Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why no pic?

Photo from

When I first considered starting this blog, I had to think long and hard about my privacy vs trying to help others. It's a tough choice. Blogs can bite you in the butt with family, friends, employers, or just plain finding your story on some media website. Heck, I don't even have a public facebook profile, which is surprising since I am very active there as well as other social media outlets.

There are many reasons not to personally attach your name or picture to a something in the public domain. In my case, we have several. There are family members that do not know every aspect of our lives, nor do we want them to. My husband is opposed to posting pictures publicly for a multitude of reasons - even ones to share with his family (we email them separately.) With his job I have to be extra careful what I post or it could cause him problems. While I do have some public social media profiles, I am very careful what I post and I do not post pics with him in them. There's also the issue of an ex-boyfriend whom I had to endure some serious stalker issues with (many online) that has left permanent marks. On and on and on with a multitude of reasons.

On the flip side, the blogs of my fellow infertility/IVF/Surro peeps have helped me keep my sanity. The stories and the pictures everyone posts help me know I am not alone and they help me get through this difficult time. One could even say I have a minor addiction to fertility blogs now. :-) There is a plethora of information and support that is unlike any I could find by joining some local group or other outlet. With that in mind, I really wanted to contribute my story and support to help, as others have helped (and continue to help) me.

Blogs like these are important. I didn't want to feel like I had to censure anything, because the process is so very important. That is why I came to the decision to not post identifying pics or our names. I wanted to make sure I was completely honest in my posts, without fear of hurting anyone's feelings or jeopardizing our personal privacy. The main picture I finally decided to use the avatar of Kali,as created by Pixar's Sanjay Patel.  (I'll save the reason for that choice for another post.)

Thanks blogosphere peeps for all that you do. I am so very grateful for your bravery that spans not only fertility, but so much more. I am thrilled that not all have restrictions as I do and love all that you share. You are an inspiration to myself and so many more. Keep up the good work.

If you are super-duper curious about me, then hit me up on the side with an email. But only if you have your own blog. :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Playing catch up and one week to go!

Historical clock in downtown Prague

Sorry for my absence. I've actually been keeping up with most things going on (thank you Flipboard on iPhone), but my data is limited on my iPhone for international travel. So much going on in the IVF-surro-blogosphere!  Very exciting stuff! I've been reading every few days, but posting comments and writing posts from my phone was not as easy as one expects. Next time I will have it down better.

Husband had an additional surprise for me earlier this month and took me on a world-wind trip. Apparently he had been planning this one for a long time as well. He told me that this is it for our vacation plans for a long time now. He originally planned and paid for this before we knew the costs of IVF/Surrogacy and before I lost my job. Oh and before we got a big fat unexpected tax bill yesterday. But never mind all that - we had a wonderful time in Venice and Prague. I really have the best husband imaginable. I'm fairly certain I took close to 800 pictures. Both cities are beautiful and incredibly romantic.

Now I have a week to get ready for our IVF treatment in India. I'm nervous to say in the least. I had to start talking BCPs again (need to be in sync for treatment start and surrogate) and that has been a bit of a pain. Often I am sensitive to medications and I am remembering why I stopped taking oral contraception many, many years ago. (Had nothing to do with wanting to get pregnant!)

The last 4 or 5 days I have felt bloated and nauseated. I ache easily and I'm testier than normal. If this is what a little BCP does to me, than what can I expect from the IVF medications? Since I actually had to start my birth control a week late and will have to continue the active pills for an additional week, I can only imagine the battle my body is going through. Bleck.

India. One week. I'm nervous like I have never been before. I've been to India before and never felt as nervous as I do now. So many things racing through my brain. More later.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Better late than never (non-fertility related)

Ellen Degeneres

Normally I wouldn't add something political on a blog like this, but I have to say I'm beyond excited about Obama's support for gay marriage. It's long overdue, but I think it's fantastic. I've always been a staunch support of civil rights, and this is no different.


That's it. Carry on. (Don't forget to dance.)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

As promised, my little communication rant

Frustration: I haz it

Fair warning: I'm PMSing and frustrated. Anything remotely drama-queeny is not my fault. 

