Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

I've been struggling with a way to summarize 2011, especially since I was a little lax on the blogging this year. Mom got new hips, then broke one, then got it fixed again. Dad got cancer. M. started a journey, only to decide after a few months it really wasn't for him. I applied for a handful of new jobs, got none, but found a little bit of peace in the one I have. We got on a plane and took a huge trip. I came home and had a bit of an existential freak out (every year needs at least one, right?) We got serious about gestational surrogacy - first working with one agency, now starting with another one. Still no house, still no baby. But I still managed to wear myself out most of the time.

This week, I've slept. A lot. And lounged. And watched movies with M. Well more like a few movies and then a lot of documentaries, animal planet, reality TV and Beavis and Butthead.

It's been awesome.

Sure, I got a few things done in between all of that. But not nearly as much as my ambitious little mind had planned. Oh well, tomorrow's another year.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I borrowed this from Loribeth. You can see her answers here. You can check mine out below. And feel free to play along. Who doesn't like a meme?


1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Hmm, let's see. Last year I said my plan was:
  • to see myself published
  • to open our home to more people more often
  • to practice more gratitude and patience with my parents and show less anger
  • to run at least 3 half-marathons
Well, one out of 4 isn't bad, right? I haven't been published beyond the usual venues - press releases and newsletters from work - but I have been making more of an effort to get my employer in the news. So, lots on the work front, but that's not really what I meant.

I don't think we had more visitors in 2011 than before.

Half-marathons = 0.

But, I've been working hard with my parents. And believe me it has NOT been easy with one of them.

As for next year, I'm not really trusting my 1-3 record, so I'm not sure if putting more to paper (or screen) will help. Perhaps I'll just work a little harder on these 4.

If we're talking about outcomes, I would love to leave 2012 with a baby, a house and a puppy. BHD. That's our mantra. That's the trinity. Right there.

2. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Went to Australia. Spent 14 hours on a plane. Snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. Put a bid on a house.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

M's sister and my cousin welcomed baby girls into the world. Both this March.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not that I know IRL, but blog friends suffered some awful losses this year.

5. What countries did you visit?

Australia. We had a layover in New Zealand. Does that count?

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

See #1.

7. What date(s) from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Is it bad if I say none?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not disowning my father. Seriously.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not showing my mom the compassion she needed when she needed it most.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Phew. No.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Plane tickets to Australia.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

We were blessed with so much kindness and generosity in Australia, I'm not really sure what we did to deserve it. We knew M's cousin's old roommate had a tent for us to borrow. We didn't know he would also share his cooler, his camping stove and two more containers of items that made this the most luxurious camping we've ever done, oh yes, AND A CAR.

If that wasn't enough, he pointed us towards all of his favorite camping haunts, and his mom's house in beautiful Hervey Bay, where we spent more than a couple nights drinking tea and listening to this bad ass woman from Tasmania who still swims in the ocean on nice days.

Every day brought new conversations, new people to know.

Australia, I heart you. I am sorry for saying a bad thing about you, ever.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Far right politicians whose tea party antics costs us several hundred dollars while we watched the debt ceiling debates go on and on and the American dollar drop lower and lower and lower. If fucking with money isn't enough, those same politicians also seem keen on sticking their fingers up my vagina and keeping them there to make sure I don't get any funny ideas and you know, think for myself.

14. Where did most of your money go?

See #11

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

See #11

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

For better or worse, probably this one.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

I seem to be holding steady on all of the above.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Running. Cooking at home. Creating quality time with friends. Clearly separating work and free time.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Eating french fries and pizza. Procrastinating.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Like we usually do. Eve with my family. Day with M's.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

I am completely smitten with my cousin's baby girl and I never would have called that.
PS - she adores me too.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

We seem to be on a bit of a Top Chef bent. But the new Beavis and Butthead has me loving them all over again. Thanks to Netflix, we've exhausted every episode of every season of Black Adder and The IT Crowd (which I highly recommend to anyone who has ever been responsible for even a remote part of your work's IT. "have you tried turning it on?")

23. Do you hate anyone now that you did not hate this time last year?

As Loribeth aptly put it, hate is a strong word. There are actions and words and behaviors that have turned my stomach, but I've been trying to see beyond them. I'm not always successful, but I've been trying damn hard to keep my temper in check. So no, no one I hate. Disappointed in, yes. Hate, no. Hate takes a lot of energy and effort that could be put to such better uses.

24. What was the best book you read?

The Thorn Birds: A Novel Don't laugh. I didn't read much this year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

VILIFY. This woman. My god. She rocks my world.

26. What did you want and get?

These bad boys.

27. What did you want and not get?

A baby. A house. A puppy.

28. What was your favourite film of this year?

I honestly cannot think of a film that blew me away this year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I seriously cannot remember. I am sifting through both my blog and my calendar for clues, which tells me it wasn't terribly memorable. Boo. I turned 37.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Must I state the obvious?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

I'm trying to find that balance between professional and edgy. Like a suit with an unexpected shirt underneath or funky necklace peeking out. Or trousers and a basic sweater with some sexy shoes hanging out below.

32. What kept you sane?

Running, which is why I should do more of it.
Blogging, which is why I should do more of it.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Last November's concert rekindled my crush on Greg Dulli, even if he is a little chubbier these days. As for pure, hot fancy - Randy Orton is the only fellow I can envision right now. And that makes me a little embarrassed. So just keep that one to yourselves.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Stirs. Present tense. Any threat to my reproductive rights. Any attack on the people with disabilities that I represent.

35. Who did you miss?

Isa. Jovi. My grandfather (still). My grandmother has been appearing in my dreams all week and I'm just a little unnerved by that.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Too many to mention. See #12.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

That you cannot ask apples of an orange tree. I didn't make that up. My acupuncturist gets credit for that one.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I'm that girl who has a lyric to sing for everything that's going through my mind or happening in front of me. So its hard for me to find one line to sum up this year. I'm going to chew on this one for a while. Let me get back to you.


And just like that, there's only an hour and a half left in this year. I'm setting the computer aside and taking my place next to M on the couch. I think there's some bread pudding and wine calling my name.

Later Gators! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday To Do List - Status Report

On my work calendar is a glorious strip of pink. That's the code for "I'm off. Don't bug me." In the days between now and 2012 I will be:
  • Backing up 433 blog posts. Thanks for the reminder, Mel. [update: DONE!]
  • Cleaning out 4810 emails from my work inbox. Ridiculous. [well, um, yeah, I haven't gotten very far on that. Down to 4,779. But plan to git busy after I ingest my black eye peas and collard greens tomorrow.]
  • Securing a new surrogacy agency. First consult is today at 11. [oh, guys, good feeling about this. We've been working on our paperwork and new profile all weekend.]
  • Catching up on volunteer tasks and commitments [Done. Kinda. Sent a few emails and tweets at least.]
  • House hunting. Yeah, it's on. [Saw 2 houses on Friday. Both nice, neither killer. The quest continues.]
  • Breaking in my NEW BOOTS [Done and holy shit, kids: with these on, I am almost eye to eye with M. His response: "wow, you're finally as tall as you think you are."]
  • Making pasta [yeah. didn't happen.]
  • Attempting to use our new pressure cooker without damage to self or kitchen. [that one either. I did, however, clean out and reorganize our kitchen pantry. That counts for something, right?]
  • Writing resolutions, well, I'll think about it at least. [still thinking.]
  • Year-end posts. That too. Probably a good idea, but well, 2011 kind of sucked ass (except for that Australia part. That rocked). [Working on it. Got some great ideas from Lavendar Luz and Loribeth. Stay tuned....]
How's about you? Any plans for the final days of 2011?

Happy New Year, everyone! We're settling in for a night indoors. Video games, a new felafel recipe, and a cozy couch are helping us say farewell to this year and ring in the next. Hoping you're all safe and warm and happy.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Glad I Asked!

So it seems that I fall smack in the middle between the 0 and 100.

We (read: I) send out about 40 holiday cards, catered to the recipient and their preferred celebrations. For the most part, we do straight up cards but try to keep them a little funky. Back in the day, when we were conscientious, we would get the UNICEF cards from P*er 1 (that's how I justified the totally unnecessary use of so much paper) but whatever. Those shits are expensive. This year, I saw cards I liked early in the season so I grabbed them. Charity be damned.

