Archive for June, 2008

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by catharine on 25-04-2007

It’s been about three weeks since we learned we were selected for Natasha, and still no news on her file, which is apparently making its way through the system, which apparently works something like bad road construction where they funnel several lanes down to one so that you end up slowing down to a snail’s pace until it opens back up again.  The funnel is the “de-identifying process.”  It sounds so ominous–like they have those little MIB contraptions that wipe your memory out.  They have to remove the names and numbers of people who must remain anonymous–protect the innocent and all that.  And apparently there’s only one person who can do this.  I picture a man (who looks just like Will Ferrell) in a white room at a desk with huge stacks of paper on both the left and the right, one labeled “In Box” and the other “Out Box.” He has a black marker that he’s squeaking over the paper in a slow rhythmic motion–something like a scene from Stranger than Fiction.  Eventually, our paperwork will make it from one side of his desk to the other and then we’ll get to begin pre-placement visits.

In the mean time…we’re getting Natasha’s room ready!  The room already looked very girly and has green walls, which is apparently her favorite color–although I don’t know about this shade.  It’s filled with my childhood furniture, which my grandpa made, and furniture that belonged to my other grandparents that they’d bought in the ’40’s when they got married–so, Natasha will be surrounded by family heirlooms.  That’s very meaningful to me if not to a nine year old, I don’t know.

So, here is the current chaos!  Obviously, her room also full of our (my) junk–I pulled everything out of the closet and from under the bed, and thus it has become apparent to me that keeping every card and letter I’ve ever received is not a sustainable habit.  Besides, some day Natasha will be cursing me as she sorts through all our (my) stuff, so everything must go!  Cliff is enjoying this because when we got married I declared him a certifiable pack rat of the third degree and set about curing him of this nasty habit.  We had a series of garage sales that earned us quite a pretty penny and slowly but surely I rid the house of his collected stuff and furniture and, well, pretty much everything he’d owned ante-me.  It was for his own good–he’s much better off now, trust me.  So, as he watches me mournfully sort the wheat from the chaff he’s a little too triumphant.  He doesn’t say much, but I see the self satisfied grin, the hands on hips, feet apart stance that says “I’m vindicated.”  I see it, and I ignore it

We’ve installed a closet system rather than get a dresser–I hope this will work because the room is full of furniture as is.   I painted the inside of the closet and Cliff was very happy with his first fatherly task of constructing and installing the closet system.  I gave him an A+ for fatherliness–a dad should be handy with an electric drill.  So, so far so good–we’ve made no parenting mistakes thus far.

Filed Under (Infertility) by catharine on 25-04-2007

A lot has been happening this past week, and I haven’t had a chance to post about any of it, although I’ve sent and received so many e-mail this may all be old news to you already.  So, as the title of the post implies, I am relieved to report that I am not in fact an old hag as I had feared.  My ovaries heard the battle cry and rallied rather triumphantly, and last week they drugged me silly and retrieved 33 eggs!  I was a little surprised to say the least.  I’m not an expert and am sure there are others who’ve produced many more eggs than this, but that’s a lot of eggs!  But, let me back up and fill you in since our last IVF lesson.

The original plan for us, since we were “unexplained” (yes “were”–stay tuned for the exciting conclusion), was to give me twice the normal dose of drugs to start with and then do ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection).  In normal IVF, they just put the eggs and sperm in the same room, let them spend the night together and sort it out for themselves–this is like normal dating.  You go to the bar, meet someone, have a conversation, decide if he’s worth a second date, and nature takes its course.  With ICSI, the whole process is more like using  The embryologist looks through the super-powered microscope and picks out a likely candidate, wacks it over the head to stop it from swimming, and injects the poor sap unawares into the egg, where, against his will he becomes a father.  I don’t think works exactly like this, but stay with me here as I expand the analogy.  You see, if they didn’t wack the little dude over his head to stun him before they injected him into the egg, apparently he’d still be swimming around in circles inside the egg the next day just happy to be where he was but not having actually done what he was there to do because he wouldn’t have had to work his way through the shell on his own–you see where this is going, don’t you ladies?  All that stuff about free milk and a cow that our grandmothers told us is actually reflected at a basic cellular level!

So, as I said, they drugged me up to retrieve all those eggs, and I’m proud to report that it takes quite a bit of anesthesia to stop me from talking.  I know you’re not surprised to read this.  As I came to, I discovered I’d been having a very interesting conversation with nurse Lisa about how she could have been my mom had she been a ‘ho’ in high school because she was just 16 years old than me–I recall that this was her observation, but Cliff recalls it differently.  However, he’s had surgery before and we know he’s a light weight, whereas I was told I should join a drinking contest, so I’m sticking with my version of the story for now. 

 In the process of retrieving these eggs, they also discovered that I have “chocolatey cysts” on my ovaries, or endometriomas, which is endometriosis. I don’t know much more about this other than the fact that this is now our diagnosis.  Apparently my ovaries have been “corrupting” my follicles all along.  Have you read Plato’s Apology? This is a looooong stretch, but in my drug-induced state receiving this news in recovery, I could only think about Socrates being put on trial for corrupting the youth, but that’s really where the similarities end with that train of thought.

Anyway, of those 33 eggs, 24 were mature, and after submitting their bios to the ICSI version of, 14 fertilized.  This is also a lot.  I don’t know how much in a technical sense, but it’s more than we were prepared to deal with.  Over the next several days Todd the embryologist called to report on their progress, how they were behaving, getting along with each other, that sort of thing, and of course, as everyone believes of their own offspring, our embryos are all above average, ready to negotiate peace in the middle east and all that.  So on Sunday, they put back two embryos, and ultimately we froze 11 of the 12 others.  One petered out and didn’t make it to blastocyst stage, so ultimately, we’ve ended up with a bakers dozen!  Did I mention that was a lot?!

