About Me

My photo
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.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What's next?

A question that continuously runs thru the mind in the moments when life offers "down time" to a person struggling with infertility, and one that is running thru one possibility after another.  My mind constantly races to think thru scenario 1, 2, 2a, 3, and 4b.  It's like having an iPod hooked up with bluetooth hard-wired directly to my brain.  I think back thru the years and years of fertility treatments, the different doctors in different states, the articles in books/magazines/newspapers/journals that I've read, the stories I've watched on television, and the webinars I've listened to.  With all of that information, with all of those scenarios executed, and with all of those years invested, how could we still have nothing to show for it?  How is it possible that there is still no actual, living, breathing, growing child in our house that calls us mom and dad?  I mean, really, we're hard workers - unafraid of a challenge, always willing to invest extra hours and effort in order to reach a goal.  This is certainly why we are so frustrated at this point.  Despite all of those things, we're still coming up empty. 

We sat in a booth last night eating Chinese food and mulling over our options.  As in any conversation about infertility, our ages come up in conversation almost right away.  Harris is already 35, and I'll be the same age in May of 2013.  I hear the tick-tock of my biological clock echoing like a voice in a cave.  Ironically, I'd always planned to gift myself a hysterectomy for the big 3-5 because insurance would cover it.  That's totally not in the plans now.

So, the question lingers, what's next?  We are debating a couple of possibilities:
  1. Not doing another FET cycle and instead doing another fresh cycle in June (because, apparently, the universe hates me and wants me to have a heatstroke on the other side of the planet).  We'd for sure get more eggs to work with and, hopefully, this time make a baby that lives.  We've had 3 miscarriages now in the 1st trimester, and there's no explanation as to what went wrong.  Likewise, there are no assurances that it won't happen again.  Harris put it best last night when he said, "What's the number that makes it time to stop?  10?  6?  3?  Is there a number?  When do we say enough is enough?" 
  2. Putting off doing another cycle completely and working with the South Koreans to complete an international adoption.  This option guarantees us a child in the end, and that is really appealing right now.  Once you hit a certain age range, adoption agencies start looking at you cross-eyed when you apply because you're too old for that too apparently.  If we went this route, we'd still be able to apply with savings in the bank.  If we did another fresh cycle first, we'd be forced to take complete financing for the adoption process and we don't know how that would be viewed.  This is in the early stage of research, and I'm not sure about a lot of things that go along with it right now.  One of my parents at school has done it, and the process was SUPER quick for her.  Their second son was ready for pick-up within 5-6 months.  That's a very appealing time-frame for me today.  
At the time of year when parents are buying their gifts from Santa, families are picking out and decorating Christmas trees, and memories are being made by 1st time parents, I find myself (and Harris) feeling more and more alone.  In part, we've done it to ourselves by not sharing what we're dealing with.  But, at the same time, there's only so much comfort that can be taken from people who have no experience dealing with the sense of longing that is so very present at this time of year. 

Somedays are better than others, and tomorrow is another day.  We will figure things out.  We are not giving up.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wouldn't it be cool???

Yes, I'm a dork - I admit it without shame.  My first thought today when I found out that Kate Middleton was pregnant was, "Oh my gosh.  How cool would it be to be pregnant at the same time as her?!" 

'Cause, you know, our kids could be friends and stuff!  <snicker, snicker>

Test results this Friday!  All I want for Christmas is a positive beta test with a confirmed heartbeat growing stronger everyday...Is that too much to ask for?
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Waiting...again...

Yes, it's not the most original title ever.  But, we are again waiting to find out the results of our FET which was done on Black Friday.  As that is basically another religious holiday in my mind, this transfer has to be getting some good vibes right off the bat. 

Two of our embryos were thawed, but only one survived.  The one that did make it was a Grade II and was transferred into our surrogate with no problems reported.  Crazy as it seems, I am hoping that with the lack of competition for space in the womb, maybe the little thing will bury itself deep within and feast away until time to be born.  Biology lessons aside, I'd like to believe this fairy tale that I've created in my mind.  Sometimes I need to believe in the reality-pushed-aside daydreams that wander thru my mind. 

We are scheduled to get results on the 7th of December, and I am PRAYING that we have reason to celebrate a steadily-rising positive beta level for Christmas this year. 

Attach and grow.
Attach and grow.
Attach and grow.
Please, attach and grow.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How do you compare???

It's probably the most difficult thing NOT to do while going thru infertility - compare, that is.  This challenge is even greater when you work with children everyday.  I can't help but imagine my non-existent children in one scenario or another working in my little classroom beside the other children.  She (because for some reason I always imagine a girl) gets marker on her hand in Art class drawing the little turkeys, wiggles thru the monkey bars to sit up on top, and smiles from ear to ear when she gets a perfect score on her spelling test.  No, she's not really there, but she's so real in my mind.  It's that "real-ness" that keeps me/us moving forward.  How could someone who seems so real not actually become real one day???  We have to believe that she will exist one day...hopefully sooner rather than later. 

Today's comparison task has us working to pick the next person to act as our surrogate.  Having gone thru the process twice before, this is the first time we've actually forgotten to ask for profiles without pictures.  What a surprise when we opened the email and there were pictures with all of them.  Not bad, not good, just different I guess.  It almost feels like a game of chance...like a strange Vegas style task that might help us to end in the land of Mommies and Daddies.  We compare ages, talk thru the ages and dates of their last pregnancies, mull over how long it's been since the last pregnancy, and debate whether or not a vegetarian diet really makes any difference in gestation. 

When it's all said and done, once the decision is made, it's really totally and completely beyond our control.  We can compare as long as we want, but there's only one way we'll actually know we've made the right decision. 

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

An Update...

First, our payment has been received for doing an FET cycle with another surrogate in India.  The new profiles for the ladies should come in around the 14th of the month, with the potential transfer date being the 23rd or 24th as it stands right now.  After much debate, Harris and I did decide to use 2 of the 4 embryos we have in reserve for this transfer.  When all was said and done, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks is the "wise" thing to do if it doesn't feel right for us.  We just couldn't see putting all of the embryos in at one time because then we'd be right back at square one with nothing left if it failed.  How much would that totally suck, right?!

The second front, kind of a sub-front to the first one about the FET cycle, is that Harris went to a fertility clinic in Raleigh yesterday and gave another "sample" for them to send away for further analysis.  We've run all of the standard tests and even with the karotyping done after this last miscarriage there was nothing to explain why the pregnancies end in the first trimester time and again.  So, we decided to go ahead with the DNA Fragmentation testing that I was told about.  We only did the first level of testing (SESA test is the name, I think), but that will take it down to a DNA level that looks for any missing pieces as best I can tell.  There's a secondary test that goes down even further (called a FISH test, I think, or something similar) that we could do...should we decide to shell out even more money because insurance doesn't cover it.  The main reason we went ahead with this is actually because I had someone tell me about this test who had gone thru 3 miscarriages herself and then another one or two with a surrogate.  It was because of this test that she was able to find out that her husband's, um, well, you know, "stuff" was missing pieces all over the place and that any pregnancy would never be able to come to term because of the missing pieces.  She said that they finally had some answers as to that mysterious diagnosis of "recurrent miscarriage" that had plagued her for so long.  While having that information would be really sad, it would also offer us a reason as to why things continue to fall apart time and again with each pregnancy.  That unknown factor is a huge part of the frustration that comes with infertility.  There are so many different opinions that point to one thing or another - but never agree.  So, the chance to have a real explanation is worth the money, at this point, and if it comes back with anything that makes sense.  Because NCCRM only ships off their samples to a contracted lab on Wednesdays, it will be 3-4 weeks from Wednesday of next week before we get any information.  Of course, by that time, we'll probably also have the results of the FET cycle.  Should we have waited for those results before doing the FET cycle?  I don't know.  We didn't find out about the test until after we'd sent the money a few weeks ago. 

