Tuesday, February 28, 2012

424 Posts

That's what I have to show for five years in the blogosphere. Five years! Whoa. I'm an oldster. Don't stare at my gray hairs. I've earned every single one. (But you would tell me if you saw one, right? Because I will dye the shit out of it.)

Does one get presents for a blogoversary? Considering I don't get any for my actual anniversary, I'm guessing odds are slim. But just in case the goddesses (or my husband) are listening....

Could someone clean my bathroom?

That would be so great. M has been giving me some shit about it for a few days now and I'm a little tired of it. Yes, my bathroom is cruddier than yours, I tell him. That's because my bathroom is where everything ends up when we get company and you get thrown out of yours. And I have far more hair. Long, long strands of hair that like to wind and weave their ways into strange places, I know. My bathroom gets far more traffic since its the one connected to our bedroom. It's the deep dark den of a bathroom so of course its not going to shine and sparkle like the spartan room of tile you happen to shower in.


If something's dirty and its bothering me, I clean it. If my bathroom is dirty and bothering M, I think he should clean it, no?

I'm going to remind him today's a special day, not tell him why, and watch him stress just a bit.

I'm finding it hard to blog today, because these days, I'm eating, sleeping, dreaming advocacy strategies and next steps. Who to see. What to say. How to follow up. I've got my game face on and even when I'm on the couch chilling with M. watching F*nding B*gfoot, I'm kind of not really 100% there. I'm thinking about my day job. So, in line with my current frame of mind I'm presenting to you both a timeline and a statistical overview of our five years together:

February 28th through the yeeeeears (minus the Kenny Rodgers song that's now stuck in my head):
  • 2007 - opening day
  • 2008 - two canceled cycles and one fresh IVF down, I was in the midst of our first frozen embryo transfer and feeling lucky (wasn't, but I think I might been on an uber exercise kick back then. Maybe a few pounds lighter. Go me.)
  • 2009 - still in that funky place of grief, processing that between this year and the last I was pregnant and then I wasn't. I'm intermittently disconsolate and ridiculously upbeat. Here, I'm looking to the future, with a balloon up in my cooch (post-surgery)
  • 2010 - looks like I skipped a celebration this year. 2010 kicked our asses all over the place. Don't feel like you have to click on this one. It's kind of a downer.
  • 2011 - Seeing half of Ween. The Gener. Feeling older, feeling wiser. Not a bad thing.
  • 2012 - It seems I am kvetching about a dirty bathroom.
  • 2013 - ???????
5 years of www.themaybebaby.com in numbers:

1825 days
424 posts
4 canceled cycles (2 due to donor eggs issues, 1 with eggs didn't make the thaw, and one when we realized my lining wasn't going to magically grow 4 more mm in a night)
2 fresh IVFs with donor eggs
2 FETs with donor eggs
1 pregnancy
almost 22 weeks of bliss
2 beautiful babies not here
100+ amazing people encountered, including over a dozen that have turned into real life friends.
4 offers of compassionate surrogacy
1 potential baby mama in the works....

Yes, friends, we've cleared another hurdle. Our potential gestational surrogate passed our clinic's medical record review. (woo hoo! cue streamers and balloons. This is kind of a big deal) Now we are scheduling a marathon day of exams for her, for us, for us together. Whew. forward motion. It's a beautiful thing. And a lovely gift for my five year blogoversary.

I suppose the bathroom can wait.

So hey, thanks for being here. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions. I see this as my safe place. I hope you do too.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

D*mn you, G**gle!!!!

Sure, I do it. I'll admit it. Every once in a while I g**gle myself. Because I want to know what the world sees when they try to get a glimpse of me, or at least my online life.

I'm used to boring results. A press release here. Some pages of my work website there. A few articles on infertility where I'm quoted or my old blog is referenced. Every once in a while a mention or a review of our cross-country trip pops up and I enjoy a little swell of pride. Fine. Fine. All fine.

Last night, holy shit. I stopped, literally, mid tea sip, eyes wides, expletives stuck in my throat. Due to g**gle's new search algorithm and search process, I got not only the boring bits...

But every photo or image I've ever used here on my semi-anonymous blog. Thank you, P*cassa.

And every web domain I've ever purchased. Including this one. Along with my name and address, phone number and email.

Ack. spit. sputter. react. quick.

So, I set every photo to viewable only by me and shelled out a few extra bucks to make all of my domains private and pushed through a proxy server. Which I should have done in the first place. I know. I know.

Not like its a crisis, not like its the end of the world. But it was a bit of an unpleasant shock to see my full name and all my contact bits linked so helpfully to all of these little hidden treasures of my soul.

I had been hearing rumblings of people really pissed off at the G**gle search, but that had more to do with using G**gle+ as its primary source over, you know, actual source documents and sites, and assuming you wanted to know what people in your circles thought was relevant. And of course there were some competitors shouting that's not fair. I wasn't expecting my underwear on show.

