Monday, July 30, 2012


Ok, confession time: I'm a tad afraid that my hormones are making me feel a little roid ragey. I'm not used to taking birth control pills (BCP) and I'm certainly not used to taking DHEA, both of which contain hormones. This morning I feel unusually weepy, and often I feel unusually RAWR!!!! Add that I am probably PMSing and it's a mighty good thing that hubby is at the office today.

I'm hoping it will level off soon; the bad parts, not the good parts. On the good side I think I am getting darn good sleep at night (not normal for me) and I don't feel exhausted during the day like I normally do. DHEA is supposed to help people with chronic fatigue syndrome and I am wondering if the deeper sleep at night is why. How long has this been a problem for me? My mom still tells stories how she worried I would be kicked out of kindergarten because of my requirement for 2+ hour naps.

If the Fedex man likes me today, then I should receive my Melatonin. Hopefully that won't throw me back to wanting to sleep all the time. Sigh.  I wonder if I should go back to acupuncture. It didn't seem to help one bit and I wonder if the occasional massage wouldn't be just as effective (and appreciated more.) Then again, the acupuncturist also could help me wade through the RAWR.

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be taking all kinds of weird supplements and dropping $100 a pop to the local acupuncturist, I would have told them they were off their rocker. Next thing you know I'll be traveling to a rural town, in a foreign country, without my husband, navigating the intricacies of basic every day things, for the privileged of shots in my belly. Oh wait...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

An argument, a wedding, and a memorial


Last week had it's ups and downs that melted into this week.

1.) An argument
Hubby and I had a big fight about if we will try again with my eggs after my second treatment in September. He's of the opinion that if I don't have a significant change in number of eggs retrieved, than it is pointless to even try. I'm of the opinion that it takes at least 2 cycles to even know the best treatment path. Truthfully, I see his point, but we really didn't need to GO THERE until we see if I improve at all. I need the hope right now.

We are going back to our original clinic. We had to make a decision and truth be told, our other India option did not get back to us with information promised; even after reminded. In fact, after the reminder I was basically told that the original person that was getting the information just had a baby and no information on if someone else would be getting the info or how long I would have to wait. I'm 40 years old and I really can't wait - hoping that they will get back to me. Every month lowers my chances. It's a shame because I really thought we would be going there instead. Maybe we will if they ever get back to me and IF I show improvement; two big ifs.

2.) A Wedding
My little (half) brother was married last weekend. The only reason I put "half" is because of the #3 part of this post. He is not part of that side of the family, even though he 100% part of mine.

Any how, the wedding was great and I could not be happier. He asked me to be the photographer and I happily acquiesced once it was known that I only "play a photographer on TV". Expensive equipment != good wedding photographer. The wedding was small, but really wonderful and I was able to spend time with family as well as people I have not seen in a really long time.

I spent the two weeks prior practicing with my camera and now need to spend a fair amount of time editing the wedding pics I have. Very critical of myself, but I hope they like it.

3.) A Memorial
My father died when I was 3. I won't belabor all the wah-wah tragedy of how it affected my life, but I will say this: with the exception my Grandparents and 2 others, the rest of that side of the family (which is large)  has pretty much ignored me most of my life. What is that saying? "The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference."

Last fall my Grandfather died and I was fortunate enough to be able to say my goodbyes by flying over to Sweden a few weeks prior. My Grandfather was the closest thing I had to a dad growing up. There was a funeral in Sweden, but half of the ashes were kept to be delivered to the US, as all of the children and grandchildren live here. In typical fashion, my family consulted neither me nor my older brother about availability for a memorial date. We were told last week that it would be in Sept.

While I tried to explain that I would be in India for medical reasons in September and asked if it could be rescheduled, I was informed that reservations had already been made by others (only a day later) and the date was chosen because it had the best weather for NC. Great - now I fall below weather. For the first time in my life, in a long, but respectful manner, I told them that their lifetime apathy towards my father's side of the family (my brother and I) was unacceptable. As the good little, quiet girl, I'm sure it has sent ripples throughout the family.

I don't pat myself on the back for adding grief during a hard time (as one Uncle put it), but for my own sanity it had to be done. Grandpa died last fall and they have had plenty of time to contact us instead of "oh freaking well - this is the date we choose - too bad for you." My grandfather told us we were to be considered as the stand-in for my father, and we have never been given that respect.

