Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Much delayed baby announcement!

Our baby boy arrived August 13, 2011! Sorry for the delay in posting - he was 12 days late (!!) and then we've been contending earthquakes and hurricanes on the East Coast! But we have arrived safely home. When I can catch a breath I will post more about the experience. I feel wonderful and relieved and thankful. This infertility journey has completed with two beautiful kids. Though this seems like a big end, really it's just the beginning.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Family of Four

We are leaving next week to wait for delivery and I realized how little I have written about this pregnancy. The first child, especially after infertility, was a moment by moment documentation of how I was feeling. I savored every step. I analyzed every stage of the complex emotions of surrogacy and egg donation. The second child after infertility has been rather surreal. It is like an unbelievable prize, something not expected or understood, almost to a point where you just really can't believe it's happening.

Amidst this summer daze of denial, fear, shock regarding the new baby, I got a jolt from the universe to snap me out of it.

There are phone calls that change your life. I had many during the course of my IVFs but I have also had more than my fair share of those phone calls before trying to conceive. My family has survived a lot of tragedy and so when I received a call July 4th weekend about a serious health scare for my sister, I nearly collapsed. I hadn't felt that much despair since all my pregnancy losses. All those negative and scary thoughts of doom came into my head about loss, suffering and pain.

But this dramatic wack in the face has a happy ending. My sister is going to be okay. I am not going to have to deal with yet another family tragedy as I begin my 40s. I look back on my life and realize I have recovered from a major tragedy almost every decade of my life. I was hoping to be spared this decade. But we all know those phone calls can still happen.

The sudden shift in luck with my sister somehow was the best cure for my fear about our new baby. All that undercurrent in my heart, still asking myself, "Am I a fraud?" even though I know rationally surrogacy and egg donation don't rob me of legitimacy, I was still very much struggling with it.

I can't say those insecurities won't creep up again down the road, but life now seems so short and precious. If my sister could almost be struck with an illness so randomly and yet escape its devilish hands, then why the hell am I worrying whether I am really my kids' mother? Why am I putting that burden on myself when in the greater scheme of things life is flying by?

So as the days draw nearer I am getting back into a space of peace and joy that this little boy is joining us. My family of four is feeling very real and very life affirming. Let the countdown begin.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Lately every time I open a magazine there is an article on happiness. Whether it's how to get it or why it's an illusion, I seem to be in a mode where I need to understand it. In the past there were studies concluding that people with children were happier than people without children. But more recent studies have shown the opposite. So as an infertile who loaded all of her ammunition towards equating happiness with children, I see now that motherhood is more complicated than this.

Day to day crankiness can accumulate. I have noticed this about myself. The little things that go wrong drive me nuts and make life much harder with a toddler who is now defying everything you try to do in her daily routine. She fights the bath, she fights the nap, she fights getting into the stroller, etc. In your exasperated state, it's hard to even contemplate happiness. I finished my day and I can't wait to roll into bed and close my eyes.

There are so many things right now to be happy about. Our baby boy is thriving and A. is doing fabulous. Our daughter is walking and talking and developing more and more personality. But I was still letting little things piss me off all day. I was also getting isolated. I am not really spending time with other mothers because I don't want to have to explain how it is possible that I am not pregnant but will soon have a newborn in my arms.

I battled the idea of positive thinking all through infertility, but I still seem to be challenged in this department. So one of the articles I read talked about an exercise for "positive emotion," which is one of the pillars of a happy life. Every night you are suppose to write down or say three things that day that went your way. It can be pure luck or it can be something your sought to do and got it done. It's a way to counter the feeling that the universe is against you. So my husband and I have been doing this every night before going to bed and I think it is really working. I don't complain as much, I am putting more effort to meeting other moms, I am enjoying my daughter more.

So I highly recommend this if you are feeling flustered and tired in the juggling of motherhood or you are so burned out from the insanity of infertility treatments. It can't hurt to try.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


In a couple months I will be turning 40. It's waiting there for me. In the fertility world this marks a big cut off point as to whether a fertility doc will take on an old broad like me or toss me aside with no hope.

I began this journey at the tail end of 34 years of age and I can't even believe that I spent the second half of my 30s spiraling into infertility hell. Through those horrible years, 40 was the big dreaded dead end for me. Even though plenty of women get pregnant after 40, I knew that if it wasn't happening by 40, I would just have to welcome menopause and call it a day.

So I had been planning, in theory, to arrive at a fuller acceptance of what happened to me in my 30s and begin 40 with a clean slate. I really want to do this. But it's seriously not helping that for some reason 2011 is an explosion of pregnancy all around me. Everyone from younger friends, same age friends, infertile friends, to even older friends (40 plus!) are all getting knocked up.

But the kicking and screaming and feeling like I got screwed is not how I want to start this next decade. I really want it to be a starting point. My father used to say to me when I was young that he couldn't believe he was this old - he didn't feel any different than when he was a young man. I would just shrug my shoulders and now I feel the exact same way. Putting wisdom and knowledge aside, internal aging is this weird invisible thing. Yes, my eggs are crap and are withering away for good, but the essence of who I am doesn't feel like it's aged at all. There has to be something too that. Aging is not the most fun thing, but I have to hold on to the parts of aging that still open doors and breath life into us. I mean, if our essence deteriorated like our eggs then we'd be some seriously cranky toxic people.

Having two young children at this "mature" age also swings expectations to a younger mind set. Most women in their 40s have long started their family and are well into having tweens and teenagers. I, on the other hand, will be searching for preschools this fall. But being immersed in the baby and toddler world sometimes fools me into thinking I am younger. I breath among young mothers all around me and then I start to believe I am a young mother too.

