Monday, April 30, 2012

Birthday surprises

Pic I took with iPhone of the Golden Gate Bridge
in San Francisco while we were tandem bike riding 

My husband is awesome. I mean seriously, are-you-kidding-me, all kinds of awesome. Tuesday evening (the 24th) he told me he was going to work from home on Wednesday. Thought to myself, "that's nice. I'll need to try and make sure I don't distract him." Late Wednesday morning he hands me a sheet of paper with a 5 day forecast. He then tells me to go pack because we are GOING ON A TRIP FOR MY BIRTHDAY!!!

I had no idea where we were going, but I was excited! Asked a few questions to give me somewhat of an idea of how to pack, but I still had no idea if it was local or what. Later I finally ask him if we are going on a plane. He confirms we are and then I immediately start worrying about our animals. (Normally I make the arrangements and we have 3 dogs/2 cats.) Fortunately he had everything covered and had been planning it since January. Yes January!!!

We rushed to the airport, groaned to find the parking lots full, and then cheered when we found a spot in the secret parking lot that I had heard about, but never purposely used. I still had no idea where we were going, but after our tickets were picked up my husband informed me we were going to San Francisco. I was already excited when I thought we were going to Houston (we had a lay over and that's what my ticket said.)

I'm not sure how we packed so much into 4 days - but we did! My husband did an incredible job of pre-planning and even with the few obstacles we encountered (eg., Big Sur Marathon closing the highway to Big Sur) we still had a great adventure.

Here's a quick list of some of the things we did:
Thursday (my birthday!): Napa Valley! I only had a tiny bit of wine, but the views and restaurants were breath taking! That evening he took me to a fantastic French restaurant, as is tradition on my birthday (Italian for his!) (We've done the French/Italian thing since we first started dating.)
Friday: Pier 39 + Fisherman's Warf to visit the sea lions and attractions, followed by a tandem bike ride along the coast and across the golden gate bridge. In the evening, he took me to the San Francisco symphony.
Saturday - some shopping in China Town, grabbing lunch with a friend that lives out there, and walking around visiting shops, festivals, cafes, and some restaurants. We had Jim Gaffigan tickets for the evening.
Sunday - We got up early and drove to Big Sur. We were stopped for a few hours as CA-1 was closed due to the Big Sur Marathon (I don't know how people run that!), but that was enjoyable as well. We drove back to San Francisco and then took the red-eye home.

Can you believe all that? Holy cow! A week ago I was dreading my 40th birthday and this week I can easily say it was the best one yet.

If you ever hear me complaining about my husband for any stupid reason (as spouses sometimes are known to do), you have full permission to cyber slap me. I am, indeed, a very lucky girl.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Does not mean what you think it means

Every time I think I know something about India, a concept or something, my husband dutifully informs me I am wrong in my perception.

Dang it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm going to be how old? GAH!

Art by Ken Keirns.

It hit me yesterday. Wasn't fair. Truly I was minding my own business having a fun shopping day in my old hangout Little 5 Points (I can not BEGIN to tell you how cool we were hanging out there back in the day) when I had the sincere misfortune of catching a quick glimpse of my own reflection.

It wasn't pretty.

Apparently the boho look I was sporting (and do on occasion since my youth), does not actually look that good when surrounded by actual, modern, young bohemians (on 4/20 no less.) 

My initial reaction was "Holy crap - somebody get that girl some botox stat!" Oh wait, I'm fairly certain that botox would fall under the "what the hell were you thinking" category. Especially if I'm trying to limit stuff like caffeine, medicine, alcohol, and oh, I don't know, toxins that may cause botulism. Damn it. Ok fine. Just DON'T MAKE ANY EXPRESSIONS AGAIN EVER. And get more than 5 hours sleep. And DO SOMETHING with your hair for God's sake. 

Then another marvelous thought occurred to me: I'm turning 40 next week. Holy Christ in a Winnebago - when the hell did that happen? Can I protest or something? Occupy 30's anyone? My 30's have been some of my best years, but now that it dawns on me, the impeding 40's seem scary. 

I don't look 40; usually I gleefully tell people my age because of the confused looks I get. I don't feel 40; well maybe I do feel a tinsy-bit 40, but I've felt that way since I was 20. I definitely don't WANT to be 40. How is it I am already referring to myself as 40??? I have an entire 5 days left!

