Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's official. We're having a...


That's right, though we are approaching our 18 week mark, there will be no big gender reveal a' la Doug and Bill for us-- congrats by the way on your NEWS-- which means I will need to suppress my inner planner just a while longer (which quite frankly, will be no sweat for a Club Infertility senior member such as myself).

If you are not familiar with surrogacy in India, not finding out the genders of the babies is par for the course for those traveling this route. And while your first thought might be seriously, having a baby half way across the world isn't enough excitement, they really need one more surprise?!? It is, unfortunately or fortunately-- depending on which end of the spectrum you fall-- not our choice. 

Because it's against the law. 

And to be honest, until I did a little research, I assumed it was some obsolete law that although still on the books, served very little purpose.

Sadly, however, I was wrong.  Enacted as recently as 1994 and amended in 2002, the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act prohibits the use of technology for sex determination in an effort to curb the unofficially dubbed "gendercide," an apparently, very current problem in certain parts of India.

This past month, ABC News Reporter Elizabeth Vargas published a report of her investigation of the issue.

And while one might question, after reading her report, if it is difficult for me, a wanna-be-mother on one side of the globe, who not only has the financial means to raise a child, but wouldn't hesitate to spend every last penny I've got (and even some that I don't) attempting to conceive a child-- any child-- to reconcile why I am incapable of having a child, when another doesn't-wanna-be-a-mother on the other side of the globe, who has no trouble conceiving but is under such financial pressure to bear a boy child that she would give up a girl child, is capable of having a child.

The answer, to be honest, is not really. 

Because, as I approach my 30th birthday, inlessthantwoweeks, I believe that I am finally, after all these years, coming to accept a simply stated, yet incredibly difficult to grasp age-old lesson that goes a little something like this:

Life is just not fair. 

Sure, we've all been taught the lesson and know that it's just the way things are, but particularly, with infertility, how often do we end up completely flabbergasted when we find ourselves here again, only to think, damn, how the heck did this happen?!? LIFE IS JUST SO FREAKIN' UNFAIR!

Nevertheless, it's one thing to wallow in this acceptance, and another to accept and move forward, tackling the obstacle head on.

Which I am proud to say we did in a very big way this 2011.

Infertility is unfair. But we have refused to let it stop us from becoming the parents we know we were meant to be. 

It took time, and effort, and a whole lot of courage to travel to India and do what we did.

Just as it took time, and effort, and a whole lot of courage for our surrogate to travel to Delhi to sign on to do what she is doing for us.

But, damn, we are all determined! 

And while we cannot stop infertility, just as we cannot stop the widespread poverty leading to gendercide, we can, because of our bravery, have the family we desire, just as our surrogate can, because of her bravery, make a better life for herself and her family.

To all my fellow readers to whom 2011 was particularly unfair, I wish  for you the bravery to follow all of your dreams come 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Duane!

This past weekend we attended my firm Christmas party. When I saw my coworkers (whom Duane had never met) post-party, I was bombarded with comments about what a great husband he is, how kind he is, and what an incredible father he would be (we have not made an announcement yet but it was impossible not to notice as he sat engaged in a conversation about Lightning McQueen with my coworker's twin two year olds).

These are things, of course, that I already knew, however, I will admit that I might sometimes forget to tell him.

So here you go Duane, I'm broadcasting it worldwide, "Ditto to all of the above!" I LOVE YOU!

In addition to it being Duane's birthday, it also marks the day that we officially met... 10 years ago!

We sure have come a long way! While I'm positive a few pictures from that era would give us all a good laugh, the intention is to save this blog as a story for our children, which means that any pictures of mommy in sequined tube tops and/or pleather anything are sadly, off-limits. Needless to say, those were some good times!

But even better, are the great times we are having now! This weekend, I asked Duane what he wanted to do for his birthday and he said the same thing he says every year-- that he just wants to spend it with his family. And every year we attempt to get together-- only inevitably, it snows, or people are sick or some other mini-crises befalls us and we are stuck with a whole lot of food and very little company. (What can I say? It's just the way it works when your birthday happens to fall five days before Christmas.)

Fortunately, we had a few takers this year, and in celebration, I served pizza (delivered) and ice cream (in plastic cups). Funny, of course, because I'm still swearing that I'll be the mom that comes home from work and whips up homemade baby food as she washes cloth diapers (for two). All I can say is we will see.

Anyways, because we have officially entered a new (more mature/less sequined) decade of our relationship below are a few pictures from the big day...


Saturday, December 17, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

...well duh, we all know what I want for Christmas. (Of course not on Christmas. More like layaway till May 2012 please.)

And because I want them so bad, I thought it best not to rely on the USPS to get my letter to the North Pole, and instead, arranged for an in-person meeting with the Big Guy himself.

Of course, concerned that I might be about 20 years beyond the appropriate age for sitting on a stranger of the opposite sex's lap (at least one whom I wouldn't eventually end up marrying), I decided it best to take along my 2 1/2 year old niece as a decoy.

Anyways, it totally worked! Niece Natalee could not have played the part of terrified toddler anymore perfect, causing a lengthy enough distraction to allow all the big folk to get their Christmas wishes in.

Here she is "getting into character" following our announcement that we were going to see Santa!

Check out those real live tears. What a ham she is!

Finally all done. Giggling over our success!

