Friday, August 29, 2008

When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best

I'm not sure what to think about this. Hallmark has a series called "Cards with real words for real life." If you go on their website one of the options is "Help Cope with trying to get pregnant, having a miscarriage or an aging parent." The above card is Hallmark's answer to showing support for an infertile friend or family member. 

Now on the one hand, I see this as a breakthrough in mainstream media to include a card about infertility. It is getting the topic out of the shame closet and showing how prevalent this problem is and that it's okay to say something to an infertile person instead of running for the hills because you are too uncomfortable with it. So I do applaud this. But my first reaction to the card was a big giggle at how cheesy this seemed. Saying it with a hallmark card has never really been my style anyway, but I tried to think hard and honestly about how I would feel if I got this in the mail from a friend. Would I be really happy that a friend thought of me or would I feel like this was a lame way of avoiding talking with me about it?

I'm probably being too harsh because in the end I have a hard time figuring out what I want from people. I really don't want packaged responses from people about my losses or infertility because it makes me want to strangle them. I despise when I sense a person is so uncomfortable with the topic or feel they are walking on egg shells around me. Sometimes I don't want to feel like a freak and don't want people to talk in a pitied tone to me. But then sometimes I get so angry when people just ignore my losses and pretend nothing bad has happened. So what do I want from people? A hallmark card? In the end my mood plays a huge part in all this. I guess my preferred interaction is when a person can just be real with me. They can frankly say this sucks so bad and is angry along with me that this is happening and doesn't show awkwardness. Maybe I am just asking too much. But the people who haven't been afraid to talk frankly with me about this (hubby, mom, dad, sister and sister in-laws, and 2 close friends) are the people who continue to make me feel the most comfortable sharing my experience. 

So Hallmark is making the right step. But of course it got me thinking of some infertility cards I would like to submit to Hallmark for consideration. If they want to get to real words for real life, I got some doozies in my pocket that I can throw out there. What about some of these?

THE SURROGATE SERIES - When you want to avoid awkward questions, send the very best. 

For Intended Parent to Friend:

For Friend to Intended Parent:

THE NOSEY NEIGHBOR SERIES - When you can't hold your tongue, send the very best.

THE COMPLETELY UNHELPFUL SERIES: When you want to make light of an insanely complicated situation, send the very best.

I kid you not, I actually received this message from a friend in an email (word for word transcription!):

THE DREAM SERIES: When you have real insight into the infertility struggle, send the very best. 

I can dream can't I?

Can you think of any more for Hallmark?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Funny New Yorker Cartoon

From the New Yorker Magazine

"Are you sure you're ovulating now?"

I was flipping through an old New Yorker from June and in the cartoon caption contest they had this line submitted as one of the entries for this cartoon. Pretty hilarious! I wonder if the submitter is going through fertility treatments, but God bless her for a funny line. Unfortunately it didn't win the contest even though in my mind it far beat the others. I suppose most readers (and most New Yorker editors) can't appreciate the great lengths it takes to get pregnant. I don't know about you, but it seems that all business trips, family visits, pre-planned vacations fall at the same time as ovulation. So I know I would love to strap a parachute on my hubby, and on myself for that matter.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Sheeeeeeee's Baaaaack! Yes, dusted off and primped up, Little Miss Positive is out of the closet. Thanks to peesticksandstones for kicking her out of her hiding. There are a lot of reasons right now that Little Miss Positive is needed, but one very obvious reason is that I am scared. I'm scared of a lot of bad things happening and I'm scared because I've made a decision that puts everything at risk again. I've been accepted into a shared risk program at my new clinic and we've decided to try one last time on me as we wait for things to fall into place with a surrogate. So this means I'm on birth control now waiting to see if IVF#4 will actually happen in September. 