I am getting frustrated with the communication issue with our clinic. Have done enough research to know that our doctor is super-duper busy, but that begs the question: why doesn't she hire additional staff? A case manager would be fantastic. 

The doctor uses a yahoo email account, and from what my hubby says, yahoo doesn't give the thread of all back and forth emails. Essentially that means I am emailing the same information multiple times, even though I can see (with gmail) that the information is all there. 

Her: "Send me your results"
Me: "They are at the bottom of this thread."
Her: "Ok. Then please send me your results" 
Me: Sigh. "Ok. Here you go. Can you answer these 15 questions for me."
Her: "Yes, but only after a few days and only with one or two words answers."

2 weeks later...
Me: I have a couple of quick questions.
Her: "Ok. Send me your results."
Me:  "Ok. Let me go stab my eyes first." 

Is this going into a case file? Maybe she just doesn't have time to look at everyone's file when responding to the hundreds of email she gets (she personally responds to all emails herself). Again, this is where a case manager would be prime. Or Sharepoint. Or somethin. I hate to be the spoiled American, but jeez. 

Actually it wouldn't have even bothered me except some important information almost slipped through the cracks about when I am supposed to start BCP and our arrival date. At least it seems important. After a few unclear emails, where I literally wrote "just to clarify" on each one, it was discovered that we would need to take BCP for an extra day to be in sync for my arrival. I have no idea what the consequences would have been with me being off sync with the surrogate by 1 day or starting the IVF cycle a day later. Maybe nothing, but maybe something. 

When I don't get a exact details and clarity up front, I get super anxious. Like super-duper anxious. More than the average person. I have to keep important information in an easily accessible digital format (thank you Evernote) that I can access no matter where I am, as I sometimes have what I like to call "processing issues" (don't ask). This make me prone to be an "annoying patient" because I need uber clarity and a high level of granularity.  Had I started this "clarity" routine earlier in life, I would have saved myself tons of money and a big chunk of my sanity. Let's just call it "lessons learned". On the flip side, it make me wonder if hyperventilating is a good relief option when I don't get it. "Paper or plastic ma'am?"

I've had to reign these OCD eccentrics waaaaaaaay back based on my husband's advice, so as not to offend. Something about doctors getting offended when patients questions them or something; I don't remember because I didn't write it down. "Make sure you write things like this...." OMG A SHINY BUNNY! That's like a double rainbow!

My in-laws repeatedly tell me on the phone "take no tension!!!" I wish it were that easy. Things like this make me go bonkers. Bonkers is not good. I'm PMSing and the weight of everything that is going on is ringing the doorbell. I don't even have my pants on. Or coffee. I'm not even making sense now. 

At least her email didn't bounce back again today like it did yesterday. A month from now I will be in India again. Holy crap. 

UPDATE: Crisis averted. She has responded and now I feel much better. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wrap up from last week or so

The good:
To top off my previous birthday week, my hubby also planned a surprise birthday party for me on Saturday night. It was awesome. I'm guessing around 50 friends and family showed up. Brings tears to my eyes because sometimes often I think I'm very socially awkward and it meant a lot to have so many people show up for little old me. 

On the funny side of it, my hubby spilled the beans the night before. While cooking dinner he announces "don't go planning anything for tomorrow night," (I hadn't) "you have a surprise party." LOL. If you know me and my husband, you would appreciate how humorous I found this. The next evening we had to plan me acting surprise walking in. It was doubly and triply humorous because a.) my friends stink at being quiet during surprise parties and I heard the "shhhhh shhhhhh, here she comes!" from ACROSS THE PARKING LOT and b.) my friend's mom stopped us in the restaurant and said in her thick Greek accent, "happy birthday! So many people here for you!"  Truthfully I really was surprised though because I had no idea that many people would be there and the tears that came to my eyes were honest and sincere. 

The bad: 
I am getting frustrated with the communication issue with our clinic. Have done enough research to know that our doctor is super-duper busy, but that begs the question: why doesn't she hire additional staff? A case manager would be fantastic. Actually this deserves an entire separate post: so shall it be.

