Monday, August 29, 2011

Check me out-- I'm lookin' good!

Hey guys! Bernadette and Duane's blog here.

I noticed last week that as Bernadette and Duane were awaiting their results, a lot of new people were checkin' me out. Naturally, I did what any attractive blog would do and updated my look with the addition of SCI's new site.

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a site snob--I ONLY wear the latest and greatest, but as soon as I tried this one on for size, I just knew it was the perfect fit! Duane and Bernadette did too. Though they are sad their past cycle didn't work, they are committed to spreading the word about surrogacy in India and in particular, one really amazing clinic.

So go ahead, check me out-- I'm sure you'll agree, I'm lookin' good!

Happy Birthday to the GREATEST Little Sister Ever!

I am fortunate to have 4 sisters (2 by birth and 2 by marriage) but I am REALLY fortunate to have only 1 LITTLE sister-- else I would be in some really BIG hot water for this title.

And while this might seem like an odd place to be wishing her a happy birthday, it's not. Because just like every other aspect of my life, she is 150% supportive of my infertility. Case in point-- she is a teacher (one of those really incredible inner city teachers-- you know, the kind they make movies about), and as a result, she can't check personal websites on her computer during the day. But, because she is so invested in our journey, she has set up an email notification on her phone, so that when I post, she's always one of the first to know what's going on.

This weekend could've easily been down-right rotten. This past week I buried myself in work during the day and crashed into bed at night. I had yet to actually deal with any of the emotions that accompanied the news we received last week, and the past two days off could've quickly turned into a marathon pity party with me as the guest of honor.

And while I did spend the majority of the weekend in bed, instead of having a solo cry-fest, we spent a straight 48 hours eating cookie dough, watching my favorite movies, online shopping, and chatting about the gym classes we swore we'd attend "tomorrow."

I could tell you about how she graduated college in three years, how she's won the city's Teacher of the Year Award every year since she started teaching, how she bakes award-winning cupcakes or what a phenomenal driver she is (ok that one is a total lie), but there is one far more impotant thing that she does better than anyone else on the entire planet that's worthy of being broadcast worldwide...


Happy Birthday Rebecca- I love you!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We are Simply in Awe...

of the blog posts, and the comments, and the emails, and the forum messages, and the poetry, and the phone calls of support....

I am an avid thank you card writer (a mediocre thank you card sender) and I wish I could write to each and every one of you-- telling you how much your words have meant to us, how they have uplifted us in a way that would have taken months on our own, how they have been instrumental in allowing us to begin to heal.

These words, they came from ALL AROUND THE WORLD, and as individual thank yous are next to impossible, I hope that you will read this and know that we are speaking to EVERY ONE OF YOU and that we THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.

I have written before about how the 1s in this world seem to be disproportionally composed of ready-made parents with oversized hearts.

I have written before about this extraordinary community of international surrogacy bloggers.

I have written before about the exceptional family I have been blessed with.

And I have written before about how fortunate we feel to have found Dr. Shivani and the entire SCI team.

And now, my words, they have officially been validated.

We fell hard this time. Harder than we ever have. And it hurt SO BAD. And it STILL HURTS-- A LOT. And it will for a very long time.

And I am not sure that we will ever fall this hard again. Because I am not sure that we will ever allow ourselves to believe, to hope, to open ourselves up to the possibility of such immense hurt again.

We will revert to guarding our hearts, as so many of us have done after losses, after failed cycles, after results that have completely defied the odds... again.

And while we wish it weren't this way, we have learned that as members of such a unique community,

we are privileged to ride on the coattails of the faith of others.

Maybe we won't be able to believe again, but maybe, we will be able to move on regardless.

Maybe we will rely on the words of Dr. Shivani who has "guaranteed I will be a mummy in 2012." Or maybe on the words of Rahul, who has assured us that "people who do not get a success on the first attempt, they definitely get a success in the second attempt."

While we have a hard time believing these words ourselves, maybe, they will suffice to propel us forward until we reach our goal. And maybe, with our forward momentum, those who contacted us, pleading with us to move forward because they had become so dependent on our journey to move their own journey forward, will grab on to the coattails of our mock faith, and together we will continue forward... until we ALL achieve our goal of becoming the parents we know we were meant to be.

Because once was definitely not enough...


Thursday, August 25, 2011

It Never Occured to Us that It Wouldn't Work...

