Monday, December 27, 2010

All of the crap without the benefit

I've often puffed my chest out and bragged about how my boobs still look great at 38 years and how it will take me much longer to have a leaky bladder than my fortunate fertile friends. If I'm not going to be able to get pregnant, then I want to reap the rewards of not having hemorrhoids or stretch marks across my abdomen.

However, I currently have two "symptoms" of pregnancy that I would rather not.

First, even though I have a large pair of birthing hips and sizable thighs (which I argue help me run half-marathons. Anyway...), I have always had a rockin' flat stomach. No six-pack, but no flab, either. Except that right now, there is what appears to be a three- to four-month pregnant belly - and no, there is not a bun in this oven. It's fat.

I guess I can blame the stress of our adoption on it and the fact that I can justify eating ice cream or making some break and bake cookies because we got bad news. I weighed less in China because I couldn't get all of the wonderfully processed food of the good ol' USA, but now that I'm back - I can go back to binging on Oreos and cheese-flavored popcorn.

So, I will be doing a major overhaul to my eating and trying to find a new way to deal with my tension (and I do workout, so maybe I now need two-a-days). And, I will start doing sit-ups like there's no tomorrow.

The second lovely physical issue is that my right arm has been falling asleep and going numb while I sleep. It's quite painful and a little scary. I talked to a massage therapist about it and she confirmed that I had quite a bit of tension in an area that would impact this. She also said that it's something that happens to pregnant women a lot because of the way they carry their weight and slump their shoulders more forward than normal.

So, there you go. All of the crap without the benefit. Wasn't there a beer commercial with some similar tag line: All of the taste and none of the guilt?

Of course, I'd be happy to have both of these symptoms and many more like morning sickness, swollen feet, and dirt cravings if I could get pregnant.

Friday, December 24, 2010

All I want for Christmas is fertility

In the spirit of the holidays, I bring to you one more take off a popular Christmas song infertility-style. This is the last one, I promise.

All I want for Christmas
is my fer-til-i-ty,
my fer-til-i-ty,
where's my pro-gen-y?

Gee, if I could only
have my fer-til-i-ty,
then I could conceive
and no longer be childless.

I've never, ever been able to say,
"Two blue lines on a home pregnancy test!"
Gosh oh gee, how happy I'd be,
if I could only get a 'yes'!

All I want for Christmas
is my fer-til-i-ty,
my fer-til-i-ty,
where's my pro-gen-y?

Gee, if I could only
have my fer-til-i-ty,
then I could say,
"The IVF was a success!"

OK, so lyric-writer, I'm not, but in my attempts to find the lighter side of infertility, I had to give it another go.

I hope everyone has a blessed holiday and may visions of embryos dance in your heads.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming... THE INADEQUATE CONCEPTION is now available!

I haven't been able to experience the birth of my own child, but today, I got to feel what it's like to birth a book. Pretty cool, that's what it's like!

The book tries to find a lighter side to infertility and trying to conceive. I wrote this deeply personal look at our lives (and stories from other hopeful moms- and dads-to-be) while trying to get pregnant in order to help other infertiles understand that they're not alone, and to help them see a different side to the heartache and pain.

It's a bit of a girlfriends guide to pre-pregnancy -- with an edge.

Feel free to give it a read and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chai-yok: Is that a joke?

Always wanting to give you the very latest news for infertiles, I just happened upon a new Eastern medicine treatment that claims to aid in fertility. It's a Korean-based treatment called a chai-yok, or a vaginal steam bath, and they're now available at a few select spas on the West Coast. I read about it in the LA Times.

Fourteen different herbs are seeped like tea, and the daring woman sits on a stool with an opening so that the steam can penetrate the gynecologic regions. The method is said to improve mentral craps and other female issues, including surging fertility.

The article references one 45-year old woman who tried to conceive for 3 years, used this method and got pregnant. With stats like that, I'd be willing to give my unmentionables a steam. But wait, does it burn? The last thing any of us infertiles need is a scalded vagina. I mean sure, we're used to ultrasound wands, poking and prodding and feet in stirrups, so surely straddling a hollowed out stool couldn't be too bad. I just hope that they sterilize the stools within an inch of their life before I hop on board.

Anyone else think they'd be willing to give this a try?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Twelve Days of an Infertile Christmas reprise

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Wishes for a pregnancy

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Two embryos
and wishes for a pregnancy

On the third day of Christmas,my true love gave to me:
Three Follistem pens,
two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Four falling eggs,
three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy..

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta),
four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Six ultrasounds a poking,
five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Seven (million) sperm a swimming,
six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eight nervous breakdowns,
seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Nine blood draws a lancing,
eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Ten (thousand) dollars a leaving,
Nine blood draws a lancing, eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eleven cycles failing,
ten (thousand dollars) a leaving, nine blood draws a lancing, eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Twelve days ovulating,
eleven cycles failing, ten (thousand dollars) a leaving, nine blood draws a lancing, eight nervous breakdowns, seven (million) sperm a swimming, six ultrasounds a poking, five telephone rings (with news of a strong Beta), four falling eggs, three follistim pens, two embryos and wishes for a pregnancy...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A different version of the two week wait

It used to be that the two week wait involved obsessing over every ache and pain in my abdomen, stressing over going to the bathroom and the possibility of seeing a red dot on a piece of toilet paper and doing everything humanly possible to stay busy and not be completely preoccupied by the thought that I might be pregnant...or not.

I would literally count down the fortnight by the hours, which made it take that much longer. It was a sucky limbo period of not knowing if you should start thinking about baby names in case of a positive result or playing drinking games in case of a single blue line. I wished I could just sleep the two weeks away and wake up just in time for a blood draw for my beta.

I have a new version of the two week wait right now. I'm eagerly anticipating the arrival of the first printed copy of The Inadequate Conception. My day is up tomorrow and I should have it in my hot little hands when I get home from work. Instead of going to the see my plebotomist, I will be waiting for the UPS guy to make a very special drop off.

And instead of having a sense of dread waiting for the inevitable phone call with bad news, for the first time, my two week wait should have a happy ending. Maybe not the ending I originally hoped for, but a good place, nonetheless.

Hopefully everything looks OK because if so, the book will be available next week!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What we infertiles aren't missing

I may never be pregnant, but that also means that I will never have any incredibly creepy and embarrassing photos of my naked big belly that someone could black mail me with.

Click here to see this ingenius post from the Pregnant Chicken. Even though I try to remain pregnancy-free on my Web site. This is too good not to share.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Fallout (note that there is now Part 2 on here from hubby)

As some of you know, I was featured in an article a few weeks ago about Surviving the Holidays as an Infertile. It was first posted on AOL's Parentdish site and then it debuted on AOL's home page. I had no idea of the firestorm heading my way.

More than 300 people commented on the piece, most of whom, said words of support and empathy, telling their own infertility horror stories. However, there were also some who felt that I was selfish for wanting my own child and not wanting to see pics of my friends' kids on Christmas cards (which I meant in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, unfortunately it didn't translate well in print), and that I should adopt (which is mentioned in the piece, but clearly people didn't read that far into the article and made hasty accusations).

I honestly couldn't believe how many people were downright cruel in their commentaries. God love my boss's daughter who wrote a beautiful retort to their slams, and my best friend, who commented no less than six times in my defense (and that of other infertiles who feel similarly).

It just goes to show that unless you've been in our shoes, or doctor's stirrups, as the case may be, please, please, please don't judge us.

I'm also guessing that most of the Negative Nellies are also proud mamas who never had to struggle to get pregnant.

I've said time and time again that a person's choice to become a parent, no matter how that blessed event occurs, is a personal decision, and unless you're Octomom, people should refrain from judging and pushing their own views. I'm all for Freedom of Speech and being able to voice your opinions, but when you're castigating someone you don't know (and infertile couples, in general) for simply wanting a child, you've crossed a line.

Stay tough, trying mommies! I know I am!


Hey everyone - Jack Bauer here.

It has been an interesting couple of weeks with Lu being picked up by AOL
and now by Cafe Mom on her postings about not getting Christmas Cards that
only have kids on them. I admit, some of the comments have made me a
little bit frustrated because people are making some big assumptions about
my wife and me on the basis of one posting. What it has reinforced, is my
belief in the prying and judgmental nature of some people. I guess as a
guy, you don't have to constantly listen to other men droning on endlessly
about their kids like women do. Or, when I get asked if I have children
and I say, no, most men won't ask follow up questions.