There is good and bad to this, as many illusions of youth might suggest. On the one hand, I can live a young mother life because that's the reality of where I am in motherhood. But at times I remember when my daughter goes to college, I will be nearly 60 years old. It makes planning your life a little different knowing that you are going to have to still be 100% parent at an older age while others might be having their first grandchild.

But I promised myself I would end this post on a positive note, as this is the new theme I am striving for. It helps that I now have 40 followers on my blog, so thanks for that symmetry! But back to my positive ending. I do recall when I turned 30, I went to an astrologist on my birthday who said to me that my saturn renews every 30 years. It's like a clearing out of an old room and refurnishing. So at 30 years, I cleared my internal room and began again. She said my next clearing out will be at 60 years old. As it turns out, just in time for when my daughter goes to college. So in the end, 40 is just another year of living among hopefully many more to come. My room still has bad pieces of furniture from those awful painful years, but it doesn't mean they have to take over the whole space. It's time for some reupholstering - get me a stable gun.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's a...

Never thought I would post such a cutesy sort of picture, but feeling like the stork, funnily enough, is the way I experience having babies. That mythological bird is quite real in my world. Everything is looking good with our baby boy and A. is doing fabulous as always. It's really unbelievable to me that we will have both a daughter and a son. A truly double blessing.

As my new family is transforming, I feels like I sometimes need Olympian strength to manage so many balls in the air. Though I've been lucky to have storks in my life help carry the weight, the downside is sometimes your own body becomes sort of a second class citizen. I spend all this time thinking about my daughter's bodily functions, and then A.'s body, and then the new baby's body. I've found my own body to be rudely neglected. It gets no exercise; it feeds when there happens to be free time; it doesn't get much adult mental stretching; it doesn't groom that much; it doesn't sleep much. So this winter has been brutal to say the least. My immune system is clearly down. I've gotten the stomach flu 3 times, in between countless colds, and now currently recovering from the 4th bout of this damn stomach virus. I am realizing that as much as I am responsible for other bodies in my life, I am not much use if my own body is limp and exhausted. So today is a day where I celebrate storks but remember that my own body shouldn't be orphaned either.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New vocabulary

I seem to be entering into a new world of vocabulary. When I first fell into the bleak arena of infertility I had no idea what the hell these acronyms meant - ER, ET, BFP. BFN, IUI, DH, AF, etc. I eventually used words like "sticky vibes" and "embies" as if we lived in an IVF elf land. These need no explanations, as I am sure dear readers, you are for the most part IVFers or veteran IVFers. But in my naive state, it was a world to decode. Then sadly, soon enough this was my language.

When we reached the extreme state of third party parenting, I couldn't believe I was in a state of mind where the words "Third Party Parenting" was the norm. The words "surrogate" and "gestational carrier" were as common to me as haircutter and dentist. Then "donor" became the new word to practice getting used to. It still doesn't quite roll off the tongue as naturally as I would like, but there is deep seeded baggage.

Entering into motherhood, I faced the mommy club I so longed to be in, yet hated at the same time. Products like "breast friend" made me cringe. "What the hell is a boppy?" I once said. Then my words devolved into sing song baby talk - "Night, night!" "Do you want your baba?" "Who is mama?" "Who is dada?" "Did you do a poopy?" But alas, these mommy sounds coming out of my mouth were a welcomed change after the spectrum of weird words flowing from me for so long.

Now as I enter the stage of 2 children so close in age, I am finding another set of vocabulary I didn't know about. I had never even heard of the expression "2 under 2" until a friend congratulated me on the new baby. I didn't know there were things called tandem strollers. I found a great blog called Baby Bunching which is about back-to-back pregnancies. Me and celeb moms are doing a thang now called baby bunching. Who knew? There are even recommended "picks" for us. Then I kept seeing "twibling" floating around? Apparently it is when two babies are born around the same time from two different surrogates or two babies are born from the same batch of embryos.

So I guess I am having twiblings. I never really considered the fact that since the embryos were created at the same time that they are some how "twins." That seems rather absurd to me. That would mean all of us IVF girls are constantly having twins but they are years apart. Sorry, doesn't quite fly in my book. But the article in the NY Times "Meet the Twiblings" by Melanie Thernstrom was a very honest account of her journey with donor egg and surrogacy. The fact that she used two surrogates I am sure made the NY Times lick their lips. But I am glad she wrote it in first person instead of the usually crappy reporting they do on fertility. I didn't see a comment section which is usually where you hear the insanity out there. But I feel like I can say with authority that she got it right.

This new terminology is still strange, still fresh, still finding its way. In some ways the creation of new words like "twiblings" carves out a space for new forms of reproduction and family building. But we won't know for a long while if these new words will be alienating or inclusive. Will the world adopt these words as legitimate and not as some sort of mockery. In the meantime, "twiblings" or no "twiblings," my kids will be 18 months apart and will be from the same batch of embryos and are from the same donor and same surrogate. I think I will just stick to for now saying they are brother or sister.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday!!

On this very early morning a year ago A. gave birth to our beautiful daughter. It's unbelievable still to me that we managed to come out of this journey with a family. We are truly blessed. As time used to move for me at a torturous snail's pace when waiting for betas or periods or fertility reports, this year has had a sort of stop clock feeling. It's gone lightening fast at moments and then very long and exhausting at others. The first 3 months in some ways felt like a lifetime and in other ways a total blur. The 4 month to 6 month period was fast as hell. The 6 month to 8 month was a tough spell of trying to survive on the accumulated lack of sleep and trying to find outlets for myself. The 8 month to 12 month period was filled with joys of watching my daughter move to a new level of awareness and watching myself come to terms with the not so perfect daily life of motherhood. Let's see what the next 12 months bring as we bring another member into our family. It's becoming more and more exciting to think of our family growing and for a new person to enter our lives. As always, it's will be juggling act, but an act worth every effort.