Maybe since I've finally said it, I can move on. Maybe this is the wake-up point where I tell myself that I need to make sure I'm not an absentee family member to my nieces and nephews. Maybe I won't keep myself up at night wondering why the hell so many didn't give a damn for so many years. Maybe I can accept that is our role, I've had my say about it, and concentrate on those around me that have CONTINUOUSLY SHOWN love as long as they have known me. Maybe. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

New word for the day: Abaya

Popular Abaya designer aab:

I'm stewing over some stuff from the last week and this week, so in the interim you get a fashion post. You've been warned about these things before. It's your own fault for reading...

I'm not even sure I should write this post. There is a high likelihood that it will draw an unfavorable comment or two, which would be the exact opposite of my intent. Still, on my recent trip to India I came across something I have never seen before, and quit frankly, mislabeled (in probably a horribly politically incorrect phrase) as a bedazzled burqa. Thus for a moment I will pause here and say that I do not wish to judge or have others judge a woman's motivation to wear certain styles of clothes on this post. This is an extremely complicated subject that I feel is better left discussed elsewhere.

Now that we got that seriousness out of the way - back to my point: BEDAZZLED burqas! Ok, after stumbling across an article in Hindustan Times, I was given a small lead that what I marveled at in Gujurat on many occasions, may not have actually been a burqa. According to the article, "designer Anand Bhushan says, 'Even we may not be able to tell an abaya from a burqa. So, we shouldn’t feel hurt. After all, Hermes did a whole sari collection. What bigger compliment do we need?'"  First I thought to myself, "that Hermes sari line IS pretty fabulous" and then I thought, "wait - what is an abaya?" 

Let me back up for a minute. India has a diverse population that consists largely of Hindus and Muslims (other's too, but for the sake of brevity, we won't get into all of that for now.) In Kashmir, for instance, there is about a 95% Muslim population, though it is a major tourist area and thus you see many Indians from all over the country with all sorts of backgrounds. Here is where I saw about 10% of the resident female population (that was out in public) in full burqas on a previous trip. In Gujarat (where I just returned from), there is a much, much smaller Muslim population, but as it borders Pakistan you will see various levels of Muslim tradition reflected in attire (men and women). What I began to notice in Gujarat was the more traditional styles of Islamic outfits were somewhat different than what I have previously been exposed to. 

It started as we passed through a train stop. I was casually looking out the window when I saw a woman dressed from head to toe (including veil) that was somehow different. Part of it was her hijab, but part of it was simply her. She had a confidence about her that is rare anywhere. She was tall, lean, wore expensive (vision) eye-wear, and had one hand on her hip. Then I noticed her outfit. Though it certainly covered everything, even it was remarkably beautiful.  Like she had stepped off a runway, put on her glasses and veil, and went off to catch a train with her friend. Something a little like the picture below except WITH SPARKLES

Or like this (replace the white WITH SPARKLES)


Rarely am I floored by a woman I see for 60 seconds, but this one was stunning.

Over the next week and a half, I noticed that the Muslim women dressed in all black all had little extras to their outfits. Mostly it was crystals, sometimes only small patterns and sometimes ones that would rival a teenager with a swarovski addiction. There were also lots with lace or chiffon worked into the sleeves and hems. All such new styles and not at all the image we westerners often have of such things. 

Don't get me wrong, this post is neither pro or con: simply to highlight how I am constantly amazed how things are not always how we think they are. I love traveling and seeing new things, and this was just another reminder of this. Should I ever travel to a country where a heavier coverage is required of me it's good to know that there is as wide a variety in this as anything else.

In one of the large shopping marts we frequented,  I remember seeing a young lady in one of these beautiful decorated abayas, veil over her face, at the checkout lane with her friends in various outfits. She was the only one with a veil, but some had abayas and some wore other typical Indian attire. As I looked across the room at her I noticed something else: eyes wrapped expertly with kohl were staring back at ME in wonderment. The blonde hair, blue-eyed, Caucasian girl dressed like an Indian complete with bangles on my arms, bindi on my forehead, and  sindoor in my hair. What a sight I must have been to her. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Open letter to The Hindu (newspaper)

Thanks to Douglas over at Just One Out of Seven Billion for bringing an article by The Hindu, to my attention.  Below is an open letter to the editor based on a similarly emailed letter.


Regarding your article here:, I am surprised and saddened to see such a bias-based article written by The Hindu. There are several misrepresentations that I will list for your consideration.