Most are initial, lick and send. Some folks get a longer note, especially if we've received one from them or have something to say. Love getting photo cards - they don't seem to sting as much as they have in the past - but not sure if that will ever be our route.

In years past I would force M to at least scribble a line before mailing. But I've gotten pretty good at forgery.

I don't only send to folks who've sent us cards but I do make sure all cards are reciprocated. The list is trimmed periodically for various reasons.

I just can't get into eCards - mostly because I'm always nervous that ones I receive will carry a nasty little worm or virus along with them and destroy my computer and then creep into my work server then I'll get fired and then there will be no cash for next christmas....yeah, I just can't get into eCards.

We hang the cards as we receive them, and I've kept all of the cards that we've gotten since we've moved into our current home. Why, I don't know. It doesn't seem right to toss photos in the trash, and part of me holds on to this dream of recycling some of the best into cool ornaments (because M's uncle's wife does and then uses those as holiday cards and they look darn cool. I always think, oh hey, I could do that. Then again, she has her own high end art/craft store in the midwest. Maybe I'm not in that league....)

So, thank you! Thanks for humoring me and sharing a piece of your holidays with us. How was it?

Ours was, hmm, I don't know. Let me get back to you. Xmas eve with my fam (minus mom and dad. Don't ask. Maybe I'll get into it later) was pretty nice. Actually, really nice. Xmas day with M's fam, started off great, got very shaky, very quickly, and then leveled out. Phew.

Note to self: always, always ALWAYS ask Santa to put a new Manchester City Jersey in M's stocking. No matter what. Because that is the gift that will cure all ails, well, most anyway.

So now, today is boxing day. A day for jammies and tea and playing with gifts that fit (new video game for M, ipad over here (holla!!!!!), trying on and making piles of ones to return (later), making some last minute purchases to make up for the fact that the gifts you gave pale in comparison to the ones you received (see: ipad) and possibly a walk.

I'm sure I could fit a run in there somewhere. But, well, you know, I'm kind of digging sloth for another day or two. 'Tis the season for rest and restoration, correct?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Because I'm Nosy....

Hey, do you do holiday cards?

Xmas? Chanukah, Festivus?
Photo cards? Straight up hallmark? Homemade?
Do you write nice long notes or just initial, lick and send?

Do you make your partner sign or do you forge his/her signature to save time (guilty. here.)

Do you only send to folks who've sent you a card?
Do you trim your list?

eCards or paper?

What do you do with holiday cards once you get them? Hang 'em up? Go, oh, isn't that nice? Then pitch 'em? Re-use, recycle them?

I'll check back in a bit and share our answers. In the meantime, behold the golden pierog! [thx to Alexandra for the edit]

Friday, December 16, 2011

Farewell, Christopher

Damn, Friday. You sure took your own sweet time in getting here.

Whatever. Welcome. I ain't madatcha. As long as you don't throw any left hooks into what looks to be an pretty uneventful day. You already started on a little bummer of a note - I was sad to hear of Christopher Hitchens passing. But glad in knowing he was feisty and opinionated until the end.

Sure, there is a lot to not like about Hitchens. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll get static from M for my status updates and tweets this morning praising him. He glorified the vices of smoking and drinking and I'm guessing he could easily draw you to tears and get some glee from it if you got on his bad side. But I can say this - every time I have read or heard him, there was always at least a moment, often more, where I thought:

"damn. I wish I had written that."

I recall driving a few hours to a work meeting and listening to an interview on public radio. His voice was tired and a bit slow, but the aggression was still there. He wondered aloud about what was so fucking "noble" about "fighting" cancer and questioned the language of the "survivor." I so wish I had exact quotes to share with you this morning but the gist of his questioning was:

how can they say I am fighting cancer when this disease has waged a war on me? AND it's truly kicking my ass. We're all pretty well aware of who will eventually win. This was not my choice, not my design, nothing I needed to prove to myself. I am simply trying not to die.

There is no bravado here. Simply words that I think most people living with or through cancer have often felt. I know I have. Stop making me out to be a goddamn hero and just stop pushing poison into my veins m'kay? I never tried to be brave. In fact, I don't recall ever, ever, ever having a choice in the matter. Which was pretty much Hitchens' point, made far more eloquently.

"He seldom produced an uninteresting sentence," is what the Washington Post said this morning.


What writer doesn't strive for this to be his/her eulogy? What tribute means more than this?

If you've never read any of Hitchens' essay, might I suggest this one? Because I think there are some pieces here to which we can all relate:

" thing that grave illness [or loss, my insertion] does is to make you examine familiar principles and seemingly reliable sayings. And there’s one that I find I am not saying with quite the same conviction as I once used to: In particular, I have slightly stopped issuing the announcement that “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Psst...You've Got Like 5 Days

...To figure out which one of your awesome posts you want to share with the world via the 2011 Creme de la Creme.

I'm browsing through my archives tonight. Oh 2011, you are not the year I thought you would be, but you weren't too terrible either. I'm chuckling at some of our antics, wincing at others. As always, looking forward. Onward and upward.

But taking a few minutes to look through where you've been isn't a bad exercise either. And I do mean a few minutes - did I post at all this year? Seems not a lot. S'ok. I'll make it up to you. Promise. And since I have all this extra time, I thought I would remind you to get in there too. The Creme de la Creme is compiled with love and is filled with great reading for a snowy wintry night (or sunny balcony, depending on your neck of the woods).

Have you hit send yet? Hunh? Didya?

Friday, December 9, 2011

So Much for "For the People, By the People..."

I'm in serious need of a pep talk.

Shit is getting me down, people. Not so much Life, I can manage that. It's the work part. Not my work as in office, office mates, tasks, etc, It's the usual brand of well-meaning loony there and I can easily handle that. It's - how do I explain this - it's the realization that you are coming up against people in power that are saying pretty bluntly, "oh, you're concerned? Oh ok. Hmm, you're worried that this and this will create irreparable harm to that and these people? Oh, that's interesting and all but WE DON'T REALLY GIVE A SHIT. This is our plan and we're sticking to it. And by the way this is all for your own good. I would say this hurts me more than it hurts you, but I'd be wrong [insert maniacal laugh here]"

And this sentiment appears to be endorsed at the highest levels. Except for the maniacal laugh. I added that.

I've been in several meetings this week that have made me feel helpless, useless, ineffectual, victimized, close to tears. And I was not alone. I looked around the rooms and saw my feelings echoed in faces representing other interests, other people in need. And we looked at each other and our eyes said, "Fucked. We are all totally fucked."

I keep waiting for one of my colleagues to talk me down off the ledge. To tell me, "dude, you are overreacting and being dramatic. Knock it off." But no. They are telling me to scooch over and make some room for them.

And I'm not used to this. In my profession, there is always a push and pull, a give an take. Sometimes you succeed; many times you don't. For the most part, there is at least a little, if even the tiniest, place for reason. Rational thought. Logical arguments. And when those fail, appeals to humanity.

I am finding myself in a place where it feels like there is no fucking humanity and I am feeling too angry and hurt to be effectual. Too stunned to react. I'm not used to being this much of an underdog.

Oh, except in that one other arena:

Our friend and volunteer potential maybe hopeful GC requested her medical records and we're waiting around for that process. Meanwhile, that other iron in the fire has gone cold.

I checked in with our agency this week thinking that our last conversation would have opened up all kinds of options for us. Turns out, no. they can think of NO ONE who might want to be our baby mama.

And now I am at the point where I'm like, you know what? I'm pretty sure it's not me. It's you.

I'm not going to break into a Morrissey croon here, because I know that I am NOT unlovable so you can just stop trying to tell me. If we were, why would three women that know us well have already tried to sign up for this gig? if we were so flipping incompatible with other humans, one would guess the whole damn world would want to walk wide circles around us. But they don't. So....

On to the next one.

Some of you who have used surrogates and gestational carriers have shared your agencies and recommendations with us. Thank you. We will be setting up some exploratory conversations with one or two of these. I jokingly brought up the suggestion to head to Canada to M last night and he was ready to pack our bags. I'm guessing international surrogacy brings about a whole different batch of issues, but I'm not opposed to learning more. So, holla at us any one reading who has crossed national borders in your baby making journey. I would love to know your story.

