Sunday, August 31, 2014

I Just Don't Understand

We get the local paper - The Minneapolis Start Tribune - on Sundays.  When I say "we" what I actually mean is "I".  I have been getting the Sunday paper for years.  I think that it is a holdover all the way from childhood.  On Sundays we would get up, go to church, and then relax that afternoon and read the Sunday paper.  I used to (and still do) delight in pouring through the shiny colorful ads and see what was on sale, picturing the what the new jeans would look like in my closet or a new couch in the living room.  Most of the time it is just imagining rather than buying, but it is still fun.

I usually skim through the paper itself, stopping occasionally to read a story, but mostly just skimming to see what is going on in the world.  Today I actually read a story, an entire story, and it broke my heart.

Today the paper featured a story about Eric Dean, a child who managed to somehow slip through the cracks of the system, a child who was abused by his own parents and died by their hands at the age of four.  While these stories are always hard to read, today this story really hit me hard.

Perhaps it was the fact that they posted his picture (above), so instead of Eric being a faceless victim all could see that he was a real person.  A sweet little boy with big bright eyes, who craved hugs and attention.  A little boy who affected those around him, people who tried to save him by trusting in the system that ultimately failed him.

I am sad because this is a tragic, senseless death that could have been prevented.  The article included a timeline of Eric's life which showed that the child protection agency was called 15 times in his 4 short years and only actually investigated once.  An investigation that obviously wasn't followed through to completion.

I am sad because I have to assume that Eric's parents were ill.  They would have to be to commit such a terrible crime.  I have to assume that they suffered from some sort of addiction or mental illness or both.  Too often illnesses of the mind are left untreated due to our general misunderstanding of them, people being to afraid or ashamed to ask for help, or just simply not having access to the medical care that they need.

I think that I am most sad because of the fact that so many suffer from infertility and will never have a child of their own, while others have them and just throw them away.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Plans A, B and C

Mark and I decided to go out for dinner, have some wine, and talk about things.  Because I am a planner I have been pressing him over and over again to talk about Plan B (or C or D) if Plan A doesn't work.  Wait, I guess that right now we are actually on Plan C, but let's forget about that for a moment and assume that surrogacy in India via fresh transfer of my eggs is Plan A.

So, if Plan A doesn't work, then we will pursue Plan B.  Plan B is a frozen transfer using our 4 embryos that were frozen last year (our four "poor quality" embryos).  Because Plan B doesn't seem like a good option (which is why we are pursuing Plan A and hoping for better quality embryos this time) shouldn't we have a Plan C?

What would Plan C be?  If we undergo another egg retrieval and still have bad eggs (despite supplements, changing protocols, and acupuncture) than I probably just have bad eggs.  Period.  End of story.  If I just have bad eggs than it doesn't make sense to keep trying with my eggs.

If we don't use my eggs, then what do we do?  I have tried to bring up adoption before with Mark and have not gotten very far.  Mark is scared of adoption - it is a lot of time, money and heartache and like IVF, is not always a sure thing.  I admit that I am a little scared too but I had always thought (until recently) that adoption was our only option.  Mark also fears that if it is not his child that he won't live it enough.

I have admit that is a valid fear.  A lot of people have that same fear.  I personally don't have that fear of adoption, but I do towards donor eggs.  I have been very resistant to the possibility of using donor eggs.  I guess that I felt that if I couldn't carry a child myself, and then couldn't even produce eggs to have a child for someone else to carry, that I was receiving a clear message about having children in general.  I also feared that I wouldn't love that child enough, that I might actually resent a child that was Mark's and not mine, and that looking at that child and not seeing myself would make me feel like a total failure.

I have spent some time rethinking this.  I decided that at the end of the day, the most important thing is for Mark and I to have a child, and I should stop being so picky as to the makeup of this child.

Mark and I had a really good discussion about Plan C tonight.  He told me that his first choice would be for us to have our child - he thinks that the two of us will make a really good child - they'd be good looking and sooooo smart.  He said that if I am not OK with donor eggs, then he is no OK with donor eggs.  That we would be done after Plan B.