In other semi-bad news: remember how I was all "acupuncture doesn't hurt at all" the other week? Last week it did. Only in a few places, but YOW! I do not like needles. Which is pretty unfortunate when you think about what I will be going through next month. 

The other: 
I finished my book: All The Fishes Come Home to Roost: An American Misfit in India.  For those of you wondering, it has nothing to do with surrogacy, IVF, or even traveling in India. Basically it is a memoir from a woman whose parents worshiped a deceased Indian cult leader, and decided to move India to live with other followers. Tragedy written with wit, off-color humor ensues in the same style of Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors. I won't go into a long review here, but if you liked Scissors (or other tragedy/humor type memoirs), then you will probably enjoy this. I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. 3.5 on a grumpy day. I look forward to more from this author as this was her first book. 

The other part deux:
Watched Google Baby today. I had seen clips of it before, but had not gone as far as to watch it yet. Mostly because a lot of the comments on youtube and news sites were pretty hurtful. I don't know why I let that affect me as I generally despise the comment section of news articles and such, regardless of the topic. (Makes me depressed that there so many misinformed or hateful people.) Any way, the movie was good. I thought it may make me second guess my decision (based on the trailer), but it actually had the opposite effect. Made me reaffirm that our decision is the right one for us. 

I'm putting the trailer below, but I don't think it's good representation of the movie. There are other clips on youTube you can watch as well to get slightly more. I'm guessing the trailer was designed more for people that aren't going through surrogacy and have prejudgments. The movie isn't judgmental at all. The movie is informative from a practical, medical, and emotional standpoint. If you can get a copy, I would say go for it. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How the heck did my mom survive the 3 of us?

My 20 year old had surgery yesterday for a torn ACL. Yes, for those of you paying attention, I did just write "20 year old". For the super-sharp, I was 19 going-on-20 when I had him in a short-lived marriage. (When I think about the age I had him and the age he is now, it gets quite scary!) 

This is the second time in 6 years he has had this surgery; guess he wanted to even out both knees. My mother jokingly told me the first time "at least he waited until his teenage years before hurting himself too much." Or maybe that was when he had to have stitches in his elbow... Either way, she's right - my first injury-related hospital trip was around 1 years old when my naughty older brother distracted her while I managed to break a Coke bottle and slice my pinky. Teamwork fail. Not a big deal though since the doctor informed her my pinky was too small for stitches and instead cleverly used butterfly band-aids to hold everything together. I waited till I was 2 before actually needing stitches.

Even though I have previously dealt with this surgery with him before and he went through it well, I still got butterflies in  my stomach while sitting in the waiting room. Not too bad, but still, you always worry. Not enough to freak you out, but enough to realize you need to think positive thoughts. Or distract yourself. Of forget to eat and let your tummy rumble really loud so you get weird looks from other people. 

It helped that we all had a light mood prior to the surgery. He is great at making people laugh. Even better when he is given loopy meds. Everyone will be sure to tease him for a long time with some of his ramblings. 

My mom gets very nervous when anything goes wrong with any of us - which is ironic since she never tells people when something is wrong with her. Likewise, I get very nervous when something happens to my "baby". He's fine now, but I guess the cliche is true, they are always your "baby boy" or "baby girl". He let me take care of him, which made me feel better. By this afternoon, he was doing MUCH better already. By his request, we stopped at the game store today while he hobbled on crutches. 

And now I am starting all over again with my incredible husband. We are that rare couple that checked in with each other on the whole "having kids" discussion when we first started dating. Was a weird convo at the time, but I am so glad we did. Took a lot of pressure off knowing where we both stood and the complications we would face. 

But starting over is scary. I see my IVF blog friends writing about NICO and I get nervous. I see my close friends whose baby made his appearance at 25 weeks and I wonder how they seemed so blissfully calm. Nothing is scarier than a sick child. I guess it's one of those things everyone handles differently, and for me I have to not let the worry creep in too much. Just stay logical and calm. Actually, now that I think about it, I handle these things well. I'm guessing most people do when it really comes down to it.

To all of you parents out there - this hat tip is for you. *tips hat*  
Now I need to go hunt down an awesome Mother's Day gift...