To be honest with you - even before we had these challenges of infertility,
I didn't like Christmas Cards with just the kids on them. I love my
friends and I enjoy their children - but my friendship is with the parents,
not the kids. I really want to see pictures of my friends and how they
have changed over the years. Want to include your kids? Great! But, our
relationship is with the adults, not the child. Family pictures are
wonderful and there is no painful feelings at seeing those pictures. But
what irks me is the people subsuming their identity to being "blah blah's
mom". I guess that is ok for some folks, but I just don't understand it.

The thing that just floored me is the amount of judgement that these people
were passing. People assuming that this is the focal point of our life,
people criticizing us for not adopting (hello, read the article and you
will see we are), and people criticizing us for pursuing an international

I don't know folks, maybe it is just me, but I don't feel like I can judge
anyone to the extent that these people felt was within their right. Lu was
trying to provide an outlet for infertiles to realize that someone was on
their side and she gets attacked and called things like selfish, bitter and
a whiner. This is directed at the woman who volunteers to help kids and adults with special needs and could rattle off the names, ages and favorite colors of approximately 40 of her friends kids? Little secret - old Jack here could probably only remember about 3 of the kids
names :)

Going into this holiday season, I think the best thing that we could all
try to do is to be a little less judgmental of people and try to empathize
a little bit more with the challenges that each person has in life.
Happy Holidays to everyone.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pre-pregnancy Prep: Don't Drink; Don't Smoke; What do you do?

Another small excerpt from the book today. When I was actively trying to get pregnant (and not like today which is just minus birth control), I used to watch what I'd drink and eat and some other common pre-pregnancy practices. Of course, I went from not drinking coffee to three years (or any other caffeinated drink) to now imbibing with wild abandon.

Today we prepare our hopeful houses for a baby months in advance, reading books like A Healthy Body, Healthy Pregnancy, and Taking Charge of Your Fertility. There’s a whole regimen that includes exercising to increase blood flow (it helps with your sex drive, too); taking prenatal vitamins; trying to drop one dress size (since we’ll happily be gaining it back within a few months); cutting back on or cutting out alcohol, caffeine, and sweets; and doing yoga to de-stress our minds and bodies. And heaven knows you should not, under any circumstances, clean out the litter box! Times have changed. Just a generation ago, moms-to-be were warned not to smoke or drink during pregnancy, but the list of foods to avoid and other preparation tips were pretty much nonexistent. Basically, it was just get off of birth control and go for it.

Whether or not you’re on fertility treatments, prenatal vitamins are one of the requirements for pregnancy prep. I’m no math genius, but I figured out that I’ve been taking one prenatal vitamin every day for more than 1,600 days straight. So, along with all of the costly fertility treatments, I’ve also had to get haircuts more often because the vitamins make my hair and nails grow even faster than normal. I have also become quite the connoisseur of prenatal vitamins, testing out several different types and brands. I know which ones make my stomach hurt, which ones give me a little energy boost, and which ones have the highest levels of folate and calcium. I liked the whole food vitamins the best—they are easy on the stomach, no burping or weird metallic/earthy aftertaste, and they’re made from real food, not synthetically built from chemical compounds (more than you ever wanted to know about prenatal vitamins, right?).

When I first started trying to get pregnant, I decided to do the “no alcohol, no caffeine” thing. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. I didn’t even drink that much alcohol or caffeine to begin with, but if I was going to commit my body to housing a baby for nine months, I was going all in. Taking it one step further, any time after my ovulation days, I wouldn’t eat Brie or goat cheese, or sushi; I also made sure my cold cut sandwiches were heated and watched how much tuna I ate. I cut back on my exercise and didn’t lift anything more than ten pounds.

Then a couple weeks later, inevitably, my period would start and so would a week of binging like there was no tomorrow. My husband would take me out for Mexican food to give me an excuse to drink a margarita, or I’d go out for sushi and drink Diet Cokes only to abstain again within ten days, just in case the sperm were to meet the egg.

One of my dearest friends had the vice of drinking a sixty-four ounce bucket of Diet Mountain Dew every morning. I remember the day she came to work without one, and I wondered good grief, did she inhale all of it on the twenty minute ride to work? No, she and her husband decided it was time to start trying for a baby bump, and her doctor wanted her to cut out the gallons of caffeine and sugar substitute she was consuming each week. It was like watching an alcoholic go through detox. She had horrid headaches until a week or so later her body finally adjusted to going without her morning crutch. And, I made sure to avoid her until noon while she was going through the transition to a caffeine-free life.

Any other prep activies that you did, only for it not to matter?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I think we've crossed the line to 'crazy animal people'

I knew it would happen. Just knew it.

We volunteer with a local Labrador rescue group; it's how we got our dog Ellie. They run an absolutely amazing organization and have saved more than 1,000 dogs over the last three years. Last week they had an emergency - three labs were at a high kill shelter and about to be put down. So, despite our mixed up and wacky life right now, we decided to take in one of the dogs to foster. Yes, that's right, I said, "foster," meaning to take care of temporarily until someone decides to adopt. hahahahahahaha....

Umm...yeah... we now have two dogs.

There's no way we could give up this special little girl. She's actually better behaved than Ellie and since progress with getting our son home is slow and scary, we have opened our hearts to yet another four-legged "child." That's a total of five for us - two yellow Labs and three cats.

You might recall that I just brought cat number three home from China back in July. Jack said that four cats was crossing the crazy cat people line. So, instead, we've crossed it with a dog that, at least weight-wise, would be the equivalent of four more cats.

So, despite our new status as "manic pet adopters" or whatever other moniker you'd like to give us. Our house is clean, and, for the moment, quiet. Actually, Hermione, the new dog, seems to be at least 4-5 years old, and she is incredibly calm.

Even my sweet and sensitive eight-year old nephew called our decision in to question, "Aunt Lu, how are you going to manage two big dogs and three cats and Nate?" Boy, I can't wait to find out.

Of course, at this rate, we'll have another couple pets within the year. I'm hoping the next one is a horse.

I wrote a blog about "Adding Cats Instead of Kids" a few months ago after we adopted our newest cat. One of my theories is that infertiles who want children have a lot of love to give, so they have furbabies to parent, spoil and adore, until the human version arrives.

I guess Jack and I are in "wanting a child" overdrive. I promise not to end up on Animal Hoarders, though.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I am thankful for porn

Got your attention, did I? This Thanksgiving instead of the traditional gratefulness for my awesome husband, family, and friends, and many, many other blessings, I have decided to pay homage to nudie pictures.

Here's why (an excerpt from my soon-to-be-available book The Inadequate Conception):

As I have talked to women across the country who are going through fertility procedures, I have noticed a common theme that probably doesn’t happen under many other circumstances—the specialized and authorized use of pornography. In fact, many women are buying their husbands porn so they can create their half of the blessed embryo.

One of my girlfriends from college said that she and her husband had gone through several fertility procedures and were getting ready for her husband to go do “his thing” yet another time. “He turns to me and says, ‘do you mind if I buy some new magazines for their office? The ones they have are so old.’ I agreed…and with that treatment we got pregnant!”

A woman I met from church relayed a great story about her IVF experience. It seemed that her husband was pretty anxious about the whole “deposit” process. Men have to produce the magical fluid on the day their wives go into surgery to have their eggs removed, so that they can be immediately joined in the romantic locale of a petri dish. Apparently, her husband couldn’t produce that morning within the sterile and clinical confines of the hospital, so this lovely church-going woman mentioned as she was being wheeled back for surgery that she had a nice porn video for him at home. He rushed home, threw the video into the VCR, performed the vital deed and raced the precious liquid back to the hospital. It was worth it; she was able to get pregnant from one of the resulting embryos.

A well-prepared husband of a friend had planned out his sperm producing session in advance. Forget the magazines that the fertility clinic provided. He had downloaded some porn videos from the internet (with his wife’s permission) onto his small laptop and brought it with him instead of using the visual aids in the doctor’s office. If only our guys gave as much thought and organization to other things like planning for in-law visits or packing for vacation…

Yet another friend told me that when her husband went back to give his sample, they provided the donors with a DVD player to watch movies. But, their player was broken. Ever the Mr. Fix-It, he proceeded to tinker around with the player in order to make it work. Ten minutes later, he finally remembered why he was in there and grabbed a magazine.