We left India with renewed spirits, the happiest we had been since our wedding day because...

it never occurred to us that it wouldn't work

We risked the rest of the baby fund, and traveled, literally, half away around the world because...

it never occurred to us that it wouldn't work     

This weekend I attended my first "kid-centered" event in the past two years, feeling none of the usual anxiety and awkwardness when the moms talked their upcoming back to school talk because...

it never occurred to me that it wouldn't work

And we even decided on a "new" favorite girl name (which is hard to do when you have already devoted so many to past cycles) because...

it never occurred to us that it wouldn't work

We chatted about our parents going with us for pick up, about Rahul purchasing a bigger car, about how many babies there would be.... because

it never occurred to us that there would be zero

And I can vividly recall two months ago, calling my mother on the phone, breaking down in tears, having a rare moment of panic, that we would be that one couple that it wouldn't work for, and she assured me that we wouldn't and told me to look on Dr. Shivani's blog, look at all the couples who had recently gotten pregnant... and I did, and I realized that everyone in blogland was finding success, and I was never again fearful because...

it never occurred to me that it wouldn't work

And now I am hating that I have started this blog, that I have adorned my walls with pictures of our  trip, that I have set up a Shiva shrine, that I have surrounded with myself with constant reminders that


And every day my coworkers ask if "I'm sure I'm alright because I look really terrible" and I laugh a fake laugh and say that I am just adjusting to life as a new associate because they wouldn't believe me if I even told them this tale with the horrible ending about how


And I am mean and short and refusing to return phone calls because I am so unbelievably angry that


And I have reached new depths of sadness, exhibited not by simple tears, but by uncontrollable breathless sobs as I utter the words over and over again that I WILL NEVER BE A MOM because after so much planning, and so much money, and every tiny speck of faith and hope that I could possibly muster up after so many previous failures


8 grade 1 embryos, 2 surrogates, a now total of 6 donor egg cycles, and unbelievably...


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The 156 Week Wait

I'm waiting...

But honestly, calling it a TWO WEEK wait? A bit misleading, don't you think? Chances are, if you've been in the game long enough to use the phrase... then you've been in the game a lot longer than two weeks.

And with this month being our 3 year inferversary, my best guesstimate is that we are currently in our 156 week wait. If that sounds like a long wait, it's because it has been a long wait. Too long. Much too long. WE ARE SO READY FOR SOME POSITIVE NEWS!

In order the curb the nail biting, we spent the past week with all of our favorites...

The youngest of the nieces and nephews. Our littlest nephew has already warned us that he will not tolerate another girl.

The whole crew... what a good looking bunch

Helping my amazing "Teacher of Year" younger sister set up her first grade classroom

Baltimore's version of Connaught Place-- the Farmer's Market

And now for the upcoming week???

MUCH, MUCH, MUCH further down on the fun-o-meter... I return to work.

After a two month hiatus studying for the bar exam, followed by a two week trip to India, followed by an amazing week of R & R as illustrated above... the time has finally come.

And don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to be returning to a fantastic firm and to of course, be getting paid again,  it's just that I've applied SO MANY times for one of those stay-at-home-mom positions, and for some reason, I always get rejected.

Ah well, cheers to some resume-boosting news this week; in the meantime... I'll be waiting.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hey International Surrogacy Bloggers... Keep on Writing!

Upon returning home from India, I was shocked, saddened and a little sick when I heard about the Theresa Erickson Scandal. For my international blogging buddies who might not be familiar with it, in sum, a very prominent reproductive attorney rocked the infertility world by admitting her involvement in an  international baby-selling ring.

I believe infertility blogging guru Lollipop Goldstein said it best with respect to how the community as a whole has been feeling since news of the scandal hit the press.

And while I couldn't agree more, it got me thinking about what exactly this means for our tiny little niche within the community-- those of us who have "chosen" (and I use this word loosely because nobody ever "chooses" infertility) to pursue international surrogacy.

On the one hand, it's obvious that we fare a bit worse. The already beaten and battered image of international surrogacy has suffered yet another punch to the gut, conveniently, at a time, when public perception seems to just barely be making its way out of the gutter. (A recent episode of the View illustrates this, as a consultant clearly bites his tongue when asked about Indian surrogacy-- refusing to say anything negative, just that in his opinion, U.S. surrogacy is safer. By the way, if you're planning on watching, fast forward through the Alexis Stewart portion-- her b*&#!y comments will make you want to throw up. Way to represent the IPs, A.S.!)

