Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Hannukkah!

Let's just say my elementary school Winter Concerts would have been much more fun with this song... Who needs "Dreidle, dreidle, dreidle"?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nurse, shmurse

So, it is all pink princesses and purple fairies at our house right now, which half-amuses me, half makes me cringe. M loves dressing up, and lately she has been trying on all sorts of identities. She and I were feeling under the weather yesterday, so I left work early and picked her up and took her home to chill out and watch D!sney movies. We were watching the Sword and the Stone, and we started talking about what she would be when she grew up... At first she said princess - good luck with that, kid - then nature fairy, then water fairy (we've been watching alot of Tinkerbell), then doctor. I asked if she would want to be a firefighter - she said no, too scary. I asked if she would want to be a nurse, and she goes, "eww, that's a boy job!"

Score one for non-traditional gender role models!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

exciting times...

So, we moved into a new house... Oh? Didn't know about that because I never update my blog? I will try to post pictures tomorrow. Ok, who am I kidding? I'll wait until my sister comes for Christmas, make her take pictures, and she can post them on her blog :)

It is a very nice, 1900sq ft, 4 bedroom/2 bath, tri-level built in 1965. That means we have nice wood floors AND good insulation. It is on a half-acre (in the city!), and has a playhouse with a dutch door and real vinyl windows and a wooden swing set. We have loved being in the new house - all that space! - and the transition has gone pretty smoothly. We only moved a block and my brother-in-law and his wife are going to rent our old house - both of which mean we have been able to move slowly, but also mean that the moving! It will never end! Where did we get all this crap?

In baby-related news (topics?), we're taking a leap of faith and setting up the third bedroom as a baby room. We painted over the ugly, depressing orange paint the previous owners had in there - the upper 1/3 of the walls are a clear sky blue and the bottom 2/3 are a pale yellow - and we will put up a simple, white chair-rail soon. Our crib and changing table are pale sage green, and we have a white iron twin bed to go in there. In a real tempting-fate kind of way, we even refer to it as the baby room...Note: Not "the baby's room," but the baby room, like we're raising babies in there like tomatoes. I may regret it, but I have to feel like we are doing something to move toward another child.

Speaking of which, while I'm totally solid on adopting - it is definitely the best choice for us - I still can't completely fathom that I will never be pregnant is both a relief and an impossibility. But I know that if I were to get pregnant, I'm in for a world of trouble. But then I'll never get to feel a baby moving inside me again. But the delivery could be a disaster and there is no guarantee of a live birth... Lather, rinse, repeat. I think once we start doing something concrete, like writing checks to an agency, adoption will feel more real and I'll be able to get out of my head a little.

I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I need a little...

Now that we've made the decision that we definitely want to pursue domestic infant adoption and we know which agency we want to go with, I'm eager to start the process. Unfortunately, the process takes cash - cash we're accumulating, but I wish it could go faster.

So, what to do? Sublimate! I could exercise so that I won't look like a cow in our profile pictures, but instead I'm choosing to read (surprise!). I think I've read every book on adoption in our library system. I've bought several on Amazon. Since K is a slow reader (and I'm insane), I've taken to marking sections he needs to read - using post-its, of course! Can't destroy my precious books with highlighter! The horror!

Thank god I have a built in distraction in M. Three has been kicking our collective heinies lately, though M seems to be mellowing-out as she approaches three-and-a-half. Right now she is ricocheting between hilarious, tantrum-y, too precious for words, and then major meltdown mode. The level of whining lately has been amazing - as in, I didn't know someone could whine that much. What's the Ames and Ilg subtitle for this age? Your Three-Year Old: Angel and Asshat?

In fairness, it does seem to be getting better, though, as she gets older and used to her new classroom (she moved up a class to the three-year-old class at daycare - a highly anticipated, yet still a little stressful event). I also think our employment of the technique we're calling the "Stephanie"around our house - "I can't understand you when you're whining" - seems to be helping shift her out of whine-mode. I shouldn't complain - between whining episodes, she is so funny...just full of moxie right now - it makes me and K giggle.

I'm going to try to post more often (yeah, yeah...I know), but in the meantime, here is a pic from our beach-week in the middle of Aug. M's first time at putt-putt - she thinks she's Tiger Woods...

Thursday, August 13, 2009


That about sums up our last 24 hrs.

We got a call late yesterday afternoon from a local adoption agency run by two adoption attorneys that we'd requested information from (not the IAC). They had an emergency placement of a newborn girl born at the beginning of August who had been oxygen deprived during birth because her mother suffered a placental abruption. Most (if not all, given that they were cold calling us) of their waiting families turned down the placement because of the baby's special needs, and they contacted us because we checked the "open to special needs" box on their information request form.

