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, April 26, 2012


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!


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.

Friday, April 13, 2012


* My mom and I went out on a thrift store shopping trip today and made a loop from my house to one side of the beach and back again.  We had a good time at the thrift stores, but the best thing about the day was spending time with my cousins at the beach.  We ate overlooking the water and then went back to visit with them.  I got to hold my cousin L's baby for a good hour or better and play "I see you" with her 2-year old.  Then, we went for ice cream.  All in all, it was a perfect day. 

* Yesterday, I went for an ultrasound appointment with my new-ish OB/GYN's office.  Although the practice I've been with since I was 18 has closed their doors, the doctor who first diagnosed my PCOS has opened her own practice in the last 2 years.  Thanks to the closing of one office, I've found a place with her again.  When I went in with the ultrasound tech, she laughed after I gave her my spiel about my hidden ovaries, the tilt of my uterus, and how best to view my follicles.  Having done this about a million times now, I know the drill and appreciate a tech that listens and isn't overly confident.  Sure enough, she was able to see everything she needed in just a few short minutes.

* Thankfully, there were no cysts and no other problems in the scan.  That was both good news and the strangest thing I've heard in a very long time.  See, with PCOS, part of the problem is that the ovaries are poly-cystic...as in many small cysts.  Specifically, there are a defining "ring of pearls" that line the ovaries around the place where they meet the fallopian tubes.  I've had those show up since I was 18 years old.  But, yesterday, they were no where to be found.  My ovaries looked "normal" according to my doctor.  It wasn't until I left that what she said hit me.  How in the world did that happen? 

* Tonight, we're making the reservation for the trip to Delhi.  I have a ticket from Paris to Germany to Delhi, but I need to ticket from the US to Paris.  Since my mom works for an airline, I am going to be able and use her discount for that part of the trip.  As it stands, I will be going alone.  Harris definitely can't come along, and my mom is going to have to scramble to try and get shifts covered after the 1st of June because their schedules all change quarterly.

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful weekend!  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Relaxing Date Night?

This is totally not baby related, but I had just to share.

Last night I was beyond exhausted and decided it was going to be "out night" for us a day early.  Out night is a Friday ritual which translates into:  eat out, clean out (fridge), or do with-out.  Harris was starving, so we went down the road to our favorite Mexican joint.  It's our favorite because it has the highest sanitation grade in town, it's the cheapest, and it's where all of the policemen come to eat.  Matter of fact, we sat in a booth next to a group of 5 State Troopers on their dinner break.

We've ordered and are diving enthusiastically into our entrees, chips, and salsa, when I notice a strange looking man walking disjointedly toward the restaurant.  I know it's bad, but I honestly was watching him because he looked like he'd smell bad and I was hoping he wouldn't sit near us.  (Reserve judgment for a minute.)  It's because I was watching that I noticed him come in, took a quick look, and walk back outside between the cars.  Hmmm...

As I watched, he went to the back seat of my car and began trying to get the door open.  Fail.  Now the driver's door.  Fail.  At this point, I say to Harris, "Um, somebody is messing with our car.  I think he's trying to break in."  The next 30 seconds are a blur.  Harris jumps up between the booth and wall to look out the window.  The guy goes to the windshield and peers in, goes around the back of the car to the back passenger door - Harris (trapped between the wall and booth) jumps over the booth, knocking down condiments and drinks on his way running out the door - which draws the attention of the table full of policemen.  I look over and say, "Um, somebody's trying to break in our car."  Simultaneously, all 5 hop up and race out the doorway to help Harris with the guy. 

Really, are you serious!?!?  Who tries to commit a crime in a place full of police?  Did I mention that our car was cocooned by police cruisers - all of which have both front and rear-facing video cameras?  Duh.  Stupid.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The Sacred Thread

"At one end of this world, there is one woman who desperately needs a baby and cannot have her own child". And at the other end, these is a woman who badly wants to help her own family. If these two women want to help each other, why not allow that? They're helping one another to have a new life in this world."

   --Dr. Nayna Patel, medical director
      Akanksha Infertility Clinic
      Anand, India

Have you heard of this book???  I hadn't until I read another blog and it took my breath away.  Somebody has actually been published writing about this experience in a positive light.  I just bought it for my Kindle and can't wait to start reading!  If you've read it, how did you like it?