During a friend’s so-called “turkey baster” or artificial insemination cycle, her sweet husband went back to produce his part of the equation. After the doctor performed the task of sending the sperm into her uterus, she laid there for two hours waiting for the sperm to make their way to her egg. As she lay there, her husband delivered some less-than-optimal information. Yes, there was porn in the “sample producing” room, and he got to see an issue of the latest porn magazine with Jenna Jameson, the so-called “Queen of Porn.” “Great,” said my friend, “he was thinking of her while producing one half of our potential spawn.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

National Please Don't Send Me a Christmas Card with Only Your Kids Month

I hate to be bitter and snarky, but sometimes it's hard, particularly with the start of the holiday season, and the focus on children - Santa, ToysRUs commercials and my one nemesis: Christmas cards with only kids photos on them.

So, this year, I am encouraging all infertility bloggers to participate in National Please Don't Send Me a Christmas Card with Only Your Kids Month. Let's save our friends their $0.44 stamp and have them refrain from addressing a card to us.

It drives me and Jack crazy to get cards that only have kids on them. What happened to the parents? After all, those are the people that we know. We want to see how they're doing, too.

Family photos with mom, dad, and kids are totally acceptable -- it's just the ones with only kids that drive us batty.

Bitter? Hell, yes. But, please respect our wishes this holiday season; it's just a reminder of what we want, but don't have.

And, if you want to add the NPDSMCCWOYKM badge to your blog for holiday season, shoot me an email at and I will send you the file.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is this normal?

Several years ago, I was an expert on baby showers because I gave and attended so many. I could belt out an awesome brunch menu, find the cutest invitations and tell you about the must-have jogging stroller.

As time passed and I wasn't having any of these celebrations of my own, I would make excuses as to why I couldn't attend them. You know, ones like: I had to wash my hair; the Queen had invited me over for tea; and that I might disrupt a party by stabbing the mom-to-be in the rear end with a fork (I promise I'm not a violent person, but all of the baby birthing was really getting to me at one point).

Anyway, I know showers feel more like monsoons to infertiles, and I totally think it's acceptable not to go, good excuse or not.

However, a younger friend of mine who seems to be attending bridal and baby showers every other weekend told me that she printed off a baby registry recently which included nipple/breast pads and nipple cream for a breastfeeding mom. Really?!?! Is that normal? She told me she thought that was like having condoms on a wedding registry. I don't ever recall seeing those items on a gift list, nor would I ever buy them for someone.

Actually, she played a trick on her husband by circling those and a few more items from the list she printed out and asked him to go pick up the gifts for her. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the breastfeeding paraphenalia.

I think those are just things the waiting mom should get on her own. Ever see any inappropriate things on a gift registry?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How old is too old? Remix

Back when I was a young newlywed and didn't know about my fertility challenges, I always said I wouldn’t try to have a baby after turning 35 since that was too old. Little did I know.

I just had my 38th birthday (and my 13th wedding anniversary), and I’m technically still trying, albeit, not trying that hard. We’ve given up on the hard core fertility treatments (ran out of embryos, money and, let's face it, hope) and are now just keeping it to the ol’fashioned nookie-in-the-sack. No more worrying about peak fertile days, either.

It’s funny how your perception of what’s old changes the more you age. I can’t say for sure when or if I’ll be a mom, but I’m cool with trying for at least another year or so. After all, I’ve waited this long.

Still, it makes me feel crappy when I think about people ten years younger than me with newborns and my girlfriends who have kids who are in middle school.

And, I still feel young. Heck, half the time I can't remember how old I am anyway. In some ways, I feel like I've been 29 for several years. But, I also don't want to be the oldest parent in my kid's class, either. I don't want to show up at his high school graduation using a walker or showing his date a trick with my dentures (OK, so I am now overexaggerating), but you get the picture.

And, I do believe there is a point when it is completely irresponsible to give birth - those closer to a grandmother's age than a mother's age, should definitely reconsider.

If I have to wonder if it's my diaper or my kid's that needs to be changed, I'm too old to be a "new" mother.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wistful at a Halloween Festival

We visited with some dear friends who live out of town this weekend, and on Saturday went to their son's school Halloween Festival. All of the kids were dressed in their Halloween costumes and played in jump houses, did pony rides, and ate carmel apples.

It was a beautiful, crisp day. Kids were running everywhere, strollers were all about and parents were smiling and revelling in their kids' happiness. And, then Jack Bauer and I looked around at what we were missing. Kinda sucked.

I know that behind the scenes not all of these families were leading the charmed lives that appeared in that two-hour moment at the Halloween festival, but it sure looked nice. And, we were a little jealous.

We imagined Nate dressed up as a knight or Harry Potter, instead of living in an orphanage where he doesn't get proper attention or nutrition, and kept tears from forming in our eyes.

After we left, we were able to go downtown and shop, eat, and went to a concert. We didn't get back to our hotel until 2am, and didn't have to worry about our kids being with a sitter.

Still, we decided we'd rather be at home trick-or-treating with kids than at a concert.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I knew I was on to something

So, I've written several rants or bitch sessions about frustrating fertile Facebookers. I know from your comments that many of you feel the same way about people who document every milestone of their pregnancies and post pictures of their children every ten minutes.

This totally annoying practice has made national headlines over the weekend. I found this article in the Washington Post about infertiles who are driven mad by pregnacy promoting people, even defriending baby makers for a while.

Just call me your trend-setting, cutting-edge infertile.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yet another slam from baby makers - they're smarter?

I'm really not happy about the medical news for infertiles this week. First was the study that showed that women who don't give birth have a greater risk of getting breast cancer than those who do. My message: check those boobs.

Adding insult to our injured uteruses: A new study shows that new moms' brains get biggger after giving birth. Huh?

Apparently, researchers have found that there is a growth of gray matter in the brain of pregnant women. The theory is that the fertility hormones expand the brain in the key areas necessary for the care of a child like reasoning, comfort, etc.

I take issue with this idea - medical or not. I am sure that I have more mom skills than lots of birthing women. I am a rockin' mother to three cats and a mischievous Labrador, and I have been fighting hard to get our son home from Vietnam by engaging with Senate office, writing letters, documenting our case, etc., etc. I would walk through fire for Nate, and I have never been pregnant.

Besides, I totally question the intelligence/good judgement by the Octomom or Duggermom and they've had enough kids for all of us. Perhaps after giving birth to an extreme number of kids the intelligence level reverses.

In any case, even if I don't get smarter because I can't make a baby, at least I won't get hemarroids, swollen feet or stretch marks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The inspiration for my book - The Sperm Competition

Here's an excerpt from my book, which also describes the night I decided to write it.

Years ago, Jack and I were out at a nice dinner with some friends who had been through some fertility challenges, but were blessed with a set of twin girls conceived through the magic of IVF. I don’t know how it came up (maybe it was the fact that the shrimp in our appetizer somewhat resembled sperm), but Jack was boasting about his larger than normal (not just a little more than average, but thirty times what’s considered normal) sperm count, when our friend Mike, the most competitive person we know, said that he was quite sure that his was even higher. Always looking for a good opportunity to bet, he and Jack agreed that the one with the higher sperm count would get a “congratulatory” dinner from one of the best restaurants in town.

Jen, his wife, and I laughed over this ludicrous challenge. It seemed so absurd, yet so hilarious and just one more moment of levity during our quest to natural parenthood.

In order to find out what his sperm count number was, Mike actually went in to the andrology lab office to ask in person (mind you, his girls were two years old, so his sperm test was at least three years before). Needless to say, the woman working at the front desk was not too pleased about looking up this non-essential information, but she did. And, much to everyone’s surprise (except Mike), his sperm count was about six thousand more than Jack’s. In most cases, you’d think that six thousand would be a landslide, but when the average sperm count is around one hundred million per milliliter, it was a near photo finish.

To only make matters worse, the sperm competition continues to live on for some strange reason. Mike recently e-mailed us an article from The Economist, of all places, with the headline “Balls and Brains.” According to the article, a British researcher, a woman no less, has determined that there is a correlation between intelligence and high sperm counts. It says, “Brainy men, it seems, do have better sperm.” So, now, in addition to having an off-the chart sperm count, I have to deal with the “big head” Jack has as a result of a researcher with nothing better to do than study sperm count. I bet the same can be said for large egg production, too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Now the pinks are against us too?

So, now it seems that those who can't get pregnant or get pregnant later in life have a greater risk of getting breast cancer. So, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I just wanted my infertile friends to know that.

I'm honestly not sure how legitimate this info is; it's from a group called the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute and I saw it on Google news. The thing that's so crazy is the headline: "Here is why having a baby can reduce breast cancer risk" - as if you should simply have a child so that you don't get it.