I explained that I have softened my opinion a bit.  I found out that most clinics in India do offer Caucasian donor eggs.  They are a LOT more expensive than Indian donor eggs, but they are available.  These eggs often come from women of Eastern European descent.  Well, I am 1/4 Czech, and have often been told that I look czech, so an egg of Eastern European descent would potentially look (somewhat) like me.  I decide that my one sticking point is that the donor must have blue eyes, since I have blue eyes as does Mark.  I explain to Mark that blue is a recessive gene and that two blue eyed people can only have blue eyed children (Thank you Sr. Donna for teaching Mendel's Laws of Genetics so well).  I explain to Mark that a child with any other eye color would obviously not be a product of the two of us.  (You can prove this to yourself here )

We have an accord for Plan C.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Everything is Booked....

It's 6 am.  Mark's alarm goes off and we both groggily get out of bed.  I excitedly ask "Is there an email from India this morning?"  Not yet, no email.  "We need to email them again!"

As I keep bugging Mark to send an email while taking my shower he finally tells me that I can stop pestering him.  We have our email.  We have our travel dates confirmed and I have my medication prescription.

I barely dry off before I am at the computer forwarding information to our clinic here to process the prescription and to book our flights and hotel.  Luckily I have been looking at flights and places to stay for a couple of week now so I just had to refresh the search.

The flight is going brutal - 8 hours to Amsterdam and then 8 more hours to New Delhi.  I guess that I should be thankful for only one short break, but we are in coach and on one of the flights not even sitting together (I keep trying to get new seats but the airline so far isn't letting me change).  Thankfully the flights are actually pretty decently priced even though we are past the six week prime booking window.

Unfortunately the fact that we are outside of the prime booking zone is affecting our hotel choice.  Two weeks ago the Hyatt Regency was offering a 50% off prepaid deal for extended it is only 20%.  We would like to stay pretty close to the clinic, but also don't want to dip below 4 stars or stay somewhere that isn't rated pretty well on travel sites.  We feel like we are just creating more opportunities to get sick if we don't stay in a nicer place.  As much I had my hopes up for the Hyatt a difference of $1,000 for our stay is pretty significant - that buys 6 vials of Follistim.  So, we picked a boutique hotel close to the clinic.

In addition to our flights and hotel, we also have my drug prescription from India (at least the first five days of my protocol).  I get that over to our clinic here, who then dispatches an order to Walgreens.  I also have my Day 2 labwork and ultrasound scheduled for the day that we leave.

It's starting to get real.........

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We Got Our VISAs!

Our FedEx package finally arrived today.  I was nervous to open it.  I was really hoping that the fact that it seemed light was a good sign.  Our application can't possibly be in there.........I hope.

I slowly opened the package and looked inside.  Only our passports were inside.  OK.  I flipped through my passport and a couple of pages in was my VISA!  OK.  I flipped through Mark's passport and a couple of pages in was his VISA.  I could barely contain my joy.

We have been on hold for weeks now, waiting for word on our VISAs, knowing that we can't book or plan anything until we get them.  We were so worried that we weren't approved.  The email that we received on Friday did NOT say that we were or were not approved, only that our application and passports were being dispatched.  This looked a lot like a rejection to me.  If we were rejected than we had to quickly try to fix whatever the problem was and reapply.  This meant at least a couple more weeks, this meant that we were most likely not going to India at the end of September and would have to wait until the next cycle in October....or even later.  Unfortunately after 35 and especially after 38 each month that passes by means that you are less and less fertile.

Even as I am composing the email to India letter them know that we got our VISAs and I got my period (on time despite last month's hiccup) and that we were now ready for our travel dates, prescriptions and next steps, I could start to feel the tension slowly lessening.  Don't get me wrong, I still feel pretty stressed, but at least now at has decreased from "heart-attack level".

I can't even begin to express how relieved that I am at this moment.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, that we can finally move forward, that we may actually be going to India and this whole thing might actually work out.

Monday, August 25, 2014

At Least Something Is Going Our Way

Mark and I got our TSA PreCheck Authorizations today.  At least we've got one thing going our way.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Not Sure That This Is A Good Sign

Mark calls me today all excited.  We got an email from Cox & Kings!  It says that our VISA is approved!  Let India know so that we can get our game plan and get things booked!

I then take a moment to read said email.  I decided that Mark is illiterate.

