nothing, at all.  Not candy, not A present, not a stocking.  Nothing.




I doubt there will come a time when I forget that child's strong, proud disposition - not wanting to show the sadness and disappointment.  In that moment, I didn't yet have enough experience to see the poverty that was so carefully hidden all around me.  I was working in a school system that had been labeled "Title 1" across the entire county.  More than 80% of the children between the preschool level and 12th grade received free or reduced lunch.  For anyone who reads this outside the USA, this means that the family's income is so low that the State picks up the tab for the kid to have a free breakfast and either free or reduced cost lunch.  For some of my kids over the years, those 2 meals were the only ones they got - weekends, there was little or nothing at all for some.  It was heartbreaking.


Remembering the face of that child, the next year, Harris and I decided to redistribute our Christmas money.  We took a small part of what we'd planned to spend on family or friends (and a large part of what we'd planned to spend on each other) and "adopted" a child for Christmas thru the social worker.  Over the years, I have worked directly with the social worker at school to find the kids whose parents are down on their luck and may not be able to provide that Christmas morning all children deserve.  We get a list - needs, wants, favorite candy, etc. - and then shop on their parents' behalf.  We do what we can, always getting the needs done, and we aim for pulling 2-3 of the wants.  Plus, we do a stocking.  Once everything is wrapped, we deliver it to the social worker with a list of the contents so the parents will be able to supplement with whatever they'd like - if they'd like.


The other thing that goes to the social worker for delivery is a note to the parents.  More than they could ever imagine, their circumstances have helped to heal my soul and quiet the longing in ways for which I can never possibly repay.  For just a short while, I get to shop on the toy aise, in the girls' or boys' department, and buy tiny shoes for feet that run, jump, and play everyday.  This year, with the money coming out for surrogacy, I was concerned about how many children I could sponsor.  So, I called and hit up family to "adopt" my children.  Between me, Harris, family, and family's family, we were able to sponsor 5 more kids. 


Not many people know that we do this - it's not something we do to get "points" or credit for.  I'm not posting it here for self-glorification.  It's something that, on some primal levels, is done selfishly to help us make it thru Christmas without our hearts breaking.  My goal in posting this is to possibly open some eyes in the way that mine were opened 6 years ago.  Please consider looking to the schools in your community and sponsoring a child, or a family, for Christmas.  Ask for the school social worker or a guidance counselor who can help you find the family that's going to benefit most from your assistance.  I encourage you to channel that yearning we all share this time of year into energy that can really make a difference in the life of a child. 

Just consider it...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Be Complex" & B-Complex

      &

I've tried writing this post about 5 times at this point, and consider it another thing that my mind keeps wandering from.  With everything going on in our lives, both known and hidden, it seems that I cannot carry a thought for any length of time at all anymore.  The last 3 nights, I have slept 10 hours each, almost without moving during the night.  Stress is taking a toll on me and I find that I'm kind of losing my "zip."  Harris is getting to be a bit short-tempered too, although he'll never admit to it, and I think he's feeling the stress as well.

We each went to the doctor this week.  Harris got his FMLA paperwork filled out and had a physical.  I went to talk about the FMLA paperwork (which I still hadn't gotten) and to talk about several other concerns - BC refills that my reproductive endocrinologist is not filling anymore since I'm not doing surrogacy thru them, malaria meds (pro or con?), flu shot (pro - got it, yuck), and finally - anxiety management.  The thing is, I've always known that this would be a complex process - lots to do, lots to think about, lots to manage from far away.  I didn't go into this with blinders on.  But, there's a difference between knowing and KNOWING.  I now really internally know that this is complicated and I find myself waiting (with anxiety) on little details that I've read others had a seemingly smooth time with.

[Paused, went to the bathroom, forgot what I'd been doing, realized the chicken I'd set out was ready to be butterflied for tonight's stew supper in the kitchen, where I had to empty the dishwasher which reminded me that the microwave looked like a nuclear waste site so I should clean it out...see what I mean???  No memory, distracted...Only to come back to living room and remember I was blogging.  It's like I'm 80!]