Most importantly, 40 is the age that egg stats really start to trail off (or at least that's how it is in my mind.) I've been able to deal with my new worry over the last few months about how my eggs will be - technically had not hit the big 4-0 mark - but now what? Crap, if I had known about this whole  older eggs thing, we would have started right away. But noooooo, I wanted to enjoy the whole "romantic, we've just been married" thing. They should give PSA's on this stuff: "girls, either freeze your eggs by 35 or screw a bunch of feminist things that take longer than 30 seconds to rant about. Fo realze". Then flash this chart the remaining 25 seconds.

If we don't succeed the first time, which statistically is expected, then our chances really decrease. Essentially I will need to put myself through as many IVF cycles as possible, in as short of period as possible. The stats for a 41 year old are downright "OMFG". Don't even get me started about 42. How will we even begin to afford this? If we can't use my eggs, then things get really complicated for us.

Is turning 40 going to be my new obsession? I'm not 30 anymore, and need to take better care of myself. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I think I'm 20 still and party like a rock star, but there are improvements I can make. I've started most of them with my "let's get this egg party started!" of late; hopefully they will become easier with habit. Hope so.

40. Ugh. It's going to be a long week. I wasn't even thinking about it until I saw my stupid, tired-looking reflection. Mental note 1: get plenty of sleep. Mental note 2: slap any one that says "age is just a number" on your birthday. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Porcupines seem fertile...

Today I had my first day of Acupuncture and it was AMAZ... oh wait, nothing special happened.

Actually I didn't expect anything to since my doctor recommended it for fertility and we won't really know how well it worked until... well... ever. There's just too many variables and there's no definitive way to tell what helped and what didn't with all of the new things I am doing. As you may guess, I'm a science gal. Yea, yea, yea, I've actually read the arguments of eastern treatments, and I'm not so bold to discount everything, but I'm kinda a "give me hard cold data I can analyze" type of girl.

That said, I have tremendous respect for our fertility specialist here (also a hard-core science gal) and she encouraged us to consider it. When I asked why she thought it would help, she mentioned something along the lines of blood flow to the ovaries, something something something - oh look shiny object. Ok -if it was good enough for my foster dog years ago - good enough for me! I'm already spending a gazillion dollars to have a baby, it seems silly to nit pick over $500 or so more. We aren't rich, but I'd hate to do the "what-if dance" down the road if things do not go successfully the first time.

Back to the story (as you can tell, I get side-tracked easily): me and some needles. The acupuncturist was really, really nice. She's the type of person that you feel comfortable telling things to: in the land of infertility, this is a relief. Telling people personal crap is not my fav thing in the world, but is definitely this year's theme. She even was really sweet about me being tremendously late - something I felt HORRIBLE about. Truth be told, I had been looking forward to my pricking for a couple of weeks. (That sounded really weird.)

Ms. Awesome stuck me with 6 needles that barely registered on the "something-just-stuck-me" scale. If you can imagine taking a tiny head pin and pricking yourself so light that you didn't even make an imprint, then that would be the equivalent. In some cases I didn't even feel a thing. This coming from a girl that HATES shots. They don't make me woozy - they just suck. The acupuncture needle doesn't even count as a shot in my book.

We talked for about an hour and then she dimmed the lights in our lavender, spa music room. I laid on a heated spa table/bed, under comfy covers, and she put 6 needles in me: 4 in the legs and 2 in the hands. Honestly had to ask how many were inserted because I had no idea. (Except for the hand ones - I could SEE those.)  She then proceeded to leave the room and let me rest.

Here's were it got a tiny bit weird, but keep in mind I have an AWESOME imagination.

I closed my eyes and started thinking about something that always irritates me (my former job) as the new-agey music washed over me. Was able to "catch" my negative thought pattern and tried to shake it off. Breathe in. Breathe out. (Holy cow my breathing sucks.) I think have gas. Nope that passed too. Not literally. Wow this music is great. I wonder if it is a CD. I should ask her if it's a CD. Would that be weird? I won't remember the name anyway. Maybe it would start a long conversation about spa music that would be hard to get out of. Maybe I could type it in my phone. Would she frown on my iPhone addiction? I wish I could shazam it. My phone is right over there. I NEED my phone. The needles would probably all fall out if I moved too much. I'll have to remember to bring my phone next to me next week. But I won't have pockets because I had to take off my pants. That would be awkward. I shouldn't have worn a thong. 