We joked about creating a FB or webpage last night. Only it's not funny. It's sounding kind of like not that horrible of an idea. I know at least one or two of you have (successfully) taken this route for adoption. Would you be willing to share your experiences with us? Legal ramifications? Not necessarily here if you don't want to, but via email or even (gasp) offline?

And meanwhile, we're finding time to sit down and talk with our friend and hopeful GC to put some meat on the bones of that plan. That is our #1 choice, but we just want to be ready if it seems as if it's not going to work out.

I'm not mad at our agency. It's been a learning experience. And I'm hoping we can take what we've learned and move forward towards a family. At least until some batshit crazy senator decides that third party reproduction should be restricted....

Oh you think that can't happen? Go take a look at your elected officials, friends. Things are getting very, very strange out there.

See? Bitter. I'm getting bitter. Pep talk needed in aisle three! Stat!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Grief and Gratitude

7:00 am - hear M dry heaving in the bathroom. Yegads, that doesn't sound good.

7:15 am - M leaves for work but cancels his dentist appt so he's not "smelly of sick." I blame weight of the day. He's more pragmatic and blames cheap beer from the comedy show we went to last night in our quest to avoid staying home for any prolonged period of time this weekend. He's probably right. PBR, you are the devil. A sick-bellied devil.

7:30 am - I check my calendar, and cancel morning meetings and calls. Close my eyes, and defiantly fall back asleep on the couch. Fuck you world. I ain't doing shit for you today. At least for as long as I can avoid it.

9:00 am - call from boss wakes me up. Wondering what's on my plate for today. "As little as possible," I respond. "You ok?" Sure. You? Sure, she says. Reminding me that I am not the only person in the world with woes. She doesn't pry. I don't either. But it's clear we'll be gentle with each other today.

Three years ago, they were here. Today they are not.

Five years ago, we promised each other to do whatever we were able to have a child. Today, we are still longing, and trying, and wanting.

The grief evolves. The absence remains.

Luckily, so does our love for each other (damn, it is solid), and our determination, and the support of our friends and family, even when said family doesn't always know how best to express it. I just got a call from y brother who sheepishly confessed: "I just "liked" you FB status, but that doesn't mean I "like" it but I didn't know what to say so I did that but then I thought oh crap that's not what I mean so I thought I'd better call you and just tell you I love you."

Well shit. You can't really ask for more than that, can you?


Right now, I am home. Skipping a luncheon, avoiding a deadline. Eventually I will have to show my face at a 1:30 meeting I can't figure out how to get out of. Then another at 4:30, then another until about 6 pm. But right now, I am here. Looking through the meager handful of photos we have, feeling their blankets, touching their tiny, tiny foot and hand impressions. How could they have been so small? So beautifully and perfectly formed? How could Jovi have M's nose? How could we see poise and grace in Isa, defiance and spunk in J? If I was projecting, how could M have the exact same thoughts? So much to see in those tiny faces that would be nearing 3 years old today.

When does this get easier?


Right now tears are forming, not from pain or sad, but from being overcome with emotion. Texts and emails and notes started seeping in this morning before I even opened my eyes for the second time. I am touched. We are touched, by the outpouring of love and abiding and simple kindness we are seeing today. It is humbling. And strengthening. Because I know this is not an easy time of year for many of you, for a myriad of reasons. To reach out and share your renders me speechless.

Notes from friends remind me of how much we were cared for when we returned home empty handed three years ago. In the midst of our raw grief, we were weepy. We were cavalier and stone-faced. We made inappropriate jokes. We winced at innocuous comments. We were fragile. We were invincible. We were needy and wanted company. We were offended at social demands and wanted to be left alone. We had to have been simply unbearable.

And yet we were picked up and held and loved and fed and reminded to bathe (um, sorry) and taught little by little how to be human again. And for the most part, I think we succeed. On most days.

Thank you. For everything. Thank you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Post Script

I've been having mixed feelings about hitting "publish" on that last post.

Thanks so much for your comments, and yes, I'm right there with you. "Cautiously optimistic" doesn't even begin to describe how cautiously we are approaching these possibilities. There are still so many variables in play. So many points in which the story will be over. Enough to fill a spreadsheet.

But being somewhere is better than being nowhere, right?

And did I jinx it by speaking aloud?

This is a constant struggle for me. At work, communication is so related to strategy - what to say to whom and when and who needs to hear it first so protocols are followed and egos are massaged. Communication is a constant dance.

At home, cohabitation with an undersharer has definitely made me more careful about spilling my guts to all I meet. Somewhat out of respect for him and his privacy, and also because as I've matured I do realize that there is such a thing as appropriate dinner conversation and my innards or my crappy day at work or the very detailed critique of your best friend's hair doesn't necessarily fall into that category.

sidenote: that realization does NOT prevent me from sticking foot in mouth:

We met another person who lives in our building last week. As we were chatting I ask (and somehow sensing where I was going, I hear M silently moan...)

me: "hey! do you think there's a stripper that lives on the 2nd floor? There's a girl there. She's really pretty and keeps odd hours. I see her all the time in the middle of day in sweats walking her dogs."
new guy: "You mean my sister?"
[M: audible groan. sharp kick under table]
new guy: "yeah, uh, she's not a stripper. We own a tanning salon together."
ugh. ugh. ugh.
Luckily, I also learned they don't really like each other. But still....

Ok, back to post. So as you can see, sometimes I worry incessantly about when to open my mouth. Other times, not so much. Yesterday's post was one that's been churning in my brain for a while but somehow I'm feeling, I don't know, a little exposed with it out there.

But I think we're all on the same page here: the cautiously optimistic page.

On the agency side of things, we learned yesterday that upon another interview, they decided this potential profile they mentioned was probably not a good match for us, but they hoped to have some next week to share. I was also told that finding a match for us was has become a "personal challenge" for the director.

And that left me a little chuffed. Maybe I was feeling emboldened by Mo's recent post on being made to feel a little high maintenance for simply exercising some patient rights, and perhaps I was wondering if we and the agency were each working off of some different expectations, so I wrote back:

"I'm struggling to understand what makes us such a challenge. How are we different from other IPs?"

This is something I had asked before and that response encouraged us to redo our profile (which I feel much better about this time around). This time, I received another quick and thoughtful response back. Our agency had been working from our "wish list." And two of the criteria they were using to select profiles were dead on. The other two, well, I'm really glad I asked.

They had been assuming we only wanted to deal with in-state GCs. Not so. We only wanted an assurance that wherever the GC was, their state was surrogate-friendly so we wouldn't encounter any legal issues with birth certificates, hospitals, etc. I assured her we are willing to do a nationwide search to get us to the person that can build our family with us.

The agency had also not been sharing any profiles of women who were stay at home moms with us, and SAHMs are pretty much the bulk of their database. This completely puzzled me, but when I looked through old email strings, I had placed an emphasis on wanting to be sure our GC felt financially independent (with or without the GC fee) and really wanted a woman who had outside interests and hobbies, someone engaged in furthering her career or educational goals. Pieces that we said we liked about profiles we had seen so far usually involved women who were pursuing higher degrees, working on promotions....I could see how our agency thought employment was a "must have."

But I wish we would have talked about this sooner. Our wish list was just that - a wish. Describing ideal situations, not eliminate-anyone-that-doesn't-fit criteria. And what the hell do we know about what's ideal? We've never done this before!

Communication = so key. Out of state carriers are fine. SAHMs are welcome. It seems that this will open up a few more possibilities for us to review as we wait for medical records to be obtained and sent from our friend. We're trying to stay on parallel tracks so we don't lose any more time lest one of them falls through.

Cautiously optimistic on both fronts. Braced for the next hurdle. Learning lessons on communication along the way.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On the GC Tip

As you know, we've taken quite a long and winding path to gestational surrogacy. We never expected the process to be quick. We also never expected to be in the running for hardest couple to match. ever.

Part of this is our fault. I know. Word of advice: intended parents, read. Reread. Then ask other people to read your profiles before hitting send. Ours benefited greatly from the eyes of some wise women once we realized, hmm, maybe we haven't put our best foot forward here.