On the other hand, however, it appears we fare a bit better. The core reaction of the infertility community has been this-- how, when we are so reliant on field professionals to guide us through this godawful maze of infertility, will we ever be able to trust again, when we have been betrayed by someone who wore every badge in the book-- one, who so many looked to as a respected industry leader?

Frankly, as an international IP, I'm not sure I'm experiencing these feelings of distrust.

Because frankly, like most international IPs, I never had any "professional" support to begin with.

How many of us were shown the door when we approached our local medical professionals for testing and support? How many of us were unable to locate an attorney who was willing to put his stamp on an international surrogacy contract? How many of us have approached this whole damn thing with a feather in the wind attitude and a heck of a lot of faith?

I think, it's fair to say, a clear majority.

And yet, at the same time, while we are seriously lacking in the professional support department, we are simply BURSTING when it comes to peer support.

Since returning from India, my blogger email has been flooded with queries from intended parents. This morning, I spent a good hour and a half, answering questions and lending support. Not because I am getting paid, not because I am obligated to, but simply, because it makes me feel good!

Who has been there for me when I've had questions? For my mini-meltdowns? For my major freak-outs? Certainly not some "trusted" local professional.

No, those "trusted" advisors who I've relied so heavily on, have come in the form of my blogging peers.

Those, who have completed their journey, and are juggling (often multiple) little peanuts... but who still make time to write. Those, who are in the midst of their journey, racing around like madmen, trying to coordinate travel plans and work enough hours to pay the surrogacy bills... but who still make time to write. Those, who are contemplating embarking on the journey, and are filled with fear and anxiety... but who have put on a brave face and made the time to write.

So to all my international surrogacy bloggers... thank you for your unending support and please, keep on writing!

And to one particular blogger, whose story we have followed since first contemplating this journey, who, despite continual set backs never gave up on her dream of having a family, and who, is a true inspiration in every sense of the word...


Monday, August 15, 2011

Things About India That...

We Miss...
  • Rahul- There is a reason he is number one on my list. Rahul, beloved driver/tour guide/Indian historian/friend played such a critical part in making our trip SO ENJOYABLE! And we are not just saying this because he continually showered us with compliments regarding our "pretty blue eyes" and "nice smiles." (Of course who wouldn't enjoy such constant flattery?!?) He runs a first-class car service and if you are coming to Delhi any time soon, he is the one thing you absolutely cannot miss! Punctual, polite and funny to boot, we are missing him dearly since arriving home.  
Sad that we didn't get a proper picture, but I noticed that in this one of India Gate, I've captured a glimpse of him in the rear view mirror! 
  • The Chaos- Granted, of all things in Delhi it's the hardest to get used to. But once you've acquired the taste, I believe it's quite addictive. Upon waking our first morning at home, we couldn't get over the eeriness of the quiet. I considered getting into my car and leaning on the horn for a few minutes-- just for old times sake.

  • Feeling Royal- Longing for a dose of the royal treatment? Take a trip to Delhi. From the personal door openers to the shopkeepers serving us drinks as we browsed, Delhi gives new meaning to the words "customer service." Also, not to be forgotten-- the "Indian Paparazzi Children" leaping out of crowds and swiftly snapping our pictures. This, totally cracked us up.
We Do Not Miss
  • Eating McDonalds... every day- As I mentioned before, Duane has a fatal allergy to tree nuts, coconuts, and most anything with a variation of the word "nut" in it. While it's a chore keeping him alive on our own turf, attempting to explain the allergy, its serious nature, and the possible consequences of cross contamination is next to impossible in a foreign country. We knew McDonalds was a safe bet and as a result, ate there once, twice, sometimes three times a day... for eight long days in a row. By the end of the trip, we were beginning to feel as if we were secretly starring in SuperSize Me 2: Duane and Bernadette Take India.

  • Humidity- Certain that the phrase "bad hair day" originated in Delhi.
  • Pollution- When we arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport, Duane took a long deep breath and said, "Mmmmm, fresh air!" It is doubtful these words have ever been uttered in Newark, but when you are arriving fresh from Delhi, it's all relative.
Made Us Laugh
  • Security- With Independence Day approaching on the 15th, security was heightened all around Delhi. Our hotel was attached to a mall, which meant that often times to move 100 feet, we had to walk through several metal detectors. Upon passing through the detectors, the detectors would always beep, signaling that yes, metal had been detected. Nevertheless, despite the signal, we were then just smiled at and waved on through. Perhaps they were going for more of a "deterrence" plan?

