Saturday, June 22, 2013

IT'S A BOY!


Anderson Haskell
9 pounds  or 4.06 Kilos of pure love
21inches or 53 centimeters of sunshine
June 21, 2013
New Delhi, India


We arrived in India - no surprise, it was hot. We met with the doctor, and were excited about the prospect of attending an ultrasound in a few days. But little Anderson heard his parents were in town, and couldn't wait to meet us. We hadn't slept in 36 hours so we went back to the hotel. The phone rang -

"This is Nabanita - did you get my email?"
I am not sure what I said exactly but I think it was something like "Uhugha...?"
"Your baby will be delivered via Cesarean in 30 minutes"
"Really?"Boy am I awake now!
"Yes, maam really"
She gave us the details to the hospital, and quickly we got dressed. My husband, who thought he was dreaming, was still talking about walking our dog who my mother is generously watching in Oklahoma.

We raced downstairs and the valet secured us a taxi. We didn't think we had time to call Rahul from Rahul's Western Taxi (fabulous service by the way- HIGHLY recommend them). Big mistake - our taxi smelled like urine, the taxi driver didn't speak English, and had no idea where he was going.  The nodding to the valet was just ceremonial. We would have arrived at the hospital much sooner if we would have just simply waited for one of Rahul's drivers.

But we made it, and just in the nick of time. We had time to have a drink of water,say a prayer for our surrogate mother and the baby, and then washed our hands before we heard the most beautiful words ever spoken in the English language:

"Would you like to meet your son?"

I looked back at my husband with tears forming in my eyes. He kissed my forehead and said "We have a son" ... I repeated "We have a son". We hugged and raced back to the nursery, took off our shoes, and put on the gowns provided.

And we finally saw the most incredible and beautiful little boy.
 
I was speechless, which is really a rare and uncommon event in itself. I am in complete awe that I have the privilege to be his mother.

He is stunning, perfectly pink (no signs of jaundice), and has lungs that shake the walls. He is much larger than the other babies in the nursery, and I suppose the size gives him an audible advantage. His cry is endearing. I wanted to scoop him in my arms, and never let him go. Medically, it is better for him to be observed and monitored - not handed off to walking foggy zombie like people.

We snapped pictures and left him to his monitoring.

I enquired as to how our surrogate mother was doing, and with God's great blessings she is also doing well.   We went back to the hotel, and admired our photos as if they were an original Kandinsky....

We love him so...

 
Mr. Wonka: "Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted."
Charlie Bucket: "What happened?"
Mr. Wonka: "He lived happily ever after.” Roald Dahl


Thank you to all at SCI, Dr. Shivani, and our amazing and beautiful surrogate mother for helping us to achieve our very own happily ever after......


 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Leaving...

...on a jet plane

 
 
Don't know when I'll be back again....
 
Feelings: happy, excited, happy, anxious, happy, nervous, happy, scared, happy, amazed, grateful, and HAPPY
 
If our life was a movie, the soundtrack would be:
 
 
 
 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Packing

We have been packing, packing, packing, and then repacking. Hubby was a sweetheart and grabbed some uber-decadent Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We took a break and watched The Hunger Games while eating our cheesecake. I am not exactly sure what that says about us, but I don't think it's good. Anyways -  GREAT movie...I feel like the last person on earth to see it, but on the plus side I don't have to wait that long for the sequel.  
 
What am I going to take....(baby-wise, my knickers are not of interest)
 
1.Diapers
 276 to be exact, all size newborn. If there is one thing I found impossible to track down while I was on a reconnaissance mission for baby goods in India, it was newborn size diapers. I found Size 1 at a store in the M block. But newborn diapers were nowhere...
  
2.Formula 
This is tough - with so many choices, it is hard to nail down what to use. I went with Enfamil Premium Newborn but really only because it was what my pediatrician recommended, and I got loads of free samples.
 
We're taking 1 case of the 2oz nursettes and half a dozen 8oz powder canisters. I think this seems like a lot, but I would rather have too much than too little. If you haven't already registered with the formula companies, you can do it online and I highly recommend it.  I do know that some IPs have purchased and used the formula in India with great success. We just didn't want to have to switch when we got home.
 