The attorney followed up with an email containing more information. That info was not promising. The baby was preterm, born at approximately 34 weeks. Mom had not had consistent prenatal care. The baby's Apgar scores at 1, 5, and 10 min were very low to low. She had a couple of seizures in the first days after birth. The MRI and EEG indicated brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. That brain damage was compromising the sight in her right eye. She had a high risk of developing cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Mom and dad have a history of drug use and incarceration, and the adoption would have to be essentially closed - just letters & pictures with no identifying information due to safety concerns. On the other hand, the baby was only on a respirator for two days and has since been able to breathe on her own. She has never been tube fed, but instead has been able to suck from a bottle - a pretty high-level skill for a baby. She was born at a decent weight and has been consistently gaining weight. Her progress is so good that the NICU wants to discharge her early next week.

The catch: We had to make a decision today. That's right, less than 24 hrs. to make a decision whether or not we could make this child part of our family. Forever and ever, amen. Oh, and by the way, we needed to sign a contract by Monday that we would pay $13,700 (the agency's discounted rate) on Wednesday if the mom picked us. And, frankly, why wouldn't she pick us to parent a child with special health care needs? My husband is a nurse, and I work in maternal and child health. We have lots of access to care. We have an amazing support system. We know realistically what to expect, and we know the importance of early and consistent intervention.

Yet, at 12:24 today, I sent an email to the agency that K and I have decided not to pursue this adoption opportunity. Knowing that we are able to parent this child wasn't enough to make it the right decision. The developmental ped at work gave me the realistic picture of what the baby's brain injury would mean for her growth and development... what a world of heartache, for her, for us, and for M. We were going to have to come up with a lot of money very fast, putting ourselves into debt even before we had a child at home who needs a lot of (expensive) medical and developmental intervention. The ridiculously short time frame felt manipulative and wrong. We felt like the agency was wanting us to make an emotional decision, not an informed one. Also, we have good reasons for wanting an open adoption that have less to do with us, and more to do with what is best for an adopted child. In this situation, that was not going to be a safe option for any of us, given the nature of the parents' crimes, especially the father's.

It was the right decision, but it was not the easy one. I don't think I really understood how sad it would make me to reject a child. I knew intellectually that it wouldn't be easy, but the reality sucks. Every child, but especially this child, deserves the best parents possible. Prayers and good thoughts that the right family is found soon would be appreciated.

Monday, August 3, 2009


At the risk of later having to eat my words.... Adoption. We're going for it. Open, domestic, newborn, specifically.

We went to an info session on Saturday with the Independent Adoption Center, a non-profit adoption agency that works in several states and has an office in Raleigh. K and I really liked them - they pretty much "wrote the book" (in the case of the executive director, quite literally) on open adoption, and they have a focus on non-coercive counseling for expectant mothers, which is really important to us.

Sitting in that session, I had a solid confirmation of the feeling that I've had off and on for a while: I don't want to be pregnant again. I'm not good at it. I want a baby. I'm good with babies. So is K. M likes babies. And we all feel like our family isn't complete yet.

Why open adoption? Well, first off, adopted kids who know who their first/birth parents are have less angst about adoption, esp. during their teen years - there is no mystery and often feelings of abandonment and loss are lessened. First/birth moms who place children in open adoptions are more likely to come out of the situation as whole, healthy people. Watching their children thrive just re-confirms their decision to place their baby. Having given birth to a baby, I cannot imagine not knowing what happens to my child as she grows up. Also, if divorce and my father's extended family have taught me anything, it is that "family" is not based solely on blood...there are a lot of ways to be a family. So, one of my children will have another mother/father/family out there to love her/him - so what? That is awesome. My identity as a mother and my importance to my child is not diluted by the existence of other mothers.

It was interesting to be in that room with those other couples (and one single). K and I were the only people there who had a child already. It definitely seemed to give us a different perspective, particularly about first/birth moms. Everyone was somewhat nervous, including us, but the presenter was good and people slowly thawed, especially during lunch.

I will try to update more frequently as we work over the next couple of months to save $$ to pay for it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Prenatal testing without prenatal choices is medical fraud." - Dr. Tiller

I was going to post a cookie recipe today, but I feel like it should wait until tomorrow...
Today I want to write about Dr. George Tiller.

Dr. Tiller was one of three healthcare providers in the US who perform abortions after 21 weeks, helping women who received the worst news imaginable make decisions that preserved their health and, in many cases, their lives. He and his family and staff received near-constant threats, he was shot in both arms, his clinic was bombed, and on Sunday he was killed while serving as an usher in church. The women of the US have lost a powerful ally and friend.

