Friday, January 29, 2010

Drinking Warm Water

I've now lived in China for about three months, and it has been an eye-opening experience in more than one way. Even though Shanghai is a very modern and cosmopolitan world city, there is still a deep-rooted sense of tradition and culture here.

And, one of the things that I have learned is that women will not drink cold water. They only drink warm (or hot) water. They believe that your body must be warm in order to have a healthy uterus and carry a child. A cold body harbors illness and isn't conducive to fertility. So, even from a young age, the women drink warm water.

I thought I'd give it a try. Why not? It couldn't hurt, though I've found, I prefer hot water to warm water. Warm water just reminds me of a tepid bath or coffee that's gotten too cold. So far it hasn't worked yet, but you never know.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Superstitions revisted

I’ve been a little bit superstitious since I was a kid. Ever the athlete, I had lucky socks that I would wear for basketball games, lucky underwear (no, not that kind of lucky underwear – I was a kid) that I would wear on the days I had volleyball games or math tests, and a lucky pre-track meet meal of a Pizza Hut personal cheese pizza.

These pseudo-illogical ways disappeared for the most part during college and my twenties. My only momentary lapse was buying a plastic statue of St. Joseph, the patron saint of home and family, and plant him in the ground upside down next to your “for sale” sign. You then say a prayer to him every day for nine days and your house should sell more quickly. So, maybe it’s more religious than superstitious, but you get the idea. Anyway, Jack Bauer and I tried this method to sell our house in Atlanta and it worked.

And then I started trying to get pregnant.

Since I originally thought it would only take a few months, six max, to get pregnant, I started buying cute unisex onesies, d├ęcor for the nursery and other baby belongings. We’d buy our future baby souvenirs while we were on vacation, too.

When I started the hard core fertility treatments, I went into overdrive (maybe it was the fertility drugs), buying even more infant equipment because I was convinced that it would work and I’d soon need Diaper Genies and teething toys.

After three ovulation induction treatments didn’t work and the first IVF didn’t take, I started reverting back to those old superstitious ways, and wondered if buying all the baby stuff was actually inhibiting my ability to get pregnant. So, I went cold turkey and stopped the shopping spree. You would’ve thought I was a heroin addict, I’d get the shakes when I’d pass a Gymboree.

Then we got the call in July 2008 about Nate, and those baby buying tendencies picked right back up. My girlfriends almost had an intervention with me after one trip to an Outlet Mall – I tore threw Oshkosh B’gosh and Hartstrings like there was no tomorrow, estimating how big Nate would be when would get to bring him home. Then, all progress to get him home stopped.

So I had to go into withdrawal once again. But, I have stuck to my guns and haven’t bought any baby-related stuff for more than a year and a half, except for shower gifts for friends, which is incredibly hard to do.

Most recently, I've been adhering to some of the Chinese superstitions. Of course, they wouldn't call them superstitions, they are just things that go along with the Chinese way of thinking. I have rubbed the lion cub on the lioness statues at the front of Buddhist temples, which is supposed to bring you children, and I have started drinking warm water instead of cold water. (quick post on that tomorrow).

Here’s hoping that I’ll have trips to Pottery Barn Kids in my near future, or at least the Chinese version of PBK. At least once, on every shopping trip, I say to myself, "That's something I will get once we have Nate."

What about you? Any superstitions about trying to conceive?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Famous infertiles

Another lesson from the Mad Men episode I justed watched - George Washington was sterile (not a word I like using, but one that was frequently used to describe the infertile until the 1980's, and I'm guessing some old timers probabaly still use this terminology). I even checked the fact out, not that I don't fully believe the Mad Men scriptwriters. According to my heavy research on Google, by that I mean, scrolling through the first two pages of results from my search for "George Washington sterile" for 60 seconds, it seems to be true. It was even referred to in the ongoing Proposition 8 trial in California just last week.