3. Bottles
 Playtex drop-ins -  these are fanfabulafrickingtastic <- not in the dictionary don't look it up.
 
If you live in a place that sells these, run (don't walk) and purchase them for India. So you drop in a liner, then insert a nipple, screw on a ring and voila. As a bonus, the liners are disposable. Now for the best part: the bag mechanism of it all keeps air out of baby's tummy.
 
So why are parents of the world not tossing regular bottles, and all bowing to the royal greatness that is Playtex drop-ins. Because, my friends, when our sweet little dears get older they throw things and their ammunition of choice is the bottle. And Playtex drop-ins make a crazy mess when tossed. But for India it's not a problem since newborns don't play toss yet. 
 
We are also bringing a dozen of the disposable Enfamil nipples for the nursettes. They say they are disposable, but you can wash and reuse them a few times. I have not seen these sold in stores, but are available online for roughly $1.00 (USD) a piece.
 
4. Clothing
 
 0-3 mo. sizes  - my baby outgrew newborn sizes at 35 weeks :)
 
10  onesies
8 sleep gowns
8 footed sleepers  
5 pants
12 pair of socks
4 bows (we still don't know if it is a  girl or not and a girl can not be without her bow)
6 gender neutral hats
5 bibs
6 Halo swaddle sleep sacks (this is possibly overboard, but I have been given them as hand-me- downs from friends who swear by them)
 
 
5. Cleaning
Medela sanitizing bags - I used these when I was pumping; they are fantastic and take up no room in the suitcase
Munchkin pacifier wipes
Organic hand sanitizer
Box of zip-lock bags
Trash bags that supposedly block scent - some hotels don't  provide bags in the bins and with diapers need I say more...
I will buy the soaps and what not when in India
 
 
6. Misc.
Grooming kit with aspirator, small tweezers etc.
4 blankets (I plan to purchase a few more while in India)
1 diaper bag
5 burp cloths
2 bath towels
6 baby wash cloths
1 Phil and Ted's cocoon, I got a red one :)
 
And a partridge in a pear tree....
 
 
 
Disclaimer: The disposable items (diapers, liners, and nipples) are not very good for the environment. But given the constraints of a hotel room, one must balance responsibility to the earth with responsibility to sanitation. We definitely plan to limit the use of these uber-convenient items once we return home.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I left my heart in New Delhi

 
This month we leave for India...
This month we may get to meet our baby...
 
The time went so fast. It seems like yesterday I was undergoing egg retrieval, and meeting our surrogate mother. Celebrating the end of the first trimester, viability, and then 32 weeks.
 
This is such an exciting adventure. It will be my husband's first time in India, and more important we get to meet our baby.
 
 
Now we begin Operation Exit.
 
Our exit manual is underway. We printed out  the forms that we could in advance and filled them out, and are simply waiting to fill in names, birth dates, etc. We decided to go sans lawyer and do the paperwork ourselves. Having a binder where (most) of the forms are printed (so no worries about power outages, computers stalling, printing problems, etc.)  has gone a looooong way in helping us relax about the process. As in anything you do in life, starting is the hardest part.
 
Filling it out early gave us time to gather the info and ask the embassy our questions. For the most part, the Department of State forms are pretty straightforward. The U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad ("CRBA") asks you to document all time spent in the United States, which was a little difficult for me because I spent a great deal of my youth living out of the U.S., but couldn't find my childhood passports so documenting vacations spent visiting granny in the States was hard to nail down. But once we figured it all out (thanks Mom!), the rest of the paperwork seemed rather straightforward. And it was much less painful than I expected.
 
The manual also includes instructions from FRRO and U.S. embassy, as well as printed blog post from fellow bloggers:
 
First FRRO visit (Thanks Andy from Dancing in the Rain)
Second FRRO visit (Thanks John and Michael from Our Gemini Dragons)
US embassy visit (Thanks Aaron and Eddy from Starting our family)
 
Huge thanks to all the bloggers. Every tip and insight has helped us so much.
 