Things on the list labeled "anxiety inducing" right now include waiting on the surrogate profiles - we're going to be there in 18 days, when do they come? - will SCI remember to not include pictures when they're sent?  Also on the list, getting new glasses - they'll take 10 business days to arrive and are going to cost just shy of $500 because my prescription has changed and I need new sunglasses too.  Writing the letter for my doctor to sign off on my FMLA leave - it has to be specific enough to include repeated medical treatments and surgery, but not so specific to give them details of what I'm doing/where I'm doing it - despite their asking for details, I'm pretty sure FMLA guarantees that I don't have to give exact details, right - need to do a little more reading on this.  Since I've started my BC pills 2 days out from their "normal" time, will I make it to India before my Day 1?  How much money should we order to take with us in INR?  Can I wire over the remaining balance for the apartment while we're in India or do we need to take the rest in cash - that's a lot of cash!!!  There's more, but honestly, that's enough - blog post is toooooo looooong at this point.

Done:
  • Luggage arrived
  • Got exact address of apartment from SCI - Rahul has coordinated with Tulip House for transport from airport
  • Visas have come
  • Flights moved ahead by 1 day
  • Tub started holding things I want to remember to pack
  • Travel laundry detergent and softener will be ordered today (if I remember - LOL!)
  • Harris' FMLA paperwork is turned in
Oh, by the way, I forgot (ironic, huh?) to mention that the title is a nod to the B-complex that my doctor has put me on in an effort to help my body cope with the anxiety at this point.  Had I known the extent to which life would "be complex," I would have started my B-complex sooner!  Thankfully, my eye has stopped that annoying twitching thing it had started doing. 

MAJOR CONGRATS to everyone that's had babies this week!  What a wonderful thing to be part of!  I can hardly wait to meet Aleksandra's twin girls and hope to also meet Doug and Chad's twin boys in December!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Making a list, checking it twice...


Just to be on the safe side, and because we just couldn't bring ourselves to ship off our passports, Harris went ahead and scheduled an appointment for Tuesday morning at 9:20 with Travisa.  Apparently, Monday is some kind of Indian holiday so the office and/or the Indian Embassy is closed.  They're closed again for another holiday on Thursday, so hopefully he'll have everything done on either the same day (Tuesday) or Wednesday evening.  He will stay with friends up there until we get the paperwork back and then drive home with everything for India ready to go in terms of paperwork.  We decided it was better to be sure we have what we need than to cross our fingers and wish for it to be so. 

As for the wire transfer, no such luck.  I heard from our bank via 2 phone calls that the wire had been returned because some of the numbers were incorrect.  Trust me when I say that this was not news I received with peace in my heart yesterday morning.  Suddenly, my plan for a morning spelling test followed by an afternoon movie was changed into DVD NOW and frantic follow-up with Margarida/SCI and the bank.  Both groups did their best to help me figure out how to handle the problem and make sure that the money was sent before the close of (our) business Friday.  I didn't hear anything from the bank, but I am *trying* to pretend that no news is good news at this point.

On a positive note, I did a pottery painting class last night and painted like crazy; which helped lower my stress level.  Over the last few months, I have been really shocked to find out that I like painting and I'm not terrible at it so long as there's someone to guide me.  We have a really cool business not too far away called, Wine & Design.  Basically, you pick a class that has something you want to learn to paint, go in for about 2-4 hours, and work with a teacher in a group to learn how to paint what you've all chosen.  I have done 2 painting classes there, and taken 3 pottery classes in the next big town over.  I have really enjoyed and been unashamed of my work at both places.  I'm hoping to get in one more pottery class before leaving for India at the end of the month. 

Working my way down the checklist, today's goals include:  pull documentation for Harris' Travisa appointment Tuesday morning, start the list for our friend who'll watch the house in December while we're gone, finish Christmas shopping (okay, at least half finish), wrap presents purchased so far, clean out closets and fill up a basket to go to the Salvation Army.  I figure if we're going to have a baby in the next year, I need to start making some room in those closets, right?!?!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Speed Bumps...