In regard to our robbery, we have FINALLY purchased a set of doors to replace the damaged ones.  The plan is to have them up by the end of the weekend so they're in place before Harris goes to his turf conference next week.  Being here alone with plywood standing between me and the outdoors didn't sit too well.  I'd be a zombie by the time he got back on Wednesday because I'd not sleep a wink the entire time if the old doors were not replaced!

So, that's our update for now.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.  As the holidays approach, things do become more difficult and I find myself getting weepy (and somewhat more irritable) a little bit more easily.  It sure would be nice to have another stocking hanging on the mantle next year at this time...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Justice League - Allie & Harris Style...

When my phone rang at school, just after lunch on Friday, I thought it was odd.  When Harris asked me if I'd been home - knowing that I work 45 minutes away - I knew something was way beyond odd.  Turns out, someone had broken thru the glass on our backdoor, reached inside to twist the lock on the knob, and come inside to steal anything easy to carry.

I've always tried to make my home a place where people feel welcome and want to come.  However, I had no clue that a burglar would feel so "at home" that he would stay long enough to go thru (yes, really) all of our drawers, closets, cabinets, and cupboards.  Um, eew.

So, beyond the creepiness that exists knowing somebody has looked thru your underwear, exists the joy (written with TOTAL sarcasm) that comes from finding out it's going to cost almost $1,000 to replace the door and repair the damage he caused. 

Only dumb people steal from us.  Really, you don't realize who you're messing with - we don't take crime laying down - and we're big supporters of the "you do the crime, you do the time" mentality.  I knew what was missing; so did Harris.  We took off to the local pawn shops, began asking questions, giving item descriptions, along with our contact information, etc. and were able to track 6 of the stolen DVDs to one specific store.  Now, here's where the story gets REALLY GOOD.

Post Part II:  AKA, "Dumb Crook News"
There's this wonderful little caveat to the law in NC which states that any person wanting to sell an item to a pawn shop must present a valid, state issued ID card.  Our burglar, being not the sharpest knife in the drawer, gave the pawn shop employee his current drivers license!  The investigating police officer met us at the pawn shop and took the details about the seller.  The officer has made contact with him, and is hoping to have arrested him by Monday.

Oh, and one other thing to note:  The guy is currently on probation for breaking and entering.

Thank Heavens we had a stupid criminal instead of a criminal mastermind!!!  While we don't expect to ever see the laptop and other items again.  But, hopefully we'll at least see our day in court!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Carry On, Carry On...


Remember a few posts back when I said that my next ringtone would be that song, "Carry On," by the group FUN?  Well, it's time.  I'm officially switching over from the devastatingly sad song about loss to my new hang-in-there-and-carry-on song! 

"Though I've never been through Hell like that, 
I've closed enough windows to know you can never look back."

"May your past be the sound of your feet on the ground.  Carry on, Carry on."

My feet are most definitely on the ground...and they're heading to the bank tomorrow to send our 1st payment for a FET cycle with 2 of our 4 embryos.  Fingers crossed!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

TRYING to move ahead...


The update this time includes our attempts to begin moving ahead on a FET (FROZEN embryo transfer) cycle.  However, we have been a bit discouraged and frustrated because of the warnings and ominous predictions that we've gotten.  While we appreciate the "reality check" that sometimes comes from doctors dealing with infertility, it has been a major source of frustration this time around.  Basically, we've been reminded that the likelihood of success with a frozen cycle is much, much, much, much, much, much (seeing a pattern?) lower and probably, most likely, almost certainly will end with a negative result if we push ahead with that.  We're being encouraged to try and come back for another fresh cycle - which we don't object to - because that would give us the best shot...again.  One of the best things about SCI, is the honest information and guidance that's given.  Having a doctor that answers emails is a phenomena unheard of in the US. 

Okay, so here's the question that keeps rearing it's ugly head in our minds - if the FET cycle is so unlikely to work, why in the world did we do so much to fight for having left over embryos?  All those drugs, all that waiting, feeling like grapefruit are hanging on both sides of my hips, and then crossing fingers and hoping that we have more than enough eggs.  Why did we do all that, if it wasn't for the goal of using them?  Again, I do appreciate the reminders that a fresh cycle and a frozen cycle are very different in odds of positive results.  But, is it so low that it's not worth trying for half the up-front cost???

I mean, from our perspective, we've got 4 embryos on ice, and we've been talking/debating trying to put in 2 rather than all 4 - kind of the ole "don't put all your eggs in one basket" mentality.  If one or both of the 2 didn't survive the thaw, we'd be okay with thawing the other 2 and using those in addition or in place of.  The other thought we had was that if those first 2 didn't work, we'd have only spent about half the money we'd have used and could do another FET cycle or *possibly* stop and do a last fresh cycle in June (because God hates me and that's the earliest I could go back - yay, another June in India - whoo hoo).  That would give us a short few months to work on paying down the cost of the frozen cycle and evaluate finances before heading over.

Changing directions completely - my anxiety meds are working well enough to take off the extreme highs and lows.  I tried one prescription and it had a strange side effect.  So, I've switched to another one now.  It's non-addictive, and I could come off of it right away with no issues.  But, my doctor said he would want to have me not taking it for 3 months or so before I tried another egg retrieval.  Makes sense to us, and my goal was never to have the meds be a long-term solution.  I just needed/need something to help me get back on track emotionally.

Sorry for being so quiet over the last month or so.  I know that everyone who's walked this road understands the need to withdraw sometimes and think.  We are sending congrats to everyone who's had babies, received continued positive scans and results, and we mourn with those who are still fighting for that BFP.  Hang in there!  We'll find ourselves celebrating one day, I hope.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Same Coin, Different Sides...

Ramblings from my cluttered mind...

In the midst of all that's been going on, I've thought a lot about how things seem to suddenly turn on a dime.  Honestly, it seems like sometimes all of the metaphors that accompany some of life's adventures are aptly suited to be compared to money as they often are linked hand in hand with money.  For instance, despite our losses, I can be ecstatic about my friend's pregnancy carrying her twins and plan to fly up for her baby shower this weekend.  I can feel both sad and happy at the same time - same coin, different side.  There's also the way that we are able to think about moving forward with the remaining 4 embryos but wonder if it's really a gamble to use all 4 now, despite the fact that this would be our last shot for a while most likely - kind of like flipping a coin to decide on implanting 2 vs. 4 (heads = 2?).  Finally, there's the actual money part of it.  Our coins in this process have all been willingly handed over in the name of trying to have our biological child.  We choose not to update our home, replace our cars, or buy a new tv in the event that we might need to hold onto those pennies, nickels, and dimes for the sake of another pregnancy. 

So, where are we?  Well, we are here.  We are okay.  We are trying to make plans to move forward.  Harris and I are waiting to hear from someone at SCI about the different price that we'd pay for just doing a frozen embryo transfer.  Plus, we're also waiting to see how our surrogate is doing and if she'd be interested in the *possibility* of doing another round for us.  Are we sure we want to use her again?  No.  But, at the same time, she got pregnant and there was nothing that happened for her to have lost the pregnancy.  It's something we're considering.  We're also thinking about what will be the most ideal timing for this cycle because I do NOT want to receive a phone call on a school day again where I have to deal with the day and the children if it's bad news.  Understanding that there is nothing within our control in this entire process beyond the initial decisions, I'd still like to try and plan as best as possible. 

