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, September 9, 2013

Charting a Careful Course...

The Ah-ha moment...
Despite tremendous sadness, there is also a magnitude of freedom in stopping the surrogacy journey for now.  I get how strange that may sound, but it's true!  It may seem like a small act to some, but last week I went shopping and bought a new blouse and sweater for work.  Can I tell you how long it's been since I spent money on myself for something like clothes without guilt?  I'd not even realized that every purchase I made was put into a category of "essential/must have to live" and "not essential/should use the money for surrogacy" for the last few years.  Seriously, I had not even realized I was doing it until I made those purchases and walked out of the store with them.  I work, I can afford them, and there's no saving for a baby procedure.  I wore the new top to work the next day and felt like a million bucks.  In some small way, it was like I was taking back part of my life again.  For so long we've not done this or that, bought this or that, taken this trip or that trip, or hesitated to make a commitment to one thing or another because our lives were on hold waiting for something that never happened.  I know it's strange, but my buying something for myself that I didn't absolutely have to have was a

The Meeting...
We had dinner with friends of Harris' two weeks ago in the neighboring town.  Mexican, yum!  Harris had been wanting me to sit down with them and talk about their adoption process using a non-profit agency in NC who places kids thru foster care into the homes of people wanting to adopt.  I'd been humoring him by saying I'd go because foster care scares the life out of me and I'd never had any interest in it at all.  Truth be told, I thought by the end of the night he'd have heard enough to give up on this idea altogether and I could walk away looking like the dutiful and patient wife.  Wrong.

The more we talked, the more the things they shared started sinking into my brain.  They were able to adopt 2 little girls, both born to a mother with drug problems, over the course of 2 years.  The little one they were able to take home from the hospital after birth.  I'm not going to lie and say it was an easy road - what with the court appointments, the testing results from the bio-mom, and the continuations of hearings it was anything but.  However, they now have 2 beautiful girls who are hitting their benchmark milestones and THRIVING in their new home. 

Beyond that happy family, they told us about the benefits that the kids are eligible for until they're 18 and my jaw hit the floor!  So, we're planning to start with going to an open house for this non-profit next month and see where things go from there.  No commitments, lots of caution.  But, if it seems like a good fit, we'll begin classes to become a licensed foster home and, possibly, have movement on the child front by the end of the year!  Maybe there could be an extra stocking hanging on my fireplace this year at Christmas after all!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

GPS Needed...

In spite of our best efforts, both Carrie and the surrogate tested negative from this last transfer.  So, now Harris and I are trying to decide what path we should head down.  We haven't given up on having children, but we are at a stopping point with surrogacy in India for now.

While we work to rebuild savings, we're taking some time to weigh our options.  International adoption has always been on our radar.  But, we just always thought that we'd have our own biological children first.  Nonetheless, as that isn't what we're facing now, we have to adjust our outlook. 

So, not sure what's on the horizon, but I'll let you know when we figure it out!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cross your fingers!

Hallelujah!  We're back!

All of us flew in on Tuesday, did as much laundry as we needed for a trip to the Lake, and headed out for a quick vacay Wednesday! 

So, we have had a pretty successful trip and feel that there is nothing left hanging over our heads to keep drawing us back to India regardless of how this all turns out.  We've used all our eggs, used a fresh sperm sample rather than freezing some, and all bills are paid.  If it works, we'll make one more trip for baby pick-up.  If not, no more 14.5 hour flights to (what seems like) the hottest place on earth for us!  We said goodbye to the people we've so enjoyed meeting at the hospital, and are thankful to have had the experience of seeing India over the last few years.   

Here's the long-story-short version:

12 folicles
8 eggs retrieved + 2 thawed (only 1 survived the thaw)
3 transferred to Carrie on Day 2 at 4 cells
4 others survived to do a Day 5 transfer to the Indian surrogate

Beta test in India is scheduled for the 14th!  Carrie is planning hers for a few days after that.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FRRO Update...

Monday we piled into cars with two (fantastic!) Aussie couples and Carrie to head over to the FRRO.  We had prepared paperwork for the Registration and for the Exit Visa.  As there was some confusion of what we needed, we figured it was prudent to get everything together for both.

