Friday, December 18, 2009

Good Morning

Leah keeps telling me I should post more pics.

Here is LB sitting on my knees on our front porch this morning. We just returned from feeding the neighborhood pig some overripe tomatoes. I was thankful for this little girl's hand to hold while we walked down the street, the warmer weather, no snow and not having to work until 10:00 am.

Earlier in the walk. I was trying to take a candid photo with my cell phone, but then she saw it and reached for it.

For the sake of personal motivation, I am going to put out a couple of teasers for future posts:
  • Some of the ups and downs of parenting
  • Who am I? Now that I am a mother, what happened to my hobbies?
  • The day I horrified a fertile with my infertility experience and how much I enjoyed it.
  • Learning to say no: LB, that is, not me
Finally a quick question. For those with blogs and kid(s), why do you choose to post or not post pics of your little ones?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Power Of Genes

I have had a post brewing in my head for weeks if not months on how our genes shape who we are and then today* I read this article about fraternal twin girls separated at birth in China and adopted by separate American families. I recommend reading the article but the summary is that children expressed a desire for a sister as soon as they could talk and connected with each other immediately after meeting for the first time - at age 4.

Is it their shared gestation that makes them long for and bond with each other or is it something rooted in their DNA? Either way, it is interesting for those of us choosing alternate means to parenthood.

The reason I have been thinking about genetics is because of LB's emerging personality. She is a tidy girl. I am her primary care giver and outside of working 20 hours / week and one evening to myself (not regularly, but trying to get there), I am with her. I am not tidy. Brad is and so is her donor. She is so tidy that one of her first words was "back" as in put it where it goes, not necessarily where it was. If she finds a piece of paper on the floor at Costco, she picks it up and says, "Back!" and we throw it away. The cat is on the kitchen counter? "Back!" We get the cat off. I leave a towel on the bed? "Back!" I joke to Brad that she follows me around, picking up after me or at least telling me to pick up after myself.

I believe this is (nearly?) entirely her genetic programming. Certainly she is not modeling her behavior after me. Not a big deal really . . . she could have the exact same tendencies if even if she shared my DNA. But she doesn't and that is the rub.

Perhaps I just will never be one of those people who believes "it just doesn't matter at all!". It matters because my perception is different. When I first saw this emerging, I didn't talk about it. To be honest, I was a bit hurt. While I was enjoying seeing her personality evolve and unfold, I was feeling sorry for myself. Instead of immediately joking sarcastically to Brad, "Oh no! She has your tidiness gene!" it took me several weeks to come to terms with it.

One night I broke down and cried. Not because LB was not like me, which is a thought that sometimes come to mind, but because I was sad when I should be celebrating. It was a turning point on this particular issue and since I have become more relaxed about the whole thing. I joke about it now - sometimes mouthing "O - C - D" to Brad and generally feeling close to how I think I would feel if she had been our mutually genetic child.

I will freely admit that it is a personality flaw that I really wanted my genetic child. I mean really. I continue to feel that loss. Not just the loss for any genetic child (although that too) but that I don't have that connection with LB. It is not something that weighs me down or crosses my mind overly often, but it is there and I am occasionally triggered.

And to offer some balance: I am a mom. I am the mom to the most amazing little girl. I get all the ups and downs of parenting and I am 100% convinced I enjoy it more than many, if not most, parents because of the struggle to get here (I may be biased - I also think LB is the most special kid to be born since the dawn of mankind. Could I be wrong?). Sometimes by the end of the day I am worn out by cuteness. I kid you not. I feel the need to come down emotionally a few notches because I have spent the whole day in a high energy cute-fest: laughs, tickles, new words, hugs, funny sounds, new skills and new adventures.

Which is why I haven't been blogging as often. On top of chasing around a toddler who is tolerant of me cleaning (she helps, of course . . . BACK!) or cooking or other active non-baby centered activities, but not so much when I am at the pc; I struggle with what to write and not to write. The posts that go through my head are usually downers about infertility or oh-my-gosh-guess-what-LB-did-today! gushing posts (which I have pretty much avoided). Neither one seems like a great choice. Nearly everything about infertility is negative and most of my readers know first hand what it is like. Besides Brad, no one cares like I do about the daily life of a particular 17 month old - especially those still ttc #1.

Not a new struggle nor topic for those of us parenting after infertility, but there is my take. I am still planning on keeping this blog and will just see how it goes. Perhaps I should branch out into the rest of my life - like the fact that I read science fiction and would really love to find a new author. If you have a favorite, please share.

*I just realized I started this post 6 days ago so "today" was actually December 4th.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Still Kicking!

I am still here - just having trouble finding the time to blog. LB keeps me busy (and sleepy!) and work has been crazy. Not that I blog while working! No, of course not. Sheesh.

LBII seems to be going strong. I continue to plump up all too fast. Currently debating whether or not to get H1N1 vaccine - have decided each way multiple times. Continue to be more relaxed and expectant this pregnancy. Also still debating to quit my job or not . . . leaning toward not right now, but we will decide during my unpaid leave. Assuming, of course, we get a live baby out of this.

In LB news - she is at such a fun age. She uses more words every day and is constantly exploring. Right now I have a few minutes to blog because she is carefully opening the dog food container, getting a "scoop" (or about 2 tablespoons) and putting it in the dog's bowl. It is driving poor Ender, the dog (currently locked outside), mad with desire.

Bad infertile confession: I caught myself saying something in public I always try to only say in private. It was a lighthearted tone, but still would be offensive, I think, to a fellow infertile. After delightfully chasing LB around a department store, I joked to my mother, "I wish I had a five point harness!" Of course, there are times when I do want to tie her down for a few minutes, but people who don't know me also don't how grateful I am to have the opportunity to chase a little one around. I don't want to forget how something so casual can sting to someone in a different place on the trying to conceive journey.

That's it for now. Hopefully soon I will have a chance to post some of the things I have stirring around in my head. Until then I hope all of those still trying to have a child will find some peace during the difficult holiday season.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts On My Mind

Just some random bullet points because I haven't updated in a bit and I just don't seem to have much time.
  • Work. Ug. It has been overwhelmingly busy and I am feeling burned out. I have been in tears twice this week (thankfully, I work from home). No doubt some of that is hormones. I have as many open issues and my high performing coworkers who work twice the number of hours. I am not providing our customers with the level of support I think is adequate and it stresses me out. I have talked to my manager and we are trying to free up some of my time, but the thought keeps crossing my mind: Should I quit?
  • Budget / spending wise I can't afford to quit unless we do something more drastic like refinance our house and incorporate those outstanding fertility treatment bills (now on low interest credit cards).
  • Healthcare: Why is it the experts who talk about what works and doesn't work in terms of our current healthcare system seem and healthcare systems in general seem to live in a completely different world than our politicians who are charged with fixing the mess? do these people not talk to each other? Sure, politicians have to worry about the financial cost when the big idea people don't - but compare the cost to the Iraq war. Dear politicians: Do what is right not what gets you financial support.
  • Eating habits are still poor. I am addicted to my 10:00 am junk food. Yesterday was a wake up call - I am only 10 pounds from where I was when I delivered LB and LBII needs to cook for another 18 weeks. I also got a haircut - 30 minutes looking at my chubby face. Must. Do. Better.
  • As all parents, I worry about LB's development. With IVF and ICSI and DE I wonder about all the 'unnatural' influences. She doesn't have as many verbal words as I thought she would by now (16.5 months and 5? words). Then I realized she was signing two word sentences like "Where daddy" or "Where phone" or "More cheese". Of course, it really shouldn't matter. She is who she is and I need to remember and live that thought.
  • The EC (elimination communication) is going well. She almost always signs when she has to go number 2. She normally doesn't sign when she has to go #1 until she is the middle of going. Still, we offer the potty enough during the day that when we are home she wears panties and no diaper. Sometimes she will refuse the potty and then we have a 'miss' a few minutes later, but I suppose that is all part of the learning process.
  • We got LB some foam blocks. I find them so relaxing. It is a chance to be peaceful and creative. That is until Babyzilla comes by with a "Woah ho ho!" and knocks them all down. Good times.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not Quite Letting Go

When I made my plan, it never really occurred to me that we would be successful with our FET. It was easy to decide "if it works, I will say good bye to my genetic baby forever". Of course, that was logical too since trying with my own eggs was even more unlikely to work. I knew at some point I really, once and for all, needed to completely let go of having my genetic child.