The new set of luggage waiting for me tonight when I got home was apparently just a teaser (as opposed to real progress).  I've been waiting 2 weeks at this point for my updated driver's license to arrive.  In order to get the Indian travel visa, we have to have that along with everything else.  Anyone else not totally okay with mailing off your passport to a foreign agency???  That totally freaks both of us out. 

Because of the limited time left to get the visa paperwork done, Harris is planning a last minute trip to TraVisa in D.C. to do the one day process.  They assure us that it shouldn't take longer than 7-9 business days by mail...BUT, Murphy's Law prevails in our minds and this is paperwork we MUST have.  Apparently, between now and November 30th (the day before we fly out), there are 4 days that are considered holidays between India and the US.  So, either one or the other entity (TraVisa or the Indian Embassy), will be closed. That only gives us about 12 days for the turn around time.  Too close for comfort!

On top of that, I still haven't heard from SCI that the wire transfer we sent has arrived.  How long should it take, realistically???   It's just so much money to not have account for yet and it makes me so nervous.  What in the world would we do if there was a problem and something happened to it in the transfer process?  Is that even a possiblity? 

Trying to breathe.  Trying to get thru the last few things on the checklist so that this trip can happen with less stress.  Inhale, exhale.  Inhale, exhale.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Packing already?


Over the last week or so, I have begun working on building up the things I want to take to India with us.  I find myself thinking of things in the middle of the night and having to fight the urge to jump out of bed and write down something that I'm "just sure we'll forget."  Now, honestly, I am a bit notorious for going on vacation without the things I MUST have.  For example, we went to White Lake a few summers ago for 8 days and I brought not a single pair of underwear with me.  Funny now.  Not funny then.  Thankfully, the lake is only about 1 1/2 hours from home so we were able to run back and get them.  India is not 1 1/2 hours from home.  If I forget underwear, I will not be able to come home and get them.

At the heart of this mania, I think, is the feeling of loss of control.  I am kind of a control freak and have the urge to plan and supervise everything.  That's not a bad trait - unless you're dealing with infertility, travel visa requirements that force you to mail away your passports, FMLA forms filled in by nosy nurses, and long-term subs who announce their presence in the carpool lane (where totally clueless 3rd grade teachers start giving you the eye).  Suddenly, everything is out of your hands and nothing can be guaranteed anymore.  I'm no psychiatrist, but I know that I am not really losing sleep over what to pack. 

But, since there is no other thing that I can grasp for control over, I guess I will continue to obsess over the packing.  A little tablet and pen sit by the bedside, and there is a drawer in the bathroom with travel supplies amassing.  I have ordered new luggage - ours lived a long, exciting, and valiant life until it hit on the beaches of Belize.  It was way cool to find the new set $60 cheaper on Amazon.com than Overstock.com.  I will begin tossing things into a suitcase this week when they arrive and turn a bedroom into a travel center.  Everything I suspect I may need can live there while time passes v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y until the end of November. 

W-a-i-t-i-n-g  s-t-i-n-k-s-!-!-!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sometimes the cookies are right!

Harris and I went to eat dinner tonight at a new Hibachi place in the next county over.  The meal was good, but the fortune cookie was better!  Dare we say it may be a sign?!?!



Thursday, October 20, 2011

How can I resist???


Since realizing that our trip and treatment were really happening, we have been devouring guide books.  I know it's boring, but I love to read those books and learn about new places.  One of the books I've read suggested that teachers traveling to India might be able to find a place to volunteer in the schools there.  Ever since reading this, I have become kind of caught up in the idea and think it would be such a privilege to see how school works in other places.  While I'm not sure exactly how to find a school in which to volunteer, I am planning to research it a bit more until I find one that might could use me for a couple of weeks.  It certainly can't hurt my karma, right?  Who knows?  Maybe if it goes well this time, when we come back in September to pick up our baby (that will be born then because this is going to work), perhaps I can visit the school once more and work with some of the same kids again.  It would be awesome to develop some kind of "pen pal" type program with my kids here if I could find a class that's equivalent to the 3rd grade.