First stop was M-Block Market.  The Nikon camera shop does passport photos for just under $3 US per package of 4.  Harris and I picked up 8 total photos just in case we needed extras for some reason.  We did not have them stuck on the paperwork, but there were glue sticks at the FRRO we used to do this quickly when they told us we had to have them attached.  *If you can attach them ahead of time, it's less stressful.  Who knows when they'll stop letting people use their glue sticks?!*

The trip to FRRO was relatively short; maybe 30 minutes from M-Block in traffic.  We had been assigned a 1 o'clock appointment time.  However, as we all wanted to have everything for both visas, there was some delay and we were two hours late.  We arrived at 3:08 and decided to walk up to see if they'd let us in despite their last accepted time being 3:00.  The gov't official took Harris' passport, asked how many were in our party (7), wrote down that number, and pushed all of us thru without another look at anyone else's passports.  Oh, you do have to leave any *visible* water bottles outside.

Once inside the building you turn left down the first hallway and enter into a room that looks like an American DMV office from the 1980's.  No computers, no automation, no real visible filing or organization system of any kind anywhere in sight.  There's just a ton of desks forming a ring around the room with chairs in the middle where (if you're female with a male partner) you sit and wait.  Up front, there's a number board that changes rarely - so, when you hit anywhere close to your number hop up to the inquiry counter and ask if they can go ahead and look at your paperwork.  We were party number 159, but the boys jumped up front when the ticker hit 150.  They asked for the paperwork to be shuffled around and put in a certain order (I think this was a delay tactic, but it only took a couple of minutes), and then sent all three of the husbands to the back counter area.  Each was processed one at a time, with the correct wife having to stand and show that she was actually the person on the picture.  Eventually, at the fourth desk stop, the paperwork was registered and we got the printout we'd waited for.  This is now tucked away in our hotel safe and we'll take it with us to the airport. 

Even though it was my Day 14 and the last day I could register the visa, there was no penalty or fine.  I've heard different figures on how much that fine is, but since it wasn't posted anywhere, I suspect that this could vary as it is India and we all know that when it's not written down, the price is never firm.  We did have a few thousand rupees with us just to be on the safe side because I am NOT interested in going to Indian jail!  All tolled, the whole process took about 2 hours.  The room had lots of fans inside so it wasn't sweltering, despite the temps that day being over 100 degrees. 


1)  When traveling on a medical visa, you must go to the FRRO website and fill out the online form for the Registration of a Visa.

2)  FRRO wants the application page in triplicate so ask your hotel or the SCI clinic w/concierge team to make copies for you.

3)  Even if you're late, push thru to see if you can get into the FRRO. 

4)  If there's a man in your party, he's going to get a lot farther than you with the Indian officials.  Just sit and let him handle it as much as possible.

5)  Keep any bottle of water out of sight if you have them.

6)  Plan for a 2-3 hour trip for this process.  We went in the mid-afternoon when there was very little crowd.  I don't know if this is always the case, but it was when we tried it.

7)  Anyone without a passport is NOT allowed inside.  In hindsight, we'd have had the driver drop us off and then take Carrie back to the hotel.  She had to sit in the car for 2 hours in that heat.  NOT COOL!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Registration Requirements for Medical Visas!!!

Bit of a boring but IMPORTANT post here...

First, always make friends with other IPs while you're here.  We all know bits and pieces, but together we know it all!  SUPER HUGE THANKS to Annette for making us aware of the new requirements for the Medical Visas!!!

In addition to IPs having to come on a Medical Visa in order to do surrogacy in India, there is also a new requirement that you must register your visa with the FRRO within 14 days of entry.  As Monday is our 14th day, you can see that this was *almost* a problem!  Again, thanks Annette!

I have finished the online paperwork and we'll head to M-Block on Monday to get the passport pictures done.  One other tip to anyone who is about to do this, or anything abroad, ALWAYS keep digital copies of your passport, visas, etc. online in a file that you can access from email.  I have gmail and they give me digital storage.  There's one there that is called "Travel" where I keep all essential information.  Honestly, it's brutal to think about, but I try to imagine that I have to emergency evac'd from the middle of nowhere - what would I need?  Those things are the things I keep copies of online.  My mom also has back-up copies of this stuff for both Harris and I just in case something happens and she has to come find us, and there's copy in our safe at home in case she's misplaced something...Again, I know it's brutal to think about, but it does come in handy when one needs a copy of something fast. 