Oh, but I was excited and hopeful! For the first time in nearly two years I stopped saying (when one of my sisters was making my crazy), "Here I am, the pick of the litter and I didn't get to breed." I started saying (with an internal smile), "Here I am, the pick of the litter and I might yet get to breed."

They were good, hopeful times. I put the word out that I was looking for any left over meds to help defray as much of my out of pocket expenses as possible. I got a couple of promises and some in my anxious little hands. I was even excited about cycling alongside Belinda, our donor. We would make it as hopeful, exciting and stress free as possible. Belinda was excited too. It was right, it would work and no one would have to get nailed to anything!* I enjoyed that thought for 39 days.

Then came the positive pregnancy test on the FET.

I was and still am very, very happy it worked. While it would have been nice to try again with my eggs, the most likely outcome is that I wouldn't have had any of my embryos grow into a healthy baby. There were of course no guarantees that a fresh cycle with Belinda's and any potential FET's would have worked for a sibling. I know I am fortunate not only in being successful (so far) but in saving quite of bit of time, money and stress. It is all good.

So why do I still have these in my fridge and why does it make me just a little bit sad every time I see them?

*From Douglass Adam's book So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Monday, November 2, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday: Best Halloween Ever

Warning - this is a gushing kid post. Please carry on if you are not in the mood.

Sometimes the perfect moment is an ordinary moment you remember to appreciate and be present for. Sometimes the perfect moment is a dream come true.

I give you Halloween 2009:

LB fell asleep in the car just before we expected to go trick or treating. I couldn't wait for her to wake up, but let her sleep until she started to wake up a bit - about 45 minutes later. At the first sign of awareness, I started talking to her and when it was clear she was waking up and not just rolling over to go back to sleep, I scooped her up and started getting her into her customer

I was SO excited. "Oh, LB! Wait until you see what is in store for you! We are going trick or treating!! You are going to be a bee. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!" I went on and on - it was seriously pathetic - to the point that part of me wanted to be cautious - telling myself , "Don't be like your mom - expecting everything to be picture perfect and not enjoy it for what it is."

6:00 pm and we were off! LB dressed up as a bee with antenna on a headband, her little bucket in hand. Brad and I put with sunflower hoods on (get it? Bee? Flowers? tee hee hee). We went to the first house - she kind of got it. Second house - starting to notice a trend. Third house - people talk to me! I get to put stuff in my bucket (she has no idea what candy is)!

Soon she was into the swing of it. Even though she didn't like her headband antenna, she stopped to let us put it back on her before each house. She loved the attention and we soaked up how cute she was - loving every second.

LB continuously reminded us that it is about the journey and not the destination by insisting that she walk between houses like the other kids. Not only walk, but carry her own bucket which was getting increasingly heavy. Soon it bounced on the ground with each step. Brad and I spent about half the time enjoy her independence and about half the time scooping her up and carrying her despite her objections.

Toward the end she was signing "more" between houses. She started knocking on the door herself (not loud enough for anyone to hear her). She loved seeing the other kids who were all super nice and indulgent. One group of young teenage boys tried to get her to give them a high five or a pound. When one succeed he shouted, "I got one!" to the other boys. We trick or treated for an hour and a half and LB showed no signs of slowing down. Fortunately, she also didn't mind when we loaded her up into the car to go to a friend's house.

Oh, the weather was unusually warm too. In short, it was perfect. The next day, Brad and I decided it was the best Halloween either one of us had ever had.

For other people's perfect moments, go see Lori.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is It Stealing?

A local gas station had a computer glitch for a few hours in the wee morning hours. Instead of charging 2.86 / gallon, customers were charged 1 cent / gallon. A poll on the local news station asked, "If you got gas for 1 cent per gallon due to a computer error, would you pay back the difference?" The results are showing that about 60% said they would not pay back the difference.

It that stealing? What would you do? What does it say about our society that the majority would not pay back the difference?


In pregnancy news - we are 20 weeks and 2 days and all is going well. I am definitely feeling movement and our anatomy scan shows everything is where it should be. Perhaps it says something about my experience that I said during the u/s, "Could it be that we might have two healthy children?!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's In A Life?

Today it seems important to remember the past. It seems disloyal somehow to forget what happened five years ago today. Tonight at around 8:00 pm in 2004, I gave birth to a baby boy. A baby who could have been one of the 34 embryos who (that?) didn't implant or one of the two who implanted for just a few weeks. He had serious birth defects that made him non-viable outside the womb. In a way, he was a pregnancy that went on too long.

Why do I feel the need to honor and remember him when I don't feel the same about the other 34 embryos? In the end, they all had the same potential to life.

I don't believe in a soul. Whoever Ernest might have been had he been well, I will never know. I didn't know him at all. He no longer exists. He was all potential or, more accurately, perceived potential. By all logic, I could let this day pass like the days that I miscarried or days were I am reminded of events during my failed IVF cycles - a moment of sadness or reflection or even to just push the memory out of my mind.

I don't want to be sad today. I don't know how to remember and not be sad. It seems important to remember - as if to tell Ernest, "We remember you." Which makes no sense if he no longer exists.

I don't know. Perhaps we can mark the day in a way that emphasizes and celebrates what we do have while still acknowledging what we lost. In years past, we went geocaching but last year seemed rushed (to beat the setting sun - our first year that we weren't either off work or it landed on a weekend) so I think we will do something different this year. I suppose Brad and I will decide when he gets home.

Oh, Ernest, I wish you were here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday: Taking A Breath

It is that time of year again and I suspect (I hope) it is coloring my current situation. I have been feeling my baggage lately. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and wonder how I can still be breathing. I wonder how it all went so perfectly wrong - not just Ernest's conception and death but the 2 years before and the 4 years after while we waited for our Someday Baby. I have longed, once again, for our mutually genetic child so strongly that I felt, in that moment at least, I would trade in LB for Ernest to have lived and the following four years to have never happened.

Such thoughts lead to so many doubts: Would I have loved my genetic baby more? Am I really bonded with LB? What does it mean to be bonded to your child? Would I die for her? Am I a good mother to her? Will she grow up to say, "My mom did her best, but I knew she always wanted someone different."?

A few days into this funk, Brad and I were sitting in a cafe holding hands while LB made the rounds to family and friends - getting "pounds" (or however you say it), dancing to the music, signing for more whenever the music stopped. We were watching her meander and then, quite suddenly, the moment struck. It reminds me now of the last time when I was pregnant and I sat down my baggage for a minute. The image is burned in my mind: the feel of Brad's hand, the angle of my head, LB poised to walk out the door of the cafe and into the buildings corridor. Just an everyday, innocent moment; but I realized I was in love - in love with Brad, with LB and with my life - just the way it is. No regrets, no unfulfilled dreams, no still-healing wounds. What a perfect moment and I am so glad I got to experience it.*

Check out Lori's blog to see what other Perfect Moments people are sharing.

*I want to add that I have been thinking about my feelings for LB a lot lately - not just at night when my thoughts can run the most negative, but in the light of day. I realize I would die for her and that my interactions with her come from a place of love not just doing what I think I ought to do. I think we are doing ok.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just A Little Rant

I will try not to be too negative because this isn't really a big deal, but it bugs me just the same.

The other day I was checking CNN for the headlines. I think it may have been the day the Nobel Peace prize was announced. Definitely some news there, but it was a few other articles that irritated me.

All on the same day there was:
  • News that the Dugger's were expecting their first grandchild
  • Someone had her second set of twins in two months
  • Someone was expecting a boy
The last article I clicked on(in hindsight proving that it IS news) because it was the most non-news of them all. I thought it might at least explain who the person was and why I should care that she was having a boy. It didn't. It just said that this person was very happy to be pregnant, but even happier to know the baby was a boy so she could now go shopping and fix up the nursery. WTF? You and a million other people, I suspect.