Now guess all I have to do is wait for that Christmas wish to come true!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Not a Gamblin' Sort of Gal

... or maybe I am?

For the first time in months, neither Duane nor I had to work the weekend. Before the situation could change, we threw an armload of clothes into an overnight bag, dropped Carlos off at his doggy-vacation home (where he was spoiled to death by his aunt and cousin), and hopped on the New Jersey Turnpike for a quick weekend get-away to Atlantic City, NJ.

Good old Atlantic City.... for those of you who haven't been (and this is by no means a recommendation that you should go), it's exactly like Las Vegas-- minus the glitz, the sunshine, and the young people.

Nevertheless, it's a quick 21/2 hours away with a few really yummy restaurants, a spa, some pretty fantastic outlet shopping, and a poker room to keep Duane occupied while I am enjoying that pretty fantastic outlet shopping. (Happy to report that Christmas shopping is officially 98% done!)

Duane often remarks on what a gambler I am not, and how I can spend significant amounts of time in a city full of casinos without so much as dropping a penny in a slot machine; however, as I sat in our hotel room this weekend (watching Christmasy movies, ordering room service and catching up on all my tabloid gossip--- yes, it was glorious) I began to ponder whether this statement was true.

Over the past four years, I have, time and again, handed over cash, written checks, and most recently, wired funds half away across the world (and I ain't talking pennies) for a less than 50% chance of success.

Moreover, despite the fact that I have lost, time and again, and again, and again, I never hesitate to reach right back into my pocket for just one more chance, swearing that if I don't win the next time, then, I might consider stopping.

I've often conducted my activities in secret, I've enough good luck charms to sink a treasure chest and I surround myself with like-minded people, who wouldn't think twice about selling their home for the mere opportunity to play another round.

I continually up my bets, I'm obsessed with the thought of winning and I've shied away from support groups, for fear that I'd actually have to discuss the reality of my situation.

So you tell me, am I a gambler?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sponsor Our Children?

You may recall way back when, when I called on all my fellow Americans to take less than two minutes to write their U.S. Senators, asking them to support the Family Act of 2011.

In case you've forgotten, the Family Act of 2011 is a bill that would provide a tax credit for the out of pocket costs associated with infertility treatment a/k/a the most phenomenal piece of legislation ever!

Which is why I need your help again. The Family Act of 2011 has now been introduced in the House   (can I get a who hoo!) which means that:

We all need to write our U.S. Representatives and let them know that we are counting on them for their support.

I promise, it will take you less than 2 minutes to fill out this pre-drafted letter and hit send.

If you happen to have time to spare more in the 4-5 minute range, go ahead and add a personal note about someone you know who desparately needs this tax credit in order to realize their dream of having a family.

I'd show you my draft but I'm working on um, "toning it down" a bit. Something about the ridiculousness of having to travel over 7,000 miles to have children despite having several acclaimed fertility clinics located within a stone's throw of our house, for one reason and one reason only-- treatment for infertility, a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples, is just too damn expensive!

(I knoooooooow, you catch more flys with honey. Like I said, it's just a draft.)

Also, for the record, we wouldn't change a thing about our journey at this point. We feel fortunate to have FINALLY found a doctor and a clinic that we love who just so happen to be located in a far away land called Delhi, India.

IF, by chance, we are ever able to afford a second journey, we wouldn't even give a second thought to those local clinics. Nevertheless, it sure would be nice to have a tax credit that would make that second journey "dream" a very "real" possibility.

Ok, what are you waiting for? Go write your Representatives NOW!

Oh and THANK YOU VERY VERY VERY MUCH from all the future families-to-be!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

100 Paper Clips

We received a surprise scan of our twins today. Not because it was scheduled. Not because we asked for it. Not because anything was wrong. Strictly because our doctor thought that given recent events we would appreciate an extra scan of our "lovely and healthy babies."

Have I mentioned how much we LOVE her?

She is so much more than a doctor; to her, the medical aspect is a small piece of this very large and complicated disease called infertility, and for this, we remain extremely grateful.

It was also our babies' very first weigh in! The report stated that both are weighing in around 100 grams each. As soon as I read this, I immediately thought... paperclips! Two giant (well, maybe medium) piles of paper clips!

Unlike the rest of the world, us Americans prefer to measure things using the far more complicated far less rational standard system of measurement, and so, my knowledge of the metric system is limited to a third grade math unit during which I was exposed to the "foreign" system. I vividly recall completing a matching activity that required the drawing of a line from the unit of measurement to an object of the same approximate weight. As a result, I now associate 1 gram with 1 paperclip.

Which means that each of our babies weighs approximately 100 paperclips!

Sounds light I know, but with the average weight at this stage around 43 grams I remain convinced that these will be some rather BIG babies-- a tribute, of course, to their 6'3" father.

In honor of our growing twins, I engaged in an activity involving 100 paper clips! Any idea what it was? Check out the "progress" shots below.

The "Before" Shot

Carlos' famous "I didn't do it mom" look

Convinced there must be some left over candy from last year inside. Frustrated that he lacks the opposable thumbs to find out.


Of course, the most special paperclip of all is the one below.

On it hangs the ornament we purchased last weekend for Ken. Our one paperclip baby.

Happy now that his spirit will live on in all our Christmases to come.