It has something to do with something called lobules, and the higher octane, "non-cancer" lobules are only present when you're pregnant. Just chalk up on more crappy side effect of not having a baby. While you're boobs will still look great and not sag from being full of milk for months on end and having a babe suck all the perkiness out of them, they will have a bigger chance of giving you cancer.

So, infertilies, check those boobs.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Birth and pregnancy announcements

OK - this one is quick before I forget.

So, there is a double edged-sword when it comes to fertile Facebook friends... As I've written before, it drives me absolutely bananas when people write every little detail of their pregnancy as their status, but I just discovered a new annoyance: the birth announcement of someone that I didn't even know was pregnant!

OK, so you may say, "then, Lu, why are you even friends with someone that you don't know well enough to realize she is prego?" I'm not sure I have a good answer, but I do like that we can connect with people we really like, or were good friends with at one point, and distance or some other circumstance that is no fault of either party got in the way of talking to that person more frequently than seeing Facebook updates.

And, truly I completely appreciate the fact that she didn't post status updates detailing swollen feet or lack of sleep from a kicking fetus. Still, it was a strange blow, even though I truly am happy for their family.

Last week, one of my best friends told me she was pregnant with her third. And, because she fully admitted that she didn't really want to have to tell me because of all of our issues, and that I was one of the first people that she told, it made me love her all the more and not be resentful. I loved that she didn't walk on egg shells with me - she just came out and said it. And, my heart was bursting with happiness for her and her family.

Hearing about birth and pregnancy announcements can be tough on infertiles, especially depending on which of many moods we're in.

What's the best or worst way someone told you that she was pregnant?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

13 is my lucky number

Yesterday was Jack and my 13th wedding anniversary. First of all, I would like to say that we were married when I was 17 years old, but that would be a lie.

My guess is that there aren't many couples in the U.S. who have been married as long as we have without children. If we conceived on our honeymoon, we would've had a seventh grader by now.

One of the many reasons I married Jack (besides his rugged Keifer Sutherland-like looks) was because of his amazingly awesome daddy potential, and thus far he hasn't been able to realize that. I hate that more than anything. Still, our marriage is as strong as any I know, even with some of the most stressful circumstances that any couple should ever have to face. I love you, baby.

I've been a bad, bad blogger recently, but I've had a lot going on - trying to raise $3 million for the non-profit that I'm president of, editing my proofs for my book, and one thing that was incredibly awesome. As many of you know, I am a firm believer in exercise to take away stress and clear your mind. And, on Sunday, I did a 5-hour adventure race with two of my best friends. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to challenge herself. For two days, I didn't obsess about the adoption or think about the fact that I don't have kids because I was nervous about moutain biking, repelling and zip lining.

It truly was one of the most fun days I've ever had, and made me feel physically and mentally strong.

Infertiles, you are tougher than you think. Hang in there. More funny soon!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bravo Dr. Edwards!

My eyes are only half open right now. I'm about to fall asleep, but I just wanted to say congratulations and felicitations to the literal father of IVF, Dr. Robert Edwards, for his Nobel Prize for medicine.

Although his brilliant discovery has never worked for me, I know it has for tens of thousands of happy, happy families.

And, I would never have experienced the hopeful feeling of trying everything possible to conceive if it weren't for his research.

Now, if he could just make an exterior uterus that could grow the embryos, we might be in business.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Acne at 37?!?!

For the last couple of weeks, my face has been breaking out just like it did in high school. Back in my teenage years, I used gallon upon gallon of Tinted Oxy 10 which not only dried up my zits, but it also covered them up - what a great invention for ultra-self conscience teens.

Anyway, as an adult, I get an occasional pimple, but nothing that concerns me that much. But, I had to raise it to alert level red when three massive ones appeared last week and decided to take measures to have a blemish-free face again.

I went to see my aesthetician to get a facial to dry and balance my oil field of a face. When I showed her my constellation of pimples on my face, she immediately said, "Are you pregnant?"

I said, "Sadly, no, but I wish I was." What gives? The symptoms without the result. Ends up, it was a result of stress, but I had already figured that out.

Several years ago when I was going through fertility treatments and taking loads of follistims and other hormones, I treated myself to a facial. This one was just for fun, not because I had an issues, or so I thought. As the aesthetician analyzed, plucked and poked my skin, and she said, "Is there something stressful going on in your life?" I wasn't aware that in addition to a facial, I was also paying for a therapy session, but I figured I should answer so I could find out why she asked me.

I told her about all of the fertility meds and the stress of it all, and she immediately empathized and said solemnly, "oh..."

My entire life, people have said I look younger than I am, but this threw my sense of my appearance into a tailspin.

So, I walked out with $210 of products. She was either a really sneaky salesperson, or I looked like a wreck and didn't realize it.

My Tinted Oxy 10 is only $3.49 a bottle. I think I'll head to the pharmacy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More fun with pregnancy tests

I realize that something may be wrong with me that I've been having fun with negative pregnancy tests lately (see Yes, I have a fistful of pregnancy tests), but that's what infertility can do to some people.

My experiment today was with a Chinese pregnancy test. As some of you know, I lived in China for 10 months (just got back to the U.S. in July). Before I left, I wanted to buy a Chinese HPT to see if there was any difference than the U.S. versions, and not that I needed it. Again, this was just for fun; I have no grand ideas that it could have been because sperm actually met egg.

Here's the rundown:

I went into a pharmacy to buy it and had to use some hand gestures around my stomach to get the pharmacists to understand what I was talking about. My Mandarin knowledge does not include any vocabulary about HPTs or "missed periods." Luckily, they figured out what I was saying pretty quickly and directed me back to the one option for an HPT. The name of the test was in Chinese and English which is a good thing, because the name is hilarious: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Rapid Diagnostic Kit - what a mouthful!

No, not Clearblue Easy or First Response, the actual clinical name for the test. I kind of like that - no glazing over what it is; coming right out and saying what it is.

The test itself looks exactly like any stick test in the U.S. I checked the instructions and they were all in Chinese except for "Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Rapid Diagnostic Kit"; so I just went for it like I would any other HPT.

Disclaimer: I was sure I was NOT pregnant. Again, I was just doing this for a laugh and to educate Americans about Chinese pregnancy tests. After all, I'm sure that's where ours are made.

So, I peed on it and within seconds, a single pink line showed up. I had no idea how long I was supposed to wait, but it was clear that no other line or "plus sign" was going to appear.

Of course, I didn't consider the fact that perhaps a single line is a positive result in Chinese. Hmmmm... maybe I need to go get a U.S. one and double check.

So, I encourage you to think about all of the useful things you can do with a negative test stick. They make great coffee stirs, as long as you make sure you're using the non-pee end. Have a table that's off balance? HPTs can make a great shim. I figure that I've taken enough over the last six years that I could gather them all up and let my nephew use them to create a model of a fort, instead of using popsicle sticks (I really don't save the damn things, just wanted to give you a visual).

Can you imagine the landfill thats been created as a result of all of the used HPTs?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Probably TMI, but it's worth it

Just wanted to share the summary of my book that's coming out in about two months, The Inadequate Conception - From Barry White to Blastocytes: What your mom didn't tell you about getting pregnant. Feel free to stop by the FaceBook page too, as I will be updating it with information as it gets closer to launch.

Truly, the reason I wrote this book and put all of this “out there” is to help other couples who have difficulties getting pregnant. And, if I can make one person laugh after all of the tears, I think telling you about my vaginal ultrasounds and sex on a schedule was worth it.

I am the no prego pro, infertility warrior, bunless oven, can’t-make-a-baby veteran. It has taken six years and tens of thousands of dollars to achieve this distinction, and more specifically, 1,611 prenatal vitamins, 78 fertility drug injections, 55 ovulation detection tests, 40 blood draws, 33 ultrasounds, 16 pregnancy tests, and 11 embryos to confirm it. Still, throughout this not-so-fun numbers game (I always thought that procreating was supposed to be much, much more enjoyable), I have tried very hard to look at the lighter side of our struggles to conceive: Betting to see whose sperm count is higher and performing a strip tease in a hospital room are not things that I ever thought I’d be part of, yet here I am, willing to disclose the details of some very intimate incidents.

