Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yet another Chinese fertility ritual

We spent Thanksgiving weekend in a city in midwest China where we saw the magnificent Terracotta Warriors, called the eighth wonder of the world.   And, I know now why - it was truly stunning.  Two thousand lifesize warriors that have been unearthed, rebuilt, and placed in attack formation -- and five thousand more that they haven't uncovered yet.  It's part of the first emperor of China's masoleum.  He wanted to take a mighty army with him into the afterlife.

While sightseeing around the city, we visited a very famous Buddist monastery/temple.  Upon entering most temples, the entrances are flanked by two lion statues - one male and one female.  The lion has one paw on top of a globe, symbolizing his power.  The lioness has her paw on a cub, and it's said that if a woman rubs the cub, it can help bring her children.

So guess what I did?

Yet another Chinese fertility ritual to try.  If it works, I will be importing some of these lioness' to the States and setting up clinics to "Rub the Cub" all over (yes, I realize that the phrase sounds somewhat pornographic, but that may also be my warped mind).

It seems weird to me that they have all of these fertility rituals, teas and herbs, etc. to help you get pregnant, yet they have a one-child per family policy still in effect.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I bet the pilgrims weren't infertile

I am definitely not thankful for being infertile, but there are things that I am thankful for related to my infertility.  Let me explain:
  • I am thankful for a uber-supportive husband, who has never looked back or regretted all of his sperm collections, whiny wife from the fertility drugs, dozens of thousands of dollars spent, or anything else along this fertility journey.  He is also the reason that I strive to see the lighter side of infertility - his jokes and funny ways to look at things changed my perspective on this bumpy ride completely, and I will be forever grateful for that.
  • I am thankful for a family who has stayed at my side constantly throughout my ups and downs of trying to get pregnant, especially for my niece and nephew who thought (at 10- and 7- years of age) it was ridiculous that just because I'm not a mom I shouldn't have my own day, like Mother's Day, so they invented "Best Aunt Ever Day" in my honor.  For my mom, for connecting us with an amazing woman that we hoped would carry our last embryos to delivery (and many other things related to our GC)
  • For my friends who have listened to me vent, cry or scream, or just asked how I was doing.  For new friends who understand exactly what I'm going through and have offered friendship that I didn't know I needed, and, for those friends who haven't said a word, it made me find out who my true friends really are.
  • For the best fertility clinic anywhere, their care and concern has gone above and beyond any health professional I've ever met.
  • For late periods, for making me feel a twinge of hope
  • For follicle stimulating drugs, for giving me big boobs for a few weeks, even if they don't get me pregnant
  • For Dollar Store home pregnancy tests and ovulation detection sticks, they may look weird, or have instructions only in Spanish, but they're tons cheaper than even pharmacy-branded tests
  • For people like Linds@y L0han and  Britt@ny Spea@rs, for making me realize that hough I occasionally have a hormonally-induced rampage, I am still quite sane and normal
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a tough time of year for infertiles.  The holiday season tends to revolve around children, and if you don't have any, it can pour salt in those wounds.  Getting x-mas cards with happy family photos of their 2.3 kids and end-of-year letters with news about Adian's first steps and Abigail's soccer goals, is enough to drive any infertile bonkers. 

Well, there is something that can help with those tough times.  It's a new infertility eclass, "Surviving the Hellidays" that starts on Monday.  You can check it out now:  Poke around and see what’s there.

Private class blog link:

Username: Hellidays

Password: SneakPeek

Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Ever since I found out that we were moving to China, I have been saying that I would investigate traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for infertility.  And, I had the opportunity to scratch the surface on that two weeks ago.

I went to a session on the use of tea as a medicine and was entralled.  Ironically, the TCM expert that gave the presentation was an American, but he has been practicing TCM for 20 years and has lived in China for seven years.  He is 52-years old, but looks about 40, so that was sale enough for me to start believing what he was saying.

TCM can definitely help with infertility.  According to Chinese medicine, it is very important to keep the yin and yang in balance.  Women have a stronger yin than yang, but if their yin is too out of whack, it can cause health issues, one of which can be hormone imbalance and infertility.   Having a cold reproductive system because you have too much yin, can be a reason for infertility. 

Women in China do not drink cold beverages, at all.  They believe that it inhibits their reproductive organs (again, the not too much cold theory).  So no more ice infertilies.