  • Being Too Big- Duane happens to be 6 ft. 3 in. In the US, this makes him pretty tall. In India, this makes him a giant. We giggled as we walked through Connaught Place and all the vendors yelled out "We have big! We have big!" But we died laughing when Duane got a massage and was instructed to dawn the below garment!
  • Other Stuff - I am saving the following pictures, should our children ever complain about yard work, taking out the trash, or ever having to engage in any sort of manual labor...
Recycling Day
Delhi's resident gas and electric crew

Raking leaves with a straw broom...
Made Us Cry
  • Everything- boarding the plane to Delhi, landing in Delhi, waking our first morning in Delhi, visiting SCI for our first appointment, visiting SCI for our last appointment, the temples, the street children, meeting our surrogate, the email describing our fantastic egg retrieval, meeting one week old Isabella, phoning our families and hearing their supportive words, boarding the plane home, landing in Newark, when Rahul called to tell Duane he will miss him very much...
In sum... the entire trip.

Never have the tears flowed so freely, and we are so grateful for such an amazing experience! Best wishes to all those who are considering embarking on a similar one. We know the fear that accompanies sending that first wire, but we can assure you that we haven't the slightest regret...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And Now for the Good Stuff...

We are busy packing for our long flight home but just wanted to share a quick update...
Last night we received a fantastic email that Dr. S retreived 27 eggs, 25 ICSI'd, 23 mature! We are over the moon excited and feeling so positive that we are off to a good start!

Best wishes to Jill and Alex for their simultaneous great news!

And to Kerrie and Mark, you know whose blog I will be checking the minute we land!

And finally, to Dr. Shivani and the SCI team...

... for the trip of a lifetime!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Indian Blessings

We are feeling good! Another wonderful day full of blessings...

Blessing Number One: Getting to hold the tiny beauty below, one of SCI's newest August babies. While we have blog-followed and emailed and waiting-room chatted with so many of our clinic's other clients, getting to hold her in my arms made it all so real.

She is just perfect, and after a lovely date with our newest Australian friends, we had a renewed sense of confidence that
all the tears,
and all the stress, and
all the uncertainty of it all,

Congratulations and thank you for this blessing!

Blessing Number Two: Visiting Birla Temple. It's official, my favorite sites in Delhi are most definitely the temples. I continue to be captivated by the stunning architecture, the glorious music, and overwhelming feelings of peace and calm. Also, it just kind of amuses me to think that I am walking around outside in India in bare feet (although the temple floors are pristine).

I've also developed an addiction to donating to the gods that rivals Duane's donations to the streets; thankfully, we are each supportive of each others' quests. After donating to both Shiva and Ganesh, we were blessed with good luck twice, though we cannot figure out whether the former resulted in the latter-- probably. Nevertheless, we were the only foreigners to be blessed, and I must say, that those marks on our foreheads certainly elevated our status amongst the natives. When we returned to pick up our shoes from the "foreigners area" we were given free souvenirs-- and trust me, nothing in India is ever free-- and greeted with remarks that "we must be very good people." We received similar comments from other Indians for the remainder of the day.
Birla Temple (still trying to figure out how to upload my video which captures the magnificent sounds)

Blessed with good luck

We are hopeful that the luck remains with us (guess who has refused to wash her forehead for the last 24 hours) as our egg retrieval will be this evening! Stay tuned for updates regarding the grand finale of our trip!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Delhi in Pictures

The Story of Humayun's Tomb (as told to us by Lok, a supposed retired history teacher who was "hanging out" by the entrance): Humayun was a drunk and a horribly lazy man. One day, he was climbing the stairs to pray, and in his usual state, tripped and fell to his death. His wife had the monument built in his honor. Frankly, we prefer this type of storytelling to any prerecorded audio guide-- whether the stories are accurate or not. For his time, he asked Duane to simply exchange him INR for $3 USD. Duane handed him INR greater than the equivalent of $3 USD. He says to Duane, "Sir, I am sorry, but I cannot owe you." Did he really think we were going to come back later for change? Duane explained that it was simply a "tip" and Lok thanked us profusely multiple times. To Lok, thank YOU for yet another tiny India memory.

Who needs a gym when you spend your days exploring ancient Indian monuments in the Delhi heat?
My all time favorite picture. It is very common and entirely legal in India-- entire families, often with infants and children much younger than this, crowded onto one motorbike. However, what makes it funny, is that a man in back of this bike, who was driving a car, had just been pulled over for failing to wear his seat belt!
Qutub Minar: A stunning complex of of ancient Islamic architecture. I began to realize, however, that with SO many monuments, we would never be able to recall which was which in pictures. As a result, I started making hand gestures in front of them. A brilliant idea if I do say so myself. This, clearly, was the Sun Temple.