 
I feel now that I have a game plan for exit.
 
 And a coach to help call the plays
80's costume party? Or just how we roll on Saturday night?

 
 
 
 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nursery Reveal

Decorating nurseries is so much fun, and I have had a blast creating this little nest:

 
 
My absolute favorite thing in the nursery is the vintage toy highchair. It belonged to my grandmother, and I adore it. We were very close, and I love being able to include something that belonged to her in the room.
 
 
So as far as gender neutral well ...
 
If it is a boy the dress will go, but if it is a girl a layer of pink shall fall on the room like snow in an Alaskan winter. Not to mention a bunny chandelier I have been eyeing on Etsy. My husband vetoed it for a boy, but I have given it the green light if we have a little girl. Somewhere along the 15 years we have been together, I guess we did learn to compromise. Well, at least on chandeliers.
 
 
Cute, right?
 
 
 
 
The art is from an artist by the name of Sue Rupp. She created AMAZING watercolors, and I am a Fan with a capital F. Especially since I tried painting a few bunnies in the room that my friends and hubby declared looked like yellow $%&*.
That's ok. I never claimed to be an artist, but I really do appreciate people who can create such beautiful work.
  I switched out the blanket that came with the bedding for something more appropriate for a little Texan..
 
Now we are just
 
 
My sweet baby
 
 
 


 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

32 Weeks

.

Sorry, I'm a bit late with the 32 week update. But the report came last week, and almost everything is perfect in the comfortable normal category.

 
 
 
 
Baby's head is almost full term and still measuring large.
 
Should I  dare say "his" head?

A large head circumference with a significantly lower biparietal diameter measurement will present with a lower cephalic index. Ours is 68 which is below normal, but not so low as to be scary.
 
 Early on in this pregnancy, we took up residence in the normal zone, put our feet up, unbuttoned our pants  and got really comfortable. This abnormal territory is unknown. The clinic reassured us that there is nothing to worry about. But as parents,  worry warts is kind of our moniker.

Worrying is our thing
 It is what we do...

 A CI measurement below 70 is known as Dolichocephaly -  a condition where the head is long. It is rarely harmful to brain development, and it can be simply caused by genetics. Which is why as of late, my interactions with my husband all end with him lamenting "Quit staring at my head"

So why do I think we are having a boy?

Dolichocephaly is 3 times more likely to effect boys than girls.

The old wives tale says a heart rate under 140 is a boy
 
Baby is almost 5 pounds at 31+5 gestation

We all know calling things prematurely ALWAYS bodes well.

 
Well, maybe not
 
So I guess it is still too early to call , but you have to admit their is a lot of evidence pointing to Team Blue...
 
For IP's, here is a little handy dandy growth percentile calculator

 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May The 4th Be With You

 
 
Happy Star Wars Day


Is this celebrated by my nerd kind everywhere or just here in the U.S?

This nerd and former Girl Scout felt a need to be prepared, so we signed up for a "safety" class covering general baby care, infant CPR, and choking. I kind of agree with the other bloggers that the baby care part of the class was a bit of a waste of time. But the infant CPR, and specifically how to handle severe choking, taught me some new skills that would be good additions to any new parent's tool box.
 



I pondered what I was going to say when people asked why we were taking the class, since I thought they should clearly see I am not pregnant.   Do I really need to explain all this to these strangers?

Should I tell them - We like to learn new things, and the cooking class was full?

But then no one asked. So did they seriously think I was pregnant? A small woman I am not, but pregnant?

Well this ego-bruised someone is donating the dress she wore today, and not missing her Pilates class next week.


Also, just curious - is anyone else bombarded with "breast milk is best; don't feed your baby poisonous formula"?

Which my pediatrician did...but even despite this, I adore her so she is sticking around. In a 30 min interview (where she knew this was a surrogacy arrangement), she gave me a 15 minute lecture on how much better breast milk is than formula. I explained to her that our clinic doesn't ask the surrogates to breast feed. She went on and on about how much better it is for both the baby and for the birthing mothers, and recommended that I push the issue.  I asked the clinic if acquiring breast milk at a milk bank was a possibility. Unfortunately, I have been informed that New Delhi doesn't have milk banks.