At least in my mind, all of this sounds like a great idea...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All in...


Well, it's done.  Our first payment for self-cycle has officially been withdrawn from our savings account and wired overseas to the account for SCI.  There's a HUGE mixture of emotions right now for both Harris and I.  It's like the final piece of the puzzle has been put in place and now we just have to step back and look at the bigger picture for a while, I guess.  At the same time, it's like we were one payment away from having the new truck paid for and now we're back to square one in that respect.  Don't get me wrong, we feel like this is the thing to do, and we don't have any mixed emotions about this being an investment rather than an debt.  To the contrary, this is the first time in a while that we don't feel like we're tossing our money down into a bottomless pit with fertility cycles here at home.  Still though, it's not an everyday thing for us to make retroactive progress on debt - that took some deep breathing and prayer. 

I also found out today that, unlike here, I have to be in India for Day 1 of my cycle to do the baseline or all bets are off.  Here, my experience has been that I could do a baseline on Day 1, 2, or 3 with no problem.  That is not the case with the SCI cycle it seems and that has quadrupled the stress for me today in trying to figure out timing issues.  Work already has my notice for the leave time beginning on the 30th of November; the apartment is rented from December 2nd thru 19th; and our flights have been purchased to get us there on the afternoon of December 2nd.  Sounds great, right?  Actually, no it's not.

See, even when I finish my "pills" for the month, it takes 7 days for me to get started on my Day 1 typically.  When my treatment dates were figured, it was as if the Day 1 would happen almost immediately.  Problem?  Yes.  That puts me starting my Day 1 well before December 2nd...or even December 1st.  So, I emailed Dr. Shivani about postponing the start of my next pack for a few days.  She emailed me back and said that would be fine and I should tack on some days at the end also to hold everything off (summarizing here, not quoting).  Sounds good, but now I'm worried that maybe I will have an early start because of trying to adjust my pills for this next cycle.  I mean, seriously, what if I totally begin to have my Day 1 and I'm like 4 days from leaving - apparently, I can't do the cycle then because of that.  Which in turn, means that the money on the apartment will be lost probably, my time off from work will be screwed up, and all this planning for a careful Christmas in and out trip will be for naught. 

STRESS!!!  STRESS!!!  STRESS!!!  STRESS!!!  STRESS!!!  STRESS!!!  STRESS!!!  STRESS!!!  

Did I mention I was stressed out right now???  I am waiting to hear back from Dr. Shivani at this point to see if the worst does happen and I start before I get there, can I go to my reproductive endocrinologyst here to try and have a baseline done and emailed over to her?  That's assuming that she would be willing to do a baseline on me - which she may or may not since I'm not working with her anymore.  What would that do to the meds then though, you know?  There is (once again) a big murky mess in front of me and the "if's" and "but's" have begun to warp my mind. 

Calgon, take me away...
 

Oh, and one last thing to mention, because it's not adding to my stress or anything...nervous giggling.  Harris and I have begun to talk again about whether or not to tell his parents and my father and his wife.  Honestly, I go back and forth between wanting to spill everything just to have one less secret in our lives and sobbing because of the possible judgment and rejection that may or may not follow.  It is no exaggeration to say that the reaction from his parents could be anything from a simple, "Huh.  That's interesting." all the way to "I just read an article about someone who wanted to have a baby and they started taking ______ and now they're pregnant.  Let me go online and see if I can find out what that was."  The latter of those choices is what I dread because, inevitably, there would be a need for gossip that would come into play between his mom and her female relatives and with gossip of this sort comes either the "tough love" approach or the "pity party" approach.  Neither of which is appealing to me in the least.  Also, this is not an opinion being voiced by just me.  Point of fact is that it's Harris who is telling me these possible endings and confirming what I've thought but not said in so many words.  I honestly doubt that we could get out of their driveway before the computer, cell phone, or some other device started writing down notes on what we'd said and doing research.  While I'm a big supporter of non-violence, if the phone rang and the conversation started with, "After y'all left, I went online and it said that what you really need to do is _____________," I think I might lose it with his mom.  Again, I love her and think she's wonderful, but I cannot deal rationally with that outcome involving her.