So, I've pulled the info from the SCI forum about the Visa registration.  Again, if you're coming over on a Medical Visa, please make sure you're aware of these new requirements!!!  Here's what I've found...

Information regarding FRRO registration:

We would like to inform you that Foreigners visiting India on a medical visa are required to get themselves registered with concerned FRRO within 14 days of his/her arrival in India.

Kindly find all the necessary information below.

(i) Four recent passport size photographs.

(ii) Photocopy of photo page and valid Indian Visa page of the passport.

(iii) Proof of residence address in India, Documents of identification.

(iv) The applicant should also complete the online registration form and also take appointment online.

We would like to inform you that the Applicant is required to fill the online registration form and schedule his/ her appointment in the FRRO before his/ her visit. Once the application form is filled and submitted, a unique Registration number is generated by the system. Kindly visit the website http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/frro/ for your reference.

Please find the address of the FRRO Delhi as mentioned below.

East Block-VIII, Level-II, Sector-1, R.K. Puram, New Delhi-110066.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We are here!

Got in late last night due to weather in the US.  The Hilton staff is as gracious as ever, and it's nice to see familiar faces here!  Carrie and I are heading out around noon to do some sight seeing and pick up a few supplies from M Block.

It was weird to not see any couples with babies this morning at breakfast.  Maybe I just missed them?  Of course, we didn't get there until almost 10 this morning because we were exhausted.

Oh, and word to the wise, if you're doing injections on 2 continents, plan a time that's not 4 a.m. on the second continent.  Yeah, we didn't think that one thru!  LOL!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It'll get done...

With only one more full day at home, I probably should have started packing.  I should also have probably started doing laundry before 10 o'clock, and my suitcases should most certainly not still be in the attic.  However, I haven't, I didn't, and they're not. 

Friday, I finished closing down my classroom for the year, and sent my students on their merry way!  It's always such a feeling of shared accomplishment and pride when those buses pull out of the parking lot for the very last time of the year!  It's a time of reflection, exuberance, and tremendous RELIEF to see those kids smiling and waving because you know that you've done your very best to help them grow and become the best they can be.

This week, I also registered for my first graduate classes, and am beyond excited to be starting those next week!!!  The program is online, and I will be able to do everything from India while I'm there.  It'll be nice to have something to work on that is guaranteed to have a positive result so long as I do everything that is asked of me, and stay focused.  Anyone dealing with infertility can surely see the appeal of having something that you're assured to get with hard work and dedication, right?

Today we spent the day with Carrie and her fiance doing random things still left for our trip.  It's good to see her excited and nervous with those "first trip abroad" jitters.  I'm excited to see what she thinks of India, and have the chance to see it again for the first time thru her experiences.  This whole thing has brought us closer, and I'm eternally grateful for that.  Growing up 7 years apart in a household that had such extreme tension, we kind of held to our own corners and tried to stay in the shadows to avoid trouble whenever possible.  At this point, we talk everyday and present a united front on so many things.  There's certainly a level of intimacy that has never existed before. 

So, now I hear the washer beeping.  Better go toss clothes into the dryer so I don't have to go to India naked!  LOL!  That would be a sight!

If anyone is going to be in Delhi the rest of this month, shoot me an email and perhaps we can visit while there.  We are staying at the Hilton New Garden Inn.

Best wishes to everyone cycling this month!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Good Omen...

Every step of this journey thru surrogacy has been accompanied by a private playlist of sorts that Harris and I have created.  Every step, that is, until this one.  Finding a song that fits where we are right now in this journey has been next to impossible.  Honestly, I've been looking for a while and it seemed like when a title would fit, the words would be wrong.  Or, I'd hear a piece of the song on tv or in a movie and then play it at home only to find that it was terrible and totally inappropriate. 

It was just last night that we ALL finally found our songs.  Carrie had found hers early on after we told her about the playlist.  She chose, "Can't Go Wrong" by Phillip Phillips.  Harris and I struggled because nothing fit us.  But, once we realized that was because we were together in the journey but each having our own experiences, things fell into place.  Harris' song is "500 Miles" by The Proclaimers - granted, he's going much further than that to be with me for the last half of this journey (did I mention he's decided to fly over and do a fresh sample?  BEST HUSBAND EVER!  Plus he'll be able to go to the Taj with Carrie so I can stay out of that godawful heat!). 