Now between my pediatrician, the baby class instructor, baby books, mommy blogs, and anyone with  two cents to put in on the subject have me concerned that if I do not find breast milk in New Delhi, my baby will develop harmful intestinal issues. Now intellectually I know this risk is small, but it is hard to hear. My hands are tied - I can not produce breast milk and my clinic will not ask the surrogates to pump.

This Mom Guilt is some serious business.


Fortunately, I put this concern to bed with one single thought. If I pursued pregnancy I could provide breast milk. But I can not carry to term, and it is much healthier for our baby to be full term than to have breast milk. We did the best thing for him/her with the choices we were given.

It is what it is, and the fact that our little one is coming in 9 weeks. IT is beautiful.




Monday, April 22, 2013

My thoughts

A couple weeks ago CBS  did a "piece" on surrogacy in India. Since it aired it has been a topic of discussion.


 



 I am very proud of my clinic, and of my doctor. I think she presented herself and the clinic elegantly. However, I do feel the journalist failed to elucidate some positive aspects. 

The images of the woman sitting in a room with her children were from the accommodations provided by SCI.  At SCI, the surrogates families may live with them in private rooms. My family gives me strength and joy, so I assume that the women in India probably feel the same way. And I think the surrogates would be happier having their family and specifically their children with them.

The barracks-style accommodations provided by an unnamed clinic are certainly not those of SCI. I felt the video gave the impression that it was. 

SCI takes exceptional care of the surrogates, offering counseling, housing, and educational opportunities for them.  Legal counseling is provided, and contracts are written in both Hindi and English. Surrogates fully understand the contracts, which are written to  protect all  parties involved.

The passing of Permilla at a clinic in Ahmedabad was a tragedy that struck this entire community.  I feel for her family and it is a reminder that their are risk involved with pregnancy.  The maternal risk for death is 0.00009; although this may seem small, it doesn't matter when you are standing at the other end of the equation.  My heart goes out to her children -  it is very sad. It is important that insurance and mechanisms to protect the surrogates family are put in place.  The American couple did provide some support, but it was voluntary. What if they didn't?

Again not illustrated, SCI is a clinic that offers health care and life insurance for the surrogates.

It is responsible and important

And to the title question:  "Is this exploitation?"

Wikipedia defines economic exploitation as  "the act of using another persons labour without offering them an adequate compensation "

Adjusting for index differences (economic buying power) between the U.S and India, the surrogate mothers are compensated an average equivalent of $48,000 - $60,000 (USD).

Surrogate mothers in the U.S. are seldom labeled as being exploited and they can determine their rates, or they can choose to work with an agency. Their payments range on average between $15,000 and $65,000.

Regardless of location,  these women who choose to be surrogates are brave - they are protecting babies for nine months. They should be celebrated and not victimized. Personally,  I think they are as brave as police officers or fire fighters who also protect (and coincidentally receive a paycheck for doing so).

I love our surrogate mother. She is more than capable of understanding the contract, she is strong, and again she is very brave - quite the opposite of a victim.


 CBS did not touch this base but oftentimes (and I do mean often) in these arguments, the proponents of surrogacy will offer facts relating to positive outcomes. The critics, however, cite fictitious scenarios and often quote fictional books such as The Handmaid's Tale or Origins of Love.

Can we as society oppose artificial intelligence because we saw the Terminator and it ended badly?

I feel it is unfair to judge. If you are not an infertile couple, you can not possibly understand the shoes we walk in. And if you have money to send your children to school and make sure they have 3 squares a day, you can not understand the surrogate mothers' situations either. Surrogacy in India offers a solution to parties who have real and serious problems.

Oprah - in her Oprah enthusiasm - declared surrogacy in India as women helping women.

But surrogacy in India has helped many same gendered couples and singles have beautiful families as well. I like to think of it more as women protecting babies until their parents can...