Another question that Harris and I have been tossing around has to do with whether or not a frozen transfer is the best idea for us because, frankly, I'm becoming less of a spring chicken every year.  What if this doesn't work?  We won't have the money to do this again for a while and should we try to do another retrieval so that there are embryos banked over there?  What kind of price difference are we looking at?  Is there really that much difference between the cost of a FET vs. a fresh cycle?  These are the things that run thru my mind, and I hope to have answers for very soon.  As for Harris' swimmers-on-ice over there, the storage fee is coming up soon - December, to be precise.  If we did a fresh cycle over there, maybe it would be best to consider the storage fee ($500/yr) in our overall costs.  Having fertilized embryos that we pay to store is one thing, but having only one component that we're paying to store is different somehow in my mind...I can't explain that one, but it is just different. 

So, in conclusion, we're getting on with living.  We're hanging in there, and making the days pass as efficiently and positively as we're able.  To quote one of my all time favorite films (Sleepless in Seattle), "Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out... and, then after a while, I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while."

Hopefully, that day will come soon in the form of another BFP celebration that's followed by the most boring 8 months possible, and concludes with a celebration of life heard around the world as we FINALLY get our baby.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Something to look forward to...

Kerotyping results were returned and showed no abnormalities of any kind with the tissue recovered from the D&C procedure.  On one hand, we're relieved that there was nothing which would indicate further problems in the future for pregnancies.  But, and this is a whopper of a but, what the heck happened?  For crying out loud, don't we deserve an answer?!?!  What in the world has kept us from continuing in the pregnancies (any of the 3) prior to the end of the first trimester?  Why do things just go from great to nothing with no explanation?!?!

Beyond that, where does that leave us in the process?  We still have the 4 embryos, and we want to try again with surrogacy since they're there.  Honestly, we're just scared.  Neither of us are happy about the thought of another cycle right now, but we're also not thrilled with the idea of not doing another round.  In our hearts we both believe that we're supposed to be parents to our own biological child.  We're not suffering from egg quality issues, and the ICSI process eliminates any issue with Harris' sperm, so why do things not come to a successful completion?

As you can tell, we're also still mucking our way thru the grieving process.  Maybe we should be "over it" by now.  It's proving harder than we thought to find closure on that loss.  I did go to my MD and have him prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for at least the next little while until things somewhat return to a normal state for us (as our "normal" is a far cry from the "normal" others experience).  I resisted it, but then I thought - nah, screw it, I need the help.  Apparently Harris thought so too because he took the day off and insisted on driving me to the appointment, the entire time mumbling something under his breath about wanting his wife back and being out of Kleenex.  Hmm, and I thought I was keeping such a brave face - ha ha! 

On a final note, my cousin died last week after a short and intense battle with cancer.  By the time they discovered it, the tumors were thru her entire body and she only lived about a month.  She was barely 50, and so close to her family that her only regret would be not getting to spend more time with them.  She had truly lived the life she wanted, and that point was shared by all who spoke at her funeral.  What a powerful statement.  How many people really get to do that in life???  While it was the hardest funeral I'd ever been to (because I was grieving two losses in addition to that one), it also made me start thinking about where we are in our lives right now.  Things I've been putting on hold - like grad school, replacing my 15 year old car, and traveling to places that aren't India - suddenly shifted back into focus.  I love my husband, and I love our life together with the one exception of the child-free living situation.  I don't want to lose the intimacy of our life together for the sake of trying to create a life together.  Does that make sense?  We have to make plans for something that doesn't revolve around making babies or traveling to get what we need to make babies, etc.

In that spirit, I am going to work on plans for a trip somewhere that has clear water, palm trees, and drinks served in coconut shells with little umbrellas.  I think we both desperately need to get away and ESCAPE from it all.  In the meantime, I'm feeling up just looking thru the places on the beach in faraway lands.  I can almost feel the sunshine on my face now...and this is the song in my head.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lifelines...

I've started writing blog posts several times over the last 10 days, but nothing I started ever seemed to get finished.  Maybe that's how it goes sometimes when you're grieving?  Harris and I are still grieving the loss of our 2 little ones, but we are working and trying to hold it together as much as possible.  There are moments, like tonight at Bible study when the leader prayed that God help us to remember that His plan is perfect, where I want to rage and scream because I've recently had a heart to heart with God that said just the opposite.  Or, moments when a friend tells you (in the midst of same Bible study) that her daughter miscarried over the weekend - BEYOND hard not to tear up in that moment.    Nothing about this loss has been easy, and I can't sugar-coat it just to make it seem like we're doing well with everything.  In fact, we're not always doing well with it.  Sometimes we're downright furious/broken/terrified/lost in the wake of recent events.

Remember that our other 2 miscarriages were not pregnancies that we knew about until I was losing them - there wasn't the same amount of time to bond and celebrate little milestones like the arrival of eyelids or elbows.  That said, I wanted to share a few things that are helping on our journey to heal this time around. 
  • Emails from others in blogland with phone numbers and offers to call them to talk if I need to.  That's beyond-words generous in spirit, and I am so humbled by the willingness to let someone call you just to cry or yell or whatever.  It's a rare gift to have people who are open to being that vulnerable with you.  THANK YOU!

  • Words from a friend who, in the midst of her own emotional rollercoaster, somehow made time to email words of compassion to me along with her new cell phone number attached - how in the world did she manage to find time and strength to comfort me when she's dealing with so much herself???  You continue to amaze me, and we will see you all next month when we get up to VA!

  • Friends met thru surrogacy in real life who I feel a connection with so deeply that it's my honor to be a part of their lives.  To have lost a child yourself, handled it with such abiding grace and respect, and be willing to share that tender bit of your heart with me is more than I would have ever asked.  I can only hope for Harris and I to come thru this with a fraction of the grace you've shown.  Ethan is truly a lucky little boy to have the two of you!

  • The comment that struck me in both the heart and the head from that last post:  "Make yourselves do something each day which you enjoy, though I expect you may feel like punishing yourselves, try to limit that."  Never, in my entire life, had anyone pointed out to me that the things I do to deal with grief are punishments I impose upon myself.  I have always known that I carried blame for things around me - what child from a dysfunctional home doesn't - but to have someone actually say that...wow!  It was truly freeing, and I actually was able to put somethings together in my mind, and more importantly my heart.  This really is NOT my fault.  This just simply, is.  Thank you for saying that - it's because of that comment that I really feel like I am grieving now instead of wallowing in guilt and punishing myself for this loss.  You will be happy to know that I have slept, watched mind-free tv, read a book about acrylic painting, started a new novel and looked at painting classes in my area.  I am trying to be kind to myself!!!

  • Music has also helped.  I've always been more likely to watch a movie or read a book than listen to music.  But, there have been a few songs that have been marking my transition thru grief stages.  Obviously, I started out with Louis Armstrong's "Nobody Knows" (because I still have a sense of humor buried deep inside somewhere).  Now, I've moved on to "Let It Hurt" from Rascal Flatts, and soon I hope to be all the way to Fun's "Carry On" because I do recognize that little glimmer up ahead as the light at the end of the tunnel.  
THANKS FOR YOUR KIND WORDS!  They are truly a great comfort to both Harris and I as we continue trying to heal because we know we're not alone.  

We may be down, but we're not out...

Friday, August 31, 2012

What doesn't kill you...

SHOULD in theory make you stronger, right?  Well, after a couple of days wishing the earth actually could open up and swallow me, I'm now just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

Monday was the WORST first day of school ever recorded in the history of first days of school, I'm convinced.  So long as the kids were in the room and I could move thru my checklists for rules and procedures, I was okay.  In the quiet moments while they were at PE, in the cafeteria, or at recess, I totally lost it over and over again.  All I could do was cry as quietly as possible at my desk.  By the end of that first day, I practically shoved people out of the way to get to my car so I could go home.  Harris called me on the way, and I couldn't even choke out the words.  Just bursts of sobs I was trying to choke back which would come out instead of "I'm on the way home" or "I love you". 