A few more random thoughts flew by and then I was in that half-sleep half-awake place. You know the one - where you are aware of your surroundings, but think really weird things. Ok - EVEN weirder things than normal. And then my stomach grew. Like there was a bubble slowly expanding. (NO, NOT GAS!) Like a baby was growing at some super-speed ala Fringe style. (Keep in mind - I can't actually CARRY a baby.) I could see it with my eyes closed. Then I thought, "wait, twins would be good" and the bubble split and started rising on both sides. Oddly enough, in real life that would be some weird camel looking thing, but hey - my imagination - I can do it how I want. Then I laughed and thought about making a blog post.

And THAT is how I came to the conclusion that doing this porcupine thing is a good idea. Results may vary.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My little FU Cloud

Seems like every time I turn around lately, someone else I know is pregnant or having a baby. I know I should be happy for them, but a tiny part of me gets a little "fu cloud" over my head each time. That's terrible, I know, but I just can't help myself.

I blame one of my old friends. As soon as she became pregnant, every freaking word out of her mouth was about her pregnancy. Every. Word. One of our mutual friends finally told her "ok - we get it: you are pregnant. You're not the first woman to be pregnant and won't be the last." And truth be told, it hurt my feelings because she knew that my husband and I were going to have a rough time having a baby. Hell, she didn't even notice when I was going through some other really emotional stuff. Felt like saying "Please don't make every freaking conversation about you."

But I should not make this about me either. I shouldn't feel my little "fu cloud" whenever friends announce the happy news. Or post pictures. Or talk about what's going on. Or - heaven help me - ask when WE are going to have one. I shouldn't tense up when they gush about "not even trying" and how easy it is. A real friend would be ecstatically happy for them and show it at all times. A real friend wouldn't have a "fu cloud" ready to pop-out, rain or shine. 

My life is pretty freaking great and from things I hear from others, envied by many. Don't get me wrong, it certainly hasn't always been a dream - I've had my fair share of nightmares -but the last few years have been better than I ever imagined my life could be. I need to concentrate on all of the good, and feel happiness for my friends. 

Oddly enough, I have one friend that is pregos and I feel nothing but joy for her. Perhaps because she is such an awesome person in every way. I could throw a baby shower for her and not even see a hint of my cloud. Maybe if I just picture her face every time, I can get through this gracefully. She really is awesome and I am extremely excited for her. She can talk about her pregnancy and it doesn't bother me, but she is much more likely to talk about other things and has kept her depth. Like I said - super awesome girl. 

Maybe if I picture her face each time I hear baby news it will make all of this easier. Maybe then I can handle all the questions from a multitude of people like "aren't you guys going to have any?" without wanting to slap someone. Maybe then my little "fu cloud" will be confined to those that truly deserve it. 


Monday, April 16, 2012

Notifying siblings

At the beginning of April I sent the below letter to my siblings (and copied my mom, but I had already talked to her about it). Mom immediately responded and made me feel less nervous about the entire situation. Siblings were super supportive and that was a great relief. We had already let hubby's family know as they were checking out stuff for us in India. We are incredibly fortunate to both have such great support from both sides.

Anyhow, here is the letter in case any of you were like me, and were wondering "how the heck do I word this???" I've replaced names with <relationships> as I'm not sure if I want to lose my anonymity. :-)  Also, I wanted to wait to notify other family members until after our trip in June when we have a better picture of where we stand.


Sigh, I think with most people that this would be more appropriate in a phone call, but for non-trivial things, I'm really awful with the phone. I sometimes have trouble with auditory processing, most notably on the phone, and the more serious the discussion the worse it becomes. I'm very self conscience about it and with the exception of a small handful of people who I regularly speak to on the phone, it's tremendously hard for me. So if you are wondering why this is in an email - that is it in a nutshell. Feel free to call me with any questions, I just don't know how to start the convo about this on the phone and I get panicky when I think about calling people it. (I'm much better with it once the ice is broken.) Hopefully you will forgive me for this lapse in etiquette. 

