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, November 24, 2011


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


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.

  • 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.