Tuesday was pretty much a repeat of Monday.  I found that my sense of time was thrown off all week and I couldn't keep track of what day it was.  My board was actually written with Wednesday's assignments on Thursday, and I missed sending notices home to parents all week long.  I can't seem to keep a thought in my head for longer than an nano-second before it's gone.  Oh, and the best is that when I get up and go to do something, I get there (wherever "there" is) and either have forgotten what I'm in there for OR see something that is also in need of doing and complete that new task rather than the one I went in there for. 

I have sent some inquiries to SCI about remaining funds - only 10,000 INR are left once all the costs are paid out.  I've also asked about the possibility of using the same surrogate again - don't know, she has to go thru a normal period first and they'll have to evaluate whether she's interested/able to do it again.  We also asked about having the tissue from the pregnancy tested, and that is being done and results should be back in 3 weeks' time.  I'm hoping that anything which is revealed from those tests can explain what happened.  Our surrogate had no problems, nothing out of the ordinary - in fact, apparently everyone (including the doctors) were astonished that the heartbeats had disappeared. 

We're left now with 3 days at home over this "holiday" weekend - which feels much more like a bereavement leave to us.  How in the world are we going to get thru 3 days with NOTHING on the calendar to occupy our minds and hands? 

In all seriousness, I am thinking about taking my doctor's offer for a prescription of Xanax to help take the edge off for a while.  Is that a cop out?  Neither of us have ever actually known we were pregnant before a miscarriage in the past.  This loss, double loss, is twisting our hearts and souls.  The only thing I can compare it to is the loss I felt when my grandmother (who raised me) died a few years ago.  It's amazing the depth of loss you can have for people who were never born. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

7:52

As I sat at my desk this morning at 7:52, my phone rang.  We all know what that means.  I had 14 parents and children outside my door, a school lobby packed to overflowing, and nowhere to hide.  My phone rang thru to voicemail, but again, I knew it wasn't good news.  I got my students in, had them get started on a paper, and read the email titled, "We're Sorry" at my desk praying all the while that I could keep it together.  No heartbeats.  D&C done this morning. 

So long as I kept moving constantly, I could keep from thinking about it.  I made it thru the day, put on my sunglasses, and flew out the door with keys in hand as soon as I put my last student on a bus. 

The challenge now is just to find a way to keep moving. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

All over the place...

My latest obsession - the Baby Elephant collection from The White Store!
 
We are so excited about the *bonus* baby news!  Thoughts about two babies seem to find their way into every part of my day.  I'm sitting in a meeting talking about new school board policies, and I suddenly tear up because I'm realizing that one day I might actually have that "first day of school" picture.  Or, I'm in the grocery store walking from the potato chip aisle over to the paper towel aisle, and I find myself slowly going down the baby food aisle.  There's also the random conversation where I tell Harris our daughter's name (because I'm convinced it's either 1 of each or 2 girls).  Then, when I finished the last book on my Kindle, I headed to the parenting section almost like a compulsion to find something that I needed to read up on...I didn't care what it was, just wanted it to be about parenting.  Oh, and I can't even turn into a shopping center with one of those baby boutiques.  I'd be bankrupt!

Then, there are also the other thoughts that run thru my mind when doing these things.  You know those thoughts - the warnings to NOT do something because it might jinx the situation.  There's also the ones where I urge myself to not daydream into the future because it might not happen, and if we lost the pregnancy I'd be too attached to make it thru without having a nervous breakdown this time I swear.  Oh, and the thoughts that race thru my head at warp speed when my head hits the pillow (and I don't fall asleep even with a sleeping pill) like wondering how we'll tell people, wondering if I'll be able to get a good sub for my classroom and when I need to tell my principal and how hurt my MIL would be if she found out after my principal who is in neither the friend or family category, thinking about what in the world we'd do if we got things for 2 and lost 1 of them. 

Constantly these things fly thru my head.  I wish I felt safe enough to go out and buy some things; just kind of to acknowledge the existence of the little ones swimming around carrying our genetic material several continents away.  I'm having a hard time resisting since seeing a link for "The White Company" on another blog.  I am in love with EVERYTHING on this page:  http://www.thewhitecompany.com/baby-elephant-collection/ and have gone so far as to load some of the stuff into their digital cart (okay, 2 of everything on the page) and go to the checkout page...just to become locked with anxiety and think that if I buy it, something bad's going to happen.  "Bad" is an ominous, ever-lurking, unknown that is possible at anytime, always one purchase/thought/breath/admission away. 

Am I totally crazy?  Do I need to seek a prescription for Xanax?  That mantra I've been working on is quickly becoming an OCD kind of chant.  I could not be my own friend right now because I would be driving me nuts.  Nobody pray for us to have patience, please!  No favors can be done with that! 

On a side note, we did go back to church this past Sunday for the first time in a good long while.  It was good.  We went to a place with no past connections; not a soul knew our names.  I was able to sing and sit in prayer (I GUARANTEE I prayed harder than anyone else there!) without feeling that sense of fury and desolation that had been a constant companion for so long.  That's progress. 

One step at a time, I guess. 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh good. Wait, what?!

You could have knocked us over with a feather when we received the notice and scan from SCI this morning.  How in the world?  It's just...wow.  This morning, during the scan, they found a second heartbeat and embryo!!!  TWINS!!!  Can you believe it???  WOW!  Both look to be "normal," and have good heartbeats (150/154 bpm).  The biggest of them ("THEM," WOW!) is measuring at 8 weeks, 3 days. 

TWINS!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yes, I'm a Dork...

Back in December, when we headed to India for the first time, I traded my standard ringtone for Bon Jovi's "We Weren't Born to Follow, We Were Born to Lead." 

When I went back in June for Round 2, I opted for Journey's, "Anything Is Possible."

Now that we have a heartbeat, and are entering our 7th week of the pregnancy, I have changed it to Conway Twitty's, "Never Been This Far Before."  

Other news, we have the 1st appointment with Harris' new cardiologist tomorrow morning.  It's a consult where they'll do preliminary screenings, and decide what type of stress test to have him do.  He's still having issues with tightness in his chest, shortness of breath, etc.  He's been taking it easier than usual, working less hours, doing less strenuous things at work.  We'll be happy to have some information and answers!

**Cartoon from MediaBreach.com

Monday, July 30, 2012

I ♥ "Normal"

NORMAL!!!

Bleeding has disappeared, and WE HAVE A HEARTBEAT of 124 bpm!!!  Can you believe it????  We are now officially 6 wks 1 day pregnant!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Oh, What A Night...

Just arrived back from having spent a night in the hospital with Harris hooked up to heart monitors.  For the last week, he has been having worsening tightness in his chest, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, etc.  Now, keep in mind he's only 35, but we buried one of his friends this past Monday who dropped dead on the golf course from a massive heart attack.  The heat here has been pretty intense this past week (not Indian intense, but really hot) with temps running around 100 degrees and a heat index around 110.  Harris' job responsibilities have him working outside 95% of the time.  So, when I got home last night and found him laying on the bed, too tired to eat, I was concerned.  When he had to sit down after taking out the trash, I told him to put on pants we were going to the hospital.  We made the 1.5 hour drive to the heart center, and they pumped him full of fluids, ran an EKG, did a chest x-ray, checked heart enzymes, and ran blood panel after blood panel.  Thankfully, they have ruled out a heart attack, and preliminary tests don't look like there's a blood clot.  Monday we are going to a cardiologist for a stress test to check his heart function. 

It's been quite a long night.  We did find humor in the doctor asking if he was under any unusual stress right now.  I don't know, does overseas surrogacy and waiting to find a heartbeat for the 2nd week count as "stress" or is that just par for the course at this point?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Holding Pattern...