Whether a couple needs two tries to get pregnant or two hundred, most can relate to calculating menstrual cycles and trying to decipher ovulation test sticks. And there can be plenty of funny incidents and awkward and absurd moments along the way, whether trying to get sperm to meet egg involves candlelight and Barry White or Petri dishes and blastocytes. The Inadequate Conception tells the author’s and others’ real-life stories of trying to find two blue lines on a pregnancy test.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Target practice

Today flat stunk. No other way to put it. Our adoption has reached a new low, and I am emotionally and physically exhausted. However, I now know the meaning of a mother's love and will fight to get our little boy out of Vietnam. They have no idea who they are dealing with.

So, I had to make a run to one of my very favorite stores this afternoon - Tar.get, and while I can usually spend a good hour in there as happy as can be, two separate incidents made me more depressed than when I entered the red bullseyed door.

First, whether I need clothes or not, it's downright irresponsible not to check out the 50% clothing racks when shopping there. I was flipping through the racks - found a super cute dress that will look great with leggings this fall for $10! Then, I found a darling top for $6. When I looked to check the size, I discovered that it was maternity. WTF?

Then, as I was traipsing down the aisles, trying to forget my near miss with a prego shirt, I was accosted on all sides by Halloween costumes, cute toddler t-shirts with "Mommy's little monster" on the front, onesies with "my first Halloween" and Frankenstein socks. It totally crushed me --I felt like I had a bullseye logo on my stomach and an arrow shot me right in the gut.

Luckily, they had plenty of Twizzlers in stock. I have already eaten about a mile's worth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

No flu shot for you

Last year I wrote a post about the fact that swine flu shots were at a premium and pregnant women were at the top of the list, while those of us unfortunates with flat stomachs weren't important enough.

While we're still waiting to hear what the latest flu is - sheep, peacock or moose - the first people eligible for the once-again tight supply of vaccine are pregnant woment.

Side bar: Because the death rates for pregnant women is much higher than other sections of the population, I totally get the reason why and I encourage them to get their vaccines, but let me have a little fun for a second while I rant about my infertility. But what about those of us who want to be pregnant, but can’t. -- can’t we get inoculated?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly freaked out about getting the flu. I just think it’s discriminatory to give a vaccine to someone just because she is lucky (and let’s face it, so much of it is sheer luck) enough to conceive.

I mean am I not worthy of getting a flu shot just because my womb won't cooperate? It’s not like I chose to have fertility issues or did something to inhibit my fertility. I pay more than my fair share of taxes and have contributed way more out-of-pocket expenses to the healthcare system than the average 37-year old woman.

I think trying as hard as I have, as well as the millions of others of infertiles, should count for something. Heck, after the six cycles on fertility drug injections, I could probably even give myself the shot. I wouldn’t have to wait in line. The nurses could just throw me the vial and syringe and I could do my own. I could probably even help them inoculate the masses.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

False Advertising

I'm totally hacked off my the name of a fertility clinic in town -- it's called: Family Beginnings IVF.

I'm not an expert on the ethics of advertising or brand names, but unless these doctors have some kind of 100% guarantee, I'm pretty sure that's considered false advertising. The words "family" and "beginnings", particularly together, denote that a pregnancy will occur after visiting their clinic. With IVF rates being about 33%, I"m pretty sure that there are plenty of women walking out of there who aren't knocked up.

I'm guessing that it's some ploy by some sneaky reproductive endos who decided to prey on our weak minds after we've been beaten down by the throes of infertility. The name evokes a sense of hope and a future that we dream of. And, they've smartly figured out that The Schmo Center for Reproductive Medicine doesn't do anything but sound clinical. Of course, having a name like "No Guarantees Fertility" or "Can't Promise Pregnancy Center" won't get anyone to come in off the street, either.

I still think that it's a pretty crappy tactic.

In related news, there was a Dr. Hyman in my hometown who was an OB/GYN, everyone thought that was pretty hilarious, and on that one, I have to agree.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Find your bliss, in spite of your infertility

Common logic says that if you know you're infertile, you want to have a child. And, for many of us, we have dreamed of having a baby for years and years, so it puts quite a crimp, to say the least, in our plans when we can't get pregnant.

I usually don't throw out advice through my blog, but I feel pretty adamant about this small nugget of info: Find your other bliss(es).

Part of the reason this topic is on my mind is because I did something today that makes me happier than just about anything - horseback riding. I occasionally ride in events put on by a local hunt club and today we road through creeks, woods, and pastures playing a horsey version of Clue. The weather was gorgeous, my horse was a prince, and I was with good friends -- two hours of pure joy.

And, when I'm riding, I am totally focused on just riding. I'm not thinking about my faulty uterus or my adoption that's going poorly. It's very liberating not to have those obsessions on my mind during that time.

My therapist has even encouraged me to do things I enjoy. Of course, I do have the caveat that the things you do shouldn't involve bodily harm to you or anyone else.

My list includes said horseback riding, running trails with my dog, doing just about anything with Jack, writing, hanging out with my niece and nephew, among others.

How about you? What do you love to do? Are you currently participating in it? If not, why? Get out there and do something you love.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

One of my least favorite days of the year, but not for the reason you might think

I had my annual OB/GYN exam yesterday, and unlike most women who dread that day of the year because they hate having to spread their legs for the doctor, go through the personal questions, etc. For me, that part is a piece of cake. I figure that I’ve probably been to the fertility doc and/or OB/GYN 100 times over the last five years, so one more time doesn’t shake me at all.

What does bother me is seeing all of the pregnant gals lovingly rubbing their bellies and trading gazes with their husbands. I mentioned in a post last year that I think there should be a walled off area for the baby bump blessed, so that the rest of us don’t have to come into contact with them.

And, apparently I am shrinking. The med assistant who checked me in, measured me a good ½” shorter than I actually am – I am not 85 with osteoporosis.

The other thing that irked me was that I had to explain to TWO people, the medical assistant and my GYN, that “No, I’m not using birth control.” And, “No, I’m not trying to get pregnant.” I am now on my third GYN in three years because they keep moving to New England, so I’d never met this new one, but come on, “Check my effing file! You’ll see more than your fair share of documentation of all the ways I tried to get pregnant.” I hate having to relive all that.

And, they had me listed as being on Estrogen. Yeah, that was like two years ago when I was going through fertility treatments, and people my age really shouldn't be taking it for more than a few days to get the uterine line forming anyway. I'm not going through menopause.

It’s bad enough that my doctor’s office is in the same building and on the same floor, just steps away from my fertility doctor. Even the hallways smell the same – and it makes me think back to the days of when I actually had hope that I could get pregnant. Weird how smells will do that.

Actually, the only highlight to this experience was my drop-in at my old fertility doctor’s office. Unfortunately, he and his wife who is the head nurse, were at their other office, but the office/insurance manager ran out from behind her desk and gave me a big hug. Now that’s the kind of practice I like: hugs instead of getting harangued by people about birth control.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yes, I have a fistful of pregnancy tests

In that tiny little pic of me to the right, I have a handful of pregnancy tests. During my photo shoot, I stomped on them, glared at them, threw them up in the air and broke them in half. I highly recommend doing all of those things the next time you get a negative pregnancy test.

The photo shoot was for my book cover and my publicity shots for when The Inadequate Conception comes out (so excited!). What's funny is that the two cover designers are men and so was the photographer. I brough the HPTs and some ovulation detection test sticks as props and they didn't know the difference. When they were shooting the HPT for the cover (it's hard to see, but it is a HPT with a frowning face where the "pregnant" or two blue lines should go), the guys started taking shots of an ovulation stick, so I quickly had to pull it out of the shot and hand them an HPT. Would any of your husbands or SOs know the difference?

I told the photographer, that I bet he never thought he'd be using HPTs as a prop in a shoot. I also had a turkey baster as a prop, but we didn't like those pics. I tried doing the Princess Leia stance from Star Wars with it as my light saber, but it didn't translate well on film. Still, I thought that was pretty funny. My sister thought I should also do a shot of me drinking a bottle of wine with a straw and a plate of cookies. Oh wait...that's what I'm doing now.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Same bat place, new bat title

Don't fret. This is the blog formerly known as Fertility Foibles (wish I could have some cool Prince-like symbol in here like a X'ed out pregnancy test). I have changed the name to reflect the title of a book that I have written about the funny and absurd stories that have accompanied my and others' fertility foibles.

I just sent my manuscript to the publisher on Friday and my cover art is finished - see the photo on the right.

I believe it will be ready around early November, so just in time to combat all of the "Hellidays" that happen when you're infertile. I give highly personal and intimate details of Jack Bauer and my struggles to get pregnant in hopes that it makes just one frustrated, sad or blue infertile smile or look at their situation a little differently.

And, don't worry, I will blantly be self-promoting it through my blog.