My song seemed obvious once I listened to it from the inside.  Rather than hearing the advice in the song, this time when I listened it was as someone who is clinging to the words as a sort of mantra for peace.  My next song on the playlist is "Let It Be" by The Beatles.

Friday, May 17, 2013

And all that comes with it...

Getting ready for the 4th attempt at IVF has been more intense this time for some reason.  Possibly that's because it's "test season" at work, possibly because I'm doing meds here before I leave and I'm still struggling to understand the new schedule (just can't seem to wrap my mind around it this time!), possibly because I'm remembering all too vividly what that heat felt like last June, possibly because I'm bringing along my amazing sister who's volunteered to be a second surrogate and I'm worried about her in a million and two ways (2nd time on a plane ever, nervous about the food, educational lessons on ultrasounds, coaching her to keep her mouth closed in the shower, paying off doctors' bills, sight seeing safety tips, and on and on and on), or possibly because this is the last shot for us with this and I know that whatever happens is final for this chapter...yeah, it's probably mostly that one with all of the other ones swirling around in my brain at the same time.

We've just marked another Mother's Day and I mourned (again) for the children that only Harris and I knew existed for so long.  It's not that I expect anyone in my support circle to actually say anything to me about having been a mother for such a brief time that it hardly seems to have existed at all.  But, in my soul, I know that there was life inside of me twice, and life brought forth from Harris and I in India once as well.  Life in India that had heartbeats...and then didn't.  No, I'm not expecting people who I've taught to tread lightly in this area to come knocking on my door with flowers or call with more words of support.  But, at the same time I want to scream that I should get some credit for trying - some acknowledgement from the universe or God or something that says, "Hey, we know what happened and there's strength in continuing the journey."  Saying Mother's Day is "agonizing" would be the understatement of the century.

All of the necessary preparations are coming together again.  Extra toiletries have been purchased, more pants and t-shirts have been found, flip-flops for heat-swollen feet are being located, and money has been wired.  I'm un-decorating my classroom next week and starting to pack that up for the summer.  Oh, and I've been scouring the Kindle free books for anything that might keep my mind occupied while in Delhi for 3 weeks in June (did I mention it'll be in JUNE, again?) because I want to be inside as much as possible.

My mind jumps between wanting to hope and needing to guard from hope.  For now, it's best just to stay busy and get thru the next few weeks.  There's certainly plenty left to do before we leave!  Come June, I want to be ready for India and all that comes with it!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

T-49 Days and Counting...

Our "To Do" list is getting shorter by the day, and we have just a few more pieces to put into place for our trip on June 10 back to India.  Last week we received approval for our medical visas, and they arrived safely back home along with our passports.  Tomorrow we head to the bank to send an initial payment to get the pre-arrival treatment started.  The balance is due on May 10; so we have a few more weeks before we're poor.  :-)  Carrie has her last major appointment this week for her saline ultrasound to check and see if her tubes are blocked.  So long as there's no problem there, we will go ahead and purchase tickets within the week.  It'll be such a relief to have that last part finished.  Even though I dislike having to pay about 50% more for tickets this year (for some mysterious reason), there is some level of security that comes with knowing you not only have a way to get where you're going AND a place to stay while you're there.  Plus, this year I went ahead and paid the extra to include breakfast.  That was the best part of the stay last year at the Hilton.  Everyone came in and would meet up at breakfast to look at new babies, talk about the latest in exit paperwork, and discuss the others who had come before us in the process.  All in all, it was the highlight of the day.  Oh, and did I fail to mention the fresh mango that was in peak season???  YUM!

In my mind, I am trying hard to both think positive about the end result from this trip AND block the memory of it being so hot that my shoes melted on the pavement...in the shade...outside of an air-conditioned store. 

So, positive thinking, forward progress, and patience...those are the items on the "to do" list for this week.

Friday, April 5, 2013

How much more???