We received the report from India this morning, and it's not decisive either way really.  The subchorionic hemorrhage has changed dimensions and shrunk overall which is good (from 12x3 mm to 10x4 mm).  The gestational sac has become more well defined, which is also good.  But, there is no embryo in the sac that can be made out or characterized as having a heartbeat at this time, which is not good news.  Sometimes, according to our dr, this happens later.  I've heard from several people, who are also going down this road, that they didn't get heartbeats until 7 weeks.  That would put us in line for the scan next week.  So, they are going to repeat the scan then and let us know.  We're very thankful that the clinic hasn't given up on this yet, and will only call it if there's nothing there in the next scan.  Likewise, decidual reaction also continues to be weak, also not good.

As you can see, this is never going to be a "Hey, we're pregnant!  Let's celebrate with everyone we know!" situation - EVER.  One of the things that sucks most about all of this is the continued fear that this will once again result in a miscarriage and we'll be back at square one.   Harris and I are trying to balance our hope and our fear, but it's a struggle.  It has also reaffirmed our decision to not share this news.  The worst feeling in the world (so far for us) is when you find out you've lost a pregnancy.  The second worst is having to tell people who then need us to help them grieve.  We cannot bear having to console others during that time, and can only hope that when we are successful - because that day will come - the people who were left out of the loop will come to understand our reasoning.  It's all we can do to keep it together during these kind of waits, we simply aren't able to pull anyone new along with us.

Thank you for your continued support, prayers, and words of encouragement as we climb out of what is fast becoming another sinkhole in our road to have children.  Sorry I don't have better news.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sighs & Lows...

We heard that the first scan was done this morning (their time), and it showed some problems.  The radiologist sent his report to our Dr. and she looked over it.  While there is a gestational sac (one), they said the doctor, "has reviewed the reports & found decidual reaction is weak. A 12x3 mm s/c bleed seen adjacent to the sac and surrogate does not have bleeding."  Further clarification of that from the doctor came within 5 minutes.  She said, "the scan is not perfect and you have a risk of this not continuing -- I am really sorry about this.  But we have had many cases where this resolves.  The best indicator is the heartbeat scan.  If you get a heart beat and make it to 12 weeks then chances are very good that things will progress normally.  Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best." 

So, again we are in that limbo where we are sad, angry, and hopeful at the same time.  It's good that they are telling us about everything so there are no surprises.  But, we wonder if there will be any cardiac activity next week at all.  If there's not, then we know it's over.  But if there is, then we have something to work with.  So, we'll see.  Please, keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Juxtaposition

def.  "Any time unlike things bump up against each other, you can describe it as a juxtaposition. Imagine a funeral mourner telling jokes graveside, and you get the idea — the juxtaposition in this case is between grief and humor. Juxtaposition of two contrasting items is often done deliberately in writing, music, or art — in order to highlight their differences." ~ Vocabulary.com

 Over the last week...
  • One friend delivered a beautiful, healthy, baby boy after 15 failed fertility cycles.  
  • A second friend (who was told she'd never be able to get pregnant) delivered tiny, perfect fraternal twins who were born too soon at 21 weeks to survive.  The heartbroken mother and father held their babies as they passed from this world. 
  • How does one arrange an order for both a celebration flower arrangement, and a sympathy flower basket in the same phone call? 
  • A great-Aunt goes into the hospital with congestive heart failure and develops pneumonia, slipping into that quiet place between life and death, hanging there while a family hopes the medicine will work.
  • Harris driving down to the Lake in the midst of raging thunderstorms while I watch the sky for a tornado that is a few miles away.  Then, arriving safely to find out the power is off and likely won't be restored until the next day.
  • Floating with my mom in the clear peaceful water, watching the clouds drift by slowly, nice breeze coming from shore, and all I can think is "Please, God.  Please, God.  Please, God.  Please, God.  Please, God."  How can I feel this desperate in the midst of such tranquility.
  • Channel 42, news story about a woman who killed her infant.  Channel 43, Dateline about a man who didn't want his wife to have a child because she'd get fat.  Channel 44, Snookie's pregnancy update.  Channel 45, "Forrest Gump."  Channel 46, "Toddlers and Tiaras."
  • A friend, who's hoping to start her second career in May (thanks to a layoff), receives notice that she has 6 weeks of unemployment left during her one week break from nursing school this summer. 
Right now, my thoughts on the 2WW are that I want to know.  But, I don't want to know.  If it's a positive result, I want to know now.  If it's negative, again, I don't want to know before Wednesday. 

Please test, be positive.

Friday, June 29, 2012

In good company...

Good results were emailed to me while in the air on Wednesday.  Eight of the ten eggs made it to become top quality embryos!!!  Whoo hoo!  Dr. Shivani transferred 4 of them into our surrogate on Wednesday and the others were frozen.  We're officially in our 2WW, and thrilled to be sharing it with several others in blog-land.  My hope is that we're able to share our 9MW (9 month wait!) as well!

Today, my mom was my chaufer around the area as we went to run errands all day.  We got our Agreement signed by Harris, went to Staples and scanned everything in for our records, headed to the bank to wire the embryo storage fee to SCI, and headed over to UPS the documents to India.  It cost close to $70 to send them the cheapest way.  They will be there by the end of (their) business day on Tuesday. 

I've had to laugh several in the last 24 hours because I feel like I was both so missed and so totally loved while I was gone.  Harris hasn't stopped talking since I got home.  Seriously.  It's like he's a Chatty-Cathy doll!  A tall, handsome Chatty-Cathy mind you.  This is totally out of character for him, because he's usually not like this.  He even talks to me in the bathroom thru the door.  He was alone for too long, I think!  I love my husband!

We remain cautiously optimistic. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Retrieval and Retail Therapy...

I appreciate all the prayers and well-wishes that have been sent our way.  Both Harris and I remain cautiously optimistic that this will be our time for a pregnancy, and that next year we'll be back in India for baby-pick-up.  Fingers, toes, eyes, everything crossed!  Retrieval was yesterday, and it went pretty well.  The worst part for me is always the needle in the hand for the IV drip.  Are needles in India bigger than in the States or is it my imagination?  Dr. Gupta, the anesthesiologist, remembered me from last time - apparently I made an impression with the needle issue then too.  He saw me coming and we began looking at my hands, arms, elbows, wrists, etc. looking for a place to poke.  Once it was all done, he told me that he'd been out on medical leave until 2 days ago with an injury and had looked for a back-up to take this shift since he knew I was coming.  He was joking...I think...maybe not!  LOL!

Dr. Shivani was able to get 10 eggs from me, although she said there were again between 20-25 follicles that she drained.  My ovaries were approximately twice the size of my uterus, and I did have to stay a little longer to take meds so they'd shrink back up to normal size.  I do have some pain today, but it's managed with meds nicely.  Although I don't know yet how many have fertilized, I'm hoping to hear something from SCI this afternoon. 

I've even managed to drag myself around the mall and get a bit of retail therapy in!  At Bharison's bookstore in DLF Mall, I  got a book for my god-nephew called, Tales from Old Delhi, which has stories about all of the places I've been here.  The second book will be for my 3rd graders, Going to School in India, and has fantastic photographs of schools all over India - a great cultural comparison tool for my students!  The third thing I picked up a few days ago is a cute little notebook that goes with the first book.  The illustrations are similar and there's the India Gate and monument for unknown soldiers on the front cover.  I've made all my little notes in there while being here!  I totally forgot to bring along pens and paper this trip!  Duh!  From there, a friend from breakfast took me to a store in Select City Walk mall called, "Creations" where I picked up these sets of bangles.  There's easily between 120-150 bangles in the sets total, and I paid less than $20 US for all of them.  I'll split the sets up and they'll make great gifts!  The colors are much prettier in person than in the pictures (one silver/gold, one magenta/gold, and one aqua/silver/gold). 