This TCM practicioner said that he has recently helped two couple get pregnant - he treats both the men and women.  Sometimes it's a combination of teas, herbal pills, acupuncture and massage, it just depends on the diagnosis (which he does by checking six different pulse points on the body, looking at your tongue and two other things that I can't remember).  So, no blood draws or wand ultrasounds here gals!

I didn't take diligent enough notes to get to detailed, but so much of what he said made perfect sense to me.  In fact, I can't believe there isn't a larger TCM market in the U.S., especially for the population of 6 million infertiles.  It seems like it'd be an easy enough second option after the traditional romps in the hay don't work, and before we start injesting Clomid and jabbing ourselves full of horse urine.  And, it'd be tons cheaper than an IUI.

I think this guy is missing a gigantic opportunity not coming back to the states to treat infertiles.

Will Jack Bauer and I go seek his TCM insight?  I'm not sure, and not because I don't believe in this.  I just turned 37, and am now wondering if conceiving at my advanced maternal age is such a good idea to try to get pregnant.  The verdict is still out.

Yesterday, I bought a herbal tea concoction that was for "beauty" but it does much more than that - it is a detox tea that apparently clarifies your skin, balances female hormones and is good for digestion. We'll see if it works.

Regardless, if you haven't explored TCM yet, you might consider it.  It's much more than just the acupuncture side, which is something I know many of us have tried (and mine worked for some ailments, just not getting pregnant).

There are some legitimate TCM practioners in the U.S., you just might have to do some research.  I'm just wishing I would've thought of this earlier in my TTC journey.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Who am I? Not a mommy

Welcome ICWLers.  October was the first month in a long time that I didn't participate in one, but I had a good reason.  I was in Vietnam volunteering at the orphanage where the darling two-year old little boy that we're trying to adopt is.  So, right there, you have a hint at my infertility.  Not a mommy yet, but I have tried and continue to try to change that.

My husband, the dashing Jack Bauer, and I have been trying to get pregnant for more than five years, including:
- he use of acupuncture for fertility
- taking a tonic sludge of ingredients from the health food store
- trying Feng Sui to improve conceptionability
- three follicle stimulating cycles with timed intercourse, nothing like a nurse calling you to tell you when to get busy!
- three IVFs (nine total embryos), no go, even though my RE called all of them "beautiful"
- one IVF cycle with a gestational carrier which didn't work, love my GC, but apparently the last two embies didn't
- and many, many other ideas

After the first IVF didn't work, we decided to go ahead and start the adoption process (almost four years ago).  It's been fraught with bad news after bad news, and we still don't know what's happening with it, but meeting our son was the best thing that's ever happened to me,.  That was followed by the worst thing that's ever happened to me, which was having to leave him at the orphanage.  I am hopeful for the best thing to be trumped by the true best thing ever, which would be us going to go pick him up and bring him home.

And, in the process of having our gestational carrier not get pregnant and contined adoption challenges, Jack and I moved to China!  We decided a few months ago that it was time to shake things up a bit, and sure enough, Jack got a great opportunity with his job.  So, here we are, living in Shanghai.

So far, I love it, and am grateful for the grand adventure it has been and for what it is sure to be for the next nine months (such an appropriate time frame, don't you think?).

Throughout all of this nonsense, the one thing that has kept me somewhat sane (though others may disagree that I have even an ounce of sanity left), is finding the lighter side of infertility, trying to find humor in unusual places.  Besides, I would much rather laugh than cry, and there is plenty of opportunity for tears when you're going through these struggles.

So, in sum, I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, writer, PR pro, volunteer, runner, equestrian, and many, many more things.  I am not a mommy yet, but I am a lover of my life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hard-boiled eggs to celebrate a birth

I learned yet another interesting Chinese tradition yesterday.  Jack Bauer came home yesterday bearing gifts -- two shrink-wrapped pickled hard-boiled eggs.  He received them in celebration of the birth of a baby.

The red-wrapped eggs symbolize happiness and prosperty, and if an even number of eggs is distributed, that's the way the family is announcing that "It's a boy!"  Odd numbers are for girls.  I could ponder on this for a moment, but I won't.

Of course, being the hypersensitive infertile that I am, I had to wonder if giving someone good eggs was supposed to help with fertility.  Good eggs = good eggs.  Or, if I ate them if it would stimulate some kind of Chinese medical reaction that would help me get pregnant.