The email says that our application and our passports are being sent back to us......not that our VISAs are approved.  I read online that they will take up to two weeks in processing your application, and then send it back to you if it is missing data or incomplete.  They've had our applications for over two weeks and said that are sending them back to us.

I fear that this means our VISAs were not approved and that we will need to reapply.  If that is the case, that could mean another 2-3 weeks before we get them.....if we get them.  We cannot book any travel or firm up any of our plans until we have our VISAs.  This may mean that we have to shift things back another month at this point.  I hope not.  I am trying to be positive and hope for the is pretty hard to do that.

I think I'm going to have some wine.....

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We Need A Date Night

Mark and I have been snapping at each other pretty much nonstop since I got home.  I know that it is the stress of everything that we have going on.  We have too much going on.  We both are very busy at work, going through a remodel, and trying to get things lined up for India.  Some days it is a major accomplishment just to keep out shit together!

I ask Mark if we can have a date night tonight.  He quickly agrees.  Thank God!

We started talking in the car on the way there.  He admits that he is over his limit right now and I admit that I am also.  Unfortunately we are coping by taking it out on each other.  I know that this is not the most healthy way of dealing with things, but seems to be how we both keep it from coming out at work.  We agree that try and do better with that.

At dinner I surprise Mark and sit on the same side of the booth with him.  He seems a little uncomfortable so I ask him if that's OK.  He says he's just never done that before.  I haven't either but think it's sweet when I occasionally see other people do it.  It was sweet.  We held hands and were actually able to have a conversation without "yelling" over the table.  I think we should do it more often.

Good food, good wine, and good conversation.  These are things every relationship needs from time to time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

No News Is Good News?

We have not heard anything back from the Indian Consulate since their request last week.  Mark tried to call and email them to verify that they indeed had everything they needed, but has had no response.  The tracking that is on the Cox & Kings website still just says that our VISAs are in process.  I don't like this.  It feels like we should have heard something by this point.  Stay tuned...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Welcome Back!

I admit it, I am a neat freak.  I like things orderly and tidy.  I need things orderly and tidy.  I actually don't function very well when things become too big of a mess.  It stressed me out, I have to get things back in order in order to "get right".  This is especially true when I am stressed, having an orderly, tidy, island of control that I can't visit when needed helps me to cope with the swirling mess of uncertainty that sometimes surrounds me.

I am one of those people who cleans before a vacation, and picks up in the morning before work so that I can come home to a clean house.  No matter how bad my day is, walking in the door to tables and countertops without "stuff" on them, dishes not piled up on the stove, pillows on the couch instead of the floor - just makes the other stuff melt away for a little while.  Cleaning Lady Day is my favorite bi-weekly event.

So imagine my dismay when I come home to a disaster.  The table is full of crap.  The counter, sink, and stove are all covered in dirty dishes.  The back counter has three bags, a large box, several water bottles and an assortment of dog treats all over it - that is just the kitchen and dining area.  The foyer has several bags, boxes, shoes, etc. strewn about.  The couch pillows are everywhere and the coffee table, loveseat, and chair are all full of random crap.  The bedroom is overflowing with dirty clothes since no laundry was done while I was gone.  Mark apparently cannot be left unattended for more than a couple of days. 

Let's not even get into the fact that we are also remodeling the downstairs and the three rooms upstairs so the driveway features a large dumpster and we have plastic, tape, and drywall dust everywhere.

I'm in hell.

I decided to unpack my stuff, start some laundry, have a glass of wine and tackle the other stuff over the next couple of days.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


When we were planning things to do on our DC trip we talked about the fact that  Cirque Du Soleil was in town while we were there.  I saw Mystere in Vegas a while back and loved it.  Mom, Dad and Carissa had all never been to a show so we decided that we should go.

When I got in on Thursday I asked Carissa what time the show was as I thought we were going that night.  She looked puzzled.  She said that Mom and Dad decided not to go.  I figured that it was due to the price of tickets.  I decided to be nice and spring for tickets for everybody.  We decided to go Sunday afternoon since that seemed like it would work the best in the schedule.

The night before I ended up staying with Mom and Dad since we were all pretty tired and the party was still in full swing (it lasted until almost 2 am).  We woke up a decent time the next morning, refreshed and ready for the day.  Carissa unfortunately had to pack stuff up at the end of the party, help Diego pack, and then get him to the airport by 6 am for his flight that day.  She needed more sleep.

