Sunday, June 27, 2010

What I have in common with female pandas

This was my last weekend in China, and we were able to go do something that I've wanted to do since I first arrived eight months ago - visit a Giant Panda reserve in the western part of the country.

So, off we flew 1,800 km to Chengdu, the gateway to Tibet and the home of one of the largest panda breeding and research centers in the world.

And, while visiting this amazing place, I discovered that female pandas and infertiles have something in common - difficulty getting pregnant.

Pandas in the wild only number 1,600, which is while there is such an emphasis at this center and others to determine good ways to help them procreate. When there is such a small number in the wild, your number of mates is less than desirable, too.

Not only that, but they only have sex about once a year. And, to make matters worse, a panda's anatomy doesn't help either. According to the Giant Panda Museum, a male panda has a rather small penis and the female has a long vagina. So, conception the old-fashioned way is a bit difficult.

So, researchers have become expert semen collectors and use artificial insemination to get the females pregnant using a "frozen straw" method, sounds appealing, no?

And, even by using the medical intervention, the chances of conception are relatively low, though when they do, 45% result in twins. Oh, and the researchers use the panda's urine to do a pregnancy test, just like us.

So, we, infertiles can share our misery with the darling black and white gentle bears.

Besides, those babies are worth it, too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Hanson (mmmBop) makes me feel old

I'm sure you're thinking "Where on earth is she going with that?" Just give me a minute : )

I have to admit that when the blond trio of brothers Hanson came out with the song "MmmBob" several years ago, I thought it was quite the cute and catchy tune (actually, I still do). I remember thinking that it was strange that I liked a song being sung by a bunch of kids, especially when most people who liked them were tweens and teens - more of their contemporaries -- unlike a twentysomething like I was.

Well, that was 12 years ago. In fact, it was the year that I married Jack Bauer (and no, the band did not play it at our wedding). I was watching a little celebrity news TV this weekend, and saw that two of the Hanson brothers HAVE CHILDREN. Wait a minute, aren't they still children themselves? How can they be procreating when I have yet to do so? It made me feel so old and barren.

And, after I did a little Google research, I discovered that they are 30-, 28- and 25-years old, so OK, they're definitely old enough to have kids. I just thought they were much younger, and still hear their pre-pubescent voices and picture their blond mops bopping around.

I mean it's one thing when you're the only one of your married (or even divorced)friends, and I mean the ONLY one, who doesn't have kids, but when your younger cousins (by 7 years) and teenage singing sensations start popping out babies, it can take its toll.

I also feel this way when younger actresses (and let's face it, at my age, the majority of them are younger) have kids. Candace Cameron,aka DJ Tanner from "Full House" and Soleil Moon Frye, from Punky Brewster fame, have kids - yes plural.

The next thing you know Rudy Huxtable from The Cosby Show will be preggers. That may be the day when I am sent over the edge.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Family vacation photos make me want to puke

OK, so another Facebook-ish rant in less than four days. Sorry, gang, but I think you may agree with me here. My attitude is quite snarky these days - I blame it on too much MSG, smog, spitting on the ground, burping in public and not enough Twizzlers (none to be found in Shanghai).

I know I'm pretty bitter about all of the postings of people and their kids (especially when that is the ONLY thing they write) on FB. Now, it's the vacation photos of all of them in their matching outfits at the beach. Don't get me wrong. As soon as Nate comes home, we will be the first ones to follow this trend, but for right now it's just salt (or sand) in my open wound.

One of my dear friends has closed her FaceBook account just for this reason - she was tired of hearing about all of the pregnancy updates and cute pictures of the kids in their Easter outfits. I'd be tempted to do that except that I'd rather complain than miss out on gossip or funny postings by my sister or my friend Keri. Plus, my voyeuristic nature (OK so Jack Bauer calls me Mrs. Kravitz because I'm always trying to figure out what's going on - it's a reference to "BeWitched" for all you young uns. Mrs. K was Samantha and Darren's neighbor who was always looking out her window and being nosy) will not allow this for now.

Because I live in China, FaceBook (which I get through a VPN service - woohoo! I am not Chinese, so why should I have to adhere to their controlling, Communist internet laws)is a connection back to home - my family and friends, even if they do tick me off my posting their oh-so-nauseating photos.