<Hubby> and I have always known that we wanted to have a child or two after our marriage. We knew from the start that this would be a challenge as many years ago I had a surgery to remove my uterine lining due to medical issues. I still produced eggs, but would not be able to carry a pregnancy. 

Last year we started our journey and looking into our options, when my doctor informed me that my uterine lining had begun to grow back (which explained why I was starting to have issues again.) This offered us new options and hope, only to be told that the lining was only back in some places, and with other damage the doctors still did not feel I could carry a pregnancy. When we questioned about new available procedures to possibly fix the problem, we were met with a new reality - the meaning of a woman's "biological clock." This doctors informed me that to try and temporary fix the problem would have a low success rate and the time that elapsed would mean that my "ovarian reserve" would have diminished. Essentially, we may miss our very narrow window of conceiving with my eggs. 

I won't go into the long explanation of "ovarian reserve", but suffice to say a woman's chances of having a baby starts a steep decline at age 35. By 43, most clinics will not even consider using your own eggs.  We have now gone through sufficient tests to know that my eggs aren't awful, but they aren't super awesome either. Still, the doctors think we have a decent chance, though we still have the issue of me not being able to carry a baby. 

Enter surrogacy. Again, we knew this would be the main option for us when we first started dating. What we did not know was how expensive it was going to be. Using IVF with my own eggs - surrogacy easy enters into the 6 figures. More if we have to use donor eggs. There is no guarantee of a baby and many couples have to go through several IVF cycles at 15-20K a pop. Add on all the other costs, and it is crazy overwhelming. 

Enter India. When researching surrogacy, which is horrifically expensive in the US, the idea of India came to me. I had looked at international options for medical tourism many years ago, and wondered if IVF and surrogacy was an option. Turns out it is a big option in India; the price is 1/3-1/2 (even with airfare, travel, time off from work).

The main thing that concerned me with this option was the possibility of exploitation. After endless hours of research, I am happy to report that I have a 100% confidence in my findings. In the US, a surrogate mother is paid 15-30K (more for twins). In India, while it is much less (6-12K), the money is LIFE CHANGING to the surrogate mother. It's is often more money that the woman (or her husband)  makes in 10 years time. With the money many women buy a house (around 2500), educate their children, or help their family start a business. I do not feel we could make such an incredible difference in another woman's life here in the US. 

That said, we wanted to be careful that the money would actually help the woman. Again, after many, many weeks of research, I have found several places that have international reputations. As one surrogate put it "carrying another woman's child and making 10 years salary is not exploiting, working 15 hour days, 6 days a week, crushing glass is." With <hubby> having family in India (often close to the places we were considering), we had the extra benefit of them being able to check everything out from over there. We are pleased that we have decided on a location that is known for tremendously helping the women. They not only insure that this is the decision of the surrogate, but also provide housing, health care, nutrition, 24 hour care, help towards the surrogate's children, education, and a trust fund to continue education to the surrogate even after giving birth. At present the clinic, besides being internationally known medically for IVF, has a waiting list of woman wanting to be surrogates for them. 

We have recently completed all of our tests here that need to be done to determine the best course. The doctors think we have a reasonable shot with my eggs, so we are going to try that. Hopefully we will have success. If we have to use donor eggs, that becomes much more complicated as to get USA citizenship (for the India option), the eggs have to be mine OR we have to wait for <hubby> to become a citizen. Thus we are trying with my eggs first. In June, we will be traveling to India for 3 weeks to try for our first IVF cycle. That cycle will really give us the best picture if my eggs are truly viable, or if we have to start at other options.

Obviously very few people know about this right now. I wanted to let immediate family know before trying to figure out how to tell others. I guess I'll work on figuring that out next. 



Yay for me! Stress and dealin'

2 posts ago, I wrote a little bit about an ordeal I went through with my old company. A few hours after posting that, I accidentally saw that I was going to be face-to-face with some of my old company at a professional event I was an organizer for. A scenario I hadn't even thought about. Seeing as I was on the organizing committee AND that I really, really respect all of the other people on the committee (almost all of whom are big-wigs in my professional community), I decided to suck it up and deal with it. I let one person know so she could have my back if I needed to walk away, but other than that I kept it to myself.