From my father, it's anyone's guess.  His wife had some kind of infertility issue herself and ended up choosing to adopt a child domestically almost 30 years ago - so I think she'd take the news with a grain of salt and might be an interested party/advocate for us to my father.  However, the reaction from the man, himself, could be ugly.  I have envisioned everything from him cutting me or Harris off mid-story and telling us that this is something he wants no part of and then asking us to kindly leave and not come back (yes, this has happened before - my wedding - didn't speak for 3 years).  It could also end with some, shall we say "choice" words about the surrogates and how irresponsible it is for us to be doing something like this.  The best possible ending for us would be for us to get it all said, leave and give them time to digest the information, and then come back days later to talk to them again and get the reaction. 

I just don't know what to do with any of this stuff.  Urgh...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm not a hypochondriac, but...


It's cold and flu season and I truly believe that children are the hybrid disease carriers of the world.  If there's anything communicable or too new for a cure, it lives in the children who attend public school.  Now, if you were hearing me say this, it would be much funnier - since you're not, you will have to hear my wit and sarcasm in your mind. 

Seriously though, ever since booking this trip to Delhi and planning this cycle, I am paranoid about getting sick or a fever - or that Harris will get sick and run a fever which will kill his sperm or at least swipe the tails off of them.  How many posts have I read now about IPs who spent 14+ hours on an airplane just to arrive sick from the canned air served up in-flight???  On top of that, I had a conference with a parent this afternoon who (and yes, I'm serious) said that when she and her husband were dating, they would sneeze on one another to be cute.  I'm sorry, but there's a serious problem if you think that hacking your nasty fleghm-y germs on me is "cute".  Vile, disgusting, unsanitary, revolting, yes.  Cute, no.  She said they had told their child (who sits right beside me) this story and ever since he'd been doing it.  Well, that answers the question of why this child refuses to cover his mouth.  I was furious but remained in control whilst I told her that our nurse would be happy to give him instruction on how to cover his mouth to prevent spreading germs and, in the meantime, I would be taking a cube each time he did it.  (In my world, that threat is a serious one with consequences.)  If thoughts could wither flowers, mine surely would have at that point - again, this would be much funnier in the retelling if it was done in person.

I am wondering if any of those thera-flu or airborne products would do any good for me to take leading up to the trip and on the plane.  It has also crossed my mind more than once to do like the Japanese did during that bird-flu thing a few years back and wear a mask on the plane and at the airport.  Currently, I'm set against that as we are already going to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb on the trip and I can't imagine that wearing a surgical mask would say anything other than "hey, look at us, we're not like you."  It's not exactly the first impression I want to give.

On a positive note, I did get a check from the insurance company to cover my roof and some other damages today.  It seems like they left off a few things and I am working with my contractor to see how "off" they are.  Suddenly life has become a race to get everything done before our leaving in December.  I want to have the roof on, the ceilings replaced, the windows swapped out, and everything painted so that when we leave, we have peace of mind that it's not raining in the house or anything.  So, the goal is to have the work completed before (America's) Thanksgiving at the end of November.  Otherwise, we'll have to wait until January to get this work done and I don't want to come home to that.  After the trip and the holidays, we'll need a time to relax for sure.

One other highlight, we met up with Bernadette and Duane over the weekend while we were in the DC area.  We loved brunch in Georgetown, and it was such a comfort to get that face to face reassurance about the details still left to plan.  It was also nice to be able to congratulate them in person on the bubbles!!!  Hopefully, we can get together in a year and do brunch again with babies!!!  Here's to needing kid menus!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Content...


Tonight Harris and I (actually only Harris) are watching the National League Division Series blah, blah, blah something.  Quality time together is a priority for us, which is why I sit here engrossed in the game (even typing that makes me laugh!).  We may not always want to do the same things, but life's about compromise and in this situation, my watching the Division Series whatever seems to be a fitting end to a weekend where he did so many little things for me.  So, I'll watch baseball, ask questions, and enjoy time with my husband.