Again, why should I care? How is this news?

Ok. I am off my soap box.

As for a more personal update:
  • LB may be getting her first illness. She has a runny nose and Brad has a cold. I am hoping it is just a teething thing and it will pass.
  • I think I have been feeling LBII move lately, but still won't believe it until I see it - next u/s is this Friday.
  • We are seriously talking about me quitting my job if we have a live baby in March. I already feel like we don't make enough money, but who doesn't? Everything has trade-off's.
  • We are shopping for a king size bed. The biggest question - will it fit into our bedroom and will we still be able to open our dresser drawers?
  • My diet has taken a nose dive. While LB has been mostly sleeping through the night for several months now, I still don't. I wake up every time she moves, which is often. If she doesn't move for several hours, I wake up to make sure she is still breathing. It's crazy. I wonder if it is changing hormones that make it harder to sleep deeply. At any rate, I keep up my energy by eating lots of carbs - usually in the form of chocolate. I pop handfuls of chocolate chips like a addict popping pills.
It seems like I am a bit of a downer today. All my bullet points have a negative bent to them. When I do this to Brad he counters with, "Tell me something good that happened today." Here are some good things.
  • I slept pretty good last night.
  • LB and I danced to some kid music in the kitchen before work.
  • After work, we hung out on a blanket in front of the fireplace and she played while I read.
  • Right now LB is sitting on my lap and I am enjoying how it feels.
  • Brad will be home soon and I am going to try really hard not to eat anymore banana chocolate chip cookies. (Why do I hear Yoda saying, "Either do or do not. There is no try."?)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


If you look closely at the picture on the left, you will see blue ink scribbles on the strip of wall. I all but had tears in my eyes as I took this picture with my cell phone to send to Brad while he was at work.

We have a little kid who wrote on our wall. How lucky are we?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pregnancy Update

I have a rare moment when I am off work for the day and LB is sleeping (although I hope to join her soon) and thought I would give a quick update since I have been pretty quiet about the goings on around the pregnancy.

In a nutshell, the news is good. I am 16 weeks 4 days today. Yesterday was my appointment with my midwife (like the last pregnancy, I am seeing both a homebirth midwife and an OB; alternating every 2 weeks.) We heard that wonderful sound of a heartbeat and I think I even felt LBII move when she placed the doppler. I hope the movement will become more pronounced soon since it is so reassuring that the little guy is still alive.

In two weeks we will have an anatomy scan with my OB, but will not find out the sex. Hopefully we will find out that everything looks good, not that that is any kind of guarantee.

My mood seems to be improving after getting better for a bit and then worse again for a bit. I hope this is the end of getting worse. There are days when I have wondered if I would ever be truly happy again.

Speaking of being happy (or not), I am really unsatisfied with my job lately. Unfortunately, I don't think decent (not good, but ok) paying, part time jobs are readily available so it is this one or unemployment. Believe me that the latter is looking better and better. Brad will support me either way, but I know he prefers that I keep working. I don't earn much especially after paying a babysitter, but it is still enough to make the house payment each month (small house, remember?). Plus, if he suddenly lost his job I could probably go full time the very next day.

I also wonder how employable I would be 5 or so years from now, at 47-ish, if I were to quit working now. We do ok financially, but it would be nice to feel like we had a little more wiggle room in a few years.

Well, LB woke up, but I wanted to share what I found looking for median income - just trying to figure out where we stand. I was surprised to find we are in the 4th quintile. It makes me wonder how everyone buys what they buy. Oh wait, most people don't spend nearly two years net income on fertility treatments.

It is also interesting that if you make over $250,000 per year, you are in the top 1.5%. I wonder how many people in that range think they are in middle class? Well, I suppose they are in middle class if you define that bracket to cover 97% of the population.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Learning Moments

I thought I might intersperse my typical "infertilty sucks" posts with a few post about some mom stories. I will always start the title with "Learning Moments" so that anyone who doesn't want to read them can skip that post. I thought about calling them "Bad Mother Moments" which might be more accurate, but perhaps that is a bit too strong or at least makes it sound like I am looking for "your doing fine!" comments.

The first installment is . . . . Learning Moments: Setting Boundaries.

I have discovered that I am really bad at setting boundaries. Despite my disgust at seeing fertiles not control their kids or answering their requests with, in essence, "No. No. No. Yes.", I have found that I really struggle with this.

The other day, we were playing chase in a local Sho.pko. It was during the day, the store was practically empty, and I kept an eye out for other shoppers. LB isn't exactly a swift walker so it was pretty easy to contain our play. First I would chase her and then I would say, "You can't catch me!" and she will giggle and try to catch me as I would hide around the next corner.

LB positively LOVES this. She loves to walk just because she can and given our small house a store offers things she can't get either inside (because of size) or outside (lacking in obstacles and/or not lacking in cars).

Alas, all good things must come to an end. I don't want to be too obnoxious (lest there be some other infertiles in the store) so after a few minutes, I grabbed a cart and put LB in it.

LB instantly started crying like her world was ending. I suppose to her, it was. It was heartbreaking. Inside my head was the following conversation:

Heart: Oh, let her play!

Mind: We have shopping to do.

Heart: She was having so much fun. WE were having so much fun. Just this once.

Mind: Oh, ok.

Mind: No, wait! We already said "no". The time to keep playing is past.

Heart: Can't you hear her crying? Do you not see how sad she is? (Heart then tries to control arms and help LB back out of the cart.)

Mind: Must. Be. Strong. It is never going to be easier than this to teach LB that I am in charge. It is ok to put my needs first in this case. In the end, this will be good for both of us.

I am happy to report that LB did not get to run amok again. Eventually, I broke down and took her out of the cart and held her, but did not let her back down to walk around. Perhaps I shouldn't even have held her, but I reasoned it was a fair compromise given that she was overly tired as well as teething.

I honestly had no idea this would be hard for me. I am going to keep reminding myself to be strong (although not authoritarian, I hope) and to keep practicing. I don't want to become some 8 year old's(or God forbid, a teenager's!) personal servant.

If you have kids, did you struggle with this? How have you found a way to balance yours and your child's needs/wants? If you hope to have kids, how do you see yourself setting boundaries and sticking to them?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reality Or Perception?

Before I get started on this post, I wanted to say thank you to all of the great thoughts and insights in the previous post.

I have recently had an experience that generated much discussion in my family over how dangerous the world really is.

Scene: Neighborhood park 2.5 blocks from my house. I am there with my 9 year old nephew, 4 year old nephew and LB - age 15 months. Unfortunately, our German Shepherd is also there with us after escaping out of the backyard. He is overly excited (because my nephews keep squealing every time he gets close making them great squeaky toys) and keeps running up and down on the play equipment - something he usually avoids. I don't have a leash and have decided the best thing to do is to leave the kids at the park and run home with the dog. I could take LB with me, but she would slow me down a great deal. I decide to leave the 9 year old in charge and tell him I will be less than 5 minutes. The oldest is nervous about being without an adult (and would not have agreed had the dog not been also very scary) so I point out a house across the street where there are obviously some adults home and tell him to run to that house if he gets scared for any reason.

I take the dog home, I am back in less than 5 minutes and everyone is well. I sit on the sidelines while my nephews crawl all over the play equipment for the next 30 minutes and occasionally assist LB in some minor adventures of her own.

Later, I tell my sister (my nephews' mother) about our adventures. She is shocked that I would not only leave a 9 year old in charge of a 4 year old and a 15 monty old, but says she wouldn't have even left her two kids alone in a neighborhood park for 5 minutes.

That starts which is to me a very disturbing conversation. The nine year old isn't even allowed, for example, to hang out in the toy aisle of a Target while she spends 20 minutes shopping. I spend the rest of the day - and on to the next - wondering if A) the world really is so much more dangerous than when were kids and B) how my nephews will cope with the world as they grow up if they continue to be so sheltered.

I don't know what was bothering me more - the thought that my nephews may grow up without the skills they need* or that there really is a boogy-man out to get LB.