1.) Thanks to the emergence of surrogate motherhood as a multimillion-dollar industry in the country, the clinic is doing a roaring business. What is the success formula? An unending supply of poor and illiterate women and the absence of laws have made the trade the fastest way to make money.

No source referenced here (a mainstay of good journalism) on how the author came to the conclusion that this specific clinic's success is based on [the uteri] of poor/illiterate women. No mention on how the clinic in question has put a lot into the community to educate the surrogates and their children. No mention of the trust fund set up to assist current and previous surrogates to further themselves and their family. A simple query into the community will show you that Dr. Patel is highly revered for all she has done to help the women in her care. Simple research into print editions of The Times of India (Ahmedabad edition) or Hindustan Times would have shown this as well. Had the author inquired into proof of how the surrogates have had their lives changed by this clinic, then Dr. Patel would have been able to provide this.

2.) Another inmate had four foetuses in her womb, two of which were aborted as the couple did not want so many children. There is no clarity on whether two foetuses were aborted for medical reasons. 

Using the emotional term "inmate" aside,  a woman carrying 4 foetuses to full term is in extreme danger, as are the foestuses. A rudimentary check with a few respectible obstetricians would have enlightened this fact. A woman's survival rate and the babies survival rate is seriously compromised and often considered not worth the risk. A doctor that WOULD allow this should draw much more concern as in cases where it is allowed, it would appear that the woman's health is not the priority.

3.) A commissioning couple can get a surrogate for half the price in India compared to the cost in the U.S. or the U.K., where surrogacy is not allowed or permitted only in special cases. European countries do not allow surrogacy at all. 

While I could lament on the economic differences between these countries and how comaparing them is extremely misleading, I will simply point out the cost of the average 1000 sqft flat in Vastrapura (located in the state of the clinic mentioned in this article) to allude my point: the [current] equivelent of 12-16K US dollars. To find the same home in the US at 3x the price would not only be almost impossible, but would most definitly require additional large funds to be habitated. That aside, this statement by the journalist, Aarti Dhar, is also false: surrogacy is most certainly allowed throughout the US. A few states may have particular laws disallowing it, but all one has to do is find a surrogate in a different state if there is any concern.

The statement on Europe is equally false as there is more than one European country that allows surrogacy, though like India, some do not have specific regulations in place. Even for the majority that do disallow it, the US has long been a place (much longer than India) for Europeans interested in surrogacy. Legal problems that were encountered in the US initially, such as the 1986 Baby M case, have been resolved by using gestational surrogacy only versus the traditional surrogacy.

The core principles of journalism dictate truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability. Since this article is not listed under the Opinion section and instead falls under the National section, it fails on all accounts. We can not address how women are being exploited in these circumstances, and I believe there is a high liklihood that they are in many places, if our newspapers do not give the information accurately and without bias. More importantly, we can not attempt to fix it. Very disappointing that The Hindu, with such a illustrious history and excellent reputation, failed on such a basic level.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: Waiting for Daisy (a memoir)

Just before my recent trip to India, I was checking out what books might be on special for my Nook. Was intrigued when I saw the title pop up: Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother. Immediately it was downloaded and consumed. Obviously. 
The Barnes and Nobel overview states, Peggy Orenstein’s widely hailed and bestselling memoir of her quest for parenthood begins when she tells her new husband that she’s not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she’s done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal. Buffeted by one obstacle after another, Orenstein seeks answers both medical and spiritual in America and Asia, all the while trying to hold on to a marriage threatened by cycles, appointments, procedures, and disappointments. Waiting for Daisy is both an intimate page-turner and a wryly funny report from the front.
Orenstein is able to elegantly capture the ups and downs that infertile women go through with trying to have a baby; her story is unique, but her feelings genuine. She deals with cancer, depression, miscarriages, adoption, egg donation, career balance, mixed emotions, doctor mistakes, alternative therapies, and traveling to another continent in her pursuit of a baby. There is plenty of self-deprecating humor that lifts the book up in a way that only an insider may be able to "get". At  the beginning of the book she is making fun of how obsessive someone online seems, only to find herself in the same obsessive state later in the book. She humorously likens her path to harder medications to that of a drug addicted: " thing you know you are taking out a second mortgage to pay for your IVF treatment".
She is brutally honest and as such, some readers may not like her. She has thoughts we don't like and does actions we can't condone. Never-the-less, there will be many parts that IVFers will be able to relate to and even if you get angry at some of her choices, deep down I think many of us have guilt for something we have thought or done. She does not dwell on her guilt, but I suspect it is because publicly admitting some of the things are hard enough without lamenting on it for a long period. (Note: anyone that has gone through adoption or wishes they could go through adoption, will NOT like this book at all.)
The book ends with Peggy unexpectedly conceiving naturally, against all odds. While this is not possible for me, I still really enjoyed the book. Even though I got mad at the author on several occasions, I still felt that  bond that I feel to many of my IVF/surro bloggers who have different beliefs, different experiences, and different lives. I'm reminded how certain things can bring us all together, routing for one another, through it all. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tick Tock - you don't stop.