We decided to go to Dupont Circle for a few hours and meet Carissa at noon at her place.  That would give us plenty of time for lunch and to head over to the National Harbor for the 1:30 show.  Well, things never seem to work out the way that they are supposed to.  Due to our Metro mishaps, Mom and Dad wanted to take taxis.  I tried to explain to them that taxis are not magically on every street corner - they usually only congregate in certain areas.  Luckily we only had to walk a couple of blocks to snag one in front of a hotel.

For some reason or another, we weren't seeing cabs in Dupont Circle to make our way back, our the cabs we would see already had fares.  We tried calling for a cab but they ended up "not being able to find us".  We later figured out the building we were waiting in front of touches two streets - we think they may have been on the other side.  At this point we have wasted a lot of precious time and had to hop on the Metro.

We got to Carissa's with about two minutes to make a bathroom stop and grab some lunch to eat quickly in the car.  OK. We might be a few minutes late but this isn't too bad.  Then, Siri gives us incorrect directions which makes us have to backtrack about 12 minutes.  OK. Now we are going to be seriously late.  By the time we park, get our tickets from "will call" and find our seats we've missed about the first 1/2 hour.  I am seriously pissed at this point.

But then the magic that is Cirque Du Soleil unfolds in front of me.  There are people in bright, fanciful costumes all around me, even flying over my head.  The music is hauntingly beautiful and perfectly timed to the performance.  There are no safety nets to speak of, and at several times I end up holding my breath hoping that everything goes as planned and nobody gets hurt.  I get lost in the experience and soon quickly forget to be upset.

That night I got some more time alone with my sister and we talked about a lot of things.  She is hoping that they might start trying for a baby after the holidays.  I wish her the best of luck, but also tell her that there may be some setbacks.  Setbacks aren't all that uncommon.  And, that I am always here if she needs me.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Pretty Good Day With My Dad

Mom and Carissa were planning on spending the day planning for the party that evening, so I was in charge of Dad.  I thought that it was in part to keep Dad out of their hair, but also in part so that Dad could spend a day walking around since Mom can't go too far with her foot problems.

I admit that I was feeling a little rough today - a little TOO much wine with Carissa last night.  We also had been eating a lot of pretty rich food which I try not to do, so that was probably contributing also.  Not to mention that I never sleep very well while on vacation.  The trifecta of travel-related woes.

After a quick breakfast with the family we split up.  Dad and I headed downtown to the Newseum - I hadn't seen it yet and heard that it was really interesting.  It is not one of the Smithsonian's so there was an admission charge.  I think that maybe helps to both up the content and interest of the people attending - less people who were obviously just killing time or trying to get out of the heat.

I have been to museums with Dad before and know that he tends to dawdle as he feels compelled to read every single placard in detail.  I knew that we needed to be headed back on the Metro by 4:00, this left us about 5 hours in the Newseum.  This left less than one hour per floor.  Some floors have a lot more content, so plan those around a 1/2 hour and on hour for the others.  So long as I make sure Dad keeps pace, we should be able to see a lot.

Your admission is technically for two days, and in order to see most of the Newseum you really need both days.  Each exhibit has a short film and/or several TV clips/short features.  We admittedly did not get a chance to watch most of those due to our time constraints.  I will say that it was very interesting and well done.  A really good mix of funny, with thought-provoking, with tear-jerking.  Well done, Newseum, well done.

About 3:30 I realized that we hadn't eaten lunch.  We did have a later breakfast, but by this point I was starving.  We had just enough time to stop at of sports bar and have a beer and some nachos before heading back.  I really enjoyed the day and I think that Dad did too.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Traveling With My Parents is Like Traveling With 5 Year Olds

Don't get me wrong - I love my parents.  They worked very hard and gave up a lot to raise me and my six siblings.  But.....traveling with them is not always the most enjoyable experience.  They have only traveled outside of Dubuque, IA a few times and most of those trips have been with other people.  So, they tend to get lost easily and get very over-excited about things - a lot like 5 year olds.

Mom and Dad were left unattended yesterday for the afternoon so Carissa and I could get get a rental car from the airport.  I also think she may have wanted a few hour break.  We get a call from them letting us know that they were in Maryland since the took the wrong Metro train.  Luckily some nice people got them turned around so they should be back for dinner.