I've just donated to Medical Students for Choice, and I hope you will, too. (Click here to donate.) Living in a country where 87% of all counties (98% of rural counties) have no abortion provider, it is imperative that the next generation of docs are committed to providing comprehensive medical care for women. Our lives depend upon it.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I just made these chocolate chip cookies using this recipe from Erin Cooks, except I substituted orange-flavored dried cranberries for the dried raspberries and omitted the lemon zest. They are so good, if I say so myself! The recipe is great because it makes a manageable amount of cookies - not three dozen like most of them... It says it makes 15 cookies, but I got 20 good size ones out of it.

If you are looking for an interesting travel blog, follow my friend Amy on her blog Nothing Ventured, Nothing Have as she settles in Phenom Penh, Cambodia, where she recently took a maternal & child health job. She is one of the most hilarious people I know, and her entries so far have had me snorting with laughter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me...Splat

That's the sound of this cycle failing...

As a super special birthday present, my period started today. I'm not really that surprised, but it is still disappointing. We've decided to take a small break while we get K's swimmers tested, and I check back in with the doc about the luteal phase spotting I had... no sense in taking the femara cycle after cycle, making the endo worse, if it is doomed to fail.

We've also decided to look more closely at domestic infant adoption... We'd also be open to fostering, but you have to have a separate bedroom for each child when you are fostering, so our current house is too small. We've requested an info packet from one of the local adoption agencies - from what we can tell online, we like their focus on openness and non-coercive birthmother counseling. I know the birth/first mother's pain would never go away and that open adoption can't make up for the loss, but at least we'd be trying to go into this with a wider view of family that would, hopefully, include the birth/first mother. I couldn't live with myself if I thought she was coerced and then was experiencing that pain.


In other news, I had an awesome time with my sister and her 2.5 year old son and baby daughter this weekend. The cousins got to play together, including going to a bounce place and the local science museum, and I got to snack on some roly-poly, super-smiley, drooly 5 month old! I can't wait to see them again in May when I head to Georgia for an STD conference (my career just gets more and more glamorous - I was also asked to come to an invite-only gonorrhea meeting! Let the jokes begin...)

Also, despite the cycle stuff, I have had a generally nice birthday - My husband gave me an IPod Touch, my daughter sang the whole "Happy Birthday" song to me this morning unprompted, my mom gave me an Elsa Perretti heart from Tiffany's and an autographed copy of the Red Leather Diary, my co-workers brought in cake from Whole Foods, and I've had lots of well-wishes from family and friends... It doesn't get better than that!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Funny Stuff and Update

My kid is freaking hilarious... Yesterday, the three of us are getting in the car and we notice this terrible smell. K and I are both like, "What IS that?! Did something die in here?" and M pipes up from the backseat in this very adult, authoritative voice:

"Guys! It was me. I need to go poop. I have gas!"

K and I were rolling... tears streaming... Good thing we weren't driving yet.

Farts will always be funny.

*** I'll give you time to collect yourself ***

So, I took the femara on cds 5-9... It wasn't too bad. I got migraines from the lowered estrogen, but tiny amounts of supplemental estrogen took care of them and shouldn't have disrupted anything. I got an LH surge right on schedule on cd 13, and should have ovulated somewhere between cd 14-15. I think I may have ovulated (or attempted to ovulate) twice, but that doesn't really mean anything in terms of pregnancy.

My endometriomas are definitely back. Fred, the large one on my right ovary that disappeared after my L&D with M, is back up to 4cm big. I also have (bonus!) two 1-1.5cm endometriomas on my left ovary. Fred is pretty much eating my right ovary, but there is some normal ovarian tissue on the left one. This is the first time anyone has said to me that the right ovary is rendered non-functional by Fred. I kind of already knew that, but it was a bit of a blow to hear it, anyway. The femara didn't make my pelvic pain too much worse, though I definitely had more during ovulation and I'm having pain off and on. Hopefully, the bounce-back from the femara isn't making the endo grow too much.

I'm currently on cd 21, 7 days post ovulation... I have low expectations for the femara actually working (low-ered ex-pec-TA-tions - anyone else hear that SNL bit in their heads when they hear that phrase? Anyone? Oh, just me then. ahem. proceed.), but at least the side effects aren't too bad. If it doesn't work this cycle, then I think we'll wait until June to try with femara again... No point going to extreme measures to have a baby born in Jan/Feb, during the height of RSV season.