So, new profile for us was entered. We received one potential carrier profile after that, it was good.....but not quite there yet. Received another that made me pull M out of meeting at work to make him read it. It felt like such a fit. I loved the voice I was hearing in the writer. I saw humor, pragmatism, intelligence, love. I love the city where she lives, found encouragement that she worked in a medical setting. We emailed the agency right away with a "YES! Let's do this!!!" They were thrilled. We were too. We waited to hear what the potential carrier might think.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, our agency started to gently prod. We know this is a big decision, but this couple have been on this journey a very, very long time. Can you tell us what you're thinking?

She was thinking she needed some time to think through timing. She feared having to be on meds over the holidays. And I thought that was fair. In fact, that made me like her even more. How responsible! How forward thinking!

And we waited, and waited even longer for her to say yes so we could move forward with the papers, contracts, all the good stuff. Finally, our agency gave her a deadline. Which she promptly missed. Weeks after our initial "let's do this," we all agreed this carrier, for whatever reason, was not going to happen.

Funny thing is, at this point, we are pretty un-fazed by things not working out.


In the midst of the waiting, we were hanging out with friends and talking about that other decision - to house or not to house. One of our good friends, who is also our mortgage broker, was walking through the finances with me. And I confessed that there was this one major variable hanging out there that we had to always keep in mind. And that variable was pretty expensive. She furrowed her brows and gave a what the hell are you talking about look and I ended up spilling the whole sack of gestational carrier beans - how we had friends who offered, that didn't work out, we moved to an agency, we've struggled to find a match, we found a match, she seems to be getting cold feet....

Our friend asked tons of questions, I thought because she was fascinated by the whole process. What does it take? What does a carrier have to do? How do the meds work? And out of nowhere said:

"I would totally do this for you."

Hunh? What?

"I need to talk with [my husband] and I need to be sure he is ok with this, and you need to talk with M to be sure he's cool (yeah, he is) but this is something that I would really want to do. What do we do next?"

Well, first, M and I pull our jaws up from the ground. And then we say thank you. And then we think about what we will need to present to her very nice, but very overprotective husband to see if he would be on board. We talked for the rest of the night. About Isa and Jovi. About her family. About ours. About her feelings around pregnancy, About the b*tch that is infertility.

And that's where we are now. Putting some assurances together for hubby (who is ok, not thrilled, but ok) with his wife's decision, and presenting another set of medical records to our clinic for inspection.

As you know, this has been the "do not pass go" point in two previous attempts.

Again, we find ourselves with another amazing woman who we know and love and would LOVE to have as a part of our extended family. She has a teen son, whom we adore, and a brother, who has been M's best friend for decades. Her family is nontraditional, but full of love and acceptance. We can't get ourselves too excited because, you know, shit happens.

And just to be safe, we're not letting go of our agency. Who, in fact, emailed yesterday to say there is a potential profile for us to review once background checks are made.

A couple of irons are in the fire. (and I don't know where to go next with that idiom).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All the Married Ladies....

That B*yonce, wow, she rubs me the wrong way.

From her sly musings on taking a break and wanting to have a baby in so many magazines to her public announcement at a music awards show (which ruined M's week) to the smugness in which she bares her voluptuous preggo breasts in one of her latest videos.....

Ooooooohhh it just BURNS me!

Not that she's pregnant. I get that. I understand the world procreates around me. It's the assumption that all is preordained. It is this beautiful woman's destiny (as it were) to become a beautiful glowing mother and gift the world with her offspring. Because this is how it should be. And in her case, she appears to be right.

I'm facing a very similar presumptuousness in my personal life. I volunteer with a young woman who's in the midst of planning her wedding. She's being very careful not to overextend herself in the days leading up to her ceremony (smart) and giving everyone a heads up about when she'll be MIA for her honeymoon (practical), but then it extends into - I can't make any promises to do this or that because we'll be popping out babies.

Just like that: I found my man. We're getting married. Of course, the next logical step is to push out some kids. Of course this will happen. Of course it will happen on our timeline. Because we're smart people. We've worked it all out.

The first time this happened, my jaw dropped, I nearly spit out my coffee. I was tempted to try to turn it into some kind of teachable moment (ugh. that phrases oozes condescension) but I didn't want to be condescending, and I didn't want to rain on her parade. At least not that morning.

But it keeps happening. She makes these statements with such assuredness. Such confidence. Ah youth. It's grating. But it's also misinformed.

Or is it? Is it ME being presumptuous that this won't happen for my colleague? Am I the one being self-centered?

Just because donor eggs, IVF, several frozen embryo transfers, a real pregnancy, and at least three beautiful women offering their own wombs to us in this journey has not resulted in a living, breathing child for us....

Doesn't mean young women around the world shouldn't assume that life is as it should be. Sex will be had. Babies will be made.

So what do you think? What would you do? Would you say anything to a colleague who assumes the world goes 'round, women have babies, and hers will come as soon as she wills it so? What would you say? How would you say it?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Square Footage

This post changes and evolves the longer I let it marinate in my mind. That happens some time.

This post this time last week would have been to tell you that you were right. The haunted house was our gateway walk through. That it set us on a path that led us to a house that would be a right fit.

This time last week would have been to tell you we found it and it is all I can do to make space in my brain to think about anything other than The House.

Great location. In the mountains. On over an acre of land. Walking distance from a couple we really, really like. Modern construction. Tons of natural light. Huge kitchen pimped out with appliances we would dream about when there was a Wolf store within walking distance of a place we used to live. Dudes, this kitchen - it is the opposite of the kitchen we tolerate now.

It is the first place we have looked at that didn't feel like a lateral move. That didn't feel like we would be giving up something if we move from here to there.

The catch: it's priced high. Way too high. Well above what we thought was our comfort level.

So we bid low. Way too low. Knowing we had a few factors in our favor:
  • the sellers separated right as they bought this house. As in, she never even moved in (ouch)
  • he lost his job
  • the place has been on the market for 7 months without a bid
  • we were comfortable with the bid we placed and,
  • we have nothing to lose. No urgency. No need to move. The worse they could say was no.
They didn't say no, but after a week of waiting, well past the deadline given, they did say, um, come back when you want to offer something "a little more reasonable."

So, we took some time to reflect. And to make them wait, because they made us wait. And we're mature like that.

So we've been sleeping with the idea of owning a house. For the first time ever. It's a pretty big idea for us to get our heads around. The more we sleep with the idea, the more we think about things that are less than ideal about our ideal house:
  • While the location is great, it's not in the city. Things that are walking distance for me would no longer be. A second car would probably be in the works sometime in the future.
  • While the place is incredible, I wouldn't mind if it were about 1000 sq feet smaller. In my mind, It. is. massive. And while I think I could grow into it, I know the size makes M uncomfortable. A little self-conscious, even. Several rooms would go unfurnished for a bit.
  • What would we do with a place that is clearly built for entertaining we rarely have people up in our space (see "social anxiety" post from a few days ago)
  • While it would still be a steal if we could grab it under a certain amount, holy shit that is still a lot of money. For a house. What other things are negated once the down payment is made and the mortgage becomes a monthly obligation? Do we want a house more than those other things?
And you see where this is going, right? We're well into existential territory here.
  • Do we want a house more than we want to head to Poland for Eur0 2012 next year, more than any other travel plans?
  • Do we want a house, this house, enough to commit to living in this city, a city where job prospects are less than golden for M, for the next several years?
  • Do we want this house enough to dedicate our funds to it?
  • Do we want to buy this house when perhaps we could build one for a comparable price?
  • Do we want a house????
  • What exactly do we want from a house?
So the "building a house" idea took over a HUGE portion of my daydreaming this week. Especially when M sent me to this design site and showed me his dream house. Whoa. Those dreams faded a bit when we realized that empty lots are somehow almost as much as ones with houses built on them. How is that possible?

So we sat on the idea and thought about it all a little more. What do we want? We want to make as minimal an impact on the environment as possible. Building a completely new construction doesn't necessarily gel with that. But living in a nearly 100-year old building that was here before we were and will probably be here when we're gone might. Maintaining a single-car household and ridiculously low energy bills does too....

Holy crap, what if we are totally OK right here, where we are?