However, I tend to think that the only thing that these pickled eggs would give me is a bad taste in my mouth and a stomach ache.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The irony of my Chinese misdiagnosis

I realize that I still need to do a post about my conversation with the traditional Chinese medicine expert - and I will.  It's pretty valuable info for those of us who have tried everything else.  But, today I had a funny thing happen.

I have to get a special kind of visa for my one-year stint here in China, and with that, I had to get a medical exam at a Chinese immigration medical facility.  As one who has gone through the gammit of medical tests and procedures for fertility testing, it was quite a hilarious and unique process.  You go from room to room getting blood drawn, having your eyes checked, an ECG, lung x-ray and a myriad of other tests, along with the other "foreigners" who are there trying to get the same visa as you - men and women, changing into robes in the same room, and only a curtain between your bare chest and the next guy waiting in the chair in the room when they did some of the exams.  Actually, it was quite an efficient process - I had seven tests done in less than 50 minutes.

One of the exams was just a general "thumping on your abdomen" kinda thing, but when the doctor saw my scar from my surgery to remove some uterine cysts (which apparently have nothing to do with my infertility), she wanted to know more about it.  So, I tried to slowly explain that it was for the removal of some cysts.

My official exam report came today, and Jack Bauer and I cracked up at the only "anomaly" listed on the four pages of paperwork.  It said "hysterectomy." 

I haven't had a hysterectomy, but I may as well not have a uterus, since it doesn't do me any good.  In fact, it only brings me grief once a month, if that often.  And when my "grief" doesn't arrive every 28 days, every day I wonder if maybe, just maybe this is the time I'm actually pregnant. 

So, perhaps my Chinese diagnosis isn't too far from the truth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Taking charge of your INFERTILITY

I just learned that there is a special rate for the Infertility eClass, "Surviving the Hellidays -- Infertile Style"

Pre-register before noon EST n Sunday, and you'll get a discounted rate!  My theory is that you've spent more than $100 on ovulation test sticks and home pregnancy tests, you should probably consider this class.

Sign up it, and we'll all use our Taking Charge of Your Fertility books as firewood this winter!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Infertility eClass - Surviving the Hellidays

Do something for yourself this holiday season, and sign up for this!

I have only had a few aha! moments going through the journey of infertility that has made me consider that maybe all of this is truly meant to be.  And, one of them was my first meeting with my friend Lily. I met her because she was the co-leader of our city's local Resolve chapter, and she contacted me to speak about the lighter side of infertility.  From our first phone conversation, I knew that I had more than infertilty in common with her.  She is a kindred spirit and a wonderful soul.  And one of the most clever and creative people I've ever met.

Enter her brilliant idea.  Through her Web site, The Infertile Mind, she and another blogger, Infertile Naomi, have put together an eclass on infertility to help us get through what they call the "hellidays", such an appropriate moniker.

Surviving the Hellidays - The Infertile's E-Class to Making the Holidays a little Brighter or at least more Bearable will be a private space where infertiles can use their creativity through weekly assignments to help deal their emotional ups and downs through struggle of trying to get pregnant.

Trust me.  This is something that you won't want to miss.  I'm going to partcipate, and can't wait.  Click on the above link to get some more information.  Sign ups start on Monday, Nov. 16.

Next post is about my conversation about infertility with a traditional Chinese medicine expert.  Watch out Western world, I'm bringing this knowledge to the infertile masses!  Fascinating stuff!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back to Reality

The last week encompassed both the best and the worst experiences I've ever had.  Meeting my darling boy for the first time was unlike anything I had ever imagined.  He was exactly the little guy I had dreamed of, and I can't get his precious little grin out of my mind.

Leaving him was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and I still cry every time I think about that moment.  There is no question that we bonded while I was there, but I was grateful that he was fine going back to his nannies when we left (thank God for small blessings).

Feel free to catch up on my Vietnam adventure at

As hard as it was to leave, I went almost three weeks without seeing Jack Bauer, and needed his arms around me to soothe the pain of being with our boy.  Luckily, I have had an instant love affair with Shanghai and it's helping me take my mind off of Nate and the orphanage.

So, it's now back to writing about my second favorite topic - the lighter side of infertility.  Stay tuned.  More on the way soon.