My family is talking about a football team, my husband is shaking his head and muttering things about me being the one who wanted a big family, and our embryologist, Todd, (Todd who apparently came of age in the 80’s and embraced this decade fearcely) continues to speak to me in his monotone with AC/DC blasting in the background telling me that our results are impressive, although his voice communicates anything but that he’s impressed.  But then I’m fairly certain I mooned Todd just as they were injecting me yet again with valium at our embryo transfer, and he’s probably just concerned for the future welfare of our potential children because I inisted on continuing to talk with him while they were doing the transfer–just let them try to put me out with injectible meds.

Todd: “Of your 12 remaining eggs, we froze 11.”

Me (fighting valium): “What happened to the other two?”

Todd: “11 of 12 made it to blastocyst stage; and we froze 11 of 12.”

Me: “Oh, what about the other two?”

Todd: “What do you mean?  We froze 11 of 12.”

Me: “There were 14 eggs, what happened to the other two?”

Todd: “They’re putting them in you.” (this, delivered dead-pan)

Me: “Oh, right–yeah, that’s right.”

Cliff: “Shhhh, babe, just be quiet.”  Like I was impaired or something by the valium–phhft! 

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Cliff on 25-04-2007

So on Monday I couldn’t stand it anymore and called our social worker to ask (again) about the time line, knowing full well she’d have nothing new to tell me, but, well, I guess I had to hear it for myself.  The first thing she told me was that Natasha had asked the exact same question–she’s nine years old but wants to know the time line!  My heart expanded about three sizes–she’s going to fit right into our little type-A family. 

We can’t have any contact with her until we receive her complete file and can yet again give our consent — have I already mentioned this ten times before?  feels like it — and there is only one person in our region who can get this paperwork to us, so we are waiting……

But as soon as we get our hands on this paperwork, we can arrange a visit and we have already bought the camera with which to record it!  So, stay tuned for our first family photo with Natasha.  Can’t say when it will happen, unfortunately, but it will be some time this summer.

In the mean time, we’re working on her bedroom.  It looks like a tornadoe hit it at the moment.  Cliff is happily constructing a closet organization system that we’re hoping will replace a dresser nicely since there’s already plenty of furniture in that room.  And if she’s at all type-A in other areas of her life, she’s going to love how organized it all is!  I do.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by catharine on 25-04-2007

I guess just to prove the adage that it’s always darkest before the dawn, just a few short hours after posting my firey limbo dancer on Wednesday, we got a call from our social worker saying we were selected for Natasha! I was in the car with my sister-in-law heading toward the movies to zone out and find a little mental escape when Cliff called and said, “Babe, we got her!” I guess my gasp was a good gasp because Tiff’s gasp was a good one, and I could tell she knew right away that it was good news. I’m going to keep you all in suspense about what’s coming next because it’s all speculation on our part at this point. But, here we are Wednesday night making the phone calls–

So, on Wednesday I implied we’d be furnishing a bedroom rather than going to the movies this weekend if we got Natasha, but ironically, we’re actually going to be at the movies because truth be told, we don’t know what she likes so won’t be buying too much until we get to know her a little better. Today marks the beginning of our summer “vacation” anyway–it’s an IVF vacation for us in Houston this year: 6 full days and 5 nights of hormonal injections and 7:00am appointments. So, we’ll probably be taking in “Don’t Mess with the Zohan” tonight and asking ourselves constantly, is this how parents behave–are we being properly parental here?

Is it time to cast a critical eye on our lifestyle and language and put the filter back up–the one that slowly slipped away in the years after leaving home and then was lost alltogether by the time we got married and I left Baylor–the one that used to prevent all those little “damns” and “hells” that pepper my language so liberally now. I blame the anthropologists, actually–they got a hold of me after college, filled my head with post-modern theory and now, well, I could make a pretty convincing argument about the appropriate use of crass language to express cultural values, but deep, deep inside is my mom’s voice and my dad’s deep frown and my grandmothers (all the grandmothers!) shaking their heads and tutting–and it’s all happening with Jeannie C. Riley singing “Harper Valley PTA” in the background.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by catharine on 25-04-2007

limbo-wedding.jpgI found this picture of a newly married couple.  See them smile as they “limbo.”  It’s all fun and games for them–the future is bright–a little back bending is to be expected in life of course, but see how they’re still smiling?   So young, so niave…..

I haven’t been blogging about our adoption, letting you all think we were still waiting on inactive status, but it’s just because I don’t have words to express what’s been happening the past week, so let me just show you–limbo.jpg

Unlike the happily tittering couple above, this is what our limbo has looked like the past week–but we’re not in that kind of shape, so it’s done a number on my knees.

Last week while making my way into the Bermuda Triangle (i.e. Houston), my husband called me to tell me that we had made the short list for a little girl for whom we’d sent in our homestudy a few months before.  We were one of three families chosen for her, and they would be picking the family in a few short days.  We were elated!  I was so elated, in fact, that the Bermuda Triangle was able to get the best of me for almost an hour of total confusion before I found myself in Galveston and was able to work my way back to my doctor’s appointment 30 minutes late, but I didn’t care.  To hell with IVF, we were thinking, give us a fully formed child!  So, we dutifully informed our family of the potential–they showed various degrees of excitement, mild interest, and total disregard.  We didn’t care.

 The deadline came and went, emails and phone calls were exchanged, there were mix-ups and problems and delays, new deadlines were set, they came and went, more emails and phone calls, a new deadline, promises, appologies, and now total silence.  We’re stuck in seemingly interminable limbo at the moment, waiting, waiting…will we be parents by the end of the week, or not?  Are we going to be furnishing a nine year old’s bedroom this weekend, or going to the movies?