It feels like this might be the conclusion we are coming to. And part of me feels really ok with that - like after you put your own clothes back on after a particularly brutal afternoon in a dressing room trying on new skirts. Part of me wonders if the easiest thing to do is nothing. But if nothing's broken, is there really a need to fix? Is inertia always a bad thing?

I don't think this conversation is over just yet. I think these questions are good ones to ask. My acupuncturist called it "mindful reflection of life" or something to that effect. Whatever she said, she made me feel not bad about setting off on this journey only to end up right where we started. At least for now.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Long weekend, I love you. Let me just get that right out there.

I took a two-day work week this week in honor of the I am thankful for two-day work weeks.

Now, I get it. I know that the origins of Thanksgiving are dubious and the pilgrim/"indian" component of it is cringe-worthy. I've never liked turkey and you know M doesn't "eat the bird because he loves birds." I know that the twitterverse is pretty much split down the middle with FML and pass me the wine I hate my family posts, and I'm so thankful and everything is beautiful in it's own way tweets.

While I am never one for shooting rainbows out of my ass, I have to confess, I'm falling into the Ray Stevens camp this year. Thanksgiving is so distinctly North American. It is the only holiday that's ever made me homesick when I've been far away. Being vegetarian has eliminated any need to feign delight while stuffing a dry, dead bird down my gullet and wow, there was no shortage of good stuff at the table yesterday.

You have to appreciate a holiday where gifts are not required, the focus is on food, it's totally ok to get tipsy in front of your parents/in-laws/family units, naps are not only allowed but encouraged, and the overarching theme is "hey you spoiled yankees, can you stop yer bitching about your first world problems for just a minute, look around you, and be grateful. If only for one day. Be grateful."

And so I shall. I will savor the shepherd's pie I made from leftover mashed potatoes and kale, sip some lovely porter, watch M play his new video game (purchased for the long weekend) and be grateful. For my home, for my husband, for my health, for my homies (that means you), for our daughters. Too often I forget - their short time with us was a gift. A Gift.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Boo for Sunday Nights


Sitting on the couch, getting myself stressy as I think about work tomorrow and whittle away at some tasks here and other little ones there and take in deep breaths as I catch glimpses of other ones I've been avoiding.....

This is me every Sunday night:

But it wasn't how I was planning to spend this one.

There's a WWE pay-per-view on tonight and we were invited to go watch it. With friends. Catch: at their aunt and uncle's house. Whom we've never met.

Alas, M's anxiety strikes again.

You can actually see it build. And progressively take over his body and brain to the point where he's not even thinking straight. Because all he can think about is this future social interaction in a place he doesn't know. With people he doesn't know. Where he will have little, if any control over his surroundings. It completely consumes him. He will definitely lose sleep, and will usually make himself physically ill in the process.

So I go from wishfully thinking "maybe this time will be different..." to cheerleader "c'mon! it'll be fun! give it a shot!" to mild annoyance, which quickly builds to flat out annoyance. And then crisis point is reached. And I need to downshift to concern, shake off judgment, and focus on the person who is truly in pain - both physically and emotionally - in front of me.

And then we cancel all plans.

And then, after a while, he's fine. But exhausted.

Me too.

So now, he's chillin'. I'm chilling. Disappointed, but I'll shake it off. It is what it is. As a penance, I'm making him find and download the tune that Eden rocked out to in one of her latest vlogs. His eyes are rolling at the premise of having to use his computer to acquire house music. I don't care. I WILL find some time to dance with abandon sometime very, very soon.

In the meantime, I'm wondering if any of you have partners who experience anxiety around social situations? Not the usual spastic colon Sunday variety - the immobilizing I cannot move even if wanted to kind. Has loss changed or heightened it? Coping mechanisms? Ways to address it? Soothing words? Open to all thoughts here. Anonymous comments are welcome.

And if anyone wants to tell me what's going on over at S*rvivor S*ries, I wouldn't mind that either.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Choice, Infertility and Reproductive Rights

Last night, sometime around 9 pm, I set down the leftover beer and pita chips I was carrying, kicked off my shoes, sat on the couch and let out a "phew" And meant it.

I threw my very first grown up party. For a cause. At the fancy B&B next to our place. Catered and everything. And people came, despite the rain, despite the jillion other fundraisers and events that go on in a capital city on a session night. And we did grown up things like networked and shared business cards and made donations (!) and most importantly, made a commitment to identify pro-choice women that could become viable political candidates in 2012, to encourage them, to support them and to get them to this amazing 3 and a half day training event in January.

The best part about last night, I mean, besides the artichoke dip which was banging, was M whispering in my ear before he slipped out to let me "do my thing" - I'm really proud of you.

Asshole. He always makes me teary.

About a year and a half ago, when I started to feel somewhat human again, when I was willing to take a chance of venturing out into public again and believed I could probably carry on a conversation without sobs, at least most of the time, I sat down with a colleague of mine - someone who's considered a bit of a grand dame of lobbying for women's issues in these parts - and asked her, basically, what am I supposed to be doing with my life?

At that point in time I wanted to run away from my job, define myself as something other than someone that people whispered about (you heard what happened right? poor thing.....). I wanted to prove to everyone and myself that I was greater than my grief.

I just had no idea how.

She asked a very basic question: "What is important to you?" Find it. Define it. Immerse yourself in it. Volunteer.

So I did.

The chance to create and shape my family is important to me. To know that other women have this right - that is important to me. To know that no one will take away my ability to make the choices that are right for me and the people I love - that is important to me. Choice - this is what matters to me.

And some people got it. They really did. And supported me 100%. Others were baffled.

After all you are doing to try to have a baby, why are you doing this?
You've seen heartbeats - how can you support something like this?
You want to be a mother - what mother would be ok with this?

And on that last note, by the way, you might be surprised.

But what it comes down to, as I said in a post I published for the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade back in 2008, is this: Choice is not just about the “choice” to have an abortion.

Mississippi's attempts to redefine "personhood" reshaped this conversation for a lot of people. What's worse than learning that your attempt at IVF or a frozen embryo transfer resulted in yet another negative? What hurts more than knowing you are still so far away from the child you want so badly? It might be knowing that some people would classify you as a murderer for jeopardizing the "lives" of those little blastocysts.

What do you mean only 2 of 4 made the thaw? Why did you choose to risk that little embryo knowing your womb is less than hospitable? Who are you to choose which blast gets a shot?

Which one of us doesn't torture ourselves with these decisions each time we venture back into trying to conceive? Which of these decisions are done carelessly or without thought?

Which one of us would want these options taken away from us? Which one of us would want to be punished for "choosing" alternate methods like third party reproduction to build a family?

Not me, homey

So this is why I fight for Choice. This is why I give my time and my money and my efforts to groups like this one. Mississippi is why I think it is so critical to get more progressive women into office. Who do you want representing you when your state goes weird like Ole Miss?

I am in my state's capitol building almost daily. I can tell you who I see in the halls. Who I meet with. Who I plead my case to. Who I try to convince. I can tell you not many of them look like me. Or think like me. And as kind as they are to me in their offices, as nice or as smart as they tell me I am, I know many of those very same people don't trust me enough to make my own reproductive choices.

I know. I've seen the votes.

Let's fix this.


Stats show that the average female legislator needed to be asked six times before she even considered running. Six times! Look around you. Look in a mirror. I bet you know some smart women. I bet you know a lady or two that would kick some serious ass in a statehouse. Have you ever thought of asking her to run? Have YOU ever thought of running? I'm just sayin'

I think you should consider a run.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Shit. It's been a month since we've last chatted (you didn't see it, but I accidentally wrote "shatted" That made me laugh. Thought I'd share).

As is usually the case, the fewer words here the more going on out there. Some mundane (work. conference. long hours. waah.) others not so much. My goal is to get back here by the end of the week and fill you in. Until then, I'll share the list of words that I stick on my 'droid to help me not forget all of thoughts rolling around in my head. Thoughts on:
  • personhood
  • the importance of Choice (with a capital C)
  • cognitive dissonance
  • S*ndusky
  • house hunting (and finding)
  • treatments and diseases (and deciding which is worse)
In the meantime, roll on over to Mel at Stirrup Queens and check out what she has to say about some of this, because she's beaten me to the punch, and linked to several other smart ladies who are feeling just as horrified as I am about Initiative 26:

And while you're there, go ahead and read her post on Social Media and how the game has changed because it pretty much encapsulates the feeling I'm having of being stuck in the rapids and trying to paddle free:

Later gators. Late again for yet another meeting. Ugh.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Now where did that thought go?