We had no idea that our day would end in a household of just 3 when we took our little Sallie to the vet for what we thought was just a minor problem.  Neither of us could believe what was happening when she declined so quickly on the exam table.  When we found the extent of the problem, the choices were bad and worse.  Knowing she might not survive the treatment, and having both been present in that last moment before grandparents have passed - we knew what we were seeing in her was one last pleading for help to end the misery.  We just had no idea.  We had expected to come home with her.  But tonight, our halls are a lot quieter, our hearts are breaking, and we keep asking how much more can we take. 

She might have been a cat, but to us she was our child.  We loved her and miss her terribly. 
Sallie and Spike

Monday, April 1, 2013

Plan, Wait, Plan, Wait, Plan, Wait...

Yesterday, I found a pretty good deal on Hotels.com for the Hilton New Garden Inn.  I had a good experience there last year because of the tight security, the friendly and helpful staff, and the ease of access to the mall area (which also has security in place).  The only thing I did differently this year was to book the package with the breakfast included.  It's funny to me that I could find a room cheaper with Hotels.com than I could with the specials that HiltonHonors was offering me thru email.  Kind of illogical to think that a 3rd party could get you a better rate than the company itself would send to their loyalty club members.

Harris is also working on assembling the last few pieces needed for the medical visa.  He went to our GP last week and got the letter needed from a doctor endorsing surrogacy, has been writing the letter from us that will accept responsibility for any possible offspring, and has received notice that the surrogacy contract is shipping via DHL.  Hopefully that will get here this week sometime.  All this is happening BEFORE we start working with Travisa.  Once an application is begun on their website, everything has to be completed and on the way within a week's time.  So, it's better to have everything together before starting that piece at all.

I'm still in a holding pattern for buying a plane ticket.  Airfare is astronomical right now!!!  Who would think that a plane ticket to THE hottest place on earth during THE hottest month of the year would cost so much this year?  In years past, I've paid right around $1,000 for the airfare.  This year, so far, I'm seeing numbers closer to $1,500.  That's a HUGE difference!!!  Yikes!  Because of the price difference, I'm looking at other airports as departure points rather than leaving from my home airport.  If it will save a few hundred dollars, I'm willing to drive! 

Wow, nothing is simple about this last trip!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Simply Amazing...

While writing lesson plans tonight that I'm hoping to do in collaboration with our art teacher, I came across the most amazing piece I've ever seen.  It's EXACTLY how I've felt.  Thinking it might speak to someone else's heart as well, I wanted to share.  Grab the tissues, and share.  Here's the link where the image was displayed:  http://evenifministries.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/410/.

Created by Martin Hudáček

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I thought I'd re-post the questions and update with information I've learned.  Not everything has been answered yet, but I did receive a HUGE lot of materials today from SCI and we are working thru them to begin the process of applying for the medical visa.  With that, here's what I know for now...
  1. When you say that we will "need to come to India to sign the contracts" you don't mean before June 12th, right?  You aren't saying that we'd have to make a trip overseas to sign contracts, come home, wait a few months, and come back for the procedure - are you?    No, we don't have to come to India to sign the contracts.  The contracts have to be signed by the Indian parties in India and then we sign them here and send them along with our medical visa application. 
  2. Have people been having problems getting approved for the medical visa?  What kind of time-frame do we need for approval?  People have been getting an approval within a 10 day to 2 week period.  This is about the same as the wait we had for the tourist visa.  It looks like it will cost us each about $156 to do this application.  We did make the independent decision to go ahead and get a medical visa for both Harris and myself just in case. 
  3. How soon do we sign with the surrogate?  AND, what happens if that surrogate doesn't work out in the process and we have to change?  That's happened 2 times already...are we out of luck and unable to do the process?  OR, do we just sign a new contract and keep moving forward with the process?  The contract will be drawn up with a surrogate who might be the one we use.  But, if something happens like she starts bleeding or there is a problem of some kind, we are in no way locked into that situation.  We can alter the contract after we get to India as needed to fit the situation. 
  4. Do we have to have our medical visa in hand BEFORE we buy our plane tickets and book the hotel room?  I can't remember this from the first time we did this, and I don't know if the new law has changed any regulations in this way.  I don't for sure have confirmation of this from SCI, but I have looked back at my records and I see that when we first traveled in December 2011, I did not have the visa in hand.  Due to that, I believe that I can go ahead and book the hotel and flights whenever the price is right.  It looks like I'll just have to show that visa at the airport and in Customs/Immigration.
  5. In the "citizen eligibility letter" note, do you mean that we have to contact our Embassy now for that letter?  How does that work?  (**This was the information that said we'd have to contact the Embassy and make sure that a baby born abroad from surrogacy would be eligible for citizenship.**)  Not sure on this one yet...still reading thru the documents sent today - will update it soon!
ALSO:  I can have a Power of Attorney drawn up for Harris and take it with me to India.  This will allow me to legally sign the document with the surrogate and clinic for both of us.  I thought that was very important to share!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Square One, is that you?!?!

