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.