So, that's all I know... If I know something in the next week or so, you'll know something.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Heinie in gear

So, after stewing and worrying and ignoring, I've finally taken hold of several areas in my life, dealing with them in one fell swoop. In the last week and a half, I have:

- Set up a new, 2009 Excel sheet with all of our bills, dated and grouped corresponding to our paychecks (I'm monthly and, thank God, K is biweekly);

- shared that spreadsheet with K, shocking him and spurring him to finally (FINALLY) consolidate his student loans;

- made appts with our family practice dr for K and M;

- cleaned off my desk at work, getting rid of two large piles of stuff and paring down my millions of post it notes to the seven that I actually need;

- and, most importantly for this blog, stopped feeling hopeless about the baby situation and made the call to see a new RE at UNC.

I had lunch with my college roommate who, eventhough we don't live that far apart, I haven't seen in at least 2 years. She has had a much rockier infertility journey than I have but, happily, she will be having a son in June via gestational surrogacy. She had some words of wisdom and a good (new) perspective on the the local REs and different procedures. She also has endo and has had crappy experiences on the Dreaded Clo, and has also used injectibles with a much reduced side-effect profile. She's been through IUI as well as IVF, so she was able to give me the low down. We had lunch for 2.5 hrs and could have sat there longer if we hadn't had to get back to work. Talking with her helped me get my heinie in gear and make the call to see a different RE.

Dr. Twitchy (the RE that monitored me through my pregnancy with M) is the head of the department at the university and quite smart, but I feel like he has already given me his opinion - Clomid - and he won't discuss things like progesterone supplementation and injectables with IUI. The new RE I'm going to see is someone I actually know from my MPH program - though we didn't know each other so well that it will be strange (I hope). Let's call her Dr. S (I can't think of an adjective right now). I'm not looking for Dr. S to agree to give me progesterone or do injectibles with IUI, I just want to have a discussion about why or why not they would or wouldn't be effective or risky or whatever. I have a feeling she'll be more open to actual dialogue than Dr. Twitchy.

Usually when I've been trying this many months in a row, I get pregnant, I just don't stay pregnant... Since I haven't even gotten pregnant, K has agreed that he should be tested again since it has been 5 years since he has had a semen analysis... If it isn't ok, it is better to know that before we start going down any high-tech or high-cost paths. I'm sure he'd be super excited to know that I'm talking about this on my blog... I'll keep you posted ;)

I've got an appointment with Dr. S for Monday, March 9th, which will be cycle day 26 for those of you following at home. This was her first available, but it actually works out to be pretty good timing because we get a chance to have one last month trying with the acupuncture/herbs/timed sex, I should be enough days post ovulation to know whether or not this cycle worked, and, if it didn't, I can set up blood draws, etc for the next cycle. I've also got some time to re-research injectibles, IUI, progesterone supplementation, etc, so at least I know what I want to ask about and the latest research.

K is shaving his head to raise money to benefit childhood cancer research and education through the St. Baldrick's Foundation, so I will definately update before the appointment, but I will be sure to update after the appointment, as well. Click HERE if you would like to sponsor K.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Well played Salma Hayek, well played...

Salma Hayek, on a recent trip to Sierra Leone to highlight the Pampers/UNICEF one pack = one vaccine initiative that focuses on neonatal tetnus prevention, came across a sick infant who needed breastmilk... so she fed him. Cause that's what moms do.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Let me just say in advance that this is going to be a whiny post... Feel free to look away.

K and I have been trying to get pregnant each cycle since October, and I just haven't felt like saying anything about it. Really "trying" for us includes using ovulation predictor kits, traditional Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and timing sex. I at first didn't say anything because I know it can take a while for us, getting pregnant doesn't mean I'll stay pregnant, and I was going into this with a good attitude - unhappiness with not getting pregnant was not going to take over my life. But, frankly, I can feel the unhappiness starting to creep. It is different than last time - having a live child means that, as of now, the sense of desperation is not there - but the unhappiness with not getting pregnant is starting to become an undercurrent.

Part of me feels like it should be easier... I've had a live baby, damn it, I should be able to produce another. Part of me is frustrated because my options are limited...Because of my endometriosis, I can't use Clomid or the other systemic drugs - it makes the endo alot worse, making it that much harder to get pregnant. I'm pretty sure that that is what the RE is going to offer if I go back to him, and I am not sure if he would even consider injectables (which talk more directly to the ovaries than Clomid). The only thing that worked with M is what we are doing now....which doesn't seem to be working this time.

I'm currently on cycle day 26, 10 days post ovulation. My period has not started yet (it is expected around Wed - I seem to have a 27 day cycle now), but this cycle feels mostly over. The thought of more waiting makes me tired - period starts, two weeks until ovulation, two-ish weeks before it all starts again, ad infinitum.