I apologize for no exciting or clever posts this week. My internet access has been down, but Jack is on the case, trying to make it work again.

Can't wait to share some excerpts of the book with you soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Infertility Story Line on TV

I'm a fan of the CBS comedies on Monday nights, especially How I Met Your Mother, and I've recently gotten into Rules of Engagement. On today's episode, in the first scene, Jeff (AKA Putty from Seinfeld), was trying to give his wife, Audrey, a shot of estrogen since they're doing an IVF cycle. Instead of jabbing her in the rear, he accidentally stuck his hand with the needle and yelled, "I stuck myself with lady juice!"

Maybe you had to see it for it to be funny, but I cracked up. And, they made it very realistic because Audrey was complaining about how the hormones made her crazy - her brain foggy and not focused. Now that's something I can relate to. She was sweating profusely wiht hot flashes. Again, been there, done that.

It's about time that infertility was part of the mainstream. I'm tired of it being in the dark. I understand that not everyone wants to air their fertility issues, but I'm not one of them, and within a day or so, you will understand why I'm saying that.

I appreciate that the writers of this comedy are bringing infertility to light. They're not making fun of it; it seems pretty realistic and the conversations are making me think that one of the writers has been through it her/himself.

I'll be interested to see where the story line goes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another FaceBook foible

As some of you know, I enjoy an occasional rant about FaceBookers who go on and on about their pregnancies or kids.

I have a new one tonight that makes me think Big Brother is definitely watching me. A few weeks ago, one of the ads on the side of my page was for an infertility clinic. I do not have anything about my lack of fertility anywhere on my FaceBook page, so I'm wondering how this popped up. I'm pretty sure that it wasn't a coincidence.

Maybe it's because I don't post pics of my kids or rattle on about how much formula my kid has ingested over a 24-hour period (yes, this is a real post from one of my "friends" today).

In any case, it's quite curious to me how the ad found its way to my page.

Have any of you had this happen before?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Inspirational Infertilty eBook

My good friend, Lily, over at The Infertile Mind, has provided some amazing on-line classes to help us deal with infertility and get all of our frustrations, hopes and dreams off our chest.

I participated in both of her eclasses and it was a great experiences. She's now gone above and beyond in terms of her creative chops. She put together an ebook based on her classes that will help you examine your feelings and will help you think about them in a new way.

I hope you'll check out her blog, and tell her how much you enjoy her brilliant offering. Thanks, Lily for letting me share it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's like I've been pregnant for more than 2 years

A few weeks ago marked the two-year anniversary since we learned about our little boy in Vietnam. He was 7 months old when we first learned about him and saw the picture of him with his shock of black hair, and it was the second time in life I experienced love at first sight. He's now 31 months old (actually to the day today), and he's still not home with us.

I liken it to a 2-year gestational period, which is two months more than the mammal with the longest pregnancy - the elephant.

When parents go to help at the orphange, I get photos, videos and updates about how he's doing - just like I would if I was carrying him in my uterus and going to the doctor and getting ultrasounds.

I have felt the nesting urges, my mood is constantly having peaks and valleys and I am now have food cravings - mostly Twizzlers.

I am more than ready for my water to break and start the contractions. Maybe I need to have sex, go for a walk, take some castor oil, or one of the other many labor-inducing tricks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I try to keep my blog as light-hearted and funny as possible, but today that's not going to happen -- I need to vent. I'm sure I am hypersensitive right now because our adoption is not going well, at all, and I'm full of stress and raw nerves. Two separate incidents just about sent me over the edge. I'm close enough as it is.

Running is one of my favorite free stress relievers. I love pounding the trails and the pavement - even if I do nothing else during the day, at least I ran. So, I went out this morning for a 5-mile run to get rid of some of my nervous energy. Running worked wonders when I was hopped up on fertility drugs - helped my tension and my weight gain.

A lotta good that did... I was running on the sidewalk ready to cross the street - the WALK sign lit up, when a woman in a beat-up car, who was not paying any attention, talking on the phone, almost ran over me. What really set me off is that she had a toddler in the back seat and he wasn't strapped in properly. I'm going to be very judgemental here, but she didn't appear to be someone that should have a child.

The second incident was at Starbucks. I was sitting peacefully at a table doing some work while sipping a iced green tea latte, when two women at the table about 2 feet away started talking about childbirth. Apparently one of them had a baby 8 weeks ago and brought her friend pictures. I must've heard her friend say "what a beautiful baby" three dozen times in 30 minutes. Then I got to hear about how she was so tired because the baby wasn't on a schedule yet and how big her c-section scare is.

I really wanted to turn to them and make a snarky comment, but I restrained myself.

I had a Frosty for dinner, so now I feel a little better.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What would I look like pregnant

I'm really not that much of a fashionista, but I am all for cute, summery shirts. And how appropriate for us infertiles that all the rage are the "maternity look" tops. You know, the flouncy little shirts that look like they could be hiding a bit of a belly.

I have a couple, but haven't worn any yet this summer, but yesterday, I pulled one off the hanger. It's a really cute top, but I really look prego in it. It is fitted snuggly across my chest and makes my A-cup boobs look bigger and then the empire-type waist flares out around my hips. It's super cute, but I totally look pregnant in it. All day, I wondered if people I passed in the hallway or rode the elevator with thought I was expecting.

I always wondered what I would look like pregnant, and this gave me a little bit of an idea, but this shirt would make me not more than 4-5 months pregnant. I wonder how much my butt would grow and how big my boobs would really get. I was never one to stuff my shirt with a pillow and pose in a mirror to get an idea.

Maybe we should all take a field trip to "Motherhood" and put on those fake prego bellies and try on pants with panels and oversized tops, though that would probably result in gallons of tears and running out of Kleenex.

Maybe a trip to get ice cream is a better idea, and that's one way to make our stomachs and rear ends grow.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I didn't know they made TV shows that were so bad

Have any of you seen the new TLC show "I didn't know I was pregnant"? Oh man is it bad - and truly unbelieveable. Are there that many unknown pregnancies that a TV show can be built on the concept? There are 7.2 million infertile women in the U.S., I think we have a much, much bigger market.

I watched it today purely as research for my blog and also to see what these fools were doing to get pregnant and not even know it. After all, maybe they ate only pinapple for a month or dipped their toes in mud or something and ended up knocked up without even knowing it. From the two episodes I watched (again, only as research), no such luck. Most of them forgot their birth control and were just so hyperfertile that the one time they forgot. One woman was on antibiotics while on birth control pills, and BOOM preggers!

The show itself is actually pretty comical. They intersperse interviews with the mothers, dads and medical professionasl with re-enactments done by actors. Totally, totally cheesy.

One woman already had three kids and then mysteriously gave birth in the bathroom at the restaurant where she worked. Really? You had no idea?

Another said she only gained 10 lbs and craved pickles for some reason, but otherwise had no clue.

My favorite part was a pregnancy-related quiz before each commercial break. One of the questions was: Pregnant women produce an excessive amount of gas. True or False. Really?!?! This is TV people want to watch?

I think a much more interesting and provacative show would be titled "I didn't know I couldn't get pregnant". They could show money being thrown down a drain, blood drawns and ultrasounds with an empty uterus, and the highlight would be the rampant mood swings and hormonal outbursts to husbands, pharmacists and employees. Now that's a show I'd Tivo.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Soothing the savage beast

I haven't had a very good week - it's all adoption related. More delays, more questions, more heartache. I take most of the adoption bad news much worse than I ever did when I get negative HPTs or betas because our adoption was pretty much supposed to be a done deal. And, all along, I have been realistic about my changes to get pregnant.

With all of the frustration and sadness that I'm feeling right now, I harken back to my failed ovulation induction and IVF cycles that didn't work. The feeling of being tired all of the time, keeping my head down so that I don't have to say "hello" when passing someone in the hall in my office, weeping at radio commercials of a private school discussing their commitment to a child's imagination.

And, while I don't think my bad moods are particularly constructive, I do think it's good to get it all out.

However, I also think there is something to be said for indulging yourself and doing something fun to take your mind off of things. Food and alcohol quickly became some of my therapies of choice. My preference: Oreos and white wine (chardonnay). I didn't say I had the most sophisticated taste, but I will say that polishing off a sleeve of Oreos and half a bottle of wine would make me happy for that moment.

The other quick fix for me was retail therapy - buying something I wanted with no abandon. This was typically not a great idea because infertility treatments were always at last $3,000 and some were up to $14,000 a piece. So, the last thing I needed was a $250 purse. Again, it made me feel a little better.