My husband told his family recently that we are considering other clinics, but that he was leaving the final decision completely up to me. That said, we have to make our decision very quickly now. Time is of the essence and even though I promised him I would have one for him last night , I did not. Primarily I am waiting on some information from 2 clinics, but if I don't get it soon we may just have to make a decision without them. 

I'm 40 years old and every decision has to be done quickly to optimize our chances. Not only because my eggs age with every passing month, but also because I am not working while we go through this period. As I had a very good salary previously, that becomes a huge hit with every month that passes. Especially when you factor in all the extra expenses. Not to mention I'M 40. Sigh. 

My husband knows my proclivity to procrastinate when weighing all the options (I obsess over details) and  has a "super-power" to know what I want before I even voice the finality of it. If I don't have an answer for him in the next few days, he will take the lead and decide based on the facts I have given him. Knowing it's what needs to be done, I won't mind a bit. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

We interrupt this pity party to talk about fashion

Instead of feeling sorry for myself I am going to do what usually helps me and write/talk about something totally unrelated. (The more light-hearted, the better.) And in typical western style, I'm going to write about something I know very little bit about and pretend to be an authority. Yay! Today's topic: saris.

What encouraged this post? Shortly after meeting my now-husband, I began to obsess over Indian wear. Specifically saris, but if I had an opportunity to wear a lehenga, I'd jump at it. Sadly I do not; Still, not all is lost because a.) I totally <3 saris and b.) I've got a rockin collection of them now; mostly fancy, but some everyday ones too.

My collection of books has taught me about styles, patterns, history, and even the social life of a sari, but provided little on how to actually wear one. Thus I had to tirelessly search the internet for instructions and videos; let me tell you, there are a lot of confusing and poorly done videos/instructions in interweb land. To save you some time, I'll list some basic how-tos at the bottom of this post to get you up and running.

The other day, I came upon this new book called: Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art of Draping (Spiral bound). Actually it is not new at all (1997), but man is it informative! 130 pages of different ways to tie the sari (usually by region), illustrated images, and generally a page or two worth of information for each style.  It's quite fascinating and helped me get a better understanding of why the nurses in Gujarat quickly redid my sari right before my sonogram (never-mind I might mess my pleats up in the stirrups.) Apparently the Eastern style of Bihar can be quite different than its Western counterpart in Gujarat.

The book is awesome. Page after page of different ways to wear a sari with surprisingly clear illustrations. You can tell that much research when into the book and I have seen where it's contents have been lauded by Indians and Westerners alike. The only major problem is that it IS a fashion book and as such the styles of draping may have somewhat changed since it's publication. Still, it shows a plethora of information that I see is currently worn in my travels throughout India.

One thing I didn't find in the book is on pleating the front part and pallav/pallu (prounced palloo); collectively sometimes called mundanai. This seems to not only be the hardest part to master, but consequently the part most often ignored. I've gotten better at it, but it takes practice, practice, practice. I've yet to find a good source on this besides family and friends.

Most westerners wouldn't even notice the difference, but trust me, the well-dressed Indian woman does. Quite frankly a poorly pleated mundanai/pallu can look sloppy when done wrong. If you are in a place where pleats on top are the style (like Gujarat), than you might want to sheepishly ask for someone's help. In my experience you will be greeted with excitement at the request. Take pictures when it is complete so you can blow it up later and analyze by the truckloads. I prefer the styles that drape down my arm, but it's always good to know how to switch for weather, location, or convenience.

As promised, I am going to give you my very non-experienced opinion on things to look out for when wearing a sari. Most of these suggestions originated from my own mistakes and women whom I respect impressing upon me certain protocols.