I did find a couple of quotes that seem to fit my melancholy tonight, and where we are in life right now -

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Carl Sagan

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell  






Saturday, October 1, 2011

Booked!


After much searching, we have sent over a deposit to stay in Tulip House during our trip over in December.  It had all the boxes checked for laundry, a kitchen, western toilets, a shower with either a curtain or a door, close to M Block market, well within Kailash Colony, and they'll pick us up and drop us at the airport.  Whew, what a relief!!!

This week, Harris has transformed into an Indian research machine!  We had the argument that seemed inevitable on Tuesday of this week when I was sitting in the bedroom trying to fill out the visa application for the both of us.  On that day, I had done the paperwork where you give the designees in case you die or have a problem making it to pick up the baby(ies). I had explained the situation to designee #2 and answered questions for about an hour ranging from, "Why India?" to, "What is the process for having the passport issued thru the US Embassy overseas?"  I had scheduled Harris' appointment for infectious disease screenings, and found the link to research Tulip House. 

Now, in the midst/wake of all that, Harris walks in and asks me how to get to the doctor's office.  Instantly angry.  Seriously, you've been there before, you know the name of the doctor, you have a computer, and a GPS - can't you figure that out on your own?  Second question, "What tests do I have to get?"  Saying nothing seemed like the most respectful response in this situation because what would have come out of me was less than respectful, polite, or helpful.  I think I managed to say "read" or something along those lines. 

Waiting until the next day, we had a conversation where he was able to see what the situation looked like from my perspective and since then he's become an A#1 Indian researcher.  Even as I sit here now typing, he's looking for a restaurant that we can drive to and practice eating with our right hand only and try multiple dishes to see what we like.  He's also called my mom (with Indian music playing loudly in the background) and left her a voicemail asking her to come to dinner with us - laughs and giggles all around during that!  He went out and picked up coffee for us this morning before I was even out of bed to start our Saturday off right.

I love my husband.  Now I remember why I'm going to the ends of the earth to have his baby.  :-)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sorting thru...


This weekend, Harris and I have been trying to look for some good, clean, safe housing close to the Kailash Colony Metro station.  There have been a few that have caught my interest and look pretty good.  Others I was able to rule out with no issue quite quickly.  Being a teacher, and owning up to my need for some control in this process, I put my data into a table and have also recruited Harris to work on this with me.

Having never been to any Asian country before, I realized that I had no idea how the continent was divided other than the countries contained therein.  So, I went to Amazon.com and have now ordered a couple of guide books that specifically work with the Delhi/New Delhi area.  It is a weakness/strength/disorder that I must know about the place I am travelling to prior to arrival.  I am just not one who jumps on a plane, or in a car, and hopes to find what I need when I get there.  Not me at all.

I am going to also touch base with Margarida and Meg in hopes that they can put me in touch with their concierge.  Maybe she/he can help me find a place that ticks off all the boxes and still meets with our desire for a cheaper place.  I am looking for a place that has a bed with clean sheets, a separate seating area with TV,  a fridge and microwave (small kitchen type place preferred), an attached bathroom (shower must have a curtain or door dividing it from the rest of the bathroom), room must open from inside the hotel, and there must be a breakfast included in the cost of the room, oh and we also want a place where we can do our own washing (either in the room or in the hotel).  Surely there's something out there that meets all those...right?

So far, our list consists of the following hotels:

  • Hotel Conclave Boutique - http://www.conclavehotel.com/ conclave_boutique/index.html - $1,299.64 in their Superior Deluxe Double room for our 17 nights in Delhi.   Really like the property, super close to ISIS and SCI, and ticks off each box except for laundry.  I have emailed them and am keeping my fingers crossed to hear back soon!