Wow, that new law from last Summer has really screwed with every aspect of the surrogacy process!  It seems like we are having to do every single thing over from the beginning just like we did when we first did this process...um, well, it seems like that because we are. 

We are once again asking the basic questions about timing, paperwork, and medicines which held our thoughts captive every moment the first time we did the process.  So, again, we're wondering how and if this is going to work.  How in the world is everyone getting all of the paperwork done in the wake of the new law??? 

The laughter, that has to inevitably arise in times of massive stress, stems from the fact that I'm also cycling off of my anxiety medication right now.  So, below I'm listing the questions we're asking (as American Citizens), and I will post the answers I get in hopes that it can help others hoping to do this process as well.  I know Dr. Shivani's staff will totally help guide us thru the process, but again, I feel like we're starting totally over. 

So here are some of the questions we've come up with (so far):

  1. When you say that we will "need to come to India to sign the contracts" you don't mean before June 12th, right?  You aren't saying that we'd have to make a trip overseas to sign contracts, come home, wait a few months, and come back for the procedure - are you? 
  2. Have people been having problems getting approved for the medical visa?  What kind of time-frame do we need for approval?
  3. How soon do we sign with the surrogate?  AND, what happens if that surrogate doesn't work out in the process and we have to change?  That's happened 2 times already...are we out of luck and unable to do the process?  OR, do we just sign a new contract and keep moving forward with the process?
  4. Do we have to have our medical visa in hand BEFORE we buy our plane tickets and book the hotel room?  I can't remember this from the first time we did this, and I don't know if the new law has changed any regulations in this way.
  5. In the "citizen eligibility letter" note, do you mean that we have to contact our Embassy now for that letter?  How does that work?  (**This was the information that said we'd have to contact the Embassy and make sure that a baby born abroad from surrogacy would be eligible for citizenship.**)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Taking a Day Away...

Wednesday would've been the day when we arrived in India for baby pick-up.  To be honest, for the last few weeks, I've had both dreams and nightmares about phantom babies.  Each time, the dreams are short and I usually wake up with a start and just lie there shocked and sad.  But, a couple of times, I've dreamed of a little girl and when I would wake up, I could actually still smell that new baby scent - the mixture of diaper cream and baby powder.  I swear that I actually could feel little fingers in that dream.  Crazy, right?  Pathetic, probably?  I have given myself the pep talks and the suck-it-up talks over and over for the last month. 

Finally, I gave in and decided to take Wednesday off from work to allow myself to grieve for what wasn't and allow myself to just feel whatever I felt.  Harris took off from work as well and we spent most of the day together.  We didn't do anything to special - went for a drive, listened to the radio, he got a haircut, we had dinner at Moe's, and we just spent time together.  It was nice.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Received word thru email Friday that Carrie's visa had been approved and would be send back this coming week!  One step closer!

With that in hand, we can now book hotels and flights for June!  Ya-hoo!  We're looking to leave either the 8th, 9th, or 10th of June, depending on what kind of deals I can get on airfare.  I'm looking at the Hilton New Garden Inn, where I stayed last summer, or Svelte.  Both are good options, and I'll be thrilled when I have a room secured in either one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ba-da-bing, Ba-da-boom...

Yes, sadly that is the best title I could come up with after an 11 hour day at school today.  Whoosh, I'm beat.  But, I did want to post an update on the progress we're making in getting my sister ready for India. 

She is still all in, despite having been poked and prodded by various strangers over the last few weeks.  So far, she has gone for the first round of vaccinations, gotten her passport, and turned that over to us for the visa application today.  Harris ran it up to FedEx this afternoon and it should be to the Embassy tomorrow sometime before 5:30.  There's also a place that was able to do the STD and HIV testing for free for her since she doesn't currently have insurance.  She also went to get her pap smear done and it came back with some abnormal cell growth so we're going to do a second one after a normal cycle so that we can see if things have cleared up.  There were a couple of things that could have triggered a false alarm there, and we aren't worried yet. 

