Friday, April 25, 2008


As I awoke this morning at 3am not able to fall back to sleep, I had hoped the blogger gods would be on my side. I am here to say that the blogsphere airwaves are open from over here in Beijing. Since New York time and Beijing time are exactly opposite of each other, I am hoping this has the same effect on my life. I can leave that sorrowful pained life of infertility at 6:40pm and be exactly opposite that here in Beijing at 6:40am. So forgive me if my posts may not be focused on baby making, or lack thereof. Now after much tossing and turning, the jet lag has me up and perky at an hour I would be usually dead to the world. The one thing I love about jet lag is that it achieves the impossible - making me a morning person.

So the birds are chirping sweetly as the sun is slowly creeping into our windows. My dear husband is snoring like a moose and I'm sitting listening to the city wake up. We are in a little haven from the sprawling hustle of Beijing, down one of the narrow corner streets in the older parts of town.We are staying at a little boutique hotel that is known for it's swank and kitschy Red Capitalism style. Our room is situated in a small traditional courtyard and adorned with an empress canopy bed with antiques and artifacts from the days of Mao.

And, on that note, boy have things changed here since the days of Mao. Even since the 10 years I was last here, I am stunned by how much Beijing has developed and grown in that time. On my last visit there was a vastness to the city, felt through its open spaces and huge government buildings. Now, my god, it's like everywhere I look a new high rise has been built. You can feel the anticipation for the Olympics as there are signs everywhere indicating its August arrival. The airport is now a mammoth and elegant modern structure that is ready to greet the thousands who will pour in here.

So it's an exciting time to be here. However, amidst this newer shinier Beijing, I do find it funny that I prefer sitting in this musty little room with the slight chill from the open courtyard and the quaintness of the creaky floors. On my last visit I feel like I witnessed the beginnings of rapid modernization here where construction sites were everywhere and there was a momentum of cultural and economic shift.

But I do have to say, as with all development, there are at times I have some nostalgia for the older Beijing, the less-Western-feeling Beijing, when I felt like I was in a place truly unique and alive with history. Back in 1997 there was just a McDonald's and KFC (which I admittedly ate at several times), but I hear now there is a Starbucks in the Forbidden City (just plain wrong) and now you see billboards with Reese Witherspoon selling perfume. It's odd. But these are some of the things that inevitably happen, and have already long happened in other Asian cities. This is by no means the desire to fulfill some need for the exotic, or to stop progress, but I am admittedly having tourist syndrome of wanting to experience something completely different from my home. No doubt this hotel is precisely for people like me, who want some Communist kitsch, so I'm falling right into their hands. But in general, I am not sure why I hold some romantic need for Beijing to stay put. It's probably because I don't want to feel old and that so much time has passed since I've been here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Great Uterine Wall

Never has my uterus needed more of a break than now. In the three years of trying to conceive, this is probably the only moment in which timing has been on our side. What better way to escape from this infertility quagmire than to go far far away to China. My husband has a project in Beijing and I'm coming along for the ride! We depart this thursday and it's the perfect way for me to leave all my losses behind and fly fly away. The last time I was in Asia was in 1997 when I was working in Tokyo for the summer during grad school and I travelled through China and Thailand. So I feel a nostalgia for my more adventurous travel days when going to "unknown territory" meant jetting off to thrilling escapades instead of unsatisfying follow-up meetings with your RE.

According to my RE, my tubes are clearly not causing the ectopics. On the flip side, he thinks perhaps it's my uterus that is not cooperating. My Great Uterine Wall may be keeping the embryos out thinking they are hostile enemy. He proposes doing a uterine biopsy to see if it is abnormal. If it is, then he would proceed with a estrogen priming protocol and using an estring to thicken my lining, As I sat there listening to him, taking it all in, I said to myself, "Wait a minute, that all sounds nice and dandy but this would mean I have to do IVF#4?" As I said before, I have all but given up on my uterus so why would this give me any hope that she will cooperate? There is nothing to say that some more estrogen it just going to magically transform my Great Uterine Wall and whallah - baby. I just don't trust it anymore.

As much as this gives a miniscule glimmer of a chance that my uterus might still work, the prospects of a nice young and hospitable uterus is still incredibly appealing to me. In a nutshell, the surrogacy agency was extremely helpful and informative. The process is long but not too ridiculous in terms of steps. Basically after you actually find a surrogate there are some legals issues and medical testing and then the rest is just like if I was doing IVF on myself, just transfer happens with someone else. 