A funny thing happened...I worried about it a little bit, but then got so busy DOING stuff for the event that I didn't allow myself to dwell on it. When the first day arrived I saw the people that had caused me so many problems previously, but made busy work for a few seconds to get through and was able to jump back into my cheerful self, helping everyone else that came my way. The only person I had to talk to from my old company was someone I WANTED to talk to: a newer guy that is super-smart and super-nice. He is going to go far (and I told my boss that when I left!) The problem people saw me (as I saw them) and scurried away. (Yes I am purposely using that verb as it is apropos.)

And you know what - I was ok.

I turned to my "got my back" friend after the few problem people had passed (and no one else was around us at the moment) and declared, "I am really proud of myself." Her response "You should be. You were awesome." She wasn't even able to tell which people were the ones I had been worried about even though she stood next to me most of the time. Perfect. Something that a month ago would have had me shaking, was successfully and professionally handled by moi.

The things I have been doing to reduce and deal with stress are working; to bring it back full circle - that's essential for our future success of having a baby. Wishing all of you (and me!) continued success in this realm. Even little successes.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Book Review: The Sacred Thread: A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family--Half a World Away

The Sacred Thread: A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family--Half a World Away

4.5 out of 5 stars.

As a read this book, I started folding little corners on pages that had little oddities to me. Things like using terms such follicles and eggs interchangeably (having 4 or 5 follicles in a scan and then saying you have 4 or 5 eggs.)  Then implying that only a few more than 4 or 5 may be too many (not true as >30 indicates high risk for ovarian over-stimulation). There is a timeline issue that does not flow correctly on one or two occasions. Little things here and there. More like editorial mistakes that would have been hard to catch unless you are a woman going through IVF, and in some cases realizing inaccuracies about India.

That said, if you can look past these things, if you can say to yourself  "this is her story and probably her perception at the time she wrote it", then it is an awesome read. Adrienne Arieff does a wonderful job of letting you feel like you are on the ride with her, which is important as many of her readers will be on, or considering, a similar journey. Her adventurous spirit is infectious and gives courage to all who read her story. There are plenty of places to weep with joy as well as with sadness, and not all in areas that one would expect.

Many western authors make the mistake of trying to repeatedly lump all of India into one classification. Arieff does not do this to my tremendous relief. She is humble and non-judgmental in her writings of her experience, and in some cases recognizes her own short comings and that of the culture she was raised in. Yay for authors that are so insightful! She only voices her frustrations and observations of her experiences when dealing with a foreign culture that she is not used to, while still showing the importance of remaining respectful. Even when it may seem impossible.

I must pause here and mention one thing that I did not like and seemed completely out of place here in the book: a part when she does become judgmental towards genetic parent(s) for 2 short paragraphs. Some may find it quite insulting when she surmises about why most do not stay in India as long as she did. In a book that does a great job of avoiding a supercilious tone, here is where she stumbles. 

Arieff can be forgiven, as this is her only major aberration in the book. The story was intriguing enough that I finished it in days instead of my normal squeezing in of 10-20 minutes a night. She does an excellent job of expressing herself in away that the reader experiences everything with her. You feel like an insider and want to hug her for support and happiness throughout the book. 

My own experiences of India and my new family over there has shown me how important family is. Arieff nails this concept. Not only through her struggles of having a child, but also in remembering her mother, in her adventures with her mother-in-law, her childhood, and even with the family of her surrogate. Family is a reoccurring theme throughout the book no matter where she takes you - past or present. In a country where it is often heard that "family is the number one priority", it seems fitting to consider starting one there.

I look at all of  the little folded pages of flaws I've booked marked and notice something else - many are not even flaws but important concepts I wanted to look back on at a later time. It is then that I realize that the bookmarks were really just an excuse to read this book again. I'm sure I will. Right after I let a few people borrow it.

Getting through stress and old problems

I've had a problem with stress for many months now. My last job had me in a terrible situation that started off being stressful because of a fellow employee causing me A LOT of problems. I notified my boss, but nothing came of it and I just tried to work through it.  It got better and then it got bad again. Finally I had to notify the same boss (who also was our only HR person) of serious stress coming from workplace and that my husband and I were starting IVF (she had been through it before and I needed to get our benefit information). This was  followed by my sub-sequential firing.