Carrie is scheduled for her 2nd set of shots on March 4th, and then will head in for another pap smear somewhere around the 27th of March.  So, the biggest 2 issues we have facing us right now is where to get her Hep B test done, and where to get the water ultrasound done.  She doesn't have insurance, and we're trying to figure out how to get both of these done for the lowest price possible.  If anyone has any ideas, I'd appreciate any suggestions!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

2 Steps Forward...

Nothing about infertility is ever going to be described as "easy" for us.  It just seems written in the cards that every twist and turn imaginable, both good and bad, lays in wait for us to make the next call in our journey.  When we found out that the frozen transfer was a no-go for Harris and I, we really struggled to not only get over the negative, but also to make a decision as to how to move forward.  Should we stop with surrogacy?  Should we do another frozen transfer with only 2 more embryos to use?  Would another fresh cycle be worth the time and investment of the last of our savings from the baby fund?  Or, should we move ahead with adoption where we know that we'd end up with a child?  

The real question that ended our discussions and decided our course of action was this:  If we stopped right now and went with adoption, could we be okay with giving up on ever having a person on the planet who looked like us and shared our combined genetic material?  The answer, for us, was no.  We couldn't do less than give everything we had to try and make this happen.  That was the bottom line for us.  

So, it looks like I will spend yet another June in India.  But, in the true style that is our twist-and-turn journey, I won't be going alone.  My sister will be coming with me...to act as a second surrogate for us.  We made the decision to be "all in" this time and tell my sister about what we've been through.  Other than my mother, nobody in my family or Harris' family knows anything about our situation.  Knowing that the money will be totally gone, and that we might have to come to terms with never ever ever having people on the planet that look like us as children, we made the decision to tell my little (7 years younger) sister and ask her about being our second surrogate.  We went to my mom's house last week when Carrie and her fiance Mike were both there.  We all sat in the living room, mom included, and Harris started at the beginning with them.  He talked while I cried silently and just tried to keep from sobbing while he told them about the years of treatments, the 1st and 2nd miscarriages, and our last miscarriage of the twins this Fall.  My sister was shocked at what we were telling her - largely in part because she has very firm ideas of who we are and the information she was receiving didn't match with her who she thought we were.  She cried, and then she told us that she had known something was wrong but hadn't felt comfortable asking.  With no hesitation at all she said she absolutely would go and try for us.  Her fiance said he was all about trying to help people, and wanted this to happen for us.  We appreciated that but told them both to take some time to try and live in that possibility for a few days before totally committing.  They are planning to get married in October and, hoping this would work, she'd be almost 4 months months pregnant with her sister and brother-in-law's child.  For Mike's Catholic family, this might be a bit um, well, hinky.

Carrie did ask me what she needed to start doing because she wanted to get moving.  I gave her a list that had "stop smoking" at the top of the page, and she quit cold-turkey the next day.  It was a rough week for her, but she's also committed to eating better, and moving more over the next few months.  She has gone and been tested for HIV, STDs, Hep A, Hep C, and started getting the necessary shots for the trip.  She had an appointment with the health department for a pap smear and syphilis testing so that they would prescribe the necessary birth control pills for her cycle to line up with mine.  An application for her passport was mailed out on Tuesday after we told her on Sunday.  So, all in all, it looks like she is really serious and willing to do this.  I can't believe it - I don't understand it - and I am totally humbled beyond belief that she'd even consider what we've asked of her. 

Nonetheless, I continue moving forward with the plans, hoping that this will happen for us this time.  Oh, and since I'm going back to cycle, I have to go off my anxiety medicine in February.  I'm not thrilled about that, and worry that the chronic insomnia and anxiety attacks will come back.  I'm going to the doctor on Tuesday to see if there's something that's safe for me to take during the process.  If not, I'll find a way to cope.  So, that's where we are.  For those of you who have prayed for us in the past, please continue to keep us in your prayers.  Specifically I would ask that you pray our surrogates will become pregnant with our child(ren), have a boring and routine pregnancy, and deliver a healthy normal child(ren) next February or March.