Consider this post a public service announcement. Go g**gle yourself. Like now. Put your tea down first. Lock down what you need to. So the pieces of you you want public are able to take center stage.

And just out of curiosity, let me know if you found something funky or surprising, or if its just me that had my goods all strewn out for all to see.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hey man, it's Friday

And the sun is shining and I don't want to do a darned thing that's on my plate today. But I've put off some things at work that are biting me in the ass now - so I need to carve out some time on this gorgeous day and spend some quality time with my keyboard.

I had this great idea to ditch my chair in my home office and replace it with one of those big bouncy exercise balls. I had this vision of my gut shrinking as my core hardened as I bounce bounce bounced and balanced my way to sleekness.

Um, it's not happening. And my back is killing me.

So I'm actually posted up on my rocking chair this morning. Windows (on the computer, not the wall) open all around me. To do list lined up. I'm all ready to go.

But I wanted to take a minute to thank all of you for Wednesday. For the hours that you spent with me here, via email, on the phone, sharing your experiences and your expertise, or even just giving your two cents. I took notes. Copious notes. I can't tell you how helpful it was, and how reassuring that we are not on this journey alone. I am immensely grateful. Thank you.

Since the last post we've had long conversations with our agency, and an attorney, and the agency who had a long conversation with the attorney. There is no guarantee of a pre birth order. But as many of you noted, there are no guarantees in most American states. Case by case is the norm.

As for the surrogacy lawsuit in the state where our potential surrogate resides, we learned more about the details. It was a traditional surrogacy (ours would be gestational) and if it even has a chance of moving, it doesn't seem like it would impact us or the dozens of other couples with surrogates in this state right now, even if it were a bad decision.

This is a state that has a surrogacy mandate in its insurance coverage. You heard that right. Not only is surrogacy not excluded in our potential surrogate's insurance, it is explicitly covered.

There is a risk. There is always a risk, but after talking with some of you (and the attorney and the agency and each other), we think we are ok with it.

It helped to learn that some of you know surrogates in the state that continue to be surrogates without issue. It really helped to know that our potential surrogate is actually friends with someone on her third successful surrogacy pregnancy. In her same county. At her same hospital. I don't know why that was the clincher for me, but it was.

We are moving forward. Waiting for paperwork, drafting contracts, sending medical records...

And we are moving forward feeling better informed and ready to face the obstacles that we might encounter along the way. And I'm sure there will be some. Good thing our rose colored glasses cracked ages ago. I've come to understand that an adoption process might be part of that package. And that's something I have to be ready for. And if that means I get to go home with our baby and there's a bit more papers to be filed, I think I can live with that.

Happy Friday, people. Tell me something awesome that you're doing this weekend.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

La Saga Continua

(Note: if you make it to the end, I'm asking for some advice. Lay it on me if you can.)

2012 = BHD = the year of the baby, house, dog. That's the plan, right? We were flying ahead with lightning speed. Like, so fast I couldn't even blog. until around 5 pm last night.

Schreeeeech. Halt. Whoa, look at those skid marks.

Over the holidays, we moved to a new agency. Talked, filled out the paperwork. Not too long after that, they sent a profile our way. How about this one? Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! First try! Lovely, sweet, sincere, healthy pregnancies and births, supported by family and friends. Yes, please, can we talk?

And we did. And we liked her and she likes us. And for about 12 hours our hearts filled again with the idea of bringing a baby home with us. It was a wonderful, sleepless night.

And then in the morning, M. said, hey, weren't we also thinking about this and this? Maybe we should explore this before we go any further.... Which resulted in a whole lot of obscenities and cursing and then later, finger-hurting* angry texts from me. WTF, dude? You think of this now???? We are closer than we have ever been (and that's not very close at all) and you want to regroup the wagons and possibly steer in another direction?? W.T.F.

*Have you ever texted so hard you've bruised your fingertips? I'm not even joking.

His question was rational. My response was not. But I was so angry at not being given at least 24 hours to just. be. happy.

We resolved this by saying, ok, if you want to explore some things, go and explore them and come back with a report and a rationale. And he did. and we decided that the path we were on was the path that works best. Phew. Next step, a conversation with a lawyer from the state where our would-be baby mama resides and would be receiving her care.

This is where the oh, eerrrr, hmmmm......comes in.

Our surrogate lives in a state where parenthood is determined on a case by case, county by county, judge by judge basis. Some counties are more conservative than others. Some judges are more comfortable with the concept of surrogacy than others. While a pre-birth order is possible, its not the norm. The surrogate's name is on the birth certificate until orders are in place. Not a problem for M, since he would be genetically linked. Donor eggs....oh hey now, that's a new twist.

One scenario: we would have a great surrogacy experience, be ready to take home a living, breathing child with our surrogate's blessing, only to be forced with coming home and proceeding with a step-parent adoption of our own child.

Are you serious?