Yesterday evening, I made the decision to go ahead and pay the change fee for my ticket.  Like Dorothy said, "There's no place like home!"  Now, I'm scheduled to leave Wednesday night, rather than Sunday!  I can't express how excited I am to get home again!  I look forward to seeing Harris & my mom, seeing my fur babies, doing my own laundry (yes, I mean that), and eating Mexican food again!!!  El Azteca has the best Mexican food around - everything homemade!  Guess what's for dinner Thursday night???


In retrospect, Delhi has been good this time around for me.  I've felt more comfortable knowing where I wanted to go and what I wanted to buy.  The first time thru, there was just so much of everything (people, traffic, noise, poverty, etc.) that it was totally overwhelming.  Other than the oppressive heat, I think I've done pretty okay this time on my own. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tomorrow! Week 2 Recap...

Tomorrow's the day for egg collection, and nobody is happier about that than me!  At this point, I have somewhere around 15 follicles all measuring mature, and everything is difficult from sitting to walking with the added puffiness and pressure from the meds.  I had my appointment for the trigger shot in the wee hours of this morning, and I am going in around 2:30 tomorrow for the 4:30 procedure.  For those who pray, please pray for me, the doctors and nurses, and the surrogate - that her uterus would be hospitable to our little embryos when the time comes!

Week 2 for me has brought some good shopping!  I've picked up most of the things I wanted to find from the previous trip including scarves and bangles for gifts, as well as the cloth that I wanted to find for recovering a chair and ottoman at home when I return.  Honestly the days have blurred into one another here, and it's likely that I'll repeat some things posted before.  Bear with me if that happens!

I met a woman at breakfast one morning (Harris says I've never met a stranger!).   We struck up a conversation, and then had a day shopping together afterwards!  We went to the N-Block market and found several things.  At a beautiful store called Kalol, I found the lovely pink fabrics that I'd searched for to recover a thrift store chair at home.  They have new fabrics brought in each week, and in addition to fabrics there are colorful clothes at very reasonable prices.  From there, we went across the street to a store called "Cottons" where my friend purchased a beautiful flowing muslin robe (white with gold trim!) and took it away in a lovely cloth store bag printed with pink roses! 

After that stop, we were off to Connaught Place (I'm sure that's spelled incorrectly - sorry!) for a quick shopping trip at a store called "Shaw & Sons" where I purchased 15 scarves and 8 bangles (the pretty hand-painted kind).  I bargained with the salesman and was okay walking away with the scarves for 150 INR each, and the bangles for 110 INR each.  Yes, I could probably have done better on the bangles, but the idea of having everything purchased really made me happy, so I went with it!  Shaw & Sons is on the B-block in Connaught Place (burgundy sign with yellow letters), and their upstairs showroom has A/C. 

Finally, I headed to a local shop (truly for locals with goats, chickens, and only Hindi signs) to pick up some of the little ankle bracelets Indian families put on their babies.  One of my girlfriends back home (who knows about this situation & has also struggled with infertility) is having a baby while I'm over here, and I thought this would be a perfect gift!  The anklets are silver and have little rattles all around them.  I didn't bargain for a number of reasons and paid 648 INR for the set - a price I'm fine with!  As near as I can understand, they use them to encourage the babies to kick and strengthen their legs.  When the babies begin to crawl, their feet point and the anklets are then found in the house marking their path.  Cute idea!  The shop I went to was "Pardeep Jewellers" located at C-96, JJ Colony, Khanpur, New Delhi.  The taxi driver had to call for directions and then also ask several people once we got to the area in order to find them.  TIP:  Take the driver with you to serve as the translator because the shopkeeper doesn't really speak much English.  In all honesty, I wouldn't have gotten out of the car without the driver coming with me. I've had all of my successful shopping trips with Suni!


Other than the shopping, there's not been much going on!  I've stayed in a lot to keep my feet up.  They're swelling to the size of personal watermelons most days, and putting them up helps that a good deal.  I have enjoyed staying at the Hilton.  The staff is very personable, the room is clean and comfortable, and it's readily accessible to the mall's food court and shops.  Oh, one funny thing did happen with the hotel.  I ended up having to switch rooms after the phone in the other was seemingly possessed by a ghost.  From 6:30 in the morning until 11 pm at night it would ring on speaker thru to guest services.  I mentioned to the Manager that perhaps there was a ghost in the room and he wanted something.  He suggested I unplug the phone until the engineers could come thru the next day.  The 5 people they had come look at it couldn't figure out the problem, so I was switched to a different room with a front facing view of the malls' courtyards.  On the way out of the old room, the housekeeping manager came thru to see if there was anything I needed.  I said "No, so long as there's no ghost in the new room wanting room service!"  She responded in a very serious tone, "No, no, no ghosts.  I have checked for you and gotten rid of all ghosts."  It was all I could do to keep a straight face as I envisioned the cleansing ritual being performed on the room prior to my arrival!  LOVE the Hilton!

I did go in and sign the contracts yesterday at SCI's clinic.  The surrogate was to come in and sign last night.  The final piece of the equation will be my taking them home for Harris to sign, and then mail back for filing.  It does seem odd to me that I couldn't sign and be done, but they do this everyday so I guess I just have to trust the process.  We'll sign and ship them back on the way home from the airport next Monday. 

That's all for now, I guess. I'm off to prop my feet up and watch "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" after a Skype session with Harris! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Yay, sleep! Week 1 Recap

After my first full (Delhi) night's sleep, I am feeling rejuvenated and fully human again!  That time change is rough!  It's amazing the difference 9 hours can make!  Hallelujah! 

Today is Sunday, so I've been here almost a full week at this point and it's been a pretty good one!  My doctor's appointment with Dr. Shivani on Wednesday went very well, and I was totally on track for my Day 1 as predicted.  I love it when my biology actually cooperates!  No cysts, good uterine lining, everything on track to start shots on Thursday.  Dr. Shivani even remembered my dislike (understatement of the decade) of needles and sent me over to see Dr. Modi again!  I LOVE DR. MODI!!!  Honestly, the woman is a miracle worker in my book.  She's consistently able to get my vein the first time, and she doesn't leave bruising.  GENIUS!

Thursday, Bernadette and I went back over to SCI to get the first shot.  She had to train with the nurses to use the Gonal F pen, and I am thrilled to say that she is a pro at this point AND actually does it with less pain than the nurses, I think.  We have had successful shots each night since in her living room while baby Scarlett snoozes away in the crib.  By the way, I have also decided that since I'm donating the eggs, Bernadette's giving the shots, and Harris is at home playing golf in the US, Bernadette is really going to be my baby-daddy if this works.  She was humble about that and said that she'd just ask that we have hers as the middle name!  LOL!  Again, it seems the best part of this experience is the friendships you make along the way!
Speaking of friendships, I've had the chance to share some meals with Jason & Adrian and Michael & John as well.  Wednesday night we all went out to dinner and ate family style at an Indian restaurant down the block from Svelte.  The food was great and the conversation was even better!  I didn't get to see Michael & John again before they left, and I hate that, but they are an amazing couple.  Strong, committed, good hearts, full of grace.  Their son is going to have an amazing life!

Yesterday, I crawled out of bed around 3:30 and met up with Bernadette, Jason & Adrian to head up to Jaipur for the day.  It's about a 4.5 hour drive, but it was nice to see a different part of India.  Once you get there, it really does have a distinct look about it.  The forts spread out across the hills are amazing and, had it been anything less than 1 million degrees, I would have loved to take one of the elephants up thru the passageways of Amber Fort.  I loved watching the others bargain for their beautiful rugs (in the air-conditioned showroom!) and checking out the fabric offerings there was great as well.  The salesmen kept us in bottled Pepsi and masala chai tea the entire time we were there! 