Today, Carissa and Diego had to work, so Mom and Dad were under my supervision.  The day starts with Mom's Metro card "not working".  I suspect that she either kept trying to run it in a red vs. green lane or managed to run it twice, but I take her word on things.  We ask a Metro cop what to do.  He lets us know that either Mom's out the $12 left on the card, or we need to exchange it at the next transfer station - The Pentagon. 

I have never been at the Pentagon stop so unfortunately we wandered around a little bit until we found the office.  The lady in front of us was running no less than 5 different transactions so we waited forever.  Finally we get Mom a new card and get on our way.

At the Arlington Cemetery station the train stops for a while - interesting - I've never experienced this.  The guy next to us tells us this isn't entirely abnormal, but means that we are probably in for a long ride.  I spend the next 15 minutes or so lecturing Mom and Dad about the Metro system, the different lines, and how to figure out that you are on the wrong train by your next stop instead of the next state.  Everyone mistakes me for a local and I get some empathetic/knowing looks.

By the time we get downtown we are STARVING.  The day really went up from there thought.  We had a fantastic lunch at the American Indian Museum and spent a couple of hours there.  We then went to the Hirshhorn until Mom's feet started to bother her.  Mine were honestly bothering me by that point also so I was happy to head back and get ready for dinner.

We had another great dinner downtown with my sister.  Unfortunately Diego was stuck at work due to trying to get everything done since he was flying out of town again on Sunday.  This also let him take Saturday off to help with the party prep.  That evening Carissa and I took a bottle of wine up the rooftop of their building and had a really nice conversation.  While the day started out rough it ended on a high note.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Off For A Much Needed Vacation

Although vacation always ends up being a lot of work at home - packing and getting everything lined up (tickets, passport/id, etc.) and being a lot of work at work - making sure that everything is covered while you are out - it still generally provides a few relatively stress-free days.  I am in need of some stress free days.

At my sister's wedding, my other sister let me know that her husband turns 40 this year and that she would like to throw a party for him.  Since their birthdays are only a few days apart, it was also a great excuse for a big joint birthday party.  I do try to come out to visit her in DC every couple of years, and this was a great excuse to do so.  My parents let me know that they were also planning on going.

I really wasn't sure if I should try to go with everything going on with us with the surrogacy and on top of that - being on a rather sizable and time consuming project at work.  But, I also realized that I actually probably really needed a few days away from everything for my own sanity.  So....I booked it.  I always enjoy my visits, so this one should be no exception.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You Need Us To Send You What?

I get home from work and Mark seems out of sorts.  I ask what is going on.  He tells me that he got a call from the Indian Consulate today and they informed him that our VISA applications were not complete since we failed to include financial information.  "What financial information?"  None of the instructions that we read said anything about financial information.

Mark told me that they asked for a bank statement so he sent them one.  Thankfully he had the forethought to redact our account number.  I am worried about this for a couple of reasons: 1) I think we are like most people out there and most of our money is not in our checking account, but in investments accounts.  I worry that Mark should have sent our Fidelity statement rather than our back statement to show that we indeed have ALL of the funds in the bank.  2) I am worried that this is somehow a scam.  I don't think that anyone can do much without account numbers, but you never know.

I spoke with my brother-in-law who frequently travels internationally and he tells me that he has been asked to provide financial information for different countries.  This makes me feel a bit better.  I also recall that our friends who are looking at adopting were required to show proof of at least 1/2 of the anticipated adoption & legal fees up front before being accepted.  This makes me feel a little better, but it still unnerves me.

Hopefully this is normal and everything will be fine.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy." Eric Hoffer

Since we moved into our house it has been a slow battle to renovate and update the house bit by bit.  We are finally ready to start on the downstairs - construction is scheduled to start at the end of week.

Since the downstairs isn't used, it has basically become a dumping ground for "stuff" (as has the basement, the garage, and the closets in the spare bedrooms upstairs).  Unfortunately in order for construction to start, the downstairs needs to be free of "stuff".

I spent a few hours this morning trying to make a dent.  I had quite the pile going of stuff that we just aren't using but is still usable - vases, coffee mug, clothes, shoes, stuff like that.  I packed everything up and headed to goodwill.  Mark has yet to start on his stuff and he has waaaay more than I do floating around the house.

