A Little Drop of Hope 

I’m wide eyed tonight when I should be settling for sleep. Instead, I’m laying here. I’m praying about tomorrow and feeling excited. I might even be a little giddy with ideas of things that might be in store this year for our TDB journey. I’m also so terrified of it all at the exact same time. 

It’s a been a really long road so far – and the end feel so very far away still. Discouragement has crept in more than I care to admit lately. It’s just so hard to hope for something that seems so far away. Sometimes it seems like all the things we’re doing, planning, and working so hard to achieve are so small – like tiny drops in a huge not-so-full bucket.

Then I remember something. This bucket must fill slowly, for its story is so tenderly and purposefully being filled with each and every little drop. We are in this waiting, filling place now on such a big labor of love. This big, once empty bucket, is filling steadily with an inspiring stream of drops. I remember: the bigger the bucket the longer it takes to fill. 

Tomorrow I want to meet the day with hope and optimism, but I’d lie to you if said that spirit will be a natural one to ease into as the sun rises. My longing is intense tonight. The ache for a child to call my own is deep. Even though my    doubts and fears feel so much bigger today than I wish they would, I will to force myself to continually remember this odd-shaped and ginormous bucket is already so full of hope. 

Tomorrow afternoon, I will sit with my dearest and bravest souls to make plans for the how rest of the 2016 calendar of events will shape up. I can finally rest tonight, in the mist of all I feel, knowing that however they pour out someday, these little drops of hope will tell the story of a great bucket-full kind of love.  

The Marilyn Moment

These days leading up to Christmas have a way of eating me whole. Like the cookies I am preparing to make, the days disappear all too quickly. There’s so much to get done, so much to go to, and so on. For me, it’s really tough to find time to slow down and really reflect on anything. Every year in November I have these grand plans of how I will carve out time to sit and and reflect on the Reason for the Season. Then, the belly of December digests the days before I realize I haven’t made good on my plans. While I’ve been too busy wrapping gifts and baking (more accurately at this stage, the buying gifts and planning/purchasing elements of  the baking menu have consumed my month) the Reason caught up to me, quite literally, in a most unexpected event.

I try my best to avoid shopping entirely on the weekends. I’m pretty spoiled in that I usually can manage it. But the belly of December is deep and full right now, and my plans for gifts and cookies ended me smack dab in the middle of a crowed Wal-Mart parking lot today. I had a very specific list of things I could not find at other local stores. I was going to be focused and fast. I immediately lost my cool at the sight of the packed parking lot and started internally cursing the “Wal-Mart people” (you know the ones I mean…I mean…man, I’m so mean.) in my head before I had managed to turn into the actual lot.

No sooner than I got out of my tiny car, did I start feeling the dread of all the things I fight every.single.time I enter any store as an infertile woman. See, I avoid shopping on the weekends not so much becuase of the crowds/lines as becuase of the families. Becuase it really hurts to much to buy my goceriecs in the midst of all the beautiful family choas that occurs in the store. I really can’t handle all the kids running, screaming, and misbehaving becuase all.of.the.time the only thing I wish is that one of those precious screaming children were mine to yell at! (Do believe me when I tell you, mine won’t be better behaved than yours…and I really don’t believe that I will never yell in a store, even though I will try my hardest to communicate with my family without yelling.).

I cannot describe how paralyzingly painful the store can be for me somedays. If you have ever longed for a family like we do, you know, even if you have one there to yell at today. For those Momma’s who are lucky enough to not know that kind of pain, sometimes what you may perceive as “judgment” for yelling at your kids in the store is really just our infertile sadness & bitterness. We are not judging, we’re just jealous. (Not saying that is better.)

This afternoon, after some minutes of internal collapse in my car, I resolved to  get out and tackle my specific list. “Remember to grab the bags for the recycling!” I announced verbally to myself as I gathered my nerve. As I closed my trunk, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly woman with fear of never finding her car painted all over her face.