It's been a pretty good first week so far!  I'm looking forward to exploring at least one of the malls today and hunting down a good kids' book for my little god-nephew.  Fingers crossed that all continues to go well!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm Here!

Whew, it's hot here!!! 

I've checked in at the Hilton and will call down for room service soon.  Initial impression is that I'm pleased with the Hilton.  It's clean, there's all of the "stuff" laying around that I might have forgotten (toothbrush, bedroom shoes, lotion, etc).  Their restaurant, lounge, cafe are open 24hrs/day which is great for us IPs!  Tomorrow, Rahul will be picking me up at noon for the first appt. with Dr. Shivani to do my Day 1 scan and blood work. 

Going to unpack, shower, and eat...not necessarily in that order!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Done & Done...

Yes, travel plans were all done.  However, when I found out that multiple legs of my trip were overbooked, or going to require me to stay overnight in place after place (6 days total travel time!), I decided to undo what I'd done and start from scratch.  So, I did! 
I am now the proud owner of a ticket to and from Delhi with only 1 stop each way!  Can I get a whoo hoo?!?!  It cost us a good hunk of change, but, I will be there in about 20 hours rather than the days it was going to take.  In doing that, I've also added a day onto the beginning of the trip, and 4 days onto the end just in case the cycle doesn't come according to my time-frame.  With PCOS, the absolute hardest thing to do is track a cycle accurately...even on birth control.  In fact, there was only one time when I could tell you exactly when things were going to happen, and that was after being on BCPs for almost 2 years solid. 
The best part of this change process is that I found a cheaper price for the Hilton ($29 less).  I've filed the forms with Hotels.com and am hopeful they'll refund the difference like they advertise!  You know, $29 x 14 nights = $406 back in my pocket.  That would help with the Indian expenses quite a bit!  I'll update as to the answer I get from Hotels.com.  

One and a half days more of school!!!  I am so excited to put my kids on the bus Thursday.  Would it be rude to just ask them to not get off Thursday morning?  Hmmm...... 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Just to clarify...

Okay, so I totally felt like I was whining and being a wimp last night after that post.  Just to clarify, I don't NEED to be taken care of.  HOWEVER, it is somewhat of a comfort to know that while under general anesthesia, there is a butt on the couch right outside the door that's waiting and watching to make sure things are all swell.  Again, not a helpless female.  Just a little bit of a nervous Nelly right now.  Not to worry though, I found my big-girl-panties, have put them on, and am making forward progress!

On another positive note, we went today and had our end of life documents done.  We had all the biggies taken care of, plus one that will allow Harris to act on my behalf should an offer come in our house (also watch for pigs to fly that day).  It's interesting that you think you've prepared yourselves, asked all the questions, made all of the decisions, and checked all of the boxes...until you get in there and they start asking questions like, "Well what if she's dead.  Would you want him to still raise your imaginary children?"  Or, "You realize for that to be viable, he would be 90 years old and still mentally competent, right?"  Um, no, we hadn't realized that, thanks.  Basically, we ended up having to think thru some additional things and get the paperwork just right.  It's done now, and we do feel good about everything.  Our homework from the attorney was to get our secondary beneficiaries lined up with our wills now.  When we first got the policies, we were young enough (and newly married enough) that we thought we were getting ahead of the game in having them.  Turns out just putting down each others' name is not enough. 

So, after a day filled with talk of my dying, Harris dying, our primary, secondary, and tertiary beneficiaries dying, etc. I'm trying to re-focus my thoughts on living.  Specifically, new life in the form of a much coveted baby for Harris and I.  Just the possibility of saying those magic words involving us and a baby, get's me choked up.  I dare not say them now for fear that I may somehow jinx us.  But, that said, I'm so ready to start this cycle!  


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hodgepodge...



Friday night, my mom and I went to the movies to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Apparently, that need to flow with all things Indian crosses oceans and continents because it took us 2 showtimes, 3 movie theatres, and 2 forms of payment in order to make it to the film.  Despite the severe thunderstorms raging outside, I laughed so hard I cried in the first 45 minutes...until the power went out in the theatre and EVERYTHING went dark.  By the way, we were the only 2 people in the theatre.  Apparently, when you're in a theatre with only 1 other person, you are at the bottom of the priority list for being told anything about what's going on.  While being in there with just my mom helped to control the "chaos", it did little to help with the OH MY GOD feeling that comes with having watched one too many scary movies.  Thank goodness for cell phone flashlight apps!!!

It's been a while since the last update.  While I have wanted to update, it's been like living on a roller coaster lately.  The bad stuff has been nightmares, finding myself the oddball in a picture with friends who were all holding their babies, my mom deciding to not go to Paris with me, money, money, money, issues at work (it's tough working with 65 other women - too much estrogen sometimes!), and Harris.  While our marriage is strong, it's been hard thinking about being separated for so long.  We still really like each other and are super co-dependent.  He's having a hard time with not being there to "take care" of me, and I'm having a hard time with him not being there for the same reason, but in reverse. 

The good stuff has been taking care of the money part (for now), remembering that friends who've had kids thru infertility will almost always remember how it feels to be that oddball in the picture, finding support from a good friend even in the midst of her own trouble, and remembering that Tylenol PM is allowed during fertility cycles. 

School wraps up this week - Thursday at 1:15, not that I'm counting the minutes or anything!  I kind of feel like I'm already half in India at this point.  I'm kind of going thru the motions at school, and at home I'm trying to get all the last minute details finished on the "to do" list.  I'd also like to arrange for a few surprises for Harris while I'm gone.  Maybe a few things to arrive from Amazon.com, a Hallmark card here and there.  In college, one time I sent him a bag of Hershey's hugs & kisses and he still laughs about that.  While 3 weeks is just a drop in the bucket compared to several AMAZING women I know in India right now, it's feeling like a long time for me.

More later, for now, the Tylenol PM is starting to kick in.  Night!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Here's Hoping...

I can do this for myself next year.  When we heard this on tv tonight (by a band called, Cloud Cult), I knew that I had to find a way to use it on the blog.  I only used pics from babies I've met or mommies and daddies I've met (plus Cailyn in bunny ears because who can resist that???).  Hope you enjoy it!  Fingers crossed that Window's Movie Maker likes us today!


video

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ever thankful...

So much going on in blogland this week!  Congrats to Jason and Adrian with their baby girls!  I'm also keeping my fingers crossed for Kate that things go well with her EC and transfer coming up. 

On our end, we are making some progress towards June - although it does feel like it's taking it's sweet loving time getting here!  My mom's visa application is ready to mail.  I went to Target and picked up the extra toiletries I'd need for the trip.  The only thing I don't have is hand sanitizer in travel size.  Apparently, there's been a run on that so I'll keep looking in town until I find some.  Harris is supposed to put in his vacation request this week so that he can be off and go with me on vacation with my family 2 days after I get back.  I anticipate jetlag and know from the last trip that I'm going to be out of it for a couple of days.