I feel as if I went to sleep last night with this fantastic idea for a post. One that had nothing to do with loss or trying or failing or anything related to family-building. But it had to do with ME, with something I was feeling, or thinking through, and thought some of you might be too. It was something I wanted to talk about.

And damn if I can remember.

I spent some time this morning looking around my desk, in my purse for that mythical post-it note or scrap or napkin I hoped I had scribbled something down on (do you do this?). Sigh. Nothing. Except for that other note about that other post that I hadn't forgotten about I've just been too lazy/busy to do.

Damn it.

About music? Hmm, maybe, don't think so. Work? Perhaps, but what do I have to say that's new there? Politics? Well, it is a shitty time for women in general....argh. I'm not young but I am FAR too young to let cogent thoughts slip through my fingers like this.

So, as you can see, it's driving me crazy. And to add to the crazy, I've got this general sense of unease. It's like as I'm sifting through my brain, instead of finding the data I want, I'm unearthing all of these other things - like, oh, I said that last week? I probably shouldn't have. I mentioned this to that person. Oh dear. Bad idea. Instead of discovering my brilliant idea up in there, my brain is handing me a stack of reasons to doubt myself and make me feel like crap. "Hey, m., here's a list of all the ways you sucked recently."

Stupid brain.

So there you have it. There's something I wanted to throw out there. I can't remember. I'm sure once I do it won't be nearly as fabulous as I originally thought. It's early. Perhaps my mind's still hazy. Perhaps there's just too much in there.

The writing of this post was interrupted by a 15 minute call from boss which is indicative of how things have been lately. Working while at home. Taking care of non-work things in the office. There are no boundaries. I'm struggling mightily with the mystical/mythical work/life balance. But when work invades my dreams nightly, that's when I get cranky. I should not be dreaming of agendas and emails.

I should be spending more time remembering what the hell it was that I wanted to write about.

I'm feeling a need to cleanse. To wash away some of that junk in my brain. To find some space between life and office. To get rid of some unnecessary static -like the revelation I had the other night. If this person's posts make my eyes roll, why am I reading them? If these status updates make me grit my teeth, why are they in my reader? If my shoulders tense when I see that number on my phone, why do I answer it right away without taking a moment to breathe? I don't have to add to my own grrrr. Yet I do. I need to stop. And pro-actively start cleaning up my space. Physically and mentally.

I'm thinking of a Reiki session or two. Because I've been thinking about it for a while and my acupuncturist is on vacation.

Thoughts on Reiki? Good, bad, indifferent? Will I leave just wishing I would have gotten a real massage?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Super Quick Fast Post

  • Oh, there is nothing like a 7 am email with a link to a front page article about "w*ste, fr*ud and ab*se" in your industry to jolt a communications director out of bed. Screw the coffee. I just now went to the bathroom, even though I've been holding it since about 10 o'clock. My phone is quiet now, which is somehow making me MORE nervous than if it were ringing. Helloooo? Anybody want to hear our side?
  • Your comments and this conversation that's flowing from the haunted house (and the fact that our Realtor called and said, "the seller is Motivated. Make an offer. Any offer") has us thinking about the big yellow house again. Did I mention it was yellow?If something keeps falling into every conversation we are having, it feels like it deserves a second look and maybe some serious consideration. I think it was Angie's comment (that I totally interpreted in a different way) that is making me want to go back. I really, really appreciate all of your thoughts - many of them align with ours. Its not just a house - its about moving forward, about moving forward with hope. Or moving on. Or both. It's a distraction, its a "here is one thing we DO have control over" kind of thing. Wheels are turning. I'll keep you posted. And,
  • That Mo, she is in my head. I'm thrilled that she is back on the blogging wagon after a long summer, but even more excited that someone has been able to put into words the feelings I am having as we explore gestational surrogacy. There are just so many questions and so many thoughts that aren't resolving themselves just yet. Like Mo says, its just hasn't clicked yet. I'm not saying it won't, but I am telling you I am in the process of turning over just one or two more stones before we move on.
  • Tonight is dodgeball. Have I mentioned my team rocks? We kept the best from our team last year, recruited a few more people we knew would kick ass and then got a few unexpectedly good players we weren't planning on (friend of a friend, coworkers with friends, etc). And holy shit. Last week's games were over so quickly and were so one-sided we almost felt bad. Almost. I cannot tell you how great it feels to be part of a winning team and to know that in five hours I get to throw things at people and get cheered while I do it.
To recap: I am high on adrenaline from work. We can't stop thinking about The House. Mo is the bomb. This day is halfway over. I'm still here. And tonight will be therapeutic and wonderful.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Awfully Big for Two People....

"This is an awfully big house for two people...."

"Wow. This place is huge. Two people could get lost in this..."

"A lotta house for just the two of you...."


He must have said it at least 10 ten times ten different ways. And yes, we did bring M's dad along for his advice and yes we did want his opinion, but after the third or fourth round of this refrain, I was done. I didn't want the house. I didn't want to be reminded we are ONLY TWO PEOPLE. I didn't want to go back home to our equally empty (and mind you, nearly as big) apartment. Just the two of us.


Let me back up. We are not in the market for a house. It was just one of those instances where you see something that looks like the steal of the century and your curiosity gets the best of you and you do some math and think, hmmm....and maybe you start dreaming of house parties with live bands. Maybe.

That's how M and I and our real estate-obsessed pal S and M's dad along for good measure found ourselves in a turn of the century 3000 square foot house yesterday. And yes it had original stained glass windows, and yes, it had funky things like secret stairwells and a wrap around porch. But it had something else that I can't quite put my finger on.

We were all wondering aloud what was making the owner sell, especially since she had just purchased it a little more than a year ago. Did the heating bill do her in? Was it just "too much house?" Did something happen here? "Oh no," our Realtor assured us. "They have to disclose if the house has been stigmatized."

"Stigmatized." Did you know that? I didn't know that. Do we have to disclose if the buyers are stigmatized?

Anyway, we're walking around and looking around and M's dad is punctuating about every 5th steps with the remarks above and I just say, "this place is creeping me out." S. nods. But quickly recovers and starts talking about painting trim and color schemes.

And then we find a note from the owner in the kitchen. It's her grandparent's house. They were the original owners. She talks about holiday dinners here as a kid, about how she bought it the first day it went back on the market (not really true, this house sat for almost a year at one point). But there was enough truth in the note to break my heart. I looked at M and could tell instantly he was done with the house too. Too many memories. Too many ghosts. Too much baggage. And goddess knows we have enough of all of that on our own.

So, there is a little relief that we are sticking with what we know, our little urban abode in a secure building that we can vacate at any time. A little sad. House parties could have been cool....A lot of other sad.

What if we weren't just two? What if there were four....


Whatever. The place is haunted. I know it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What I *thought* I said

You may recall me talking about how we were less then thrilled with the first couple of gestational carrier profiles that we viewed.

After we sent our feedback to our agency, the director scoured their database and came back to us and said, I'm really struggling with finding the right match for you. I have a few new applicants that might work; I'm waiting on all their clearances and such and will get those profiles to you as soon as I can.

Which made me wonder - what is it about us that is such a challenge?

So I asked. And received a really thoughtful and honest response from our agency. First was a suggestion: don't take the written profiles at 100% face value. Invest a half hour and have a phone conversation with one or two of the women and see if that changes your opinion. Don't assume someone can express themselves perfectly on a questionnaire. Go deeper. Those 30 minutes could be well worth your while.

Which is exactly the advice that many of you gave both here, in person and via email. So, thank you. You were and are right.

So we agreed to setting up some phone conversations, only to find that BOTH potential GCs said, "mmm, um, no thanks." to US!

Isn't that a nice kick in the pants?

I spent the weekend being hurt, then angry. No one likes to be rejected. Then I quickly switched to a "how DARE they!" frame of mind. Like it or not, there will be a LOT of money exchanged here - that gives US The right to be selective, not the other way around, right?!?

And then I calmed myself and looked at the profile/questionnaire we submitted and I tried to do it with an eye of a potential gestational carrier. (something we should have done before we even hit SEND in the first place.)