She was so very lost and confused…and she was going to get hit by a car. I offered to help her locate her vehicle. We went on an APB in that crowded parking lot. Before we found it, she was convinced she forgot to lock it and someone had stolen it. I was pretty sure it was just a matter memory, but I tried to reassure her as best I could. Eventually I asked her if she trusted me with her keys, (of course the panic button and locks were not properly set up on to make noise on her older model key fob) while she waited on a curb/sidewalk thingy to let me search at a slightly faster pace than we could together. As I took her keys, I told her my name, as if that would assure her I wasn’t going to be the one stealing her car. She gave me her name then too. 

I found her car rather quickly. She was so relieved she cried when I handed her back her keys. She thanked me, she hugged me. I told her to have a great Christmas. She said a couple “thank yous” and “you’re so sweets” during our quick hug. She asked if you buy me lunch. I plainly said she could not. She said “You talk to God everyday, don’t you?” I replied with a “Yes.” Then she cried a little more. 

We stood there, Marilyn and I, in that busy parking lot for probably a half an hour. In the misty middle of the afternoon, we put the December hungers aside a moment to connect with each other with our Reason.

She told me how God had worked in her life faithfully over and over again. Here are a few highlights of what I learned: Marilyn was supposed to die when she was 28. Doctors performed risky experimental surgery on her and she woke up days later in the dying room. She did not die. She is a miracle. Her son was diagnosed with brain damage at birth, they advised her to unplug the incubator. She declined the advice, insuring doctors he was a gift from God and she’d care for him as long as he had. She took an ill son home and cared and cared and prayed and prayed. He never moved on his own, but she said she could always tell he was mentally present for everything. One day “8 months later” (not clear if that was the baby’s age or a passage of time after he was home) she was preparing dinner when he pulled himself up on a coffee table in the next room and looked at her like, “what’s next?” She called her husband home from work that day, saying they had another miracle.  (When I asked her if her son is a normal functional adult today, she replied, “Sure, if you’d can consider a lawyer normal and functional.” I might have peed a little, it was so funny!). 

The last thing I learned was about her husband, who went into a serious funk when doctors told him he was going to die by 50. His 51st year was spent waiting for death. He lived into his 70’s. I’d be willing to bet he was a fantastic man. And I’ll bet he was smiling in heaven while watching  us stand there talking in the rain.

Infertility is hard every day. Holidays are so so hard. If you’re on your own IF journey this year, I pray you have a moment like this where  your Reason finds you and whispers to you – so loudly you can’t even  miss it if you try.

How FOF was Born

Two weeks ago Monday, we got good news from the lawyer. The insurance piece looks doable, not prohibitive. So amazing!!! It’s a HUGE yet really small step forward. At least we can keep traveling this path and I’m so thrilled. 


I’ve had such an incredible two weeks. I feel so immensely blessed and ready to dive head first into the next steps. So here goes:


It’s time to get down to serious business. I’ve said it before, the ART world isn’t cheap. All of these medical tests and procedures and “hoops we have to jump through” – if you will – to create our little person come with a really high price tag. We aren’t sharing actual numbers just yet (don’t know if we actually will on the blog) but we will be looking at dead in the face of a number with an awful lot of zeroes attached. I’ve gotten a lot of research done so far, and we have a good handle on what’s ahead, but each phone call I make seems to add about $10K for yet another thing I didn’t realize we needed to do. Initially I was thinking the cost of this gestational surrogacy arrangement would be about $30,000 since I have a friend offering to carry for us – but we are above that mark considerably and I’m not done with research just yet. This $00,000 price tag is daunting. No. It’s downright frightening! 