1.) Never let your petticoat show - especially across the bottom. Not even a teeny-tiny bit. It's bad form and is akin to letting your underwear hang out. Which leads me to #2

2.) Watch your bra strap. Despite what you may see on occasion, bra straps should be hidden at all times. Lots of cholis have bra ties on the underside of the  shoulders, but if the back style on your choli is fancy, you may want to incorporate some safety pins into the game.

3.) Buy a crap load of safety pins in various sizes. Not only will you need them for the top, but as one of the videos at the bottom points out, there are some great uses for them for the bottom. TRUST ME - you'll want to use them. And for those tricks, get the GOOD large safety pins, not the flimsy large ones. (Ones for western jewelry making suck.)

4.) Personal pet peeve: usually the top covers both breasts completely. Too often I see women let is slide down on the side (where it goes under the arm) and it doesn't look right; basically it looks sloppy. We've all made the mistake, but unless you have a sari where the choli is supposed to show all over, keep the side pulled up. There are certain styles where it is fine, like here and here, but if you google images for sari, you will notice that most of them have the "girls" covered. Inexperienced sari wearers (like myself) should heed; you can even put a tiny pin on the side to help it stay in place.

5.) When dressing in a sari, put your shoes on first. That will let you know what length to adjust it to. Typically feet are covered.

There is a sample section here and here. The latter also has a place to order it for $30.00 if you live in the US. The former has a link from the publisher, but Google will give you some warnings if you click it. I went to the Google detail page and saw that there were no current problems, but that was at the time of this writing. I personally bought mine from Barjon's Books, which is what the publisher website recommends anyway for US ($30 + $7 for S&H). You will have to call them as they do not have an online order form, but the gentleman is very nice and I got it within days.

I would avoid Amazon (US) as only individual sellers have it and they are charging way too much for it ($55-$210). Unless you live in a city with a top fashion school (e.g., New York, London, Paris), don't count on finding it in a library either. My cursory check of libraries only found them at these places. 

INSTRUCTIONS (feel free to list more):
Good basic short video

This is a great video to show you pinning tricks that other videos often miss. One compliant I have of this video is the sloppy way the original speaker has her sari where it goes under the arm and crosses the chest. In my experience with some of the most elegant sari wearer's I know, this is a serious no-no.

Basic instructions (you will see the same ones all over the web):

The APP!
Great basic app. In my experience, the pleats (on the bottom) go more towards the center, but this helps you with some finer details that most of us have trouble with.

Happy sari wearing!

"Assume" makes an...

When I first started reading IVF blogs, I came across an elegantly written piece about why adoption was not the choice for everyone and how the poster was sick of people suggesting it. It was long post, and I wish I remembered who wrote it, but it was good. Really, really good. The post outlined perfectly why not only was it not an option for them and the reasons why it was not an option for many, but also how the constant mention added hurt to an already very difficult time.

That's what I felt like yesterday with yet another hint that we should consider donor eggs. 

I'm sure it wasn't intentional, the person probably thought they were being helpful - they weren't. At this time, egg donation is not an option for us. Period. Maybe that will change if I have additional failed cycles and other things fall into place, but 1 failed cycle does not = go straight to donor eggs for us. 1 failed cycle that I may add, produced a high grade embryo. I may not have responded as well as we had hoped, but that's what 1st cycles are all about - right? Learn how you respond and adjust.

Both my husband and I are educated people and we know exactly where we stand with odds. We are fortunate enough to have access to published information that is reserved for academics in the field, are avid researchers, and even have access to data that very few others are privy to. If anything, one can say I have analyzed data to death as data is my field of expertise. We do not even look at data the way a layperson does because we have a statistical and data background that let's us read beyond sheer numbers. We are well aware of EXACTLY where we stand. 

Besides the warm and fuzzy of having your own genetic child, we have bigger issues on why it's not an option: my husband is not a US citizen. We live in the US. An egg donor means our child would not be a US citizen and we could run into some very serious issues of not being able to return to the US or a child visa expiring while we are in the US. There are 20 things that could go wrong and quite frankly the added cost of it all (me not being able to work while this thing sorts out) is too much of a limbo for us. To badly paraphrase the great Jack Nicholas, "Go sell limbo somewhere else, we're all stocked up here". 