Ironically, they kept me long enough to COVER for two male employees that were out on paternity leave on overlapping periods. The same week the second one returned, the person that I had been having problems with incidentally, they let me go. Like a punch in the stomach, they tried to claim it was for performance reasons, even though they had never given me any notice of a problem. In fact the week prior, our most difficult client had emailed me with praises, and copied my boss, along with several other employees, on it. I got accolades from clients on a regular basis.

Needless to say I've been stressed. Like "how are we going to afford IVF and surrogacy" stress.  Like knowing we have a very narrow window to use my eggs stress. Like obsessive thoughts of the injustice stress. Like crying, self-doubt, not being able to sleep stress. All which, of course, is the WORST thing for IVF and eggs.

But as much as this seems like a pity-party post, it's not.

Last night was the first time that I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about my last job and I was able to calm myself down enough and go back to sleep. Normally I sit in bed until I can't, then get up and find something to try and distract my thoughts with. Being able to return to sleep is pretty significant.  If I'm able to control how it affects me, I will think of it less and less. I will be able to be more productive and regain my confidence. I will be able to study effectively and do all things that I normally don't get around to doing because I don't have time (ie, work). I won't be scared to sleep, or want to sleep all day because I'm so tired from the previous night. I will have AWESOME EGGS for our trip to India in June.

I start acupuncture soon and I've started yoga recently. When I see myself about to go into a stress cycle, I try to apply mindfulness techniques (this becomes easier with practice). I'm going to start practicing breathing techniques and hope that my deviated septum won't hinder it too much. I'm looking at job options that offer more than a paycheck. I'm SLOWLY, getting back to normal.

Our original plan was not surrogacy in India, but I believe that in the end, our success will come from there. It just seems fitting.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Shopping and remembering Kashmir

Two years ago, my husband and I visited Kashmir for a few days. I could write an entire chapter surrounding those days, but for now I will keep it to a specific recollection that I was just reminded about while reading another blog: shopping and bargaining in India. Not for the shy introvert. They are serious over there and you should come prepared, or only go to towns that have some fixed price stores.

Let me preface this with a little notation that I tend to stand out in India. Besides the normal thing of being a westerner, I usually wear sindoor in my hair (signifies I'm married), bindi on forehead (I love any excuse to wear these), and bangles on my arms (besides the role of jewelry, signifies love and good wishes of health for my husband). With my blonde hair and blue eyes, you can usually spot me a mile away. In Kashmir, even the ever popular Indian tourist town of Srinagar, there are people notified of my presence before I even arrive.

The areas of Kashmir are quite breathtaking. The shopping is exquisite, as long as you have a good driver. A good driver will drive you to incredible places, knows the owners of all the good stores, and will constantly keep you entertained. You can have a daily driver at an extremely good rate, and he will make sure to look out for you every step of the way.

That last part is actually pretty important given that the US government tends not to advise travel for westerners there too often. Levels go up and down, but we naively managed to plunk ourselves there only to find out there was an elevated alert. Again, our driver was excellent, and both my husband and I have good instincts for caution. One day we stayed in the hotel room and another day we moved from our houseboat. (For those of you wondering, the culture there is quite different from where my husband was born in India.)

Back to the point (as I have wandered quite far): the shopping is great. As I type this, I am looking at one of the beautiful rugs we purchased on our trip that adorns our living room floor. We bought 4 of various sizes and they wrapped them so tight for us, the $50 charge the airline gave us was negligible. I've never even seen rugs of this quality in the US, quite possibly because the shops that would carry/import them here, are way too expensive for me to even enter.

On one shopping trip, our driver took us to a wonderful marble store. We were able to watch the workers outside meticulously inlaying the color designs into the opal like stones. Upon entering the store, the main salesmen was already prepared for us, much to my husband's irritation (he's not a fan of big sale pitches). When they tried to turn the lights off to show us the glow of a lit marble, my husband cut to the chase - he was not in the mood for a show - "how can we tell the price of items we may like?"

With a completely serious expression, looking from me to my husband, the slick salesmen replies, "On the back of each item there will be a number. Multiply that by 10 and that is your price."