Everyone  is entitled to their opinion.  This is just mine, and thanks for allowing me to share it with you.

 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our little one is measuring a bit large, with his/her noggin coming in at the 97th percentile.


Most of the time large HC measurements are nothing to worry about, and are simply genetics.
 
Phew!
 



Fortunately, our surrogate mother's recent test results revealed she does not have gestational diabetes, which can also be a reason for larger babies.


 "So obviously, Watson, a big baby must equal boy!"
I am assuming more baby boys are in the 97th percentile and more baby girls are in the 3rd percentile. According to studies by the National Center for Biotechnology,  males do tend to be larger but only by an average of 3.5 ounces at birth. So although this may be true, the baby's current size doesn't offer clear evidence one way or the other. And definitely not enough evidence for 221 Baker Street.


Team yellow prevails and we wait another 11 weeks to find out.

Last week we were fortunate to get the chance to meet another IP couple for coffee, and the best thing about this journey has got to be holding your baby at the end.

But the second best thing is the people you meet.
Now with much thanks to my very generous father who commutes from the US to China for work (building a healthy reserve of airline miles along the way), our tickets to New Delhi are booked.  We wrestled with what dates would be best. On one hand, you don't want to go too early and on the other hand, you don't want to miss the birth. We decided to be Delhi-bound at 38 weeks.  Hoping to hang out  before baby makes his or her debut. 

Having the tickets are one big check for Operation Exit and a giant leap for the reality that this is  happening.

This beautiful and incredible dream is really coming true.
 
 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Visa



The company that handles outsourcing for visa applications in the US is called Travisa. They were super friendly, but didn't have a lot of insight into what documentation was needed for an ART Medical visa. The Travisa employee informed me that medical visas in general are very rare , and in the two years he had worked there he personally  never processed one. He suggested I should just supply as much "back-up information" as possible.

I asked what kind?

He said "Whatever you have".

Not entirely helpful.  So I took my problem to a trusted friend who never lets me down in regards to supplying information, and sometimes more than I need.

So Google, whatcha got?

Lots of websites and sources all citing conflicting information

Oh Google......

So I provided "all" that I had as suggested by Travisa.

My  back up documentation:

1. The E-stamp notarized document with our surrogate mother
2. A letter from my local doctor recommending that I pursue surrogacy
3. An invitation for medical treatment by Surrogacy Centre India that shows we have a current pregnancy (This was sent before the ICMR letter was available)
4, A copy of our marriage certificate (9 years)
5. A copy of my driver's license that shows proof of current address
6. A photo copy of my Indian Tourist Visa
7. The embassy letter found here  that states  the United States recognizes surrogacy, and that biologically related children of parents commissioning surrogacy will be granted citizenship

And boy did  I FREAK OUT when we were initially DENIED

So Round 2

Travisa became super helpful, and we were assigned an expediter who gave us his personal extension a bypass to the "next available caller" montage. Now as a Travisa super fan,  we carried on.

The plan: resubmit with additional information requested by the consulate

Such as:

1. The ICMR letter supplied by the clinic (Now available)
2. Redo application because currently the Indian consulate in the US cannot issue ART Medical visas. Although it exists on their website as a drop down option, we have been informed  at this time it doesn't officially exist (must be coming soon)  and applying for a "standard" Medical visa would  allow us to comply with the new regulations
3. Letter explaining details of my previous trip to India and documentation for cryoshipping, as well as a letter explaining why J has not been to India previously
4. Letter explaining why we are committed to June or July for delivery
5. Letter summarizing our documentation
6. My old passport  - since it was to expire this summer, we applied for a new one but the consulate wanted to see the old one as well .

This time they didn't flat out deny our application, and simply requested more information
 
Round 3

They asked  us to supply a letter stating that we would raise the child.

Just in case we weren't serious

But now we have them...

HAPPY
HAPPY
HAPPY
 
 
A little nitty gritty if your interested: Original submission to 1st denial (4 weeks) resubmission to approved (3 weeks). We applied for a 12 month triple entry visa and received a 6 month double entry. Your visa goes into effect the day it is approved - not the day you enter India, not the day you are informed of its approval , the day they approve it.  Keep a copy of everything you send in and good luck with your applications!!!