Our favorite little girl. Duane, with his big heart, finds it impossible to say no to the children. While he realizes that the money he gives them is unfortunately, not likely going to them, he simply cannot refuse. Anyways, he usually pulls whatever spare change he has in his pocket and hands it over. This little girl, however, set a firm price, and rejected his initial offer! She drove a hard bargain and followed us, persistently but not annoyingly, all around Old Delhi-- holding firm to her price. Guess who won in the end?
Lotus Temple: This exterior picture does it no justice. Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed inside. One of my absolute favorite sites-- the interior is simply stunning. After removing your shoes, you are allowed inside to sit on the marble pews and listen to the magnificent chanting and prayers. Between the chanting and the background music of tweeting birds flying around the dome, I cried the entire time. It was simply, that beautiful.
Akshardam Temple: A different type of beauty than Lotus Temple. While Lotus Temple appeals to the ears above all, Arkshardam appeals to the eyes. Again, we were not allowed to take cameras in, so this is the best I could do from the parking lot. The architecture is magnificent and within the temple are several murtis of Hindu deities. It was a sweltering day and after our tour of the temple, Duane asked for some rupees to buy water. Oops! "Someone" had already donated them all as offerings to the Gods. (Don't worry, he will thank me later. With our egg retrieval on Tuesday, what could be more important than keeping the Hindu Gods happy?)

Delhi Haat: I bargained hard for a duvet cover and some pillow cases and in exchange promised Nissar some free internet advertising. Always one to keep a promise, here he is with his beautiful embroidered silk goods. Stop by if you will be in Delhi in the immediate future-- apparently, the vendors change every 15 days.

Old Delhi: Typical transportation-- tuk tuks and rickshaws
Old Delhi: Shoe shine anyone? Not exactly sure how well business is going for them. Barefoot and sandals are pretty much the norm here... I've yet to see very many shine-worthy shoes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Trains, Planes and Feeling Home

"We are here!! Finally it is becoming a reality! Finally we will be parents, I know it!"

The first line of the most cherished letter I have ever received. A letter, written by Duane to me, on our first night in Delhi, as I slept, and as he tried desperately to preserve on paper, the emotions he had been feeling for the past 24 hours. It is beautifully written and I cannot wait to share it with our children some day. Never has something so small meant something so big.

And I am truly envious of his ability to capture the magic of this journey on paper (perhaps he should take over the blog-posting for the week)?

I, for one, am finding it impossible to write about something so much bigger than words.

Last night, I purchased a journal so that I can record the details of each tiny experience here in India. As these experiences tend to evoke feelings that are often too raw and overwhelming to be put into words, let alone sentences, I apologize in advance for the rather "surface" blog coverage of our trip. Once home, I will do my best to reconstruct the details, but as it is an impossible task at the moment, I hope that for now, you will enjoy the "guide-book" version of our trip thus far...

It all started 2 or 3 days ago-- I haven't a clue at this point, but thankfully, this morning, feel that I am finally beginning to recover from the jet lag. Our first stop was Baltimore Penn Station. A huge thanks to our amazing brother-in-law a/k/a resident house/dog sitter for the week for the first class chauffeur service ...

From there we arrived in "lovely" Newark. No need for a sign announcing our arrival-- a "friendly" shove and a snide remark by two fellow passengers let me know that we had most definitely arrived at our destination.

Just enough time to stop for a "last meal" -- hamburgers of course...

After which we snuggled in for a "brief" 15 1/2 hour plane ride...

The plane ride was uneventful-- thankfully, more on this later-- and we finally arrived at Svelte Hotel, our home away from home for the week.

We are loving our accommodations and the service all across India is unmatched. We tend to find that everywhere we go, there are about ten too many workers. And while its impossible to imagine that the businesses are actually making any sort of profit, it sure makes for some impeccable service.

Our hotel is connected to a mall, the same as any we would find back home. It has all the latest brand shops, a movie theatre and several big chain restaurants-- Subway, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, TGIFriday's.

So far, we have played it safe with the food-- sticking to the above list of restaurants and the fantastic breakfast at our hotel. Boring, I know, but because Duane has a fatal allergy to tree nuts, and because we really need him to stick around (at least until Tuesday) we are religiously adhering to foods which we have eaten before and can pretty much be assured, do not contain any traces of nuts. Of course, in India, even our most well known staples have a twist. McPaneer anyone?