So it will help me to list the pros and cons here so I can get my head straight and then run off to China and pretend none of this exists in my life. 

Pros of Surrogacy
  • A safe non-hostile environment for my embryos.
  • No more testing and procedures for me to keeping chartering unknown territories that leave me lost and frustrated.
  • No more ectopics
  • A physical separation from potential loss. Maybe it will hurt a tiny bit less if I am not the one physically miscarrying?
Cons of Surrogacy
  • Expensive!
  • It would take 18 - 24 months if it worked the first time. If you have to cycle again it's even longer. I will be close to 40 if and when this ever works.
  • I have to get use to the idea of letting a total stranger carry my child. 
Pros of doing IVF#4 on myself
  • Not much, besides if it worked I would be pregnant way earlier than doing surrogacy. That's been the case for 3 IVFs already. But why would I believe something that's cried wolf too many times?
Cons of doing IVF#4 on myself
  • Risk of new protocol not making any difference, which then creates all the following risks:
  • Risk of Ectopic and all evil havoc that it causes
  • Risk of Miscarriage because of my horrible luck, plus my blood clotting factor
  • Risk of BFN
  • Risk of total and complete annihilation of my heart.
So all in all, surrogacy is still winning the race. But for this very moment in my life, I'm going to leave behind this country, with all these questions in it, and go to a new country where life means new tastes, new sites, new sounds, new people, and not a needle in sight.

UPDATE: I've heard that apparently you can't access in Beijing. So probably won't be able to post while I am away. But will certainly report back when I set foot on U.S. soil. 

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spare Womb for Me?

How do I explain where I've been? It's like I've been kidnapped or hijacked or made prisoner of war from my own self. I've travelled to all these different corners of darkness, yet I am still so numb. 

First off, thank you thank you thank you for all your kind words. I really felt like you all were there with me and thinking about me. So as you all know, I survived Gray Land. Once I landed into Black it has been like it sounds - dark. empty. silent. vast. But at least it's been absolute. No question the pregnancy is over, no question I've been screwed over again, no question I deserve a reward for being in the tiny miniscule percent of woman who could possibly get two IVF ectopics. 

So let me fill you in on what happened next. I couldn't even bring myself to say, "I told you so." It just would make my whole insides crumble. So I decided to focus on closing this one out as fast as possible. We opted for surgery to take the ectopic out (no way I was waiting for 15 weeks like last time) and also my doctor felt we should go in and see what the hell is going on in there. Feeling like a pro at egg retrieval, I thought the lap and hysteroscopy wouldn't be too bad, but damn - that is real surgery. It's no pansy-IV drip-egg retrieval-open your eyes in 20 minutes kind of thing. This was full on scary surgery where I felt the pain of the anesthesia shoot through my arm and then it took 2 hours to wake up, then my blood pressure dropped and had to be hydrated for 2 hours. So from 11am - 7pm, my poor husband wasn't told what was going on. He and my family were needlessly freaked out and I was so zonked out and feeling horrible to even know how much time was passing. So what did I get out of this heinous ride? Well, I have a trio of scars on my belly like pointless souvenirs from my three IVF losses. But here is the real kicker. After all that, everything is fucking healthy inside. My doc took a little edo out, but otherwise my tubes are healthy, my uterus is heathy, and my ovaries are healthy. So welcome to the lovely place called "Getting no where." 

So I remain a medical mystery as to why I get ectopics. My doctor remains stumped that my first ectopic was in the right tube, my second ectopic was in the left tube, but both tubes are completely healthy. I didn't even lose a tube, they are both still in there. So that leaves me with the choice of trying another IVF with all the same risks and I can safely say, "Forget it." There is no way I am willing to risk another ectopic. So where does that leave me? I now open up this arena to the prospects of womb rental. Yes, Newsweek isn't the only one fascinated with surrogates. I have succumbed to the extreme options that I never thought I would have to face. I have a consultation with a surrogacy agency on Monday and I just keep staring at this paper work in awe of where I am headed. I can barely articulate where I've been, and now I can't even begin to describe the feeling of what I face ahead of me. Part of me feels like I am wimping out at 3 IVFs as I hear women doing 5, 6, 7 IVFs before moving on to surrogacy. But I feel I have made an honorable go at this IVF crap. It's enough. I've all but given up on my "healthy" womb that despite all logic refuses to give me a child. I really think at this point I can live without carrying a child. It's like if I had to choose between a fabulous wedding and my marriage. We all know a wedding is just a day, but marriage is a lifetime. So pregnancy is just 9 months, but having a child will be everyday of the rest of my life.