 

Friday, March 22, 2013

India recently passed regulations requiring Intended Parents to travel on medical visas. Prior to this change,  IPs could travel on a tourist visa. The new ART surrogacy visa is a paperwork beast with certain requirements such that a man and woman be duly married for 2+ yrs, and come from a country that recognizes surrogacy.  These criteria effectively close the door on surrogacy in India for a lot of wonderful would-be parents. Over the past few years, I've learned that battling infertility is a battle against obstacles.  Each time you feel you have conquered a hurdle another one inevitably presents itself.
 
"Pick yourself up
Take a deep breath
Dust yourself off
And start again."


We have applied for our medical visas and have been denied.

Dusting off and starting again

We resubmitted, and now we wait... 

The Ministry of Home Affairs  announced on March 18, 2013 that current pregnancies & embryos  will be allowed to exit India in 2013 irrespective of a medical visa:

"This is a special case.... Else, we will be left with hundreds of parentless, stateless children. We can't open an orphanage for them." 

"The official went on to say exit clearances will be given on a case-to-case basis after making sure that foreigners or clinics are not abusing the relaxation. The official added that those caught violating the visa rule henceforth would be dealt with sternly."
To be honest, this announcement does provide great relief even though my little one was never in danger of being parentless or  stateless.

Our child will be a natural born citizen of the United States to two loving parents who are citizens of the US.  In 1790,  Congress passed the Immigration and Naturalization Act, granting citizenship to children born abroad if the father is a U.S. citizen. In 1934, the law was extended to mothers as well.
 
A DNA test after the baby is born will verify both maternity and paternity of the child, thus granting "natural" citizenship.

Our little one is even eligible to run for president if she/he so chooses since this same act stated "the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens"

You might remember a time back when John McCain ran for president. Maybe you remember that he wasn't born in the United States. His parents (both U.S. citizens) were living outside her boundaries when little Johnny McCain was born. The issue arose could he be president? The Constitution can be somewhat ambiguous and vague, and its wording questioned whether citizenship for those born on foreign soil is equal to  those born within our country's borders. Senator Don Nickles from Oklahoma led the charge and drafted a bill to get this question answered, only to find that Congress answered the question in 1790. An embarrassing faux pas for Don Nickles perhaps and the bill was sent to committee to die.  As for McCain,  he could indeed be president granted he found a running mate capable of identifying China on a map.

Although I am grateful for the Ministry's decision, it would be comforting to have a medical visa in hand. Fingers crossed our resubmission is approved.







 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Christmas, Birthday, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Halloween and Easter all rolled into ONE

= REPORT DAY
 
(Especially when it is a fabulous, and everything is perfect with your little one report)
 
 
 

 
 
 
Now for the star of the show:
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March On


 

So March has rolled around, and I have been both looking forward to it and dreading it. It was never planned this way, but the anniversary of Parker's due date, and the age of our baby in India at the stage my son’s pregnancy was when I lost him are coinciding.  It seems like his one year anniversary was so long ago. I suppose the difference in time is a reminder of just how early he came.  Our mailbox has become the central point for this anxiety as Parker's baby registry was sold to MANY companies. We haven’t received any mail for a long time regarding his registry until recently. Now every day, the mailbox has been inundated with: "Your toddler should be doing this….. So buy this….. And celebrate his one year birthday with these decorations or at this fun play time place." And just when I begin to think it is all over they keep coming, much like Vernon Dursley getting Harry Potter's Hogwarts invitations.

 

 If you lost a child, it is hard not to daydream about them still being here with you - to imagine them walking around your furniture, playing with Duplos,  swinging on a swing, pulling your dog’s tail, and all the little things toddlers do. But it’s a slope I must be careful not to slide down.  When I spend my time mourning memories that never happened, it becomes difficult to focus on the joy and love my world has to offer.  These flyers in my mailbox don’t remind me of what happened - how you can be reminded of something you think of so often? But they do nudge me down that slope, I try so hard not to go down.