So, it's possible the George and Martha, the founding couple of the United States, the ones who planted the seeds of democracy for our country, were infertile. I find that interestingly ironic. (Perhaps I should've saved this post for President's Day).

Anyway, we are not alone. There are more than 7 million women who can't conceive within 12 months in the U.S. each year and millions of others around the world who curse the start of their period each month, or cry into squares of toilet paper.

And, do we really believe that the outbreak of celebrity twins from a few years ago was just because there was more than star dust in their water?

Other than Celine Di0n (I was in her hotel room in NYC about a week after she was reportedly staying there and getting her fertility treatment, but that's another story), have any other famous or pseudo famous infertiles ever spoken out? Why is that?

I know it's a hard topic to discuss, especially publically, and especially by famous people who want everyone to believe that they are perfect, so I will chalk it up to that. Explains a lot about why I am so willing to openly discuss it. 1. I am not famous. 2. I am far from perfect, nor do I believe other people think I am.

Just something I was thinking about. Man, Mad Men gave me two posting ideas this week. Perhaps there are even more.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mad (Men) about infertility and the blame game

The things you learn from watching the seedy and gritty, but wonderful Mad Men. I watched an old episode on a flight this week that dealt with one of the couple's challenges (Pete and Trudy) with infertility. You'd think with all the sex those men are having there would be as many pregnant bellies as there are ashtrays and highballs.

Anyway, Pete went and had his sperm counted and had stellar results (plus, he fathered a kid by one of the women in his office, but he didn't know that yet). After hearing his positive prognosis, he strutted around his apartment like a proud peacock, plummage in full. When his wife's face fell, he just said, "Well, at least we know it isn't me."

After his wife broke down, he said he never wanted to talk about it again, and stormed out. The nerve!

This is indicitive of the show's male chauvenistic nature, but it made me think about my own infertility (heck, I could relate a Golden Girl's episode to my infertility. Who needs menapause when they can't conceive anyway? See just did it) and the blame game. Something that no couple should ever play.

My husband, also known as Super Sperm, has a count that is literally off the charts. It's ABOVE average. I can produce almost two dozen eggs when on a follistim cycle, and yet no babies.

Not once, in the more than five years of trying, has either one of us ever blamed the other for our baby-making challenges. In our case, there is clearly something about embryos not wanting to stick in my uterus, and as much as it sucks, I will not blame myself for that. And, neither will Jack Bauer. He has been the most supportive hubby anyone could ever dream of.

So regardless of your lazy ovaries, slow mobility swimmers, or PCOS, don't play the blame game. Unfortunately, for many of us, there is no explanation for our infertility. It's hard to let go of not knowing why it won't work, but is harder if we don't.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The bombshell

I usually try to keep my blog light and as funny as possible, but recent developments in our adoption are forcing me to have a reality check.

We were hit with a bombshell Thursday night that the VN govt is denying 10 of the 20 adoption cases. We are not one of the 10, but it does not look good for the rest of the cases either. The Vietnamese govt has said our case (and 9 others) will not move forward.

One of our U.S. Senator's office's was on the case as of Friday morning, but we don't have a lot of details and there has been conflicting info. Needless to say, we still have a lot of questions.

We are in shock over this news. Just last Tuesday (the 12th) we had learned that it looked like some positive movement was starting to take place, yet 48 hours later, we learned of this incredibly troubling development.

There is a group of five parents who are bonding together their collective brain power to figure out the best way to get attention to our situation, but are waiting until we get more details before spreading the word.

We are emailing and calling as many influential people as we can possibly think of right now to help us, but we're still not sure exactly what we need to do.

Get ready. We may need to mobilize everyone we know (and those we don't) to campaign for these precious 20 lives.

In the meantime, expect some humorous posts as it helps take my mind off of the news. It is consuming every waking moment right now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Psyching myself up

I had plans today to meet a girlfriend for lunch. As I was driving to the restaurant to meet her, I remembered that just a few days ago she told me she was pregnant. I think I must've blocked it from my short-term memory.

Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled that this couple is pregnant. They are wonderful people and good friends, and it's their first baby, so it's not like I have a big resentment as I sometimes do when I hear of second and third babies coming along (sorry, but it truly is an involuntary reaction).

Anyway, as soon as I made the realization that I'd have to face her in person and see her growing pooch, I started having to take deep breaths because I got a weird feeling in my stomach.

Having to ask a newly pregnant woman how she's feeling, if she can still wear her regular clothes or if she'll find out the sex is about as hard for me as it is for Jon Gosselin to look like a devoted husband, father and stand-up guy. And, while it is hard enough to ask the interested questions, it's almost more difficult to hear the answers.

I can't relate to any answers, and find myself saying things like, "Oh yeah, me, too. I'd totally find out the sex if I could get pregnant." Or, since I can't throw in my own anecdotes, I use ones from my sister or friends. "You know, vitamin E is best for preventing stretch marks." Whaa- whow - just call me Debbie Downer.

I made it through lunch unscathed. Like I said, I adore this couple and truly am happy for them.

And, what was in the water last April? Tons of people I know are due in February. Must've missed out on some fertile H2O.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Nate!

Today Nate turns two. This time last year we just knew he'd be home with us by now and that we'd be celebrating. But, instead,. he is still in the orphanage waiting with his other brothers and sisters to come home. My only solace right now is that one mom is still in Vietnam and will give him some extra love and attention - not that he knows the difference in today's date versus any other, but it makes me feel better.

My birthday present to him is to continue working on bringing him home. Just in the last two days some amazing things have started happening. We now have several influential people, even Congressmen, who are getting involved in our situation. Today has not been easy, but I am hopeful that something positive is on the horizon.

Please pray, pray, pray that we can bring our boy home soon!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Insipid comments from a "comedian"

I was watching a little TV the other day. Our Tivo menu guide was out, so I was going old school and had to actually scroll through all of the channels. And, as such, I had to spend a few seconds determining what show was on before moving to the next channel.

On one station, they were talking about J0n and K@te, so how could I not watch for a moment? I like tabloid TV just as much as the next person. Upon watching further, I found that it was actually the J0y Beh@r show, and she had a panel of comedians discussing various "news" items from 2009. Now, ordinarily, I would never watch the show, but like I said, it was about J0n and K@te and they were talking about her artificial insemination (not even sure if this is true) to conceive the sextuplets. You're talking about infertility treatments, so I am hooked.

One of the panelists, an old, washed up comedian, who has a CNBC or Sirius show or something, J@y Thom@s, said something truly shocking and insulting to all infertiles.

He said, "I don`t think that`s a good beginning to the marriage when you can`t get on top of each other and make a child." And that, "if you're not supposed to have kids...you're not supposed to have kids." Then, he went on to say that (be prepared because you're not going to like this): God makes you barren.

I almost launched my cup of tea at my TV to hit him in the head. I felt my blood pressure skyrocket and daggers shoot out of my eyes at this insipid comment.

He wasn't being funny, either - not that it would be if he were joking. He was very serious about it.

I've had a lot of insensitive and stupid comments said to me during my fertility process, but I've never heard anyone say something so grossly insulting and untrue. Granted, it wasn't to my face, but his hollow remarks struch a sharp chord with me.

So, Jay, tell me why crackheads, meth addicts, and other completely unsuitable and irresponsible leeches on society can get pregnant, and I, who has never used a recreational drug in my life, (I guess taking over 1,000 prenatal vitamins over the course of four years doesn't count) can't?

Thus far, they haven't posted the video of the show on Joy's Web site. My guess is because they would crash the server with the thousands of comments from the infertility community (and hopefully fertiles, too).

I'm over this now, but I wanted to let you know. Feel free to let your fingers do the walking on the remote or dial, the next time you see this guy show up anywhere on TV or hear him on the radio.

Grrrr...