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.

Monday, April 23, 2012


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.


  1. Was it "The Sacred Thread"?

    I read that and I really liked it as well. The positive light was extremely encouraging and I loaned it to a friend that I know will be a big help when the topic of our decision comes up with mutual friends and we aren't around. Something that troubles me more than it probably should

    We will be using the same clinic in Anand, though like you, I do not have an internal desire to spend as much time as possible with my surrogate. Actually I think this was unique to the author as Dr. Patel generally discourages it.

    You are 100% right about the difference in communication with that clinic and Dr. Shivani. Through an online forum that is dedicated to the Akanksha clinic (though run independent by a former patient) I learned to expect this. It can be extremely frustrating at times, but I've learned to write accordingly. Not ideal, but not terribly different than a lot of doctors I deal with in the states. Still - it would be awesome to have response like Dr. Shivani!

    I'll give an update about my impressions of the clinic once I am there. From what I can tell from people I know there, and from the forum, I think the author went several years ago before many updates occurred. I think there was some creative license given as well in several areas. When I initially read the book I had to quickly adjust myself to that - then I was fine.

    1. Yes, it is "Sacred" not "Invisible" - thanks! My cousin got married and had part of the ceremony with the "Invisible Thread" and it has stuck in my mind ever since. I am excited to hear about what you think when you get there. Take lots of pictures and post as much as you can! You just never know where this road is going to lead you!!!

    2. I will! We actually considered another clinic in Mumbai, but settled on this one for a variety of reasons. Hopefully we will have a successful first round, but if not, then we will decide to stay or change based on our experience.

    3. I think that's what we're all doing. I have followed several blogs where people have shifted clinics and had success. Honestly, I really think it's all about personal preference and finding that place that "fits" for you. I really want to find out too if that place is really strictly vegetarian like the book said. When I went in December, I ate zero fruits or veggies because I was so afraid of getting sick. I don't know what I'd eat there!!! I wonder if they consider eggs to be food...that would be a possible source of protein that's outside vegetarian realm.

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    5. Actually that's just one part of the book that I knew to be incorrect I can only surmise that she only asked vegetarians. :-)

      The fruits and veggie thing you just have to make sure to wash with bottled water. Cooking it should be fine.. Dal (a type of lentil) is heavy in protein and is very commonly eaten over there. Yogurt is eaten by all, but make sure to add sugar or you may be in for a surprise. Yogurt, papaya, and ginger is common for upset stomachs.
      Most of my Indian friends that are vegetarian eat eggs.

  2. Allie, the comparisons you note are valid and worded well. I pray you do not get any negative feedback for your words!! You write in such a wonderful way, and I cannot wait to read all your updates when you are expecting a baby(ies).

    1. Hey Kerrie! I hope not either, and I considered not actually writing about the book at all because I was worried about that. But, it seems like both places help people like us get to the same end. Since we're all different in our wants and needs, I think both ways/places are valid. In no way did I want to belittle or make any other place seem negative. We are so fortunate to live in a time when gestational surrogacy is even possible, and I think the book is very good at helping to put a positive light on it. If I offend anyone, it certainly wasn't my intent at all!

    2. Glad you posted it and you worded your points well! I didn't feel like you belittled the other place - just comparing your experience and wants with the authors. :-)
      I think most of us will have a very unique perspective of our journey, whether we go to the same place or different. All of them are valid and I think it's incredibly helpful to others that we write them. I'm so glad you shared.