Needless to say, we did not buy any marble that day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Inflexible - literally

So I'm trying to get into yoga. It's not the first time, as one can plainly tell from my unused yoga video collection, but I don't think I've ever made it through one whole video. Sad, I know. I'm willing to bet a few have never been open. (Easy money since I already know.)

We try to work out at the gym regularly, but lately that is not as often as we would like due to my husband's work schedule. Since I know it's important I exercise, I dug out some old videos and bought some mixed ones (has dance as well) that I think I will enjoy in the privacy of my own home. Baby steps.

Once my body gets over the initial protest, I think the stress relief will really help. I've got to do something to help relax. Hopefully my body will be all "WTH" that I won't even notice that missing long hot bath and giant glass of wine that I'm yearning for.

As my wonderful Indian in-laws say, "No tension!" :-)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Back to studying my Hindi with Rosetta Stone.* It's a really slow go. I've gotten better (from previous attempts) of practicing more often, but it's hard as heck. Some of those sounds I don't even know how to make!

My husband and had an interesting conversation the other night when he overheard me practicing. There was a word I was saying that had a T sound in it. Apparently there is more than one way to make a hard T sound in Hindi. Hubby was trying to show me the difference, but both examples sounded exactly the same to me. Oh well, hopefully it will come with more practice. My close friend advised me to ask her husband. He speaks fluent Hindi and is American - thus might be able to point out differences to me in a way I can relate.

Besides Rosetta Stone, I also purchased the book Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script.** I had read somewhere that this was a really good compliment to the Rosetta Stone, as the Rosetta stone uses ONLY Hindi script and no western type alphabet to use as a comparison. (They do have our alphabet for instructions and things.)  If you take a look at the book image on the right, you can see some of my predicament. This book is on my study list for tonight. I was frustrated with Rosetta Stone the other day, and I think this will not only help with the problem I was encountering, but help me get over the frustration hump. One can hope anyway.

*I have version 3, they are on version 4 now.

**I have no idea why this book is selling so expensive now on amazon in the used book section. When I bought it used a few months ago, it was around $10. If you are interested in purchasing it, then I'll bet you can find it cheaper elsewhere. 

Just the quote I needed today

Just started my new book, The Sacred Thread: A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family - Half a World Away, and the opening page has this quote:

"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


Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm scared

As I read the joys and sorrows of other couples' journey with surrogacy I begin to realize something: I'm scared. We've told some family and friends, and everyone is super supportive so far, but I wonder how big of an expectation we are setting ourselves up for regarding our trip to India. It's almost as if there is some unspoken word of "we go to India, we have baby". Logically speaking, the chances are better we WON'T.

After discussing IVF with my boss, I lost my job. While I really don't want to get into the details of that at the moment (too stressful), my hubby and I agreed that it is really important for me to keep my stress down. Looking for a new job with a pre-planned trip to India in June would be too difficult/stressful, not to mention starting a new job, so we decided that I needed to take a break and de-stress. Not to worry about a job until we get back (unless some small or low-stress contract one comes my way).

I think that's a good idea to help insure our success, but what happens if we don't succeed on our first trip? I'm not sure I've heard of anyone that did. My income is significant enough that it is a HUGE hit not to have it. We can't keep it up AND afford repeated tries at having a baby. And the more times we try, the more time that passes, and the less chance we have of success. Plus, my husband certainly doesn't need the stress of having everything on his shoulders. That lowers our chances too!

I'm scared.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

If I were a fertility clinic, I would...

buy a billboard. Or a commercial. Or maybe both. And explain to anyone who would listen:
"if you are a woman over 30 that wants the chance of pregnancy - freeze those eggs baby".  Seriously. Why don't they tell us how DRASTICALLY our odds decrease as we women age? They'd make more money if they did.

Sure, sure, sure, we hear about "our biological clock ticketing", but I never even thought of what that meant. I've spent most of my adult life trying to make sure I didn't GET pregnant. When people talk about a woman's biological clock, they don't even put an age with it. I though it meant there was some internal biological EMOTIONAL clock that tells childless women they want babies as they age. Had no idea it meant "your eggs will turn craptastic with every passing month."

I swear if we are lucky enough to have a baby, I'm going to post those age egg charts all over facebook and google + as a PSA. Normally I wouldn't because I don't like people knowing my biz, but this is serious. Wish someone had done it years ago when I was first married.