We do ok in this life financially speaking – SL and I live pretty comfortably. He has always been a provider and a saver, two things I admire about his character every day. We have all of our physical needs met and we are able to enjoy a lot of our wants as well, with some planning and saving. It could even be said of us that we have more than we need. (If you know anything about my SL, this is mostly true in the computer/electronics department. Of me, it is mostly true in the kitchen.) Part of me feels weird about writing this post. Because we are comfortable middle-class people. We do have more possessions than we need in this world, and we could just slap this outrageous price tag on credit and be done. We could take out a second mortgage or line of equity on our house (if the market wasn’t so terrible there might actually be something to do with that, but right now, that isn’t even much of an option), or pull from his retirement fund or investments. We talked about all these things and don’t feel good about any of them. He says he wants to prepare and provide well for his family, to give them everything he can and wants to – not to go into debt to try and make one. Again, even though my opinion initially was “Apply for credit! Take a loan out. We have great credit… Someone will certainly give us that loan!!” I had to come down from my emotional place of desire for a child and realize his logic. (That happens a lot for us. Sometimes, as an emotional person, it really sucks being with an analytical/logical man. We are the epitome of “opposites attract.” Really. I promise.) 

If we had a lot of time to plan for this expense, the way one prepares for a home purchase, or a really really nice car, perhaps the number wouldn’t be so scary.  But, like so many infertile couples, we had no idea this would be our path to parenthood. No one painted that picture for us. (I knew I’d have challenges, but I never imagined how many or what they’d be like for real in terms of financial numbers.) SL has goals in life that require a good financial state (more education, retire early, start his own company) and we both want him to be able to pursue those things in the future – for our family. My main future goal has always been to be a mother.  If we have learned one thing about ART world – well, really about LIFE (no acronym there) – it is that nothing is guaranteed. We could do all of this and still not end up with a child. As much as I don’t want to think about that, it is a serious reality.   So ultimately we think that, with the potential risks involved, it is unwise for us to “put it on plastic” as my grandma used to say. We just don’t think that taking away from the things we have already established and planned for to protect our future is wise. So when we put all of those things together, I knew what we needed to do to get this baby-ball rolling.

So Brave Souls, that is the story of how Fund Our Family (FOF) was born. We are going to raise funds for our future family. We will of course be contributing to the fund at least in the amount it would cost us to have a child in a more traditional way. But there is a very big gap between that number and the “lots of zeroes” number that is our new reality. And that’s where FOF is really going to be born, because right now it is more of a concept than anything. 

Tomorrow I have scheduled an appointment with a tax advisor to discuss all the ins/out/do/don’ts of this fundraising adventure. People do it for adoption all the time, however there are very established tax rules for adoption. Not so much with infertility. And no tax credit either (huge injustice in today’s society, don’t even get me started…I know there a people working on that front and I may soon join the cause.) In the ART world and with surrogacy especially, it seems to be that the main trend is to finance it. Or be a movie star or millionaire. Financing is not the wrong choice for everyone. It is a very valid option. It’s just not the one we are choosing. So, even though I’ve done a lot of research into this myself, I feel like consulting a professional is the best option here – I don’t want to do anything wrong in this department! I have a wonderful and trusted friend on board who is going to help me navigate all the fundraising and be the official host of our fundraisers. She is amazing and her name for all of you in the blogs-sphere will be f3c.  (Like C3PO, kind of…but more importantly, continuing my fascination with the letter “F” on this whole idea of Family building.)


These past two weeks I’ve been working side by side with my Fabulous Fund Finding Coordinator (f3c) organizing our first FOF event. We are putting together a garage sale for our kickoff event. It’s this coming Thursday – Saturday. I am amazed at how generous the small group of people I asked to donate have been! As I’ve gone through our house gathering things, I’m just overall feeling good about purging and getting rid of stuff that has been sitting in storage for years. We have a lot of junk sitting around that I’m hoping can become someone else’s treasure while helping us reach our little treasure. My living room and garage this week have resembled an episode of hoarders. It’s coming together slowly into organized categories of stuff. It’s been a ton of work, with a ton more to do before Thursday. I’m hoping and praying it will all be super worth it!! Prayers for great weather this weekend and lots of customers would be appreciated!  