I had an 8 year milestone this week and it's been a tough one.  Friday would have been my grandmother's 100th birthday.  She was an amazing woman who gave her days and nights to raise me while my mother worked and avoided life at home in a bad marriage.  My grandmother was one of the strongest women I've ever known, and she is someone I miss as badly today as the day after she died.  Just a little glimpse into the stock from which I come:  She and her husband were sharecroppers when he died suddenly at 42.  She had a 12 & 14 year old at home, no money in the bank to speak of, and creditors for everything from farm machinery to seed.  There was no "single parent" term back then but, she managed to find a job that would provide her and her kids a place to live (the "teacheridge" - where school marms were housed before marriage) while she worked in the school cafeteria.  She worked everyday of her life to make sure that there was a roof over their heads and food on the table - although it was sometimes leftovers from the school cafeteria.  She managed to buy her own house and pay it off in the late 90s - she was so excited to get that deed in the mail, I'll never forget it.  After she died, we found a spiral bound notebook that she had kept since 1960 with a record of where she repaid each and every creditor over the years.  Five dollars here, ten dollars there, until the accounts were all paid in full. 

Despite being alone, in debt, and having no idea what the future held, she remained determined and kept going.  She never gave up.  I'm lucky to have had her example of how to live, and how to persevere.   But that we were all so fortunate.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Questions...

In trying to think positive - we will have a baby sometime around next year this time - I'm wondering about some things and thought I'd ask my questions here.  If you're willing to share information, I'd appreciate it a bunch!

For everyone - when you came back for baby pickup, did you do a different type of visa?  I have a tourist visa now and was just wondering if you switched to a medical visa instead.

For US citizens - what kind of costs did you have for getting the paperwork done after the birth?  Basically, other than any NICU or hospital costs, what did you have coming out of pocket for the "red tape" part of the process between birth and home?

For everyone - I've been reading about people giving their surrogates things after the birth in addition to the money that comes as the fee.  I hadn't thought about that because the money is such a large amount.  What kinds of things have you done?  Is it more than simple gift basket kind of things? 

Thanks in advance for your time in responding. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Cleaning...ugh

Yes, we are trying to sell our house and it is time for spring cleaning.  This is not a ritual I enjoy, but I am always shocked to see things that I had forgotten about having over the last year.  No, I am not a hoarder, but I prefer to do my cleaning in fits of anger or rage as it results in a larger Salvation Army pile.  Harris calls them my "cleanin' fits" and knows better than to get in my way during those times lest he find himself in the backseat of the car tied in between the muppet babies and dryer-custom-sized sweaters.

I digress...so tonight I was going thru the half dozen bags I have accumulated over the last year from various conferences.  In one bag, there was material from the second fertility conference I went to last year.  There were tiny notepads from pharmaceutical companies with notes written about things like nonrenal hyperplaysia, nonclassical conditional uterine hyperplaysia, the differences between Lupron and Ovidrel cycles, etc.  I sat on the floor for a minute and took time to remember who that person was that wrote those notes.  Weird.  Totally.  Remembering the time when I did NOT know all that I know now.  Just strange.

I also found 2 of the first articles I printed off about surrogacy early last year - those led to the discovery of specific clinics in India, and on and on and on.  Then, I found this quote I'd scribbled down and thought I'd share:

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about dancing in the rain."  --Tiffany Wilson

I don't know who Tiffany Wilson is, but I'm betting she's pretty awesome.  I think I'd like to be more like Tiffany Wilson. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Good News!

Yes, it's stupid, I know.  But, I totally cried today when I found out that Giuliana & Bill are pregnant with their gestational carrier.  Over the last few years, I have watched them on tv as they went thru some of the same things that Harris and I faced.  I was right there with them when they had the miscarriage, and grappled with what to do afterwards.  More than that though, it was so great to see someone on tv who was going thru the same thing as me, and trying to put it in perspective.  It was back before blogging, and before I had an online community that I shared life with.  Back after the miscarriage, I saw in them the same raw emotions that Harris and I were struggling with.  Somehow their logical but loving approach to infertility (coupled with their desire to preserve the intimacy in their marriage) gave me something to feel connected with.  Yes, again I know it's stupid, but at various times over the last couple of years, it gave me validation and I felt like I moved on when they did.  Okay, enough - I realize I sound a bit nuts here.  Bear with me; I'm overjoyed for them!

Finished...


Last night I finished reading The Sacred Thread.  It's a book I discovered from another blog, and it does give the journey of surrogacy a positive light.  One of the things that the author talks about over and over is that the money a woman receives from surrogacy has the power to change her life, and the lives of her family members.  Another point that the author brings up subtly is that Indian women are sort of on the cusp of a revolution - similar to that feminist empowerment movement American women went thru in the last century.  While traditions are still honored, things are starting to change and the women growing up as children and young adults in India now may be given opportunities that their mothers and grandmothers had never imagined.  Overall, it was a good book and I enjoyed being able to hear the author's story, and share in her ending.  We all are trying to find our children the way we feel most comfortable with in this harrowing journey of infertility.

The things that struck me the most in the book were the contrasts between my experience with SCI, and the author's experiences with the clinic in Akanksha.  There were lots of things going for one or the other, but I'll just mention a couple because we all compare, don't we?  One thing that was very different was the amount of communication, duration of conversation, and access to the doctor at any time.  One of the things I continue to be thankful for when we went for treatment was that moment when Dr. Shivani gave us her cell number and told us to call if we had any problems or any questions that came up after we left her office that first day.  That's just simply unheard of in the USA, and I imagine other parts of the world.  Then, when we did have a question later, followed by a non-medical problem after that, we used the number and she answered - like herself, not an assistant or a nurse!  WOW!  She took her time and made sure that we understood what she was telling us, and didn't once admonish us for calling her.  She and her husband later served as our advocates in a tricky housing situation and that was tremendously appreciated.  I've never had a doctor that really did more than treat the condition I came to them for.  That alone gave us such peace about our decision.  It's also one of the things I am reminding myself of as I prepare to go back in June.

Additionally, I tremendously appreciated having a 21st century facility that was not only well served by trained staff, but also sparkling clean, air-conditioned, and furnished in contemporary (but easy to wipe down and sanitize) chairs and couches.  Yes, I know it's petty to talk about the decor, but honestly, we were so impressed by the standard to which she keeps her hospital!  At no time did I feel like I was in danger (and keep in mind I went thru a post-surgical-anesthesia-still-wearing-off power failure), and at every turn Dr. Shivani did what she could to help accommodate my needs including sending me to Dr. Modi (who I would have smuggled home in my suitcase if I could've) to handle my blood draws from ridiculously thin & rolling veins.

The last comparison I'll mention is the relationship between the surrogate and the mom-in-waiting.  In Akanksha, several of the moms-in-waiting chose to stay with their surrogates during the pregnancy and visit them on a daily basis.  They went to many appointments with them and the author spent hours braiding her surrogates' hair, bringing and sharing treats with her, providing entertainment in the surrogate house, and talking (as best she could) with her.  It was very interesting to read about the relationship that formed there and I've wondered about how that will continue in the future.  I haven't been lucky enough to have a surrogate get pregnant (yet), but I wonder if my feelings about the relationship will change once that time comes.  For the author, that time seemed essential, and there didn't seem to be any problem with the amount of time she spent with her.  Harris and I don't (think that we) have that desire to cultivate a relationship with our surrogate.  We have had so many heartbreaks along the way that we feel it is crucial we keep everything very "business-only" if you will.  Reading the story of the author's time with her surrogate didn't change my mind about my position, but it did give me insight about how we all are different in the choices we make with this journey.  Again, it reaffirms that we each have to make decisions that give us the best feeling, most peace, and hope without regard to what anyone else thinks.

I'm glad I read the book, and I hope that more like it follow soon.  Clearly, the kids we're having with this process (and I hope to add at least one to that count very soon) will one day be curious about how they got here.  Even before that, family and friends will benefit from having positive perspectives about surrogacy rather than having to read about surrogacy as a "rent a womb" scenario.  Am I the only one who finds that term utterly repulsive and offensive?  Until then, keep writing everyone!  Thru blogging, in some small ways, we're documenting our legacies.