Since that conversation, I have done a small amount of research at it appears that violent crime rates are actually lower than when I was a kid. There doesn't seem to be good data about abductions - especially from before 1980, but one fact that is often repeated is that there were 115 "stereotypical" abductions of children in a particular year (1999?). These were cases where a stranger kidnapped a child to murder, assault or keep the child. The other nearly 800,000 cases were abductions by family members, acquaintances (still scary), runaways and throw-aways (abandoned children or children that went missing and the parents didn't report it).

If there were only 115 stranger abductions that would put the likelihood of getting abducted at a little greater than the chance of getting struck by lightning.

Of course, if it happens to you, it doesn't matter what the statistics are. I wonder, though, how careful should we be? Is it crippling for a 9 year old to be afraid of being alone? I remember the first time I walked to the store alone. It was about 10 blocks from home along a very busy street. It was such a proud moment that I remember like it was yesterday. I was 5 years old. Many years later I learned that my father followed me that first time to make sure I was being careful, but I went on to walk even farther to school (I may have been as old as 9) and to ride my bike across town with my 11 year old sister to my grandparents house, among other adventures.

My memory is from the perspective of a child, but I remember our neighborhood being full of children riding bikes, playing games, running from house to house - only to return home at dusk. I don't remember adults doing more than checking in once in awhile. Well, that and feeding us when we got hungry.

I asked a slightly older friend of mine what she would have done in the above scenario. She agreed with me but added her children would have agreed with my sister. She added, "It is the age of paranoia."

What do you think? Are we protecting our children by constant vigilance or are we hurting a generation of children by being so afraid? Is the world really that much more dangerous or is it our perception? How are you raising / planning on raising your children?

*A part of the story I left out in order not to color your initial reaction is that the previous 30 minutes were spent trying to coax the 4 year old out of the coat closet because he missed his mom and the older one out of the bathroom because he couldn't deal with the younger one "having a meltdown".

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's In A Gene?

Not surprisingly, I have thinking about what it means to be genetically related.

The other day I was following LB as she walked down the street and I wondered how things would be different if she were my genetic offspring. I made a mental list: different hair and eye color, different temperament, different personality - in short, a different person. She would also be a different person if one of the other DE embryos implanted instead of her - suddenly that train of thought seemed rather pointless. I don't think I would love her or treat her any differently. The day to day stuff would all be the same. Does it really matter?

Several people who adopted with adult age children have told me, "It doesn't matter at all!" I continue to disagree. Although perhaps I misunderstood. Perhaps these people were trying to tell me that it doesn't matter at all in how you feel about your child and the way you raise them. The "big stuff" would all be the same. I think there is more to it than that. Here are some observations that paint a picture that it does matter.
  • My hairdresser is adopted and has zero interest in ever meeting his birth parents. The hairdresser in the station next to him met her birth family (the mother is not mentally well) at 13 and she loves having them in her life. She said it was great to be surrounded by people who laughed like her and shared so many traits. I wonder why it doesn't matter to him, but it does matter to her.
  • A friend's son had a child with a women my friend didn't like. This was from a short term relationship. She refused to meet her grandchild. When I asked why her answer was, "He doesn't even know if the child is his!" To my friend it was apparently irrelevant that her son had chosen to parent this child. Why is this child not family?
  • Brad has recently reconnected with his niece. She was born to his brother when his brother was 20 and also in a short term relationship. Brad's brother never had a relationship with his daughter and Brad hasn't seen her since he was around 19 and she was a few years old. He has been looking for her as long as I have known him. He finally found her on FB. They met for the first time last weekend. I got to join them for part of the meeting and we had a really nice time. Brad really hopes they will continue to get to know each other. I asked him why it was important. He said, "She is the only family I've got left." (He doesn't get along with the rest of his family.) Why is she family?
  • LB was crying the other day and her eyes appeared green - a shade that was very close to how my eyes look when I have been crying. I could imagine what it would have been like to see my eyes in her. It was a bittersweet moment. It was sweet to imagine sharing our eye color. It was sad to know I would never get to experience it outside of my imagination.
  • A fellow DE blogger has reconnected with her birth father. He told her that he was proud of her. If an unrelated stranger had said that to her it wouldn't have had nearly the impact. Why does it matter if the stranger is your genetic father?
The interesting thing is that when I ask people why it matters or not or why someone is family or not, they often don't have an answer. They try to answer it, but it seems they don't really know themselves. I suppose it is possible that they are trying to protect my feelings, but that is not my belief.

What are your thoughts? What makes someone family? What does it mean to have a genetic connection? Does it matter if the genetic contributor expected to help someone else conceive and not parent (as with donor eggs, donor sperm) compared to a surprise pregnancy where a decision needs to be made whether or not to parent? What questions / thoughts come to your mind when your are musing about genetics?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ready For This?

A friend of mine was thoughtful enough to point out the response to a "question of the week" in a Midwifery Today e-newsletter. I am sure it is obvious that I support homebirth, but this post isn't about that. This is about infertility and the vast amount of ignorance and unhelpful advice.

Please read the question and response below and then send an email.

Q: I have a friend who has been trying to get pregnant for at least two years now, probably three, without success. She is a powerful, healthy, active, spiritual woman. Her husband is a wonderful African dancer and has an individual providing spiritual guidance from Africa who has promised them that the baby will come someday. I am an RN and know the medical definition of infertility. I try to have hope for them but it is hard for me. My friend has had all the infertility tests run and has been told all is okay with her. I do not know about her husband. They cannot afford in vitro fertilization.

My friend has great faith and has, incredibly, not lost hope but I wish I had some information to give her besides the normal medical research on things that could help her get pregnant. I know this is a struggle so many other women deal with too. Any ideas?


A: The advice I give most couples trying to get pregnant is to have sex in places other than their bedroom...have sex in every room in the house! It's a lot of fun and works like a charm.

— Donna Harnett

Before you get too worked up, I understand that this question / answer forum is open to the public and Donna Harnett is likely a reader of the e-newletter and not a staff member of Midwifery Today. Still, I think the person answering the question needs some further advice, don't you?

Please send an email to:
On the subject line put: Question of the Week
At the top of the email put: RE: The response to the infertility question by Donna Harnett in E-News issue 11-18.

In the body of the email, I suggest you give some good advice to the question. Please be polite. I hope the next prints some of our responses.

Here is mine:

I'm sorry, but if Maira accepts the advice from Donna Harnett, the most likely response is that she will damage her friendship to a point that it may never recover.

I have personally experienced infertility for over seven years. Having sex in every room of the house probably happened in the first year. This wasn't done because it 'works like a charm', but as a way to try to make having sex fun again after months of timed intercourse and having sex when the time is right even if the mood isn't. I suspect the fun part of sex died out years ago.

Here is my answer to the question:

Dear Maira:

My advice is to tell your Friend that you are here to listen any time and as often as needed. Please don't offer advice or stories about how "a friend of mine finally adopted, gave up, got drunk, took a vacation or whatever and got pregnant." Those things do happen, but the stories are told because they are so rare.

After 3 years it is unlikely, although not impossible, for your friend to get pregnant on her own. I hope she will find a way to deal with the financial side of fertility treatments (which have their own set of stresses), but either way she needs friends right now - friends who are willing to listen to her grief and sorrow again and again if necessary. If your friend seems distant, reach out to her. It is easy to pull away from friends who cannot not or will not understand the cycles of grief and hope that come with trying to conceive. It is often easier to isolate oneself from the more "fertile" world than to deal with pregnancy announcements, baby stories and advice that trivializes instead of validating her experience.

You may also want to read some books (or blogs - try starting with Stirrup Queens) to further understand what your friend may be going through. Even try asking her how she is doing or what it is like. If she doesn't want to talk about it, let it go. If she does, it may be just what she needs.

Thank you for wanting to support your friend during what may be the most trying time of her life.


I wonder what the questions / answer might have been like had it been a different medical issue. Below is my dear husband's interpretation:

Q: I have a friend who has been fighting cancer for at least two years now, probably three, without success. She is a powerful, healthy, active, spiritual woman. Her husband is a wonderful African dancer and has an individual providing spiritual guidance from Africa who has promised them that a long life. I am an RN and know the medical definition of cancer. I try to have hope for them but it is hard for me. My friend has had all the tests run and has been told all is okay with her. I do not know about her husband. They cannot afford in chemotherapy.