This is the first of what will likely be many fund raising efforts. So there will be plenty of opportunity for you if you’d like to help us FOF. Keep up with the blog for updates and future opportunities. We are excited to allow you to join our journey, wherever the road leads. 

Bumps in the Road

This journey has bumps. We are ultimately hoping for and longing for that to take shape in a baby-sized bump at some point, today the baby-bump experience seems dauntingly far away. 

The second opinion confirmed the first; that natural pregnancy is inadvisable for me. If we are able to harvest eggs (still unknown at this point) we will need to pursue using a gestational carrier. I won’t lie, I was hoping the second opinion would be laced with magic and that I would be “allowed” to experience the miracle of growing life inside myself. However, I am oddly comforted today that two opinions match – even if to a disappointing reality. I’m not built to carry a baby on the inside. This saddens me deeply. I will need to grieve this point thoroughly in the coming weeks and months ahead, and maybe partially for the rest of my natural life. But it’s clear, confirmed and true.  

If we pursue pregnancy, it will be in the form of what is referred to legally as Third Party Reproduction. It will be expensive. It will be risky. It will be stressful. It will be crazy. We still have to investigate a lot to be determine how expensive, how risky, and how crazy-stressful it will be. There is a VERY long road ahead even to get to the place where we make that decision. 

I am much more comfortable with the demeanor & communication style of our new doctor. While their opinions mirror each other, their approaches are different enough to confirm my suspicions that Dr. Feinberg is a better fit for us. I’m thrilled to be inviting her and her staff on this journey with us. I’m thrilled that she is willing to work with my existing physicians to figure out what will be best for me. I’m also comforted that one of her first warnings to me is that she has self-imposed, hippocratic oath based limits as to how far she will recommend we carry this journey. 

So begins the real journey. The legwork is scary. There is a legal component that (I think) would drive most lawyers crazy. There are physical, biological, psychological, and hormonal tests for at least three people (four if our carrier is married) that all have to be in line for us to proceed. There is an financial component that needs to be ironed out and figured out and funded. Then there is the risk/benefit assessment of the success rate and …. So on and so on until I turn shares of blue I’ve never seen. 

Oh – and, for those of you who don’t know yet, which is probably most of you – there is this small 3.5cm problem we found today on the ultrasound. It seems I am forming another cyst. Just another little bump in the road. Or possibly a really massive bump. We can’t know just yet.

I go for more evaluations with my regular GYN tomorrow. He’s not yet concerned because size wise, it would have to double to be surgical. But I will be reminding him kindly that for that last cyst’s occurrence, he advised me to ” take 4 ibuprofen and call me in a couple days.” That approach landed him in an OR for 2.5 hours on Labor Day Weekend removing a 9cm hemorrhagic cyst and most of my remaining ovary.  I don’t want another surgery – to be sure!! But he was rather blasé about it on the phone today and I was honestly off-put by his tone. Maybe he was expecting a bigger cyst from me. I mean 3cm hardly competes with the 9cm & 11cm ones I presented with the last two times. Maybe 3cm deserves the blasé response that undoubtedly pulled him away from another patient. Our chat in the afternoon shall be a lively one…if I can keep myself out of the ER tonight. 

Sweet dreams, oh, brave souls. Have some for me please? Of bumps baby-sized and cysts that disappear. Tomorrow the journey continues and tonight I am feeling weary.


Crazy Katy Train

Today the newest member of my healthcare team joined aboard the Crazy Katy Train. I think the thing I will most remember from today was not even remotely medically related. She told me this: ” ‘Best friend’ is a level, not a person.” [She quoted this from a woman she knows who wrote this in her book & blog (sorry can’t remember the name to credit the right person)]

I am so blessed by all my “bests” and I want shout it from the roof-tops. You are all amazing people for being on the journey that is my life; it is forever changed by all of you who care for me on that level. 

Welcome to my world, Dr. Eve Feinberg. It’s a pretty great, incredibly unique, crazy-train kind of world. And today you made it a little better by entering it.