While the lawyer we spoke with pretty much does nothing but third party reproduction, adoption, LGBT and family law, was comfortable with most of the judges in the county we'd be dealing with and has many, many birth orders under her belt, there was one thing that she felt she needed to mention - a suit questioning the enforceability of a surrogacy contract that was making its way through the state's appellate courts. Her words: "A bad decision - well that would be a concern for me."

Yes. Us too.

We talked about other options - leaning on the laws of the state where our agency is based, leaning on the laws of our state, which is pretty surro-friendly.

Well, if we're thinking of relying on the laws of our land, does it make sense to add these other variables into the mix? Are we complicating things here? While we really like the agency and the match, we really, really don't like the idea of going through all of this only to have some random person tell us our child is not ours. Well, not mine at least.

Sigh. I think we need to think about finding a surrogate who lives in another state. There feels like too much risk there to feel comfortable.

So where are we now?

We are getting a second opinion from a surrogacy lawyer in our state, someone our clinic had recommended a while back to help us with any contracts we might need. We want to know -

Are we totally overreacting?
Are there just as many unknowns here?
Is this a risk we will face anywhere?

Because if so, we may just choose to forge ahead with this lovely lady. If not, I plan on asking him about his experience with coordinating a surrogacy with someone we find on the boards (because I went there last night, and you know, its not as scary as it once felt) and if we needed help finding a surrogate, is that something he'd be able to help us with? (his website says yes).

Of course, after that conversation, we need to double back with the agency, fill them in, and perhaps ask them to cast their net out again, but darn it, we really like our potential match. Will we have such luck again?

Funny how we haven't even made it to a preliminary doctors appointment with a surrogate yet we are both feeling like old pros.

So, this is what I'd like to know from you:

Are we overreacting?

Re: the bulletin boards. I've found a few women I might like to reach out to to learn a little more about them. What questions do I ask? How much do I share about us? Is it too bold if I just say, "Hi, I'm m. Here's my blog. This is our story?"

What red flags am I looking for? Besides their place of residence, of course.

I Should Know Better

Well, yes. This goes without saying. But, you know, my f*cebook wall is mine, for me, to put my thoughts on it. Read it or don't. Block me or follow. It's your choice.

Choice. Its an important thing, don't you think?

Apparently, not everyone does. As I was told this morning.

I should have known better than to post the link. I mean, Katie warned us when she shared her own experiences about this kind of situation. But dammit, its funny. And it IS ridiculous. That's the point.

I got a typical answer from an atypical source (although had I thought about it, I wouldn't have been surprised.) She said:

This is just plain silly. Women should absolutely have to look at the baby they are killing before they do it. I've done and read a whole helluva lot of ultrasounds in my career, how anyone could kill a 9 week old fetus is beyond me. I think it's subhuman.

Subhuman. Yeowch. I took that a little personally. I chewed on this a little bit. Thought, perhaps I should just let it slide. Perhaps I should give some of my more vocal pals a heads up so they don't expand this debate or take it mean. And then I realized, that's the problem. There is no debate, only knee jerk reactions and vows to dig deeper into this supposedly unethical world of in vitro.

I decided now is really a good time to step up to the plate and explain why Choice is so important to me. This is easy to do in a room full of people who agree. Easy to do on anonymous comments or even under a pseudonym (ahem). But this is a little different. Its my real name speaking to a person I have know for over two decades, a medical professional at that. A person who wholeheartedly disagrees with a woman's reproductive rights.

Here's what I said. Length be damned.

Regardless of how we feel about abortion, the problem arises when legislation is used to say what we can and cannot do w. our bodies. Legislation is often drafted in a hurry, in response to a particular situation, and not by experts in the field it relates to, so often in the inclusion of a word or an omission of a definition, the scope becomes much broader than originally intended. This is problematic.

I don't want to be criminalized because my daughters had to be delivered before they were viable ("aborted" is what it says on the med records.) I don't want my future family building hopes, all using third party reproductive techniques, to be taken away from me. It is a slippery slope, and the reason I support women making their own health care decisions, whether I agree with those individual decisions or not.

And I realized that that is probably the most I have spoken about my daughters on FB. Ever. Sure, cryptic thoughts on certain days. Messages from you and others close referring to them, but nothing so outright. I never even truly admitted I was pregnant.

My daughters died.
There facebooks. There you have it. What's more, is that under a plethora of the personhood bills, I am fairly certain I am criminally liable there somewhere. Those are charges I will not tolerate. Will not accept, not on top of the personal guilt and angst and pain and taking ourselves to court mentally over and over and over again. That verdict is not for anyone else to mete out. Our sentence is already a life term.

And I realize some might read that and think, oh she went there....she pulled the "this is personal" card. Yes. Yes I did. Because it is. Because much like needing welfare, much like domestic abuse, the face and reality of who anti-choice legislation affects is often very, very different than what is conjured in stump speeches and political debates.

And I thought it was time to put my face out there.