My friend has great faith and has, incredibly, not lost hope but I wish I had some information to give her besides the normal medical research on things that could help her get better. I know this is a struggle so many other people deal with too. Any ideas?


A: The advice I give most couples trying fighting cancer is to have eat lemons in every room in the house! It's a lot of fun and works like a charm.

— Donna Harnett

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Sound Of Magic

A heartbeat. What a wonderful thing to hear. I have gotten complacent in this pregnancy. LB keeps me sufficiently busy that I don't have time forget to pay attention to this new baby. Unlike LB where I could not believe we would ever have a baby, but still appreciated each moment I was pregnant; now I (all interfering gods look away) expect to have a live baby, but forget to appreciate this moment.

Then yesterday my midwife could not find the heart tones. She wasn't worried, 12 weeks is at the limit of where she can pick up heart tones with the doppler. I wasn't worried and decided that I would not give it any mind share until my next appointment (with the OB) in two weeks. Then I woke up in the middle of the night thinking, "What if this baby dies because I didn't pay attention to it?" I know noticing or not noticing will have no effect at all, but a middle-of-the-night mind doesn't have much reason. I spent some time talking to this little one and telling him I am so glad he is here and how I think he will really like his big sister, etc."

The next morning I felt more rational and felt that everything would be ok. But then I thought I was pregnant with our 3rd IVF and I wasn't. Wouldn't it be just my luck to regain some trust in our ability to go from pregnancy to a baby only to be knocked down again? Perhaps my confidence is unfounded. Maybe the baby is already dead. No, don't think like that - alive or not there is nothing I can do about it, I might as well assume the best and go about my day.

Nah! Let's show up at the OB's office and get a heartbeat! I packed LB into the car, grabbed two egg sandwhiches at a local fast food restaurant (I kid you not, LB can eat nearly an entire sandwhich) and off we went. I called on the way - as soon as they opened- and said I could be there at 9:00. My sister met me there just in case we got bad news. Again, I wasn't really worried, but you just never know.

And then . . .

Ahhhhh . . . heart tones. Magic.

a reminder to be here now. I am pregnant and never will be again. I may not be able to give this experience all the attention I gave the last pregnancy, but I can do better. Especially if it doesn't give LB a sibling, but even it does, I want to know that I appreciated and enjoyed the process as much as possible.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Singing The Blues

Thank you everyone for your support and advice. After reading many comments that basically said, "Why be miserable?", I called my OB to discuss it further.

I told him that I am only really sad about 20-40% of the time, but when I am, it is bad and I am quite miserable (well, for me - not to trivialize the experience people who deal with depression on a daily basis). During those times I want a way out, but then the next morning or later that day I will be feeling better and think that I can just tough it out.

He said that it is not uncommon to feel more sad or get depressed when progesterone drops during pregnancy. This happens naturally around 15 to 16 weeks. It also happened just two weeks ago when I stopped my PIO shots.

His advice is to make it through the next 4 weeks and if my mood doesn't improve, then by all means we can look into a chemical solution. I can do 4 weeks.

I know I was depressed quite a bit with LB well passed the 16 week mark, but as I said, I was also grieving. I am hopeful things will get better. In the meantime lots of walks and chocolate. Hmm . . . I guess I am already using the chemical solution. Nothing like a little self medication with the good stuff.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Please Help

I just got a request from a friend about a friend of hers - someone who has been trying to bring home their child from Guatemala for 4 years. I can't imagine being separated from your child for that long.

They are almost there, but they need people to help ASAP in a mailing blitz to try to bring attention to their cause.

Here is the link. Please take 15 minutes to print out and mail the letters.

It Mostly All Good

I had another OB appointment today. I am still spotting, although very lightly and not red at all, but enough for him to want to see me in two weeks. It's all good with me at this point. I won't feel like I can do whatever I want physically until we know the abruption is completely healed.

I will also see my midwife next week and hopefully that will all go well too. I'm not sure I want to live in both camps like I did with the last pregnancy - one hand saying All Natural!! and the other saying Intervention!!; but we shall see as things go on. For the time being, I like the extra security that I get from seeing our OB (and taking a peek at LB Mark II), but I certainly hope he isn't there for the birth.

In other news, I am sad . . . a lot. Even down right depressed. With the last pregnancy I cried almost every night, but thought it was all just part of the grieving process. Now I realize it is just what I do when I get pregnant - made worse last time by real grief.

This time, it is so . . . desperate? I don't know the right word. Because I had something obvious to be sad about I thought that was it. Because I knew I was grieving (what we had been through in total plus the loss of my genetic connection) and I was no stranger to grief, I knew it would get better.

Now I just feel sad as if my life is empty and meaningless - always was that way and always will be, I just never realized it before. I feel such despair and it is desperate because I can't figure a way out. Was I always this sad? Will I ever be happy again? What if we had a bigger house? More money? A more fulfilling job? If there is a solution, how will I attain it? How can we make more money? Afford a new house? Find better, but still part-time employment?

And poor Brad . . . he is suffering as much or more than I am. Sometimes the sadness is expressed as anger. I tell him I hate our house or ask him how we will make more money (which he hears as "you need to get a better paying job!")

Today I mentioned my depression to my OB hoping he would offer a chemical solution. Nope! He isn't uncaring, just figures (I assume) that I would come out and ask for a chemical solution if I wasn't dealing with it. And I suppose I am. A couple of days ago, I told Brad that I haven't felt any joy in weeks. Sometimes I feel "nice" but it stops short of joy. Since then I have really paid attention and I do actually feel joy sometimes. In fact, I am often most happy in the morning and trending toward most sad/angry in the evenings - the very pattern of my morning sickness in the first two pregnancies.

I will ask my midwife for some suggestions when I see her next. Of course, she will probably offer an herbal remedy or tell me to get more exercise or eat differently. And they might have some benefit, but probably not enough. I have tried lots of herbal or 'natural' remedies over the years and it is my experience most fall short or are of no use at all although there have been some notable exceptions.

It's kind of funny - I go to a midwife and an OB and don't really embrace either person's beliefs. Things aren't as dangerous in the medical arena as my midwife thinks nor as safe as my OB thinks. A home birth isn't as safe as my midwife thinks (although in most cases safer, in my opinion, than a hospital birth) nor as dangerous as my OB thinks.

Well, I have blathered on long enough. I think I will go for a walk and see if my mood lifts a bit. I have been remiss on keeping up with everyone's blogs - I hope I am not missing too much. The funny thing about the blues - you just don't feel like doing anything even though doing something is just what you need.

So - all is good, at least mostly. Don't feel sorry for me - I am one of the lucky ones and if I am depressed for another 6 months, at least it is only 6 months.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Off bed rest, that is. As of 2:00 yesterday. Thank goodness, I was getting really grumpy. Poor Brad, I bet he hated to come home from work. He was doing all the childcare and putting up with me be surly or sad or both. It was not pretty, but hopefully it is behind us and really, as things go, wasn't that painful. At least for me. Brad might have a different story.

But 6 hours later I had some spotting. I hope my reprieve isn't short lived. I have a call into my OB but he isn't in until tomorrow. The nurse said, "Take it easy. Brown spotting is normal during pregnancy." It didn't help that she sounded young and I have never spoken to her before and she isn't even my doctor's nurse, but I heard a patronizing tone of voice. I wanted to respond, "This is my fifth pregnancy, I have had two miscarriages and one early infant death. I know what is normal and what isn't. What I want to know is if I need to start the three days over again?"

I was polite and got off the phone.

Update: I forgot to post this yesterday (Wednesday) and today I spoke to my OB and we are ALL GOOD! Normal activity may be resume. Thank goodness!

In other news . . . I don't have any other news. I haven't done anything in a week.

I have had some thoughts wondering through my head lately, however. One of them being that I would really like to make some homemade pizza with homemade pizza dough soon (I have been watching Alton Brown to pass the time) or perhaps this chocolate cake.

The other thought is a twist on the "Why her and not me?"