  • Star Grand Villas - http://www.stargrandvilla.net - $ ??? - Waiting to hear a price from them.  This place ticks off all the boxes as well except for laundry and is also pretty close to the Kailash Colony Metro stop.  
  • The Solace (formerly known as Sodhi Lodge) - http://www.sodhilodge.com - $1,299.44 if booked on Expedia.com.  The hotel is offering a 35% discount if booked in advance and with the online service.  This is the price for their nicest room and it meets most of the requirements including access to laundry.  However, it is unclear if they are offering to do my laundry or let me do my laundry.  There is no fridge or microwave in the room, but there is a restaurant at the hotel.  That would limit us to keeping peanut butter and jelly type things in the room to eat if we didn't want to eat out.  Could be problematic.
  • The Velvet Apple - http://velvetapplehotels.com/ - $2,185.60 is WAAAY more than I want to pay.  However, this is a great hotel and if my AAA membership would get me a good discount, it's worth considering.  I will email them and check because the rate might be negotiable.  It meets almost all of the things on my "wants" list and is rated #63 out of 517 of hotels in New Delhi on TripAdvisor.com.  No fridge or microwave, but it is very close to Kailash Colony Metro station, M Block market, an ATM, and other amenities that I was hoping for.


These are on the list, for now.  I'm not giving up though.  I remember that Margarida wrote about the place she stayed where they were able to cook called the "Tulip" something???  I googled "Tulip Hotel" and got about 15 hits.  I have no idea where those are.  Hopefully, I can narrow that down if I speak with the concierge too.


Can't believe we're less than 90 days out now from being in India!!!  Wow!




Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sticker Shock...


Having spent the better part of the last 2 nights looking for places to stay in Delhi, I must say that I am a bit irritated by the prices of the hotels.  Don't get me wrong, I want to be safe, clean, etc.  HOWEVER, it does seem like most of the places I have looked at are outrageously expensive for India.  I mean, come on - I didn't pay $150 per night to stay in the San Germaine district of Paris, why is it that is a justified price in India???

Up until this point, I have always considered myself an excellent traveler.  I have even planned trips for others to foreign countries (including travel) and been successful.  It almost feels like there's someone waiting to say, "Ha ha - gotcha!  We're just foolin' about the price of rooms!"  ...  But so far, I haven't had that happen. 

Maybe traveling with Rick Steves' approach of "living like the locals" has ruined me.  Perhaps I have rented too many privately owned condos, villas, houses, and apartments over the last decade or gotten too good a price.  I just didn't realize that I was going to have to shell out another $2,000 to pay for a safe place to stay.  MAJOR DISLIKE on that.  If it's what we have to do, then we'll do it.  But, I fully intend to keep looking in hopes that there's something else out there that will be more economical.  I'd so much rather spend that money trying to make a baby instead of paying for the place to stay while I'm over there.  Surely, I'm not alone in this...

On a different note, I have worked out Christmas plans with the families (children of divorce understand the juggling act involved in holiday visitations).  That's a relief. 

Harris hit a pole with his truck - not convenient timing when we're pulling from the equity in that vehicle to put down our first payment.  We will get it fixed the week of October 3rd and then send our payment over to SCI.  It's going to be interesting to have that conversation with the bank people.

In summary, we're moving forward, but with sticker shock.  If you have any other hotels to recommend, please send them thru! 





Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's a date!

Well, we have a tentative date for travel and treatment in India!  It looks like we will be in India from the first to middle of December for the cycle.  So, those of you who have walked this path ahead of us, prepare for questions! 

The biggest question I have is about lodging.  I am hoping for some recommendations of places to stay that are (really) reasonably priced but safe.  How far out should I try to book a hotel or apartment or whatever we'll be staying in during the trip? 

Harris and I are really excited about this and feel like this is "IT" for us.  We really believe there's a baby at the end of this road.  With such good news from Avey and Suzie, I am really optimistic!  Seems there's baby dust running rampant in India.  Hope the wind keeps blowing it around until we get there!!!

Anyone else planning a December trip???


Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Winning Side of Giving Up...

So, it appears that the IUI has failed - started bleeding 2 days ago and I don't think it's from implantation - I will get bloodwork done on Monday to confirm this.  The things that I'm mourning and celebrating about this are really the same things.  Isn't it funny how we can see one act, event, or course of action as both sad and happy at the same time?