We could wait for my husband to become a citizen, but that can take a lot of time and his international travel could be limited during the process. That may or may not cause issues with his work and it would certainly cut out travel to India, something we would prefer not to do at the moment given his parents are elderly, have had health issues, and live in India. 

There are a TON more issues of WHY we choose to try to use my eggs right now and quite frankly I don't feel like listing them all at the moment. Between a baby shower and a email yesterday, I'm spent. The email was from a popular clinic and even though I have never worked with them before and have only had 1 failed IVF, there was a blatant suggestion that I consider the egg donor route. I'm sure it wasn't meant this way, but it felt the same way that all of us IVF'ers do when someone suggests that we quit being selfish and go adopt a needy child. It's not one of our current options and people shouldn't assume that it is. 

I seriously thought my tears were going to flow in front of everyone when I naively and happily opened that email from the clinic. In the middle of the baby shower no less. Let me clarify that I think the egg donor route is an excellent option for many people and I fully support that decision, - but for now it is not for us. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Decisions, decisions

While we already know we want to cycle again as possible, it is very hard deciding where. There are so many pros and cons to the different locations - have to decide quickly. Due to my age and low previous response, it is imperative that I choose someone that has a high success rate for MY given situation. That's harder to determine (outside of US) than one would think. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I'm oddly ok. Setting my expectations realistically helped a lot. I think it was harder for my husband, but he seems to be holding up ok right now. He woke up at 6:45am wanting to call the doctor. Before we did that I checked my email and the sad news was waiting in my inbox. I can tell I'm going to cry, but I don't feel absolutely horrible.

We've already contacted the doctor about returning; now I just need my PIO card to come in stat.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Things you should not read during 2WW (I mean it!)


Supposed to get the news tomorrow, but I wouldn't be surprised if we don't hear from them till the 11th.

Looks like I need to pull out a yoga video and read my new "Mindfulness" book. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Indian transformation 70% complete

Well I've done it. After worrying about the limitations of my 10 year visa while in India, I decided to go a different route and looked into obtaining OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) or PIO (Person of Indian Origin) status. Oddly enough, I only qualify for the "Person of Indian Origin" status as the OCI does not make allowances for spouses.

The differences are not that much. PIO is only for 15 years while OCI is granted for a lifetime. The PIO also costs more ($365 vs $275) and overall has little less rights (such as I have to register if I plan on staying more than 180 days), but way more leeway than a normal visa. I can pretty much go and come as I please - that is the main reason I applied even with 6+ years left on my visa.  There is also talk of merging the two types and I'd rather pay more now than possibly lose out if they don't want to include spouses in the future. I could get lucky and shifted into lifetime status! (A girl can hope.) 

Gathering the paperwork and filling out the forms was pretty tedious. You need to make sure all your "t's" are crossed and "i's" are dotted. After gathering all of your paperwork, you need to make sure you have copies made of the right things (such as your drivers license or husband's documents), and that everything is in the right order. After quadruple checking everything, I was finally satisfied enough yesterday to hand it over to FedEx guy, even while giving him a slight Big Eye. I get edgy whenever my passport leaves my possession.

Hopefully by this time next month I will be able to tell people I am  officially a "Person of Indian Origin". As a blonde hair, blue eyed, fair-skinned girl, I can't wait to see the confusion among my friends here in the states. Even more so when I have to present it at travel points in India! I can hear it now, "wait... what?" Better bring along my visa just in case...

TSA killed my laptop

On my trip to India, we opted for the pat down instead of the scanner as we always do. Trying to have a baby, we do not need anything working against us. When doing an opt out, you are not allowed to carry your things to the pat down area - TSA agents will do that for you. At least that's the way it works in our airport.

Going through the security line, we noticed that one of the TSA agents was yelling at everyone for a variety of things. If you dared forget to take even a sliver of paper out of your pocket, you were yelled at in front of everyone. I received my pat down and started putting my things back together when I noticed my husband was one of those people. We travel very frequently and he carries non-metal things in his pocket all the time - never previously a problem. This time it was. As my husband does not take it well when people in positions of power are abusive, he argued with the TSA agent, but then eventually was allowed through. 

After he went through the metal detector, he was brought over to the pat down area. I was still gathering all my stuff, but was distracted as the TSA agent began to yell at other people. Had my attire back together and started putting all of my things they had brought over back in the bags. 