In the midst of this scary place, it's good to meet my old friend Little Miss Positive. We've been through a lot together. She was on my shit list for awhile after my recent ectopic disaster, but I've come to forgive and forget. Plus, I really need her now. I can see that fear is strangling me on a regular basis. It's taken hold of my controls and put me on autopilot. I fear I'm not doing my job right. I fear I'm losing my friends because of this isolation. I fear that my husband is going to get so fed up with my negativity. I fear all over again the IVF nightmares of another loss, especially another ectopic. I fear I will never get a surrogate match or worse it will fail in a surrogate. I am not able to stop these thoughts. So clearly I am in need of courage and in my recent search for it I couldn't seem to find that yellow brick road.

But I reached a turning point last week. I had a frenzied crazy hysterical conversation with my husband about my fears. I cornered him for yet another discussion on our next steps. I found myself over and over again trying to beat down his positivity by playing devil's advocate- What if I get another ectopic? What if the pregnancy gets complicated and my life is in danger? What if it's a waste of time? Blah, blah, blah. He got really upset with me and asked why I was trying to take away his hope. As you can imagine, I felt awful at that point. I explained that this is the fear talking and it's taken control of me. He responded with a very simple yet effective answer.

He said, "Courage is a decision."

"Oh..."[ long pause] "You're right," I said. 

Is it really that simple? I think for right now it is that simple. That seemed to burst the fear bubble, perhaps with the idea that even though I can't control outcomes I can control my decisions. I have a choice to go down so many scary roads and yet I have decided to have courage. I have decided to be positive again. I have to decide that I can handle more bad things happening. So that's what I am doing now. Courage isn't going to be handed to me by someone else. I'm the cowardly lion, that's for sure, but I guess I have to look for that Emerald City of Oz somewhere inside me. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

An Outlaw called "Intended Parent"

I never quite thought baby making for me would enter this new terrain of law, morality, and intention. Who knew I would have to add lawyer to my long list of reproductive attendants. Isn't doctor, nurse, IVF coordinator, embryologist, pharmacist, blood technician, early morning cab drivers, fertility yoga instructor, acupuncturist, insurance representative, and surrogacy agency enough?

I, as an "Intended Parent," have every intention of having a baby. Is that so wrong? Did I ever think I'd have to be on the run, like some bandit outlaw? For those who haven't had the pleasure of cracking the shell of surrogacy, every state of our United States has a particular opinion on surrogacy that dictates how and whether it can be done. (Click here to see a breakdown of state surrogacy laws) Unfortunately, my state of New York may accept all sorts of characters within its borders but it does not allow for surrogacy. So the story goes that in July of 1993, the legislature passed Article 8, Section 122 of the Domestic Relations Laws of New York. This law states that surrogate parenting agreements in New York are void, unenforceable and against public policy.

So now that I've been long barred from the natural mommy club, and slowly not qualifying for the IVF-on-my-own body club, I'm not only barred from my own body, I'm now barred from reproducing in my own state. My marginalized status seems to be becoming more and more remote. I'm not sure where I will be at the end of this - Siberia? My days are filled with waiting for a surrogate match and contemplating one last IVF on myself. I've felt lonely these days as I used to be a bulletin board whore - joining every type of buddy group from immune issues, to tubal infertility, to pregnancy loss, to repeat pregnancy loss, to lining issues, to ectopic survivors, and now surrogacy. But I'm not sure where I fit in on the bulletin boards anymore. If there was a group called "outlaws" or "road less traveled" or simply "Siberia" then I might join. 

But in my banishment, I realize this is where "intention" has the most profound meaning. As I feel in so many ways already labeled, I need to get used to my newest title of intended parent. Intention involves stretching, bending of the mind toward a goal, determination, purpose, and design. I'm running with my ball and chain out to sweeter and freer states that will let me put my embryos into another dear lady's uterus. Intent is pretty darn significant in a court of law. So if I face a jury of my fertile peers, they must remember that foresight and recklessness shouldn't be equated with intent. Don't condemn me if I don't have the foresight to see what pain lies ahead of me. Don't handcuff me if my choice to use a surrogate seems reckless. But if my crime is the intention to be a mother, intention to raise a child with love, intention to build a family, then I'm ready for my sentencing.