I don't remember who wrote it or where I heard/read it, there is a story that has brought me comfort.  I hope those in our blog family dealing with loss will find some peace in it as well.

There was a little beetle that lived in a village of beetles on a lily pad. They had a great life and would dance and sing.  But sometimes, one of the beetles would crawl to the top of the lily pad never to be seen again. The village knew the beetle died and this made them very sad. Eventually, the beetles carried on with their lives, found joy, and began to dance and sing again.  Then one day, our little beetle protagonist felt an urge to crawl to the top of the lily pad. When he got to the top, he could feel the warmth of the sun so he settled down and took a nap. When he awoke, he was transformed into a dragonfly. He stretched out and began to fly around. He could feel the sun dance on his wings and it was marvelous. He swooped and soared, and it was so much greater than anything he had experienced in his village. Then he thought about his beetle friends:  Should he go back and tell them that it was ok, that he was fine, and life was so much better? But after realizing how great it was for him to discover this himself, he decided not to deny the same experience to his friends.  So he soared off- happy!

As great as birthday parties, Duplo fun time, or pulling little Winston’s tail would be (well maybe not for Winston), I much prefer  to think that Parker is like the little beetle experiencing so much more joy than is possible on our proverbial lily pad - somewhere off in heaven, soaring his wings.  
 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Back Alley Milking


 

Remember when we were inundated with those "Got Milk?" commercials?


 



 
 

Well, my mind has been inundated with “How you gonna get that milk?” lately.

A family does have a few ways to provide breast milk even if they haven't had a pregnancy – either using someone else's breast milk, try to induce lactation, or just pass and use formula (which is what I am leaning towards.)

Option #1 - Purchasing breast milk or procuring donated breast milk

 

It can be difficult to find a milk bank that will sell directly to an individual. It is also cost prohibitive at $6 -$8 per ounce. Although typically this milk is donated to the bank, the bank passes along the cost associated with processing the milk.

 

Purchasing milk online is untested. Since diseases, alcohol, and many drugs can be passed in breast milk, there is considerable risk in choosing this more affordable option ($1 per ounce).

 

Option #2 - Induced lactation

 

The plus is that this option provides all the healthy immune-boosting elements you want because it is after all breast milk, but it is a difficult time commitment with no guarantee it will work. Domperidone, the drug commonly used to increase prolactin (hormone), has been taken off the market by the FDA due to cardiac risks associated with its use. Proponents of the drug are very quick to point out that these unfortunate events only occurred after the drug was given intravenously and if one is inducing lactation, the drug would typically be taken in pill form.  We do know that the drug is passed through milk, but I couldn’t find any study that addressed infant risks.  Also just a little FYI - I have been informed by one of the  lactation consultants that this option is not just for the ladies, and my husband could attempt to induce as well.   (SIDE NOTE: He is not responsive to the idea.)

 

I have met with two lactation consultants, each with a different plan of attack if you will.

 

Consultant 1: Recommends the Goldfarb Neman protocol with Domperidone.  This plan requires you to take birth control pills along with Domperidone for six months, and then begin pumping with a hospital grade pump. Domperidone is a drug which has lost its FDA approval, and cannot be purchased at non-compounding pharmacies in the U.S. From what I understand, the drug itself is illegal but the ingredients to make the drug are not. So a compounding pharmacy can legally make the drug for you. If my doctor refused to write a prescription, the lactation consultant told me not to worry because “she knows a guy”.  The entire conversation sounded more like an encounter from Breaking Bad than an appointment with a lactation consultant.  Although this plan has a 90 percent success rate, I felt I needed a second opinion.

 

Consultant 2 - Plan A: Recommends Goldfarb Newman protocol with Reglan.

Again you take the birth control pills along with a drug called Reglan. Reglan has been notoriously associated with depression.  Although it is FDA approved, there has been a great deal of backlash against this drug. I think I had Consultant #1's disdain for Reglan in the back of my mind because I evidently seemed rather discouraged and Consultant 2 suggested we could try a more “natural approach”.