How many times have I thought that? The first time that was sufficiently significant to remember was on FF. It was about a year after Ernest died and I came across someone offering hope to someone else trying IUI with severe male factor infertility. Like me they were successful in getting pregnant when all odds were against them. I kept reading and she ended with " . . . and now we have a 2 year old son." I felt my mind bending in on itself. Some part of me had decided that Ernest died because we really shouldn't have gotten pregnant in the first place, but here was someone who beat the odds and got a baby. I couldn't believe it and kept rereading the passage thinking, "Why her and not me?"

So many times in the following 5 years that question has come up again and again. I know there is no reason. I know the world is wholly natural (with no higher powers interfering) and that things just happen. Yet, I still find I want that answer.

Lately, I have been wondering the reverse: Why me and not her? Why was I so lucky (so far) with baby number two and others are still doing everything possible and just keep trying and trying with no luck. There has just been too much bad news out there lately.

It makes no sense and it's not fair and there is not one thing we can do about it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pregnancy Update

It was an interesting visit with Dr. Wonderful. The best news is that the abruption is healing nicely. The scary part is that the lake that was so large (the fluid between the walls of the placenta) is no longer there. A lake isn't supposed to heal so that was actually part of the abruption too. I'm glad we didn't realize that on Monday. I am still off my feet until there is absolutely no spotting for 3 full days. I might have said that in my post on Monday, but then I was hopeful that meant 3 total days of bed rest. I am still waiting to go more than about 6 hours. We are at 5 days now. Oh, well, it is nothing in the grand scheme of things and I am very lucky to be pregnant at all. Plus, Dr. Wonderful said in all likliehood the abruption will heal completely.

We also saw the baby move - a kick, a punch and even what looked like a little shake of the head. We watched blood (well, red light the u/s machine showed us as blood) moving through the umbilical cord. We could then follow the main artery from the placenta into our little Dish Mate's heart. It was all quite amazing.

Before all this happened, we had a good discussion about the risks of doing a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Specifically, a VBAC at home. Current research, according to Dr. Wonderful, puts the risk of uterine rupture during labor at 0.4% or 4 out of one thousand. About one out those four will die or have serious consequences, the other 3 will probably be ok. That is, if the person is in the hospital and can get an emergency c-section as soon as the rupture is detected. If we have a rupture at home, Cathy, my midwife, could start an IV going on the way to the hospital to save time, but really the liklihood is that the baby won't survive.

Of course it is scary and the odds don't seem that high unless it happens to you and then they might as well be a 100%. I can only imagine how unbelievably painful it would be to have your insides tear open like that nevermind knowing the child you carried for 9 months in dying while you drive.

But that is the unlikely situation where a rupture occurs at home. I don't know, but I suspect, that a hospital rupture is more likely because often labor inducing or augmenting drugs are used which put more strain on the uterus. Obviously, no studies have been done on drug free VBAC's because there just aren't that many people who choose to labor drug free. Addtionally, there are other precautions we can take to avoid an abruption. We can monitor the baby more often than usual (although I think Cathy checks pretty often anyway) and transport at the first sign of fetal distress. Dr. Wonderful said that is the first sign of a impending rupture - even before the contraction monitor goes flat. We can also be conservative about how long I labor before transporting for either the additional monitoring and preperation that can take place in a hospital or simply plan on having another cesarean upon arrival.

Dr. Wonderful promises to be there if we transport too. I will keep asking him to come to my house for the birth since I went to his place last time. I know he won't, but it is fun to ask him. I like him and he is comforting to have around. Still, in labor and birth, it is Cathy who I want in charge - especially at home. No offense to Dr. Wonderful, but I wonder if he has ever even seen a completely natural birth.

Thank you to every one who commented and checked in on my status. I feel so grateful to have so many people who can support me especially since many of you are still working on that first miracle baby and I am (hopefully) well on our way to our second.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Because It Is Never That Easy

I had plans to post about my hormonal roller coaster today. It turns out I get pretty blue when I am pregnant, especially at night. There have even been times when I have wished that I wasn't only not pregnant, but didn't have any kids at all. I have also been filled with hate. I hate everything. I decided I hated my cell phone so much last Friday that I turned it off for the weekend. I would have preferred to watch it melt, but knew that was neither practical nor wise.

It's kind of funny to think of those thoughts / feelings now when I feel more in my "right" frame of mind. Those emotions are as real when they happen as any. Fortunately, I am neither sad nor full of hate most of the time and when I am I recognize that it is not based on reason. It is strange to feel this way and know it isn't who I normally am. We really are our chemicals.

But the important news of the day is that I have some placental issues. I have been spotting since shortly after the first beta. Today it turned red and was watery so we got in to see our OB. It turns out I have two trouble spots. One, called a lacuna, is a fluid filled gap in the placenta. It will likely be there the entire pregnancy and may cause growth issues or may be no issue at all.

The other is much smaller but it is between the uterus and the placenta. It could cause a miscarriage or preterm labor or, I am assuming (the OB didn't mention this) that it could cause a stillbirth as well. The good news is that it can heal.

The good news is that I will be waited on for a minimum of 3 days - strict bedrest. I will be adhering to his advice very closely, unlike the end of the last pregnancy where I took it as more of a guideline. If I can go 3 days without bleeding, I am off of bedrest. I am hoping that if I am diligent, it will heal quickly.

Our next update will be this Friday. I am still hopeful. If this doesn't work, I hope it ends sooner than later. Of course, I really hope it works because I don't think I will have the strength to try again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seat In Upright And Locked Position

Today was our last - hopefully forever - visit to the RE. The baby measured right on time at 8 weeks 2 days and had a h/b of 171. Everything is looking good and we are now in the "less than 2%" failure category. It is a good feeling and there are times I forget to remember that 2% feels like 100% when it happens to you. That is, that there are moments when I forget that we still might not get a healthy baby out of this. I actually find myself planning for a sibling. I never planned on LB being born. I couldn't get my mind around it. It is a nice change to expect this pregnancy to make a baby even once in a while.

Of course, I also sometimes feel like I am tempting fate by thinking like that. If I utter a sentence like, "We are going to have our hands full next summer," I immediately feel I should utter a prayer of forgiveness for my arrogance to the (in)fertility gods out there. If I believed in a god, I probably would.

So we are very excited. The RE's office has a dual set of double doors that automatically open towards you as you exit the building. As Brad and I approached the exit, LB in my arms; we held hands, stood tall and pranced out of the building like were starting our adventures down the yellow brick road. We were walking out of there for good. No more blood draws, transfers, retrievals, ultra sounds and all the drama (mostly bad for us, unfortunately) that goes with it. Wohoo!!!

Still, as crazy as this sounds, I will miss the people there. My RE and I got along great. The embryologist was always very nice and explained things in detail. All the nurses were kind and easy to get along with. I'll even miss the billing lady, although I suspect she and I will have a few more conversations before it is all over.

I used to ask my RE to tell me a story during our transfers. I don't think he very talkative during a procedure and I found I was often too keyed up to make conversation. It was relaxing and interesting to hear about whatever. Sometimes we talked about the how and why of what was going on, sometimes it was about the latest book he was reading. He was also always supportive, understanding and willing to answer any an all questions. Every once in a while I got to hear some of the inside skinny about the fertility industry which was always fascinating to me.

I feel like I have just taken a long flight and happened to find my seat mate an enjoyable person to talk with. Okay, so the plane almost crashed several times and there were a lot of tears and negative experiences, but it wasn't my seat mate's fault and he was actually a comfort to have around. But now the flight is over and we have disembarked to go our separate ways. Perhaps our paths will cross again.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday: Quiet Time

I discovered something the other day. Brad dropped me off at home and took LB for a drive so I could have a little quiet time to myself. I realized about a week ago that my quiet time is close to zero. Dangerously close to zero.

It was an accident - the time last week - when I found myself alone with no baby and no friends for about an hour. I didn't quite know what to do with myself. It was the first time in over a year that I was completely alone. There have been nap times where I wasn't tired enough to sleep, but there is always the sense that it might end any time. I have met up with friends for non-baby time, but the drive is rarely more than 10 minutes and often less. Usually I turn on the radio because it is a chance to play my music as loudly as I want.