One of my favorite and most constructive things that makes me feel better is horseback riding. Horses are truly therapy to me - grooming them, cleaning stalls, riding, the smell of alfalfa. I love it all and it makes me feel good for a long period of time.

One girl I know even bought a BMW in her fertility-induced haze to ease the pain.

So, infertiles, what do you do besides cry when you get a negative result? How do you soothe the beast? Skydive, watch a rocom? Let me know!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why wasn't this around when I was going through treatment?

For the last two days, I feel a little like the Infertility Enquirer - delivering the latest infertility news.

There is a new test that some researchers at Stanford University have created that can help determine the success of IVF. It factors in several different criteria like uterine condition, hormone levels and embryo development. According to the Reuters story, the researchers "have founded a new company called Univfy to develop and commercialize the test. The company has licensed the technology from Stanford and has applied for a patent. It is seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market the test by this fall."

Another interesting tidbit of info in this article was that there are more than 80 million infertile women worldwide.

I could've saved tens of thousands of dollars if this test was out back when I was doing my IVFs. Of course, it wouldn't surprise me if, in my lifetime, a homegrown uterus is developed and babies are created in pods a la Gattica.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A $1.2 billion market

Yes, "B" as in billion. I just read an article about a deal between two biotech companies that are working on a biosimilar follistim drug that hopes to be better than the current medication. As I understand it, biosimilars are "follow-on" drugs that can be made after a drug's patent expires.

The company said, "this product offers significant commercial advantages over currently available pen injectors in terms of patient convenience, safety, and ease of use.”

That's great and all - in my opinion, the more good drugs on the market to help, the better. I guess the stunning part to me was the fact that the infertility drug market was so large. And, that's just for the drugs. Imagine what it is when you factor in all of the tests, procedures, hospital bills, acupuncture, etc.

Personally, I would rather have a baby and a bunch of money to take a bath in vs. all of the liquid that I injected in my body that didn't work (and will probably make me grow a beard when I'm 80), the $$$ worth of blood drawn to check a hormone level, and the oodles of Ben Franklins that it cost to hire surgeons and anesthesiologists for ectomies of various natures and egg retrievals. And, it really is depressing to think about the fact that I could've bought a plane ticket to Hawaii for the cost of five years of pre-natal vitamins and negative HPTs.

I once bestowed the virtues of buying HPTs and ovulation test sticks at the Dollar Store. Really. If you're lucky, your Dollar Store carries them. The HPTs that I've found there are pretty clunky and the directions are only in Spanish, but I'm pretty sure that the language of one-line is universal. Besides, if I'm going to get a negative result. I'd rather take the $12 I saved on the Dollar Store test, and buy something like a bottle of wine or 5 pounds of Twizzlers to soothe my crappy mood from bad news.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Too young to be a grandma

This goes in the "you've got to be kidding me" category. So, get ready.

My sister works for an orthopedic surgeon/rehabilitation group. She texted me earlier today and said that she just had a patient come in who is 5 months older than me (I am currently 37 years and 9 months old) and HAS A GRANDCHILD!!!

A few posts ago, I commented about women having babies in their old age, which I believe is completely irresponsible and ridiculous. I even think I mentioned that people who are old enough to be a grandmother, should not be giving birth. Guess I need to eat those words.

I know that I'm not exactly a young babe anymore, but I'm also not an effing granny.

So, so wrong. On so, so many levels.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lurking in my bathroom vanity drawer

I just went looking for some triple antibiotic cream for a little cut on my face (I sound attractive, don't I?). I dug through two different drawers full of expired prescriptions, hair products missing the spray nozzles, some bikini wax that I'm too scared to try, and various tubes of half-used lotions that I have probably had since the Clinton administration.

And then, beneath a box of mineral-based make-up, I found an old box of Crinone progesterone gel complete with a bright green "for vaginal use only" sticker (just in case I decided to squirt it up my nose or in my ears.)

"Hello, old friend," I thought to myself. "My how you have failed me."

I picked up the box and checked the expiration date, and it still has about six months left, but it's been more than two years since I was using it during an IVF cycle.

I'm pretty sure I kept it in case I knew of anyone who was going through fertility treatments. I think it cost at least $50 for the box, so I was hoping to save someone some money. I once offered it to some people at a Resolve meeting, but they all looked at me funny. What?! I'm just trying to put some more bucks in your pocket instead of into your, um...well... you know.

So, there it sits. I couldn't bring myself to throw it away, knowing that it still has some life left. So, if there's anyone out there who could use it, let me know and I'll be happy to mail it to you.

I never did find the antibiotic cream for my cut.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pregnant at 70?!?!?!

Back in the U.S., I've found that I've missed loads of good TV. For those of you following along, I am a bit of a TV junkie. So, imagine my horror when flipping through the channels tonight and finding a show called "Pregnant at 70." Seriously?

I'm roughly half that age, so I can't say how I will feel when a few more decades pass me by, but I'm pretty sure that I will give up on having a biological a child way before then.

Why do you want to be a grandmother or great-grandmother's age when your child is born? Now, I'm the first one to say that 40 is the new 30, and 50 is the new 40, etc., but I really don't think that 70 is an appropriate age to give birth.

And, at least the cases mentioned on this show, they were all IVF babies. It would be a little different if they were conceived naturally, but this was a conscience decision by fertility doctors and the parents to go for it.

Of course, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm jealous of these antique uteruses. How the heck can they carry a baby and I can't? I didn't think they'd have any eggs left.

Modern medicine can be an amazing thing, but I'm not sure if this is where I want to see it go. I'd rather that they focus any reproductive research on those of us under 42.

And, I've Tivoed "I didn't know I was pregnant" or whatever that show is called, so stay tuned. You've got to be kidding me with that one.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Jet lag mimics pregnancy symptoms

In honor of my Transpacific flight on Friday, I though I'd re-post an entry about jet lag from a trip I made in February.

Happy 4th! Celebrate our freedom today!

Yes, it's true and leave it to me to be the one who discovers this. Flying back and forth from Shanghai to my midwestern city is at least a 17-hour proposition, on top of a 13-hour time difference. I've flown to Europe a bunch and am never affected this badly. But, it's a lot farther to Asia. Soooo... when I first did it in December, it totally wiped me out, but it wasn't until this trip that I discovered that the symptoms of jet lag are eerily similar to the early stages of pregnancy (not that I've ever been pregnant, but I've had enough fertility drugs in my system to understand and obsess over every little twinge).

#1 - you're exhausted. For me, anyway, it's an exhaustion like none I've ever felt. Way worse than the feeling of partying all night or pulling an allnighter in college. I can barely stay awake much past 9pm and there have been a couple of times where I literally don't remember falling asleep. I just pass out. Thank goodness this has only happened while I'm already in bed.

#2 - you're moody. It's probably a result of #1, but if you look at me funny right now, you are equally likely for me to bite your head off or for me to give you a hug. I have also cried at all Olympic footage no matter what the country or event, and I was sobbing at a story last night about a blind Husky who still pulls a dogsled because she loves it so much and can trust her teammates.

#3 - you're ravenous. Mostly it's because I should be eating breakfast at 8pm, lunch at 1am and dinner at 8am, and I can't override my body's feeding clock. I'll wake up at 4am, or 6am and be ready to eat anything and everything in sight. Yesterday, I think I ate almost every two hours. Thank goodness I've been hitting the gym.

#4 - your bladder fills quickly. I try to stay super-hydrated on flights, but the downfall to this is that you're constantly using the urine/disinfectant-smelling cramped toilets on the plane. I usually try to drink a lot a day or two after as well, so I'm running to the restroom as much as any baby-bellied babe.

#5 - you're achy and swollen. It's because you're cramped up for 17 hours. My feet puffed out like crazy and I almost couldn't get my shoes on when we landed. But should a plane ride, even for that duration, really make your boobs sore? Hmmm...

Case closed.

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.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Infertility as a excuse for attempted murder

Have you guys heard about this one? A former TV chef (though I've never hear of him, of course, I am far from what one would call a cook), tried to pay a couple of homeless men to off his wife. He said she was so distraught over the fact that she couldn't get pregnant that she wanted to die. And, I guess he was wiling to pay some guys $1,000 to help her do so.

Besides the fact that this is disturbing and creepy on multiple levels...

Really? Using infertility as part of your non-guilty plea. I'm also not an attorney, but you just blew any hope of having a infertile on your jury acquitting you, pal. And, in the face of the other 6 million infertile women out there, you are guilty in our court of public opinion, too.