Looks like it is going to be a good tax deduction year....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Minnesotan Mosquitoes Aren't Nice Either

The backs of my legs
We spent the day today up north in the woods near Crosslake, MN starting to get ready for deer season.
We tested the new trailer hitch on my car and our newly revamped trailer with Mark's deer stand, two ladders, and a bunch of tools to get it put back together again.  Everything seemed to hold up well an my car survived.
For nearly eight hours we trimmed underbrush, marked our trails, and carried wood, tools and other needed items back and forth from the trailer to our intended stand locations.  We applied sunscreen, bug spray, and drank Gatorade constantly.
Unfortunately I used the spray on Deep Woods Off.  I think I now understand why the travel clinic recommends the long lasting lotion kind instead of the spray on kind.
Apparently the bug spray wore off, especially on the backs of my legs.  The small area of skin between the tops of my boot and the bottoms of my capris was savagely attacked.  They also got the small of my back because my shirt kept riding up.  They even bit my butt cheeks when I had to stop to pee behind a bush :(  Miraculously I managed to keep my face, arms, neck, and most of the rest of me covered.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Mosquitoes are Evil - Especially in India

Part of preparing for our trip to India is making ourselves aware of the all of the health risks of traveling in India. 

We made sure that we are up-to-date on our routine vaccinations such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and our yearly flu shots.  That is part of the battle.

We then made sure to get vaccinated for Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.  We also got medication for Malaria.

We know not to drink anything except sealed bottled water, not to even rinse our toothbrush in tap water, not to swim in any body of water that is not a chlorinated swimming pool, not to eat anything that is not steaming hot and definitely not from any street vendors (nothing that has been washed in water and not cooked), and to stay away from mammals - especially Monkeys.

Unfortunately all of these precautions will not keep us safe from all of the other vectorborne diseases found in India (acquired through the bite of an infected arthropod) except Malaria:
Dengue fever - mosquito-borne (Aedes aegypti) viral disease associated with urban environments; manifests as sudden onset of fever and severe headache; occasionally produces shock and hemorrhage leading to death in 5% of cases.
Japanese Encephalitis - mosquito-borne (Culex tritaeniorhynchus) viral disease associated with rural areas in Asia; acute encephalitis can progress to paralysis, coma, and death; fatality rates 30%.
Cutaneous Leishmaniasis - caused by the parasitic protozoa leishmania; transmitted to humans via the bite of sandflies; results in skin lesions that may become chronic.

The only thing that we can do for these diseases it try very hard to avoid getting bit by anthropods - in particular mosquitos - is to try not to get bit:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (one that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
We have started stocking up......

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots

I went to the travel clinic today to get any needed immunizations for our upcoming trip to India.  We spent some time talking about where in India I was planning on traveling to, what issues and diseases were where, and what can and cannot be immunized for.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that you can pick up while traveling in India

We quickly rule out Yellow Fever since the US is not a country in which Yellow Fever is found and India does not "have it".  Since we will not be spending extended periods of time in rural areas we decide the I do no need Japanese Encephalitis.  I ask about rabies and am told to just avoid the urge to pet anything.  If I would get bitten the treatments now are not nearly as bad as they used to be and generally covered by insurance - which the immunization is not.

I know that I am due for Tetanus and Typhoid since I have passed or nearly passed the expiration date on those tow immunizations.  The doctor asks me about Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.  He especially recommends Hepatitis A since that is unfortunately pretty easy to catch.  I said that I already had my Hep A and Hep B vaccinations - I did those before our trip to Mexico.  "Really?" he asks, "Because my health record only shows that I did one shot of each and Typhoid isn't listed."

I know that I had at least two (and I thought three) rounds of shots to get those before our trip.  I then proceed to spend at least an hour and a half dinking around with calling the other clinic, getting a release form signed, faxed back, and waiting for them to look up and fax back my records.  In the meantime I chat with the doctor and the nurse about our plans for surrogacy and how our fertility journey has been going so far.  They were both very nice and wished Mark and me the best us luck.