And I can see some things now that I didn't see writing it.

In my quest to appear normal, balanced, undamaged, I think our profile gives the impression that life is GREAT! We hike! We kayak! Look over here. We are TOTALLY well-adjusted. No signs of intense grieving and lack of life purpose over here. Did I mention I knit?

So much so, I, as a GC, might look at it and go, "hunh, I'm not sure they really want a baby. Things seem to be going pretty great for them right now. I bet my help might make more of a difference to someone else right now...."

Or you might look at the part where we talk so much about a certain family member being our first choice as our GC and think, "oh, awesome. I am starting this relationship knowing I am their second choice. That's a great feeling...."

But what is really the kicker, I think. What makes us so damn hard to match: Our answer to this question:

If it were determined during the pregnancy via medical testing that the fetus had physical and/or mental abnormalities would you want to abort the pregnancy?

What I thought we said was something along the lines of: "No matter what happens this would be our choice to make and we would need a GC who understands that."

But the multiple choice item we selected, it seems, was:

Yes,as such we need to be matched with a carrier who is willing to terminate a pregnancy if medically necessary.

And I am seriously just now realizing this as I write this blog post this morning.

This is not the answer that describes us. This is NOT the people we are.

And when I asked weeks ago what made us a challenge, our agency pointed to this question and that it was one that most potential GCs would say no to. At that time, I thought, well there is a difference of philosophy and opinion and one that I am not willing to budge on, even if it takes a little longer to make a connection.

Again, thinking we wrote what I thought we wrote. Which we didn't.

Argh. Argh. Argh.

Here is sat, frustrated that potential GCs haven't expressed themselves adequately, given us a good enough picture of themselves in their words and yet I think we could barely have pictured ourselves worse in the profile we sent in.

I've asked for a "do-over" for our profile. I have a friend or two that have offered to read what we write before we hit SEND this time. And I'm hoping that will make the difference.

I just wish months hadn't gone by before I thought to assess.

Friday, September 2, 2011

and I'm Craving...

Apparently seeing naked men and human feces has emboldened me.

Twice this week some things have come out of my mouth or flown off my fingers before I could even stop them. I surprised even myself.

Situation 1:
Ending a day long meeting, standing around with my boss and a Board member who at times makes people incredibly uncomfortable with inappropriate jokes or random statements. Not inappropriate like talking about boobies, more like offhand comments about euthanasia. Most of the time it takes the world a minute to understand it was supposed to be a joke. Part of me thinks he gets off on the shock, another part of me is pretty sure he's somewhere on the autism spectrum and completely misses the visual and social cues of the people looking horrified around him.

This was another one of those moments - his attempt to make a joke. So he says to us, "wow, I cannot wait until the day when government has complete control over my entire life and all of my actions and personal decisions."

Says me: "Well, if you were a girl, that time would be now."


He goes PURPLE. My boss chokes a little and thankfully decides she agrees with me. He sputters. We leave and have a glass of wine. I say I'm sorry but I'm not. Because its true. And to see this man blush, well, that was an unexpected bonus.

Situation 2:
Oh F*cefuck, why do I even bother?

A friend posted something on her wall yesterday afternoon bitching about the barrage of pregnancies and cravings that magically appeared in her feed. I wrote her a quick personal message basically saying, "F FB, let's go get some fries at the baseball game tonight." Soon enough though, the situation revealed itself as one of those ploys to get women to post something cryptic in their status updates and DON'T TELL THE BOYS only to say a week later, ha ha it was a joke, this was all for BREAST CANCER AWARENESS. Get it? Aren't we clever? We got you all talking and now you can talk about breast cancer.

One problem: the status update is supposed to say "I'm xx weeks and I'm craving xx" and there's a little formula you do with your birthday to fill in the xx's.

Because that's shocking, right? You're neighbors and friends won't know what's going on. Everyone will be confused and then you will say, oh I'm just kidding. This was for breast cancer AWARENESS. Get it?

I don't get it. I don't get it at all.

I tried to let it rest, shake it off, go enjoy my baseball game and fries. But the more I thought about it, the more it cut me to the core. So, I posted this:

I'm sorry. Explain to me how status updates related to gestation and pregnancy cravings promote "awareness?" Cancer is no joke. It's not cute. It's not funny. And FYI, a major long term effect of cancer treatment....infertility. This survivor is not playing along.

And then this:

And you're only supposed to share it with your female friends. Because, of course, in this magical world of FB, men don't get breast cancer.

And then I realized I just couldn't let last year's "awareness" theme go:

Last year, the theme was what's your bra color - which I 'm sure felt AWESOME for any breast cancer survivor who's been forced to have a mastectomy. I guess the point is to get people talking about cancer. I just wish the conversation were even remotely on point.

You know I take issue with the pink shit anyway. This isn't even getting into that. God knows I could rant about that. All. Day. I won't bore you. But there is SO MUCH that is wrong with this on so many levels.

So I decided to call it out. Because honey badger don't care.

Honey badger don't give a shit
. (that one's for you, L)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Morning Report

Today I am pleased to report:
  • a beautiful morning
  • a smooth run
  • a pooh-free path (well, at least of the human variety.)
May you all have similar good starts to your days!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Omen Interpreted

Yesterday morning I got up and went for a run. Did you have a chance to go outside yesterday? Here, it was glorious. A perfect, recently-washed, cool but sunny morning. Since my phone is busted (read: since I dropped my droid in the terlit) I don't have my runkeeper to take along, which means I have to just run. No waiting for the smooth monotone voice telling me my average pace or surprising me with distance traveled every five minutes. Nothing to do but run and breathe and think.

And then, up ahead of me, I see a dude squatting at a strange angle. My first thought, oh he's trying to get a nice picture of the sunrise. Because the river truly was lovely yesterday morning. Glassy. Perfectly reflective. But wait. No camera. Hmm. Then he straightens up and goes to the nearest trash bin and picks a large piece of paper from it.

Then he drops his pants to his ankles and wipes his ass.

Right there.

Me, incredulous. And gagging. Seriously dry heaving as I try to pick up my pace and get past the foul as quickly as possible. Part of me truly feels for the guy. At what point do you get to basic survival mode? At what point do you decide that you can't be hassled with dignity? Part of me is thankful that for all our bitching, I have not been reduced to wiping my ass with newspaper on a public walkway. The rest of me was just thoroughly pissed that this dude ruined my morning with his hairy ass and rank feces.

I get home and of course text M immediately. "WTF!?! Is this some sort of omen? A Sign?" I demand.

"Out with the bad...." he replies.

Ok. I'll take that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Sadness

Early this morning, I dreamed that I I had a child. A boy.

In my dream, he was just pushing himself up to stand, perhaps even attempt a step or two for the first time. I looked at a person who was witnessing the event with me and we both just stared in wonder. "Isn't this amazing?" Yes. We both agreed. Amazing. What a wonderful moment.

Later I picked up the little one. He hugged me. Put his head on my shoulder. Called me by my first name. "No, that's mommy," someone corrected. "Mommy," he dutifully repeated. I was heartbroken. Still am.


This gestational surrogacy - it is doing my fucking head in. And we are not even close to starting.

After a long talk, a lot of tears, several attempts at a letter, and some soul searching, we are not going to draft a letter to family and friends to see if anyone wants to come along on this journey with us. We may change our minds, but right now moving forward with an agency seems like the best approach.

A, because of timing. To reach out to family or friends feels like it would prolong this process indefinitely. Because it's their time line, not yours. You can't ask someone to get their medical records in the mail and then be angry with them when its taking a while when hey, they are doing YOU an enormous (understatement) favor. Plus, I am just not sure the average person knows what an IVF pregnancy entails. Why would they? It's not, oh put your baby in me and I will hold it for you and we'll all feel great about it. It's more like, go out of your way to drive to a clinic or lab to have your blood levels monitored before and after a transfer, take lots of drugs and ps, did anyone mention you've just committed to shooting yourself in the ass with inch long needles? For three months? That's the best case scenario. It is a lot to ask (understatement) and I really don't want someone we love to start to hate us and curse us as their butt becomes painfully sore and hormones overtake their senses.