There are many things that I've wanted to do as a result of not being able to conceive, but none of them are illegal and most of them involve a tub of ice cream and some retail therapy.

I haven't heard the other side of this story yet, but will have to do some research and report back. I wonder what the woman is saying right now, and hope she kicks him to the curb.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Words from Jack

Hey everyone - Jack Bauer here. I have read my lovely wife's blog and I have come to the conclusion that most of the readers on this are women. Even though
this condition seems to affect the woman more than the man, I wanted to
give you some insights into what the man is thinking on this journey
called infertility:

1. We still love you. Most men that I know didn't look at a woman's
hips when they first met to judge her baby making potential. We love you the
person, not you the baby factory. Please remember that fact. Insecurity
is an ugly emotion and if you start acting that way it will actually
exasperate the problem. Remember, this is what the priest, minister,
rabbi, Krishna was talking about when he/she said in good times or in
bad. Some men can't get past this - but if they blame you for something that
you have no control over - is that the sort of character you want your kid's
dad to have anyway?

2. We don't understand mood swings. I know that many of us have dealt
with crazy emotions when you have gone through your period, but I will
be honest, we are completely unprepared for this new level of craziness
that results from hormone shots as well as the general anxiety about
pregnancy. Please understand that we are trying to do the best we can and we are
sorry we got the smooth peanut butter when you specifically said chunky.

3. We wish it was our fault. There were so many times that I wished
that my boys were slow swimmers or couldn't stop for directions. The worst
times in our journey have been when I have seen the pain in her eyes
when she felt that she let me down. She didn't. Her body did. I wish I
could take the guilt from her and put it on me. Hell, 39 years of Catholicism
and a passive aggressive mother? I am immune to guilt :)

4. We still love you.

5. Men want to fix things. We feel so incredibly powerless in this
situation and it drives us crazy. Especially if you man is like me in
that I never want my wife to be unhappy and want to do everything in my power
to prevent that from happening. It kills me that I can't fix this and make
her happy.

6. Some men love to be involved in the most intimate details of your pH
levels, mucosity flows and the timing of your period. Some men (like
me) do not. Much as your eyes glaze over when we tell you about our great
trade in fantasy football, some of us are unable to muster the interest.
Please understand that this does not mean we aren't interested or don't
care - we just don't think at that level of detail

7. We hate your friends who constantly talk about their kids, too

8. It hurts us too. I will be honest, in the 5 years (wow - has it
been that long?), I have had exactly one person in our circle of friends and
family who has asked me how I was doing. My dear sweet mother in law
listened to me for 2 hours bearing my soul in the most raw and emotional
rant I have ever had. We constantly want to be strong for you. We want
to hold you tight and tell you that everything will be all right. We are
men- that is what we do. But every now and again, we just want a little
knowledge and empathy that there are two people in this situation and
even though we don't show it - there is pain in the inside.

9. We still love you and we always will.

Anyway - that is it for me. I have wasted a precious 7 minutes writing
this when I really should have been interrogating somebody with a ball
point pen. There may be a nuclear explosion somewhere, but I thought it
was important to let you all know this as well.

Bauer out!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A bittersweet day

"Momma said there'd be days like this; there'd be days like this my momma said."

I get Mother's Day. I really, really do. All of the influential moms in my life - #1 my mom, but also, my sister, aunts, grandmother and friends absolutely deserve a day celebrating their motherhood. And, I was thrilled to share the morning with my lovely and sweet grandmother.

But, as the day wore on, I started missing my little boy, 8,500 miles away in Vietnam, and it was hard.

Besides, somehow my dog and cats must have forgotten that it was Mother's Day because I did not get breakfast in bed, not even some cat chow (though my dog did let me sleep in an hour later than usual, so perhaps that was her contribution to a nice day), and they didn't give me flowers or a spa certificate.

I did get a homemade card from my Godson, and a "Happy Mother's Day" from my mom and sister, which meant more than they know. And, my awesome niece and Goddaughter said that I am the 'Mother of Fun'.

Next year i hope that I am awakened by a precious 3 year old wanting to give his mommy a Mother's Day hug and kiss, and that will be enough for me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My dog makes me feel like a mom, part 2

So much for being calm, cool and collected...

Although my dog's test results came in negative, my vet told me to keep a close eye on her gums, ears and stomach for any signs of bruising. So, every 12 hours or so, I do an inspection.

Yesterday morning, however, I couldn't tell if the light brown spots on her gums were there when I looked last. So, I loaded her into the car, and drove to the vet. Upon my arrival into the lobby, I freely announced that I was sure I was being paranoid, but wanted a vet tech to humor me. Luckily, the brown spots are normal pigmentation, but I just wanted to make sure.

I thought, "so much for my reserved and thoughtful mothering instincts."

But, when I relayed the story back to my girlfriends last night, a little embarrassed from my overzealous behavior. BFF said, "No, that's being a mom."

Guess motherhood is cut out for me, after all.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My dog makes me feel like a mom

It's now officially pet week on Fertility Foibles.

My affection for my animals really does go beyond the typical pet-owner relationship. I realize that many people don't understand how pets can feel like children, but in my case, they most certainly do. I have no children of my own, so all of my maternal love is directed toward them (and our sweet Nate in Vietnam) and my niece and nephew.

Tuesday night my mothering techniques were tested by my sweet yellow lab. I came home and found that she had eaten some mouse poison. My typical self would have completely flipped out and been hysterical, but instead, I quickly assessed the situation and got on the phone with the SPCA Pet Poison Control (a wonderful service, by the way, staffed by veterinarians). Thankfully, she vomited most of the pellet up and was treated by our wonderful vet. She will be fine.

But, I was up all night with her, making sure she was breathing. And I stayed more calm than I knew I had in me.

I may not be the mom of a human yet, but my dog sure made me feel like one. Next time, I'd rather she do something a little less dramatic to conjure up the maternal feeling -- something like talking back to me or not doing her homework.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Adding cats instead of kids

Sorry for being incommunicato, but I have been traveling almost non-stop for three weeks. I'm in the U.S. right now, and am loving it! Just one more trip to China and then back to the States for good! I have really enjoyed being in Asia for the last seven months, but I'm ready to be home.

About two months ago, we added a new member to our family - cat #3 (appropriately named Sanmao, which means third cat in Chinese and nothing to do with the former evil communist champion). We adopted him in Shanghai since we missed the presence of an animal in our lives (at our U.S. home we have two cats and a yellow lab who are being cared for my a wonderful house/pet sitter), and decided we could bring him back with us. This also means that we are one cat shy of being what Jack Bauer and I consider being crazy cat people. The crazy part may already be true.

Several months ago, I pondered the significance of the great number of infertile people who have cats. I wondered if there is a direct correlation between owning cats and being baby-making challenged. I think this warrants some research by the NIH or at least the Humane Society or an investigative report by Cat Fancy.

A couple of theories here, mind you, I am not a scientist or a psychologist, but indulge me a bit:
1. My cats are so happy being "only" children that they have some kind of curse on my uterus that renders me infertile.
2. There is something in cat dander, pee or poo that escapes into the air that deems some people infertile.
3. Infertiles who want children have a lot of love to give, so they have furbabies to parent, spoil and adore, until the human version arrives.
4. They're so upset by being spayed, that they curse your uterus so that you can't have babies, either.
5. The hours of cats sitting on my lap and making biscuits on my stomach over the years has smashed my uterus into an inhabitable place for a embryo to grow.

I'm pretty sure that the answer is #3, but I think it's still worth some research. I will happily sign up to be studied.

Any other theories?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Appalled about adoption

There have only been a few times in my life where I have found myself at a loss for words. And this is one of them. I'm absolutely disgusted and sickened by the actions of the family that adopted the 7-year old little boy from Russia, and when he proved difficult, they put him on a plane and sent him back.

As a waiting adoptive mother of a toddler from Vietnam, I am especially troubled by this not only because of my concern for the welfare of that child, but for that of orphaned children in Russia and other countries that may be waiting for parents in the U.S. This incident is likely to have a negative impact on future adoptions worldwide.

Please sign this petition to President Medvedev and President Obama advocating that U.S.- Russian adoptions should continue. There are thousands of children waiting for their U.S. families and they shouldn't be put at risk because of the unconscionable acts of one person. There are tens of thousands of children all over the world being kept in orphanages because of political quagmires and unfortunately, our son and 16 other children in Vietnam are some of them.