After all, as I said, once our family is intact, I will be the first one posting pics. You guys are welcome to hate me then.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Faux Father's Day

When I wrote about Mother's Day last month, I was a little bitter. It's definitely one of those holidays that surround every part of your life. Luckily, the Chinese don't have Father's Day, so it's not in our face as much, but I'm feeling a bit resentful about Father's Day for Jack Bauer.

There is no question that he is a dad - in the way he talks about Nate, in the way that he has hopes and dreams for him, and in the way he longs for the day when he can teach Nate his "shopping cart" or "lawn mower" dance moves.

On this day last year, our gestational carrier was implanted with our last two embryos, and we were hoping that Father's Day 2010 would be one filled with twins and Nate at home. Well, that didn't exactly work out as we had hoped or planned.

Still, I'd like to re-post some of what I wrote about Jack from last year:

I think you can tell a lot about how a guy would act as a dad by watching him interact with your pets. Jack makes up funny songs about the dog and cats (usually it’s a Journey or Bon Jovi song with new lyrics), cleans up cat vomit (usually after he found it with his bare foot), beams with pride when the dog learns a new trick or doesn’t eat her own poo, breaks up fights, and pets, plays and loves on them several times a day. If that’s not a daddy waiting to happen, I don’t know who is.

So, I'm not sure that it will be a happy father's day for Jack, but every day will be father's day once we get our little boy home.

Happy Father's Day to my own wonderful dad, as well as the other dads out there - bio dads, adoptive dads, and hopeful dads.

Friday, June 18, 2010

One of the longest "pregnancies" in history

OK, so maybe I am exaggerating just a little bit, but that's how I'm feeling these days. We started the adoption process five years ago while simultaneously going through IVF treatments. We wanted both an adopted baby and bio baby.

Well, the bio baby didn't work out, and even though we had some grieving over that, we moved on and were OK.

On July 15, 2008 we found out that we were matched with our precious 7-month old boy from Vietnam. It was one of the happiest days of our life. We were supposed to travel to get him the following January - so about 6 months later. It has now been almost two years, and we still don't know when we will be able to go get him.

A lot of waiting adoptive parents say that they have "paper pregnancies" and I never really felt like that until recently. Patience is not one of my stronger virtues, so I am being tested beyond belief right now. And, I do feel "pregnant." I am feeling like I am in a nesting mode waiting for our son to come home, but I can't do much about it because I am too superstitious to buy him clothes or toys or decorate his room. Therefore, I have a lot of nervous energy and no place for it to go, at least until I am back in the states. Today, I tried running it all out, but my hips started hurting after 63 minutes on the treadmil.

I totally feel for any parents who have to wait longer than the requisite nine months for their child. And, especially for the adoptive families and the waiting children -- it's just not right and makes me question subjects that are bigger than I am.

By now, I could've had two and a half babies, if I were truly pregnant. But, I just want the one darling two-and-a-half year old who makes my heart stop when I see pictures of him and his big brown eyes.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Enough with the postings about your kids!

At the risk of sounding like a bitter non-mom, I am going to go on a rant anyway. I have mentioned my frustations with FaceBookers who are pregnant and detail every little milestone and ache and pain. Every once in a while, it's OK, but when it's every day and that's the only thing that they post about, that's when I call issue.

My latest complaint is the moms who make every post about their kids. And, I mean EVERY post. If you look, they are out there, and it drives me nuts.

As I've said before, if you're kid stuffs a pickle up his nose or says something funny, I'm all for hearing about it, but if I have to hear about one more pre-K gradution, trip to the zoo, or birthday party, I am going to lose it.

OK, all for now. Thanks, I feel better now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I hate math

I hate math. I was an English and Asian Studies major. Perhaps that's why these numbers bother me so much:

37 years of age
12.5 years of marriage
6 years trying to conceive
73 cycles trying to conceive
611 pre-natal vitamins
55 ovulation detection tests
16 pregnancy tests
33 blood draws and ultrasounds
Tens of thousands of dollars (I’m too scared about the actual number that I won’t disclose it)
3 ovulation induction cycles
66 fertility drug injections
22 eggs
3 IVF transfers
10 embryos
0 pregnancies
1 embryo transfer to an amazing gestational carrier
16 times fingerprinted
1 30-month old boy waiting for his parents in Vietnam
124 pages of adoption dossier
709 days waiting for matched baby in Vietnam
Scores of family and friends who give constant love support and love
500 (at least) incidents of hilarity and humor from dealing with infertility
1 awesome husband, without whom I would have gone crazy
That just about sums it up.