The records finally come in and it says that I had a combo Hep A and Hep B shot, and then a full Hep A and Hep B shot.  They said that the combo shot isn't always as effective as the full shot so they recommended a full Hep A and Hep B to be safe.  Before our trip next year I should get tested to make sure that I am immune to both Hep A and Hep B and may need one or two more shots.  Two shots in each arm and quite a while later I leave with a helpful tip for all of you....Make sure you have all of your immunization records.  Do not assume that they will all be in the computer.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Results Are In.....

I got back the rest of the my test results and everything looks pretty good.....better than the average 39 year old actually.  I am not excited yet since I have looked really good on paper before....twice before...and had two less than stellar IVF cycles regardless.  I am prepared for looking good on paper and doing poorly in reality once again.

The cyst apparently looked much bigger on the screen that it actually is - they said that it not large enough to cause any concern.  To be fair, they have a big screen on the wall that you can watch the ultrasounds on.  So, my cyst looked like the size of a basketball on that.

India has looked over everything and reports back that we are a go.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

With a Little Too Much Help From My Friends

Today's post will be short and not contain much due to the fact that we went over to our friend's house last night and had fun.......a little too much fun.  Enough said.  I am laying back down now.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

How to Apply for an Indian Medical Visa

As of June 06,2013 new visa requirements are in effect for prospective surrogate parents.  The Indian government requires prospective surrogate parents to meet certain conditions to qualify for medical visas to come to India.  The couple needs to fill out the required medical visa forms, include money orders for the visa application and fedex fees, and attach the following documents:
(i) The foreign man and woman are duly married and the marriage should have sustained at least for two years [a copy of marriage certificate]. 
(ii) A letter from the Embassy of the foreign country in India or the Foreign Ministry of the country should be enclosed with the Visa application stating clearly that (a) the country recognizes surrogacy and (b) the child/children to be born to the commissioning couple through the Indian surrogate mother will be permitted entry into their country as a biological child/children of the couple commissioning surrogacy. )
(iii) The couple will furnish an undertaking that they would take care of the child/children born through surrogacy
(iv) The treatment should be done only at one of the registered Assisted Reproductive Technology clinics recognised by Indian Council of Medical Research (The current list of such clinics is given below and may be revised from time to time) 
(v) a duly notarised agreement between the applicant couple and the prospective Indian surrogate mother. 
(vi) Medical Visa invitation letter from the clinic
and your passports to the closest Consulate General of India office (or after July 1, 2014 to Cox & Kings to whom the Indian visa processing has been outsourced), which for us is in Chicago.
The Consulate website notes that the acceptance of visa fee does not automatically guarantee a visa as the Consulate General reserves the right to delay or refuse visa without providing a reason.  That applicant(s) are advised not to purchase or make travel arrangements prior to receiving the visas.
Sooooo.....we gathered up all of the required forms, fees, and passports and shipped them via fedex to the Chicago office of Cox and Kings and are currently hoping for the best.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Stay off of Web MD

Now I haven't actually gotten the official results back on the cyst situation, but the ultrasound tech spent an awfully long time measuring a large black dot on my right ovary that looked a lot this (this an ultrasound picture of an ovarian cyst).  I have had cysts before and know what they feel like also, so I am pretty sure I have a cyst.  More on that as more details come in.

I DID get back most of my other labs (I had 7 vials of blood drawn).  Since my clinic is unable to fax internationally, I get to be a liason of my test results and labs.  Most of the time you don't really get to see your labs and mostly that's for a good reason.  I (of course) started googling everything and deterimining what everything meant.  I get very hung up on my antral follicle count - it's not good - only 8-10 follicles.  That's in the "reduced count" range meaning higher than average risk for IVF cycle cancellation.  Then I read more and find out that 8-10 follicles is pretty normal for a 39 year old.  DAMN YOU WEB MD!

Actually my test results were pretty good.  Everything was within the normal range.

I saw that I missed a call from the clinic and that I had a voicemail.  They were going over my test results and noted that everything looked good......except my TSH.  They said that while it was in the "normal" range it was actually a little higher than they would like and that they would recommend medication.  I looked into this and it makes soooo much sense.  I have been tired, had trouble focusing, my hair and skin have been extra dry and I have been blaming "allergies" for months.  I am calling them back on Monday and doing whatever they recommend.

Thank you India for being extra thorough - those 7 vials of blood all seem worth it right now.