 

Consultant 2 - Plan B: Modified version of Goldfarb Newman taking a combination birth control pill (in my case Necon 1/35) It is important to take the active pills only and continuously for 5 months in an attempt to mimic pregnancy. After the 5th month, you rent a hospital grade breast pump and then use it rigorously. Or she went on to say: “If money is tight, you could dry feed your partner 8 times a day until milk arrives.  I did turn quite red as the 7th grader inside couldn’t help but be a tad embarrassed.   The success rate with this option is not as high as the others, but the consultant refused to give any kind of estimation. She did say that I have a better chance of success because I have breast fed before.  (In an effort to honor Parker's memory, I pumped my milk after he passed and was fortunate to be able to donate it to his NICU.)  Therefore, my milk ducts are developed, and my body does not need to undergo all the changes necessary for breast feeding. She felt confident that if we chose this more natural option we could be successful.

 

There's a lot to think about, but the reason I am leaning towards formula is because we are considering trying for a third child in July.  Time isn’t doing anything but acting against us, and if we chose to do another IVF cycle I would be unable to induce. But whatever we decide we need to do it quickly because no matter which plan I choose the longer the time frame you have to try to bring in milk, the higher chance of success you have for it to work. Ideally, one would have 6 months +, so since our Yankee Doodle is due July 4th the clock is ticking.

 

 I wanted to share what I have learned in my research undertaking and although I appreciated the lactation consultants meeting with me, there was not a whole lot of insight beyond what one could find on asklenore.com.  If this is something you are considering, I bow to your awesomeness so best of luck

Friday, February 15, 2013


First off I am a HUGE fan of Frank O’hara.  If  you are unfamiliar with his work. He is a gem in American poetry, and wrote a number of incredible pieces.  This particular favorite was  inspiration to my husband's Valentine.



Having a Coke with You

"is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, IrĂșn, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles


and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them


I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse


it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it"


So on Valentine's Day when he showed up with two Diet Cokes to share.  I was completely swept...
 



 

Thursday, February 14, 2013


When my child grows and asks “how do you know when you find love?"
I will be reminded of something once said by the Rasta purveyor of love himself Bob Marley “Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
Grand kisses on piazzas in Venice are nice (ok, so a little more than nice), but the true beauty of love comes from the completeness and joy you find in the everydayness of your life.    Then I’ll say “but wait untill you are 30 to date”.       


 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

 
 
Triple marker test came back:
NORMAL NORMAL NORMAL
 (That is three normals if you're counting)
 
 
J J J

 
 
  In the U.S., we have these infomercials for a product called the “Wax Vac”.  The whole idea of this product is that it is a vacuum that sucks wax out of your ear. The commercial goes on to talk about how dangerous Q-tips are and what not. Every time I see this commercial I think or say "What kind of idiot doesn’t know how to use a Q-tip?". Well, the kind of idiot who is 5’6', lives in Texas, writes on a blog called “mydreamsareinfaroffplaces” and manages to puncture her eardrum with a Q-tip.
 So I go to the emergency room. I'm completely embarrassed to admit that I don’t even know that if blood is coming from my ear that I should just go to the ER…. Nope, gotta check the internet.  After Google says "Get your ass to the emergency room”,  I head down, only to be more embarrassed when I have to explain what I have done.  After a great wait, I eventually make my way to the back and the doctor gives me this intense lecture about how bad and irresponsible it is to use these simple little cotton balls on a stick.  Then after the scornful lecture, I kid you not - he cocks his head, looks down, and smoothes out his voice in that Matthew McConaughey, gotta love Texas men accent and says “but I still use them”.  I was in so much pain that I bit my tongue in an attempt to not laugh out loud.

 

 
 
 
I knew before the whole Q-tip debacle that my telescope and a few other potential hazards have got to find themselves new homes in the attic. But now I have been scrutinizing my house with much more fervor because if a Q-tip can be dangerous to an adult, what damaging pitfalls must my house reveal to a baby? And on the spectrum of "Warwick Castle Dungeon" to "Bellvue Padded Room", I would like our home to fall closer to the latter.