Actually, I have tried the quiet time thing once or twice before, now that I think about it. Perhaps my hormones are changing because I am pregnant, but it was very hard not to feel the pull of LB. Even though I trusted who she was with, I felt I needed to be with her at a very instinctual level. I wasn't really able to be in the moment.

But last week I almost made it and it shifted my awareness enough to realize I need to find more time to myself.

So Brad dropped me off. I had decided that I would have cherry pie with ice cream while I read a book. As I got the pie and ice cream ready, I started to notice how peaceful I was feeling. Peaceful and centered in a way I haven't been in a very long time. The house was quiet as if nothing could disturb it. Just perfect in a way I can't describe.

I sat down on the front porch with my book and pie and ice cream and realized it was too much. I needed simplicity. I needed it. There was no one who might need me at a moment's notice. There was no conversation to pay attention to and no decisions to be made. There were no distractions except the ones I created.

So I put the book away. Then I slowly ate the ice cream and savored every bite. Then I ate the cherry pie, discovering that the best bites had crust or cherry, not both. Simple. Perfect.

See what others are sharing for their Perfect Moments.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not The Same

The following was in my in box this morning. I think Amazon needs to refine their program to recognize that choosing child free and and being involuntary child free are two different things.

Dear Customer,

As someone who has purchased or rated Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility by Janet Jaffe, you might like to know that No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children will be released on August 4, 2009. You can pre-order yours at a savings of $3.43 by following the link below.

No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children
Corinne Maier
List Price:$12.95
Price: $9.52
You Save: $3.43 (26%)

Release Date: August 4, 2009

Pre-order now!

“A combination of tart sisterly advice with shock-tactic social analysis.”
Globe and Mail

“Maier seems to have that uncanny ability to put her finger exactly on what people are thinking, at the right time and in the right place. Right now, it’s motherhood.”
The Telegraph

More to Explore

Childfree and Loving It!

Childfree and Loving It!
Nicki Defago

Add to Cart

Of course, I had to check out the book and found the author has 2 kids! She, apparently, discovered that she really didn't want kids after all. Perhaps if she had 6 years to think about it and to wonder if she would ever have kids, she would appreciate what she has. At the very least, appreciate that the desire for kids goes beyond logical reasoning.

I get that this is supposed to be a book of humor, but I couldn't help but compare some of the reasons listed in a review with the infertility experience:

•You will lose touch with your friends Yes.

•Your sex life will be over Ditto.

•Children cost a fortune Yep! AND you spend it in a very short period of time. With a little luck you will GET to spend a fortune on a child or two.

•Child-rearing is endless drudgery I guess one could argue TTC isn't endless drudgery . . . that is if you are lucky enough to find a way to become a parent.

•Vacations will be nightmares Vacations can be a great respite from TTC. It is always nice when you don't run across parents with kids they don't appreciate.

•You’ll lose your identity and become just “mom” or “dad” Raise your hand if you can't remember who you were before TTC. Raise both hands if you don't think you would recognize him or her.

On a personal note, I will concede there are trade off's. I don't get the sleep nor the freedom I used to have. There are times when I miss my old life - especially the life prior to trying to start a family. But I have to tell you, it is worth it. Drudgery? Not in the least. It has been a great adventure and I trust it will continue to be.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Going For A Walk

A couple of nights ago I could not wait to get into bed. I don't remember what the original delay was, but it was 9:00 at night and I was dead tired. Then we realized we hadn't made the bed yet and the sheets were still damp in the dryer. Since we cosleep that meant there was no place to put the baby to bed either.

She seemed to be doing ok with it. Not time for bed? Then let's go for a walk! She steered (she still holds my hands when she walks . . . I walk behind her) me toward the door and pointed to my shoes. Never mind that she was still barefoot. Begrudgingly, I followed her lead - what else to do to keep her happy while we wait for the sheets to dry. We stepped out the door and into . . . a perfectly wonderful summer evening.

It was dusk and cool with a very light breeze. The moon was setting and looked large despite it being a 1/4 moon. I realized I should be enjoying this time together, not wishing it away. Happily, we walked down the street, LB leading the way the entire time. We walked over a man hole cover. "Hey, that was different!" I imagined her thinking as we turned around to walk over it again. One more time and we were ready to move on. Next, off to the neighbors house where there was a party going on. She was obviously moving to crash the party probably hoping for someone to smile or wave at her.

What the heck? We crashed the party. I knew the neighbors wouldn't mind. Did LB want to say hello? Perhaps that was her intention, but when she discovered the stairs on their deck, going up and down them was enough for her. We did that about 6 times while I chatted with the neighbor. Then off again . . . back out the gate and down the street.

At this point I decided to steer her home. She wasn't too happy about it until I cut through the neighbor's yard. Perhaps she didn't realize that meant we were still going home or maybe this little bit of new and different was enough of a distraction. She continued to enjoy the walk, happily talking to herself and occasionally veering this way and that. I continued to enjoy this perfect moment too. Mom and daughter going for a walk. It doesn't get any better.

Visit Lori for more Perfect Moments this Monday.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Still Pregnant

Just a quick update to say that we had our u/s and b/w today and everything is still on track. It is 6 weeks 1 day today and LB's Little Brother (LB's LB?) or LB Mark II or Dish Mate is still going strong and measuring right on time.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's All Good

Things are still going well on the pregnancy front. Brad and I have had some vacation time so I have been away from the computer. I apologize for the silence and for not keeping out with other's events.

We had b/w two days ago (skipped the u/s this week) and all appears to be well. I have been a bit nauseous and more fatigued than usual. At least, I think. I have gotten in the habit of nibbling all day to make up for sleep deprivation which tends to keep the sickies at bay and I am always tired anyway. Although there was the day I put LB in the car seat while I tried to nap in the car because I knew she couldn't get away. Hmmm . . . I wonder if my house is big enough for a playpen and if she would adjust to using one?

The really great thing about this pregnancy is that I have found I can be more excited about it working out in the end. I don't know I will have a baby, but I can hope in a way I couldn't (wouldn't) with LB. I know I can survive a loss. I know I can be ok with one child. Those thoughts have allowed me to take the greater emotional risk of planning for this to work.

I even made my OB appointment for 9 weeks 5 days. How's that for risky?

I haven't made my midwifery appointment yet, but she is a bit more flexible with her schedule and can fit me in more easily.

And, yes, the plan is a home birth. That would be a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) for those that are new to my blog. I am very hopeful we won't transport this time. Third times a charm, right?

Next big update it Monday at 6 weeks 1 day where we will, hopefully, see a h/b and a baby measuring on time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Still in shock

Still pregnant. I seriously cannot believe it. The beta today was 269 . . . up from 79. Crazy. Not to jinx things, but it just doesn't seem right to be this easy. I feel (and will look if this works out) positively fertile. I also feel guilty. There are those still trying so damn hard for number one and I waltz in and pull a BFP on a 10-15% chance of success.

Makes me wonder why I couldn't do that on one of the cycles with my eggs. Of course, that stats don't really matter, do they? It either works or it doesn't. You get a good embryo and it sticks or it doesn't.

Still. Just crazy. I keep looking an HPT with two pink lines just to convince myself that I am really currently pregnant.

I am hopeful and enjoying being more easily excited than the cycle with LB. I know I can survive a loss since we have her so I feel I can put myself out there a bit more.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Guest Blog

Dear Readers,

Kami has been asking me to be a guest blogger for months and today seemed like the day to do it. Please allow me to introduce myself, I am Brad, the DH, the house boy, He who catches spiders and cleans up icky stuff...

As you may know, today is the day when Kami was to get blood drawn for the first beta. All of us were tired after a long night of firework watchin'. Kami got up and left before LB & I woke up. When I woke up, I wondered if she'd POAS (For you non acronym types, this means taking a home pregnancy test). My mind wandered from her being happy when she got home, to sadly resigned.

When she walked in, I immediately asked. To my great surprise -she hadn't POAS'd. But she was sadly resigned. She then proposed that we walk to our favorite neighborhood diner for breakfast. Never ones to pass up breakfast -LB & I leapt at the opportunity.