For instance, I will never buy another pregnancy test.  When people ask me if we're trying, I won't have to make up a coy answer that eludes the situation - no will suffice.  Harris and I will be able to have sex knowing that we won't be working towards pregnancy.  I will never have to give birth.  See, both happy and sad.

My nature is to be more "Negative Nellie" than "Pollyanna" but I'm trying.  




Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Clearly, I've lost my mind...

 
Birds hate me.  That's the truth.  They really do.  This truth first came to light when I went to my Uncle Jimbo and Aunt Fay's house.  They raised chickens and for dinner we were going to have FRESH chicken pastry.  Being little enough to know no better (and having an uncle with a sense of humor lost to me at that time), I sat in the truck bed when the chicken met the hatchett.  To this day I have nightmares about that evil zombie-like chicken body running towards me with no head.  I also remember being a little girl and having two parrots poop on me at the pet store.  That was just the beginning.  Since then, they have found various other ways to torment me thru my life.  In high school, I couldn't eat out in the courtyard with the other Seniors because the birds would fly down from the trees and swoop at me, their talons grabbing at my hair.  When I went to summer camp, there were bats and small birds that would dive bomb me in the swimming pool - kamikaze bats, if you will - who were willing to die for their cause (one drowned as he tried to grasp my swimsuit).  As an adult, I married into a family of bird lovers who insist that their birds can't fly because their wings have been clipped.  This is despite evidence to the contrary where they have left their cage tops in a determined attempt to cross a room and peck my eyes out.  Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the probably 50 birds that have flown straight into my car and died with a dramatic thump as they tried to scare me off the road. 

THEY ARE EVIL CREATURES AND I HATE THEM AS MUCH AS THEY HATE ME.

This brings me to the point.  I must have lost my mind because last night as I sat in the living room watching (redneck) TV with Harris, I sobbed uncontrollably after "Billy the Exterminator" was tasked to "relocate" Canadian Geese who had nested in areas too close to businesses or schools.  Billy and his brother, Ricky, forced the daddy into protective mode and then bullied the mama goose off the nest so they could put oil all over the hot eggs.  The result of this process is that the eggs would fry in the heat and, once the parents found out their offspring were dead, they would have bad memories of the place and move on.

Watching this and hearing the cries of that mama as the daddy was fighting and then once she was bullied from her nests broke my heart.  Suddenly, I was the mama goose and that daddy was Harris out there dive bombing Billy and Ricky trying to keep his almost-family safe no matter what.  Oh, and the horrible cries that came out of that mama when they did get her off the nest and she realized that her eggs were exposed.  Do geese wail - because it was such a soulful cry that, had she been human, certainly it would have been a wail. 

All I could do was cry because I knew that there was nothing she could do that she wasn't already doing.  She'd done everything right - she'd mated for life and chosen a loyal & strong partner, she'd laid her eggs and attended them vigilantly, she'd fought for her almost-children, and still it wasn't enough.  The worst part was that, according to Billy and Ricky, it would take the geese a few days to realize the eggs were ruined.  In my mind, what I heard when they said that part was that although she would go back to the nest and continue doing what she could to take care of her babies, it was all for nothing because they had put their hands into the nest and rubbed oil on the eggs.  That poor mama and daddy would sit there for another 3 days while their children died in their care.  How cruel.  How devastating.  How relatable for anyone on this journey of infertility.

I know that along the way I have done everything I can to make sure the people I work with are certified, well versed in their craft, knowledgeable, thorough, and careful.  Harris and I feel confident in our choices and our treatments for the most part.  And, we feel like we've made a good choice for overseas surrogacy with SCI should this last cycle fail.  For those reasons, and because of the endless amounts of research/prayer/correspondence/checking behind/questioning that we've done over the last 6 years, I can feel okay and know that I'm not the mama goose sitting on those hopeless eggs.  But man, I sure do feel sorry for her. 

(By the way, Harris had no idea how to comfort me during this drama because he knows my tense-at-best relationship with feathered not-friends.  I'd put a link to that episode, but I'm honestly embarrassed to admit that I watch that show.  LOL!)