I think we may rather have someone who knows what they're in for and has already said, yes. I can do that. I can handle that. I want to do it.

But now comes the next set of dilemmas. Who to use? What agency to tie your hopes to? I may have mentioned we're working with someone, and they are fine. The first two profiles they shared were meh, but the next one was better, not quite there yet, but closer. And I am hoping they may come ever closer now that we've been a bit more descriptive about what we are looking/hoping for.

We made the mistake last night of wondering, well, who else is out there. What other people/agencies might we contact if this one just can't find a match?

JFC. The choices. They are overwhelming. And vary in price in incomprehensible ways. The fee for a gestational carrier is more or less standard. Shockingly steep, but is it really, considering the task you are asking? And truly, we are resigned to that. But agency fees above and beyond lawyers and setting up escrows and trusts and all the other such that goes with this? Are you really asking me to pay you to speak to you? Before we even select a carrier? And then hand over a five-figure check, before you even offer a single service? I am shocked at what some agencies, particularly those with well-known attorneys at the head, feel they can demand.

And no, we're not even getting into the ethical issues and wondering who is legit and who will break our hearts and put us on the cover of the news and ruin our lives forever.

Because that's a whole other mindfuck.

So, yes, I think we will stay with our little boutique of an agency referred by a friend and see what they can do for us. We may also directly approach one particular family member who has mentioned this in passing before to see if there was any seriousness to the offer. Maybe. Still thinking about that. So, that's where we are.

Meanwhile, I am struggling mightily with anger and bitter and bile and rage. And sadness. Just a terrible sadness.

M has made it clear. He sees no purpose, no function, no point in being if we don't at least TRY. Me, I am so sick and fucking tired of trying. There are not enough expletives to shower this post to say how very, very tired I am of trying.

I would just like all of this to be over and to have a real, live, breathing, healthy baby in my arms. One that someday may even call me mom.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shaking Off the Crazy

Ok. One night back in my own bed with M. by my side has washed away a little of the crazy that has been consuming me this week. I'm feeling much, much better this morning. Sort of. More like resigned. But that'll work.

Now that I'm home its easy to remember that my association life is not the same as the one that I experienced out there in the Midwest. We are not a world of corporate sponsors and people throwing money at us (understatement). We are not about the hoopla. We are mission-based. What I do is real. I was right, that world isn't my world. It really isn't.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not dissing or getting all high and mighty. I'm just saying that at this point in my life, I was just not up for the shmoozing. Or maybe after 4 days I was just completely and totally over one particular person who had latched on to me early on in the conference and I just kept running into again and again and again. I made the mistake of talking him through a mini-crisis he was having on the first night (ailing family member, he as frustrated caregiver, feeling guilty about being frustrated, unfortunately, a common story in my profession and one I was able to speak to) and he decided we were soul mates. And from that point on it felt like I just couldn't shake him. Or his posse. Or all that came with it. So I found myself caught up in trying to avoid this guy as opposed to trying to lock into the sessions I needed to hear or the other contacts I felt I was supposed to be trying to make.

And, on top of that, as I've mentioned, I just didn't want to be there. Jumping straight into the grid after 3 glorious weeks out without time to process and savor and relish those moments was just too much.

But after a good night's sleep next to someone I love I understand that I have to be there. We must be there. Because we still want a child. And there is no way to do that without the assistance of several parties. All of which will cost a lot of money. So, if a baby is in the future, alas, our space on the grid is locked in. That is just how it has to be.

And as if that realization isn't hard enough, as if that leap isn't a massive mind fuck in the best of situations, along comes a nightmare scenario, one to confirm all of the whispering and doubts that play out in people's minds, or at least make surrogacy synonymous with sketch for a lot of people for a little while longer.


And here is where I borrow some words from Mel, because she nails it. Beyond the shock of a story as sucky as this one, beyond the anger and angst you feel on behalf of the people affected, at the heart of it all is this:
I am so fucking angry that I can’t build my family without assistance and because I need to depend on other people in order to form my family. And I am so fucking angry that the majority of people in this world don’t have to navigate the ethical concerns that come with assisted family building. They want a child, they have sex, and they raise said child. And I am so fucking angry that I have to depend on others.
But that's the way it is. So you give yourself a moment to be angry and outraged and indignant and yes a little self-pitying. And then you wipe your tears and get back to your To Do list of all that needs to take place if you want to be a parent.

Let me tell you where we are with all of that.

I may have mentioned before that we have a family member that is a very willing gestational carrier (GC) for us. That in itself is wonderful, but the timing isn't. Its just not the right time right now. So, while this is our #1 best case scenario, it's not one that can play out for another year or so.

In the meantime, M and I decided to look into an agency to see if we could find a gestational carrier through this route. We found an agency that seemed trustworthy, had worked with our doctors and clinic before, and is more affordable than other places folks had recommended. After spending a full Saturday painstakingly filling out an Intended Parent (IP) questionnaire, we started to receive profiles of potential GCs. The first two were prefaced with an "I think you'll really like them!" by the head of the agency.

We looked at each of the documents and were overwhelmingly underwhelmed. To the point of tears. Responses to questions we had spent time agonizing over were replaced by excessive exclamation points and smiley faces and all caps. I LOVE babies!!!!! (squeeeeee)

Ok, the squee was mine, but at first glance M and I fell back down into our pit of despair.

One of my buddies is exasperated with me. She can't see why any of that matters if there is someone ready and healthy and willing to help us get the child we want. Yes, dude. For a fee. For a substantial fee. And sorry, if I'm paying that substantial fee, I feel I have more than a little skin in the game. I feel I have a right to be a little picky.

And I don't see this as a nine-month proposition. This is someone who will be connected to your life and the life of your child indefinitely. Whether there is constant communication or not. Whether there is a good relationship or not. This person would always be the person that birthed our baby. So I don't want my first impression of that person to be, "hmmm, meh. I guess she'll do." I want it to be, "wow! I cannot wait to meet this person. I hope she likes me too."

I'm wondering if we need to re-evaluate our expectations. And here is where I would LOVE any of you who have already been through this to tell me to a.) stick to my guns or b.) get my head out of my ass.

And while I'm soliciting reader feedback, what do you think about this:

We are thinking about sending out a mass email to friends and family giving them an update on our situation and asking them if anyone knows anyone that would be interested in being a gestational carrier for us. The email would make it clear that there is no need for a response to this - just throwing it out there before we continue down the road with an agency, because obviously, we would so much rather build our family around people that we know and love.

How would you feel if you got an email like that? Is it too much? Pushy? Presumptuous? Would you think we were desperate and out of our minds? M.'s preferred method is a FB status update asking if anyone wants to be our baby mama. I think that's a bit much. But maybe it isn't?


BTW, for those waiting for Australia highlights and photos, swear to goddess its on a To Do list. Need to dig myself out of emails and phone messages and all that first. Short answer: It was incredible. You should go.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

back on the grid

Right now, I'm in St. Louis pretending to be an executive. I'm getting wined and dined by vendors and dutifully attending sessions on Board ethics, improving non dues revenue and all kinds of topics around "Innovation!" Innovation, it seems, is always followed by an exclamation point. Innovation! Can't you just feel the excitement!

This time last week, M and I were running around the streets of Sydney pretending to be Neo from The Matrix closing up almost three weeks wandering through a new country where we remembered how much we love being in motion, being together. We had the use of an old station wagon and someone's camping gear and it was amazing to see how easily we fell back into our old travel routines. M drives. I navigate. We break down the tent. I fold. He packs...In between there and here, there was a kickball game and about 48 hours spent in close proximity to my own bed.

I think its finally catching up with me. Because a full night of a Beatles tribute band with Boomers drunkenly dancing and whooping it up around me was all it took to send me into an existential crisis.

What the fuck am I doing here? This is not my life. These are not my people.

I never thought I would say this: I have eaten too much free food. I have drank too many free drinks. I feel indebted when I shouldn't have to. The excess and consumption is scraping off layers of my soul.

I have to do lists pages and pages long with ways I can improve how my association works and how I can make my own resume better, my career prospects brighter. I look at them this morning, remember what it feels like to wake up at dawn in a tent by the ocean and want none of it. None of it.

I have so much more to say, but I have to force myself into a session or two this morning and I wanted to let you know I was back on the grid. For now.