After my husband's pat-down, I noticed he was visibly distressed. Not surprising. In the airport there is a TSA stand where you can see agents sitting down, talking, doing paperwork. My husband gathered his items that the agents had brought over and headed to the TSA stand. 

At the stand, he stated he wanted to file a compliant, but the agent stated that she would take his complaint orally. Since we had an overseas flight to catch, we didn't want to investigate if that was enough or if we should insist on filing a form. After all, they could always throw it away if it was what they were trying to avoid.

It was in right before we landed in Paris (our layover) that we realized his laptop was never returned to him. As the plane landed, we rushed to talk to the stewardess, but there was nothing she could do; they don't even have TSA overseas. Then it hit me as we got off the plane: my laptop had not been returned to me either. One is a mistake - two laptops not returned is something else all together. 

In a flurry of long distance cell phone calls, we were able to contact my brother and his wife to get the process started of trying to get our laptops back. They found out the number to our airport TSA and the general number. Even though it was still the middle of the night in our original airport, I left a message for the manager of TSA customer service for that airport. (Big surprise - he never called back.) 

Fortunately my brother was able to retrieve the laptops the next day; he was really on top of it. While he was picking them up, he heard the lady in lost and found drop a laptop. He asked if it was one of ours, but she insisted it was not and opened up another laptop stating it was that one. My brother was all prepared to give his ID and the passwords to the computers, but no need, the employee said he had "an honest face" and let him take both laptops without any proof what-so-ever.

When he got home he booted the laptops up to make sure they were the right ones. They were, but unfortunately mine would not boot. Rather than having him send the laptops to India like we originally planned, we decided not to risk more damage and vowed to take care of it on our return.

Well I've returned and it's not good. My 6 month old laptop is fried. For the first time in my life I took my computer to a repair shop (I'm an IT person), because it was clear that it needed tools that the average IT person does not have for data recovery. After days of trying different methods, the data recovery shop had to inform me that none of the data was recoverable and it was the worst case of damage by dropping that they had ever seen - and they see a lot. 

Normally I back up my hard drives, but with all of our recent unexpected travel (we've had a lot) and medical things, I just didn't get it around to it. I am sick to my stomach over what is lost forever. Not to mention the weeks and weeks worth of work on it. My computer has been shipped off to HP in hopes that in the very least it will still be covered it under warranty and that I will not have to "drop" another $600-$800 on a new one. 

Now the computer shop tells me that not only do they get A LOT of PCs that TSA has dropped, but that it is very common for TSA not to return things to people who are flying. Apparently if it goes unnoticed, all items are auctioned after 30 days. How many guesses do you want on who goes to those auctions... 

WILL UPDATE MORE AS MY CLAIM AND COMPLAINT PROCESS PROCEEDS. It is not a fast process from what I understand. Their website claims 3 weeks to even acknowledge your compliant and 6 weeks to resolve. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eggs in a basket

For some reason our daily fruit package from our hotel in India always reminded me of a uterus. Don't judge, I have a great imagination and my thoughts were consumed with my lady parts already. You can even see where I pressed the cling wrap with my thumbs to try and get a better look and some tiny round fruit beneath the bananas whose name escapes me now. I'll call them the ovary fruit. (Thank goodness my Fallopian tubes don't look like that!)

With wandering thoughts today (and because it has been mentioned to me more than one at my precious age of 40), I looked up some egg donor info today. Not because I'm worried, just to prepare myself with some info should I need it.

Holy. Crap. 

According the American Pregnancy Association, the costs for just the egg donation is another 15-20K. If we do it here in the US, then costs for egg donation + surrogacy + all the other expenses that go with it run around 120K (and that's ONLY if the IVF cycle is successful!) If we do it in India, the costs are much less, but the complications are way more. If I want an egg with my ancestry, then it gets SUPER complicated. 

Do the process in the USA where it costs more and you chance a lower success rate by using frozen embryos or find an egg donor that is willing to travel to India (and probably go through a huge culture shock.) If we use an egg donor in India, then I have zero chances of having an egg donor with similar traits to me. In India we also run into the problem of my husband not being a US citizen and thus our child would not be. Getting the baby a visa with the HOPES that the US would approve me for adoption (and then citizenship for child) is a nightmare that might test me more than I am able to handle. (What happens if they say no after the fact???) Alternatively I can dash all hopes of any remote resemblance and we wait for the long process of US citizenship for my husband. 


Come on little embryo! You're the only prior egg left in my basket.