As we walked we talked about the coming news. Should we answer the phone when they call? Wouldn't it be great if it worked? Wouldn't it be nice if something went easy? There were lots of sad sighs...

Then the phone rang. I can only tell Kami's side but this is why I'm writing to you...
Clinic: Wah-wah-wah?
Kami: This is her.
Clinic: Wah-wah-wah.
Kami: Oh?
Clinic: Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.
Kami: OH! MY! GOD!
Kami (Whispered to me): Good news.
Clinic: Wah-wah-wah.
Kami (To me): Seventy-nine.
Kami: Excuse my language but (Edited for our younger readers) BUCK ME!
Me: That's good, right?
Kami (To me): Yes.
Me: What'd we have with LB?
Kami: Normally we would expect around a hundred, is it different for an FET?
Clinic: Wah-wah-wah.
Kami: I am shocked...
Clinic: Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah. Wah-wah-wah?
Kami: Uh-huh. OK. Thanks. Bye.

So... There you have it (Or at least what I remember). We have passed the second milestone on our challenge for LB mk II, LB's LB or whatever we decide to call this one!! Hopefully it will stick around!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A strange kind of limbo

This is new for me. I don't ever remember in our 40 or so cycles (from trying on our own through IUI and IVF) ever wanting to not POAS. Occasionally I get the urge, but then I realize I don't really want to know any more than I already to that it will be a bust this cycle.

I tested with FMU at 11 dpo. That was Thursday and it was a BFN. I think it is likely, although not certain, if this cycle was going to work we would have had a positive then. My gut feeling is also telling me that there is not a chance I am pregnant. I am as certain I am not pregnant this time as I was certain I was pregnant after with our third IVF. Of course, I was wrong then.

It is that tiny bit of hope that is keeping away from the HPT's. It is nice to still have a little bit of hope. If it weren't for the PIO shots, I wouldn't even go in for the beta tomorrow. I would just wait until AF showed. That is another luxury not allowed the infertile.

I am bummed, but not terribly so. As I keep saying, we have a delightful child we get to raise. I don't feel the desperation I felt before LB. Still, it would have been nice to get pregnant easily for a change. It would have been nice to not be contemplating adding another $25,000 or so to our debt which, besides the house, is the remaining debt from our first 5 IVF cycles.

Oh, that sounds so "poor me". It isn't meant to. We can still choose to call it good and not try for a sibling. We had some fun dreaming and shopping for a larger house if this cycle had worked. It was nice to be PUPO for a bit. Besides, it's summer.

Emphasis added by DH.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It is Tuesday

Alternate title: I bet you've never read a post like this before.

Today is Tuesday. As in just Tuesday. It isn't XDPO (days post ovulation) or even XDP5DT (days post 5 day transfer). It is just Tuesday.

At least I keep telling myself that. This is my easy cycle. The one where I don't get my hopes up.

I am getting my hopes up.

I'm trying my best to enjoy the possibility without getting too invested, but I'm not sure I haven't crossed the line. It's kind of like buying a lottery ticket. You don't really expect to win, but it can be fun to dream about what you would do with the million dollars if you did. Of course, at $1.00, the lottery is pretty cheap entertainment for a few days.

It is just Tuesday. I couldn't even tell you how many days post transfer I am (4) or how many days until the beta (5). It is just Tuesday.

I will admit to hearing the siren song of the HPT - the draw to test only to be crashed against the rocks of a single pink line. I thought I would be spared it this time around, maybe only testing the morning of the beta so I will be prepared for the BFN. Sadly, I hear them calling me already. Today, in a moment of insanity, I tore apart the bathroom cupboards looking for the two left over home pregnancy tests I swear I have. I would ask Brad if (where) he hid them, but I don't want to admit I have been so tempted.

I found the ones we used when LB was conceived. Our first positive was 11 DPO. It was a very light line so it would be overly optimistic to test before then which would be the day after tomorrow whenever that would be.

It's all good. Really, it is. If this doesn't work, we get to try again with my eggs in September. Belinda is excited to get to donate again too. We still have one more (and much better) chance at a sibling. But still, it would be really nice if it worked this time around.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Evenings on the mat

When I was in The Gambia as a Peace Corp Volunteer, one of my favorite times of the day was just after sunset. Since we were near the equator, that meant by 7:30 there would only be moonlight (if it was up), starlight and the small lights from cook fires. Since there was no electricity, there isn't a whole lot to do except hang out and wait to get sleepy. By the time the sun was down, there would be a large mat spread out in the middle of the compound and here the family would gather until it was time to go to bed.

As an outsider and not very good at the language, this was such a peaceful time for me. My family didn't try to get me to communicate as others often did (because they wanted something). I would sit or lie down, watch the stars come out and let the conversations wash over me. Often I understood enough to recognize the stories being told. They were of things that had happened in the village that day. Just small talk, but I felt more connected and part of the family during this time. It was one of the things I wanted to recreate when I returned to the States. Not surprisingly, this little ritual didn't fit into to our fast paced culture.

Until now, that is. It was even Brad's idea and I didn't realize it had become our nightly ritual - that he had created this nightly ritual - for many days. I have been going to bed early with LB since she was born. Most of the time I haven't minded because I am usually pretty exhausted by then, but sometimes I wanted to stay up if only to have more time with Brad. Sometimes I felt cheated that Brad seemed to have more time to himself while I had the role of putting LB to bed.

Now Brad comes to bed with us. We chat while LB nurses or, if she is a bit more awake, crawls around on the bed between us. Sometimes we listen to a podcast of This American Life or Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. It is a great time to reconnect and talk about our day. When I used to get frustrated when LB wouldn't sleep, now we enjoy her antics together. It is a happy, peaceful way to close the day.

The realization that we have been having all of these perfect moments is my perfect moment for this Monday.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Waiting for the call

Today is transfer day if LB's 'dish-mate' survives the thaw. I should know in less than 30 minutes. Once again my thoughts turn to those ladies and couples still trying to have even one live baby to parent as I remember how much harder this wait was before LB.

The call came in after 40 minutes . . . why do they make us wait?

The news:

We have a live embryo! Transfer at 10!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Open egg donation

Today I was telling some coworkers of Brad's (my ex-coworkers) about LB's high energy levels. While I am sure that is typical of any 1 year old, I joked that if she ends up being like our donor (who is always Go! Go! Go!); I will be in trouble.

I instantly regretted it. It didn't seem right somehow. I'm not sure it is clear in my head why. I felt like I was airing our dirty laundry. Or maybe it was because I wasn't sure how LB would feel if she was capable of understanding. Would such casual comments be hurtful or be rubbing her nose in her atypical conception? Should we ignore or minimize our donor's involvement, at least in public? Would it be more appropriate to use our donor's name as in, "Lord help us if she has Belinda's energy!"

If Belinda was LB's aunt or grandmother it would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, it would be common. "Oh, she has your eyes!" "She loves the outdoors just like her cousins." "I love that she has her father's temperament." Yes, I acknowledge that she might take after me in some things, but she will also very likely express behaviors, beliefs, interests and talents that are more like Belinda than either Brad or me.

What do we do when we notice it? It doesn't seem right to ignore it (at least all the time) just because we suspect it came from Belinda. If we would say, "You have Daddy's talent!" why can't we say, "You are a runner just like your donor!"?

One of the more recent This American Life shows (Go Ask Your Dad) is about a guy who's genetic father was his uncle. The information was kept secret from him until well after his parents died. All his life he felt that he didn't fit in with his family. Even a brother acknowledged that he didn't fit in. He did not have the calm, controlled personality of his dad or brothers, but rather the more 'emotional' or lively personality of his uncle - someone he was always being reminded to not act like. There is obviously more to the story, but one of the things this person would have liked to have said to his dad (had he known) as a kid was, "Don't be afraid of the differences."

I don't want to be afraid of the differences or pretend something is not there when it is. I also don't want LB's conception to be a big deal. Would it help to make Belinda more a part of LB's early experience? She would grow up knowing Belinda as her genetic contributor instead of the unknown donor who becomes Belinda at a later age. I wonder how to find the balance.

What are your thoughts?