Finally, we had our first meeting with Dr. Shivani yesterday. The clinic is impressive and the SCI team members are just as lovely and pleasant in person as they are via email. We received good news that our expected egg retrieval will be around 25 eggs. Today, we will return to sign our surrogate contracts.

If asked to describe the last 48 hours in one word it would have to be surreal.

Here we are, half way around the world, in a country whose exact location I (embarrassingly) had to look up when I first read about surrogacy in India, and yet... we feel so at home.

It is very difficult to explain, but it continually makes me think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. It's as if these past three years, I've been wandering around, wearing the ruby slippers, and finally, I have figured out how to get home. Only home, is India. The place, where all along, we were meant to build our family. I didn't know it at the start, and the brick road may have been agonizingly long, but finally, we have found "home." In the words of my husband:

"We are here!! Finally it is becoming a reality! Finally we will be parents, I know it!"

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Sometimes Better When Others Pick For You"

We received our surrogate profiles today!!!

And I almost had a total meltdown...

Selecting a surrogate in India is a bit different than selecting a surrogate in the United States. In the United States you essentially have 3 options for  choosing a surrogate: 1) Use an agency (note that for the same price you could, in the alternative, purchase a second home ), 2) set up an online profile on a surrogate matching website (think with profiles centering around menstrual cycle history-- yes, it's a bit awkward, but I did it, and it works), or 3) find someone you know who is willing to carry altruistically and promise them a middle namesake or possibly, a guaranteed spot in the godparent pool (unfortunately, these types tend to be few and far between).

In India, however, at least at our clinic, potential surrogates rotate on a monthly basis, and about 7-8 days prior to an intended mother or egg donor's egg retrieval (i.e. today for me), intended parents are sent about six surrogate profiles whose cycles are the best match. They are then asked to select one or two, or have the option of leaving it up to the doctor.

So I woke up this morning, checked my email, and as soon as I saw the subject line "surrogate profiles" I was suddenly paralyzed with fear. I couldn't understand it. I had made the enormous decision to pursue surrogacy. I had made the brave decision to pursue surrogacy in India. And I had easily made the decision as to who would provide half of our child's genetics in less than 24 hours.

What was it about making this final decision that horrified me? Why, when I attempted to click the download button to view the profiles, did my finger remain frozen in midair?

Naturally, I did what any person making a major life decision would do-- I went to a get a pedicure.

So I get to the nail salon and the first thing the nail tech says to me in typical Vietnamese nail salon fashion is: "Pick a color." I stare blankly at the rows and rows of polish bottles lined neatly up against the wall.

Suddenly, my heart starts racing.

Do I go with the half empty bottle of mauve polish? It doesn't stand out against the rest of the bottles, yet it's clear that others have liked it in the past. And while it's certainly a more serious looking color, maybe that's the look  I should be going for.

Or do I take a chance on the never opened bright fuchsia polish? It's young and it's fun and it certainly stands out. But is there a reason nobody has selected it before? Should I be the first to give it a chance?

Noticing that I am about two seconds away from tears, vomiting, or both, the nail lady kindly looks at me and states in her broken English, "Not to worry. I pick for you."

And I am SO relieved. Because, sometimes, as hard as it is for me to do, I need to let go of my inner control freak.

Sometimes, I just need to allow others to make decisions for me.

Sometimes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and having had so many pedicures in the past, it was quite possible that I could have stood analyzing the pros and cons of each color for days... and never actually come to a decision.

And then there was the other reason that is a little harder to admit. I had already made so many decisions leading up to this one. I had made the decision to get a pedicure. I had the made the decision as to what nail salon I would go to. And now, if I was the one to select the color, the outcome would be completely dependent upon decisions made solely by me.

What if, after having selected a color, the pedicure didn't turn out the way I was hoping it would? Would I beat myself up for selecting the wrong color? Would I spend hours agonizing over how it might possibly have turned out... if only I had selected a different color?

I realized that by allowing someone else to choose, I was possibly relieving myself of the burden of some very difficult questions later on. And I realized that this was ok.

Coincidentally, the pedicure turned out beautifully.

Afterwards, I went home to call Duane, to let him know that I was forwarding him the surrogate profiles.

And as I forwarded the profiles, I recalled the nail tech's words as I was about to leave the salon. "See, so beautiful," she says to me,

"sometimes better when others pick for you."

Yes, indeed, sometimes it is.